Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On My Needles

Its been pretty busy around here recently and I've been feeling pretty tired and worn out by the end of the day. I've not felt the inclination to go and spend my evenings on my own in my cold sewing room, but have preferred to sit with my husband next to the cosy fire.
 In addition to this, a small group of us have come together and formed a little knitting group. We generally meet up once a week for a chat, a laugh, a knit and the odd glass of wine.

Amongst our numbers are two talented indie dyers and one uber talented knitting pattern designer, so I have a great source of beautiful yarn and knitting inspiration surrounding me.

All this has meant that I've been doing quite a bit of knitting recently. My knitting is still a bit dodgy, but its slowly getting better with practise.

I'd been meaning to knit a new hoodie for Scallywag for a while, but when I saw this yarn from  Featherbrush Yarn, I couldn't put it off any longer. I love the way it knitted up and I must say that when I put this hoodie next to his old one I can really see the value of using good quality wool.

The pattern is Little Hoodlum by Julia Stanfield
The yarn is No Diggity by Featherbrush Yarns

My biggest project recently has been a knitted dress for Rascal.

I think I'm really going to have to work on the tension of my knits as it has a bit of a droopy neckline, but apart from that I'm really pleased. The yarn is a bit too pink for my liking, but it is soft and sparkles so Rascal LOVES it!

The size is generous so lets just say that she is going to get a lot of wear out of it!
The pattern is Primrose by Julia Stanfield.
The yarn is Devonport Dreaming by Red Riding Hood Yarns.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Grrrrrrowl! Today is the Day!

I know that a few of you are hanging out for my new bear pattern and so I am really pleased to tell you that I released the first of two versions today.

I'll be honest, the main difference between the two versions is the size, but the 12 inch version has been simplified to make it work as a small block.

I'm also pretty sure that I am not the only person wanting to sew this as a big block and as enlarging a pattern up to 30 inch is a bit of a drag, I've also sent the bigger (more complicated) version to my pattern testers. All going well (I've had more than my fair share of technical difficulties with this pattern!) I will release it when its ready.

The pattern is a black bear, but if you want to call it as a brown bear or even a polar bear (a low volume version would be pretty cool don't you think?!), I won't be offended.

As I have said before, I don't regard this as a pattern suitable for beginners. Its not because of the small pieces - many of my other patterns have smaller pieces- no, its to do with fabric choices and keeping your place when sewing the subtle shading on the bear.That said, the pieces can't be too small as one of my crazy pattern testers is even talking about reducing the block down to 6 inch- I wonder if she really dares!

Here's Jeifner's awesome version of little bear.

The good news is that Growl, Little Bear Paper Pieced Pattern is available via my Craftsy Store, so if this is the size that you want, hop over get yourself a copy.

If you are game for a challenge and fancy giving the big bear a go, then you will have to hang in there just a little bit longer. I promise I'll let you know when its ready.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What comes first?

I was wondering...

When you start a quilting project- what comes first? -

The fabric, the pattern or do you just vaguely start something and let the project dictate the direction that you take?

I was sent this fabric and told to make something- aaargh the pressure!
I have had a few occasions where my projects have been dictated by the fabric. I have been given the fabric and told to make something. For me these have invariably been the hardest projects.
Perhaps there has been an aspect of stage fright. The pressure that others expect you to create something awesome.

But I have to say that I think that its more than that. For me, it just feels back to front! I like to have an idea what I am making and then with the project in mind, I will go and search for fabrics. My initial idea is rarely set in stone and there is almost indefinitely wiggle room if I run out of fabrics or change my mind along the way, but it is most natural for me to work this way round.

Perhaps this is related to the fact that I find bundles of fabric paralysing They scare me! I always feel the pressure to sew something amazing with them and feel guilty if I break into them to use a single fabric. 

Now I must admit that I don't own many fabric bundles for this very reason, but recently I decided to split up one of the fabric bundles that had been sitting in my stash for ages. Within the shortest amount of time it was ALL GONE. It was used in a variety of projects and each piece was perfect for its final destination.

I think I'm going to split all my fabric bundles and not feel guilty if I cut into them. Fabric is there to be sewn after all- not to sit in a drawer unloved. Don't you think?!?

How about you? 
What comes first for you? 
Do you like fabric bundles and sew exclusively from single fabric lines or do you like to mix it up?

Oh and on a completely unrelated note, while I'm asking lots of questions... I've been thinking about maybe doing a block of the month next year (yep, I'm pretending to be organised!).
Would you be interested?
Do you have any suggestions or requests for themes?
How many blocks would you like it to consist of?- six, nine or the full twelve?
Oh and do you prefer the designs to be a surprise or do you like the know what is ahead of you?

Monday, July 14, 2014

The pattern where I am taught my business by small girls!

Sometimes I like to post pictures of my work in progress patterns on instagram. Its fun seeing how people react to them.

When I posted my half finished ballet dancer pattern, Liz gave me some feedback straight from the mouth of her 3 year old daughter "she needs a bun- ballet dancers need to have their hair in buns!"
Who am I to ignore the wishes of a 3 year old, so I added a bun, finished the pattern and posted a new picture on instagram. When Liz saw it, she begged me to let her test the pattern- how could I say no!

I sent the pattern off and waited to see what the testers would do with it.

I had to laugh when the pictures came back and both testers had made the same alteration to the pattern- they gave my dancer ballet shoes! When I commented both mums said that the change had been requested by their daughters.

So design credits for the ballet shoes go to Liz and Leonie's daughters.

Haven't they both made a great job of sewing the pattern- I really do have the best pattern testers!

If you would like to get your hands on the ballet dancer pattern you can find it in my Craftsy Store.

**This post contains affiliate links**

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Round-up of the Finish Along Second Quarter

Its that time of the year again when people look at their finish-along lists and reflect on how much they have managed to achieve.

While I have undoubtedly done significantly less sewing than normal in the last quarter of a year, I can at least feel pleased that I managed to complete three of my four projects (and who was I kidding- the fourth one was never going to get done!)

The first project was just a small one, but an important one to me. It was lovely to be included in the team of bloggers promoting the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. The book that I reviewed was "Toucan Can" and I had great fun turning Toucan into a paper pieced cushion. You can find the Toucan Can pattern on my Craftsy store.

The second finish was the butterfly quilt- love it!

I've bored you enough about this quilt recently so I won't go into detail again...

Finally I finished the New Zealand bird quilt. To be honest, there wasn't much work left to be done on this project- but a finish is a finish and that's all that counts!

Unfortunately the Sampler Quilt is still languishing unloved in the WIP basket. I would love to say that its high on my list of priorities, but I have to admit that there are a few other projects that have to be done before I can even think of working on this one!

Here's to a  much more productive quarter next quarter. I am really really missing my sewing time!

Why not pop over to Katy's place and see how other people got on with their lists.

*** This post contains affiliate links***


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