Friday, 31 December 2010

2010 Review

It's been a busy year!  This time last year I'd only just started sewing again after a 20-year break and had made just a handful of things.

2010 was very different.  
  • By my reckoning I've tried at least 15 new purse / bag patterns (some of them many times over - I've had more requests for the 200mm purse frame above than anything else I've made) - in total I've made 40 bags or purses of all descriptions.
  • I started knitting again - hadn't done that in about 20 years either!!
  • I learned to crochet - there was a lot of swearing involved, but I got there in the end and even managed to make some clothes!! I even think I prefer crochet to knitting now!
  • I learned japanese braiding (kumihimo) and plan to do much more next year.
  • I took some jewellery-making classes and now can make basic bracelets, necklaces and earrings.  Maybe not my forte ... but it was useful to to learn some of the techniques.
  • The fabric stash has expanded quite dramatically - even A has noticed!!  And my library of craft books is also growing.  
Not quite sure what I ought to learn in 2011 ... any suggestions?

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Some Christmas Presents I can now blog about...

It's hard finding things to make for men, isn't it?  I'm afraid that I used the 'one present fits all' approach and spent many a summer evening this year knitting very warm, woolly scarves from Jade Sapphire's booklet: 7 Manly Scarves.  Note to self: summer possibly isn't the best time to be knitting really warm stuff!

On the left is a lovely chevron pattern knitted in a wool / angora blend for my Dad; in the middle, my brother-in-law received the burgundy cashmere scarf (love that pattern) and on the right, the blue number for my father-in-law is merino scarf with an off-set rib pattern.  The easiest to knit was definitely the burgundy one ... the other two both involved some swearing and frogging.  Here's hoping the recipients don't start looking for the odd mistake that I overlooked / discovered too far past to unpick and fix!!  

As I don't have any more ideas on the subject of what to make for men, I'm back to buying them presents next year (I can hear the sighs of relief even at this distance!).

This almost made it into my closet instead of my mother-in-law's... but I'm unfortunately allergic to wool (not on my hands apparently - but I couldn't put this anywhere near my neck!)   This is a merino / alpaca / silk blend and is oh-so-very-warm.  The pattern is from a great blog ... the author had seen a Burberry cowl on sale for the 'bargain' price of $750 and baulked at paying so much for something she thought she could recreate .. . and she kindly shared her pattern online (which I would link to it if I could find the link again in my long list of favourites - watch this space; it'll appear here eventually).  This was an absolute pleasure to knit - although it's a cable scarf, it isn't a traditional cable pattern by any means.  Love it - will be making myself one soon as soon as I find that blasted link :-)

So, my mother-in-law did quite well this year as the cowl above wasn't her original pressie.  I started by making her a specs case from a Nicole Mallalieu pattern ... if I'm honest it didn't quite work out as well as I expected / hoped, but having binned one attempt completely I was determined to make this one work.  I persevered and got a half-way decent effort - but I wasn't entirely happy.  

Hence present number two.  As she seemed happy with both, maybe I just worry too much!?!

If I'm honest, I think the problem with the specs case was partly down to the skill level of the pattern - this is really quite advanced sewing - but also my very old sewing machine has a very clunky, large free arm and it didn't make sewing anything this small in diameter at all easy.  That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.  Alright?!!

Last, but by no means least, my sisters-in-law also got similar presents!  Two matching purses using Nicole Mallalieu's 200mm purse pattern and some gorgeous Japanese fabric.  This fabric is just the best - wish I could have bought some more before my supplier ran out.  I love it and only have a very small amount left.

I think that's about it for the presents you haven't already seen.  I made pencil cases in the summer for the kids and various pouches which could be used as make-up bags or just bags to transfer handbag contents between handbags ...

And this teal scarf was something I unwrapped yesterday - made for me by my sister-in-law:

Isn't it beautiful?!  And so warm too!  

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Happy Christmas!

Yesterday I crocheted some snowflake decorations for the tree ... thanks to Lucy's excellent tutorial.  Having seen so much Christmas crafting in blogland, I decided it was time to participate and these were really quick to make and not beyond my crocheting skills.

I think that's just about it for making things this for year - I've got a couple of things  left on the cutting mat ready to sew up and one new purse style waiting for its frame to be glued on, but I'm not planning on starting any new projects.

Have a Happy Christmas everyone!!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Knitting to Stay Warm


A couple of hats knitted using the Operation Christmas Child pattern from their website.

These are very quick to knit up (about 2 hours each while watching telly) and ridiculously cheap to make too.  WalMart is the source of all things cheap round here - each ball of yarn cost $4 and I think I might get 3 hats from each ball (if I don't add pom-poms .. still thinking about that one!)

I've obviously missed the boat for the Christmas 2010 campaign... but I'm getting a head start (pun intended!) for next year.  That should keep me busy this winter!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

A Quick Project

A home for my iPod made using the off-cuts from another project.... 

Yeah, that'd be the one I was supposed to be spending the afternoon fixing a problem with. I'll get round to it eventually!!  

Didn't need a pattern for this one - it is just a rectangle, after all!!

Monday, 13 December 2010

The Snap and Other Purses

Introducing my new purse, the Snap Bag.

This one's all for me!  It's not the most practical bag size or shape wise.  But I still love it.  

It's completely different.  

No-one else is going to have a bag like it around here.  Now, you may think that's no bad thing ... but keep those thoughts to yourselves please!!  I may have to wait for more clement weather to actually use it ... it doesn't exactly scream take me out in the snow with a michelin man-style down jacket and winter hiking boots, does it?!!! Although it would turn definitely heads with that ensemble!!

This is made with yet another pattern by Nicole Mallalieu Designs and using an Alexander Henry print called Deco Dot.  

I've also finished up a few other purses recently:

Some Liberty fabric put to good use (left)
Off-cuts from my Snap Bag (centre) made into a purse which I think my niece 'down under' might like
Another grey purse with red lining for my mother-in-law complete with purse chain (right)

Otherwise I've been spending the day working out how to do photo collages in Photoshop Elements and other bits and bobs aimed at keeping me warm and indoors.  

Hope the weather is better where you are ... it would be hard for it not to be though!!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

A Woolly Tale

I finally got round to crocheting all the pieces of this sweater together and sewing in all the ends (I just hate that bit).  It's turned out quite well given my lack of crochet experience - more impressively the sizing is right for me, so my gauge must have been spot on.  It's a very snuggly, warm sweater and it's mine!

This is the result of last week's knitting - it's an old-fashioned net bag.  So easy and quick to knit - I'm quite pleased with this one and can see it's a pattern that may well be repeated many times (you can never have too many shopping bags!).

I've also been sewing this week - trying out a new pattern.  If I get round to glueing the frame on, I'll blog about that one in a few days' time.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

My Creative Space

Hmmm .... diversionary knitting! 
(OK, so it's really procrastination)

Maybe you'll get to see some finished stuff soon ... it's not like I don't have lots of things nearly finished, but I just haven't got back to them yet!

To see what everyone else is making this week, take a look at Kirsty's blog.