Monday, 30 January 2012

The Ongoing Kingsize Quilt

Next time I start I large quilt I should work out beforehand realistically the amount of work it will take (it's unlikely I will though as it would probably put me off making another one!)

The creation of my sister's quilt is ongoing, the strips of batiks and black were transformed into...

A rather large bag of 2.5 x 4.5 inch rectangles.  Which are now slowly being combined to form...
The stacks are quite substantial but I'm not even halfway towards the 288 squares I need.  I'm using a lucky dip method (mostly) to ensure the batiks go together randomly.  I'm liking the way this quilt is going and am looking forward to putting some more black on it, I just hope there's not too much pink in the batiks for my sister's liking!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Mucky Trainers

I've been looking forward to this day - the day when my blindingly white new trainers loose their too shiny never used look.  Its taken a couple of weeks but I finally went out on a suitably muddy run today! Unfortunately I also got rained on, lucky it was towards the end of a shortish run.  (I will be cleaning the worst of the mud off soon)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

New Major Knitting Project

Towards the end of last year, following a particularly enjoyable knitting course with Debbie Abrahams and heedless of the number of unstarted projects sat in my crafting storage, I signed up for Debbie's Mystery Blanket.

The first instalment arrived last weekend and I've so far resisted starting it, but I haven't been able to resist opening it and looking at the patterns and trying to get my head round the techniques.  It seems a little bizarre that we're using pure wool and wool cotton but I'll trust it works; Debbie's previous mystery blankets are gorgeous.

I have a feeling that I may have to try out a tension square this weekend, don't want to get behind! But the mittens must be finished first before any serious blanket knitting commences (we'll see how long this resolution lasts!). 

Saturday, 21 January 2012

What I did on my Friday Night Sew In

As predicted it wasn't all sewing, but I did get a lot done.

First of all 40 batik strips got sewn to 40 black strips (giving me pairs of strips not one big piece as implied by the picture above), next step is to cut these into 2.5 x 4.5 inch blocks.

And then during the later part of the evening (too tired to cut accurately) I worked on my fingerless mitts and got the fairisle done.
Weather and light in my room today aren't great for photography!

Even though the first parcel for my Debbie Abrahams Mystery Blanket had arrived I was very disciplined and stuck to my FNSI plan - I even had a chicken and peppers pizza for dinner.

How did everyone else do?

Friday, 20 January 2012

First Ever Patchwork

Whilst I'm enjoying my FNSI I thought I'd share with you my first ever attempt at patchwork...

Not quite a quilt as it's only two layers and is in no way quilted.  I can't find the label for exact details but I made this when I was about 15 using scraps of fabric from my mum and with her sewing machine.

Its amazing how different I managed to make all the seam allowances (the squares were all 4 inches to start with), but I got more accurate over the time I took to make it.

I pieced each of the strips and my mum got the unenviable task of sewing the strips together to make a decent sized near enough double (5ft) bed quilt - it appears I've always liked making large scale quilts!

This has been sat in a drawer in my bedroom and I came across it the other day and thought I'd photo it to store for posterity on  my blog.  I'd forgotten how nice it was, I love the scrapiness of it and than I can remember what some of the fabrics were originally used to make.  I've decided to leave it on my bed for a while more.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Friday Night Sew In and Quilting Group

The first FNSI of the year is very nearly upon us and I have plenty to keep me busy.  I'm planning on buying pizza for dinner and working on the purple batik quilt until it's to late to disturb the neighbours with my sewing machine and then there's a little knitting I need to finish off!

If you wish to join in with the Friday Night Sew In you can sign up at crafty vegas mom's blog

And now you've done that let me tell you about my first experience at a quilting group.  I've been looking for a group to join to benefit from the experience of others, whether at a talk or a sewing night and I decided to give Bath Quilters a go.  I turned up ridiculously late due to my ever creative sat nav (it needs to buck its ideas up else its being replaced by one that has a sense of direction!) and it was their AGM but it seems like a good group with lots of interesting talks coming up and really talented members - the UFOs they displayed and the finished quilts were stunning.  Unfortunately not being great at checking my diary in advance I've since found out I'm going to miss the next two talk nights (which I'm somewhat annoyed about but I will be visiting family instead so not all bad!) but I will be going to their sewing meetings and hoping it helps get my brother's quilt finished.  

Oh and it's an added bonus that I won two raffle prizes...
a pair of Bezier snips in a case and a pack of 2 inch squares.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A Backlog of Knitting

As well as sewing I usually have a small knitting project or two on the go.  On being informed that I have the first squares of a mystery blanket being delivered sometime this week I have realised that I may have let my knitting projects run a little out of control.

As I hadn't got any sock knitting with me this weekend and as I don't like using my sewing machine in the evening living in a flat I needed to do something...and the wool I had purchased to make several pairs of quickly knitted fingerless mittens literally jumped out of the drawer.

With colour, cables and beads these are a really enjoyable knit.

As mentioned earlier I also have a sock on the needles...
Gorgeous wool and an absorbing pattern, luckily this one's twin is complete.

Now with four knitted squares looming that should be enough but I also have another pair of socks on the go and a Nintendo cover (although that is just a simple rectangle).  There is another blanket on the go but I need to see my mum before I start that so it doesn't count.

I'm going to have to make sure I always have one of my knitting projects with me wherever I am as it seems in the evening when bored I start to knit!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Batik Quilt

Started a quilt destined for my little sister today.  I'm using the Paradise Batik Wave Quilt from Moda Bake Shop.  As my sister has/will have a purple bedroom I'm using a Bali Pop (2 1/2 inch strips) in Plum Pudding.

After spending the rest of the day turning 6 yards of black fabric into 2.5 inch and 4.5 inch strips I'm kinda wishing I'd bought some pre-cut black strips too!

I'm looking forward to how this quilt turns out.  It's going to be a 96x96 inch monster!  I figured out this afternoon that 6 yards of black fabric wasn't going to be quite enough! 

Strip piecing planned for tomorrow.  I'd love to have this quilt finished by March when I'll next see my sister - fingers crossed.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Well Prepared!

A couple of days before Christmas I decided that what I really needed was to break into the "Reindeer Games by Sandy Gervaise" jelly roll I had bought in the summer and make a Christmas quilt.  Luckily I found a single jelly roll design in Pam and Nicky Lintott's book Jelly Roll Quilts (can't remember the name of the design at the minute).  And so amidst preparing for Christmas day I start making a jelly roll quilt.  Unsurprisingly I did not manage to finish this before the big day.  In truth it has taken me until just after Twelfth Night to finish the quilt top.

No matter that it wasn't ready to be my Christmas quilt this year I'm really happy how this has turned out.  I did have a crisis of confidence about the white borders in both colour and thickness but I this they've turned out fine.  And I have used almost every last scrap of the jelly roll.  The remaining bits (a slight error and some of the square border) will be sewn together to make a festive mat for the table or maybe a cushion cover - not sure yet.

One other thing I really like this quilt for is that it has taught me how to nest seams properly (who knew how you pressed the seam could have such a major effect) and thanks to that I have perfect points all over this quilt.

As far as I can see there isn't a mismatched seam anywhere on the centre.  Hopefully this is not beginners luck and marks the beginning of more accuracy in my quilts. Fingers crossed!

I think I will quilt this with another quilt I have in the pipeline, I was going to leave the top until next December but I have all the bits I need and I don't fancy another attempt to finish a quilt before Christmas 2012!

Monday, 2 January 2012

2012 Goals

So its the traditional timeof year for resolution setting.  I don't tend to do this as breaking them by the 10th is a huge disappointment.  But Iwould like to set myself some goals for 2012, nothing too impossible but something to look back on at the end of the year.  They're not all craft related but here they are...

1.  Finish the hand sewn quilt for my brother (if we could find it I'd also like to finish my sister's one too it only needs backing and quilting.

2.  Have less WIPs at the end of 2012 than I have at the start (I'll have a count up later).

3.  Run the Great South Run in less than 2hrs (this should be possible but I seem to get worse each year).

4.  Loose weight (ideally 28lbs - its amazing how quickly I gained that amount).

5.  Keep up with the Debbie Abrahams Mystery Blanket.

6.  Have less unread 'real' books than I have now (I'll have a count up later its somewhere in the region of 20!)

I think that's a reasonable amount I was toying with including develop a 'proper' study routine (I have always been fairly bad at that) and don't start new projects until the last one is complete but I'd like my goals to be realistic and achievable!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Finishing Up

As the year ends I've been trying to get some projects finished so that I can make a start on the many others I have planned. 

First of all here is what the pre-Christmas sneak peek actually was...

Another Kindle cover, this one for my youngest sister.  Apparently she loves the lining fabric and it fits her Kindle which is lucky as she has a different version Kindle to me and I couldn't check it beforehand.

The next finished item is a shawl which was intended to be a Xmas present for my mum but has made it to her a little later.

Unfortunately in the rush toget it in the post yesterday I forgot to take a more artistic photo, but I think this one shows the colour and design really well.  I'm surprised how much I enjoy lace knitting, its just a very slow form of knitting (at least for me).
And finally I have eventually finished off my own log cabin quilt which has been languishing for about a year, only needing the binding stitching on, as I made various other quilts as presents. 
My sofa does not make the best of quilt holders!