Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Oven Mitt - Tutorial

Only three more sleeps and then we are off to the Netherlands! I can't wait to be back in my home country, see family and friends again after 2.5 years, speak Dutch all the time, ride a bike everywhere without a helmet and eat lots of Dutch cheese and licorice!We will also take the boys on a city trip to Rome for a few days, that is going to be so much fun!!

We will be staying in a few different places while we are in the Netherlands. I thought that it would be nice to have some small, handmade gifts for our hosts, so decided to use some of the Australian fabrics in my stash to whip up a few oven mitts. They're quick and easy to make - I took some pictures along the way to show you how. They make great seasonal presents as you can use any fabric you like (Christmas oven mitts? why not!)

I found some Insul-Bright heat resistant batting in my fabric cupboard (from when I made a tea cosy in 2013), which of course is great for oven mitts. I added a layer of cotton batting to get nice and thick mitts. If you don't have any Insul-Bright, two layers of cotton batting will also work.

You will need: 
- two 8'' x 12'' (20 x 25 cm) rectangles of your chosen fabric
- two 8'' x 12'' (20 x 25 cm) rectangles of Insul- Bright batting
- two 8'' x 12'' (20 x 25 cm) rectangles of cotton batting
- two 8'' x 12'' (20 x 25 cm) rectangles of lining fabric
- matching or contrasting thread
- 24'' (60 cm) ribbon or double-fold bias tape
- sewing machine (a walking foot is recommended for sewing through multiple layers)
- safety pins
- binding clips

1 Use one of your oven mitts to create a template, by placing it on a piece of paper and tracing around it, adding a seam allowance of 1'' (2.5 cm). (If you don't have an oven mitt, trace around your hand with a 2'' (5 cm) seam allowance) Cut out the template.

2 Make a fabric sandwich from the following layers: the outer fabric on top, right side up; the Insul-Bright next, shiny side up; the cotton batting next, and the lining fabric at the bottom, wrong side up.

3 With the walking foot attached to your sewing machine, quilt the sandwich in horizontal and vertical lines:

4  Make a second sandwich in the same way and quilt it.

5 Pin the template to the front of one of the fabric sandwiches and cut it out.

6 Flip the template over and pin it to the front of the other sandwich. Cut it out.

7 Place both parts of the oven mitt right sides together.

8 Cut a 6'' (15 cm) piece of ribbon, fold it in half, and place it 2'' (5 cm) from the bottom edge of the mitt in the side seam between the two parts, facing inwards with the rough edges aligning.

9 Use binding clips to clip the two parts together. (pinning through so many layers is really hard!)

10. Sew all around the edges, leaving the bottom edge open. Trim the seams where necessary to reduce bulk.

11. Turn the mitt right side out. Fold the remaining ribbon around the bottom edge and sew it in place. Use one or two binding clips to keep the ribbon from moving and replace them as you go. Fold the last 1/2'' (1 cm) in for a neat finish.

12 Admire your finished oven mitt!

Friday, 23 June 2017

White Winter Scarf

Today I finished my White Winter Scarf. It's so soft!

The pattern is the Irish Hiking Scarf by Adrian Bizilia, a free Ravelry download. I used 4 skeins of 10 ply merino from The Australian Wool Store on Etsy.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

My First Socks

Today was a dreary, miserable day here in Sydney (oh, how we miss Brisbane...), which meant that a lot of knitting was done. See here the result: I finished my first pair of socks!!!

I love them, they look great and they are so comfy!
I found the pattern (Basic Ribbed Socks by Kate Atherley, a free Ravelry download) very easy to follow and the yarn (Zitron Trekking XXL) a pleasure to work with.
And I had a ball making photos of the socks while wearing them!

Of course I have already started on a new project: a white cabled scarf, to go with my new black winter coat. The pattern is the popular Irish Hiking Scarf by Adrian Bizilia, also a free Ravelry download (gotta love Ravelry!) The yarn is a lovely soft merino from The Australian Wool Store on Etsy.

And here is the Sydney Temperature Scarf with the month of May added - which had the first day this year where the maximum temperature did not reach 15 degrees Celsius:

Friday, 9 June 2017

Sydney is off to America!

Sydney is going to the US! I heard today that it has been selected to be judged at the World Quilt Competition 2017 and will hang on display during the event from 17-19 August 2017 in Manchester, New Hampshire. After that it will tour the United States and be displayed at the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza in September; at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in California in October; and at World Quilt Florida in January 2018.

I love it when my quilts go to places I've never been!

Friday, 2 June 2017


Last week I was in Melbourne for the National Gymnastics Championships - my eldest son Hugo competed in Level 8 Under 14. Hugo did well and his team won gold, so he was very happy.

I stayed in South Yarra and spent quite a bit of time photographing the beautiful art deco buildings in this suburb:

More photos of these buildings on my photo blog.

I wouldn't normally go to McDonald's without the kids, but I took the bus to Clifton Hill to have lunch here. Isn't this building fabulous!

Afterwards when waiting to cross the road these two beauties passed by!

Of course I had to quickly check out the street art in AC/DC Lane and Hosier Lane:

More street art pics here on the photo blog.

I also found a yarn shop: Morris & Sons in Collins Street.

I bought some self-striping sock yarn and a beautiful screen-printed project bag:

I spent a lovely day with a Dutch friend and her little boy in St Kilda - more art deco, and, of course, the Luna Park:

This was my sixth visit to Melbourne - how come I never noticed the building with the café wall illusion before?

A few years ago, when I made my optical illusion quilts, I planned to make a café wall quilt. It didn't happen and now it probably never will... I would like to make an art deco quilt though!

Friday, 19 May 2017

Classic Lone Star pattern now available on Craftsy and Etsy

I'm very happy to announce that the pattern for my favourite quilt is now available in my pattern shops on Etsy and Craftsy.

I've called it the Classic Lone Star Quilt to distinguish it from my Modern Lone Star Quilt pattern - and because that's what it is of course!

I love this quilt! It keeps us warm every night - winter is coming Down Under, and it's rapidly getting colder now here in Sydney (we miss subtropical Brisbane...)

Just a few more pics...

Such a good looking quilt... ;-)

Monday, 15 May 2017


After knitting two pairs of gloves in the round, I felt I was ready to tackle socks. So when I read about this gorgeous self-striping yarn (Trekking XXL by Zitron) on one of my favourite knitting blogs (in Dutch, but worth checking out), I decided to give it a go. I ordered the yarn, bought a set of 2.75 mm dpns, and found a free Ravelry pattern that looked doable (Basic Ribbed Socks by Kate Atherley). The first sock is almost finished now, and I'm surprised at how much I am enjoying it!

The Sydney Temperature Scarf is also growing, and as you can see it's finally getting colder (yellow means 15-20 degrees Celsius):

Exactly ten years ago, on May 15th 2007, I started this blog. We had arrived in Brisbane only a few weeks earlier, I had been making quilts for less than a year and was waiting for my sewing machine to arrive from the Netherlands. In that first post I talked about an alphabet quilt I wanted to make for my boys - that quilt got made eventually (in 2011, and not with paper-pieced blocks as I had originally intended but with Spoonflower swatches of my calligram designs), as did lots of other quilts. Lately it's mainly been knitting, as I seem to have lost my quilting mojo a bit, but I'm sure I'll get it back at some point.

I have enjoyed the journey so far and I hope you have enjoyed reading about it. I plan to keep blogging, if only for myself, as I like having this online journal of my creative endeavours. To be continued!

Monday, 17 April 2017


Another pair of fingerless gloves finished! These are for me - I get really cold hands when I'm sitting still and working on a computer, so needed a pair to use at work. The owl gloves I made last year are very cute but a bit too bright for the office, so I decided to use the black yarn that was left over from the Dalek gloves to knit a new pair. I started on Friday and my goal was to finish them before the end of the Easter long weekend - which I did! The pattern, by Teresa Cole, is called 'crazy, beautiful mittens', you can buy it here.

The Sydney Temperature Scarf is growing - the first three months of 2017 are now done. I think it's going to be a very orange scarf as most days the temperature is between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius!

I've also made a new pair of felted slippers - the pair I made in July 2016 was quite worn out, and they are so comfy!

And finally, today I achieved another goal - something completely different. In October last year I started running, as a way to deal with the stress of having to move twice in a short time - first in Brisbane, and six weeks later from Brisbane to Sydney. My goal when I started was to be able to run five kilometres (approx. 3.1 miles) - and today I did it!

It took more than six months as I struggled with various injuries (Achilles tendinitis, shin splint, adductor issues), but in the end I got there! I felt so happy and proud this afternoon - and as I walked home the universe rewarded me with this gorgeous sunset:


Monday, 10 April 2017

Dragon Paws and gymnastics

It's been more than three weeks since I last posted here - my new job has taken up a lot of my time and most of my energy! I haven't done any sewing or quilting during this time, but I have knitted something: these Dragon's Paws Gloves for my dragon-loving middle son (pattern by Holly Stone available on Ravelry). They're not very warm but should be sufficient for a Sydney winter.

Yesterday my eldest son competed in the New South Wales State Championships and, just like last year in Queensland, became the State Champion on pommel horse in his age level (8 Under 14)!

He also won silver on parallel bars, bronze on rings and vault, and came second overall. In May he will represent New South Wales at the National Championships - we're both looking forward to another trip to Melbourne, and to seeing our gymnastics friends from Queensland there again!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

T-shirt yarn project finished... at last!

Finally! The t-shirt yarn project I started back in July is finished!

I found the pattern for the cabled cushion cover on a Dutch blog and used yarn made from old white t-shirts to knit the first piece, on the left in the photo above (click here for my tutorial on how to make continuous t-shirt yarn). I had so much trouble finding more white t-shirts that in the end I just bought some white t-shirt fabric (single-knit jersey) and cut it up to make more yarn. Unfortunately this turned out to be much thicker, so I adjusted the pattern and made the second piece.

The second side looks to be much smaller than the first, but of course t-shirt yarn is very stretchy, so I had no problem sewing them together to make the cover:

Very happy with the result - and very happy that it is finished. Knitting with t-shirt yarn is hard work!