Thursday 31 October 2013

October round up.

It's time to look at October achievements.. I'm feeling rather pleased with myself this month as I met most of my goals.

Goal 1 Complete the 'Happy Anniversary' quilt and give it to it's new owners.

The quilt top was finished a couple of months ago and I've been working on the quilting. The top is 80 inches square and I must admit I found this tiring to quilt on a home sewing machine but at last it's done.

As I was rushing out of the house last night with the quilt all wrapped up to give to my friend I remembered I hadn't taken a photo. I stabbed myself with the needle when sewing the binding on and bleed on the white so as soon as I finished the binding I put it in the wash and simply forgot I hadn't taken a photo. I was already late but unpacked it and laid it over the settee quickly to take the photo. 

The white in the blocks is quilted with a meander and I have done a tangle of hearts in the centre of each red and grey block.  I have asked my friend to send me a photo once it is on her bed.

Goal 2 Complete the baby quilt. 

I had made two baby quilts using the same fabric. One had 6 blocks and the other 9. I finished the one with 6 blocks and this has gone to its new home. The 9 block one was put on hold so I could complete the 'Happy Anniversary' quilt.

Goal 3 Make my project for the wicked blog hop.

For this hop I made two mug rugs. These are also the only new fabric project I started this month and so is my NewFO challenge piece. Never mind I have a new quilt to start next month.

Goal 4 Complete the block from the 'It's a dogs life' quilt.

Done with time to spare.

Goal 5 Complete the 'Votes for women' quilt top.

I haven't done anything on this goal. I've not even looked at the remaining blocks I have to make or stroked any of the fabric.

So only one goal not completed. Now that is what I call a great month..

Note to self - make sure I always take photos of what I've done. This process need to be added to the time frame for completion of projects.

I'm linking this post with ' A lovely year of finishes' at Sew Bittersweet designs.  Over the year this link up has really made me focus on the big objectives I've wanted to achieve. The little projects are easy to get done but the big ones can so easily become long term UFO's.

(Added Later) I'm also linking with Richard's Link a Finish Friday as it is so great to celebrate a finish.

I hope your October has been successful for completing some of your sewing projects.


Tuesday 29 October 2013

Having a Wicked Day

Today is my day on the Wicked blog hop. It is such a fun hop with lots of great quilting projects and ideas. Thank you Madame Samm for organising the hop and to Wicked Wendy for being our fabulously wicked cheerleader.

Here in the Uk Halloween is slowly gathering momentum but is still not a major event. Last year the weather was a little cold and we only had one person ring our door bell all evening. It will be interesting to see what happens on Thursday. 

I decided that what I really needed was a couple of wicked mug rugs. For the first one I visited The Patchsmith and bought one of her cute patterns.

The witch silhouette is hand appliquéd and the moon is attached with machine appliqué. Both are raw edge stitched.

I was a little worried that the witch appeared to have lost her cat. So for my second mug rig I created a silhouette of her cat against the moon.

The kitty outline is drawn and coloured with a fabric pen. To set the design the piece was ironed for 2 minutes on the hottest setting. The cat is outlined with orange thread to match the moon.

I usually mitre the corners of the binding but I only had short lengths of the fabric left  and that would have meant a lot of joins in a short distance..

The two mug rugs match very well with the table runner made for last years Wicked hop which is currently decorating my dining table. Now John and I have matching mug rigs that we can use whilst working on our laptops at the table.

Now you need to grab your broomsticks and fly off to the rest of today's participants.

October 29th

I hope you have a really wicked day.


Sunday 27 October 2013

Bindings and Pom Poms

This week has been very busy. In between working and the usual round of housework I set out to finish my Happy Anniversary quilt. This is a large quilt (80 x 80) and I've used my home sewing machine which makes the job rather tiring but I have really enjoyed working on it. The quilt is now finished and I added the final stitches to the binding this morning. The quilt is currently in the wash and will go to it's new home on Wednesday evening. I'll post the pictures after  I've given it to my friends. I've now got to decide what to work on next.

As today is Sunday and a slower pace is called for I decided I needed to finish making the pom poms for the little hats I've knitted. These will go on the tops of Innocent Smoothie bottles during November and for each bottle with a hat sold the company donate 25p to Age UK. They were aiming to have 1 million hats this year.  I've knitted 50 and they now all have pom poms. These will go in the post tomorrow.

I took some time this morning to finish up the second block for my 'It's a dogs life' quilt. 

I love these embroidered blocks, the dogs are so cute. I'm using fabri solvy instead of marking up the pattern myself and I'm finding it works really well. I read on several posts around blogland that people have found it leaves a sticky residue but I haven't had this problem. Once I've finished the stitching I cut all the excess transfer sheet from around the stitching. I then rinse well with two or three changes of water before I put it to dry. This has been rinsed and dried. Once all the stitching is done and the quilt blocks are made the embroidery will need to be pressed. I'm not bothering now as it will be folded for storage  purposes until then.

Back in September I took part in the 'Crazy about wool' blog hop run by Denise at Pieced Brain. This was such a fun hop and was even more wonderful when my name was pulled for the participants prize. I have now received all the goodies and I can't wait to use them.

The wool thread chart is really useful as I love using wool for appliqué and I really like Aurifil thread. The 50 felt balls from Handbehg Felts are such fun and great colours. I am going to be making some jewellery with some of these. My daughter also wants to use some. The five charms squares are hand dyed and are by Woolin Rouge Designs. I'm taking part in a quilt swap and some of these will be used for my project. Finally a $10 gift certificate from Fat Quarter Shop.  Thank you Denise for inviting me to join the hop it was great fun.

Having finished up several jobs today I'm going to work on my millennium sampler as I seem to have lost momentum with it again. I'm linking up with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Stitching Sunday.

I hope you've had a good Sunday which has included some time for stitching.


Sunday 20 October 2013

A slow but productive Sunday.

I'm trying to get my 'Happy Anniversary' swoon quilt completely finished by the end of this month. It's been slow going as it is a big quilt with a finished size of 80 x 80. The quilt is heavy and working on it on a home sewing machine is a little cumbersome but it is moving forward slowly. I now only have 2 blocks left to quilt. Because it is so big I've been limiting the time I spend working on it as it is rather tiring. I'm not posting any pictures until it is finished which I'm hoping will be next weekend.

In between quilting I've been doing a little hand stitching on the  'It's a dogs life' quilt block.
It's moved on a little but there is still a way to go to complete this block. I'm going to work on this for the rest of the evening as it is very restful before bedtime.

I have also started another piece of knitting. This time it is a jumper for my husband John. I boughtt he wool at the Stitching and Knitting  exhibition last weekend. This is 100% wool and not a mixture and comes from the Wensleydale sheep. I made a start on it earlier today.

It will take some time to knit as it's in double knitting and the pattern is all cables. I love the logo of the shop that sells this wool.

I've been very lucky recently and won several give aways. First back in August I won this lovely Christmas fabric from Marjorie at Marjorie's Busy Corner from her HO HO HO give away. I have a project that I want to use this on and as Christmas is fast approaching I'd better get started on it.

In the post yesterday I received these five lovely fat quarters from Jan at Sew and Sow Farm from her Twist and the 60's give away.

I just love the bright colours and can't wait to use them. I also won prizes in the wool lovers blog hop and will post pictures later in the week. 

Yesterday I was in Chichester and visited a quilt shop. They had a lot of fabric including a lot of Japanese cottons. I was looking for some fabric for my project  for 'For the boys' blog hop. I didn't have a particular fabric in mind but found some that is perfect. 

You'll have to wait to see what I make from it.

Now I must get back to my red work quilt block. I'm linking this post with Kathy's Slow Stitching Sunday. over at Kathy's Quilts

I hope you've had a peaceful Sunday.


Saturday 19 October 2013

A Friday finish

I'm feeling very pleased as I have managed the first finish of October. I'm working on four quilts. at the moment. There are two baby / child quilts, the Dulcinea and my Happy Anniversary quilt. The 6 block baby quilt is completely finished including the binding.

The blocks are quilted in the ditch and there is a trail of hearts around the sashing and borders. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get a good photo of the quilting. The light outside was fading and inside I needed the lights on which still didn't work well. Never mind I'm still very pleased with my finish.

The Schnibble quilt is quilted but I need to do the binding and the other baby quilt is waiting to be quilted. The Happy Anniversary quilt is coming along well. I've finished the quilting on 4 of the 9 blocks so I think I'm on target to have it finished this month.

Tomorrow we are supposed to be going walking with members of our church but I'm not sure I can manage the distance so may opt out and go shopping in Chichester instead. I've heard there is a good quilt shop there.

I'm linking up with Richard's Link a finish Friday and Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday.

I hope you've had a good Friday.


Thursday 17 October 2013

An exhibition, some quilting and planning

Oophs I was going to post on Monday but I got busy sorting out my teaching for Tuesday. Tuesday vanished as I finished off some knitting. Wednesday is a busy day anyway and the evening is taken up with Rainbows Brownies and Guides so here I am on Thursday with the post planned for Monday.

On Saturday John and I visited the Stitching and Knitting Exhibition at Alexandra Palace. This exhibition has been running for a long time and most years I visit it. There are usually new ideas and crafts to discover, lots of fabric and the quilts and other needlecraft on display is well worth looking at. This year was a little different as it was so crowded. There have been several different shows on the UK television networks about needlecraft's so I think this had something to do with it. The crowds made browsing difficult and less enjoyable.

Alexandra Palace was built in 1873 as a public centre for education, entertainment and recreation. Over the year it hosts a range of exhibitions and other events.

This is the front of the venue. In order to get this view I cut off the large halls behind this part. This was taken at lunch time when we needed to cool off. With so many people and the heating running it was rather exhausting.

In front of the building was this London taxi which was beautifully decorated. It was drawing quite a crowd.

That was certainly a large knitting job!

Whilst at the exhibition I attended a workshop to make a gold-work daisy brooch. I thought this might be a craft that the Guides would enjoy having a go at. I haven't quite finished it so I will post a photo at the weekend.

Although there was lots of delicious fabric I only purchased two fat quarters. I haven't made up my mind yet about my next projects so didn't want to buy. I felt very good having been so restrained but next time I hit a fabric store could be a different matter. John had been asked by our son to find something that I would like for my birthday. I was muttering about a larger cutting board and ruler so John picked those up. That will make cutting out so much easier. Overall I enjoyed the day, there was lots to look at and quite a few interesting ideas I want to try in the future.

This week I've been working on the 'Happy Anniversary' quilt, trying to complete all the quilting. I have finished quilting 4 of the 9 blocks and I'm feeling rather pleased with what I've achieved. I'm hoping to have this finished by the end of next week so I will post a photo then.

For now I'm putting the machine away and doing a little hand stitching.

I hope your week has been going well.


Friday 11 October 2013

Am I a Quilter?

Jacque, or Snoodles as she is known at Lilypad Quilting is having a link party to ask the question 'Are you a quilter' Is there evidence of your quilting around your home? Well when I first read her post I said 'no'. Coming into my home you will see I like embroidery or painting as there is some of my work,and both my mother and fathers work on the walls but I didn't think there was much evidence of quilting .......... well so long as you don't count the sewing machine on the dining table and the bag of work in progress!

It turns out I was wrong. As I looked round I realised there is evidence of my work plus that of others who I have swapped with. In our living room there is the quilt I made for the tetris quilt along at Happy Quilting. The quilt lives along the back of the settee and makes a comfy perch for Scamp our Yorkshire Terrier. It's great if it gets cold in an evening to snuggle under (once you've moved Scamp. He really needed a hair cut when this photo was taken.

Also in the living room is our hexagonal coffee table. As part of the 'Hexie Queen' blog hop run by Sew We Quilt I made a hexagonal table topper for the coffee table. Here it is being used as a background for my bird pin cushion.

Also in the house are two pet baskets and each has their own quilt. Here's Picasso relaxing after a busy morning chasing anything that moves outside.

Scamp loves his quilt but often Picasso pushes him out of his basket. He thinks both quilts should be his.

I went to my bedroom and over the foot of our bed we have a quilt. It is quite old now and taking the photo made me aware that it needs a little repair work on it.. This gives added warmth if the night turns cold, keeps the duvet tucked in at the foot of the bed and provides a resting place for Scamp and Picasso. 

Also in the bedroom we have two mug rugs. These were made for me by my swap partner. I'm using the picture from my post when I received them rather than taking two photos of our bedside tables. The two owls is my mug rug since I am Brown Owl at Brownies. One of John's hobbies is bird watching so he has the winter bird house on his bedside table.

Finally my quilted knitting bag is always around somewhere in the living room.

I'm saying finally but I forgot the table topper on the dinning table and the little mini quilt on the middle of the kitchen table. Both were minis I received as part of a swap. There are other table toppers and runners so I can decorate for the different seasons. Which reminds me I need to get the Halloween items out this weekend.

Ask the question again next year 'Are you a quilter' and I should be able to provide more evidence as I must finish Lucy's quilt and I've promised to make my son a quilt as well. If I get enough time I'm also hoping to start my double wedding ring quilt for my room.

For now I'm going to curl up in bed with a good book. I hope you've had a good Friday


Thursday 10 October 2013

Catching up and making plans

I'm having a slow week. My ears are completely blocked and so I can't hear. This should be blissful, no noise to distraction me. However the down side is that trying to hear what people are saying to me is totally exhausting and so I keep having to have little naps. My doctor tells me this should easy over the next six to eight weeks. I did catch his muttered comment of 'if it doesn't, then come back and we'll arrange surgery for grommets to be inserted.' I bet you thought it was only children who got glue ear and needed grommets!

I have found time to knit another 20 little hats to help with the big knit appeal in support of AgeUK. I set myself the target of 50. I had already knitted 25 so now I need to knit another 5 and then add the pom poms to this batch before I can post them off.

I found a sweet pattern on Ravelry for preemie baby hats. The pattern is by Carissa Browning and is knitted on double ended needles so no lumpy seam line to cause problems. I haven't knitted using double ended needles for some time so this took a little while to get back into. 

I used Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino to knit it. This is a lovely yarn, 55% merino wool, 33% microfibre and 12% cashmere. It is beautifully soft. The hats take very little yarn so I've got plenty left to knit a couple more. They will go off with the preemie baby quilts to our local hospital.

I have almost sewn on the back of the binding for my baby quilt. This will be finished later this evening.

I found my June schnibbles quilt 'Dulcinea' out of my pile waiting to be quilted. I quilted it in the ditch and I'm hoping to get the binding attached today. Here's a photo of the last time I showed it. Hopefully this will be a finish tomorrow. 

At Guides the girls try to do some sort of community action each year. Although throughout the year they will do various activities to help people and groups in our community we try to do a larger project. Last year they wanted to knit some dog blankets for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. However trying to teach a large group to knit has proved very difficult. So we decided to make this an ongoing project that they work on in small groups. So we needed a new large group project and what we came up with combines quilting and computer games.

Last year Melissa from Happy Quilting ran a quilt along based round the Tetris computer game.

Each week she gave us the coloured tetris blocks and we had to make them fit into a 6 x 6 grid. As in the game you had to use the blocks in the order they were given and the idea is to fill up all the lines. Spaces were left white. Once all the pieces are on the grid it was translated into fabric and you had your quilt block. 

So we are taking Melissa's idea to have a patrol challenge. The patrols will be given the order and the coloured tetris pieces for the block. They fit them into the grid and make up in fabric. We currently have 4 patrols so when they are all finished there will be 4 lap quilts to go to the local elderly care home. Thank you Melissa for a great but easy idea.. 

I'm linking this post up with Connie's Tuesday linky party at Freemotion by the River. 

And now I'm off to investigate what's going on at Lilypad Quilting. with Snoodles new linky party. I've heard there is lots of fun and prizes to be had.

Have a good Thursday


Sunday 6 October 2013

Slowly stitching the binding.

Today I decided I needed some time to complete the second baby quilt I'm making. I'm using the same fabrics as this one.

The second quilt is smaller being only 6 blocks in total. The blocks in both quilts are all different and were the blocks for Moda...The cutting table Size Matters Blog hop

All the blocks had been pieced together so all I had to do finish the quilting and bind it. Well I'm nearly done, I've just got to finish sewing the back of the binding. I know there are ways to do the whole process on machine but I enjoy the hand stitching. 

I'm almost half way round the binding, just a quick break for a cup of tea and then I'll get it finished. As I picked the quilt up I found Scamp's toy lurking under the star block, I wondered why it wasn't lying flat. The quilt has been on my lap whilst I've been stitching and Scamp decided this was a perfect place for a rest. He's in a very clingy mood today but I'm not sure why. However trying to sew on the binding with a dog on your lap doesn't work so he's now in his basket.

If you use wool fabric to quilt or appliqué I have a give away running. I cut up the left overs from my skirt fabric into 5 inch and 3 inch squares. Click here to go to the give away.

I'm linking up with Kathy's Slow Stitching Sunday. A little hand stitching to slow the weekend down before the rush of Monday morning, what a great idea. 

I hope you've had a good Sunday


Friday 4 October 2013

A little organisation and a give away.

For what seems like ages I've been trying to organise my scraps. I love the way you start off a new quilt project with largish pieces of fabric and as the project progresses  the scraps get smaller and get moved to another project and so it goes on. There is very little waste. However I do find the organisation of the scraps a little tiresome.  So recently I have been trying to organise my scraps. I have several plastic containers that once held take away Chinese or Indian food. Washed out and dried they make great storage containers. Now I try and deal with my scraps as I work on the project. I cut the scraps into charm squares of varying sizes and also rectangles. This has already proved useful when starting a scrappy quilt. Having made the swoon quilt I also had a lot of triangles  which have been stitched together and I trimmed to useful sizes.

It's very satisfying work trimming the triangles down but I still have a good number to stitch together. I didn't realise just how many triangles were involved in making the swoon quilt. I do have a mini quilt in my sights for this month to use them up.

In trimming down my scraps I trimmed some of the wool fabric I had left after making my skirt for the 'Crazy about Wool' blog hop.

This fabric is a very soft grey wool with a check in it. I am having a 'wooly' give away. I have 16, 5 inch charm squares to give away to one winner and 20, 3 inch squares for the second winner.I will ship anywhere in the world. The give away will remain open until midnight Sunday 27th October (GMT)  All you have to do is leave a comment saying whether you would like the 5 inch or 3 inch squares

Here in the UK in late October, early November Innocent smoothies who make delicious fruit smoothies dress their bottles with little hats and for each smoothie sold wearing a hat 25p is donated to AgeUK. All the hats are knitted by knitters across the country and donated to the cause. Each year I take part and  I'm running a little behind on hat production.

This is what I have made so far this year and I really wanted to donate 50 so I need to get busy and get another 25 hats made in the next week. The hats knit up quickly but the pom poms take slightly longer to make.

I'm going to do a little knitting whilst reading The Crow Trap by Anne Cleeves. This is a murder mystery set in the north of England. It's the first of her books that I've read and I'm really enjoying it.

I hope you've had a good Friday


Wednesday 2 October 2013

October goals


Here we are at the beginning of October and I need to think about what I want to achieve. In my last post I wrote about my progres on my September goals and from the point of view of A lovely year of finishes run by Melissa at Sew Bittersweet designs I was a total failure. For this you choose one goal you want to achieve and try to complete it. My goal was to quilt my 'Happy Anniversary' quilt. I have done a fair bit of the quilting but with the machine away being serviced for a week and a half I am running late. Still here goes hopefully for the final time.

Goal 1 Complete the Happy Anniversary quilt - quilting and binding and give to its' new owners.

Goal 2. Complete the baby quilt. This was a NewFO for September. The top went together very quickly.

Yesterday I purchased the backing fabric and as I already had the batting I am now ready to get on with this one.

Goal 3 Make my project for the Wicked 3 blog hop at Sew We Quilt. I know exactly what I'm making for this hop. I still need a couple of extra pieces of fabric but this will be started this weekend. My day is 29th October. This will be my NewFO for October.

Goal 4 Complete the next block of my 'Its a dog's life' embroidery. I have already started this.

I think I can complete this easily in the time and if I do then want to start to cross stitch the next square of my millennium sampler. I started this but had to unpick it as I made a major error. The problem with counted cross stitch is you need to count accurately otherwise the pattern just doesn't work. I got the count all wrong. The next square is a series of butterflys to show evolution.

Goal 5 is to complete the top of the Votes for Women quilt. This was a BOW and all the blocks have been available since August, I'm just rather behind

OK I'm being a bit of a wimp as I'm sticking at 5 goals but for once I want to try and complete them all. None of the goals is particularly large since I've already done quite a bit of work on several of them. Here's hoping for several lovely finishes this month. I'm linking up with Melissa at Sew Bittersweet Designs for the October goal setting party and Lynne at Never to hot to stitch for her 2013 The year of the finished project 

Hope you have a good Wednesday.