Sunday, July 27, 2014

Holy cushions Batman!

I've finished my basic sewing course, making an appliqu├ęd Batman cushion for the couch.
He will be in the first in a series. We were given an amazing piece of vintage superhero print fabric as a wedding gift and have had no idea what to do with it until now. 

I'm really excited to have finished my course with a few successes and now I plan on getting right into my Tilly and the Buttons lessons with her lovely book. PJs are up first!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sewing project #2

I made a tote bag out of a pillow case and a tie! I'm very excited about this. 
Not only because there aren't any holes in the wrong places, but check out that tie!

My circus elephant op-shop tie might just be the best $2 I've ever spent in my live. 
I'm not even exaggerating. 

My last basic sewing class at Sew Love Tea Do is tomorrow and I'll be making a cushion cover - hopefully a good excuse to use that amazing vintage superhero fabric we were given as a wedding gift!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A lace jumper. Officially losing my mind.

I have no idea what came over me when I thought it was a good idea to cast on a lace-weight jumper. Maybe I'm into torturing myself? Not that there's anything wrong with lace-weight jumpers - examples I've seen look amazing - but the thought of knitting one kind of makes me have a panic attack. Which is why I'm struggling to come to terms with the fact that I went to my stash, found the skinniest, darkest coloured yarn I own and proceeded to cast on 280 stitches. I wasn't even forced into it. I used my own free will. 

This jumper is from PomPom Quarterly's Winter 2013 issue, and it's called Garland by Stefanie Pollmeier. In the pictures, this pattern is very pretty, but I tell you, the little lacy flower band looks hideous on my jumper. I don't usually have weird tension issues, but some of these yarn-overs just look giant and loopy. I thought maybe I'd made some mistakes along the way and the yarn-overs were in the wrong place, but I was too terrified to unravel it and see if I could make it look better. I had the right amounts of stitches though, so I'm going to carry on and just hope that the hours I've invested (quite a few) in knitting maybe five inches will pay off. 

Maybe blocking will help, although I have no idea if 1) I'll make it to that stage without throwing this out the window or 2) I can even figure out how to block lace anyway. 

I think I might go cast on a hat or something, something small and quick to knit - at least that'll feel a bit more productive!

Monday, July 14, 2014

My first knitting class

So somewhere along the line I got semi-okay at knitting. I figure it's the kind of craft where you can always be learning new things (like lace. Lace is crazy hard for me) but I can find my way around a good variety of projects now and I'm fairly confident in the basics. 

Me and my first students! All so lovely! Also, I'm in love with the
blanket jacket made by Sarah! It's on my wishlist!

Today I taught my very first knitting class. I was asked by the lovely Sarah at Sew Love Tea Do to teach a beginners class - the very basics - casting on, knitting in garter stitch and making a small project. 
I was really nervous, but at the end of it, extremely excited to be able to share something I love so much with others who are keen to learn!

The class is working on some garter stitch fingerless mitts - the kind that's a 6x6 inch square, sewn up along the seam in a tube with a hole for the thumb. We're using larger needles and larger weight yarn. One of the most frustrating things I found when I started knitting was how long everything took me. My first project was a scarf, and it took me months to complete. I'm hoping this smaller project will feel a bit more achievable and my students can see the project progressing at a good pace. They are all about a third of the way through their first mitt - not bad going for a first lesson! 

We're all catching up again next week to see how everyone is progressing and for me to go through binding-off. I've given them instructions to take home if they want to work on it over the next week. And everyone did really well - no major dropped stitch issues, yarn malfunctions or needle injuries! It's definitely something I'd like to do more of - especially basic patterns that people can pick up quite quickly without feeling too intimidated by more advanced techniques!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A pair of pink mitts and an altered skirt

Today must be the first day of sunshine in well over a week. The bad kind of winter finally arrived - not the crispy cold kind, but the wet, dark kind that lasts for days and days. Probably a good thing then, that last weekend I finished my RYE mitts. A pop of colour in the grey! I went for the little brass buttons, and surprised to say, I'm really liking wearing pink. It probably won't take over my wardrobe, but the do seem to go with a lot of things in my closet…

And also just want to mention, I used an overlocker for the first time yesterday on this skirt! I brought it from a vintage shop about six years ago but never wore it because there was a weird five inch panel of fabric between the elastic waistband and the pleats. So with help from Sarah at the Sew Love Lounge, I removed the elastic, cut several inches out of the panel and overlocked a new waistband at the top of the pleats. She's gonna be a new wardrobe staple and I didn't even cut into the wrong bit with the overlocker - win!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My first solo sew

Big deal kids - I sewed something by myself today! That includes threading up the machine, filling a bobbin, turning corners and doing a bit of ironing!

This is my head scarf from my very first class at Sew Love Tea Do - and it turns out we used the same pattern as the first project in my Tilly and the Buttons book, so I'm well on track with my sewing challenge. Next week we will be making a tote bag - always handy!

It was pretty amazing to have a finished object in two hours - I'm just not that fast a knitter! Sure, my seams aren't perfect and I could do better with my pressing, but it's a good start, you know?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A personal sewing challenge

A couple of years ago me and Mum got a sewing machine. Mum's been pretty good with it - she's made new cushion covers every year and made me a few skirts as I watched, trying to learn. But my own sewing skills haven't really progressed. Every time I thread up the machine, I do something wrong and Mum has to come over and do it all for me again. I'm good at cutting fabric and pinning stuff, but the sewing machine is a different beast. 

So I've decided that I need to sit down and have a heart-to-heart with the sewing machine. I've already signed up for Sew Love Tea Do's Sew From Scratch class which starts this week, to try and get a better understanding of what I'm supposed to do with this sewing machine. And if that all goes well, I've decided I need to set myself a challenge to progress. 

That's where Tilly and The Buttons comes in. I discovered Tilly's blog earlier this week when I was browsing learn-to-sew blogs. I saw her book in the window of Minerva's in Wellington the other weekend. That was enough for me to decide it was a sign and go to my local bookshop yesterday and get myself a copy. 

I'm going to sew my way through the book. The patterns are for clothes I would definitely wear and from my initial read-through in bed last night, the instructions seem really clear and easy to follow. I'm not going to set myself a specific timeframe, because putting too much pressure on myself will just put me off (and I still have knitting to fit in). I'm hoping that after the three week class I'll be feeling all good to go!