Mini Patchwork Projects and a Giveaway

Beth Studley is a genius in designing wonderful things for me erm us to make..I have made loads of her Storage Pods and a few of her Project Baskets. I am an incessant shower offerer (that sounds wrong) and after showing Beth a few of my makes, the clever designer asked me if I’d test out one of her new patterns. I, of course jumped at the chance! More about that in my next blog post….

In the meantime, Nadine from Stitch Craft and Create emailed me and asked if I would like to take part in a blog hop to promote Beth’s new book, Mini Patchwork Projects. I could feel a smile creeping across my face as I read that email. There was no hesitation in replying with a very definite yes!!

So, Nadine sent me a gorgeous pile of Beth’s new fabric range, Radiance, to play with and make something from the book, you can purchase the fabrics for yourself using this link It was a surprise when the package arrived, I thought I had been bad again and had forgotten what I’d ordered, then it dawned on me haha

 

The colours and design of these fabrics took my breath away, I simply loved every one of them…

I then had to choose something from the book to make using these fabrics, now that was hard!

I decided I might try something that was new to me, Foundation Paper Piecing. It looked fun, and I loved how the process gives you sharp points

The Curvy Coaster Set

I tried it out on some of my own scraps first, there was no way that I was going to cut into the fabrics that I had been sent to try out without doing a trial run first, and also to see if I enjoyed the technique

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It worked brilliantly well, I was hooked! Beth’s instructions were clear to follow.

I didn’t like how all the threads met in the corner though, I needed to refine my work!

I have that Curvy Coaster on the side table next to me where I like to sit and do my handknitting. I love it, and keep smiling and picking it up and admiring it:)

Next I had to decide on which of the Radiance fabrics I would use…I chose the ones that I felt might look good together, that was easy though, they all look good with each other:)

I didn’t stress too much over it and just went with my gut instinct

 

Don’t they look fab all together? So much fun to make, if you’ve not tried foundation paper piecing then you’re in for a treat

Then of course, I wanted to make something else and I knew exactly what that was going to be…the very pretty Reversible Trinket Bowl

I was in a hurry to make this one, don’t know why, maybe it was the shaping of it, I know that I love the clever shaping of those Storage Pods so making this pretty dish was going to be a doddle!

Well yes it was a doddle and yes, I made two but can you spot the difference? In my haste I’d misread the instructions which caused me to sew my darts 1/8th of an inch too deep. Do you know what? I love that error, it has made a deeper taller dish, I’ll make more like that and no doubt more of the proper version!…

Sewing the curved top edge needed a bit more concentration but the clever clever way that Beth tells us how to get a really crisp clean edge was a revelation to me:) Maybe I am late to the party and you might know how to do it already but it will be something that I use again and again in my bag making. If you want to learn this magic trick then you might like to buy the book😉 If not the whole book then the individual patterns are all available here and also on Amazon

the difference is more noticeable here

and here lol

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The one above is the perfect one…

Maybe you’d like to own the gorgeous trinket bowl in the above photo? Just leave me a comment telling me which project in the book you like the best and why, and I’ll put all the names into a hat and draw a winner in a week’s time. So Friday 3rd June..who said June? Where is this year going???

You might like to go and read the other blog posts from this blog hop, there’s still more to come so keep checking them out:)

Mini Patchwork projects

23rd May – Stitch Craft Create

24th May – Popular Patchwork

25th May – Yellow Cat Quilt Designs

26th May – Strawberry Patch Ramblings

27th May – Picperfic’s Fluff-n-Stuff

30th May – Sew Justine Sew

31st May – Very Kerry Berry

1st June – Very Berry Handmade

2nd June – Guest blog on Stitch Craft Create with Beth Studley

Happy stitching

Marianne

x

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A Beanbag Stand for my Mobile Phone

I have been concentrating really hard on testing a gorgeous new sewing pattern, this design took me three days. In my book that is a long time on a project, mostly at the sewing machine too! The finished item was so worth it though. I’ll show you once the designer has given me the go ahead….I totally love it!!:)

During those three days of busy-ness, my phone kept slipping around, I propped it up on the flip up bit of the top of my sewing machine but as I started stitching it travelled sideways to a spot
where it fell forwards. So then I propped it up in my Bionic Gear Bag which worked fine until I needed something out of the BGB. Then it slid somewhere and camouflaged itself when I wasn’t looking! I keep my phone on silent for the most part so it did have me going up and downstairs looking for it at times…I sew upstairs😉

So, I put out a call on facebook for one of those sewn phone stands, I had a quick search but didn’t come up with anything that looked quite right for my needs until my lovely young friend Emily found this for me. It looked perfect and I needed a diversion from all the concentration I had been using so I grabbed a half empty bag of out of date rice and set to work!

The fabric I have used is from Beth Studley’s new range called Radiance..it’s such a lovely quality fabric and the colours in the range are gorgeous

It works perfectly, my phone stays where I put it now…I must admit that yesterday evening when I was watching Wallander and knitting, on occasions, I kept leaving my phone on the sofa rather than putting it in the beanbag. Old habits dye hard!

Talking of Wallander, I really enjoyed watching it, the first time I have actually understood what was going on, maybe it’s because I don’t overly enjoy Kenneth Branner so he wasn’t a distraction haha…I couldn’t tell you much about the storyline of Peaky Blinders for example as I am usually, looking at the costumes and the lead character, enjoying the title music, I love that music,

OST `Peaky Blinders` – Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand

Don’t forget to look out for my blog post on Wednesday Friday, it’s all about Beth Studleys new book, I’ve never taken part in a blog hop before, so excited to have been asked to do this!

Be back soon! …. X

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Mix and Match Cardigan

I have my designers head on, machine knitting designers head no less!

I have no idea where the inspiration for this cardigan came from…I knew I wanted to knit some texture into a design but would it work?

I decided to use a tuck stitch card that was part of the set that came with my knitting machine, I tried a few different yarns and various tension to create a very long strip of knitting . I then washed and dried the sample before measuring the stitch and row counts with my green ruler. I also chose the fabrics that I liked the feel of. I was surprised at just how few stitches you need for tuck but also, just how many more rows are needed to get the length. It is a useful thing to learn. I then thought I wanted to use some smooth stocking stitch within the design so I made another long piece of knitting in different fabrics to check out the tensions of the fabrics that pleased me the most

Of course, the knitted pieces that pleased me the most were the delicious merino and angora, Lamora, from Uppinghams. Not a cheap yarn by any means but oh so very luxurious. As I am also a hand knitter, I have come to appreciate and love the feel of natural yarns and how they change once blocked. They don’t mind being pressed on the whole…so I have moved away from the cheapy cones of acrylic that used to please me in the 80s and 90s. Even though this yarn seems expensive compared to many other yarns out there, the garments produced from it will please you so much more than one knitted in a cheaper yarn. The drape, the look, the touch…it is all worth it! Neither of these garments used a full cone of yarn either, it seems to go a long way:)

I just adore the feel of this yarn, especially after the oil has been washed out of it. I use eucalyptus fragrance Eucalan to wash my knitwear, it doesn’t need rinsing so the wet garment is handled less and I love the gentle smell of the eucalyptus essential oil in the wash. I use an old fashioned spin dryer to get out the excess water and then…do this at your own risk…I give it a 10 minute tumble dry on low. The garment is still damp but the fluff starts to pop out and the shape sort of springs into place. I then smooth out the garment and lay it flat on a towel to finish drying. Once dry, I then press the seams gently, more of a puff and pat technique, no hard plonking down of the iron on the knitting at all!

I knitted the fronts and back sideways, I have no idea why, I just did! However, this has given me a lovely and quicker way to seam the sides…..one of those lightbulb moments!!

I love how the shoulders of the raglan curve, and the fully fashioned shaping, I love that too…I use my multi pronged transfer tool to do that. So glad I kept all this stuff from the first time round of my machine knitting exploits

On this version I chose to do a simple rolled hem around the bottom of the garment. It needed something, and having been wearing the cardi, I really like how the hem behaves

I am going to do away with the ribbed bands to make this a garment that can be done on a single bed, standard gauge, punchcard knitting machine. No ribber required, although the knitter can of course choose whether they’d like a rib here and there…

The rolled edge neckband works well in bringing all the stitches together to sit so beautifully on the body

A day or so later, I thought about how easy it might be to change the style of the fronts to a more classic shape

So, using the same yarn base but in a different colour, I set about this version

I must get some buttons!

The first thing that struck me was that this cardigan had come out smaller, even though I used the same main tensions! Let this be a warning to you all out there, different colourways do knit up to different tensions even though they are the same yarn base! The dyeing process must change the yarn structure somehow…far too technical for my brain to cope with, I’ll just take it as is haha

So gorgeously soft and fluffy, like butter is the only way to describe the handle of this yarn, I also thought that a simple facing would look good on the hem of this garment, I am now thinking that I’d like to see the hem in a different colour, like a secret pop of colour that is hidden for the most part…I guess that means I have to knit another garment!! Oh dear, what a chore….

I used the rolled hem on the neckband though

The front bands came out a bit floppy for my liking so that is something I will adjust when I make the next one but I really love the hems! This is going to be such a useful addition to your wardrobe and it will be perfect for so many outfits, I am thinking a pretty summer dress or maybe some relaxed linen trousers….or jeans…

All the different features of the design will be included in the one pattern, hence the mix and match element, you choose!

This pattern is still at the writing up stage, the design will cover a range of sizes varying from 30″ up to 50″ so that’s lots of tech editing. I will announce on facebook, twitter and my blog when the pattern is ready. Next step will be to get the design off to some testers

In the meantime, I have been asked to take part in a blog hop to promote Beth Studley’s lovely new patchwork book, so watch out for my post on Wednesday..I have been sewing and taking lots of photos..it’s a fab little book

Have a lovely weekend…

Marianne
x

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An Interview of Sorts

A few days ago, a machine knitting friend of mine Marianne Henio sent me a questionnaire so that she could write up a blog post about my creativity

If you’d like to find out a bit more about me then you can read it here

I am enjoying my knitting machine again at the moment, but really I should be decorating, or at least doing a bit of painting, I will, I can’t wait to have our study in working order, I will keep my knitting machine in there once it is finished, so it is in my interest to get it done as soon as possible.

Barry has painted the ceiling and filled in all the gaps everywhere and it looks great, the gloss bits are next, I quite like doing that, not the skirting boards though, my poor knees!!

Thought I’d add a photo of the latest bunny to come of my needles, I do like a photo in a blog post:)

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Machine Knitting

I bought the pattern for the Slanted Rib Jacket ages ago as I really liked the shape of it. Then I read the notes and realised that the tension was so small and I didn’t think I had anything suitable in my stash and the yarn used in the pattern is not available in the UK😦 I put it to one side and forgot about it

Then I saw that somebody had made a lovely version of it on Facebook in the Machine Knitting Group and it sparked my imagination again. The yarn that I wanted to use had also been in my stash for a while, the colour was so perfect but the yarn looked a little unstable and also it was a slightly boucle yarn which might give me problems?!?

As it turned out I found that the yarn knitted beautifully at TD5 on my Knitmaster 360, I liked the fabric but the tension was looser than that stated in the pattern. I decided to knit the second size which was smaller than the size I would normally choose. I knitted all the pieces, only have a few problems with the ribbing at times, in my defence, I hadn’t done much work on the ribber for quite some time. I got caught up on the right hand side a few times but I think I got away with it as I sewed the edge to the cardigan and hid the errors in my stitching…this was for me so a couple of bunched up areas wouldn’t bother me

The colour of this lovely cardigan really made me happy and I couldn’t wait to wear it on our anniversary day out on Monday

We visited Gunby Hall in Lincolnshire, a National Trust property…the house and gardens have such a lovely feel to them, it was a very good day and we both took lots of photos. Thank you Barry for these two photos, it’s not that often that I like myself in photos  I didn’t realise quite how good my cardigan looked but I knew that I was really enjoying wearing it

Sadly the colourway that I used has all sold out, I would definitely buy some more if it comes back into the shop

You can read more info, including a link to the shop that sold me the yarn, on my Ravelry project page

Barry and I are really working hard in the garden and in the room which used to be out dining room but is now our junk room. A wasted space as we have just put everything in there that didn’t have a real home. Emptying it is proving to be an endless task but the results will be worth it. It will become a study and also a home for my knitting machine and all the paraphernalia that entails!

I’d better go and get this day started but I will leave you with some darling little fairy houses that we found at Gunby Hall as we walked around the gardens

fairy house 5

fairy house 5

fairy house 4

fairy house 4

fairy house 2

fairy house 2

fairy house 1

fairy house 1

fairy house 3

fairy house 3

Some lovely fabrics and yarns have arrived and they are really calling to me to get creative with them but I shall have to wait until that room is finished…..!

new stock 1

new stock 1

new stock 2

new stock 2

new stock 3

new stock 3

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Early morning gardening and stuff

For some reason I woke early this morning and gardening would not leave my mind. For a while now, I had been thinking about digging the border and moving some plants around and removing others

So at 6.50am, I got dressed in a funky comfy outfit and some old boots, twisted my hair up out of my face and set to work…I really enjoyed it and have half filled the wheelie bin with weeds and unwanted twigs etc

After a while, I realised I was waning and came in for a coffee, it was 7.30am…my intention was for half an hour now and then until I have got the job done. Some of the shrubs in the border are not to my liking but are really too large for me to tackle on my own. I will enlist the help of my husband for those tricky activities.

Sadly, my gardener Mark, who used to come to do an hours work every other week or so, has had to go out to a higher paid job so I am on my own until I can find someone to help me out

Anyway, I was really surprised to have woken so early this morning after the busy time we’ve been having lately

On the 31st March, Barry and I travelled up to Scotland to spend the night with my lovely Aunty Sally and Uncle Allan, those two are around the same age as us and we get on really well. Sally has a creative business painting reclaimed pieces of furniture, she has also recently finished the decor in a holiday cottage. I’ll do a blog post about the new combined venture we are working on soon, so much to tell you!! If you’re on Facebook, you can see Sally’s work here

The next day, Barry and I caught the ferry to Larne and then drove down to Enniskillen to spend a long weekend with my Mum, when I got there and went in and called woohoo! I got no answer, so I went into the front room and there was Mum sleeping on the sofa, I kissed her and woke her and she gave me the biggest hug!

On Saturday, my brother Matt took us all out for lunch to celebrate Mum’s and his birthday…we went to The Smuggler’s Creek Inn and had a very special meal indeed, gourmet fish and chips for me!

That’s just the fish, the mushy peas and chips came in a separate bowl…oh my it was so good!!

Here’s a photograph of us all after the meal, Matt put his camera on a tripod and set it for a few seconds delay on the timer, but every time he tried to get into the shot, the camera clicked before he got there. A man at a nearby table did the deed in the end

On the Sunday, Barry went out early with Matt to take some waterfall and bird photos, they both came back really happy as they’d seen a little dipper, Barry got some fab shots of that

In the afternoon, we all went up to Matt and Sylvia’s where we were treated to a BBQd steak dinner and plenty of prosecco! I did end up on my own later on in the day though as Matt and Barry were fiddling on the computer. I didn’t mind though, I tried to do some knitting but the prosecco kept making me go wrong so I gave up for the evening haha

The next day, Barry took Mum and me out for a long drive, when I say long consider this, he just kept driving to find new treasures to view and photograph, the miles we travelled I reckon we fitted three days of places into one day…I was in the back of the Mini which was surprisingly comfy but I did feel a bit sick but perked right up when I saw a sign for Studio Donegal …. no complaints for the driver either, he likes a happy Marie😉

Mum couldn’t manage the stairs sadly but she managed to buy herself a gorgeous hat and was looked after very well by the staff, I think she tried on a few before choosing this one.

While Mum was busy downstairs, Barry and I went upstairs to the weaving room, oh my, what an aladdin’s cave of delight awaited me

The two chaps in there were very friendly and didn’t mind me taking photos so I clicked away to my heart’s content

Not sure if this will work but I took a video of one of them weaving, it’s on Facebook and it might work, click here

I just love these old shuttles and the pretty colours of the yarn

The difference in the feel of the fabric after it has been milled is dramatic, it becomes so very soft. This old loom used to be a carpet loom but they cleverly transformed it to a cloth loom and it has such a great width to the fabric. Imagine warping up all those yarns!!!

Look at the size of that carding machine! I only just missed the weaver spinning some more yellow yarns for the cloth he was working on

That big drum is the warping machine, not sure how the warp gets transferred to the loom though…look at those pretty colours:)

I did succumb to buying myself some of the gorgeous, wonderful and colourful Donegal Tweed fabric

You can see it being cut in the next photo

I bought just 1 metre of these two colourways

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Donegal Tweed

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Donegal Tweed 2

and also treated myself to some of their lovely yarn to make myself a cardigan, no plans of a design yet but I’m keeping my eyes open for the right pattern!

and more driving later…

Mum and Barry at Fintra Bay, we were spoilt by the wonderful weather that day

That last photo is one of my favourites, I love the sparkling Atlantic Ocean

What a lovely happy busy time we all had…it was really hard leaving Mum on the Tuesday morning😦

Life didn’t stop going fast forward for me until yesterday, Sunday…but that’s another story, I think I’ve said quite enough for now

If you’re interested, you can see my whole album of photos here

Postman has not long been and he’s brought me even more beautiful tweed fabrics to play with, Harris tweed this time..layterrs!!

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Harris Tweed and Liberty Tana Lawn

Oh my, what an amazing combination these fabrics are!

I never used to rate Tweedy fabrics, I found them far too itchy, but then, in one of my online sewing groups, I kept seeing these beautiful, colourful bags that one or two of the girls had been sewing

I did some research on Facebook and managed to buy myself two pieces of such beautifully woven and milled Harris tweed

I bought a blue version and

a pink version

This gorgeous fabric is not at all itchy but it does feel like wool, sturdy…but it also fills my heart with joy!

I found in my stash two perfect pieces of Liberty Tana Lawn fabric with which I will line the bags, I also found two contrasting or matching long pull zips to complete the project

So I set to work and created a gorgeous 2 Zip Hipster, one of my favourite designs by Dog Under My Desk

It looks and feels beautiful!

When I showed the photos, so many people reacted so positively to it…

Rather than bombard you with individual photos, if you click the collage above, you will be able to see the bigger picture:)

This bag is sold, but I do have more Harris Tweed on order so hopefully I will be able to make some more of these for my shop…oh the ideas!!

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Homemade potions

Recently I’ve been experimenting with home made lotions and I’ve been so impressed with the results

I have no eczema on the backs of my arms since I’ve been making my own body wash and moisturiser using organic ingredients and essential oils

I also made some face moisturising lotion a while back but i put too much essential oil into it and although it was a great moisturiser and left no horrid residue on my skin, I felt it was a little runny. I used it all up though!

So today, I made up some more of the lotion and doubled the quantities which made it so much easier to measure the tiny quantities of most of the ingredients

Don’t they look posh! Each of those tubes contains 30ml of lotion, I also refilled my original pot with what was left over and have already been using it. I am thoroughly moisturised, all up my arms, several times haha:) I find it hard to just wash up the bowls that I’ve used, there is so much good stuff clinging to the insides of the bowl. How many times can I moisturise myself today?

I also made some facial cleansing butter

I had been using plain coconut oil to deep cleanse my face and neck, and that is really brilliant but I find it so hard to get out of the pot, I think I can whip it though which might make it easier to use. Also, now and then, I get a bit of the coconut oil in my eyes, as I like to use it to remove my eye make up too.

The cleansing butter above uses sweet almond oil and shea butter, when cool enough it is whipped and then you add some essential oil, I used the sweet orange and mandarin oils again as I love the smell. I’ll let you know how I get on using this stuff…

Then i thought I’d make some lip balm, one is just melted shea butter with a couple of drop of rose geranium oil in each pot. Very rich and moisturising. The other is a honey and orange lip balm which is very tasty!

They haven’t all set yet in the photo…I’ve got lovely moisturised lips now as I spilt some on the work surface and couldn’t waste it, I also rubbed some into my nails, it can’t hurt!

I also made up a delicious strawberry and cream mousse for dessert this evening. It is sugar and fat free and as I’m doing a SW diet at the moment, it fits the bill nicely and there’s plenty to last another day or two if we’re not too greedy with it!

​I’m feeling very laid back here, all those essential oils are getting to me lol​

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Storage Pods and Project Baskets

I have been busy making these cute storage pods

The design was created by love from Beth

The fabrics used for these pods are all from the same collection

I just love making them…

They are for sale in my shop

If you buy three or more I will refund £3 per pod…

I’ve also been making these perfect project baskets

As soon as I finish showing them on my Facebook Page, I seem to sell them!

The one above is made using some beautiful Stoff fabrics, superb quality!

The cute version above, featuring those darling little piggies is for sale…if you’re quick you might be able to purchase it

Here’s a direct link to it

It looks like a pretty day out there, freezing cold but the sun is shining…my sort of winter’s day…

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Stinger!

This week I have dyed up quite a bit of a delicious blend of Ramie and Blue Faced Leicester Wool 50/50

The dyes have taken beautifully to this mix, keeping the freshness of the colours so well

This is my Red Delicious colourway, on other blends it looks less bold, the colours can be more muted but this version has to be a real favourite. I think I need to keep back one of these braids to spin up myself

I deliberately photographed this Black Pearl version from this unusual angle. You see, there is not a lot of the mauvey pink in this braid. some of the pretty colour is hidden inside the briad too. It is a magical colourway and would make a stunning shawl or scarf or cowl or something lol

Parklife! It looks so different on this fibre…I love it! Is it wrong to love what I do?

Oh my….Jewels, so very pretty

Rooftops, this colourway was inspired by the rooftops we kept photographing on one of our Italy trips….I’m feeling the need for another one of those wonderful holidays

Honestly, I was only going to show you one or two but they are such show offs!

Highland…so softly beautiful!

An old favourite, Maddie, always so popular

And bringing up the rear we have Jo!

You can find these beauties and a few others in my shop Fluff-n-Stuff

Today has been a bit different to the day that I’d planned. This morning I went to the post office and then I came home. I meant to go food shopping but I appeared to be on auto pilot and just drove home. I didn’t have my bags with me anyway.

Then Instead of doing the food shop, I told myself to photograph the fibre as the light was perfect, so I did…

Then I made some Aloe Vera moisturising lotion, as it melted and did it’s thing, I tidied the kitchen and then decided to make a beef stew

While the stew was cooking in the pressure cooker I had a whim to make some lip balm, so I did but I added too much beeswax to the mix and it went so hard so I added more oil and so it went on, I only wanted a little pot of it! I’ll use it on my nails as well as my lips so it won’t get wasted

I’m really enjoying experimenting with DIY beauty at the moment, I have sensitive skin and develop eczema if I use cheaper brands of moisturisers or body wash. It was costing me a fortune so I am making my own and the results are really good and smell amazing from all the essential oils that I add. I am going to make some soap one of these days but I have to build myself up to using lye as it sounds a bit scary to deal with

Barry has just got home so I’ll stop nattering now…

Happy Thursday everyone!

PS I’ll do the food shop tomorrow!

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