Monday, 28 May 2012

Miss Husqvarna

Meet the one of the newest, but conversely oldest, members of my crafting equipment family; my beloved late Ma-ma Sue's sewing machine. Miss Husqvarna has been sitting at my parent's house in Tasmania all boxed up for the past few years waiting for me to bring her home. Even though I have made multiple trips back "home" since moving to Adelaide 5 1/2 years ago, it wasn't until we took the car over last Christmas that I was able to bring her back with me (bit difficult to carry something like this on a plane so it had to patiently wait).

I haven't got a permanent spot to leave her out and set up and the last few days I have been pottering with making my light box and needed to stitch some fabric for it, so out she came! She did the job well and while she maybe very basic compared to the many computerised ones available these days, she is perfect for a novice like me!

I'll fill you in on a little bit of Miss H's history. My grandparents were known to keep most of their possessions in their old house in immaculate condition and she was no exception. Ma-ma kept her set up in her sewing room on the sewing machine cabinet ready for what seemed like daily use. When Mum and I got it out to check everything was still working in January we discovered that Ma-ma had not only kept ALL the original packaging, but she had kept the purchase receipts to even the A4 glossy brochures she must have picked up prior to purchasing the dear old thing back in 1982! Yes Miss H is 30 years old and doesn't look like she has aged one bit!

Anyhow she is in mint condition considering her age and consistent use over the years. Ma-ma used to sew a lot of her own clothes (and some of mine when I was little) and not to mention the numerous pillow cases, cushion covers, napkins, tissue box covers, soft toys and even Christmas decorations.

I sincerely regret not taking more of an interest in sewing when Ma-ma was still with us, I'm sure she would have loved it. I partially blame my teenage years when at the time "sewing was sooo not cool" and obviously life's other distractions, but I won't dwell on it now. So in her memory I'm going to make an honest attempt to continue her crafty legacy.

Enough of the emotional 'wish I could turn back time stuff' and tell you more about Miss Husqvarna! While she doesn't any of the mod cons of today's machines, she still has a number of features to talk about. She is the 5310 model, and as you can see in the photos she is cream and brown in colour. Her frame/outer body is all metal - no flimsy plastic here - so she is rather solid, but surprisingly not as heavy as one might expect.  Bobbin winding, double spool pins for two threads/double needle.  For the time I'm sure a lot of the little features were new and even revolutionary, but commonplace on machines today, what really stands out is the sense of durability, quality and solidness all wrapped up in a neat little package; every part is nicely crafted and well thought out and I think she sews just as smoothly and efficiently as the day she was bought.

She was cleverly designed to come with an extension table that slots around the arm as well as an accessories tray (with 10 bobbins along with various bits and pieces). All this along with the foot control pedal, everything slots/folds up within the machine so when the case slides over and on, everything is kept together as one package! Neat huh?

Well for now she is back into the box again, after performing brilliantly for my little sewing projects. I'm still just starting out but I plan on getting another 30 years worth of life out of this beautiful and well crafted little machine; I know she will continue to make more great work in the years to come as I learn to use her the way she is meant to be.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Winter Warmers

One of my most challenging crochet projects to date I finally finished on Friday. I must say I am proud of my achievement as I only picked up a crochet hook and taught myself how to crochet a year ago. I was delighted when I found the February issue of Mollie Makes at the newsagents a couple of months back (it is UK magazine so the newsagents here a little behind getting them - if at all). I had stumbled across this delightful read after finding out about it from Katia on her Plushka's Craft blog.

Upon seeing the cover I was in love with the wrist warmers that graced it, and was even more excited to discover that the issue had included the pattern for them. After reading it I couldn't resist and decided I would definitely have to give it a go at making these.

I already have a couple of pairs of knitted fingerless/wrist warmers, I practically live in them during the winter months as my fingers and wrists ache from being cold, and I couldn't resist adding another to the collection. These are slightly different to most of my crochet projects, made using a fine mercerised cotton with a soft satin sheen. Its made entirely using the same tiny hook as the bookmarks, no small challenge!

While crocheting the bookmarks were a challenge as well, these wrist warmers are the first that I've actually followed a pattern. Yes, OK I have followed patterns before (notably the Amigurumi toys I've blogged about here and here) - but I have always tweaked them to a degree and they were fairly straight-forward in comparison. The sleeves of the wrist warmers were fairly easy to do, it was the lace detail up the top at the cuff that tested my skills and patience. I had to give myself several breaks for my hands and fingers as I gripped/squeezed too hard at times trying to keep the cotton at the right tension as I chained, but I got there in the end and couldn't wipe the smile off my face. I'm looking forward to wearing them out and about this winter! :)

Monday, 14 May 2012

Made with Love

Now Mother's Day is officially over, I now can share with you some photos of what I made for the mums. I wanted to make a small gift to send to each (as they both live in Tasmania), so I crocheted a couple of bookmarks. They were fiddly as I decided to venture beyond my skills in wool into mercerised cotton. The cotton I used was really fine (ticket weight 40 for anyone out there who wanted to know the type I used), so it was a bit of a challenge to keep it on the hook (size 1.25mm) while trying to chain. I designed these myself and tweaked it as I went along. To go with these I made them each a custom card.

This last photo I had to share, these two cute little swallows have been visiting each day lately, early morning, then disappearing during the day to go about their business and then returning at dusk to perch for half hour or so before flying off to where ever their nest is for the night. They love sitting on the clothes line with their little heads constantly turning, watching the other birds fly about. Also the clothes line is out of reach from the cats so I think they think its a bit of a safe haven to have a break from zooming about the place. Too cute! :)

Friday, 11 May 2012

Image Refresh

Well after a lot of wrestling with Illustrator I have finally got my new logo as I imagined it, to replace the temporary title.  I have also decided to change the name a little, to 'Twig & Tweak' both to be able to use my pretty ampersand, and because I feel that the new name incorporates more of my design ethos: I like to take a small idea, let it flourish and develop, and tweak the design until I'm perfectly happy with it.  My new logo is the perfect example of this, the initial idea was a rough scribble in my notebook, and only after a lot of experimentation and fiddling did I come to the final image which now graces the top of my page.

I also plan to imagine, design and hopefully market some of my creations in the coming year, and wanted a brand that I could carry through from my blog into a potential business. I am excited and very much looking forward to sharing my ideas and designs as I get up and running.