Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Away With The Fairies!

My new FAL list contains two new items which makes a pleasant change, don't you think?!

The first one is a Sakura shawl, using this beautiful alpaca/silk mix:

Yarn for Sakura shawl

Lynz and I are knitting in tandem (and holding each other's hands through the tricky bits!) in a very informal knit along which, at the moment, has a lovely slow pace to it!  The yarn was found by Lynz at Maple Tree Yarns and was a bit of a bargain as it's no longer going to be stocked - there are a few skeins left in the shop and when it's gone, it's gone!  My yarn is 'Drake' and is gorgeous but hard to photograph, or that's my excuse!

After a slightly sticky start (we had to email the designer for help with a couple of things, most particularly where to do a make one left and where to do a make one right and Leila Raabe* couldn't have been more helpful - she emailed back within a few hours and spelt things out for us and didn't make us feel at all daft.  This is one of the many reasons I love indie designers - not only are their patterns gorgeous (and well tested!) but their pattern support tends to be marvellous!)

* Warning: if you follow this link be prepared to fall in love several times over!  I have already made a mental list of things I want to make!

So far, Lynz and I have done our set-up rows and the first twelve rows of the pattern (I told you we were taking it steady!) and mine looks like this:

Sakura shawl - a start

It doesn't look much yet but I can already see the pattern forming and it's lovely!  I've also learnt two new stitches (a 3 from 1 (where you knit into the stitch two rows below) and SSP) and it's nice to add to my limited knitting repertoire/skills while getting a head start on Christmas presents!

The second new item on my FAL list is a niece for my youngest niece.  She's been in a 'big girl' (i.e. single!) bed for quite a while now (well over a year) but is still waiting for a quilt to go on it.  Her birthday is in July and I've decided that my present to her will be her quilt.  Given that I have less that four months to cut, piece and quilt it, I've designed a very simple quilt so that I have a fighting chance of making my deadline.  It's based on the Stained Quilt by Sarah; I've made a version of this quilt before (find it here but please excuse the shocking photo!) and enjoyed it so much that I'm making it again.  One day I'll make Sarah's original pattern but for now I'm enjoying designing my own blocks, based around the fabric I have/want to use.

The quilt is based around two panels of Butterfly Dance (by Natalie Lymer/Cinderberry Stitches), includes lots of pink fabrics (my pink scrap box is considerably emptier than it was!) and Kona Daffodil for the sashing.  I need 28 15" blocks for the quilt (it has to be large enough to cover the bed from tip to toe, including pillows!) so I've designed seven blocks and am making four of each block.  As I only have eighteen 'fairy' squares (I know they're really butterflies but I can't help but think of this as 'The Fairy Quilt' so I'm calling them fairies!), one each of block designs one to six won't have a fairy square and block seven has been designed to not need them.

I started piecing the block seven designs first, partly because I cut/prepped the blocks in numerical order so these were at the top of the pile and partly because these blocks have the most pieces so I thought it would be nice to get them done at the start and then have the blocks get faster to make from there on in!

So far I've pieced these twelve blocks:

'block 7' blocks
Block seven A, B, C and D
'block 6' blocks
Block six A, B, C and D
'block 5' blocks
Block five A, B, C and D

and I've also pieced block 4D but I'll show you that when its friends are pieced!

I'm hoping to have all the blocks pieced by the end of the first week in May so that I can faff round with the layout and then start sashing and joining them together by mid-May.  Wish me luck!

Speaking of luck...

I won a giveaway over at Stitched in Colour and received six gorgeous yellow FQs from Marmalade Fabrics:

Prize from Stitched In Colour/Marmalade fabrics giveaway
Thank you Rachel and Tammy!

I've finally got round to sorting out my Kona colour card.  I've been wanting to cut it up for quite a while but didn't have all the colours (I missed the 2013 new colours) and found it difficult to find the weight of card that I wanted at a price I was willing to pay (ditto velcro)!  One of the things I bought with the Fat Quarter Shop voucher I won with the FAL last year (beginning of this year?) was a summer 2013 charm pack.  I made my own little cards for the 28 colours I was missing, as well as for the 2014 insert I got from Simply Solids and, while I was at it, I also made a 2013 supplement for a couple of friends who were also lacking those colours:

Kona summer 2013 colour 'supplements'

And now, after a ridiculous amount of velcro (and some mount board from my local stationers), my colour card looks like this:

I finally got round to sorting my colour card!

I can't imagine that the colours will stay in order but just in case I need to know the 'correct' order, I've printed out a list of them to keep at the back of the file:

A list of Kona colours in order, just in case I ever need it!

It proved invaluable when choosing the sashing in the fairy quilt as I could put all the possibilities on various pink fabrics and choose the best, without wondering whether the colours either side were affecting my perception.

Archie is enjoying the mild spring weather:

He might not look it but he was sound asleep when I took this photo - if you listen carefully you can hear the whiffle which accompanies this state!

Thanks for popping in, I'm off to do a spot of hand quilting (on my hexy quilt) before I go to bed!

Monday, 6 April 2015

FAL Q1 2015 - Four Finishes!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

I feel I've done quite well this quarter, particularly when you take into account that I've probably spent more time asleep than awake in the last three months.  And that my machine was out of action from just after putting the binding on the Dresden mini (end of January) until about a week ago - that's why most of my finishes only required hand sewing (or no sewing at all, in one case!).  My list is here, in case you fancy seeing what I didn't finish!

My first finish was this mini for Yvonne:

(Finally) Finished!!
Sorry about the dreadful photo but that's the middle of a dreary day for you!

This was machine pieced, hand appliquéd, embroidered and hand quilted.  It measures about 14" square (I think, I can't quite remember now!) and has a couple of extra layers of wadding behind the centre to give a bit more texture.  You can find out more about it in this post.

My next finish was my clock:

Patchwork clock

This is 12" square and the gubbins to make it (canvas block and clock doings (mechanism?!)) were kindly provided by Nicky.  I hand pieced the hexagon and background and then appliquéd the hexagon in place.  It was then stretched over the canvas and is held in place with lots of drawing pins.  You can find out more about it in this post.

I then (finally) worked out what to do with an embellished felt square (embroidery and appliqué was done, by me(!), about three years ago.  Possibly more *hangs head in shame*):

Felt square

In the end, I added a simple back, loops and a cocktail stick and it's now on the wall.  You can read more about it in this post.

My final finish (and the one which I'm linking up in this post) for this quarter is this beautiful machine print by Emily:

Sewing machine print
This print was a present from Susan - thank you!

I've had this print for a while now and couldn't work out what I wanted to do with it - did it want to be a machine cover?  No, it did not.  Did it want to be a cushion?  And be potentially exposed to tea stains?  Absolutely not.  Did it fancy being a machine mat?  What, and be hidden when in use?  Most definitely not.  Then what did it want to be?  'Oh, that's easy,' it replied, 'I want to be on the wall where I can be admired by all and sundry!'

Once that was sorted, my friend and I got busy with her (electric) staple gun (a little scary but very effective!) and a canvas block which had been languishing in the loft and which was, happily, the perfect size.  Many, many staples later (and a coat of PVA glue to seal the raw edges on the back) and the print was finished and ready to go on the wall:

Finally up!
As this final finish didn't, in the end, require any stitching, I'm going to leave it to Adrianne's discretion about whether it can be counted as an official FAL finish.

This is how my 'wall of minis' looks at the moment:

Felt square - on the wall
Minis made by various friends (and a few by me) - ignore the black mark above the clock, that's where the bookcases used to be tied to the wall.  I'm not going to bother filling it in (at the moment), I'm just going to cover it with another little quilt!

I really must get round to putting some more pins in that banner (by Nicky) and moving my other banner (by Sheila) to this wall!

I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend - the sun came out yesterday and it was glorious!  (There was blue sky and everything!)  Today there's no sky.  Well, there is but you can't see it for the low cloud...

Archie enjoyed the sun yesterday - this was taken at about midday, before the sun decided to show more than just a leg:

What do you mean, 'The Easter Bunny doesn't visit dogs?'  I've been waiting all morning to catch a glimpse of him.

I'm just putting the finishing touches to my quarter two list; it hasn't taken long as most of it is carried over from this quarter.  Which was carried over from the previous quarter, which...

I'll clear my list one day, I hope!

Saturday, 4 April 2015

A Felty Finish!

I'm quickly popping in to register a FAL finish before the deadline.  (Yes, this is an honest-to-goodness attempt at a short post!)

I first added this project to my FAL list in the third quarter of 2013 and I've done nothing with it until now.   This is how it has looked for about two years:

Felt picture
I can't find a photo of the square by itself...

I think part of the problem was that I didn't really know what to do with it.  At first it was going to be a pin cushion, but I didn't have enough of the pale blue felt to make one with 'walled' sides, which was my intention.  Then it was going to become the top of a box, but I didn't really need a box!  Then it was going to go in a frame, but I didn't like the way it looked behind the glass.

In the end I decided that I definitely wanted it on the wall but I also wanted on the wall by itself, i.e. no frame, no canvas block, etc.  I had a square of the pale blue felt so I cut that down a little (I took 3/16" off the top and side so that it wouldn't show on the front) and then slip stitched it to the back of the embellished square (I just caught the back of the front square with my stitches as I didn't want anything to show on the front).  I added two thread loops to it (for hanging) and slipped a cocktail stick through them to act as a hanging rod:

Felt square - back
The back of the embellished square

And then stuck two push pins in the wall and balanced the square on them (probably the hardest part of the whole thing!):

Felt square
In good company with minis from my friends (the seaside mini next to it is by Sheila)

I'll show you the whole 'wall of minis' (which is a definite work in progress, just how I like it!) next time as I have another finish on there that I haven't yet blogged about.  (Here's my 2015 FAL Q1 list.)  I'm planning to post a 'round-up of Q1' post either tomorrow or Monday and will link up my final finish then.

Archie has been taking advantage of some sunny afternoons whilst keeping an eye on the comings and goings in the street:

I do like to lie on the front grass and watch the world go by.  Okay, technically I'm on next door's garden at this point but they don't mind!!

Thanks for popping in, I'm linking up with Adrianne; why not have a look at all the projects that have been finished in the last three months - it's quite an impressive list!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

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