Saturday, 31 October 2009

Sewing, Sewing, Sewing

Well the bag lead to some inspiration to keep sewing. Do you get like that? Start one sewing project and then that snowballs into more so sewing becomes the obsessive activity for a while before something else catches your attention and you switch to that.

In the photo there are a couple of fabric baskets made using Pink Penguin's tutorial. In the second one I experimented with stripes as well as patchwork squares.

Browsing through my favourite tutorials and my rather large stash of fabrics led me to creating a set of criss cross coasters. I found a new tutorial for a reversible drawstring bag and I had a few squares left from the bags so I created a bag for the coasters to live in. Everyone who sews has more fabric than they could possibly use, don't they? There is fabric that just begs for a home when you walk past it in the shop, doesn't it?

Last was another drawstring bag using the techniques from a bookmarked favourite. This blog has a series of posts that document the development of her drawstring techniques. I use this often because it creates a very nice lined pouch for tucking things in.

Two new felt project kits have arrived from paper and string. The robin and the reindeer kits plus some ribbon and brads winged their way to my house from the UK. These have jumped queue to the top of the to do list. Hopefully I will get some time to start these soon but an unexpected house guest is arriving late today so I will just have to see how much time is left.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Bag Making

Some more sewing has been happening. I needed a gift for a lovely friend so I decided to use a small stitching that I had just finished and incorporated it into a bag loosely based on the tote bag from the Bend the Rules sewing book. It is larger than the bag in the book and I lengthened the longer strap quite a bit. The stitching was part of a kit purchased at the Craft Fair earlier in the year. It is called Stitched with Love and is by Calico Farm Designs.

I was very pleased with the end result and it was one of those gifts that was so hard to give away. I would have loved to keep it for myself but know that it will be well used by the recipient. The bag is big enough to fit a medium sized lunch box or book and a drink bottle. I added a small zipper pouch for keeping small things in and looped that around the strap. For the zippered pouch I used my favourite tutorial by Sew Sally. I really like her construction technique and the way the zipper is on one side of the pouch. The last part of the gift was a small drawstring pouch for holding stuff. For this I used my bookmarked tutorial from happythings.

I modified the base of the bag by making a feature of the boxed corners. This idea came from my copy of the Zakka Sewing book that I was lucky enough to win earlier in the year. I folded the corners to the outside after sewing across them and added a wooden button as decoration.

I seem to have found a few tutorials that I go back to again and again. Do you have tutorials like that - bookmarked to get back to easily or used so often they become just part of your sewing repertoire?

Saturday, 17 October 2009

A Little Bit Of Sewing

I found another book to add to the collection last week courtesy of a post on this blog. The book is called Felties and I have created two already.

The book has eighteen little felt critters to create. Each one is pocket sized and they do not take very long to make. I adapted each one slightly as I didn't want to use beads as I am going to gift these to some little people. I also stitched rather than gluing for some of the smaller parts.

First meet Pensive Rabbit.

And second to be created was Babuska. Instead of the beads used by the author I stitched some flowers.

I have a few more on the list of things to sew. The list that is growing oh - so - loooooonnnngggg!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Kumihimo Braiding

I have been having fun with our Kumihimo braiding disc and some lovely silk threads. After making a long braid with some Colour Streams silk thread I had a shorter set of lengths left over. I put these on the disc and braided it into a short length. It was just long enough to make into this keyring.

The shade is called Seascape and it has yummy pale turquoise, blue, yellow and pale jade colours within it. Sorry for the photo quality but outside it is raining again.

The Celtic knot design came from one of the books we accumulated with our braiding supplies. The book is by Beth Kemp and is called HowToKumihimo.

The silk threads are great to work with although they snag easily if your hands have rough skin. I am still experimenting to find out with thickness of threads to use for my necklace length braids. I have also made a few bracelets.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Ramblings, loooong ramblings!

Hello internet, I am finally back from my travels and all is back to normal. Very sad, I know.

Crafty Things mentioned in her last post that I was selected in the Tasmanian Junior State Squash Team and spent the last week of September in Sydney competing the Australian Junior Squash Championships. This of course was right after our family holiday (which included going to Sydney), which was fantastic. I have only one photos to share because I didn't take any whilst in Sydney for squash and all the holiday photos are on the other computer.

With all my to-ings and fro-ings with Sydney I managed to miss the spectacular dust storm that was in the news all over the place, but this is the dust haze that was around for one morning while I was competing. This is the view (of the Bunnings towers!) from my hotel window in Thornleigh. It was a little creepy, but all gone by lunchtime.

The squash competition was great. I had a fantastic time, and have gained so much from the experience. As a little bonus, my results were also quite good. I would never describe myself as a top squash player or as a particularly bad one; I play because I enjoy it and train hard to improve because I do wish to play as well as I possibly can. I suppose this is summed up by the saying "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well." The selection for the state team was a surprise and an honour in itself and going away to compete was even better. So I went into this competition curious to see how I fitted compared to the best players in the country, but not expecting to win. My goal was to gain points in every game of every match, to win one of those games if I could, to play the best shots, the best squash I could, to enjoy myself and the meet some other dedicated players my age.

I went into the opening round ranked 26th, the bottom in my age group, making my first match against the 7th seed. I warmed up for that match expecting her to be much better than me, but also hoping to stop it from being a complete white-wash. As it turned out, she did not entirely dictate the game play, I got points in all the three games, and some of my shots were ones that I could be proud of. So I came off that court having lost, but feeling as though I had won.

This continued all through out the tournament. I was getting points, although no games, and not being the player who really shouldn't have been there because they weren't good enough, one of my fears going into the competition. I came so close to winning a game in the fourth round match, and then in the warm-up for my fifth and final match something was a bit different. The girl I was playing was making as many errors warming up as I was and looking just as nervous as I was. It hit me then that this time I wasn't going in the underdog, we were at the same level.

I won that match in 3. I was amazed at elated at what I had done. I had discovered that I was good enough to compete at a National level in my chosen sport and do ok. I wasn't out of my depth. I had achieved above my goals, that I had thought were a mix of achievable and challenging. Turns out I could have set them even higher.

One feature of the Australian Junior Squash Championships is the MC Hazel award which is awarded to one male and one female player for the 'best performance' of the tournament. Each team official places votes each day for who they think should be given this award. The results are announced at the presentation function at the end of the individual events. When announcing it they read out the names of people who had achieved high numbers of votes, starting at 5 votes. I was surprised when my own name was read out as having 5 votes. 5 votes may not sound like much, but the winning level was around 11 votes and most of the players in the top groups were the players winning their divisions. Of course, winning is only a part of 'best performance', it includes many other factors, a large one being sportsmanship. I am guessing that it was my whole attitude at 'winning' even though I had 'lost' because I achieved higher than I had thought possible that was the reason for people to award me some votes.

As you can imagine, that really was the icing on the cake of one amazing week. The Nationals has left me with an ongoing sense of optimism and self-belief, that has continued past the bump of returning to everyday life (no more housekeeping to make the beds!). The whole thing was such a great experience. Now I have my fingers crossed that I will be able to compete at next year's Nationals in Alice Springs (so hot! Sydney was hot enough for this Tasmanian!) and be able to play the teams event as well as the individuals, some fundraising may be in order I think.

And to assure you that this really is a craft blog, the results of our little trip to a local handmade market :-)

It's a friend's birthday today, and since I have been away I haven't had a chance to make her a present so the next best thing was of course, buying something someone else had made!

The little cosmetic bag contains a bar of olive oil, rose and paprika soap and has a gorgeous little zipper pull:

Hopefully she likes the card and present as much as I do!

Sorry for all the crazy ramblings. it's amazing the amount of stuff that builds up in your head that you want to say!

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