Monday, April 26, 2010

A Long weekend of Project finishes!

I've spent the weekend nursing a migraine - BOO! and finishing projects YAY!
Thanks to the lovely Hilary over at Quilary. She pointed me to another lovely blog called Made By K.

At Made by K, Karin has created a wonderful printout to list your unfinished projects on to encourage finishing! Her plan is simple. You print out her project plan and list each project so you know what projects you have there waiting to be finished and what the hold up was. The key to this is that you can't start a new project until you have completed 2 of your unfinished ones from your list. And ...there's no more hiding!
The first step was to print out the Project plan document, I ended up printing it out a whole lot because I have a whole whole lot of unfinished projects.
Then I retrieved each piece of an unfinished project from it's washing basket hiding place. Then I sorted all the individual pieces that make up one project into a ziplock bag. So now each of my projects is in it's own bag with a label. (You don't have to do this, its just something I needed to get organised). Then I wrote each project down on the document and wrote the reason for it's hold up to being finished.

In the shame of having sooooo many pages of unfinished projects, this weekend I decided on a catchup weekend. No new projects until I finished/made progress on a whole stack of them this weekend.

First there was the other Maisey.

There were 3 Maiseys cut out and in the basket, one for each of my sisters girls. 2 Maiseys are now done, just One Maisey to go. The third Maisey is all stitched up, she just needs stuffing and will be finished off tomorrow. :)

Then onto a much harder project. Actually it is two projects and they are not technically mine, they are actually unfinished projects of my mums. They were begun in 1970 when my aunt was getting married. With the leftover fabrics from my aunts wedding and bridesmaids dresses some Barbie dresses were cut out. Some were stitched up by hand, and some were just cut out. They were never finished and lived in a bag in my mums sewing cupboard. I loved to take them out and look at them when I was small, and I always wished she would finish them so my Barbies could get married. Then, last year she gave them to me and asked me if I wanted to re-sew them and finished them off. Now comes the hard part, I left them and left them, because I was a little scared of them falling to pieces and not being able to be fixed. At some stage a child has had a go at stitching them together, I believe it may have been my sister, possibly my cousin. The thread and some of the lining fabrics had disintegrated and frayed and the hand stitching was bulky and uneven, not like the nice little stitches my mum always did.
Here are the before pictures for one of the Bridesmaid outfit:

And here is the before pictures of the brides dress. See the gorgeous fabric, so scared it would get ruined!
Bulky stitching on waist and seams.
and Disintegrating and fraying. :(

I unpicked everything very carefully and zigzagged all the edges before stitching back together.
The finished Bridesmaid dress:
The finished Brides dress:

There is still one Bridesmaid dress to go. It was never stitched up, but is fully cut out, it will be a project for another day. :)

I also finished stitching my cross stitch which was supposed to be finished for March FOSAL. However, I noticed the other day that I had forgotten to stitch the stem of the leaf pattern in silver. So now it is finished in terms of the cross-stitch. It still requires sewing on some backing fabric to make into an ornament, and so it will be completed tomorrow on the machine, but here is a progress photo before I pop off to bed.
I also finished weaving in all the ends of the crochet granny square blanket for the twins, but I am still working on the other one for the older girl:) So, to be continued...

Tomorrow under the rules, I must finish 2 before starting another. And so, I will! new project is an apron swap, so I REALLY want to do it, I REALLY HAVE TO DO IT and so I MUST finish 2 tomorrow to start my apron project.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

For goodness sake just finish it!

I just decided it's....For goodness sake just finish it day.
I have put down my crochet hook for today.
I am getting off the net.
I am picking up my basket of unfinished sewing items (they no longer fit in a nice box they have taken over a whole laundry basket as well.)
I am marching purposefully into the sewing room for the first time in ages.
I am going to reacquaint myself with my sewing machines.
I will like it.

End of the day UFO Update:

I MADE A MAISEY I started cutting out Maisey for the March Challenge in the 12 Months 12 sewing challenges, and when Mum went into hospital, Maisey went into the overflowing UFO basket and I got her finished today. It's not March, but she's so cute you have to forgive us!

March Challenge done, in April...crossed off the list!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It's about the right hook.

Well I still haven't made it back into the sewing room, It's school holidays now and the husband is home all day and my nephew is in town visiting:), it just seems rude to disappear into another room alone. But I am finding comfort in hanging out in the lounge room and engaging in the learning of new things!
With the Granny squares I made in the hospital, I made 2 little pram sized rugs for my twin nieces.
I stitched them up with white yarn using a weird concoction of twisted hand holding and backwards feeling crochet as per a wonderful tutorial i found on this blog here. The colour combinations of the yarn she's used in her granny squares to demonstrate the technique, makes me feels happy and warm and I find my self going back to her page often, just to look at it again:)
The beginnings of my rows.
Looks a little like ZigZag!
I then edged it all the way around in the white and finished the edge with a pink petal style edge inspired from a crochet flower tutorial on another blog.
I really like them, I still have to weave in all the wool ends and beginnings, but otherwise I finished them :) and will post a proper pic once I finish weaving in the ends.

Now I am not content with just making squares anymore, *g* I have been learning how to do different stitches and using different sizes of hook.
Using a great pattern from the blog called imagine, I made a bright green with pink trim beanie with a pink flower and a bright purple with white trim beanie with a white flower for my sisters tiny twins, and then I made some smaller baby pink beanies, with a smaller hook as their heads are still too small for the beanies I made first with the larger hook. And I used a shell edge to finish the edges, which I used a smaller hook for on the pink ones, because the larger hook on the bigger beanies, the shell edge came out loose.Then my 13 yr old nephew saw what I made and wanted a beanie in black of course is there any other colour for a teenager? apparently not ;)

A hook is a hook, is not a good hook?
Being new to this crochet caper, I sent husband to the shop to randomly chose a crochet hook for the Granny Squares. Not realising how many hook options there were, he accidentally chose an awesome hook first up, and bought the same brand/style/type in a smaller size for the small beanies.
For the nephews, blacker than black beanie, the pattern needed a bigger size 6.5 mm hook so I popped in to buy a new one.
I learned quickly that the cheaper, pretty coloured plastic crochet hooks are totally rubbish. I'm so disappointed! They were so pretty! They unfortunately have rough joins in the plastic that the yarn gets snagged on and my stitches ended up knotted and the yarn shaggy and fluffy. The stitches didn't glide on and off like my metal hooks, I felt like I was fighting to make every stitch and it showed in the wobbly uneven work. I unravelled it so many times in the end that the wool looked awful and knotty so I just cut it off and threw it out and started over.
So, dud crochet hooks made me so frustrated! It makes me wonder how many other beginners chose pretty coloured, cheap hooks and gave up crochet in frustration! Luckily I'd chosen a good hook first up, so I knew it wasn't feeling right or looking right with the cheaper hook.

I'm only just learning to read patterns...I definitely wasn't confident enough to make the baby beanie bigger on my own, so I went searching for a bigger pattern. The Bernat Website has some free patterns on it, I started on this pattern an hour ago...although it is very very similar to the others it's easy to follow and looks like it should. The nephew didn't want it to fold over on his forehead just end around his eyebrows so I had to shorten it by 15 cm or thereabouts.
So, here it is.
Also, my wonderful husband took the dodgy pretty coloured hooks back to the store first thing the next morning and they gave the money back immediately. Husband picked up a more expensive brand plastic one instead, it really was immediately better to crochet with even though it was also plastic. I still miss the smoothness of the metal hooks but at least each stitch is smooth and more even like it should be.
I know it's probably pedantic, but it bugs me that I now have 2 different looking types of crochet hooks. I like things to match! I'm weird like that. I want a matching set. :)
So, I went looking online today, and found some wonderful sets of different size crochet hooks that I want to buy, but I am finding that even in sets with metal hooks in the smaller sizes, the larger sizes in the same set are weird. Is there a reason why larger sized hooks aren't metal ones?
If someone finds a metal set of crochet hooks in mid to bigger sizes, let me know... so it can be mine:)
Oh yes, it should be mine ;)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A little bit of normalcy please

Well, Mum went into hospital for one night for some tests for breathlessness, then some more tests, then had an angiogram that failed, then had a heart attack, started getting better, had heart arrhythmia, then got better, got so weak she needs assistance a lot to go to the toilet and shower and get out of chairs and so on, so is still in hospital now, after 2 weeks! Once she is stronger and can get to the bathroom unassisted, then she'll be allowed home as long as I assist her in the shower and the nurse will come to their home every second day to shower because Dad's older then Mum and not good medically either and they will also get someone in to clean if Dad actually allows them to, as he thinks he's superman and can do everything.
Hospitals are exhausting! I'm so completely wiped out and Mum's not getting much rest either. They are loud and busy places. Everyone is lovely, the nurses are fantastic, the Dr's really care. It's not that, it's the place! Alarms go off, doorbells ring, everything beeps, squeaks, moans, rattles or bumps.
At any rate, I'll be baack once things are semi-normal again.