Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ballerina Princess Quilt for Baby S

Remember my best friends C and D who live in Singapore? Back in September 2016, I received wonderful news from them ~ the arrival of a baby girl!  Baby S was a delightful surprise and I was super excited and overjoyed by the news.

I had a set of five ballerina quilters quarters I bought years ago from Lincraft, and added a pink floral fabric to sew together into strips.

I tried free motion quilting for the first time and I can't believe I waited so long to tackle it!  It's not as intimidating as it appears ~ I traced the design using a squiggle quilting template and off I sewed!  I didn't sew as fast as the ladies on YouTube videos, but I sew like I drive...slow and overly cautious!

I had a piece of Disney princess fabric from my fabric stash which was the perfect size for the quilt backing.  The quilt is finished off with a pink ribbon bow sewed in each corner.

I met Baby S when I traveled to Singapore in November to personally deliver the quilt. I adore Baby S even though she frowned at me when I held her for the first time!

Green and Yellow Granny Square Baby Blanket

A belated Happy 2017 to you!  I start each year's blog post lamenting how I never have enough time to devote to doing things I love, and this year is no different!  I should really change...but I'm such a creature of habit so I probably never will.  I have been making things, but haven't had time to record my projects until now...and it's March (sigh!).

Back in October 2016, K & M had a new addition to their family, a Baby Boy named JT, brother to Baby B (who turned 2 last month so now he's Toddler B)!  Since K & M didn't want to know the gender of the baby, I chose Patons' Big Baby 4 ply acrylic in colours (from left to right) 2582 (green), 3911 (green and yellow), 9927 (yellow) and 2656 (white).  This was a really lovely yarn to work with, and apparently the blanket is frequently used and appears to be in good shape with no pilling which I'm super pleased about!

Using a 4mm crochet hook, I crocheted 10 rounds in colours 2582, 3911 and 9927, and 2 rounds in the white to trim each square. I made 8 squares in each color and crocheted the squares together with the white yarn.  The blanket was completed with a round of green yarn.

Even though I bought 2 balls in each colour (I'm not exactly a less is more girl when it comes to craft supplies), I only needed 1 ball each to complete the gift.  I rushed to complete the blanket (which was on a Friday night and Baby JT was born on the Sunday), so I didn't measure the final size, but it should be good to use for a little while.  Now what to do with the remaining balls of this lovely acrylic?...

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

More Doubloom Beanies

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I've been loving Lincraft's Cosy wool so much that I knitted more Doubloom beanies for my colleague's children for the winter.  Is it just me, or are Melbourne winters getting colder and colder each year?  I'm not going to admit that I'm getting older and older and feeling the cold more!

I found a great easy to follow video on how to crochet flowers and now want to embellish everything with these flowers! I have to remember that less is more!

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Ribbed Beanie

It's been far too long since I updated my blog, as usual, work and everyday life has prevented me from spending time doing what I love. When I read Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman a few years ago, the author made prison sound so appealing ~ a real sense of community, all your meals prepared, reading books (my list is huge!) and knitting and crocheting until your heart's content. If I could have this, minus being incarcerated of course, it would be bliss!

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When I found this easy free pattern from Yarninspirations, I had to pick up my straight needles straight away (I haven't tackled circular needles yet). The grey is for my Dad, and brown for Mum, and I completed the beanies back in August using Lincraft's Cosy wool.  I love Cosy because it's so thick, soft and lovely to work with.  I have a big stash in lots of colours as I can't resist buying a couple...or more every time there is a sale!  

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Stork Cross Stitch

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My colleague S and his wife recently had a baby boy named Samuel so I cross stitched this stork for the card. S held it upside down and thought it was a crab...ahh, not sure how crustaceans are baby related! Okay, S is a new dad so I excused him for being a little fuzzy due to sleep deprivation. The pattern is from a Japanese pattern book of 1500 motifs (see this post for details), and I couldn't figure out what was in the bundle so I replaced it with a red heart.

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I also knitted Samuel a basket weave beanie using Shepherd's 4 ply baby merino wool. The yarn was very smooth and soft, and a little slippery to work with so I had to pull tightly with each stitch. S, who impressed me by knowing his "knit and purls" commented on the evenness of the stitches.

Welcome to the world Samuel!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Stylecraft Special DK Chevron Crochet Blanket

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Remember the chevron blanket I started crocheting last Easter long weekend?! Well, it's finally finished, and ahead of schedule as I was aiming for Mum's birthday in May. Yeah!

I've enjoyed crocheting this blanket and have loved working with the Stylecraft Special DK yarn, such deliciously gorgeous colours. There are 5 sets of rainbows, and I added side borders so the complete blanket measures 128cm x 168cm. There are 3 rows of each colour, and the border consists of 1 row of colour.

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The yarns I used in order are:

1246 - Lipstick; 1083 - Pomegranate; 1241 - Fondant; 1132 - Shrimp; 1263 Citron; 1020 Lemon; 1316 - Spring Green; 1065 - Meadow; 1422 - Aspen; 1068 - Turquoise; 1034 - Sherbert; 1019 - Cloud Blue; 1003 - Aster; 1188 - Lavender; 1432 - Wisteria; 1390 - Clematis; 1084 - Magenta and 1061 - Plum.

I'm continuing to knit beanies as I haven't decided on my next crochet project yet. It is a big decision because I'll be working on it for the next 12 months so I need to love it. I have been thinking about hexagons arranged in a grandmother's garden pattern, but I'll dread all the ends I would need to sew!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Nigiri Cross Stitch

My boss, A really likes nigiri, so much so, that's all he would like to eat during his next trip to Japan! You may remember I stitched some sushi on a tea towel back in March 2012, so I though he would like this for his birthday today.  The pattern is from Anne Sohier-Fournel's Japon Au Point De Croix.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Doubloon Beanies

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I knitted Benjamin a new beanie for his birthday as he has out grown the blue one I made him last year. This pattern is from Better Homes & Garden's Your Knitting & Crochet Collection, and I used Fiddlesticks classic wool which was great to work with. I thought it would be too big for Benjamin, but it appears to fit him well but I'm afraid it hides his great head of hair!

I bought a few balls of Cosy Wool from Lincraft which is great to work with too and has a thick, lush feel. I'm knitting my third beanie from this yarn for some friend's children for the upcoming winter.  I just love the bright colours, and it comes in 4 ply as well.

Using 3.25mm needles, cast on 106 stitches
Work 17 rows garter stitch (knit every row which is great because I don't like ribbing)
Change to 4mm needles
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Continue with stocking stitch until the beanie measures 13cm (which for me is 29 rows), end with purl

Shape crown

I prefer to knit 2 together (k2tog) rather than pass slip stitch over (psso) 
Row 1: Knit 1, *knit 11, knit 2 together, repeat from * to last stitch, knit 1 (98 stitches)
Row 2 and alternate rows, purl to the end
Row 3: Knit 1, *knit 10, knit 2 together, repeat from * to last stitch, knit 1 (90 stitches)
Continue reducing in the same pattern until Row 21 when you knit 2 together 13 times

Break off yarn, run end through remaining stitches, pull tight and secure. Join side edges to form back seam.

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Teddy Bear Cross Stitch

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Baby B turned one on Sunday! This cross stitch pattern is from Better Homes & Garden magazine back in November 2005! I can't believe it's over 10 years old, but hording charts comes in handy as I'll have just the right pattern for someone special. I have 10 bear designs so stay tuned for the next 9 years!

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It turns out I've cross stitched a couple of patterns from this magazine edition before, I long for the days when I had so much time to stitch. It's English Breakfast above and French breakfast below.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pavlova for Australia Day 2016

The last time I made a pavlova for Australia Day was 2013, so I needed to make one this year after such a long pavlova drought.  I followed the same recipe, but I used apple cider vinegar and potato starch because we didn't have regular white vinegar and corn flour. It still turned out well with heaps of meringue which was thick and fluffy.

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Inspired by Nigella Lawson's lemon meringue cake, Mum was keen to slather this pavlova with lemon curd (from a bottle I'm afraid, but we're keen to make it from scratch next time) instead of whipped cream.  I'm not sure which is the lesser evil - the sugar from the curd or fat from the cream! Since the pavlova already had such a tang, I didn't add any passion fruit.

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Compared with 2013 pavlova, I think I need to brush up on my decorating skills!

Women's Weekly Blackberry Lemon Cake

Wishing you a very happy 2016!  Oh my goodness, it's been over 7 months since I've updated my blog, how disgraceful!  I blame my boss for this... ok, not entirely because I'm a grown up and responsible for my own life, but he was promoted mid last year which meant my job got a lot busier. Not that it's a bad thing, but my primary focus was work and I was grumpy because life wasn't as balanced as I like it to be. It didn't help that I had a milestone birthday, but I spent a week at my favourite St Regis Singapore which made things a little better. So for 2016, I would like a more balanced year to have more time to make things.

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I was chatting with my colleague SB about baking more and he requested a croquembouche and an opera cake ... he's been watching too many episodes of The Great British Bake Off ! I haven't baked for over a year so I picked this simple blackberry lemon cake from Women's Weekly's Indulgent Cakes book to ease back into baking rather than start with something so extravagant!

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I shared this cake with my favourite boys (SB included) from work, and they gave it a thumbs up.  I even bought Tom & Jerry sandwich bags to store them in as I didn't think they would appreciate the Hello Kitty ones I have!

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I thought the cake was a little too sweet so I would cut down on the sugar, and the texture was soft and crumbly. I added extra lemon zest (because I love my zester) and doubled the quantity of blackberries.  

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Dinosaur Cross Stitch Bib

I've always wanted to cross stitch one of the dinosaur designs in Anne Sohier-Fournel and Sonia Lucano's Pictos, Logos & Autres Tags Au Point de Croix, but since I mainly cross stitch for special people's birthday cards, it is perhaps not appropriate ~ hey, happy birthday, you dinosaur!

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I cross stitched this for Baby B using a DMC blue variation embroidery thread on a pre-sewn bib. Baby B is almost 3 months old and simply adorable (he didn't cry or fuss once during the entire time I held him... ok, he was fast asleep at the time but that's beside the point!), so I don't think he'll be offended by the dinosaur at all!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sneak Peak: Stylecraft Special DK Chevron Crochet Blanket

One of the reasons I was super keen to complete my pinky purply chevron crochet blanket was because I was looking forward to playing with the Stylecraft Special DK yarns I bought from Deramores a couple of years ago. I've long admired Lucy's Attic24 and According to Matt's crochet projects using the yarns so I just had to buy the scrumptious looking yarns for myself!

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Lucy uses 17 colours...but I bought 18 because I'm Chinese and it's a more auspicious number. The order I'm going to crochet are as follows:

1246 - Lipstick; 1083 - Pomegranate; 1241 - Fondant; 1132 - Shrimp; 1263 Citron; 1020 Lemon; 1316 - Spring Green; 1065 - Meadow; 1422 - Aspen; 1068 - Turquoise; 1034 - Sherbert; 1019 - Cloud Blue; 1003 - Aster; 1188 - Lavender; 1432 - Wisteria; 1390 - Clematis; 1084 - Magenta and 1061 - Plum.

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I started this blanket during the Easter long weekend and it's still early days.  It will hopefully be completed in over a year's time, perhaps just in time for Mum's birthday in May 2016!

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Completed Pinky Purply Chevron Crochet Blanket

I've been crocheting The Royal Sisters' chevron granny blanket for around 14 months, and I'm super pleased that it's finally completed! What do you think? I'm really proud of it actually and relieved that it's finally done ~ I love crocheting because it's so therapeutic, but after all these months of the same pattern, I was SO ready for my next project!

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Can I share a secret?  I can't actually chain properly ~ it's the reverse of what it's suppose to be! I chained 240 stitches using size 5 hook, casted off, and started from the other end which is handy because if I mess up the pattern, I don't need to re-count the chains. I used a size 4 hook to crochet the rest of the pattern which suits me as my stitches are tight.

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I started off with two lots of 100g Vera Moda yarn ~ dark, medium and light purple, and dark, medium and light pink, but ending up buying additional balls of the medium and light shades. I had plenty of the dark yarns left so I was able to crochet three rows for the side borders.

There are sixty-six rows of colour with three rows for each colour so that a total of one hundred and ninety eight rows! The completed blanket measures 145cm (W) x 147cm (L).

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I haven't decided on my next crochet project yet but I'm keen to use the Stylecraft Special DK yarns I ordered from the UK over a year ago so stay tuned...

Monday, March 9, 2015

More Spotty Felt Elephants

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I made a few Effie & Ollie felt elephants last year, and since I still have rolls of polk-a-dot felt from Daiso (doesn't help that I keep buying more!), I sewed a few more during the Labour Day long weekend for friends who are going through challenging times. Although there is little I can do to help, these spotty elephants symbolise strength and wisdom, so it's my way of saying they can get through the tough times.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Timber Heart Keyring Charms

I completed some timber owl and babushka cross stitches back in late 2012 (doesn't time fly?), and I bought these heart ones by Leutenegger at Big W the other day.  Not that I need more aida cloth, but I also picked  up a couple of packets too so more cross stitch projects to come (sigh, if only I can find the time)!

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I've turned these timber lovlies into keyring charms (key rings from Daiso) for Mum and Dad (the bird for Mum of course), so this was a perfect way to spend an hour of one's time.

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Talking about birds, we're still getting plenty of visits during meal times!

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Baby Pram Cross Stitch

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I haven't had a chance to visit Baby B yet, but I made this red baby pram cross stitch card for him. The pattern is from one of my trusty source of wonderful cross stitch patterns, Pictos, Logos & Autres Tags Au Point de Croix by Anne Sohier-Fournel and Sonia Lucano. The pattern is stitched on 14 count aida cloth with DMC 321.

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Hunky Dory Baby Patchwork Quilt

It's been ages since I updated my blog so a belated happy 2015 to you!  I've been busy with lots of things ~ super busy with work before Christmas, then we travelled to Taiwan and Singapore for a couple of weeks, and work has continued to be busy in the new year, but all is good!

Remember I made this Bride and Groom cross stitch for K and M in September 2012?  Well, Baby B arrived on Valentine's Day! Mazel Tov!

I started this patchwork quilt in December with an strict completion date by the end of January.  I bought Moda's Hunky Dory charm pack a little while ago, and since I don't like cutting fabric, I found a set of cream Bella Solids from Etsy.  I had a vague sense of the pattern...well not really but I thought triangles would be a good start so I completed half square triangles before Christmas.

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What to do with 42 lots of half square triangles? How about putting them together to make even bigger triangles? So that's what I did, but then couldn't decide how to arrange them...

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After seeking Mum's opinion, we decided on the following which is like the flying geese pattern.  The backing fabric is a cute rabbit garden print with a green background which I thankfully had the foresight to buy 2 metres of a couple of years ago (the joys of having a well stocked fabric stash!), and I machine quilted in the ditch.

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The quilt measures 73cm x 123cm and I hope it will keep Baby B warm during the coming months (since we're not having much a Summer this year!).

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pineapple Cross Stitch

I read somewhere that watermelons are the new pineapples, so I feel really rather dejected because I haven't been keeping up with what's fashionable.  I'm sure you're sick of my mono coloured cross stitches ~ I just like stitching and hate changing colours, so DMC variation threads have allowed me uninterrupted stitching and made this piece more colourful.

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The pattern is from a French cross stitch book called Vert: Motifs de broderie traditionnelle et au point de croix and I used  90 (yellow) and 94 (green).  I made this for my Dad's birthday ~ for the Chinese, pineapples ("wong-lai" which means "luck will arrive") symbolises wealth and good fortune, and it is often present during celebrations.  The cross stitch is mounted on Cristina Re's embossed window card.  Wishing you a very happy birthday Dad and good fortunate!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cherubs Heart Cross Stitch

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My colleague was married last weekend so I stitched these cherubs for her and her husband.  I used my favourite DMC 666 red, and the pattern is from Made in France: Cross Stitch and Embroidery in Red, White and Blue by Agnes Delage-Calvet and Anne Sohier-Fournel.