Sunday, 16 January 2011

One Month Before Heartbreak

Since Friday I have been trying to find the time and energy to write a post to contribute to the blogswarm event One Month Before Heartbreak. I doubt, at this stage, my writing will be anything ground-breaking, but I could not let this event go by without drawing attention to it.

I am not disabled, however I have plenty of first-hand experience to tell you that any of the blog posts you may read as part of this event are not unusual.

I had planned to write about the worrying trend I see in the public attitude to disability here in the UK. I have plenty to say about the increasing boldness of our media and politicians to talk about those claiming disability benefits as a burden on the public purse. I would probably have veered into the territory of writing about the misinformation that is out there about the nature of disability benefits and the dreadful language that is so casually used. And if I’d got started on the charity model of disability benefit provision that is increasingly talked of, or how the ‘most vulnerable’ will be protected, or the expectation that disabled people should be grateful and humble about any help they receive . . .well, I might never have stopped.

But it’s been a tough old week. I’ve been helping a loved one get through a current dignity-stripping DLA nightmare and it has taken its toll on me too. If the blogswarm had happened at another time perhaps you would have had more eloquence from me. I have already read enough posts tonight to know that anything I was going to write has already been covered wonderfully by others.

These events are unbelievably valuable. The ‘Blogging Against Disablism’ days have raised my consciousness an enormous amount. If you can find the time, please click on a few links in the Master List and hear some of the voices that we so rarely get to hear.

There are many, many posts worth reading from the personal to the factual; from the angry to the sad.

I will draw attention to this one as a good factual, journalistic piece.

Also to this one as one that made me both smile and cry a little with recognition.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

WIP Wednesday

Believe it or not, I only have one knitting WIP on the needles at the moment. I have promised myself I can cast on for a new pair of socks when I have finished the front of my Huggable Hoodie.

Huggable Hoodie WIP

This is from the book 'Knits to Fit and Flatter' and I've been working on this since September. The whole thing is knitted in honeycomb cable, which is slow-going. I am cabling without a needle and have been getting faster the more I work on the project.

Sirdar Click Spruce

I'm using Sirdar Click, an acrylic/wool blend in the colour Spruce which was 89p a ball from the lovely Kemps. The colour is a dark green with a red 'halo' that doesn't come across well in any of the photos I've seen of it. I've used this yarn before in charcoal grey to make mitts for my husband and brother-in-law and I like the way it knits up. The honeycomb cable may be slow, but it makes the fabric double-thickness and it is wonderfully squishy!

As for the Welcome Quilt WIP, here is my first pinwheel block.

Pinwheel Block pieces

Pinwheel Block

I am a total sucker for green and pink together.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

A New Year Welcome WIP

Hello again all. I hope everyone had a lovely, restful Christmas and that you are enjoying a refreshing start to the new year.

Appliqued blocks using bondaweb

I've been sewing for a few years now, but only by hand until 2009 when I got my sewing machine. I even pieced and quilted an entire lap quilt by hand over the course of a year - I promise to show you that one day.

I still feel as though I am getting used to the machine, and learning to think like a machine sewist rather than transferring hand-sewing techniques. So it seems a rather fitting time of year to have started my newest WIP - the Welcome Quilt from Quilt Yourself Gorgeous by Mandy Shaw.

I especially liked the idea behind this opening project in the book, a sampler quilt which aims to teach you lots of techniques. A perfect start to a new year!

Mandy Shaw suggests using a bundle of Fat Eighths. I was impatient to start so I raided the scrap drawer instead:

The Scraps!

I completed the central panel today. In this small piece - a little more than a foot square - I have done traditional patchwork piecing, folded flying geese, prairie points, curved appliqué using sew-in interfacing and foundation piecing. The hearts above are from another part of the sampler which uses fusible webbing. I'm now foundation piecing a row of pieced flying geese.

Foundation Piecing

Phew! That's a lot of techniques, and there are more to come - Pinwheel and Bow Tie Blocks among them!

This is like a crash course in piecing techniques. I'm struggling a little to line up my foundation piecing fabric perfectly, but I'm not stressing too much - it will come in time. I wasn't too sure about the dotty blue fabric as the background at first but now it's all together it looks like the school is in the middle of a snowstorm, don't you think?

Central Panel

How cute? :)