Christmas in August?

August is here, the sun is shining, and the craft room is getting full.

The quillow is steadily being hand basted (people keep telling me that I could have it sent away to be quilted, but what would the point in that be?! Maybe in the future when I have some spare pennies, and don’t fancy hours and hours of hand stitching. It is a challenge.)

The cardigan is still making me scared, which is very silly.

I have multiple items in the craft room to complete. Story of my life.

What I did make recently was some festive bunting, because who doesn’t love a it of Christmas in summer right? I went along to Tea & Tents, a Women’s Institute festival near Nottingham recently. There was a competition to decorate your campsite, so we went with Christmas. Yeay! There were gaudy decorations, a santa outfit and even Secret Santa. I made some little Santa bunting, because I had no clue what to purchase for the Secret Santa.

So here he is enjoying my fireplace and log basket:

santa on fire

and the back

candy canes

See that bronze horse? We found him down the back of the chimney when we were giving the fireplace a clean. That was a pleasant surprise during a very dirty job!

Ramona

I can’t say the name of this cardigan pattern without thinking of ‘Cold Feet‘. Annoying!

Aside from the name of the pattern,  I like it. Having knitted one sleeve, am somewhat avoiding starting the next one as as some point while transporting the knitting about I managed to drop the stitches. Am keeping my fingers crossed that I managed to pick them all back up and don’t end up having one arm thinner and holier than the other. Anyhoo, here I am so far…

Not sure if the sleeve is a little short. Doesn’t look too bad in the pictures, but maybe because the boy is very tall so it could be the angle. Will knit the next sleeve and see how we go.

Quilting progress

So the quilt top got stitched together to make an (almost) square, and I squeezed another (almost) square out of the remaining navy and red cotton I had…

And I basted it together and started to stitch, starting in the middle:

Quillow central block

Which is all very nice, but my goodness, hand stitching is hard work. Especially as I recently shortened some curtains, again by hand. Yawn. And in the summer weather, sitting with a big quilt on me is hot work! So Ms Quillow has been enjoying laying on the blanket box, which almost hides how ugly it is:

blanket box quilt cover

The only issue with this is that  every now and then a pin falls out or the cat decides to jump on it and gets a nasty surprise. You’d think he would learn.

And on the left hand side is my one armed cardigan. Progress!

Purple cardigan

The purple cable knit jumper was too much for me. I got up to the armpit and realised I’d cast on the wrong number of stitches so unravelled, again. Heartbreaking. It was definitely time to give that pattern a rest.

So I gave up on knitting for a while. Then I discovered ‘Craftsy’ and this really easy knitted cardigan pattern appeared. It’s called’ ‘Ramona‘ by The Brown Stitch. I have been working on this for a month or so, and I’m pretty happy with how it’s coming along so far.

purpel cardi measuring band

 

Here’s the cardi today, being measured for length next to another purple cardigan. Can you guess my favourite colour?

I think I can get cracking on the ribbing and then get started on the arms. They’re knitted in the round, so hopefully I can master this technique and have a new cardigan by September. Hurray!

 

Quiltspiration

I stayed at my friends this weekend and she has just finished the most amazing hexagon quilt. It’s all bright colours with velvet and wool patches in some places. It has given me the much needed boost to get mine finished. Yesterday, I put on the borders to my squares to make them a bit more uniform, and this evening I stitched the rows together. And watch the Sewing bee. Best evening ever!!!

I’ve been making this quilt for about a hundred years, but I still absolutely love my squares. (Even if I still can’t take a good picture – my camera broke and took any chance of getting a good pic any time in the near future…) I think that’s a very good sign for the future of this quilt!

stars

Every night IS craft night…

Now that I have a dedicated craft room!

OK, it’s a spare bedroom, but it has ample space for my sewing machine to live and all of my sewing and knitting books to be arranged on the shelves. Hurray! There are some perks to becoming a home owner. The perks don’t cancel out the fear of the house falling down, but it makes it all worth while. And I have a view of horses in the field from my sewing room window. Lovely.

Tonight I have just finished making a toile of V8766 and learning about fit with Lynda Maynard’s ‘Sew the perfect fit’ on Craftsy. Lynda makes everything feel quite straight forward and do-able. I think I’ve even identified the first set of issues with my toile and am not afraid to put them right.

v8766  back view

You can’t see from the pic, but the sleeves are too wide at the shoulder and need bringing in, and there is a bit of drag on my ass, so more fabric is required there. The bust points are a tad high, so I will be taking them down a smidgeon. I can’t tell if it’s bad pinning (my assistant is not an enthusiastic assistant) or if there is way too much fabric on the side seams. I will take the dress home to mother and see if she can assist.

So there we have it, new home, new dress attempt. Once I’ve figured out my fit issues, I will return to the beloved Emery and make the dress of my dreams. Oh yes I will!

Emery dress

Here we are, the pattern I have been reading about for so long, and finally got round to ordering.

It’s so exciting! And yet potentially frustrating, but I’m working on channelling that into ‘joy of learning’. I went to the shop last weekend and bought myself some tracing paper and a tracing wheel, so that I could make myself a nice copy of the pattern and make many, as it seems to be a pattern which I could make loads of, once I’ve figured out the fit.

I traced and cut out my pattern pieces on Saturday, whizzed them together yesterday, and have been ‘fitting’ today. I say ‘fitting’, but it’s quite hard to fit with the only person available to pin me into the dress is my dearly beloved. Hater of pins, hater of potentially pinning my skin! Still, he made a good start at learning to pin me in, and only made the back of the dress look partially like a crumpled piece of paper:

 

Emery back 1

It’s very tight at the waist, which I suppose is making the rest of the back scrunch up: I should have graded the waist out to fit the larger size of the bottom half. Hopefully if that’s sorted it will be less bunched up. And also that my lessons in pinning with be remembered tomorrow…

Here it is from the front:

 

OK, well the fit isn’t a million miles off. The bust darts are too long by an inch, so I have now taken them out and re drawn them ready for testing tomorrow.

There is a large seam allowance, so I’m wondering if I could take that out and see if that makes a difference to the waist and back sagging? Who knows, let’s find out.

I will add in a sleeve tomorrow too. This will be my first sleeve insertion, so that should be fun!