Electronic Yarn Winder

Last year I brought myself a Boye electronic yarn winder. Until recently it had been sitting under my bed unopened. I had to frog back a crochet project so I decided to break it out of the box to re-wind the ball.


So as the name suggests this plugs into the wall and does all the manual winding of the yarn to create the yarn cake for you. I found this great YouTube clip on how to use it. I first tried it out on the ball of Bendigo Woollen Mills Cotton I was frogging back. Bendigo Woollen Mills balls / skeins are 200g so they are quite large. It did handle it but towards the end it struggled as the yarn cake got larger and larger. The machine slowed down and I had to help it a bit. I put a photo up online and a friend commented that cotton can be hard to work into a ball.


In the end I decided to cut the yarn and make a second cake. I haven’t weighed the yarns to see how much is in each cake. A yarn cake is the description given to balls of yarn when they are wound like this. They allow you to use the centre pull method when your working with your yarn so the ball / cake doesn’t go jumping around the table. I did use the large cake for a project after this and to be perfectly honest I wasn’t a fan of the centre pull method on such a large ball. The yarn is taken from the inside of the ball out. The cake is starting to collapse and I kept getting yarn spurts where entire chunks were coming out. I’m not sure if it was due to the size of the cake. I guess next time I use one I will see.


The second lot of yarn I tried out was smaller 50g ball. It was a cotton mixture. The machine easily made it into a cake without effort. It took a matter of minutes to wind it into the cake shape. I used this cake on my yarn spindle using the regular method of using the yarn from the outside and I had no trouble with it all.


Now that I know the machine isn’t as scary as it looks I’m going to be using it more. The machine is easy to use. I had it placed on my cutting table and it suctioned on well to it and didn’t move (there is a giant suction cap on the underside of it) I want to make all my skeins into cakes now. I’m going to try it again on the cotton. I might make a project with the smaller black cotton cake to see how it goes with the centre pull method. I like the flatter shape that the yarn cake has. It would be great for stacking your yarn if that is how you store your stuff.





Rosehill Craft Show 2017

It is the first weekend in March which means it is time for the annual Rosehill Craft show. I went this morning.


The Rosehill show the little sister to the big Sydney Quilt and craft show which is held in June each year, it is a smaller show but usually just as good. This year the craft show seemed to have a different feel to previous years. I know popular craft trends change from year to year and the show caters for what is most popular but I guess this year the trends that seemed to be at the show weren’t really my taste. Cake decorating seemed to be big this year and wedding planning so if liked those things you had lots of activities and shops to choose from. I’m more into fabric and yarn shops and activities and it seemed there were fewer of those than in previous years at Rosehill. Saying that there was a new store which I was really wanted to visit and basically only went to the craft show for and that was Lefty’s. I had no idea this shop even existed until I saw that it in the exhibitors list prior to the show. As the name suggests they sell left handed products. I discovered they had left handed  dressmaking scissors and was hoping they would have them at the show. To recap my issue I’m right handed but cut fabric anti-clockwise which is apparently wrong for a right handed person. To use my seam allowance guide successfully I need left handed scissors.  They had a variety of types but talking to the owner and discussing my problem he suggested I went with a pair that had a universal grip. A universal grip doesn’t have a thumb grove it which means you can comfortably use them in your right or left hand. The top blade is on the left hand side which is what I need.


I did do one class as the show which was a last minute decision I only decided this morning before I left home. I discovered a jewellery making class. It wasn’t like a regular class where you met the teacher at a special workshop area at a designated time instead the class was held at the exhibitor’s stand and you basically went up whenever you wanted and made your item.  I really liked this as it gave you the flexibility to do it whenever you had time or there was a spot free at the class station. You had the option of making a pendant or a cuff. I decided on a cuff as it is something I am liable to wear more. You stamp your designs onto your item using metal punches and a hammer. You were able to use any of the punches (letters, symbols, zodiac signs, pictures) they had available to create any design you wanted. There was no limit so you could do as many as you could fit if you wanted to. I saw they had a ying yang punch for sale but it wasn’t among the ones you could choose from however the store holder was kind enough to open the packet up so I could use it. Each person was given a practice piece to try out using the punches before they started their actual piece. My practice piece was horrible as it kept slipping. They stall holder gave me some tips and I got the hang of it. For my bracelet I opted for 4 ying yangs, they turned out great so I decided not to do anything else. I adore ying yangs so my bracelet was perfect with just the 4. You do the punching out your design on flat metal surfaces afterwards you curve the cuff to get the round shape. I love my little bracelet.

It certainly was my shortest Rosehill show as I only spent just over 2 hours at it. I did the things I wanted to do so it wasn’t a wasted trip. Crowd wise numbers looked down but Sydney is currently going through a very wet period so I’m guessing that is why. Hopefully next year it picks back up again.


To Craft List March 17

In February my Sewjo got up and left and I never saw it. It wasn’t until this past weekend that I actually sat down at my sewing machine for the first time in the month. Summer in Sydney is always warm (hello it is summer!) but this February has been really humid and the last thing I want to do is sit down at my sewing machine. I don’t have air con which I don’t mind but I don’t want the sewing machine to overheat. Also towards the end of January I had a couple of projects that didn’t work out properly so my motivation and sewing confidence also took a hit. I’m re-thinking a couple of my sewing projects now. February I spent a lot of time crocheting and knitting so it wasn’t entirely wasted time.


For March I want to get back on the Janome and get a few things done so my list is

  • Make the dinosaur tail
  • Make a wearable toile of a top
  • Finish hand sewing secret April gift
  • Attend the ASG birthday luncheon
  • Block my Sunny Log Cabin Squares
  • Make my Quilts of Hope Block

I now have blocking pins and have researched how to block items so I have no excuse now not to block the squares, I have other blankets I wish to start but am being strong and not starting them until I finish the Log Cabin otherwise I know the Log Cabin will never get finished. The April gift I have just a small amount of hand sewing to do from memory. The dinosaur tail I’m hoping to get started on this coming weekend, I still need to cut out some spikes for it. The top is the Sew DIY pattern I chose. I want to test out the sizing on a top that I can wear around the house in some stretch knit I have in my stash. For the Quilts of Hope block I have everything planned out in my head it is now just a matter of getting everything cut and start working on it.

I’m looking more forward to March now. I want to get back to my sewing more. I’ve enjoyed my knitting and crochet but sitting doing that isn’t going to get my gifts made…


Toiletry Bag

This year I am going away a couple of times to different things so decided to make myself up a toiletry bag.


For this bag I used the same enlarged Dog Under My Desk Essential Wristlet pattern I used when I made my rose bag. To recap I enlarged the original pattern to 150% when I printed it out and used a longer zipper (12″ not 8″) Both the exterior and interior is made from ripstop which is a waterproof nylon fabric.


The inside of the bag is very large. I can easily fit a full size bottle of body wash in there plus all the other bits and bobs I’ll need for a weekend away. As I found out at the Frocktails event you can fit a lot in this size bag whether it be as a handbag or a toiletry.


Last year when I worked with ripstop and when I was making the Activity Go Case I had issues with the ripstop and the vinyl sticking to my machine and the presser foot. In January I was able to pick up in a half price sale a 8 Feet Accessory Kit from Spotlight. I wasn’t sure if the feet would fit my machine or not but luckily the feet just snap on to the shank already on my machine so I am able to use them. I’m not sure about the ruffler foot (that kind of scares me) but I have both high and low shank machines so it should fit at least one of them. I used the Teflon foot from the set for the first time on this project.


The Teflon foot worked really well. The fabric feed through the machine easily. The only thing I perhaps would’ve done differently had I know is use pins in the seam allowance not clips. Because I am used to using a walking foot and having the fabric feed through the machine evenly but with the Teflon foot no downward movement to hold it in place and move it through the top piece slipped a little bit. It I had pinned more and not clipped I think it may have kept it more in line. Overall it wasn’t that much of a big of deal. The most important thing was the foot didn’t stick to the fabric.


To prevent the ripstop from sticking to the sewing bed and the extension table next to my machine I placed my Teflon applique mat under my work. I um perhaps may of had it a bit too close to the presser foot at one stage and stitch my mat in the seam. I didn’t want to undo the seam and it was tiny little piece so I did cut the mat away from it and now I have a tiny crescent shape in my applique mat edge….


The only sticking issue I had was with the zipper. Someone needs to invent a Teflon zipper foot. I haven’t checked maybe there is one out there…. Ok I just did a quick Google search and yes you can actually get a Teflon zipper foot. I am putting it on my wishlist now!

I woke up one morning and decided I was going to make this. All the fabric and supplies came from my stash so it was a real sew my stash project.



Sydney Frocktails 2017

Last Saturday night the Sydney Spoolettes had their first ever Frocktail party.

So what is a Frocktail party? It is an event where those who love to sew get together for a night of fashion and fun. Many people made outfits for the night, some wore items they had previously made, some people made bags to match their outfit and one very talented person even made her own shoes! I would not even know where to begin to make a pair of shoes. Originally I wasn’t going to be able to make Frocktails so I never made anything for event specifically. At the start of the year I made my blue rose skirt for an event in March so I decided to wear that and I had made the handbag to match. I had never seen the rose fabric before I picked it up at the swap day last year as normally it isn’t fabric I normally look at to wear. Can you believe some had an outfit on made from the exact same fabric! When I got talking to the wonderful Alison I discovered she had only decided that week to go to Frocktails and the dress was something she had already made so wore that. Fabric fate that fabric was meant to make a Frocktails appearance.


I’m proud of the jewellery I wore as it was all items I had made over the years. My metallic necklace that doubles as a bracelet when you wrap it around your wrist a few times, the pendant I made at Urban Stitches and of course my latest make my viking knit bracelet. Can you see a theme in the colours. Someone jokingly asked me if I wore blue on the night after a previous conversation we had last year… Of course I wore blue if I don’t get to wear blue I’m going to cry.


Caz (Useful Box) organised the event and did an amazing job. Lots of different companies sponsored the event donating some amazing lucky door prizes. There were gift vouchers, fabric, sewing packs, patterns. I was lucky to win a pattern by Sew DIY. I can choose any pattern I want and they will email it to me. Naturally my first thought was I make skirts I’ll get a skirt but I’m actually going to get the top pattern as it looks very comfortable. On the night even if you weren’t lucky enough to win one of the fantastic prizes you still didn’t go home empty handed, each person took home a “lolly bag” full of discount vouchers to use at the various sponsors stores. I’m declaring it the best lolly bag ever. Sew DIY is among one of the vouchers so I will be able to get a skirt pattern after all….

Leading up to the night everyone had been sharing the makes on the Spoolette Facebook page and Instagram #sydneyfrocktails It was interesting seeing all the items up close in real life as you watched many of them get constructed over time. You spent the entire night walking around touching peoples fabrics without asking because everyone loves the feel of fabric. People were recognising different patterns and talking sewing. It was a lot of fun. I’m sure everyone is in agreement the night was a huge success. There is talk of another one again next and I hope there is as I’m already planning my outfit….


Stitch Castle Hill 2017


Stitch Castle Hill by Craft Alive is currently on again for its 3rd year and I went a long yesterday. Each year I go I find it a little different but in a good way not a bad way. Across Australia Craft Alive hold their shows in regional town centres, the shows are a little bit smaller but just as good. Also at the smaller shows you get a lot of shops that don’t go to the larger shows so it always nice to see different shops if you attend regular craft shows like I do. This year there was a good mixture of fabric and yarn shops so I was in my element.


This year I picked up a few items. If you have seen my Instagram feed lately you can see I am going through a bit of a yarn phase, I just want to sit and crochet and knit. I picked up some cottons from The Australian Wool Store. They are a little bit thicker (10ply, 12ply) than I normally work with so I can’t wait to try them out. The blues I have a scarf planned for myself I just haven’t decided on a pattern yet, the purple and green I’m thinking either a dishcloth or maybe even a pot stand trivet as they are thick and if do it double they will be even thicker.


I picked up the knitting pattern books after seeing them last year. The author is a fellow NSW Knitter’s Guild member but at a different group to the one I attend. I would really like to make a sampler blanket to develop my knitting skills. When I got home and sat down with the books the knee rug sampler has confused me a little so I think at this stage it may be a little advanced (but something to work towards) The lace patterns I think I could do and am considering maybe even doing for my scarf. The stripes pattern book I felt most comfortable with and I may even do my dishcloth / pot trivet with one of the patterns. I have a small problem this year I keep buying slipper patterns. I am yet to make any but now I own about 3. I will really need to make a pair for this winter. The “Purple Thang” is a little gadget I have seen online before. It is like a multipurpose tool you can use to poke things with, measure quarter inch, stuff toys. Basically it s one of those useful gadgets for your stash.


This year Craft Alive is support the charity Quilts For Hope, part of your ticket entry goes towards the charity. Members of the public can support the charity even further by donating a quilt block to the charity with a twist. Riley Blake fabrics have kindly donated fabric squares to be used within the block, the only requirement for the blocks you make it that they must be a 9.5″ finished size, contain at least 50% of the supplied fabric and be in the theme of “Future Stars” You can choose any other fabric you want to go with it and the block can be in assembled in any way you want (pieced, appliqued, machine embroidery)  The blocks will then be made into finished quilts for the actually patients it supports or the quilts may be raffled off to raise funds for the charity. I love this idea and have decided to take up the challenge. Ideas started ticking immediately and I found a nice fat quarter in light blue to use as my base block and by chance some Riley Blake star fabric at another shop to use as well. It should turn out well.


I did a free workshop by Stick To Your Knitting which is a community group of Knitters who are local to the Castle Hill area. I actually read a knitting chart for the first time and it was easier than I realised. I had a play around with textured knitting which I have done before (excuse the bad photo) but I have never read it from a chart. Now my mind is ticking on how to create a pattern on my own from grid paper.

I had a nice morning at Stitch. I hope they hold it again next year.


Lego Man 2017

I first made Lego Man at the end of 2014. Lego man is a softie I designed myself from a free colouring in page I found online. I have made him again but I changed things around this time a little.


Lego Man 2017 is little larger. I photocopies my pattern pieces from last time but this time increased the size to 150% which basically means he is 50% bigger than last time. I than added extra seam allowances to the pieces which I can’t remember if I did last time. This what I was trying to use my seam allowance guide on but unfortunately couldn’t.  The larger pieces made it a little bit easier to sew around the tight curves and angles. Also this time I have changed him from an all in one jumpsuit to pants and a top.

I love both versions and don’t have a favourite. I have had fun designing both. Each one has its own personality. Both were fun to make and I enjoyed the process of working out pattern sizing and fabrics. Sewing them was fun. Both are unique. I’ll possibly make Lego Man again next year but for that one again I will change it around somehow so he is different to these two.