Four seasons quilt

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Dr . Who Quilt

My daughter brought me some of her T shirts and asked me if I could make quilts from them. I was pleased she wanted to upcycle her T shirts. We sorted them out and there were enough there to make a Dr. Who quilt , some for another quilt and then two which will be turned onto a bag. It's a nice challenge. My first job was to cut the T shirts and then stabilise the designs on to cotton fabric which I did with some machine embroidery stitches and turquoise cotton. K9 will have his own special block which is not yet finished. I then decided on the fan blocks and I have secured those two at a time onto dark blue material. I really love the effect of the fan blocks. I then decided on the steps and spirals block. I am going to have to make some strips of smaller blocks to be fillers but that will add another dimension to the quilt before I pin it all together. I have loved making this quilt.It has been a very creative and enjoyable journey with some good challenges. I put the lay out on Instagram today so my daughter could see what I was thinking. Luckily , she likes what I am doing so I am now ready to get into the home run on this quilt. I haven't pushed it. I have just let the ideas develop. It all started with my stash of blue and her T Shirts!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Which crochet hook to use?

Tammy Powley has a very cheerful craft site, The Crafty Princess,  and makes interesting podcasts too. I love how we can now share our enthusiasm for yarn arts and crafts on the internet. Choosing the right crochet hook for you is a serious business. How you hold your hook and how well the hook manages the yarn or wool are important. There are lots of hooks to choose from. Some have handles, some light up in the dark . There are the new bamboo, sustainable ones on the market. I tend to use aluminium and steel. Plastic works for me with the bigger hooks. Small aluminium hooks can bend and small plastic ones can break. Some hooks glide through the work more easily so it's good if you can try the different types out as some of  them are quite expensive for a single purchase. Shops don't generally let you try before you buy. It's good then to share what we do and what we are using. That helps others inform their choices. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Winged Star Quilt Pattern

The winged star blocks are quite easy to piece and put together except for the last bit. Then you have to think that out carefully. I always sew the long side on first and then do the short side. It sits better that way. The blocks I made were called steps and spirals and are set slightly differently. They are a variation of the  the winged star block. Mine are for a Dr. Who quilt I am making from upcycled T Shirts and I have been enjoying finding blocks to match in with the T Shirt designs. 

You can find this nice pattern for a winged star quilt on ludlowquiltandsew. There are also some other nice quilt blocks on Quilt Lover Guide. The Dutchman's Puzzle block is another variation on the winged star. 

For my blocks I had 16.5 cm centre sqaures, 16.5 cm squares cut into triangles and then 22cm squares cut into triangles. Each block has 1 square, 4 big triangles and 8 smaller triangles. You piece it bottom, left hand side, top and then right hand side. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Ohio Star block

The Ohio Star block is one of the first blocked I learned to make and I felt so clever when I had finished it. It really is a handy block to know, it is easy to piece and it works well on quilts, cushions and bags. It sews up quite quickly. You can vary it a lot depending on the colours and patterns you use so you can make quite spectacular quilts using it. Once you have mastered it you can try some of the harder pieced blocks and they will seem easier to you. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Honeycomb brioche stitch

I like knitting patterns which give texture and effect. It is also good to know a range of patterns so you can change the thickness of the knitted fabric so that you can play around with patterns and textures to get a better effect for what you want to make. The honeycomb brioche stitch isn't hard but you need to master  it. This stitch will makes lovely scarves, blankets and warm winter jackets. The honeycomb brioche stitch sits better than some of the other  stitches so you don't get he stretching. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thread tension

The new sewing machine I bought last year has got me back into thread tension territory. It is very particular. My other sewing machine was never a problem like that. Thread tension can be affected by a number of things and when the machine is sewing loosely or puckering the material it is really annoying! My new sewing machine likes the right needle. It likes a sharp needle. It doesn't like any dust or fluff in the bobbin case. It likes a full bobbin and prefers plastic bobbins to metal ones. After a year of sewing with it I now have a checklist! It's a great machine and can manage so many things more easily than my other one. Every machine has its character and foibles. There are some good ideas to help on the threads magazine site. The video runs you through the  basics. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Converse baby booties

I told you the story of the black and white Converse sneakers I was trying to make. They were such an annoying thing to do even though the first one I finished turned out okay.  I had actually had a request for a red and white pair and was using the black and white ones as my practice run. I got one bootie done. I found the Converse booties tutorial on YouTube and could follow it quite well because Choosy stuff is very confident and explains things well. I changed hook sizes and used a 3.50 and double knitting wool. These red and white ones went along far better and were not such a chore. I am now hoping I can finish the other black and white Converse bootie. They are not my favourite thing to make but I am at peace with them now! I really like how the  soles of these came out and will use it as a base pattern for other baby shoes. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Converse booties

This video tutorial by Choosy stuff comes in several parts and you are taken through the process of making these booties slowly. It's fiddly but they are cute and there is a massive sense of achievement when they are done. You can purchase the pattern if you want to. I found I could follow what was going on and then make my own little changes as I went along. It can be hard watching a video and trying to do something at eh same time. It interrupts the thought processes, but still. If you want to master something demanding , at some stage you need to just put in the hard learning time. I am currently making another pair of Converse booties and they are coming along better than the first one, so patience and practice work. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Turning a sock heel

There are so many ways to turn a sock heel. When I made my first pair of socks I just couldn't visualise it properly. If I couldn't do that I couldn't proceed. Sometimes you just have to see someone do it and then all your knowledge and skills fall into place and you can manage yourself. Roxanne Richardson shows you three different ways of doing a German short row heel. She is clear and precise. The video is properly annotated below so you can go to or go back to the bit of information you want. That is very helpful . Once you have turned a sock heel you find it very easy and don't understand why you found it hard...thank heavens for You Tube !

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Knitted socks

I finished my first pair of socks ever. I just used a synthetic medley yarn for my test pair. I have thought about making socks for a long time but just couldn't find a pattern I was confident using. I was sorting through books and found my old copy of A Complete Guide to Knitting by Pam Dawson. The socks in the book didn't look very nice but I was ready the pattern and thought - I can do this. So I did. I got a bit stuck on the heel flap but then worked it out and here they are, my first pair of socks. They fit nicely in my sneakers and slippers and have been perfect for the cold snap in Adelaide. I look forward now to using nice sock wool for my next pair. They don't actually take long to make so that was a bonus. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Converse baby booties

I have made one of these Converse baby booties. I don't mind fiddly, tricky and hard but these are just plain annoying. They come good in the end but the second one of these may never get made. I have a request for a red and white pair and I shall certainly make those, but for me, that may well be the end of it. 
They truly show the test of how demanding some hand made items are and how the skills are underpaid and under valued. Anyone who makes and sells these deserves top dollar. They are high skills levels, they test your patience and endurance to the limit. There are no shortcuts or easy fixes. It is all hard. I have made so many complicated, testing things and these really take the cake. I'll see how the red and white pair turn out and by then I might have calmed down! I think the worst thing about hem is they are all stop and start. You never really get into a rhythm of anything. You start and then you have to change to something else and do that and then change again. It was the stopping and started I found wearing. 

DPN holder

I decided yesterday that since I had made a good start to my newly acquired knitted sock talent that I would make a needle holder. I didn't do a perfect job but time was of the essence and I just wanted it done! It was good to be able to sort out all my double pointed needles! I have quite a few now I have gathered them from all the possible storage spots. I had some quilt blocks left over from the four seasons quilt featured in the banner of this blog. I then used the bits of fabric left over from the beeswax wraps I had made. I am happy with it because I can see all my needles at a glance. I don't have to hunt or look hard to select the correct size. The needles then are protected and keep in place. When I have nothing better to do I shall make a perfect one!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Knitted socks

Nothing like a good challenge. I have wanted to knit socks for a long time. I kept looking at the heel part on patterns and couldn’t understand how that worked so I never got going. I was looking for something to keep my brain occupied and decided I would conquer these socks. I looked for patterns and eventually found one in my old knitting book. Right. Next thing was to find some yarn and then the DPNs. It all went well until I had finished the heel flap. I just could not turn that heel. I tried 3 times and then left it for a day. I read every sock pattern I could find. I looked at my sock from every angle. I went back to my needles and bingo! I had absorbed how to get that heel right. I like how neat it looks and it’s very easy to do...when you know how! I can’t wait to get this sock finished and then knit the matching sock. So cosy for winter. I’ll then be able to get out some good quality wool and get on with socks galore.  

Monday, May 1, 2017

Knitted baby blanket

This blanket was made with 8 ply synthetic yarn , two 200 gram balls . I used plain white and then a medley colour. I have crocheted around the edge to stabilise it and to make it look prettier. The soft colours are nice and so gentle. It's a soft cuddly blanket. It is one hundred stitches on size 5 needles. I used the round needles to take the weight of the blanket off my hands and it is so much easier with that many stitches. It takes a while to do but it is the sort of knitting you can do in company or watching a film. Brick stitch looks effective and far less complicated than it looks. It's a very easy stitch.