Saturday, January 30, 2010

Being Appreciated.

I was truly astonished to receive a Sunshine Award from Toni recently. Apparently, the award is "for bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspires others in the blogging world."

Well, since I write this Blog mainly for my own amusement and to keep track of all the projects I have completed, I was astounded to feel that I might inspire someone else. If I do, then I am humbly grateful that you like my work and wish to try some ideas for yourself.

Now Toni is an amazing person who talks about her experiments through her Blogs. She spent the last year avoiding processed foods and sharing a lot of information about food additives as a result. This made for a fascinating series of Blog posts on her "A little off the beaten track" Blog. Her second Blog, "A little yarn on the side", details her interest in knitting. I met Toni some while back through her Yahoo group, EZ Fans. We are also both members of the excellent forum known as Ravelry.

Well, here are the rules of the award:

*Put the logo on my blog or within a post
*Pass the award onto 12 bloggers;
*Link the nominees within your post;
*Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog;
*Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award!

Now to choose twelve. This is not easy since there are a number of bloggers whose Blogs inspire me. However, here they are. I have not placed any of these wonderful people in any set order in my list:

Karen, of the Selvedge Blog.

This is an amazing Blog which taught me to use every single scrap of fabric. I am currently saving all my selvedge pieces to make up into something one day and am having such a lot of fun fantasising about what exactly that might be. Thanks Karen for showing me just how much can be done with even these narrow strips of fabric.

Roberta, of Simply Ninepatch.

This amazing lady galvanised so many of her fellow quilters into sending quilts for the youngest victims of the major earthquake in Abruzzo, Italy in 2009. It was such a privilege to have been a part of the project - Mille Colores per Abruzzo.

Jenny, of Jenny's Australian Needleart Journey.

Now Jenny is one of the members of Stitching Sisters. Her work is always a delight to see and so varied too. It has been wonderful to get to know her a little through the Round Robin we have both been working on.

RobinM of Yarncrawl.

Robin is one of those interesting people who always blogs about the clothes she is sewing and knitting. A frequent reviewer of sewing patterns, it is always interesting to see what she has to say about the different patterns she uses.

This Blog post is getting longer by the minute as I write, so I shall break now and add more in my next few posts.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

UFOs and stitching fun.

This is one of my many UFOs. A rather floppy cotton shopping bag. The shape is a useful one, but I hate the way this one falls down. Hence the need for a lining.

This is the lining that I put together for the shopping bag. It in turn has been lined with some heavy duty interfacing.

This is a photo of some of the pockets I have added to the inside of the lining. The flower tag was a lucky find in Hobbycraft some months back. It is designed to replace the tag on a zip. I have merely added it to the end of the tag rather than removing it. This makes it a little longer and more useful to me.

There are two pockets here. The larger one is the same width as the bag itself. There is a small pocket which can just be seen to the left of the large pocket.

The two flaps will soon have poppers to fasten them against the pocket edge to keep this large pocket into the side of the bag. The two buttons are to decorate the flaps.

The last photo shows the lining pinned into the bag.

Some time ago I prepared some new lino blocks for fabric printing. I posted about that here:

The resulting prints are below:

The top one is my favourite. The print was made by doing it all wrong, pressing the fabric into the block inside on pressing the block down on the fabric. I rather like the resulting haziness of the printing.
The next UFO is a small box. All hand-stitched, it is made using Japanese folded patchwork squares. I shall be finishing off the lid with a beaded tag. The hinge has been made using bugle beads.

And last of all, the needle case. It is now full of needles and that tin has been emptied of all except my longest upholstery needles. These are threaded through a scrap piece of aida, so they cannot fall far when the tin drops on the floor once more. Knowing my own clumsiness this will happen again.

The first page of my own set, "The Sea" has been completed by Trillion. You can see a teaser here:

I shall post the page here on my Blog once it arrives. I am really looking forward to seeing what it looks like.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Keeping Warm.

My experts in the field of keeping warm were not willing to comment, so I left them cuddling up to their quilts. Needless to say neither Coco (top), or Felix have been very impressed by the weather outside this week. Visits to the outside world have been very brief and they have demanded cuddles to get warm again once back inside!

This is the view from my bedroom window.

As I write this, Felix is snoring on the chair I use for working on my sewing machine. Coco is snuggly asleep on my bed.

The next photos show things I am, or shall be working on in the next few weeks. The first is a part-made quilt top which I started some time ago. It started out as an autumn quilt, but didn't continue beyond this size (20 inches square). I rather fancy making this up as a large lap quilt with a fleece backing.

The next fabrics are those I shall be using for a quilt for my mum. She asked for a quilt to cover her leather chair. This will have a fleece backing and will be around 72 inches square when finished.

The floral fabric at the bottom of the photograph is the upholstery fabric covering the main chairs in mum's livingroom. This is my next big quilt project.

The next item which really just needs to be assembled is the lining for this cotton fabric shopping bag. The bag does not have a lining and is rather floppy. I shall be using some heavy-duty interfacing between the lining and the bag to make the bag stand up. This will make it more useful to me when I take it shopping.

I have been busily working on finishing this little project over the past couple of days. This is a little needle case kit which I was given by some friends when I left my teaching post in the summer. I shall use it to house my collection of needles. These are in a tin which does not close properly at the moment. I was prompted into starting this when my needle tin fell onto the workroom floor............ You can imagine the resulting mess. The tin is quite a large one. It used to hold my sketching pencils.

This is the second of two hats I have made this week. This one is double sided, so I can wear it in a number of different ways. The design is "Very Warm Hat" by Elizabeth Zimmermann from her book "Knitting Around." It certainly is cosy and warm to wear.

The green yarn was already in my stash, left over from a lovely thick aran jacket I knitted some years ago and still often wear. I bought the cream aran weight yarn as a contrast.

My latest knitted project is the delightful sock design Widdershins by Brooke Chenoweth Creel.
I have been using the bamboo yarn, Happy by Wendy in the colourway Pisces.

This is the gentle cabled design on the top of the foot.

The bottom of the foot looks like this. I just love this self-striping yarn. It is so pretty.
The design knits up really quickly too. I started the first of these socks yesterday evening and its already just over four inches in length. Perhaps I shall be able to finish them both before the weather improves.

Friday, January 01, 2010

The Green Quilt.

Happy New Year everyone.

Well, the Green Quilt has been completed and has been handed over to it's new owners.

I am very relieved to report that it was very well received. They really like it.
The photos of the full quilt were taken by my husband who found it really surprising just how difficult it is to photograph a quilt..... I did warn him.............
My photos of Simon and Liz with their new quilt give a truer idea of the colours.
Just to explain the story behind the quilt. Liz had asked me for a "Green Quilt". The four of us, my husband Ian was there too, had been enjoying a rather nice lunch at a small cafe in Macclesfield. That was back in mid September.
My imagination went into overdrive since the word "Green" has many different meanings. I decided to use a variety of these in the quilt rather than just provide a green-coloured quilt.
Using applique and as many different green fabrics as there were in my stash, I set off. There was no great plan, just a series of ideas linked to the theme of "Green". I decided not to post about it here since I wanted the project to remain secret for as long as possible.
Neither Simon nor Liz knew more about the quilt other than it was "being worked on"............ So it was a complete surprise when they unrolled it for the first time.
A double-sided quilt, the back is made up of different fat quarters I had collected over the years. It has been constructed as a quilt-as-you-go with each of the blocks being quilted before being assembled and linked together using narrow strips of green fabric. I did buy quite a lot of fabric to complete the quilt, but since most of this was for the flowery mock sashing and the thin strips used for the linking pieces, I felt this was appropriate even though I had planned to use only stashed fabrics. (Adding yet another meaning to the "Green" of the quilt's title.)
Each block is very simply quilted to keep the quilt puffy and cosy. The flowery sashing has been quilted using free-machine-embroidery using linked images of leaves and flowers.
Hope you like it too.