Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Mini Archie’s May Furtle Around The Blogosphere

Archie The Wonder Dog

Furtle (v): to have a rummage or delve into the contents of something

Hello! This month has seen a slight improvement in my arm (and I have a physio appointment for the end of next month) so I’ve not only managed a bit of knitting on the slowest socks ever, but I’ve also been doing some dressmaking. 

This is how the socks look now (I’m at the heel):

As I mentioned, I’ve slowly been making a very simple summer top to see if it’s possible to whip up a few for this summer. Yes, summer is virtually here but at least I’ve made a start! Since the only shop I’ve found which sells tops properly designed for tall people closed, I’ve not managed to buy any summer tops and the few I do have are well past their best. So this summer is the one where I actually make some tops rather than just plan to. 

The pattern I chose from my pattern box is the Lou Box Top. (I have the old version with just a few size bands which was a gift from a friend but decided I didn’t need to buy the updated version as I could spend that money (and the cost of having it printed) on jersey for more tops.) I chose this pattern as it’s really simple and so would be faster to make: fewer pieces to cut out (three if, like me, you don’t want the pocket) and no sleeves to set in (which I know isn’t hard but it all takes time and therefore more of my limited energy). Plus, it looked like it might need less altering to get a good fit and it can be made in either woven or jersey which is handy. (Sew DIY now focus on designing patterns for tall people, just in case you’re also tall or sew for someone who is.)

I need to hem the sleeve and body and then I can lay it on the pattern pieces to trace the alterations I’ve made so the next one will (hopefully) need less faffing. 

Please feel free to admire the neckband, which went on perfectly at the first attempt. And the twin needle behaved. And the overlocker needed no adjustment to either the threading up or the tension and I had four cones of the same colour thread. Truly, a miracle has occurred. (And they’re probably saving up all their mischief for the next top, I know that and will try to accept it with grace when it happens...)

Mini Archie has been keeping me out of mischief, here he is admiring the progress of Mouse with his chum Billy:
Mouse has beed verrrrrry busy, why isn’t you doing the same? *stern face*

Linking up to the May Furtle 

If you're linking up, please add a link (one per person, please) to your blog post, which could contain: a mosaic of all you've made in the month, something you've made/started/worked on, a goal which you'd like to achieve in the next month (and then in next month's post you can reflect on that goal and set yourself another one - I find this particularly handy if I'm in the midst of a big project and finding the making of hundreds of blocks to be interminable), anything crafty you'd like to share. This isn't just for sewing or quilting, but is for all crafts so if you knit, make lace, make clothes, do anything which could come under the heading of 'craft', then please link up. Please visit the link immediately before and after you and leave an encouraging comment, and more if you can manage it - we all know that comments create joy, so let's spread some around. Also, please treat all the linked posts and their authors with respect - I want this to be an inclusive space for all crafters and crafts and all are welcome. If you're not sure if you're welcome or you belong, you do - this is by no means a closed space and if you want to join, then you are most welcome. If you need help linking up, please leave a comment and I will do my best to help. Please add the Furtling button to your blog post: copy the code below and paste it into your blog post - it should then magically appear when you publish your blog post (I'll do my best to help if you have any problems) and it will help people find the Furtling page with all the details of the link up.

<p style="text-align:center"><a href="https://archiethewonderdog.blogspot.com/p/furtling.html"><img src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-fJ7oo6tyMM0/XFF5HxcQW1I/AAAAAAAAEJU/BZnZPfse8k0BXwjt6KAOJIMwySjnfDHbQCLcBGAs/s200/textgram_1548790799.png" alt="Archie The Wonder Dog" /></a></p>

To link up, go to the link at the bottom of this page and click on 'link up' (it's a blue button) and then add your link (website URL), a title (this could be your blog name but could also be something interesting to draw people to it (keep it clean!) if you prefer), and your email. This last one doesn't appear on the link (I will have access to it - I won't use it unless there's a problem and I need to contact you) so don't worry that you're about to share your email address with the world (or the handful of people who find this link), you're not! The link will remain open until 17th June; if you're seeing this post after this date, I'm afraid you can't link up to the May Furtle, but you can link next month if you like.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Thursday, 5 May 2022

ET Phone Home, Fettled!

Long, long (long) ago, I started a hand piecing project that I knew would be a long-term project. I had no idea just how long it would actually take.

It started when I saw a blog post by Lynne of Lily’s Quilts of her new block and I fell in love with it. Her blog is undergoing some renovation, so this follow up post to the initial one is only post I can find. And on that post, I left this comment:

Notice the date - such optimism!

I started (not long after Lynne’s post) by making a test block

(It was made into a mini quilt in June 2015)

I bought background fabric and furtled through my fabric boxes to find suitable prints and plains (and a lovely friend bought me some bright tone on tone fabrics at FOQ (or maybe the first Fat Quarterly retreat?) to supplement what I had) and by April 2013, I had this:

And by the start of June, I had my first block:

It took me eighteen months to finish the next block (isn’t it amazing how long things take to make when you’re not working on them? It’s a constant surprise) and by June 2015 I had a box of coloured triangles cut and marked, ready to piece. 

By April 2018, I had nine blocks so I was obviously getting into my stride (cutting the background into strips for each round of shapes and batch prepping the pieces made a huge difference to how quickly I could prep a block, which meant I was more likely to do it) and by June 2018, I had sixteen blocks which were sashed and joined. The original plan had been for thirty-five blocks but by 2018 (if not earlier), I knew that I wasn’t going to make all those so changed the plan - once I got to sixteen, I thought about whether I wanted to make another nine to get to twenty-five and the answer was no!

By late spring 2019, I had a finished top:

And then that summer I decided that I didn’t like the backing I’d bought for it a year or so before (it was pink and white and I realised I wanted to quilt in the ditches on the front and didn’t want to have to faff with black thread on the front and bright pink on the back), so in April 2020, I bought the backing from Olive + Flo Handcraft and by July I’d pieced the back (all those Zoom chats were ideal for hand sewing the two long seams):

And then I layered it and things sped up a little. Only kidding - stitching in the ditch round all those triangles took ages and I thought I’d never finish. All that turning and stuffing of a big quilt through a small harp space was warm work and, in the end, I had to wait for cooler weather. 

I finished quilting the middle and started the edges in October 2021 and that was when I really had to grit my teeth and concentrate on getting to the end: I quilted the corners and wasn’t happy with the spacing because three had eighteen lines quilted and the fourth had nineteen marked. So I pulled out three corners, re-marked all of them, quilted them and then turned the quilt over and saw the drag lines:

So I pulled them out again! I then misted and pressed all three layers of every corner and took it to a friend’s house so we could have a go at getting the back under enough tension so that I could re re quilt the lines. That didn’t work (fortunately, we decided to check it would work after tacking the first corner), and we spent the rest of the afternoon playing with lengths of thread trying to find a quilting design we liked. We found a couple so I spent the next couple of weeks marking them, discovering they didn’t work on all four corners (no idea why and I wasn’t in the mood to find out) and I didn’t like them anyway. Just as I was teetering on the edge of the pit of (project) despair and contemplating setting fire to the bl**dy thing, it occurred to me that hand quilting was an option and that the original straight lines might work as it’s a gentler process than machine quilting. So I tacked a corner, marked a few lines and got to work. I can’t tell you how relieved I was when I turned it over after those lines were done and didn’t see drag lines! 

Finally, in January 2022, I trimmed it

and attached the binding to the front. And then, by the middle of February, it was finished. You may be wondering why it’s taken until now to post about it? So am I, to be honest! But, when it’s taken nigh on a decade to make, why rush the blog post?! On a windy March day, I went to a friend’s house (the same friend who helped with the quilting plan when all felt lost) and pegged it on her line (I didn’t have anywhere big enough unless I laid it on the front lawn and leant out of the upstairs window to take photos. Given that I live on a windy street, I decided that wasn’t something to be undertaken without an assistant/weight so a friend’s washing line it was, which was much better all round) and tried to take photos in the split seconds between gusts of wind.

Quilt stats

(It’s been a loooooong time since I’ve done one of these!)

Name: ET Phone Home

Block designer: Lynne Goldsworthy 

Fabrics: Garden Dot (white on black) plus various plains, prints and Oakshott cottons

Pieced: by hand

Quilted: by machine and hand

Thread:  pieced in black Coats cotton, quilted in King Tut in ebony

Wadding: Warm & White

Backing: AGF from Olive + Flo Handcraft’s backing section (always worth a look!)

Block size: ~12”

Quilt size: ~78.5”

Started: May 2013

Finished: February 2022

Needless to say, Mini Archie has already lined up the next Fettling List project to concentrate on…

I finks it’s going to be Summersville until your arm is betterer
and then Winterkist once it’s up to doing quilting *benevolent face* 

Well done for getting to the end, even if you did scroll down to the finished quilt photos/video and then straight on to see Mini Archie!
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