Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sewing and knitting are Just Dandy

Fat Quarterly recently featured the gorgeous Josephine Kimberling fabric line Just Dandy. I fell in love with the prints and how they worked together in Josephine's sample childrens clothes. A sneaky order of half a dozen prints from US based retailer Fabricworm turned up quick as a wink (which made me ask the question - why does it take SO LONG for books from Amazon to get to Australia?!). Next thing I was sewing with these beauties!

For Mia I made another Twirly Girl Skirt using a pdf pattern by Pink Chickadee Patterns. I'd previously made this one for Lily. It's a SUPER easy, super quick and cheap (AUD$6) pattern, sized from 2-12. The elastic waist means each skirt gives years of wear.

I'm going to pretend I'm Nina Proudman in my favourite tv show Offspring while wearing my Classic Vest from the beautifully produced book "Make It Perfect - 21 easy patterns for sewing women's and children's clothes".

Written by Tasmanian mum and pattern designer Toni Coward, I think the book has the clearest instructions I have ever followed. I also love the fabrics she has used in her book. Check out Toni's blog (follow the links to purchase her book) and Flickr group.

Four dear friends and I are currently doing an introductory knitting course at Tangled Yarns, aka Knitters Heaven!!! Surrounded by lush colours and gorgeous inspiration, with hot drinks and cakes on hand, we've been guided by our teacher Derrin to learn the art of knitting including different stitches, how to increase and decrease and all about different wools. The best bit has been the chance to sit and chat! This lovely pic of us is on Tangled Yarns Facebook page:

This cowl is my first creation in beautiful Noro Taiyo yarn, a blend of cotton, silk, nylon and wool. After I tried it on, the colours were telling me it belonged to a dear friend of mine, so it is now with it's rightful owner!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

School holiday making, reading, buying & discovering

My friend told me the other day that I am no "casual crafter". I laughed, and said that must make me a "committed crafter"!! Or perhaps someone who is going to end up committed for too much crafting!

* Lily's class eat their lunch sitting on the lino, so these holidays I offered to make her a mat to sit on. She chose the placement of some Sherbet Pips by Aneela Hoey charm squares and I made this little quilt.

I thought this would do, but Lily wanted it to actually be a pillow. So I made one, and then made a cover out of flannel with an envelope opening with studs, to which I sewed the quilt. Now she is happy!

* I have been wanting to make myself some cloth pads for a while now. I found a great list of patterns here, but chose this pattern from parsnippity and this one from Adahy.

* Inspired by my friend Shannon's blog post, I joined my girls who were doing some beading and made this for myself!

* I really enjoyed reading this article "The Post Recession Fashion Industry: Sewing Circle Rebellion" on Ecosalon. I really liked this quote by Juliana Sabinson, a freelance sewing teacher and artist: Sabinson says it’s not all rebellion, however. When people are sewing and using their hands they are not only building a level of muscle memory, they are quieting their brains and giving themselves a space in which to be a designer.

* I've read lots of patchwork books, but I thought this one was a real treasure. Patchwork for Beginners by Sue Prichard (published by the V&A). Gorgeous pictures of vintage fabrics and quilts are combined with a brief description of the history of patchwork, and explanations of basic techniques, plus some projects.

* A few internet purchases have been made lately (oops!). A couple of specially wrapped parcels arrived recently.

Some gorgeous Japanese fabric and buttons from Voodoo Rabbit....

...and this deliciously soft custom-made neckie by Fibre Faerie. It's made from all natural fibres - bamboo, linen, cotton & wool.

* My Mum and I went to the Qld State Archives to do some family history research. I discovered that my great-great grandmother was a dressmaker! I cried when I found out, as I do feel like my sewing connects me to the women who have come before me.

* And as a postscript to my last post, my friend Naomi birthed her baby at home gently into water, a little boy called Rowan! She texted me a photo of him snuggled in his quilt this morning!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bird Textile Pinwheel Delight baby quilt

So, I *get* that my friend Naomi LOVES Bird Textile! As do I. They are a fab Byron Bay-based company who make sustainably printed fabrics and gorgeous things. Read about their ethos here. Until recently they had a retail store close to where Naomi lives in Sydney, but everything is now just available on their website.

Naomi has made three beautiful quilts out of their remnant packs including this one and this one. She had given me a remnant pack of their green fabrics, so when she was pregnant with her second baby and I was thinking about what I would use for a quilt, it was pretty simple - lady, you can have your Bird Textile remnant pack back in your very own quilt!

It also happened that Naomi's own lovely mumma turned 60 this year, and Naomi was madly trying to beat her due date to finish a quilt for her Mum out of, you guessed it, Bird Textile remnant packs. (It's finished now, you can see it here. And she recently won a Bird Textile cushion cover from the company themselves for her beautiful creation!)

Casual phone calls re. the design of her Mum's quilt were made. She had been thinking of pin wheels, but then changed the design. She talked of wanting to make a baby quilt before her baby was due, but it didn't look like she would get one done. Should I tell her I was making one? Nah, a surprise would be much more exciting for her! And it was, she got it in the post yesterday and I'm so pleased to share it now here.

So, drumroll please...

This is it!

I just had to use a beautiful linen-y piece as the central medallion. I ironed it to stabiliser so it wouldn't shift too much.

I based the rest of the quilt on a pattern called Pinwheel Delight by Christine Cohrs, in Down Under Quilts, Issue 141, 2010..

I made the pin wheels out of these gorgeous Denyse Schmidt Hope Valley fabrics, gifted to me by my dear friend Sarah over at Kit Bik Quilts.

I hand embroidered a half dozen of the Bird Textile blocks before I put the top together, doing lots of french knots, stem stitch and back stitch.

I didn't have enough of Bird fabrics to finish the top, so included some blocks of my favourite Liberty print. I think the blue really lifts it. It's great when shortage of a fabric leads to a quilt looking better!

I hand basted and hand quilted it over three weeks using some DMC perle cottons size 12 from Peppermint Stitches. I stitched a quarter inch inside the blue triangles and the Bird rectangles, and wavily through the embroidered blocks.

I bought pre-made bias binding directly from Bird Textiles.

I used a backing from Sewco in a range called City Girl by Kitty Yoshida for Benartex. I'd hoped the finished quilt would be smaller than the width of the fabric (44") and it was, just. I loathe piecing backs, so I fudged it to make it fit and you can see the selvedge on the back!

Ok baby, you can come earthside now! You have your quilt! (I'll bring a label with your name on it when I come down and meet you).

A couple of my much loved pieces of clothing by Bird Textile happened to be drying on the line while I took the photos of the quilt. They do such beautiful clothes, that I have been lucky enough a couple of times to find on sale at the Wiss Emporium at Kalbar.