Monday, November 23, 2015

Sewing continues.

Completed pin cushion in use.
The past few days have seen my workroom busy with different sewing projects. The first to be completed was this pin cushion which I showed in my last post. This now houses my fine glass headed pins. So useful for my current project - the shirt which I shall show you later. 
Alternative layout 1
There have been a few developments with the quilt. I have been thinking again about the layout since I wasn't happy with the first one. So I played around with the pieces, shown below.

The collection of pieces

Until I tried turning the elements "on point". I think I prefer the second option, but will live with the idea for a few days before starting to cut up the black. I did toy with using the blue shown here as the background, but it all looked rather too bright. Definitely an assault on the eyes.
Alternative layout 2

So this is currently the preferred option. Will I change my mind yet again? Probably.

The completed pinafore dress
There was another completed project. I finished my pinafore dress, adding pockets into the side seams. Rather a comfy, warm dress. I shall try the design again as a long sleeved top using the 
dress shown to the right of the pattern. It should work well as a top. I rather fancy a warm brushed fabric.

The pinafore dress pattern.
I have already mentioned the project I am currently working on. This is the almost completed shirt I had cut out last week. The hem is pinned and ready to be sewn. Then the buttonholes. The fabric is a liberty-style cotton.

The red shirt
On Friday I went to visit some friends. We had been working on a Round Robin during the past few months and we finally got our own pieces back. This is mine. The background is a felted woollen woven fabric. The challenge now is to get our pieces completed for our next meeting in February.

Round Robin
I rather fancy turning this into a vase-like holder for some of my collection of large brushes. I haven't made anything like thatbefore, so it should prove rather interesting.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Is it possible to have too many projects on the go at once?

Freshly printed fabrics - own dyed cottons.
Spent a very pleasant couple of hours or so yesterday printing these fabrics. I started out just getting some ready to add to a quilt I am putting together. As usual, didn't know when to stop. These are mostly commercial thermofax prints. The floral design is a lovely wooden block which I bought from Art Van Go.
Quilt pieces placed before stitching starts
The photo above shows the quilt I am currently working on - most of the fabrics shown above are from Tracy Fox, The plain black, red and cream are from Ikea. The funny little "aliens" are my own dyed fabrics cut out and ready to be bondawebbed in place. The working title for this one is "African Crosses". The shapes come from a workshop I went to back in 2010 with Magie Relph. She had brought some gorgeous Tuareg and Ethiopean crosses for us to sketch. Such a delightful day spent in good company. I intend to use some of the engraved detail as inspiration for the quilting.

Did I say that there were a number of projects on the go at once? I have also cut out three dressmaking projects. The first will be this pinafore dress.

Vintage pattern from 1983

Pinafore dress waiting to be assembled
The other two projects use the same pattern - Hotpatterns HP 1052 Classix Nouveau Great White Shirt. I last made this design here. Sadly, the pattern now seems to be out of print.

Another Hotpatterns shirt - this time using some Liberty-type fabric.

Yet another Hotpatterns shirt - using up some chambray.
I use the three shirts I have already made such a lot. Such a very useful, classic, shape. You can see my first two attempts here and here.

A ribbon weaving sample waiting to be made up into a pin cushion.
This is one of those UFOs which should have been finished ages ago. I need an extra pincushion too! All I need to do is to stitch around where I have already marked and stuff it. So silly not to have finished it already.

My current knitting project - a waistcoat.
Lastly, I have made a start on the cabled waistcoat I mentioned last time. I'm not altogether sure I have enough yarn, so I'm hoping #I have enough. If not, I may have to redo the back without the cables. We shall see. I am enjoying knitting cables for a change.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Back knitting, and planning some sewing

My talk went down well last week. You can read a review of it here. They were all very kind and really enjoyed being able to handle all the quilts I had brought with me. It was good fun, even though I was really nervous to begin with.

Double knitting hat under way
Well, I have started knitting again. My hat will use up much of the yarn left over from my recently completed double knitting jumper.
Aran yarn purchased this morning
Going into Aldi this morning, I was rather tempted by these two aran yarns. I only bought one of each since I wanted to make waistcoats rather than jumpers. The trouble is, I really can't choose which one to start first and which colour to use for each design. Both patterns date from the 1970's and early 1980's. I first made the Wendy pattern around 1980 or so. I gave it away some years ago and have really missed having it around.
An old pattern from my collection
The second pattern was a lucky find in a charity shop. 

It is inside this rather lovely book:

A pattern book dating from 1979
There are some rather nice patterns which I will find myself making over the next couple of years.

I am also planning some dressmaking sessions since I really could do with some more skirts, pinafore dresses and culottes as well as shirts.

Dressmaking projects waiting to be cut out.
My only problem is that I could really do with getting some quilting done too, making books and ...... No, I won't bore you with the list. I really ought to get organised and just start.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Quilting, more quilting and a little knitting.

Newly completed round necked jumper
It is quite a shock to realise that, even though the last couple of weeks have been too busy for me even to attempt a post here, there is little textile-related to show for it.
I have finished the jumper I showed last time and it is every bit as cosy as I could have hoped. Just what I needed in my wardrobe. Unusually for me I haven't immediately started anything else.

Pauline's quilt before binding

Instead, I have been working on this. You may have seen the photo in the last post. As you can see there has been a lot of free machine quilting done since the last photo was taken. I marked the centre block out in a grid before starting the design - a mix of five flowers surrounded by leaves. Each of the triangles of the flying geese border contains a small flower and two leaves. I hasten to add that the marking out was done in soap rather than chalk. I find it washes out rather better than chalk especially on dark fabrics like this.

Completed quilt.
I was rather pleased with the way the binding turned out. For the first time I used a bias binding strip. Unusually, I have quite a lot of black fabric in my stash due to a rash fabric purchase in Ikea some time back. As a result the binding lay beautifully and I got the mitred corners just as I hoped. How rare is that? I also machined the binding in place rather than hand stitching the back. This was mainly due to the fact that this will be owned by a young child. It all work so well. I must try this type of binding again, ensuring I have enough fabric to get it done properly.

Next week, next Tuesday in fact, I am giving a talk at a local textile group. Their blog can been seen here. I'm getting a little nervous.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Knitting and sewing, but no crochet.

Grey wool skirt
It has been rather busy here.  In the past week I have finished two fully lined skirts using two vintage patterns in my collection. Both date from the 1980s.

Tweed pencil skirt
I was in need of some warmer skirts for the cooler weather. I also completed a v-neck jumper which I am wearing as I write this. Nice and cosy.

Simple 4ply v-neck jumper - stocking stitch

Simple double knitting round neck jumper
I then promptly started another jumper. This one is double knitting and so will knit up rather quicker than the previous jumper.

It was a rather strange day on Friday since I was asked to help out in completing a quilt. It had all been pieced and had been layered, but not quilted. I took the layers apart and washed the top and bottom before adding a further strip of black fabric all round the back layer. This had been a little too small for me to successfully quilt the whole thing. As you can see, I have pinned everything back together and am basting the layers before starting to quilt. Since the centre is a rather large area of red patterned fabric, I am toying with the idea of quilting flowers all over it rather than a simple grid. It would be rather more interesting to work on.

The quilt I have been asked to complete.
Pinning this all together made my remember a UFO which has been sitting around for rather a long time. It started out as a mystery quilt challenge from The Quilters' Guild here in the UK. I really can't remember how many years ago that was, but it was some time back. I had pieced a back for it, but couldn't successfully find any way of quilting it. I've since removed the back, and will use that for a cushion cover, with the extra fabric used as binding for this quilt.

I'm now backing it with a dragonfly patterned fleece fabric, so it should be a really cosy lap quilt once completed.

UFO being pinned to the fleece backing
I haven't though about how to quilt this, but will probably just follow the geometric pattern lines since it is really quite fussy.

Did I mention that Friday was a rather strange day? The much loved Peter Rabbit arrived, needing some serious TLC - ears and legs, and an arm needing to be sewn back and strengthened. I had offered to do this some time ago when asked by a neighbour. Since her grand daughter is currently staying and had helped deliver the rabbit to my door, he got mended very quickly and has now been returned.

A mended Peter Rabbit

Monday, October 05, 2015

A busy few weeks

Papers completed
The past few weeks since I last posted here have been extremely busy. The "Doghouse" is now ready for the next stage - the roof is complete and it now just needs the benching and flooring inside. This will have to wait for another spell of really good weather.

Last time you may have seen the photos of preparations for making papers for a book. I have completed a number of these pages now and just need to cut them to a suitable size. I'm looking forward to using them. Each of the dyed papers are backed onto brown paper using bondaweb. This workshop will not take place until November so I am rather ahead of myself with this. Yes, it does make a change......

I've been to a couple of workshops. The first of these was with Lesley King and we made prefelts. I have since spent the best part of a further couple of days making prefelts. I still have such a lot to learn about feltmaking.

Alice Fox workshop samples
The second workshop was with Alice Fox and here we made a variety of samples using stitch in an experimental way with found objects. I took along a range of slivers of wood recovered form the making of the Doghouse as well as nails which hadn't formed properly and other bits and pieces. This was a really interesting workshop and I bought Alice's book which she very kindly signed for me.

printing in progress
I also spent a couple of days printing - using my thermofaxes, gelliplate and also my wooden and lino print blocks. A lot of fun was had doing this and I have quite a few newly printed pieces ready to use.
Freshly printed fabrics drying

Monday, August 31, 2015

Not much sewing this week.....

Ella in the summerhouse
I've been rather busy helping with the construction of a summerhouse down at the bottom of the garden. Ella is acting as organiser ensuring her meals are on time.

Papers and dyecatchers for bookmaking
One of the textile groups I go to is having a session working on altered books in November. Since I really cannot bear the thought of damaging or working into a printed book I decided to make my own instead. I have brought out all my dyecatchers and dyed papers to see what I can do. Since there has been no time this week to start anything,  it has remained in a heap. I'm looking forward to seeing what shape of book I end up with. The papers were dyed since they were used to wipe excess dye from boxes I had been cleaning out after a dyeing session. They were far too interesting to be consigned to the bin.

The growing crochet cushion cover
The crochet cover continues to grow. It is surprising just how much work can continue on a portable project like this.
Rowan knitting patterns by Martin Storey
My elder daughter and her husband were up this weekend and a jumper was requested. I brought out my latest knitting magazines and books and the pattern chosen was "Hearth" from the Rowan "Pioneer" collection. Knitted in a Super Chunky yarn, it really shouldn't take too long to make. However, it is always dangerous for me to pick up the knitting needles again. I know I shall start planning other knitting projects........ This is such an interesting book with some very nice patterns.....

The chosen pattern
 Yes, I did get some stitching done, but only some handstitching. I took this piece along to another group and worked quite happily on it before going back to get some of the crocheted cushion hexagons completed.
Hand stitched sampler destined to become a cushion cover
Another of the groups I go to will be having a cushion tombola in 2016. I thought I would get a head start and use some of my samplers up, turning them into the tops for cushion covers. This first one doesn't feel finished yet, But this next one is almost ready.
A hand stitched sampler - another future cushion cover