Saturday, 31 March 2012

Another PIP, and signs of Spring

It has been over a week since my last post. I have been having a cold and an ear infection and not too much energy. That reminded me of a very relaxing project and a great stash buster: Chenille or slash cut doormats and pot holders. I have two boxes with selected recycled fabrics and knits marked Chenille Blue and Chenille Green/Red. I took the blue box, with two base fabrics already pieced from Mr.K's old chino legs. On top of one of them, on the wrong side, I layered and cut to size my old skirt front of black T-shirt tricot, sleeves and one front half of Mr. K's shirt with stripes, most of one of his father's thin dark blue woollen sweaters ruined in too hot washing, all parts of one dark blue shirt, and the rest of the first stripey shirt, with the biggest pieces for the top layer. It was over 4 metres worth fabrics! I basted the layers together, marked some guide lines at 45 degrees angle and stitched on my machine like this (picture of the reverse):

I used a jeans needle and my walking foot, and relaxed and stitched. After two sessions the stitching was done and the cutting began. This time I only cut the beginnings of each row at both ends and trimmed the edges and added the binding. But after that: cutting and cutting, between the stitched lines. Just remember: never ever cut the backing! I'm happy to own a pair of Fiskars Soft Touch spring action scissors which made the cutting easy. My Clover chenille cutter wasn't sharp enough, it only could do a couple of layers at a time, maybe because of the knits I had used.

With the cutting finished and binding in place, I tossed the doormat in the washing machine. VoilĂ !

The perfect wavy surface!

I only had to trim some corners pointing up from the uneven layers. I love this way of making use of even the ugliest fabrics and washing catastrophes. It makes a practical doormat, machine washable and soft. Some friends in the sewing class have also made bathroom mats in lovely soft light colours, or mats using almost only old jeans. They fray beautifully. This project is my fourth finished PIP this year. I'm glad Stephanie reminded everyone of those old unfinished projects in process many of us seem to have in our cupboards, bins and boxes. Finishing them frees energy and storage space.

Yesterday morning I noticed the first brave snowdrops had pushed their heads through the snow in my flowerbed! Some day the snow will be gone. I'm waiting.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Scandinavian Christmas - Block 2

Right after I made my last post, I had a sudden burst of energy and finished the block 2 stitching, trimmed it to size and added the Churn Dash blocks to the top.

Here they are, the two first blocks together.I'm ready to start the third one. I have a wonderful light box for tracing patterns, but for the second try with the snowman block I used something I first saw on Hanne's stitchery: Sticky-Fabri-Solvy, a product you can print your pattern on (using an bubble jet printer), and then just finger-press the top layer on your fabric. It is very thin, not sticky on the needle, and it just washes away in water after you finished the stitchery. I recommend making a test stitchery first, just in case.

Guess what we had today? New snow! Mr. Pheasant made a lovely stitching pattern while I was in town.

Tomorrow is Spring Equinox, and we all have about 12 hours sunlight and 12 hours without it. After that, we will be racing towards longer days faster than the ones of you who live further from the North Pole. In a month our day is already 14 hours long, in two months about 17 and a half hours and at Midsummer our daylight time is 19 hours, and it is dark only little over an hour in the night.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Snow please go away!

This is the time of the year when I start feeling that we have had enough snow. This winter it came late, after Christmas, but we have had lots of it. Snowy landscape makes stitching a Scandinavian Christmas quilt very OK, but still! Yesterday I made the Churn Dash blocks needed for Block 2, the block I'm re-stitching after I managed to use a too small fabric for my first version.I hope to show the finished block soon.

There is still this much snow on the garage roof, and about 40 cm on the ground where the snow has not been touched. We still get new snow as well, but it usually melts away by the next day.

Two pheasant cocks have started to come to eat under our bird feeder, where the sunflower seeds drop. They are still almost friendly to each other, and wearing their winter looks.

By the time they start chasing the females, they will have to change this much:

I have been working on some secret projects I can't show yet, but I can show you the socks I knitted for my daughter. They are knitted from toe to top and two socks at a time:

The lighter yarn is a vintage ball of camel's hair, and the darker is an alpaca yarn I bought so I could knit her two socks instead of just one and a half. Both yarns were super soft and lovely to knit. The book I used is available in English at Amazon:  This method is perfect for using ends of balls as you can make the socks as high as your yarn goes. This was my second "real" pair using this method, and I'm slowly getting the idea. I really like knitting them at the same time on a long circular needle. The four balls of yarn were a challenge with this pair, but I soon learnt to keep the resting balls inside the sock and out of the way.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Crumble Quilt PIPS 3

In September last year I joined Jo's Crumb Along to make a quilt with the tiny leftover scraps I happen to have. It was fun, and somehow difficult to work against the basic rules I had learnt about quilting. I missed the first deadline in November, and the second in January, and the third deadline was March 2nd. Look, now it is finished, with binding and all:

I made an outer border with star and tree blocks, and words. Top right is part of one of my very first "limping geese" blocks.

I used Tonya Ricucci's book Word Play Quilts to learn how to make the letter blocks, and formed short, positive words. Next time it will be easier to make the letters a certain size.

The quilt is made entirely with fabrics from my stash, and the binding and the black sashings are the only fabrics that have not been recycled. Even the binding is made of leftover bits of bindings from other quilts.

This will be my third finish in the PIP category this year. If you want to see more crumble quilts, pop over to Jo's post here and see the links to other blogs.