Saturday, 17 January 2015

Find the Narwhals

Today I have a finished quilt to show off, although I started it close to two years ago, and finished it midway through last year. (At this rate I'm never going to get through my stash!)

My inspiration came from a triangle quilt I stumbled across somewhere on teh intarwebs (top left). I absolutely loved the colours: black, white, peach, pink, and watermelon. I was captivated (read: borderline obsessed); it certainly hit my dopamine receptors. I started seeing some similar triangle quilts, in mint and coral, which I also love.

In short course I started working on my own monochromatic(ish) triangle quilt, using solids in pink, peach, black, and white. I went with equilateral triangles instead of isosceles, leaving me future scope to work another variation on this theme. ;)
Instead of using all solids, I substituted the light pink with "Find The Narwhal in Bloom" from Sarah Jane's collection "Out to Sea". It had all the right colours in it that I wanted for my triangle quilt, and cute little whales and narwhals!
It turns out I struggle to work with mostly solids, so I added a few geometrics in black and white during the many hours of fiddling with my layout.
I pieced the back with "Mermaid Play in Blossom" (also from "Out to Sea") bordered by solids and whatever I had in my stash.
narwhal back
narwhal back detail
I used solid black for the binding, but added scrappy strips of hot pink, and black and white polka dots.
narwhal folded
narwhal pink binding
Upcoming posts:
  • I already have another lap quilt finished just after New Years. Based on historical trends I suppose it will be a few months until I get around to photographing and blogging it... :P
  • There's a baby quilt currently in progress for another pending human, estimated time to complete about 10 weeks from now.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Challenge Accepted

Last month, in the lead up to Christmas, my team decided we should do a Secret Santa. Historically and anecdotally, office Secret Santa gift exchanges can be pretty lame, but we decided if it was just within our team of six, and everyone had enthusiastically opted in, then we could all walk away with something not shit.

I suggested that everyone write their name on a sticky note, with two or more general suggestions of things they might like that could be bought within the $20 spend limit. For example, I wrote "craft beer" and "vanilla".

Wouldn't you guess it, I drew my team leader! And not only that, it soon became clear that he was using the Secret Santa scheme as a personal shopper for his three year old daughter! If you can't read the hand writing the note says:
  • Frozen
  • Plush goat... maybe patchwork
  • Toys => make bubbles
  • Modern architecture
So he wanted a gift for his daughter, hey? Challenge. Accepted.
I found some Frozen themed quilting fabric at my local quilting store to make this unique little cushion just for Alana.
I did some fussy cuts to get the four feature panels of the characters from Frozen. The rest of the fabric came from scraps and my stash, as did the batting. Maybe that's a bit of a cheat, but it did ensure I kept to the $20 budget!
For the back of the cushion I just used the rest of my 30cm yardage, and some aqua gingham scrap leftover from Olivia's quilt. I fastened the cover with colourful snaps from my collection, as has been my habit ever since my improvisation for Georgia's retro floppy disk cushions.
The final personal touch was to machine embroider Alana's name onto the back of her cushion, with little snowflakes. This cushion is no mass produced Frozen merchandise, and it's definitely not for daddy!

Sorry Dyl, looks like you're buying your own architecture books. :D

Happy new year!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Galentine's Gifts

As fans of Parks and Rec, staunch feminists, supportive friends, and proponents of any excuse for merriment; my girlfriends and I celebrate "Galentine's Day" on a semi-regular basis. Apart from being a lovely occasion to spend time with some of my favourite people, it's also an excellent vaccination against imposter syndrome.
What's Galentine's Day?
For the latest Galentine's Day I decided to channel my inner Leslie Knope by making some hand crafted gifts for my gals that suit their personal brand of awesomeness. I'll attempt to explain how each gift is customised to their recipient, but in the interest of my friends' privacy I'll refrain from gushing too much. ;)
Competitive Gift Giving
The first gift I made was a purple quilted cushion featuring a pieced fox for my friend Jessie.
fox cushion front
She is sweet, thoughtful, affectionate, and playful; the IRL incarnation of Deanna Troi. She has a plush fox that she loves to cuddle, and purple is one of her (many) favourite colours. I happen to know that this gift has also received many cuddles from it's new owner!
fox cushion back detail
I put together the fox block based on Elizabeth Hartman's Fancy Fox Quilt, and I used some of my favourite Lizzy House fabrics from her 1001 Peeps collection (2011): Purple Pearl Bracelet on the border, Purple Scheherazade for the flap on the back, and Orange Scheherazade for that foxy little face.
fox cushion front detail
The second gift was a rainbow Bloomin’ Quilt-As-You-Go cushion featuring a colourful sugar skull in the centre for my friend Julia.
qayg rainbow cushion front
Julia is smart, bold, fierce, loud, and caring; she has an affinity with Parks and Rec's wonderful Donna Meagle. Her house is full of rainbows (really!) so this one should be right at home.
qayg rainbow cushion back
It was my first time doing any sort of improv piecing; I normally have diagrams sketched on grid paper for each of my pieced projects. I really enjoyed creating from organised chaos!
qayg rainbow cushion front step
I can't wait to make more "perfect gifts" for Galentine's Day! :D

Thursday, 21 August 2014


The quilt pile increments with my latest finish; a crib sized blue and orange plus quilt! The quilt has been gifted to my friends Jane and Matt, who are expecting their first baby at the end of September.
To be truthful, I started this quilt long before Jane fell pregnant, around two and a half years ago with no specific recipient in mind. I guess I just trusted that the right parents/baby would present themselves in time.
++Quilt Front
After receiving a package of fabric I'd recently bought from the US, I couldn't wait to cut into this cute foxy fabric, and I'd been wanting to make a plus quilt for a while. I picked out some blues and oranges that matched nicely. The result was foxes and robots, which is conceptually incongruous but... still very cute!
++Quilt Front
I used some scraps to piece the back, folded my finished quilt top and back, and away they went into a drawer for two spins around the sun.
++Quilt Back
Earlier this year I found out Jane was pregnant and my immediate (and incredibly selfish) thought was, "Sweet! I get to make another baby quilt!" But when I remembered the foxes and robots waiting for an owner, I resumed the project and got quilting.
++Quilt Back
Jane studied pure maths at uni, and Matt is a software developer like me, so the pluses felt especially right. Incidentally they are also expecting a boy, although I thought the colours were right because Jane would like them, not because they are "boy" colours. Like me, they're not the kind of people who think colours are gendered.
++Quilt Folded
Since I made the quilt a while ago, most of the fabrics I used are out of print. Nevertheless they are:
  • Monaluna Anika by Jennifer Moore (Foxy, Polka)
  • Robot Factory by Caleb Gray (Mini Robots Blue, Mini Robots Orange, Gears Earth, Circuits in Navy for the binding)
  • 1001 Peeps by Lizzy House (Scheherazade in Orange, Jewels in Basra Blue, Jewels in Jinnee Orange)

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Seeing Green

Today I'm showing off an afghan I finished earlier this year. In March (yes, I am a terrible procrastinator) my husband and I spent a few days in the Blue Mountains to celebrate our anniversary, and I decided to take advantage of the backdrop for a little photo shoot.
possums hideaway view
The place we stayed was called Possums Hideaway, in Blackheath. We had a private and very cosy bungalow which had it's own little fireplace, which we enjoyed despite not strictly needing it at that time of year...
green afghan horizontal
I could blather on about the stunning vistas and perfect weather, but I suppose I should mention the afghan I made, given this is supposedly a craft blog.
green afghan under cabin
I used a free pattern I found online consisting of alternating V and shell stitches. It was so simple to work, and yet the effect is quite striking, I think.
green afghan close up
I chose three shades of blue-toned greens and black to create an ombre effect. The two darkest wools were Panda brand Magnum Soft, which is 100% acrylic but such a pleasure to work with and reasonably priced -- especially if you're buying on sale in Summer!
green afghan folded
I was having a great time pottering about in the bush around our bungalow taking photos in the early Autumn sunshine. It was our last day, and we were taking our time getting ready to drive home.
green afghan vertical
I was pretty surprised to find myself nose to nose with this little fellow, up way past his bed time! He gave me a bit of a fright, but given he was inhabiting a "feeding box" attached to the bungalow, he wasn't phased by his human encounter at all. I don't imagine we're the first (nor the last) people contributing to his furry rotundness, after all.
possum film strip
I guess they don't call it Possums Hideaway for nothing!
possums hideaway
Blackheath is beautiful. I suspect we'll be coming back. :)

Monday, 31 March 2014

Retro Cushions

My talented friend Georgia, whose photos I've used on this blog more than once before, called for a Crafternoon. Having formed an idea of a present she wanted to make for her boyfriend, Georgia wanted me to help her realise her vision. It was a good opportunity to reciprocate benefiting from her photographic skills in the past, so the date was set!

Georgia had found this awesome fabric with retro floppy disks, and the print was conveniently cushion sized.

floppy disk cushions front

We didn't quite have exactly four complete disks on the ~1 metre panel of fabric, so we decided to use as much as we could for the back, plus some border fabric to make a flap.

floppy disk cushions back

She wanted the covers to have a loose fit, to give the cushions a nice chill slouchy look. Normally I go for the opposite by either making the cover smaller than the insert and/or filling the insert with additional stuffing. To achieve this look we made the covers to the same dimensions as the insert, approx. 45cm squared.

retro chair cushions front

We were originally thinking of using zips for the cushion closures, but I had these fantastic blue snap studs that were too perfect a match, and great excuse to use my snap press!

retro chair cushions back

Fast forward a few weeks and I can reveal the result of my gardening project with the recycled doors and pink pots foreshadowed in my last post. Georgia kindly helped me arrange the plants on the doors, and of course photographed the result for me. Et voila!

vertical garden on fence from the left

Much credit must also go to my friend Nick, whose handy work has been featured on this humble blog before. Nick helped me convert a massive, very heavy, hardwood door into two manageable pieces (left and middle panels in the picture). The circle of reciprocation continues in the guise of some jeans that need hemming... :)

Monday, 27 January 2014

Double Knitting

The holidays have come and gone, and what began with many intentions to sew up a storm during my break from work, ended with a new layer of dust on the sewing machine. So instead of something new I'm going to post something that I made a few years ago.

After learning some basic Fair Isle knitting I started looking for a cow pattern so I could make something my husband would like. What I came across what a pattern for a knitted cow dishcloth using double knitting, a technique I'd never used before.

Cow dishcloth chart
Of course, I'm not one to shy away from a challenge. :) As it turned out, double knitting was not all that difficult. If you can knit ribbing, and have some basic Fair Isle experience, you should find double knitting quite manageable.
Double knit cow black side
Double knit cow white side

We use this "dishcloth" as a sort of placemat for protecting our coffee table from our beverages. Double knitting would also be really awesome for making scarves.

While I didn't get up to much on the craft front over Christmas (actually, there is another afghan which is nearly finished...), I did get my hands dirty (sorry) in the garden. I went for a few walks with my sister to offset the Christmas pud, and we *ahem* collected a few cuttings from the neighbourhood.

Succulents growing roots
Succulents are just so easy to grow from cuttings, and I've had real joy watching them all sprout roots and join my starting-to-get-out-of-control collection. I've attempted to offset all the incoming plants by giving a few away (to friends with bigger backyards, ha!). To my friend Matt (Olivia's dad) I wrapped up three aloes and a rose geranium in newspaper. The seedlings can be planted straight into the ground with the newspaper (it's dead plant material after all).
Seedlings for Matt
With the new succulents and other plants I'm going to keep I'm cooking up another vertical garden project, using an old wooden door and a bunch of pots I bought from my new favourite shop, The Bower. No doubt there'll be another post once it comes together. :)
Bower pots