05 March 2018

A Slightly Longer Weekend

The end of last week even though it was the beginning of March, Winter hadn't given into Spring just yet and despite a mild season the 'Beast From the East' combined with Storm Emma lead to bitterly cold winds, snow and ice rain. on Thursday and Friday.  I left work to go home mid afternoon on Thursday and a lot of people had the same idea as the roads became heavier with traffic. My bus ride took longer than normal and I found out that the bus company suspended their services as the buses couldn't get back into town.

With the ice rain on Thursday night there was a layer of ice over the snow, so I took the decision not to go to work and use one day's holiday.  I took photos over Thursday, Friday and Saturday when the snow very quickly disappeared and by Sunday almost disappeared altogether.

What I found surprising was that the snow was light and powdery and with the winds was blown into some funny shapes instead of an even covering- see the angle in the top photo on the greenhouse.

This gave me an extra day to do some sewing.  Recently announced on UKQU Postcard group was a swap with the subject of Japan, to make postcards inspired by things Japanese.  I made a postcard with folded flowers which I found in the Kumiko Sudo book of Fabled Flowers and added some sashiko stitching.

On Saturday I made another postcard with foundation paper piecing.  Having found a pieced pattern for a pagoda in a book by Susan Briscoe of Little Quilt Blocks I drafted out a pattern as I felt that sewing onto a foundation would be easier than piecing tiny pieces .
I cut the pattern in two so the photo above is the joining back together and it went together really well

 Before trimming

And after, with a border

Both postcards together.  I will find out who my swap partners are later this month, but there are some  really good postcards.

Next I've been sewing some blocks using black/grey fabrics with mustard/orange.  Last year I made a couple of blocks for Bee Blessed but didn't get around to posting.  These are masculine colours and I thought more of these would make a good teenage boy quilt that I would donate locally. I've made 5 so far and being just squares are easy and quick to make in the odd evening or afternoon.

However I found through Instagram that Bee Blessed are asking for assorted blocks including 'orphan' ones so I am happy to oblige and will send some soon.

On the crochet front I am continuing with the Woodland Blanket designed by Attic 24 and have just finished with 2nd group of colour changes so it is coming along and growing steadily, more crochet than un-crochet so thats good and enjoying the colour variations.

So I think I've made the most of a snowy weekend.

28 February 2018

Where Was I Now?

Its now freezing cold this week but a couple of weeks ago David and I spent time with his brother and wife down in Barnstaple, Devon.  We stayed at a nice hotel on the edge of town and although David came down with a bad cold, which knocked him out in the evenings, he had just enough energy to enjoy the nice but cold days out.

We visited the Dartington Glass factory in nearby Torrington, which was really amazing to watch how the crystal glass is produced (but I didn't take any photos!), which was followed by a short journey to one of our favourite places, RHS Rosemoor Garden.  It is surprising how many plants flower in the winter with a walk through the winter garden display which also had some surprising works of art in it. Here are some of the pics that I took there.

 This lovely bronze slumbering cat in the sunshine, someone couldn't resist him and he was bought, so he didn't stay for long!
 An octopus in a garden shelter had fascinating glass eyes and tentacles with sea glass
 A fox made from the car body panels - a Citroen C30!
 A rusted metal ram

And a wicket Highland cow
 Photo of David and me taken by my brother in law, Peter
Who could resist this slumbering cat on the bench.

The following day we went to Clovelly, a village on a steep hill down to the sea on the Devon/Cornwall border.

This was looking up from the harbour wall
A lookout that had a seagull just doing that
Looking down from the top of the hill across the memorial garden.  The land on the other side is Bideford and Barnstaple
Shadowy selfies this time!
I had to buy a fridge magnet from the local pottery with a donkey's head on it (excuse the upside down photo - I forgot to turn it the right way!).

I took some knitting with me and started another pair of socks with the rhubarb coloured yarn as part of the Valentine sock cast on organised on Ravelry by Ellie Jones of Crafthouse Magic.

Here's the progress from not last weekend but the one before.  I'd got to heel flap and shaping before the instep shaping.

Another little learning curve - I'm trying out short circular needles, which has been ok up to the shaping, getting used to holding these, however I had to use double pointed needles (DPNS) for the heel flap and for picking up stitches but not sure at this point how to get back into the round again on the circulars.  Will have a look around on the on the 'net and figure out a way to do this so I can get back into the round again.  I can see that working magic loop with long circulars has an advantage over short ones as theres no faffing about with DPNS.  I love the colours now thats it knitted up and its the first time I've used indie dyed yarn for making socks as I've used commercial yarn before.  Who'd have thought there was so much to learn from making socks, so many different techniques from such a simple item.

When I don't get a lot of time for sewing I usually make something small just so I have the feeling of achievement.  I have several UFO's that need more time spent on them, but my time is short for the time being.  I bought a kit to make a book cover from the Dye Bag last year at Brockenhurst Needlework Fiesta. I had some fabrics left over and so on Sunday afternoon challenged myself to make some more from this.

This is the book cover with dyed fabrics and threads to which I added some sequins which a page marker inside

I went on the make a bookmark (at the bottom) with trimmings from the book cover.  I also made a needle case (on the left) and postcard (right).   So a fun afternoon with the radio playing Sounds of the Seventies, bliss.

Last but not least a building soon to be demolished in Swanage.  By the time I've written this it may well have gone.  I'm not sure what the building was but it has been derelict for some time and a local artist painted some murals on the wall, which were really brilliant and a lot of people are sad to see them go. Not brilliant pics as the low winter sun was shining above and I couldn't get a better position.

 There is a dog in this picture, looks about to jump from the window.
 By the way that isn't a hole in the wall, although it looks as though it is.
 This mural was of people enjoying drinks in the bar
I saw there was another gull on the lookout at the top of the lamppost.

Been a while writing this blog but just to show I'm still keeping busy!

11 February 2018

February Catch Up

Blogging seems to have taken a bit less of a priority lately but I've not been idle, so a few things to show here.

Last Sunday followed a rainy Saturday and David and I managed to get to Kingston Lacy near Wimborne.  It is our local National Trust site and this time of year has a fantastic display of snowdrops.  Lovely to see these as it alway seems as though Spring is just around the corner.  We also found that there were other plants in flower too.

 This was one of many displays of snowdrops
 Some were growing amongst cyclamens. This photo was taken with a little mirror behind
 The purple flowers in the pic above are Hellebores
 And some Camelia shrubs were in flower
 Some Aconites were just starting to flower
There was even a Rhododendron flower buds that was really early.

It was so busy at Kingston Lacy I think a lot of people just wanted to get out, even though the wind was bitterly cold.

Back to making things and I have made some pouches, though I found that I hadn't caught down the fabric on one end so that will have to be undone and made up again.  so they will go in my charity sale bag.

I have been tempted by shopping in Easy and purchased some yarn.  There are quite a few sellers that hand dye yarn and I took a fancy to this yarn inspired by the colours of Rhubarb.  A part of the Yorkshire Rhubarb Triangle, between Wakefield, Leeds and Bradford is famed for forced Rhubarb which is grown this time of year.  I thought the colours were amazing and could not resist.  This was from Homespun Wonders

The gorgeous shades of pink and limey greens in a fingering/4-ply weight yarn.  I think this may become a shawlette, but not sure yet as I just love looking and stroking this!  I'd also bought some stitch markers which I could also not resist.

Owls, of course!  They have a clip and a ring on them so could either be moveable stitch markers and the clips could come in useful for making progress too as well as placing on a loop of crochet.

Talking of crochet I've made progress on the Attic 24 Woodland Blanket and am onto the second section of colour changes and am following the random colour changes.  The link that I've put here is for Part 6 so I have a little way to go yet. I've used the Notes on my iPad to copy the listed colour changes in each section from Lucy's blog, which has been handy to refer to. Here's a pic of my progress so far as at this morning.

Just loving the colour changes on this blanket as it grows.

Yesterday was another rainy Saturday but I went to see friends and sewed, well finished off thread ends on the Frivols quilt and there were a lot of ends! But good to catch up and chat.  And this morning we went to Barton on Sea with my Mum for a very breezy walk and a lovely cup of coffee but it was nice to blow the cobwebs away and have lovely views of the sea over to the Isle of Wight one way and Swanage the other way.  So back to another couple of days of work on Monday and Tuesday but we are off to Barnstaple on Wednesday.  I hope there'll be a few photos of our time away then.

30 January 2018

My Finish A Long (sort of)

Back at the beginning of this month I listed my finishes and unfinishes for the end of Quarter 4 of the 2017 Finish A Long.  I have well and truly missed the boat for joining in the 2018 listing of finishes for the first quarter of this year, but still want to aim to get some things finished if I can so I will list my targets for this quarter up to the end of March which I will put in the side bar.

So here goes

That Frivols Quilt - has been quilted and only the binding left to do. I got the binding fabric in a sale which arrived really quickly so no excuses, this must be finished!

Hexie runner - quilting needs to be finished and trimmed and bound.
Pouches - Earlier this month I used my scrappy strips and made some square to become pouches like this one

 There are 4 squares here, about 9.5" - 10" which some long zips which were passed on to me.  They will go to charity sales to raise funds for either Project Hope or Project Linus.  I'm going to look for small charms to add to the zip pulls.

I am sort of continuing with my Stitch Sewing Organizers makes but not following the Instagram prompts.  I made a tape measure cover to go over a plain round Janome tape measure.  I looked at the instructions which seemed more complex so what I did in the end was to draw around the measure and cut out circles of pelmet Vilene and measured the circumference and made another Vilene strips for that.  Cutting the fabric 3/8ths" bigger all round to cover the pieces and putting together English Patchwork style.

A nice addition to my sewing equipment.

I've already mentioned in my last post about the crochet blanket so I'm guessing this will take up most of this quarter too.  

I've also got the embroidery to finish and also see how I'm going to display this.

And Jack and the Beanstalk mini quilt - must sort that one...
I think that's it.  Given myself plenty to do.  Got to keep busy!

Sock Knitting

Recently I've taken to knitting socks as I suffer cold feet in the evenings and hand knitted socks keep my feet comfortably warm.  Some years ago I used a set of double pointed needles (DPNs) but then discovered circular knitting needles and bought two, one a short pair for knitting completely in the round and another pair with a longer cable so I could knit two sets of stitches with a loop of cable between, called Magic Loop.  The last method I was more comfortable with and has really helped with my knitting.

The most common type of sock knitting is knitting from the ribbed cuff down to the toe.  There is heel shaping that requires picking up of stitches and at the toe there are decreases finishing with grafting the stitches (Kitchener Stitch) at the end.  But seeing more on Instagram, You Tube, Ravelry, etc found there is "more than one way to skin a rabbit", like different types of heels and toes and even knitting from toe to cuff!

I've knitted socks for my sister in Stylecraft Head Over Heels sock yarn in Olympus colourway and I used Hermione's Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder.

And then there were my pumpkin inspired socks, I could not resist this yarn, which was King Cole Zigzag in New York colour way and I used Christine of Winwick Mum's Easy Lace Socks pattern.

So after finishing my pumpkin inspired socks and the jumpers for Christmas, late on Christmas Day I tried a toe up sock!  There is a You Tube video of Judy's Easy Cast On which 'weaves' the working and long tail yarn over the two needles of a pair of circulars, then knitting these stitches and you can't see the join.  I used a pattern called Have Fun Toe Up Socks and I used Stylecraft Head Over Heels yarn in Eiger, which is my favourite sock yarn, a third pair I've knitted up.  Here's a pic below of the toe start, on which I put a stitch marker to mark the front of the sock as the yarn tail is inside the toe.

The first sock took quite a bit of 'un-knitting' to get the length of the foot right before the heel shaping as it came out too long even though I followed the instructions. This pattern was called Have Fun Socks by Louise Tilbrook.

I used the stitch pattern from Hermione's Everyday Socks which I'd used on the pink socks for Wendy's a few month's back.  I eventually got the heel sorted out and then onto the leg and cuff.  Before long I was onto the second sock.  The yarn colouring was in exactly the right place for starting and keeping count of the pattern repeats which made things easier second time around.
I completed a pair now, ready to wash and block.
I enjoyed this foray into toe up socks,  as there's no picking up of stitches around the heel, though now I want to try a Fish Lips Kiss heel with has a more angled heel instead of a heel flap, but that's for another time.

Meanwhile I've taken up my crochet hook and started on the Attic 24 Crochet Along Woodland Blanket, which will be a housewarming present for my sister when she moves house later this year.  The link above is for Part 4 of the CAL but the links for the Introduction and parts 1 - 3 are listed at the bottom of the blog post.

I have progressed a bit further than the pic above, where I've draped the beginning of the blanket around my shoulders.  It is a ripple pattern and the CAL lists two different types of colour arrangement, either in sequence or random and I'm working in the random colour changes.

I've found lately that knitting or crochet has had a calming effect on what has been a stressful beginning of the year.