Completing the Craft

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When we packed up Mum’s things there were various pieces of craft which were works in progress. Some are out of the range of my skill or interest, however, I have begun work on one particular piece.

I am not sure what Mum’s plans were for this piece of hand-pieced patchwork but I think it may have been going to to be a small wallhanging.

My first step is to complete the quilting. I have never handquilted anything but I am fortunate that Mum had done about 60% of it so I was easily able to follow the pattern. The needle and thread were in the bag with the work so I have been able to easily pick it up where Mum had left off.

Here is a close-up of the stitching.

Knitting was another craft which occupied a lot of Mum’s time in recent years. She enjoyed contributing garments for the local charity, Knitting for Brisbane’s Needy. Naturally, she had a knitting bag. I planned to give this to my younger daughter, however, I discovered that it was not in great condition so I came up with another plan.

Once I have finished the quilting project, I am going to disassemble the bag and use it for a pattern to make a new knitting bag using the quilted patchwork for the side panels of the bag. I will add some plain fabric to complete the project and then my daughter will have a knitting bag constructed using patchwork and quilting that was started by her grandmother and completed by her mother.

I think that will be a pretty neat keepsake as well as a practical piece which she can use for her own knitting projects.

In Record Time

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Another day, another sewing project. Unlike the patchwork this was completed in what must be record time for me. It was less than 36 hours from the moment that I decided that I needed a small bag to take to a wedding next weekend until the said item was completed.

This small black bag was my initial inspiration.

Since my frock is navy I decided that silver would be my best option. A dig around in my stash of fabric revealed this heavy satin pillowcase. I had acquired it through fabric donations for Boomerang bags but this is not really suitable so I had set it aside.

I then found some cord which I had salvaged when unpicking a cushion cover. I could not believe my luck that the colour matched, too.

I unpicked a piece of the pillowcase which proved to be a particularly good quality heavy fabric.

I did not really want a perfectly plain bag so I headed off to the local Salvos op shop and managed to find some sequins and beads for a total outlay of $3. I now have enough to make about 100 bags!! Embroidery and embellishment are not really my skills but I felt sure that I could create something that would suit my needs. A quick Youtube tutorial to discover how to make French knots. No embroidery thread so I used regular sewing thread. No pattern or design so I made it up as I went along.

Making a start.

I did not want to overdo it so decided that this was enough.

Then it was time to create the actual bag. It is open at the top and fully lined using part of a well-worn navy pillowcase. There is also an internal side pocket. I did not have a pattern so the actual construction was designed on the run. I handstitched the cord to the sides of the bag as the final step.

I am happy with the result and am looking forward to using it next week.



The last 10 days have been pretty busy due to some self-imposed deadlines.  One of these was to complete the baby quilt for one of my work colleagues.

After completing the patchwork, I added the batting and backing before doing some simple rows of straight stitching to quilt it and the final step was to add the binding which I finished by hand.

Here is the end result.

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And a very happy mum-to-be (holding the quilt doubled over).

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Mad Hatter


Apologies for the lack of post yesterday but I was otherwise engaged so no opportunity for blogging.

I was in the office for most of the day today but late this afternoon I spent a couple of fun-filled hours creating these millinery masterpieces for Miss O and Izz to wear to the Easter concert and hat parade at school.  I had picked up a couple of packets of Easter decorations at Spotlight yesterday and we combined these with various things that Belle had in her box of craft bits and pieces plus a couple of sheets of coloured card.  Some glue and staples to assemble the hats and these are the results.

2015-03-31 01I apologise for the poor quality of the photos as I quickly snapped them this evening and I clearly have not mastered the camera function on my phone!

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Quilt Update


I have done some more work on the quilt today.  The blocks are all sewn together, the batting and backing are attached and I have machine quilted between the blocks.

Patchwork quilt topHere is a view of the backing with the stitching.

2013-06-13 02This is the fabric I will use to make the binding.

2013-06-13 03I was undecided about the binding until I had the quilt assembled.  This was a piece which I had planned to use when making reuseable Christmas gift bags.  I will buy more if I actually need it for that purpose.

No more craft posts until I show you the finished product.  However, I am pleased to have set myself this challenge otherwise this would still be a pile of fabric on the sewing table.

A Bit Less Fabric

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Last night I made a start on the teddy bear quilt.  I have cut out 24 blocks of fabric.

It is all spread out on the kitchen bench as I had to work out the combination of colours.  Although there are 24 blocks, it is not 8 of each.  I actually have 9 patterned, 8 navy and 7 calico.  This evolved because of the amount of each fabric that I had.  It really is a matter of making do with what you have.

Quilt squares
I chose to make it very simply from large blocks of fabric because otherwise the look of the teddy bears would be lost if each piece just had a bit of a leg or an ear.

The first 8 blocks are sewn together.

Assembling the quilt

I plan to have the remaining blocks sewn together tonight.

Fabric Update:  This project has completely used the navy and teddy bear fabric so they are now gone from the stash.  I still have some pieces of calico left but it is actually a slightly different weight and colour to the piece that I used for the quilt.

A Man’s Got to Have a Hobby


Or so runs the title of William McInnes’ book which was published several year ago.  ‘Autobiography’ is far too staid a title for this gem of literature which is a memoir of his youth.  The title comes from his father’s enduring, but seemingly useless efforts at standing for public office.  When asked why he continued to involve himself in this way, his eternal answer was, “A man’s got to have a hobby”.  Politics was his passion.

Do you have a lifelong passion or interest?  My interests tend to wax and wane depending on what else is going on in my life.  Not on a week to week basis but for years at a time.  The passion never really leaves but can be hidden or set aside if it does not fit with my current lifestyle.

I tend not to do craft for the simple sake of doing it – there needs to be a purpose.  I can remember a friend trying to entice me to join a patchwork group when my daughters were at primary school.  I was working part-time and was busy with many activities relating to the children as well as running a household.  Yes, I loved to sew but my skills were used to make clothes for the family.  My somewhat pithy response to her invitation was, “Why would you waste time cutting up bits of perfectly material to sew them back together?”

Patchwork is a very old craft and I understand the value of patchwork and quilting to create warm rugs from material salvaged from old garments or scraps of new fabric.  However, what I was seeing was women, some of whom could ill-afford it, buying expensive new fabric and gadgets in order to create what was essentially artwork.  So what happens to these when they are completed?

This is not to say that I have never used the principles of patchwork.  Here are a couple of examples of things I have made.

This jacket evolved because I had piles of offcuts of fleecy fabric from making tracksuits for the girls.  None of them were of any use by themselves but I could not bring myself to throw them out.


New fabric was bought specifically for the doona cover.  The cover was required so it was a matter of buying one or making it and using fabric that incorporated Miss O’s favourite character was appealing.  A cover made using only the Dora fabric would have been much too overwhelming.  Additionally, the use of some plain colours reduced the overall cost.


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In time gone by, I spent a number of years doing some family history research.  I achieved one particular goal with the research but always felt that there was more that I could do – if I had some spare time.  The paperwork and notes were carefully set aside and had not been touched for the best part of 15 years.  That is, until recently, when I decided to bite the bullet and join  I am still finding my way around the site and gradually transferring all of my records and notes into my custom-designed family tree.  As well as the records I plan to also add copies of some historical photos so that they will all be preserved and accessible in one place.

I had a large file in the filing cabinet but I am slowly and systematically going through the information and once it is saved I am discarding the sheets of paper.  So as well as rekindling my interest in one of my hobbies I am decluttering yet more of the filing cabinet.  I am looking forward to having all of my information together in this new (to me) format and then delving once again into finding out more about our ancestors.

Crafting in Progress

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Tonight I wanted to show you 2 craft projects I am working on.

First, the patchwork strap for the bag I am refashioning.

2012-04-09 01I have chosen colours that will complement the existing bag.  These fabrics are all scraps from my stash of bits of fabric.  I have fused the lining to the patchwork using double-sided iron-on interfacing.  I am going to make my own bias binding from some black fabric and bind the edges of the strap before attaching it to the bag.

Next is some knitting.  I am not the world’s best knitter but this simple dishcloth can be finished in a day or two.

2012-04-09 02I am using a pattern in the book, ‘Down to Earth’.  I plan to make several of these so that I always one on hand.

My handcraft projects are generally of a practical nature.  Craft evolved as a part of homemaking and this is the way I view it rather than some of the expensive and impractical pursuits which are currently promoted by retailers desperate to sell more materials.

Do you have a favourite craft?  What do you create with your craft skills?