Saturday, 6 February 2016

February Goals.

This year I'm taking part in One Monthly Goal over at Red Letter Quilts.

grab button for RedLetterQuilts

My goal for January was to quilt my 9 patch quilt. That didn't happen, in fact I did very little quilting on it at all but I did finish the baby quilt I was making. So here we are at the start of February and a new goal. Well an old goal revisited. I want to complete the quilting on the 9 patch quilt. Here's the finished top.

I have quilted some of the blocks and it is looking good. I'm using the monofilament thread again as this is a scrappy quilt and I couldn't decide on the perfect colour of thread for the different blocks. 

I'm keeping the quilting nice and simple.  I've just increased my work hours so I don't have time for anything complicated.

This month I'm also working on my millennium sampler for my  'Let's book it' project. This has taken an age to complete and the pattern is obviously old and needs finishing. I've done quite a lot of work on the borders already this month. Knowing I'm working on it for a purpose has made me pick it up more often so far this month. Here's how far I'd got when I last took a photo. Come back tomorrow to see my progress

I have also set myself a goal to lose weight this year. I would love to lose 2 stone as this would help my hips and knees and would bring me back into the right weight for my height rather than at the top of the overweight band for my height. I could have started a diet on January 1st but past experience has taught me that this is not a great day to start anything, particularly if you stayed up and celebrated the new year the night before. On Tuesday 2nd February I started my diet. The aim is to increase my exercise and stick to 1200 calories a day. My goal is to lose 6lbs this month. I know there will be days where the diet will go out the window but that doesn't matter so long as the weight is going in the right direction. Here's a photo from our holiday last year which shows my size. Mmm it was raining then and it's raining now. Why is it always raining?

I've walked Scamp this morning. We had fun being blown along by the wind and Scamp was chasing leaves and anything else that was blowing past him. My plan for the rest of the afternoon is to sew. I hope you've got some time for sewing this weekend.


First finish of the year

I'm very happy that I have finally got a Friday finish. I have posted about the baby quilt whilst it was almost done but now all the ends on the front and back are sewn in. The quilt has been washed and all the markings for the quilting have been washed away and it's fully dry,. 

I love the quilting pattern and I am so happy that I followed it. It was also fun using the monofilament for the first time. I'm pleased with the result. I had planned to take a photo outside but during my lunch break and when I finished work it was raining. If it's nice over the weekend I'll try and get a good picture before it goes to its new home on Monday.

I'm looking forward to many more finishes this year so I'd better get a move on and finish a few more projects.

I'm linking with Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts .


Monday, 1 February 2016

End of January catch up

Over the week I 've been trying to catch up with work, whilst still feeling a bit below par which meant I needed extra naps and got less stitching done. Having said that I did finish my baby quilt and enjoyed slow Sunday hand stitching.

Dust Off Those Books

The baby quilt was my January 'Let's book it' project. I haven't had the pattern lying around for ages, in fact I bought the magazine in November 2015 and fell in love with the pattern.I needed to make a baby quilt and the pattern was perfect and would help use up some of my scraps.

I still have to pop the quilt in the washing machine to get rid of my quilting marks. Most of the marks just disappeared in the air but some just won't go but they will wash out.

The piece of grey on the bottom edge isn't anything to do with the quilt. As I was taking the picture I knocked my cross stitch pattern onto the floor. I'm pleased with this quilt as I've tried two new techniques. The first was using monofilament and the second was the quilting pattern. I love the way the waves look. I'm going to take some photos outside as I can't get a good picture indoors.

My slow stitching this weekend was working on the millennium sampler. I have the helmet and the riders legs to finish for the 1066 square. I've also done more of the border. This project has taken so long to finish that the fabric is really grubby. Once I've finished it I will give it a wash before it is framed.

I also finished stitching the binding on the baby quilt over the weekend. I enjoyed stitching the binding as you can snuggle under the quilt whilst you stitch.

My January goal was to finish the quilting on the 9 patch quilt but this is still waiting to be done. I have now set this as my February goal.  For the 'Let's book it' project I'm going to see how far I can get with the millennium sampler. This is certainly a pattern I've had for a long time. Sharon says you can work on a long term project so long as you make progress. That then gives me time to sort out the patterns I've got so I can decide what I want to keep and make at some point, and which to pass on to someone else.

I'm linking this post with Sharon for January's Let's book it and with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching

I hope you've had time for some stitching over the weekend.


Sunday, 24 January 2016

Not a great week for posting.

Last week was a bit of a disaster. First I developed a bad cold and that made working difficult. I had three full days teaching booked and no one to cover for me so I taught short days and gave the students reading to do. Next my younger brother, who has been suffering with weakness in his legs and numbness in his fingers found out that his spinal cord is being compressed at neck level. He needs surgery and that will happen between now and early march. Finally I managed to lose some important files on my computer so had to spend hours recreating them. The outcome of all that was no time to stitch or be creative. In addition my cold made me very tired so I've been sleeping a lot which is great because it make you feel better but not useful when there is a pile of things that have to be done and you just fall asleep. 

Anyway whinge over. This weekend John and I had planned a trip to Bath and to the wetland centre at Slimbridge. We headed out of London on the M4 at about 5 pm on Friday so we caught the rush hour traffic but the journey itself was OK and we found our motel easily. It didn't have a restaurant attached so we walked into the village and found a great pub called The Woolpack. I decided to have the fish and triple fried chips. The piece of fish was enormous but delicious.

John had sea bass with pesto infused mash potato and vegetables. The mash was delicious and I will be making it at home.

On Saturday we headed to Midsomer Quilting. I knew they sell Kona solids and I wanted a couple of yards of snow. I also wanted to look for red and gray fat quarters.  I've posted these pictures of Midsomer Quilting before so I didn't take any new photos of the shop itself

On the window sill I discovered this lovely display of nativity figures.

 There were also christmas figures.

and various animals.

They all had one thing in common. Each piece had a quilt block or several quilt blocks on them. It made a beautiful display.

Having made my purchases we headed into Bath and here I visited another quilt shop, Country threads. Between the two shops I spent a little money and came home happy. I bought some gloves for quilting, and I had been looking for a 1/4inch bias binding maker to use for applique for a while.

As well as the Kona snow I also bought these fat quarters. Not very exciting but just what I need to go with fabric I've already got for a couple of projects I'm working on.

Late Saturday we drove to another hotel nearer Slimbridge and we spent a quiet evening catching up with some reading.

Today we spent several hours bird watching. Fortunately the day was fairly warm so it was an enjoyable experience. I didn't take many pictures as we were watching the birds through John's scope and the binoculars. As we don't have the attachment for the camera the pictures wouldn't have shown a lot. I did take a picture of one happy husband  who'd enjoyed his day immensely.

The drive home was uneventful and Picasso and Scamp were very pleased to see us. This evening I've felt tired from the driving so I haven't touched my stitching but I have finished a book. One of my goals for 2016 is to read more. When we went away at the beginning of December I bought 'The kiss of death XO' by Jeffery Deaver in a second hand book shop. I wanted something light to read in the evening but I hadn't got round to finishing it. I finished the book whilst enjoying an early morning cup of tea on Saturday. I have several half read books on my kindle so I'm hoping to finish another book before the end of the month.

Having not seen any news over the weekend I have just been shown the pictures of the snow in America. I hope you are all safe, well and warm. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Take care of yourselves especially if you have to go out.


Monday, 18 January 2016

Quilting with monofilament

Yesterday evening I got on with stitching the binding down on the baby quilt and sewing in the remaining ends from the quilting. When I started quilting it I decided to use monofilament as the top thread because I couldn't decide on an appropriate colour thread to go with the scrappy blocks. I chose a clear monofilament and set up the machine. I had a small square of quilt sandwich to practice on and with a little fiddling around the tension was great so I made a start on the quilt. All the quilting I did that day worked really well..... well some of my lines have a slight wobble to them but otherwise it was good. When I sat down later in the evening I decided to do a search on google about stitching with monofilament and I learnt a lot.
YLI Invisible Nylon Thread, Clear

Monofilament is a very fine thread and can be made from nylon or polyester. It is really down to personal choice but most of the blogs I read preferred nylon. You can also get it as clear or smoky. I had chosen clear. You need to take care when choosing your thread and make sure it is made by a reputable manufacturer such as YLI, Sulky or superior threads which will ensure the thread is very fine and pliable and feels really soft. It should also break easily as if it doesn't it can cut through the fibres on the quilt top, not something you want to happen after all your hard work to make it.

Without having done any research I had bought a reel of clear YLI nylon thread. It felt soft and was incredibly fine When I was setting the tension I found I needed to reduce the thread tension - this is because the thread will stretch. I also found I needed to reduce my needle size a little because the thread was so fine. I used my usual 50 wt  cotton quilting thread in the bobbin. This combination worked well.

I had put my cone of YLI  onto the upright thread pin of my machine purely because of the size of the cone. I found out this was the right thing to do. The spools made by the reputable manufacturers are straight wound so putting it in the upright position the thread comes off without twisting. Cones are usually cross wound and the thread needs to be lifted off the top of the cone to avoid twisting possibly using a cone stand similar to what I have for my overlocker machine.

With the rest of the quilting I had a few times when the thread broke but this didn't cause any serious problems. All in all I enjoyed trying a new technique and I love the final effect. I'm also using the monofilament to quilt my nine patch quilt.

I'm loving the way the quilting is looking.

If you haven't tried monofilament thread I would encourage you to try it on a suitable project as it could give you just the effect you are looking for.

Tonight I'm playing with my 1 1/2 inch scrappy squares as I have an idea in my head for a small quilt. I'll show you what I'm planning tomorrow.


Sunday, 17 January 2016

Just hand stitching left

This morning was very cold and there was still some snow on the cars. I'm reliably informed it started snowing at about 1.30 this morning and at times was fairly heavy but by this morning it had all but gone. That's generally the story of snow here in London. Anyway I had a plan to finish the quilting on the baby quilt and snow and cold wasn't going to stop me. I settled at my machine and kept on going until the last of the quilting was finished then I added the binding. I still have ends to sew in as well as stitching the binding but that is all handwork so I can make myself comfortable with a good movie on the TV and just stitch away.

This was a great pattern for using up a load of scraps plus you can just about see the wave pattern quilting which I did for the first time. The quilt will go in the wash once I've finished the hand stitching as the air erasable pen I used to mark the quilting lines hasn't fully erased. Picasso also came running in from outside earlier and left muddy paw prints on it. I was in a rush to take this photo as Picasso has been trying to bite the binding clips, so I apologise for the angle.

I was really pleased to receive these clips from Richard this Christmas. They are making stitching the binding much easier and I'm enjoying not stabbing myself with pins.

Having trimmed the quilt this morning I left it neatly folded on a chair whilst I went and prepared my binding. When I finished that and was ready to attach the binding I found that Scamp had taken over the quilt and made himself comfortable including hiding his rawhide bone under it.

Scamp wasn't pleased when he got told to move. Both Scamp and Picasso seemed annoyed that I was sewing and Picasso decided to keep a very close eye on the goings on at the sewing machine.

Picasso can be very helpful and had just picked the bit of fluff you can see from the needle. 'Humph you're purrfectly hopeless at keeping this machine neat and tidy. I don't know how you'd cope without me..ow. Remember I'm watching you'

So lots of hand stitching this evening. I've been working on the christmas tree cross stitch. I decided to continue working on the sky so that the stitching I'd completed was worked down from the top. I do have to admit I'm bored of stitching in blue.

I'm really pleased with the progress of this piece but I must put some work into the millennium sampler as this is one of my goals for the year and preferably the first quarter of the year.

This week I'm only in work for three days so I'm hoping to get some of the quilting done on the nine patch quilt. So far January is looking good. I should have a finish by the end of the week and if I'm really lucky I should be able to finish the 9 patch.

I'm linking this post with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching Why not visit and see what everyone is doing.


A little progress.

This week has been a busy work week with no time to get on with the quilting but I have managed a little work on my cross stitch every night. Today was supposed to be a long day with the machine so I could complete the quilting on the baby quilt and maybe even add the binding. That was my plan when I went to sleep last night but this morning I woke up with a screaming migraine which took ages to tame so it was quite late on this afternoon before any sewing was done.

I'm now about 3/4 of the way through the quilting and provided there are no more unexpected happenings I should finish that tomorrow. I was going to prepare the binding this evening but I decided it could wait another day. The quilting is looking good and I'm pleased I tried a different pattern. It is a lot slower than an all over meander but it looks a lot prettier.

I also spent some time making my blocks for the rainbow scrap challenge. This month's colour is blue and I had decided to make granny square blocks. I made 5 in all.

Making these blocks didn't make even a small dent in my blue scraps. I really hadn't realised I'd used so much blue fabric but thinking about it I've made several quilts for boys over the last couple of years. Whatever colour is picked for next month will involve cutting the scraps I have into 2 1/2inch squares as most of what I cut last weekend was blue. Maybe there'll be some time for that tomorrow. I also need to trim these blocks. 

Earlier in the week Kathryn and Olly came over. They were both very tired and Kathryn was feeling unwell so they had a little nap before dinner. Scamp is always willing to join in with a nap.


Scamp was in a very cute and sleepy mood all day and he sure looks tiny in that picture. I think he'd decided that since the weather had gone cold he might as well sleep.

I'm linking this post with Scraphappy Saturday Since I've got so many blue scraps I might make some other blocks as well.

Hope you've had some time for sewing tody.