Thursday, 26 March 2015

Another Friday finish.

This really has been a good month for sewing. First I finished my Votes for Women quilt, then my pillow for the Tree Bird blog hop and now I've finished the baby quilt for Mel. She 's looking forward to starting her maternity leave and really likes the idea of waking up on Monday and saying 'no I don't need to get up yet as I'm on maternity leave'. I did warn her to make the most of it as she will be busy when baby arrives. Most of the time I have lovely memories of having young children, all the good bits but just occasionally I remember the overwhelming tiredness following another night of disturbed sleep. 

Anyway yesterday I showed you this photo of the baby quilt.

As I had limited time I used a panel for the centre of the quilt and kept the quilting simple by just quilting along the lines between the pictures. The borders had a large meander. Mel was very pleased with it especially as I had managed to choose fabrics in the colours of the nursery decorations. 

I really wanted to take the quilt outside to take a photo but I just didn't get time to  so I took a snap of Mel holding it. Unfortunately our building is all glass - huge floor to ceiling windows all the way round so really difficult to get a great shot. Never mind it gives the overall effect.

That's the second baby quilt this year but I still have 3 more to make. I have also been asked to make a sensory quilt for a blind toddler. That has now moved up to top of the list for next month.

I've nothing much planned for this weekend so I'm hoping to get a lot done on the star trek quilt  and maybe I'll have another finish next week.


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Work in Progress Wednesday

So far March has been a good month to get my stitching projects done. There are still a few days left and I'm hopeful I will complete all my goals.

I had two major goals this month. The first, to finish Kathryn's quilt, was easy to do and she is now enjoying using the quilt. My second was to get Richard's Star Trek quilt finished. This quilt had reached the stage of finished top.

The quilt is large and so yesterday I enlisted Richard's help in making the quilt sandwich. I didn't want to crawl round on the floor and was planning on making do with the dining table. The table is oval and the fabric heavy so help was definitely needed. Richard turned out to be a real asset. He was great at moving the fabric around keeping it all nice and flat and he was also excellent at getting rid of unwanted wrinkles in the layers. I must encourage him to help in the future. The quilt sandwich was soon made and I had time to start on the quilting.

Richard had specific requirement of the quilting. He wanted the Enterprise in the central blocks to be outlined and then he wanted the background of the remaining blocks to be a meander. Now I feel I've got the meander pattern really sorted so this wasn't a problem but I wanted to try something different and showed Richard the pebble pattern. We agreed I'd use this on the sashing. There are 9 blocks all 24 inches square in the quilt and so far I have finished 2 so I'm feeling really pleased.

Going round the shapes was trying

The other piece I've been working on is a baby quilt for one of my work colleagues. I'm just finishing off the hand stitching on the binding and this quilt will be all finished. I'm hoping to be able give this to my friend tomorrow - at the latest on Friday as she is then on maternity leave.  

She doesn't know the sex of her baby and doesn't want to know so the quilt had to be gender neutral.

Later tonight I'm going to go through my UFO's as I have several that need to be finished. Some are quilt related and others embroidery with a little knitting thrown in for good measure. I'm trying to reduce my UFO's so I need less storage space (or alternatively I can use the space for more fabric).

I'm linking this post up with Lee at Freshly Pieced. Why not visit and see what other people have been up to. There's always lots to see and great inspiration.

Before I get back to my sewing I'm going to turn the heating up and make a cup of tea. Although it's officially spring the temperature is cool and I'm not enjoying it.


Friday, 20 March 2015

Finished at last

In September 2012 I started work on a quilt that appeared as a block of the week at Grandmother's Choice . The blog is written by Barbara Brackman and the theme was celebrating 'Votes for Women' There were 49 blocks in total for the quilt and over the weeks I got horribly behind. I also found some of the blocks really difficult to piece. In fact I'm amazed that I stuck with it and finally finished the quilt and gave it to my older daughter Kathryn.

I chose to make the quilt using the colours of the Women's Social and Political Union in the UK - green white and purple.  The blocks I found difficult included this one. It finished a little squiffy but I'm so impressed I made it

The bottom two blocks in this photo also caused several problems, especially the circular one (yes the one join is off).

Unfortunately I was unable to take the quilt outside to get a good photo. I would have loved to have left it on my bed but I had promised it to Kathryn.

I had fun with the quilting. On a lot of the blocks I quilted in the ditch around the pieces. I love the 'puff' effect that you get as a result. The sashing has a leaf trail along it and on the white cornerstones I quilted a daisy. The border was a large meander. As the quilt is large my shoulders and back were aching by the time I'd finished.

I bound the quilt with the same purple fabric as the sashing. I love the effect you get looking at the rolled quilt.

A while back I made a large tote bag with the intention of it being a gift bag for the quilt. Kathryn was very pleased with both her quilt and the bag.

It was great to have finished this quilt but I now feel like there's something missing. Never mind I still have other UFO's to work on and I need to get on with quilting Richard's quilt.

I'm linking this post with Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya Quilts and Thank Goodness it's a Friday Finish

Wishing you all a happy weekend.


Thursday, 19 March 2015

Tree Bird Hop

Oophs sorry  for some reason the scheduling didn't work.

Today is my day on the Tree Bird hop. I love the fabric line but I haven't been able to get any here in London. Instead I used fabric from my stash. Thanks to Samm from Sew We Stitch for organising the hop and Lana from It seams to be sew.  keeping us on track.

I started two projects for this hop but only got one finished (the second is still in lots of little bits). Last year I took part in the 'For the birds' and for this I made a quilt for when John goes bird watching. It lives in his car and I have found it really useful when we have been bird watching in the cold weather.

For the Tree bird hop I have one project that will also live in John's car and will be used when bird watching. John has had a pillow in his car for several year. One of the children would often use it for a nap on the way home from school or it was used at picnics or bird watching. It did originally have a beautiful bright orange cover but now it is rather sad with stains that just don't come out in the wash.

and worse still on the other side .....

I'd been planning to make a new pillow for some time but just hadn't got round to it so here was my chance.

I had a fat quarter of fabric with a lovely bird on it so this was my starting point. The background had to be blue to match with the quilt. 

I just love this little bird. I quilted around the outline of the bird and some of the leaves and stems. I missed that one thread when I took this photo. So my finished bird pillow.

The back of the pillow has a fold over opening. I couldn't get a good photo to show how 'puffy' the little bird is. I realised when I was quilting round the bird and the leaves that my skills of free motion quilting have improved a lot. I could actually follow the line of the pattern without too many problems.

Following the bird theme John, Richard and I spent a fun evening last week making up bird models with Lego. Richard has always loved Lego since he was tiny and now he occasionally treats himself to one of the Lego ideas sets.

This ideas set makes three birds.

Each bird comes with its own packets of pieces and instructions

Picasso does like to help and there was a risk that he would knock all the pieces on the floor

My job was to make the humming bird and flower.

Whilst Richard made the Robin and John put the Blue Jay together

It was a fun evening and reminded me of building Lego models with the children when they were small.

I hope you liked my bird pillow . Here's the list of the rest of the blogs you need to visit today.
Thursday, March 19

Enjoy the hop and have a great day


Saturday, 7 March 2015

Sunshine and sewing.

Today we've had wall to wall sunshine in London UK, beautiful blue skies and a temperature of around 15 Celsius (59 - 60 Fahrenheit). What a lovely March day. Today I had marking I needed to get done, I wanted to walk Scamp and try and fit in some sewing. The plan was to mark two papers, sew for half an hour, do another 2 to 3 papers and then a little more sewing. First Scamp needed a walk.

Unfortunately I took on more work this year and so Scamp and I have less time for walking in the week. At present, by the time I get home it is already dark so we can't really walk in the evening. With the great weather John, Scamp and I set off for the common. Scamp loves his walks and always has but it's only recently that he's taken to being off his lead. Possibly being 'bounced' by larger dogs when he was young made him wary. However since Lucy got her large dog Buddy and we started walking them together Scamp has gained confidence and loves time of his lead. 

Unfortunately he is quite easy to lose sight of as he does blend in well with the colours of the dead leaves. He also fancies he's an intrepid explorer and likes to lead the way and find new paths. He's looking rather shaggy and needs clipping. Although he's a Yorkshire Terrier and therefore fairly small he loves the great outdoors. Letting his fur grow isn't an option as he jumps in puddles and acts as a mud magnet.

There were several large clumps of snowdrops in flower.

Back home again Scamp settled down to a post walk nap and I logged on to my computer and marked two essays. I followed that by quilting the flowers in the centre of the remaining cornerstones of Kathryn's quilt. Then it was back to the marking. This time I decided to mark 4 essays before my next half hour of sewing. I had finished two when the system went down. All the essays are marked on line so if the programme crashes you can't access the work -what a shame. Never mind I made good use of my time and quilted the borders and trimmed the quilt ready to apply the binding. Sadly at that point the system was working again so back to the marking grindstone......

I've now finished that batch of essays so I'm going to do a little hand stitching before bed. Tomorrow I have another batch of essays to mark but in between i will attach the binding to the front of the quilt by machine and then start the hand stitching on the back.  A couple more days will see the 'Votes for women' quilt completely finished.

I hope you've had some good weather where you are. Tomorrow is set to be another sunny, warm day here.


Lean stitching times but plans for March.

The last two weeks have been very lean sewing times. I've had a lot of marking to get finished and it has to take priority. I hate it when I have to put my machine and quilt project away especially when I am so close to finishing an old project. I started the 'Votes for Women' quilt in September 2012 when the blocks appeared as a block a week on Barbara Brackman's blog Grandmother's Choice It ran for 49 weeks. I didn't manage to keep up with the weekly blocks at the time but now I'm so close to finishing. I had hoped it would be a February finish but ran out of time. However it will be ready to post as a Friday finish next week. When I get this close to a finish I hate having to stop until it's done.

My plans for March will be.

1. Finish the 'Votes for Women' quilt.

All the blocks have been quilted and the sashing. I just have to finish quilting the borders and then stitch the binding. It will take quite a while to stitch in all the ends.

2. Star Trek Quilt

This is all ready for quilting. It should be fairly quick to do as Richard wants an all over meander. However the quilt is large at 90 x 90 inches.

3. Finish my Tree Bird project.

Sew we quilt

I'm taking part in the Tree bird blog hop at Sew we Quilt. My day is March 19th and I'm looking forward to sharing my project with you. I'm not using the Tree bird fabric as I've been unable to get any in the area of London where I live, but I have lots of birds.

4. Another Little Quilt Swap  9

Another Little Quilt Swap

This needs to be finished this month ready to swap in April. I know what I'm making and I've got most of the fabric but haven't started yet.

5. Baby quilt for Mel.

I have to make a baby quilt for Mel another of my colleagues. She doesn't know the sex of her baby and doesn't want to know so this has to be a gender neutral quilt. She goes on Maternity leave on the last Friday of the month.

There are also small projects to work on, the blocks for the rainbow scrap challenge and the 'book it ' project. Oh for more hours in the day.

I haven't been doing any of my hand stitching recently and I need to get back to it. I started doing a minimum of 30 minutes stitching a day and starting tomorrow I'd like to try and do this again.

John and I were supposed to be walking tomorrow but we both have work we must do so we've scrapped that idea. Instead we'll take Scamp for a walk over the common and then spend the day working. Tomorrow evening the machine will be coming out to get the quilting finished.


Saturday, 21 February 2015

A muddy walk along the riverside.

Today John ,Tony and I set off by underground to Paddington station to catch the train to Maidenhead and the start of our walk. We planned to walk from Maidenhead to Datchet  as part of walking the Thames path. The Thames Path is a long distance walking trail, following the Thames for 184 miles (294 Km) from its source in the Cotswolds through several rural counties and on into the heart of London. We have chosen to walk the route from the Thames barrier to it's source. Today the section we were walking was from Maidenhead back towards London so that our journey was shorter for the return trip.

Not far from the start of the walk we went under Maidenhead Railway bridge. This bridge was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and completed in 1839. It carries the main line from Paddington to Bristol. The arches of the bridge are the largest and flattest brick arches ever built and many people thought that the bridge would collapse the first time a train ran over it.

In 1844 Turner painted the arches in his picture Rain, Steam and Speed on the Great Western Railway.  The painting is part of The National Gallery, London collection.

Image from wikimedia

At Bray we stopped and ate our lunch by the side of the lock. The weather was dry and at times the sun was bright and very warm.  Where the path was properly made up as it is in this photo the going was easy and dry. However most of the walk was along rough pathways and grass which included a lot of large puddles and mud.

Further along we walked past Boveney Church. The church is under the care of the Friends of Friendless Churches and has recently been restored, particularly the 15th century weatherboarded and timber framed tower.

As we walked into Windsor we could see the castle. We would get a better view as we walked round Windsor towards Datchet.

Going over Windsor bridge we spotted a large flock of swans

Before we started on the last stage of our walk we stopped at the Chocolate cafe for a hot chocolate. Mmm yummy I shall certainly be visiting here the next time I'm in Windsor.

We set off on the final stage of our walk from Windsor to Datchet and as we walked along the river we got a better view of Windsor castle.

The walk was longer than our route information suggested but it was a lovely day and we really enjoyed it. At Datchet  we caught the train home.. This evening I had an appointment with some embroidery whilst watching TV but I'll tell you about that another day.