07 December 2016

A Bit of Knitting and Crochet

Recently I've taken to doing some knitting and crochet.  In my last post I had knitted but not seen up a little Christmas stocking, but now I've completed three.

This was from a free pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits and because they are so small each one takes me an evening to knit and they look so sweet. One at least will go to my sister who asked for one and he other two may have new homes too.  

Underneath the stockings is a crochet mandala. This was from a pattern in Crochet Now magazine who have been asking for mandalas to swap for mental health.  This was worked with just one variegated yarn, which I bought for just £1 at my local Wilkinsons store.


Sometimes it takes a photo to get a sense of the texture in this piece. It was interesting to make haven't ever done this before. It took a couple of evenings to crochet this and not having to change colours means there was just the beginning and finishing ends to darn in. I'd like to try this in a plain coloured yarn with some texture.


The Christmas tree has gone up now. Familiar decorations adorn the tree that we've collected over the years, the Pirate from Penzance, some little cross stitch pieces, Bugs Bunny and Alien we bought years back from America years ago, Dutch decorations from our holiday last year and our new flashing reindeer.  This is probably the last year for this tree as we haven't got a small table to put it on and is to short to stand on the floor.  Just two and half weeks away from Christmas now. 

01 December 2016

And Now For Something Completely Different

It was my birthday on Monday. 61. How did that happen? Anyway another year passes and as always happens it collides with having to think about Christmas things.  

A few weeks back I had an email from Seasalt, who have a shop in Wimborne.  They were hosting as Sketchbook Club session byJennie Maizels last Thursday evening.  After a bus trip from work in Poole to Wimborne I spent an enjoyable hour and a half with eight other ladies doing a winter scene. We had a 'recipe' to make a scene with using paint and drawing techniques with clear stages.  These were the paintings produced


Mine was the middle left in this picture and a close up below
Not bad.  I was really excited by what I made. I wanted to have another go.

No fluke, I can make another winter scene. This was my version made at home. I really enjoyed the process and may take this a bit further next year.

Something else I've had a go at recently has been knitting and I've got some on the go which I can't show here until after Christmas, however I have made this yesterday evening, which has got to be sewn up.
A cute little Christmas stocking, just over a couple of inches tall, from a free pattern by Julie of Little Cotton Rabbits.  Do have a look at her blog, she has designed and made the most gorgeous little knitted animals (including rabbits!). There are several patterns for small stockings.

Just goes to show that however old you are you're never too old to learn something new!  To sign off here's a selfie with Shaun the Sheep perched on my shoulder. I was given some Mardles, character stickers that cone to life when using the app on he phone, whatever next!







20 November 2016

Splendid Sampler 14

It's getting to that time of month and another round up of my Splendid Sampler blocks.  As at today the 81st was published so 19 more to go. 

Block 72 - Full Circle Star designed by Victoria Findlay Wolfe a mix of techniques, an applique centre and pieced star.  There were meant to be applique circles but I replaced these with buttons.

Block 73 - +Love. A pieced block designed by Jennifer Albough. A little fussy cut owl fitted nicely into the centre of this block.

Block 74 - Button Basket designed by Karen Soltys.  I'd recently bought this brown/red marbled effect fabric which contrasts well with the dark grey/black of the honeycombe fabric and red in the background fabric and on the buttons.

Block 75 is an embroidery block, which I haven't yet made. I am thinking of embroidered this by machine and using decorative stitches but will leave this for later.

Block 76 - Little Things by Jacquelynne Steves.  Quarter square triangles with cup and saucer appliqued in the middle square. I was able to use oddments of the red and white fabrics.

The next block, Prism designed by Sara Lawson is Block 77.  Another chance to use the little bits. And pieces left over from other blocks. The owl fabric and the white Dutch Heritage fabric were the ones that had to be cut out as the other pieces were scraps that were trimmed to fit.

Block 78 is Jersey, designed by Carrie Nelson. A pieced block and another chance to use the Owls again.  The orange fabric that have made an appearance in many of the blocks is now beginning to dwindle and I've just got little bits left, but a new orange fabric is about to appear in the next block.

Block 79 is Spoole of Inspirational Threads by Melanie Barrett. I cheated with this block as there should  be strips of fabric foundation pieced 'thread' but I utilised this selvedge fabric as the thread instead.

Block 80, Heartstring Stars by Elizabeth Dackson. Foundation pieced strips added to half square triangles and joined into a nine patch block.

Block 81 is With Love From designed by Cat Demack, which is the block published today and while having sewn the other blocks decided to get this done.  Ummm, I've cheated again. This should be foundation pieced but I layered the background and X and O fabrics with the pattern behind the background fabric and sewn through, cutting back the front fabrics.

Going back a bit this is my version of block 65. Stripe and Flowers by Siobhan Rogers. I struggled with this one as there were little triangles in the borders, which I have omitted as they weren't complete triangles and I didn't like that look.  So the above block is what I came up with.

Lastly a bonus block for this month which is Canning Jars by Joan Ford,  This made me think of sweetie jars rather than preserving ones, which influenced my choice of fabrics.
I added some ricrac under the lids of the jars, lots of little bits bit so long as they were kept in order it all went well and didn't take long to do.

I thought that was the last but no, I made one in October.  It could only be a pumpkin block by Pat Sloan.
The yellow fabric with the acorn leaves go just right with this pumpkin. That is definitely it. I'm now up to date with my Splendid Sampler makes.

16 November 2016

Journal Quilts

 I belong to the Contemporary Quilters group of the Quilters' Guild of he British Isles and this year have participated in making journal quilts, small quilts that are made each month.  This year has a specific size and displayed in portrait format, with certain colours appearing in them.  So far as at yesterday I've made 11 with one more to be made for December.

My head was bussing with ideas following the West Country Quilt Show and seeing a number of textile artists there.  On Sunday after seeing Helen Howes tree technique on her website I decided to have a go. The colour to be featured in these quilts is Yellow and I chose a dark mustard yellow with gold highlights  for the tree.
I had a piece of batik which I thought was big enough but after cutting out, joining and re-cutting soon shrunk things, so a couple more pieces of mustard were added. Basic outline quilting on the batik fabric and a double layer of zigzag finished the quilt.

I also purchased Gillian Travis' book of Interchange Applique quilts, but instead of using one of her patterns my thoughts were of drawing my own and it made me think of rainbow carrots. A bit random, I know, but not completely mad as I'd seen packs of rainbow carrots in M&S.  I used my painted fabric as backgrounds on which to applique the colourful carrots and stitched down with straight line quilting.   It was finished by sewing the backing fabric and bagging out.

Just have one more little quilt to make that that'll be my year of journal quilts made.

13 November 2016

West Country Quilt Show and a Couple of Finishes

Yesterday I went on a coach trip organised by Happy Patchers to the West Country Quilt Show in Bristol, at the University of West of England's Conference Centre.  The weather was really wet so I'm glad someone else was doing the driving.

I heard from last year that this was becoming a quite good show as it not only features quilts but also other crafts are represented too, such as spinning, felting, lacemaking and others and wanted to go this year.  It was interesting to hear demonstrators talk about their crafts even if it wasn't what you do.  There were quite a few textile artists, such as Hilary Beattie, I could watch her demonstrating the different colour mediums that she uses all day.  Needless to say that one of my purchases was her third book, Making it Personal, book 2.

There weren't many competition quilts and only a few competition cushions, but quite a few traders who had mixed fortunes showing at this show.  The aisles were quite wide so plenty of room to explore the the traders and demonstration booths too.

I took pictures of quilts, these were the modern mini quilts from the Modern Quilt section of the Quilters' Guild featuring white, black and another colour
Then there was a textile group with Sixties inspired quilts
Cushions and quilts
Competition Quilts

I made some purchases too, but as I'd only recently bought fabric at the Doughty's sale last month I resisted temptation.  I did buy books, Hilary Beattie's as above, and also from Gillian Travis, a crochet kit, textile brooch kit, a few more Aurifil threads and cards and contact details from other traders.



Now I can say that I have a couple of finishes today - yay!

A little while ago I bought a lovely skein of wool from Kathryn of Crafternoon Treats. It was would fairly quickly into a ball and I used it to make a Hitchhiker Shawl, a pattern by Martina Behm, which was a simple pattern which would show the hand dyed yarn to good effect.  It has been picked up and put down, but it was easy just to sit and knit while watching television, so it has taken a while.  When we stopped in Sherborne on our way home from the Motor Museum the other week the two ladies in the wool shop in the town were wearing Hitchhiker shawls and they looked so different in the different yarns.  Anyway it is finished today and all the sewing that was needed was weaving in the ends at the start and end of the knitting. This is it


And a selfie of me wearing it, sorry, looks a bit odd, didn't know whether to take a photo reflected in the mirror or not, in the end decided a selfie was a better option.
And a start and finish!  A journal quilt for October (I also have a November one in progress).  This was inspired by the tree quilts made by Helen Howes at the quilt show yesterday and the instructions are on her website here


I'd cut the background fabric to size with another thing in mind but it wasn't big enough so the size was expanded with the mustard yellow fabric on 2 sides.  The cutting and inserting was quite quick to do but its thinking in what order to do piece this.  Quite enjoyed this, as I do like to take time out to play with a different technique.

While I was out yesterday David, who volunteers on the Swanage Railway, did a stint of signalling at Norden, near Corfe Castle and had to stay to operate the level crossing for a visiting engine that travelled down on an excursion from Sussex to Weymouth which was stopping overnight at Swanage.    It was night time by the train arrived and the engine was travelling to Southall from Swanage today so we went to Poole station to see it go through. The engine is called Braunton, but as it is Remembrance weekend it was temporarily named Lord Dowding.




That was my weekend, hope you had a good one too.

06 November 2016

Keeping Busy

I haven't posted for a week but I've been kept busy in spite of having a couple of days holiday from work.  This is the last of my holiday until Christmas.  Wednesday is my day off and David and I decided on a day out and went to Sparkford, near Yeovil to visit the Haynes International Motor Museum.  This was about an hour's drive enjoying the sunshine and the autumn colours going through the Dorset countryside, worth going out just for that.

Recalling when we last went there we went as a family when the children were children (they're all in their 30's now!) and the museum had changed a lot.  There were not just cars from before our time but also ones we remember growing up with too.

There was a red room with red sports cars, this lovely MG was made in 1955, so it's as old as me!



I've done a collage of just a few of the many cars here (and a scooter from the 60's)


Thursday was to help my daughter Sarah with her choice of wedding dress for her wedding next September.  She wanted to see if I liked it and I think she made the right choice, its lovely.  So that was Thursday taken up.  Also the gas fitter had capped off the connection for the old gas fire in our lounge and we now have a lovely flame effect electric fire instead.



Friday was to see friends for what we thought would be a nice lunch and walk at Hilliers Gardens near Romsey.  It was not to be as it was chucking it with rain.  So we got our phones out to search for the nearest pub and had a lovely meal and catch up.

As for making things I had a catch up with some recent Splendid Sampler blocks of course, more of that in another post.  I've also been busy with secret knitting too.  I bought the latest Crochet Now mag. and could not resist doing a little crochet.  This was done last night while watching Strictly Come Dancing and hearing the noise of the fireworks outside.

I love the little 'granny' flower which didn't take long to do and I used some glittery Christmas yarn to make a Christmas tree.  I like trying out little bits like this.

This week I've also received a couple of craft boxes that I subscribe to.  One is from The Bramble Patch (I am so thankful that I don't live near this shop, it is my favourite quilt shop, it wouldn't do my bank balance much good!) which has an English Paper Piecing project in this month's Box of Delights.  Another is from the Craft Club Box with some Christmas decorations.

Oh yes, and another little thing I've tried is folded Scandinavian Stars.  This was a link that was on the Quilters' Guild Facebook page (so its all their fault) there were several photos on Facebook following this and I had a go on Thursday evening at Bourne Quilters and couldn't get it to work, but I did this morning


The top and left were made with folded strips of fabric and the bottom right as made with ribbon, though that was a bit slippy putting that together but didn't have the bulk of folded fabric.   Here's the website that started it all off - Crafting a Rainbow.

All these different crafts reminded me of this




30 October 2016

Adding to Stash

This month there's been a couple of events that have lead to fabric purchases. It's silly but I don't need to add to an already large (for me) stash. I know there are people out the who have got larger stashes than me, but I am limited by space. While I am working I might as well spend because when the work stops I might not have the finances!

A couple of weeks ago Sewing Saturday, promoting sewing and fabric shops, which I think is organised by one of the sewing magazines, lead me to go to Christchurch.  There is an online business, called My Sewing Box, had an open day in a small office complex near the station. Run by two ladies they sell a small range of fabrics, yarn and haberdashery from their website. They use social media and I learned of their open day through Facebook. I bought some Christmas fabric from there.
I couldn't resist the owls in the top fabric.

Nearby in Bargates there is another sewing shop, The Little Sewing Company, which has a variety of craft fabrics and haberdashery and they also run sewing lessons.  I may book to do an introduction to dressmaking one in the future to gain more confidence in dressmaking, which I've not done for years.  Here I bought some Makower fabric, Radiance, which I could not resist.

Lovely, wonder what I'll use that far? Maybe I'll just stroke the fabric for now.

Not far from there is a new wool shop, They Crafty Knitter, which was probably needed after the long established one in the town, Honora, closed.  This is a lovely airy shop and their yarns nicely displayed and I bought a couple of balls of multicoloured yarn for my Mum as she wanted to try out the Corner to Corner crochet that was in a recent Crochet Now magazine.

But yesterday was another fabric opportunity. I needed to get some fabrics to add to my Splendid Sampler Collection as some are running out as I've usually bought fat quarters, but that's to the variety in the blocks.  Doughty's were at New Milton yesterday so went their with Mum and she wanted to get some backing fabrics for the Linus quilts that she makes. Perhaps we were fabric-ced out as Mum felt a little disappointed by the choice and I bought a bit too
I went for the green and white/red along with the cream and mustard dotty fabrics to go with the Splendid Sampler fabrics and I may use the grey/white spot too.  I bought the sausage dog and the rust/grey ones to add to stash.

In a couple of weeks I go on a trip to the West Country Quilt Show. See what happens there.  I must seriously go on a stash diet next year!