Friday 31 May 2013

May finishes and NewFO

My Button

It's that time of the month when I look back and see how I did with my goals and see if I achieved the NewFO challenge. 

I set myself quite a few goals for May and earlier in the month when I commented on one of Barbara's posts at Cat Patches I had a little moan about not getting anywhere with them. I loved Barbara's response which was that I should try not to achieve any of them and she reckoned that would be more difficult than actually managing to do some. Well she was right, by the time I received her reply I had already managed a couple of goals. So here's how I did.

The first goal was to finish the top of my swoon quilt. Here I made no progress at all. I did get the project bag out a couple of times but it got put away again. I can't give any specific reason for this just that I didn't want to work on it. Not bad for the main goal of the month.

Next up was to complete my schnibbles quilt 'Hat Trick'. At the end of last month I hadn't added the the borders. I set the goal of having this fully finished including binding. Success! I was asked if I could sew some flower motifs into the white spaces. I managed this and I'm quite pleased with the result. The quilt is currently in the wash and will be going off to its new home soon.

I wanted to make the quilt sandwich and maybe start the quilting on my 'Holiday' quilt. This I managed and I have started the quilting. I had a silly few minutes and decided I would like to quilt this by hand. I know I should have taken two aspirin and had a lay down in a darkened room until this urge went away but it seemed like a good idea. Anyway that is where I'm at I have quilted two of the 49 blocks. 

I also planned to spend more time on my embroidery projects. This again was a success. I started a kitty cross stitch. Here's the pattern

It is on 14 count Aida so will make up quite quickly. This was the result of one evenings work.

I also set the goals of completing my quilt for the 'for the birds' blog hop and a mini quilt for a swap.  These plus the Schnibbles quilt for this month are my NewFO's.

I used the block lotto bird block for my bird quilt. This is going to be kept in John's car and used when we go bird watching. Why is bird watching such a cold hobby. I got the  top finished for the hop and I'm really pleased  with the result. I will quilt this in June.

I found this lovely owl fabric for the backing.

The theme for the mini quilt swap was 'Dreaming of Spring. The finished quilt is 18 inches square.

I love the fabric I found for the border and backing.

Finally I made another schnibbles quilt. This time the pattern was 'Gentle Art' from Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. I used fabric from my scrap box for this quilt and I quilted it with an all over meander in variegated thread. I love the striped border. I now have only a small selection of scraps but we can soon solve that problem with next month's NewFO's

I am linking this post up with 2013 A lovely year of finishes at Sew Bittersweet Designs. I would like to say a very big thank you to Melissa and Shanna for my prize from the April finishes party. I won a Craftsy class. I chose a Freemotion quilting class with Leah Day. I haven't got very far into the class yet but there have already been some very useful hints and tips. I also signed up for some of their free classes. there is such an exciting range to choose from.

I am also linking up with Barbara's  NewFO party over at Cat Patches. As I've got some finishes in this post I'm linking with Connie at Freemotion by the River and Richard's Link a finish Friday.

Now I need to think about my goals for next month and it will have to include my swoon quilt as I need to get it done! I hope you've managed some of your goals.


Monday 27 May 2013

Say it with Flowers.

Schedule here

I love flowers, any size any colour is all right by me. So this hop is perfect for me.  Over the winter there is a sad lack of flowers  (except for expensive blooms in the flower shops).  So as Spring arrives I love to watch the flowers in the garden gradually come into full bloom. This spring has been very cold here in the UK with the weather folks telling us it's the coldest spring for 30 years. Because of this the flowers have been late and winter has seemed to go on for months. So have we got any spring flowers?

Yes we have but not as many as usual. First the miniature cyclamen, 

then the Camilla,

and of course primulas

and spring pansies.

Our two apple trees had lots of blossom but that is now over and the roses are in bud but not yet open and we also have quite a lot of bluebells. So lots of flowers to see outside.

There has also been flowers in my sewing area as I prepared for this blog hop organised by Madam Samm at Sew We Quilt and with Carol from Just Let Me Quilt as our cheerleader. Thank you both, you have done another great job.

I started by gathering all my floral fabric together, I really didn't realise I had that much! Most of it went back into the cupboard ready for another project. I then started thinking about my design. I wanted to make a pieced block as most of the flowers I have done in quilting have been appliqu├ęd. I knew I was going to be making a mini quilt and that I wanted it to be 18 inches square when finished.  I also found that I needed to piece  my batting as what I had left wasn't quite wide enough. However this is easy using a zigzag stitch and isn't noticeable when you quilt .

This is what I came up with as my design. I must have seen the flower block somewhere before but I couldn't find it so sat down with some squared paper and worked out how to sew it. Now I definitely remember how much bigger I need to make the squares for half square triangles. I managed to get three of my floral fabrics into the quilt.

I used a variegated thread for the quilting and my backing fabric was the same as the outer border. The flower blocks are quilted in the ditch and the outer border has a random trail over it

This mini  was made to be swapped and has gone off to its new home in Canada. I hope she  likes it. Now you need to go and see what everyone else has been up to for this hop. Here's where to find them.

May 27th

Sew Many Yarns (You are here)

It's been lovely to see you and I hope you'll come back to visit soon. Take care and I hope you have some 'me time' today.


Sunday 26 May 2013

A relaxing Saturday

Saturday was a lovely relaxing day, no work either for work or housework that couldn't wait and a pile of scrap fabrics to play with. So I pulled out the Schnibbles pattern 'Gentle Art' from Miss Rosie's Quilt Company and started cutting.

Gentle Art Quilt PATTERN Miss Rosie's - Schnibbles free ship

It is amazing just how long it takes to cut the pieces when you are using up scrap. However it was very satisfying to see the scrap pile diminish, but as always now I have lots of quite little bits. I must use them up somehow, sometime.

These are lovely little blocks to piece together and this morning I decided to see what they will look like when sewn up.

I haven't trimmed or pressed the blocks yet and I'm not sure if this will be the final arrangement but I'm pleased with the effect so far. I'm not sure if I'll get to sew them together today as we have other plans.

Last night whilst watching TV I also started a piece of cross stitch. Can you guess what it is?

Cross stitch is such fun as it starts off looking like a mess of stitches and slowly turns into something as the work progresses. This is one of the kits I found when clearing out boxes in my bedroom cupboard and should finish up looking like this.

This should stitch up quite quickly. I'm planning on spending some more time with it this evening.

Today I need to do some housework and then this afternoon we are going into town to the Tate Modern to visit the the 'Lichtenstein: A Retrospective' exhibition. It has been on since February and actually finishes tomorrow so I'm very happy that we managed to get tickets today. There are 125 of his works on display so it should be excellent. I just hope it isn't too crowded. This is part of my 'me time for May'. 

I hope you manage some 'me time' today.


Thursday 23 May 2013

Swaps and Prizes

Dreaming of Spring Mini Quilt Swap

This spring Michele from Quilter's Gallery ran a mini quilt swap called Dreaming of Spring and I took part. I haven't posted about the quilt I made yet as it has flowers on it and I combined the swap with taking part in the 'Say it with flowers' hop that starts on Monday. My day is Monday so you can see what I made then. However this week I received my quilt from my mystery partner. 

This pretty mini is 20 inches square and is called April Showers, May flowers. It was pieced and quilted by Rebecca Klassen from Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada for me and I love it. The umbrella fabric is so cute and I love the flowers with the button middles. The colours are so fresh and springlike. 

This week I also received a prize. I am taking part in A lovely year of finishes with Shanna at Fiber of all sorts and Melissa of Sew Bittersweet Designs. I received an email to say I was a winner for February and had won any class at Craftsy. This was very exciting as only last week I had visited Craftsy and signed up for a couple of their free classes. I wanted to try them out before I purchased one. I had already decided I liked the way the classes are presented and I was trying to decide what I wanted to do. So now I can pick one and I don't have to pay. There is only one problem.. I can't make my mind up which class to do. It just has to be one of the free motion quilting classes but they are all so interesting.  Anyway a big thank you to Melissa and Shanna.

On the down side I'm not doing too well on my May goals. I haven't worked on my swoon quilt at all and I haven't started my NewFO for the month. However this weekend is a long weekend in the UK. I just love bank holidays. It is also half term for the schools and as a lot of my students have young children they have asked for a private study week which means I should have lots of sewing time. With that in mind I'm going to go and pick my fabrics for that NewFO as I feel in the mood to stroke a few pretty fabrics.

I hope your May goals are going well and that those of you experiencing the bad weather are staying safe and well. My thoughts and prayers are with you.


Tuesday 21 May 2013

Bloggers Quilt Festival

Over the last few days several of the blogs I read have been posting about the Blogger's Quilt Festival taking place over at Amy's Creative Side. I went over to see what was going on and found lots of lovely quilts on display. 

Although I only restarted quilting last year after a 20 plus year break I decided I wanted to enter one of my quilts. My choice is the Dresden plate quilt I finished earlier this year. It was this quilt that led to me restarting quilting and starting my blog.

In the autumn of 2011 I went to the Stitching and Knitting exhibition at Alexander Palace in London. This exhibition is held each year and it's one of my favourite outings of the year. It has exhibitions of quilts, knitting and other needlecraft as well as a lot of stalls selling anything and everything to do with sewing, knitting, felting, lace-making and lots of other crafts. Whilst browsing I came across a stall that offered quilt patterns, kits and fabrics. One quilt on display caught my eye and over the day I returned several times. In the end my husband bought me the kit and I went home excited to get started. The quilt is designed by Maggie Wise and is made in Liberty Tana Lawn.

I didn't start the quilt immediately because I found the cutting instructions a little confusing.  So I put the kit away for a few months. When I fished it out again in April 2012 I couldn't understand what I had found difficult about the pattern. Very soon I had cut the blades for the plates and I had sewn the first plate together.

Progress wasn't always fast on the quilt but by October I had finished the nine plates and had sewn it together with the sashing.The sashing is made from one and a half inch squares. The top was finished before Christmas but at this point there were still two borders to add.

I didn't take a picture of the whole quilt with the borders but this shows one of the corners as I was preparing the quilt sandwich.

At the end of February I was able to post the photos of the completed quilt. The finished quilt is 48 inches square and machine quilted. I am really pleased with the way this quilt looks and I am also very pleased my husband bought me the kit as a present. If he hadn't I might never have got back into quilting and I would then have missed out on the fun of making lots of quilting friends out there in blogland.

Now you need to visit Amy's Creative Side to see the rest of the quilts in this years Blogger's Quilt Festival. You can either click here or click the button on the top of the side bar to go and visit. 

I hope you have some time for quilting today


Tuesday 14 May 2013

For the Birds.

Hi everyone today is my turn to show what I have made for this hop. When this hop was first put forward I knew I had to take part. One of my husbands hobbies is bird watching and (so long as it isn't freezing cold) I go along on his expeditions. Like a lot of folks we have feeders in the garden but we live in London UK and our garden is very small without larger trees to provide cover for our feathered friends and so visitor numbers are not as high as we would like.  As a result we tend to go to our favourite local venueThe London Wetland Centre at Barnes if we want to watch birds locally. 

The site of the Centre was created from four disused Victorian reservoirs and opened in 2000. It occupies more than 100 acres and is home to many birds that you don't see elsewhere in London. It's a great place to see gadwall, shovelergreat bitternpintaillapwingwater rail,  sparrowhawksand martinkingfisher,  and great crested grebe. As it's virtually on the doorstep we visit often.

As well as visiting the centre we also enjoy bird watching whilst out on our hikes. A bird you will see frequently along London's rivers and brooks is the Grey Heron. 

Of course you also see birds not native to the UK. These Black necked swans are native to South America but will have been bought into the UK to grace the parks and rivers of country estates.

So now you want to know what project I made. Well it changed several times whilst still in the planning stage. Originally I bought the green FQ with the birds on it to make a bag for my husbands mini binoculars that live in his car (yes he does pull the car over if he sees an interesting bird).

I then thought I'd make a tote bag for our bird watching expeditions, big enough to hold the flask, bird books and whatever else we need. However after a chilly evening waiting for the rooks to arrive at their roost in Norfolk I decided a bird quilt for the car was needed. That way I could have stayed a little warmer. Unfortunately you can't run the engine as the noise disturbs the birds and therefore the heating doesn't work. Did I mention I really like warm weather bird watching?

Next I needed a bird block. One of the blogs I read is Kates Quilting Blogspot and just when I was looking for a block she posted about the April Block lotto which was for a bird block and was just perfect. I wanted all the birds to have fabric with bird patterns for their wings and I knew I wanted owl fabric for my backing.

The Blocks were fun to make and soon my top was finished. The top is square and measures 53 X 53 inches.

I managed to find some owl fabric for the backing that I just love.

The quilt isn't completely finished yet but the quilt sandwich is made and the quilting has started. Unfortunately supervising final year degree students dissertations has taken up most of my time  this last week and will continue to do until they submit their work at the beginning of June. No one else had time so I agreed to take the students last week and for now sewing has to take a back seat.

If you want to see the block lotto pattern you can find it here. Having used the pattern I will be sending an email of my finished quilt.

So now you need to visit the rest of today's participants. There's sure to be lots of lovely bird projects to see.

Thanks to Madame Samm and Mary for organising the hop and cheering us on our way. I've really enjoyed creating this quilt and I'm looking forward to using it to keep my knees warm on bird watching trips next winter. Thank you for visiting and I hope you'll visit again soon. Once you've visited everyone today I hope you find some 'me' time for sewing


Sunday 12 May 2013

Oophs I forgot to announce the winner

I think I have finally lost the plot as I have just realised that I haven't announced the winner of my give away from the Shake your pom poms hop. I am so sorry for forgetting.

So the winner as drawn by Mr Random Number generator is No 14 who is Nati.

Nati said

So cute and what a wonderful charity idea! I wold love to try the pom pom maker... I still use cardboard circles and still remember when my mum told me how to make them!

Nati lives in Luxembourg and I have sent her an email.

Monday 6 May 2013

A little baking, a little sewing, a lovely day

I have always liked Sunday because we try and keep it as a time for church and family. When the children were younger we would take them out on a Sunday afternoon to visit places of interest or for a walk in the park. Over the last few months the pressure of work has meant that many Sunday afternoons have found us sitting at our computers working. John and I have been having long conversations about the quality of our life and what we want from it and it was no surprise when our first decision was that work on a Sunday had to stop. So this Sunday was different.

Now although I said no work on a Sunday I decided that a quick clean and tidy was required. So we swept, mopped and dusted before we started our quiet Sunday. It didn't take long with two of us. The shock of a quiet Sunday threw us a little and we had to retire to the garden with coffee to decide what to do next. I knew I wanted to do some baking and it had to be a lemon cake.

Tangy Lemon Cake
This recipe was submitted by Mrs Judith Perry from Sutton St Nicholas, Hereford to The Complete Farmhouse Kitchen Cookbook which was published in 1984. I copied the recipe from my mother's book several years ago as I couldn't find the book anywhere.

The top of the cake goes a darker brown after cooking as you pour a lemon syrup over it.

125 g /4 oz butter
175 g /6 oz caster sugar
Grated rind and juice of two lemons
2 beaten eggs
175 g / 6 oz self raising flour
A little milk
50 g / 2 oz granulated sugar

To make;

1. Cream butter, caster sugar and lemon rind until fluffy

2. Gradually beat in the eggs

3. Mix in the flour and add about 4 tablespoons milk to soften the mixture. It should be soft enough to drop off end of spoon when shaken gently

4. Grease a 1 kg / 2 lb loaf tin

5. Bake in a moderate oven, Gas 4, 350 F, 180 C, for 45 to 50 minutes until risen and golden, firm on top and shrinking from sides of the tin.

6. Just before cake is ready to come out of the oven, prepare the lemon syrup. Heat the lemon juice and granulated sugar gently until the sugar is dissolved.

7. As soon as cake is out of the oven, while still in the tin, pierce top all over with a skewer. Pour over the lemon syrup. Leave the cake in tin until it is cold.

The cake is very moist with a nice lemon tang to it. Great with afternoon tea in the garden. 

This was fun as I haven't baked a cake since Christmas. Next I started some sewing. I was working on my piece for the 'bird' hop that starts tomorrow at Sew we quilt. My day is next Tuesday when I will reveal what I have made.

I also did a little work on my grandmother's garden hexi quilt in the evening. I haven't worked on this for quite a while. Here is how far I had got last time I posted about it.

I now have 3 more green flowers to sew on to complete this round. The next round is blue and all the flowers are made for that so I just need to sew them on. This is a work on in the evening quilt whilst watching TV or chatting with family. The individual flowers I stitch together while travelling to work on the train.

So that was my Sunday, a great companionable day with John and a really good sewing day. Today John is out walking with members of our church. Some members of the congregation decided that they would like to do 3 to 4 walks a year of 8 to 10 miles. The asked John if he would be willing to lead them. As he loves walking he jumped at the chance. Last time I went along as well but today I stayed home. My knees have been sore recently and I don't want to over do things plus I didn't have much chance to sew last month so I need some free time.  I'm now going to switch the computer for my machine and get on with my swoon blocks.

I hope you had a good weekend and for those of you in the UK I hope you enjoy the bank holiday. I'm going to enjoy some more May for Me time


Saturday 4 May 2013

Sunshine, some rain and three finishes

Here we are on the 4th May and I have already managed to finish three items off my to do list. Originally I thought I would spend the day outside tidying up the garden or even repainting the front door. However the sunshine that we were forecast wasn't as sunny as it could have been and came interspersed with rain. There was also a cold wind so I decided having some time for me and spending the day sewing would be much better.

First I completed the top of my Hat Trick quilt. This is made entirely from fabric from my scrap baskets and is a great pattern for using up the scraps.Rather than trim the white setting triangles so that the borders touch the points of the nine patch I have left a border of white. This quilt is so colourful, I just love it. If I had remembered that I needed to get some batting I think I would have managed to get the quilting done today as well. Never mind that can wait until next week. I've got some candy strip fabric in my stash that I'm going to use for the backing.

Next I added a fleece backing to the two prem baby quilts started by ladies at our County Guide training day in March. The nine patch was made using squares from a charm pack. I love the fabrics in the pink mini. The border of the second quilt is a much brighter yellow in person. These quilts will now go to the local maternity unit.

Finally I finished knitting another baby blanket for Project Linus. I have nearly finished all the baby wool I was given. I think I have enough for two more blankets. I have quite a lot of finer wool (4ply ) which I am going to use to knit some prem baby hats. Before I start the next blanket I think I must finish the cardigan I started for myself last year. It could come in useful during the summer. The pink yarn in this blanket isn't a great colour but it is so soft.

Tomorrow I'm going to work on my piece for the 'bird' blog hop which starts next week. I still have over a week to get mine finished. I've also got a day to myself on Monday and once I've taken Scamp for a walk I'm going to spend the rest of the day making blocks for my swoon quilt. My May goals are looking quite achievable at the moment. 

I hope you have managed some sewing today.


Thursday 2 May 2013

May goals

Never Too Hot to Stitch!

The beginning of May and time to decide my goals for this month. Last months I didn't achieve many of my goals but I did at least finish the 'Is this a clue' quilt. This is now on its way to its new home.

However I'm not too upset about my April goals as I lost two weeks sewing time due to illness and also lost time due to Easter. However that time was filled with other activities. I do need to catch up a little during May.

My 'must be' completed goal is my swoon quilt. So far I have only made 3 blocks. I must complete the top of this quilt by the end of May so this will have my full attention.

I also MUST complete my mini quilt swap. I hope to do this over the weekend so I can put it in the post on Tuesday.

My secondary goals are;

1. Complete my Schnibbles Hat Trick quilt including quilting and binding. This quilt finishes at 26" X 32" so this should be possible.

2. Complete the piece I am making for the 'birds' blog.

3. Make the quilt sandwich for the 'Holiday Quilt'. I would also like to start the quilting but I think that may be pushing it. a bit.

4. My NewFO for May. I love starting new projects and have several ideas. I'm not sure which one it will be.

5. Spend some time on my embroidery projects. I'm going to take part in May for me at Marcia's Crafty Sewing and this is one of the things I will be making time for me to complete. To find out more follow the link here or use the button on the side bar.

I think I may have overdone the goals but I'm feeling fairly confident. I'm linking up with Melissa at Sew Bittersweet Designs for 2013 A lovely year of finishes and Lynne at Never too hot to stitch for 2013 the year of the finished project. Why not visit and see what everyone else is planning for the month.

I hope you had time today for some sewing.