Friday, 30 November 2012

A Modern Merlin?!

I started on this Lisette Portfolio top back in September when I was eager to try out my new dress-making scissors (which are awesome by the way!)

I was using a very thin cord as I wanted a top that would be perfect for winter wear - I like my layers! - and went for contrasting pockets which, okay no-one else is going to see but me, but it's a bit of fun!

The pattern is quite straightforward to follow. And I loved how the pockets come together. The main issue that I had was with fitting the yoke to the top - the central section was too big by nearly 5/8" on each side! After doing lots of double checks of all my seams and re-reading the instructions a few times I resorted to the blogosphere. I found that quite a few people had experienced this issue so I chopped off the excess and carried on as normal. I also made a minor adjustment to the instructions for the button loops - the cord was just too thick to turn inside out so I folded it up like bias binding and then top-stitched.

I used some small black buttons and my top was finally done. Ta-da!
Lisette Portfolio by fabric&flowers

I have to confess that its a little snugger than I thought it would be. The ease on the pattern envelope suggested that I would be swimming in it and I took quite a while deliberating which size to actually go for (I went for a 10 in the end). In reality the dress fits well, which I suspect is partly down to using a cord fabric which is a little bit 'sticky' and hasn't got a lot of flow due to it's thickness.
Lisette Portfolio by fabric&flowers

And I do love my secret surprise pockets. Perfect for all those tissues that I'll be needing for the sniffle season! The gathering around the neck is such a clever detail - I'm not sure that I'd ever go for contrasting fabrics as per the pattern suggestion as it's a bit bold for my own dress sense, but I might well be a bit more adventurous with my fabric choices next time I do this pattern
Lisette Portfolio by fabric&flowers

And this is how I'll probably wear it, layered up with a scarf!
Lisette Portfolio by fabric&flowers

Because of using the cord fabric I spend quite a lot of time cutting out the excess fabric, and even modified the sleeve construction so as to reduce the amount of thickness that was there.

When I first modelled it for Mr f&f he did admit to thinking that it looked like I was going to be an extra for Merlin! Still I'm going to believe that Merlin is actually Modern and wear it with pride anyway!


Todays sky ● overcast. Boo!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Patchwork cushion

It's a ta-dah post today!

I started this cushion quite a while ago now, back in July when I started basting the hexagons on a train journey into London.
I'm quite new to patchwork but really wanted to have a go at making a modern-ish cushion. I have noticed that there is quite a debate about modern patchwork, and what makes it so: is it the colours/contrast within the quilt? the layout? or something else? I am equally drawn to both, I generally tend towards the more muted colours (I'm just not brave enough to play with lots of bright colours/contrasting prints, I worry too much about it just looking wrong!) but I like the modern spin on things. So I thought I'd give it a go.

I used a charm pack that I'd picked up on holiday to make my hexagons, which is quite a muted palette and I was keen to have a go at some hand stitching too. After a bit of pondering, I got to thinking the hexagons in the shape of a heart motif could look good. But it didn't work out...
In retrospect, if I'd rotated the hexagons it would have been much easier to make a heart shape, so it might be something that I revisit at some point, but by the time I'd realised that I'd fussy cut some of the pieces and sewn too many together to consider unpicking it all!!!

After putting it in the naughty corner for a little bit I eventually kept adding hexagons until I had a rectangle before appliqueing it on to some backing fabric and doing some running stitches around the outer hexagons in a dark brown perle cotton.
This took me a l-o-n-g time! I'm still not sure that my stitches are completely even but I did my best and I think that it really is a case of practice makes perfect so I'll just have to keep on doing more sewing!

I don't know what it is with making cushions, but I always feel that they look more finished if they have piping or something around the border. I still had over half the charm pack left and looking at the measurements of the cushion a scrappy binding seemed to be the perfect solution.

So the other Sunday after a big roast dinner and with miserable weather outside, the Littlie were more than happy to sit and watch a film which gave me the perfect opportunity to sit at the dining room table, piece together my binding and sew my cushion together. Ohhhh, it was perfect: listening to the Littlies giggling at the film (Puss in Boots) whilst sewing and looking out at the garden.
It didn't take long to do the binding and have it all finished.....Ta Dah!!!
Patchwork cushion by fabric&flowers

I need to get a bigger cushion insert to make it a bit more pouffy I think, but am so happy with how it's come out. The colours are definitely truer in the pictures below. 

I fussy cut some of the hexagons, especially as some of them say 'buttons', 'threads' and 'spool' which seemed somewhat appropriate! 

So there we go, my attempt at a modern patchwork pillow with traditional colours. I'm not sure that it's necessarily achieved true modernism but I think it has a little bit of a modern spin, what do you think?

And just to let you know, I'm finally all caught up with my sky blanket (if we ignore all those pesky ends!). Yipppeeeeee!!!! I did do a little dance and for the past couple of days I've only had to do one row at a time.....unfortunately, they've been mostly drab and miserable colours!

See you soon,

S x

Todays sky ● grey, wet and miserable again

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Better Late than Never part 2: the Knitting and Stitching Show

I can't believe that it's been over a month since I had a couple of nights away to go to the Knitting & Stitching Show in London.

My friend and I had booked tickets ages ago and knowing that we were moving, we decided to get a train from Cardiff so it was all a bit of an adventure really!

It was a crazy long day. We caught a train from Cardiff around 7am in the morning and didn't arrive back until near 8pm!

The show itself was great fun. By the time we'd walked up the hill leading to Alexander Palace the weather was quite cheery and the view over London Town was incredible and so far reaching

Inside, it was another matter: lots of stalls, amazing fabric and fibres and millions (okay, a slight exaggeration, but it was a lot!) of people. All a bit crazy and overwhelming!

I had a few things on my wish list - rotary cutter blade, dresden template and Sewline Glue Pen (I know, all quite boring really!) - and kept my eyes open for other goodies.....which of course I managed to find!

One of the first things I bought was a small fabric bundle of off-cuts which I've already started to do some patchwork with and showed you the other day
Spring Carnival by fabric&flowers

It gave me an opportunity to try out the glue pen, which I have to say is fab!!!! I've seen it mentioned on a few other blogs and they really are handy. You use it like a normal glue stick, and it goes on blue so that you can see which bits are already sticky. I'll have to report back on how easy it is to removed the papers at a later date but I have high hopes. I've had to redo a few sections of the patchwork since I've taken the above photo's as I have such limited fabric that it really is down to the wire but I've just about been able to make it work!!!!!

I also found some fantastic Christmas fabric which is quite modern, whilst including the traditional words often seen during this time (it's Countdown to Christmas by Sweetwater for Moda). The other night I had a play at making a block using this tutorial which I think is going to be the centre-piece of a table runner for the Christmas table this year. That's the plan, anyway!
Wonky Star block by fabric&flowers

I also picked up a few other bits and pieces which I've not yet photographed, as I'm keeping some of them under wraps for secret Christmas present making!!!

I hope you've all had a good day and had slightly better weather than me - it's been thoroughly miserable here!!!

S x

Todays sky ● grey, wet, miserable. Meh!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Better Late than Never part 1: September and October in crochet

To say I'm a bit late in posting this seems a little bit of an understatement (and a pointing out of the blindingly obvious!) given that we're now over halfway through November. For now, I've decided to go with the mantra 'better late than never' as I've finally managed to largely catch-up and I really wanted to show you all how it's coming along.

This second half of the blanket is getting big now and I have to confess to feeling a bit nervous about having decided to crochet a 7 day's going to take a while to do each day I think. Ah well, will just have to make sure to keep the Christmas chocolates nearby to keep the energy levels up!!!

September was a variable month....some glorious days early on, followed by more cloudy and overcast days. There were also some stunning sunsets along the way.



And in crochet....
Sky Blanket by fabric&flowers
Sky Blanket by fabric&flowers

With moving at the end of September, October really did rush by in a blur of new routines, trying to remember which cupboard we'd squirreled things away in and finding our way in a new area. It's been lots of fun and we are slowly getting there! The views we have from our house make me feel very privileged and the sunrises and sunsets have been truly stunning! Some people (Elizabeth & Lynne!) have suggested I do a sunrise/sunset blanket next year: I 'm sure that it would look stunning but some of these photo's were taken at 6am on a Sunday due to Littlies waking up and I do dream of one day having lie-ins so I may put that idea on the back burner for now.....!!!!!



Showing these pictures reminds me that I haven't yet shared my trip to the Knitting and Stitching show with you, I'll have to do that very soon: it was such a great day out and there were some stunning quilts on display. I also purchased a few little things!

I did seem to miss a lot of daytime sky pictures for October, but looking at the blanket, it was fairly average. And you see all the beige, overcast miserable days towards the end of the month there? That was half term!
Sky blanket by fabric&flowers

I was taking these pictures by the patio doors because the weather was so miserable today and Little Boy couldn't resist helping me to stage my photo.....
Sky blanket by fabric&flowers

See you all soon with some news from the Knitting and Stitching show!

S x

Todays sky ● overcast and misty. Properly miserable!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

This week has been mostly about...

...playing hooky catch-up! What with the move I'd fallen behind (by nearly a month at one point - eek!) but have now finished October and am starting on November. Yay!

But wowsers, those ends have gotten away from me again! There's going to have to be a lot of darning of ends done soon - I've got some long car journeys coming up when I think this will be the perfect activity! Hopefully I'll get some full blanket pictures for you (ends and all!) later in the week

...finishing up a patchwork cushion I'd started a little while ago with some scrappy binding. I'm really pleased with how this came out and am looking forward to doing a proper ta-da on it as I did go on a bit of a journey with it!

...starting another EPP project! I found patchwork really theraputic so with a small bundle of fabric that I'd picked up at the Knitting and Stitching Show and my new fabric glue pen (which is awesome!) I made a start on another project using Katy's Spring Carnival pattern

I cut and prepped some of the pieces on Thursday night and this is where I've got to so far. So much fun!

...having family fun on a day trip to Monmouth yesterday (one of my favourite places!) and another family walk today, enjoying the glorious sunshine that we've been having

I hope that you've all had a lovely weekend too, 


Todays sky ● beautifully blue

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Celebrating Autumn

I love Autumn. Spring's a close second, but Autumn tops my list: they're both seasons of in-betweens with the promise of opportunities, but Autumn has the rich changing colour of leaves, and a slight chill to the air which gives you pink cheeks when you're out for a walk, as well as the opportunity to wear some of the many hats/scarfs/hand warmers that I've knitted up over the years!!!

The week before half term we were walking back on quite a mild afternoon. Looking at all the pretty leaves that had fallen, I remembered reading of different ways of preserving leaves so we set to collecting as many as we could

Once home, we sorted through the leaves and kept only those that looked to be in the best condition 

They were then soaked for a few days in a mix of glycerine and water, although I used a big bowl because I had quite a few leaves!

After about 4 days, I drained the leaves off and then layered them between pieces of kitchen towel to dry them before they were ready to be made into a garland.

I threaded them all on to a length of twine, varying the distance, length, colour and types of leaf to give as much variation as possible. It was lots of fun if not a bit more time consuming than I'd imagined!
But I'm so happy with how they came out! They are a garland of pure whimsy: a celebration of autumn hanging above my kitchen window: something that makes me smile each time I walk into the ktichen.

They've been there nearly two weeks now and some of them are starting to curl a little. But once I've taken them down I'm hoping that I'll be able to flatten them and bring them out again next year. This was such an easy and fun project to do with the Littlies and I think is probably my first attempt at a Pretty Crafty Home in our new house.

I hope you're having a lovely autumnal day!

S x

Todays sky ● blue with clouds

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