Packing for Peaks 8 – WIP Wednesday

As September draws to an close it’s time for me to get packing my bags and to head off to Morzine in France for the Patchwork in the Peaks 8 quilting retreat. Organised by the lovely Elita, from Busy Needle Quilting, this biannual retreat has become a firm fixture in my diary and is great anticipated each time it comes around.

This time the fun and talented Francine from mochawildchild will be holding a workshop on making an improv birches quilt. I’m still on the fence as to what fabrics I want to bring with me for this project, and I really need to make up my mind as I head off tomorrow. Part of me is thinking of going modern as I have scraps from various lines by Zen Chic and Malka Dubrawsky that I think could work really well in this project.

Barcelona Malka DubrawskyThere is another part of me that is really itching to play around with my Liberty stash for this one as I think they would work stunningly in the birches design.

LibertyAnd finally there is the part of me that just wants to do something a little different, to give the idea a little twist and make it my own. I think I may have to just pack all of the scraps and fabrics and see what happens on the day.

Sea GreensIn addition to fabrics for the birches project I’ve also packed two works in progress. The first is my EPP Alison Glass quilt. This has been languishing on my worktable for several months as several EPP swap projects took precedence when it came to my sewing time, but now it’s finally time for me to get working on it again. As I plan on very limited swap participation over the coming months I’m hoping that I will now have a chance to make good progress on the construction of this quilt. I’m packing it for Peaks as I know I will be able to work on it on the train there and back and at various times over the weekend and that once I get back into working on it again it will be easy to just keep going with it.

Lotus twistThe second work in progress that I am packing is an English Paper Pieced Triceratops pillow that I am working on for my son. I have finished appliquéing the EPP Triceratops to it’s background and am now in the process of adding a few final stitched details before I quilt the top and finish off the pillow. There is a slight chance it will be finished before I travel tomorrow in which case I will still bring it along for our show and tell evening.

TriceratopsI’ll be sharing snippets from Peaks 8 over on Instagram, facebook and Twitter all weekend long so I hope you’ll follow along and see what we get up to, and I look forward to hopefully being able to share some finished makes with you next week when I return.

Today I’m linking up with Work in Progress Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew – September

It’s time for the September installment of Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew and with just three months to go it might just be time to get started on sewing for the end of year festive season if you haven’t already. If you’ve been joining in on the Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew fun during the year then I’m sure you are well on your way to being organised for the end of year festivities.

Ho Ho Ho button photo This month, as ever, there is a monthly link party for those who have been sewing away and this time round the party is being hosted by Karen over at Practically Pippy.

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 Plush Addict who are giving one lucky winner the chance to pick their favourite Skinny Dips bundle from their online store.

logoI’ve been doing a little sewing myself this month although I have to admit the project is not quite finished so I can only give you a sneak peek a tth eproject right now.

I decided to pull an orphan EPP block from my stash to make into a beautiful cushion cover that will grace someone’s sofa this Christmas. It may be a gift, it may be for me, but that’s going to remain secret till Christmas.

EPP cushion cove WIP | Mud, Pies and PinsHave you finished any festive sewing this month? If you have then I do hope you will pop over to Practically Pippy and share it in the link party. I look forward to seeing all your makes.

Pillow Swap Four Seasons – Autumn

Autumn is slowly making itself felt around here as the nights get cooler, the morning mists start to appear once more and the first of the leaves slowly start to fall. Those falling leaves and the colours of autumn were the inspiration for the pillow I made for the autumn round of the Flickr based Pillow Swap Four Seasons.

On hammockThe individual leaves were created using English Paper Piecing (EPP) and then each was appliquéd in place on the linen background I choose for the pillow. EPP really has become my favourite method for such designs. I love how versatile it is, how it adds a lovely depth to the design, how it allows me to use a whole cloth background, which I much prefer when working with such fabrics as linen, and how I am not constrained by block size or orientation when creating my design.

As I wanted the front of the cushion to be lightly padded I applied a layer of fusible fleece before appliquéing the leaves in place. This had the added bonus of giving the linen more stability and making it easier to accurately appliqué each leaf individually. Once hand stitched in place I then used free motion quilting to add stem and vein detailing to each.

QuiltedThe pillow was finished with a simple invisible zipper closure and is lined on both the front and back to add extra stability to the linen.

Cover and pouchAs an added extra I made a small pouch for my partner, also using linen and autumnal fabrics. It’s a simple button closed clutch type pouch. My original intention was to make the pouch with several pockets that would include a selection of sewing notions but then I came across the cutest travel sewing case and I couldn’t resist including that instead.

Filled pouch2 Sewing case insidesI made the planned pockets larger so that they would easily accommodate the case and tucked it inside the pouch with a couple of other goodies before sending it on its way to their new home where they were delightfully received.

As one pillow left my house another one entered. This is the stunning pillow that I received from my swap partner in the autumn round.

Pillow receivedShe couldn’t have chosen a more perfect colour scheme. The colours of this pillow are all that I love about autumn, the vibrant sunsets and the rich tones that seem to wash over the forests. There is so much warmth and vibrancy in this design and it is a real pleasure each time I sit down and enjoy it.

There were goodies in my parcel too, one of which was a lovely pouch featuring more of these beautiful autumn tones.

Pouch receivedNow if you know me you’ll know how much I love pouches and how quick I am to find a purpose for each and every one that enters my house. This one now houses my new EPP maple leaf collection and all I need to add to it. Pouch in use

Inspired by how well my cushion turned out I’m going to slowly add to a new collection of maple leaves as I would definitely love to incorporate them into more projects in the future.

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!