Wednesday, 12 July 2017

WOW: It's 'Shumper' Time Again!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
What do you think of this cosy merino wool jumper I'm showing off in the above pic? It's in a shade called "mulberry" which is supposed to be a masculine version of lavender, I think. I purchased this fetching knit for my long suffering DH 2 years ago. Actually I found it in a catalogue (I love catalogue shopping) and fell in love with it, but it was in the menswear section and I was supposed to be minimizing my walk in wardrobe, so I bought it for my DH, for him to wear over shirts in winter. I thought it was a great buy. But when it arrived, it was too big for him.

'I think it would look better on you' he said as he tried it on. And I couldn't disagree. My DH has impeccable taste.

So now I have a new favourite jumper. But you know how I hate to have a cold neck. And that means it's time to create another 'shumper' which is my own magical word for what happens when I insert a shirt collar into a jumper. I just look better in shirt collars. And look, I found this scrap of Fassett fabric and there's just enough for a cute collar. It was meant to be!

I can't wait to show it off when it's finished. I hope to make it up today.

What's Your WOW?

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

WOW: On the Hook Again

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Meet my new yarn stash! It's cold and gloomy down my way and whilst I don't have time to do anything other than my quilt WIP pile, I've made an exception for these cold nights. It's too much strain for my eyes to work on my applique at night. This is also why I don't read at night anymore either, both activities give me a headache. Although I have a crafting daylight lamp, I find it perks me wide awake...which makes going to bed hard. So I need a new activity for these long cold evenings that's calming and doesn't require too much eye attention. I was thinking about a new crochet afghan and then I saw Anne Marieke's gorgeous crochet mandala and knew I needed to make something warm myself. I love her mandala but don't want to count rounds or be paying attention, if you know what I mean. I intend to work in a kind of 'crochet trance' with one eye on the TV and my hands busy handling this gorgeous yarn.

I've opted for earthy muted shades with a few jewel shades thrown in. There is a shade missing, it's a teal based blue that slots right in, but I'm waiting for it to arrive in store next week as they only had one ball left when I made my choices. The yellow you see is an old antique gold shade in real life and as soon as I get a few rows down I will photograph it in daylight so you can see the colour for its true beauty. They look a bit off under my strong winter inside lights. It's hard to photograph anything at the moment as the gloom is everywhere.

I'm thinking about a zig zag afghan with a texture in it - a kind of ribbing. And I'll be popping these under my favorite chair and just making my process slowly. This afghan will be more of a pleasure project for winter rather than a 'must do' and I'm in no particular hurry to finish. I have no idea how long it will take, be it one or two or three winters doesn't matter. This is one of those satisfying slow projects. I'll share updates when I have something to show.

What's your winter comfort craft?

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Secret Garden: Part 6, How I Made the Block

--UPDATE-- The pattern block outline page has been updated due to a scanning error that made it a % too small. Please ensure you are checking your block against the updated pattern block page. The template unit page has NOT been effected. The pattern update was sent out an hour after release and the pattern page is clearly marked as updated. 

This means that if you started making your block according to the templates, they are accurate, but when you come to check them against the page, they would appear too large. This is because the pattern block page you need to check them against is a % too small. Please make sure you have downloaded the updated pattern. 

Sorry for the inconvenience everyone, gremlins in the system :( 

This month the suspense is really building up, but you know - that's half the pleasure of a mystery, isn't it?! This block frames the centre equally at 4 points and is a perfect opportunity to use up the scraps from your applique blocks or new harmonious tones. Whatever you decide, don't overthink it, just enjoy it as the spot of beauty it is.
Here's how I made mine. 
Fabrics were easy for me in this block because I'm working within a single range (and phew, has that saved me some hours in deliberation!). These fabrics all work with each other and I added a pink for the bud from my stash.
I traced my shapes from the pattern without seam allowance onto wash away fusible. You can also use freezer paper if you want to.
As always, I mark all my pieces to help me reconstruct everything when ready
these are my pink buds above
and background segments below
When it's time to cut my shapes from the fabric, I add a seam allowance and then turn edge the allowance using glue and set the pieces aside until ready to construct the pattern. I use Elmer's Glue for turning the seams. 

I do this because Elmer's Glue is a starch that washes out easily. Or at least I thought it was, someone has corrected me with the info that apparently Elmer's is in fact, not a starch. Whatever, I still love it. Although, if I'd known that before I probably wouldn't have started using it, but now that it's a part of my tool kit, I have to say that I don't care that it's not a starch, I really like it and it has always performed perfectly for me. I don't think I'll stop using it anytime soon, unless they change the formula. 
Now it's time to start constructing the applique of the block. 
For this stage I use droplets of basting glue. 
As I arrange the shapes, I pin them against the pattern block. I make sure each shape is neat and accurately placed. I use pins and constantly wiggle the shapes into line. 
Like this
(ignore my personal marking on the pattern)
the buds, back and front
building up the applique, step by step
this is the finnicky part because you have to check and double check 
as you introduce every single new shape. 

This block is actually a geometric shape and it's impossible for mere mortals to have perfectly geometric applique, so don't stress, just keep as much to the lines as you can and keep wiggling the applique until it looks neat.
once the pinned position is double checked, I keep it in place with basting glue and continue building
this is the final applique step before I centre the applique onto the background
and here's my applique flipped. Phew!
It takes care and concentration and there's really no substitute for the time and attention you need to get it right. But what can I say? It's worth it!
To position my applique centre to the background, I each diagonal corner as a placement guide
pay special attention to the overlap between the bud leaf and background leaf so that they cross neatly
Like so
Make 4 x blocks and set aside
This quilt is growing in beauty and I can't wait to share the next reveal with you on August 1st.

This post related to the Applique Mystery BOM Secret Garden. 

Read more below if you're interested in taking part. It's not too late, start anytime.

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” 

Welcome to this wonderful Mystery BOM 

This very special applique Mystery BOM has launched!

Will you join me on this adventure?
The journey started February 1st, 2017
You can join right now
Digital pattern downloads are instant!
Join now and receive ALL downloads so far!
The BOM runs for 12 months
The pattern will be emailed to you directly each month
The finished quilt size is 80 x 80 inches

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

WOW: Winter Warmer

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
It's winter down my way and everywhere I go people are coughing and spluttering with a cold or flu, so I've been replacing my morning coffee with a Chinese herbal brew and taking a teaspoon of Manuka honey before heading out and also on returning home. I'm pleased to report that it's been working for me. When I go down with the flu it can take months to properly recover so these steps are going a long way to keeping my mouth bacteria on defensive against the germs that seem to be on attack everywhere I go.

Last week I was lucky enough to get a box of organic, non sprayed lemons from a farm. I'm so happy with these that I'm zesting the skins for my herbal tea blends.

I have a jam packed July and August with lots of projects, ideas and plans to get stuck into, so I'm doing everything I can to make sure nothing gets in my way! I guess you could say it's my most important prep step.

What's Your WOW?

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

'Sweet 2016' by Alice Means

'Sweet Treats' by Alice Means

Alice named her Sweet 2016, "Sweet Treats" and I can see why! Is your mouth watering yet? These delicacies are thankfully calorie free! Alice opted to change the layout of her own quilt top, moving the trays around from their position in the pattern. 

I think it looks super and the fabrics, details and arrangement make this wall hanging extra sweet.

I never get tired of seeing how creative and talented quilters make, interpret and bring life to my designs. Thanks so much for sharing your tempting wall hanging with us all Alice, it's a beauty!

Sweet 2016 is a deliciously fun and fabulous applique wall hanging. Read all about it and view each blog back when it was made over in the Sweet 2016 Quilt Archive and if you do make this quilt, be sure to join the Sweet 2016 Facebook Group!

Monday, 26 June 2017

'Sweet 2016' by Judith Roush Knorr

'Through The Bakery Window' by Judith Roush Knorr

This 'Sweet 2016' was renamed 'Through The Bakery Window' by Judith and I think that's a perfect title. A display like this would certainly capture my attention and who couldn't resist window shopping these beauties? Can we just admire the popping background that makes these cake trays shine in all their mouth watering glory? Talk about temptation!

These fabric choices and the chic cakes really set this quilt apart. In April it won a ribbon at Judith's Quilt Guild. You'll notice that Judith opted for a Christmas pudding instead of a gingerbread house on the bottom tow - that month included the option of making either to celebrate the festive season. I love the pud, it looks good enough to eat right now!

Thanks for sharing your wall hanging with us Judith, for those of you not in the Sweet 2016 Facebook Group, I didn't want you to miss out on seeing this beauty.

Sweet 2016 is a deliciously fun and fabulous applique wall hanging. Read all about it and view each blog back when it was made over in the Sweet 2016 Quilt Archive and if you do make this quilt, be sure to join the Sweet 2016 Facebook Group!

Saturday, 24 June 2017

'Sweet 2016' by Valerie Giles

Sweet 2016 by Valerie Giles

Feast your eyes on this beauty! Valerie Giles has generously allowed me to show off her own Sweet 2016 here on the blog. I wanted those of you who aren't in my Facebook Group to simply set your eyes on her gorgeous wall hanging. Isn't it sweet? The fabric options are perfect and this wall hanging just shines.

Love the fabric your picked for the strawberries Valerie
 and the swirled topped mousse looks irresistible too!
Valerie's celebration cake
 Valerie's Rosette Cake. 
Lots of quilters told me this was their favourite and I really loved making it too!

Sweet 2016 is a deliciously fun and fabulous applique wall hanging. Read all about it and view each blog back when it was made over in the Sweet 2016 Quilt Archive and if you do make this quilt, be sure to join the Sweet 2016 Facebook Group!