Saturday, October 30, 2010

Double (mitten) trouble.

This week I cast on some mittens for an exhibition that's to take place in Donegal as part of the Carbon Footprint Project that I mentioned in this post. I won't rattle on about the ethos behind the project again - I give a brief, maybe too brief, synopsis in the linked post. As part of the project there's to be an exhibition of items knitted/crocheted up using the Inishowen wool that Tallulah and Seema have spun up, and these are to some way represent or suggest the notion of climate change. For example, you might knit a hurricane hat to represent some of the more dramatic effects carbon emissions are having on our climate. Right now I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to weave the concept of climate change into my project, but I enjoyed knitting on double-pointed needles so much when I made these mittens that I figured I'd just cast on and let the inspiration flow.
As some of you may know, my enjoyment of making things also extends to cookies, cakes and all other manner of baked delights. (I cook as well, but I don't enjoy it as much). I made a conscious decision not to include my baking on this blog, given that the majority of the time I'm not making anything that unusual, and I can't see anyone really caring that much. By this rule though, maybe I should include things which are a bit different, when and if I make them. Last week was my house-mate's birthday, and rather than a cake I decided to try my hand at his favorite biscuit - namely, fig rolls. I found a recipe here, and while mine certainly didn't look as pretty as theirs, but I personally thought they tasted pretty good. The pastry used both white and wholemeal flour, which I thought made them quite more-ish. There's also not much sugar in the recipe, so as biscuits go - fruit, not much sugar - they're probably far from the worst thing you could be eating.
As I say, mine are far from tidy looking, but I really wasn't taking any care at all to make them look nice. Devoting a few more minutes to their presentation would probably make all the difference, if you were bothered about that sort of thing.

A big monster one for the birthday boy!
Happy Halloween everyone.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Do you ever feel like you're incredibly busy and have no spare time, but you don't seem to be doing anything? I've been feeling like that a lot lately, and that is most of the reason my posts have been so brief. Come Friday evening or whatever it may be, I find myself so mentally and physically exhausted that I can't seem to write more than the bare facts i.e. Here is what I made, fin. In some other respects though, this may be a good thing. I know that on my Google Reader I follow a bunch of blogs, all good, but these days I inevitably end up skimming over them and looking at the pictures more than anything else. So maybe my lack of time for wordiness is a good thing? Anyway, on with the show.
This week I was playing with more of the charms I bought along with those featured last week. Coupling these with some black Shrinky Dink resulted in a couple of tacky necklaces, featuring the inevitable heart motif. What a surprise.
I'm not sure exactly what resulted in the shape of the following - I must have been feeling particularly 80s that day.
I particularly liked the Singer sewing machine charm I'd bought, and decided to make it into a brooch instead. But seriously, I have to get over this heart obsession
Have a lovely bank holiday weekend everyone.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I'm highly unoriginal this week - some of these projects may seem a little familiar if you've looked at this blog lately.
More facecloths - now with color.
More quilting - now with wonky corners. We have now achieved pillowcase size.
More necklaces - now not heart based. I don't know if this qualifies as making a necklace. I basically just put some charms I bought from this seller on DaWanda, which is a lovely site, similar to Etsy. For those who don't know, these are online marketplaces speciailising in handmade items and supplies for making said items.
Have a lovely weekend everyone. I'll be taking a much overdue trip home to Donegal. And you? Your plans?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Quilting quandry

I've been curious to try quilting for some time now. Not to make a big-ass heirloom quilt or anything, but more just to have a go at the technique of it. On and off over the last few months I've browsed various tutorials and such online, and to be honest they put me off. From measuring out the pieces to cutting them, laying them and sewing them, it all seemed like it had to be so precise and exact - I was led to believe that if you were a quarter of an inch off in any of these steps the whole thing would be a disaster. Now, I don't know if you've gathered this from my blog thus far, but that is not my way of doing things at all. In my sewing career thus far, I've never attempted to use a 'real' sewing pattern, and frankly I wouldn't know where to begin with one. I really should learn, I'd be a a much better sewer for it - but the fact of the matter is that so far I've been winging it completely. This never really mattered yet, as I've only ever sewed things for myself, but I was afraid my laissez-faire attitude rendered me ill suited for quilting. I was pondering this while browsing on Craftster last week, when I came upon this thread discussing quilting advice for beginners, and the running theme seemed to be that you should just jump in and give it a go - I mean in honesty, what's the worst that could happen? So that's what I did.

I really enjoyed piecing these little guys together! I sewed two together at a time, then sewed them together lengthwise, and pressed open the seams to help it lie a little flatter. The points where the corners join aren't perfect - they're a little crowded on the wrong side of the fabric, but maybe I'll improve at that over time.
I realized the bit that was taking me the most time was cutting out the pieces and pinning them together, so with the help of my awesome fabric scissors I did a bunch of them at once, which I plan to add to the piece above. I reckon I'll keep this around and add to it when I have little bits of fabric spare. As someone who detests waste and hangs on the scraps 'just in case', I'm delighted to have found something I can constructively do with them.
As well as this I've been continuing with Christmas preparations with an old reliable - face-clothes, served with a side of soap. These clothes were crocheted with two strands of Rowan Milk Cotton held together, and an 8mm hook. I improvised each one as I went along as the mood took me, so some have ribbing, some have double crochet rows, some have a border - hopefully the recipients won't dislike this touch of randomness.
 I think I go nap now. Hope you're all having a lovely weekend - I know I am.