Category Archives: Quilting

More making…

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More making…

Last time, I showed you a simple quilt of squares that was made for display at work. This week I made another quilt with a panel, not surprisingly called Red Truck and Sunflowers. I kept it simple and just free-motion quilted around the sunflowers.

I learned a valuable lesson with this. After I sewed on the binding I decided to trim the seam allowance so that the binding would wrap more neatly around the edge. I made a rookie error – I trimmed all the way to the corners which meant my mitered corners were wrecked. I had to do some wrangling to get them to look okay, bearing in mind it was going to be hung up at work.

Fast forward to my next two-day break from work and I spent some happy hours in my sewing room again.

Easter fabrics are highlighted in the store’s flyer this month so I picked some cute ones and a green flowery contrast and constructed a large bag/basket. The squares are 4 inches finished and the green strips are an inch wide so you can tell how large it is.

I used a lofty polyester batting inside but didn’t do any quilting on it. The lining is more of the green.

I was fortunate to receive some yarn from a co-worker who is decluttering to get ready for moving house. There were a few different yarns but the ones I’m most excited about are the Berroco Modern Cotton in six colours. Some were handwound into balls so I wound them into cakes with my yarn winder so they could relax.

And lastly for today, here’s what I did to my grey Sporto sweater from a few months back. The ribbing at the end of the sleeves was only an inch and I was finding the sleeves too short. As it’s a top-down sweater, it was easy to unpick the bind-off and rip out the ribbing and replace it with a longer cuff with thumb hole.

I haven’t made much progress on the three garments but hopefully next time I’ll have something worth showing on at least one of them.

Knittin’ the knits

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Knittin’ the knits

I present to you my WIPs or, if you prefer, PIPs or MIPs (works/projects/makes in progress).

The green Sporto sweater hasn’t changed much this week because I’ve been focusing on the grey/neon cardigan.

Said cardigan is machine-knitted on my somewhat old Bond. I used keyplate 3 to give me a nice gauge with the Craft Smart acrylic from Michaels.

Making a gauge swatch is awesome on this machine because it literally takes 5 minutes. Once that was done, I drew up a schematic so that I could figure out stitches and rows. The back, fronts and pockets were easiest as there was no shaping. The sleeves were a little slower as I had to decrease every 4 rows to the cuff and on the second sleeve I forgot to change colour halfway down and so there was much cursing as I took the work off the machine, frogged some, and rehung it at row 50 to start the neon.

It only took 4 hours over a couple of days to make all the pieces. It probably took the same again to add the handknitted ribbing, bindoffs, and seams.

It’s at the point now where I can try it on. I would have preferred it to be a bit bigger widthways but I’m not redoing it. Next, I’ll add the handknitted ribbed bands around the front and weave in the ends. And sew on the pockets, which I don’t even want to attempt while there is still so much curl in those front sections. The dropped shoulders look a little bulgy when wearing, but I’m hoping that a trip through the washer and dryer will smooth and relax things.

As for the crocheted Elevation cardigan, I have now received the two extra skeins of I Love This Yarn from Hobby Lobby in Burnt Pumpkin.

Tonight I’m frogging the sleeves so that I can remake them with the new yarn because I just wasn’t loving the look with the lighter orange for the sleeves. I’ll get an up to date photo of that another time.

One last thing…a camping themed quilt for display at work. Quick and simple, just to show off the fabric. It’s small, 24 x 36 inches. The first of many I’d like to make.

Have a good weekend!

The makeaholic makes again

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The makeaholic makes again

Did you see my new byline? I’d be interested to know how many people actually view my blog on a desktop computer and see the pretty WordPress template I use.

I edited the “Just me, waffling on…etc” to “The adventures of a makeaholic”! Credit should go to my boss for the term.

So, what have I got for you this weekend? I’ll try to keep the chat to a minimum.

Legwarmers knitted with Cygnet Chunky and Knit Picks Brava worsted. Same yarn and colours as the batwing sweater. Finished ages ago, forgot to post about them.

Second bucket hat. Sweet Red Poppy, free pattern. Made it smaller, fits perfectly, matches my bag.

Oral hygiene kit. Two layers of cotton, bonded back to back with Heat ‘n Bond. Clear vinyl pockets for all my teeth-cleaning needs. Perfect!

Tiny teapot with removable lid from the book 100 Micro Crochet Motifs by Steffi Glaves. I made it in medium weight yarn just for fun and it finished at 2″ tall. Designer’s was made in sewing thread and was probably a quarter of the size!

And finally, a wallhanging made from a quilt panel. I backed it with batting and cotton, added ladybugs to tie the layers together, hung some small dollar store tools from the bottom with buttons and jute (I bought the tools last year for my gnomes) and added a Garden sign and birdhouse that I found at the dollar store today.

I paid for the fabrics, but I’ll put it on display at work for a while then bring it home to hang it here. It will complement the strawberry summer display I have going on at the front of the store.

If you read my last post, the bag tutorial, you’ll know about the bag FO, so no need to post another photo of that.

Plans in the works: crocheted strawberries, superduper new masks especially for air travel next month, and possibly more bags. And travel plans always go hand-in-hand with crochet/knitting plans because one just cannot waste all that waiting and sitting time doing nothing with one’s hands, right?!

A mini yarn review, and other fun stuff

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A mini yarn review, and other fun stuff

Hello and welcome to my sofa full of blankets. Actually the granny-in-progress is dominating the space right now. I have five more rounds to do until I audition it on my queen size futon. Each round is eating a lot of yarn and time so I can probably count on one round per day.

I have to say, I didn’t think I’d ever buy this Craft Smart acrylic from Michaels but it’s soft and cushy, and I prefer it to the Bernat Super Value which is more expensive and thinner, even though they are in the same weight bracket.

It isn’t my imagination. I just checked the yardage per 7oz ball and the Craft Smart is 354 yards and the Bernat is 440. I wish Michael’s had had the Craft Smart in black because I much prefer it (and it would have been $3.99 instead of $6.99).

I have cast on a sweater! The Cygnet Chunky that I bought for a sweater last year (but unravelled) is being pressed into service to make a top down seamless yoke sweater using my Ann Budd book for the numbers. The large scrappy drawstring bag that I sewed recently is perfect for holding the project and warms the cockles of my heart every time I look at it.

I need to find some bright pink and green yarns to jazz up the cuffs and neckline of this garment but for now it’s just a lot of round and around stockinette. I have worked 6 5 inches of the yoke so far.

After seeing Karen of Just Get it Done Quilts and Kate of The Last Homely House play with their quilt scraps, sewing them to adding machine paper, I was excited when my friend found some rolls for me at a thrift store. I had some time this afternoon to start making my own colourful strips. I cut my paper at 13″ because I doubt I’ll make quilt blocks that are bigger than 12.5″. Karen makes hers 18″.

It was a lovely day off today. The sun was pouring in, I did some housework, and got the tea things out in time for 11am.

Tea, coffee and gluten-free gingerbread cake, friends, laughter and sunshine. What a way to brighten the day!

And we’ve booked flights to go and visit the family in the summer. Can’t wait!

More makes from the makeaholic!

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My boss called me a makeaholic! I confess. I am. And I’m not a bit sorry.

This mandala is from a pattern by Lucy of Attic24 called Positivity Mandala. I used a rather splitty acrylic yarn from work without too much thought as to colour placement but I don’t think this could look bad however you made it. It’s pretty!

It was quick to crochet but it took me a while to find the metal ring locally. It was only a couple of dollars at a dollar store.

This is a crochet bowl in progress. At the stage above, I was crocheting a flat circle for the base. The yarn was a white cotton one that I dyed (my first dye experiment) with Procion MX dyes. At the time I thought it was so eye-searingly bright that I wouldn’t find a use for it but this bowl is perfect.

Once I decided the base was large enough I stopped increasing and kept going.

I love that one can pop the yarn (and in this case the rope that I am crocheting over) into the project in progress!

This is a gift for a coworker. The fleece toy is just made from a bear that was printed on the fabric, backed with more fleece, sewn around, cut out and stuffed.

The bag is from a tutorial by WhitneySews on YT. I like this style. It’s spacious and has both handles and a drawstring closure.

It goes with the baby quilt.

It was a very quick quilt. No piecing, just top, backing and batting. The backing was cut larger and brought to the front to act as a binding. I tied it in places with embroidery cotton.

All in all, a productive week! Oh yes, and I also sewed a quick apron from a quilt cotton panel for work. I will set up the display tomorrow and try to remember to get a photo.

March Winds

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Ta dah!

I’m calling this wall quilt March Winds because it’s March, it’s spring, these colours scream “spring” to me, and the leaves look they are blowing across the quilt.

In fact, where I live the leaves aren’t out yet and butterflies are nowhere to be seen. But this brightens up my dining room and matches my table runner and placemats.

The size is 42 by 32 inches. I built it with 8 inch blocks made up of 16 2-inch squares. The sun block was a later addition to the plan.

The zipper trees were inspired by a friend’s artwork and the leaves are fused with Heat ‘n Bond. The afterthought butterflies are glued on to maintain some dimension. I just happened to have some butterfly fabric in the stash.

I’m happy with the result, despite the imperfections, of which there are many.

Happy spring, everyone!

Leafing out

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Ah, I love a day without outside commitments. Mr Fixit was working overtime so I was able to indulge my desire for a morning of solitary book reading and tea drinking, followed by an afternoon of quilting.

This quilt top had been pieced and the zippers sewn on (for trees) and I had fused some contrast fabrics to Heat n Bond for leaves. The freehand leaf-cutting was unexciting but I had Netflix to make it more interesting.

Today I sprinkled leaves randomly and peeled off backing and ironed until I felt there were enough. I have some left in case I want to add more.

I pieced a backing out of scraps from the front and large chunks of some of the other fabrics left over from making the top. Above photo is after I pin-basted.

I started with my walking foot and did some “stitch in the ditch” quilting along the verticals, avoiding the trees. Bear in mind that I excel in slapdashery and the stitching sometimes wavered from the ditch!

After switching to the darning/free motion foot, and dropping the feed dogs, I changed the thread and added some quilting to the sun, and then started on the leaves.

By this stage the family was all home and I needed to take a break and cook beans for dinner. As I write this, the pressure cooker is going nuts because sometimes bean water clogs the valve and then you get a sudden gush of steam as the pressure releases. I’ve cleaned bean muck off the stove and it should be OK now!

It’s been a beautiful sunny day and I feel a teeny bit guilty for not having gone for a walk or anything else close to exercise. But I’ve really enjoyed my day so far, so guilt be gone!

Next update will hopefully be a finished wall quilt.

Quilting for a change!

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No yarn WIP photos this week. They are boring me, and are not progressing much. Instead, TA DA!

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I made a small quilt. I was given the choice of some Christmas panels at work and of course I chose the non-traditional one with my favourite colours in it. It comes with a range of coordinating fabrics which I love, so I kept it simple by cutting out the centre design and surrounding it with squares. I did have to trim some to make them fit. There is a thin line of pink around the centre, which is just a folded strip of fabric that’s incorporated into the seam.

I didn’t do any quilting on this, just tied the layers together using some pink yarn, and added a few snowflake buttons.

The back is two other sections of the panel plus another fabric from the same range.

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I then had two pieces of panel left, which went into a project bag along with some of the other fabrics left over from the quilt. The spotty buttons from my stash fit well with the colour scheme.

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And the second side…

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I sort of followed a video tutorial¬†though I had to change the measurements a bit as my pre-printed squares were a little narrower than the instructions said to cut, and as they were also deeper than her patchwork section I shortened the top and bottom pieces. It would look better wider, but I had to go with what I had. I added batting in between the layers, so a bit of stitching and button sewing hold it in place. I managed to fit 6 hanks of yarn in there for the photo, so it’s quite roomy.

These items will have to go on display at the store, probably right up til Christmas.

I have been creating other small items as part of the Christmas cracker swap that I’m in. I think I have everything ready to pack up now. A few small crocheted things, some beading, tea, and of course a cheesy joke. The sooner I send it the better as my swap partner is in the UK. I have taken photos but probably shouldn’t show anything yet just in case.

Happy Hump Day! Hope your week is awesome.

Crazy wonky hippie scooby log cabin quilt

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It’s done! I have never been so glad to see a quilt finished. I really hope you have a better screen than I do. The photo was taken outside on my deck last night as the light was waning, and it looked pretty clear on my iPad, but now I’m looking at it on my laptop screen it’s a bit fuzzy.

To recap a little, the piecing went swimmingly. I collected up my fabrics, decided which ones I wanted to feature in the centre of the blocks, loosely decided which ones were “lights” and which ones were “darks” and got started. I used a white broadcloth (poly cotton blend) as the foundation for the blocks and used the stitch and flip method to add pieces from the centre out, sewing through both the cotton on top and the broadcloth behind. You end up with a messy looking block that miraculously looks neat and tidy once you trim the overflowing bits to the size of the broadcloth.

The quilt grew organically. I didn’t have much of a plan, didn’t know how big I was going to make it, or how I would arrange the blocks when they were done. In the end, I stopped at 25, bought some black cotton fabric for the sashing and binding, and arranged them so that the similar ones created a diagonal line. The Pink Panther ones were my main feature, I felt, so once I’d laid them down to form the main diagonal I added the camper vans, the Scooby Doo blocks, the crazy cats etc.

Separating the wildly coloured blocks with black sashing calms it all down a bit and makes the colours pop. After I had sewn the centre part of the top together, I noticed I had been careless and not lined things up very well in places. Hence the appliques using one of the fabrics that had cool cars, camper vans and scooters on it.

The border was easy as I had just the right amount of one of the coordinating fabrics to cut strips along the lines of the print. And then it was time to sandwich and quilt. I used a thin polyester batting. I’ve always used cotton before, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money. And the backing is pieced from large chunks of the fabrics left over from the top.

All (mostly) well so far, right!

It’s been a long time since I made a quilt. I made a big swatch to practise my free motion quilting. I was rusty but I thought it would be ok. I started right in the centre of the quilt, and used the prints on the fabrics to lead my quilting. In one 1.5 hour session, I heavily quilted five of the blocks and used an entire bobbin of thread. I hated it. It was messy. SO messy. I mentally kicked myself. And then I unpicked every damn stitch. It took a couple of weeks, on and off. It wasn’t so bad where the black stitching was on a light background, but black on black just doesn’t agree with my eyes any more.

Finally, I was done and came up with a simpler quilting idea. Use the walking foot, NOT the darning foot, and quilt it with a straight line design. I worked out that a five pointed star would be ideal, as I could quilt it in an unbroken line and then stitch in the ditch around the edge of the block. I did that 25 times. It took a couple of sessions and looked much better than my original effort. Of course there was a lot of turning of the quilt which has its challenges when using a basic sewing machine with only a small area to work in. But it worked. I added a line of stitching on the outside edge of the black border strip and decided that would do.

I had JUST the right amount of black fabric left to cut strips for the binding (my math was good) but by this time my walking foot was driving me nuts. The screw holding it onto the shaft kept loosening, so it didn’t want to stay in place for long. The foot components themselves seemed to be too loose so I tightened the little screws either side of it and that caused it to shorten my stitch length and not feed the fabric layers through properly. So I had to unpick more stitches as I started to sew on the binding.

Eventually it was attached, and I decided to hand sew the binding on the back. But I didn’t make my life easier then, did I! What I SHOULD have done is trim the seam allowances a bit so that when I folded the binding over it was easy to sew it down. But my seam allowances were just a little wide and I struggled with it instead. Good grief!

So yeah, it’s finished. And the result is something I can live with, even though it’s not perfect. Let me tell you, it has not encouraged me to make another quilt any time soon.

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Two steps forward and one step back

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The backing for the wonky log cabin quilt came together quickly, as I used chunks of the fabrics left over from the top. I bought a polyester batting from work – the cheapest thinnest stuff you ever did see – and pinned the layers together.

And then I quilted some of it…and hated it…and am now unpicking the stitches from the back with a seam ripper. It was too much quilting, too messily done, and it ruined it. I had quilted five squares out of the 25, used a full bobbin of thread on it over 1.5 hours, and it will take ages to pull out. However I will be happier with it in the long run if I suck it up and just do it.

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More happily, I have an FO! A pompom beanie crocheted with a cake of Caron Chunky Cupcakes in Jelly Bean. The pattern was on the ballband but it’s also available for free on the Yarnspirations website. Details on my Ravelry project page. It’s constructed using a sideways ‘ribbed’ brim, then you join into a loop and work along the side for the body of the hat. The main part is moss stitch, which in crochet is (sc, ch1) around, working into the chain spaces on the next round. It makes a nice fabric, and alternating both ends of the yarn cake gives you a variation in colour as you go. The pompom comes attached to the yarn, which is why it coordinates so well.

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a cosy Cowboy Fog

 

I’ve been mostly staying off Facebook lately, preferring just to post an occasional photo to Instagram. I spend at most a few minutes a day on Instagram so have more time to do better things! The above photo is from one of my visits to my favourite local tea shop. This book is from the library and I’m really enjoying the read, and identifying what is cosy for me. Certainly, one of my cosiest things to do is sit in Chai Baba and drink their awesome teas and either crochet, read or talk to the friends we bump into there.

Another cosy thing I like to do is take my breakfast outside to the deck. It’s cool and quiet and I can look at the sky, enjoy my breakfast, maybe wrap myself in a blanket or quilt if I feel a little chilly, and look out for birds and squirrels in the trees.

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morning muesli

It’s my birthday tomorrow and I feel like the celebrations are happening not just for one day but for half a week! Last night I went out to dinner with friends and we had a lot of fun. We’re all Brits so have the same sense of humour. Tomorrow I am working, but there is a potluck at my house in the evening with a different set of friends who we always have a laugh with. We usually play Mexican Train Dominoes, and there is lots of digressing and wordplay and puns. And Sunday morning we are off to brunch at another vegan cafe with a couple of our sons. I am totally making the most of turning 57!

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So while I was procrastinating on the quilt unpicking, I made these tote bags with some old stash fabrics. I made 12 in all but took the photo before I made the last one. I decided that as I have to work on my birthday, I will practice Random Acts of Kindness and give a bag out now and then throughout the day to customers who need one. It will save them taking a plastic bag and hopefully it will remind them to always carry a cloth bag with them when they shop in future.

And then I spotted the stash of old jeans on the top shelf of the sewing room closet, and this came together.

It’s a fun little bag made from upcycled denim. I sewed a little flower where there was a hole at the corner of the pocket, which inspired me to make the strap out of the same fabric and also applique another patch on the back. I loved it so much that I immediately started another, but it got to 4pm and I had to start cooking dinner. I could have carried on for hours!

Have you seen this nifty gadget? It was very useful today, for sewing over bulky seams and the parts where the tote bag straps joined to the top of the bags. It basically helps the machine to handle the thick seams without skipping stitches or getting stuck. Definitely a good investment.

Well, I really must get to bed. It’s been a busy day (including a 9am Cardio Barre class and a half hour weights session tonight) and I have to be up early in the morning, Have a great weekend!