Friday, 26 September 2014

A little catch up sewing.

At the beginning of the month I realised I had got a little behind with the blocks for the Rainbow scrap challenge and well behind with the blocks for the Austen family album. I also wanted to finish the star trek quilt top for Richard.  The blocks for the star trek quilt are almost done but at the moment I can't complete the top as I need some fabric for the borders. I hadn't originally intended adding a border but I'd like the quilt to be just a little bit bigger.

Over the month I've worked on the rainbow challenge blocks. First I completed the four 9 patch blocks. These finish at 6 inches square. The colour this month was orange. These blocks are all the same size but I was holding the camera at an angle and it has altered the perspective.

Next I made the orange hexi block,

I love the pumpkin fabric. Next the red hexi block from a previous month.

Finally I made four blocks for the Charming Stars sew along taking place over at Terry's Treasures For the sew along you work at your own pace so I made four blocks this month . I haven't decided what size quilt to make so I need to think about this before next month as that may alter the number of blocks I make.

The pattern uses charm packs and I have a couple of packs I wanted to use plus some charm squares I was gifted. As the packs aren't all the same fabric line this is going to be another scrappy quilt. Not a problem as I love scrappy. I must find a project box for these blocks as they have already got scrunched up by being put in my scrap box.

The next job is to catch up on the Austen family album blocks. I have only done 3 or 4 blocks so I am way behind. Also I have a pinafore dress to finish.Hopefully this will be a busy sewing weekend.

Here in London we are enjoying some great weather. It is warm and sunny during the day although a little chilly at night. I've been spending time outside whilst the weather holds. There will be lots of time for sewing as it gets colder. Although it's warm autumn has already started to change the colour of the leaves. Today I collected lots of conkers. Many of the girls at Brownies have never played conkers so we thought we'd have a conker tournament next week. I have to string the conkers this weekend ready for the meeting. The girls also want to make leaf prints since they have already started to fall. We should also be able to have one more campfire with toasted marshmallows before it becomes too dark at our meeting time.

I hope the weather is good where you are.


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Sunday sewing

Over the last week I haven't felt very bright. You know when you get the tickly nose and vague soreness at the back of your throat plus the headache. As a result I didn't feel much like sewing. I wanted to work on my son's Star Trek quilt but as I hadn't looked at it in a while I needed a clear head to avoid any mistakes. 

Yesterday I was feeling better and so we took Scamp for a walk on Wimbledon Common. The weather here in london is lovely and warm and it was a perfect day for a walk. We walked round Queensmere. When the waterlilies are in bloom it is really beautiful. It was vey quiet on the water with only a few mallards swimming around. 

We walked along the bridlepaths.

Some of the leaves are already starting to change colour and fall. Scamp found some interesting sniffs.

When we got home I cleaned my machine and spent some time stroking fabrics that I might use in future projects. 

So today I started work on the Star Trek quilt. The blocks are large finishing at 24 inches and it is all squares and rectangles so no tricky triangles to worry about. I had completed one block before I put it away and also cut out all of the star trek fabric but only some of the background fabric. 

I bought a selection of star trek fabric so that there would be variety in the blocks. Over the afternoon I completed another 4 blocks. I'm using 9 blocks in the quilt but the middle block is a panel of star trek fabric so I only have another 3 blocks to sew. This is planned for tomorrow. By the time I'd pieced the 4 blocks I was getting a little tired and managed to sew one seam the wrong way round. A quick bit of unpicking and the problem was soon made good. This was a good time to stop as there would only have been more mistakes.

So I picked up my hexi hand stitching this evening as I settled down to watch a programme I'd recorded from the TV. Scamp climbed on my lap and we had a relaxing time. Over the week I've put together my yellow hexis for the Rainbow Scrap challenge and I'll machine applique it to the background tomorrow. Here's the partially finished piece.

I'm playing catch up with the hexi blocks as I still have the red one to do but I am currently working on the orange block for this month. It should be ready to applique to the backgound tomorrow. Once I've caught up on these blocks I'm back to working on my 'It's a dogs life' blocks. I haven't done any stitching on this quilt since April

Today has been a good sewing day. I hope you've had a good Sunday.


Saturday, 6 September 2014

September goals

Never too hot to Stitch!2014 NewFO ChallengeA Lovely Year of Finishes

I haven't played along with ALYOF, Something Old Something New or with the NewFO challenge for a couple of months. Between the computer going wrong and the sewing machine playing up I didn't seem to get much done. Now  I've got all my work commitments up to Christmas planned out and organised so it's safe to set some goals again. 

My goal for ALYOF's is to get my star trek quilt top pieced together. I started this a while back having had difficulties finding the fabric. I could have ordered it from America but the shipping costs were high so I didn't want to do that. I eventually found it one day whilst out on a walk along the Thames. Whenever we go somewhere different I always check for quilt shops and this obsession certainly paid off. 

I need to check out the zippy bags I use to store my projects. I think all the fabric for the top is cut but I can't remember. I've got several different Star Trek fabrics in each block and the blocks finish at 24 inches. I've already made a couple and I remember that they went together really quickly but it will be slow until I get my head back into what I'm doing. 


I need to get this quilt completely finish before Christmas. The quilt is for Richard, my son. When I was packing away all the Christmas decorations last year Richard 'borrowed' the quilt I'd made, just to test it out on his bed. He has discovered the joy off a quilt and is holding the Christmas quilt to ransom. If I want to use it this year I need to finish the star trek quilt.

In August I started a new project which was a quilt for Hannah our young leader at Guides. She is going away to University later this month. She's been a member of my units since she was 5 and we will certainly miss having her at meeting. I tested a pattern of Amy's from Sew Incredibly Crazy and used it to make this quilt. All I have left to do is add the quilt label. The label is going to have a star on it like the quilt but Lucy and I can't decide on the words we are going to put on. We have another week to make our decision. I posted this quilt as one of my makes for the 'see you in September' hop but the colour didn't come out well so here is another photo.

The background is a pretty blue not grey as it appears in the hop photos. Unfortunately it is all crumpled as it had a pile of sewing bits on it. It also has a couple of Picasso's paw prints as it was raining hard the other day when I was finishing it off.  The quilt will be washed before it is gifted. The back is pieced and I found this lovely fabric with musical instruments. Hannah loves her music.

I have a second pattern I'm testing for Amy so that will be my NewFO for September. 

So just one goal and one NewFO this month. I want a calm relaxed life for a while. The Star Trek quilt will be my something old and the pattern test may be my something new for Lynne's challenge at Never too hot to stitch

For now the sewing has to go on hold as I seriously need to clean up after my sewing binge. There are bits of threads and fabric all over the floor in the dining room. Then the machine needs a good clean and telling how good it is before I start on the September goal. This evening we are out visiting the Matisse Cut Out exhibition at the Tate Modern. It finishes tomorrow so we almost missed it.

I'm linking up with Barbara at Cat Patches, Melissa at Sew Bitter Sweet Designs and Lynne at Never too hot to stitch

I hope you are having a good weekend with time for some sewing.


Thursday, 4 September 2014

See you in September


The summer break is over and the new season kicks off with one of Mdm Samm's blog hops. This one involved making three items and one had to include Riley Blake Design gingham. Mdm Samm does love her gingham and so do I and the RBD gingham is rather special. Our cheerleader for the hop is Shari from Living with Purpose

My first project is a quilt. Hannah who is a Young Leader with our Guide unit is leaving to go to university. She joined Rainbows when she was 5 and has gone through Brownies and Guides as well. She loved our unit project to make prem baby quilts so it seemed appropriate to make her a quilt as her leaving present. 

The next problem was what pattern to use. Hannah's name at Guides is Sparkie because she is such a lively, happy young woman. When I saw that Amy from Sew Incredibly Crazy was looking for pattern testers for a couple of her designs I jumped at the chance. The patchwork star was the perfect pattern and I was able to make the star from scraps of fabric left over from the baby quilts.

I'm sorry that the photos are a little dark but I had to take them in doors as it was raining and went very dark. The blue backing fabric is actually much brighter.  I chose fabric with musical instruments for the backing. Hannah loves her music. I pieced the backing using a strip of the blue from the front on either side.

I love the patchwork star.

The star and the border are quilted with a large meander and the rest of the quilting echos the star shape.

Amy's pattern was very well written and easy to follow so the quilt just flew together. I am so pleased with the result and I think Hannah will love it. Thanks Amy for letting me test your pattern, I love it

My second project was a cushion cover and this is where I used the RBD gingham. I love gingham as it always looks so fresh. In addition it always reminds me of my childhood as my school uniform summer dresses where always gingham. I used a pattern by Sarah Soward which appeared in British Patchwork and Quilting in August 2013. I chose the medium red gingham for the flowers.

Again I'm very happy with the result. I had a FQ of the gingham and have enough to make a second cushion cover. This will be made over the next few days. My son suggested I make two more but with the gingham as the background and use white for the flowers. I machine appliqued the flowers and found it a little tricky going round all those curves.

My final project was a summer dress. I've had this fabric for a while but hadn't got round to making it up. I chose a simple shift dress style by McCall. Their patterns are easy to follow and go together well. I didn't need to alter the pattern to get a good fit. My only problem was that no one was around to take a photo of me wearing it. I'll see what I can do over the next few days.

So there are the projects I've been working on over the holiday. I have also managed to finish another dress that I started last year and put away for some reason and I'm currently making a pinafore dress. As the weather here in London turned wet and cooler in August I picked up my knitting again and I've been busy trying to finish John's jumper. It's nice to have a break from work and be able to catch up with some projects.

Now you need to visit the rest of the hop. Here's the list of today's participants.

Thursday, September 4Jane's Quilting
Life in the Scrapatch
Sew Many Yarns - you are here
Gracie Oliver Arts
Everyone Deserves a Quilt

I hope you've enjoyed visiting today, it was lovely to see you. I hope you'll come and visit again soon.


Monday, 25 August 2014

Slow stitching and heavy lifting.

Here in the UK today was the late summer bank holiday and as often seems to happen the day in London was a complete washout. It was raining when I woke up and hasn't stopped for most of the day. In fact at 10.30 this evening we were finally able to take Scamp for a walk without getting wet. Originally our plans for today had involved a walk but John remembered that he had agreed to help remove the flats from the stage at the church hall so the rain didn't spoil our day. There were five of us doing the job although one person had to leave early as they had another engagement. The whole process took 3 and a half hours (or 16 hours if you take the number of people doing the job).

The final job was completed this afternoon when John and I went back to unscrew the picture that sits behind the doors on the back flat. When not covered up for alternative scenery it looks like the doors lead into the garden.

The stage is quite a big space when empty. The floor is in desperate need of a good sanding and finishing. Last year I got a huge splinter down the side of my finger nail from it and several others have been injured. The floor is being sanded and finished tomorrow and at the weekend the bits all need to go back.

At present they are resting at the back of the church hall covered by the stage curtains. 

It doesn't look much having finished the job. There was a remarkable amount of heavy wood and other bits stored behind the flats and this all had to be moved. We managed to find homes for everything elsewhere. Once we put everything back in its place I will take a photo of the stage since I forgot a before picture.

Yesterday I went through my project bags and found that I hadn't fully stitched the green hexi block for the Rainbow Scrap challenge from a couple of months ago. I finished this up whilst watching the second Hobbit film.

I had to hunt  around for the backing fabric. I still need to make the red and yellow hexi blocks.

I hunted for some brighter green fabric for this months blocks  and found this to make the hexi block. I still need some more fabric for the nine patch blocks.

I'll finish this one up tomorrow evening if I can find a good film to watch.

Tomorrow I plan on starting the quilting on the quilt I'm making for Hannah. This is one of my projects for the 'See you in September' blog hop. My day is the 4th September so you'll have to wait until then to see the completed quilt. If I have time I also have a new project I want to start.

For now I'm heading off to bed as it is 11.52 and I'm rather sleepy. I'm hoping that by the time I wake up I will have decided on the colour scheme for my next quilt. Did I tell you that the other morning I woke up from a dream in which I was stroking some beautiful fabric to find myself gently stroking the edge of the duvet. Does this mean I've been overdoing the sewing?.........


Friday, 22 August 2014

Why didn't I finish it?

I was looking through a cupboard yesterday checking out the contents of the various bags and boxes when I came across a bag I had completely forgotten about. The bag contained an almost made summer dress and a partly sewn blouse. I'm not sure why they had been relegated to the depths of the cupboard but on closer inspection I found the dress only needed the buttonholes made and the buttons sewn on. I have vague memories that around the time I'd been making the dress a little argument had blown up along the lines of  'all you're interested in doing is sewing'. Not a comment I hear these days as John realises I'm much calmer and happier when I'm sewing, knitting or generally being creative. 

Anyway today I reminded myself how the buttonhole stitch on my machine worked and then got the dress finished. The pattern is by McCalls. I've used it before and it makes a comfortable well fitting dress that is great for wearing to work.

I can't show you a photo of me wearing the dress as there is no one around to take the picture. When I wear it I'll get John to take a photo. I hope the weather stays warm a little longer so I can get some wear out of it this year. I really should have pressed it before I took the photo. I know this isn't a quilty finish but it is a finish so I'm linking up with Link a finish Friday at Richard and Tanya Quilts.

The blouse is still in the project bag untouched. I have some mending I need to get done before I start on it. I also prepared Hannah's quilt ready for quilting and need to get that done. Do you want a sneak peek? This is the fabric I chose for the backing. Hannah loves her music and I know she'll like the fabric.

I was going to make the blocks for this months Rainbow Scrap challenge. The colour is green. Earlier in the year there was a green month but that was dark green. This month is light bright green and I don't seem to have any scraps matching that remit. I need to do some swapping with my friends. 

Last weekend I started some peach wine. Today I moved it into the demijohn and it is bubbling nicely. It is very cloudy at the moment but over the next few weeks that will settle and I'll syphon the wine into a clean jar (racking). It will gradually clear over the next few months and after being racked a few more times. I'm hoping to buy some peaches tomorrow to make peach chutney and then once our apples are fully ripe I'll make some apple chutney. We have two apple trees, a Cox's Orange Pippin and a Egremont Russet . The Cox's is loaded with fruit but the other only has a few apples. Last year it was the other way round.

It's nearly bedtime here in the UK so I'm going to knit a few rows of John's jumper whilst I catch up with the news on TV and then I'm off to bed. I'm hoping to get some quilting done tomorrow. Sweet dreams when bedtime comes to your part of the world.


Monday, 18 August 2014

Lots of cutting out and a little jam

I started the quilt for Hannah yesterday or rather I started the cutting stage. I needed a lot of 2 and a half inch squares in a range of colours and patterns. I had a jelly roll of solid colours but I wanted to use some of my scraps. Hannah will recognise several of the scraps as fabrics we used when making the prem baby quilts. I also needed a pile of six and a half inch squares. That job didn't take long so I've been able to start the sewing. This is a start and finish quickly quilt as Hannah's last week with us at Guides is the 17th September. The following week she starts at University.

On the 21st July I started a diet and exercise plan. I've cut out cakes and sugary things and generally being more careful on what I eat. I've found it's about making choices - yes I would like the chocolate cake but I'll have a piece of fruit instead. I have also increased my exercise and the great thing about that is that you can have chocolate cake occasionally. Anyway the great news is that I've lost 9 lbs in 4 weeks and I haven't felt hungry at all. I do feel tired from the extra exercise but the knock on effect is I sleep like a log, in fact I've started going to bed earlier. This is good as I would often only get 5 hours sleep.

In preparation for the new me I decided to cut out a couple of patterns in the next size down. I thought of waiting until I am down to my ideal weight but decided a girl needs a treat to keep her on the straight and narrow. Plus I've had the fabric in my dressmaking stash for ages  and the garment can easily be altered later. I've had the pattern for a while and made the blouse and tunic top for several people but never for me.

I'm taking part in the See you in September blog hop at Sew We Quilt and the quilt and blouse will be part of my projects. We have to make something using Riley Blake gingham and I'm looking forward to getting started on that.

Yesterday I also made some jam. When out and about in town I found that the peaches (and nectarines) were super cheap and large and juicy. I decided to make some peach jam and also start some peach wine. Going back a few years I regularly made jams and pickles but got out of the habit. Barbara at Cat Patches got me started again. I've been following her blog for a couple of years and she bottles fruit and pickles. Reading her blog reminded me of the pleasure of homemade chutneys and jams.

I used the recipe from In Jennie's Kitchen for the jam and the wine recipe was from Wine making guides I used to have a great wine making recipe book for country wines but vaguely remember giving it to a friend. Not a problem with friend internet at hand. 

I have a large ironing mountain that I'm ploughing my way through so I'm off to iron a few more items so I can reward myself with some stitching. Mmm a good film and a little hand stitching sound like a perfect evening.