crafting for the animals…and the winner

So…to the exciting thing first – the winner of the Dropcloth sampler, Yarn Yarn silk embroidery threads and possibly a couple of other goodies from the depths of my craft room.  Congratulations Nicola!  Your post was picked at random and I will send you an email in the next few minutes…  Thank you to everyone who entered x

And so back to usual business…the new chickens are settling in well, and I am most definitely head-over-heels in love with them.  These girls are much more active that our last lot of rescue chickens.  This is due to a change in the law for these kind of caged hens in the UK, who must now have (a little) more space, and a place to scratch and roost.  It’s better, but still not good enough in my opinion.  They have a some natural behaviour, but looked frankly amazed when I carried one outside for a wander.  Fresh air is something completely new for my girls.

And so the names – Lady Dorothea Featherbottom (Dotty), Scarlet o’Hara (Scarlet), WPC Polly Parker (Parker) and Duchess Mimi the Second (Mimi).  Here’s little timid Mimi.  I knit her a wee sweater as she’s in the worst shape physically and is completely bald on her belly.  She’s very pale and has been over-heated, so the sweater should help her adjust more gradually.  She seemed quite happy as I got her dressed, but a little less tolerant a few minutes later.  I’ll try it again when we put them outside, she’ll need it then and might be a bit more grateful!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEveryone in our house is getting new things this week.  Mr Saz and I treated ourselves to a fancy new mattress and bedding and it is lovely.  And so last night after the men were relaxing after getting the mattress upstairs, I sat down at my sewing machine and bound a little quilt for Penny that I pieced and quilted a while ago.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is made from leftovers of a large quilt I’m making for the humans and as you can see above, is nothing really to be proud of!  But the top is a lovely soft cotton flannel, and Penny seems very attached to it already…

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excitement!

I had plans to post about crafting today, it was a very productive weekend and I have a couple of lovely finished things to talk about.  But today is all about new chickens!!!…

I am beyond excited suddenly to have some new ladies in the garden.  Just like last time we are rehoming ex-battery hens, which as of right now are still in their overheated, caged and permanently indoor environment.  Only a few hours to go before they begin their wonderful new life in our garden, and learn about things like ‘sky,’ ‘grass,’ ‘beasties,’ and my personal favourite – ‘people that care about them.’

Well, not quite the first three…yet.  Because of the position of the pesky jet steam, Scotland feels like the North American tundra.  I can compare, I’ve actually been there.  So we’ve decided to keep them indoors for a little while and I am building a chicken pen in the garage, which (bizarrely) has its own working radiator.  I’m not sure what the previous owners of this house were thinking at the time, but the new ladies will be grateful.

So – names?!  My mother-in-law suggested an excellent one that I’m sure we’ll use, and I have another in mind as a maybe.  But other than that our new hens will be referred to as ‘orange sweater,’ ‘blue sweater,’ until we come up with something, so please post suggestions in the comments…!  Ever wanted to name a chicken?  Now’s your chance!!*

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA*No guarantees…it’ll, um, depend what the new ladies look like and whether their names fit.  The chicken above is named after David Bowie.  To me, the resemblance is obvious.

Also – tomorrow I’ll pick a winner of the embroidery sampler and threads, so one more day to enter here.

slow stitching and a giveaway

Pretty much all my crafting falls into two catergories – very fast and very slow.  Sweaters probably fall somewhere in the middle, but I don’t make too many of them…

It’s working well for me just now.  Keeping a balance seems key – if I’m working on a slow sewing project like Swoon I can pick up a quick hat to knit for relief.  And when the Beekeepers Quilt or those massive colourwork socks get too much I stitch up a quick potholder, or spin a little sampler.  Its helping to keep me sane and focused right now, which is just what I need.

Finishing Swoon gave me a little more confidence in my ability to actually finish big, long-term projects.  So I started another –

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The first patchwork I ever did was paper-pieced (and small), and this is the first time playing with it since.  I even managed to find my old hexagon templates, though, um, I’ll obviously need a few more.  This one is destined for another family member, and one with an extremely large bed.  I’ll need to get some sneaky measurements of it…  Just as Jules said in the comments on Swoon, one stitch at a time is the best way to undertake big projects.  I’ll do this the opposite way to Swoon – hand pieced and then machine quilted.

I’m in a kind-of methodical mood at the moment, taking my time with things and being thorough.  I did a little spring cleaning (including cleaning and oiling my sewing machine – eww), and came up with a little giveaway.  In my embroidery box I found two of the same Dropcloth samplers – the original one shown here.  I’ve decided to give one away, and will throw in some hand-dyed silk from the Yarn Yard.  It’s lovely, dyed just a few miles from my house, but is a little thicker than I like to use for my embroidery (but is loved by others, I’m sure.)  If you’d like these threads and the sampler just leave a comment letting me know, and on Tuesday night I’ll pick someone at random.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI might dig around in my stash and see what I can add in too.  Have a good weekend x

swoon!

Even today, after this quilt has found its new home on my grandparent’s bed, I can’t actually believe I finished it…here is Swoon –

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve wanted to make a quilt for my grandparents ever since I first started sewing.  They are great appreciators of all handmade things, and my gran in particular is an awesome knitter and sewer.  So their quilt had to be special.

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I played around with a few ideas over the last couple of years, and thought I’d settled on a postage stamp design.  I took the fact that the bit of it I made had to been pinned my wall for months with no desire to do anything with it as a sign that it wasn’t working out, and I chopped it up and turned it into potholders.

When I came across Swoon by Camille Roskelley it seemed like the perfect thing.  The top came together in May and June 2012, and then the sashing was added sometime that summer.  I wrestled with wadding and a very uncooperative backing fabric in August, and then it was put away until I figured out what to do next.

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At some point around then I came across a picture of another swoon, which was hand-quilted around the points and in the white space.  (I can no longer find this photo/blog post – if anyone thinks they might know who else did this please let me know so I can add a link to them!…)  I loved this look but didn’t fancy the idea of all the constant turning of what felt like ten tons of fabric through my sewing machine.  I put it away again.

Then, something awful happened.  The next day I was left alone for a little bit and needed something, anything to do with my hands that was pretty and comforting but didn’t require much actual thinking or decision making, but that would distract my mind a little.  I pulled out swoon and started hand-quilting it.  The warmth of it was comforting, and it gave me something to focus on.  Over the next few weeks though I put it away again, a bit overwhelmed by the sheer size of it, and how long hand-quilting it was actually going to take.  (The only other thing I’d ever hand-quilted was these pot holders a few months before.)

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Over the last few weeks though I’ve been feeling the urge not specifically to stitch it, but to be able to give it to my grandparents.  Which obviously, was going to require actually working on it.  There were some late nights involved, sore arms and the skin on my thumb and index finger hasn’t recovered yet.  But it was totally worth it.  As I pulled it out of the dryer, literally 5 minutes before leaving to visit my grandparents, I danced like a loon, still completely surprised that I actually finished it.  Yay!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd yep, they really, really liked it x

The details –
Swoon by Camille Roskelley
stitched April 2012 – March 2013

  • machine pieced
  • machine quilted in the ditch around the blocks (mainly to try and tame my unruly backing fabric), hand-quilted around the points and in the inside white space
  • top fabric is some random fat quarters, many of them from m is for make and kona snow
  • backing is something random (possibly vintage?) that was given to me by my LQS owner when an elderly customer of hers passed away, and which had been in her stash
  • hand-bound in Flea Market Fancy by Denise Schmidt

this moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(inspired by Soulemama)

life

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom tomorrow I’m going to start doing a {this moment} post, along with Soulemama and many others.  I like the idea of a regular photo post, and this idea is my favourite.  I take many many close up photos of crafting, and I want to try and widen it a little…