Thursday, June 30, 2005

Fairy at the bottom of Belle's Garden

Here is the item I added to Belle's block :) There is a fairy hiding behind the variegated leaves. Not so easy to see in the photo but she is stitched in metallic threads so she is a little more visible to the naked eye.

I drew the fairy onto the block with a silver quilt marker pencil and embroidered her in silver, pink and gold metallic threads using stem stitch. The design was adapted from a stained glass window design I found by doing a google search for 'fairy'. The vine was embroidered in two strands of floss, again in stem stitch, over the top of the fairy. Then I added the leaves. I tried initially to do a leaf stitch, going back through the top of each stitch of ribbon, but the ribbon wouldn't slide through itself and kept pulling really tight so in the end I just stitched a running stitch for each leaf. The ribbon I used is not silk or satin but some man made fiber which I got as a mixed CQ baggie on eBay a while ago. It is lovely shades of green, blue and pink and I thought it would look well on Bell's block. One side of the ribbon was shiny and the other not. I had some problems keeping the shiny side up as it seemed to want to curl up and lie the otherside uppermost. In the end I gave up and went with the ribbon's wishes!

For a first attempt I am quite happy with it. I think the leaves and vine turned out well. The fairy could have been a little better drawn, maybe with a face? And also more delicate, so perhaps a backstitch or couching the threads would have been more appropriate.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

P.S. Dad's Socks

He did like them (although I think he was a bit confused by them!) but said he wasn't sure when he'd get a chance to wear them. Told him they were to keep his feet warm when he goes to watch Grantham United play football!

Bug Jar Quilt

Can't believe it's been a week since my last post. I have been really busy but not done much crafting. My dear friend who gave me two large bin bags crammed with wool last week has given me 6 more - I now have enough wool to never need to buy any more even if I knit every day for the rest of a very long life! Arran, mohair, DK, 4 ply, every colour you can imagine. I sorted through and got the lot down to 6 bags. I will sell the rest on eBay, 2 others of single balls or part balls already started also colours I can't imagine ever using like bright yellow! In addition to this Nancy has also given me hundreds (literally) of patterns which she has said I can sell if I don't want them. Now I need to find the time to list them all :) With all this knitting abundance I have started another quilt!

The Bug Jar Quilt is for my nephew for Christmas I figured that if I start it now it has a chance of getting finished. I also need to do one for his little sister. The top is nearly half pieced. I am making it single bed sized, the pattern in A P&Q is for a throw. Some of the fabrics are from Monika in Australia - we were both doing the same quilt and she asked if anyone on the forum had the pattern. I sent her a photocopy and we agreed that as we were both collecting bug prints we should increase out stash by swapping a few. Monika has finished her quilt months ago. I'm not sure if I will send Lucy a bug quilt or if I should find something else to put in the jars, maybe fairies, but that seems a little cruel.

Somehow I have been sucked back into some of the swaps on the craft forum too. I must not sign up for any more as I am beginning to feel a little over committed already, most of the deadlines are for after the kids go back to school in the autumn tho' so I should be okay as long as I stop now. This year so far I have kept to just the friendship block swap and the CQRR and I was feeling good about those. I have a wonderful idea for belle's CQ but it will be rather tricky so I will keep it to myself until I see if I can do it :) Off to bed now - feeling exhausted.

Monday, June 20, 2005

My first CQ block

Just for reference here is the first block so it's easier to compare them - I like the second one better, maybe I am making progress :)

Seam Treatments

Here are the pictures of the new block. First the whole block

and here are the different seams: pink ribbon with feather stitch in red Marlet and beads - I used this to 'hide' an area where the seams underneath were exposed raw edges,

Secondly my first attempt at SRE - just a straight running stitch with a different ribbon woven through - think I should have used a silk ribbon for the running stitch and this was satin (I think)

Next using cross stitch in stranded cotton to hold down a seam I couldn't sew with the maching but did fold under whilst making the original block

And finally, so far, a running chain stitch in the corner where I will sew a spider's web later. I may add some more foliage in green to 'hang' the web from.

So far I am pleased with what I have done but I want to practice some simple SRE flowers to add as well as the web. Got another book from the library today on SRE

Sunday, June 19, 2005

More CQ

In the end I couldn't wait for my next blocks in the RR to arrive so I have made myself another block (using the same palette of colours as my first) to work on while I am waiting. I intend to practice my ribbon embroidery on this block and to try some more embroidery threads other than the usual 6 stranded Anchor / DMC variety.

The block itself is a little more interesting than the one I made for the RR. More pieces and more seams. I also put some lace into one seam as I was making the block. Plus I 'freaked' less about leaving exposed edges. The first of these I have covered with a length of pink ribbon which I have done a red Marlet feather stitch down and sewn clusters of bead to. Next I secured a seam with cross stitched and decorated another with chain stitch. I tried some simple ribbon work doing a running stitch down a seam and weaving another ribbon in and out of it. I don't think I used the correct needle, something with a shaper point might have made life easier but the end result is 'near enough'. The first ribbon was satin I think and with hindsight I probably would have been better using the silk ribbon I used for weaving to do the sewing through the material with, you learn by doing. Next I intend to do a spider's web in one corner but I haven't decided which yet, eyes were getting tired so off to bed. Pictures to follow ... And then there will be buttons ... and then ...

Friday, June 17, 2005

A perfect pair!

I managed to make another one to complete the pair :) and in time to post it today so it should be there for Dad to open it on his birthday, Monday. I stayed up until 12.30am to get it done and then my little foster child (who has a heavy cold) woke up at 4.20am. As X shares a room I had to get up too or the whole house would have been awake. Ah the joys of 'parenthood' :)

I think these turned out rather well, if I do say so myself. I am pleased I managed to get the stripes in the same places and I'm also impressed with the wool which lets you create patterns without changing balls of wool and using just plain knit throughout (apart from the rib on the 'cuff').

I also finished piecing another quilt top. These log cabin blocks were bought on eBay as a mercy mission :) to rescue someone else's unfinished project. Can't resist a bargain!

It measures approx. 45" square and still needs to be quilted and bound - could be a prospective Xmas present. I just need to decide if I need to add a border or whether it will be big enough for a lap quilt as it is.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Sock it to 'em

Here are the lovely socks - well one of them and the beginning of the other. As well as failing to sew up my knitting projects in the past I also find it difficult to knit the same piece twice - sleeves, cardigan fronts, just get bored easily. But that was the old me - and the new me knows that one sock is no good without the other!

The wool is Socka and is 75% superwash virgin wool 25% polyamide, the variegated colours knit up into lovely patterns of stripes and 'fairisle' type areas, as you can see. This wool can be ordered as a kit complete with needles, pattern and stitch markers from so if you've thought of trying knitting in the round and fancy some fancy socks - what's stopping you?

Now the only question is "what does my dad think of stripy socks?" Happy birthday Dad.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

On closer Inspection ...

Last night I sat down with a cuppa to take a better look at my new books and they both contain much more information than I initially thought, thankfully :) I 'managed' (as if I wouldn't) to pop to the craft shop for some ribbon. They didn't have any crewel needles but I have so many needles 'somewhere' in this house I must surely be able to find something suitable and this evening I will have a go at some simple stitches. I am leaving the flowers for a little later and just going to get a feel for sewing with ribbon. Looking forward to it but don't think it's an activity conducive to 2 year olds to it will have to be tonight. The shop I went to was the local patchwork and knitting shop which I found via eBay (mentioned in an earlier post) it also sells lots of ribbon, buttons, charms, beads, accessories etc, etc. a little gold mine :)

I have also started my socks - if I get on okay I could give them to my Dad for his birthday later this month. Don't know what size they will end up yet. Isn't craft a lovely adventure - for me at least - I never know at the start how things will end up and the evolution of a project is sometimes dissapointing, usually pleasing but always a surprise.

On a sadder note I visited a friend who has had to give in to her arthritis and stop knitting. This is very good news for my wool stash but so very very sad for Nancy. I could tell she was trying not to cry when she told me. This lovely lady is practically house bound and has to sit most of the time in one chair and now because of the deteriorating state of her hands has had to give up knitting due to the pain she experiences and the loss of the use of some of her fingers. I did suggest she might try bamboo needles as they are lighter and warmer but she has hardly any grip left in either hand especially the left. I feel so desperately sorry for her, how awful it must be to not be able to knit anymore. Her lovely husband does all the housework and all her personal care, dressing, bathing, etc. and now she has had to stop the thing she has clung onto for years. Nancy used to be a needlework teacher many years ago and has made knitted gifts for many generations of friends and family. I send her all my love and positive thoughts, I can do no more :( I wonder sometimes if I should not talk about what I have been doing for fear of upsetting her by reminding her of what she has lost but she always asks how I've been doing and what I've been making. So very sad. It reminds me not to complain about lack of time for my crafting - I can make more time if I try, Nancy can do nothing about her situation at all.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Latest Venture

My sock kit arrived this morning. It includes a special varigated sock wool which knits up into a pattern 'as if by magic' :) and 5 double pointed needles, pattern, stitch markers, & darning needle. So I am all ready to go. I have knitted in the round before but not socks but reading quickly through the pattern it all looks quite straight forward - famous last words!

I also received my two new SRE (silk ribbon embroidery) books. Good day for the postie :) 15 FQs as well (but they don't count as I have stopped buying FQs). These books are a little dissappointing, not sure what I expected but they don't seem to have enough 'how' stuff in them. Is SRE really this simple? It looks very complicated on the fabric but the books basically say it is embroidery but with 'silk'! In which case it shouldn't be that hard. More famous last words! I guess the only way to really tell is to DO SOME. Doh! Must go and buy some silk ribbon...

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Made Up

I finished sewing up the little jumper for X. Even if we have a warm summer it will do fine as a pull over for evenings on the beach. Lets face it warm in Northumberland isn't exactly tropical. No problems sewing up (second time around!) but did add some more 'flowers' and unpick the neckband seam to add a button - must be my mother's daughter after all! :) Cast off a little too tightly I suspect. Came out quite well considering it is from donated wool and not my first choice for colours - we wont loose X in a crowd!. Now I just have to persuade X not to pull the flowers off.

Now to proceed to the sleeves for the Collinette cardigan. Bit less to sew up there as the front and back are knitted in one piece.

Also need to post Elly's CQ block on as the deadline is approaching. Then must make Lyn's block for the friendship swap. Sometime soon I should begin my Xmas quilt projects for niece and nephew and the bag I am supposed to make my other niece. Busy, busy just the way I like it :)

Friday, June 03, 2005

Rodney puts in an appearance

Remember Rodney? He's the May Block for the friendship block swap I am in with ladies from the craft forum, theme for May for me was 'chooks' well opening day is past and so now I can reveal ... ta da ... Rodney Rooster!

Making Up is Hard to Do!

What is it about assembling knitting into the finished article that defeats me?

My mum sews things up really tightly just the way she knits them - they never come undone but you can't get them over your head and she often has to add buttons.

My aunt sews up so loosely that her seams always come undone - it's a family joke that pieces knitted by her have the most beautiful even tension but will come apart while you wear them.

Me, I just hate sewing things up.

I have a romper suit I knitted for my son when he was a baby which is still waiting to be made up - all the pieces are finished I just never got around to sewing it all together. He is now 13 - guess it wont fit him!

I have recently knitted a jumper for my foster child - just a little jumper should be quick to make up but no - it has been sitting in the knitting bag for at least 3 weeks waiting.

Finally got around to it last night and I somehow managed to sew the back into a tube as if it were a sleeve - how did I do that? I have no idea. Having unpicked half my work I have put it back in the bag 'for later...'

Problem is
1. I made it from my stash of donated wool in colours I don't really like and
2. it is nearly summer here and X will probably have grown out of it by the time it suits the weather, or, have been moved on. <>

Maybe I should try knitting in the round so there are fewer seams. Good excuse to look for some new patterns :)

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Promised Photos

Here is Elly's little beaded frog. Found the pattern for him via CQMagOnline he's at - must learn how to post a link to websites - Doh!

And here is the lovely wool there is a bit more green in it than the photo shows but the reds and purples are pretty accurate :)

Progress Report

Just a quick post - should be on my way to bed but this stuff is addictive! I will regret it in the morning :)

Knitting going really well, finished the body so on to the sleeves and then the dreaded making up - urgh. Promised photo will appear tomorrow as I want to use daylight to really be do justice to the beautiful colours.

Still fascinated by the ATC ideas - will explore more after the CQRR finishes.

Have done the little beaded frog for E's CQ heart block. Decided not to add beads to the flowers as I thought they would be competeing with the froggy. Leave well enough alone! Have been discussing with B the 'near enough is good enough' approach to my crafting :) Need to apply this to be brave enough to work on other people's blocks. Encouraging comments from sharonb very helpful. Easy to forget that there are still 5 other CQers to work on the block. Guess it will be simpler with the next one as Elly will already have worked on that and then the next will have 2 people's work and so on. I have never been in a RR before so this is all a learning process.

Managed to but myself a hardback copy of a CQ book I already own. Doh! Anyway no one can say I don't have enough craft book/magazines/FQs

Rodney (see below) has been well received in his new home so as soon as I get a picture of him he will go on here too.

Must to bed :)