Archive for the ‘Craft/sewing’ Category

Tap, tap… is this thing still on?

January 23, 2017

I haven’t posted here for a long time for lots of reasons. For some of those reasons, I think I will now use this blog mostly to write about my craft projects. Posts will probably be quite sporadic, and I make no guarantees!

I have just finished my first project for 2017. I started crocheting a Lorenz Manifold in September 2016, after hearing Dr Hinke Osinga talk about it at the MathsCraft Festival in Auckland. I worked at it fairly steadily for quite a while, then needed to take a break to finish a blanket I wanted to give as a Christmas gift. But I picked it up again, and over the long Wellington Anniversary Weekend I’ve made a push to get the last three rounds (3,200 stitches) completed.

Lorenz Manifold, unmounted

Lorenz Manifold, unmounted

I’m not 100% certain that I’ve marked out the wire guides correctly (you can see them as yellow lines), so I need to check those before I go any further. I’ve sewn in and trimmed all the ends, so it’s ready to go. I’ll post photos of the wired-up final final final product when it’s done!


Crafty Babess

October 30, 2012

Babess’ asthma is playing up at the moment, and she was too wheezy to go to daycare today so we had a day together.  It was a gloriously sunny day, and I had to spend the morning in another village – mostly waiting around.  It was not at all onerous, given the weather.  We pottered around together, inspecting cafes and the library and the garden centre.

We stopped for morning tea at the cafe inside the garden centre, and I pulled out my latest crochet project while I had my cup of tea.  Babess finished her fluffy and tiny cupcake well before I was done, of course, and started fidgeting and asking to leave to find a playground.  Just because she can’t breathe very well is no reason to stop running around, in her book.

“How would you like to do some crochet too?” I asked.

“Oooh yes!” she does like to be grown-up, and I am working with lovely bright colours she finds very appealing at the moment.  I gave her a large hook and a length of my yarn, and showed her how to make a chain.

She struggled with it, as I had expected, but persevered for a while.  Then she decided to cut off a shorter length.  She spent the next twenty minutes or so “measuring” yarn, wrapping and unwrapping it around her hook, tying knots in it, and cutting it into little pieces.  Every so often I’d give her a length of a different colour.

I got to finish my tea and my afghan block, and she had a great time.  I might have to get her a ball of yarn of her own soon, lest she cut all my stash into 1-inch lengths!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Dinosaur hat!

June 19, 2012

I’m pretty pleased with this, given that I didn’t really have a pattern and just made it up as I went along.  More importantly, though, Fainjin is very pleased indeed.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


June 14, 2012

Brrr!  We’ve had a definite change in the weather lately, and a nasty cold snap this week.  I have been crocheting hats – pretty shell-stitch ones for the girls in shades of pink and green, and a quick-but-warm one for myself.

As I worked on the flower to adorn Babess’ hat, I asked Fainjin whether he would like me to make him a hat, too.

“Yes!” he agreed, then looked at what I was doing. “But not a pink one.  And no flowers.”

Fair enough.  It’s a few years since he asked me to make him a pretty dress, after all.  “What colour hat would you like, Fainjin?”

“I want a dinosaur hat!  With spikes!”

Ummm.  OK, then.  This is no time to ruin the illusion that Mummy can do anything.  We had a look on the internet, and he decided he wants one like this – only bigger, obviously, since that’s a newborn hat.  We discussed the merits of “googly eyes” and he eventually decided he doesn’t want his dinosaur hat to have eyes.

There was a yarn sale at my favourite shop today, so I bought several balls of dinosaur-coloured yarn, and I have cobbled together a sort-of pattern from bits and pieces of other patterns, as is my wont.  Mostly I’m making it up as I go along.

When I’m done with that, Babess would like some gloves…

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


February 12, 2012

It was our annual village summer festival market day today, and Pearl joined a couple of her friends in setting up a stall.

Pearl at her stall

For the past couple of weeks we have been hard at work making felt badges for her to sell.  She has spent her evenings designing them, cutting out felt and applying glitter glue, and I have done lots of hot glueing.

This morning we went down to the park and helped set up, then she spent most of the next six hours attending the stall.  It was a long, hot, thirsty day.  She sold just under 20 badges.  A portion of her proceeds will go to the SPCA, and 50% to the Relay for Life as well.  (She didn’t sell enough to cover the costs of making them all, but since it’s for charity I will donate the materials).

I think she is quite disappointed she didn’t manage to sell more and raise more money – it was a lot of work and a very long day for relatively little return – but hopefully we will be able to sell more badges elsewhere (let me know if you want one!).  She has learnt that fundraising can be hard work, but also a bit about handling money and customers, keeping track of sales, and taking pride in your work.



© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Pearl’s creations

January 28, 2012

Here is Pearl’s handiwork from the craft classes the other day.  She was keen to do some more crochet, so took her (my!) hook and yarn along.  The flowers are made of loops of chain stitch.  She has also made a necklace and some bracelets.

The two “rose” brooches are made by folding circles of fabric into quarters and sewing them together.

She had a great day, and has since been busy making necklaces and bracelets for all her friends!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Fainjin’s badges

January 27, 2012

Fainjin and Pearl went to a badge-making and sewing class today.  Here are Fainjin’s efforts.  I’m told the dinosaurs are a tyrannosaurus rex and a brachiosaurus, but I have to confess I’m not sure which is which.

The two fire-engines are incredibly cute, and the bee on the flower was made especially for Babess, who was delighted and honoured and insisted on wearing it for the rest of the day.

At the top of the picture you can just see the edge of the “glasses case” (drawstring bag) that he did in the sewing class in the afternoon.  He was a bit worried about the sewing – this morning he said to me, “But Mummy, my stitches are all too big…”.  However, he has done really well, and I don’t think his stitches are big at all!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Crochet lessons

January 9, 2012

I had been thinking of teaching Pearl, and possibly Fainjin, to crochet these school holidays.  They both seemed interested, and I thought it might be a fun thing to do one wet afternoon.

I hadn’t quite got around to it, but Pearl beat me to it.  She has obviously reached her limit when it comes to doing “nothing much” – or nothing much that requires actual thinking.  She had been reading a lot, and playing with her siblings, but in the last few days she has dusted off the Latin books and busied herself with translating some texts, and started asking me to teach her to crochet.

I started her off yesterday evening with a simple chain, using my largest hook and some bulky wool, and she chain-stitched away, unpicking it and starting over several times until it was even and a good tension.  She was very pleased to realise she could crochet and watch tv at the same time!

Soon enough I was able to show her a single-crochet stitch (or maybe double crochet, I use so many American patterns I forget which name is American and which the rest of the world uses!).  Today she practised more chains, over and over, then did several rows of single crochet.  Her little ball of wool is starting to get quite fuzzy from being re-crocheted all the time.  I’ll have to find her some more out of my stash.

At the rate she’s going, she may well have made herself a blanket by the time school goes back!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

What can we doooo?

January 4, 2012

It’s dawning on me that I’m not very well-prepared for these school holidays.  Not that I like to have every minute of every holiday planned – and I think it’s actually quite good for children to be “bored” and have to decide what to do about it – but it’s nice to have some idea of things to keep everyone occupied at least some of the time.

We had planned a trip away for a few days, but The Dad’s broken elbow has scotched that idea.  I can’t use that as an excuse, though, because we weren’t even leaving for another week!

So far there has been a lot of playing with new toys – Christmas and birthday presents both – and a reasonable amount of writing thank-you letters, under surprisingly little duress.  But there are mutterings in the ranks, and Fainjin is even claiming to be tired of Lego (gasp!).  I guess that’s what you get, if you play with it every day for 10 days from 6am until 7pm with few breaks.

Today we went on a family bus trip into town to run some errands, which the children found mildly diverting.  Tomorrow I have promised a trip to the library to stock up on books.  It’s meant to be nice weather, but windy.  If it’s not too bad we might take the new bikes and scooters down to the beach for a bit.  If we get a really nice day we might take the bikes and scooters around the coast to the next village.

Pearl wants to play with her paint-by-numbers kit and make a quilt, but I’ve suggested we wait until next week, when Babess is back at daycare and I’ll only have to keep Fainjin out of her way while she works.  Perhaps I can interest Fainjin in making a quilt too…

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

We’re doing maths!

December 31, 2011

About a year ago, a lovely friend came to visit from overseas.  Before she left, she gave me a bag of mosaic and craft kits for the children, to be given to them at an opportune time.

I thanked her, and tucked them away “for a rainy day”.  And there they stayed.

Yesterday was very rainy. The children played with toys in the morning, and we ventured out in the wet to the local cinema in the afternoon.

Today was, if anything, even more rainy.  Cabin fever was setting in.  I cleared the kitchen table and called the children to sit down.  They were pleasingly mystified, then delighted when they saw what I had for them.

Fainjin’s set was five mosaics – a rocket, a plane, a boat, a helicopter, and a train.  He had foam shapes to stick all over them.

Pearl had a “decorate-your-own” tote bag kit, with felt stickers to make her own design.

Babess had a sparkly bunny mosaic.  Hers was a paint-by-numbers type (or stick-by-numbers, I suppose), so she needed quite a bit of help with it.  Pearl was more than happy to help her.

They all settled down for about two hours, sticking and chatting.  Fainjin particularly liked naming the colours and shapes, and pointing out the patterns in his pictures.  I told him that “patterns are maths”.

“Hey Daddy!” he crowed, “We’re doing maths!”

He finished two before lunch, then later in the afternoon came asking for the mosaics again.  “Mummy, please can I do some more maths?”

I know our friend would approve!

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

%d bloggers like this: