Tuesday, 25 March 2014

All quiet now the feed-dogs are down

I mentioned in my last post that I'm busy quilting.  It's not where I feel my real home is (I miss you, dressmaking), but I'm making good on past investments.

Behold the plan I drew on the computer when I was purchasing the fabric way back in 2008/09:

Each of the heart/nine squares is 6" x 6".  I'd seen the design made on an site selling Amish quilts.  Since I <3 arithmetic, there seems no point to purchase a quilt pattern when you can calculate the fabric amounts yourself.  My parents bought the coloured fabric for my birthday that year.

I used a template cut from an ice-cream carton to trace 144 freezer-paper hearts, ironed them to the coloured fabric and laboriously hand-stitched them invisibly to the cream squares.

Past Alice did all the machine patchwork and made the quilt sandwich.  Many hours were spent listening to vinyl and hand-basting it all together on my parents' floor.  Many more hours were spent quilting in-the-ditch between all the large 6" squares, and diagonally over the smaller squares.  Even longer was spent watching television while burying all the cut thread ends into the quilt layers.

When I picked it back up this year (several house-moves later), I have this:

Sorry for the poor flash-photography indoors at night
All that remains to do (ha ha) is the quilting on the heart squares, the border quilting, then finally binding the beast.  I decided to do free-motion "wiggles" over the hearts, but I'm new to machine quilting.  However, I'm in position of a darning foot, not enough quilting needles, and I've dropped my machine feed dogs.  This makes the machine much quieter*.  I've done quite a few squares now, but sadly my free-hand pattern is bigger and sparser at one end of the quilt than the other: gah!  I'm really upset, and it's almost impossible to unpick.  Still, at least this side will be the other side of the bed from the doorway of our room.

So.  Not many blog posts from me, and not much exciting sewing until I've finished my machine quilting.  Ah well.

* My machine needs a service after its first 12 years of faithful stitchery.  However, I'm not forking out £70 at my local shop for this, so I'll be doing it myself on the dining room table when the quilt is finished.  If you're lucky, I'll post some exciting photos of the guts of my Janome.  What's the worst that could happen?!

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Slowly knitting custard pullover

I finally finished the cabled top I was making for Toddler Button!  Hooray!

The pattern is called Poseidon and it was my first effort at cabling and provisional cast-on.  I'm a huge fan of the construction method; it's completely seamless thanks to the provisional cast-on and circular knitting needles.  I don't think I ever want to seam knitting again!

Behold: I can cable, apparently!

The yarn is soft and bouncy and such a fun colour.  It was a custom dye-job from my friend Mrs Fleece Cottage Yarns.  She managed to create the just colour I was describing to her and it's called "Slowly Eating Custard Pudding".  I still have 1 1/2 skeins left for more custardy knitting.  I have just cast on for an adorable baby cardigan with the remainder.

No photo of the top on TButton as it's still too big for him (phew), so you'll have to make do with the "before" shot:

In other news:  Mrs Button Ship in sudden quilting enthusiasm shocker!!!  I've just got out my quilt from hibernation in a bid to finish free-motion quilting the last 112 squares.  I should note that this is motivated by us starting to decorate our bedroom, where the quilt will live.  Pleasingly, I appear to have improved in my quilting skills since I last attempted it 18 months - 2 years ago, despite no practice during that time.  No photos of that, either, as I don't have the space yet to unfurl the beast in all its enormous glory.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Little Soldier Shirt... again!

I mentioned last post that I had an 18-24 month pattern that I was happy with.  I made a little soldier shirt in Laura Ashley fabric using the pattern.  Sadly, Toddler Button continues to grow at an alarming rate.  Something must be done!

I graded my pattern bigger into a size 2-3 years, which is now the size that TButton prefers on his top half.  Then I drafted a new shirt!  This is most exciting:

I made several thrilling (to me) pattern alterations.  I was having some issues with the collar points turning up, so I made two changes in this area.  Firstly, I fused my interfacing to the upper collar, instead of the lower one.  Secondly, I drafted a different upper-collar pattern, allowing an extra 2mm on the outside edges for the turn of cloth.  I then had to ease it up as I constructed it.  It works a treat!

I used a different method for drafting the collar stand, which I think I prefer.  I also changed the hem to a shaped line, but it still needs a few tweaks.

I changed the aspect ratio of the pocket which is much more pleasing.  Please ignore that my pattern almost matches, but not quite.  I need to mark my pocket placement on the pattern itself, so that I can nail the pattern matching at cutting out time.  Instead of my current method of: nah, wing it.

Unfortunately, when I was cutting my front pieces from a double-thickness of fabric, the under-layer must have twisted slightly because my pattern does not match across the centre front.  It matches perfectly at the sides, though.  Bummer!  Don't mention it to TButton if you see him wearing it: I know he'll look embarrassed... ;-)

Skewer'd!  Oof.

Finally, I found these pleasingly red buttons in my jar.  Every one is slightly different, but you'd have to look pretty closely to be able to tell.  A bonus effect is that some soldiers look sadly injured by the placement of the buttons.  Ooops!


In other news, I drafted a t-shirt pattern but it turns out that all my old t-shirts are too small to be able to cut up for TButton.  I'll have to order him some actual new fabric to test it out.  I'm also nearing the end of my custard-yellow knitting, and I designed some fabric for a competition regarding whales.  Look out for more posts soon!