Tag Archives: quilting

Life in a northern town – March 2017

Hello my lovelies.

I had a wee window of time where I should be doing other stuff but, quite frankly, can’t be arsed.

I’ve had a lovely morning skiving off with my friend Julia at my favourite cafe, No 15 in Penwortham.  Julia is wise and witty and should be available on the NHS to cheer all who need it.  She’d save them millions.  With avo and poached eggs on toast and a couple of good cups of coffee, it was the perfect end to the week, even if she had to dash off to get her Louie cat to the vets.

Life here is a full as ever.  The hubby is still working every hour god sends.  The kids are dancing 3 nights a week and we’re about to put an advert out for a partner for our wee man.  Much as I’d love them to dance together, my blood pressure really can’t stand it. The pinch and stomp and whinge and whine and it’s just not worth it. Maybe in a couple of years, but not right now.

I’m on the home stretch with the current studies.  I’ve an exam next week and then two more modules and I’m done for this year.   The jury is out whether I’ll do next year.  Which is actually an 18 month course.  I may bunk off and do something fun like a photography course or a couple of weeks of sewing in London (subject to being able to figure out a solution to childcare other than locking them in a cupboard.  Apparently social services frown on that.  Odd! 😉 )

I have much to share with you but it is so grey here that I struggle to get enough light for decent photos.  But…spring is coming, and then I’ll catch up.

There are knits, almost a quilt, and….drumroll….the sewing room.  As soon as I’ve finished the binding on this quilt that Ma made, I can finally, finally go into the sewing room and get to it.  First up is blinds.  Preferably before the clocks change.

I can make 4 roman blinds in 3 weeks, right? (cue hysterical laughter).

I’ve got a review for a great Craftsy course on the topic of curtain making.  So much to share.

But for now, I can share some super good news.  Some of the best.  As you know we’re having rafts of tests and meetings with various medical and educational peeps to try to get to the bottom of some challenges our wee monsters are up against.  Last night we learned that the boy definitely doesn’t have ADD or ADHD and we’re 95% sure he’s not on the autistic spectrum.  We’ll have final confirmation on that within about a month. We are narrowing the field and it feels good.  Once we hit upon an answer it informs the support strategies we can put in place for them.  This also speeds things up for him as the Autistic Spectrum Pathway (the route to a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder) is currently are 49 week waiting list in our area.  Which is shameful.

So, on that happy note I’m off to pin the final stretch of binding so I can spend a happy evening stitching with wine tonight.

Have a great weekend full of the fun things you love to do.


The Hexie Quilt – finally finished

Happy New Year to one and all.  I do hope your Christmas was lovely.  We had a very, very quiet and quite slothful time for which we are all feeling the benefit.

I’ve a couple of things still unshared but I thought I’d start the year with a bang and show you the finished hexie quilt.

hexie_quilt_1

This shows half of the quilt as it’s draped over the garden gate.  I had to grab some quick pictures in-between downpours because the quilt was destined to become Ma & Pa SIL’s Christmas gift.

hexie_quilt_2

The long-arm quilting was done by The Quilt Cabin at Hebden Bridge and she’s done a marvellous job of it, as you can see here.

hexie_quilt_3

Sadly, Elaine has had her shop devastated by the Christmas floods in Hebden Bridge, as have many, many other stores.  She’s currently only trading online whilst the cleanup continues.  I do hope she and her fellow shopkeepers are open for business again soon. We’ll definitely be supporting them!

This was my first experience of having a quilt professionally quilted, and whilst it wasn’t cheap, it was money well spent.  So much so that when the shop is open again I’m getting Elaine to redo my Double Wedding Ring quilt which needs re-backing.

hexie_quilt_4

The backing for this quilt is a plain cream cotton…a slightly tea stained colour that complements the multiple colours of the front perfectly and highlights the quilting stitches even more. Taking advice from Elaine, we colour matched the quilting thread to the backing.  I think it was a great choice.

hexie_quilt_5

Whilst this isn’t the most glamorous shot ever it gives you a better view of the whole of the quilt (albeit draped over an overgrown hedge and blowing in the wind, 3 minutes before the rain returned!).  It’s what I would class as a good sized sofa quilt…perfect for wrapping round shoulders on a chilly evening, or a small child who’s feeling a little under the weather, or draping over a grandpa having an afternoon nap.  I’m also pretty sure it will be used by one child or the other for dragging a sibling up and down Nana’s hallway whilst shrieking like banshees!

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I’d be lying if I said that we didn’t contemplate keeping this quilt.  It took an age to sew all those 1″ hexies and the finished result is better than I’d ever hoped for.  It’s deliciously cosy and I couldn’t be more pleased with how it’s turned out.  Not bad for a first attempt at English Paper Piecing!

hexie_quilt_7

But…it’s gone to a very good home.

And I can always start another one for us to keep………..


Button’s baby dolly birthday quilt set

Button has, until recently, been a neglectful mother to her baby dollies.  The poor things have been dragged around the house by their ankles, butt naked and bedraggled. A favourite game has been to swing baby dolly by ankle and wrist, higher and higher, finally letting go at the apex of the swing, allowing baby dolly to swoop high and fast into the bedroom wall.

It’s a good job I have social services on speed dial!

Recently, however, there has been a change and, thankfully, she’s starting to dress the poor shivering souls, and even create little beds from blankets in which to tuck them up at night.

baby dolly bed

It seemed only right, therefore, that she should get a dolly bed for her birthday.

I knew she’d be thrilled with the bed, but the sheet and pillow that came with it were nothing short of pitiful.  I knew that poor baby dolly really needed a beautiful quilt and pillow so she’d be comfy and warm in her new bed.

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I also realised that I’m now officially certifiable.

Having recognised that, I snaffled a bag of scraps left over from the Hello Kitty quilt top from Ma, and set to.  Not only would baby dolly have a lovely cosy quilt, it would match the quilt we’re making for Button when we redo her bedroom this year.

dolly quilt centre block

Which tips me into the territory of completely cray-cray!

dolly quilt border

Thankfully, this isn’t really news to anyone.  And baby dolly now has a lovely cosy bed, and Button is finally a fit mother!

dolly kitty pillowThe only problem now is that Button has commandeered a basket from my sewing room to use as a Moses basket for a second baby dolly.  Baby dolly is currently swaddled in a blanket….

Sigh!


The road to wellness

Otherwise known as sitting on your derrière drinking tea and not doing much else!

Chorley - fashion capital of the North!

Chorley – fashion capital of the North!

I do realise I’m very lucky that my recurring lurgies are nothing more than militant bugs taking advantage of my overly stressed immune system.  There are a bajillionty worse things that could be happening. But it was nice to wake this morning for the first time in months and not feel all sorts of off colour. Tired…yes. Sick…no.  Thank you Biostrath, Serrapeptase and Probiotics!

My initial reaction is to get stuck in to some enormous project, but I’m being sensible taking things slowly.  At the moment it’s all about the slow.  Pootling around the house, restoring order after the Christmas chaos.  Sitting and knitting and watching movies. Heavens…I’m even making time to read books as well as blogs. The odd half hour, heavily scaled, CrossFit workout.

I did NOT do this whole workout!

Don’t get me wrong.  I have a mountain of fabric begging to be sewn, and miles of yarn to knit.  The house is in need of a full makeover.  There’s plenty to be done, and that’s not including the ideas that are slowly percolating in my brain.

But…lots of the fabric is already in storage ready for the construction work in the loft.  And the loft is such a mess at the moment that until we pack it up fully there’s not going to be a great deal of sewing going on.

The house makeover can’t begin until the rewire is done.  That’s probably going to be March so I just need to squint at the shabbiness and dream of decorating.

And the ideas…we’ll they just need to bubble a little more and see what pops to the top.

So, whilst I’m enjoying the slow I’m knitting the first project of the year.

larry on the needles

The Husband lost a whole load of weight last year which meant that this much loved jacket didn’t fit him any more.

Whitfield Jacket by Anne Hanson

Whitfield Jacket by Anne Hanson

I’m not fond of re-knitting yarn, but he loved this so much I begrudgingly happily agreed to reuse it, as long as I could do a different garment.

He agreed.

I’m knitting Larry, a free pattern from Berrocco.

larry_lg

It’s a super simple knit which is just about perfect for my attention span at the moment.  It’s very reminiscent of Brooklyn Tweed’s Cobblestone, but Larry is knitted in pieces and seamed, whereas Cobblestone is knitted in the round.

I’m also working on a small sewing project for Button.

sneak peek

sneak peek

This one has to be finished in time for a certain little lady’s birthday on Sunday, so I’ll be able to show you the finished project next week.

Until then…have a lovely weekend.  Keep dry and warm (if you’re in the northern hemisphere) and cool (if you’re south).  And, if you can, kick back and relax.


I’m out!

So…a visit to the doctor on Tuesday morning decided my participation in KCW. Another course of antibiotics with a side order of steroids. Both in bigger doses than before.  Eugh! I started taking them immediately and by Tuesday afternoon was feeling even more out of sorts than before. The lovely side effects of dizziness and insomnia meant that by yesterday morning I was fit for nothing but sitting on the sofa knitting and hand sewing.

It does mean that I’ve made progress on some mitts I’m knitting as a favour for a friend:

IMG_9443_edited-1and the hexie quilt is coming along nicely, thank you very much.

Hexie quilt in progress

But the sewing loft is closed for the time being.  I’m fine with that.

And whilst I knit and stitch and watch movies, I’m dreaming of our wedding anniversary weekend in November, because Alice-who-isn’t-a-cat and Ma and the Stitches-in-law are treating us to dinner.

But not any old dinner…nooooooooooo!  Dinner at the scene of the original crime!

Northcote Manor

Northcote Manor

I may have wept with joy when I opened the envelope.  It’s such a wonderful treat and a complete surprise.

We are very, very, VERY excited…as you can imagine. And, with a fair wind and a bucket load of drugs, I’ll be feeling fine by then.

In the meantime, I’m off to the sofa.  I have mitts to knit! But…I’l leave you with cute cats.  Just because I can.  And they’ll make you smile.  Which is a good thing, no?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIePsbJSS04&feature=youtu.be&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DKIePsbJSS04%26feature%3Dyoutu.be&app=desktop]


A Gardener’s Journal Quilt – FO 17/2013

I suppose that should be FF0 17 – finally finished object!

I posted the first completed stitcheries for this quilt on 11 July 2010.

We’re now in August 2013…so just over 3 years to finish this quilt.

*hangs head in shame*

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But finished it is.

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And, having fallen out of love with this project halfway through, I’m thoroughly besotted with the finished object.

The backing is just some inexpensive polycotton sheeting from Abakhan.

IMG_8784_edited-3I quilted around the edge of each patch and then straight lines around the borders using the edge of the foot as a guide.

Although I suspect I could be pushing the limits of the Trade’s Description Act by calling them ‘straight’ lines as I swear there isn’t a single one of them to be found on this quilt. But that’s OK. It’s turned out far better than I’d envisaged. And I’m just really, really relieved to have it finished and out of the sewing loft.

That said I think it’s only fair to clarify that the my tardiness with this quilt is no reflection on the pattern.

BK002_gardenersJournal

It was purely a case of having started to sew I realised that, whilst I absolutely love machine sewn quilts, they aren’t something I particularly enjoy making.  But this was the first quilt I ever attempted so I didn’t know.  I also knew nothing at all about quilting in general, but it turns out that didn’t matter…Anni Downs knows plenty and she makes it really easy to cut, embroider, piece and finish this quilt.

I just took it step by step and here I am, so I highly recommend this pattern.

And, after all this time, I’m really happy I made this quilt…I just don’t think I’ll be in a hurry to start another machine sewn quilt.

Back to the hexies I go!


Dance relief

Wow these holidays are flying by.

2013-07-23 12.33.11_edited-1We are managing not to completely murder each other, although my two are full of beans and yummy treats!

2013-07-19 16.11.23_edited-1Yesterday they spent the day at their dance class summer school.  2 whole days of activities and dancing. Yay! I think they were as relived as I was for the break!  They certainly came home very tired and, after a bit of grumping, they zonked out in bed nice and early.

So, after catching up with necessary chores (apparently they insist on me having food in the house) I got some time in the sewing loft and set to finishing the quilting of Gardener’s Journal.

GJ quilt_edited-1Of course, as is the way, with only 4 lines of quilting and the binding to sew, I ran out of thread. So I took the time to cut out a toile for a top I’m making as part of the current wave of Simplicity pattern reviews.

2013-07-30 19.04.41_edited-1Which means that soon I’ll have a new top to share with you and a lovely giveaway too!

And, if I get some thread today, I’ll also have a quilt finished.

Finally!

 

 

 

 


Quilting

Unusually for these parts we have been having glorious sunshine and temperatures as high as 32 degrees.  Very odd, and really rather lovely.

In such weather as this it seems unlikely that I’m focussing on quilting!

There are several reasons for this:

  1. It’s simply too hot to knit.
  2. The Gardener’s Journal quilt has been winking at me for quite some time, begging to be finished.
  3. I have a bag of hexies that are equally demanding.
  4. Did I mention…it’s too hot to knit?
  5. It’s picnic season and the GJ quilt has long been earmarked as our picnic quilt.
  6. I only have teeny pockets of time for sewing this week as the kids are on summer holidays now. A few lines of quilting are just the ticket.
  7. The hexies are the perfect handwork for evenings with the husband and a movie.
  8. And, of course, it’s just too darned hot to knit.

BK002_gardenersJournal

So I am currently machine quilting like a fool trying to get the GJ finished.

GJ quilt_edited-1

It’s my first outing with a walking foot and I managed to snap 6 needles before I got the hang of it. Not cool. But I’ve completed all the left to right rows and am well under way with the up and down rows.  The border will be 1″ cross hatching and therefore a great deal quicker.  I’m aiming to have it ready for the binding by the end of the weekend…although that may be a tad unrealistic.

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I’ve also sorted out all the flowers for the hexie quilt into stacks of 10, with an interesting mix of light and dark colours in each stack.

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Each stack is then bagged up and I’m working through one bag at a time as each represents one row of the quilt.

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I’m finding the machine quilting isn’t the most fun I’ve ever had with a sewing machine. With each row I admire more and more the skill of quilters who put together a top in no time flat, and quilt it even faster. I may have mentioned it before, but I’ve actually learned a whole load from trying different types of quilting.  I love sewing quilts by hand, not machine.  Hand sewing a quilt is a lovely social activity.  Hexies are a fabulously portable project. I also find hand sewing tremendously soothing.  If I’m sat at the machine I’d much rather be dressmaking.

This, for me, is the joy of developing our skills as needlewomen.  You can explore your craft and find what works for you. For me, when it comes to quilts, it’s going to be hand sewing all the way in the future.

But still, I’m getting there with Gardener’s Journal.  I don’t think there is a single straight line on this quilt but it is looking lovely.  And hopefully will soon be finished. Perhaps in time for cooler weather…and a return to the knitting needles.

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Goodbye Kitty

Oh yes…having sat up till half past midnight the other night in a Revenge fuelled frenzy of determination to finish…the last Kitty has been stitched.

IMG_7985_edited-1I’m really rather pleased with how they turned out.

IMG_7982_edited-1And there are definitely enough of them!  This will be a really good sized quilt when its pieced with the patchwork blocks.

IMG_7975_edited-1It’s over to Ma now… 😮

 

 

 

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project fatigue

I have project fatigue.

IMG_7924_edited-1

On the right of this picture are the 29 completed Hello Kitty embroideries for Button’s quilt.

On the left, the 13 still to do.

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I cannot find the words to explain how bored of hot pink Kitties I am.

And how grateful I am that Ma will be doing the rest of this quilt.

And how excited Button is at the prospect of a quilt full of hot pink Kitties…which, in truth, makes it all worth while.