Shades of Green

Quite accidentally everything I’ve sewn or knitted lately has been one of many shades of green. I can’t seem to shake it. I’ve started knitting up the baby jumper I mentioned in my last post. It’s coming together well – it’d been a while since I made anything that had stocking stitch in it and I forgot how quickly it knits up. Most of this knitting was done in planes and airports – I got caught up in one of Melbourne’s famous storms and spent 2 hours sitting on a runway. Time flies when you’re almost finished the back of a cardigan though. Now I’m just knitting up the sleeves and swearing never to knit on anything smaller than a 3mm needle again. The sleeves of this are knit on a 2.5mm and I constantly feel like I’m about to bend the needles in two.

Sleeve green cardi (1024x767) Half back detail (614x1024) Full back green cardi (1024x768) Detail green cardi (1024x768)

While I was in Melbourne (before the skies opened and conspired to keep me stuck at the airport forever more) I stopped by Morris and Sons to get the wee little needles – I couldn’t find any in that size for love nor money in Wellington before I left (at least not without going off to dig through second hand stores). I love Morris and Sons – they have this gloriously light and airy feeling store with shelf upon shelf of yarn arranged by colour. My love of rainbow colour gradients is pretty well documented and being in their store is like having some deep part of my brain thoroughly massaged. I snapped a few photos while I was in there – only on my phone, so they don’t really do it justice – but still enough to capture some of the lovely warmth of the store.

M&S outside (614x1024) M&S inside 4 (614x1024) M&S inside 3 (614x1024) M&S inside 2 (645x1024) M&S inside 1 (614x1024)

The other greens I’ve been working with have been the green and brown chevron quilt top I’ve been finishing off as part of my dedication to ploughing through my WIPs. To be honest I was a bit uninspired by this top when it was just individual blocks, but now I’ve pulled it together into a full quilt top I’m liking it a lot more. The final version is only going to be a wall or lap quilt – it should be around 48″ by 36″ and I’m quite looking forward to something which should come together so quickly. This and the pinwheel quilt I’ve been blogging about are both going to be up on my Etsy store when I’m done – although if you’d like me to hold one for you just shoot me an email (contact AT fukitu.com) and I can arrange that too!

Green brown chevrons detail (1024x768)Green brown chevrons top (1024x768)

In less good news, I have to move out of my studio which I’m a bit heartbroken about – I love it, but the landlord is putting up the rent by more than we can justify paying (I share it with my partner.) I’m hoping something else comes along soon, because I don’t miss having quilting projects strewn across the lounge. I’m using this as a reason to be fairly brutal about which WIPs I think I will actually finish – moving back out is going to put space at a real premium so I’m trying not to hold onto half finished projects which I don’t have a hope of completing. What are other people’s thoughts on abandoning WIPs? I personally find it hard to let go of something I’ve invested so much time in, but there are some quilts where I can really see that my skill level has progressed so much that it’ll be quite obvious the quilt was completed over a fairly long time period.

One last picture before I take myself off to bed. I went a bit wild on the Hawthorne Threads website a few days ago and lo and behold, my parcel has already arrived! I’m pretty impressed – six days to be packed, shipped and arrive on the other side of the world is no mean feat. I was quite inspired by a lot of the Quiltcon images I saw on Instagram and decided to make my next project a colour gradient hexagon queen bed quilt – I did some preliminary sketches and I think this fabric should be enough for 2-3 quilts all in slightly different configurations. I’m banning myself from cutting into it until these WIPs are finished and listed in my Etsy store. The struggle is real.

Colour gradient quilt (1024x768)

No Escape from Christmas

Good (very early) morning. I’m writing this in an airport and soon I’m going to court the sort of curiosity knitting in public always piques by rolling a skein of yarn up into a ball. For now though I figured I’d fill you in on what I’ve been doing lately.

I’ve basted and started quilting together Indigo Pinwheels. As you can see, little fibres from the Warm and Natural Cotton Batting have clung to the quilt top – I’m liking it better for dense quilting, but the shedding is quite annoying.

Basting 1

Here you can see my high tech painters tape solution to keep the backing still while I baste it all together.

Basting 2

After trimming there’s usually a 2″ border of batting and backing to account for shrinkage as I quilt. Folded corner unbound

I chose sympathetic but not actually matching patterns for the back and the binding. I’ve only started quilting – still several hours to go I expect – but at this stage I’m running very very large checks along the squares and densely quilting one pinwheel out of each square.

Backing and binding

I usually try to keep my baby quilts fairly lightly quilted so they’re soft and snuggly (although this is personal preference only) so it’s nice to have a more adult styled quilt where I can make use of a more densely quilted style.

Quilted pinwheel 1

 

Densely quilted back

Something else I’ve done this month has been to make some minor edits to a skirt. When I bought it, it fit nicely around my hips and butt but was too big in the waist (just fractionally) and a smidge too long.

Before side Before front

You can see that the waist gapes at the back a little and the skirt hits right on my knee. I added two small, short darts at the centre back and then just did a simple blind hem to lift the length by about an inch.

After side After front
It’s a fairly small change but I feel like it’s made the whole skirt a lot more flattering and fixed up the lines.

One more little update (to explain the title). I went yarn shopping yesterday, intending to buy some yarn, a pattern and some needles to knit a little baby jumper. I’m not a big fan of the blue-for-boys, pink-for-girls, or of pastels in general so I went fairly bright:

Green yarn
Yarn label

I picked up the skein from the Holland Road Yarn Company, stopping by their store in the Grand Arcade in Wellington. If you’re a local and you like yarn crafts then I highly recommend a visit. I meant to stop in for 15 minutes but spent probably an hour talking about patterns and being a fake lefty (I knit backwards) with Jen. The yarn I went with has the loveliest hand – supremely smooth and I can’t wait to begin knitting with it. I also picked up a bright red cotton because the colour was too nice to pass up.

It wasn’t until I got it home that I realised I’d inadvertently bought some Christmas colours.

Red cotton

 

I don’t have an exact pattern in mind yet for the cotton, but maybe a loose and lacy hat, or a scarf. Something light to make the most of the colour.

All Chevrons Point to Yes

I come bearing photos and also updates. I’ve made some headway into Freshly Pieced’s Fair Isle Quilt Along. All my cutting is done and I’ve pieced probably half of the Poinsetta blocks. I’ve also sewn half of the all important Slayer block.

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Excuse the instagram-grab. Since I took this photo I’ve added the rest of the L, A  and Y to the mix. I didn’t exactly start paper piecing with an easy option, but it’s going alright so far. I’m enjoying having something to carry around and sew as I go.

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I also followed Lee’s advice and chain pieced everything. I moved into my new studio and as you can see from the photos, my sewing is being watched over by David Bowie’s crotch (or David Bowie’s Area as proponents of Areology would have it). Also, studio! Please note the all important bottle of wine.

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Oh frabjous day. I can leave my stuff out and come back to it the next day. I’m inordinately pleased by this. I haven’t had a dedicated space for sewing since I was 17 and co-opted out shed for it since it was full of disused tractors and abandoned renovation projects. I’ve made the most of the space by starting the chevron quilts I mentioned in my last post. The top of one is finished, and the other has been cut but has to be sewn into HSTs still. I’m going home to stay with my Grandma next week so I plan to take both with me then and hopefully complete the quilting and sew on the binding while I’m away. Grandma is usually knitting something and it’s really nice to have a companionable silence while we’re both being productive and creative.

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Here’s the half square triangles in the midst of piecing.

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And the quilt top. I wound up using a different tutorial than the one I mentioned initially just because of the size of the fabric lengths I bought.

My other project since I last posted as been a little snood for a doggy. A nice dusky blue, also from Morris and Sons (after I finished off the red cable scarf – pics to come). Here’s the start of it – hopefully I can furnish you all with some photos of a dog in a scarf before long.

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I’ve also been researching semi-industrial machines and I’m eyeing up the Brother PQ1500s. Does anyone have feedback about it, thoughts positive or negative?

Japanese Cottons in Melbourne

Japanese Cottons stack

I have been lucky enough to visit Melbourne for work this last week and while here I’ve done a little fabric shopping! I stopped into Kimono House on Swanston Street and picked up several Japanese cottons, which I’m planning to make into a quilt top over the next month.

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Japanese Cottons stack

I also bought some fat quarters from L’ucello one floor down from Kimono House and I expect I will stop by again before I leave. No idea yet what I’m going to make from them, at this stage I think I’m really just stash building. I can’t resist a good polkadot.

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Two weeks ago I stayed with my grandma and finished off the drunkards path quilt in orange and green while she was working away at a cable sweater for me. As a result I have had knitting on my mind recently. While researching places to find quilt fabrics in Melbourne I happened upon plenty of mentions of Morris and Sons and couldn’t resist starting a more portable project to teach myself to knit cables. I picked up two hand dyed skeins from Manos del Uruguay and some pretty wooden needles and googled some tutorials.  Here is the result so far:

Manos Wool

Red cabled scarf

It started as a test and turned into a scarf, probably for my partner’s Mum. I don’t think knitting will ever be a major hobby of mine the way quilting is,  but I enjoy having projects I can pick up and carry with me when I travel.

For the rest of my time here I think I’ll be seeing some sights when I have time and trying to see some Fringe Festival shows – I’ve been told to check out Deeply Leisured while it is playing. I took a few days at the end of my trip as a holiday so I can celebrate my 25th birthday here with friends who I don’t see often. A very fortunate and auspicious quarter century.)

I’m still waiting for confirmation but I hope I’ll have some exciting personal news to share in my next post (I’ll say up front it is definitely not a pregnancy in case anyone gets the wrong idea though…)

More knitting

I’m stash-building right now, in preparation for another quilt and so my current project is knitting. Just finished off a present for someone and it’s currently being blocked and dried on my lounge room floor and I’ve started in on a hat for myself. After that I’ve set myself the ambitious goal of knitting a whole pullover.

Usually what happens when I try to knit something big is that… I fail. I get about 2/3 of the way through and an enormous sense of ennui sweeps through me. I’d like to never see a single purl again. So I’m going to try and fight that and actually finish something knitted this winter. We’ll see how it goes.

Knit what?

Not much sewing going on this week – I’m planning and staking out auctions on Trade Me (New Zealand’s answer to eBay – with better web design, it must be said.) Instead I’m doing a bit of knitting – picked up some loooovely felted lambswool in a nice bright red at the local store and I’m knitting a surprise while tucked up in bed. You get to see the finished product after it’s been sent off to the new owner, but until she’s got her surprise gift you get a grainy webcam picture of me knitting in front of my laptop. Aren’t you lucky?

No, but really I’ll put up real photos once I have something to show for my labours. In the mean time I’m collecting black and white fabrics for a herringbone idea I have and I’ve just bought a copy of a book called The Quilt Room on abebook.com.