Monday, 10 September 2018

More Starts Than Finishes

Well, I don't know ... despite the fact that I'm currently working on too many projects too count - at least five blankets, the big Christmas pattern for later this year, you get the general idea - I've still managed to start several new things recently. But, first, here's one thing I've managed to finish.

This is my Snowball Quilt and I'm quite pleased with it. There are more than a few pencil lines still visible from quilting that border but they'll come out in the wash. I can't be bothered to wash it now so I'll wait until I spill tea on it; knowing me, that won't be long.

Of course, finishing one small quilt meant that I had to start on another one straight away. So I spent a lovely evening cutting out all the pieces for this one.

This is the first quilt I'm making from Kathleen Tracy's latest book A Prairie Journey. Those pieces looked very small to me so I was a bit worried about piecing them accurately. I needn't have worried though. With this pattern, there are no points to match so it goes together pretty easily.

I started by laying out the pieces for the first few rows on one of my little quilt design boards. I made a set of these a while ago by following Lori Holt's Mini Design Board Tutorial. The wadding on the top of the boards holds the pieces and you can stack the boards together to keep all the pieces safe until you're ready to sew them together.

For the piecing, I like to use my little Singer Featherweight sewing machine which I bought in an antique shop a few years ago. It's 66 years old, half the size of a 'normal' machine and sews like a dream.

I seem to get a more accurate quarter of an inch seam with the Featherweight. I did read somewhere that, because it doesn't do zigzag stitches, it sews a straighter seam but I don't know if that's right. Do you like the patchwork mat the machine's sitting on? That's another Lori Holt pattern, this time from her book Quilty Fun. There are little pockets at the front to hold sewing tools and the mat doubles up as a cover when I put the machine away.

While we're talking about making stuff for the sewing room (or in my case the scullery), here's my little ironing station.

The ironing board is a small bread board covered with heat reflective wadding and fabric and backed with felt. I can't remember where I found the tutorial to make this but there are various ones online. The iron is a travel iron, just the right size for the mini board.

If you make bigger quilts than me, you might like to make a slightly bigger ironing board by covering one of those small folding tables you can buy from various places. I got mine at  Dunelm Mill and it's the table the Featherweight sits on when I sew.

Anyway ... after several sewing sessions I now have half of my quilt top finished.

Can you see where I put two pieces of the same fabric next to each other? I try to avoid that but, as they say, it'll never be seen from a galloping horse (although why they should say that I don't know).

When it comes to knitting, I did manage to finish my Patchwork Purse pattern but that's about it.

There's a lot to be said for small things that can be knitted and written up quickly. Mind you, I then found myself unable to resist turning the same shapes into a patchwork blanket pattern. Yes, I know, another blanket.

This is the only block I've knitted so far but I did spend quite a long time trying to find a variegated yarn with the right colour lengths. They were either too short, making all the shapes look the same, or too long which gave me solid coloured shapes. Finally, I found Hayfield Bonus Breeze which is just right. This colour is called Embers and I bought it at my brand new branch of Hobbycraft. In the last year I've acquired a Waitrose and a Hobbycraft, both within walking distance. My cup brimmeth over.

Then, one evening last week, I had an irresistible urge to do some crochet (as you do) but it had to be something new (of course it did). So I fished out some of the leftover yarn from my Helicopter blanket and started making a quick cowl.

I'm going to edge it a variegated black yarn and then I think I'll make a quick pair of cuffs to match. The crochet is very simple so I think they can go in one pattern together.

I also bought some more sock yarn when I went to Bourton-on-the-Water last week. There's a very nice little yarn and needlework shop there called The Bourton Basket and they had a good selection.

The two on the left are going to be Christmas socks for my son and my daughter's partner. As you can see, one is happier with bright colours than the other. The one on the right is for me but I think I might use it for some exciting pin loom weaving that I've got planned. More of that soon.

As if all this wasn't enough, I'm still working hard on my new Ten Stitch. I haven't got at all fed up with it yet which has got to be a first and I can't wait to be able to share it with everyone. I know that it will look better if it's really big though so you'll have to be patient while I keep knitting.

I still don't feel comfortable choosing the colours as I go along. I'm definitely a planner when it comes to colours (and most things, actually) but I decided it would be good for me to try something new. I think it's working although I can't help thinking of lots of exciting ways you could plan the colours for this one.

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