Archive for November, 2012

Small things make me happy.

On the weekend we went to a garage sale. One of Gorgeous Man’s colleagues is retiring and moving back to Australia and they are trying to minimise what goes into their shipping container. I scored some magazine holders to help keep my extremely large reasonably sized collection of quilting and craft magazines under control and for K40 (about $20) I got this.

It’s housing the overflow from my academic bookshelf. The books on top are all ones that need to be read in the next little while. The bottom shelf  holds photocopied primary source material and research notes and a fake history book 🙂

Gorgeous Girl had a teacher and two teacher assistants in her classroom this year. The last gift for them has been finished.

A shot to show the lining.

The outer fabric was one I bought on a visit home to Australia when we were living in South Africa, so that must make it about 2009. The lining fabric was inherited from a quilter whose failing eyesight caused her to give up sewing. I think it’s from the early 1990s. The bags really need interfacing or stronger lining, but I have to work with what I have on hand. I’ve got one more of these to make as a Christmas gift for someone. The fabric for that has been cut, so I just need to sit down and sew it all together.

In a normal year (one where I don’t have to go back to Australia multiple times for medical treatment) we get to go back to Australia twice a year. Once at the end of the year and once in the middle of the year. There are no craft stores in PNG. There is a store that sells sewing machines and cheap polyester thread and fabric, but no quilting fabrics or notions. This means that I need to think about what I want to make and what I will need for the next 6 months.

Since I’m committed to using up my scrapbooking, yarn, fibre and fabric stashes I don’t really need any major purchases there. I made a list of the quilts I can make entirely from stash and that is what I will work on for the next 6 months.

So here’s my list:

  1. Rotary cutter replacement blades (about 5) I keep my rotary cutter in a plastic zip-lock bag, but it still rusts very quickly in the humidity.
  2. Sewline Trio pen refills
  3. paper piecing templates for half hexagons and 6 pointed stars
  4. needles for hand piecing the hexagon quilt
  5. sewing machine needles – would hate to break a needle or two and have no replacements on hand.
  6. Frixon Pen for marking
  7. quilting thread for brother’s quilt in brown, cream and blue
  8. black and white fat quarters or jelly roll. (I’ve got a black and white quilt being planned and if I start collecting fabric for it now there’s less expense all at once, and I’ll get a greater variety).
  9. plain white quilters muslin (about 10 metres).  I don’t have many blenders or large pieces of yardage in the stash and this would be an easy way to always have something on hand (and I’ve got an Irish chain quilt planned which will use about 5 metres) – to be honest this will probably be a June purchase.
  10. black tone on tone fabric for my African quilts. It would seem I only bought enough fabric to make one small quilt before leaving South Africa. Again, this will probably be a June purchase.

Then there is the non-crafty shopping list:

  1. aluminium free deodorant, enough for 6 months
  2. organic shampoo and conditioner
  3. organic soap – I have some allergies that make using ‘normal’ soaps tricky
  4. facial moisturiser
  5. swimmers for Gorgeous Girl
  6. work shirts for Gorgeous Man
  7. shorts for Gorgeous Girl
  8. handkerchiefs for Gorgeous Girl
  9. drawing pads and craft paper for Gorgeous Girl
  10. card blanks for Gorgeous Girl

and so the list goes on. We need to work out what craft things she will be wanting to use for the next 6 months and what clothes she will need for the year. Good thing we have light bags travelling out of PNG. Usually our bags going out weigh about 12 kilos, coming in they are at the full weight allowance of 23 kilos each 🙂

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I finally managed to turn this:

into this:

I spun it continuously from the top and then chain plied it to preserve the colour runs.

All wound up into a yarn cake.  I’m very impressed with the polwarth fibre. It’s definitely one I’ll be spinning again.

Shopping in Papua New Guinea can be a bit of an adventure. We can get most things, but not all the time. Recently we were without tinned corn in the stores for about 4 weeks (I now have a stock-pile) and feta cheese appears about once a month. Most of the non-food items are made in China for the non-Western market and so are of very poor quality and often infringe on copy and intellectual property rights. But occasionally a bit of goodness sneaks through. Like this traditional African wax cloth that I found in the supermarket this week.

It’s going to be added to the African fabric I bought in Zambia last year and used in at least one quilt. I have a few with an African theme planned. Just need to get some Christmas sewing and my brother’s quilt finished first.

Sewing has been stumbling along. My biggest issue is being able to stand long enough to cut fabric. I’m having a good day today (foot-wise) and have managed to get fabric for the last teacher’s gift cut. Hopefully that will get sewn up today, but I’ll see how much time I have as Gorgeous Girl is home from school. She and Gorgeous Man sat in traffic for 45 minutes and had gotten less than one third of the way to school. Gorgeous Man realised that it was going to take them hours to get there, so they did a U-turn and came home again. Hopefully the run to school will be better tomorrow.


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More finishes

After seeing the little treasure bag I made as a Christmas gift, Gorgeous Girl asked for one of her own. We raided my stash together and she selected a bright red and yellow microfibre.

This yarn is 5 years old and was left over from a jumper (sweater) and hat I made for Gorgeous Girl before she was born. The chain closure used up every last inch of the yarn. It’s a good feeling to have something totally used up from stash.

After a week of ignoring the bag once it was finished, it had an outing today and appears to be a hit.

On Friday Gorgeous Girl had a student free day at school. We had a lovely crafty day.

First, we started off with paints.

She painted a rock she’d found at school the day before and used some very hard seeds that had been found on her early morning walk to make this little guy.

My total input was to squeezing out paint and washing the brushes.

I let Gorgeous Girl dig around in my scrap box whenever she feels like it, so she also sewed some strips onto her ‘quilt’ log cabin style. The quilt is something she picks up to work on every few months when she feels the urge. It’s going to be a wild creation. She sits on my lap and pushes the stop/start button to make the machine sew and guides the fabric through the needle. There are some pretty wild seam allowances and fabric choices, but I believe in letting her make her own design decisions.

We also tried tapestry for the first time. I had a canvas that I picked up for 50 cents along with a $1 bag of threads when I was in Australia earlier this year (so thankful for big box craft stores) that she used. She picked it up much faster than I thought she would, her tension is good and she got the idea of it very easily. Again I think this is going to be something that she does occasionally rather than every day. But as long as she has the tools to play with when she wants to then that is a good thing.

While Gorgeous Girl was being so crafty I also managed to sneak in some sewing. I’ve finished another teachers’ gift bag.

This bag used up every last inch of the outside fabric (except for a few odd pieces I cut down into my scrap storage system). The inside is more turquoise than than the photo shows.

I’m still having problems with the inside of the bag sagging a bit. But I’m not sure what to do about it. I have two more of these to make as gifts. One more for one of Gorgeous Girl’s teachers and one as a Christmas gift. Perhaps I’ll have the wrinkles ironed out by the last one…

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Another gift down

I managed to get the first fabric bucket finished this morning. I used this tutorial from whipstitchfabrics.com. 

Gorgeous Girl has a teacher and two teacher’s assistants in her classroom. This is for one of the teaching assistants.

Both the inner and outer fabric were inherited stash.

The lining is a bit loose. I think I’ll sew it with a slightly wider seam allowance than the outer fabric for the next one.

I keep forgetting that it’s only been a few days since I had the tendons in my foot treated and have overdone it on a few occasions. I’m hoping to start the second bag tonight, but I’ll see what my pain levels are like after cooking dinner. It may end up being a sit on the couch and knit night instead.

I managed to spin on my double treadle spinning wheel today. I lasted 15 minutes with both feet, so that is progress. I miss spinning and am looking forward to being able to do more of it soon.

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In my quest for a handmade Christmas I pulled this handspun yarn out of the stash

and started to make a treasure bag. About 4 rounds in it was starting to look like this.

And I was utterly charmed. I also realised that it was the first time I’d crocheted with my handspun and I couldn’t possibly give it away. So I raided the stash for more yarn, put the handspun aside and made this.

A little cotton treasure bag. Much easier to care for…
Then I turned my attention back to the handspun which had decided it wanted to be a project/carry notions bag.

I love how fast crochet works up. I have another treasure bag on the hook at the moment as Gorgeous Girl asked for one of her own and who am I to deny a request for hand made goodness. She picked the yarn herself and it’s turning out to be an interesting choice.

Christmas gifts continue to churn along. I have nearly finished on teacher gift. I had to put it aside last night after discovering that I had missed some of the fabric in the seam and the tension on my machine went haywire. I’ll work on it again later this evening after the chores and study has been done. Hopefully both the sewing machine and myself will be in a better frame of mind. I like to sew, but it doesn’t come as easily to me as playing with yarn and fibre. I need to be alert and not tired. Perhaps there will be another finished object post tomorrow…


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I’m now safely back in PNG after my trip to Australia. This time around I had another shot in the plantar fascia tendon and they also injected cortisone into the sheath around the posterior tibilar tendon. Hopefully that will bring the inflammation down to the point where I can start to heal. So far treatment appears to have gone well, though it will be about a week before we can know for sure.

First thing I did upon arriving at my hotel was unpack my hexagon quilt.

Unfortunately the hotel room was so dimly lit that I couldn’t work on this in the evenings. ‘Fortunately’ I had a fair bit of time sitting around the hotel room during the day so a good number of hexagons were added to the quilt over the course of the week.

Night time meant knitting time since it is easier to knit in less than optimal lighting conditions. I worked a bit on a beaded cowl and managed to knit three beanies for charity.

The light pinkish one was knitted at the airport while waiting for Gorgeous Man to come and pick me up. Due to work commitments on his part I had about a 1.5 hour wait. It was my first time knitting in public in PNG outside of the craft group and I attracted a fair bit of attention from people who had never seen anyone knitting before.

On the agenda for today is lots of reading for my thesis, a couple of loads of washing and pulling fabric and yarn to start making Christmas presents. I’m aiming for a handmade Christmas this year. Hopefully my gifts won’t be too daggy.

I’ll leave you with a shot of the lovely old mill that was outside my hotel.


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