Friday, 24 August 2012

Blanket 2012

I make exactly one blanket per year. No more. Regardless of how much I might like another throw then and there or how it would be a great present for xyz. It just takes up too much time and space and I lose interest halfway through and I don't like having lots of unfinished WIPs around the place. Last year it was a blanket for my son. It took months and months, but he loved it.

This year is my Dad's 60th, so I thought it would be nice to make him one for the cold winters in Germany. When I told him about my son's blanket his reply was along the lines of 'well, are you sure you want to do that for the rest of your life' (yes Dad, that is what I like to do when I am not doing my main job i.e looking after your grandchildren and no, I don't feel like I am wasting my life), but I am hoping that he might be more positive towards his own.

It's crochet in a shell stitch, lots and lots of little shells. In the colours that remind me of his home. The ivory for the snow, the brown for the house, the blue for the lake, the green for the forest, it all reminds me of home.

For some reason, when I looked at the finished shell stitch portion, I thought it was too small (to fit a single bed) and it needed a border. It now measures 145cm (57in) x 210cm (83in) (and weight more then 3.5 kg) and is perhaps a little larger then anticipated :-)

I have sent it off today and hopefully it'll arrive before Sept. 9th. I am somewhat glad it is finished.

Off to fabric-a-brac tomorrow though and I am super excited :-)

Monday, 20 August 2012

Spring is in the air

In preparation for the (inevitable) return of the heat - I'd rather not call it spring, because having a month of semi hot weather before it turn hot 'n humid really doesn't qualify as it's own season - I have asked the son whether he needed anything and he apparently needed some red shorts (for Rugby training - Go Reds).

When I pick up the Ice Cream Social dress pattern I felt guilty about buying such an expensive pattern for the daughter, so in the interest of sibling equality I also bought Beach Bum Hoodie and Board Shorts by Patterns by Figgy's.

I wish I could recommend them as enthusiastically as I did with Oliver + S. The pattern itself was okay, but the instruction left a bit to be desired to be honest. They reminded me of a photo tutorial without the photos, and I found it irritating that there wasn't a separate layout for the shorts instead it was for the shirt and the shorts together. Why is that irritating I hear you ask, well, because I looked straight for the shorts bit in the instructions and was then confused why the layout wasn't there and why there was no mention of the seam allowances. I did find them eventually in the hoodie section.

Another niggly bit was there was a long description about how to finish the seams for a sensitive child and after reading it I thought they sounded like flat-felled seams, but at no point did it say that and I would have preferred they had said that and then went on to describe it in detail. And don't get me started on the pockets. In short I ended up not using the instructions at all. Instead I used some Simplicity shorts instructions and my own. I think they turned out well.

He likes them and wants another pair, maybe a little shorter though. He also likes his shorts (and pants) to sit on his hips, but I think these are meant to be worn higher and thus have a lot of room in the crotch area, so next time I should probably take 5 cm or so off from the top if that works with the pockets that is. This is how it looks with the shorts properly pulled up (complete with dirt stains from the rugby training).

I do like him in red, it suits him and he is easily picked out in a group :-)

Thursday, 16 August 2012

one ice cream (dress) to go please

After feeling a little discouraged with the amount of time and effort to took to decipher the robe pattern, I reconsidered the amount of money I am willing to spend on paper patterns (very little) and took myself to Peppermint Stitches, the delightful quilting store down the road from me. It's a feel-good store, where I usually spend a lot of time browsing and dreaming. More importantly they sell Oliver + S patterns and I seem to remember other people writing on their blogs (really spell check, you take offence to that word on a blog ?!? would blogi be better ? anyway) about just how lovely their instructions were. So, in short, I paid the 24.95 (even ordering it in the US and having it shipped to Australia wouldn't have made it much cheaper) for the Ice Cream Social dress and carried it proudly home. After spending that much on the pattern, I had to search my remnant pile right away and came up with 2 kinda matching cotton prints from my favourite Spotlight line 'Spots and Stripes'.

It took my 2 days (some 30 odd days less then the robe) and a lot less worrying and stressing and here we have it: the ICE CREAM SOCIAL DRESS. It fits and all (I shortened it a little).

My V's at the collar and on top of the pockets are not as neat as they could be, but in all fairness I might avoid them in the next dress all together. They do add a nice touch, but it was a bit of an effort to get them okay looking (also I used every single scrap of the pink stripey fabric, so I had no do overs).

I also have a little mistake on this side where the pink stripes didn't quite meet seamlessly on the bottom panel, but again, it is very small and hardly noticeable. The instructions were brilliant. I have read the some people found them too wordy, but because everything was spelled out I could work on it in the evening when the kids were asleep without worrying that I was going to miss something really important :-)

Sunday, 12 August 2012

still alive - now with bathrobe :-)

A little over a month ago I had this idea that in order to prepare for my Christmas dress I should probably try to figure out how to read patterns and make something from a commercial big 4 pattern. So,, after some searching through my ever increasing stash (despite all my fabric diets and destashing attempts - gosh, I have no will power) I came up with this - fast AND easy B5724 Butterick - a robe for my son.

And no, not just any robe, I was going to use thick brown flannel and make it a bit like a Jedi robe, you know, the sort that Obi-Wan Kenobi might wear around the house when it's a bit chilly - obviously not on Tatooine, but maybe whilst staying at the temple. So I ordered 3 yards of the flannel from and washed it. After ironing it, it became apparent that it had either not been as wide as it claimed to be or that it shrank quite a lot or a mixture of both, as a result the suggested layout did not work. All of a sudden it looked like just getting a robe out of the 3 yards would be a struggle, never mind the additional hood. I solved the problem by halving the sleeve length and instead of a cuff, we just have a normal hem. He doesn't care, why should I :-)

I did find the instructions at times a struggle, mostly because it was every word counts. Baste, Gather, iron in place, it just took some time to get used to. Also I did the facing differently to the instructions and after a while I only consulted the instructions and instead looked at my husbands store-bought robe to see how they did things (it's lasted 10 years and still going strong, so I took that as a sign of it being well constructed). Here is a close-up of one of the two pockets.

It took a long time for me and I realised that when they say that flannel dulls the needle quickly, they really mean quickly (I went through 5 needles in total). It turned out to be a bit more time consuming and a bit less fast then I thought, but hey, you live and learn. Spring is almost upon us here in Queensland, so soon I shall go back to skirts and tops for me :-)