Thursday, 31 March 2016

2016 FAL Quarter One: It's Time To Link Up Your Finishes!

2016 button 250 best

Can you believe that it's already the end of Q1 of the 2016 FAL?!  I don't know about you, but I don't know where the last three months have gone; I'd love to be able to say that they've gone in a flurry of sewing, but that's not true (although the first month had more sewing in it than the other two combined!).  It's more like they've gone in a fug of exhaustion, accompanied by a very stiff and achy shoulder!  I have managed a few (mainly small) finishes, though, so I'll be linking up those with the rest of you.

As we announced back in January, the 2016 FAL is now global and a community of bloggers across the world are jointly hosting the FAL. Our hosts are:

It's time to link up the projects on your 2016 Q1 FAL list that you did finish, but first things first, let's say a huge thank you to our fantastic sponsors:


For the 2016 FAL, we also will feature a tutorial week. Here is the schedule so you can visit them all:


The 2016 Q1 link for your finishes is now open below on my blog, and on each of the hosts' blogs. You only need to link on one blog for your finish to appear on each blog.  The link-up "rules" are as follows:
  • Add one link for each Q1 finish. If you want to link a round-up post of all your finishes, use that link to enter one of your finishes and then link the rest of your finishes separately.  Only one link per finish, please, as your link is an entry into the randomly-drawn prize draws.
  • Please use the 2016 FAL button or the hashtag #2016FAL (you can find the button on any of the hosts' blogs)
  • Please ensure that the photo or blog post you link up contains a link or reference back to your original Q1 list so that we can verify your entry.
  • Please become part of the FAL community and visit the links of others and comment. We all need encouragement so let's applaud each other. The 2016 FAL Facebook page is here and follow us on Instagram @finishlong and tag your photos #2106FAL.
  • Our hosts will also link their finishes to share in the community, but they are not eligible for any of the prizes.

The Q1 Finishes link will stay open from now until 4am on the 8th April (BST and IST) - link up your finishes early and if you have a last minute one, add that one later so you don't miss out. The prizes will be awarded as soon as we can verify all the entries and do the draw, and we will post the winners on each host blog. You can also start making your Q2 FAL lists as the Q2 list link opens on 8th April (at 6am BST/IST).


I've blogged all but one of my finishes for this quarter so I just have one more short post to write (it's a very small finish!) and then I'll have all my finishes linked up.  I like to call the posts I'm going to link up 'FAL Finish: the name of the project' because they're then easy for me to find in my list of posts when it's time to link up.  They're not very interesting blog post titles, but they do their job!

Here's a little mosaic of the five finishes I've blogged about so far, with the project as it was at the start of the quarter on the top row, and the finish directly underneath:

FAL Q1 2016
1. Iced Hat III, 2. Large Lola pouch plans, 3. Lola pouch for me, 4. Two Lola pouches for Mam, 5. Two iced hats, 6. Iced Hat III, 7. Knitting pouch, 8. Black/turquoise pouch, 9. Two Lola pouches for Mam, 10. Brim extension

And here's the links to the blog posts about them: blue hat, blue Lola pouch, black and turquoise Lola pouch, grey and yellow Lola pouches (there's a theme here!), heather hat alteration.

Archie has kept a very close eye on me this quarter, and continues to do so:

You're going out, aren't you?
You're going out, aren't you?  Have you finished all your FAL homework?  Finished all those projects on your list?  No?  Well get back up there and get cracking!  *huffs*  Going out my foot!

Right, it's time for you to link up!






Sunday, 20 March 2016

Summersville Sunday: Blocks 42 - 46

This is, I think, the penultimate 'I really must catch up with blogging about those Summersville blocks' posts.  I say 'think', because I might take a photo of all 49 blocks together and I don't know whether to do that for next weekend or the one after.  (It's probably just as well: the stories for each block are getting more far-fetched by the week!!)

You can find the other posts in the series here: blocks 1 - 4blocks 5 - 8blocks 9 - 12blocks 13 - 16blocks 17 - 20blocks 21- 24blocks 25 - 28blocks 29 - 32blocks 33 - 36; blocks 37 - 41.

The factory/mill in block 42 used similar colours to the old customs house in block 40 as they were built around the same time.  The original owner was a canny fella and realised that if his factory was built near the customs house, then he could build up a good relationship with the customs officer who would perhaps expedite the paperwork for the goods he was importing/exporting (or maybe turn a blind eye to his occasional under reporting of the tax owed on goods imported).  It also meant that the messenger lad didn't have far to run with his messages and so didn't wear out his shoe leather.  You might wonder why a mill owner concerned himself with the rate of wear on the messenger boy's shoes and you're right, it was unusual.  You see, as well as being a canny businessman, the mill owner was a kind-hearted soul (though he hid it well) and he knew that the lad's family depended on the pennies brought in from running messages.  His mam couldn't afford to buy him shoes (the lad's father died in an accident on the docks when a bale of cotton fell on him) and wouldn't allow him to set foot inside the mill to work as a piecer or scavenger, so the owner employed him as a messenger boy and included one pair of shoes per year as part of his wages.

Block 42
Block 42 - back

The house in block 43 is owned by a frustrated gardener, whose only outside space is three window boxes, so she fills them to bursting with annuals and uses blocks of colour to great effect.  She'd love to move to a house with a garden (or even a back yard), but she needs to live in town and can't afford to move to a house with outside space.  It doesn't stop her dreaming though, and she plans to move to a cottage in the country when she retires, which will be soon.  She has her eye on the village in block 7 as they have applied for lottery funding to establish a garden on part of the village green to encourage wildlife (as well as giving the village a lovely focal point and meeting place) and the older members of the village have promised to help the school children set up a pond so they can go pond dipping; there are also rumours of a biennial open gardens event to raise funds for the church roof and ongoing village green maintenance.
Block 43
Blocks 43 - back

The owner of the car in block 44 is the mother-in-law of one of the founding members of the multi-coloured car club and decided to celebrate her 80th birthday by having her car resprayed so she could join the club. She enjoys tootling round town and waving to everyone she passes; she particularly enjoys watching the reaction of newcomers to the town when they see her car going past.  (She's started a point-based game for the club: one point if they nudge the person next to them, two if they point, three if they rub their eyes and look again, four if they wave, and five if they take a photo and ten if that photo ends up on Instagram.  At the end of the year, the points are added up and the winning car gets a ten minute head start in the annual treasure hunt.)
Block 44
Block 44 - back

The  house in block 45 was built by the mill owner and housed his overseer.  The council decided that all the buildings from that era should be painted in similar colours so that the town heritage trail would be easy for tourists to follow.  The modern office block thought it would copy but was given short shrift by the planning officer and told to repaint: once the weather fairs up, the repainting will commence (much to the dismay of the painter, who is not a fan of heights).
Block 45
Block 45 - back

In the next town over, an identical building to that in block 45 has been painted in eye-catching  yellows in an attempt to brighten up a rather dreary town centre.  The building has an internal garden (you can just see a glimpse of it on the top floor) which can be accessed by residents and is, the architect hopes, the shape of things to come.
Block 46
Block 46 - back

And here's this week's blocks all together:
Summersville blocks 42 - 46


Archie finally got to finish eating his hedgehog:
It's finally time to eat his nose!
Aha, hedgehog nose, your time has come.
What do you mean 'not yet'? When?!
When can I eat it?  Now?
I'll just introduce myself...
I'll just introduce myself...
I don't know why you were so suspicious...
Now?  You're sure?

Thanks for popping in!

Thursday, 17 March 2016

FAL Finish: Brim Extension (AKA Keeping Mam's Ears Warm)

Finish A Long 2016

As stated on my current FAL list, the hat I knitted for Mam's Christmas present (find the pattern here) needed a little adjusting as the lazy wind kept creeping up the small gap round her ear lobes and making her chilly!  I had enough yarn left to extend the brim, but didn't want to pull the hat out and start again (all those cables!), so I decided that the best way would be to pick up around the brim (the original cast on edge) and add lengthen the rib on it - upside down, if you like.

Here's how the hat looked at the start of the quarter (it's the one on the right):
Two iced hats

And here's how it looked after another 2.5" of rib had been added to the brim:
Brim extension

I made sure to pick up the stitches going from the wrong side, so that the ridge was on the right side of the hat.  This was important because that ridge needed to be hidden in the fold of the brim, rather than pressed against Mam's forehead (which would have made her look like she'd had serious brain surgery when she took it off!):
Brim extension - the join

Unfortunately, and I don't know why I didn't spot it/think of it at the time, my cast off edge (at the bottom of the rib and therefore partway up the hat once the brim was folded up) was too tight, so I had to undo the cast off, join in more yarn (grrrr!) and cast off a bit looser.  Rather than doing a special stretchy cast off, I just cast off on 4mm needles rather than the 3mm I'd been using.  This was enough to provide a bit of give along that edge without it being wavy or too stretchy (and then pinging off Mam's head in a strong wind!).  If you look at the photo below and compare it to the last-but-one photo, you can see that the cast off edge isn't pulling in.
Brim extension
That's another item crossed off my FAL list and makes five finishes so far this quarter!  I've got one more finish to blog about, but I'm unlikely to finish anything else before the end of the quarter as my ME and my shoulder are conspiring to keep me away from sewing and knitting for all but a few minutes a day.


Archie's new bag of food arrived today and he's very excited at the thought of 14kg of biscuits!
When can we open it?!
When can we open it?  Now?!
It's laid in the middle of the floor (I'm giving my shoulder a rest before moving it any further!) and he keeps going over to sniff round it, just in case there's a hole in the bag...

Don't forget that the end of the quarter will soon be here - the finishes link party opens a fortnight today (31st March at 6am for those of us who will be on BST/IST/GMT+1 by then) so if you haven't already, then it's time to get cracking!  We'll all be posting about how (and what) to link up when the time comes, so don't worry if you're not entirely sure what to do!

Thanks for popping in!

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Summersville Sunday: Blocks 37 - 41

When I started this project in 2012, it was destined to be my 'sitting on the settee and watching telly' sewing when I wasn't up to preparing anything else and as such, the embroidery was always going to be a long-term project.  However, I must admit that I'm quite surprised that it only took me three and a half years to embroider all the blocks as I was prepared for it to take at least five!  Of course, the project itself is far from complete: there are alternate blocks (nine patches is the plan) and background fabric to choose, cut and piece, but it feels like completing the embroidery might place me somewhere approaching the halfway point between starting and having a finished top.  

You can find the other posts in the series here: blocks 1 - 4blocks 5 - 8blocks 9 - 12blocks 13 - 16blocks 17 - 20blocks 21- 24blocks 25 - 28blocks 29 - 32; blocks 33 - 36.

The astute among you will have spotted that there are five blocks this week, rather than the usual four.  This is because the remaining number isn't divisible by four, and the final three blocks have a unifying theme (problem solving!) so next week's post will also have an extra block, just to even things out.


All of this week's blocks have been embroidered using back stitch, with, in blocks 39 and 41, the addition of stem stitch,whipped back stitch, laced back stitch and cross stitch.

The landlord of the house in block 37 found some part-used paint tins in the back of his mam's shed when he was clearing it out (to make way for her new pull-along garden trolley) and painted the house while his tenants were away on holiday.  On returning, the tenants drove past their home because they didn't recognise it, and were quite embarrassed to find themselves at the other end of the village with no idea where their house had gone.  Of course, it's a small village and the curtain twitchers were out in force so they had to pretend they had spotted an unusual bird and were following it in the hope of identifying it, thus explaining their craned necks, heated discussion and air of puzzlement when it (the imaginary bird) disappeared into the copse at the far end of the village.
Block 37
Block 37 - back

The house in block 38 is the final small house to be decorated in this project and the owner decided that, rather than a fanfare, the 'let's paint our houses all the colours of the rainbow' project should end with a note of class and restraint.  (It's the first time those words have been associated with this project!)

Block 38
Block 38 - back

The owners of the vehicles in block 39 were all buying their cars from the local garage at the same time and managed to haggle with the body shop manager over the cost of resprays, provided all four vehicles were done together. (The cars had all come from the same hire company and were painted in that company's colour: a lurid combination of lime green and mustard yellow - a respray was a must!).  The lads in the body shop slightly misunderstood their intent and thought they were also sharing the paints between them.  Things got a little tense when the new owners turned up to collect their new-to-them cars, but they saw the funny side (a free tank of petrol helped!) and now they quite like being in the multi-coloured car club!

Block 39
Block 39 - back

Block 40 contains a listed building (once a customs house but now a rather upmarket interiors shop where you can buy everything from a tiny bud vase to a huge settee, via carpets, curtains and bedding) and as one of the few original buildings in the area, it likes to stand out from the crowd by using pale colours, a distinct difference from the garish colours favoured by its more modern neighbours.
Block 40
Block 40 - back

The library in block 41, which is the Gothic Revival gem in the area (it even has a (minor) member of the royal family on its board of governors), has been painted in its original colours for this, its bicentenary.  The house next door to it was, traditionally, the home of the head librarian (but is now home to the head archivist), and the house next to that was built for the founder of the library, who wanted to live close by so he, his wife and family could benefit as much as possible from the education to be had within a library.
Block 41
Block 41 - back

And here's this week's blocks all together:
Blocks 37 - 41

Archie's enormous bag of food is now empty, but before I got chance to fill up his food box, he took the opportunity to check there were no biscuits lurking at the bottom.  I'd left it stood up, round the corner from where this was taken so he'd moved it quite a way in his attempt to reach the bottom of it, as well as wedging it under the cupboard.  After this photo was taken, he managed to take out the lid (the blue bit inside the box in this photo), then free the box and stand it back up the right way up!  He's not daft!!
I think there's a biscuit at the bottom of this
I think there's a biscuit in the bottom of here.
He then moved on to the bag:
Just checking it's empty
I'll just check this is empty before you throw it out.

When he's not searching for overlooked biscuits, Archie likes to find patches of sun which, unfortunately, have a habit of moving:
Any chance...
You couldn't move that my way, could you?

Thanks for popping in!

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