Thursday 29 April 2021

Trying to finish something

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Here we are, the last day of the month and I've been struggling to complete any sewing for the last few days. I've also not had chance to read many of the blogs I follow. The reason is that I had my second covid 19 vaccination last Saturday and my brain is feeling really tired, my arm hurts and by the end of the day I have a headache. On the plus side I have had both vaccinations and hopefully they will work and help keep me safe from infections when we start teaching face to face in early May. Because my students all work in healthcare most of them are also full vaccinated and they are all looking forward to meeting up again rather than carrying on learning on line.  

Since my last post nothing has really moved forward. I still have to finish off the oven gloves for my daughter. They are still at the same stage they were last week and I was hoping to give them to her tomorrow

I'd cut the fabric for two cushion covers and they are still waiting for me to start work on them.

I did manage to quilt one of the blocks on the Austen Family Quilt last Saturday morning before I had my vaccination. That evening John and I meet up with a couple of friends at our local pub for a drink and dinner. Fortunately the weather was warm since we were sitting outside. It was lovely to see our friends, since the last time we met up was September.

Last Thursday John and I visited the wetland centre at Barnes for a gentle stroll and bird watching.  The birds were all preparing nests or getting cosy with their mate. The drake mallards head was iridescent with a green or purple sheen depending on the angle you looked at them. There were a lot of black headed gulls flying around but their heads look chocolate brown in the picture.

The wetlands is involved in research and breeding programmes. This Eider duck is part of their programme.

There were huge clumps of marsh marigolds. They are so pretty and really brightened up the day.

We spotted this terrapin swimming along. He was probably someone's pet and had been released into the pond. The pond on the local common had several which they caught and moved elsewhere as they were eating the duck eggs.

This white faced duck was also enjoying the weather. I love his light blue beak. I also like the ripples and reflections in this picture. 

There were some adorable Coot chicks with their little red heads.

On Friday I joined Lucy and John on a walk. We drove to the start and then completed a circular route that was 7 miles. We did go wrong once on the route and had to retrace our steps but when we got back to the car my Fitbit was registering an additional 2 miles! We parked in the car park at Bexley Heath station and set off along the road to Danson Park. The park has a large boating lake and on the hill is Danson House, a Georgian mansion. Here we stopped for a coffee and sandwich as it was lunchtime.

On the way to the park we passed the gate into the grounds of the Red house. The Red House was the home of William Morris of the Arts and Crafts movement. John and I want to visit the house later in the year. I took a picture of the blue plaque on the wall at the gate.

The walk took us through parks and woody areas.

These frolicking metal cows were fun.

The last part of the walk was through a bluebell wood. 

Tomorrow, I'm out in the morning but once home, I intend to spend the rest of the day sewing. I've already set my sewing machine up and arranged the pieces I want to work on, ready next to it. I am hoping to get caught up on several of my projects during in May.

Take care


Thursday 22 April 2021

In the kitchen.

 Welcome to day 4 of the 'in the kitchen' blog hop.  Thank you to Carla from Creatin' in the sticks for organising the hop. I had several possibilities for my project. I need to make a blind for the small window in the kitchen. The room has a large bay window and a while ago I made curtains for that window. However this isn't a priority at the moment so the blind will have to wait a little longer. My second choice was a new oven glove. My old ones have a burn hole in them from where John forgot our ceramic hob was on ......oops. You can see the burn in the photo below.

In my stash I had the fabric with the pretty apron pattern on it and I thought it was perfect. I also had the insul bright in my stash as I'd been meaning to make new oven gloves for ages. I used the old gloves as a pattern. I prefer the long oven gloves with the pocket at each end rather than two separate gloves. I set about cutting my fabric. For each part I needed a front and a back piece of fabric, I piece of insul bright and a piece of wadding. For the long side I used the apron fabric for the front and back but on the pocket pieces I used some left over Christmas fabric as it wouldn't be seen. This was so I had some of the apron fabric to use in a scrappy quilt. It's too pretty to use in an area where it won't be seen.

Next job was to layer each part, Fabric insul bright, wadding and backing fabric. The insul bright can be used either side up according to the instructions. Once pinned in place I marked my quilting lines with my Frixon pen. It didn't take long to complete the quilting. I attached the binding to the cuff of the pockets and then stitched the pockets on to the back or is it the front of the gloves. I had a choice of fabrics for the binding and finally settled on orange. It was tricky attaching the binding, especially around the curves, as all those layers made it quite thick but eventually it was done. My stitches where I've stitched the binding down by hand aren't very neat but my fingers were sore from stitching down the binding on the baby quilt.

These will stop my fingers getting burnt when taking things out of the oven.

A while back I had agreed to make oven gloves for Katy and I had the perfect fabric to use. It was perfect because of the cats. Katy prefers individual gloves so that's what I'm making. I haven't finished them but then I only decided to start making them on Tuesday evening and I was working yesterday. Here is the progress to date.

One side of the gloves is the red fabric and the other is the beige. The lining for each glove is the pink check fabric. Tomorrow I'll stitch down the binding on the wrist band and stitch the gloves together. I'll be using more of the black fabric as the binding.

Now you need to visit the other blogs taking part today. Here is today's schedule.

Thursday, April 22nd

I can't wait until tomorrow evening when I can sit down and work my way though all the posts. I'm excited to see what everyone made. 

Take care



Monday 19 April 2021

Work in Progress.

The last week has whizzed by but it has been fun. There hasn't been a lot of actual sewing going on but I have set up a couple of new projects. I spent some time cutting fabric. One project you will see on Thursday but I can show you the fabric for the other project.

The fabric and the pattern for the cushions came in my subscription box. I'd been planning on making them for some time but I needed to get the various baby quilts finished first. This week I also made a start on the quilting of the Austen Family Album Quilt but didn't even manage to finish quilting one block. 

This week has been a busy time for family activities. Tuesday was Katy's birthday. We had planned to go over and visit her but instead she came to us. Meet ups can currently only happen outside and Tuesday was rather chilly so we enjoyed a hot drink whilst she opened her presents and we chatted. She didn't stay long because of the weather but we spent quite a bit of time messaging for the rest of the evening.

Today was Lucy's birthday but yesterday we had an afternoon tea in the garden at Katy's. Katy and Olly made the sandwiches and sausage rolls and I made little cakes and scones. There was tea and coffee or bubbly. I stuck with tea as I was driving. Yesterday afternoon was very warm and we spent several hours chatting and enjoying the sun. Afternoon tea meant that no one needed to be off doing the cooking while the rest of us were enjoying ourselves.

Katy's kitten joined in with the fun but he was very difficult to catch on camera. Rothko will be a year old at the beginning of June. At one point he jumped on the table to try and get his nose in the milk.

A little later he spent 5 minutes lying quietly in Katy's arms before he started to wriggle.

He spent ages chasing shadows and dust before finally settling down on the grass and finally falling asleep.

Today Lucy opened her presents and she received two deliveries of beautiful spring flowers. John and I took some time out for ourselves and went for a long walk. We went to the Wandle Meadow nature park first and at the point the river Wandle and the Graveney meet we spent some time watching two grey wagtails and a wren.

We then walked to Wimbledon cemetery. We drive past this everyday when going into work but had never explored it before. The flowering trees were beautiful.

I also loved this prickly looking tree. It is still very much alive and all the twigs had a blush of green from the new leaves.]

There were a lot of birds around but I couldn't get any photos without a longer lens. 

Tomorrow the 'In the Kitchen' blog hop kicks off. Here's the schedule for the week. 

Take care.


Saturday 10 April 2021

A Friday finish

It's Friday and it's always nice to have something to cheer about. I'm feeling happy because I finished sewing the new binding on Richard's quilt. The binding is made from the same fabric but in a lighter blue. The fabric used for his quilt was much darker but it's been washed a lot and has faded in the sun. The quilt goes on camp, is used on his bed and used as a picnic quilt. It is a great feeling to see this quilt getting so much use.

My fingers were very sore from working on the binding. Unfortunately I haven't yet found a thimble that I can get on with and use properly. 

I'll leave it a couple of days before I start work on stitching down the baby quilt binding. 

I'm also impressed with myself since yesterday I bit the bullet and sandwiched the Austen Family Album quilt. Richard, our son is a manager at our local pub and since they will be reopening on Monday he's been in work this week, checking stock, organising tables, checking bookings etc. They have a couple of function rooms upstairs and I asked if I could use one to do the quilt. The pub can only have customers in the garden so no one was bothered with the upstairs room. I made myself comfortable and spent a lot of time getting everything set up and pinned. My knees were a little sore at the end but the job was done. Now all I have to do is get it quilted and I'll start on that today. In fact it's already on the table next to my machine. I gave the machine a good clean and it has a new needle in it. The stitch is working perfectly having clearer all the fluff from the bobbin area. It took me a while getting the bobbin case inserted properly but finally it's all good to go. I really like the backing fabric I got for this quilt.

I also finished my project for the next blog hop but unfortunately I can't show it to you yet.

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

It's now raining so it's the perfect time to start the quilting.

Take care


Wednesday 7 April 2021

April monthly goal


It's time when I need to decide what to work on for the month. There are a whole range of things I could work on and either move them forward or finish them completely. I could set my goal to sew on the binding of the baby quilt and as a result finish it completely. I'm not going to do that as the quilt has to be finished so Lucy can gift it to her friend

Finishing sewing the binding on Richard's quilt is another job I want to get done but this morning I put some time into hand stitching and now I've rounded corner number three. At this rate the job should be completed this week.

What I would like to finish this month is this bag.

I cut the fabric a while back and started the quilting on the front but I haven't progressed it any further. This will make a great tote for use on outings this summer. This is my one monthly goal for April.

Other projects I will be working on this month include the Austen Family Album quilt,

and I'm taking part in the 'in the kitchen stitching' blog hop later this month so I have my project to finish for that.

So many projects to work on, so much sewing to do. Sorry I can't hang around here I've got sewing to get on with!

I'm linking this post with Patty from Elm Street Quilts for April's one monthly goal

Take care,



Tuesday 6 April 2021

Easter walks and sewing

Everyone here in the UK was hoping for warm weather this Easter. The weather at the beginning of the previous week was very warm, hitting the hottest March temperature in years. Folks were out enjoying the sun and no coats needed, but from those warm heights the temperatures slipped and the weather was very cool over the weekend. So much so that on our walk yesterday there were snow flurries and I needed my hat, coat, scarf, gloves and a brisk pace to keep me warm. 

I'm getting ahead of myself a little as I've missed out Easter day. We normally have a special dinner on Easter day and this year I planned slow roast lamb with a mint and wild garlic sauce served with rosemary roast potatoes, ginger carrots and buttery asparagus. We decided to have a late breakfast of coffee and baked goods, croissants, pain au chocolate, Danish pastries. After breakfast John and I took a walk around the cemetery. We saw several jays.

I wish I had the big lens on the camera but I hadn't set out to photograph birds. As a result I had to blow the picture up. Buds are opening.

Looking across at the trees, they have a green hue about them. Next time we walk here there will be leaves on the trees.

The rest of the day was very restful. I did a little stitching and rounded the second corner of Richard's quilt. Sewing the binding is taking an age. After a while I switched and did a little knitting as my fingers were getting sore. I still haven't found a thimble that works for me.  Dinner was delicious and we spent a long time chatting round the dinner table. Once we'd tidied away we played a few rounds of 'defuse the bomb'. This is a communication game and was great fun to play.

John and I had arranged to meet up with Kathryn and Olly at 9 am on Monday to walk in Richmond Park. We were going to walk the perimeter again. Katy and Olly had never walked the whole way round. We took time out to play on a fallen tree for a little while before a group of young children arrived. We left them clambering over and jumping off the logs.

As we walked it got colder and colder and finally started to snow. Not enough to settle but a definitely flurry. Roughly half way round we stopped for coffee at one of the kiosks. Olly had made some banana bread which was yummy. After the walk we went back to Katy's flat and Olly cooked lunch. We still aren't able to socialise indoors so lunch was taken in the garden and I was very thankful for my warm coat. Their table was out of the wind so it wasn't too bad and we enjoyed watching their kitten playing and chasing leaves whilst lunch was being cooked. It was a great day out and lovely to be able to spend time with them again.

Today I was home alone and so I planned my time carefully. I had some housework to do, changing the beds, laundry and ironing. Once done I could concentrate on sewing. I wanted to finish the quilting on the baby quilt. There was still quite a lot to do but I managed to get it all done. Not a great picture but I'll get a better one when it's finally completed.

I spent some time auditioning fabric for the binding. It came down to two and so I got Lucy to make the final decision since the quilt is for her friend's baby. This is the one she chose.

Tomorrow I'll add the binding and then I'll just have to hand finish the back. I also need to make a label for the quilt.

Tomorrow is another sewing day and John is getting his second dose of vaccine. Unfortunately I need to do a little bit of work but the sewing comes first. I also need to decide what I want to complete this month but this is a tricky one with so many projects to finish.

Take care



Saturday 3 April 2021

Walking, sewing and things

I was tired this morning so stayed in bed a little longer than usual. John made tea and I enjoyed reading my book and sipping tea, all snug and warm in bed. Normally I'm up and doing by 7 at the latest so I really enjoyed my lazy start to the day. Once up we decided to take Scamp for a walk over the common. The weather has turned colder and there was a brisk wind so there weren't as many people as usual out and about. Scamp loves a good run and chasing sniffs when we walk on the common and today was no exception. Once off his lead he tasted the new grass growth before sniffing his was along the path.

He's very shaggy at the moment but he has a grooming appointment later this month. He wasn't in the mood to rush around today and was grumpy when a puppy tried to get him to play. He's 13 years old and likes a slightly slower pace of life than bouncy puppies.

Our walk was very enjoyable. Once home we had lunch before I got my machine out. I finished quilting the blocks on the baby quilt and then started on the vine leaves on the sashing. This proved more difficult and I ended up unpicking quite a bit. The tension on the machine was playing up and I wasn't happy with the end result. In the end I decided to clean any fluff before continuing but even with that the tension was iffy. I decided to try some different thread and oddly this worked perfectly without having to make dramatic changes to the tension. Even odder was the fact I decided to use different threads in the top and the bobbin which normally means I need to tweak the tension but no alterations were needed. I'm about half way through the sashing at the moment and will get it finished tomorrow morning. I'm hoping to be able to add the binding by tomorrow afternoon.

I also started a little deconstruction. A few weeks back I wrote that I needed to decide what to do with the hexie quilt top. I like it but I don't like it.

I decided to split the blocks and rearrange with other fabric. Thank goodness for seam rippers as they make the job much quicker and easier than using scissors. I seem to have spent a lot of time unpicking things recently. It's not my favourite pastime but there is no point in completing a quilt if I don't like it. I haven't finally decided what I'm going to do with the blocks but I have several ideas I'm considering.

Yesterday I finally finished visiting all the participating blogs in the Salt and Sand blog hop. There was a lot of quilting eye candy and it gave me a lot of inspiration I particularly liked Elizabeth Coughlin's Pesky Gulls , Crafts and Math's Sea Scape and Sherry's Palm trees and sand. I think I'm hankering for some beach time. If you left a comment on my post for the hop I apologise if I haven't replied yet. I'm just catching up with emails but I'm doing them in batches as I hadn't looked at my personal emails for a few weeks.

I need to catch up with my hand stitching as I'm way behind. I didn't complete my monthly goal to finish up the Pride and Prejudice blocks. My apologises to you Sherry and I will catch up over the next week. Richard has been chasing me to finish stitching the new binding on his star trek quilt. I haven't even finished one side yet and each side is 80 inches. It's a long way round this quilt. As soon as I publish this post I will be back to my stitching for the final half hour before bed time. 

Take care


Holiday sewing.

After what was a very hectic week and a half I have now started my two weeks holiday. Well it should be two weeks but I worked Monday and Tuesday so I'll need to take two days later in the summer. We were supposed to be away in Wales this week but there is currently a travel ban from the rest of the UK into Wales. Never mind I was given a full refund. Since I wouldn't have taken my sewing machine on holiday, the cancellation has meant I have an opportunity to get some sewing done.

I started the week by tidying all my storage spaces and I also started measuring and labelling the yardage. This isn't a problem with the quilting fabric but my dressmaking fabric causes me problems. I think I have enough to make a particular dress or skirt and when I measure it I'm short. Now I just go into the file I've created, check the fabric picture and information and I know if it will work for the pattern. I haven't done all the fabric yet but by the end of my holiday it will all be organised. All my storage places are clean and tidy, even the scraps boxes so let the sewing begin!

I started by adding a green border to the salt and sand top I made. Next I quilted it using wavy lines on the water part and diagonals on the sand. I thought the diagonal lines gave the impression of the way the sand gets left at differing heights by the sea. Finally the green border was quilted with straight lines to represent crops growing in a field

I used the same green solid for the back of the quilt.

The final bit was adding the binding. I love a stripy binding and I thought this stripy fabric was perfect for this little quilt.  Today I finished stitching the binding down and now I have one finished quilt. I'm really happy with this little quilt.

This is my first finish of April so can I get a Whoop Whoop?

Last Sunday I'd made an online order from my favourite quilting shop for wadding and backing fabric for the Austen Family Album quilt. The wadding was for the baby quilt. It arrived yesterday afternoon and so this morning I made the quilt sandwich.  I used this spotted fabric for the backing. Spots are almost as much fun as stripes.

I had some time before dinner and so I made a start on the quilting. I'm doing straight stitching on the blocks and I'll do some leaf trails on the sashing. I should be able to finish the quilting tomorrow.

I need to think about the fabric I'll use for the binding. I think I may have something suitable but I'm not completely sure.

Tomorrow I'd like to get the quilt sandwich made for the Austen Family Quilt. I finished the top a little while ago but needed to get the backing fabric. This is the finished top.

For the backing I chose this fabric. It's108 inches wide so no joins required.

I have to admit I'm not looking forward to making the quilt sandwich. This is a very big quilt and the weight of the fabric is going to make my arms ache. Getting this quilt finished will take some time.

I'm linking this post with Sarah from Confessions of a fabric addict for her Can I get a Whoop Whoop?

I spent most of yesterday doing housework and my home is now gleaming so today will be a sewing day once I get back from walking Scamp. The weather here in London is cooler and overcast so there shouldn't be too many people out and about on the common.

Take care