Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Abakhan, how I love thee.

Let me count the ways.

1. You have a shiny new shop in Preston which is twice the size of the old one.

2. Your shiny new shop currently has a shedload of Indian-ish cotton prints which are just beeeautiful.

3. You stocked the perfect ribbon for the ties on Munchkin's new hoodie.

4. You also had a multitude of shiny satin fabrics to make nighties out of, including this kerrazy print that grandma pickledweasel chose for her belated Christmas Making present. (scissors included in picture to illustrate ridiculously loud scale of pattern).

5. You sell plain fleece in a squillion different colours.

6. You currently have a sale on, including this very lightweight babycord at half price.

7. Even if things aren't in the sale there's 10% off everything.

8. You make me want to buy fabric just for the sake of it, even if I have no clue whatsoever what to do with it. (although mr pickledweasel did suggest cutting out 2 of each doll, sewing them and stuffing them, which is a blimmin brilliant idea)

9. You are ridiculously cheap, despite your amazingness - total shopping bill was £20.53, including all the fabrics in the photos above (apart from Munchkin's hoodie), 2m of ribbon, 2m of 5mm button elastic and 2m of cream fleece.

10. All of your shop assistants were nice to Munchkin, even though she was in a bit of a strop because I wouldn't let her out of her pushchair.

Sorry for the crumpled photos - if I get the iron out I might have to do some of the pre-christmas clothes ironing pile, and I'm in denial :)

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Happy Chrimblemas!

The pheasant is in the fridge, the beer is bought, the presents are wrapped, munchkin has had a bath and is tucked up in bed completely unaware of the present-fest that will occur tomorrow, mr pickledweasel's beanie isn't finished but I've wrapped it up anyway needles and all, we're watching Elf on dvd, and the trifle is in the utility room because there's no space left in the fridge.

All that's left for me to do is give you this cheesy festive picture of me and munchkin and wish you a very happy christmas - I hope that you're spending it with people you love and who love you xxx

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Last minute Christmas Making

I'm in the final week of Christmas Making, and everything's getting a bit frantic. I am meant to be sewing a nightdress for grandma pickledweasel, but my plans have been severely scuppered by this:

It may look pretty, but it's meant I haven't been able to go and buy fabric. Or get to work to do extra hours for a few more pennies in January's pay packet :( Munchkin and I ventured down to the bus stop this morning with the hope of at least going to the supermarket and back, but after 15 minutes of waiting in blizzard conditions we gave up and came home.

We have been going a bit stir crazy, and I've had to be very inventive with activities so munchkin doesn't ask for her Peppa Pig DVD every 5 minutes and I don't spend the day pulling out my greying hair. We have practiced knitting:

And made some biscuits:

Can you guess which ones were Munchkin's?

And I managed to rustle up Munchkin a fleecy hat as a last minute Christmas present from Kitschy Coo's tutorial (pictures of her wearing it when she's opened it, promise), and finish her lovely Liberty dress. Although when I asked her to try it on she ran away shouting, "No no no no!", so chances of her wearing it before she grows out of it are slim. It was another Heidiandfinn pattern, and was nice and easy to sew.

My last bit of Christmas making is mr pickledweasel's hat, and despite it being a simple k3 p2 pattern I still managed to cock it up. I started it earlier this week and I'd knitted about 3" when I realised my ribbing was out of sync, and as I tried to unravel it to find out where I'd gone wrong, Munchkin started to shout at me about something and I just went a bit mental and frogged it all in a fit of temper. I have started again, and fortunately he's working earlies this week, so goes to bed at 9pm - plenty of time for secret knitting!

Finally, a lovely bit of Christmas making that was sent to munchkin as a present. A beautiful little crocheted angel tree ornament, courtesy of Great Auntie Diane. Isn't it pretty? I am in awe of her skillz. Right, back to the circular needles - k3 p2, k3 p2, k3 p2...

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Can you marry a fabric?

Is it legal? Or is it a bit of a grey area, like if you want to marry your cousin? I might look into the legalities of it all, because if I can, I'd like to buy the whole roll of this brushed cotton and get it down the registry office RIGHT NOW. And then come home and just wrap it round and round and round me and sit there. Sorry, TMI :)

This was originally going to be a Christmas present for Munchkin, but I was too excited about it and wanted to see what it looked like on her. The fabric was from New Magic Fabric Shop, and I think it was £2.20 a metre. I bought a couple of metres in black as well, only strangely the black version is a sort of linen blend, rather than brushed cotton. But it's just as lush, and I think I'll make a skirt out of it for me. The applique runs either side of the fabric along the selvedge, so will be great as a border at the bottom of a wrap skirt.

I'm making a replacement Christmas present for Munchkin - a little reversible wrap dress in a grey linen chambray with a fantastic Liberty print on the inside. It's such pretty fabric I may have to become a polygamist...

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Christmas Making - Round up

I've not done much Christmas Making recently, mainly because I've reached a stumbling block - what on earth do you make for men?! Women and girls are so easy to hand make for. But boys.... and there are so few patterns out there for them. A quick search of Etsy for the words 'man' and 'pattern' brought up loads of felt gingerbread man ornament patterns, but very little else.

I have seen some projects that would be suitable for little boys, but unfortunately the blokes I buy for are all over 20. Hmmmmm. So I figured the next best thing would be to buy handmade. Not as thrifty, but at least it's getting into the spirit of Christmas Making.

My purchases so far:

This lovely bird made from London clay, by D H Painter. She still has some for sale in her Folksy shop, but they're going like hot cakes, so if you want one get it now! It's for my brother, who lives in London and a) likes stylish things b) will love the idea that there was once a warm tropical sea that covered London and left behind a load of clay.

I've also bought two pairs of these:

Both my brother and mr pickledweasel love cufflinks, and were legoheads in their youth, so they're perfect. I also bought a little lego gift box to put them in. It came flat pack and I had to build it, which was fun :)

I have found one project I can do - I'm about to start knitting this beanie for mr pickledweasel, I'm just waiting for my circular needles to arrive from eBay. The wool I've bought is a really dark slate grey with little flecks of lighter grey in it, and should look great. If I don't manage to arse it all up at the end when I need to transfer to double pointed needles. And that's all I'm doing for chaps, which is a bit pants really. Anyone have any suitably macho crafty gift ideas they'd like to recommend?

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Hoodie Love

I am very much in love with the pattern for this hoodie from Heidiandfinn. I saw it about 3 weeks ago but was very restrained and held out til pay day on Monday before I bought it :) At about £3.70 it hardly breaks the bank, but it was a treat rather than necessity.

It's a fantastically easy pattern. It was sent as a pdf which you then print out and cut and stick the pattern pieces together. There were really detailed instructions too. It took me an afternoon and evening to make, but that included printing off the pattern and tracing and cutting the pattern pieces.

My fabric choice probably wasn't the easiest option - a medium weight baby blue fleece and a chenille stripe stretch jersey - but I found it surprisingly co-operative when I was sewing. Ok, ok, I broke a needle sewing the hood to the body, but after I put in a chunkier needle I found it surprisingly co-operative when I was sewing :) Lesson learnt.

It is super soft and snuggly, and will do a good job of keeping Munchkin warm around the house. I'm trying to ration the central heating after our recent gas bill :/ We're off to the magic fabric shop tomorrow to try and find some other fabrics to make it in.

I have this fabulous grey stretch fabric that looks like knitted cable, and I want something bright pink to go on the reverse. Incidentally, the top seems entirely reversible, but for some reason this isn't mentioned anywhere in the Etsy listing or the pattern instructions. Maybe I sewed it wrong!

I had added the rest of Heidiandfinns patterns to my Christmas list, and if Father Christmas didn't come up with the goods then I was going to buy one every pay day. But then I went to leave feedback today and saw that they had a special weekend sale on - buy 2 and get one free. And my hand just slipped and I pressed some buttons and oops I've bought three more patterns :)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Cardigan heartification and a mini giveaway

Munchkin is still growing, despite developing a recent fussy attitude to food (oh the joys of toddlerhood), and so I decided to customise the other cheapy cardigan I bought when our local Ethel Austin was closing down (the other smaller one is here).

As the stamped applique flowers worked so well last time, I thought I'd try some more using the same technique. I chose hearts, because the stamps were about the right size, and the spotty one is my favourite. I rooted around in my scraps bag and found some t-shirt sleeves that I cut off in a fit of cutomization - the colour was perfect.

I love the results :) I had lots of t-shirt sleeve left over, so I made a whole load more applique patches. One set is in my Coriandr shop, and the other set could be yours, all yours! To get your grubby little mitts on four patches (two stripy hearts and two spotty hearts) just leave a comment at the end of this post telling me how you'd use them if you won them. I'll select a winner at random on Monday. International peeps, you can enter too.

They come with Bondaweb already on the back, so you can iron them on to whatever you want to, or iron then sew them on if they're going on a piece of clothing. They're washable at 40 degrees. Perfect for all sorts of things!

Monday, 30 November 2009

What I are not lerning

The few of you who read my blog regularly might wonder where my college course updates have disappeared to. They haven't been written for a variety of reasons - one week was an assesment week where we re-organised our folders for submission (booooooring), one week was half term, and last week I missed because of some evil cold flu virus thing which currently is making me feel like someone has stuffed a whole packet of cotton wool in my ears before submerging my head in a goldfish bowl.

But the main reason I haven't posted about my course is that I'm really not feelin' the love for it. It is not what I thought it would be AT ALL. We do lots of sketchbook work. We have to look at architecture. We have to choose an artist to research. We have to do mood boards every bloomin' week. Which is great, if that's the sort of thing you want to learn about, but not so great if you still don't know how to do button holes. Or cuffs. Or place a sleeve. Or do a placket, whatever one of those is.

I'm not going to drop out, as I paid a lot of money to enrol (a lot for me, anyway), and so I want to see it through to the end. But there's really no point me writing any more updates on it because I don't feel there's anything useful to pass on to you peeps. I might post some photos of the jacket we're currently making (which involves no real technical skills - we're given the pattern to use, it's open fronted, so no fastenings, and it has no collar or cuffs). And our final project is turning a design of our own into a pattern, which I'm hoping I'll be able to develop and test and eventually maybe even *gasp* sell, so there will hopefully be a few updates on how that's going.

The one thing I have learnt is that I want to make my own patterns. By the end of my course I should have the basic skills to be able to do this, which is great. Although they'll have to be patterns for garments without fastenings, cuffs or collars of any sort :)

Monday, 23 November 2009

Elephant Impressions and Buttonhole Trauma

Back in March I won a pattern for a lovely asymmetrical jacket in a giveaway on Kitschy Coo's blog. It came in size 18m - 2T and 3T - 4T, and as at the time Munchkin was 8 months old, I thought I had plenty of time to do it. A couple of months ago I bought the fabric for it - some elephant print cotton and some brown denim, and mentally made a note to start it soon.

And then last week Munchkin was officially 18 months old! And I had not sewn a single seam :( So I started it the very next day, and it didn't take long to do - one child-free afternoon and a couple of evenings and it was complete apart from the button holes. I am frightened of buttonholes. They appear to require a level of sewing skill that is beyond me (and we STILL haven't done them at college). So grandma pickledweasel volunteered her fancy computerised shiny new sewing machine and its automatic buttonhole maker. This was the result:

For some reason it got stuck twice when it was sewing, and the thread bunched up. Which meant when it came to cutting the hole it was nigh on impossible to avoid cutting some thread as well, and it all came unravelled. And then to add insult to injury the hole wasn't big enough for the bloody button in the first place, despite me and grandma pickledweasel having taken measurements twice.

I nearly cried. I swore a lot. The whole experience up til then had been such a pleasure (I find 'home grown' patterns so much easier than commercially produced ones. They make sense!). Grandma pickledweasel suggested smaller buttons, but that still wouldn't solve the problem of the rapidly unravelling buttonhole. I eventually decided to stitch the buttonhole together and leave a small gap in the middle, push the shank of the button through the gap and sew it on the other side. So it looks like the coat has buttons and button holes. Then I sewed press studs on the other side so the coat will fasten.

It means the coat isn't reversible, which I am gutted about, but it does make it wearable. Massive lesson learnt - never ever ever make anything that requires button holes ever again ;) Munchkin likes the coat, and whenever 'elephant coat' is mentioned she does her elephant impression, which involves a sort of trumpety noise accompanied by a flailing arm, which is meant to be a trunk. The arm action is very similar to that of her washing machine impression. I may put her in for Britain's Got Talent next year. Obviously she will wear the coat to her audition :D

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Knitting and Stitching Show Part One

I am not feeling well - you know when you get that cotton wool head feeling just before a cold / flu? I was going to write up a report of my visit to the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate yesterday, but I'm tired and my legs feel like they're going to fall off and it wouldn't make much sense, so you'll have to make do with pretty pictures of all the things I bought instead...

Too many magazines and patterns :)

This for my sister-in-law for Christmas - she loved the Bimble I made for Juliet, and said she might use the idea with her GCSE textiles students, so I thought she might like the book.

Two vintage knitting / stitching magazines, one for the fantastic 'evening jumper' pattern, and one for a lovely 'Noah's Ark Workbox' which apparently is perfect to 'hold all the nursery mending things' :)

One fat quarter and a little bundle of scraps, which included some Beatrix Potter bits. And a little pack of vintage bits and bobs that made me think of the forties - I might try and do a collage with it.

And I went to a workshop where I made this jazzy hand print applique bag and got a load of gubbins free! The jewel bits aren't stuck to the bag, they were part of the goodies. Although I might stick down one of the big cabachons so it looks like a ring.

Hopefully when I'm feeling a bit better I'll post about the wonderful textile art I saw, which was amaaaaazing. Til then, back to bed...

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Crafting with Munchkins - Wallpaper Flowers tutorial

I'm making these pretty wallpaper flowers for my storytime craft at work in a couple of weeks. We're a bit short on cash due to some budget cuts, so I'm having to scrabble around in the craft cupboard to try and use existing resources, and scrounge materials where ever I can. I contacted a local independent painting and decorating shop to see if they had any old wallpaper sample books they no longer needed, and a very friendly shopkeeper was only too happy to offload 5 huuuuge books, and had lots more in the back office but I couldn't carry them all :)

Wallpaper has endless possibilities for crafting - it's durable, has cool patterns and textures, and can withstand copious amounts of glue. I thought I'd be better off asking a little local shop for old sample books rather than a big DIY chain, but I guess there's no harm in ringing up your local B&Q and seeing if they can help.

You will need:
  • Wallpaper with a flowery pattern, or failing that, coloured / textured wallpaper you can cut into flower shapes.
  • Sturdy cardboard, preferably corrugated (I used a cat food box, the sort that has those foil pouches in)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Straws (If they're bendy, cut the bendy bit off)
  • Tape

Start by cutting out your flowers. If your munchkin is too small to manage scissors, get them to choose the flowers and you can do the cutting. I tried to get a photo of Munchkin choosing a flower, but she was in a major strop this morning. But this is the flower she chose, honest!

Now cut some discs of sturdy cardboard to mount your flowers on.

Stick your flowers to your discs.

Stick your straws to your flowers with tape.

You're done! And now find the best way to display them. I used a jam jar and filled it with those little glass nuggets, and then pushed the straws in. I cut the straws to different lengths so you could see all of the flowers. If you haven't got glass nuggets you could always use that pile of pebbles that your munchkin collected from your last visit to the seaside that's gathering dust in the bathroom :)

Now I just need some stories about flowers to go with my craft activity for storytime. Does anyone have any suggestions?