It just occurred to me, right now, that I never showed you the finished mini-quilt I made for the Hand-Pieced Mini Swap. That was, like, a millionty years ago, but I still really wanted to show you how it turned out!
I’m so, so, so happy with this mini – it’s the first time I really played with layout and EPP, seeing what shapes matched well with others. What I ended up with wasn’t the most adventurous EPP design or anything, but it suited my partner (it was the first one she responded excitedly to when I was sharing doodles on Instagram), and I got to play with fabric placement to really pull out repeating shapes. Getting going was a struggle, but I loved this project once I got down to sewing.
It really inspired me to play with EPP a little more, and I bought a big stack of shapes at the Festival of Quilts this summer. Now all I need is the time to sit down with them and plan myself a new project!
As I said, it’s been a pretty busy and hectic few months, during which a bizarre urge to play with yarn took hold of me. You might recall, dimly, that this used to be a primarily yarn-based blog, way back when, and you might even know that I still have knitting patterns for sale. I wasn’t especially good at coming up with designs though, and it’s a crazy-flooded market – and I just gradually lost all yarn-related mojo.
I haven’t really knit for, I dunno, a couple of years, maybe? I wasn’t even sure if I could remember what to do with this weird fuzzy, fat thread. Do you wrap it around those pointed sticks in some way??!
I have no idea where the urge to knit came from, except that I do always crave a good wooly project in times of stress. When my Dad was in the hospital for a few weeks, years ago now, I knit about five cowls. It’s something my hands know how to do without any coaching or guidance.
And, of course, what else would you do when you can’t keep up with your to-do list or your heaving stack of half-finished projects? The only sensible solution is to cast on for a new cardigan (pictured) and a pair of socks and return to a long-lost laceweight crochet shawl and revive an abandoned pair of mitts and buy some new yarn for a project unknown. Yup, that’s just about the only thing you can do.
I don’t have too much luck with knitting sweaters – I mean, they come out nice and they fit and all, but they rarely end up being something I really, really want to wear – but I’m desperately hoping this Calligraphy cardigan (pattern by Hannah Fettig) will be the perfect everyday throw-it-on sweater that I really need. Fingers (or maybe knitting needles) crossed for me, please!
There’s totally still time to join the &StitchesVillains Stitchalong! Just grab some fabric and stitch your favorite creepy, evil, spooky bad guy – there’s even prizes to be won!
I’m stitching up He-Man’s Skeletor, ’cause … well. Duh. He’s awesome. I’m not sure how this will work out exactly, I need to try out the next step before I make any promises, but I’m attempting to use Liberty fabrics to make up his amazing Skeletor-y colors. This will either be a spectacular triumph or a miserable failure – I’ll keep you posted.
One of the main things I worked on during my accidentally-not-short blogging hiatus was this quilt: the Colorblock Quilt by Nancy Purvis, aka Owen’s Olivia.
I have long been a fan of Nancy’s unique, minimalist style – since I ran into her blog (not even a fully-dedicated quilting blog back then) during a Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day a couple of years back. Something about her design sense spoke to me.
So of course, when I heard that she’d written a book of quilt designs, eeeeep!, I was very, VERY excited. And when I saw that she was allowing a group of people to make designs from said forthcoming book, I literally ran to my laptop to sign up.
(I am not using ‘literally’ in that way that so many people use it, where it’s not actually, you know, literal. I mean I seriously hauled ass to my keyboard to email Nancy and beg her to let me join.)
I have no idea why Nancy let me play with such a beautiful pattern, I can only assume she’s just really, really nice and could smell my desperation. The second I saw the preview for the Colorblock Quilt design, I needed to make it. It’s just so perfectly right up my street – a simple, classic, traditional design with a touch of something unexpected and special. Swooooon.
So here’s my version of this delicious pattern. I originally tried to make it more dramatic with one side completely done in a nearly-pure-black fabric – this is when I learned that a half a quilt completely done in nearly-pure-black fabric creates a black hole, a vortex of darkness that sucks in all light and hope in the world. So I carefully unpicked one half from the other and went back to that gorgeous cobalt Liberty Capel print and the world made sense again.
This design is pure magic and you knows I’ll be all over Nancy’s book when it’s released over here in the UK next month. The book is called Quilting From Every Angle (updates and errata here): it’s gorgeous and you know you want to have it.
See more of Nancy’s work and more versions of the Colorblock Quilt and other designs from Quilting From Every Angle on her blog.
(Thanks to Christa for holding up my quilt in the middle of Trafalgar Square, even while I fielded questions from an slightly odd dude asking if he could have the ‘rug’ that I’d made. Sigh.)
Oh dear! How did my ‘little hiatus’ turn into a two-month absence?? I honestly couldn’t say, except that I started a new job, and approximately thirty-thousand little projects, and the house was flooded (just a bit, but exactly enough to do enough damage to be a giant pain), and somehow what was planned as a three-week break to refresh the brain became an accidental disappearance.
But don’t worry, I’m back! ‘Cause I know you were worried. I know you’d be doing something ordinary, like tucking in your kids for the night, and then all of a sudden you’d be like, dude, where’s Julie been??? I know.
At first my little break was nice – I did a lot of just-for-fun-sewing, a bit of loafing, some lacemaking and knitting (which I haven’t done for ages and ages) – and it was absolutely delicious. But I did miss you crazy kids after a while, which is exactly when life got a bit zany. The last few weeks have been truly ridiculous, but I’m determined to get back to business. Over the next week or two, I’ll show you what I’ve been up to lately!