quilt

Using the stash

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I keep thinking I’ll have a huge sort out of my fabric stash as well as my yarn stash. It’s not quite happened yet. However, as I am thinking about it, idly looking through boxes, moving things about mostly rather than having a ‘keep it’ or ‘lose it’ pile. I am discovering fabrics I’d forgotten all about. After this lockdown I will truly be reconsidering my buying habits. Much of my stash was acquired when I worked in either haberdashery or yarn companies – treats to myself, usually at discounted rates – well, who could resist?! I also love a knit and/or stitch fair and there are bargains to be had or things you have never seen before – with a little encouragement from friends I often come back from one of those with treats too (who am I kidding, I don’t need encouragement).

Last week I was enjoying sunny weather, bestowing the fact it was a good day to dry laundry on the clothes line (little things make me happy). Sadly the bag that holds my pegs decided she’d had enough and fell apart leaving pegs strewn about the lawn and me scrabbling around picking them up. I’d made it several years ago, decorated with my first attempt at free motion embroidery and I remember it had been a nightmare to construct to not get the pocket with it’s picture inside out. So what better time to make another one – use up some of my stash perhaps? It’s not as if I have plans to go anywhere right now (ground hog day, going a little crazy at times).

I had a pile of upholstery/thicker than cotton/non stretch fabrics. I bought this one at the Alexandra Palace Stitch and Knitting Show two years ago. Perfect! And for once a project worked first time and I love it. It was simple I know, but making something inside out and pulling it through a hole from one side to another often phases me, especially if I’ve then still got to insert something inside to enhance it- on this occasion a hanger! I have had chronic bag making fails which involved a lot of unpicking seams.

Perhaps not the most interesting ‘show and tell’ but I have used some of my stash and it’s useful too!

Then there was a dive into my yarn stash. Another new family baby due this summer. You might not be able to see the subtle differences in this photo but there is a pale grey and pale minty green hoodie on it’s way for a baby boy. I possibly would not have selected these two together but they work nicely.

Looking forward to seeing everyone else’s lockdown makes. I have a good friend involved in a community project making a quilt during this corona virus lockdown – they are searching for a name for it that sounds inspiring and thoughtful rather than sad and depressing. Any thoughts anyone?

New life still arrives during lockdown

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There is one sure thing that can’t wait. My niece is due to give birth shortly. If she could she would put it off til the world feels a little safer, but there is no going back. I wish her and her hubby well. I hope they can enjoy their newborn when she arrives, show her off to friends and family virtually before everyone can visit for a cuddle. It will be lovely to have something good to celebrate amongst the horror of this dreadful coronavirus.

I made a baby quilt. Not quite knowing her preferred taste it has a ‘traditional’ and a ‘contemporary’ side. For the first time ever I ‘tied’ it rather than quilted it. I am definitely going to use this method for another one. I hope they like pink!

Quilting Project: A decade in and still making

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An untidy photo… A project I started when I worked in a haberdashery/ fabric shop about ten years ago. I helped customers choose fabrics for their own projects and it was so tempting to spend much of my salary on fabrics for me too. I didn’t get very far in the making at that actual time, a big pile of hexies, a vague plan that I may end up with a patchwork cushion. Then I left the job, I looked at what I’d got and the wonkiness of my attempts went into the pile of UFOs. Enthusiasm took a super nose dive.

Over the next few years I occasionally revisited the pile. It always reminded me of my late Nan who’d taught me English Paper Piecing. She had a penchant for wonkiness! Sometimes purchasing a little fabric if I came across autumn shades with a flora and fauna theme turned the cushion plan into a sofa throw plan. It grew very slowly and only very occasionally. I even blogged about it once. (I am a knitter and a Mum, life just takes over!) .

Lately I dived back into the box of hexies. I realised a reason this project wasn’t one I was desperate to finish – I had all these groups of hexagons and there was one round of hexies that didn’t sit well with the others – so I took it off the pile and new enthusiasm just leapt out at me. With the help of a friend with a good eye for colour I even went and found the perfect shade to (hopefully) meld them all together.

A little progress, reusing greetings cards as templates. I re-enjoy messages sent to our house. Somewhat fitting right now as there are Christmas cards amongst the pile.

Here’s a bit more, with the olive-y shade marrying the larger hexies. I DO know there may be another few years (hopefully not ten!) before I finish this project. Handsewing is very time-consuming, sewing in good light is an issue, finding my glasses sometimes is too (!), wonkiness is definitely a big part (I am learning to ‘wiggle’ the joins where necessary). It is not perfect but it’s perfect for me in many ways. Not only do I get ‘Nan’ memories, I see messages of kindness within the cards and I think perhaps this hasn’t been a total waste of time and money. I may ask for advice here for borders and finishing when the time comes.

There’s an imminent need for a pause to this project again. I have knitted Christmas presents to complete and as that date is immovable (and the children may grow so their gifts can’t be gifted to them next year) I must dash back to those and return to my quilting indulgence right after.

Bye for now.

The end of the rainbow and a quilt or two too

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I’d like to think there’s always a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. My ‘gold’ or my ‘reward’ is that I now have more time to work on other WIPs. Fellow crafters with mountains (or hillocks at least) of projects on the go may understand just that.

It took a few weeks but at last my mega kingsize crochet blanket is finished. The first photo was taken one morning, sun streaming in, the second one is not the best I admit, but this was taken in the twilight of the same evening and my cats had already dived onto the bed and ruffled it up. Now here’s a question – how do you stop cats padding and pulling on a woollen blanket??? This is not to be a precious blanket, after all it was a project to use up lots of my stash and is to be used, but it might be nice if it wasn’t snagged too much too quickly.

Due to other commitments and a winter cold too, I’ve not been here for a little while. I have had a few trips out enjoying others’ crafts, amongst which was one lovely little Quilting Show in Detling, Kent. There were a smattering of stalls and fabric jumped into my basket (more about that another day, one of my own quilt projects is already nine years in the making ..) but the exhibition showed some amazing skill. If I could have bottled a lot of it I would have, but here is just a little to share.

The Scandi Star was just amazing, enhanced by the simplicity of fabric colour, and the quilting was spectacular,

The more colourful quilts or panels hung as quilts were amazing. The creator made them as memories of places she’d been. You might recognise somewhere yourself, just like I did! My favourite over all was ‘Portugal’ – the tins of sardines! And I hate myself for not taking more details of the person who made these – I cannot scan in nearer and read her name, I obviously was just blinded by her style, I stood admiring for ages before the friend I was with dragged me off to see more. One day, I could be as talented as this (she says, maybe never).

Off to sew now for a little bit. I hope somewhere out there there are other crafters stitching or playing with knitting sticks or crochet hooks or felting needles or glueing with guns or pegging with nails (and so on and so forth) and they share their creations with us.

RIP, Knit, RIP, Knit, progress. Meanwhile, envying others beautiful crafts.

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My last blog post was about progress and deciding to tackle another WIP. I put aside a pale green scarf and picked up a half-done cotton summer top.

My boy, Mercury watched me as I ripped back. No matter what I do to the camera settings he is so difficult to photograph, being black (with the odd white fleck peeping up as he’s 12 now) he always seems camouflaged. Armed with coffee in one of my ‘knitty’ mugs I was ready to go. This mug was a lovely present from my long suffering husband, you can find them here https://www.dearewe.com/

So, I ripped back, knit, undid a few rows, found a fault, knitted again, found a dropped stitch, couldn’t pick it up, ripped back, continued (you get the idea!). Then yesterday I finally started sewing up and I am now on the home stretch. I am feeling rather proud this WIP has finally progressed but am frustrated this fairly easy knit nearly beat me, probably as I didn’t follow the pattern exactly, changed stitch count and sizing along the way.

Over the last couple of weeks I also thought about my fabric WIPs, none of which are top of the pile to revisit. Mine will be nothing as gorgeous of these, but wanted to share here to help inspire others. This first one is hanging in our local library. It is a work by Orpington Quilters Group. Beautiful, isn’t it? Unfortunately it isn’t hung well, I couldn’t get a better photo of the whole quilt.

This fantastic one was made by a friend at my knitting group. It is her very first foray into quilting, techniques learnt at a Beginner’s quilting group. Despite (again) my photography skills I hope you think it’s fantastic too. Anne, beginner quilter extraordinaire you have definitely inspired me to do better and in particular try the quilt as you go method. I was wondering how I was ever going to tackle the length and breadth of one of my half done quilts!

Knitting and Stitching in London in March

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I was at the Knitting and Stitching Show at London Olympia last Friday and I promised friends I’d do a little summing up of my favourite things. One day just didn’t give me quite enough time to see and do everything! I didn’t get to see any of the Live Theatre or do any Workshops. Next time I will book for two days and plan more.

To start with, I was enthralled by the Quilters Guild exhibition of Modern Samplers . Just a few snaps, only three quilts of many.

I was restrained with my purchases, possibly that’s another reason to go for two days next time! I found a wonderful button maker!

I only bought 2 buttons for projects in mind

I bought beautiful fabric to make a summer dress and a pair of beach pyjamas. You can’t tell here but the the cherry one is cotton and the jade a gorgeous cotton/silk mix. Then there’s a kit to learn how to adjust standard dressmaking patterns. Having struggled to make things fit me perfectly I hope this helps in future. Wish me luck with a lot of reading before the measuring begins. I’m also going to make a little fabric trinket bowl – or maybe two or three!

There were lots of lovely yarn sellers including independent dyers and spinners. I squished and admired and took business cards for future delights. I can hardly believe I had enough self control not to buy from each and every one of them on the day. Yarn is usually my downfall and I often go home with bags full!

There was a sweet knitted display called ‘The Enchanted Wood’, fairies and woodland creatures of all sorts. Donations were being collected for the Louise Hamilton Trust, a charity founded by the family of a young woman who died at an early age from Breast Cancer. The display must have been fun to make, these pictures are a small part just so you can get an idea of what it was all about.

Lastly, and sadly too, the exhibition of Dame Zandra Rhodes knitwear was a little small and poorly located (no pics). It was a shame as she only designed knitwear for the 15 years she had a shop off Bond Street and she is a great admirer of knitting skills. I can’t say what I saw inspired me to knit anything similar – imagine 1980’s picture jumpers in blacks and reds, however I think the exhibition company could have made more of this exhibit.

There was so much more to show you, just wish you could have seen for yourselves. If you did go, please share too!

Intentions new and old, including some crafting

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I realised when revisiting the list of things I intended to do last year that I’ve achieved many parts of that list. What I called my ‘Enthusiasms’, aka as ‘Resolutions’ did not fail for once.

I reached my diet goal and along the way my focus changed to become healthier and happier rather than just a little slimmer.

I intended to sort out my craft stuff.  This year I used up my stash when I could. Just a few samples – I knitted a bunch of hats for charity.

Quilt pieces and bunting evolved from my fabric pile, some of which I’d saved since 1994, I even made a sample dress from a duvet cover found in a charity shop (a challenge from friends, see below!).

I have many knitting and sewing WIPs. One HUGE intention was to finish many of them in 2018 – or rip them back to reknit something else. I did some of this! I hated two cardigans I eventually finished – both wrong shapes for me so I gifted them and they were gratefully received. I ripped back three unfinished knits. One turned into hats. The others await 2019. For Christmas I received a book about how to knit to flatter – I think this may get good use this year!!! I don’t usually make toys but have a bunny fabric pattern – that’s one intention for 2019. Another is to finish at least one quilt (there are two part done!).

I didn’t exactly sort out my job/career.  I haven’t leapt into anything in a blind panic.  I have put my family and my health first this year.  I didn’t juggle all the balls of life and succeed with none. No regrets.

I was supposed to make a bucket list of things to do compelled by a particular date was slightly superceded by two friends giving me a list of things to do over the next year to celebrate my birthday. Most were fun, some were treats, some slightly scary. Challenged to wear something from a charity shop (I do that all the time, my ‘take’ on it was to buy a second hand duvet cover then make it into a dress!)

The last on last year’s list was to become more involved in day to day household accounting/finance.  This was a serious plan for 2018 and is ongoing. I muddle along yet our household finances are still primarily organised by my husband. I wanted to take some pressure off him but we agree he is just better at it. As long as there is ‘change’ after the bills are paid and I can add to my craft supplies I’m happy. I am hoping if he reads this he agrees – happy wife/happy life!

Hastings, knitting WIPs and a little blue quilting

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I have said before that it has been a little too hot to knit in this heatwave. Luckily I have no deadlines for my plethora of WIPs or else I’d be in trouble. I have been able to progress a little on my sewing project – mid afternoon the workspace in my dining room is cool – so I have been taking up residence there and working on my quilt top. It’s been a pleasure to play fabric piecing. I won’t lie that it is working perfectly, there will be a few wiggles in the finished quilt and a lot of adjustments along the way.  I know the theory that cutting accurately is the essential part of quilt making  – read this again – IN THEORY (!)

quilttopparts.jpg

For me, the coast is always an attraction come rain or shine, however in this constant heat it is more so.  I fitted in a little seaside trip.  A little bit of Hastings consoles my soul, for the vista and also the memories of living here as a child. I often wonder why I ‘landed’ inland and how long I can remain here.

Right this minute I am wondering if I chose blue quilt pieces as they remind me of the sea and the sky. Here are the cliffs and the beach at Rock a Nore and looking around the headland towards Fairlight (there used to be a nudist beach around the headland, not sure if there still is!)

 

What makes us choose the colours we work with? Anyone have stories about just that?

Knitting WIPS or WNIPS and other acronyms

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It’s rather hot to knit so I have just renamed the two knitting projects beside me WNIPS – adding a ‘NOT’ to the WORKS IN PROGRESS acronym.  You see, I stalled with one a while ago when I got to a tricky part.  I then started a simple new project in cotton, hoping simple and quick would mean I could wear it this summer – oh no chance – it grew and it grew and it grew until I realised the raglan shaping meant it would only fit a chimpanzee with very long arms so it’s been RIPPED right back to a pile of balls.  For me, this is actually pretty good, being as it is not a UFO for the next few months or years – to unravel and add it to the STABLE is actually better than rediscovering it in a bag or a drawer later.*

I have managed to do a little more machine sewing, so the mini pile of blue piecing for a quilt top has grown.  I shall pop photos up another day.  I hadn’t realised just how many squares I needed to make a cover for a single sized bed so it is a longer project than anticipated but I haven’t ‘redesigned’ it yet and I haven’t decided to make a cushion instead (ie. cheating!).

I hope others are crafting more efficiently than me !

 

As a key for those who don’t know:

WIP – Works in progress

RIPPING or FROGGING – undoing a yarn project making ripping or frogging sounds as you do it !

UFO – Unfinished Object

STABLE – Stash beyond life expectancy

A little sewing, repurposing garments, a little quilting, a little musing

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Been a little productive, craftwise, in the past few days, sorting fabric and playing with repurposing some charity shop bargains.  I have ideas to make new summer tops and a pair of culottes.  Having cut out two commercial paper patterns, realised I am so inbetween sizes and  thought about past disasters  I am jigging those patterns so finished garments will hopefully fit me in the right places.  I am not the body size or shape I wish I was (oops! too much good living and too much time spent sitting!)

So I bought a huge men’s shirt for less than £3.00 – am cutting it up. I llke the fabric but it has a stain on it so bought it for the fabric not the garment itself.  I have also taken apart a gorgeous broderie anglaise dress I had two years ago, it had a huge snag on the front (grrr, the washing machine ‘ate’ it!).  I have chopped into it to make a sample fitted top, making sure the darts are in the correct places, then will use it as a sample as a pattern.

I bought some beautiful linen trousers too.  They were made for someone with the longest legs ever – so I have rehemmed them to fit (I actually have long legs but these were ridiculous!)   Also a blouse, which was too short in the body, I added a trim to the bottom and voila – perfect for me.  In fact I wore this combo to work yesterday – so can’t show it off as it’s now in the laundry pile – will show off pics next time.

So, for a pic today …. I have chosen one of a bag I made for a friend last year.  A little quilting, lots of fun I had one Sunday afternoon.

quiltbag

Thanks for reading my blog post(s).