Monday, 9 January 2017

Winter Project Link Party - January







How has your crafting December been? Did you have a chance to sit down with a favourite creative activity? I did although not as much as I would have liked. I started knitting a scarf in to replace all the ones I have lost over the past three years. I am probably about 2/3s there. Knitting can be done in a small space. With the extension finished, I took the first opportunity - Boxing Day - to sandwich Sam's quilt the way I like sandwiching my quilts: Stick the backing on the floor with masking tape, smooth the batting over it and finally, layer the quilt top over both. I use curved safety pins to hold the layers together, starting in the middle and working my way out slowly, making sure all is smooth and flat. I think mine are a bit blunt. Then I trim the back and batting to a manageable size (I always start of with a slightly larger size for those). Ever since Boxing Day I have been sitting with the quilt top on my lap, stitching away. There is something comforting and soothing about hand stitching that I cannot explain. It is a repetitive and simple task but tremendously relaxing.

I recently bookmarked Florence's review about hand stitching needles for English paper piecing, you can find it here. I was intrigued, having never thought about needles much before. I used the first quilting needle that came into my hands, a Clover size nine gold eye quilting needle. I really liked them for my last quilt but with this new quilt, it is a tad more strenuous to push the needles through the fabric and I get pins and needles in my hand quite quickly. I thought it was worth the effort to test some other needles. I ordered a selection of John James needles. I had never heard of this company but the selection of needles on their website is mind boggling. There is a needle for any purpose you can imagine. I tried milliner needles in the sizes 9 and 10 first because I thought I might like slightly longer needles more. I don't, I realise now that there is a reason for quilting needles to be very short. Then I tried the quilting needles in sizes 9 and 10. I prefer the size 10. These are teeny tiny but easier to thread than the Clover needles, which I cannot thread without a little threading tool. They easily slide through the fabric layers but they are a bit less rounded at the thread end and I have pushed them into my thumb a couple of times, which is painful. The needle testing was an interesting exercise but I am not sure if could tell the candidates apart in a blind test so it is probably not worth worrying about. Prices are comparable. I can be quite generous with replacing slightly blunt needles now because I have so many.

I have been thinking about my 2016 making year. Most of my maker's energy was spent on sewing, I made one and half quilts and I made several tops for myself. I also took a fitting class to learn more about my body and how to fit garments to its lumps and bumps. Previously a prolific knitter, I have knitted very little last year: I have a half finished top and a scarf in my project bag but progress is slow. Crochet is never going to be my great love but I started a crochet blanket in the summer, which has been confined to a dark corner because the sheer sight of it makes me yawn. Its fate is still undecided but I am not optimistic. I dabbled quite a lot in soap making and moved from simple plain soaps to rather pretty ones. I enjoyed that.

Despite all these projects, I have not made anything that truly challenged my skills. I am almost always tired, too tired to challenge myself. I'll be able to reduce my working hours to 0.8 FTE in March so maybe things will look up. Until then I hope to finish my knitting projects and Sam's quilt and I'll keep on ignoring the ironing. A wise woman has to prioritise what matters :-)

I have no firm plans, just some ideas for this year. For myself, I want to make a dress for the summer and maybe a pair of shorts. Shorts are not very flattering when you have my body but maybe fitted ones will look ok. Must remember to remove the winter fur before modelling. I really would like to make a yellow 1960s winter coat with a Peter Pan collar. I also fancy making a classic button down shirt, which would be a real challenge for me. I have some funky knit fabric which I hope to turn into t-shirts for James and Alistair and I would like to make Annie a couple of t-shirts, too. She is really tall and needs women's clothes but still has a young taste. I can help out I think. I want to knit a Hitofude cardigan and also a Boreal jumper, or maybe a Mailin jumper. The latter two would be ideal for camping. I sat too close to the camp fire last September and have no leftover yarn to fix the damage in my current camping jumper. I thought of designing a new sock pattern but socks bore me at the moment so I probably won't. I want to make some really twirly soaps, too. And of course I have Annie's quilt to make.... It is going to be a busy year! I'll probably roll my eyes in wonder when I next think about this paragraph.

I have linked this post with Jennifer's Winter Project Link Party. Thanks Jennifer for hosting this linkup, it it always really inspiring to see what other people make. Jennifer is working on some beautiful classic granny squares. Be sure to stop by and admire all the projects linked!

Thanks for stopping by and saying hello. xx


16 comments:

  1. wow that is quite an undertaking.. looks great

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  2. I am in awe of all your projects whilst working and being a full time Mum. I too have experimented with needles and found they don't make a lot of difference to the overall look for me. (I am sure a professional quilter would disagree.) I love the idea of taping the bottom sandwich to the floor such a great tip. Love the quilt and the fabrics you chose.

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  3. Bet you are in your element with all that space to spread out your quilts. It's looking good. I'm rolling my eyes at all you have planned. You put me to shame and I'm retired! B x

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  4. Thats a lot of projects planned for the coming year, look forward to seeing how you progress, the quilt looks lovely a nice selection of colours.

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  5. You should definitely make a shirt - it is really rewarding but like a coat it can be done in little stages to fit into time slots especially if you can leave your machine out somewhere. Did you manage to bag yourself some space? I am at the backing stage of my quilt but didn't want to buy more fabric for the back so I will have to have a rummage in the airing cupboard to find an old sheet - stash diet and all that! Love ya. Jo x

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  6. What you have made and aspire to make is amazingly admirable to me, Christina, and inspiring! After working with some hand quilters, I tried several different brands and sizes of needles, but I tend to worry about the size of the threading hole more than the sharpness just because I accomplish less if it takes me forever to thread! Happy crafting, 2017! xx

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  7. That quilt is stunning. I'm amazed at all you achieve with a job and four children and a dog! No wonder you are tired. I'm really concentrating on what I'm eating since the start of the year and I'm amazed at how much energy I seem to have. loads of fruit and veg and so far no added sugar, or at least only very little.

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  8. You're doing such a great job with that quilt and your hand stitching is so neat. Sounds like you won't be doing much thumb twiddling this year! Looking forward to seeing your new projects in progress.

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  9. Happy new year. Your great crafting with beautiful colours has brought me a breeze of spring.

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  10. This is a beautiful quilting project. I love to hand quilt and I use a small size 10 between needle as well. I am so used to those small needles that I use them for applique too.

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  11. Hi Christina, thank you for joining in with my link party! Your quilt is coming along so well, it's just beautiful and your hand-quilting is looking neat and precise. I enjoyed reading about what projects you've decided to try this year. I think fitted shorts are a really good idea, they are very flattering, and you might try going slightly shorter with them than you think you should. I always thought it would be most flattering to wear longer shorts, like Bermuda shorts-length, when it turns out my legs actually look better in a mid-length, a few inches about the knee. It makes my legs seem longer and less stumpy. I look forward to seeing whatever you make, you're so multi-talented. :)

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  12. I love the photograph of Sam's quilt in progress. Very interesting about the needles. I have been tryimgmout some needle turn applique on a quilt I am making at the moment, and had to experiment to find a needle that suited me. Turns out a very short needle was best, but very fiddly too. I bought two boxes of quilting pins but have been too nervous to use them, as I have only ever basted quilts. I might be brave and try the pins next time. Good luck with all your makes for the coming year X

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  13. Your quilting stitches are so neat and even! Are you using a quilting thread? I did when I made my patchwork blanket and I found that it was too big to go through the eye of my quilting needle. I didn't know there were so many types of needles - I'll have a look at that website you mentioned next time I'm making a blanket. Good luck with your other projects for 2017. You're so talented you'll have many fabulous makes. x

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  14. Goodness.. I'm impressed with that quilt. I'm so slow at all my projects.. it's not even funny. But I peck away at things. Good luck on your new plans for crafty endeavors. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  15. Your quilt is beautiful! I enjoyed reading about the different needles too, not something I had given much though to before, but it is rather like finding my favourite crochet hook for me. Enjoy all of the projects you want to do this year!

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx