Monday 28 April 2014

Catching up with red work

Today I remembered that I started stitching one of the blocks for the 'It's a dogs life' quilt. It started this morning when I decided to make an inventory of all the projects I've got in progress at the moment. I got as far as 19 projects before I got into a panic about being able to finish them all. Being English I took the only possible course of action... I made a cup of tea to calm and soothe my nerves. Mmmm most relaxing so I decided another cup was in order and I'd better catch up with reading some of my favourite blogs.  For fun I started browsing through some old posts on Barbara's blog Cat Patches and what should I come across but her post about her 'Love me love my cat' quilt. That set me thinking about my dog quilt and where had I put it. Lots of searching (and finding even more projects) later I found the ziplock bag with it in. I'd started the third block ages ago, it may even have been the end of last year. I'm not sure why I stopped work on it,  maybe I put it in the cupboard and it just got lost with things being put on top of it. Anyway there wasn't too much to do on it. I just had to finish a bit on the third dog, all of the 4th dog and three of the words. So this afternoon I sat and finished it up.

I then set up the 4th block. I'm using sticky Fabri-Solvy to transfer the image onto my fabric. It works well. You copy or print the image onto the sheet using the draft setting. You then peel the release sheet of and line up the image on your fabric. Once you're happy it's in the right place you finger press it onto the fabric and it's all ready for stitching. The next block is about working dogs.

Having finished sorting that out I decided to do a little more on the baby blanket I started yesterday. It is growing quite fast and is a very straight forward pattern to follow. Here's how far I've got. I usually like to use bamboo needles as they are lighter but the yarn is very soft and light so at the moment the weight isn't putting any strain on my wrists. This type of pattern is perfect because once you know the pattern you can knit whilst watching TV.

So that was my Sunday stitching. I hope you had a peaceful day. I'm linking this post up with Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.


Saturday 26 April 2014

Jenny's quilt all finished.

Jenny's quilt has been all but finished for about a week. I machine stitched the binding onto the front and had started hand stitching the back when for some reason it came to a halt half way round. Yesterday morning I decided it just had to be completed so I rushed through all those other little jobs that get in the of know the ones I mean, cleaning, doing the laundry, grocery shopping and so many more. I put an Agatha Christie recording on the TV and settled down to finish the binding. I'd already done more than half way so it wasn't a huge job and it was lovely to have it all done. This was my goal for April for A lovely year of finishes.

Taking a photo proved difficult as it was raining and no way could I take it outside. So I resorted to putting on my bed. Scamp and Picasso kept getting in the way and Scamp thought it was a huge game. Finally I managed to get one half decent photo.

You can just see Scamp in the top left hand corner after he retired in a grump to sit on the pillow. The blocks are quilted in the ditch and the sashing has a leaf trail along it. The border has an all over meander. The job for Saturday is to go to the post office and send this off to Jenny.

I also started my April NewFO. This month it is a knitted baby blanket. One of Kathryn's friends is pregnant and baby is due in August. She knows she is having a boy and they have decided on the name Arthur. I knitted this pattern a couple of years ago for Indie's baby and it was lovely to make. Here's a photo of that blanket.

So far I've knitted the first 20 rows but I've given myself plenty of time to get this done.

I'm linking up with Richard and Tanya for Link a Finish Friday and Amandajean at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday. Now I'm off to cut the backing for the baby quilt that's near completion and hopefully that will be done for next Friday.

Have a great weekend.


Friday 25 April 2014

Work in progress

I'm really getting excited about being near to finishing the votes for women quilt top. I started this quilt back in August 2012. It was a block of the week for 49 weeks. I finally completed the last blocks earlier in the week and I've started putting the top together. Trimming the blocks took ages but was well worth it as it's making it so much easier to add the sashing.

I've stitched three of the rows together and have the remaining blocks all ready to piece with the sashing. I'm really pleased with how the rows are looking and can't wait to see the whole top.

I've already cut all the sashing but I still have the white cornerstones to cut. I love the purple that my daughter chose for the sashing, even if it does show up as blue in the photos.

I have also managed to complete my hexie block for the March rainbow scrap challenge.

My final job of the day was to cut up my scraps into usable sizes. This is just a small selection, I guess this could take some time.

There is still so much I need to get done. I have the binding of Jenny's quilt to finish stitching and I need to make the backing for the baby quilt. I haven't started my April NewFO or my 'Let's book it' project. They are both a little different to normal.

I hope you've had time to catch up on some of your projects this week.


Tuesday 22 April 2014

49 blocks finally finished

I've had such a great day today as I've finally finished all 49 of the Votes for Women blocks. This was a block of the week that was run by Barbara Brackman at Grandmother's Choice from August 2012 until July 2013. Each block was accompanied by some of the history of the long haul to achieve votes for women. I'm making the quilt for Kathryn my older daughter and had hoped to have finished it completely so I could give it to her on her birthday. Oophs I'm a bit late as that was 13th April but hopefully I can complete it by the end of May. My job for tomorrow (once I've done some marking and a little housework) is to trim the blocks and cut the sashing. I'm not back at work until next Monday so I should be able to have the top finished and ready for quilting.

In fact the whole Easter weekend has been really good. Lucy my younger daughter was home on Friday 18th as it was her birthday and Lucy Richard John and I enjoyed a family meal on Easter Sunday. Unfortunately Kathryn was working. I'm hoping we'll be able to see her soon.

On the 13th April John and I went for a walk with our friend Tony. I promised I'd post some photos but haven't done so yet. The walk was a circular walk which took us around the picturesque village of Shere.

At the start of the walk was the Catholic Apostolic Church which was established by Henry Drummond the then owner of Albury Park. The church is no longer in use.

We entered Albury Park and I was delighted to see lambs frolicking in the field.

A little further on was the lovely  old church of St Peter and St Paul. I didn't take a photo of the outside but the stained glass window was beautiful. Part of the church is from Saxon times.

On through the park and into the woods where there were several old gnarly Chestnut trees

We walked along by the Tilling Bourne stream. The water was really clear.

We saw several species of wild flowers

Several of the gardens in Shere had aubretia cascading down the garden walls. I love it but it doesn't do that well in our garden.

We were also lucky enough to see a common lizard. I've added a red arrow as he really is rather small.

The views were beautiful.

We came across this plaque commemorating Montgomery's address to Canadian troops before the D Day landings.  It is amazing what you come across when out walking.

As you can see from the photos the weather was warm and sunny. It's a good job we got out and enjoyed the sun whilst it was shining as rain is forecast for the next few days.

We were out walking again on Saturday but I haven't uploaded the photos yet. If it stops raining tomorrow I'll try and get out to take a photo of Jenny's birthday quilt. I've just got a small length of the binding to finish hand stitching.

I hope you all enjoyed a happy Easter and were able to spend time with your family. I found the Easter services particularly joyful this year.


Friday 18 April 2014

What is my Superpower?

Sew we quilt

Hi everyone, welcome to my post about my superpower.  Superpowers are a funny thing. When I signed up for this blog hop I had just completed several (almost) impossible things and I felt wonderful. I knew I had lots of superpowers. Then doubt set in as always and finally blind panic as I decided I didn't have a single superpower.  As always my family came to my rescue assuring me I'm a great mom, wife, quilter, knitter  and lots more besides. I love my family they are so supportive. Anyway in true British style I made a pot of tea and sat down to to enjoy several cups whilst I decided on my project. At that point my most obvious superpower was my ability to drink gallons of tea and always be ready to have another cup.

I decided I had several superpowers and that I would link them together for this project. First I'm great at helping with or finishing off other peoples half finished projects. (It's odd that I'm not always so quick to finish off some of my own projects.)  Over the years there have been several projects I have helped with. Back in 2012 Lucy knitted her then boyfriend an elephant and I helped her finish it.

There was also a little cross stitch of a pair of Blue Tits that Richard had started years ago and never finished. At the point I picked it up last year it looked like this.

I love the finished piece.

My husband John loves to go bird watching but he finds it very difficult to see the small brown birds that hide themselves in the leaves. My second superpower is that I am very good at spotting those small birds and telling John where to train his binoculars so he can see them. 

Finally like many quilters I am very good at using up my scraps.  Last year I made a swoon quilt and had a lot of half square triangles that I made from the off cuts. So my superpower project combined all three superpowers. It would use up some of my scraps, incorporate small birds and include a project I had finished for someone else. 

The blue tit cross stitch has been used as the center piece and the rest of the  cushion cover front is made from the half square triangles that were cut off from the flying geese in the swoon quilt. There was a stain on the fabric of the cross stitch but I have been able to cut this area off. The cross stitch is appliqued to a backing fabric and the edges have been frayed. I still have several HST left and some to trim down ready for use. A job for another day.

Now it's time to say thank you to Madame Samm for organising this hop and for Pauline for being a great cheerleader. This is such a fun theme and the projects are amazing. Here is the list of people taking part today, you're sure to find lots of inspiration from them.

                                                    FRIDAY APRIL 18

I'm going to make a pot of tea and go visiting, I can't wait to see what their superpowers are. Then I'm going to make a birthday cake as it was Kathryn's (older daughter) birthday last Sunday and Lucy's today. They are both coming over a little later.

Enjoy using your superpowers today.


Sunday 13 April 2014

A busy but fun weekend

I love the weekend. A chance to sleep in a little, to relax with family, to walk and to sew. This weekend I didn't get any extra sleep as I was teaching a first aid course on Saturday. I teach the first aid course to the leaders in my Guide county. It's a six hour course that covers the first aid they need to be able to run their weekly meetings safely. It's fun to teach but also rather tiring, so it was lovely to get home and spend time with my sewing machine.

This months rainbow scrap challenge colour is purple so I set about making my 4 nine patch blocks. I love purple and seem to have a lot of purple scraps. I particularly like the bright bold purple fabrics. The photos have altered the colours as usual.

I had started my hexie block earlier in the week. I still need to applique it onto the backing fabric. The colours in this photo are much nearer reality.

I also finished the top of the baby quilt I'm making.

Scamp just had to sit on the quilt. I love the car fabric in this top. Hopefully this will be finished by next weekend.

Today John, Tony (one of our friends) and I went for a hike. We had intended to walk the next section of the Capital ring but the London marathon was run today and we didn't want to have to travel on the tube when it would be crowded with people going to watch. The route we decided to follow was a circular route around the village of Shere. This is the route.

We had a great day walking about 7 miles. The weather was beautiful and so was the scenery. I took a few photos which I will post tomorrow. For now I need to get organised for work including washing my hair. I've just got to work tomorrow and then I have two weeks holiday so lots of time to catch up with walking and sewing as well as getting up to date with chores.

Hope you've had a good weekend


Wednesday 9 April 2014

Having fun sewing!

Today was a sewing day and I had great fun. I had a couple of errands to do but first I cut out the sashing for the baby quilt. I'm making it for Lucy's boyfriend. His best friend recently had a baby boy, Thomas and this is a gift for him.

I dropped my bird quilt off at the quilt shop. I can't wait to see it on display in the window. We then took Scamp for a walk over Wimbledon Common. He really enjoyed that especially running through the mud. Fortunately the mud brushed out of his fur once it was dry. After sorting out my parking permit it was finally time to get sewing.

I had 7 blocks to make for the baby quilt and they went together very quickly and then I added the sashing and sewed the horizontal sashing strips. I'll add them tomorrow. I love the car fabric.

After that I started on my hexie block for April's Rainbow Scrap challenge. This months colour is purple and I have quite a bit of this in my scrap basket. The hexies are 11/2 inches and the block is made using English Paper Piecing.

Finally I started cutting more fabric for my grandmothers garden quilt. I'm still working on the purple row. It's very relaxing doing the hand sewing.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another sewing day but I have to decide on some crafts for Guides. Although the schools are on holiday the girls wanted to meet and we decided we would try and complete the craft badge. Over the last few weeks the girls have already done some crafts including creating a mother's day card and making their own paper.

If I get any sewing time tomorrow I'm planning on sorting through my projects and checking what I need to do to move them on. I'm particularly running behind on my embroidery so need to get this organised. I wanted to finish the 'Votes for Women' Quilt top this month if at all possible but I've got a couple of commissions which will take priority.

Next week I'm on holiday so will have a little more time for sewing but I also want to redecorate my bedroom. It used to be a haven of peace and tranquility, a delightful place to sleep but also a lovely sunny venue for sitting and reading as it faces south and so gets the sun all day. Now however it just looks a mess and feels rather unloved. It needs a major overhaul.

I'm linking this post with Connie from Freemotion by the River for her Tuesday link party. I haven't had time to join this party for several weeks now but Hopefully I've got work under control and can get back to enjoying my sewing and blogging.

I hope you've had a good Monday ooophs that should be Tuesday. Too much sewing seems to have confused my brain.


Monday 7 April 2014

Visit to Rochester Cathedral in Kent, UK

On Saturday John and I went on a visit to Rochester in Kent. Years ago when I was still at school I'd lived in Chatham which is next to Rochester and I'd attended Rochester Grammar School for Girls. Because of this I'd visited the cathedral many times but John had never been inside it.

The cathedral has over 900 years of history but the only remains of the original Saxon cathedral are below ground. The oldest part of the existing building dates from 1083 but there are a lot of different architectural styles as it has been added to and renovated over the years.

This is the west front and most of this looks as it did when it was built in the mid 1100's except for the large central window which was added in the mid 1400's. A military wedding was about to start when we arrived and the guard of honour was waiting for the bride to arrive.

The Nave of the cathedral shows off the Norman architecture. There are three levels of arches before you reach the wooden roof. The Nave was the place of worship for the ordinary people but over the life of the cathedral the Nave has been used as quarters for both troops and horses, and served as a carpenters shop and alehouse.

The guide Carol who showed us round give us lots of stories and showed us things we may have missed. One example of this is the places on the columns where pictures have been scratched in the stone by graffiti artists through the centuries.

She also showed us areas where there were 'ghosts' of the original paintings that decorated the walls. This is a fragment of the original plaster now preserved behind glass. The interior must have been very bright.

Either side of the west door there are mosaics which give the names of the Royal Engineers and the campaigns they fought in. The cathedral is the 'Corps' spiritual home.

Carol showed us the columns that had been pushed out of true by the weight of the roof of the cathedral, (no it's not my appalling photographic skills). The height of the roof was reduced and a huge buttress added to the outside wall to keep this part of the building upright. I love the carving around the doorway.

The screen between the Nave and the Quire was beautiful. The camera shake is my fault but I only took the one picture. The organ had a beautiful full rich sound.

The floor in the Quire had delightful tiles and Carol told us there were 40 'mistakes' in the tiling as only God is perfect.

Finally a new addition to the cathedral was the fresco by the doorway at the North Transept. The fresco is by Russian iconographer Sergei Fyodorov. The fresco was dedicated on 24th June 2004. The top half shows the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist.  Underneath, on the left side is the baptism of King Ethelbert by St Augustine in approximately 600. King Ethelbert gave the land on which the cathedral is built. On the right is the baptism of large numbers of Saxons in the River Medway following their conversion to Christianity. The colours in the fresco were amazing.

The cathedral also has a brass memorial plaque to Charles Dickens who lived in Rochester. He had asked to be buried in the cathedral but it was decided that he should be buried in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey in London

As we left the cathedral we saw this tree outside.

It is well propped up and support which makes it look as if it's many centuries old. The tree is a Catalpa tree which is also known as an Indian Bean Tree. Its exact age is not known but it is over 100 years.

When we'd decided to visit Rochester I hadn't given a thought to quilt shops but as we walked onto the high street I looked to my right and what should I see but a very well stocked quilt shop. I didn't buy very much, only 4 fat quarters but I will be visiting again as the journey only took an hour and a quarter and there is still lots to visit in the area.

Before we left for home I took a picture looking along the River Medway. There was a cold breeze blowing off the water.

The day was very enjoyable and the sun managed to shine all day. I'm looking forward to a lot more trips out this summer.

I'm going to watch a TV programme I recorded earlier and then I'm off to bed. Tomorrow is a sewing day and I have quite a lot I want to get done. Plus I have some housework and a few errands I need to run. The quilt shop where I teach classes have asked if they can display my bird quilt in the window so I must drop it into the shop and I want to pop into the butchers to get a bone for Scamp.