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.
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.
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.
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.
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 !
So, Love this Cardigan is growing.
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 …. 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.
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.
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.
I’ve returned from my second awe-inspiring new craft group. I can hardly believe it’s been a week since the last one! Since I have been home I have moved my sewing machine table and sewing things into an area with better light to get on with my unfinished sewing project. I have read a few wordpress crafty blogs which made me smile. I have contacted the ladies within my sewing group about our next session. Plus I’ve even imagined what my next knitting project will be when I finish my current WIP and ordered more yarn on line Last week I said these ladies were encouraging – this week they did not disappoint. I so admire a lovely lady who is doing a textile course and who was showing us a little piece she is working on to reflect her interpretation of reptiles …. photo, if allowed, will be here one day. Three of us were knitting this morning, all different styles, all different tastes. One was cross-stitching. A few ladies did not come along today but there were enough of us to chitchat and make plans for future projects. Wow!
A little pic of the last mini project my sewing friends and I made together. Mines the pink one with roses. I thought if I show off a sewing project on here every time I see it I WILL get into sewing more.
A little pic of a lovely little hat pattern by garnstudio (aka DROPS) number 150-40. I have just finished one of these in DROPs Nepal, in bright pink – no photo to hand as I left my hat at work – but you can see the pattern at least! Fab little yarn shop in Bromley, Kent (littlewooliebromley.co,uk)
ng, I have a stash of fabric as well as a stash of yarn. I’ve always dabbled with making things. Watching the Great British Sewing Bee recently has really spurred me on to get the sewing machine out again. The programme’s participants skill and knowledge astound me but I also love that they get it ‘wrong’ sometimes too. It is so real! I wouldn’t say sewing comes to me as easily as knitting does but I learn more techniques as I make different things. Perhaps other people make things quicker but I am enjoying what I am doing and that’s important to me. If I look back at some of my ‘disasters’ I can still laugh at myself ! I remember a cotton summer top I made about 4 years ago. It was always too long and didn’t fit properly as the facing was too stiff. It lived in a drawer for a whole year, then the next summer I jiggled with it and loved wearing it so much that the colour faded and it look quite jaded by the end of just one season.
My mother was a dressmaker when I was a very little girl. When us children went to bed mum would sew for her customers. I guess we just got in the way and we lived in a little house so there wasn’t much space for cutting out when we were up and about. She was very skilled and passed on a little knowledge to me, though I don’t think I was really interested at the time. Oh, what I would give to have her here now. It now seems a shame to have lived my teens through the 1980’s when it was more ‘fashionable’ to buy cheap foreign imports and not make my own garments. I have memories of my mum fingering ready made clothes, saying ‘look at that price, you could make it for a lot less!’, whilst I grimaced and dreamed of owning something not homemade! I hated my homemade school uniform in particular, but I think I got off lightly compared to my sister who definitely had more than me.
So, here’s just a little pic showing things I made this week. I am on a bit of a pincushion frenzy!
It has been a busy stressful week so far, and it’s only Thursday! There is still not much crafting going on in this house – well, I am not crafting in reality, but I am in my head, which still ‘counts’ and keeps me sane.
I have a new knitting WIP, a chunky hat which will be a gift for a friend’s birthday on the 25th December – she always seems to miss out on her birthday treats what with it being Christmas Day too. I shall endeavor to finish this, pop it in the post, extravagantly wrapping it in Birthday Wrapping Paper! Unfortunately I have steered off the pattern and I am keeping my fingers crossed that the next couple of inches look ok and that I don’t have to frog it. I tend to do this, and have had successes and failures galore!
Yesterday I read something which made me smile – a fellow knitter said she didn’t count her UFOs as WIPs. She was acknowledging the she had various woolly projects on pins that she wasn’t actually going to finish. I do not stress about my own projects not finished, but I admit I have started more things than I have completed. I might just have to admit that some of them won’t make it to fruition now – so WIPs become UFOs and that makes me feel a lot more comfortable! One in particular I know has a fault in the first few inches and I had thought it would not bother me when it was finished – but I know it will really – so I haven’t touched it in months. It is one thing I shall RIP out and turn into something else now. It cannot be finished and gifted as the error screams out at me!
I am also sewing, but only ‘in my head’ ! The first meeting of my new sewing group will take place at the end of January and before then I shall have to have a craft project planned. Something very small, something manageable and fun, and of course in the right venue. Watch this space!
As for family life – what a week that has been. My son has had a better couple of days, without actual taunting from the guys who picked on him the other day, but I know he has been worried, as have I. He has good friends who are looking out for him, all of them are passive rather than aggressive. He is avoiding getting in the same physical situation and being very strong and brave. I am proud of how he is dealing with it but inside I am still incensed that there are people out there who dare to fight their corner physically and in a crowd! I have reassured my son that his intelligence is a much stronger tool than those bullies who use their fists.