Sunday, 24 June 2012

Rest and recuperation!

For those of us who work in education it seems to be a very tiring time of year ... lots to get through .... and this week has been full-on.  So I planned a Friday night to make it all seem a bit better.  Dan volunteered to take Rosie on her walk, and here is a weather report for then ....

enough said!  He also made us a delicious Thai curry for tea, while I got on with cutting out all the templates I wanted for my Farmer's wife quilt.  This bit is my least favourite part but I thought it would make piecing a block all the more enjoyable if I had all the templates ready.  So I felt very satisfied at achieving this.   Then I started on my 90 minute cowl (which was probably nearer 120 minutes as I got a bit confused by the twist - as I hadn't expected to get a twist at the front and the back) while watching episodes of the mentalist with Dan and Gemma - a perfect Friday night for me.  Dan made a GIF of the photos (so this isn't a video) and for the sharp eyed among you you can see it is on a loop - the speed I'm knitting at is different on different computers - so for some of you its really slow and others I look like I'm some sort of speed knitter!


Love the funky Knitpro needles and quite enjoyed the knitting.  Anyway here is the result and actuallyI rather like it.  The only thing is it is a bit rough and this is often a problem for me because I can stand itchy things against my skin, time will tell if I ever wear it!

I've also had the Annell cotton I used for my coaster out again.  I had seen these crochet hearts on Bunny Mummy's site and thought I would like to have a try.   I do like Jaquie's site because she does lots of crafts like me.   There were some new stitches for me and I had to keep reading the pattern, but I do find it so satisfying to finish somethings quickly which is a challenge.  First a sunburst circle

Then a coupe of more complicated rows using stitches I haven't tried before.  Does anyone else get confused with which crochet stitches are which.  I though that my Rown Crochet book would simplify this but it didn't ... and it seemed as if half double and half treble are the same stitch!  So in the end I just did what I thought and the result was OK.  I used Jaquie's idea of blocking with some spray starch and that really helped the shape.

I've made them into some bunting to hand around a mirror .. and this is half

I've made some more Farmer's wife blocks and I am really enjoying making these.  Can't believe that 6 months ago I decided I didn't want to do any more quilting (though I might feel the same when I start joining them all together), but at the moment I love picking which fabrics to use and the satisfaction when the pieces actually fit (nearly) accurately.  I think I'll actually be disappointed when I have enough blocks.  There are 2 in each picture. 

Couldn't display these as I wanted but it is getting a bit late now so they will have to do.  We've just returned from seeing Prometheus at the cinema, which was OK but not as good as Alien.  Some definitely shocking moments though!  So enough for this week.  Many, many thanks to those of you who leave a comment ... it is such a treat!  Take care and have a great week.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Time Flying

This will be a bit of a short post because I spend Sunday to Thursday night in Hull for work with little time for crafting.  I've been catching up since.  I don't know how people manage jobs where they travel, I find it exhausting.   Anyway I'll start with some knitting to come and a bit of bling!

This will become a 90 minute cowl using  Knit Collage's Gypsy Garden which I came accross by chance ... details to follow soon.

Although I haven't had much time available I finished my baby sampler for a friend's daughter's baby who put in an appearance last week.

This was a really easy, enjoyable stitch with some big blocks of colour.  I just need to get it framed.  I didn't know whether to pay to have it framed or do it myself because it is so much cheaper, but I've never framed one before and just worry about spoiling it, so I guess I'll have to have it framed, even though that will cost more than the actual cross-stitch!

Just to finish on a bit of colour in the midst of the awful weather - even without the sun the clematis are beginning to flower in the garden.  Looking forward to a quieter week and maybe some sun.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Bank holiday times

I've had quite a few days off this week which has been lovely, although we've had our fair share of illness to put a damper on things.  Still some fun was had!

I do love magazines and even though orginally I thought I wouldn't buy the Tilda magazine because it was quite expensive,  I did eventually give in.  The pictures are actually lovely and you get a free pack of material which I made into the little purse ... cute!  Just love Tilda's colours.

Having seen a pattern for coasters I liked on The Making Spot I treated myself to some lovely cotton from Yvestown.

Then I had a go at the coasters and it was enjoyable, got quite into the hang of it.  The orginal pattern was far too small when I made it and so I had to add another row - does this mean something is wrong with my tension.  The wool is lovely though splits quite easily (do all cottons do that?).

I have recently discovered that there is quilting group in my village and they held their annual show in a nearby hotel.  It wasn't a quiet little affair.  There were loads of people there and about 100 quilts ... some fantastic ones (photos not great) ...

Clearly working on a different level to me! But who knows in a few years time.  Anyway undeterred I've made another three farmer's wife blocks; economy, contrary wife and attic window.  I've been picking the ones which look simpler to start with.  Really enjoying this, chosing the pattern and the materials.

I have to be away from home for the next four nights for work, and really not looking forward to it.  I really don't like being away unless it is on holiday, also a long drive to Hull first so not looking forward to that either.  Still I'm packing my knitting and cross-stitch to help me pass the time.  I'll finish with a photo from my little garden where the pots are looking rather colourful and a reminder of jubilee celebrations.  Thanks for the lovely comments which I really enjoy reading.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Flaming June?

Have been enjoying 4 days off.  There was a sunny start with a chance for a woodland walk (love the foxgloves at the moment).

... and as the wood opens out into a tarn, another opportunity for a swimming lesson for Rosie, and yes she can swim .... even if it was straight to the shore.

The jubillee celebrations weren't the most successful.  The weather here wasn't good and although we went to a tea-time picnic we couldn't actually find it!!  Possibly too cold!  So we ended up with an indoor picnic.  Rosie thought this would be a good idea as she wasn't allowed to the other picnics.  It's sucIh a shame for those who spend ages in preparation, but I'm sure there were many happy moments despite the rain.

I had finished my picnic quilt just in time.  I did a very simple in the ditch quilting as I just wasn't confident that I could get diagonal lines accurate enough.

I love the jolly fabrics and the moda selections go together so well.  If you remember this was the strawberry fields collection but I am now in love with papilon because it has all the duck-egg blues I have been looking for (more about this later).  I've been ordering these from ebay and have found there are some really good on-line shops there.

Finished the corkscrew scarf which is a nice easy, enjoyable knit in a couple of days (not keen on the aging neck in this photo though!).

It's not really big enough to be a scarf but I think it does add a nice decorative touch.  I might knit another a bit shorter and wider.

I started a new summer jumper - a pattern from a Japanese designer in The Knitter using Fiberspates Scrumptious 4 ply - but after about 5 hours I have to admit defeat.  It include a stitch I've never used called three loop stitch (couldn't even find an internet tutorial) and I just couldn't get it right - and it didn't look good.  I'm quite stubborn about giving up on things but I really wasn't enjoying it and so I'm going to try and find a different pattern for the wool.  I've moved on already though to a Kim Hargreaves pattern for Rowan called Ryder.  When I started it was a bit complicated and I thought Oh no, not again ...but when I stopped panicking it was fairly straightforward and I'm enjoying it at the moment.  Enough to provide a bit of a challenge but not too complicated ...

This is half of the peplum at the back.  The wool is lovely to knit with (Rowan wool cotton DK).

I've been enjoying reading lots of blogs where the crafter has been making blocks from the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt and wondered whether it was something I might enjoy.

The blocks look so different with the different choices of fabric.  I don't actually like the dark colour scheme in the book, too heavy, but I've seen some lovely ones on the web.  When I made my first quilt I had thought quilting probably wasn't for me as it is too precise and I'm just not careful enough.  So don't ask me why I thought I would try making some proper blocks!  Anyway I bought the book, picked my first block and using some of my new Moda Papilon material here is my first go.

I really enjoyed making it and I'm happy with the result.  I think I managed the piecing quite well.  So there will be more to come.  I particularly picked the first block to reflect some news .... Gemma and Dan got engaged on Tuesday.  I am delighted, although it is a bit scarey too - it feels as if I'm losing a bit more of Dan.  I'm sure those of you with older sons and daughters will know what I mean.  Anyway the block is called Mother's Dream and reflects all my good wishes for Dan and his future happiness!

I'll finish with a bit of scarlet loveliness from the garden