Sunday, 5 July 2015

School Holiday Friendship Bracelets

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The problem with the July school holidays in Australia is that they fall in the middle of Winter and it's a bit tricky to keep everyone amused, when it's cold and rainy outside.  A cute little craft activity can be just the thing to keep boredom at bay.

  
You will need:

Florist wire
Scissors to cut the wire and/or jewelers pliers and snippers 
Crochet cotton
Crochet hook


Method:

Using the florists wire make a charm by bending the wire into the desired shape, leaving wire loops at either end to attach the crochet band.  You can make letters or symbols and it's a lot of fun to experiment.










To make band

The band is made by making a crochet chain which is tied to the little loops formed in the wire charms.  Measure the length of band you require (or guess if you are making the bracelet for a friend) and allow enough length so that the bracelet can be tied loosely around the wrist.  The band is made in two sections and is of equal length on each side of the charm.

Happy school holidays

Deb and Andie

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Sunday, 28 June 2015

Garter Stitch Beginner Vest

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There is always a danger when you start a knitting project just before Summer that the hot weather will hit and the urge to create something out of wool declines at the same rate that the daily temperature increases. You can imagine then that I was pretty hopeful when I went online shopping in mid November that the "I reckon I can have this knitting finished in a week"  project I had in mind would be completed long before the hot weather came.. Oh how wrong I was!  Next year if you see me purchasing anything the slightest bit crafty in the lead up to the festive season, please remind me that my chances of setting aside any time for craft is nil and that way I can manage my expectations a whole lot better than this year.

This little knitting project is actually quick and simple.  It's just garter stitch with absolutely no shaping at all so really can take just a few days if you're able to set aside the time.

The yarn is Bendigo Woollen Mills Stellar an 8ply  50% wool and 50% bamboo in "Moonstone".  This pattern is for a small size, however for larger sizes add approximately 10 stitches per size increase eg. for medium cast on 80 stitches.  The length is entirely up to you,  For a longer vest, simply keep knitting the back until the desired length is reached, work the neck and then knit the front sections to the same length as the back.

You will need.  

9mm knitting needles
8ply yarn
Stitch Holder
Sewing needle to finish

Pattern
Cast on 70 stitches

Back:
Knit Garter stitch (eg. knit all stitches) until work measures 47cm.  To get neat edges, do not knit the first stitch in each row, but simply slip the stitch onto the working needle and then knit into the second stitch into the row.  This is a little hint Louise (my fellow blogger) mentioned in an early blog post and it really does make a difference, particularly if you are not going to be adding a band or collar to the exposed edge.

Divide for neck:  Knit 20 sts, Cast off 30 sts, place next 20 sts onto a stitch holder.  Cut yarn, leaving enough to sew in the end and start knitting again with the 20 stitches left on the knitting needle.  

Front:

Using the 20 stitches on the knitting needle, knit until work measure 47 cm (or if you are lengthening the pattern, until work is of equal length to the back).  Cast off.

Slip stitches from stitch holder onto knitting needle and knit these stitches until work measures the same as the back and other front section. Cast off.
To finish.

Sew the side seams leaving approximately 25cm unsewn on each side for the arm holes.  Weave/sew in ends.  Wear with a long or short sleeve tee, depending on the weather where you are.

Happy knitting.

Deb



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Sunday, 21 June 2015

Skip To My Loom Cowl

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I adore homespun.  I love that its varied texture is a beauty unto itself and choosing a pattern to show off the variation contained within every skein is a challenge I'm always pleased to take on.  I'm still slowly working my way through a bag of homespun Louise brought with her last time she traipsed across the country, and with my supplies are dwindling I'm finding I'm even more precious about what each beautifully coloured yarn is used for.

My original plan was to crochet a scarf with this batch of orange/grey/black homespun and indeed I'd actually gotten about half way through the project when I realised I was going to run out of yarn and other than adding striped sections to pad out the length I was in serious trouble.  Sadly the moment came when I knew I'd been defeated and the scarf was carefully wound back for inspiration to strike elsewhere, naturally with me mourning the loss of a few hours of my time.
Fast forward a few chilly days and I realised I very much wanted a new Wintry item to cope with the drop in temperature so out came my loom and the homespun and a brand new project was underway.

The pattern for the cowl is very easy and uses the video instructions from Fayme Harper except in this instance, I've skipped every second peg on the loom .  My reasoning behind skipping the pegs was to allow room for the various textures of the homespun to show, rather than crowd the details with too many stitches.


The skein of homespun contained just enough yarn for the cowl to be a total length of 1.4 metres (that's approximately 55 inches), but really it can be any length you choose your cowl to be.


Once completed, cast off and twist the cowl before sewing the ends together.


While I've used homespun for this cowl, I think it would be the perfect project for any thick yarn you have in your stash...or two strands of thinner yarn.


Happy loom knitting

Deb



Sunday, 7 June 2015

Quintessential Quilts

Pin It "A Bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars"

The past year has been very productive as we watched the quilts leave the sewing machine and end up as gifts or neatly folded in our longed-for quilt cupboard.  Louise has spent many, many wonderful hours (and quite a few in either perplexed puzzlement or raging despair) trying out new techniques and patterns.  




A simple 4-patch and a criss-cross quilting design ensures that your festive table is homely and perfect.










Using 2.5" strips cut from a christmas Layer cake means that you can make one of these (or 2 or 3 if you wanted to give them as gifts) in an afternoon.















This quilt design is a bit more complex but it brings back so many memories of when we were quilting together when our children were very small. (Where has the time gone?!)












Using a quilting tutorial from the 'Craftsy' platform, this 'Flying Geese' quilt for our youngest Fitzbirch-er, nearly finished Louise off.  It all came together in the end though with the wonderful machine quilting.














You can never have too many quilted accessories for your craft room. Seriously ... you can't.















So named by Louise's Son who was the eventual recipient of the first 'Jacob's Ladder', he said it reminded him of the popular series.  After all, Winter is Coming.













This quilt proved that when you are in the middle of something big, you just have to keep going. The end result was just gorgeous.  It now sits by the fireplace in our Mum and Dad's house.  A very worthy place for a handmade quilt.







This quilt comes together in no time thanks to the simple tutorial from the wonderful folks at the 'Missouri Star Quilt Co'.  The striking colours give it a very contemporary edge.








Happy Quilting,

Deb & Louise
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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Handy Hand-Quilting Hold All.

Pin It Sometimes I am very thankful that people can't see the inside of my house.  I currently have a dining table filled with glorious roving and my spinning wheel set up beside it.  I have my sewing machine on my other table along with my latest quilting project.  I have my on-the-go crochet cowl on my television cabinet (it's the only free space at the moment) and a quilt that I am hand quilting on the couch.  It's a crafty persons dream - but not that desirable for a bit of a neat freak.

As I have all my craft supplies all over the place it can be somewhat frustrating keeping track of it all.  My case-in-point is when I am hand quilting.  The television goes on (ideally it's Downton Abbey), I snuggle under portions of the quilt and get sewing.  However, due to the bulk of the quilt, I am forever losing my scissors or thimble or tape or, heaven forbid - my quilting needle.  I've lost it a few times on the couch but I have perfected the art of looking for it without drawing attention to what I am doing as it would cause mayhem in my household if anyone thought I had lost a needle on the couch.  To that end, something had to be done and I decided to make myself a handy little container of sorts to keep everything in.
Pin Fabric for a Pin Cushion
Time to tidy all of this




Firstly, it would need to be a pin cushion and I believe that I have the perfect piece of fabric.  Fabric with pins on it.  Just meant to be.

I have a few preserve/jam jars and decided that I would use the jar as the container for all my bits and pieces.






Firstly, trace around the inner seal of the lid onto a piece of firm cardboard and then, using the cardboard as a template, cut the fabric appox 3/4 of an inch bigger around the edge.

Sew a running stitch around the edge of the fabric and gently pull to start the gather.  

Add the wadding into the gathered fabric and then place the piece of cardboard on top and then finish the gather quite firmly and secure in place with a few stitches.








Using a glue gun, glue the bottom of your pin cushion to the top of the inner seal.

When it is dry, place the outer part of the lid over the top and screw in place.







I also think it would make a very handy travel sewing kit but for the time being, my hand quilting needles should be safe.

Happy sewing,
Louise

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