Work in Progress Chest

I have a lovely large wooden chest in my living room (which has become known as “The chest of shame”) where I keep all of my unfinished projects.

It became so stuffed with half-finished  projects that I’d started storing the things I was actually working on in a pile on top of the chest!

It’s been on my Minimise list for quite a while, and spurred on by Marie Kondo I got cracking and sorted through it.

After finishing off a couple of things that literally just needed a little repair, throwing out a few things that I knew I wouldn’t finish and finding a large variety of knitting needles that I thought had been lost forever… I’m left with a not too shameful chest which I’m re-naming my “WIP Chest”!

The first project I dug out is a little bit shameful to be honest… two socks that I started early last year. I intended to knit one sock per month throughout the year – thus ending the year with six new pairs of socks. I have more than enough yarn and bought a couple of sets of fancy new sock needles… but time ran away from me and this is the somewhat disappointing result.

I started hand sewing this patchwork cushion cover years ago! I finished a triangle version in the same fabrics but this one got put into hibernation. I still love it and will definitely finish it at some point!I’ve been using crocheted flannels/face cloths for a while now and recently crocheted some dishcloths in oddments of Cotton Glace to replace our plastic based sponges. I’m planning to make more and it’s a brilliant easy project to fit in my handbag.

I’ve been pretty good recently at only having one garment on the needles at a time – and this Esme cardigan by Kim Hargreaves is the one! I’ve finished the back and it’s now hibernating until I’m less busy with work knitting.

And the final project in the WIP chest is actually Beardie’s knitting! He found he quite enjoyed finishing off some socks that I’d been knitting over Christmas 2017 so I bought him some yarn to make himself a pair.

The yarn is from Gamer Crafting and the colours are based on Luke’s light-saber. I hope one day he’ll finish them… or maybe he could just make the cuff into a sweatband? The yarn is knitting up beautifully.

My new self-imposed rule is that I can’t add anything new to the WIP chest until I finish a project from the WIP chest! I can’t wait until I have time to finish my Esme cardigan… and maybe some socks!

Kaffe Colour

I had a wonderfully busy and colourful few days at Black Sheep Wools last week where they were hosting workshops and a lecture with Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably.

It started off on Thursday with a patchwork workshop where everyone planned out their quilts on Kaffe’s flannel grid-wall. The fabric clings to it so you can move things around and play about before doing any sewing. It’s like grown up fuzzy felt!

We had all the lovely new limited edition shades of Handknit Cotton chosen by Kaffe. You can see more and download the patterns here.

On the Thursday evening Black Sheep hosted an inspirational Kaffe colour lecture which included many wonderful images of Kaffes inspiration, knitting design, paintings, needlepoint and more!

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We had some classic garments on display from the Kaffe archive, including the beautiful Holly from Rowan Magazine 50. Who else wants to knit this and hang out near some beautiful Acers?!

Speedy Patchwork Cushion

Many of us spend far too much time working and don’t have much time left for making! I’m lucky that my job involves a lot of knitting and making – but I’m still eager to grab any opportunity I have for selfish projects.

My knitting group has an off-shoot sewing group where we go to each others houses and spend an afternoon sewing and eating cake (or low fodmap granola biscuits!).

The occasional sewing group is perfect for me because I love to sew – but left to my own devices – I very rarely get my machine out. For our group in February I wanted to make a cushion cover for the big squishy cushion pad I bought for my lovely Ercol armchair. I knew that if I didn’t finish it on the day it would sit unfinished until the next group – which probably won’t be until May!

So I decided not to be a perfectionist and just get it done. I had lots of random bits of lovely Parson Gray fabric which were all the same width – and they just happened to be approx half the width of my big cushion.

So I started by cutting my fabric into random sized strips of the same width. I then stitched them together in one big strip which measured just over four times the width of the cushion. I then chopped this long strip in half to create two shorter strips which measured approx twice the width of the cushion. These were stitched together, folded in half, sewn up the side seams and a zip inserted (badly – so you’re not seeing a close up). Simple!

Unfortunately I didn’t get pics while I was making because I was determined to get it done on the afternoon and that would’ve slowed me down!

If I’d taken more time I would have planned out the fabric so that two of the same print didn’t end up directly next to each other – and I would have inserted the zip better! But I’m happy with this for an afternoons work and I’ve been enjoying sitting in my Ercol armchair. The foam on the base of the chair is currently wrapped in a blanket, but I’m planning to buy some grey tweedy fabric to cover this and also a second squishy cushion for the back. Time to go fabric shopping!

Patchwork Cushion

 When I sorted out my work room, I discovered that I have a ridiculous amount of lovely fabric scraps!

My friend Steph recently completed a beautiful paper-pieced quilt and I felt inspired to have a go. I want to do a double bed sized hexi quilt – which will probably take decades! So I thought starting off with some patchwork cushions would be a good way to give paper-piecing a try.

wpid-img_20150111_184353.jpgI really enjoyed making the cushion. The main reason I like knitting more than sewing is the fact that sewing often needs more equipment or requires digging my machine out from under a pile of fabric. But hand stitching is rather relaxing! I used a Prym fabric glue pen to stick the fabric to the paper pieces so I didn’t have to fiddle about with tacking – it did the job and rinsed out easily after removing the paper.

My list of to-do’s for the living room is gradually shrinking. I’m mostly keen to finish the rag rug because it’s amazing how much colder the room is now I’ve taken up the carpet! I could just buy a rug but that would be too easy wouldn’t it?

I’m happy with the results for my first try and I’m planning to make another with the same fabric but with hexagons rather than triangles.

Then I can start planning the long term quilt project!