Sunday, 12 July 2015

What's in my piggy bank?

Val's Quilting Studio

It is simply ages since I last had time to write a post and almost as long since I last did some sewing. However I'm starting to get excited. I still have marking to do but it will all be finished by the end of this week. So one module with 16 students and the other with 12 students will be done by Tuesday. Then I have a module with 28 students to mark by the end of the week. Then blissfully I will be able to take lots of time out to sew and I've already started organising my projects.

As I have several new projects I want to get started on I need to buy some fabric. A trip to the fabric shop to buy for a new project is always a joy but puts quite a strain on the old purse. However a year ago I signed up to the piggy bank challenge at Val's Quilting Studio and  this last week was the week for counting up what I had saved. 

Here's my fat piggy bank that I used this year. I also used a tin to save in because I misplaced my pig earlier this year when we were having work done in the house. I had to go through boxes that were still packed up and enjoyed the feeling of finding treasured possessions. Not only did I find my piggy bank I also found my grandmother's garden hexi quilt flowers. More about that in a minute, first the piggy bank.

Although I hadn't put any money in the pig since January it felt quite heavy and I was amazed to find I had saved £103 plus a few pennies. Since January I had saved £45 in 20 pence pieces and another £10 in small coppers. So the grand total in my savings is £158. That will do very nicely to fund my fabrics for the new projects.

Val is running the Challenge again this year and I'm in. I shall be using the same piggy bank and I shall be starting my saving from 1st August. I'm not starting until then as I am going on holiday the last week of July and will be enjoying ice creams and cream teas and maybe a trip to a fabric shop so there won't be any cash to feed the pig. I wonder if I can save more next year?

I said I'd tell you about the grandmother's garden hexi quilt. I started this for Lucy some time ago. I think it may have been back in 2012 but I'm not sure. I'm working out from the middle flower and I don't sew any flowers on until I have the number needed for that round. I had been working on the indigo round (did I mention I was doing the rounds in the colours of the rainbow?) Anyway once I complete each flower I put it in a box until I have enough for that round. I have been looking for the box since March but couldn't find it but in looking for the piggy bank I found where it had been packed away. So now I can add the next round. In case you are worried my memory is getting a bit ropey (I know I do at times) I must point out that I didn't do the packing. We needed to clear an area in one of the bedrooms so that some work could be done. I wasn't at home so had no idea where anything was packed.

I must remember to post a picture of how far the quilt  has grown. I should have used bigger hexis as they are only 1 inch so it is taking quite a time to complete. 

So pop over to Val's Quilting Studio and see how people did with the challenge this year and then maybe decide to join in too. I'm looking forward to picking out my fabrics with it all paid for from my savings this year. 

Hope you had a good weekend. I cleared a lot of marking. It meant I didn't get much exercise but the job is almost done. I can then declare the holiday session open and get on with my sewing. This time next week my machine will be purring.


Saturday, 27 June 2015

Cake and Crochet

As July moves ever closer I'm getting more and more excited about having time to indulge myself in a frenzy of quilting and embroidery. All the courses I'm involved with at work are slowly winding down either as the course ends completely or for the summer break. Today one of my student groups celebrated the end of their course. The real end is next Friday but they have a test to complete on that date so decided that a little party was needed this week, including cake.

Tracey, one of the students makes cake and she bought this delicious creation for us all to share.

The cake was a heavy vanilla sponge with a cream topping. It was delicious and didn't last very long!  

When I got home this evening I hunted out my crochet hooks and some double knitting wool. I had seen a crochet along at Sophie's Universe and decided I wanted to have a go. I haven't done any crochet for several years so it took a little time to find the crochet hooks. I found the pattern was easy to follow and completed the first 7 rounds this evening. I need to check the number of stitches I have before I carry on.

You are supposed to start the piece off using the 'magic circle' start but I found it difficult with the thick wool but I'm happy with how it looks. I have a lot of this thick wool so I'm going to continue but I think it would look great using a thinner gauge.

I'm using my phone camera for quick pictures like this one and the cake and that seems to be working out OK. My phone automatically backs up my photos to dropbox so they are ready and waiting for me when I come to write a post, which means no need to find the cable to connect the camera to the computer. I have a Nikon 1 that I usually use but it stopped working recently and I was getting an error message saying the lens wasn't attached properly even though it was. The good news is that when I phoned the Nikon repair office they told me this was a known problem and the lens would be fixed / replaced free of charge. So the lens has been sent off. I'll be pleased to get it back as I usually have it in my bag just in case a good photo shot appears. We have a Canon digital SLR but it's a bit heavy to carry around all the time.

I'm planning on getting some quilting done today but need to walk up to the sewing shop for thread supplies first. I also want some fabric so I need to spend a little time thinking about what I need before I go. I know I'll come back with something I hadn't planned on but it would be good to get all the bits that I actually need to get on with projects.

It's a very hot sunny day here so before I do anything else I'm off to slop on lots of sun screen, then a walk to the fabric shop, then who knows......? I hope your day is going well


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

A finish and stitchery.

I finally finished Richard's Star Trek quilt. I'm not sure how long it has taken to make but I know I started it some time last year. The last stages seemed to take the longest especially sewing in all the ends. I'm expected to find a couple of ends I haven't done as the thread colour matches the front so well it's difficult to see the ends.

Scamp thought he'd just test it out before Richard got home. Richard is already planning his next quilt. I muttered that I fancied making a Pac-Man quilt and he thought that was a great idea

I'm going to take the quilt outside to get a better photo later this week.

When I was going through my emails today I found a comment from Super Mom No Cape about my dog's life blocks and her weekly stitchery link up. It's always nice to get comments.

Anyway I decided to revisit the completed blocks. I lay them out on the floor and loved the 
way they looked. I didn't take a photo since I can pull the individual blocks from my albums.

The quilt started with this block.

Second was this one. 

I love number three the little dogs playing.

Number 4 celebrated working dogs. 

I love the laid back dogs in the fifth block

Number 6

Currently I'm working on block 7 

I'm getting on quite well with this block and then there is just one more to do. I've also identified my next stitching project and I'm excited to get started on it.

I'm linking this post with  Super Mom No Cape. Why not go and see what other people have been stitching.

For now I need to set my machine up ready to start the quilting on my baby quilt. Have a good Tuesday.


Sunday, 14 June 2015

Slow getting there

It seems ages since I last had time to sew or write a post. It's that time of year when students are submitting their final essays of the year and there's lots of marking. Today I said NO to work, I'm not missing another sewing day, I won't do it!  It made me feel good as I lifted my machine onto the table and got out my project bags.

First up was to sew the baby blue churn dash blocks for the June rainbow scrap challenge. At the moment I don't have very many blue scraps at all so I didn't have a lot of choice but I like what I ended up with. I had to use my phone to take the pictures as my camera has gone off for repair.

Next I wanted to finish the top for the baby quilt for Kate my work colleague. I don't know if she's had the baby yet but it's due about now.

I had to put the top on the floor to take the photo and Scamp decided to take a look. You can also see the horrid old victorian floor boards at the bottom of the picture. We have new flooring going down soon..Yipee. This top has now turned into a quilt sandwich and I'll try to get the quilting done this week. I still have three more baby quilts to make, one for a boy who has already been born and two for girls who are due in September. There really does seem to be a baby boom this year.

After that I settled down to finish sewing the binding onto the Star trek quilt. I'm very happy to report it is all done. I thought I'd sewn in all the ends from the quilting but I found some when I went to take the photo so I'll do that tomorrow. I can't wait to finally declare this one finished.

Last but not least I did a little stitching on the latest dog block. There's just one more to do after this one.

As you can see I haven't done very much yet but at least I've started it. I'm linking this post up with Kathy for Slow stitching Sunday

I hoping for more stitching time this week, I just need to get work back under control.


Friday, 5 June 2015

Embroidered adverts and mats.

Work has been really tiring this week but I can always relax so long as I can do some stitching. Waiting at the bus stop with John at 6.20 in the morning earlier this week I got that happy feeling as I realised that the advert for Royal Ascot was a piece of embroidery. I took the picture on my phone so it isn't great but even with the glare on the glass you can see the threads, On the original stitching the threads have been left long and pulled towards the back of the horse. This gives the sense of movement. Even on the printed advert the stitching looks great. This is currently my favourite advert.

You can find out more of Royal Ascot and see more of the stitchery. I just love the stitching. Ascot is a  Racecourse in  Ascot Berkshire. The course is popular with our Royal family because it is only about six miles from Windsor Castle.The Royal Meeting is held in June, and it's highlight is the Gold Cup. T
I set up the next block for the 'Dog's life' quilt.

This is the 8th block of 9. I also finally did the quilting on the first of my little mats for the bathroom. I have a beach theme going on in the bathroom so this shell fabric is perfect.

I quilted it following the stripes. The line down the middle of the picture is a fold line as I'd put the mat back into my project bag. The camera has altered the colours along this line.

The backing fabric is plain blue and I love that you can see the quilting lines clearly. Again the camera has altered the colour. I have two other mats made from the same fabric which I still have to quilt.

The sad news is my camera has developed an error. The lens is not working properly and I'm getting an error message telling me I must contact my Nikon repairer. I need to look out our big digital SLR as I've recently got back into taking lots of pictures and don't want to lose the momentum. the only trouble is that the big camera is heavy.

Tomorrow we are going hiking and I'm also hoping to have time to work on my baby quilt tomorrow evening. The weather should be good so I'm looking forward to our day out.

I hope your weekend has some sewing in it.


Sunday, 31 May 2015

A lovely slow day

Today was nice and slow which after yesterday's rush to get lots of jobs done was very pleasant. The weather here has gone cooler and there has been some rain so it was perfect for staying indoors and catching up on a few jobs. Before I settled down to some sewing I needed to take Scamp for his walk. Once home again the day was mine to work on various projects.

Before starting sewing I decided to check out the tiles I have chosen for the kitchen. We collected them yesterday but I hadn't opened the boxes. All the units were fitted in February and since then I've painted the walls and ceiling. Choosing the tiles proved a little difficult as we couldn't find something we both liked. I didn't want a tile that was all shiny and John thought the ones I liked too busy. We kept on visiting various tile shops and finally John decided he liked the ones I'd pointed out at the beginning of our search. I think I'm attracted to them because the look like mini quilts. I can't wait to start tiling later in the week.

Then I stitched the last bits of the dog's life block I've been working on. I washed the fabric solvy out and got it dried. I now have two more blocks to finish. I need to cut some more background fabric so I'll start the next block tomorrow.

I spent a little time working on the next rows of the baby quilt. I just love the way this quilt is making up

Finally I continued hand stitching the binding on the star trek quilt. I haven't bothered to take a photo of this as there really isn't much to see.

While out shopping last Thursday I treated myself to a fat quarter bundle. I have a new project in mind and these fabrics are perfect.

The last part of the day was spent going through my stash and stroking fabric. I have several new projects I want to start but need to sort out the fabric first. Planning fabrics is such a soothing activity. 

I'm linking up with Kathy's Quilts for slow stitching Sunday. It's so nice to take life at a slower speed.


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

On my design wall this week.

Today I set out to cut the fabric for the baby quilt. I soon ended up with a neat pile of pieces. I had to number the coloured pieces for the ribbons so I didn't muddle them up.

Well having got that far I thought I'd just stitch a couple of pieces together to see how it looked.

I'm using some strips from a jelly roll I won from Aunt Marti at 52 Quilts in 52 weeks The fabric design is Bloomin Fresh by Deb Strain. It's just perfect for a baby quilt.

I also did some more work on my dog stitchery block but I didn't take a photo. I'm hoping to finish it in the next couple of evenings.

It's been lovely to have 3 days to do some sewing. It's back to work tomorrow so not so much play time but I hoping to get some more of the baby quilt done. I'm also taking the embroidery with me to do in my lunch hour.