Monday, December 11, 2017

Finishing projects - or trying to.

Cushion cover - reverse to show the construction
It has been another busy week here. Not a lot to show for it, since some items cannot be shown since they are gifts to be given on Wednesday. However, a lot of work has been put into this cushion cover. 

It all started some months ago as a challenge to myself and then got left as other projects took over. You can see my original post about this project here. I find it quite a shock to realise that this has been under way for some seven months now. Hopefully it will not take too much longer, although I do plan to knit a back. The back is going to be striped rather than anything else so that I can use up the remains of the yarn left over.

Cushion cover - the front under way
As you will have noticed there still rather a lot of ends to be sewn in, as well as patches for those holes between the sections.

Needlecase under construction
One of the projects completed is this needlecase. I can't yet show the completed item since this will be handed over on Wednesday. There are also some handmade cards. Like an idiot, I forgot to take photos of these before sealing up the handmade envelopes. Never mind, I shall take my camera with me to the Pinfold meeting. There will be a collection of handmade needlecases which will be handed out randomly as well as cards. It will be interesting to see what others have made.

Adding piping
Another completed project is the "Trees" page for the Pinfold book challenge. This will be shown to the owner before being handed over to the next person to complete their page. I will come home with another book and will have another page to complete before our January meeting. I must be mad, but I do enjoy these challenges.

Almost completed Pinfold book challenge - Trees
Another challenge project is now under way. This is for NWCQ. I mentioned the project at the end of this post about a month ago. Nothing is sewn at the moment with pins holding all my bits and pieces together. It is nice to be able to get under way with this one.
NWCQ challenge under way

Monday, December 04, 2017

Messing around with felt and stencils on paper

Quilting the bag sides
This week I finished the bag I showed last week. You will recognise the photo above from my last post. I handed the bag over on Wednesday. It was part of a Christmas present from the Recorder Consort to Kathryn who leads us admirably.

The pattern is an adaptation of the Stowe bag by Grainline Studio. I first made the pattern here. I have fully lined the bag and added a single zipped pocket instead of the collection of small pockets of the original.

Finished bag
 Now you can understand why the music fabric was important. Kathryn was delighted with her bag and her other presents too. These included some fruit cordials which she supplies us with during the break during rehearsals and a gorgeous music decorated set of notelets.
Zipped pocket inside the bag
 I've also been playing with nuno felt using the techniques taught by Vivienne Morpeth. It remains to be seen just how successful I have been.
Starting to add the fleece round the silk pieces
 As you can see I have used the same colours I used for the felted top I made during the workshop with Vivienne. I have added some scraps of sari felt from my stash.
The back of the nuno felt before work starts

The finished nuno piece - front
 The nuno felt is still wet at this stage and the colour may well lighten by the time it is fully dry.

Nuno piece showing the back
 The squares are caused by the pieces of felt added beneath the sari silk. I decided to see whether using squares would work.
Messing around with stencils into my sketchbook
 After a lengthy session making two pieces of felt - the second piece I can't yet show you since it will become part of my pages for the Pinfold Challenge. The theme this time is "Trees", hence the following experiments.
Stencil onto paper using fabric paints

Trial run using an acrylic spray

Kitchen paper used to clean the stencils
I had a lot of fun messing around with a couple of my stencils. I really like the patterns left on the kitchen papers used in clearing up. I can see these being added to my sketchbook when they are dry.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Knitting and stitching show

Fabric purchases 
I spent a wonderful long weekend at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate last weekend. I went along with my two sisters. The fabrics above are a mixture of silk (the light coloured plain fabrics) and quilting cottons for a project I really must complete after I finish writing this piece.
vintage lace pieces and broken bracelet - charity shop finds
We visited my favourite charity shop which sells craft bits and pieces. It was here that I found one of my two pieces of silk in the photo shown above. Then I was lucky enough to find two rather interesting pieces of vintage lace and some gorgeous bits from a broken bracelet.
Show purchases
A vintage pattern, water soluble fabric, and other bits and pieces from the show. The single ball of wool is actually one of ten which I got in a large bag from the Black Sheep stand. I haven't yet decided on the pattern to be used for this yarn. It feels wonderful and is a mix of 20% alpaca with acrylic.
Collection of Wonderfil embroidery threads
I added to my stash of Wonderfil threads whilst at the show. The Aurifil stand was selling bags of 50 threads for an amazing £30. I just had to bring a bag home with me. The collection of colours has really helped to develop the range I have ready to use.
Sewing a quilted bag
I have started a new project which I really must get finished quickly since it is a present I must hand over tomorrow evening. It is a quilted bag. I shall post photos and explain more about it next time.

Monday, November 20, 2017

A busy week

This collection of photos shows my collection of quilts, books and journal quilts before I gave my talk on Saturday.

Quilt and smaller journal quilts.

Fabric books, newspaper article about the Moulton Crows showing their costumes this summer.

My bags of quilts waiting their turn to be shown and handed round. There are four rather full bags here.

This is the small collection of samples ready for the workshop during the afternoon. I was far to busy to take photos, unfortunately. Everyone was quiet and busily working away weaving fabric pieces I had prepared for them. They were such a lovely group to work with.

I did manage to get some knitting done too. The buttonside jumper, first shown here now has one completed sleeve with the second nearing completion. Hopefully I will manage to get that done this evening.

There was some sewing started, but since it is a gift for a friend I really cannot post that here just yet. I had hoped to get it finished during the week, but that proved impossible. I couldn't get started on the black and white challenge for NWCQ either. Perhaps next week?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Nuno felt, sewing and knitting

Completed Malia top

It has been a rather busy couple of weeks. The Malia top eventually got finished as did a skirt which still has yet to be photographed. The skirt is still waiting to be ironed before it will be in a fit state to take photos. The top is an interesting one with a gather of fabric under the bust dart. I still haven't worn this since it was rather too cold when I finished it. The skirt will be warm enough to wear out until the weather gets too chill. It is the Dolores skirt from the summer edition of La Maison Victor. I have made it from a blue floral print fabric.

Completed Mercy cardigan
Detail of sleeve cap - Mercy cardigan
The Mercy cardigan has been finished and worn a few times. It is really cosy and just what I need for this time of year. The pattern is quite fitted, but leaves plenty of opportunities for wearing thin tops underneath.
Materials ready for dyeing

Dye bath filled with 6 metres of silk chiffon.
6 metres of silk chiffon drying on the line
I felt really brave some days ago when I dyed the silk chiffon required for the workshop with Vivienne Morpeth. It was a really simple process using the procian dyes and carefully following the instructions from Colourcraft
The workshop took place on Friday and Saturday 3rd and 4th November. It was really intensive. This is my nuno top under way. You can see the silk pieces laid out over the barrier fabric being used as a resist. My silk pieces are the plain coloured red. Vivenne very kindly provided the acid dyed silk with the variegated shading. The disks are made from prefelted pieces cut to shape. They are purely to add texture.

The text stating "Barrier" is printed on the resist material and does not come off during felting. I used scarlet, grey and ruby red superfine merino wool to make the felt itself. It is lovely to work with. I had not realised that there was more than one grade of merino available. I still have such a lot to learn. I learnt an enormous amount about felting during the workshop, not just from talking and listening to Vivienne, but also from the others taking part in the course all of whom were much more experienced felters. They were really supportive and helpful.
These photos show my completed top. Yes, it does fit! I need to make a suitable blouse to go underneath it. This one is the toile I made for the cheesecloth blouse. I used around 3 metres of my dyed silk chiffon to make this top. The remaining fabric is destined to make the blouse. I fancy one with a frilly neckline based on this same blouse design. I just have to get around to making it. Or, rather more accurately, finding time to make it.
 At the NWCQ meeting on Thursday we were challenged to used map elements to make a quilt ready for the CQ Annual Meeting being held in Manchester in March. Another project? Well yes......

The photo on the left shows an A4 sized sheet which was given to me as my inspiration at the meeting. We had had a couple of group exercises which produced a very large sheet incorporating sketches from everyone taking part. This sheet was then cut up into A4 pieces with everyone being handed a piece sight unseen. The completed quilt is to be in black and white and to have a small piece of a colour. I was wondering about yellow......The right hand photo sees some elements of work in progress on this. I was considering using this work as the basis of the "In Print" challenge quilt for Contemporary Quilt.
Further work will have to wait until I have finished a bag needed later this week as part of a group gift. The bag is nearing completion, but I really ought to make a second one so that the organiser has a choice.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Knitting and sewing

Mercy cardigan by Drops Design
There has been quite a lot of knitting since my last post here. I have been working on this cardigan. So far I have finished the body, worked from the neck down on circular needles with some waist shaping which is rather fascinating. The first sleeve is now under way and I have started the decreasing - this is also started from the top down. I do like unusual construction methods like this. With the different lace designs it really does make for an interesting knit.

It is just as well that I have been getting on with this project since I have been asked to knit a couple of jumpers. One is for my daughter and the other for my granddaughter. Funnily enough, both were found in the same magazine that contains the Mercy cardigan shown above. The Knitter Magazine, issue 115.

I had a lovely time going into my local knitting shop this afternoon to source the yarns needed. The owner is really helpful and found the best solutions very quickly for me. Just as well, since one of the colours I needed to find was yellow. Apparently there isn't much yellow yarn around at the moment.

Tiger by Martin Storey
The first is a delightful jumper by one of my favourite knit designers, Martin Storey. The main colour will be olive green with a daffodil yellow tiger. The back is plain with the tiger motif appearing on the front. The yarn is Stylecraft Life DK, a lovely soft acrylic/wool mix which I used many times before. A practical yarn for a young child.

Buttonside sweater by Jennifer Dassau
This is the jumper which my daughter wants me to knit for her. She wanted charcoal. You will have noticed that the same yarn has appeared yet again - the Stylecraft Life DK. It has such a very useful range of colours to choose from. The charcoal has a lovely marl in the yarn which will make for rather nice textural interest. Reading the pattern, this seems to have a rather interesting construction. It is lucky that I have a few good lamps to choose from since knitting at night with such a dark colour will not be easy with the winter months coming up rather quickly.

The other day, I treated myself to the next issue of The Knitter (116), but I have a feeling it will be some time before I get to knit any of the projects in that edition. There are three more projects I would really like to knit in issue 115 - a pair of socks, shawl and a rather nice short sleeved lace top. Ah well, I can always admire the photos and dream about the colours I would choose.

Yes, I did get started with some sewing this week, but this had to be abandoned when visitors arrived, coming to stay for a few days. So, a few craft free days were enjoyed. It is so nice to be with family, especially when they live some distance away.

I have some plans to get some dyeing done this week as soon as my dye stuff and the fabric arrive. I need to prepare these for a nuno felt workshop which is coming up in ten days time. It is the "Seamless Nuno Felt sleeveless top" workshop with Vivienne Morpeth. A two day workshop. I keep checking the equipment list to make sure that I have got everything ready. I am rather excited and not a little nervous....

Keep calm and ....... sew.......knit. I have a feeling this week will be full of both, as well as some gardening projects which really ought to be started. However, the weather will decide which projects get done. The dyeing too. But that will have to wait until the postman appears with the parcels.

Monday, October 16, 2017

"Along the riverbank"

"Along the riverbank"
The last couple of weeks or so have been devoted to getting this piece finished, named and entered for the Region 13 Exhibition at Quiltfest in Llangollen in February next year. I won't hear until the end of November whether it has been accepted.

It has taken me some time to get the piece put together, let alone stitched since I really didn't know what to do with the Colour Challenge fabrics from the MEG group. If you remember, they were taupe, ecru and cobalt. The fabrics can be seen in the pieced background. The design was based on photos taken along the banks of the Weaver Navigation near to where I live. Since my dogs accompany me on these walks, they had to have a place in the finished quilt. Sasha and Ella can be seen in the bottom left hand corner. The completed size is 17.25 inches across and 25.75 inches deep. Yes, it is a strange size, but that is just the way it turned out.

To keep me sane, I have also been knitting a cardigan. It must be aid that I haven't been making that good a job of it since I had to rip back eight inches from the body a few days back and have only just got myself back to that same point. I'd made a stupid mistake and completely misread the pattern.

I am now planning to get some dressmaking done before working on the next page for the Pinfold challenge. The theme for this one is "Architecture". There is an idea buzzing around my head, but I just can't see how to make it yet.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Working to meet deadlines, but not always succeeding

Completed Owlish adult size fingerless mittens
The first of my completed challenges - this one was two days overdue. These were finished today when they should have been completed on Saturday. Ooops. I have apologised to the designer. I had got it stuck in my head that they were supposed to be ready for this coming Friday.

One lesson learned - remember to write the deadlines down, adding them to my to do list.

Teddies for tragedies - completed
I have also finished four teddies and their bags ready to be handed over for the Teddies for Tragedies charity. My copy of the pattern has been taken by my younger daughter who fancies making some of these herself.

Free machine embroidery in progress

This next deadline is another one which I fear I am destined not to meet. The MEG Colour Challenge is due to be shown at our next meeting this coming Friday. (I wonder if that is why I was convinced the mittens had to be completed on the same day.)

MEG Colour challenge in progress
It has all become rather more complex than I originally intended. The free machined piece is hidden on the bottom right hand corner. It took me three days to complete. The tree to the left is only pinned in place and needs to be ironed on and then free machine embroidered to add texture. Those three rings are embroidery hoops holding pieces which have yet to be embroidered. There is a further, larger element on the bottom left which also needs work to start. It will have to wait until the tree is in place. Unfortunately, my two larger embroidery hoops already have pieces waiting. I really could do with extra hands and a more realistic attitude to what can be achieved in the time available.  Actually, no. I really don't believe that last statement. I think I'm better just making whatever it is I want to make, even if it does sometimes end up taking longer than it should.

These next two photos show the goodies I bought at the World Textile Day event in Frodsham on Saturday. The fabrics are destined for a bag (or even two) which I have in mind. The buttons were so nice I really couldn't leave without them. The wooden print blocks too. That sheep image will have pride of place in my Pinfold book once that challenge is complete.

The musical polar fleece was found in Abakhan last week when I went to Sew Cool, the sewing group which meets twice a month in Chester. It is a lovely group, very supportive, which caters for my interest in dressmaking. I couldn't decide which pattern to use. I really think that the shape of the Cotton and Chalk design - The Waterfall Jacket with a hood, would be an interesting design to make. It is lined, and I do have some interlock cotton which would be suitable if I have enough of it.

Unfortunately, I really don't think I have enough time left in my life for a knitting group. Though sharing my passion for yarn would be nice.....

My next knitted project will be a cardigan. This yarn, an acrylic, was found in Aldi and should make a really cosy garment. I haven't quite decided on the design yet. Though, that said, I really like "Mercy" by Drops Design.

I'd better get back to the sewing machine.