Sunday 31 January 2021

A slow Sunday.

I've had a lovely slow day today. It's been a little manic recently here with doing some additional work of training volunteers to give the covid vaccine. It's been tiring but fun and all the volunteers were excited to be able to help. I also had several of them ask me how they can become a nurse, so training and recruitment all rolled into one. John had his 1st vaccination last Saturday and has been absolutely fine. He didn't even have a sore arm the following day.

This month  my friend Sherry from Quilts, Fabric and Thread tales and I started our own stitch along. We are stitching a block a month from this Pride and Prejudice pattern.

For January we stitched Jane and Elizabeth Bennett. These are nice embroideries to do and don't take too long. I had meant to finish this earlier in the month but I got caught up by other things and so today I sat and stitched the final area. This didn't take long as all I had to do was both their heads.

I need to press the piece and put it safely away until they are all completed. I also need to draw out the second piece. In February we are going to stitch Darcy talking to Bingley which is the embroidery in the centre of the top row. The Jane and Lizzie embroidery was my monthly goal for January. 

This evening I'll be stitching down the bindings on the baby quilt. I also need to make a label for this quilt.

I enjoy stitching the binding on. I can stitch and watch the TV at the same time. No pattern to follow so the experience is relaxing.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching  I am also linking with Patty for the January One monthly Goal link up party. 

Take care


Sunday 24 January 2021

Slow stitching Sunday.

Yesterday I worked very hard spring cleaning my living room and dining room to within a inch of their life. I moved all the furniture so I could vacuum under and behind everything. All surfaces were cleaned and polished and it now looks gleaming. All items that shouldn't have been in the rooms were returned to their rightful homes. By the time I had finished I was tired and so I didn't make a start on quilting the baby quilt. On Sunday I like to have a slow day, that is spent with the family or close friends. Spending time with close friends is out of the question at the moment and so I was looking forward to time with the other three members of my household (plus Scamp and Picasso), but they were all busy working on their own projects so I was at a lose end. I set up my machine and got on with the quilting. Most of it was straight quilting and I echoed the shape of the appliqued hearts. As I started quilting it started to snow. This is very unusual in London so we were all excited. This is as the snow started.

It carried on for quite a time and gave a good covering. The children from across the road made a snowman. It was fun watching them enjoying themselves but by early evening it had all melted away.

My quilting went quickly even with the distraction of the snow and before I packed everything away I trimmed the quilted top.

My line around the hearts was a bit wonky but it looks OK.

Tomorrow I will cut the binding and get that stitched on. I want to be able to get this in the post on Wednesday as the baby was born last Thursday. He wasn't due for another couple of weeks but babies are always unpredictable.

This evening I'm going to be working on my knitting. I'm knitting the back of the jacket. It knits up quickly because it's aran weight yarn. I'm shaping for the set in sleeves.

I started this jacket some time ago so this is another of the pre June 2020 projects I want to get finished. 

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching link up. Why not pop over and see what everyone has been working on this week.

Take care


Thursday 21 January 2021

Hearts on Fire

Today is day 4 of the Hearts on Fire blog hop. I love the projects I've seen so far this week and there are still lots to come. That means lots of inspiration for future projects. My thanks to Carol from Just Let Me Quilt for organising the hop. I was so pleased to find that Carol and Carla were organising hops again this year as they bring a lot of joy, especially in the current difficult times.

Today it's my turn to show my project. The remit was to make something big or small with a heart on it. The heart could not be red. No problem at all as I love including hearts in projects and why must they always be red. Why only last year I created this cushion cover for my brother and there's no red in sight.

My choice of project was easy as I need two baby quilts and they are both for boys My starting point for the quilt was a 9 patch block. Like everyone who quilts I have a lot of scraps and I like to use them up if at all possible. The 9 patch block is great because it's easy to put together and can be used as a leader ender. You can also create a pattern within the block,

or use 9 random squares.

I also wanted some solid blocks of colour.

and of course I needed some hearts, maybe with elephants

or what about a heart with tractors.

Maybe a heart with trains.

The hearts are machine appliqued to the solid block using the button hole stitch. Finally you need to see the whole top. You may need you sun glasses as I just love colour.

It would have been nice to have taken the top outside to photograph but it is very wet at present. We've had so much rain that even the ducks are complaining.

The top is completed but I needed thread and some wadding. The order should have arrived earlier this week but it still hasn't turned up. I hope it arrives tomorrow as I have a free afternoon on Friday and the whole weekend to get this finished. The baby this quilt is going to is due the end of next week. It's a third baby so is more likely to arrive on time or early. I'd like it finished so that I can post it out as soon as I know the baby has been born.

All the blocks were made from scraps or fat eighths that I had left over from other projects. I am using a solid colour fabric from my stash for the back. It feels good to have used up some of my scraps and larger left over pieces. It's made a little space in my fabric store but not enough that I can go fabric shopping. The 2nd baby quilt will be made using scraps and fabric from stash so maybe then I'll have enough free space.

Thank you for visiting. Now you need to visit the other blogs. Here is the full list in case you missed the blogs taking part earlier in the week.

Take care and come back to visit soon.


Monday 18 January 2021

Catch up time

The last week has been very busy both at work and at home.  Due to the UK lockdown 3 all my teaching is on line. Well not quite all my teaching as I was in work teaching volunteers how to give injections in preparation for them working in one of the vaccination centres. Apart from that all my other teaching is online and I find I'm very tired after a day on the computer. At home Richard has taken the time to redecorate his room. New flooring, making cupboards, new desk as well as wallpapering and painting. I am also trying to do some decluttering. I'm not sure where it all comes from but we have a lot of stuff that we don't use or need.  All the activity going on doesn't mean I haven't done any sewing. In fact I've been fairly busy with different projects. 

First up I finished the millennium sampler. This was finished on New Year's day but I kept forgetting to take a photo. After 20 years I'm very relieved that this is finished. I added the place we celebrated the new millennium which was Kexby in Lincolnshire. Kexby is a small village which at the last census in 2011 had a population 340. My parents lived here for many years and we enjoyed the tranquility of village life whenever we visited.

For Christmas Richard bought me some quilting templates to try. He'd done his homework and found he also needed to get a closed toe quilting foot for it to work effectively. He bought a sample collection for me to try.

In the picture the templates look really dusty, which they were. I'd left them out when John was doing some repair work that involved sanding. I made sure they were cleaned before I tried using them.

I had prepared two small mats to use as practice pieces so once I got the machine set up it was time to play. I gave all of the templates a test run. Using them is rather like using a spirograph, something I wasn't very good at doing. You have to ensure the quilting foot stays in contact with the template. You can see from the circle on the left that I lost contact with the template and so flattened out the top of the circle. I also found it a little difficult to keep the pattern going at the same speed and so the stitches are not completely evenly sized. They worked well but I need more practice.

By the time I'd quilted the first little mat I had got the hang of the process and I was pleased with the result. The other way to use the template is to draw out the design and then quilt over the markings. I'll try the quilting on the second mat that way. The templates were fun to use and worked well.

I've spent time on my knitting and have had a little too much help from Scamp. As soon as I sit down he likes to curl up on my lap. With all of us working from home he feels he has to keep tabs on all of us. That means he has to keep going up and down stairs throughout the day. When he sees me sit down with some knitting or hand stitching he makes a beeline for my lap.

I end up having to wrap the yarn around my finger just in case he moves and pulls on it. Now the knitting has grown considerably in size he enjoys the fact that it covers him like a mini blanket. Meanwhile Picasso can usually be found asleep in the dog bed.

Finally I've been working on my monthly goal. The main goal is to complete the first of the redwork Jane Austen blocks. I drew the block out and made a start. I need to unpick the stitches to the right of her sleeve as I got a tangle in the thread , got a little distracted and mis stitched it. That won't take very long to sort out.

My monthly goal was to stitch this block and I'm sure it will be completed in time.

There is a blog hop going on this week over at Just Let Me Quilt This is Hearts on Fire. The remit is to create a heart or something with heart but it mustn't be red. The hop started today. Here's the schedule,

January 18

Creatin' in the Sticks

Life in the Scrapatch

Freckled Fox Quiltery

All Thingz Sewn

Den Syende Himmel

That Fabric Feeling

 January 19



Words & Stitches

Vroomans Quilts

Quilt Schmilt

Cynthia's Creating Ark

Songbird Designs

 January 20

Selina Quilts

Stitchin At Home

Samelia's Mum

Just Sew Quilter


Karrin’s Crazy World

The Darling Dogwood

 January 21

Quilt Fabrication

Ms P Designs USA


Becky’s Adventures in Quilting and Travel

Ridge Top Quilt

For The Love Of Geese

Sew Many Yarns

Quilting Gail

January 22

Just Let Me Quilt

Karen's Korner

Elizabeth Coughlin Designs

Quilt In A Not-Shell

Storied Quilts

Kathy's Kwilts and More

Homespun Hannah's Blog

My day is Thursday and obviously I've been creating a project for the hop. Pop back on Thursday to see what I've made. I'm waiting on a fabric delivery to completely finish it but that should arrive tomorrow, so no problem.

Take care


Thursday 7 January 2021

January One Monthly goal


Another new button I need to add to the sidebar. I almost forgot the monthly goal linkup but I still have a few hours to link my post. This monthly goal really is useful. Even if I don't manage to complete my monthly goal I have usually managed to achieve quite a bit of work on the project, which helps to move it forward. This year I want to clear my backlog of UFO's so that I finish everything I started before June 2020 by the end of the year. I doubt I'll manage that but I'm travelling very hopefully.

This month I'm starting a stitch along with Sherry from Quilts, fabric and Thread Tales We both like Pride and Prejudice and we are going to be stitching one block a month over the year. We are also both stitching it in red. Do pop over to see how sherry has got on with her first block. I will be tracing out my block this evening and hopefully making a start on the stitching. We will both be working on the same block each month.

Sherry and I are starting our stitch along with the top left block, 'Jane and Lizzie Bennett' and this is my goal for the month. I already have some ideas on how I will make the quilt up and it will be different to the above picture, but that is a whole year away so I'll make a note in my project book so I don't forget.

I am trying to move the Grandmother's garden quilt along, so as a secondary goal I want to finish the round I am currently working on. However I won't be upset if I don't achieve this. This will be the bonus prize if I do.

I'm linking this post with Patty from Elm Street Quilts for the Ist OMG of 2021. Once I've done that I need to cut the fabric for my embroidery block and get the pattern drawn on. I have a light box so no more fiddling around taping the pattern and fabric to a window. I'm not sure it would work very well at the moment as it is very cold and there has been little sun during the day. Once drawn out I also know I have lots of red thread so I can get started straight away..

Take care


Wednesday 6 January 2021

A little stitch here and there

Over the weekend I was trying to get my head back into work mode and also start considering plans for teaching online, but despite that I managed to do a few things and get myself a little more organised. I looked out my pink scraps on Saturday morning as this is the colour for month one of the RSC 2021. I like the new button and must add it to my sidebar.

I'm not making any fancy blocks for this years challenge. Instead I'm making nice simple 9 patch. I manged to make 9 patches from my scraps. There may be more when I go through my scrap box on Friday. I need to do a whole load of cutting again. Scraps really do take over the place.

I sandwiched two small quilts which will become new bath mats but which I will be using to practice my free motion quilting. This year I want to learn some new designs and get my stitching more even.

I stitched a few string blocks together. This was fun as it doesn't need lots of concentration. I've got a lot more strings so eventually these will end up in a quilt of some sort. 

Luna Lapin was a great success and now I've got a request for another dress for her. I got the dress cut out and will stitch it up this week. I still can't find the felt I bought for her coat so I will need to get some more. This is the size dressmaking I like.

I also have yarn that I bought ages ago to knit a cardigan. I pulled it out and the last couple of evening I've sat and knitted. I'm not a quick knitter and my right arm soon gets tired so this won't be finished very quickly but by the end of this year I want all my old UFO's finished. I'd really like to only have projects that I started after June 2020 still on my to do list at the end of this year.  It won't happen but I can dream can't I?

Since Monday my sewing activities have been rather slow. It was obvious that England would go into lockdown 3, it was just a case of when. I had hoped we would have a few days notice but that was not to be so now instead of nipping to the shop to get some much needed supplies I've got to order them online. It's just not the same as being able to see fabric and threads in person. The threads are OK if you've bought the colour before so you know what it really looks like, but I want some colours I've never used. 

Lockdown means we should not travel to do exercise so we are back walking locally and the two cemeteries are great. Our favourite one is also a nature reserve and at the end of the month we will be bird spotting there for the Great Garden birdwatch. I hope the woodpeckers put in an appearance on the day we do it.

I need to get back into work mode again having written this post but soon it will be time to put the computer away and get the sewing machine out. Without the daily commute I'm back to more sewing time, Yipee!

Take care 


Friday 1 January 2021

The best of 2020 - a review.

 2020 was an interesting year. It was running along quite smoothly and then in march it all went down hill as covid 19 infected more people and the numbers of people in hospital and dying was going really high. Since then it's been a bit of a roller coaster ride but here we are at the start of a New Year, ready as always to face whatever life throws at us. Working from home and teaching university students on line was very tiring and with all 4 of us working from home I'm surprised we didn't have any major arguments. The pandemic actually increased my available sewing time as I no longer had a commute each day. We also got to know our local area much better as we took our exercise locally rather than travelling. There is hope for 2021 as we have two vaccines that have been approved for use here in the UK and other countries are also approving vaccines. It's going to take time to vaccinate people and during that time we will remain vulnerable so we need to follow the rules, wear our masks, wash our hands regularly and make space for people. We all need to stay positive and enjoy our lives within the restrictions. For me that means staying home and sewing.

Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs is running her Best of 2020 link party. I love taking part in the round up of the year and also visiting other blogs and seeing their best moments of the year. So here goes for my round up .

1. Most viewed post.

This was a post on a Sunday in June titled a stitch here and there. I try and link my Sunday post with Kathy from  Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching.  The post covered several different projects I was working on, my crocheted granny squares, a block for the Austen Family Album quilt, the hexie bag for Katy and Charlotte the bag lady. I chose the photo of completed Charlotte to share here.

2. The most comments.

This post was for a blog hop Hello Fall organised by Carla from Creatin' in the sticks I really do love Autumn because of the colours and I also love the blog hops that Carol and Carla organise. For this one I used autumnal colours to create a chair tidy so I don't lose my scissors and other sewing items when sitting stitching in an evening. I'm so glad I made it. I can put whatever I'm working on in the pocket if I need to answer the door or make a drink and Scamp and Picasso won't have made a mess of it whilst I'm gone.

3. My favourite finishes of 2020

I have two favourite finishes. One was my Christmas quilt. I was going to have this quilt on the back of the settee over the Christmas period but it ended up on Lucy's bed.

The other quilt is the rainbow batik quilt.

4.Favourite visit post.

I like to post about our trips away and I get many comments from people about enjoying the British countryside and history.  A post that got a lot of views and comments was about our trip to Dartmoor. This was back in August and the weather was really good, warm and sunny

We are hoping we will be able to visit again this year.

5. Welcome to a new member of the family.

We welcomed a new family member in the form of a kitten called Rothko. Katy, our older daughter and her partner Olly moved flats and are now able to have a pet. A few days after moving in they collected little Rothko. Katy named our elderly cat when we got him from Battersea cats and dogs home. She seems to be going on the theme of artists names.

When we are able to visit them I'll have to update his photo.

I'm linking this post with Cheryl for her Best of 2020 link party. Go and check out some of the links. I've already visited some but still need to visit several more. It's not too late to add your link since it doesn't close until January 2nd.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Years.

Take care and stay safe.