Monday, 16 May 2016

A Cosmic Summer Sweater

On Sunday I finished my Cosmic Sweater and wore it right away on Monday to work. My colleagues are well used to me wearing a LOT of colour. I think it is fair to say, although I work in the City that I do not comply to the dark suit uniform ( I also have a yellow suit and love wearing it).


The wool is 100% Peruvian cotton from the lovely people from Wool and the Gang  and is super, super soft. I used to knit a lot with Cotton years ago but have never come across such soft fabric before. And the yellow! What can I say about this yellow? It is the yellowest of the yellow you can find and just brings joy (called yellow Brick Road)




The pattern is all from the Gang and was very easy to follow and accurate. 



The only changes I made to is was using a kitting needle of 6 instead of 6.5 as I felt this would get to loose and I chose the knit side as my front rather than the purl side. I just think it looks a bit more finished.


I love the way the hems are rolled ( I rolled them to the outside) and the entire sweater is sewn together with (more or less) invisible stitches to reduce bulk which I think is quite clever.


What's great about the sweater is that I can wear it with just a bra under it or with a contrasting vest and I look instantly dressed either way.



Am rather tempted to make another one but there are so many different patterns that are just as attractive.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Daybreak Scarf I

While knitting yesterday in the glorious sunshine in my garden I mused about the difference between my knitting and my quilting. When I quilt I usually work on one singular project until it is finished and then I start another. There are very few exceptions to this and those are my long term projects. I would hate having multiple WIPs lurking in unsuspecting corners.


But when I knit I behave totally different. I am happy to have four projects on simultaneously and often find myself knitting an hour or so on one project and then switching to another. I find this opposing behaviour rather amusing.

I have indeed been knitting up a storm and am very happy about it. Quilting inspiration and ideas pop on a regular basis into my head but for now they stay there and don't make it to the cutting table. And that is fine, I just go with the flow. (although there really are two baby quilts for recent new arrivals to make....)

My latest finished knitting projects is the Daybreak Scarf by Stephen West. This scarf has caught my eye for a long time but I struggled to decide on the right wool until I came across the Zauberball from the German company Schoppel. Zauberball is a wonderfully vibrant variegated yarn that comes as a 75% wool/25% Nylon option or a 100% wool and both in a fingering and lace option.



It just so beautiful and combines so many colours. When quilting I love using variegated thread and its the same in knitting. I ordered Zauberball in 'Papagei' from Didadu in Germany but there several online stores also in the UK that carry this brand. The accompanying contrasting yarn that is required for this scarf is Madelinetosh Light in the colour Antler which I bought at Loop in London.

 

The scarf knitted beautifully and much easier than I originally thought. And the variegated yarn made it fun to do as the scarf constantly changed character with every new colour emerging from the Zauberball.



This particular colour combination has yellows, mustard, blue-green, turquoise and red morphing into pink.

 


I added at each beginning row a drop stitch as the scarf would otherwise be difficult to block. I knitted the large size which really isn't that large and just right for early spring weather. My lovely colleague Xia to whom I gifted it will hopefully get much use out of it.





Happy Monday, knitting and stitching !

Monday, 2 May 2016

Tote samples for class

Hello there. Yes I have a sewing related update, albeit not one of a quilty nature. This morning I made a couple of totes I want to use as samples for my upcoming classes at Fancy Moon. I love making totes for two reasons. One, because they are assembled really fast and two, because one can really have fun with the design.

Not much in terms of bag making accesories is required either. Just fabric, interfacing, wadding or needle felt  and if you can't be bothered to make the handles, just get some ready made leather or twill handles (which I love using). I keep all of this in my stash just like milk in the fridge....






For this smaller tote I used some of my precious Japanese fabric, much of it from the "First of Infinity" line - if I stack all of my Japaneses fabric it probably is about 2 foot high which really is rather ridiculous. Use it or lose, right ?




This smaller tote is quilted with 1/2 inch horizontal lines to give it a bit more structure as the fabric is quite fine.


 




The next one is much bigger (about 50 x 52 cm) and I used some of the precious linen I have from my grandmother and appliqued some VW Bullies onto it which I find rather cute in a flower power sort of way.





One of the Bullies is appliqued across the seam and all appliqued simply with a straight stitch twice around the outline.






And the lining as is the case with the smaller bag is again from the "First of Infinity" collecton that has many, many text prints in wonderful vibrant colours.

 


Happy shopping everybody !

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.