Monday, March 31, 2008

Sashiko Clothing

My love affair with Sashiko has extended into wearables done in the decorative stitch (ironically where the quilting style originally came from). I have found some examples I have completed that I wanted to share. For the vest, the pattern is a commercial pattern available from Perpetual Patterns. The main panels are Sashiko stitched cotton. The rest is a variety of Japanese print cotton fabrics.

The belt is again 100% dark blue cotton fabric, fully lined on the same colour. The pattern is one I found in an Australian Stitches magazine.

The shorts are linen from my own pattern.

You can see a little or a lot of sashiko can make an exciting addition to wearables.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Pixie Pockets

Phew, I have just finished my new pixie pockets and I am really pleased with the result. I think they look cute and are kind of fun.

The pockets are inspired by the pixie Tinkerbell in Peter Pan. My daughter has been driving us mad recently watching the Disney movie of Peter Pan over and over. I have to say I have seen it so much now, I am hoping that Captain Hook finally gets that pesky Pan. But that problem aside, Tink has inspired me to create little bags.

The pocket shape is based on Macadamia nuts (also known as Queensland nuts). The fabric of choice is felt in a variety of bright colours with running stitch embroidery on some edges. I have decorated them with felt flowers and buttons. The rope handles are finished with ribbon on the ends .

The pockets are petite and even kid sized. I can imagine filling them with Easter eggs in an Easter egg hunt, or with a special gift or chocolate to give to someone special. You could even fill them with lavender or pot pouri and hang them on the wall for a splash of colour and scent. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Orange Sashiko Place Mats

This set of four place mats has been hand stitched with a sashiko pattern. Sashiko stitching is traditional Japanese country quilting. The tradition of sashiko is from northern rural Japan where originally the stitches were used to join fabrics together to mke clothing warmer and strong. Nowadays sashiko stitching is for decoration and there are literally hundreds of wonderful patterns. The running stitch forms exciting geometrics, motifs and even pictures. The designs are hand stitched onto 100% cotton fabric normally with a running stitch to create the delicate and eye catching pattern. I fell in love with sashiko some years ago and got hooked on the elegant smoothness of the embroidery action. As a craft that is easy to carry places and do a little of in your spare time. My favourite is sitting in the botanical gardens at lunch time and stitching for a work time out. These orange place mats are not a traditional sashiko surface. I found them in a charity store and knew they needed to be reborn. I drew up the pattern on the place mat surface using a stencil and chalk duster. I have used blue and ivory embroidery thread to complete the patterns on each place mat. To complete each of the place mats, I have appliqued small shapes of Shibori (Japanese dyed) fabric. The result modern decore from seventies leftovers and centuries old craft.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Work Tote Bag

I created for myself this tote to carry to work because I wanted a unique and useful bag that could fit all my work supplies: umbrella, lunch, book to read, train ticket and about a million tissues. I wanted to use my favourite colours: the earthy reds and greeny blues.

I also wanted to include a signature face. The face is actually really challenging to develop in your craft. I wanted a face that was simple, but attractive, repeatable but capable to be made individual to each character, and pleasant but expressive. I think I have achieved this. I decided on felt for the fabric as felt gives such a smooth surface and neat edge. The eyes and nose are black for simplicity but there is a twinkle of ivory in the eyes. The eyes are large and almond shaped with simple lashes. The nose is as minimal as possible but gives the face perspective. The mouth is ruby and just two shaped lines. The face shape is a heart.

Developing the face took a lot of practice but once it appears you just fall in love. I hope to continue my love affair with this face over many craft projects to come.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sashiko Squares Tote Bag

"I need more bookshelves to store my craft magazines", says I. "Can you make me one?", I ask my dad.
"Why don't you just get rid of the old magazines?" he replies, and therein we come to the problem.

The world is divided into people who hoard and people who cull. I am one and my dad falls into the second group. They just don't understand.

I am an avid craft magazine collector. I want the whole collection of Handmade Magazine, Homespun Magazine, Threads Magazine, Country Patchwork and Stitching Magazine, Country Craft and Decorating Magazine, Country Threads, and the list goes on, and on, and on...

I am constantly searching for missing back issues at op shops and at the fabulous Lifeline Bookfest held a couple of times each year. I love reading and rereading them. I am constantly finding new and different ways to appreciate each issue and as my craft evolves so the magazines continue to give me more. This means that getting rid of so called old magazines just won't work.
How does this relate to my Sashiko Squares Tote Bag I hear you ask. Well, I am very pleased with how this bag has turned out and wanted to share it with you but I wanted to recognise the work of the designer and the source of the inspiration.

The Sashiko Squares Tote Bag is adapted from a design by Yvonne Reid that appeared in Handmade Magazine a few years ago. The design originally called for country fabric squares quilted and joined to form the tote. I decided to use a collection of Sashiko (or Japanese country quilting) designs I had embroidered some time ago with some scraps of blue and red Japanese craft prints. I changed the handles. The bag now I think is fab, and I have an excuse to look through my craft mags on the weekend (to try and find the reference). Well done me!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ruby Cord Tote Bag

I hate the way society today is all about consumerism and throwing things away before the end of their useful life. One of my goals with crafting items is to re purpose unwanted goods. This is a goal I put into action recently when I received some of my Grandfathers old shirts.

After my Granddad passed away my Gran tried to give away his best shirts to male family members and friends. But people are a little funny about wearing passed along clothes I guess and so she had no takers. Rather than just sending them to a charity shop I took the shirts with the intention of breathing some newlife into them.

I made my Gran a remembrance cushion, my daughter a tooth fairy cushion, a collection of chenilled hearts to fill with lavender and hang, and then I came to the ruby cord shirt. It was in the best tradition of a night at the line dancing with all the trimmings and I loved the thought of turning a blokey thing into an oh so girly item.

And so the Ruby Cord Tote Bag was born. I used some of the cord shirt for the tote back and half of the front, and the straps. I lined the tote with red homespun and for the other half of the front I had an idea of some redwork style stitchery. There was a gorgeous stitchery ( in blue on a cushion) from Country Patchwork and Craft Vol 4 No 4 by Helen Stubbings featuring a smiling fairy. I just knew it would be at home on the bag front. I completed the front panel with an inserted strip of red felt and some buttons I got in a bottle from a second hand store. I added a frill on the bag top in the red homespun. I was almost finished but I felt the bag front was still a little naked. Question: so what does every really girly bag need? Answer: A giant fake flower, naturally! This I created out of some petals cut from the beloved shirt, and joined back and front with a yoyo, and then the cherry on top ... another button.

I hope you like the result as much as I do, especially when I know I have got something of my Grandfather with me when I go out, and I haven't added to landfill!

Hello and Welcome

Don't you just wish there was more time and less things in the road for you to create wonderful works of crafted art? I know I do! On this scary new technological space (for a newby like me anyway), I want to talk about my crafts, where they evolved from, why they are made, and other nonsensical ravings. Aren't you just craving to read more?