01 December 2017

17 in 2017 November Update

Not much to show for this month I'm afraid, that annoying thing called work has kept me very busy!

I have been working on my borders for Down the Rabbit Hole and have finished stitching the bunnies. I was determined to get this handsome boy in there somehow

Not really sure if I succeeded or not, we will see when it's all stitched down 😃

I may have also started another sweater ...

and be planning a new quilt ...

22 November 2017

Fisherman's Gansey

Just in time for the winter (it was a chilly -1C first thing this morning) I have finished knitting my Fisherman's Gansey.  I have loved knitting this pattern, very clear instructions with no mistakes, apart for the one I spotted as I was blocking (!) totally my fault I cabled left instead of right, or was that right instead of left 😱 No matter, this is intended as a warm, dog walking, gardening, fetching logs sort of sweater and I don't mind.

The pattern is the 'St Elmo's Fisherman Guernsey Pullover' by Marci Richardson for The Elegant Ewe, you can find it on Ravelry here:

I used almost exactly 6 skeins (1290 yds) of Berroco Ultra Alpaca a gorgeous blend of 50% wool and 50% Alpaca in colour 3201 'Winter White'

Can I just say for the record, how important it is to block garments made of natural fibres?
yes it smells a bit of...

But it makes a huge difference to the look of the finished article!

I let my sweater soak for about 15mins in the sink, in hand hot water, then gently spin it in the machine until damp; I give it a good shake and then carefully spread it out on a towel; using the schematic on the last page of the pattern I flatten and push and pull until the sweater is exactly the correct size; I then leave it alone for at least 24 hours until it is dry.  Blocking really helps to even out your stitches and you can manipulate the size a little too if your gauge was a bit off.

02 November 2017

17 in 2017 October Progress

I'm a few days late this month, but I do have a little progress...

I will link up with Meredith if she can get her internet working again!

I am still slowly appliquéing the borders for my Down the Rabbit hole Quilt

I have been working on my Crewelwork Embroidery - The Mellerstain Firescreen

I have spent most of my time this month knitting a Guernsey Sweater for myself, only one arm to go!

and cutting pieces for 'Lucy's River Terrace'


23 October 2017

The Mellerstain Firescreen

I have finally started working properly on my version of The Mellerstain Firescreen.  This is what it will look like when finished

It is a crewelwork embroidery, an original 19th Century design from Mellerstain House in Scotland, the ancestral home of the Earls of Haddington.  I bought the kit from the Crewelwork Company about   5 years ago, as I really wanted to make a firescreen for our new cottage to use in the summer.  When certain dogs are not hogging the fire!

The kit is really good, beautiful Twill with the design printed on and full skeins of Appleton's crewel wools

I made a start, but my skill level was no where near the level it needed to be for such an advanced kit

So I packed it all away for a while (about 4 years!) I now feel confident after all my embroidery classes, to really do it justice. I have picked it up again and will try to make it my focus embroidery project this winter.

There are some lovely details, like the acorns with their french knot cups

The closed fly stitch leaves

and of course my favourite silk shading

Wool is so forgiving when it comes to silk shading as it's natural fuzziness makes it want to cling and blend

12 October 2017

One Rabbit....

Two Rabbit, Three Rabbit, Four ...

The first rabbit is stitched in place (apart from his eye) I just have a couple of tulips, and another three rabbits to appliqué by the end of October, or I could just go at my own speed and fall behind again 😁

It is difficult to get a photo of the whole quilt, but here is the centre all ready for the Rabbit borders

Everything cut out and glued in place ready to appliqué

I am still really enjoying working on this quilt

If you click on any of the photos they should enlarge

30 September 2017

17 in 2017 September progress

Here is my September progress for Meridith's 17 in 2017 challenge

It's been a Sarah Fielke month this month 😃

I am still happily hand quilting the 2016 BOM 'Happy Days', I am really enjoying not so big stitch quilting and I love how this Liberty quilt is turning out!

I have also been deciding on the next border fabrics for this year's BOM 'Down the Rabbit Hole' The fabrics I have chosen for this quilt are really not in my comfort zone, so choosing them is taking a lot of time but I love working with these happy colours - I see more quilts with modern fabrics in my future!

21 September 2017

Not so Big Stitch Quilting

I am really enjoying the hand quilting of Happy Days; I am using Aurifil 12wt thread and a crewel embroidery needle, which seem to be the perfect combination for me. I have been steadily stitching an hour or so a day and find that my stitches are quite even, and although larger than fine heirloom hand quilting, are not so big that they detract from the appliqué and piecing.

I have stitched from the middle to one corner and am slowly working towards the next...

12 September 2017

Hand Quilting Happy Days

You may remember that last year I worked on Sarah Fielke's BOM 'Happy Days' I used Liberty fabrics and loved every minute of it.

The only thing that I really didn't like about this quilt, was the bottom right Black Star block.  This was my first attempt at paper piecing and it didn't go well, the block turned out the wrong size, the points were a mess and all that Black!!! what was I thinking?

I really wanted that block done and finished with, and I convinced myself that it wasn't that bad, so I had the quilt machine basted by a long arm quilter and it has been sat waiting for the cooler weather so that I could quilt it. I bought some Aurifil 12 wt thread ready for Big stitch quilting

and watched Sarah's video several times explaining the technique.

I started with my favourite block

so far so good, but every time I took the quilt out to work on it, my eye was drawn to that black star and I knew I needed to replace it or I would never be happy with the quilt.
So ... I carefully unpicked it ...

no going back now...  and made a new star, with pointy points! in soft colours!!

and pined it in place, and slip stitched it down...

I really like this new block :)

It changes the look of the whole quilt

Can I just say, that replacing a block after the quilt has been basted and you have started to quilt, is a really STUPID idea and I don't recommend it!!
I was careful and took my time, but I was worried I would ruin everything.  I will spend a lot of time hand quilting this one and I knew I wouldn't be happy if I didn't swap out that block.  Next time I will listen to my head and replace any block that bothers me before assembling and basting the top!