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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?

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Sewist? Sewer? Stitcher? What do you call yourself when you are sewing?

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I can’t get enough crafting this week.  If I sit and do nothing my mind whirrs and I can’t settle. I have knitted, sewn, painted, mended, scanned books for new projects, even tidied my craft room a little (hubby thinks the last bit is the best bit!)

I think it’s because I was stressed recently about an impending surgery (which has been done and was successful and now I feel fine, thank you very much). Most of my WIPS had stalled over the last few weeks due to mistakes and mishaps (possibly also partly due to the stress of the impending surgery) and also that I hand a slight hand issue which meant I started things and had to give up due to discomfort.  All in all, not a good time as a crafter. The hand issue may or may not have gone away, however, so I am just enjoying the opportunities now.

So, my latest new project, started and finished in a few hours.  This is a great FEAT for me.  I do not yet have a good photo of this – I am on my own and can’t take a photo of myself wearing these – so they look large and slightly weird, just scattered on a surface.  I can do better with photos, I will do better, don’t judge me.  I just NEEDED to share NOW!

Summer cotton shorts, cute lifebelt fabric, these are going to be so easy to wear!  Am I a sewist or a sewer?  I reckon sewist sounds slightly better, don’t you?

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I should have ripped it back, a lesson learned

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Today, a gorgeous sunny Sunday here in Kent, I am wearing a cotton summer top I knitted last year.  I loved the cotton I knitted with (Paintbox DK from Loveknitting.com). When the back and front were finished I sewed it together and finished the armholes and neck.  The neck looked awful, lumpy and bumpy, not a good finish! It is often more difficult to get a neat finish with a cotton or cotton mix, based on past experience. I added some extra rows and attempted to make the neck edge roll back on itself to neaten it up.  I had an idea that if I added a lace trim it would enhance the neck and be a ‘feature’.  I should have ripped it back there and then but I didn’t.

So I tried the top on ….

I have no idea why I waited until the final furlong.  It fits badly.  It is too snug in places, but too wide across the shoulders and chest (think of me as a lumpy triangle, narrow on the top, getting wider across the bottom (!).  This is not a flattering photo, deliberately to show off a bad knit, ha ha! It’s the top’s first foray into the limelight. I am wearing it with some fabric shorts I sewed in February this year (love the shorts and they fit well). I have just been in my garden enjoying the sunshine. I could have gifted this top straight away to someone else or to a charity shop, however I decided to wear it and work out exactly what I shall change when I made Version 2.  Such an easy knit.  Such a dumb mistake.  I have plenty more yarn to make a different size or a striped one, minus the lace, with a different neck finish.  Wish me luck!

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Fabric no longer a mystery

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There was a beautiful pile of cotton fabric.  There were shades of red, pink, white, cream, pale blue and bright green.  Some had dots and spots, some geometrics, a few floral (quite a lot of floral), one checked and a couple with birds in bird cages.

I measured and snipped.  I stitched and turned. I pinned and stitched some more.

Reveal day – yesterday – was not a sunny one. Unfortunately the bunting could not be strung across the garden to show it at it’s best.

I hope the friend I am gifting it to loves it as much as I do. Some things made for others you just want to keep for yourself!  It’s saving grace is that the bunting is going to be used at a charity event on 11th May.  A good friend is involved in an Open Garden scheme for a local hospice. I hope it enhances the pretty flowers, shrubs and trees that my friend and others have been nurturing for the last few months and years.

http://www.stchristophers.org.uk/opengarden

 

 

Bake off and escaping to a chateau

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I might have cheated a bit with this blog post title.  It’s nothing about baking in the kitchen at all though I do love a bit of baking when in the mood and I adore The Great British Bake Off, though preferred Mel, Sue and Mary to the newbies. (I hope readers know what I am talking about here – please ask if not.)

I am writing about the last few days of baking hot sunshine we’ve had in the UK.  Wow, was it warm enough for everyone? At times it was a bit too hot for me though I am not complaining much, I could keep out of it when I needed to.  It was a great excuse to sit indoors and sew one day – I will reveal the result of that day soon, though it’s a gift for someone who might read this so remains under wraps for now.

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A snapshot of the cherry blossom in full bloom over the garden fence one sunny afternoon

So, today the temperature has turned itself down a bit. The whole family is having a better day.  We all had streaming eyes and noses with hayfever – even one of our cats suffered. (Hayfever-like symptoms in a cat, possibly some allergy to something in the air/garden.) It is a little respite from the past few days.

Whilst staying out of the sun, I also discovered a tv show about owning your own french castle (Escape to the Chateau DIY, Ch4), which builds on the original series Escape to the Chateau.  I love trips to France, though not in the same league, one can dream big. Image result for escape to the chateau

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/escape-to-the-chateau-diy/episode-guide/

Dick and Angel Strawbridge make entertaining tv.

I wonder what anyone else did to stop being ‘baked’ last week?

 

Knitting, Stitching, Crocheting and eating cake

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Sharing a few snapshots of works in progress by some lovely friends at my craft group – as I can’t share what I’ve been working on until after 25th (current project just finished as a Chrissy gift).

In the Loop meets five times a month.  Some of us knit, some sew, some crochet, some sketch.  At times we chat and consume refreshments much more than we craft during the two hours! I try and take something simple as I’ve been known to knit a few pattern rows incorrectly and have to rip them back later and start all over again.  (Just fondly (?) remembering the time I decided to cast on a new project and counted and recounted stitches so many times I gave up and decided the cake in front of me needed more attention than the wool!)

loophexi1.jpgSo, here goes, Krissy’s hexi patchwork bag. She has made several of these, all hand stitched.  Patience of a saint!

Jane’s teal shawl, halfway there. The cone is 4 strands worked together, can’t wait to see it finished.  One of the other ladies, Susan has a matching cone, so it’s a bit of a competition over who finishes their’s first!

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Liz is making a cream alpaca sweater – to us it’s a mystery as there is no photo on the pattern. Liz is one of the fastest knitters I know. loopknit1

Marianne has been busy crocheting sparkly tree decorations.   loopdecs1

As I said a peep into last week’s get together.  This week will be our last one before Christmas.  To celebrate In the Loop style we aim to all have made one Christmas card in any style of our choosing.  They all go onto the table and we all take a card from the same pile (but not our own obviously!).  I can’t wait to see what card I am dealt.

Does anyone else out there do ‘Secret Santa’ Christmas card giving ?

Have a good day.  Hope your own Christmas preparations are going well. x

 

After a few weeks absence …

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20150725_132254Announcing my return here after a little time away.  How time has flown!  There’s been a lot of knitting.

A summer cotton top in Paintbox yarn from Loveknitting.com is almost finished, sadly it was not in time for the summer here in the UK but it will be good for next year.  Anyone remember Pacers minty chews in the 80’s?  The top is that Pacers spearmint green with white stripes – picture to follow soon.

I have a half finished blanket, in DROPS Nepal yarn – love this yarn – so soft – it knits fairly quickly – picture to follow soon too.   You can’t get DROPS in the UK too often.  I picked up enough to finish the blanket at The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace recently.  Otherwise this could have definitely become an UFO as I was playing chicken with the yarn I had!

I have revisited a pink cardigan that has sat in a bag almost finished for about a year – still a little more to go on that WIP – it WILL be worn this autumn, I have promised myself.

226milesTHIS project … previously blogged baby cardi in progress … I had hoped to show and crow about it again BUT the finished item has been designated to a charity shop – I hated it when it was done! The colours looked wrong together and the sewing up wasn’t as neat as I wanted it to be.  Completed at a stressful time, I don’t think Id knitted much love into it.  Has anyone read Love in Every Stitch by Lee Gant? I just read a review about the book – wondering if it’s a good read.  I often think a little bit of love goes into every item I make.

Sewing over the summer: I finished table mats.  Not a lot I know! Mind you, I was involved in a charity sale in September and those table mats sold so it was worth it.

Oh, and last week I finished a joint knitty/sewy project – watch this space later in the week for a photo of that too.

At the top of this post is a photo of a little freehand embroidery project from a while ago – just showing it off really.  It sits above my desk in my craft room.   Having just purchased a further selection of hoops I have several more ‘hoop’ projects in my head – including a Christmas one or two .

Back to blogging regularly. Please keep popping by !