Thursday 31 October 2019

October goal complete

It's that time of the month when we look back at our achievements. October, at the beginning of the month, appeared to be a great month for sewing, with ample time to fit all the work in and still enjoy my hobbies. Even though the month seemed to have promise of lots of free time I kept my goal for the month simple. John and I have a tendency to make snap decisions to head out on short breaks or go for long hikes and that plays havoc with achieving goals. This month we have had a great time socially with a barn dance, a visit to Merton priory, the stitching and knitting exhibition, a short break in Lancashire, and finally, walking in Suffolk last weekend

My goal for October was to knit up to the start of the yolk. Here's my starting photo.

On the 15th October I posted a picture to show my progress having reached the yoke.

I have more than completed my goal having reached the point where I need to knit the collar.

This evening I'm going to start knitting the collar and spend some time deciding on my November goals. This is another busy month but I should have more time for sewing. I pulled out the Christmas quilt I'm making and that may well be my goal but I've got a couple of other things I'd like to complete

I'm linking this post with OMG October linkup party at Elm Street Quilts.  I'm looking forward to reading what everyone has completed this month. The link parties always give me a lot of inspiration.

Bye for now, knitting and a cup of tea is calling.


Wednesday 30 October 2019

A visit to the coast

Whilst on our short break John and I visited Blackpool. Our plan was to stay into the evening to see the famous Blackpool illuminations, something neither of us have ever seen. When we arrived the town was quiet so as we wandered out onto the beach we had it pretty much to ourselves. Blackpool has three piers and we started our exploration at centre pier. The beach is sandy and flat and seems to go along the coast for ever. The donkeys had just arrived on the beach and later in the day children were squealing with delight as they enjoyed a ride.

We headed towards north pier first, dodging around the water. The sand gets moved around by the tide and puddles are created of varying depths and later when the tide comes in it can be quite dangerous.

We walked under north pier to carry on along the beach. At one point there was just us and our shadow selves on the beach. The sun was very warm and we were walking without coats.

There was a lot of bird life on the beach, obviously various types of gulls but also Oyster Catchers, Redshanks and Turnstones. We spent quite a time watching them. Looking back we could see north pier and Blackpool Tower in the distance. A whole beach to ourselves. Bliss

We walked back along the promenade past all the tableau's that would be lit up later in the evening. We passed several fishermen setting up their rods ready for some sea fishing as the tide came in. 

We thought about going up Blackpool tower but in the end we left it. It was all about the Blackpool experience with lots of different things on offer at quite a steep price. We didn't want any of the experiences just to get to the top of the tower. Come on make things simple for visitors!

Having got back to central pier we had a late lunch and then walked down to south pier passing arcades and other attractions. We ignored all of them and enjoyed the walk and the sea views. The light was amazing but difficult to capture on camera. Later we had a wander around the town, returning to the beach to enjoy our fish and chips in the last of the day's sun. We decided we'd leave Blackpool before the illuminations were turned on. Our decision was based on the number of people who had arrived and the fact that the traffic had become very heavy. It had been a fun day and I have now visited Blackpool. Dare I say it is a typical British seaside town, just a lot bigger than most, but it felt as if it is stuck in a time warp.

On our final day of our trip we stayed close to our base. I'll tell you about that another day. Today I need to go hunting in my sewing cupboard. When I took the photo of the little Christmas mat Sherry had sent me I remembered I'd started a Christmas quilt but I have no memory of where I've put it. Some days I worry about my memory as it certainly isn't as good as it used to be. My family assure me I have nothing to worry about as I remember all the important things. I think I have too many projects on the go and that means things do get forgotten in the clutter. 

I know I'd made all the nine patches and had all the fabric cut.

I'd also made a lot of the friendship stars, and obviously enjoyed a glass of wine while making them.

Today I'm not working so my job for the day is to find this project bag , check what needs doing and maybe set getting it finished as my November goal. I also need to knit the last few rows to finish my October goal.

Before I do that I must take Scamp for a walk and then he will settle down for a nap while I do some sewing.


Tuesday 29 October 2019

An exciting package

The last week has been such fun. Last week I was enjoying a short break in the north west with John and I still have to share the rest of our adventures with you. At the weekend John, Lucy and I were walking in Suffolk and then today I received an exciting package from Sherry in America.

As those of you who have been following my blog for a while know, in 2017 I was treated for breast cancer. As part of that treatment I had a mastectomy and since then I have been using a breast prosthesis. The prosthesis is OK but particularly when it's hot the skin underneath it can get a little sore.  A little while back I received an email from Sherry who asked if I would mind if she knitted a prosthesis for me. She assured me it would feel really comfortable and of course I said yes. Sherry, thank you, it feels amazing, so comfortable and I love it.  I'm not posting a photo of the prosthesis as you never know who may be popping in to visit, and I don't want to encourage any unwanted followers! 

Along with the prosthesis, this gorgeous collection of fat quarters was snuggling in the box all tied up with the tape measure tape.

I love the colours and patterns and I have a project in the planning stage where they will be used. 

That wasn't all that came in my package, how about these cute little quilted mats. The machine reminds me of my mothers old black and gold singer. I love the embroidery on this mat. This one is going to be used when I'm sewing.

This one caused a laugh from my family as it's so appropriate for me. I never stop talking about my love of tea. Sorry all you coffee lovers but it does nothing for me, I'll take a cup of tea any day.

This one is so pretty and the stitching is beautiful. The tree decorations are tiny beads and the house looks just like a little gingerbread house. I should have taken a photo of the backing fabric as it has ginger bread men on it.

This final one reminds me of a typical British summer with the weather completely unable to make up it's mind. Puddles, wind and blue sky. On this one the backing fabric has wellies on it.

I'll tell you about the rest of my short break tomorrow and update you on my October goal. Talking of October where did it go? It seems to have whizzed by and Christmas will be here far too quickly. I have projects I must get made for Christmas so I need to get a wriggle on. Help I need a few extra hours in the day.


Monday 21 October 2019

A short break in the North West

On Friday afternoon, as soon as John and I had finished work we set off for a few days away. Our destination was 250 miles away and whilst that isn't too long a journey when going on holiday, it is after a long day at work. We stopped short of our destination and spent the night at a hotel. Refreshed we set off the next day bright and early. We arrived at Crosby beach at around 10 a.m. . We were here to see the Gormley installation 'Another Place'.

Spread across the 2 mile beach there are 100 cast iron figures. With the naked eye you could see many of the figures but when you tried to take a photo, the camera didn't pick them up clearly so I took pictures of individual figures. 

The installation was amazing but also had a spooky feel or was that due to it being October and therefore Halloween month. 

From Crosby we travelled to Martin Mere. Martin Mere is a mere near Burscough, in Lancashire, situated on the West Lancashire Coastal Plain. The mere is a vast marsh, and was, until it was drained, the largest body of fresh water in England. It is now a wetland centre. We  arrived at lunch time and so headed for the restaurant. After a delicious lunch we set out to explore the centre and do some bird watching. There are two areas of the reserve, one side has birds that are exhibition or captive and the other side the birds come and go at will. We had a quick walk around the exhibition side and came across the pink flamingos.

I liked the magpie goose.

This one is a Southern Screamer Goose.

These two wooden bears were getting a lot of attention from the numerous children visiting the site

We had a wonderful afternoon. The site is quite big so we had a good walk and spent time watching birds. We saw several species of birds in large numbers that we usually only see in ones and twos. We also watched some children learning how to fly a broom stick, it certainly looked like fun.

We drove to the outskirts of Clitheroe, to the cottage we had rented for 4 nights. We picked up food from the store on the way. We cooked dinner and then settled down for a quiet evening. I have my knitting with me and I managed to knit several rows. 

This short break is about the two of us doing things that we both enjoy so on Sunday we planned in a walk up Pendle Hill. The hill is famous for it links to the Pendle witches. You can read more about the history HERE

The walk was quite strenuous with the summit being 557 metres above sea level. The route took us past two reservoirs. This was the Lower Ogden reservoir.

This was the run off from the upper reservoir. We still had to climb up the slope to get to the top.

Early on the path was nice and flat but as we progressed it became boggy and quite steep.

As we climbed higher the scenery spread out before us. I love the autumnal (fall) colours

Whichever way you looked the scenery was similar and spectacular. I love these wide open spaces.

 I didn't take a picture at the top because the wind was too fierce but this was the view as we descended into the valley.

I always find the descent harder work than the climb. There was a path down but the surface was very rough and the steps were quite deep.

Once back in the village we had a drink at the pub before heading back to our cottage for dinner. I did some more knitting during the evening, at this rate I have this jumper finished by the end of the month. The day was another perfect day.


Tuesday 15 October 2019

A little shopping.

On my trip to the Stitching and Knitting show not only did I enjoy the exhibits, I also enjoyed the shopping. I didn't buy very much as John and I will be visiting my favourite quilt shop in early December and I have plans to buy fabric for a quilt. Katy and I stopped to look at Christmas decorations made with beading. Katy loved a small bauble decorated as a Christmas pudding whilst I chose a larger one with Father Christmas on it. Please excuse the reflection on these photos but I didn't want to take it out of the packaging until I'm ready to start work on it.

I've not done any beading before but how difficult can it be? I bought a couple of cute advent cards. The people who will be receiving them don't read my blog so it's safe to post them here.

This reminds me of past Christmases when I was a child. A fire in the grate and the dog lying in front of the fire, presents under the tree. Central Heating just doesn't give you the same effect.

Father Christmas is always a winner, whatever your age.

We'd almost finished checking out all the shopping when we came to a stand selling patterns for knitted elf slippers. We couldn't resist them as a joke present for someone special. You can see the picture on the pattern and this is the yarn I will be using. They shouldn't take very long to knit up.

It's a good job I'm in the mood for knitting at present as I've been busily working on John's jumper. We also bought some twine for making a macrame plant holder. I love the colour.

Katy has never tried macrame and was really keen to have a go. It's been years since i did any but we do some knotting at Guides to make bracelets.

Whilst on a theme of Christmas I remembered that I was given this book last year. There are a couple of ideas that I might try if I have some spare time. No I'm going to be positive. There are some ideas I will be making next month.

I've been beavering away at John's jumper over the weekend and I'm now up as far as the yoke. I've even started the cable pattern for the yoke.

You can see on the pattern how much I have left to do.

I am hoping to finish the jumper this month. As it's knitted in one piece there are still a lot of stitches. I'm managing to knit about 8 to 10 rows in an evening before my fingers and arms get tired.

Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time rearranging my sewing cupboard and sorting out my stash. The boxes are now all labelled so I can find the fabrics I want. In addition I ironed some of my scraps and tomorrow I will start the job of cutting them into useful sizes. I still need a lots of two and a half inch squares so that will be my main focus.


Sunday 13 October 2019

A fun day with slow stitching

Today I had such a fun day with my daughter Kathryn. Every year there is a big Stitching and Knitting exhibition at Alexander Palace in north London and  I usually go. Some years in the past I went with my mom, some years John comes with me or I meet a friend but this year Katy and I met up for some mother and daughter time at the show. It was a very happy, fun filled day. We walked round all the exhibits and the shopping. We fitted in a delicious lunch, a giggly glass of prosecco and afternoon tea and cake.

I forgot to take my camera with me so I was dependant on my phone for photos but fortunately it has a great camera. We started with some of the exhibits. I like this one,

We spent a long time looking at the work at the Embroidery Guild stand. I could have taken so many photos but decided to pick my favourites.

I loved this one called Bee's nest. The camera doesn't do it justice as you lose the effect of the layers.

I couldn't find the card for the artist's name for this one.I love the owl in the centre and it took a while to fully realise that the background was felted.

This one was slightly more traditional embroidery but still used lots of different techniques. The artist's name is below.

Later we were fascinated by this piece of lace. If you look in the bottom left corner you can see the information card about the lace, which gives the scale. This is a large piece. The lace is made using twisted paper and bobbins made from dowel.

I haven't done any lace making for ages and couldn't make any at the moment as I have no supplies. I visited the stand for my favourite lace shop that happened to be at the show and picked up their catalogue for future reference.

In the entrance hall there were these life rafts. They were all different.

The covers are all knitted. It made a fun walkway into the show. I had to take these pictures on the way out as earlier in the day the crowds had been overwhelming.

Katy and I also enjoyed a little shopping but I'll tell you about that in another post. As today is Sunday I need to enjoy a little more slow stitching before bedtime. I've several projects on the go but having gone to the show and seen loads of Christmas stitching this evening I am working on my Christmas cross stitch.

This is where I left it last year and below is the photo of what it will look like when it's finished.

I'm linking this post with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching Pop over and see what slow stitching everyone has been working on. Kathy has also shared the slow stitching retreat day. It looks like such a fun day. For now I need to get back to stitching.