Wednesday 22 August 2018

Fabulous Freebies Blog Hop

Oh dear work went a little mental earlier this week and I run out of time to finish my post for the fabulous freebies blog hop. I've always been told that late is better than never so here are some of my projects created from freebie patterns.

Way back when I first started blogging  in 2012 I posted about this little fella that I knitted for a friend's baby It was quick and easy to make and used up some left over yarn from a previous project. So not only was the pattern free from Lion Brand but the materials were free as well.

Although I knitted this 6 years ago it's still a favourite toy of Isabelle's. I also made a quilt for her using a free pattern from the internet. Until this point I had only done English Paper piecing quilts so I'd search for some quilt blocks and decided to make this one as it looked easy. The quilt worked really well but after finishing it I found out how tricky it is to match seams and keep te points nice and sharp..

Around the same time I used the free pattern from Project Linus to knit several preterm baby blankets for donation. In total I made 10 blankets. The pattern is quick and easy to knit, a pattern you can easily follow while watching a TV programme.

One of my favourite freebie patterns came as a quilt along from Melissa at Happy Quilting. Her summer quilt along was for a Tetris quilt and it was such fun to make. My older daughter owns this quilt now.

I made this quilt completely from scraps and it's so bright and cheerful. The fun part with this quilt was that we were given the Tetris shapes and we could choose the colour and fit them into the grid however we wanted.

My last freebies are part of my collection of free gifts that come attached to the cover of magazines. I am the only person in my friendship group who likes to stitch these little patterns so many friends regularly send them to me. They are great for birthday or Christmas cards. 

Freebies are always a winner. Why not go and visit the other people posting today.


Sunday 19 August 2018

Having fun making blocks

Yesterday I decided I needed a sewing day but I didn't want to do anything too taxing so I hit my scraps again. A while back I came across the trip around the world block and decided to make one to see if I liked it.  I like the block so I made two more.

They are a little tedious with the need to unpick the seam (and at the right seam) but I love the effect they produce when put with other blocks. Click here to find out more. I have some pieces left over from jelly rolls and I also have strips from fat quarters that I need to cut to give more variety of colours and patterns. The block is great for perfecting accuracy of matching seams!

I then looked in my 5 inch squares bag. I had several bits left over from charm packs and I just wanted to make simple 9 square blocks.

After the first four I spent a short time in the kitchen. I wanted to make some bread so I set this up first. I used whole wheat flour and mixed grains. Having set the dough to rise I mixed up the ingredients for Scottish oat cakes. John and I love these with cheese and other savoury snacks. They don't look much but are fully of oaty goodness and make a great snack.

With the bread still rising I went back to the machine and made some more 9 patch blocks.

Once the dough was fully risen I put it in the oven and enjoyed the smell that filled the kitchen as it cooked.

I had to waiting for the bread to cool but once it had it was delicious. I had forgotten the pleasure of making bread but now the memory had been activated I will be doing this regularly. I also really love the tiles in my kitchen, they are like mini quilt patterns.

I then went back to my fabrics. I am trying to  use my scraps as they are getting out of hand and I really don't have the storage space. I know I have another box of  5 inch strips but I wasn't sure where I'd put it. I eventually managed to find it and I have a lot of strips to add to the ones I've already stitched together. That will have to wait for another day as I needed to cook dinner.

Today I needed to do some chores and get my head round the fact I'm back at work tomorrow. My slow stitching today is stitching the binding on the baby quilt. I need this to give to my student on Thursday. I don't think I've shown a photo of this quilt since I completed the quilting. I'll show you later in the week.

I'm linking this post with Kathy for her  Slow Sunday Stitching. Pop over and see what everyone has been up to.


Thursday 16 August 2018

Walking near Pulborough

On Tuesday I needed to get on with some marking but not before I added the zip to the tunic top and the neck facings. Today I'll add the sleeves if I get my other jobs finished in time. Yesterday John wanted to go walking. Every year our local church does a walk to raise money for the children's society. As John acts a leader for the walk he wanted to go and check out this years chosen route before the actual walk in September. The members of the congregation who do the walk are not getting any younger and although two other people have checked the route and made sure the instructions are correct John likes to check it out from a 'party management' point of view. I usually go along for company and, since I don't have the stamina I used to following my cancer treatment, to offer my point of view as to the suitability of the route.  With infrequent walkers the ascents and descents need to be considered especially if it takes you a distance from a main road. As a result of hiking my Guides and Brownies we always consider how easy it would be to get medical help if an accident or illness occurs. The weather forecast for yesterday was warm and no rain so it was the perfect day to chose even though I really wanted to get the tunic top finished and spend some more time playing with my scraps boxes.

The walk started and finished at Pulborough station and we decided to travel by train as we could read or I could stitch during the journey. In the end I read in both directions as I'm trying to finish a book I've been reading for ages. Not far from the start of our walk we passed a duck pond.

It smelt fabulous as there was a lot of honeysuckle in flower along the hedge.

and also quite a bit of this plant that I can't remember the name of.

A bit further on we came to the gallops belonging to a local racehorse stables. We had to cross the gallops and there were large notices cautioning you to take care when crossing. It was quiet at the time we were there but it could be a problem when the church do their walk.

In all we crossed 4 different gallops and two of them had jumps on them of differing heights. 

There were a couple of steep descents on the walk. This was the first one but it did have a helpful handrail

It didn't look too steep from the bottom. There were lots of blackberries along the way and once we had eaten our sandwiches we filled the empty box with them. They made a delicious apple and blackberry crumble that we enjoyed last night, and there is still some left for tonight.

In one area there was a narrow path that run between two field fences. The path was very overgrown with ferns, nettles and brambles. John had a been warned about the path and had a pair of secateurs in his bag to deal with the brambles but even with them we had lots of small cuts on our arms. Fortunately we both heal well so no harm done. We also had lots of nettle stings and I found it hard not to scratch them.  We saw a good number of speckled wood butterflies along this part of the route but unfortunately they don't sit still for very long and although I took several photos they were all just a blur of the butterfly.  Along this path there were lots of cow parsley seed heads. As you brushed past it the seeds were dispersed.

Here's a photo of  them when they're still developing..

The elder berries were ripening well. Several years ago I made elder berry wine and it was delicious. I could have gathered enough berries to make some this year but we had a walk to complete.

Having survived the vicious path we continued on more open paths that led us past Sheepwash Farm. Their farm sign was delightful. Now you know why lambs always look so cute and clean!

We passed a group of Hawthorne trees (called May when it is in flower) resplendent with their berries

This group of cows were funny. They had all squashed themselves into this one small corner of the field. There was no fence on the other two sides keeping them penned in and they had a lot of room but they were all together. They were very friendly cows and several enjoyed having their noses stroked by John

At this point we were at the top of a hill so I took some pictures of the views

We stopped in this field and ate our lunch and then picked blackberries. It was warm and very quiet. 

Just as we moved on for the rest of the walk this horse came by at a gallop. The rider bought him back so I could take a picture. He wasn't keen to stand still for long 

From here we headed down through the woods to Stopham. We spotted several Rowan trees with their bright berries. 

In  woods, hidden by other trees we saw this ghost of an old long dead tree.

Stopham is a hamlet and is recorded in the Doomsday book of 1086.  The war memorial looked much older than it was as it has been damaged by the weather.

The oldest part of the church is 11th century Saxon and the rest is 12th century Norman.

The church was open as many rural churches are so we went inside where it was very dark until our eyes got used to the light level. Looking to the right towards the altar it was very dark.

Looking towards the rear of the church light was poring in from the window and gave a much clearer view of the interior. Underneath the red carpet there are very old brasses.

In the porch there was this list of rectors since the church had been built.

You can see that the first rector was Selfidius in 1288. In 1644 - 1661 John Halloner is identified as 'intruder' This was during the Commonwealth period when Oliver Cromwell was in power. Outside in the churchyard there was this amazing old Yew tree

John walking past it gives you an idea of its size. From here we walked down the road to the old Stopham bridge, an ancient monument in its own right. I didn't take a picture of it instead focusing on the two geese who I decided were called Jeremy and Jemina. They are by one of the pillars for the new concrete road bridge.

Having crossed the bridge we stopped at the White Hart pub for a drink before completing the last mile of our walk. Then back home on the train. Once home I decided I needed to soak in a nice bubble bath for a while to help prevent muscle aches. The rest of the evening was very slow and we settled for a short time reading and an early night.

It's a good job we walked yesterday as today we have heavy rain again so the perfect day for some work and some sewing. I also need to send out information about our camp in October to the girls and do a little planning for the new term at guides. I'm hoping John and I will be able to fit another walk in before I go back to work next week. I wish holidays didn't rush past so quickly. By the time I've settled into a holiday it's over and work is waiting for me.

Never mind I'm going to do 2 hours marking and then sewing for the rest of the day.


Tuesday 14 August 2018

Trying to reduce my scraps

Yesterday was a stay at home sort of a day as we had showers predicted on and off all day. The temperature was still nice and warm, so much so that when I did venture out and needed to put my waterproof coat on during a shower I got very over heated. I have lots of work I need to sort for work but I'm on holiday so awarded myself a no work day. That sentence shouldn't even be able to appear when you're on holiday as everyday should be a no work day but in today's work place unfortunately it does. Anyway I awarded myself a no work day and promptly set up my sewing machine on the dining table. I decided to pull out my pre cut scraps boxes. Going back to 2016 I used to be very organised and cut my smaller scraps into usable pieces. I have boxes with 1.5, 2, 2.5 and 3 inch squares. I also have some strip boxes with several differing widths. These were the ones I emptied on the table  and took some time to really mix them up. I then began picking up two random strips and stitching them together. A trip to the kitchen and the ironing board and back to the machine to sew two of the new strips together. This was a fun but mindless sewing activity as I chain pieced them all. Then back to the ironing board with this muddle.

By the time I had pressed all the seams it looked a lot more interesting.

I repeated the process and now have a lot of colourful units. The strips were all the same length but not the same width so the four strip pieces are all different widths depending on what I sewed together. I'm planning on using them to produce a lap quilt similar to this baby quilt I made a while back. Obviously the baby quilt used a charm pack  and was planned whereas this will be a scrappy pattern which will be fun.

After that I need to do some household chore, so I spent some time vacuuming, sweeping and cleaning the floors. I looked on it as my exercise time since google tells me you burn 175 calories an hour vacuuming, 161 calories an hour sweeping and even ironing those seams was using up 157 calories an hour. Mopping floors uses a whopping 314 calories an hour but I only have the kitchen floor to mop but the special cleaner and finisher for the bamboo flooring we have everywhere else downstairs is a bit like a cloth broom so that will also use up calories.  Oh I forgot to mention I'm back to losing weight and getting fitter again but more about that another day.

Now most quilters have a stash of quilting fabrics and goodies and I am no exception but in addition I also have a stash of dressmaking fabrics. I really want to get my stash of all types of fabrics down to more manageable proportions and so in the afternoon I cut out the fabric to make a tunic top using this pattern.

I not making the collar part as I don't particularly like things close round my neck. I'm using this fabric which is a silky type of fabric. The downside of the fabric is that it slips and slithers everywhere when you're trying to work with it.

The colours aren't totally true to life but it's the best photo I could get. I had it all cut out quite quickly and made the bust darts and stitched and finished the side and shoulder seams before I called it a day. I love the rich colours on this fabric and it will look great with my black work trousers.

In the evening I did some very slow stitching on Earlene, certainly not enough to bother taking a photo to show you the progress. Hopefully I'll be stitching some more of her tonight. So that is what I made on my holiday Monday and since this doesn't happen very often I linking this post with Design Wall Monday and Monday Makings

The plan for today is to do a few hours for work and then get back to my sewing. I want to get the top finished but I also want to do some more scrap busting. I'm really enjoying being back sewing again and must put a lot more effort into including some sort of sewing into my daily routine. It really is so relaxing.

The sun is currently shining and there is no rain predicted for a couple of hours so before I do some work I must take Scamp out for his walk. 


Sunday 12 August 2018

Oophs where did the last 3 weeks go!

Well how did that happen? One day it was July 23rd and the next August 11th. The last 3 weeks have been a bit of a blur. Work got ridiculously busy and involved a lot of writing. By the time I got home from work the last thing I wanted to do was more writing. On the home front it wasn't so busy but I was generally feeling jaded and tired with no energy for anything, not even stitching. I wasn't unwell just seriously suffering with the heat. We aren't really set up for temperatures over 30 degrees in the UK. Work is fine as it has air con but our house is an old Victorian building, and just opening the windows didn't help as there was no breeze to cool the air. I seem to have spent quite a lot of time napping recently as a result. Prior to the really hot temperatures it had been hot for several weeks with no rain (most unusual in the UK). Now the heatwave has broken and yesterday we had the most amazing downpour. I was driving and the rain very soon created large puddles and rivulets down the streets. The plants in the garden heaved a sigh of relief and guzzled up the rain. I had feared I would lose most of the plants but they have perked up and look very refreshed. I'm feeling the same and spent time this morning sorting out my sewing projects.It doesn't take long to forget where I'd got to with them.

Before work got busy and I wilted I'd started a post about the rest of our trip to Bath. Here's what I'd written. You can read the first bit of our trip Here

Saturday afternoon, after a tasty lunch at the American museum, we headed into Bath. I wanted to visit the  'A celebration of Flowers' exhibition at the Victoria Gallery. A celebration of flowers by Kaffe Fassett with Candace Bahouth. If you want to see a picture of the exhibition you can click Here No photography was allowed in the exhibition at the request of the artists. The quilts were very bright and cheerful but there were only a couple that I really liked. This was one of them and was called Seed Packets.

Image result for kaffe fassett quilts

The colours and patterns work well in this quilt but with many of the quilts I felt that there were problems with colour placement which I found jarring. Obviously this is a personal view but it was interesting that both John and I had been really looking forward to the exhibition but we didn't enjoy it as much as we expected. That didn't stop me having a good look round and picking up some inspiration and ideas as I did so. 

After the exhibition we had a wander around Bath and visited our favourite bookshop, Mr B's. Lucy had asked us to order a couple of books for her and we ended up having a delightful and lengthy chat with one of the staff members about books and different writing styles.

As we walked through the city centre we passed this man with his sand sculpture

We also passed a couple of Owls.

The owls of Bath trail has 82 owls located around the city and outlying area.The interactive sculpture trail celebrates the Roman heritage of Bath and raise funds for four local charities. If you want to see more of the owls click Here . We left Bath and headed out to our hotel The Holcombe Inn

We checked out our room, which was very comfortable and headed downstairs to enjoy a cream tea in the garden.

I'm never quite sure why hotels put so many pillows on the bed but they were great for support for the ideal stitching position for my embroidery after dinner. After our delicious cream tea we needed a short nap to refresh and recharge our batteries before dinner. The bed was very comfortable and we slept longer than we meant to but it had been a busy day. We sat in the garden and chatted and I did some stitching until dinner.

After a good nights sleep we enjoyed a tasty breakfast before heading to my favourite quilt shop, Midsomer Quilting. I needed some thread and they sell King Tut which works well in my machine. I also wanted some fat quarters for my hexie grandmother's garden quilt. They always have quilts on display. I love these fishes.

John spent time trying to work out how this one was stitched together A member of staff explained partial seams to him while I browsed the fabrics.

I also love this tree quilt

I also love the movement created by the placement of the colours in these quilts.

Once I'd made my purchases we headed to Ham Walls on the Somerset levels to do some bird watching. We'd never been there before and our visit was to find out what facilities there were if any and what birds were regularly seen there. We had a lovely walk around the reserve and saw some little egrets. great egrets and a bitten. We spoke to the volunteers who were manning the small reception area and we will be visiting again later in the year. We headed home having enjoyed our break.

As I mentioned earlier I have been working on my hand stitching. I have mainly been working on Constance and Earlene. They are both nearly complete.

I have been trying to spend at least 30 minutes stitching a day. I have a lot of hand stitching on the go at the moment, my grandmother's garden hexie quilt, sewing badges onto my camp blanket, binding a baby quilt and I want to get on with the rabbit I'm making. I'm currently on holiday so I'm hoping to move some of my projects on this week.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching. Why not go and see what everyone has been working on.