Friday, December 31, 2010

Gift #2 - for a first birthday

OK, this one is nearly a week late, but it's done now and off to the birthday girl tonight!
The pattern is Gracie by Sandi Henderson (Portabellopixie). I made version A, a reversible jumper, in size 12-18 months. The main fabrics are both Wildwood by Erin McMorris, and for the yoke I used those gorgeous pink honeycombs from Modern Meadow by Joel Dewberry. I really love how they work together, especially with the trees.
The jumper went together quickly, but I'm glad it wasn't one of the first garments I'd sewn - whereas Oliver + S patterns tell you exactly what to do at every step, this pattern left off a few basics. Some of the things I did that the pattern didn't mention include: trimmed all seam allowances to 1/4 inch; added some iron-on interfacing along the back edges for the button holes and buttons; and clipped the seam allowances for smooth curves.
Do you like the big green buttons? I love them! They were from my stash so I was amazed how well they matched.

Hope the birthday girl (and her mum) loves the new dress!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Well, at least one gift got finished on time...

And it wasn't even a Christmas present! This blouse was made for my girlfriend's daughter's 2nd Birthday. I finished hand stitching the bias edges on the sleeves, wrapped it up, and went to the party.
I used the Oliver + S 2+2 blouse pattern, size 2, short-sleeved version. The main fabric is MoMo Wonderland and the contrast is from Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow. I love those honeycombs!
As I am still quite new to sewing, this project, again, had lots of firsts: first time cleaning and oiling my machine (so not as scary as I thought); first time sewing buttonholes (wow, not hard!); first time making lots of my own bias tape (fiddly, yes, but definitely easier having rotary cut the strips); first time using fabric from, gasp, not the same fabric line (still not too sure how much I like this combo).

This took a lot longer than I expected to sew, as it was quite fiddly throughout, and many seams were ripped and redone. However, those concise and well-illustrated Oliver + S instructions made every step clear. Overall, I'm happy with the result. I look forward to seeing it on its recipient to make a final judgement.

Tonight, I worked another baby birthday present and am nearly done. Next up is a belated Christmas present - another Left Bank Granny Bag. And yes, I still plan to post those links to all the amazing patterns recommended during the giveaway. In the meantime, I'm using all my inner strength to resist buying some of this (already sold out at Hawthorne Threads but still available at fabricworm):

Monday, December 20, 2010

Smashed Grapes - Free Fingerless Mitts Pattern

I've been a bit neglectful of both my knitting and my knitting friends. So please, have a free knitting pattern. The pattern is shown below and is also available as a free download on Ravelry. If you're not on ravelry and would prefer a pdf of the pattern, leave me a comment with your email address and I'll email it to you.

With many thanks to 1funkyknitwit
test knitter and photographer

Smashed Grapes 

I have quite a few pairs of fingerless mitts. This is the pair I put on when I need free movement of my fingers. They add a bit of warmth and style while you drive, type, or hang out the washing. This simple mitt pattern, with a thumb gusset, is knit the same for both hands. They match the Berry Bramble Hat by Cosette Cornelius-Bates (cosymakes), using the same moss stitch pattern on the cuffs as for the hat brim. While this pattern is written to be knit using the magic loop method or 2 circulars, it could also be knit on double pointed needles by dividing the stitches equally amongst 3 needles. They can easily be knit 2-at-a-time.

Women’s S (M, L)
Malabrigo Merino Worsted: 100% merino wool, 192m per 100g skein; 1 skein; shown above in Velvet Grapes colourway; shown on cover in 1funkyknitwit’s handspun
1 x 4.5 mm (US 7), 40” circular needle for magic loop OR 2 x 4.5 mm circulars OR 4 x 4.5 mm double-pointed needles
4 stitch markers (only 2 required if knitting one-at-a-time)
Approx 24 inches smooth waste yarn in a contrasting colour
Tapestry needle
18 st = 4 inches
Pattern Notes
pm – place marker
sm – slip marker
m1L (make 1 left-leaning stitch) – insert left needle from front to back, under the strand of yarn between the last stitch on the left needle and the first stitch on the right needle; knit this stitch through back loop.
m1R (make 1 right-leaning stitch) – insert left needle from back to front, under the strand of yarn between the last stitch on the left needle and the first stitch on the right needle; knit this stitch.

Cast on 32 (34, 36) stitches. Divide equally and join to knit in the round.
Rounds 1-2: *k1 p1* repeat
Rounds 3-4: *p1 k1* repeat
Repeat these 4 rounds once more, for a total of 8 rounds.
Knit 8 rounds stockinette.
Thumb Gusset
Next round – Begin thumb gusset: K16 (17, 18) pm m1R on the first needle, then K1 m1L pm K15 (16, 17) on second needle.
Knit 2 rounds stockinette.
Next round – Thumb increase: K16 (17, 18) sm m1R K1 on first needle, then K2 m1L sm K15 (16, 17) on second needle.
Continue to increase in this manner, every 3rd round, until there are 15 (15, 17) thumb stitches between the markers. Note: the increases are always immediately after the first marker, and just before the second marker.
Next round: K16 (17, 18), transfer 15 (15, 16) thumb stitches to waste yarn, cast on 1 stitch in the gap (backward loop method) on the second needle, k15 (16, 17).
Knit 7 more rounds stockinette.
Decrease 2 stitches in the next round as follows: k2tog, knit to end of needle; k2tog on second needle, knit to end (30, 32, 34) stitches.
Knit 8 rounds of moss stitch as described under first Cuff section.
Cast off in pattern.
Pick up the 15 (15, 17) stitches from the waste yarn and then pick up 3 more stitches in the gap. 18 (18, 20) stitches.
Divide stitches evenly and knit 4 rounds of stockinette.
Cast off loosely.
Weave in ends and block if desired.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Giveaway Winners

Wow, over 700 comments but it had to come down to just one winner for the Red Letter Day bundle:
Jenniffier said... So I just found this website today, but it has tons of sewing info, patterns and stuff.

Congratulations Jenniffier! I've also sent you an email.

And the mystery prize goes to:

JuneBug said... My current favorite tutorial is the Lil Cutie purse pouch:
I've made many for holiday giving, and they're great for scrap use and working with funky fabric combinations. Plus, no pins!!!

JuneBug has a really cute blog and it seems that she's recently discovered the joys of online fabric browsing (and purchasing). It will be easy for me to put together a bundle of fabrics for her...perhaps to make some more Lil Cutie Pouches? Check your email JuneBug!

Many thanks again to everyone who commented, to my new followers, and to my loyal followers that have been with me from the very beginning. I wish I could send each of you a bit of Red Letter Day!

So what's next? I'm still in the process of compiling everyone's pattern suggestions, and will post the list as soon as I finish it. Tonight, however, I need to cut some patterns and choose fabrics for two birthday presents before Christmas - an Oliver + S 2+2 blouse (size 2) and a Portabellopixie (Sandi Henderson) Gracie Jumper (size 1). Hopefully I'll have photos to post very soon.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thank you!

Click here to go to my giveaway post

Wow! I am truly overwhelmed by the response to my giveaway (more than 500 comments already). I'm so glad to have found hundreds of others who share my love for those ducks. I'm also delighted that so many of you have chosen to follow my humble blog. You are all inspiration and motivation for me.
With so many comments, I apologise if I don't reply personally to each of you (though I'm still considering it!). However, I have read every single comment and looked up the pattern, or blog, or book, or tutorial that you've recommended. You've introduced me to many new patterns and blogs and my brain is swimming with ideas. As a thank you for all of the time you put into your comments, I've started compiling a list of all of your pattern recommendations that I will post on my blog shortly.
With so many entrants I'll just have to give out another prize (to the second number selected by random). I'm not sure what it will be yet - fabric, supplies, or a small handmade item. I may wait till I've chosen the winner and stalk their blog to decide!

Thanks so much for joining me at Ducks and Rabbits. And good luck on this and all of the other giveaways!

Monday, December 13, 2010

My First Giveaway!

Comments closed - winners to be announced shortly!

I'm fairly new to sewing, and even newer to blogging - I started this blog about half a year ago after the last Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway day. It was an avalanche of inspiration that led me to starting this blog, making my first quilts, and a new fabric addiction. So it's my turn to give back to the blogging community as part of another Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway day.
Those that already read this blog know that I have some particular fabric obsessions, namely Lizzy House's Red Letter Day and MoMo's Wonderland (thus the name of this blog). So for this, my very first giveaway, I am offering up some Ducks - a gorgeous bundle of Red Letter Day fabric. I hope it makes someone as happy as it makes me!
One lucky winner will get 12 pieces of fabric totalling about 2 yards - all 6 prints in both the Galosh and Feather colourways (including that hard-to-find Ugly Duckling in Feather).
The Galosh colourway (on the left) includes a fat-eighth of each print, except the stripes which is a larger quarter yard.
The Feather colourway (on the right) includes a range of sizes from some large squares to fat eights to two fat quarters. 
Aren't they gorgeous?!

And here's how to enter:
  1. I like to sew a bit of everything - accessories, quilts, clothes - but need some more patterns. Please leave me a comment telling me one of your favourite sewing patterns, designers or tutorials.
  2. For a second chance, leave another comment if you are already a follower of Ducks and Rabbits or have become one.
The giveaway is open till Friday December 17th and the winner will be chosen randomly on Saturday. It is open for international entries.

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

New stash + giveaway soon

Firstly, I'm ever so excited to host my first giveaway very soon, as part of the Sew Mama Sew! Giveaway Day:
Sew, Mama, Sew!
Tonight I'm pulling out my stash and even cutting into some of my precious goodies (perhaps some of the collections alluded to in the name of this blog) to prepare my giveaway. So check back tomorrow to see what made the cut!

Now for my new stash...

First, here's a giveaway I won - a beautiful bundle of Heather Ross scraps from The Mad Quilting Librarian. Having only seen Heather Ross fabrics online, I was overjoyed to win this scrumptious bundle, and even more excited when I actually saw them in person - the colours are so vibrant and illustrations so precious.
Then I stumbled upon the tadpoles below on ebay and bought one yard. I'm keen to swap some fat quarters of it, especially if I can get some of the goldfish in exchange.
I also bought 2 fat quarters of Flea Market Fancy on ebay. Again, this is the first time I've seen these fabrics in person. Love them!
Finally, I bought a few metres of fabric from Sew, Mama, Sew! during one of their recent sales. I've been lusting for the Modern Meadow Honeycomb in Pink for ages, and was happy to get it for such a good price.
And also some It's a Hoot of my very own. I love the cute selvages! These fabrics are even more beautiful than they looked online. The bottom fabric is for a skirt for me, and the top for some type of bag.
Now, I better start gathering my giveaway bundles!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Red Letter Day Mod Sampler Quilt

Well, it's finally quilted, bound, washed and dried AND we've had a sunny day = photos of my Red Letter Day quilt! I love it so much and can't wait to give it to my friend and her kids.
I was also lucky enough to have my big sister visiting, and she helped by holding the quilt up. :)
The pattern is Oh Fransson!'s Mod Sampler Quilt-Along and the fabrics are all from Lizzy House's amazing Red Letter Day line, along with Kona Snow for the sashing. I used 10 fabrics (5 pairs) instead of 12, and made the quilt a smaller 4 x 5 blocks to make it a cot or crib quilt. The dimensions are approximately 40" x 51", after washing and drying.

I also cut and pieced a lot of strips instead of cutting out and piecing all the itty-bitty squares, and was happy with the result. If anyone is interested, I can post some photos and more details regarding this approach.
I was so confident after my first attempt at free-motion quilting, but was quite surprised at how much more difficult it was to quilt this larger quilt. It wasn't the extra area to quilt, it was the difficulty and even physical strain to control all that bulk of fabric. About halfway through the quilting I bought a pair of all-purpose gloves with latex palms from my local grocery store. They were well worth the $5 spent! It made the quilting substantially easier and the stitches a bit more regular. I like to think that the inconsistent quilting adds character to the quilt and overall I'm really happy with the crinkly result.
And here's the doll quilt washed and dried as well. I love how this shot helps put its size in perspective.
Sunshine, beach, visiting family and a finished quilt? Definitely a Red Letter Day.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Red Letter Day Doll Quilt

Just in time...
Well, just in time for the Blogger's Quilt Festival, but not quite in time for its recipient. I've literally just finished hand-stitching the binding and with less than 3 hours left to post it I've taken some indoor photos on a wet and gloomy day.

I'd hoped to finish this doll quilt and it's coordinated baby quilt before my girlfriend's baby was born. But the beautiful girl arrived yesterday afternoon, and I have yet to baste, quilt and bind the larger baby quilt. At least I can post some photos of the finished doll quilt - under the assumption that the mum won't be looking at my blog in the next few days with a newborn baby!
This is my second quilt (albeit small) but there were some firsts - first time I pieced randomly (so much fun!) and first time I free-motion quilted (also fun!). I really enjoyed the free-motion quilting and will definitely stick to that for a while, at least until I give in and purchase a walking foot.
I really love the back of the quilt, probably more than the front:
 And was pleasantly surprised with how good the quilting looks on my first effort:
The pair of quilts are for a good friend who has just had her second baby girl. Her older daughter and my son are best friends. The idea is that the larger baby quilt is for the newborn, and the small doll quilt is the gift for the new 'big sister' to use with her doll and cradle.
We're off now to visit them and meet the baby girl for the first time!
Thanks for visiting my blog.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

An overdue update

Including giveaway wins (yes, more than one!) and some handmade highlights.

Well, it's been too long since I've posted - a result of being back at work and other commitments that have taken up too much time. I'm actually a bit surprised how much going back to work has impacted on my crafting time - I usually sew or knit in the evening anyway, after the kids are in bed, but I've just been too tired lately!

First, a long overdue post about a my first fabulous giveaway win! It was from the lovely quilary and it feels like it was made just for me:

It was beautifully packaged in a reusable tote, and contained the following goodies:
So perfect! I really needed the pin cushion and scrap bin, and I love the little homes for my essential tools (and the cute little paper cutouts to illustrate what goes where). And, did you notice - it's made with some scissors fabric from my favourite Wonderland line! The flower brooches will be great accessories for my little girl, and I have a bit of a soft spot for vintage patterns - my collection of vintage knitting patterns is massive and these will help grow my small sewing pattern collection. Thanks so much quilary! Such a wonderful prize for my first giveaway win - I can't imagine any being better than this!

And then, about a day after I found out I was the winner of the above giveaway, I got an email from Sew Mama Sew - I won one of the Back to School patterns - it looks like a lot of fun - here's the original post on Sew Mama Sew. I feel so lucky with these two wins!

In other news, my beautiful girl turned one last month. Here she is in her still-too-big ice cream dress, opening presents:
 And the cupcakes I made for the party:
And the lolly bags that I sewed, using some oh-so-bright fabric I got on special at my LQS:
They were fun to make, but I can't say I'll be doing it again (especially when I only had to make 7 - I can't imagine doing any more).

I'm finally ready to sit down and do some sewing now, and finally put my giveaway win to good use. It's a top secret project using some of my precious Red Letter Day fabrics - top secret since the recipient may be reading this blog!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Something for me...

I love my new bag. I don't know what I love the most about it - the Lizzy House Red Letter Day Fabric (ducks in a row), the stripey lining and handles, the internal zippered pocket (first one I've sewn!), or the amazingly endless bottomless pit that will fit everything I need inside.
I needed a bag to throw everything into for the days that I casual teach, and for the outings with the kids that require food, extra nappies, etc. I thought this pattern was perfect. It's the Left Bank Granny Bag from the book Carry Me, by Yuka Koshizen.
The book's a bit intimidating - it's translated from Japanese and most of the instructions are in diagrams, with only minimal words. There were no full-size pattern pieces for this bag, only schematics to measure and cut out each rectangular piece. But having good maths skills I thought I'd give it a try.

I made a few modifications and had to improvise a couple of times where the pattern seemed a bit lost in translation. I'll try to describe them here for anyone planning to use this pattern:
  • My bag is an inch or two shorter - this way I could squeeze it out of my one yard of ducks in a row fabric. Basically, I cut the width as per the pattern for the entire length of my piece of fabric and squared it off.
  • I cut my outer piece in half and pieced it so the ducks were right-side-up on both sides :)
  • The straps were cut from my lining fabric as I wanted to use the stripes. But if you only have 1 yard of each fabric I think you need to use the lining fabric anyway (unless you piece the outer fabric to get the right length).
  • The pattern has you cut interfacing out for the pocket, but never tells you where to use it. I fused it to the wrong side of the lining fabric, where the pocket gets sewn on.
  • For the gathers and pleats at the top, the pattern instructs you to randomly sew pintucks. I couldn't see any pintucks in the photo, so I'm not sure if that's what she meant. This is what I did: I 'basted' 7 large tucks (about 1 cm wide), evenly spaced across the top, using my maximum stitch length. I finger pressed them toward the outside of the bag. Then I sewed my gathering stitches and gathered to match the top panel width. Once I completed the bag I ripped out the stitches holding the tucks as well as the gathering stitches. If I did this bag again I'd sew some more tucks (about 1 inch apart instead of 2) before gathering.
  • After top-stitching the top panel, I slip-stitched the inside seam to add strength and neaten the edge.
 I grin whenever I see this bag and look forward to using it all the time! I would definitely make another one.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ice Cream Dress #2

I am so happy with this one! And even happier that I even managed to get my model to wear it for a few quick snaps on a cold morning.

Pattern: Ice Cream Dress by Oliver + S, View C
Size: 12 - 18 months; as you can see in the photos, plenty of room to grow!
Modifications: lengthened to size 2 length for my long girl!
Fabric: Calme by Lecien, lightweight

Nearly a year ago I bought a pair of handmade bloomers at a local market, made out of this fabric. I've always loved the fabric, but couldn't really find anything to 'match' the bloomers. So I was delighted to find the fabric, on special, and quickly stitched the blouse to match.

This blouse was so much quicker to make than the dress, for many reasons - no pockets or double hem for View C; I was familiar with the pattern already; I only needed to cut out one extra pattern piece since I'd sewn View A in the same size. On the other hand, the fabric was more challenging to work with as it is so lightweight, but the result was well worth the fiddly-ness.
 I love this pattern - It is simple enough to sew yet looks elegant and better than what you can buy at the shops!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fabric Finds

Is there anything more exciting than finding an out-of-print fabric that you thought you'd never get a hold of? OK, I'm sure there are plenty (a recent example - my baby girl finally started crawling, well, er, moving forward with great effort); but what great finds!

Those of you who know me know that I am a little bit obsessed with MoMo's Wonderland fabric. My first quilt was made using one and a bit charm packs. And I've previously shared my Wonderland stash with you.

I'll try to make this story short - my girlfriend was in a quilt shop about an hour's drive away and noticed some Wonderland fabrics. She excitedly rang me and brought me back a yard of the pink vine fabric you see below. I couldn't resist and drove down a few days later and acquired the rest.

From left to right: approx 2 yards; 1 metre; 1 metre; 2/3 yard; 1/2 metre; 3 x fat quarters and a 1/4 metre remnant of dots.

I was in heaven! It was a lovely shop and very bright and friendly. Mostly more traditional prints but a good selection of modern fabrics and some Japanese too! So if you're ever travelling in Australia check out Berry Patchwork Shop in Berry, NSW, about 2 hours south of Sydney.

I also picked up some great deals on lecien fabric on special...
For my first garment for me:
For Miriam's second Ice Cream Dress (View C - the blouse):

Next project is the Ice Cream Dress - fabric is washed and ready for cutting.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ice Cream Dress #1 - Finished

I've finished my first Ice Cream Dress (well, I still need to buy and sew on a button):
Pattern: Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress, size 12 - 18 months
Fabric: Panache by Sanae for Moda

It's been a learning experience with lots of firsts - mainly gathers and rounded pockets. I ripped out and redid a number of seams, and performed some major surgery on my pockets - probably not noticeable to the greater public, but definitely to me and other sewing enthusiasts!



Can you see the difference? I hope so! I ripped the pockets off, repressed the curves after clipping the seam allowance and using a cardboard template, and restitched them on using coordinating thread, with a longer stitch length. Oh, and stitched twice. Phew! Now I'm happy.

I look forward to making my second one, and improving the gathers and the back of the yoke. I may get your help to choose the fabrics. But for now, a big bowl of ice cream for me :).
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