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!!
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?
………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.
Useless on this occasion.
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.
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.
Well, anything’s worth a try isn’t it? It’s quite pretty too.
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.
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!
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.
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 😮
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?
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 😉
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.
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.
Hopefully, my parcel for my sewing partner in Sheila at Sewchet’s Stitching Santa will be arriving any day – I hope she isn’t tempted to peek before the big day.
This enamel pin is what I bought with my budget.
This little drawstring bag with I made with some cute Mabel Lucie Atwell fabric contains some little gifts.
Like these buttons….
…..and this sew on purse clasp…..
and a few little charms …..
The pinchushion whale made her way in there but I did take the pins out in case of postal difficulties.
A handmade needle case made with lovely Liberty, some 10 inch squares of their tana lawn cut from my stash and a fat quarter(ish) of the blue and red one all in a luscious Liberty bag.
I hope she enjoys her Christmas surprise.
Once upon a time, back when we called yarn ‘wool’ and there was often a little wool shop or ‘kiosk’ in even the smallest of towns and independent knitwear designers were twinkles in their grandparents’ eyes, my Mum taught me how to knit.
Actually, I think she first used me as a living wool winder as I remember my early encounters with wool involved standing for a long time, arms outstretched, whilst a skein was converted into a ball. Despite this unpromising apprenticeship, I took up the needles at a young age and have continued, on and off, ever since.
I don’t remember my maternal grandmother ever yielding a pair of knitting needles so I wonder what started my mother off on her lifelong hobby.
Perhaps it was this. ….
…..which would have been just a little after the time she looked like this.
I wonder if she made those pompoms herself.
When I moved to France almost thirteen years ago Mum would come and visit several times a year as well as at Christmas and, what with my sister living in Spain, she was nearly always on her holidays which I hope compensated just a little for us not living next door. Regular readers will know that, during these visits, all other activities were practically abandoned in favour of knitting and chatting together.
This is Mum with Mlle. Tialys the Elder who, while not having caught the knitting bug at the time of writing, is a dressmaker and cross stitcher and could probably be brought into the fold at some future stage.
She made this for her Nan as an early Christmas present.
Back in 2013 Mum was nominated for a voluntary carers’ award for visiting a housebound elderly lady every week – almost without fail – for ten years. She was 80 herself at that point but this was the sort of thing she did. She wasn’t going to attend the award ceremony – being far too shy and modest – but I said I’d go with her and she agreed to go. She received a framed certificate from the Lady Mayor and afterwards we had a traditional English tea (another one!!) in lovely gardens in the sunshine.
While I was in England caring for my Mum with my two sisters, I knitted this little scarflet for my Stitching Santa partner.
Even though Mum didn’t have the strength to knit herself any longer by this stage it still felt like a bonding experience as I’m sure she could probably hear the clicking needles and the quiet chatting as my youngest sister began to knit a bear and my other sister started to knit squares for a blanket. One of my nieces visited, saw the three of us companionably knitting, and wanted to learn. And so the passing on of skills continues.
I have to say – and I know she’d agree with me – that Mum never really progressed beyond ‘enthusiastic amateur’ status. Mainly due to the fact that she hated ‘the sewing up bit’ and looked at me as if I were mad if I ever suggested anything as radical as ‘blocking’ a finished garment. She was the Queen of UFOs (unfinished objects) – her loft was full of half finished jumpers, cardigans, baby clothes, etc. – but even those things she finished weren’t deemed good enough to wear or pass on to the new babies of the family. The little baby jackets, cardigans and bootees we found cast off, in both senses, was poignant to say the least. The joy for her though was in the choosing of the pattern, the
yarn wool and the actual knitting – if something decent came off the needles that was a bonus.
You may remember my recent post about the Ugly Christmas Jumper and how it came to be and I hope you will be pleased to know that it was finally finished (once I’d added proper ribbing to the sleeves and lengthened the body) and handed to ‘the nephew’ one week before Mum died. I think he will treasure it forever.
It was a shame, as she loved Christmas so much, that she died the day before the first window of her advent calendar was to be opened, especially as there was a chocolate inside.
Family was everything to my Mum and I am so pleased that my sisters and I were able to be with her, in her own home, in the last few weeks of her life and could be there for her final, peaceful breaths as she had been there for our first ones. I am finding that a huge comfort at this difficult time.
Wherever you are now Mum, I hope there’s lots of wool and chocolate and laughter.
10th September 1932 – 30th November 2017
A picture heavy post today – and not so much of the rabbit* for a change – as I’m pressed for time and might have to go back over to the U.K. at the weekend to give my sister a little break in the care of our Mum.
It’s Kate and Gun’s ScrapHappy day so I’m joining in with some creatures made from scraps to show you. Remember the dogs I was making for a garland to bedeck my stall with at the upcoming Christmas Fair in aid of the dogs retirement home? Well there are now five of them and I think that’s how it’s going to have to stay as I’m not sure I’ll get round to making any others now before the event is upon us.
I still haven’t decided how I’m going to join them in a garland but it will come to me I’m sure.
I also made another whale pincushion and, even though you know it makes me feel bad to stick pins in it, I have.
Who says you can’t have a floral whale?
Sorry about my depth of field in the whale photo but you get the gist and this might be one of my Stitching Santa gifts. (‘depth of field’ – get me and my fancy camera talk. Unfortunately, I can talk the talk but can’t always walk the walk where photography is concerned.)
Talking of fund raising, I just received some new ribbons I ordered for the dog collars I make. They are very nice quality woven ribbons and are very bright and breezy. I love the Red Riding Hood one, so cute.
From the same company I ordered this lovely jersey fabric which I might make into a warm, snuggly dress for the winter – or a tunic if I haven’t got enough of it.
I saw the writing on the selvedge but ignored it
Kids indeed – what nonsense! I’m not afraid to wear a swan dress.
I had a happy unbirthday today because the very generous Claire sent me a gift of this little pouch which is just the right size to keep a packet of mini tissues in.
Such gorgeous fabric and the little snap hook on the end will make it just right to clip into my handbag and save me rummaging in the depths when I need to dry a tear (or blow a nose).
I have a couple of knitting and crochet finishes to show you but they will have to wait until I’m back from the U.K. and have, hopefully, participated in the Christmas Fair on the 25th of this month. Everything is a bit up in the air at the moment and days, let alone weeks, must be taken one at a time.
* ‘Rabbit’ – short for ‘rabbit and pork’ which is cockney rhyming slang for ‘talk’. Just in case you were wondering.