Saturday, 30 December 2017

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Oh wait that was last weekend, now it is feeling a lot more like new year.

This year Christmas day was really hot in the mid 30s °C. Not the sort of weather for roast turkey and all the trimmings. Instead we had a lovely baked salmon a much appreciated Christmas present from a fisherman friend. For the first time in ages we had Christmas pudding served with fancy custard (creme anglais).

Anyhow here are a few bits and bobs of Christmas nonsense. Or keeping in the spirit of song titles - a long and winding road to nowhere.

Christmas Chocolate Sock 2017

Creates Sew Slow: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

For 2017 it was a hexagonal Christmas bauble - this wasn't my original plan but I needed something quick.  I felt that production was way down on last year with only 114 baubles and ten snowmen made. (The snowmen were already half done - drawn on the fabric last year just never sewn together.) But when I checked the numbers are about the same with 130 snowmen made in 2016.

The production run was smooth and easy but did involve cutting out 228 hexagons from the outer Christmas fabrics and the same number from the lining fabric, together with 114 little rectangles of grey felt for the bauble hanger and 114 pieces of ribbon so they can be hung on the tree. Then they were chain pieced along the opening edge - one outer fabric matched to one lining fabric.  Half of them had the grey felt and ribbon inserted along this seam. Next the two hexagons are opened out and a pair with the grey felt and ribbon are matched to a pair without, right sides together. The two sets of hexagons are then sewn together with a 1/4" seam  - leaving a small opening in the lining.  Lastly (for the hexagon part) they are turned right side out through the small gap left in the lining fabric all ready to have the chocolates added.

The other part of production is to machine embroider everyone's name onto felt, cut it out using pinking shears and sew it to the bauble.

As I spend most of my week in Wellington these days and driving around Christchurch city centre is an exercise in raised blood pressure, due to the continuing post earthquake reconstruction, the chocolates this year came from Schoc.  These chocolates not only taste good but look amazing. The staff at Shoc in central Wellington made up my little cellophane bags of chocolates during their quieter moments.

Creates Sew Slow: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
Chain piecing Christmas baubles in the hotel room
Creates Sew Slow: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
Christmas baubles ready to start their overseas journey
Creates Sew Slow: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
Snowmen adorning a friend's Christmas tree - can you spot all four?

Bath robe alterations

The offcuts
Wouldn't it be nice to have a new bath robe for Christmas given the one currently used has been in existence for our entire relationship (26 years). It took ages to find a towelling one in an inoffensive colour. Grey is too drab and none of the fancy modern fabrics used for bath robes are acceptable - this was discovered as a result of extensive research earlier in the year. Anyway mission accomplished only it is too long and the sleeves are too wide - sigh. Post Christmas alterations: to remove 7" from the bottom and top stitch every 3/8 inch to get the same looking hem as the original; narrow the sleeves by 2" at the cuff and blend back in to the original at the underarm. The sleeves are also a little bit too long but because of the top stitched cuff I would have to remove the length at the armhole edge - not going to happen. Well not unless he complains very long and loudly, after the trauma of new clothes has worn off.  And I bought a bath robe when I can sew because?!

Oh and just in case I get bored there are three pairs of trousers to shorten and maybe taper the leg.  Will have to wait and see how wide they look when they are the right length.

Car cover undone

In a Christmas fit of sew-it-yourself enthusiasm I decided to make a car cover for my beloved's toy car.  So called because it spends most of its life in the garage being tinkered with. It is not a big car so how hard could it be - well after measuring the car roughly (5.5 metres long x 3.7 metres wide allowing a metre drop on both sides) it is a lot bigger than I thought. Which has meant that instead of it being a surprise present I am awaiting the convenience of my beloved to help me make the car cover pattern. He is much better at measurements and dimensional things than I am.  But I have bought the fabric, all 21 metres of it, plus a feature fabric to create a racing stripe down the middle!  Think I will need 17 metres but decided to buy the whole roll to allow a bit of room for error.

Christmas Advent calendar...the beginning

There is something about the Christmas holidays that gets me working on projects for Christmas future. This year I purchased a whisky advent calendar (24 x 30ml bottles of Scotch) and we have kept the bottles.  This encouraged me to think about actually making the advent stockings which have been carefully maturing in the stash for a couple of years.

Stocking outer front and back, plus lining waiting to be sewn
I even found a pattern for an advent Christmas tree by Anni Downs of Hatched and Patched.  Mine will be a lot more Scandinavian than country Christmas - starting by replacing the round baubles with my advent stockings...and it will be finished in time for next Christmas. Hmm wonder if that will in fact be true.

Creates Sew Slow: Season's Greetings by Anni Downs

Machine embroidery for Lee Magentic Needle Box

Creates Sew Slow: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
The original much loved magnetic needle box 
My friend Cath many years ago gave me a magnetic needle box and it is a wonderful thing.  It has journeyed many miles around the world and is starting to resemble a life well lived. It has also started leaving tiny bits of red pleather on the clothes in my overnight bag. So I have been thinking about making myself a new one. I just wasn't sure how I was going to replicate the magnetic lid and base.

A magazine article fortuitously brought to my attention the leather magnetic needle box by Lee, which Father Christmas kindly left under the tree for me. It has a small hole in the lid for personalisation, with the insertion of a 3" round piece of needlepoint. I decided to do a machine embroidered initial on green mulberry paper vliesofixed to cotton duck for extra strength.

Creates Sew Slow: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
This picture is the truest colour representation

Creates Sew Slow: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Creates Sew Slow: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

My new needle box is slightly larger than the old so should be very useful and we will hopefully travel many miles together.  I have to confess Cath that I have now thrown away the red one you gave me.  I nearly kept it for sentimental reasons but don't want to become one of those hoarders featured on television!!

I have read a review for the Lee Magnetic Needle Box and it was pretty ho hum about the product, with the reviewer feeling the finished item would be of limited use but good for decorative purposes.  She also found it difficult to insert her needlepoint.  Now I have to confess that I didn't remove the paper covering the sticky circle so my initial does move slightly in the lid and my insert is probably not as thick as a piece of needlepoint but I had no trouble inserting my initial (and taking it out again when I realised it was upside down).  I am still debating putting a circle of fusible quilt batting on the back to raise the embroidery slightly.

If I ever finish my tiny houses hussif it will match the colours of my new needle box perfectly. These paper pieced tiny houses will be appliqued onto a piece of linen, and combined somehow with two fabrics from the Road 15 range by Sweetwater Fabrics for Moda.
Creates Sew Slow: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
Tiny houses in progress (since 2014)

Creates Sew Slow: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Creates Sew Slow: Road 15 by Sweetwater Fabrics for Moda
Road 15 by Sweetwater Fabrics for Moda c.2013
And rather aptly there endeth the long and winding road to nowhere. And lucky me these two songs are now running around in my head having supplanted the beginning Christmas tune.

1 comment:

  1. It amazes me how you manage to get so many "socks" made each year in time for Christmas. I always have good intentions but life accelerates in the run up to Christmas. Perhaps starting in January would help! Well done on the bathrobe alteration - towelling sound like a very fussy fabric to work on. The car cover is going to be a big project - manipulating that amount of fabric is going to be like a trip to gym. I like the look of your new magnetic needle case. Mine is going the same way as yours but I can't bear to let it go at the moment because it's perfect for beading projects. I am not offended you've thrown away the original - that's a lesson I need to learn :-)