Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Finished Item

It feels like I've been away from the blog for ages, as I haven't posted for over two weeks. However, it's nice to see that it is quite happy ticking over without me, people seem to be finding their way here through Google, with mostly sewing/craft related search terms. I apologise to anybody who was hoping for something a little more racy with the "Tamsin stockings" search...

So what have I been doing instead? Well, I have managed to finish my daughter's quilt. The photos are not the best, but I wanted to show the quilt in situ, and if I waited for a lovely sunlit day to photograph it, I think I'd be waiting for some time! And the good news is that my three year old loves it. She especially likes the colours, and has been sleeping under it since I finished it off on Friday. Her older brother is now in a bit of a grump so another quilt may be on the cards.

 I was planning to finish the edges with ribbon, but decided in the end that I preferred a white edging. I cut the backing fabric larger than the quilt top and simply folded this over to bind the edges. Don't look too closely at the corners as these were the bodgiest element of the project, and I'm sure didn't follow any approved method. I'll definitely look this up and do it properly next time.

Other stuff I've been up to: I am now a member of not one but two (count 'em) craft groups, as well as my book group and I've even been to the cinema (saw The Artist, a fantastic film, would definitely recommend). On the less positive side my other half has a fairly punishing work schedule at the moment, including a few overnight stays and plenty of not being home in time for bedtime. We usually share a lot of the household chores and childcare but as he's not physically been here it's been down to me to do more. It just means that by the time I've put the kids to bed I don't want to do anything more creative than quaffing gin in front of Call the Midwife.

But onwards and upwards, I've had a post-project tidy in my workroom, and have a few ideas bubbling away. If I can just shake off my winter blues I'll be unstoppable...

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Sock of Doom

This is a craft blog, but I wouldn't want you to get the idea that everything I make comes out right first time, or that there isn't a considerable amount of effing and jeffing going on throughout the making process.

I give you: The Sock of Doom...

Now, I made some socks last year, and they didn't seem too tricky, and now they keep my feet perfectly toasty warm. I even adapted the pattern to make some smaller ones for my daughter. I was cocky in my sock-knitting abilities, bring on more socks I thought...

And so I purchased some more sock yarn from the Sock Yarn Shop. I'm sure you'll agree that the yarn is pretty funky. I'm easily pleased and I'm still very taken with the way that space-dyed yarn knits up into stripes before my very eyes.

But this time round I swear I am jinxed! First it took three attempts to cast on and do the ribbing (although I accept some of the blame for this, serves me right for mixing mulled wine and knitting, bad combo). Then I lost the paper pattern and after briefly searching the living room decided instead to cobble something together from the internet. Which of course led to me making a complete hash of turning the heel.

So I sighed, squared my shoulders, and unravelled the botched heel, ready to have another go. I've also borrowed a proper pattern from a friend.

Although part of me thinks it would be much less bother to just turn them into (small) leg-warmers...

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Mmmm Muffins

Today was my daughter's first session at preschool, she's just doing two morning sessions to start with, but I'm excited about having some more time for sewing (my mother suggested that I could use the time to get some household chores done... ho ho!). This morning I did some more work on the rainbow quilt, and have nearly finished the patchwork top.

Things got a bit shouty at teatime yesterday, so in a spirit of reconciliation I made a 'proper pudding' today in the form of Apple and Cinnamon Muffins. Yep I like to bribe my children with baked goods...

I found a basic plain muffin recipe online and adapted it, the original recipe called for more sugar which I thought was overkill if you have dried fruit as well. I also used dark brown sugar because I love the flavour. And cinnamon and apples just go together

From a baking with small children perspective, muffins are pretty good as you don't need to beat the mix beautifully. However my children declined to bake with me today as they were glued to CBeebies post school-run...

250g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
125g dark brown sugar
1 egg
225ml milk
4 tbsp vegetable oil
60g dried apple (chopped)
60g raisins

How to make
1. Preheat oven to 180 (fan) or 200 (conventional)
2. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases
3. In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar
4. In another bowl mix up the wet ingredients: egg, milk and oil
5. Make a hollow in the middle of the dry mix and pour in the wet stuff. Mix briefly until just combined.
6. Chuck in the dried fruit and mix briefly
7. Spoon the mix into your muffin cases and bake for 20-25 mins until golden

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Wonky Patchwork

Accuracy is pretty important when you're doing patchwork, both in cutting fabric and sewing the seams. Not really my strong point, but after a bit of jiggery pokery (Mr Seam-Ripper was much in evidence) and quite a lot of huffing and puffing over the past few days I managed to get the rainbow panels for my daughter's quilt finished.

Initially I planned to have six panels all orientated the same way, but when I'd finished the first four and laid them out I liked the starburst pattern that they made. So with the remaining two panels I decided to split them in half to make the quilt more balanced.

I have an old white cotton sheet that has gone thin in the middle that I'm planning to use for borders between the panels and around the edges. The panels will probably be a little wider spaced than in this photo.

I'm writing this post with an extremely full belly after Sunday lunch. I may get chance to do a little bit of sewing this afternoon, but that depends on how co-operative my threenager is being. Now that her afternoon nap appears to be consigned to history I either do stuff in the evenings or try and get things done while she plays in the sewing room. Currently Muck and Scoop from Bob the Builder are shovelling the contents of my button jar. Sometimes this works OK, but things can get a little fraught when pins, sharp scissors and hot irons are involved...

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Rainbow Quilt

New year, new projects... Today I have been fiddling with my fat quarters (oo-er) and have decided to make a small patchwork quilt, hopefully to go on my daughter's bed. I'm planning to have six panels in rainbow square patchwork, intersected with borders of plain fabric so that it doesn't seem too busy.

So far I've cut all my strips - quite tedious and probably would have gone faster with a rotary cutter, but I don't have one. I've started pinning and sewing the strips as you can see.

I'm hoping to get the bulk of it done before my husband goes back to work on Tuesday, as it's easier for me to sneak off to my sewing room when he's around...

What are your new year projects?