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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Babies - undercover angel projects

Two friends have had babies recently and I had been looking for a suitable present for each, so when Inspirations 75  arrived with several Kathy Barac designs for embroidering on baby singlets and bodysuits I went straight to Country Bumpkin and bought two bodysuits.

I chose the bulldog motif for the first one - a really smile-making little fellow in bullion knots.

This is a project that would be hard to manage without a water-soluble stabiliser to hold the design long enough to at least get the shape outlined.

The result was pleasing - to me and to the recipients. It is great to have interesting, relatively quick and charming designs for such useful garments.

These will wear out rather than being passed on - very satisfying.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Silk Shawl

I have been knitting a shawl from the Ann Collins silk yarn given to me by a friend - the silk from which I made a feather and fan scarf last month. I like knitting triangular shawls so decided to give it a try in this yarn.
After sorting through a lot of patterns I chose one from  Knit Prayer Shawls: 15 Wraps to Wear  by Leisure Arts. It isn't the best book for describing the prayer shawl ministry but it has great patterns, is a handy size for carrying around and all the shawls are wearable.

I chose a shawl called  Comfort Abides  - a diamond pattern, knitted in variegated wool in the pattern - so easy to imagine it in the variegated silk yarn I had.

It has four pattern rows with purl in between each. I made quite good progress with it - although I found the yarn quite slippery. I dropped a stitch several times and had great difficulty retrieving it. It has, however, a lovely feel.

It has taken me a couple of weeks to complete. Although it isn't complex, it requires concentration.

Once again, the finished product when still on the needles, looks like a rag.

I am a loose knitter and cast off loosely, as the pattern indicated, only to discover the result was far too tight, so I undid the cast-off row and swapped to a 10mm needle (I used 5mm for the shawl), cast off using that and the result was about right.

I then blocked it on my study carpet, hoping for the gossamer miracle.

And yes, it was granted! Mind you, there is a patch where I lost my way a bit with the pattern when I had to retrieve dropped stitches.

The Ann Collins yarn seems to go on forever. I still have enough for at least another scarf, if not a shawl.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Another Bag Binge

I haven't answered my own question of how many of the small bags I can use or give away - but there is probably no end to the number I can make! This week I have been on a roll and here is the result.

I had a supply of 5 inch wide fabric strips in a variety of black and red prints, so I made more black bags and some red, along the lines of my prototype and designed to hold a ball of wool.

 I also had some 10 inch squares of the same fabric, so I used them to make some larger bags of the same shape.

 I then made a few without the elastic at the top to serve as baskets or bowls. I bought some polyester boning (based on my experience with the bag embroidered with native flowers I made earlier this year). I thought the stiffened rim on the larger bag might make it useful for storing patterns. I have yet to decide if this will work.

I've found uses for the small open ones already.

This is the array so far.

They all fit inside the large one with the boning in the rim - so I have made a pile of bags and a way to store them.


Why do I feel so satisfied? I will find uses or homes for these - I really am a bag lady!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bag experiment

I was inspired by a post in Gill Thomas's Elegant Sufficiency blog to dig out some fabric squares and strips I got as part of a magazine subscription package and experiment with a little bag to hold one ball of wool. I've been wanting to try one of these for a while and Gill's post pushed me to give it a go.

Gill and I recently connected through a family history website. It is uncanny to find someone, living on the other side of the world sharing a common ancestor in the eighteenth century, who has so many similar interests. There is a whole new area of research here - looking for the bag gene!

Gill has a great post on making some of her bags. In my somewhat cramped sewing space at the moment, due to the building work going on around us, I used a much more rough and ready method to construct my prototype. I will, however, work out a set of measurements and employ some accuracy when replicating.

My precut strips were 13cm wide - about the height I wanted in my wool bag. I folded the end over to get a square. This became my base.

I then folded the square over four times to get my length - minus  3 seam allowances - since I was going to use one long strip for the side instead of 4 squares. In fact, I underestimated the 3 seam allowances and needed to reduce the length of my side piece slightly when I pinned the base to the side piece.

I stitched it and made a second one as lining, stitched around the top and turned it inside out. Yeh bag!
So it would work for my ball of wool, I added a casing and elastic.

Voila! reversable bag.

Not only does it work for my ball of wool, but on my current project the knitting and needles sit in the bag as well.

Exactly what I wanted.

Now how many more of these can I use or give away?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Chicken towel

I bought a pair of chicken towels along with the apron. They were inexpensive, didn't add to the postage, and I was curious to see what they were like. They looked more like runners to me, but I guess you could use them to cover something or to wipe your hands while cooking. They are, however, quite thin cotton without absorbency. I embroidered one of them to go with the apron, but haven't proceeded with the second one.

I kept telling myself I was completely insane. The thread is not very good, there is not much skill involved and I doubt the 'towel' is very useful. I think the chicken mesmerised me.
Once the head of the chicken was done it made me smile so much I just kept going. It is such a jolly chicken - full of personality and life, even with the weird colour combination.

The edges of the towel were over-stitched. I didn't much like them so decided to give it a herringbone border.

If all else fails, it would make a flag to hang on the chicken house!

My daughter's chicken palace, made from our old shed - it now has a verandah added.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Chicken apron

I am a sucker for quick and easy kits. I couldn't resist a Herrschner's special on a cheery apron with a cross stitch chicken printed on it - and matching 'kitchen towels'. I ordered the thread kit for good measure.

The colours are not those of any chicken I can remember - but I am no chicken expert! They are bright and attractive, so I went along with them.

In addition to the chicken, the apron has rows of off-set squares, under the chicken to represent (I presume) the ground, and along the hem of the apron for decoration. These proved very useful for using up the ends of thread from bits of the chicken.

This was a fun project. It reminds me of the children's book Rosie the Hen Went for a Walk. It is a Rosie kind of chicken.

I didn't much like the Craftways thread - some of it frayed and shredded - but I got by.

It made a good present.