Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy Birthday!

To me! A bit late in posting, but yes, last week on the 3rd of December was my birthday and I am only blogging about this because I received lots of vouchers to use for stash!

Which voucher did I use first? Of course, the book voucher! This is what I bought. A lovely book with lots of great knitted bag patterns in. I am so behind with book review that I would rather not promise one again! The rest of my vouchers I am spending make it last longer!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Finally - a sewing weekend!

My moyo was truly back this weekend! Lots of productiveness coming from my sewing room, although not that many projects were actually finished.

First up, my first attempt at a pattern from the lovely This is the Phoebe Bag and what a lovely pattern it is! I bought this fabric on Saturday at Arthur Bales in Linden after coveting it for a while. It is 100% cotton produced locally by The Gama and I believe it is some kind of African traditional fabric. I thought it was so funky, and pink of course!

Can you see all the African people dancing on it? The lining is a pink polka dot from the same line of fabric. The fabric is really thick, even after pre-washing so my poor sewing machine really worked. LOVE the pattern. I have never put darts in my bags before, so this was a nice new thing. I really like the shape. She has just finished designing a new bag I want to try, so hopefully that one will be available soon.

More bag goodness coming soon! I cut out a Hobo Bag that is available free on I have made some of her bags before and loved all of them. This one I cut from the blue flower fabric and used the blue polka dot on the top of the pile for lining. It is a large bag with a gusset and the large blue flower print fits perfectly.
Just in time for the last day of Build Your Wardrobe, I finally made my grey jersey dress! Just love the way it came out. I had some trouble with the neckline though. The pattern has a strip that gets worked on to the neckline but made it pucker up in the front and hang losely at the back. I had to undo and eventually I decided to go without it. I often battle with necklines on jersey clothing. Any advice will be welcome!

I also finally made this pink jersey top. This lovely fabric I bought at Hobby Lobby in Chicago earlier this year and have been saving it for I don't know what. I was loathe to cut it! Excuse the rumpled look, I actually wore it yesterday and forgot to take a picture. This neckline also gave problems but I managed to fix it. The fabric only stretches one way and is lovely and thick.

A sneek peek at what I am busy with at the moment, apart from lots of fabric bags and skirts cut out and ready to sew, that is! More about this later this week. Hope you all had a great weekend and have a lovely week ahead.

Oh, before I forget again, the pattern I used for the bright blue and red top from my previous post is New Look 6901.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We do not celebrate Thanksgiving in South Africa, but Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends who do celebrate it! I think the closest we get to Thanksgiving is Family Day, the day after Xmas. Sadly, we normally are forced to spend time with family on that day as we are unable to move after over-eating on Xmas day!
I know I have not been blogging regularly lately, but things are rather crazy at work and I have been too tired to make anything the last two weeks. I tend to just lie around and read and rest on weekends. I hope that is over now as I have many projects waiting!

Like this dress I want to make. Not a great picture, but it is a plain, semi-fitted, jersey dress in a light grey. I have bought the jersey fabric, hunted down the perfect pattern, and now just have to DO it! I have fabulous grey shoes that will go perfectly with it. Then I need to make the perfect felted bag to match it.

There is a stunning light and dark grey felted bag pattern in this book that will go perfectly and I have all the yarn needed to make it. Of course, there are many other projects I am keen to do, such as more jersey tops, skirts, fabric bags and more felted bags. Let's hope my moyo remains around this weekend! Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Build Your Wardrobe sewing

I had another weekend of just pottering around doing this and that, but nothing creative really. On Sunday afternoon I realized the weekend is almost finished again and I NEED to make something. Now.

The question was: do I make a bag, or clothing? I decided to sew something from the pile I cut out the previous weekend. Love this jersey fabric and might still have enough left for a skirt. I now forget the pattern name. I will update this post soon with that detail.

What a lovely pattern! Recently, I made a similar cross-over dress from another pattern and at the first fitting, I was horrified! It was HUGE! This pattern is stunning. The top fits perfectly.

I bribed my son to take the picture, so it is obvious there was no interest really...I used a plain black jersey for the neck trim and normally I suck at the neck trim. It always come out too lose or puckered. This time it worked perfectly. I think you have guessed it! More of this style to come! If I find a nice pattern that fits me well, I make several!

I also received several parcels last Monday. All stuff I ordered a while back. It felt like Xmas will all three parcels arriving on the same day!

First up, two parcels with yummy new yarn, all for felting bags! I ordered some from and some from Little knits had great prices on Cascade 220, although limited colours and also the book I have been wanting for ages! had a great price on the Shepherd wool in delicious colours.

This book. You might remember a few posts back this book was on my wishlist? The bags are all knitted, then felted, and all awesome. I cannot decide which one to make first. Littleknits also has Book 11 with more felted bags on sale now, so I might order that soon.

I also received the three books I ordered from, our local "Amazon". I'll share more on these books in my next post. Hope you all have a great Friday!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sewing weekend...

I am rather mad at myself because my progress was so slow this weekend! Why do weekends go so fast? Saturday I went out to meet my friend for tea and then, totally unplanned and not wise, decided to visit Arthur Bales, my favorite local fabric and yarn store.

I found this lovely Rowan booklet with 17 felted accessory patterns in and a copy of Designer Knitting. The Rowan book has some amazing knitted, felted bags in it!

Like this one...

And this one. But the bag on the cover of the book remains my favorite. Of course, I spent hours poring over the new books..Back to my sewing weekend then...

Did I leave the LYS empty-handed? Of course not. What a silly question. I bought this lovely light grey jersey fabric for a dress I want to make. The pink polka-dot fabric (a great weakness of mine, I cannot walk away from pink polka-dot fabric!) is for some fabric bags I want to make. I also bought 2 balls of creme coloured Peruvian wool yarn (very expensive yarn!) as I want to make a felted bag in brown and creme to go with a new skirt I want to make.

So what did I accomplish this weekend? Not much! I never even opened my sewing machine! I spent HOURS poring over patterns, doing more tracing and cutting out of patterns, and finally did some cutting of fabric. On Sunday afternoon! Above is a picture that shows my (un)productive weekend! I have cut out 2 jersey tops (on the right) and two skirts. The one consolation is that I am ready to sew at any time. Should I have time this week, I can just whip the machine open and start sewing!

I did manage to finish my sister's Pinktulip Puff Bag last night! Just because I HAD to. The parcel is ready to go off today. I ran out of the lovely denim blue yarn and had to find yarn that sort of matched to sew on the handles. I decided not to add lining to the bag as it came out lovely and thick. Hope she likes it!

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Getting ready for the weekend...

Last night I started getting things ready for my planned "sewing weekend". I selected fabrics, looked for suitable patterns and then traced off some of the patterns I plan to use from my Burda magazines. Tonight I will start cutting out and maybe even sew a bit. I might even finally use my serger!

The threading on my serger scares me spitless. Since I bought an older second-hand model, I do not have the user manual. Searching on the internet has not been successful either. Must get over this now.

I hope to show some nice creations on Monday. Maybe even a fabric bag or two as well. Lova's bag looks awesome...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

More felted bags!

No matter what I do, I cannot stop making more knitted/crocheted felted bags! This bug has truly bitten me. I am itching to sew some more clothes for the Build Your Wardrobe challenge hosted by Kate, so I am trying to get as many bags finished this week as I can. This weekend is SEWING time! I just received my copies of the latest Burda Fashion magazine and Sew magazine from the UK, and there are some fabulous stuff in. I have even sorted through my dress fabric last night and plan to sew a few skirts this weekend. First the felted bags though.

I promised my sister I will make her a Puff Bag with pink and blue yarn. Tuesday night I dumped my pink bag I am busy knitting and started on her bag. This bag goes so quickly, I love it! I finished itr last night and dumped it in the washing machine at 9pm because I just could not wait to see the result. I regretted this as I was still waiting for the machine to finish at 11pm! It was however worth every minute. It is drying at the moment and I will share pics of the completed bag when I have sewed on the handles and done the lining.

My first bag with Cascade 220 yarn I bought in the UK. What a shock it was! This yarn is a lot thinner than the local Elle Merino Solids I am used to, so I will use double yarn next time. The most shocking part was the shrinkage! I used the entire hank on one bag and the bag shrunk about 50% in height! It is so small now. It felted nicely though but did crease a bit in the spin cycle. Love the colour and will for sure make more cerise pink bags!

My friend from work, Joyce, made me this fabulous black and cerise pink bag! It is big and roomy and my favorite colours! Joyce is really amazing as she has never been formally taught how to crochet and she makes the most amazing bags, mittens, hats and blankets without any patterns! I think it is a cultural thing. African ladies are just so talented! She will soon be teaching me how to make the traditional African beaded necklaces I love so much.

Now I am determined that some clothes and fabric bags will be sewn this weekend. My fabric is ready and I have selected patterns, mostly skirts and tops for work. Watch this space!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Stash from England

This is my FIRST purchase of Manos yarn. Fabulous colours, very expensive, but so worth it! I had literally 2 hours to pop out for some shopping during my trip last week. Staying in Bracknell outside of London makes shopping limited, but I did find a lovely yarn store very close to the hotel The Pincushion is a lovely little store that stocks fabulous yarns and provides friendly, personal service. The question is - will I EVER be able to use this divine yarn?! So far I am touching it regularly and staring at it, no plans for using it...

I also found this yarn there - Rico Creative Poems Aran. Never heard of this yarn before. I still need to look it up. Maybe it is local. I never knew the UK produces so many different wool yarns! This is feltable, see the swatch I have already run through my washing machine in the pic?

Another FIRST. My first Cascade 220 yarn. Yummy colours and oh, so soft. I had the foresight to order some stuff via the internet before my trip and had it sent to a colleague in our London office as I knew my shopping time was limited. This I ordered from Loop. Would have loved to visit the shop, but maybe next time.

I found this lovely shop online - They have their own British wool and this is one of them, called Charcoal Donegal. A bit scratchy to the touch, but still lovely.

More Sheepfold wool yarn. This time in a light grey, 100g balls with 160m on. This shade is called Flint. Sheepfold recently launched their own book called "Felted Bags". Fabulous patterns inside and of course, I had to get a copy of that too. I will do a book review soon. I was so impressed with their fast, friendly service, even after my order was placed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm back!

I cannot believe it has been a whole month since I blogged! Things have been really hectic at work and a trip to London also took up a lot of time. I am back and had a very productive crafty weekend with lots to share! First up, some lovely felted bags I have made. Introducing the Pinktulip Puff Purse, my very own design!
Just LOVE this purse! It is a super-easy, super-fast, crocheted and felted bag. I am still experimenting with it as i was not happy with the size of the opening at the top, but it is just gorgeous! I have drafted a free tutorial, which I will post on Ravelry sometime soon.

My second attempt following the Puff Purse pattern did not puff at all! I made the top opening far too big and no puff. I'll just have to try again. I do love this purse as well. I used a handle technique from a pattern I purchased on Ravelry and just love it. I still need to add a magnetic snap.

I also made this bag. There is a free pattern on Ravelry for this bag, I think it is called the Square bag, not sure. You are supposed to knit 22 squares, but my Italian yarn was too thick so I adapted it to another pattern called the Tapestry Crochet bag, It took two tries in the washing machine to felt it, and I am still not 100% happy. I will however use it as is now.

I will share more details on each bag on Ravelry if you are interested. I have lots more to share, but will save it for the next few blogs. I am happy to be back and will slowly do the rounds and visit all of you! Hope your week is great!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New STASH and projects!

After a whole month of working on a tight craft budget, I splurged a bit last weekend! This is my loot! Some lovely double ply yarn for specific bag projects, satin ribbon, cord for draw-string zakka bags and lovely, bright fabric for summer clothes!
I also bought a another set of my favorite acrylic crochet hooks (left), another rare pair of 60cm circular knitting needles and my very first bamboo crochet hook. I have already tried the bamboo crochet hook and it hurts my fingers a bit. Maybe my hands were already sore from lots of crafting, not sure. I will try again.
And in my postbox last Friday, I received my copy of Simply Knitting and the free yarn tidy from the lovely Elizabeth from Scotland! I tried for weeks to get this back copy, with no success, then placed an advert in the latest Simply Knitting magazine. Elizabeth was so kind to send me her copy! Thanks, Elizabeth!

This weekend I made another crochet hook case for my favorite acrylic hooks. Love this cotton fabric from Arthur Bales! And how sweet is this candy stripe bias binding? I have had it for ages and this is the first time I am using it.

Fabulous new stretch fabric. The brown is for a long panelled skirt I want to make and the black & white for a dress. Both items have been on my list for ages!

Is there anything nicer than a stack of new fabric?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New WISHLIST items!

This is now NUMBER ONE on my wishlist! Whilst browsing around the Internet for Japanese yarn, I found this. It is a Japanese set of double sided crochet hooks called "Hamanaka Rakuraku" and many bloggers report these crochet hooks to be fantastic to work with. Sadly they are horrendously expensive. If you can find them on e-Bay or an English speaking site, they are just over $50 a set, with shipping they would cost me almost $70. It comes in a lovely zippered case that some sites sell at an extra $15. Then, I can bank on another $20 or so custom duties as well. A bit pricey...but still number one on my list!

The second is a book from Australian designer Ella Rae. She makes her own lovely yarn and sells lots of knitting pattern books. I am in love with her felted bags! She has published two felted bag books already and I will be ordering her book next month for sure! This is one of her fabulous bags:

Isn't it fabulous? I have been practising my pom-pom making in preparation...

They look good enough to eat! I am busy making a bag with the brown and turqoise combination on the left, so might add some pom-poms!

Superbuzzy order arrived!

You might remember several weeks ago that I entered Kate's "Thinkin' outside the box" challenge on her blog and won a $30 gift voucher to the fabulous Superbuzzy shop. It took me absolute ages to decide what to buy with my gift voucher! Will it be fabulous Japanese fabrics? Or maybe some awesome Japanese craft books? No, some Japanese yarn would be lovely. What about those adorable bag handles? This is what I finally decided on.
I am so glad I did! Althoughthe book on the right has a few lovely crochet bag patterns in, most of the projects in both books are of a different nature. Things I have not really tried before. What is nicer than that? Here are a few projects from the book on the right. (Sorry, I forgot the English translated name for it and I cannot read Japanese!)

I adore these gorgeous charms! They will look great on my bags, both crochet and fabric.

I love these little charm balls. I could not believe how simple they are to crochet. The book also includes a little basket, scarve, shawl, crochet hook case, lovely flower accessories, brooches, hair accessories and a few more bags. Can't wait to get started on some of these projects!

The book on the left, Lacy Crochet, is part of a few Japanese craft books that have been translated into English. I have mixed feelings about this translation. Although it's great to read the instructions and understand the patterns better, it has lost it's Japanese charm completely. Ah well, you can't win them all! Here are a few projects from this book.

An adorable little coin purse with crocheted leaves charms attached to the frame. I am a sucker for metal frame purses.Isn't this basket too cute? There are many more small projects. Lots of embellishments such as flowers and more of those cute balls I mentioned above, kitchen stuff, etc. More stuff I have not made before. Wish I had more time! My sincere thanks again to Kate for the gift voucher! I love my books and will share the projects I make from it!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekend projects and WIP's

Although I rate this past weekend as really productive, having finished several items on my LIST of things I need to sew, knit or crochet, my list is not getting shorter! Maybe I should stay away from blogging and surfing for a while...I just keep seeing more things I want to make!

The first item I ticked off my LIST this weekend. Another cute Japanese crochet bag pattern. I love this green yarn. I am ashamed to admit that I had to undo the edge and handles several times because I just kept on misreading the pattern! Despite that, I finished the bag in one night!

This is the second item. I have had this idea in my head for quite a while. It is a plain black dress with a round neck and a zip in the back. I wanted to crochet a pretty collar for the neck. I ended up spending more than an hour doing a blanket stitch around the neck and arms and then just did a single crochet into it with a lovely creme yarn.

It came out really nice. I cannot decide if I should add the full crochet collar or just leave it plain and simple like it is right now. What do you think? I still need to sew in a little hook and eye above the zipper, and I need to change the bust darts. This pattern is obviously made for someone with a much bigger bust than I have! At the moment it sits below my chest!

I thought I will also share a few of my WIP's with you. Actually, this is a new project I started on Saturday. I bought this lovely polka dot felted bag pattern on the Vogue Knitting website Friday night and decided it is perfect to match my lovely purple dress I am making, see below. This will be my first attempt at attaching a felted bag to steel purse frames. The pattern is a bit disappointing in the sense that it does not give any help in this area! Isn't this purple felting yarn just fabulous? The bright green is for the dots on the bag.

This is the Purple Dress! Ever since I saw this pattern on BurdaStyle's website, I was in love. I am making a slightly different, but it will be a smart dress with some bling. Once I have made it, I just need to get myself invited to a fancy cocktail party so I can wear it!
This is my first project from Linda's book, Crochet Adorned. I finished the crochet yoke 2 weekends ago, but sadly I made it too big, so I will have to see if I can fix it. If not, I need to make another one. Urgh!

Another new addition to my LIST. Last week I purchased the 2007 edition of a felt e-book from Interweave Press. Inside was a feature on designer Marta McCall. This lady designs the most fabulous felted bags, like the one above. The pattern for the bag above is in the e-book and I plan to make a smaller version of this bag soon.

The basket with WIP's is much bigger than this, but it will take me all day to blog about all of them. Hope you have a great week!