Thursday, 25 July 2013

Old MacDonald had a Farm E- I- E- I- O

Earlier this year I injured my thumb, making it rather difficult to make things. After some attempts to knit and crochet with my left hand,  I realised that extended rest and a thumb splint was inevitable. My patience and sanity only extended to about two months before I was back into making items of substance. My first commissioned piece came in the form of a tea cosy for a woman who lived on a farm who was soon to turn 60.  Yay, my favourite tea cosies. My brain when into overdrive thinking of all the options for making a farm themed tea cosy. The idea I pitched was for a green tea cosy with little farm yard animals sitting on top.

So first things first. Lets see if I can make little animals.  I found crocheted patterns for a cute cow and sheep. Originally the pattern was for 8 ply yarn and a 4mm hook to make animals 7.5cm high.  I can't put animals this big on a cosy, the animals wouldn't stand up properly. So here came thumb test number one; lets make them out of 20 mercer cotton with a 1.5mm hook. The sheep was first and here is a little picture of her.

 Yippee it worked! She ended up being about 4 cm long and about 2 cm tall. Perfect size to put on a tea cosy.

The excitement continued with the addition of Betsy the cow.

Then the tricky, chickens. All of the patterns I could find resulted in chickens the same size as the cow. It was looking like, I would be rewriting the nursery rhyme... "old macdonald had a farm E- I- E- I- O, and on that farm he had a super mutant chicken....". But with some even finer work and felt, three chickens were made to make the little family complete.

Ok, animals check, cosy hmm, what and how. To which I thought, wouldn't it be great to make it like a field with tussocks using a moss stitch. Turned out this is not as easy as you think. Moss stitch is made using an uneven number of stitches, tea cosies knitted in the round are made in multiples of two. These concepts cant really exist together. But with the use of my science and creative brain, a plan was hatched (ha ha bad pun). Admittedly there was quite a bit of refining as the cosy developed. But here it is, the finished one piece moss stitch knitted cosy.

So with the blank canvas made, the animals of Old MacDonald's Farm were going to make their debut. With only the animals on top, it looked a bit sparce. So with some tiny flowers and grass it was starting to take form.

It still looked a bit sparse, so more grass tussocks were put on the top.  With the final touches made, Old MacDonald had a Farm E- I- E- I- O was born.

Update: I recently posted this on Facebook and I am very chuffed with all of the lovely words people have said about this cosy.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Every cloud has a silver lining

As part of the self imposed year of crafternoons, I have been lucky enough to be holding some workshops at Shop Handmade Canberra throughout the year. One of the workshops I had planned was to make origami lilies; a lovely little introduction to origami that isn't the ubiquitous paper crane. Don't get me wrong, I love what the paper cranes stand for, I just think variety is a good thing. Anyway I was all ready for the workshop to be held. I'd sourced cool origami paper from Japan, old maps and music and cut them into numerous 15 x 15 cm squares. I made a couple as examples and put them in Shop Handmade to build interest

Alas, given timing of the Canberra 100 Year Birthday Celebrations, there was not enough interest in the workshop to hold it (that's what I'm telling myself anyway),

So, where is this silver lining you are talking about. Well, as the samples were in the shop, one of their regular customers saw them on display and was keen to find out whether multiples could be made as so to become her bridal bouquet. Of course they could!! The Bride wanted several flowers to be made out of red/crimson, cream and latte colours. Hmmm I know some brides can be quite the bridzilla so I thought the best way to handle this was to get a variety of colours in the general area of those colours and present them to her to choose. 

Colour choice swatches for the Lilies
Colours chosen for the lily bouquet

From the colours chosen, four lilies were made from each colour. This gave rise to a lovely collection of flowers. 

But a pile of lilies doesn't make a bouquet. So with a bit of floral decorating magic, stems and florist tape was added to make them into a true bouquet.


 Off to be delivered tomorrow. I hope she likes them. 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Fashion mashup; crochet necklace meets singlet

Early this week, I had a little light bulb moment. I love singlets and sleeveless shirts, but the pretty ones are too darn expensive. So I though why not jazz one up yourself. Off to the craft room I went with a lovely set of different cotton singlets. Now anyone who knows me will confirm that I do love an adornment; with many of my clothing and shoes with ruffles, bows and buckles. With a scan through my favourite pictures I came across a lovely little number that A Common Thread designer/ maker Stephanie created; the crocheted bib necklace

The pattern is made in a bulky cotton and looks great for the bib necklace, but bulky yarn is not really my thing. Searching through the bag of fine crochet yarn I found the perfect yarn to go with my plan white cotton singlet, a Milford Perle 10 natural yarn in natural. 

As the yarn I chose was so much thinner than that of the original pattern some adjustments needed to be made. Firstly I increased the number of scallops on each row and increased the number of rows to five. Here are a couple of pictures of the finished product. 

Thank you Stephanie for sharing a lovely pattern!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

My craftcrush on Amy Butler

As you may know Oliver and Madge shares a post box with Sophie. Usually this box is full of boring old bills. But not today :-) two Amy Butler patterns arrived yippee. If you have never heard of Amy Butler before today, you HAVE to check out some of her fantastically bright and cool fabrics and patters. Even though she is based in the USA, fabrics and patterns can be sourced in Australia. 

The two patterns that arrived are frenchy bags and birdie sling. 

I have previously made the weekender bag using bright fabric from Ikea. Currently Amy Butler is asking people who have made the weekender to post photos on her Friday Flickr Page. 

So I am very excited to be starting my new projects.  I'll keep you posted on the progress 

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Homage to Projects of 2012

Another year has passed and boy am I glad that it can be put behind me. The first six months were exciting, filled with madly making items for the rural shows, and subsequently winning prizes. Yay for me! However, the last six months have been quite a journey, full of experiences for making me stronger. Yep well this year it is the goal to make things different. I am going to focus on cherishing things more and developing Oliver and Madge.

This is not to say that there has been no creations over the past year, just that they have been poorly documented up until now. So here is a few photo's to inspire others (also known as a brag page hee hee) 

***Please respect my intellectual property by not copying these designs for profit. If you have any requests please send me an email***

Second Prize in Small Hand Knitted Item
Rock Pool Crocheted Bib Necklace

Magic Mushroom plays with the big guys at Royal Sydney Easter
and gets Highly Commended

Cardigan for Mum's Birthday (I've since been told it's too warm for  Sydney)

Rock Pool at Low Tide (Commission piece for a surfer family)

Warm Pair of Woolly Socks for the Man
(thanks to Cat Bordi for teaching me to make socks)

(Commission piece for a keen lover of the Australian Bush)
You can see how the photo's of pieces have slipped as the year progresses; home phones, issues with lighting, and resolution.  I especially like the next one in which the white and cream backdrop of the white skirting board and carpet do nothing to show off the colours. we all learn from out mistakes. Not the best option for presentation, but I can't really expect much when I'm rushing to a deadline and my time management is poor.  Both cosies have gone to good homes, so no other photos can be sourced.

When Autumn Leaves Start to Fall

Up Where the Sky is Clear
( an exploration into dry felting)

Looking back it has been quite a busy year for creating and making.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...there is STUFF everywhere

Time is an amazing construct. It is quantified by the number of times a atom vibrates. Yet, it has a qualitative measure for example when you are bored or doing something awfully mundane it drags and drags. Whereas, when it's December time flies and before you know it it is two weeks before Christmas and there are things that need to be made for the market stall, the car needs to be serviced, start thinking presents for family and friends to about and then there is the Christmas cards. OMG the Christmas Cards! For about 10 years I have been making my own cards by hand. The designs range from various incarnations of Christmas trees, baubles, doves, and stars. This year I thought I would revisit a Christmas stamp of a bare tree. The last time I used this design I sewed onto the card red and green sequins to represent baubles on the tree. This year I went with holly.

Several months ago when Christmas decorations were first coming out, so probably around October, I found these cute little holly die cuts. Snap! these will be great on cards with the tree stamp. So with a bit of fiddling around with stamping and sewing on holly leaves then playing around with paper holly berries, I finally came up with the following design.

Each card had a tree stamped on, then with the additional help of a holly punch, more leaves were made. The additional leaves were glued then stitched in place. The same holes used for sewing on the leaves were then used to sew three glass seed beads on. On the inside a flyleaf of paper was glued along one edge to protect the cotton holding it together on the wrong side.

This stamp is readily available so if you read this and find it a great idea for your next cards, I'd love to see them. Please respect my creations and not copy it directly.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Off to Bungendore we go

As part of the slow plan for crochet and knitting to take over the world,  Oliver and Madge brooches and bibs can now be purchased in Bungendore. Trish Creegan, of the Station Shops at Bungendore fame, has opened one of the rooms as a regional designer maker gallery. The Station Shops have been revamped and now have a lovely collection of french inspired homewares including linen by Linum, furniture, decor pieces, jewellery and scarfs (my favourite) and of course things for the little ones too toys and decor. Women worry no more about your partner's disgruntled 'do I have to go?', there is a men's creche at the Station Shops to occupy them while you wander and observe.

First little launch into Bungendore
 So off I trotted to the Station Shops with 10 brooches and 12 bibs in tow. I wasn't quick enough to get my tea cosies in the gallery.Oh well, you snooze you loose.