Saturday, 28 August 2010

One Week's Crafting

I had two days leave this week so managed to achieve more than a little crafty output. Still buzzed from the Festival of Quilts (reviews here and here) I washed all my fabric (to prevent surprise through later shrinkage) and got on with my nephew's stocking. I know it's early but I wanted to get on with it while I was in the zone.
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I am pretty happy with it! I cut fabric strips and sewed them together, sewed them into a tube, cut the tube into strips and then resewed it together, then cut out the stocking shapes and lined them before assembling the whole thing. I can do a tutorial if anyone's interested!

I wanted to personalise it so here is a close up of the top.
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It's a bit subtle (i.e. hard to see) but I think that works ok. It's not like it needs to be identified at a great distance.

I finished off the sashiko sample piece from the class I did:
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And then very quickly got stuck into the one I had bought from EuroJapan Links.
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Yep, finished that too. I *love* sashiko. I met up with Nickerjac to discuss SkipNorth (more of that later) this week and said to her that with knitting, unless it is something fiendish, I do it without needing to look at what I'm doing most of the time. Whereas with this, each stitch has to be carefully placed and you have to think about what you are doing.
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Which means it is great for those theta brain waves that are such balm to the mind. I have added a page of sashiko resources to this blog (since I was gathering them for myself I thought I might as well share) and am feverishly keen to draw up another one to stitch.
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Meanwhile I was reminded of something I had been meaning to try for a while - jewellery from magazine pages. I used this tutorial and got to it.
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They're not exactly perfect, but not bad for a first try. It also gave me a chance to get handy with my mighty glue gun. Especially on the backs where I added findings.
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I'm not sure yet whether to make a bracelet or a necklace. I'll wait for inspiration to strike.

My lack of sashiko to stitch meant I was able to make myself finally get on with my mater's cardigan (the one mentioned in my last podcast). I drew up the neck chart, taking into the decreases for the yoke, and have got on with it.
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I think it's looking rather nice and I should be able to finish the main knitting and cut the steek before I next see her, in time for a fitting!

Then just to end the week on a high, the final parcel from my SecretPal arrived. She had been waiting for some specially ordered yarn to arrive - and it was definitely worth the wait! Here are the goods.
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It is that beautiful yarn in the middle that was so worth the wait, although I also love the colours of the sock yarn too. The special one is a rare Kainuu Gray wool. A little research reveals that Kainuu is a region of Finland and also borders Russia. It is 95% forest which I guess it good sheep country as the yarn is lovely. Light but warm with a lovely bloom, and the colour is just wonderful! Straight away I started thinking about a neck warmer like this one or this one (both Ravelry links). I couldn't resist trying it out against my skin tone.
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Although I now realise that picture makes me look naked, I was actually wearing a vest type top!

Now I mentioned earlier in this post that Nic and I had been conspiring about SkipNorth, and so we have. It will be from 11-13 March 2011 in Haworth (the same delightful bit of Yorkshire we've been to in the past) and will be awesome. We've got some new places to visit this time, including Texere who are opening especially for us. So, it's obviously time for a ticker to countdown the days!



You can stay in touch with developments using the Yahoo Group, Ravelry Group or on Twitter.


Friday, 27 August 2010

This Week in London

Crazy clouds over Surrey Quays. 
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Or possibly the exhaust trail from a UFO who'd just been to Tesco. Although Monday before 8am (when this was taken) is one of the only times it is ever closed. And so the aliens would have had to queue up with everyone else who inevitably gets there thinking it is one of the 'open all night' days and then stands around outside trying to look like they aren't queuing for Tesco. In which case the UFO people probably just left in a huff and went to Costcutter.

Bats in the rosebush.
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(I swear I did not put this there. I checked and two days later it is still there.)

Eighties knitwear I wasn't expecting to see again, but am quite pleased about. Cat jumper here I come.
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(Currently available from your local River Island.)

Why leave it at just one unlikely knitwear item. 
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(Also in River Island - never rains but it pours.)

Man carrying a tree wrapped in dustbin bags on the tube. 
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Trees leaning, leaning, leaning....
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Do they grow like that or has the soil shifted?

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Festival of Quilts Part 2

Part 1 on Monday was about the exhibition. Part 2 is more about.....the SHOPPING!

This is all the fabric I bought. 
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There were a couple of groups. The first was cats. It's just a weakness I have. No photo of those in particular. The second is for fruity goodness. 
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I got a metre if that cherry one. Would love to do a skirt but would need to line it as it's a bit thin. Which reminds me. Why wear a sheer white skirt with dark thong? I can think why you would do that. But I can't help thinking that you're under a misapprehension about what looks....lookable. Unless I'm wrong. I must ask Pooch. Anyway. 

Then there were japanese ones. 
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And Christmas ones (for little nephew's stocking).
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And then random ones.
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This group includes a bolt-end piece I saw in a bargain basket. It's called 'dysfunctional family' and I knew I had to have it when I saw this panel.
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Perfect!

I also got three feet for my sewing machine. 
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One is for the machine embroidery course I'm doing in a few weeks at Make Lounge. The others will be demonstrated in coming weeks. And lastly I got two kits - one for a wire bracelet, which is genius in its simplicity. And another for Sashiko. 
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I did a Sashiko workshop at the Festival which was pretty cool. Although it does strike me that this was another of those 'channelling your inner 17-year-old' moments where I could have just got on with it. I need to think about what else this might be stopping me from doing. But having said that, the teacher was very good and went into the whys and wherefores and I am looking forward to finishing my sample in the next week and starting the one I have bought. 

So yes, a very good weekend for me. And I will definitely be back next year!

Tutorial Tuesday - F is for Freddie

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I posted this teaser pic about 5 weeks ago. I can now reveal it was.....
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A very special cushion for my sister's birthday. She is somewhat hippo crazy and so when I saw the fabric at Ikea in the spring I knew it had to become something for her. Adding the initial was very easy. I got hold of some double sided fusible webbing - the type of thing which you use to hem trousers without sewing. You can buy sheets of it here (scroll down - no affiliation). If you didn't buy sheets of it you'd just need to be a bit more cretive with the trouser stuff but it would still work.

I played around with some fonts first to get an F I liked but then just ended up drawing one freehand. I cut the webbing (which has paper on both sides) to the right shape and ironed it onto my dotty fabric. I then cut the fabric to the right shape around it and ironed it onto the hippo fabric. I think that would hold it without the need for sewing but for neatness I went round the edge with a small zigzag stitch in a suitable colour.
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The cushion pad comes out thanks to some plain yet yummy buttons on the back.
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I admit I was pretty chuffed with this one.

Did I stop there? Never. One of the gorgeous tutorials I've been gethering on this page (also in top menu bar) was calling to me....bunting.
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Is there anything as cheerful as bunting? And it was very easy to do. I literally just followed this tutorial. Except I used a piece of ribbon instead of bias binding.
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I really want to make some for me!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Festival of Quilts Part 1

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I have got soooooo many photos - about 80. They are all on Flickr here - no need to sign up for anything. So these are just the highlights.

First off, if you're not familiar with 'Festival of Quilts' it is run by the same people who do the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace and elsewhere as well as a load of other things. The company is called Twisted Threads and their website has details of the next and other events. In size it is like Ally Pally (i.e. same number of sellers) except the exhibition is mahoosive. Seriously. I got there at 11.30 and had a class booked for 3.30 and I was immediately panicked that I wasn't going to be able to see all the Quilts. There are a few different categories - classic, art, contemporary, non-quilts (i.e. clothes) and then a group and a children's section. There are also regional or national quilt organisation displays plus special guest areas (there was an inevitable Kaffe Fassett section, but meh, once you've seen 100 KF quilts, you kind of get the idea). If you are interested in sewing and fabric then this is a great show for you to go to for supplies and inspiration.

Quilts can be classic - for warmth and comfort. Or they can be art for art's sake. Or they can be a combination of the two. My personal taste is for lots of colour and tonal blending with an interesting pattern. So that explains why this one...
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...is probably my favourite. 

The selection at the show was just breathtaking. The very traditional:
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The traditional-twist:
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This one shows the clever block that repeats to create this whole quilt:
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The Art Quilt:
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I loved this one. Such a simple idea but so skillfully executed.

Then the non-quilts. I saw this one from the back first:
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That was amazing enough.....then I saw the front.
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Wow. Almost worth giving up chocolate and....just about everything I have ever enjoyed eating so be able to fit into that kind of dress.

Then there were the oddballs, which always have a special place in my heart. Isn't this adorable?!
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One of the things I really loved was being able to get up close and personal. You could really look at the surface decoration and there were even white-gloved stewards wondering about to display the backs if you asked nicely. This one looks impressive enough when seen as a whole.
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But then look what the quilting adds.
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So clever. There were lots of others like that. Some where maybe the piecing was fairly straightforward but then the stitching was key. The full version of this is on flickr, but this small piece (about handsized) is another example.
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I'd love the be able to go through all of them one by one but I've already done that on Flickr so go over there for more. Just a few more here....
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OK, I'm done!

One thing that really struck me was that the stallholders were all lovely. One even happily agreed to pause and pose for a photo.
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The little bobbins bouncing about on her headband were so funny!

I think that's enough for one post, so I'll post more on Wednesday, since tomorrow is already busy with Tutorial Tuesday - which coincidentally enough is a fabric tutorial!


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