Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My creative space

I have a market to sew bags for, two job applications to write, a choir blog to update and a work lunch to cook for tomorrow, but as the Queen of Procrastination, it is my duty to inform you that nothing...


.. nothing ... crocheting when you're stressed to the hilt.

See Kirsty for more creative spaces.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Skirt #563

This year I have made a lot of skirts using the same two patterns, which is not bad for a girl who hated wearing skirts for so many years. There are a couple that I haven't blogged - a black linen one for choir which The Mister has had awful luck trying to photograph (it always looks super dusty) and another which is gorgeous and has a great story and deserves it's own post. Maybe tomorrow.

Skirt # 563

I bought the corduroy in Lincraft last Thursday, washed it that night and had made a skirt out of it by the next night. It's kids' cord - but lately I've been noticing the distinct lack of colour in my winter wardrobe, so thought that the bright colours could only be a Good Thing. The floral pattern reminds my of a Jane Sassaman style of quilt, and I feel very happy every time I put ir on.

I used Butterick 6841 (again) and (again) it's too big for me. See that pesky waistband poking through my shirt? You'd think I'd have redrafted this pattern by now, or else given up on natural fibres which stretch and gone for acrylic fibres *shudder*. So because I love this skirt so very much, and detest showing off my undies and my appendectomy scars, I'll be unpicking the waistband, taking in the side seams, and realigning the front darts. Have you ever unpicked corduroy? Yeah. Nasty.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sue sews socks of fox in socks now

Now available in my Etsy store.

Boxes for sockses

Slow Joe Crow sews Knox in box now.*

Fox in Socks

*from Fox in Socks by Dr Seuss

Armorique Shawl

Armorique Shawl

This shawl uses the Armorique pattern by EclatDuSoleil. Again, I used some of my stashed Wollmeise, but this time in a 100% superwash sock yarn in the colour Sabrina. The Mister had a lot of problems capturing the exact colour, but he tells me that teal is always an absolute bugger to get correct. So these photos show the shawl to be much bluer than it actually is. It's really a very green teal - that colour that a stormy ocean gets down at the South Coast in the middle of winter.

Armorique Shawl

You know what I mean.

Armorique Shawl

Doing the leaves on the last row was a risk, as they were took a lot of work and I was sure that I was destined to get two leaves from the end and run out of yarn. In the end I had about 2 metres of yarn left, so the risk was definitely worth it. Plus I think they give the shawl a totally unique look, almost bohemian. But not old-fashioned!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Flying Diamonds Shawl

A couple of years ago I made two triangular shawls. One I entered into the Canberra Show where it won a ribbon, and the other I gave to a friend with cold shoulders for Christmas. In those days I could never work out how to wear shawls or triangular scarves - on me they felt awkward and cumbersome, a little bit old-fashioned, and not at all stylish. Other people seemed to know how to wear them well, and they wore them with ease and confidence. I ended up putting it down to one of those things, and so I gave my Canberra Show to someone as a gift.

For some reason, my attitude changed recently. It started with the realisation that I had a lot of sock yarn. A LOT. And then on Ravelry one night I noticed a new shawl pattern had been released, and it used sock yarn. It had a diamond pattern that flew across the shawl, and I fell in love. I had to make it, and I figured I'd work out my ability to wear a shawl later on. If I didn't, it would make a nice gift.

Fortunately I've worked out how to wear it properly.

Flying Diamonds shawl

And boy, I do not feel old-fashioned at all (shawl only worn granny-style here to show the pattern).

Flying Diamonds shawl

I used Wollmeise 80/20 Twin sock yarn in Campari Piccolo. The pattern is called "Flying Diamonds" and was designed by Vicki Mikulak. The photos show the colour exactly how it is - sunny, autumnal and very orange. It took me eleven days to make.

Flying Diamonds shawl

I have another shawl that I finished last night that I will show off tomorrow. I'm itching to start another but I need to finish off a few other projects first, including a display sock for the Old Bus Depot Markets in a few weeks. The weather has turned decidedly cold and blustery, perfect for sitting on the sofa and crocheting to a few episodes of Glee.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My creative space


I've had two special bags to make this week - both for a lady I work with. She ordered them a few weeks ago but didn't want them until her birthday, which is today. I don't take custom orders these days due to my hecticness, but I made an exception for her, and it was great having lots of time to procrastinate create them. This one was the sunnyboy she wanted. I just love that orange zip. The other, not photographed, was a very large project bag - big enough for the aran jumper she is knitting this winter.

Finished product

I've been designing a new bag. It's been in my head and keeping me awake at nights as I tried to work out how to constuct it. Finally I'd had enough of the thinking and got up very early on Sunday morning. Out came the paper, the pins and the ruler, and finally, after an hour, I got it. It was all angles, and I'm proud of myself given geometry is not my strong suit. I'll be making the fabric version this week and testing it out.

Paper model - new bag

I sewed for most of the rest of Sunday, but when it came time to list the bags that afternoon I was burnt out and chose sleep instead. Tonight I had a little time to finally update my shop. Gosh, what a hard slog listing stuff on Etsy can be sometimes, especially when you're tired and you just want to go to bed!

April sunnyboys

More creative spaces over at Kirsty's.

Monday, April 19, 2010

This one day in Braidwood

Material Arts Studio and Gallery

Featured artist display

Featured Artist table

I had a lovely day in Braidwood. Given the hecticness* of my life lately it was so nice to drive down winding country roads for an hour, and then spend a few distracted hours in the company of gallery owner Kate, the loveliest of lovely women. I sat at my artist's table and pretended to look arty *cough* while I made my yoyo quilt. Kate and I spent a lot of the quieter moments chatting about our craft and our inspirations, about life balance and the people we meet through the things that we make. There were cups of tea, visits from friends new and old, and at the end of the day an impulsive but totally necessary purchase of a Helen Godden quilt (I'm still pinching myself).

Kate runs a farm near Braidwood, and after checking I wasn't a vegetarian (dude! hardly!) she handed me a big bag of frozen meat from her lambs as I left for the day. I am so lucky. The shepherd's pie I made for dinner tonight was delicious.

*Hecticness is so totally a word.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My creative space

My first creative space for the year, and it's a busy one. Not only am I "Artist in Residence" at Material Arts Gallery in Braidwood this Saturday (eep!), I'm getting ready for the Celebration of Wool Day at the Old Bus Depot markets, and it's only a month away! Double eep!

Half made sunnyboy pouches

I have a lot of half made bags awaiting zippers, straps, labels and seaming. I never thought I'd be a production-line kind of sewer, but it seems my aversion to changing thread colours in my sewing machine has made me one.

Fabric for more bags

I have brought in a lot of new Japanese and Ink and Spindle fabric, and by golly I intend to use them! I love them! I've also found some fabrics that I haven't used in a while, buried at the bottom of my stash. They are going to get a second run - it's like having new fabric all over again!

Crochet shawl in progress

My crochet shawl project is always at the ready for those moments I need some 'Michelle time'. I'm really enjoying this project - not long to go until it's finished and ready to wear.

To visit more creative bunnies, go over to Kirsty's!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ah, autumn

Autumn, I love you. I love your cooler mornings and your warm sunny days. I love the fact you make me think hard about what to wear each day. For example, is 5 degrees cool enough to wear tights when it's going to be 23 degrees later in the day? I love that here in Canberra we won't turn on the heater, and we won't stop wearing sandals until Anzac Day. I love that the thoughts of roast lamb dinners and rhubarb crumble are never far from our minds.

Autumn leaves

I don't mind your pretty changing colours either. I don't even mind sweeping up your leaves.

Coming from the tropics, I still find it novel that at a time we should be preparing for full-time hibernation, we are instead busy - preparing our homes and gardens for an onslaught of cold weather, making clothes that are warm, and planning menus suitable for the coldest, darkest nights. But I suppose that all this preparation is a vital part of the hibernation process - no point heading into a cave for winter if you don't have enough food and warmth to keep you alive!

Speaking of keeping warm, I recently made a crocheted shawl and I have been wearing it as a triangular scarf non-stop. I really need to blog some photos of it before the pretty thing wears out. I am also making a crocheted cardigan at the moment which I'm hoping to finish in the next week or so. I'll need to - I'm getting sick of wearing the same black cardigans all the time.

Cardigan - in progress

It was too heavy to take on the plane for a day trip to Melbourne with friends yesterday, so I started this instead - another shawl, in the most divine teal-coloured Wollmeise sock yarn.

Teal crochet shawl

And I'm also making lots of sunnyboys and boxes for sockses and possibly some new types of project bags - my friend Carrie and I are sharing a stall at the Old Bus Depot Markets' "Celebration of Wool" day on May 16 this year. That is so frighteningly close! It's always a huge day in Canberra for those of us who love the yarn, hook and needle, so Carrie is busy dying up yarn and fleece, and I'm busy with my sewing machine. It's scary but we're excited!


Monday, April 5, 2010

National Folk Festival

Yesterday I got to do something I never thought would be possible. I conducted a choir of 80 beautiful voices.

Bread and Roses - Combines Unions Choir

Admittedly it was only one song (my favourite union song - Bread and Roses), but I conducted it on three different occasions (including a rehearsal!), and I think my smile got wider each time I did it. Not because of the thrill of conducting (I do enjoy doing it, but I'm not a very good conductor at all and I was only filling in for our usual musical director) but for the thrill of having 80 people singing in four-part acapella harmony right in front of me. It sounded fantastic.

Canberra Union Voices were at the National Folk Festival yesterday to sing with three other union choirs - Tasmanian Grassroots Union Choir, Sydney Trade Union Choir and Victorian Trade Union Choir. After weeks of organisation by email, we had just one hour to rehearse seven songs together, and two performances to do. But in between rehearsals and gigs, we had time to take in some other acts.

String Theory
String Theory at the Motown Competition heat.

Mal Webb
Mal Webb at the Motown Competition heat.

The Fooks
The Fooks at the Merry Muse.

Davidson Brothers
Davidson Brothers at the Coorong.

Street choir - Combined Union Choirs

It was a lot of fun, but I got so very tired. I could have done with a nap about mid-afternoon.


About 10 pm I reluctantly called it a night. I said one last farewell to the colourful bunting, hopped on my bike and rode back home. I was showered and in bed asleep not half an hour later.

Today I am really sore so I think I will just stick to the excitement of the sofa. I have some crochet to finish off and some CDs to listen to from the festival (can anyone say "sea shanty"?)