Saturday, 27 February 2016

Summersville Saturday: Blocks 29 - 32

When I started this project in 2012, it was with the intention of it being a long-term project.  One for 'sitting on the settee and watching telly with no prep required' sewing, but now I've embroidered all the blocks (although I'm behind with blogging about them), I really miss it and am going to have to start thinking about and preparing another long-term hand stitching project to replace it.  I'm slowly catching up with blogging about the squares in this series of weekly posts - I do hope you're not sick to the back teeth of them!

You can find the other posts in the series here: blocks 1 - 4blocks 5 - 8blocks 9 - 12blocks 13 - 16blocks 17 - 20blocks 21- 24; blocks 25 - 28.

The squares currently measure 7" square, but will be trimmed to 6.5" square before they're pieced into the quilt top.  I did this so that any ragged edges/fraying could be removed, rather than being in the seam allowance.  As last week's post, all the blocks this week have been embroidered with back stitch which, along with split stitch, seems to work best on these small houses.

When starting block 29, I chose two shades of three colours and embroidered one house in each of those threads (two strands).  I chose two shades of brown and two shades of green for the trees and used one set for the conifers and the other for the deciduous trees.
Block 29

All the houses in block 30 are in a conservation zone (with its own (small) ancient woodland) and so have to use approved colours for their external paint - the owners clubbed together a bought a job lot of three colours so that costs were reduced and so their houses are identical.
Block 30

The owners of the houses in block 31 know the owners of the houses in block 30 and thought their 'all in it together' approach to external paint was a good one, so they copied (albeit with brighter paint).  They've also managed to get protection orders for their trees:
Block 31

The owner of the house in block 32 liked the colours of the houses in block 31, but couldn't find the exact colours they used.  Nor could she afford enough paint to do the whole house, so she just did the roof:

Block 32

Here's all this week's blocks together:
Blocks 29 - 32

It's been a week of intermittent sun and Archie was reunited with his favourite wall during one of the longer sunny spells:
I've missed you, Wall.

And on an evening he's been on high alert in case food is going begging:
Did I hear the rustle of a packet of biscuits being opened?  Next door but two, I think you'll find...

Thanks for popping in!

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

FAL Finish: Iced Hat III

Finish A Long 2016

One of the items on my Q1 2016 FAL list was another Iced Hat for Mam and at the start of the quarter, it looked like this:

Iced Hat III

In December, I made two of these as Christmas presents (one for Mam (right), one for my sister-in-law (left)) and they were well received (but not well blogged, oops!), but Mam decided she'd like her next one to have a longer brim so that the lazy wind couldn't get up the gap between her ear lobes and the hat!
After blocking

I knew I'd have plenty of yarn as I had plenty left when knitting these two hats and, although I used different yarn this time, I had about the same yardage and only needed to add an extra twenty-two rounds of rib.

I'm afraid there's a staggering lack of in-progress photos for this project as it knitted up within a week and not once did I have my camera near me when I was knitting!  Even losing my cable needle didn't slow me down as I had a spare.  (I lost the cable needle before I started using it - it wasn't in the bag with all the other needles I needed for this project and neither was it in my needle roll where it usually lives.  Unusually, buying a new one didn't bring the old one dancing through the door so I'm blaming The Borrowers...)

So, without further ado, here's the third Iced Hat, with added brim:

Iced Hat III

We've had a bit of sunshine this week and Archie and I grabbed the opportunity and went into the garden for a bit:

Hang on a moment, I'll do my best knitting pattern pose.
There, that was worth waiting for, wasn't it?  This is my 'gazing wistfully into the distance' pose - it's quite sought after, I can assure you.

Thanks for popping in!

P.S.  If you're making/have made a quilt for Siblings Together this year then please take a photo of the finished quilt and link it up to their linky party for 2016 before sending it to the charity's headquarters (and then put your linky number on the parcel so the charity can help Nicky and Maria keep track of which quilts have arrived).  The target is for 100 quilts for this year's camps, please help if you can!  The blog is full of ideas and information about the quilt drive.  If that doesn't inspire you, then Sarah has blogged a series of scrap box block tutorials which would be perfect for a Siblings Together quilt.  Why not organise a sewing day with a few friends (and some cake, naturally) and make a group quilt for donation?  Or see if your local quilt shop/quilt group would be able to help?
Siblings Together Quilt Linky Party

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Summersville Sunday: Blocks 25 - 28

After last week's experiment with a mosaic of the four Summersville blocks, I'm combining that with my old approach as the mosaic couldn't be viewed any larger for examination of the embroidery in any detail.

As I've said before, I started this project in 2012 as a 'sitting on the settee and watching telly with no prep required' project and slowly but surely embroidered all 49 blocks (which will be pieced into a quilt), but fell behind (mild understatement!) in blogging about them so I'm catching up with a weekly post.

You can find the other posts in the series here: blocks 1 - 4blocks 5 - 8blocks 9 - 12blocks 13 - 16blocks 17 - 20; blocks 21- 24.

The squares currently measure 7" square, but will be trimmed to 6.5" square before they're pieced into the quilt top.  I did this so that any ragged edges/fraying could be removed, rather than being in the seam allowance.  Once again, all the blocks this week have been embroidered with back stitch as, quite often, the fancier stitches don't really work on such a small scale and look out of place.

Block 25 has all the triangular roofs embroidered in ice cream colours, using two strands for the outline and one strand for the lines on the roof.  I used eight colours/shades and used a different combination on each roof. 

Block 25

Block 26 has all of one row embroidered (the houses at either end will be in the seam allowance), using six colours for the houses, each of which has been used once in each position.  I used six colours/shades for the trees and combined one strand each of two colours so they blend together.

Block 26

Block 27 contains just four colours, but each house is different from the others.

Block 27

Block 28 has two rainbow streets - one 'forwards' rainbow and one 'backwards' rainbow.  It was definitely easier to embroider these 'lots of small houses' blocks when I had a rule to apply - I think it helps to pull the block together, rather than just being a random collection of colours/houses/styles.

Block 28

And here's this week's blocks all together:
Blocks 25 - 28

You may wonder how I ever get anything done when I could be gazing at Archie and his ever-moving ears, but quite a lot of the time this is all I can see of him:
Yes, there really is a dog under there!
I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with L.

In an attempt to stop Archie's hair covering the car from one end to the other, I have a big fluffy blanket (essentially two blankets back to back) covering the inside of the boot and up and over the back of the back seats (it's also handy for stopping things sliding from one side to the other when you go round a roundabout!).  Every now and again (more so in the winter, when he's in and out of there with feet clagged with mud), it needs washing.  A couple of weeks ago, I brought it in and when it was finally dry enough to go back in the car I put it by the front door for the next time I was going out...and Archie claimed it as yet another bed!  This is his third in the (small) front room alone!  (#spoiltrotten)  I've let him keep it for the time being as there's another one like it in the car (it was Alfie's) but he shouldn't get too comfortable..!

As you can imagine, when he's curled up in the blanket (and he does all the covering himself, I just watch and try not to put him off by laughing) and the heating is on, he doesn't really like to move if at all possible.  So when I made a noise while taking the washing off the radiator, this is the glare I received:
Can I help you?
And then a couple of days later, I caught this cute pose:
I can hear a biscuit calling my name.  Did you bring it?
*sigh* I don't think that biscuit's coming after all...
Okay, I'll be honest, I do spend an awful lot of my time watching Archie!

Thanks for popping in!

Friday, 19 February 2016

A Nigh-On-Halfway Progress Report

Finish-A-Long 2016

I think we're around halfway through the first quarter of this year's FAL, so I thought I'd write a bit of a progress report on my list, which you'll find here.  I'm just going to share the projects where I've either made progress or have finished and blogged about them, so if an item isn't here then it's either finished and awaiting its moment of glory or, more likely, hasn't been touched.

The big blue and white quilt (which I'm making for Mam's spare bed), has been machine quilted.  Here's how it looked at the start of the quarter:
Blue and white quilt

And this is how it looks now:

Quilting progress

I added an awful lot more lines than I thought I would.  I originally planned to do the vertical and horizontal ditches between the blocks and then across each diagonal on the nine patches, but when I'd done that, it didn't look finished and the ditches of the snowballs weren't quilted.  I decided to add four more lines per block and get a four patch on point effect in the centre of each nine patch, which was a lot more work (and took more hours than I care to think about!), but was worth it.  I now 'just' need to hand quilt a motif (a star?) in the centre of each of the 127 snowball blocks (in perle 12 - I've chosen the shade but not yet ordered it) and the quilting will be finished.  I'm not sure which will be finished first: the quilt, or me!

I also, and you've already seen this, have finished hand quilting the centre star on my Christmas Cherry quilt (based on the Made In Cherry quilt by Sarah Fielke) Here it is at the start of the quarter, when just over half of the star was quilted:

Christmas Cherry

and here it is now, with the whole star (but nothing else!) quilted:

Quilted star

I've made good progress with my table runner version of Reene's Rosettes (designed by Reene Witchard for Quilt Now).  At the start of the quarter, I had all eight rosettes pieced:

Rosettes table runner

and now I have all the background pieces prepared and am starting to piece them in:

Piecing in the background

As I'm making more than one block, I was able to adapt the templates for the background pieces to remove seams and maximise the continuous stitching, so I'm doing a sort of 'piecing as you go', rather than making all the blocks and then joining them together.  One of the advantages of hand piecing (it's not EPP!) over machine piecing is that all those y/swivel seams are a joy, rather than a pain.  The sewing lines are a little hard to see on the dark fabric but I'm managing so far and have a chalk marker to hand, just in case I need to go over any intersections - they're the important bits and I can eyeball a straight line between them, if needs be.

The outer pieces for my storage basket are ready for quilting, and have been for about three weeks.  I'm not really doing any machine work at the moment (just too tired), but I think this will be first in the queue when I get back to it.  I'm trying to make this a thrifty FAL quarter, so I'm using up scraps of wadding whenever I can, hence the occasional bit of Frankensteined wadding!

Ready for quilting

The paisley embroidery has moved on quite a lot since you last saw it at the start of the quarter:

Paisley embroidery

I've taken progress photos and will share those, and my thoughts about how this evolved, etc. when I blog properly about it, but for now, this is how it looks (you even stand a chance of being able to tell what it is!):

Lots of progress!

I made a Lola pouch out of the scraps from my trug and sewing accessories, and created a smaller pile of scraps in the process:

Black/turquoise pouch

And I made another two, this time from scraps leftover from when Mam made a sewing machine cover, scissor holder and cutter pouch:
Two Lola pouches for Mam

Finally, I've made good progress with the table runner I'm making from Hadley's hexies (they languished on her FAL list for several quarters before she decided to foist them on someone else give them away), which looked like this at the start of the quarter:

Hadley's Hexies

They're now all pieced and seventeen of them have been joined and appliquéd onto a background.  (There were twenty in total, but I couldn't manage to arrange twenty and get the dimensions I wanted, so I'll use the green ones for something else.)


And that's (finally!) the end of my we're-almost-halfway-through-the-quarter progress report!  As I said, some items have been missed out because they're finished but haven't been blogged about (for no reason other than that I'm rubbish at keeping up with blogging!) or because they haven't been touched since I last took photos of them.

I've also started something new: knitting my first pair of socks.  I decided to make life hard for myself and go toe up and, after a three attempts (which felt like playing a yarn version of Ker-Plunk!) I got a nice start and have enjoyed knitting round and round.  I'm allergic to wool (I'm just about managing to knit with this but my hands do get itchy after a few minutes when I have to stop for a good scratching session), so won't be able to wear these next to my skin but I'm hoping they'll make good house socks, worn over my normal socks and under my slippers.


Although he's a complete pushover with other dogs (he really is: he's so submissive it's ridiculous!), Archie occasionally likes to stand his ground, as happened when I tried to take photos of the blue and white quilt:
I don't care that you want to take photos of this quilt, I was here first!
I've told you: I was here first and I'm not budging!  Unless you get the biscuits out and then we can negotiate...

Thanks for popping in, I hope you're doing well with your list?

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Summersville Sunday: Blocks 21 - 24

I thought I'd try something different for this Summersville post and make a mosaic of this week's four blocks, rather than posting individual photos - thanks for the idea, Jude!

I started this project in 2012 as a 'sitting on the settee and watching telly with no prep required' project and slowly but surely embroidered all 49 blocks, but fell behind (mild understatement!) in blogging about them so I'm catching up with a weekly post.

The squares will be pieced into a quilt, set between nine patches on point (not yet made) and with some sort of background (not yet chosen or even looked for).  I hope the top will be finished by, well, the end of the decade would be nice!  Then I can start thinking about how to quilt it *grin*

You can find the other posts in the series here: blocks 1 - 4; blocks 5 - 8; blocks 9 - 12; blocks 13 - 16; blocks 17 - 20.

All the embroidery in blocks 21 and 22 were done with split stitch, and blocks 23 and 24 were done with back stitch - not the most interesting of stitches to do but I like the result!

Summersville Sunday: Blocks 21 - 24
top left  top right  bottom left  bottom right

When embroidering these small house squares, I usually picked some sort of rule to follow which made choosing which things to embroider a little easier and more interesting.  Sometimes I'd embroider all the conifer trees and nothing else, other times it would be all the houses with triangular roofs, or I'd pick six colours and use one once in each position (house/roof/chimney/windows/doors/smoke) so that all six houses were different but tied together by the colours.

Often, it's easier to get a feel for what has been embroidered when you look at the back (woven cotton interfacing was applied to the back of each square so that thread ends didn't shadow through and to allow slightly heavier embroidery than would otherwise be possible):
Summersville Sunday: Blocks 21 - 24
top left  top right  bottom left  bottom right  

I quite like arranging all the threads used in the block around it as I often find that the subtle shade changes aren't as obvious in photos as they are in person:
Summersville Sunday: Blocks 21 - 24
  top left  top right  bottom left  bottom right

Archie wanted me to show you that he doesn't just signal with his left ear.  I'm not entirely sure what he's signalling in these photos, but I'm willing to bet it's about biscuits!



And when, exactly, do I get paid for all this modelling?

Thanks for popping in!

P.S.  After asking permission from my friend, whose workshop sample it was based on, I'm planning to write a tutorial for the machine needle book in my last post - I need to provide two tutorials for the 2016 FAL and this will be one of them.  My day isn't for quite a while (the first one is in October, so don't come looking for it next week!), but I'm going to start thinking about any alterations I'd like to make to this one and may even choose the fabrics!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

FAL Finish: Pouch For Sewing Machine Bits And Bobs

Before I start, I want to say thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post - I really appreciate them. I'm sorry I haven't replied to most of them yet, I've just been too tired to do much other than sleep or sit on the settee and watch easy telly, but I will reply at some point this week.

Finish-A-Long 2016

When I was writing my current FAL list, I realised I'd never got round to making a small pouch for all my sewing machine bits and bobs - machine oil, screwdrivers, extra feet, etc.  I decided to use the fabric which was leftover from making my trug and some other things which have yet to be blogged about (they're making their début later in this post!).  I didn't have much of this fabric left but I knew I'd be able to get a small Lola pouch out of them with little difficulty.

Lola pouch for me

When it came to it, I decided to make the large version as it meant I could fit in my walking foot box and it would be much handier to have everything in one place.  I didn't have enough fabric to make an un-pieced pouch, so I decided to make an un-pieced and pieced side, for both the lining and the outside.  I also decided to see if I could work out a way to include the two pandas which were on the outer fabric but when I took this photo, I hadn't quite decided how to do it:

Eking out the outer fabric

As I was using an orange zip, I decided to introduce a bit of orange to both the binding (no photo) and the lining, to tie the colours together.  You may wonder why I didn't use a pink zip, to go with the background of the pandas and the answer's simple: I didn't have one!
Eking out the lining fabric

I decided to add the pandas as little 'tabs' either side of the accent strip on one side of the pouch and was going to leave them free on three sides but I didn't like how they laid on the pouch, so they got stitched down while I was quilting.  Here are the two outer pieces ready for quilting - you can just see the two lines marked with a hera marker on the unpieced side.  What you can't see is that I had to sew pieces of fusible wadding together as I didn't have enough of that, either!  You'll also notice that I've labelled the bottom of the pieced side: if I'd accidentally turned up upside down then one of those pandas would have been on the base of the pouch, not the look I was going for!

Outer pieces

I quilted (in bright pink) down the edge of the turquoise strip (three lines each side, about 1/16" apart) and then in turquoise and bright pink on the other side; I thought it would be too plain without something and then I remembered the pouch Susan made and, er, copied!  The width of the quilting is the same as the width of the contrast strip on the other side (and on the lining) but I deliberately made it so that they wouldn't line up when viewed from above, just in case I didn't get them lined up exactly!

Black/turquoise pouch

I stitched down the binding using two lines (one pink, one orange) of a fairly large running stitch in perle 12, rather than my usual (invisible) appliqué stitch and rather like the result.

Black/turquoise pouch - the other side

My aim this quarter was to blog about finishes as they happened, rather than playing catch-up at the end of the quarter.  I haven't quite managed that yet as I finished this pouch in the middle of January, and I have another couple of small finishes to share, too.  They'll have to wait their turn, though!  Must try harder.

As well as linking up at the end of the quarter, I'm also linking up with Scraptastic Tuesday, as the pouch was made with fabric and wadding scraps.

Scraptastic Tuesday

I mentioned that this pouch was made with the leftovers from some other projects, but that I'd only blogged about the trug.  This is everything I've made so far, isn't it surprising how far a yard of main fabric and a metre of lining fabric will go?!  I don't usually go for matchy-matchy, but I think I like how this all co-ordinates.

It's surprising...

So far, I've made a trug, a large pouch, a needle book (for my machine needles), a pouch for my rotary cutter and a holder for my large fabric scissors.  I still have these bits left, I wonder what I can cobble together out of this?!!

Remaining scraps

It was Archie's birthday last week and so, for a treat, he got two pieces of his hedgehog treat instead of one:
Ohhh, two pieces!  What's the betting that it's really one piece cut in two to make it look like more?!
Can I eat them yet?  Any chance I'm also allowed to eat the head?  No, not yet.

Thanks for popping in!

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