Sunday, 19 May 2019

Toddler Grandad Cardigan


Putting brown and green granddaddy colours together for a baby boy's cardigan has been very entertaining.  One minute you might be thinking the whole effect will be post-war drabness, the next minute you are in fits of giggles imagining a toddler at an agricultural show getting excited at seeing the lambs.  It is definitely the country boy look.

After making the pink V necked cardigan and getting into a slight mess by misplacing the shaping for the neck, this time I decided not to wing it, and plan in advance.   


All went according to plan, and the shaping worked so that I ran out of stitches on the two front pieces when the neck was the right width.


On the back I needed to carry on the raglan shaping through the neck band until casting off.


Old fashioned buttons complete the look.

Now I am ready for either a boy or a girl, with the next baby in the family due next week!

Also, I am well on the way to writing up my first knitting pattern for babies' cardigans, in three sizes, with options for round or V necks.  I just have to finish knitting all six cardies first.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 229 - Back to the Drawing Board


Not the easiest start to a project I have ever had...

I thought I was about to get started, and then I stalled.  Somehow I wasn't really getting to grips with this landscape, and couldn't fully work out why.  Then last week I was watching TV and stumbled across an art challenge for celebrities.  I got hooked.  If the celebrity wasn't 55 or over I didn't know who they were, but I'm a sucker for competitions and programmes about art, so I had to watch.  Seeing how they had to overcome problems of composition and technique got me thinking.  What really clinched it was when the three competitors who were left were told by the judges that none of them had really grasped the task in hand, and they should all start again.

So I have started again.  I have not changed my mind as to which photo I am using, I have just totally rethought it.  This meant recropping the image, changing the focus of the composition.  I enlarged the photo on the computer screen, and then traced the outlines of the main areas onto greaseproof paper.  This came out at 10 x 10 inches, whereas the finished landscape has to be 12 x 12 inches.  I am enlarging the outline by eye onto another sheet of paper, and I will use the larger sheet as a guide once I actually start the machine stitching.

Why has this one been so difficult to start?  Probably because it has no obvious starting point.  All my early experiments, and my last landscape, started with the horizon, and I worked from there, gradually filling up the fabric from above and below until I had the picture.  This meant that the fabric didn't end up puckering, because I was systematically working away from a definite line.  This picture, however, hasn't got a convenient horizon that runs across its whole width.  Preparing the tracings has helped with visualising how to stitch it, where to start, and how the avoid the dreaded puckering.

Meanwhile, the weather and colours outside have been exactly the same as in the photo.  I really need to get started.  As I have been saying for several weeks (or months?) now... 





Here goes for week 229:-

Because I am a day late posting this linky, it will stay open until midnight on Tuesday.

Many thanks to Sue for showing us Becky's beautiful quilt on week 227 of the linky.  If you haven't seen her blog post yet, nip over now and see more.



If you have no free motion quilting to show, feel free to link up and show any project you like.  Here are the usual rules, but feel free to ignore them.  To keep the original emphasis, however, preference will be given to free motion quilting when featuring projects from the previous week.

If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.

Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.

Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post.
  
3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for four days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Monday.

So far quilters from the USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France, Macau, Russia, Ireland and Brazil have taken part.  The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.

Monday, 13 May 2019

A Picture for Sunday on Monday - The Gardener's Friend


If you ever fancy an earwig for tea, my little friend will find one for you.

This is the boldest little robin I have ever known.  He will come within inches of my feet, looking for all the interesting snacks I turn up.  Worms are standard, which he will chop into short lengths for the hatchlings before flying back to the nest.  Fat caterpillars are always appreciated, but the gift he pounced upon with lightning speed was the huge cockchafer grub I dug up for him.  

He will happily chirp while he is eating, and break into full song perched just a few feet from me.  I like to think it his way of showing appreciation.  I know it is all cupboard love on his part, but I'm totally besotted.

I haven't given him a name yet.  Any suggestions? 

On the Wall!


Six years ago today I took this photo.  Yesterday the stitched version finally made it to our living room wall, so here it is in all its glory, reflections and all.  

My husband made the frame out of oak, and I was in charge of mounting the landscape.  Rather than use card, I opted for fabric.  I backed the ivory coloured cotton with iron-on interfacing to stiffen it before stitching the outline, then put another layer of thick stiffening between it and the board on which is it mounted.  



The landscape is secured at each corner by stiches that go through a small hole in the board to the back.  To prevent these stitches pulling on and possibly damaging the actual work, I used a tiny glass bead.



At the back I tied the threads over a small metal button.  Because it is synthetic thread, which can sometimes unravel itself over time, I made sure I tied plenty of knots before tidying up the tail ends and cutting them off.

Having the picture on the wall has an interesting effect on me - it makes me just want to walk out of the house and enjoy the fresh air.  The fact that the weather is fine certainly helps, and I have a friend who is always glad to see me.



Free Motion Mavericks this week is at Andrée's blog Quilting and Learning and I'm linking up!

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Friday, 3 May 2019

Threading the Willcox and Gibbs Automatic


Using the Willcox and Gibbs Automatic is an absolute delight.  However, I use it so seldom that I have to check the manual every time I need to thread it.  This is how it's done.

First, take the spool pin off, and put on the thread so that it unwinds to the front left. 


When the spool pin is back on the machine, the thread winds away towards the back.


Next, find the hole in the bar at the front of the machine - on mine it is right in the middle of the G of Gibbs.  Turn the wheel to raise the needle to its highest position... 


… and this aligns the two metal staples behind the hole into position...


… so that the thread can pass through, from the back towards the front.


The next stage is round this interesting little mechanism, referred to in the manual as the automatic tension.  The metal cap at the top bobs up and down with the motion of the machine, so the needle should remain in the raised position while threading so that there is a clearly visible groove just below the cap.


The thread is then laid in this groove from the left, going in a clockwise direction to come out at the front.


The thread then goes to the centre back of the machine, and through the hole in the little metal pillar...



… and carries on to the left and underneath this metal staple...


...then up, under this little bridge...


… then down through this hole in a little bar sticking out at the side...


… then straight down to the needle, which is threaded from left to right.


Now let's try out the stitch.


On the top it has the appearance of an ordinary straight lock stitch, but it is a single thread chain stitch.  To stop the chain stitch unravelling, the work has to be removed in a certain way.


First, pull the thread on the left hand side of the needle to give a few inches' slack.


Then pull the slack through to the right hand side of the needle, and cut the thread leaving a tail of about 4 inches, and leaving the needle threaded.


Then raise the foot and pull the work away gently in a south westerly direction.  The tail end is pulled through the machine and forms the last stitch...


… and ends up securely pulled through the previous stitch so it won't unravel.

Total genius.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 227 - On the Drawing Board



One of the hardest parts of a project is actually beginning.  Having decided what I am going to do, now I am thinking of how to actually approach it.  Much as I love doing stitched landscapes, interpreting a scene I know well and working from a photograph takes a certain leap of faith to get started.  I have made a preliminary sketch, which will be traced onto greaseproof paper to lay over the fabric just so I can plot certain points of the composition: this way I don't need to actually need to mark the fabric.  More importantly, I have spent some time gazing at the photo deciding where to start, and how to work out from there.  Also, I have been out walking and absorbing the colours around me.  The photo was taken three years ago in May, and today the colour of the sky was the same steely grey, contrasting with bright green of young leaves.  I love a deep grey sky with sunlight, but I will never capture it in thread.

 
Here goes for week 227:-







Many thanks to my co-host Andrée for showing us her practice piece on week 225 of the linky.  If you haven't seen her blog post yet, nip over now and see more.


If you have no free motion quilting to show, feel free to link up and show any project you like.  Here are the usual rules, but feel free to ignore them.  To keep the original emphasis, however, preference will be given to free motion quilting when featuring projects from the previous week.

If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.

Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.

Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post.
  
3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for four days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Monday.

So far quilters from the USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France, Macau, Russia, Ireland and Brazil have taken part.  The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.

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