Monday, 2 May 2016

Design wall Monday.

It was lovely to have an extra day off this week. May is a fabulous month with two bank holidays, the first one being today. It meant I had an extra sewing day. First I got on with my project for the little quilt swap and my 'Let's book it' project

Let's book it 2016

A while back I saw this quilt on one of the blogs I follow (I can't remember which blog).

This pattern is called  Stairway to cat heaven. I got the pattern free from McCall's Quilting the October 1997  issue and I've been thinking about making the quilt for about a year. Being sensible I knew I didn't have the time to start another quilt but I felt sure I could make this into a small quilt for the quilt swap. I started by going through my blue and purple scrap boxes and this is what I ended up with.

I need to unpick and resew the third row up from the bottom as the seams are off but otherwise I'm happy with this as my base. I have my black cotton to use for the cats. I need to shrink the cat templates and I will probably do that at work as the printer/photocopier will make short work of the job. I also need to find a yellow fabric for the moon. I'm going to add a narrow border so I don't lose any of the picture when I bind it. The swap quilt can be between 10 and 16 inches square. The background fabric is 14 and a half to finish at 14 inches.

Having made the backing I put that to one side and made up one of the cushion covers. I had quilted around some of the logos on the fabric already so I needed to stitch the front and back together. 

Richard is really pleased with the cushion and can't wait for the other 3. I'm hoping to finish another one tomorrow.

This evening I've been doing some more knitting. I'm almost back on track to get this finished on time. I'm linking the post with Judy at Patchwork Times

Back to work tomorrow. I really should have done some work today but stitching was much more fun.


Sunday, 1 May 2016

Sunshine and stitching.

Today the weather has been fabulous with lots of sun, which meant our walk this morning with Scamp was very warm and enjoyable. Out of the sun it was a little cold but walking keeps you warm anyway so no problem.

Once home I had cleaning and laundry to do before I could get back to my sewing. I also had a moment of panic as I realised how much work I needed to clear for work..... but I didn't give in to the panic. Instead I got my 2 1/2 inch scrap boxes out and started choosing squares for a new project. I'm planning on taking part in 'another little quilt swap 10' and I wanted to try out a couple of ideas. If my idea works out this will also be my 'Let's book it' project for May. I'll tell you more tomorrow once I've decided exactly what I'm doing.

Yesterday while out walking Scamp I popped into my local fabric / craft store. They are a huge shop that sells lots of fabric of all types from quilting to wool, dress making, bridal and curtaining. There's also knitting yarn, threads, zips, beads, ribbons and a variety of other crafts including cake making. On this occasion I was simply looking for black cotton.fabric for the back of some cushion covers. Richard bought these Star Trek fat quarters ages ago with a view to making cushions for his room. As this is the next room being decorated the time has come to get the project done.

I cut the fabric to size and got stitching. He wanted 20inch cushions so there are some off cuts of fabric to go into the scrap system. I'll show the completed covers when I buy the pillows later in the week.

So for the rest of the day it's slow stitching. This week I'm working on my knitting. I started this pattern for Maria's baby (the same person the baby quilt is going to). I need to do one pattern repeat every week to have it done for when she goes on maternity leave (June 10th) So far I have almost finished two repeats....I'm 3 rows short and there are 7 repeats in total. I think this will take priority over all slow stitching for a while.

I love this pattern as it's so simple to knit but looks so effective. The pattern repeat is 46 rows and the pattern is repeated 7 times so lots of knitting. Once the main piece is done there is a lacy border, but I might not knit that as the holes in the lace are perfect for small fingers to get caught in.

I'm linking this post up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching Kathy asked what is inspiring us this week. The weather and the changes in nature that comes as a result of the warmer weather. You can't help feeling positive as Spring moves on. It awakens my senses and makes me see everything with new eyes. It's such an energetic and happy time of year. I feel the need to clean to make way for the warmer weather, to finish up old projects and start planning new ones. What's inspiring you at the moment?


A busy but fun day.

Saturday at last and the end of a very busy week. It's also a long weekend, Yipee. The weather has decided to be kind today and the sun has been shining. Occassionally a big dark cloud ambles across the sky but so far it hasn't rained. First thing I had to walk round to our vet as we needed more food for Scamp and Picasso plus I wanted to weigh Scamp. When we were on holiday he wasn't well for a couple of days and then was off his food for a few more days. As a result he lost half a kilogram which in a dog that only weighs 4 and a half Kg is quite a lot. I was very happy to find he'd put on some weight but still has a little way to go. 

Next we needed to go shopping as I wanted some things for Sunday lunch. Although the shops are all open on Sunday I try not to shop. Then it was time to walk Scamp. We went to Wandsworth common and I took the baby quilt with me so I could get a picture. The quilt was my goal for April and also my ' Lets book it' project this month again.

Dust Off Those Books

Although it hasn't rained today the ground was quite wet in places so it took a while to find somewhere suitable to take the picture.

I love the fishes fabric. The backing and the binding is the same fabric and the colours of the spots go so well with the main fabrics.

The baby quilt was my goal for April so I'm very pleased it's all finished.

grab button for RedLetterQuilts

Having said the quilt is all finished I do need to make a label for it. I haven't been labelling my quilts, mainly because our printer stopped working but now we have a new one and I can design and print one out. I'll be doing that this evening.

After taking Scamp for a walk I had space to make some blocks. I got behind with the blocks for the Splendid Sampler so I worked on these. I'm making all the blocks from my scraps. I've caught up with 4 of blocks so far and I'll make some more tomorrow. Only one orange block this week.

The colour in the first three is OK but in this last one the outer square is in fact purple!

After finishing those block put my machine away because Lucy arrived home from work. She started a new job on Tuesday and it was interesting to hear how she is getting on. After that there was dinner to cook and later I decided I wanted to do some painting. I have been reading a couple of art blogs during the week and it reminded me how much I like drawing and painting. The truth is I just like any kind of craft. It's such fun to have an idea and to be able to bring it to life.

I'm linking this post with Sharon for April's 'Lets book it' round up, Heidi for One monthly goal, Amanda Jean for Finish it up Friday and So Scrappy for the final Saturday of orange.  I hope you've had some 'me' time today


Sunday, 24 April 2016

Saturday scrappiness and sloooww Sunday.

On Saturday I'd planned to spend the day making some blocks. No planned is not the quite word. I'd been dreaming, and looking forward to a whole day of making blocks when at 10pm on Friday night I decided to check my diary for next week. Arrrgg I had forgotten that on Saturday we had a university open day for potential students and I had agreed to help. My happy feeling quickly evaporated. In the event the open day wasn't too bad. There were enough enquiries to keep us busy but also time to chat with colleagues and the whole thing ended at 3 which still left some sewing time. 

First I hunted out my orange scraps and got cutting. I 'm making five granny squares a month for my Rainbow scrap challenge this year using 2 1/2 inch squares. I wasn't sure about how well the different fabrics would play with each other but once I'd finished them I liked the way they look.

Having finished these blocks I decided to make the final colours I'd missed from 2015 RSC. I made 6 inch churn dash blocks last year and I missed the purple and the brown blocks. I like making the churn dash blocks and they look so pretty. First the purple,

and next the brown.

I've now made all the blocks for last year's monthly colours but I will need to make some additional blocks to make the quilt the size I want. Not a problem since I still have lots of scraps!

Having finished up the blocks it was time to prepare dinner and I put my machine away for the day. After dinner we watched some television and I did some knitting (until I feel asleep) 
During the evening Kathryn phoned to ask if I wanted to go to an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. Well I'm always willing to visit exhibitions and museum so the answer was of course yes.

The plan was to get to the museum for about 11 am. Since it isn't very far on the tube I left home a little after 10. The tube was standing in the station and as I got on the tannoy said the train was being held as there was something on the line. Eventually we got going and all was looking good until about 4 stops down the line when we were stopped once again. An animal had been reported on the line and so all the power had to be turned off. As the tunnels inter-connect the trains were stopped in both directions. After about 20 minutes they suspended the tube and we all left the train. I decided to go home as I didn't fancy making the journey by bus. The walk home was quite pleasant  and helped towards my total steps. I'm trying to do 10,000 steps every day but it is very difficult when I'm working.

Once home I had some housework to do and Lucy popped in for a chat. After that I was free to get some stitching done. I'm still stitching the binding on the baby quilt, but I should have it finished later today.  

I'm also working on the catitudes cross stitch. The area I've stitched is white on white.Hopefully by next week most of it will be done. I have a plan for this piece of stitching so I need to get a wriggle on.

 A little later this evening I will also do a few rows of knitting. Its growing but quite slowly. Not surprising since there are over 250 stitches in a row.

I'm linking this post with So scrappy and with Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching

I've had quite a bit of sewing time this weekend and I'm looking forward to having more time this week.. I hope the weekend has been good for you. 


Sunday, 17 April 2016

Not so slow Sunday

Today I have been a woman on a mission. I needed to do several household chores. First some laundry so it is lucky that the weather is warm and dry today. I love being able to dry clothes out on the line rather than using the dryer. So first load on the line, refill machine and then iron some items I'd washed earlier in the week.

In between times I had to answer the door to take delivery of Richard's 3D printer. This afternoon he set it up and it is printing away at the moment. It's a little noisy but such fun technology. 

Next I sat and marked the final essays from the first batch. Tomorrow I can now send the marks to the administrator and they can go to the external examiner and so to the examination board. Unfortunately I have another set waiting to be marked and two more sets coming in this week. I'll start the next set tomorrow and plan to mark so many a day. At 3000 words each they take a lot of reading.

Having got that job out of the way I was free to move to the sewing machine. I trimmed the baby quilt and got it all nicely squared up. Then I was able to attach the binding. I find preparing binding quite therapeutic and the job always goes fairly quickly. In no time the binding was attached and I moved the machine away. Any stitching happening for the rest of the day will be hand stitching. I've made the binding from the same fabric I've used for the backing. I'm using those delightful clips to hold the binding in place whilst I stitch. They are great and no risk of stabbing myself with the pins!

That will probably take me most of the evening but I also need to do my 5 knitting rows. Before any of that I'm off to find the cattitudes cross stitching I started some time ago.

I need this for a project I have in mind. I'll tell you more about it in a couple of weeks time when I have the plan clear in my head. This is how much I'd done when I switched it out to work on a different piece.

I also decided to take part in 'Another little quilt swap 10'. I took part in a swap a couple of years ago and made this piece as my swap.

I set out to take part in the last swap but my piece got adopted by my daughter as a present for a friend. Unfortunately I didn't take a photo of it.

Another Little Quilt Swap

If you want to take part in this swap you can find the information here

This weekend has been a success as I've got some of my household chores done, I've quilted the baby quilt and have the binding attached to the front. I just need to hand stitch the back. I've finished my marking so can spend the rest of the evening hand stitching or knitting and that means if there's anything interesting on TV I can sit and watch it......oh I think I have a couple of programmes recorded that I haven't seen yet. So just dinner to organise and I can settle down with Scamp on my lap.  Heaven!

I hope your weekend has been gone the way you planned (or better). I'm linking this post with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching


Saturday, 16 April 2016

A perfect day for quilting.

It's Saturday, a sewing day and I've been looking forward to getting on with some quilting on the baby quilt. Last month I worked on the top for my 'Let's book it project'.  This month I'm continuing with the quilt as my project and I hope to have it finished this week.

Dust Off Those Books

First I had to visit a quilt shop as I needed backing fabric and Wadding. There is a sewing and craft superstore within walking distance of my house but when I'd popped in recently I didn't see any fabric that I wanted to use for the backing so I needed to go further afield. It took an hour to drive there but I found this fabulous fabric which I think is perfect for the backing

Once home I got on with making the quilt sandwich. For once this went really quickly and I soon had my machine set up and ready to start. Back in January we visited Bath and whilst there I treated myself to a pair of gloves for quilting.

Wow I wished I'd found out about them before. I started quilting prepared to find that they were just a gimmick and I'd wasted my money. No, they were so good and made it so easy to move the quilt around whilst I whizzed along. They certainly helped with the whole quilting process. Now I just need something to help with the back and shoulder ache I get when quilting.

Over the afternoon I finished the quilting and all I need to do now is trim the quilt and stitch the binding. Oh and I must check to make sure I'll dealt with all the ends.

I also need to make a label. I haven't made labels for most of the quilts I've made but I decided I'm going to start doing so. Last month I bought a new printer as our old one died of old age and the new one is perfect for making labels.

Tomorrow I'll do the binding and then this quilt will be ready to be gifted. With the baby quilts I've made I haven't washed them before gifting them as most new mothers want to use their own choice of soap powder for their new babies clothes and bedding. I include a label with the washing instructions in the gift box.

This evening I'm getting on with some more knitting. I can't do many rows a day as knitting makes my right shoulder hurt. To make sure I get it finished I'm trying to knit between 5 and 10 rows a day.

I have some marking I need to do before I get on with stitching the binding but by the end of the week I'll have a finish.. 

I hope your Saturday has been as much fun as mine.


Wednesday, 13 April 2016

WIP and Q2 goals

Saturday was supposed to be my sewing day but John's father wasn't well so we went to visit him. We were pleased to find him in good spirits and much better than we had been told. As a result of doing no sewing over the weekend I was excited to get my machine out this morning.

My first job was to give the machine a good clean as it was suffering from fluff overload. Once done the machine was purring nicely and producing a lovely even stitch. I really wanted to get on with my quilting but I need to make my kitchen curtains. A while back I bought this cute fabric.

I had cut the lengths of fabric and lining I needed and so it sat, waiting for the painting and other bits of the kitchen to be finished.

My first job today was to join the main fabric. The window is a big bay and I'm using a double width of fabric for each curtain. I took care to cut the lengths of fabric so the pattern matched so all I needed to do was match the pattern at the join.  I was very pleased with the result although you can see that it isn't completely right on the red teapot.

Having done that it was a relatively quick job to attach the lining to the main fabric and add the curtain header.

I need to stitch the hem, give them a good press and the curtains will be all done. That will have to wait until the weekend.

My kitchen also has a smaller window that I want to make a roman blind for. I'm using the same fabric. I measured the window carefully and worked out how I was going to cut my fabric but I decided to leave this for the weekend. When measurements are crucial I like to leave them for a while, and then go back and recheck my figures. That way it reduces (slightly) the chance I'll make a mistake.

I was going to visit my local quilt shop today as I need some wadding and backing fabric for my baby quilt, however I got a phone call from the blood donor centre asking if I could donate today so I altered my plans. I'm feeling very good because it was my 100th donation.

2016 button 250 best

I spent a little time deciding on my goals for this quarter. I need a few finishes as they have been very few so far this year. So between now and June I want to;

1. Finish the baby quilt for Maria.

The top is all finished and on Saturday I'll buy the wadding and backing fabric. I know how I want to quilt this. Maria's baby is due the end of June but she is hoping to work until early June.

2. Finish the knitted baby blanket.

I started this blanket when we got back from holiday on the 2nd April. It is a large square blanket and so far I've knitted a seventh of the rows. I'm trying to do at least half an hours knitting each day.

3. Quilt 'It's a dogs life' quilt

I finished this last year and put it away for a while. I'm looking forward to quilting this.

4. Finish quilting the 9 patch.

This quilt was made using my rainbow scrap blocks from 2014. I started the quilting but baby quilts needed making and so took priority.

5. Kitchen curtains.

I've included these as they will be finished in this time period. I'm not adding a picture as there's one at the top of the post.

I'm linking this post with Leanne from She can quilt for the 2nd quarter 2016 Finish a long 

I'm working the rest of the week so there will be minimal stitching until the weekend. Roll on Saturday!