Saturday, 17 August 2013

Happy Scrappy!

Hello there!
The weeks are rolling by &, although the skies are mainly blue out there today, it feels like summer is starting to give way to autumn. The days are definitely shorter & there is a chill in the evening air that wasn't there just a few short weeks ago. We have had an amazing summer here in the Highlands this year! After a long dismal winter & spring we were blessed with weeks of sunshine & heat - several times it reached the amazing heights of 30C (86F) outside my back door! The unusual weather has done strange things to my garden, some plants have thrived as never before whereas some have hated it, the weeds seem to have been in that first category of course ;-)
Today I am going to try & catch you up on some of the sewing projects that have been under my machine in recent months. Firstly a project that gave me chance to try out a new (to me) technique & provided my knitting needles with a permanent home :-) A while back I came across this excellent tutorial for making a postage stamp quilt but after the Big Fabric Stash Sort Out of February & March I realised I didn't have nearly as much cotton quilting weight fabric as I had thought I had! Definitely not enough for a whole big quilt, but probably enough for a knitting needle roll. I followed the tutorial pretty much to the letter, cutting strips of fabric measuring 2" by 7", sewing four strips together, then cross cutting it into 2" strips...

Then I spent an inordinately long time arranging these strips into blocks like this....
Making something "random" is harder than giving in to a pattern! Something in our brains just seems to want to impose some kind of order, but in the end I had fourteen totally different random blocks and, along with one embroidered square, I joined them into one big rectangle 3 blocks by 5... 
I sewed some batting/wadding offcuts together until I had a large enough rectangle & pinned it under the blocks. I quilted it by hand over the course of several evenings using a Big Stitch style & cream embroidery floss (each stitch is just under 1/4" in length which makes four down each  side of the 2" squares). I quilted around each block of sixteen wee squares & then around each four patch at the center of the block...
OK, top done, time to sort out the innards....
I cut a big rectangle the same size as the quilted top from some heavier weight cotton fabric (the kind you use for thick curtains or upholstery). I laid out all my knitting needles & measured how wide I wanted to make each channel all the way across. I cut a smaller rectangle from some beige linen, hemmed one long edge & sewed a pretty ribbon just down from the top, and then pinned it to the big rectangle. Using pins & masking tape I marked out the channels for my knitting needles...
Are you wondering about the hair grip? It's my new best friend for jobs like this - it keeps all the excess fabric out of the way while I run the bit I'm working on under the sewing machine ;-)
Now, unlike the crochet hook roll, I wanted two rows of channels to house needles & the like so I cut a smaller rectangle of a cream & brown print fabric to make a second, shorter pouch for all my shorter needles and smaller knitting notions. I hemmed it & edged it with ribbon in the same way as with the beige rectangle. Before sewing any channels I measured everything I wanted to include & worked out where the lines would match up on the print fabric and the beige fabric. I started by sewing the lines on the beige rectangle that only occurred on that rectangle & then laid the smaller rectangle in place on top. Then I sewed the lines that were common to both rectangles...
I found sewing along the edge of the masking tape made it a lot easier to keep the line straight than trying to sew it by eye as I had when making the crochet hook roll! One other thing I had learnt from the crochet hook roll was that I wanted a flap to go over the top of the needles - so they don't all fall straight out on the floor when your offspring pick the closed roll up & turn it upside down! ;-) I used the same beige linen fabric for the flap as for the bigger pouch & edged it with bias binding before sewing it in place...
So now the innards were ready, it was just a matter of attaching them to the outer quilted layer. This bit was basically the same process as finishing off a quilt. I laid the innards face down on my mat & laid the quilted top on top of it facing me. I pinned the layers together with my curvy safety pins & sewed some bias binding around the edge of the quilted top in the same way as you would for a quilt...
...then I turned the binding over & sewed it by hand to the other side. I picked four wooden hand painted buttons from my stash & some pretty gingham ribbon to make ties for closing the roll and voila! one finished knitting needle roll!...




I was really happy with the way this turned out, not least because the only thing I bought especially for this was the bias binding! Everything else was put together with a little bit of this & a little bit of that.  All the little squares of fabric are leftovers from past projects, probably a third of them from my childhood. A few weeks after I finished this my mom & I sat picking out the fabrics "oh I had a sundress made out of that" "do you remember the blouse I wore made from that?" and "I still use the apron made with that!" There are squares from dressmaking projects from my school days, some from my wedding dress & projects when Hubbie & I were making our first home together, & a few from more recent projects like my cross stitch  project bag.
Well that's the first of my catchup posts, I think I had better save the other projects for another post as this has already gotten pretty long! Thank you for stopping by today, I hope you have a lovely weekend whatever you are up to :-)    



Saturday, 3 August 2013

We have a winner!

Hello hello!
Just popping in with a quick post to announce the winner of my Christmas in July giveaway - congratulations to..... Rhona! Thank you to everyone who entered, I plan on having another giveaway when I reach 50 followers or for my second blogiversary (whichever comes first!).
Despite the rather hectic nature of these summer days I have been fitting in some crafting, here are a couple of photos of my knitting progress...
One finished back...
...and two finished fronts!
Last night I also finished the first sleeve so I am getting there with this :-) I am still enjoying the process but do find it easier to complete the fair isle sections when I'm not trying to follow a complicated plot line on a TV program! The other thing I am remembering is how curly knitting is at the edges compared to crochet - I'm sure there is a technical reason why this is but I don't know what it is!
I have also been making blocks for a quilt for my son (the one who is leaving for uni soon & thereby leaving me a whole room for sewing!). Once again I am learning new techniques for this quilt, (why stick with doing something you are comfortable with right?!) & I hope to have some photos of some finished blocks to share with you soon.
In the meantime thank you for dropping by today, I hope you have a lovely weekend whatever you are up to!