Welcome back if you have visited before or welcome if you have just found my blog!
I’ve just returned from our group’s annual retreat and had an amazing week of friendship and crafting and I have restocked on sanity. It was a fabulous chance to get some much needed girly craft time and catch up with some wonderful friends, some that I only get to see once a year! Some of us have known each other for many, many years and others only recently – one I met only this week.
The place we stay at is on the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia. The setting is amazing as you can see from these photos.
Here are a couple of photos of when we were set up and getting into it.
My mornings were spent at the sewing machine where I stitched together a heap of squares to form half square triangles (HST). Ironing them open seemed to take forever! This will be a quilt for when my granddaughter arrives. I’ve placed them in the format that I think I’ll go ahead with though there are many ways to position HSTs. I’ve still got some blue ones that need to be done so I have some time to make up my mind. I do like the colourwash effect, though.
As I was already at the machine, each morning after my patchwork session I took the opportunity to get into some pre-cut dressmaking items. I had bought some beautiful silk (Thai silk?) in Singapore in March and the Peppermint Ruffle Sleeve Top pattern was perfect for it. I can honestly say that the silk was a real chore to handle and, because of this, it was quite slow-going on the project. I got there in the end and I’m so happy with the result. There is a minor amount of hand stitching left in order to finish it off.
The following dress had been cut out in February after purchasing the fabric from Tessuti in Sydney in January. I cut the pattern from a dress that I wear to death and I wanted to make at least one more. Once cut, I struggled with how to put the top together to get a clean finish. For some reason, I was thinking about it a week or so ago and kind of worked it out but it was confirmed when I happened across one of Last Stitch‘s (Johanna Lu) tutorials. If you’re into dressmaking, this is a fantastic podcast and she has so many resources. This dress only needs the small inside facing seam on the shoulders stitched plus the hem and it will be complete. Once started, it was a very quick sew.
I recently heard about a great organisation tool for sewing patterns and yesterday started to add my stash. It’s technically a project management tool and you can add cards to boards. I have started a Patterns board and a Fabric board. Once there is a photo added, it’s easy to see everything you have; you can link patterns to fabric and you add your own labels so all the info is in one place. PDF patterns can be attached so that you know exactly where they are. It has lots of features I haven’t delved into yet. There is a tutorial on Helen’s Closet which shows how to use this program for your sewing stash. Here are a couple of screenshots of my boards. I have a lot yet to add and will do it a bit at a time.
My version of Round the Garden by Wendy Williams (Flying Fish Kits) is coming along. It was a pleasant way to spend the sunny afternoons in the large lounge room with awesome views. I was struggling with ideas for the “under the sea” section but my brains trust was able to come up with several ideas which I have added. I was worried it was going to be a bit sparse in comparison to the animal section but it’s just right now. Plenty of stitching to get done and lots of eyes to add. I’ll finish these two sections before I move onto the rest. I have already prepared about a third of the border houses but there are still lots to cut out, not to mention all the flowers in the ring surrounding the centre circle.
I packed most of my current projects for the retreat and managed to do some of each as well as start on a new project. Last Saturday evening, the night before heading to the retreat, I was inspired to do something as a memento of the retreat. I pulled out one of my sock blanks and painted everyone’s name on it, then added colour. As I only use less than 2/3 of a sock blank to make socks, I decided that a shawl would be a good option. It was a difficult decision choosing the right shawl pattern as I have so many but I wanted the colours to talk. I settled on the Pebble Beach Shawl by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. I know that the names will disappear when knitted but I will know that they are all in the shawl. And all the members of the group will know too. I will probably need to add a plain border to finish it off.
I think Helen’s patterns are great. Not only are they always beautiful, the patterns themselves are written out completely with a check-off system for each row and it tells you how far into the pattern you are. The photo above is at 25%.
Finished Objects! The baby, toddler and child peplums from a pattern by Mel Harrison are all finished now. I got the buttons for them from Sew and Tell in Berry on my way to the retreat last Sunday. You can see the difference in the sizes, from the 3-6 months at the bottom, the three years on the left and the five years size on the right. They were quite quick to knit and I’m happy that I’ll be able to gift them now.
I managed to get some knitting done on my Wa Shawl but not anywhere near what I had planned. The Twinkle Twinkle blanket is growing and my Kettle Poncho is ready to split for sleeves now. I managed to finish the first back portion on my Like a Cloud and I’ve started on the right side. Hmm, the photo shows quite clearly the mistake on the back where I missed a knit and purl row. It’s going to stay there as a design modification because ripping back mohair is not an option!
I’m hoping to dye some mini skeins today and then I’m back to work tomorrow. Next week, I’ll be attending the Berry Quilting Retreat. On Thursday and Friday, I’ll be participating in Alysn Midgelow-Marsden’s Metal Texture Vessel Workshop and then Saturday and Sunday I’ll be having shibori fun with Shuji & Alison Yamazaki of Wabi-Sabi Designs in their Indigo Quilt in a Weekend class. I should have some wonderful pictures of both classes. Until then, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!