Thursday 3 October 2013

Autumn Woodland

I am catching up with my Woodland Sampler this week. So excited to see the little falling oak leaves appear for the October block. The October block will also feature an owl!!!! This is possibly my favorite of the Woodland Sampler months, so I'll be working on it any moment I can until it is done :) There will also be a pair of hedgehogs frolicking in the maple leaves for September.

Off for my walk now, need to see the autumn colors for real.

Wednesday 2 October 2013

WIP Wednesday

So far this week I am trying my best to be productive. My plan at the moment is to work at a bit of everything all at once. I'm currently knitting socks, cross stitching samplers and piecing a new quilt. This way I don't get stuck if I loose interest in any activity. Having a back-up plan means I am less likely to slip back into my skin picking. I had been pretty bad last week and am really really trying to improve on that front. So... more making of the things, yes!

This morning I *finally* finished a month of my Woodland Sampler! The July block is literally all there is so far, but I'm really hoping to get September and October stitched up before October ends. The previous sections will likely have to wait until their month rolls around next year. I'm enjoying living in the right season right now, and don't want to work on Summer until the season feels right.

I'm making a birthday quilt for myself. Bear Paw blocks in my current favorite colors with a low volume background. I have pieced nine so far with lots more in progress. I'd love to finish this quilt top by Halloween and then hand quilt it during the colder weather. I'll be making 29 bear paws, as I am 29 now. With one blank block for a 5 x 6 layout. I work on this mostly at night when it's too dark to cross stitch.

I have a pair of socks for Dan on my circular needles, and a pair for myself on my dpns. They generally get worked on in bed just before sleeping time. I hope to actually finish both pairs in the next week or so.


Saturday 28 September 2013

Farmer's Wife Catch-up, and R'lyeh

As soon as I saw this canning jar block I absolutely had to make one for my Farmer's Wife quilt. I have officially left the book now, and intend to make any 6" block I fancy until I reach my goal of 63 blocks. Currently on 24, I think. I also stitched up this mini  Sparkle block using a Sarah Jane pirate ship print I bought in London. I'd like to have a go at a few paper pieced blocks for this quilt too, but feeling just a little intimidated by paper piecing at this point. I have a few patterns printed out I intend to practice with though, so hopefully there will be progress there soon.

Last night I taught myself to knit two socks at once on a circular needle. It's not perfect yet, but I'm still rather impressed. Waiting for longer needle to arrive and I'll have another go.

My brother came to visit yesterday and gifted me this rather fantastic painting of R'lyeh, complete with hand finished frame. I love it. I also really really appreciate the fact that it is framed as I am really really bad at finding frames for things myself.

Friday 27 September 2013

Birthday Treats and Cozy Stitches

Yesterday was my birthday. Dan and I had spent the last few days in London as a joint birthday treat and we had a fantastic time. Highlights include... the London Dungeon. Birthday fabric treats from The Village Haberdashery, gluten free chili with sweet potato and cornbread from  The Little House Kitchen Camden Market. Gosh brownie with ice-cream from Cookies and Scream Camden. Paella in Covent Garden. Pumpkin Spice Latte. Yo! Sushi (especially the chocolate mochi!) New New Rocks. New epic sock yarn.

Mostly food related, as always. I spent yesterday working away at the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Autumn Sampler, with fresh coffee and a pumpkin spice candle to set the cozy mood. I also ventured out to the post depot to pick up a parcel, which turned out to be my Modern Irish Quilter's swap package from the lovely Sarah. She made me an absolutely perfect pincushion with hand pieced hexagons. The back has a beautiful linen print I've always loved but never owned a piece of. And she even include some lovely fabric scraps and gluten free chocolate. Perfect!

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Super Happy Floss Day!

My cross stitching supplies arrived today :) Spent a joyous afternoon winding 56 tiny little bobbins full of pure happiness. I love my floss stash so much. All of them are DMC. The smaller bobbin boxes are tiny little clip-lock containers and the bigger boxes are reclaimed cotton bud tubs. (We get through a ridiculous amount of cotton buds around here.) I have almost everything I need here to complete the three Frosted Pumpkin samplers I'm working on. Plus a secret project I'll probably share shortly (so if you can guess what it is please don't say!) Just need to choose a metallic for the Woodland Sampler.

I'm using linen for both my Woodland and Autumn samplers. I started the frames for the Autumn piece today and am finding working with linen perfectly lovely. Nowhere near as intimidating as I had feared and it looks truly beautiful. I may never want to use aida again!

I'm trying to be a lot more productive these days. Having a fresh hobby to work on is exactly what I need right now and I am so grateful to the fantastic designers who inspire me to keep threading my needles and dreaming my dreams.

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Hello Autumn!

I'm determined to make the most of every day right now. Mostly, I have been cross stitching my Halloween Sampler, and am pleased to report that I have finished the lace border section. Really, ridiculously in love with this, and cannot wait to receive the next portion of the pattern in a few days time. I love cross stitching so much that I have decided to take on the 2013 Woodland Sampler too. Impatiently waiting for the supplies for that one so I can get started.

I made a big zippy pouch for the snap frame I stitch my stitches in. I've been using an 11" by 17" frame that I've had for years. Glad to finally make use of it. I like having the large area to stitch on at home, but I have ordered a new 8" hoop which should be more travel friendly.

Snap frame case has cute little pockets inside for stashing floss and tools.

Stitching my stitches.

My main machine is in the shop this week for a bit of TLC, so all of the sewn items shown here were sewn on my tiny Brother machine. I had never attempted to sew a zip on that machine before, so I'm pretty pleased with it. The Noodlehead Divided Basket was a bit more challenging without a walking foot, but still turned out beautifully. I used Essex Yarn Dyed Linen and Briar Rose fabrics, and added a back patch pocket.

I'm using it to hide a couple of sock pairs in progress.

Hope to have my main machine back soon. And my huge delivery of embroidery supplies. I'm also plotting plans for the Modern Irish Quilter's pincushion swap. Today, I'm going to catch up with some hand quilting before the cross stitch fever hits again.

Friday 23 August 2013

Rules Reset

Hello there! I'm still here, just working on important personal stuff and not able to handle much internet at the moment. I just wanted to pop in to mention a new love... cross stitching! I haven't tried to cross stitch since I was a small child, but the adorably fantastic patterns at The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery have completely converted me. I had been meaning to sign up to one of their clubs all year, but keep forgetting in time to start with everyone else. I do realize I can stitch any of the finished sampler clubs at any time, but the element of surprise (and the whole 'being in a club' thing) is totally part of the appeal. So I signed up for both the Autumn Sampler and the Halloween Spooky Sampler and I am so so excited about both! I have started with the Halloween Sampler as the patterns to fill in the squares will be arriving for this one first. I really enjoyed picking out my threads from our local haberdashery yesterday. Being able to shop local for all my supplies was amazing. Then last night Dan helped me to get started with the actual stitching!

I do find it pretty hard to count the spacings, especially before I have a reference point, and I have made a few mistakes so far. But I am systematically picking out the errors and replacing them with accurately placed stitchy goodness, and I am really really enjoying it :)

That might just be a finished Swoon quilt, in use and much loved already. Technically it is missing about 4" of hand quilting, which I'll get around to fixing shortly. Almost all my hand-quilted quilts end up missing just a few stitches where my thread ran out and I forgot to go back and finish the area.

I have been making a lot of progress with my dermatillomania control lately. I managed to not pick for an entire 7 days, the longest ever for me. Really really proud of that. I've not managed a gap of more than two days since but I am working on it. Its a huge (really really huge) effort to keep from doing something that is so much a part of every activity, but I do feel optimistic about my long term goals to lessen and stop completely.

Unfortunately, I have developed 'floaty craft syndrome'. I cannot sew at all right now. I'm still excited about my sewing, just cannot concentrate on any one project for long. I have tried knitting (and currently have socks on my needles for both Dan and myself), but even that is too intrinsically linked with derma. Hence the cross stitchery. It's really really helping :) Interestingly, it is also making my feel more excited about sewing. I'm planning to sew Noodlehead's Divided Basket this weekend, as a home for my stitchy projects.

My main machine really needs a tune-up, so any sewing I do take on will be on the tiny Brother machine, but I think we can handle it :)

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Random Little Happenings

I haven't felt up to much blogging since returning from London. I have been sewing, but actully photographing my work and providing tangible evidence of activity defeats me at the moment. Really, I just want to sew and enjoy the summer. But I'll be updating when I can :)

I have four new Farmer's Wife blocks to share so far. Maybe more by the end of the week. I have ordered Sketch in black and white as my FW sashing, which I hope will look fantastic. Just need to settle on a cornerstone fabric now.

My Swoon hand quilting is going really well. I picked up much better quilting needles in London (Milward no.5 embroidery needles) as well as a new thimble and needle grabber, and I am now able to quilt entirely pain free. The limiting factor is now my eyesight and not my fingers! I don't feel like working on the Swoon everyday though, so I have a couple of smaller quilting projects on the go to. This 'Chubby Star' mini quilt has been made using the Strawberry Fields pattern by Sarah Fielke in Material Obsession. My copy of this book had a few errors in this particular pattern, but I have tested the corrections found here and I am pleased to find the block works perfectly. I'm planning to use this pattern to make a quilt from my Briar Rose stash (which arrived last week!)

Dan and I made pizza from (almost) scratch a few days ago. We used a gluten free bread mix that I don't like as bread. It made a delicious pizza base, with tomatoes from my parents garden, mozzarella and goat's cheese.

I figured the best way to fight holiday withdrawal is to plan another holiday, so Dan and I are going to London (TOGETHER!) in September :) Really looking forward to it.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Farmer's Wife Week Two

Frantically preparing for my trip to London right now, so this will probably be the last you will hear of me until I get back. Let's go look at the farm!

I have only had my Farmer's Wife book since last Monday, so technically week two is only just beginning, but I'm not supposed to be making any more blocks until I'm all packed and organised, so this will probably be it for the week. There is actually one more, but I'll save him for later. Totally addicted to making these :)

 Block 5 Bat Wing

 Block 6 Big Dipper

 Block 15 Buzzard's Roost

 Block 57 Morning

Week Two Blocks together.

Monday 15 July 2013

Fat Quarterly Retreat Sample Swap

Only a few days left until my trip to London for the Fat Quarterly Retreat. I'll be leaving home on Wednesday and spending Wednesday night at my sister's in Dublin, to catch my Thursday morning flight to London. I'm frantically working on last minute preparations for my classes at the moment, and finally have a few photos to share of my finished sample swap goodies :)

I made sewing cases for my group using this tutorial with a few adaptions. I also made one for myself which has been in regular use ever since, so I hope their recipients will find them useful too.

Exterior fabrics are Sarah Watson's Indian Summer prints. Linings and ties are Carolina Chambray and bindings are either an Architextures crosshatch or Mama Said Sew dictionary print.

Sewing case interior features a tiny pincushion, hexy needle-keeper and four pockets (vertical pocket has been divided into two), perfect for stashing hand-stitching supplies or embroidery tools.

My Swoon quilting epic is continuing, slowly but surely. Just two more blocks and the cornerstones to go! Feeling a wee bit overwhelmed by retreat prep, but looking forward to it very much.

Friday 12 July 2013

Farmer's Wife Friday

I started my Farmer's Wife project this week. I'm planning to do as many of the blocks as possible without using templates. I was planning to do them in the order listed in the book (alphabetically), but I changed my mind and am now working on whichever block appeals to me on the day. I struggled a bit with my fabric choices as I want this quilt to look scrappy and contain as many special fabrics as possible, but I need some limitations (rules) to guide my choices. I'm now fairly sure I'm going with the colours from Denyse Schmidt's Chicopee line, and so far I have included a piece of Chicopee in each block. The barn block drawing in the above photo is from Lori Holt's Quilty Barn Tutorial. I love her patchwork barns so much and will definitely be making one soon. Not sure yet whether it will have anything to do with the Farmer's Wife quilt though.

Block 1 Attic Windows. "The Wallpaper Out of Space".

Block 2 Autumn Tints. "September in Los Angeles".

Block 14 Butterfly at the Crossroads.

Block 31 Evening Star.

My first weeks blocks all together. 

I'm planning to make 100 blocks and set them all straight with some sort of small print/textured sashing. Need to make sure I buy enough of it once I figure out what it is. I attempted Block 5 Bat Wing this morning. It did not go well. Going to redraft and have another go soon. It is still very very hot here. Which would be absolutely fantastic if we were equipped with air conditioning or a fan, but we are not, and my sewing room is a very well insulated oven.