Friday, 17 November 2017

Lap Blanket with Palm Trees


Now that I have just returned from a quick holiday where I was surrounded by palm trees, I find this blanket particularly entertaining.  I could quite easily get attached to this particular blanket, but I have to give it in to the church knitting group today so that it can be donated to a local hospital, where it will be given to a patient suffering from dementia.


I have sewn on a few large buttons, which together with the palm trees are designed to keep restless hands busy.


This palm tree has lost a coconut.  I'm glad I wasn't sitting under it at the time.  Just last week I had the novel experience of just missing being hit by falling dates.  The sparrows above me were having a feast and didn't care who got pelted.

Linking up with Nina Marie's blog Creations... Quilts, Art.... Whatever for Off The Wall Friday
and Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday 

and Amanda Jean's blog Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday 


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 162 - Just a Detail


Under pressure, that's seems to be the only way I get these landscapes done.  The deadline I had for delivering the quilt was Monday, and I finished the sewing at about midday.  Then had breakfast.  Then got dressed.  Then pressed the picture flat and trimmed the edges off.  Then jumped in the car to drive to Midsomer Quilting, and arrived there some time before 3 o'clock.  

The annual exhibition of 12 x 12 quilts runs from 24th November to 18th December, and I had a sneaky preview of a couple of the other quilts.  It is going to be a fascinating exhibition!  This year's theme is "Where in the World?", and having stayed so close to home with my own entry, I am looking forward to seeing where all the other exhibitors take us.

With all the rush on Monday, I didn't get the chance to take decent photos, so until I get the quilt back, here is a detail.  The trademark three birds have made their usual appearance, and the sky has to be the fastest one I have ever stitched.

This landscape turned out better than I had hoped, and I have tried out a few new techniques, which made a great difference.  Next month I shall take close up photos and show how the colours came together.



Here goes for Week 162.

The project that caught my eye in Week 161 was Janine Marie's quilt for Vegas.  If you haven't seen her blog post yet, nip over now and have a closer look.



If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.


Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.

Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post and/or grab the linky button for your blog's sidebar.
  
3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for four days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Monday.


So far quilters from the USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France, Macau, Russia, Ireland and Brazil have taken part.  The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.


Linking up with Nina Marie's blog Creations... Quilts, Art.... Whatever for Off The Wall Friday
and Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday 



Sunday, 12 November 2017

A Picture for Sunday - Mediterranean Sunrise


Why do I never take pictures of the sunrise at home?  Two reasons; firstly, the sun rises behind a hill and can't be seen from our house; secondly, I am invariably tucked up in bed and oblivious to the whole thing anyway.

Last week I was away with my brother in Spain and had the great delight of seeing the sun rise over the Mediterranean.  The fact that it is November, and that Spanish clocks are set an hour ahead, really helped.  I didn't have to crawl out of bed too early.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 161 - Almost There


Only a few hours' work left, which is just as well because I have a deadline.  There has been very little progress since last week because I have had a trip away with my brother, and getting back into the groove has been a bit of an effort.  I need to deliver this landscape to Midsomer Quilting this weekend for the annual 12 x 12 exhibition, so tomorrow I hope to have it all but finished.  The sky will be fairly straightforward, just plain with a few hand-stitched birds, but the trees could be a bit of a tussle.  Then I will have the fun and games of ironing it flat when it is done. 

Why do I leave everything until the last minute?  I knew the theme for this year's exhibition  almost a year ago.


Here goes for Week 161.

The project that caught my eye in Week 160 was Olena's autumn leaves quilt.  If you haven't seen her blog post yet, nip over now and have a closer look.





If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.


Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.

Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post and/or grab the linky button for your blog's sidebar.
  
3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for four days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Monday.


So far quilters from the USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France, Macau, Russia, Ireland and Brazil have taken part.  The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.


Linking up with Nina Marie's blog Creations... Quilts, Art.... Whatever for Off The Wall Friday
and Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday 


Thursday, 2 November 2017

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 160 - Joining Foreground to Background



Having followed the photo slavishly until now, linking the foreground of the landscape to the background calls for a slightly different approach.  There is a fair amount of scribbling involved.  The danger lies in getting carried away, so I add a little bit at a time, with frequent breaks to hang it up and see how it looks from the opposite side of the room.



Here goes for Week 160.

The project that caught my eye in Week 159 were Andrée's test pieces, comparing different waddings.  If you haven't seen her blog post yet, nip over now and have a closer look.




If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.


Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.

Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post and/or grab the linky button for your blog's sidebar.
  
3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for four days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Monday.


So far quilters from the USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France, Macau, Russia, Ireland and Brazil have taken part.  The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.


Linking up with Nina Marie's blog Creations... Quilts, Art.... Whatever for Off The Wall Friday

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 159 - Tractor Tracks



Slowly the landscape is taking shape.  I have worn a groove in the floor walking back and forth between the sewing machine and the computer screen checking the photo of the crop of rapeseed.   Getting the position of the tractor tracks through the crop was crucial for the perspective.  In theory, all I have to do now is the equivalent of colouring in, except that it is not quite so simple. 



Today I have had a day off because there are a few problems to overcome. 

The degree of puckering is a little irksome, but that will rectify itself as I fill in the gaps. 

How I am going to stitch the rapeseed in the foreground remains to be seen. 

What bothers me most is that I have put too much yellow in the thin strip of rapeseed in the centre.  I shall either have to stitch over it in a lighter shade, and/or intensify the yellow slightly on either side of it. 

Sometimes I think life would be far easier if I just learnt how to paint in watercolours, but that would rather defeat the whole object of the exercise.  So I keep on sewing.


Here goes for Week 159.

The project that caught my eye in Week 158 was Jocelyn's Sew Spooky hanging.  If you haven't seen her blog post yet, nip over now and have a closer look.





If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.


Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.

Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post and/or grab the linky button for your blog's sidebar.
  
3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for four days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Monday.


So far quilters from the USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France, Macau, Russia, Ireland and Brazil have taken part.  The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.


Linking up with Nina Marie's blog Creations... Quilts, Art.... Whatever for Off The Wall Friday
and Sarah''s blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday 

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 158 - Perspective



Every subtle shade in variegated thread helps build up the picture.  The trouble I am having at the moment is that the weather is rainy and overcast and the light is dreadful.  Everything looks a dull yellow under the electric light.  At least I have been able to plot the main lines of the composition and am thinking ahead as to how I am going to stitch the bits in between.  It is slow work.


Here goes for Week 158.

The project that caught my eye in Week 157 was LeeAnna's Van Gogh inspired quilt..  If you haven't seen her blog post yet, nip over now and have a closer look.



If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.



Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.

Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post and/or grab the linky button for your blog's sidebar.
  
3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for four days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Monday.


So far quilters from the USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France, Macau, Russia, Ireland and Brazil have taken part.  The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.


Linking up with Nina Marie's blog Creations... Quilts, Art.... Whatever for Off The Wall Friday
and Sarah''s blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday 


Thursday, 12 October 2017

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 157 - Anticipating Next May


Looking a bit dull so far, but next May my favourite field should be a sea of yellow.



I have chosen the photo I am going to use for the stitched landscape and have made a tracing to use as a pattern...


... and I have chosen the threads.

It is a bit daunting, so I shall only stitch a little at a time.  Let's hope I don't mess it up.


Here goes for Week 157.

The project that caught my eye in Week 156 was Andrée's black and white wall hanging.  If you haven't seen her blog post yet, nip over now and have a closer look.






If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.



Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.

Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post and/or grab the linky button for your blog's sidebar.
  
3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for four days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Monday.


So far quilters from the USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France, Macau, Russia, Ireland and Brazil have taken part.  The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.


Linking up with Nina Marie's blog Creations... Quilts, Art.... Whatever for Off The Wall Friday.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Pink Lap Blanket


In shades of pink and grey with a splash of yellow, I have made a second twiddle blanket!


To help tone down the pink and blend the colours together I used this fine knitting cotton to create a flecked effect.


It went particularly well with the pale lemon yellow...


... and thickened the pink and yellow yarns to the same weight as the chunky cream and beige, which can be seen on the left of this picture.  The whole thing is finished off with buttons and knitted flowers, and is now ready for someone who needs a bit of extra warmth and comfort this winter.

Linking up to Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday
and Amanda Jean's blog Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 156 - Mulling It Over


X marks the spot...

It's not so fascinating at this time of year, but the view from this particular spot is intriguing.  It is something to do with the gentle undulations in the slope of the hill, the tractor tracks leading the eye to the trees, the angle of the sun.  In the past I have stood here and captured a dramatic sky, fresh green shoots, golden wheat and bright yellow rapeseed.

It's high time I stitched a landscape.


Here goes for week 156...


If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.

Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.


Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post and/or grab the linky button for your blog's sidebar.
  
3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for four days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Monday.


So far quilters from the USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France, Macau, Russia, Ireland and Brazil have taken part.  The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.


Linking up with Nina Marie's blog Creations... Quilts, Art.... Whatever for Off The Wall Friday.


Saturday, 30 September 2017

Knitting Coconut Palms


Entertainment this week has revolved around knitted palm trees.


The tiny buttons may not look like coconuts to anyone else, but they do to me!

Friday, 29 September 2017

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 155 - Variation on a Theme


Repetition is no bad thing when you want to churn out a few little quilts, but I have to confess that I am getting a little bored and need to do something different soon.  It's all getting a little too deja vu at the moment.

Having said that, I particularly like the shades of blue in this quilt.


The green spots give a nice fresh look...


... there is a bit of entertaining detail in the binding...


...and the butterflies on the backing are an absolute delight.


Here goes for Week 155.

The project that caught my eye in Week 154 was Karen's mini quilt enhanced with fabric paints.  If you haven't seen her blog post yet, nip over now and have a closer look.





If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.



Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.



Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post and/or grab the linky button for your blog's sidebar.
  
3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for four days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Monday.


So far quilters from the USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France, Macau, Russia, Ireland and Brazil have taken part.  The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.


Linking up to Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday.


Friday, 22 September 2017

It's A Twiddle Blanket!


Unplanned, random, just plain fun.  After a gap of about thirteen years, I have picked up my knitting needles again and made something.  Joining a church knitting group introduced me to twiddle blankets, and I was away.  The stash of wool that has been rammed into an upstairs cupboard for years is gradually reducing.

This first blanket is in effect a giant sized tension square, giving me the method for future projects.  I have used chunky yarn, or a double strand of thinner yarn, so that it grew quickly.  To keep it flat and warm, I used a basket weave stitch which gives snug texture.  For the twiddle factor, I sewed on buttons and knitted flowers.


The flowers are easy to make and have the habit of furling themselves up, just like real flowers.


Using double strands of yarn gave me the opportunity to do a bit of colour blending.  This dark and light green blend definitely looks like a 1950s gardener's jumper.


The chunky picot edge down one side wasn't in the plan at the start.  I had to disguise a rather loosely worked edge somehow.  

There is still plenty more wool upstairs.  I think I shall end up making a few of these blankets. 

Linking up to Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday
and Amanda Jean's blog Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 154 - Binding and Backing


One of my favourite fabrics ever is running out.  I love these butterflies!  The fact that they are printed in monochrome doesn't detract from their beauty.  They are accurate representations of butterflies I recognise and often see (peacocks, red admirals, orange tips), and some I would love to see more often (for instance, the Camberwell beauty, of which I have only ever seen one, in Poland). 

Today I have been putting the binding on a cradle quilt, and earlier this week I stocked up on fabric so I have plenty of backing when I make more.  How long will it take me to get through nearly fifteen metres of backing fabric?  I'd better get cracking with some more quilt tops.


Here goes for Week 154.

The project that caught my eye in Week 153 was Olena's tie dyed sampler.  If you haven't seen her blog post yet, nip over now and have a closer look.







If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.



Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.

Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post and/or grab the linky button for your blog's sidebar.
  
3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for four days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Monday.


So far quilters from the USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France, Macau, Russia, Ireland and Brazil have taken part.  The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.



Saturday, 16 September 2017

How To Knit A Flower


Suddenly my life has been filled with flowers.  Knitted ones.  They are the perfect addition to the twiddle blankets I have been making, and a great way to use up small left over balls of wool.

This flower measures three and three quarter inches across.  Because I wanted a sturdy and firm finish, I used a double strand of double knitting yarn on 4mm needles (no. 8 in the old sizes).  Knit stitch is used throughout.

To give the petals neat edges, I use the cable method of casting on (shown on an excellent video here), and at the beginning of each row I slip a stitch knitwise with the yarn at the back of the work (shown here)

)

Cast on 9 stitches, and leave a tail of yarn hanging which will be used later for sewing the flower onto the finished item. 

Knit 8 stitches, leaving the last stitch on the left hand needle.  This is the only row where the first stitch is not slipped.


Turn, ready for the next row.


Slip the first stitch...


...and knit to the end of the row.


Turn, slip the first stitch...


...and knit 6 stitches, leaving 2 on the left hand needle.


Turn, slip one stitch, and knit to the end of the row.


Turn, slip one, knit 5 stitches, and leave 3 on the left hand needle.

This is the idea - the centre of the flower is on the left, where the tail is hanging from the casting on.  The outer edge of the flower is on the right.  Each time you knit towards the centre you leave one more stitch on the left hand needle.


Keep on going, until you only need to slip one, knit one, and leave 7 stitches on the left hand needle.


Turn, and knit your shortest most irritating row ever.  Slip one, knit one.


Turn again, and you a natty little triangle.

Now cast off 8 stitches in the normal way, just making sure you slip the first stitch.


The first petal is finished!  Five more to go.

Leave the last stitch on the right hand needle...


... do not turn, and insert the left hand needle...


...and cast on 8 stitches.  So now there are 9 stitches again, and the whole sequence is repeated...


...to make another petal.


When you have six petals, cast off completely.


Use the tails from the beginning and end of the work to link the first with the last petal and gather in the centre...


...and also to stitch the flower securely to the main item.  All it needs now is a button in the middle.

Job done, and guaranteed addictive.

Linking up with Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday.

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