Sunday 29 September 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching.

At last it's Sunday, I'm taking time to breathe and chill out. This last week has been a little manic at work as most of the new students have started. My new intake starts this coming week so last week was making sure everything was working properly and their two day introduction to the course will go smoothly. 

Although the week has been busy I have fitted in quite a lot of hand stitching as well as working on the machine. Not that it was always fun sewing. I had a pile of mending to do and as always I kept on putting it off but in the end it had to be done. My least favourite job is putting in a new zip and the one that needed changing was in my daughter's leather skirt! I think it's time I taught her to do this herself.

Most evenings this week have found me working on the hexies for the grandmother's garden quilt. I had hoped to have attached 12 of the flowers to the quilt by the end of the month but in the end only managed 5. I do have several more made, ready to attach to the quilt and this is what I will be working on tonight. 

The flowers are very portable and I'll continue to carry them with me so I can stitch during my lunch break. From tomorrow evening I will be picking up my knitting in an effort to get John's jumper finished before the weather gets really cold. This is coming along quite well but is heavy to handle as the body was knitted on a circular needle and I have added the sleeves into the body to carry on knitting up to the neck. I'm not sure I like knitting a jumper this way but this is the way the pattern tells me to do it. Anyway there isn't a lot left to do to complete the jumper and I do like knitting when watching TV.

I'm linking this post with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts Pop over and see what everyone is working on.

The sun has just come out so I'm going to take a walk before getting on with some sewing. There won't be a lot of time for stitching in the next few days and I have several things I want to finish.


September OMG review

It's that time of the month when we link up to show our progress against our monthly goal.  I'm very pleased that this month I have actually achieved my goal. I wanted to turn my butterfly blocks into a quilt top. Here's what I had at the beginning of the month. Well not quite since I had all 17 butterflies and they all had their antennae.

I needed to make 18 nine patch blocks and then stitch them into a top. First I needed to cut some more squares from my scraps. With a bit of stitching here and there I achieved this goal and here is the completed top.

I love the look of this top and all the fabric for the nine patch and the butterflies blocks was from my scraps. This is a baby quilt made from a pattern by Connie Kresin Campbell from Freemotion by the river This quilt doesn't have any borders so the next job is to make the quilt sandwich and get on with the quilting.  When I showed it to my son he told me to add more rows to make it bigger so it can be a cuddle quilt for the cooler evenings. I'm not sure I want to do that but I'll give it some thought since before I can do anything else on the quilt I need to buy wadding.

I also set a goal of finishing the top for my tuffet. This was completed about mid September and I had hoped to have the whole thing completed by now but I need some help with the finishing. Anyway here is the tuffet top. I love the bright colours, they make me very happy.

Having stitched all the sections together you can see the shape to make it fit snuggly over the foam cushion of the tuffet. I also need to make the big central button for the top. I'm hoping to get this finished next weekend when John is free to help me. Before then I need to find our heavy duty staple gun and staples.

I have also managed other sewing activities and gone walking with John as well as getting up to date with work. My new cohort starts on Tuesday and everything is ready for them. 

I'm linking this post with Patty from Elm Street Quilts for September OMG Link party I must visit and see how everyone got on with their goals.


Wednesday 11 September 2019

Sightseeing and shopping

Whilst on our trip to India Lucy and I had time for some sightseeing and a little relaxing shopping. We also took part in a treasure hunt around the city.

There were temples and churches from all different religions.

There was an interesting fort which was a clue in the treasure hunt.

There was a very western shopping mall complete with McDonald's and Pizza Hut.

and lots of smart shops along the main streets

Lucy and I went into one shop that sold jewellery, shawls and other fancy goods. The shawls were displayed on shelves.

The colours and patterns were beautiful. Some had machine embroidery on them, some hooked work or hand embroidery and some the pattern was woven into the shawl or printed on. The hand embroidered obviously cost the most.

We were shown a picture of the Kashmir goats as the more expensive shawls were made with their wool. They look so amazing and cute. 

The shop owner has family in Kashmir and we had an interesting political conversation about the problems currently occurring in Kashmir before we got back to stroking more shawls.

The last one had a particular name for the style which meant patterned all over. This is hand worked and takes over a year to complete. This was reflected in the price 92,000 rupees.  We got an exchange rate of 82 rupees for a British pound.

Lucy bought me a beautiful blue embroidered shawl which I haven't yet taken a photo of. Obviously nowhere near that expensive!

There was a lot of building going on across the city and whilst most used metal scaffolding we still came across the wooden scaffold poles similar to those I saw in Ethiopia.

We also visited a copper worker and saw how the copper was beaten into bowls from the flat sheets. They also worked with other metals.

I've got one last group of photos to show you which are about the community action programme we took part in.


Sunday 8 September 2019

Slow stitching

This week I have spent some time every day slow stitching. I've been working on hexagons for the grandmother's garden quilt. I had made all the middles of the flowers for this round but needed loads of white hexagons to be able to make up the flowers. There are 36 flowers on this round and the flowers need 6 white hexagons per flower meaning 216 in total. I still haven't prepped all of them but I'm getting there. Anyway you can get bored doing too much of the same thing. Well what I mean, I get bored doing the same thing. Today I decided to get on with cutting some more two and a half inch squares for my butterfly quilt.

I still have lots of scraps to cut up but I need to press them first as they've been stuffed into a bag.

This afternoon I decided I would give the hexagons a rest. When we travelled to India I took the rabbit's garden stitchery with me. I got it out and did a little stitching on it once in the two weeks we were away. Since getting home I haven't touched it at all so today I pulled it out and took a quick photo. When I've finished writing this post I'll press it so it's ready to work on later. What a mess, I really have packed it more carefully.

I'm hoping to be able to do a little hand stitching everyday this week. It really is most relaxing particularly after a day at work. I love the cooler weather as I can justify sitting stitching in the evening and watching TV. In the summer there are jobs that need doing in the garden but once it starts getting dark in the early evening those jobs have to wait for the weekend.

What are you working on today? I'm linking this post with Kathy for her Slow Sunday Stitching Why not pop over and see what everyone has been busy working on.


Wednesday 4 September 2019

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet

I'm very happy because I made time to finish the last two sections of my tuffet top. I've had several people comment that they bought the kit to make a tuffet but they haven't managed to make it yet. People have also asked if I could show how the sections are made. So when I started sewing the final sections I took pictures as I went along. Each section of the tuffet needs 8 two inch wide strips by 20 to 21 inches long. I used a Kaffe Fassett jelly roll to make the top. I sorted the strips into sets to begin with, making sure I liked the colour range. The strips of the jelly roll come as 44 inch lengths so I cut the length in half and  was able to make 2 sections from 8 strips. Apart from having to trim the strips to 2 inches the preparation was very easy.  To begin you lay out the 8 strips for the section and number them left to right from 1 to 8 ( or in the case of my photo from bottom to top).

To start the section you work with strip 4 and 5. Strip 4 is the red strip and 5 is the strip above it in the photo. With strip 4 on the bottom you put strip 5 on top with right sides together.

My kit came with fusible foundation which I fused onto muslin.The foundation is printed with the cutting and stitching lines. The foundation is laid on top of strips 4 and 5 and they are aligned with the dotted centre strip placement line (line A). I've put a pin horizontally to show this line. Also you can see the fabric through the foundation piece. When you are happy it's in the right position you pin through the 3 layers  and then stitch along the centre line

Once stitched turn the foundation over so the fabric is on top and press the fabric open.

Next you need your 'add a quarter' ruler. You need to keep the cardboard insert that comes in the packaging to do this next job.

Turn the foundation piece over again so the stitching lines are showing. Taking the card  place it along line B. This will be the next line to be stitched.

Fold the foundation fabric back over the card along the line. You can see the back of one of the strips..

Before I could do the next step I turned my cutting board round to make the cut easier for me since I'm right handed. Next you place the add a quarter ruler over the fold so that the lip of the ruler fits snugly against the fold and thus adds the extra quarter inch. Using a rotary cutter trim the fabric strip from the bottom of the foundation to the shoulder. This is where the foundation piece slopes away. The is also shown on the foundation piece  by a large dot.

Unfold the fabric and re position the card  using the shoulder mark and the top centre mark to align the card. Fold the foundation fabric over the card. Place the add a quarter ruler onto the fold  as in the previous step. Trim with a rotary cutter.

You are now ready to add the next strip. Turn the foundation piece over so the fabric is showing and now match the edges of the piece just trimmed with strip 3. Once happy that the position is right stitch along the stitching line. It is a good idea to alternate the starting point of the sewing, this time sewing bottom to top and next time top to bottom.

After each new strip is added you press the fabric open and repeat the process of trimming the stitched piece before adding the next one. Take care to fold the foundation piece back over the cardboard and then add the quarter inch ruler.This will ensure you cut in the right place and don't damage the strips you've stitched. I found I needed to check the instructions each time I added a new strip when making the first section. After that it all went smoothly except when I got back from holiday and was so sure I could remember what to do but unfortunately I forgot to add the ruler for the quarter inch and had a bit of unpicking to do. I was lucky I didn't damage the foundation piece. From then on I rechecked the instructions each time I worked on it.

These are the final two sections. With all 8 sections now complete I will sew them together either tomorrow evening or at the weekend and then move on to the next step of the process.

My tuffet is now one step nearer completion and soon Little Miss Muffet will be able to come visiting and sit on the tuffet..but only if she promises to leave the spider at home.

Now I'm going to make a cup of tea and watch some TV whilst getting on with my hand stitching.


Tuesday 3 September 2019

Goals for September

For a whole shed load of reasons I haven't joined in with one monthly goal for several months. I won't bore you with the reasons for not joining in, let's just put it down to life becoming very busy. Now here we are in September and I've had very few finishes this year so it seems a great idea to take part this month. I need to finish some projects so I can start a whole load more. 

My main goal this month will be to get the butterfly baby quilt to the point of being a finished top.  All the butterflies are made so now I need to make the other blocks.

All 17 butterflies also have their antennae. The alternate blocks are nine patch and I already have quite a lot of two and a half inch squares. I will need to cut more from my scraps but scraps are a commodity I have in abundance.

I'm also setting myself a couple of extra goals. I want to complete the top of the tuffet and put it all together. I need to finish the final two sections and then go back through the instructions so I fully understand what I have to do next. I don't want anything to go wrong and I'm very excited to get it finished. The colours of the fabric are just so pretty.


I also want to get some more of the white row stitched to my grandmother's garden quilt. I added the first two the other evening.

There are 36 flowers to be added in total on this round. Being realistic on the time I've got available to work on this I'd like to add at least another 12 flowers. 

I'm taking part in the Witchy Stitchy blog hop early in October so I do need to complete my piece. I need some fabric for this so a trip to the quilt shop is needed.

I am also trying to do more blog posts. When you're writing posts regularly it just becomes part of life but this year I got out of the habit. I found I was bringing work home with me and so I had no time to post. Since returning to work following my holiday I've made other staff aware that I will only take work home in exceptional circumstances. I was surprised and impressed that several other staff members felt the same way so there is now a group of about ten of us who are supporting each other to make work fit in the working day and not take over personal time. I've been enjoying hand stitching in the evenings and also writing posts which leaves me feeling relaxed and happy. I know there will be occasions when I have to do some work in the evening but it's not going to become the norm again.

Take care everyone where there are threats from severe weather. Stay safe.

I'm linking this post with the goal setting part at .elmstreet quilts one-monthly-goal-september-link-up.


Sunday 1 September 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching.

Today has been a perfect Sunday. To start with the alarm did not go off. Every weekday the alarm goes off at 6 a.m. and at the weekend it goes off at 7 or 7:30 depending on what we have planned. Today no alarm and I slept until just gone 8 a.m. The temperature last night was cooler and this ensured a good sleep. After breakfast John and I headed to the common with Scamp for a long walk. Scamp had a great time running round , meeting other dogs and enjoying all the interesting sniffs. Back home I had a few chores to do and then I could settle down to some stitching.

A few weeks ago we went to a quilt show at Lullingstone Castle and whilst there I treated myself to a kit to make a small shoulder bag.

The bag is made using hexagons which I love working with. The next problem was to decide the fabric I wanted to use. In searching through my stash I found 5 fat quarters of batiks that would be perfect. I choose the 4 I wanted to use for the outside. The fifth fabric is for the facing on the flap.

As part of the kit you get hexiform pre cut shapes. These are slightly padded and replace the paper used in English paper piecing. The hexiforms are left in the completed work and give it more substance. There are several different shapes to make and the kit has separate hexiforms shape for each.

I cut out all 32 hexagon shapes needed and will make them up before I cut any of the other shapes. I cut 8 from each fabric.

I have also been working on my EPP quilt for Lucy. I decided that this round would be white with the centre being rainbow colours. I cut and prepared all the hexagons needed for the centres and have been sewing these into the flowers. 

I started sewing the hexagon flowers to the quilt. There are 36 flowers in this round.

My plan for the week is to get at least 9 flowers added to the quilt. I'm linking this post with Kathy for her Slow Sunday Stitching  Why not pop over and see what everyone has been working on.


Walking in the rain.

Whilst we were in India  we had a day when we walked up a mountain. Tikona, which is also known as Vitandgad is the dominant hill fort in Maval in western India and at 3580 feet hits mountain status.. It's around 60 km from Pune and so we travelled by mini buses to our destination. The hill is pyramidal in shape and it's name Tikona means triangular.. The day was very wet and we were advised to take a complete change of clothing so we could get dry for the journey back. The journey was at times a little difficult as the monsoons had caused quite a bit of damage to the roads and in some place big pieces had been washed away.

The start of the walk didn't look at all difficult and we set off happily to reach the summit. As we progressed the slope got steeper and the rocks were very slippery. There were also several puddles to slosh through.

Early on there was this covered area where groups sheltered from the rain whilst waiting to meet up.

We saw several of these circular holes along the way. Our guide told us these were ant nests. During the rains the nests are at risk of filling with water or collapsing  and so the ants build this circular spout to help protect their home. Over time they build concentric circles  around the first one.

The view as we climbed would have been amazing if it had been a dry day. The weather never looked as if it would clear all day. There were very short periods when the rain stopped but it soon started again.

At times there were shear drops to one side of the path. This walk wasn't for the faint hearted.

We also switched from one side of the mountain to the other by passing through gaps like this. The result was that a new view was opened up.

At some points the sides sloped gently away with trees growing on them.

Part way up we came across this idol of Veer Maruti cut into the rock and painted. Our guide took some time out to tell us a few legends relating to the god. This gave us time to catch our breath after a steep section of the walk and was also fascinating to listen to

Nearer the top we passed this pond where two enormous catfish swam and behind the pond was a temple. The picture below shows a limestone crusher that was close by the pond. The guide did tell us why the crusher was sited here but I can't remember the reason.

At this point we were getting near to the top but we had to ascend a lot of steep and very slippy stone steps. The going was slow as the rain was heavy and water was cascading down the steps like a mini waterfall.

At the top was a stone fort . The final step into the fort was very high .

The doorway had two large gates. On the way up I didn't really pay much attention to them because my legs were tired from the climb but when we came to descend I took a picture of them. They were very beautiful with this lovely carving.

By carefully crossing a very narrow foot way with a sheer drop on one side we were able to get to the caves where we sheltered from the rain to eat our lunch. This dog had followed us all the way up and made it look easy. Not only was it still raining it was also quite foggy at this point.

 After lunch we climbed the final slope up to the temple  set on the highest point. Here we had group photos. The way down was steep particularly the steps and the water was still making them very slippy. For the steepest steps I sat down and went done on my bum. It meant I was wet through but I had a full change of clothes in the mini bus so it didn't matter. Several of the other adults found it very difficult to manage. The main group got back to the buses in good time but then we had to wait over an hour for the remainder of the group to get down. 

The day was fun but very wet. I'm really glad we did it and I can now claim to have climbed a mountain in the Asian continent as well as Africa and Europe. The journey back to Pune took several hours as the roads had got worse over the day. The girls in our mini bus played pop music over their phones and kept us amused by singing along.

I will share the last bits of our India trip with you in the next few day. There is some more fabric eye candy to see.