vitamins galore, sashing and quilting

It’s that time of year again . . . when we can go with our little basket into the veggie patch, and bring back fresh home-grown produce for dinner!

veggie & fruit

Here are some of the home-grown ingredients for dinner the other night.  Courgettes roughly chopped up and pois gourmands  which my husband stir fried with chicken in miso.  Plus some freshly chopped chives to sprinkle on top of the tofu.  Followed by a mix of strawberries and raspberries, which we enjoyed with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream.  Yummy.

I am very lucky that my husband loves cooking, and he’s an excellent chef.   Now that he’s retired, he is taking over more and more of the cooking, although I do help with preparation.  This leaves me with more time to do what I love . . . crafting.

F2F2 blocks sashed

And recent days have seen me busy upstairs in my sewing room, quilting.  All I will show you for now is this.  To say, I’ve finally finished quilting all thirty blocks of my F2F2 quilt and am ready to move on to the QAYG part.

I was umming and ahhing over whether to use white strips or more of the solid orange . . . I’m going to keep things really bright, and QAYG strips will be in orange both front and back.

And speaking of bright . . . lookee here

cactus

One of our cactus plants has flowered!  This is the first year it’s ever had flowers, and there are so many of them!  Cactus is obviously telling us that it really likes its place in the veranda.

SAL update – Cirque des Triangles #6

Last time, I showed you this photo.

CdesT 05

For this update, I worked on the right-hand side of my fabric, to keep things symmetrical, and “Cirque des Triangles” looks like this.

CdesT stage 6

Let’s go see what other SAL members have been busy stitching.

Avis, is working on the same CdesT design, but in totally different colours.  Other members are all working on a wonderful variety of projects:  Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, SusanP, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, WendyLinda, Catherine, Mary Margaret and Timothy.

Next update on 25th June.  

knitting & sewing

We’re having something of a heatwave in our corner of France.  Which makes me appear slightly mad, since I’m busily knitting my first sweater . . . as if it was sweater weather!

Here’s where I was up to last time I showed you.

knitting 02

Well since then, I have a back!

knitting 03

Sorry about the colour in second photo, which makes things look so grey.  True colours are like in the first photo.  Anyway, I managed my decreasing and casting off as instructed to shape the neckline on back.  I’ve now begun work on the front.

Realising however, that even if I finish this sweater soon, I won’t be wearing it until the autumn . . . and that summer clothes are more what’s needed at this time of year.

tunic mai

I pulled out one of my favourite patterns (NewLook 6086) which I have tried and tested several times.  Chose a “difficult” piece of fabric though.  No idea what it is exactly.  Suffice it to say it’s very light, floaty and slippy.  I did French seams and also made my own binding for neck and armholes.

tunic mai 01 zoom

tunic mai 02

And voilà the result!

tunic mai 03

A lovely simple sleeveless tunic.  Long enough to cover my bum.  The perfect match for my new trousers (couldn’t resist: bargain price at our local discount store, Noz).  I have another tunic in the making, in an equally floaty, slippy fabric . . . so stay tuned.  Gibbs approves, but I’m a little worried about his playful antics and teeth.  He does like to tug on my clothes . . . let’s hope he doesn’t tug too hard on my new tunic!

F2F2 blocks – quilting has begun!

Some rather exciting news to share with you . . . orange sashing has been added to all 30 blocks, and now quilting has actually begun!  Yay!  I’m rather amazed myself, at how motivated I am to get these blocks all assembled and made into a huge quilt.

But motivated I am!  Also somewhat scared . . . because the quilting stage is where things can go wrong.  I’m more of a piecer, where patchwork goes.  Not a very proficient quilter, and this project is even more scarey because I’m quilting so many gorgeous blocks made by other ladies.

quilting 6 down

For the moment, I have done six of the thirty.  Here they are (three from Lynn and three from Kate).  They’ve each got a little label pinned on to remind me of where they belong in my layout.  I’m quilting in orange thread and keeping things very simple.  A fair amount of echo quilting going on.  Some in the ditch.  And a very relaxed “let’s see what happens here” design.

quilting 6 down 01

Don’t know if you can see, but I’ve got a sort of “maze/labyrinth” thing going on on a couple, which seems to be working quite well.  Basically, each block will be quilted differently, depending on what the block pattern inspires, and within my limitations. 

In case you’re wondering – I cut wadding & backing fabric slightly bigger, and only trimmed once I’d quilted each block.  I’m using the QAYG method, so the plan is to quilt all 30, make sure they all measure the same, and then assemble with thin strips. 

stitching & knitting

Just so you don’t think I’ve gone off on a tangent with my knitting . . . here’s progress on “Victorian Charm” by Dimensions.  This photo was last month

Victorian charm 02

And this month

Victorian charm 12 05

A third window is almost finished, and I’ve been stitching the pointy roof on this part of the house.  It’s slow going, but I’m trying to stitch on it little and often.

Of course, the new knitting project is also keeping me amused.  I showed it to you only the other day

knitting 01

Well, I’ve just finished the first 50g ball of the main colour, and things look like this

knitting 02

This photo is a better one of the colours.  Main colour, a dark teal, with light aqua stripes.  This is the back of my sweater (or will be).  Three stripes so far, a total of seven to do.

Over the next few days, I need to get back to some sewing . . . that orange sashing on F2F2 blocks isn’t going to sew itself on  without a bit of help from me!  And then there’s the amigurumi tiger, still waiting for legs and a tail . . . it’s all go!  So many projects to work on, and not enough days in the week lol.

Abby & Ducky – 2 years

Oops, I missed birthday celebrations for our two youngest cats: the sister & brother act, Abby and Ducky.  They turned two a few days ago. 

Ducky was in the wars on the day.

ducky swollen

Can you see?  Swollen face on the right side.  That was the only visible symptom.  We figured he’s either been stung by an insect, or had an abces.  Quick vet’s visit the next day, even though the swelling had gone down – it was an insect sting.  Probably bee or wasp.  Anyway, he’s right as rain now.

And here’s Abby

abby may 01

In one of her favourite spots on a little wall. 

abby may 02

abby may 03

And a couple more photos of pretty colours . . .

violets

These little flowers growing in abundance, mixing in with the ivy . . . and in our neighbour’s garden

wild poppies

Which I suddenly realised were, what is known as “Wild Poppy”, therefore the colour inspiration for one of my current stitching projects!  Stitching with the colour “Wild Poppies” by Threadworx – what a coincidence!

CdesT stage 4 03

like riding a bike

I have discovered, that crafting is like riding a bike!  Once you learn, even if you don’t do it for years, you never forget.  The brain seems to remember what it needs to do.

As a child, I learned the basics of knitting.  My Mum and gran were both expert & prolific knitters, so at some point, it seemed logical they would try and pass on their knowledge.  I just wish now, that I’d been a more willing pupil because all I picked up were the basics: how to cast on, knit, purl, and how to cast off.  I never learned how to follow a pattern, and all I’ve ever knitted in the past has been scarves.

Saying that . . . after having taught myself to crochet, from scratch, these past few months, and gaining in confidence with my hook, I’ve been wanting to pick up some knitting.  Husband is partly at fault here.  Seeing me crochet on my little amigurumi projects, and churn out a few beanies, he unwittingly told me that: “If you make me a sweater, I’ll wear it with pride!”.  Hmmm !!!! 

I wasn’t thinking about knitting at this point.  My brain was locked into crochet mode, so I started browsing the net for free crochet patterns for men’s sweaters.  I only found one.  The rest were knitting patterns.  And the more I looked, the more lovely free knitting patterns I found.

What to do?  Pick up the knitting needles and see if the brain remembers how to knit & purl, I say! 

Husband is going to have to wait a while for his sweater, I’m afraid, because I don’t have enough of any yarn in my stash to make a men’s sweater.  I didn’t even have any long needles to make any kind of sweater, since mine were all 25cm needles (which are fine for scarves, but not much else).  A trip to the shops remedied that.  Several sizes of 40cm needles have been added to my stash.  And I’ve begun work on my first ever sweater . . . for me.

IMGP2953

This is the beginning.  I’m following an easy pattern from Red Heart.   Using a cheap acrylic yarn (I did my gauge swatch).  The main colour is actually a lot more teal than it appears in the photo.  Pattern is easy.  Ribbing, then 16 rows of stocking stitch with 2 rows of knit thrown in for the contrasting stripe. 

Husband is looking on with interest.  If I manage to make something wearable, then I’ll be ordering in yarn for husband’s sweater.