Monday, August 13, 2018

So many things to do


Well, it has been rather busy here since I last posted. My brown jumper is now complete, although it is still too warm to wear it just yet. At least it will be ready and waiting for me when the cold weather does arrive.


There has been a lot of work done knitting the scrappy cardigan. I have completed the left sleeve , both fronts and am now working my way across the right shoulder. This will be a really cosy cardigan once it is complete.


I found these three stamps going very cheaply in a local charity shop a few days ago. I don't usually do any paper crafts, but these will be interesting to work with. I'm going to experiment and see if they will print on my collection of dyecatchers since are very similar in texture to paper.


These three pieces were completed at a recent NWCQ workshop where we were making postcard sized landscapes using scraps of fabric. These have been free machine embroidered using variegated threads. I am not sure exactly what I will use these for just yet, but will not be sending them through the post since I feel they are rather too dull. I will probably add to these to make larger pieces.


Walking into Aldi a few days ago, I discovered a series of these packs. There are five different dyes contained in applicator bottles ready to be filled with water and used. I couldn't resist, picking up this pack. It contains yellow, lime green, leaf green, brown and black. An interesting combination of colours.


Yesterday, I prepared 3m of calico. After washing the calico I tied rubber bands around sections of the fabric pleated other areas using bulldog clips. I had a lot of fun applying the dyes. This morning the fabric was ready for the next stage - rinsing out the excess dye and then a gentle washing and a final rinse. The fabric is now drying on my indoor washing rack.


The colours may well have been rather more intense had I added less water to each bottle, but I am rather pleased with the results.

I worried myself the other day by listing all the projects I would like to complete in the next week or so. There were fifteen in all. One needs to be completed by Wednesday so I really must get on with that first. 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Sewing, book pages and knitting

Messing around with images ready to put together as book pages

It has been quite a busy week with quite a lot of sewing done. The first two book pages have been completed for the Pinfold Book Challenge. 

These first two pages were for the "Feathers" themed book. I went back to the Crows for inspiration for this one. "Birds of a feather flock together". The Crow Fair took place recently and so the idea stuck.




I used my own rust dyed fabric on top of a piece of rough calico. The grey pieces are painted bondaweb. The pages have been free machine quilted to add texture. The figures of the birds and the dancers have been free machine embroidered.

I have now started work on the second pair of pages. These are for the "Leaves" themed book. I'll take photos to show next time once the stitching is finished.

Work did start on the third book pages too, but I wasn't happy with them and so a rethink is in progress.




I decided to start work with my collection of 4ply yarns. They are all either Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply or Rowan Soft 4ply. Since the yarns are so similar, they work together very well and it is not possible to see where one make of yarn starts and the other type ends. Sadly, both yarns are now discontinued, so I am picking up extra Debbie Bliss skeins while I still can. I know the collection I have will only go so far since this is going to be a cardigan. I am adapting the old Phildar pattern you can see above. This was for double knitting yarn. I made the original cardigan back in the 1980s and wore it out long ago. The stripes on this new version will be narrower since I don't have a large amount of any of the colours. Chatting to the owner of our local yarn shop, I was able to pick up the last two skeins of cream and have a look at her collection of odd skeins which are also for sale, but not on display. I plan to save some of the cream so that the second cuff will be the same colour as the first. I will sort out the button bands, collar and ribbing for the waistline once I know which colours will be left.


 The brown jumper is still an ongoing project. I am working my way up through the decreases on the raglan at the front. Unfortunately, the colourful 4ply project is far more interesting to work on......

Sitting on my work table are the recently cut out pieces for my second pair of cargo pants. I intend to get on with these later today, but have the "Leaves" pages to finish first.


Monday, July 16, 2018

Not much to report this time



My Lilka test knit has been completed. Such a delightful beanie style hat to wear. It is slightly slouchy which means it is comfortable around the ears and will be perfect for walking the dogs when the weather gets chilly once more. I am still steadily working on my brown double knit jumper, but progress is slow since it has been too warm to knit recently. I am also planning a long sleeved cardigan using up my collection of 4ply Merino yarns (Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply and Rowan 4ply Soft). These have been left over from various projects over the past few years, although I picked up the collection of Rowan yarns from a feltmaking group where there was a really interesting sales table. I really am drawn to sales tables at craft group meetings. You never know exactly what might be discarded by a fellow crafter. I'm planning a striped jumper knit from one cuff and ending up with the opposite cuff. More information later once I have got started.

Not a lot of sewing has been done since my last post. The trousers have now been completed and I am planning to get on with cutting out a second pair this week. This will probably have to wait until Wednesday when I can get to the Moulton Sewing Group and use a couple of their larger tables.

At present my mind is full of plans for the three Pinfold challenge books I intend to make before the next meeting. Their themes are: Round and Round; Leaves and Feathers. I really ought to use the time until I can get to cut out my next pair of trousers to get started on these pages rather than leave it all to the last minute as I usually do.

The past few days found me replacing the wings on a pair of old style Crow costumes. These will become spares ready for the Crow Fair in 2019. You can see the shapes of the wings in this post a couple of weeks back when I was making up two new costumes.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Ongoing projects - plenty of sewing and even a little knitting

Back pocket
Well, I had a bit of a disaster after my last post. I was well on my way to completing my cargo pants - see pattern photo below - when I ran out of thread!!! Well, that shouldn't have been too much of a problem had it not been for the fact that I was doing rather a lot of top stitching and even a slight change of thread colour would have been obvious. None of the local suppliers had this colour in stock - Gutermann 208.


Well, I had a long think about things and placed an order with Minerva. I had bought the fabric and thread from them some time ago to make a rather different pair of trousers. I bought some extra thread for the blue pair of cargo pants I intend to make next. Whilst waiting for the order to arrive, I set about making up the blue floral fabric I showed here. Making a second Elani tunic. I forgot to take photos of this once I'd made it and so now, of course, it is in the wash. Such a useful top.

I also made this blouse:


This really loose fitting blouse comes from this vintage Butterick pattern - 6301. If you recall, I made a toile after grading the pattern to fit me. It might not be the most flattering of styles, but is so comfy to wear in the hot weather we are having at the moment. I started cutting this out and sewing it together at a new sewing group which has started up in the village where I live. It was so useful to have access to a large flat table whilst chatting away to like minded new and familiar faces.


My order arrived on Thursday bringing with it some fabrics which I had ordered for the Marci and Katherine Tilton Craftsy course "The Artful T-Shirt". I can't wait to get started on this one. The fabrics are all medium weight jerseys.


Yes, there are four different fabrics here. All are based on a navy and ivory colourway. The pattern we will be using is the one shown below.


View D is the design we will be tackling for the course. I have just watched all the classes for the first time, but know that I will have to view the first three again at least once before cutting into a toile let alone the fabric shown above. I'm hoping the experience will make me brave enough to tackle a Marci Tilton jacket which has been in my possession for quite a few years now.


I really fancy making the long sleeved version on the left.


I also stitched one of the pieces made at one of the NWCQ meetings earlier this year. It needs a bit more work to make the whole thing more stable, but this is a start. I just need to get the second piece to this same stage before venturing further.


I'm also working on another test knit. This time for Maria Socha. An adult version of this lacy beanie. The colour I have chosen is a deep jade.

Northwich, Cheshire, my local town, is in the middle of an Arts Festival which will last all month. Last month we had an interesting Literary Festival. Part of the events is this Art Trail. It is well worth a walk around the shops seeing all the different pieces of work.


On Saturday it was Northwich Art Shop's Grand Day Out. This was a very interesting event with plenty to see, interesting demonstrations too. I hope it is repeated next year.


Such a range of techniques - from needle felt to acrylics, woven pieces to woodturning. It was so good to see three textile artists involved too. The hall was full of visitors when I came along. It was lovely to see a group of children having a wonderful time using alcohol inks.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Projects in the pipeline - part two

altering the pattern pieces

The cargo pants are now well under way. The first photo shows the pattern pieces which I was altering after completing the second toile. My first pair of these trousers is being made in a brown twill photos of which will be posted next time once they are complete. 

The fabric below is some bought the other day for my second pair of cargo pants. This fabric looks very similar to come bought a couple of months ago. I felt that that cobalt twill was a little too heavy for the trousers and so found this cotton linen-look which is rather lighter.

Linen look cotton


drawing round the wing pattern

I've recently completed an extra pair of crow costumes for the team ready for the Crow Fair which is to be held on the 14th July this year.
Recently, I went to a Suzette Smart workshop. She was demonstrating her method of making fabric books. This is my piece under way. It still isn't quite finished.

Showing the stitching under way
We were at the Two Doors Studio in Alsager. A really nice workspace above the shop. The workshop was organised by Alsager Creative Stitchers. It was a delightful day in a well lit space with good company, a good tutor and some lovely cakes too. What more could I ask for? Bliss.


My piece is 34 inches long and 9 inches high. I don't intend turning this into a book, but I haven't decided just how to mount this yet.

Add caption
I recently started another handstitched piece in similar colours to the first one. This will also turn into a background for something or other. There is still rather a lot of stitching to be done before this one is ready for the next stage.


I bought this recently for an experiment I plan to make. I shall let you know how I get on. I had an interesting chat to the woman in the shop where I bought this. She had also bought some but hadn't yet used it. I also promised her that I would report back. I look forward to finding some time to have a go with this.


My latest vintage pattern finds. This first one, Simplicity 7048 is dated 1975. I intend to make versions one and two. The only issue being that I will have to grade the design to reflect my true size. Perhaps a bit ambitious, but I plan to give it a go.  It will be interesting to see how I get on with those darts. There are similar darts on the back too.......


This second pattern, Style 1756 is nearer to my size, but will also need some grading. However since this design is not fitted, it should be an easier task than the Simplicity design. I rather like version 3 and 5. The pattern dates from 1976.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Projects in the pipeline - part one



You will have seen my tissue fit of the Roslyn tunic dress in my last post here. Since that time I have made a toile of the tunic length. I used an old sheet which had ripped. It was just the right weight of fabric.

I think the toile looks good. The body fits well, but I will need to work on the shoulders since there really isn't any room for movement in that area. Luckily, I have a date with a friend coming up next month who will be able to help with these fitting problems. We are both working on the Craftsy course, "Sew the perfect fit" by Lynda Maynard. So will be working together on the toiles required for that series of lessons. Luckily, one of these sessions addresses just the issues I am having with the shoulders on the Roslyn.




I did get the Elani tunic finished and have worn this a lot in the recent hot weather. It is so comfortable and the side seam pockets are wonderful. As you can see, I didn't do the turn up sleeve endings on this version. I felt the fabric was really just too busy.



These are the fabrics destined for the Roslyn and the second Elani. The plain blue is for the Roslyn dress whilst the floral pattern will be for the Elani.


The Penny Rug bin is now complete and is being used to store my dressmaking pattern tissue rolls. So useful to have these close to hand rather than stashed away in my wardrobe. The bin has been fully lined with acrylic felt and has pelmet vilene inside the sides and base to keep it rigid.


One more project on my list which also got finished is the next page for the Pinfold Book Challenge. This theme was "Flowers".


The pages comprise printed samples using wooden block prints and thermofax prints onto my own dyed fabrics.


This last photo shows the thermofax print which I designed and had made up some time ago. For this one I added the petal colour and the dark centre to each flower using dye pens.

Finally, I got the second toile for the cargo pants finished and found myself ready to alter that dressmaking pattern. More on that next time.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Some sewing, with plenty of projects in the pipeline


Aggie is displaying the pattern pieces for the Style Arc Roslyn Tunic Dress. I've decided to make the longer version of this design since I am already planning to make two tunics.


This is the collection of fabrics ready to be cut out and sewn. Close to the top of the pile is the patterned grey crepe de chine for the HP 1107 tunic. This is a pattern from Hot Patterns, just like the cargo pants I been working on recently. On the top is my interfacing



The next two photos show pages from my dressmaking journal. I am currently working on a second toile for the Utility Cargo pants. My version of the Waterfall jacket is currently in the naughty pile while I plan what to do with it next. It came out rather larger than intended. At least a solution is doable, but with warm weather coming up it seems daft to spend time on a cold weather item. It will wait until I have more time.... or perhaps I should say some time to spare.


These two projects are further down the pile. The blue boat pattern will be used for the Elani tunic. The fabric was a lucky find in a bin of end of rolls. A quilting cotton, it should be fun to wear. The red flower fabric started life as a pinafore dress I wore some years ago. I remember making this in the late 1980s when my daughters were small. I made a couple of sun dresses from the same fabric for the girls. A simple design with big useful pockets for their treasures. When my waistline grew too much for any possible alteration I cut up the maxi length dress. Along with a red fabric hidden underneath, this will make my first attempt at the Roslyn tunic dress which is rather longer than the line drawing shown above.


There is progress with the "penny rug" piece. Slow progress, but that third "flower" is nearly stitched in place.


As I have already mentioned, the second toile is well under way for the cargo pants. I am hoping that this might be wearable and plan to dye the fabric a shade of grey. I wasn't confident enough in my pattern alterations to go straight for the cobalt blue fabric I showed last week.

As you might have guessed there is little time for sewing at the moment since there is still a lot of work to be done outside. The end is in sight, but will take some time yet. I feel so much more myself since being able to get back to my sewing machine. It definitely keeps me sane.