Drop Spindle Fun

Last winter I discovered art yarns and homespuns and found myself getting back to knitting again. The more I worked with those hand-spun chunky yarns the more I got to thinking about giving spinning a try myself and as a result I found myself browsing etsy a few weeks back, looking for some wool roving to spin. I originally intended to buy some plain colouredroving, something I could practice and learn with. Then I spied these beautiful hand-dyed spinning fibres in Elfenwolle’s etsy store and I knew that they were what I wanted to work with.2015-09-01 09.47.00I ordered the rovings, one is a merino, merino superwash, baby alpaca mix and the other a Polwarth wool with milkfiber and linen mix, and while waiting on them to arrive I spent some time researching the art of drop spindle spinning. I picked up some supplies at the craft store and got my husband to build me a simple drop spindle and once the rovings arrived I was ready to start.

I started with the merino/alpaca roving and while it took me a little while to get started I found that once I did I quickly got into a nice rhythm and was soon winding spun yarn round and round the spindle. Home spun and hand knit | Mud, Pies and Pins I only spun about a quarter of the roving and then I decided it was best to stop and test out my yarn. I set the twist in the yarn by soaking it in hot water and then, because I knew I had over-spun the yarn in places, I weighted my skein while it hung to dry. As soon as the yarn was dry and wound into a nice little ball I got the needles out and got to knitting. I decided I would make a hat using my home-spun yarn for the bottom band.

Home spun and hand knit | Mud, Pies and PinsI quickly knit up all of the wool I had spun on large 10mm needles, then increased the number of stitches, decreased needle size and switched to a blend of Schulana’s Kid-Seta and Kid-Paillettes, one of my favourite combinations from last year’s hat knitting.

Home spun and hand knit | Mud, Pies and PinsIt didn’t take me long to finish up this simple hat and I am more than delighted with the result. My homespun wool has knit up beautifully, is so wonderfully soft and makes for a lovely feature band on the hat. 2015-09-01 09.43.20 HDR

I will definitely be spinning up plenty more yarn now that I feel I have started to get to grips with the basics. Being completely self taught I’m sure that my technique is far from perfect but I’ll continue to muddle on, to research and read and to figure out how to get the best results I can. If I can keep improving on what I consider to be a really excellent start then I’ll be one very happy knitter!

Blink – WIP Wednesday

Blink, and a week has passed. How did it happen? I wish I knew! All over blogland I’m reading how back to school time means it’s back to sewing time. Well that couldn’t be further from the truth here. I’ve been caught up in the whirlwind of our new routine and it feels like my feet are barely touching the ground at times. Instead of the two minute walk to the Kindergarten bus that I had last year I now have a round trip to the school that takes me close to an hour. Twice a day. At the moment I have to walk my little man to the bus stop, then accompany him on the bus to school before turning around and walking home (which is actually as fast as taking the bus when you can set a good brisk pace and don’t have a seven year old dawdling along beside you). I’m hoping that in a few weeks all I will have to do is accompany my school goer to the bus stop and that he will do the rest on his own. Until then I guess I will have to accept that I have very little time of my own left and that sewing time is going to be at a premium, and probably confined to whatever free time I can find at the weekends.

I already have a couple of projects earmarked for finishing this weekend. First up is the pillow I am creating for the autumn round of the Pillow Swap Four Seasons as that is due to be posted by the start of next week.

EPP mapleleaves | Mud, Pies and PinsAll the EPP work is done, and I have finished the basic cushion cover is in place. All that I really have left to do is to appliqué the leaves in place and add some decorative stitching to the leaves.

The second project I want to progress, or better still finish, is my long overdue #selfishswap project. This one should have been finished by the end of June but is still very much a work in progress.

EPP panel | Mud, Pies and PinsThe EPP work is very nearly finished and once done it will be time to remove the papers and convert this odd shaped pieced fabric into a solid shell sunglasses case.

I mislaid my own sunglasses case a couple of months back and it has been sorely missed. The day before we went on holidays I threw together a quick soft case for my glasses (and a matching camera cover) to give them some protection. Glases and camera cases | Mud, Pies and Pins

While the new case has worked admirably I am still concerned that it may be only a matter of time before my glasses get squashed and damaged in my bag and so I am eager to get a harder case made for them.

If after all of that I still have a little free time left over then I plan on sitting down with my seven year old and planning a quick new quilt for him. He spotted a solar system fabric panel in the fabric shop today and I agreed to buy it for him as he is in need of a new quilt.

Solarsystem fabric panel | Mud, Pies and Pins I am determined to get working on this one as soon as possible as I really don’t want it to disappear into my stash to linger indefinitely and with the quilt already promisied I can imagine that there will be plenty of reminders if I don’t get working on it pronto!

Linking this WIP post to Freshly Pieced’s Work In Progress link-up.


Let’s Dive Back in with a Summer Pillow

The holidays are over, my eldest son son starts school today and it’s time for me to dive right back in here. We’ve had six weeks of holidays between the end of Kindergarten and the start of school and they have been fun filled from start to finish. We started off with heatwave after heatwave, our days were spent outdoors and in water as much as possible in an effort to keep cool. We followed that up with several weeks back home in Ireland, most of which were spent camping in west Cork. There was everything from sunshine and calm to stormy days with gale force winds and rain. We finished up with a few days back home in Switzerland with yet more heat as we slowly started to get back to a routine and I slowly got back to having a little computer time to finally sort through a myriad of photos and memories. And now that I am getting back to my computer I can finally start to share all my summer sewing with you.

To kick things off I’d like to share the pillow I made for the summer round of the Flickr based Pillow Swap Four Seasons.

Summer Pillow  Swap Makes | Mud, Pies and PinsI went with an undersea theme for my summer pillow cover as my partner Astrid, who can be found over on Die Fischerin (The Fisher), had declared a love of blues and greens with a little orange as well as the ocean, fish and nauticals.

Summer Pillow  Swap Makes | Mud, Pies and PinsAs I had had so much fun mixing tangrams and EPP in my Springtime quilt I decided that I would use that combination again to form the fish on the cushion cover and I love the colour it brings to the finished design.Summer Pillow  Swap Makes | Mud, Pies and PinsAs an added extra I made a summer tote to accompany the pillow. I went with the same design idea, and added some quilted vegetation in a variety of green threads.

Summer Pillow  Swap Makes | Mud, Pies and PinsI carried this quilting desing, along with a single quiltted tangram fish, through to the back of the bag which I had otherwise left plain.

Summer Pillow  Swap Makes | Mud, Pies and PinsI had some fun goldfish fabric in my stash that made for the perfect bag lining and I picked up the orange in both the fish and the lining in the webbing straps.

Summer Pillow  Swap Makes | Mud, Pies and PinsI was more than thrilled with how this swap make turned out and with how well it was received and it is a design that I most defintiely plan to go back to again in the future as I would love to sew a quilt version for myself at some point.

Summer Pillow  Swap Makes | Mud, Pies and PinsNow that I’ve shared my swap make with you all let me show you the magnificent cushion that I received in the swap from Maxine aka BlueFigQuilts.

Summer Pillow  Swap | Mud, Pies and PinsI fell in love with this beauty the minute I unwrapped it and it has been much used, loved and admired all summer long. The colours are very much me, especially the addition of the purple to the aqua/orange mix, and I love how the colours and design give a sense of both cool and warmth at the same time. It may be very much summer but this pillow is defintiely going to be enjoyed all year round.

I have to say that Maxine totally spoilt me in this swap. Not only did she sent me a magnificent pillow, she also sent me a whole package filled with goodies.

Summer Pillow  Swap | Mud, Pies and PinsThere was fabric, snacks, notions and so many other goodies including a beautiful pouch that has been much used over the summer months. Here it in on holidays in Ireland along with a little EPP project that I had brought with me to work on.

Summer Pillow  Swap | Mud, Pies and Pins

I have to say that I thorughly enjoyed taking part in the summer round of the pillow swap and didn’t hesitate to sign up for the autumn round earlier in the summer. The deadline for that project is drawing near and I’ve been working away on my next pillow, and several other projects over the summer holidays. I look forward to sharing all those makes with you in the weeks ahead.

Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew – July

It’s July and for many that means Christmas in July and time to get started on sewing for the end of year festive season. For those of us taking part in Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew, however, it means that we are seven months into our festive sewing and well on our way to being organised for the end of year festivities.

Ho Ho Ho button photo As always there is a monthly link party for those who have been sewing away and this month the party is being co-hosted by Martha over at Weekend Doings and Chelsea at Patch the Giraffe. Both ladies have great ideas to share: Martha has shared her pattern for an envelope bag, perfect for storing stationary, ipads or other tablet devices; while Chelsea has a tutorial for the cutest Christmas pillows.

The link party will be open till the end of the month as usual and don’t forget that if you join in the fun and link up your makes you will be in with a chance to win this month’s link up giveaway which is being sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop who are giving one lucky winner the chance to pick their favourite from the Fat Quarter Shop’s range of mini charm packs. Fat Quarter ShopI wish that I could say that I was as organised as Martha and Chelsea this month but I have to be honest and say that I have barely picked up a needle. We’ve been enjoying/surviving what I can truly say is the most amazing of summers and all thoughts of sewing have just been abandoned for now. I’m sure that once things cool down again I’ll get back to it with renewed vigour. In the meantime I look forward to seeing what you all have sewn and if you haven’t done any festive sewing yet then don’t fret as there is still plenty of time left to get sewing and to link up your makes.



Following on from last week’s EPP pouch swap post I thought I would tell you all about the #IGNeedleBookSwap that I recently took part in. I do so love needle books, and I definitely have nowhere near enough of them. Ideally I think I need a couple for my sewing room to store collections of needles and then after that I need a whole selection of smaller needle books to keep in individual project pouches. As I sew, quilt, embroider, knit, crochet and cross stitch depending on my mood I own quite a selection of needles and needless to say I don’t have anywhere near enough needlebooks to keep them properly sorted. I really don’t know why I don’t make more of them myself as they are a relatively quick and easy make, but I think that, as is the case with so many other projects, I put off sewing for myself if there is a chance to sew for others. As a result when I saw that @SameliasMum was hosting a needle book swap over on Instagram I was quick to sign up.

#IGNeedleBookSwap | Mud, Pies and PinsAs with so many of the swaps that I join this was a secret swap, meaning that I was not making for the same person that was making for me. My swap partner indicated that she did not like animal print or gold or silver but liked most other things so I pretty much had free reign when it came to choosing fabrics and designs. I still had some pieces of Kate Spain’s Horizon fabrics and some assorted orange scraps sitting around from the summer pillow I had made for the Four Season’s Pillow Swap (more about that soon), so I couldn’t resist using those. For the cover of the needle book I went with a simple 3×4 arrangement of 1″ squares that I quilted using a decorative stitch. For the rest of the cover I used some grunge fabrics, left over from the EPP pouch.

#IGNeedleBookSwap | Mud, Pies and PinsI choose some pale green felt for the pages and decorated them with assorted ribbons and trims.

#IGNeedleBookSwap | Mud, Pies and Pins#IGNeedleBookSwap | Mud, Pies and PinsI included pockets on the inside of the front and back covers, perfect for holding notions, needle threaders, or even a little pair of foldable scissors that, complete with a bottonholed fob, would also attach to a button on the back inside cover of the needlebook to ensure they wouldn’t fall out in transit.

#IGNeedleBookSwap | Mud, Pies and PinsAs an added extra I decided I would make a small pouch to match/hold the needle book, along with a small strawberry style pincushion.

IGNBS9I packed them all together along with a spool of Aurifil 50wt #4553 and as my parcel was travelling all the way to Mexico I included a little bit of Switzerland in the form of a fabric handkerchief decorated with edelweiss.

#IGNeedleBookSwap | Mud, Pies and Pins #IGNeedleBookSwap | Mud, Pies and Pins #IGNeedleBookSwap | Mud, Pies and PinsI was delighted to hear that my parcel was received with much delight by my partner and I’m sure she will enjoy using it’s contents for a long time to come.

From my partner I received a beautiful felt needle book that was completely hand stitched. As it is a larger book I have decided that it is perfect for some stay at home storage and although it came with some hand stitching needles this book has actually now been now dedicated to my knitting/wool needles which were badly in need of a home. There is a very clever little scissors holder included, so I have popped in the small pair of scissors that I usually keep for snipping wool threads when I am finishing off knitted items.

#IGNeedleBookSwap | Mud, Pies and PinsIncluded with the needle book were a selection of other sewing goodies that have also become very useful additions to my knitting bag. It now has it’s own pincushion and tape measure, so no more stealing from my sewing table, and there is a nice selection of buttons that are just waiting to embellish a new make. Even the little notebook was added to the bag. No more scraps of paper with scribbled notes on new designs for me!


I hope you have enjoyed hearing all about the fun I had with the #IGNeedleBookSwap. There are still more swap stories to tell so I hope to see you back here soon for the next instalment.