Sunday, 18 October 2015

Catching Up With Myself...Again!

I've yet to find the balance between blogging, reading blogs, replying to emails, and sewing and it seems that I can do one of the three but not all of them.  To that end, I thought I'd post a recap of all the things which were on my Q3 FAL list and which I made progress on but didn't finish (and so haven't blogged about in the rush of trying to link up with Adrianne before the linky party ended), just so I don't suddenly (and I use that word very loosely!) produce a finish when the last time I blogged about the project it was a series of unfinished blocks.  (Blimey, that's a long sentence!)

First up is 'that bl**dy blue and white quilt' (that's what it's called in my head but I'll have to think of a better name for it, if only because it's for Mam and she'll tell me off for swearing!).  This project was my main focus for the last quarter and, I'm pleased to say, I finally have a finished quilt top!

About time too!
It's so big that the only way to get photo of all of it at once is to put it on Mam's front garden and take a photo out of the front bedroom window!  She wasn't very impressed, particularly when I told her she had to stay out there while I went to take the photo!!

What's more, I've also managed to layer and pin it (just about - I ran out of pins!), ready for quilting.  I now have an 'in the ditch' sole plate for my walking foot (thanks, Sheila!) so I'm going to order some thread (blue) and get going on the machine quilting.  After that, my plan is to hand quilt in the snowballs and perhaps (depending on whether it needs it) along both diagonals of the nine patches.  Here's proof that it's ready for quilting (I have enough pins in it to start the quilting and can then move the pins to the areas which need more stabilising as I go):

Ready for quilting!
Sorry, it's a horrible photo and the back fabric is much nicer in real life!

I've done lots of stitching on the second item on my list but can't show any of it, sorry.  I think I remembered to take some progress photos so I'll share any with you when I'm finally allowed to show the project.  (It's only me who's not allowing the project to be shown, it's not for a magazine or anything exciting like that!)

Onto things I can show...

I spent a few mind-numbing evenings pressing and trimming the little bonus HSTs from the blue and white quilt.  There are 508 of them and they now measure 1.5" square (so they'll be 1" finished) and they're going to become two cushions to go with the quilt.  I have a little cutting board (about 12" x 8") which I put on a hardback book so I can trim while sitting on the settee watching telly - the only way I can get through trimming lots of blocks is in front of the telly so heaven help me if I ever have to trim lots of blocks which won't fit on my little board!
Trimming HSTs
I had a nice system going - I'd take ten out at a time and put them on the plastic box lid, transfer them to another lid when they were trimmed and then, once that was full, transfer them to their final destination: yet another box!

I've managed to have a little play with them to see which layout I prefer:
Yes, I know the centre one isn't right - I was being lazy and combined two designs to see which I preferred: spiky or smooth.  I prefer spiky and may do an off-set/truncated version of this for the two cushions.  (The cushions will be rectangular.)

I finished the embroidery part of the pulled thread I had started and this now just needs making up into a pin cushion:
Pulled thread
I couldn't resist the glittery button for the centre, and not just because it was the only suitable one in my button box!

I chose the binding fabric for my hexy quilt - it was well worth pulling apart my Kona colour card!
Trying to choose a binding...
I pulled out all the colours which I thought would work with both the top and the back.  I've gone for the second one from the bottom, Kona Shadow.
In the past few days, I've made more progress on this quilt but I'll keep that for another 'it's finally finished' post!  (It's only been four years and two months since I started this quilt so it's about time I finished it.)

In my last post Archie asked for some homemade biscuits?  Well, I made the mistake of saying yes and gave him one and a half when they were baked.  I won't be baking them again, not because he didn't like them but because his tummy didn't.  (Let's just say they gave him an intermittently squitty bottom and leave at that, shall we?!)  Fortunately, he's been fine in himself and has kept his appetite - he's been on boiled (white) rice twice a day (mixed with a bit of chicken for tea) and three different medicines from the vet (all at once, it wasn't three different visits, fortunately!), but he thinks he's being starved:

I've heard tell of something called 'supper' - do I get that?
She said no to supper...

In between begging for food, he's been making the most of the autumn sun:

Annnnnd relax...

I've been making progress on some items on my Q4 FAL list, with a couple of (woolly) finishes already - I'll be back to share them soon sometime soonish.

Thanks for popping in!!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

FAL Finish: Sakura Shawl

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

The only other thing I've finished from this quarter's FAL list is the Sakura shawl that Lynz and I did as a (very informal) KAL.  I've got to say that it was a lot of fun knitting alongside someone else (albeit via email!) and I hope we do it again soon!  (You can see her gorgeous green shawl here.)

This is how the shawl looked at the start of the quarter:

Sakura shawl

And this is how it looked straight off the needles:

Off the needles!

You can't really see the lace pattern and, to be honest, it looks a bit like a heap of knitting at this stage!

Before blocking

I put off blocking it for a while (I always do as I always overestimate how hard it's going to be and how long it's going to take!) but finally got it done last week.  First I pinned it to the carpet, using lots of pins!  It's the first shawl I've blocked which has made me think that it would be easier with blocking wires.  I can't see me buying any, though, as I'm managing with pins even if it does take a little longer.


I put a damp (fresh from a rinse and spin in the washer rather than dunked in a sink) sheet over it and left it until the sheet was dry, which took about 18 hours.

This is how it looked when it was unpinned (and I'd sewn in the ends):

Sakura shawl
Struggling to get it all in the photo!

And here's a much better photo of the lace pattern:

I couldn't possibly comment on the rumour that I taped the shawl to the window to get this photo.

I'm really pleased with this shawl and hope the intended recipient likes it, when she eventually receive it!  (It doesn't need to be sent for a few months yet!)

Shawl details:

Pattern: Sakura by Leila Raabe
Yarn: Artesano alpaca silk 4-ply in 'drake'; four 50g/200m skeins - I used 154g which works out at about 616m.
Size: approx. 66" (across top edge) x 29" (from top edge to point)
Things learnt: SSP decrease; SSP cast off (took nigh on an hour!); 3 from 1 stitch; M1R and when to use it rather than M1L (at least, I think I know when to use it!); Russian join; how much fun a (relaxed) KAL can be; that indie knitting designers are really helpful and friendly when you email them for help and disclose your knitting numptiness - thanks, Leila!  I've just made the mistake of looking at this link and have spotted many things I want to knit!!

Thank you, Lynz, for keeping me company on this knit, I really enjoyed it and it wouldn't have been half as much fun without you!

I'm linking up to Adrianne for the finishing party, I just wish I had more finishes to link up!

Archie has had a finish of his own - he ate the last home baked biscuit which Susan and the girls bought him from Tynemouth market:
Oh biscuit, how I love you.  You're my last (cheesy) biscuit and I'm going to enjoy you!

The crumbs were nice, too!

I'll just check in case I've missed anything.

Are  you sure that was the last one?  Yes?  Well when's Susan coming back?  And can you make some of these in the meantime?

Thanks for popping in!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

FAL Finish: Tidy Trug

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

One of the (many) items on my Q3 FAL list was this tidy trug, which I started at a workshop in July of this year but was languishing on the 'it doesn't need much doing to it for it to be finished' pile in my sewing room.  Adding it to my FAL list was just the impetus I needed to get it finished, it's just a pity that I didn't manage to keep the impetus going and blog about it.  Or finish much else on the list...

This is how it looked at the start of the quarter:


I think the thing which slowed me down was, quite disgracefully, buying some fray check for the buttonholes on the handle!  The original pattern had an attached handle of quite a different (and stylish) shape but I decided that I wanted my handle to swivel down so that it would be easy to get things in and out of the trug.

After some stitching (closing the gap in the lining, top stitching round the trug and again in the ditch between the lining and the outer fabric), some fabric ripping (the buttonholes in the handle, not accidental ripping!) and some fray checking (smelly stuff!), it was finished by the end of July.

Here's how it looked then and more recently (after it had been out for the day to my friend's studio - I was layering and pinning a quilt and took this along to carry my supplies):





Those Ikea tubs are really handy for safety pins!
The pattern is by my very talented friend Beryl Frank of Knot (not available for purchase) and uses Decovil Light to provide structure.  I bought the outer fabric with my Scraptastic Tuesday voucher from Fat Quarter Shop; I bought another print to be the lining but decided that a solid would be better and found this leftover from a bag project.  (Well, I say 'leftover', but what I really mean is that I bought it to line a bag I was making for Mam and then we changed our mind about what to make so it went in my stash!)  The pink 'lace' trim was bought from a local haberdashers, as were the (glittery) buttons.  The trug also has bag feet on the base, you just can't see them in the photos!

Now I've finally blogged about my finish, I can link up with Adrianne and the Q3 finishes party!

Other than that, I've managed a bit of sewing (I'll tell you about that in another post), quite a lot of knitting (that'll also be another post as I just need to block it and I can call the Sakura shawl a finish) and, well, very little else!   I'm still waiting for the new raised bed to be built in my garden (any day now, I hope!) and I've been tending my 'to be planted' queue and wondering how many more times I'll have to water all those little pots (I do hope I'm down in single figures now!), so once that's built I'll have to race out and get planting before the soil cools down.

Archie has been seeking out the sun:

I'll take a patch of sun wherever I can find it...

And Alfie has been to stay (only for the afternoon!):

Someone very close to me can't be trusted out on the front without being tethered to the house.  I'm naming no names...

And there was some gentle and dignified argy bargy over beds:


Look how unimpressed Archie is by the whole business...

Thanks for popping in!

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