21 December 2016

2016 Review

I will be taking a computer/blogging break for the next couple of weeks.  It has been a bad year for me health wise and I lost my sewing mojo for a long time. Arthritis has made anything other than knitting difficult :(  I have a pitiful number of finishes this year...

Only one quilt, a gift for my son and his finance

 My cosy autumn shawl
A gorgeous baby jacket
 another lacy shawl

The good news is that my hands are much better and my quilting mojo is back :) I am busy trying to finish My Liberty Quilt and have a lots of hand appliqué prepped, I am hoping to do some stitching over the holidays.

Until 2017 - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

15 December 2016

Down the Rabbit Hole - Fabric Selection

Sarah Fielke's new 2017 BOM 'Down the Rabbit Hole' will start at the end of January.
Details are here  https://www.sarahfielke.com/pages/block-of-the-month-2017

I am really enjoying working on the 2016 BOM 'Happy Days' in my Liberty fabrics and so of course I have signed up for 2017!

The nice thing about these BOM programs is that they are pattern only, we are all free to chose any fabrics we like - perfect for my stash diet! Each month there are instructions and videos by Sarah demonstrating the process, and a very friendly Facebook group where we can all share progress.

The fabric requirements were posted today, and it's a perfect quilt for scraps. I have had great fun raiding my stash this morning!  I have also indulged in an early Christmas present to myself and bought a piece of gorgeous Liberty Tana Lawn to fussy cut. Isn't it fun? It's called  'Gallymoggers' which I think means 'crazy' and comes in different colours, this is cream.

I have tried to pull scraps using colours from this feature fabric to avoid the quilt looking like a dogs dinner! I love scrappy quilts and really admire people who can seemingly throw anything together and have it turn out great. That never happens in my experience, I need to have some sort of plan - either a theme like my Liberty quilt or a set colour scheme.

I will use the same background throughout the quilt, which I think will tie it all together, that way I can go a little off-piste with the scraps. I have an unnamed white cotton that is big enough and a bolt of Kona Cotton in 'Snow' bought on sale. I am leaning towards the Kona as it is a lovely soft cream

I find my Jinny Beyer palette tool really helpful when selecting colours as the swatches are actual fabrics. I have selected the colours that are in my feature fabric. This is on the white b/g

and on the Kona 'snow'

I have pulled anything that I think will work, this may look like a lot of fabric but all of these pieces are less than a FQ

I have also raided my scrap bin - I keep anything bigger than 1" square, so lots of variety here :)

While I am waiting I will keep working on the appliqué for the 2016 BOM 'Happy Days'

05 December 2016

Baby Jacket

I am not sure that I have ever knitted a baby garment before, but I had so much fun knitting this one! It is a gift for my embroidery teacher who is leaving us today to have her first baby. She knows she is having a girl, so I was able to chose a gorgeous shade of lavender. I naively thought a small baby jacket would knit up in no time, but I swear it was as much work as a full size one!

17 November 2016

The Mellerstain Firescreen

Way back in 2012 before I started my weekly embroidery classes, I attended a beginner's day class in crewelwork at the RSN (Royal School of Needlework). We had to go down to the shop to pay for our class kit at lunchtime, and of course I had to buy a few things!

I picked up the incredible Mellerstain Crewelwork kit by Philippa Turnbull of The Crewelwork Company as I knew it would make a perfect firescreen for our open fire in the sitting room. I got home, took one look at the size of it and put it all back in the bag! One beginner's class and I thought I could stitch something this big!

Fast forward to Sept 2014 and after a few months of classes, one Tipsy Thistle Bag

 and one Robin Cushion later...
 I was finally ready to start. The kit is amazing! Detailed instructions...

 Loads of lovely Appleton's Crewel wool and the design screen printed onto good quality twill

 With Sophie's help I framed up my design and made a start...

 I then came to a complete stop for more than 2 years - I had to move my frame as we were rearranging the room and I no longer had the space for a large frame to be set up permanently.

I have thought about picking it up again several times, but it seemed too much hassle, until I read Mary Corbet's post about this project, in it she describes how Philippa recommends a hoop seat frame. I have one of those and I love it! so today I got my firescreen back out of the box it's been languishing in.
I am really enjoying working on this again

 I love how easy it is to blend the colours when silk shading with wool

I spent about an hour and a half working on it this afternoon
On the plus side, I know I will continue working on this and will finish it using my hoop, it just makes stitching so much easier. I take the hoop off after each session, my hoop is bound with bias tape and I don't seem to damage the parts I have already stitched. The only negative that I can see is that I may get some wrinkles and distortion. Philippa recommends a good wet blocking at the end of the project so I think I will just have to go with that.

The kit is still available from the RSN HERE  however I am shocked that the price is now £140, I know I paid £98 as the price is still on it, Hmmmm

02 November 2016

A Glorious Gallimaufry

Gallimaufry ˌɡalɪˈmɔːfri/ noun 'a confused jumble or medley of things'

That's been me these last few weeks! Jumping around from project to project unable to settle on anything; Is it just me? Is it the weather or something else?

I was going to start posting only when I had something finished to show, but that's not really going to work for me!!

I have started a new book...
worked on baby gift for a friend...

(EDITED - a few people have requested details of this pattern - it is by OGE Knitwear Designs and can be found on Ravelry HERE)

and tried to teach myself Fair Isle knitting...

I have almost finished an embroidery design...
and played with hand quilting another...
I have pricked out a third ready for class next week...
and played around with an idea for EPP...
I signed up for Sarah's 2017 BOM even though I am way behind on this year's...
I have even pulled fabrics from my stash to join in Bonnie's En Provence Mystery

I really need to get my act together and focus on something!

24 September 2016

A Glasgow Rose

Earlier this year, my husband and I drove the 550 miles North to visit my family in Scotland. We decided to stop in The Trossachs National Park on the way, and then drive the slow way to Aberdeen across the Cairngorm mountains. We stayed for a few days in a small apartment at the top of one of these towers

The views were amazing! The scenery is simply stunning and although I was born and spent the first 29 years of my life in Scotland it never fails to take my breath away.

I knew we planned to visit The Hill House, the home Charles Rennie MacIntosh designed for Glasgow publisher Walter Mackie.

I had some Macintosh themed reading with me, I really enjoyed Mr Mac and Me by Esther Freud. It is set in 1914 and told through the eyes of 12 year old Thomas, who lives in a quiet Suffolk Village. The numbers swell each year with the girls who come down from the Highlands to gut and pack the herring. One year a mysterious Scotsman arrives, it is the arcitect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and together with his red-haired artist wife, they soon become a source of fascination and wonder to Thomas.

I also searched Ravelry for the perfect knitting project to cast on and came across the pattern 'Glasgow Rose' by Lucy Hague

Charles was famous for his various different Glasgow Rose designs, which still appear on everything from Stained Glass to Jewellery.

I had one skein of a gorgeous Dark Red Silk/Cashmere 2-ply yarn by Jade Sapphire; Lace / 2 ply
55% Silk, 45% Cashmere goat

It was gorgeous to knit with! I cast on before we left and finally blocked it today.

The weather has already turned colder, so I should get plenty of wear out of it soon