Sunday, 23 July 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Here we are another week gone, a week of thunder storms, sunny days and rather more work than I'd wanted. That's the trouble with the end of the academic year, there is so much marking and admin to do there is hardly any time to catch your breath or to spend on your hobbies. 

Having completed very little of my projects this year I decided I needed a plan. Last weekend I spent some time listing my projects under main headings, quilting, embroidery, sewing and knitting. I then identified one thing off each list I would try to do this month. To make it workable I set a small objective for the chosen project and then set about completing the objective. My objective for my knitting project was to knit up to the armhole of the second sleeve of John's jumper. I managed this and also added the sleeve to the main body of the jumper. 



Next up is a flying geese border. For this pattern it asks for 20 squares at 71/4 inch cut on the two diagonals to give 80 triangles, the middle of. the geese. I then needed 80 squares at 37/8 cut once to give 160 triangles. Not my favourite way of making flying geese as stitching the triangles on the bias can pull them out of shape  so I need to handle them less and take more care. I ended up with all the pieces cut including the extra pieces for the four corner ston I'm finding it rather strange knitting in the round as I've never done this before but trying new techniques is good for the brain. I keep panicking the jumper isn't the right size but the tape measure tells a different story and it should be a great fit. I'm not sure why I'm worrying as I did my test square to make sure my tension was right before I started knitting. Anyway knitting objective for the month done. 

My quilting objective to to cut the fabric for the flying geese border of my compass quilt. This is where I left it when I last worked on this project. I had completed star border and needed to make border 4, the flying geese border. 



I needed to cut 20  squares at 71/4 inches and cut on the two diagonals to make 80 triangles for the centre of the flying geese. I also cut 80 squares at 37/8 inches cut once on the diagonal. All the cutting left my wrists a little sore but I had several neat piles of pieces all ready for stitching. In addition I also cut the pieces for the 4 cornerstones.  Sewing the triangles on the bias is not my most favourite way of making flying geese as it always seems slower and there is a risk of pulling the fabric out of shape. I may start the stitching later in the week but if I don't it doesn't matter as my quilting objective for the month is complete. Ha why didn't I think about setting tiny objectives before.



All that cutting left me with a pile of scraps. I think I need to start a scrappy quilt in the near future.




For my stitching objective I was going to work on Mildred, this months bag lady. Then I realised that Ernestine was almost completed and it would be really nice to have a finish so yesterday I worked on her.

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I'm very pleased with how Ernestine has come out and I love her little dog. I have also spent a little time with Mildred today, starting the stitching on her dress. I can't make up my mind whether to embroider the buttons on the dress or use small beads. 

The only objective I haven't worked on is my sewing projects. I'm going to try and cut out the lining for my green jacket some time this week. I wanted to wear this during the summer and if I don't get a move on it will be winter before I finish it. For the rest of the month anything I achieve for my other projects is an added bonus and I'm feeling really positive about my hobbies.

I linking this post with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching Why not go and see what other people have been working on.

I'm going to take a nap as my computer is driving me nuts at present. It had a big update for Windows 10 and since then has decided it is a tablet and won't acknowledge it has a keyboard. Microsoft if you're reading this sort out your softwear. My computer is a Lenova not a surface pro and I like using the keyboard, oddly enough it makes it easier to write a post. I've tried all the settings and nothing is making it work but Richard will be home soon and should be able to sort it out. Another thing Microsoft if Windows 10 is so User friendly why won't it do what I need it to do? I think I'd better put the computer away so I can stop being grumpy. 

Hope you all had a good weekend.

Lyndsey

Sunday, 16 July 2017

A Friday Finish

My Friday finish is a finish but not a quilting or sewing finish. My Friday finish was my last chemotherapy session. I've had 8 sessions in all, 7 of them at full dosage for my weight. For the last one the dosage was reduced to 90% as I've got neuropathy in my hands and feet (loss of feeling and at times hypersensitivity) as a side effect of the drugs I've received. This usually returns to normal over the next few months but I'll just have to be patient. Lucy and I celebrated the last session with tea and very tasty mini cup cakes will the drugs were infused. I've been very lucky as I have had too many side effects and I've been able to do most thing but at a slower pace. Stage 2, surgery is booked for the end of August after our Guide trip to Switzerland.

Over the last week I've been trying to get a little more organised, especially with my sewing and knitting projects. I made lists of all my projects I could remember and knew I wanted to complete and then I spent some time considering the order to work on them. My first decision was to work on John's jumper. He bought the yarn and pattern at the Stitching and Knitting exhibition last October but I've done very little knitting since the beginning of the year. I need to knit the second the second sleeve to be able to move this project on so on Tuesday evening I made a start. I'm still working on the increase rows but it is slowly growing. 




I found it easier knitting than working on the bag ladies. The stitching requires much finer hand movements. However I've been trying to complete bits on the three of the ladies. Mildred has moved forward this week, but only a little. I finished her scarf and gave her little french knots bubble curls.



I'm still not sure how to make her mouth look a little better. I've started on Beulah's hair and also her pink tot bag. I really want to work on the flowers but want to finish her hair fist.



I then put my bag with these two pieces down and couldn't remember where it was so I pulled out Ernestine and made a start on her hair.


Not much left to do on Ernestine. I'm looking forward to stitching the little dog.

I also stitched up some small bags to turn into bean bags for Brownies. I just need to buy some lentils to fill them.

Tomorrow I want to try and cut out some of the pieces to make the flying geese for my compass quilt. A couple of days after chemo my hands are a bit shaky so it will depend if I feel safe enough to use the rotary cutter. If not I do a little more knitting. At least the weather has cooled down a bit so it is reasonably comfortable to do the knitting.

Lyndsey

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Piggy Bank savings reveal.

Val's Quilting Studio

Last year and this year I joined in with Val's Piggy Bank Challenge  This is a very simple challenge. First identify a piggy bank. My piggy bank has been around in the family for a number of years, so long I've actually forgotten which of our three children it originally belonged to. Anyway Piggy wasn't being used and so was perfect for the challenge.


Fortunately Piggy has a rubber bung in the base so you can get the money out, unlike several china pigs I've seen where you have to smash the pig to get the money.

Step 2 is to save change over the year to buy quilting supplies. Piggy was quite full when I emptied him with a total of £247. There was a few odd pence and these have been put back into Piggy to start this years collection. My saving hasn't been consistent as some weeks I remember to drop any change into pig but then I'll go for a few weeks where I save nothing. That makes the total even more welcome and it will be spent on quilting.

I want to make this quilt which was featured in Today's Quilter.


I've more or less made my decisions about the colour palette I want to use so now I just need to buy the fabric. Thanks to Piggy I have the cash to buy what I need for the project plus whatever else catches my eye. Now all I need to do is organise my trip to a quilt shop or more likely several quilt shops to get exactly what I want.  

This challenge has worked in so many ways. First saving my change for quilting supplies means I don't give in to the temptation of a chocolate bar so the waistline doesn't suffer. Then I had the fun of counting the cash and being very pleasantly surprised at how much there was and finally the fun of shopping for the supplies to look forward to in the next couple of weeks. I shall be linking with Val for her 5th annual piggy bank challenge over the coming year.

I'm linking this post with Val for her end of challenge reveal.

Lyndsey

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Sitting stitching and thinking.

I am sitting cuddled up with Scamp on a sunny Wednesday morning here in London. Every so often Scamp has a little snore, a gentle little snore you understand, one that makes you go ahhh you're so cute. The settee we're curled up on is in front of a window that faces south and my head is enjoying the warmth of the sun without me having to worry about smothering the soft fluffy hair that is starting to grow with sun screen. I'm not working today and although I have things related to work that I'm going to do there is no need to start yet. John has already left for work and Lucy and Richard are enjoying a lazy morning so Scamp and I are enjoying a little us time.

Here we are already at the start of the second half of the year. I know every year seems to go by so fast as you get older but this one has just whizzed by and I'm not sure there's been much time just to sit and enjoy a little quiet time. I'm enjoying the fact that this week I have no doctors appointments, there has been far too many of them up to now. 

My stitching is sitting in my lap. I've made a start on Mildred who is this month's bag lady. It is only a little start. As you can see I've done a little stitching on her scarf. 


I thought this time I'd start work on Mildred from her head down. Her mouth doesn't look right and instead of leaving this tricky bit till last I'm going to do it first. How about that as a bold way to start the second half of the year? Whilst stroking Scamp's soft and fluffy ears I realised I've cruised a little this year, putting off the difficult stuff and getting on with the easy bits. My family tell me that's not true, after all I've got on with Chemotherapy and carried on a normal as far as possible, but there isn't really a choice in that when all's said and done. No I was thinking more in terms of my hobbies and in particular quilting and stitching. I have packed away the projects that are a little tricky and worked on the easier ones but I think the time has come to start challenging myself again.

I set myself a small challenge last month which was to finish making my tote bag but I didn't manage that. In fact I didn't work on it at all, not a single stitch. So when I pulled it out yesterday I asked myself why?  The answer I got back was 'the instructions are too difficult to understand and the writings small'.


The writing is quite small and the pages look pretty stuffed full with information but the actual instructions are easy to follow (once I read them). At the point I left the tote I had quilted it and stitched the side seams. So yesterday I did the bottom seam and stitched the corners to make the base. This means it will stand up on its own. I did an all over meander for the quilting including going across the black base. I love the way the quilting stands out on the base and blends into the background on the green.


I've made a start on the lining, cut the handles and made the pieces for the snap fastenings to attach to. The only thing new to me from all that is the use of the magnetic snap fasteners and that was easy.

I din't finish Beulah last month but I did quite well. My main problem was I kept putting off doing her face and hair. Her face looks a little scary or grumpy and she needs to be a little happier but towards the end of the month I did less and less stitching on her as it got nearer to having to stitch her face. This is how far I got with her, Just her 'let's quilt' bag and her head, oh and I forgot her legs and shoes.


Normally I'd put her away and only work on her this month if I finish Mildred but I am going to make time this weekend to try and complete her.

Not only have I been stroking Scamp whilst sitting here I've also been stroking fabric. I have a small subscription treat box which is delivered around the 4th of each month. It arrived yesterday and I love the fabric that was in it.


There is always beautiful fabric in the box but apart from the box with the tote fabric and pattern I haven't done anything with the contents of the boxes (except stroking) so far this year. The tear shaped box on the blue fabric is a magnetic needle keeper that also has a needle threader in it. That will be a great help with keeping my spare needles to hand.

I just had to take time out to tickle Scamp's little tummy. He went to the groomers on Saturday and he looks so cute with his short summer cut. He is really enjoying his 'us' time cuddle and every so often taps my arm with his paw to say 'more tickles please'.

Thinking and cuddling with Scamp has been good. I have identified that in making sure that my students didn't suffer as a result of the disruption my treatment has had on my teaching commitments I've actually lost quite a bit of 'me' time and that the things I do to relax, unwind and generally rejuvenate myself have been lacking recently. Life is about balance and I need to get the balance back.  I'm not expecting to get it right immediately but I'm going to make small changes to give myself more time.

I've also been thinking for some time of going through all my projects. Some are newish but many have been hanging around for a while. Some projects are old friends and although they are taking a long time they will get done eventually and it's enjoyable to go back and work on the periodically. However there are some that I feel I will never finish as my heart isn't really in them and then I may pass them on to friends who want them, or horror of horrors just get rid of them.

Hopefully (I can't guarantee) there will be more sewing, stitching, knitting and cooking over the coming months. 

Lyndsey

Monday, 26 June 2017

A up and down sort of a day.

Yesterday was a very odd day. The best part of it was that the high temperature had fallen and so the heat was much more manageable. The very high temperature have caused a few problems as most houses in the UK don't have air conditioning. To be honesty it is only in recent years that the temperatures have gone so high and even now it generally only lasts for a few days. We are very lucky in that our house tends to stay cool inside in the summer and holds the warmth in the winter. By yesterday evening it began to rain and I got caught in a heavy shower when I ventured out to get some groceries I had forgotten. That didn't affect the temperature and by the time I got home I was dry again.

John woke up with quite a bit of discomfort in his hand and so took some pain killers. A little later he started vomiting, which lasted most of the day.We aren't sure if it was the drugs or if he'd caught a bug, but we are both being extra careful with hand washing since I only had my chemo on Friday. John's feeling much better and has already started grumbling about how little you can do with your dominant hand splinted and bandaged.

In the afternoon Katy came over, as she likes to check out I'm OK after treatment. She finished her teaching course this week and has qualified teacher status but has to wait for the results of her PGCE as they haven't gone through the exam board yet. We went for a walk round the town as she is looking for a dress to wear to a wedding on Saturday. Once we'd completed that we dropped into one of the charity shops. I want to alter some of my clothes that I can't bear to throw out but I want to practise on something else first. I didn't find anything suitable for that but come across two new tops, still with their original shop labels. I'd looked at them last year but they didn't have my size. I decided it was just meant to be and bought both since they were my size, and at a much reduced cost than I would have paid then. I do still need to find some pieces so I can practise my alterations.


I've washed the shirt but it needs a good iron. It will be fine for work which is what I wanted it for. Although we stopped using chalk boards years ago there are still the white board pens to mess up your clothes.  I didn't do a picture of the other top as it is just plain red with a V neck and 3/4 sleeves.

Some slow stitching got done on Beulah but not very much. I've finished the yellow tote and just have to stitch the word crackers to complete the grocery bag.  Next I'm moving on to the pink tote. I'm putting off doing her hair and face. I'm hoping to make her look a little happier. when I get there.


I'm linking this post with Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Stitching Sunday I'm going to see what everyone else has been working on this weekend.


Lyndsey

Friday, 23 June 2017

Playing catch up again.

I seem to have fallen off the side of a mountain under an avalanche of work and so sewing and other hobbies has been on hold. I last wrote a post on the 6th of June and since then life has been one long rush. Add in the election results on the 9th and the huge fire in London plus ridiculously high temperatures that I just find overwhelming and life has felt very uncomfortable. Can I get political, is it allowed on my blog? The election wouldn't have been so bad if the PM, (can you really be PM if you're not the leader of a party with a majority and currently have no real support) wouldn't insist on having it all her own way and carrying gaily as she was before the election, whilst saying it's what the people voted for. Grrrrr.  Anyway sorry about that, at least it made me feel better. The tower fire was awful and now they've found a lot of other tower blocks have the same cladding on them. The tower I work in has cladding but don't know if it's the same type. I'll ask that question on Monday when I'm next in the building.

The main problem stopping me sewing has been marking. It's got so bad I even dream I'm busy marking. Today I had my penultimate chemotherapy treatment and I rewarded myself with some stitching on Beulah. Last time I stitched I had got this far.


By the time my eyes were feeling blurry with concentrating on the stitches I had moved forward a fair bit.


When I first look at each of these ladies at the beginning of the month I'm not always sure I love them. As I start stitching they come alive and by the time I finish them I can't believe I doubted how they would turn out. Beulah herself is also looking happier as I get more of her finished. Still a long way to go on this one and the month has only one more week to run.

I set myself a monthly goal of completing my new tote bag. To date there has been no progress on this. On a more positive note I have a week and it really doesn't need a lot of work to be done on it. I hope to set up my machine tomorrow as I am trying to have a more restful weekend so that I don't end up feeling wobbly on Monday as I have done after the last two doses. Sewing versus taking the dog for a long walk or getting some ironing done certainly sounds more restful.

Last weekend we were away on camp. Lucy was taking her camp license, just in case something happens and I can't go to Switzerland in August. It meant we had visitors to the camp who were assessing her organisation and management but she passed easily and we heaved a sigh of relief. The weather was amazing. We always camp on the woody sites as these offer a lot of shade and I was really grateful for it. The two open field were very hot even just to walk across let alone camp there. The girls loved the twin zip wires and the quick drop, which is supposed to be like stepping out of an air plane. I didn't do either as I felt I needed to ensure I didn't break anything.

Since I last wrote I received a really cute present in the post. Barbara from Cat Patches is running the bag ladies embroidery as a sew along and each month randomly picks someone who has taken part to win a prize. The fun bit with getting a prize is you just have to have worked on the bag lady not completed her. My prize is this cute needle threader. It's perfect for threading my embroidery needle and that's most helpful as I can't always see to thread the needle without it.


Thank you Barbara.

Today John had surgery on his hand under local block. He had his Dupuytren's contracture released. This is when cords of shortened connective tissue prevent you from fully extending your finger. Lucy and I picked John up from the Day unit on our way back from my chemo session. Lucy had a great time making jokes about the 'oldies' and having to look after them but when we got home I made the coffee! John's finding his hand a little painful but the analgesics are working. As it's his dominant hand and all bandaged up he needs help with everyday things. He's got to go back to see the surgeon on Monday and hopefully the bandage may be removed or at least some of it.

Anyway as it's been a slightly stressful day I'm going to head to bed. I'm hoping tonight is a little cooler as I could do with a good sleep. Tomorrow I must catch up with some blog reading as I've no idea what's been going on in blog land. Hopefully only nice and happy things.

Lyndsey

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

One Monthly Goal


Last year I joined in with one monthly goal but this year I have let it slip. I found setting one goal a month helped me to move my projects forward and that of course meant I could start new projects as I finished up old ones. I've always loved starting new projects and in the past I didn't worry too much about the number of UFO's I had on the go but I'm a little more careful now. The main reason for this is the lack of storage space. I really don't have anywhere to store half finished projects. I have a wooden chest that has my overlocker sewing machine (serger) stored in it plus several projects and scraps. This helps keep some of my sewing under control but I then have to put other projects into any available space. This means I sometimes forget all about them plus it's hard to keep track of what you have to work on. I had planned to turn the one bedroom into a guest cum sewing room but them younger daughter moved back home, so that plan has been put on hold for the time being.

Now I have two new projects I want to start. I showed you some pictures of the one quilt but the other one is slowly coming together in my head. My younger brother has recently moved into a canal boat and I want to make him a boat themed quilt. In order to start these I need to finish up some items. I have a couple of things that need to move along but I've opted for the smallest project to finish this month as this should be easy to do whilst giving me the satisfaction of a finish. My goal is to finish my tote bag. I've done the quilting and stitched the side seams but there is still quite a bit to do as it is lined and has inner pockets. I haven't taken a picture recently so here is an old one of the fabric and pattern.


I'm linking this post with Elm Street Quilts for the June One monthly goal link up I've got some time to work on this goal at the weekend.

Lyndsey