Another one finished!

It's really cold here on the Fleurieu Peninsula and with the start of Winter tomorrow I expect it will be even colder soon. So the knitting machine has had plenty of action this week and I finished another jumper. I seem to have a whole lot of clothes in the purple/lavender/mauve tones so this will be very versatile and will match heaps of things.



It has made me feel quite good actually to finish another one. When I first opened the wool crates, I was really surprised at how big the stash was, especially as I hadn't really looked at it for four years! So, while using up the wool wasn't really on my PASS list (Projects at a stand-still), it is great to think that I have used up nearly all that I had bought and I am sure it deserves a tick of some sort! I hope to get stuck into making my husband a pullover soon. Meanwhile I have almost finished yet another one for myself. It is multi-coloured and the plan was to use up lots of small bits and pieces and left-over wool from other projects. With all this knitting happening, I think my sewing machine is complaining that it isn't getting a look in at the moment.

I hope those who have downloaded the free "What is Love" Block of the Month pattern have enjoyed working the little stitchery. Keep an eye out for the second block next week.

Regards
Val

Back to the Knitting Machine

Last year after Winter, I gave away virtually all my jumpers as by then they were three sizes too big and looked like a "hessian bag"! A trip to the shops recently to accumulate some warm gear for our cold winter was futile. There was just nothing in the colour, style or warmth that I was looking for.

I knew I had a stash of wool in the cupboard so decided I would make a couple of cardigans for myself. I have not been able to knit by hand for 20 years or so as the muscle in my left thumb is totally worn out and the right hand is not much better. The movement in knitting means that bone rubs against bone which is very painful, to say the least. Many years ago I purchased a Knitting Machine second hand. It was old when I bought it, so it is really vintage now. Evidently my Singer Memomatic 321 was made about 35 years ago, but it is the most wonderful piece of engineering and still works like a charm.


I hadn't used it for 4 years, so I needed a day to work out how to do everything. Then it was out with the wool - a lovely colour called "All Spice" from Bendigo Woollen Mills where I purchase all my wool -

then lots of arm exercise moving this gadget back and forth across the needles


and some hand tooling every so often to make the cables, and hey presto, the garment was complete!
3½ days was all it took, with supermarket shopping and housework in between. It takes as long to sew it up as it does to actually knit it! And it is just so lovely and warm!
I'm now on my second one. The sleeves are plain on this new one I'm making and so it only takes an hour to knit a sleeve! It puts a new slant on the term 'instant'.
Regards
Val

Bags and more bags

Last week I decided to make some mug bags, well I like to call them "cup" bags actually, as it sounds a bit more elegant and suits my style better. I had tried one idea which I wasn't really pleased with so I made this one just as a practice run to see how a completely different idea would turn out:
I used the broderie perse method of applique, just cutting out various flowers, leaves and buds from the main fabric and blanket-stitching them onto the pink fabric. It's a quick and easy method and I like to use it occasionally when I'm in a hurry. The big advantange is that all the details such as petals, veins, and colour are all there without having to add anything.
Of course I couldn't stop at one, so made another two. Here's a sneak peak of one that I have sent off to a magazine which will hopefully be published next year:
It was also on the plan last week to make final preparations for the Creative Craft Retreat at which I will be teaching in Queensland later in the year. The design is not really a bag but it functions like a bag and can be carried over the arm! That's all the clues for now! Here's a sneak peak:
Happy Stitching!
Val

It's always exciting!

No matter how many times I have my projects published, I am still always really excited to see my work in print!

The May issue of Australia's Country Threads magazine has just come out and has one of my designs in it. I really like this little sewing folder and taught it at the Creative Craft Retreat in Queensland last year.
I bought the Jelly Roll in Brisbane and as I'm not really into making big quilts, I decided to use it for making a number of smaller articles. I've also made three bags and still have fabric left, so I've had a lot of fun working out how to use these 2½ inch strips. Keep a look out for one of the bags in the Australian Patchwork and Stitching Magazine in Spring.
Happy stitching.
Val

Free Pattern Launch


The day you have been waiting for has arrived! Today is the launch of my “What is Love?” free Block of the Month pattern.

This BOM pattern will run for nine months commencing May 2009. There will be eight little stitcheries which are very quick to embroider and in January 2010 I plan to give you the final embroidery design with instructions on how to put this small project together. That means you will be able to complete this mystery pattern for Valentine’s Day – February 14th, very appropriate since we are working on “What is Love?”. So keep an eye out for the next pattern in the second week of each month.

This pattern is FREE, for personal use or to make as a gift. You may also give a copy to friends and tell them where to find me but please do not use the pattern for profit.

I’d love it if you would put my “What is Love?” badge in the sidebar of your blog with a link back to http://val-laird.blogspot.com. (Just right click and Save Picture As a jpeg file onto your computer, then upload it to your blog.) Let me know in a comment at the bottom of this post or e-mail that you’ve joined the programme.

It would be great to see photos of your finished blocks so post them on your blog and put a link back to me or email them to me so we can all share in your creativity.

Requirements:

To start the project, you will need one fat quarter of off-white tone-on-tone fabric for the stitcheries. Cut it into eight rectangles 3½ x 5½ inches.

You will need a favourite fat eighth print to work out your two main thread colours.
This is my fat eighth fabric and I chose the violet and plum colours to work the stitcheries. Four stitcheries are worked in the violet and four in the plum.

You will need a dark, medium and light shade of the violet stranded thread and a dark and medium shade of the plum, as well as a dark Brown, Yellow, Green and Off-white.

My favourite stranded threads are by Anchor so I will give you the thread numbers that I used and you can substitute your own wherever I mention these in the patterns.

97 Light Violet
98 Medium Violet
99 Dark Violet
267 Moss Green
305 Saffron
380 Chocolate
926 Magnolia
1018 Medium Plum
1019 Dark Plum

If you want to collect fabrics for the rest of the project over the next few months, then decide which will be the main colour out of your two choices. I chose the violet. These are the requirements:

Fat eighth of three different violet tone-on-tone fabrics
30 cm of plain violet homespun

Click here to go to the download site.

Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.

Happy Stitching!

Val

Pincushions

I'm still on a pincushion roll! I love using felt as it is so versatile and tolerant and instead of having seams to hide the edges, the stitching becomes part of its charm. So the cupcake addiction was put aside and I went on a roll with making birdhouse pincushions!

Of course, I couldn't stop at one... or two!

I also finished off another project that has been sitting around half finished for a while. This is part of the bag I was making and I love the way it turned out:


The rest of my time has been spent on preparing for the launch of my Free Block of the Month Pattern, "What is Love?". I hope to upload the first of the little stitcheries next week, so keep an eye out for it and let your friends know.

Happy stitching!

Val