Wednesday 29 May 2019

Fitting in some sewing.

In the last few days I have managed to fit in some sewing and sewing prep whilst catching up on household chores and gardening. Last weekend was a bank holiday weekend in the UK. May is a great month for extra holiday time with two bank holidays, one early in the month and the second at the end. 

On Monday, having finished all the chores, I went hunting through my fabric stash and patterns. I found this blouse pattern and picked this fabric, which is 100% cotton. 

I cut the pattern pieces out and set up the darts ready for stitching on the machine. I needed to buy some lightweight iron on interfacing for use in the facings. The fabric shop was closed on Monday due to the bank holiday but on Tuesday I was able to buy the interfacing and the muslin I needed for the foundation pieces to make the tuffet.

This evening I set up the ironing board and followed the instructions in my tuffet pattern to prepare the foundation pieces.

It took a little time to get the iron to the right temperature to do the job. Once the fusible interfacing tuffet panels had been ironed onto the muslin I cut the individual sections apart.

The instructions tell you to prepare all the 8 panels but I only did 4. The panels are in my project box ready to start the sewing process. That will have to wait as this weekend I am away in Suffolk with John and Lucy. I've earmarked the following weekend to start the sewing.

Whilst hunting through my pattern box I found two bag ladies. I had convinced myself that I had finished all 12 of the girls but I had only completed 10. I had started work on Charlotte before I put her away but I haven't got very far. I'm going to take Charlotte with me this weekend as I will have some hand stitching time in the evenings. 

I haven't started work on Thelma at all. She will have to wait for her turn. 

Not a lot of progress with sewing over the weekend but at least the projects are moving forward. I'm trying to spend a minimum of 15 minutes each day on stitching or preparing a project. This weekend I'm also going to read the instructions carefully on the foundation piecing. I've not done it before so I need to be very sure how it goes together.

I told you about our trip to Exeter and the Cathedral. In my next post I'll share some photos of Dartmoor and tell you about our walk. We really enjoyed our day walking.


Tuesday 28 May 2019

Out and about near Exeter

Over the last few weeks John and I have had several short trips and I haven't shared them with you. The most recent trip was to Devon when we were able to take 3 days away. John booked an hotel just outside Exeter and this proved to be a very comfortable base for our trip. We travelled after work on the Thursday arriving at about 8:30 p.m. . This gave us time to enjoy dinner and a drink before retiring to our room. 

One of the reasons we had chosen Devon was because we wanted to do some walking on Dartmoor and our plan was to walk on the Friday. In the event we moved this to the Saturday because the weather forecast for Friday was predicting rain and neither of us fancied being caught out on Dartmoor if the weather deteriorated. Instead we headed into Exeter. Having negotiated our way into a car park in the centre of town we found a cafe for coffee so we could agree the plan for the day. We wanted to see the cathedral and we had heard about the underground passages and wanted to check these out. After coffee we went and booked our tickets for the passages before going for a walk around the city.

As we passed a route into the shopping centre this fun display of umbrellas caught our eye. There were also several streets with similar displays.

We wanted to follow some of the old city walls and when we found them we can across this memorial. On May 4th 1942 Exeter was bombed by the German air force. It became known as the Exeter blitz and you can Go here to see the photos of the area and Here to read why it was targeted.

We also found an Exeter blue plaque to Violet and Irene Vanburgh. The sister were British actresses and you can read about them Here

As we walked we came across information boards that told us about the city walls.and gave an indication of what the city had looked like.

It was fun just walking and enjoying the sunshine whilst getting an overview of the city. We had to cut this short as we had tickets for the passages at a set time. 

The medieval passages were designed to bring clean drinking water from natural springs outside the walled city, through lead pipes into the heart of the city. The pipes sometimes leaked and had to be repaired which meant digging them up. This was costly when they burst on someone else's land. To avoid this, vaulted passages were built and the lead pipes were laid on the floor.  When repairs were needed it was easy to access the pipes. Some of the vaulted passageways are now open to the public.

The passages were narrow and had quite low ceilings, especially low in places.

There was lighting in the passages thank goodness and they didn't feel too confining. Every so often we stopped to hear the guide explain the history and point out interesting things. 

You didn't get to walk down this particular side passages but it was well lit and ferns were flourishing on the walls.

I didn't think I would like the experience as I hate confined spaces and this was dark, small and underground. However it was a very interesting visit. The hard hat really helped as I hit my head on the roof several times.

After that we decided it was lunch time and so we headed for the Cathedral cafe. We had been told they did very tasty food at very reasonable prices. We both enjoyed a filling salad which set us up for the afternoon. Feed and watered we set out to tour the Cathedral. The Cathedral has two towers, one on each side but the one on the left of the picture is more prominent.

The Cathedral' which is Anglican' was founded in 1050 and construction started on the present site in 1114. I took this photo of the figures on the front. These were to the left and above the central door in the first photo.

As the Easter session hadn't finished they still had their Easter garden .

With my back to the Easter garden I looked down the length of the Cathedral

The vaulted ceiling was amazing. I loved the bosses at each of the joins.

The flower fairies had also created some beautiful flower arrangements for the Easter period..

There was quite a lot of ecclesiastical fabric work around the Cathedral. This tapestry seat cover for example.

or this altar frontal,

or there was this Tapestry

As with all churches there were several banners. This one Mother and Child

and this the banner for the Mothers Union.

The clock was very interesting.

The clock dates from 1484 and the large dial is a working model of the solar system as was then understood. The fixed golden ball at the centre represents the earth.The black disc decorated with the fleur-de-lys represents the sun and goes round the dial once every 24 hours pointing outward to the time.

As always I enjoyed looking at the floor tiles as these are a great design source.

The canopy for the Bishop's Throne was massive. I had to stand quite a way back to fit this in the picture.

I loved this statue of a mother and child.

The driftwood cross was also very special.

Finally I took this picture . I found this particularly poignant  as many Polish families living in Britain feel they are no longer wanted  due to Brexit

We really enjoyed our visit to the Cathedral. By this point we were tired so decided we needed afternoon tea while we gathered our energy for an evening visit elsewhere.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you want to find out more about Exeter Cathedral please go Here

Now I need to run a couple of errands i.e. I need some muslin for the foundation piecing and some iron on interfacing for the shirt I'm making.


Sunday 26 May 2019

Making butterflys

Last week I decided I needed to get work back under control, after all I'm only paid to do 4 days work i.e. 30 hours. Recently it has regularly exceeded that time. All week I tried to make sure that I got home at a reasonable time so I had time to relax before cooking dinner and I had time for some sewing. For the baby quilt I'm making I needed 17 butterfly blocks. I'd already made 5 and over the week I completed 7 more.

Yesterday I made the final 5 and added their antennae using fabric pens.

Completing the butterfly blocks was my monthly goal for May. Having finished them I'm having a little celebration. Now I need to make 18 9 patch blocks!

Yesterday I also needed to do some housework and a mountain of laundry and so this was the sum of my sewing. John and I also had some errands to run. We are about to decorate our bedroom and so we needed paint and some patching plaster to fill the holes where we'd moved a radiator. We also stopped in at the garden centre where I bought a new clematis to replace the one that got damaged by foxes.

I might not have done any more sewing yesterday but I did pull out the instructions for the tuffet. The instructions come in a booklet with quite a lot of writing and some pictures. Here's page 1 

Before starting the top for the tuffet I needed to read all the instructions. I might never have bought it if I'd realised the instructions were in small print and quite densely written. I spent the evening reading them and got my head round what I needed to do. There is quite a bit of prep before I can start stitching plus I need to buy some muslin for the foundation piecing and the shop isn't open until Tuesday. However I pulled out my jelly roll and started sorting the strips.

I started by sorting them into colour groups. This morning I trimmed the strips. They needed to be 2 inches by 20 - 21 inches and I needed 64 strips. This meant I got 2 pieces from each strip of jelly roll. Cutting half an inch off each strip took time but in the end they were all done. To start with I kept them in their colour groups.

Then I put them into 8 groups with one strip from each colour group. The top is stitched in 8 sections and i want consistency of the colour pattern. 

Finally I labelled the groups A to D. I had two sets with identical fabric in each letter group. As soon as I get the muslin I'm ready to start sewing. That's rather daunting as I haven't done foundation piecing before but if I take it slowly I'm sure it will all work out well and I'll have learnt a new technique.

The weather in London is very warm but it keeps on trying to rain. Rain would be good as it's been some time since we had anything very much. The garden is looking quite dry. When it's very hot we haven't been taking Scamp out for a long walk as he needs to be clipped. His coat is long and curly so he gets very hot. Today since there was a chance of rain we took him for his favourite walk. He's one happy dog and is now curled up asleep reliving all the running he did on the common. 

Today is slow stitching Sunday but I can't continue work on my Bunny garden as I've left it at work. A group of us try to go to the park to eat lunch during the summer and I decided I could fit in some hand stitching while we talked. I was in a hurry to leave work at the end of last week and left my stitching on my desk. That means I need to pick some hand stitching to work on today. I think this is going to be my millennium sampler. Last time I picked this up I was working on the border but I didn't complete it. We have a couple of programmes recorded to watch this evening so I should get some stitching done.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching Why not pop over and see what everyone is working on. This is as far as I got last time I stitched on this project. I did put a few more stitches in but had to take them out again as I used the wrong thread colour. Hopefully this evening I'll manage to get the right thread.

I'm linking this post with Elm Street Quilts for May One Monthly Goal Link up

Tomorrow is a bank holiday so no work. Yipee!  I'm not sure what I'll be doing tomorrow but I will fit in some sewing.


Sunday 19 May 2019

A finish and a fun purchase

I've spent the week trying to catch up at work. Not always easy when a ridiculous number of emails fall into your in box and they all need you to do something or as happened this week I didn't get the email and so didn't know I needed to do anything. I wish I was that email wandering happily somewhere in the ether doing my own thing!  However it's not all been about work the last two weeks. 

Have you seen a Tuffet? A tuffet as well as being a clump or tuft of something e.g. grass can also be a footstool or a low stool. From the first time I saw one in my quilting magazine I have wanted to make one so I visited a favourite quilt shop 'The Quilt Room'  which used to be in Dorking but has moved to Beare Green.  Here I purchased the kit to make my tuffet. To make the cover for it you need the pattern,

To make the top I'm using this Kaffe Fasset jelly roll. I need to decide which strips I'm using and cut them to 2 inches wide. I didn't want to open the jelly roll before I was ready to start the cutting, which will be next weekend.

I read through the instructions and decided I was mad to try this but staying calm and doing it a little at a time will work. The reason for my panic is that it's a foundation pieced pattern and I haven't really done that before. The instructions are very well written so working through one instruction at a time should result in a very pretty tuffet.

The rest of the tuffet i.e. the base and the foam etc comes as part of the kit. The legs you attach yourself when it's all finished. I opted for light wood legs as all our flooring is bamboo and a light colour and the wooden furniture is pine which has over the years taken on a lovely golden colour.

Whilst we were in the shop John bought me this lovely pack of 6 fat quarters. I love the colours. I can't remember the designer or the name of the fabric line.

Over the last week I finally stitched the binding down on my little quilt.  It feels good to have a finish.

Today being Sunday I'm looking at my hand stitching. I've got a lot to work on and too much choice really isn't good for me as I can't make up my mind what to do. I then spend so long trying to decide that I waste my sewing time. No need to make a choice this week. I've added a few more stitches to the Bunny Garden and so I will continue working on this. I should be able to finish the row of mini flowers tonight including the yellow french knots in their centres .

Over the last few weeks we have been on several visits and outing. Several weeks back I made up my mind that weekends were for family, not for doing any work for work and I've been quite good at sticking to it. Since John and I aren't doing work related activities it has given us time for walking and visiting. I have a load of photos to show you but I will put them in separate posts.

For now I have an urge to make some muffins so I'm heading to the kitchen. I'm linking this post with Kathy  from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching  Do pop over to see what everyone has been up to this week.