Friday, 18 January 2013

Cushy number

Another finish to show you. This time a crocheted cushion cover that I started about 18 months ago. I had completed the front and back and then stalled at putting the whole thing together. But last night, as I sat down to watch the final two episodes of Ashes to Ashes on Netflix, I wanted my hands to be busy.

the front
The pattern for the front of the cushion is the Copenhagen cushion design by Yvonne Eljkenduijn. I made a total of 25 squares using Sirdar Calico yarn (a mixture of cotton and acrylic, which is a bit splitty for mindless crochet). The back is a single large granny square in the same yarn. After using single crochet to join three and a half sides, I was left with just one metre of the white. I've added 4 pearly white buttons along the bottom edge so that the inside can be removed whenever it needs a wash.

the back
It feels good to have something else ticked off the list.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

It's a wrap!

Here's my first woolly finish of the year - a Queen Anne's Lace crochet scarf which I completed last night. I used a tutorial from Mr Micawber's Recipe for Happiness which demonstrates how to crochet the scarf with two matching ends.

I used 3 balls of Sublime Lustrous Extrafine Merino DK in the Cinder colourway to make a VERY long scarf which wraps around my neck three times. The yarn has a sort of metallic lustre and I think it looks a little like chain mail! I love it.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The end is nigh!

The end is nigh! Not for the planet (I hope), but for some of my unfinished quilting projects. In my last post, I showed you my (rather long) list of crafty projects in progress. Since then, I have come across a finish-along hosted by Leanne at She Can Quilt and have decided that this might be just the kick up the backside I need. As you know, the stakes are high - Mr Q has told me that divorce is on the cards if I don't complete at least 9 quilt projects this year!

So, for the first quarter of the year, I will be finishing...

1. Red and white "Double X" quilt. I started this in 2005 following a pattern in American Patchwork and Quilting. I am now in the process of quilting it to within an inch of its life.

2. Austro-zelanic quilt for Mr Q. That's a fancy way of saying that it is composed of fabrics from Australia and New Zealand, collected on our trips down under to visit Mr Q's family. The pattern is Elizabeth Hartman's New Wave Quilt. I started this quilt in January 2012 as a sample for a class.

The top is now done....

....and I've been thinking of ways to quilt it. When finished this quilt can keep Mr Q warm when he is away from home working in Hull every week.

3. A recently started quilt - I began this one on New Year's Eve, and finished the top about 48 hours later. The pattern came from a quilt calendar that Mum bought me for Christmas. I've pieced a back, so it just needs quilting and binding.

4. This almost doesn't count as a finish since I only started it yesterday! However, it will be a gift for my husband's cousin and his wife who have just moved into their new home, so I do really need to get it finished. The pattern is "Transparency" from Quilts Made Modern by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. I'm using Kona solids for this one, including a colour very similar to the dresses the bridesmaids wore at their wedding. It's all cut out, and I've started piecing the blocks.

So there you have it. 4 quilts. 3 months. Better get back to the salt mine (as Mr Q calls my sewing room).

she can quilt

Saturday, 5 January 2013

A new start

Oops! I don't quite know how that happened. I was happily thinking about my works in progress, organising them into a list and pinning said list to the notice board in my newly tidied sewing room.

my works in progress list
And then I opened the new calendar that mum gave me for Christmas and found that it contained instructions for 12 quilts. And suddenly I was cutting and sewing fabric to make my first Project Linus quilt of 2013.

And just 48 hours later, there was a completed quilt top.


Friday, 4 January 2013

Hoping for snow

Every winter Mr Q and I hope for snow. We love the stuff, but don't get too much of it in the UK. A couple of months ago, I read a long range weather forecast that suggested that this winter would be one of the coldest for 100 years. Mr Q and I were excited. But so far, there has been no trace of the promised snow.

Once again, I have been forced to make my own. Having tatted many snowflakes over the past few years, I decided to turn my hand to thread crochet and with the help of Caitlin Sainio's 100 Snowflakes to Crochet, I have so far made two small crochet snowflakes. It's easier than I anticipated and I have already got to grips with the charts in the book.

So here they are...

the Nevada snowflake

the Droxtal snowflake

Just after I had started crocheting these, I read about the plan to turn the new school for Sandy Hook pupils into a winter wonderland full of snowflakes. And so I sent these two, along with a stack of tatted snowflakes, across the ocean to Connecticut.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Under pressure

Today is my 6th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, Mr Q and I will be clearing out some stuff in the study. That's how rock 'n' roll we are! After the clearing and the organising, there will be a delicious dinner. My favourite main - chicken breast stuffed with Boursin cheese and wrapped in parma ham with baked cherry tomatoes and couscous, followed by Mr Q's favourite dessert - rice pudding made with cream and vanilla pods.

Earlier today, Mr Q and I had a little chat about my inability to finish craft projects. To encourage me to get more finished, he has challenged me to complete 9 quilts this year. The prize if I fulfil my side of the bargain? He will renew our wedding contract for another 6 years! If I fail? Apparently, we'll be heading for the divorce courts! I'm feeling the pressure.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

I've started so I'll finish

In the immortal words of Mastermind, "I've started so I'll finish". That is going to be my new motto for 2013. Mr Q will be pleased, perhaps even relieved. He's been trying to get me to finish more projects ever since we met.

At the start of 2012, I challenged myself to finish 12 quilts before the end of the year. I didn't make that target (finished 6 by the summer, quilted 4 for Siblings Together, and then petered out once the academic year started) but it did help keep me focussed. And I managed to make a few pieces of clothing, knit a couple of hats, and sew these cuties too...

owl cushion designed by Ashley Johnston at We All Sew
small cat cushion designed by Eva Hasunova in Stitch magazine

I'm going to try the same trick again this year, only this time I have a secret weapon - my newly tidy sewing room. I find it very hard to settle in a cluttered environment so I have spent the last day of 2012 cleaning and organising with a view to helping productivity. I'm also hoping that 2013 is the year that this room gets painted.

Each of the plastic boxes (thank you, Lidl) contains the components of a single project, so I can pick a box up and get on with some sewing, without the excuse that I'm missing a key fabric or a vital template. The quilt on the wall in the picture above is a kaleidoscope pattern that I call "Red Lights, Blue Movies". I have a thing for vintage tins - you can see some of them in the photo below. They're full of zips, buttons and other bits of haberdashery.

I love this printer's tray that Mum gave me to store my threads, and the jam jars full of vintage buttons and buckles, safety pins and ribbons.

Another vintage delight - the Sylko drawers hold sewing machine needles, screw drivers, feet and so on. The keep calm sign was a gift from my sister and the radio is my pride and joy. It was a birthday gift from Mr Q and allows us to listen to radio all over the world, so we can listen to the Brisbane morning traffic reports whenever Mr Q feels homesick!