I set aside some time this year to make a few Christmas gifts for family and friends. Here are some of the things I've made for people who (I'm pretty sure) don't read my blog.
Both Tom and I come from quite large families and both sets do a kind of 'secret santa' present arrangement where everyone draws one name and buys a gift for that person at Christmas. But I like to give small handmade things to other family members if I can because it's fun and I love present making and wrapping. Though of course I completely understand that many of us would rather not be hanging around the sewing machine and ironing board right now!
Anyway, this year I made quite a few 'project bags' for the crafty people in my life, but also for the kids' school and music teachers. The one in the first photo above was made with beautiful sturdy linen with a painterly print designed by the Rifle Paper Company. You can see more of their fabrics here. I saved a bit of the 'birch floral' to make a knitting case for myself in the new year. :)
The little booties were knit up in green alpaca yarn, along with a few other things, for a friend having a baby soon. The pattern is called 'Hodge' and is a free one on Ravelry - I was really impressed with the clever design. The cuff of each slipper folds over and underneath is a tighter ribbed section to help keep them snug around a baby's ankle.
I had quite a bit of dried lavender from Marlborough and used it to make some sets of lavender sachets. In the photo above you can see some made from vintage linen with finely-worked cross-stitch - for an aunt who loves daffodils.
And I had some beautiful Liberty Tana lawn that I felt must become pillowcases - I made them from this pattern. The Liberty design is called 'Daniel DJ' which is a bit of a strange name but it features suns and clouds in grey and pale red and has an old-fashioned illustration feel I think.
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And while I've been working away, I've been listening to this album which I think is my making-music of the moment: Malibuby Anderson Paak.
Hope you are enjoying this time of year too! What are you working on?
Here are a few snaps from the last few days. I finally finished work for the year and we've had a few end-of-year gatherings and friend meet-ups which is always good for the heart.
I made a new top for summer, using this pattern (the simplest version of it - with a straight hem and no pockets or anything) and some vintage fabric I found last year at Fabricabrac. It's a drapey sort of cotton with a dusky-pink floral print that reminds me of my grandmother. I don't usually wear pink, but I can make an exception for this print I think.
Due to the amount of fabric I had, the top is quite short in length but I think it will be good to wear over summer dresses as a loose, drapey layer.
I also used up some scraps of cotton in green and pink to make the garland you can see in the second photo above. It's a little present for my niece's bedroom, but I had to test it out in our courtyard first.
Also needing testing: Keira's batch of dark-chocolate-dipped strawberries made for a party. Is there anything nicer to eat at this time of year? She ran out of strawberries so also dipped the segments from five mandarins.
I haven't got much to show in the way of finished projects this week - I have been working away on things but most of them are intended as Christmas gifts.
I did however find this glorious old cake platter in the op-shop next door to my workplace, and had to make a chocolate cake to place on it when I got home.
The cake is just a plain recipe but two-layers sandwiched together with berries and cream in the middle, and the plate is marked 'Lord Nelson Pottery' on the back and has gold leaves printed around the edge.
Another very good thing is that there is a tangle of sweet peas in the garden at the moment - self seeded from last year, so effort-free as well.
I drew a winner for the Extra Curriculargiveaway - and that person was Cécile - hooray! I'll be in touch with you soon, C. Thanks everyone for entering.
We have some brand new poppies in our garden. They've been trying to open for weeks, and then this week they suddenly came out - looking very beautiful like Spanish dancing dresses with lots of ruffles.
These poppies are extra special because they grew from a handful of seeds a friend gave me at the end of last summer. After I planted the seeds, nothing at all happened until a few months ago when these glorious poppies started gaining in strength.
I did some more miniature embroidery work to celebrate.
The lovely little magazine Extra Curricular is coming to an end after 20 issues.
My friend Ellie has been making Extra Curricular since the beginning, and every beautifully-designed issue has featured Antipodean artists and their work, as well as recipes, tutorials and interesting thoughts.
I was thrilled to contribute several times over the years - including a tutorial for a Christmas wreath and a sleeping mask, and a few other things.
For this issue, I designed and made a 'campsite flag' and you can read more about this in the magazine. Hand-embroidered and appliqued onto linen, the idea is that the flags can be customised to different families and places, and used as an indoor wall-hanging or outside to mark a spot.
I finally finished knitting Tom's socks. I really enjoyed making them, and I think that was due to the beautiful yarn ('Jetsam Sock') from Dark Harbour Yarns, and the pattern, which I think is a good basic one if you're starting out knitting socks.
Because i wanted to make the largest size, I used a contrast colour for the heel and toe to ensure I had enough yarn, and I really like the way they turned out. You can find a link to the free pattern and the yarns I used here on my Ravelry page.
Tom's a brilliant person to knit for as he's always enthusiastic about the finished piece, and interested in the process as it's being made. Due to my very slow knitting, I'm yet to be brave enough to knit him a pullover though - maybe next year!
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I've recently discovered BBC Desert Island Discs, and if you click on the archive you can listen to chats and music choices with all sorts of interesting people - from Yotam Ottolenghi to Gloria Steinem. The interviews make excellent knitting-listening, too.
Thank you for your comments on my last post - it's fun to host a quick weekend giveaway!
I drew three winners randomly - Lori, Kirsten, and Emily. I'll be in touch with you soon to find addresses, etc.
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This afternoon Tom found these wild rambling roses peeking out from the top of a hedge in our garden, and got many scratches on his hands while cutting some for our bedroom. They're very scraggly but also creamy and beautiful.
Inspired by those and other floral offerings in our windswept garden, I've been working on some embroidered pins - the stitches are extremely small but I do rather enjoy working in miniature. I've set some aside for Christmas gifts and the others are in my etsy shop.
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Thank you for dropping by here at my blog, and for your interest in my work. I really appreciate your company.
My brother-in-law Nick publishes a small quarterly journal called Watercoloured in which he collects together photography, poetry and writing about art and political ideas. You can read the journals on the website.
I've contributed a few things in the past, but included in the most recent issue is an interview I did with a local textile artist, Annie Mackenzie, who had an exhibition at Enjoy Gallery recently.
Nick's given me a few extra copies of this issue, and I thought it would be nice to send them out into the world so I'm hosting a little giveaway over the weekend.
I've wrapped them up with some mixed card sets (a bit like these) and a small watercolour painting in each package. Just leave a comment below if you'd like to enter the giveaway for one of 3 parcels (I can send to anywhere in the world).