A Celebration of Concentration

Remember I told you I was making my first ever man’s shirt and, as that represented quite a challenge for me, I was going to take it slowly, make a muslin* which, in the best case scenario, would be wearable and follow a sew along by somebody much more adept than me in the shirt making field?  Well, I didn’t lie.

(* for the non-dressmakers amongst you, a muslin or toile is a sort of try out of the pattern to test fit etc.)

This is the Walden (or Negroni) by Colette and was recommended by many so I thought I’d give it a go.  I thought I’d go with the short sleeved version first as it will hopefully still be warm around here for a couple of months yet and used a locally bought, reasonably priced fabric for the muslin rather than cut into the Liberty tana lawn I’d bought specifically for the purpose shown below.

The man in question – aka Mr. Tialys – didn’t want any pockets which was fine by me so, with those out of the equation, plus no plackets on cuffs which the long sleeved version has, it was a little less daunting than it could have been.

So, some of the ‘challenges’ –

This is the back yoke and you can see that there are a couple of pleats incorporated in the body of the shirt.

This is one of the felled seams of which I am quite proud as it goes right round the armscye (or ‘armhole’ when I’m not speaking ‘dressmaker’).

Not too many buttonholes which I did on the machine anyway and, for the first time, I used my machine to sew the buttons on – which was fun.

You will be relieved to know that this is not a real person’s neck – not even one used in a scary cosmetics advert about ageing. It is, of course, one of my antique mannequins doing the modelling honours.

The kind of collar on the short sleeved version is called a camp collar :/  It’s a bit weird – having a button loop right up on that left hand side of the shirt front which would, if somebody wanted to throttle themselves, loop over a tiny button just under the right hand side of the collar.  As if.  However, I was being an obedient pattern follower so I did the loop but drew the line at a tiny button.

Reader – it fit!

 Just.

Excuse the tatty jeans but he was gardening or something when I forced him to model which, as you can tell, he feels supremely comfortable about 😉

Next time I will be sensible and make an XL which is what Mr. T. is in RTW stuff as he is very tall but the measurements on the pattern sounded enormous so I thought a large would do which it sort of does but with not much wriggle (or pretend pointing into the distance) room.

Anyway, I have decided that much as I love the idea of it when somebody tells me they ran up a dress in a couple of hours, I get much better results when I find something a bit of a challenge because when I concentrate, I slow down and don’t make as many mistakes.  I have ‘run up’ so many ‘easy’ tops and dresses on my overlocker and ended up throwing them away that I’m determined to treat every new thing I make as if I’ve never made it before and concentrate!

Having said that, I did make a tunic top in a knit fabric for Mlle. Tialys the Younger yesterday which I did fairly quickly but definitely not in two hours.  Photos to follow soon if I can persuade her to get out of bed allow me to take some photos.

Meanwhile, another shirt shot, another antique mannequin neck.

You are not going mad, these are the same doors as in the first photo but I was playing around with my photo editing and thought the turquoise colour in the first shot showed the fabric of the shirt up better.  The doors are actually red.

How about you? Do you find you sometimes mess things up when you think it’s going to be easy or you’ve made something so many times already you make silly mistakes through being over confident?  Or is it just me?

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Not Catching Up

You may have noticed I’ve been a bit quieter than usual but that’s because I had a friend visiting for a week and then I went back to the U.K. with her to spend a long weekend with my Mum.

My friend and I go back more years than I care to remember but, despite keeping in contact with Christmas and Birthday cards we’ve only recently started to see eachother again so I was really pleased when she said she’d come over to France for a visit.

Here we are on holiday in Tenerife back in the day looking bronzed but blurry on the balcony of our hotel room.

I blame the cheap camera – or it might have been the cheap alcohol 😉

Another balcony, another country, another era.

I knew that the weekend spent with my Mum would be of the quiet variety as she is getting very tired lately and, once we’d been out in the morning for a bit of shopping or a brunch somewhere, she’d had enough of the outdoors for the day so I went prepared with fabric and pattern and used her sewing machine to make another couple of dogs for my eventual doggy garland while she had a snooze.

I’m going to make another three and figure out how to make a craft stall enhancing garland out of them but I’ve got until the end of November so something will come to me before then I’m sure.

Since I’ve been back and trying to catch up on emails, Etsy shop goings ons, reading blogs and dog and cat related problems, I haven’t got much done.

The Colette Negroni shirt I’m making for Mr. T. is still at the muslin stage – just needs the buttons and buttonholes and final hemming and then I can confirm what I’ve suspected for a while – it will be too small for him.  I know it’s a muslin but I was hoping it would be a wearable one.  We won’t know for sure until I finish it though will we!

I rush quilted a couple of my hatbox blocks which was easy because the machine quilting I’m doing couldn’t be plainer or simpler unlike the lovely hand quilting Kate’s doing on her version.  Mine’s a wall hanging so nothing too fancy is called for – well, that’s my excuse anyway.

Here’s something I haven’t caught up on – the perennial ironing basket which I took from my laundry room up to my workroom as that seems to be the only place I brandish an iron these days.  As you can see, my scheme didn’t work.

I did catch up with Mlle. Tialys the elder when I was in the U.K. as she came up to see  me when I was at my Mum’s thereby killing two old birds with one stone.  Oh to be young enough to dress up as a bloody (in the covered in blood sense) rabbit thingy and  hug a dinosaur as she did last weekend.

The details of the whys and wherefores shouldn’t bother you – I certainly don’t like to delve too deep.

Off to look at the ironing basket again before doing something completely different.

 

 

 

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Having a Whale of a Time with Scraps

I used to think life was too short to stuff a toy – or was that a mushroom? – but I’ve been persuaded to change my mind.

I took a fancy to this pattern for a whale partly because he’s so cute and partly because it’s a pattern by Jodie over at RicRac and she is an amazing pattern designer.  Plus, did I mention she was having a sale at the time?  I may have bought three or four patterns :/

Anyway, I made him from scraps of some lovely canvassy fabric in seaside colours and put into use the tin of sardines I bought just because I love the illustration on the tin.  I can’t stand sardines.

This is another of Jodie’s patterns which I thought I might be able to do something with to decorate my stand at the Christmas Fair in November to raise funds for the Twilight Retirement Home for Dogs.

Nothing wrong with my pattern cutting or stuffing skills here – he’s just cocking his back leg for a wee 😉 Honest!

 

The dogs aren’t free-standing so I’m wondering about making a garland to hang in front of the stall – or over it even if I can figure out a good way to do that.  Anybody made a garland with ‘softies’ before?   Tips and hints would be appreciated and possibly followed slavishly.

 

Non-matching cotton reel for size purposes. He’s quite dinky.

Nothing to do with whales or dogs but my reasoning will become apparent – my daughter is an ‘aerialist’ – that is she does classes using an aerial hoop which sounds scary but is very good for upper body strength apparently.  It was her birthday so I made her a card using (mostly) freehand machine embroidery – although I did use a machined feather stitch around the outside of the constellation fabric (which was a scrap – so there’s my ‘reasoning’ if you read on)

I don’t know what this particular pose is called but they all look so elegant.

I couldn’t resist another whale photo and a better look at the sardine tin.

I might even use that design for a future freehand embroidery project.

The whale is actually supposed to be a pincushion but, when I stuck some pins in him for the photos, they looked like harpoons and I felt so bad I took them out again 😦

All made with scraps so I’m joining in with Kate’s Scraphappy Day here where you can click to see what the other participants have been doing with their scraps this month – see I told you there was ‘reasoning’ involved.

I have been spending quality time with visitors (this was a scheduled post) and being a visitor myself  over the next couple of weeks so don’t worry if you don’t see me around as much as usual – I haven’t disappeared under a pile of unlaundered dog blankets and left to suffocate.  Although if I’m not back after a couple of weeks feel free to check.

 

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Touching Swiftly on a Hatbox

In keeping with my pledge to add to my Liberty Hatbox wall hanging project at the end of each month I’m afraid I have failed miserably as I still  can’t decide on the final block.

 So, I made another one.


I won’t bore you rigid with the choices I face again but I’m still not sure and now I think I’ve made it worse by having three to choose from instead of two.  Kate, on the other hand, is making great progress and has started hand quilting (yes hand quilting) her full size quilt and putting me to shame.  See and admire here.

So that’s the hatbox pledge dealt with which would make for a very short post indeed .

Your hopes, however,  are dashed!

Did I mention Liberty of London fabric?  I think I told you they had a sale and I think I told you I indulged.  I’m not sure I realised there were actual skyscrapers on this fabric when I ordered it but, now I know, I like it even more.   The simple shell top on this New Look pattern that had come free with a magazine seemed just the thing….

and so it was.

I’ve decided I have a back problem in that nearly everything I make gapes a little at the back of the neck.  I think I have narrow shoulders in comparison to my bust so, next time, I’m going to cut a wedge out of the centre top of the back bodice and see if that fixes it – a tip I found on By Hand, London.  Unless anybody has any better ideas.

Also, I bought this astrology themed tana lawn in the Liberty sale to make a shirt for Mr. Tialys who had a hand in choosing the fabric.

I’ve never made a man’s shirt before but thought it was time I gave it a go as my wardrobe is full, one daughter makes her own clothes, the other doesn’t much care about clothes so that leaves the husband (or the pets and don’t think I might not go there!).

I chose the Negroni by Colette as it’s a nice, casual style but with some interesting features, it has good reviews and there is a very detailed sew along (from about six years ago!) on the Male Pattern Boldness blog so what could go wrong?  Actually, so far, very little.  I’m working on a muslin using fabric that was more expensive than the tana lawn due to the fact that there was 60% off in the Liberty sale but I  always hope my muslins (when I actually bother to make one) will be wearable otherwise I get upset if all the work comes to nought – apart from ensuring you’re making the right size of course which is the main purpose of them after all.

Anyway – how’s this for a flat felled seam?

An inside view of course – the fabric is dark on the outside and I certainly wasn’t confident enough to use contrasting thread so you wouldn’t be able to make it out.  This is the first time I’ve tackled a real flat felled seam, although I did mock ones on Tilly and the Buttons’ Rosa dress,  and I’m pleased with the way this one turned out.  I say ‘this one’ because the other one didn’t turn out quite as neat but I’m not going to show you that now am I?

Did somebody mention a sale by the way?

Fifty six 50g balls of cotton double knitting yarn in all the shades in the range and no,  I don’t know what I’m going to do with them, thank you for asking.

Mr. Tialys is still creating awesome leather things in his ‘spare’ time which is strange because I didn’t think he had any of that or that’s what he tells me if I ask him to do anything in the house or garden 😉


This is a laptop bag he designed himself and is in the kind of leather that already looks as if it’s been ‘lived in’ which is the kind I like.

I decided to have a clear out in the cupboard in the conservatory and threw some stuff in a box ready to go to the charity shop.

I know I sometimes get fed up with having so many animals but I haven’t quite resorted to this yet.

What is it with cats and cardboard boxes anyway?

 

 

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‘One Day I Will Get Organised’ Maybe – Probably Not and ‘No More Rescue Dogs’ Maybe – Probably Not

Occasionally I am inspired by my blogging friends who set themselves challenges and goals for the day, the week or even the whole year ahead.

But not for long.

This ‘to do’ list scrawled on a bit of torn out paper is about as organised as I get.

However, I have managed to work through some of those (although it is Thursday and I wrote it on Monday).  I’ve phoned my Mum and my friend Maureen although she isn’t crossed out yet.

I’ve booked a restaurant for lunch tomorrow with some friends.

The ‘Box’ entry is because the customer who ordered a little etui box like this ……..

…..liked it so much she wanted a sewing box in the same fabric.

I didn’t have enough blue bunnies so she settle on pink which I hope she will like.

I wanted to practise some freehand machine embroidery so I made her this card using a piece of the fabric from the interior of the sewing box.

The ‘crochet’ entry is because I’m running out of time to complete my two identical sections of Jane Crow’s ‘Sunshine and Showers’ crochet along before the next section is released.

So I’ve managed one and now have to do an identical one.

The lurid greenish colour in the background is a yoga mat.  Obviously!

I’m worried about wavy edges because there are so many different stitches and colour changes and I’m thinking I’m no expert yet so my tension may well wander so I’m blocking it as I go along – hence the yoga mat.

I  don’t think it’s too bad but I need to have a clean slate before next month’s section is released as some Ravelry users who did this last year say they almost gave up at that point.  Even the designer confesses it to being difficult but rewarding.  Ooer.  Stand by for a row of individual flowers on top of what I’ve already done.  Maybe.

I’ve crossed out ‘Collars’ but really I should leave them on there because, since tagging my Scottie Dog collars as Westies I have been inundated with orders from a French Westie fan club on Facebook.  I know they are a little square jawed for Westies but then most Scotties are black so I consider it to be a generic design.

Talking of dogs, mine are driving me to distraction at the moment.  As happened last year, they graze like cattle on the fallen plums and figs in the garden and, also like cattle, deposit the results in great pancakes.  Then they scent our evenings with their gaseous offerings.  I’ve tried clearing up the fruit as it falls but we have so many trees that it’s a virtually impossible task and the slightest breeze (or dog nudging at the lower branches) releases another load.

It’s just as well really because, knowing my love of German Shepherd type dogs my friend sent me this photo of a pup that has recently arrived at the dog rescue.

Then, when I foolishly investigated further, I saw this handsome fella

I’ve also heard, separately, of two young Pyreneen Mountain dogs who need a new home.  Mr. T says it must be a sign but he’s not here all the time so I’m just going to go out in the garden and shovel up some more fallen fruit – both undigested and digested – to remind me that three dogs is already plenty.

I haven’t forgotten the  ‘hatboxes’ entry and must do something with the hatbox quilt blocks before the end of the month as that is supposed to be a monthly ‘challenge’.  See, I do try.

The ‘Conservatory’ entry is sort of housework related so we won’t worry about that –  ‘after all, tomorrow is another day’

 

 

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In Case You Care About My Blog

We went on holiday – the first one on our own (longer than a weekend) since the girls were born.  We pleased ourselves what we did and when we did it.  The Mademoiselles (plus the boyfriend of one of them) were the guardians of home, dogs and cats and, astonishingly, the house was still standing and the animals still present and correct when we got back.

Remember the t-shirts, years ago,  that said ‘My Parents Went On Holiday and All They Bought Me Was This T-Shirt’ ?  Well, due to her father’s sense of humour, this is what Mlle T. the elder got for her trouble

She wasn’t amused when I texted her this photo from the apartment we were renting in Girona.  It didn’t help that the weather in France hadn’t been very good while we’d been away and she’d been looking forward to sunning herself by the pool.  She’s a sensitive soul  – but we gave it to her anyway.

We started off by going across the border into Andorra where, every year the Cirque du Soleil give free performances throughout the month of July.  No photos but I’m sure you’ve seen events on T.V. or been to one yourself so you know they are amazing spectacles peopled by incredibly bendy, muscular and (usually) tiny athletic types.

We then crossed over on to the Spanish side of the Pyrenees and proceeded on some very windy roads to a village called Bonansa and, yes, I kept humming the theme tune because I’m that old.

Around the village were several of these ermitages which are centuries old (those parts that haven’t been restored) and were used both defensively against invaders

and as places of sanctuary.

We then went further West into Aragon and to a magical medieval Moorish town called Alquezar which has labyrinthine old streets and is cut into a hillside surrounded by deep gorges.

Lots of people go canyoning but we contented ourselves with walking

of the slightly precarious kind

These walkways have been attached to the rock face so that, when the river below is in full ‘gush’, you can still walk through the gorge.  I had no trouble but Mr. T is very tall and had to almost bend double to get under some of the overhanging rocks.

When we reached the end, we saw one of the paths that had been closed and, if you zoom in (click twice), you can see why.

I was glad we’d already done a circuit otherwise it might have put me off.

Oh, and we also did lots of sitting around tlaking and eating.  I love it in Spain because they don’t even start dinner until around 8.30 whereas the French restaurants where I live are thinking about closing around about then.

From this vantage point we looked down into an olive grove where an old man tended his little herd of goats until late at night and the local feral cat population begged for food from the diners above.

This one nearly came home with us.

A face only a mother could love?

Then we continued on to Girona – very much back in Catalan country, with the flag of Catalonia hanging from many balconies – and spent the rest of the week there in an apartment in the old town and right on the riverside.

You know how I love to say ‘you can see our house from here’ – well, for three days I could say it every time we crossed the bridge.

We walked the old city walls for the views and to work off some of the excess eating (and drinking)

Quite a few scenes of ‘Game of Thrones’ were filmed here and (spoiler alert) one of the ice cream parlours make an ice cream in the shape of Jamie Lannister’s severed hand.

Here he is on the steps of the cathedral – I had a very nice Mojito at a café just at the foot of these steps although the people milling about on the steps looked a bit different when I was there.

I hope the cast didn’t need to use the loo too often though as this one is very high up on the old city wall  and just empties directly on to the street below

So, that’s the holiday snaps over with – sorry about that but it’s nice for me to have a record of our visit and my blog’s the best place for me to put it.  Back to normal i.e. sewing, crochet, knitting, patchwork, dogs and cats, next time.

On a side note, as it was my holiday reading so therefore a little bit pertinent, I read Daughters of the Dragon‘ by William Andrews.  Not your usual escapist holiday read but a very good fictional account (though based on historical facts) of the so called ‘comfort women’ taken from Korea as young as thirteen and used as sex slaves by the Japanese army in World War II.  Tortured and abused some of the survivors – women now in their seventies and eighties – are still asking for acknowledgement and some sort of repentance from the Japanese government who were aware of the provision of these ‘comfort stations’.  Shocking but also an interesting look into Korean history, the author was inspired to write the story by his Korean daughter and asks that readers spread the word by leaving reviews and mentioning it on social media in order to increase the awareness of the fate of these, often forgotten, women.  I’m happy to oblige.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Redemption of the Dressmaking Kind

After making a dress for one of my daughters where the pattern matched everywhere but on the back and my suggestion that she walk backwards all the time fell on deaf ears, I got a bit dispirited.  Even though some of you kindly assured me it must have been the fabric that was at fault and how it didn’t matter because hardly any ready to wear stuff is pattern matched I still lost the will to ‘dressmake’ – (made up verb).

I even got proof through the mail when I ordered a cheap and cheeful (though organic!) dress in an online sale and the first thing I spotted was the back seam wasn’t matched.  What’ s more – the side seams don’t match either so that made me feel a bit better because mine do.

These are the colour and design of the tiles I want when I have my family bathroom re-done – if the builder ever comes back to me with a quote that is. :/

But I digress.

To get back on that horse I thought I’d make something nice and simple which would be bound to turn out right.  I used some very nice quality spotty jersey that I bought on my jaunt to Walthamstow Market when I was in the U.K. recently and, although I had not yet made up this particular pattern, I know that Tilly and the Buttons patterns can usually be relied upon and I’ve made up several of her knit patterns before so I was confident.

Et voila!  This is the ‘Agnes’ pattern minus the fancy sleeves and neckline.

The creases on the right shoulder are due to the tortuous way I’m standing and the others due to the fact that I had denim shorts on and all the thick seams on them are showing through the lovely jersey.  I knew they would but I couldn’t be bothered to change.  What can I say?

A great pattern with variations in sleeve length and also a ruched sleeve option and lightly ruched front at the neckline.  I might well make the version with the ruching at the neckline for Mlle. Tialys the Younger but, correct me if I’m wrong, didn’t this type of sleeve used to called a ‘leg of mutton’ sleeve.

I am definitely not Tilly’s target audience but I won’t be taking the risk of having ageist insults flung at me due to a reckless sleeve decision.  My ruched sleeve days are long behind me and I’m trying to avoid the mutton ones.

As promised in my last post, here is a stunning shot of my roots that I didn’t realise needed doing quite so badly until I saw this photo.  Hairdresser visit now accomplished.

Minerva Crafts were having a sale with New Look patterns at half price and I spotted a couple of lengths of fabric I fancied so, newly confident, I filled my trolley.

This is New Look 6393 and I bought it because I like the simple shape for summer but with the princess seams giving it a lovely fit and drape.

Before you say anything, I made absolutely no attempt at all to match the pattern because it is a big, splashy one and I would have needed quite a bit more fabric to accomplish a match on all those princess seams.  So even though this lovely cotton with a slight stretch was also in the same sale at just £3.99 a metre I only ordered 2m and let it do its own thing, pattern -wise..  My head is missing because my daughter wouldn’t get out of bed to take the photo so I had to set up the tripod and I couldn’t work out how to convert the tripod to support the camera in portrait mode.

Then she got out of bed but I was cross by then – can you tell? – and had to force a smile.

The dress is constructed with neck facing and interfacing and bias binding around the arms.  I don’t like facing much – it just annoys me – so I decided to go ‘maverick’ and line the bodice with the same fabric which was a stretch as I only had 2m of it to start with.  Anyway, usually when I go ‘off piste’ disaster ensues but I was grimly determined and all went well until I wondered how I was going to turn it the right way with the seams ending up on the inside.  I found quite a few tutorials on how to do this when the back is in two pieces – where there is going to be a central zip – but this has front and back central pieces cut on the fold.  I panicked just a little bit.  Then I found this tutorial from Blithe Stitches which I just couldn’t envisage working at first but I just went with it and, like magic, you pull a sausage fabric through the fabric bun and there you have a beautifully constructed lined bodice.  You’ll have to look at the tutorial to appreciate the food references.

It isn’t a totally perfect fit – though almost.  The back gapes a little at the top, one of the shoulder straps could be tighter and the armholes could be a little less deep (although they’re not so bad when I’m not doing my pair of scissors impression) and the waistline needs to go up as at 5’2″ and a bit, I’m a short arse (I had to take 5 inches off the length.)

I think I need to cut one size smaller at the back neck and shoulders and shorten the waist by an inch at least.  Somebody more accomplished than me will tell me if that’s what’s required.

Got to protect that hair colour.

By and large though, I’m happy with it and think I’ve redeemed myself enough to get my dressmaking confidence back again.  I even faced my nemesis ‘The Zip’ and inserted one correctly in the side seam on the second attempt.

   You may notice that, by some miracle of coincidence – I’ve already told you I took no notice of the pattern at all – the back centre bodice and skirt panels almost do match.  The mysteries of pattern matching continue to confuse and confound.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Liberty Sale? Well, I Had A Good Excuse.

All the blocks are now finished for my Liberty Hatbox Wallhanging and I have the fabric for the backing, the sashing and the quilting can begin.

This bright one was a bone of contention as I didn’t feel it went with the rest of the blocks although lots of you did.

I made another one to try it out.  The hatbox fabric is a Liberty of London tana lawn which has a musical ‘Hello Kitty’ theme and I’ve been looking for an excuse to use it.

I don’t actually prefer this block to the other one but I think it fits in with the others better.

Here’s the first trial layout which includes the bright one.

and here’s the second that includes the Hello Kitty one.


What do you think?  The jury’s still out and I haven’t joined anything together yet.

I chose this fabric from a local shop for the backing.  I was going to do it using scraps or just any old thing but, in the end, I wanted something I liked because even if you won’t be able to see it I will know it’s there.

You can just make out the simple machine quilting I’ve done – it has to be simple machine quilting otherwise I can’t do it 🙂 .

Here’s a front view of the one and half blocks I’ve quilted so far – well I’ve quilted two blocks really but couldn’t get two complete ones in the photo and still show the quilting.  Still, you get my drift.

I’ve just echoed the lines of the hatbox and done some widely spaced horizontal lines across the background.

Now for the sashing.  It just so happened that Liberty of London had a sale on and they had what I think might be the perfect tana lawn to use to represent something that looks like the grain of wooden shelving or some sort of compartments separating the hatboxes.  It was reduced  to £9 per metre from £22.50 which is cheap enough for any old fabric, let alone Liberty tana lawn.  I think it would make a really nice man’s shirt too.  (I think they’ve still got some fabrics in the sale at that price here.)

What do you reckon?

I might have added the Liberty shop money box to my basket at the same time.  Oops!

Ooh, and a tea-towel.

I might make it into a cushion – or a beach bag.

Only ten hatboxes left to quilt for my wallhanging and now Kate over at Tall Tales from Chiconia has completed all the hatbox blocks she needs for the quilt she’s making with hers so she can begin thinking about quilting and assembly now too.

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts.

 

 

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Fungus Folly

Today I spotted some unusual mushrooms in the garden

An unusual turquoise-y green colour I thought might be poisonous so I didn’t touch them.

It crossed my mind they might be birds’ eggs fallen out of a nest.

I was going to Google ‘small turquoise fungi’ after walking the dogs but on my way back down the hill from our walk I realised it wasn’t necessary.

Sometimes I worry.

 

Another ‘should’ve gone to Specsavers’ moment?

 

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Crochet Along and Crochet Alone

 

Remember I told you I was joining in with a CAL (crochet along), where a new section is added each month for twelve months?

 Or perhaps you have a life?

Nevertheless, I promised you puff stitch and here it is in the section for June which has been crocheted directly on top of  the section for May which is the way of these things I believe.

This is the ‘Sunshine and Showers’ CAL from Jane Crow –  first issued monthly in a magazine last year and now available for free on Jane’s blog.

I am still a beginner really so I thought this would teach me some new skills.

This month I learnt how to do flower stems, puff stitch,  crochet into front of loop, crochet into back of loop to name just a few thrills and spills.  Nobody can say I don’t know how to live.

See the turquoise row? Well that had me foxed because it comes out as a sort of separate strand on the wrong side of the work at first and I didn’t think that was right so I undid it all and tried it a different way which, of course, was wrong.  Eventually I found a photograph of the back of the work on somebody’s Ravelry project and realised I had done it correctly the first time.  So, it would have been useful to have been given a ‘rear view’ for this particular row in the otherwise very detailed tutorial.  Still, I got there in the end and am almost finished the second, identical piece ready to add on the next bit when it is issued next month.

With all these different stitches, colour changes and my inexperience, I am worrying about the edges of the blanket becoming wavy – a problem some other people have mentioned on Ravelry.  I know this yarn is acrylic but I’m sort of blocking it as I finish each section – i.e. spraying it with some water and pinning it to size – hoping it will limit the waviness somewhat.

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and I had put two crochet books on my list which my daughter obliged me with so look out for amigurumi monsters and faux taxidermy which might, or might not, be flying off my hook some time in the future – although it will probably not be the near future.  I am finding the zebra’s head a little intimidating so I might start with the mouse’s head as, with all the cats around here,  it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a life model should I need one – although there probably wouldn’t be much life left in it by the time I got to it 😦   Still, they haven’t dragged a zebra through the cat flap yet so I’ll have to make do.

 

You might remember that I started a ‘fusion’ blanket a while ago which is a sort of fabric/crochet hybrid.  Squares of fabric with wadding in between and each square surrounded by a border of crochet.  I thought it would be a good portable project to do with my sewing buddy on Wednesday afternoons.  I haven’t been doing any of it at home – apart from sewing the fabric ‘sandwiches’ together –  saving it for Wednesdays.  She however forged ahead without me which is why my work still looks more or less like this……

…..and hers looks like this

This is a proposed layout, just needs whip stitching together then an outer crochet border added.  Still, it’s so pretty that it has encouraged me to get on with mine and stop moaning about the splitty cotton yarn I’m using and the 2.5mm crochet hook which both come as a shock after using a 4mm hook and DK yarn on the two other blankets I’m working on.

As a bit of a diversion from all things crochet I had a commission for one of my étui cartonnage boxes but not a hexagonal one this time.  A previous client asked me for one of the small boxes I make which was quite a relief as I’ve lost my box making mojo at the moment – I’m sure you know the feeling 😉 .  Anyway, her brief was brief but rabbits were mentioned.

So, here be rabbits

with some floral goings on inside

 

Off to the hairdressers in a minute to ‘have my roots done’ and when you see the photos of me in my next post you will understand why.

 

 

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