Monday, November 22, 2010

Textile pages and sewing.

I was delighted to hear that latest page for The Traveling Pages group had finally arrived. Above you can see the Lion and the Mouse under way. I am stitching through water soluble fabric here. Such useful stuff. It tears off easily as well as dissolving well. So handy when I wasn't sure how fragile the layers were going to be.
For the differing layers, I used netting, loose woven white cotton and a densely woven fabric I found in my stash. All embellished with FME. (Free Machine Embroidery.) The figures were copied from photographs found on the internet. Sadly, I didn't find one with a lion next to a mouse........ I wonder why...
This is the finished page. The background is painted using colours from a wonderful photograph I found on the internet showing an african sunset. It also had the silhouette of an acacia tree which I used for the back of the page. For this I used sheer brown voile attached using FME.
I sent it off with a simple retelling of this delightful story. The original fable was written by Aesop and is one of my favourites.
As you can see, Gayle's theme was "All creatures great and small".
Oh, I've been busy with mum's quilt. This was the pieces all placed on top of the fleece I shall be using for the backing. Since this time I have been busily piecing the backing for the smaller pieces. I have been having a lot of fun with curved piecing. I'd never tried doing that before. Sorry about the lack of photos - there just has not been enough decent daylight for a good enough photograph.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Knitting in Whitby.

The view from the cottage windows. We could see right across the harbour. A lovely spot.

Can you see the white painted building at the foot of a larger two story house? It has a strange black symbol painted to the right of the front windows. That is Kipper Cottage. It is the bottom floor of a larger building, but is also a completely separate dwelling. The white shape to the left is also part of the cottage - the front bedroom window. Approached down a slope seen to the right of the painted shape, it is a comfy and cosy place to stay. Beautifully set out, it was a delight to be able to stay there for the weekend. Close to everything, we had a wonderful time exploring.

I just loved this delightful building tucked away in one of the streets leading off from the harbour.

There was even a small replica of the Endeavour, one of the ships taken by Captain Cook on his travels. I couldn't resist the reflection of the rigging.

Here you can see the older part of Whitby with the Abbey perched on top of the promontory. The ruins can be seen behind the church. There is a very steep set of steps up to the Abbey and the surrounding buildings. A fascinating place to visit.

All in all, a rather special weekend.

Just before we left we stumbled upon the Charity Market being held in Northwich. I found these lovely books dating from around 1946.

This is the contents list from the Home Needlecraft book. It has really good illustrations showing how to convert older clothing into new......... Fascinating how ideas come round again.

The knitting? Well, I got a lot of knitting done on Simon's jumper. I am making him a second jumper this Christmas. This one is in charcoal. So nice to sit cosily perched on a comfy settee (sofa) after a day spent exploring.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Ongoing projects.

This is the start of a quilt for my mum. The first blocks have all been placed together on top of the fleece I shall be using as the backing. As I mentioned last time, I shall be adding some extra pieces to heighten the colour a little. It all seems a little flat to my taste at present.

I am about to cast on another knitting project. This time it is a second v-necked jumper for Simon. I made him one for last Christmas. This time, the sweater will be charcoal in colour. The yarn will be this lovely shade which the lovely owner of Crafty Stitches (my local yarn shop) got in for me. I'm using the instructions from this rather battered book. It has been much used over the years, having been printed in 1977 - the year I got married. (The 20th edition of this particular publication.)

I am also working on a pair of gloves with fingers. The pattern is "Knotty", by Julia Mueller. I've managed to finish the right glove, and have reached the halfway stage of the cable pattern on the back of the left glove. I'd never knitted gloves before this pair. Luckily, it is an easy pattern to follow. I love the long cuffs.

I did manage to finish one project in the past few days. It was this pair of socks. They were made following the Through the Loops Mystery Sock 2010 clues. Designed by Kirsten Kapur they were a really interesting project to knit. I'm looking forward to the next Mystery Sock.

I received one page from the Traveling Pages this week, and heard that another of my pages had arrived at long last.

The first to arrive was this one, my Shabby Chic page for Debi. You can learn more about this page here.

The next page to arrive was Juliette's November page for me. She has dyed some really interesting fabrics. More details are here. Juliette's Blog can be found here.

One more interesting detail for you. I went to a concert in a rather fascinating building and I only wish I could have taken some photos. However, it was far too dark. I was with the Condate, the choir I sing with in a concert with the Barnton Silver Band. The building we were in is "The Monastery". Do visit the website to see a little of this extraordinary place.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sewing Adventures

Well, I have finally started mum's quilt. This is the first block. It shows the mix of squares. As a working title, I have called this "Square Dance". After a lot of playing around with blocks, I came up with this:

As you can probably see, I put a series of blocks into the mix in a slightly different colourway. Yes its a much plainer quilt than I had planned. The reason being that mum will be using this quilt to cover her favourite leather chair, a recliner. It seemed pointless to make a more complex quilt which she might not want to use for sitting on.........

The backing will be a light brown fleece fabric which has been in my stash for some time waiting for me to complete mum's quilt.

I plan to make a wall hanging using all the ideas I had put together for Terpsichorean - my first plans for this quilt.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Knitting, sewing, and some more pages.

Things have been rather busy here, hence the lack of posts recently. This knitting yarn was one I fell for when I went to the Northern Quilt Show in Harrogate in September. So I bought it. It is beautifully cosy and I am knitting a pair of long cuffed gloves with it. My first pair of gloves.

The pattern is a lovely one by Julia Mueller (Laris) which you can find on Ravelry. It is called "Knotty". I have nearly finished the right glove, but need to complete the thumb.

Apart from starting these gloves, I have been taking part in Mystery Socks 2010. This is run every year by Kirsten Kapur of Through the Loops. It is good fun too. I started the gloves whilst waiting for clue number 4. Sorry, I can't show you the work in progress photos, but this is the yarn I am using.

I just love the colour. Its a gorgeous rich purple called "Grape".

Well, I went off to Quilt group on the 7th October, fully intending to get on with adding to this quilt top. I'd been busily making additional squares like the one in the centre, planning to add these to the corners with other simpler sections between. Well, disaster struck. I had completely forgotten to take the fabric I needed to make more of the squares. I had enough for some, but not enough for everything I wanted to do. (The completed block is six inches across, so isn't very big.)
So, rooting through the fabric I had brought with me, I found some I liked and started making some log cabin blocks.

This is one of the blocks I finished. Yes, that is a ruler measuring in inches - not, I hasten to add in centimetres.

These are the ones I have completed to date. It has been fun, but I really ought to be getting on with a quilt for my mum.
I have finally decided how to go about it. I shall make her a quilt made from very simple squares in differing sizes. This is to be quilted onto fleece. Then I shall make her a wall quilt using the ideas I have been collecting for some time. I had wanted to make her a really interesting quilt, but since this is to be used to cover a chair, it wouldn't really be practical. Not with the designs I had had in mind............
While mulling over how to make mum's quilt, I have been busy making two more Traveling Pages. I sent one off today, but can only show you a teaser...........

The theme is "All creatures great and small". This was my page for October. The photograph shows some FME onto some fabric which, in turn is hidden under some water-soluble fabric. This is why you can see a muddle of stitching and pen lines waiting to be stitched.

The photo above is also a bit of a teaser. I posted this a couple of weeks ago, but it hasn't arrived yet. The theme here was "Shabby Chic Vintage". This page was late and should have been sent in September.

Posted a week earlier, this page has arrived. You can see more about it here. This page was extremely late and should have been sent in August!
The theme was "Doors", so I started off by painting some fabric and having a lot of fun with dictionaries and a thesaurus to find different words meaning the same as "door". I chose my favourites and wrote them all over the painted fabric using a fabric dye pen.

This was lots of fun.

I then made a door in the front of the page and added this little lock I found in a bead shop.
This is the reverse of that little door.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Recent "work" - sewn items.

This is a the lovely apron I received as part of the swap I mentioned in my last post. Thanks Cinnamon23! I was taking part in a swap organised by one of the groups on My Sewing Circle.

This is the pattern I used. I slightly amended the design, adding fabric covered buttons as a detail on the pockets. Interfacing was also added to the waistband to make it just a little stiffer. I did that only because the fabric I was using - some poly-cotton I had dyed some years ago - needed a little stiffening to balance the cotton fabric used for the rest of the apron.

Sent along with the apron was one of these little needle cushions.

The needle cushions have a little metal tag on the bottom to hold them on top of a thread spool. The pattern found in the book below, has a paper clip as the tag. However, the paperclips I have here at home were far too wide to be used. The metal tags I did use had been found as part of the packaging of a shirt my husband had bought........... Did I tell you that I don't find it easy to throw anything away? Well, nothing I think I can reuse in some way........................

You can see the buttons I covered in the same photo.

This is the book I used. It is written in Japanese, but the instructions are so beautifully clear and shown as illustrations it was easy to work out what to do. There are some beautiful gift items in this book. The ISBN is: 4-89396-943-9

I made two blouses using this pattern. It has been in my pattern collection for some time.........

The first blouse is a viscose mix with a soft cotton handle.

The second, a jacquard woven silk which has been languishing in my fabric stash since around 1990!

Then I finally got my skirt finished. It is fully lined. The lining was a lucky find a couple of years ago. I can't usually get such a nice lining fabric and hadn't seen such lovely viscose lining fabric in rather too many years......

This photo shows the lining pinned to the inside of the zip.

Then, I managed to get this jacket completed. I added a lining using the last of the fabric I used to line the skirt.

Now, I have nearly finished the Traveling Pages for August. I am rather behindhand as you can see. Sadly I cannot show you the work done on that page until it has been received by Liz. What I can tell you is that so far it has involved some machine stitching, calligraphy and fabric paint. There is some beading still to be done.............

Saturday, September 25, 2010

An Autumn walk with food for free.

I've been really busy since the last post here - making an apron for a swap on My Sewing Circle. (I am there as "Mandy", so do come and visit.) I was also working on completing two blouses, starting a jacket which is almost finished, and working on one of my UFOs. I am also behind hand with my Travelling Pages. The August and September pages are not ready yet, and I really should get some work started for the October page.
Then, Norma's band robin arrived in the post.

Isn't it lovely? You will find out more about the Stitching Sisters and the work completed to date on this piece here. It was scary to realise that this project started in 2007! I have a two inch deep piece of stitching to complete and then it can be sent out to the next person in the sequence.
So, I went out for a walk this morning. The sun was bright and the wind was chilly, so I wrapped up warm. Here are some of the things I saw:

I love the patterns made by the tractors as they plough the fields ready for the next crop.

There has been a lot of rain lately, so there are still puddles at the edges of fields.

This lovely stone was at the side of Kings Lock. There has been a lot of renovation work here over the past few months rebuilding one of the locks after a landslip. I wonder if this beautifully carved piece was found during the work.

This fungus was growing by the side of the path.

The sunlight was very strong coming through the trees, making the most beautiful shadows.

The leaves were just starting to turn colour.

Along the pathway there were some puddles. I loved the reflections in this one.

These lovely flowers are sometimes called Policeman's Helmet. Anyone liveing outside of the UK will have to forgive me here, because our police have helmets which have the bulbous shape on the top. These flowers are so pretty and like damp conditions.

I came home with a bag full of beautiful leaves which I plan to use as inspiration for my work on Norma's band.

The colours were wonderful and I couldn't believe my luck in finding a rather fragile holly leaf skeleton.

The colours of the conkers and leaves are so beautiful at this time of year in England. We are just moving into Autumn now with the chilly mornings.
I couldn't resist collecting some blackberries too. They grow wild in the hedgerows here and it is easy to pick plenty away from any danger of contamination from crop spraying or pollution from cars.
I shall still wash these before using them. These will be used for an apple and blackberry crumble.
You will need:
2oz sugar
2oz margarine or butter
4-6oz flour (I use plain flour which doesn't have any raising agents added to it. Wholemeal is even better if you have it).
Rub these ingredients together to get a breadcrumb consistency. Add some dried coriander to the mix, if liked. (About half a teaspoon). Leave to one side. This is the crumble mixture.
Cut up baking apples and place in a deep baking dish, add any blackberries and a small amount of water (about 2 fluid ounces). Add a small amount of sugar if wished, before pouring the crumble mixture over the top. I tend not to add any sugar at all to the fruit, but you may prefer a sweeter dessert.
Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes. 190 degrees C. (Gas Mark 5, 375 degrees F), the temperatures could be a little cooler for fan ovens. The top should be gently browned and the fruit will be starting to bubble up into the crumble mixture. Serve hot with custard or cream.
(Note, I tend to make this without measuring anything, but with the approximate amounts listed above. The bigger the container and the more fruit I have, the more crumble mixture I make. Please experiment with the spices too. I love the aroma of coriander, but nutmeg is a rather special alternative, and so is cinnamon.)
Hope you like it.