Thursday, 25 September 2014

Indian Summer

Autumn does not get much better than this year, does it? I love that feeling of crisper mornings. I was in the garden yesterday morning (sorting out the recycling, if you must know) and passed the woodshed which Mike has now filled with logs for the wood stove. I found I was looking forward to colder weather and lighting the stove. Every season has something to offer. The shorter days will mean I don't feel so bad about doing my projects during the day.

I am working on a number of projects at the moment but have no finishes to show you.


W.I.Ps.

  1. Summer Breeze quilt for our bedroom (on hold)
  2. English Country Garden BOM appliqué quilt. (I need to do the September block next)
  3. Patchwork cutting mat bag (fortnightly class at Busy Bees)
  4. Coast Ripple blanket. (on hold while I finish the cardigans)
  5. Isobel's Playful stripes Cardigan (just needs buttons so a grand reveal next week))
  6. Isobel's Wee Wildflower cardigan.
This week I have been working on the 11 stars which will the flowers on the cutting mat bag. I had a mammoth sew-in yesterday and finished them.



These are 6.5"blocks using a Philip Jacobs print for Rowan.The background is a Renee Nanneman fabric. The fabrics above the top blocks are Benartex Essential Gradations which are for there Maple Leaf blocks.

The rest of my crafting time has been taken up with knitting. I have made good progress on Wee Wildflower, which I am knitting in size 2 years. It is knitted on circular needles from the bottom up. The pattern for the pockets demanded concentration but it has been a pleasure to knit so far. I have finished the body and one sleeve and I am well on with the second sleeve. The instructions on the pattern was to block the pieces separately before joining so I did that yesterday before starting the last sleeve. The loopy edge will look fab when it is blocked.


The yarn I am using is Jenny Watson Babysoft DK that I had in my stash. It is much cheaper than the Debbie Bliss 100% merino yarn I used for Playful Stripes but it feels soft and is machine washable too. I hope to finish this before next week.

Mike and I went to Oxford to a attend a garden party at Magdalen College. Mike was there in 1960 and we met up with some of his old friends for afternoon tea on the lawn. The day was slightly overcast and the photos were hopeless. On the way home we called in at Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire. The trees were just beginning to turn and this autumn's display will be fantastic in a couple of weeks.



Lastly, some of you may know I am interested in family history. I subscribe to a few internet sites and came across this excerpt from an 1846 newspaper. 

Carlisle Journal, 09 May 1846 - Knitter / Accident / Body Found
Saturday 09 May 1846   (p. 3, col. 1)
A VENERABLE KNITTER.-There is now residing in Cockermouth a venerable female, named Jane OWENS, who is in the 94th year of her age, and who, last week, in the course of a few hours, footed a pair of men's yarn stockings in an excellent style of workmanship. This antiquated dame is a stout good-looking woman for her age, and has little of the appearance of having looked upon the world for
nearly a century. Her health is even robust, and she is in full possession of both her mental and bodily faculties, the latter of which are often tolerably well tested by her journeys to the village of Greysouthen and back again to Cockermouth, a distance of twelve miles, which she is able to perform with but very little fatigue! 

I always knew knitting was good for you!

Catherine


Linking up to 
Quilter in the Closet

Monday, 15 September 2014

A (very) quick finish!

It has been a frantic, busy week but very enjoyable all the same.

First, a finish, ta dah! Don't laugh, I know they are small but they are incredibly useful.

3 finger pincushions



I found this idea yesterday morning on Carolyn Forster's Quilt-On-The-Go blog. I made the three in less than an hour, super fast and super useful. 
I gave one each to my friends Jan and Gilly when we met up yesterday for a Crafternoon Tea in Ystradowen Village Hall. Lots of crafting, giggling and beautiful food- a really good afternoon. Monica has blogged about it here with lots of photos including one of me looking like a duck. Oh dear! I was trying to lean in to the group for the photo. The afternoon raised £1,045 for charity.

This week I have concentrated mainly on my knitting. I had an emergency text from my daughter Jenny to say that Isobel had outgrown last year's cardigans and could I get my knitting needles out again. I was happy to oblige and set off to buy some yarn from La Mercerie in the nearby market town of Cowbridge. It is a fab shop that stocks a wide variety of quality yarns. Jenny had sent a photo of a couple of Isobel's dresses and I chose Debbie Bliss Rialto as it was washable and also 100% merino wool so will be cosy in the winter.



I am using the cardigan pattern I blogged about here way back in March. 


The pattern is Alana Dakos' Playful stripes cardigan which I found on Ravelry. The back and sides are knitted on a circular needle in one piece as far as the underarm seam. The sleeves are knitted separately then all are knitted together from the yoke. I have made rapid progress over the last 3 evenings and I hope to get it finished this week.



Last Friday I went with Gina and Celia to Weston-super-Mare to visit the Weston Quilters Biennial Exhibition in the Winter Gardens. So many quilts on show of all types but these are a few I snapped.


It was good to see a beginners section too. Not everyone is expert and I know I am proud of my own work even if I am a novice. With that in mind I have decided to enter one of my quilts in a show! It may not win prizes but it will be a first step. The West Country Quilt Show is on the 13-15th November 2014 at the University of the West of England just outside Bristol. The entry form is on the website and it is £5 to enter a quilt. I'll be entering my Triangle quilt that I made for Vivi. I'm hoping one or two of my Honey Bee group will enter as well.

So, that was my week, how was yours?

I am linking up to Wool on Sundays for some yarn based eye candy.


and also to Sew Cute Tuesday.
Sew Cute Tuesday

Also, check out the 1001 post at A Quilting Readers Garden. She usually writes an Applique post of Tuesdays and she has a super celebration giveaway.
I'm off to get ready for a new course starting tomorrow. So, a new blade for my cutter and a new needle for my machine.

Have a great week,

Catherine


Monday, 8 September 2014

Like swallows...

Like swallows, the last of my summer visitors have flown away and we are left with happy memories of meals shared, conversation and trips, not to mention a fridge full of left-overs and bits. We will not be going food shopping for a few days. The house is nearly back to normal and we have spent a few hours tidying the garden.
Not much accomplished this week on the crafting front. I've managed a few more rows of my Coast ripple blanket (now up to thirteen colours) but no quilting whatsoever. I've promised myself a full day of quilting tomorrow.

Firstly a ripple blanket progress photo. It will be a single bed size blanket when I finish.



Last week I went with my two friends, Gilly and Jan, to Lampeter which was looking glorious in the sunshine. We will all be doing a quilting class which starts next week to make a quilted bag to carry our cutting mats. I had a 2m. piece of Kaffe Fassett for the inside of the bag but needed more fabric for background and appliqué. I'm sure I might have had enough fabric if I had looked hard enough but I needed some inspiration and there is no better place than Calico Kates.




The very bright fabric in the background is my original choice for the lining of the bag from my stash. The lighter gold will be the background for the blocks. The design has 4 flower pots which will be made from the basket weave plus a.n.other and the flowery Kaffe print will be some of the flowers. There are also maple leaf blocks for which I will use the dark green and possibly some red and burnt orange fabric.

I also acquired these autumnal beauties. The fabric on the left is some vintage Liberty. The label on the back says it is Liberty Gloriosa, Cottage Garden in colour way A. I'm not sure how old this is, could it be 1950s?


While we were in Lampeter we visited the exhibition in the Jen Jones Quilt Centre. The current exhibition, Early to Bed,  has been running for some time. The displays are of 19th century quilts which celebrate the folk art and  make do and mend of that era.




A quilt made with tweed from a tailor's sample book

The original labels on the reverse of the tweed






And lastly some Victorian hall tiling inspiration.



I'm hoping to make 2 or 3 of my Summer Breeze blocks tomorrow before summer breezes become autumn gales!

I'm linking to Wool on Sundays.


Friday, 29 August 2014

Back to my crochet; it must be the end of Summer.


I have a crochet finish, a new crochet project and some progress on my English Country Garden appliqué BOM to report this week. Amazing really, as my parents visited for the week and we tried to get out most days.

Firstly, by appliqué fuchsia block for Kerry's BOM at Pennydog Patchwork

I decided to do this block by hand and I have all but finished it. The background was meant to be improv but I just used up my scraps. Is that more or less the same thing? Anyway I added in a bit of floral background too. The various blocks were taken in different lighting situations but I swear that they are all with the same background fabrics.
The stems and leaves are turned edge appliqué and the flowers are fusible appliqué. I will be finishing the flowers with some blanket stitch in embroidery silk and also embroidering the veins on the leaves. I was a bit behind as I ran out of fusible web and had to make a trip to our local patchwork shop in Llantrisant; The Patchwork House. The lovely owner Sue is really building up a great selection of fabrics as well as running workshops.

I'm really pleased with how the blocks are looking together.


UPDATE******
I finished the fuchsia flowers with blanket stitch. I had planned to sew the veins on the leaves but after I did one I decided it looked a bit ugly. I'll be doing some fmq on the leaves at the end.



Next my crochet bag which I have been making to keep my knitting/crochet projects in. It has been very nearly finished for weeks and I just had to sew the handles and buttons on.




The pattern is "Jolly Chunky Bag" designed by Lucy at Attic24
I'm sure there can be very few people who have not heard of this fabulous blog and resource. Lucy has so many followers for a very good reason. She has a fantastic eye for colour, a way with words and is a really nice person in the flesh too. I blogged about the materials for the bag here

I'm using the bag to store my latest crochet project, "Coast Ripple Blanket" which is also by Lucy. I'm using the same yarn colours that Lucy used too.  I love the idea of sea and skies. Wool Warehouse has put the Coast collection of 15 DK Stylecraft yarn colours together as a pack with the free pattern but the pattern is also free on Lucy's blog is you want to use different colours. Lucy has a full tutorial which I found very useful. The following photo is from Lucy's blog. I think it's beautiful.


So far I've managed 3 different colour wavy stripes. I am finding the pattern easy to do in the evening watching TV now I have mastered the ripple pattern.

I have only managed to do one more block of my Summer Breeze quilt due to the visitors but I hope to crack on with that on Monday.

Next week I'm off to Lampeter to search for fabrics for two new projects. One is for a workshop (a bag for my cutting board) and I need ideas for "Green Tea and Sweet Beans".


Challenging or what? More on that next week.


I'm linking up with Whoop Whoop and Building Blocks Tuesday









and on Sunday with
Have a great weekend,

Catherine

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Needing advice about thread, HELP!

It seems ages since I wrote my last post so apologies to everyone. Life just gets in the way sometimes.

Mike and I took two of my grandchildren, Sam and Lexie to stay in a family holiday home in Walberswick on the Suffolk coast. We were blessed with fabulous weather and spent most of the time just pootling about, looking for crabs in the river, visiting the pier and lighthouse in Southwold and walking on the beach.






Once home I spent a couple of days washing clothes and getting straight but last week decided to get my machine out again and do some more work on my Summer Breeze quilt.

I had run out of the thread I started piecing with so had to rummage around and found a variety of neutral threads in various makes. Gutermann, Mettler, Aurifil and Cotty. The Gutermann and Mettler were fairly dark and slightly greenish and I worried that this might show through the Kona Snow background fabric. The Aurifil was an off white in 40 weight. I threaded up my machine using a new 90/14 needle and with a bobbin that was already wound but looked as if it was the same thread.

I struggled with the thread snapping or slipping out of the needle every time I machine cut the thread for at least 30 minutes. I rethreaded the machine a dozen times before I gave up in disgust.
What am I doing wrong? Is it the wrong size needle or does my machine just not like the make of thread? It was finer than my usual Gutermann.

In the end I decided to cut my losses and used the Cotty which I bought from Cottonpatch in Birmingham. Guess what? no problems at all with snapping or unthreading.

I finished cutting and trimming all the pieces for the Summer Breeze blocks, no small feat for a Queen size quilt, and have finally managed to piece one of the sixteen giant blocks.


This block looks deceptively simple but I struggled matching a few of the points. In the grand scheme of things I think it will do and hopefully the rest will come together a bit quicker.

Other news…….

I went with Gina (blog- The Occasional Quilter) to an small exhibition of quilts by Katharine Guerrier at the Rhondda Valley Heritage Park. The exhibition is free to enter and runs until September 19th. Katharine's style is to put a contemporary twist on traditional blocks and is full of colour.




Gina blogged about the exhibition fully and with lots of photos here It was a really interesting morning discussing techniques, likes and dislikes with another more experienced quilter.

Lastly I attended a talk and lunch with the Gloucestershire Womens Institute near Stroud. One of my oldest friends, Margaret, had invited me as she knew I would enjoy the lecture about the textile collection held by the W.I. at Denman College. There were beautiful examples of smocking, Dorset buttons, embroidery and so much more. A few photos follow….






I hope this post has not been to photo heavy but I had to include the closeups of the embroidery.

If anyone can help me with thread choices for piecing please help!

Have a good week.


Catherine

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

July applique block


Next week is going to be a bit manic with a party, a holiday and preparation for my parent's visit. I've spent two days sewing and have managed to cut all my fabric for the Summer Breeze quilt. I blogged about this here. An amazing amount of fabric for the queen size quilt has been reduced to various sized squares and rectangles and piecing has begun.




The pieces are all packed away for a couple of weeks and this afternoon I managed to finish the July block for the English Country Garden appliqué BOM. I had been waiting for some Heat n'Bond Featherlite as the flowers were much more intricate for this block and I did not feel I could manage needle turn appliqué. The background for the block was flying geese. I machine appliquéd the leaves, hand appliquéd the flower stem and crazy stippled the flowers. I thought that even a simple machine edging would make the individual florets look too heavy so just caught down most of the flowers with an uneven stipple. I'm pleased with how it turned out even if it is not as the experts would do it.


These are the four blocks I have completed.


The backgrounds all look slightly different in tone because of the lighting conditions when they were taken. I think it will be really pretty when I've finished and will probably have it in the conservatory during the winter to remind me of gorgeous spring and summer flowers. If you fancy having a go (and it's not too difficult) take a look at Kerry's blog. It has been really nice to have a small project like this which has a choice of techniques.

I also ordered a few fat quarters of Tanya Whelan's Barefoot Roses fabric and some perle thread from Cottonpatch. I think it may come in useful for making a rose block. I'm sure Kerry will include one (at least, I hope she does!)



Finally, I had a lovely card from Hugo and Vivi in the post today. I think Hugo may have added the bit on the left.


Tomorrow I intend to do some planning, a bit of ironing and shop for a few tops for Mike and a new dress for myself. Then I'll recover in the garden.

What great weather we are having. Enjoy the summer while it lasts. I'll be back in about 2 weeks.

Catherine
Sew Cute Tuesday
I'm linking up to SewCuteTuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts. There's so much great stuff there so take a look.




Also linking up to Building Blocks Tuesday at Quilter in the Closet

Quilter in the Closet

Linking up later in the month with PennyDog Patchwork