Crepe Myrtle Blanket almost finished

I’ve been working away steadily on this one, enjoying the colours so much that it has come along quite quickly (also a 2 hour delay at the airport last week meant that a few extra rows got done!).

It’s not going to be a full single-bed sized blanket, more of a ‘two-seater sofa’ sized blanket (which hopefully will leave me enough yarn to make myself a cardigan in the same colours – ulterior motives; maybe if I blend into the blanket enough my kids won’t spot me and I’ll get some peace ….?).  So all that’s left to do is one colour, weaving in a LOT of ends, and the edging (colours and stitches tbc).

I’m looking forward to having it finished and wrapping myself in it on chilly evenings.

SewPort 2016 – many thanks to Sew Busy Lizzy

It’s a bit delayed, but I really should write about the fabulous weekend’s sewing I enjoyed with a group of lovely ladies in Port Macquarie organised by Liz of SewBusyLizzy.   Liz had promised us sun, sand and sea and the opportunity to stroll on beautiful beaches, but the weather was terrible, as NSW was lashed by amazing storms which caused awful flooding in some parts.  However, this made me feel not at all guilty about spending the entire weekend inside sewing as the wind howled outside and the rain lashed the building.

We had a wonderful set up of large cutting table and a big desk space for each of us, complete with power.  Pink hippos, greyhounds and children asking for food (all key features of my sewing experience at home) were notably absent.  Instead there was wonderful knowledgeable company to consult and laugh with, the hum of sewing machines and yummy chocolate brownies to fuel the creativity (thanks Emma and family!).

I now have a shift/pinafore dress pattern that fits (Lekala 5202)  , and a completed dress (thanks Alison for stopping me from throwing it out the window and suggesting ways of handling the lining!).

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Fitting my toile (yes I actually made one!)

I also feel I’ve made some new friends and have come back refreshed and feeling on a sewing-roll, continued absence of sewing machines not-withstanding!  Some photos of creativity in action can be found here (thanks Maria) and here (Rachel). It makes such a difference to actually meet other people who sew, I sometimes feel a bit isolated here, just ploughing my own furrow and making mistakes by myself!

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Koalas on rollerskates – I got some culture in!

A season …

We seem to be going through a season when everything needs replacing (anything with a plug on the end of it anyway).  In the last 2 weeks I seem to have spent much of my time shopping, either online or in KMart, various appliances; electric blankets, kettle, DVD player (disaster, as it died when all the children were home sick from school!) …

From a sewing point of view I am currently missing some essentials.  Both my electric sewing machines are in for repair (a dud batch of denim needles meant that I knocked the timing out on both of them and Nick Ciancio is determined to do a proper job on sorting out all their little quirks while he’s got them: “they sound like a bag of loose bolts, both of them, we need to sort them out”).  I am therefore relying on my trusty straight stitch Singer 201 treadle and my overlocker, which covers most things, but I have a few knit tops  waiting on twin-needle ability to hem them.  Hopefully I’ll have at least one machine back early next week.

Almost more of a disaster is the demise of our iron.  Over its 10 year life it has moved continents, had its plug changed, been dropped by Big P, been flooded with water by Big P (thank goodness for modern circuit boards), been used to steam old veneer off my treadle cabinet … and generally had a hard life.  It finally rebelled and started tripping the circuit-breaker every time it was plugged in.  I have ordered a new one, but the wisdom of AusPost’s new take on non-express parcels and postage means that although it was ordered on Wednesday morning and left a warehouse somewhere in Melbourne early yesterday (Thursday) morning, it won’t now get to me before Tuesday at the earliest …. ????

Please can nothing else kick the bucket – my bank balance and sanity are being tested!

Mama Possum’s Machines

It’s time for you to meet my machines – the trusty steeds that Mama Possum couldn’t Make without!

All of my machines, bar my overlocker, are vintage Singers.  I love these machines for their high quality stitching, their toughness and the fact that I can largely maintain them myself.  Plus, each machine has its own personality and plus points.

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Singer 201k

First up is my Singer 201k, a 1946 treadle machine, straight stitch only.  She was my first vintage machine and arrived with me in a bit of a mess.  She is silent, accurate and, for projects with fiddly bits, she is my first choice.

Next is my Singer 99k, a 1952 handcrank, again straight stitch only (but what a stitch!), I use her mainly for applique, quilt piecing and Baby Possum regards it as her own personal sewing machine.  My recent discovery about this machine is that she deals beautifully with heavy sail canvas (a real plus when there are sail repairs to be done for the family dinghy!).

 

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Singer 319k

My 319k (otherwise known as The Mean Green Machine) is my overall workhorse.  Made in 1958 she is a very early zig zag machine, and at the time would have cost oodles of money.  She came to me complete with all her original accessories, pattern discs and instruction manual.  After some re-oiling and a trip to Nick Ciancio of Footscray to free up some frozen parts, she sews like a dream and the quality is second to none.

My 320k is my latest acquisition and is, in essence, identical to the 319k, except that she has a free arm, and, being in a case rather than a table is ‘portable’ (if you can call 20kg of case and machine ‘portable’!)

Every so often I wonder about whether I ‘need’ a modern all-singing, all-dancing machine and I go and try one out.  My latest dalliance was with the idea of a Pfaff Expression, I’ve also done a brief tango with a Janome Skyline 5.  But, both were VERY costly and neither made my heart sing when I tried them or offered me anything that I feel very much in lack of.  So, after each thought, I return satisfied to my trusty flock of machines.  So many of these machines end up at the tip or rusting in the back of sheds, when actually they are reliable, high quality sewing machines.

Demand for weighted lap pads

I hadn’t originally intended to sell the lap pads – they started out as little projects for children I knew who needed them.

IMG_3562However, there seems to be a demand for them, so I’m adding them as an item to the Products page.  They will be made to order, so that you can pick the colours/themes for your child, with a 2 week turnaround time.

There will be 2 options available – the first is simple patchwork squares on the front with fleece backing, the second, a more ‘budget’ option, is to have a single fabric on the front, again with fleece backing.  Both options will be have piped/bound edges with poly satin ribbon.

Late Summer Colours

Gordon St, Footscray may not be quite what jumps to mind if you are thinking of gorgeous colours.  Let’s face it, it’s a little run down in places and doesn’t have much by way of stunning architecture or astounding landmarks.

However, the last few weeks, I’ve been driving up and down Gordon St in Maribyrnong/Footscray quite a lot (oodles of appointments for some reason) and I have been captivated by the colours.  Maribyrnong City council have planted crepe myrtles in a variety of colours along the road and it has been a visual feast of shades of pink, lilac and cream on a background of the greens and browns of the trunks and leaves.

I’m not usually a pink and lilac kinda gal, but I do love the ways in which colours work together and these were too beautiful to pass by (maybe I’m softening in my old age?).

I’ve been short of a crochet project to work on and I could just see these colours as a beautiful stripy blanket.  So I ordered some yarn and have started on a cosy stripe blanket.  This won’t be a quick make – the last blanket took me 8 months, but it is fun colour stuff which can be done without too much brain work.

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A weighted lap pad

Weighted blankets, lap pads and other items can be helpful for kids with sensory issues.  In this case a little possum with autism needs a lap pad so that she can sit on the sofa with her siblings and watch TV or listen to a story without soooo much wriggling and kicking that it becomes unbearable to everyone else.   A very tolerant family cat used to have the same effect when he sat on her lap, but unfortunately the cat is no more :(.

The pad weighs about 3kg (small cat weight) and measures about 70cm x 55cm.  It is filled with poly pellets, which means that it is washable.   I strip-pieced the top from cotton fabric (leftovers from the little possum’s own dresses so that the fabric is familiar), the backing is a luxurious pink fleece (my house now looks like a pink snowstorm has been through, as it sheds horribly when being cut!).  I bound it using satin ribbon.

This way the pad, not only has the nice weight, but is also very tactile and ‘strokeable’ – a sensory feast for someone who needs constant sensory input.

As you can see, my Baby Possum’s hippo had to try it out before it was given to its new owner!