Sunday 28 October 2012

Visit to Winchester

For the last two weeks I have linked up with Barbara at Cat Patches for her Foto Finish. the theme this week was 'creepy' or 'scary' but unfortunately I don't have any photos to match this theme in my archives and nothing came to mind over the week. Therefore I am going with the theme being optional and I will share some photos from my trip to Winchester.

My husband John and I agreed that we needed to make more time for ourselves to go and do things we wanted to do. So on Friday after work we set off on an overnight trip to Winchester. It isn't a great distance away - about 70 miles, so could have been done as a day trip but we wanted to make sure the trip happened. Too often with a day trip something happens in the morning and our plans are forgotten. It also meant we could have a leisurely dinner together and  time to talk.

On Saturday we drove into the city with the intention of visiting the cathedral. 

The Cathedral stands at the heart of Winchester which was once the seat of the Anglo-Saxon and Norman royal power. It stands on the site of an early Christian church from the seventh century and there has been a place of worship here ever since.

The Cathedral is the burial place of author Jane Austin.

The 15th century Great Screen behind the high alter once had painted statues but these were destroyed during the reformation. However the screen was restored and looks magnificent.

One of the chapels had a highly painted ceiling.

For me one of the delights of the Cathedral were the old floor tiles. 

As you can see some areas were better preserved than others. We enjoyed our visit to the Cathedral. It provided a period of calm after a very busy week.

We visited several places over the day and really enjoyed ourselves. We are already planning our next trip. 

My final picture is of the autumn colours. The weather here has gone much colder and the leaves have started to fall in earnest so the beautiful colours will soon be gone for this year.

I hope your weekend has been as enjoyable as mine. Back to the reality of work tomorrow. Why not visit Cat Patches to see everyone's foto finishes. Click on the button on the right of this post or here

Friday 26 October 2012

Wicked Blog Hop - my first blog hop and give away

Hi, I'm Lyndsey and I'm pleased you hopped over to see what I created for the Wicked blog hop. Thanks to Madame Samm for organising the hop and to Wendy for being our cheerleader. This is the first blog hop I have taken part in and it has been a lot of fun to do but not without its stresses - would I come up with an idea of what I wanted to make and would I get it made in time. 

I decided I wanted to incorporate the usual Halloween party goers, witches, ghosts, bats, pumpkins and black cats. I looked round blog land which was full of lovely patterns and gave me several ideas. I also knew I wanted to use appliqué rather than paper piecing. 

So I started with a background fabric of 8 inches by 71/2 inches and then cut out my shapes and attached them with a fusible. First there was a pumpkin

Then the bats with a moon.

Closely followed by some ghosts,

and a witches hat.

I also wanted to use some of a FQ I had bought at the Stitching and knitting exhibition earlier in October. Because this was patterned I wanted it to have a narrow black border.

Next I added the machine appliqué and an orange border. I started by completing the pumpkin. Unfortunately I got side tracked whilst stitching it and went searching for pumpkin recipes. I had to stop myself from cooking until I had finished.

Next the bats and whilst working on these guys I found myself humming Bat out of hell by Meat Loaf so I had to stop and search through my I pod for the track. The green works well for the eyes.

Yes you've guessed it I got sidetracked again. My ghostly choir sent me of searching for Procol Harum's Whiter shade of pale.

Finally stitching the witches hat reminded me of a story I read my daughter many years ago about a little witch who couldn't go to the Halloween party because her hat was torn and dented.

My blocks were all sewn together with the beautiful Halloween fabric in the middle and then I added a border of the fabulously wicked Moda Happy Howloween fabric. The table runner was quilted in the ditch and I echo quilted the items on the individual blocks. unfortunately it doesn't really show up in the photo except on the hat block. I would love to have shown you a photo of the table runner on my dining table but unfortunately my husband has his marking in the way.

Our beautiful cat Picasso likes to help with any sewing that is going on and he really enjoyed poking his head through the arm of the machine.

He really couldn't understand why I was getting a little annoyed with him.

I hope you are having fun visiting the blogs today. Here's a list of the other stops.

Sew Many Yarns This is me!

Did I mention a give away? I have 3 batik fat quarters.

If you would like a chance to win please leave me a comment. If you would like to follow my blog the button is on the side. If you do, leave me another message saying you are a member and you can have a second chance to win. I will get the random number generator to pick a number on November 1st. International visitors are welcome to take part.

Saturday 20 October 2012

Foto Finish - Orange

Foto Finish

Today I am linking up with Barbara at Cat Patches for her Saturday Foto Finish. The theme this week was orange. I took my photos last weekend whilst walking the dog over Wandsworth Common in South London.

These are the seeds of Iris foetidissima commonly known as Stinking iris as some people find the smell of the crushed leaves rather unpleasant.

We also saw the Rowan berries. The Rowan tree is also known as Witchwood which is quite appropriate as we will soon be celebrating Halloween.

There were also a lot of orange fungi. I can't get my head round the different types of fungi but I do know that  this one is called Fly Agaric. When the tops are new they are much redder. They are very pretty but poisonous.

Finally the tiled floor of a church we visited back in August. The oranges were really bright.  I'm sure I've seen this pattern as a quilt block. 

The theme next week is 'creepy' or 'spooky'. Why not pop over to Cat Patches to see what photos everyone else has posted. Barbara has also posted some photos of beautiful quilts so do check them out.

Thursday 18 October 2012

TNT Kansas sunflower

This week I have been catching up on the blocks for the Grandmother' Choice Votes for Women block of the week quilt. Although it is only week 7 I had got way behind. So I set myself the task of at least getting 5 blocks done. The blocks are beautiful and I am really pleased with the final result but it involved learning new skills.

Although I had done a lot of dress making over the years I haven't really done very much quilting. When last I quilted it was using the English paper piecing method which suited me perfectly because it is very portable in the early stages of a project.

I started quilting earlier this year as part of my guide unit's project to make prem baby quilts for project Linus. This didn't provide many challenges to my sewing as we used squares to create the quilts. I made a couple of large sized quilts using nine patch and disappearing nine patch but still had not tried making any of these fancy blocks. In fact they were just pretty things I had looked at in books and on the internet. However never one to underestimate my sewing abilities I decided I could make them if I put my mind to it. 

My husband bought me a Dresden plate quilt kit and in April I started piecing the plates. This is the first one I made.

I was very happy with the result and I have now completed all the blocks and I am adding the sashing. I also made a baby quilt using the broken dishes block. Getting good points on all those half square triangles was seriously hard work.

Pleased with the results I was therefore very tempted by the thought of making the weekly blocks for the Votes for women quilt. The first two I did were all squares and half square triangles but then I started making Amethyst. This involves a Y seam. I cut it slightly bigger so I could trim it later and it went together well.

I decided to leave Kansas Sunflower as just looking at it incited panic. Visiting various blogs I found other people who were finding it difficult and this made me worry I wouldn't be able to do it. So on Tuesday I sat myself down and gave myself a serious talking to. I persuaded myself that there was no point in just ignoring it and that it was better to just take it slowly and see how I got on. Another trip round blog land gave me some tips on how to attempt the block and included the advice that quilting isn't about it having to be perfect.

The final result isn't perfect but I am very pleased with it. I know as I carry on with this block of the week quilt I will learn a lot of new skills. In the future I may decided to revisit this block and and remake it or I may just leave it as a reminder of the learning experience.

I'm linking up with Melissa at Happy Quilting for her Try New thing Thursday. Why not go and see what everyone has been up to. Click on Happy Quilting in the line above or click the button on the right

Wednesday 17 October 2012

WIP Dresden plate wall hanging and other projects

I am feeling quite pleased with myself as I have managed to do quite a bit of work on several of my projects over the last week.

First I have managed to catch up with the blocks for Grandmother's Choice BOW. Although this is only week 7 I had managed to get behind having only finished 2 blocks. Now I only have to complete one to be totally up to date.

I am quite pleased with the way these blocks look. I am using green, purple and white for this quilt.

I also worked on my Dresden plate wall hanging. When I last worked on it I had a couple of the plates to piece together but rather than doing that I pieced together the sashing. This week I have managed to make all the plate blocks and machine appliqué them to the background fabric. I have also made a start on adding the sashing ( OK only one piece I admit but it is a start.)

It is very difficult to get a good photo at the moment as the sun is streaming in through the window and  it has the effect of draining the colour. I'm not complaining however because the sun is beautiful and makes the whole place cheery after the last couple of days of rain.

Although I have pieced the sashing I still need to piece the borders but this quilt will definitely be a finish by the end of the year.

I have also done a fair amount of embroidery on my millennium sampler but my camera battery needs recharging so I write about that next time.

I'm linking up with Sharon at Pintangle and Lee at freshly pieced for their Work in progress Wednesday link up. Why not follow the links and see what everyone else has been up to this week.

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Mini quilt, gifts and FQ's

When the postman delivers to our house there are quite often packets and parcels for my husband and son but today was exciting as for once the package was for me. Inside was a beautiful mini quilt made for me by Kim Riley in Texas.

This quilt swap was run by Quilting gallery and is the first quilt swap I have taken part in. The quilt had to include the embroidery and had to be no smaller than 12 inches square and no bigger than 24 inches square. Thank you Kim I love the quilt.

Kim was also very kind and included a scissor fob with a lovely quilt block on it. My daughter thought this would look great on my mobile phone but my phone doesn't have anywhere to attach it. To make sure it doesn't disappear the fob is already attached to my embroidery scissors. 

Kim also included this lovely moda panel depicting Texas. I have a couple of ideas for using this panel once I've finished up my current large projects. I didn't realise until I started writing this blog just how much fun I would have with quilting and how many new friends I would make.

On Sunday I met up with an old friend of 40 years. We started our nurse training together in 1972 at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London. My father was adamant that if I was going to become a nurse I would train at a London teaching hospital. So 40 years ago I left home in the Midlands to move to London and I've been here ever since. My father was right about getting the best possible training and as a result here I am 40 years later teaching nursing degree students and other subjects at a university in London.

Anyway Lynne and I plus Hilary (Lynne's friend) met up to visit the Stitching and Knitting exhibition at Alexandra Palace in north London. It was the last day of the exhibition but it was incredibly crowded. As the name implies it covers all aspects of needlecraft and includes work on display and supplies to buy.

Colour improvisations curated by Nancy Crow had a lovely selection of quilts from artists around the world. They were beautiful to look at but unfortunately you were not allowed to take photographs so I am afraid there is no eye candy.

My problem with buying supplies was ensuring I didn't overspend. It is far too close to Christmas to blow the budget. So I was careful to only buy what I needed for current projects or present making. I did however get cards and web addresses for the suppliers whose fabrics were more unusual. I will give my DH a short wish list of fabrics I would love for my birthday (December) or Christmas should he be stuck for ideas.

What I did buy was FQ's. This one I needed for Wicked Blog Hop.

I needed some green and purple and white for my Grandmother's choice quilt and another ongoing project. Unfortunately the colours aren't showing up right in the photo. It could have something to do with the really intense light coming in from my south facing window. 

I found these FQ's for the sewing bag my friend asked me to make.

I also needed these for doggy Christmas presents.

I couldn't resist the alphabet FQ's. These will be used in the quilts the brownies are making for project Linus

I also needed some Christmas fabrics.

Finally I bought a small scrap bag containing Japanese fabrics. These fabrics were beautiful but rather expensive by the yard. Plus I couldn't make up my mind which one I really wanted. So now I have some small pieces I can use and see how they handle when I sew them up and also how well they wash. I don't want to spend a lot of money if they are difficult to handle or care for.

If I had been buying a bigger piece of fabric this is the one I would have chosen.

So I came back from an exhibition with money still in my purse and I only bought fabrics with an identified and current project in mind. I think that is a first for me.

I am linking this post with Connie at Freemotion by the river. Click the button on the right of this post to see what everyone else has been up to.