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March 2016

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There once was an ugly duckling…

March 9, 2016

I've raved about the benefits of wet blocking knits before, but I've never seen such a transformation from ugly duckling to swan as this one after two days on the blocking wires.

This is a very lovely and super simple lace knit shawl designed by Janina Kallio, called Interlude.  It was a total breeze to knit and very quick – if you've never tried a lace knit before, I'd highly recommend it as a first timer's project.  The yarn I chose to use was a polwarth wool by Eden Cottage Yarns called 'Oakworth' (colourway is 'Steel), which they describe as "smooth and crisp" – very accurate, in my experience of it.  As anyone who follows my knit and crochet exploits knows, I'm a serious lux yarn lover, never far from a bit of super soft merino, cashmere or silk, and I wasn't sure about choosing a yarn like this for a knit shawl, but it really is perfect for a design that relies so heavily on the post knit process for it's finished look.  Smooth and crisp indeed 🙂

This is how the shawl looked straight off the needles:

Not terribly pretty…  I was promised in the pattern though that it would transform on blocking and that I needed to block it hard!

This was truly a project of firsts for me – my first Janina Kallio pattern, my first time using an Eden Cottage yarn (and indeed, a Polwarth wool) and my first time using Twig & Horn's Lanolin wool wash, which him indoors got for my birthday from Loop.  They currently seem to be out of the Lemongrass scented one that I have, which smells divine.  It did soften up the wool and was a delight to use – really silky.  After threading my Eden Cottage Interlude onto the blocking wires and leaving it in situ for a couple of days, it really did turn out to be something of a swan:

I've bought a range of different yarns from Eden Cottage Yarns to try out this year, all quite different.  Looking forward to trying out the next one – quite possibly with another Janina Kallio pattern, as I have a few more of those too 🙂

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Quilt Love

March 2, 2016

I do love making quilts.  I love the designing, the fabric selection, the planning, the cutting (okay, don't like that bit quite so much!), the sewing back together, the basting, quilting, squaring, binding, labelling and finishing, but most of all, I love the whole idea of making a quilt – especially when it's intended to commemorate something special.

The top of my latest quilt finish (Window on the Forest MKII) was made some time ago and had been languishing in my unfinished quilt drawer.  Then, a few weeks ago, the owner of my original Window on the Forest quilt asked me to make a quilt to mark the birth of her grand niece and she said this one would be perfect!  I was very happy to be asked and had spent the most enjoyable week finishing the quilt:

The feature panel central squares with the foxes, deer and bears were fussy cut in the same way as the original quilt, but I couldn't centralise all the animals because I didn't have enough of the fabric left to be able to waste any of it!  While I used some different prints from the Sarah Watts' Timber and Leaf collection for the quilt top and binding, I backed it with the same pretty floral print as the original quilt:

The original quilt was utility stitched with perle cottons, but I hand quilted this new version with quilting cotton, which will be more suited to a baby and more regular washing:

I also added a hand embroidered quilt label to memoralise the commission, why it was made, who for and who by.  To record everything in such a small space, my lettering stitches needed to be a bit too teeny to get them as perfect as I'd like to have got them, but it was at least legible.

There's something very special about a quilt with a particular purpose that will probably stay with a person, and in a family for a long time – I feel so honoured to have been a part of that:

You can read about my original Window on the Forest quilt here and here and here and finally, here – gosh I do go on 😀