Friday, 3 May 2019

April WIPocalypse Late Check In

Uh oh. I've not been doing very well keeping up with my check-ins and so on. Hopefully that shall now improve. My excuse is, of course, work. However, it's because I have been changing jobs. I now work 'behind the scenes', and instead of teaching I am working with an exam board. 2 weeks in, it is very very different to what I am used to but I am enjoying it.

Here you can have a shameless selfie of me on my first day!

But now, to the case in hand.

The WIPocalypse is hosted by Measi's Musings and the aim is to share (and ideally complete) projects we wish to finish before the End of the World.

Talk to us about your longest-running WIP or UFO
Unusually for me, my longest WIP is not a cross-stitch. It is my lovely crochet doll. I started it at least 4 years ago, and it is still going strong. I did make the doll and then stop for a few years. There has been a lot more progress in the past 6 months than in 4 years.

I am generally following patterns in the book My Crochet Doll by Isabelle Kessedjian. However, my friend requested that the doll not be a white doll (just so her children have a little more variety). So I made up a pattern to make a sari. I used a some of a top pattern and some of a dress pattern from the book, and then fudged the sash! Really love the wool for it though.

My problem is that I keep just having ideas of more and more outfits to make. And I get my tensions a bit funny, so I can't just give the doll and make more outfits. I started the doll when my friend's daughter was 3 and a bit. She is now 7 and has a little brother who is about 3 and a half - on the brightside, both of them will now get a lot of enjoyment out of the doll - if I finish it.

I am actually aiming to finish it as part of WIPocalypse - but we shall see...

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Easter Adventures Part 1

We've had quite a busy Easter break so far (and after the sheer volume of meals out, we never want to eat again!)

The first few days we were based in Cambridge. I had a bit of a sort out of all my bags of material. They usually live in the corner as my drawers are full, so I went through the drawers and was able to put loads away. I forgot to take a before picture, but there were about 4 more bags in this corner! This remaining bag contains wool for an ongoing project, so I thought it was okay to leave it out.

Our friends Becky and Martin and their lovely dog Brienne came for a visit too. It was a very chilled few days, with a walk to our favourite cafe and lots of games both in the garden and inside the house. We all just needed a relaxing few days, and that is what we had.

I also managed to squeeze in a bit of crochet (and trying to get a picture of the sparkly material). Hopefully another outfit for the crochet doll will be complete soon!

Just before the Easter holidays, we also squeezed in a spot of gardening. We had a patch of the garden with a dead tree and lots of other dead plants in. Darren spent an afternoon digging out as much of the roots as possible - the picture is of him looking quite pleased with his day of work! We then went to our local garden centre to get some lovely new plants to put in the garden. Fingers crossed they grow well. We picked a variety of plants that would be bee and butterfly friendly so I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with them in the summer and so on.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Shirt Dress Finish

Yes, you have read the title of this post correctly - I have finally finished my shirt dress! I spent yesterday evening adding buttonholes and buttons. I am definitely a huge fan of the button hole foot and short cut on my sewing machine.

I had a very slight incident with a brand new seam ripper jumping the pins at the end of a buttonhole, but I fixed it. This just sums up this whole sewing experience - a great learning curve but lots of odd things went wrong.

Having said that, I can't wait to make another one!

Monday, 18 March 2019

Sewing with my Sister

This weekend I headed over to my big sister's for - you guessed it - a sewing weekend!

After a morning mooch around town on the Saturday, we settled down to some serious sewing. Vicki was working on a sparkle punch quilt top, which she has been chipping away at for a while. I continued with my shirt dress - a project I have been chipping away at for a much shorter time.

I finished off the collar and then spent some time attaching the sleeves. I had to use a set of stitches which meant I could pull them and shorten the size of the shoulder. However, this meant there was some folds in the material. Once I realised this couldn't be avoided (it was on the pictures in the pattern), the sleeves went in more more easily.

Then, my favourite part. Sewing up the sleeves and the sides of the shirt dress. It's such a satisfying and simple step!

We then paused on Saturday evening to watch some movies whilst I cross-stitched and Vicki crocheted.

On Sunday, we resumed our stitching! I made button tabs for the sleeves, finished sleeves and added buttons to these. I then hemmed the shirt dress.

All that is left now are the buttons! And what cute buttons they are...

I was so pleased, I took some shots of the shirt dress next to the toile I made - such a difference!

Vicki also managed to finish her quilt top. A successful weekend all around.

Monday, 11 March 2019

A Lot of Learning

As you may have seen in my previous post, I have started working on a shirt dress. I am following a pattern by Tilly and the Buttons - the Rosa shirt dress. This must be the slowest progressing shirt dress ever!

It hasn't been without issues; attaching the yoke took time and several attempts (husband actually had to turn lights off around me at my request to make me stop and go to bed). I made too large a snip towards the pivot which ripped a bit. This fabric is much lighter than the fabric I used for my toile. There is a very small fold at the yoke point, which mostly looks deliberate. Annoyingly, I have beautifully neat top-stitching below it, which is slightly marred by the fold. Ah well! (Top-stitching not pictured here):

My next fiasco - after adding interfacing to my button stand, I realised that the pattern had ripped and my button stand was too short. So more time was lost re-cutting and re-interfacing. My lovely friend who lives around the corner then popped round to help me understand a pattern step to put the button stand together properly.

Understandably, approaching the collar has been a little stressful. After the issues above (and a couple of others), attempting a collar has felt utterly terrifying. I have taken it very slowly, and as of this evening it is now attached! So I have walked away before I do seam trimming and neatening - just in case!

This shirt dress may actually get finished this year!...

...I have now proceeded to touch wood, cross fingers and do several anti-jinx dances, just in case!

Sunday, 24 February 2019

February WIPocalypse check in

I've now set a phone alarm to try and make sure my check-ins are a little more timely than my first one! I can' believe we're already at the end of February - it has flown by. So now it is time for my second WIPocalypse check in.

The WIPocalypse is hosted by Measi's Musings and the aim is to share (and ideally complete) projects we wish to finish before the End of the World.

This month's question is What do you listen to while stitching?
This tends to fluxuate but I either have TV shows or films on in the background; these tend to be things like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Grey's Anatomy etc. Otherwise I have audiobooks playing. Generally these are books I know well, such as Harry Potter or the Belgariad.
It totally depends on my mood, but it will always be something I know well, as otherwise I will sit and watch/listen too intently and not do any stitching!

This month, I have had my cross-stitching bug renewed, so have spent a lot of time working on my Disney cross-stitch. I also hit a year of working on it already!

I also started to cut out and sew a shirt dress. I made a toile a little while ago, so now it's time to brave making the actual thing. It's the most fitted piece of clothing I will have made and it's a little terrifying! 

I started it during my sewing day I have in the holidays with Hannah, who lives around the corner from me. I aim to finish it in the next week or so, so watch this space! I did spend a lot of time crawling around cutting out, so didn't actually sew too much. I then got annoyed by doing some zig-zagging and the material bunching up. I think I've fixed that problem - hopefully!

Friday, 22 February 2019

IHSW February

I actually managed to take part this month - and had even planned to do so!
For those that don't know, International Hermit and Stitch Weekend happens the third weekend of every month, both in blog and Facebook world. It is a chance to sit and stitch, from Friday to Sunday if possible.

The lovely Jo hosts a link-up here.

This weekend I was really in the mood to work on my Disney cross-stitch. Over the course of the weekend, I hit my one year point; one year since starting this piece! Hopefully it will take less than 4 years; my current record for a Disney cross-stitch this size.

I usually stitch from the centre out, picking the colours that are most common in certain areas. I'm finding that this piece has lots of bitty colours, so have changed my technique. I am now working through each colour in the order they appear on the thread cards. 6 colours in and I am getting a little impatient, as I seem to have found a lot of colours that don't have a lot of threads or stitches.

But progress is being made. Can you spot the three characters forming on this page?

Darren also found a great light that is now in my corner of the room - perfect for sewing and reading. I'm looking forward to trying it out this evening! It does have a remote control which he currently has in his possession however, and he's having a lot of fun trying it out!

April WIPocalypse Late Check In

Uh oh. I've not been doing very well keeping up with my check-ins and so on. Hopefully that shall now improve. My excuse is, of course, ...