Saturday, 22 December 2007

Ready for Christmas

What a difference a bright day makes! It's been so dark this week it's been impossible to take photos until this morning.
Our Christmas tree is up and decorated. Some of the tree ornaments belonged to my grandparents, and I can remember seeing them on their tree when I was little.

My snowmen and trees themed mantel.

The tiny tree at the extreme right was made by one of my daughters when she was younger.

I did get the pink and navy quilt finished. I thought the blue-grey borders might tone down the stronger colours a bit.
I used a Little Quilts pattern for the layout, but made my version smaller.

The pink and navy crocheted pansy is from an old Leisure Arts pattern. I glued a magnet on the back, so now I can have a flower on my fridge.

Here's where I take an end-of-year blogging break. I hope you have a very happy Christmas!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

One Finished, Another Started

Here's my finished red and blue doll quilt. I had to wait for a bright day to take the photos.
Any machine quilting is so much easier on a small size quilt.

Like these colours?
From red and blue I've moved on to pink and navy. I thought I might just have time to get one more small project finished before Christmas preparations take over. Presents to wrap, mince pies to bake!

These blocks will be 2 inches finished. They look so neat because I make them a bit bigger than I want them, then trim them down, lol!

It's been cold here this week, and actually frosty in the mornings, but it's sunny as well. Cold, calm and bright is my kind of weather.

We'll be getting our Christmas tree this weekend. Hope there's some left!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Busy, Busy

I don't seem to have had much free time lately, mainly because Ive been trying to get some Christmas shopping done. My problem is that I trail around the shops looking, but end up not buying anything, so I've spent the time but I've nothing to show for it! Add to that the usual mundane tasks around the house and the lack of light, and where's the day gone?
I have done some Christmas shopping online though, mainly books.
I've managed to get some sewing done, but it's taking me longer than usual. I've made some progress, but not much, on quilting the doll quilt from my last post.
One of the things I like about machine quilting is that it forces you to slow down and think what you're doing. I've got all the straight lines in and I'm doing hearts on the off-white squares.

Are you sick of crochet pictures? This is just a bit of fun. I like baskets as a design motif and I'm finding myself increasingly drawn to all things old-fashioned and retro looking. The pattern was in my book of crochet potholders and I just couldn't help myself:) It was very quick to make. The leaves were my own addition. I'm loving the look and texture of crochet.
I'm not sure I can bring myself to actually use it for getting things out of the oven. My utility room has red as an accent colour, so I might just hang it up in there, where I can look at it whenever I load the washing machine.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Crochet Bits and Bobs

It seems to have been a busy week this week, but I can't keep away from that cotton yarn;)
The sunflower pattern is from an old Kindred Spirits book. Remember how they used to include patterns for small crochet items in their books? I've been digging them all out.

This is from another Kindred Spirits pattern. It's basically two straightforward rectangles crocheted together. I can think of several colour schemes that would be nice for this pattern. It measures about 3 1/2 x 6 inches including the button fringe, but I think it could also work well on a larger scale.
Of course one of the best things about making this was choosing the buttons:)

Now, can you believe this? Recently on television I saw a scene with a couple sitting together on a sofa. The woman was working on a partly-made crocheted blanket - with KNITTING NEEDLES! What a glaring mistake!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Crocheted and Patched

I haven't posted about crochet for a while, but I'm still doing it.
I've never really seen myself as a doily person though. In fact, doilies always seemed a bit "little old lady" to me, but since I took up crocheting I've realised there are lots of patterns out there that have potential. And well, they are something to crochet!

This one is done in 4-ply cotton, which I think is similar in thickness to size 10 crochet thread, but feels nice and soft. It's thick enough to work with comfortably - not too fine.
The pattern is from a book I found on ebay. I think ebay can be a really useful resource for out-of-print patterns of all kinds. There's a lot of rubbish out there, but there is some good stuff as well.

Since I made those dolls a couple of weeks ago I've been on planet red and blue. I've just finished this doll-sized quilt top which measures about 20 x 25 inches.
It's a Little Quilts pattern from Bunnies by the Bay Meets Little Quilts, not a new book but a nice one. There are several patterns for small quilts in the book, plus other small projects. (The Garden Fence quilt with yo-yos I made last May was from the same book.)
This was fun to put together, because I pulled out lots of old prints from my stash, some of them going back years, together with some much newer ones. I like mixing a wide variety of fabrics. I'm looking forward to machine quilting it now!

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

25 Years

It was our 25th wedding anniversary last week.
Where did the time go? It's hard to realise that a quarter of a century has gone by since that day in 1982.
The photo is the small quilt I made to mark the occasion.

We had a very nice few days away visiting Bath, Salisbury and Bristol. We were very lucky with the weather, and did lots of walking and took plenty of photos.
There's a lot of wrought and cast iron in Bath.

I hope whoever lives here didn't mind me taking a picture.

A Victorian post box. Can you see "VR" on the front?

The famous Royal Crescent in Bath.

Mr. Knot Garden is interested in the work of Brunel, so when we were in Bristol we walked out to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, to walk across it and take some photos.

It was nice to get away and have a change of scene.

The icing on the cake was calling at the Autumn Quilt Festival at Malvern on the way home, where I took the opportunity to add to my stash.

Now I'm catching up on reading all the blog posts I missed while I was away!

"What's the earth with all its art, verse, music, worth - compared with love, found, gained, and kept?"
- Robert Browning

Saturday, 27 October 2007

A Rag Doll in a Barbie World

When my children were younger I made a lot of stuffed dolls and animals. They always had something in that line every Christmas and birthday, plus tiny home-made things in their Christmas stockings. Now they're grown up, they aren't really interested in dolls or stuffed animals any more, but I still like to make them. These two are made from a 1997 pattern by Jennie 'n' Co which I found on ebay.
They're less primitive than is popular now, but I really enjoyed making them. Making dolls, you can just potter along at your own pace from one stage to the next, and before you know it they're taking shape before your eyes. They take up small amounts of fabric and you can vary them in so many ways. When the hair and face are done, they suddenly have character.
On this pattern the arm and leg seams are deliberately left on the outside, in case you were wondering! If I was making these dolls again I might make her dress an inch longer.
Now I just have to find somewhere to put them. Maybe I need more shelf space.

Darlene of Quilting Daze asked me to show a picture of this yo-yo mat, so here it is. It could partly be seen in the photo in my post of 29th September.
I made this when I wanted a small-scale mat for my mantelpiece, to put a vase on. It's about 7 inches square. The idea was to have faded-looking colours in the centre, with stronger colour around the edge. Sweet and simple, and useful too.

We're going away next week for a few days' holiday, so I'll catch up with any emails when I get back:)

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Garden Path

It's a lovely bright autumn day here today, and I wanted to share with you one of my favourite views of our garden.
This is looking down the side of the garden from one corner of the house. The leaves are changing colour and starting to fall now. The gravel path continues all the way round.
Don't be fooled by how quiet it looks in this photo - we live on a busy main road and the trees help screen the garden from the road. You would never guess from this angle.

Wendy tagged me for the 4 Things About Meme.

4 jobs I've had
Strawberry picker (aged 17, in school holidays)
Bank clerk
Bank cashier
Wife and mother

4 films I could watch over and over
I'm not a big watcher of films, but I thought of 4 old films:
All That Heaven Allows
The Lawless Breed
The Enchanted Cottage

4 TV shows I watch
Location, Location, Location
The Simpsons
Life on Mars (not on now but I had trouble thinking of 4)
Come Dine With Me (not currently on either)

4 favourite foods
Fish and chips

4 favourite colours
Moss green
Pale yellow

4 places I would like to be right now
At a big quilt show
Newborough, Anglesey
Anywhere free from stress, guilt and anxiety
In my sewing room

4 names I love but would/could not use on my children
Boys' names, because I had girls:

4 people I'd love to tag
Lucy Locket

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Fun Mail

I've read often of gifts being sent between bloggers, but imagine my surprise when this week I was the recipient!
My friend Wendy sent me a wonderful parcel of goodies, all the way from Canada. There is a beautiful embellished card, some wool fabric, a reel of variegated thread in colours she knew I'd like, and a cute strawberry pattern, because she remembered I like strawberries! And best of all, one of her lovely pumpkin ornaments with wool applique. I can't tell you how beautifully this is made. I particularly love the way she did the leaves.
It's such a rare thing for me to receive a handmade gift, and it's just what I need because up to now my house has been sadly lacking in autumn decor.

Thank you Wendy, for such a thoughtful and sweet gift!

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Brown and Pink

I was determined to make some progress on this quilt last week, and two days of intensive quilting left me with just the binding to do.
I always seem to have trouble deciding on fabric for binding. It takes me ages to narrow down the choices and finally pick one. I think sometimes the binding helps define the quilt, but on the other hand you don't always want it to be a strong feature. To take one of the fabrics from the piecing, or have some contrast? So many possibilities! I think maybe I have a tendency to "overthink" these things! In the end I decided on a pinky red shade.
Then having done the binding, I had to wait a couple of days to photograph it, because the dull and miserable weather here meant the light wasn't good enough to take photos, but here it eventually is. Try not to look at the ladder in the background!

This photo is darker than I would have liked.
I'm quite pleased with the way the balance of colour worked out on this quilt, because I didn't want the pink to dominate too much. I'm not the pink/fluffy/sparkly type, but I like old-fashioned coral and rose pinks, in limited quantities or in combination with other colours.
For the backing, a one-yard piece was JUST wide enough. I used a stencil for the quilting pattern, which is an allover meander with hearts.

Have a great week:)

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Autumn Garden

My pink and brown blocks are put together and ready to be quilted.
Meanwhile here are some more garden photos.
Even in October, these nasturtiums are still going strong. I planted seeds one year and now they come up on their own year after year. I know I posted a pic of them before, but the colours are so vibrant.

There are a few mature trees around our garden, and 3 of them are horse chestnuts, so we get lots of conkers falling on the lawn and path.

This is a tiny oak tree I found growing. There are no other oak trees I know of nearby, so I think maybe a squirrel must have brought an acorn in and buried it, and it grew.

I was tagged for this award by San of Gypsy Quilter. Thanks, San - you certainly make me smile:) So now I can think of some adjectives that describe me, beginning with the letters of my name. Of course my mind went completely blank, and my family were no help, only coming up with words like "crazy" and "obsessive". As if! Well, I rejected those silly suggestions and after a bit of thought I managed to come up with some better ones. I am:
C - creative
A - artistic
R - a realist
O - optimistic (can you be realistic and optimistic at the same time?)
L - like my dad
I - industrious, individual
N - neat and tidy, well most of the time
E - energetic
So many of your blogs make me smile. In fact I only read blogs that make me smile! So if you're reading this and would like to play along, consider yourself tagged!

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Down a Country Lane

Recently I was lucky enough to be given this old embroidered picture. It was worked by a relative of mine sometime in the early 1960's. The image would have been ironed onto the fabric from an embroidery transfer, as was usual at that time.
The stitching may have been slightly squashed by the glass, but I don't think that detracts from the picture.
At first glance it seems almost naively done, but if you look at the way the walls and thatching have been filled in with solid stitching, I think that shows real skill.
And just look at the flowers!

I think it's a lovely vintage piece, and the family connection makes it extra special.
These are my pink and brown blocks so far:

Really it's pink, brown and cream/beige. I've also put in some pale yellow to "act" as cream. The pattern I'm using is called Tintype by Liberty Star. It won't be very big, only 30 x 40 inches. A nice size for what is really an exercise in colour. These will be 5 inch blocks.

The weather has been a lot cooler here in the last couple of weeks. I like that sense of a new start that comes in September, and it's so nice to wear something cosy and be comfortable.
This creeper grows up the front of our house. We have to cut it back to some extent every year, so it doesn't get too high and start growing on the roof. In September before the leaves fall, the colour changes from green to bright pinky-red.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Thinking Small

I do find myself drawn to small quilts lately. This one is only 9 inches square.
I thought about hand-quilting it but I find it difficult to hand-quilt through a lot of intersecting seams, so I just machined it. I think the diagonal lines complement the patchwork.
When it was finished I realised I'd put two of the same blue spot print close together, but never mind. Too late now! The pattern is from Small Quilts for Framing by Jo Morton. I'm not planning to frame it though.

It's just right for some very small people to sit on.
Say cheese!

These are a few of many I made for my two girls in years past. The bunny on the left is a bit more recent. The patterns were by various designers but I think most of these were by Farmyard Creations.

Here are some pictures from my rain-soaked garden this morning.

Have a great weekend:)