Category Archives: Craft

Work in Progress

I’m a girl on a mission at the moment. I’m on a self-imposed ban on starting new crochet projects until I finish the UFOs (unfinished objects) in my stash. This is following on from my self-imposed 10-day ban on crochet altogether. It’s a bit all-or-nothing with me sometimes, isn’t it? Anyway, I had a bit of a rest from crochet last month but am back in full swing now. I’ve actually already crossed off one UFO from my list this month.

UFOs to be finished:
* baby granny-square blanket
* baby wool ripple blanket
* hodge podge #2
* African flowers cushion
* large granny square
* neon chevron cushion

The good news is this baby ripple blanket I started in, um, 2009 is almost done. Why did I stop working on it for so long? It’s Shepherd Baby Wool Marino 4ply on a 3mm hook. I’m wondering what to do with the leftover yarn.

baby_ripple_rainbow_blanket_wip
And in other crafty adventures I’ve been sewing here and there, most recently this wee pink and grey quilt. It will be pram-sized when finished and all fabric is from my stash. In another case of “Katie Isn’t Quite as Bright” it took me quite a few days to work out what this quilt block might be called. It’s a combination of two half-square triangles. What about quarter-square triangles, Katie? So obvious in hindsight.

grey_pink_quilt_wip_1

My points are getting better the more I quilt but here’s a bit of a reality check – not everything I make is perfect. Far from it! Sometimes the pursuit of perfection can be stifling. I wish I could put that fear of failing aside more often. Or, I should say the fear of being less-than-great-at-something aside. In the spirit of not stressing about perfection here are two shots of the quilt, taken at different times so the colours look a little different in each shot. Scandalous! And those points! I guess they aren’t too bad, are they?

grey_pink_quilt_wip_2

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Softies for Mirabel 2013

I’ve started early this year as I skipped last year’s appeal. It’s Softies for Mirabel time, that’s where Pip inspires a bunch of us crafty people to make soft toys for some kids who could do with some extra treats. The Mirabel Foundation looks out for kids with parents affected by substance abuse. It’s a great cause so get sewing, knitting or crocheting and send a toy or two down to Pip. They don’t have to be fancy, just sturdy and made with a little love. All of the details are below. Here is my first softie for the 2013 appeal. His name is Eddie the owl and he is made from a pattern by Star Primm of My Tiny Star. Here are the softies I made in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

owl, softies for mirabel, softies

Eddie is snoozing as I’ve run out of black felt and couldn’t make round eyes! But owls do sleep a lot, right?

SOFTIES-FOR-MIRABEL-2013 copy

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Look What I Made: Fly A Kite Quilt

I finally bought a walking foot* for my old sewing machine. I love it! It’s amazing! Why didn’t I buy one years ago?! I think I was put off by the name, “walking foot” sounds complicated. But it’s so not complicated. It’s easy! It made quilting this project much easier and much less painful than it would have been using my regular presser foot. Still time-consuming but there’s no getting around that, it’s a labour of love.

quilt
quilt
This is a “just-because-I-like-the-fabric” quilt with no home to go to just yet. Although if my nanna has her way she won’t let me part with it, but that’s true of almost everything I make.

fly_a_kite_riley_blake_designs_quilt_5
The quilt top fabric is from the Fly a Kite range by October Afternoon for Riley Blake. It’s out of print now so I’m glad I snapped some up late last year from Poppy Seed Fabrics. The quilt measures 92 x 105cm (36 x 41″) and the batting is 100% cotton.

fly_a_kite_riley_blake_designs_quilt_4
I made the binding (I use ¼ double-fold cross-grain binding) from some spotted red fabric from my stash. I hand-sewed the back of the binding, which is almost my favourite part of quilting.

fly_a_kite_riley_blake_designs_quilt_3
I splurged and bought some more Fly a Kite fabric from a local retailer for the back. It’s hard when this would retail for about $10 a yard in the US but $22 a metre here in Australia. I couldn’t find anything else to match the top though and I love the little flowers.

fly_a_kite_riley_blake_designs_quilt_2   fly_a_kite_riley_blake_designs_quilt_1

Check out some more Fly a Kite quilts here, here and here.

*I ordered the walking foot/even feed foot from Singer Australia. It was $33 plus $12 shipping fee and arrived in about four days. I did first try a generic walking foot that is supposed to compatible with most low-shank sewing machines (from the local chain-store craft-supply store). It was awful and broke two needles in no time. The feed dog mechanism on the Singer branded walking foot is a much better design. No issues and no broken needles in the rest of the quilt.

 

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Look What I Made: Reversible Vintage Sheet Sewing Machine Cover

My little sewing machine finally has a pretty cover, it’s not fancy but I love the fabrics and it came together quite easily. I didn’t follow a pattern, it’s a simple reversible cover with two box corners on top. It’s roomy in case I one day upgrade my almost 20-year-old Singer. The fabrics are vintage sheets that have been sitting in my drawer for way too long. They need to be free! Now I can see them everyday in my craftroom bedroom. I’d love to make another quilt with them, but for now this project was nice and quick and stress-free.

vinatge sheets sewing machine cover

How many of these fabrics are originals? I’m not too sure. Some may be reproductions but I don’t really mind. I purchased most of these fabrics as fat quarters on Etsy some time ago, but did manage to pick up a few colourful sheets in good condition from my local op-shops. Actually, now I think of it, the first sewing machine cover I made as a teenager was from an old pillow case. Long before I knew anything about vintage sheets. And long before they were so popular in the online crafty community. Heck, it was before I knew what the internet was. I was before my time, I tell you!

vinatge sheets sewing machine cover

The inner lining is also a vintage sheet (blue and purple floral above) but the patchwork side is just too colourful to hide away.

vintage sheets bunting

I made a little bunting to match (I was on a roll), because we all need a little bunting in our lives. How did we cope before bunting was everywhere? Long live the bunting. And the supply of gorgeous, colourful, printed vintage sheets.

For more vintage sheet deliciousness check out my friends at Amelie and Atticus and Oh, Hello Henry!
Thouraya made a gorgeous range of little quilts from her rather sizeable stash of vintage linens.
Hop on to  Soho Mode to spy some cute, retro dresses and look at Rae’s sweet ensemble for a little one.

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Look What I Made: Handy Zippered Bags

Oh, how I love a quick project! Why don’t I do them more often? Oh that’s right, because I’m always working on some epic* blanket or another. These cute and handy bags with wide openings are from a pattern by the talented Anna from Noodle Head. They come together quickly and are the type of thing you didn’t know you needed, but will always find uses for.

noodlehead_wideopen_zipper_pouch_3

handy zippered bag
I just love this grey fabric with orange, red and aqua flowers given to me by the also very talented Thouraya from Amelie and Atticus. I was lucky enough to pick up and extra fat quarter of it in Spotlight’s recent $1 fat quarter sale. Score!

Handy zippered bag
Here is the small, medium and large versions with 10″, 12″ and 14″ zippers respectively. Anna has cleverly listed all three sizes here. I dare you to stop at one.
Handy zippered bag
I love a coloured zipper more than I should. Speaking of zippers, where do Australian sewers buy theirs? I’m a Spotlight shopper myself. Speaking of Spotlight it’s been about five minutes since I went there, I’d better schedule another visit for this weekend to add to my collection of candy-coloured zippers. You know, just in case.

noodlehead_wideopen_zipper_pouch_4
This blue and pink fabric is Sophie by Chez Moi for Moda, I think I picked it up some time last year.

noodlehead_wideopen_zipper_pouch_5
I can’t line any project in plain fabric, I just can’t do it.

noodlehead_wideopen_zipper_pouch_7

This dotted lining is by DS Collection Quilts. Expect to see more of it! Also expect to see a few of these bags under the Christmas tree this year.

Pattern and tutorial by Anna from Noodle Head.

*Epic is my own description!

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Look What I Made: Hodge Podge Large Granny Square Blanket

Granny Square
The Hodge Podge blanket is officially finished. I think. In all of its crazy colour-combination madness. All of the ends have been weaved in and I’ve been sleeping under it for about a month so it feels finished. I may add some more rows to it at some point, but for now it’s done.  And this blanket is just for me. It’s the twelfth blanket I’ve made so I guess it’s about time I keep one.

It’s made entirely of scraps from my stash with no thought given to colour, pattern or order. It is mostly acrylic but there is some wool and cotton in there too. It’s about 160cm x 160cm, very warm and quite heavy. I started the blanket in April 2012, did most of the work in the following September/October, then put it aside until just recently. Rather than making lots of granny squares and then joining them later, this blanket is one large granny square. I turned the blanket over after each round to avoid the shape of the square becoming distorted.

Granny square

Do you have a granny square blanket in your house? Since I learnt to crochet four years ago I’ve noticed how many fictional homes on TV and in movies have a crochet blanket draped on the couch. Remember the crochet blanket on Roseanne? An episode was even named after it – “Home Is Where the Afghan Is” (check it out at 3:34 in this video). Don and Betty Draper have a crochet blanket on their couch in the early seasons of Mad Men, Amy from The Big Bang Theory has a blanket made of granny squares and I remember a beautiful blue and brown chevron blanket in the movie Bridesmaids.

Granny square

Hodge Podge number 2 is already underway, again, random colours from my stash with no plan as to the pattern or order of the colours. Since both are made of scrap and leftover yarn it makes the blankets practically costless projects right? Free craft! Some say the granny square pattern was originally designed for just that, using up leftover yarn.

Here’s a video tutorial to get started on your own granny squares. You know you want to!

Photographed at Free Range Living in Kurnell, NSW.

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Look What I Made: Needle Book

Last month while visiting my grandmother I noticed a button on my coat was loose. I asked my nanna for a needle and thread so I could re-attach it. Out comes the sorriest excuse for a sewing kit I’ve seen! A small basket, with a couple of spools of thread, one pair of fabric scissors and a few needles hanging on for dear life in the cardboard packet they were sold in. The packet was so worn there wasn’t much holding the needles from escaping, never to be seen again. So I made Nanna a small needle book as part of her 80th  birthday present. Something tells me she liked it; when she opened the present she giggled like a schoolgirl at me giving her “encouragement to keep sewing”. It does seem like our grandmother/granddaughter roles are slightly reversed doesn’t it?

needle_book copy

The needle book reminds me of a story I’ve heard Nanna tell a couple of times. (Ok, so I like hearing it and ask her to repeat it at random times.) One Christmas morning when she was a young girl Nanna got up early, while her sister Beth was still sleeping, to check if Santa had been. He had, and left a sewing box each for her and her sister. Nanna saw the boxes, quickly decided she liked Beth’s better than the one left for her so swapped the tags on the gifts. I’m sure Beth received the sewing box meant for Nanna later that morning and was none the wiser. My cousin recently asked me “When did Nanna get so cheeky?!”. Well cousin, I do think she might have always been that way!

Happy birthday, Nanna.

The fabric is some leftover Summer Song by Riley Blake (still one of my favourite collections) and is partly inspired by the lovely needle books Amy from Nana Company makes.
Small projects can be so satisfying, I must remember that in future because I tend to embark on large, time-consuming projects more often than not.

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Work in Progress – Crochet African Flowers

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know this week I’ve been addicted to making a new-to-me pattern called African Flowers. I figured it is about time I stray from granny squares and ripples for a little while. I think I’ll make these into a cushion, but wouldn’t a huge blanket of these flowers be amazing? If only there were more hours in the day.

crochet african flower

Crochet Afrian flower

The colours are from my stash but inspired by my favourite scarf below.

african_flowers_scarf

 

african_flowers_4

Thank you to my good friend Maria for showing me this pattern! I’m using Heidi’s instructions and then joining the hexagons by sewing them together, in the back loops only.

 

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Look What I Made: Triangle Baby Quilt

blue green grey gray baby triangle quilt
I just love equilateral triangle quilts at the moment. Only problem is triangles are not easy to sew together accurately (well, for me anyway!) and that does not sit well with my perfectionist tendencies. I did my best, and this little quilt didn’t turn out too badly. The solids are fun and modern and a nice change from using a set fabric range.

It’s inspired by this cute nursery featured on Apartment Therapy and is for a baby boy due in September. Baby boy’s mum doesn’t read Katie’s Kitchen. Or at least, I don’t think she does.

blue green grey gray baby triangle quilt Vital Stats:
64cm x 88cm ( approx. 26 x 35″)
Five colours, 100% cotton and cotton batting
blue green grey gray baby triangle quilt

blue green grey gray baby triangle quilt

Check out more triangle quilts on my Pinterest board.

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Look What I Made: Rainbow Granny Square Blanket

crochet rainbow granny square blanket

Happy birthday to my little cousin Amy, she recently turned 21. She’s smart, confident and ambitious. She’s loyal, affectionate and popular. And she loves a gluten-free cupcake with cream cheese frosting.

crochet granny square

granny square crochet blanket

Some blankety facts:
* The rainbow contains 11 colours.
* The yarn is Panda Magnum Soft and Stylecraft Special DK.
* I started it in August and finished in early December. (During this time I also worked on a baby blanket, the Hodge Podge, Mr Ladybug and Yoda)
* To keep the blanket square and stop it from becoming crooked I turned the whole blanket over after each row, before starting the next one. By alternating the side you start each row on you avoid the distortion that can happen with large granny squares.

Crochet Rainbow Granny Square Blanket

ETA: Here is the colour pattern I made up –

I hope this helps those who have asked!
Four rounds of colour A
One round of colour B
One round of colour A
Four rounds of colour B
One round of colour C
One round of colour B
Four rounds of colour C
One round of colour D
One round of colour C
Four rounds of colour D….
eg
pink
pink
pink
pink
orange
pink
orange
orange
orange
orange
yellow
orange
yellow
yellow
yellow
yellow
green
yellow

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