Saturday 1 September 2018

A long hot Summer's day

I have a new quilt in progress, slow progress but progress nonetheless. And the best thing about the quilt is that I will be teaching it at the Village Haberdashery next week Saturday the 8th of September.

Those in the know will spot that it is a pineapple quilt pattern. This is one of those patterns that I have had long on my quitting list but resisted for a long time because most of the foundation pieced versions out there are too small and fiddly for my liking. But it's still such an attractive block to make that I decided to make my own pattern to suit my needs and those of my students of course. My version is quite big and just shy of 12 inches square (so you can still print on A3) which makes the whole process easier and more enjoyable.

This quilt is the 2nd in my seasonal quilt series that I started some two years ago with "Spring Greens" . My aim with this little series is to create four distinct quilts each inspired from a season. For me Spring is a riot of greens and Summer has always been yellow in all its glorious shades and that is what I try to show with my "A long hot Summer's day quilt. The pineapples in the quilt are all created from a variety of solid yellows whiles the patterned areas are created from every single yellow piece of fabric I have in my stash. This is by the way an ideal pattern to get rid of stash and offcuts.

If you want to to learn how to foundation piece pineapple pattern quilt blocks then join me for a Saturday worth of quilting and fun at the Village Haberdashery in West Hampstead.

Friday 20 April 2018

Stormdoor II

I have several knits to share with you but somehow never seem to find the motivation to blog about it.  However this morning motivation finally struck and here I am. You may remember the Plucky Knitter Stormdoor shawl I knitted for my sister for her birthday in 2016.

I enjoyed knitting the pattern so much that I decided there and then to knit myself a shawl too. That I did sometime last year and I am just as smitten with the result as I was with the green beauty for my sister. 

The colour in the images is not quite representative to the true colour which is a very dark burgundy. Reds are very difficult to photograph and even with a lit of tweaking the colour channels this is the best I could do.

The yarn this time is from the Plucky Knitter and is their gorgeous cashmere/silk yarn Spiffy in a sport weight. As you can imagine it's incredibly soft and feels luxurious and sumptuous around my neck. 

The beauty with this pattern is that you can use all of your yarn, you simply knit increases until you have used half and then you start with the decreases. Works a treat. Two done and already another planned. 

Happy knitting and quitting. 

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Koto - a new sweater

Koto is a pattern by Brooklyn Tweed that has been long on my list of sweaters to knit. I love it's architectural construction and unusual shape. I ordered the wool over a year ago but only knitted it a few months back and have been wearing it plenty this winter with the unusual cold weather we had.

This is not a difficult sweater to knit but you should be comfortable to knit short rows which is how the longer bell curved shape around the back is constructed.

I have become devoted to top-down knitting but Brooklyn Tweed patterns are often knit from the bottom up but at least front and back are knitted as one and the sleeves in the round resulting in relatively few seems to close.

I knitted the hem not quite as deep as suggested in the pattern as I did not want the back too long. A small alteration which I am very happy with.

The hem and collar are knit with a beatuiful facing and the collar is faced with stockinette stitch to give it shape and structure.

I used Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Snowbound just as the original pattern as I fancied a lighter coloured sweater for the winter. But I do think that it would look stunning in a dark blue or even black and I am tempted to knit another one just like that.

The yarn is ideal for this knit as it has structure in itself but is very light and lofty. It also is incredibly warm. It's not the softest yarn as it is Wool instead of Merino but it feels still very good on my skin. It is quite a remarkable yarn indeed. I don't often use the same yarn as recommended in the pattern but in this case would recommend it as this pattern relies on a structural yarn.

Tuesday 16 January 2018

A quilt for Franka

Hello and happy New Year 2018 to everybody. I started the year with a new quilt. My friend and college's daughter hit the big first birthday yesterday and that meant that a quilt had to be created. As everybody knows a baby or toddler needs at least one quilt to cuddle up under or to play with.

So I spend the last two weekends designing, choosing fabric from my stach, assembling, sewing, quilting. And what a joy it was. As you can see my colour theme is centred around the cool tonal range, such as turquoise, blue, grey with a dash of pink thrown in now and then for good measure.

I literally tore through my entire stash to hunt for suitable fabrics and for a while it looked like a bombshell in my studio but that is all part of the fun (though the folding and ordering of said bombshell not so much).

I chose the hourglass pattern intersected with simple squares and I made sure I had a good amount of "I spy" objects to keep the little one interested and entertained.

The finished squares are all 3 1/2 inches and I started the hourglass blogs with 5 1/2  squares to ensure I had enough to square off given that anything sewn on a bias seam is prone to distortion.

I had some of these fabrics for many years now. I remember buying the flipflop fabric when my sister still lived in Bremen and I would take my nephew out in the pram and we would always pop into this  fabric store on the way to the playground. He is now 9 years old and although this is more than 6 years ago he still remembers this.

And come Cotton & Steele cats can't be missed out on the quilt together with the horses and cheeky slogans....

....and dresses and dogs and little windmills and balloons....

The quilt is bound with a teal print that echoes the colours in the quilt and gives it a nice slightly darker frame and in addition works well with the back of the quilt.

The quilt is about 42" by 49" with 84 hourglass blocks and a similar number of simple squares. I can't quite remember the number of different fabrics I used but it is in the same region.

What a great start to the year.

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Advent calender for my nieces - finished

As so often it was a rush in the end but I did manage to finish the 2nd of the Advent Calenders for my lovely nieces Sophia and Lily a few weeks back and they are now hanging in their respective rooms filled with treasures and raided with much anticipation every morning.

I really enjoyed making these and am very happy with how they have turned out, knowing they will bring them joy for many years to come. In fact my nephew for whom I made one in 2011 is now 9 years old and only recently started to feel a little to "grown up" for it. Frankly he used it way more years than I anticipated.

And with that I am singing off for this year and would like to wish everybody reading this blog a very happy Christmas and New Year and much creativity to come in 2018. Thank you for visiting and reading about my creative adventures.

Previous posts on the progress of the Advent Calendars calendars can be found here and here.

Tuesday 7 November 2017

The Channel Cardigan from Brooklyn Tweed

When I saw the Channel cardigan in Brooklyn Tweed's collection about 2 years ago I was very taken by it. The pattern, the thoughtful way the raglan sleeves are set, the shawl collar and of course the stylish belt. It's a knit for somebody with advanced skills and although I am somebody that fits the bill, I was apprehensive to start as there were a few techniques new to me such as the tabular cast on.

It sounds like a lot of work and in a way it is but it really goes surprisingly fast. I did not use Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter but instead Loop Alpaca Tweed in the wonderfully named colour "House of Bees". It's a beautiful tweed yarn, possibly a little heavier than Shelter but perfect for this cardigan. The alpaca yarn is incredibly soft to the touch and very warm. While knitting I thought it had too many knots and too many areas where the spinning was inconsistent which for a yarn that expensive should not be the case. Although this was annoying (and I have since gave that feedback to Loop as they commissioned the yarn) it did not stop me and is hardly visibly in the finished jacket.


I knitted in the smallest size as the yarn,  although almost identical to Shelter in length is a little thicker. I thought it might not keep the form as well as shelter but it actually does hold incredibly well.

The tabular cast on was a first for me and I have since used it again and absolutely adore it. It's not difficult, just a bit time intensive to begin with. 

The pattern is not difficult to knit and its an easy repeat of knit and purl for the chevron part and in between it is decided through a brioche pattern. The belt and shawl colour are knit in brioche to give it structure. 

I started of the with just knitting an arm to see if the wool works out and whether I liked it. I did and then slowly made my way through the other pieces. The back and two fronts are knit in one piece and the arms are then attached which makes for a really fast construction. The shawl colour and belt took rather a long time to knit and I used an entire skein for them and in fact all I had left was maybe 10 meter of yarn in total! 


The finished cardigan fits extraordinarily well and I could not be more pleased with it. It's warm and cosy and above all very stylish and has been warn a lot over those past 3 months. 

And I was very pleased when I found those shell buttons in exactly the same yellow/green colour. 

Of all the garments I have knitted in the last two years since my knitting resurgence I am probably most proud of this one. Brookly Tweed pattern are very detailed and a joy to read. In fact I have already cast on another Brookly Tweed pattern cardigan....

Saturday 9 September 2017

Advent Calendar for my nieces - part 2-

The first calendar (for Sophia) is finished and it really wasn't as much work as I thought and it was enormous fun too.

But in order to reduce the workload I made a few clever decisions. I invested in plastic number and letter templates instead of creating templates myself which saved an enormous amount of time. I simply ironed bondaweb onto the wrong side of the fabric, placed the templates on the right sight, drew around it with a pen, cut them out with scissor and ironed them onto the 10 x 10 pre-cut fabric pieces. This part of the process took no more than 2 hours.
I bought the templates on ebay and they are really good, come in a box and are of course reusable for ever.

I then affixed the numbers and letters (again by machine) permanently with an appliqué blanket stitch. This took a little while of course but again not to bad and to be honest I wasn't going for perfection. 

The rest is  straight forward. I basically made a quilt using a light grey as background so that the coloured and patterned pockets contrast well and therefore stand out. I quilted it in 1/2 in straight lines and bound it in a turquoise fabric that is also from the Cotton & Steele Noel collection.

All pockets are lined to give them better structure and are attached to the quilt by machine. I sewed over the edges several times as I can imagine little hands grabbing them in a haste and I also think this quilt will be used as a quilt (not just a wall hanging) and toy a lot. After all 3 year old kids really don't care to much if this is a Christmas quilt or not. Imagine all the things you can put into all these pockets over an entire year.

I am already onto the quilt for Lily but am not sure if I finish it before my big trip to Japan. Let's see.

First post on this here.