quilt

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!

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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 (!)

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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).

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.

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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.

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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.

 

Heirlooms? No Family Crafted Items survived, but memories do. A little current patchwork therapy too !

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I just read a lovely post, Blankets and Blessings, by thechickengrandma.wordpress.com and it has made me feel thoughtful about life, past and present (reblogged here on my site for interest and musings).

We all come from somewhere and someone.  When we are gone what do we pass on?

What kind of material history do we leave?  Some people say it’s not the material stuff that matters, and true, memories might matter more.  However, I am sure I am not the only one who would love to have more physical reminders occasionally.

I lost both parents (a mother and a stepfather I considered as my father for 30 years) but I often still feel a little lost myself, like a ship without a compass. I am in my 40’s, with a family of my own, and siblings too.  My parents were great influences, and of course I took them for granted, as all children do. I have many wonderful memories, and can pull those up in times of sadness.  I also have a couple of pieces of jewellery, of no value at all apart from sentimental.

There wasn’t a big collection of family hand me downs, not a heirloom christening gown, wedding dresses, memory quilts.  My mother and grandmother crafted all the time, however, nothing much was really kept.  Once it outgrew it’s purpose or fashion changed,  it was usually gifted to charity (that in itself is a kind and brilliant thing).   Perhaps some would say this was also a blessing, my siblings probably would, clearing the house there was lots of ‘stuff’. I kind of miss my grandmother’s handmade hexi quilt for one thing. I remember her making it, showing me how to cut hexigan shapes with card and cover them in fabric and I remember the quilt on her spare bed. Indeed, I have used this method myself to quilt and it reminds me of her (see below!). I miss my mother’s wedding dress. She had made it herself in 1961, though that’s a whole story in itself (my mother and true father divorced and my sister and I as children were allowed to play dressing up with her wedding dress!)   My mother sewed and knitted, she dabbled with macrame, tatting, crochet, many other things.  I remember she made floral displays from coloured stockings and wire (one even for her best friend’s wedding tiara!).  She made cards too sometimes.  She was pretty much an all-rounder craftwise (oh the hundreds of tea cosies she made for a local charity shop too.. flew off their shelves like hot cakes!) Nan was slightly less so, but she still knitted and sewed, and as a keen WI member she baked cakes and made jam, even writing this I can smell her kitchen.  The one thing I have of my Nan’s is a mixing bowl and I love using it occasionally, though also terrified of accidently breaking it as well. My Dad’s material legacy to me is very little, it’s more things he said and things he did that make me smile.

So, what will my own craft legacy be – if anything?  I knit, I sew, I dabble.  I have a son who has never wanted to craft and has no interest in anything I make.  I have a husband who tolerates the crafting chaos, and fakes an interest in completed items! I have gifted various knitted and sewn things to friends over the years and currently am doing so for new babies in the family and for friends.  Perhaps they will become their family heirlooms, or perhaps not.  Who knows?  I would like to think in years ahead someone might find something I made in a long lost storage box and be delighted to rediscover it!

Many current WIPS. One is this …..

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I started with a few hexagons about six years ago, a project that was going to be a large cushion, but having rediscovered it I am going to make a lot more and turn it all into a throw for a sofa.  Not an urgent project, more like an ergonomic past time that will be dipped into over months and years!  Don’t expect to see the finished item here too soon! 

Signing out for now. Feeling nostalgic having had a couple of recent big family celebrations.
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