Sunday, 10 May 2015

Casting on

I'm giving my sewing machine a rest after a busy week and getting on with my new project, a Wildflower Cardigan. The pattern is by my favourite designer at the moment, Alana Dakos. You may remember that I made the child sized version, the Wee Wildflower,  for Vivi last September. The link is to my photos and projects page on Ravelry.

I had to think long and hard about the sport weight yarn for this cardigan as I have been a bit disappointed with the Debbie Bliss brand I used for the Gnarled Oak cardi and the Bergere de France for the Entangled Vines. Both pilled badly although the Debbie Bliss looks OK if I use one of those velcro type brushes that remove lint. I don't think I should have to do that though when the yarn is so expensive.

I needed a harder wearing yarn that was not quite as soft. I searched the forums on Ravelry and found that an American yarn called Chickadee from Quince & Co was really popular. It is only stocked at one shop in London, Loop,  and they did not have quite enough yarn in the colour I wanted so I decided to take the plunge and order it from the US. There is a good selection of subtle colours but I liked this slightly sludgy green called Bosc. There was a notable difference in the price in America and the price here but this was all due to import tax and shipping costs. In the end there was only a couple of pounds in it. Why is yarn so cheap over there? I must say that the staff at Loop took my name and called me back a couple of weeks later when they had more in stock. I would definitely order from them next time as they have a beautiful selection of yarns and seem to have great customer service too.

So, how is it knitting up? I cast on for the back and have managed about 5" so far. The yarn is slightly harder but has excellent stitch definition and no sign of going fluffy. I would love to hear your recommendations for other DK or sport weight yarns. I really would like to support British yarns more. I would like more subtle tones and better value.

The other project on my needles is Lexie's silver and gold bunny girl. The link is to a pink and cream dressed version I did a few years back. I went into Hobbycraft in Cardiff for some odds and ends and found the ideal sparkly silver yarn in the reduced bin. It is Rico Creative Reflective print. This is a 4ply silver grey with a silver metallic thread running through it. Not my usual kind of yarn but ideal for the project. I "interpreted" the gold as a strong yellow. Hopefully she will be finished for the end of the month when Lexie and Sam are coming to stay for a few days.

Finally I need advice about storing fixed circular needles. Mine are like a rat's nest of tangled spagetti in this bag. There must be a better way.

I'm linking up to Janine's Wool on Sundays on her website Rainbow Hare Quilts. The regulars to the party are a lovely bunch and there is always some new project on the go. The button on the right takes you to the current Wool on Sundays.

Next week is going to be really busy with visits to Malvern for the quilt show and to Althorp for a tour of the house with Mike. I may not get much time to post anything but I'll be taking lots of photos while I am out and about for when I do.


Thursday, 7 May 2015

Over the rainbow

I woke so early this morning that I was sitting up in bed drinking tea well before 7am. There had been some rain overnight but the sun came out and I spotted the most glorious rainbow. I grabbed my husband's phone quickly and took two photos; one through the bedroom window and the other through the study window to catch both ends of the rainbow. The photo does not do the colours justice but it was spectacular.

Such an uplifting start to the day.

My English Country Garden appliqué quilt was so near completion yesterday that I left everything in the kitchen overnight. I don't have a dedicated sewing room so use the kitchen table for my machine and the centre island for cutting fabric and assembling the blocks.  The top came together fairly quickly although the pieced cornerstones and flying geese meant there were lots of points to match along the way.

I hope you will not mind a few photos. I am really pleased with the finished top.

Mike is hiding behind the last photo!

I used fabrics from my stash for the flowers on pieced blocks using Lynette Anderson's range of fabrics called Bread and Butter. Some of the flowers are hand turned appliqué, some using fusible with machine appliqué. A few flowers are embellished with very simple embroidery mainly blanket stitch, chain stitch and a few French knots. I would love to improve my embroidery skills one day.
The border fabric is the new blender range called Bumbleberries from Lewis & Irene- they do a huge range of colours in this blender so I think it will become a favourite.

Thank you Kerry for giving up your time to design this lovely pattern. It has been a pleasure to work on it. Details of the pattern can be found by clicking the link in the side bar.

Also thank you to new visitors to my blog. I have really enjoyed your comments recently.


I'll be linking up to Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? and TGIFF tomorrow (well, it is a finished top!) and Esther Aliu's WOW (Wips on Wednesday) next week with this post. All links are in the side bar. I know how much comments mean so please take a peek at these parties if you have the time and give some encouragement if you like what you see.

Monday, 4 May 2015

My English Country Garden.

I've been a bit behind with the blocks for Kerry's fabulous English Country Garden appliqué BOM on her blog Pennydog Patchwork so I decided to get my act together yesterday to finish the 12 blocks.
The final blocks were the dahlia and clematis. I had left the dahlia for some time as the background was a set in circle. I really should have taken photos of the method but it was fully explained in the block instructions. I was so pleased when everything worked out.
I had used the blocks to practice different appliqué methods but decided to make the last 2 blocks with fusible web. This saved time. So without further ado....

I have used PicMonkey to make a collage of the 12 blocks in order to try and work out a layout.

This is not the final layout and due to different lighting conditions the colour of the background fabrics is not always true. I chose a Lewis & Irene blender fabric called Bumbleberries for the sashing from my LQS, the Patchwork House in Llantrisant. This lovely blender comes in 20 beautiful colours to coordinate with all their fabric lines.

The blocks will be divided with cornerstones in the sashing. Check out Kerry's here. Kerry has used very dark background fabrics and sashing and her cornerstones really pop.

I hope you have all enjoyed the Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK. Mike and I had a wonderful time with two of the grandchildren, Jacob and Isobel, at the Moscow State Circus in Cardiff on Saturday. The acrobats, high wire and trapeze were fantastic and the whole show was so professional.

I should get the sashing finished this week if the weather is as bad as the forecast suggests.
Have a good week anyway whatever the weather.


This week I am linking up to the fabulous Esther Aliu's WOW link party. Esther designs the most marvelous appliqué and is currently running the Oma's Blues appliqué BOM. There are always interesting projects to admire so please check it out if you have time.

I'm also linking to Kelly's Needle and Thread Thursday. The link is in the sidebar on the right.