Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Panic

Some really good friends have asked me to be Godmother to their son Felix, this means a lot to me and Felix is absolutely scrumptious. I set myself the task of making a quilt. Fine, except, I have never made a quilt.

I started browsing books and confusing myself ages ago, I saw some lovely Kaffe Fassett designs but decided I didn't want to go to babyish. I really like these Swedish style designs from Asa Wettre's Old Swedish Quilts and feel fairly confident that my friends would like this sort of style too.












So, I gathered my fabrics ages ago, at the Festival of Quilts, and after much indecision eventually began cutting and piecing. I'm not happy, I love the faded red stripe, and the little sprig of red but the stripe just looks pink and the flower seems too girly now that I have pieced more than half of the quilt.


Late last night I decided to go back through my stash and came up with this.

Still doesn't seem right though, I don't like it nearly as much as the original and the red stripe still looks too pink, the spotty brown fabric just doesn't seem to be working either. Back to the drawing board I think. I suppose I had better start browsing some on-line fabrics, there is nothing available locally and as the christening takes place on 15th October, I am rather running short on time. Feeling fed up, perhaps quilting is not for me after all.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Celebrations


I find myself utterly overwhelmed by all the lovely comments on my Amy Butler Weekender Bag. I will reply to all over the next few days (where possible of course, according to the increasingly irritating limitations of blogger). I don't normally like to write a new post without having responded to comments on the previous post but I make an exception today.

So, where did my bag go?? Well, yesterday was our 10th Wedding Anniversary. The Technical Advisor whisked me off for our first ever night away from children (that's seven years). The children and dogs were very capably looked after by a really wonderful friend and in spite of their being a little apprehensive before we went, on our return they didn't appear to have missed us at all and I think would be rather keen to repeat the experience.

Meanwhile, we arrived here and once the weekend bag was settled in her room we enjoyed a splendid afternoon tea while basking in the autumnal sunshine. We enjoyed eachother's company and indulged in reading our books, something that we rarely get to do in the daytime as our children hate to see us reading our own books when we could be reading to them instead. We had plenty of time to relax and get ready for dinner in a very leisurely manner and it felt wildly decadent to be sipping champagne and bathing in daylight.

We dined very well, scallops, venison and poached figs for me; got pleasantly tipsy and slept deeply. Breakfast was accompanied by the papers, so indulgent, we never read at the table at home, after all, we don't want the children to grow up like us! Our batteries are well and truely recharged and it was good to take some time to ourselves, thank you Mr Technical Advisor, I am so glad I bought you that pint of Guiness all those years ago.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

We interrupt this silence to bring you

Something for the weekend

I have been slaving over this bag in every spare moment for the last week, it has interfered massively with blogging, I have been holding off on posting because I was dying to include the finished bag but it took rather longer than expected. I have had the pattern for some time but had felt overwhelmed each time I took it out to browse. Actually once I got stuck in it wasn't so bad, there was a lot of cutting which I always find tedious, lining, exterior fabric, two lots of interfacing! Sewing the heavy layers together was a challenge, particularly the cording, but I only broke one sewing machine needle. Zips always put fear in me but this one went in rather well, the pattern is well written and easy to follow although as I am an idiot there were or course a few errors and much cursing on my part. There was a lot of pining and machine basting, unusually I resisted the urge to cut corners on these stages inspite of repeatedly stabbing myself with pins. So, one week later, minus most of my nails and with the addition of a number of cuts and scratches I present you with my Amy Butler Weekend Bag. The fabric was all from stash (Abakhan bargain stuff), so that makes it another free project, right?

I am thrilled with the completed bag and thankfully I get to use it very soon, but more about that later in the week. There are lots of imperfections on close inspection but it is pretty sturdy and should withstand actual use, I do wish I had used a plain fabric for cording but then it wouldn't have been free of course... I may make another one of these in the future, when my hands have recovered.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Knitting on the up

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to announce that the end is now in sight for the Denim thing. I am now working on the button band (one down already) and then it is just the collar, plus a scary amount of seaming, of course. I so did not think of enough excuses not to knit this, the button band is knitted separately and has to be slipstitched in place!! Why, oh why???

Anyway, during the week that I ran out of denim yarn I did manage to knit on something else (well I couldn't not knit, could I?), so I resurrected Electra which I began a year ago and knitted approximately half of the ribbing and then abandoned it, I can't think why I abandoned it really, it has practically knitted itself since taking it up again, making it a very satisfying antidote to the Denim. What's more, this is practically a free knit as all the yarn came from stash (and everyone knows that cost of stash yarn sort of vanishes after it has been stashed for a reasonable length of time). Free knitting equals double satisfaction and means I can now reasonably indulge in purchasing some luxury yarns with no actual project in sight because I have been so very, very good.

This is one of the few garments I have completed for myself that I actually 100% love. A most unusual state of affairs. I may even make another one.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Apples and Acorns

The trees are already changing colours and evenings are developing that crisp autumnal feel. Tilly and Dylan have been helping out the squirrels and fairies by gathering acorns.

The apples are ripening. We have been eagerly awaiting these as we moved in to this house in October and the trees had been stripped. We have three trees and no idea what variety any of them are but it would seem one tree is definitely good to eat and one full of big crisp cookers, we haven't decided on the third tree yet.

This week the children started a new school. We moved out here last October and knowing how settled Dylan was with his teacher we were loath to move him but 30 miles a day adds up to time and petrol and this year with Tilly starting part-time school it would have been another 15 miles on top which clearly would not make sense. On Tuesday they started at the village school, this time just 1.5miles away, which makes life a lot easier. It is a little scary for all of us, this school is bilingual but this time through the medium of Welsh (previous school was through medium of English). I think the children will probably pick it up very quickly but it may take us a little longer.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Meet Jilly Giraffe


I feel this particular book has earned its place on the shelf now because this is the second project I have completed. I am ridiculously pleased with Jilly, her body is a lovely soft felt and the clever design means she sits beautifully and I made my very first button jointed arms, that's right, her arms swing, I'm so pleased with myself. I used wool stuffing which works nicely but next time I might add something to weight her bottom a little. This has been a great learning project and has turned out much better than I thought, Jilly has now flown off to Belfast, she is a birthday present and I do hope she will be happily received.

I didn't post the details of this book when it arrived because I was a little ashamed of my sudden excess of Japanese Craft Books. This is the first toy one I have bought though and I am surprised to find I am really enjoying making the toys, the patterns are simple, inspiring and easy to customise. The toys make such lovely gifts and the book has really helped me get to grips with construction so hopefully I will be able to realise some of my own ideas.

ISBN 405604179-2
Thanks for the great sweater suggestions, Carol's suggestion had me googling (I guess that probably isn't a verb) Vintage Style and now I really need that book, thanks Carol (I think...). It would seem my book collection is also seriously missing Last Minute Knitted Gifts.