Saturday, June 16, 2007


I have updated my blog a bit. I have been hesitant about changing to the new layout option in Blogger because of all the fiddling you have to do with colours, fonts and settings, but today I took the plunge. I managed to copy all the contents of the sidebar and I have also added a label cloud, thanks to a very helpful link provided by Diane at Going to Pieces. I see that I still have some tweaking to do - I think the margins are too wide, so either I have to make them or the banner narrower. But not right now.

Diane has provided further inspiration. Her post about her quilters' retreat where they made stack'n'wack-like blocks has been at the back of my mind for a while, and yesterday I just had to give it a go. I got out a great floral fabric and started cutting and sewing. So far I have made eight blocks. I can't wait to make more! They will eventually become a summery tablecloth I think. Maybe one for my balcony. My sister and I went to the nursery to stock up on flowers today and I have brought home lots og goodies. I'm too tired to do anything about it today, but tomorrow I intend to get it all sorted.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Knitting revisited

I used to do a lot of knitting when I was younger. When I was at college I made lots of different garments that made me stand out from the crowd - knitted patchwork, braids, special necklines, you name it...I think I lost heart completely, though, when all my favourites were stolen from the student launderette one day. I had washed them carefully and put them in the dryer and had to go out to answer the phone. When I got back the drier was empty and all but one dripping wet sweater were gone. My fellow students would have recognized them as mine if somebody else had turned up wearing one of them. That never happened, so where they ended up I'll never know. A few months later I started working, discovered patchwork and my knitting endeavours were history. Or so I thought.

It all started again when I discovered Knitty. It was the Clapotis that got me started, and once I had finished I had discovered all sorts of other interesting projects. Starting a new craft is a perfect excuse for stash building, and I have come to realize that I have more yarn and ideas for projects than I'll be able to stitch in a very long time - so what else is new? ;-)
I fell in love with this little hat at Knitty quite early on, and although I had no one to knit it for, I just had to have a go. I used a soft baby wool, but found it a bit too floppy for my liking, so if I make another one, I'll try a smooth cotton, I think. The daughter of one of my other's friends has just given birth to a baby girl, so now this little hat will soon find a head to sit on - my teddy's head is way too small, but was the best model I could find - I had to take a picture before it left the building, right?

My stash now consist of several skeins of beautiful sock yarn and I will try my hand at some toe-ups this summer. There are also some balls of Kureyon waiting to be made into a scarf, but it is way too warm to be thinking about that at the moment. Or maybe the heat has gone to my head, because this book made its way into my home the other day! I fell in love with the Frost Flower Leaves shawl after spotting it in someones blog a while ago (I forget whose, sorry!) and when there was a special offer on Amazon a while ago, the book suddenly found its way into my shopping cart... I spent last night dreaming of knitting this beautiful thing. Even all the different tales of the amount of work involved discovered on my blog search yesterday hasn't deterred me, so no one should be surprised to find me in the yarn store tomorrow...
Amid all the dreaming of future projects I still find time to quilt though, and have added some leaves to my window - there's a lot of fussy cutting to be done, but that's something to keep me occupied in front of the TV tonight - I hope there's a good film on!

Monday, June 04, 2007

All systems go

Funny that once I started talking about inspiration and making a journal I realized that I have a journal of sorts - an old binder full of ideas I have jotted down, magazine clippings and what have you. I had a look at it and this idea popped up. I had even bought fabric and knitting wool for it, and once I started thinking about it I just couldn't wait to get going.
Isn't it great when you get that urge to create? You get all tingly and excited and just have to start cutting into fabric and get all those beautiful threads out. Well, I'm saying you, but I really mean I, me, myself ;-) That's how I feel. Once I start thinking about a new project, all those colours and shapes invade my brain and whirl around in there even when I'm sleeping, and the time I have to spend at work can't pass quickly enough - I want to go home and sew! Luckily it isn't like this all the time - I'd be impossibe to be around, but when it happens and I'm able to spend some quality time with my sewing machine it is soooo much fun!
So I started up yesterday and made a quilt sandwich: one layer of fabric, one layer of cotton batting and another layer of fabric. The top one is a brown with tiny dark brown dots. The shade of brown has been all wrong for every project it has ever auditioned for, it's kind of "flat" and dull, and parts of it has faded, but with lots of different shades of brown thread on top I think I might make it work, and the little dots will be like wormholes in a weather-worn window frame. That's the look I'm going for anyway.
I started with stitching the outline of the frame and window panes, and quilted them with straight lines. Then I switched to free motion stitching and sort of "painted" the frame with dense stitching in lots of shades of brown. This took ages, and my shoulders were aching by the time I was done. I forgot all about my own rule of singing while you sew, to make sure you breathe properly and avoid getting your shoulders attatched to your ears! I used miles of thread and had to stop halfway there to clean my sewing machine, but eventually I was happy with the look and it was time to cut out the unquilted bits. That's as far as I got yesterday.
After a night of colourful dreams and a day at work ("I wanna go home") I could get back to it. Today I have basted a piece of water soluble fabric to the back of the frame with water soluble thread (that's those big white stitches you see in the top picture) and added branches of stitched down knitting wool. That seams to be all I have time for today, but I'm going to stitch some more on those branches, adding little twigs and such, and then I'll add autumn leaves. I know - summer has just arrived, and I'm making an autumn picture! Well I have been known to make Christmas things in March as well ... Anyway, the idea is to add leaves and machine embroidery to make it into a window almost hidden by foilage, but when I wash away the water soluble I should end up with a kind of lacy effect with lots of holes, but enough stitching to hold it together. I think. I haven't tried this before, but that's the picture I see in my head. I'll keep you posted :-)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

New month, new projects

My Emily Dickinson sampler is finally ready for framing. I came across this pattern in Stitcher's World in 2000 and have been meaning to stitch it ever since. It took me a while to get started... It's not my usual style - whatever that is, but I liked the colours, and the excuse to hang an Emily Dickinson poem on my wall was another reason to choose this. I've been working on it on and off for quite a while - more off, than on, to tell you the truth, because the actual stitching didn't take that long now I come to think about it.

Finishing one project is the perfect excuse to start a new one, but which one, I wonder... There are so many ideas floating around in my head that I really need to tame them a bit. I have been playing with the idea of starting a journal to collect my ideas and maybe become a bit more structured about my crafting. This blog is a help of course, but there is something to be said for a book I can hold in my hand and scribble, draw and colour in. I have been collecting pictures for inspiration for ever, and sometimes make simple collages with them. The first thing I see every morning is this one - a framed collection of postcards from the V&A - one of my favourite places in London. Here are samples of wallpaper, tiles, fabric, tapestries and quilts and some embroidered waistcoats designed by Kaffe Fasset who also gets a lot of inspiration from the V&A.
Maybe I can get some inspiration here for Project Spectrum. The colours for June/July are red, black and metallics.
Talking about colour and inspiration - have you seen this Flickr Toy, the Palette Generator? It will give you a palette of colours based on any photo you upload. Great starting point when you want to sort out your colours for a new project, I think! Must go to play some more...