Quilting for Project Linus

I’ve joined a quilt group and I made my first Project Linus quilt top this weekend:

Bunnylovequilttop

 

It needs making into a quilt sandwich, quilting and binding so not finished yet.

Here are the fabrics close up:

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Using fabrics from my stash I used half a metre of the rabbit print, the same in white for the squares plus four width of fabric 2 1/2″ strips for the border and a bit of solid pink with bondaweb for the hearts. The hearts were cut out on my Accuquilt and free motioned with a darning foot which took ages. I haven’t got a backing sorted out yet – I have two fabrics in the right quantities but neither of them are a great match.

The next Linus quilt I make will be without applique…


It’s like Christmas…

The treadle sewing machine is starting to dry out and this morning I was able to open the last drawer.

This instruction booklet was found in the top left drawer:

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Unfortunately part of it has been cut with what looks like pinking shears.

Last night the bottom right drawer opened to reveal a new leather belt:

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This morning I hit the jackpot and got the final drawer (top right) open:

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An old leather belt, a screwdriver, 2 keys, a lump of what is either paraffin or bees wax and a toffee tin.

The little tin is full of feet and accessories:

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But only this foot says the word Singer on it so I’ve got no idea what make this machine is:

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I’m still waiting for the wooden bed that the machine sits in to dry out and then we can start cleaning her up. I’ve been warned not to use WD40 and will try and find some sewing machine oil whilst I’m waiting…


New to me

Unbeknown to me my Mother in Law inherited a sewing machine when she bought her house 9 years ago. An old treadle sewing machine was left behind in the garage by a previous owner.  She mentioned it in passing recently, my husband had a look at it on Saturday and she came home with us yesterday:

Singer Treadle sewing machine

The garage is damp and the bed of the machine is a bit swollen so doesn’t raise up properly and the drawers on the right hand side don’t open but we’re hoping that being in a dry environment will soon sort that out.

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From her identification number I’ve found out that she was manufactured in 1887!

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Given her age and the damp garage she has been in for over 9 years she’s in remarkably good condition and this corner is the biggest area of damage I found on her top:

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The decals are very pretty birds:

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I think she’s a VS3 and has a shuttle and bobbin but only one foot:

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So for now she’s wrapped up to protect her from the sun and snoozing in the conservatory to dry out. Hopefully the oak will dry out enough that she can be used and then we can clean her up and get the bits she needs including a leather belt.

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I’ve never used a treadle machine before but a good friend has and is going to show me how to use her.  And yes she is a female, no name yet. I’ve never named a sewing machine before but this one has SO much character it’s a given. The cats are going to lose their favourite chair in the living room eventually so she can come into the house properly but I think she deserves a dry home again.

 


Resurrecting projects

We’re in sunny Norfolk for a week (I hope I haven’t jinxed the weather now) and I’ve bought a project to keep me busy:

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It’ll be turned into Ruby, Pearl & Opal. I originally started it a few years ago for a friends’ 50th birthday present but used white sheeting for the sashing and wasn’t happy with it at all. I’d got half the blocks put together but it only took a day to undo it all recently and I’m much happier with my fabric choice now.  This time the sashing will be Kona Eggplant (but Aubergine to me as Eggplant sounds really weird as I’m English). I only managed to find one other example of this quilt that didn’t have white sashing but that wasn’t a solid fabric.

I’m also happy to report that my new Accuquilt 1.5″ strip die made short work of  the solid fabric and it was really easy. I cut 8″ strips to cover 7.5″ (5x 1.5″) so had a bit of waste but the accuracy and speed more than makes up for it. Even if I have to buy an extra half metre of fabric for a project to ensure I have enough it’s definitely worth it.

Knitting will also be happening as will a bit of hand sewing as I’m playing with my first English Paper Piecing project:

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Using Kona White and a Moda scrap bag in Modern Workshop:

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This is a VERY long term project. DD has already claimed it as she loves the fabrics but I don’t think she realises just how long it’s going to take.

My knitting this week is also re-starting an old project but I don’t have anything to show yet. I have decided to give up on making socks for myself for the time being so DH is getting this pair. He’s delighted as he only has one pair of hand knitted socks which is a bit slack of me to be honest. He has big feet which has always put me off in the past but I think it’s psychological as I’m using the same amount of yarn as I would for myself.

So a busy week which also needs to include some non-crafting things and plenty of ball throwing to tire out a bouncy Airedale…

 


Toddler applecore quilt

AGES ago I started making a quilt for my friends’ daughter. She was two last August and it was intended to be for her birthday.  She finally received it last week:

Applecore quilt

Applecore quilt

 

I had half a meter each of the most beautiful fabrics and wanted to find a design that made the most of them:

Pink Lakehouse elephants

Pink Lakehouse ‘elephant toss’

Green Lakehouse elephants

Green Lakehouse ‘elephant toss’

 

I cut the pieces with my Accuquilt and the Applecore die but struggled sewing with the curves. So it waited until I could do a class on Curved Piecing with Philippa Naylor and then started putting the pieces together. Pairs, then fours, then eights and so on.

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There was a lot of unpicking as I had to get each join to match perfectly:

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The top was finished last June but the fabric I wanted for the binding (Kona Baby Pink) was out of stock and came from America. Not long after it arrived I had an accident and injured my ankle which stopped all machine sewing for a long time. 

Then last month I decided to push on and get it finished.

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To make the most of the curves I echoed the seams with a walking foot. I love the effect that quilting gives a project and how it just ‘pops’.  I wanted to add a bit of interest and texture so used piping in a dark green which was echoed in the patch on the elephants backs:

Piping and binding on the bias...

Piping and binding on the bias…

 

Because I wanted to keep the applecore curves on the binding I had to cut both the piping and binding on the bias which made it a bit awkward to apply but I really like the shape of it so it was worth it.

Another shot of the bias piping and binding

Another shot of the bias piping and binding

This is the fabric I used on the back:

backing fabric

backing fabric

and finally a label:

DSC_8927The quilt was received in the post on the day that little J was found to have Chicken Pox so it was perfect timing for her to snuggle under on the sofa whilst watching her favourite DVD.

Toddler applecore quilt

Toddler applecore quilt

My friend loves it and that makes it worth all the effort. I’d love to make an adult sized one but can’t face curved seams again for a while.


Returning to crafting

I’m back.  I took a break from blogging as my ankle injury was getting in the way of crafting and the pain was getting me down. I’ve finally got a diagnosis and have scratched the thin layer of cartilage on the Talar Dome (think of a knuckle bone after a dog has had a quick gnaw on it). Physiotherapy twice a week for the past 3 months is really helping and I’m more mobile than I was but not fully healed yet.

Because of this my knitting mojo has gone out of the window – given that I find it hard to get handknitted socks on to my foot I really can’t drum up enough enthusiasm to make them. I have a pair on the needles that get worked on occasionally but not every day as I had planned. However this needs to change as my sock yarn stash isn’t small. It’s the second time that I’ve had an injury that has affected my mobility and I’ve had enough.

I have however been busy with my sewing machine recently. I can finally sew again and started off by making simple 4 patch blocks as part of a Leader & Ender project. I found this video on Youtube which explains it really well.

Since I started cutting up my leftover fabric scraps 2 years ago (it really doesn’t seem that long) I have a good selection of ‘pre-cut’ shapes ready to use (although my 2″ squares are getting a bit low).  Initially I used them without another project, a few minutes at a time to get back into sewing but I’m now up to using them before & after a bigger project. My left ankle had been swelling up whenever I sat with it on the floor but gradually that decreased & now I can spend a couple of hours sat at my machine without too much pain.

Quiltville Leader and Ender quilting project

4 patch blocks as part of a Quiltville Leader and Ender project.

I had planned to make Four Patch Furrows with them but have since come up with a simpler design that I like. Black or very dark grey blocks are being saved for Bricks & Stepping-Stones  which is an even longer term project.

I’ve also been playing with 2 1/2″ squares and half square triangles and have been turning them into Split 9 patch blocks.

Quiltville Split 9 Patch blocks as a Leader and Ender project

Quiltville Split 9 Patch blocks as a Leader and Ender project

I have 15 blocks so far and need 168 to make a decent sized quilt so again another very long term project.

There is also finished project to share but that deserves a full post of it’s own so I’ll save that for another day.

I had a birthday last month and my Husband & Step Mum bought me strip dies for my Accuquilt so I’m going to find it much easier to cut strips and squares from now on. Oh if only I had more time…

 

 

 


Hothouse socks

I started this pair of socks aiming for a soft snuggling pair to sooth my injured ankle.

Aquaphobia socks in Posh Yarns Lucia Hothouse

Aquaphobia socks in Posh Yarns Lucia Hothouse

PatternDavid’s Toe-Up Sock Cookbook by David Schulz using Aquaphobia pattern stitch.
Yarn: 90g of Posh Yarns Lucia sock in Hothouse
Needles: 2x 2.25mm circulars
Made for: me, UK 7
Method: Two at a time, toe up. The toes were cast on separately, rejoined and then separated again for the heels before rejoining and then I worked up the leg.
Time taken to knit: October 20th 2013 – January 18th 2014

The colours of the yarn are fantastic however they flash all over the place which I didn’t like:

Aquaphobia socks in Posh Yarns Lucia Hothouse

Aquaphobia socks in Posh Yarns Lucia Hothouse

So I chose a slipped stitch pattern Aquaphobia to try & break it up a bit:

Stocking stitch on the sole on the left compared to the slipped stitch pattern on the right.

Stocking stitch on the sole on the left compared to the slipped stitch pattern on the right.

 

With a few more stitches on the gusset increase the yarn was beautiful:

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I also liked how the yarn behaved on the cuff

I also liked how the yarn behaved on the cuff

Everything I read about this pattern said that it wasn’t very stretchy due to the slipped stitches even though the cable up the sides of the sock provides some ‘give’ so I took the decision not to reduce stitches for negative ease – and I’m very glad I did. 

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You might be able to notice that my left ankle (on the right above) is slightly bigger than the other one due to my injury and this made it hard to get these socks on and off unfortunately.  I’m sure they’ll be fine when I’m healed but for now they’ll be sitting in my sock drawer unworn I’m afraid.

I’ve already started swatching for my next pair with a supersoft yarn that has stayed hidden in my stash for far too long…

Auntie Mart's Angora Sock Yarn

Auntie Mart’s Angora Sock Yarn

 

 


Happy New Year

A bit belated I admit but better late than never.

My blog has been down for a while due to technical problems but my husband is a bit of a whizz and has sorted it all out.  So as he’s put the effort in I thought I’d better get back into the blogging habit.

A lot has happened in the mean time but one thing that hasn’t changed is that I’m still injured. As mentioned previously I fell whilst out jogging and have hurt my left ankle. I’ve seen a specialist and he suspects that I’ve partially torn a tendon in my ankle. I’m having an MRI next week and get the results/treatment plan at the beginning of February. I’m in pain but it’s not as bad as when I smashed my knee and I can walk albeit it slowly. However I can’t lead my normal life and exercise is difficult as is walking Oscar. Luckily he’s obsessed with his ball so I hobble to the first flat field in the park and throw it constantly until he refuses to retrieve it any more.  DH is also helping to exercise him as is a good friend who takes him for a very good walk once a week so between the three of us we’re managing to tire him out. Oscar is a high energied dog and he needs to run every day.  I’m still managing to do two exercise classes a week as I do a class that uses a gym ball so I can keep off my ankle. I was pretty fit before I hurt myself and am doing everything I can to maintain a semblance of fitness. 

I haven’t done any machine sewing since I made the coaster as sitting with my foot on the floor for a period of time causes more pain so am tentatively exploring hand sewing. With this in mind DH bought me these for Christmas:

Japanese

Woolly Embroidery by Kyuuto!

 

Embroidery book

Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray

However I haven’t done much with them yet as I’ve been busy with these:

hand knitted socks two at at time toe up

Aquaphobia socks in Posh Yarns Lucia

 

I’m nearly ready to start the cuff so hope to finish them soon.

With the turn of a new year I set to thinking about what I wanted to achieve this year and came up with these:

  • Get my ankle fixed
  • Get fit again but I’ve promised not to run outside anymore (which is how I injured my ankle)
  • Continue to lose weight – I’ve nearly lost the weight I’d regained after my knee injury and am determined not to put it back on again now that I’m injured again.
  • Knit & sew from stash
  • Knit a lot more socks – I managed 3 3/4 pairs in 2013 which isn’t enough given the size of my sock yarn stash

With the latter in mind I went through all the my finished projects on Ravelry and tagged them with the year of completion and it was an eye opener!  I made 25 things in 2009 and only 1 in 2010 as I injured my knee just before Christmas 2009. I’m still not back up to my previous productivity so have chosen 12 sock yarns that I intend to knit up this year. With this in mind I’ve joined the Socks with Sarah KAL, which advocates knitting your socks every day so that it becomes an ingrained habit, and so will be  knitting at least one round on my socks every day this year. So far I’ve managed to do it even if it is just one round a day. Sometimes without intending to my socks get ignored for days at a time so at least this way they’ll grow a bit quicker.

I’ve also joined the Follow your arrow mystery KAL as Arianwen gave me the pattern for Christmas. I’ll be using some beautiful Pear Tree 4 ply that I was given by Melanie a few years ago:

Pear Tree 4ply

Pear Tree 4ply

I’ve been waiting for the perfect pattern as the yarn is so gorgeous and I think this is it. The first clue is released tomorrow so my knitting time will be split between both knit alongs.

Finally some sock yarn that our daughter bought me for Christmas from The Sock Yarn Shop:

purple striped sock yarn

Regia Design Line “Jazz Color”

Orange Opal Uni 4 ply sock yarn

Orange Opal Uni 4 ply sock yarn

So you can see why I need to knit at least one round a day…


Every Day socks

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PatternDavid’s Toe-Up Sock Cookbook by David Schulz using Hermione’s Every Day sock pattern stitch.
Yarn: 82g of Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett colour Landscape Mist 04354 Amazon
Needles: 2x 2.25mm circulars
Made for: me, UK 7
Method: Two at a time, toe up. The toes were cast on separately, rejoined and then separated again for the heels before rejoining and then I worked up the leg.
Time taken to knit: September 7th 2013 – October 6th 2013

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I really liked the stitch pattern and found it simple to remember but enough to stop me being bored. Plain vanilla socks bore me silly.

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And finally a modelled shot of sorts:

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My left ankle is out of action at the moment so I can’t model my usual both socks at once I’m afraid. I’m looking forward to being able to walk properly in the snow with these socks keeping my feet nice and warm.


Belated post

I had planned to post about my trip to the Festival of Quilts last month. The trip was a birthday present from my husband and became a girly trip with a very good friend.  Hotel booked, yarn shop enroute planned, money saved and a shopping list of sorts prepared what could go wrong?

A fall whilst out running early on the morning of August 4th with my dog is what went wrong. I cockled over on a stone and ended up on the floor having my head licked by a very concerned Airedale.  A couple of passers by helped me back to my car and I somehow managed to drive home but within minutes I couldn’t bear weight on it so realised that the drive was purely done on adrenaline.  X-rays determined that it was a sprain and I was sent home without crutches. The show was 4 days later.

In desperation as I didn’t want to cancel the trip I hired a mobility scooter to use for the day. It was great and without it I wouldn’t have been able to get around the show but it was an experience.  It’s amazing how suddenly you become invisible when you’re sat in a scooter. How other people walk in front of you, drop bags on your very painful ankle which was elevated on the wheel arch of the scooter (I nearly screamed) and walk into the space which I’d waited to appear so that I could reverse safely and then stand still wondering where to go next even though the scooter was beeping a warning.  I got really fed up with people being rude and ignorant when it was obvious that I wasn’t able to walk easily.  I’m lucky as I was only in it for a day and my injury is temporary and I’ll definitely be far more aware of others using scooters and chairs in the future.

This was my view at the beginning of the show:

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and later on once we’d done some shopping:

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Sadly because of my injured ankle I’ve barely been able to do any sewing since. I have made one tiny thing for a swap:

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a very bright coaster for someone who loves orange and purple

 

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and a view of the back.

I’ve loads more to share but will leave you with my latest knitting project:

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