Sunday, 21 January 2018

It's Been A While

It has been a while since I have done a Sunday Stash post. Has it been a while since I bought any fabric? Possibly, possibly not. I refuse to answer as I may incriminate myself. I have actually bought very little fabric recently. I bought the some Christmas fabric, oh, way before Christmas, to make those Christmas stockings. And some white kona for the Liberty quilt. Those were quilting essentials.

I always hope for a little crafty stuff of some sort on Christmas morning, and my family never disappoint. This year the English son and wife, (and new grandson) bought me two charm packs. Both charm packs were spot on in their choice. They bought them on a weekend to Bath, I can't remember the name of the shop.

They are both Moda . First up is Moda Evergreen, designed by Basic Grey. Now, they wouldn't know this, but I love Basic Grey scapbooking papers, so this is perfect. I don't know what I will do, but I have the perfect backing. I bought some red and white scandi fabric last year in an online shop closing sale.

Second up is Figures, by Zen Chic. I have already had some of these fabrics in meterage and fat quarters and have used it all up pretty much. It is all mathematical symbols, circles, dots etc. Love it. I will enjoy these.

I have been treating myself to some yarn off and on. I had a bit of an accident with a knit pro circular needle last year, and Lynne, a fellow blogger and instagram peep very generously sent me some needle points and wires to try. It was so kind of her. I liked them very much, and in fact bought some more. I have been beavering away at knitting socks, I do love knitting socks. I also decided that 2018 was to be the year of the Sweater, and maybe even a sweater for me. This will be interesting! I had some Koigu Painter's Pallet I had bought a couple of years ago in Loop in Philadelphia. I no longer liked the intended pattern, I don't think I ever really liked the intended pattern. The wool got stuck away in a cupboard and nearly forgotten about. I couldn't really justify buying yet another sweater's worth of wool, so I decided to use this up. Guess what? There isn't enough for the So Faded sweater I thought I would knit. After a quick search to make sure I hadn't simply mislaid more yarn, I came to the conclusion I had only bought 300g . What use is 300g to a sweater my size? I very quickly discovered Love Knitting stocked, or at least could order in this yarn. As it took a week to arrive, I strongly suspect they ordered in what I ordered. I must admit I love Love Knitting. They are a really personal website, the online chat helpline is really helpful if there is a problem, and they are usually super speedy in delivery.

 It is difficult ordering contrasting yarns via a website. I suppose the beauty of a fade is they contrast fade or fade fade. My original yarn is a fairly deep purple with hints of red and lilac, and tiny bits of aqua. The first fade I ordered two skeins of, is a paler purple with a pink and violet coming through. These first two work brilliantly together.

 The last fade is more of a contrast. It is a definite acqua with hints of lilac and blue. I am not sure all well this last will work in. Maybe I will be able to finish without actually needing it, or perhaps just the last few rows rib. Que Sera, Que Sera. It will all wing out in the end.
So far there is not much to show you, but you can see the sweater will be good in the case of red wine spillage!

I have so much confidence this sweater is going to be a SUCCESS and I will be singing it from the rooftops that I am already planning my next big knit. One of the local indie dyers is slaving over a hot bowl of steam and dye as we speak. Hoping for collection next Sunday. Oh, there is that blog post sorted already!

Helen x
linking up with Sunday Stash and Molli Sparkles

Friday, 19 January 2018

Going Forward, Not Just Wayward

I am going forward, I am meeting my own imaginary targets. You know the way you think I will tackle that pile of ironing on Friday? Or we clear the loft on Wednesday? Some targets ... do, some targets don't ....  my Wayward Transparency is meeting all its expected targets. More or less.

As of this afternoon I have the basic quilting all done.

 My quilting is always very simple. I actually don't like quilting that has a flounce or flourish. I prefer variations on straight or wavy lines rather than feathers and flowers. Just me. Horses for Courses. Firstly I sewed a straightish line along the seams in the same off white thread I used for piecing. Next I changed the top thread to a mid pink. The original thread I had chosen was in reality too similar to the off white. I had a slightly deeper pale pink spool, but only half a spool. Hence only the top thread was changed.

 I set the needle of my Pfaff to  1/4" from the centre. The position I use for piecing. This time I stitched this 1/4" from the seam on the left around the square. Then I flipped the quilt around and stitched along the same road but in the opposite direction. The needle was still set at the 1/4" setting but was this time sewing at about 3/4" because of the change of direction swing. Yes, it wasn't intentional. I thought it would be 1/4" each side. Don't even try to understand what I am talking about. This seems to have worked out ok. The two central lines are quite close together.

 Except when it came to the last quartile. You know how it is good to mix it up? I forgot to reset my needle when I started the last quarter so the quilting lines are much more evenly spaced in this last quartile. It's a design feature, isn't it?

It has been very cold in my sewing room this week, and when I got to this stage today my hands were cold. The fire lit in the living room was calling my name. I am happy with where I have got to. Next up I will use a stronger pink thread to quilt occasional lines where there is an appropriate gap. Not all "roads" will rise up to meet this pink thread. ~A random effect is what I am looking for. I am really pleased with how this has taken shape.

I have just realised I have yet to show you the backing. I had thought the Tula Pink fabric with the circles would work really well. I had bought 1m of it locally last year. Of course, they had sold out when I returned. I did however have some other Tula for Free Spirit fat quarters and half yards. Some of this I bought and some Lucy of  Charm About You had previously sent me. I also for some reason had a whole load of hst left over. Don't even ask how that happened! I think I had already made some triangles then changed my mind about the pinks. Anyhow, waste not want not. I like an interesting backside   reverse side.

That will bring me on nicely to the binding. I found some pale pink gingham one day when I was clearing the loft . I do tidy it, it just never looks any better, does our loft. The gingham had that whole sugary pink, Doris Day thing I was trying to avoid. My pink is much more edgy! So, back to basics again. I have some bright fuschia spot. You know the stuff. I think there should be enough, if there isn't I will wing it. It usually works.

I have loved this quilt. Mind you, I have told you that before. I know exactly what I am going to do with it too. We have a corner of our garden which has decking, a seat and a wardrobe. It is actually an aricula theatre, but we refer to it as the wardrobe. When I am writing my blog there, I rather pompously refer to it as the writer's corner. There are usually pots of pink geraniums there too, in the summer anyway. This pink quilt will slot right in. The pink colours of Kona, which I haven't actually mentioned, are Azealea, Pink Carnation and Pomegranate. I think they will fit right in. Don't you?

Helen x
linking up with Myra and Busy Hands, Finished Or Not Friday
linking up with My Quilt Infatuation and Needle and Thread Thursday

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Am I Either Wayward or Transparent? Or Just A Procastinator?

I promise, whilst all these lists of previous posts were being made up, there was some sewing going on. In the Autumn Yvonne,  jetquiltinggirl launched her 2017/8 quilt a long. Last year we all made Snowflake Shimmer, this new project is Wayward Transparency. Yvonne is renowned for her transparency quilts, using clean, clear lines and quilting. This has been very much her trademark, and I love them, though she is threatening to diversify a little . As always, Yvonne is very thorough. She made several versions of her own quilt, utilising various layouts and also varying between solid and patterned fabrics. She also sources fabric deals and has coupon codes.

I did blog initially about the fabric choices and the cutting and then my efforts got set to the side. As usual. There were many other things that got in the way. I had a lot of pink in my stash. Only when I began to make my choices did I discover that many of my pinks were similar in value.  If you lay them side by side, and take an iPhone photo, then convert it to grayscale, it shows the value. Who would know! And my original choice of pinks from stash were very similar. I shuffled them all around, asked Yvonne for advice, and ordered up the shortfall. Hence I was still on the first quartile and  everybody else was bounding ahead.

I did what I always do. Set it to the side. Set to the side but not forgotten. Once the #christmashats were all stashed in the loft, and the sewing machine came back out, I got stuck in.

I made quarter 1 and quarter 3 first, then realised that each quarter was  repeated. This made quarters 2 and 4 a dream. I have devised a system, I think I will patent it. I lay the completed block on the kitchen work top. I lay all the cut pieces for the next block on top and sew them and lay them back. Of course, this is only successful if the first block is sewn up correctly! It is usually at this stage I notice my blunders. To my credit, or rather due to Yvonne's very precise instructions, all were present and correct. Here are my blocks, in no particular order.


All four quarters finished, the fun began. Yvonne had given variations on layout in her instructions, and the associated FB page showcased what everybody else had done. Being a l.ittle Behind, this gives a wide range of options to choose from.

One of  Yvonne's original options
 the chasing corners layout

                                                 on point version, just requiring corner triangles

For me there was really no choice. What I liked initially about this quilt was the movement. The transparency of movement. The blocks seemed to float above and into each other. Some of the other layouts I felt had less movement.  As occasionally Mr Vertigo is my close companion, it is not like me to like fabric with movement. These have enough movement for me to fall in love, but not enough movement for me to hold onto the walls or the nearest available person.

                                                           My Favourite Layout
Yvonne knows when I say this, it is not a reflection on her in anyway. I know her design is completely original to her, her design, her concept  and not influenced in any way. Least of all by a 1970s British sitcom, BUT, when I see my quilt I find myself humming the theme tune of Dad's Army. And honestly, Yvonne, this is a nice warm feeling and another reason why I chose this layout.
hums, "who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler, if you think old England's done, we are the boys ....." much loved by 3 generations, maybe even 4 generations of my family.

To date, I have all 4 quarters made, pieced and nearly finished quilting.

This blogpost however, is long enough already. Hopefully by my next post, the quilt will be a finish, or a nearly finish. See you again on Friday.

Helen x
linking up with Lets Bee Social, Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts
linking up with Beth, Cooking Up Quilts
and looking forward to linking up my finish with Quilting Jet Girl!

Friday, 12 January 2018

FAL 2018 Qtr 1

I promise, I pinky promise, this will be the last "round up" blog post for a while, of for at least a quarter. It is nearly the deadline for the FAL 2018 1st qtr round up , I can procrastinate no more. So, here goes, all old favourites I am afraid, but then that's what the Finish A Long is all about. No new projects here. I will be linking up with Sandra of Studio Sew of Course
I am also going to link this post to my good friend Tish and her UFO link up
  1. The Quatrefoil Quilt 
   This quilt started life only last year as my beeabee2017 block. I have started to put them together and have a couple of blocks to "tweak". I want to have the windows with "views" at the front, and the windows with a more restful fabric on the back of the quilt.

 2. Economy Square Quilt

This quilt has been at this stage for a while, nearly a flimsy but not quite. It really wouldn't take much to finish this bright fun quilt.

3. Bubbles Quilt, now called the Circles Quilt

This quilt is pretty much finished and should have been in last year's finishes. But it isn't. Finished that is. I am unhappy with the quilting and have set it aside to complete.

4. Liberty EPP

When this quilt no longer appears in this list, it is time for me to get a new hobby. This is everlasting and that suits me, I like the repetition of it. I have started putting it together. Not happy with the placement of one block though.

And no knitting! Up to date with that, unbelievably.So that's my list for this quarter, all perfectly achievable. In an ideal world.

linking up with FAL qtr 1 proposed finishes and Sandra of Studio Sew of Course
multi tasking as also
linking up with Tish and her UFOs

Saturday, 6 January 2018

FAL 2017 Round Up Qtr 4 (part 4)

Lastly  to link up in the FAL is my what the fade shawl designed by Andrea Mowry. Completed shawl  blogged about here, and listed in my FAL projected finishes. I only finally blogged about this a week or so ago, though I have been wearing it from the beginning of December.

In a nutshell
pattern - #what the fade
designed - Andrea Mowry
yarn - skein queen
size - one size fits all
began August 2017, finished December 2017

Loved it
Hated it
Love it
Will wear it for ever

Helen x
linking up with
ps In the next week, there will be a post of FAL for 2018. That I promise is the end of the lists for a while!

Friday, 5 January 2018

FAL 2017 Round Up, Qtr 4 (part 3)

Two more link ups for the FAL, and no real blog story here. Both were blogged within the last week or two, so short and sweet.

My third finish for the quarter, is  my Portfolio Scarf , wool from Loop Knits Philadelphia, and pattern by Erika Flory.

I blogged about

my finish here

, and I listed this in my projected finishes here.

linking up with and the FAL
Helen x

Thursday, 4 January 2018

FAL 2017 Qtr 4 Round Up (part 2)

Next up in my FAL round up and link up are the two hedgehog cushions made for my daughter (on a theme here I think).

The hedgehog cushions (click to see original finish post) were listed on my FAL post (click to see).

Basically hedgehog fabric from the Scion range bought in Peter Jones (John Lewis) in Sloane Square, London. It is furnishing fabrics but to me it is rather lightweight fabric for cushions. Maybe cushions are meant to last a lifetime now, but just until the next season change!

Nothing to say. Two simple cushions, one happy daughter.

Helen x

FAL 2017 Qtr 4 Roundup (part 1)

As I said in my last post, apologies for showing all the old stuff again. And I will start this post with exactly the same sentence.
Apologies for showing all the  old stuff again, but this is the round up post for the last quarter of the FAL (finish a long) 2017, and I have a few finishes. For FAL administration purposes each finish has to be a separate blog post, so hold on to your seats and brace yourselves for a rather small deluge.

Click here to see my blog post on my proposed finishes for the quarter.

My first finish was a good one.
The Houndstooth Quilt (finished blog in link) designed by  but remained by me You Ain't Nothin But A Hounddog Quilt. And rather appropriately named by my daughter, the recipient, as The Purple One.  To me and those of my generation, the purple one, is the big caramel hazelnut chocolate in the Quality Street box at Christmas, but there you go.

Here we have the Houndstooth Quilt, aka You Ain't Nothing But A Hounddog, aka The Big Purple One:

Made in Kona Cotton. in not 40 shades of grey but numerous shades of grey, some purple and some white. Backed with deers from Art Gallery, which meant the quilt was reversed on the bed for the Festive Season. Quilted with traditional route of straight lines and bound in spotty stuff.
If Carlsberg made quilts, all my quilts would be like this,  to adapt the beer advert!
Helen x

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Last Year - So Over It

I wasn't going to do a round up of my crafting year, after all I participate in the Finish A Long, so any recent finishes will be in it in the next day or so. And some of these finishes were blogged about very recently. You will be sick looking at them. Even so, it does seem to be a good thing to round up the year, so here we go with apologies for repeats. I will link up here with Chery and Meadow Mist Designs, Cheryl really links up the best of 2017, here is my all.

Way back in January, a whole year ago, I had my first finish of the year and it was on two long needles rather than one short pointy one. I knitted a Donegal tweed yarn hat and gloves for my daughter. It was very cold walking to work. The pom pom was quickly removed, it bounced too much apparently.

The next finish was also two needles, a matching hat and gloves for my daughter's old school friend, living on the coast in south east England, where it was very cold.

Next up in March was another knit, this time an Aran cardigan from a pattern as old as Aran itself. This was the first full garment I had tried to knit for eons. It worked out well, except for one little thing. One shoulder is the teeniest tiniest bit pokey. The cables on both sleeves didn't finish at the same point. And YES IT DID MATTER. Anyhow, my daughter wears it about the house and watching tv.

My first quilting finish actually came towards the end of March. This was because my much loved dad passed away in early March and knitting was oh so much portable when sitting chatting with him through the earlier months. My quilt was my Snowflake Shimmer from the qal of .
I loved making this quilt. I love everything about it.


 I also loved the pieced backing.

Moving on swiftly to April, we have not one but two finishes depending on your definitions. I say two finishes, I had twins and that was definitely one birth but two babies! I finished up my MQI Bee blocks into a Jam Sandwiches and Lemonade quilts, for picnic benches.
Moving on to June and there was another finish, my Freefall quilt, or Dad's Shirt Quilt another qal. I participated in Sandra's qal. Sandra blogs as I loved Sandra's quilt and it gave me an opportunity to use my Dad's old shirts and make a memory quilt for my sister. At that point in the year, this was the most precious finish.
Just squeaking in at the end of June was a skirt I made for my daughter in Liberty fabric. This is an earlier photo, I promise I did get the waist band sorted!

As we moved into the second part of the year, there was a few small finishes. I made four pouches for myself and friend on our trip to Hampton Court. And then there was a baby cardigan for our impending grandchild.


July brought a little more knitting, four hats for my daughter's three university hats and herself. Four hats for four girls.

A splurge of sock knitting towards the end of the summer, Rose City Roller socks
August brought the birth of our much anticipated grandson, and with it a new quilt opportunity. I made him a camel quilt, from one of Yvonne's patterns, , her Lucent quilt. This is the second emotional quilt of the year!
Another pair of knitted socks, I will spare you the photos, and then my MQI summer swap, the goody goody binding kit designed by . I loved making this and equally loved the one I received.
Onwards into the autumn. Are you still with me? The next major finish, or indeed any finish wasn't until October. And this was the houndtooth aka you aren't nothing but a hounddog quilt for my daughter. We had fun taking Rapunzel type photos for this at our local forest. The pattern was from
A few cushions for my daughter's apartment were next up. She loves hedgehogs. So do I.

I don't know about you, but I am losing the will to live here and I am writing the post! Keep your audience with you! But, my next finish is worth hanging in for. I made a Liberty baby quilt for the grandson for his Christmas visit with us.

This brings us bang up to date. All there is to come are my Portfolio scarf

The year rounded up with my #What The Fade. Enough said, I love this but it did take up 4 months of my life!


And, oh yes, unblogged was a little Antler cardigan by Tin Can Knits for my grandson for Christmas.

Also I made some fabric building blocks for him. And ... 6 (yes 6) 1hr baskets for the girlies staying with us over Christmas, plus all those Christmas hats and 4 Christmas stockings, all unphotographed and unblogged. It was a relief to do some gentle sewing this morning!

Helen x
Thank you for staying with me through the year, never mind through this blog post. x
linking up with Cheryl, Meadow Mist Designs best of 2017 Linky Party.