Friday, 2 November 2018

Finished: my Secret Grove mitts

A couple of weeks ago I finished my mitts from the "Secret Grove" pattern by Pauliina Karru, which I bought via Ravelry. This is my first finish for the Finish Along fourth quarter.

They have been knitted from Tuku fingering weight wool on 4 dpns size 2.5 mm. This style has a long gauntlet which works to bridge the gap between sweater and wrist, and has open fingers, so that using a keyboard in the winter doesn't mean completely cold hands. I can imagine wearing these under ski mitts. I have already used one on my left hand while knitting; I removed the right-hand mitt quite quickly as my hand movements were being restricted.

I shall be linking this post to:

 at the beginning of January. 

Happy crafting


Thursday, 1 November 2018

One Monthly Goal in November

My goal for November is to finish the play mat for my twin grandchildren who are expected in December.

Here it is:

It was also my goal for October, but it's still not finished!

Yet another goal not reached! I had the top sewn together early in October, but the quilting is heavy going: a combination, I think, of a double layer of wadding and Ikea furnishing cotton as backing.
When I roll the fabric up the roll is so bulky I can't see over it if I'm sitting at the machine so I've resorted to standing. I didn't expect that to be so easy; I certainly have a better view of the fabric, and more control of what's happening. I had a problem at first controlling the speed, being rather heavy-footed when my legs got tired. That was quickly remedied by taking a break regularly and doing something else, like writing this blog post!

There's not much more to be done to the mat, just quilting a few more diagonal lines, trimming, provisionally binding and washing. I read that I can expect up to 10% shrinkage on quilting cotton so I added that, plus a bit extra, all round. I'm going to provisionally bind it on the machine with a long stitch, and then trim it finally after washing, and then reattach the binding permanently.

That shouldn't take me so long! Well, we'll see at the end of November!

I'm linking to Patty at  

OMG November Link-Up is OPEN!

click on the button above to see more November goals.

Happy sewing


Friday, 12 October 2018

RSC September blue and October green

We've come to the end of the blocks for the RSC 18's Squared Away sampler. Mari at the Academic Quilter has posted block instructions each month and Angela at Soscrappy has hosted the link-up. This is the last block:
Dewey Dream

As I was rather busy in September with other projects I didn't get my Squared Away blocks made, but thank goodness I've caught up now. Here are my blue blocks, only 12 days late!

Queen Charlotte's Crown

Now it's time to start thinking about the layout. I rather like the idea of an on point setting for this, but 20 is not a very useful number to work with; a 4 x 5 block rectangle would work better. I'm still thinking about this!

I shall be linking to


Click on the button above sometime on Saturday afternoon (CET)
 to see more green goodness made this month.

From a brilliantly sunny, and at least 10°C warmer than the seasonal average, Netherlands, I wish you happy sewing this weekend,


Thursday, 11 October 2018

Finish Along 2018 Q4 list
 With some degree of optimism, here is my list:

  1. Play mat - already a top, but needs decision on final size, then adding borders and quilting.
    Play mat top, folded: it's almost all there, but for now a secret.
  2. Knitting fingerless gloves from the pattern "Secret Grove" by Linaknits on Ravelry. 
  3. Lap quilt from RSC sampler blocks, "Squared Away". The last block pattern has just been released so I need to get cutting to make it, and then put the lot together. I'm thinking of making it on point, something like this,
    but with two dark blue, two dark green added, and another purple, to make up the numbers!
  4. Baby beanies from discarded T-shirts, from a pattern to be found at
    I'm making them for a pair of yet-to-be-born family members, but they're so simple I shall probably continue sewing them for the local maternity unit. We have enough T-shirts waiting to be cut up and repurposed.

 I'm linking to 
Click on the button to see more projected finishes in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Happy sewing


Monday, 1 October 2018

OMG October goal: play mat

My goal is to finish the play-mat for my twin grandchildren expected in December. Since yesterday it looks like this:

These are all six inch squares; some plain fabric but also HSTs and hourglass blocks. I'm going to use a double layer of wadding and back it with a sturdy curtain fabric from Ikea. (Fingers crossed the fabrics all shrink at the same rate!)

I shall be keeping the quilting simple on this one: straight lines following a quarter of an inch away from the seams, and continuing the diagonal seams across the plain squares. When it's finished and handed over to the parents I'll show the whole thing! I hope before the end of October!

I'm linking up to
so pop in over there to see more October goals from around the world.

Happy sewing


Sunday, 30 September 2018

OMG September Plus/minus is finished!

My goal for September was to finish my plus and minus quilt, that should have been finished by the end of August as my response to the Dutch MQG theme challenge for July and August. However, at the end of August it looked like this with just the top right corner quilted:

I'm happy I finished it yesterday, and can post this at the eleventh hour.

 The pluses are improvised blocks joined with filler (background) fabric into four 12" squares and then joined; the minuses I made in the quilting, along with some ghost pluses. My idea was, and still is, plus is visible, grabs the attention while the negative is in the background, less visible, but present nevertheless. The ghost pluses represent a no-man's land, an area of doubt and indecision.

close up showing two ghost pluses and a minus

Now I'd like to ask for some advice. Does anyone know how to remove chalk lines? The photo below shows what's left of my quilting guide-lines in 'Sewline' pink chalk. I have rubbed them with fingers, the eraser on the end of the 'pencil' and a clothes' brush, and still they're there. I don't want to heat or wet them in case that fixes them completely. Any hints or experience with chalk would be most welcome.
pink chalk guide-lines still visible after A LOT of rubbing!
Quilting this 24"x24" quilt has been all the sewing I've done this month. The quilting lines are 0.25" apart, and that takes forever! This is the last time that I do straight line quilting with shapes I have to go round, as this was a stop-start exercise from start to finish. But the finish was not the real finish:

burying threads and trimming them took two hours!

Last month I won a $25 voucher for the Fat Quarter Shop and received this package 10 days after ordering.

Thank you, Patty, for pulling my name out of the hat last month and to the Fat Quarter Shop for giving a prize. I chose this bundle because winter is drawing in, and I'm planning on alleviating the pending greyness with some fabric sunshine.

Finally another early morning picture of the plus and minus quilt.

The sun was obliquely to my right and slightly in front and I just couldn't get the exposure right. Of course I was breaking the first rule of photography: "NEVER take a photo into the sun," but rules are made to be broken, aren't they?

 I'm linking up to

 (A bit late; I missed TGIFF last week)

 To see many more goals achieved click on the buttons above.

Enjoy Autumn (not to forget Spring in the Southern Hemisphere) while you can.

Happy sewing


Monday, 3 September 2018

OMG September

My goal for September is to finish quilting this:

My plus/minus mini quilt (± 24x24") for the Dutch Modern Quilt Guild. These pluses were improvised and then put together with filler fabric into the final layout. The minuses are in the quilting.

Only one quarter is quilted, even though the plan was to have it completely finished by the end of last week.

I shall be battling on with it and deciding on the position of minuses as I go. Quilting lines half an inch apart take forever!

I'm linking up to Elm Street Quilts:

Click on the button to see more September gaols from around the world.

Happy sewing


Saturday, 25 August 2018

Knitting in a magic loop: new to me!

New to me in August is knitting in magic loop. It isn't that I've neglected patchwork altogether, but the expected arrival of twins in the family in December has necessitated the shelving of some projects and focussing on the babies! In this case knitting hats for new-born babies.

Baby hats: two premature size and two new-born size. Pattern in 3 sizes from Kelly Brooker on Ravelry.
So, following my new-to-me knitting on a circular needle last month, I've already taken that skill one step further with the magic loop. It took me a couple of hours with a number of You-tube videos to get it right.

Really it's very easy: after casting on you push all the stitches onto the cable, divide them into two, pull the cable between the two groups of stitches - that's the loop - here on the left of the picture. Then you think of when you are knitting on two needles - when you start, in which hand do you have the empty needle?  Right hand, left hand, it makes no difference, it's just what you're used to. The stitches on that side stay on the cable with the last stitch you cast on (and the yarn) nearest to the empty needle, and the stitches on the other side you push onto the other needle; they are the ones you knit first.

One set of stitches on the needles and the other resting on the cable.
Then it's just like working on two needles until they've all changed from one needle to the other. Then you slip the stitches you just knitted onto the cable, being careful not to loose the loop, and pull the "resting" stitches onto the working needle, turn the work round, just like working with two needles, ... and repeat!

You just have to remember to have half the stitches on the needle and half on the cable as you begin every "row".

One group resting on the cable, the others waiting to be knitted.
The You-Tube films were useful, and not! I'm British and knit the stitches from the left needle to the right, with the yarn in my right hand. Most of the films were by Americans who had the wool in their left hand which I found crazily disorientating! There was even one woman knitting onto the left hand needle. Finally I found someone who knits the way I do and then everything fell into place.

The original pattern for these hats is for DK yarn, but I adapted it for 4-ply - premature size: 80 stitches, new-born: 90 stitches. That's also something new for me: adapting a knitting pattern. It's only a small garment and a very simple pattern. I've never adapted a cardigan pattern for myself, except the length of the sleeves - something that doesn't involve maths! Any advanced calculations I've never attempted, but now I think the maths isn't so difficult, it just needs some thought and planning!

I'm linking to Celtic Thistle Stitches for:
Click on the button to see what others have discovered this month.

Happy crafting!


August goal reached

My goal for August was to start cutting and sewing the pieces for a play mat for twins due in December.

I started the month with this:

 In the meantime I took out this:

Green, even though it looks grey here! The top photo is a better colour.
and replaced it with this:

A much brighter pale green.

And have so far sewn about two-thirds of the pieces:

"Sewn" isn't right in all cases, as some of them are staying as 6" squares! I just sewed the HSTs and an hour-glass block.

I showed the parents what I had on the design wall and they were happy with how it's going. Now I just have to finish the blocks and decide on the layout. The top might even be finished this month.

I'm sorry I can't show more: it has to remain something of a surprise!

I'm linking with
Click on the link to see more August goals met.

Happy sewing


Saturday, 11 August 2018

Orange August

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge for August is orange. Mari posted new block for the Squared Away Sampler, and Angela decided on the colour.

Here are my two 10" blocks in orange and brown.

Speaking of rainbows:

This heralded the end of the heatwave yesterday. This rainbow was a complete semicircle, continuing round to fade into another block of flats about 1km. away to my right. I've never seen a complete rainbow before; they usually fade away before they get to a quarter circle.

On the weather front: the heatwave is over! Hooray! The daytime temperatures above 30°C (normal body temp is 36) are in the past. Yesterday's rain didn't amount to much so it didn't make any difference to the yellow crunchy grass.

I'm linking to


Click on the button to see more orange scraps being put to good use!

Happy sewing