Tuesday, 29 April 2008

More patchwork! stash busting!

Well I'm on a roll here! Determined to use all this lovely fabric (and yarn!) that I have stashed away I found a sheet of instructions that came from a meeting at the local quilt club about 18months ago and remembered one of the ladies calling to store some time after to say how much she'd enjoyed this project!

I'm using the rest of the blue FQ's that were the set sent to me three of which I used on the previous bag:

Easy-Peasy-Lemon-Squeezy! TAKE four fabrics and cut into 2" strips and sew together into sets, one of which you can see above.
Cut 4.5" squares with its points on the centre seam and DON'T discard the triangle offcuts! they can be used to form more squares!
which is just as well, as you can see from below I didn't actually get that many squares from my 4 FQ's! I cut as best I could and have some upright squares top and bottom and hope to get some more done soon before I sew them all together properly!

It won't be very big, but it is rather nice and a lot more useful than sitting in my box of quilting fabrics! No idea what I shall do with it at this stage (I suspect Bertie will end up with a claim on it, mind).

Patchwork Bag

Here is my latest project, now complete: a patchwork bag taken from this book and was featured in Popular Patchwork, June 2003 issue.

I used fabric from stash and it was a good opportunity to use some of the lovely FQ's that a cyber-sew-pal had kindly sent to me as part of a "swap" a good couple of years ago and they've been sat in my quilt fabric box all this time waiting for the right project! I teamed it with the navy/white stars fabric also sent to me from a pal.

The pattern was a bit fiddly to understand and I had to unpick two or three sections and at one point consult a sewing colleague to help work out one part (but I think I was being a bit dense at the time!). Not sure if I really like it but it does look better now I've stuffed with a towel and its not so "flat".

I'd hoped I'd really like it as I have some YUMMY fabric which I thought would be nice made up into some sort of "patchworky" bag:

(I just have to hope my FRIEND - she knows who she is! - isn't looking too hard as I might find myself having to find a replacement for the purple butterfly FQ - isn't it just YUMMY!?)

These were bought from the quilt club fabric sale about 18months ago and I decided its no good having all these super fabrics just sat all folded and neatly stacked and not DO anything!
As I am now resolved to add a little "colour" into my wardrobe, accessories would be a nice way to get used to the brightness - don't you think?

I may continue looking for further patchwork/bag ideas while I make my mind up on the current blue bag!

Embroidered bondawebbed sample 1

To be honest I was a little bit disappointed with it! I did try and unpeel the chiffon scarf motifs however it was also peeling off the paint from underneath too so I decided to make the best of it as best I could.

I might add a few beads - then again I might not!
The embroidery outline isn't right, but I couldn't leave the purple outline from the fabric and stitching it was the only thing I could think of.

My friend rang me yesterday after I got home and suggested we meet for lunch at my "local" - I had a nice chicken and mango salad with a glass of red wine and we eventually finished gossiping I mean catching up, at nearly 3.45pm; by the time the lads and tea was sorted it was getting on for 9pm before I settled down to stitch, we'd planned to watch Coronation St however the ITV channels weren't, apparently, working on cable and I had to try and enjoy the PS3/lads .. zzz

Today I plan to finish my patchwork bag which has come together rather nicely, I'll post details later on, with pics if possible!
I have some colour samples to knit too, and I might try and add some stitching to the other bondaweb samples. SEW much to do! SEW little time!

Monday, 28 April 2008

Super Socks by Terry Ross

DO pop over to Terry's blog and look at her latest SUPER socks! the colour I think is just FAB too! Really yummy pattern, they are called "Tangled Faeries" Mind, the two pairs below look equally scrummy - if you are not yet caught up in the excitement of sock knitting, visit this blog and THEN see if you don't feel inspired to knit socks!!

Creative Textiles

I've lost count of which week we're on, suffice it to say we're nearly at the END!
I can't believe we've nearly finished the course and with two Bank Holiday Monday's in May and a half term, we're very short on sessions.
We're hopeful that there will be a follow up course next September for those of us currently doing level I (dependant as usual, on numbers, I expect) but we're not sure about the current level II's

Our projects need to be underway and progressed pretty smartish ready for marking beginning of June too.

This week we worked on bondaweb transfers to fabrics and WHAT a fun session! this is easily the best we've covered in both effect and ease in creativity and I spent the afternoon experimenting with the samples prepared, initially, in class this morning:

At first I was a little doubtful, I didn't care too much for cling-film experiments and didn't feel inspired to do more than a few samples to show willing! and DID fear this technique would fare the same - HOWEVER I think its really COOL!

The four photo's above show the stage which I did at college today where we each painted the adhesive side of the bondaweb with acrylics and something "sparkly" which I've forgotten WHAT at the moment - unfortunately we forgot that this sparkly paint should go on first and is thus largely hidden when applied to fabric, never mind eh ..

It was quite a lot of fun dabbing about in paint and water and some ladies got quite artistic and started painting "patterns" and creating colourful images - I just dolloped a pile of paint and spread it about and hoped it WORKED!! WHICH as you can see below: it DID, happily:

I'm a bit out of sequence here with my pics, but the shot above shows the blue/green bondaweb applied to a piece of pre-washed calico. You get a sort of mottled effect and it needs to be left to completely dry before being ironed onto the target fabric and I was quite glad of the tip to use baking parchment as I did get quite a lot of gunk on the iron (particularly the piece I turned the WRONG way! you only do this the once, mind! Luckily I have a spare iron used exclusively for messy jobs like iron on interfacings and the like and its cleaned up quite well, considering.

Our tutor, Sarah, had demonstrated a few variations and I was keen to use the sheer fabrics to overlay and below you can see I've cut out a piece of "floraly" bits from a chiffon scarf and applied bondaweb to this - I've left it with the paper on so that you can see what I've done. I cut it out quite close as I wanted to retain the effect of the paint on the main target fabric.

The shot below you should look at first, really! as this is the piece of chiffon scarf that I applied the bondaweb to before trimming it to that of above pic.

One of the four pieces I painted got applied to a piece of the left over pink I'd used for my quilt, its a very pretty piece and nicer in reality than the shot below shows as it IS pink around the edges and peeping through the wash of colour!

This is a pile of scarf-y bits I brought home to experiment with

The shot above shows the lovely blue/green on calico which I was initially very pleased with and had some rather fabbo ideas of doing something sea themed but rather spoiled it by thinking that I'd get a subtle effect of something vaguely representing seaweed with the chiffon I spent AGES cutting bits out of but then it didn't blend as I'd expected and sort of just "sits" there looking out of place! Never mind, I might be able to peel it off, with luck, and start again.

These were the two pieces used on the blue/green, below, just before I set to with the scissors to painstakingly cutting and trimming away the bits in the middle to "peek" through.

These two shots above and below are of the pink cotton with a super bit of floral peach chiffon applied to the top, and looks really nice and I'm pleased with it and plan to stitch into this later.

The pic below is another one I'm pleased with, this has gone onto a piece of silver sparkly polyester organza and looks lovely, you can't see its sheer as I've got in sitting on my cutting mat. I thought I'd taken a photo of the little flower I've applied to the bluey/greeny bit in the middle - later I'll upload a couple more photo's (maybe!).

This last photo is my favourite! It looks far nicer in reality, and, as for above, I've somehow forgotten to taken a photo of it with ITS piece of fabric on top too!!
I applied this bondawebbed paint to a piece of green silk dupion and the chiffon I've applied on top has a lovely image that suits it but I had not realised I'd need to trim it quite close BEFORE applying and wish I'd actually done this one after the others.

The fabrics I applied the bondawebbed painted tops to were calico, cotton, organza and silk.

yayy! the PC is nearly fixed

David called round on Sunday while I was out at work and confirms the lads' graphics card is the reason they cannot switch their PC on and a new one has been ordered and confirmed as delivered by mid week and he has promised to call after work and fit it!

(no more undignified scrabbling for the pc and shoving little people off the chair and elbowing them firmly to get possession OF the keyboard - I should try harder, really, and LET the children play I mean do their homework .. hum humm )

Our PC meanwhile continues to plays up from time to time, and I've found out the email has let me down again as two people have contacted me to ask why I didn't reply! I didn't reply, because I didn't receive it TO reply to! David has muttered about "fierce security" on our system .. later, possibly Julyish, he's going to wipe the hard disk and start us off afresh!

Sunshine! relaxing in the garden

When I say "we" had a terrific weekend of sunshine and much relaxing in the garden, what I mean IS "they" had a terrific weekend of sunshine and much relaxing in the garden ..

I was working the whole weekend and came home in the rain having missed any of the glorious sunshine "they" reported .. dh advised me the reason none of the housework chores were done was that "the garden", instead, was "done" .. hmm I came home early and snapped I mean caught them "doing the garden" over a glass of coke and both having read practically an entire book apiece!

Still. it was an opportunity not to be missed, I agreed, eventually, in the end, after much consideration (and following a large glass of wine poured for me with an instruction NOT to lift a finger over the cooking OR the dishes ..)

The cats appreciated the sunshine and spent most of Saturday outside and then most of Sunday INSIDE - recovering!

Friday, 25 April 2008

Workshops and Baking

Lovely day at the knitting-workshop! (or should I say, "detention"!) our tutor, and guest, provided us with a yummy lunch, stacks of yarn to play with AND sent us home with a goodie bag which included a Rowan studio book - how cool is THAT for a "detention"?

Back home now, and no.2.son is busy baking choc-chip cookies - I'll take a pic when they are cooked (and before they are eaten!!). He's quite a good cook, and enjoys it too, unlike me - I still remember baking peanut butter cookies and after biting into one before properly chilled, fresh from the oven, having to prise the wretched thing off my TEETH after it "set" as I clamped my teeth around it and spent several mins sucking at it hoping not to lose any teeth in the process! The family will confirm this is quite usual for me!

I like what my friend is up to! And also the neat idea of storing and sorting her perle threads! MUCH easier to see what you've got and less likely to tangle too, seeing her block makes me miss the bit of hand stitching I'd enjoyed doing recently!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Why knit?

This is funny! you might have seen it already : The Sacraments Of Knitting: A Simple Tract, the lumpy sweater.

Secrets of The Yarn Collectors is another I've enjoyed reading and following the comments too! over at Knitting Daily/Today's Post.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Bits and Pieces (non crafty)

School is having to rearrange pupils for tomorrow due to strike action, and no.2.son is off but no.1.son is in! both, however, are off on Friday for planned INSET day. At the same time, our tutor has arranged for a workshop on the Friday for our group for part of the day, and I kidded the lads it was a "detention" - they asked what will we be doing on our detention, and I said, oh I don't know! I expect she'll make us knit or something! THAT!, they said, is NOT punishment! .. and I think they are right!

Coming soon, 9th May, I have booked a place on Sarah Hazell's Learn to Crochet day as I feel this would be nice, I mean good for me (to learn properly!) and I am delighted to find that 3 other ladies from our regular weekly course are also attending! Sarah does loads of Rowan workshops all around and its worth checking out the website for reference as day courses are a lot of fun.

BOTH cats are in trouble today! Lilly (unusually) because she was caught playing chase and catch (and burst!) with no.2.son's mini-football and Bertie (typically) because he somehow managed to get IN to my sewing room despite my checking the door is closed MOST of the time, and took a piece of needlefelted fabric and CHEWED it! I know it was him, as I followed the trail of fibres all the way into lads' bedroom and found him SITTING on it underneath their bunk beds trying to pretend he didn't know how it got there .. I wouldn't mind, but I managed to find some of the purple floral fabric that makes up half of my pin cushion that he seems to favour, particularly, and made HIM a catnip filled one which, inevitably, he has ignored totally! It seems he knows what is an authentic crafty notion and what is a fobbing-off attempt at a notion! Anyway, its raining this morning and I've put them BOTH outside .. grrr

I've got to catch up today! I've got some experiments with cling film to try out!

Monday, 21 April 2008

Creative Textiles

This week was a catch up week, slowly each of us are having our work inspected! this week it was my turn! It must be nice for our tutor to see how each of us have set about our sketchbooks and the samples we choose to work on to demonstrate the various techniques, but quite how she can resist the temptation to rush off home to have a go herself we don't really know!!

The trouble with this class is, there isn't much time to work on projects during each weekly session and quickly you find yourself getting behind and/or sidetracked if you don't keep on top of things and then, inevitably, you get overwhelmed with all the catching up that is required! This looks like happening with a couple of ladies.

I prefer to see pieces of work, and in addition to samples I've tried to make a few things, and there are more ideas in my head that just need some time to prioritise! with the summer holiday fast approaching, I must, also, start thinking about wrap skirts too!!

With that in mind, for the past month I've been fair starving myself and doing without gin and cake and have lost a miserable 4lbs, where hubby - just to keep me company - suggested he'd give up beer and chocolate too! (mind, I'm not certain that SWAPPING beer & choc for wine and licorice allsorts IS the same as "giving up" but I can't say anything, as HE has lost a staggering 12lbs! which must surely mean he drank a lot of beer or ate a lot of chocolate!) Men do lose weight differently to us, I know, but its certainly most annoying given it was MY idea and its ME thats making up all these crummy I mean yummy SALADS every day for a month now .. zzz

For health reasons, we've been going for a "walk" each day - again, to keep me company, dh suggested HE walk too! which is FINE, except he walks at about 4times my pace and when I try and suggest, somewhat breathlessly, that he slow down! he mutters about how much BETTER it would be if I jogged .. jogged! ha!? me!? I don't think I've broken into a jog for the best part of 20years! not properly. not a serious "jog" as in out for a run.

ONCE I went for a jog.
its not all its cracked up to be.
and its not EASY either.
WHERE do you go?
HOW do you start? - do you come out of the house jumping on the spot and race off past all your neighbours as they stand outside by their cars WATCHING YOU?
well yes. if are in fit and glam. in designer sporty wear with crop tops and fashionable trainers.
NOT if are wearing old baggy jumper, manky leggings shrunk in the wash with several darned areas where the seams split not quite meeting the socks at the ankles which are from the kids drawer and a pair of beach pumps.

WORSE - when you get to the 4th house and are PANTING, face beet-red, gasping for air, legs gone all weak and feeling FAINT, grasp the streetlamp and pretend to do hamstring stretches while doubled up with terrific stitch and feeling bit sick and they all stop washing their cars to STARE and enquire are ALL RIGHT THEN? yes. ! of COURSE! am just. umm LATE .. blush .. thud .. its NOT what it looks like!? am not JOGGING! am just dashing to the err shops! ..

I once tried going jogging wearing skirt, blouse and heels with handbag flapping over my chest - thought could pretend to be late for WORK or something.
that doesn't work well either. even with LOW heels is awfully hard to actually JOG and all that sweat and makeup! they don't mix well. the LEAVING is fine. its the returning! oh! err. forgot! silly MEE! dashing off to work thinking was late! got to bus stop! remembered: IS MY DAY OFF! I only ran BACK to not waste any more of day off! slides to knees pressing key into door resolving to try HARDER with the indoor skipping and the fitness video! (who am I kidding?)

I took one of the lads once!
thought THIS might be another option! take a CHILD - pretend to be running to CATCH up with the child!
note. to self. MUST remember NEXT time to ask the child to NOT run quite as FAST! I was lapped twice as I staggered home, eventually, to find CHILD swinging feet on the wall telling the neighbours that mummy's really SLOW isn't she? I've done the block 4 TIMES now!

AND you can't stop to chat!
I mean. aside from the panting and the stitch and the beet-red face, theres the other matter of .. I NEEEDDD THE LOOOOOO!!! crossing legs in a deep curtsey and clutching blancmange middlebits, sink to the side and grit teeth and try to remember muscles one is promised by the ante-natal nurse is WORTH remembering and hiss at the neighbour that one is NOT doubled up in breathless agony, ONE IS COOLING DOWN and is a modern hamstring stretch (and hoping not to leave a puddle behind ..)

AMAZING that my neighbours NEVER stop to chat .. normally ..

Luckily for me, I can dressmake. SEW .. large skirts it IS this summer ..

colourful socks!

wow! look at these colourful socks! fair makes you want to rush out and buy some yummy yarn and knit!

I've neglected my sock knitting - boo! and a recent conversation with my sewing-pal-Ann about socks has made me determined to get back on track and with such YUMMINESS about how can I resist? Ann's daughter, Elizabeth, had also got bitten by the sock knitting bug and was annoyed to realise she'd read the turning of the heel instruction incorrectly and had somehow done it upside down! We had a bit of a chuckle about it, but really socks are the sort of thing you need to knit at least twice before you really know what you are doing!

Mine are still on their pins, and I've two hanks just waiting for the knitting up of!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

My Pink Quilt is DONE! yahooo!!

My quilt is finally FINISHED and very pleased with it I am too!
But first, my little darning and couching sample for last weeks' textiles course homework:

I enjoyed this project very much and am pleased with how it looks, given there is no embroidery stitches within it, just a series of cords and yarns couched to create a mini picture based on the pic to the side which you can see I've simplified to give the effect rather than a true copy. I'm not terribly thrilled with the sky, you can see the top edge curling under the darned yarns? maybe I should have hooped the fabric for better results? anyway is pinned FIRMLY into my sketch book now!

This quilt was a bit tricky to handle! I'm certain fellow quilters will be nodding their heads with me as I say there is a fair bit of fierce man-handling of fabric going on under the "foot" sew to speak! The finished size of some 60" square was quite big enough for a first attempt and at one point during the free motion quilting of the outer border I'd got a whole bunch of it thrown over my left shoulder, a wadge under my right elbow and a firm grip in each hand of another wadge either side and at one point was seriously contemplating getting my left LEG involved, possibly by throwing it atop the horn cabinet to steady the excess!
Watching several video's uploaded to U-tube didn't help! with their graceful and artistic motions, I felt like a huge carthorse chucking my weight about!

If you look carefully you can see where I mistakenly stitched a decorative pattern in pale pink to adjoin the blocks and inner border, it doesn't quite "go" but I'm certainly not going to unpick all that satin stitch patterning!!
I went for random swirls and wiggles for the red border, here you can see me having fun!

hmmm. SEW. Bertie found his way into my sewing room! Surprisingly he's taken his ban quite well and hasn't even scratched at the door all weekend, but he did sneak in this afternoon - for a bit of a check and found my quilt which, inevitably, he had to take a closer look at!
I've a feeling Bertie will claim this as his own!

Here you can see the finished quilt. I went for four outlined heart shapes at each corner of the deeper pink border, and filled in the rest with random heart shapes and general swirls which works quite well and suited my inexperience!!

The closeup below shows the corner detail.

The binding has been machined and, thanks to my good cyber-pal-Debs, I managed to disguise the accidental folding back and stitching down OF the backing fabric, by applying some steam-a-seam to some pink fabric and I may do some hand stitches to the edge if it looks like coming loose/fraying etc!
NOW FOR THE NEXT PROJECT! oh yes! no.1.son.15yrs has requested one!!

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

My Quilt Project - progress

I can truthfully say this is "my first quilt project" as my first EVER quilt project is still lying abandoned in a bag unfinished! And here it IS .. ta-daaa .. (not quite finished, but with better prospects of being finished!)

For £2 a bundle it was the centre panel of some 16 8.5" squares made up of strips from the bundle of pink fabrics that started the process. Originally I intended to make samples up to demonstrate "colour" as part of my course and then with my enjoyment of the crazy patch theme, I decided to make it up in a similar way but felt this style would be "easier" to manage and quicker to make up the blocks! Adding the inner border at another £2ish, the outer border and backing (a delicious sugary pink) ringing up at some £40 and £12 for the wadding, my "£2" sample has ended up rather expensive! eekkk .. HOWEVER, as everyone who crafts KNOWS, its not cheap what we do and we don't necessarily do it FOR cheapness either!

Its ended being some 58" square and looking really rather splendid - but a heck of a task to get it through the machine! It sits now draped over the bannister awaiting further quilting before binding the edges which you'll see are still pinned at the outer edge.

Poised at the top of my stairs hanging onto the bannister and peering over the top of my stepladders I see Bertie eyeing up his chances of getting ONTO the quilt as it lays across my drop leafed table being pinned together in stages prior to quilting.
I advise Bertie in strong tones that he is NOT to jump up ..

.. which he duly ignores (naughty cat! he is, in fact, now banned permanently from my sewing room and I'm attempting to train him to accept this after he has repeatedly sought my purple pin cushion and scattered pins and needles all over the house and I'm concerned he'll lose my needles I mean hurt himself on my needles!)

As you can see, I've not quite got the hang of this discipline thing yet .. but as official inspector of all things crafty, EVERYTHING must first be thoroughly inspected.

Fair took me 10mins to get it UNDER my machine! I was exhausted after one seam! at one point I'd got a heap of bulky quilt over my left shoulder, both hands agrip and was toying with the notion of using my TEETH to turn the corner! this is a BIG project! and it weighs a lot!

Here it is on the floor, all the inside blocks and the borders are sewn through the layers using my walking foot to anchor the quilt, all that remains is to decide how best to tackle the decorative quilting and then bind the edges!

It looks quite crumpled, thats because it IS quite crumpled! after all the man-handling to get it machined - bit like curtains, almost not worth ironing!

Creative Textiles

Interesting session this week!
Working further on the theme of darning and couching I gathered a few bits and pieces and tore some magazine pages with which to work on - and spent the morning alternately oohing and ahhing & generally gasping at some of Kim's delightful and inspired samples with cling film from the week before!!

I grabbed my knitting (V.neck tunic) as a project to work on after my brother turned up on Sunday evening and spent the WHOLE evening going through his (thankfully!) edited photo's from his trip and at the end I was too tired to sort my bag out with embroidery stuff!

Didn't get much knitting done, rather more TALKING! but thats what its all about! talking and sharing and looking at each others work! We have some very talented ladies in our group and it would be easy to feel intimidated by such talent, however very soon you come to realise that it IS all possible! and its not that hard, really! (it just seems to come easier to some!).
Except for Kim. Kim is the exception! she's like a creative tap! it just POURS out of her! her books, her bags - even her pockets! just seem to hold handfuls of experiments, of scribbled notes, quickly drawn ideas and bits of fibre buttons etc! She's one of those ladies who is just an inspiration as she, apparently, feels no fear!

My project is decided! After discussion with tutor, Sarah, I'm going to do a small piece of Kantha inspired stitching - we have only 10hours in which to plan, prepare samples and achieve the project .. (hence the word "SMALL" ..)

I decided on this as I enjoyed (eventually!!) this type of stitching and its totally new/different to me - it would be too easy for me to pick a machine stitched project or even a knitted one and while I yearn to do a more meaningly or creative piece with loads of "stuff" chucked at it eg embroidery/beading etc I've had a good long think about what I want to DO for myself is not necessarily the same as being suitable for the PROJECT!

Slightly panicking, still, about lack of progress on the Kiri mind! Although I have been invited to join a Kiri dedicated group on Ravelry which may inspire me further to pick up the needles and get going again!

Work this week involves couching and darning and I'm currently half way through a simple landscape which I hope to be able to show you soon.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

David's Adventure

A selection of photo's sent to us from his travels abroad from my no.2.brother, David:

Super scenic shot from New Zealand, above.

Partying with new friends - David is 3rd on the left looking at the camera (inevitably sat next to a pretty blonde lady!)

Apparently Sydney was "full" when he and his friends, John and Kerry, arrived and it seems that David ended up sharing with 5 Dutch girls .. .. hmmm (David is at the bottom of the heap in pic above looking a bit squashed).

It looks a bit ccccoldddd ... (New Zealand)

This is better! looks delightfully hot!

Fancy Dress party, David is the football field toward the rear.

Kite surfing in New Zealand.

Tons more pics and he threatens, I mean promises, to come round this afternoon with the entire collection for us to enjoy ..

It will be hard for him to return to normal/routine/work from Monday having spent last 8weeks away with his friends, John and Kerry, this trip was a last minute decision that came about following the sudden breakup over the New Year of his relationship with Becki.

PICTURES! at last!

SEW much the better for PICTURES!

Laura was pleased with her gift comprising needlecase, pin cushion and scissor-keep, the fabrics are all cottons lined with silk dupion.

I've actually done more to the quilt since taking this photo, added the pink outer border and prepared it ready for quilting - it looks super!

The lovely knitty book!!

Today has been mostly boringly, tediously but necessary domestic - chores complete and we wait now for David to phone!

Friday, 11 April 2008

it will just have to BE without PICTURES!

Well we've limped along this last couple of months while my brother is off round the world with his mates but now, it seems, our remaining "good" pc has decided to go on strike and I'm now unable to upload my photos or to print for that matter, until such time as my brother can come and sort us out!

I've neglected my blog, a little, within all this pc-chaos - but have decided to continue anyway even if without relief of some pictures to glance at and I hope to get this situation resolved but in the meantime here is a summary of what I've done/bought/working on!!

Again! couldn't resist! this lovely book came into store last week and three of us fell on the five copies and set aside for purchase! I paid for mine yesterday and though I've not had chance to really read it it I think it will be a useful book to add to my knitting library

Knitted Edgings & Trims by Lesley Stanfield

It looks fantastic resource! what we liked about it was the variety of decorative knitted effects - 150 in all - and clear photographs.

Again! couldn't resist! new in store was a fabulous poly-cotton almost crinkly and with bits of sparkle and a super overall subtle "pattern" that depending on the angle to which you hold it shows up and then disappears! is white! and then silver/grey! I can't possibly describe it, its just YUMMY though and, again, we all HAD to have 2ms and at £6/m a real summer bargain! Not sure what I'm going to make with mine, possibly something top-wise for summer hols in Spain, a colleague is planning a tiered skirt and another a blouse and another a kaftan!

My bargain strips of pink fabric are now joined together and framed with a "turkey-red" border and yesterday I bought some lovely sugary-pink mottled quilters cotton for a deeper border and backing and this is being worked on as we speak!
(actually, in truth, am waiting for my longstanding quilty-pals to put me right on one or two matters regarding the backing and I imagine they are eating their cornflakes and wondering quite what I mean by "help!!"
I'm pleased with the project and hope to complete it soon and will take photo's which I'll endeavour to upload as soon as the pc issue is resolved!

Can't wait to try out a bit of a sample to test a new theory (to us!) of how to attach beads to knitting! My colleague learned of this method via a customer who in turn had bought a beading magazine with a simple "how to" within it! A quick demo yesterday has sort of made a bit of sense, but I'll do a sample to test the theory before I attempt to describe it here!

One of our young student colleagues commented on a lovely fabric within my quilt/strips and said she'd love a needle case for her forthcoming course at Uni and, having two spare squares left over, I selected one that reflected this particular fabric and made up a little needle case, a pin cushion and a scissor keeper from a matching square. I used pale green silk dupion to line each, with hot pink felt for the needles/case and a lilac snap and green binding - the set looked lovely not least because of the lovely fabrics and she seemed really delighted at this unexpected gift!

Gift making is a hot topic at the moment! With some fellow crafters reporting lots of requests, appreciation and other favourable comments when gifting hand crafted goodies - I've given it all up this last couple of years (aside from the occasional gift!) I should say, rather, I've abandoned the "tradition" of the birthday/xmas sewn gift! Maybe its because my family is now entirely made up of men! and they just don't LIKE the crafted frillies!! lol! Anyway, I'm rather happier being a selfish sewist/knitter and beyond the occasional, and the cards for special occasions I'm finding it much easier all round to just BUY "them" something!! (AND a lot cheaper too!!).

Mind! reading the Simply Knitting blog this am, I did rather feel tempted to rush out and start knitting these GORGEOUS Dr Who treasures!! .. SEW far I've resisted!!

Latest Sewing World mag dropped through the letterbox last night and I see there are a couple of interesting articles on couching and folding/pleating-effects too.
I'm letting my sub to CME go, this year, received a reminder in post to continue but I've decided not to renew.
INSTEAD! I think I'm going to buy either a quilting mag or perhaps Stitch (take a look at their site, its useful!!) instead from time to time for variety! and I'm also considering dropping the sub to SK too (particularly since I can pick up any of the knitting mags easily enough at Tesco!!).

Boring domestic chores planned for Sat and work on Sun - I must get my sketch book up to date as its being marked on Mon (gulp!) and I've not completed any of the tasks for week and am desperate to get quilting!!

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Creative Textiles summer term

hurrah! we're back to school! I know I was more pleased at this prospect than the lads, but then again my *school* is SEW much more fun!

With all the wintry weather and snow of Sunday, hard to think we're on our final summer term, and that soon it will all be over!

This week we learned our deadlines for projects and stuff and also, that our Centre Manager will be poking and prodding through our work I mean marking our work - not sure quite how independant this will be, but I dare say its all official and approved!

The good news is, that I don't necessarily have to finish my lace shawl.
(actually I want to finish my lace shawl! at some point! however I seem to be having this problem with finishing of anything just at the minute! am battling on with my Vneck tunic having just cast on and started the deep rib for the front am hoping to get this one tucked away in order to start on some seasonally summery knits! and with the holiday looming I must start the annual stressful wrap-skirt sewing session!).

My problem, I think, is that I am too ambitious in my projects and unrealistic in what I actually can achieve, there are some who apparently manage with ease to produce marvellous works of creativity while saucepans bubble, no doubt, with delicious food for the family and clothes line filled with freshly laundered linen before being ironed and put away. in OUR house its a few grubby t.shirts draped on any surface that will support the slightly cardboardy garment but at least it disguises the lack of ironing! and the only thing that bubbles away in our kitchen is the Fairy power spray that helps to remove the burnt bits ..

Anyway, you can see my problem? too easily distracted!

HERE, then, is our schedule for the summer:-

  • 7-4-08 Creating surfaces with clingfilm and outline activities for texture
  • 14-4-08 Texture 1: couching
  • 21-4-08 Texture 2: darning
  • 28-4-08 Water solubles and bonding materials
  • 12-5-08 sketchbook and project update
  • 19-5-08 no class due to prior commitment for tutor (something important at Rowan at which we hope she'll manage to sneak back snippets of something NEW and IMPORTANT)
  • 2nd/9th June Post-War textile design
  • 16th/23rd June The Liberty tradition (and hopefully a visit to Liberty for a cup of tea I mean a browse through their remnants, NO! I mean their archives. am hoping this won't involve clipboards of questionaires to fill in and puzzles to solve as per class outings to museums in manner of yr.7's)
  • 30th June: THE END! booo! I mean hurrah! we've finished ...
Important dates for me to remember are, 14th April must make sure sketchbook is uptodate as its being marked, must have a better plan for my project than just this vague "I want to do something YUMMMMYYYY!" and 6th June is the final date by which all our work including projects are to be submitted for the poking and prodding of by the independant verifer, I mean the Centre Manager (MUST make note to ensure kitchen is kept clean and all teaspoons washed, dried and put away and ensure we all cough loudly and comment this fact as we pass the office) (luckily - just as we turn into *summer* - the heating is now turned ON and we have a nice warm classroom - WAS idly pondering on wording for an official students' letter on this, am fiercely glad now, that didn't actually get around further than the vague idea of "something rather fierce implying one is PAYING for this and one might not be willing to pay NEXT TIME" - phew! ).

(of course, I say all this very much in jest.)
(and bites hard on tongue.)

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Back to normal! (school/college course/work)

All been a bit upside down this last 2.5weeks what with dh taking time off work, the lads been home for Easter and my rota juggled to allow for commitments over the holiday period - hopefully after next week it will all return to normal and I can get back to blogging more frequently too!!

Our pc continues to misbehave! we now cannot access the printer! and my read/writer box for the embroidery machine has no light on it meaning thats not working either! We've limped along for the past several weeks, but there is light at the end of the tunnel! David has emailed us during the course of his (kind of) round the world trip to forget about splitting up with his girlfriend and avoiding the whole issue of commitment and BABIES in particular! and is now on the last (US) leg of his trip!

It has made it harder to blog with photo's as I have to do a complicated route of upload them upstairs into lads pc, transfer them back down stairs (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't!) OR I have to use their pc which isn't popular OR I just leave it until now and do the lot in one go!!

Most of what I planned to share is included! like I say, back to normal after next week!!

Days out with the family

Over the Easter hols, we've had various days out with the family - here are some pics from one lovely day out spent at Bewdley museum.

Interestingly on the day after visiting the museum, I read on one of the blogs from my reader, that someone knits these! I wish I could remember who it was, now!

As well as finding some knitted hats, I also found some other crafty bits and pieces too! Here is a pic of me looking a bit peculiar (I think it was cold day and I was gritting my teeth while waiting for my son to take the shot!) standing by some handmade rope making equipment!

WHO are they planning to put into the stocks .. hmm ..

Totally Surprised! I promise I didn't KNOW that there was a yummy quilty shop just up the road from the museum!! I've been lucky in finding something of interest to me, on all our jaunts out and about and the family are starting to get suspicious that I might in fact be researching this!!

This lovely shop has two floors worth of fabrics, notions, mags and other things associated with quilting, including workshops and classes too!

After 15mins I felt sorry for the family and reluctantly came out with just the purchase of a cushion kit, but managed to hiss at the chap who was assisting in the shop "psst! is there anywhere ELSE I ought to know about .. wool shops!? .." and he pointed up the road to ..

Notions! inside I found some nice varigated embroidery cotton - I like to buy something from these types of shops that I find and I would have happily bought some sock yarn however it was all a bit ordinary and dull ..

Lovely day out and nice weather, we had tea and cakes in the tearooms, discovered that all the pubs were closed and didn't reopen for meals until 6pmish, so headed home and ate at local pub instead!