knitting

A little quilting … bit of a faff this time! Very little crafting indeed this week.

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It’s been a quiet week craftwise,  with much time taken up elsewhere with family illness and a little bit of work.

 

A few weeks ago I began a machine stitched baby playmat.  I kept the urge back to post pics here as I was planning to post when it was finished.  I briefly worked on the playmat two days ago, a little time for me and for my sanity! I still have a little way to go – craftwise that it, sanity well who can tell!

The playmat was supposed to be a quick and easy project.  A few weeks ago, the piecing went well, fabulous fabric donated by a friend.  I pieced the front, THEN I accidently cut the backing too small!  Grrr, I dashed out and purchased an alternative fabric.  I sewed the back and front together like a pillowcase, intending to pop in  the wadding and simply do some formed of ‘tied’ quilting.  That’s where I had left it until this week.

quiltbackmag (2)
So what’s a magazine got to do with quilting? There are no sewing patterns in this one ….

Have you ever tried to insert wadding through a small gap in one side of a pillowcase shape and try and make it reach all the edges?  It doesn’t work – wadding is way too flexible.  It clung to the fabric in all the wrong places. I had imagined it would be like putting a duvet in a duvet cover.  It isn’t!  I ended up flipping the ‘pillowcase’ inside out again and attempted to tack the wadding to the wrong side of the front of the playmat. There was one major hurdle – I had to avoid tacking the wadding to both the front and the back as I then wanted to flip it right side out, seam the gap and then tie the quilt as planned.  Some might say ‘why didn’t she just undo the seam around the whole thing and tack the wadding to one part?’  I have no idea why I didn’t do that! So, this wasn’t like a standard quilt where you have three layers and then bind the edges afterwards. I came up with this weird method of inserting a magazine into the gap and moving it beneath each part as I tacked.  I could pin and tack through the wadding and the front without the pins and stitches going right through to the other layer.  Here’s a pic mid process with a hint of what the back will look like.

quiltback
A touch of dotty blue makes the back a calm colour . What colours do you think the top will be?

I shall finish this before the recipient arrives in June.  I had just run out of me time this week and was slightly traumatised by the effort this took!

Watch this blog for the finished article.

Total other craftings this week – three hexagon shapes cut and tacked to card for my hand quilted hexi project.  Long way to go on this one.  Twelve rows of knitting, shaping armholes for an ongoing project. Not so much to still do, the bulk is done. I am just at the fiddly parts, not a project to take when hospital visiting. I have a new one for just that next time.

Bye for now.

 

Hexagon heaven – a little quilt in progress, and a knit fail!

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I have been crafting steadily over the last few days but there’s not a lot to photograph and show off!  Here are my latest 19 hexagons handsewn together.hexis.jpg

Excuse the crinkles – it’s a moveable project and it came with me to a craft club last night – obviously not packed so nicely for it’s journey home! Might have been due to exhaustion – second day in new job, followed by an evening at a craft club with just an hour between the two.  I might have overstretched myself too far yesterday, though the stitches are even so at least that wasn’t a consequence!

Recently I posted a pic of this sofa quilt project.  Eventually all my hexagons will be sewn together and what started as a cushion project WILL become a throw for my spare sofa.  I am calling it my organic project.  I started it several years ago, have dipped in and out but am currently working away on it, using fabric from my stash and adding more if I come across something complementary when out and about.  I may purchase a FQ or a half metre or more at a time, not exactly planning what I need at all. I am a ‘wing it’ sort of girl and this is a lot of fun. I am not stressing at all about how long it might take me and if another project becomes a priority it won’t matter at all.  There’s a lot of love being stitched into this.  Hand sewing is very therapeutic, and each stitching session is really enjoyable.  This is not detracting from the two knitting projects next to my sofa, nor the machine stitched quilt almost finished on my work table.

Knitting-wise, I have just picked up stitches twice (yes, twice!) around the neck of my latest cotton top.  Unfortunately the first pick up was very uneven so I undid it.  The second pick up has been better but there are still a couple of places I am not happy with.  It has been relegated to it’s knitting bag for the rest of the day.  Sometimes a project ‘works’ first time, but sometimes it doesn’t.  Often when I go back to it everything clicks and that’s the project for the day but today is a knit-no-more day.  No pics of the wonky pick up  – too embarrassed to show that off – I may have to enhance the neckline to make it wearable.

Loving knitting the cotton DK anyway – it’s Paintbox cotton dk yarn from Loveknitting.com. The shade is called Lipstick Pink but to me it’s not pink at all – it’s a definite coral.  I’ve bought a lot online but sourcing online there is always that risk that the colours you see on your screen don’t match the colour in reality.  In this instance I actually prefer coral to the pink anyway. https://www.loveknitting.com/paintbox-yarns-cotton-dk

Would love to hear which online yarn and fabric suppliers fellow crafters use. To start, one UK fabric online shop I love is ElephantInMyHandbag.com – lots to like on here.

I do actually visit shops too.  My hubby says I can sniff out a yarn or fabric shop from miles away – luckily he can be a patient man whilst I shop, or at least he ‘sniffs out’ a pub nearby and pops there whilst he’s waiting!

Byee for now.

 

 

NaKniCromo done !

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The Ravelry challenge is over today.  To finish what I started –

 

Day 30 – 30th March 2017 – what crafts would I like to learn? There must be a whole host of undiscovered crafts out there, ones I have never had a whiff of!   I can think of a few I am not interested in but there must be so many more and I look forward to finding them.

Day 31 – today – end results – two completed baby jackets, both photographed recently, three quarters of a cardigan for me, also photographed in progress – that’s one thing I had really hoped to complete!  I have sewn as well as knitted – I made felted doughnuts – 10 large, 10 small, 4 embroidery hoops with freehand machine embroidery and hand stitching, a french stick bag – oh I haven’t photographed that yet – that’s for me to take to our house in France.  It’s taken 10 years of saying ‘I really could do with some kind of long bag to keep our bread in!  I have semi-sorted my yarn stash, been shocked at how much I had and why I purchased a lot of it.  I’ve sold 11 lots of yarn in online auctions and gifted two bags of crafting things to charity. All in all my crafting world at home has been attacked and it felt good.

Spring has sprung here in the UK.  Perhaps a lot of this sorting out has been a little bit of a Spring Clean!  I made an awful mess along the way!

magnolia

 

Painted yarn bowl makes knitting pretty ! (Nearing the end of NaKniCromo on Ravelry too)

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I decorated a pottery yarn bowl at a Pottery Painting shop early this month – oh what fun !  I was slightly worried my attempt at painting anything might look like a child’s artistry (my ‘skills’ tend to be woolly or in fabric) but luckily with a little help of a ‘magic’ paint I think the finished product was a success. I was reluctant to post pics until it was fired in case it was a disaster.yarn bowls

https://www.emmaspotteryparlour.com/

Mine’s on the left.  I painted a pattern you can’t see too well(!),  covered it with a white glaze that went black and ‘cracked’ on firing.  My friend Susan (her bowl on the right) was painted in green/blue, then a grey glaze was painted on and the ‘bit’s in the glaze exploded on firing changing the colour and giving a lovely marbled effect.

 

Finished and in use !

DSC02279

 

 

 

 

 

So, Love this Cardigan is growing.  DSC02277

Now I have the two fronts and almost the front.  Meribel yarn by Schoeller and Stahl is lovely to work with but will be a nightmare to sew up with so I am scrabbling around in my stash to find a good sewing up yarn, one that won’t break when I pull together mattress stitch.

 

 

 

NaKniCromo, the yarn challenge for March on Ravelry.com is almost over.

Day 26 Projectless yarn? Yes – lots of it – here is just some ….DSC02209 and currently sorting my stash so much more is projectless.

Day 27 – For those who know me, I am never working on one thing at the same time.  I have ‘easy’ knitting which is portable (eg in the car or with me for knit club when I can chat, drink coffee and not go home with mistakes that need ripping out later), then slightly more difficult knitting for when I want a challenge.  I have WIPs where I have got bored or stuck or gone wrong – they go into storage and often take a little while to finish or I never finish them!

Day 28 Share my Progress – see above, Love this Cardigan in Meribel teal and navy blue – love love love this cardigan is what I shall call it!

Day 29 Any Other Crafts? Yes, as blogged here, I sew a bit too. Doughnuts and Embroidery Hoops on recent posts.  I have also tried others, hand felting, cross stitch, mosaics are amongst them.  Oh, and I did silk painting and card making as well. I guess I have a brain that loves to create and try new things.

Day 30 – tomorrow – Crafts I would like to learn – thinking ….

Have a great day, whatever you are doing.  And if anyone wants to suggest a project for that projectless yarn please feel free to do so – I have 150g/150m chunky yarn, variegated.  It’s Adriafil Mistero, acrylic and wool.

 

 

 

When do I craft? Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Knitting challenge, etc. NaKnitCroMo

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Day 9 of the NaKnitCroMo challenge on Ravelry.com – though in reality it’s actually Day 11 and I am catching up.

When? Mainly the evenings if it’s knitting.  I cosy myself up on the sofa, cat to the left of me,  after dinner, if I am knitting something easy then the tv is on too.

If it’s sewing, by machine, then that’s a daytime thing.  I usually want to be on my own in the house, no husband to pop in and interrupt me – risking me sewing through my own fingers or going askew on the piece I am sewing.  I often think he feels my sewing efforts are a waste of time – he doesn’t ‘get’ the pleasure made from handcrafting.

 

Day 10 of the NaKnitCroMo challenge – What’s my crafting fuel?

Coffee, decaff and when trying to be good – water. If I have the odd evening tipple, I end up putting the knitting down as I can’t concentrate – or I think I can but looking at anything I’ve knitting the next morning can be slightly shameful, and I might not have the right number of stitches on each row still!  Never say never though – I was invited to a Craft and Cocktails event yesterday – didn’t go as I had other plans – looking forward to hearing how friends got on – and if anything crafty was achieved. I suspect there was more giggles and drinking than crafting – but that’s not a bad thing occasionally.  Shame to miss it. (Memories of being a teenager, moons ago, hemming a skirt one evening, whilst fuelled with cider – argh, the finished hem was soooo bad!)

Day 11 – today – What do I listen to when crafting?  As I said, when knitting, it’s usually the tv.  When sewing, I love catching up on BBC London Radio (JoAnne Good in the afternoon, particularly The Barking Hour on Thursday afternoons or I love a bit of Robert Elms and his listed Londoner slot), or my cds –  a bit of retro 1980’s/1990s’s – my era, when I knew all the words and sang along – maybe that’s why I sew alone at home – then there’s no shame in singing along out loud and out of tune, ha ha!  Depending on the mood of the day – Fleetwood Mac, for a singsong, Enjya for thoughfulness, Cher for a jig about when ironing fabric, bit of newer stuff, eg. Mumford and Sons – husband would definitely head out of the house for Mumford – he hates them.  Loving this challenge – it really makes me think how and why I craft.

drops merino extra fineWool ….

Latest knitting news – I guess part of the March challenge but this might slip into April.  I have finished both fronts of my ML181 Love this Cardigan.  I have sold some of my stash which has been quite carthartic – you know those yarns you have had for ages and just aren’t going to be turned into something as you have either gone off them, or just don’t have enough in quantity?  – they’ve gone to good homes.  I have (accidently) purchased some yarn for a couple of baby projects.  A friend in Belgium is due in May – I haven’t started anything yet – got to get my sticks clicking – not sure if it’s a boy or a girl, hoping this lovely shade of yellow will be a good choice.  DROPS Merino Extra Fine in light yellow. (Great local yarn store –  http://www.littlewoollie.co.uk/ – always a warm welcome from the owner Trudy.)  ‘Accidently’ purchased as I have plenty of yarn still in my stash – but this was irresistable and DROPS is reasonable prices and good quality.

 

drops merino extra fine light yellow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ripping is not as satisfying as knitting: Meribel but this time not in France.

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meribel

Schoeller and Stahl Meribel – Shades 19 (the teal one) and 4 (the navy one).  I decided to knit this

ML181 Pattern ML181 Love this Cardigan Ravelry.com. Meribel’s great to work with , it’s soft, it grows quickly on big needles, it sheds a little but not too much.  I made the first front in speedy time.  I began the second front. I usually compare the two as I go along, especially when there are colour changes or shaping – but I didn’t this time. (Why?? I can’t actually answer that!)  I measured the two against each other only when I reached the armhole shaping and realised I’d not done enough stripes on piece two (how did I miscount when the stripes are in bands of 2? I know my 2 x tables!) and the pocket was placed too low down. Duh! So I had to rip down a couple of hours of work, undoing this slightly fluffy yarn whose fibres cling to each other, and started reknitting, surrounded by teal fluff.

We knitters know ripping is quicker than knitting!  Ripping is satisfying to me only if it doesn’t mean it’s a current mistake than needs fixing quickly.  I really want to finish this cardigan to wear this season and I have so many WIPs that this was a little ‘treat’ to myself.  Dare I carry on today for a while or do I need to switch to a much more pressing time restrained project (eg. a friend’s baby may arrive soon and he/she needs something to wear much more than I need to add to my own wardrobe)? I guess my knitting time today will be shared between the two.

And before I go – Meribel, France, not been there, just quoting yarn name vs place name.  I wonder why ‘Meribel’ as Schoeller and Stahl is a German yarn brand.  Just wondering …

Here’s how far I got to last night, pocket back in, stripes of the right number. Bye for now.  Got to go, got to knit!

meribel cardi

 

 

 

Favourite beach

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Sitting knitting in my front room tonight, it’s a little chilly and I am thinking of fun places I have knitted and warm places I have knitted.  The two are not always hand in hand.

Amongst my favourites are several beaches and scrolling through my phone I have pictures of some of my favourite beaches, yay! No actual knitty pictures here, just beaches.   I took the pictures myself.  I must remember to get someone else to take photos of me actually knitting in future!  So, a lovely long quiet sandy beach at Cabourg, Normandy, France.  Another, with iconic blue and white sunshades – love it here – Trouville, Normandy, France.  Lastly, Whitstable, Kent, UK – that’s the coffee and doughnut picture – at the beach but this is not a photo of the beach.  I remember that day, a lovely wander along the beach, it was cold, I sat and knitted but not for long as my hands were cold, then I was in need of a hot drink and the doughnut was free!  Would love to see if others knit at the beach.

Going to put the heating on now …..