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 http://curiositys.wordpress.com/ 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!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Japanese crochet

I am in love with Japanese crochet patterns at the moment! I think everyone has seen this link to some fabulous free Japanese crochet patterns by now, but in case you have not, here it is: http://www.rakuten.ne.jp/gold/gosyo/new/bag.htm. Use the Google translator to find even more treasures on this site!

I have been intrigued by this bag pattern since the first time I saw it! I had to try it and I loved the colours. So in between cooking and e-mails, I have been working on it every night this week.
Last night I was determined to finish it. What I love most about the Japanese patterns is the simplicity of it and the amazing shapes! Of course, mine came out a lot bigger than the one in the pattern so I spent quite a bit of time trying to correct it. I had such difficulties reading the pattern as it refused to print larger.

Ta-da! I am really pleased with the final result though! I had a hard time deciding on handles. The original pattern has thin leather handles, but it just did not look right on mine. I even considered bamboo handles, but in the end opted for crocheted handles. I like it. I love using a slip stitch method to attached bag parts rather than needle and yarn. Looks so much better and is easier to do.
As part of the Build Your Wardrobe challenge of Kate , earlier this week I also made this pink gingham peasant blouse. This fabric has lovely embroidery on it. I bought it at Hobby Lobby in Chicago this year. I am a bit miffed because my DH commented that it looks like a "picnic tablecloth"!
A close-up picture of this lovely fabric. I must make a bag as well! I also finally finished sewing the black dress I have had in my mind for ages. I plan to add a white crocheted collar to the dress, so I will post next week when I have done this. My crocheted fabric top from Crochet Adorned is also on the table for this weekend. Hope you all have a great crafty weekend!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mid-week projects

This has been a lazy crafting week. I did however manage to crochet this little bag with the pretty pink yarn I purchased last weekend. This yarn is really fabulous. It has about three different shades of pink and a little bit of green in it. I saw a picture of a lovely crochet bag and tried to copy it by using a pattern I had, changed my mind halfway through and ended up using design elements from three different patterns! I really like the little pleats at the top. Easier to do than it looks.

I inserted the O-rings at the top, planning to use a pink belt I had, but it just did not look good. I then crocheted a handle and fastened it with buttons. Really cute bag.

The August issue of Burda World of Fashion finally arrived yesterday! This issue has some lovely french designs in that I am dying to try.

I am looking forward to a crafty weekend making more clothes for the Build Your Wardrobe challenge and I want to start a crochet felted bag as well. Hope you have a good weekend!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Crochet Adorned

The book I have been waiting for. It arrived on Friday morning! Wow! Just love this book! Crochet Adorned is everything I expected, and more. Check out the reviews on this book from Linda's blog here http://lindamade.wordpress.com

This is the project I could not wait to get started on! I picked out some lovely flowery fabric I purchased at Hobby Lobby in Chicago earlier this year and some blue cotton yarn but ended up using some creme fabric with brown flowers and leaves on in the end. I am almost done and will post soonest.
I also ordered this book. My first Vogue Knitting On The Go book, but not my last. Very nice knitted bag patterns inside.
Adding some new stash! I found this book (in the middle) on sale at a local bookshop. Not sure if I will ever crochet jewelry, but some of the projects look very interesting and can be adapted to accessories for my bags. My favorite knitting magazine, Simply Knitting, a magazine from the UK, Homespun from Australia containing stunning sewing projects and last, but not the least, some yummy yarn for new bags! Love this green yarn! I have already started crocheting a bag with it....

This is the reason I never finished my crochet top this weekend! On Sunday late afternoon my son fell head-first off his BMX bike and walking home all bloody....

he was attacked by the neighbour's dog! Can you believe this is a golden Springer Spaniel and they look so sweet. It seems this dog has attacked his BMX bike before but this time managed to bite his leg. We spent most of Sunday night at the hospital waiting to get a tetanus injection. I will spare you the photos of his other injuries on his arm, shoulder and head! Of course, did he wear his protective gear?!