adult's clothing · embroidery · family · quilting · sewing

in progress (and a huge thank you)

The instructions for this pattern have you sew each piece together, then topstitch.  Instead of topstitching by machine, I decided to do a hand running stitch.  But which colour to use?

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You’ll have to guess – the front of the dress is already done now, and now I’m working on the cuffs and neck band!

We haven’t heard anything from the Under 35s Quilt Competition, so assume that Clare didn’t win a prize. Although we’re a little sad about that, both Clare and I want to say a huge THANK YOU to all those who left such beautiful, encouraging comments! I don’t think that I’ve ever had as many comments on one blog post, and your wonderfully positive response has had a big impact on Clare.  She has had a grin from ear to ear after reading each and every one of them! Clare was also thrilled to see a photo of her quilt hanging in the exhibition – thanks to Amy for helping out!

Clare's "Ripe & Blooming" hanging on display

Entering the competition has been a terrific experience for Clare, and she’s looking forward to hanging her quilt up in her room once it comes back later in the year.  In the meantime, she’s busily working on a cross-stitch while spending time with her grandparents for the first week of school holidays.  She is definitely a winner in our eyes!

embroidery · family · other people's craft · patchwork

more craft by Mum – sashiko tablerunner

My mother is quite modest.  She is quick to point out any small errors in her craft projects, rather than rejoicing in their overall success.  She has high expectations of herself and high standards.  I think that this project is absolutely wonderful, and it was a technique that she hadn’t tried before – and rightly, she is rather proud of it.

Sashiko table runner by Mum

Mum spotted this sashiko tablerunner kit at the BeBe Bold stand at one of the craft fairs we attended last year.  Mum rather likes a kit – there is not waste – and it combined her liking for embroidery and for patchwork.  She’d never done sashiko before, but honestly, you wouldn’t know it.

Sashiko table runner by Mum

The design uses different coloured threads going in different directions, and is extremely effective. The patchwork surrounding it is quite subtle, and really sets off the embroidery.

Sashiko table runner by Mum

I love this table runner, and have great admiration for my mother’s skills. Mum taught me to sew and gave me free rein at her sewing machine, taught me to knit – although as you know, I prefer to crochet and leave the knitting to her – and her drawers include examples of beautifully embroidered doilies with crocheted edgings, candlewick cushions, and now patchwork. Thanks Mum for your example and your encouragement. And even for the eagle eye for the imperfections – because just like you Mum, I prefer to do things well rather than just adequately.

Sashiko table runner by Mum

crochet · embroidery · family · miscellaneous · planned projects · yarn stash

scary (and other things)

Last night I went to a Halloween party at a friend’s house.  It was a small function, but the host had gone to an enormous amount of trouble to decorate the house and to cook Halloween themed food.  It was loads of fun – we ate bats wings, finger biscuits, spider cupcakes, and a flayed skull (don’t ask).  I wish that I’d taken photos!  Halloween isn’t a big deal here in Australia, but at the same time it was lots of fun to get into the spirit of an occasion.  The girls dressed up a little to welcome any trick or treaters that knocked at our door.

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And because I am fortunate enough to live in Melbourne, today is a public holiday for the running of the Melbourne Cup! As weird as I think it is that we do get a holiday for a horse race, it’s great to have a family day off in the middle of the week.

I forgot to report on my trip to Bendigo the weekend before last! Unsurprisingly, it did include yarn. I purchased a few balls from Bendigo Woollen Mills, including this Melody to make myself a 4-S vest.

Bendigo Woollen Mills Melody

While I was there I had the pleasure of meeting Calidore, who recognised my children from my blog and introduced herself! I think that my Mum and husband were a little surprised! I felt a little famous for a moment there. It was lovely to chat to her and to talk yarn. Mum, Clare and I particularly enjoyed the White Wedding Dress exhibition. Beautiful craftsmanship and lovely fabrics. Many of the dresses were so incredibly detailed! I was also amazed at how tiny the dresses were – women were all so slim back when high calorie food wasn’t so readily available. I loved watching Clare examine each of the dresses and read about how they were made. It wasn’t about weddings per se for us, it was all about the sewing and the fashion!  I highly recommend it – but you’ll need to be quick if you haven’t been, as it ends this weekend.

I’ve also done some embroidery during the past week.

screen door embroidery

While nowhere near as impressive as Tania’s embroidery, it will hopefully reduce the number of times that we need to reinstall the screen door as people walk into it and pop it completely off it’s track.

A shout-out to Kathryn over at Crochet Concupiscence is also well overdue!  If you love crochet and don’t know her blog and website already, do pop over and have a look.  She is a dedicated crochet blogger and provides a marvellous resource for all crocheters.  She has three big crochet projects underway at the moment that you might be interested in.  In her words:

  1. Swaddle! A Crochet Art ProjectSwaddle is a crochet art project exploring the ways in which women nurture the men in their lives. It looks at silent forms of nurturing but specifically delves into the way that women communicate. Swaddle looks at the positive ways that female approaches to communication improve relationships but also looks at the darker side of how differing communication styles can suffocate relationships. It does so using crochet, which has stereotypically been considered a female craft. It will include 12 – 24 works of crochet art incorporating a range of crochet types including hyperbolic crochet, mosaic crochet and granny squares and using yarn from indie dyers, sellers and small yarn stores. I am trying to crowdsource funding for the project and all people who contribute will be represented in the project. Learn more here.
  2.  The Health Benefits of Crochet (a book). I am writing a book about the mental and physical health benefits of crochet. Crochet is such a healing, soothing craft and can provide significant mental health benefits for people dealing with depression, anxiety and stress-related illness. It can be used as a form of both long-term and short-term pain management and also as a form of occupational therapy for people with various hand ailments. What I’m spreading the word about is that I’m still interviewing people for this book and I’d love to hear from anyone who feels that crochet has helped their health and who would like to complete an email interview for the book.
  3.  Hooked Together! (a blog project)Hooked Together is my huge crochet blog project designed to explore the connections within the crochet community. I have a list of 270 crochet / fiber / yarn blogs that I read. I am going through the blogroll for each of those blogs and exploring what they read, sharing their links to crochet, craft and other blogs on my blog every Friday so that my readers can find other blogs that they’ll enjoy. In the end, I’m going to put all of this together into a big display so that we can all see how the crochet community is connected within itself and to the larger craft community.

These are all wonderful projects – I’ve just contributed to Swaddle.  I’m especially impressed because Kathryn does all of this purely because she is passionate and positive about crochet.

StyleARC patterns

I’ve been on a bit of a cutting-out frenzy again lately. These patterns arrived from StyleARC last week. I’m looking forward to making both of them. There is also some voile just waiting to be turned into pyjamas and nighties (for me me me) and numerous items have been cut out for the girls. It will be a busy time for me at Sewjourn in a fortnight!

embroidery · patchwork · quilting

Red and white

Last night Kirsty unveiled the red and white collaborative community friendship quilt called The Quilt Project.

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It was quite astounding to see all the blocks joined together into one, so beautifully crafted individually and then just gorgeous combined.

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Kirsty presented the quilt beautifully on an enormous bed, complete with cushions and beside tables, and the website is superbly done.  She even treated us all to champagne and lots of red and white nibbles.

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I want to say a massive thankyou to Kirsty for organising this project. It has been a community project in every sense. Rather than being by invitation only, Kirsty extended an invitation to any interested crafter who wanted to participate. Squares have come from all over the world, some worked by very experienced stitchers/crafters/embroiderers/quilters, and others being made by beginners. It has brought people together and involved us in something that is very special. Kirsty isn’t someone who self-promotes; rather, she dreams, thinks and does. She’s a very clever and generous woman who has organised an inclusive project that I feel privileged to have been part of.

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Please pop over to The Quilt Project, have a look at all of the squares, read about each maker and see much better photos than these of the quilt in its entirety.

craft · embroidery · sewing

Girls night out cushion

Do you remember the big granny?  And the owl and name embroidery I eventually completed at Brown Owls last year?  They’ve been combined together into a cushion, with a little help from an op-shop tablecloth.

Girls Night Out Cushion - side 2 by you.

And the other side:

Girls Night Out cushion - side 1 by you.

I don’t know which side I like best!  And why “Girls night out”?  Because that it when the components were crafted – the crochet at a friend’s house one evening, the embroidery at Brown Owls.

craft · embroidery · patchwork · quilting · sashiko · sewing

Japanese Kaleidoscope Quilt class

Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking part in a Japanese Kaleidoscope Quilt class with internationally renowned quilter/textile artist Jan Preston.  It was arranged by Leanne of Kimono House (there’s a terrific profile of Kimono House here as well).  The class ran from 10.00am to 3.00pm and at the end of the day I had finished this:

Japanese Kaleidoscope Quilt - first block by you.

one lonely little quilt block (actually, not quite finished)!  This is a totally hand-sewn and hand-pieced quilt, which forced me to slow down significantly and enjoy the process.  I do have a few more under way:

Japanese Kaleidoscope Quilt - blocks in progress by you.

We learned how to do sashiko embroidery, which I particularly enjoyed.  So effective and simple, but difficult to get perfect.  The sashiko stitching makes a beautiful secondary design of circles on a finished quilt piece.  I am a member of Kimono House’s fabric club, so have amassed a nice pile of squares of Japanese fabric which will be showcased beautifully in this quilt.  It is definitely going to be a long-term project for me – I figure about ten years?  There’s no hurry!

I’ve found a little tutorial on sashiko, and Sharon has stitched a number of beautiful pieces.  There is even a Flickr pool on sashiko!   Here is another example of the kaleidoscope quilt block, done in completely different colours to mine.  Another crafty interest to add to the ever-burgeoning list! 

craft · crochet · embroidery · Uncategorized · yarn stash

We like Ike – last Brown Owls for 2008

Yes, last night was the final Brown Owls for 2008, and the final meeting at the clubhouse (since there are new exciting plans afoot for next year).  We had Ike Rosen owl stitcheries to do.

 I like Ike - last Brown Owls for 2008 by you.

See, there is mine, all in it’s hoop and ready to go at the beginning of the evening.  Those owls are just so cute!  But whoops, it looked the same at the end of the evening!  I crocheted instead.  I’ve just started a Sweet Lorraine scarf in beautiful supersoft 12ply merino from Pear Tree Yarn, and I just couldn’t resist it.  I did have to spend quite some time winding a skein into a ball (and untangling it as I went) but the scarf is now well and truly under way.  I “bought” the gorgeous squishy balls of yarn in the photo from the Brown Owls shop – maybe for a hat?  What generosity!

Thanks again to Kirsty and Pip for running Brown Owls.  Words are insufficient to express how much I appreciate their efforts and how much I’ve enjoyed meeting a new circle of friends who share my crafty interests.  Thanks to everyone else involved and to all the people I’ve met.  Can’t wait for next year!