Monday, 25 April 2016

Fancy Moon - teaching in South London

I have been teaching for a good three years now at the Village Haberdashery in North London and have had many students in my quilting beginner and advanced multi-session classes, cushion, gift and Christmas themed classes. What I enjoy most about teaching sewing is how my students learn a new skill and in some cases turn into what I lovingly call "quilt monsters" (i.e. obsessed with quilting).

I am pleased to announce that in addition to my North London teaching location, I am expanding my regional reach to South London (no East and West yet, but who knows, anything is possible). 

A few months back I received an e-mail from Nancy, the owner of Fancy Moon, asking me if I was interested in teaching in her new Brick and Mortar shop in Crystal Palace. Did I say yes? Of course I did.


Fancy Moon as been around for quite some time as an on-line fabric store. Nancy stocks a great selection of Alexander Henry prints for example (no less than 27 currently !) and these are usually hard to come by in the UK. She is extending her selection to K.Fasset prints and solids and also has a selection of Kona Cottons and obviously other printed cotton fabric that are suitable for quilting and clothes making.

I went to the see the new shop when it was just set up and was very impressed. There is a spacious teaching area on the back of the shop floor where students are basically surrounded by all the wonderful fabric (which should be a great source for inspiration). There is a big cutting table, Janome sewing machines, ironing boards and everything else that is required. In short, what is stopping you ?

Nancy and I have prepared several exiting classes for the upcoming months:



           

14th of May: Introduction to quilting by means of making a patchwork cushion with zip
















 

19th of May for 4 weeks: Beginners patchwork quilt class
















23rd of June: Make a lined tote bag (which is ideal for anybody sewing beginner)


















7th of July:  Handmade gifts (frame purses, drawstring bags, media device coves, fabric baskets) 



























I am looking forward to meeting many new students at Fancy Moon.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Rediscovery of Linen

Schoppel is a German wool manufacturet that is probably best known for its varigated 'Zauberball' wool which I discovered a few months ago (more on that at a later point). So while trailing through their wonderful wool selection and getting ever more excited I spotted "El Linio" which is 100% Linen.



The yarn is finished as a tape yarn so instead of a round thread structure it is flat and in addition it is paint dyed which gives it a suptel varigation.



It feels fantastic and although the skeins are only 50 g, run an astonishing 150 m. I love linen in all its forms, be it fabric or wool but it's a tricky fibre. Linen is flexible and the finished piece will "grow" on you, so you need to be careful not to knit too lose or too big.

 

I am knitting a Summer sweater with those gorgeous two colours and when this first back piece is finished will have to measure the final lenghs while it is hanging rather than lying down to ensure it's not "growing" too much.

Happy knitting and sewing.




Thursday, 31 March 2016

A new Winter scarf

This scarf, I finished a few week ago started live as a sweater but I soon realised I didn't like it as a sweater, so unravelled it all and started a large scarf.



I knitted this one again over a long period of time, mostly while travelling though the last third at home as it gotten rather heavy.



This scarf is made from Madelinetosh Merino DK in Mineral and was bought at Loop Yarn here in London and I love this treasure trove of a shop.



I think I used 6-7 skeins on this, hence the heaviness, and it measures about 2 m by 46 cm and was knitting in simple seed stitch which makes it look maybe a bit more like a blanket than a scarf.


 

Whilst I am really happy with the scarf and love wrapping myself into it, I must say on hind side, that it really is very heavy and I don't think I would wear it on a 3 hour walk or something like that. But this is just a small issue. Mostly I just love the incredible softness of the yarn.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

A touch of denim - a finished quilt-

My super soft double gauze quilt is finally finished and I am so pleased with the result. With all of it really and in particular my decision to add the border via QAYG.

So let's have a look at some images, shall we ?



The quilt is big at about 76" (194 cm) square which is exactlty what I wanted and fits very nicely onto a large double bed. It certainly is not a sofa quilt. I love the way the HSTs play with the different shades of denim blue, light and dark greys and the couple of black triangles give the whole ensemble a little more interest and focus.


 


I quilted densely in a 1 inch diagonal grid which supports the diagonals from the HSTs. Because the double gauze is much thicker than normal quilting cotton, the intersections have quite a lot of bulk although I ironed the seams open. Therefore quilting was a little more laborious than I would have liked it to be.



I quilted with a variegated Guetermann thread on the top and with my favorite ice grey Aurifill on the back of the quilt.





Both threads blend in well and the variegated thread adds to the denim and grey shades of the quilt top.



I used a text print from Carrie Bloomstone 'Paint' collection for the back; it is such versatile print and works well with many quilts. But sadly I am out, having used it on a few others already.

 

And finally the binding. For this quilt I wanted the binding to blend in rather than contrast. So I used some more of the Essex yarn dyed linen/cotton. It's a fairly thick fabric which makes binding a little more tricky but it worked well; just a bit more attention while sewing was required.



And that's it. One more quilt done. Sadly I am so busy right now with non-quilt related activities that I won't be able to start a new one for several months I fear. Instead I am knitting a lot as it is easier to pick up when I have a few minutes here and there. It's quite possibly therefore that this blog may turn into a knitting blog for a while.


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

A touch of denim - part three -

My new quilt is almost finished, just the binding to do. But I thought I give a quick update on the QAYG process.


The quilt itself is quilted in a 1 inch diagonal crosshatch pattern which supports the HST lines and the borders are quilted in straight lines 1/2 inch apart.




























Having never done QAYG, I read through quite a few tutorials on the web (in particular this from BubzRubz and those from Marianne of Quilting Edge.

There are several methods to choose from which did surprise me. There are those that include strips of wadding which generally have wider joining strips and those that use narrow joining strips and a number of variations of both methods. After I understood the techniques I decided on a narrow strip technique which you might think is a little risky as a first time QAYGer but I felt confident.

The strip for the top was 1 1/2 inch wide and the one for the quilt back 1 inch. This leaves very little room for mistakes and you need to sew the strips on with a very precise and scant 1/4 seam allowance.

Although I did not plan QAYG for this quilt, I was lucky in that I chose a quilt back that basically hides the fact that I stitched the borders on. If I had chosen a fabric with a more directional pattern, that would have looked a little unfortunate and I think I would have not gone for the QAYG but instead would have had to content myself with the smaller quilt.



Another plus of this quilt is that it really hides the additional quilting lines that are necessary for the QAYG to work pretty well as they are not necessary in sync with the overall quilting pattern.

I really enjoyed the experience of learnign a new technique and will defintly make use of this again.


















Wednesday, 17 February 2016

La Passacaglia - part 1 -

I am back from a wonderful 2 week holiday in the West Indies and whilst I think that there should be a law against having to leave the house if the temperature difference is 30 degree Celsius (-3 in London yesterday to plus 27 in Bequia the night before !), I nonetheless dragged myself into work albeit in my vintage furs and suffering.
But that's enough whining and on to some crafting updates instead.

So I started another another EPP pieing project. The last one I did was called "On my travels" and was a quilt entirely made from low volume fabric. I pieced it as the name suggested while travelling, usually whilst journeying to my parents in Germany. Since then I have been mainly knitting on my travels and which I will keep doing so time for the new project has to be found elsewhere.

 

For those who have not heard about this latest self-inflicting torture craze, this quilt is a 3000 strong piece quilt pattern created by Willyne Hammersteil. A book is available and sew&quilt sell it including the pre-cut paper pieces and acrylic templates.



The idea is to piece this in company once a month. The lovely Ruth who is also a member of our LMQG suggested to meet up once a month for a few hours in the evening in a London to work on this together. Along the lines of shared pain is half pain or something like this. Trouble is so far I only managed to attend one evening, so the whole project may take half a century....

 


But I love my start and really love paper piecing. So I will just go with the flow no matter how long it takes and in(frequent) updates on the blog may help me along.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Knitting - a finished Ombré cashmere scarf

When I went to Quiltcon last year in Austin, Texas I took advantage of saving on shipping costs and taxes and had quite a lot of fabric and wool sent to my hotel. The most precious parcel that arrived was cashmere wool from Purl Soho in New York. Some months earlier they had announced on their purl bee blog the kits for an Ombré Wrap kit which I had absolutely fallen for.




This kit contains 8 skeins that are specifically dyed for Purl Soho and blend into each other to deliver the ombré effect. I only knitted this scarf during travel when I went to Germany to my parents and over the past couple of months a little here and there which is why it took the best part of a year.


The scarf is knitted in simple ribbing stitch and about 20" x by 70" in size. I washed it and blocked it last weekend and have been wearing it ever since although it is not really cold enough.


This has got to be the softest cashmere I have ever touched, it's almost like feeling warm soft water and not at all like wool.


The set comes in 5 different colours and each is very tempting but knitting a scarf of this length is also a little boring eventually. So I am glad it's finished and I can move on to the next one.