Too Much?

As I have said recently, much as I love making patchwork quilts, tragically my quilting skills are not up to much.

So, in an attempt to disguise any imperfections, I’ve decided to avoid using plain backings as they are too unforgiving.

Of course, trying to find extra wide fabric for quilt backs when you want to avoid a join is not easy.  Patterns are limited and the majority are to be found in the U.S. which usually mean the shipping costs more than the fabric.

This, in miniature (as I’ve only completed one braid so far), will be my next quilt

FriendshipBraidQuiltPrep (2)

I searched for some suitable backing and have actually ordered a chevron design from the U.S. at a bargain price and, even with the shipping, it is still cheaper than I would get it here or the U.K.

riley blake chevronsThis is from Riley Blake and, as well as going quite well with the front, I thought the chevrons, which are two inches apart point to point, might give me some guidelines for quilting.  This should be winging it’s way to me across the pond as we speak.

However, on Friday, I went charity shop rummaging and came out with ten vintage sheets.  As you do.  I think they will be good for a number of things.  Cutting up and making a quilt top from fabric that is already nice and soft and worn giving the resulting quilt a nice vintage look.  Making a dress or blouse.  Using as sheets (there’s an idea!)  Or – using as backing for quilts.

Vintage Sheets (1)

So, spot the green and white check one on the bottom.  What do you think about using that for the Friendship Braid quilt backing?  Too much?

VIntage Sheet Quilt Backing

All comments invited and welcome but not necessarily taken any notice of :)

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21 Comments

Just One More Shade of Grey

I know I said that, after my two ‘shades of grey’ quilts, I would be moving on to something more colourful but I’ll just get this out of the way first.

Also, I know I said I had sworn off making dresses for a while but I went upstairs to my workroom yesterday, couldn’t remember why and, before I knew it, decided to make a dress.  As I’m sure happens to all of you from time to time.   A Lady Skater dress to be precise, several of which I have made before because it is such a good, easy pattern and because I like the style and fit on me and because I had put the radiator on in my workroom for the reason I couldn’t remember and didn’t want to waste the electricity.

Lady Skater Grey & White (3)

I apologise for the headless shot but there are three reasons for this

1) I meant to use a mannequin but, at the last minute (see next reason), I couldn’t and hadn’t done anything with my face or hair since getting out of bed

                                       2)  I couldn’t get the dress on the mannequin

                                       3) I don’t like having my photograph taken anyway.

Lady Skater Grey & White (1)Before I tell you why I couldn’t get the dress on the mannequin, I wanted to point out the good things like the neck laying nice and flat and the really nice fabric so that you don’t think I’m quite such a numpty when I ‘fess up.

As I said, I’ve made this dress several times before for me and for both my Madamoiselles.  I meant to make notes but didn’t.  This time I have.  I must have a shorter waist than this pattern is designed for because the seam at the waist is one or even two inches lower than mine.  No matter, I call it a ‘dropped waist’ dress and feel it makes my torso look slightly longer than it is – however, I will remember to adapt the pattern next time so I don’t have to make those excuses!  It is quite a short dress and, in order to avoid having to take up a fiddly miniscule hem next time I need to remember to add some length before cutting so as to avoid flashing too much knee on a breezy day.

However, the really stupid thing I did – and it really was stupid – was to put twill tape around the bottom of the bodice pieces instead of clear elastic.  Oops!  I hate clear elastic and so does my overlocker which is what I used to put this dress together apart from doing the top stitching which I do on my ordinary machine with a double needle.  So I used twill tape to stabilise the shoulders which is fine but they don’t need to stretch.  Whereas, having no zips, the rest of the dress does.  I have to perform wriggles and squiggles and all sorts of contortions my yoga teacher would be proud of in order to get the static waist over ‘the girls’ and down to where it should be.  None of my mannequins were able to oblige.  So, you got me.

Lady Skater Grey and White

 

…or most of me anyway.

You can find the Pattern here

The fabric was from this seller who has loads of lovely stretch and knit fabrics.

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21 Comments

More Handbags?

 My husband thinks I have too many handbags.  I haven’t of course but that seems to be his perception. Bless him, he once bought me a very expensive handbag for Christmas and actually thought that I would never need to buy another.   It doesn’t work like that though does it?  Actually I have many, many more shoes than handbags and what with my lifestyle these days, wear hardly any of them, certainly not on a regular basis, as the ones I prefer have heels and, for practical purposes, I wear flats, boots and wellies more than anything else.

A quilt with a handbag design seemed appropriate and I finally finished hand quilting this one the other day, found a suitable binding locally and, voila.

HandbagQuilt (1)This is a design from a book called More Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott  which aims to help you use the pre-cut fabric packs that look so tempting but you are not quite sure what to do with after buying.  Or is that just me?  This quilt is made using a Layer Cake which consists of 42 x 10 inch squares of fabric.  The pack I used here is from Basic Grey for Moda and the design is ‘Little Black Dress’.  Here is a single block and it consists of four pieces of fabric cut to different sizes plus an appliquéd bag ‘handle’ to complete the handbag shape.

HandbagQuilt (3)

I used ‘big stitch’ quilting for this as it seemed to suit the design and, if I’m honest,  all my hand quilting appears to come out as a big stitch anyway :)  I echo quilted the inner seams of each bag and around the handle.  It works on the front but not so well on the back as I’ve used a plain fabric and all my stitches are very obvious which is not necessarily a good thing.  Hence the lack of rear view photography.    Also, it probably isn’t quilted heavily enough but it will only be used as a throw, or even a wall hanging in my workroom, so it won’t get enough rough treatment to shift the batting.  Unless the dogs take a fancy to it of course.  I used a variegated perle cotton for the quilting which is why, if you zoomed in and wondered, the colour of the stitches varies between white, grey and black.

Here it is , in its entirety with, not a plain black border – that’s just the dark wood of the cupboard I’ve hung it up against – but a black and off- white binding with musical notes on it.  It was the only fabric I could find locally which would do for the binding but, even though there is nothing to do with music anywhere else on the quilt, I think it works anyway.

HandbagQuilt (2)

 

Here’s the obligatory ‘sofa shot’ and, this time, I waited until the dogs were out in the garden although, actually,  Flo would have coordinated with this very well being black and white.

HandbagQuilt1

 Having made two ‘greyish’ quilts my next project is much brighter.  It is from the same book and is called ‘Friendship Braids’.  I’m using a Moda Jelly Roll this time in a design called ‘Gypsy Girl’.  Again, I will be going great guns until I get to the quilting part and then I will be in a quandary again.  Still, that won’t be quite yet.

FriendshipBraidQuiltPrep (3)

 

to be continued…………

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14 Comments

Flo Takes Another Liberty

Dog On QuiltMuch as I love this dog, I don’t really make quilts, especially not quilts made from Liberty tana lawn, for the benefit of my pets.  Instead, I go to the local charity shop once every few months and buy up some used blankets which I put in their beds and, once they have been chewed, ripped to shreds or made ‘dog smelly’,  I dispose of them and go back to the charity shop.  However, Flo had other ideas and took advantage of the fact that I was doing some artistic ‘draping’ for purposes of photography to dive on top.

Liberty Worn & Washed Outside

Although I used the fence around the chicken hut to lay the quilt over, the chickens don’t seem to feel the need to lay on soft blankets so the quilt was safe for the outside shots.

As a point of interest and not really relevant to this blog post, one of the words I have soooo much trouble with in French is ‘poulailler’.  Now, most people could probably survive without ever having to say it but, as I keep chickens, and as it means ‘henhouse’, it is a word that I sometimes need to say, much to the amusement of anybody French that is listening at the time.  The other word I have difficulty with, which also contains lots of the letter L, is ‘rouille’ as this also necessitates rolling the ‘r’ in front before twisting your tongue around the ‘ou’ sound and that double ‘L’.  As ‘rouille’ means ‘rust’ it is a word that, for various reasons, I do find myself using quite frequently.

Anyway, I digress.  As suggested by several of you when I asked for advice on this particular project, I quilted it using wavy lines which I think works well.  Somebody said they would look ‘organic’ but, as I didn’t mark anything out apart from the distance between the lines and really just followed my (wonky) eye down the quilt, vaguely trying to echo the line before, I think that might be quite a flattering word for it.  I’m going to stick with it anyway.

LIbertyWorn&WashedQuilt (1)

It appears that one of the advantages of using bands of fabric the width of the quilt means that, when folded lengthwise and placed on a sofa or chair or wherever, you are able to see the full range of fabrics used which is not always the case with more complicated designs.

Persuaded by a friend of mine to start a new quilt together, I have resolved to finish the last bit of hand quilting and add the binding to one I had almost completed but, as I had draped it over a chair in my workroom, it became to look like part of the furniture so I sort of considered it finished.  It wasn’t!

Handbag Quilt

So this weekend should see the ‘handbag quilt’, first blogged about an embarrassingly long time ago, completed and then I won’t feel guilty about starting a new one.

Meanwhile, I must remove a dog from a quilt.

LIbertyWorn&WashedQuilt (2)

No use pretending to be asleep.

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11 Comments

Wild Thing

I’ve got three dogs and, although we walk through woods at the back of our garden so they are rarely on a lead, I like them to wear a collar with an I.D. tag just in case.  They are micro-chipped but, if they were to get lost, not everybody would bother to take them to the vets and have them scanned whereas they might just phone a number.

I’m always buying new collars for them so I thought I’d have a go at making my own.  I ordered all the hardware and spent ages choosing grosgrain ribbon to make the webbing look pretty.  This is my first attempt and Flo graciously agreed to be the model on this occasion..  This was a very brief moment of stillness –  I chose that ribbon with her in mind.

Flo Wild Child

What do you think?  I might start making these, along with my dog bandanas, to help raise funds for the Dog Rescue Carcassonne Group here in France.

Here are some Chelsea Football Club supporters who were recipients of specially requested dog bandanas for Christmas.

Dog Bandanas - Chelsea Fans

I wonder whether they know they support Chelsea?

And not to be too biased towards dogs – after all, I do have cats too,  I took this photo of my big pyjama case cat, Henry, avidly watching a programme about cats.  I thought animals couldn’t recognise stuff like that but he definitely did.

Cats Watching Other Cats

Please excuse the proliferation of gaming gubbins, wires, speakers, remotes, etc.   Nothing to do with me.  I only know how to work the telly although, since they moved the satellite, we have to do all sorts of twisty turny technical things to receive t.v. transmissions so I had to get a bit more tech savvy quickly if I wanted to watch Downton Abbey and Broadchurch.

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A Boyfriend Blazer

I know boyfriend jeans and boyfriend cardigans exist but, until now, I wasn’t sure about boyfriend blazers.  Anyway, I appear to have knitted one.  Which is unfortunate as I haven’t got a boyfriend.  I have got a husband but he’s 6’4″ so that might be a bit of a stretch – literally.  Plus, I’m not sure it’s his colour.

BlackberryShaleJacket (1)

I’ve had some trials and tribulations with this jacket and, if you are interested, I have gone into more detail on my Ravelry page here .

Suffice it to say, I won’t be putting in a back vent again

BlackberryShaleJacket (3)

Why?

and I won’t be dividing the sleeves for cuffs again just sewing on buttons in the appropriate place.

BlackberryShaleJacket (2)

Love that double moss stitch and those buttons though.

The reason it I’m calling it a ‘boyfriend blazer’ is because it’s too big for me – mostly in the sleeves.  Maybe my fault as I used a different yarn although I did do a swatch beforehand and the gauge seemed fine.

I will wear it though as I love it.  The stitch and the chunky yarn really make it feel like a jacket rather than a cardigan.  I’ve ordered some more yarn, this time in a denim blue colour.  I will do another swatch and make the next size down.

The pattern is Shale by Kim Hargreaves from her collection called ‘Storm’ – a great collection of patterns, almost all of which I’d like to knit.

The recommended wool is Rowan Big Wool, I used Sirdar Denim Ultra in blackberry (much cheaper and is great to knit with).  It’s on 8mm needles, though I used 7mm to get the right gauge.

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7 Comments

A Bit of Home Décor For A Change

I finished my mammoth blanket last night

Giant Hand Knitted Blanket Herringbone Tweed

      Once I swapped these

for these

It made life much easier

I love it! It makes me want to roll myself up in it and drink hot chocolate.

Hand Knitted Blanket First Try

For scale, that’s a 2-seater sofa I have artfully fartfully draped it across.

The dog looks like she wants to wrap herself in it too but I’m not sure how the open knit texture would respond to dog claws – not too well I suspect so it will be a human only blanket.

Once my shoulder has recovered from the slight ache caused by the weight of the thing towards the end, I’m going to make another in a flecked duck egg blue.

Looks like knitted blankets might be fighting for space with quilts in my house from now on.  Won’t Mr. Tialys be pleased as, like most men, he does love a cushion and a throw ;)

By the way, if you fancy giving it a twirl yourself you can find the pattern here or on Ravelry under the designer Erin Black.

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21 Comments

A Quilt Question

I’ve pieced a top using some strips of Liberty fabric that I bought on a visit to the Liberty store a year or so ago.  They came in a pack under the ‘Worn and Washed’ label like this.

Liberty Worn & Washed Pack

I’ve made a quilt using Worn and Washed fabrics before.  They are good for making quilts you want to look as if they have already had a bit of a life and, when used with cotton batting, and washed to shrink just a little, they can look a bit vintage.  Here is one I made with a bundle of those fabrics a few years ago – actually, thinking about it, probably around 11 years ago now, eek!.

Worn and Washed Quilt

Not a great picture – I find it really hard to photograph quilts properly – plus we are having a very grey day today – but you get the idea – it already looks as if my grandmother might have made it (which would make it very old indeed and also very unlikely as my grandmother never sewed a thing in her life as far as I know!)

Anyway, the lady behind Worn and Washed which you can read about here, has a link with Liberty now and you can buy some of her bundles there.  Otherwise, for non Liberty bundles, I think it is best to buy from the shows she attends as it is best to see and feel the fabrics which, by their nature, are quite individual.

This is the quilt top I have made with my pack – I’ve kept it very simple to highlight the fabrics and it will be backed with a silvery grey plain cotton.  I took it into the fabric shop with me to match it with a plain for the back and the staff were stroking it because it is sooo soft and smooth, being tana lawn and also having had a bit of a wash I suppose.  If you click on the photo it will allow you to zoom in a couple of times so you can see the fabrics better.  I love the poppies and the sweeties at the bottom.

LibertyWornandWashedQuiltTop

 

My question for other quilters is how do you think I should quilt this?  I have a roll of Hobbs cotton batting and that needs to be quilted with no more than a 2 inch gap so I won’t be doing it by hand.  The back is plain so parallel lines across the width would look boring.  Also any bad stitches would be very obvious!  I’m not very good with free motion quilting.  Would diagonals work?  Any ideas?

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Knitted Sunglasses

My replacement 20mm circular needle has not yet arrived in the post so I can’t get on and finish my humungous blanket .  However, the wool for my second blanket came yesterday..

Chunky Yarn for Blanket

The light’s not great today and this is not as grey as it looks here but a soft, duck egg blue colour with flecks of brown, black and beige.

In the meantime, to fill the time, I have gone to the other end of the scale and got out my 2.5mm circulars to make another pair of socks.  I’m supposed to be knitting these along with my friend but I’ve raced ahead a bit because I know, once those big needles arrive, I’ll be back under the blanket.

Two at a time Toe Up Socks

Another pair of two at a time, toe up socks.  I love photographing them at this stage as they look like a little bikini top or a pair of sunglasses!

It took me so long to get a colour match with this wool (Drops Fabel) that I almost gave up.  I had to unravel a lot before I could find it and then the unraveled yarn got into a great big tangle and I had to spend ages undoing knots and sorting it out.

I must be getting better at knitting on magic loop because I managed to get as far as this whilst watching my Dexter box set which, if you’ve seen it, is quite incredible really as it’s hard to take your eyes off the screen when engrossed in the goings on in the life of a likeable serial killer ;)

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Bird Calls

 I love the winter days when the sky is blue, the air is crisp and you can see snow but it’s not right on your doorstep.

Pyrenees in January

   The skiers are complaining as there’s not enough snow but that’s fine by me.  I find skiing too much of a faff – far too much equipment to grapple with, too many clothes to get on and off, the roads are slippy and dangerous leading up to the slopes and it’s too cold for my liking.  Those mountain tops are a half hour’s drive away and I’m satisfied with just looking.  I wish the French would bury their wires though :(  I could have got a view without the wires from higher up in my garden but I was in my bedroom, the camera was to hand and, anyway, this is the reality.

Still, with all that on my doorstep, I do get homesick from time to time so I have inflicted this reminder on the local wildlife.

British Telephone Box for Birds

It was a toss up between this one and Dr. Who’s Tardis.  Maybe I should have gone for that as it would probably have been bigger on the inside ;)

Can anyone explain why the birds are leaving those fat balls alone in favour of the sunflower seeds yet, at other times, it seems to be the other way round?   We get blue tits, nuthatches, robins, coal tits and finches mostly.  If it’s very cold the occasional blackbird and dove fly up on to the balcony.   Unsurprisingly, we get lots of sunflowers springing up under the balcony in the summer.

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