Remember - Its not the length of your life that's important - it's the depth.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

IT'S Done

Hi Folks, I am popping by to let you all know that at LONG LAST Maisie Mouse is finished, done completed - however you want to say it and here it is 
I am soo proud of those seams, in future I shall Mattress stitch EVERYTHING well maybe not everything but all my 'knitty' projects anyways.
Look you can hardly see the join!!
and here is the Oh so patient recipient wearing it!
I am now getting excited by the fact that I can now begin another project - yippee! some months ago I found some lovely tweedy Aran yarn in a local cut price supermarket, as DH liked the colour I bought 3 very large balls (400grms) I then hot footed it to the Wool Stop and found a pattern he also liked (not easy) so that's next on the list.

I also hope to start some sewing this week, I still find it a struggle to get my head into new projects after the year we just had, and though I know that I will enjoy it once I start, I still keep putting it off. I think that's why I do the swaps, it makes me start projects that I have to finish and therefore it keeps me sewing!!
On another track I was talking to fellow Blogger Carys on Monday evening, and she mentioned that she had left a comment on my previous post but it had not been put on well that's because any comments on my posts are emailed to me first so I can verify them, once that's done, I add them to my posts and send a reply, so my friends if you leave me a comment and then can't find it on the post that's the reason.
I'm off out to lunch with DH in about 10 minutes so I'll be back to finish this later!!
Much later... in fact a whole day later!! the rest of yesterday went by in a blur.. we came back after a lovely lunch HERE after which we went off to Thornbury museum to try to find out if they had any history on Thornbury Football club, whom DH played for over a 25 year period, that done we returned home, when a visitor arrived, so after much chatting and several cups of tea it felt just to late to get going again, don't you find that going out for a meal makes you feel all lethargic or is that just laziness on my part? My friend Helen brought me a book she thought I would like written by the wonderful Mary Thomas, I have a modern edition of this book by Jan Eaton but this book is more like the original version which I believe is out of print, and I am delighted with it. The acknowledgments are in her own words and there are some amusing little cartoon drawings to illustrate the stitches.

 My modern edition is in full colour and I use it A LOT when I am doing embroidery or crazy patchwork, the illustrations are really easy to see and make learning new stitches very easy
So by the time I had looked through the book there was no sewing as promised for me, just more knitting (no change there then) once I had my I tea  and then got settled in front of the TV for my fave programme which I have been following for three seasons. I cast on 134 sts for DH's sweater (- golly that's a long way along a row when you have been making tiny baby projects!!!) and managed about 5 rows of double rib before giving up and going to bed. Up early today and decided to do some more to the baby jacket I am making (I usually have 2/3 projects on the needles at any one time - one larger one, one small easy one and something small that I can pop in my bag if I am going out, so I can knit wherever I am -Dr's, Dentist, coffee shop etc does that sound excessive?) This cardi is one of my own designs and is knitted all in one piece, so minimal pieces to make and not much sewing up.
I had this pretty yarn left from a previous sweater made for DGD last year and thought it would be nice for a premmie baby project. Today has been busy too I spent the morning lazing around (it's sooooo HOT today!!!) then set off to buy some knitting needles for the aran sweater (do you find you never seem to have the right size in 'stock') I had steel ones but not bamboo which I prefer as they feel kinder on my hands, before picking up Carys to go to the cinema we have been trying for over a month to get together to see 'Belle' and today we made it, it was a very good film based on a true story set just before the abolishing of Slavery. Well worth a watch if you get chance.
Well that's it for today it's time to go.


Saturday, 12 July 2014

This Week....

I have been really busy..  On Sunday the family all came for Lunch, followed by afternoon tea (and Cake) as a prequel to Little H's Birthday, then in the evening I dashed off to DD's ready to dog sit on Monday so that they could all go to The West Midland Safari Park . Tuesday was 'the' BIRTHDAY with Pink Balloons and lots of gifts for a VERY EXCITED 3 year old! This was followed by a trip out to buy the 'birthday girl' her first bicycle plus of course the all important cycling helmet and lunch where DGD managed to eat not only Fish & Chips but most of her Dad's ice cream, some of her Mum's and some of Mine as well!!
Here she is in our garden yesterday on her bike, the 'passenger' is Schnitzel von Crumb her favorite soft toy
Wednesday saw me back home and off to a workshop No not sewing... but you've guessed it KNITTING!!! After my lovely day in the Wool Stop last Saturday the lovely Tina gave me a free place on one of the workshops. Thursday I set off for Knit & Knatter but discovered that I had the wrong week so I did a bit of shopping instead, then on Friday after a visit by DD & Co (Ted is staying for the weekend) I went to help a friend with packing up his home prior to moving house. Few!!!! 
So about that workshop. It was a 'Finishing' workshop with the lovely Jacqui Harding, knitting designer extraordinaire, she took us through the why's and wherefore's of how to finish our knitting projects in such a way that they look 'professional'. We we spent time learning a few different buttonhole types, below from the bottom we have a teeny tiny eyelet buttonhole, next is a vertical one worked using 2 balls of yarn (usually in the same colour but this way was easier to see!) followed by a 2 row buttonhole using the cast on/cast of method (I hate doing those!) then a 2 row one with a slip knot cast on (didn't like that either!) then a 1 row buttonhole over 3 stitches using the Elizabeth Zimmerman method. (shown here)
We had a go at picking up stitches for borders without making any annoying little holes. 

We learned how to cast off smoothly on the shoulders to avoid the annoying little 'lumps' which make the seams look so huge. We were instructed on how to block knitting before sewing up, and how to work Mattress Stitch, which I found fascinating, I have seen it in books and on patterns, but have never tried it.. in future I shall use it at every opportunity. Visit Jen, a young lady who was on the workshop with me and has a knitty blog with a great tutorial for Mattress stitch. (Here)
So as soon as I got home I vowed to make 'Maisie' look better, as you know I was not hugely pleased with it all along and it took for ever to get done as you may remember from previous posts. So without further ado I got up early today and took apart the the neck ribbing and the shoulder seam and here are the results so far. The top piece is the seam BEFORE the new cast off method and below is the new smooth cast off. 
See what I means that girl is a wizard! I then proceeded to soak the pieces in some warm water with some shampoo (yes! SHAMPOO) for a couple of hours before squeezing out most of the water in some towels, rinsing with some conditioner, then patting it into shape on another towel on the garden bench, I covered it all with a towel and left the sunshine to do it's work. Well I think it already looks a whole lot better than it did and the shampoo has made it very soft and cuddly, what do you think?
I now can't wait to sew it all together so she can take it home on Monday when they collect Ted. While it was drying I made a little knitted doll.
Then a friend called in to drop off some items I had ordered. Jo makes lovely Cyanotype (not sure of the spelling here!) printed cards and I just love em! here is a picture of my delivery today.
she also dropped off some useful note pads too..
Oh and I almost forgot, I received my Needle-books from my swap partner this week too, they are so cute she also put in this little needle-felted mug rug which will be used by the computer when I am busy there enjoying a nice cuppa!!

note the cute detail inside the larger book.
Well that's it for this time see you all soon.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Soooo how did it go at the shop?

It all went fine, I was a little nervous before my day at the The Wool Stop, but once I was there and got into the swing of it. I REALLY ENJOYED MYSELF looking after Tina's 'Knitting Emporium' - no really I did! I don't think I did anything daft, I saw the Carnival parade go past the door - in the pouring rain, poor things had water running out of their pants/skirts. but they were smiling and waving all the way up the High Street to the show ground. By Lunchtime the sun had come out so hopefully the rest of their events were OK, there were certainly a LOT of people around so here's hoping it was worth it in the end.
I cant show any pictures of me 'at work' but the shop is every bit as nice inside as it looks on the website
 This is what greets you as you enter
 The other end of the shop
 The 'cosy' corner where you can sit & browse the patterns, Tina will even make you  a cuppa! I just love the Elephant stool and if you look closely you can see the crowds watching the parade - well their legs anyway!
So how did my day go ... well I was quite busy for most of the day, talking to the customers and sharing my knitty advice :-)  I got started on one of my own designs for a 'premmie' baby jacket and managed to get 1/2 way up the back.
and in the gaps between customers I just went round the shop and smoothed ALL THAT YARN!!! All this and home in time for tea!
Other news this week; I added 2 more borders to the Kimono Panel since the last post about it on 31st May. I'll probably not add any more borders as it's now large enough for a cushion, so I'll quilt it and then add the back etc.
I did a little more to my Kantha style embroidery at the monthly sewing afternoon with Severn Valley Quilters
 I finished this butterfly
 and added some stitching round the woven wheels completed earlier
Last Wednesday I was demonstrating a Quilt as you Go technique at S.V.Q. for their Skills night so I needed to have some samples ready, I decided to use some of the Random Log Cabin Blocks (remember those??) I still have some LOTS!
so after choosing fabric for backing squares from the scrap bag and adding the wadding I decided to simply quilt circles on the machine, this is really easy to do so I took some pictures to show you how I went about it.
Decide what size circle you would like, my blocks are 6.5" so I thought somewhere around a 5" circle would do it. Using a ruler held gently under the needle measure out from the needle to half the size of the circle you   need, (so I measured 2.5"), using a flat headed drawing pin attach it pointy side up on the base of the machine with some masking tape - use 2-3 strips to secure it. it need to be in line with the needle so look at the measurements on the foot plate and use one of the lines if you can, you can just see my pin in the above picture! Once you are happy start sewing, place the exact centre of your block onto the pin, pushing the point all the way through (see below) sew slowly, don't try to push the block through, let the feed dogs do the work, just guide the block to keep it flat (I couldn't sew and take a picture of my hands!) Lengthening the stitch slightly gives a better finish! Experiment on some scraps till you're happy
and before you know it you will have a pile of quilted blocks - I did 12 in half an hour!
Last but not least and JOY of JOYS I finally finished the front of the Maisie Mouse sweater I am making for Little H. I got to Thursday last and I was sooo close! I'm always up around 6am to knit before my day starts and Thursday was pretty quiet, so I told DH that I was not moving from my seat in the Conservatory till it was done! I sat there in my 'Jammies' till 10.30am and it was finished!!!! Boy am I a happy bunny (and just a teeny bit proud of my endurance!!) So folks here it is....Drum Roll please
Just the neckline and sewing up and I can give it to her - shame it's too hot to wear it at the moment, hope she doesn't grow out of it before it cools off.
Well that's about it for tonight, I'm off for a TV dinner. I'll be back shortly.