Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Art Journal Pg 7

For my art journal page seven I did something different again.

I first prepared the page with mod podge, then gave it a sponge  with a wash of aqua and white paint. The page became quite wet again, so this time I sprinkled some rock salt onto the page and let it dry. A bit messy, but hey, it wasn't a blank page!

I had plans of cutting my numbers this time from a magazine page that I  had saved. So once the page was dry, I drew my numbers in the magazine page, cut them out and glued them to my journal page.

I then began to draw lines with a  black fine line felt tipped pen. At first I outlined the green blobs that had formed, then just added in wavy lines to connect them all together.

This page has been finished for some time, and I must admit I have been a bit slack with my art journaling. My knitting has taken over. I'll try to get back to it every day.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A New Cardigan

Behold, my new cardigan. This one began with inspiration on one of our trips away a few years ago. We were travelling from the Northeren Tablelands of NSW down to the coast, and stopped for a break in a little town not far from the Queensland border. The main street hugged the main highway, and it took no time at all to walk up one side and down the other. All the doors to the shops were closed, and it took no time at all to work out why. It was a main highway after all, and the sheep trucks travelling this highway were common. Enough said!

We did open the doors and walk in, and one was such a delight. It was a little haberdashery shop that sold everything from curtain fabric to knitting yarn. When we walked in, what caught my eye was a gorgeous cardigan on display. It was burgundy, and had a ruffle around the neck, down the front, curved at the hem, and at the hem of each sleeve. The ruffle was in a feather and fan pattern in a variegated burgundy yarn. Just gorgeous, and I wanted one!

We were on a time limit, and had yet to still make our way to the coast, so I didn't ask the shop attendant for the pattern. I figured it was current, and would be readily available anywhere. Mmmmm........ not so. When I came home I searched everywhere, even on line, and could not find a pattern similar. The closest I found was on another trip away, in another little country town, in another little haberdashery shop. This pattern was for a short sleeve cardigan, curved at the hem, but with a rib finish. It was a base to work from, I could lengthen the sleeves, lengthen the whole garment, and add the ruffle to finish it off.

So then the fun began in looking for yarn. I ended up with this Morris Empire "Clove" 100% merino yarn, and  a Noro "Silk Garden Lite" 45% silk, 45% mohair 10% wool yarn in a variegated for the ruffle. After playing with the variegated in a sample of feather & fan, I decided to do the ruffle in the Clove, so went back to buy more. Then, after playing and thinking some more, I decided to eliminate the ruffle across the bottom at the back, and just have it down the front and on the sleeves, but that meant that I had to finish the back some other way, I didn't want a plain rib joining with a variegated ruffle at the side seam, so opted instead for a picot hem. The pattern was stocking stitch, boring, so I decided to add some interest, and dropped an eyelet in now and again in a pattern. The back was finished and was looking great.

Then came the front, which was much trickier. I can't remember the last cardigan I made, and if I did ever make one it would have had a straight front, not a curved one like this. All was going good, and I had created the bottom curve, and managed to drop the eyelets in at the same level and in the same pattern as the back. Then came the plain sailing up the front with no increases for a while. The Problem was that I had made the back longer than the pattern, without taking note of how many extra rows I had done. The front needed to be the same length, but it had a ruffle finish where the back had a hem, and I need to allow for this. It meant that I had to sit quiet, count rows, and work it all out. So it got put in the "too hard basket" to sort out later. I might add here it that it sat in that basket for quite some time,

Back in February I had finished off another jumper, and I had enjoyed the knitting so much I decided it was time to pull this one out and finish it. It was at this point that I decided that I really liked the picots combined with the eyelets, so decided to put a band with a picot edge around the front, and to do the same hem on the sleeves.

It is now finished, not quite as I first imagined, but it is warm and very wearable. As for the rounded bottom, I think I would only do that again for something lighter, like a 100% cotton in a short sleeve.

Now I have yarn left, about five balls of the 'Clove', and four balls of the Noro. Watch this space to see what happens with them.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Little Christmas Bell - Bobbin Lace Style

This little Christmas bell was born from cleaning up my sewing table. In my clean-up I found some old magazines that I had picked up at one of my stitching groups.  I had picked them up for a reason, and  when I looked through one of them I found the pattern for this little bell. So I put it aside to have a good look at later.

When I picked it up again, there were actually six different decorations, and I believed I could do them all by myself, without any help. When I started reading, they were worked in a thread that I didn't know. Mmmm......... So I gathered together threads that  I had that I thought may be suitable, and tottered off to my lace group, complete with the pricking I had made, my lace pillow, pins and other lace making paraphernalia.

I asked my lace teacher which thread would be best, and we settled on  DMC Cordonnet Special No50. To me this is a crochet thread, and when I first started making bobbin lace, I was told not to use crochet thread. Mmmmmm...........

So I wound my bobbins and started off. The thread was actually a dream to use, and I would certainly use it again. The bell was actually quick to do, four hours of work including winding my bobbins.

I am actually very proud of my little effort. I have always wanted to make a bobbin lace Christmas decoration and now I have. There will be many more in the future.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Bedfordshire Lace Bookmark

This little bookmark is a Bedfordshire lace one. It started as something to take to my lace meeting. I had ( and still do) a handkerchief edge on a pillow that I really wanted to do, but the pillow is a little cumbersome and uncomfortable  to use at lace meetings. Something about the height, it is a block pillow, and high at the front. My other pillow is a cookie pillow, and nicer to work on, so I dug out the pricking for this bookmark and thought I would make another one. The pattern came from an Australian Lace magazine, summer 2005, and is by Olwyn Scott and Robyn Hueppauff..

I had made this bookmark before, about three years ago, and thought there would not be an issue. So I quickly gathered my supplies and off I went to lace. As I started to set up my pricking and sort out bobbins, I thought I had bobbins with thread left from a previous project, and thought I would use them. The thread in the container with the bobbins was a cotton one, so I assumed all the bobbins in with the thread would have that thread wound on them. As I started to set them up and begin to work the lace, I could see that there were two different threads. One was a linen, complete with slubs, and the other was a cotton. Would it matter if the bookmark was worked in two different threads? One way to find out!

So I continued on my merry way. It got started, worked a bit, then left for some time while life got in the way. Next time I picked it up I snapped a thread. Mmm........ I could cope with that. Just add in another one and knot later. Famous last words! If I snapped one thread, I snapped a hundred! I know that linen thread has problems in dry air, and I have been told to lay a damp cloth over my work to create humidity. So that's what I did. Most of this bookmark was worked in high summer in air-conditioning, so every afternoon when I packed it away for the day, I would lay a cover cloth, a damp tea towel, then another cover cloth, so creating a layer of humidity.

Although I had made this bookmark before, I still had to remember lots of things. It's been good practice for my tallies, and I had to remember how to make picots, ( thank goodness for reference books!) . Then there were issues with colours of thread to colours on the pricking, as well as issues with pins. I have also learnt how unforgiving half stitch is. Never mind, it is finished now, and the only person I have to please is myself.

Now watch this space for my handkerchief edge that will be coming soon, sometime hopefully this year.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

A New Jumper

My latest finish! It is a new jumper for a male member of my family, knitted in an 8 ply Wool/Alpaca mix from Bendigo Woollen Mills. I am so glad this is finished. It is high summer at the moment, and as this got near completion, it became very heavy and very warm. I had to sit with the bulk of the jumper on the arm of the lounge while I knitted the neckband, and even with fans and air-conditioning, I occasionally struggled.

I had ordered the yarn way back in July last year, and thought I had ordered enough. Well, my calculations said I would have a small amount left over. Either the pattern amounts were incorrect, or I did my calculations incorrectly, but I did not have enough yarn left to do the neckband. I had to order more. As the bulk of the yarn was purchased in July, I knew that getting a ball of the same dye-lot would be extremely lucky. I was correct, and had to have a ball of another dye-lot. As it is the whole neckband, with a different texture than the top of the jumper, it's not noticeable.

The pattern is Sirdar 9248 purchased from Patternfish.

Now this one is finished, I wonder what will be next. UFO's and WIPS here I come.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Art journal Pg 6

Page six of my art journal has been finished for some time, and as it lives opposite page five, the page is very similar.

This page was sealed with Mod Podge and wet sponge painted with an aqua coloured paint at the same time that I did page five.

After discovering that my ball point pen wouldn't show enough on these pages, I continued with the wedge tipped marker and drew my number six. From there, still using the wedge tipped marker, I marked out some basic lines that continued from the previous page, but also blended into my number six. This included the spiral in the center of the six.

Then I changed to my fine felt tipped pen and added in some patterns.

I have discovered that I quite like making patters on my pages, working out what I might use for making some lace designs or some future stitching. I also feel that by adding colour and using two different tipped pens is adding dimension to my pages.

It's all about experimentation for me in this new world of art journaling. I wonder what I will experiment with on my next pages?

You might also like:

Monday, January 30, 2017


It's high summer here in OZ and really to hot hot to knit, especially with yarn that is a wool/alpaca mix. I'm managing though, with the help of fans, and air conditioning.

This little number is for a male member of the family, and was started back in November. So far I have completed the back, the front, and one sleeve. The second sleeve is almost done, and then I just have to stitch the pieces together and do the neckband.

My issue is that I am fast running out of yarn. It will be touch an go if I make it or not. The yarn is still available, so I can get more, it just wont be the some dyelot.

Watch this space to see the finished item and see if I make it with yarn or not.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Another Christmas Bauble

My new Christmas bauble finally finished.

This Christmas bauble was started back in November in my local sewing group, the Georges Hall Sew'n'Sews. We had decided to cancel our December meeting due to the proximity of Christmas, and instead made our Christmas decorations in November.

This decoration is based on a polystyrene ball, available from places like Spotlight and Lincraft. It is divided into sections, cut with a stanley knife, then fabric is pushed into the cuts. I have made plenty of these over the years, so this year I took the basic idea to another level.

I first had to divide my polystyrene ball to obtain a pattern. From there I scanned my pattern into my digitising program to get the correct size to digitise my words. Once done, I could then play with the shapes of the letters to get them into the shape to fit the bauble.

My first attempt at stitching them out showed that I needed more of a border around the letters to accentuate them more, so back to the file I went to fix it up. Once fixed, I was happy with the stitch outs.

My ball is divided into six, three sections are my digitised words, and the alternate three sections are the same green fabric that has been over-layed with a red glittery mesh fabric. The ball has been finished of with red ribbon.

It's probably my favourite bauble on my tree this year, thought I do have other decorations that are not baubles that I like much better. Most of my tree decorations are hand made, this just adds another one to the mix.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Hearts

Wishing everyone reading a very Merry Christmas, and may the day bring you all peace, joy, love and great times with your family.

These little Christmas hearts have been made with love and given to close friends and special family members. I started them back in August, using a free pattern I found here.

I used scraps of even weave fabric that I had in my stash, as well a scraps of thread. They are backed in red felt to bring out the colour, and I even had that in my stash. The only thing I purchased was the ribbon to hang them.

They are made using the Hardanger technique, combined with some surface stitching which has been counted.

They should all be with their prospective new owners by now, and I know they will be treasured by one and all.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Art Journal Pg 5

Page five of my numbered art journal is finished. I experimented with a few different things this time.

After the last two pages (where I washed them with a tea/coffee colour wash) bucked under the wetness and crinkled my pages, I purchased something called "Mod Podge" which was supposed to be a water based sealer/glue/finish.

 So page number five has been firstly sealed with Mod Podge, then wet sponged with an aqua colour paint. After letting it dry, I worked with my trusty ball point pen and drew my number five. Mmmmm........ I could hardly see the line on the coloured background, so I went over it with a wedge tipped black marker.

From there I continued with the wedge tipped marker, and added in some basic shapes that continued on from the number five.

By this stage I felt that the page was getting very heavy and needed some lightness, so changed to a fine felt tipped pen to add in further patterning.

I quite like the page, it is a bit different for me using a wedge tipped marker on such a small scale. I usually like fine work in anything. Wedge tipped markers in this house are reserved for marking food items in the freezer . This time though I think it has added some dimension with the use of two different tipped markers as well as paint, and the page has certainly given me some inspiration for stitching.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Crimson Jumper

My new jumper is finished, it's actually been finished for a few weeks now. Made from a Crimson 'Savanah" yarn, which is a 70% wool, 30% alpaca yarn from Bendigo Wollen Mills.

It's way to hot to wear it now, summer is here, so it is packed away until next winter.

The pattern is one received free with my yarn order from Bendigo Woolen Mills. I loved the cable pattern, and found it really interesting to do. I have done cables before of course, but not interesting and multiple ones like this.

I changed the pattern slightly too, just making the sleeves a bit longer. In the pattern they were 3/4 length, which personally I find a silly length to be made in wool. It took a little juggling with numbers and multiple tries to get them right, but I am vary happy with the result.

I also have lots of yarn left over too, which will be enough to make a matching scarf or hat. So watch this space to see which design wins.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Art Journal Pg 4

My art journal continues, if somewhat slowly. I have been a bit slack with the ten minutes a day thing, but I do try when ever I have time, or manage to think about it.

This is page four, which lives opposite page three. It is coloured with the same tea/coffee wash that I used on page three. I actually colour washed the pages at the same time so they would be ready when I was.

This page continued on with the drawing of some seed heads, as well as some words and some patterning. I find that  I like making patterns the best, and as yet am still using just a ball point pen.

Now I have started with the number thing, I think I will continue with it. It gives me a starting point each time.

The other thing I have found is  the ten minutes a day thing can very easily stretch out into 30 minutes as I get lost in this mark making world. Just as I get lost in my stitching world, I end up in some other place for a short time, escaping reality, and creating inspiration for my future stitching.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Art Journal Pg 3

I have been continuing to use pen work in my journal every day, only a few minutes mind you, but still every day.This is my page three.

This page started with a wash of tea and coffee dregs. Somewhere I had read about using coffee washes on paper, why not? I had tea washed fabric before, why not paper? So when making my first cuppa for the day, I placed the sodden tea bag in a bowl. My plan was to drag it over the page, but them I spied the coffee pot from the previous night which still had to be emptied. I emptied it in with the tea bag. This gave me a dirty coloured cold liquid with which I could paint.

When the page was dry, I did notice that the page had gone crinkly (as paper does when it's been wet), but also some of the colour had seeped through to the other side of the page. This is the colour that showed on my page two. Note to self, read how to avoid this.

As I had started with putting numbers on my pages, I thought that the best idea was to continue, so number three became a reality, just a single line at first. Then came the parsley seed head. It had been calling out to me to draw it for some time, so I did. Then I added the word 'Parsley' following the curve of the number three. Form there the page took on a life of it's own.

I am finding it interesting that a page of doodling can have a life of it's own, and that 'things' cry out to be drawn. Just like my stitching really. My stitching talks to me quite often and tells me what it needs, these pages are doing the same. Must be just part of the same creative process.

My page four has been started, I wonder where that will lead.

Friday, October 28, 2016


I have been knitting a lot lately. This one is a new jumper for me. It's not finished yet, but it is well into the process.

The pattern is one I chose for free with an order of yarn from Bendigo Woolen Mills. It says in the pattern to make the front and back the same. Mmmmm........ if I did that, I would have pattern up the left side of my front, and on the opposite side on the back when it was complete. I chose to play with the stitch numbers and make the patterns sit on opposite sides as it was being knitted, this way the patterns will meet together at the shoulder on the left side when completed.

It is being knitted in crimson "Savannah" yarn, an 8ply 70% wool, 30% alpaca yarn from Bendigo Woolen Mills. The cable is a different one too. I have done cables before, but not quite as interesting as this one.

So far I have completed the back and the front, and two thirds of one sleeve. The sleeve in the pattern in 3/4 length, which to me is useless in an 8ply wool jumper. If I am going to wear wool, I want all of my arms to be warm too. So I played with the pattern numbers again to make the sleeve longer. My first attempt was not successful, it was too tight, so I un-pulled it all (the sleeve) and did it again. My second attempt is much better in fit, and I am nearly finished sleeve number one. Then I just have to make sleeve number two, sew it together, make the neckband and I will be done. A new jumper for me ready for next winter.