Monday, June 26, 2017

Getting busy with my sewing machine and other things

My worktable - such a mess!
It was a surprisingly busy week last week despite some really high temperatures. It all ended with my table looking like this. A real mess. I spent some time getting it tidy again before being able to start anything else.
Pinfold crazy patchwork challenge
As you can see there has been some progress with the crazy patchwork, There is still quite a lot to do. I have collected a number of things which could be added - buttons, beads, lace and a broken zip included. Quite how much of this will be included remains to be seen.

What a mistake!
 I've been doing quite a lot of free machine embroidery. This first one was started after the green piece. I had decided to try and do a kind of all over pattern which wasn't related to the pattern made by the fabric pieces. Without thinking too much about it, I got out the stitch and tear and drew a grid pattern which I could use to develop the pattern I wanted to use. I should have torn off the stitch and tear after sewing the grid........ Instead, I got going on the stitching. Big mistake. I only realised just what I had done when I tried to remove the paper around the first few squares. It took a ridiculously long time, a pair of tweezers and very sore fingers. As a result I removed the paper from around the squares I hadn't yet stitched.
The same piece with the paper removed after stitching 
As you can see if you look closely, there is still plenty of bits of paper waiting to be removed. The following photo is of the first piece I had worked on. For this one I just free machined using the large squares and then infilling the rest. Lots of fun using a variegated thread. You might remember seeing these pieces a few weeks ago when I was making fabric from scraps used in making the packs for my talk coming up in November.
The green one will eventually be made up into a cushion cover. The smaller blue one will turn into a zipped project bag. There are two further pieces which need to be stitched. I have plans for what they might turn into, just haven't got started with them yet.
The green free machine embroidered piece
I still haven't finished work on the two tops which I showed last time. Perhaps next time?

Progress with the knitting
I did get some knitting done, but progress has been slow, probably due to the hot weather earlier this week. At least that is my excuse. I really do need to get on with this one since it needs to be finished by the 7th July.....

Monday, June 19, 2017

Being busy - where does the time go?

Back of the Bronze Oxide shawl

Front of the shawl
 Well, it has been another busy week. I finished the first of my current test knits -the shawl. It is really heavy and should be very cosy for the winter.

I also managed to finish putting together the packs for my talk and workshop later in the year. It may be months early, but at least I won't be getting everything put together at the last minute...... unless there are going to be many more than fifty coming along. I did make sixty, so I'm hoping that will be more than enough. You can see my preparations for this workshop and the packs here.

Starting the colourwork
yarn colours for new test knit
This is going to be an interesting knit. Another jumper for my grand daughter. This one has a design of wolves around the neckline. Called "Wolf in sheeps clothing", it is the first time I have worked with more than one colour at a time using the fairisle technique. There are lots of markers in place helping me to keep track of the design repeats. Not enough completed to be able to show you the design yet, I'm just hoping that the colours I have chosen will do this beautiful design justice. It has been designed by the same person who designed Colibri, which you can see here.

Crazy patchwork challenge
At Pinfold last week we were looking at crazy patchwork. I have barely started decorating mine as you can see. I'm hoping to fit a lot more embroidery in before you see this again. Buttons and things too.
Overlocker ready for action
 My overlocker is out again ready to help me finish the tops I am rebuilding. You can see the fabric for the two tops here. The front and back are now stitched together at the shoulders, waiting for me to get on with adding the cap sleeves and sorting out the binding for around the neck. Hopefully it will be ready to wear very soon now. I really could do with some more summery tops before the summer vanishes again......
Front view

Back view

Monday, June 12, 2017

Getting back to the sewing

Discharge printed fabric
Same piece overprinted

After finishing the last post I continued with more block printing. Great fun.
The discharged piece didn't come out very well. I have now disposed of the paste I was using since I think it really must have been too old. I shall try again one day. I overprinted the piece.

My worktable has now been cleared ready for sewing once more. I made the mistake of putting all the projects I intend working on over the top..... Needless to say the worktop is cluttered as you can see in the first photo.

From the left - a bag I need to sew together. It is the Stowe Bag from Grainline Studio. A project bag, this is a trial run for a gift. This will be made out of denim and sits on top of a collection of bits and pieces which need quilting.

The next pile along is a collection of my printed fabrics. I intend making small book covers out of these. There is a wide variety of fabrics in the mix here.

To the right of the printed fabric is a woolen skirt which is just waiting for some elastic to go around the waist. It is far too warm to wear this now, so it will be put away for the cold weather at the end of the year.

The next pile along is a bag pattern which came free with a magazine recently. I intend using this pattern with some of the fabric which I need to quilt first. Does this all begin to make some kind of sense?

The next pile along is the MEG colour challenge which still hasn't been started. I am still toying with one or two ideas, but haven't decided which to go for.

Above the bag pattern is a small pile of jersey fabric which is the first project I intend to complete. These are the two tops I mentioned last time. I just need to get my overlocker threaded with a more appropriate colour. It is currently holding red thread. Definitely not the right colour.

The last pile is this collection - The fabric is for the blouse. There are buttons to match. I really fancy making the waistcoat and trousers too. I haven't yet found the right fabric for the trousers. I've also got ideas on giving the waistcoat some sleeves and turning it into a jacket.

Oh yes, then there are the knitting projects. I won't bore you with those. There are currently just three.

Did I tell you I really would like to get some feltmaking done? I think that will just have to wait until some of these projects have been cleared off my table. Unless there is some more nice weather and I can start working outside.................... 

Perhaps that isn't such a good idea. I might not get any of these projects finished.

Enough prevaricating. I'd better get on with rethreading the overlocker. 

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Printing and knitting

My own blocks

My own blocks

Wooden print blocks

Wooden block prints
 Here are some of the pieces I have been printing over the past couple of days. I have also been experimenting with discharge printing, but photos will have to wait until after I have ironed and washed the pieces since I have no idea whether it will have worked. I did try the discharge paste with a piece of black fabric a few days ago, but nothing happened. Apparently this does happen with some fabrics even when they are cotton. I think it depends on the dye originally used. It probably doesn't help that I have had this paste for some little while...... For this second experiment I have used a piece of my own procian dyed fabric as well as a piece of painted fabric.

I really enjoy messing around with my collection of print blocks. I plan to have a further session this week using my gelliplate and screens. I'd like to have a go at using a resist. A friend showed some work she had done at a workshop using a resist. It has prompted me to have a go myself. I'd like to get some more printing done before I tidy up my workroom ready to get some sewing done.

Printboards ready for more printing.
My printboards are getting to look more interesting with all the work I have done over the past couple of days.

Experimental piece
 As you can see, my experimental piece of knitting is coming along nicely. I think this will probably end up being a cushion cover. Just four more of the small squares to knit and then knit onto the bigger section. I still have to decide what to do about a border.

Test knitting - Bronze Oxide
The shawl is coming along quite well. I am looking forward to seeing what the whole thing will look like. I did finish the little knitted skirt. It looks rather sweet. I added some little wooden flower buttons from my button collection. Yes, I have a large collection of buttons along with the fabric stash and the thread..........

Monday, May 29, 2017

Back again!

Completed Cocoon Coat


side view

collar detail
 Well. as you can see, I finally finished my cocoon coat. Just in time for the hot weather to appear! I shall put this away safely ready for the chill weather to arrive in the Autumn. It will be a really cosy jacket to wear. I was pleased with the way it all went together. The original design has the sleeves ending at the tartan. I like my sleeves to end at my wrist, so I added the extra section.

washed fabric pieces
 Yesterday I found two really interesting fabrics. Some really soft jersey fabric. They were part of garments in a charity shop which were really way too big for me. So I have cut the tops apart and washed them. I shall make these up into summery tops for myself in the next few days.

Button It Up Skirt
These next two knitting projects are test knits I have got myself involved with. The first will end up as a toddler's knitted skirt. The colour is a rather nice sage green. I seem to be using this colour a lot in the things I have been making over the past twelve months or so. The yarn is an acrylic aran.
Bronze Oxide
This second project is, or rather will be, a shawl. The colours are cream, light grey, pink and burgundy. 

Both are really interesting projects and I shall share the details of the designer when the patterns are published later in the year. They are part of a collection which is well worth waiting for.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

New project and challenges

Completed 5 inch squares project
Well, the first thing completed this week is this drum bin which I have been working on for quite a while. It has languished mostly because I couldn't work out how to attach the base or which way up the thing ought to be. It is part of the 5 inch square challenge from Pinfold which I started some time ago. As usual it has only been finished now because the deadline is tomorrow....... Always the last minute! You will find my other project for this challenge in this post.

The bin will probably be used in my workroom to house bits and pieces for whichever project is in hand. It will stop the elements disappearing in all directions just when I need them the most. The worst culprits seem to be the cotton reels which tend to roll off my table once the sewing machine is in full motion and get stuck under the set of drawers. It stands 8.5 inches tall (21.5cm). A useful size for the larger projects I have in mind.

Stowe bag
This is one project which I would like to complete sometime soon. I need to organise a present for the organiser of one of a music group I belong to. I intend to print some suitable fabric. However, before printing the fabric I need to try the pattern out. I bought a kit from Minerva Crafts to make a single version of this bag.
Colibri jumper now completed
Yes, this is the same photo as last time. I can report that the pattern is now available from Ravelry. My own version is now with my granddaughter.

Knitted patchwork blocks - version 1
Last week found me in the Lake District without a knitting project. Daft, but this doesn't happen very often. I'd taken along a few pattern ideas and a collection of 4ply yarn left over from previous projects. After discarding all the patterns I'd taken with me, I started messing around and this is the result. I'm still not entirely sure what I shall do with it. Blanket? Cushion cover?

Knitted patchwork blocks - version 2
The idea is also to make something without seams. The only stitching required for the Colibri jumper was to sew in the ends since it was knitted from the top down. Hence my own experiment. This is why you can see so many live stitches protected by stitch holders. I haven't decided whether the two pairs of squares which have already been joined should be turned into a square or become part of an edging of sorts to go round a centre which I haven't designed yet....... Still thinking about that.

Just recently I have joined "The Foldline". It is an interesting forum for anyone who sews. It seems set up mostly for anyone interested in making clothes. I am not sure whether the forum will have a place for someone like me who makes textile related stuff. I do make clothes too. Ah well, we shall see.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

More sewing, knitting and planning

Offcuts from the workshop packs
I'm still working on getting as many packs as I can prepared ready for the workshop in November. Yes, I am rather ahead of myself, but it takes rather a time to get all the fabric packs set up. There is a lot of ironing on bondaweb, cutting fabrics and so on. The collection above is my growing pile of scraps. All the bits that are just that little bit too small. All useful since they have been bondawebbed. Hence the growing collection of made fabrics where I am collecting the scraps together to make useable and useful pieces which could make something.
Green-yellow fabrics
Yellow - blue fabrics
The resulting fabrics are a little too stiff to use for much. project bags and bookcovers have been made before. Perhaps some cushion covers.  All of the three made so far need to be stitched to reinforce the surface. I think I will probably add some fusible wadding to add some texture when stitched.
Green - blue fabrics
 I must admit I really enjoy the stitching bit, although it does take rather a time to complete. Speaking of stitching. I finally completed the sketchbook cover which I mentioned last time. I chose a piece of fabric which I had painted, bonded to fusible wadding and then stitched,
Completed sketchbook cover
Almost completed Colibri jumper

 The Colibri jumper is now almost finished. I just have a few ends to sew in. Next, I shall need to find a young friend to wear it. One of the things to be completed after finishing a test knit is to complete a questionnaire to give the designer some feedback about the design and any errors before the design is finally published. It has been a really interesting process.
Almost complete Lanesplitter
 I've also been getting on with this skirt. It has languished in my project bag for a few weeks. I have never made a knitted skirt before, so it has been quite interesting making this one. The design is a free one from Knitty which you can find here.

The fabric pieces below belong to a challenge which I need to get on with. I still haven't decided what to make yet.