Monday, May 31, 2010

Vintage inspiration

My Grandmother (the one who smoked in bed) was also a great sewer, knitter, crocheter, and generally and all round DIY-er.  She worked as a professional dressmaker for many years, and made many dresses (matching, of course) for me and my sister when we were little. 


She had a shelf full of the Golden Hands books in the 1970’s.  I don’t remember looking through them at the time, but I love looking through them now.  I have a lot of the booklet versions, but I like the hardcovers better.  I found these 4 at Vinnies this morning, plus another Book of Handicrafts full of macrame, weaving and candlemaking. 


Flicking through I found this picture of a dolls quilt – which is immediately familiar as I have one almost identical that my Grandma made for me (my sister has a matching blue version).  We also had a matching sheet and pillow with lace trimmed pillow case to go with the quilt. (my quilt is on the right)


I also picked up a bag of yarn, and saw some granny squares mixed in with it.  Acrylic yarn, not finished, wasn’t sure how many were there.  When I got home and opened it up properly, I found the hand typed pattern for a granny square inside.  Typed, old school, with little pin holes where the full stops are.  I haven’t seen a typed page like that for years. 


I think this is my favourite – a pattern for a three legged giraffe.  When I first saw the picture I thought it was the photo that made it look like it only had three legs, but no.  It actually only has three legs.  I guess it solves the stability problem – three legs always balances.  Here’s the pattern – no spoon feeding in these old books – you have to draft/enlarge patterns if you want to use them.  Thank goodness for photocopiers.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The reason…


I can’t knit, read, use my laptop, or eat my dinner in peace. 


I think the cooler weather is contributing to the problem – obviously the best seat in the house is my lap. 


(just noticed how manky the arm of my chair looks – I have covers over it but they slip down during the day when they are sat on.  My lounge suite fabric has not stood the test of time, unfortunately.  Still comfy, though)

Green Day

I wasn’t planning to visit any 2nd hand shops today, but decided to drop in to 1 (or 4) on my way home.


The first shop had baskets of fabric, kind of sorted.  I found these:  a biggish piece of green linen, plus a tiny bit of paisley velvet plus some offcuts – not sure what fabric it is but it feels lovely.

Plus these cable needles – ones with bends in them so the needle doesn’t fall out while I am trying to juggle three needles in two hands. 

I think the Clover ones will work best – they’re not metal, I hate knitting with metal needles.

This is what I’m knitting:

A friend of mine received a lovely scarf as a gift. From Paris.  With pom-poms on the end.  So I’m trying to recreate my own version, it’s been slow going with the cable needle troubles but hopefully I’ve solved that problem now.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Did a bit more quilting – echo lines this time for the center block.  Not sure if I like this or not yet – it was a pain to do because the thread kept breaking for some reason.  I changed needles, rethreaded, changed to a different spool of thread but it kept on happening.  Makes it hard to enjoy quilting when the equipment will not co-operate.


I felt the urge to visit another 2nd hand shop this afternoon.  Shocking but true.  First thing I spied was this:


The little tag says “$6 Lot!”  I wonder why the need for an exclamation point – they must have thought it was a real bargain.  I know I did.

Next bargain were these:

Wool blankets – the colours aren’t right here, the blue is an aqua/turquoise and the other two are cream.  $3, $3 and $4.  Score.  The aqua blanket is a queen sized Onkaparinga.  The others are double/queen sized too, so they were an armful to carry to the counter.  Added bonus – the blanket on the left has already been felted, probably on accident by some inexperienced laundry doer.  I won’t feel bad about cutting that one up.  I do plan to felt the others too, but I don’t have any immediate projects in mind.  I’d like to try dying the other one, I’ll have to work out if procion dyes will work with wool.


My grandmother used to have wool blankets like this on her bed – hers were red.  And the satin edges had cigarette burns on them from where she feel asleep smoking in bed.  I guess the wool didn’t burn as well as the satin, because she didn’t end up burnt to a crisp in her bed. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Machine quilting

I love how quilting adds texture to the surface of a quilt, and I’m always looking for alternatives to plain stippling, which is really a background filler anyway.  I like this paisley/hook pattern – it’s from Patsy Thompson.  I’m trying to finish this one for the QLD RNA quilt show, which is in August, but the entries will be due soon.  I should check that.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It’s all yellow



I’ve got the week off work to study for an exam next Monday, but I’ve already got cabin fever.  I decided to visit some 2nd hand shops and a fabric shop so I could get out of the house for a while.


First stop scored me the piece of yellow wool blanketing for $2.  Next stop was East Coast Fabrics to see what they had to offer.  The ducks just appealed to me, and I spied another lady buying the dotty fabric as I walked in and made sure I got a bit too.  The happy elephant piece was on the remnant table for $1.



I also bought a bit of this – the colour is actually a pale pink but it’s not a good day for pics today.  But look at the selvedge – tears every 5 cm or so, and into the fabric not just the selvedge.  Lucky it was cheap, because I’m going to lose a bit of width from that piece. 

Another find at the Salvo’s – a kit to make a toddler’s pinafore.  I don’t actually know any little girls, so I’ll hang on to it for now.  Looks pretty easy to make up.



And this – a kit to make a felt fox. It’s doesn’t look like any fox I’ve ever seen (I thought it was a cat, but what would I know?).  Not opened, so all the bits are there.


Back to reading Life Span Human Development

Thursday, May 13, 2010

long time no blog....

been busy - work, uni, stuff. I've still been sewing, just not keeping a record. Here are a couple of things I have on the go.

First - a car mat that I made based on this free pattern from Fiskars. I don't have any little boys at my house, so this is for the Toy Society.

For the last couple of weeks when I am driving to work, I see a man and a little boy sitting on a low wall at the end of my street. I saw them in the same spot, just sitting and watching the early morning traffic. I imagine the little boy likes cars and trucks - one morning I did notice the grandfather doing the horn tooting arm signal at a truck that was going past, so I think that is the reason they are sitting there. I left this on the wall where they sit - someone else might pick it up, but I really hope that little boy found it.
I dropped this off last night - trying not to be seen by the passing cars. This morning as I drove past I saw the man and little boy sitting on the wall, not far from where I had left this. They hadn't seen it yet as it was still where I had left it. I stopped to check this afternoon and it was gone. Maybe I'll find out who found it. Maybe I won't.

See that little red hotwheels car? I was doing the grocery shopping and they had a basket of them in the middle of the aisle, so I picked one and put it in the trolley. My son - 20, and way too old to play with (toy) cars - was with me. He unpacked the groceries onto the counter for me and held up the car wanting to know why I was buying it. I told him it was for a project. Being used to my "projects" this answer was enough for him. As the shopping was being scanned, the checkout lady held it up and asked if the car was for him. I told her he was being a very good boy that day :-)

Very fast quilt project in progress. I made a ton of hourglass miracle blocks - they are so easy I don't know why I didn't know about it before. I think the deserve their own post. I swapped a bunch of 5inch squares with friends and we are all making a version. I am way ahead on this one because I was so obsessed with sewing the blocks. Plus I love white in quilts at the moment - I've never really used much white so this is a big change for me. I'm looking forward to quilting it because the quilting will be so visible (I've done a lot of the ditch sewing already, just need to work out the border bits).

This is an oddly wonderful scarf that a friend of mine was given. You can't see the best bit in this picture - a fringe of green pom poms. It also has the weirdest colour combination: lime, rust, a teal green/blue and lavender. Yes, Lavender (you can see a bit at the top). Odd, but strangely appealing. I took this pic with the ambition of creating my own version, which I have started but haven't got any pics of yet.

Day off tomorrow. yay!