Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Trying to reduce my scraps

Yesterday was a stay at home sort of a day as we had showers predicted on and off all day. The temperature was still nice and warm, so much so that when I did venture out and needed to put my waterproof coat on during a shower I got very over heated. I have lots of work I need to sort for work but I'm on holiday so awarded myself a no work day. That sentence shouldn't even be able to appear when you're on holiday as everyday should be a no work day but in today's work place unfortunately it does. Anyway I awarded myself a no work day and promptly set up my sewing machine on the dining table. I decided to pull out my pre cut scraps boxes. Going back to 2016 I used to be very organised and cut my smaller scraps into usable pieces. I have boxes with 1.5, 2, 2.5 and 3 inch squares. I also have some strip boxes with several differing widths. These were the ones I emptied on the table  and took some time to really mix them up. I then began picking up two random strips and stitching them together. A trip to the kitchen and the ironing board and back to the machine to sew two of the new strips together. This was a fun but mindless sewing activity as I chain pieced them all. Then back to the ironing board with this muddle.

By the time I had pressed all the seams it looked a lot more interesting.

I repeated the process and now have a lot of colourful units. The strips were all the same length but not the same width so the four strip pieces are all different widths depending on what I sewed together. I'm planning on using them to produce a lap quilt similar to this baby quilt I made a while back. Obviously the baby quilt used a charm pack  and was planned whereas this will be a scrappy pattern which will be fun.

After that I need to do some household chore, so I spent some time vacuuming, sweeping and cleaning the floors. I looked on it as my exercise time since google tells me you burn 175 calories an hour vacuuming, 161 calories an hour sweeping and even ironing those seams was using up 157 calories an hour. Mopping floors uses a whopping 314 calories an hour but I only have the kitchen floor to mop but the special cleaner and finisher for the bamboo flooring we have everywhere else downstairs is a bit like a cloth broom so that will also use up calories.  Oh I forgot to mention I'm back to losing weight and getting fitter again but more about that another day.

Now most quilters have a stash of quilting fabrics and goodies and I am no exception but in addition I also have a stash of dressmaking fabrics. I really want to get my stash of all types of fabrics down to more manageable proportions and so in the afternoon I cut out the fabric to make a tunic top using this pattern.

I not making the collar part as I don't particularly like things close round my neck. I'm using this fabric which is a silky type of fabric. The downside of the fabric is that it slips and slithers everywhere when you're trying to work with it.

The colours aren't totally true to life but it's the best photo I could get. I had it all cut out quite quickly and made the bust darts and stitched and finished the side and shoulder seams before I called it a day. I love the rich colours on this fabric and it will look great with my black work trousers.

In the evening I did some very slow stitching on Earlene, certainly not enough to bother taking a photo to show you the progress. Hopefully I'll be stitching some more of her tonight. So that is what I made on my holiday Monday and since this doesn't happen very often I linking this post with Design Wall Monday and Monday Makings

The plan for today is to do a few hours for work and then get back to my sewing. I want to get the top finished but I also want to do some more scrap busting. I'm really enjoying being back sewing again and must put a lot more effort into including some sort of sewing into my daily routine. It really is so relaxing.

The sun is currently shining and there is no rain predicted for a couple of hours so before I do some work I must take Scamp out for his walk. 


Sunday, 12 August 2018

Oophs where did the last 3 weeks go!

Well how did that happen? One day it was July 23rd and the next August 11th. The last 3 weeks have been a bit of a blur. Work got ridiculously busy and involved a lot of writing. By the time I got home from work the last thing I wanted to do was more writing. On the home front it wasn't so busy but I was generally feeling jaded and tired with no energy for anything, not even stitching. I wasn't unwell just seriously suffering with the heat. We aren't really set up for temperatures over 30 degrees in the UK. Work is fine as it has air con but our house is an old Victorian building, and just opening the windows didn't help as there was no breeze to cool the air. I seem to have spent quite a lot of time napping recently as a result. Prior to the really hot temperatures it had been hot for several weeks with no rain (most unusual in the UK). Now the heatwave has broken and yesterday we had the most amazing downpour. I was driving and the rain very soon created large puddles and rivulets down the streets. The plants in the garden heaved a sigh of relief and guzzled up the rain. I had feared I would lose most of the plants but they have perked up and look very refreshed. I'm feeling the same and spent time this morning sorting out my sewing projects.It doesn't take long to forget where I'd got to with them.

Before work got busy and I wilted I'd started a post about the rest of our trip to Bath. Here's what I'd written. You can read the first bit of our trip Here

Saturday afternoon, after a tasty lunch at the American museum, we headed into Bath. I wanted to visit the  'A celebration of Flowers' exhibition at the Victoria Gallery. A celebration of flowers by Kaffe Fassett with Candace Bahouth. If you want to see a picture of the exhibition you can click Here No photography was allowed in the exhibition at the request of the artists. The quilts were very bright and cheerful but there were only a couple that I really liked. This was one of them and was called Seed Packets.

Image result for kaffe fassett quilts

The colours and patterns work well in this quilt but with many of the quilts I felt that there were problems with colour placement which I found jarring. Obviously this is a personal view but it was interesting that both John and I had been really looking forward to the exhibition but we didn't enjoy it as much as we expected. That didn't stop me having a good look round and picking up some inspiration and ideas as I did so. 

After the exhibition we had a wander around Bath and visited our favourite bookshop, Mr B's. Lucy had asked us to order a couple of books for her and we ended up having a delightful and lengthy chat with one of the staff members about books and different writing styles.

As we walked through the city centre we passed this man with his sand sculpture

We also passed a couple of Owls.

The owls of Bath trail has 82 owls located around the city and outlying area.The interactive sculpture trail celebrates the Roman heritage of Bath and raise funds for four local charities. If you want to see more of the owls click Here . We left Bath and headed out to our hotel The Holcombe Inn

We checked out our room, which was very comfortable and headed downstairs to enjoy a cream tea in the garden.

I'm never quite sure why hotels put so many pillows on the bed but they were great for support for the ideal stitching position for my embroidery after dinner. After our delicious cream tea we needed a short nap to refresh and recharge our batteries before dinner. The bed was very comfortable and we slept longer than we meant to but it had been a busy day. We sat in the garden and chatted and I did some stitching until dinner.

After a good nights sleep we enjoyed a tasty breakfast before heading to my favourite quilt shop, Midsomer Quilting. I needed some thread and they sell King Tut which works well in my machine. I also wanted some fat quarters for my hexie grandmother's garden quilt. They always have quilts on display. I love these fishes.

John spent time trying to work out how this one was stitched together A member of staff explained partial seams to him while I browsed the fabrics.

I also love this tree quilt

I also love the movement created by the placement of the colours in these quilts.

Once I'd made my purchases we headed to Ham Walls on the Somerset levels to do some bird watching. We'd never been there before and our visit was to find out what facilities there were if any and what birds were regularly seen there. We had a lovely walk around the reserve and saw some little egrets. great egrets and a bitten. We spoke to the volunteers who were manning the small reception area and we will be visiting again later in the year. We headed home having enjoyed our break.

As I mentioned earlier I have been working on my hand stitching. I have mainly been working on Constance and Earlene. They are both nearly complete.

I have been trying to spend at least 30 minutes stitching a day. I have a lot of hand stitching on the go at the moment, my grandmother's garden hexie quilt, sewing badges onto my camp blanket, binding a baby quilt and I want to get on with the rabbit I'm making. I'm currently on holiday so I'm hoping to move some of my projects on this week.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching. Why not go and see what everyone has been working on.


Monday, 23 July 2018

Christmas in July

Carol from Just Let Me Quilt has organised another great blog hop. Thank you Carol. I love Christmas and so wanted to be part of it. To get into the mood I put up the tree.

Now all I need are the presents.

I had two projects I wanted to make for this hop. The first I've completed. Quite a while ago I bought a Christmas panel as I thought it would make a great wall hanging for our hall during the festive season.

My Christmas tree is always decorated in Red and gold. This panel had the gold in it but lacks the red. However I decided it would add a touch of elegance to the hall. It took me ages to decide how to quilt it. I decided to quilt round the baubles and the vase. I also stitched snow flakes down the background.

I decided to bind the panel with red and gold to tie it into the rest of my Christmas decorations. Quilting round the baubles makes them really stand out.

I thought I had stitched round all of the baubles but looking at the photo I can see I missed a couple. Back to the sewing machine.

My second project hasn't progressed very far. I was only supposed to be working 2 days for the last two weeks and that left 3 days for sewing both weeks. More than enough time to complete the project but the reality was that I worked for 5 days both weeks  and we were away overnight on the middle weekend. So much for planning! 

The pattern I'm making is Scrappy Friends. 

Scrappy Friends Quilt

The star blocks are all made. The background is white and the stars are deep green. I'm adding an extra row of blocks to make it a square quilt. It's two weeks until my holiday when I'll be able to get this quilt finished. .

With Christmas in mind, whilst in Salisbury I bought a new decoration for my tree. It's made of Olive wood and is about 4 and half inches tall.

Here's the schedule for the hop. Go and start celebrating Christmas early by visiting them all. I can't wait to see what everyone has made.

July 23

July 24

July 25

July 26

July 27

Is it too early to start buying presents?


Sunday, 22 July 2018

Slow Stitching

It's Sunday, a day to slow down, relax and take time to enjoy life. Time to be with family and time to really be aware of what's going on around you. Time to enjoy the things you are doing. I'm really enjoying having some slow time today. Last week was a disaster for time. There just wasn't enough of it and everything felt rushed. I think I'm getting a little too old for all the rushing involved in everyday life. Maybe this is how a hamster feels as it madly runs round its wheel...run, run run and never get anywhere! Well at least the hamster stays fit and active. All the rushing means there's limited time to eat properly so lots of snacks that just add weight and too much to do means little or no exercise time.However you will be pleased to know that I'm ever hopeful that work will slow down a bit in the near future.

This week I've had very little time for hand stitching or in fact sewing of any kind. Today I had space to make a start on a new project of hand stitching. Lucy and I run Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers and this year the programme is being renewed. This includes all the badges they can earn. Lucy and I decided that we wanted to keep a badge blanket with all the old badges that are being retired plus all the new ones. We bought one of the official brownie blankets and made sure we had all the old interest badges. 

I love that the blanket had 'Brownies' heat pressed into it. I was going to sew all the badges on as a diamond but the badges aren't all the same size so it just wouldn't work . I'm sewing them so two are sewn as diamonds and then one as a square, then two more diamonds across the side of the blanket.

This is my summer holiday project as we finished our weekly meetings last Wednesday. Most of the girls broke up from school for the holidays on Thursday. We aren't meeting again until September.It will be strange having a free evening on Wednesdays for a few weeks.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching. Why not pop over and see what everyone has been stitching.


Monday, 16 July 2018

An anniversary and a trip

July 2nd was my 35th wedding anniversary. Both John and I completely forgot about it until the following weekend when we realised we'd missed it. For our anniversaries we try to either have a nice meal out somewhere special or go away on a short trip. We decided a short trip to Bath would be good as I wanted to go to an exhibition and it is due to finish at the end of the month. John managed to book a room for us at a lovely pub outside Bath and all that was left was to plan our trip. I spent the week trying to get myself up to date at work so I could go away with a clear conscience but that didn't happen however I didn't let it dampen my pleasure at all.

On Saturday morning we were up early to water the garden before heading out of London. Although we left early the day was very hot so it was nice that the air conditioning was working well in my car. We stopped once to buy coffee and treats but otherwise made the journey to Bath in one go. We headed to The American Museum in Britain which is based at Claverton Manor near Bath. I've been there several times before but this time I wanted to see the 1718 silk patchwork coverlet that was on display until 29th July. We decided that we needed some light refreshment before we started our visit, so we sat for a while on the terrace enjoying the view and planned our itinerary for the day.

Our first stop was the Folk Art area as this is where the 1718 coverlet was on display. The coverlet is the oldest known and date inscribed patchwork coverlet in Britain.It's on loan to the museum from The Quilter's Guild Collection. Being so old the coverlet is delicate and so protected by a layer of glass The date is inscribed on the block below the heart in the centre column. This photo was taken upside down as the date faces the other way.

The Coverlet is 67 in by 73 in and has 5 different sized finished blocks in it. The blocks range from 13 1/2 in square to 4 1/2 in square for the smallest. There are 182 blocks in all and there are 69 different designs.

The fabrics are still quite bright but originally they would have been a fabulous array of bright colours. As well as the date the inscription block also has the initials EH. I like the swan in this picture.

and the dog in this one. Can we enter this as the pet on the oldest British quilt for 'Pets on quilts' this year?

I've seen many of these blocks appear in BOM's since I started blogging.

I recently made some tulip blocks like the blocks here.

Below is a photo of an information sheet that was available. The picture was taken of the coverlet without the protective glass over it so no reflections.

Also in the same room was this quilt.

John and I spent ages wandering through the galleries, it was just so interesting. There were other pieces of fabric work around the museum

There were several quilt templates,

I really liked this beaded waistcoat, it must have taken quite a while to make.

The museum also has its own collection of quilts. They are a little difficult to take photos of because of the way they are displayed. This one was opposite a video screen and so there was a lot of reflection.

I really liked this one but I couldn't get near its label

The next one was a cartoon quilt with applique and embroidery

This one was whole cloth decorated with Candlewick embroidery.

This quilt with the red birds was beautiful but as other people were also looking at the quilts and moving the boards on which they were hung I had to content myself with this photo

I spent some time trying to work out how this pattern had been constructed. Once I read the label it became clear and I'll keep it in mind as a possible pattern in the future.

This quilt was delightfully bright and cheerful.

This crazy quilt was one of my favourites.

Here's some detail of the embroidery.

This one made good use of university pennants

My final picture is of a Grandmother's flower garden quilt

The museum also had an exhibition about the involvement of America in world War 1.

This was a small exhibition but most interesting. There was an area set up as a hospital ward and John and I really enjoyed playing the 'diagnose the patient's problem' game. We got them all right including trench foot and trench fever. As we finished this area we needed lunch in the cafe before moving on to Bath itself and our next visit.

I'll tell you about our afternoon and evening in a post tomorrow. I was at work today and once I got home Lucy and I went grocery shopping. I now need to wind down before going to bed.