Friday, May 22, 2015

The Iris Skirt In Tasmania!

In my last post I wrote about the crazy skirt that I made to resemble an iris garden.  I decided to make it because I was going to Tasmania to visit a friend for the weekend.  Its cold in Tasmania, so a wool skirt is just the thing to wear.

I've been heading to Hobart in Tasmania a fair bit in the last six months.  I've been travelling with a friend of mine - he visits a tattoo artist, and I visit with my friend, MsKatt.  Well, sometimes I visit the tattoo artist too, but thats another story!

On this visit, MsKatt (who owns a wonderful vintage inspired fashion store called Ms Katt's Kustom House), her boyfriend Justin, daughter Poppi, and I went out for a day of treasure hunting!  Well half a day... we got off to a late start because of this:

In this game, you roll a dice and whichever number comes up you push a stick in that many clicks.  Basically this game only decides a loser.  You pop the balloon, you lose.  Everyone else didn't win, you lost.  What are we teaching our children here?

And everyone knows this game.  But when you play it after midnight its called Drunktionary.  Or should be.

We intended to head to the Huon Valley but got completely sidetracked in Margate.

The first stop was a train.  A whole train - engine included - which is 'parked' beside the road.  Cleverly, they have constructed a platform that runs the length of the train, and each train carriage is a shop.  There was a second hand book store, a quirky homewares store, a pancake cafe, and a beautiful children's store.  I'm sure there were others but I can't remember!  Anyway, we worked our way down the platform, and at the end was a big shed crammed with antiques (mostly furniture).

Which is where I found this, and fell in love.

This original 1930s Art Deco tea trolley was in amazing condition, and the cream to bronze etchings on the top piece of glass were just spectacular!  Even though the price was really good, I walked away from it because there was just no way for me to get it home. 

I also found these wall pockets:

Most of the time the wall pockets I see are really sweet and pretty and girly.  These aren't.  They are strong, and un-tizzy, yet they are still made to hold flowers... go figure!  I just loved them, and they can easily be taken on a plane, so I bought them! 

After giving Poppi some time to run around and play in the playground, we headed off to the Tip Shop.  This is a garbage dump / rubbish tip that has a shop to sell the good stuff that people dump.  According to Katt its a bit hit and miss.  There were plenty of old sewing machines, which I didn't photograph cause they made me sad, and a beautiful pair of deco club chairs that also made me sad because I couldn't rescue them.  This visit to the Tip Shop was a miss.

On the way to the Tip Shop, we had passed an old church that had been converted to a cafe, and we decided to head back there for lunch, because we were all hungry.

Not my photo - I borrowed it from TripAdvisor

It was called Heavens Above, and the name alone was enough to get me in the door.  I assumed that it would be run by a couple of little-old-ladies and the cream for the scones would come out of a can.

Boy was I wrong!

The interior was gorgeous.  Colourful and quirky and elegant all at the same time.  I really loved the touches of fun and whimsy in the room - not to mention the incredible wall paper!

I have not photoshopped this image in any way, this is just how beautiful the light was.

We ordered tea, and then I saw something intriguing on the menu - a Margate Fog, which was earl grey tea, vanilla syrup and plenty of hot milk.  We all changed our orders to a Margate Fog each.

MsKatt and Justin enjoying their tea.  It was seriously good.

And the food, THE FOOD!  Because I have coeliacs disease, getting food can be difficult, and to be honest I didn't expect to find anything I could eat, mostly because of my misplaced belief that it would be a cafe run by Nannas... but wow.  This is what I had.

This magnificent offering is called a salmon pot - smoked Tasmanian salmon, cucumber, boiled egg and minted yoghurt, with gluten free bread on the side.  To.  Die.  For.

Not only was the food divine, and the service friendly, helpful and efficient, they had the perfect wall to photograph my skirt against!

And couch - the most perfect purple couch ever!

I should have done some standing ones with the skirt held out to show the full sweep, but to be honest, I didn't think of that until just now!

Over lunch, we brainstormed how to get the deco tea trolley back to the mainland and came up with the perfect plan.  They don't know it yet, but a friend of ours who is driving (and taking the car ferry) over to Tasmania will bring it back for me later in the year.  So we went back to the train and I bought it.

Its now at MsKatt's house for safe keeping.

I really did have a wonderful weekend.  Thank you to MsKatt for hosting Josh and I (again), and thank you for minding my tea trolley. 

In closing - has anyone else been completely surprised by a cafe (in a good way)?


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Iris Skirt

This last weekend I made a trip down to Hobart, Tasmania to visit a friend for the weekend.  I knew it was going to be cold (which it was) so I thought I would make a special winter skirt to take with me.  But in typical Beccie fashion I didn't make it simple for myself!

I'd been dreaming for a while of making a skirt with a border of flowers and leaves.  I figured this was the ideal opportunity!  My vision was to make a grey wool circle skirt, and applique on a border of leaves and iris flowers and buds.  The first step was to sketch up some flowers to use as a template for my appliques.

Then I turned those sketches into components and traced them onto HeatBond.  I labelled and numbered each one so as not to confuse myself later.  This is when a glass top table comes in REALLY handy!

I filled up one whole sheet of HeatBond for flower bits and stems, and then I freehand drew leaves on two more sheets.

Then I cut these out into colour groups so they could be ironed onto the right coloured felt.  From there I ironed the HeatBond onto the felt, and then spent a morning in bed with my scissors cutting all the pieces out.

Then I made the skirt.  Circle skirts are such wonderful things - so quick to sew up, I just love them!

To assemble my design, which really had no plan, I decided to lay the skirt flat on the floor so I could see all of the skirt at once.

And I started by laying out the leaves.  The long ones first, and then I added the medium sized ones, and the small ones.  Each time around I tried to keep my design as random and evenly spaced as possible.

Then I laid out the flowers and buds.  It was at thisi point I realised I'd forgotten to make any stems for the large flowers.

Next problem!  I had it all laid out the way I wanted it, but I really needed to get it to my ironing board....  I got out the worlds tiniest iron and tacked all the bits down in a way I hoped would hold when I transported it to my ironing board.

And a glass of wine to keep my spirits up!

It didn't work.  When I picked it up - only 70% of it stayed put.  Sigh.

I laid it back onto the floor again and got out my proper iron.  Ironing the carpet is a really strange sensation!

And the lounge room spelt like wet sheep because I have wool carpet.

Anyway, that worked really well, and from there I was able to pick it up and put it on my ironing board and iron from the wrong side A LOT to make sure everything was stuck down.  While it was in my sewing room, I sewed bias to the hem so I could turn it up and hand sew it.

But one full packet wasn't enough.

Sigh!  So thats a hem longer than 5 metres...

Which meant a trip to Spotlight for one packet of bias.  How annoying!!

The rest was hand sewing - finishing the waistband, putting in the zipper, and turning up the hem all needed to be done by hand.  The felt leaves and flowers should probably all be hand sewn around the edge too - but I'm not insane!  And it won't be washed a great deal so I'm hoping it'll be ok.

The day before I left for Tasmania I was staying in a hotel near Sydney airport, and that's where I finished off the hand sewing, with a glass of wine or two.  Hemming wool is such a pleasurable experience!  Much nicer than hemming cotton or gaberdine!

I can't wait to show you this skirt being worn - its so beautiful!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Guest Post : Miss Dixie with Crochet Your Own Snood!

Recently I put a call out amongst the members of my Facebook group - The Sew Retro Rose Lovely Ladies - for some guest posts for my blog.  I have some big plans that require me to put my attentions elsewhere for a little while, and the last thing I wanted to do was leave you all hanging if I didn't have to!

You will still hear from me here, and I will still be on my Facebook page, but trust me - this other thing I'm putting my attentions into will be worth it for all of us!

So without further delay from me, here's Dixie!


Hello all you lovely readers of Sew Retro Rose!

Beccie has been lovely enough to allow me to take over her blog for a post, so I thought I’d give you all a nice easy quick project. If you have a slight understanding of crocheting, you can get this done in under an hour. If you’re a complete novice, it may take a bit more time, but it is really easy, I promise!

Now I will apologise in advance, I am not a very experienced Crocheter myself, so I may not use the correct terminology all the time, but I will try my best to make this pattern/tutorial as easy to follow as possible.

  • A reasonably thin yarn (not thick and fluffy) I am using Patons Cotton Blend 8 ply which is a fairly tightly wound yarn, that almost has a rope like feel, rather than a fluffy wool type feel. Thin 4 or 5 ply baby wool/yarn also works. It’s all about getting the right tension so that the snood has lots of flexibility and movement.
  • A large guage crochet hook. I am using an 8mm for this one, but have previously used a 6.5mm with 4ply baby wool
  • Some narrow elastic, enough to fit around your head where you want the snood to sit, minus roughly 1 inch/2.5 cm. I am using 6mm braided elastic, but anything narrower will work too, this is just the smallest I had. You could even use hat elastic, but you may need to use a shorter length to make sure it sits snugly.
  • A pair of scissors
  • Some Chocolate and a hot beverage of your choice to keep you going. (Every project should be accompanied by hot beverage and chocolate! - Beccie)
Start by making a slip stitch loop

Pull the knot tight while the loop is on your crochet hook

Hold the knot section firmly between your left thumb and middle finger (or whatever works best for you) and have the yarn (that is attached to the ball, not the short end) going over your index finger and being held in your hand with your ring and pinky finger. Holding the crochet hook with your right hand, hook around the yarn.

Now pull the yarn through the original loop. Turning the crochet hook can help it get a better grip on the yarn.

Now you have completed 1 chain stitch. Repeat this process of pulling a new yarn loop through the existing yarn loops until you have 8 chain stitches.

Your 8 chain stitches should look something like this.

Now, while keeping the existing loop on your hook, put it through the first chain stitch you made, forming a ring of stitches.

Use your hook to grab the yarn.

Then pull the yarn through both of the loops already on your hook.

Use your hook to grab the yarn again, to pull through to make another chain stitch.

Make 2 more chain stiches, giving you 3 in total.

Now we are going to start our first Treble stitch. This may seem a bit confusing at first, but hopefully my directions make sense, and by the time you finish your snood, it will come easily. Firstly grab the yarn with your hook.

Bring the hook downwards, making sure the yarn stays looped around it.

Insert your hook through the middle of the ring of stitches from the front to the back.

Use your hook to once again grab the yarn.

Pull the yarn through the middle of the ring to the front.

You should now have 3 loops on your hook. Grab the loose yarn with your hook again.

Pull the yarn through the first 2 loops only, creating 1 new loop and leaving 1 existing loop.

Grab the yarn again, and pull it through the remaining 2 loops on the hook.

Yay! You have now completed your first treble! Now make one chain stitch.

Start on your second treble, by grabbing the yarn and going through the middle of the ring. Once through, grab the yarn again, come back through to the front, grab the yarn once again, pulling it through the first 2 loops, then grab the yarn with your hook once more and pull through the remaining 2 loops. Make one chain stitch.

Oh look! Now you have 2 Trebles!

Repeat the pattern, treble, chain, treble chain until you have a complete circle. I did 10 treble Stitches (not including the original 3 chain stitches).

Attach the last stitch with the original 3 chain stitches by inserting the hook through the gap made by the chain stitches and the first treble and grabbing the yarn through it.

Pull the yarn that you grabbed through the gap all the way through the existing loop on your hook (so you should just have 1 loop on it).

Make 3 chain stitches, then another 1 chain stitch (4 in total).

You are now going to do the same as the previous row, but each treble will be made in the gaps made by the previous row, and between each treble you will now be making 2 chain stitches instead of one.

When you have completed the row, join it the same way as the row before. The third row is completed the same way as the second, but increase the gaps to be 3 chain stitches instead of 2.

The fourth row is slightly different. We will be going back to treble, chain, treble, chain, but in each of the gaps formed by the row before, we are going to be attaching 2 trebles, with a chain stitch in between. Finish the row the same as previous rows.

The fifth row is stitched the same as the second row. Treble, 2 chains, treble 2 chains, repeat to end.

The Sixth row follows the same pattern as the third row. Treble, 3 chains, treble, 3 chains, repeat to end.

The seventh row is as the fourth one was. 2 trebles in each gap, with 1 chain stitch between each treble.

At this point I have a wide cone like shape, roughly the size of my head. If yours is quite a bit smaller, your tension may be too tight, or your hook too small. Either add extra rows following the pattern we have been using to increase the size, or start over using a larger hook or looser tension. If yours has turned out too large, simply unravel a row or 2 til it is the right size. 

For the next (Eighth) row, I am up to treble, 2 chain, treble, 2 chain. If you have changed the size of your base you may need to use a different combination (treble and 1 chain, or treble and 3 chain) At the time of this photo, I had done 4 rows, and you can see the edge has turned upwards. I then stitched another 4 rows in this pattern, then decreased slightly for the next 3 rows by stitching only 1 chain between each treble, instead of 2. If you have a lot of hair, you may want to make yours deeper by adding in extra rows.

Take the piece of elastic and sew the end together to form a loop, or if using hat elastic, tie the ends together with a secure knot. Attach the Elastic to the snood by crocheting around it.

Hold the elastic loop up against the edge of the snood. Take your crochet hook and insert it through the gap to the back of your work and grab the yarn with the hook.

Pull the yarn through to the front, then use the hook to grab the yarn again. 

Pull the yarn that you have just grabbed with your hook through the 2 loops already on the hook. Repeat this stitch 3 or 4 times in each gap, so they yarn mostly covers the elastic.

Here’s what it should be looking like.

Once you have completely gone around the elastic, pull the end of the yarn through (cutting of the extra yarn first) and pull tightly. If you want, tie the yarn around the elastic once or twice to make it more secure, then cut off the excess yarn.

As you can see, by the time I finished I had very little yarn left, so if you need to make yours bigger, or your tension is very different to mine and uses up more yarn, you may want to purchase 2 50g balls (or a 100g ball) Also, different yarns may have different lengths, but the same weight. The label from the yarn I used says it is approx. 95m.


And now you have a fabulous new Snood to wear with pride! I like to wear mine with victory rolls, and use 3 bobby pins to hold it in place. 1 behind each ear and 1 on top of my head!

See how great it looks? I’m going to be making these in every colour!

If you’re interested in seeing more tutorials/patterns/recipes/reviews or just general ramblings, please head over and give my blog, Miss Dixie O’Dare some love.

Thanks for having me here,


Oh well done Miss Dixie!  I've been looking at snoods just recently, but the commercially available ones have too much space for hair.  Now I can make my own!!!  Thank you so much for sharing your pattern.