Tuesday, 18 November 2014

'Twas the Night'

Hi, today is my day on the 'Twas the Night' hop. If you follow my blog you will know that I haven't been posting recently. Unfortunately I have been unwell with Labyrinthitis which has made sewing a little difficult. Labyrinthitis affects your balance and the movement of the needle and the fabric has been making me very dizzy so sewing has been at a minimum. However I have been working on my Christmas projects - just very slowly.

 Before I tell you about the present I received and about my projects I must thank Madame Samm for organising the hop and Marlene for being a very supportive cheerleader.

I received a lovely gift from Britt-Inger at Hill Valley Quilter from Sweden.

This beautiful bag came through the post. The fabric is fabulous and it is beautifully made. The fabric is a vintage design from about 1980 made by a Swedish fabric factory using a Swedish design. The horse on the side is a  Dalecarlian horse. This is a traditional carved, painted wooden horse statuette that originally came from the Swedish province of Dalarna. It was mostly used as a toy for  children but has now become a symbol of Sweden. I tried to take a photo of the inside of the bag but I couldn't get a clear picture.

Inside the bag there was chocolates. Mmmm yummy. I really enjoyed eating the chocolate and  sharing it with John my husband one evening whilst we watched a film. Thank you Britt-Inger for the lovely present. I will enjoy using the bag

My Christmas project this year is making Christmas stockings.

The Stockings are big enough to hold small presents such as a mascara wand or pencils. They will be used as presents for the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides. Last year I made small christmas tote bags and wanted something different this year.

The stockings are made using the pattern from the swap I did last year with Quilting gallery. The stockings I received last year looked beautiful as part of our Christmas decorations.

Still on the stocking theme I've just started knitting a stocking for Lucy's boyfriend. The stockings are an important part of our Christmas and she wants to share this tradition with her boyfriend.

I'm slowly getting back to sewing and looking forward to blogging again. I've shared the projects I'm slowly working on so now go visit the other folks posting today. There will be lots of fabulous projects to look at.

Tuesday, Nov. 18

Looking forward to getting back into the swing of things again real soon and catching up with all you have been doing. Take care.


Sunday, 12 October 2014

A sewing day at last.

Today's been a busy old day. I only had a couple of hours sleep on Friday night so I had a lie in this morning. Just what I needed and it meant that when I finally woke up I had loads of energy. I had some chores I needed to get done including catching up with my ironing but I had promised myself some sewing time.

I had an ironing mountain that had taken on the proportions of Mount Everest so I desperately needed to reduce this. I spent the early part of the day ironing. I had already done a couple of hours on Saturday but there was a lot of shirts to be done. I ironed for an hour and a half after which I needed to take Scamp out for his walk. The last few days have been wet and yesterday we had to cut Scamp's walk short as it got very wet and he couldn't cope in the wind. 

Today we managed to take a long walk over Wandsworth Common. The weather was dry and warm and lots of families were out. The leaves are all on the turn so the colours are looking beautiful ranging from greens to reds, oranges, yellows and browns. 

Once home and after lunch I got my machine set up and was ready to make a start. I want to finish the Star Trek quilt top this month. I thought I had finished all the blocks but when I got the project bag out I realised I still had two blocks to do and had to sew the border on the central block. I was sure I would remember how the blocks went together so got straight on with a block. Turns out that my memory wasn't so good so I had to rip out several seams on the first block. Never mind I finally finished all the blocks.

The blocks finish at 24 inches. I laid them out on the bed. The central block is just one fabric piece with a border but the other 8 blocks are pieced. There is sashing to be added and a border. Scamp came to help take the photo but when the doorbell went he disappeared in a blur (top left hand corner of the photo).  I thought the quilt top might be too dark but instead it is very bright and cheerful. Tomorrow evening I will add the sashing and hopefully the border. This will be a large quilt.

As I've been busy this week I haven't bothered getting the sewing machine out. Instead i've been sewing hexi flowers for my grandmother's garden quilt. It started will a red central flower and each row going out is the next colour in the rainbow. I am up to indigo or purple. I need 30 flowers for this round. So far I have made 18. I've got several more hexis made but need to sew them into flowers. I was working on that before I started this post and will do a couple more later.

I hate they way the camera changes the colour of the fabric. All of these are various shades of purple but in the photo they look brown, pink, well just about anything but purple. I must take a picture of progress so far.

I have also been knitting. I'm working on a jumper for John but in between I've been using up scraps of double knitting yarn to knit a blanket for a dog or cat at Battersea dog and cats home. It is very relaxing as it is all knit.. no purl rows, no pattern just knit knit knit.

Each band of colour is 10 rows. I only started this last week so it is growing quickly. Last week I decided to try and knit or sew for at least 15 minutes a day. This is so relaxing to do it has been my way of winding down after a day at work. It should be finished by the end of this coming week.

So my sewing day has been very productive. All blocks finished for the Star Trek quilt top and the sashing and border all cut out and ready to add. Quiet hand sewing making hexis and stitching them into flowers. Just another 12 flowers to make and I can add the next row to the quilt.

I hope you've had time for some sewing this weekend and the the weather where you are has been good to you. Here in London there is a weather warning for heavy rain and high winds overnight and into tomorrow. That will make the morning commute to work interesting!


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

September review and October plans

2014 NewFO ChallengeA Lovely Year of FinishesNever too hot to Stitch!

It's that time of the month to review what I managed to achieve last month and think about my plans for October.

September was a busy month. I have taken on more work than I did last year so I have less sewing time. There were also several weekends that were fully booked during the month and it looks a little busy for October. 

I had planned to finish the star trek quilt top  but unfortunately this didn't happen. The blocks are all done but I needed more fabric for the sashing and the border and I wasn't able to get to the shop until the last day of the month.  This will be my main goal for October and is certainly achievable.

I managed to catch up all the blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I'm making 4 nine patch blocks a month. These blocks finish at 6 inches. I am also making a hexi block each month. I'm pleased to have caught up and I've got to go through my scraps to find this months colour of black or browns. 

I love the pumpkin fabric in the orange hexi block.

As my NewFO for September I started the Charming Stars sew along with Terry at Terry's Treasures. I had a couple of charm packs that I had wanted to use up but I couldn't decide on a pattern. When I saw the Charming Star blocks I feel in love with them and just had to join the sew along. In September I made 4 blocks. I still haven't decided how big I want to make the quilt but I will work that out as it progresses. Here are the blocks I've made in September.

This month I need to get started on my project for the 'T'was the night' blog hop. I know what I will be making and I'm hoping to get started this weekend.

Twas the night....blog hop FULL

I also want to start the corset quilt pattern I 've got. I've been collecting the fabrics I want to use for this quilt and I'm getting excited about starting. Roll on my October NewFO.

Last week I went through my work in progress list and realised I haven't done much work on my older projects recently. This month I must move some of these projects forward. I want to work on John's jumper and also on Lucy's grandmother's garden quilt. I'm not working tomorrow so I'll share some photos of how far I've got with these projects. Getting them out of 'storage' will push me forward. Unfortunately putting projects away when I tidy the house results in the projects being forgotten about - out of sight, out of mind. 

I'm not making many plans for this month as we have work we need to do about the house. We are having the heating system redone at the beginning of November- new boiler, pipes and radiators. We have flooring we need to take up and we want to make some other changes whilst the house will be in disarray. In fact this will take up quite a lot of time over the next couple of months as I want the majority of the work completed  in time for the Christmas holidays.

I will also be baking this month. I like to make my own Christmas cake and Christmas puddings. I like to get started on preparations early to try and avoid getting stressed.

I'm hoping to fit at least 15 minutes sewing in every day. This is do-able as I want to work on the hexi quilt. This is all hand stitching and very portable so I can take it to work and do some stitching in my lunch break. I hope you have managed to fit lots of sewing into your plans for October.


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.