Monday, 21 January 2013

Snow Days

Not much sewing going on here at the moment - lots of sledging though - with the boys off school for the last few days due to an abundance of snow.

I thought I'd showcase a December 2012 finish, a crocheted blanket I began in 2011 for my eldest son (now 15).  I'd originally planned for the stripes run horizontally, but when it became apparent that due to the width of the blanket I'd be lucky to finish it for his 30th birthday, the stripes became vertical.  This is because I approached it the way I seem to approach most projects - by just diving in.  Not for me the beautifully arranged pre-chosen colours and sensibly worked out and pre-bought amount of yarn.  More a rummage through my stash and submitting a few for approval.  Then casting on until it seemed wide enough, and then crocheting some rows, adding another colour, adding another, frogging, adding more - until a pattern emerges that I'm happy with.  Then a mad dash for yarn whilst on holiday in Devon, having sourced the only little yarn shop for miles around, and getting there with 5 minutes to spare before it closed.  Success.  

Here's the blanket being modelled by Truffle: 

(not sure why the picture's on it's side - it wasn't originally - lots to learn about blogger).

Blanket Stats:
Yarn:  Stylecraft Special DK
Colours:  Midnight/Denim/Parchment
Size:  52" x 75"

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

may 2013 be all that you want it to be

Definitely time to update/add to my blog.  I'll start with a 2012 finish.

I was taught to quilt (actually to sew) by Ferret, with whom I had classes in 2010 and 2011.  Earlier this year Ferret encouraged me to enter a quilt into the open section of an annual quilt show.  The theme was "In the Pink", in aid of breast cancer research.

I immediately knew I wanted to use Laurie Wisbrun's "Jack & Jenny" - those donkeys in (pink) wellie boots are irresistible.  I also decided on Film in the Fridge's converging corners pattern,  (BTW I did request (and was granted) permission to use this pattern).

I discovered many things during the making of this quilt.  Firstly, it's more labour-intensive than it would seem.  Secondly, everything that could go wrong DID go wrong.  According to Ferret, this is not unusual for show quilts.  (May I just add at this point, do not think that just because I entered a show I am a sewist/quilter extraordinaire - I do not have any of the skill or expertise on show there, I'm more in the blind ignorance category and I agreed to Ferret's suggestion in the spirit of "why not, I've never done that before".  So I held my nose and jumped in the deep end!!.  And it was very deep.  

So what went wrong?  Well, my walking foot broke!  What?  In no way has my beloved "Bernina, Bernina, Bernina"  (sorry, that is actually her name, said faster than usual) been stretched in any way possible.  Then I sewed over my finger!  I know!  Luckily I didn't get any marks on the fabric.  I made such a hash of the binding first time round that I unpicked it all and redid it.  Let's not even mention the finishing off.  By this point I had run out of time and I sewed pretty much through the night.  But "Annabelle" was delivered on time.  (I do seem to like naming things). 

Meet "Annabelle":

wherever I used donkeys in the strips I fussy-cut them

the backing was a poly/cotton mix (gasp) I bought at a show but the colours are perfect

Annabelle measures approximately 48" x 60".

 "Annabelle" was outline-quilted in straight lines and the binding was a lovely grey and white Moda fabric by Deb Strain from her "Grow With Me" collection.  (Confession:  I also bought it in orange and green, thinking it a perfect binding fabric).  
I learned a lot from this quilt, and about how I quilt.  I learned that I will unpick, unpick and unpick a block again until I am completely happy with the colour/structure.  Sometimes I have to recut strips because the fabric doesn't withstand the constant attack!  The planning stage for me is the longest - and I also plan as I go along. The demerits of this way of working seem quite obvious, not the least being time, but it just seems to be how I work best - now anyway.  And I do love love love (normal speed) pottering about with bits of fabric, seeing a quilt emerge.  It's one of my favourite parts of quilt-making.