Thursday, May 30, 2013

Crochet: Bellisfaire Beanie

You might remember when I reviewed Crochet One-Skein Wonders I said the Bellisfaire Beanie was going to the top of my to-do list. And it totally did. I started hooking it almost straight after I said that. I finished it a couple of weeks ago.

Here's the traditional back-of-my-head photo. Though here it's more side of my head. Anyways, we should be looking at the beanie, not my head. I love the yarn colour. It's absolutely gorgeous, with more pinky tones than I usually go for.

The Details: Bellisfaire Beanie, by Sarah Grieve (Crochet One Skein Wonders)

The hat itself is sooo comfy and it looks really nice (from the front too, I promise).  I left off the picot edging, because I did half of it and it didn't look right at all. I also may have added a stitch here and there . . . we'll say it was on purpose :-P 

I think more crochet is in order over winter. Plus, I need to start a new project to take to work next week for international knit in public day. 


Monday, May 27, 2013

The First Quilt

We finally got some sun in the weekend! It was brief, wintery sun (as in so brief that it snowed today), but it was still sun. Which meant I took some pictures of my first EVER finished quilt. So here it is.

It's lovely. And I'm so proud of it. I did every single bit of this thing myself. I pierced it, I basted it, I quilted it and I bound it. It was fun. I'll be doing it again (and soon). 

There are no blocks in this thing, it's just a simple pattern of charm squares with sashing really. But I'm ok with that. It's bright and lovely and cheers up the back of my couch no end. (the pattern is Happy Weekender, by Kim Niedzwiecki on Moda Bake Shop) 

Here's an awful sun-glare photo of the back. Which makes me realise that all of these photos are actually of the quilt upside down, because that strip should be at the top. Oh well. Doesn't make it any less snuggly. 

 The details: Fabric is California Girl by Fig Tree & Co for Moda, supplemented with white solid from my LQS. Binding in Robin's Egg from Fig Tree & Co (Avalon line I think).
Machine quilted by me in a rectangle repeat.
Backed with white solid + leftover charms.
Lap size, approx 150 x 170 cm (60 x 67 inches).

I'll hopefully be starting on number two soon. Which will involve a bit more cutting (though not much). I think after that I better think about doing a sampler. Just so I actually figure out those things called blocks, know what I mean? 


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Decisions, Decisions! A quilty pattern round up

Still nothing to share, because its still raining. Actually, today was mostly sunny, but I went to work and came home in the dark (I have a 40 minute commute, and get a 30 minute lunchbreak, so no taking photos at lunch either. I'm getting to the stage I'm thinking of taking things I want to photograph to work). Lets hope for some sunshine in the weekend!

In the mean time, I thought I'd share a quick round-up of quilty patterns I've been considering for my SECOND quilt ever. I had a few criteria I was looking for:  a modern aesthetic that will suit our bedroom decor, precut friendly and preferably free. Here's the shortlist:

I have a feeling it might be a choose one for now, do some of the others later type decision. Which one is your favourite? Any others you think I should throw into the pool? You can see some of my runners up on my pinterest board Quilty Goodness

P.S I feel like I should explain why I'm going for precut quilts for now. A. I don't have a full size cutting board or ruler yet B. The quilt shops in my region have a very traditional focus (the nearest modern quilt store is over two hours away) and are also EXPENSIVE. Precuts make buying online, often from the other side of the world, more cost effective and means I get to play with modern prints a bit more often. But I think I need to start a sampler quilt soon, to start upping my skills!

Monday, May 20, 2013

IHSW May: Spot the difference!

Joining in with International Hermit and Stitch Weekend over at Random Ramblings

For something different I've been trying my first piece of hardanger. It's been interesting trying to get my head around it! Here's before the weekend

After much much pulling out and restitching, here's where I ended up (to be fair, there also wasn't a lot of stitchy time over the weekend).

Spot the progress! (the first photo is true to the colours). I think I have my head around it now, though I'm a bit nervous about the whole cutting holes in it thing that is still to come. It's fun, and I'm loving the colours in the caron thread.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cross Stitching: Chats sont gris

This one was just a quick stitch, an additional mother's day present for my mum. I'm hoping to find a frame for it soonish. It's a sweet pattern, though I think the sentiment is a little random (the French on the left translates as 'all cats are grey in the dark'

Pattern: 'La nuit, tous les chats sont gris' from Sweet Home: Petites maisons a broder au point de croix
Threads: DMC 4045
Time: April-May 2013

These photos aren't the best really. The weather has been awful for the past few weeks. That's why it's been quiet around here this week. Plenty to share, no light to take pictures in! Hopefully I can get a better photo once it's framed!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Review: Skirt-A-Day Sewing

This post originally appeared on my book blog, The Everyday Reader

 Design a skirt for every day of the week! With these 28 irresistible projects, you’ll learn all the techniques you need to custom-design and sew fabulous skirts that fit you perfectly.

Skirt-A-Day Sewing, by Nicole Smith

In Skirt-A-Day Sewing Nicole Smith guides you through the process of designing your own skirts from scratch, using four different styles (wrap, straight, flared and high-waisted) and multiple variations on those styles to create 28 unique projects.

On the plus side, the projects are all unique and appealing. They easily cover the variation in skirts that a home seamstress could wish for. The instructions given are well-written, thorough and easy to follow, with plentiful professional looking diagrams. I can actually say it’s probably some of the best instruction I’ve seen in a sewing title, which so often are wordy with not enough pictures. The instructions here are perfectly clear, using concise language. The diagrams seem perfectly placed to help you through the difficult bits. I’ve seen very few titles on pattern drafting for the modern home crafter (the several I own are all from the 80′s or earlier), so the title definitely fills a hole.

But, I think what it comes down to is that this book just tries to be too much. That, or it’s not being marketed quite right. From the blurb I expected a title that concentrated more on altering four included patterns to suit your needs, rather than drafting completely from scratch. The blurb also specifically states that the book is suitable for the beginning sewers. That is truly a stretch. I think there a very few beginners that would feel confident enough to dive into pattern drafting, despite the wealth of information from fabric types to ironing needs included in the introductory sections. Not to mention the expense that they would have to go to set themselves up. I’d consider myself an intermediate seamstress and getting towards intermediate dressmaker and I own less than half of the equipment listed in the book as essentials for its projects. At the same time, two large chapters are dedicated to topics like interfacing and how to hem neatly, effectively redundant subjects for those with dressmaking experience. By trying to hard to be too much Skirt-A-Day Sewing falls short of the niche where it could be extremely successful: an on-trend and modern guide to beginner’s pattern drafting for the experienced home dressmaker.

3/5 stars

Skirt-A-Day Sewing is released on May 15th

Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader copy of Skirt-A-Day Sewing thanks to Netgalley and Storey Publishing. I received no other form of compensation and was not obligated to share my review. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Recipe: Rhubarb and White Chocolate Muffins

If you're looking for my Sew Mama Sew Giveaway, find it here

We're still trying to use up rhubarb around here. One of our neighbours keeps leaving it on our doorstep. Which is lovely, but there's only so much rhubarb two people can eat! I had an idea that rhubarb and white chocolate might work well together, so went hunting for recipes. Unfortunately, almost everything I found involved buttermilk, which isn't the easiest thing to find here. So I did a bit of adapting, and came up with this:

Rhubarb and White Chocolate Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white/castor sugar
  • 100 grams melted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1-2cm pieces
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate buttons 

Preheat oven to 220C, or 430F. This might seems hot for baking, but rhubarb is hard stuff and if it's not that hot you'll have lovely cooked muffins with rock hard bits of rhubarb in them. Prepare a 12 muffin tin. Sift together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, sugar). Separately, combine melted butter, milk and egg, whisking well. Add liquid, rhubarb and chocolate to dry ingredients. Mix gently, being careful not to overmix! It should still be lumpy and slightly floury. Split mixture evenly between muffin cups and bake for 12-14 minutes until muffin's spring back slightly when pressed.

Hope you enjoy! They're lovely warm (though just as nice cold).


Monday, May 6, 2013

It's Giveaway Day!!!

Congrats to Stephanie of Quarter Incher

Hello all you lovelies from Sew Mama Sew (and those of you that are usually here too). It's giveaway day! Head back over there to check out the hundreds of other giveaways going on around the crafty side of the web this week.

So who am I, I hear you ask? I'm Sarah. I'm in my early twenties and live in the South Island of New Zealand with my relatively newish husband (the shinyness hasn't worn off yet!). Librarian by day, crafty minx by night :-D I have an aversion to showing my face on the internet, so you usually just get to see the ultra-mysterious back of my head. Or in this case, mostly my back.

What do I do here? I started off as a cross stitcher and still do a lot of that. I just finished one of my biggest stitches ever, the glorious Iris in Bloom, for my mum. Not so long ago I quilted MY FIRST EVER quilt. That's right, first ever, though I suspect there will be a few more in future. I also dabble in dressmaking, and bagmaking, like the get-around bag. Occasionally I share our travels, some recipes and review books (before they're released even).

So nice to meet you! I hope you take the time to have a look around. If you'd like to come back again sometime, you can follow me using one of the options in the sidebar over on the right.

Now to the good stuff! What am I giving away? Firstly, because I'm a cross stitcher, two cute patterns from one of my favourite designers, Lizzie Kate.

 I'm also throwing in three lovely fat quarters from my LQS. Because supporting local stores is awesome. Don't you just love the retro ladies?

I'm happy to ship anywhere in the whole wide world. To enter, please just leave one comment telling me one thing you are planning on doing today (besides enter lots of giveaways). You don't have to be a follower to enter. I'll probably be going to spend an hour or so at the swimming pool!

Giveaway will close May 10th at 5pm PST. If you're a no-reply blogger, PLEASE leave a way for me to get in touch with you. 

Thanks for visiting!


Saturday, May 4, 2013

I'm on Twitter (or as husband puts it, I'm now a twit)!

I've been a Twitter hold out for a long long time. But thanks to a course I'm doing at work, I've taken the plunge (only slightly forced, I promise). Now I'm having lots of thoughts along the lines of 'how on earth do I make this thing work???!!!' and 'oooohhhh BBC Breaking News in two sentence snippets is kind of awesome'

Because I may as well make the most of it, I've added a twitter button to my connect with me sidebar over on the right there. I'd love it if you'd come and help me figure this out!

Hope you're having a great weekend! I'll be back Monday for SewMamaSew giveaway day!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Finally Finished. . . Iris in Bloom!

So, after almost a year (I started this mid-May 2012), Iris in Bloom is finished. It counts among the biggest pieces I've ever stitched and was BY FAR the most complex in terms of shading and confetti stitching. All that purple!! (not to mention all that green!!)

Worth it? Totally. It's gorgeous. And it's for my mum. Which quite honestly makes most things worth it. Even a year late mother's day present. I'm not sure how she wants to frame it, so it's unfinished for now.

 Pattern: Iris in Bloom
Threads: DMC as charted
Time: May 2012-April 2013

I don't think I'm going to be doing another piece this big for a little while. Even if I have several John Clayton for Heritage patterns calling to me. It's time for some smalls, some easy finishes. I'm thinking of some hardanger just to mix it up a bit. Just for a little while! 

You can see Iris in progress here, here and here

That's all for now,