Sunday, 29 January 2017

Is there madness in my method?

I've been working on a new quilt design.  It's a bit back to front because I did a draft and took it to my Thursday night class. I hadn't written the pattern so it was just in diagram form. I wanted to know if anyone was interested in doing it.  Two ladies said they did - problem was they wanted to start straight away so they actually started sewing before I did.  This is it so far:
Photos are not good again this week because of the light.  Although there was a bit of sunshine this morning - a golden light shining on the evergreens outside.
So, on Thursday one of the ladies was ready to sew the basic block together (see my version below)
It's a simple Jacob's ladder variation but it was a fraught two hours as she tried to pin and sew the four units of the block together.  She is the expert unpicker.  Like me, she cannot mirror image things very easily and hasn't yet learnt to be methodical about piecing.  Even though she had all the pieces stacked up in the right orientation she twisted them this way and that as she prepared to sew them.  They were all coming out wrong.  Luckily she has a good sense of humour!  I'm not sure what will turn up next week because she likes to work at home.

So this weekend, with Will away in Norway and no baby sitting duties I eventually got round to doing the sample quilt. I am just realising how methodical I am and I hope to be share that with the class next week.

Might I just add that I am sitting in extra warm woolies as the central heating boiler is on the blink and a new part won't be here to fix it until Tuesday morning.  No heating or hot water. Thank goodness for quilts!

So when I start I clear surfaces, get all the kit out ready -  scissors and pins by the machine, ironing board up.  I cut out the pieces, then I mark any pieces that need doing
and stack them ready to sew.
Cut, stack stitch, press, press press!
All those bunny ears!
More stacking (48 blocks each with two four patches and two half square triangles)
But you'll have to wait until next weekend to see the finished result. I've pieced all the rows and have three of the eight rows sewn together but it's dark now.  No mistakes so far and I put that down to working really methodically, cutting marking, stacking and pressing - no madness, no unpicking, just method.

I've been crocheting away at night after work but the Crochet-Along is at week four now and I have just finished the stripes for week one.  I love it so much.

I especially love the limey green and soft heather colours together.  They make me want to sing with the sheer joy of colour.  The little markers are placed every ten stitches so that I never lose count of the pattern. It doesn't feel like extra work it's all part of my methodical approach.  It's all part of the rhythm and process which I love. 

Sunday, 8 January 2017

So many plans

January is such a strange month - we all have so many plans but how do we get them going and not let half of them fall by the wayside - or should we have so many so that we don't run out of things to do?

I have been looking forward to this weekend for a while - Crochet Along begins!
The yarn has been here since before Christmas and the pattern was published on Friday. I'm not normally a fan of Blocks of the month type projects because I want mine to be at least a little bit different. The Moorland Blanket is an exception.
These are the first rows I have done,  but each row stripe takes about forty minutes and there are twenty to do before Friday. Not possible. So now I'm on the back foot and although I'm loving it I feel slightly sad that I know I'm going to have trouble keeping up. Strange things we human beings!
I saw some almond butter in the shops and decided to try it as a change from peanut butter. I suppose I have never had peanut butter from anything but a jar so have never had to squeeze some out on to my toast. The oil separates from the more natural versions and - well- it's not quite as appetising as I expected, bit turd like. I ignored the resemblance.  Tastes ok.

How do you get from quiet and tidy to mayhem in less than three minutes? Invite some children of course!
They managed to empty the entire contents of their toy boxes on to the floor (not in shot) - but ended up playing with my keyboard and a cardboard box.

Well all the Christmas decorations are safely packed away and this weekend's list was long. But here I sit on Sunday afternoon having achieved very little this weekend.

Got called in to babysit for a couple of hours over lunch yesterday, John and Steph were both working and their times co-incided.  Will needed a hand to build an extension to our biosphere so the hens had more room. The housing order has been extended to 28th February because some cases of bird flu have been found in wild birds.  Luckily there was a sale at the garden centre so I go more polythene. Housework always gets in the way of my best laid plans, dammit, and I am resisting the urge to rush around at the moment.

I decided to make a load of soups for next week instead of eating winter comfort food which actually gives very little comfort when added to the hips.
Leek, broccoli, spinach and kale and a pepper and sweet potato soup with chilli. May have overdone the chilli though.

I have a pattern to write, ironing to do, it's sunny so I should really go out for a walk and soak up some vitamin D.  And I can't be bothered.

Oh man this gets on my nerves.

I get on my nerves.

It's January - my least favourite month of all the year. It happens annually - get over it.

The urge for mega fresh fruit and vegetables has been calling to me so I made some smoothies (Spinach, avocado pear, apples, pineapple, cucumber for the green one and orange, beetroot, ginger and carrots for the red one. These juices and smoothies are fantastic pick me ups - I don't know why I don't have them more often. They taste stunning - much better than eating plates of vegetables which I just wouldn't do anyway. The hens enjoy the leftovers too. I have them instead of a meal so they're not really extra expensive.

Now the yarn is whispering to me - tempting me to pick up my hook and forget about the things I should do.

I've got enough clean clothes to ignore the ironing for another day. So eyes down and hooks away!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

January - the double headed God

Janus is the god of beginning, gates, transition, time, doorways, passages and endings.  He is usually depicted as having two heads - one looking backwards and one looking forwards.
So it's 2017 - all quivery with anticipation and hope. I enjoyed 2016 - it was a very busy year which ran its course - I was exhausted by the end but I'm rested and I'm looking forward to 2017 with renewed energy. 

So - a little look back and a look forward:

Two of a set of four little covers for notebooks. This one will be for my Quilts for Comfort Quilts. More of those in future blogs.
A little wallhanging for Christmas - note to self - go with your own colours next time.
Hexagons for a grandmothers flower garden - do I put a pathway through or sew them straight together?
Until next week, xxxx

A little plaque - an order for someone at school.
Still baking.
Making a baby blanket (haven't found a baby for it yet - haven't finished it either)
Testing a block and getting it wrong - see also note to self above.

Now these colours excite me. Oh I have such plans (and the fabric to see it through praise be) - rock on 2017.

Next on the horizon is....... (be still my beating heart) a Crochet-Along. Follow this link:  Attic 24 
(Picture from Lucy's blog)
Now those are my colours too - I'm so excited to begin this. It starts next weekend.
At last I got round to painting this little cabinet I bought for a fiver. I can't find the wax polish though.  The paint is finished so I'll show you the finished article in situ when it's waxed. Very shabby chic.
A set of different size covers for various electrical devices. I enjoyed making these. I am embarking on a cover for my sewing machine in 2017 too. 

I started going through some unfinished stuff but got a bit overwhelmed by the task. I will write a list and put things out ready, maybe then it won't seem such a steep cliff to climb. I did actually spend the morning designing a new quilt but I will try to hold back on that until I've at least done some finishing.

So that's 2017 mapped out - question is - when am I going to find time to go to work?

I hope your 2017 is all you wish it to be - work at it though - nothing comes for nothing!