Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Spring Sewing Swap

Kestrel Makes recently hosted a shopping trip, in which those who wanted to join in went shopping for sewing items for somebody else.  I was paired up with Joanne from Sew Little Time.  After exploring and being inspired by her blog for a while I actually enjoyed the process of trying to come up with a few items that she might make use of and enjoy.  Then I got to do some guilt-free and purposeful shopping!
I received my own mystery parcel from Joanne on Monday, when a sweet card with fancy ladies welcomed me to my bundle of goodies:
I really love the little pin tin in the shape of a thatched cottage, and the retractable measuring tape will be so useful.  All those trims too - as soon as I saw the natural coloured trims my imagination started whirring with the possibilities!  And I do love floral and ribbons, so they have certainly come to a loving home.  I've never read this book before so am looking forward to gleaning new tips and ideas from this read.
Thank you so much Joanne!  and thanks to Kestrel Make's for organising this little shopping trip.  If you fancy a peek at what everybody else received, there is a linky party on Kestrel Make's blog.

Do have a look at Joanne's blog - she recently made a very impressive first effort at drafting her own dress for the Mad Men challenge despite only starting sewing fairly recently.  Unfortunately I didn't take a photo of the items I sent her and she hasn't written a blog post about it either.  So for all those curious, I sent her a dress pattern, a knitting book from her home country, some polka dot ribbon and buttons and some hand made stitch holders for her knitting projects.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Can't believe I'm Crocheting!

Whilst visiting lots of lovely and inspiring blogs throughout the month of May I happened across some lovely crochet.  Now, although I can crochet, I've never found a project that I liked enough to venture beyond sample squares that practice the stitches.
That is until I visited Jo Avery's myBearpaw blog where she has been slowly working on this lovely blanket:
This photo and lovely blanket belong to Jo Avery
Isn't it amazing!  I am really drawn by the idea that they are flowers inside hexagons!  Jo used a vibrant set of colours in Alpaca and Merino wool.
So here is my first ever attempt at my own African Flower Hexagon:
I used a YouTube video to watch this step by step, some colour varying yarn that I already had in my cupboard and a size 4mm hook.  On this one I forgot to do the bottom left corner.
Then I decided to make another one with a slightly larger sized 4.5mm hook but I think it looses it's cuteness.
I imagined my own blanket in lots of muted and natural colours, so decided on 100% Eco-cotton from Debbie Bliss.  Here is my first flower inside a hexagon for my own blanket!  Yay!

Once the yarn arrived in the post, of course I couldn't stop at just trying out one:

Now I am loving the pale ones a lot, but in the future I think I'll only use the darker shades in smaller doses.
Also, I noticed that my flower centres look a lot like the spokes of a wheel.  So I googled a little more and found a photo step-by-step tutorial from Heidi Bear that suggests a different way of making the centres, so I've tried that and I much prefer this kind of centre:
So that is how I will do them from now on.  
I am having a bit of trouble joining the threads and then starting the next row.  I always seem to be too far forward, in front of the hole I'm next supposed to enter, so if you have any tips or can point out any tutorials you may have bookmarked, I'd be most appreciative! I shall google for a few more tips anyway, as it could be because I am left handed and am following right handed tutorials.

Lots to Learn!

Heidi Bear also has a tutorial on how to join up the hexagons as I go!!  ooooh - got to love a challenge!
Have you thought of copying being inspired by someone else lately?

Sunday, 2 June 2013


It was the final week of the Me-Made-May challenge, and despite some awful and non-Spring-like weather, I have managed to wear 3 me-made items.

Wednesday 29 I wore this to work.  I only made the blouse though.  It is Butterick 5354 meant for knit but I made it with a woven batik.  Really comfortable to wear too.

The neckline has lovely tucks, which I was too lazy to do in a a matching thread, so you can see the white  thread - I'll remember that for next time.

Also, the daffodils are nearly gone but we now have two weeks of bluebells and blossom.  I have blogged about this new make here, which features LOTS of bluebells!

Thursday 30th I wore a dress a made in about 2003.  It is a DKNY Vogue pattern 2683 (now out of print) and the fabric is a linen blend and amazingly it doesn't crease!  I love the colour, but the front split with the underneath triangle piece has exposed me to unwanted attention in the past, I think if I wear it again I will stitch that split together.

Friday 31st, last day of May and last day for this challenge.  When I got home from work I changed into my McCall's 6503 Maxi dress blogged about here.
In the flickr group there is a theme on Fridays, but this is the first time I have joined in on the theme.  Can you guess what it is?
The theme is red and mine's in my glass!

It has been an interesting challenge to document wearing my handmade clothes.  I have enjoyed this month a lot.  The biggest intrusion that the challenge has had on my month was getting all the photos taken in the mornings and then uploading and posting them onto flickr and then onto this blog in the evenings.  I am still in awe of those who did this daily and am relieved that I committed to only 3 per week.

The most rewarding thing about this challenge has been the other members of the flickr group.  So many sewing ladies were very complimentary, helpful and generous with their ideas.  I really value receiving constructive feedback from such knowledgeable women.  And there were so many garments to inspire daily!  I really enjoyed seeing figures similar to my own looking fantastic wearing patterns that I hadn't even thought of trying.

So what have I learned from all these photographs of myself?

  • I make a lot of green and blue items.
  • Despite wearing a lot of skirts I don't seem to want to make any and I am quite happy with the ones I buy.
  • I'd like to make more blouses and tops, oh and I still want to make more dresses!
  • I now know how all these blog writers create their photo montages! Picmonkey will be my new time sapper.
  • I have a very versatile shoe collection but strangely no black flats.
  • I think I will try crochet.
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