Tag Archives: stashbusting

The eye burn half log cabin quilt

9 May

Oh hai.

IMG_7509

Yeah, I know. The last month was my first long absence since starting this blog. It all started when I trod on my camera card reader. Whoops…

IMG_7524

But then a bunch of stuff happened and I lost my mojo to be honest. Work was crazy, I got ill, Storm kept getting ill, a relative turned out to have cancer, and then an old friend died. I haven’t smiled quite as much as normal lately.

But! No more! Time to get the mojo back. Today is my friend’s wake, and I’ve been feeling, well, sad and weird, as you would.

So I decided today was also time for a new quilt.

IMG_7514

You know how there are things you want to do, but are scared to do them? This quilt was one of them. It’s BRIGHT. But, my now departed friend taught me some good lessons in the 13 years I knew her, and one of them was to go for what you want in life and not be afraid. She was pretty amazing that way.

A quilt might not seem like something you should be afraid of, but I’ve not done much more than sew squares together so far, so tackling a more complex method, with a heritage going back probably centuries, feels like a big step.

IMG_7519

And then there are those colours. I’ve been stockpiling fabrics and scraps for ages, to make a bright quilt, but didn’t have enough until someone very generously gave me a jelly roll a couple of weeks ago (and that’s on top of the one the girls at work gave me for my birthday – I mean, are they like buses or something?).

IMG_7517

It’s made up of fabric from Amy Butler’s Soul Blossoms range, which I was a bit over, to be honest, but cut into two and a half inch strips I like it much better, as it’s all about the impact of the colours and less about those very iconic patterns.

IMG_7516

This morning was also the first I had any time to myself in weeks so I just went for it, and got three and a bit blocks done. I am so excited about how they look.

IMG_7515

As I type, Storm is leaning on my right hand side, warming me to through to my very heart and I’ve just dashed out to grab some chocolate cakes out of the oven I’ve made for her to decorate later.

Slowly, the mojo is returning. I can tell life is going to feel strange and sad for a while yet. But that’s OK.

Advertisements

Buttons. And a Lisette pattern review (Simplicity 2211)

2 Apr

Do you like buttons? Me, I LOVE me some buttons.

IMG_7422

I am quite restrained when it comes to collecting them. For ages my button collection fitted in an old Altoids tin. There are a few too many now to get in the tin, but I try to keep it reined in.

This week though, was time for a button splurge. After much procrastinating (waaaaaay too much stocking stitch for my liking) I finished my Chickadee cardigan this weekend.

IMG_7417

I’d already lined up some stunning buttons from The Makery Emporium, which has become my go to place for pretty Japanese painted wooden buttons. I bought nine of these large chintzy ones..

IMG_7413

…and also, some tiny ones with tropical looking orange flowers, to decorate a blouse I just finished in time for our mini heatwave.

IMG_7407

The blouse is by Lisette for Simplicity (pattern 2211, view E) and this was a dry run for some Liberty Tana Lawn which was too perfect to risk on a first attempt. It’s just as well I did the dry run – I managed to sew the collar on inside out (duh) and had to cut it off and bodge the neckline.

And then the sleeves turned out to be smaller than the armholes, which made it kind of hard to gather them in, as per the pattern – definitely a grading error as I followed all the seam allowances exactly. Luckily my lovely repro feedsack fabric was 130cm wide, not the standard 115cm, which meant I had a little spare, so I recut a new pair of sleeves two sizes larger and used those.

Voila…

IMG_7404

Shame about the ‘wasted’ fabric. It’ll go into a quilt one day. The blouse only needs a metre of 150cm wide fabric if you fancy making it (a little more if you use quilting width).

I do have some glorious vintage glass buttons, which I bought at the first Knit Nation. They are from L Nichols, a company set up by the daughter of buttonmaker Lionel Nichols to sell off her huge collection of buttons he made in his lifetime. She releases them in collections a couple of times a year. Each set is totally unique and priced accordingly. Ahem.

IMG_9487

Nearly two years on, they still haven’t found their perfect project. They nearly went on the feedsack shirt, but it just wasn’t quite right.

Their time will come…

Secret birthday project #1: The Test Card quilt

26 Feb

We spent a lovely day at my parents yesterday, and I got to give dad his birthday presents.

Last year I asked dad for his old work shirts, to make him a quilt. It was just before his birthday and I hadn’t finished my first quilt yet, so I knew I wouldn’t get it done in time. I stuck them in the bottom of the airing cupboard and almost forgot they were there.

Fastforward to a few weeks ago, when my quilting bug struck again, and I found them while digging through fabric for my Village Cricket quilt (for some reason, quilts have to have names in this house).

It seemed rather self indulgent to be making a quilt for me, when I still hadn’t started dad’s so I bit the bullet.

Once I’d cut up the shirts into usable fabric pieces I thought might work together I laid them out, thinking they could be a Log Cabin design (not all of these are his shirts btw).

IMG_6978

But I wanted to make a ‘man’ quilt, and this arrangement seemed too fiddly and fussy for dad.

Instead, I settled on a plan of 7in wide squares and rectangles, in a random layout. To break it up a bit I made some 7in square(ish) blocks out of swatches from Deckchair Stripes.

This is what they looked like, nested in the gingham bag they came in. Love it!

IMG_6991

I bought a whole pack for £15, which I thought was a bargain for 60 strips, and used about a fifth of them, settling on blues, with a few bright colours.

IMG_6995

They’re all named after sports. Darts was my favourite.
IMG_7004

A lot of the swatches were wonky, so I did some evening up, being very fussy about squaring off the shapes.

IMG_7009

Which left me with this little pretty pile.

IMG_7016

Then I sewed them into threes.

IMG_7023

And cut them into squares.

IMG_7026

The blocks took an afternoon, but were perfect for the bright zings of colour the quilt needed, among the grey, black and dark red check of dad’s shirts.

IMG_7027

Then I laid it out, and pieced it in a couple of evenings. And here it is. (Well, the top anyway)

I’ve not finished the quilting yet (luckily, dad is the patient type). I’m using bright blue embroidery thread (DMC 995), again, to add a flash of colour.

It reminded me of the BBC Test Card (although when I looked it up, I thought, not so much actually).

The quilt is backed with a soft flannel sheet so it’s ultra snuggly, and once again, the wadding is good old Bamboo Blend.

He seemed to like it. Yay!

New design in The Knitter: Dartmoor beret

25 Jan

Squeee! I do love it when I have a new design out. It’s often months after something has been sketched, graded, knitted and pattern checked before it can appear in public.

TKN40.lb_location_day1.Img38176

Dartmoor is knitted in Lang Donegal, a gorgeous tweed 4 ply weight yarn that comes in really vibrant colours. The hat takes less than two balls of yarn, making it a pretty cheap knit. If you can’t get Lang, Rowan’s new(ish) Fine Tweed will give you a very similar effect – you’ll probably need 3 balls.

It is worked in the round and is mostly in herringbone stitch, with a twisted brim.

This yarn is a winter yarn, but very light, and runs quite thick and thin, so the herringbone stitch, which creates an almost double thickness of fabric, makes it a denser, and more substantial garment that will keep your head nice and warm.

TKN40.lb_location_day1.Img38146

I’ve written the design in two sizes, mainly to accommodate those of a larger bonce (such as your truly). It took me just a couple of evenings to knit, after a fair amount of  swatching to get the needle size I was happy with.

This yarn is single ply, so it will stretch a fair bit. If in doubt, make the smaller size! Happy knitting!

All photos are copyright of The Knitter

Happy New Year! And a resolution…

1 Jan

2011 was a year full of lots of things. Lots of adventures, lots of work, lots of change. But, unlike in previous years, there was supposed to be less of something too – buying yarn.

But my stash doesn’t really seem to have diminished, partly because I now get new yarn to try out for work (yep, I know what you’re thinking, poor me), and also due to working with other yarn for my designs. OK, and yes, because I bought some, although not much, honest.

As of today, this is about a third of what I actually own. Doesn’t look too scary, does it?

IMG_6695

Although it does rather explode when you unpack it…

IMG_6685

Juliet Bernard, my lovely editor at The Knitter, spent the whole of 2011 on a yarn diet (including a trip to the knitting mecca that is Norway, which I think would have driven anyone to the brink), but as of today she is allowed to buy yarn again.

Well, if she can do it, I can too. can’t I? (No laughing please)

So, for 2012, I have a list of promises. Here goes…

1) I will NOT buy yarn.

OK, that’s long enough! I originally had a whole host of other good intentions, but as this one is going to be tough enough to follow on its own, I don’t think I should try any harder to set myself up for a fall.

As I’ve only been knitting seriously for about 7 years, I can get all my stash into three big boxes, including the one above –

However, THIS is what happens when these things get out of hand…(click on the pic for the full story)

(c) Mochimochiland

Yes, I think 2012 is going to require a LOT of willpower, but every time I feel myself wavering I will look at this picture and remind myself why I’m abstaining. Wish me luck!

PS. You can read more about my adventures in stashbusting on The Knitter website throughout 2012.

Perfect last minute project: Heartfelt Rings

18 Dec

Ugh. Being under the weather just before Christmas is not helpful  when it comes to all those Christmas crafting plans.

Lucky for me, Stephanie Dosen, aka tinyowlknits, has given knitters everywhere a lovely early pressie – a free pattern for a lightening fast project, xomplete with video knitalong!

Despite my mildly bedraggled state, I dived straight in with Stephanie’s new design, which uses up scraps of 4ply wool and takes maybe 20 to 30 minutes from start to finish. Perfect timing, right? She is so darn clever.

Anyway, do hop over to her site, where you can download the free Heartfelt Rings pattern, and knit along with Stephanie and see some of her other amazing patterns. Or, if you’re feeling too weak to even click your mouse, the videos are below too. Happy holidays!

 

heartfelt rings from tinyowlknits on Vimeo.

heartfelt rings part 2 from tinyowlknits on Vimeo.

Totterdown’s Woolly Wonderland – in pictures

26 Nov

IMG_6085


Well, we did it! 50 knitters and crocheters (including children from the local school, who made the lovely sign), a huge pile of yarn, donated by The Knitter, Simply Knitting, and very generous local people. And hours and hours of work.

This is what you get when you put it all together. Totterdown’s Woolly Wonderland is still up in Arnos Vale cemetery, and there are no plans to take the work down. Instead, the cemetery volunteers will remove pieces when they start to look a bit tired. As people seem to have been adding to the original pieces which were put up, I suspect there will always be a few trees with woolly decorations in this much beloved cemetery.

Anyway, enough words. Just take a look…

IMG_6093
IMG_6098
IMG_6102
IMG_6104
IMG_6170
IMG_6174
IMG_6158
IMG_6149
IMG_6140
IMG_6126
IMG_6113
IMG_6110We spent the actual weekend of the Front Room arts trail hosting a tea, cake and pom pom making party at Hannah’s house, and raised £30 for Refuge.

IMG_6218
IMG_6219
IMG_6214
IMG_6207
IMG_6205
IMG_6203
IMG_6195

What we didn’t really foresee, was how much the kids would love it all…

IMG_6163
And did I mention? The sun shone ALL weekend!
IMG_6090

There are too many people who contributed to thank individually, but rest assured, every scrap of work was appreciated and used.

We’ve been asked what’s happening ‘next year’ and the honest answer is, it’s been so much work, we haven’t thought that far ahead. Ideas on a postcard perhaps?