Thursday, 29 September 2011

Blog Inspiration

So I've been busily crafting away in any spare moment. 

First up is the progress I've made on my Halloween quilt. Originally I had planned to make it 4 blocks wide using the same idea as on the Quilt Dad blog but then I realised that (a) it was going to have to be 8 blocks long and (b) I didn't have enough fabric for 32 blocks. So in a change of plan I decided to make it 3 by 5 blocks and have each block in the same orientation. Of course I decided on this plan after ordering the backing fabric for the bigger size but it's worked out for the best...the sewing group I go to are doing a Halloween quilted bag quilt along so I at least have fabric for the lining and the background.

With limited time this month I am really pleased to have got the blocks sewn together. Just need to decide on a plan for the border so I can get on with it. Here's a pic of the final layout (no pics of it sewn together cos I haven't had time to take any!)

I would have been much further on with it if it hadn't been for a weekend in Lincoln (congrats to Mark & Ming on their wedding) and a weekend in Scarborough, where we had a great time at Flamingo Land and a relaxing day on the beach.

The kids loved Daddy getting buried in the sand

and digging in the sand

and paddling in the sea (even if it was freezing!)

We were really lucky with the weather and definitely chose the right time to go to the beach. By the time we were having a Fish & Chip lunch it had started to darken over and get a bit chilly.

Though obviously you have me to thank for the current heatwave. The hot hot sun had to come out once I was working on a huge blanket didn't it?! The Attic 24 Granny Stripe Blanket is lovely to do and I am up to 23 stripes but making slow progress because of the heat. Here's a picture of the blanket at 22 stripes

I've made it wide enough for a double bed and am hoping to add enough stripes that it works as a blanket but also looks good on the bed. The Attic 24 used 60 stripes so I'm hoping to do around 60-80 and will probably judge it a bit by eye as to whether it's long enough.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

As the new school year begins...

Guess what I totally forgot to do over the summer holidays? Sew name labels onto my 4 year old's uniform. So last night I got the machine out (well I didn't have time to sew them by hand!) and whizzed them on in a rather haphazard manner. I realised we probably have too much uniform but better too much than not enough.

This week and next week will be a little odd. Erin has been to the nursery attached to the school for the past year so is only doing half days at he moment to allow the 'new' people to settle in a bit and make some friends without being overwhelmed. Next Wednesday she stays for lunch for the first time, after that it's full days. She's desperate for next week because she's so excited about staying at school for lunch! Anyway, here she is ready for her first day of Reception.

That's the bear she got at Sundown Adventureland during the holidays. We took the kids camping for 2 nights, which they absolutely loved despite the rain. We'll definitely be camping again next year, hopefully in a bigger tent.

Of course Orla didn't want to miss out on having her photo taken so before getting the one above this is what I got:

See that cheeky face! 

Of course once the machine is out, it would be wrong not to start the Halloween quilt. I'm following the wonky log cabin tutorial over on the Quilt Dad blog. I bought some of the fabric from The Skep, a local quilting shop, last year and then spied some lovely fabric at the Great Northern Quilt Show. I didn't have enough though so I ordered a couple of bits from he Eerie Alley collection by Robert Kaufman from JB Quilting Fabrics. By the way, they have a super efficient service, my fabric arrived less than 24 hours after ordering. 

Here's the first block

Hoping to do one or two more this evening. I may add a bit more wonk to them but I'm loving the technique. I doubt I'll have it finished by Halloween because this month we're going to a wedding, a company weekend plus I have an assignment due and a face-to-face tutorial. I think it's more realistic to aim for having the top made by Halloween and be starting on the quilting. I will of course provide regular updates.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

The Great Northern Quilt Show 2011

I've had a lovely few hours at the Great Northern Quilt Show in Harrogate while my husband took the children for a picnic and a walk near by. I went to this show last year and really enjoyed it so I can definitely see it being a yearly thing. Last year I also went to the Festival of Quilts but decided against it this year due to the overall cost of going (mainly the travel costs as we have a few trips this year).

I'm always impressed at how much there is at the Harrogate show. It never looks huge from the outside but when you get in there's an impressive display of quilts in one half of the space and a good selection of stalls in the other half, as well as a couple of places to get food/drink.

One thing I find when I go to quilt shows is that I set off with a plan, usually a small list of things I want to look at and maybe purchase but as soon as I get through the door I'm immediately drawn to the fabric. Today was no exception, I had two things on my list and I can't even remember what one was. The other was paper pieces and I decided against those on the grounds that I *could* cut my own and spend the money on fabric instead. 

Not that I spent a fortune though, I went with £20 in cash and came back with change. For that I got 9 FQs, a panel, a pin cushion kit with all the fabrics in, some buttons and a strip of Easter themed pictures (they're classed as labels but I'm planning on getting inventive with them). 

This is the pin cushion kit and the buttons. The pin cushion kit is a little house that opens and closes and I couldn't resisit it at £2.99 from  The Little Lavender Patch and the buttons were 40p and 45p for the packs. The Easter strip below was £1 from Rags For Linda.

I'm also fancy making something in bright colours so I couldn't resist this pack of 6 spotty FQs for £5 from Images of Egypt.

I also picked up some Hallowe'en themed fabric to go with some bits I bought from The Skep last year. Hopefully soon I'll be making a quilt with them. The top one was from Stitch Witch and the bottom two from Cotton Dreams.

The first thing that grabbed my eye at the show though was this lovely Flights Of Fancy panel that I bought from Crafts And Quilts for £4.99. 

A bit of crafting

Having lots of fun at the moment making things for me & my family. When you run a craft business from home it's so easy to end up spending all your time making for other people but August is often a slow month so I took the opportunity to chill out and do my own thing!

First off I taught myself to knit. I've always struggled with knitting as I knit far too tight so about 3 rows in I can't do anymore. A few years ago I decided to practice by making bootees for premature babies and a week later I had a pair of tiny bootees. I proudly showed my mum who then knit a pair in about 15 mins that turned our twice the size of mine. That was when I decided crochet was more my thing! Recently though someone mentioned they prefer circular needles. My mum refuses to knit on circulars because she "can't use them" I've avoided them, but now I have a growing stash of KnitPro Symphonies. My first project was the Oriental Lily dress by Georgie Hallam. It starts off flat, then you join it and knit the rest in the round. It's a fab pattern for learning to knit and I really enjoyed it. Here's it is before I added short sleeves:

I also managed to crochet a scarf for myself. The yarn for this was gifted to me in a craft swap and is handspun. It was called Pebble Beach.

Excuse the orientation of the picture. This was a lovely pattern to make, really quick. It would be perfect for last minute Christmas gifts. It's the Winter in London Scarf by Emily Turner. Using handspun I was slightly worried I might run our of yardage but I actually had some left so I crocheted them up into granny squares along with some leftovers from a baby hat & bootees set I've made for a friend.

I also made myself a hat with earflaps from the Happy Hooker book. My 4 year old loved it and wanted me to make her one so I adjusted the pattern a bit and made hers with the same yarn. Here's the 2 year old modelling it. The yarn is Dazzle DK from the . I still have to add buttons for the ear flaps.

I went the a quilt exhibition at the V&A a while ago, where I purchased 3 FQs of limited edition fabric. I was reminded I had this when a friend posted on facebook to say she'd been married a year. I'd bought the fabric on her weekend hen do in London. Given my recent knitting success I decided to make myself a project bag from two of the fat quarters and I love it.

This photo doesn't really do the colours justice. Both fabrics are bright modern prints and the bag is reversible. It holds lots too. I recently took it away with me for a week and it held my tumbling blocks patchwork pieces, needlecase, 200g of yarn, crochet hooks, pattern and some yarn scraps for granny squares.

My 4 year old is starting Reception this month and I decided to make her a PE bag. I let her choose her own fabric and after liking all the children's fabric I had she finally settled on my Cath Kidston fabric. What can I say, she has expensive taste ;-) . I was originally planning on lining it but decided the fabric was a bit thick and lining it would make it quite bulky so I made up an extra one for Erin's best friend. Each one has their initial appliqued on.