Wednesday 31 October 2012

Slow Blogger on Halloween

Happy Halloween! 

Looking for the Slow Blogger's Linky Party?  It's being hosted today by Martha over at her beautiful blog Weekend Doings   Please do link up there, and support other Slow Bloggers by visiting.

Knotted Cotton

Here at Knotted Cotton it has indeed been a slow month for making with plenty of work (should be grateful!) and the October school break right in the middle.    It's easy to feel slightly despairing at the lack of productivity, but sod it, on the other hand my love of English Paper piecing has been reawakened by this

and it really has been a great month for getting out and about.  Just when we needed it most we had some glorious weather for a couple of days so I can't complain!

As usual, I will look forward to next month and hope for the best!    What about you?

Now I'm off to ready myself for an influx later on of small children tastefully dressed as vampires and the walking dead in school uniform (zombies seem to be de rigeur this year) - luckily they are still at the stage where crisps, lots of black icing, and sausages dressed as fingers will make them happy.


Tuesday 30 October 2012

Sea and Sand aka Hot Chocolate and Marshmallows


I wasn't going to link up to the Bloggers Quilt Festival because I'd been worrying that the last few months have been a bit slow on the productivity front and completely forgot that I had in fact actually made this quilt recently until a prod from Camilla reminded me ( her quilt is beautiful).  So I'm getting it in just under the wire (excuse the second post of the day.)   

I don't know why I forgot about it, because it's the first quilt I made for myself and I love it.

I wanted a quilt to throw over the sofa, to snuggle up in (and keep the toast crumbs off).  It started as a stack of coins quilt, but the separate stacks became one panel - a scrappy mix predominantly of blues, browns and greens, with a tiny bit of pink thrown in - with a linen border all round.

It is organic straight line quilted - more densely down the linen sides in tan thread, and then in grouped bands of beautiful variegated blue/green sulky 12 down the central panel to leave some space where the fabrics could speak for themselves.  My previous two quilts had been made without a walking foot and this was the first quilt I made using one - it was wonderful not having to heave and push the quilt through the sewing machine!

A binding didn't seem right so I ripped strips of the backing fabric (cotton sheeting), sewed them to the front, and then just pulled them right round to the back making a "non-binding binding" like this.  I caught down the edges at the back by machine sewing down the front edge.

In my head the quilt was called Sea and Sand, as that was its inspiration, but Moira said it reminded her of Hot Chocolate and Marshmallows which suits its snuggly nature.  

Finished quilt measures: 70 x 50 inches
Binding: "No binding" binding
Quilted on my domestic sewing machine
Entered in: Throw Quilt, Home Machine Quilted Quilt

Thank you very much for visiting:-)

I love Autumn!

In preparation for tomorrow's sugarfest the kids and I have just made toffee apples for the first time.  We used this recipe,  and though I don't have a sugar thermometer we found that the crackle test worked fine for us (especially since it involved eating all the test drops.)

Slow Bloggers, please don't forget you can join the Slow Bloggers Linky Party tomorrow.  It's being guest-hosted this month by Martha at  Weekend Doings, one of my favourite blogs for her beautiful photography.  If you've been unusually productive, or have another story to tell, do link up.

Knotted Cotton

Another Slow Blogger is hosting on Plum and June's Let's Get Acquainted blog hop today - please visit Shena from Apple Pie Patchwork who has a great tutorial for a lovely block.

Also up today is Janice from better off thread, with a tutorial showing how to make some fantastic Christmas bunting.

Plum and June

Monday 29 October 2012

Ship's Wheel

Finally, finally, I have finished my paper-pieced block for the Travellin' Pic Stitch Blog Hop.   It took a while to decide on the design (if you like, you can read a bit of the saga of indecision here) but eventually after trying out a few pics and pallettes I finally settled on a photo I took of the Royal Yacht Britannia:

 picked a pallette:

and drew up a block:

which was somewhat overambitious!  I modified the design a bit and made the middle section an octagon to make it easier to paper piece.   Here's the finished block:

It could be tesselated by adding triangles like this:

I wanted to play a bit with the nautical theme, and make it slightly ambiguous, which is reflected in the (maybe odd) choice of fabric.  It could be a compass or a flower.  I really enjoyed the challenge of selecting a pallette and block inspired by the photo - it took me right out of my comfort zone since my previous experience of EPP was limited to hexies and these are not my usual colours at all.

I've appliqued it onto a piece of linen, quilted it in the ditch and in the centre by machine, and then hand quilted round the edge using stranded embroidery thread.

Things I learned from this:  use a new sharp needle - I know it's not rocket science, but it really does make it much easier to sew, especially if like me you baste your fabric to the paper.  It also makes it a lot easier to slip through the fabric without catching the paper when you come to piecing it together.

I also realised that if you are hand-drawing your design rather than using a drawing tool, you may get some inaccuracies in measurement  - I did, it's a little wonky - but you can make sure that it still fits together properly by numbering the paper pieces and sewing them together in order.

Now it's just waiting to be turned into a table mat, or cushion.

Friday 26 October 2012

Random, and rambling

When I was little we used to have a book of wonderful geometric patterns which you could colour in.   What was particularly fun and fascinating about them was that so many variations were possible that no two people were likely to produce the same result.

They were called Altair Design Pads and were the product of Ensor Holiday and Roger Borrows, who shared an interest in ancient geometrical systems and the geometry underlying designs from the Middle East or Moorish Spain.  One design had particularly excited them and they began work on a series of variations which eventually led to the publication of the Design pads.

I started thinking about them when I got interested in patchwork again.  For a while they were out of print, but when I looked for them again recently I found that they are available on Amazon.   (No 1 is currently OS, with a reprint due in June, but 2 is in stock).

You can read more about the history of them here and marvellously you can now also play online with colouring them in: it's such fun!

If, like me, you're fascinated by repeating patterns you will love them, plus they are a great source of quilty inspiration - I can guarantee you will want to get those old felt tip pens out!

There are four of each design - handy if you're having to share!

The last couple of weeks have been taken up with school holidays (and tidying up after the school holidays....).  We saw this owl while we were away - I imagine the building he was on must have been a school - and I'm stashing him away at the back of my mind as inspiration for embroidery or etching.  He is the same age as our house.

I also admired this bird, admiring the view:

Love the texture of the shimmer on the water, and those amazing railings which reflect the water and the shape, though you can't see it, of the bridge beyond.

Some creativity to show soon, I hope...

Random thought of the day: have you backed up your blog lately? Carina had a post at the beginning of the month which reminded me I probably don't do it enough. She has a tutorial for backing up in Blogger here.

Linking up to Really Random Thursday.
Live A Colorful Life

Monday 22 October 2012

Really Random........Sunday?

For some reason I am posting this at 3 o'clock in the morning... If I was Al Pacino there would be jangly music in the background and I would be worrying about a murder and piling the furniture up against the light coming in the window (have you seen Insomnia?) but instead I am sitting on the sofa in the dark updating my blog so can't complain too much.

Sorry to say that no sewing has been going on in this household for a bit.  It is currently what used to be the tatty-picking holidays and the kids are off school.  I don't know if anyone goes tatty picking any more - my friend Debbie and I used to pack our cheese and onion sandwiches and head off at 6am to be selected or rejected (for being too spindly) by the local farmer.  It was the traditional way of making cash to buy cowboy boots, or whatever the latest thing was.

So, what has been going on in the Knotted household?  Well, a trip to a gallery, where even the view out of the window looked like a painting:

A walk in the woods:

This photo is nicked from my dad: I forgot my camera

And a visit to a wedding "Over the Bridge"  (Sprog 1 asked her father if he was going to wear his "quilt", thus confirming our status as a Scottish sewing family)  which involved a stay "South of the Bridge":

I love the way every view is dominated by it.

Love the two kinds of reflections in the railings

Sadly these days there is not nearly enough time for this:

Saturday 13 October 2012

Welcome! a new port of call on the Travellin' Pic Stitch Blog Hop, EPP-ing in fantastic locations all over the world, from 1st October to 30th November.

Laura and Katy are off on their travels and while they are away they have asked participants to take a photo in a fantastic place, create a palette using the colours in the photo, and make an English-paper-pieced block.

I'm Catherine, and I'd like to invite you to stop off in Scotland.  Edinburgh is a beautiful city, with beautiful surroundings, so there are plenty of views to draw inspiration from - like this:

Palette using Palette Builder at Playcrafts
or this landmark off my favourite beach just down the coast, which you might recognise from my blog header:

I love these colours and I was all set to go with a plan and some Liberty.  Then I went for a walk by the docks and got distracted.  There was a fantastic light and I think that the port, with its boats and mysterious industrial machinery, is just as beautiful in its own way.

Anyway, I thought that it would be an interesting challenge to use a picture from here, taking this one and turning the wheel into a Rose Star

And it was a disaster.  First I had to abandon one of my fabrics. I always check different colour combinations in natural and artificial light but it didn't occur to me that two apparently identical colours might look different. You can't really see it in this picture, but these reds don't match in artificial light.   I also love the yellow in the source photo, but didn't like the effect on the block.  This flustered me and after that I kept sewing bits on upside down. 

In the end, I just wasn't happy with it, so it was Binsville for that one, and I turned to this instead.

(This is the Royal Yacht Britannia, and if you ever want to see the rank system translated into naval accommodation, and to have a nosy at the Queen's bedroom with its surprisingly small bed, it is fascinating and well worth a visit.  I like the contrast between this, and the little harbour patrol tug in the background.)

I decided to do this one by eye - and to leave out the yellow.  I also narrowed down the various blue-greys.

I wanted to do a round block with a nod towards the nautical and industrial, so I've been drawing up trial blocks, but by yesterday I was panicking with bits of paper and fabric all over the floor, and today we're three hours further north and I have to sheepishly own up to not having finished.  I really hope that you at least enjoyed a glimpse of this part of the world - and that you'll come back and see if I've managed.

You can find all the details of the hop here.  Do have a look at what the other participants have been up to, including Fiona @ Celtic Thistle Stitches who was up yesterday, and Amanda @ AmandaMillar who is your host tomorrow.

And even if you're not an official participant you can join in and link your block up on 30 November to have a chance of winning some lovely prizes generously sponsored by Paperpieces.comFabricworm,  Pink Castle Fabrics,  Marmalade Fabrics, the Fat Quarter ShopWantItNeedItQuilt,  and Aurifil.


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