Craft NSW Gallery

If you have ever been to Circular Quay or the Rocks Sydney on the weekend you would’ve heard of the Rocks Markets. A large portion of the Rocks area is closed off to traffic and markets stalls sell a range of items from food to knick knacks to touristy item. It is a great market but can be a little touristy which is nothing wrong with that as tourists are their target audience. This past weekend I went to the Rocks area and just down from the markets found a little gem of a shop that is in the old Coroner’s Court building.
Craft NSW 2
Craft NSW Gallery is fantastic shop located at 104 George St The Rocks where craftmakers can sell their items in a professional space. The shop is open seven days 9.30 – 5.30 Members of the public can come in to the large building and view all the lovely items and purchase what ever they wish. I walked in and my eyes didn’t know where to look first. There was items made out of wood, glass, leather, ceramic. There was clothing, jewellery, home wares. Items knitted, items felting, item fired in a kiln. You could see the care and passion done to create each item.  It was wonderful to see so many unique items. The items they have for sale aren’t aimed at the tourist market so they feel more personal and unique not mass produced. However if I was a tourist I’d prefer to buy something from there than something more commercially made. I urge anyone to visit the gallery next time they are in the Rocks area as it such a special little place that needs to be kept going. We need to support individual craft makers who spend some much time and effort to produce these fantastic items. Each time I’m in the rocks I shall be paying a visit as you just don’t know what you will find.
Craft NSW 1

Homespun Diary

Confession I’m a bit of hints and tips junkie, I have been for years. After reading two words “Tips” and “Tricks” I had to get this before I even realised it was a diary, I thought it was going to be just a special edition issue of Homespun Magazine  when I first saw a picture of it.

Homespun Diary

It is full of wonderful sewing and crafting tips from all of my favourite crafting designers. I honestly didn’t realise I had so many favourite craft designers until I was reading through thinking I like her work, her stuff, she has nice things. Rosalie Quinlan, Sarah Fielke, Jodie Carelton, Val Laird, Melaine McNeice have all contributed little gems of wisdom to the diary. The layout of diary is really good and it includes size reference tables for making items such as quilts and size charts for knitting / crochet needles. I was lucky enough to get this as a free bonus when I extended my magazine subscription with Homespun. It is the prettiest diary I’ve ever seen.

Sew-a-thon 2014

This past weekend a 3 day sew-a-thon was held for ASG members (Australian Sewing Guild) in the local region. This was my first sew-a-thon and I loved it.

It was held in a local hall that was transformed into a mini sewing studio. Each person had their own workstation they could set could set their sewing machine up in. There was an ironing board set up, cutting tables and communal overlockers. It was a fantastic set up. Then there was the food. We never went hungry over the 3 days with a hot lunch each day and lots of yummy baked goodies for morning and afternoon teas.

There were lucky door prizes and I was lucky enough to win the first one which was a set of tea towels. You can never have enough tea towels so these will come in very handy.

Lucky Door Prize

 

Before I went I over estimated how much I would get completed (I wasn’t the only one who thought they’d get more done) so I had lots of projects cut out and prepped however by the end of the weekend I only made 4 kids skirts and half a softie but I’m happy with that effort. I’ve never made skirts before so they took longer than planned.
Sewathon Completed Project

Each day when we arrived we found a little wrapped present waiting at our workstations. They were lovely handmade gifts of an appliqued tea towel, an embroidered hankie and an embroidered bookmark. These are lovely little mementoes of the weekend.

Sewathon Pressies

It was good to meet ASG members outside my normal local group. We all share the common love of sewing so it was lovely to meet new friends. It was interesting in seeing the different projects the others were making, there really was a variety of items being created including toys, clothing, bags, aprons, quilts, home furnishings. Our completed projects were hung on the brag wall.

 

Members Completed Projects

 

What I find most rewarding from weekends like this are the little tips and pointers you pick up from everyone. I like soak up as much as I can. If you can take away knowledge from a weekend like this, that is more important than how many projects you got completed.

Testing Frixion Pens

At Urban Stitches I was asking everyone what kind of marking pen they used. A few people mentioned Frixion Pens which I’d never heard of before, but then the following week I was suddenly seeing adverts for them in the craft mags. Last weekend I was at the shops and picked up a couple to try.

Frixion Pens

I used some scrap calico and marked out simple lines with each colour

Frixion Pen Test

I then erased the ink by rubbing the fabric with the little ball on the end of the pens. The ink removed fairly easily but you did have to hold the fabric very taught so you could really cause the heat motion to remove it. It didn’t appear to damage the fabric at all.

Frixion Pen Simple Rub Away

For the next experiment I wrote out a word in each colour then embroidered over it with backstitch. This was very basic embroidery with cheapish thread. I left gaps in the embroidery to remove the ink.

Frixion Pen Test Embroidery

I found on larger sections the ink was very easy to remove however it was slightly difficult to get in very close to the stitching line where I deliberately missed stitched it. Again the fabric needed to be taught to get the friction motion. I don’t think you could really do this on small pieces.

Frixion Pen Black Rub Away

Frixion Pen Blue Rub Away
Lastly I decided to wash and iron the fabric to see if the ink would fully disappear. Any remaining ink seemed to wash away and the fabric seemed fine.

Frixion Pen Ironed

So after my experiment I think I will use these in future in my craft. I was limited to my colour choices at the shop last weekend. I’m seeing on their website they do have a brown colour which would be very useful in marking out embroidery lines. If I was to use them on an actual item I was making then my markings would be more straighter and my stitching neater so it would look better than in just a test piece.

Project Completed

Over the weekend I completed the embroidery project I started at Urban Stitches

Pendant Necklace

We were supplied with suggested instructions on the colours to stitch each pendant. I opted to embroider this geometric one in shades of blue as it more suited my colour taste, at the time I didn’t know what I would use each pendant for. In our project pack we were supplied with the notions to make one pendant into a necklace and by chance I picked up a project bag that had a blue leather necklace in it. Once I finished stitching this pendant it was always going to be the necklace. I really like how it turned out.

Hedgehog Button

I decided to turn the other pendant shapes into fabric covered buttons. When I assembled the first one I didn’t really think too much about it. I’ve never made fabric covered buttons where print direction was an issue. It was only once I snapped the backing on the button I realised I should’ve paid attention to the front of the button as the loop on the back of the button is side ways. If I turned him into a hair tie he would be facing side ways. The fabric is double layer as it has a backing on it so I couldn’t easily snap it out of the button and try again. I’ve decided instead I’ll thread some elastic cording through it and turn it into a necklace for a child this Christmas. The side way loop is perfect to hang it as a necklace

Embroidered Buttons

I paid more attention when assembling the other 3 pendants. I will wear these as hair ties.

Doll Needle Holder

I got a great tip last weekend from Jodie (Ric Rac) about storing doll needles. Put them in a toothbrush travel case. I was waiting in a chemist yesterday, saw them for sale and picked one up. My needles are now safe and secure.

Doll Needle Holder

Unfortunately it was only when I putting them inside it I discovered it had drainage holes at either end so your toothbrush doesn’t get all manky inside it. When I put the needles in they fell straight through, so to get around this I cut 2 rectangle pieces of felt and placed them in each end to block the holes. If I gave it a little more thought I would’ve tried to find pale blue felt. I have an extra-large 254mm needle that didn’t fit in it so I will still keep that attached to the card however all the other sizes fit perfect.

Doll Needle Extra Large

Urban Stitches Sydney 2014

Urban Stitches Sydney 2014 was a lot of fun. If you have never heard of Urban Stitches, it is sewing retreat held in the middle of a city in a major hotel both in Sydney and Melbourne. Its hosted by Erica from Under The Mulberry Tree and has Ric Rac (Jodie Carleton), Melanie McNeice and Rosalie Quinlan as the guests of honour. I’m a big fan of all 3 designers and have made many of their projects. It is held over 2 days but it is your choice which day you wish to do or you can do both. I always do both.

Urban Stitches Display

 

Day 1
On day 1 we got our project bags of the activities we could complete over the weekend. There was a fox softie, a needle and pins sewing bag and a set of pendants. I chose to work on the pendants. The pendants were a popular choice as you complete it in a day and feel like you finished something. After I finished my first one I realised if I’d cut my linen up to place it in the pendant ring I couldn’t lie the rest of it flat in my hoop to finish the others so I’m going to wait until they are all complete to do it.

Urban Stitches Project End Day 1

Each day there is “show and tell” where you can show off items you’ve made. I took along my teaset that I will be giving as a gift later this month. I had to take a photo of it to compare it to Jodie’s one. I’m pretty proud of my teasets when I look at them along side the designers one. Jodie was laughing at me as I was taking the photos. Jodie thinks I do a great job with my teasets and that means a lot to me.

Urban Stitches Teapots

Urban Stitches Teacups

 

Day 2
If you attended the 2 days you got a different goodie bag on the 2nd day. In the 2nd day goodie bag there were some wonderful items including some Cosmo threads, a needle keeper, fabric bundle, stitchery gift cards, a gift voucher for the shop, Christmas cards and a fabric Log. I’m very excited as I’ve never owned a Log before. I don’t want to open it as it looks so pretty and I’m scared of what to make with it because I don’t want to waste it.

Urban Stitches Goodie Bag Day 2

Urban Stitches Log

 

On day 2 there were fewer people attended but there was just as much laughter and fun had. A Rugby League team was staying at the hotel over the weekend before their match so all weekend they had to put up with us, they posed for photos with needlework and had to put up with female laughing. After lunch on the 2nd day they decided to come into our venue to see what exactly we were doing all weekend. Just observing them on their own looking at every thing was hilarious. These boofy young blokes were amazed and getting excited over toys and stitcheries. I could hear comments of “your girlfriend would love this, mum would like this” They asked questions and were actually interested in it all. My friend said it was very intimidating and difficult not to stab herself with a needle as 3 blokes stood around her fascinated by what she was making.

Framed Angels

I took another show and tell item along this time the framed Angels stitchery I did last year. Rosalie loved how I got it professionally framed. I’m proud of it and again to have the person who designed it like it means a lot to me.

Urban Stitches Project End Day 2

By the end of the 2 days I look at the stitching I did get completed and think really it isn’t that much however the fun and relaxation that I had in those 2 days is what counts. I learnt things and asked questions. How often do you get to ask a designer to show you something or explain something.

Urban Stitches Shopping

I may have done a little shopping over the weekend as Erica sets up a little shop in the room. I had a wishlist before I went so I picked up some items that were on that. I found some extra items I wasn’t expecting such as stitcheries that are factory seconds but look perfect, a pre-printed bunny panel that I will cut out and stitch up for a Christmas gift and some supplies for some bags I’ll be making for this Christmas. I got a couple of patterns for gifts for next year and I ordered a pattern book that didn’t make it to sale in time for the event.

Urban Stitches Book

I was able to get a copy of Melly’s book and she signed it for me. I’ve never had a craft book signed before so it is one I shall treasure.