Projects for the New Year – WiP Wednesday

Last week I shared a quick recap of my main sewing projects of 2015. As it’s WiP Wednesday I thought today would be a good time to share a little of what 2016 has in store so far.

My first sewing project this year will be a spring pillow for the first round of the Flickr Pillow Swap Four Seasons group. This is one of the very few swaps that I still participate in. I discovered the group last year at the start of the summer round and am so very delighted I did as it is a really wonderful group that I am proud to be a member of. At the moment I’m working on a spring pillow which will showcase an EPP design featuring a few of Alison Glass’s Sun Prints.

EPP WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsIn addition to my EPP I’ve also got some cross stitch and some knitting on the go. Cross stitch is something I used to do a lot of in the past and something that I return to periodically. At the moment I’m working on two pieces. The first is a night time scene, and it often replaces EPP as my #sewingonthetrain on-the-go sewing because I find this piece easiest to stitch when I can avail of the great lighting a window seat on the train offers.

Cross stitch WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsThe second is a whimsical little picture that my sister had started but not finished. Being much lighter it’s much easier to stitch any time of the night or day so it’s at the ready to pick up and put down when I have a few minutes to spare.

Cross stitch WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsKnitting is something that I find myself working on a lot in the colder winter months and now that it feels properly wintery here the needles are out and I’m working on a new project. When we were up the mountains over the Christmas holidays I found myself drawn to a woollen blanket and pillow set in the window of the local craft store that I passed each day as I dropped the boys to ski school. By the end of our two weeks there I had given in and purchased the wool I needed to make said blanket. This weekend I had some time to get started while everyone was out skiing so I cast on the 255 stitched I needed and, after a little internet research to find the correct pattern, the English translation in the German pattern book was most definitely wrong , I got the first few rows knitted. This is going to be a holiday project, one that I plan on working on when we head to the mountains for weekends of wintery fun.

Knitting WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsI had some great plans to dive straight into some quilting in the New Year and at the end of last year I had purchased plenty of batting to allow me to finally finish off some UFOs that have been sitting around for far too long. Unfortunately, these are going to have to wait a little longer, but for a very exciting reason.

We’re moving house! We knew that a move was on the cards for some time in the next few years but didn’t expect it to be quite so imminent. At the end of last year we saw a house for sale that was just what we knew we’d be looking for when we had to leave this one (which is going to be demolished in a few years to make way for a motorway) so we sold this one, bought the new one and now we’re getting ready to move. My corner of the sitting room sewing space is all packed up and soon I will finally be able to move my sewing out of the family living space and into a dedicated sewing and crafting room. To say I’m excited about it all is an understatement!

Moving WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsI know that moving is going to keep me busy for the next couple of months so I’ve got the perfect post move break planned, one that will also allow me to tackle the UFO problem that I had intended to be dealing with right now. I’ve signed up for Peaks 9, the next Patchwork in the Peaks retreat in April. Instead of having a specific retreat project as usual, the idea for Peaks 9 is that we all bring WiPs (works in progress), UFOs (unfinished objects), PhDs (projects half done) and any other other bits and pieces that we all have lying around our sewing rooms just begging for our attention and we work on finishing them. The first things that I will be packing is my unfinished broken herringbone quilt top.

Broken Herringbone WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsThis top really is too small for what I now want to use it for but I think with the addition of some solid borders, it will transform nicely into a much larger quilt.

Broken herringbone WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsThe second project I want to work on at Peaks is the improv Carkai quilt top that I began work on late last year. I have about half of the blocks sewn to date and I’m planning on finishing the remainig blocks at Peaks and, if time allows, the quilt itself.

Carkai improv blocks WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsIf you too have a pile of UFOs sitting around and feel like a nice springtime break in the French Alps then why not come and join in the Peaks fun too. just think of how nice it would be to finally finish some of those pieces you’ve been meaning to get back to while at the same time enjoying a fun filled retreat with great company, amazing hospitality from our hosts at Chalet Les 4 Vents and stunning views like this.

Peaks Retreat View - WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and Pins

Linking up with Lee’s Work In Progress Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

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!

Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew – March

It’s March. It’s spring, or autumn, depending on where you are, but no matter where I’m sure for many thoughts of Christmas are far, far away. I, however, discovered last year how liberating it was to work on gift and décor projects month by month throughout the year and thus totally avoid the pressures and stresses of a last minute rush in November/December. This year is no different and with the monthly Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew link parties to keep me motivated I work on items as and when ideas come to me.Knitting cowls/scarfs and hats with Knit Collage yarns / Mud, Pies and PinsNow I must admit that this month I don’t have any sewn items to share, but only because the projects I have been working on are all knitted. I’ve always loved knitting although in recent years the needles have been stashed away. But before I share my latest makes with you let me first remind you about this month’s Ho, Ho, Ho, and On We Sew link party.

Ho Ho Ho button photoThis month’s link party is being hosted by Sally over at Wonky Patchwork so be sure to pop over and find out what Sally has been making this month, along with details on the link party giveaway. This month’s link party is being sponsored by Patchwork Elephant, who have provided a meter of festive fabric for one lucky linker. Patchwork elephant

All you have to do to be in with a chance to win is to link up any festive make that you have completed this month. Don”t worry if you haven’t made anything yet as you can still start sewing. The link party remains open till the end of the month so plenty of time to get something made.

Now that I’ve told you how you too can join in this month’s fun let me get back to sharing all about my knitting. Thanks to both myself and my mum the boys both had plenty of jumpers to see them through the recent winters, and I too had more than enough to keep me going. This year however I knew it was time to get back to some knitting and amongst other things I decided to make myself some shawls, hats and scarves/cowls. In my perusal of ravelry I discovered the candy cowl pattern and the stunning knit collage wool it featured. I decided to give it a go and I can honestly say I was hooked on both the pattern and the wool.

I started with my version of the cowl and with the leftover yarn I designed myself a fun matching hat – there was no way I was going to waste a single piece of that wool if I could help it. Knitting cowls/scarfs and hats with Knit Collage yarns / Mud, Pies and Pins

Buoyed on by that success I quickly set about adding several more skeins of knit collage wool to my stash, although I’m not sure I can really say I added them to my stash as I found myself knitting them up almost as soon as I had purchased them.

Knitting cowls/scarfs and hats with Knit Collage yarns / Mud, Pies and Pins

Hats and cowls, hats and scarves. Between the chunky wool and the large needles I was using they knit up so effortlessly and I quickly found myself churning out set after set.

Knitting cowls/scarfs and hats with Knit Collage yarns / Mud, Pies and PinsSome have been gifted already, some have been put away and I still have plans for more. I think I should really knit myself another set in red and white that I can keep for the festive season.

Knitting cowls/scarfs and hats with Knit Collage yarns / Mud, Pies and Pins

I had never come across art yarns until I start knitting with the knit collage yarns and I can honestly say I am absolutely head over heels in love with them. The yarns I have used for these projects are whimsical and fun, beautiful to knit, soft to the touch. Each one is different and as I wind and knit each new skein I love finding out what fibers and embellishments have been woven in with the wool.

Knitting cowls/scarfs and hats with Knit Collage yarns / Mud, Pies and Pins Knitting cowls/scarfs and hats with Knit Collage yarns / Mud, Pies and Pins

I have found some other beautiful art yarns on etsy which will make for beautiful knitted gifts or personal items and I look forward to sharing these with you in the future,

What about you? Have you been getting ahead with you festive sewing this month. If you have be sure to pop on over to join in the link party over at Wonky Patchwork. I look forward to seeing you there and reading all about your latest makes.

#LoLSwapRound2 – Package Received

Last week I shared with you the EPP lotus blossom pillow and other items I had made for my partner in the Instagram Liberty of London Swap Round 2, #lolswapround2. Today I’d like to show you the beautiful items that I received from my partner @cosertejercrear, otherwise known as Mariana from Coser Tejer Crear.
As my regular followers will know I have been knitting a fair bit this winter. Knitting? I hear you wonder, when this was supposed to be a post about Liberty of London. Well bear with me and all will become clear. In the past I always used metal knitting needles, most of which were inherited from my grandmothers. I never really had any proper storage for them but kept them paired up in a bag in my knitting supplies box. More recently I’ve started to purchase and use bamboo and other wooden needles and I knew my ever expanding needle collection was in need of better and more organized storage. Because of that one of the possible swap items I had listed for my partner to me for me when I joined the swap was a knitting needle case. So you can imagine my joy when that was exactly what I received.

Knitting case cover

Isn’t this just stunning. Not only is it a Liberty knitting needle case (or roll), it is an EPP’ed Liberty hexie knitting needle case! I’d been following Marianna’s progress on IG as she made this case and was in love with it from the very beginning. The combination of fabrics in the cover is just perfect. It’s so delicate and coordinated and so very much to my taste.

Knitting case inner open
The inside of the case is just as stunning as the cover. There are a multitude of pockets that will be perfect for all the different needles that I own. The little flecks of Liberty lawn inserted into the inner fabric are just stunning, and the stitched details on the top flap are just one more beautiful feature that makes this case so stunning.

Knitting case inner closed
I can honestly say that I will cherish this case and it will be very much used and loved.

Marianna sent me lots of lovely extras as well. There is an adorable Liberty pincushion that features more decorative stitching and has the cutest little pin in it. It now sits happily by my sewing machine and my eyes are drawn to it every time I sit down to sew.

Swap items recieved

As well as two stunning pieces of Liberty fabric which I will definitely put to good use there was also some dark chocolate which is my favourite, and which was very much enjoyed; a pair of the cutest owl sock which go so very well with all the other fun socks in my sock drawer; and adorable little cross stitched picture, did I ever mention that cross stitch is another of my hobbies; and a couple of other goodies which are all finding great use in my sewing room. It really couldn’t have been a more perfect package.

Knitting case collage
I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this swap. It’s been so much fun to swatch everyone’s progress on IG, to see all of the finished pieces and swap packages as they are revealed and to meet so many new IG friends and you can be sure that if there is another round I’ll be in line to sign-up.

Spring is in the Air

It’s the start of March and while there is still plenty of snow around here in places spring is most definitely in the air.

Spring floweres | Mud, Pies and Pins

February has pretty much passed me by here on Mud, Pies and Pins. In February the schools here all close for a week for “sports week” to allow families time to go skiing or enjoy other winter sports. Like so many others we headed to the hills to enjoy some snow time fun. For me that mostly meant sitting out in the snow park watching my youngest at ski school there, and helping him out when necessary. We were lucky to have nothing but sunshine for most of our time away so I brought various knitting projects that I could work on while the little man skied.

Knitting in the snow | Mud, Pies and Pins

Knitting in the snow | Mud, Pies and Pins

I did try to get some work done on some EPP as well but I didn’t make much progress at the time. It really wasn’t that easy to drop the EPP at a moment’s notice when the little man needed my help, but the knitting on the other hand dropped neatly into my knitting bag and became my handwork of choice for our time away.

EPP in the snow | Mud, Pies and Pins

We were lucky to be able to stretch our time in the hills to take in most of two weeks and between that, a winter cold that threatened to lay me low for a few weeks and the ensuing catch-up time I’m only now getting back on track and getting back to you all here and I look forward to sharing my recent makes with you just as soon as I get the last of my holiday/project photographs organised.