Friday 20 May 2016

At last another finish.

Finishes have been a little thin on the ground this year so this week I decided to try and finish something........anything! The easiest thing to make were the star trek pillows for Richard. He had bought 4 fat quarters of star trek the next generation fabric and had asked if I could turn it into pillows for him. 

I finished one pillow on monday evening having decided I would do an hour of sewing or knitting each evening. The pillow backs are black cotton and they have an envelope opening.

On Monday I prepared all the fabric for the 3 remaining pillows and quilted the fronts. Over the week I sewed the covers together. They went together really quickly and they look so good.

I'm very pleased with the way the pillows look and they were fun to make. They made for a quick finish. I still have a couple of pillows to make but that will be for next week.

The rest of my time this week has been spent knitting as I'm running out of time to finish knitting the baby blanket for Maria. If I knit too long at a time I end up with numb fingers so I have to be very careful.

Tomorrow is catch up time for the splendid sampler blocks and I need to get on with the quilting on the 9 patch quilt. I have 2 more busy work weeks and then I'll have more sewing time. I can't wait.

I'm linking with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday


Monday 16 May 2016

Quick sew Monday

As soon as I could I left work and headed home. I had work I needed to do this evening but I had promised myself an hour for sewing.  On the drive home I thought about my varied projects and tried to decide which one would best fit my time frame. The project that won was the cushion covers for Richard.

Richard has always been a Star Trek fan and when I made his quilt I used star trek fabric. This fabric is from the original series with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. 

A while back we bought 4 fat quarters of The Next Generation fabric.

I had already made one of the cushions.

So three more to make. Tonight I cut the backing fabric and and quilted the three fronts. The cutting and quilting took exactly one hour and I had this neat little pile of pieces.

I really wanted to carry on sewing but I put it away so I could do my work .. I hope my students appreciate my commitment. I also moved my scrap box out of the way. This is the next scrap box to be tamed.

It has some really cute scraps in it so I'm looking forward to sorting this box.

Before I finish my post I must share some fabric I bought last week. These fat quarters are for a future project. I'm on a mission to collect the fabrics I need.

This piece of fabric was just too cute to miss although I currently don't have a project for it.

I'm planning an hours sewing tomorrow when I get home from work so I should be able to complete the cushions. I'm hoping planning in a little time each day will help me complete more projects.


Sunday 15 May 2016

A good sewing weekend.

It's been a good sewing weekend. Yesterday I decided I needed to play with my scraps a little more. I had done a lot of cutting on Friday but my scraps seem to be multiplying as quickly as the weeds in the garden so it seems an impossible task to get them tamed. Anyway to start with I was able to get right on and sew my green blocks for this month's rainbow scrap challenge. I got all 5 blocks made.

A lot of my green scraps seemed to have red on them even though they weren't christmas fabrics.

My favourite block this month is this one with the cow in the center.  I also love the look of the gingham. You know green gingham always reminds me of my school days as one of the schools I went to had green gingham for the summer dresses. I went to quite a lot of different schools as we moved around for my father's job.

This gingham is quite a small check which I prefer but the school uniform gingham is usually larger. It's still a popular choice for summer uniform.

After that I started sorting out my strings, in particular the shorter lengths. I have a big box of strings that are 4 1/2 inch long. Not for any reason other than that was the length of the scraps.  I quite fancy making a string quilt so I stitched a few together to see how they would look.

As always one thing led to another and by the end of the day it appeared that I had started another project. I've been trying to be so good and not start a new project until I've finished an older one but I just love the excitement of something new.

I had arranged to go and meet Lucy at her new job as I needed some uniform. Lucy started work at the Commonwealth Headquarters of Girlguiding  3 weeks ago. She is loving her job which is a real pleasure after listening to her whinging about her old one. Mind you the whinging was totally justified!

I took a photo for the memory book. When we got home we went grocery shopping and that really was it for the day. After dinner I chilled out with my knitting in front of the TV.

Today we took Scamp for a walk over Wimbledon Common. He really enjoyed himself and also wore himself out. He kept racing ahead and bouncing around, full of the joys of spring. The sun was very warm but there was a cool wind blowing, still it was very enjoyable.

Once home I set about doing some marking. I planned to mark 6 scripts but hoped I'd get 8 done in the time. I called a halt after 6 having met my planned target and moved on to some knitting. The baby blanket is now almost half made but it is slow going. This is going to be my slow stitching from now until it is finished. There's no point in showing you a photo as apart from it has grown in length it looks the same as before. Maria goes on her maternity leave on June 10th so this is a priority. I finished the hand stitching on the cats so now I need to applique the moon and then this mini quilt is ready for quilting. Sorry I'm showing the before hand stitching photo which you've already seen but the new one is completely out of focus.

Stitching round the cats was quite tricky.

Tomorrow is a work day and I'm planning on staying at work until late to try and clear the marking. That means limited knitting or stitching time but it has to be done. The courses are all running down and by the end of July all the teaching will be done. I'll have some work to mark but August is a quiet month and I'll be taking holiday.... lots of lovely sewing time.

I'm linking with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching  and So Scrappy for Scrap Happy Saturday  

I hope you've all had a great weekend.


Friday 13 May 2016

An evening out.

Last night John and I had tickets for a Ralph McTell concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

It's such a fabulous building. We travelled up to town on the underground as it's much quicker than driving plus we have free travel as we are over 60. The day had been sunny and warm and that continued well into the evening. As always we went early as we would rather spend some time exploring  than having to rush at the last minute. We walked across into Kensington Gardens so I could take a photo of the Albert Memorial. The gold was really shining out in the sunlight.

I couldn't take the picture from the front due to the position of the sun. We always look across to the memorial when we go to the Albert Hall but we haven't walked round it in years. Usually things seem smaller than you remember them but oddly this seems much bigger. There are statutes at each of the corners but I only took a photo of one of them. I choose this one because I love the expression on the elephant's face.

We walked round the Albert hall and in one of the streets we found this house.

This building was home to the Royal College of Organists between 1903 and 1991.

The concert was amazing and the music evoked so many memories. 

Today was a day off and I had plans to get a lot done. I  wanted to organise some of my scraps and make sure I have enough 2 1/2 inch squares in green for this month's RSC. I spent several hours ironing, cutting and sorting my scrap fabrics. I found more green scraps than I thought I had so tomorrow I will sew the blocks together. I also cut  green strings as I had a lot of long thin pieces of fabric. I've not made a string quilt yet but I really mustn't start another project. Whilst I was sorting fabric I found several pieces that were perfect for an I spy quilt. It's going to be fun finding the best fabrics. Tomorrow I'm all ready to stitch a lot of blocks.


Tuesday 10 May 2016

A fishy story

Today I'm linking with Connie from Freemotion by the river When I first started blogging Connie's blog was one of the first I started following. Connie has always been a prolific quilter and at that time was starting to make her own designs. There are so many lovely patterns and I have several stashed away waiting for the either the perfect fabric or the right person to make it for. One of the patterns was this one.

When my work colleague Maria told me she was pregnant I knew this would be the perfect baby quilt. I showed her the pattern and she was really excited.

The fishy fabric I found has really cute fish with very happy faces and I love that there are different types of fish.

Backing fabric is also really important and I found this cute piece that is perfect not only for the backing but also the binding.

The pattern was very easy to follow and it went together very quickly.

I quilted a  meander on the blue background for the appliqued fish having first outlined the fish.

On the fishy fabric I quilted waves between the fish. I'm really pleased with the finished quilt and know Maria will love it. We are having a baby shower for her in early June as the baby is due at the end of June. She is excited as this is her first baby. She doesn't know whether the baby is a boy or girl and she doesn't want to know. At first I was a little worried that the quilt might be more appropriate for a boy but the bright colours and the fish fabric make it perfect for either. 

Thanks Connie for a great pattern, it was a pleasure to make.

Now to get back to my knitting which is also for Maria's baby. I also need to print the quilt label and attach it. 


Sunday 8 May 2016

Slow Stitching Sunday

It's definitely spring here in London with lovely warm temperatures and lots of sunshine. We enjoyed a walk over the common with Scamp this morning and it felt so nice to have the sun on my face. The egyptian geese had chicks,

The Hawthorne was in full bloom,

The downside was the streaming eyes and croaky voice. Never mind I'll put up with the inconvenience to enjoy the weather.

Having walked Scamp I had some work to do. I needed to email some student feedback and run through my teaching for tomorrow. Then it was time to do some sewing. First I unpicked and restitched  a row on the background for my mini quilt. Then I cut out the cats and fused them to the background. I had problems with the fusible sheet as it didn't stick very well to the fabric. This is the second time I've used it and the second time I've had problems. I ended up using my trusty glue stick. I must remember to buy some new fusible  as I have more applique to do

My plan for this evening is to  hand applique the cats and if I have time left to do some more of my knitting.  I'm very happy with how this little quilt is progressing and can't wait to finish it.


Saturday 7 May 2016

A Scrappy May

Oophs it already May 7th and I haven't sorted out my priorities for the month. I have several projects I would like to get finished this month but being realistic I will only be able to finish a couple.  First up is my goal for the month.

grab button for RedLetterQuilts

I want to finish the quilting on the 9 square scrappy quilt I made for the RSC 2014.  I didn't stitch the blocks together until late 2015 so the UFO isn't that old.

I have already started the quilting  and I've kept it very simple.

There is a long weekend at the end of the month plus I have several free evening so this should get done.

I am also taking part in a blog hop in early June at Seams to be sew.


I have a project organised for this but I need to get it made. This isn't a large project so should be made with time to spare.

So the two above projects are a definite work on this month. I will also be continuing the knitted baby blanket for Maria. This is a projects I work on mainly in the evening and odd moments. It's slow but steady progress.

Anyone who follows my blog will know I tend to work on several things at a time and I will be continuing to work on my mini 9 patch quilt. This is for a baby due in September so I have lots of time. I now know the baby is a girl so I'll be adding in more pink and it makes choosing the backing fabric much easier.

The squares are all going to finish at 4 1/2 inches. 

Finally as always I will work on my scrappy blocks for the RSC. This month's colour is green. I have quite a few green scraps so I shall get started on these a little later today. At the moment I catching up on reading some blogs and relaxing as I spent the day teaching a first aid course for my guide county. It's always a fun course to run but at the same time very tiring after a full week at work. It also meant I missed out on a lot of the sunshine. As the weather has warmed up here in London I've been watching it from behind glass and have generally only got to enjoy it after work. I hope it stays good for tomorrow.

I'm linking this post with Heidi for One Monthly Goal I find it helps me focus on completing at least one project over the month.


Monday 2 May 2016

Design wall Monday.

It was lovely to have an extra day off this week. May is a fabulous month with two bank holidays, the first one being today. It meant I had an extra sewing day. First I got on with my project for the little quilt swap and my 'Let's book it' project

Let's book it 2016

A while back I saw this quilt on one of the blogs I follow (I can't remember which blog).

This pattern is called  Stairway to cat heaven. I got the pattern free from McCall's Quilting the October 1997  issue and I've been thinking about making the quilt for about a year. Being sensible I knew I didn't have the time to start another quilt but I felt sure I could make this into a small quilt for the quilt swap. I started by going through my blue and purple scrap boxes and this is what I ended up with.

I need to unpick and resew the third row up from the bottom as the seams are off but otherwise I'm happy with this as my base. I have my black cotton to use for the cats. I need to shrink the cat templates and I will probably do that at work as the printer/photocopier will make short work of the job. I also need to find a yellow fabric for the moon. I'm going to add a narrow border so I don't lose any of the picture when I bind it. The swap quilt can be between 10 and 16 inches square. The background fabric is 14 and a half to finish at 14 inches.

Having made the backing I put that to one side and made up one of the cushion covers. I had quilted around some of the logos on the fabric already so I needed to stitch the front and back together. 

Richard is really pleased with the cushion and can't wait for the other 3. I'm hoping to finish another one tomorrow.

This evening I've been doing some more knitting. I'm almost back on track to get this finished on time. I'm linking the post with Judy at Patchwork Times

Back to work tomorrow. I really should have done some work today but stitching was much more fun.


Sunday 1 May 2016

Sunshine and stitching.

Today the weather has been fabulous with lots of sun, which meant our walk this morning with Scamp was very warm and enjoyable. Out of the sun it was a little cold but walking keeps you warm anyway so no problem.

Once home I had cleaning and laundry to do before I could get back to my sewing. I also had a moment of panic as I realised how much work I needed to clear for work..... but I didn't give in to the panic. Instead I got my 2 1/2 inch scrap boxes out and started choosing squares for a new project. I'm planning on taking part in 'another little quilt swap 10' and I wanted to try out a couple of ideas. If my idea works out this will also be my 'Let's book it' project for May. I'll tell you more tomorrow once I've decided exactly what I'm doing.

Yesterday while out walking Scamp I popped into my local fabric / craft store. They are a huge shop that sells lots of fabric of all types from quilting to wool, dress making, bridal and curtaining. There's also knitting yarn, threads, zips, beads, ribbons and a variety of other crafts including cake making. On this occasion I was simply looking for black cotton.fabric for the back of some cushion covers. Richard bought these Star Trek fat quarters ages ago with a view to making cushions for his room. As this is the next room being decorated the time has come to get the project done.

I cut the fabric to size and got stitching. He wanted 20inch cushions so there are some off cuts of fabric to go into the scrap system. I'll show the completed covers when I buy the pillows later in the week.

So for the rest of the day it's slow stitching. This week I'm working on my knitting. I started this pattern for Maria's baby (the same person the baby quilt is going to). I need to do one pattern repeat every week to have it done for when she goes on maternity leave (June 10th) So far I have almost finished two repeats....I'm 3 rows short and there are 7 repeats in total. I think this will take priority over all slow stitching for a while.

I love this pattern as it's so simple to knit but looks so effective. The pattern repeat is 46 rows and the pattern is repeated 7 times so lots of knitting. Once the main piece is done there is a lacy border, but I might not knit that as the holes in the lace are perfect for small fingers to get caught in.

I'm linking this post up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching Kathy asked what is inspiring us this week. The weather and the changes in nature that comes as a result of the warmer weather. You can't help feeling positive as Spring moves on. It awakens my senses and makes me see everything with new eyes. It's such an energetic and happy time of year. I feel the need to clean to make way for the warmer weather, to finish up old projects and start planning new ones. What's inspiring you at the moment?


A busy but fun day.

Saturday at last and the end of a very busy week. It's also a long weekend, Yipee. The weather has decided to be kind today and the sun has been shining. Occassionally a big dark cloud ambles across the sky but so far it hasn't rained. First thing I had to walk round to our vet as we needed more food for Scamp and Picasso plus I wanted to weigh Scamp. When we were on holiday he wasn't well for a couple of days and then was off his food for a few more days. As a result he lost half a kilogram which in a dog that only weighs 4 and a half Kg is quite a lot. I was very happy to find he'd put on some weight but still has a little way to go. 

Next we needed to go shopping as I wanted some things for Sunday lunch. Although the shops are all open on Sunday I try not to shop. Then it was time to walk Scamp. We went to Wandsworth common and I took the baby quilt with me so I could get a picture. The quilt was my goal for April and also my ' Lets book it' project this month again.

Dust Off Those Books

Although it hasn't rained today the ground was quite wet in places so it took a while to find somewhere suitable to take the picture.

I love the fishes fabric. The backing and the binding is the same fabric and the colours of the spots go so well with the main fabrics.

The baby quilt was my goal for April so I'm very pleased it's all finished.

grab button for RedLetterQuilts

Having said the quilt is all finished I do need to make a label for it. I haven't been labelling my quilts, mainly because our printer stopped working but now we have a new one and I can design and print one out. I'll be doing that this evening.

After taking Scamp for a walk I had space to make some blocks. I got behind with the blocks for the Splendid Sampler so I worked on these. I'm making all the blocks from my scraps. I've caught up with 4 of blocks so far and I'll make some more tomorrow. Only one orange block this week.

The colour in the first three is OK but in this last one the outer square is in fact purple!

After finishing those block put my machine away because Lucy arrived home from work. She started a new job on Tuesday and it was interesting to hear how she is getting on. After that there was dinner to cook and later I decided I wanted to do some painting. I have been reading a couple of art blogs during the week and it reminded me how much I like drawing and painting. The truth is I just like any kind of craft. It's such fun to have an idea and to be able to bring it to life.

I'm linking this post with Sharon for April's 'Lets book it' round up, Heidi for One monthly goal, Amanda Jean for Finish it up Friday and So Scrappy for the final Saturday of orange.  I hope you've had some 'me' time today