Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Overcoming a fear of sewing machines

Ever since I was a very little girl, I've been around sewing machines and fabrics. My mum was a sewing machinist to trade and spent many years working in a variety of different factories, making wedding dresses, waxed jackets and evening wear amongst other things. Times change and there aren't many factories making clothes around here. Although I've always been around sewing machines and have made some clothes in the past (with help from mum), I've always been really a little scared of sewing machines. At school I hated the home economics sewing lessons we had as the teachers expected me to be a natural because of what my mum worked as. Alas I was really very uncoordinated as a child and although I'm a little better now, I'm always scared I will hurt myself on it or destroy the fabric.

In recent years, I've been finding myself wanting to sew more, especially to finish some of my stitching into something. Up until now, most of this sort thing I've done by hand sewing. A couple of years ago, I bought a mini sewing machine but it really wasn't that good so last year I splashed out on a full sized Janome machine with lots of features. At the moment, I'm off on holiday so I thought I would get cracking with overcoming my sewing machine fear with the side effect of trying to reduce my to be finished into something pile.

I started off with some simple cushions with the cross stitch bits hand sewn on to the front of them.

Happy holidays

Happy holidays by Lizzie Kate.

Scatter sunshine

Scatter sunshine by Shepherd's bush

Scatter Christmas cheer

Scatter Christmas cheer by Shepherd's bush.

I then moved on to a cushion with the cross stitch sewn into it.

On the haunt

On the haunt by Shepherd's bush

And a banner type thing.

4 square peep

4 square peep by San Man designs.

Finally and much instruction reading, I put my very first zip in a cushion - normally I either get my mum to do it or just hand sew the side up. Its not perfect, it was a little scary to do but I like it. The stitching is a dragon round robin that I was in a number of years ago.
Dragon round robin

I don't think I'm ever going to be the most confident sewing machine user but it was a little less scary than it was before. I did do some hand sewing based finishing by making Pumpkins by Little house needlework into a pin keep.

Other than sewing, I've mostly been using my holidays to sleep and catch up with a lot of household things that I've neglected of late. The weather here has been pretty wet, wild and cold so its been ideal. There's also been some knitting but no knitting finishes. There has been a fairly large amount of progress on a variety of projects so I'm hoping for a few big knitting finishes soon. The weather just now is certainly knitwear weather.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Handmade Christmas

For Christmas, I made a few gifts for various people. First up, I made several beaded bracelets inspired by my sister wanting a bracelet that looked like one in Accessorize. The one she wanted is the third one down and I also made a pearl version of the same idea (the fourth one down). The remainder of the bracelets were for my mum, two of my cousins and the two work collegues who were working Christmas eve with me. Thankfully everyone seems to like them and I've been asked by my sister to make something similar for her MIL.

Beaded bracelet 1

Beaded bracelet 2

Beaded bracelet 3

Beaded bracelet 4

Beaded bracelet 5

Beaded bracelet 6

Beaded bracelet 7

My sister also got a pair of socks made from the yarn that Tuula gave me in the summer. There's still enough yarn for another pair as my sister has only UK size 2 feet (which is very small for those outside the UK). She really like them too and wants another pair.
Zig zag socks finished

She also got a pair of pink fetching mitts which were originally for my cousin but I miscounted and they are shorter than they should be. My sister also has very small hands so these are just the right size.

Pink fetching mitts

Two of my cousins received Fetching mitts also. In both cases, these are fetchings that I finished earlier in the year and put aside for possible gifts, in case I ran out of gift knitting time ( which I did)
Fetching mitts

Fetching mitts

Finally a Christmas gift which I knitted for someone at work to give to their BIL. Its an adipose from Doctor Who. Her BIL is Doctor Who daft and its for her children to give to him for Christmas. Hopefully it is well received.
Adipose for Sarah

I also made a stitched gift for someone. I took part in a secret santa amongst some UK based friends. I sent to Gina, who is really into her reading at present so I made a blue version of the Purrfect bookmark by Cats whiskers design studio.

Purrfect bookmark for Gina front

Purrfect bookmark for Gina back.

2008 crafty progress and 2009 plans

First up, happy new year everyone. I'm hoping that 2009 is going to be a better year for me and those around me that have had a trying year. For myself, my main hope is for a new job in an area that I will enjoy working in. I'd also like to stay healthy and relatively pain free.

With the change of year, I've been going over my knitting and stitching progress for 2008.

At the start of 2008, I had 38 stitching projects in progress and as of the end of 2008, I had 36 projects. During the year, I started 30 projects and finished 32 projects. Only 5 of the finishes were of projects that were in progress at the start of 2008.

Projects in progress at the end of 2008.

1. TW The storyteller
2. TW The ministrel
3. TW Paisley corner
4. TW Night
5. Mirabilia Autumn Queen
6. Dimples Le Epoch Nouveau
7. Pinn Chinese Goddess of Mercy
8. Just Nan Barnabee's quest
9. Lizzie Kate Needle Nick
10. Jungle babies birth sampler
11. Balinese dancer
12. Merry stitches stocking
13. Newton's law The future's so bright
14. Geisha Bride
15. Quilt afghan
16. Chatelaine Mystery 8
17. Chatelaine Egypt garden
18. Mirabilia Fairy roses
19. Country companions Tom mouse
20. Star trek trio
21. Chatelaine Japanese garden
22. Chatelaine Christmas mystery 3
23. Chatelaine Japanese Octagon box
24. TW Castles by the sea
25. Mirabilia Winter in my garden
26. Amy Mitten Such an undertaking
27. R &R reproductions A Witches pocket
28. Noah's submarine
29. Britty Christmas puppy
30. Mirabilia Enchanted dreamer
31. Margaret Sherry Trimming the tree
32. Pine tree hill
33. Lizzie Kate Thanksgiving flipit
34. LHN Capaccino
35. Shepherd's bush Spooky spot
36. Shepherd's bush Elizabeth's stocking.

Out of these 36, I've decided not to continue stitching on 4 projects for various reasons/

1. Jungle babies birth sampler
2. Merry stitches stocking
3. Newton's law the future's so bright
4. Star trek trio.

That leaves me with 32 WIPs at the start of this year. I'd really like to get at least 5 of these projects finished in the coming year. For the past year I really haven't stitched as much as I have done in the past but in this coming year, I'm going to make a concerted effort to stitch more.

Knitting wise, 2008 was a really good year. I finished 44 projects.

This breaks down as

7 pairs of fingerless mitts (Fetchings and Cranford mitts)
4 Adipose stuffed toys
18 pairs of Adult sized socks
2 pairs of baby socks
2 Scarves (1 clapotis and 1 Bertie scarf)
4 adult sized hats
2 baby sized hats
1 baby cardigans
4 adult sized garments (Neaty, Tomato, Anise and Matilda Jane)

I'm really pleased with what I've managed to knit this year. For the coming year, I'd like to knit more adult sized garments for me.

At the start of 2008, I've got 11 knitting WIPs

1. Central park hoodie
2. Andi Messenger bag
3. Twister socks
4. Kid classic cranford mitts
5. Panda Soy monkey socks
6. Shur'tagal socks
7. Blue February lady sweater
8. Little pumpkin socks
9. Bamboo two at a time socks
10. Jungle stripe socks
11. One skein gloves

I should get all of these finished this year. Only the Central park hoodie, the messenger bag and the twister socks were in progress at the start of 2008.