Well, that's Christmas done and dusted for another year! It was a quiet one as Andy still hasn't kicked the cold and cough that he brought back from his last business trip and our visitors had to cancel due to family issues too. C'est la vie! Suffice it to say that we ate very well indeed and emptied quite a few bottles of very nice wine!
I made this cardigan for my niece in Australia .. it's a Drops pattern and I made it using the specified yarns. She seemed to really like it, although with 30+ degree heat down there I doubt it will be worn for some months yet. I don't think any project has ever taken me so long - I started knitting in April and then what with holidays and arm problems, it was only just finished in time to post it at the end of October to avoid the black hole that is the Australian customs department during the Christmas rush!
Contemplating making another one (for me) at some point and my sister says she likes it so much that she's thinking of knitting one too! This pattern doesn't look like much until it's blocked - as I think I proved in an earlier blog post!!
My in-laws requested a throw for the foot of their bed and chose the yarn. The pattern I selected is Greenway by Donna Yacino adapted to the dimensions of a standard double bed. I've wanted to use this pattern ever since I saw it here on Paula's blog.... it looks completely different in two colours, but I really like the textured effect in a single colour and I'm sure Paula would have approved.
And this is what it looked like on the end of our bed before I packaged it up and sent it off to the UK!
Life is too short to iron duvet covers ...sorry!!
Those were the only two presents I managed to make this Christmas - it really hasn't been a productive year!
I made this on Saturday and it's taken until now for my arm to stop hurting - the rest of the blocks for my afghan (four or five more, I think) won't be completed by the end of this year as originally planned, but I can live with that. The afghan is for me, so it doesn't matter. I won't be starting any more crochet or knitting projects for a while - it just doesn't make sense with all the problems I'm having.
I seem to be able to sew without too many problems, so I'll be concentrating on the quilt over the next few months instead.
Blogland is such a great resource. No sooner had I posted about my test block being slightly smaller than it was supposed to be than I received lots of encouragement and some very helpful tips on how to get perfect seam allowances. I spent some time this morning working out where to sew to get the right seam allowance, marked up the bed of my sewing machine with some electrical tape (thanks Andy!) and sewed up a quick test using off-cuts before having another go at the basket weave block from The Farmer's Wife sampler quilt.
This is a much better size (a smidge less than perfect but well within my tolerances!!) - a good half inch bigger all round than the last block. Sadly I placed the fabrics in a different order to last time and didn't notice till it was too late, but in the scheme of things I don't think it's a major problem and I draw the line at trying this block for a third time!!
Off to plan my next block and probably to douse my ironing board with even more spray starch! Hooked!
This is the basket weave block (no. 4) from The Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt. I figured it was a nice easy one to start with and to ensure I knew what I was doing.
Sadly all is not right with this one ... looks like my 1/4" foot is slightly wider than 1/4'. Having cut very, very carefully (lots of spray starch and pressing!) and sewed very slowly the block is almost half an inch shy of the intended measurements.
Even if it is too small, it looks good I think.
Off to work out exactly where I have to sew to get a perfect 1/4' seam allowance and mark up my machine accordingly.
I've been indulging in some online retail therapy at The Cotton Patch!! Always good and it's quite a while since I bought any fabric or did any sewing.
The plan is to do some quilting - more specifically to make a sampler quilt and learn how to put together HST's, pin wheels, flying geese, log cabins ....it's a whole new language!! I have never tried machine quilting and I think it's time I stopped procrastinating (and stalking quilt blogs) and had a go myself. Hence the arrival of 18 fat quarters! Not yet sure if I'm going to use the two ranges together or not - some of the Cocoon FQs go quite well with the Amy Butler range - and there are some fabrics in my stash that could be a good match. Of course, I've realised I need a more neutral fabric as well or the quilt will be a bit too busy (oh dear ... more shopping!).
I've got my rotary cutter and spray starch ready ... I just need to wash these fabrics and get a new bulb for my sewing machine so that I can see what I'm doing (the old bulb lasted 27 years and survived countless moves including two trips across the Atlantic ... not bad going!). Some planning might be in order too - I've got a wonderful book of quilt blocks (The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt) and some instructions on how to construct some of the standard designs from my quilting group plus some handy online tutorials, so I need to think about which blocks to make, what size to make them and get cracking.
I hoping to be able to finish the blocks for my afghan too. I'm many months behind now and haven't so much as picked up my crochet hook in the last month (ongoing problems with my neck / arm and too much work which also explains my absence from this blog). And I want to get started on some hairpin lace as well (I was given the loom for my birthday, but haven't been able to try it out yet).
Lots of plans ... now to find the time, but it is winter and there's no better time to stay indoors away from all the snow and do some crafting!!
Did you notice the sunshine in the photos above? A rare commodity these days!
Hoping that it's going to warm up a bit this weekend to melt all the snow that's been hanging around for the last ten days or so - it would be nice to get the road clear before the next lot arrives (no snow ploughs or gritters ever come down our road which can make getting to the main road quite interesting!).