Saturday, August 28, 2010

Art pencils carry case

I got Amanda Soule-Blake´s book Creative Family for my birthday too and am reading through it. I´m up to the art chapter at the beginning. My 4 year old isn´t really much into art and drawing, but the idea is showing that we value his creativity and creations. I thought I´d give it a go and make him a special carry case for his pencils. I made it slightly differently than in the book. The cover is a separate piece of material. It is all sewn together right sides together, turned right way out through a small hole, then edgestitched. The material is from wonderful Jellyspec´s stash. Thanks Jellyspec! It´s not quite as long as the one in the book. I have a few more of these to make as gifts for friends' kids, and then I´m going to make a big A3 fabric envelope to keep his artwork in.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wavelength socks

Here are some socks I´ve just finished for wonderful Jellyspec up in Kapiti, who has just started her doctorate - way to go Jellyspec! These are congratulatory and thank-you socks for her.

The pattern is an adaptation of the Wavelength pattern from the book Toe Up 2 at a Time Socks.
I knitted them one at a time though. I hate to say a bad word about a book, but personally I really did find the 2 at a time book patterns hard to follow. I totally ignored the bulk of the sock pattern and just followed the little graph of the actual pattern stitches. So this is basically a Wendy Knits pattern sock, with a differently spaced Wavelength pattern from the 2-at-a-time book on top.

The wool is lovely soft Fibre Alive wool (colour Winsome Win) from Greytown´s wonderful shop Joy of Yarn, sold to me by the very helpful James, who even held my baby for me there while I popped to the loo.
Castlepoint, North Island, New Zealand

The On-Hold Sock by Wendy Knits

Here are my feet enjoying a happy day at the Short Straw Cafe in Whitemans Valley with the new On Hold Socks I´ve finished. The Pattern is from Wendy Knits Socks from the Toe Up. What a wonderful book this is. There are lots of other patterns in it which I´ll be doing soon. The wool is Regia wool; I´ve forgotten the colourway. Bit scratchier than expected, so I won´t knit this brand of wool again. Now I´m working on the Monkey socks from Cookie A in lovely soft Needlefood Sweet Chilli wool.

View from Summit of Mt Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand

Friday, August 20, 2010

Over t-shirt vest with cowl neck

Just finished a blue over-t-shirt vest for spring/autumn. Its made from a gossamer thin knit from Global Fabrics in Wellington (the entire vest folds up in my palm). I designed the pattern myself after reading Cal Patch´s wonderful book Design it Yourself: Patternmaking Simplified. Its basically the tshirt pattern which you draw up from p 58. I did a scoop neck on it, and then a cowl collar. I wanted something different for the hemline, so I did a satin stitch hemline, which creates the wobbly effect at the hem.

I think cowls are mainly made by either adding lots of extra fabric to the neckline (bit like a peasant shirt) & then extending the neckline to create a cowl, or by having an ordinary tshirt and collar & adding a cowl collar. I did the latter because I wanted a fitted garment, without lots of extra fabric draping under then neck/bust. I´ve seen the former kind around where the garment has been given a cowl neckline by adding fabric to the neckline then made more fitted by taking it away again at the sides, and that seemed to create lots of pulling on the torso of the garment to me (just not what I wanted, although I´m sure lots of people have made super garments doing that).

My cowl is 52cm along the inner neckline (because I did a low scoop neckline on the tshirt), 90cm on the outer neckline, and 10 inches width. I think this turned out OK, but if I did ever make one again, I would make the outer neckline more like 80cm. I wanted an oversize cowl, but I also like it to be sort of ruffly (as opposed to flat sitting) and the cowl I made was borderline in this regard.
Although this cowl isn´t heavy due to the fabric, I used straight stitch (as opposed to a stretch stitch) along the neckline. Inside, I also turned under the edges of the seam and sewed them under to create more strength along that inner neckline seam (where the cowl joins the tshirt).

In my post-pregnancy state, it took me quite some time to figure the whole cowl business out. Here are my hastily written ¨notes to self¨in case I make another one sometime. They are probably illegible and cryptic, but I thought I´d post them anyway (if it saves just one other woman enough time to have a chocolate bar, then its been worth it), so if anyone in internet-land wants any clarification, just ask. I´m not a professional dressmaker, so no promises of correctness! I´m sure someone a ¨few notches¨ better in the sewing world could explain it better and more correctly ;o)

Beach at Porangahau, North Island, New Zealand

Thursday, August 19, 2010

More bags

Next on the sewing list: here are some shopping bags I've just made for my mum as a birthday present. They are the usual 20 x 24 inch bag, corners sewn at the base, french seams. I've sewn the handles under with the turning over at the top, so the handles get stitched over twice, which I think adds alot for strength.

Linocutting and block printing

I´ve lots of projects on the go at the moment. First, I´m slowly cutting out the Alabama Stitch book pattern Angie´s Fall. Man, this is taking ages, and the mylar sheet seems so heavy and thick to cut. It even broke my knife. I´d seriously consider ordering the ready-made stencil from Alabama if I didn´t live on the other side of the world.

While I´m trying to locate a medium mylar sheet to see if this is easier to cut (I can´t find one in this entire country so far), I thought I´d try my hand at linocutting. I´ve fallen in love with Lena Corwin´s book Printing by Hand. She describes everything really well and the book is so well set out. Above is my first go at linocutting / block printing. Its a daisy from my garden. Cutting the lino is great and its easy to do a few cuts when I get a few seconds free. However, it took me ages to print it properly (too much paint, not enough paint, trying different colours, adjusting the pressure on the stamp, adjusting the length of time the stamp is on the fabric). I bought a brayer from Mitre10 (alot cheaper than an art one) and this made a huge difference to the clarity of the printing. It is printed on unbleached calico. I think I´d get a better print on a finer cotton fabric.

This is my second go at a linocut stamp, which I´m hoping to print on bags etc that I make. This print was made on calico, before the brayer purchase, but I haven´t had time to re-do it yet. The chicken I drew is our boss-chicken Susie, a Light Sussex.

Kaikoura, South Island, New Zealand