Unexpected Bursts Colour

It’s been a while since I did a ‘New to Me’ post but, despite appearances, I have spent some time in the Makery this month and tried out a couple of new things.

The first was inspired by something Fiona at Celtic Thistle stitches did a while ago. I say ‘inspired’ because I did this from memory and it’s probably not the right way to do it at all. It’s a sort of trapunto technique using strands of yarn. You can see the stages below. It’s an improved version of the golden hare I made last month. I started by stitching the outline, then cut away the backing fabric and, finally, threaded strands of wool into the spaces I wanted to be raised.

After that, I painted with gold, as I did last time, and hand quilted the background. I also tried some lettering. The letters are about 2cm high so it was a bit fiddly but I was quite pleased with the overall effect.

Having managed to paint the edges fairly straight, I attempted some more ambitious fabric painting. I quilted larger shapes and attempted to fill them in with paint and you can see my straight line painting leaves much to desired! I edged the gold with threaded running stitch using metallic Anchor stranded thread, which I have never tried before and I found it reasonably easy to sew with (even through layers of paint, fabric and wadding) but separating the strands to sew was a trial. They kept tangling and I ended up having to tease them out one by one. Bizarrely, I also tried a silver skein and managed to divide the threads without particular difficulty.

With the other painted colours, I decided to leave the poorly painted edges as they were.

Lately, I’ve come to conclusion that sometimes you just have to go for the overall effect because getting too obsessive with perfecting details is a certain route to a UFO…

Something I couldn’t really leave, though, was an experiment to create a more water-colour-like effect. It seemed to me at the time that, however much water I used, the paint wouldn’t spread easily. The next morning, however, I discovered that, quietly during the night, a whole band had seeped past a line of stitching into an area that was meant to be unpainted :( I frogged the red hand stitching and then remembered there was a line of machine stitching under it. So I frogged the machine stitching and steamed and steamed to get the holes made by the stitching out but to no avail :( Eventually, I re-did the hand stitching, where the black frixon line is in the photo below, and added a strip of lace under it. If I had settled on doing that sooner, I could have left the machine stitching in but onwards and upwards!

A more cheerful New to Me was my garden when we got back from my daughter’s wedding in Rhodes. Before we went I had cut back lots of flowers (which were dead and hadn’t been great this year owing to successive heatwaves) for Autumn but whilst we were away it rained for a solid week and I arrived home home to an unexpected burst of colour.

Now we are back in GMT so the sun is in the middle of the sky at midday and the evenings are dark. All that bodes well for more time in the Makery. This year, that will be another ‘New to Me’ and a very welcome one :)

Janine @ Rainbow Hare

I’m linking this post with Fiona at Celtic Thistle stitches for ‘New to Me’

Wool on Sundays 156 – (unknitting)

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Welcome to another Wool on Sundays!

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This month my only woolliness has been confined to a little unknitting, by which I don’t mean not knitting although I’ve been doing that as well…

After some consideration, I decided to unknit this cardigan.

Although so short a time ago I thought this was set to be my best cardigan ever (as the one on the needles always is!) the fact is that I don’t wear it. I wanted something a little shorter but this is really too wide to be short so I washed and stretched it several times but if anything it just gets shorter and wider :(

So I decided I’d rather have the wool back and use it to make something else – something longer and narrower perhaps…

In the meantime, Peter Mouse has gone off to Poland.

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I travelled with him feeling quite certain that my garden would be completely parched and dead when I got back. But after only a couple of days rain whilst we were away, I came back to find it green again and, if anything, a touch overgrown with everything sprawling about the place in a fairly drunken and disorderly fashion, which is just as it should be at this time of year.

It really is a wonder what even a little rain can do!

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And every evening the sun swings himself down behind the trees further and further to the south. The other night he called out to me saying, “I’ll be off taking Summer to your friend, Kim, in Australia soon. Do you want me to give her a message?” And I said, “Just take her flowers. She likes flowers”. And I’m going to miss these sunny days but now the evenings are getting darker and a little chilly, I can feel knitting weather just around the corner…

If you have any yarn themed posts, I’d love you to link up. The rules, as usual, are: 1). Posts must include some content – makes or musings or photos – related to knitting, crochet, felting, spinning or yarn. 2). Projects sewn from felt or wool fabric or stitchery using wool are also welcome but please don’t link posts that are exclusively about sewing, quilting and fabrics. 3). Posts don’t have to be from the past week but please put a link to WOOL ON SUNDAYS or grab the button from my sidebar and include it in or at the bottom of any posts you link up. 4). MOST IMPORTANT visit anyone else who links. The next Wool on Sundays will be on Sunday 7th October.

Janine @ Rainbow Hare

The blogger who came in from the garden

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Whilst we were in Venice, a neighbour looked after our chicken. The chicken feed is kept in a dustbin an old stable, which in truth has been slowly falling into disrepair over more years than we’ve lived here. Rather than leave the door swing and bang in the wind, as it is wont to do, he had propped a spade against the door to wedge it shut and, as I moved it to open the door on our first morning back, I thought we really should find a way of fastening it properly. I did not ponder for long. As I stepped in I found the entire place had been ransacked. Garden tools, dustbins, pots, tarpaulins, odd bits of furniture and all the general paraphernalia of the sort that gravitates to and seemingly multiplies in a large garden shed was thrown and spread all around. Much was half buried in the earth floor. A trench had been dug along one of the walls. And all was strewn with quantities of hay. Nothing seemed to be missing and we could only assume that a badger must have got trapped inside and dug itself out in a frenzy.

We resolved that we’d better bite the bullet, re-roof it and give it a good sorting out. You may remember that, with a couple of Siberian interludes of dry snow and a gale that broke the roof, it had rained solidly, here, since about the middle of last Summer but during April, on two dry weekends, son # 3 replaced the roof and I became a roofer’s apprentice. Between passing sheets of coroline, I tackled the inside and found a badger must, indeed, have spent the winter inside and that everything you ever heard about a badger’s den is true :(

 

Whilst I was remaking the floor, painting with preservative and sorting out junk, the weeds grew and grew and grew and started to seed themselves all over the garden but the garden was so waterlogged there nothing I could do.

 

Then, suddenly, the rain stopped. The temperature rocketed. And, without as much as a nod to Spring, the ground was as hard as concrete. And so began the weeding. Having unwillingly stopped being a crafter and a blogger and become a full time weeder (and knowing full well, alas, that the ground is full of weed seeds), I was determined to limit the ease with which weeds could grow again and, since we had now entered a heatwave I also wanted to maximise the benefit of watering so I tried some new-to-me strategies, which seem to have worked relatively well considering it has only rained twice since the beginning of May.

With the decking we removed a couple of years ago, I made paths so I can reach everywhere easily and I put some old tarpaulin (weighed down) between the rows and in the middle of pyramids of beans to stop weeds growing inaccessibly.

 

And I planted courgettes and squashes in grobags with the bottoms cut so it’s easy to see where the roots are (to water) and the plastic can help retain moisture.

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And, in the flower garden, I divided the borders and put down weed fleece and bark around roses and perennials near the hedge. This certainly seems to have benefited the box hedge and if it keeps weed free over the year, I’m inclined to extend it…

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The heat and scorching sun is taking it’s toll so, until we have rain, I’m just watering enough to keep alive what is grown already, harvesting and dead-heading. When the weather changes I will reassess…

Apart from that, I have been repainting the wood on the outside of our house. I was looking forward to coming in to sew after the garden marathon but once we get a dry spell we really have to make the most of it :(

 

Craftwise, I have managed to do a little knitting. This bag (intended to be folded up and used instead of a carrier bag) uses a new-to me knitted square technique. The pattern is by Laura Spradlin. It is called ‘Girlfriend Market Bag’ and you can find it on Ravelry.

And, drum roll! I have finished my Spiral Quilt for the Endeavourers challenge on August 1st. Unfortunately, I can’t show it before the group reveal but this is the first time I have ever completed a quilting challenge more than a week ahead of the deadline. I have also knitted something (small) to share in the next Wool on Sundays post so, despite being about three months behind on all things blogland, I’m suddenly feeling like I’m ahead!

I hope you are enjoying the Summer (or Winter if you are in Winter) :)

Janine @ Rainbow Hare

I am linking this post with Fiona at Celtic Thistle Stitches for New to Me and Soma at Whims and Fancies for Wandering Camera.