craft · sewing

Infinity scarves

Infinity scarves with zippered pockets are all over some of the sewing facebook groups this year.  I jumped on the bandwagon.

Infinity scarves with zippered pockets

The first one I sewed is for Stella’s grade 6 teacher. She’s had a wonderful year with Jack at the helm – he’s really encouraged Stella and helped with her overall confidence. I sewed this one in a remnant from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe. Patterns for Pirates have a free tutorial on how to make them, and there are also a number of helpful tutorials on Youtube.

Infinity scarves with pockets

Then I was on a roll! Armed with more fabric from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe, this time brushed cotton, I produced another four scarves. I reckon that zippered pocket is the perfect place for a phone, a key, or other items that you want to secret away in order to be hands free!

My tips when making these:

  • I used two metres x half the width of the fabric (which means I get two scarves from two metres
  • cut off the selvages
  • 9 inch zips (as per the tutorial) are harder to find; use 8 inch zips (or 10 inch) and make the pocket width one inch less; pocket depth of 7 inches seems to work well
  • Use a zipper foot when attaching the zipper and when sewing the long edges of the scarf together to ensure that the zipper tape is all in the seam allowances
  • Press as you go – don’t skip pressing the pocket pieces away from the zip, and don’t skip pressing other seams open
  • Use the base of the pocket as the opening for turning, then machine sew it closed afterwards
  • Make sure that the zip is open before you sew the short ends of the scarf together (or else you can’t access the pocket for turning!)
  • Use a stable fabric like quilting cotton for the pocket

I have a few more of these planned in printed rayon to work as more summerweight scarves.  They can also be sewn from knit fabrics.  They take me about 45 minutes to an hour each to make from cutting to finishing.  I am sure that you could sew them more quickly than that with a bit of practice.

Edited to add photo of the finished rayon scarves:

rayon infinity scarves with zippered pocket

craft · macrame


Late last year I took a macrame class.  Yes, you heard right – macrame.  Those of you around my age and older probably remember knotting hanging plant holders – or the ubiquitous owl wall decoration – back in the 1970s.  I’m fairly sure that I’d learned the basics in a school holiday class when I was around 10 years old.  Like most other crafts, macrame is back, albeit with some tweaking.

Handmaker’s Factory offered a project based class to make a dip-dyed cotton macrame necklace, and Anna put out the call on Instagram to see who would be interested in joining her.  My hand went up immediately!  The class was taught by Kate Gordes, who sells the macrame items she’s made through her etsy shop Scout Gathers, and her enthusiasm for the craft was infectious.

dip dyed macrame necklace class

All the materials were provided to make a necklace the same as the sample.  Kate had a number of other necklaces with her for future inspiration – I took quite a few photos to get ideas.  The cotton rope is sash cord, and can be found at Ropes Galore.  The cotton was nice to work with and of course can be easily dyed.  Brass fittings came from the plumbing section at Bunnings, and we also used natural wooden beads.  I’m not sure where Kate sourced those – they had a lovely large diameter central hole, which is definitely needed.  It’s hard to get all that rope through the hole otherwise!

dip dyed macrame necklace class

With the help of practical demonstration and written notes, we learned three different knots.  I was rather amazed to discover that I had quite an affinity for macrame and tying knots!  I was very quickly knotting away – mad skillz!  It was a great deal of fun, and very enjoyable to see the necklace taking shape.  I also found it fairly meditative.

dip dyed macrame necklace class

After the necklace had been completely knotted, we chose a colour for dip-dying.  Eventually I went for teal, and after a dip in a bucket of dye and a blast with a hairdryer, the last of the ends were woven into place and sealed with a hot glue gun.  I was done!

dip dyed macrame necklace class

I’ve bought further knotting supplies.  A couple of different thicknesses of natural rope, coloured cotton rope (found in etsy shop Lost Property Hong Kong) and some different brass and copper fittings.  I’ve had a bit of a search for beads with large diameter holes, but those have been harder to find!  It’s nice to make something just with hands as tools.

Tessuti Pia dress in textured Japanese cotton

And yes, the necklace is a rather bold design, but yes, I really like it and have worn it!

craft · sewing

Getting ready

I am currently getting ready for Sewjourn – patterns cut out and placed into a box waiting to be sewn, boxes with notions being put together, and dreaming of sewing/chatting/laughing.  But I’m also getting ready for Christmas!  Yes, it’s November, and I know that many of you don’t even want to THINK about Christmas yet.  But it will get here, my diary is filling up, so I want to be on top of things – maybe even ahead of things!  I’m well on my way through shopping for family, and last weekend I managed to get a whole lot of teacher and friend gifts out of the way.

fabric tube & wooden bead necklaces

Fabric necklaces! Each of these is made from a tube of fabric, with wooden beads pushed inside and knots between each bead. Then the ends are simply tied together.

fabric tube & wooden bead necklaces

It was fun going through my stash and finding suitable fabrics. Fine lawn and voile worked best, as they tied the smallest knots between the beads. You just measure the circumference of the bead, then cut out a strip as wide as the circumference PLUS half an inch to allow for the seam allowance (I sewed 1/4 inch seam allowance) when sewing the strip into a tube. You absolute need the full width of the fabric for your strip to get a long enough necklace – actually, even longer tubes (cut lengthwise instead of crosswise) would have been better.

fabric tube & wooden bead necklaces

I bought the beads on eBay (150 beads for $12.50 or similar), after searching for “wood spacer beads”. The larger ones are 1″ diameter beads, and the smaller ones 3/4″ diameter. I prefer the look of the necklaces made from the larger beads. And a couple of these have made it into my cupboard rather than into the present stash, I must admit.  They provide such a fun pop of colour!

craft · miscellaneous

Crafty Hijinks

When I started blogging more than six years ago I had no idea that I would actually meet people through it.  But I did, and I am still meeting more!  I love that I have made some very special friends through the common interests that we share; wonderful women I may have never met otherwise.  I’m a very lucky person.

The person who encouraged me to start a blog way back when was Jodie.  And over the years she has been part of a number of bloggy meet-ups.  On Sunday she and Gillian arranged another bloggy get-together in a hall in Ballarat.  It was Crafty Hijinks, and it was lots of fun!

2013-09-15 13.05.41

Forty-nine crafty women sewing, crocheting, knitting, talking, shopping, eating and laughing in a hall for the day. It flew past! There were fantastic goody bags and door prizes too – thanks so much to the sponsors for their generous donations:

Merrilyn Sim of Threadneedle Craft in Daylesford
Linda White of Gum Valley
Fran Ibbott of Whip stitchy
Karen Pior of Sew Well Maide
Rosalie Quinlan
Leslie Keating of Maze and Vale
Morgan Wills of The crafty Squirrel
Emma Jansen of Ballarat Patchwork
Jodie McGill of Applecartco
Julie Sebire of Narioka
Nicole Mallalieu of You Sew Girl
Marilyn Cardinal of Missy Mao Mao
Nic James of Yardage Design
Fiona Ransley of Fee’s shabby shack
Camille Condon of Curlypops
Claire Gee Of Matching pegs

I had a great trip there and back with some delightful crafty buddies, and took part in a wonderful colour workshop led by the talented Wendy.  I need to play with paint more often!

2013-09-15 13.00.48

My lucky door prize was some beautiful Maze and Vale fabric – so looking forward to using it!  I also appreciated the chance to catch up with crafty friends that I don’t get to see as often as I would like to.  Thanks to everyone who was there, and huge thanks to Jodie and Gillian for arranging such an enjoyable day.  You rock!


fabric and bead necklaces

It’s become clear to me that I don’t do things in a hurry.  I discover a great idea, think about it, maybe even collect the supplies for it, then it sits.  I think about it some more, and I get distracted by something else.  Various winter coats, pairs of bathers, sewing lingerie, and Clare’s wool-eater blanket immediately come to mind as examples of this.  Well, on the weekend I finally made something that I’ve been thinking about for years – and it took me about fifteen minutes maximum to do each one.

fabric tube and wooden bead necklace

For the Melbournites among you, you probably know of the Flemington Craft Market. Many years ago there was a small stand there selling t-shirts embellished with Liberty motifs, and selling necklaces made from Liberty fabrics. (As a side note, the designer was Nic MacIsaac, who now runs the Magnolia Square markets). I was lucky enough to be given one of the (relatively expensive) necklaces one Christmas. Every time I wear it I receive compliments on it, and I am often asked if I made it. Now I can answer yes!

fabric tube and wooden bead necklace

These are simply a tube of fabric, with wooden beads pushed inside and knotted between each one. Easy peasy! Then the necklace is tied in a bow. The one in the first photo used twelve 2.5cm / 1 inch beads, with an Anna Maria Horner voile fabric. I cut the strip across the full width of the fabric. In terms of how wide to make the strip of fabric, wrap a scrap around a bead and add about half an inch for the seam allowance. Sew the tube of fabric, turn it right side out, push in a bead and make a knot as close and tight as you can, then do the next bead. The necklace in the second photo used twenty 5/8 inch beads, with two widths across the fabric to make a much longer tube. This is also a voile.  I prefer the longer length, but variety is the spice of life! You need to make sure that you use a soft flexible fabric like a voile or tana lawn or else the knots will be too bulky and the proportions look wrong.

There are plenty of tutorials for these if you google “fabric bead necklaces”. I’ve just placed a bulk order of the 1 inch beads. Guess what I’m making for teacher presents (and every other female I know) this year?

craft · family · musings

2011 wrap-up #3 – crafts

This mosaic contains the non-garments I made during the last year.  Actually, I fudged it a bit, because it does contain some patchwork that is still in progress and generally I like to keep these mosaics to what was completed.  Whoops!

2011 crafts mosaic

This is day 4 of bunkering down in the air-conditioning. It is like an oven outside! But I’m going to have to venture out to the shops for fruit and vegies at some stage, probably sooner rather than later. We are now having the proverbial lazy holiday (or stay-cation as I’ve heard them called). All staying in our pyjamas for hours upon end – on day 1 of the holidays the kids didn’t even get out of their pyjamas – and watching copious amounts of television and movies. Spending time on the internet. Enjoying Christmas gifts. Playing Words with Friends. Entertaining refugees from the heat and being fascinated by the workings of a knitting machine. Planning fabric shopping trips.  Investigating family holidays to Bali.  Not having to be anywhere at a particular time. Swapping between crochet and sewing and planning and playing.  Going with the flow. I still have a massive holiday to-do list including such stimulating activities as “tidy the craft cupboard” and “purge the filing cabinet” along with “empty out the hall table drawer”. But hey, there are plenty more days left of the holidays, and I am fitting in a small chore each day. It’s Clare’s 9th birthday coming up on Sunday, so I’d better reluctantly head upstairs (it’s hotter there despite air con) to the sewing machine and construct another dress. It’s tradition!


presents for the teachers

I’m a bit of a softie.  We give presents to all of Clare’s teachers – not only her classroom teacher, but the helper, the library lady, the office staff, the Italian teacher, the art teacher, the music teacher, the after-school-care lady, the keyboard teacher, the school principal, and to Stella’s dance and swimming teachers.  And to the school cleaner and gardening volunteer. Whew!  It’s usually something little, but I like to have something concrete that lets them know how much they are appreciated.  Because they definitely are!  And maybe because I was once a teacher I know how much they do for not as much recognition as they  deserve.


This year the women all get necklaces made from alpaca/wool tubing and felt balls. They were super easy to make and I think that they are super effective. Some of my sophisticated book group friends kindly modelled them for me when we were away for the weekend. There is white tubing:


There is brownish coloured tubing:


There is bluish-grey tubing:


and it is completely up to you as to what felt ball colours or styles go inside. Alternatively you could thread the tubing through beads, or alternate putting beads/balls inside the tubing with threading it through. You could fill up the tubing completely or space out the balls/beads or only use them as a feature as I have done.  There is lots of creative potential to be had with this!


And the male teachers/staff? They get tins of biscuits this year. Store-bought.  Except for the classroom teacher, who will get a “bloke bag”. If I get it finished before Thursday….

bags · craft · sewing

bagging it

Sometimes it is the simple things that are the most exciting.  After having had Nicole Mallalieu‘s book You Sew Girl for a few months, and after watching my husband rifling through his travel bag looking for missing items one time too often, I finally made a super simple zipped pouch.

super simple zipped pouch

I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to do this! It is the EASIEST project and produces the BEST results. This little pouch is fully lined in the grooviest way. I chose a contrast lining.

super simple zipped pouch

These pouches can be customised to be made in whatever size you like. All of my husband’s tech items (chargers, cables, cords etc) fit nicely into it.  And now rather than losing individual items in his luggage, he is just losing the entire pouch.

Christmas bag for Lily

The little drawstring pouch above is a Kris Kringle present for one of my cousin’s children. I’ll fill it with lolly snakes for a huge sugar hit. This one is for Lily.

Christmas bag for Ollie

And the green one above is for Oliver! You can find the tutorial here.  All the pouches were made with smallish bits of fabric that were floating around in stash.

craft · other people's craft · softies

the toy formerly known as pickle

Meet Patchie – the soft toy formerly known as Pickle.


8 year old Clare sewed Patchie all by herself, with just the occasional piece of advice from me (and I put the eyes in for her). Jodie‘s instructions were excellent (and very entertaining), and Clare is extremely pleased with her new toy.


This is a terrific beginner’s project – look at what a great result you can achieve, even if you’re only 8 years old! Patchie accompanied Clare to church this morning where she was proudly displayed to anyone who would listen (and a whole lot of other people as well). Thanks Jodie for such a great pattern and well done to Clare from a very proud mother!


bags · craft

zpagetti roma bag

Remember that when I was at the craft show a month or so ago I bought a kit to make a bag from zpagetti fabric yarn?  It’s finally done.  Ta-da!

Zpaghetti crocheted bag

Although I think it looks quite good, I’m actually quite disappointed with this project. I didn’t enjoy making it, as the yarn was difficult to work with and the big hook and stitches were hard on my hands. The finished bag is very heavy, even before you put anything in it. And it really does need lining, as items could stick through the gaps in the stitches.

Zpaghetti crocheted bag

I do like the ribbed stitches that the body of the bag was worked in, but the circle pieces at the ends took quite a few goes to get right. The pattern is not terribly precise. So overall? I think that this yarn is great for floor rugs, but on a practical level is not great for bags.  More on my Ravelry project page here.