Small Leaps

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Running Out!

Most of my crafting the last few days has been focused on finishing the orange pair of gloves, which my mum has claimed.

The first one is done, but I will not finish the second with the remaining wool;
That little scrappy pile at the top. It was one of the balls I got with the big lot of wools when Erins mum was clearing her stash.

So, instead I will be using a contrasting yarn my mum has chosen. In her words, something bright and fun.
I will finish off the cuff, then go back, rip out what I have done of the hand, and re-do it in the inaccurately captured greeny colour. I will then crochet an edging in orange around the fingers, and then an edging in the green colour around the orange pairl. We will see if it works...

I have really been enjoying knitting the gloves, and I am imagining another pair already. The yarn I am using for the cuffs is really beastly though, I feel like I am wrestling with rope. My poor wrists!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Failure with Bling

Today I had a lot of fun, we went to an open day at a local craft centre and I was able to try out a working spinning wheel. It is so much simpler than a drop spindle and is so fast! I am going to be sending my wheel for a complete repair and service, because while I was planning on fixing it up myself there is no way that I know enough to make it work the best it could.

So, here is my lump of first wheel spun

I also started another knitting project. I was planning on waiting until after I had finished my singlet top, but it has been a frought couple of days and I have developed the habit of biting my thumb nail, and now I don't have anything to help me move around the cables when I am doing them. This has resulted in a pretty cramped thumb, so I have stopped the singlet top and cast on some gloves:

That is pretty much it as far as crafting goes, but I did get some really wonderful things at a garage sale this afternoon. First, a Stratton compact with scalloped edges and a lots of diamantes in different shapes on the lid.Also, a gold Oroton glomesh evening bag

and the most exciting bit about it is that in the inner pocket, it still has the original Oroton mirror that came with the bag. It's missing all of the (few) that I have seen, and the ones that I cruised on ebay.

All this for the low, low price of Au$4. The lady said that she was selling some of her stuff, but also her mother in laws. We went really late in teh day when most had gone, so if this was the dregs I wish I could have been there earlier. I think her mother in law seems pretty cool.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New Acquisitions

It has been a pretty exciting couple of days for me; I have been getting my exam results back and did well (except for Maths), but more importantly I got a spinning wheel.

I'm assuming that the story behind it is that for some period a few decades ago spining was taught at my school, but when it was taken of the curriculum there was just a load of spinning wheels sitting around gathering dust. There are maybe 5 kicking around, and the one that I now have was the best of the lot, though it still needs a good clean and a few repairs.

This is a full view of it, and you can see where it was just packed up with roving still attatched and some newbie spun wool. Just behind the roving is a brown ball that is just kind of dangling there, which I need to work out the purpose for. What I love about it is the gentle curve of the right leg.

The main problems are that the leather that connected the treadle to the wheel has rotted away, and there is a lot of rust on all of the metal bits. The hooks in the right picture are pretty rusted, but they are similiar to curtain hooks so they should not be difficult to replace.

I also finished the pair of yellow booties last seen here and solo and made a matching bonnet for them. I am not bored of this pattern yet, but I can kind of see it coming soon.

A couple of days ago a friend told me that her mum was throwing out some wool, and had asked if I wanted it. I didn't know what to expect, because in Australia "wool" generally means yarn used for hand knitting, but when she gave me a huge bag stuffed full I couldn't have been more thrilled. Inside was about 90% pure Australian Patons or Cleckheaton Wool with some boucle of indeterminate fiber content, and a few balls of Patons Feathers. Apparently her mum went through a knitting phase, bit I have to say that many people who go through a "phase" display worse taste in fiber content and quality. Thanks Erin's Mum :).

When I first saw these two sets of colours together, I thought the boucle for the cuffs, and the crepe yarn for the body. I just need to finish a certain other knitting project before I start swatching...

Onto the other project:

Last seen it was only large enough to be compared to little safety scissors, but I included my shears this time because I couldn't find the other scissors. I have almost reached the point where I will need to have every knit stitch cabled. The rounds are going much faster now that I am used to the pattern, but this is still probably going to be my longest project so far.

I was also just experimenting last night, and I found a pretty cool way of creating dangly bits when crocheting ir knitting, as an alternative to chains or a row of sc.

First, cut a length of yarn much longer than the intended length. I don't have any numbers yet, but I am going to try and work it out later.

Find the middle, and make a slip know here-ish.

Tension one of the lengths like you normally would, and make a chain with it.

Then, with the other yarn being tensioned by your thumb, make a chain with that.
Just keep alternating between the two yarns until the length is as long as it is needed.

This shows the structure of the final result, and it is pretty obvious that I am still having tension issues. Hopefully this will even out over time.

As an aside, was letting Pluto out, and her brother (Don) in, when I noticed they were creating this cool shadow thing. They were in exactly the same pose, both looking at me. Unfortunately, Pluto looked away before I snapped the pic.

Monday, September 11, 2006

More Booties

I have been on a bootie kick for the last couple of days; they work up really quickly, and yet you still get satisfaction from finishing them.

I finished off the pair of pink booties that I showed last post, and did a matching bonnet for them.At their longest part they are a bit under 4" long, and are a pastel pink rather then the cream shown here.

I also did a pair in left over cotton from a tatted bookmark, and while there was enough for some very small booties (done on 2.5mm hook) there isn't enough for a bonnet.
The truest colour is the last.

I also just started a yellow pair, using the same pattern.

I absolutely adore the structure of this pattern; first the sole is made in rounds, then walls built up, and then the instep is made by working short rows, and slip stitching onto the main body. It is a lot simpler than I have seen them done before on internet patterns.

I also adore the lace pattern that they say to use, though of course it could be changed to whatever. It is worked on the picture from the right to the left, but looks quite similiar to one worked bottom to top. It is really simple, and I love it.

There has been a little more progress on the red singlet, but the cable rows are taking forever. I am currently doing about 30 cables in a round, but when this goes up to a full 43, I hope I retain the will to go on. I am doing a cable round every second row.

When I was watching TV yesterday I needed a break from little hooks/needles, so I did a little work bag that I can stick into my school bag to carry whatever projects I am working on. The white part is a shredded pillowcase, done on a 6mm hook, while the colourful bit at the top was done using on a 10mm. The top rolls down and two ties then hold it down. It worked during a test run today.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


I have done a good two inches of my singlet, and it is going to be taking me ages...hopefully when I go back to school next week I will have more opportunity to work on it than I do at the moment. It is my first time using one circular needle, and I find that it takes longer for my wrists to get tired, maybe something to do with the centralised weight. It's also a lot more convenient when shoving it in my bag, as it takes up a lot less room.

My vintage patterns (except my sewing ones) have now been organised, and de-staple-atised. I like to get the staples out because they rust onto the paper, discolouring it, and many of my booklets have been ripped by the staples. I adore looking at what I have, but I feel a bit guilty that that there is no way I am going to be able to make my way through all of them. I am comforted a little that they are organised by age group and type, rather than chronologically.

I was putting away one of my new ones, and I noticed this:
Someone didn't like the kid.

From the same layette pattern as what the baby is wearing, I started some baby booties for Wee Care, shown here before the lace leg part was done:

I failed in my attempt to not start any more crochet projects, but they are so small they hardle count. *Cough*

I haven't done any more embroidery, but I hope to get my UFO's done soon so I can start a skirt with a smocked waistband for summer.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Craft and Cats

There are few times when my cat, Pluto, takes an interest in what I am doing. It is only when what I am doing is interesting and engrossing that she decides she wants to play human.

Yesterday I acquired a few more vintage craft stuff for the ever growing collection, and half way through organising it, Pluto comes and plants her bum on whatever I am doing.

In other news, I cast on 215 stitches yesterday for my singlet, the most I have ever done before. I use the Long Tail cast on, and I think in future if I have to cast on large numbers this way I will tie two balls together. That way there is no chance of running out, and the ends can just be knitted in. Progress pics will come soon, but there isn't a whole lot to show at the moment.

Weekend tomorrow, YES!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Flowers and Rain

It has been feeling really Spring-ee for the last couple of days, and I've been wanting to do some flower pressing in preparation for next years 18th B-day swamp, when there will be lots of people needing gifts. I figure pressed flower cards are a bit middle of the road, kinda; I like you enough to put the effort into making a pretty card for you, but we're not necessarily chummy enough for something larger. Is that bad of me?

Anyway, there will be more flowers later in the season, especially natives like wattle, but these are a start.

I also progressed a bit on the embroidery sampler, just dregs need to be done now.

The fly and Tete de Boeuf stitchs are a little bit whacked, but they are my first ones so I am ok with thay. They were pretty fun to do, especially the Tete de Boeuf, I might look at doing it as a border stitch if I ever need one.

I also started doing some experimenting with using cables and ribbing as shaping for a summer knit I wan't to do. I initally bought it to do Blissful from the Happy Hooker, but I decided that as much as I would like to be brave enough to wear a top like that, it wasn't really up my avenue. Instead I'm (hopefully) going to design and knit a cami style singlet out of the cotton I bought.

At the moment it is looking like it will be knit in the round, with a 4k2p rib, moving down to 4k1p and cables to shape the waist, and then expanding up again. It'll be my first knitted garment other than hats and gloves, so I'm hoping it will go well.

One of my friends is having a birthday in a little over a month, and I thought I would get started early. She is an absolutely incredible artist, and she is always doodling little things in class. I oh so subtely (*cough*) knicked one under the premise that I needed paper, and I rendered it in embroidery:It was a lot of fun to do, using my two fav stitchs; chain and stem. I am leaning toward doing a few more, framing them, and giving them to her as a set that can be displayed in different ways. I'm worried that it will be too kitschy.

The rain part of the title comes from this; we are in the middle of one of the longest droughts in Australian recorded history, and whenever it rains it tends to miss the catchment areas. Yesterday evening it started drizzling a bit, and it stormed all last night and is still raining now. The creek in our backyard is flowing again, and the swimming pool is full. Typically though, Warragamba Dam (the catchment area for Sydney) seems to have been missed.

Though we weren't really effected there was lots of chaos around, roads flooded, public transport delayed (nothing new though), and though it all my kitty Pluto sleeps.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Fetching and Mohair

I finished blocking Branching out, and I am really happy with how the lace came out. While I am not sure if it is as efficient as crocheting lace, it gives a nice, different look, so maybe I shouldn't be comparing them.

Size: 57" X 5.5" (29 pattern repeats)
Needle Size: 5.5 mm
Material: Two different shades of un-labelled blue mohair, about 4oz (just under 100g)
In the picture above, you can just see where I moved from one colour to another. It isn't too noticeable, and the same shade is used at either end, with the other in the middle.

The yarn is from a mixed bag I bought for Au$5 at a market, and before I started this I seperated all the wool of the same shades and put them in a safe place. Unfortunately, I forgot about them, and it wasn't until after I had swapped yarn and gotten to about 20 repeats that I found them again (in my needle roll, incidentally). I just swapped back when the ball I was using ran out, and did the same number of repeats that I had initially used to make it even. If anyone now asks, I will just call it a design feature.

With the yarn from the same bag, I had enough to make the Cold Shoulders capelet from the Happy Hooker, though I changed it so that it had a button closure instead of a tie. (Thats the button and the back)

And I still have two balls left.

I was also planning on starting a summer knit yesterday after I finished Branching Out, but instead I caved to finishing off the left overs from doing Knitty's Fetching.

The scarflette is just stockinette with a garter stitch border, and is long enough to go around your neck like a little collar. It also includes my first buttonholes, which I am not sure I did correctly (cast off, then increase next row using the loop method) but they are functional.

The buttons are much bluer than they look in the picture, but they tie the gloves and scarflette together. I crocheted an edging, but I'm not sure if I like it that much, so I haven't woven in the ends or done the other glove.
The needles are around 6mm for the scarflette, and were 3.75mm for the gloves. Both are probably going to be gifted.

I'm a bit bummed at the moment, as I'm trying to avoid doing any more crocheting as my wrist needs a break from that particular movement, but knitting is so much slower, and I'm an instant gratification type girl. I only have two other WIP, an evening blouse for a school dance that I can't do any more on until I pick up some trim, and an embroidery sampler that I am bored with.
I have a few more bits that need to be filled in with a fairly dense filling stitch, but I can't stand satin stitch, and I am worried about over using some other fillers. It's currently my TV project, but I can't work on it too long as my eyes go all strainy on me. Meh, I am just hoping inspiration comes to me.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Two Scarves....

...just in time to show off in the early spring sunshine.

admittedly the pale blue one (Branching Out, from Knitty) isn't done yet, but I am so close. I am hoping that the lace pattern will open up when I block it, as it isn't really visible at the moment.

The green and pink one is woven on a little weavette with my first handspuns. I like it, because I can look at it and see how I have improved. Guess the order in which I spun them :);

And to give you an idea of length, here is a pic of it drying on the sun lounger (it was the longest thing I could find.


Size: 72" X 5"- long enough to wrap around my neck a couple of times.
Materials: Handspun Corriedale in green and pink, with a little Optim Tops given to me by a really nice guy at a Spinners and Weavers open day.
Variegated pink to white cotton to do the actual weaving.

It's made up of 15 squares, and I used the cotton to weave with because when I tried weaving with the pink handpsun, it was too weak and kept breaking. I am not sure if the green could have held up, but I think it looks better when the two colour have something to tie them together.

After I have finished Branching Out, I think I might try a summer knitting project...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Retro Apron + tute

Ok, first post on my new blog. The general idea is for it to be a craft blog, but I can't honestly say that it will be for just one. I find that when I reach a certain point and something is no longer challenging, I need to put it down for a while and start on something you might see sewing, spinning, crocheting, embroidery, weaving, knitting, tatting, and whatever else I decided to pick up. I can't say that I am particularly skilled at any of them, buthopefully over time that will change.

Because this is new blog, first post, I figured I would do something a bit different to what will probably usually be on these pages- a tutorial. This is for a retro style apron, modelled after the type of full-coverage apron a woman in the 50's or 60's might have worn. I needed somewhere to put my scissors when I was sewing, and all the other craft type stuff you need, but don't have the hands for- thus the pockets.

Skill Level- Beginner. Mostly straight sewing, basic drafting, easy darts, gathering, applying bias binding, basic pocket.

  • I used about 2 1/2 yards of 37" wide fabric, but this can be adapted to what you have at hand.
  • Matching thread
  • Bias Binding
  • Sewing machine, or needle and thread
  • Either draft the pattern straight onto your fabric, or else newspaper.

Start by drawing a rectangle, with one side along the selvege of your fabric, or the side of a newspaper sheet. This is going to be the centre bodice panel, and I have included the measurements I used in brackets, including seam allowance.

Now you need to get the shapes of the neckline and armholes, but it doesn't need to be exact first time. I would hold up the shape and keep trimming down until I got the shape that I wanted, but it can still be changed later.
Also, make the darts now. To do this, take away your waist measurement (just at the front) from your bust measurement (just the front as well) and you are left with the difference between the two. Divide this by two (for the two darts), and this is how wide your darts will be at the bottom. Find the centre of your pattern piece, and measure about an inch away from it on either side. Then, draw the base of the dart-triangle the width that you have just found. Taper them upward, to a point just beneath your bust (the blue line).

To sew these darts, simply work from the outside into the point, and instead of going back and forth when you reach the end, leave a bit more thread before you cut it, and tie the bobbin and overhead thread together.
To draft the back pattern pieces, simply copy the front armholes and straps (so it is easy to sew them together) and drop a slightly diagonal line to the bottom, with the diagonal coming in toward your spine. This is the dark blue part of the diagram.
Join the side seams up.

The skirt is just made up of three rectangles. I made mine 30" long, which brings it to just below my knee. It can be any length that you want. The large rectangle in the middle was cut from my fabric, and is the full width of it. The two smaller pieces are the same length, but I cut the width in half.
The next step is for pockets, so if you don't want them it can be skipped.

To make these basic pockets, either draft a pattern from an existing porcket that you like the size of, or draft one around your hand or what you want to carry in it (if it is specific, like me and my scissors) with added seam allowance and wiggle room. You will need four. Attatch one of these to each side of the centre panel, near the top, around hip level. Attatch the remaining two to the side of the side seam which is going to be sewn to the centre panel, at exactly the same place.
If you cut the width of your fabric in half like me, you will have a selvedge side on each of your panels. You can attatch your pocket to the other side, so it is not necessary to hem down the side of the skirt part of your apron.
Now sew these seams, matching the pockets, and sewing all in one go. You will need to sew a curved line around the pockets. Do this on both sides.
Now it is time to attatch the skirt to the bodice. Set the stitch length to the longest it will go, and run a straight line across the top of the skirt part. I only run one line, and have never had any problems with my thread snapping. If you are unsure, or are having trouble, sew two lines side by side. I gathered from both sides, and to do this just pull either the top or bottom thread (not both) until it is the right length, then do this on the other side for the other half of the apron. Match the side seams of the skirt and bodice, distributing the fulness evenly all the way around.
Also join the shoulder seams.

Try on the apron, and if you are unhappy with the neckline or armholes, trim them now.

Attatch bias binding (explained here better than I could) using either the one or two step method, around the armholes and neckline, down to the seam joining bodice to skirt. From here, either hem the sides and bottom, or just the bottom if your sides are the selvedge.

To make the tie, cut two lengths of fabric around 5" wide the length of your fabric. Join these two lengths along a short side, and fold them in half, right sides together. Sew into a tube, along one short side, and the long length, leaving the other short end to turn. If you like, you can taper the ends as you sew, to make ties that come to a point. Turn the sash, and iron it. Press under the raw edges and sew shut.

To attatch the tie the the rest of the apron, pin the centre of it to the seam joining the bodice and skirt. Either sew along this line, or sew verticle lines 3" or so apart.

Slip it on, tie a bow, and your DONE!

I hope that it was easy, and if you have any problems following it, please tell me and I will try and fix it up.