Thursday 27 December 2007

the finished cropped cardi! - and some more photos

i even did the leaves. Bring on the summer and the strappy dresses!

and another wraparound apron for p's granny, she was wearing the other one i made every day, so now she can have one for weekdays and one for the weekend...

our nativity scene! these figurines were in my dad's house when my mum moved in, so they were probably bought by my grandmother. We only have the family and one angel, poor baby jesus' head broke off when i was a child, we liked to take him out of his manger to play... the two chocolate reindeer are standing in for the ox and donkey that there usually would be. i think i will keep a lookout on ebay to try and find more kind of matching figures over the years! they are made from some kind of plaster or bakelite. Joseph is about 17.5 cm, the angel, which i thought was bought later as it is a little different, is 11.5 cm. Mary's face reminds me of my granny, it's the cheeks i think, and the look in prayer, my granny was quite holy, too, and named Maria!

this is the baby blanket my mum made for me when i was little, it's crochet, and yes, i was born in the seventies... does anybody have an idea how it's made? my mum can't remember, except for: it's two rows of purple and one row of orange. the stitches are worked into the row beneath creating a quite dense fabric. it'd love to find out the name of the pattern, i can see this working with a plain dark wool for the purple and a variegated brighter one for the orange. the other crochet stitch i want to try is the catherine wheel, i think that's the pattern moonstitches' scarf is made from.

Saturday 1 December 2007

baby gifts

some rather late presents for two friends who had baby girls!
i used some of these thrifted napkins(?) to appliquee babygrows and to make bibs (pattern from bend the rules sewing). I especially like the babygrows, the embroidery looks great, something elaborate looking that only took 10 minutes to make! i also like the way the white thin cotton weave looks on the cotton knit.

The bibs gave me some trouble with the snap buttons, they are from a set from LIDL and i destroyed twice as many as i finally attached to the bibs... i wonder if i can get matching better quality snap buttons for the pliers or if i should just go back to using the sew on ones... also, i only had cream flannel for the back so they look a bit darker

Thursday 22 November 2007

finally some photographs of projects

the superquick honeycoloured biggy print scarf, made from 3 balls of biggy print

the completed main part of the cropped leaf tie cardigan, i'm dreading all the seaming...

i also made a start on the leaf tie, i used 3.5mm for the leaf and 5.5 for the i cord.

here the extended ripple scarf, the seam isn't great but the way i wear it you don't see the seam at all, just a layer of pink peeping out underneath the gray.

and once more, a picture of the seat covers at the kitchen table! not entirely happy with them, they slip a bit. not sure yet how to fix that!

Wednesday 21 November 2007

more knitting....

I started on the leaf ties for the blue cropped leaf tie cardigan, i finally did the leaf on 3.5mm needles it was just too large and floppy on the 5.5mm! now it's neat and keeps it's shape...

In the meantime i did a scarf with 2 skeins of this wool, moss stitch, (with fringes over 2m long!) for my sister in law, just in time for the cold weather at the beginning of the week.

And another one with Rowan Biggy Print in lovely honey shades, I used 3 balls, I only finished it last night, hopefully i'll get to take pictures tonight. I didn't have the 20mm needles, so i used 15mm. because a plain garter stitch pattern resulted in a dense and 'carpety' fabric, i came up with this 'pattern': cast on 11 stitches: *knit the 1st row, knit the 2nd with 2 y.o. for each stitch, knit the 3rd row, unravelling the y.o.s and thereby creating triple height rows. after this row i always stopped to 'comb' down the 2nd row to even out the triple height stitches* it looks quite cool, and is soooo cosy! it's a bit like a lot of the scarves you see in the shops, bulky and very loosely knit. This one will be for my red haired friend H, I think the colours will look really good on her!

Sunday 14 October 2007

the half finished cardigan

i paused the body for the moment to see how far one ball of wool will get me for the sleeves, then i can work out after how long i can make the cardigan, i'm not sure yet will i go for half length sleeves or full length

this is the quite tricky under arm. i picked up a few stitches as suggested here by knitting betty, i decreased to my initial amount of stitches though. not the neatest thing in the world but i'm happy enough!

this is a great project to get back into knitting, it moves so fast!

Wednesday 26 September 2007

knitting... nearly started!

I got my Rialto Aran and made tension squares, one on 5mm one on 5.5mm, do your squares turn out square? Mine is more of a rectangle! Unless i counted half purls as knit stitches? I made a garter stitch border, i.e. a few garter stitch rows to begin and end, and 3 stitches either side, leaving a 4inch stockinette stitch square in the centre, in theory, only mine is more like 4 inches wide and 3.5 inches high... any tips?

Friday 21 September 2007

I'm going to knit something!

After buying the 'last minute knitted gifts' book in spring and still not having started anything (I was so going to make the hourglass sweater as seen on moonstitches' blog!)

After debating for ages over whether i'd order online I finally went to a wool shop after work yesterday (it's 20 minutes on the dart, in the wrong direction, so i wasn't home till half 8! Why are there no woolshops in the city centre??) with the hourglass pattern and the leaf cardi pattern (off the knitty website). Seeing as it's the first project in ages, the shop assistant and I decided I'll go for the cardi, a little less daunting. I am going to use debbie bliss rialto aran yarn in a lovely warm blue, so seeing as it's not going to be green i might not actually do the leaves!

I was browsing some books, too, and got the Erica Knight Classic Knits book, I like the title jumper, and several of the other designs, plus it has a pattern for gloves that i want to try.

I also really like the brown ribbed V neck jumper from this book but maybe I am getting ahead of myself there, I stopped myself before buying that book as well, some designs are nice but many are a bit off my radar.

Still haven't finished the chair covers... Must do that before my sis arrives next week!
Then i have to finish making another piece for this wavey scarve , i finally decided that it really definitely is too short, and i am going to try and make a separate piece, in the opposite colours, i.e. fuchsia with grey edges, to attach to it. I was so close to unraveling when a fellow stitch and bitcher on tuesday pointed out that i could attach another piece. At first i poo-pooed that, saying that you'll always see where they are attached and it wouldn't do, but now with the attached piece being different colours that won't be so much of a problem any more (i hope).
Then finally I will be allowed to start on the knitting adventure and try and make an actual piece of clothing for myself.

Sunday 9 September 2007

i like to ride my bicycle

a new bicycle!

This week I finally got the bicycle I bought on ebay! I just prefer this dutch style to the sportier bikes, plus they have the coat guard thingies at the back so you can cycle with a long coat or skirt, and the chain is completely hidden so no nasty surprises on the jeans edges, and the back pedalling break without which i feel a bit vulnerable. This particular one is a cheapo version of the good ones, but if i spent 300 plus on a bike i'd only be worrying about it being stolen or vandalised.
P got himself a bike as well, a sportier and I have to say much better quality one, but it also was much more expensive (I'll be worrying about that one being stolen now i bet). We went for a spin today and i kind of think maybe I should have spent more money and gotten more gears? It has three and it's much hillier here in Ireland than where I'm from in Germany... but at least this one shouldn't be stolen, hopefully the thieves will think it's an actual old 'High Nelly' and walk away! We stopped at the pub halfway, where we sat outside and enjoyed a bit of September sun and a beer and a rest.
We used some of the wedding present money for these, a great present because we'll be able to use them in our leisure time, together, and explore the countryside around us.

Sewing's taken a back seat, we finally got some nice weather over here! I have the 5 remaining chair covers cut and assembled, now I just have to finish them, folding under the edges all around! Lots of ironing for that one.

I want to try and get into knitting now though, it's the right time of year, I'd love to make a jumper like this one (by moonstitches) from this book , it's called the hourglass sweater! But it's a big commitment in terms of time and money. i don't want to make it from acrylics because i hate them and don't want to spend hours upon hours working with it, at the same time i'm a bit worried about spending 100€ plus on wool, having no idea if I'd actually see it through or what it would look like being knitted by me! I like the idea of knitting in the round, and of a fitted garment, I rarely wear jumpers though, more cardigans, so maybe i should find a similar pattern for a cardigan? any suggestions? allthough a cardigan wouldn't strictly be 'in the round' - i mean i like the technicque where you don't have any sewing to do at the end of it!
Any recommendations for Dublin or Drogheda wool shops? Ideally Dublin 2 or 1...

Monday 27 August 2007

some sewing...

preparations for another 'grab ball', one segment done, 11 to go... i made the template using a small plate to get the curve right, of course a compass would work too. this site has a good tutorial on how to make one of these:

the finished product... this one's for my next door neighbour's daughter. i used 6 different fabrics, mostly in shades of red, white and chocolate brown. i think the amount of colours and patterns is a bit too much, but i believe babies like contrasts and different patterns. i know my nephew was mad for patterns for a while! i handsewed this in the evenings. it's only lightly stuffed as it is for tiny hands. i made one before which i mostly machine sewed, it looks a bit more even but it was quite annoying work sewing all the tiny pieces by machine, very fiddly, especially at the corners!

and here the first of 6 chair seat coverings. the old ones are really manky, we only bought the chairs and table because they were on special offer, and slender enough to look right in our small dining area. i always meant to replace or cover the impractical, not removable beige check seats (i now, horrid, you can just about see one in the 2nd photo) but were in the house 2 years and i am only getting to it now... i am not going to take pictures of the stained original cushions!

i traced around the existing seat cushion to make a pattern, then cut 3" wide strips, one to go around the sides and front, the other to go at the back, leaving gaps for the back support 'beams'(whats the word for them??), around which the overhanging ends of the strips tie. i 'hemmed' all along the bottom edge and around the ties, then i folded the ties in half lengthwise (at an angle) to make the them a little thinner, and also so i wouldnt need to line them.
i seem to have a little bit too much material at the back. i might add little bits of elastic at the corners, depending on how well the covers stay on. or maybe some kind of draw string?
the fabric is heather bailey fresh cut. i love how the greens make the light wood seem so much more alive! i definitely want to get rid of the awful yellow walls, itll either be white, or magnolia or some kind of green (or a combination thereof for the kitchen/dining area!
and yes, i really should learn how to take proper photographs, but i'm just too impatient and wanted to show this as soon as i can!
I made the first on sunday night, and i got the other 5 cut and ready to sew tonight, i might do one every night, we'll see.
I've had the idea for these in my head for ages, i wanted something that would completely cover the original upholstery, something that wouldn't just lie on top but surround the cushion, and something that i could easily take off and throw in the wash. i have some fabric left over and might make a table runner or do plain curtains with an edge in the green fabric. hm or that great apron from lotta jansdotters book

Thursday 19 July 2007

home again...

Back home, back commuting, back in work and mountains of laundry done!
I made the mistake of heaping all luggage, laundry for drying and shoes into the guest room, out of sight I thought!
Unfortunately I forgot about my friend from Switzerland being in the country, and that before the wedding I'd invited them to stay over when they'd be around. So yesterday I got the phone call to say they'd be here this evening and we quickly had to do lots of tidying up, move all that laundry to the study, set up the 2nd guest bed, hoover and hide lots of bric-a-brac under the beds... and generally give the house a dusting...
The garden will just look the way it looks, after 4 weeks of not mowing the lawn and rain every day it's quite wild, and it's still too wet to mow!
So much for impressing friends from college...

While in Portugal I noticed there are still many women doing crochet and embroidery of every day items, like tea towels, towels, tablecloths and napkins, the shops sell fine cotton thread that is used to make lacey edges around these towels, they used the tiniest crochet hooks. Of course i couldn't resist and bought a few balls in great colours and the teensy crochet hooks, unfortunately they didn't sell any patterns. One shop had a folder of photocopies of actual lace edges, but no diagrams or instructions, my phrase book Portuguese was just about enough to figure out that these photocopies are all the average Portuguese crocheter needs as a pattern...
I also saw some cute crochet flowers, so on one of the occasions when i was soaking up the evening sun (can't do it before 4pm, am to fair!) i decided to give it a go and came up with this little flower! I was extremely pleased with myself, no pattern, and it's the 1st flower I've made, ever!

We were in Coimbra and there was a Folklore Festival on, with craft on sale and (the most delicious!) sardines on the BBQ, rice pudding for desert, and elderly ladies dancing in the street in broad daylight, while waiting for the main event to start on stage. We just came across it in a Square and decided to linger!

And this little gem was bought there for me by my husband, it's a love poem (or so we've been told) in Portuguese and had a crochet edge. We're going to frame it! What background shoud i use?

When we got home I felt like doing something crafty in the evening, and so repaired my favourite PJs with this little hear patch, (I also had to a split seam in the hip area! what's that telling me!?) while watching 'the illusionist'.

And finally, 2 photographs from the Bucaco Forest

Tuesday 10 July 2007

greetings from portugal!

hello from our honeymoon, we're having a great time, we'll be back mid july, and after the initial rush to get everything back on track and settled back into work i hope there will posts again! i saw some lovely embroidery over here, really colourful and pretty. my husband bought me a small piece with a portuguese love poem on it, all hand embroidered. i'm so tempted to buy other stuff as well but... no idea how we will get back all the stuff we already have, wine and the likes... must dash, the cents are rattling through the timer thingy here in the internet cafe!

Monday 18 June 2007

early wedding presents

the first few presents have started to arrive and it's amazing how generous and thoughtful everybody is! i just have to post pictures of this present, it's so cute! it's a picnic basket for two. made from willow (i think)

the two flaps open out and hold the cutlery and plates,

and the most gorgeous wooden mushroom salt and pepper shakers!

the mugs and plates are printed with these mushrooms, and the whole basket is lined with bright red and white polka dot cotton

it also came with a picnic blanket (water repellent on one side, woolly on the other)

as far as i can see it's from the avoca shop, and the little tag says it's actually made in muenster, germany! where i'm from! i wonder did she know this or is it a coincidence?

Sunday 3 June 2007

apron for p's granny

i made this wrap around apron today! i know, it's not flattering at all! it's for p's granny who's turning 90 this week. i posted before about planning to make this, i checked again with p's mum and she thinks granny wouldn't fancy velcro (i thought it might be easier for her arthritic hands to have velcro fastenings, but she's still managing fine with the strings) so i went for the classic strings.

i'm modeling it here (excuse the blurry pics, p took them and he's not used to taking pictures) and it's too wide around the shoulders and too tight around the hips, which should make it a perfect size 12... to make the pattern i put granny's old apron on a sheet of newspaper and traced around the back and the front, good job there weren't any darts... i noted where there would be bias tape and where seams and hems, and i measured the length and noted that as well (it's about a meter long, although this one is only about 93 cm because i didn't have enough fabric). i still managed to forget to add the side seam allowance when i cut the fabrics, so it's smaller than her old apron, hope it'll fit!)

the fabric is cotton 'yarn dyed' westfalenstoff, bought in germany. the bias tape and the pocket are made from a pale green cotton. i made the tape with a clover bias tape maker, the 18mm one. i used one fat quarter and got over 6m bias tape! that was a bit much but i'm sure i'll find a use for it. (i'm thinking of getting some plain tea towels and put some applique on them, in the same fabrics, or maybe i'll make pot holders). i did the 'continuous bias tape' method and i was nearly sure i was getting it all right without looking at the instructions when i discovered i sewed it together the wrong way and was going to get 8 circles of bias tape instead of one continuous length of bias tape, but i realised just before i was going to cut.

the armholes and the neck and crossover parts are done with bias tape, i wonder did i stretch the fabric a bit while i was sewing because i think it's a little wavy.

anyhow, i like the result, not sure if it is because it reminds me of my own granny who died when i was 14 or because it's actually nice. it's not figure enhancing or anything, but that's not high on p's granny's agenda, she just wanted a new wrap around apron and couldn't find one in the shops. her last one is navy with white daisies printed on it, and some of the daisies have worn off completely at this point, it didn't wear very well. this one hopefully will!

p's granny lives on a farm, she had 10 children (so did his other (maternal) granny by the way) and she used to cook over an open fire when she was younger. last year we were a bit worried about her, but since she got her new hip this year she's very chipper again and up to date on politics and everything. she still bakes her own soda bread, she likes to keep doing everything she can and says that's what kept her fit for so long. i've tried many times to get her soda bread recipe off her but she does it without any measurements, a good amount of flour, some soda and salt, buttermilk and also normal milk...

hmmm a bowl of greek-yoghurt-and-honey ice cream appeared in front of me... must stop writing, must eat!

Saturday 2 June 2007

not many posts lately...

...having our civil wedding, planning our church wedding, work, lots of things getting in the way! not much energy left for other projects. oh, and i just finished watching the season finale of six feet under, loved it! all of the seasons! although it probably really would have run its course if they hadn't stopped at 5, maybe they could have condensed the last two into one) a friend of ours lent me one season after the other over the past year and a half. i never really got into tv shows because i'd always miss to many episodes to really enjoy it, but i actually really enjoy watching episodes on DVD.

in the meantime, i didn't get much crafting done, but i bought some lovely fabrics of reprodepot, got to make a pattern from p's granny's favorite apron (a wrap dress type apron)(a blue and green westfalien check fabric is waiting for this, lots of bias tape to be made, i hope i have a matching colour fabric, making it in the checked fabric might all get a bit too busy), a pattern for chair cushions (or rather chair seat covers) and a sample cover (using a charity shop pillow case) I'm planning to make the covers from heather bailey fresh cut bubble paisley cotton fabric (green), I think we won't be painting the kitchen in lime green as planned, but in a more avocado-ey green, that might go with the covers. it'll be difficult enough to find a green that's not too dark for the small room, not sickly, goes with the fresh cut colours and isn't too pale to be interesting...

Sunday 6 May 2007

presents for my nephew and easy projects

my nephew will be one on thursday, i hope i'll get the trousers and t-shirt to him on time in the post... they are supposed to be combat type trousers but i think i might have placed the pocket a little too low, i didn't think of the hem.
the pattern is burda 9716 it's got a nifty fake fly and the instructions of pulling one leg into the other before sewing the seat and front seam were very handy, i don't think i've done that before but it's been at least 10 years since i sewed anything as complicated as trousers. i'm going to make a simpler pattern, with just one pattern piece for quick to make trousers, i might put a 'fake fly' into that, too.
the t-shirt is appliqueed with matching fabric, using bondaweb and a satin stitch

and here some photos of my new matching sewing machine cover, pin cushion and ironing board... making the ironing board cover was a simple matter of piecing the plain and printed fabric, putting it on the ironing board and going around it at about 10cm distance. then i went around it twice with the sewing machine, creating a casing for the tie that i took out of the old cover.
the sewing machine cover is made from two rectangles (one pieced) and one strip, i measured off the plasticky cover that came with the machine, and i'm actually using both, the plasticky one for sturdyness and the fabric one 'cos it's pretty...
and the pin cusion as you can see is just two squares of fabric sewn together.

not very impressive projects, but quick and fun and instant gratification! and they'll stay in my house, unlike all the presents i made lately. pity it's so much harder to make grown up clothes...

Tuesday 1 May 2007

more gifts

i finally bought some bondaweb and tried the appliqué, with westfalen fabric, it's really much easier. i handstitched around the edges as i didn't fancy getting sewing machine oil on this one (like i did on the apple babygrow). the bondaweb makes the appliquéd fabric quite stiff but i hope it'll get softer when it's being washed repeatedly. in the background you see my 'grannysquare' i stuck to making just the one and it's nearly big enough to be a baby blanket, i have nearly 250 of 'supersoft baby aran' crocheted into the one square. it's very relaxing work!

here a close up, aren't those ducks cute? this one's for noah, a friend of ours' new baby,

and tonight i embroidered this one, the design is ogham writing, in irish (gaelic). this one's for my colleague, who announced her news today. this baby is also due in october, like my friend b.'s who i haven't made a present for yet... i'm finding it hard to keep up with presents for all these babies, there must be something in the water!

and finally, i got this set of i don't know what it is in the charity shop, the square ones seem to be hankies, but the rectangular ones, no idea! they are all hand embroidered with these cute stars (flowers?) does anybody know if there are rectangular hankies? or if there is a tradition of table linen made from thin hankie type cotton?

time for bed now...

Monday 23 April 2007

last minute gifts

yesterday afternoon i got a short notice invite to my neighbour's baby shower the same day! good job i had some babygrows that i bought to embellish for my friend bridget, so i could make some last minute gifts. i attempted some freehand mashine appliquee, and wasn't too happy with the result, so i also did two freehand running stitch embroidered ones. the appliquee also got some oil from the sewing mashine on it so i had to wash it and iron it dry! in the end i decided to hand over all three, two apples and a pear.

Saturday 21 April 2007

garden on a cloudy day

i saw lots of great photos of clotheslines lately, so i gave it a go as well, and while my composition and angle aren't very arty, the T shirts on the line are doing their best, dancing in sync!

it's actually quite windy today and i got slapped in the face by wet tea towels while hanging them out... but it wasn't raining so there was no excuse for using the dryer today, i still feel very bold for buying it in the first place!

mexican orange blossom



red currant

the garden is slowly starting to look like a garden again, it looked quite desolate after the winter, the quite compacted clay soil had started to look like concrete, after a wet winter and then 2 weeks without rain! but p has performed miracles by simply digging it all over and now it looks more like what we had in mind. the concrete block wall will be painted soon, that should make it all look friendlier again! aargh, almost everything seems to need painting! i'm really impatient and can't wait to have a mature garden where you don't see walls and fences much. we only bought the august before last and have a very ad hoc approach to gardening, which isn't always the shortest (or cheapest) way to success but it's a lot of fun, and it doesn't feel too much like hard work.
and here a photo of skerries, where we went for some mid week tapas because the weather was so nice and it just felt right to go out for a walk by the sea and dinner, instead of home and cooking!

i'm only just slowly realising that yes, winter really is over and there's lots of daylight and the feather and down jacket can be put away until october! it surprises me how fast time went, being engaged and planning a wedding have that effect i suppose!