Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Relaxing Robin linky party

At the beginning of the year, Dawn, of SewYouQuilt2, started a Relaxing Robin, in which participants started with an orphaned block and finished with a quilted item (quilt, table runner, whatever).

I really wanted to join in but selling our house and moving interfered with my sewing plans so I never got past the second step, which was adding the green border here.
I decided that working on that UFO would be my 'Something Old' project for September and got into an email conversation with Dawn.

We decided that we would do the Relaxing Robin together (company is more fun, don't you think?)

Do you have an orphan block that is calling out to you to save it from the orphanage? Would you like to join us? Don't be scared off by the title -- the block never leaves you until it's finished!

Here are the guidelines -- I hesitate to call them 'rules'; this is supposed to be fun and we all know there are no quilting police.

1. choose a block from your UFO pile to work with. If you wanted to, you could make the centre larger by sewing some together, two, three, four etc. have fun! if you sewed 3 for example runner style then you could make the finished quilt rectangular instead of square.

2. add a small border. This could be a plain border, pieced, appliquéd etc but make it small. try and use a color not used in your block for added fun later on

3. Add appliqué. could be to the small border, could be to the inner block, or could be an applique border itself. again, try out options and have fun

4. add some triangles. this could be flying geese, pin-wheels, etc. again, have fun with this. there are many blocks and ideas with triangles.

5. using some of the fabric in the first border make another border of your choice

6. make a border that has squares in it; 4 patch, checkerboards etc would be welcome here. again have fun

7. finish as you wish. this can mean another border or if you think you are done, quilt and bind up the baby.

These are suggestions: you can switch the order or eliminate steps altogether if they don't work for you and your block. To be honest, I got hung up on the appliqué border (step 3) which is probably why the project stalled in the confusion of moving!

I have an idea for a needle-turned appliqué but you won't see it until later because I want to sew on my machine not sit around hand-stitching! So I'm bending the guidelines to suit myself -- with Dawn's blessing!

Would you like to join us? There will be a linky party but we haven't finalised the details of when and where yet. Here's the link to Dawn's current post.

In the meantime, let's free those blocks from the orphanage! ;-)

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Something Old, Something New – September edition -- Redux

This post, which was published on 2 September, has been completely re-written. Friends have made relevant comments and there is a linky attached so I couldn't figure out how to write a whole new post. The original post, which has been slightly modified, has been posted as monthly check up and dated 31 August. Some of the comments refer to that post rather than this new one -- sorry, I just couldn't work out how best to proceed.

If you've come in from Angela's Rainbow Scrap Challenge, please follow this link for my green scrap related post! Sorry - I couldn't work out how to edit my entry over there!

Firstly, a big thank you to all my blog friends who reminded me that "Something Old, Something New" should be about just that -- not my whole master list! Thank you, too, for the reminder that nowhere have I said I have to get anything finished. I think I'm confusing myself with last year's linky party!

August was a messy month for me. I undertook a new leadership role in relation to music and that occupied pretty much the first week. Then DD and the boys arrived unexpectedly and stayed for a week because DD became too ill to drive home! Those germs were passed on to me, got into my sinuses and my head was so so stuffy for the next week I could barely do anything.

The last week of August saw me back in my sewing room and quite productive -- but not on the goals I'd set myself.

My 'old" project for August was a pair of curtains that I started making way back in 2011. DD is still vacillating as to whether she wants the curtains or not. I don't like making curtains particularly so I'm waiting for her to make a decision before I spend time on them! At the rate she's going, both boys will have outgrown the fabric and no decision will be needed! ;-)

My "new" project is always something new in the sense of technique or something I haven't made before. I had planned to start a quillow in August but, with all of the above happening, I missed two classes so it never got started. I’ve since decided that I don't really want to make one anyway!

So, in keeping with my original stated aims for "Something Old, Something New", instead of giving you my 'master list' for the month, I will stick with two things:

Something Old: work on Canary on a Pinwheel quilt – this should have been my Relaxing Robin challenge but I fell way behind! Moving house didn’t help! The photo shows it just as I left it in February

one block, first border 

Something New: start a rainbow "pioneer braid" quilt by learning how to make a  64”-70” braid from orange fabric (this month’s colour for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge) from the tutorials on two blogs: Stitchin’ Therapy and Quiltville Quips and Snips – I started this in class yesterday (by cutting 2.5” X 7” strips)
orange strips cut 

So, how did you do in August?
Was it too warm for crafting in your part of the world?
What are your plans for September?
Dare I ask if you are starting your Christmas crafting?

Link here with the URL of your specific blog post so we can all come visit.
We'd love to see how you're going and what your plans are for next month.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

monthly check up

This is an old post, formerly "Something Old, Something New -- September edition". That post was published on 2 September but has now has been completely re-written. If you read it then, you probably won't want to read this post which is that post all over again!

Thanks for dropping by!

I set myself quite a list for August. Here it is:
  1. Something Old: curtains – DD has been vacillating on whether she really wants these and I’m not making curtains (which I don’t enjoy) unless she really wants them! So they remained untouched!
  2. Something Old: man’s fingerless mitt – not started; our television room has poor lighting (there will be a new floor lamp some time in the future) and there's no way I could work on navy blue while sitting in front of the television. I didn’t even think about knitting during the day; for me, I sew in the daytime and knit at night while watching TV with WM
  3. Something New: a quillow: I missed two weeks of sewing classes due to “the visit” and “the bug” so the quillow never got started!
  4. WiP: the Bargello table runner – top finished
    2014 blue Bargello top completed
  5. WiP: the Country Houses quilt   **sigh**  (untouched)
  6. WiP: Green Scrappy Strippy quilt top – top and back finished: yay!
    top completed backing completed
  7. WiP: Green Stripes and Triangles – make at least two blocks to add to this one (I need 35 altogether) – done!
    With these last two, I managed to participate in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge with the right colour without even trying! I’ve linked up with the last post of “green month” over at
    SoScrappy blog.Soscrppy   
  8. Grab Bag Challenge: Taupe Buffalo Shawelette – knitting finished. We saw the end of winter with ten days of rain (which we desperately needed) so I haven’t blocked it yet because it wouldn't have dried.
      2014 Taupe Buffalo ready for blocking
  9. WiP: finish piecing my curved blocks -- these were all cut, I just had to piece 36 of the 4.5” drunkard’s path blocks – all but one done; somehow I missed making one quarter circle!
    curved piecing completed
  10. This wasn’t on the list but I also finished knitting Socks for Someone #5 (I still have to graft the toes and sew in the ends at the cuff)
  11. I also started my next Grab Bag Challenge project (see below)
Hey, last month wasn’t as bad as I thought!
How did you do with your goals?

Friday, 29 August 2014

look, mum, no pins

Just a short post today – I’ve finally managed to get into my sewing room this week!

Piecing curves is apparently one of those things that quilters avoid.

I have a very good teacher but she likes pins – lots of them. She also clips the concave curves.

Today, I found two videos on YouTube about piecing curves without the use of pins.


I tried the first way but the second way works better for me – except I press towards the quarter circle.

Have to go – I have more curves to piece! See you next Tuesday.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Grab Bag Challenge and other knitting

warning: a long, yarn-related post; no fabric here, sorry!

I had intended to get this post up ten days ago but I needed photos… then DD and the GrandBoys made a surprise visit. Needless to say, I didn’t give much thought to posting anything on my blog!

Despite the fact that I had been in a groove with my sewing over the previous few weeks, I had also completed a fair bit of knitting. My most recent post regarding knitting (as opposed to yarn) was in mid-June so I’m going to talk about all my projects since then; whether completed or in progress.

At the end of June I tutored two workshops: one on stranded colour knitting, the other on slipped stitch knitting so there were a few samples that needed to be knitted.

I’ve already showed you the two slipped stitch scarves in this post, so here are some other slipped-stitch patterns: a slipped stitch beanie and a sample slipped-stitch square that could be used in an afghan/blanket:

 slipped garter stitch sample slipped stitch colour beanie  

For the stranded colour workshop I knitted two hats; the second shows a traditional Norwegian motif I found on the internet.I couldn't get it on my head so I had to put my hands inside it for the photo – it’s not really that shape!.

 stranded colourwork beaniestranded colour work Norwegian star motif

I finished Socks for Someone #4 and cast on Socks For Someone #5; I’ve finished the first sock, except for the grafting of the toe and the sewing-in of ends, and am on the foot (cuff down) of the second. The socks are my own basic sock pattern for women; 64 stitches knitted on 2.25mm needles.

2014 Socks for Someone #4 2014 Socks for Someone #5 first sock done

In mid-July, I tutored a workshop on shadow (aka “illusion”) knitting. I didn’t have my scarf finished in time for the workshop, although I did take it along as a work in progress. That scarf is now finished and is seen here pinned out for blocking. The pattern is Counterpoint Scarf, by Jennifer Crawford; free to Ravelry members. The yarn is discontinued: Moda Vera Cynthia (brown) and Moda Vera Jaclyn (cream) – both DK weight, 50% acrylic/tencel. I chose brown and cream because I didn’t have any black 8ply (DK) yarn that was the same brand as any white yarn and it seemed important to have two strands that knitted up to the same gauge. All experienced knitters know that all DK weight yarns are not created equal!

2014 Keyboard Scarf illusion

In this post, I talked about how much yarn I have. I managed to find storage for most of it, except for the “Grab Bags”. There were too many of them to fit in the space I had allocated, so knitting through those has become my priority knitting. I can’t believe my first project for the “Grab Bag Challenge” was completed last December!

I remember that, for the next project, I grabbed a bag of yarn and intended to knit a prayer shawl for the person who donated quite most of my ‘grab bag’ contents. However, the prayer shawl was a lace pattern and I had to set it aside even before I cast on; i usually knit in front of the television, and that just wasn’t TV knitting! When we moved that bag of yarn disappeared into the pile of grab bags during packing; one day it’ll turn up and I’ll be able to knit that shawl.

In the meantime, I have knitted two hats from a pattern called Bubble Gum which is available for free on Ravelry. I think I would have called the pattern “Bee Hive” or “Honey Pot” because it reminds me of a green ceramic honey pot we had when I was a child (not that it ever had honey in it)! My two hats don’t look as nice as the ones on the Ravelry page, perhaps they’ll look better after blocking or with a head in them! I've only shown one, they are basically identical – knitted from the same no-longer-available yarn from K-Mart called Triplequick, a 12 ply (bulky) yarn which I knitted on 6mm needles. It was, indeed, a quick pattern to knit and I completed the two hats, including sewing in ends, over three evenings.

2014 Grab Bag Hat #2

I started knitting a scarf/shawlette from a simple (free from Ravelry) pattern called Forget Me Not using a discontinued yarn called Lambswool 80 (80% wool, 20% nylon) by Patons Australia. In the comments section of my Ravelry projects page I wrote: “life is too short to knit with yarn which feels like string! Even acrylic feels softer in the hand than this yarn so it has been frogged and the yarn has been given to the op shop (thrift store).” The project was aptly named Yarn Shouldn’t Feel Like String but, unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of the yarn before I gave it away!

Then came another hat when I grabbed a bag containing 3 skeins of Sirda Octo, an 8ply (DK)  blend of 80% wool and 20% nylon. I have never successfully knitted a beret; I always seem to have too many rounds and get a lump in the middle where it should lie flat. I had hoped this one would be different; it’s a very pretty lace pattern and the decreases are included in the pattern. But I should have looked at the pictures of the Elfunny Beret on Ravelry more carefully: it had a deliberate ‘lump’ in the centre, accented by doing extra rows! I had to remove the extra rows and add a couple of extra rounds of decreases to make it work. Here it is blocking with the dinner plate still inside! Unfortunately, it’s supposed to be adult size but there's no way I can get it on my medium-size head! Ah well, someone will live it, I’m sure.
2014 Octo Mauve Hat

WM grabbed the next bag (my current knitting project, along with Socks for Someone #5): it contained 329g of yarn called Lincoln Buffalo Wool. The only additional information on the label was that it was mothproofed* pure wool, 6ply (a heavy sportweight or light DK), colour 488, Taupe. No needle size was recommended. I couldn’t find any information online about this yarn specifically or the yarn company in general. It may have been mothproofed forty years ago but I have had to deal with quite a lot of insect damage as I knitted which has left me with lots of ends to sew in! I know it is more than forty years old: the Australian wool industry adopted the metric scheme in 1971 and these balls were labelled “1 oz”!

I decided this time to knit something where gauge was not so crucial and finally settled on  a pattern of a triangular scarf or shawlette called Springtime Bandit. The original pattern was knitted in 10ply (Aran) but I have seen it knitted in 4ply (sock) so it’s obviously very versatile. I didn’t know how far 329g of yarn would go; 8ply wool yarn usually contains about 200m to every 100g so this could be as much as 650m. If it’s a lighter weight than 8ply, it may go even further! The designer, Kate Gagnon Osborn, recommends four pattern repeats; I have done twelve and still have four skeins for the edging!

It has knitted up like 8ply (DK) on 4.5mm needles. Since I am usually a looser-than-average knitter, it will be interesting to see how it goes after blocking! This is what it looks like so far:

  2014 Taupe Buffalo Shawlette 2014 Taupe Buffalo Shawlette detail

I don't’ think I’d describe it as ‘taupe’; its more milk chocolate!

The Grab Bag Challenge is fun; I have no idea what the bag will contain until it is actually in my hands (I’m not allowed to return it to the box, I have to knit it and use up as much of the yarn as possible) the fun part is choosing a pattern that works for the amount of yarn I have (long live Ravelry!) and seeing how it knits up. Most of the bags contain only small amounts so there’ll probably be a lot of hats and/or scarves in my future but that just adds to the fun: small projects are quickly finished then a new bag is selected!

Never too hot to stitch!

It’s winter: cold and raining here (thank God, we were in a drought and needed rain desperately) so it’s great weather to curl up under a hand-knitted blanket/afghan and knit away!

What are you working on at the moment?

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