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.

Monday, 18 January 2016

A toch of denim - part two-

I made progress amids a series of problems and mistakes! My aim for this quilt was to use all of the double gauze. The fabric has a narrow width and the pieces I received looked a bit like like skinny half meters and I calculated that three 18" x 18" squares would give me the larges HSTs and which just left a few smaller strips as leftover. The finished size after sqauring was about 11".

I would have normally thrown these away but with 62" I felt the quilt was a little on the small side and I also felt I wanted to break the rigidity of the HSTs (that I normally so treasure). So I contracted a border by using yarn dyed Essex linen in denim that I had in my stash and that by chance works perfectly with the double gauze colours.

I added the first border and right away realised that it was very wavy and perhaps too much to correct through basting and quilting. This surprised me because both fabric almost have an equal amount of stretch, the Essex linen a little more maybe. My assumption was that this would ensure no waves or banana curves.

So I unpicked the row and reattached but this time from the middle and by frequently flipping the work over so that I was basically sewing from top and bottom. This reduced the wave a little bit. The professional in me knew at this point that it was fruitless and told me to unpick and let it go. But what did I do ? I stupidly went on and attached the rest of the border, based the thing and right before I was about to put the pins in I came to my senses because the waves were big enough the surf on, really that bad! What was I thinking..... So I sat on the floor on my basted quilt and carefully unpicked all borders before I finished basting in some frustration because I very much loved the modern feel the borders gave this quilt (yes a border on a quilt can actually be modern in my opinion). I should have taken a photo of the surfable waves but in my frustration I totally forgot.

While basting away I had a brain waive that I would try to attach the border via the quilt-as-you-go technique. I am fairly certain that will sort the surfing problem and it also gives me the chance to quilt the border in a different pattern to the actual quilt.

I think this is the best idea I have had in a long time and can't wait to try this out. I have never done QAYG but always wanted to check it out and am glad I now have the chance to learn something new.

 The quilt itself is quilted in a diagonal crosshatch of 1" width along the diagonal lines that are created by the HSTs

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

A touch of denim - first part of a new quilt

But before I get into sharing the beginning of my first quilt oh the year, I would like to wish every body a happy 2016 filled with much wonderful crafting and quilting.

Usually on New Year's day I go very early for a long run. I love the solitude of this particular morning run and if I do meet a fellow runner both of us know right away we are running on that day for the same reason. Sadly I could not run this year as I was still in throws of a nasty cold virus. So I did the next best thing, I started a new quilt in between naps and watching way to much television.

In June 2014 I bought several shades of denim/grey fabric in double cloth from Purl Bee.  It was featured on their blog crafted into attractive shoe bags which I really loved. The fabric is double sided and I hadn't realised that what Purl Bee called 'double cloth' was in fact double gauze as I attributed the 'double cloth' name to the fact that it was double sided. When the fabric arrived I was surprised but not disappointed but thought immediately that this fabric was much to precious for shoe bags (although I do love each pair of my shoes of course and they deserve great bags....) and should be made into the softest of quilts.

So fast forward 18 months (why does time fly so dam fast) and here is the start of a my denim quilt. My original thought was to simply cut the half meter pieces I had into large squares and randomly piece these together. But then that was a little to simple for me and decided on large HSTs instead. This also serves the propose of being a sample quilt for my new advanced quilting class at the Village Haberdashery in February/March next year (it is fully booked already but I would be happy to schedule with Annie a new class if there is interest).

I have sewn frequently with double gauze over the recent years but only ever for shirts (see here, here and here) but never used it for a quilt. The fabric is fairly stretchy and as HSTs there is a danger that is stretches to much so I was at pains to sew these together as quickly and carefully as possible.

Right now I have a quilt top that is about 60" square but I want to add borders with smaller HSTs and some yarn dyed essex linen in denim to make it a little bigger and it will break up the "monotony" of the HSTs a bit.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Rainbow - a finished quilt-

In the end I finished this quilt quickly. I decided not to enlarge it after all but instead to enjoy the colour gradation as it is.  And for such a small little quilt I took many, many photos.

I basted the quilt with a remnant piece of wool batting I had left from quilting this quilt.  And I didn't find the experience to baste and quilt with wool particularly great then and nor did Inow. I love the warms it gives off but because there is so much loft and the material has a lot less grip than my trusted 100 % cotton wadding, it makes basting and quilting a bit of a challenge.

I quilted in a grid pattern, lengthwise about 3/4 inch apart and on the horizontal once through the middle of the squares.

 This gives the quilt a really nice drape and shows of the puffiness and loft of the wool wadding.

Finding a suitable backing was a bit of a challenge but in the end I decided on another remnant piece I had from making this quilt from the Heirloom collection by Joel Dewburry. It matches many of the colours from the quilt front.

The binding was another challenge but I soon found what has to be my favourite binding of this year. A little text number I had in my stash that I managed to cut and attach is in a way that shows little snippets of phrases along the edges. It might be a bit cheesy but I keep smiling when I see must be the Christmas season....

I used my go-to steal grey 28w quilting thread from Aurifil to quilt which always works a treat.

As much as I struggle with the wool batting, I must admit it does drape wonderfully and it's lightness combined with the lightness of the Oakshott cottons, makes this quilt truly a sumptuous and luxury affair.

Any of you who have worked with Oakshott cottons know that the colours are just so luminous and iridescent that a finished quilt always feels and looks very special.

And that's it for this year I think.
I wish all of you a wonderful Christmas and New Year and am looking forward to see you all back on my blog in 2016.

Love Judith 

Monday, 7 December 2015

Rainbow - part two -

I played and played for days rearranging the squares endlessly until I ended up with a sort of colour gradations from light to dark.

I am pretty pleased with it but I find it to small with 40" by 45" or so. I keep thinking I want something more around it. Not more squares but something solid.....

So I guess I keep playing a little longer with this.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Rainbow - part one -

A few years ago Michael Oakshott gave me a couple of charm packs to photograph for his web page. This proofed difficult and ultimately the images weren't suitable to publish (to much reflection from the fabric). Michael who is one of the most generous people allowed me to keep them regardless and I regularly admire them but never felt the right kind of motivation to turn them into a quilt.

But the other day I just took them from my stash and played a bit with them and and I guess will do that a bit more until I have an idea. I am determined to to do something with them before the end of the year.

Those colours are simply luscious and very inviting to play and much to wonderful to remain hidden in my stash.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Painted Hexagons - a finished quilt-

A finished quilt ! In the end, the quilting and binding came together very quickly. I spend a few days agonising if I should quilt a crosshatch but in the end decided on simple diagonal lines.

And looking at the quilt in the picture confirms that this was the right decision. The single diagonals work well with the shape of the hexagons.

Although I took great care to reduce bulk when I pieces the hexagons by ironing most seams open, there was still a lot of fabric in the hexagon centres. My machine manages this well but ditch quilting which I briefly contemplated would have provided quite a challenge nonetheless.

I quilted with a 28w Aurifill thread in beige which blends in with the newspaper fabric and with the overall tone of the quilt.

When I started this quilt I (thought) I knew that I wanted to choose as backing the same newspaper print I used as background on the quilt top and also the same as binding. Well, I changed my mind and had to laugh at myself for being surprised about it. I always tell my students when they want to choose backing and binding on the first day of a quilt making class, that they should wait because they'd change their minds about a half dozen times at least. It appears that happens to the teacher too....

The backing fabric I finally settled on is "Spotted Owl" by Alexandre Henry in grey. It works perfectly for this quilt because the grey has a tinge of purple in it that blends with the purple on the front. I have had this print for so long and only used some of it on a smaller quilt ages ago. It's a tricky colour and never seemed to work with anything but finally found its match.

Once I had settled on the back, the choice of binding was an easy one. Of course purple and of course dots (K. Fassett).

The quilt is smaller than I had envisioned it when I started with 57" by 54" inches but I used 90% of the fabric I had and that was my aim. When the top was finished I however added a small border in newspaper print around it to make it a little bigger.

I hope you enjoyed my frequent updates on how this quilt came together and my aim is to keep doing this rather than just showing one or two updates. After all it's all about the process, isn't it ?

 This quilt is for sale in my Etsy shop.