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 (!)
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?
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
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.
Thanks for reading my blog post(s).
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.
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.
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 !
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 …..
Signing out for now. Feeling nostalgic having had a couple of recent big family celebrations.
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Over the Easter weekend I was poorly, but I did get a little stitching in before the weekend and a lot (a lot!) since then. I’ve been having a sewfest (if there is a word – or if there isn’t one, there should be). It’s been like an obsession. Whenever I could I sat and stitched, pieced fabrics together, played with design, patchworked, quilted, sorted fabrics, etc. I’ve made mistakes, undone the mistakes, restitched, rejigged old patterns, browsed sewing books and so on and so on. It’s been total indulgence in my crafting world.
I started with the beginnings of a bright green and orange quilted playmat, the cutest nursery prints, mostly fabrics donated to me by a very good friend. She heard I was sorting out my stash and thought she would add to it. It was so much fun chopping up fabric and piecing it back together. The top went well and I was on a roll! In fact, we sat and quilted together. The backing was not quite as successful… more later.
Next I undid a peg bag I had started two weeks ago – I wasn’t pleased with it, slightly skew on the measurings.
Then I was sorting through some more of the fabric from the same friend. I found the beginnings of a baby patchwork quilt – I asked what she might have been making and for whom – she couldn’t remember! There were random sized strips stitched together – the prettiest designs in pinks and yellows. I turned it into a bag, lining it with dotty pink fabric from my stash (so I did get to use some of my fabric after all). I tried to follow a pattern in a book – which presumed you knew a lot about making bags – well, that was fun (sarcastically said, there was more than one attempt with the lining and a lot of frustration!) Still, you learn a lot as you go sometimes, and I learnt a lot this time!.
Then I still had some of the same fabric left. I pieced it, backed it, quilted it, chopped it, added a zip – and voila – a fabric pouch. I based this on a previous project, which I still use as a make up pouch. However, my own one had nasty raw seams inside. This one, has posh french seaming. Having only done french seams once before I was quite proud of myself. Now who wouldn’t be happy to have this for girly bits and bobs such as hair accessories?
You can see a few things went well. Back to the first project, that baby quilt. I attempted the backing, totally off kilter – I was still feeling under the weather. I should never craft when I am poorly. Whether it’s sewing or knitting, it just does not go well! So, off came No 1 backing. A trip to a fabric shop later (why is it sometimes your stash does just not have the right fabric for the job?) and No 2 backing was perfect. Just to add the quilt padding, stitching the opening and then maybe hand tying, or maybe not – when finished it will be on show here.
As for what’s going on around me the rest of the week? We are currently having a new roof on our house. There is noise and chaos surrounding me! I am squirrelled away indoors. Occasionally I step out of the front door, look up for falling debris, before offering the roofers more tea and biscuits. A happy builder is one full of tea and biscuits I find! So far, so good. Two skips full of 80+year clay tiles, one wasps nest discovered.
Bye for now. Back to creating.
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I haven’t decided what it’s going to be yet!
I just discovered this draft blog post from a while ago – I was ‘cleaning’ up things on my laptop – I can’t believe I missed posting this. I guess at the time my blogging practice was poor or the internet signal failed and I just didn’t remember to press ‘send’ . What a fail!
Well, this lovely piece of patchwork turned into a sewing machine cover. I have been sewing quite a lot over the last two weeks and every time I reveal my machine it brings me a little delight.
I have a Juki HZL-e80 machine purchased a few years ago from World of Sewing in Bromley, Kent. https://www.worldofsewing.com
Yesterday, whilst sewing with a friend – a lovely day spent together quilting – more to follow on my next post about that – we were chatting about what we like about our machines and why we bought them. For me, it was several things – the automatic needle threader, thread cutter attachment, the use of a stop/start button as an alternative to a foot pedal, the fact you can slow the sewing speed down (from hare to a tortoise!), the selection of embroidery stitches, the weight of the machine – at the time it was a huge leap up from my second hand old Singer which had been struggling on for eons! I guess, you can make more with the correct tools. I was so fed up with my old machine grabbing the thread around the bobbin spool and it was clunky and so heavy to move from the cupboard to the table.
I am so inspired by what I see friends make and from the online world, either through blogs or Pinterest (there’s how to lose a few hours!). I have been loving my latest creative weeks – there are not enough hours in the day to sew and to knit! I am between ‘real’ jobs and it’s been marvellous to just enjoy creating and trying to use some of my fabric and yarn stash.
I love to see what others make – even considered eventually opening my own Etsy shop, but that’s a long way off.
At a recent trip to a local craft fair – a recce to see what sells (!) – there was a fantastic textile exhibition. I loved one person’s work in particular, which included a mini hexagan patchwork quilt (no photo here), embroidery of the most colourful kind, and other embroideries on reclaimed antimassacars ! Adding just a few photos – on this occasion real snapshots only.
I hope you like what you see here.