Saturday, 12 August 2017

Advent Calendars for my nieces - part 1 -

I was going to start this blogpost by saying "It's that time of the year again..." but that would be just too depressing. Though it actually is and in particular for us crafters because making something for Christmas, be it something decorative or a present, takes time.

In 2011 when my lovely nephew was 3 years old I made him an Advent calendar made up of 24 miniature stockings. It was incredibly cute and a huge success and best of all it is still in use although he turned nice this year. That one I also started in the Summer with the intention to make a few stockings every months. In the end I made most of them in November by assembling a production line as it turned out this was a lot of work and a bit tidies too.

Fast forward 6 years and I have two new gorgeous nieces, Sophia aged three and Lily aged one. And both are in need of an Advent calendar. I spend a few weeks thinking and researching as I really don't want to make 48 miniature stockings (that might just push me over the stocking edge...), although they really would look great in their house hanging along he stairs. Sure I could not line the stockings , not quilt them, not add a cuff at the top but then they would look just boring...

So I decided on a different design altogether. During my search I found this gorgeous quilt advent calendar from Cynthia by Ahhh... Quilting and it immediatly hit home. It's a quilt with numbered pockets attached to it. Cynthia put a lot of work into her quilt with ribbons and gorgeous quilting too but I am going to make up my own version of this and keep it altogether a little simpler.  But for those of you who might want to follow her pattern, its on sale in her Craftsy shop. I am sure it is a great pattern but I just want to follow my own path and see where it takes me.

My other hope was to to make something that may not be as much work as the stockings were....well, I have given up on that for a penny in for a pound. And I don't mind because I think I am going to enjoy this very much.

The next consideration was what fabric to use. And as most manufacturer bring out their Christmas fabric in summer, bang on time Cotton & Steel released this years festive collection called "Noel". 

Its a super fun, contemporary take on Christmas and in style quite similar to the one I used for Hauke's stocking calendar. As much as I like Christmas, what I don't like are most of the fabrics with their dark tones and overly traditional patterns. So this fit the bill perfectly. I ordered at the Fat Quarter Shop a set of forty 10 x 10 squares which will be enough fabric to make forty pockets. I also ordered a half meter each of the "Snow Babies" in red and mint for the tree and 3 more half meters of some of the other patterns, two of which are for the binding and the rest for the tree stump and for the remaining 8 pockets and generally as spare fabric. I am adding solids from stach for the numbering and background fabric.

First up is Sophia's quilt. I was able to assemble the quilt including quilting very fast.  Essentially the tree is a simple triangle with a rectangle attached surrounding by solids. The numbers are (machine) appliqu├ęd too. Next its on to making the pockets.

Happy crafting weekend.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

A seaside sweater

Today I'd like to share another knit with you and appropriately for Summer it's a linen knit. This is now my fourth linen jumper (Nr.1, Nr.2,  Nr.3) and I love them all. Linen, whilst not the easiest to knit is the most comfortable to wear material there is for summer.

This sweater was inspired by one that I saw on Karen Templer's Fringe Association blog last year (but I am unable to find it there again).

I made my live easy und used a pattern I already kit last year for my third linen sweater. It's from the Plucky knitter and I like the pretty eyelids along the raglan shape. The pattern is worked top down which is now also my preferred way of knitting.

The linen yarn is 'Kalinka' from Karin Oberg which I ordered at this shop in France but it is also available in the UK at Wild and Woolly in London (they just did not have the colours I wanted). The skeins only come in 100 gr. which I is not economical as I have now rather a lot left. All other linen I have used in the past (mainly Sparrow by Quince&Co and El Lineo by Schoppel) come as 50 gr skeins. But the yarns knit as well as all the others and the colours are just as gorgeous.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Isosceles triangles quilt and class

The Village Haberdashery were I am teaching quilting and other sewing classes asked me to teach a master class in isosceles triangles. So I thought the best way to go about this is to first make a class sample...that turned out to be a baby quilt (no half measures here...).

For those who have never heard about isosceles triangles (or can't remember geometry lessons at school), they have two sides of equal length rather than three and are thus a little "taller".

I worked with triangles before and whether they are isosceles or other they all require careful handling during cutting and quilt assembly which I will teach during the class including tips on fabric choice, design, quilting etc. We scheduled two classes one in July and one in September.

I loved making this quilt and new immediately when we decided to just use solids that I wanted something with lots of blues. It took only 10 min to choose all the colours for this quilt!

I used five different blues (Surf, Regatta, Riviera, Blue Jay and Candy Blue) and one orange  (Torch). All are Kona Cotton and are in stock at the Village Haberdashery.

Often when I make a quilt that is led by clear geometrical forms, I choose a quilting pattern that is the opposite of those strict uniform lines such as concentric circle. Whilst my go-to quilt pattern is the concentric circle, I chose something a little different for this quilt. I wanted to quilt in a way that looks as if many very large circles are implying that the quilt is part of a larger piece (at least from the back).

If you know my quilts then you know that I prefer coloured threads for quilting rather than white and this one is no exceptions. In fact I went even further. I quilted in two different varigated thread colours (both Gueterman Suki), one in shades of blues and one with a distinct emphasis on orange.

And I absolutely adore the result and wished I made the quilt bigger. The quilt will be displayed at the shop from next week and as part of my classes.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Light as a feather

I realise that this is really not the right time to write about my finished mohair jumper (finished about 4 months ago) but we all know that eventually the weather will turn and then it will come in handy. Yesterday I was sitting in the kid's pool with my 2 nieces in 30 degrees heat. Just humour me....

So in December last year I had given a mohair jumper I knitted years ago finally to charity. I had worn it plenty over the years but stopped wearing it and according to my rule that anything that isn't worn more than one season must go to the charity shop, I found myself without a mohair jumper.

Oddly enough it bothered me a bit and I thought to one day make new one. Then I found myself at Liberty buying buttons, literally walking into this gorgeous special edition vintage inspired kidsilk haze mohair by Rowan. The blue mohair (colour way 'Smalt') is spun around a white silk threat which gives it this amazing vintage colour. To top it all they had this jumper as a sample in a different colour displayed and it's a free pattern. Needles to say the buttons weren't all that was purchased that evening. Four little balls of mohair came home with me at almost 10 GBP a ball!

So far so good. I cast on and front and back knitted like a dream (although I disliked that it is a bottom up pattern). The arms were a different story. Mohair doesn't knit easy at all and frankly is probably best knit simply and without much pattern. The pattern used for the arms isn't difficult at all but it is fiddly.

I also made a mistake on the second arm and attempted to unravel my knitting....Anybody who has knitted mohair before will know that it is a nightmare and one which I abandoned very fast.

Fortunately I had enough wool to finish but the arms came up a little short. This wasn't an enjoyable knit at all. I do love the result though and absolutely loved wearing this lightest as a feather sweater in the early spring days.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Poppy - the finished quilt

This quilt for my goddaughter Poppy has been finished a while and it makes me and hopefully her very happy. I love the contrast in the colours and the symmetrical pattern with all the small figurative items that will give her plenty to point out.

To make it extra special I fussy cut all the trees and the dancing girls in the middle and corners. All the other gorgeous patterns are randomly cut.

It's fairly densely quilted in a crosshatch pattern every inch.

I quilted in a bright red Gueterman Sulky 28w threat which I absolutely love and it I think it works really well with the back too. This little piggy print has been sitting in my stash for several years now waiting to be used. I have the same in blue too but I guess that has to hang around on the shelf a bit longer.

Isn't it the cutest!

For the binding I used again a text print that allows you to read little wisdom phrases along the edge of the quilt.


Its a funny thing, I really hate seeing wise phrases on Tees or posters but here in the form of quilt binding I actually love it.....maybe because it's not quite so demonstrably in your face.

And the last picture...promise.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

A new peachy sweater

When I go in holiday in February I like to take some knitting with me because my Winter holiday is a real relaxing one in which I am almost criminally lazy. Before going to the beach in the morning I like to sit on the terrace of my hut and drink coffee, contemplate and knit. Last year I started this wonderful scarf but this year I took something a little less taxing with me....even more lazy than usual (mind I do swim 30 min every day in the ocean...)

I knew I wanted to knit this pattern because I loved the wide raglan feature on this jumper but was very unsure about what colour. So I went to Loop with no real idea and found myself attracted, quite unusually might I say, by a few skeins of Madelinetosh in a peachy pink. The colour is called "Pink Clay" and I chose the Light Fingering yarn.

The pattern is called "Walk Along" and is by Annestrick. The sweater from this pattern is knitted with two different colours but I literally was only interested in the wide raglan so concentrated on this feature alone and basically adopted everything else to my taste.

Neck and cuffs are similar finishes but I adopted again the same finish I used in this sweater.  I love the lightly rolled finish. It's not to formal but still a "proper" finish rather than a raw edge.

This was an easy and relaxing knit altogether. The instructions were well written and a pleasure to knit.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Poppy - a new work in progress

I became a godmother for the third and forth time a while back. My new gauddaughters are almost approaching their first birthdays so it was high time to make that all important first quilt for them. Goddaughter number 4, Poppy, is the first to receive a quilt. 

I still have a sizable quantity of Annela Hoey's first two collections for Moda and saved these for something really special. 

I love the whimsical, playful, very girly pattern and fussycut some of the designs, such as the trees and the playing children for maximum impact. 

My favourite must be those chasing dogs though closely followed by the cool scootering girls.

The squares are 4 1/2 in which made the whole process quite easy and fast. I am planning to quilt in a nice straightforward 1/2 quilt pattern in a bright red threat. And I also have something really special planned for the quilt back. Watch the space !