Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Where do I go from here?

 So I joined the x and + along a while back, finished my first block and that was it for a while. A few weeks ago I decided I'd better get busy. I opted for the 7 1/2" block from Badskirt and figured that I could manage 25 blocks before I ran out of steam. I used lots of textfabric for the pluses and quite a few polkadots for the crosses. The rest of the fabrics were pulled from my scraps - without making a dent in that heap, of course! So here they are, all stitched together into a very colourful top.

I really don't know what to do with it next - do I add a border or not? And if I add a border - what colour should it be? And next, there's the quilting, a random stipply, swirly pattern,paralel lines, outline of the pattern or what? I can't seem to come up with a solution, so I think it'll just have to marinate for a while. I welcome any suggestions though!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Okay, time for a change then...

As news have been popping up everywhere about Google reader being shut down, I'm following recommendations and trying out Bloglovin'. Let's see how that goes...

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Edited two days later: Mmm, yes, this will work. I like it. I think I'll stay. :-)

How could I forget?

I couldn't resist buying the kit for this quirky little tablerunner on a visit to Denmark last spring and thought I would have plenty of time to make it before Christmas (as you do...). But to finish something, you have to start, right? And that just didn't happen, because there was an ocean of time before Christmas. Until suddenly there wasn't. It seemed to be right around the corner instead. How does that happen?
I finally got started - some evenings of relaxing with a little needleturn applique and I'd have it ready in no time... Right. You know how these things go - Real Life butts in and your plans are overthrown. So I didn't get a new table runner for Christmas, but I decided to keep going and finish it anyway.  And I did. And then I forgot to post about it! Here I had been working diligently for weeks sewing everything by hand and nobody knew! Well, finally here it is!
The backround is linen and all the applique pieces are batiks. I did some changes along the way, had to, in fact. Because I didn't place all the trees right (even though there was a perfectly good full size chart), so there wasn't quite enough room for the house (I should have started with the house...) So the house isn't as tall as it should have been and didn't get a sign above the door to tell you that it is Santa's House. But I know anyway. And maybe that is a good thing, because it isn't all that Christmassy after all, so I can use it all winter if I like.
There is quilting around all shapes in the bacground colour, and one long winding quilt line in contrasting thread from the chimney to the parcels at the opposite end. Some parts were quite fiddly to do, especially the snowmen's noses. They were looking quite rude to begin with, so I had to go back and redo them to get the ends a bit more pointed. They look better now, although one has a tree growing out of his head, poor thing... The backing is a lovely deep red batik, folded around the edge of the batting, which is cut slightly larger than the front, so you get a red edge all around.
So there you have it. A christmas runner finished just in time for Easter!
The pattern is from Danish company Quilt My Design. Instructions are in Danish, but well illustrated, and applique shapes are the same no matter what language you speak ;-)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Placemat inspiration

Somehow I'm always stumped for ideas when I need to make placemats. I have gathered ideas on Pinterest and I have made some sketches in EQ, but somehow I'm never happy with the things I come up with. I think the problem is that I tend to overthink things. You can't make them like miniature quilts or they become too fussy, and with too few pieces they become dull. But sometimes inspiration strikes!
And that's what happened last night when I came across Debbies post about her new emerald placemats. The idea of making the same block in three different sizes and combining them  like she has done, is just brilliant. If you get the math right and make your blocks in equations of the finished size you can't go wrong.

Now Debbie used wonky cross blocks for her placemats, and they are wonderful. But it got me thinking that you could really do the same thing with any kind of block, wonky or straight. If you use just one kind of block, you get enough unity while the different sizes and ways you can puzzle them together makes it interesting. I couldn't let the idea alone, and went to my trusted EQ software and played around a bit. This is what I came up with:

 In the first excample I used my old friend the Monkey Wrench block and fabric from Sweetwater's Hometown collection. Now I would probably use some solids in there to calm things down a bit, but yes - I like the idea - this is definitely something to play more with. And if I make the blocks wonky - yes! Now we're talking!
In the second excample I used the same layout but with Flying Geese blocks instead. By rotating the blocks you can make them even more interesting. In this excample I used the lovely Comma line by Zen Chic for Moda - I can't wait to play with these lovely fabrics, maybe placemats are next on the agenda! Thank you Debbie!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hometown Ripple

 It was time for a new handbag. Well, the fact was that when I bought all that lovely Hometown yardage from Sweetwater a while back, I also got some of the canvas type fabric, thinking it might work well for a bag, more than the fact that I needed a new bag... But then, any excuse will do!
I played with lots of design ideas, but none of them really did it for me. While going through my patterns, I remembered that I had been meaning to make a handbag from a Melly & Me pattern called "Raspberry Ripple", but I hadn't managed to decide what fabric to use. When it finally dawned on me that I could combine the two, it was time to start working. I had done the cutting before christmas, but was sidetracked by other things that seemed more important at the time, so this got left on the back burner. Once I got back to it and ironed the interfacing on all the pieces, the actual sewing didn't take very long.
I used a turquoise and red polka dot fabric for the lining and the inside pocket. I also added a strap with a swivel hook for my keys or mobile phone.
The original pattern had a magnet button closure, but I added a gusset with a zipper instead, so I can close it all the way. The Hometown charm I'd bought from the Sweetwater Etsy shop is perfect as zipper pull. A pair of leather-look bag handles finishes the bag off quite nicely. So there you go, another UFO bites the dust, and I can happily carry my new handbag to town!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Oh What A Beautiful Mornin'

As I pulled up  the blinds and opened the window this morning I was met with the brightest sunshine and a definite hope of spring in the air - if my life were a musical I would have burst into song - "Oh what a beautiful mornin'" from Oklahoma! or something. Now it will be a long time before "the corn is as high as an elephant's eye", or what passes as summer in our part of the world. There is still a bit of a chill in the air, and you know, that's a good thing!

Because that means I get a chance to wear my new Love is actually all around cowl! I'm ridiculously proud of this thing - not only did I master two new techniques, but I started it, worked my way through and actually finished it without getting sidetracked.

I knew the minute I saw this pattern on Knitty that I had to make it. The yarn looked so sumptious and the hearts in squares were sort of quilty and it was intriguing to end up with a product which looked the same on both sides.

I couldn't find any yarn which looked half as good as the Madelinetosh DK used in the original locally, so I ordered it online. The delivery was swift, which meant that I had only just had time to set the pattern up in my KnitCompanion app and was ready to start the minute I got it home.

I have never tried my hand at double knitting before, but found a video on YouTube which explained it all. Now I must admit I was a bit sceptical and thought this couldn't possibly work as I sat there combining two cable needles full of stitches in the beginning to a round of stitches which should have been enough for a sweater. I just had to go on blind faith in the beginning, because it all looked a mess, but after three or four rounds something started to happen - the stitches gathered themselves into a kind of knitted fabric with a smooth back and front. It all seemed very complicated to begin with, and I sat here muttering to myself: "yarn in front, purl, yarn in back, knit" like a mantra, but after a while my mind and my fingers got the hang of it, and I even managed to work out how to correct a few mistakes along the way without frogging the whole thing. The heart and square pattern helped me along - it was all "I just have to do another round so I can see how it turns out". The finishing off with Kitchener stitch went like a breeze - I had read a bit about how complicated it was, but really, there was nothing to it after mastering double knitting!
The yarn was a delight to work with, soft and smooth, and the depth of colour makes it so so lovely.

Time for a walk to show it off, I think!