11 February 2018

February Catch Up

Blogging seems to have taken a bit less of a priority lately but I've not been idle, so a few things to show here.

Last Sunday followed a rainy Saturday and David and I managed to get to Kingston Lacy near Wimborne.  It is our local National Trust site and this time of year has a fantastic display of snowdrops.  Lovely to see these as it alway seems as though Spring is just around the corner.  We also found that there were other plants in flower too.

 This was one of many displays of snowdrops
 Some were growing amongst cyclamens. This photo was taken with a little mirror behind
 The purple flowers in the pic above are Hellebores
 And some Camelia shrubs were in flower
 Some Aconites were just starting to flower
There was even a Rhododendron flower buds that was really early.

It was so busy at Kingston Lacy I think a lot of people just wanted to get out, even though the wind was bitterly cold.

Back to making things and I have made some pouches, though I found that I hadn't caught down the fabric on one end so that will have to be undone and made up again.  so they will go in my charity sale bag.

I have been tempted by shopping in Easy and purchased some yarn.  There are quite a few sellers that hand dye yarn and I took a fancy to this yarn inspired by the colours of Rhubarb.  A part of the Yorkshire Rhubarb Triangle, between Wakefield, Leeds and Bradford is famed for forced Rhubarb which is grown this time of year.  I thought the colours were amazing and could not resist.  This was from Homespun Wonders

The gorgeous shades of pink and limey greens in a fingering/4-ply weight yarn.  I think this may become a shawlette, but not sure yet as I just love looking and stroking this!  I'd also bought some stitch markers which I could also not resist.

Owls, of course!  They have a clip and a ring on them so could either be moveable stitch markers and the clips could come in useful for making progress too as well as placing on a loop of crochet.

Talking of crochet I've made progress on the Attic 24 Woodland Blanket and am onto the second section of colour changes and am following the random colour changes.  The link that I've put here is for Part 6 so I have a little way to go yet. I've used the Notes on my iPad to copy the listed colour changes in each section from Lucy's blog, which has been handy to refer to. Here's a pic of my progress so far as at this morning.

Just loving the colour changes on this blanket as it grows.

Yesterday was another rainy Saturday but I went to see friends and sewed, well finished off thread ends on the Frivols quilt and there were a lot of ends! But good to catch up and chat.  And this morning we went to Barton on Sea with my Mum for a very breezy walk and a lovely cup of coffee but it was nice to blow the cobwebs away and have lovely views of the sea over to the Isle of Wight one way and Swanage the other way.  So back to another couple of days of work on Monday and Tuesday but we are off to Barnstaple on Wednesday.  I hope there'll be a few photos of our time away then.

30 January 2018

My Finish A Long (sort of)

Back at the beginning of this month I listed my finishes and unfinishes for the end of Quarter 4 of the 2017 Finish A Long.  I have well and truly missed the boat for joining in the 2018 listing of finishes for the first quarter of this year, but still want to aim to get some things finished if I can so I will list my targets for this quarter up to the end of March which I will put in the side bar.

So here goes

That Frivols Quilt - has been quilted and only the binding left to do. I got the binding fabric in a sale which arrived really quickly so no excuses, this must be finished!

Hexie runner - quilting needs to be finished and trimmed and bound.
Pouches - Earlier this month I used my scrappy strips and made some square to become pouches like this one

 There are 4 squares here, about 9.5" - 10" which some long zips which were passed on to me.  They will go to charity sales to raise funds for either Project Hope or Project Linus.  I'm going to look for small charms to add to the zip pulls.

I am sort of continuing with my Stitch Sewing Organizers makes but not following the Instagram prompts.  I made a tape measure cover to go over a plain round Janome tape measure.  I looked at the instructions which seemed more complex so what I did in the end was to draw around the measure and cut out circles of pelmet Vilene and measured the circumference and made another Vilene strips for that.  Cutting the fabric 3/8ths" bigger all round to cover the pieces and putting together English Patchwork style.

A nice addition to my sewing equipment.

I've already mentioned in my last post about the crochet blanket so I'm guessing this will take up most of this quarter too.  

I've also got the embroidery to finish and also see how I'm going to display this.

And Jack and the Beanstalk mini quilt - must sort that one...
I think that's it.  Given myself plenty to do.  Got to keep busy!

Sock Knitting

Recently I've taken to knitting socks as I suffer cold feet in the evenings and hand knitted socks keep my feet comfortably warm.  Some years ago I used a set of double pointed needles (DPNs) but then discovered circular knitting needles and bought two, one a short pair for knitting completely in the round and another pair with a longer cable so I could knit two sets of stitches with a loop of cable between, called Magic Loop.  The last method I was more comfortable with and has really helped with my knitting.

The most common type of sock knitting is knitting from the ribbed cuff down to the toe.  There is heel shaping that requires picking up of stitches and at the toe there are decreases finishing with grafting the stitches (Kitchener Stitch) at the end.  But seeing more on Instagram, You Tube, Ravelry, etc found there is "more than one way to skin a rabbit", like different types of heels and toes and even knitting from toe to cuff!

I've knitted socks for my sister in Stylecraft Head Over Heels sock yarn in Olympus colourway and I used Hermione's Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder.

And then there were my pumpkin inspired socks, I could not resist this yarn, which was King Cole Zigzag in New York colour way and I used Christine of Winwick Mum's Easy Lace Socks pattern.

So after finishing my pumpkin inspired socks and the jumpers for Christmas, late on Christmas Day I tried a toe up sock!  There is a You Tube video of Judy's Easy Cast On which 'weaves' the working and long tail yarn over the two needles of a pair of circulars, then knitting these stitches and you can't see the join.  I used a pattern called Have Fun Toe Up Socks and I used Stylecraft Head Over Heels yarn in Eiger, which is my favourite sock yarn, a third pair I've knitted up.  Here's a pic below of the toe start, on which I put a stitch marker to mark the front of the sock as the yarn tail is inside the toe.

The first sock took quite a bit of 'un-knitting' to get the length of the foot right before the heel shaping as it came out too long even though I followed the instructions. This pattern was called Have Fun Socks by Louise Tilbrook.

I used the stitch pattern from Hermione's Everyday Socks which I'd used on the pink socks for Wendy's a few month's back.  I eventually got the heel sorted out and then onto the leg and cuff.  Before long I was onto the second sock.  The yarn colouring was in exactly the right place for starting and keeping count of the pattern repeats which made things easier second time around.
I completed a pair now, ready to wash and block.
I enjoyed this foray into toe up socks,  as there's no picking up of stitches around the heel, though now I want to try a Fish Lips Kiss heel with has a more angled heel instead of a heel flap, but that's for another time.

Meanwhile I've taken up my crochet hook and started on the Attic 24 Crochet Along Woodland Blanket, which will be a housewarming present for my sister when she moves house later this year.  The link above is for Part 4 of the CAL but the links for the Introduction and parts 1 - 3 are listed at the bottom of the blog post.

I have progressed a bit further than the pic above, where I've draped the beginning of the blanket around my shoulders.  It is a ripple pattern and the CAL lists two different types of colour arrangement, either in sequence or random and I'm working in the random colour changes.

I've found lately that knitting or crochet has had a calming effect on what has been a stressful beginning of the year.

03 January 2018

FAL Quarter 4 Finishes (and unfinishes!)

These were the 4 finishes for this Quarter and end of 2017.  I have to admit more unfinishes than finished.  Here's the list from October

Frivols Quilt
House Wallhanging
Christmas knitting
Free machine stitching
Kantha stitching

I have finished the Christmas knitting, which I have posted about here

I have also finished off the Kantha stitching and mounted the picture but I haven't said much about this, so here are a few details

I went to a workshop tutored by Angela Raymond of Fenland Textile Studio following a Quilters' Guild meeting back in October.  I thoroughly enjoyed this hand stitched piece.  The fabric pieces were sewn onto a backing of 2 layers of muslin, which also provided the quilting.  The fabrics were dyed in natural dyes, which are also Angela's speciality and the stitching was sewn in Perle thread.

To finish this I picked out the yellow on the right of the picture I painted the edges of the canvas in pale yellow and mounted this with PVA glue.  I waited until the glue was tacky before mounting so it would not seep through and I have tested that it will remove from the canvas and all is ok.  I've now put the picture in my room. so this is a second finish!

Free machine stitching project is in progress, I think that this might need mounting before I can say it's finished.  I'm not sure at this point how I'll do this.

This is a kit that I bought at Festival of Quilts from embroiderer Wendy Dolan.  After FoQ I then went and bought her book.  Anyway having sewn that fabric background and painted it languished for a while until I stitched during the Christmas holidays.  To loosen up with free machining its always good to get some practice so I sewed my name and a couple of doodles. I then had a go at stitching the doorway on plain calico

This is the stitched doorway
But it does need something else before I can say its a finish.

The Frivols quilt has progressed with more stitching but is currently waiting for fabric for the binding which has been ordered and should arrive soon.   I would like to get that finished off this month, so it goes into the Quarter 1 of 2018.

I've done a bit more stitching to the Hexie runner but that's not finished either!  So that's another contender.

House wallhanging is still the same so I can class that as a finish either, indecisive about what to do with this - it still looks ridiculous with it's giant beanstalk, especially when past pantomime season!
All in all a partial success for the last quarter of 2017.  Lets see what 2018 brings.

Linking to 2017 FAL

Charm About You

31 December 2017

Review of 2017

This will be about my makings during the year and at the end what I hope to achieve for 2018.  

At the beginning of the year I was still making blocks for the Splendid Sampler which finished in February.  The blocks remain in a bag and awaiting what I'm going to do with them.  I didn't completed all of the blocks as I just didn't have the time to do all the embroidered or foundation pieced blocks, but you can read about the processes from tab at the top of my blog.  It was fun to do but with 6.5" blocks it is difficult to get a cohesive look to make up a quilt.  I think I may have a play around an see what setting I can come up with this year to put something together.

During this time I was also knitting a clown for Isobel's birthday in March.  In 2016 I knitted a Bedtime Clown for Sophie and Isobel wanted a clown of her own.  

I had fun making him but I thought after 2 clowns I don't want to make any more for a while! 

I also made a sporting teddy for my Mum, who loves teddies and saw this on Facebook.  Little did she know I had the pattern book and was making it!

I'd also made a cushion cover for my grandson, Leo, who had to go into hospital for an operation.  He liked cats and I had a cat panel so having quilted and made a backing this became a cushion he could take into hospital for a bit of comfort. He did also receive a Project Linus quilt during his stay and thankfully the procedure he had worked well.

Another pair of cushions were made later in the year which went to my daughter Sarah as a house warming present when her and her husband moved into their house in September, just before their wedding!

This was made from fabrics and pattern from the The Bramble Patch subscription kit. I was still receiving monthly subscription boxes from, which I have now stopped as I couldn't keep up with the projects.  I did like this poppy wallhanging kit which I made up.

 On the yarn front I made a couple of crochet hearts, tea cosy and also had a go at making a sparkle sheep.

Last New Year's Day I made a start on a Frivols Quilt, which is still in progress by the time this New Year arrives.  I hope to finish this soon when I get the binding fabric.

But an ongoing quilt project has been finished, which is my Doll Dress Up quilt

And matching cushion

I made a sewing machine cover and matching pouch for my daughter-in-law, Carly, who is a whizz at making fancy dress costumes (unlike me, I always hated fancy dress!)

Also on a practical note, I had to make a new peg bag to replace the one that was falling apart
Another set of cushions for the living room

Lots of pouches made with quilt as you go method for charity stall to help Project Hope

This year I've discovered the joy of sock knitting and having tried short circular needles (which I haven't really got on with but haven't written them off yet) and then magic loop method with longer circular needles which I felt more comfortable with, I was away.  I made some blue and green WYS yarn for the first pair, then made the pinky/orange pair in Stylecraft for my sister.  Another pair has been made which will be gifted in January but I've just made my easy lace socks in orange King Cole Zigzag yarn.  Here they are below

I've belonged to the UK  Quilters United Facebook group for a few years and this year I took part in a mini quilt swap to be completed in September and made this quilt for Gillian

Then had this quilt from Helen

 So gorgeous and has real depth and detail.  I'm still amazed when I see this.

Also with this group there is another sub group that does fabric postcard swaps.  Instead of having up to half dozen to send, which is really expensive with the postage today you receive the same number as you've sent, so if you just want to swap one postcard you will receive one in return.

So this has fired my imagination. The first was a free swap where you could either make a card of any subject or use another card from a previous subject that wasn't included in a swap.  
 The one above I sent

 And this one received
 This was an experimental one (with the back below) this may be used for a future swap

 The Christmas ones sent (the one on the left was for the swap)
 And this, above, I received in return
And then I made this one to use for my Christmas header.

Lastly I've been making some items from the Stitched Sewing Organizers book so here's a few of these

I've also enjoyed exhibitions near and far, having gone to Farnham Maltings at the beginning of the year for fabric sale and group exhibitions, Malvern in May, Romsey in July, Festival of Quilts in August and Kaffe Fassett at Mottisfont.  Went to workshops at Pauline's Patchworks earlier this year and then Angela Daymond's workshop at Charminster, near Dorchester.

I've also had a personal goal of losing weight too and have lost 1.5 stone.  Although I will have gained weight over the Christmas period, I will get back to this and hope I can get to my target weight of 10 stone (which was about 10lbs away when I was last weighed, but could be a little more than that now!)

I'm sure there is something I've forgotten here, but at times I feel that I've not achieved much, but its actually quite a bit figuring that I also work 4 days a week too!

What I hope to do in 2018 is that I'd like to take a more artistic route and also do some me-makes.  I thinks there's only so many quilts that can be made and wallhangings to hang so would be good to do something a bit different.  I have joined (and hope to keep up with) 30 Day Sketchbook Challenge run by Susan of Magenta Sky starting tomorrow for this month.  I have a small square sketchbook and will sharpen up my pencils to get ready for that. Its a start.

I'd also like to gain more confidence in making my own clothes,  as its been a long time since I've done this and would be good to wear something that I've made and fits me so I hope I can book a workshop place to get me going on this.

I want to also progress beyond the smaller jumpers and socks and knit a garment, possibly cardigan(s) or jumper, and extend my crochet skills too.