Memories of Maldon…

As I mentioned in previous posts, I had my annual retreat at The Parsonage a few weeks ago.   While I wasn’t very well over the weekend, and there were a couple of other sickies amongst us… it was still a lovely time and I think we all suffered a bit of a pang as this will be our last year at The Parsonage, and next year we will need to find other accommodation.

As usual on the drive up we did a bit of a shop hop, meeting up at Gisborne to check out Quilters Bazaar and the Drapers of Mount Macedon, and then on the advice of Catsmum, we stopped off in Kyneton to visit Pick Up Stitches, a new to me, Wool and Patchwork shop, who were having a sale.

So, I ended up with a bundle of Heirloom Magic Merino yarn and over the weekend away I stitched some more Grannies, which I found easier to work on while we sat and quietly chatted or watched movies.   I’ve enjoyed these so much, I rang Pick Up Stitches last week to see if they still had the same dyelots in store, and bought some extra yarn to make a largish lap rug.

The inspiration for these grannies comes from this post at the always inspirational Lucy at Attic24, which lead to me to here and more especially to this photo and all it’s lovely green goodness.

And for some more intraweb crafty goodness – check out the Quilt Gallery on Threadbear’s site of the splendiforous show and tell at The Applique Society meeting we were lucky to attend while we were away…    I could make all of these… and it was funny how many of these I have patterns for already!

Oh it’s hard to be random…

Even before I finished the Giant Granny Square I had started some other crochet projects.

Having gone to Spotlight to buy a crochet hook and discovering they had a sale on Spotlight Basics 8 ply, I bought a bundle of 17 different colours and a bag of white and searched Ravelry for a random project that would stretch my skills a little by doing some other than a standard granny!

And found the Lion Brand Traditional Granny Blanket – sorry can’t link to pattern, as you need to subscribe, but if you like knitting or crochet I’d advise that you do, some fantastic freebie patterns.

So over the last 6 weeks or so, I’ve been slowly making up these wobbly circles in various colour combo’s until I used up all 17 balls, and will now turn these into squares using white, when I feel so inclined, and catch up with some commitments.

Random Granny Blanket centres

Am trying to weave in the ends as I go along, so it’s not a major drama at the end.   Have no idea what the finished blanket will be, as I’m using a different ply and hook size so these will come out smaller than the pattern.

Giant Granny Love

Well I finished the Giant Granny Afghan I posted about here.

Giant Granny Afghan

Didn’t end up making it as big as I planned, when it was obvious I would have had to buy extra of some of the coloured yarn to keep going.   It ended up at 48 inches square, which is still a lovely size for snuggling under.

Scalloped edge

And I was very chuffed at being able to look at a granny rug I had bought last year and work out how to replicate the scalloped border… which I finished off in green.

Now, I’ve discovered that Miss Gracie, the yowling wondercat likes wool… actually likes it so much, this is what happens everytime I attempt to hook!

Gracie adding and abetting, or is that hindering hooking

Hooky Love

I’m a recalcitrant quilter these day… find myself being completely under enthused about any type of work that involves working with pieces of fabric…but what I am getting a buzz out of is crochet…

The Giant Granny Square has come to a halt as I’ve run out of the white wool, and haven’t had a chance to duck out and buy some more.   Though am very happy with my progress so far, even though it’s slow going now that the rounds are so big.    Still planning to do another complete set of each colour before finishing off with a white crocheted edging.

So, going through hooky withdrawals, I searched through yarn stash and found some yarn I’d bought (I think at Spotlight) awhile ago and started to make largish Granny Squares.   There are 8 colours, including black and I’m randomly placing colours inspired by this gorgeous thing on Flickr.

BUT, because I’m not sure where I got the yarn from, and not sure if I can get any more, I’m trying to eek out enough to get the right number of squares – currently have 8 finished, and I need to end up with either 9 or 12.   So, it’s likely I’m going to make some little 4 round granny’s out of the little bits of wool left and join them up to make the larger squares.

Plan is to finish off with a round of black and then join up using Attic24’s Joining Granny’s tutorial and then maybe do an edging… if I do, this will be first thing I’ve crocheted that actually needs to be sewn together… wish me luck!

Have been drooling over various colour/ yarn options to have a go at Lucy’s Hexagons or her Ripple or even having a go at Do You Mind if I Knit’s Little Squares scarf – but possibly in a more restricted colourway, reds, greys, blues, creams.

Can’t decide if I want to work with bright 8ply Biggan Design or the thicker, but much more colour varied Cascade 220 or to work with Tahki Cotton Classic… any suggestions?

Friday Night Sew-In…well, Stitch in really

Had big plans for yesterday’s Friday Night Sew in, but ended up sick with a sinus infection, that kept me curled up on the couch in front of the telly, dozing intermittently and feeling sorry for myself.

So instead of prepping Klosjes as I planned, I alternated between crocheting the Giant Granny Square and working on my It’s a Redwork Christmas blocks and making cups of tea and the resultant loo breaks.

Giant Granny Square

Giant Granny is coming along, have almost finished one full set of my colours and about to start repeating.   Am probably going to need to buy some more cream, but am hoping I’ll get 2 repeats of each colour out of each 100g ball.

Granny Square 20_03_10

I finished the It’s A Redwork Christmas block I’ve been working on while catching the tram this month, and started another.

It's a Redwork Christmas

Likely the Klosjes preparation will happen over Easter now, as next weekend is my brother’s 50th birthday celebrations, so the rest of this week will be spent finishing off his Dr Who Scarf as his gift.

Licorice Allsorts

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted on the blog, had disconnected my camera and it’s a major drama climbing under furniture to reconnect, and basically I was lazy!

And my oldest furbaby, Gertie has suddenly taken to taking up this pose everytime I sit in front of the computer… easy enough to surf the net, a bit difficult to type.

Gertie helping me update Flickr

So, this is a licorice allsorts sort of post, with an update of what I’ve been working on for the last little while and other stuff and nonsense.

OUT THERE IN BLOGLAND

First off, my lovely quilty fairy godmother Jasmine is having a blogaversary giveaway, she’s made a quilt from a jelly roll I sold in the big clean up last year!    She’s my fairy godmother, because the first time I ever met her in person, after corresponding online for awhile, she was wearing purple and black striped witchy socks with a tutu and a tiara!    And she almost conned a lovely man at the local pub into buying us a bottle of Moet Chandon – have loved her ever since.

Bobbi and Heidi have organised another Friday Night Sew-In for this Friday – Friday 19 March, you can find all the details here.    As Saturday is also International Quilt Day, I’m planning a night in on Friday that will probably extend over into the wee small hours of Saturday.   Will either do some more work on my Red and Green Sampler blocks like last time, or work on some Teapot blocks I am making as part of a Flickr Quiltalong.   By the way, I’ve finished the block I started at the last Friday night sew-in.

Source: Darlene C. Christopherson – A Perfect Union

FABRIC FONDLING

Mid February, inspired by my finishing the last of my Baskets full of Butterflies blocks, I dug out another old WIP.    This quilt was designed by Michele Hill and is called Folk Art Sampler, published in APQ Vol 12, No. 12 and 13 in 2005.    I bought the fabric for this quilt while away studing at the University of Ballarat in July 2005 at Gail’s Patchwork Emporium, prepped 5 blocks, and stitched one flower on one block and then put it aside, where it has remained ever since.   So during February and March, I’ve finished buttonhole appliqueing the 5 prepped blocks, prepped and started stitching another 2 blocks.    I bought some sashing material a few weeks ago, and want to finish the centre blocks and add the outer borders.    I think the easiest way to get this finished is to prep all my applique and fuse and stitch one side at a time.

WIP Folk Art Sampler

WHICH STITCH?

Since my last post, I’ve also finished another Blackbird Design Stocking as part of Dragon My Needle’s Christmas Design SAL – gee there is some lovely work happening in the gallery of photo’s.

Blackbird Designs, Love is in the Air - Be Mine, Stitches and Spice Gravestone 32ct Belfast Linen, The Gentle Arts Thread - Aged Pewter, Clover, Avocado, Harvest Basket, Apple Cider, Antique Rose

I’ve also made a start on Ink Circles The Bramble and The Rose as part of a stitch-along that my cross-stitch enablers Claire and Sandra are also doing.   There are a few stitchers working on this one on the Ink Circles Stitchers blog.   I’m using Threadworx Lava Rocks, which is more a solid colour then I thought it would be.   Was originally going to use 32ct linen, but didn’t like the linen I’d ordered online, so found a piece of what I think is 28ct quaker cloth and am using that instead.   Means will be a bigger finish, but am loving it so far.

The Bramble and The Rose, 1st Progress Update

TRAM TRAVELLING

I really hate catching public transport!    I miss my car, and being able to drive to work without the hassle of city traffic and parking.     The only thing that has made life bearable is that I am using the 45 minute journey to and from work as an opportunity to use needle and thread.   BUT, what to do while travelling that doesn’t involve major supplies?     My Butterfly baskets were perfect, as they were fused and all used black thread… but I didn’t have another fused applique project that didn’t require multiple needle/ colour changes.    So for the last fortnight, I’ve been working on another of my It’s a Redwork Christmas blocks by Rosalie Quinlan, and this is my progress to date.    There are 9 of these blocks all up, and this is my 2nd block, so this could take me most of 2010 to work on during my travels.

It's a Redwork Christmas

YARNING AWAY

And just to round out the whole needle and thread experience, I’ve also started playing with some crochet.    Inspired by Attic24, Do You Mind if I Knit? and Sarah London and some of the stunning work  they are all doing, I’m attempting to master the art of crochet.   While I’d love to try some of the more complex designs out there, I’ve started off simply, with a giant granny square, am going to use light pink, hot pink, red, yellow, green, turqoise and purple alternating with this creamy/white colour using yarn I had collected for another project that didn’t happen.

Giant Granny Square

And just to make sure she get’s her mugshot here, have a look at Gracie, my ever so slight crazy cat, assisting Mum as she prepared the surprise 50th quilt’s binding last weekend at my house.     I’ll post a proper photo of this quilt in a week or so, as the party is next weekend and it’ll be unveiled then.

Gracie helping with the quilting

A picture tells a thousand words… too bad, so sad!

Well, the camera has finally given up the ghost… so no progress reports here until I can replace it… will start having a look around over the weekend.

Not that there was anything much to flaunt this week anyway, lots of incremental steps on projects under way and a new start… only way to get a sense of what I’m working on is to click the links below!

Spent last night working on my South Seas Lace Cross-stitch Stitch a Long – Claire and Sandra – you’ll just have to believe me until I can post a photo!   But have completed 3 sides of the 2nd round of pattern, and started the fourth.

I’m nearly finished the stitching for the Melly and Me Feathered Friends Bag Kit that I bought at the Girl’s Day Out organised by Country Thyme, only 2 little birds and a birdhouse to finish… so hopefully will finish that today to give to Mum to put together, mine’s turquoise!

Making good progress on the Stitching Caddy kit from Rosalie Quinlan at the same weekend as well as the House wallhanging from Rosalie from Under the Mulberry Tree‘s Mystery Stitchery of the Month.   Also working on Tea for Two, month two of the same program – a gorgeous tea cosy and matching coasters from Janelle Wind…so cute (see note below re: Frou’s tip for overcoming boredom but still being productive!)

Month 3 arrived yesterday, a lovely little mug bag with matching spoon bag… haven’t looked at it in too much detail, as I’m off to Mum’s soon and will look at it then.

Am loving these little kits, gorgeous fabrics and floss colours, and having seen some sneak peaks for future months, am very excited.

The start this week?   Well, I’m a fairly competent knitter, not so competent with crochet, so in order to practice my crochet, am making some granny squares.   Bought some bright balls of wool last week with some black at Spotlight for practice… and I’m just putting together 3 random colours with black finishing.   Why do I want to practice, ’cause when I’m a bit more proficient I want to have a go at Hexagon Granny Squares – great tutorial on Attic24’s site.   Have also seen some gorgeous variations of this pattern on Ravelry, including a ’30s style afghan… 2 colours, with 3rd colour green, then set with white… would look great thrown across my ’30s cast iron bed!

And speaking of Attic24, check out her Crochet Bag pattern… thinking of using up leftovers from brother’s Dr Who scarf to have a go at one of these too!

Frou’s tip for overcoming boredom but still being productive… anyone reading this will be thinking, is she mad, she’s flitting from one thing to another… why doesn’t she just sit and concentrate on one thing until it’s finished?

Sounds good, in theory… not so great in practice for me.   What works for me is to have a couple of things on the go at once… hence working on 4 stitcheries at once, as well as doing cross-stitch and crochet.

It’s the one length of thread rule… all 4 stitcheries are in hoops with needle threaded.   I pick up one project and work one length of thread, then rethread my needle and put it aside.   Pick up next one, and do the same.   Working on all 4 at once.

Could just as easily be my working on some handpiecing, some buttonhole, some stitchery and some needleturn applique, same rule applies, one length of thread.

This works well for me, if I’m organised.   Works particularly well if there is something that needs to be progressed, but I’ve reached boredom stage with it.   By allocating it some time, in amongst something I really want to work on, I progress on both!

The exception here is the South Seas Lace Stitch-along – am devoting 1 night a week to this.   Claire and Sandra are doing Thursdays, but Thursdays rarely work for me – so I’m doing Friday nights most weeks… which is their Thursday anyway!   This seems to be working well for me, having a dedicated night to work on this project.    Might see if I can make a dedicated night to work on my Mary Wigham which is being sorely neglected.