Saturday, 29 December 2012

Finished...ish







Althouh I must practice taking photos!
It's finished enough to hang up, but I want to do some more quilting on it after christmas. So far I've just quilted around each block and around the inner and outer borders. I need to do more quilting along the sashing and then round each of the coloured squares too.
The green border has worked out nicely, more by luck than judgement I might add....


and the outer border and binding is a pretty swirly red fabric...

Overall very happy with it.

Now, what to start on for next year :)

Monday, 24 December 2012

Almost done



I have now quilted round each block, and along each border line and added the binding. This was after a mad dash to the nearest wadding stockist as I suddenly realised I didn't have enough!

So first I pinned the layers together using lots of pins.


 
I mean LOTS of pins!!
 
 
I know some people like to tack instead of pin, and I know that some people like to do both and I have tried both ways but for me just pinning works well. I do use lots of them and try to pin in areas where they won't get in the way. I know they can be a pain, but I've tried tacking and found that if I'm not careful I can undo my sewing when I pull the tacking stitches out. Each to their own, I suppose.
 


 Looking at it objectively I think it needs a lot more quilting, especially in the sashing areas and at the joins between the blocks. This is because it doesn't lie as flat as it could do (all my fault, I haven't been careful enough, but quilting can hide a multitude of sins!) I do intend to do a little more hand quilting at least, and yes I know that should all be done before the binding is added but I want to hang it for christmas! I'll see how much I can get done this evening and then leave it till next year!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Two posts......

....in one day!
I've been doing a little bit of blog hopping, started by visiting Lucy in her Attic and drooling over her slightly eccentric but very wonderful wreath, than stumbled across another treasure! Go and have a look at this one, lots of lovely stuff. Too much loveliness too little time ;) Although I do like that she said, 'time you enjoyed wasting isn't wasted time'. How true is that!
And look at this too! Beautiful!

Still stitching-a-long

First I have an apology, or 2, to make!

I didn't mean to upset anyone at Homespun with my comments on the stitch-a-long project so I hope no-one took any offence. I certainly never thought of sending my comments in as I wasn't intending to imply that I knew best. I was just trying to put forward a different way of doing things not trying to 'go behind their back' in any way.
Which leads to my second apology. To Kelley! Who followed my instructions, got in a terrible mess, and ended up unpicking everything and then doing it the proper way!!

Anyway, this is how I'm getting on.
First I put together the corner squares, properly, exactly as instructed, with 2x2 1/2" rectangles stitched to 2 opposite sides of each coloured square, then 2x5 1/2"rectangles stitched to opposite sides.


Then I joined the coloured squares in strips with the remaining rectangles.

 
I didn't make any special effort to put squares in any particular order. I just put the whole lot in a pile, then picked them at random simply making sure that the next square I was going to add wasn't the same as another one too close to it. I did all the four together, sewing 'factory style' by which I mean that I sewed a square and rectangle together, then another then another then another, all without cutting the thread, then I added another square to the first pair, then the next pair then the next etc etc so I was sewing all for border strips at once, rather than completing one and then moving to the next. And yes, that is an ironing board, shh don't tell my husband, I don't think he knows I know what one is!!
 
 
Then I stitched a long strip to the top, and then to the bottom of each set of squares. I didn't bother to measure, just stitched and then trimmed the ends afterwards.
And thats the end of my photos. I have attached all the borders now, following the instructions, and everythng fitted beautifully  Phew! Now I am ready to layer up and then quilt. Then the biggest problem of all is going to be findidng somewhere to display it!  I know the finished size was given but I don't think it actually registered lol
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Vodka bucket

I always find it difficult to think of presents for the men in the family, especially as they are supposed to be more of a token gift and I like to make something.
So, after a failed effort at making a christmas vodka, which was a disaster, I had a hunt round on the internet and found Skittles vodka.
Now, when I say a token gift this actually turned out to be much more expensive than I intended, but I am pleased with it nevertheless.

I bought 2 bottles of vodka (and then ended up buying another for topping up) and 3 large bags of skittles, and sorted them out into colours. I divided the vodka between 6 empty water bottles and added the sorted skittles. Now you might have noticed the first mistake. There are actually only 5 different colours of skittles, and I would have probably been better off sticking to that, but as I had sorted out 6 vodkas I decided to get more skittles and make a different colour by mixing yellow and green.


Once the skittles had dissolved I filtered out the gunk and put the coloured vodka into nice bottles for presentation. Sounds simple, took blooming ages! I used a funnel and coffee filters but it took a while to do, and most colours needed at least 2 goes to get all the residue out, some took 4 or 5.
So, the problems...

I didn't really have enough skittles, could've probably done with a couple more bags. The orange one was almost clear so I cheated with a bit of orange squash. The green one and the green and yellow ones are different colours, but only just. The red one and the blackcurant ones are very similar in colour too. However they do taste good, and look good too :)

I put them into small wine bottles, the 'individual' ones you can buy. They had them on offer for 99p in Tesco and the wine inside wasn't bad!! It was actually cheaper to do it that way than to buy empty bottles believe it or not, honestly :)

I found the metal buckets in Homebase, put bubble wrap in the bottom and stood the bottles on top. Then I found some re-usable ice-cubes, added a couple of vintage shot glasses and a bag of skittles and wrapped it all up with some cellophane from the card shop and voila...

The quantities I bought made 3 buckets like this.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Remember this...

This cute little thing is actually a cream eyeshadow. I use it very occasionally, being gold, and sparkly I don't really have much cause to use it everyday! Anyway I fished it out from the depths of a drawer but unfortunately it's all dried up and unusable now. This got me to thinking about how old it must be. I bought them for christmas table presents for the girls in the family when everyone came round to dinner before I had Adam.  Adam is now 13, and I definitely didn't buy it the year before he was born so it must be at least 15 years old now.  No wonder it was all dried up! I wonder if anyone else still has theirs?
I might add I now no longer have this one. I had decided to throw it away and it had got as far as the kitchen table. I left it there while I was out and when I got back the dogs had got hold of it, opened it and had a lick, or two.  Obviously doesn't taste that good either :)

Shame I can only speak English!!

Would love to have a go at these.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

First set finished



 I decided what the flowers on these little bags were missing, a nice button in the centre, and a pair of leaves, courtesy of Lucy again, over in her attic. I like the idea of the matching scissor keepers, especially if, like me you are an untidy worker and scissors tend to get buried under stuff, or if, also like me, you go to classes where lots of people have the same scissors and get mixed up or lost.  Of course if the bag is intended for a non-crafty person they could instead be used for keys or something similar. Adam, 13, has decided he wants one too, (although obviously not with a flower on, or with a pretty flowery lining), so might make him one with dangly balls a la Lucy, maybe a blue one with red and white balls? Think he's going to have to join the queue!

The bag itself is very simple. 48 stitches and 48 ridges of garter stitch (so 96 actual rows) or thereabouts, pretty much knit until it is the size you want. I ended up with a square roughly measuring 10" which I then folded in half and seamed down each side. Then I cut a piece of fabric the same size PLUS half an inch all round, which again I folded in half, right sides together, and seamed down each side. By trial and error I found it best to put the zips in the top next, stitched by hand in a fairly large running stitch in the same wool as the bag was knitted in. Then I slipped the fabric lining in, turned over a hem at the top and slip-stitched it to the zip to cover the running stitches I had sewn with the wool. I'll take a few in-progress photos when I do the next one so you can see what I mean.


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Christmas has started

I know that because we have started to put up our decorations.


I did worry for a short time because I could see no sign of the beautiful redwork banner I knew I had, but then wrapped in tissue at the bottom of the last box.....
 
Isn't it lovely? I'm showing off because I know Kelley doesn't have one! She gave away all the ones she made, including this one :)
 

Thank you Kelley!

Thats about as far as I got though,  I hope to put up the trees, yes trees, and get the baubles hanging from the ceiling tomorrow. I have a stinking cold now so don't feel like doing a lot more. I usually enjoy getting the house decorated so will take my time with it rather than rush. I've just gout out of a lovely hot bath so am now going to sit with a glass of warm mulled wine, my knitting and my kindle. Maybe a bit of christmassy music...
 

Friday, 7 December 2012

Quilt centre finished

Ok, it's a poor picture I know,but the centre is finished.

Before I go any further though there are a couple of issues that I thought you ought to know about.  Firstly the very first block has to be trimmed to 10 1/4" x 10". It doesn't tell you that on the initial pattern or in the magazine but it does tell you on the final instructions pattern. Now, I copied the pattern for this block directly onto the fabric from the magazine pullout, and I found that in a couple of places my stitching overlapped where I needed to cut. So in order to not cut into my stitches and risk the whole lot coming undone I trimmed the straight edge where it needed to be with a rotary cutter and ruler up to the overlapping bits, but then trimmed around my stitches with a pair of scissors. It would have been helpful if I'd thought to take a photo of that but unfortunately I didn't. This meant that in one or 2 places the straight edge was now more notched than straight but when I started assembling the blocks these notches disappeared into the seam.

Secondly the patten instructions seem to have missed a step on unit three of the assembly. You also need to add a strip of the sashing fabric along the top of the Glory of the Lord block after stitching the strip to the right hand side of it. This enables it to fit properly to the bottom of unit two when you come to fit the quilt centre together. (OR you could add a strip to the bottom of unit two, same end result).

Can I just say though that I think the whole pattern is brilliant, and I love the idea that it has been a stitch-along, with thousands of people all working together on the same project all around the world. I also love Homespun Magazine and think thy have been incredibly generous sharing this with us for free online. I just wanted to make that clear in case anyone thought I was being unduly critical of the whole thing. That isn't the case at all, I simply wanted to point out these small errors in case anyone else was confused :)

Yay!! but...

Ok, the instructions are now 'live' but I'm not sure that they are written in the most  understandable way,  for me at least.  I found them quite intimidating, and that's as someone who has already put together similar un-symmetrical quilts/wallhangings, so for a novice it could be a complete turn-off. So, just for Kelley, and anyone else who might find it helpful, this is how I approached it.

First of all, as it says in the instructions, cut 2" strips across the width of the sashing fabric. Then ignore the next part which tells you to cut it all into different rectangles and follow me...
.




Using the diagrams given in the pattern start to piece together the blocks as directed but WITHOUT cutting the sashing into pieces first. So, first I stitched the sashing in place to the Megaphone angel block, and then to the angel orchestra block, laying the sashing on top of the blocks, right sides together, so I could see where I was sewing, and so that the wadding didn't get stuck in the needle.


Once I had stitched as many blocks as would fit to the sashing strip I carefully cut them apart, first opening out and pressing the sashing strip. (Not sure how visible that is here as the sashing appears much more similar in colour here than in real life). Once that's done, go on to the next block, making sure to follow the diagrams given in Homespun's instructions as to where each piece of sashing needs to go. Just make sure you do use each little piece of sashing that you can while still keeping each section in one piece. By that I mean you don't need to join lengths but make sure you use smaller pieces on smaller blocks, rather than using a new piece each time.


The rest of the instructions are fine (as far as I've got yet) I just found the multitude of little rectangles to cut out quite daunting to be faced with, and to keep track of, so for me this seems like a much more simple way of approaching it.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

(Im)patiently waiting..

My little pile of stitcheries is all ready and waiting for tomorrow. That's when the final piece of the Stitch-a-long pattern will be published on the Australian Homespun website so I can finish my wallhanging in time for christmas. Well, thats the plan anyway!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

These are the make-up bags/pencil cases/crochet hook cases/or whatever-you-want-to-use-them-for cases that I've been making for christmas. They are decorated with cute little crochet flower zip-pulls that I adapted from Lucy's flower tutorial over on Attic 24  They aren't quite finished, but have a load more to do so will get on with those while thinking what else these need!
I will be adding lots of photos later today of all the Christmas presents I've made. X