Monday, May 30, 2011


Since moving to my current town, I have met a wonderful group of ladies, who have made my journey of motherhood a whole lot better than it would otherwise have been.  I am incredibly grateful to have met so many kind and generous women, who give more than they get, and are always on hand with advice and help (especially since I don't have any immediate family close by).  And I would like to thank all of them for all the wonderful things - both physical and emotional - that I have received from them.

Of all the women I have met, none are more generous than Nyree.  She is always willing to have P and J and myself drop by her place (often unannounced) and on many more than one occasion I have returned home laden with clothes and things for the girls.  Given that money is tight for us, this is very much appreciated.  So last week I thought it would be a good time to say thanks.  So I made a few bits and pieces for Nyree and her three children.

For Nyree

A set of 4 coasters, floral on the front and blue on the back.

For Miss L
A practically no sew fairy skirt (its hard to tell how this looks, but it is very cool)

For Master J
A set of fabric numbers (like those I did for P)

And for little Miss M
A sweet knitted top (excuse the poor photo - I was running around the house trying to photograph things before we left).

Thank you so much for all your help and support Nyree, it means the world to me to have someone as wise and giving as you in my life.

Friday, May 27, 2011

And the winner is...

JollyM! Congratulations, you've won the maroon merino baby hat.

Thanks to everyone who entered, and who enjoyed reading my blog.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Art slump

My project this week is supposed to be Art.  But I've hit an art block.  My giveaway post is here

 It all started with the records, and the idea to make really cool birds with them.  When I found the records so cheaply, it seemed like a sign that I should make this art.  Then I realised I needed a hot knife, so I bought one that wasn't terribly expensive.  And then I couldn't find any gas that would fit it.  You need to fill the hot knife with flammable gas (essentially the same as with a lighter), but we (DH and I) couldn't find any cannisters that had the right attachment for my hot knife, so it remains stubbornly unfilled.

Now it is sitting on a shelf, while the records sit in a pile in my bedroom and I am stuck.  I can't complete the artwork I wanted to, and I think I may have gone off the boil with the idea anyway, but I can't seem to move on from it to something else.  So now I am stuck, with an art idea that I can't move beyond.

I might see if I can find some other art at that place I go where I buy stuff (you know where I mean), or maybe some frames for the artworks I've already got.  But this is also fraught with issues - the only framing options seem to be prohibitively expensive, or cheap and ill fitting.

Maybe I'll just spend all week immersed in my Art history books instead.

Monday, May 23, 2011

May Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.  Thanks to everyone who entered.

I'm participating in Sew Mama Sew's giveaway day, and I'm so excited.  Its a great opportunity to have a look around heaps of blogs, and maybe even win something!

I'm really excited to be giving away one of these little baby hats, in either red, maroon or brown. They're made of upcycled woollen jerseys.  The red and brown are heavier wool, and the maroon is a lighter weight merino.  They fit approximately newborn up, although that is really only a guess, since I don't have a tiny baby to try them on.  They definitely don't fit an 18month old though - much to J's disappointment.

To enter, simply leave a comment telling me which hat you'd prefer.  If you're a follower, leave a second comment telling me so for a further chance to enter.*  I'll decide a winner by scrolling up and down the list of comments with my eyes closed.  I'm happy to ship internationally, and the giveaway is open until 25th May. Please feel free to look around my blog, and don't forget to check out the other blogs taking part in the giveaway day.

*Make sure that I have some way to contact you if you win.  If you are a fellow blogger, check to make sure that you're not a 'no reply' blogger.  Otherwise, leave an email address using the format xyz(at)gmail(dot)com.  It confuses spammers that way.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Welcome baby L

I have just finished this little layette for my sister in law, and not a moment too soon, because she welcomed her son, baby L last week.  We are going to see him soon, and I can't wait to meet my first nephew, and the girls first cousin.

It consists of a Kauri Vest, a little hat and a pair of booties.  The hat and booties are also my own pattern.

The booties are mostly garter stitch with some k2 p1 rib along the leg part, to match the vest.

The hat is also garter stitch, with a band of k2, p1 rib at the bottom.
 The wool is TWC in blue (I think?).  Hopefully my sister in law gets plenty of wear out of them for her wonderful winter baby boy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

But wait there's more

This smock is probably my favourite garment from my week of winter sewing.  I used this pattern, but instead of joining them all together, I added seams.  Essentially, I attached piece 1 and 3, and 2 and 4 together, then cut the front on the fold, and the back as two pieces.  It meant that I was able to get the whole smock out of the front and back of a woollen jersey.  Just don't forget to add a seam allowance when you cut.

Its red wool on one side

And a narrow patterned corduroy on the other.  I decided against a pocket, because I wanted it to be completely reversible.

You can't really tell from this picture, but I sewed the buttons together so that it can be buttoned from either side.
I'd love to say that P adores it, but actually she isn't all that keen on it.  Perhaps because it is a bit different from her other clothes, or maybe just because I would actually really like her to wear it.  

I have to confess however, that my week of winter sewing was not entirely a success.  I decided I would felt a couple of the jerseys that I didn't have much other use for.  Sadly the picture below is the after shot.  Notice how unfelty they look? Thats because I seem to be incapable of felting anything in my washing machine.
That's right, I am a felting failure.  I use a hot wash, with other garments in the machine to churn them up.  Maybe its because my machine doesn't have a central agitator? Maybe the jerseys are just tougher than they should be?  Should I have added soap? Its a mystery to me.  If you've got any tips you'd like to share, please let me know where I'm going wrong.

Secret squirrel

My project this week is a bit hush hush.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Clothing swap

I know it seems like I have been posting like crazy lately, but I completely blame bloggers technical problems.  I had all these posts all sorted out, and then I couldn't get into my account for a couple of days.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the amazing swap that we received for P.  I only have close ups because the rest of the pictures all have P wearing it in them.  It was really hard to get any pictures with her not wearing them because she loved the outfit so much.  I received a lovely pinafore with some little fish appliqued on the front, and a gorgeous pink merino top, with plenty of extra length to wear underneath it.
Close up of the wonderful little fish.  P loves fish and she just adored this when she saw it.

The buttons are from Buttons by Benji and they are just fantastic (I'm running out of superlatives here).  Anyway, its pretty hard to tell just how lovely this outfit is just by looking at these close ups, so I will endeavour to post some full length pictures soon.

Thanks so much to my swappee, I'm really thrilled with my swap - and more importantly, P just loves it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Handmade swap

I spent a little bit of time this week going through my photos, and I realised that I hadn't posted anything about the outfit I made for the handmade winter clothing swap I took part in recently.  So here it is, modelled by the very accommodating P.  I had thought she would be a bit disappointed that she wasn't going to keep this coat, but actually she was really excited to find out that another girl was going to get it, and she was very eager to see photos of the other girl in it.

The pattern is a dressing gown pattern that I was given.  I cast about in my meagre pattern stash and thought I could make a nice coat using the basics of the dressing gown pattern.  However, when I got the pattern pieces out, I found the instructions were actually for a completely different top.  But I had already decided to do the coat, so I decided to go ahead anyway.  Its pretty much the same process as a top, so I just sewed it like one.  

It doesn't have a collar because I wasn't sure how to make that work with the pattern pieces.  The outer layer is a purple suede, and the inside is some pink cotton that I have in my stash.  I decided to line it because that seemed the easier option, and it was really straightforward.

Plus, check out the buttonhole.  Pretty normal, maybe a little wonky but overall I'm really happy how well they came out - its the first time I'd buttonholed with my machine, and I was terrified I was going to make a mistake and ruin the whole coat.

I'm really happy about how it all turned out.  The pattern was really straightforward, even without instructions.  I'm keen to make P one with a wool layer on the outside (especially since I'm currently obsessed with making woollen things).

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Woollen Singlet

As part of my winter sewing week I made myself a woollen singlet out of a jersey.  Like the baby hats, this was a really easy project.  Its a bit hard to see because its black, but I cut out the jersey up the middle, so that I could retain the neckline, and not have to bind around that part of the singlet.  I used one of my existing singlets as my guide.

Then all I did was sew the two side seams (in fact I was so lazy that I just zigzagged up them).  I have an overlocker that a wonderful friend kindly lent me, but that is a whole other post.
Once I had done the side seams, I measured along the strap/armhole bit and then bound the raw edges.  I used cotton ribbing because a) it doesn't fray, which means I don't have to do any fancy binding and folding thing, and b) I have oddles (thank you spellcheck, its a real word) of it.
One woollen singlet finished and very wearable.  It doesn't look all that flash, but since I only want to wear it under clothes, I don't really care.  To be honest, it is so snuggly, I wonder how I managed to make do without one before.  I'll do a tutorial for one when I get the chance to make another.  P and J were not in the mood for photos while I sewed this together.  In fact my sewing in general has been hampered by J's recent obsession with pins.  Is it a bad thing when your 18month old finds pins and brings them to you?

Woollen baby hats

So I am finally posting about my winter sewing.  The first thing I made was some baby hats.  I found this tutorial and thought it would be great in wool.
And they were so easy and quick to make.

Now is also a good time to mention that I will be taking part in Sew Mama Sew's May giveaway day, so stay tuned for that, especially if you like the look of the hats I've made.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

No project this week

I don't have a project this week, because we have to take a trip to Waikato Hospital.  P was born with a very large birthmark on her forehead, and after much consideration, DH and I decided to have it removed surgically.  There are a couple of reasons for our decision.  The most important one is that I have a very strong family history of melanoma, and this is a very large birthmark, with an associatedly (I don't think that is actually a word, but you get what I mean) large risk.  The other reasons are aesthetic, because although it is in her hairline, when her hair is pulled back the birthmark can still be seen; and it is easier to do it now, while she is young, rather than her wanting to do it as a teenager or adult and the process being more difficult.

We have had some of it removed already, and they are going to cut a bit more out tomorrow.  It is all very upsetting and nerve wrecking, even though we've been through it before.  The travelling doesn't help either since it means we all have to go.

Anyway, the point of this post is to let you all know what is going on, and since I am going to be busy and stressed this week, there is no point attempting a project as well.  However I suspect I may get a little bit of knitting done.

Winter sewing update

I've been having a few issues with my blog.  I couldn't post yesterday.  But don't worry, my week of winter sewing was really successful, and there are plenty of photos to come about all the sewing I managed.  But you'll have to wait a few days to see it.  I'll be away for a couple of days (see my next post) with the family.  However I promise photos on my return.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Kauri Vest Pattern

This is my standard 'new baby' knit because I think its such a useful item of clothing to have.  I decided to call this pattern the Kauri vest, because the top part of  the ribbing reminded me of tree trunks.  The Kauri is a native New Zealand tree that grows very large.  Its a kind of NZ version of the phrase 'mighty oaks from little acorns grow'.

I'd love to see any creations, please post your links in the comments.  You can also find the pattern on Ravelry

Monday, May 2, 2011

Winter sewing

My project this week is to do some winter sewing.  I have to extend some of P's pants, so I'll be making some cuffs for them.  And then I thought I should do something with my rather extensive collection of woollen jerseys.
Every time I go to the Hospice Shop I buy the woollen jerseys that they have.  I just can't pass up 100% merino for 50c each.  If they don't fit me, they go into the pile to be made into things for the girls.  (The picture above is just the ones that don't fit me.)  

I have some plans to felt a couple of them, and maybe some baby hats and singlets.  We'll see how much of that I can actually achieve this week, since I think that I may have bitten off more than I can chew.
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