Tuesday, 27 November 2007

A crazy blog I'm thrilled to be reading!

I must thank my good cyber-sewing-pal Jan Knight for referring me to HER good friend's crazy blog! I absolutely LOVE it and would encourage everyone to go take a look too!
Interestingly I've been looking at her sections under lessons on crazy patch, and saw a tip for recycling old cd's for faux shisha! what a good idea!!
Particularly inspiring, however, are the very clear and close up photo's of the embellishments and stitchwork!
A really lovely and informative blog! AND it just gets better, too! a WEBSITE! Thanks, Annie for a lot of interesting material to read!!
As if it couldn't get any better, and suddenly it does! another link from the crazy lessons, reveals a super resource of embroidery stitches by Sharon B which is SEW helpful and one that I have bookmarked for further reading and sampling from!

The marvellous part about the web and crafting is all the little hidden snippets of information out there! just waiting to be discovered, shared and passed on to others for their enjoyment! just as you think you couldn't possibly find anything more - there you have it! another blog! or website! PLEASE if you have or are reading a blog that I should really know about DO leave your details in the comment box, or email me, perhaps?

Creative Textiles Course : week 10

We're nearing, apparently, the end of term!
NEXT week we're to produce our first project and talk about it! for 5 minutes!
I've been wrestling with "Kiri" now for sew long it looks like the cats have fought over it!
Indeed I have had to rescue it from Lilly once or twice ..
I'm hoping that I will be able to talk about it as a WIP and ongoing project - either that OR I shal have to hand my notice in and LEAVE!! wahhhh

Seriously, I am STRUGGLING with this pattern! I decided to work on samples of the stitches in a more forgiving yarn to get the hang of it, however apparently I am unable to complete a row of pattern without going WRONG somewhere! its MOST annoying, particularly as the originator blithers on about how EASY this is and how she knitted it up in 24hrs!

For week 10 we continued the theme of patchwork and saw one or two SUPER examples of hand stitched work by fellow students, notably a tapestry cushion embroidered in super shapes of tan with grey whereby Cheryl had used a photograph of a textile piece as inspiration to produce a MARVELLOUS piece made practical by turning into a cushion!
Some LOVELY covered journals too! and a glimpse at some rather nifty looking "embroidered" covered buttons which deserve a mention for their yumminess!!

I had my folder "marked" and I think it came up to scratch and ticked most boxes which is a relief!

The rest of the year sounds interesting and includes a dose of felt-making and some applique!
We break for Christmas and have AGES off - I hope to have completed Kiri in that time!

Interesting Yarns to play with

I must thank Sarah for sending me a batch of assorted interesting spun and dyed yarns to play with! It was very kind of her to sort these and log each one for me and I shall use them to knit up "samples" or "swatches" to further my interest in yarns and knitting as part of my creative textiles course which I'm absolutely LOVING, this year!

(apologies TO Sarah for the next post in which the parcel is fully inspected by the cats - please be assured they are only allowed a small inspection before being removed and no harm came to any of the yarns either by claw or tooth beyond a little bit!)

New Goodies and New Projects

At te weekend we chanced upon (do you like that? we just happened to come across) a haby/yarn shop (alright I knew it was there! I've been before sew its not exactly NEW but its been a while!) just up a bit from a green grocers we thought we'd try in the hopes of finding some yummy fruit and veg that actually TASTE of SOMETHING fruity .. I bought an embroidery frame as I've apparently lost mine and I do have a mind to doing some hand stitch work some time soon! AND some lovely hand painted cotton thread too!
It was all looking delicious in little baskets and poor hubby who had been dragged along was rather resigned to the fact that we'd apparently "found" this shop!
He's not, you see, used to the way that we SHOP in these sort of shops! He kept HISSING at me to stop GAWPING! either BUY it or move AWAY he kept saying! looming over my shoulder as I stood and pondered on the hand stitch frames "you're NOT getting ONE!? .. are you? (gulp)"
You can LOOK in these sort of shops.
And when the assistants come over to chat they really DO mean to chat! are ALLOWED to browse and ponder and chat and FURTHER its ACCEPTABLE to pull up ones jeans and reveal hand knitted SOCKS to the assistants and a customer ..
by NOW hubby was hugging the door handle and looking anxious
"what do you want to show them your SOCKS for!? " he hissed ..
They don't get it, do they? men! or indeed, non-hobbyists!
(the fruit was quite nice. btw. if a little expensive. for what it was. )

PIPING? you're going to add PIPING? .. like I said ALL projects MUST first be inspected for approval.
I've added my piping and backed it however I need to stitch the layers decoratively and will wait until I've done that before putting up final photo's of this lovely runner! Meanwhile the cats are giving it their FULLEST attention

We're not sure about this latest one.
I fear its a little uninteresting and I'm disappointed at how plain it looks compared to the project photo which looks classic and Christmasy.
The cats fear its just a bit too unfinished to lie about on ..
At least I am sewing up the FQ's and thus I've saved us on money otherwise converted to stash which MUST mean, surely, a trip to a proper quilt shop is in order for further fabrics ..

I've sneaked these photo's in here, and am hoping that Sarah isn't looking! (gulp)!
I've said it before, ALL projects and newest acquisitions MUST first be fully inspected before approved! Here is Lilly giving it her FULLEST attention ..
and here is Bertie muscling in to ensure the inspection is given proper attention to detail BEFORE approval

Friday, 23 November 2007

How to finish the table runner ..

It doesn't look too bad! infact I'm quite pleased with it, especially after putting two borders of red and green plain.

I'm not quite sure how to "finish" it off, I'll have to have a think and consult my quilt-y pals for ideas! Our table will look quite festive this year!

Horrid Moments

I had a pair of horrid experiences yesterday!

The FIRST, I'm sat in my sewing room concentrating hard on my runner (almost finished, will post pics and blog at length on how marvellous it all IS later on) and SUDDENLY my rising-15yrs great lanky STRIP of a son "appears" at the doorway to BOOM in his newly broken voice at me that his brand new pc-game is now successfully installed!

I jump a MILE out of my seat and clutch at my table to steady self and wait for my heart to come back down from the ceiling seeing pretty little stars in front of my eyes and hear a whooshing in my ears fully for minutes before I recover enough to turn to acknowledge my son .. to find HIM hanging onto the door handle legs awry in that gangly way that long-legged colts have when they finish galloping and aren't quite sure how to stop ..
"ohhhh" ... he said .. "oohhhh. dear .."
"whats the MATTER!?" .. I said
"ohhh! .." (sinks further. clutches handle harder.) "ohhhh! you made ME JUMP! I need to lie down! I feel faint .." he said. looking very pale ..

I'm not joking, we both took several minutes to recover and when it happened again when he BOOMED at me as I came out of the bathroom, with him appearing seemingly from nowhere .. I decided we needed a warning system! I've tied a long length of narrow ribbon onto a bell and hung it around his neck with an instruction he is to tinkle the bell BEFORE he approaches in future by way of warning rather like a cats collar warns birds!

The SECOND followed on later last night when ..
I'm sat in the evening working on my latest sewing project (the xmas runner) and Andrew was in his room playing his brand new pc game and IN he comes! and I ask (you have to picture ME looking at MY handiwork while HE is stood in the doorway ..)
"what do you THINK then?"
(HE clearly hasn't seen me looking pointedly at my handiwork)
"oh MUM! .. its its its .." (overexciteable stuttering and spluttering) "its GREAT! really! really REALLY GREAT! I love it!!!"


HE looks slightly startled AT the flung handiwork! and looks rather as though I've just flung him something slightly suspect and nasty!
apparently HE meant the GAME.
"well! .." I said "WELL! WHAT ABOUT THE RUNNER ANYWAY!? (grrrrr/menacing look through gritted teeth) DO YOU LIKE IT!?"

backing out of the door unfolding his legs one by one because he's still apparently getting used to them being a foot longer in length .. "errr. not REALLLY .."


I HATE it that I get sew upset when no one apparently SEES what I sees in my handiwork! why does no one "get" how DELICIOUS it is that all the tiny bits of fabric are sewn into such wonderful patterns with straight lines that match and cross and intersect to produce a WONDERFUL design!?

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Christmas table runner project started

I'm doing the Table Runner Christmas 2006 free pattern using my bargain FQ's and the fabri-baste mentioned before, and finding it FUN! and more importantly easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!

I hope the combination of Christmas prints are not too much, I'd have liked a slightly more subtle effect but since the fabric will otherwise sit in my box of quilty fabrics gathering dust its a case of use what I've GOT!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Crazy Lavender finished

Here is the finished crazy patch sample cut into a heart shape, embellished and then made into a hanging lavender bag for my wardrobe!
I made a small pouch "inner" of muslin filled with dried lavender and then top stitched around the edge to encase all layers, its currently hanging off a door handle as I shall take it to College next week.
For the back I layered some of the organza print under some white lace before flipping the whole thing over and top stitching the seam with some white ric-rac to continue the colours and all in all its rather nice and jolly! and smells LOVELY!!

I discovered, I think! too, the reason why Bertie has been scratching at my sewing room door in a determined manner to get IN each morning around 4.45am! While digging about at the back of my horn cabinet the stashed bags of waddings, I found in the middle a bag of CATNIP! still, luckily, with its clip intact but I'm wondering a/ how it got there and b/ if thats what Bertie's been after! Its been "missing" for some months now and I wondered where he'd put it as his usual place for hiding it was behind the cushions by the tv (took me DAYS to discover this originally!) anyway I shall make him up some nice new catnip filled calico bags to play with and hopefully he'll stop pestering to get into my sewing room now!!

Knitting Update!

2nd jitterbug sock is well underway - pleased with this.
Kiri sample and shawl has not progressed beyond "chart 1" and I need to seriously resume some enthusiasm for this project!
Sideways wrap cardigan has been left to one side mostly because I have a sneaky fear its too SHORT! MUST MUST MUST continue and hope to resolve it!
Bolero has been left to one side after first lot of shaping due to complicated pattern instructions which I think I may have to sit down for a quiet hour to work out and rewrite into an understandable format!

Tempted, very tempted to buy some Kaffe Fassett Regia sock yarn particularly as they now stock in local store!

Troublesome Cats!

ONE of the lovely scrummy cats has today discovered how to turn the tv ON from standby!

From upstairs in my sewing room I suddenly heard "voices"! panicked slightly and wondered whether to go down to investigate, or stay upstairs and continue sewing! Eventually I heard "applause" and realised it was the tv!
I knew I'd switched it off after the lads left for school but thought maybe I was mistaken and came down to turn it off .. 10mins later .. MORE voices!
Came downstairs, tv is ON!
Fear I really am losing it I switch it OFF again and pinch myself to make sure I remember I did turn it off
Got to the top of the stairs .. MORE VOICES ..
This time I came down to find Bertie looking a bit excitable! and LILLY (see below) looking SUSPICIOUSLY PLEASED WITH HERSELF!
ONE of them has accidentally discovered how to turn the tv ON presumably by lying on the remote control ..
Decided they were much to excitable for my liking after they showed their displeasure with me for turning tv off AT the tv by scuttling about and pretending to seek mice in my KNITTING BAGS and flung them outside for fresh air and exercise.
I'm paying for it now, of course, as I knew I would by Bertie treading wet and muddy feet all over my things and Lilly is sulking and lying in a patch of wet mud and its only a matter of time before she's wet and muddied enough for this to be transferred onto my duvet .. bah ..

(I thought my life would be SEW much more peaceful once the kids had grown up and left for school leaving me the whole day for peaceful and quiet life, the cats are as bad as toddlers!)

Second attempt at crazily patching

I thought I'd have a second go at crazy patch not least because I need to make something for my folder! I'm still not terribly confident but I am a bit more relaxed, this time!
Decided to play it safe and stick to a theme and colour - that of red & gold and heart & Christmas and got quite enthusiastic after an inspirational moment of combining a printed organza with a gold net which actually WORKED!

I'm not really sewing in the dark! although it felt a bit like it on one or two of the patches!
I used a rectangle of left over fabri-baste and drew a series of shapes on the reverse as guidance but pretty soon I'd run off, missed completely and generally abandoned all hope OF sticking to the guide!
It worked out quite well, as you can see ..

After I'd finished I decided to cut it out into a vague heart shape with an idea I could perhaps line it and fill it with lavender and fling in at my wardrobe! (might add a little colour to the otherwise black/navy/grey I thought .. you can see that I've really not got much clue as to how to mix colours)

Here is it! cut out and I've added a few bits and pieces to it! As I mostly prefer to machine sew I decided to stick with a few decorative stitches and top stitched a bit of ric-rac and some lace before finally throwing all caution to the wind and going completely MAD with ribbon, sequins, a bit and some ribbon flowers and then for good measure I stuck one of my card making brads in which afterwards I wish I'd not, but by then I'd go a huge HOLE and now its got to STAY!

Here is a picture of it before the final embellishments and I think you'll agree it actually looks better for all the stuff flung at it in the end?

Monday, 19 November 2007

First attempt at paper piecing project

Came across some suitably seasonal free patterns for paper piecing and decided to have a go this afternoon.
I don't describe myself AS geographically, mathematically AND artistically challenged for nothing! had several stressful moments as I pondered which way up I was IN the directions, whether I was coming or going and very nearly lost the will to SEW!
Those of you kind enough NOT to point it out will have spotted I went slightly wrong on my print fabric on the tree AND with one of the blues .. sigh ..

Anyway I enjoyed SOME aspects of the project (FINISHING, mostly ..) and though I soon discarded plans to make 20 blocks and produce something large and eyecatching, I think once this one is finished it will make a nice .. something .. or other .. ?

I remember! the ONE nice thing about the project was my remembering the rather whizzo clover mini iron that a previously good cyber-sew-pal once sent me as a gift in a moment of over-enthusiastic generosity! Happily it worked just fine despite being sat in my craft cupboard for about 4yrs! and I can assure anyone that *hot* really IS HOT! (ouch!)

Creative Textiles Course : week 9

Last night we had SNOW! Typical! the lads were hoping for a *snow day* from school and were doing all kind of superstitious activities like wearing their pj's inside out (apparently this is guaranteed to work according to Matt's school pal!) thankfully it DIDN'T work and we didn't have a snow day!
As this would have meant we had a snow day at college too!

We had HEATING this week! which was a relief! and also "refreshments" (somebody must have washed up and tidied the kitchen sufficiently to permit the continuation of this!) and posh new chairs too in our otherwise rather basic classroom!

I didn't get chance to finish my crazy stocking, however it was good to show a project-on-the-go at our class this week and I might try and finish it for next week!

Crazy Patch, I've decided, isn't really my thing! and not an area with which I have much interest HOWEVER I have been thrilled to discover that I actually like paper or foundation piecing! Up until now I've never had the courage to actually TRY this and I have plans to search the 'net for some more suitably interesting patterns to try this out further!

Last year when I attended a quilting course at the local Arts Centre, one lady in particular had a passion for this and said it was highly addictive, I think I might look for a project in which to work on! I've been a bit remiss with meeting with the quilters group, monthly, too and Ann, the treasurer, was in recently and inspired me further to think all things QUILTY! I fear there are too many projects! too many techniques! and not enough TIME!

I really want to try flinging some beads too at my hand embroidery which I worked on a bit more today at college - I have added another stitch - a sort of "knotted" stitch the name of which escapes me at the moment and I think I might buy a handbook on embroidery stitches and label it "from Santa!" .. ha! ..

I'm looking forward to the next few weeks as we continue to cover quilting and the interesting part is learning about the background and history as well as the techniques and its good to do a taster of each element if only to produce samples for our coursework!

Sunday, 18 November 2007

A little crazy (patched stocking)

In anticipation of this weeks session on crazy patch quilting, I decided to try a few samples. (I'll put more photo's up next week) and as Val was posting and sharing her rather neat looking crazy stocking, I thought I'd post mine too!

I decided to completely machine mine, and though its not finished, it is rather nice with the fabrics and stitching! you can see I've cut out the rough shape and will decide what to DO with it later!
I had fun with using metallic threads and free motion stitching as I felt this would be better suited to this seasonal project.
The fabrics are either stash OR from the newly purchased Christmas FQ's I bought yesterday! SEW new, they still smell NEW!
Don't you just LOVE "new" fresh fabrics and yarns??

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Jitterbug! is done & Christmas panel too

I'm dead impressed with this sock! I don't think, unfortunately, that my camera fully shows just how YUMMY-SCRUMMY the yarn AND the pattern truly is! (particularly after I err tampered with the settings!)
Sock one is finished and according to my kitchen scales, I've used just slightly under "half" and should, thus, have plenty for a sock two!
The yarn is Colinette Jitterbug, the patterns came from my more sensational knitted socks book.

This is the second of the Christmas themed printed panel that I've been quilting.
I'm really pleased with this too! it looks lovely and was delightful to sew!
I used a chocolate brown for the backing and the binding and I have plans to gift this to my brother's partner, Pete, and thought it a nice combination.
I machined inside the larger squared segments to hold all layers together, before free motion quilting around the various motifs in brown quilting RA threadand then changed to a gold colour and filled in free style the outer areas - all except (you might not be able to see) the very centre as I've not yet decided quite what to DO here!
Andrew is holding the panel up as the shot from above didn't seem to work!

This is a close up of the upper portion to show what I've done stitch wise.

New daylight lamp! and other hobbycraft bits

Today we visited a local Hobbycraft outlet as I had a mind to purchasing the Daylight Ultimate Table Top Lamp which at half price was a bargain to be had!
I wanted this lamp for downstairs with my knitting in mind and its just MARVELLOUS and what I wanted, I used the clip to hold my instructions for the grafting of my toes on this latest sock and angled the magnifying glass for ease of reading too!
(my KIDS think this is hilarious and rather "grannyfied", btw! but as anyone who crafts will know, ones eyes DO seem to need a little extra help particularly in the poor light of winter months!)

Also at Hobbycraft, I noticed they sold packs of glass/mirrors for shisha! at £1.99 a pack I bought two and stuck to circular!

I seem to have had a slight mishap with the camera! Everything has gone a strange colour!
Above are two packs of Christmas fat quarters in shades of green, red and cream, reduced from £14.99 for 8 to just £4.99 - I bought two slightly different packs but I've not opened them to fully investigate!

Bertie! sat in a bird's nest!

Generally, Bertie is considered a big girls' blouse and a bit of a wusss! However occasionally he does something dramatic or daring and this morning our son came rushing into the dining room to call us come look at BERTIE!

See? high up in the tree? I'm stood perched atop our chair reaching the camera up high with the zoom feature on maximum .. see? he's just about visible sat inside a bird's nest!
Hubby went upstairs for his binoculars for a better view, and we were just in time to catch him precariously making his way DOWN, had a heart stopping moment when he "fell" and was dangling with his legs swinging in the air! Andrew, who HAD the binoculars at the time, said his eyes were a bit "wild" and he looked a bit "scared"!

Eventually he managed to get himself down, safely, which was a relief as hubby decided there was NO WAY HE was climbing up to rescue him!!

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

if ANYONE comes near my NEEDLES AGAIN .. grr

Yesterday I came home to find my CHILDREN (grrrr!) sword-fighting with my one BEST and one NEXT-BEST knitting needles!!
I don't need to say any more really, suffice it say that I think I've managed to get across to them in NO uncertain terms that the NEXT occasion I catch anyone TOUCHING never mind sword-fighting with ANY of my knitting needles whether "best" or "granny's oldest" will DIE.

I was not, further more, amused when I found Lilly digging about my knitting bag coming out coughing MOHAIR either - and SHE certainly squeaked a bit before diving for safety! Worse! was BERTIE! he has got into this rather unwanted habit now of scratching - loudly and persistantly - at my closed sewing room door at around 4.45am and this morning he kept it up until finally he managed to open it! I was so tired I was not able to get the energy to get up and out of warm bed to screech hiss-ily at him and must have fallen back to sleep and this morning I discovered three of my cosmetic brushes on the floor and the pile of fabric for my latest sewing project looked as though it had been slept on too with rather a lot of white cat hairs attached in the shape of a sleeping cat!

Of course, they blame the weather. the cats I mean. they don't like the cold and rain. and being cooped up. so TODAY I pushed them both outside for some fresh air and activity and judging from their expressions when I let them back IN I think I'm somehow going to pay for this! ..

Socks! progress

I love this yarn! its really yummy and scrummy to knit with and the colour is really more gorgeously RED than the strange purple my photo's seem to show!

I decided to try a new stitch combination for the heel flap and am using the Partridge one as from my lovely book which I absolutely LOVE and might now buy the first book as I've heard its the "better" of the two! anyway, this is the pattern from the inside/wrong side,

and THIS is the pattern from the outside/right side! isn't it YUMMY! look? tell me its just completely LOVELY!! I'm panicking slightly that I may run out of yarn, as I've heard a whisper it knits up short and I'm suddenly finding the remainder has reduced alarmingly!! I shall just DIE if I have to frog!

Creative Textiles Course : week 8

Today we worked on some basic stitching in Shisha with some hilarious results! you are absolutely NOT to laugh! (I'm quite pleased actually that I managed to sew these three on! albeit took me most OF the two hours!!).

It was quite hard to get started, but our tutor gave a brilliant tip to use some tiny strips of double sided tape to hold the "glass" in place which worked wonderfully!!

The nice part about this course, is that ladies are bringing in examples/samples either of work that they have done or of worked pieces they own and we had a look at some really nice ones this week one of which we'd decided after careful scrutiny was in fact machine sewn in the style of traditional Indian embroidery by hand but it was pretty lovely anyway!!

Sarah, our tutor, had done a small sample of a stitched piece of glass in the shape of a snowflakey type embroidery on a piece of felt which when adhered to front of a card made a really nice Christmas themed idea!

We used pieces of glass as they came, but you are supposed to file them "round" only no one apparently was willing to sacrifice an emery board!

The stitching around the outside was the hardest part to "get" and it took me about 4 goes and demonstrations before finally it twigged!! and poor Sarah had practically run out of room on her hooped fabric with all the demonstrations!!

We had a good week despite being short of a few ladies and it was slightly spoiled by upon arrival we discovered the heating was not working! FR EEE Z I NNNGGGGG!! is not the word! it WAS freezing cold and never really warmed up! To make matters worse, we had the "mouse catcher" dodging in and out with saucers of milk for the dear little rodents .. ;-)
and THEN we all got a ticking off via a memo addressed generally to "all students" and to be read to each group by the tutor!
we are ALL ticked off for our lack of cleanliness in the KITCHEN! and lack of respect toward the refreshment facilities! (we're talking very basic here, btw! when I say "kitchen" don't be thinking KITCHEN think more like cupboard with a tiny sink and hissing machine that produces quite-hot-if-lucky and drink it QUICK water and rather dubious looking cloths and sponges!)
ANYWAY due to our lack of cleanliness and respect IN the kitchen it has been decided that unless we improve in the next week we are to have the kitchen facilities removed!
AND then, it was noted, that SOME FOLK are failing to put into the "tin" the .50p by way of payment for the refreshments (slightly staleish kind of cheapish biscuits!) and we all coughed and muttered a bit before deciding that perhaps WE would boycott the whole facility ourselves. but not today. no. today we NEEDED a drink to warm ourselves up!

We thought about counter protest and hinted at letters demanding upgrade in basic facilities, but decided we actually LIKED the class and didn't want to find ourselves banned and left it at that!

That took up the remainder of the class and next week we're moving swiftly on - to CRAZY PATCH! yayyy!!

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Colinette Jitterbug, Double Fleck, newest sock OTN

Well I wouldn't win any prizes for balling-yarn! And it doesn't exactly look as YUMMY SCRUMMY does it? as when I bought it, looking (which is why I DID buy it!) all YUMMY AND SCRUMMY in a skein! Never mind, it had to be done inbetween exciting action of yesterdays derby between Sunderland and Newcastle United ... zzzz and Les kept forgetting to concentrate! (thats my excuse anyway!) . ANYWAY its ready for knitting!

I chose another simple 4 round pattern from the same set as the last socks, Double Fleck, from my sock book which I'm getting terrific value from not to mention FUN! I've eyed up three or four further patterns for future projects too!
This one is another simple easy to remember pattern and I chose it because I am concentrating hard on my lace shawl and need to concentrate too on the bolero and the sideways jacket is becoming a little tiresome too and NEED something by way of comfort to knit!
The pattern suits the yarn too, and already its looking lovely, I'm not sure why its suddenly turned "purple" it must be the light! the yarn is more red actually! Never mind, you can still see the yumminess?

Sock one OTN's! I'm knitting on 2.5DPNs with about 60st's I think and as I've been forewarned this yarn knits up quickly, they will be a short pair!!
If you have knitted socks with Colinette Jitterbug, please do share your comments (and photos?).

Yarn used: Colinette Jitterbug, shade 109

The sock! is finished! hurrah!

Its done! at last! Finished the second sock! I'm actually very pleased with this pair, they are better in life than the photograph reflects! I used the Broad Spiral Ribbing pattern and it looks lovely close up, I tried taking a photo of this but that didn't do it justice either! Take my word for it, if you want an easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy pattern to remember to sit and knit quietly, THIS is it!

Page 91 from More Sensational Knitted Socks, Charlene Schurch.

My Friend, Carol, blogs about her pocket!

A good cyber-sew-pal, Carol, has blogged! finally! in public! with one of her rather super patterns and set of instructions! You can read it here! If discerningly digitised alphabets are your style, you might like to check out her jumbled set/s here too!

I plan to make up this project too and have downloaded the PDF and, of course, the idea of making this up as a standalone project for my knitting needles is at the back of my mind also!! I love easy to achieve projects but look always for a well finished end product - look out for my version soon!

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Knitting! progress sock/lace

The light is fading and I'm losing the will to knit! Here is the latest knitting project, the Kiri shawl after chart 1 is complete!
The yarn is a nightmare to unpick - I can say this with absolute confidence on account of several unpickings to correct a few mistakes! However I now know what it is I'm supposed to be doing, and thus should be easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy from here on in .. ?
I decided to work from charted instructions this afternoon, and once I'd put my glasses on and settled down to concentrate, I found it really rather relaxing and MUCH easier than I'd previously imagined! (mind it is, comparatively, an easy pattern!)

Very much easier and more forgiving in any slight mistakes, is my 2nd sock using the broad spiral pattern! I knitted a fair bit this morning and the sock is well underway now and looking good! I'm looking forward to my next sock-project, but undecided at the moment quite what yarn and which pattern!
The fun, I think, OF knitting is the planning of projects and deciding what to actually make! For the future, I think I'd fancy a go at a felted bag project!
Some super scarves in recent knitting magazines too! one or two I've put aside to consider seriously!

My younger son will SEW kill me for sharing this! I found it in our case of "old photo's" (together with some very scary ones of ME which I won't be sharing either! lol!) and thought I'd upload it as a reminder of WHEN my little pre-school treasure actually WAS a little treasure!

The stroppy, sulky pre-teen he actually IS, is infact recovering nicely from his burnt hands and is back to normal stroppy, sulky pre-teen mode that we're fast becoming accustomed to (more a case of having to!) and I think this means he's ready to return to SCHOOL! yayyyyy!!

Teletubby jumper, btw, was knitted in about a week from a pattern in Woman's Weekly, if I remember rightly, and was worn constantly and much loved at the time!

When the children were younger, I knitted a fair bit for them, if I can find any more scary shots of baby/toddlers sporting hand knitted frights like mittens, tanktops and balaclavas I'll upload them too - just for fun!

Lace shawl projects

Ann from Knit'n'Chat kindly shared this blog listing today and very apt too, given my new interest!

Simple Knits 314 Triangular Shawls - some free, some to purchase - take a look!

Talking of sharing blog-ideas! I enjoyed following the link from Cotton Patch to a turn table for clover mini iron "make" (and further enjoyed reading the blog too!) what a useful idea!

Solving common Knitting Problems - ladders in socks! ahh .. PULL THE YARN TIGHT ..
(I was SEW hoping there'd be a formula!).
I've noticed, too, that my sock knitting has improved and though I still find the first few inches hard wrestling with DPN's and tiny cuffs once it gets going generally its fine and VERY good comfort/tv viewing knitting!

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Lace Project: Kiri from All Tangled Up

OTN as of tonight is my LATEST project! Kiri from All Tangled Up! (and all tangled up I JOLLY WELL AM, well very nearly!)

I downloaded it a little while ago (you can see the link to the left at the top if you click the above link to this super blog!) and finally decided to be brave and go for it! my FIRST lace project!

I'm knitting with Rowan kidsilk haze (again!) and am undecided at the moment whether to follow the written instructions OR attempt the charted!

The light is not good enough to continue tonight, I plan to knit some more tomorrow, too soon to say how successful I will be, but I've apparently managed to get the correct number of stitches ON the needles for the row!

Please let me know if you have knitted this project!

My 2nd sock and hospital update

Sock no.2. is well underway - you can see sock 1 to the right! the broad spiral pattern ..
I was tempted to begin a new sock no.1 but resisted and forced myself to start it last night with the intention of having a portable knitting project for our hospital appointment today with Matt and his burnt fingers!

I'm glad, actually, I have started it, it really IS a nice pattern and relaxing enough being an easy to remember 4 row repeated sequence, while offering a bit of interest in the pattern to not be boring!

We arrived 15mins early at the hospital, the waiting room was packed and I feared a long wait! we had to sit in a darkened corridor due to lack of seating and a young girl came with us. We struck up a conversation after I pulled out my socks! and she ventured that she was keen on crochet! After 5mins of conversation she was offering her ipod to my son, swapping seats and we were chatting KNITTING!!
She was called for her appointment and soon after so to were we!
In fact it was hardly worth taking a project or even finding a seat!
The service offered was very quick and efficient!
While in the treatment room, I sat clutching my knitting mid round and it took me 5mins to fully satisfy the curiosity OF the Doctor who insisted I "knit a round" in order to see how it was done! Shame I wasn't doing anything marvellous and whizzo like turning the heel, but never mind he seemed impressed and at one point I thought he was going to ask for GO! (this, btw, was MUCH to my son's embarassment!).

oh! yes! my SON'S HANDS! yes, they are FINE! Apparently they may weep a bit but we needn't do anything and they are now unbandaged and he's feeling MUCH better!
He's not SURE whether he's quite up to school/writing .. hmm ...

Tagged! 7 random facts

Okay, I've been tagged by FuzzyWhiteDogs!

The Rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blog.

My Answers:
  1. Both my brothers were largely brought up by their fathers, while I was brought up by our mother during childhood years
  2. I really am mathematically (geographically AND artistically) challenged! and nearly missed my own 40th birthday when I miscalculated to be 38yrs still!
  3. I had osteomyelitis as a child and spent a year in a wheelchair - when parked up outside a shop while my mother was inside, a young lad released the brake and sent me down the road and I was "saved" by a man leaping to grab the wheelchair as I hurtled toward oncoming traffic!
  4. I can hold and will hold a grudge for YEARS and will wait to exact a revenge, which surprises most people!
  5. I've drunk "gin" since I was about 16yrs and its about the only drink that doesn't affect me
  6. I suffer with "gilberts syndrome" which has put paid, largely, to mammoth drinking sessions, and once famously turned completely carrot orange and my husband didn't even NOTICE!
  7. I left a teacher training college course for a secretarial course which wasn't popular at the time with the family!

right. now. who to tag ..
Debs! sorry! you are tagged!
Val! sorry! you are tagged!
Sarah! sorry! you are tagged!
Shirley! sorry! you are tagged!
Time4moretea! sorry! you are tagged!

I think thats got to be enough for now? phew!

Monday, 5 November 2007

Christmas panel, chocolate brown backing

ALMOST finished this project! Had I not been unwell over the weekend, I might have done so already!

Had a narrow escape when the person it is intended for came in unexpectedly as I was working on it! yikes! managed to whisk it off the machine and flung it aside in casual "oh THAT old thing!? no just a piece of rag! really! NO REALLY YOU DON'T WANT TO SEE IT CLOSER UP! GRRRR!!" lol!!

Tremendous fun free motion quilting around the shapes, and then switched to a toning gold/cream colour thread and did various "patterns" to fill in the squares! I've not got a clue what I'm doing! but I enjoyed the doing of it! and the results look pretty good to me, at least!! It was intended as a "fun" piece! Picture to follow, when the binding is done!

Creative Textiles Course : week 7

Rather disappointed at not being able to attend my course this week/today!
Unfortunately our youngest son has had a bonfire accident (picking up a piece of hot metal while clearing up the day after local firework/bonfire event) and unfortunately he has rather badly burnt fingers/thumbs on BOTH hands!

Took him straight to local A&E at the hospital, we were seen very quickly - immediately in fact for some further plunging of hands in cold water and administering of some painkilling medication, 20mins later a nurse was dressing and bandaging them!

This of course, means that NO SCHOOL! and thus no college! Tomorrow we return to hospital for a checkup and hopefully we'll know more by then!

I was looking forward to this weeks session, but hopefully I'll not miss anything too exciting! this is the thing, people bring stuff in to share and its all SEW marvellous and inspirational!! I know one of the students was planning a rather marvellous looking panel and I was very keen to see how she'd progressed with it! have to hope she brings it in next week!!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Quilty Projects (Kantha and Christmas)

NOW. if anybody laughs, I shall stomp off to read a book! quietly!
Here are the samples of the stitching I had a go at on two layers of calico following our lesson at College this week.
Unfortunately the photocopier at the College refused to churn out actual instructions AND patterns and as I'm, apparently, completely RUBBISH at searching through the files on the internet FOR information on how to stitch Kantha style, this is my attempt in the style OF said Kantha ..

And here's a close up just to PROVE you are able to hold back snorts and guffaws .. I am watching you know! ;-)

Okay. In fact I enjoyed this, not as much as the hand knitting I admit, but I feel after another session and more tuition I shall perhaps be better placed at trying a project-proper.
The calico is not quite the right fabric to use and I have bought some lighterweight muslin which I might try out. I also bought a packet of hand quilting needles too and these are much better than the rather blunt darners. (I DID say NO laughing and NO pointing fingers!)

You can see how I've tried to effect a running stitch "pattern"?
Being both geographically AND artistically challenged, it took me ages to get even this far! three stitches IN and I'd lose my bearings, my confidence and will to sew and start breathing heavily!

Back to safer ground! This is another Christmas printed panel that I am currently working on while I finish unpicking my other Christmas panel as mentioned before.
I know you can't SEE any quilting. yet! But here's a photo of it anyway!
At the back is a nice piece of chocolate brown quilters cotton and sandwiched between some wadding.
I used the walking foot to stitch in the ditch around the outside of all the larger squares to hold the layers in place using brown quilting cotton, and dropped the feed dogs and free-mot whizzed around the outline of the motifs within. I've nearly completed that stage, then I place to frantically dart about the insides in a sort of faux-stipple effect to add a bit of character.

To finish, I'll probably use some of the brown cotton to bind the edges and I'll use the easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy method of mitring the corners such as one of the visiting tutors from the College showed me during a summer feature ON sewing+courses. This particular tutor is "softfurnishings", however she quilts too and its always nice to compare different styles of sewing particularly in finishing things off and I'm told that her method is used by home-dec sewists particularly for cushions!

WHICH leads me rather nicely TO the subject of cushions!
I need some more!
Mine are looking somewhat shabby and past their best and having enjoyed the last batch of quilted tops, I thought I might make a few more - I kind of thought too, that I'd do some with embroidery although the family are starting to ask for "plain" items .. last night Matt stropped about and got quite cross when he couldn't find a PLAIN pillowcase.
EYES it seems don't seem to work once you pass 11yrs and start at secondary school.
VOICEBOX doesn't either. we get grunts. mostly. and thats when we're lucky! Occasionally we get a deep grunt, which is scary! on more than one occasion both dh and I have jumped out of our skin when we've thought someone has broken in our house and is stood behind the door GRUNTING DEEPLY at us, to remember than our elder son has shot up to a whopping 5'9" and talks like the bad guy on a James Bond film. like I said. think grunt.