Tuesday, 23 July 2013

the Quilting Exhibition - or what to do when stuck in a sewing slump

I haven't really been doing much sewing lately. I have been working on some mending, but nothing noteworthy unless you want to hear about the home in my jumper that I haven't fixed yet and a coat  button that fell off in the most inopportune moment. I got started on the cape, but that deserves it very own blog post of when I highlight all my mistakes so far :-)

Anyway, the Queensland Art Gallery is having a quilting exhibition and my wonderful friend Anne suggested a visit. It was a great day out ... the sun was shining, the quilts were exquisite and my friend is great company. Only a year ago I wouldn't have truly understood the work and the concentration that went into these works of art. I am not going to regurgitate everything I saw, because pictures just don't do it justice, however there is one quilt that I feel needs mentioning.

I felt that the most outstanding piece was actually the Francis Brayley Military quilt. Soldiers were encouraged to take up sewing instead of drinking and gambling, so some time around 1870 this quilt was born in the British barracks in India (admittedly, he may have bought it, but that doesn't sound nearly as romantic now, does it) .

Each little wool hexagon is 1.5 cm across and the entire quilt measures 238.7cm x 238.7cm.

That's a lot of little hexies and some dedication :-)

Friday, 12 July 2013

Lekala 4099 - ahoy there, mateys :-)

I am finally getting around to posting about my newest Lekala 4099. My husband has been occupying the computer lately with his desire to learn SQL.

I had originally planned for the jersey to be used for a Humming Bird top, but it is more of a cosy jersey that was asking to be made into a winter top. I had been thinking about making a long sleeved top like this for a while although as I finished it I realised that it might be a bit pirate costume like ... never mind though, everyone needs a bit of adventure in their life ... so ahoy there, me mateys. (I realised after I had taken the pictures that I had forgotten to press the shoulder seams, so ooops)

This version has a centre front seam as I couldn't fit is otherwise. I wasn't so sure about it at first, but it seems unobtrusive, so I'll see how I feel about it in a couple of weeks. I made it a little tighter then the black one, because the jersey relaxed and I need to resew that one as part of my next mending Monday maybe.

I am not very good at this taking pictures of myself business really. I am looking at my back thinking 'Why oh WHY, for goodness sake, didn't I smooth out THOSE wrinkles in the back"

Onwards to the cape ...

Monday, 8 July 2013

Monday mending

I have realised that a big part of my stash problem are clothes waiting patiently to be mended, shortened, or fixed in some other way. You know what it is like ... you find something in a thrift shop that only needs a seam restitched and you are going to do that the very next day and then it just sits there waiting and waiting and then 2 years later (or 4 ... sigh) it is still sitting there. Well, not anymore ... I shall spend each Monday in July and August fixing those things up, provided I don't get side-tracked too much ;-)

Today I mended a duvet cover for the kids (seam ripped 18 months ago), I fixed a dress for my little girl (been waiting for this one 6 month ago), and sewed a vent shut in a jeans skirt (bought 12 months ago) that was so indecent it could have given Sharon Stone a run for her money in Basic Instinct.

It was a nice beginning, but my crown jewel so to speak, was the refashion of an old flannel shirt from my husband into a scarf. It is sooooo soft, exactly what you want to wear in bed when you are sick and vapour-rubbed. I cut the shirt into squares - 3 from the back, 1 from each front, 1 from a sleeve, sadly the other sleeve was too ripped. I then sewed the 6 squares together, folded it lengthwise and sewed it, and lastly finished off the ends ... voila ...

Over the weekend I also whipped up another Cowl 4.2 (you can't imagine the joy it gives me to say whipped up, cause usually everything lingers a little longer in the Giggles' household), this time in dark blue. I still have some black yarn as well, but I really need to be concentrating on finishing the top, so maybe later.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Cowl 4.2

I have wanted a slim cowl for a while, because ... now don't laugh ... whilst doing the dishes in the winter, I can't wear a scarf as it inevitably ends up in the water. Since I knitted some of it during my son's athletics carnival, this reasoning had plenty of people in stitches (ha ha) ... especially non-knitters ... in reality I thought it was a perfect project - I had a clear idea what I needed, it wasn't beyond my skill level and I had the yarn just sitting around as a left over from other projects :-)

I had been looking for a while, but couldn't really settle on any pattern, so in the end I just made my own. It was a really fast knit, so I didn't feel too bad (and only slightly frustrated) when I had to undo it all over and over and over again to get the size right.

The yarn is Moda Vera Shiver in grey left over from the cardigan. The yarn is very bulky, so I didn't want a cowl that needed to be looped around the neck. Firstly I cast on 92 stitches and worked in the round, but it was clear after about 5 rows that it would be beyond massive. Next I cast on 80 stitches and I did the whole cowl and it turned still way too big. Version 3 was slightly better with 66 stitches, but was still gaping at the top. I needed it to be somewhat snug fitting, otherwise my neck would get cold, but not too snug otherwise it wouldn't fit over my head. Slightly frustrated I then cast on 42 stitches and started with that. I did 3 broken ribs and then cast off. All the way through I thought it was going to be too small, but I stuck with it and ended up with the top half of this.

My cast off is tighter then my cast on, so it was barely big enough to fit over my head. I wore it all day around the house, and whilst it was snug and warm around my neck, my décolleté (the part of my torso above my bust) got cold. So off I went and undid my cast off. I increased and increased and ended up with a kinda triangle shaped tube. Despite it being slightly odd looking, it is perfect for my neck. I call this a win. Maybe I'll make another one in blue .. hmmm.

Pattern for working it in the flat:

the Moda Vera Shiver yarn on a 9mm needle was 3 stitches and 4 rows for an inch square

Cast on 42 stitches (40 for the rib and 2 for the seam as my round needles where too big)
rows 1-5: knit 3, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2 ... until there is only 1 stich left, knit 1
row 6: knit all stitches
row 7: knit 1, purl 40, knit 1
row 8: knit all stitches
row 9: knit 1, purl 40, knit 1
row 10: knit all stitches
rows 11-15: knit 3, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2 ... until there is only 1 stich left, knit 1
row 16: knit all stitches
row 17: knit 1, purl 40, knit 1
row 18: knit all stitches
row 19: knit 1, purl 40, knit 1
row 20: knit all stitches
rows 21-25: knit 3, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2 ... until there is only 1 stich left, knit 1
row 26: knit 2, M1, knit 4, M1, knit 4, M1, knit 4 ... until there is only 1 stich left, knit 1
row 27: knit 1, purl the rest until there is only 1 stich left, knit 1
row 28: knit 5, M1, knit 5, M1, knit 5 ... until there is only 1 stich left, knit 1
row 29: knit 1, purl the rest until there is only 1 stich left, knit 1
row 30: knit all stitches
row 31-35: knit 3, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2 ... until there is only 1 stich left, knit 1
row 36: knit all stitches
row 37: knit 1, purl 40, knit 1
row 38: knit all stitches
row 39: knit 1, purl 40, knit 1
row 40: knit all stitches
row 41-45: knit 3, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2 ... until there is only 1 stich left, knit 1
cast off in a very loose cast off (I didn't have enough yarn for the full last rib, so I cast off after row 42

finish off by sewing the seam to form a tube.

On other news, I made a chocolate cherry brownie, where I didn't melt the chocolate, instead added it as chucks and then added a jar of heated cherries (without the juice). It melted the chocolate slightly and was very yummy.