16 May 2018

Bit of Sewing. Bit of Knitting, Bit of Crochet

....and any other bits I can think of!

I'm into my third week of retirement and it doesn't feel quite so much like a holiday now.  I've joined a local knit and natter group, although I will miss tomorrow and next week's meet, which I'm enjoying.  Going on long walks (as I had a small Dorset walks book and walking longer distances locally too).

I'm still keeping busy, with some sewing, mainly quilting, but no more skirts at the moment.  I have bought a couple of books from Amazon by Wendy Ward about skirt making and also sewing with knitted fabrics, which might be a good skill to learn.  I bought a small amount of plain stretch fabric and I discovered an overlock foot that comes with my sewing machine and tried out a few stitches to try seaming and hemming.  There are patterns included in the books which will need tracing onto pattern paper, which I will get around to and will try a t-shirt top next month.

I found a block that my Mum had made along with some fabrics to match.  She had started on a disappearing nine patch block which didn't quite work out for her.  While David was out all day I took the block and fabric pieces and played around.  This made a little quilt 25" square, which isn't that big, but may be ok for a small baby or to drape over pram/buggy, but definitely not a cot quilt.

I didn't have the blue fabric for the strips but chose one that matched really well.  From the middle picture I joined up square of the cream fabric but the print is quite busy so it doesn't notice as you can see in the bottom pic.  I quilted and bound it at the weekend and finished off the ends and it doesn't look too bad.

I chose a length of green fabric with coloured wavy stripes, with goes well with the green fabrics on the front for the backing.  Its labelled too so the quilt is properly finished.

Yesterday I made a 'Dodgy Bag'. This was a make along hosted by Ali of Little Drops of Wonderful video podcast.  She labelled this term for the knitting project bags that she makes as she was learning to sew and the name has stuck.  So I decided to make one (one can't have too many bags!) yesterday using some leftover fabric from my Mum that I rather liked although it is pink!

There are two different dark pinks for the base and the ribbon casing.
 It's big enough to hold 3 x 100g balls of yarn
 There is even a pocket for bits and bobs
Trying to think of a solution to finish off the ends of the ribbon I made to small hexies and joined together on each side.  There is also a little tag with a D ring on which stitch markers can be clipped on to.

For the bit of knitting I have been using the Crocus colour way from Lay Family yarn to make the Spring Bandit Shawl.  This is not going well at the moment and I think my inclination is to undo the final edging rows and do some more of the rows in the body of the shawl as there is quite a bit of yarn  to do this.  The original pattern uses Aran yarn although a few projects on Ravelry have used 4 ply/fingering weight wool.  So heres how it looks, sorry if the edge looks a bit funny but thats the cable on the circular needles not lying flat.

Lastly the Crochet bit.  I'm picking this up of an evening when watching the television and keeping track of the colour changes on the Notes on my iPad. When I've worked each colour I put an asterisk next to colour's name.  Here's how it looks now

I hadn't turned this photo so that the green with the markers is on the bottom.  I've nearly finished part 4 (of 6 parts) of the colour changes and it is getting quite big.  The last blanket I made, the Granny Stripe one I didn't continue to its full length and I am not sure if this one will either.  It is a really good pick up, put down project.

So that's my makings for now.  David and I are off on holiday to Yorkshire tomorrow and touring around, ending on a trip to Gloucestershire on our way back home on Bank Holiday Monday.  No doubt some pics will appear on Instagram or Facebook (links on my sidebar) but will have a proper catch up when I get back.

Meanwhile I will leave you with some pics of my walks.  See you soon.

06 May 2018

Early May Catch Up

A lot has happened since my last post and I have finished work at the end of April and am now (I hope!) retired.  More time for doing stuff (again, I hope!).  Go places, see new things. catch up with friend, more time to sew, knit or crochet and this week enjoy the sunshine!

My work colleagues have been really lovely and they have been a good bunch to work with, however all the changes that have happened in payroll legislation over the past few years have made it a more complex job and felt it was right time to leave.  I also felt that my family needed more of my support too at this time.

So what have I been up to since then?  Well David and I have been out and about locally,  I went to Christchurch on Wednesday to sew an A-line skirt, went a local Knit and Natter group on Thursday and in between I've been slowly, slowly sorting out UFO's and using up fabric to make into small sewing projects and I have finished of one of my Finish A Long items.

Last Sunday David organised the family for a gathering at West Moors Country Park near Ringwood but it was soooo bitterly cold, we struggled to keep warm.  Managed to ride on the miniature railway and walking on the play trail with the grandchildren.  I won't show pics here as I didn't take many (good ones anyway!).

On Wednesday I went over to Christchurch to the Little Sewing Company to learn how to make an A line skirt.  Myself and another lady were taught by Amy and we learnt some really useful things, like neatening the side seams before joining the pieces, how to insert and invisible zip and about cutting the facing pieces inside the skirt.  I haven't sewn my own clothes for a long time (when patchwork and quilting took over my life!) so this was to give me back the confidence in making my own clothes.

It fits ok, but having worn this properly yesterday I think next time I could take in the waist a tiny bit more.  The pattern sizes are different from shop clothes sizes so it's having to go by measurements  rather than dress size.  It was a good class and I hope to do another later.

This week, I can't remember which day, I saw a blog post by Just Jude which had a link to a tutorial to make a Dumpling pouch by Michelle Patterns. My own attempt lead to a slightly wonky zip placement in the pouch, but it was quick and easy to make. I think there may be a few more of those.

Thursday was knit and natter at the local community cafe and although I know Carol from Bourne Quilters I also knew another lady from the slimming club and also met another girl who is a friend of my daughter Sarah.

Yesterday was one of the nice days in this Bank Holiday weekend and David and I went off to Sherborne.  Its well known for its Abbey and it was nice to wander around the town and market, also taking in the craft market too.

 It is really large and a job to take in the whole building, so here's the central section.  We briefly went inside although there was a big band concert going on so couldn't wander and explore.
 A memorial to one of the Digby family. who own Sherborne Castle
We went into Sherborne Museum and amongst the artefacts there came across this unfinished hexagon quilt. At the bottom of this pic you can see that it was turned over to see the papers. The museum was celebrating its 50th anniversary, so we had a piece of birthday cake!

I also took the opportunity to visit The Slipped Stitch, a lovely small yarn shop in Cheap Street and saw these lovely little yarn cakes in cake cases with stitch markers in the middle.  Irresistible.

But I finished something today - woohoo!  My house wallhanging, which is on my Solo Finish Along list, was worked on today and now hanging in the hallway.  I made this too small for last year's mini quilt swap so made another to send to my swap partner.

This is the quilt I made

And this was the one I sent my swap partner, Gillian
As you will see the one I sent was wider.

I didn't like the giant beanstalk that the one I kept had on it, but didn't know if it had enough room for a tree. A little while ago I removed the giant beanstalk and drew a tree to about the size I wanted for the quilt.  A bit different from the tree in the above wallhanging.

 The drawing was turned over so I could trace the reverse design onto fusible web.  The remnant of fusible was used to draw leaf shapes which I backed onto there scraps of green.
I used one of the decorative stitches to create drapes at the windows.  It makes them look less stark.  For a bit of fun I also appliquéd on an owl sitting on the roof.

It's properly finished now as I added a label.  I'm really pleased I've got that done.

During this week I've also managed to get all the black/grey and yellow/orange 16 patch squares done, all 20 or them.

I've put them into rows and will stitch those up this week I think.  Good to see a bit more progress with this.

I've also got 6 blocks done for the low volume/blue cross blocks for the block swap.

So one way or another its been a busy week.

24 April 2018

What Was I Thinking??

I decided to join a block swap on UK Quilters United, the Facebook group has a block swap subgroup, just making 6 blocks to swap.

These are just a couple of the cross blocks I made, this was on top of my bed quilt, but the choices I made aren't random enough, so I will make more to swap and keep these ones because I will want to make something with them.  These will just add to the collections of blocks I found that I have, so why on earth made me choose to join a block swap - I must be mad!!!

This is what I've also turned out this weekend -

Some blocks from a Classic Meets Modern sew a long from back in 2014 (I thought it was just a couple of years ago!) from Sew at Home Mummy.  I didn't follow this past Month 5! I think my intention was to make some blocks edged in purple fabrics to make a new quilt for our bed,  I though we could do with a new quilt.

Another were some quilted blocks that I was going to donate to Little Island Quilting's Soy Amado quilts, however this quilt collection is now ending (or may have ended).  Do go and have a look at the  blog, there are some stunning quilts photographed at various sites in Guernsey.  Anyway, here are the blocks

They are all 12.5" square.  No doubt I may find some more blocks that could be quilted to make up as a Linus/Teenage Cancer Trust quilt

I also found some smaller Sweet Sixteen blocks, I think two are mine and 3 from Benta, they are 8.5" square.  Not sure as yet what I am going to do with these.....  I think 4 more could make a good size for a small baby quilt?

But I also dug out this little bit of hexie sewing, which already had some wadding attached and a pice of fabric for the backing.  So Saturday morning saw me cut the backing roughly to size and machine sew around the hexagon pieces and a little way in from the edge of the piece.  I then trimmed the backing fabric with enough to turn a hem over to the front.  I took the piece of sewing to my friend Brenda's to slipstitch.

 A finished item, yay! A small table runner, which is now on our coffee table!

And that's the back.

In my last post I showed some yarn that I had from Easter and also a skein of yellow yarn inspired by crocus colours.  Last Wednesday I decided to wind the skeins into balls.  Really pretty they looked too.  I don't have any fancy equipment like a swift or wool winder,  I just put the yarn between the back of two dining chairs and wind.

 The yellow yarn looked too nice just to be made into socks, so I am trying something different, a shawl.  The pic below is when I sussed the pattern and made a start.  This is from the top down so starting with two stitches and then spreading further out.  The pattern is called Springtime Bandit by Kelbourne Woolens  on Ravelry.  The designer made this from Aran weight yarn on larger needles, but this is 4 ply so smaller needles are used.  So far I've done one extra pattern repeat than the pattern suggests to extend the depth and about to start on the third phase of the pattern.  I am really enjoying how this is growing.

On Sunday I went with my Mum to Brockenhurst Needlework Fiesta, which was quite busy when we got there.  Mum did buy a little bit of fabric but there isn't much in quilting supplies there, it is mainly  embroidery based.  So we stopped by Sammy Miller's Motorcycle Museum where one of the craft shops on the site has a limited supply of fabric but she found the fabrics she wanted.  But I managed to get some items at the Fiesta.

Some low volume fabric (back to the blue and white blocks in the block swap) some metallic thread, as I don't often see that around.  There was also a seller (just the one!) with some yarn, more Head Over Heels - resistance is futile!

16 April 2018

April Happenings

April is a busy month, mainly because at work it is tax year end.  I'm finishing my job at the end of the month so just this week and next to go!  

Friday before last David and I went to a Twenties themed Murder Mystery at my youngest son's local community centre near Chandler's Ford.  There were seven of us in all taking part and we were nowhere near guessing who did do the murder as a team on another table got that.  Anyway David and I don't normal do dressing up but managed to cobble together to make up outfits.

A selfie taken just before we went to bed!!  We hadn't taken a photo earlier on or during the event!

Before Easter I saw on Instagram that Lucy Lockett was promoting an Easter egg filled with surprise yarn mini skeins (20g) and other little bits and bobs.  I looked forward to opening the little parcels of yarn with a little Easter joke (think Christmas cracker jokes with an Easter theme!).  Here's a pic of what I opened on Easter Sunday and at the end of the week

Not sure what I'm going to make with them all but they do look colourful.

I'd also treated myself to some yarn from Lay Family Yarn in a delicate Crocus colour way

I love the pale buttery yellow with specks of orange, violet mixed in.  I'd like to make a one skein shawl with that, but haven't found the right pattern yet.

On the sewing front, I've recently made another vinyl fronted pouch.  Some time ago I made one using the instructions from Aneela Hoey's book of Stitched Sewing Organizers.  

Then I saw an article in the West Country Quilter, newsletter of Region 4 of the Quilters' Guild of the British Isles written by the editor about a workshop making Posh Pockets, which looked to have a patchwork pieced back to the pouch.  So I made a pouch which had a flip and sew quilt as you go back and vinyl front with square edges.  Big enough to hold A4 sized print, say a pattern.

This is what I made - that's the front

and the back

 Big enough to hold an A4 size piece of paper, this a tree I drew out which I used for an appliqué.
Really quick and made in an afternoon.  There might be more of these made in different sizes in the future.

This weekend I delved into the really untidy, overloaded wardrobe in my sewing room and came across some block that made last year in a workshop at Pauline's Patchworks.  I mentioned about this here.  I made these last April, and didn't take things any further as sometimes I was desperate for time to sew and a workshop fitted that need.  Anyway I dug out and got sewing into rows and rows are in the process of being joined together, just two rows left and a quilt top will be done.  Here's a pic taken yesterday with the top spread out on the spare bed.

It looks as though it will be a single bed size so it may end up being a charity quilt.  Wait and see.  Also in the pic is another zippy quilt which I made on Saturday morning, which adds to the charity makes.

Looking forward to making more things but I'm asking myself if I will have enough time when I finish work!

08 April 2018

My Solo Finish A Long

I started of the year with a list of my own Finishes as I couldn't find and was too late for the Finish A Long 2018.  I decided that I would start a Solo Finish Along, a list of which is on my sidebar.

I have finished a lot of things at the end of March which I can now deleted from my list.  This has been a handy aid for me to keep track what is outstanding.  I know there will be ongoing items like the pouches, which is fine as I make the odd one now and again and I have several in my collection which will go to charity sales.

 I may do a little tutorial about these as they are quick and easy to make.  Oooh, haven't done one before that's something different!

The Woodland blanket is growing too.  I'm on the 4th part of the colour changes in the CAL (crochet a long) which was designed by Lucy of Attic 24 blog here. I'm crocheting the Random colour way in this CAL and to keep track of the colours I've copied and pasted the changes onto Notes on my iPad and each time I've finished the two rows of the pattern in each colour I've put an asterisk next to the colour's shade.  Here's a pic of the progress so far,  Folded in half lengthwise you can see all the ends on the left hand side to be darned in - I haven't darned as I go.

Third item is the wallhanging with the 'beanstalk' which I've not done anything more about.  It still looks the same, just ridiculous with the stem and leaves all out of proportion with the rest of it.  I have roughly drawn a tree on paper which I can transfer once the 'beanstalk' has been taken out. I should crack on and get this out of the way.

Fourth item is something new to this quarter and is a black/grey and orange/yellow sixteen square blocks.  Nice and easy to cut strips, sew, re-cut and sew again.  I'd like to think these colours would suit a teenage boy and would go towards Project Hope.  My progress as at yesterday was 15 x 12" blocks and I think 20 would be a good number to make. Eventually I would quilt as you go method and join with sashing strips.
So that's my outstanding projects for this quarter of my Solo Finish A Long.