Friday, 31 August 2012

FO Friday

I've managed to finish 3 items this week. As I mentioned yesterday I finished a ballet bag for my neice that I can't show just yet.

Sorry to be the organised one (I'm not really!) but the other two finished objects are Christmas things. First up is a blanket for my aunty. I can show you this because it's very unlikely she'll see it. I know my neice won't see my blog either but her parents might and I'd quite like it to be a surprise for them too.

It's another Granny Stripe by the Attic24 pattern. It's pretty quick to work up, though this version was more repetative than the previous one because I only used 5 colours this time (last time I used 17) and I repeated the colours in order this time (last time I did random stripes).

It's a lap sized blanket. It took 2 balls each of Stylecraft Special DK in Cloud Blue, Silver, Teal, Aspen, Turquoise (there was a bit leftover from the two balls even after the border was added).

I changed the colour order for the border, mainly because I didn't want the first border colour to be the same as either end of the blanket. Order of colours for the border: Teal, Cloud Blue, Aspen, Silver, Turquoise.

I'm really pleased with it. I love the colours and I hope my aunty does too.

I've also finished the Christmas wallhanging.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Productive Afternoon

What with the weather being as it was this morning (aka wet and windy) I decided not to bother going out as planned. I thought I'd see how things went and maybe go to the shops this afternoon. However the kids were having lots of fun just playing together. They've been playing upstairs, pretending to be Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf, cue lots of shreiking and stamping around. Not exactly suitable for concentrating on an assignment so I decided to cut the fabric for a new project.

Not only did I get the fabric cut out but I got the whole thing made! Admittedly Alan made a last minute dash to Hobbycraft before it closed for the drawstring cord as the stuff I had was too thick.

Unfortunately you're going to have to wait for the pictures because it's a gift. It's our neice's birthday soon and my mother-in-law said she'd like a bag for her ballet stuff. I'll show pictures as soon as she's got it and opened it but I will say it's very cute and has been made using this pattern by Pink Penguin. I was totally inspired by this version by Monkey Beans.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

WIP Weds: Granny Squares Galore

I've been rather productive this week. On Friday I'll be showing a granny stripe blanket that I've already finished. It went from being about 20% done to finished in about 5 days.

I've finished my first Christmas present (sorry!)

Not content with just one finished item this week, I managed to find time late yesterday evening (thank you little child that didn't want to go to bed meaning I couldn't work on my assignment!) to make the hanging sleeve and binding for the Christmas wallhanging. I also managed to do the machine sewing, so all that's left is to hand sew the binding to the back.

On Monday I started making some granny squares for a new project. I managed 10, then yesterday I did another 40. That might sound like a lot but the blanket has 252 in total so I'm only almost 20% there.

Yes, you can see all the ends because I've not done anything with them yet. Yes, I realise this is a bad idea and I'll sit with a finished pile of granny squares for days putting off sorting those ends out.

I've also managed to run out of Apricot with 5 squares to go, which also means I'll be short on the blue. I think I'm going to need 3 extra balls.

Friday, 24 August 2012

FO Friday: Squares and Bag

My yarn has been dispatched and I thought it would arrive yesterday but it didn't so fingers crossed for today and I can get on with the blanket. I may have slipped a few extra balls in for a new project (Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy???? Like I don't have enough on already...)

Finished this week are a couple of squares for a memory blanket

and a large drawstring bag for the kids' accessories, made from Ikea fabric.

There's plenty more to go in that bag once I get round to sorting some stuff out.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

WIP Weds: How Many Projects???

I've had a realisation this week, I have far too many projects on the go. I'm feeling a little stressed about them all but I've managed to make a bit of progress with my to-do list.

First off I have a couple of items to show on Friday as I've managed to get them finished. Both are small projects but at least it's something I can take off the list. First up is a drawstring bag for the kids' hats/waterproofs/gloves etc for the hall. I started making this ages and ages ago but never got round to putting the drawstring in and finishing it off until the other day. Secondly I've done another couple of squares for the WoolyHugs blankets. Pics of it all to come on Friday!

Do you remember this blanket I started?

Well this week I've finally got round to doing more work on it. It's probably just over halfway now but is now back on the 'waiting' pile because I'm waiting for more yarn to arrive for it. Really feel like I've acheived something with this though as it's pretty much tripled in size over the last couple of days.

What about this blanket?

Not such good news for this one. I'd been doing a 2,1,1,2,1 stripe pattern and spotted a mistake in my counting a couple of rows back. I decided to abandon this project as I wasn't really enjoying it, thought it was a little too wide and felt the pattern wasn't showing the yarn off very well. I'm planning on making a granny square blanket with the yarn instead but putting a few of each colour together to make bigger blocks of colour.

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary and my husband got me some 505 basting spray (who says romance is dead, eh?!). Now assuming the glue stealing fairies don't steal it (seriously I've lost 3 lots of this :-o ) it means I can get on with some quilting this week too. I just need to get the living room tidied up this afternoon so that this evening I can lay out my fabric/wadding and get it basted.

I'm planning on doing free motion quilting for this one. It's been in the 'waiting to be quilted' pile for quite some time!

Talking about the glue stealing fairies, I think we may have some fabric stealing ones too. I really need to find the extra backing fabric I had leftover from the Christmas wallhanging so that I can do the hanging sleeve for it. Once I've done that I can get on with binding it.

I'm also still working on the granny square quilt. I've decided to go with no sashing as suggested by Katy and agreed on by most people at the sewing group I go to. Again, this needs a tidy living room so I can lay the blocks out to decide on the order of them. They're very similar blocks so it might make my eyes hurt!

I need to cut some white fabric for this quilt top and decide on what other colour to put with it. I realised earlier that I have a charm pack that might go with it so will probably get those squares out and see what it looks like.

I'll just pretend for now that all the other projects don't exist - seriously there's so many; cushion covers, a couple of quilts, a couple of wallhangings, a top and a dress. That's just off the top of my head.

Monday, 20 August 2012


I haven't done much sewing lately with not feeling well but going to the Festival Of quilts made me want to do some sewing. Last night I had a look at what fabric I had and ended up putting together the Curiosities charm pack with a Feeling Groovy charm pack from Crafts And Quilts. I'm going to add fabric to the top and bottom - two white strips with a bright colour strip in between.

Festival Of Quilts Holiday!

The holiday definitely wasn't as planned. What was supposed to be a 3 night camping break turned into one night in a Holiday Inn Express because I really wasn't well enough to camp. Then again, I maybe wasn't well enough to stay in a hotel either seeing as I had to send Alan out to find a 24 hour supermarket at 1am for painkillers (how wonderful is he?!)

So, the Festival Of Quilts. I wasn't really sure what to expect as last year I'd been a little disappointed. It waas great don't get me wrong but I'd gone to Harrogate's Great Northern Quilt Show at the end of the month and enjoyed that just as much. This year though it seemed better somehow. I got the impression there were more quilts on show and there seemed to be more places to get a drink (perhaps I just missed those last year, who knows?). The latter was very important to me as it was really hot in there and with not feeling great anyway it was nice to sit down and have a break.

I didn't get any photos of the quilts. Tbh walking up and down staring at gorgeous quilts made my head hurt and made me feel more off balance so I kept breaking it up with a wander round the stalls or a sit down. Unfortunately this meant I didn't really take the quilts in as well as last year.

There was so much lovely fabric for sale too. I had a very limited budget and it was so hard to choose what to buy. I often find that I see something I like but then think I'd need extra fabric and the cost starts to add up. For example I saw the stunning Regency Romance and Jane Austen's Library panels at the Quilter's Trading Post stall and was so tempted by them. The thing that stopped me was knowing I didn't have any fabric that would have suited them at home so I'd have had to buy a full quilt's worth of fabric. I managed to resist those panels but the stall was full of amazing fabric and I eventually gave in and bought a charm pack of Curiosities by Nancy Halvorsen.

I decided it would be nice to make each of my girls a quilt so I decided to go in search of another charm pack. I ended up at the Beyond Fabrics stall, where they had all their charm packs at £9. It took me a while to decide which to buy. I almost got Summersville, which I wasn't keen on when I first saw it but it has grown on me after seeing lots of bloggers using it. In the end though I got A Walk In The Woods. I'm planning on combining it with some solids.

I also got a pack of 30 5" squares with a Christmas theme, some Halloween bits, 4 small-ish pieces of fruit fabric and a lovely little panel from a French stall. I swapped £1 for a FQ of fabric at the A Gift Of Quilts stall. I managed to resist buying fabric from the stall that had made it look like sweets and lollipops as tempting as it was!

Perhaps the most exciting this was winning a prize on the Quilters Guild tombola. At this tombola you pull a coloured lid out of a tub and the colour determines whether or not you've won and what prizes you can choose from. I was very lucky and pulled out a purple top. The lady before me also pulled out a pruple top and chose a gorgeous table runner. I chose this:

It has pockets on either side and the top is a pin cushion. I thought this would be really handy when I'm hand-sewing sat on the sofa and also for when I crochet as I'm always losing my scissors and finding out I'm sat on them!

That evening we went to The Little Owl for our meal. It was a good job Alan checked if we could book a table as they had nothing between 6pm and 8.30pm so we booked for half 5. Now I can't say the service was amazing; lots of tables were left uncleared and they almost forgot our mains (we'd asked for the kids' meals to be brought out just as soon as they were ready as we were having a starter and they then forgot to say we wanted our mains) but the food was lovely and we had a really nice evening.

The following day we went to West Midlands Safari Park, which the kids thought was fantastic. Orla sat on my knee as we drove round. I think she was a little unsure at getting so close to the animals.

After the bit in the car there was also plenty to walk round. We saw hippos:

but the best bit for the kids was the sea lion show

It requires a lot of concentration!
It was a long day (the sea lion show above was at 5pm) followed by a long drive home but well worth it.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Almost Back!

Argh, 2 weeks into the summer holidays and I get a rather nasty case of tonsillitus. A week and a half, 2 types of antibiotics and a lot of painkillers later and I'm almost feeling human again! I'm still taking it easy as I still have pain in my sinuses and it's making me feel a bit off balance.

Unfortunately this has meant we've had to cancel the camping trip this week. We were meant to be going on Thursday for 3 nights but I'm not up to it. Instead we're going to have Friday night in a hotel. We'll spend one day doing a family day out type of thing and the other day I'll go to the Festival Of Quilts while Alan entertains the kids for the day. I'm really looking forward to it, though I'm not planning on buying much (famous last words!).

My current plan is to have a browse for some solids and maybe a charm pack or a few FQs. Of course I've always got my eyes open for a bargain.

Just like this big bag of buttons I got the other week. Actually it was better than that, my husband bought it for me!

Some of the big buttons

I think this was my favourite!

Friday, 3 August 2012

FO Friday: I've finished the quilting!

On Monday evening I managed to finish quilting the Christmas wallhanging I'm making. I was hoping to have made more progress last week and to get it totally finished on Monday but a Saturday trip to the seaside and teaching a full day workshop on Sunday left me with very little time so I didn't get any work done on it. Anyway, on Monday I finished the quilting and cut the strips for the binding so it should be finished soon.

I've done some of the quilting with a walking foot, mostly taking inspiration from the shapes and patterns in the print.

This block has zig zags - inspired by one of the stripes
This design was inspired by the squares in the pink stripe

Wavy frame design
The wavy frame design was suggested by my very experienced quilting friend Sarah as I didn't feel confident enough to do circles!

This one had stars, a design I used on a quilted advent calendar and loved!

I also decided to be brave and do some free motion quilting on an actual quilt rather than just having a try on some scraps

First attempts at free motion quilting
...and then I was really brave and did free motion quilting on the border. It was printed with spirals so I didn't really have a choice ;-)

They are far from perfect but I learnt quite a lot while doing them. Sorry to my Monday night friends who had to put up with my squeaky sewing machine foot.

The backing for this quilt is navy. It was a bargain remnant piece. The thread I've used for quilting is a Madeira variegated one and I was happy for it to show up on the navy as it makes it easier to see how my quilting actually looks. I've also seen a number of quilts in blogland recently with the quilting pattern showing on the back in a totally diferrent colour thread to the fabric and have really liked them. So here it is, the back of the quilt

I'm really pleased with how nice the back looks. Hopefully next week I'll be able to show you the finished wallhanging.