16 December 2018

So Here It Is...

... I can hear someone singing "...Merry Christmas, Everybody's having fun".  Hurtling towards Christmas just over a week away!  David and I have been on holiday, a cruise to sunnier climes and came back yesterday and although things seem to be organised this coming week will be busy.

Anywho, its December

For this month I chose a mini quilt, just 12" square which I made back in 2009 as part of a Perpetual Calendar project, run by Kandy Newton who was moderator of BQL Yahoo group, which I wrote about in this blog post .  I edited the photo to include this festive glitter.

Before I went on holiday there were a couple of events to attend - a carol service for the local Townswomen's Guild that I belong too on the Saturday then on Sunday Quarterjack Quilters had their annual Christmas lunch and a speaker.  The speaker this year was Sally Ablett, who has designed quilts for magazines, Lewis and Irene fabrics and has also demonstrated on Sewing Quarter TV channel.  So she had lots (and I mean lots) of quilts to show.  She doesn't appear to have a website to link to but I did manage to take a few photos

She demonstrated that although some patterns look difficult, by breaking down the patterns made the designs easier to achieve.  As you can see from the photos, the quilts were piling up on the stage and we were welcome to come and look and study them.  There were even a few of her quilts for sale, but I resisted the temptation.  It was a good afternoon.

I will do another post about the cruise in another post soon.  However I did take some knitting with me having learnt from the last cruise two years ago that knitting needles are ok to take on board.  I was working on some Christmas socks for myself and finished one.  Having not accurately recorded the eyelet pattern for the first sock I had to wing it and hoped that I did it correctly for the second.  It worked out ok and I am pleased to say that I now have a pair of socks.

Although the colours look Christmassy to me the yarn is called "Summer" - hmmm... It's King Cole ZigZag sock yarn and these colours really turned out well.

I also took my Little Box of Crochet November box with me too.  This is a Christmas themed Mandala pattern.  Having watched the tutorial videos before I went away I felt confident that I could make this and this is my progress so far...

There's still a few more rows to go but I'm really loving this poinsettia themed mandala and it will be a lovely reminder of my holiday and seeing lots of poinsettia plants around the towns in Madeira and the Canary Islands with their Christmas displays.  The vintage feel of the light turquoise really set off the traditional Christmas green and reds and make them look brighter.

On the subject of the Little Box of Crochet, the October box kit of Tunisian crochet has gone quite well and just before I went away I now have a complete rectangle.  This does curl up so I've had to use pins on my display board to photograph it.  I'm wondering if I block this and other components of the pouch if this may behave a bit better?  Any thoughts on this I'd like to hear please

That's my makes so far this month and I'm not sure this is going to be a productive month, as this week before the festivities is shaping up to be a busy one.

29 November 2018

A Quilt Top and Having a Ball

Apart from Monday, which had glorious Autumnal weather when I went for a walk with the TG ladies, the weather has been really wet, windy and generally miserable.  Which meant more time for sewing.

I've managed to sew together all of the Kingfisher Quilt blocks and working out a couple of the side panels to 'square off' the quilt top was a challenge but they are joined together

I have since added a narrow cream border around the top and at the moment have left it at that.  It may not get my attention again this side of Christmas as going away then getting ready for Christmas may take up more time. but there is a feeling of accomplishment that I've got a whole top instead of a collection of blocks.

Another thing I've started and finished is an EPP soft ball made up of pentagons.  Not wanting to piece over papers and having to remove the papers while joining the ball I looked for a more permanent solution.  I traced the pentagon to card, draw around the card shape onto some Vilene.  One layer was a bit floppy, so using a cake liner on my ironing board I layered the Vilene onto a second piece and ironed lightly to adhere the layers just enough so there was some glue left to attach to the reverse of fabric.  Phew, that took some explaining.  Anyway it worked and this was the result

12 fussy cut pentagons (2" sides) sewn together kept me amused on a rainy Tuesday afternoon.  Not sure if this will go to Flo or save for baby grandchild no. 6, due in April.  The pattern for this comes from Issue 9 of Love Patchwork and Quilting. from 2015.

I've also had a go at Tunisian Crochet from a monthly box from Little Box of Crochet.  This will make a zippy pouch eventually. This was last month's box but I didn't follow the link for the tutorials to go with the box until the other day, which with the written and pictorial instructions took the mystery out of this type of crochet.  With the crochet cotton this does make a dense and fairly solid piece of work.

 And it curled up!

So to take a photo of my progress with this I had to pin this in place on my display board!  There are 4 more colours to make a rainbow pouch.  Once I got the hang of this process its quite a nice project.

I have got this month's crochet box to take on holiday with me which is a Mandala, which involves working in front and behind stitches.  I've seen the tutorials already but will have to rely on the pattern and try to remember what I saw!  That'll be interesting.  I'm also taking a book (takes me an age to read a book, so one will do) and some knitting so will keep me amused during days at sea.

I had a surprise today when I got home from knit and natter group as I found that I won a pack of 10 fat quarters.  I'd entered a giveaway hosted by Sewing Directory. I'd forgotten I'd entered it so it was a nice surprise.  

This is Color Master curated fat quarters by Jessica Swift for Art Gallery Fabrics and I will resist the temptation to undo and open out the bundle until after my holiday.  But seeing as it was my birthday yesterday it seemed like serendipity that I won that bundle!

This weekend will see us packing and going to a carol concert on Saturday and a Quilters' Christmas lunch on Sunday.  So plenty to keep me busy!

See you soon.

23 November 2018

November Catch Up

This month whizzes by with a round of birthday gatherings and getting out and about.  November sees my Mum, David and I all having birthdays and next month David and I are away on a cruise so we are gearing up for that.

I went for the first time to West Country Embroiderers' local group who meet at Corfe Mullen.  We were shown how to make Dorset Buttons, by Anna from Henry's Buttons and make Christmas themed ones with glittery thread and ribbons.  Here's my attempt.

A sideways view of the buttons the top one is a traditional one with the addition of narrow ribbon for extra decoration to the cartwheel and for the trim.  The bottom one is a Christmas tree, though I had a job trying to stitch French Knots as they kept pulling though to the wrong side so made small stitches instead.  It was an enjoyable day and I think a few more may be made some time soon...

I have just finished the hexagons on my Kingfisher Quilt and in the process of joining the blocks together.  It's taken 46 diamond blocks of hexies and it has been lovely to have this bit of slow stitching sewing the hexies together and appliquéing them onto their backgrounds that I'm going to have to find more hand stitching now, but that might wait until the new year.  Here's the progress so far

 A pile of diamonds
 The last two hexies to be sewn onto their backgrounds
 Arranged on the floor of my room ready to be sewn
Joining the strips together - just over halfway through

I spent Monday piecing the blocks together but have left at this point.  I hope to have the time on Sunday to join it all up and trim the edges.  I have bought a half metre of neutral fabric to put a thin border and will make the decision about what other border/s to put on this.  Quilting and finishing will probably be in the New Year.  So this will go on my self imposed Finish A Long for next year. I love how this is looking and serendipity of the blocks.  When laying out I didn't think much about what goes with what but just went for it and I love it.

Another finish has been this, a small hexie Table mat for Christmas.  I took part in a Christmas Hexie swap two years ago!!!  I don't know why it took me so long to get there, but it has.  Don't look at the wonky stitching it could have been better, but its a finish.

I hope to do a catch up next week before going away.  Have a good, creative weekend.

07 November 2018


A week into November and less than 7 weeks to Christmas - less than a month until our holiday.  Time as ever flies by!

Last month saw the rediscovery of a crochet project that has been lingering for more than a year.  Crochet Now magazine ran a Crochet A Long (CAL) called Vintage Sweethearts which was designed by Sandra Paul of Cherry Heart blog.  Rather than have the yarn in a net bag I took the decision to work on this and with the longer evenings I have been steadily making crochet blocks of which the one above is in part 7 (I got up to part 6 before abandoning the project).  I have since just finished the blocks in part 8 and made a start on part 9.  As yet I haven't blocked the crochet blocks  and sewn together, that's yet to come.  I have seen a tutorial on YouTube by Helen of Crystals & Crochet about blocking acrylic yarn which has been useful and will at some stage get on with the blocking before sewing up.  Much better to be a blanket than a pile of yarn sitting in a net bag!

So, part 8 is on the left and part 9 is on the right.

Back in September I went to a retreat in Shropshire (which I didn't blog about) and in a lucky dip bag amongst other things I had a fat quarter of a lovely fabric called Boho Forest with squirrels, bears and owls.  Too nice to tuck away in stash so I made a folio with it.

The instructions came from Aneela Hoey's book of Stitched Sewing Organizers, which has been a useful resource for me this year.  I used fabrics from my stash, picking out the colours of the Boho fabric = mainly the taupes, yellows and duck egg blues and appliquéd the bears on the remaining piece of the fat quarter. It will hold the book along with pattern pieces in one place.  I have a couple of dressmaking books with patterns that have to be traced so there will probably be folios made for them too.  I used basal interlining for the cover, which although soft made it heavy so next time I will probably make a quilted cover instead.

A few months a go I signed up to make blocks on a monthly basis for a Siblings Together quilt bee and the requirement was to make blocks of warm colours.

They've now been sent off to the Quilt Bee Mama - a collection of those should make a lovely bright quilt.

It wasn't that long since I went to a quilt show, but I went one in Basingstoke run by North Hampshire Quilters and also took the opportunity to visit my brother-in-law's just a short hop up the motorway after.  They are a large group and their quilt styles are varied - from traditional to modern to contemporary.  A small but enjoyable show

Next Monday will be my first visit to West Country Embroiders Poole branch, making Dorset buttons.  I saw their exhibition back in September and made enquiries about joining, so see how that goes.  

26 October 2018

October Happenings

This post will be another miscellany of going out and making things too.  Last week David and I had a short visit to St Austell, Cornwall to visit the Eden Project.  We had some Tesco Clubcard vouchers for our visit there and the offer of a cheap Premier Inn stay gave us the opportunity to visit.  There have been changes to the roads around the area so no twiddly lanes to drive to get to the Eden Project now and avoids the town centre.

The weather on the travel down wasn't good and return journey was even worse, which was followed by glorious weather in the days after we returned home!  Fortunately the day we visited Eden it was dry so that was good.

On our trip down to Cornwall we visited Castle Drogo, near Exeter, which is shrouded in covered scaffolding while work ongoing work takes place.  The castle has always had problems with a leaking flat roof and concrete mortar joining the granite blocks so a layer of the castle has been removed to make the building watertight before relaying the roof.  We took the opportunity to don hi-viz vests and hard hats to climb the temporary stairway and see the work being done from a platform at the top of the building.  The north side of the building is being worked on while the south side is open to visitors and below is the best photo I could take as on the far left you will just see the white of the covers over the scaffolding.

Then after a hairy journey from Castle Drogo down single track lanes with very small passing places until we reached the main roads we went onto St Austell.

I think this must the be third visit we've made to the Eden Project and there is always something new to see as well as familiar things like the allotments with vegetables grown that reflect the different cultures cooking.   There were also some changes to the biomes too with the Californian plants in the Mediterranean biome being replaced by Australian ones.  It just makes for an interesting visit.

 A version of the mud maiden
 Roul  Roul Partridges near the banana plants in the Tropical biome
 Orchid display in the Tropical biome
Loving the colour fade of the Grevillea that comes from Australia in the Mediterranean biome.

Going onto the Core building the mechanical ball run was replaced by the a large sculpture called Infinity Blue, which has blue ceramic panels with holes that blow out vapour circles at intervals to represent invisible bacteria called Cyanobacteria.  It was fascinating to both adults and children watching the puffs of vapour and seeing the rings float and disappear.  Theres a link for more information here

In spite of it being mid October there are some plants that are really putting on a good display like these dahlias on the slopes.

And changes to plants that are just spectacular this time of year, like the vine leaves that are turning

On Saturday I went on a coach trip organised by Happy Patchers to the Craft 4 Crafters show at Shepton Mallet.  It is a mix of crafts, not much knitting but fabric and papercrafts mainly, but also organisations are represented here such as Project Linus, West Country Embroiderers, Somerset Spinning and Weaving amongst others and textile artists doing demonstrations/mini workshops.  I didn't buy much, even came back with change from the budget I set myself.  I was looking forward to seeing 'Briswool' which is a community knitting and crochet project, but it wasn't there as the group had decided to retire the display but it was pretty big so I had to make do with Kevin the crochet crocodile!! He is pretty long and those crochet scales must have taken ages, but the imagination to make something like that as a group  project.  Here's a link to see pictures of the project and to Crafting the City

Just next to Kevin was this seagull

I'm not keen on seagulls but he did look spectacular.

There was a display of exhibits by textile artist Kate Crossley, famed for her grandfather clock at Festival of Quilts a few years back.  There is just so much detail in her work.

And I also like the quilts made from the same pattern but the fabric choices make the quilts different but still recognisable as the same pattern (if you get my drift!)

This is Cornelian quilt from a pattern (which was a block of the month) by Hugs 'n' Kisses which involves hexagons and embroidery so really intricate.  These were just 2 of the quilts on display by the quilt group. And no, I'm not going to have a go at this!

In spite of this gadding about I have made time to make things.  A couple of baby items for Flo, some small socks and a baby bonnet (she isn't keen on hats so a bonnet might stay on better)

Pictures were taken in different light but they are the same shade of pink.

I also made a Wee Braw Bag, which has been seen a lot on Instagram just lately.  I had a copy of the pattern from a past issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting.  It is basically a small drawstring pouch and having made a few of pouches recently it didn't take me long to put it together.

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