Thursday, 27 September 2012

New Beginnings

You may have noticed that I've been alluding to 'changes afoot' in the f&f household for a while now. It's been quite a long journey - if I'm honest a little bit too long. We decided back at the beginning of the year that we would like to move and we had the opportunity to look at lots of different areas which led us to thinking that we would make a Big Move. Ohhh, we looked far and wide I can tell you! Spent way too many hours travelling around viewing beautiful parts of the country and deciding that no, it just wasn't quite right for us. The Littlies were fairly tolerant of it all (look mummy there's a house, shall we have a look at it?!) although it did require lots of in-car bribery (and consequential cleaning of the car). Eventually, in March we happened across a little place - with the glorious magnolia trees - and amazingly we bought a house. I like to think its meant to be.

It's taken a while to come together as we bought a house off plan when it was at foundation level, and as you can tell from the sky blanket the weather was not always conducive to laying bricks!

Finally our new house is ready for us to move in too and today our life's belongings were packed into the back of a lorry. It does scare me slightly that despite the fact that I think we have waaaay too much stuff and struggle to keep my house in order we barely filled three quarters of a removals' van!

We're moving over 100 odd miles to the West of England to make a new home in Gloucestershire. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was feeling nervous as well as very excited: saying goodbye to lots of good friends, taking Little Girl away from her school and moving further away from Mr f&f's parents. All Big Things that we've thought about long and hard. Although there is still a little bit that wonders 'are we doing the right thing?' we feel we are doing the best for our little family, and hopefully time will show this.

My sky view is going to change from this...

to this.....

I love our little garden - its very private with lots of mature trees so it's going to be very strange having such a wide and unbroken view across fields. I do love those hills in the background though, aren't they amazing? I reckon that there may be some spectacular sunsets to come.

Things might be a little bit slow over the next few weeks as we're going to be without broadband for a little while - gasp! Although I'll probably be too busy unpacking boxes to sew/crochet/knit much!?!

Hopefully I'll see you soon on the other side with a more organised house and raring to go with the Pretty Crafty Home challenge as I've still got a few months left!

See you soon,


Today's sky • blue with clouds

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Feeling lucky

Oooohhhh, look at that: nearly a whole weeks' gone by! Time does seem to be passing very quickly at the moment.

Things have been very busy and hectic here in the f&f household, there's some changes afoot which are requiring lots of organisation (which is not my strongest skill - the creative and organised gene definitely skipped me!) and whispers I also had a birthday last week - a whole year older although I'm not sure a whole year wiser?!

I had a lovely day and felt very spoilt and lucky to have so many great and creative friends and family. I got some lovely hand-crafted gifts: a chain of crochet flowers which I've draped over the notice board in the kitchen. Anything to brighten the shopping list!

And can you see the beautiful turquoise flower up in the corner there? That was the gift tag(!) handmade by another friend who also made this wonderful card. I cannot imagine the time it took her to make this and really treasure it.

I was also lucky enough to get some fabric goodies - the much anticipated Hexa go-go with a fat quarter of some Pretty Little Things in one of my favourite colours. I'm thinking maybe a hexagon cushion once I've had a bit of a read. I also made a solo trip (in daylight hours - gasp! I turned the music up loud!!!) to the local fabric store: they run a loyalty scheme and I'd spent too much money and qualified for a voucher so I treated myself to a William Morris charm pack - there's something about the prints and colours that make my heart sing - and some co-ordinating Moda solids. My plan is to make a lap quilt for the lounge and I started off thinking hexagons but now I'm leaning towards a fan quilt as I reckon it will help the charm pack go further (aka make a bigger quilt!)

Looking at this though, it does look very autumnal doesn't it? I guess I'll have to crack on and then make a spring quilt as well?!

My final sewing related present were some proper dress-making scissors: I've been making do with cheap, do everything scissors for a while now but given my recent forays into dress-making I figured that some decent scissors would make the cutting-out process a whole lot easier. And look what went and happened.....I ended up cutting out my Portfolio Tunic whilst trying them out. Oops! I've even been a bit adventurous and I'm going to have a go at using the paisley fabric for some cheeky pocket lining!

And to top off all of my exciting presents I got a new purple camera. Did I mention that it's purple? And that I got a purple case to put my purple camera in?!?! I've only had a little play with it so far (not yet read the instruction leaflet) but it's F-A-B and I'm loving it!!!

I hope you've all had a great week and hope to see you soon, 

S x

Todays sky ● blue sky with some clouds. A beautiful day!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Clearing the sewing decks

Ooohhh, it's been a while since I first started on my Lisette Continental Blouse back in June.

I'm trying to sort out my craft space, and one of my goals is to finish off all of those WIPs/alterations/refashions that are hanging around. The Continental Blouse was at the top of my list - I love the fabric and we're just coming into the right season for wearing a long-sleeved top. And my wardrobe definitely needs some new items!

Although I'm only a little way into my clothes making journey compared to many I'm finding myself to be much more critical with the fit of my self-made clothes and honest about whether or not I will actually wear it once finished. If I can I will often check out finished items that other people have made and read through their comments and thoughts on the pattern construction and fit.

Before starting this top I'd read a few different reviews from people who had had made their size and had a brilliant fit whereas others commented that the next time they would probably go down a size. I also found this which actually meant I'd need to go up a couple of sizes which seemed crazy given the amount of ease there is in the pattern.

In the end I decided on a size 10, and I got pretty much most of it done in that first weekend and then everything ground to a halt: I made a couple of mistakes on the seam allowance, had some other commitments and to be honest I wasn't too happy with the fit and lost a bit of momentum.

I'm a bit of a naughty sewer and my finished top-to-be was also my muslin (gasp!) so once I tried it on I noticed a couple of things about the fit: around the hips it was fine but very swingy around my top half, the bust darts were a bit high up, the sleeves were very big and it felt quite snug under the arm. So I set to with the seam ripper and ended up making quite a few adjustments;

✿ Lowering the armstyce by 1/4" from the edge to the first marker
✿ Lowered the bust dart by 3/4" (I know that I've had 3 children but still, even in my teens I'm not sure that I was ever that....errr......pert!!!)
✿ Taking a 1/4" off the side seam from the underarm down to the waist
✿ Taking a 1/4" off the sleeve seam
✿ I also added a couple of inches to the length of the tunic and the sleeves

And this is how it ended up looking

So details
Pattern::: Lisette Continental Blouse 2059, size 10
Fabric::: 2m of Swallows Grey by Katie Kandles (Cotton, £3.49pm)
Mods::: all detailed above

I am so pleased with it and glad I took the extra time to make all the adjustments: I feel really happy wearing it and can see myself getting lots of use from it over the coming autumn/winter (I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and knowing that there are still things that I could have done to make it fit better would just niggle me and it would have sat in the wardrobe unworn!)

Having figured out how to fit it properly I can see myself making more of these, maybe some plain with some detail on it (I've got an idea!) or out of a softer more fluid fabric. The only other amendments that I think I would make would be to cut a size 8 for the top middle section of the back - it has a very slight gape on this top - nothing horrendous but having it the next size down would just give an even better fit I think.

Now on to the next thing to clear my sewing decks, rather than starting the Lisette Portfolio Tunic which I'm desperate to try out!!!!

S x

Todays sky ● overcast

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Sending a hug

I don't know about you, but in a world of increasing technology, being busy with a young family and living some distance from a lot of my good friends and family I will quite often find myself saying/writing/texting "I'm sending you a big hug". It's not as good as just being able to pop round and give them a hug but goes some way towards letting them know that if I lived round the corner I would be round in a shot doing just that kind of thing.

Recently, my mum's not been feeling very well and living nearly a two hour drive away it's not very easy for me to just pop in. However, Friday last week something was arranged very last minute for me to make a solo trip on Sunday. I wanted to take something with me and decided that a decent sized lap quilt that could be wrapped around you (just like a hug) would be perfect. I still had some fabric left over from my Jelly Roll quilt so I could start immediately and it was even a little stash busting to boot. Excellent!

So Friday afternoon, around 3pm I started chaining piecing all my squares together, and by bedtime I'd managed to get all 56 squares sewn together in a 8x7 formation.

Saturday I woke up early and decided that the quilt top just wouldn't be quite big enough and to add a cream sash and then a small border around the outside using some of the jelly roll strips that I had left.

I used the same cream fabric as the sashing for the back of the quilt and spent quite a lot of time pinning my three layers into place to try and avoid any puckering, and do you know what? It pretty much worked, although trying to keep a hold of my pins once Littlest Boy learnt what I was doing was a different matter entirely....!!!!! I kept the quilting very simple - diagonal lines crossing through the corners of each square.

Sunday morning saw me rising early to sew on the binding before hand sewing it in to place. I took the quilt with me to my folks house but had to bring it home to finish the last side. So today a courier has safely delivered my hug.

Would you like to see how it looked in the end?
Sending a Hug Quilt by fabric&flowers

It's not perfect - I eyeballed my quilting and some of the lines are not completely straight. And because it was done quickly I hadn't entirely thought about the border so not all of the small squares match up to the big squares, but I guess it's reflective of me as a person and maybe that will make my Mum smile as I'm giving her a virtual hug? Lots of enthusiasm but not entirely thought through!!!!

I love how despite using completely the same fabrics as for my jelly roll quilt it has such a different feel because of the larger blocks of fabric and lighter sash/binding.
Quilts by fabric&flowers
Quilts by fabric&flowers 

I thought you'd all be amused to see what happens when you're trying to take some pictures of a quilt and the Littlies suddenly realise what you're up to.....
Quilt by fabric&flowers
Quilt by fabric&flowers

...and my favourite shot: two Little Boys giggling their heads off whilst I'm snapping away!
Sending a Hug quilt by fabric&flowers

So, details...

Fabric::: October Skies: 56 x 6" squares, jelly roll strips and some cream fabric for sashing/backing
Pattern::: made up! Squares laid out in an 8x7 block, surrounded with a 2" sash and 2" squares for the border
Finished quilt::: 51" x 45"

And because I know that they sometimes read this I'm also sending a lot of heartfelt thanks to Mr f&f and his parents who occupied the Littlies whilst I was on my quilting mission, and stopped my pins, scissors and carefully laid out fabric from going too awry!

Do you ever send a hug to someone? Or maybe even get sent one? It's got me thinking about the opportunity of a Send a Hug swap......

S x

Todays sky ● glorious blue!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

August in crochet

A few days late with this - I was all geared up to write a post on the 1st of the month but ended up making a quilt over the weekend (yep, you read right! More on this soon) which delayed my crocheting of the sky for the 31st August. 

It's not been the best August for weather but some of the skies that we've had have been quite phenomenal and so changeable over the course of a day (or sometimes even a few hours!). On the 5th of August I took these pictures as I was fascinated by the fact that one way was dark grey, billowy clouds and then if I turned 180 degrees there was a brilliant shock of blue breaking through.

We have had some nice blue skies though but it has mostly felt quite autumnal. I've even noticed some of the leaves starting to turn already which seems so early compared to previous years. 

So, enough of my waffling and sky pictures! Here's August in crochet......
Sky Blanket by fabric&flowers

Sky Blanket by fabric&flowers

Looking at the second half of the blanket (from 28th June at the bottom through to the 1st Sept at the top - the long tails indicate the start of the month) I can now see that July was a much nicer month than I gave it credit for at the time.....the benefit of hindsight and all that!

As you can see, I've fallen behind with my ends again, which seems to be a bit of a theme for this blanket I've noticed. Ah well, that's tonight sorted out then!

Thanks for popping in and all the interest I've had in the sky blanket. I've only just realised that I'm nearly three quarters of the way through....I'm so looking forward to putting the two halves of the blanket together to see 2012 in it's entirety! I hope you're having a lovely day wherever you are,

S x

Todays sky ● overcast, although this morning it was brilliant blue!

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