Mr StitchNSew needed a new pillow, I could have easily just gone and brought one but instead I made him something that I promised I would do at some point. Both Mr StitchNSew and I went through our wardrobes before we moved culling items we no longer wore or were past their prime. Most items were easily to let go of but Mr StitchNSew had one shirt he couldn’t wear but didn’t want to toss out so I said I would turn it into a pillow like I did last year for a friend.
This wasn’t a straight forward project of washing the shirt and stitching up a pillow. For a simple project there was a few steps involved and I am actually counting this as my “More Involved” project on my Sewing Bingo 2020 Card. The first thing was to soak the shirt to try and remove the stains, unfortunately they didn’t all come out.
The next step was to mend some tiny holes in the front. I used my darning mushroom for possibly the first time. I got it a few years ago at a craft show. I think I only paid a few dollars for it or it was possibly given to me for free as charity organisation had made some to sell and people weren’t buying them. Up until now I had never worked on a project where I needed to use. It worked well to help me oversew the holes.
Before I could square the shirt up and cut out my rectangle shape I needed to adjust the button placket. The first step was to slip stitch it shut on both the outside and inside of the shirt and remove the buttons. I didn’t want it to come open or tug from the inside. There were a couple of holes that couldn’t be mended shut so once I cut out my square rectangle shape for the pillow using some of the sleeve that I cut off I made a placket cover which I slip stitched into place over the top of the placket. It does make the area feel a bit bulky but not uncomfortable. I think it looks better than if I had tried to cover up the hole but still had the button hole openings.
To insert the zipper I used the method where you mark the zipper placement then sew the entire seam but put large basting stitches where you want the zipper to be. You then lay the seam open flat, place the zipper in the centre of the seam and sew around it. Afterwards you remove the basting stitches. I’m still working out my lighting in our new place. In my old place I knew where I could sit for certain jobs. I don’t have as much natural light in the new place and I’m still learning where I can sit do certain craft jobs. I actually went and sat on the balcony for all my hand sewing of this project as with my dodgy eyesight and lighting I couldn’t see inside navy on navy. It was a good easy project to learn my light source on.
I made my own pillow insert to go inside. Once the case was finished I just measured the size an cut out a pillow form to match. Fabric is very subjective and I don’t mean to offend anyone who likes this print but I’m calling it my ugly fabric. I can’t be certain if this was fabric that was my mum’s or if I picked it up in fabric swap day for charity pouches. It isn’t fabric I would buy myself but it was in my stash needing to be used. Actually it had just been upacked from a box of yarn where I used it to cover up the gap in the top of the box. For a pillow insert no one will see it was useful fabric. I haven’t unpacked my fabrics yet so for adhoc projects I’m kind of just grabbing any fabric that I can and using it.
Mr StitchNSew is happy with his pillow. I don’t often make things for him (or I say I will but never get around to it) Everything in this pillow came from my stash so it was free pillow and decluttered a few supplies too.
The first sewing job I wanted to do at the new place was make a new cover for my ironing board. It was meant to be a quick project but took longer than expected when I discovered my spare sewing machine wasn’t working and my main sewing machine was off getting serviced.
A new cover is something I had been meaning to make for a long time. From Bunnings (a hardware chain store in Australia) I brought felt to go under my top fabric, that was November 2018. I never got around to making the cover last year then once we decided we were moving I put off the task until afterwards so the cover wouldn’t get ruined during the move.
For the pattern I used the same one I made when I previously recovered it. I found a tutorial in magazine years ago. The template I made covered just the board and you added extra inches around it to account for the fabric that would go over the sides and your seam allowance. The felt wasn’t that much wider than my template so I only really cut the curves on the ends of the felt and left the sides as is. I was happy for the felt to go over the sides. The sides were the areas that my previous cover had really worn thin so extra protection over them would make the cover last longer. Previously I only did a layer of batting and my top cover. This time I used a base layer of calico, the felt layer and my top fabric. I hand basted all the layers together in the centre before machine stitching around the outside to hold all the layers together and make the drawstring casing. Once it was on the board in place I removed the stitches.
The fabrics were some I found in my stash. Actually both were used prior or during the move. The calico was used to wrap sewing supplies and the blue fabric was our temporary table runner under the tv prior to the move when I washed our other one. I do like the blue fabric as the leaves are heart shaped and I am a sucker for ♥ This cover is nice and thick so I am pretty happy with it.
Years ago I subscribed to or regularly purchased a lot of craft magazines. Last year I stopped buying and subscribing to them. Prior to moving I got rid of most of them as I just wasn’t using them or even at times reading them. I did keep two lots, an American sewing magazine which is no longer in publication and Better Homes And Gardens annual Knitting and Crochet magazines. It is my tradition every year to buy this mag, sit down read it and relax. To be honest I think I have only ever made one pattern (Custard Beanie) from them. I knitted my sister a scarf once and I really thought the pattern came from these magazines but I have gone through them so many times and I can’t find it. I had put the project down for some time and lost the pattern that I had photocopied from the magazine and I had trouble finishing the scarf.
Upon purchasing this years edition of the magazine and sorting out my craft magazines and books I decided if I’m going to keep these knitting and crochet magazines then I need to start using them otherwise what is the point of keeping them? I have 7 magazines and an additional mini mag which was a supplement with one of their monthly magazines. I have set myself the personal challenge of knitting at least one item out of every magazine. This is a fresh challenge so if by chance I have made something from them that doesn’t count. There is no time limit to this challenge. I’m not limiting myself to just working from these magazines so if I fall in love with a pattern from Ravelry I can make that before completing this challenge. I just want to be more aware of the patterns I already have and use them. I might make items for me, charity, friends, gifts. I have plenty of yarn so that shouldn’t be an issue however I still may pick up some yarn for particular projects if I have none suitable in my stash.
I am currently knitting a large gift at the moment so that is taking all my yarn attention but this challenge is certainly milling in my head. I have flicked through the magazines a couple of times and there a few patterns I have yarn ideas for.
Last week I got my big sewing machine back from its service which meant I was able to get back sewing again for the first time since early March when I packed up for the big move.
My plan was to be sewing Saturday and Sunday after I finished off a quick project Friday night. Saturday I did a few errands and by the time I got home I wasn’t in a sewing mood so I didn’t push myself to sit at my machine. I wanted my sewing time to be fun and not a chore. Sunday I had my ‘sewjo’ so I set out working on several projects. The set up I had for the day was all in our lounge area but it wasn’t really ideal. There really isn’t the space for a sewing machine, ironing board and cutting table. There was lots of shuffling around things as you walked through from the lounge to the kitchen. I could only leave my craft table half up otherwise you couldn’t access the fridge. My sewing machine will live in the lounge room but once I sort out the spare room I’ll set up my craft table and ironing board in there. It will only be for projects which require a lot of pressing between each step that I might move the ironing board out to the lounge. Actually my ironing board isn’t use to being folded down and put away. It jammed when I put it up and Mr StitchNSew had to fix it for me (and almost jammed his fingers in the mechanism) Even though it was a tight squeeze it still allowed me to work on my projects for the day and get sewing again.
In terms of projects I was a little naughty. I do have 2 gifts that really should be finished this month but I didn’t work on them instead I worked on a combination of 2 new born gifts, my charity bags and a birthday gift due next month. I had to use white thread for one of the projects and decided whist it was in my machine to do any sewing jobs needing white thread so not to waste it. It allowed me to chain my work as I was sewing so I was wasting less thread between each item. It made me more conscious of what I was doing as I was stopping and thinking about each item and the steps I needed to do. I didn’t put any pressure on myself to finish anything totally. I just did steps of each project that I could. It was actually a really enjoyable sewing day. I think I needed my first time back sewing to be enjoyable to encourage to me keep going. Had I made myself sew on Saturday I know it would have felt like a chore.
I’m hoping to be sewing again next weekend or who knows maybe even during the week if I feel like it. I’ll look through the projects I need to do, maybe pick another colour thread and do all that needs doing with that colour. I want to keep my sewing stress free and enjoyable.
Back in January I started to get organised with my Christmas gifts. January 1st I traced the patterns out for these pillows (thanks Instagram for dating my photo as I wouldn’t have had a clue otherwise) When I was on my January holidays I found the fabrics as I was packing and stitched the forms up.
Originally I thought stuffing them would be a tv job (something I do whilst watching tv) but as I had no sewing machine over my long weekend I decided to get in and stuff these so it was one job off my list. I did them over a few days so it wouldn’t be boring (I have a short attention span) They didn’t take that long to do but I think when I did 3 at once it felt like a chore and not a fun sewing task.
At our new place we have this great roof top garden that anyone in the building can go and enjoy. It is a great space with loads of seating and a bbq area. With gyms being shut due to Covid I have done a lot of my personal training sessions up there. I thought it would make a great photography area for some of my makes for the blog. It even has bathroom which I can use as a change room if I have multiple outfits that I wish to photograph (it is easier for Mr StitchNSew to do batch photography) Who would have guessed it was so hard to photograph 6 pillows up there. Ok so it was my fault as I wanted to get my photos done early in the day as I had other things to do. The night before it had rained so a lot of the areas were wet. I tried to be as creative as I could without photographing the pillows with shadows or myself in them. I even tried to place them in the garden but they got mud on them so that didn’t work. Oh well now I know for next time to try later in the day.
If nothing else at least I have 6 gifts ready for Christmas. I have also used up some fabrics from my stash. Every little bit counts as I try to sew my way through it all.
I have been one of the fortunate people still working during Covid as I work in a hospital (I’m not front line staff) however it has meant that I have hardly spent any time at home since our move as I have only had weekends off. I haven’t really had time to unpack all my craft stuff as I am too tired after work or have been busy on weekends doing other stuff around the unit. Last weekend I was all set to start sewing and pulled out my spare sewing machine as I have sent my big machine for a service only to discover my spare machine got knocked around during the move and will need a service too. I was planning to have today off work ahead of long weekend in Sydney but to be honest with no sewing machines at one stage earlier this week I threw a tantrum and didn’t want to be at home if I couldn’t sew. I decided to still take the day off work and focused on unpacking and sorting.
The spare room still looks like a mess but I have now managed to unpack all boxes of crafting notions and tools. All remaining boxes have yarn or fabrics in them. My shelves look a complete mess as I have just shoved things anywhere they fitted but at least now I know how much stuff I have. Previously I had my craft supplies spread over 3 areas of the house and I have done a lot of culling of items so I didn’t really have a clue of how much stuff I still had. It looks like things won’t be such a tight fit as I was expecting which is good as I don’t have to cram things in. We are looking at getting some more additional storage for the room so I can remove items from the shelves which are computer related and keep them next to our computer which is also located in the room.
Last week I unpacked all my craft books which live on the bookshelves in the living area now. At the time I just shoved them all on the shelves. I posted a photo at the time on Instagram and someone commented it took her 8 years to getting around to sorting them out! This morning I sat down with a coffee and got sorting. I discovered I actually have 2 copies of the same book… I don’t remember buying either copy. Looking at the price tag I brought them from Lincraft possibly during their sales at different times. I’ll keep one copy and pass on the other.
I mentioned my tantrum this week. Discussing with a work colleague yesterday it seems as crafters we all get overwhelmed with our stuff if it isn’t organised. Earlier this week I wanted to just toss everything as I felt I had no room for it. Mr StitchNSew even told me not to make any decisions when I was in a mood like this. My colleague’s husband said to her don’t just toss all your stuff as you will only go back to the shops and need to buy it all again. Today I looked at my box list opened the ones I wanted which still items for the shelves. I felt like I have had a productive day off. I don’t feel so overwhelmed with my stuff now. It doesn’t matter that I don’t have any sewing machines I will still enjoy my weekend off. There are plenty of other crafting things I can do instead.
Our apartment is 102 square metres which is decent size. I must admit it does have a lot of in built storage in the areas such as the bathrooms and some in the living areas but some areas just felt like wasted space. Although we are trying to follow minimalist principles of not having excess stuff we don’t need the truth is we still have a lot of stuff and it needs to be put somewhere. With all the expenses that came with moving I’m trying to cut back on spending money however I’m looking at these as one off expenses that will benefit our place for the long term. Before I hit the shops I did a lot of searching on the Ikea and Howard’s Storage World websites for storage solutions for our ‘wasted areas’
So the current trend is that appliances need to be hidden away behind doors. We have a ‘fridge’ cupboard. The fridge we had in the old place leaked. Our original plan was to get a new one when we moved in, unfortunately Covid changed our plans. Firstly I couldn’t get to the shops, secondly with everyone spending so much time at home fridges became a high demand product and there was a 6-8 week wait to get one. We didn’t want a leaking fridge behind closed doors so we put it in our lounge area and put our small freezer in the cupboard instead. When we did manage to get a fridge that could be delivered quickly (ex display stock) we discovered it didn’t fit inside our cupboard so we decided to keep the freezer in there. I wasn’t happy with empty space above it and decided it needed shelving. I had seen shelving before for above toilets and discovered that Howard’s had one similar which could be used in bathrooms or laundry to make use of space above appliances. Our freezer is about the same size as a washing machine so this shelving unit was perfect. It is stainless steel and very sturdy. It was actually very simple to put together. We are still experimenting around with what we are fully going to put on the shelves. You select where you want the shelves but I am happy with these. Just by putting them items we have on the shelves has made life easier, I don’t need to carry my breakfast cereal tubs into the kitchen each morning for breakfast now and Mr StitchNSew doesn’t need to bend down low to get his juice bottles.
Under the sink is a problem area for a lot of places not just apartments. Again at Howard’s I found a shelving system. This one is fully customisable so you can place the plastic shelf pieces around your pipes. Again it was simple to put together. Now to be honest I’m happy that this has given us a bit of extra space but I think this area still needs some work. I might have to move things around a little. I think the shelving system is a good idea and it wasn’t a waste to get it.
We have a decent size balcony but no storage as is the case with most balconies. Ikea has a storage unit which is powder coated steel so can be used outdoors. It looks big in the picture but when I saw it instore I was worried it wouldn’t be big enough but once we assembled it I was surprised. We call it ‘The Shed’ It has all items we would normally keep in a shed or laundry (our laundry is tiny) We keep finding more and more items to place in it thus freeing up room in other cupboards.
The doors have magnets to hold it shut but admittedly they aren’t very strong and kept coming open. Our solution as a closure we are using old alan keys from previous Ikea furniture and threading them through the latch where you could place padlocks. Our rule is if you open the door you place the key on top of the unit so it doesn’t get lost.
Thanks to Mr StitchNSew who has done most of the unpacking we have all our kitchen/linen/lounge unpacked. We are still working out where we want things and changing stuff around on shelves. I’m really pleased with our additional storage. As I mentioned yes it was another expense I didn’t really want but long term it is worth it. If I’m not careful I can easily be a messy person but I am trying to establish good routines of putting items away once I finish with them. I like the phrase “A place for everything and everything in it’s place” We are still in the process of finding the places for all.
Earlier this year I made some reusable paper towels to use at the new place.
I didn’t follow a pattern for these I just used up the scraps I had leftover from making my bat wraps. The scraps were a rectangle shape so I just stitched two pieces together and top stitched around the outside, super quick and simple. I didn’t care what my thread colour was either so I used up half bobbins.
I did have a batch of reusable cloths that I was using at the old place. They were old jumpers, tea towels and towel offcuts I had. Most of them were very shabby and were binned when we moved. These are a larger size. I use them to wipe up spills but also protect the bench when I’m cooking as I will put my stirring spoon/utensil on them. This saves getting out a dish for this. I just toss them in the wash with my tea towels and they take little time to dry.
I like to make practical items. Not only are these better for the environment than single use paper towels but more economical. I want to cut back on spending money on items we can do without or reduce our usage of. Yes we still do have paper towels in the house but if we can reduce how many we use then it will reduce the frequency we have to buy them.
Last year I knitted my first ever Westknits pattern Purlbreak. I loved it so much I decided to knit myself a second one.
This time I used 8ply cottons from my stash. These were actually the first limited edition cotton crush colours Bendigo Woollen released early 2017. I’ve used them a few times now in various projects. Playing around I decided I really liked these 4 colours together. The official colours are sambuca, orange, sherbet and grape. I wasn’t sure how cottons would go in this pattern but they were fantastic.
This was such a relaxing knit. I started it at the end of January just after I did all my Meld shawls. Last year when I made this I had my row counter by my side clicking the rows during all the colour sections and I had my pattern by my side. This year once I started on colour stripes I didn’t bother using my row counter to count the rows I just remembered the pattern and I could see what I needed to do differently each row. It was only when I was doing the colour blocks at the end that I used the row counter again to ensure I did the same amount each section.
I love big shawls and this is a huge one. Once again I didn’t bother blocking this.
1. I don’t normally block cotton shawls
2. I finished it just as I was getting to the final weeks of packing to move so I didn’t have the ability to block things as all my blocking tools were packed.
Knitting confessions… I have a bad habit of putting my knitting down mid row on the lounge and leaving it to do other things. I try and push it back on the needles so the live stitches don’t fall off. Things happen, needles get bumped and on more than one occasion I have lost stitches resulting in me having to rip back my project and start again as I couldn’t rescue it. In last years version I dropped a stitch, tried to fix it and was somewhat successful but it looked messy as it wasn’t the correct way. This year when the same thing happened I decided to learn how to fix it. Once it was stretched out a little you couldn’t even see the 2 places I lost stitches so I am pretty proud of that.
I finished this at the start of April, almost 12 months to the date of finishing my first one coincidently. I am yet to wear it as it is only just starting to get to knitwear weather but I can’t wait to wear it. I adore the colour combination even though I’m not a pink person. The colours are bright and funky. Despite some of the facial expressions of looking like a deer in the headlights (I struggle to look straight at a camera thanks to dodgy eyes) I love this shawl.
I have a few Westknits patterns in my stash. Some are a little more complicated and I want to start trying those…. Or I may end up knitting another one of these!
We have been in our new place nearly 3 weeks now! It has been a crazy few weeks.
In Australia we are still under lockdown due to Covid however you could still move house. There was restrictions like you couldn’t get friends and family to help you like you would normally do. Neither Mr StitchNSew or I drive a car so we had to rely on removalists to shift everything although there was some items we walked up from the old place to the new (about a 15min walk) Prior to picking up the keys I had only been inside the new place once and Mr StitchNSew had never been in it all (This was again due to Covid lockdown restrictions with open homes) It was a relief to see Mr StitchNSew could access the front of the building with his wheelchair and get in and out of our unit easily.
3 days after getting the keys was the big move day. I found a local removalist company after recommendations on a local Facebook group. The 3 guys we had on the day were great. I was a nervous wreck but this was their job and they knew what they were doing. They could see I was worried and were joking around all day to ease my nerves which was fantastic. They really did make a stressful day easier. The old place was 3rd floor no lift so they had to lug everything down 40 steps. They did a wonderful job.
The new place is much smaller and the day we moved I just told the movers to place boxes wherever they fitted. The majority of the boxes were stacked in the spare room but we were able to just shut the door. For the first few days we coined a new term “mountain goating” as we climbed on boxes to find different ones. This room is about ½ clear now. I must admit by the time I had packed all the old place up I didn’t want to look at boxes and to be honest didn’t care if they were thrown out. Mr StitchNSew has done a lot of the unpacking and most of the non craft boxes are now unpacked. I have furthered culled some items as different boxes were opened. Something things we discovered we didn’t need or want. We are still trying to find the best way to use different spaces plus come up with storage ideas to make the best use out of the areas we have. At first the new place didn’t feel like home and I admitted to Mr StitchNSew the first weekend I was hating the place. I became more at ease when I got little things like my washing machine to work and I could find a few items I was after. Now it feels like home. It doesn’t feel so small either. We had gone from a large spacious 3 bedroom place to a smaller 2 bedroom but thinking about the other units in our building we have a spacious unit that is set out well. Our unit is like a giant rectangle and the rooms are all slotted neatly into that in a uniform way. Other units are odd shapes and the rooms are pokey. I’m glad we got the place we did.
I haven’t had a chance to unpack my craft areas yet. I have been doing lots of knitting and crochet to keep my stress levels down. Even on moving day I had emergency crochet with me to calm my nerves if I needed it. I got it out when we got to the new place and one of the movers even said I was more relaxed then.