a little help from my friend Bashful.

Pet Rock Bashful helping with sewing.
Some of you might find it hard to believe but I have had a pet rock from Georgia, America helping me these last few days! I have had a lot of work on for Creating a Welcome and my anipal mini me page. This little rock has had many adventures all over the world and you can read about them here. He belongs to a little piggie called Bacon. 

Bashful In his traveling box.
Bashful arrived a few days after his birthday in a box filled with human and anipal treats. Bashful didn’t mind having his birthday in transit with aussiepost and has made up for it by having many treats and games here.

Jack, Tricky and Bashful enjoy a game of "squirrel"
It isn’t all work here at gentlestitches, here Jack, Tricky and Bashful play tug o war with the new squirrel toy Bashful gave them.  Jack and Bashful take the squirrel and play keeping’s off from Tricky but tricky has a plan…….

Jack and Bashful play keeping off from Tricky

it has been a long day and this has been a long post but the fun with Bashful has really just began. He is going to a sleepover party with a group of teenagers tomorrow night. I can only hope they behave themselves. Bashful is tired now and I have owls to sew so shhhhh!!!! Good night Bashful.  Tomorrow we will start having a look around this amazing place called Westgarth, Northcote, Melbourne, Australia!!! The fun is just beginning.

Jack and bashful go to sleep

pattern of the season.

crochet amigurumi crochet mice with beginning of knitted hat.

Every now and then a very special  amigurumi pattern comes along! I give you Jenette from Green Dragonfly’s, SQUEAKERS! Tiny Crochet Mouse Tutorial! As an amigurumi designer  myself, I can appreciate the excellent qualities of this pattern.  I could not resist immediately whipping up a few of these mice designed by Jenette. The pattern is fabulous and guess what? Hardly any sewing!  I have a few children I will be making them for and they also make great Christmas decorations. tiny crochet mice in Christmas hat.The pattern for the mouse hat can be found here, and is also from Green Dragonfly but I used a modified version of Anna Branford’s “How to knit a tiny gnome hat.”  I will post the little Christmas hat pattern eventually, but meanwhile enjoy the mousies.crochet amigurumi crochet mice with beginning of knitted hat.
They are brilliant, quick and easy and did I mention hardly any sewing?I predict this pattern will be as big as Janette’s  “ nibble nibble hop hop pattern which came out at Easter time and is such a lovely bunny pattern.
back view of tiny crochet mouse with small knitting needles.
Back view of tiny mouse crochet with DK yarn and a 3.5 mm crochet hook. The other mouse was a very fine sock yarn and 2.5mm hook. The great thing about this pattern is that it is versatile and works out regardless of yarn and hook size.

What can you make with a….polka dot sunfrock?

This post is inspired by my blogging friend Katherine who has a “what can you make with a?” series in her blog PILLOWS A-LA-MODE. Katherine takes a piece of fabric or a item of clothing and turns it into something else. When I first started following this series I thought the articles made interesting reading but I soon realized there was more to it than that. It is about rethinking, using imagination and upcycling at it’s finest. I have been taking Katherine’s lead for some time now and my other post using her idea is here.

This lovely piece of red and white polka dot was once a sunfrock.

items made with recycled polka dot sunfrock

Crochet detail of phone cover and dog Tricky

Now it is a smarty pants mobile phone holder with a waist band suitable for listening to downloadable audio library books while one does chores or walking. Note the cotton crochet ruffle around the top for extra decoration. It has also become several bookmarks, one is in the photo and because we are talking about Katherine, a small doll’s pillow.   but wait, there’s more!

sock monkeys

sock monkey Ella

 

Ella the sock monkey’s lovely frock, also came from this material.      

The young people and I have been promising ourselves we will make a baby sock monkey. I have kept aside a tiny piece of this material in case it is a girl and needs a polka dot sunfrock!

gentlestitches in Singapore.

My friend just returned from  Singapore for a short holiday. This was pretty exciting considering it was the first time she had left her three teen and almost teen children and the first time she had been out of Australia.  I wanted to give her something to take with her that would be practical, beautiful and remind her of home. I had purchased a beautiful jacket from a thrift shop which when I got home, was in terrible disrepair and had been eaten up by moths. Immediately I thought of the what can you make with? series by PILLOWS A LA MODE I never would have thought of it until I saw the what can you make with series so I decided to make my friend a wrist or ankle purse out of the jacket. Don’t you love the internet for idea sharing?

Jacketpinning and cutting.
ironing

very careful ironing.wrist purse the finished product on wrist.pancakesposing with Singapore currency and something only available at home, (home cooking) by my friends lovely, eldest and fabulous cook, daughter!

and that’s how gentlestitches ended up in Singapore! Thank Katherine! and PILLOWS A LA MODE!

When blocking isn’t an option

rugThere comes a time in all craftivists lives when they realize “blocking isn’t going to do it” The choices are (a) leave or (b) pull out and sew together again. I chose option B. Even my pin cushion looks cross.  I will post the finished project and hopefully P. Cushion will be in a better frame of mind. We are still a bit crook over here to be honest.   Mortality can really slow one down.  :-)

A keeper

laptop

Recently I re blogged a post sent to me by my Aunt Joy about “keepers” With this sentiment in mind I noticed a problem with my laptop cover.  It comes from a shop at the end of my street in Sunny Westgarth, Northcote. It is a gorgeous thing of practical, durable beauty and although Catherine Manuell is famous for after sales service I thought it would be pushing the friendship considering it was years (and a few more) past it’s warranty.

 On inspection the zip wasn’t broken as it first appeared but rather the material around the zip had come away from the material it had been sewn onto.corner Putting in a new zip is a bit hard even for an expert but hand sewing a small area(4cms or 1.5 inches) is quite doable.  I used upholstery thread rather than regular thread and I strongly recommend you have some living in your tool box.

Thread

Upholstery thread is available in most sewing or craft supply shops and is super strong and durable. I very carefully and with good light  followed the track of stitches and was rewarded with a working zipper!working zipper

My joy was short-lived however when I checked the other corner and found it was in a more subtle variation of its neighbor. Yes it was coming adrift there too! Back to the drawing board. Another round of gentle but firm stitches and we have a fully functioning very smart laptop cover.case

 

 

 

 

Here is a picture of it at work.  Well if  you count watching a DVD work. LOL.

Tricky looks on

 

Remember “mending is better than ending!”

Monkeys at the beach.

Sock monkey and the baby socks destined to become his little  brother. We are in Barwon Heads enjoying the sun and surf. The children get to escape the “helicopter parent” (me) and bike ride, climb trees and walk about on their own.  OK I admit it, I still fret but I leave them to it. When they return it is time to make things and sometimes they put on a play for us. This holidays we are making baby sock monkeys using what else? Baby socks. I will post the end result but meanwhile enjoy these originals.            sock monkeys

 What do you do when you go on holidays with children at the beach? You finish your craft projects of course and start new ones

The children are seen here working on their sock monkeys. How adorable is the pink monkey with red hair? If you want to know more about how to make a sock monkey click here.                                                                          The first stop is to Ocean Grove sewing centre. Shop 2, Park Lane, Ocean Grove. Victoria. It is a small shop with a lot to offer. I was directed to this shop by a friend and from someone who lives in inner Melbourne, I was amazed at the variety of goods on offer. Another really interesting thing about this shop is that you can purchase items one at a time and not a bag of 20 when you only wanted 3. Ocean Grove Sewing Centre gets a big gentlestitchetick of approval for this example of sustainability . 
The children finished the monkeys.

 

and then dressed them with items from the Barwon Heads All Saints opp shop before sending them outside to play.   

 

Wow! The view from here is amazing!

Then time for a rest!

 

 

 

Time to finish it all off with tea and homemade rock cakes. Yum! Love holidays.