Sunday, 10 February 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

Last week was very busy and I was really looking forward to the weekend with time for some stitching. The problem with looking forward to something is that often it just doesn't happen the way you picture it. I'd imagined a very busy weekend of stitching and it was a busy weekend but there wasn't any stitching until this evening.

On Saturday morning we went for a walk with Scamp. He's missed out on his walks recently because the weather's been very wet. Being a small dog he loses body heat very quickly so in the wet we let him out into the garden and just take him for very short walks. The weather yesterday morning was dry and it even felt quite warm. Scamp was very happy and really enjoyed running across the common.

I've just run and run and run. Could you please move on, there's nothing to see here except a happy but tired dog in need of a nap

As always at the weekend there were household chores needing doing and then I had arranged to meet Kathryn at our local fabric shop. This shop sells a complete mixture of fabrics, fashion fabrics, quilting fabrics, bridal and curtains. I wasn't in the market for fabric but I needed to buy some more curtain tape  to finish off my curtains. I stroked some of the quilting cottons but didn't buy anything as I'm trying to reduce my stash as storage is a problem.

Kathryn Lucy and I went swimming in the evening and I think I overdid it. My legs felt like jelly when I got out of the pool This getting fit is hard work. After dinner I sat and caught up with a couple of programmes I'd recorded, and  I worked on John's jumper. It's growing but very slowly. I'm not sure I'm enjoying knitting the body on a circular needle as it seems to take forever to get all the way round.  This is a picture I took a while ago, it now measures 13 inches.

My goal for February is to make 18 rosettes for my hexi quilt. This evening I made a start on these hexies. I won't get many made as I'm just too tired but I really want to move this quilt forward.

So tomorrow is back to work for another manic week. I'm starting to think I'm just too old for all the stress but I really do like my job. I've decided to give it until Easter and if it's still really stressful then I'll retire. I have to give 3 months notice so that would take me to the end of the academic year. I'm hoping it won't come to that but I need to get my head round possible ways to make the whole job more manageable. All suggestions will be gratefully received.


Monday, 4 February 2019

OMG and slow stitching.

Gracious me where did January go. One minute it was the middle of the month and the next it's February. Does time run faster as you get older? I really don't remember days flying past so quickly when I was in my 20's and 30's. 

February OMG Goal link-up is OPEN!

Last month I managed to sneak in a finish at the last minute on my monthly goal. It's now waiting its turn to go into the machine as I had laundry to do this weekend. I hate it when I don't get my day off in the week as you spend the weekend doing household chores.

As it's now February it's time to think of a new monthly goal. To start with I was going to pick finishing my curtains. I have fabric for new curtains for the kitchen and the living room but I just hadn't got on with them. Fabric for both sets of curtains has a pattern on it and for some reason I'd lost my nerve at matching the patterns. So the fabric had been put away for ages. Yesterday I got it all out.  One of the curtains for the kitchen was finished except for the hem and the other needed to be stitched. I re looked at the fabric and the pattern match and wondered why I had found it so difficult. I pressed all the fabric and soon had it joined almost perfectly. 

From then on the curtain simply flew together and by evening I had them hanging at the large bay window.    

I looked at the fabric for the living room curtains and the match is straightforward so I'll make them next weekend. All I need to be able to make them, is sole use of the dining table as they are quite large. 

Having checked that, I knew that I needed another goal for the month. What haven't I worked on for some time and really needs moving forward? Ha got it, my grandmothers garden hexagon quilt. I fished the quilt out of the storage box. I needed to stitch on 5 rosettes to complete the ring so over the day I managed that.Here's how far I've got.

The next row is going to be a white ring with the rainbow colours at the centre. Here are my fabrics for this row. I've already prepared the orange middles.

I need to make 36 rosettes for the next round. Each rosette has 7 hexagons, all 1 inch, that's 252 hexagons to be prepared and then stitched together. I only use 6 colours rather than 7 as it's difficult to get blue and indigo. I'm not sure I can get 36 rosettes done in the month especially as February is a short month so my goal is to make sufficient rosettes to go round half of the quilt. i.e. 18 rosettes. If I make more it will be an added bonus. I currently have 2 rosettes completed.

Whilst working on the hexagons I need to complete my two projects for the blog hops this month. In addition I'm away for a weekend for winter camp. It's going to be fun trying to get it all done in time.


Thursday, 31 January 2019

January goal complete

Talk about taking it to the line! I set myself the goal of completing the quilt for Alex. At the beginning of January I had made a start on the quilting but still had a lot to do. I found it quite difficult snatching time to do the quilting partly because of work but also because we had several exhibitions we wanted to visit and a weekend away. Having finished the quilting on the 22nd it left me a few days to attach the binding by machine and hand stitch it to the back. One of these days I will try attaching the binding by machine.

Now all I have to do is arrange to visit Alex again to delivery it to him. Before that I need to put the quilt through the washing machine. Picasso  has made himself very comfortable on the quilt whilst I've been stitching the binding and he's left quite a few black hairs over it and a couple of muddy paw prints.

Last weekend whilst we were away I came across this pack of fat quarters. I have a plan to use these in the near future.

Last Sunday, we had a very windy bird watching experience. We went to Titchwell Marsh on the Sunday morning after we had enjoyed a very tasty breakfast. This reserve is on the coast and we walked along the path that led to the beach. On the way we watched ducks and waders on the lagoons which were fresh water.  When we got to the beach the tide was  going out but there was very little bird activity. I had fun taking photos of the beach itself.

I was intrigued by the lone cottage further around the bay.

The wind was blowing the sand about but it was difficult to get a good picture.

Down at the waters edge the beach was littered with shells.

As the wind got up we went in search of a cup of tea. 

So having finished my January goal I now need to decide on my February goal. I have several projects I want to work on so I need to make a decision.

Outside it's snowing. I'm not sure if there will be any on the ground in the morning as the rain is following the snow. Take care if the weather is bad where you are.


Sunday, 27 January 2019

A visit and slow stitching.

This weekend John and I went off to Norfolk on our own. A little down time and also just the two of us time. We left Scamp at home with Lucy looking after him. He wasn't best pleased as we put our bag in the car especially when he saw our walking boots go in. We didn't take him because we wanted to visit a couple of bird watching sites which are on the coast and he would have got very cold sitting around while we watched birds. This was a short visit as we left at 9 on Saturday morning and arrived home at 7 this evening. We headed to Kings Lynn as we both know we have visited it before, a long time ago, and we couldn't remember it at all. Kings Lynn is a seaport and market town in Norfolk about 98 miles north of London. Until 1537 it was known as Bishops Lynn as it was under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Norfolk but  during Henry Vlll reign it was surrendered to the crown and it became Kings Lynn. We parked by the side of the River Great Ouse

Near where we parked there was nothing on the water but as we walked into the town we came across these craft.

We also came across this glass  sculpture. There was no information about it.

There was a statue to Captain George Vancouver. He was a British naval officer who is best known for his expeditions to explore and chart North America's northwestern Pacific coast. You can read about him here

I liked the anchors and chains 

In the main market square we found another glass sculpture but still no indication of why it was there. i loved the way the light played on it.

Kings Lynn had a interesting mix of buildings, some modern, some Tudor and some Georgian. We visited St Nicholas Chapel which is no longer used for services but is still consecrated. You can find out more here Below is the outside of the chapel

The entrance was rather grand.

The chapel itself was huge. It is now used for community activities.

The stained glass gave a beautiful light.

In the ceiling there were angels. Most of them are playing musical instruments.

Leaving the chapel we wandered around the town, found a good place for coffee and bought a jumper for John since he'd forgotten to pack one. We decided to visit the Minster as well. I couldn't fit the whole of the outside into a photo but here it is from the front. You can find out more about its history here

There was a lovely round east window and an amazing reredos.

You can probably see it better in this picture

I  liked the tiles by the font.

Outside again we enjoyed the architecture of the old goal house, with the guildhall to the left .

The Guildhall and then going off down the street is the Town Hall.

By this time it was getting well into the afternoon and we wanted to quickly visit Snettisham bird reserve to find out what was there before heading to our hotel. By the time we got there the light was fading but we saw some golden eyes and cormorants. The sky was amazing so I took some pictures.

We headed for our hotel where we'd booked dinner for 8 pm. and so we sat and chatted and had a drink until it was time. I'd taken Alex's quilt with me so I could get on with stitching the binding down. I started just after a corner and over the evening I almost turned the first corner. The quilt is 80 inches square so that's a lot of stitching. Tonight I've done a little more stitching on it and I hope to have the whole binding finished before the end of the month.

It's now time for bed and I have work tomorrow so you'll have to wait until then to find out what we did today.


Friday, 25 January 2019

Too cold to walk so lets sew

Today here in London it's very cold with temperatures around 0 to 1 degree Celsius. I know in many places that would be considered warm but here it's cold and the average temperature through January is normally 5 degrees Celsius. It also snowed on Tuesday evening which is another unusual event, although if it snows it generally does it in January. Anyway today is my day off and this time last week John and I went walking and we were treated to a clear bright (and warmer) day.  Outside it's also drizzling that horrid cold wet drizzle that leaves you cold and very wet. So what else can a girl do but stay in and sew.

Before I could do that I needed to do some chores including picking up some groceries and popping into the bank. One of my car tyres has also gone flat so I tried using the compressor to re inflate it but it didn't help so I had to call the RAC since I couldn't drive it to the tyre centre. Having sorted all that it was time to settle down to sew.

On Tuesday I finished the quilting on Alex's quilt and trimmed and squared it up.

I rather over did the quilting on Tuesday night and my elbows have been a little puffy and achy and my shoulders are slightly sore but it was worth it. It's a large quilt to move around especially as I didn't have the whole table to rest it all on since John was trying to do some work. A note to self 'try making smaller quilts in future'. I'm so good at giving myself good advice but whether I'll take it is another matter. Anyway back to today and I needed to cut the binding  and attach it. I had the choice of the solid blue fabric and the white with anchors but I needed to confirm if I had enough fabric to do it. I would have preferred the blue but I was short of the amount I needed so I ended up using the anchor fabric. It's all attached to the front now and all I have to do is stitch down the back.

After that I made block 3 from the Tiny Tuesday sampler. This is a cute kitty. I still need to add the straight setting to this. Block 4 has been release so I'm still behind but will try to catch up over the weekend.

Although this was meant to be a major sewing day it didn't go to plan as the phone didn't seem to stop ringing and in the end I gave up and picked up my knitting instead. One of these days it will all go to plan. It's still fun to have got some of my sewing done.


Monday, 21 January 2019

Sunday stitching

This weekend there has been only very limited time for sewing so I tried to do as much as I could. Yesterday I was involved in a Guide training on the new programme. It was released in July and all units have to be following it by September this year. We introduced to our groups last September and it's working really well. The training was a full day so with travelling time added in it only left me the evening. My daughters and I really want to get fit and part of our plan is going swimming at least once a week. The women's only session at our pool is on a Saturday 5:30 to 7 p.m. and so once I got home I only had time for a quick drink before we headed to the pool. The joy of the women's only session is that it isn't too crowded . The three of us managed several lengths all be it at quite a slow speed. I can certainly feel all the muscles I used!

When we got back from swimming we still had to eat and by then I was tired so I settled to watch some TV and do a little hand sewing.

This morning I had sewing time, Yipee. I pulled out Alex's quilt and got on with the quilting. My goal for January is to finish this quilt. I now only have about a third of the last row of blocks to finish and the borders. I have the fabric for the binding but it needs to be cut and pieced together

I'll crack this quilt by the end of the month come rain, shine or the forcast snow. A snow day in London is so unlikely to happen that I don't even bother thinking about it. It would have been lovely to carry on sewing but our older daughter Katy had arranged for us to visit the Gainsborough's Family Album exhibition at the Nation Gallery so at 1:30 I left my machine and headed out into the cold day.  In the event Katy didn't turn up because she wasn't feeling well. The exhibition was good but there were no photos allowed so I can't show you the pictures that I really liked. Most of the ones I liked a not usually on exhibit. Afterwards we enjoyed tea and a delicious lemon tart.

I can't believe that I didn't get time to finish the post yesterday evening. Here we are at 18:15 on Monday evening and I'm just finishing it off. When we got home I needed to prepare dinner and then I had time to start some stitching. My second goal for January was to complete the bottom border of my millennium sampler. I'd made a start on this last week and this was my starting point yesterday.

last week I had to do some unpicking as I'd used the wrong shade of gold, an easy mistake to make when you're working with 4 shades. I didn't take an after picture last night but I'll show you later in the week.

At the moment I'm still at work so there will be very little stitching time tonight. I was supposed to be attending a meeting but that's been cancelled so any stitching will be a win.

I'm meeting John from the train and he's just called to say he's two stations away so I need to sign off and head out to the car. 

Take Care.


Thursday, 17 January 2019

War of the Worlds

The weather here in the UK is going colder and they are predicting snow but today the sun was shining as John and I set out on an adventure. The plan for the day was to investigate an area around Woking in Surrey where H. G. Wells set his story The War of the Worlds. He was a science fiction writer and also one of the nation's greatest intellectuals. He was born on 21 September 1866 and in 2016 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth, there was a series of events called 'Wells in Woking'. This included an international conference, a number of guided walks, a heritage trail, statue and public lecture. The reason for all the events was because Wells had chosen Horsell Common as the location for the Martian invasion of Earth. We set out to complete a walk that visits some of the locations and goes past art works that were created to commemorate it. The walk in total was 6.3 miles, a perfect distance for a winter walk. Better still the walk was basically on the flat so no aching knees to contend with later in the day.

We started at a car park on the common where there was a very nice cafe. Since it was coffee time we decided to start in the cafe and we enjoyed delicious cake with our drinks. Outside the cafe there was a play area with these two play fellows.

We walked through open fields and through wooded areas.and we zig zagged over streams. Out of the sun whilst walking though the woods it became quite cold. It was a perfect place to bird watch but I didn't manage to get any pictures as I didn't have the bigger lens with me. 

Once back out in the open the winter sun actually had a little heat. The Shetland pony didn't want to have its photo taken. As I went nearer the fence it backed away. The sky was a lovely blue.

There were beautiful reflections on the ponds.

We walked past the sand pits where the Martians landed. I'm pleased there weren't any around today, it's bad enough dealing with Brexit without throwing in Martians

A little further on we can across this structure.

It wasn't marked on our walk instructions so we headed round the wall to investigate.

The plaque on the wall explained  what it was. 

Inside the peace garden it was very calm and quiet.

A short walk from here we reached the towpath of the Basingstoke canal. The water was very still which meant the reflections were beautiful.

I particularly liked  the reflections of the silver birch trees.

There was a convenient bench so we decided to have lunch. As we ate our sandwiches pigeons started to gather on the telephone wires, eyeing up our food.

After finishing lunch we left the canal and crossed the main road into Woking using the subway. This had a mural depicting the war of the worlds.

Outside there was a statue of H. G. Wells. If you look to the base behind his chair there are tentacles of a martian starting to reach out for him.

Just down the road there was this 7 metre Martian tripod. 

From here we carried on our walk with no further problems from martians We did come across Pegasus looking magnificent as we headed back to the common and the car.

 Once back at the car park we spotted this lone sheep enjoying the grass in the play area. The nice thick wool coat would make a great jumper but the sheep needs it until the warmer weather.

We had a great day walking and all that's left to do now is get on my kindle and download The War of the Worlds. I have vague memories of the story but I'm not sure if that's because I read the book or saw the film. I'll add it to my list of books to read this year.

My day off next week is going to be a sewing day but I'm managing to do at least 30 minutes of stitching a day at present. With the weather getting colder I need my day off to be wet or snowing so I have the perfect excuse to stay in doors and just sew.