Sunday, 20 August 2017

Strolling Along The King's Road

It amazes me how often I am able to post and link up with Sunday Stash. I would say, indeed, argue vociferously, that I don't buy that much. It does seem however, that I am link up with worrying regularity. Unfortunately Molli Sparkles doesn't seem to have a link up this week. Not to worry. Here we go anyway.

Last weekend my daughter and I did a trail along the King's Road and made a visit to Peter Jones. John Betjeman once said that he wanted to be in the haberdashery department of Peter Jones at the end of the world. Well, I wouldn't quite say that, but it is pleasant enough for a short while.

My daughter loves the Scion range of homeware. We spotted this fabric. The difficult thing was whether to buy the blue fabric with the foxes or the grey with the hedgehogs. The hedgehogs won the day. We bought 3/4 metre with a coordinating grey fabric. The plan for this is to make two envelope cushions, with a hedgehog stripe across the plain back. The surprise is that she will be helping me. Time the apprentice stepped up to the mark!

Whilst the lovely shop assistant was cutting this, we noticed another customer buying some scandi Christmas fabric. After we joked about Christmas planning in August, she told us the fabric was on offer, half price. Well, we all love a bargain. This isn't even a bargain but an essential purchase. Our wee family is growing, I feel the need to make a couple of extra Christmas stockings. Sustainable packaging. One year I will use no new Christmas paper or bags at all, that is my secret aim every year.

So my purchases this week aren't really purchases at all. More essential shopping type of thing.

I also bought some variegated  thread to quilt my Houndstooth quilt. I finished the flimsy yesterday, it needs a good press then I will blog it. I have ordered some gorgeous Karen Lewis fabric for backing. Gosh, there's another stash post coming up. Anyhow, this sulky thread? Too blue toned or purple enough? The photo is too dark, it has more of a dark lilac tone through the grey in real life.


From there, my husband and I  went to London for the International Athletics Finals. That was fun. I love these big sporting events. I am a little hazy sometime on the details, but I enjoy the atmosphere. And of the two of us, one of us  is usually certain of the detail! No photos I am afraid, all deleted. My phone is soo full, its delete one photo, take one photo time again.

Towards the end of the week, the postman came to visit. He brought me my Beeabee2017  blocks from Gina, aka Quilts and Cakes, . Gina made me two brilliant blocks with winnie the pooh peeking in the windows. One is for the front, and I will use the second in the back or a coordinating toy bag. Gina also kindly included the rest of her winnie fabric for me to use. This is vintage fabric from Gina's stash, so it much appreciated.

Helen x

Friday, 18 August 2017

Back To The Hexies

I had two big crafting achievements in the last couple of weeks, the Lucent baby quilt, or the Camel Quilt, blogged about last Saturday, and the mammoth achievement of a family history Scrapbook Album for a relative. Both of these are handed over, as were all the hats from a few weeks so ago. So,  I have decided to think about myself this weekend. I thought I would drag out all my Liberty hexies again.

I had reached stalemate with these, not because I was fed up or bored, but because I had found the joy of socks. (read it aloud!) I have been knitting socks, and these are wonderfully transportable when you go on holidays, and probably easier on the eyes that sewing hexies.

 I  had also reached the point where I had to decide where I was going. The original intention had been to float these on a white kona background, calm and restful. It was getting rather on the large size for that, and it would involve a lot of white hexies. I still have rather a lot of Liberty fabric I have yet to hexie. The end of result would be too big.

I thought about it over the last few days, and have decided to change direction. I think I like them all butting up against each other. But how to go about this?

Darker fading into light?

Colour group?

Just all together in a mix up?

I am going with the pic 'n' mix. The top pic 'n' mix photo.

To be honest, after crawling around the floor, the photos all look much of a muchness.

 This quilt is for me to snuggle up (vegetate) in front of the tv. If it is too structured I will be forever torturing myself with "I should have done this", "I should have done that". Random placement will be less stress inducing ~ I think.  My husband also kindly pointed out that I have a reputation for spilling my drink, whether it be red wine, whiskey or simply coffee. As I sit here typing with some curry down my t shirt, I have to agree with that a plain white background might not be such a good idea.

It will be a  lot smaller without the plain white in-betweens. This way I can start to piece it together now then add to it as I go along. If it was too structured I couldn't do that.

I still have a fair wee stash of Liberty fabrics not used yet, all neatly folded (?) as you can see.
I like the pink and purple one just peeking out.

I have a fair wee stash of Liberty fabrics overall. So far I have only repeated one block, and that was by mistake.

All that fabric though and I have run out of this red and white. I like this but it will have to be a corner.

I have enough of this cycle fabric that I should do something sensible.

I have a whole half metre of this gorgeous animal tana lawn. My daughter in law gave this at Christmas a while back, I have been hoarding it. Wouldn't it make a lovely little shirt for wee boy?

And this ship fabric? Not too pink toned?                                                                                               
Not everybody "gets" Liberty, but those who do really, and I mean, really, love it.
Helen x
linking up with Busy Hands Quilts                  

Saturday, 12 August 2017

The Big Reveal

Although it may seem as if I have only been knitting the last few weeks, I have been secret sewing. Sewing for the littlest one in our family. Now I can have the big reveal:

I loved Yvonne's Baby Carter quilt, based on her Lucent quilt. I loved it so much I decided to make one for our new grandchild. I had ordered the fabric and blogged about it here, and then the secret sewing began.

Yvonne's instructions were concise and easy to follow. Her cutting instructions covered various sizing options. This quilt would look great whether big or small. Aside from my camel fabric, I used the other fabrics from stash. I thought I would go spotty. Smarty fabric for the centre, I have had this for years. The yellow and white spot is an apple print the stateside son got me for Christmas one year. The blue and white polka dot is what I generally use for binding, a Rose and Hubble print. The corner smarty fabric was passed to be by a scrapbooking friend Val.

The quilt came together very easily. Even the tricky Y seams weren't tricky. I felt a real sense of achievement when it was finished

 and knew straight away how to quilt it. There were a few lovely days and I was able to baste in the garden.

  Quilting threads can be hard to come by here.  I bought two pale blue Coats cotton thread a couple of shades apart.

 The plan was to first quilt a huge X across the fabric. Each of the four quarters would then be filled in with inverted Vs. The first X and the initial Vs were in the darker pale blue, the Vs spread 2" apart. Then between each V were 3 or 4 Vs in the paler blue.

 This all worked very well and the result was really subtle. So subtle in fact, there is no discernable difference in the blues. Great laid plans and all that.
You can see in the back how subtle the difference is.

I had intended to bind it with a navy. A navy spot, surprise surprise. The navy seemed a little too strong. I went shopping to buy a peach spot but the "man" in the shop persuaded me to this baby pink. I wasn't convinced, but they had run out of peach in any case. I do have to admit the pink works well. I am pleased.

A quick wash and line dry with a tumble to finish, and the quilt is beautifully crinkled and squishable. Here's hoping the little one loves it as much as I do, or at least his mum and dad do.

Helen x

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Jolly Girls Go Another Jolly Jaunt

A couple of weeks ago my friend, Liz and I went on a mini break to Richmond in London.

You may have followed our jolly jaunt on instagram. We went to Hampton Court to look for Henry viii. We found a little of Henry but a lot of William and Mary. And more George's than you could shake a stick at. Liz very patiently tried to explain which Mary was which.  There is Mary who was daughter of Henry viii and Kathryn of Aragon, Mary who was Mary Stuart, the Scottish contingent. And Mary who was wife of William of Orange, or is that Mary Stuart? Our heads were buzzing.

We also went to Kew Gardens. We now feel that Kew is our own. We have our bench where we sat and watched the parakeets.

We went to see Wicked in the West End, courtesy of my friend's daughter. We packed in such a lot, walked for miles and talked ourselves hoarse and drank a lot of tea.


After a whole week home we felt we were ready for another jolly jaunt. This time unfortunately only a day trip, to Whitehead in Co Antrim. We even went on a train, so it felt like a mini, mini break. Rather coincidentally this was the same day as Yarnfolk Festival, N Ireland's very first yarn festival, organised by Lighthouse yarn  shop  and Fine Fish yarns.

Whitehead is a sleepy sort of place, it was known as the place sea captains went to retire. Genteel and by the sea, not much happening sort of place. I have shamefully poached this photo of the lighthouse on the hill. The Victorian cliff walk has been restored, but it is not for the fainthearted.

The Victorian terrace on the seafront has been repainted in vibrant bright colours.

Don't these two lovely ladies set off the terrace?

The yarn festival was spread over three different halls, and it was mostly indie dyers. I had no idea  Ireland and N Ireland had as much specialised wool and knitting. It was also gratifying to see so many younger women. The "modern" ravelry, instgram type of knitter is well and truly here.

And what did I buy? Did I indeed buy anything? After all, I am only buying yarn as I need it, I am not stockpiling a yarn stash ....

In ig conversation the night before with greenrabbitdesigns, I was admiring her free your fade shawl. I have had a hankering to knit some sort of fade out thingy. Apparently there is a mystery kal on ravelry, from Drea Renee Knits. You know me, I am sucker for joining in things. I have my yarn, my fade out yarn from Skein Queen and I am ready to go.  Although we don't as yet know what we are knitting, literally don't know, we will not be using full skeins. There will be some of each colourway left to use again.

What else did I buy? I loved this bright blue sock yarn from Irish Fairytale Yarns. The young couple who dye this wool are lovely and so helpful. I think this could even pass for a Chelsea blue? There is always a little yarn left from socks, and I think this will blend really well with the Regia Fluormania  yarn I knitted socks in a couple of weeks ago. See, I can do frugal!

Next up is some fluffy stuff for spinning, again from Irish Fairytale Yarns. This is some early Christmas shopping, not so secret now it is here.

I also bought another ball of Sublime cashmere dk from the actual brick Lighthouse yarn shop in Whitehead. I used this wool to knit the wee new baby cardigan last week, and I think this dark blue will go with the almost full ball of aqua.

All in all I think I was very sensible. What didn't I buy? I didn't buy the bright loud fingering wool I had my eye on. I didn't buy any of the lovely variegated fingering wools from Fine Fish Yarns.  I hope to in the future. I didn't buy any of the lovely yarns from Townhouse Yarns in Dublin. When the rugby season starts again, I might make a detour there, now I know they exist. And I didn't buy any of the tweed Kilcar tweed wools from the new Yarn With Joanne in Newtownards, a hop and a skip from home.  So, lots in the offing when I play catch up.

There was one more lovely thing about Whitehead. N Ireland is a small country. Loads of people, or Yarnfolk there I didn't know, but the advantage of a small country is you always bump into somebody you do know. We met a few of my scrapbooking group, some of the crochet group I have been going to (I can't crochet but it doesn't seem to matter). I met some lovely people from the book group I used to run in a previous life, I do miss them. And I met some lovely people I don't know but I do know. The lovely Vivienne of green rabbit designs recognised me. As Vivienne is publicity shy she would have had to carry one of her bunnies for me to know her! Kate from hawthorn cottage crafts and I spotted each other too. And unfortunately Ali of crazydazycreations missed us all.

I stole this still photo from Kate's podcast. Check her out, she has a really good round up of the day and a competition of goodies from the day.

Helen x

Sunday, 6 August 2017

It's Raining Blocks, Hallelujah.

I think I muddled up my Saturdays and Sundays yesterday. I had wanted the Juggling Plates post to "publish" on Saturday, so I could blog today, Sunday, about the blocks Sue sent me for Beeabee2017. I must have misread the days in the scheduling calendar. Do American calendars have the days of the week in a different order? I mean, in the same order, but starting and finishing at a different day? Or maybe, more likely, I just hit the wrong day.

Anyhow, I wanted to blog about Sue's blocks today, because she very generously included some extra fabric for me. It is always nice to have some stash to link up to Sunday Stash, so two blog posts in one day it is. A Feast or a famine I am afraid.

I love these fabrics. I love the strong emerald green. The thing is, my favourite colour is blue. Always have, always will be, but I am drawn more and more to green these days. I keep buying green wool.

Nope, changed my mind again. The bright blues are my favourite. The three fabrics tone in really well together.

As for the white, well I can never have enough low volume.

Sue very kindly included two strips of blue baby fabric as well.

 We have a new addition in our family, our first little grandchild, born in the last few days. I look forward to getting to know him, and of course making him many, many quilts. And knitted jumpers, and hats, and toys. He and I will have a ball. Now I can make all the baby things I wanted to when I had my own children, but of course I hadn't the time nor the energy. Wahey!

Sue also very kindly included two of her hand made project bags. These are gorgeous, right down to the tassel on the zipper and the labels inside. The bigger bag even matches my knitting! When I went to join the "hooker's (?)" the other night, they were all mighty impressed.

The smaller of the two bags is just perfect for the ending of a knitted sock, when the sock wraps neatly around the needles. It would be great for my Liberty EPP hexies too. Remember them? I haven't touched them for a while. They tend to be my "take" when we the football/rugby season starts.

Oh yes, the blocks Sue made me. The two blocks are lovely with a pale blue quatrefoil and orange fire centre. This is going to be some quilt! And yes, this quilt will be for my very own grandson.

Yesterday my friend Liz and myself went to Yarnfolk Festival in Whitehead. I may have entered into a little recreational spending. No one was harmed in the process, and we had a lovely day out. I planned to show off, show the skeins I bought, plus the  peurperium cardigan I knitted . I had never heard of that word either, I probably haven't spelled it right. Basically it means cardigan for a newborn. The "plain English" society should get involved in this. Anyhow, I have perambulated in a conversational journey for long enough this day of rest, and will withdraw to continue this this anon.

Helen x
linking up with Molli Sparkles and Sunday Stash.



Saturday, 5 August 2017

Juggling Plates

When I was in multiple bees I was always very proud that I was nearly always on time. On occasion I was running a bit late, holidays, birth, death and taxes. You know the type of thing. This year I am in only one low key bee, #beeabee2017 on instagram. No blog posts to write up by a set date, fairly fluid dates, two months off in the summer. Call that a job? So, it is now, the beginning of August that I have finished my May blocks.

The lateness, this was due to holidays and the fear. Not fear of flying, but fear of juggling. Juggling plates. Gina, of  and @druidquilter on instagram, asked us to make her Dresden plates.


Hear my not so silent screams. Gina may have well asked me to make her a mariner's compass block. Scary. So, this got put on the back burner and I made my excuses. I went to London, I went to Budapest, Salzburg and Vienna. I went to London again. Eventually I had to face the fear and try to make the Dresden Plates.

And you know what I am going to tell you? They were ok..... in fact I could say I enjoyed them. I did enjoy it. I can see myself making these in the future.

Gina gave us some photos for inspiration. Gina really didn't want traditional Dresden Plates, which is good, they are very boring and traditional. I was never really fussed on them. Gina wanted bright vibrant, hot plates. Look at her inspiration.

I love these.  These will turn into appliqued flowers,

First of all you have to  make a template. Time on our family computer, with the printer, is hard pressed at the minute. My husband is writing the history of the BB company he went to as a boy. We are being very industrious at the minute. I could have gone to my old work, the library, to print it off. But, 5 minutes to print, 5 hours drinking tea and chatting if I did that. So, I made my own templates, having read a few different blog posts on making Dresden Plates.

My first block was hot orange petals. Long narrow petals, with a radius of ....?...  This is getting towards Gina's maximum size of 15". I can see with this a hot pink centre. Gina asked us to leave the centres blank as an option. I am glad of this, the thought of applique-ing the centres with a smooth circumference is quite stressful. I will however send her the hot pink fabric.

My second block, I thought would be smaller and stockier. I reread the tutorials, and saw that the template base is generally about 3 1/2". This I thought I would make into a sunflower. Yes, it is smaller than the orange, and with fewer petals, but not by much.

Of course I think the dark grey/black fabric here is perfect for the centre.

I was determined to make a small stubby plate. A side plate, or piece plate, as we say here. A wee plate for your wee piece (sandwich, as in piece of bread and jam ). I chopped the end off the stubby template, thinking this was it. Getting cocky you see. It did make it smaller, but not as I envisioned it.  No, it isn't a wee piece plate, more of a wee salad plate, though salad plates are a little posh. This plate is on a pink theme, maybe a zinnia?

Although Gina has seen these on instagram, I haven't posted them, physically, not virtually. I have "known" Gina for a while. Thanks to Gina I listen to radio 4 extra, the crime plays particularly. I know Gina loves gardening, so I have to hunt out some seeds or something to post. When I was in Kew last week, there was something niggling me in the shop, that's what or rather who it was. Gina.
Sorry Gina, Tesco seeds don't  have the same ring as Kew Garden seeds.

Although I don't like the Dresden Plate block in its traditional mode, I can see myself using Gina's version. I have always fancied a quilt make of a neutral background with appliqued flowers, and these would fit the bill. I even have cotton calico cut into blocks for appliqueing onto . The only problem with this is, I don't like the calico blocks anymore since discovering the joys of low volume fabric!

Helen x