Sunday 30 August 2020

Slow Sunday stitching.

Today I needed to do a few chores which included baking some bread. Back in March when the UK went into lock down it was very hard to buy bread but I had a good supply of bread flour and so I started to bake bread on a regular basis. I find the whole process very soothing. The kneading also gives my right arm a good work out.  As well as baking bread I made a lemon meringue pie and some little tarts. The smell of the bread baking was so good. Once I finished the chores John and I went for our daily walk. Today we just did several circuits of the cemetery.  We have walked many times in the cemetery since March and every time we spot something different. Today I noticed the leaves are starting to change colour and the horse chestnut trees have began to drop their conkers. The weather is much cooler but very pleasant for walking. There were a few other people out walking but generally it was very quiet.

Once home I decided to do some lace making. There were some bobbins that still had thread wound on them. These were left over from a class I taught a few years back. The thread is DMC perle cotton size 12. I tend to use this when teaching someone how to make bobbin lace for the first time. Being thicker it is easier to wind onto the bobbins and for the learner to handle. I also had some of the patterns I used for the class so I soon had it all set up and ready to go.  This pattern and the thicker spreads can produce beautiful bookmarks. When I took this photo I'd just finished a row and forgot to push my bobbins back into the neutral position.

Last night I had spent some time going through my lace patterns and the one I particularly wanted to make was damaged. I'd spilt something over it and part of the pattern was obliterated. Fortunately I knew where I bought the pattern and so a quick visit to the online shop and a new copy of the pattern will be with me by next weekend. The pattern takes over 60 pairs of bobbins and the thread to be used is quite fine  so I will be winding the bobbins over the week and will be ready to start when the pattern arrives.

This evening I will be working on the millennium sampler and trying to finish the William Shakespeare square. I completed a little more of this section but progress has been slow.

Tomorrow is a bank holiday so I don't have work which is great. Scamp would like a long walk so I'm hoping the weather is good. I need to do some tidying tomorrow as work papers seem to have been multiplying and I have fabric that needs to be put away properly. Auditioning fabric always creates a bit of a mess. After that I will have time for sewing. I have a couple of things I want to work on.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching While drinking my first cup of tea tomorrow I will be finding out what everyone has been working on.


Saturday 29 August 2020

Getting back together with an old friend.

I expect you're all waiting to hear about a met up I had with a friend I haven't seen for ages? Well you would be right ... but wrong. The old friend I've been getting back together with is my lace pillow and lace making supplies. I haven't done any lace making for several years now and my cushions have been languishing in our loft.  For several months I have been felling the need to make some lace. Maybe it was lock down that set me off. I found lock down enjoyable in a way because it took away the need to go visiting other folks. I like staying home and I enjoy the company of my family, including the furry ones. However everything seemed to be changing and doing so at a rate of knots. Working from home took a while to get used to but work also asked us to make huge changes in a short space of time. I found I needed something to stop my brain running away with itself, something that I needed to give my full attention to. My millennium sampler provided that, with all the fractional stitches but I didn't want to work on it all the time. I started to consider the other crafts I enjoy and finally lace making popped into my head. Whilst lace making is fairly easy once you get going it also requires concentration and that's what I need at the moment. Something that requires my full attention.

John went up in to the loft and retrieved my lace pillows. I have several and he wasn't sure what I wanted so bought them all down. I have a box one, here it is with its bag opened. The sections in the middle can be moved as the lace grows.

I made the lace bag myself years ago and it's still going strong.

I also have a smaller travel pillow. This one has a wheel so I can make lace tape. As the lace grows you just move the wheel round. It also comes with a box cushion like the last one. This pillow is much smaller and is useful when going on holiday and I want to take some craft work with me.

I have 3 lace books that I've had for years. I looked through these books and watched a few YouTube videos just to remind myself how lace making is done. It turn out that it's like riding a bicycle, you don't forget how to do it but the memory is a bit rusty.

My supply box was well stocked. Pins and threads on the top,

and underneath my bobbins. These were in a complete mess. Some still had threads attached but I didn't know what thickness they were or if I had enough for a pattern. I took the threads off and put it onto spools and I paired up the bobbins.

I have a lot of painted bobbins and many have sayings on. This set is about the wise old owl.

These one are hardwood bobbins with the black ones being made of ebony.

These two are made of mixed wood and have a fun owl and squirrel on the spangle.

I have several commemorative bobbins. The red one was to commemorate the Queen's 60th year on the throne and the blue on was for the Queen Mother's 101 birthday.

This last set has cats on them and comments that they will sleep anywhere.

Later I will wind the bobbins to prep them for a pattern. Tonight I want to work on the millennium sampler but tomorrow I will start making some lace. I'm rather excited to be getting back to lace making but don't worry it won't take over. I can't make lace at night because it makes my eyes very tired. For now I need to pull the fabrics I nwant to use for my Fall blog hop project. I know exactly what I'm making and I have all the fabric I need but it's just making the final choices.

Take care


Friday 28 August 2020

OMG for August completed.

 August seems to have rushed by and once again it's time to look back at my monthly goals to see how well I got on.

August finish link-up is open!

My goal for the month was to quilt my rainbow batik quilt and if possible add the binding. I managed that goal with a few days to spare. This quilt started during lock down. Normally I have a subscription box each month. It's fun to open the box and see what quilty goodies are inside. The quilt shop I get my box from stopped all subscriptions when the UK went into lock down. In late May they were able to have a few staff in the building and so put out fabric boxes. I needed something to cheer myself up at this point and I was very happy when this box arrived.

The box also included the pattern.

This morning I finished stitching the binding to the back and checking that all the ends had been dealt with. I am really pleased with this finish and the quilt makes me very happy.

I also had an add on goal to finish at least one of the 3 remaining squares on my millennium sampler.

I finished the lunar module and the evolution square. I still need to complete the spitfire and the masks. The picture below isn't great but it show my progress.

I'm very happy with my progress during August and now I need to think about my goals for September.

I'm linking this post with Patty from Elm Street Quilts for her OMG Link up I'm looking forward to checking out the links this month.

This evening I'm making some plans for a couple of new projects. I love starting projects!


Thursday 27 August 2020

Murder mystery and Some sewing.

Earlier this year I read 4 books by Robert Galbraith about a private detective called Cormoran Strike. Robert Galbraith is in fact J. K. Rowling. She is writing this series under a different name to keep a distinction between her work. My older daughter told me that the books had been made into a TV series by the BBC. This was great news as I needed to watch something new. There are just so many repeats of repeats on offer at the moment. The first 3 books are available on BBC I Player and John and I watched the dramatisation of the first book which was made as 3 one hour episodes. We watched an episode an evening and really enjoyed it. The actors used, fitted the characters and the story line followed the book very well. If you like murder mysteries and you haven't tried these books you may enjoy them. 

I haven't quite finished my monthly goal which was to complete the quilting on the rainbow quilt. I've done all of the main quilt and now I'm working on the border. Yesterday I had a brief sewing session in between finishing work for the day, taking our daily walk and cooking dinner. When I'm in the work setting I get a lot of exercise as I walk between floors and I like to move around when I'm teaching. Working all day at the computer from home gets the job done but I need to get out each day for exercise.

Yesterday I worked on the borders of the rainbow quilt. I had decided to do a different pattern on alternate blocks. A quick check before I started confirmed that this would work. I did all the blocks where I go round following the shape of the block first. I made a start on the second set of blocks which involves lines going across the block. I tried to ensure the stitching wasn't consistent. I didn't want every block looking the same. I'm very happy with the result. 

This morning we took Scamp for a long walk on Wimbledon common. We have to keep him on his lead by the lake because of the juvenile swans and other waterfowl.

Once past the lake we let him off his lead and he enjoyed running around and having lots of sniffs. He really loves his walks.

Once home I finished the last blocks. I trimmed the quilt and attached the binding. I had wanted to use the aubergine fabric for the binding but unfortunately I've been unable to find any more of it anywhere. I went through my stash and after auditioning several different fabrics I decided to use the solid green. I pinned the binding to the back of the quilt ready for hand stitching later this evening.

I spent some time this evening doing some hand stitching. I'm hoping to have this quilt fully finished tomorrow.

My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by hurricane Laura. Take care and stay safe.


Wednesday 26 August 2020

A trip to Suffolk

When I opened Google yesterday morning I was very happy to see their Google Doodle which was celebrating Barbara Hepworth, an English sculpture. The doodle coincides with the anniversary of her moving to St Ives in Cornwall where she set up her studio  and spent the main part of her career. I love her work and I've visited her studio and garden. The doodle led me down the rabbit hole as I had to go and look for images of her work. The picture below is of a piece of her work that is in the museum and sculpture garden in St Ives. You can find out more about Barbara Hepworth HERE

At the weekend John, Lucy and I drove to Suffolk to continue our walks. We had to rearrange the walk and make it a circular route as booking a taxi to take us back to our car proved impossible. Our walk was taking us along the river Orwell. Because it was a circular walk we spent a fair amount of time with no river view. This was our first view of the river looking over the hedge.

We were lucky with the weather as it kept going overcast but it didn't rain on us. At times the sun was out and it was hot. As we walked by the river we saw a lot of birds. Progress at this point was slow as John was busy looking through his binoculars spotting the different species.

The hedgerows had an abundance of rose hips. This had me thinking back to when I was a teenager and my younger brother was born. At the time it was routine that mother's were advised to give infants rose hip syrup to ensure they had sufficient vitamin C. I remember collecting rose hips and my mother making her own syrup . By the time I had my children this advice was no longer being given to new mothers.

Where we were walking the river was tidal and we spotted these trees that had been damaged by the salt water. They made the area rather eerie.

Along the route we came across this rope swing that had been set up. Lucy loves rope swings and this one had a seat so was very comfortable, rather than perching on a knot. The beach area was nice and sandy and Lucy also took the opportunity to have a paddle. We ate our lunch sat by the water.

During this walk we came across 3 barns. I loved this one and Lucy and I enjoyed making up a spooky story about it.

This one looks very modern having been upgraded to mostly brick.

The final barn was rather cute. There was a huge barn but there were some very strange noises coming from it so we walked quickly past.

We had parked our car at Stutton in what is now a water park and leisure area. As we turned into the driveway we found this sign.

Stutton Airfield became one of many landing grounds which existed in Britain during World War One for Royal Flying Corps (later Royal Air Force) Home Defence fighter operations. The airfield first opened in March 1917. It operated a variety of aircraft  to combat the combined threats of Zeppelins and fixed-wing Gotha bombers threatening especially south-east England during this period.

When we are walking I've found that the mileage John gives us at the beginning of the walk is often less than the distance we actually walk, sometimes by a couple of miles. Lucy and I had started to tease John as we headed back to the car park but on this walk the mileage was spot on.

No sewing has taken place the last couple of days as work has been very busy. Today I have a chance to complete my monthly goal by finishing the quilting on the rainbow quilt. I'm also on leave tomorrow and I've promised myself a sewing day. I'm looking forward to reporting completion of my goal and other projects I'm working on.


Monday 24 August 2020

Chaos and sewing.

 This week has been total chaos on the local roads, especially the one that our house is on. The local authority decided to implement a Low traffic neighbourhood. Although it states on it's website it had informed the residents it hadn't. Planters have been put across roads to close them and chaos followed. If the residents didn't know the roads were changing how did they expect the deliver guys and the emergency services plus all other traffic to know. The road outside has been blocked many times now and people get on their car horns very quickly. At that point I'm out the door and telling people to stop the noise as it isn't our fault, we don't want it and by hitting their horns they are giving us all a headache. It's made worse by Transport for London who are responsible for the main roads also making big changes. I'm hoping it will be calmer this week as trying to teach from home over Teams became impossible at times last week.

By evenings last week I was either far too drained to sew or needed a long sewing session to calm my nerves and find my happy place. As a result the schedule I had made for myself went out the window and I did what felt right at the time. As a result I got on and did a lot of the quilting on the rainbow quilt. I started by sewing in the ditch and the added diagonal lines following the aubergine squares. I'm currently working on the outside borders. This is my one monthly goal project and I will have completed the quilting by the end of the month. Although not part of the goal I may even have the binding attached and stitched down.

I've needed to do some hand stitching each day to calm myself but the millennium sampler isn't always calming due to the fractional stitches. I've finished the butterflies and this square is really pretty.

I've also started work on the happy and sad masks that represent William Shakespeare's plays. I think this square is my least favourite of all of them. Once I've finished this bit, which shouldn't take too long, I'll go back and finish the spitfire at the top.

This sampler is definitely going to be finished before the end of the year which I'm really happy about. Note to self, next time I decide to get a new cross stitch pattern or kit I need to make sure it's not full of fractional stitches.

This weekend John, Lucy and I travelled to Suffolk to complete one of our walks. I'll post pictures next time. 

I'm linking up with Kathy from Kathy's Quilt for her Slow Sunday Stitching I'll be popping over later for some stitching eye candy.


Sunday 16 August 2020

Sunday's made for hand stitching

 Yesterday was a good temperature and I took some time out to do some ironing. This is definitely not an activity to do when the temperature is in the high 30's and the house doesn't have AC.  During the really hot weather I've been ironing what I need on a daily basis but that had caused an ironing mountain. The sight of a huge pile of ironing is enough to make me cry, and I'm that strange person who actually likes ironing. A fair time was spent getting the pile back to a manageable level.

I also spent quite some time going through my photos on the computer. I was trying to remember the order of various events and I've found using the photos is a great way to ensure I get things in the right correct. It gets harder to remember dates or years as you get older. When your family are young there are so many things to hang dates on e.g. that was the year Lucy started school, started Guides etc but once they are all grown up it's not so easy to place events. Going through photos is such fun as you get to relive the times again. Sometimes the fashions make you wonder why you bought a particular outfit. You can also relive the holidays which is fun.

I did some more quilting on the rainbow quilt and then later in the evening I worked on the millennium sampler. Two of the butterflies are almost finished and I've started the third. This evening this square will be completed.

I started this square a few years back but for some reason I couldn't make the butterflies work and pulled out all the stitches I'd done. Although I have loved embroidery of all types for as long as i can remember it's only relatively recently that I've found it really relaxing and as a result I find the patterns easier to follow. 

I can't make up my mind whether I want to work on the next square over the coming week. If I do that then there will only be the borders and some outlining to finish. Alternative I also want to finish the hexie bag. I do have my usual day off on Friday and an annual leave day on Wednesday so I do have extra sewing time but I want to get the quilting finished. I think I'll probably work on the sampler as this is my oldest UFO and it would be wonderful to have it finished.

That was really it for sewing yesterday as I wanted to finish reading my book. This evening I'll do some more work on the butterflies and get that finished.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilt for her Slow Sunday Stitching Do go and see what everyone's been working on this week.

I'm back at work tomorrow and I have some bits I want to do to prepare for the week. Hopefully I've time to sew each day but it depends what's been going on over the last fortnight whilst I've been enjoying myself.

Take care


Saturday 15 August 2020

Yesterday didn't go to plan

 The plan for yesterday just didn't work out. As we were ready to go out for our walk the rain started and was heavy. I like walking in light rain but heavy rain soon soaks through everything and if prolonged even gets though a really good waterproof coat. Unfortunately yesterday, although rainy was still very warm and so a waterproof coat would have been unpleasant to wear. Instead I sat down and did an online food order. We had already decided what we wanted to eat next week so this was fairly straight forward but that didn't stop me needing to amend the order later in the evening once my brain had run through various non food items that need to be topped up such as freezer bags and floor cleaner. We don't order our vegetables online so we still need to go out to the shops for them and everyday basics such as milk. I haven't bought bread for a couple of months now as I've been baking my own. Later in the day John and I took a short walk, by which time it was cool and dry.

Yesterday I decided my scrap box was getting out of hand so I set about pruning it a little. I have a scrappy 9 patch quilt I'm making for donation so I was cutting 2.5 inch squares. I didn't do very much as my arm was aching. I used an old photo as I forgot to recharge my camera battery.

I had planned to make a start on quilting the rainbow quilt but I couldn't decide how I wanted to do it or the thread I wanted to use. The thread was easily resolved and I had a little play as the thread thickness is slightly different between the top thread and the bobbin. It worked just fine so 1 problem solved. In the end I decided I would stitch in the ditch and let the colours of the fabrics do the talking. I will do something else in the borders. A photo will follow once the quilting is done.

I told you yesterday about the fabric Katy had bought to make a skirt or something for my birthday last year. I took a picture of it but the camera blurs it a little because of the squares and distribution of colours in the pattern. This fabric is a super soft woollen fabric.

I didn't do any work on the millennium sampler as my right arm was painful. I have a light with a magnifying glass that I use for this cross stitch as the thread count is high and without it I often go over two spaces. I've realised I'm not sitting at the right angle to use the light and so I'm giving myself a crick in the neck and also putting my arm at an odd angle. I played around with the position of the light and cushions on the chair and got Scamp involved as he usually sits on my lap whilst I sew. In the end I found a really comfortable position that should reduce the strain on my neck, back and arm. Scamp found my wriggling annoying whilst I was finding the right position but once we were all set up he slept happily on my lap while I read my kindle.

I've been trying to increase the amount of reading I do and also to try new authors. At present I'm reading Cal by Bernard MacLaverty. It's about a young Catholic man living with his father in a Protestant Housing Development in Northern Ireland. Cal is involved on the fringes of the IRA but an act of violence makes him want to be away from the conflict. It was made into a film in 1984. It's well written and certainly gets the tension of the situation across to the reader. This is my 15th book this year and that number is up on last year. I'd hoped to do even more reading during the working from home time but I put more time into sewing. Unfortunately there just aren't enough hours in a day.

This evening I will be picking up my hand stitching. Having found the perfect position for my light it should be a pain free enjoyable experience. Tomorrow I'm hoping to get on with the quilting on the rainbow quilt.

Take care


Friday 14 August 2020

An adorable kitty

 Yesterday continued to be very hot and I'd reached the point of feeling tired all the time. John and I went on our usual morning walk around the cemetery completing 5 miles. We didn't see many people as we walked but the green woodpeckers were about and there were lots of magpies, pigeons, blackbirds and squirrels. By the time we got home I needed a rest so I sat and drank tea whilst catching up with my blog reading. In the early afternoon we could hear the thunder rumbling around us and it did rain briefly but again we didn't see the storm. On the news there were pictures of flooding around London, including on the M25 motorway. The rain we had did nothing to reduce the temperature. Instead of sewing I caught up with my reading and checked on the garden.

We'd arranged to go over to Katy and Olly's for dinner and so at 5 p.m we got ourselves organised and headed out. Richard was working so it was just me, John and Lucy. We left the music system on for Scamp and Picasso just in case it did thunder. Scamp doesn't like thunder but is OK so long as everything else seems normal. Casso likes to sit and watch the lightening so he's a bit miffed that we haven't had a storm.

Katy and Olly's flat is the ground floor of a house and it includes a garden. They have so much room compared with their old flat plus they are able to have a pet. A dog isn't feasible as they both work so they got a kitten. Katy isn't back at work until the beginning of September so the Kitten should be nicely settled by then. He's 9 weeks old and in the morning Katy had taken him to the vet for his checkup and immunisations. He was a little sleepy whilst we were there but did enjoy a short play and lots of cuddles.

This is Rothko. Katy is an art and DT teacher so we knew the kitten would have an artist name. She named our cat Picasso (but we shorten him to Casso). Not sure what the little ones pet name will be. I put my phone by him to show you how big/little he is. When you look at him his fur looks black or chocolate but he has strips within it.

Lucy enjoyed her cuddle with her fur nephew.

Rothko realised that both his mom and aunt are mad as hatters but he loved all the attention.

During dinner he slept curled up on the cat cushion. He was very good.

The food Olly cooked was delicious, rice with chilli and coriander, a vegetable and paneer curry and an aubergine dish. Dessert was a baked cheesecake with raspberry coulis and vanilla ice cream. I ate more than I should but it was all so good. 

At the end of last year Katy had bought some fabric to make me a skirt for my birthday. She never got round to making it so she gave me the fabric, which I love. I'll take a photo and show you and add it to my sewing projects to get done before we return to the office in October.

Over the evening the temperature had dropped slightly so it was a comfortable drive home without the need to turn on the AC. Once home we sat and chatted for a while but we were all tired and so went to bed early. We didn't have any rain overnight but the temperature dropped further and today it is really nice and cool. 

Today John and I need to walk and also visit our friend Tony. After that I plan on sewing. I have some things I want to try and complete before I go back to work (working from home) on Monday.

Take care


Thursday 13 August 2020

Chores, cooking and sewing

 Yesterday was busy with one thing and another. I needed to do several jobs around the house, cleaning the bathroom and kitchen floors, doing some laundry and when it cooled in the evening doing some ironing. When cleaning I find the majority of my time is taken up with returning items to their rightful home. The problem of 4 adults and two pets in a house is they all leave things around, usually meaning to put them away later which doesn't always happen. I'm also guilty and tend to leave some sewing bits about. My sewing cupboard is in the dining room and I use the table. When I pack my things up so we can use the table for dinner I generally pack everything away but this week because I'm on leave I have the chance to sew again the next day and have left bits on the two chairs that aren't needed. I'd also been pulling out different fabrics to chose what I wanted to use, so today there was more items than usual to put away. Once all the extra bits are dealt with it's very quick to vacuum the rooms,dust, and mop the floors where needed. Even Scamp and Picasso leave their toys around. Mind you I'm much happier when Casso is leaving toys around than when he leaves a dead or live mouse about the place.

I wanted to do some baking this morning. I had 4 very ripe bananas and so banana bread was on the menu. I use the BBC Food Banana Bread Recipe as this is quick and easy to do. The oven is running a little hot at the moment and I must get it re-calibrated but when we cut the banana bread it was very moist.

I followed that with a wholemeal loaf. We don't eat much bread at the moment. When I'm at work I'll often take sandwiches for lunch but at the moment I'm enjoying salads.

I have the quilt sandwich made for the Rainbow quilt but it was so hot I didn't feel like working on it. Instead I checked out some older projects. It's always good to know what projects you've got and where they are in the quilting process.

A while back I made blocks for a quilt using large hexies. I think I did this for the rainbow scrap challenge.  I pulled this photo from blogger rather than take a new one.

The blocks are 15 inch square finished size and there are 3 blocks across and 4 blocks on the length. I can remember deciding that this top needed another row of blocks to make it 4 x 4 but at the same time I decided I didn't like the blocks. Hence why it has been languishing at the back of my sewing cupboard. Having taken it out and looked at it again I actually like the blocks and so does John. Currently the top is 66 x 51 inches but I would also add a border . I think it needs another row to turn it into a square quilt and once finished I have a vacancy for a quilt in our main room. 

Currently we have an old quilt that belonged to my mother for many years and came to me after both my parents had died It wasn't made by my mother but has been in the family a long time and so is part of the family. It needs quite a bit of repair work doing. It lies across the back of our settee which is in front of our south facing window and the sun has damaged the fabric. Add in a little help from Casso and Scamp who like to lie here to take their sun baths and you'll understand why another quilt is needed. I won't be getting rid of this quilt but I will repair it.

Having made the decision to add another row I needed to decide on the colours for 4 blocks and then I started to pull fabrics from my stash. Yesterday afternoon was such fun and left the dining table covered in fat quarters and scraps. I decided on fabric for two blocks before I packed everything away. Sorting and stroking fabric is most relaxing.

In the evening I worked on the butterflies. I completed all six butterflies I'd started including the outlining. I have three left to stitch

I won't get any stitching done this evening as we are going over to visit Katy and Olly for dinner at their new flat. They also have a new kitten who is 9 weeks old. I'll post photos tomorrow.

Today the hot weather is due to break. We had some rain during the early hours of the morning but not nearly enough for our parched garden. There have been thunderstorms all round London since Tuesday but  so far they have missed us. I hope it doesn't thunder while we're out as Scamp hates it. Both he and Casso are house trained but if he's alone and it thunders we sometimes come home to little accidents. Katy's kitten is too young to take Scamp with us so he will be home alone. We'll leave the radio on for him as company and the lights will be on, so provided it doesn't get too scary he will be fine.

John and I have our usual walk round the cemetery planned and then I'm not sure what I will be doing. If it goes cooler I will be very happy as I find this heat draining.

Take care


Wednesday 12 August 2020

A sewing day.

Yesterday was another day of high temperatures that leave you feeling too tired to do anything. Although I'm currently on holiday and when I'm not, I'm working from home, these high temperatures have had me longing to be back in the office with the very efficient air conditioning running. At times I've complained that the temperature in the office is like an ice box (as I pull on a cardigan) but right now an ice box would be great. Although houses and flats built in recent years have AC most homes in the UK don't and so for the couple of weeks a year with the high temperatures you end up feeling tired  and limp. So that we can still get our daily exercise John and I head out early to take a walk around the cemetery or park. We are still managing 5 miles most days. I always take plenty of water with me as whichever route we take there is a long stretch where we are walking in full sun.

When we got back yesterday I had a text message to tell me my Elna sewing machine was ready to be collected from the spa. I took her in for a service at the beginning of July as the tension was shot to pieces and she couldn't produce a stitch properly. I drove up to the shop and picked her up and at the same time collected some essential bits for a couple of sewing projects, bias tape and elastic. She now produces a beautiful stitch.

The shop also showed me some round elastic that has been produced for mask making. It's very soft so comfortable to wear. Not sure how well it will work and being new they don't have any feedback from customers yet. I bought a couple of metres to give it a try.

Back at home I pulled out my rainbow quilt. I had ordered some aubergine fabric to use as the backing but when it arrived it was the wrong colour. The shop advised another fabric but this one is very much on the red spectrum and to match the fabric on the front needs to be more on the blue spectrum. Anyway I decided to use the new fabric but also keep the first lot as I have another project that I can use it in. The first fabric is on the left of the picture.

I sorted out the wadding I needed and set about making the quilt sandwich. I took over the dining table and got on with the job. Moving the fabrics and wadding around proved to be very tiring and I ended up very sticky due to the heat. Maybe I should have waited until the evening when it would have been a little cooler. At least the job is now done and I can get on with the quilting. That will have to wait until the weekend.

I forgot to share my jam making with you. When walking with John last week I bought some greengages to make jam. On Saturday I made it and it's delicious. I made half the recipe as we don't use a lot of jam. There is a second small jar but we have already started to use that one. The photos not great but it gives the idea.

So back to yesterday I made a start on a dress pattern I bought a little while back. I already had the fabric in my stash. As everyone was out in the afternoon I was able to use the table again to cut the pattern out. It also gave me some quiet time to read through the pattern without interruption. I like to read the whole pattern before I start so I can address any potential problems. I sometimes find that the pattern writer tells you to do a procedure a certain way when there is an easier method. Then I have to work out if there is a valid reason for using a set method or if it's safe to go with the other, easier way. This pattern is very straight forward so I'm not anticipating any problems. The difficult part of the job was the cutting out as the fabric has a small check on it and I wanted the seams to match.

Over the weekend I did some work on the hexie bag. I need to make the facing for the flap. This is also made with hexies. I need to add some half hexies to complete the shape I need before moving to the next stage. The lining for the bag is already prepared.

Yesterday evening I worked on the butterfly square on the millennium sampler. There are three more butterflies to start and as you can see the first one was all blue and but the following ones change to have additional colours. The evening is cooler than during the day and so it's a good time for hand stitching.

I'm hoping to get some sewing done today but I have some chores to do first. There will definitely be some hand stitching this evening. John has a meeting and I plan on putting on either a film or an audio book whilst stitching.

I can't put off the chores any longer so I must get on.

Take care.