Tuesday, 4 March 2014

work in progress

Inspiration finally struck for the "women's day toile" fabric design contest this week. 

The design brief from the spoonflower website:

"Women's Day Toile: Toile de Jouy is a type of design popularized in the 18th century that typically depicts a complex scene, often pastoral, arranged into a repeating pattern. Classical toiles are usually two colors, with white or off-white as the background color and the pattern printed in black, dark blue, or red. For this contest, we're asking designers to come up with a toile de Jouy that celebrates remarkable female scientists, inventors, and leaders. Previews will be sized as quarter yards (21" x 18"). Deadline for entry is Tuesday, February 25th, 2014."

I've never designed toile de jouy fabric before, but once it started coming together, I really enjoyed the different type of design. You can see the finished fabric here and the other designs in the contest here.

Friday, 14 February 2014

A sophisticated snorri

Remember snorri? I had three balls of wool left over from that knitting project and wanted to make a matching baby sweater.
There are many free knitting patterns on Ravelry and one I've had my eye on for a while is a cardigan called baby sophisticate by Linden Down. Its a wonderful straightforward raglan sweater for babys. The snorri pattern has three different cables and I placed these down the back, front and along the sleeves. Adding cables definitely changes the sizing of the sweater - making it quite a bit smaller and tighter. But as usual, steaming and blocking works wonders! The buttons are from my great aunt.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

a postcard from Gloucester

Two weeks ago I went to Gloucester for the weekend. Three and a half hours on the bus aren't so bad when you sit in the front seat.

Two things I enjoyed there:

Exploring the cathedral

The Tailor of Gloucester Museum

Wednesday, 29 January 2014


Frogging in knitting may sound really nice but its not. It means ripping out your knitting because you've discovered a mistake many many rows back. Usually I try to avoid frogging at all costs: either talking myself into being able to live with a mistake in the knitting (no one else will notice right?!) or giving up on the project and leaving it for years. 

frogging by karinka_kf

With this project I have gotten far enough that I don't want to give up. I also know that living with the mistake is not really an option. The panel on the right is the front of the sweater - do you notice anything missing? I was concentrating so hard on the windmill design that I completely forgot to decrease for the armholes and also completely forgot to create a neckline. The arms I might get away with, but no neckline might be a bit uncomfortable! So after a few months of leaving it on the back shelf, I finally frogged it and am in the process of reknitting.

Friday, 3 January 2014

create your own pattern fill using inkscape and gimp

This week on spoonflower there is a contest to create a cheater quilt. A cheater quilt looks like a pieced quilt but consists of only one piece of fabric, meaning you can skip the piecing and create a cheater quilt by just quilting.

After I designed the quilt block, I needed to fill the pattern with different fabric designs - making it look like a pieced quilt. The contest came with a colour palette and a theme (spring floral). I have quite a few fabric designs featuring flowers and wanted to use some of them to create the quilt. However, I had a hard time figuring out how to fill the pattern with those fabric designs in a way that looked like a pieced quilt.

I finally figured out that it's possible to use your own pattern with the bucket fill tool in Gimp. This tutorial shows how its done.

Step 1: Open your file, this should be a repeating pattern already. Steps 1-3 here are done in Inkscape, but could also be done in Gimp. 
Step 2: Since I needed to use a preset palette I selected all the objects of one colour, grouped them together and then played around with different colour combinations. Grouping the objects of one colour makes it easier to create a number of different colour combinations.
Step 3: Save your file as .png and open again in Gimp (again, these three steps could be done in Gimp, but I prefer working with .svg files, especially when changing colours.)
Step 4: I usually made the file a bit smaller, so that the bucket fill looked better on the finished design. Export the file as a gimp pattern file (.pat), then move that file to the pattern folder. On a mac using Gimp 2.8 the pattern folder is located here: Library - Application Support - Gimp - Gimp 2.8 - patterns. Then just restart Gimp and the pattern will show up in your toolbox.
Step 5: Select bucket fill - pattern fill and choose the pattern from the list.
Step 6: Fill! You should have a seamless repeating pattern. (Extra tip: Sometimes you might want to fill two adjacent areas with the same pattern, but make it look like fabric, where the repeat would not continue across the two objects. For that I created two patterns which are mirror images of each other.)

Here is the completed cheater quilt, with paper pieced and appliquéd tulips.

You can see the fabric here and the coordinating fabrics here

update: The contest is now open for voting, visit here to see the other designs and vote for your favourite.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014


Happy new year!
For Christmas I made some handmade gifts and now that they've been given, I can share some pictures. This one was especially fun to make, since it was the first time I've designed a paper pieced quilt pattern. I've done paper pieced quilting before and love the possibility it gives for tiny precise lines. Inspired by our poinsettia I made this one. The machine quilting pulls it together and now that I've tried it I want to tweak the pattern a bit more (there are still too many tiny bits and pieces!) and maybe even write a tutorial for it. If you've paper pieced before, you'll know that the quilt is made up of bigger blocks. I think one of the challenges of designing the pattern is to make a few larger blocks rather than many smaller ones.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

christmas tree

Our Christmas tree is making our living room a very enjoyable place to be these days. Gemütlich. Gezellig.

The red ball I knit from this pattern on ravelry. I kept it simple but would love to try some with a pattern. I changed the number of increases and decreases slightly to fit the ball I was using. 

I made the clay circle at the same time as I made these plates

And the little mushroom is just cute.