Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The one where I become oddly interested in all sorts of needlework

Apparently, I've become a 1950s CWA housewife..

(not that there's anything wrong with that..)

I'm getting interested in both quilting and embroidery. Not that the knitting has gone anywhere, so don't panic.

The quilting first.

I've long admired Amy Butler colourful quilts.. I have her In Stitches book. Though really the much more clean and modern Denyse Schmidt quilts or Lotta Jansdotter (like the one shown and linked below) are much more my decorating style..

But with a small girly-girl who loves nothing so much as fairies and butterflies and ladybugs and flowers and pink and purple and things that are sparkly... I am considering a vintage-y girly patchwork quilt comprised mostly of the loeftovers from the toys and skirts etc I have made for her. I might dig through clothes that we have that are partly stained/damaged also and use some of that. Also, my Mum has given me some truly vintage fabric from her mum which I may also use. I figure with enough collecting of pink/purple/pale blue/pale green fabric I can make a bunch of quilt squares like the one below.

I had this link hanging around from ages ago and finallty tried it out.
Thus. Take one 3x3 fabric square (my little squares were 4inches square to start)
Then cut in half horizontally and vertically.

Then turn the top left square 90 degrees to the left. Turn the bottom right square 90 degree to the right.

Sew them back together.

I really, really like the finished look. Kind of random & scrappy without too much random & scrappy. Now I want to make a whole bunch until I can make a single bed quilt for small person.

And the embroidery? Well, I'd really enjoyed all the handstitching on my little car & caravan. It totally surprised me. And amused my man no end. But anyway.
I've been left with the whole.. "but what would I ever do with anything embroidered?...

And then I saw this.. I am totally going to embroider myself this on some fabric and frame it for my quiet room. I'm sure my doll Elizabeth, and her pet toy jellyfish would totally approve... I'm getting a 'wannabe-goth-girl-grown-up-and-gone-crafty' vibe in there I think...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Projects and impatience.. and conservatism

I don't do well with waiting really. I can manage it better as an adult than I could when I was younger, and I can fake 'waiting calmly' pretty well, but... I don't like waiting.

The economic crisis may suggest that I am far from alone in this (although thankfully, my own breed of economic conservatism means I don't excessively spend on credit to acquire). I was so insulted when my man first pointed out to me that I am conservative.

I wanted to rant, "Conservative! I had purple hair! And wore all black for like a decade! And like art, and food and ... and..." He didn't intend it as an insult, merely an observation. Having studied sociology at uni as a minor, I thought there was nothing I less wanted to be when I was finally 'adult' than conservative middle class. It was boring, and dull and so, so.. main-stream.

I am a little more reconciled to it now. As in I accept it's true, though it does not sit well with me. For example, I am concerned with being economically stable, and providing for my family. I would choose economic stability over an arty-unstable existence doing interior design or being an artist - in a heartbeat (though I would find the latter two more emotionally satisfying). There is more, but the details don't really matter.

I guess, at heart, I am trying to embrace myself as I am, rather than riling at the universe that some kind of 'whimsical, arty, daring, brave and admirable' me that would have gone to Florence, slept with italian poets, written a book or become an artist.. doesn't exist. But that isn't where my life took me, or where me, and all the characteristics that make me, including economic and emotional conservatism, took me.

This is all sounding as if I don't love who I am, or where I am at. Neither is true. I think I am finally, getting adult enough to "put aside childish things" including ideals that were never likely to be.

O....kay. That was a rather extend diversion. What was I on about? Ah yes. Waiting. I don't wait well.

I get frustrated when I feel like I haven't been making progress (which is great in my working life as a motivator) but not so much at home. But I have been making progress and it's good to remind myself of such things from time to time.

I have finished the blue polka dot dress. I'm not super happy with it fit wise, but it is cool and comfortable and not bad for my first attempt. I'm typically heavy on myself standard-wise, and
have to keep reminding myself to give me space to learn stuff without brilliance.

The gifted baby blanket had its ends sewn in.. and was gifted yesterday to the new little niece. So
cute and small :) My own small person was totally taken. And very grateful for a girl! (She would tell anyone who'd listen that she had enough boy cousins...)

I have also started on my Smoulder. Now, that has been a long wait. But an very enjoyable knit I am finding. While it is all in stockingette, the regular colour changes is making it engaging enough to retain interest.

And I've also been knitting a baby jacket thing. It's a Debbie Bliss pattern from Simply Baby. I can't remember which one, but it's in the last of the Katia Mississippi.

And on that note, I have to go get ready to see a movie about a heroic mouse. Enjoy your day everyone!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Heat is bad for knitting

Okay, yeah over summer now. Have I mentioned I loathe feeling sweaty?

All this heat is leaving me feeling very blah on many fronts, including the knitting.

I'm not sure whether it is all the gift knitting I have queued, or just the general heat.

It may be both. I've even felt too hot to consider sewing at the moment, even at night. There's a cool change coming monday.. for two whole days. Sigh.

In the bad news all the gift knitting will make for poor blogging most likely. That said, I'm considering making something gratuitously selfish for myself :) I keep looking at my Ravelry queue and pondering. I need to keep it to stash yarn though - I've been working on estimates of how much we need to save for the wedding and, frankly, the numbers were kinda scary.

Thankfully, that does leave quite a lot of options still.
  • Denim yarn bag
  • Baudelaire socks
  • Smoulder stripy cardigan
  • Icarus shawl
  • Horseshoes cardigan in red silk
  • Zetor shawl in ivory lace weight
  • 4ply cotton bags
  • Vintage beret (maybe - not sure I can pull off a beret without bad hat hair).
I think that is all for the moment. I do have other yarn, but that's all the stuff with projects picked out.

And I do have a couple of works in progress, but I think I need the new and shiny to get my mojo back. And I might give myself an out pass on some baby gifts with some sewn stuff rather than knitted - that may help.

Anyway happy new year to all - I hope you have air con.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The one when I'm a vampire geek (oh and other stuff)

Geek ramble. Skip to "in other news" if bored.

Okay, some/many of you know this. I am a total vampire fiction geek. I will consume pretty much any vampire themed story/film/book with some enjoyment and truly adore the 'good stuff'.

I've been reading the Twilight series of novels (like many, many people, since its on the best seller lists).

And I just got back from the film. This is not a review. I am in no way a 'balanced' review of such things. (There are those who will gleefully point out that I really enjoyed both Underworld 1 and 2 at this point.)

But I loved it. I loved that the photography was lovely and helped me fill out all the gaps in my knowledge - like exactly what the kind of wet wilderness it is set in actually looks like. My imagination and experience was a little sketchy since I have seen snow twice ever and grew up/live in a place that is pretty much sunny year round. So that was great.

The casting was (in my opinion) very true to the book. The characters all looked/behaved like I imagined.

The whole thing is very teen drama/soap opera. And I gorged myself on every moment. Like eating a whole box of Christmas chocolates because they are there, and someone gave them to you and they just taste so so good. (I may have also done that recently, but I digress).

I do believe it probably helped having read the book, but still. Wonderful.

And in other news...

I have one partially completed project and one done. And another book discussion.

Firstly. the partially completed project.

I have made up most of the Butterick 50s retro dress. Shown here. The actually pattern and instructions were quite clear, and easy to follow. The biggest problem with it that I had was with the sizing. The envelope sizing did not match the size of the finished garment. For example, some sections had huge amount ease. Like about 5+ inches in some cases.

So when I matched the recommended size for my measurements it varied from a 14 to an 18! (I normally wear a 12). However, the finished measurements on the printed pattern itself (not the envelope) were just fine. So I ended up making a 14 which is really too big. I need to get some help to take it all in (and will do so when I corner Bibnbub at some point...) it's also really really long. Ankle length. Which I refuse to believe is because I am short. At any rate it needs to be shortened drastically to around just below the knee I think. I added straps rather than just the spagetti type straps it was designed for so I can wear a bra with it. Otherwise, on my actual sewing front I am happy with it - its a dress, I didn't stuff anything up and I quite like it.

I also made another toy from the More Softies book. I even unintentionally bought exactly the same fabric as the pattern used! I am really happy with it. My man found the fact I was making a toy car & caravan pretty amusing, but it actually made me feel happy to make it and makes me happy to see it sitting on my shelf. The second photo shows the other side of the caravan. There is quite a lot of hand sewing on this, which i am still getting used to. That Instructibles embroidery tutorial is quite handy. Possibly the fact that it was made on my last day of holidays might be my subconscious trying to hold on the 'holiday' vibe as long as possible but that's too much psych for this hot a day.

Finally, I finished my copy of The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman.

Like Twilight, it's classed as a young adult (YA) fiction.

It is, quite simply, wonderful. Neil Gaiman is a brilliant writer, and this shows this off yet again. I commented to someone today- all of his stuff is great, but you can tell the difference between is teen/kid stuff and his adult stuff becuase the former has violence or dark stuff implied of happening off scene, where as the adult ones display it. But thy are all great.

Any way enough from me, next week I'm back to my usual programming. Happy New Year all.