Monday, 28 October 2013

Little Christmas Stockings Knitting Pattern

So, it's Monday, and as I promised, here is the pattern and tutorial for making these sweet little Christmas stockings.
These are EASY!! They are knit flat on 2 needles, use just oddments of yarn and all that complicated looking pattern and hearts and stuff - it'd just sewn on afterwards! It's called duplicate stitch and there is a complete photo tutorial in the pattern.
The stockings measure about 14cm (5 1/2") tall using DK yarn, but you could use whatever you had to hand. A finer yarn and they'll be a bit smaller, thicker yarn and they are bigger.
To download the pattern just click here.
You can also find it in the Knitting Patterns section along the top bar so you don't have to search through all my posts if you want to find it again

Once you've followed the duplicate stitch tutorial, you'll be able to make up all sorts of your own designs, but to start you off there's a helpful little grid in the pattern

You can of course leave them plain, with just the heel and toe contrast.

Or knit some with stripes.

Instructions for a little hanging loop are also included.

If you want to add them to a wreath, it's very quick and simple.
You will need:
5 knitted stockings
A wreath
18" (1/2 metre) ribbon
Buttons in random shapes, sizes and colours
Needle and thread
Glue Dots

The stockings are sewn onto the wreath through the twigs. Its a good idea to do this with it hanging somewhere, even if its only a door handle, so you see how they naturally fall, and can arrange them accordingly.
Make 2 loops with the ribbon - you don't need to make the knot as the centre is covered by a button. Secure the loops with a couple of stitches and hen sew to the wreath.
Attach the buttons with Glue Dots. The thick type are the best. They are sometimes known as 3D Glue Dots or Pop-Up Glue Dots and you will find them on the scrapbooking aisle of any good craft store.
They are easy to use, you don't have to wait for messy glue to dry and you can adjust the angle that the buttons are facing.

I hope you like this pattern and have fun using it.
If you're not a knitter, fear not - the next tute is for sewn Christmas bunting!!
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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Making Christmas 2013

What am I going to make for Christmas? There is a blog hop called Making Christmas 2013 where you post about what you hope to make for Christmas, show your finishes and hopefully get encouraged to complete that list!! Full details can be found here
I always try to make a ridiculous amount of things, and new ideas pop into my head all the time. As I see things in shops, I think "But I could make that! and so the list just gets longer and longer!!
Hopefully this blog hop will help keep my list to a sensible length (some hope, but I can always dream!)
So here is my list as it stands at the moment:
1. Tiny knitted Christmas stockings for a wreath.
2. Christmas bunting
3. New Christmas tree skirt
4. Fabric tree decorations
5. A quilted bag
6. Socks
7. A charity quilt

Not completely un-do-able at the moment, but, we'll see how it goes!

1. The knitted stockings are almost done. They are only pinned and Blu Tacked onto the wreath at the moment, as I play around with the idea. It's on the wall over the fireplace and you should have seen the look on my kids faces as they arrived for dinner last night! :Uh oh! Mum's gone totally crazy - it's Christmas in this house already! Now, I'm a person who doesn't decorate until a week before the day, but you can't sew or knit decorations in that space of time, so for a few days at least, it's upon the wall and they can laugh if they want!
I've spent the last week coming up with the pattern for these cute little stockings. They are knit flat on two needles, as I know a lot of people don't like knitting in the round, and the decoration around the top is sewn on afterwards. I'm hoping to have the pattern written up ready to share on the blog on Monday.

 2. Christmas bunting. I'm halfway through a tutorial for this one too. These are the fabrics I'm using. Bit of a red and white theme this year isn't there!

3. New Cristmas tree skirt. I desperately need to make this. The one I have was made in a rush goodness how many years ago and it's not even a very circular circle!!

4. Fabric tree decoration (s). I have lots of ideas for these - loads in fact, all of the "seen in a shop, but don't intend to spend that amount on something I could make myself" variety.

5. A quilted bag. I fancy having a go at the quilt-as-you-go-patchwork-bags class on Craftsy, especially as they show you how to add a leather base. Not sure who it would be for yet.

6. Socks. It's years since I knitted a pair of socks, and I'm not sure if I'll actually get around around to this one, but it's nice to dream, and I think I know someone who would appreciate them :-)

7. Finally, a charity quilt, because a) Christmas is a time of giving and b) I've got a lot of scraps to give!!

So that's my list for next year. Do pop over to the blog hop to see what other people are making and if you like knitting, please come back and download the stocking pattern on Monday.

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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Swoon Quilt Top Complete!

Yay! I have finished the final 3 blocks on my Swoon Quilt, sashed it, and now it is lying on the bed it is meant for.
Unfortunately, it just doesn't stop raining here for more than 5 minutes at a time at the moment, so the photos are awful!

After having a bit of a problem getting everything to match up when I made the previous batch of blocks, I decided to try starching the fabric this time.
The half square triangles and flying geese were already made, so I lined them all up on the ironing board, gave them a light spray and then a press. The half square triangles all needed trimming and the starch made it a lot easier to get a nice clean cut. I'm happy to say these blocks all went together very nicely.

It didn't take too long to come up with a layout I was happy with, and I was then onto the sashing.
Having only decided to starch when I was part way through the last 3 blocks, it was always going to be a mish-mash of starched and un-starched pieces, but I think, with hindsight, I should starched the sashing strips too.

I had a bit of trouble getting the rows to line up perfectly, and when laid out on the bed here, you can really notice the wrinkles where I've had to tighten a few seams and generally "persuade" it to all fit nicely.
I know none of this will be noticeable when it's quilted, but it does make me wonder whether I should start using starch all the time, or not.
So, I would love to know what other people do. Do you use starch? All the time? Only on intricate piecing or blocks cut on the bias?
It would be great to hear what other people think about this and hear about your experiences.

When I've stopped looking at it, I shall be putting this away for a while. I want to get on with some quick projects and some Christmassy things in the next few weeks, so it won't get quilted until the new year.
I do have a couple of festive tutorials to share with you too (both the knitty and the stitchy variety) so I'm hoping the coming days are going to be a bit brighter so I can take some decent photos!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Marcie's Maze Quilt Pattern and a Giveaway

Ugh! What a miserably wet weekend we had! There was an upside to that however.... I snuggled up on the sofa for two whole days solid, calculator to one side of me, mug of tea to the other, laptop where it's designed to be (on my lap!!) and wrote up the pattern for the quilt I've just finished.
Do you like the name I've given it?
There's no special reason for it, other than the pattern is designed like a maze and I liked Marcie because of the alliteration - I don't know any Marcies.
Now writing up a pattern is a long job and I can usually only do it in about 2 hour stints, but this weekend I worked continuously - well it was too cold and wet to do anything else!!
I had written copious notes and taken lots of stage by stage photographs as I made the quilt, so it was  a case of just sticking with it and checking and re-checking the maths, adjusting the photos in Photoshop and getting the layout as good and easy to read as I could.
The quilt I made was a lap quilt, but I've included instructions for 6 sizes from Baby to King. The first three sizes use just one jelly roll, the twin and queen use two and the king size needs 3 jelly rolls.
The pattern is for sale in both my Etsy and Craftsy shops and there is also a link in the blog sidebar.

But as we all need something to cheer us up today (I'm sure this wet weather stretches from coast to coast here in the UK) I'm offering this pattern as a giveaway to one lucky winner!
There are no hoops to jump through, just leave a comment below saying how you follow my blog, to be in with a chance to win a PDF copy of this pattern. If you are a no reply blogger, be sure to leave an email address where I can send it to if you win.
The giveaway is open to all followers, wherever you live in the world, and even if you  happen to have sunny weather right now (just don't rub it in by telling me you have!)
The giveaway closes at Midnight GMT on Thursday October.
Good luck!!

Friday, 11 October 2013

Quilt Finished

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Yay! I finished sewing the binding onto my quilt today. It is officially finished.
I managed to take it out for  quick photo shoot before it went too dark and rainy, so here they are.
There's the usual washing line photo that we all resort to from time to time.

One draped over the shed door. I'm quite pleased with this one. I like the geometric patterns of the quilt against the brick and wood.

And one across a wooden bench. Some leaves photo bombed the shot, so I'll always know what time of year I finished this quilt!

Back indoors, it's all rolled up ready and waiting for someone to snuggle up under it tonight.

Here's a peek at the backing and binding.
I love the bright navy polka dot against the solid red binding. I was going to use the remaining pieces of jelly roll and make a scrappy binding. I'm so glad I went for the solid red. I think it frames the quilt well.

I echo quilted around the shapes and along the sashings. Not perfectly, more of a whimsical effect. In other words, I'm not patient enough to go slowly and accurately, but I'm happy with it.

Vital Statistics:

Finished quilt size: 55"x 73"
Fabric for quilt top: Reunion Jelly Roll by Sweetwater for Moda
Backing:  Bright navy polka dot, source unknown
Binding: Solid red

Linking up with  Finish It Up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts
                    and TGIFF at Quilt Matters

Sunday, 6 October 2013

There's A Hole Lot O' Quilting Going On

After last weekend's piecing marathon I managed to get the quilt basted during the week and made a start on the quilting.

I'm a straight line quilting kinda gal. 
I love the modern look it gives. I have a simple 9 patch quilt on my bed with very wide side borders which I densely quilted several years ago with straight lines. I still look at them and love them almost every single night. So it was almost automatic to start quilting this one by working straight lines 1/4" either side of the sashing.
Perhaps I should have stopped there, but I felt it needed more, so I decided to echo quilt the L shapes and the centre squares.
I've given myself quite big job, and so many stops and starts, and Look! I've even worn a hole in my quilting gloves!!

I'm not even thinking about all the ends I'll need to bury when it's done. My arms are getting a work out with all the turning of the quilt that is required, but I'm loving every minute of it.

I do three or four blocks and then walk away. It just sits there waiting till I go past my sewing room again (which I do often as it's en route between the kitchen and the stairs) and I'm sure it gently calls to me, telling me to come and quilt a couple more blocks. 

I'm halfway now, and I think I'll be quite sad when it's done.

Finally, I'm just going to do the "proud mum" thing, as I have such exciting news to share.
My eldest son won an Emmy in New York earlier this week for a documentary that he was involved with, called The Interrupters. I don't think it's been aired here in the UK yet, but as long as he lets me know (and he's terrible at remembering that sort of thing!), I'll let you know, too!

Did you know you have to buy those things if you want to keep them!!!!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Weekend Jelly Roll Quilt Top

Pin ItYes! That's right. I managed to make a jelly roll quilt top in a weekend..... and spend a lot of time gardening as well:-)
It was a beautiful, sunny weekend here in the West Midlands, although quite cold at the start and end of the day. I needed to spend quite a bit of time in the garden - all those fruits and veg eagerly sown in the Spring need harvesting now. It's almost a full time job! But I felt the need to do some relaxing sewing as well, something that didn't tax the brain too much, something that didn't need precision sewing (so work on the Swoon quilt was definitely out!)
Once an idea popped into my head I went with it. I had just the right Jelly Roll sitting waiting to be used. Reunion is a fun collection by Sweetwater for Moda. I've had it a couple of years and the idea I had seemed perfect for it. Once I'd worked out the measurements, this was a fast and easy block to put together - no interlocking seams! I think I'd spent too long weeding between the gaps in the block paving on my patio - the design seems to have been inspired by those pavers!

I started early each morning, before I went out to garden and soon had a lovely pile of finished blocks.

The sashing went on Sunday afternoon/evening and now I'm admiring how well those fun prints work together.

I love fact that there's no pink in this collection. It makes it gender neutral.

The date print is one of my favourites. I made sure I used every one of those strips.

The bunting comes a close second though!
This will be a lap quilt, but I've made it good and long so two people can cozy up underneath it on the sofa, without fighting each other for it. Just got to get some wadding now.

It's good to wait for the right moment to use a fabric, and it's good to do a little easy and relaxed sewing sometimes, even if it does mean leaving other projects half finished.

Hope you had a good weekend too!


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