Saturday, October 27, 2012

Christmas Stars finally finished!

For those of you who happen to visit in search of some crafty news, I have finally finished my version of the Audrey & Maude Christmas Baubles quilt! This has been a work in progress for nearly two years and has been my handwork project for the past 18 months. The largest quilt I've made yet, it's entirely handquilted in perle cotton in a wavy pattern that I happily made up as I went along.

The quilt hung on the wall last Christmas (where the myriad safety pins looked like extra decoration) and will again grace the walls but this time finished! (And you know it's not long till Christmas when the department stores start setting up the Santa photo stands!) Thanks again to Helen, who gifted me the pattern a couple of years ago - I got there in the end!

I have really enjoyed seeing Christmas Stars evolve over time and am so pleased I stuck with it although at times all that handquilting seemed tedious and never-ending. Of course now I need a new project to keep my knees warm at night...and it's ready and waiting all sandwiched and basted. I'll show you a sneak peek in my next post.

Hopefully it won't be two months between now and the next post - I am counting down the weeks until I change jobs, which will happen in mid-December (all going to plan) - and I hope to be doing a little more crafty goodness than I've managed over the past two years.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Polka dot pencil skirt

I've been eyeing off some lovely skirts around town lately - there's something so very stylish about pencil skirts, but they can also be a lot of fun. I have baulked at the prices, however, not to mention felt a little guilty at all the wonderful fabric sitting in my stash just waiting to be made into something wearable. So I decided to get me a pattern and have a bit of a crack at one myself.

I wanted my skirt to be fitted and lined with a back zip and kick pleat, so I hunted down a great (read: easy) pattern from Vogue (it's on sale!) and went to work using some left over Michael Miller spots (grey on black) I used as backing for my Allan's Lagoon quilt.
I am pretty pleased with my effort - only one mistake (that I've noticed so far) and that was sewing one of my darts the wrong side on the lining (and no one will ever see it!). I did sew the zip a bit too 'high', but it turned out fine and meant I could omit the hook and eye (fiddly little buggers). I also omitted the faux welt pockets and tabs - maybe I'll tackle them another day, but I didn't want to over-complicate what is my first skirt in a couple of years. I lined the skirt with some pale blue acetate - it looks lovely through the kick pleat at the back. And best of all? The skirt fits fantastically. Woot!
I have another couple planned, but it's unlikely I'll get to them before October. I have so much work on and will likely be travelling for most of September. However, my stash has waited for me this long and it's not going anywhere, so I am not worried. Oh, and I also started another proejct! (V1303 which is also now on sale!! I paid full price for the pattern. Wah!) It's good to have one on the go, no?

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Lemonade Quilt

A friend of mine was diagnosed recently with bowel cancer - she is only in her 20s so this came as quite a shock - especially for her! Fortunately she is smart as a whip and was straight onto it - so was her doctor. She had surgery just about straight away and is now recovering, with the wonderful news that the cancer hadn't spread. Talk about a close call.

The cancer has come on top of a very hard seven years for her and I just could not believe so much bad stuff could happen to one person, who just happens to be one of the loveliest, smartest women I know. She is taking it all in her stride (although I am sure she has her moments - don't we all?), albeit metaphorically at the present, as she is still a little sore from the surgery. I couldn't do anything material to support her (she's in Brisbane, I am in Canberra), except, to make a quilt! (A little fabric pun in there for all you stashaholics!)
I recently bought this ace book by Alissa Haight Carlton, and was inspired by the cover quilt to make a lovely lemony quilt for my friend.

I used up some yellows from my stash and paired them with some Kona Snow to create a monochromatic modern minimalist quilt (how's that for alliteration?). Instead of repeating the darkest yellow for the binding, I thought it would be better framed in a battleship grey and found the perfect shade at my LQS, Addicted to Fabric. I quilted it with double wavy lines and it's backed in a bright sunny spotty fabric I bought at Spotlight.

While I really wanted to call it the Gin and Tonic quilt, I thought she might want to share it with her gorgeous kids, so, instead called it The Lemonade Quilt (because when life gives you lemons...reach for the gin and, make some lemonade).

The quilt is now living on my friend's bed and I hope it makes her happy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

More Ottobre pants

I made Tristan some more pants based on the Ottobre 'Aqua shorts' pattern I blogged about in Robopants. Elastic-waisted? Check. Lot of pockets? Check. Easy peasy? Check, check, check!

These ones are made from some red babywale corduroy I bought a couple of years ago - yes, I am making a concerted effort to use up some of my copious stash!
 Tristan loves them and I do too. I love seeing little fellas in brights.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sew It Together 2012 - Canberra

I had a great day and night yesterday with the delightful crafty ladies who came to Canberra for Sew It Together. Organised by Sheridan (Chaletgirl), with a bevy of helpers - Cass (Snailblazer), Gillian (Silly Gilly), Donna (Creative Controller) and Cath (Bungalow Babble), who transported all the goody bags and associated delights from Sydney to Canberra - the event brings together crafty bloggers from around Australia for one weekend a year.

It was great to leave the family responsibilities behind for just one day and indulge in some swapping of crafty gifts, a spot of sewing, fabric petting and even a dash of buying. There were workshops for those who wanted to learn some new skills as well as prizes throughout the day - I was lucky enough to be one of the prize winners and I scored a Polly Pratt dress. So gorgeous!!

I also got to meet and catch up with some bloggers I've been chatting with on the Internet for about the past five years, including Karen, Leah and Becky, as well as meet some other lovely ladies, including heaps of Canberra crafters - loads of new blogs to explore!

Here are just a few of them:
Karen - And So I Sew
Bec - Beckyetal
Leah - Pugglelogic
Kelli - Not Quite Crafty
Michelle - Happenstance
Wendy - hARTylittlepeaces
Renae - Suzyhausfrau
Bronwyn - Whippet Good
Caroline and Maryanne - Sew Together
Alex - Mooncat

Here are some photos from the day - sorry for the crappy blurry images. Damned smart phones!


And so many others - and let me tell you, nothing gets a room full of fabulous crafters going crazier than a sample swap. Organised by the indomitable Cass, the swap involves groups of six, who each make five samples of their work and then, in a crazy dance, swaps are snapped up, the spoils are revealed and much oohing and ahhhing over the craft goodness ensues.
I made some mini art quilts, inspired by a similar design from Silly Boodilly, and I hope the girls liked them as much as I enjoyed making them. I received two covered notebooks, some ace zipped bags, a bunch of magnets, pendants and hair clips and some quilted pot holders/coaster. It was nice to come home with so much handmade love.

Here are some photos I nicked from Cass:
We had a lot of fun at the dinner at Tongue and Groove too, pigging out on shared yummy things, a glass or two of wine and nearly exploding from eating the dessert (which should be called 'death by giant chocolate cookie' or 'death by giant peanut cookie with icecream and caramel drizzle').

A little bit of stitching followed dinner, although I was so full from my dinner I really needed a nap! After another hour or so of really bad crafting (on my part), I decided to call it quits and say goodnight to my new crafty friends.

What a great day and night! I hope to join the gang for Sew It Together in 2013, although I think Sheridan deserves a well earned break before starting to think about next year's craftapalooza :)

Sunday, May 06, 2012

A boy needs a book bag

I made a book bag for Romily when she started pre-school and it's been great - I made it oversize so it would accommodate all kinds of large format picture books and the bag hasn't yet met a book it couldn't fit.
Tristan starts preschool (kindergarten) next year and so I decided the time was right to make one for him too. Things are always so much easier the second time around, aren't they? Especially when your clever husband helps you work out that it's right sides together when you're making a bag with lining. When you turn the bag and its lining inside out after stitching them together they're the right way around the first time!
(Note this bag has the same button as Romily's!)
If you knew how many times I had to redo Romily's version, you would know this is a breakthrough. Of course, all you clever sewers out there knew this already, but I am a bit hopeless when it comes to space/logic/maths ;)
So, back to the bag. I ordered some cute 2D Zoo and matching green fabric from Jody at Fabric Shoppe, which arrived super-speedily (as always) and went at it on Saturday evening while the kids were in the bath (in the adjacent room). I finished it off after I put them to bed. Time spent all up: 1 hour. I even remembered to sew in one of my 'Handmade by Cascade Lily' tags!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


Someone has outgrown all his long pants...who might that be? Yes, it's Tristan, who is now 108cm tall. While I bought him one pair of pants, I really wanted to make a couple of pairs for him - let's face it: in a few more years neither child is likely to want to wear 'homemade pants'! I am also determined to use up as much of my stash as I can - it's quite embarrassing how much fabric I have parked in tubs!
So I pulled out some robot Kokka fabric I've had tucked away for a couple of years. I didn't have quite enough for the yoke, so I used some contrasting fabric (also from stash!). The pants are based on the Aqua Shorts pattern from Ottobre 3/2008, which I've made several times. It was easy to lengthen them and I just added a little width around the waist/yoke, as the Aqua Shorts pattern only goes up to size 98cm - Tristan is very slim around the waist, so it was really only length that needed to be changed! The pants are a little long, but at least they'll last him through winter. And when they turn into ankle flappers, I can convert them into shorts :)

I am very happy with how the pants turned out - I didn't make any mistakes! I think this is the first time I've sewn pants without having to unpick something. Tristan seems well pleased with them too!

Perhaps I might actually be learning a thing or two after the past five years of practice :) I have two more pairs cut and one is half-sewn. I'll potter away on them in between working, mothering, studying and whatever else takes up my waking hours.

I've also been quilting! My Christmas Baubles handquilting is coming along very nicely and I've just finished making five mini-quilts for the sample swap that's being run as part of this year's Sew It Together. I'll show you what I've been making once the swap's complete.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Repurposed dress

Repurposed dress by cascade_lily
Repurposed dress, a photo by cascade_lily on Flickr.

I wore a jersey dress the other day and decided it didn't really do anything for me. I was about to pull it off and pop it into the charity bin bag but when I got it up to my hips I looked in the mirror and realised it would be much better as a top!

So I headed downstairs into the playroom (which also doubles as my craft room) and grabbed the scissors - a few snips later and I'd cut off the belt loops and sliced the dress in half at the hip line.

I hemmed the 'top' for me and repurposed the skirt with a new casing and elastic for my daughter Romily - she loves her 'new' skirt and I now have a nice new top.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sew It Together is coming to Canberra!

How very exciting. Sew It Together is coming to Canberra from 8-10 June 2012. I was all lined up to go to Sydney last year but had to pull out at the last minute due to work travel commitments. This year is shaping up to be as stupidly busy as last year, but how could I not go since the lovely ladies, including organiser Sheridan Powell, are coming to Canberra? I have been blogging/commenting/facebooking/twittering with some of them for around four years - I am not going to pass up the opportunity to meet them and do some crafting with them.

The lovely Cass is once again organising a sample swap - the cause of great excitement at each year's event I understand! I have signed up for the swap and am already planning what to make.

Are you coming to SIT Canberra? If so, I hope you bring your winter woollies - it's going to be freezing, but what better motivation than to knit yourself a new scarf and some gloves? Or a make a lap quilt? You could handquilt it while we're chatting over a cup of tea!

I'm not sure what craft I'll bring with me - it will either be some handquilting or some knitting. It's so nice to be crafting again :)
Here's what I look like so you'll know me if you see me! (There's the skirt I made in 2010! Brooch was purchased from Lupin on Etsy)

Sunday, April 08, 2012

And a scarf for Tristan

Wow, I'm on fire!
Here's Tristan's scarf - knit in 2x2 rib from Naturally Loyal yarn I bought on Thursday from the Woolshed in Manuka. The main blue is an almost exact match to the colour of his eyes. Just gorgeous, don't you think?
You can read more about the project on Ravelry.
 The craftapalooza is coming to an end, very sadly. For the next two-four weeks I'll be slogging away solidly on my much-neglected research project, which I'm allegedly doing as part of the requirements of a Master of Philosophy in Business. I've been dragging the chain on this project - work has been utterly exhausting over the past 20 months and I've had no spare brain capacity for anything. With my current enforced break (due to surgery on my feet, which requires 6 weeks off work), I'm determined to get it back on track. I have to impose a craft ban, otherwise I would spend all my time in a state of 'productive procrastination'!

There will, however, continue to be some handquilting happening at nighttime in front of the telly. My Christmas Baubles quilt is coming along very nicely. I'll post some more pictures soon.
Happy Easter! We've been having a good one. Lots of chocolate eggs for the kids - only two each for the grown-ups - we're dieting!

Friday, April 06, 2012

A scarf for Romily

So there's an upside to being confined to bed for two weeks! Craftapalooza! I decided to teach myself how to knit properly - with a world of resources at my fingertips via the world wide web, I've been able to work out how to cast on properly (long tail cast on) and how to weave in ends properly (duplicate stitch method), neither of which I knew how to do before.

I bought this yarn about two years ago for Romily, intending to knit a scarf for her for winter - alas that coincided with my return to work and nothing happened! I finally got around to starting it  on Sunday and I finished it today. While it's by no means perfect (a couple of twisted stitches and a small hole where I forgot to bring the yarn to the front, Romily's happy with it and that's really all that matters. If you want to know more about the yarns, etc. I've put the project up on Ravelry, where I'm 'CascadeLily'.

Next up is a similar scarf for Tristan, made from a lovely cornflower blue with pale blue stripes.

PS. please excuse the colours/flash photography - I am still stuck in bed after foot surgery! The scarf is actually royal purple with pastel green stripes.

Friday, March 30, 2012

I knitted something!

I know this is not earth shattering news for most crafters, but I could not tell you how shocked my mother is! I was the worst at sewing, knitting and all other creative pursuits when I was younger.

However, now I'm older and and more determined, I don't give up so easily and have learned to persist even when things aren't perfect - just like this scarf, which is fatter at one end than the other. I somehow managed to increase the number of stitches per row. I could have frogged it, but I decided it didn't really matter. I started this project about three years ago, forgot about it, and rediscovered it about two months ago. I've been working on it at night in front of the telly (too stuffed from work to do anything more mindful) and finished it today. My new adage is 'better finished than perfect'!
My new furry friend is very warm and snuggly - it's autumn here and mornings are becoming quite fresh. In another week or two I'll be quite pleased I finished this project when I did! (If you're wondering whose crutches they are, they're mine! Surgery on Monday on both feet has changed me into an invalid for several weeks. The ever-patient Carl is my nursemaid and boy will he be glad to have me back at work some time after Easter!)

For those knitters out there, the yarn is Patons Ostrich (736), knitted on 4.5mm needles. It's about 160cm long plus fringing.

Next on the needles will be a simple 2 x 2 rib scarf for Romily.