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Monday, December 3, 2018

OMG December - Diving in




For a few months now, easily, have I been postponing and putting off the basting and quilting of my Bella Skill Builder quilt. I finished the top ages ago ..... it was my OMG of last year November ..... so now no more delaying.

I wasn't sure how to tackle it to be honest. The top is pretty large and I have never FMQ-ed such a large beauty. I practiced on several small quilts to get familiar with my new machine and with FMQ in general. Still I wasn't sure how to go about, what patterns to choose or if I should use rulers. Well, as I don't have any rulers that part was quickly solved.

Patty from Elm Street Quilts sends out news letters, in one she had a link to a tutorial on how to make a spiral design. The moment I had read the post, I knew this is what I should do. The spiral would look good with the graphic design of the different blocks.


My One Monthly Goal for December is to spiral quilt my BSB quilt and make the binding. I can then gift the quilt to my daughter (finally).

Monday, November 26, 2018

Christmas placemats waiting for Christmas


and so are my kids.

I got hugs from my kids when they discovered the placemats I was making for Christmas. We haven't had a tree in a number of years now, we have one in the garden, growing tall. I do try to have a little Christmassy decoration though.

This year it will be the placemats and advent candles. Next year hopefully I will have made a matching table runner ....


All five are done now, I had forgotten that two were completely the same, there must have been a reason last year, forgotten, so I tried to make a difference using different decorative stitches.


My projects on my list of projects-that-need-finishing is moving in the right direction, slowly slowly I am finishing fun projects ... and feel a sense of accomplishments.

I am linking up with Patty at Elm Street Quilts for my November One Monthly Goal.

We are ready for Christmas.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Christmas placemats peeking out of their hiding



Last year I started making placemats with Christmas fabric from Higgs & Higgs. I kept on seeing messages popping up on my FB page and one day decided to just give it a go and order. I cut the fabric and assembled the top, started quilting one of the placemats and my machine gave up. On my regular sewing machine, that I received as a gift in 1983 (0r 1984) I can sew but as the machine is too old to get accesories for, I cannot use it for FMQ. For my US bought machine (110V) I have a few feet I can use, and it is this machine that started acting up. The pedal became hot, not just warm, no pretty warm. I opened it, cleaned it with rubbing alcohol (MDH advised me) and it still got warm, slightly warm only. But electrical issues scare me. On top of this, the tension was off. So instead of pushing on with the placemats and do a crappy job, I packed them away.


Christmas is coming up in less than two months, so maybe give the placemats another go? First where are they???? It took me some time to think and go through my fabric stash .....


Next step .... how to quilt them ...... ???? As I was reading one of the magazines of Quiltfolk, I got inspired and decided to use decorative stitching on the sewing line to quilt the three layers together. By using a different stitch for each place mat, not only will the fabric be different for each, the stitches as well.

My One Monthly Goal organized by Patty at Elm Street Quilts for November is to finish the placemats. Well, yes, am putting off finishing my Bella Skill Builder quilt again. As am traveling for work I will work on it in December.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Alesya's scarf


Alesya wanted to learn how to knit, she asked a few times for some needles and yarn. So we went to the store and bought her some Katia paint self grading yarn. I started the shawl, 40 stitches would be good and off she went, she would do one row and I would do 2 rows, knitting only, no purling. And then I realized that the scarf would take her too long to finish. So we unraveled and I made her the scarf on the Bond. I had not used my Bond for at least a year. But she worked and loved the yarn. In no-time the scarf was done.


I had set up 80 stitches, knitted until the end of the yarn cake, transferred the scarf to needles and bind off by hand. The shawl was folded lengthwise in two, sewn together and closed off at both ends. The end result is a nice thick warm scarf that will keep her warm this winter. She will still need to learn how to knit, a smaller project though. Maybe a hat, either by hand or on the Bond.

Silk red jacket


There are projects full of frustration and we are only to happy when they are really done. Today It told a friend of mine at work that I managed to finish this jacket after three years of struggling, that most likely I would never wear it, that I undid the jacket many times, that every time everything went wrong and that yesterday I declared the jacket ready. I can wear it so it is ready. Will I ever wear it? No idea, maybe never, ever ever. My friend congratulated me. She understands!

And as I had not finished this jacket I could not move on, it was hanging in my crafts room, reminding me to be finished, daring me to finish it. So each time I worked a bit on it and now hurray hurray I can take it off the my to-do list. I don't know how many times I wrote down on a list "red silk jacket". The relief is real.

My father's wife offered to finish it for me, and I refused. I had to be the one to finish it.

I made a list on my blog off a few projects that needed finishing as part of the Finish-A-Long – FAL 2018. The finishing of this jacket is number 1 on my list and the second project that I finish as part of my list.

Acorns table runner


Autumn is here, it has arrived in all its glory with lovely colours and since a few days with rain and grey skies. So creative time it was this weekend. A few weeks ago I bought this cute little box adorned with acorns that held a kit for an acorn table runner, designed by Lori Holt. The pictures looked great so I went ahead and purchased the kit from The Fat Quarter shop. Of course there were some other items in my basket, shipping to Europe is quite expensive so better make the most of a shipment. When the box arrived I was excited. It all looked so cute. I immediately set out making the top, i.e. cutting the fabric according to the instructions ...... And then disappointment set in. The fat quarter of cute fabric was either not selected well or a mistake was made, or someone somewhere did not do a good job in ensuring all the right fabric should be in the kit. Out of the 42 squares, two could not be used as they were the same as the background fabric, and two were too light and therefore not providing enough contrast. I placed a review on the FQS website, as it said that someone would contact me to solve any issue. Well my review got placed and no one contacted me to offer sending some new squares in an envelop. And of course as shipping is expensive, I was not going to order 50 cm of yarn, where I would only need two fat squares. I assume, as this was not one of #FQS products, they did not feel responsible. A good thing I had ordered another fat square of Riley Black Designs fabric and used some of that to make up for the squares I could not use.


The pattern is cute, and I enjoyed making the quilt. The designer did a great job. I had to get used to working all these little pieces, it was good practice in precision cutting and sewing. Once the top was done, October had arrived and my aim was to finalize the quilt as my One Monthly Goal for October organized by Patty at Elm Street Quilts. By making small quilts I was hoping to get over my "fear" of free motion quilting. It is working, as I progressed I became more fluent in drawing with my sewing machine. One corner is different as I was doing diagonal lines and then did not like these. As it is only a small part I left these and became more adventurous.


The end result is a colourful table runner, 4 blocks smaller as our coffee table is not that long. Not sure yet what to do with the other 4 blocks, most likely make a square table runner and place it on the kitchen table.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

UFOs/WIPs




I keep a booklet of my unfinished projects. And I have a separate list with my wish projects. And then there are all these ideas going around in my head. Oh and of course there are these projects that I made and I did not like them, I should make a separate list of these and decide what to do with them. The list of unfinished projects is quite long …. and that should change.
There are a few projects that I just never seem to be able to finish – for different reasons. There are 2.5 months left in this year and below are a few projects that I should finish and why.

1) Red silk jacket
I like making clothes, often they work out or just need a little adjustment. I made a lovely blue jacket with African fabric, so of course I wanted to make this jacket again. In 2007 I bought some very nice silk and the jacket would be soooo gorgeous in red silk, or so I thought ….. Disaster after disaster and frustration upon frustration. Three years later this jacket is still not finished. I redid the seams, the lining - supposedly to be black was blue so redid the lining, the sleeves were redone maybe three times …….. and now all it needs is to redo the bottom seams. I need to carefully open up a few seems – not much – line up the lining with the outer red silk and hand sew it all together.


2) Bella Skill Builder quilt
In an effort to boost my quilting skills I bought the kit for the Bella Skill Builder quilt. I enjoyed the sewing up off all the blocks and sewing the top. The quilt turned out huge and I was too afraid to continue. After all these efforts now what. So I bought iron-on batting. While gathering courage to quilt this beauty I made a few baby quilts just to get acquainted with my new sewing machine and getting confidence. My daughter knows it is for her and she stopped asking when I am finishing this. So for Christmas it would be a great gift for her.


3) Cross roads quilt
When this quilt was announced on the FQS blog I fell in love with it. The first version I made was in African Fabrics. And then decided to spoil myself with the original kit. The blocks are done and this sweety is waiting to be quilted. This one will be for me.


4) Autumn quilted table runner
As part of overcoming my barriers to do free motion quilting I bought this cute little kit with acorns. I have combined all acorn blocks. Well as it was too long for my coffee table I kept 4 blocks aside. I have cut the background and the batting and all I need to do is quilt the acorns and bind it.


5) cognac coloured cardigan.
Last year December I bought this soft lovely Italian yarn to make a cardigan for myself to match a skirt my father’s wife made for me. I ran out of yarn and could not finish it as this specific colour was out of stock. The yarn is available again and I ordered two balls to finish it. I ended up ordering on-line directly from the company. Oh so dangerous as this leads to my next project that I started. I want this cardigan to be done by Christmas as well so I can wear it.


6) Poncho
Purchasing two balls of yarn is expensive postage wise. What to do, wait until I find the yarn somewhere in a shop … or just go ahead order the two balls of project 5 and order another project (oh the danger). The perfect excuse. I am traveling and bringing along the unfinished cardigan on different needles is complicated. A new project is in order. And yes this goes against my own rule of not purchasing new projects until I have finished my old projects. However, this would be a perfect project while having an 11 hour journey with one stop over. And it is. It calls to make two panels and while traveling to Nairobi have knitted half of one panel. Maybe this evening might try to do some knitting. And panel one should be finished on my way home. The quality of the picture is not great as I took the picture in my hotel room that lacks light.


7) leg warmers for my daughter
I knit socks, actually I love knitting socks. So my daughter wants me to make her socks. I had bought this lovely yarn from WYS, and she claimed it. As she is only 11 she grows fast, and so do her feet. What if I knit socks and they would be too small in a few months … she would be sad. Solution: knit leg warmers. I started as this is my daily travel traffic jam project. I commute to work and sometimes traffic is bad, we don’t move … so I knit, knitting on a short circular needle is perfect – all I have to do is go round and round. And only when my car does not move of course. So depending on the traffic, the legwarmers will be done by end December. Otherwise will just have to take a few moments knitting while supervising my kids doing their homework.


8) Christmas placemats.
I started making Christmas themed placemats. And then my sewing machine broke down. Meanwhile I changed my sewing machine. When back from my trip need to dig these out (take a picture) and finish them. This entails, the quilting and the binding. The tops are done and basted and backed with clips/safety pins.

9) Ross blanket
For a reason I cannot explain, somehow crocheting is something I like, and never end up doing at home. Last year’s summer holidays I started the Ross blanket, and throughout the different holidays, worked on the project. For almost a year now I have not touched the blanket. There is no way I will finish this in the next 2.5 months. Am hoping though by adding this project to my public list will help me to get it out of the bags and just get on with it. I have made blocks 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6. Have started the blocks 5. To finish this project, I will need to finalize crocheting the four number 5 blocks that I am building on block 6 (the centre piece). Then need to learn how to crochet all the blocks together and make a border. In the FB group where we crocheted this as a CAL, there were plenty of ideas for different borders. I have come so far with this project, learned so much, so now just need to find an incentive to start again and actually finish this.


10) lavender socks
My list of projects that I can think of on the top of my head on which I am actually working is getting longer and longer. Not sure how embarrassed I should be. I started knitting these socks and one is done (except for the binding off). My daughter looked at me a few times most likely thinking "when oh when will you start mine". So I had to interrupt this pair and start her leg warmers. So they will be on the list for next year. Unless of course there will so many traffic jams that I get to knit this sock as well. Actually, hopefully not.


I am linking up with Finish-A-Long – FAL 2018. I discovered this group of enthusiast crafters stimulating us all to pick up that forgotten/abandoned project and finish it. Thank you in advance for pushing me to finish what I can. Let’s see how far I get.



Sunday, October 7, 2018

Autumn


Autumn is here. Yesterday we had lovely weather, the sun was out and the kids were outside most of the time. We celebrated Slava's birthday and had the cake on the terrace. Today, the sun was hiding behind the clouds.

I started making a table top quilt, in autumn colours. It was delivered in a cute little box with a 5" square bundle, the pattern, fabric for the background and acorn top and the binding. All in fabric from Riley Blake. Unfortunately I did not have enough time to finish the quilt last month, so now it is my goal for this month's One Monthly Goal, organized by Patty over at Elm Street Quilts.

Monday, September 24, 2018

CRQ progress - the backing


I thought that September was going to be a very busy month. It was a crazy month, with my husband in the hospital in the South, a 4 hours drive. Myself going back and forth between the hospital in the south and home. Kids starting school again, the Sunday prior the schoolbags still had to be prepared. No time to think or relax.


The third weekend in September I decided to stay home and be with the kids. They were frightened. After all, seeing their father leaving the house by ambulance scared them. Also because they were not allowed to visit him. I did manage to have them each spent a few minutes with him, prior to driving back home for the start of the school. However, this was not enough for them to be ok with the situation.


The four of us just puttered around the house. The weather was great, we all just wanted to be at home, not going anywhere. Even going the movies was turned down. I ended up making the backing faster than expected. I brought all supplies to the kitchen table, while the kids played outside, I cut the fabric. In the evenings all I had to do was sew it all together. The complexity being in the amount of fabric handled, and not in the difficulty of the block. At the same time it was very soothing and relaxing to focus on the cutting and sewing and thus stress less about my husband 400 km away.


My OMG goal for September was to finish the backing and am pleased that the process made me feel better. In a way the path traveled this month was a crossroad. My DH made it through surgery and is well recovering. The kids are doing better and so am I. In the end I crafted quite a bit this month. Other than making the backing, I made a baby quilt, knitted while sitting in the hospital with my DH, and started a new (small) quilt with autumn designs.


I am linking up with Patty's One Month Goal for September at Elm Street Quilts.

A girly babyquilt


Every time I say to myself that I need to get moving forward with my existing, non-finished projects, I find another excuse of making something new. Will I never change? Not sure .....

A friend of mine is pregnant and her colleagues are throwing her a baby shower. As this is on another continent, participating in person was not really an option. Making a baby quilt, was of course an option. My colleague had space in her suitcase to take a gift back home, and I had two evenings to get the quilt done. Buying something was out, as by the time we were done with our meetings the shops were closed. Having a stock of baby cotton fabrics at home helps, especially as I am not supposed to buy new fabrics and am to use my stash. Or how do I justify making new projects without finishing the WIPs.

As time was limited, and because I wanted to make something different from the last two baby quilts, I decided to cut 5" squares and lay them randomly, alternating with white fabric. For the back I used this oh so cute pink fabric with birds. For the quilting I made wavy stripes going diagonally across the quilt. The first evening I cut the squares and sew them together. The second evening I did the quilting and the binding. I finished at 12.30 at night. At 11 PM I was debating with myself if I should finish or not ... and then decided to go for finishing. Otherwise I would have to mail the quilt, not knowing if the quilt would arrive in time.

The end result is a cute girly baby quilt.