Saturday, 31 December 2011

Yuletide Wilderness Janker

Contrary to the lack of blog postings, my little hands have been busy, busy, busy this month...winter is definitely a time for wool crafts, and I have been polishing my crochet hook and getting back to the granny squares. I also finished a jumper which took an embarrassing 3 years to complete, more about that when I get round to taking some photos.

Then 2 weeks before Christmas, I received a special request for a homemade 'smoking jacket' using some fabric rescued from the bargain basement at Abakhan in Liverpool (aka El Kilo). Well, I struggled to find a smoking jacket pattern, and instead I found this pattern for a 'Janker' German style jacket. I decided to quilt it with a sateen burgundy lining. If it hadn't been for the quilting bit, this would be the easiest pattern ever.

The end result is unique and I think has that perfect combination of 'couture' and tastelessness to make it look very expensive. The wooden 'boho tribal flower' buttons from Otterly Beads were a perfect finishing touch.

This is my first bit of dressmaking for years (other than Clothkits) and I am hooked! I learned a couple of things, most especially that fabric (especially quilted fabric) shrinks on washing. The overall effect is a little more 'tailored' than we had anticipated. Secretly I am relieved that I discovered the shrinkage issue on this project than when I start making a cape for myself in the new year.

Finally, the inspiration behind the label came from the Selvage blog - check out the incredible dress made by Jodie Carleton using selvages.
Hedley sports the Wilderness Janker

Wooden Boho Tribal Flower Buttons

Selvage label

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Machine Embroidery for Dummies

Machine embroidery: lotus blossoms
Mandala quilt: lotus blossom
I needed some gap fillers to distract from the blueness of the quilt but after the debacle of the knotty endless knots I knew I didn't have the patience to hand embroider any more. So I used the tracing paper technique to machine embroider these lotus blossoms which like everything else have a symbolic meaning, representing 'purity and enlightenment'.

Mandala Quilt at last!
As you can imagine, by now I was eager to get finished as I feel I have been looking at primary colours for too long, and dare I say am itching to play with here it is in full technicolour splendour: de dah de dah: The Medicine Mandala Quilt (and who knows but it may have healing properties....)

Mandala Quilt under the apple tree

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Endless Knots or the Great Circle of Life

Endless Knot
Back to the Mandala quilt and a word or two on embroidery - in my head I was destined to do great things with a needle and thread; 8 endless knots later and I accept my limitations. Above is the best example and I am quite pleased with it (stand back and squint). The other ones are very knotty endless knots, which I suppose is quite poetic. These represent the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth or the endless cycle of suffering (!) which reminds me of this scene in 'Harold & Maude':

Maude: What a delight it is, Harold, to
  bump into you again. I knew we
  were going to be good friends the
  moment I saw you. You go to
  funerals often, don't you?

  Harold: Yes.

  Maude: Oh, so do I. They're such fun,
  aren't they? It's all change.
  All revolving. Burials and births.
  The end to the beginning and the
  beginning to the end - the great circle of life.