Saturday 28 August 2021

Friday makings.

I've meant to post all week but I needed to catch up on the pile of work that had accumulated whilst I was on holiday so ended up with very limited sewing time. Yesterday evening (Thursday), I managed to trim the remaining bag ladies and add the borders to each of them. There were 6 left to do. First I put a border on the 'blue' ladies. That's Mathilda top left, Charlotte top right and Beulah on the bottom. The shadow is from my machine. I left it set up as I want to use it today.

Then it was the turn of the 'pink' ladies. Hildegard is top left, Abigail top right and Thelma at the bottom

All the bag ladies are now together in a large project bag and they are having a great time discussing their latest quilting projects and purchases.

My goal for August was to sandwich the hare quilt and so this morning that was my first job. I enjoy making the sandwich for a baby quit but since this quilt has been enlarged there was a lot of fabric to handle. I had hoped to start the quilting, but I'd promised Richard I'd help him to wallpaper his room so once finished I folded up the sandwiched quilt ready to work on tomorrow. As you can see the backing fabric is solid green.

Having helped with the wall papering I got out the felt I'd bought to make a coat for Luna rabbit. I'd printed out the pattern but needed to cut it out. This will be relaxing but fiddly to stitch between quilting sessions. I love the lavender felt.

This weekend the local pub is running a children's activity day. Richard had organised a colouring competition and many butterfly templates have been printed. Once coloured in, the butterflies will be displayed on the windows which will be decorated with paper flowers. We enjoyed creating the flowers this evening.

I'd forgotten how much fun it is to craft using paper.

Tomorrow John and I were going walking but we have decided to stay home and go walking on Monday. I shall be starting the quilting on the hare quilt and I also have some baking to do.

I'm linking this post with Patty from Elm Street Quilts for the August One monthly goal link up. I almost failed on my goal but I managed to get it done in the end.

Take care


Sunday 22 August 2021

Catch up time.

This week has seen very little sewing for a number of reasons. I've been working very hard with my hand stitching trying to complete the white round of the Grandmother's Garden quilt. There is a lot of hand stitching involved. First the fabric is tacked to the hexagonal template, then the hexies are whip stitched together to form the flower and then the flower has to be whip stitched to the main quilt. With so much stitching and most of it using the same action I set up pain in my right wrist, a mini repetitive strain injury. Mini, because as soon as it started hurting I stopped the stitching. Whilst allowing my arm to rest John and I had planned a couple of walks, one local and one out in the Surrey hills. Unfortunately on the hill walk I got bitten twice on my right wrist by insects and it became very hot and swollen. By yesterday it was feeling OK and the redness had gone so I decided to complete the wrap over skirt. The back of the waist band is hand stitched using a slip stitch so I decided that would test out my wrist as it wasn't a huge amount of hand sewing. The skirt went together quite quickly and I had it completely finished before the end of the afternoon. The pattern had two errors in it but I was aware of that from the first read through. They had forgotten that you need to make a button hole to thread the tie from the under wrap through. This allows the tie to lie flat against the waist band at the back as it goes to meet the tie from top front wrap. I'm pleased with the finished skirt. I need to give it a good press and it's ready to wear.

The second error was that the pattern tells you to cut both ties the same length but one tie goes all the way round the body and the other just across the front. That was also easy to fix by cutting the front tie shorter.

After that I worked on some more of the bag ladies. I finished the three ladies with the purple border. Millicent is top left, Gertrude top right and Constance is the one at the bottom. Constance feels she is a little superior to the other ladies.

Then I did the green border. Mildred is top left, Ernestine, my current favourite is top right and Earlene is on the bottom. 

I stopped at that point because trimming the embroidery down to size was stressful. I used my frixon pens to mark the cutting lines so I could double check I had measured properly and that the angles at the corners were right angles.

After I finished sewing for the day I decided to sort out some of my patterns. I pushed my folder and patterns to one side because I wanted to use the computer and while I did that Picasso came along and made himself comfortable. The silly cat would be more comfortable if he didn't sleep on the hole punch.

Last night John and I spent the night at older daughter's flat. She is away on holiday this week and so we said we would feed Rothko her cat. After he'd had a run outside he decided to play with my yarn. Before he'd finished he was really tangled up. Thank goodness it was only the small end of a ball. I disentangled him and he settled on my lap for a nap.

I wasn't so pleased with him at 5:30 this morning when he decided to nibble my toes to wake me up! Rothko is now a couple of months over a year old. He's black like Picasso but whereas Casso has long legs and a slim body Rothko is of a shorter build and not as slim.

Today I'm going to make a start on sewing the binding down on the baby quilt. Katy is back at work on the 1st September and she wants to gift the quilt then as she isn't sure when her colleague is going on maternity leave.

I'll tell you about our walk in the Surrey hills tomorrow. I need to sort out a couple of chores before we head out for Sunday lunch at a restaurant.  I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching I love this link up and seeing what hand work other people are doing.

Take care


Tuesday 17 August 2021

Grocery orders and other things

I don't know if it's just the UK that is experiencing the strangest shortages at the moment. I have a grocery order that will be delivered this evening but there are a lot of substitutions being sent. Some of the substitutes make sense but others leave me totally bewildered. I wanted a tin of mandarin segments for a dessert I make but instead will receive an individual pot of mandarin in jelly. The email also shows that instead of 3 bottles of 4pints of milk I will receive 3 bottles of 2 pints of milk. That means I'll only receive half the amount ordered, but there isn't a milk shortage. I think I have 6 substitutions in this weeks order. If I don't want to keep a substituted item I just have to return it so I'm not wasting any money but it still confuses me why they can't send a similar product or at least the same amount of an ordered product when a substitution is made. I guess I'll just have to do a quick whizz round the local supermarket to top up the items I'm missing. Thank goodness that quilt shops ring you if they haven't got exactly what you want, and will discuss alternative products with you.

Yesterday was a no plans day which was probably a good thing as we needed to pop over to older daughter with some paperwork for her. Whilst doing that I arranged to get my DBS done as I need it before we can restart Guides in September. Since the person who could do that lives in the same area as my daughter it saved a journey. In the end we went for lunch with older daughter and her partner which meant it was getting towards late afternoon by the time we drove home. I had such sewing plans for the day but never mind I'll catch up.

Today i did some marking in the morning. I then got the machine out and made a start on my wrap over skirt. I didn't do much but the dart are done and the pocket flaps added. Tomorrow I'll sew the side seams and probably finish the skirt.

I'm trying to finish the white round on the grandmothers garden hexie quilt. This is now my oldest UFO and I would love to get this finished in the near future. It would be good to finish it this year but I think it will be into next year before I do. Here's how far I'd got with this round the last time I showed you a picture.

Now I've only got to add 5 more flowers and the row will be finished.

I've already made the flower with the yellow centre but I still need to stitch together the other 4 flowers.

I did end up dancing a happy dance today as this squidgy parcel was delivered.

This is my order of wadding from my favourite quilt shop. Tomorrow I will be able to get the dancing hare quilt sandwiched and ready for quilting. I was going to get on with the quilting on the Austen family album quilt but all the hand stitching I've been doing has made my arm sore. The quilt is very large and heavy so I'll wait until my arm is less painful before I restart the quilting.

Tomorrow Scamp has a trip to the groomers. We are trying a different place this time. We couldn't get an appointment at our usual groomers until the end of September and Scamp needs his fur sorted out now as it is quite long. He usually enjoys the experience so I hope he will be happy with a change of venue.

Tomorrow I want to get the quilt sandwich made and also continue adding the borders to the bag ladies. I will also try and get 2 or 3 of the hexie flowers added. I'm trying to get a lot of sewing done before I get really busy at work in September.

Take care

Sunday 15 August 2021

Furry friends and quilting

Since the weather this weekend has been sunny we have taken time out of our day to go walking. We haven't been anywhere special, just the local common and the cemetery but it was about getting exercise not exploring. After our walk yesterday I decided to set up the two quilts ready for quilting. I was sure I had enough wadding for both but I was disappointed to find I was wrong. I had enough wadding for the Mr Rabbits Garden baby quilt but not  for the larger hare applique quilt. I took time out to visit my favourite quilt shop online and order some more wadding. I resisted the temptation to shop for fabric as I really don't need any more at the moment. Having done that I made the quilt sandwich for the baby quilt and set up my machine. I wanted to keep the quilting simple and use straight quilting rather than free motion quilting. I put the walking foot on the machine and got busy. Picasso was in helpful mode and kept lying on the quilt which stopped me from being able to turn it. When I moved him he got very grumpy and tried to nip my fingers. When I told him off he got really grumpy and he headed for the front door whilst letting me know he had resigned as a quilting cat and not to expect his help in the future. I let him out and he sat on the front wall with his nose in the air and he ignored all attempts from passers by to get him to interact with them. He came in later with a list of demands which included more kitty treats and a lot more catnip. Meanwhile Scamp had curled up on top of a bag of clothes that were going to the charity shop. 

Without Picasso's help I managed to get most of the quilting done and I finished it off today. I then added the binding and over the next few days I'll get it stitched to the back of the quilt. 

The back is a bright yellow and the stitching shows up well against it. I folded it up and Casso immediately sat on it so it couldn't run away. He thinks it has the right amount of squidgyness (highly technical term) and is nice and soft to sit on.

Whilst trying to take the photo of the quilt I had Picasso following me around and as soon as I sat down he was on my lap. We are now friends again and tomorrow he will be back helping with my sewing. To seal the deal I gave him a few kitty treats and he's now purring loudly. 

Over the day I made some millionaire's shortbread. This is a family favourite. What's not to like about shortbread with a layer of creamy caramel coated with chocolate. It's rather calorific so I try and only have a small piece (or two). 

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

Take care 

Friday 13 August 2021

Animals and bag ladies.

Yesterday John and I had planned to go for a long walk but even though the weather forecast was for sunshine, it was dull and at times very overcast, always looking as if rain was about to start. As a result we stayed home and got on with a few jobs. I did half of my ironing, and having shown willingness for household chores moved on to my sewing. I left the ironing board set up as I wanted to sew the baby quilt together and that meant a lot of seams to be pressed. I'd already decided the placement of the blocks so this was just a case of adding rows of blocks together. It took a little time to complete but I'm very happy with the result. Now I need to hunt for a backing and get the quilt sandwich made. The animal prints are very cute.

Next I pulled out the bag ladies embroideries. 

They have been folded up in a project bag waiting for their turn to shine. We are about to redecorate the hallway and I want to display these ladies in this space so I needed to get on and decide how to put the quilt together. The first job was to give them all a wash and general brush up. I hand washed them and they drip dried on the line outside, before they were given a good press on the wrong side. I used a big fluffy towel under them when I did the pressing so that the embroidery wasn't squashed. The dirty paw prints where Picasso walked over them have gone and they are ready for their next exciting adventure. I divided them into 4 groups by colour. 3 of them have more blue on their pattern, 3 more green, 3 pink and 3 purple. I'm making a border for each lady using their predominant colour. I started with Millicent for no better reason than she was the top of the pile. I decided to embroider their names on the bottom border using the machine but when I practiced this on some spare fabric I wasn't happy with the result. I might still hand embroider their names but I haven't made up my mind yet. I complete the borders for two ladies before we took Scamp out for a long walk.

We enjoyed our walk but it really tired Scamp out. After he'd taken a long drink he curled up in his basket and went to sleep. I decided to finish sewing for the day and do some reading instead. This evening I cooked three curry dishes for dinner and I'm now feeling very full but happy. I'm just going to chill out watching something on TV.

My plan for tomorrow is to finally set up the quilt sandwich for the large hare quilt and I hope I have enough wadding to do the baby quilt as well. I should also be back using my digital SLR camera tomorrow. I wrecked my memory card and kept on forgetting to get a new one but now the new card has arrived. The phone camera is very good but I haven't got my head round all it's settings yet

Take care


Wednesday 11 August 2021

Work and Play

This morning I had to work as I needed to present student's marks at the examination board and one of the students was being awarded her qualification. She had been unwell and so completed late. The board took all morning but it was on Teams and I didn't need my video on but I did need to listen. I did some hand stitching as that helps keep my concentration going. I now only need to add 9 more hexies to the current round of the Grandmothers garden quilt. The down side is I need to prep the white hexies for each flower, so 9  x 6 which means 54 hexies to prep. I wonder how many I can get done this evening?

This afternoon I set up the machine and set about making the blocks for the Mr Rabbit's Garden baby quilt. By the end of the afternoon I had all the blocks made but I still need to join them together. I laid them out on the floor so I could see how they looked. I tried this on the table but Picasso was being so helpful and kept knocking them on the floor.

It looks a right muddle as I was trying to be quick before Picasso came to help again. It will finish at 36 inches square. When I saw Katy on Monday she asked if I had a quilt she could give to a colleague whose baby is due in October. I sent her this photo and so now the quilt has a home to go to. She doesn't want me to make it any bigger so now I just need to get it finished. This project will be a nice quick finish and it has given a use for the Mr Rabbit stitchery and used up some scraps. That makes it a win win quilt.

Before I start work on the hexies I'm going to tailor tack the darts in the skirt I'm making. The next time I get my machine out I will be working on the skirt as well as hoping to get the quilt top completed. Tomorrow we are planning on going walking since the weather is supposed to be warm and dry. Scamp has been worn out all day following our walk yesterday. If he's got his energy back we'll take him with us otherwise we'll leave him at home with Lucy. He's either 13 or 14 years old now and gets tired on long walks.

I don't have much to show you from my sewing activities today but I do want to share a couple of photos from this day  but in a different year. You know how photos likes to give you a walk down memory lane. Today I enjoyed seeing the photos. First it showed me this one taken at Sangam, in Pune India in 2019. Everyone on the trip had bought themselves a sari and on this day we had a celebration feast and we all got dressed up. Here we are in our finery.

It seems so much longer than 2 years since we went on this trip. We also tend to go to Switzerland every 4 years at this time of year. Our last trip was in 2017 and on that occasion we had sun, rain and snow. We should have been in Switzerland now but the trip was cancelled earlier this year because of the uncertainty of health and travel.

I'm not sure what year the trip has been moved to but I hope I'll be able to go when it happens.

Last August since we weren't able to go on holiday I stayed home and sewed. This quilt was created during August. It lives in my car and gets used quite a lot when it is picnic weather.

I usually get a little annoyed when the computer tries to decide what I'd like to see but today I enjoyed the pictures it showed me and I hope you did too.

Take care

Tuesday 10 August 2021

Monday fun, Tuesday sun and walk

Yesterday (Monday) my car went into the garage for its annual service and I met up with Katy, my older daughter for a shopping trip. We wanted to visit some of the sales before they ended. Having dropped the car off we started our day with Danish pastries and coffee. I don't usually drink coffee as it makes my heart race but I enjoyed a cappuccino without too many adverse effects. We both chose our favourite pastry and then we shared them. It was a great way to start the day. We caught the train to Kingston upon Thames which is our favourite shopping centre. It always seems more of an outing travelling by train. We spent all day on our feet except when we stopped for lunch. We found a new to us Vietnamese restaurant and really enjoyed the food. We sat indoors as the restaurant was quiet. I wished I'd remembered to take a photo of my food as it was colourful as well as delicious. Neither of us bought very much, mine consisted of a pair of trainers, a bra and a shirt pattern, but we had a great time together. Later in the afternoon we collected the car and drove the short distance to Katy's home where we enjoyed a refreshing cup of tea. The rain had held off for most of the day but it poured down during my drive home. I wish the rain would stop for a while as I think I'm developing webbed feet! In the evening I sat and stitched hexies for the grandmothers garden quilt whilst watching TV.

Today John and I wanted to take a walk with Scamp. The weather forecast was showing a much improved temperature and there was only a 5 to 10% chance of rain so having completed some household chores we went walking. There were lots of large puddles and muddy areas along the route which Scamp insisted on walking through. Once home again he spent a long time cleaning his paws. He currently looks a scruffy little dog as he hasn't been to the groomers in ages. He has an appointment next Wednesday and will be  much happier dog with short fur.

This afternoon I wanted to cut out the fabric for a skirt. Prior to the new academic year I like to make a couple of new items of clothing for work. I had this pattern for a wrap over skirt and it will be perfect. I'm making the shorter straight wrap over.  I'll probably make the fuller skirt for next summer.

I carefully cut the pattern pieces I needed to my size and ironed them. T

he paper pattern is always creased from being squidged into the pattern envelope and this can make small differences to the pattern size. If you decide to do this yourself do remember to turn the steam off as it leaves you with a soggy limp pattern. I also pressed the fabric. As soon as I started pinning the pattern on the fabric Picasso appeared.  He's such a helpful sewing cat and takes his responsibilities very seriously.

Picasso wouldn't let me cut the fabric until I'd checked the grainline was right, he really is a perfectionist. I will mark the darts this evening so I can start sewing tomorrow morning.

Tonight I'll also be making more hexies so I can finish the current round on the Grandmothers garden quilt. This currently isn't photo worthy but hopefully will be by the end of the week.

Tomorrow I'm having a sewing day and I'm hoping to get the next block quilted on the Austen Family album quilt.

Take care


Sunday 8 August 2021

Slow Sunday stitching

On Saturday we had some household chores to do so I didn't get chance to get to my sewing machine. This morning, since I had nothing special planned I set up the machine and set about quilting another block and some more of the sashing. I decided to try doing a clamshell pattern across the block. I couldn't remember exactly how the pattern went so this is my interpretation. It is a bit wobbly in places. I haven't done much free motion quilting for some time and I couldn't get the speed right at first . Once I got going it became easier and so the stitching got better. I have 36 blocks in all to play with and this was block number 3. Hopefully as I work on this quilt my muscle memory will get better. I am at enjoying getting back to the quilting even though it is a bit stressful.

I have these 2 blocks to do on this row but I haven't decided on the quilting yet. All suggestions gratefully received.

Next I set to work on Mr Rabbit's garden stitchery. I trimmed this down and added two borders.
I had to move Picasso to take the photo

I am making this into a baby quilt so I spent some time thinking through the layout. I had some animal print fabrics that were perfect for the job and a lot of 2 and a half inch squares waiting to be used. The animal prints I cut at 5 inches square and added a border in a plain fabric to make the square 6 and half inches. Here's how far I've got.

This will be a small quilt and finish at approximately 36 inches square. The 9 patch and square in a square will alternate.

I also finished my gardening cushion cover. I'm pleased with this project and it's another Christmas present completed and it's still only August. Here's the completed front.

and the envelope style back.

On the hand stitching front I've been joining all the crocheted granny squares I made last year. This could take some time since there are 400 squares in all to join in. I'm working on a section at a time. There are going to be such a lot of ends to fasten in.

I've also been attaching flowers to the grandmother's garden quilt. I should finish the white row by the end of this week and I'll show you a photo them.

Tomorrow my car is going into the garage for its annual service and whilst it's done I'm meeting up with older daughter for a shopping trip. Neither of us have anything particular we need so it's going to be mostly window shopping and coffee and cake. 

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

Take care

Saturday 7 August 2021

Things to do

Yesterday I met up with some of my colleagues for our online Friday breakfast club. We had a good gossip with lots of laughter which put me in a great mood for the day. Since I was feeling good I pulled out the Austen family album quilt. I need to get on with the quilting but the quilt is huge so I'd been putting it off. I was in such a good mood that it seemed the perfect day to get going. I'd already started one block but run out of energy to move the quilt around. I had the whole dinning table to support the quilt's weight and I'd topped up my quilting threads so I was all ready. By the time I stopped I had finished three blocks and the sashing surrounding two of them.

This block I'd already started but I wasn't too happy with the flowers and half flowers. I had thought I'd unpick them but when I looked yesterday I decided against that. The quilt is for our use and I decided to treat it as a practice piece for free motion quilting. With that in mind I finished the last little bit on this block and also did the surrounding sashing.

The second block I did with a small meander background and swirly lines on the tree/flower. This was fun to do and my machine was working well. The King Tut thread I'm using runs very smoothly through the machine.

The third block involves some meander in the small triangles but I did straight line quilting on the large triangles, switching the direction 90 degrees between the two colours. The lines of stitching meet really well and I like the effect it produced.

Trying to get the photos was a bit of a problem as I took them by the machine rather than laying the quilt out flat. Having finished the 3 blocks I stopped as my arms were feeling tired. I could have worked on for a bit longer but I prefer to quit while I'm still enjoying what I'm doing.

Next I pulled out the rabbit embroidery I had completed a while back. I hadn't decided how I was going to use it but I now plan to incorporate it into a baby quilt. The photo below is before it was completed but I can't find the photo following completion.

I spent some time planning the size and pattern of this quilt and today I will start pulling the fabrics.

I also need to identify my goal for this month. Last month I completed my goal but forgot to post to the link up party. Never mind, at least I completed my goal. This month I want to work on this quilt.

The top is all done and I want to piece the backing and sandwich the quilt ready for quilting. I'll be happy if I complete that but if I have time I'll try and start the quilting. I'm linking this post with Elm Street Quilts for the August OMG link up

Today we need to go and buy wood for another home improvement project that John is working on. I have some ironing to do and then I want to quilt another couple of blocks. Older daughter may be coming over as she want to do some sewing and use the dressmakers mannikin. She bought some fabric when we went shopping a couple of weeks ago and now needs to get the dresses made. If she does come over I will have to stop quilting as I currently only have one machine working.

Take care

Thursday 5 August 2021

Wednesday sewing

Yesterday, Wednesday, was the first opportunity I've had this week to do any sewing. From 4 p.m. today I am on leave and I have sewing planned into my time off. Until then I am trying to clear some of the little but annoying jobs that keep cropping up.  I've been helped by my trusty PA who has found the work over the last few days so tiring that he is currently taking a well earned nap.

He is currently trying to contact the HR department as he feels that at 19 years old he really should be allowed to retire. He's found the last 18 months very hard because he acts as my PA by sitting on documents that might escape when I'm working and also has to check out and test any quilting activities.  In the photo you can, if you look carefully, see the chocolate brown in his fur. He is an oriental cross and his fur is in fact a very dark lush brown and not the black colour you see on most photos of him.

Yesterday started well as my monthly subscription box was delivered. This month there was some pretty gardening/flowers fabric to make a table runner. The charm pack is gorgeous.

I will probably use the fabrics to make another garden themed cushion as a Christmas present for another gardening mad friend. Home made presents are going well this year.

Yesterday I wanted to make the baby quilt top larger since Lucy wanted to keep this quilt. This was the top before I started work.

I added in a couple of additional rows. Then added a narrow blue border and finally a wider green border. I love the vibrant green fabric. I'm very pleased with the result and the finished top is now 60 by 72 inches. Lucy is very happy with the size of the quilt.

I've been spending some time covering hexie templates with fabric ready to sew into flowers for the grandmother's garden quilt. I took time out from that activity to do a little work on the block for the pride and prejudice quilt. I haven't got very far but at least it's moving forward.

Having finished work for the day I'm now on holiday, (earlier ramblings on this post were written in my lunch break.) Tonight I will plan my sewing time for the holiday. I have quite a lot of other calls on my time including shopping trips (fun ones not grocery shopping) some long walks, visits to places of interest and I think a trip to see an art exhibition. I have warned my family that I will become antisocial if they try to manage all my time. I am having space to sew over the next two weeks whatever happens. This evening I need to decide on my goal for August and I want to plan out a quilt.

Take care