Sunday, 26 February 2012

A telling off

My daughter called me on Saturday to enquire "why is there nothing in your etsy shop?".
I had been feeling quite pleased that I was keeping up with making prototypes for classes, finishing a few ufos and keeping on top of the european washing and ironing mountain. But my daughter had noticed my etsy shop was empty.
Sigh.
Best get making and photographing and listing then.
She'll be checking up on me, just to ensure that, now she's not around to keep me on my toes, I'm not spending all my time languishing on the sofa with chocolates and Mills and Boon.
To keep you entertained while I run round like a lunatic doing stuff ( I'm not sitting here with a relaxing cuppa writing this by the way, I'm running around making things, the cats are writing the blog for me) here are two absolutely delicious Swedish stamps that feature knitting.


How cool are they? VERY.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Silk Panels

I've been sewing crazy this week as we have two Open Days at Lady Sew and Sew and I'm doing a 'show and tell' on Sunday, so I need to have some new things finished to make it different from the last one I did! So I've been hand quilting on the Swedish Garden Quilt and designing and making new things. New things for new classes...silk panels, can be used as the centre for a cushion cover, a panel on a bag, a decorative mat...put several designs together to make a table runner or a wall hanging. Two done, four more to go.



I've been outlining the designs with machine stitching, which works well with the silk, but I have to say I do prefer to handstitch, felt really quite worn out after the concentration required to go around all the swirls and wiggles!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Crazy days





Very busy here...once it calms down I'll be back....

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Love is in the air






Outside my window more than 20 Red Kites are swirling and dancing through the air, gathering and eyeing each other up. Dive bombing, almost crashing, swinging and swaying, dipping and diving. Every year this spectacle happens at about this time, always in the afternoon. The huge birds appear from all directions, spend an hour or so doing their finest aerial acrobatics, then gradually fly away again, often in pairs. It is no exaggeration to describe the air above my garden as black with birds, as so many, each with a 6ft wingspan, flying at roof level, block out a lot of light. St Valentine's day is traditionally the Birds' Wedding Day, so the Kites are spot on with their timing this year.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Four little words

That seem so innocent.
Pin.

Three.

Layers.

Together.

A day later we are ready to quilt.
I find the pinning layers together bit the hardest part of the quilt making process to get right. A new hip means I can't get down to the floor to lay out large quilts any more, even if I had the patience to make them, so I only make quilts that I can lay out on my largest table top, but even these smaller quilts challenge me to the limit. I am never happy with the result, I have a dream of a perfect, smooth, tautly pinned quilt. Possibly I am deluding myself and there is no such beast achievable on a kitchen table top, but that is what I'm aiming for.
Now for the quilting...if it is -10 again this evening, my knees will be toasty warm under my pinned three layers.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

When a project goes well...

It is very exciting when something goes well right from the start, though I always have a nagging panic at the back of my mind that sometime soon it will all go horribly wrong, especially if I rush things, as I tend to do when eager.
But so far, so good.


Today I've gone back to The Swedish Garden quilt - makes a nice change from all those Autumn Leaves, I really didn't want to make a start on another one just yet.



I've put together the central section of squares, edgings and the appliqe embroidered 'flowerbed'.
Some of the squares are nine-patch, some have applique hearts.



I think I'd best go for a walk now, while we are snow free and the sun is almost shining, to clear my head before starting on the small square blocks for the edging. Don't want to rush it and make mistakes!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Brrrrrrrrrrrr....

I'm glad I'm not a plant on days like this.



Lovely sunshine yesterday so I went for a walk into town. I was looking in the Charity Shops for wooden knitting needles to customise- no luck there- but I did get these beauties for a bargain price. Embroidery frames. Embroidery frames in three different sizes....joy. I have a really big one, but some little lap-sized ones...already thinking what I can do with them.


Then some sewing, panel number 3 for the Leaf Quilt. This version made with what I think of as 'Greengrocer" fabrics- fabrics with pictures on them or a theme, these being Autumn themed. Outlined the leaves on this one with machine embroidery, not sure if I prefer the look of hand stitching to the machine, more fun to do hand stitching, but I quite like the tiny machine stitches, especially done in a silky thread so they show up nicely, though not in these photos- too gloomy for focussing properly...


Now for the big push to make the whole quilt up in brushed cottons, this is when I discover if my idea of making it piece by piece, quilting and embroidering as I go, then sashing it together, will work. Fingers crossed.


Very cold again outside last night and not much warmer this morning, the snowdrops and hellebores in the garden are lying down on the ground, they were standing up in the sunshine yesterday, astonishing how they recover after being repeatedly frozen.


Sewing inside in the warm for me today, though when I go outside to re-fill the bird feeders and warm up their water the air is full of the chattering of Fieldfares and the odd mewing sound of Redwings. Since Friday small flocks of them are flying back and forth all day long on the hunt for berries, I'm hoping they will stop off on my pyrocanthus and conteasters: two Black Caps arrived at the weekend and are slowly stripping berries from my shrubs, starting with the smallest, the purple berries on the calycarpa then moving to the orange pyrocanthus. Watching them from the comfort of a blanketed window sill is Team Tabby. They keep asking to go out, I open the door, they do a smart u-turn and give me an "are you mad?" look. I always enjoy the way cats will try all doors just in case the weather is better at one of them. Today it most certainly is not!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

What's doing this week?

It has got very cold and the need for an extra layer on my hands has become more urgent, so I've started to knit some fingerless gloves with this yarn from the Stitch and Knit Show- the colours are gorgeous and the fibre is lustrous, I'm quite pleased with the way it knits up- not too stripy.


I have had to reduce the length of my 4ply friendly needles, they were about a foot long, at least six inches too long for glove knitting,which is what they are used for. A mega cheap charity shop purchase, but in need of some adaption! Two pairs made for the price of one and now with added beaded tops-slice needles with stanley knife, carefully sharpen in pencil sharpener, sand down point with the fine side of an emery board, add beads, oil and polish...perfect.


The Autumn Leaves samples continue, these are the fabrics for the next one.


The Postman has delivered some rather lovely fabrics from The Homespun Loft, which have got me thinking hard about designing a quilt or two.

I was particularly pleased to find some more of these American reproduction fabrics. I've been buying occasional quarters, when I come across them- which isn't often- with a view to making a quilt, something a bit traditional/18th century in feel, that would show off the prints, and now I have enough different fabrics to make something. I think I have decided what to do, but nothing firmed up yet Another little package arrived from The Eternal Maker with some rather jolly fabric for a small quilt and headboard for our bedroom.

When I decorated our new room a couple of years ago I knew the colour that would work for the walls, the room faces North East and I wanted something restful but not too gloomy. The walls work fine, but the old curtains from our previous, South-facing room, also 'restful', are just plain depressing in northerly light. So, new brighter curtains to be made and more colourful bed detailing to compliment them should liven it up a bit and make it relaxing, but cheerful. Not sure exactly what the design will be for these fabrics yet, but an idea is stirring, possibly an applique based on this painting.


The Swedish Garden quilt is coming along too: quite a few things on the go this week!