Thursday, 30 April 2015

Ripple Blanket

My crochet ripple blanket is finished, just in time for winter.



On my son's bed to show the size

I started to become aware of crochet again in the lead up to Christmas last year.  I saw that Jane in Sydney (@queen_babs on Instagram) was asking for people to make purple crochet mandalas for a yarn bombing event to raise awareness of fibromyalgia.  I thought it was a great idea, so I crocheted 3 mandalas for her and sent them off.  You can read my blog post about them here.

Ripple blankets made m by my Nana after she'd had a stroke

Then I started to see people making beautiful crochet rugs. They reminded me of the rugs my Nana crocheted 40 years ago.  Internet searching led me to Lucy, of Attic24 fame,  Lucy is a very popular crocheter. She provides great instructions on how to make her patterns, and has lots of photos to help along the way.



Lucy released a new pattern towards the end of last year called the Cosy Blanket. Some people in the northern hemisphere started a crochet along, but it was too hot for those of us "down under" to crochet in our summer, so we tried to hold off until 1 March.  Of course we all love a new project, and with my wool sitting there I just had to make a sneaky start in February when I came down with a cold.


I added the optional border to stop the rug from stretching

You'll notice that I didn't make the Cosy blanket after all, but instead I used Lucy's Ripple Blanket pattern to make a new, bigger version of those ripple blankets my Nana made all those years ago.

I've used Cleckheaton California 100% wool by Australian Country Spinners. It says it's double knitting (8 ply) but I feel it's thicker than that, so I used a 5mm hook.  I just love the verigated wools. There's some new colours now that weren't available when I bought my wool, but I'm happy with what I used.



This rug is really for my side of the bed at nights. In winter I need more blankets than my husband, and this pure wool blanket will ensure that I keep warm.

Of course there was wool left over, so I've started a second blanket using another one of Lucy / Attic24's patterns. This time I'm doing a hexagon crochet blanket.  I've bought 2 new balls of the new verigated colours, but otherwise I'm just using what I already had.  I'll show you that one next week when I've done a few more hexagons.

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Sew Cute Tuesday.

This rug was the first item on my Finish Along List for Q2.



Thursday, 23 April 2015

One Hour Baskets

When my mum was here for Easter she made two One Hour Baskets. I've already  shown you the first one which was for me:




but I haven't shown you the second one, which is for my 6 year old niece, Jorja. Fortunately I had these pink fabrics in my stash. They had come in a mystery box I purchased through Craftsy last year, and they were just right for a dainty little girl.




If you'd like to make one of these baskets, got to Kelby Sews and follow her pattern. It's free!

One of my lovely followers. Jeanette from Sydney, Australia, liked the idea so much that she stepped out of her comfort zone and bought some bright fabrics for her One Hour Basket. Isn't Jeanette's lovely too, and what about the view from her apartment!







I love that yellow on the inside of the basket - it's so sunny. For the Aussies and Kiwis out there, Jeanette got her fabrics at Spotlight.

Sydney has been having some terrible weather this week. I've seen TV reports showing huge waves in the harbour which they really aren't used to. We're built of tough stuff here in Wellington, and we get winds up to 130 kph at least once or twice a year. It was very strange to see waves crashing across the roads in Sydney Harbour. I hope everyone there is OK and the weather has calmed down now.

I'm linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday.


Monday, 20 April 2015

Sew Cute Tuesday

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Sew Cute Tuesday on Alyce's blog, Blossom Heart Quilts.





Alyce is an Australian quilter, living in Japan for a few years with her husband and young children. She's been hosting the Sew Cute Tuesday link up for as long as I've been blogging. Link ups are a great way to see what other people are making and to find new blogs to follow.  They also help new bloggers to get their work out there and build a following.

So I really encourage you to pop over to Sew Cute Tuesday, link up your latest blog post or Instagram photo, and visit some new blogs. You can read about my exciting times as a software tester too!


Sunday, 19 April 2015

2015 Pantone Challenge - Marsala - what even is that?

When Pantone announced that their colour for 2015 was Marsala, I was very surprised.  I looked at pictures of Marsala, but I couldn't even really describe the colour - was it brown? dark red? burgundy? what was it?




















I now know that part of the problem was that I didn't know Marsala was a type of wine! I'd never heard of it. We make a lot of wine in New Zealand, but we can't make Marsala because it's a name that can only used for wine that comes from near the village Marsala, in Italy. I guess our wineshops and supermarkets don't feel the need to import Marsala when we have other alternatives grown locally.  Once I realised that Marsala was a type of wine (and not a type of curry known as Masala), the challenge became slightly easier.




Adrienne from On The Windy Side had said that the judges would be quite lenient on the colours used in the challenge, so I picked out a few of the deep red (wine coloured) fabrics that I had on hand. I'd seen some colour charts on another site where they combined lime green with Marsala, and I that idea appealed to me. So I put some lime green in with my Marsala fabrics, and started to play around with them.



I decided to make a cushion out of my Marsala fabrics.  I added some hand stitching to the giant Gerbers on the beautiful Jane Sassaman fabric in the centre panel, and outlined the green leaves with Perle 8 too. I then did some rows of machine quilting across the cushion top.  The back is just a piece of brown fabric I had in my stash, but there is a zip so it can be washed if necessary.

So now I have a nice Marsla cushion which can be used indoors or out.



I loved the Pantone colour of the year in 2014 - Radiant Orchid, and really enjoyed making a lap quilt for that challenge. You can read about that quilt here. I wonder what colour they will come up with next year!


Thursday, 16 April 2015

Celtic Snow is framed

My Celtic Snow is back from the framers and hanging on the wall. I'm really pleased with how it's turned out.  The frame looks like brushed stainless steel. It's very simple, but it lets the embroidery shine.




It was hard to get a good photo. That darker section in the bottom left hand corner is my reflection.

The beads look even better now that the linen has been stretched.



Although it's possibly a Christmas piece, I'm going to leave it on the wall for a few months now. We're going into our Southern Hemisphere winter, so it's not too out of place.

You can read all about this embroidery in my earlier post from a few weeks ago here.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

La Passacaglia progress

It's been a few months since I showed you my la passacaglia quilt.  This is how it's looking now.



I really didn't touch it in February and March. I made a concerted effort to finish other projects during that time.  I'm back into it now though, and once again almost overwhelmed by the possible fabric combinations.




I started Easter by re-organising the fabrics I had set aside for la passacaglia. I pulled them all out and regrouped them by colour. Of course the blues and greens dominate, with a touch of purple thrown in for good measure.



I have decided to just make the 30 odd centres required for this quilt at the moment. I was going crazy trying to plan the stars as well. I can cope with choosing 3 colours at once, so I went ahead and selected groups of 3 fabrics that gave high contrast. The la passacaglia quilts that I like the most have strong contrasts between the light and dark fabrics, so I'm aiming for that in mine.


I'm using zip lock bags to store my chosen groups of 3 fabrics into bags. This will avoid everything getting muddled up again. Funnily enough, the very act of sealing a bag reinforces the fact that I have chosen these fabrics and they are not to be changed. It's a way of telling myself that I liked those fabrics together at some stage, so just leave them alone, they will work.




Over the past 10 days I've made 5 new centres which are included in the photo below. It's looking very green at the moment, but there's more blue coming to balance it up. I'm going to think about the stars at a later date once I've got an idea of the final layout. I'm viewing them as the connecting pieces, almost like sashing on a quilt.




I'm linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday, Esther's WOW and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

2015 Finish a Long - Q2 goals

It's time to think about what I want to get finished in Q2. Mmm, so many options.

I'd already decided that 2015 was my year to work on WIPs and I'm going quite well so far. I finished all 4 items on my Q1 Finish a Long list, and although I have started some new projects, I am exercising restraint and not plunging into everything that looks appealing.

So Q2 - what's it to be?

1. Finish my crochet ripple blanket which is almost done. This blanket is about 1.7m tall so will cover me nicely in bed (yes - it's just for my side of the bed).  I still need to do a few more rows and then there are 3 rows of border right around it. I think the border will stop the sides from stretching so I do want to do a border.




2. Crochet another smaller blanket to have on my knees in the evenings - does that make me sound old?  Or just cold?  I think I might use a different pattern this time - maybe the Cosy Stripe pattern by Attic24. I'll also be using some different colours of the same wool I used above. I want to use up all the scraps, but also inject some new shades.






3.  Finish "Your Place or Mine?".  The long armer can't start work on it until Mid May, but I might have it back by early June, and that gives me time to put the binding and a label on it before the end of Q2 on 30 June.





4.  Stacks of Colour.  This one is a stretch goal, and probably not going to be achievable, but my thought is that if I write it here I will at least start on it this quarter. I want to hand quilt this quilt with Perle 8 in a water drops pattern - overlapping circles. That quilting pattern seems quite appropriate because it's been raining for 3 days now. It can keep me company as we go into winter.





I think that's enough for one quarter. Of course I've got a lot of other things on the go, but I don't think any of them will be finished by 30 June. I do aim to make progress on them though so some of them can join on my Q3 list and be finished by 30 September. I already know that my top priority for Q3 will be my Haunted House which simply must be ready for Halloween.






Saturday, 4 April 2015

Happy Easter

I hope you're all enjoying an Easter break. We're having a lovely time with my mum and dad here for five days.


Yesterday we took a trip up the Kapiti Coast and went to Te Horo. It's a very stony beach with lots of driftwood, but funnily enough just 10 kms down the road there's another beach with beautiful white sand. I think the other beach is protected by Kapiti Island so there's less debris washed ashore.

me and mum

We also went to Ruth Pretty's Cooking School for coffee and cake. I love Ruth's Christmas cake, and fortunately they were still selling it by the slice in their garden cafe shop. We sat in the little green house for morning tea.

see the tea cosy they use!

Of course there's been plenty of sewing going on too.


What you see above turned into a one hour basket - yes, I followed the trend and got mum to whip one up based on the pattern by Kelby Sews. I bought some Soft and Stable on Wednesday so we used some of that for the stiffening.

Here's what it looks like now:



Mum bought me down some more of the beautiful California wool because I'm going to make a second ripple blanket. The second one will be slightly smaller than the first, and I will use it in the lounge on winter nights. We do have a heater, but I feel the cold more than the rest of the family. The second blanket will be more scrappy, incorporating all the remains from the first blanket, plus a few new wild colours called Circus and Macaw which you can see above.



Here's our progress to date and it's only Easter Sunday morning. Mum and Dad don't leave until Wednesday afternoon so there's plenty more sewing time yet.


In fact I can hear my machine whirring now because mum is making a second one hour basket for my niece, her granddaughter. I'll be sure to post a photo once it's finished.