Tuesday, 28 May 2013

She's a mod

Another crochet post - sorry to the croch-atheists, but it's something I have just loved to do over these past few months. Even though I have made a few items now, I'm still learning, and this post will show you just how far I have to go. What I enjoy about this craft is its portability and I find it easier to whip out my hook at night than to set up my sewing machine at the moment.

So, when I made my first crochet phone cover, my husband laughed at it. When he does that, it makes me determined to make more just to spite him.  Here are the results of my spiteful week.

Yep, I sewed the top end closed so this cover opens at the wrong end. Small mistake on my part which turned out okay if you can overlook the obvious upside-down stitches.

This photo was my inspiration for my next one:

The colour-blocking on the dress is so striking and I've been intending to sew a similar dress, but then I wondered if I could make it into a phone cover.  The answer is yes, yes I can.

The proportions are not exact, obviously, and I do think that the white and grey part would look better shortened. The grey yarn is wool, while the remaining colours are acrylic, and I suspect using different yarns is why the case distorted where the grey and white meet and why the grey stitching in the top row sits higher than the white.

While I was working on this, I was reminded of some modern art that seems to be appearing in 60s-inspired clothing lately.

Here was my inspiration for my Mondrian phone cover. Could I replicate this look?
JC de Castelbajac jacket and YSL sheath dress

Yes, yes I could.  Like all good works of art, it is best viewed from a distance. Here it is working its best angle:

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Not bad". Well, let me show you how it looks from the front.

I said I could crochet it, I never said anything about crocheting it well.

I trialled several different methods to achieve this pattern, allowing for the fact that I only had a very small amount of dark grey yarn left in my stash. I figured if I had to cut and weave grey tails at each round, I would use up more yarn that way. Also, weaving after every 20 or so stitches makes for a very s-l-o-w project.

What I did instead was keep the grey strand intact while working with the other colours and I simply wove it in behind the working yarn.  That worked okay, although the vertical grey line is not as neat as I had hoped.  Maybe I needed to do a slipstitch on each side of the single crochet with the grey yarn before introducing the white? I am going to experiment and see if that neatens it.

When I introduced the red yarn, the white and grey yarns were woven in behind it, and that's where it became messier. The non-working yarns are visible and the red block and the neighbouring white one look less sharp as a result.

Typically, it turned out there was not enough grey yarn to finish this project anyway - and I was so close. Tarnations!  The light grey yarn was used just so I could photograph the case and have something to show you this week.  I really think this pattern has potential and will be redoing it as the inner perfectionist in me cannot leave it looking like that.

Have you ever tried to crochet something like this? I'd be keen to hear your experiences.  In the meantime, I'll

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Feel inside (and stuff like that)

Inside the letterbox this afternoon was a package from the talented and very witty Rebecca at Frybread Quilts. She chose little ol' me as the winner of these precious out of print Heather Ross Mendocino fabrics during the latest Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day.

*Squealing*. I started my fabric hoarding collection too late to purchase this line, so I am beyond thrilled to have some.  The cuts measure roughly 7.5cm x 112cm.  I have folded and refolded them twice already.

Not only did I receive these amazing fabrics she also popped in some extra goodies including another piece of fabric from this collection. Rebecca, I love everything you sent and the sticker made me laugh. I feel a bit like Texas some days around here. That slogan sure beats "Taranaki - Where Family Violence Is Not OK".

Look at the size of that one cent coin! Things really are bigger in Texas.

Thank you so much, you have made my week start off in the best possible way.  I feel a bit stink for the winner of my giveaway now, who got, well, fabric. And a New Zealand Post bag...

Here's a song for you Rebecca, if you're reading this - I know how much you love Jemaine Clement.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


A new baby is soon to arrive in our wider family. I've gone a little bit overboard with making cot-sized blankets, but I love making them and, you know, like me with my fabrics, a baby can never have too many blankets.

I guess this one was not high on the list of things to reveal to you as I have already made this blanket before. This time, I went with watermelon colours.

I made it just after I made the other patchwork crochet blanket. It was easier and quicker to put together the second time around, which is the beauty of having an existing blanket to compare it with.

Despite this, I still managed to make one square bigger than the other ones and it puffs out a bit, but I figure after it gets used a bit, it won't even be noticed.

Apart from using different colours, the only other change I made to the throw was to opt for three colours in the border instead of two.

Fit for a princess, don't you think? If the baby turns out to be a prince, I'm screwed.

This song is pretty cool. I love its message and the unpretentiousness of it all. That's not to say that if it started raining money outside I wouldn't be out there with my buckets collecting it, but in general, I'm pretty happy with my little life, doing what I love, surrounded by those I love the most.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Sitting inside my head

What a week it has been; the giveaway was lots of fun, and I loved engaging with people from all over the world. I managed to keep up with replying to my emails (but only just!) and I was left wondering how established bloggers with a huge following cope with all those messages? I am a little bit glad to have things die down around here, but don't feel like you can't comment (if you want to), I do love hearing from you.

So, it's my birthday soon.  I was in the kitchen and my youngest was tapping away on the computer.
Her: "Look mama, I make you a birthday cake..."
Me (turning to come for a look, heart melting): "Oh, that's so nice".
Her: "...with lots and lots and lots of candles".  Hmmm. Heart not feeling so melted after that.

As an early gift, my lovely husband bought me a new phone last week. My previous phone was black and, if you are anything like me, I had a rather bad habit of putting it down on a dark surface and then not being able to find it again.  So, to avoid this problem, I got a white phone.  I still misplaced it.

So, I decided that I would crochet a phone cover. I swear to you, since I did this, I have not lost my phone even once.  Not only can I see my phone at a glance when I'm scanning the rooms for it, it is also protected from scratches when I put it in my bag.  Best. Idea. Ever.

Obviously, I haven't broken new ground with crocheting the case itself as there are lots out there on the market but could it be the first one you have seen with a circle on it?  It's quite nice to think my phone cover is unique. I decided to just have it as a sleeve opening rather than adding some sort of closure as I find that it's much quicker and easier to slide the phone in and out that way.

Anyone who has been crocheting for a long time will be able to see what stitches were used for this case, and they'll also know that I fudged a few stitches in certain places, but that's the beauty of crochet.  As Tim Gunn would say, "Make it work".

I've got other patterns swirling inside my head, and I just need to have a play to see if they will actually translate well in yarn. I may share those with you too if they do eventuate.

Linking with Leonie at Show and Tell this week.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Throw your arms around me

Apologies for the delay in announcing a winner of my giveaway, I've been busy composing a post to let down the masses gently. It's been great connecting with people the world over; I received comments literally from the four corners of the world and I cannot believe how many respondents came from here:

and Washington State.

I had a nice lesson in geography too.  Be nice to the people who live in the armpit of Florida. A lovely person lives there.  Someone who now owns 15 fat quarters of Red Letter Day.

Congratulations Kelli, I have emailed you for your postal address.  Living in the armpit is pretty sweet now, isn't it?

To the rest of you, let me console you with a rather tenuous link into New Zealand Music Month (yes, I know you'd rather have the fabric).  This great Australian song is a cover version performed by New Zealanders Tim and Neil Finn and I love it because it sends a message that even though we all come from different places, music (and fabric) can unite us all.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

When the world comes calling


Here is the proof that I am always the last to know things.  I just discovered that Sew Mama Sew is hosting it's 10th biannual Giveaway Day.  There are some pretty amazing giveaways happening on crafting blogs all around the world this week, and I want in, baby!

If you are new here, hello and thanks for stopping by.  I'm Leanne, a proud Kiwi, fabric hoarder and a lover of most things related to sewing, crochet and DIY.  I have been having fun these past few months documenting my crafting journey and discovering like-minded bloggers along the way.

I'm a bit late to the party, but I know you won't mind and I hope you like what I have to offer you.

The winner will receive 15 fat quarters of Lizzy House Red Letter Day fabrics.

If you are a Lizzy House fan like me, you will know that this collection is out of print and some colourways are very hard to find.  It took me over a year scouring the internet to find all of these fabrics, such is my dedication.

Please leave a comment below telling me where you are from.

There is no requirement to sign up to my blog, but if you would like to, new followers are always welcome and of course, as an added bonus, existing and new followers will gain an extra entry. Since I will be using a random number generator to select a winner, please leave a second comment letting me know that you follow.  For a further entry, feel free to share my giveaway on your own blog (if you have one) and let me know that you have done so by linking to it in a separate comment.  So, that's a possible three chances to win for very little effort - howzat?

This giveaway is open to international readers.  It will close at 8pm on Saturday 11 May 2013 (NZST) and a winner will be drawn randomly shortly thereafter.  No-reply commenters, please leave your email address in your message, otherwise I will have no way of contacting you if you win, which will make the both of us very sad. If I do not receive a reply within three days of making the draw, I will choose another winner.

And in case you were wondering about the random music video, it's New Zealand Music Month, so feel free to play some Kiwi sounds while you're leaving me a message and you might even spot some scenery from your own part of the world in it.

Thanks again for stopping by my blog, and good luck to you all.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Something in the water

Quite possibly my most favourite secondhand purchase arrived at its new home today:

Squealing like a 5 year old girl right now.  Can't wait to get stuck in and pretty this little thing up.

Checking out the new 'naughty step'.  (I'm joking. Sort of.)

In case you were wondering about the significance of the title, I spent one hour cleaning off the grease and grime today, resulting in many, many bucketloads of this:

So, now you know what I'll be doing this weekend.  Here's some music to help you enjoy yours wherever you may be.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Room that echoes

May is New Zealand Music Month, so in honour of this auspiridicious occasion, all my post titles this month will pay homage to some great and some fairly average Kiwi ditties.

So, my first foray into Fabric-a-brac occurred on the weekend.  I snuck out for an hour to indulge in my favourite past-time of bargain-hunting, but really, it was so heavenly to be sans children for 60 minutes so I could just 'be'.  You understand. For those who have never been to a Fabric-a-brac before, it is an opportunity to rummage through a vast array of vintage fabric and notions, with all proceeds going towards community hospices.   The venue was the Old Museum Grand Hall, quite a spectacular setting and a room that, ahem, echoed.  Too literal?  Too bad.

I generally don't fare too well at these types of events, especially when I am shopping with a particular fabric in mind or I hope to snaffle some beautiful vintage trims and buttons, because when I do that, chances are I won't find what I am seeking, which is exactly what happened on Saturday. I spent a fair amount of time admiring what others had already selected and following them around with half a hope that they would change their mind and put it back on the table.  The drive home was spent regretting the purchases that I didn't make, like the pile of $5 genuine Japanese silk kimonos, the amazing $20 deep green brocade that seemed too expensive at the time that I was holding it but was no longer there when I decided it would be money well-spent, and these vintage Raggedy Ann and Andy curtain panels.

As for what I actually did buy, some gorgeous jewel-toned blue velvet leapt into my hands and decided to stay there.

I also found some jersey knit in blue and hot pink so those will be cut into strips for my crochet rug and I will show you the results of that when I finish.

Here's the video of my title inspiration for my international lovelies, and for other readers who might be too young to remember just how cool the 80's really were. WARNING: Take your socks off before watching this, Maggie's dancing might just blow them off your feet.