Sunday, July 30, 2017

Plodding on with those lists

Toyota overlocker, SL1T
This little overlocker came into my possession a few days ago. It had been on Freegle and wanted a new home. A quick clean, new needles, a little oil and it works perfectly. I wasn't expecting a new-to-me machine, but my husband had seen it and got it for me. I threw out the cones of thread it came with, using my own instead. It isn't often that such an item is offered free to a new home. It isn't as versatile as my own Huskylock 910, but is a good basic machine. The sticky labels with the numbers were just to help me sort out the threading and tensions needed to get it working properly. It now sits under a new machine cover made from the remnants of a curtain. This should keep it nice and dust free before it comes into action again. It was rather useful in repairing some costumes yesterday. I didn't want to disturb the settings on my Huskylock since I needed it for putting together the butterfly top I was also working on. I rethreaded the Toyota with black thread for the repairs. I was really pleased with the resulting stitching.

Toyota overlocker at rest under it's new cover.

It is almost embarrassing to acknowledge that I now have two overlockers and two sewing machines living in my sewing room at present.

Repaired costumes
The costumes are three Crow costumes which got damaged at the Crow Fair a couple of weeks back. They now have new wings ready for performances next summer.

The butterfly top is shown below just before the strip round the neck was sewn in place. It is now ready to wear, though I am not entirely happy with the neckline. The edging seems a little too loose to me so I will probably remove it and redo that a little later today. I have finally decided how to piece the front of the purple top and will probably get that sewn together later today.

Butterfly top nearing completion
The purple top will have a round neck, pieced front and three quarter length sleeves. It shouldn't take long to put together once I've decided whether to alter the neck on the butterfly top. Ah well, at least I will soon have two more items ticked off my to do list.

Fabric pieces ready to reassemble to make the purple top.
I was really lucky to find some vintage patterns from Prima magazine in a charity shop last week. So strange to recall that they date from the time when I frequently bought the magazine. I left one of the patterns behind for someone else since I already have that particular pattern in my collection.

A lucky find in a charity shop
The jacket pattern dates from the August 1988 issue, while the dress is dated April 1992. The zipped jacket comes from January 1993.

 The scrap fabric piece has also been completed. In the end I used three different threads to quilt it getting a darker thread each time I changed the colour. It now needs pressing before making into a messenger bag.
Completed scrap fabric piece
I have also been steadily working on the test knit which was shown in the last post. I am now nearing the bottom edge of the body where there is a patterned border around the base. The sleeves look a little odd since the live stitches are being held on my spare circular needles.

I am looking forward to finishing the stocking stitch and getting on with the lace border. This yarn has a slight marl to it so that the completed knitting doesn't look flat and uninteresting. The only failing being that it does have a tendency to split which is a bit of a nuisance at times. It is the Stylecraft Life 4ply yarn which is a useful acrylic and wool mix. This is the colourway called Heather.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Sewing, knitting and lists

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing jumper - showing work in progress sewing in ends
Do you use lists? I seem to be pursued by them. I have a weekly list which details the things I really ought to be working on. This test knit was one. I needed to get it finished for the 17th July since the designer needed my report by then. I managed to complete it a few days ago, earlier than planned since there was going to be rather a lot of ends to sew in. You can see some at the top. These alone took three days since I really cannot stand having to complete more than around 30 at a time. 

Completed jumper
The other deadline on the jumper was getting it ready for handing over at a family gathering on Saturday. It has been much admired, but the recipient hasn't yet worn it. It was far too warm a day.

Next Free Machined project
The main reason to have a weekly list is because I really do tend to prevaricate and could easily run over time on some of the deadlines which are coming up. The FME projects I have been stitching lately don't really need to be completed until the middle of November. However, if they don't get started now I really don't see that the stitching will be completed and the resulting pieces made into anything by then. I completed the blue one shown last time, and have now started the yellow/blue one above. For this one I have added a water soluble fabric over the top with a grid drawn over it to keep the overall design to a reasonable size. I got started with this at a sewing group meeting during the week in Chester. I must remember to find a trolley to hold my sewing machine. It is so heavy to carry anywhere.
Making books
 Another deadline was getting these small book covers completed ready for a NWCQ session on Thursday. In the end I added another three complete books and added stitched pages into the five shown above. They were needed as a fundraiser for the Contemporary Quilt stand at Festival of Quilts. It was nice to be able to hand over eight completed books at the end of the meeting. These are all scraps of my printing experiments bondawebbed to corrugated card which had protected some knitting needles I had ordered online. The pages inside were scrap paper - envelopes for the most part. It is nice to be able to use up items which would otherwise become waste.

New test knit project
This new test knit will be a jumper for me. Knitted from the top down it has a lace yoke which you can see more clearly in the photo underneath. Another deadline, but this one doesn't need to be completed until the middle of September. I still can't afford to let it sit since the yarn is 4ply! It is a much bigger project than the children's jumpers I have been knitting so far.

Showing detail of the lace yoke
I managed to get the deadline muddled on the next piece - the Pinfold Challenge. The Crazy Patchwork piece should have been completed for the August meeting. Most people seem to be making larger quilts making more than one block. One was enough for me. The easel is a miniature one since the quilt is only 6.25 inches across (16cm) and 6.5 inches high (16.5cm).

Completed Crazy Patchwork challenge
I managed to complete the Stowe bag which has been hanging around my workroom for what seems like ages. The bias binding edge was some lovely printed bias I bought a long time ago and never got around to using. Such a useful bag it has now been given to my daughter. It is made in a rather nice denim - a mid weight fabric, not too heavy.

Completed bag
Speaking of bags, I came across this printout in my collection of patterns a few days ago. My circular needles had been getting into rather a mess since I had had to put my fixed needles into another folder which was already full. I used the left over pieces of denim for the main body of the bag and found a pretty blue print for the contrast sections and bias binding. I must remember to take a photo of the finished folder. It is already helping me to make my knitting needles somewhat tidier. Hopefully it will make finding the right size easier too.

New holder for my fixed circular needles
During the week I had a small delivery from Thermofax Screens. Two mini screens of a robin and a bee. I used them to decorate these two shopping bags ready to hold gifts for the family gathering on Saturday. I sprayed the bags first using the acrylic sprays I bought from Lidl some months ago. The motifs were printed using black screen printing ink. Yes, I did remember to put plastic sheet inside the bags as I sprayed and printed them.

Present carrier bags
Earlier this week I travelled to Blakemere for lunch and a wander around. I picked up these items - a vintage pattern from 1976 for my collection, and two large wooden printing blocks. Sadly these haven't photographed very well. I must print with them and show their designs that way.

Lucky find - pattern from 1976

Two new-to-me print blocks
Speaking of lists, I have already written the list for this coming week. So far there are just eleven items listed. This does feel rather too short a list since I started with twenty last time. At the NWCQ meeting I ended up chatting about lists to a friend sitting on the same table. She tends to prioritise hers. I hadn't the heart to own up to having most of the elements on my last list as priorities which had to completed during that week. In the end, I managed to complete nine of them - the ones needed for the family gathering and a couple of other items needed by other people. I'm hoping I might complete the ones I need for myself this week. However, there are some repairs to costumes which must be completed first. Wish me luck.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Making progress - but slowly

Found this beautifully marked feather in the garden this week. I just had to rescue it. It looks to have come from the partial albino Blackbird which visits the garden from time to time.

Free machine embroidery under way.
Front view
 The free machine quilting has continued this week with the third of my four pieces now under way. This one is bigger than the previous two being 16" wide by 19" long (40.5cm by 48cm). A useful size, I haven't quite decided what to use it for.

At the moment it looks rather distorted since I haven't added all the stitching yet, as you can see in this photo of the reverse side.
Current back view

The knitting is continuing. I have almost finished the body and am now on the ribbing at the bottom edge.

 The colours make more sense when you see Ella's colouring. I chose her as the inspiration for the colours I used.
Crazy patchwork challenge
My crazy patchwork piece now just needs the edges tidying up and a border added. The cat buttons have been in my collection for rather a long time so it was nice to be able them here.

Sketchbook challenge - MEG
 I have also been adding bits and pieces to my Ideas Book. This was started as a challenge for the MEG group. I really need to get back into feltmaking again, so I added a series of sheep cartoons. I have samples of wool from each of these breeds ready to felt. Since I hadn't got much idea what these breeds looked like, I decided to find out and develop cartoons to help me recognise them. There are many more breeds of sheep than are shown here. This is a project where I still have rather a lot to do, even before I get started with the felting.