Friday, 24 February 2017

The wind's a blowing and I'm happily sewing.

Yesterday in London we were hit by high winds as storm Doris battered parts of the UK. I was teaching in Reading yesterday and since high winds were predicted I travelled by train rather than driving. I was very relieved on the journey home that we weren't held up by fallen trees. The train was travelling a lot slower than normal so the journey took longer but we arrived safely. Once home I listened to the wind outside and the gusts rattling our windows before I turned the TV on to cover the noise and set about doing some stitching. I needed to finish the binding on the 'It's a dog's life' quilt so I got on with that first.



I'm really pleased with this finish. I enjoyed doing the stitching for the blocks and it is a really cute quilt. Once my sewing cum work room is finished this will hang on the wall. Before then of course I need to add a hanging sleeve to the quilt and a label.

Next I did a little more work on my knitting. I'm hoping to finish the first sleeve up to the start of the arm hole by the end of the weekend. I'm not taking another picture of my progress as it looks the same but longer.

Today was a day off but I needed to do some work for work. I hadn't checked my work emails since Monday and so I had dozens to deal with and then I had some marking to do so the day flew by. When John got home we took Scamp for a walk over the common. Following the storm of yesterday the temperature had dropped so it was back to wearing my duffel coat and hat but at least the sun was shining weakly. I still have more marking to do but tomorrow I'm going to take the day off and make some blocks and work on my green jacket. I want to celebrate the start oof Spring by wearing this jacket.


I have the lining and the buttons so this should be a quick finish for next week. I really do need to get some of my older projects finished so I can start some new ones.

So I'm celebrating my Friday finish by linking up with Amanda Jean for Finish it up Friday  I'm also hoping to have some other things to show you tomorrow. For now I need to snuggle in bed as the excitement of a finish has quite worn me out.

Lyndsey

Sunday, 19 February 2017

A bit of an odd week.

This last week has been a little 'odd'. Odd in that it's been almost normal but with a slight shift. I went into work for two days and worked from home on my third day so from a work point of view it was fairly standard. It was half term so we didn't have Rainbows, Brownies and Guides which was a nice rest. We walked the dog over the common, twice in beautiful early Spring sunshine that warmed us as we walked but the 'odd' was ever present. The odd was a niggling worry as I monitored how I felt and watched for side effects and signs of infection. Odd because I couldn't settle to do anything in my down time and so I didn't really move any of my projects forward but mostly odd because I didn't feel how everyone told me I would feel. So this weekend it stopped being odd as I stopped waiting for things to happen and just got on with my life.

Yesterday Kathryn, Lucy and I headed for Kingston upon Thames for a girls shopping trip. We haven't had one in ages so this one had to include morning coffee, lunch and shopping. We didn't buy much in the end but had a good look round the shops and enjoyed lunch at Wagamama's. I finally got some lining that I liked for my green jacket having decided the one I'd ordered wasn't right. I also chose the buttons so later this week I can hopefully get it finished. After our trip we headed home to cook dinner and to enjoy a very lively family evening.

I wanted to get at least 4 blocks made for my Austen Family Album quilt but I only completed 1 however I was really pleased with how the frame around the central block worked. I made a very similar block a couple of years back and found it very difficult  but I've learnt a lot since then and this went together easily. I did however have to undo the seam on the bottom right as the points of the star weren't matching up. You can see how off it is (the 3 o clock position) This is now dealt with and matches perfectly - thank goodness for the unpicking tool.


Today I've been doing a little slow knitting on a sleeve for John's jumper. The wool for this is beautiful to knit with and is just so soft. 


The front and back of the jumper are in stocking stitch but you can just see in the middle of this picture that in the middle of the sleeve there is a section of knit 2 purl 2 rib that continues all the way up the sleeve from the ribbing. I should have this sleeve finished this week.

I've had a lot of marking to get done so I haven't had time to do any work on Charlotte this week or to finish stitching the binding onto the 'It's a dog's life' quilt but it is almost finished.

Work on the house has moved forward in leaps and bounds this week. John has been laying the bamboo flooring in the dining room, living room and hallway. This is all done but he is still finishing off the edging. It looks so good. We got quotes this week for our windows and we have now decided on a company and placed an order. The windows will all be individually made and will take several weeks to do. It's all very exciting and I'm looking forward to it being completed. By the time it is all done it will be two and a half years since we started. I'm looking forward to being able to show you what we've done.

I'm linking this post with Kathy's  Slow stitching Sunday Dopop over and check out what everyone has been up to.

Lyndsey

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Making blocks

It's been a very quiet week on the stitching front as I had work and more tests but this weekend I have been resting and so had time to get my machine out during the day and make some blocks and do some knitting and slow stitching during the evening.

I started the Austen Family Album quilt run as a block of the week by Barbara Brackman back in 2014. There are 36 blocks in all and I made several as it was running but can only currently find blocks 1 and 2. This isn't a problem as I know which blocks I made and they were later in the run so yesterday I started on block 3 and created 5 blocks






These are big blocks finishing at 12 inches. Making them was an interesting experience as my brain is a little woolly at the moment and I kept forgetting which fabric I had planned for which bit of the block. Still I managed it all without making a mistake. Next week I'm only working Monday and Friday so I'll have some more sewing time.

On the knitting front I'm working on the sleeve of John's jumper. I need to do both sleeves up to armhole level and then they are added to the body on the circular needles. I've never done that before so I'm interested in how it will work. It will probably take me ages to fathom out the pattern in my current woolly state, but I like a challenge.

I made a start on Charlotte, the second bag lady. The pattern instructions tell you to work all the stem or back stitch first and them do the fancy bits but I find that a bit boring so last night I started on the embroidery on her skirt. I'll finish this once I've published this post. I will be adding a yellow french knot to the centre of each flower.



I've also been working on the binding on the 'it's a dog's life' quilt. I rounded the second corner but it isn't going very fast as when I start stitching on it I fall asleep. Something I really need to concentrate on works best at the moment.

At the start of the posts I said I had more tests this week. Because I am allergic to iodine they couldn't use this medium when I had the CT scan so they weren't happy with the results. On Tuesday I had a PET scan and they showed everything was normal and OK so I started my treatment on Friday. Lucy came with me and we spent the time gossiping and giggling. I'm using a cold cap which helps to slow or prevent hair loss. Lucy took a picture on her phone and when she emails it to me I'll post it for you to have a giggle over. It pulses the cold over your scalp and at its coldest is like brain freeze when eating ice cream. The treatment has made me quite tired but I'm a tough old bird so should be able to deal with it. Today we took Scamp for his walk around the common which is nearly 4 and a half miles without a problem. John was aware that if I got tired he'd have to go home and collect the car! I'm hoping to be OK for work tomorrow even if I only stay for a half day. 

I'm linking this post with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching, why not pop over and see what everyone has been busy working on. For me I'm off for a short nap before I do some more stitching on Charlotte.

Lyndsey

Monday, 6 February 2017

An exhibition and slow stitching.

On Saturday John and I had tickets to the  'Opus Angelicanum' exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. This was an exhibition of medieval English embroidery. As often happens with us we managed to visit the exhibition the day before it finished. We keep trying to be more organised but haven't managed it yet. The museum itself was crowded out with it's visitors inside at its capacity and so there was a long queue of people waiting to enter. As we had tickets we could go straight in (already accounted for in the numbers). The exhibition was hot and the lighting dim at times to protect the 12th and 13th century embroidery. Most of the work was ecclesiastical as that's what has survived over the years. No photography was allowed and there were only a couple of postcards, the museum having sold out of what they created for the exhibition, so I have used an image from the V and A website.

 
Syon Cope. From the V and A collection of Textiles and Fashion. England

The embroidered is worked with silver gilt and silver thread in underside couching  and using split, cross and plait stitches and laid and couched work. The brown background  was original red and green silk thread. I chose this image as it dates back to a Bridgettine convent at Syon in Middlesex and my Guide units meet in the church hall of the church opposite the gates to Syon Park, the site of the abbey church of the convent. You can read more about the history here The exhibition was extremely interesting and I'm very pleased I went to see it. The work is very intricate but using just the same stitches we use today without the aid of our magnifying daylight lights. I certainly haven't got the eyesight to do this quality of work.

After the exhibition we met up with older daughter Kathryn for afternoon teas. The cafe in the museum is beautiful and they do a delicious cream tea with enormous scones and clotted cream..mmmmmm. Looking up as you go into the main seating area this is what you see.



We sat in the Dutch room and the walls were decorated with panelling and tiles. This shows Autumn which was immediately opposite our table but all four seasons were represented and all twelve months



Beneath these panels were blue tiles showing different scenes to match the panel above them. This appears slightly blurry but is more about the amount of pattern detail.


As we left the cafe it was getting dark and so I turned and took a photo of the exterior of this part of the museum. I love the reflection in the shallow pool in front of the building. In the summer there are tables out in this square and children and some adults (me and my daughters) paddle in the pool.



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We left the museum at closing time so the streets were very crowded and we didn't fancy the idea of getting onto a crowded tube so we walked to Vauxhall bridge and caught the tube there. It was a very pleasant evening and gave us the opportunity to catch up with the gossip.

Yesterday was about slow stitching. We are finally laying the flooring in the main areas downstairs and I can't currently access my sewing machines so I pulled out Charlotte, bag lady number 2. I haven't completed Ernestine but this is a stitch along so I'm going to start a new lady each month. If I finish the lady of the month then I'll go back and complete whatever's left to do on a lady from an earlier month ..simples. I've started the outline of her top but haven't got very far yet.

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I also need to invest in some new embroidery floss as I'm out of quite a lot of colours including black. Oh shame I need a trip to a sewing store. 

I also did some stitching on the binding of the dog quilt. I've only gone round 1 corner so far but at least it's a start. I'm pleased I went with the white swirly fabric for the binding.


This morning I had to go for a scan with possible biopsy of the lymph nodes in my neck as they thought they looked a little enlarged but the scan showed they were perfectly normal and health, so no biopsy needed and I should be able to start treatment on Friday. This evening I am having my hair cut shorter, roughly jaw level, by one of Kathryn's friends from school who is a trained hairdresser and very good at her job. I'm taking wine and Olly is cooking so it will be a fun time but I do love my long hair. The rest of the day I have housework to do and I must do some grocery shopping as the cupboards and fridge are bare!

I'm linking with Kathy for Slow stitching Sunday Go and see the great slow stitching folks have been working on this week.

Lyndsey

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

February 1st already

February 1st and the temperature has gone up (for a while) The south of the UK has a warning of high winds for the end of the week and then from mid February the weather forecasters are suggesting the temperature will fall once again. I hope not as it gets in the way of walking. Not to worry however because wet, windy, cold and unsettled weather can only mean one thing ... more sewing. It is rather nice to be snug and warm indoors working at the sewing machine or hand stitching while the rain falls outside. 

This morning I had a few things to do for work and then I was able to take stock of my projects and decide what to work on this month for the one monthly goal. What seems like forever ago I started making the blocks for the Austen Family Album run by Barbara Brackman which has now finished but the blocks are still available. I started the blocks because I love the work of Jane Austen and Barbara includes a lot of history with the blocks. I haven't finished them all but I have the posts all saved. I decided I would try to get all the blocks made this month. There are 36 blocks and they finish at 12 inches. Some are quite intricate as always with her blocks but generally the instructions are clear. I completed her Votes for Women quilt and learnt a lot of techniques by the time I'd completed it. Here are 2 of my completed blocks for the Austen quilt. There are more but I can't find the photos at the moment.




So my main goal this month to be to try and finish all the blocks. Since I fancy having a block making month I have several I need to get making for the Bear's Paw quilt. 

Having identified my goal for the month I need to start rushing around getting the things together that we need for  Rainbows, Brownies and Guides tonight. We're cooking with the younger girls but can't remember the itinerary for the Guides. I'm hoping they were actually working in their groups doing their own projects as then I'd be able to sit and chill a little and sort out some of my photos. The rest of the week I'm busy as I'm teaching all day for the next 2 days but the weekend will be here soon and I'm going to an exhibition of medieval embroidery at the Victoria and Albert Museum (otherwise known as the V and A). I haven't visited since the wedding dress exhibition last year.

I'm linking up with Elm Street Quilts for the February goal setting party.

Lyndsey

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Binding and Stitching.

Yesterday I finished the quilting on the dog quilt and only have the binding to finish. I had planned on using a solid red fabric as I thought the quilt was rather 'busy' but when I audition the red and the two fabrics I had from the kit I'd used, I found the red just didn't work. I think the fabric that is provided for the binding is the red with a white swirl. I can't check as I've misplaced the pattern but I have more of this fabric than the white with the red swirl. The fabric audition made the choice for me and I went with the white fabric This caused a slight problem as I didn't have that much fabric. Answer.. instead of cutting the binding at 21/2 inches I went with just 2 inches. 


The binding looks good and all I need to do now is stitch it to the back of the quilt. Hopefully that will be done over the next couple of evenings.

Today is the day for revealing Ernestine the bag lady. Although I ordered these patterns when Barbara set up her stitch along I only received them on the 21st January so she isn't finished yet. I posted a photo yesterday of my progress and I hoped to have some more done today. That didn't happen as I had to see my oncologist this morning and the appointment took ages. That's a good thing as I had a full examination and she went through all the results with me and discussed my treatment in detail. I should start treatment on Friday 10th February (just waiting on a final test result) By the time I got home I felt tired and needed to chill out. Having had time to assimilate all the information I'd been given I got the machine out and added the binding and made up a couple of blocks. Anyway here is Ernestine again to show how far I've got.


I will probably do a little more stitching on her tonight but then I'll put her away and start on lady number 2. I can finish her later in February as I know I'm going to have stitching time. Having the treatment on a Friday means I have the whole weekend to rest and stitching is so calming and relaxing plus even if I only do a couple of stitches at a time it all counts as progress..right?

I have another day off tomorrow so I'm hoping for some more sewing. I also need to decide which of my UFO's I want to work on in February. Talking of February where did January vanish to? I know time seems to whizz by when you're busy but this is getting ridiculous. Anyway I must give some thought to Valentine's day as I need to go shopping for a gift for John.

Lyndsey

Monday, 30 January 2017

January OMG completed.

I'm doing a happy dance a I've finished the quilting on the 'It's a dog's life' quilt which was my monthly goal for January. When I stopped the quilting yesterday I took this photo.



Today I finished up the quilting and trimmed it all ready for the binding. I used King Tut thread both on the top and in the bobbin to quilt it. Both threads are variegated. 



The embroidered blocks were quilted with a small all over meander which has made the embroidery really stand out. The sashing and bone blocks are quilted in the ditch. The outer border is quilted in the ditch along the diagonals. I quilted the border in this way because the border was a little 'wavy' The back is solid red and I'm going to use this for the binding. The binding should be one of the fabrics on the front. It's either the red swirls on the white back ground or the white swirls on red. However I find the fabric just a little 'busy' and feel it will be better with a solid fabric (but I may still change my mind). I bought this as a kit which included the embroidery patterns and background fabric plus all the fabric for the front from Birdbrain Designs


I tried to get a good photo of the trimmed quilt but Picasso really wanted to be in the photo but didn't like the flash so this is the best I could do. Hopefully when I've added the binding I'll be able to go outside for a photo.


I love how the embroidery 'pops' out now.

Earlier today Lucy and I took Buddy and Scamp for a long walk over Wimbledon Common. Seems we wore them both out as they both settled down for a nap. Buddy 'the big' helped himself to the quilt and all of the settee,


whilst Scamp made himself as small as possible.


Scamp's hoping I'm going to be doing some hand stitching or knitting this evening then he can snuggle on my lap.

A good day's sewing and first monthly goal finished. This should be a completely finished quilt by the end of the week. Now I need to decide on next month's goal. In the meantime I'm linking this post with OMG Finish Party

Lyndsey