Summer quilting project - halfway

Halfway through the summer, already! Slow down! Also, halfway through the 'table runner' project.  That should say table runners though as there were just enough half square triangles to make two.  They'll go across the table rather than lengthwise.  I can't wait to have them finished and dress the table :)

That leaves choosing a backing fabric, buying some wadding and pondering about binding colours.  It means a little pause this week whilst that gets sorted. 


Coasters sneak peek & half square triangles

I can't wait to have the Summer table run ready for a lovely meal with friends.  I have started the coasters, only four squares this time.  They need wadding and binding and... but here is a picture of them.  They're not perfect, but I don't mind.  For quarter square triangles with exposed biases I think they've done very well.  They are going to hold long tall glasses of chilled white wine or fruity sparkling water - gently sipped on a late lunch or during a chatty evening.  Perfect :).

I have finished making the half square triangles for the runner.  I found out about this little hack and it must have saved me a couple of hours.  No need to draw on lines, just a little bit of masking tape and off you go!

Then just cut in the middle with the rotary cutter and there you go, two *no fuss with drawing lines* half square triangles.  Also no problems with the biases.

Now, there are a lot of seams to press open before I can start sewing the runner.  Or table mats.  I need to work out what I have enough fabric for.  The maths, I kind of get too excited about a project to do the maths first.  You ought to do the maths first, I just draw little pictures...  I'd like to end up with something that will work for four people.  There is a particular design I've got in mind, but I doubt I have enough.  Maybe if I add a boarder...

 I wonder what summer projects everyone else is working on?  :)


Summer quilting project - triangles test drive

I love the summer holidays.  There is enough time to ponder about a project.  I chose these prints several months ago and had good intentions of making a hexagon quilt.  What I really wanted to make was something a bit more dynamic like triangles.  Needless to say the hexagon flurry passed quickly and the fabric, a lovely layer cake - yes, I had treated myself! - remained on the side as a quiet reminder of an unfinished project.

So a few weeks of holiday and you realise what has happened.  Out with the hexagons, in with the triangles!  I should learn it's no good fighting these things.  Here are a few photos of what I did today.  I had a play making quarter square triangles.  I read about this little hack and just had to try it.  Be careful though, you end up with exposed biases.  My little tester coaster worked out ok.  It's ever so slightly squify; if you work with starch, then that probably would solve that problem. 

My tester coaster is a bit too large, it only needs to be four squares really.

I talk about 'coasters' because I would like to make a table runner - or something like that.  I'm always tempted with quilt blankets.  But you know what, I need some new table dressing type things.  We love having people over for dinner and our table mats are getting really tatty now.  So yeah.

Still really pleased with these fabric prints and I like the grey with it :).


Flapping bird & blackberry ice pop

We've had fun making this flapping bird :) Thank you for the lovely idea and template Made by Joel --> Check out his blog for lots of craft and making ideas for little ones.  I love his drawing style and we'll be making more of his things, like the nativity set.  I know... it's only August :).

The boy had fun colouring in the bird and stayed foussed cutting out the body. I helped cutting out the wings and put the bit of thread on.  

 Yes, he really wanted to wear welly boots in the middle of summer.

Or better even, his all in one bear suit!

Blackberry ice pop! Mmmm.  Can you tell we're a bit addicted to making these.

Mix with framage frais for a pastel coloured layer


Summer holiday

Enjoying the sun, glorious sun :).  Long may it last, this warm English summer.

Mango and strawberry fruit pop!

Fromage frais


April sunshine

The sun has been shining the last few days.  It feels like spring is finally here!  We've been busy in the garden, it's so overgrown.  There has been plenty of rain and mild weather from autumn through winter and it shows.  Springy, green branches are reaching high, seeking the warmth of the sun.  We've been cutting back, digging and planting.  It's only a small garden, but there's so much to do!  I call it my little 'pizza slice', because of its shape.  Yesterday I finally put some mangetout and beans in the ground.  Boy helped me and we built a new defence against the slugs.  A few years ago we built an elaborate slug defence system, but they still grated our seedlings down to the ground within days.  So there was great excitement this morning that the beans were still there, no holes in the leaves!  This time we scattered dried cypress needles all around the little plants, fingers crossed.  The rhubarb however is a dream.  It's an easy, no fuss plant. Ours is in its third year and juicy pink stalks are appearing already.  If we had more space I'd plant another one!

I made meringue for the first time.  31 years old and I had never made meringue before.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  It's amazing the amount of meringue you get from just 4 egg whites.  

*Meringue: in a clean metal bowl beat 4 egg whites, once you have soft peaks slowly add 1 cup of white sugar whilst still beating the eggs.  Fold in a teaspoon of white vinegar and half a spoon of corn flour, using a plastic spatula.  Gently put the mixture on to a tray with baking paper and bake for 1h15 on 140 degrees Celsius.  Let the meringue cool down in the oven with the door open a little. Decorate at will with cream and fruit.  Sit back and enjoy this sugary goodness in the sunshine!*


Bobby's Clarabel quilt ~ finished!

Here it is!
All fluffy and finished, ready to go in Bobby's new bedroom.

This morning her little cousin was happy to model.  He has been watching this quilt grow slowly.  'It has been taking a very long time.'  Yes, I know.  I like that making a quilt takes a long time.  It's not something I can throw together in a weekend.  It takes time, it grows and changes.  Life is busy, having a long project like this brings calm.  I promised myself to finish 'Clarabel' before starting a new project.  It still took months and months, even though it's not the most complicated quilt.  If anything, it's probably the most straight forward design out there, with a minimum amount of hand stitching - apart from the binding and the blocks my niece did.   Her first quilt blocks, her first quilt!  The first quilt I made way was for Owen.  I called it his big boy quilt when he moved from the cot to his 'big bed'.  That was two years ago.  I used the same techniques and love the crinkly effect.  It has been through the washing machine and the tumble drier many times and it still looks great.  If you want to have a go at making a quilt like Clarabel, then have a look at these instructions.  I now think of them as the 'posie gets cozy way'.  It's not a free pattern, but totally worth it if you are a complete beginner looking to make your first quilt.

Now.  That little pause: all finished, done.  It is a funny, good feeling.  You admire the finished result, savour the time it has taken, soak up the colours and think about what it will mean and bring to the person receiving the quilt.  I know she'll be very happy with it, lovely girl.  It will start off in her bedroom.  I wonder what will happen to it over time.  Where will it go? Will it go on camping trips?  Will it hide tears?  Will it keep her warm whilst she watches a film and eats pop-corn?  Who knows.
And then I let it go, quite quickly really.  It is a lovely feeling, that little pause which finishes with a burst of new anticipation.

New energy, freed up time, new ideas to explore and projects to make.  This afternoon I'm having a look through my fabric stash.  I fancy a bit of a challenge, summer is coming.


Bobby's Clarabel quilt ~ nearly there!

Bobby's Clarabel quilt has been a long time in the making! Bobby chose the colours to match her newly 

painted room.  My niece hand stitched the top row and bottom row of nine patches herself  - woop! The rest was put together the Rosie gets cozy way :).  No special foot on my machine, the walking foot I've got seems to cause me more trouble than it's worth.  This is going to be an extra cosy quilt with soft, brushed flannel backing.  It's been lovely and warm sewing the binding on.  So the last stitch in the binding is done - hooray! And immediately, at 9 pm, the whole thing went in the washing machine and is now in the tumble dryer (gasp)...

Another thing worth mentioning is that I'm really pleased with this little pen I used for the label.  It has a lovely thin point, allowing you to handwrite with ease and no fading what so ever :).

On writing and dating labels... It says it was finished in February, but it's April.  So next time instead of adding one month I'll be adding two/three months to allow enough time to finish the quilt!!

Pictures of the fluffy, finished product tomorrow!


Circular needles & hats

It's not all quilting and sewing in this house.  I've been distracted by some knitting lately.  Before the holiday season I found out about circular needles, kind of by accident really.  I'd shunned away from them before as they just seemed so... complicated.  Circular needles look like they have a magical, mysterious power,... only to be enjoyed and tamed by advanced knitters. I felt the same about using more than two needles at a time.

Well, I'm a total convert! I officially love circular needles.  Please try them if you have been thinking about circular!  I can tell you now that circular needles are not just for advanced knitters, they might even be easier than a normal pair of needles.  I also discovered their true superior power.  How I didn't know about this little secret I don't know, but I'm going to share it in case you don't know about this either.  The true advantage of circular needles is that if you knit only knit-stitch, then you are rewarded with purl-stitch effect! I mean: w.o.w :), especially since purl-stitch and I aren't friends.

I first knitted a little 'test' hat, it turned out fine and wearable.  I used up a leftover bit of variegated wool and the boy loves it.

I enjoyed it so much I immediately started a new circular needle project.  I've always wanted to knit in two colours and adore those Nordic borders of snowflakes and reindeer.  I found myself knitting with both hands - a colour in each hand. At first my brain was like 'what?', but once you relax into it, it flows quite well.

This second little hat is finished now too.  Again, made with left over bits of wool.  My lucky boy has two new hats to choose from now :).  If you fancy it you can find the pattern I followed here on Ravelry.  I wonder what the circulars will knit next!


12 Happy Christmas Trees

12 Christmas tree mug rugs, made with love.

The tutorial I based my little trees on can be found here.