Queue jumper

Repeat after me “I am not doing sewing this weekend, I have guests staying. I am not doing sewing this weekend, I have guests staying. I am not doing sewing this weekend, I have guests staying.

Look at me not trace out a pattern. Or cut fabric. Or just get the machine out to do some mending.

I am doing so well. Honestly, I did not realise there would be someone spinning at the street market we went to. A little peak won’t hurt will it? And I have to hang around to stop my kids breaking things whilst my son asks his usual barrage of questions, that’s my job as a parent, right? And it won’t hurt to just fondle some of the pretty colours while I’m here.

Lovely tones

Lovely tones of hand dyed hand spun wool from Spindle and Skein

Whoops, I accidentally bought some. But it would be rude not too, we were there a while and she was so patient with the boy.

Anyway, I will not be rude and start knitting in front of guests. I will not be rude and … hey, one of my guests is knitting. Right, that’s it….

testing, testing, 1, 2, 3, 4

testing, testing, 1, 2, 3, 4

Test piece done. I may be knitting another hat. Not sure who for yet, other than for someone who knows how to hand wash.

A day off using hairdryers

Today, despite the kids being on holiday, I had a day off while hubby looked after them. And what did i do? Why I went on a screenprinting workshop of course!

I found out about it a little while ago and immediately wanted to go. So many options for printing my own fabric! Then once I’d booked the pressure was on and I couldn’t think of what to do. A large statement design, a print to repeat and cover some fabric, a border print? And what of?

In the end, me, the person who despairs of the lack of non floral fabric available, chose to print dandelions. I did a larger design of a flower head that could also be repeated and a border print of various stages of a dandelion. Both my designs were within A5 size because I didn’t listen properly and thought I had an A4 worth of screen to fill, when actually it was A3 that was a good flexible size.

work in progress

work in progress

The workshop was fun and I got lots done. Much of it hastily prepared the night before. What I didn’t expect was to spend large parts of my day using a hairdryer! (Drying both screens and fabric.)

everyone's hard work

everyone’s hard work at the end of the day

The designs that I had submitted in advance were put onto a screen using light sensitive coating and a UV light (I’m a bit vague about this bit). Before we used this “exposed screen” we got to practice by making our own screens. Most of us started with an acetate of our submitted design that we could cut bits out of to make a screen that would compliment our more detailed exposed design. I made yellow splodges to go behind my final design.

my totes

my totes

Getting the designs to register (line up) was a bit hit and miss. Some worked better than others. But I kind of like the misaligned look, can we call it rustic artistic charm? I printed quite a few bits of fabric, which will hopefully get made up and shown soon. Also these 4 tote bags, which have one of each of the two designs on each size. (Spot the deliberate mistake, my small yellow splodge on the “border” design was accidently flipped upside down and printed in a mirror image so there was Absoutely No Way I could get it to match my detailed print). These totes are made with another bit of fabric from the mystery bundle, a kind of natural coloured cotton that is feels very strong, perfect for bags and isn’t lined, but I have slightly mitred the corners to give them a base. Like the birdy bag they are smaller than a normal carrier bag but big enough for a couple of bottles of wine. The fabric made exactly 4 so I used some ribbon I inherited for the handles.

experimenting on my complimentary tote

experimenting on my complimentary tote

At the end I also printed on my complimentary tote that came with the workshop. I used a mix of orange and black dye at the same time to get this effect.

So, now I have a huge pile of ironing to do to set all my hard work (the ink manufacturers recommend 10 mins hot iron!).

Right, have to go and cook now, being pestered by small children. Have a great evening everyone!

chugging along

So, I have been plugging away, sewing some rectangles and using up some of my mystery fabric. I have 2 things to show you today, made with some natural beige coloured looking linen, fairly loose weave (I think) and covered with small printed white birds and the random coarse muslin stuff that I could only initially envisage using when making marmalade.

I actually l like this photo, a shame you can't really see the bag or the scarf in it!

I actually l like this photo of me for a change. It’s just a shame you can’t really see either thing I’m modelling in it!

I got a new camera recently and it has a setting that takes several random “arty” photo’s of it’s choosing at once. Not always that useful but quite fun. Luckily my photographer volunteered to turn model.

scart

scarf

There wasn’t really enough linen to do much with, so I lopped a bit of one side (see below), then cut the remaining bit down the middle, retaining the width and halving the height, hemmed it to make a long piece, did the same with some muslin to match, sewed them togther, bagged them out, hand stitched up the hole and hey presto a lined scarf. Which I think I’m going to wash and see how it looks unironed with the muslin all wrinkled. (I can always iron it again).

bag

bag

The other bit I made a very simple bag with, which is lined with some white stuff from a remnants bin to add strength. It’s essentially a long rectangle, folded in half and seamed up the sides. The seams are french, I mitred the corners at the bottom to give it a little depth and attached the handles to the main bag before attaching it to the lining. It’s quite small but husband assures me it’s the perfect size for carrying 2 bottles of wine. My only nag is the small amount of green stuff I found in my box of ribbons that I used for the handles. No idea where it’s from but it’s running slightly and staining my lining. Oh well.

Both of these are intended as presents (as I don’t wear beige and I like my bags with more storage space).

More makes from the parcel coming soon, but I have an exciting course to go on tomorrow before they will be finished. Watch this space…

Half way house

So, how to sate the creative urge to Do Things With Fabric (and thereby stop myself Buying More) but without the hassle of Measuring, Cutting, Sewing etc.

Why, dye some fabric you already have of course!

The once white now blue fabric hanging on the line with some not quite so in your face any more green linen

The once white now blue fabric hanging on the line with some not quite so in your face any more green linen

I don’t wear white, but I like the wavy fabric I got in my mystery package so I decided to dye it blue (seemed appropriate with the waves). I couldn’t find the shade I wanted locally, so I went darker. (I used is dylon handwash dye in denim blue.) I wasn’t planning it coming out this dark, but hey ho, it’s even and I will wear it now. I also dyed some plain white from the same parcel at the same time as I managed to face up to the fact that the wavy stuff alone was not going to make me a top big enough for me! It has come out a not dissimilar shade to some plain blue fabric from the same parcel so maybe I should have saved the white for something else. Oh the benefit of hindsight!

the one on the left is off white an unsurprisingly took the dye a bit differently from the white fabric on the right.

the one on the left is off white an unsurprisingly took the dye a bit differently from the white fabric on the right.

Then I still had a bucket of dye left and it seemed a shame to waste it so I quickly found a couple of pieces of fabric from my scrap pile and folded and tied them and stuck them in to see what happened (too much of hurry to take photo’s). I also threw in the bright green linen from the same mystery parcel, doing it all completely wrong as the linen wasn’t washed (so was still probably covered in sizing which will inhabit the dye) and it wasn’t even wet. Still, I didn’t want to radically change the colour of the linen, just calm down the green a bit.

I’m pretty pleased with my results. All the non-tied stuff came out even. My waves are slightly darker blue than the rest of the fabric. The plain fabric will go nicely with it to make a top (once I get over my fear of sewing a woven top). The green is definitely mellower and more usable now. And I quite like my tie dye efforts, alhthough I’m not sure yet what to do with them as they’re quite small. They didn’t come out as dark, presumably as the water had cooled down a bit as well as the mixture having already been used for dying and possibly the sizing from the linen dissolving in the water (my dyeing knowledge is very limited).

All in all a fun afternoon, feeling creative, but without having to concentrate too much. Just what I needed today!

New Pajama’s

I gave up on the idea of 2 pairs of pajama’s from the knits in the mystery bundle, there simply wasn’t enough. Once I’d done that I could concentrate on getting one good pair.

Pleased as Popeye

Pleased as Popeye

I think I managed that.

Pretty pleased with my seal placement

Pretty pleased with my seal placement

There’s not much to say about these. The shorts are the Ottobre sweatpant pattern, again. But shortened (by the oh so scientific method of fold pattern piece up so hemline meets bottom of pocket). Oh yeah, I left the pockets off. But I’d already traced one pocket (in washable pen) first before deciding. So he noticed. And has sulked. Don’t look too closely at the waistband, I used seal fabric and cut it far too narrow and as a result have an ugly bodged wasitband.

ouch!

ouch!

However, I did this after sewing the left front side of the raglan to the right front side (rather than the left back). And unpicking was not pleasant. So I decided to live with bodged waistbands. I resewed the raglan with larger seam allowance and then trimmed the ugliness off.

No, I hadn't sent him to the naughty corner

No, I hadn’t sent him to the naughty corner

The top is a self drafted raglan I had in my pattern folder, not sure when from (this superhero t shirt?), but it seemed wide enough and I added a bit of length (he only ever seems to grow up). I also added a pocket, because the first thing he said when he saw these two fabrics together was “you could have a pocket in this on that”. And cos, you know, pockets.

IMG_0367

The fabric is beautiful, lovely and soft and they compliment each other really well. The blue print is quite pale and subtle and doesn’t show up well in these photo’s, sorry about that, still getting used to my new camera. I still think they would make excellent baby clothes, but I’m in no need of those. I have about enough left to make a toddler t shirt, but can’t help thinking this is the most unpractical colour ever for a toddler t shirt! Anyway, if this jersey is your kind of thing, I can wholeheartedly recommend them, check out the Organic Textile Company website. They have loads of other stuff too and their ethics are clearly in the right place. (I don’t know them, they don’t know I’m writing this, my order last week was my first dealing with them and I’m impressed so I’m spreading the word as I only stumbled across them by accident.)

IMG_0358

I would never have chosen to buy these but I love the pajama’s and I’m really glad they came in the parcel. I think the vertical stripes on the shorts make them kind of old fashioned somehow. If the rest of the projects from this parcel come out this well I’ll be stoked!

Twin needle

Breaking news. I have actually done some sewing. I made something with two of the pieces in my remnants surprise parcel. No photo’s yet, but I am very pleased.

I have also resisted buying morefabric. Just. But I still have tabs open with it in. Sigh.

But really, I wanted to let you know about some twin needle tips I just stumbled across. I did swear at mine last night, but then again it could’ve been the thread. Anyway, next time this jersey-a-holic breaks out the twin needle I will re-read this first as well as doing my usual increase stitch length, loosen tension slightly. Thanks to Sweet Alchemy for the link.

Anyone else got any favourite sewing tips they’d love to share?