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Thursday, 20 July 2017

A beanie for Dave

I decided on the way to work one morning that I was going to make Dave a beanie...lucky Dave! I was just looking for a small project to take on that I could do on the commute to/from work each day and a beanie is something that I think can be relatively easy. Sadly he said a firm NO to me adding a pom pom to it.

I found the pattern on Ravelry after searching for super-dooper easy crochet beanies for beginners (it also has a youTube video which helped a LOT). The wool is from The Granny Square in Newtown - of course! I like going there as I can bring along the pattern and they'll help me pick the correct wool and hook. I find wool so confusing (DK, worsted, WTF) so getting help is wondeful!


I had SO much trouble getting this beanie started -- I thought I'd be off to a good start and then lose count of the stitches somewhere along the way. I must have started about six times but I finally go there in the end and made good progress over a few weeks.


The pattern comes with instructions on fitting for a male or female head (aka big head vs smaller head) and I did end quite a few more rows than the suggested fourteen rows as that was WAY too small for Dave's head. I had initially finished it with a single stitch but pulled that out as it wasn't stretchy and felt uncomfortable to wear. Since he's started to wear it it has stretched a bit in length so could do with being one row shorter but he's happy to leave it as is...


And here is the finished product on Dave...I think he likes it. I mean, he's worn it without me forcing him to wear it which is nice. I don't think it looks homemade in a bad way...it would just look better with a pom pom on top!


I have a bit of wool left over from this project - enough to make a pom pom infact! And I've bought myself another ball of this wool so will make a beanie for myself.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

A GIANT granny square blanket

After my Learn to Crochet class at Sew Make Create I got straight onto making a GIANT granny square blanket. I have one that my mother made when I lived with her and I've always wanted to make one of my own...and now I can!

For some reason now unknown to me I had two balls of this wool at home from Lincraft (probably bought for weaving)...it's a lovely variegated (?) blend (50% Acrylic; 47% Wool and 3% Polyester) with a metallic-look yarn mixed in. Of course two balls is not enough to make a blanket so I ordered eight more online from Lincraft (all they had left in stock). Yeah...that's STILL not enough so I bought MORE from Lincraft in Parramatta and then Castle Hill. I think I had 56 balls in total. 

Needless to say I had WAY too much wool and have enough left over to make a second blanket later down the track. 



I started this blanket in April after my class and finished it in June. As the blanket got bigger my crocheting waned but I got there in the end. It was nice to sit on the couch and crochet under the blanket once it got bigger.


I am yet to "edge" the blanket but have decided to put it on my bed whilst the weather is still cool enough for a blanket. It feels my double bed well and I LOVE it!


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Monday, 17 July 2017

More Mabel Skirts...

Nothing new here today - just three more Mabel Skirts. Two are winners, one is a big fat fail. Let's start with the bad news first and then end on a happy note!

I'm really bummed that this skirt is a fail as the fabric is my much sought after "jegging" fabric - bought in Hanoi at the Dong Xuan market (so it's not replaceable at this point in time). Basically - the stretch on this fabric runs up and down the fabric and not across but I still but it cut it out as I normally would. Thus, we have a really bloody tight skirt that is so uncomfortable! I'm lucky I have enough left to give this another go - hopefully it will work out when the time comes. I did also find some similar fabric via an online store in Australia...so all is not lost.


This skirt is refashioned from The Casual Lady Dress that I made back in 2015. The dress either shrunk in the wash or I expanded in the wash - either way it didn't fit comfortable anymore and wasn't getting worn. I love the fabric (from fabric.com) so decided to make it into a Mabel Skirt. I was (obviously) very tired when this photo was being taken.


I have no idea why I bought the below fabric - I think I had it mind for a dress, but hindsight is 20:20 as this is not a fabric I'd wear in a dress as it's not stretchy enough. This Cotton/Elastane Stretch Woven Velveteen is from Tessuti and I still have quite a bit left (no idea what to do with it). Anyway...it's made an nice skirt, though it does get a bit baggy in the butt area after I've been sitting in it for awhile.

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Pattern: "Mabel Skirt" by Colette Patterns
Size: XL, sewn with 3/8" seam allowance and lengthened by 15cm. Depending on how stretchy the fabric is I add 1cm - 2cm. 
Modifications: 5cm elastic waistband (added 10cm to the pattern to accommodate for this), 15cm added to length. 
Fabric: Various
Changes for next time: none. 

Hacking Simplicity 1366

I really like my dress version of Simplicity 1366 - so I decided to make two more. When you're onto a good thing you may as well keep going with it!

I decided that I needed the dress to be a smidge longer than my last version so I added an extra inch to it (so 17.5" added to the top pattern to make it hit just at my knees when hemmed). I'm pretty happy with this length now.
This fabric was bought from the Ben Thanh Market in Saigon on my recent trip to Vietnam. It's hard to see but it is a ribbed knit. I can't remember how much I paid for this but it wasn't expensive and it's really good quality - a nice weight and was great to sew with.
I also found my last version just a bit too sack like so I took 1cm off the CB fold, thus reducing the back by 2cm overall. I think the fit is much better now, though still loose.


Neckline - I'm basically including this photo as it shows the rib pattern.


Ta da! Another dress version. This fabric is a ribbed knit from Tessuti (yes, I have a THING for ribbed knits at the moment). I actually HATED this dress when I first put it on - it felt really stiff, frumpy and blergh. I threw it in the wash and left it hanging upon the washing line for about two weeks. I tried it on again yesterday and I'm quite fond of it now. Go figure.

This jumper was initially a Mandy Boat Tee, but the fabric didn't have enough stretch and those sleeves were T-I-G-H-T! Luckily I had enough fabric left over to fangle something else out of - and this Simplicity 1366 jumper is what I came up with.

I made this back in late April I think so I can't really remember what I did! The length of the top was dictated by the fabric I had left over; and the story with the sleeves is the same.

This fabric is from Cabramatta and is knit of some sort - not very stretchy. I'm glad I could salvage it and turn it in to something else. I did go back to Cabramatta to see if this fabric was still there, but it had all sold out. Bummer!

I guess this top is a "win" though the sleeves are a bit annoying - the kind of sleeves that will flop into your soup if you're not careful! It's also not quite long enough to wear with my winter work pants (which are a slim-fit ponti pant).



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PatternSimplicity 1366
Size: 18
Modifications Dress:  added 17.5" to the length, added 1cm to both the side of the front and back neckline and dropped the front neckline a bit. Shortened the sleeves by 5cm. Took 1cm off the CB fold. 

Fabricvarious as per the post
Changes for next time: nada 

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Crochet baskets - another class

I know that I *just* did a class on making crochet baskets but I didn't feel that I got everything out of it that I needed to make awesome baskets. I did hesitate quite a bit about booking another same-same class but I'm glad I took this one at Workshop in Redfern on Saturday as I walked about with some new skills to make more professional looking baskets...and a new obsession!


The class is taught by Amy from The Knot Collective - she was a great teacher and very patient. We got to choose what size basket to make (small, medium or large) and I think nearly everyone in the class went with the medium size. I really love the handles on the baskets she brought as examples so we got to make those as well - they are so much more simple than I had thought!


The class went for four hours and I remember thinking when I booked it that that is a VERY long time. It's not! We all finished our baskets but worked right up until the last minute. The yarn (t-shirt yarn) was very thick and the hook was a mammoth size 15 -- so it was slow going as the hands get very tired.

Below is my finished basket - I LOVE it! I love the handles and I love that we learned how to turn the work so there is a distinct base and walls. I think it looks pretty professional and am totally going to give up my day job now to open an ETSY store selling baskets. I wish!


Here we all our with our finished baskets....I love how they are all same same but different.

As soon as I got home I whipped out the Spaghetti Yarn I bought from Lincraft after my last class and got stuck right into making another basket. I wanted to practice the "magic circle" technique used to start the basket as well as turning from the base up to the walls. Needless to say I LOVE THIS BASKET!


We were also shown in class how to change colours so I wanted to practice that too - it's something that will come in handy with the rest of my crochet (to date I've just been tying a knot in my yarn and continuing on...naughty). I LOVE the way this one looks - the pink is fantastic. I'm giving this one to a friend as a gift as I don't think I need a house filled with these - though it would be nice.


I have some of the pink and colourful white yarn left over and I'm going to have a go at crochet a rug/bathmat from it. And a friend at work is keen for a basket...so yay to more crocheting!

Monday, 19 June 2017

Shorty short Brooklyn Coat

Let me tell you a sad sad story, that does have a happy ending. Of sorts. 

I bought THIS BEAUTIFUL fabric for the Berlin Coat (and also for the Kyoto Vest which is why it looks familiar).  I had attempted the Berlin Coat the same weekend as this but it didn't go well for me (fabric s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out terribly) so there was NO WAY I was risking this remaining 1.5m on that pattern. 



After much pattern tetris (and going down a size from the L-XL I previously made) I fit the Brooklyn Coat on to the fabric...except for I forgot you need TWO SLEEVES...so one is cut from a short scrap piece and against the grain. Thus the sleeves are quite short to ensure that the "spare" would fit on the scrap...I think designers call that "wristlet length".  But wait there's more! I didn't realise that the back pattern piece was folded up more than I intended (needed to shorten the coat to fit in my fabric) so the back was 14cm SHORTER THAN THE front which I discovered when sewing! 




So that is how I've ended up with a hip length, wristlet sleeved Brooklyn Coat!

I have to admit that it doesn't look too bad - but it's not what I set out to make (another 2" on the length would've been nice...or perhaps another 4cm) and I'm SO mad at myself as I feel like I have wasted this fabric despite all endeavors not to.


Apart form the unintentionally short coat and short sleeves, I cut the size S-M but added 1" to the fold of the back piece (so 2" in total) and thus added they same to the collar piece that joints on to the back. I felt the S-M would be too small and it would've been - the extra 2" across the back makes it wearable.

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PatternBrooklyn Coat by Tessuti
Size: S-M
Modifications:  as per the above blog post
Fabric: boiled wool from LOOM
Changes for next time: sigh...I don't even know where to start! 

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Crochet scarf

After my GIANT granny square blanket (still not finished, but almost....) got too big to commute to work with me I decided I need a smaller project that could come with me on the train each day, and also with me on my trip to Vietnam. It was great to have this on the plane with me - the flight went so fast, and it also kept me occupied in my hotel room at night.

Enter my first EVER crocheted scarf! It's a bit wonky as my tension is TIGHT then LOOSE then somewhere in the middle, but when it's around my neck you cannot tell! Plus it feels so nice to wear - so nice and soft!


The wool is from the Granny Square in Newtown and is an 8ply 100% Australian Merino. This colour is called Beluga Twist and whilst I really needed a plain black scarf I got distracted by this. I used five balls for this scarf (from memory) and at $10.90/ball it's not a cheap scarf; but for the entertainment value of making it I think it's a bargain.  In hindsight though I probably needed a wool that "split" less as I was using it -- something more beginner friendly. 


The pattern came from here (it's called the Straight Up Scarf) and was a very simple beginners pattern. The whole scarf is made using a double crochet - which is "the" stitch used for making granny squares...simple!


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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Kyoto Vest by Tessuti (and me!)

This is a new pattern from Tessuti - a vest that can be made out of either boiled or non-boiled wool. I saw a sample of this in their Chatswood store last year and was really excited when it was released last month. I love the simple style of it and it is something I would definitely wear.


I had initially cut out some of my very precious non-boiled wool, bought in Kyoto, for this vest. Despite TWO attempts I could NOT get the yoke and neckpiece to fit together at the corner pivot point - the pieces just do not fit for me. At first I thought it was me - and that my printing/cutting out of the A4 PDF was off. Thus I went to Officeworks, had the pattern printed in A0, cut out a new lot of fabric and tried again -- only to have the exact same problem (I was super accurate in all of my cutting just FYI). Both of those pieces of fabric are now balled up in a box -- I'm so angry that I've ruined/wasted good fabric that I can't bring myself to look at it all again.

Anyway - always a sucker for punishment I wanted to try one last time in a boiled wool as the way it is put together is different that for non-boiled wool. I did get the pieces together, but it wasn't as easy as the Sydney Jacket (where the same sort of collar/yoke/pivot point thing is happening) - but I got there in the end. My stitching was pretty wonky from torturing the fabric, and there were a few rows of it and it looked BAD. I decided to try a fancy stitch on my sewing machine to try and hide it...and below is what we have. I actually quite like it - more than the a simple straight stitch.




The pattern is just one piece, and once you've got the collar attached to the shoulders all that is left to do is add 5m of wool binding to it. You could leave the boiled wool unbound and I think, for the cost of wool binding, this is what I might do if I ever make this again (I'm tempted by the short version, to wear with dresses). The in-store samples at Tessuti show some pretty neat, close to the edge stitching of their binding. Mine isn't quite as neat or tidy, but it's doing the job and looks OK (from afar). 


I made no changes to the pattern other than make the armholes a bit bigger - I could tell from my two x bodged versions that I needed more room - so I guess something good came out of it.

Now the fabric...isn't it great. It's from LOOM in Bowral and I ordered it over the phone when I saw them post it on their Instagram account. It's quite...scratchy, but the sort of thing I can wear in cooler weather without too much bother. It's totally reversible too - and the way the jacket is constructed means you can wear it either way.


The photos of me in the vest is how I wore it to work today...it's held closed with a kilt pin to stop it flapping about.

Will I make this pattern again? Maybe. I quite fancy a shorter version and as that only takes 90cm of fabric it's not a big cost investment. Mentally though...am I up for it? 
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Pattern: Kyoto Vest by Tessuti
Size: XL, longer version
Modifications:  made the arm holes bigger
Fabric: boiled wool from LOOM
Changes for next time: none...except for the armhole modification

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Amigurumi critters - a workshop at Sew Make Create

Whilst I was at my beginner's crochet class at Sew Make Create earlier in the year I spied these uber kawaii little Amigurumi critters in the workshop. Of course I HAD to learn how to make them - despite having no need for them, no children in my life to give them to and no cats for them to play with. The heart wants what the heart wants!


Amigurumi (for those not "in the know") is a Japanese craft of crocheting (or knitting) little, stuffed creatures.  The good thing about this craft is it's cute, it's portable, it doesn't take up much room, it's fun, and you can pretty much make anything you want - there are no rules. I like that I can take this on the train with me and crochet on my way to and from work...


The class is taught over two Sunday's by the very patient and bubbly Amanda, and by the end of the second class you should walk away with a completed Amigurumi (unless something goes terribly wrong along the way).

It was a little difficult at first as the stitches need to be TIGHT so it's hard getting your hook into them to make the next rows. Getting started with the "magic circle" takes a bit of wrangling, and counting the (tiny) stitches did my head in (concentration abilities are LOW here). I did have to rip rows back as I wasn't concentrating and couldn't remember how many stiches I was up to - but I've bought myself a few stitch makers which is making things much easier.


I did a bit of home(crochet)work so I ended up with one finished Amigurumi in class (this green little birdie) and one "almost" finished orange monster that I finished up that night at home! I've already started on my next Amigurumi monster in slightly thicker yarn than the orange one (as I want him to be a bit bigger). I'm also going along to the next Amigurumi crochet social at Sew Make Create and will get some tips from our teacher, Amanda, on how to embroider faces and stitch on the monster eyes properly.



And of course, the best thing about a class at Sew Make Create is Pepper the shop dog -- so cute and fluffy. Actually, she'd make a VERY kawaii Amigurumi wouldn't she?


I'm now busy thinking about other Amigurumi I can make, and looking for free and easy patterns on line.
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Me May May 2017 wrap up

Today is the 1st June (Captain Obvious here) and Me Made May is over. I enjoyed participating, but I was well and truly over it by the middle of the month. Not quite sure why though - perhaps selfie fatigue has set it (big thanks to Dave for so many of these photos as I rushed out of the house each morning)? Or perhaps outfit fatigue had set in?

My challenge to myself was two-fold, and I knocked the first part of the challenge (to wear/use me-made each time I leave the house) out of the park. Last year I padded out my me-made efforts with lots of me-made accessories to cover me when I didn't have a garment to wear. This year I didn't need to do that at all and easily wore at least one me-made garment every day, sometimes two (or more). I also had my trusty me-made Genoa Tote with me at all times -- so that was a bit of a cheat.


Many of my items were worn more than once (though not all) - and many of my me-made items didn't get worn at all as the weather was just not right for them. There were also a few tops that I could've worn, but just was not feeling the love for (aka my Ebony Tees have basically killed me love for the Our Fave Top who's fit is not quite right on me). May is a tricky time of month in Sydney. Is it hot, is it cold, is it somewhere in between? Who knows.

Funnily enough, this Ebony Tee (which is a save from an epic dress fail) was my most worn piece - and possibly one of my favourite makes this month!


The second part of my self-challenge was to finally make that darn Berlin Coat that is in my pile...meh. I did cut it out and it's ready to sew but I really am just not feeling it. There are too many other things that keep jumping in front of it. I will get to it...one day!

A lot of people are using Me Made May this year to identify gaps in their wardrobe (for me it was just to wear what I've been making). As I still buy a lot of ready to wear garments I feel like I have a pretty comprehensive wardrobe already. I don't buy tops and dresses like I used to - and I am lacking in winter dresses so perhaps a new Ebony Tee Dress will happen soon. I don't really "need" anything - but I do enjoy sewing, ergo the conundrum.

How about you? Did you participate in Me Made May this year? How did you go?

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Crochet baskets

I'm really getting my craft on lately.

I do love classes and I've decided that crochet is something I'm keen to learn more about. I saw some Instagram photos of cool bowls made from "t-shirt" yarn and thought it would be a fun skill to learn. Sure enough, there was a class out there waiting for me and at only $50 it seems like very good value!

This class is run by Classie and is held in a cafe near Town Hall - so very convenient. The class comes with a hot drink which basically allows us to sit at our table until the class is over!


The yarn is THICK and the hook is BIG so it's quite a lot of awkward holding and moving to get used to. I got there in the end though and made this soft bowl that I'm very happy with. I used ALL the colours on offer and love the way it turned out. It now sits on the back of the couch and holds some balls of wool for the various projects I have on the go at home.



My bowl could also be worn as a hat if need be!



Or I can just use it as a bowl!


I have bought some more of this t-shirt yarn from Lincraft and I quite fancy using it to make a mat -- perhaps for the bathroom. So many crafty ideas, and so little time!

542 Ebony Tee's

I eluded in my other post from today that I've been on a bit of an Ebony Tee bender...I haven't made 542, but it sure feels like it!

This first top was meant to be a dress, but based on the length of the tee I thought it too would be really short. I went about adding 2" to the length which also entailed adding width. Short version - WAY too big and sack like and WAY too long. I decided to just turn it into a tee rather than faff about taking in the sides. It's a different shape to my other Ebony Tee's as I just cut along one of the stripes and then rolled the hem...it's dipped at the sides and shorter at the front/back. The fabric is from the Hoi An Central Market - I was very sad when I thought I'd ruined the garment, but I actually wear it a lot despite wondering if it was too short at the front/back. Who knew?


The next three follow the pattern, with my usual modification of adding 6.5" to the length. As we're heading into winter I also added 1" to the sleeve length as "bracelet length" = cold wrists and we don't want that. This fabric is from Tessuti -- a viscose elastane jersey. It's actually quite thin fabric so perhaps not really right for warmer weather - but it's pretty and I like it. Again with the rolled hem (because I LOVE it)!


More fabric from Tessuti - that you'll recognize from this Marianne Dress. I liked the print so much I bought more of it with the intention of making a Mandy Boat Tee but that pattern isn't really working for me at the moment due to tight sleeves and too high neckline. I wore this out to dinner on Saturday night and it felt sufficiently fancy whilst still being very comfy. 

And, lucky last (for now)! I bought this fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics -- either the last trip or the trip before? No idea what it is other than it's stretchy, and cozy. I bought it with the intent of making an Our Fave Top -- but the sleeves on that are also too tight and the neckline too high, ergo this top was born. The fabric is quite thick and I almost feel like I'm wearing a PJ top. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this top yet...


And that's all for now. I really like this pattern (oh, really?) so I'm sure there will be more in my future...

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Pattern: Closet Case Files "Ebony Tee"
Size: 16
Modifications:  added 6.5" to the length. Rolled hem. These all have 1" added to the length of the sleeve.
Fabric: as above
Changes for next time: none for View B?