I love my first valiant cowl so much that I have knitted up another.
Originally I purchased 3 balls of the Noro Tokonatsu yarn all in the same colour shade 7. When I discovered this fantastic pattern by Doris and Wilfred Designs and found out I only need 1 ball to make it I went back and exchanged the other 2 balls for different colours. This is shade 16. I love this colour (perhaps even more than the blue) It is this really deep rich burnt orange, generally I am not an orange person but this colour is gorgeous. Once again I did add the extra pattern repeats to what the original pattern says, this just make it a little bit longer. It is so soft and squishy. I have been wearing my blue one a lot so I know it will be nice and warm.
This is a great little pattern and if you ever do want to spoil yourself grab a ball of this yarn and whip this up in no time.
I don’t often send projects to the naughty corner for a time out but I have decided to on this toy.
This pattern is by a designer which I have made many of her toys before and loved them but this pattern just isn’t working for me at the moment. I had gotten to this stage couple of months ago and never got back to it. I don’t know what it is about this pattern but for the moment I don’t have the enthusiasm to finish it. I have had this pattern for many years in my stash and have never made it and now I am thinking I know why… It isn’t screaming out “make me finish me” like other toy patterns have done. This was due to be a gift for my niece and I have come up with plan b (a different owl pattern) This one shall sit in the naughty corner and eventually I will finish it off and donate it to Softies for Mirabel. I hate seeing waste and if I was to just bin it (which I could never do) this would be a waste of fabric, wool felt and time so I will just set it aside for now. I’m trying to keep sewing fun for myself so I have decided if I don’t find the project fun or love it I’m not going to sew it. I’m sure this project will be fun one day but just not a the moment.
Finishing needles are something I saw in a Facebook crochet or knitting group earlier this year and I am so glad that I found these little gems.
They are a set of plastic needles that come in various sizes for use on different weight yarns. Instead of having a little eye like regular needles they have a large eye or gap that extends down the length of the needle that you separate slightly to place your yarn though. I can easily place my thumb into the gap so you can see how easy they would be to thread your yarn into. No more yarn splitting as you try to feed it through the tiny needle eye.
They have double pointed ends allowing you to use them in any direction to weave in your end tails to finish your work. When I first saw these I thought they would be useful to join the squares of my sunny log cabin blanket together because you would use a needle to do the whip stitch with. These were brilliant and I think one of the reasons why the blanket came together so fast including weaving all the end tails in. They work just like a regular sewing needle except easier to thread. I have used these on range of different yarns and they are great. I got mine from Crochet Australia but you can get them from various places online. I can highly recommend these. Some gadgets you won’t use a lot but these you will.
So after not working on my blanket for many months last week I decided to start joining the squares together and before I knew it they were all done. Just like making a traditional log cabin quilt you first needed to join the squares to form rows and then join all the rows together. They are joined with whip stitch not crochet so you get mostly invisible seams that sit pretty flat. The colour yarn you use depends on what squares you are joining, the instructions have you use a colour that matches the side of one square. The only time you may see a few tiny stitches is when you are joining the vertical end columns in the block as they don’t match your yarn colour. My gamble of not blocking the squares did actually work. Each square is the same amount of stitches on each side so when you are matching up your seams if you line up your stitches they come together, I didn’t have to really pull or push any to make them fit.
My next step is to do the border around the outside. I’m glad these are finally joined. You can actually see the pattern now formed by the different columns of colour. I haven’t taken the labels off each square yet although I could take off the ones in the middle and just leave the outer 4 squares so I know which way I am going for the border. They have waited this long they can wait a little longer.
There is a new lady guinea pig in town Gertrude.
Gertrude is the latest toy from Funky Friends Factory. I seem to be making a lot of Funky Friends Factory toys of late but it was love at first sight when I saw this toy and I instantly went and purchased her. She will be a gift for a 3 year old next month.
This toy is a great scrap busting project and I made her all from scraps but you could also do it from a set piece of fabric or two. This is not a difficult toy like some of the FFF toys can be but I will be honest and say I did struggle with trying to get the pattern pieces to fit with the scraps. Some pieces were easy other pieces you had to do one in reverse and it got me. I messed up 2 pieces during the cutting stage but luckily I was able to salvage them or cut more and later towards the end I discovered a big boo boo which I think related back to the cutting in reverse issue. I think if I slowed down and really thought before I cut I could have avoided a few errors but I must admit I was just wanting to jump in and make her.
Sewing wise I didn’t have really any issues with her. I did a lot of hand tacking first and she even has stuffed limbs! For those who have read my previous posts about toys know I hate sewing in stuffed limbs. I hand tacked each limb then went over each one with a basting stitch on the machine so by the time it came to sandwiching them in between a seam they were not going anywhere. On some seams as I was reversing or starting the seam my sewing throat did eat the fabric a few times, when I got to the ears which were light weight and had nothing in between them they jammed down in the feed dogs. To over come this I cut a narrow strip of tear away stabiliser (about an inch wide) and used that just under the tip of each piece. It feed much easier through my machine and didn’t jam. I then just tore it off after I finished that section. When it came to do the other end of the ear I grabbed my strip again and placed it underneath, once again it didn’t jam. I’m now going to always have a piece next to my machine to use on ends when it looks like my machine will eat the fabric. If you didn’t have tear away tissue paper or even a bit of old computer paper or envelope would also work. It was easy to pull away from the seam line at the end.
So my big boo boo. Once I had sewn on the head I noticed she had a hunchback (Kyphosis – yes I looked up the official terminology) I laughed and called her the Hunchback of Notre Piggy but she didn’t look right. At first I was going to leave her but she looked like a rhino or buffalo not a guinea pig. It was when I looked at the pattern pieces again I realised I had cut one the wrong direction or got confused which was the way I was meant to pin it on the fabric or something along those lines. At this stage I only had 2 small seams to do to close her and I really didn’t want to pull her apart and start from scratch or ditch her. I decided to do a bit of cosmetic surgery to remove her hump.
From mid way down her spine to her head I pinned her and drew a curve with a pen. I machine stitched from my original seam line on her back to down past where her head was joined. I went over the seam twice then cut the hump away with pinky shears.
She looked much better after her surgery and it was a very simple way to fix her. Ok so she is a little more rounder than the one in the picture but I have never known a skinny pig, all the ones I have ever owned became round.
Pauline has created a tutorial to go along with this toy. I only followed it in sections as the construction of this one is pretty straight forward. If I was to make another one I would as mentioned take more time to make sure all my pattern pieces were the right way up. I need to do more research on how to easily do one piece in reverse. I tend to cut my pieces double layers, for non directional fabric that isn’t an issue but if I am working with scraps or want things the same direction I need to learn some tricks. She was fairly quick to sew up. Her facial features were just some leftover wool felt scraps from my stash.
Don’t be put off by my little adventure with her she is a fantastic toy. She is a nice size too, great for cuddles, now I want to be a 3 year old so I can have one too.
Last year I was all excited about Lucy’s Sunny Log Cabin blanket, I did all the individual squares then just put them aside.
I needed to block them as per the instructions, when I finally got foam matts and pins I blocked my first set of 4 blocks… and I’m embarrassed to say for the last 2 months they have sat pinned to the matts on top of my tumble dryer. I don’t know why I never got back to them. They actually became annoying as I was having to move them if I used the dryer in case the top of it got hot. I was inspired by my friend Kylie who did a podcast last week mentioning she was going to finish a blanket to get in and work on my own unfinished blanket. I always have a lot craft projects on the go but I can’t bring myself to starting another blanket for myself if I have one unfinished. If a blanket is for someone else than I don’t have a problem with having 2 on the go but if it is for me I can only do one… and I have about 4 blankets on my todo list so I really need to finish this one. After much thought I have decided to take a short cut, this may come back to bite me but it can’t hurt to try. I’m not going to block the remaining 3 sets of blocks which form the rows of the blanket. All the squares are roughly the same size so I am just going to fudge it and make them fit. As I mentioned this blanket is just for me so if it isn’t totally perfect it isn’t going to matter, it will be still be functional and most importantly it will get finished. I’m a bit worried that if I don’t just jump in and start assembling it I’ll be still sitting here in another 6 months time with 16 crocheted blocks hanging out on my craft trolley and I’m sure by then my blanket todo list would be even longer.
Let’s hope my short cut doesn’t cause too much pain
It is officially winter in Australia so a good time to sit around, drink tea and do craft.
Each month I come on here with a list of projects I wish to do and at the end of the month often I haven’t gotten them done instead I have done other random things that weren’t even on my radar at the start of the month. To be honest sometimes I am all talk and no action. This month I’m not going to write a tick list of things to do. I’m not giving up I am just going with the flow this month. Events wise I have 2 craft weekends booked in, towards the end of June is the annual Sydney Craft fair and in the middle of the month I’m going to attend my first knitting camp. I am looking forward to both weekends. We also have a long weekend coming up so I may be able to squeeze in some bonus sewing time on that extra day. I have a few unfinished softies which I’ll work on this month and I’m contemplating starting another valiant cowl as I have been wearing my current one most mornings this week. Now to decide on what crafts to take away with me on my June weekends away…. Hopefully I can report back on here with some finished projects.