Thanksgiving

Today seems to be American Thanksgiving, which for those of us on the other side of the world means that

1. Our newsfeed fills up with crazy recipes like sweet-potato-and-marshmallow-casseroles (really, Guardian, even you? What were you thinking?)

2. Tomorrow is Black Friday, which means online sales. Conveniently for NZ, this falls squarely on our Saturday, so there’s no work to get in the way of an online shopathon.

3. I am giving thanks that winter is no more, and summer is on its way!

And with that, here’s some knitting I did MONTHS ago.

pair1 inprogress pair1 2 pair1 1

These are my first ever socks! Appropriately I used a pattern called Easy Peasy Socks for First Timers, but then used some very fine yarn (because isn’t it beautiful?) and had to try and adapt it. They’re far from perfect but I love them.

pair2 1 pair2 2These are my second ever socks! They belong to the Fashion Critic. This time I had two 50g balls and not a scrap more, and so I used a toe up pattern (TDTU Vanilla All The Way Baby). The opposite issue this time – I had 8ply yarn and a 4ply pattern! It seemed to be OK.

By then I was pretty sick of knitting but it still wasn’t spring. Also I decided the Fashion Critic should wear slippers (he seems to be too cool for them, or maybe his feet really don’t get cold, I don’t know). So I ordered some wool on Trademe…

slippers 1 woolWe wound it up…

slippers 2 winding slippers 2 winding2

… And I got to work!

slippers 3 prefelted

slippers 3 prefelted2

It was pretty coarse wool (good for felting) and smelled just a bit sheepy. I used a pattern called Simply Felted Ladies Slippers (don’t tell you-know-who!). Because it uses two strands of 10-ply wool, it crochets up really quickly. If you want to feel like you’ve had a productive evening, try this pattern.

Then the fun bit.

slippers 4 machine

It took three cycles. Initially I just washed them with a pair of jeans, but for cycles 2 and 3 they just went in with the regular wash. I actually think the regular wash did a better job – maybe because there are more clothes in there for friction? Here’s what they looked like after the first wash:

slippers 5 onefelt

And here’s the final product:

slippers 6 threefelts

(just have to put buttons on)

slippers 7 finished

My friend has ordered some in purple for her birthday in April, and I’m looking forward to making them again. In the meantime, roll on summer.

The Great WSBN sewing room tour – and we’re off!

Well here we go! It’s spring in New Zealand and the WSBN is going to show you where it all happens… with a little peek at our pretty city, too.

I’m the first stop on this blog tour, then tomorrow you’re off to visit Laura at Laulipop NZ.

My sewing space

Technically, my “sewing room” is a little bedroom on the southern side of the house, which is always dark. So I usually relocate to the dining room table. Much nicer.

workroom

Here’s the back bedroom, where the stash still lives (I’m sure it grows better in cool dark conditions)…

other room
And these are my workhorses.

workhorses
My sewing machine is a Bernina 1008, and my overlocker is a Bernette Funlock. The sewing machine was a 21st birthday present, when I lived in a hall of residence at university. I have fond memories of whipping up dresses for fancy-dress parties (including an emerald green flapper dress with black fringing, and a white one for a friend… someone throw another 20s party, please). The overlocker was a later arrival, but I was overwhelmed by the threading instructions, and it sat unused for a good five years before I finally did a course last year. Now I couldn’t live without it.

What I’m working on

My good friend New Look 6097 appears again. I’m making another dress for a gift, with leftovers into a t-shirt (sound familiar)?

WIP

WIP t-shirt
All that’s left is to hem them, and I’m using Wonder Tape. This stuff is magic for hemming knits, it means many fewer pins and no rippling. I only discovered it this year and can’t live without it.

wonder tape

Next project in line

Ahem. My queue is literally in a queue, lined up on chairs by the wall.

queue
From top to bottom:

I’ve borrowed McCalls 5974 from Johanna and I’m going to make a dress out of this raspberry knit, lined with some pinkish stuff from the Fabric Warehouse sale. Spring’s virtually here but I’ve got one more winter dress in me.

McCalls 5974

queue 1 fabrics

Then I’m going to make some baby sunbonnets, using a pattern from the Purl Bee. Cute overload. The plan is for them to use up all my scrappy bits but in reality they’ll use up about four fat quarters’ worth.

purl bee sunbonnetqueue 2 hats

 

 

Then I’ll be sittin’ knittin’ for a bit, to finish some socks. Every three or four years I get a burst of enthusiasm about knitting and make a couple of things, then swear that I hate knitting and will never do it again. It takes about three or four years to forget everything I’ve learned, and the cycle repeats. This time I decided to learn to make socks. I’ve been using this basic toe-up sock pattern (link on the left), and have a couple of pairs to show you soon.

easy peasy socks for first timersqueue 3 socks

Show off your stash

Go and boil the kettle, this could take a while. First I’ll show you around my official sewing room.
hanging space
Here on the left is hanging space with some overload from the bedroom, as well as some things that need mending and also my pdf pattern collection.

patterns
I’m still not 100% happy with this system (hung from bulldog clips on a coathanger), but it’s better than the previous one (jammed into the cupboard).

stash

Next is a big wardrobe full of my stash. I gave it a big tidy-up a couple of months ago and it’s still in pretty good shape. From top to bottom:

  • Top shelf: Patterns, thread.
  • Second shelf: Ice cream tub full of some coasters I started making in 2008 and haven’t finished yet. Old pile of Ladies’ Home journal mags. All the accessories (zippers, ribbons, tray with all those little bits and bobs we need).
  • Third shelf: Slinky stuff (silks, laces, also interfacing is here). Big pile of pieces big enough to make a top or skirt: 22 at last count. Pile of UFOs (3 at last count).
  • Fourth shelf (the big one): lengths big enough to make a dress from: 19 at last count. I’m sure there are more than 19 now.
  • Bottom shelf: box of bits maybe big enough for baby clothes, or craft projects. Pile of clothes I may or may not refashion one day. Pile of fabric to use for muslins.

sewing cabinet
Then there’s a box of old photos I mean to digitalise one day, then some rolls of calico and tracing paper (as well as my bolt-end of blue merino). And the sewing machine cabinet where I really should be sewing.

ironing board and buttons

Lastly, here’s the ironing board desperate for a re-cover, a seldom-used yoga mat and the Buttons of Shame. These fell off a winter coat quite a number of years ago and I still haven’t put them on. Though last year I pulled out some matching thread and a needle, so some time in the next decade it may yet happen. 

OK, now I’ll show you my favourites from the stash. All of these are short-listed for summer sewing this year.

1. Burdastyle Kristen Plus, and some blue stripy fabric I picked up last week from TFW sale:
burdastyle kristen plus

blue TFW

 

2. Burdastyle Alberta Ferretti dress, and some blue silk that my aunt sent me from Hong Kong. This dress has Christmas party written all over it, don’t you think?

burdastyle alberta ferrettiblue silk

 

 

3. Shirt dresses. Goldfish cotton from Ikea, and navy broderie anglaise. Maybe a Colette Hawthorn?

goldfish

broderie anglaise

4. New Look 6557 maxi dress, using this floral cotton.

u.1 new look 6557floral maxi

 

 

 

5. And my favourite. This silk is from Fabric-a-brac late last year, and I’m planning to make a Victory Patterns Nicola dress with it.  Then I will just look at it every day.

q.1 victory patterns nicolagreen silk

 

 

Favourite thing I’ve made

This would be a toss-up between two dresses. One is a royal-blue version of New Look 6000, which I made about three years ago.

y new look 6000

The other is a green corduroy version of the Burdastyle Heidi dress. I wore this one until it fell apart, but plans are afoot to make another one, and I have the emerald-green yardage to prove it.

p.1 burdastyle heidi

green corduroy

 


Snapshot of Wellington

I’ll leave you with some photos of Island Bay in Wellington. I walk here most mornings.

island bay

It’s different every day.

island bay

There are lots of fishing boats, and you can see the ferries going to-and-fro between the North and South Islands. In summer during the Island Bay festival, there’s a “blessing of the boats” festival, and the fishing boats go round and round the island.

island bay

I am so lucky to live here.

island bay

Thanks for reading. Over to you, Laura!