Sunday, 6 January 2013

The Big Projects for 2013 - You can do it!

Happy New Year everybody and welcome back!

This year I am challenging you and me for that matter to make something a little bit bigger than our usual Sunday project, we are going to make two items... well pretty big items, we are going to make (drum roll) a fabric quilt or a knitted Afghan over the year.  I have every faith in you and your skills, so this post is all about prep.

Now I know what you are thinking... Ros this is going to sooo expensive, don't you know about the recession?  Well tell me about it people, this is why the quilt is going to be quilt as you go, as well as being a scrap sampler quilt, which means we will do two blocks a month, a plain block and a patterned block and we will quilt them as we go along, so there will be no big backing to do.  And did I mention, you will learn a new and mysterious language?

The Afghan will be a little bit different too, it will be reversible... yep, that is right, which ever way you look at it, it will look the same.  It will be knitted on big needles, so it will not so much grow as race off your needles... I promise and remember I had my Firefighters and Braille badge when I was in the Girl Guides, so you can trust me!

What will I need to have and be able to do to make the quilt?

Right let's talk about the skillset... can you do Maths?  Scared, OK, can you do sums and read a clock, yes?  Well, then you can do this, it will be a cinch!  Can you sew straight?  Can you use an iron?  Did you answer yes, then how come your house is not covered in quilts? You can definitely do this.
This is just a selection of my fat quarter... and one of the odds and ends bags...
Next, do you have a bag(s) of scraps that are too small to be a fat quarters (Ros, you are using language, what is a fat quarter?  It is a piece of fabric 22"wide by 18" long, ie, a quarter of a yard) but just too big to throw away?  Or do you have a stash of fat quarters (a stash is a hoard by any other name, it's what you have to have to make your life complete) that are just begging to be released.
Now, you have to make a choice about backing, is it going to be the same colour for each block (the square or section) but remember you will only be doing two squares a month, so you really only need to buy a metre of backing and front every couple of months.

So you will need cotton fabric, batting / wadding, rotary cutter, quilting ruler, cutting mat, thread, a water soluble pen or pencil, fish knife, washi tape, sewing machine and then you will be ready to make a start.
This was my very first quilt - a hand sewn Amish quilt
I am going to use black as my main fabric (yep, I know I swore I would never work with the dark side of the palette again) as it will make any fabric that I use sing and pop out.  However, if you want to do this make sure that your wadding / batting is black.  Why? Because if you use white wadding it will beard (great term) which means that little white flecks will spread through your cotton just like an old man's beard not a pretty look!

But don't worry, I know that not everyone will want to make a quilt but you can try out any of the techniques to make smaller projects like cushions / pillows, tote bags, place mats.
Hang on a minute, what will it look like, well do you know something, I just don't know, here is my work book, I can see it in my mind's eye and I will be making it alongside you... so don't just read this jump on it for the ride!

And this Afghan, what do I need for that?

Can you knit and purl? Can you count?  Then you can definitely make an Afghan and this one is going to be special as it will look the same both ways.

I am making mine in three colours, grey, cream and red and we will be knitting up 12" x 12" squares... they will knit up really quickly and I aim to have squares that will knit up in an evening.

We will join them together with a crochet stitch and it will look fabulous, as well as being snuggly.

I am going to be working with 5 balls in each colour of Jarol's Sweet Briar Chunky, a pair of 6mm needles... and a cable needle, cos we know how to do reversible cables already, don't we team?
Just remember all we are doing is making a mess of knots with sticks and string... and even children, cats and kittens can do that!

Anyway this is how it will roll, the first Sunday of the month, will be our quilting date and two weeks later is our knitting date... except this month, cos we quilt next Sunday.

In case you are worried, we will still be doing other fun crafty projects on the other Sundays... I still owe you a tutorial for an Etui box, don't I?

Just a little plea before we finish, I know that many of you will immediately start looking on the internet but if you can, please remember that your local yarn and fabric shop need your support too, these are tough times people and we all need to support our local shops.

And the good news now, is that Handmade Monday has returned from its Christmas hols... and you just know that the team on there will have done something amazing in the break!


Adaliza said...

Great idea - I'm making a gigantic crochet blanket at the moment in a myriad of colours. Good to mix up patchwork & knitting too. Happy New Year! PS: Loved the little patchwork star that I won in your giveaway - it was hanging up all over Christmas1

Free Spirit Designs said...

What exciting projects you have planned! I can't wait to see how they progress over the year :) x

Highland Monkey's said...

I'm just in the process of nearly finishing a quilt. They can be so addictive to make. I like your first quilt it looks very professional.

knitnrun4sanity said...

Very amusing post! Thanks. I love this idea and am very tempted to join in with the quilt but......oh there is just so little time and so much to do :)

Fiddly Fingers said...

Oooh! How tempting :)

Lyn said...

I think it's a great idea Ros. Many people are scared of starting something big, but you are breaking it down into manageable chunks.
I hope it encourages a lot of timid would-be quilt/afghan makers to let you hold their hands and make something to be proud of.

Chrysalis said...

Hi Ros - seems like we had the same sort of idea. I'm just starting a throw for DD2, to match her new sofa. It will be fabric squares joined together with crochet. All in cream as she is a very minimalist gal. I'll post pics of progress. In the meantime, I'll be taking it down to your neck of the woods, as I visit my Mum in Southend for a few days, on Sat. Take care and blessings x

Chrysalis said...

Ooh-er ... just clicked to publish my comment and it disappeared. Just delete this one if it pops back! Anyway, seems we've had similar ideas - I'm just starting a throw for DD2, for her new sofa. It will be cream, fabric joined with crochet. I'll post progress pics. Working on it down in your neck of the wooods from Sat., as I visit my Mum in Southend for a few days. Love and blessings x

Martha said...

wow, big projects and big challenges. it will be lovely to see how people progress. I'll cheer you up :)
id love to join up with knitting (i dont dare to take up quilting yet) but ive just started on my new knitting commitments - the Easter balls plus some comissioned Christmas balls. I dread looking in the cupboard - there's a pile of my UFOs growing fast there!

Ali said...

Wow what a challenge. I wonder how many of us will take up your challenge. I'm certainly interested in learning some quilting skills. Ali x


What a brilliant idea - might be something that a local group could do together. I love the colours of your first quilt - very striking. Hope you have a good week.

Pickle Lily said...

Ohh - I am so tempted, but I have so many things I want to make! decisions, decisions, decisions! the good thing is I can always come back to this. Happy New Year, Jo x

CatkinJane said...

Mmmm........... I have a stash of fat quarters. Problem is, sometimes when I really like a fabric I don't like to use it ('cause it's gone then!) Maybe I need to be brave this year.

Wendy said...

I love the idea of a "big" challenge. One of the things I've come to learn is that doing a little bit on a regular basis adds up to a whole lot. Good luck! By the way, that first quilt looks amazing.

Picto said...

Wow what a challenge, I can't commit to a quilt but I'll give a smaller item a go :)

Jan x

ps... I keep some of the socks for myself to keep my tootsies cosy :)

Cheryl said...

Love the idea of the patchwork. Planning on making at least one this year. I've just committed to a beekeeper's quilt for this year, which will take up my knitting time, but I'd love to join in with the patchwork.

Susie said...

What a marvelous idea. Not that I'm going to do do either one but I'm going to follow along, and I have saved that post, there seem to be some information in there that was already helpful to me (black batting, who knew?!). I'm not ready for such a large project, but I do have a few things (I have ties hoarded, yes, I'm going to just go ahead and admit it) from years and years of collecting my husband's old ties and a few others I'm managed to get my hands on and I'm determined to make a tie quilt with them.
As for the knitted afghan, that's intriguing because I think even a beginner like me (ok, I haven't begun yet, but when I start that's what I'll be!) altho crochet? akkkk! Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing these come together. :)

Handbags by Helen said...

Loving the dark quilt. Would love to have a go at a quilt, but too busy at the mo' trying to get HbyH website restocked.