Saturday, 20 June 2015

Feeling like a quilter again

Quilting was my main hobby for a long time, but for the last five years I've done very little of it.  I sort of ran out of steam once I owned over 50 quilts and had given them to most of the family, and I wasn't having much luck selling them online. I also didn't like my crowded sewing corner in my bedroom. And then of course it all got packed away for two years while we  moved house, apart from the Singer FW and a tiny bit of stash.  Even here in the new house, my sewing room in the cold basement was not attracting me.

But the last few weeks I feel like old skills are gradually coming back, and dormant instincts waking up again.  It's so much nicer having a design wall, and all my tools and fabric to hand - without having to burrow under the bed or in a crowded closet trying to find things.  And as well as being warmer in the basement, look at the view I've got from my sewing room:

This week saw the launch of the #CozyAfternoonQuilt free online BOM, with the cutting directions for the whole quilt and the instructions for the first two blocks. I'm doing the pieced version but there are also applique patterns available. I'm really enjoying my cheerful fabric colours, all from stash. The directions are really clear and easy to follow.

I also added the borders on to the Vintage Snowball quilt. I used a 30s repro from my stash because it had exactly the same red colour in it - it's a somewhat unusual terracotta-y red which I couldn't match to anything else I had.

So I was able to move the Snowball quilt off the UFO list and onto the 'needs to be quilted' list.  Next up is actually another snowball quilt I started on a Kaffe Fassett workshop, cut from blue & white fabrics that looks like a mosaic.  It needs borders but I've never been able to decide what I want to do with it:  lap quilt? tablecloth? wallhanging?  I've put it on the design wall while I think about it.

On a more prosaic note, I took in three pairs of linen work trousers now that the warm weather is here.  I'm thinner than I used to be, so I chopped one inch off the side seams and finished the raw edges with my serger.


After knitting a few tension swatches with the Shilasdair slubby cotton I bought at Alexander Palace a few years ago, I've decided to knit the Que Sera Cardigan by Kirsten Kapur, which is a free pattern on I'm quite pleased with the texture I'm getting.  I'll probably do an interim block after six inches or so, just to check gauge.

This week I stitched together the machine knit t-shirt in marled cotton, from a pattern called 'Rosy' in the May/June 2004 issue of Machine Knitting News.  I was pleasantly surprised to find it fits me fairly well: it's the right length, right depth of neckline, shoulders are hitting almost the right place, armholes sitting where they should.  The only real issue is that there is too much fullness in the sleeves which is making the armholes flare.  Trying to imagine how to alter a 2-D sleeve to improve fit on a 3D armscye makes my head hurt but I think it is something to do with how broad and shallow the sleeve head is.  I might try making this again and see if I can figure out how to make the sleeve less wide while still keeping it tall enough to fit into the armhole. I wore this to the office on Friday and it was quite comfortable.

Bobbin Lace

I stitched my strip of Torchon lace onto the vintage cloth and I'm really pleased with how it looks.  The lace is wobbly and amateurish but it looks quite nice as an edging.  Because I'm a beginner I wasn't really sure how to handle all the thread ends but I darned them all into the hem of the cloth and it's come out better than I thought it might. It looks nice on my little sofa in my room.

I spent several hours on Sunday night drawing out the pricking for a Torchon mat onto graph paper (quite difficult when your brain can't count accurately) and then pricking the holes.  For this intermediate project I needed to wind 34 pairs of bobbins - a lot of winding!  As a longtime winder of sewing bobbins, I felt there had to be an easier way. After considering and discarding my food mixer, I experimented with my electric drill and it actually worked quite well.  I cupped a small circle of thick felt around the head of each bobbin and clamped it gently in the jaws, then squeezed the trigger to wind the thread on. I was able to wind all the bobbins in an hour or so.

I ran out of wooden bobbins so I had to stop procrastinating and get on with spangling the 20 bobbins I bought at the Peterborough Makit fair then stained and varnished myself.

Then I could get started on the mat, which apart from a few mistakes needing unpicking, I'm really enjoying. It looks fairly impressive to have so many bobbins on the pillow after doing all my previous small samples. You do one quarter triangle at a time, I'm almost halfway through the first triangle. The finished mat will be about six inches square.


Last Sunday DH helped me dig out a circle of lawn, although he regretted it because that was one of the few parts of the lawn that is growing well, lol.

Then on Monday morning I spent a couple of hours hauling sand and some of our used bricks, and I made this! The plants were purchased quite cheaply from a church plant sale.

I was inspired by a similar feature we saw when we were touring the open gardens.  This gives us another nice thing to look at from our kitchen window, along with all the flowers that are coming out.

And look what is peeping out from amongst the leaves of the strawberry patch.  I think we might pick our first berries tomorrow.


Daisy said...

I love the bird feeding area you've created.

Mad about Craft said...

Things are coming on well! So glad you have your quilting mojo back!

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