Thursday 28 February 2013

February NewFO


Oh Nooooo the end of the second month of the year and I don't seem to have got started on any of my big projects yet. Maybe March will be better.

It's time to link up with Barbara at Cat Patches for her monthly NewFO linky party. You don't need to finish anything to link up but you must have started a new project this month. So let me think what have I been up to..........?

I took part in the 'It's all about me' blog hop over at Sew We Quilt. It's the last day today so if you haven't been following it go and visit as the whole schedule is available there. The creations have been amazing and so different since we all started with the same pattern.

I made 'me' into a folder cover for my projects folder. For some reason I couldn't get into making this pattern up. My day for posting was the 21st and I finally got my act together late on the 19th so  I cut it very fine. However I am pleased with the finished product and it makes my folder very easy to spot among the other folders on the shelf. I took it to work and a couple of colleagues have asked if I will make them one.

I also started my project for the Nancy Drew blog hop which starts on March 6th. The fabric is cute. My project involves cutting the charm squares into quarters and I also needed white patches. It is almost finished which means for once I'm well ahead. Just need to check what day I have to post on. Sorry no more sneaky peeks until the hop.

I picked up a piece of cross stitch my son had started many years ago and I hope to have it finished in the next few day. I'm counting it as a NewFo because it is new to me.

As you can see from this photo quite a bit of work had already been done on one of the birds. The photo below was taken a few days ago and I have added a couple of leaves and quite a lot of the second bird. The piece has moved on from this picture but I didn't want to take another photo until it is all finished.

I also started another knitting piece, this time making a baby blanket using some of the baby wool I was given. I've got another 12 rows to knit and then sew in all the ends (not one of my favourite jobs). The basket weave pattern knits up very quickly.

I had to put the knitting on the floor to take the picture and Scamp thought he'd like to join in. He loves sitting on my lap while I'm knitting this as the yarns is so soft but very warm. It's not a problem as everything gets washed before being sent off to its new owner. This blanket will go to Project Linus.

This month I have also done the 'enabling'  works for the new projects to start next month or in April. I have now got all the fabric I need for the top of my Double Wedding Ring quilt  and I am copying the templates for the arcs. I have decided to make a swoon quilt for my friend and I have got the pattern for that but still need to decide on fabrics and I have drawn out the patterns for the items I want to stitch for the 'Stitch me up' blog hop.

On the 8th March I am taking part in the beat the winter blues Blog hop party at Quilting gallery. The button is on the side bar. This party involves give aways.

Connie from Freemotion by the river is also having a give away of two different fat quarter bundles of Pleasant Summer House by Heather Mulder Peterson. The fabric is gorgeous so pop over and take a look and get a chance to win. The give away closes on March 5th.

Tuesday 26 February 2013

A February Finish.

  Never Too Hot to Stitch!

At the end of 2012 I decided to join both of these links in order to finish up the few UFO's I had and to stay on top of the new projects coming on line this year. For February I committed to finishing my Dresden plate quilt. My husband bought me the quilt kit in October 2011 when we visited the Stitching and Knitting Show at Alexandra Palace in London. I opened the kit and read the instructions and spent ages stroking the fabric but put it away to do later. In April last year when I started this blog I started the quilt. I'd never made a Dresden plate block before and hadn't quilted in a couple of decades so it was a slow and shaky start but with the support of my readers and followers the project started to take shape and I began to enjoy making it. On Saturday I had very nearly completed the quilt but the tension on my machine began to play up so I used another machine to attach the binding.  On Sunday I hand stitched the back of the binding and very late that evening. I got the machine tension working properly and completed the quilting.

Yesterday I took the quilt to work with me so I could take the photographs outside. Opposite where we work is a park and I decided this would provide a good backdrop.

Unfortunately I didn't want to lie it over the grass as that was quite wet. Th light wasn't all that great as my first chance to get outside was 4 pm.

I will post some photos of the quilting in the near future as it doesn't show up on these but I am quite please with it even though on occasions my FMQ has gone a little wonky.

I also had planned to finish the top on my Christmas quilt so that I could work on the quilting next month.  Unfortunately I haven't reached that point. All 49 of the granny square blocks are done but they still need to be trimmed and I need to cut out the sashing. 

I am  linking up with  Connie at Freemotion by the river for her Tuesday linky party, Sharon at Pin Tangle  and Lee at Freshly Pieced for their work in progress Wednesday and Richard and Tanya for Link a finish Friday.

I'm now going to fit in a little stitching before bed time. Unfortunately I'm working every day this week so the stitching will have to be squeezed into the evenings. 

I hope you had time for a little sewing today.


Monday 25 February 2013

Hand stitching on a quiet Sunday

I've been very busy trying to finish my Dresden plate quilt and today I put the binding on. I still have a tiny bit of quilting to do but the tension on my machine has gone wrong so it needs a service before I can use . I attached the binding using another machine and hand stitched it this morning. The quilt should be fully finished by Tuesday. I've also managed to finish all 49 of the granny squares blocks. Now all I need to do is trim them and cut out the sashing. I think that may have to be next weekends job.

I have also been stitching the little cross stitch I found of Blue Tits. When I found it one of the birds had already been partially completed and looked like this.

Over the day I started work on bird number two and the piece now looks like this.

I'm quite pleased with my progress. I was going to wash the piece before I started work on it as it is very grubby but I decided to finish it first. 

Yesterday I received a lovely card containing some scraps from Kate from Katy's Arty Bits. She had a give away a little while ago and I was one of the winners. The scraps are very pretty and in colours I needed for a project I've been thinking about to use up some of my scraps.

Thanks Kate they will be very useful.

Finally I pulled out the pattern for the'Stitch me up' blog hop at the end of March. There are several patterns to choose from and we have to stitch one of them. I know which I am going to do but you'll have to wait until nearer the time for a sneak peek. I also started picking fabrics for the two mug rugs I'm going to make next week for a mug rug swap. They are such pretty patterns.

A very nice relaxing stitching day. 

I hope you found time for some sewing this weekend.


Thursday 21 February 2013

It's all about me

Today is my day on the 'It's all about me' hop. Thanks to the amazing Madame Samm  for organising the hop and Marlene from Stitching by the Lake for being our fantastic cheerleader. Thanks are also due to Amy Bradley for her lovely design.

It took me ages to get started on this piece. I had the pattern and lots of fabric but I could not decide how to make the design more about me. Then I was reading through some old work notes and in the middle I found this poem.

Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people's gardens
and learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children. 
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

I have always liked the idea of doing what you want as you get older and I already wear purple as it's one of my favourite colours so that made my decision on the dress colour.

I also knew that I didn't want to make a wall hanging as I don't have a sewing room or space and we have lots of paintings and embroidery on the walls already. It was at this point that I was going through my folder where I keep the information relating to my current projects that the idea hit me. I would use the design to make a folder cover. As my folder has lots of projects in it that must mean that I'm busy? So I changed the word biased to busy and added things I do to the frame.

My hair is slightly longer than this at present and has always had a tendency to be unruly so I had to add in some stay hair. I also tend to put my needle into my top rather than the pin cushion.

The words on the frame pick up on my hobbies - all that is except cleaning. Cleaning is a necessity that gets in the way

Look what's the top project in my folder. I'm also about to start work on my Double wedding ring quilt as I've now got all the fabric I need - I just need to get my nerve together.

Why not hop over to the other folks taking part today and see what they're doing as there's sure to be lots of fun and creativity about.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you'll visit again soon. I'm off to make a cup of tea before I go hopping over to see what people have made and then I think I'll do some more sewing. Hope you'll have time for some sewing today.


Monday 18 February 2013

A trip away, a quilt shop and catching up

This weekend we took a trip to Suffolk to visit John's father. Suffolk is in the east of the UK in an area known as East Anglia. We try and combine our visit with a trip to an area of interest or, as in this weekend a quilt shop. The idea was to visit the quilt shop and do some bird watching at Buckenham Fen on the Saturday and visit FIL on the Sunday.

As we set off on our trip the sun came out and and the slight green hue on the trees let us know that spring is just around the corner. During the journey we passed several large clumps of Snowdrops growing at the roadside.

The quilt shop, Quilters Haven is in a small market town of Wickham Market. It was a very pretty town and I loved the dove cot on the roof of one of the houses.

The church spire is in the background. The church had an octagonal tower and a spire. Inside it was very warm and welcoming and had a couple of quilted wall hangings.

The quilt shop had a great range of fabrics, books and accessories. However one of the assistants was rather quick to butt in and tell you how to do things without enquiring if you needed any help. One lady was trying to puzzle out what a fat quarter and skinny quarter were so I explained and she was excited at the thought of using FQ's to make projects in her new hobby.

I just had to have some fabric.(I know I said I'm on a low fabric diet but John wanted to buy me a valentine present.) The artificial light has drained the colours a little. My present was the 6 autumn FQ's and the red flower and seaside FQ. I just love the seahorses. I bought the other two pieces of fabric to use in my Grandmothers garden quilt.

I must admit to buying 3 FQ's last week at my local quilt shop. The bird and the snail fabric are for up coming projects and the flower piece is for the Grandmothers Garden quilt.

Next door to the quilt shop was a tea room where we enjoyed tea and a slice of dutch apple cake. We shared the slice as we are both trying to lose weight.

Then across country to Buckenham Fen in Norfolk. It was a delightful journey with the sun shining. The fen itself is very open and the wind was cold, a lazy wind that went though you rather than round you. 

It looks rather bleak and lonely but we had lots of Wigeon, Shelducks, Golden Plovers, Swans and several other species of bird for company. We spent quite a lot of time watching 3 Barn Owls flying low across the reeds catching their supper. With the naked eye you could hardly see them but through John's bird watching scope they looked amazing.  As dusk feel large groups of Rooks started to gather in the trees and on the electric lines. Every so often they would all take off and wheel around the sky making a huge amount of noise. By the time they made their last circuit before finally settling on their roost for the night there was probably about 20 thousand of them wheeling as a dark flock across the backdrop of the deep red sunset. An amazing experience but very cold, too cold in fact to operate the camera properly so the photos got deleted.

We made our way to Norwich where we were staying and found a lovely Thai restaurant for dinner. Before going to bed I sat and finished cutting out all the template papers I'd photocopied for my hexie quilt. They should keep me going for a while.

Sunday was very foggy when we set off from Norwich but the sun burnt off the fog and we had another beautiful sunny early spring day. Our visit to FIL was enjoyable and we were home in time to cook dinner before youngest daughter returned to University after her reading week. I wonder where our next mini break will take us?

Now I've got to finish of my contribution for the 'It's all about me' hop which starts tomorrow. For the full schedule visit Marlene at Stitching by the lake. My day is Thursday 21st. Looking forward to seeing you then. I must also get quilting on my Dresden plate quilt as I want to finish it up this month.

Happy quilting.


Thursday 14 February 2013

Liebster Award

As I told you in my last post Lynne from Never to hot to stitch  had nominated me for the Liebster Award. In my last post I explained what this award is and that there are no prizes, you just get to find out more about the person it is awarded to. Lynne has posed 11 questions and I am going to answer them as far as I can.

1. Where were you when Armstrong walked on the moon?
This one is easy I was watching it on TV at home in a small village in Staffordshire UK. I was in the 4th year of secondary school, what is now known as year 10. The lunar walk took place on the 21st July at 02.56 GMT. My father was an engineer and had been in the Royal Air Force during the war as part of the engineering team. He was fascinated by flying and this extended to space flight. As a family we had followed all the news and footage about any space mission whether American or Russian so this was an occasion that could not be missed.

                                                   Source Google images.

2. What colours in decorating, fashion or stitching do you remember without hesitation?
The honest answer is none. I love colour and use lots of it in my stitching and decorating but I can't remember the names of the colours or of the fabric designs at all. This doesn't cause a problem because if buying paint or fabric I always buy slightly more than I need to allow for mistakes or for touching up areas. Now if you had asked me about colours of paints in my watercolour box then I would say Prussian Blue, Burnt Ochre and Zinc white. I could go on longer but this is because as the colours run out I replace them like for like.

3. What was your favourite childhood toy.
I had two favourites. One was a china doll I was given when I was 5 and who I christened Belinda. She had blond curly hair, said mama and could 'walk' (no batteries needed). My brother threw her down the stairs when I was 9 and the walk mechanism broke but I loved her just the same. Years later when moving house as an adult she got broken in the move.

My other favourite toy was a dolls house my father made for me. It was a scale version of the house we were living in at the time and I had such fun decorating it and playing house. Years later when I was in my teens my younger cousins totally wrecked it, pushing in the windows and ripping out the banisters because it didn't 'do' anything.

4.Name one song you can sing from beginning to end.
Well take your pick. Just about all the song by the Beatles, Deep Purple, REM, Neil Diamond Gordon Lightfoot, or Chris de Burgh plus loads more. If I like a song I seem to remember the words.

5. Name one advertising jingle from your pre adult days that you remember clearly.
A million housewives every day, pick up a can of beans and say. Beans means Heinz - and I don't like Heinz baked beans!

6. When did you get your first computer.
In 1985 we bought an Amstrad PCW made by a British company. It was brilliant and still works. (no I not writing this on it) We have upgraded loads of times over the years. I love technology and don't like to be without my computer. 

                                           Source Google images.

7. When did you start blogging and why.
The first time I blogged was in 2010 when we took Guides and Scouts on a 12 day camp to Switzerland. Each night I uploaded a post so the parents could read about our day. We also uploaded loads of photos.

I started this blog in April last year. I wanted to get back to sewing and stitching and had started following a couple of blogs Kate at Katy's arty bits and Barbara at Cat Patches. It was fun reading what they were up to and I thought 'I can do this' The rest is history.

8. How many UFO'S / WIP can you name right now.
Hexie quilt, Votes for women quilt, Christmas quilt, Dresden plate quilt, Millennium Sampler are the big ones and there are several small stitching projects on the go. I think I need more so I shall be starting at least one new project a month that I will share at Cat Patches  NewFO party which happens at the end of each month. 

9 What makes you laugh.
Anything even slightly funny especially my dog and cat.

10. What's the first thing you think of when you hear/read the word 'Australia'
Well from now on Lynne it will be you. Otherwise Kangaroos, 

                                                source google images

                                                 Source google images.

and Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House

11. What for dinner? Who's cooking
I haven't got a clue at the moment but the store cupboards, fridge, freezer and vegetable racks are full so it will be easy when the time comes. Who is cooking? Not sure as it depends what we decide to have.

 Having answered all those questions I off to get on with some sewing before I go and work this afternoon. Still the evening is free so more sewing time. Yipee.

Have a happy valentines day  and I hope you manage to find some sewing time


Tuesday 12 February 2013

Cutting, organising and Liebster Award

Yesterday it snowed all day and I was hopeful that they might close the university and I could have some extra sewing time. Unfortunately it wasn't really cold enough for the snow to settle and build up so I caught up on my paperwork and generally reorganised my work life. Today I'm off and as it is raining/sleeting I've been cosily settled indoors organising my sewing projects and cutting out.

First up was my Nancy Drew piece for the 'is a clue' blog hop taking place from March 6th. Click the button on the side bar for more details. It has taken me ages to decide what I wanted to make but last night while just drifting off to sleep warm and snug in bed I had an idea. I had bought a Nancy Drew charm pack so today I cut some of it into 21/2 inch squares and I cut some white fabric. Still a few bits to cut from other fabric but this is the start of the project.

I also like to take some knitting or stitching with me to work either for working on during the journey or in my lunch break. Last year Scarlett from Chile was my partner in a mini quilt swap and with the adorable mini she had made she sent me a little pouch.

Now I hadn't decided what I was going to use the pouch for until yesterday when my bag with my stitching in broke.  So this morning I moved my bits into this one. It has so much room that I am able to carry a couple of mini projects which is great in case I change my mind on what I want to work on.

Later this evening I must cut out some more hexie templates. I printed off another 300 today but they still have to be cut out. A tedious job but it's all part of English paper piecing. If I keep the picture small it will stop the job being too daunting.

I then spent some time stitching more of my granny blocks. I've now made 34 of the 49 blocks I need. I was hoping to get them all finished today but my older daughter has just phoned to say she and her boyfriend will be at home for dinner tonight so that will have to be put on hold. The next big job with this quilt is cutting out the sashing and borders. It's looking very good to have this top finished by the end of the month.

Finally Lynne from Never too hot to stitch nominated me for the Liebster Award which is odd because I had been reading about it on another blog a few days ago. The origins seem to be lost in time and the rules (not rules but information on how it works), seem to have changed over the years. So what exactly is it?

The Liebster Award isn't an award that involves prizes or certificates, which is a great shame as I love presents and prizes. In fact it is a little like a chain letter (but doesn't make any threats - would quilters do such a thing!) It is for people whose blogs have under 200 followers. How it works seem to change but the gist is that the person nominating poses 10 or 11 questions for the person receiving it to answer and so people get to know more about you. You then pass the nomination forward to other blogs. It appears that originally the nomination was passed forward to 3 to 5 people but it has increased now to 11!

Anyway I am happy to accept this nomination from Lynne and will be answering the questions she has posed in my next post. I will then pass the nomination forward to 3- 5 people. I feel that if it is passed to too many people, in a very short time it will take up all of blogland and we wont get to see any lovely fabrics or projects. Since I'm about to start a fabric and calorie controlled diet for Lent I need to be able to enjoy the sight of everyone's yummy fabrics. However if you want me to pass it forward to more blogs I will.

I linking this post with Connie at Freemotion by the river for her Tuesday Linky party.

Don't forget to visit Madame Samm for today's schedule for the Hugs and kisses blog hop. There is sure to be lots of lovely ideas for valentines day. 

Happy stitching


Saturday 9 February 2013

A Knit and a Sew Finish

It's always nice to be able to post about a finish and normally I do so as soon as I have taken the photos but for some reason I forgot last weekend so here they are a week late.

First up is the knit part, the jumper I knitted for my daughter Kathryn. Since the temperature has dropped again it is just what she needed.

It's knitted in chunky yarn and has drop sleeves. Having finished this I've started on a baby blanket in a basket weave pattern.

Last month I took part in the Dare to Dresden blog hop and had a give away. The prize was a pillow/cushion cover made from the same fabric as my Dresden quilt. Britt-Inger from Sweden won the give away and the pillow cover is currently in the post to her.

I couldn't get a good photo as the light was typical of a wet winters day and the flash has faded out the quilting. Now I've just got to finish the quilt.

I'm looking forward to more sewing time this afternoon but for now I'm linking this post with Richard for Link a finish Friday. Have a great weekend and if its snowing where you are stay warm and safe.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

February decision

It's already February 6th and I hadn't decided what to concentrate on this month. Finding my pile of stitchery UFO's didn't help. I've already told you how I got on over January with my finishes and you can click here to read that post. In short I completed what I had said I would do. So here goes for this months' goals.

This month I am going to get all the quilting and binding done on my Dresden quilt. I finished the top in January and I have started the quilting but it is slow going. I love the way the quilting looks on the back.

As you can see some of my lines are wonky but I will get the hang of FMQ eventually. 

I am also going to work on my Christmas quilt. I have made 27 of the 49 blocks of granny squares so far. By the end of February I plan to finish all the blocks. The icing on the cake this time would be to have the whole top finished but I have other projects to work on as well.

Although I found heaps of stitchery I am going to continue working on my millennium sampler for now.

Away from February plans I have been working on my grandmothers flower garden quilt that I'm making for Lucy. This is made with English paper piecing and the hexagons are 1 inch. All of it is hand stitched. 

We decided on a rainbow theme with red at the centre. The orange and yellow rounds are complete and I've just started adding the green round. I have bought some fabric for this quilt purely because it was so cute but mostly it is made from scraps. I work on the flowers when I'm travelling by train which is currently only on a Friday. It also works when sitting watching TV or chatting.Each round needs six more flowers than the previous round so there are 18 green flowers and there will be 24 blue ones.

I'm linking this post up with Connie's Tuesday linky party at Freemotion by the river, Melissa's Lovely Year of Finishes at Sew Bitter Sweet Designs and Lynne's  2013 The Year of the Finished Project at Never Too Hot to Stitch. Why not go and visit and see what everyone else is up to.

Sunday 3 February 2013

Two Winners and 0ops I found some UFO's.

Lets start off by announcing the winners of my two give aways and then I'll tell you about oops...

The winner of the batik FQ from the Grow your blog hop is number 1 Lynne from Australia.

The winner of my Dresden pillow from the Dare to Dresden blog hop is number 25 Britt-Inger from Sweden. I have emailed both for their postal address.

When I started this blog back in April of last year I told you that due to work and family commitments I hadn't had any time for quilting or any other needlecraft for several years. The other thing I hadn't made time for was clearing out cupboards and drawers. As a result it was becoming very difficult to find room for any new items. So this weekend I started the big declutter and organised myself to reduce, reuse and recycle. I decided to start with my bedroom as I want to get on with the decorating and it would help considerably if everything had a home. I have a fair amount of cupboard space above the wardrobes, a blanket chest and under bed storage so quite a bit to sort through. I started with my fabric store in the chest and under bed storage. That was fun. I spent quite a bit of time stroking the fabric and planning new projects but I also sorted so that the 100% cottons were together and the wools somewhere else. Also sorted the cottons by prints and colours. Now I know where everything is.

So far no unexpected surprises. That was until I opened a large plastic box. When Richard was born we were given the box stocked with lots of baby products and I used it as storage for baby items when all three of them were small. Once past that stage I used it for various things and several years ago put all my embroidery into it. Unfortunately over the years I had forgotten it was there and the projects lay hoping to be rediscovered. Hence my oops as it turns out I have rather a lot of stitching UFO's

You can see how long the UFO's have been left by the creases in the fabric and the yellowing of the paper. This one is called Springtime sampler and is done in crewel embroidery.

Next is the Calendar bears. I have started the June bride bear but even she isn't finished. This like a lot of the others is counted cross stitch.

Christmas Tree, another one started, but only a very little bit of the tree finished.

The next one isn't started at all. I bought this for my older daughter whilst she was still at school. She never opened it and it found its way into my store. I think I may choose this one to start on as it is such a cute cat.

This one uses a range of different stitches but again I've barely started it.

This is the pattern for Hardanger table mats and I have started the first one of the set. I love hardanger embroidery so I'm excited to get back to stitching this one.

There were also two bear cross stitch pieces. This one is almost complete but unfortunately you can see that there is a stain on it near his right foot where I left the needle in the fabric. I obviously never meant to leave it for so long as I generally put the needle in a needle safe if I am putting the stitching to one side for more than half an hour. It's not a problem as I can slightly alter the pattern to cover up the stain.

The second bear isn't one I started but you can see there is masses to do.

This one I haven't started . It makes up as a small framed picture or for a card. I bought it in the October and was going to make it for my parents 56 wedding anniversary the following year but unfortunately my mom died that Christmas eve. When I finish this it is going on my bedroom wall  to celebrate our great marriage and that of my parents.

There were also some small kits that the girls had started and I said I would finish but haven't yet.

Richard had been making the blue tit cross stitch but got bored. I think I'd better give this a wash before I start

There were also a lot of kits that came free on cross stitch magazines. A friend gave me these several years ago.Some are cards, some fridge magnets and some key rings.

So you can see why I said oops. I have masses of UFO's and I still haven't finished my millennium sampler. It's a shame I didn't find these back in the autumn as I like stitching while watching TV in the evening. I could have done quite a bit of work on some of these.

I'm off to decide which of my projects to work on this month for a lovely year of finishes and the year of the finished project. With all this sorting and organising I haven't done any sewing today but I do have more room in the cupboards and I now know what is in them. My next de cluttering task is to go through my wardrobe and drawers and sort out all my clothes. I know there are several items I never wear so I need to recycle them and there are some things I want to remodel.

Happy sewing.