Artnextdoor's Blog

My place to be creative

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I was commissioned by my little son to knit him a hat over this weeks half term holiday.  It’s now Thursday evening and this is how far I have got!


Hat in progress

To be fair, we have been away for two days, I started on Sunday evening and I am a really slow knitter – in my mind it should be finished by now.  The pattern is very easy – cast on an uneven number of stitches in multiples of 4 plus 3.  For example 83. Every row is knit 2, purl 2 to the last 3 stitches knit purl 1.  This should produce a ribbed moss stitch.




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Kaffe Fassett workshop quilt

I thought you might like an update on the quilt I started during a workshop at the Festival of Quilts back in August.  I have started work on the sashing. Originally, I had intended to fuse the on-point squares to the striped fabric but decided to piece them instead, a slow process!  I have enough fabric to enlarge the starter quilt or even make two smaller ones.  I really don’t know which way I’ll take this yet.

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It Pays to Buy in the Summer!

I bought these yarns back in the summer when they were in a sale at less than half price.

yarn 1yarn 2


I have 20 balls of each colour but I am using one ball from each pack to experiment with to find the tension I want and the stitch pattern I will use.  I am not a very fast knitter by hand but put me in front of my knitting machine and well I can produce loads in a day.  Unfortunately that is the easy part, the work comes before and after production.  I HATE sewing things up and never unless I really have to sew buttons on to things, I try to convince somebody else to do it.

sample 1

Above is the first sample I have been working on.  As it is still a work in progress I haven’t blocked it yet so the edges are curling up.  I think I will need to use a larger needle to cast on with to help prevent this, or a type of picot edge perhaps.  As I say a slow work in progress but I do intend to actually finish this at some point whether it be a jumper, tunic, wrap or cardigan – I know some type of combination!  We’ll see.

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Look What I’ve Found!

Whilst I was having a clear out the other day in my room, I came across three quilt tops in various stages of completion.

Pink_Green Quilt top Oct 2011 1Pink_Green Quilt top Oct 2011

This pink and green one was made as an experiment, using some fat quarters I had, at least three years ago.  It is layered up ready for quilting but will need a good press before that happens.  Actually I really like it although it is a bit small, bigger than a cot quilt but smaller than a single bed quilt, I expect a little girl could make really good use of it though.  Hmmmmm I wonder who?


Green Quilt top Oct 2011 1Green Quilt top Oct 2011

I bought this fabric with my big son in mind.  He’s a horticulturalist so green features big time in his life but he would not entertain floras on his bed!  This fabric has a time theme about it.  There’s a way to go with this one as the top is not even finished yet (I have found all the ‘bits’ and the spare fabric), a Christmas present maybe, as he doesn’t know I am making it and even if he did he would never think it was for him.  How will I finish it off?  How big will I make it?  How many borders can I add?  Can I hide some flora fabric in there somewhere?  I’ll have to have a thinking session, perhaps I’ll pin it up for a while to just look at it and consider.


Blue Quilt top Oct 2011 2Blue Quilt top Oct 2011

Another one made from some fat quarters I had.  I am not sure why I put those applique circles on the border, they’ll be coming off before I go much further.  I did think about finishing this off for my big son but it has too many flora fabrics in for him to tolerate!  It still needs layering up, quilting and binding.  Another one to watch this space for.

Any thoughts on these unfinished tops will be much appreciated.

I am off now to enjoy the beautifully sunny autumn day we have here in Birmingham, it is cold though.


Do You Starch?

Another question I would like to ask – Do you use starch on your cotton quilt fabrics?  If so, at which stage?  Before cutting out or after?

I do use starch sometimes, it goes in phases for me, just like a fashion trend I suppose, I feel that trend is about to start again. 

It makes sewing together easier.  I suppose that makes sense as it stiffens the fabric, less drape the better it behaves.  It gives the sewing machine something sturdier to grip onto.  I have also found that construction marks show up better.  Having said that, there is then even more need to wash the project after construction but I do that as a matter of course anyway as I like the feel/texture of washed quilts.  Although I wouldn’t wash a hanging for example, in this instance I would use the fabric as fits with my design, for example to increase the ‘weight’ of a fabric to match others I would use Vilene or something similar – but that is a whole other ball game.

So to starch or not to starch? (In your quilt projects)

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The weather and the next project

Wasn’t the weather in the UK glorious last weekend?  This weekend I am freezing, my hands are so cold I am trying to warm them up on the keyboard with the residue heat being emitted.  The heating is NOT going on until at least early November!  Even if the weatherman in the house’s predictions come true.  He  has been saying for months now that we will be having snow at the end of October beginning of November.  It must be my age that is making me suffer the cold more these days, I used to be one of those freaks who throws open the windows on any day, rain or shine to get some fresh air, I can’t do that now – too cold.  When I was working in offices I could never understand why the other ladies would really complain if there was a slightest crack of a window open, sadly now that is me. 

Right, Ok, I have had the rest now.  My shoulders were back to normal after the quilting session but I knocked the left one yesterday making me shout out loud but this morning it feels fine at the moment.  So to work!

During my forced rest, I have been making small items some of which I have posted here, and I have been busy designing more quilts.  Having set my self the task of producing one small quilt for charity a month, I think it is the ideal opportunity to test make some of these designs before embarking on a larger scale of the designs.  It also gives me the chance to check my construction notes before publication, which sometimes I think is forgotten.  I have had friends come to me in the recent past, asking me to check a pattern they are trying to follow only to find that it is not their abilities that are at fault but someone has not proof read or checked the construction notes, making it very difficult for someone else to make the design up.  I really hope I don’t ever fall into that pot (but sometimes my proof reading is not good!).

You will have to forgive me as I don’t have any photos of these designs yet but I can let you see the fabrics I intend to use for the trial/charity quilt.