Thursday, 16 August 2018

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 198 - Hummingbird Cushion


On the settee at last!  It seemed to take forever.  I thought I was slow starting this project, and it feels as though I have been equally slow finishing.

Much as I love the hummingbirds and orchids, the delay in starting was caused by the size of the design.  I only had a metre to play around with, and it was difficult to find the right section of it to cut the rectangle I needed so that an interesting part of the design was shown on the front of the cushion.  With the large areas of background, I found that it was all too easy to try and get certain elements to the front and then find a large gap would appear in the middle and flowers and birds would drift off to the edge.  In the end I managed to settle with three clearly visible birds and two complete orchids, one blue and one green.

The quilting was straightforward, outlining the design and leaving the background plain.  It was the construction that gave me problems, which was irksome, because after making three other cushions in the past few weeks, it should have been a pushover.  I blame the fact that I was getting over yet another bout of hay fever, caused by the harvesting in the fields near our house.  My concentration was sorely lacking.  To start with, I had forgotten to pre-wash the fabric.  Then I put bias binding on the wrong edge.    Next I had a real mental block trying to work out how broad the button band should be.



Then to cap it all I put the buttonholes a good quarter of an inch further from the edge than they should have been, so once I put the cushion inside the cover the buttons were straining.  I weighed up the options:-

1.  Move the buttons - pretty pointless, they are so near the edge I couldn't move them more than an eighth of an inch.

2.  Enlarge the buttonholes and sew on larger buttons - why cut the end of a perfectly good buttonhole and give myself some extremely irritating hand stitching?

3.  Check the cushion I had stuffed inside wasn't an exceptionally fat one - I swapped the cushion with the one inside the snakeshead cover and managed to reduce the strain on the buttonholes.  There is still a bit of a pull, but not nearly so much as there was at first.



Despite all the bother along the way, I am pleased with the result, mainly thanks to this little bird, my favourite of them all, who is now hovering in the top left hand corner.

Today I thought I would have nice relaxing sit down, propped up by this cushion, and get on with some knitting.  Back in January I managed to leave a part-made baby cardigan at my brother's house, and I have only had it back since last month.  I decided that today was the day I should carry on from where I left off, so I cast on for a sleeve and made great progress.  Once I had knitted a couple of inches I realised I was making the third sleeve.

Is it me, or is it the cushion?

Here goes for week 196:-

Many thanks to Angie for linking up last week with her lovely little baby quilt.  If you haven't seem her blog post yet, nip over now and see more:-


It's still hot (in places), so whether you are overheating in the northern hemisphere or shivering in the south, 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.

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.

Lavender Bags


My one successful crop this year has been lavender. The hot dry weather has meant that the flowers dried quite easily on a sunny windowsill, all spread out on a tray and covered with a cloth.  Then came the monumentally tedious job of removing the flowers from the stalks, which can be strong enough to poke through the weave of the material if they end up inside the bag.  The brown gingham was all I had left of a small piece of synthetic fabric.  It is definitely functional rather than pretty, but the smell is so delightful it more than makes up for the rather everyday fabric.  I am already looking forward to next year's crop.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

A Picture for Sunday - Back to Normal


You wouldn't believe how much pleasure this sight gave me.  After being baked to a frazzle for two and a half months, the sight of rain clouds sent me into a state of near delirium.  Our prevailing winds have returned!

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 197 - Birds, Flowers and Mistakes


Lots of activity today in the sewing department.  I was so keen to get going this morning and finish the hummingbirds cushion that I sewed the bias binding to the wrong edge and had to unpick it.  It's all so character building, although at my age I would have thought that it should be well and truly built by now.  So the cushion isn't completed yet, but almost.  Tomorrow I shall be doing the buttonholes, stitching the sides together and squashing it all into submission by the evening.



After quilting the orchids I bought this beauty last week.  It seems to have settled well where I have put it, in our very sunny west-facing front room, tucked in a corner out of direct sunlight.  New buds have opened, and it even has its own tiny resident spider.  I am delighted with it, and have resolved that if I can keep it alive for a year I shall buy it a companion.


Here goes for week 196:-

Many thanks to Margarita for linking up last week with her completely hand-made English Rose quilt.  If you haven't seem her blog post yet, nip over now and see more:-


It's still hot (in places), so whether you are overheating in the northern hemisphere or shivering in the south, 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.

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.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

A Picture for Sunday - Roebuck


One of the advantages of an early harvest is that it is much easier to spot deer.  This roebuck was in a field of rapeseed stubble, vicious stuff which scratches your legs to shreds.  It didn't stop this deer bounding through it, though.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

A Heap of Knitting


Heatwaves and knitting don't usually go together, but somehow I have just kept on going with this project.  

For a while it was my World Cup therapy, keeping me busy while I was glued to the box and following England's fortunes.  While I was knitting the right front England lost their semi-final.  Don't ask me what row I was on.  Some things are best forgotten.  It was all too emotional to watch to watch beyond the 90 minutes.  I couldn't bear the pain of extra time because somehow I could tell Croatia were going to beat them, so I went out for a walk and watched the sky from the corner of a field and contemplated God, Man and the Universe, agonising over whether I was all too caught up in bread and circuses.  There was a cool breeze, with the scent of chamomile wafting in the air, when I heard loud rustling in the hedge.  After standing stock still for a couple of minutes, I saw the grass parting at the side of the path, about ten feet from me, and a baby badger popped his head out and looked straight at me.  He gave me a look that said "It's all over", and I gave him a look back saying "I know", at which he strolled off a little way off up the path and then back into the long grass.

Suitably refreshed, I returned home, resolved never to forget Trippier's glorious free kick,  and set my mind to enjoying the rest of the tournament.  If I remember right, I had just finished the ribbing on the left front when France beat Croatia in the final.  That was only three weeks ago, but it seems an age away already.

Now I have all the pieces on a circular needle and am decreasing for the raglan shaping.  It's almost done!



Thursday, 2 August 2018

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 196 - Quilting Orchids



Orchids fascinate me.  They always look so exotic, with gorgeous variations of colour.  In shops I can spend half an hour or more comparing colours, trying to decide which is my favourite.  The blue orchids on this fabric look ever so slightly odd, whereas the green ones are more readily believable.

Earlier this week, when making the quilt sandwich, I had an aargh moment.  I realised that I hadn't pre-washed the fabric.  Too late, I thought.  A cushion will need a wash soon enough, and I doubt that it would shrink at 30 degrees on a quick wash.  If it does decide to spite me and shrink after all, it will be an excuse to make another.

After an afternoon of quilting, I went shopping this evening and succumbed to temptation, which I had been successfully resisting for about three weeks.  I bought an orchid.  Let's see if, for the first time in my life, I can actually manage not to kill it.  Somehow I think the quilted cushion is going to last a lot longer than the real life plant.

Here goes for week 195:-

Many thanks to Janice for linking up last week with her beautiful appliqué hearts.  If you haven't seem her blog post yet, nip over now and see more:-





It's still hot, so whether you are overheating in the northern hemisphere or shivering in the south, 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.

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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