Wednesday 30 September 2020

September goal completed

I'm very happy to have finished my September goal. I wanted to finish the hexie bag I was making and that is finally done. I'm squeezing the finish in at the last moment as this afternoon I sat down to do the final bits of stitching. 

I bought the pattern when John and I went to Lullingstone Castle for a quilt show organised by region 2 of The Quilt Guild in July 2019 but I didn't start to make it until later in the year. 

The bag is made using English Paper piecing and all the shapes used are either full hexie or half hexies. The 'paper' templates came with the kit except that they aren't paper. They are foam like but thin and once you have completed the bag, unlike normal EPP you don't have to remove the templates. The photo below shows you the templates and you can clearly see the difference between the two sides.

The kit included the webbing for the strap, wadding, buckles and button. The fabric came out of my stash.  I love batiks and these fabric were just right for the project.

The bag is lined but is just one compartment. The length of the strap can be changed but provides enough length to use comfortably as an across the body bag which is really useful when shopping. 

I also wanted to finish one border on my millennium sampler but that is only half complete. Never mind there is always October.

I'm linking this post with Patty from Elm Street Quilts for OMG Finish Link up  I'm going to check out what everyone else has finished this month.

Take care


Monday 28 September 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

I love Sundays and always have. As a child Sunday was family day and we would always do something together. It could be a trip out somewhere, a long walk, gardening together or playing games in front of the fire when the weather was bad. When our children were small we did the same and even now it's a habit that continues. Yesterday was dry but cold in London and no one wanted to go walking so we stayed in and chatted instead. We spent time in the kitchen as I made some bread and little cakes. I have a new batch of yeast and the bread rose really well.

I love that the smell of bread baking fills the whole house. I made two loaves, one white and one rye bread. The rye bread is delicious but we haven't cut the white loaf yet.

The other fun activity on a Sunday is the slow stitching. I have a project I want finished before the end of the month so I need to get a wriggle on. Yesterday I cut the fabric ready for paper piecing and started to stitch the pieces together. When I stopped to take a phot I had added several shapes.

I've got 4 more of the half hexies to add to this piece which is the facing for the bag flap. Then I need to stitch together the strip that forms the facing for the front of the bag which involves 9 pieces. These are all small pieces with the hexies being 1 inch so it won't take long. This should be finished this evening and then I just have the lining to add. It should just squeak in under the line as my monthly goal.

Today is a work day and I have students online this morning. I'm going to walk for an hour this afternoon when the temperature should reach 17 or 18 degrees C and there is no rain forecast. I'll then finish up the work bits I need to do before dinner and an evening of stitching. The second series of Mystery Roads is being shown in the UK and it will be perfect to watch whilst stitching.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching link up. Why not pop over to see what folks have been hand stitching this week.

I need to go and fill up the bird feeders, check Picasso and Scamp have fresh water and that Picasso has his breakfast. Scamp won't usually eat until a little later.

Take care 


Saturday 26 September 2020

A new project.

I haven't had the time to do very much sewing this week. The new academic year has started and there will be new students to teach from the beginning of October. Lots of preparation to get finished, marking to do and of course there is always housework to do. Sewing always help me relax so it was time to get working. Before the Fall blog hop I showed you a photo of fabric I'm going to use on a second Autumn project.

I like to have a runner or table topper on my dinning table.  I have a few different runners to go with the changing seasons but I don't have one for Autumn. I don't want to use the Halloween runner for the whole season so I need to make a new one. I decided to cut some leaf shapes from the fabrics and applique them onto the backing. I used this leaf template.

I lay the shapes out as I cut them to judge whether it will work. Mmm this should work and look good but I still have a lot of leaf shapes to cut.

Cutting out the leaf shapes was quite fiddly so after a while I put it away for another day. I wanted to check how many blocks I'd completed for another quilt. Casso came and sat on the blocks as he thought some had got away. He was sure I'd told him I'd made more. He was right there were more that I hadn't put with the main batch. Once I'd added them to the pile he went back to sitting on them and finally feel asleep. You can always rely on Casso to find a comfortable spot for a nap.

Whilst Casso slept I cut out and made two more masks. When teaching starts on October 5th I will need a mask to get into the university building and in all the communal areas. I'm going to need more than one mask for a day.

I also hunted out some fabric to make a Halloween mask and I'll also make some Christmas themes ones. I decided that I would turn the need to wear a mask into a fun activity.

I need to get on with my monthly goal for September as I haven't started working on it yet. It shouldn't take long once I get going. My goal was to finish the hexie bag. I need to finish the facing and attach it to the bag and then attach the lining.  This will be my slow stitching tomorrow.

Hopefully tomorrow I will manage to get all the leaf shapes cut out. I need to make some bread and I promised Lucy I'd make some cakes. Scamp will want a walk and I still have ironing to finish. Sounds like another busy day.


Tuesday 22 September 2020

I love Autumn

I love Autumn or Fall, the colours are so pretty and the weather is cooler but not cold. I start to think of soups and casseroles and curling up under a quilt to watch a film. I also love long walks with John and Scamp to enjoy the season first hand. Carla from Creatin' in the sticks, organised this hop and asked us to create something for Fall. I was planning on making two projects but in the end I stuck with one. The second one will be made over the next few weeks.

I spent some time thinking about what I wanted to make and I decided I wanted it to be useful to me. As the summer fades and we move into cooler weather my needlecrafts tend to change with the weather. There will be new television programmes I want to watch and that means more hand work. In the summer it's too hot for knitting or crochet but Autumn makes them more pleasurable. I also like to do embroidery whilst chatting to the family. I needed somewhere I could put what I'm working on when I get up to make the teas and coffees or answer the door. Usually I dump things on the floor and Casso starts to play with them, and threads can end up knotted. I definitely need to be more organised to avoid this problem. My project therefore was to make an armchair tidy. 

I had already decided the fabric I wanted to use because of the reds, browns and greens.

The colours in my charm pack worked well for an autumnal project and I had the solid green that went well with it.  I needed to stitch the charm squares together to make the main body and also a smaller section to make the pouch.

I decided to quilt it using a trailing leaf design. This was fun to do but there are a few wonky leaves. 

For the backing fabric I used the aubergine fabric I had left over from my rainbow batik quilt.
In the photo below you can see the leaf pattern. I really do need to practice more on the free motion quilting.

Overall I'm very happy with my project and I will be making use of it over the coming months. Hopefully by having something to slip my embroidery scissors into I won't injure myself again by sitting on them. Ouch embroidery scissors have very sharp points.

Now you need to visit the rest of today's participants. Here's a list for you.

Take care and stay safe


Monday 21 September 2020

Fall Blog hop

I haven't been able to post this week due to a ridiculous amount of work.  This happens every year at this time of enrolment of new students and the start of course. This year we have the added possibility of the UK government asking university to return to online teaching. I'd planned my course based on alternate week face to face sessions and I'd already sent this out to students but now I need to contact them again about the possible changes.  Never mind in a couple of weeks I have a fairly quiet time so there will be a chance then to catch up with sewing.

Today is the start of the Fall blog hop so I thought I would post the schedule. I can't wait to visit the blogs from today.

Monday, September 21st

Tuesday, September 22nd
Wednesday, September 23rd
Thursday, September 24th

Unfortunately the schedule is all I have time for today. I'll be back tomorrow

Take care


Sunday 13 September 2020

Mushrooms and stitching.

Yesterday John and I visited the mushroom exhibition at Somerset house. In 1547, Edward Seymour, Lord Protector and Duke of Somerset started building a palace for himself on the banks of the Thames. In 1552 he was executed and the palace, that by that time was almost completed, reverted to the crown. Since then it's had a long and varied history which you can read about Here  The exhibitions full title is Mushrooms;The art, design and future of fungi. It brought together the work of over 40 artists, designers and musicians and was extremely well curated and very interesting.

There was a wall with beautiful paintings of fungi, all of which had been made by Beatrix Potter. I love the illustrations she did for her children's books and these showed the same detail.

I remembered to take a photo of the information for the next picture.

There was a wall of thematic stamps from around the world. This proved impossible to get a good photo of so I gave up. All the pages seemed to belong to the same collection as the writing was the same. It was a large collection of fungi themed stamps.

I really liked the next few fungi and I again remembered to take a photo of the information.

When I first saw these I thought they were preserved fungi. It was fascinating to find out how they were created. I'm sorry about the reflection but there was a video installation just to the side of the display and it created shadows

In this photo you can see that thread has been used in the production.

Many of the pictures and artefacts were behind glass and I couldn't get really good pictures. It was a small but very well done exhibition that looked at fungi in different ways, as a food, a hallucinogenic, religious use and also in design. The final room looked at the use of fungi in design and manufacture of clothes, shoes and furniture. The next time I eat a mushroom I'll be looking at it in a whole new light.

In addition to the exhibition the house itself was beautiful. The floor pattern was giving me ideas for quilt blocks.

The ceiling in the corridors was beautiful and I liked the light.

We stopped in the courtyard and had a sandwich and coffee for lunch. Every so often the fountains played.

Not a lot of sewing got done yesterday and I haven't touched a needle so far today but that is about to change. As soon as I hit the publish button I will be picking up my stitching and starting work on the border of the millennium sampler. Earlier in the week I sorted out the pattern for the spitfire so I'm already to go and get that finished this month. It will require quite a lot of concentration and tonight I need something a little easier, hence the border. At least there aren't any fractional stitches to contend with. You can see where I've already started this side .

Tomorrow is a work day but I'm hoping to have time to get my machine out by late afternoon. Unfortunately it's so easy to get behind with my various projects. 

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching I'll enjoy catching up with what everyone's been doing with my morning tea.

Take care,


Saturday 12 September 2020

Sewing and a gallery visit.

On Thursday I did some sewing on my project for the Fall blog hop. I can't show you the pieces I'm making but here are a couple of sneak previews.

The hop starts on the 21st September and I'll post the schedule nearer the time. Yesterday was a working day so no stitching but in the evening John, Lucy and I met up with Katy at the Tate Modern to visit the Andy Warhol exhibition. The exhibition has been extended until November since covid 19 meant the gallery was closed for several months. The gallery was well set up with one way systems and only allowing so many people in at a time plus you had to wear a mask. It was good to be able to go out and enjoy a normal activity and feel safe. John, Lucy and I put our masks on as we left home and took them off as we got back as there were a lot of people out and about. We travelled by train and walking. The exhibition was interesting  but also a trip down memory lane for me and John as we reminisced about the pop culture from our younger years. We had seen most of the work before but not all in one place.

The Marilyn Munro images using screen printing is one I've always liked and I made a similar montage but using Audrey Hepburn's image. 

The iconic green coca cola bottles.

I liked the Oxidation painting or piss paintings. This was a series of painting created by Warhol or his assistants either urinating or pouring urine onto a canvas primed with paint mixed with copper. The chemical reactions created areas of colour. One of the assistants was taking vitamin B supplements and the colour produced by his urine caused particular excitement for Warhol.

Warhol's assistant Ronnie Cutrone took some photos of a skull and Warhol asked that the photos had dramatic shadow. Warhol based these painting, done with acrylic paint and screen print on canvas, on the photos.

My final photo from the exhibition is my favourite, mostly because of the bright colours used. I forgot to take a picture of the information label so I can't tell you any more about it.

As for today, I have a date with my sewing machine and some hand stitching this evening. I'm also going to a mushroom exhibition with John. I'll tell you more in my next post. We are trying to fit some visits in just in case further restriction are introduced in England. Our visits are to managed exhibitions or open spaces where we can stay safe. I think it's important to do some normal activities if possible and create some memories or otherwise when looking back at the year all our thoughts are going to be negative. It helps with mental well being which is extremely important during the current situation as I have friends who have become very depressed over the summer and they feel there is nothing to look forward to. Having things planned for the future is keeping me happy.

Take care and stay safe.


Thursday 10 September 2020

Restrictions and chill out zone.

Yesterday was an odd sort of a day. I had very full days of work for the last three days finishing after 7 p.m. and there was no time in the evenings for stitching. Whilst Monday and Tuesday was teaching on line, yesterday was an office day with lots of paper work and marking to catch up on. It brought on a serious headache which is still lurking behind my eyes. As a result I'm not sure I'll get any hand stitching done today.  Yesterday was also a day of restrictions relating to gatherings of people being introduced or rather reintroduced. The restrictions don't affect us at the moment as we are a household of 4 and the only other household we have visit is Katy and Olly so we fit the maximum number of 6 indoors when it comes into force on Monday. John is involved with running a group that supports people with mental health problems. He hasn't seen the full information yet but it looks like they will have to close the group again, just 3 weeks after they reopened it. Having taken Scamp for a walk around the local roads this morning I can see why the number of cases are rising. No one was socially distancing and very few people were wearing a mask.

On Sunday morning we walked to the nearest village where we'd enjoyed our dinner the night before. I wanted a photo of the pub.

and a photo of the church which is built from red Heavitree sandstone. We didn't go inside as the service had started

The graveyard was beautiful and there were the Neapolitan cyclamen growing through the grass.

Further along the road we found a water pump by one of the cottages. I'm not sure if it was the old village pump but it does look very pretty with the flowers around it.

Walking back to the car we passed the village library. Sorry about the glare on the photo but the sun was catching the windows. The note stuck on the door identifies the disused phone box as the library. People are welcome to take books to read and also put unwanted books into it. Must have been a great way of sharing reading material during the stay at home phase of covid when only essential shops were open.

Having explored the village we drove to Glastonbury. We had planned on climbing up Glastonbury Tor but parking was almost impossible and there were just too many people so instead we drove to Ham Walls and took in a walk and some bird watching. This was much quieter and more to our taste. We really are anti social pair. You can see the Tor in the distance in the middle of the photo.

The journey home was uneventful and enjoyable because the weather remained good. Now you are up to date with our trip and I have been for a pedicure so I have very happy feet. The rest of the day is mine and I'm about to get my machine out. I have a project to work on for the Fall blog hop taking place later this month and I need the joy and relaxation that working with fabric gives me. If you need me you'll find me in my chill out zone.

My thought and prayers are with all of you affected by the wildfires. Stay safe.


Wednesday 9 September 2020

A walk on Dartmoor

At the weekend John and I took off for a trip to Dartmoor. This had originally booked for the early May bank holiday and due to the restrictions on travel I moved it to last weekend. I reasoned that by that time travel within the country would be allowed and it should be safe to go away. On both counts I was right and even the weather joined in with our adventure by being warm and dry. We stayed at a hotel we'd used before, a few miles outside Exeter, which offered a comfortable room with on-suite and breakfast. We ate in the hotel dining room on Friday night as following the journey we didn't want to go out again that day. Our plan was to walk on Dartmoor so long as the weather stayed reasonable. I was hoping to see some Dartmoor ponies.

Saturday was warm and the forecast was for a mainly dry day with the possibility of short showers. We packed our hike bags accordingly and drove to the start point of our walk at Haytor. The car parks were quite busy but it was easy to maintain social distancing and the further we got from the car the less people there were.

We climbed to the top of Haytor rocks and got a magnificent view across the moor in all directions. The gorse and heather were bright swathes of colour.

Whichever way I looked there was another hill to climb. We had planned to try and cover 10 tors but in the end we only walked up 5

Along the way we came across several Dartmoor ponies. These two foals were very cute

We stopped to enjoy the views and a cup of coffee on this group of rocks which I thought looked  a little like a tortoise.

There were a herd of Belted Galloway cattle. This breed of cattle is a traditional Scottish breed of beef cattle and they are well adapted to living on poor upland pastures and moorlands. They remind me of large pandas. There were several of them on the path up the next tor but they were very amiable and moved out of our way.

The cattle stand out like little white dots against the varied colours of the moor.

 There were sheep with beautiful white fleece. I have no idea how they were so pristine.

After getting to the top of 5 tors I was needing a good rest but I loved the scenery and it was so peaceful, well except for the cattle who had started bellowing.

I managed to get a photo of this interesting cloud formation as we headed back to the car.

On the way back to our hotel we stopped for a Devon cream tea, mmm scones with jam and clotted cream.

The day ended with a very tasty dinner at a local pub.  Back in our room I took out my hand stitching but I was too tired to do any. It was a great day of walking and we'll definitely have to book another visit to Dartmoor next year.