Friday, 29 August 2014

Back to my crochet; it must be the end of Summer.

I have a crochet finish, a new crochet project and some progress on my English Country Garden appliqué BOM to report this week. Amazing really, as my parents visited for the week and we tried to get out most days.

Firstly, by appliqué fuchsia block for Kerry's BOM at Pennydog Patchwork

I decided to do this block by hand and I have all but finished it. The background was meant to be improv but I just used up my scraps. Is that more or less the same thing? Anyway I added in a bit of floral background too. The various blocks were taken in different lighting situations but I swear that they are all with the same background fabrics.
The stems and leaves are turned edge appliqué and the flowers are fusible appliqué. I will be finishing the flowers with some blanket stitch in embroidery silk and also embroidering the veins on the leaves. I was a bit behind as I ran out of fusible web and had to make a trip to our local patchwork shop in Llantrisant; The Patchwork House. The lovely owner Sue is really building up a great selection of fabrics as well as running workshops.

I'm really pleased with how the blocks are looking together.

I finished the fuchsia flowers with blanket stitch. I had planned to sew the veins on the leaves but after I did one I decided it looked a bit ugly. I'll be doing some fmq on the leaves at the end.

Next my crochet bag which I have been making to keep my knitting/crochet projects in. It has been very nearly finished for weeks and I just had to sew the handles and buttons on.

The pattern is "Jolly Chunky Bag" designed by Lucy at Attic24
I'm sure there can be very few people who have not heard of this fabulous blog and resource. Lucy has so many followers for a very good reason. She has a fantastic eye for colour, a way with words and is a really nice person in the flesh too. I blogged about the materials for the bag here

I'm using the bag to store my latest crochet project, "Coast Ripple Blanket" which is also by Lucy. I'm using the same yarn colours that Lucy used too.  I love the idea of sea and skies. Wool Warehouse has put the Coast collection of 15 DK Stylecraft yarn colours together as a pack with the free pattern but the pattern is also free on Lucy's blog is you want to use different colours. Lucy has a full tutorial which I found very useful. The following photo is from Lucy's blog. I think it's beautiful.

So far I've managed 3 different colour wavy stripes. I am finding the pattern easy to do in the evening watching TV now I have mastered the ripple pattern.

I have only managed to do one more block of my Summer Breeze quilt due to the visitors but I hope to crack on with that on Monday.

Next week I'm off to Lampeter to search for fabrics for two new projects. One is for a workshop (a bag for my cutting board) and I need ideas for "Green Tea and Sweet Beans".

Challenging or what? More on that next week.

I'm linking up with Whoop Whoop and Building Blocks Tuesday

and on Sunday with
Have a great weekend,


Sunday, 17 August 2014

Needing advice about thread, HELP!

It seems ages since I wrote my last post so apologies to everyone. Life just gets in the way sometimes.

Mike and I took two of my grandchildren, Sam and Lexie to stay in a family holiday home in Walberswick on the Suffolk coast. We were blessed with fabulous weather and spent most of the time just pootling about, looking for crabs in the river, visiting the pier and lighthouse in Southwold and walking on the beach.

Once home I spent a couple of days washing clothes and getting straight but last week decided to get my machine out again and do some more work on my Summer Breeze quilt.

I had run out of the thread I started piecing with so had to rummage around and found a variety of neutral threads in various makes. Gutermann, Mettler, Aurifil and Cotty. The Gutermann and Mettler were fairly dark and slightly greenish and I worried that this might show through the Kona Snow background fabric. The Aurifil was an off white in 40 weight. I threaded up my machine using a new 90/14 needle and with a bobbin that was already wound but looked as if it was the same thread.

I struggled with the thread snapping or slipping out of the needle every time I machine cut the thread for at least 30 minutes. I rethreaded the machine a dozen times before I gave up in disgust.
What am I doing wrong? Is it the wrong size needle or does my machine just not like the make of thread? It was finer than my usual Gutermann.

In the end I decided to cut my losses and used the Cotty which I bought from Cottonpatch in Birmingham. Guess what? no problems at all with snapping or unthreading.

I finished cutting and trimming all the pieces for the Summer Breeze blocks, no small feat for a Queen size quilt, and have finally managed to piece one of the sixteen giant blocks.

This block looks deceptively simple but I struggled matching a few of the points. In the grand scheme of things I think it will do and hopefully the rest will come together a bit quicker.

Other news…….

I went with Gina (blog- The Occasional Quilter) to an small exhibition of quilts by Katharine Guerrier at the Rhondda Valley Heritage Park. The exhibition is free to enter and runs until September 19th. Katharine's style is to put a contemporary twist on traditional blocks and is full of colour.

Gina blogged about the exhibition fully and with lots of photos here It was a really interesting morning discussing techniques, likes and dislikes with another more experienced quilter.

Lastly I attended a talk and lunch with the Gloucestershire Womens Institute near Stroud. One of my oldest friends, Margaret, had invited me as she knew I would enjoy the lecture about the textile collection held by the W.I. at Denman College. There were beautiful examples of smocking, Dorset buttons, embroidery and so much more. A few photos follow….

I hope this post has not been to photo heavy but I had to include the closeups of the embroidery.

If anyone can help me with thread choices for piecing please help!

Have a good week.