Sunday, March 30, 2008


Well, I've been having a great time this week. Its the Easter Holiday here.

On Tuesday, I ended up going to the seaside with my husband. A rather blustery day, but we went for a walk along the promenade. We took this photograph of the ferry, Riverdance which went aground some months ago just off Blackpool's north beach. The local paper also has this fascinating article on local shipwrecks on this stretch of water.

The knitting on Liz's Dickinson Sweater has kept on growing. I ended up ripping it back around four inches the day before yesterday, but have managed nearly to get back to where I had previously got to. Getting the cables round the wrong way! I did the same thing with the back too. So I've just got to the point on the front where I shall be starting to decrease for the armholes and also for the v-neck in another ten rows time.

I finished the red Japanese Folded Patchwork hanging too. It is now dangling from a red stick stuck into my notice board. The stick, with its ribbon, came from the same miniature rosebush my husband bought me for Valentines Day.

My poor sewing machine will have to go in for a service this next week since I just cannot get the stitch tensioning to work. I have been so careful to follow the manual, just in cse I have forgotten to do something. I just have this uncomfortable feeling that the stitch tension has got jammed somehow.

Well, the fact that my dear old friend is no longer working properly, has made me take out my Overlocker (Serger). I bought this three years ago. Although I have used it for three or four projects, I have never really felt completely confident using it. So now, I shall just have to get on with learning how to make things with it.

I have already started making a project bag. In one of my Serging technique books - yes, I did collect two once I bought the machine - I found a rather interesting idea. This was to make fabric using narrow strips of fabric with the cut edges bound by the Overlocker. In the book, it was supposed to be the pocket of a jacket. I thought the front and back panels of a bag would be of more use to me.

I had loads of fun cutting long strips of fabric from my stash.

The working title of this project is "Pyjama Bag". Simply because most of the fabric comes from a pair of pyjamas which used to belong to my husband until he wore out the jacket button band (for the third time - there just was no more fabric I could use to reinforce the damaged area).

I have an idea to quilt the sides to make them more sturdy, though this will be done by hand unless the repair to my sewing machine takes much less than the last time the repairers took it in hand. (They had it for three weeks!)

Here are the handles I plan to use. The plait is made from some more of the pyjama material. I shall need to make another plait. These, when cut, will act as the holders linking the handles to the main body of the bag.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Storage solutions, sewing and knitting.

I saw my elder daughter Liz a couple of days ago and was able to hand her the first of the two sweaters she asked me to knit. It was duly worn, admired, and when she left, a few short hours later, she was still wearing it. Now, what more can a loving mum hope for? To knit something for someone and for it to be appreciated............

I'm working steadily on the second sweater. This is the Dickinson Pullover by Kathy Zimmerman from the Fall 2007 edition of Interweave Knits. This is such a nice design to knit, that I find it rather compulsive knitting. Just as well, since I've had to rip it back a few inches or so. I made such a silly error in placing the cables, then compounded it by making a different error when I sarted that section again. It got ripped back around four inches the first time, but only around a couple of rows or so the remaining times. Never mind, the back is now completed, though I have not cast off the stitches. I've placed these on a stitch holder.

Here you see the ever helpful Aggie modelling the back. On the shoulder of my tailor's dummy, you can also see the work completed so far for the front.

I decided to add to my storage containers again this week. I went into "The Works", which is a very cheap stationers/booksellers/artist's supplies shop. I bought a couple of their large paintbrush holders. I bought two some months ago as an experiment - wanting to find some way of keeping my knitting needles neat and tidy. I needed two more to contain my many circular needles. The nice thing about these holders is that they can stand upright when you fold them, useful when doing a series of tension (gauge) swatches.

As you can see, the folders look really neat and tidy on the shelves above my desk. The next thing I must do is sew on some labels. The folders are all fabric covered.

Whilst in "The Works", I also found a really cheap book about Japan. It is beautifully illustrated. Especially useful since I shall be returning to the annual "Arts Week" in school after the Easter break. My topic this year is "Japan". The children will find the photos in this book really helpful.

One other item I have been working on is the Japanese folded hanging which I started some time ago.

The photos show the completed bottom half. This now has a purchased tassel as well as beading and some tiny bells. The red heart came from the miniature rose my husband bought me for Valentines Day.
I am intending the hanging to be hollow, though I might change my mind when it comes closer to completion. This shows the inside.

Recently, I got the next part of the Band Robin in the post. This gorgeous piece now hangs on my board ready for me to start work. Did you see the deilghtful little card sitting on my shelf beside the hanging? The card arrived with the Band Robin. The stitched design is printed on the reverse......

I am looking forward to getting on with this one. For further information about this project, please visit the Stitching Sisters Blog.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Knitting and not enough sewing.

Well, I completed my aran jumper during the week. Its really quite heavy, but very warm to wear. It will be perfect for a Springtime walk. Cosy.

Then I started the second of the two jumpers for my daughter Liz. This is the "Dickinson Pullover" from the Fall edition of Interweave Knits. I'm using an acrylic yarn since this will be the most practical for Liz to wash.

Its knitting up nicely and I am really enjoying the cabled design. The colour is a lovely warm shade of cream. The lower photo is nearest to the actual shade.

I may not have manaaged to get any sewing done, but I really enjoyed getting more of my fabric stash stowed away into my sewing room. This particular collection is that of the heavier fabrics - upholstery, corduroy and canvas as well as some suiting.

It might sound silly, but it so nice to have it where I can actually see and feel it. I might even start to use some of it in different projects. I had forgotten just how much furnishing weight fabric I had collected.
Perfect for making bags..............
Now, that's a thought. I could really do with a small rucksack to take with me when I get my bike out................
Did I tell you that I had bought myself a new cycle helmet?
I'm going to have fun.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Fibre heaven.

Well, its been quite a time over the last week or so. I have been merrily knitting, but sadly have got no further with my little red box.

I have just finished the first of the jumpers - the Placed Cable sweater.

The second one, the aran jumper has had a little bit of a setback - I found when I started sewing it together, that the second sleeve had the cables reversed on the sleeve edging. Ah well, the sleeve has now been ripped back to the start of the shaping. It should not take too long to rebuild.

I went into Aldi the other day and found rather interesting furry yarn. I shall not be knitting the boa scarf pattern that came with the wool. However, those interesting needles got me thinking.

They would make really good bag handles. They are a little short, but it would be such fun to make a bag with knitting needle handles. I did see a rather gorgeous knitted bag some time ago using knitting needles in this way.
The yarn would make a really interesting textural detail on a bag too.....

Yesterday I replaced the cover on my ironing board. I found myself unable to throw out the old ones. (I had put my last cover over the previous one to give it a bit of thickness.)

So, I cut off the damaged fabric, stripped off the foam backing and gave both pieces a good wash. These will probably become the linings to my knitting needle bags.

Going to a local Quilting group, I was delighted to find that a bag of fabric scraps was to be shared out. The plain fabrics above and the Liberty fabrics below were the pieces I chose. Most of these are quite small, but all quite useable.

I shall enjoy putting a scrap Liberty quilt together.
All in all a fibre-enthusiasts idea of heaven. Thank you to the wonderful person (anonymous) who donated the fabric to the group. Please be assured the fabric all went to delighted and eager hands.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Big List of Sewing Blogs.

My Blog is now listed in the Big List of Sewing Blogs. Go and have a look at this amazing collection of wonderful Blogs.

You will find the icon for this group in the side panel. Alternatively, use this link:

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Mothers Day.

Here in England it has been Mother's Day today. It has been so nice to see both my daughters together this weekend - a rather rare event these days.

My elder daughter gave me this delightful little cat by Jenny Winstanley. Its eyes seem to follow me in such a friendly way. I am keeping it in my workroom. I'm not sure what Felix and Coco will make of it when they finally see it. My younger daughter gave me a lovely box of chocolates. I shall enjoy indulging myself with those later.

This book was a lucky find in a Charity shop yesterday. The illustrations are gorgeous, full of inspiration. Such a variety of pattern. The following photographs show two pages chosen completely at random.

I do so love richly illustrated books like this. Tiles give such a wealth of repeated patterns. I can see myself using these as the basis for an applique design.

Last time, I showed the start of this little box. It is basically Japanese Folded patchwork, but the "centre" has been added on top instead of inside the main fabric. I've added stitching and buttons to each side and to the top. The top itself is attached to the main body of the box by a hinge made of tubular beads stitched through to create the join.

It was fun to make with very little stitching needed to hold the whole thing together. Not sure what I shall use it for, but it looks pretty on a shelf for now.

I have been continuing with the knitting. Both the sweaters are now close to completion. The aran sweater is just needing the neck to be started. Shown here are the sleeves. I have not followed the pattern with these, preferring to make them match the front and back. (The original design had sleeves with the narrow cable running up the centre of the sleeve surrounded by double moss stitch.)

Liz's jumper is coming along well too. It now has around half of the second sleeve yet to be completed. Then I will only have the cowl neck to complete. The design is the Placed Cable Aran by Cathy Payson from the Fall 2007 edition of Interweave Knits.