Friday, 7 October 2011

Quilts and Angels!

The patchwork quilt I was making for Poppy is now finished. The colour scheme is basically a mix of pinks and a bit of red in 100% cotton. There is a mix of traditional floral patterns with some more contemporary styles to give it a more up to date look ( I hope! ) I have bordered the quilt with a very pretty up to date polka dot quilting material, the dots of different shades of pink. The lining is a pretty pink sateen and the filling is a lightweight wadding. This should grace any girls bed!

Thinking of Christmas already I have found a nice pattern to knit an advent calender ( which I have nearly finished, lots of fiddly bits to do yet! ) and to go with it are a couple of Angels. I have made the Angel  which is in double knit, most of it plucked out of my wool store apart from the flesh coloured wool which I didn't have. I just need to finish it off with a twisted cord band to go round the head with some largish star sequins to be attached to it and star sequins to be added to the neck line of the dress. The sequins should make it look lovely and twinkly. I am really pleased with it as I have never made a doll before. As soon as I have finished the calender I will put it on my blog!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Goodbye Summer Hello Autumn

I have been so busy this Summer I just haven't had the time to write my blog. I had a lovely time with Joni and Poppy in August, we did loads of things including a trip to Pleasurewood Hills, I am afraid I was too much of a scaredy cat to go on many of the rides! That day the weather was pretty decent, compared with the rest of that week!

And of course August was the month of the BIG birthday and I was treated to lots of lovely treats and a surprise trip to Lille 1st class on the Eurostar and 2 nights in a lovely hotel, all courtesy of my lovely husband! September was our planned trip to Jersey for my 60th, 4 nights in a luxury Spa hotel, it was fab! I had a whole day being pampered with massages etc, the full works! Well that's enough  about that milestone birthday!
In the meantime I have been beavering away knitting and sewing and trying to keep up with the allotment. And here are are a few things that I been busy with over the last couple of months.

Finally I finished the patchwork throw, made in 100% cotton inspired by '30's fabrics and lined with pastel lemon fleece fabric, all hand stitched apart from the border!
And this I made for the winter! The yarn is an extra chunky,chunky which knitted up very quickly but was really heavy to knit with. This should keep me warm this winter!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

freshly picked mushrooms for breakfast

I absolutely love fried mushrooms and two weeks ago in the field behind us in Suffolk,  mushrooms were popping up all over the place. Field mushrooms are the only ones  that I can positively recognise as being safe to eat, white on top and pink or brown underneath.As the weather had been mild and damp the mushrooms were flourishing and positively demanding that we should pick them, which we did!
We just peeled the tops and cut off the stalks and popped them into a frying pan with a little olive oil for a few minutes and then topped some hot buttered toast with them....delish

Thursday, 4 August 2011

and others from the must finish pile finished (continued from previous post)

A pair of leg warmers each for Joni and Poppy to go with the Ice skating outfits I made for them. I love the fairisle effect you get with this wool.
Knitted in Sirdar snuggly DK, a cute T bag hat for a toddler.
and a pretty helmet for a baby,again knitted in Sirdar snuggly, they have some lovely colours in this range.

Finally getting to grips with the must finish pile!

I love knitting and sewing and I have all these bright ideas (that never come to fruition) , so I am always getting distracted right when I am in the middle of something else. So generally what happens is that I have loads of things that just need a little to do to them to finish. I must admit I find making up knitted items quite tedious but I do enjoy the end result ( well when I get there). Yesterday and today I resolved to get cracking and finish the lot! Well I almost got there but there was too much left to do the granny quilt and no time to get on with the notice board which has only just got started! Here are the finished articles:
these sweet little bootees are made from a vintage patten and are made in oddments of 4ply.
a lovely cable cushion made in a soft grey Rowan All Seasons cotton yarn in DK
Can't wait to wear my waistcoat made in Sirdar sublime cotton yarn!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Look what I made!

I am so pleased with two wine bags I  made out of ticking and calico to hold some very nice red wine I had bought as a gift. It is so hard to buy for this person and I almost thought it was a cop out buying wine although it is good wine and of course I know they like red wine. Then I had a light bulb moment, if I could personalise it by making some special wrapping it would be perfect.
I used red and white ticking with calico for the top of one and the other was an American ticking in brown and red with the red and white ticking on the top.

hooray finished the curtains against all odds

Just before I went on holiday I had started so many projects I didn't know whether I was coming or going!. I wanted to finish the curtains I was making for the holiday home which I did,

but of course in the middle of making these, I decided to remove the wallpaper in the front room and paint the picture and dado rails an off white colour ( they were a dark brown varnish). I got several samples of wallpaper from Laura Ashley and finally decided on on a bold pattern in a soft yellow, ivory and taupe. I wasn't able to finish the wallpapering before we went on holiday, it was harder than I thought and also took a lot longer. In the meantime I completed several bits of knitting, the knitting is good because it can be done at night watching the television, unless I am watching something dramatic and then goodness knows what happens to my poor knitting! Otherwise it is quite therapeutic.

now the hard bits!


Monday, 18 July 2011

Memories of somewhere sunny and warm ( unlike the UK at the moment)

Two weeks ago we had a lovely break in Barcelona. We have been quite a few times but  never tire of it,  each time we go we discover more about the city. Casa Batll√≥  designed by Gaudi, a Spanish Catalan architect, is  beautiful and very unusual, it's almost like it is out of a fairy tale. It is just as beautiful inside but is is difficult to take a photo that does it justice.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

I was wrong!

I did not think my next project was going to be curtains as you can see from my previous posting! However a pair of stripy nautical curtains it is.

These are for our sometime weekend retreat in lovely Suffolk.We are fed up with being woken up at the crack of dawn with sunlight streaming through at the weekend, don' t get me wrong, I love the sunlight but not at 5.30am so we popped off to a fabric shop in Felixstowe ( I also took the opportunity to have a look in a couple of charity shops!) . I chose this ticking material because I really like utility fabrics and  it looked like it should be in a home beside the sea! I am going to line them with blackout lining which should  do the trick....lay ins at the weekend...hooray...

What a  weekend it was dodging the  heavy showers, particularly on Saturday, however we were not to be put off and we went to the Owl sanctuary at Stonham Barns near Stowmarket. It was  interesting to see the different owls and eagles they have there, but I would have liked to know more about their rescue work with the owls, still, a very worthwhile charity.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

mmmm...blackcurrants from the allotment

I remember, when I was a teenager living in North Bedfordshire, my friend Frances and I went blackcurrant picking. What I remember most, was how back breaking picking blackcurrants was, for very little pay! It was brought to mind when I was picking my very own blackcurrants on the allotment. I managed to pick 1.2kg from my one bush and there is at least another 2kg to pick once they ripen. The next step was to convert them into gorgeous blackcurrant jam, which I did with the following recipe:
 Simmer 900g  of blackcurrants in 570ml of water for about 30mins until tender. Add 1.23g of warmed sugar.
dissolve the sugar over a low heat and then boil rapidly for about 10 mins.
Test for setting by spooning a little jam onto a cold plate (place 2 or 3 small plates in the freezer compartment beforehand) let it cool and  when pushed with your finger it crinkles, it is set. If not just boil again for a few minutes and try again. Leave to cool for 15 mins then ladle into warmed sterilised jars.
Voila, home made bread and jam....mmmmmm delish!

My next project, (once I have finished knitting some gorgeous socks in really pretty wool which is designed to knit up looking like Fair Isle, and it does,) is going to be made in the following fabrics:
but I am not saying what the project is, not yet, watch this page!

Friday, 3 June 2011

where have I been....

actually no where but I have been so busy I haven't had time to blog! What have I been doing I hear you ask. Well, when I wasn't on the allotment tending the vegetables and weeding, I finished making Joni and Poppie's ice skating costumes and they looked fabulous. The girls looked really lovely with them on.
I finished making Andy this pullover in a really nice organic cotton yarn in a colour called runner bean!
I have a stash of lovely fabrics and made some pretty bags from it, filled them with dried lavender and tied them  with ribbon and lace. I love these and they smell divine, perfect to put in drawers or fabric / wool stashes!
I have also just finished knitting a cable cushion that I had made the front ages ago and hadn't got round to finishing, I just need to sew it up and then plonk it on one of my sofa's. I am also in the process of making myself a waistcoat in a colour called bone in organic cotton. Just needs stitches picking up round the armholes  and voila!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

dancing on ice......

I was a bit of a tremble when Ricky asked me to make ice skating costumes for Joni and Poppy,two of my  lovely granddaughters. I felt his confidence in my sewing skills might be misplaced! However,armed with my new sewing machine with lots of things on it which I had no idea how to use, I said yes but with lots of...... ooh I have never sewn stretchy material or lurex or they might turn out rubbish. The girls chose the very pretty fabrics, a lovely pink and silver lurex with a very striking contrasting pink stretch material together with an attractive costume pattern.They arrived in the post and I got very excited when I saw the pattern and lovely fabrics. Well chosen girls! I need not have worried! The pattern was easy to follow, I used the correct needle for the fabric (I only broke one) and I learnt to make better use of my sewing machine. I must admit I did struggled with attaching the skirt to the upper and lower parts of the leotard (they are made in two separate pieces, the bodice and the knickers) but got there in the end! Voila
I will start on Poppy's this week and hope to have posted them by Friday. Joni and Poppy will look lovely as they are both very pretty strawberry blonde girls and they so suit pink.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Felting in Needham Market

Had a very pleasant Saturday afternoon attending a felting workshop at Halfpenny Home in Needham Market. Felting is  basically transforming wool into felt using hot water and soap and lots of squeezing and plenty of manipulation.
We set out to make a tea pot stand although my finished piece could probably stand several tea pots on it! It was good fun.
The colours of the wool were gorgeous and we were spoilt for choice.This was my first piece before hot soapy water was added. From this and two other different coloured pieces, would be cut flowers to put on the background felting.
This was the background piece prior to sprinkling hot soapy water and lots of manipulation. Patterns cut from the other pieces were added to this to make the final mat, but guess who forgot to photograph the finished product!! As soon as I get back to Suffolk I will take a photo of what should have been a tea pot stand but could be better described as a tray mat!!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

I love blue and white ticking

 I spend so much time in the conservatory. I do a lot of sewing and knitting in there and it is quite like having the garden as a room!  I needed some really comfy cushions, as the Ikea Swedish style sofa which I bought for our Gite in France and transferred to the conservatory when we moved back to the UK (waste not want not!) wasn't as comfortable as I would like. So I raided my fabric stash and made a comfy cushion in this great cotton blue and white ticking.
It is 50cm square and I have made it in an envelope style and the cushion pad is duck feather and down, comfy or what! Just to need to buy some more ticking and make some more!
The blossom on my trees is absolutely fabulous I couldn't resist taking a photo.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

it's lambing time

It's a lovely time of the year( especially with the weather being unseasonably warm and sunny), with new life bursting out everywhere,  talking of which, we went to Jimmy's farm in Wherstead, Suffolk, which I thought was great and a super place to take the family, we were able to see some recently born lambs and also some ducklings and chicks. Lots of oohs and aaahs (and that was just me!) and you know what, I am so pleased that Andy and I are vegetarians because I know that they will never appear as dinner on our plates!

I have just finished making up this retro tea cosy and the contrasting colours of yellow and  black look really great together. I must admit I don't like knitting this type of tea cosy much, because  for something so small it is fiddly and time consuming, but it does look good and is a lovely soft, thick tea cosy. Keep anybody's tea warm!

And another aran cable cushion has been finished...

Friday, 1 April 2011

I have been so busy...

....making cushions.. I am worn out! No, not really! Here is a contemporary cushion I made yesterday. I don't normally do contemporary, in fact I couldn't even spell the word properly without the spell check! The fabric just caught my eye and I thought the pattern was striking and I liked the way the colours and the pattern all worked together.The background is beige and the leaves are cream and grey, and of course the flower heads are in black.  It has a reverse fastening with some unusual buttons I found in my button bag (which is huge) and voila, another cushion made!

...and another cushion!

but what a pretty cushion! I just love this fabric, it is little hearts outlined in white on a baby blue background. It is a quilting fabric and 100% cotton, I bought it originally to complement some baby fabric I was using to make a couple of gorgeous nursery bags for my niece's new baby, Jacob, and also used it for a pompadour bag I made as a gift for my sister. As the material was so nice to work with it was a pleasure making it, and  was a welcome change from knitting, having just finished two cable cushions and currently knitting a yellow and black retro tea cosy ( the colours are really striking together) and it is quite fiddly as it is two colours and each colour is pulled across the back making it tighter than normal knitting, still it shouldn't take as long as the cushions!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

My latest addition

I knitted this in an aran cotton yarn. This is the second one I have made, the first one was for home! It knitted up much bigger than my previous cushions,so I had to downsize the needles quite dramatically and it took a lot more wool than it should have done, but for all that it is a luxurious cushion and would grace anyone's home! The colour reproduction is not very good in the photo, it is not a pale blue but a darker,duskier blue.