Saturday, 24 November 2012

EB DQS 2012

 Just a quick post to show you the little quilt I sent to Rachel for this year's doll quilt swap. Rachel said she liked grey and had a room with sunny yellow walls in which she'd like to hang her quilt, so I went to the quilt shop, rather stumped at what I could do with grey and yellow. She also didn't want anything whimsy, which is the kind of thing I have enjoyed doing in the past so I was really having quilter's block with this one! She liked modern quilts, or traditional with a modern twist. 

With some help from the shop owner, I picked out a pallette I was happy with after much deliberation (and lots of help from the shop owner's husband who managed to save the day after my son, who has ASD, decided to fling a whole jelly roll around the shop with glee - which I would have bought had he not picked such an ugly one - much to my embarrassment). I vowed never to take him into a quilt shop again, although that's a bit tricky considering I work full time so only have weekends to shop, and quilt shops are only open here on Saturday mornings, when hubby has golf and can't mind the kidlets. I had better plan better next time, to allow time for fabric to arrive from overseas (internet shopping is my very best friend!).

Anyway, once I had fabric, I got stuck on the design stage, so I scanned the internet for some paper pieced block ideas - going for the traditional look, with modern facric.  I enjoyed doing the piecing, even though it was time consuming and then went for a mixture of FMQ and straight line quilting.  The light grey border is quiltered in a loopy style to reflect the print, and I have just quilted in the ditch and echo quilted around the rest.  If you look closely enough, you will see the glint of silver thread in the echo stitching around the edge of the star.

Now my little man is turning 7 tomorrow, so I had better get back to madly embroidering some towels for his guests!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

School holidays, and we've been busy!

I don't often get the holidays off with the kids, but this school holidays, our company had a scheduled closedown for the second week.  I took the opportunity to spend some time with the kids.

A trip to Madelyn's mum and baby group after not seeing many of them for at least a year, found a new home for a baby knit, as one of the mum's has recently delivered a beautiful little girl into the world.
Kelly Brooker's "March Sisters"  Beth pinnafore pattern and Rosa Leaf Booties by Julia Noskova 
(Modelled on a reborn doll)

We dyed some wool for me to turn into monsters - Austy wanted grey, green,yellow and blue but the blue kind of moulded into more green.  His favourite colour though, so he is happy.

 Maddy couldn't make up her mind and kept adding colours but wanted lots of pink and purple.

We had a marathon craft session from an idea I found on Pinterest:


I love the texture..

.. and Austy's signature (yes the two's are still reversed but he is definitely improving).

I even managed to dust off the sewing machine and sew this little playsuit for Maddy.  So cute!  Can't wait to see it on. 

Pattern from Petite Kids: Johanna Romper. Next time I would definitely make the tie longer, this is a size 5-6 and the images in the pattern look like a smaller size. I like the way the pattern has the tie ends hanging lower.    Fun fabric is a Riley Blake design,with sweet little birdies singing in the flowers.  Perfect for Spring!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

So snugly!

I finally got around to finishing off Madelyn's winter cardy, with just a little bit of winter left! This one is the thickest I have ever made, using super soft Gaia Bulky that I impulsively bought one evening on hyena cart, and a gorgeously squishy woolganics 12ply I dyed up as trim. I wanted it to be super soft wool up near her neck, although I may wish I had picked something else once it starts to pill.

I bought some super cute strawberry buttons from Tessa Ann and patiently waited for them to arrive from the US, but I should stop doing Internet purchases so late at night - I misread and they are far too small, so it had to wait a little longer for me to get around to making some buttons myself.

They look a bit more handmade than my usual standard. I thought it would be a great idea to get the kids to create alongside me, making fridge magnets. But I spent more time softening their clay and helping them than making my buttons. So in the end, I kind of rushed them a bit as it was time to cook dinner. I don't mind too much, but I do think little cherries or apples would have been cuter. Unfortunately the red I had was far too light and I didn't have anything to darken it.
Madelyn hasn't slept today, and refused to model it. So I decided not to push things and went ahead and did the photo-shoot without my grumpy model. Maybe she will indulge me next weekend!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Since I don't have anything new to show...

I thought I should post a photo of the doll quilt I sent out just after Christmas, for last years EBDQS. The little doll modelling it is Madelyn's Baby Stella, who is wearing a little dress I made her using left over wool from a summer top I made for Madelyn.

Here is the top that I made, using the same wool, which I hand dyed to match a delicate pink flower headband I had picked up at a craft market.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Tiny footprints

A couple of weeks ago I caught up with my local Ravelry buddies for a knit-in morning.  Normally I take it as a rare kid-free adventure, but this time Madelyn came along and was ever so quiet that she may even get to come again so that Austy can have some special Daddy time.  I really enjoy sitting down with a cuppa, some yummy treats and some like-minded Mums for a catch up while we share what projects we are knitting and yarns we are working with.  I am so used to knitting on my own, when the kids are in bed, that it's refreshing to talk knitting with real live people!  Not that I get much knitting done, but I come home feeling happy and relaxed, which has to be the main thing.

Anyway, this time, as I pulled out my latest project, someone asked "What tiny thing are you working on today Joy?".  I loved that I was able to shock them with "It's not tiny - it's somnething for ME!" as I pulled out a cardigan I am working on which will hopefully be my first me knit (other than a few socks/scarves) since my first jumper disaster when I was 15! Okay, so it was actually tiny as I hadn't gotten very far.  I haven't had much knitting time until just recently, and I thought I could get some done this week while I have been home sick with the flu, but unfortunately I could only fathom a few rows at a time, as my asthma is playing up and has lead to a nasty chest infection so even knitting is taking it's toll.

Finally with some antibiotics in my system, last night I decided to pick up a tiny project, and a crochet hook instead.  I love that these tiny things are so quick to do, and therfore not a huge amount of effort.  Great little in-betweener projects or for times when the bigger knit I am working on is just a bit too much.  I still can't crochet much more than a tiny hat, but practice makes perfect, right?

When I'd made the hat, I realised it was the perfect shade of pink and the just the right size to go with the little smock I had made a while ago for Angel Baby Nappies.

So this morning, while we stayed warm and dry inside (both Austy and I are on antibiotics now, thanks to the flu Maddy brought home from childcare), I made a matching little nappy.  So now it's a complete set for a 22-24w gestation preemie.  All ready to add to the other odd nappies and hats I have made for charity.  Since I know I can't make huge amounts of these becasue I just don't have the time I'd like to be able to do that much, instead I am going to try and put together a few special matching sets, and try and spread them around to a few different charities.

I couldn't resist that lace on the bum!  It was a little piece I had left over from the liberty top I made Madelyn a couple of summers ago - too small fro anything but too pretty to throw out.  I am so glad I kept it now - it fitted perfectly across the width of the nappy - meant to be!

(Oh and I can't take credit for the crochet blanket - that was Austy's baby rug, now claimed by Maddy, made by my beautiful Nanna)

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Little Declan and a visit to the Gaol

Remember the preemie doll I was working on, to help me get the sizing right for my preemie donations? I found some wool roving at Spotlight and added it to his head, which was the defining moment for me that helped me decide he was indeed a little boy.

I made a little hospital gown using a scaled down version from Milly's (of Tin Whistle) pattern and added an applique boat, and then thought he needed a good seafaring kind of name, and so little Declan was "born".

I tested my own angel nappy pattern on him for size (and am happy to report it is perfect!), and since he looked a little cool in his smock and nappy, I had to knit him a hat. Don't you love how floppy and poseable he is?

After entering him in the doll net contest (and you can vote or check out the other entries over here), I made him a tuiny little sleep suit, which adds so much of a "pick me up and cuddle me" vibe that I wish I had got to it sooner so that he could look all cute and cuddly in his competition photos.  Oh well, I still think he's adorable.

Although not quite as adorable as these to "gaol birds"!  Yep, that's my little munchkins at the Adelaide Gaol, where we visited today for their open day.  Its a little macabre but I wanted to do something special with them as I haven't had much time for them lately, and there was a threat of rain so it seemed like a good little outing where there would be plenty of shelter if we needed it (in the cells!).  We gave the mock execusion a miss, as that wasn't something I wanted to explain to them just yet. The kids loved exploring though, and took home their mug shots and finger prints on a souveneir card and were very happy that their rooms are much nicer than the prison cells.

I love how they were both wearing mostly handmade today.  I finished Austy's Explorer Vest this morning (just needed a few ends darned in) and it is super soft and snuggly, so he has enjoyed plenty of cuddles today.  Of course I can't resist when he's so darned cute! He was also wearing the handmade cords that were made for him in last year's clothing swap, which have had quite a bit of wear now, and still look great.

Maddy didn't miss out - that's her handknitted hat I made her for childcare last year (and her only one that fits her now as her home hat is too small and has disappeared so I think another is on the cards).  She is also wearing her "Little Butterflies" cardigan that is made from yarn I dyed, and perhaps my favourite knit for her so far.  Her cords are yesterday's effort as she is badlyt in need of new clothes since she just keeps getting taller!  There are 3yrs and 3 weeks between these two, and they are both wearing the same size trousers in these photos!  Okay, so Maddy's are a little big - size 110cm from Ottobre 1/2008 but I wanted them to last longer than a few days!  Because of their bagginess I think the front pockets look a bit odd, but with time I am sure they will be fine.  No they are NOT on back to front - there are pockets on the front and the back.  She loves the pockets as they have butterflies and dragonflies in them, like a special secret! So it's great that theyt are on the front so she can access them.  Austy loves my analogy that handmade clothes are like an all day hug, because they were made with love.  He has been thanking me for hugging him all day - precious!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The challenge is on

Today, the Essential Quilters group are participating in a 24h quilt challenge for ANZAC day. Seeing as it has been over a year since I have made anything bigger than a doll quilt, a whole quilt is a bit ambitious for me. So my challenge is a quilt top.

I am doing a Moda Bake Shop recipe, using stash only (excluding the backing and white background fabric that I bought specifically for the project). I started sewing at 6:30pm last night, and fitting in kids bedtime, some washing and an hour walking Lewis, this is where I am up to.

And here is Madelyn's scrappy collage.

Off to get back to the machine!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Last Minute School Holiday Sewing

Austy had a school holiday assignment to restock his pencil case.  He complained that his pencil case was smaller than everyone else's and he wouldn't be able to fit much new stuff in there, and expressed a desparate need to have a pocket to keep his sharpener and eraser separate.

So yesterday, after a trip out to Officeworks to get some more stationery, I decided that we would make him a new pencil case with a pocket.  This was such a last minute decision that I didn't even have the right thread colour (and hate the messy look of the contrast navy stitching) but he doesn't mind at all. And better still, I recycled the bottoms of Andrew's jeans to make it (having recently cut off an hemmed said holey-knee jeans by request).  Austy is facsinated by the idea that something old can be recycled into something new, so it adds to the charm factor for him.

What I did, was applique his name and attach the pocket and zip and then pinned it together inside out for him to sew.  He had no idea what he was sewing but he followed my directions, and sewed the outside edges.  Then, when he turned it right side out, the beam of excitement when he realised he'd juist "made himself" a new pencil case, was priceless!


And an update on my preemie doll - I have decided he's a boy doll now that he has hair and limbs attached, but no idea what I will call him.  I don't want to use the "angel"names like Gabrielle, or Angelo because I think of this as a doll of a live baby.  Sometimes making tiny garments and knowing they are for little angels can be quite sadening, so I have given this little guy some colour in his cheeks and lips to make it a nicer process.  Name suggestions welcome!

Finally, a very rushed photo (since she can't stand still!!) of my last project of the Summer (finished late February), an Olearia shrug for Madelyn, made from white cotton I had in my stash for several years.  I have a bit of a backlog of projects that I will be adding in here whenever I feel like it needs an extra photo or two! 

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Mug Rug Swap

While I am at it, it's about time I shared what I sent and received in a recent Mug Rug Swap.  For those who are a little unsure, a mug rug is a mini quilt, like  a placemat, for putting a hot drink and a biscuit on.  I like to use mine on the arm of the leather lounge so as to protect the leather and have the mug nice and close. 

Here's the gorgeousness I recieved from Rachel - so my style, and Austy was delighted it matched the bag he gave me for Mothers Day last year (which is a lighter shade of teal with a similar leafy print).

 And this little whimsical pinwheel mug rug is what I made and sent to Bec.

Little things

 I haven't had much time for crafting, let alone blogging lateley, but when I have had a few spare minutes to myself, I have been working on tiny things to donate to Little Angels Memory Boxes for grieving parents of babies born too soon. I like that I CAN achieve something with the small amounts of time I have, and that at the same time, I can make a difference in someone's life, to help make an unspeakably sad time just a tiny bit easier.

To help me with my pattern design, I have been creating this little preemie doll, sized at 22w gestation. It is filled with plastic beads so it has soime weight, and has a loose floppy neck just like a real preemie. I have used Sandy Eding's Preemie Doll Pattern which has fabulous instructions and photos to make things easier, but for any budding doll makers out there, it is quite a bit more fiddly than I first imagined. I guess I should have started on something a bit bigger for my first cloth baby doll!

I was going to make a smaller baby, as it's the smaller angels that seem to be uncatered for in the preemie market but then I thought better of it looking at the pattern pieces, and realised 22w was going to be fiddly enough. The limbs are just sitting there at the moment, waiting for me to get to the sewing shop and buy some upholstry thread to attache them, and the toes need sculpting.

I am not sure if this is a boy or a girl baby yet, so haven't decided on a name. I would be happy to take on suggestions, and this baby will be my model for designing and showing new micropreemie items for LAMB and Angel Baby Nappies. The set photographed on the baby is destined for Angel Baby Nappies.

I may be entering this baby in the doll net challenge too, if I can get it finished and fully clothed in time. I know I have no chance of winning, but it's worth a try, even if all it does is promote these worthy charities.

The other photos in this post show a sampling of some of the donations I have made and sent to LAMB over the last few months.

Friday, 6 January 2012

My First Pattern Release!

Yes, it's a small project (can be knitted in one night!) but I am chuffed, that I have finally built up the courage to hit the "activate" button on the first pattern in my Ravelry store!

You have to start somewhere, right?

You can download the pattern for FREE here

 It is my Otis Baby Hat pattern, designed to compliment Georgie Hallam's Milo Vest.  I designed this hat for two very special boys, almost a year ago and it received a lot of interest in Ravelry (probably because Georgie's Milo pattern is so popular - I have knitted 7 of them and I hardly ever knit something more than once!) so I decided to have a go at pattern writing and publish it for free. 

Look out for baby, toddler and child sizes in the next couple of months.

Here is my final test of the newborn size, a new hat for Madelyn's baby doll Zoe.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

And the girl is happy too

Maddy couldn't wait another day for her Cat in The Hat jarmies, so I went my own way with her shorts. No fake fly, just a ruffled hem on a pair of one piece shorty bottoms I drafted myself, with plenty of growing room.
It's a shame the size 4 purchased tee is a little snug - luckily I have a tiny bit of fabric left so I can applique another for her when she outgrows it.
A just turned 3 year old isn't quite as co-operative as a just turned 6 year old, so the photo session was quick and snappy! And of course she had to pull a face, funny girl.
And here they are snuggled on the couch together in matching PJ's and bed hair. Aaaw....