English but now living in the south of France near the mountains and lakes. I love to talk, create stuff, hunt down cool vintage stuff and learn new things.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Posted in Life in General on July 23, 2017
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.
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.
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?
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.
You might remember that I asked your advice several times about my Friendship Braid quilt – what colour to do the border when there were so many different colours in the centre, whether I could (or should) use a vintage sheet for the border and possibly the backing and whether or not to use a professional quilting service for the first time.
As usual, I canvassed opinion and then wilfully ignored most of it. I ended up going for a green and white gingham vintage sheet for the border whereas most of you suggested red and, having got your reassurance that I could probably use a sheet for the backing too, changed my mind and went for extra wide quilting cotton.
It was whilst searching for extra wide backing that I came across The Quilt Sandwich who have a wide range of backings in lots of different designs and at reasonable prices. I also found, coincidentally, that they have a longarm quilting machine and offer a quilting service.
It was meant to be.
Fiona operates from The Royal Bridlington Hotel in Yorkshire and was very helpful when I asked for her advice on the particular shade of green for the backing and also for which quilting design to go for on a top with an already busy design.
Once Fiona had received the quilt and could confirm that the shade of green matched those in the quilt I opted for a crosshatch patterned fabric and the quilting design I chose, again with Fiona’s guidance, is called ‘Twine’.
This is how it came back to me after quilting. I wanted to ‘reconnect’ with it again myself so, although Fiona offers a binding service, I just asked her to cut it for me ready for binding and did it myself.
I decided to heed the advice I ignored last time and introduced some red. It was supposed to be wider than this but I attached the double fold binding by machine, as I would have if I’d left some excess batting and backing – ie. with a 1/4 inch seam – and then realised I wouldn’t have had any filling in my binding. Of course, with a wide border like this I should have attached the binding at half an inch and then taken in the batting and backing as it had been trimmed. I’m so used to working with blocks lately that go right up to the edge that I’d forgotten.
So, I just folded the binding onto itself and then over to the back before handstitching it down which resulted in a skimpier binding than I’d intended but at least it wasn’t all floppy. It did compromise my previously
perfect acceptable mitred corners a bit but it doesn’t really show.
What do you think?
Here’s the back in all it’s professionally quilted glory.
It’s a strange size at 60 x 66 inches (172 x 187 cm) so a topper for a small double bed or a generous single bed size. The only single sized bed in the house is in the Bermuda Triangle otherwise known as Mlle. Tialys the Younger’s bedroom and, once it goes in there, I might never see it again.
So before it disappears from my life until at least the next re-decoration project I have flung it over a couple of surfaces so that I can at least look at the photos.
I thought long and hard about using a professional quilting service because I wondered whether it was ‘cheating’ on some sort of level. Realistically, my skills – such as they are – are definitely in piecing and although I will continue doing quilt as you go where the quilt design allows and perhaps the smaller (much smaller) quilting projects, Fiona has done such a good job and the price was so reasonable that I would certainly go back to her if and when I make another large quilt that doesn’t lend itself to QAYG. After all, I reasoned, if I had the space and the money for a longarm quilting machine and the patience to learn how to use one, or if I had a friend just down the road who had one, I would never ever quilt on a domestic machine again so what’s the difference? It’s also something I’ve wanted to try and I’m very pleased I did.
If you are in the U.K. – or in France with a commuting husband willing to drag quilt tops and then completed quilts back and forth with him – or you just want to see a really good range of extra wide backings, go and have a look at Fiona’s site here .