A Flag for Friday

Probably four or five years ago I started a project and, after an enthusiastic start, I put it to one side, got involved with other things and that was that.  It was, however, still peeking at me in an accusatory fashion from underneath other things on the shelves of my cutting table so, in an effort to finish what I started I pulled it all out again.

I hadn’t done much – just the ‘brown’ triangles.

The project is a Moda bake shop ‘recipe’ by Lynne Goldsworthy (available here for free) and I liked the slightly raggedy look of the finished flag and the colours she used but, at that time, I’d never done much (if any) foundation paper piecing.  Now I have so it was a bit of a shock to remember that this is not at all like that apart from the fact that paper is involved.   In this method you cut up the fabric into squares using pinking shears (or cutter) and lay them on sheets of newspaper making sure they are overlapped by at least 1/4 inch.  In fact, the easiest way is to use charm packs which already have pinked edges.

Like so.

Then, you stitch down the pieces an 1/8 inch away from each pinked edge – which is why I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue with this project at first because it just seemed wrong to me.  However, this method is what gives it the shabby look that I had liked initially.

Zoom in for close up of top stitching along pinked edges

You separate the colours into brown, red and cream and lay each colour on sheets of newspaper which you cut to a set size then sew them down with a small stitch so, in effect, you are making a new fabric which is sort of what you do in all patchwork but this is different in that the seams are showing on top.  It feels a bit weird.    It is also a bit of a pain because, unless you use a multitude of pins, it does try to shift around under the sewing machine.  Then you remove the newspaper and cut the new ‘fabric’ into triangles for the brown fabric and different sized bands for the red and cream.

With me so far?

At this stage I was still dubious but, once I started joining it together I became more enthusiastic and am actually quite chuffed with the resulting top.

Oops! Forgot to clear those bedside tables off this time.

**** If you are not interested in more of ‘the process’ scroll down to the next set of ***** lest you be unnecessarily bored to tears.

I did find certain problems with the instructions so I did a bit of research to find out if anybody else had the same issues but couldn’t find anything so maybe it’s just me.  However, in case it helps, this is what I found.

When I joined the first quadrant together I assumed the joining seams would be 1/4 inch which is usual in patchwork.  Unfortunately, I assumed wrongly and it came out too small – luckily I checked before I joined the other three.  It seems that everything is 1/8 inch but I couldn’t find that instruction anywhere.  The top stitched seams are 1/8 inch, yes, but as they are not ‘normal’ seams I didn’t think it would follow that the joining seams would also be that small.  The instructions have you press the ‘normal’ seams open but I didn’t bother as that is a difficult thing to do with such a small seam allowance so I pressed to one side – a maverick, that’s me.  Also, because I had to undo the seams of the first quadrant and mess with edges cut on the bias after removal from the foundation paper, it started to go out of shape so I had to be careful lining it up with the other quadrants.

The instructions have you cut ten 2 inch bands from the cream ‘fabric’ you have made but, as you can see from the photo above, you actually need twelve.  Luckily I had enough cream squares left to cobble together another couple of bands.   The instructions also tell you to use 1 inch bands for this stage but she actually means 2 inch ones as there only four 1 inch bands in the design used for the narrow strips of the flag and, anyway, it is obvious from the photo that they should be the wider strips.  The pattern is free but, even so, I’m surprised it doesn’t appear to have been corrected since it was published as I’m sure I can’t be the only one – or can I??

Anyway, enough of the technical stuff.

****

Still with me?

This is actually supposed to be a wall hanging but I’m not sure Mr. T wants another one (yet) and I’m not so patriotic that I’m going to hang a Union Jack in a prominent position on the wall – even if it is a stylised, scruffy version.  So, I’m thinking I’ll use it as a throw over the back of a sofa or chair or bench or something.

The fabric I used is the same as the one in the original instructions and is a Moda fabric by French General and called ‘Falalalala’.  The text in the fabric range is taken from a French song of the same name which is sung to the same tune as ‘Deck the Halls’ but with different words so there’s a bit of entente cordiale going on here – as is fitting for a Brit living in France.  You can’t say I don’t give you useless information in my posts or even fodder for pub quizzes.  Of course, this range is hard to find now as I’d abandoned the project for so long but I wanted to back it with something pretty as it won’t be hidden on the wall but visible as the reverse side of a throw.  I found a couple of the designs still available in a shop in the U.K. – more in the U.S. of course but the shipping was silly talk – and I went for the cream one with poinsettias.  A rash choice for a house full of animals you might think but, hey, I’ve already got visible pinked edges in possible danger of fraying so I’m obviously throwing caution to the wind with this project.

Mr. Tialys will be arriving home from the U.K.  in a couple of hours with the cream fabric – and some of the plain greyish brown for the binding – I didn’t want the binding to be a feature as it’s supposed to be a flag after all – so I should be able to get it together this weekend.  I’m a little worried as the instructions say you need 2.5 yards of backing fabric and I worked out I’ll only need 1.6m – mixing my metrics with my imperials is never a good thing – so I might have to add a strip of some of the fabric I have left over, we’ll see but maths was never my strong point.  I will be quilting in the ditch only as I think there’s enough visible stitching going on already.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to show you the finished throw artfully draped over the back of a sofa and adorned with a cat or two (who will be chucked off straight after the photo is taken IG style)  early next week.

What do you think?  Have you ever had doubts about a project you started some time ago?  Did you abandon it or complete it and, if you completed it, were you glad or sorry that you bothered?

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More P.J.s – The Pears Pair

I showed you the muslin for the Kwik Sew pyjamas I made from the vintage sheet last time, now the real thing is finished.

I used some plain scrap fabric for the collar, cuffs and pocket top and some buttons I’d bought for something else at one time or another now lost in the mists of time and memory.

I bought the Liberty tana lawn on Ebay – 3m for 20 quid which was a bargain – somebody was having a de-stash which I might do one of these days (yeah, right!).  I’ve only used 1.5m for these so I have yet more Liberty tana lawn in my stash now.  I’m sure I’ll find a use for it eventually.  Maybe I could make the long bottoms for when there are visitors.

I’m sure you will be glad that I decided to let one of my old mannequins model them, rather than subject you to another view of my legs (even though it was a blurry photo).  I had to faff about with the shorts because of the pole and they’re still not hanging right but you get the idea.

I suspect flat buttons are the norm for pyjama tops but these go so well with the colours I had to use them even though they might dig in me when I’m asleep.  I don’t sleep on my front so I should be O.K. but, if not, I’ll change them for something more practical.  I don’t know how women  sleep on their fronts – don’t their lady bumps get in the way? It’s not supposed to be good for your back anyway so don’t do it although it is supposed to be good for preventing snoring so I might suggest it to Mr. T. who is a champion snorer and hasn’t got any lady bumps so there’s no excuse.  Anyway, I digress – note the double top stitching.  One line is just down the edge and I did that easily enough on the muslin but I chickened out of doing the second line which follows the line of the facing.  I didn’t want the bobbin thread on top so you sort of have to follow the line of the facing on the inside from the outside, if you know what I mean.  It’s the sort of tricksy finishing touch you do at the end that usually goes wrong for me and then I get upset because everything else went well and then I mess up at the last hurdle.  However – this time it worked.

Even though, in close up, they look like I’ve already slept in them (because I didn’t iron them again before taking the photos) I haven’t so I will report on the comfort factor after several sleeps.

Just to let you know –  my hand seems to have recovered quite nicely from the repetitive strain injury, arthritis, tendonitis or whatever else it was that was causing me pain.  I am still wearing my craft gloves though – when I remember – and have bought some more so that I have one up in my workroom for sewing and one downstairs for when I’m wrestling with wool.

Speaking of which, here’s my progress on the Eastern Jewels blanket.  I’m making the squares and triangles for each row and joining up as I go, as well as weaving in the endless ends, so it won’t be such a shock at the end.

The more I do the less I feel I will want to part with it.

Now I’ve finished the second pair of P.J.s I am tackling a quilting project I started a few years ago which I kept glimpsing, peeking at me accusingly from a corner of my workroom.  I’m not even sure whether I like it any more but the fabric was too expensive to discard so I’ll press on and see what happens.  I want to get quilting projects out of the way in preparation for the next block swap I’m participating in which will probably start in March/April this year.

What are you up to this weekend? Are you starting a new project or continuing with an existing one.  Or are you doing nothing whatsoever to do with crafting?  I’ll still be interested.  Honest!!

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Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite

Now my hatbox wallhanging is complete and in situ, I realised that my sewing mojo has returned – woohoo! – and so I thought I’d start with a pair of pyjamas and why not?

This is the pattern I used and this is a vintage sheet I unearthed from my ‘vintage sheet stash’  – hasn’t everybody got one of those?  I wanted to make a pair of these (the shorts version) for both myself and for Mlle Tialys the Younger but we are different sizes so I thought I’d trace off the size I thought she’d be and make a muslin we could both try  on and then go from there.  I’m trying to be good about tracing off patterns – especially those I might use more than once and for different people.

This is an easy make but it re-acquainted me with basic collars, cuffs, elastic casing, buttonholes and top stitching after the knitting and crochet fests that have been my crafting activities of choice lately – the wall hanging doesn’t count as I really only had the assembly to do.

I wasn’t going to do the contrast bits but I decided to go with it in the end and used some fabric sent to me by my Susanna over at Pins, Needles and Threads who was my sewing Stitching Santa for Christmas 2015 (was it really that long ago?).  I think it makes a difference.

The shorts have an elasticated back and then you make ties from the fabric which are joined to the elastic at the sides and emerge through buttonholes on the front so very adjustable and handy if you decide you want to make room for a midnight feast.   I had lots of fun turning a narrow tube of fabric the right way out again – I might use ribbon next time!

I did all the seams on my overlocker which is very underused at the moment and, considering I paid a small fortune for it, deserves to be used much more and for more varied tasks than it is now.  I need to get online and do some ‘different ways of using your hideously expensive overlocker that you are currently only using to do stuff you could do on a very basic one’ tutorials.  Anybody know of any good ones 🙂

Mlle Tialys wouldn’t pose in her P.J.s but I’m not so proud – at least the photo is relatively blurry and you can only just make out the unmade bed behind me 😮

This is a very wearable muslin for Mlle T and has shown me that, when I make mine, I need to go down one size for the top and two for the bottom (as I no longer have one 😦 )

It’s sometimes a nuisance that dress forms only have one leg but you get the idea.

You may remember that I bought some rather striking Liberty tana lawn with which to make my p.j.s.

This was the seller’s photo I showed you before and the pears looked enormous.

However, when it eventually arrived in France in Mr. T’s cabin bag, they were a much more discreet size as I have tried to show by artfully placing a spool of cotton on top.

So I’ll get on with them while the mood is upon me but I might have another rummage through my vintage sheets too – I need the space.

Have you ever used vintage sheets to make anything wearable?

 

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Les Boîtes à Chapeau (for a change)

It’s the hat box quilt of course but it sounds so lovely in French and makes a change in my list of blog post titles.

So, it’s done!  Kate and I have been furiously fairly calmly making  hat boxes over the past year or so from a book we both happened to have – ‘Passionate Patchwork’ by Kaffe Fassett.  Kate is making a full size quilt while I decided to make a wall hanging – which is why I’ve finished first.  Well, that and she is hand quilting and I took the easy way out and used a machine.  I have lots of Liberty of London fabric and decided this would be a good way to showcase some of them.

‘Perfection is the enemy of progress’ I’ve heard it said and that is certainly the case as far as this project went because, had I decided to go back and fix some of the mistakes I spotted after the event, I would still be putting it together now and getting fed up with it.    Instead of that, it is assembled, hung up and, apart from one thing which will bug me forever because I thought about it beforehand and then forgot to do it, I’m quite pleased with it.  So, you can zoom in on it if you are the Quilt Police and have fun finding all the faults but I know they are there and I can live with them.

I wasn’t sure how to hang it – I’ve got no other wall hangings in the house – but knew I didn’t want any hanging mechanism to show.  I searched around a bit and found a tutorial based on the method used by a Museum of Quilts in the United States to hang the quilts they have on display – you can find the method here.

So now I’ve shown you the big picture, here are some of the quilt in action.

 

 

 

Astonishingly – you know what men are often like about such things – Mr. Tialys is quite approving of this and has even asked if perhaps we could have something in a discreet corner of the lounge (I did note the word ‘discreet’ by the way).

Now to go and put the books, tissues, glasses, alarm clocks, hand cream and all the other usual paraphernalia back on those bedside cabinets.  Get me and my staged photos  (otherwise known as ‘tidying up’).  I’ll be applying filters, drawing faces in my cappuccino froth and using my Instagram account next!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Two Reasons I’m Looking Forward to the End of January

I can feel myself getting back into the swing of sewing and, to that end, have bought a couple of new dressmaking patterns and the fabric to go with them,  I know, I know,  I already have plenty of patterns and fabric but I needed to be newly inspired.  That’s my excuse and I feel it’s a good one.

But first!  I really need to get my hatbox quilt wall hanging off my WIP list and up on the wall so that I don’t feel guilty about starting a new project.  ‘What?’ I hear you ask -‘ since when did she care about such things?’  Well, since recently and I don’t know how long it will last so I’m making the most of it.

A sneak preview for you – the clips will not be part of the finished project I promise you.

This should actually be finished today or tomorrow but Kate – with whom I am supposed to be ‘doing’ this hatbox project – likes to see progress reports and so I thought I’d make her happy.  Kate is making a full size quilt and hand quilting the whole thing so is obviously not so far advanced but we started off by saying we would post our progress on the last day of each month.  In the last quarter of 2017 this wasn’t possible for me so I’m a bit behind but, no matter, I thought I’d post the progress today and then the finished project on the 31st and all will be right with my World – especially as it will also be the end of Dry January 🙂

You may remember I have elicited your opinions on several occasions about whether a certain block would fit in with the rest of them or not, which layout of several options you preferred, etc. etc.  All opinions duly considered and mostly ignored of course but that’s what makes it fun.

Well, when it came to adding the sashing in between the blocks I couldn’t be bothered to dig out my old posts and photos to see what had been decided so flung them down on the floor any which way and thought ‘Aha, that looks good, how wonderful a random flinging can be’.  So I took a photo.

Then,  I looked at the photo and immediately saw that I had placed some of the hatboxes higher on their backgrounds than others so things weren’t lining up.  Disaster!  If I ever make this quilt again that is just one of the many things I would look out for which I should have done the first time of course but you live and learn – though sometimes I think I just live.  A couple of the other things I would do differently are to make the ‘wallpapers’  all the same and hand quilt them – I’ve no excuse as I made them as quilt- as -you -go blocks so it wouldn’t have been too difficult.

Still,  moving on……

I was forced to put all the ‘lower’ boxes on the top row so that they would (more or less) line up with each other so, in the end, my layout was decided for me albeit not by you.  Thank you for your help and opinions anyway.

You can see above that I put vertical strips of sashing on the blocks and joined each of the two sections of six blocks with two horizontal strips.  This meant there was only one long (ish) vertical strip to grapple with  down the centre.

My troubles then started as I wanted to put wider sashing – some might call them borders – around the edges.  My sashing fabric is another Liberty tana lawn which has a sort of wood grain effect that I hope will reinforce the impression of shelving – an impression  helped by having wider woodgrain top and sides I feel.   I experimented several times with top, bottom and batting layers until I found a method that worked for me.  I can’t tell you how much unpicking was indulged in and how many anglo saxon words were retrieved from my memory and bandied about the place.  Luckily, I only had one helper and she doesn’t mind a bit of cursing just so long as it isn’t directed at her.

 Here she is watching me hand stitch the back sashing down – I suppose she is giving me a bit of an ‘old fashioned’ look.  Perhaps I’ll mind my Ps and Qs in future.  I won’t go into the mechanics of quilt-as-you-go here because if you are not a quilter you will be bored to tears and, if you are, you probably already know about it.  Basically, it avoids having to wrestle a large quilt (or medium sized wall hanging in this case) under a domestic sewing machine but it can also make hand quilting a more manageable and portable project.

So, here’s the back which I almost like as much as the front but the photo was taken before I attached a hanging sleeve or binding.

Mr. Tialys was sought out – he was in his ‘shed’ – to root through his wood stash and find something suitable for a hanger and I made him asked whether he would kindly put the fitting up on the bedroom wall before disappearing to work in the U.K. for the week.  He also retrieved some anglo saxon from his vocabulary  (which definitely was directed at me) but did the deed and that means I will be able to take a nice photo or two and post the finished article on the 31st January, perhaps with a glass of wine to hand 😉

But first I have to hand stitch that binding down on the back – where’s my pain relieving crafting glove?

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Dr. Tialys’s Research Into Remedies for Hand Pain ……..

………Possibly Due to Repetitive Strain Injury (mostly of the knitting/crochet/sewing kind) or Possibly Not.

 

Unfortunately I have still not found the diplomas, certificates and whatevers that qualify me as a medical doctor – but I’m sure I took the hippocratic oath some time in the past – or was it all a dream?

However, pressing on regardless – though only gently as I have had a hurty hand – I tried out some remedies to see if anything would help before I have to go and sit in a germ ridden waiting room at a Doctor’s surgery where actual certificates are displayed, money has to be handed over and tests are prescribed.

These are my findings – in order of testing, not effectiveness.

 1. The Potions

An anti-inflammatory taken at night when the pain first started which helped me get a bit of sleep.   Normally, a glass of wine would have done this job for me but, in a cruel twist of fate, I’m doing Dry January so this remedy was denied to me.

 

2.  The Lotions

Useless on this occasion.

 

3.  The Ice

This seemed to work although that might be because I froze my hand so effectively it was not capable of feeling anything anyway.  Also, I didn’t wrap the ice up well enough on one occasion and gave myself freezer burn thus making the cure worse than the ailment.  Use with caution.

4.  The Wrist Support

A useful aid to impress people at Zumba/Pilates classes where I don’t mention knitting but let people imagine me hurtling down the mountains on skis, falling off my carbon steel bike,  jogging on slippy ground, etc. (none of which I actually do)  – but  not that comfortable and too bulky to do anything much whilst wearing it.

 

5.  The Copper Magnetic Bracelet

Well, anything’s worth a try isn’t it?  It’s quite pretty too.

 

6.  The Cat  Hand Massage Ball

My zumba/pilates teacher recommended rolling a small ball (my one is a cat toy) between the palms of your hands for a couple of minutes every morning.  Apparently it ‘gets the fluid moving’.  You can also use it under your feet but I don’t recommend that first thing in the morning unless you are fully awake.  Ask me how I know.

 

7. The Handeze Glove

This was recommended by a fellow blogger and, despite looking slightly creepy, seems to be doing a good job.  It’s very comfortable and discreet and doesn’t impede you at all whilst sewing/knitting/crochet but, because of that, I keep forgetting I’ve got it on and start washing my hands or cleaning out the oven wearing it.  (well, o.k., not cleaning out the oven because I can’t remember the last time I did that and, anyway, it’s supposed to clean itself although I can’t say it does a very good job).

It’s probably worth wearing as a preventative measure in future and I might buy one for my other hand too.

 

8.  The Rest and Relaxation

Be like Leon

I can report that my hand is actually feeling a lot better.  I am getting the occasional twinge but not the constant discomfort I was having before.  Of course, having tried all the above remedies, I have no idea which one actually works but I would say the last one is probably the most important.  Don’t overdo things in the first place and don’t try to force yourself through a pain barrier – crafting is not aerobics.

So, I managed to get another octagon made for my Eastern Jewels blanket but, heeding my own advice, I took a few short sessions to do it rather than one long one.  Patience is not really one of my virtues though so we’ll see how long I can stick to this new and different cautious approach.

 

important note;  In case you are labouring under any illusion – which I doubt – I am, and never was, a real Doctor of any description.

 

 

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A Slow Start

Although, as far as I can remember,  I never qualified as a Doctor I believe I have repetitive strain injury in my left thumb due to overdoing the knitting and crochet leading up to Christmas.  I am trying to rest it, ice it, ibuprofen it and generally wrestle it into submission but the frustration at not being able to continue with my current projects is really getting to me.  I cannot console myself with a glass of wine as I’m doing Dry January and I can’t seem to get back into the swing of sewing – I haven’t taken the cover of my machine for several weeks.  Woe is me!

                               Yes, I know that looks like a seal waiting to come in the house but it’s supposed to be a dog. I call it artistic license.

Although I never qualified as a physiotherapist either, I have decided it’s not so much the crochet activity that’s doing for me as the sock knitting.  I don’t really need any new socks at the moment so I’m putting that project aside until I can manage the close pinching movement needed to hold the teeny circular needles I’m using without taking to my fainting couch with an ice pack afterwards and sulking.

So, I have moved on a little with the Eastern Jewels blanket by limiting myself to half hour(ish) crochet sessions followed by ice and now have four completed octagons.  I might do as Sheila over at Sewchet did and try to join the rows of four as I go so I can be inspired but mostly so I won’t have as much of the boring stuff to do at the end.  I can only hope my blanket will turn out half as beautifully as Sheila’s  has.

                                         The first four being blocked – pinned to a yoga mat which is as much action as it has seen lately.

Talking of being inspired, I rather like Trish’s Liberty tana lawn shorty pyjamas over at The Small Sewing Room and decided to make some myself because I need to get back on that horse  sewing machine again and I don’t really need any new clothes but a new pair of P.J.s appeals as the RTW ones with shorts never seem to fit me properly and are often so short that I end up taking in tomorrow’s washing if you get my drift 😮

                                                                     I might not show off my belly button off quite so freely.  

Anyway, Trish’s version uses lovely, feminine, softly coloured tana lawn but mine will be covered in pears  – although they are still Liberty pears so will be nice and soft and comfy and, anyway, the fabric was a bargain on eBay and I decided I didn’t have anything against pear covered pyjamas at that price.

Once I’m back in the swing of things I will have another look at the Winifred Aldrich pattern cutting book I got for Christmas.  I had a quick shufty through and it scared me half to death so I bought a Craftsy pattern cutting course as well to get me started.  I am going to try making a skirt block/sloper for the younger Tialys Mademoiselle.  I was going to do the trousers course, as she wears those more often, but I think the skirt course has more of the basics included which is probably what I need.  I’ll let you know how I get on.

For reasons that I won’t go into again I was very physically inactive during the couple of months leading up to Christmas and over the whole holiday period.  Ironic then that, when I returned to my Zumba class last week, I had the cheek to have my hand and wrist in a support glove thingy as if I’d been doing all sorts of sporty stuff rather than too much knitting.   I didn’t own up to it though – what does that say about me?

Not my hand  – my hurty hand is my left one -you get the idea though.

Usually, I walk the dogs up some very steep land every day and go to Zumba and Pilates classes every week but I had done absolutely nothing.  The difference in my fitness level in the Zumba class was evident to all as I staggered,  gasping for air and water,  out of the side door in the midst of a routine.  Well, that’s a slight exaggeration but I did have to stop mid-fling about and swig from my water bottle instead of waiting until the music stopped :/

It’s been a slow start all round but I’m working on it.

Has 2018 begun well for you?

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Casting Off

For one reason or another, this has been a year more dedicated to the woolly crafts than the fabric ones.

I started this first project last November but, by the time it was ready for ‘the sewing up bit’ the weather was far too warm to wear it so I left it until this November to assemble it.  It was my second oversized or ‘boyfriend’ cardigan from Kim Hargreaves ‘Storm’ book of patterns using one strand of Rowan kidsilk haze and one of Kid Classic throughout giving it that nice fuzzy look.  One reason I’ve showed it on the mannequin rather than me is that the photos of the mannequin wearing it show the fuzziness better than the ones of me and the second reason is, despite being over 100 years old, she looks slightly less raddled than I do at the moment.

I like it but I don’t love it as much as the silvery grey one I made.  It will be worn around the house when I can’t be bothered to light the log burner and will make me a magnet for cats seeking comfort which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.


Since I re-taught myself to crochet, there has been quite a bit of hooking going on this year.  I was enticed by these gorgeous colours in Attic 24’s Hydrangea blanket and the dense stitch pattern was an easy one to do in front of the T.V. which means I get on with it more quickly.

I didn’t register the measurements of the blanket which is single bed size so I’ve only just finished it but love it to bits.

Most of the crochet projects I’ve done so far have been in rows so I thought I’d challenge myself a bit.  Sheila over at Sewchet started on this lovely blanket called Persian Tiles in the Eastern Jewels colourway and, although I’d already spotted it, I thought it might be a bit complicated but after reading about it on Sheila’s blog I thought I’d give it a go.

Unfortunately, that is not me holding up the finished blanket – I’m nowhere near that finished, blonde or young.

I’m really enjoying it so far – although I’ve only done two and a half octagons – but it’s something a bit different for me to get stuck in to and I’m gaining a bit of experience ‘in the round’ at the same time.

I’m weaving my ends in as I go along because there are multitudinous ones and it will be a mammoth task at the end if I don’t.

Thinking that I would work on both that project and one other over the Christmas holidays, I got out two balls of sock yarn I bought last year and cast on for a pair of socks.  As this is only my third pair in as many years I have to keep going back to the tutorials to see what to do.

I like to do both socks at once so I don’t fall prey to the dreaded ‘second sock syndrome’ which I know I would be prone to and there is, apparently, no cure.  Also, I knit from the toe up for various reasons but not least because at this stage it looks as if I’m knitting a teeny bikini top or a pair of woolly sunglasses.  I am easily amused.  This method works for me but involves tricksy beginnings such as Judy’s Magic Cast On and the Magic Loop Method which I need to remind myself of when I embark on my annual sockfest.

All is not so successful.

Remember the Sunshine and Showers Crochet-A-Long I embarked on a while back? Another crochet challenge I thought I’d set myself.   Well, I got off to a flying start and then came the flowers.

The flowers are done separately, joined up and then attached to the existing piece.

This is where they are now.  It might have been a challenge too far.

I might go back to this project at some future stage but I am also fearful that the edges of the blanket will be less than straight because of all the different stitches and patterns in each section and, in my inexpert hands, it is more likely to happen than not as I’ve noticed other people, more experienced in the ways of crochet, have had this problem.

Unfortunately, having had a pair of needles or a hook in my hands almost permanently for some time now, I think I’ve got some sort of repetitive strain injury in the fat part at the base of my thumb so I might have to resort to an ice pack, some ibuprofen, massage and a few days of yarn deprivation to see if it will right itself.

In the meantime, I will gaze at my lovely hydrangea blanket – repelling all dogs and cats until the novelty wears off –  and, because I’m so chuffed with it, put a second photo on, which is almost exactly the same as the first one,  just to make myself feel better about not completing the Sunshine and Showers one.

Plus, I will read the book I asked Mr. T. for for Christmas and try to finally get to grips with pattern cutting.

So, in more ways than one I am casting off until the new year which is only two sleeps away but I will raise a glass of something sparkly to you all on New Year’s Eve and I will make the most of it because I am intending to test myself again this year by doing ‘dry January’ when I will try to maintain my sanity (and my liver)  while not drinking any wine (or any other alcoholic beverage) until 1st February.

Thank you for your support, comments, good wishes, contributions, virtual hugs and all those other things bloggers are so good at, in 2017 and I hope you will stick with me in 2018 – even though I might be a touch grouchy in January 😉

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My Stitching Santa Parcel 2017 – Part 1

This year I joined in, once again, with Sheila over at Sewchet’s infamous Stitching Santa.  I am greedy so joined in both the knitting and stitching versions.  I haven’t yet received my package from my knitting partner but, if she is reading this, I imagine you might have sent it to my husband’s office in the U.K. and he left on the 21st to come over to France for Christmas but it will be safe and sound in his desk drawer and will be with me in the second week of January.  Sorry about that but I was trying to save you postage and it backfired – if indeed this is what has happened, I speculate only.

So Christmas came around again and it was time to torment my dogs with silly outfits (there was a hat too but she wouldn’t countenance it!)…………..

…………..get summed up by my daughter on a t-shirt – how well she knows me………….

……….and receive a parcel of goodies from a like-minded sewing person.

This year Sheila had tasked Rita who blogs at Rita’s Design with what to put in my parcel and what an excellent job she made of it.

Love these two little fabric buckets Rita made for me – excellent for the sock project I’m working on at the moment.

I don’t know how long I’ll be able to resist dipping this into a mug of hot milk.

A selection of coordinating fabric squares which will be great for a patchwork project.

These fabric pieces have peel off paper on the back revealing a sticky surface which I can imagine would be useful for covering notebooks or similar projects.

Some sewing spool fabric from Barcelona and some floral fabric from Hungary – and, as Rita lives in Germany now, this is a truly cosmopolitan parcel 🙂

A generously sized key holder which Rita made from a traditional Hungarian fabric which will certainly come in very useful.

Look!  She even made me a rubber stamp with my name on it.

I absolutely adore this little nativity scene inside a seed pod.  Apparently. Rita’s friend creates these little Christmas ornaments and it will certainly be brought out year after year to decorate our tree.

A side view in case anybody can help me identify the pod.

Last, but certainly not least, my own personalised, beautiful drawstring bag for putting my ‘smalls’ in when I’m travelling.

I was cheered up immensely by my parcel from Rita this Christmas and send lots of thanks to both her and to Sheila at Sewchet for organising us all once again.

Off to heat up a mug of hot milk now before somebody else discovers my chocolate spoon.

 

 

 

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Stitching Santa – The Knitting One – On Its Way

As I have done for the past two years, I joined in with Sheila of Sewchet’s Stitching Santa – both the sewing one and the knitting one – you can’t have too much of a good thing.

This cute enamel pin is the thing I spent most of my budget on.

This knitted neck warmer I made while over in the U.K. recently looking after Mum.

I made this little drawstring bag to keep knitting bits and pieces in

such as these wooden stitch markers…….

…….some cute wooden sheep buttons and a couple of other bits I forgot to photograph :/

Oh, there they are in the next photo of the skeins of slubby linen wool in a fetching shade of lilac.

……and a couple of crocheted coasters which I didn’t make myself so can’t take the credit for those delicate rounds.

Once again I had fun putting my packages together and hope my swap partner will be happy with what I chose.

Thanks to Sheila for organising us all once again.

 

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