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Category: Sewing

Still Breathing :)

I know it’s been several months since I last posted. It’s amazing just how much time running around after a baby can take! It’s also amazing how much mess a newly crawling baby can make whilst roll/crawling around the living room with a teething rusk

Baby Charlie

Charlie in his new pants

but I digress…

I have a new overlocker!

My New Overlocker!

Isn’t it beautiful? It’s a Pfaff Creative Coverlock 4874. It’s a 10 thread, 3 needle overlocker. I decided I wanted an overlocker 10 years ago and I finally got around to getting one when I realised that drafting your own sewing patterns isn’t brain surgery πŸ˜›

I learnt to sew when I was in highschool but always hated using commercial patterns because they never fit properly and it seemed so fussy to have to alter every pattern every single time you wanted to make something, even when you’ve spent $17 on the pattern itself.

Years later I started buying fabrics from the local op shops and decided to have a go at drafting patterns that are a bit more complicated than elastic waisted skirts (ahem), and it all fell into place. My daughter has 4 new skirts, the baby will soon have 21 new pairs of day/night Summer/Winter pants and I have projects lined up until the end of the universe πŸ™‚

Here’s the next one’s before picture.

Plaid Jacket Before Refashioning

My daughter bought this jacket from the op shop. First I removed the sleeves and shoulder pads, and then pinned the sides in above the waist to make it a more fitted shape. I still have to sew the sides, after which I’ll refit the sleeves and add a gathered broderie anglaise style lace to the cuffs, replace the buttons and give it a good wash. Next time I’ll wash first, lol.

As for the overlocker, it’s incredibly easy to use. Easy to thread, easy to engage and disengage the upper looper and knife and super easy to understand. The only thing I would have liked to be different is to have better threading guides in the instruction book so I don’t have to go to the computer CD animation when I haven’t doe something right. It’s so easy to thread that I pull all the threads out when I want to change them instead of tying on the new thread and pulling it through πŸ™‚

Finally I had some exciting news in my mail yesterday. Clover have re-released the Hana Ami Loom! It’s the Rolls-Royce of flower looms and I suggest everyone should go and buy one right now before they go out of production again!

Hana Ami loom by CLover

A Very Basic Wizard’s Cloak

The topic of sewing a wizard’s cloak came up on Ravelry this morning and I thought it was worth posting my reply here as well, since there are stitchers who don’t knit or crochet and might want to know how to make a basic wizard cloak for their kids.

The question was how to sew a simple Hogwart’s style cloak for a quick costume. Thanks to an old library book on Elizabethan costuming, I knew the answer πŸ™‚ This is a slightly expanded version of my reply to the original poster.

Wizard cloaks are made from a circle.

Big circle with the radius as long as you want the cloak to be. Fold it in half.
Cut a hole in the middle of the circle for the neck.

Cut down the front of the circle for the front opening.

Cut slits for the sleeves, making sure that the bodice is wide enough for the chest measurement with a bit of ease.

Sew sleeves and side seams and hem everything else. Stick a button and a buttonhole on the front. Or ties.
Basic Wizard Cloak Diagram

To make a better finished cloak you can add facings to the neck and front opening.

A fancier cloak might have pockets in the side seams for holding the wizarding essentials (wand, toad, vial of goo etc), or a hood.

A hood can be made of two pieces of fabric shaped like this

Wizard Cloak Hood Diagram

Sew them together along the top and back, hem the front and sew it to the neckline. Or sew it to the neckline and then hem the hood and the front at the same time (I think that might work).

Click Clack, Stitch Stitch, Sew Sew, Splat Crunch

Ok, technically there is neither a splat nor a crunch, bet hey! Artistic license and all that πŸ™‚
Three or so weeks ago I promised I would upload photos of other projects I had made the next day. Then there was Christmas and New Year’s and swimming and shopping and destashing and…

Let’s just face facts, shall we? This is as fast as I get πŸ™‚

I still don’t have a photo of one of them, but here are the rest.

I finished these wristicuffs for Miss Brittany last night.

Orange wristers

They’re made from some of my very, very early handspun. It’s lumpy and bumpy and dyed with Kool-Aid. It’s also incredibly soft and Brittany asked me to make her something out of it while we were sorting out the garage stash. I wanted to destash it but there you go…

Techy specs – Yarn: lumpy handspun 2 ply merino, approximately aran weight. Spun by me about 10 or 11 (maybe 12) years ago.

Pattern: K1, p1 rib on 4mm needles. 1 inch smaller than wrist circumference (unstretched).
3 inches long

The next projects are quite picture heavy so bear with me. Two Una-na dolls made from the Japanese book by Mimiwn. I love making these dolls. I can see myself becoming quite addicted to making them little clothes and accessories. I had to stop myself buying a little toy kitchen dresser at the op shop the other day because it was the right size for them. (If I had my own, much larger, house I would have bought it).

The black haired one is called Pansy Dollington (Brittany’s) and the brown haired one is mine. Her name is Florence Dollington. Unfortunately Florence has developed a tendency to swear like a sailor when least expected (but definitely *not* when my Dad is around, haha). I suspect she’s got a little bit of a dolly “drinky drinky” problem to tell the truth…

Una-na doll - Pansy Dollington

Una-na doll - Pansy Dollington

I still need to finish sewing Florence’s shirt and skirt. I had to take my sewing machine apart halfway through to clean it, and then everything got put away for Christmas and I haven’t been back to it yet.

This first picture shows her wearing the first unsuccessful wrist warmer as a shoulder warmer type thing. I’m going to put a little felt & button flower on it.

Una-na doll - Florence Dollington

Here she is wearing an early Spring… let’s call it a “ponchette”. (I love that word. It’s so pretentious).

Una-na Doll with Poncho

And finally here she is wearing a ponchette from the same pattern, but in thicker yarn.

Una-na doll with ponchette

Technical details:
The book is unfortunately out of print (Una-na dolls by mimiwn)

The red and beige yarns are discontinued dk weight commercial yarns, and the bright blue is some of my hand dyed handspun yarn with (I think) mohair, angelina fibre and possibly something else thrown in. The blue is 2 ply and a bit finer than fingering weight.
Next is a quickie that I knit at the doctor’s the other day.

Tiny knit Christmas stocking

The mysterious pattern was posted on Cosymakes a few days ago. Since I had just finished all my simple knitting and I had to leave quite soon, I scribbled out the pattern, grabbed needles and yarn and had a go. I just can’t resist small vintage patterns that don’t have pictures πŸ™‚

I love this little stocking boot so much that I’m thinking of making a bunch of them during the year in whatever scraps I still have lying around after my major destash (I’ll get to that BTW).

Techy details: I used thinner yarn and smaller needles than the pattern calls for, but only slightly. The pattern calls for 5mm needles and (I guess) a worsted weight yarn. I used 4mm needles and dk weight. The green is some of my handspun, the purpley red is Jo Sharp DK wool.

Well I think that’s enough for today! I have more projects to share with you but I think I’ll leave them and the story of the destash until tomorrow. I’ve already taken the photos, so you won’t have to wait another three weeks, I swear!

Potterflies and Crochet Trees

I finally had time to fix the thread crochet butterfly that I stuffed up a couple of weeks ago!

Thread crochet butterfly

and followed by getting totally carried away making more butterflies πŸ™‚

The first one was meant to be a potholder but I wanted to make it as a decoration so I used slightly finer yarn than the pattern called for. Behold the potterfly!

Butterfly pot holder

and finally, since you just can’t escape the suffolk puff explosion around here, a suffolk pufferlfy of my own deranged devising.

Suffolk puff butterfly

I made the top of the wings with the extra large Clover quick yoyo maker and the bottom with the large yoyo maker. The body is a rolled up strip of felt bound with size 10 cotton and decorated with some french knots.

I’m still playing with hairpin lace techniques. I just found some more patterns in an antique magazine I was looking through last night. Did you know that hairpin lace is also known as hairpin crochet, fork work, krotchee crochet, fourche work, Portuguese lace, Maltese lace and Maltese work? If you’re looking through vintage or antique publications and see references to any of these techniques they may refer to hairpin crochet. Maltese lace and Portuguese lace also refer to bobbin lace and other crochet styles so it depends on the individual pattern. Some patterns just marked as crochet also contain hairpin lacework so it pays to keep your eyes peeled. I had no idea I had so many hairpin lace patterns and techniques in my little collection of antique books and magazines until I read through them all.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been doing. Since I won’t be adding the hairpin lace section to knitting-and.com until after my brother’s wedding (next Sunday), I’ll put some rudimentary instructions here in the blog for the time being.

First of all, I have come up with a pleasing and extremely simple design for a stole that I want to make for Sunday. (I hope the yarn arrives today!)

Hairpin lace swatch for a stole

Made with fingering weight yarn on a two and a quarter inch staple.

The strips of crochet are made with the double stitch, meaning you work 2 double crochet (US single crochet) into the front of each loop before turning the fork instead of just one. The hairpin braid is then joined together using the cable join as shown here on the Stitch Diva website, but joining two loops through two instead of single loops as shown in the tutorial.

I’m going to make my stole 6ft long (I’m 6ft tall in flat shoes), with white fingering weight yarn, and as wide as I can make it before I run out of time. I want it to be at least 12 inches wide, I hope to make it 24 inches wide though so I’ll need 12 – 25 strips. Wish me luck πŸ™‚

I also had a go at tree stitch, which is great fun to work and makes a really interesting centre to the braid.

Hairpin lace tree stitch in crochet

To work tree stitch, work a slip stitch into the front of the large loop on the fork, pass the crochet hook under the front thread of the large loop, yarn round hook and draw through (2 loops on hook), *yarn round hook, pass the hook under the front thread of the large loop, yarn round hook, draw loop through** (4 loops on hook), repeat from * to ** once more (6 loops on hook), yarn round hook and draw through all 6 loops on the hook. Turn the fork and repeat for the next stitch. It’s really important not to forget the slip stitch to start with.
One thing I did find with the Clover hairpin lace tool is that it feels incredibly awkward with any yarn finer than Aussie 8 ply (DK weight). I ended up switching to a Pony brand hairpin staple in size 4 to work with the fingering weight yarn in these samples and immediately found it a lot easier. Next time I get to the newsagent I’ll pick up a pack of large paperclips to see what I can do with those.

I suppose I should sew my skirt while I wait for my yarn to arrive, but first a cup of tea…

It’s Finished!

I’m going to try and take a better photo outside but for now, I HAVE FINISHED THE SUFFOLK PUFF/YOYO QUILT!

Yay me πŸ™‚

Double bed Suffolk puff quilt

Begun: Last week of April 2007
Finished: August 10th 2007

Fabrics: Mostly cotton oddments and offcuts from my projects, other people’s offcuts and unused fabrics from the op shop and oddments and discarded fashion samples from the Reverse Garbage Creative Reuse Co-Op in Marrickville.

Details: 1,600 suffolk puffs made with the 45mm Clover Quick YoYo Maker – 40 puffs wide x 40 puffs high

Made as a wedding present for my brother & his fiancΓ© for the 19th August 2007
Number of seasons of Farscape watched in order to retain sanity while sewing all the little puffs together: 2.5 (plus a season each of Torchwood, Dr Who, Battlestar Galactica and Stargate SG1)

Will I ever make such a large project in such a short time frame again? Hell no!

πŸ™‚

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