Saturday 27 February 2021

Finishes and plans.

I do like to have a finish each month but this month I've had three.  That really calls for a celebration and so this evening I may even open some red wine or better still get Lucy to make some cocktails.

My one monthly goal for February was to finish the ballerina quilt. At the start of the month this was some 9 patch blocks and ballerina blocks 

and by the end of the month it had turned into a completed quilt. I wish I'd had enough of the brighter pink to make the borders for the ballerinas but I could only do 5 and so the other four were finished with light pink. The border fabric was yardage I've had for a while and I also used it for the quilt back.

I didn't need to buy anything to complete the quilt. The 9 patches were made from scraps and  I was gifted the ballerinas several years ago but couldn't decide how to use them. This quilt is going to project Linus.

My second finish is the stars and stripes quilt I made for the Show your Stripes blog hop. When I showed this quilt on my day it wasn't fully complete. The binding had been added but I was still sewing the binding to the back by hand. I have now finished this and I took the quilt with me when we went to the cemetery yesterday for our walk. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and it was very much a spring day. I hope we don't go back to cold and snowy weather.

The border and the back for this quilt finished up the yardage I'd used on the ballerina quilt. The fabric to make both the stripes and the star blocks was all from my scrap boxes. The binding was also left over fabric from another project.

My third finish was early in the month and was the baby quilt I made. Again the front blocks were from scraps and slightly larger left over pieces from previous projects. The backing fabric was a piece of fabric I'd bought for another quilt back but didn't use in the end.

Today I will be sewing. I'm still working out how I'm going to use the Texas panel in a quilt. I'm letting the ideas percolate at present. Thank you for the suggestions I've received.

Today I'm going to be playing with my scrap box and there will be another quilt started by the end of the day.  I also need to spend time visiting the Show your Stripes posts as I haven't had time since Monday for reading blogs. It will make for a relaxing and inspiring evening.

I'm linking this post with Patty from Elm Street Quilts for the February OMG finish link up party.

I hope you are enjoying better weather where you are. We are enjoying another sunny day so I must go out for a walk soon.

Take care


Monday 22 February 2021

Show your Stripes.

Today is day 1 of the Show your Stripes blog hop. Thanks to Carla from Creatin' in the Sticks for organising the hop. We were asked to create something that had stripes in it. The stripes could be fabric stripes or striped fabric.

I'm on a mission to use up my scraps this year and so my plans for this project  involved using as many scraps as possible. I've also recently finished a pink scrappy quilt  so now I needed to  use up my blue scraps. It also had to involve stripes and so I started by going through all my blue string scraps and stitching them to form blocks.


At this point I had no idea of the pattern I was going to make so I started to surf through the pattern folders on my computer. I came up with Lincoln by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. I had bought this pattern in 2013 and never got round to making it.

The stripes were sorted as they would be blue but I needed the colour for the stars. I had some red I wanted to finish up so that decision was easy.

The piecing was easy to do and it all went together using chain piecing. When making the stars, chain piecing reduced the risk of losing the little bits, a big problem if Picasso gets involved.

I wanted the finished quilt to be 36 inches square and so I added a border. The border and around the stars are quilted with a meander, otherwise it is all straight stitching along the seams.

The quilt isn't quite finished as I have to finish stitching the binding to the back of the quilt. I love the way the quilt looks and particularly the pop of red against the blues.

Now you need to visit the other blogs taking part today. Here is the schedule for the week.

Monday, February 22nd

Tuesday, February 23rd

Wednesday, February 24th

Thursday, February 25th

Thank you for visiting today. Do go and see what everyone else has been up to. You are sure to find a lot of quilty eye candy and inspiration.

Take care


Slow Sunday stitching.

I love Sundays. They are usually quite slow and calm and today was no exception. I try not to do any work for work on a Sunday but I sometimes do some housework. Today I needed to do some ironing and then the rest of the day was mine. Oddly I enjoy ironing as I love  neatly ironed clothes with no creases - they feel so good to wear.

After the ironing John and I headed out for a walk. Today was another spring like day, it even smelt of spring! There were quite a few other people out walking but we managed to keep a healthy distance away from everyone. Today I noticed that some of the flowering trees were in bud.

Back at home I settled down to do some slow stitching. I needed to finish off stitching the binding down on the quilt for the Show your stripes hop that starts tomorrow. I'm hoping to have it fully completed by then but I don't think I will. You'll have to wait for a photo.

Over the week I've been working on the left front of my knitted jacket. I finished that on Friday evening and at some point next week I'll start the right front.

I've done a fair amount of mending this week. This really isn't my favourite activity but I needed to re-stitch the hem of one of my skirts, darn a hole in John's jumper having caught it on something sharp and sew on several buttons.

This year Sherry and I are working on 12 Pride and Prejudice embroidered blocks . We are stitching a block a month and this months block is of Bingley and Darcy talking with Lizzie sitting nearby. I haven't got very far with it as I've been working on other projects. This will get my full attention this week as I want to finish it before the end of the month. This is how far I've got so far.

This will all be stitched by next week.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching link up. 

Take care


Saturday 20 February 2021

The sun came out.

After the cold icy and snowy weather we had recently, the temperatures have risen and the sun has appeared. Here in London it's dry which I count as a win win. The temperature is currently 10 degrees Celsius. I'll head out for a walk a little later this morning but first I wanted to add the binding to my quilt for the blog hop on Monday. Yesterday I finished the quilting and I'm rather pleased with the result. 

Once I'd added the binding I finished off the remaining diamond blocks for the Red Mansion House quilt. Once finished I added the border to the central block.

The diamond blocks have still got the papers in as the quarter inch sewing line will be useful when adding the next round. I think I'm becoming a FPP convert. I found the process easy and enjoyable. The next round also has some FPP so I'll have some more practice.

I made a small repair on Richard's Star Trek quilt before I popped it into the washing machine. Once clean and dry I'll give it some new binding as it's quite worn in places. Then it was time for our walk. We headed to our local cemetery, which is also a nature reserve.  It felt very spring like and there were a lot of flowers around. I loved the bluey purple of these ones and I even got a bee gathering nectar and pollen.

There were quite a few daffodils and narcissi around.

The occasional lone dandelions.

and daisies.

and various shades and colours of crocuses

Drifts of snowdrops

and large drifts of crocuses.

This young fox was also very interested in the cat hiding in the grass. He really couldn't make out what it was. The cat was most unimpressed by the fox and a short catty hiss soon had the fox scurrying off.

We also saw one of the green woodpeckers and the great spotted woodpecker. Spring seems to be on its way.

Later in the afternoon I had an eye checkup. I'm pleased to say the results were good. The early stages of a cataract that was present last year hasn't progressed at all, the pressures were fine and my vision hadn't changed. I didn't need a change of lenses so no large bills to pay.

This evening I had bought two tickets to Romeo and Juliet at our favourite theatre in Richmond. This production was filmed and streamed at normal theatre time. Lucy cooked us dinner and we watched the play on the TV screen whilst enjoying a glass of wine. The production was excellent and I now have two new young British actors to follow, Emily Redpath who played Juliet and Sam Tutty who played Romeo.  Today has been a really good day.

I'm hoping the weather stays good tomorrow as I need to get more exercise. Last week I spent a lot of time sat in meetings via video. I also need to do some yoga tomorrow. I've found I can fit some yoga in every couple of days. I'd love to be able to do it every day but that requires an increase in the number of hours in a day. 

Take care

Wednesday 17 February 2021

Monday making and Tuesday thoughts.

On Monday once I'd finished work for the day I went hunting through my sewing cupboard. I was looking for the Red House Mansion Quilt I'd started. This was offered as a block of the month by the Quilters Guild and because I liked the pattern I signed up for it. It had already been running a while but all the back patterns were sent to me by email and for the remainder of the time I received them monthly. I had already made the house that is at the centre of the quilt.

Next I added a narrow border around it and then I was ready to start on the next border. This border has diamonds in it and they are made using FPP. Now I've tried this before and didn't really enjoy doing it but this year I'm all for trying new things and giving them a fair chance. The pattern was supported with video instructions so I settled down and watched it. It gave a load of helpful hints and tips on FPP and gave clear instructions. Armed with this knowledge I attacked my stash to find the fabrics I wanted to use. I spent a little time printing out the template and getting them the right size. Done at 100% size they were a little too small but 104% enlargement gave the perfect size. Thank goodness it was so easy as our all singing all dancing printer copier usually takes a bit of sorting out.

I needed to make 12 diamonds, three for each side border. There are also corner blocks. The first couple of diamond blocks went quite slowly but I soon got into a rhythm and soon I had complete 8 diamonds. I love the sharp points you get with FPP and I enjoyed making the blocks. I think I may be changing my opinion of FPP. Helpful hints and tips really do make a difference.

I have the pieces I need for the final four blocks all ready for Wednesday morning when I next have sewing time.

Today is shrove Tuesday or pancake day. I promised the family that I would make pancakes. I wanted a double dose - a savoury pancake main and the traditional sweet pancakes with lemon and sugar. I haven't made pancakes in ages which is odd since we all like them and they aren't difficult to make. Mmm delicious. Nice and thin, just how I like them.

Tomorrow I'm going to sandwich the quilt I'm making for the Show your Stripes blog hop and make a start on the quilting. I'm really enjoying squeezing sewing time into the limited time I have. Because I don't have a sewing room, I use the dining table as my sewing space. This means I can't leave my machine set up and in the past I didn't get my machine out unless I had several hours available before I had to pack up. I realised that I've been missing out on a lot of fun. Since the beginning of this year I've been taking a different approach. If time is very limited I tend to do my fabric picking, cutting and hand stitching. If I have more than an hour available then I'll get the machine out and piece the blocks I've got prepped. I'm managing to get a lot more done as a result.

Today was a busy work day so no sewing time but I did have thinking time. I need to go through my UFO's and set myself a plan to get some of them finished. I love starting new projects but with limited storage space I can't have too many unfinished projects. The main UFO I want to finish this year is the Grandmother's Garden Quilt. I need to do some maths to work out how big to make the quilt and how many hexie's I need to make to get it to that size. I'm sure completing the quilt top this year is doable if I get myself organised.

I'm linking this post with Beth from Love, Laugh Quilt for her Monday Making link up and with Judy from Small Quilts and Doll Quilts for her Design Wall Monday link up  I really enjoy seeing what everyone is working on.

Take Care


Monday 15 February 2021

Sunday sewing and knitting

 After a busy week I was looking forward to a quiet weekend filled with sewing. It didn't disappoint. Let's scroll back to Friday, always a good place to start the weekend. Friday was the start of the Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year as we tend to name it. As a family we love celebrations and every year we celebrate Chinese New Year with a meal. We could order from a take away but I prefer to cook our own. Years ago my line manager was a Chinese man and he would invite me and John to dinner on alternate Friday evenings. I asked him to teach me some recipes, which he agreed to. He also taught me some helpful hints on getting the right flavouring by using spices and herbs. He love playing with traditional English foods and flavouring them to be Chinese.  Over the years we have developed our own take on the recipes that we all enjoy. On Friday we celebrated with chicken style Quorn (Lucy is vegetarian) and broccoli in black bean sauce and vegetables in Hoisin sauce.

Any celebration needs cake and so we enjoyed a sponge cake with salted caramel filling for 'afters'. 

On Saturday the sun was shining even though it was very cold. I started the day with an hours yoga. At the beginning of the year I decided to try and do some yoga every day. I haven't managed that but I have managed several times a week and I'm more flexible now than I was when I started the journey. John was still asleep when I finished so I took him a coffee and he suggested we went for a walk whilst the sun was out. We walked round the cemetery three times and saw several species of birds whilst we were there. I really enjoyed the walk.

Having finished the ballerina quilt I decided to look at another panel that I was given several years ago. I'd like to incorporate this into a quilt.

I need to give this some thought. Do I use all the parts in one quilt or share them between a couple? I spent some time trying to come up with a good solution. Please let me know if you have any thoughts as my creative mojo has gone missing for the moment.

Today I spent time working on my project for the Show your Stripes blog hop which starts on the 22nd February. Everything for the top was cut and ready to sew. Chain stitching was needed to get the small bits sewn together.

Over the day I finished the top and tomorrow evening I will hopefully get the quilt sandwich made. I'm very happy with the top but can't show you yet.

This evening there was time for slow stitching. This week I've been doing my knitting. The pattern opens up when you stretch it a bit. I'm working on the left front of the jacket and I'm almost at the point of reducing some stitches for the arm hole. At the speed I'm knitting I may even finish the jacket before the summer.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching link up. The last two weeks have been very productive sewing weeks for me. I wonder what's in store this week?

Take care


Friday 12 February 2021

Friday finish.

This week I set out to complete the ballerina quilt. On Tuesday I laid the blocks on the floor and played around with the layout.

By the end of the evening I had all the blocks stitched together. I wanted to add a border but I didn't think I had any suitable fabric. As I started looking for border fabric I came across a piece that was perfect and was also large enough for the backing fabric. I also had to find some wadding. I have a new large piece of wadding but I didn't want to cut it as I have a large quilt that I need to sandwich as soon as I find a backing fabric I like.

On Wednesday I cut the fabric for the borders and the backing and set up the quilt sandwich ready to quilt on Thursday.

Once I'd prepped the quilt I needed to make some bread and a cheese and onion pie for dinner. This is a family favourite.

On Thursday I was only working in the afternoon and so I could get the quilting done. I had a few problems with the machine at first, missing stitches. I changed the needle but that didn't fix the problem. Then I remembered that I hadn't cleaned the machine since before Christmas and I quilted the quilt for baby Umar and I've done a lot of other sewing. I lavished love on my machine and when I returned to the quilting it happily stitched beautifully. I already had the fabric for the binding prepared I and got that stitched to the front before packing away my machine for the day. In the evening I finished hand stitching the binding down and now the quilt is a finish.

All the fabric to make this quilt came from my stash or scraps. The fabric used for the border and backing is a piece I was given. I'm very pleased with the finished quilt and this will be a donation quilt. I hope the little girl this goes to really likes pink and ballet.

So that is the second scrappy finish of the year and I'm currently making two more scrappy quilts. You would think that my scrap mountain is slowly diminishing but that doesn't seem to be the case. I'm beginning to think that scrap fabric miraculously multiples when no one is looking. Not to worry I have plans for several more scrappy quilts.

I'm linking this post with Sarah from Confessions of a Fabric Addict for her Can I get a whoop whoop? link up.

Take care 


Monday 8 February 2021

Monday making

I don't usually managed to get to my sewing cupboard on a Monday. This is one of my busiest days in work. I always have a study day with one of the groups and there are generally lots of emails to deal with after the weekend. Today was much calmer than usual, possibly due to the snow or maybe lots of students had stayed up to watch Super Bowl.  Anyway I found time to do some cutting. This pieces are for the project I'm making for the next blog hop. These are small pieces so there is some fiddly sewing in my future Hopefully that will be tomorrow.

Next I pinned the apple core rows together so I can stitch them tomorrow. This took some time. I found it fairly easy to pin and sew the individual blocks together but a whole row took me much longer and involved several painful stabs from the pins. I'll have time to sew the rows together before I start work tomorrow. 


After I'd finished my cutting and pinning I finally got the stitches cast on for the left front of my jacket and I managed to work the ribbing and the first 5 rows of the pattern.  I stopped at that point because the neuropathy in my hands had started to hurt. The cold weather is making it worse than usual. I had planned to finish my evening with some slow stitching whilst watching TV but instead I just watched TV. Hopefully I have some sewing to show tomorrow..

I'm linking this with Beth from Love Laugh Quilt for the Monday Making link up.

Take care


Sunday 7 February 2021

Slow Sunday Stitching

It's been a cold and snowy Sunday, although here in London the snow has been sporadic and only the last flurry settled. I will be very disappointed if there isn't any snow on the ground when I wake up tomorrow. I know a lot of you have got more snow than you want, need or would like but we get very little in London, so it's a novelty. It was different when my parents were alive and we visited them for two weeks over Christmas and New Year. We nearly always had some snow during that time. Lucy was doing a 14K run today and when she got back her fingers were tingling and she had found the experience very hard work. The snow was being swirled around by the wind and at times it was blowing directly into her face. A change into comfy clothes and a hot drink soon had her warm. I'm very proud of her for keeping up her running even when the weather is awful. She has running shoes for trail running and she said they prevented her from slipping and her running gear is all high visibility.

Whilst she was gone I got my machine out as I needed to sew the binding on the little mat I'd used as quilting practice with the quilting templates. That was soon done and this evening I'll get the back stitched down. I have one more bath mat to quilt and this will be another piece that I use to practice quilting patterns. This year I'm determined to improve my free motion quilting and enlarge my catalogue of patterns I can do.

Once I'd done that I cast off the stitches on the back of the jacket I'm knitting. For some reason I put the needles away that I need to start the ribbing on the next piece. It's very unlike me as I usually leave them in my knitting bag. I'll get them out when I've finished this and get the ribbing for the left front done. I try to knit a minimum number of rows each day so that I will get it finished this year and preferably before we go into the autumn season.

I will also have time this evening to work on the 2nd pride and prejudice block. These blocks are nice and easy stitching, perfect for an evening of chatting with the family.

Much later in the evening Richard and Lucy will be watching Super Bowl 2021. I'm not sure who they're supporting but I think it's the Chiefs. They bought in snacks earlier today and Lucy had a nap after her run as she is in work tomorrow. This became an annual event for them a few years back and normally they would watch with friends but this year it will just be them. I'm sure the two of them will manage to create the right vibes to make it fun, so long as they don't wake me up. My days of willingly depriving myself of sleep are long gone.

The Show your stripes blog hop starts in two weeks (22nd February) I love these blog hops as they provide so much inspiration. Not that I need inspiration to start new projects, I manage that all on my own. I promised myself I wouldn't start a project until I'd finished an old one. I've only finished one quilt this year and I've started 3 more. I think I might need to retire to fit all the projects in that I'd like to make. On the upside all three quilts are being made from scraps so my scrap boxes should be a little emptier when I finish them.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching.

Take care


Saturday 6 February 2021

A finish and OMG

I had hoped this quilt would be a finish in January but I'm happy that it is all finished now. I wanted to make a quilt for one of my students as he and his wife we expecting a baby at the end of January, I was also taking part in the Hearts on fire blog hop and so I combined the two. I needed to include hearts in the design but they couldn't be red.  To make the quilt I needed some blocks with hearts on the. I cut the hearts and machine appliqued them on a plain background

I also wanted to have some plain blocks.

and finally I made 9 patch blocks

Put them all together to make the top. Add wadding, backing and quilt. Finally add the binding. What have you got? A finished quilt that is now packed and on it's way to baby Umar.

I couldn't take the quilt out to photograph as it hasn't stopped raining. We're possibly going to get snow tomorrow which would certainly make a change I'm really happy with this finish and I hope baby Umar will enjoy using it for many years 

I need to decide which project to complete this month. It's always takes a little time to decide and usually I pick something I've been working on for a while. This time I'm picking a project I started recently, February 2nd to be precise. In January I made some pink 9 patch blocks for the Rainbow Scrap challenge and I hunted out the ballerina blocks I had.

Today I made a few more 9 patch blocks and started to add the border to the ballerinas so they are the same finished size. I had to remove the pink border they already had as some of them had no pink border at all .

I still have to finish some 9 patches as I ran out of energy to do them today.

My February goal will be to complete this quilt. I'd like to have it all done including the binding but my goal will be to complete the top and sandwich it. 

I'm linking this post with Patty from Elm Street Quilts for February OMG link up and with Sarah from Confessions of a fabric addict for her Can I get a whoop whoop? link up.

This morning I had my covid vaccination and my arm is a little sore but otherwise I'm fine. I had the AstraZeneca as I can't have the Pfizer one because I'm allergic to one of the substances used to make it. The whole process this morning was like a military operation with everyone socially distanced, chairs wiped down as you left them and good documentation. I was in and out of the church hall they were using in under 15 minutes. Now I have to wait to be called back for the second dose.

I'm going to take myself and my slightly sore arm to bed and I have a new book I want to start reading. I love snuggling up in bed with a good book.

Take care