Tuesday, September 28, 2010


The printing didn't happen as planned on Friday, because ironically both boys got sick on the last day of school. I managed to do some yesterday though and here is the result:
After such careful planning and over-thinking, I still managed to stuff up The Repeat. I decided you didn't need to see that, so I left it out of the picture. This design needs a bit more work, but overall I like its look. It's called 'In the neighbourhood', by the way. I'd really appreciate some feedback on this: what do you think, would it work as fat quarters, even yardage? I'd like to print it on linen and make some kids' bags like this one and this one.
I think the biggest problem I have is not with my design, but with my tools and work space. A large space with very big printing table would be perfect; I printed this in our garage on a pretty small table, which makes it a very slow and inefficient process. I can only print 3 repeats before I have to clean the screen and wait for the ink to dry, then do 3 more, etc. Conclusion: Ruby in the Dust needs a cheap studio on the North Shore with big windows and high-pressure hoses. That's not asking too much, is it?

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Today is the last day for the Kid's Sewing Week Challenge, and I've just completed my mission. I had to put in some hems after Kraftbomb, but now the shorts are all finished and the boys love them. I made my own pattern for these (really just cut it from some other shorts) and the elasticated patch pockets were my own design. I'm very pleased with how it all turned out; I might even do a little tutorial here for the pockets if anybody's interested.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tiny dolls

I found this pair at the op shop this morning, along with a lot of other small vintage 'tourist' dolls all dressed in the national constumes of European countries. These two caught my eye because they are so tiny and hand-made looking, but had labels. I've just done a search and they seem quite collectible. The Grecon dolls were made between the 1930s and 1950s, and I have no idea how old mine are. The lady looks a bit 50s with that beehive, doesn't she?
Another reason I liked them was that they reminded me of one of my favourite books as a child, The little girl and the tiny doll by Edward and Aingelda Ardizzone. The story is about a tiny doll who was left behind in a shop freezer and is found by a girl who makes her little clothes to keep her warm. I read it to my boys the other night at the dinner table and they were fascinated; it kept them very quiet and they ate everything on their plates!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I am awfully excited; every time I look at this screen I feel a little giddy. It's something I've been dreaming of doing for many months and it only took me a week to do once I got started. Typical; I always overthink things. Tomorrow is test printing day and hopefully I'll have some fabric to show for it tomorrow night!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


So it's Day 3 of the big EM KCWC, and I've got something to show. Those t-shirts, all three of them. The boys did a quick pose for me this morning, still wearing their pj's and braving the chilly southerly. I'm glad to report they like the shirts, and wore them today (under a few other layers, but still). I used New Look 6932, which is really a pajama pattern, and will make the neckline a bit higher next time, but it's good and has a really cute pattern for girly pj's too.

Sewing this has been a complete revelation for me. I don't know why, but I always thought you can't sew knits without an overlocker. I got one, carefully read everything I could find about sewing with the mysterious fabric, and then I got going. And did the whole thing on my lovely old Elna sewing machine, only overlocking the seams. I got all sorts of fancy and expensive supplies, like a twin needle, double-sided fusable tape and wooly nylon, but in the end got the best results with my single ballpoint needle using plain old sewing machine thread for top and bobbin.

So if you're new to sewing knits, or have always been intimidated by it, like me; here's some tips (from someone who's only sewn 3 t-shirts, mind you):
  • Read these posts on Oliver+S and Sew,Mama,Sew blogs. To give you an idea of how it works, and a clever tutorial for a t-shirt, read this on Made.
  • The best advice I found was about tension. Spend an hour or so just reading your machine's manual, playing around with (reduced) tension, stitches and thread. Do this before you run out to Spotlight and buy all those things I got but didn't need. You might find you can do it all with what you've got.
  • You will need a different needle though, a ballpoint or stretch needle. I found that I could sew very succesfully with a normal straight stitch; no need for time-consuming little zig-zag stitches. For some reason I had skipped stitches on one of the twin needles while the other gave a perfect result.
  • The hems look fine with a single stitch-line and I didn't need any tape to reinforce it; I only ironed the hems before I stitched them.


On Friday I made heaps of new pocket mirrors using vintage illustrations and fabrics as backings. They always look so beautiful together:
I've donated a couple to the FeltAid shop, so go and see Alice and the raccoon over in the shop along with some other lovely donated products. All the proceeds will be donated to the cleanup and rebuilding of Christchurch after the recent earthquake. You can read more about the project on the blog Felt like helping out.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


It's time for the elsiemarley kids clothes week challenge, or EM KCWC for short :) I've decided to join in this time, as I've been dying to see what my overlocker can do, and my boys need clothes for the new season. Two birds with one stone. The challenge is to spend one hour every day this week sewing for your kids, and my expectations aren't too high; I want to finish at least two t-shirts and two pairs of shorts. If I have enough time there may be more t-shirts.
It's when I start looking through the pattern books that I feel so sad that I don't have a girl; all those gorgeous little tops and dresses in so many colours. Pretty much the only boy pattern that I could stomach was for pj's, which will become raglan sleeve t-shirts and 3/4 shorts. Are there any nice boy patterns out there; something simple and unfussy, but cool? The one Oliver + S pattern I like looks like it's out of print. Might have to start making my own...

Monday, September 13, 2010


I have a lot of cotton, and in my recent spring clean frenzy decided that my current little reel stands just weren't good enough. Off I went in search of something simple, big and attractive that can hang on the wall. That's not asking too much, is it? Apparently it was.

But wait, I have a Very Handy Husband. And look what he made me! Ooh, I love him!

And here is a picture of my new and improved work station, with the very functional reel holder in context. It was at that very work station that I had my own little sweat shop last week; slaving away for hours on end to make 10 new zip pouches. I'm slowly but surely getting ready for all the markets I have booked spots at over the next 3 months.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


...is yellow, whero is red, kakariki green. I didn't grow up with this song, but Daniel's been singing it so much, I might as well have. To celebrate all the new flowers out, I've made a couple of pouches for my shop update, one with Kowhai flowers and the other with Kaka beak. They're made using a tea towel on the front and curtain on the back, both vintage of course.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Spring colour

Today was such a gorgeous day; I couldn't resist getting the camera out for my annual spring garden photo shoot. The garden is starting to get some beautiful colour.

And it was sunny enough to get some washing dried. I got this double bed sheet set last week and would really like to make us a summer quilt using some of the other vintage sheets from The Collection (see below). Mmm, my favourite colours.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lucky Penny

Tomorrow is the first Tuesday of the month, which means it's time for the Lucky Penny Crafty Club. Bring your knitting, crochet, or other craft habit along and come join us for a cup of coffee at the lovely Mezze bar in Durham Lane in the city. We're there at 7.30 and have a table in the lounge area behind the planter boxes; look for the yellow sign on the table.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Night sewing

Joshua was at home today with a random bug, so we spent a lot of time in my craft room making stickers and cards, cutting little pieces of paper, playing with buttons and pom poms... Ok, maybe I should rephrase: he spent a lot of time doing those things, and I got to finish his new kindy satchel and do a bit of knitting. The satchel was made using a piece of denim and a second-hand belt and is the perfect size for a change of clothes and a piece of fruit. What more does a 3-year old need to carry around?
I started making it last night. Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy sewing at night? The house is quiet, there's no interruptions and I can think about what I'm doing. And I can keep going until I've finished the job or I can't keep my eyes open any more; not worry about school pick-up times and making dinner and all those chores.
The knitting is the start of a long-term project. I'm under no illusions; it's for next winter because I'm a slow knitter and this is my biggest knitting project so far. It's the Pimlico shrug from Knit2Together by Mel Clark and Tracy Ullman, and I'm using an alpaca/wool/acrylic blend. It's looking good so far, and feels so warm when I try it on. That sounds like a joke, but it's a cuff, so I can do that! I'm knitting it in the round using the magic loop method, which is such a dream for knitting these small diameter projects. And can you see I've been playing around with the hue and saturation function in Photoshop?
Hope you have a wonderful weekend and Father's Day on Sunday :)