Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Oh Christmas Eve, oh Christmas Eve......

.......I can't believe it's bloody Christmas Eve!!!!!!!!!!!
Well that big day is almost upon us, I'm just about to pack my machine away for a few days so that we can actually all sit around the table, without my poor husband trying to pass it off as a centre piece!
I have accepted that what is not got, can stay not gotten and what is not made, is staying well and truly unmade!
Although I did have a making session yesterday for a bit of selfish sewing and made myself a Festive Sock Sack.
I haven't made any socks in ages and saw that Dani from Little Bobbins was having a Christmas Eve sock cast on, so being the Sheep that I am I had to jump on board too! Baa!!
I used Michael Miller Gnomes for the outer with Clown Stripes in Fire for the casting.
Inside I used a pale blue dot from Makower, a red and pink dot for the tabs and red and white dot for the pocket,  but I used buttons instead of the snaps as I didn't have any.
With robins lining the pocket.
The pattern was so so easy and it even has video's for any tricky bits, the whole thing came together so quickly, I must say a damn lot quicker than the socks will!!!
I've bought myself a skein of Malabrigo Sock Yarn in Lettuce and caked them into two balls all ready to cast on this evening.
And if all goes to plan I should be knitting a pair of Diamond Gansey Socks, from Socks from the Toe Up, with a small glass of fizz....anything more and I will get it all wrong!!!
So, all that is left to do is mop the floors, get the children to bed and to wish all of you a very merry, fun filled and enjoyable Christmas from me and my crazy bunch!!! I
 hope you have an amazing day what ever you are doing!!! I hope you get all your wishes and a bit of crafty goodness too!!! 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Magrathea Shawl ✓

I have another finish from my Q4 list!!!!
My Magrathea Shawl
Spell check keeps wanting to change it to Margate Shawl, which is making my very tired self giggle, I've spent many a wet weekend in Margate!!!
After feeling really rubbish the week/weekend before last, I let the children have the run of the house, TV and food cupboard on the Sunday morning, as I settled myself on the sofa in the kitchen and knitted till it was finished and with just 3 grams of yarn left. Playing yarn chicken does not make for enjoyable knitting, but that was my own fault as I wanted to use as much as I could!!
After a mammoth (this shawl is massive!) blocking session on Monday and it was ready to wear out and about and I have had it constantly wrapped around my neck these last few blustery days.
I don't know what I love more the yarn or the pattern!
I used about 730 metres of yarn for this shawl , although  the pattern only called for 400metres. The yarn has got a really subtle bronze shimmer running through it, along with the most vibrant colours and I hope it is a good match for both the pattern and the yarn. It was lovely to knit with and is so cozy and not at all itchy to wear. Once Terri has opened her shop again (she has just had a lovely little girl!) I will definitely be buying yarn from her again!! She even knitted a swatch up for me on Instagram so I could see how it would pattern.
This pattern was my first really testing lace pattern and I did need the charts all the way through, as there was no way my sieve of a brain could hold a 10 row repeat!! But I did enjoy seeing the leaf motif develop. This is the fourth time I've knitted one of Martina Behm's patterns (with another two in my Ravelry queue), I really love her style of both the finished shawls and how she writes the patterns. They are normally always a asymmetrical triangle that you start in one corner and gradually get bigger, which means you can play around a little bit more with yarn lengths, depending on how big or small you want it.

Yarn: 200g Christmas Tree Lights Sparkle Sock - A Fine Fish Yarn 
Time to Knit: 2 Months

After looking on Ravelry I can't believe it only took 2 months I'm sure I've been knitting it for ages!! 
And now for my wearing it shot.  
It goes around my neck at least twice and I think it should keep me warm through the chilly Christmas and New Year and I have had loads of lovely comments from people when wearing it this week! 
My next project is a hat for me, but it's very slow going at the moment, I've already frogged it twice! 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Le Challenge #18 - Ink

I think that Ink was a tricky one to interpret, but I have gone for a pattern that has been put into print/INK?!? Is that too loose??

Le Challenge
The Log Cabin Wreath Quilt that was in Quilt Now Magazine - Issue 4 by Jessie Fincham.
I love, love, love this quilt and have been itching to finish it, with me literally just sewing in the loose thread this morning!!
I quilted it in an organic (wonky) spiral way, using Kerry's template to start me off.
Most of the fabrics are from my stash with a few dark green purchases, I didn't realise how hard it is to find the perfect green!!!
The backing is a Moda dot with Robins from Makower and the binding is my newest favourite stripy fabric Clown Stripe in Fire by Michael Miller.
I did add a few more strips to the edges making it finish up at 49"x50".
I machine quilted it as there is just not enough hours in the day for it to have been hand quilted by this Christmas, there is no time for film watching on the sofa until Christmas day at the earliest in this house!!!
Now I just need to get more than one decoration on the tree, I'm really not feeling Christmas this year and normally I love it!!
Honestly, two candy canes and a bauble!! I really need to pull my finger out! 

Friday, 12 December 2014

Sew Mama Sew Winner!

Thank you so so much for all of you who entered, I am amazed at 215 comments!! But, this is a very short and sweet post as Gogglebox is on!!!

So, the winner of my Sew Mama Sew Giveaway as picked my Mr Random was..........

No.4 who is......
The lovely Catrin!!!

Get your address off to me and I will post your prize out on Monday!

Must run I can't miss Steph and Dom!!!
Gogglebox Steph and Dom

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Book Review: The Busy Girl's Guide to Digital Photography

First off I want to say this is a book I bought for myself, with my own pennies back in July, I wasn't given it nor asked to review it. 

So, back in July I was browsing Amazon for holiday reading and although I had already loaded my kindle up with novels, I wanted a book with me to help me get to grips with my Nikon DSLR camera. Ever since I had been given it at Christmas it had mostly stayed on Auto and it had given me some brilliant photos, but I felt I was only using it to a small fraction of its ability.
So, I bought The Busy Girl's Guide to Digital Photography by Lorna Yabsley. (If I'm honest the name very nearly put me off, I don't see why a book should be marketed to women only, when as far as I could see it is very much a book for all.)
It is a well written and clear to use book, it has 4 main chapters on everything from choosing a camera, what different lens are, kit you need and really don't need and how to use the camera. Then a chapter on taking pictures of everything from people, places, animals and interiors, next a chapter on editing the photos and lastly a chapter of case studies of photographers and their business.
I found it was a great book for me, I was able to pick it up, read a chunk and take the camera off auto and play with what I had just read.
By taking the plunge and fiddling with the ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture I was able to see the real difference it made to my photos.
  My dad at the beach bar, from auto setting to me getting the right photo by changing the exposure.
Changing the shutter speed got me a decent photo of the moonlit sea.
Playing with the exposure again got me a clear well lit grumpy tween!! He will kill me for this shot!!!
And lastly slowing down the shutter speed helped me to get these amazing pictures of the sea mist rolling in across the horizon. I was jump up and down happy to get this shot of the mist looking like a wave, but the husband was less please when I told him I need a stand, as when you slow the shutter speed down the slightest movement will blur the photo.

I'm not saying this book will make me the next Davina Bailey, but it has given me the confidence that the camera manual didn't and it shows so many examples of different shots through the book to help you get the best photo. So I would definitely recommend this book for a clear usable guide to navigating your DSLR and holding your hand to take it off the Auto Settings!
My copy is pretty well thumbed now and I'm still referring back to it constantly, I just wish it had a better name........ like the busy persons guide to digital photography or the no nonsense guide to digital photography! Honestly men can read this book too!! 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!!

Hello and welcome to my little bit of the blogosphere, if you've not been here before, my name is Joanne and I'm a mum of 3, wife of one and am currently owned by a very cute puppy! I live in the outskirts of London and in any spare time I can carve out I sew, knit and generally make a mess to keep myself sane!
I love Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day, lots of chances to win, find new blogs or revisit forgotten ones!
So, I'm giving away a copy of Love Patchwork & Quilting Magazine (Issue 10)
and two Fq's.
I will post anywhere in the world that has a postal address, the giveaway will remain open until Friday 12th December (9pm UK time) and I will post out the prize on Monday 15th December.
To enter you can have two chances:

1. Leave a comment telling me your favourite Christmas make.....I do love a Christmas make!!!

2. For a second chance follow me, either on Google Friends (up over there ➞) or on Bloglovin or Feedly  and let me know in a separate comment.

Please, please, please leave an email address if you are a no-reply comment or think you might be! If I can't contact you I will have to pick another winner!

Good luck and thanks for visiting!

*****This giveaway is now closed!!*****

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Penguin in the post......✓

Back at the end of September I held a Blogiversary Giveaway for a handmade cushion and the winner could pick to have me make them a cushion from all the ones I've made and I've made quite a few!!
The winner was the lovely Helen who picked one of these paper pieced cushions from Pretty in Patchwork: Holidays and let me surprise her with which one, as she couldn't decide.
After a bit of thinking I set to work cutting and sewing, but thing got a little crazy so he got put aside for a week or two and last week I finally moved my backside to buy an insert and get him posted off!!
And this morning Helen received name as yet!?!
I made it with an envelope back.
I quilted him just following his outline and then tried a snowflake like stitch from my machine on the background.
I picked this character as without the Christmas hat on he can be left out on the sofa for the whole winter, rather than just for the Christmas period. Penguins also seem to be a bit popular at the moment what with Monty the Penguin from John Lewis and The Penguins of Madagascar film coming out, which this chap still reminds me of those 'Smile and wave boys, just smile and wave!'

Size - 19"x19"
Fabrics - Too many to list! 

I loved making him and have now lost count of the amount of things I have made from that book, I can honestly say I've had my moneys worth!!! And it's making me want to dig my Penguin and Polar Bear cushions out of the loft.
I'm so pleased that Helen likes him and that this is also a finish from my Q4 list from the 2014 FAL, I actually think this might be my only finish so far.......(hangs head in shame and rushes off to see if there is anything else I can get finished!!)

****** Disclaimer - No Penguins were harmed in the making or posting of this cushion!!*****

Monday, 1 December 2014

Night, Night, November!

Well, to me that has to be the shortest month in history! I'm sure I only just posted my October Makes!
I wasn't sure I had even sewed much, but making the mosaic for this month has made me realise I have actually made more than I thought.
Fabulously Fast Tile Quilt Top, Log Cabin Wreath Quilt Top (Yep, I have added a few more low volume strips!) and my Christmas Gift Wrap Sack.  There is one more thing finished, but that is a surprise.
I won't be having a very handmade Christmas this year, as I'm having to do more work with my parents business and Christmas is the stalls busiest time, so I've made sure I don't have a pressing list of things to get made.
My aims for the month is to get the Log Cabin Wreath quilt quilted and in use.
To finish knitting my Magrathea Shawl, as the yarn is called Christmas Tree Lights, I really wanted it ready for the 1st December, but that was not to be!
And maybe get those last two Swoon blacks made up!!

I'm really hoping that Amazon has everything on everybody's wish lists, as if it can't be delivered this year they will have to pick something else, because the family has had a new addition this weekend........
Introducing Boris the Standard Schnauzer! He is keeping me as busy as a new baby does......night wees, toilet training, playing & keeping things out of his mouth is really taking up all of my spare time!
Any puppy train tips gladly received!

I'm linking up with the lovely Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day.
Fresh Sewing Day

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Christmas Making and a reminder to link up!!

Well, I have definitely been missing in action on this blog recently, but as with everyone else, sometimes life just gets in the way and that is the priority!
But, I have been trying to get a bit of sewing squeezed in-between and today I have finished my Log Cabin Wreath quilt top.
The pattern is by Jessie Fincham and was in Issue 4 of Quilt Now and as soon as I saw it in the magazine I knew I wanted to get myself one made in time for this christmas.
Now I have to decide do I add a few more stripes of Low Volume to make it a bit bigger, currently it is measuring 43" square, but I would really love to get it up to about 50" which I think will make a good sofa quilt.
So, I best get off the computer and get sewing and cutting............also don't forget you only have 3 and a bit days to get you Holiday Makes linked up on my Ho Ho Ho and on we Sew post to win one of these pairs of Christmas fabric.
So go, make/finish your holiday make, link up and look at all the other amazing makes that others have linked up!!! !!! 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Ho, Ho, Ho And on We Sew November

Hello, and welcome to my little spot of the blogosphere for Novembers link up of Ho, Ho, Ho And on We Sew.
I love, love, love Christmas, so back in January when I was asked by Fiona about hosting a month of this brilliant idea, I was so excited to have the chance to get organised and actually tick things off my list, nice and early, then I could enjoy December but……….things went a little crazy and every month I saw that you clever peeps kept linking up brilliant finishes, but I never got anything done to join in!
So, with my month approaching I decided to tackle something that I have had on my 'to make list' for at least 2 Christmases. Although it isn't a present, it's to get me tidy and organised over the super crazy Christmas Period and I think any wrapping enthusiast would probably like one as a gift.

The Christmas Gift Wrap Sack

You will need:

2 m of canvas fabric for the sack
1 fq & 1f8th of contrasting fabrics for the pockets
Bias binding
1.5 m of cord
ribbon and stamps for labels (optional)
Cut your canvas fabric into two rectangles 18"x 36.5"
cut the contrasting fabrics into one rectangle of 13"x 18" and another of 9"x 18"

On the sack panels, mark 2" down from each of the top corners, once ¼" in from the side and another ½" in from the side.
You will then make a cut into the side of the sack panel to the ¼" mark. This is so that we can make the channel for the cord to go through.
Fold the fabric above the cut inwards, press and topstitch. You should do this on each of the TOP two corners of both the sack panels.
Then press the top of the sack panel ¼" down and then fold again and press so that it meets the 2" mark.
Topstitch this down, you now have the cord channel.
Using bias binding cover the raw edge of the top of the pocket panels, topstitch into place.
On the pocket fabrics mark out the size of pockets you would like ( I made the centre pocket 5" wide) and stitch any tags in place. Put the pocket panels on top of the sack panels and topstitch the pocket markings.
Pin or topstitch the pocket panels onto the sack panels.
Put the sack panels right sides together and pin together.

Starting UNDER the cord channel and using a ½" seam, sew the sack panels together, down the side, bottom and up the other side. STOP just before you reach the cord channel on the other side, backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching to reinforce.
Trim seams, clip the corners and turn right way around.

Attach a safety or basting pin to the end of the cord (I had to use masking tape as my cord kept fraying) and thread it through the cord channel.
Fill it with gift wrap rolls, tags, tape and scissors and put it to use!
And I have to say it is a massive improvement on my previous storage.
The sack finishes at 17"x34" which means you can fit and close the sack with the rolls in, although you could shorten it if you don't mind them poking out! I like that I can hide the paper and it won't spoil my Father Christmas helping paper.
I hope this is clear, although feel free to holler if it doesn't make sense!

So, now the time for you to link up all of your Holiday makes, Fiona is offering these lovely Christmas fq's and I will be sending the winner a Christmas fq or two as well!

And it is really important for us to say a massive THANK YOU to our brilliant sponsors, without them it would be a prize-less and sad link up!!!

Fluffy Sheep QuiltingRay Stitch HaberdasheryBackstitch

Quiet PlayQuilting Fabric at the Fat Quarter ShopPlush Addict Logo  Posie: Patterns and Kits to Stitch by Alicia Paulson

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