Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone

My post on the Knitting and Stitching Show 2016 had a massive omission in it which is this - I completed the crochet kit bought at last year's show and surprised my mum with it today.

And whilst we're nearing the end of the year, I thought I'd take a look back at the cross stitch projects I managed to fit in around everything else (ok, two of my planned things didn't even get started)!

There was the cat coasters for a belated house warming present for my friend, which led to her creating an even more charming feline ginger ball for her kitchen wall.  Then there was the wedding card for another friend, who had a fantastic day,  And a few bits for myself; a message board for the kitchen in my flat along with one (out of a planned six) Christmas coaster by my favourite designer, Emily Peacock. 

But there's no crafts to be done today; I've got some trifle and Christmas cake calling me. 

Merry Christmas.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Knitting and Stitching Show, Harrogate 2016

How quickly the year has flown since the last Knitting and Stitching show;  I can't help reading my blog about it and thinking I've achieved a fair amount more than I was expecting.

After the workshop for beginners on crocheting granny squares, I blogged about my learn to crochet course in Ramsbottom, which I finished in March.  Since then crochet definitely became my thing for 2016.  From my Easter wreath and chick, to my pumpkin at Halloween, I crocheted something for every holiday this year, and lots in between.  I haven't yet started on a granny square quilt, but it's on the cards.  And all of this whilst moving my life to London in September; those long train journeys are responsible for about 10 coasters! 

But of course we finish the year with Christmas and I love this free Christmas lights pattern from my trusted teacher at Cotton Pod.   In a bid to not spend any more money I decided to make a set using the shades of wool I already have; so behold my pastel fairy lights.

Apart from developing my crochet skills I also made good progress with my other investments from last year.  The batik has been professionally framed and hangs in my kitchen, some of the fat quarters were used to make a Japanese patchwork bag present for Mother's Day and my mini seascape cushion sits on my sewing chair to remind me of warmer days.

The other fat quarters were all chopped up and are well underway to resembling a quilt which I have aptly named 'The quilt with no name'.  This is going to be my big project for 2017, let's see if it's finished before the next Knitting and Stitching show comes around.

I completed my factory dress from Merchant and Mills, and to get more value out of the pattern, and also because I love the finished dress, at this year's show I bought some nice navy floral cotton from one of the exhibitors to make it again, this time for the summer months.  

The only disappointment is my efforts with my patterns from Sew La Di Da which have unfortunately not escaped their envelopes. Unfortunately I was unable to return to my sewing classes due to my London move and I've not yet found any courses near my new place.  I suppose there's a slight mental barrier to starting them because of this; I've always associated dressmaking with my chatty class and it just doesn't feel right to plough through on my own.  But I do miss my dressmaking very much, so first thing in January I will be enrolling on a course and making these patterns my priority.

That's a lot in one year (the centre picture was after the 2015 show)

So, having looked back on last year, here's this year’s purchases!
My purchases - Harrogate 2016

There's a wedding sampler for my brother and his fiancĂ©, which needs to be done for August 2018.  I’m so excited to be a bridesmaid for the first time, I wonder if that will bring extra sewing tasks my way... There's also another cross stitch, this one will be for my parents, and perhaps it will be a mother/father's day present. Both were bought from Trudy Ann Designs, available online here

For me I've got a lovely crochet scarf to work on from Janie Crow, available online here.  It's incredibly soft with alpaca wool and I can't wait to make it over the Christmas break (that's the plan at least).  I went for the grey colour, isn't it pretty?

I needed two new crochet hooks as well and now my airport liquids bag is looking like a shabby excuse for these hooks.  

And to round it off, here are some of my photos from the day of things I liked or that I found inspiring.  

A simple Christmas wreath, a cheap and quick alternative to a real green one

Ceramics and homeware by

Vileseline Christmas star decoration - free instructions were available

As always Harrogate delivered a fantastic arrangement of stalls, inspiration and variety.  Until November 2017, I've got a lot to get through!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

The quilt that has no name - part 1

This is the pattern of the quilt, from the book Fast Quilts from Fat Quarters

After the Knitting and Stitching Show last year I blogged about a quilt I wanted to make which, terribly, remains nameless.  I bought  all of my fabric at last year's show and in an effort to be super effective I immediately pre-treated it.  But as this is my first quilt, I decided to ease myself in gently by attempting the Japanese patchwork bag fist. I was glad I did, as it helped me with using a rotary cutter to cut layers of fabric accurately, which requires miles more pressure being placed on the ruler than I imagined. Or maybe I'm just getting weaker. 

Anyway, before I could even start cutting I spent a few hours making a full size cutting plan in mount board and covering it in sticky back plastic.  The book did helpfully suggest this as a useful tool, and it certainly kept me from destroying lots of fabric during the many, many hours of crossed eyes cutting that made up my month of March. 

The book calls for the cutting plan to be made to scale

There are over 1000 pieces in this quilt!

April and May were consumed with starting the construction process.  Playing around with different combinations of blocks is fun whilst also slightly frustrating to my inner OCD tendencies -
 when I can't quite get a perfectly balanced and pleasing spread of fabric shades, patterns and scales of pattern.

The centre star

Experimenting with block combinations
And since then the quilt has, again shamefully, not been given the priority it deserves.  The second half of 2016 has been so busy with relocating for a new job that the sewing machine desperately needs dusting down.  I'm determined this quilt will be finished by November 2017 - two years on from buying the fabric.  I'll need to write all of these new year's sewing plans down at this rate to keep track of my arbitrary deadlines!