Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas crafting

These are the secret projects I've been working on for the last few months - destined to be Christmas presents. First of all is a pair of Hermione's Everyday Socks (pattern by Erica Lueder), which I knitted for my Mum, in Araucania Ranco Sock yarn, on 2.25mm needles.

The stitch pattern really shows the colours up beautifully.

The leg

The foot

Slip stitch heel pattern

The other present was for my god-daughter - I decided to make her the doll from this Laura Ashley book, which I was given by my own Godmother when I was about 10. The story involves a girl called Emily who is desperate for a hat to keep the sun off her face, as she thinks it causes freckles.

These are the two earlier incarnations of the doll. The one on the left I sewed by hand when I was about ten. The left hand one is partially done on a sewing machine, when I was about twelve.

As I started to make the doll, it quickly became obvious that I had a LOT more free time when I was ten, than I do now. I think I also had a lot more concentration and smaller fingers. Still, I ended up making it in bursts in the afternoons when I wasn't working. I had a lot of fun in the local haberdashery choosing some fabric to make the doll's outfit. This is the doll, wearing her dress, and having just finished off attaching the hair - which involves unwinding some wool to make it wiggly.

Now she can see where she's going!

Pinafore finished.

And her hat!
Phew, a lot of work, but I'm pleased with the final result, and it made me get the sewing machine out and use it a lot, which was fun. And nearly finished the sewing machine off in the process!

I hope everyone is having a good Christmas. What Christmas crafting did you do?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Another finished item and a bit of sewing

This is Wee Liesl, and was actually knitted in the summer, for my god-daughter's birthday in November, so I had to wait until now to post pictures. It took almost four skeins of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino yarn, which I love knitting with as it's so soft. And big daisy buttons, in the hope that they won't come undone too easily! I really enjoyed this pattern - there's enough going on for it to be interesting, but it's relatively straightforward. I now want to make a Liesl for me.

It fits!

I have another finished knitting project, but this one's a Christmas present, so I can't reveal it yet. I've been doing a lot of sewing in the last few weeks too - I've got my sewing machine all set up on a table so it can stay out instead of having to be put away every time we want to eat a meal, which has, funnily enough, dramatically increased the amount of time I spend sewing! I must take a picture of where I've got it set up. I've been referring to this as the "sewing room", but the OH is insisting on calling it the "small bedroom" still.

I've been working on a secret project (this is just a sneak preview), but I'm especially pleased with it because I've been watching videos of how to do things, and have done things like gathers for the first time on a sewing machine. At first I thought it was going to be a bit of a pain gathering on a machine, but it is so much simpler than that, and I'm really pleased with the finished results.

One project I can reveal is this little bag, which I made for my knitting group's secret santa exchange out of some cotton fabric I bought several years ago in Penrith. I've used the instructions on the Flossie Teacakes blog, which I've used before, but this version came out a lot better. I used lightweight interfacing this time, and the iron-in version rather than sewing it. I even managed to iron it on without attaching it to either the iron or the ironing board!

I was pleased with how it turned out, although the sewing machine struggled with the zip - I don't have a zipper foot for it.
Hopefully I'll get time for some more crafting over Christmas, as I only have two days left at work now.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Garden at the beginning of December 2014

Last one of the year! It's about 8°C today, so not ridiculously cold for the time of year. The leaves are off most of the trees, apart from the two apple trees actually in the garden, which have just begun to drop leaves. The garden is also probably looking a bit lighter as the neighbour's walnut tree was removed last month (it had died and had honey fungus).

Pretty leaf colours on the Hydrangea Twist n' Shout

The cyclamen I planted up in containers last month are just starting to flower.

The colours of the remains of the Spiraea flowers are really pretty (although they're prettier when the sun is shining on them!).

The Cotoneaster we bought last year has really pretty leaves now, and some red berries, although I think some have already been eaten by the birds!

The Alstroemeria is still flowering (it's tucked up in the cold frame for the winter).

And the Convolvulus has started flowering again!

Think that's all for now! Happy December gardening everyone. I think we've nearly done for the year, we had a big clear up over the weekend, and I got the soft fruit and rhubarb mulched.