Friday, 22 March 2013

Spring Sewing

Spring is officially here, but no-one seems to have informed the weather!  It's getting colder again and more snow is expected this weekend.  However I have a touch of spring indoors with these tulips that my students gave me yesterday.  It was my last morning teaching before we head to the US in a few weeks.

I'm going to spend those weeks getting to know my new sewing machine:

It is really very good and hasn't taken as much getting used to as I thought it might, although to be fair I haven't tried out all its gizmos.

I whipped up a purse just to test it out!

Just the right size for passport and phone and a few other bits and bobs.  Made using the Keyka Lou (Michelle Patterns) zip pocket pouch pattern.

Then I tried out the quilting foot and it works like a dream - no more issues with 1/4" seams as the foot has a built-in fabric guide.  Perfect (well, apart from my substandard ironing - but I can fix that!).

I think a new iPad sleeve is next on the list.  If anyone wants me, I'm sewing!!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Bits and Pieces

I treated myself to some craft magazines when we were over in the UK last week.  I think I'll get a lot more use out of Inside Crochet, but it was interesting to finally get my hands on a copy of Mollie Makes and to see what all the fuss is about.

I'm currently going through my box of patterns and my stash to find portable projects to take with me to St. Louis next month.  I think the waistcoat above will be one of the first on my list as I just happen to have some yarn that might work for it.  The other patterns in the book are all very traditional aran cardis and sweaters ... I'll leave those for another time and a different yarn.  The good news is that my osteopath says there is no reason I can't start knitting and crocheting again now!

Other projects that I might take with me include:

- a crocheted silk shawl for me (the silk is gorgeous and I can't wait to make it),
- the last blocks for my crochet afghan (you know, the one that was supposed to be finished in 2012!),
- I've got some sashiko templates ready to play with and an old linen shirt that I'm going to recycle as the background fabric
- and my hairpin lace loom will be going with me along with a stunning Doris Chan pattern that I want to try

That's looking frighteningly like a To Do list, so I'll stop there.  It's quite nice to be able to plan a few projects though after months of doing nothing though!!

On the sewing front, I've been battling with my machine for a while.  It has done really well but it's no longer possible to have it repaired as spare parts are no longer available.  So after 27 years it is being retired and I've just placed the order for its replacement.  Not an easy purchase decision - far too much choice and so many features that I'm just not sure that I want / need / will understand!  All very confusing but I plumped for a mid-range Janome.  Hopefully it will arrive very soon and I'll be able to start getting my head round the controls before I head stateside ... I deliberately bought a model that is also available in the UK so I could download the manual in English (my learning from last year's overlocker purchase!).  

Guess what my bedtime reading is for the next few days?!!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

UK Trip

Just back from a flying visit to see family in the UK before we head off to the States at Easter.  The week started out spring-like but by the end it was misty, damp and not terribly warm.  The photo above says it all!

While we were at my Dad's I took the opportunity to get some photos of some of the embroidery that my Mum did way back.  She sewed, did embroidery and tatted ... sometimes the embroidery took a while (even decades) to complete!

I thought I'd share some of the chair seat covers that she made:

Monday, 4 March 2013

Packing our Bags (Again!)

There hasn't been much happening round here lately.  Fact is we've been expecting to be on the move again since the end of last year and have been sorting through all of our accumulated stuff to weed out what we don't use any more in an attempt to downsize.  

Of course, plans have a habit of not working out quite as you expect them to and our destination has changed since we started planning to move last autumn.  Indeed, this time we're not actually moving house, but going on a short-term assignment (6-9 months) in the States.  So we're packing our bags rather than packing boxes ... it's refreshing because it means I can cross out about 60% of my normal moving To Do list, but on the other hand it also means we can't take as much with us (my sewing machine will be staying here)!

Our new destination is somewhere I've never been to, but Andy has been there on business quite a few times.  The photo above was taken from his hotel room on his last trip to St. Louis, Missouri several years ago.  I'm sure he was really snapping the sunrise, but he managed to get the Gateway Arch in too and it's one of the few photos he has of this city.  I've got my priorities straight .... as soon as I worked out where it is on the map the next thing I did was check there is a Whole Foods in St Louis (tick: gluten-free bagels, people!), then I googled for yarn and fabric stores (tick) and lastly I did some general research about the city.

Looking forward to being able to do some travelling around while we're there and maybe slowly get back into doing some crafting.  Won't be able to sew as I won't have my machine, but I've always wanted to try my hand at sashiko and there's always crochet and knitting.  I've identified some patterns and got the yarn so all I need is some spare time!  There has been precisely zero crafting this year so far - it's been driving me crazy but I've had so many back problems that it really hasn't been possible.