Choo-choo train cozy

Yes, it’s been a long time, lots has happened, we’ve moved house, I quit my day job, the girls turned one and along the way did a little crafting…what a 10 months it’s been! But I’m back, at least for today anyway.
I’ve just completed a train cozy, based loosely on homemade by jill’s car cozy tutorial with a few alterations…namely train tracks rather than bitumen!

I made the ‘tracks’ using little strips of black felt for the sleepers with fusible web applied to the back before also stitching them to the base pieces, then I stitched silver ribbon down each side as the track.

The pockets are slightly deeper and wider than Jill’s as trains tend to be longer than cars and a bit fatter…we don’t have any trains or cars here…yet…so instead please accept this Little Person pilot in place of a train.

Oneday my scrunchy making skills had to come in handy…ok scrunchy’s always make me think of this SATC scene, oh pop culture how you have scarred me…

Anyway, as for my scrunchy making skills, this is what I’m talking about.

Lastly is the whole reason behind this crazy train cozy thing even happening…some vintage train fabric my mum found in a small town op-shop (the small town my dad was born in), it had to be something, but was too small for most things, so a cozy it became. Isn’t it just gorgeous?

The best bit? It’s going to one of my favourite little boys for his 3rd Birthday…perfect for the family Christmas trek he’s about to be taken on.


Even Pirates need Pyjamas!

Over the weekend we went to a second Birthday party for the son of a lady I worked with before I had the girls. Anyway I’m not a fan of buying toys for kids Birthdays unless something specific is asked for, nothing against toys, I just prefer to buy/make something more useful or that will be entertaining for longer. So I normally either buy a book/book voucher or make something in the way of clothes. This time I got it into my head that the Birthday boy might like some pyjama’s, fun but not licensed. To make it even better at the time that I got the fabric at Spotlight they had 30% off if you finished the bolt and I just happened to find a bolt with just the right amount of fabric! Some things are just meant to be. The pattern is a Burda pattern with PJ’s from 3m-to 2 years,. I’ve made some ages ago and think I may just make the girls some for this coming winter.

I love the buttons, very fitting I think!

A bit of this and that

Over the last week or so I’ve done a few little things, a pair of felted slippers for a gift, a new knitting bag and a little bag that attaches to my spinning wheel for all the little tools that came with it.

First is the slippers made using this pattern and the yarn I recently spun. They aren’t too thick and felted REALLY quickly, it’s the first time I’ve felted in our new washing machine (the old one died just before the girls were born). The pattern has a couple mistakes around the heel, it tells you to work half as many rows as you need for the heel flap and the heel shaping is wring!

A new knitting bag, I love this fabric, I picked up the last of the roll at a very good price in a little country patchwork shop just after the girls were born. I also made the bag for my spinning wheel toys out of the same fabric and still have enough left to make another bag or two. The new bag is based on an old bag Dan got at a conference several years ago, it’s ugly, but the perfect size for a knitting book/magazine and my project of choice.

The coolest pram on the block

I’ve been meaning to make pram liners for ages! The ones that came with the pram are black polar fleece and always seem a little hot to me, so today I went to IKEA (specially) to get some fabric to make some funky new cotton liners. They aren’t perfect, not even close…I realised too late that I have closed them at the bottom end rather than the top where the stitching would have been covered by the hood etc. But at least I know for next time and their will be a next time as I have some other fabric for a second set, I’m also tempted to make a set for the stroller that lives in the car. The thing that got me thinking I should make some was actually the price of buying a second set of liners from mountain buggy…I just couldn’t justify $90 each for new liners, ever. I looked online but every time I found funky custom ones they always seemed to say ‘1 in stock’, yeah that’s going to really help me. Of course I decided to go the hard way and rather than just using wadding I went to Clark Rubber and got some foam rubber, thin enough to cut with scissors. All up I spent about $35 and got enough foam and fabric to make 2 sets, so less than $10 a liner! I did take all the shaping out of the liners to save on fabric, but now that I know what I’m doing I think that next time I’ll make a proper shaped set.

A friend recently had a baby boy and I made her a quilt, she’s got a rainbow theme for the nursery so I made a very bright quilt. I’ve been wanting to show it off for ages but wanted to wait until she was home with him. This quilt was a near disaster, I ran out of the thread for the quilting with about 1/6th to do, only to find after a drive and a few phonecalls that no-one in Adelaide seemed to have stock. I found some more in Melbourne and had it sent over, when I got the text message to say he’d arrived I was madly trying to finish the quilting, so I got the thread in the end the day he was born, talk about skin of the teeth!

Oh and here’s my babies wearing dresses that I once wore, I was so excited when mum gave me some of my old clothes, but then I got funny about using them, after some encouragement from mum, here they are. The ultimate hand-me-down!

Leaving me in a spin.

I haven’t spun for ages, over a year in fact! Several reason, obviously having twins put a spanner in the craft works as did being pregnant with said twins, I just couldn’t sit down long enough to get any sense of rhythm up. On top of that my wheel was playing up, the last thing I felt like was the hour long drive to the shop I purchased it from when I was pregnant and could barely manage 20 minutes in the car without needing a leg stretch, followed by having 2 tiny babies to care for and a major case of sleep deprivation. So when I found myself a) with car AND b) said shop open again after the Christmas/New Year thing AND c) awake enough to drive for that long without a passenger (no room for one once the wheel is strapped in) I jumped and took my wheel in…turned out she just needed a couple screws tightened, oops…at least I know what to do next time she makes that click, click, click noise. I got her home, itching to have a play so dug through the beautiful dyed fibre (some 700g plus 1 kg of natural coloured stuff as well)I had been ‘collecting’ over the last 12 months and pulled out some merino that my sister in law gave me a while back. It was so nice to be back to it, so with a 120g dent in the fibre stash I’m wondering what might come home with me next time I go looking.

I still adore my wheel, I don’t know if my spinning improved after I bought her or if she just makes me look like I have improved, but since having her my plied yarns are so much better balanced than they ever were on my old rickety, neglected Ashford traditional that I sold when my Majacraft came home. I used to have to do a bit of work to set the twist when I spun on the Ashford otherwise my yarns always tried to curl back on themselves, whereas with the majacraft my yarns are *almost* perfectly balanced and simply get washed to deal with any extra dye and improve the way they feel.

Oh and here’s the latest edition of ‘Evelyn helping’ as well as Louise with cereal all over her face…oh dear, now the fun really starts!

Since having the girls the will to knit has for the time being been misplaced, the very idea of knitting is so totally unappealing at the moment…could have something to do with the 40C+ weather that Adelaide has been ‘enjoying’ recently. The will to leave the house has also vanished in a haze of heat. So I’ve been sewing and sewing. From the littlest thing to the biggest thing, I’m doing it.

The other day I whipped up a couple of dummy (pacifier) straps for the girls. These things get filthy so quickly, even with washing regularly I tend to replace them every month or so, which would end up being fairly expensive if I kept buying them, instead I’ve been recycling the silicone rings which go round the handle and changed the (stupid) plastic clips for metal bracer clips. I love these, I can clip them just about anywhere on the girls or onto car seat and pram harnesses and know that the girls can’t rip them off (yet). You could also use snaps rather than the silicone rings and thread the strap though the handle, which I will do once the rings split.
Dummy strap
Evelyn and her dummy

I’ve also recently completed another wedding dress, hopefully the last one for a while. Dan’s sister go married at the beginning of December, so we packed the girls up and headed for Melbourne, so nice to have some extra hands to hold/feed/change/generally care for the girls. We even managed to get a few moments off and ate dinner uninterrupted in a r-e-s-t-r-a-u-n-t! Oh well back to reality now, but I did enjoy the break. I also made the girls their first party dresses and they looked so gorgeous, well I think so anyway! Please excuse my awful photography, it’s not my thing, never has been, never will be…

As for the slow? Well three years ago for my Birthday I was given some money to go towards fabric for a quilt for our bed, I started with great excitement, then tucked it away when it cooled down so I could knit, planning to pull it out the next summer. Summers came and went and it stayed tucked away until finally I pulled it out over the weekend, I needed to do something that involved being downstairs in the air-con and this was just the thing. I love English paper piecing, I just wish it wasn’t so damn slow, I know it can be done by machine, but hey this is for us and will hopefully be used for many, many years to come, so why not do it the long (proper) way?
It’s my own design and I can’t wait to see what it looks like finished, I may leave out the coloured edge rows as I doubt I have enough fabric seeing as I have run out of green after cutting all the ‘leaves’ out yesterday, I literally had enough fabric to cut out the exact number needed!

So far I have finished the centre star and started on the outer flowers and background, If I’m lucky it’ll be on the bed in time for the girls to leave home.
Centre star

Evelyn is ‘helping’…
Evelyn helping stitch

Bloomin’ Brilliant!

This post by the wonderful retro mummy inspired me to get off my bottom and make the girls some bloomers, something I had been meaning to do for ages as I’m not a big fan of disposable nappies on show! Living in Adelaide it’s really too hot quite often to put babies in clothes (we’ve just had a heatwave, in spring, 43C, 109F, what’s summer going to be like?). I decided to go one step further with my bloomers and add little skirts to them so they are extra girly, LOVE the result, they look a little weird when they aren’t being worn, but I think they look gorgeous when they are on. I also had a little fabric left over so added simple appliqués to some cheap singlets (vests) to complete the look. It’s the first time I have used the machine blanket stitch, in the past I’ve always done satin stitch around my appliqué, but it uses so much thread, takes forever and doesn’t look as nice, I don’t think anyway.

I also made a little pair with cowboys and cowgirls on them from a piece of fabric that was a must have many years ago and has sat and sat waiting for the right project…oh and check out that smile! Lights up my day!

I used a pattern out of an old ‘Australian Smocking and Embroidery’ magazine as I find that their sizing tends to be pretty close to the equivalent in ‘normal’ baby wear unlike commercial patterns which tend to be huge. They quite often have bloomer patterns in this magazine so I should be able to find bloomers to fit them for a few years to come in my collection…well at least until they get out of nappies.
Other than that life goes on, the girls keep growing and I’m always looking for new ways to make things easier and quicker to leave more time to sew…take lunch for example…

I’ll leave you with something that is bound to bring a smile to your face, well it makes me smile!
Miss Louise and her incredible hair…