Monday, 19 March 2018

Quilt Qwasy Queens

Quilt Qwazy Queens 2018

Today the Quilt Quasy Queens blog hop continues celebrating International Quilting Day and it's my turn to share what I've been up to.  The idea of this blog hop is to talk about our UFO's and to finish one or some of them up.

At the end of February I hunted through my UFO's and found I had more than I thought. There's the grandmother's garden English paper pieced quilt which I started several years ago. I've recently been working on this one but as it is all hand stitched this will not be finished in the near future.

I have  another quilt that includes hexies which I started as my Rainbow Scrap challenge in 2015. I pulled this one out and thought seriously about finishing it but I want to add another row of blocks to make it bigger and  in hunting through my scraps I found I didn't have any large solid colour pieces for the backgrounds. I put this one to one side.

I also decided against this one as I just didn't want to work on it.

So that left my  Compass quilt.

I finished this quilt top last September and put it to one side ready to be made into a quilt sandwich. At the end of August I had a mastectomy and before I dealt with the quilting I needed my scar to heal and also to complete my radiotherapy. At the end of November I bought the backing fabric and the wadding I needed and in early December I spent a day basting the quilt. It took me all day because the chemotherapy had caused me to have neuropathy and handling the heavy quilt caused me pain in my hands. Therefore I needed to do a little at a time. 

Having decided to work on this quilt I got out my Brother machine which has a large aperture under the arm making quilting easier. I hadn't used this machine for a year as being bigger it is heavy to move. I practised using the machine to refresh my memory of the controls and was finally ready to begin when the weather turned colder and blew in with lots of snow. My hands started to hurt a lot and moving the quilt around was impossible so I reverted to hand stitching some hexie blocks.

The great thing with quilting is it's a hobby that doesn't need to be rushed so there is time to get my UFO's completed once my hands have settled down. 

Several years ago at Guides we made prem baby quilts like this one for the neonatal unit at a local hospital.

Recently a couple of the girls had used fabric that we had left over in the cupboard to make some more little quilt tops. So I added the fleece fabric to the back of them since I couldn't get on with quilting my compass quilt

If the girls want to make any more  we will have to get more supplies as we have exhausted all the fabric we had. I haven't made any baby quilts recently so haven't added any suitable fabric to my stash. This was a relaxing job and one that needed doing. I finished them on my Elna machine stitching the fleece to the wrong side and turning them. The opening was closed with hand stitching.

Just as my neuropathy was settling down again to be manageable and I thought I would get at least some quilting done we had the return of the cold snowy weather at the end of last week and my hands are once again very painful. Hopefully as we move into the warmer months I will be able to get my quilting done. I really want to be using my compass quilt on my bed later this year.

There's a give away for you to enter. Good luck everyone.

Here's the schedule for today and tomorrow;

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Have fun visiting and seeing what everyone has been working on. It's been great seeing the UFO's that have been finished and I wish I had been able to complete mine but at least I got the prem baby quilts finished and we can now give them to the hospital.


Sunday, 11 March 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

This is a very quick post as this week has been a very slow sewing week. I've had so many emails over the week saying 'Urgent we need ...... by tomorrow' that I seem to have spent all week working and had no time for fun. This evening, having spent most of today working I sat down to watch Endeavour and complete some slow stitching. Last weekend I made some new hexies. They are perfect for prepping when you only have a couple of minutes to spare. Anyway tonight I carried on stitching the latest round of blocks to the grandmother's garden top. I've added 10  blocks so far. The top is slowly and I mean very slowly growing.

I wish I could manage to use a thimble successfully as my one finger has holes in it from pushing the needle through the fabric. My mother always used a thimble but I have never mastered them......similar to the fact I've never mastered putting on eye makeup but far more useful. If any of you have useful hints on how to use a thimble please send them my way.

Next weekend is totally free so I've already booked my sewing time. Until then I'll be adding more blocks to the grandmothers garden quilt. Hopefully I'll finish this round. I also have two weeks off over Easter and I have my sewing all organised. We're going to Yorkshire for the first week and I'm taking my machine with me. The idea is to do some walking during the day and sewing in the evening.

I still have to tell you about our trip to Slimbridge and I hope to have time to write the post this week. We saw some fabulous birds.

Starting next week is the Quazy Quilt Queens blog hop. Here is the schedule.

Thursday, March 15, 2018
Friday, March 16, 2018
Monday, March 19, 2018
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Wednesday, March 21, 2018

I'm linking this post with Kathy at Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching Go check out what everyone's working on this week.


Monday, 5 March 2018

Small, smaller,smallest blog hop

Welcome to the first day of the Small, smaller, smallest blog hop organised by Carol from Just let me quilt Thank you Carol for organising the hop, it has been fun creating the projects for it.  I really enjoy joining in with blog hops because it makes you get on and create something. I find it very easy to spend weeks considering what I could make and what fabrics and colours to use and never getting started. With a hop you have to plan and get on with it in order to complete your project in time.

I had planned to complete three items but I have only two that are finished. The instructions for the hop were to produce something small, nothing larger than a baby quilt. That instruction made life easy as I can do small very well.

My small project is to make a cover for my Elna sewing machine.

 We live in London and like all large cities a lot of dust gets into the house from all the activity going on outside. It gets worse in the summer months when you want to have the windows open and when Picasso is moulting his winter coat I find lots of his fur all over it if I leave it set up on the table as he likes to lie across it or lean against it. I had a look at several methods of making a cover on the internet and it all seemed very straight forward plus I had the perfect fabric for the job so no need to buy anything.

My first decision was not to make a hole in the top for the carry handle. The handle goes almost the full length of the machine and I felt that making a hole would distort the shape unless I added a fastening. In any case I have a carry bag for the machine should I want to take it anywhere and I just wanted a cover to prevent the dust and cat fur getting into it,

After careful measuring and cutting the pieces were basted to the wadding so I could quilt them

The picture part was quilted between the pictures and around the frames. The top of the cover and the sides was quilted with a meander. Attaching the side pieces was rather like setting in sleeves on a jacket or shirt.

I love the colours in the fabrics, they are just so cheerful.

My second piece is smaller and is also a cover but in this case it's a cover for a portable hard drive.

My older daughter is an art and design and textiles teacher at a secondary school (11 to 18 year old). She had been using a pen drive to take her PowerPoint presentations to school with the information about artists and their work but she realised that they are easy to lose and also get damaged quite easily. Her brother sourced a hard drive but she wanted a case to keep it in as the hard drive is in a plastic case which could break if dropped. I used this mad scientist and technology fabric to make a case that holds both the hard drive and the USB lead to connect to the computer. It's quilted with a small meander. The top is held closed by two velco spots

It all fits very nicely into the case and keeps it safe in her work bag. An added bonus was that this project used up the last bit of this fabric that I had left in my scrap pot.

The third item I was going to make was a small quilt for a bed in my doll's house. I have some lovely Liberty lawn that will do the job perfectly but my brain refused to do the maths on the size I needed to make. My doll's house is 1/12 scale so a reasonably easy calculation for a double bed size quilt but I wasn't sure if I'd worked it out right so put everything away until later. I'll make a start on that later this month. It will all be made by hand and I will have quite a bit of time to work on it when I travel to Reading by train on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Thank you for popping over to see my projects. Now you need to visit the blogs of all the other participants today.

Sew Many Yarns (You are here)

I can't wait to see all the projects. There are so many beautiful projects to see and I always get a lot of ideas for things to make in the future.


Sunday, 4 March 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching.

There has been quite a bit of hand stitching going on this week but remember that not all hand stitching is created equal. At the start of the week I had a lot of mending to do with several buttons to sew on, a skirt zip to mend and a hem to restitch. Yugh mending is my pet hate.

It's not all gloom and doom however as I got some fun stitching done as I've currently been making some hexie blocks for the next round of my grandmothers garden quilt. Tonight I will be changing pace and occupation. I had started a jumper for John but last year I found it very heavy going as it is knitted in the round and uses thicker yarn. Having reached the armholes the weight of the knitting was too heavy for me to hold. My neuropathy seems to be improving, although it is very slow so this evening I am going to pull out my knitting, re-acquaint myself with the pattern and see if I can manage to knit some rows. I have added the arms so there are a lot of stitches and a lot of weight but as they say 'you don't know what you can do until you try.'

I've never made a jumper on circular needles before and keep on worrying that it's not going to be big enough but when I measure it, all the measurements are correct.

Tomorrow the 'Small, Smaller, Smallest' blog hop starts. Here's the schedule;

March 5

March 6

March 7

March 8

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching Why not visit to see what everyone is working on.


Friday, 2 March 2018

Snow, Christmas dinner and a finish

It's the beginning of March and I have my second finish of the year. I'm a bit slow again this year but I'm enjoying the sewing I'm managing to fit into my free time. In February I started making a sewing tidy to sit under my machine. In this photo it just needed the binding stitching to the back.

I finished stitching the binding last night and decided to take the photo tonight but due to Christmas I had to put it on the floor to do so. 

When I tried the tidy out it helped reduce the noise from the machine and was so useful for the items I always have around my machine, my ripper out, scissors etc.

The reason I couldn't take the picture on the table was because of the snow. Yes I know that sounds silly but it's true. Let me explain. When my parents were alive we always went to stay with them for Christmas and New Year. My parents lived in a small village in Lincolnshire and most years it would snow whilst we were there. As a result my children's memory of Christmas includes snow. Fast forward to 2018 and the weather in the UK this week,which has caused great excitement in our house since we have snow here in London. When we were sat chatting on Wednesday evening Richard and Lucy both said it was a shame it wasn't Christmas. From there the idea of celebrating Christmas since we had snow grew and so this evening we are having a Christmas dinner. The table has been decorated and we are having a vegetarian roast dinner with all the trimmings. It's almost cooked and smells delicious.  I just have time to finish this post before it will be ready to serve.

As for the snow, well it has been very exciting however the wind chill has been awful and takes your breath away when you go outside. Scamp loves going outside and rolling in the snow whilst Picasso just keeps hoping it will all go away soon. It's supposed to start thawing out on Sunday so he'll be happy but it has been fun to see some snow again.

I'm linking this post with  Amanda Jane from Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday Pop over and see what's been finished in blogland this week.


Thursday, 1 March 2018

A quilt shop and talk of snow

Last weekend John and I had a weekend away. We got up early on Saturday morning to head out of London along the M4 to Bath, or rather just outside Bath. The plan for the weekend was to visit my favourite quilt shop and also to visit a new wetland area and Slimbridge. In the event we didn't leave as early as we'd planned. I'm not sure why but there always seems to be a few jobs that have to be done before you can get going. We finally set off at about 9:30 in glorious sunshine. We stopped on the motorway for coffee and cake which was yummy. We chatted as we drove along. Since John retired and we are no longer travelling to work together so often I really miss the time to just chat about anything.

The quilt shop I love is Midsummer Quilting and it's some distance outside Bath. It moved venue last year (or it may have been in 2016) and I hadn't been to it's new location. I was excited as their newsletter says they have more room and so more stock. That sounded good to me and to add to my fun I had a very nice budget to spend. When we arrived at our destination we found that there was a cafe just nearby called 'The Holy Cow'. The cafe was very small but the food was very good. I loved their logo which was on the wall in the cafe.

I asked the staff if I could take their photo to show you. They were really excited. The food was great and the service was amazing.

The kitchen and servery was one end of the cafe with about double this room for the dining area. They only served breakfast (and cakes), but you could have breakfast for lunch. I really enjoyed my avocado with poached eggs on granary bread served with tea.

Thoroughly refreshed we walked back to Midsummer Quilting. I didn't take a photo of the outside but this is what I saw as I walked into the shop.

The shop is much bigger than their old one and has much better lighting with windows on the sides and good ceiling lighting as well. They had a good range of cutting boards, rulers and other quilting notions. I bought myself a new cutting board as the one I have is quite poor quality. It was reasonably priced but has never functioned as I would like.

There was a good display of books and there were also books on display on window ledges and shelves in the shop.

There were two books that came home with me. the first one Luna Lapin is fabulous. It gives you the pattern and instructions on how to make the rabbit plus her clothes. There is also Alfie, a boy rabbit. I need to buy some felt to make the rabbit.

The other book is 365 free motion quilting designs by Leah Day. This book has lots of ideas for quilting.

 Along the back wall was this tasty display.

Here are some of the novelty fabrics.

and some more

Wide fabric for backings and next to these shelves I found the wadding.

My pictures of the thread corner and the tea area came out very fuzzy which was a shame. I treated myself to a new pattern.

I already have a potential owner for this quilt. I bought a few fat quarters.

There were a lot of fabrics I wanted but I didn't know how much fabric I needed. I have now worked this out but it's not a problem as they now have an online shop.

Having finished my shopping I enjoyed a cup of tea and a biscuit with an interesting chat. I was surprised how late in the afternoon it was by the time I'd finished looking round. We decided to find our hotel and then have dinner early. We were both tired so trying to fit another visit into the day would have been very stressful.

It was about a two mile walk from our hotel into the centre of Bristol. We enjoyed the walk even though the temperature was falling. We found a Pizza Express and enjoyed thin and crispy pizzas Then it was time to walk back and read before retiring to bed. Part of our trips away for the weekend are to enable us to just wind down, relax and catch up on sleep. The plan for the Sunday was to go to Slimbridge for a spot of bird watching. I'll tell you about that tomorrow. Just before settling to sleep I checked the weather and there was potential for snow the next day but we decided it wouldn't happen.


Sunday, 25 February 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

The week has gone so quickly and I haven't quite finished all the hand stitching I set out to do but at least I've managed to complete some of it. We have been away for the weekend in the south west of England. This gave me the opportunity to visit my favourite quilt shop and for us both to do some bird watching at Slimbridge. I took some fabric and my hexie templates with me. We were outside all morning today but I got rather cold, well it was more my feet got very cold. I have nerve damage as a result of the chemotherapy and my cold feet were really painful as a result. After lunch John set off for another hour to do some more bird watching on his own while I stayed in the warm and fussy cut some fabric and started stitching the fabric to the templates.  By the time he'd arrived back an hour later I had all 12 pieces cut and had completely stitched 5 to the templates and I was about to start number 6.

The next round of 'flowers' on the Grandmother's Garden quilt will be slightly different. Previously each round has been a different colour of the rainbow but this time the middle hexie will be the rainbow colours and the rest of the hexies in the flower will be white. Interspersed will be some flowers with the Beatrice Potter characters in the middle of the flower. I was so pleased when I found this fabric.

I have some photos of my favourite quilt shop which moved home last year and also of our trip to Slimbridge. I'll show you them tomorrow. Meanwhile I'm linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching Do go and see what everyone's stitching this week. I'm hoping to get a lot of the flower blocks for the next round made this week.