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


Wednesday, 1 August 2018

One monthly goal August
My goal for August is firstly to find some yellow & white or mint green & white striped fabric to match these:

fabric choice made by the parents

and then to start cutting and sewing the blocks for a play-mat for twins expected by a family member in December. A play-pen for twins is longer and narrower than usual, approximately 1.5m x 0.8m., I think, but don't worry, I have the measurements somewhere!

I don’t wash my fabric before sewing, but wash the finished quilts so that the wadding can shrink and become puffy. I’ve never bothered to measure a quilt before and after washing, but now I need to know what sort of percentage shrinkage I can expect. Do you know? I’d be grateful if you could share your knowledge.

I'm looking forward to reading about the amount of shrinkage occurring in quilts made of quilting cotton with a 100% cotton wadding and to reading about other goals for August.

I'm linking to 
If you click on the button you'll find more August goals.

Happy sewing


Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Knitting again.

 This is my first finish for:
This blog has always been about quilting which isn't surprising when you consider the name. One or two side steps into embroidery have occurred, but then in relation to crazy quilting. There we go again ... quilting!

But this post is about knitting. Now I'm knitting again. I stopped about six years ago when the cardigan I was knitting showed signs of being too wide in the shoulders and too tight in the waist! That really is a downer and garment knitting was clearly no longer for me! Then carpal tunnel syndrome made knitting impossible.

I do, however have a lot of wool left over from projects long since worn out and was thrilled to see a pattern offered through Ravelry on Instagram. Never one for an endless row of knitted tea-cosies, odd socks, multi-coloured scarves etc. I was immediately struck by the Memory Keeper's Shawl designed by @linaknits.

Although I've been knitting on and off for more than sixty years, there were several "new to me" things about this pattern.

Firstly it's knitted throughout with two yarns simultaneously: a neutral which is constant throughout, and lots of scraps of varying colours, but of the same thickness - in my case, more or less, as most of the balls had lost their labels! The neutral yarn (I used a light grey) gives more subtle colouring while using up scraps.

Second "new to me" was knitting on a circular needle.

It's not knitted in the round, just backwards and forwards like on conventional needles. But with some 360 stitches in the last row the mind boggles at what would happen at the end of the row with all the stitches on the same needle. After some unfruitful local searching I finally bought a 120cm long circular needle online. 120cm seems to be the longest there is, although this one can be extended by adding other sections of cable. As it was 120 cm was more than long enough.

Thirdly, I'd never heard of an i-cord before.

And now I've knitted one! It forms a more stable edge to the piece, and especially the cast-off i-cord gives a stable yet flexible finish. It can be seen in the photo above; the three stitches on the right hand needle get slipped back onto the left and then knitted again: K2, K2tog, thus taking up the next stitch from the left hand needle. It took ages to cast off 360-odd stitches that way but I'm really satisfied with the result.

One last photo! Today's bright sunshine and shadows are making the colours look rather pale. The first photo (draped over the bamboo) is a better representation of reality.

I'm linking to

Click on the button to see more "new" techniques.

Happy sewing, and knitting


One Monthly Goal July: reached!

My monthly goal for July was to quilt and bind this ill-fated quilt. It wasn't finished in May, as I'd hoped, nor in June, because the machine spent most of the time with the dealer.

The Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR) is now working as it should, but somewhat temperamentally. It's weak spot is definitely the plug with which it is attached to the machine, requiring additional care and attention. Anyway, at the eleventh hour I have succeeded in getting it quilted and bound!

 I quilted mostly with a large meander, except for the elongated magenta stars which all have the same quilting motif, and the blocks with yellow squares which all have a spiral in the centre surrounded by spiky petals inspired by sunflowers.

I still have to  bury the threads, and there are an awful lot of them from when the BSR developed a mind of its own and was running on the spot! I'll do that this evening - technically still July.

The top is made of scraps from my stash and the backing is a Bernatex basic weave, with a row of blocks made from pieces of the top that weren't used.

One last view. I'm always amazed at how Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilts come together and all the secondary elements that then become visible.

Happy sewing


Saturday, 21 July 2018

RSC Red in July

Each month Angela choses a colour and this year Mari is posting a block for the Squared Away sampler.
This month's colour is red and here are my two Round the Corner blocks:

I was in Friesland (one of the most northerly provinces of The Netherlands) last week, and stayed in Leeuwarden,  the provincial capital which has been chosen as Cultural Capital of Europe for 2018. To celebrate this honour the provincial governors decided to invite eleven sculptors to create a fountain for each of eleven towns in the province. A suitable cultural expression considering the importance of water in out lives.

 I photographed the fountains in Bolswaard:

De Vliermuis (the bat) by Johan Cretan

and in Leeuwarden:

Artist unknown to me: I couldn't find a plaque at the site, and no info on the Province's info online
Hold on - a fountain? There's no water!

This country, The Netherlands, is normally wet. In fact historically our greatest struggle has been managing the water. Just think of all those windmills pumping the water off the land from the network of drainage ditches into the rivers, and all those levees keeping the rivers within boundaries and keeping out the sea.

Uncharacteristically no rain has fallen in the last six weeks, leading to depleted water supplies. In some areas, including Friesland, a water shortage has officially been declared; fortunately there is no restriction yet for households, but farmers are no longer allowed to pump up ground water, and town councils have advised that fountains should be still, and garden hoses go unused. Any other year and Friesland's fountain project would have been spectacular. As it is the sculpture is interesting, beautiful, moving and in some cases controversial, but in some cities misses its crowning glory.
You can't plan everything!

I never thought I'd say this, but I wish it would rain! Just a little, and at night!

I'm linking to 

grab button for SoScrappy 

Click on the button to see more scrappy redness. 

Happy sewing


Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Finish Along list 2018 Q3

I didn't finish anything in the second quarter, mainly because my sewing machine was out of commission from the beginning of May until the middle of June.

So here is my list for the third quarter:
  1.  En Provence (Quiltville mystery 2016-2017)
    The quilting was just a little more than half done when my machine malfunctioned, now I have it back and hope to have a quilting day tomorrow.
  2. Play Pen mat. I went with the parents to buy the fabric on Saturday. They have settled on the colours and the type of design. D-day is in December but I would be happy to have it finished by the beginning of October. 
  3. Knitting Memory Keeper's Shawl: pattern by Paulina Karru (, Ravelry). I started last week and it's a great project to do while listening to the television or sitting outside on my balcony. This is scrappy knitting! At the current rate it will be finished well before October.
Only three proposed finishes; all my other projects are BOMs etc, and not scheduled to be finished before the end of the year.

I wish everyone a productive quarter. Mine can't be any worse than the last!

 I'm linking up to:
 Click on the button above to see more proposed finishes.

Happy sewing


Sunday, 1 July 2018

July: one monthly goal

This is beginning to get tedious, but my goal for July is the same as for May!

To finish my version of Bonnie Hunter's 2016-17 Mystery Quilt, "En Provence" which I had to stop quilting during the second week of May because my machine was playing up! Since then it's been back to the dealer twice, and I've been on holiday.

My machine is now back from the dealer who replaced the BSR section of the machine's wiring. The fault has been ascertained: the wiring in the BSR foot itself. We are now trying to convince Bernina that it was faulty within the guarantee period, even though their technician failed to find anything 2 years after purchase. Rewiring the foot is impossible so the choice is: buy a new one (about €600.-) or learn to quilt with the darning foot (like thousands of others.) The dealer gave me some hints about positioning the BSR plug to give the fewest problems, but I still have to try it.

Now I'm all set to go again!

I'm linking to
just click on the button to see more July goals from other quilters.

Happy sewing


Friday, 29 June 2018

Blogger: no way to answer comments!

This is super frustrating!

I hadn't posted for over a month and now I discover that I can't reply to the comments my friends left on my post of yesterday.
Perusing the Blogger forum reveals that I'm not the only one; this issue has been around for over a month, and, as far as I can see, Blogger/Google seems to think it's been fixed!

I'm seriously looking into the options for changing to another blog provider. 


Update 29 June 16:45 CEST

The issue is solved!
I just received some email notification of comments to this post. So I'm no longer thinking of moving my blog. Everything seems to be as it was.
I'm very grateful to the people who helped me with this today. All the useful answers came form other bloggers. The authorities at Blogger were not at all helpful.


Here is my reply to your comments of yesterday:
I'm grateful for your comments and have seriously considered your advice.
Circles it is, but with a change of scale.

And so to sew, but first rip off that plain white border and then add more print border. As the weather is beautifully warm I shall be appliquéing circles while sitting outside on my balcony this afternoon.

Happy sewing


Thursday, 28 June 2018

Teal and aqua Squared Away.

June's colours in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge are teal and aqua. These are two colours that give me problems: I have difficulty deciding if they aren't really blue, or really green. Hoping for the best I made two blocks for the Squared Away Sampler:

 This block, chosen by Mari, is called Country Lanes.


Further this week I added two sides to the Round Robin for the Kingfisher Quilt Bee which meets in The Hague. I took fabric with me when I was on holiday and hand-appliquéd solid circles onto a print background. When I got home I added the strip with circles to the centre block made by another bee member. More rainbow bear paws, but not mine this time!

And now I can't think how to go on! I've had lots of ideas and rejected them all. I added a 1.75" off-white strip around the other two sides, intending to add two chessboard rows. Now, however, I've gone off that idea and think I should continue the circles theme. Do you have any brilliant ideas for me? Asymmetrical is OK as the Kingfisher is part of the Dutch Modern Quilt Guild. I have another ten days before I have to pass it on. I would really appreciate some help here!

30 June: Update on the bear paws

I've decided on more circles but with a change of scale.

I'm linking up on Saturday to
so click on the button above from about midday Saturday 
[Central European S.T. (U.T.C. +2)]
to see more rainbow delights. 

Happy sewing