Monday, November 15, 2010

Tales of a Crafting Weekend

So, this is a long post. With lots of pictures. You have been warned!

Its about time to go to bed and get ready for work in the morning but it would be a shame to do it without reflecting on a great crafting weekend. I decided that it was important to make some time to make things for my own family and home, as I've been so busy with orders lately that I haven't been able to do anything for myself. So my project for the weekend was to get as many things finished as I could and I didn't do badly at all!

First off, I think its important to say: I am totally in love with my new sewing machine:

Is it really possible to be in love with a machine? I'm not sure of the answer to that one, but if it is then that is me covered. My new Pfaff Expression 2.0 machine arrived during the week (a day early, thanks to the brilliant John in the Singer Sewing Centre in Waterford) and I just couldn't wait to get started with it. Funnily enough, my old machine had gone totally kaput the night before, so it was great timing. It really is a thing of beauty. I adore the fact that I can set the stitch length and width with the computer programme rather than fiddling around with dials, it makes it all so easy. It's really REALLY precise and exact when its sewing and I have been getting through work much faster than previously because I don't have to compensate for temperamental stitches and weird fabric feed issues. It has (the main reason I bought it) an integrated walking foot which means the fabric feed is completely even all the time and I just LOVE this. The stitch quality is excellent. It also has lots of dinky little features that just make things easier: the thread cutter is on the side; there is a little ruler/tape measure indented into the accessory board in a really useful place; there are width markings on both sides of the stitch plate; it has automatic needle down function which is brilliant for all my applique work, and it has automatic tie off too. Not to mention it has a gazillion beautiful decorative stitches. So there you go: I'm officially in love. Yes, those of you who used to know me as a wild young thing will wonder what has happend to me!!

I decided to put it through its paces on Friday night and make a skirt for myself. I've had my eye on the simple A line skirt in this book for a while:  

And I had some heavy cotton fabric that I got in Vibes and Scribes a month or two back that I wanted to use. I just love this book - I have it on loan from the library for months now, I just keep renewing it. I love the "can do" attitude and the lack of fuss - no fiddly patterns, just draw a shape and get on with it. This approach kind of suits me, I'm all about simplicity and I don't like a lot of the dress making patterns that are available to buy because there's just too much work in them! It also has a superb tutorial on putting in a zip - really really simple, and works perfectly! So, I sat down and in a couple of hours I had a new skirt! Thanks in no small part to how fast I could zig zag and sew the seams. I hand finished the button embellishment this afternoon in front of the fire and hey presto, a new wardrobe item for me! I'm really pleased with how it turned out, as I don't do a huge amount of dressmaking except for some simple toddler/pre-school dresses.

I love the button detail - I got this button in A.Rubanesque in Powerscourt centre in Dublin on a recent trip and have been saving it for something lovely. Funnily enough, it was the owner of this shop who gave the workshop on customising your wardrobe at the Knitting and Stitching show and I guess her words were ringing in my ears when I finished putting the skirt together. I decided to add a soft teal coloured trim to it at the bottom for extra interest and then remembered this button and added that on too. I'm not sure how it would wash, so the embellishment is actually sewn onto a small circle of felt and pinned onto the skirt so I can remove it when washing. It completely changes the look of the skirt from what it was.

Also, in front of the fire this afternoon, I finally put the brooch pin in the corsage I made after the Knitting and Stitching show a few weeks ago. This was covered in the above-mentioned workshop and I love how it turned out. I'm going to pin it to my boring black work jackets to brighten them up!

My next project: child's scarf. My little lady, E, has been asking for a scarf these last few mornings, now that the weather has gotten colder. I made the (very stupid) mistake of throwing out last year's one because it had gotten too old and worn, knowing that I had bought some yarn a few weeks ago to make a new one for her. I'm nearly halfway there already thanks to treble crochet stitches and chunky yarn. Its a marbled acrylic chunky yarn and, despite the yarn snob in me, I really like the colourway and the pattern in it. Plus it doesn't irritate me or her! Its very soft and squashy, perfect scarf yarn and I'm very tempted to do one for myself if there's enough yarn left over from the massive ball.

I also have been working away on orders I have gotten in the last couple of weeks. I'm almost finished an order for 3 baby comforter/taggies - I just need to stitch the seams on the last one, and embroider the babies' names on the backs. The first two turned out lovely, and I'm hoping to finish them off tomorrow night. The last one is a rocket one for a baby boy.

Finally, I got around to making some fabric pictures using the frames I got on the last trip I did to Ikea. I have had the idea for these floating around for a week or two now - I just picked some of my favourite fabrics and used Bondaweb to make some heart shapes. They are for my "craft corner" whenever I get to make the space for it in the playroom. I'm planning to buy a small desk and some shelves to put on the wall and set my machine up permanently with my sewing box, button jar and fat quarter box on the shelves. I also want to make some kind of an inspiration line/board for my little corner. It would really be great if I could get it done sooner rather than later as my sewing stuff is taking over the kitchen bit by bit! Anyway, while I'm waiting for my little corner, I've stuck these on the shelves in our living room where they are adding a gorgeous splash of fresh colour. I just love them and am tempted to make some more to use for little Christmas presents.

All in all, a very satisfying and crafty weekend! I got lots done (the X Factor provides great handstitching/crochet/knitting time!) and still managed to fit in lots of fun with D and E, meeting up with some friends and their kids, a lovely lie in this morning thanks to my wonderful husband T, and (shock horror) I even managed to get the house reasonably clean and tidy.

Sadly its back to reality tomorrow with a big day at work, but I'll be looking forward to cosying up on the sofa in front of the fire tomorrow evening and finishing the scarf for E.