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Monday, 30 June 2014

quick update

just a short blog entry - to say that yes, I am still alive - and I finished the quilt, puh:) just in time - I slightly underestimated not only the number of green hexies I'd need (easily rectified by making more) - but also the time I need to put it all together. but it's done now, so no need to complain! I think I might be taking a break with the hexies for a few weeks - a lot of stuff wasn't done lately and I'll better get up to scratch on a few things first! but the plan is to make at least one other "wild flower garden" (for myself this time!).....
 
 these are some of the work stages: lots of paper inlays:) bottom left shows the back of the top, looks very 3-D! I didn't quilt the top, I just knotted it - like flower stamen, in some of the flowers, but not all of them. I thought about sewing around it all on the green edge with multicoloured thread, but there's already so much colour in the quilt! and I've done all of it by hand - didn't want to add a bit of machine work after all:)
the bottom right are my leftovers. I made 36 flowers more than I needed (not on purpose, but I can use them for the next one!). and I've only left a handful of greens - after I made more than 100 extras! I think I might choose fewer greens for the next one though - all the different greens make the whole thing a bit too unruly:) flower garden for very wild grannies:) I counted 1705 hexies - and the whole thing took about 150 hours give or take. if anybody asks: no, I wouldn't do something like that for sale! or at least not until somebody pays me the minimum wage per hour:) which would mean 8.65 per hour - that would be about €1300 just for the work - plus of course all the materials:) I can't see anybody forking out that kind of money (or even just half of it) for a tablecloth of 110 x 110 cm....
 so this is the finished table cloth. on a nice summer day:) I put thermolam in as a waddding, but I think a piece of brushed cotton would have been enough - it's not to keep someone warm after all! but at least nothing wobbles; it's soft, but not so soft that glasses or cups wouldn't stand properly. if I had more time I would have liked to handquilt a leafy border around, but that would have been cutting it a tad too fine!
 I didn't do much beside the sewing, but I needed some relaxation on the side here and there:) so I started on another one of the pencil roving "cheeses" I ordered from Studio Donegal a while back. I love the colours, but this time the roving is extremely fine and flimsy. so much so that I had to double it up to be able to spin it. I pull out one colour and divide it - to match the colours reasonably well. but it does get mixed up a bit, so the colours aren't as clear as the last ones. if one can call tweed colours clear that is:) not sure what I'll make out of it - I think maybe a bag? it's too rough to wear knitted up and I wouldn't have enough to weave a larger piece of cloth.
 
 the last few weeks have been pretty good weatherwise and we spent a lot of time outside. I was rather surprised to find this fellow inside - he (she?) made a racket at the window, trying to get out (yes, really, it sounded like a little helicopter!). I managed to catch it in a jar to carry it outside - doesn't it have gorgeous colours? it's called "elephant hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor) and I have never seen one here before! I thought they might be rare, but apparently they're not.
still, I am happy to see all the different species - to me it means that our garden is a home to a lot of wildlife.... 
 my garden isn't quite the riot of colour the quilt shows and I have to admit that some of the real plants are more gentle on the eyes:) this is the rose "New Dawn", a lovely climber with porcelain pink flowers that's been growing outside our porch for many years. we cut it back last year, because it was rather straggly, but it's been coming back nicely this summer! pity though that it isn't scented - and it doesn't do rosehips either! well, you can't be beautiful and smell  nice at the same time:)
other flowers however go better with my "wild garden" colour scheme:) this is a primula vialii - and I love how the two colours set each other off! I wouldn't want to wear a dress like this - but the flowers give a real "zing" to the flower bed. small - but bright:)
 
this is it for now from me - lots to do, places to go:)

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

slow progress

I've been working flat out on several projects - but I didn't finish all too many of them - yet! well, I suppose it's easier to finish socks, scarves and other small things, at least that's my excuse:) I have finally finished the peagreen monster - the recipient was happy, although I thought that the smaller size would have been large enough for her. but if she wants the cardie to wrap around her - who am I to complain. I am well known for preferring woollies to wrap in to "negative ease" garments!
I think it has been a rowan pattern, from one of their magazines... it's debbie bliss donegal tweed, but I have to admit that I prefer the finer Kilkarra aran tweed. the pattern gives the 6.5 mm needle, but I only used 6 mm, to make the gauge fit, but also because I liked the grip of the tighter knit better. the sleeves are wide, totally unshaped at the bottom, so maybe not very practical in use, and the fit is extremely loose (tent springs to mind:). the collar sits better on a real person - but unfortunately there was nobody to take a proper photo (as usual)....
the next nearly finished project on the needles is the baby alpaca cardigan - which has to be blocked before I can work out the upper sleeves... the lace pattern pulls in so much that it is difficult to calculate the decreases otherwise. 
the other main project (unfinished of course!) is the hexagon table cloth. all the flowers are finished, plus some double and triple ones and a handful of buds. those are all the greens to surround the flowers (at least I hope I'll have enough!) plus a few sets, in case I do need more small inserts.... 
I couldn't resist the stack of flowers - a hexie highrise in colour:) I don't think I'll need all of them, but it's better to have a few spare - and I want to do a second one anyway.... 
until my room is ready, I won't have the space for an upright board, so I put two polystyrene boards on a camping table to lay out my hexies. I know that there is too much room in between some of them, but I wanted to make sure that the colours are spread out reasonable well. (the green is just fabric pieces in this pic!). the colours in the back look more muted - but I put that down to the darker background fabric. I printed some close-ups and keep them close to my sewing corner. I pricked the first few hexies up on a piece of cardboard and started sewing this morning. to be continued... 
 
I also received some purple fabrics - my favourite bag is slowly coming apart and I plan to make myself a new one with some purple fabrics. and maybe a little green, but I'll test that before I sew. the pattern consists just of larger squares that are put together to form a round bag - easy to sew with the machine, even for me:). and I have no idea why blogger doesn't let me write on the side of the picture....
 
on the 24th of may our group, the Connacht Textile Crafters, took part in the "Feile na Tuaithe" (good thing that I can type here, I wouldn't be able to pronounce it properly...). it takes place in the Museum of Country Life in Castlebar, where they have a lovely park to put up that festival. our group was given a marquee, so we brought a few of our finished projects for decoration. Lesley brought some of her lovely quilts, which look good even from further away.  I brought my revontuli shawl (black/grey/white, right side) and the red and green thingy (shawl), that looks like a curtain here:) we had problems with putting the stuff up so that it's visible - but doesn't cover the rest... we also had smaller projects on the tables below, peg loom weaving, embroidery, crochet, knitting etc. in the background we put up our bunting, which was made by members a few years back. each member received a felt tile to decorate with one letter of the groups' name. in hindsight we should have put it up closer to the front, because the details of each tile were too far away to be appreciated; but we were worried it might rain and end up a soggy mess!
I demonstrated bobbin lace (place on the right, only my board is there:) and ended up nearly finishing a bookmark; I did the last bit at home later. not perfect, because it's hard to concentrate and talk and explain at the same time, but at least it's usable. I'll mount it on some fabric to make it a bit sturdier.
 
Anne, another member, demonstrated how to make buttons out of fimo clay - which was an instant hit esp. with the kids, because it's colourful and fun to look at.
we were lucky that there was practically no rain, but it was windy and cool - esp. after a few hours of sitting in front of the projects...
 
so now - back to sewing hexies. I had to resort to using one of those sticky patches - after sewing about 400 flowers, my middle finger wasn't taking any more needles without "complaining":)


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