Sunday 24 April 2016

Saturday scrappiness and sloooww Sunday.

On Saturday I'd planned to spend the day making some blocks. No planned is not the quite word. I'd been dreaming, and looking forward to a whole day of making blocks when at 10pm on Friday night I decided to check my diary for next week. Arrrgg I had forgotten that on Saturday we had a university open day for potential students and I had agreed to help. My happy feeling quickly evaporated. In the event the open day wasn't too bad. There were enough enquiries to keep us busy but also time to chat with colleagues and the whole thing ended at 3 which still left some sewing time. 

First I hunted out my orange scraps and got cutting. I 'm making five granny squares a month for my Rainbow scrap challenge this year using 2 1/2 inch squares. I wasn't sure about how well the different fabrics would play with each other but once I'd finished them I liked the way they look.

Having finished these blocks I decided to make the final colours I'd missed from 2015 RSC. I made 6 inch churn dash blocks last year and I missed the purple and the brown blocks. I like making the churn dash blocks and they look so pretty. First the purple,

and next the brown.

I've now made all the blocks for last year's monthly colours but I will need to make some additional blocks to make the quilt the size I want. Not a problem since I still have lots of scraps!

Having finished up the blocks it was time to prepare dinner and I put my machine away for the day. After dinner we watched some television and I did some knitting (until I feel asleep) 
During the evening Kathryn phoned to ask if I wanted to go to an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. Well I'm always willing to visit exhibitions and museum so the answer was of course yes.

The plan was to get to the museum for about 11 am. Since it isn't very far on the tube I left home a little after 10. The tube was standing in the station and as I got on the tannoy said the train was being held as there was something on the line. Eventually we got going and all was looking good until about 4 stops down the line when we were stopped once again. An animal had been reported on the line and so all the power had to be turned off. As the tunnels inter-connect the trains were stopped in both directions. After about 20 minutes they suspended the tube and we all left the train. I decided to go home as I didn't fancy making the journey by bus. The walk home was quite pleasant  and helped towards my total steps. I'm trying to do 10,000 steps every day but it is very difficult when I'm working.

Once home I had some housework to do and Lucy popped in for a chat. After that I was free to get some stitching done. I'm still stitching the binding on the baby quilt, but I should have it finished later today.  

I'm also working on the catitudes cross stitch. The area I've stitched is white on white.Hopefully by next week most of it will be done. I have a plan for this piece of stitching so I need to get a wriggle on.

 A little later this evening I will also do a few rows of knitting. Its growing but quite slowly. Not surprising since there are over 250 stitches in a row.

I'm linking this post with So scrappy and with Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching

I've had quite a bit of sewing time this weekend and I'm looking forward to having more time this week.. I hope the weekend has been good for you. 


Sunday 17 April 2016

Not so slow Sunday

Today I have been a woman on a mission. I needed to do several household chores. First some laundry so it is lucky that the weather is warm and dry today. I love being able to dry clothes out on the line rather than using the dryer. So first load on the line, refill machine and then iron some items I'd washed earlier in the week.

In between times I had to answer the door to take delivery of Richard's 3D printer. This afternoon he set it up and it is printing away at the moment. It's a little noisy but such fun technology. 

Next I sat and marked the final essays from the first batch. Tomorrow I can now send the marks to the administrator and they can go to the external examiner and so to the examination board. Unfortunately I have another set waiting to be marked and two more sets coming in this week. I'll start the next set tomorrow and plan to mark so many a day. At 3000 words each they take a lot of reading.

Having got that job out of the way I was free to move to the sewing machine. I trimmed the baby quilt and got it all nicely squared up. Then I was able to attach the binding. I find preparing binding quite therapeutic and the job always goes fairly quickly. In no time the binding was attached and I moved the machine away. Any stitching happening for the rest of the day will be hand stitching. I've made the binding from the same fabric I've used for the backing. I'm using those delightful clips to hold the binding in place whilst I stitch. They are great and no risk of stabbing myself with the pins!

That will probably take me most of the evening but I also need to do my 5 knitting rows. Before any of that I'm off to find the cattitudes cross stitching I started some time ago.

I need this for a project I have in mind. I'll tell you more about it in a couple of weeks time when I have the plan clear in my head. This is how much I'd done when I switched it out to work on a different piece.

I also decided to take part in 'Another little quilt swap 10'. I took part in a swap a couple of years ago and made this piece as my swap.

I set out to take part in the last swap but my piece got adopted by my daughter as a present for a friend. Unfortunately I didn't take a photo of it.

Another Little Quilt Swap

If you want to take part in this swap you can find the information here

This weekend has been a success as I've got some of my household chores done, I've quilted the baby quilt and have the binding attached to the front. I just need to hand stitch the back. I've finished my marking so can spend the rest of the evening hand stitching or knitting and that means if there's anything interesting on TV I can sit and watch it......oh I think I have a couple of programmes recorded that I haven't seen yet. So just dinner to organise and I can settle down with Scamp on my lap.  Heaven!

I hope your weekend has been gone the way you planned (or better). I'm linking this post with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching


Saturday 16 April 2016

A perfect day for quilting.

It's Saturday, a sewing day and I've been looking forward to getting on with some quilting on the baby quilt. Last month I worked on the top for my 'Let's book it project'.  This month I'm continuing with the quilt as my project and I hope to have it finished this week.

Dust Off Those Books

First I had to visit a quilt shop as I needed backing fabric and Wadding. There is a sewing and craft superstore within walking distance of my house but when I'd popped in recently I didn't see any fabric that I wanted to use for the backing so I needed to go further afield. It took an hour to drive there but I found this fabulous fabric which I think is perfect for the backing

Once home I got on with making the quilt sandwich. For once this went really quickly and I soon had my machine set up and ready to start. Back in January we visited Bath and whilst there I treated myself to a pair of gloves for quilting.

Wow I wished I'd found out about them before. I started quilting prepared to find that they were just a gimmick and I'd wasted my money. No, they were so good and made it so easy to move the quilt around whilst I whizzed along. They certainly helped with the whole quilting process. Now I just need something to help with the back and shoulder ache I get when quilting.

Over the afternoon I finished the quilting and all I need to do now is trim the quilt and stitch the binding. Oh and I must check to make sure I'll dealt with all the ends.

I also need to make a label. I haven't made labels for most of the quilts I've made but I decided I'm going to start doing so. Last month I bought a new printer as our old one died of old age and the new one is perfect for making labels.

Tomorrow I'll do the binding and then this quilt will be ready to be gifted. With the baby quilts I've made I haven't washed them before gifting them as most new mothers want to use their own choice of soap powder for their new babies clothes and bedding. I include a label with the washing instructions in the gift box.

This evening I'm getting on with some more knitting. I can't do many rows a day as knitting makes my right shoulder hurt. To make sure I get it finished I'm trying to knit between 5 and 10 rows a day.

I have some marking I need to do before I get on with stitching the binding but by the end of the week I'll have a finish.. 

I hope your Saturday has been as much fun as mine.


Wednesday 13 April 2016

WIP and Q2 goals

Saturday was supposed to be my sewing day but John's father wasn't well so we went to visit him. We were pleased to find him in good spirits and much better than we had been told. As a result of doing no sewing over the weekend I was excited to get my machine out this morning.

My first job was to give the machine a good clean as it was suffering from fluff overload. Once done the machine was purring nicely and producing a lovely even stitch. I really wanted to get on with my quilting but I need to make my kitchen curtains. A while back I bought this cute fabric.

I had cut the lengths of fabric and lining I needed and so it sat, waiting for the painting and other bits of the kitchen to be finished.

My first job today was to join the main fabric. The window is a big bay and I'm using a double width of fabric for each curtain. I took care to cut the lengths of fabric so the pattern matched so all I needed to do was match the pattern at the join.  I was very pleased with the result although you can see that it isn't completely right on the red teapot.

Having done that it was a relatively quick job to attach the lining to the main fabric and add the curtain header.

I need to stitch the hem, give them a good press and the curtains will be all done. That will have to wait until the weekend.

My kitchen also has a smaller window that I want to make a roman blind for. I'm using the same fabric. I measured the window carefully and worked out how I was going to cut my fabric but I decided to leave this for the weekend. When measurements are crucial I like to leave them for a while, and then go back and recheck my figures. That way it reduces (slightly) the chance I'll make a mistake.

I was going to visit my local quilt shop today as I need some wadding and backing fabric for my baby quilt, however I got a phone call from the blood donor centre asking if I could donate today so I altered my plans. I'm feeling very good because it was my 100th donation.

2016 button 250 best

I spent a little time deciding on my goals for this quarter. I need a few finishes as they have been very few so far this year. So between now and June I want to;

1. Finish the baby quilt for Maria.

The top is all finished and on Saturday I'll buy the wadding and backing fabric. I know how I want to quilt this. Maria's baby is due the end of June but she is hoping to work until early June.

2. Finish the knitted baby blanket.

I started this blanket when we got back from holiday on the 2nd April. It is a large square blanket and so far I've knitted a seventh of the rows. I'm trying to do at least half an hours knitting each day.

3. Quilt 'It's a dogs life' quilt

I finished this last year and put it away for a while. I'm looking forward to quilting this.

4. Finish quilting the 9 patch.

This quilt was made using my rainbow scrap blocks from 2014. I started the quilting but baby quilts needed making and so took priority.

5. Kitchen curtains.

I've included these as they will be finished in this time period. I'm not adding a picture as there's one at the top of the post.

I'm linking this post with Leanne from She can quilt for the 2nd quarter 2016 Finish a long 

I'm working the rest of the week so there will be minimal stitching until the weekend. Roll on Saturday!


Monday 11 April 2016

Slowly stitching.

During my holiday, which already feels as if it was months ago, I worked on my hand stitching. I had considered taking my machine with me but I'm pleased I didn't. Instead I took my christmas tree cross stitch and my millennium sampler. I managed to do some work on both and I also bought some wool to knit a baby blanket. I haven't seen my christmas tree cross stitch since I got home so this weekend I must track it down.The bag where I'd put it was unpacked for me and it was put away but not where I keep my stitching!  So I can't show my stitching on that piece but I also worked on the millennium sampler and that I unpacked myself. I have 4 squares to complete and I made a start on the spitfire. It doesn't look as if I did very much but there are a lot of stitches in the square even though it isn't complete. In addition I did some back stitching on other areas of the piece.

I was only able to stitch during the day as the lighting was very poor in the evening. Normally I like to sit and stitch whilst watching TV

Since getting home I haven't touched the work as I've been knitting. I bought this pattern and yarn whilst on holiday. 

I didn't start knitting until we got home as I hadn't taken any needles with me but since then I've done some knitting every day. This weekend we went to Suffolk to visit John's father. He's 91 years old and has developed a few health problems.

I took my knitting with me as it's easy to do whilst chatting.The pattern is quite straightforward once you've got it set and I'm pleased with how this is knitting up. So the whole weekend was spent slow stitching . As I haven't done any knitting for a while I'm really enjoying the activity.

Yesterday when we got back from Suffolk we took Scamp for a walk and the sight of the bluebells starting to open made me so happy.

There were only a few in flower at the moment but in the near future they will form a beautiful blue carpet.

I'm linking this post with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching. I'll be back tomorrow as I try and catch up with my machine stitching.


Tuesday 5 April 2016

April goals

grab button for RedLetterQuilts

It's time to think about my goals for the month.  Last month my goal was make a baby quilt top. The quilt is for one of my work colleagues and the baby isn't due until the end of June. I've now finished the top having stitched all the fishes down. I haven't taken a photo since I finished it so here's one from earlier in the month.

My goal for this month is to completely finish the quilt. I need to go shopping as I have to buy some wadding and backing fabric. I'll have time to do that on Wednesday. I can't wait to get started on the quilting.

Dust Off Those Books

The baby quilt top was my March ' Let's book it' challenge and so for the second time this year I've successfully completed this challenge. Let's book it is an opportunity to pull out those patterns we have always been planning on making and just get on with it. If you want to know more about the challenge click hereI haven't decided what project I want to make for my April project but I have a couple of mug rug patterns I want to make  so that will probably be it.

Other projects I want to work on this month will include my 'It's a dog's life' quilt. The top was finished a while ago and I have the fabric and wadding to complete the project. I'm not working on Wednesday so my first job will be to prep this ready for quilting.

I also need to get my kitchen curtains made.  The fabric is all cut and ready to sew. It shouldn't take long as it's just nice long straight seams. The kitchen is all done except for the curtains. I love the fabric with it's pretty tea and coffee pots and cup

Of course there are also the blocks for the rainbow scrap challenge and for the splendid sampler. I have several blocks to catch up for the splendid sampler. There are also some other things I want to work on including 10 more of the arcs for the double wedding ring quilt.

The month's goals should be doable even with a very full work diary. I love the excitement of trying to meet my goals. 

I'm linking this post with Sharon's Let's book it challenge and with Heidi's One monthly goal


Sunday 3 April 2016

A relaxing weeks holiday

Last week we were away on holiday. We like to holiday in the UK and this week our destination was Derbyshire. We wanted to do some walking but also have some visits. The only down side was that we didn't have internet access all week so no blog posts or keeping up with the blogs I follow. We all have smartphones but at times and in quite a lot of places the network coverage was dire. It was fun being unplugged for the week.

The main map shows Derbyshire and the surrounding counties whilst the little insert shows where Derbyshire is on the map of England. We stayed in Buxton which meant we were in the peak district but not in the National park. 

The weather at the beginning of the week wasn't very good, with rain on and off for all of our journey north. The traffic was also heavy since it was the Easter weekend and we had to stop several times for Scamp to have comfort breaks and a little walk. Whilst driving Scamp slept in the back of the car with Richard. Kathryn and Olly joined us much later in the evening as they had been working all day.

Easter Sunday started cold and damp with hail showers every so often. We went out for a short walk but we had already decided that Sunday was a rest day. Kathryn went out to photograph the hail.

The great part of the cottage we stayed in was the deep window ledges in the main room They  were perfect for sitting and stitching during the morning. Normally I have a daylight bulb for stitching as it makes it so much easier to see what I'm doing but the light was perfect and I got a fair amount done.. 

Monday was a day for exploring close to home which was a good decision since it had snowed and there was more forecast. 

The snow cleared very quickly in the town and most of it fell up on the hills.

Later that evening when John and I walked to the top of Grin Low there was still some snow around but mostly the ground was very boggy from the melt water.

Tuesday was a shopping morning in Buxton and in the afternoon we visited the tram museum at Crich. We loved the old pub which had been taken apart and boxed up for a number of years before moving to its location in the museum. It also served good ale and the tea I had was great

I realised as I started writing this that most of the pictures of the trams are on John's camera but here's one I took. The trams and trolleybuses all work and you get to ride on them. The rails don't go that far but it makes for a fun experience. It shows how old I am that I can remember the trolley buses in Wolverhampton when I was young.

The view up the line with the overhead cables. and the rails.

Over the course of Tuesday Scamp got wet three times and although we dried him well and kept him warm he wasn't well overnight. With lots of care and attention he perked up quite quickly but I carried him a fair amount on Wednesday to rest him.

On Wednesday we visited Peveril castle and Castleton and we had planned lots more walking. Scamp went with us to the castle and enjoyed the exercise but later in the day he and I stayed home whilst the rest went walking. This was a good opportunity to catch up on a little stitching, reading and lots of cuddles with Scamp.

Scamp is really funny when you take him out as he is constantly checking everyone is there. You can see him doing the head count and if someone is missing he starts his search. If the party is splitting into smaller groups you have to tell him or he gets stressed.

The keep of the castle is one of the smallest in England but the view was good.

Being so open much of the stone has been damaged by the weather.  This picture is weird because at times it looks like the stone is sticking up but in fact it has holes in it.

The church in the village had these lovely boxed pews

and this really effective Easter garden. 

Thursday was our trip to Lyme Park. For those of you who enjoyed the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice (all 6 hours) Lyme Park was used for the exterior of Pemberley. 

Because we didn't have internet access we hadn't checked opening times and unfortunately the house isn't open on a Thursday at this time of year so Kathryn was disappointed. They were doing a behind the scenes tour which she went on instead. Whilst Richard, Kathryn and Olly went on the tour and looked round the garden John and I took Scamp for a walk in the park. The weather was gloriously sunny and warm so we had a lovely time. Scamp enjoyed running off his lead and getting lots of strokes from other visitors.

Kathryn and Olly had to head back to London in the early evening as they were both working on Friday. It made me, John and Richard sad to wave them goodbye and Thursday evening was rather quiet.

On Friday we went hunting waterfalls, viaducts and tunnels. We also enjoyed a pub lunch, with John and Richard enjoying the ale. As the driver I was on soft drinks. The waterfalls weren't huge but they were delightful

The water was used by a cotton mill for the various stages of the process. There was a lots of ruined building still standing and the pounds where the water was held back or released as needed. 

We climbed up and then followed the water downhill.

Later we stopped at Monsal Head and looked down on the old viaduct before walking down to it.

I took this shot from the viaduct looking down.

There are also disused tunnels you can walk through

The tunnel was lit although the light go out at dusk A path had been laid where the trains would have run.

Coming out the tunnel at the other end the rock had brickwork in it giving it a strange appearance.

Scamp had a great day especially as he was back to his happy healthy self. In the evening he was all ears and ready to go as we discussed where we would go on our next holiday. We also took some time out to remember my mother whose birthday fell on April 1st. We had a glass of wine and toasted her memory, talking about the fun times we'd all shared. She would have loved Scamp.

All too soon our week away was over and yesterday we packed up and travelled home. Today has been a catch up day with washing and ironing and tomorrow is back to work for me and John. Richard had to work today. Scamp has been reunited with Picasso who was cared for by Lucy for the week. He's been demanding attention all day. Lucy had been very stressed one day in the week as he wouldn't come in when she let him out so he had to stay out whilst she was at work. Today I've been doing a little slow knitting but I'll tell you about that tomorrow.

Thank you all for the lovely comments from the blog hop last week and I will reply over the next few days.  I also hope you all had a peaceful Easter. I'm going to knit another couple of rows before bed time.