Happy dancing!

Hi everyone,

Yippee, it’s finally off the frame! This is the largest, most complex, and by far the most fun piece of blackwork I have stitched to date (my sixth). Full credit goes to Liadain at Practical Blackwork for charting the design named Pentecost 2. Clicking the link will take you to Liadain’s blog where she explains the inspiration behind the design. It is so generous of her to share the chart with us. Thank you Liadain!

I stitched with one strand of Anchor shade 1029 on 16 count aida. The finished piece is 18.25 inches square and it is actually perfectly square. The camera lens has slightly distorted the shape.

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I stitched along with Claire and you can see her version on her blog by clicking here. Claire created interest by introducing a second colour and the more I look at it, the more I keep finding secondary patterns. Hop over and see for yourself Smile

It was good to have a stitching partner in crime. Claire certainly kept me ticking along at a reasonable pace. You may remember that we both tackled the penultimate border (working from the centre outwards) in a slightly different way as we decided to change the chart in a few places. One advantage in doing so is that we each have a unique version. As far as we know, even Liadain hasn’t stitched this chart yet. So there may only be two versions of Pentecost 2 in the entire universe, unless you know otherwise Smile If you have stitched this design yourself, I would love to put a photo up here. Just email it to the address at the right of the page.

The next photos show the intricate details.

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What next? Well, Claire and I have been swapping ideas about the kind of things we like to stitch since well before we started Pentecost 2. She mentioned the Ink Circles designs and I showed them to my other half. He logged the name of the company in the “Prezzie Ideas” section of his brain. He’s very good at that! Guess what Santa brought me….

Correct! I now have the Cirque des Cercles chart which Claire has had in her rainy day stash for ages. Isn’t it wonderful when someone remembers what you’d wished for months ago…..he knows how to keep me occupied Smile

So our next project will be Cirque des Cercles which can be purchased via the Ink Circles web site. You are very welcome to stitch along with us if you wish. We are currently in the process of choosing fabrics and threads. I wonder whether I can be tempted away from my beloved purple this time…. Will I be stitching on black or white 16 count aida? I’d love to stitch on black and I’m going to try to sort out some lighting with a practice piece on royal blue aida this morning. If that works out well, I’m going to go for the black. Wish me luck!

There is a gallery of previously completed Cirque des Cercles here if you’d like to take a look. Any suggestions as to what thread I should choose would be gratefully received. Also, if you’ve already stitched this design, I’d love to hear from you.

That’s it for now,

Avis x

Only 37 crafting days to Christmas….

I’ve been concentrating on making Christmas decorations again this week. I hope you are all ready to get into the festive spirit if you celebrate Christmas. If not, maybe you can think of more ways to use this cross-stitch idea from my friend Claire. They could be lovely little door hangers or lavender pouches with the words of your choice. Claire has charted her cross stitch designs for lots of different Christmas decorations in both English and French. You can download them free here. Please leave a comment on her blog if you decide to download them.

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The stars you can see in the background are featured on my other blog Oh Sew Tempting. I’ve given some instructions for making them too. They don’t take very long to make and it’s a great way of using up fabric scraps….and…. they don’t have to be Christmas stars. Why not experiment using different fabrics Smile

Have fun,

Avis x

Throwing down the gauntlet!

Happy Saturday everyone and a special warm welcome to my new followers!

You may remember this lovely hand dyed yarn that I bought on the Waternish Peninsula, Isle of Skye from Shilasdair.

CIMG2988Well, it now looks like this Smile

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The pattern was free from Ravelry and it is called Easy Peazy Shawl 2.0, designed by a very generous lady called Megan. It always amazes me that crafters are so willing to share their ideas. Thank you Megan Smile You can visit her blog by clicking here. Megan also has other patterns available and I’m sure I’ll be knitting more of them as this one was really well written. I did change it very slightly at the end because I only had 660 yards of yarn and the pattern requires 770 yards. Basically, I omitted the final repeat pattern and added an extra border. It’s certainly big enough for me. I haven’t knitted with a circular needle before. However, this shawl is knit back and forth rather than in the round. I’m really happy with the result. I haven’t blocked it yet but I don’t think it needs to be so I probably won’t bother.

Here is a closer view of the bottom point. This wool is soooo soft and snuggly.

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Now for your challenge….

My daughter has bought me a little prezzie.

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This lovely little bundle is from Kate Sharp near Edinburgh. She has her own sheep and spins and dyes her wool. Unfortunately, I don’t think she has a web site but she sells wool like this at the Edinburgh Farmer’s Market if you’d like to pop along and buy some of your own.

The only problem is, I only have 30 (yes three zero) grams of this wool. Your challenge is to suggest something I could knit with 30g of double knit (8 ply) yarn. If it helps, there are 90 yards altogether. If you could recommend a particular pattern at the same time, that would be great.

I’m all ears!

Avis x

 

Happy dancing!

Hello to all the lovely crafters around the world. Today, I have a finish to show you.

I have now finished both socks, the first pair I have ever knitted, and I’m so pleased with them. I ummed and aaahed and asked lots of questions about knitting socks on my other blog about a year ago and then never got around to knitting them. Some of you had great suggestions. I signed up for a Craftsy class for knitting toe-up socks (which I still haven’t looked at) and then found this free pattern on Ravelry called Jeck for a cuff-down version. The yarn is Opal brand and it’s made in Germany but mine was purchased in the UK by my daughter at a craft fair. The label says “Pullover & Sockenwolle 100g”.

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As a complete coincidence, my daughter was buying me wool at a craft fair while I was visiting the Isle of Skye buying more wool. We visited a wonderful shop called Shilasdair. It could actually be described as a small visitor centre as there is a video set-up showing all of the different processes of hand-dyeing the wool they sell and I found it very interesting. Shilasdair uses lots of lovely natural dyes and the colours are stunning. How could I leave without buying some?

This is what I bought. Isn’t it similar to the wool my daughter bought for me?

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The lady in the shop explained that the blues are dyed with indigo but the shades are just like the blaeberries on the label.

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My Shilasdair wool is a mix of cashmere, baby camel, angora and merino lambswool so it is very soft. It is labelled as a luxury double knit weight.

Now all I have to decide is, will I be knitting socks or a scarf with this new wool? I’m drawn towards a scarf this time due to the heavier weight of this yarn, maybe something quite lacy……but then I enjoyed knitting the socks so much on four needles. I could always shop for other sock yarn….decisions, decisions.

Happy crafting!

Avis x

 

Pillow talk!

Hi everyone. I hope you have had a very productive, crafty weekend!

Following my post about my chevron pillow/cushion cover, I’ve received emails asking me how I made it. So I thought it would be a good excuse to make more covers and write a tutorial at the same time. My cover is quilted through three layers on the front and is fully lined. The closure is an envelope style. I’m sure many of you already make covers in your own way but this is my way. I like it because it doesn’t require buttons or zippers, though you could add them if you wish. Also, there are no fabric scraps left.

Here is my chevron version again, in case you missed it.

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And the quilting.

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Here goes….

Materials

You will need: 19.5 inches (half a metre) off the roll of each of the fabrics for the outside of the cover and the lining, assuming that it is 42 inches wide. Also, a piece of wadding/batting which is about 21 x 21 inches.

Method

1. Cut the selvedge edges off both sides of both pieces of fabric. I chose bright orange with white spots for the outer fabric and white lining.

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2.Lay the lining fabric to one side. Cut a square which is 19.5 x 19.5 inches from the outer fabric. Cut the remainder in half to give two rectangles measuring 19.5 x 12 inches approx. If yours is slightly bigger than 12 inches, that’s fine. It will give a larger overlap on the envelope closure.

3. Repeat with the lining fabric to obtain exactly the same sized pieces as you did for the outer fabric.

4. Take one rectangle of each fabric and place them right sides together.

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5. Sew a one quarter inch seam along one 19.5 inch side. Repeat with the other two rectangles.

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6. Lay these pieces on the pressing board with the outer fabric uppermost and the new seam at the top. Lift the uppermost fabric and press away from you so the seam is pressed towards the outer fabric.

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7. Now put the rectangles with wrong sides together and press along the seam so that the outer fabric is just peeping around the edge. This is so that the lining cannot be seen from the back closure of the finished cover. Repeat with the other rectangles.

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8. Now we are going to make the quilted front of the cover. Lay the wadding/batting flat on the table. Place the wrong side of the lining square on top of the wadding. Make sure it is lying square and smooth it out.

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9. There should be a small amount of wadding all around the edge of the lining which you should trim away so they are both the same size.

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10. Carefully, turn the double layer square over and place the outer fabric on top. You should now have lining on the bottom, wadding in the middle and the outer fabric on top.

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11. Sew along one side through all three layers, close to the edge. This will anchor this side ready for quilting. Place pins at intervals through all layers.

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12. Quilt as desired. For this cover, I folded my square in half and sewed a line along the fold from the stitched edge to the opposite side. I then attached my little gadget to the machine so that I could sew lines parallel to the first one at intervals of 1.5 inches.

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13. I then folded my square in half diagonally, sewed a line along the fold and repeated the paralell lines process.

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14. Now, all we need to do is sew all of the pieces together to make the cover. Lay the quilted square on the table with the right side uppermost. Place one of the rectangles with the lining uppermost at the edge of the square. Pin in position.

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15. Now pin the other rectangle to the other side of the square. If you are using fabric that has a pattern with a right way up, now is the time to change positions if you need to. Don’t wait until after it has been sewn together.

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16. Sew all the way around the cover through all layers. Take care to stitch slowly over the thicker parts where the fabrics overlap. If you have a serger, this stage will be much faster as you will be able to sew a seam and overlock the edges at the same time.

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17. I don’t have a serger so I switched to zig-zag stitch and sewed around the outside edge of the seam. Trim the edge and snip across the corners.

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18. Turn the cover to the right way, press the edges and insert a pad. Stand back and admire Smile.

Here is my finished cushion. I hope you like it.

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I couldn’t stop!

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I quilted this one with another different pattern, keeping it simple.

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Here they are all together.

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Go on then, have a go. Send me photos if you make one and I’ll put it here with mine. Any questions, just ask. I’ll also be putting this tutorial on my quilting blog Oh Sew Tempting as it is quilting after all Smile.

Last but not least, I’ve just noticed that the October Made It Challenge has begun over at Woolhogs. Entries are already coming in. Pop over to take a peep!

 

Have fun!

Avis x