Saturday, 22 April 2017

KNIT




I think I must be the only person who is secretly pleased that the weather hasn't completely warmed up so that Thomas may get a little bit of wear out of these.  I'm not a seasonal knitter.  I knit as and when - that could be summer or winter meaning I often finish items at the wrong time of year.  I wrote in my last post that there were lots of things I made that I've never recorded here so this is a little catch up together with some musings on knitting.



I learnt to knit when I was at primary school and I still remember the teacher who called us all Miss Tight Boots as our knitting was always too tight.  The wool was red and scratchy and I made a scarf that never got worn!  Then when I was pregnant with my first baby I developed an overwhelming urge to knit all the tiny baby things.  I managed a few little baby hats for James before he was born and a few bigger toddler ones since.  The teal green one below was a pattern from the lovely Nat.



I've had my fair share of disastrous knitting projects too.  I spent an Easter at home at my parents being so chuffed at all the free childcare help which gave me free time to knit James what I thought was a lovely jumper.  I sewed it all up and went to try it on and it wouldn't go over his head, not even close.  Everyone thought it was hilarious but I was gutted.  I ended up leaving it behind with Mum who cleverly added some buttons so we could get it over his (not that large) head!


A second pregnancy meant I wanted to knit all the tiny baby things again and this time I had progressed to tiny cardigans and bootees.







Thomas was tiny and his wardrobe of beautifully knitted cardigans was way to big for him at first and I was desperate for him to grow to fit into them before the weather got too warm.


Like my addiction to most crafts, my rediscovery of knitting was fuelled by the beautiful materials you can now buy to create with.  The huge selection and beautiful colours of modern wools are a long way from my first itchy scarlet red scarf.





Just recently I've been knitting a little more again.  Just simple patterns.  A little at a time.  Much has been written about the therapeutic benefits of craft and knitting in particular.  The soothing repetitive nature of easy knit and purl is calming.  It requires just enough concentration to occupy my mind and stop it wondering onto things it doesn't need to worry about right now but not so much so as to tire it out.  It also provides the perfect portable distraction for all the waiting I do for appointments.  And then after a while you have a beautiful handmade object to keep or gift.  



Tuesday, 4 April 2017

REFLECTIONS



It's a long time since I've written anything here and a lot has happened in that time: 
  •  I've had another baby boy (who is now 1!)
  •  I've made 8 quilts (mostly small baby ones)
  •  I've had a promotion at work 
  •  I've knitted 7 things (some tiny baby things and finally some things for me)
  •  I've been diagnosed with incurable cancer 

Tiny Thomas


Some of these things have meant that blogging has taken a back seat. In fact I actually came on here a month or so ago intending to close down this blog. But instead I started really thinking around why I stopped blogging. Lots has been written about how the instant gratification of Instagram has led to the decline of blogging.  For me that is partially true but the bottom line is that I just I felt this blog just didn't reflect me and who I now am anymore. 

I started blogging as a way of recording things that I had made (especially as most of them get given away) and through it found an amazing online community.  At the time I had lots of spare time and was able to spend hours sewing, reading quilting magazines and browsing lovely fabric websites. I didn't quite believe it when people started following and commenting back. But I still tried to remain true to my reason for blogging - an online diary and voice - rather than writing posts attempting to please others or gain more followers. But with the shift in my life over the past couple of years I no longer have much time for creating. In addition to this some of the treatment I receive affects my hands and my ability to sew or knit at times. So I thought as I didn't have anything to contribute a lot of the time I should just close this old blog down. But then I thought about the amazing sewing community who I would miss, about not having somewhere to record what I am able to create and most importantly no longer having somewhere to put my thoughts down. 

A visit from my oldest online sewing buddy Justine and the lovely Katy!

So instead I've decided to keep this blog, to try and do some catch up posts on what I've made recently and to maybe even write some new posts which better reflect who I am and what's important in my life at the moment. I don't plan on this becoming a "mum blog" or a "cancer blog" or a "lifestyle blog" (not that there's anything wrong with any of these as blogs!) I also don't want to build a huge following or turn my blog into an income source. I just want a space that is mine, that reflects me and right now that's a mix of a whole lot of different things. 



So what is important to me now? What exactly does represent who I am now? I still love to sew, knit, cook and bake when I can. And of course I love my boys and the little people they are becoming more than anything in the world. Since I was diagnosed I've developed a new appreciation for the little things, the simple pleasures in life. I don't have a bucket list that involves jumping out of planes or seeing far flung places. Instead I decided to focus on slowing down, appreciating each day, finding joy in the smallest things, using little treats to turn around even the most rubbish of days. My Instagram account is full of the little things that have made me smile in the last 6 months - my boys, flowers, cake, books, things I've made, coffee, places I've been. 







So I'm hoping on expanding all this here and making it a place where I have more space to write and one that truly reflects who I am now.




Friday, 22 May 2015

George's Quilt

This is another catch up post of a 2014 finish.  I made this quilt for James' lovely godmother, Emma, to gift to her first nephew George.



The fabrics are a bundle that has been in my stash for years from my very first trip to Festival of Quilts.  The back is an old Ikea print - I wish they still made these!



And the pattern is the very fast and very satisfying Disappearing Nine Patch.


Linking up with Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

Friday, 15 May 2015

Rachel's Giant Purple Quilt



This is the biggest quilt I have ever (and for the record will ever) make!  It is a very late 30th birthday present for my very patient sister.

I started it back here in July 2012 with this lovely stack of fabrics. 

Fabrics for my sister's quilt



And then I stalled.  In my defence I had got pregnant and then I had a baby and then I went back to work and then I ran out of excuses.  

Rachel has a king size bed so  this was going to need to be a big quilt so I decided to try Quilt As You Go.  And my verdict?  Well the positive is that it gave a beautiful finish to each block and made it look heavily quilted without the need to push an enormous quilt through the machine.  But the downside is it is hugely repetitive and just a little bit boring!  Luckily I loved these fabrics so they maintained my interest which is a good thing seeing as how long I spent working on this! 

Luckily she loves it!



This is my link up post for the Blogger's Quilt Festival Spring 2015 with Amy's Creative Side
Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and
Thank Goodness it's Finished Friday

Thursday, 5 February 2015

What I'm working on right now .....



I'm enjoying being back in this space and recording all my missed makes.  And in doing so I have been thinking some more about why I stepped away from it.  A couple of things stood out.  Firstly I don't have as much time to create anymore so I didn't have as many finished things to blog and so I simply blogged less often.  Secondly because of this, the blog just became a record of things I had made without any mention of the process, decision making, and fun involved in making them.  My efforts to simply just have a record of what I made had led to a very depersonalised account and when I read back over it it just didn't seem to reflect who I was.  I've also been sorting through my online photos and realising how many things I do that I don't record.  So with that in mind this post is simply as stated - a look back at what I worked on (but didn't necessarily finish) in January and a look forward to what I'm working on in February.

I have been working on these Quilt As You Go blocks for my sister's 30th forever (don't ask how old she is now!)  Finally I have completed 42 of them and sewn them all together.  I now just need to pin a back on, add some quilting lines and bind it.


There has also been some knitting: 


A lot of coffee drinking:


Some organising of the new sewing loft:



And exploring of the new house:



Next month should see some more work on the quilt and the cowl (which to me sounds like the title of my ideal craft book).  And hopefully starting a birthday present project for James with this lovely fabric:



And hopefully (please I desperately hope) the first house renovation project should also get completed.




Friday, 30 January 2015

A Christmas Quilt (in January)



This is the first of my catch up projects from last year.  Every December since I started quilting I would look at all the lovely Christmas quilts and wish I had the time to make one.  So this year I started in July!  I still didn't finish it until December but this year for the first time I snuggled up watching The Snowman (a lot - James became somewhat obsessed) under my very own Christmas quilt.


I didn't get around to taking any photos until now but I figured as there is a lot of snow in the UK and it is still January I can get away with it!  These are taken in the new garden which is somewhat sloped, step ridden and unsuitable for quilt photo taking - honestly a suitable quilt backdrop really should have featured higher in my house essential list.



Fabric: Moda Countdown to Christmas & Timeless Treasures in Cream Sketch, Binding - Kona Charcoal, Backing is Ikea Britten Numbers
Pattern: Made in Cherry by Sarah Fielke
Quilting: I followed Katie's fab guide here


I think I may be using this for another few months yet.

Linking up with Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts 

and 

which this week is at Devoted Quilter

Saturday, 24 January 2015

2014 - where did you go?

I've been looking back through my photos and noticed just how long it is since I blogged. Going back to work part time in May meant that life just got a lot busier.  But ironically I actually sewed more in the second half of the year once I was back at work.  I decided that I wanted to spend more time making stuff than thinking about things I would like to make.  So something had to give and a combination of less time, a broken photo connector and an iPhone in the washing machine meant blogging was it.  At the end of the year I read this post by Kerry and her comments on blogging got me thinking about the reasons I started this blog and to begin with it was simply to record the things I made.  So I've got some projects I finished in the past 6 months that I want to catch up on blogging so I have a record of them all.  

But in the meantime and in order to not let the second half of 2014 completely slip by here is short summary of 2014 courtesy of Instagram.









I've also really missed the blogging process, the reading and commenting on other's blogs, the lovely people I met,  the feeling part of an online community so I'm going to blog a little more often and find my place here again.