Wednesday 28 January 2015

Trying to catch up

As Wednesday is all about work in progress I've spent my time trying to catch up with last years rainbow scrap challenge. The last set of blocks I made were for September,s colour so I set out to get up to date. I am making two sets of blocks for this challenge. The first a nice straightforward 9 patch and the second using hexies. I haven't started on the hexie blocks yet but they make up quickly whilst watching TV.

October's colour was black/grey/brown so this is what I made.

I used my old cutting board yesterday when I taught a quilting class. As you can see it got all fluffy and needs a serious clean but I was in a bit of a rush to get this post written before sorting out what I need for tonight's guide meetings and organising dinner so cleaning it was last on mt list.

Next I made the baby blue blocks for November.

and finally December was use any colour you have lots of so my blocks are mixed colours.

I also made up a baby quilt top. I have a work colleague who is going on maternity leave in early February so this one needs to be finished this month.

Yesterday I when went to the quilt shop with a totally different idea in my head for this quilt but I saw the Michael Miller elephant fabric and feel in love with it. I realised when looking at it that the elephants do not walk across the fabric in a nice straight line as there is a drop on the pattern but I still loved it and it makes it appear the elephants are moving (well it does to me).

Tomorrow I need to get some wadding and backing fabric so I can get this finished. The binding will be the dark blue fabric. The finished quilt is 4 33 by 40inches.

That's all the sewing time I have for now but hopefully I'll start on the hexi blocks this evening when I flop in front of the TV after Guides. We have a large group of girls at the moment and it makes for an exhausting evening. For now I'm going to put together a fish pie for dinner. 

I'm linking up with Monika at The needle and thread network and Lee at Freshly Pieced


Sunday 25 January 2015

Grow Your Blog Party 2015

Hi everyone Vicki of 2 bags full is hosting the 3rd annual Grow Your Blog party. Now I love a good party so I just had to join in. Why not grab a drink and make yourself comfortable while I tell you about my blog.

My name is Lyndsey, I'm married to John and have 3 grown up children. I live in London UK, which is a great place to live with lots of museums, art galleries and theatres to visit. I love writing my blog as it enables me to share my hobbies with people across the world. 

I love all types of crafts but I particularly like sewing. I find it really relaxing, from the choosing of the pattern and fabric, through the process of making something and using the end product. I started my blog in April 2012 and in that time I've made quite a lot of quilts. These are just a few of them

Pillows are fun to make

I've made table runners to celebrate different seasons

Mug rugs are quick to make and are perfect for presents.

I also like hand stitching and always have some cross stitch or embroidery that I'm working on.

I occasionally like to knit

I don't run my blog on my own, I have help from two special helpers. Scamp our Yorkshire Terrier likes to check all quilts for comfort and cuddliness

He also likes to get involved in writing the posts but he regularly ends up falling asleep on the keyboard.

My other helper is Picasso who thinks all the quilts are for him and loves to help put the quilt sandwich together.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of the things that happen on my blog and will come back and visit again soon. There are lots more blogs for you to visit and I hope you enjoy the party.


Wednesday 21 January 2015

Work starts on the Kitchen

Today was the start of the work on the kitchen. The units were being delivered in two batches, half should have arrived on Saturday and the other half today. The Saturday delivery wasn't half, in fact it consisted of the worktops, cooker hood and sink. When Oleg arrived to start the installation the units still hadn't arrived so he left to check in with the office. It wasn't as bad as it could have been because the units arrived about an hour and a half later and the old units had already been removed (except for the sink unit). 

Meanwhile Lucy and I took Buddy and Scamp for a walk to the common. By the time we arrived home the kitchen was completely empty with the old washing machine and cooker having been put in the front garden for collection. Oleg was busy making alterations to the plumbing to allow for the dishwasher. I'm very excited about having a dishwasher as I've never had one before and I seem to spend a lot of time washing up. The rest of the ground floor was and still is in total chaos with the contents of the kitchen and lots of boxes everywhere. The kitchen has the carcases of new cabinets in it.

This is what the kitchen looked like before Christmas after the wall had been moved and the cabinets removed.

Here's what my kitchen looks like tonight.

Poor Picasso is very confused, when he went out to check up on the neighbours this morning he knew where to find his food but it's moved yet again. It took a lot of chin and tummy tickles to calm him down. The main units should be fitted tomorrow and then on Thursday my new cooker arrives. We haven't chosen tiles, flooring or curtains yet. With Christmas in the middle of our building work schedule there was just too much else going on.

With everything completely turned upside down again there isn't a lot of sewing going on. My machine is behind the large boxes and it's too much effort to move them so a little hand stitching is the order of the day. I found a lovely free BOM by Jenny at Elefantz called 'my vintage kitchen' It is a very cute little wall hanging that finishes at 13.5 by 21.5 inches. The nine embroidery blocks finish at 3 in square each so will be very quick to stitch. I have printed this month's pattern out, have my fabric and embroidery thread ready so I'll be tracing the pattern and stitching that a little later today. This evening we are out to dinner with friends at a Brazilian restaurant which should be fun.

It's turned quite cold here in London and there is sleet forecast for tomorrow. I hope you are staying warm and snug where you are.


Sunday 18 January 2015

Hand stitching a hem

Slow Sunday Stitching

Yesterday (Saturday) I got a little time for sewing and spent time finishing the black pinafore dress that I started back in November. For once I followed the pattern exactly and this caused a lot of swearing when I got to putting the zip in. In the end I ignored the pattern and did the zip the way I normally do. It went in very neatly and quickly. That left the final finishing for today - the hem, neaten the seam by the zip and the hook and eye at the neck above the zip. The pattern said to machine stitch the hem but I much prefer to hand stitch as it always looks much neater. This is the pattern I'm using to make the pinafore.

I added some trim to the pockets and as you can see the hem isn't fully stitched.

Kathy challenged us to take a photo of our hand whilst stitching. This was a little difficult trying to manipulate the camera with my left hand and hold a needle with my right. Of course it could have been the glass of wine I'd just finished that was making it difficult! Anyway here I am stitching the hem - OK so I was pretending to stitch.

Then it was time to sit and relax in front of a film with my cross stitch. This week I'm concentrating on the next square on the millennium sampler. This one is about the Battle of Hastings in 1066 when William the Conqueror defeated Harold. So far I've got most of the horse completed and a little of the knight. This should be finished by the end of the week.

This morning I spent some time looking at a hardanger pattern. I had started the pattern some time ago but couldn't make it work properly and so had dumped it at the back of a drawer.  It took me a little while to work out what I'd been doing wrong but I finally got there.

The pattern is from this book which has 8 coaster and 8 place mat patterns. It also has patterns for napkin rings and table runners. It was one of the place mats that I'd started but I had managed to totally misread the pattern including getting the wrong size piece of fabric. It would have been too small and I would have been cross had I got quite far with it only to discover the fabric wasn't big enough. Soon I'm going to get some more fabric and start the piece again. In the meantime I will use the fabric I've got to make some coasters.

I've spent some time this week going over why I've stopped making particular projecst. I've realised that often it is because something goes wrong. When I've gone back to it, sometimes years later, I find I've misread what I'm supposed to do, mis-measured something or just feel I can't do it. This was the case with the millennium sampler as it has a lot of fractional stitches and I found these difficult and tedious to do. I told myself I couldn't do it and it would end up looking a mess. Now having come back to it after a few years I'm enjoying stitching it and the fractional stitches present no problem. In fact I like the way they help to make the piece more detailed. Maybe as I've got older I've acquired more patience with things. Anyway whatever the reason I am slowly sorting out all those projects that have been left and I'm enjoying doing it.

Do you put projects away when you run up against something you find difficult? I hope today your slow stitching has been enjoyable with no problems. I'm linking this post with Kathy' Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday


Saturday 17 January 2015

Another Friday Finish

I'm excited again because for the second week running I can celebrate a finish. This week I have finished the top of the Star Trek quilt. I just had the second border to add and I chose this star trek fabric for it.

With the second border added the quilt now measures 86 X 86.  Richard is thrilled at the size of the quilt. He certainly needs a large quilt as he is 6 foot 5 inches tall and it takes something large to keep him snug and warm. The quilt hangs generously over the sides of my double bed.

My plan for tomorrow morning is a trip to the quilt shop to buy the wadding and the backing fabric and hopefully have the quilt sandwich made by the end of the day. Next week my kitchen is being fitted and all the large plastic boxes that are currently home to my foodstuffs and other kitchen items will be moved to the dinning room. The table where I usually sew will have to be folded down so I may not be able to use my machine next week. Otherwise I'd love to get on with the quilting.

Lucy popped in on her way home and told me the frost had made lovely patterns on my car so I just had to pop out and take a photo. It's odd what you find yourself doing at half past midnight.

It's got progressively colder over the day here in London UK and the wind is very raw. The temperature seems to have just plummeted from being unseasonably warm. I have to admit I would love it to snowed.

I'm linking this post with Richard and Tanya's Link a finish Friday and Amanda's Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

I hope the weather isn't too bad where you are. Stay warm and safe.


Thursday 15 January 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness SAL January

I can't remembered if I mentioned that I'm joining in with the Gifted Gorgeousness SAL with Serendipitous Stitching. This SAL is about stitching things that have been or will be gifted. Here are things that are eligible; 
  • Any chart/kit which was given to you
  • Any chart/kit which you won in a giveaway
  • Any chart/kit which you bought using a voucher given to you/won by you
  • Anything stitched on fabric received in the above ways
  • Anything stitched with floss received in the above ways
  • Anything embellished or finished with items received in the above ways
  • Anything which is intended as a gift or prize for another person
  • Anything else you can somehow shoehorn with word "gift" into!

This month I finally finished 'The Butterfly Catchers'. This piece has been in progress for some time. Many years ago I was given three kits. The first one, a bear playing on a swing was finished a few years back and gifted to a friend who collects bears. The third one is barely started but has the bears decorating the Christmas tree. This one is being gifted to the young son of a friend.

I have also started a 'Tigger' cross stitch kit which I was given about 5 years ago. Not a lot to show so far.

Finally this month I have been stitching on my millennium sampler. This was a gift from my husband for Christmas 1999. This is definitely my oldest work in progress. I did some work on the border and also started the horse.

2015 is the year that this project is finally going to be finished and framed so I can hang it in my living room. It's been a great stitching month.


A busy Wednesday

As I get back into the weekly routine I seem to be busier than ever but I've been determined and successful so far to do some sewing everyday. With that in mind I started my Wednesday be cutting the borders for my Star Trek quilt and adding a few stitches to my cross stitch project. I didn't have much time as Lucy and I had tickets for an exhibition at The British Museum.

As you can see it was a nice bright winter's day and there were a lot of tourists visiting the museum. We had gone to see the 'Germany: memories of a nation' exhibition which looked at a 600 year history in objects. At school I had learnt about The Holy Roman Empire and Prussia and Pomerania but because it wasn't taught in chronological order I had been completely confused. Add to that the problem of the geographical areas seeming to change their name on a regular basis I had just switched off. This exhibition was laid out logically and had many beautifully crafted objects to view. The exhibition was very crowded, probably because it finishes on the 25th January, and so it was very slow going. By the time we had seen it all my legs were aching and we were completely shattered. However I really enjoyed it and memories of what I had learnt at school came back to me and now make sense.

If we hadn't been going off to run Rainbows, Brownies and Guides we may have called in at the pub opposite the museum to revive ourselves.

Walking back to the underground we passed a fabulous art shop and just had to have a look round.

It was such a lovely old world type shop but had an amazing range of art supplies and I'm told boasts a well known client base including Damian Hirst. Lucy bought one of their leather bookmarks and I got Katy a diary but didn't buy any art supplies as I not sure what I need. Guess that means I need to go back again soon (with my piggy bank.)

Once home again there was time for a quick cup of tea before going and running the Guide meetings. This term our theme is world traveller so we have activities organised from various countries, some games, crafts and food to try as well as learning more about the lives of the people there. It should be a fun term.

At 10 pm home at last, there was time for a little more work on my cross stitching before bed.
Wednesdays always leave me feeling tired but happy.


Monday 12 January 2015

Oopps I started another cross stitch.

I finished the bear cross stitch at the end of last week and so I needed to think about what to do next. I'm so pleased to have finished something so early in the year please forgive me for showing the piece again.

I'm still working on the millenium sampler and if bored with cross stitch I have the block for the 'its a dog's life' quilt. Last week I worked on both of these and i must admit I quite like having several pieces on the go. I have several quilts and dressmaking WIP's that I work on so why not hand stitching.

Anyway to start my hand stitching I did the tailors tacks in my jacket pieces. That didn't take very long. Next I stitched some hexagons for Lucy's grandmother's garden quilt.  I now need to cut some more templates and fabric.

I didn't fancy either the millenium sampler or the dog's life block so I decided to go through the drawer which has my other embroidery pieces. Early last year I found a number of pieces that had been put away and forgotten about for ages. One of these was the 'Butterfly Catchers' that I finished last week but I have several others.

I finally decided to pick a small piece. I have a number of small kits that I've been given and decided to finish the Tigger one. I completed the one at the front of the photo of two bluetits last year.

To finish my slow stitching Sunday I enjoyed some cross stitching whilst watching a film. The strips on Tigger are starting to take shape.

I'm linking this post with Slow stitching Sunday at Kathy's Quilts.  

For now I'm putting the sewing away and I'm going to snuggle up with a new book on my kindle that was recommended by one of my blog friends (I can't remember who but I'll let you know in the next post).


Sunday 11 January 2015

Moving at Warp Speed

Saturday was a good sewing day. To start the day i decided to cut out the pattern pieces for the green jacket. I use the dining table for my sewing at present and cutting out dressmaking patterns is quite difficult because it's oval so part of the fabric falls over the edges at the ends. I always lay the pattern pieces out and pin it roughly in place just to check it all fits as the cutting layout shows. Then I go back and check the grainline is correct and the pins aren't puckering the fabric.

I haven't done any dressmaking for a while and it was very strange using scissors for cutting out. When I first started using the rotary cutter for quilting I didn't think I would get used to it but it is so much quicker and more accurate than scissors.

Even using scissors I soon had a pile of pattern pieces cut and ready for me to do the tailor tacks to mark the darts. I cut the notches on the pattern (used to line up the pattern pieces accurately) so they stick out as it makes it easier to  match them. I still have to cut the interfacing and the lining. To be truthful i actually need to buy the lining as the fabric shop didn't have anything suitable. I'll look tomorrow as I'm going to Reading for work and there is a fabric shop there. Oh I also need to remember buttons.

Whilst the house was being rewired my machine has sat under the stairs. This area used to be a cupboard but is currently open as we are remodelling it. When I pulled the machine out the case was covered in dust but thankfully the machine was clean inside. The case has now been cleaned and all the dust is gone. I'm hoping that having the new kitchen fitted next week won't make too much dust and mess.

Rather than start the sewing on the jacket I decided I would add the sashing to the Star Trek quilt. All the blocks were made but I needed to cut and add sashing and a border. My fancy quilting calculator gave me the answer to how many sashing strips to cut with just a couple of keystrokes. I had to give my cutting board a good clean before I could start. I've been meaning to do this for a while but it's another of those jobs that gets put off. The sashing went together very quickly with the machine running at warp speed. This quilt has 9 blocks each 24inches square which meant all the seams were straight and long. The block with the enterprises flying off is the centre block. Unfortunately I didn't get the top square on my bed to take the photo but you get the idea.. 

Having added the sashing I decided to put the machine away for the day and catch up on my emails and other little jobs. I also needed to do some thinking as I've been asked to make a tactile quilt for a two year old boy who can make out colours and large shapes but not a lot else. This should be a fun project to do.

It was great fun playing on my machine again. I hope you've had time for some sewing this weekend.