Friday 22 April 2022

A busy week

The week has been rather busy but unfortunately not with sewing. I kept planning for a 'nothing but sewing' day but other priorities got in the way. However I have managed to complete the main embroidered blocks for the Noah's ark quilt. Yesterday I trimmed the blocks and added a border. I laid them out on the floor to take a photo

I'm really happy with how the blocks look and I love the rainbow paw print fabric. I'm hoping to get the rest of this quilt top finished over the next couple of days. Before I can do that I need to stitch the last block which is a continuation of the rainbow across the top. That is all hooped up and ready to go. This is stitched using chain stitch.

The last couple of evenings I've started some knitting. Katy wanted a baby blanket and I offered to knit one. She didn't want it knitted in white or a pastel colour and in the end choose red.

I love this pattern and have knitted it a couple of times before but never in red. The photo below is rather dark but I can't find a better one at the moment.

I'm also cutting the pieces for the butterfly for the second baby quilt I'm working on. I'm hoping to get that all done today and then I can get on with the butterfly blocks. I haven't done any quilting on the Austen family quilt. It's a very large quilt and I'm concerned that sometimes bits of it slide off the table. Missy loves to tug at things at the moment so I need a puppy free space to work on it.

Missy is difficult to take a photo of since her fur is so dark but the one below does show how her fur is starting to develop into curls. At the moment her fur seems to be going in all directions. She had a trip to the vet yesterday for her first vaccinations. The vet told me she would be sleep today but that hasn't happened yet. I'm hopeful I may get a quiet afternoon.

John has been sorting the garden this week. It needed a general tidy up after the winter and we needed to ensure it is puppy proof. She can't go out until a week after her second injections. We have a puppy pen that we use to keep her and us safe when we are cooking or decorating. She is fascinated by the ladder! We can now put her in the pen in the garden when we are outside until she's had her next injections. We've started to get her used to her harness and lead ready for when we can go for walks. Since Scamp and Casso died a couple of the neighbouring cats have taken to sunning themselves in the garden. I don't think they'll be happy to see a new dog living here.

This morning I've made some bread and had a meet up with some friends over Teams. Missy is now having a nap and so I'm going to get on with my sewing.

Take care


Sunday 17 April 2022

Slow Sunday stitching.


The weather for the holiday weekend has so far been perfect. After our walk yesterday, today I started by doing some household chores and then enjoying playtime with Missy. In the afternoon we went for a walk round the cemetery. As we walked we came across a large patch of three cornered garlic. Although it has garlic in its name it doesn't have a strong garlic smell and it makes a very pretty display.

When we got back home we received a very enthusiastic welcome from missy who needed some more playtime and cuddles. The table in the picture is under construction to house an N gauge model railway. This is one of John and Richard's projects but it will probably be delayed by the arrival of Missy. 

This evening I picked up my hand stitching. It didn't take too long to finish the lions block.

I then started on the small block with the insects and snails. This is the last of the main blocks. I will just have the rest of the rainbow to finish when this current block is done. 

I have some ideas about how I will put the quilt together once all the blocks are done.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching link up. I do like reading about the stitching other people are working on.

Take care


A puppy, stitching and a walk

My plan for yesterday evening was to complete the stitching on the giraffe and Noah block. Having decided how I was going to stitch Noah's beard I was ready to start the stitching. The pattern said to use white for the beard but I wanted to make it a little more realistic and fun. I decided to use one strand of white and one strand of very light grey thread and to use short straight stitches. In next to no time this block was finished and I was pleased with the result. I must have moved slightly when I took this picture but at least the fuzzy bit is only at the top of the shot.

I have completed quite a lot of the lion block and it should be finished tomorrow.

Missy is settling in well and is a joy to have around. She is also very tiring but that's true of any young baby or animal. She has periods of intense activity playing with her toys and then flops to the floor asleep for a while. At the moment she can't go outside as she hasn't had her vaccinations. She'll have the first one next week and the the second 3 weeks later.

Today John and I decided we needed to get some exercise. The weather was perfect for a walk and so we decided to walk to Morden Hall Park. As we walked along the road by the hospital we saw a beautiful wisteria. The smell from it was fabulous.

A little further on, as we walked through Wandle Park we saw this pretty flower. Some like this one had pink on the outside of the petals and others were yellow. The app John has for identifying flowers couldn't give us the name.

We walked along the side of the river Wandle. I found the sound of the water very soothing.

It felt like we were miles from anywhere but we were in London and not far from a lot of people enjoying the sun in the park. At one point we turned onto the main road and came across a post box that had a crocheted top to it.

The post box was next to the bus garage and the number 131 bus runs out of this garage.

We  continued along the river and then followed the path into Morden Hall Park. It was very busy, with lots of people enjoying the sun. Some people were paddling in the river whilst others were enjoying picnics on the grass. We stopped at the cafĂ© for coffee and a piece of cake, which was most enjoyable. We then walked a little further and came to Morden Park. This was nice and quiet. Having rested we set out for home. The walk itself was 8.5 miles, but easy walking. 

After dinner I picked up my stitching again and I hope to have the lion block finished tomorrow. I think that just leaves two blocks to do and then I can put the quilt together.

Take care 


Friday 15 April 2022

A puppy and some stitching

On Tuesday Lucy and I drove to Suffolk to visit some puppies. The weather was warm and sunny and although the roads were busy the drive was pleasant and pleasurable. We took snacks and drinks with us as we didn't want to stop on the journey there, as we knew the drive home might need several stops if we had a puppy with us. When we arrived we met the owner, the 4 puppies and the mother dog. The puppies are cockapoos, a cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle. Spaniels are gundogs whilst poodles are utility dogs i.e. both breeds are breed to be working dogs. Both breeds are intelligent and learn very quickly. We hadn't been there very long before we were on the floor with 4 puppies crawling and climbing all over us. It would have been a great way to spend the whole afternoon. We had a long conversation with the owner about their health checks and all the other things you need to know are in place or have been done before deciding to buy a puppy. The mother dog was there as well and joined in with the games. There were two boy and two girl puppies. Lucy wanted a male dog but totally changed her mind when one of the girls decided we had to choose her.  After an extended playtime with all the puppies we decided we couldn't leave without this little one. This is a photo we took when we got home. It isn't great but puppy was too interested in the camera to keep still.

She was so good on the way home. She travelled in our cat basket on the back seat of the car. To begin the journey Lucy sat in the back so she could give her little strokes through the holes in the door  but she soon settled and Lucy joined me in the front. We stopped to have a drink and check on puppy and otherwise the journey was quick and uneventful. Once home we opened the front of the basket and let her explore the main room before we all took turns to cuddle her and give tummy tickles. On the journey Lucy had been addressing her as Missy and that is what we have called her. By the time we went to bed on Tuesday she was responding to her name.

The last couple of days have been spent getting to know Missy and letting her settle in. She is 9 weeks old so still has to have vaccinations before she can go outside. By the end of yesterday she was consistently using the puppy pads we had put down. we are currently using the bottom half of the cat basket as her bed and safe haven. She has met the vacuum and ignored it after she had investigated, stared at the washing machine and decided it wouldn't hurt her and fallen asleep whilst watching Midsomer Murders. She has also shown a liking for lying on quilts. She is going to be a lot bigger than Scamp so won't be lying on my lap while I stitch but she does like to lie on your feet so she'll be close.

On the stitching front I've managed to finish two more blocks. I completed the rabbit block on Wednesday.

Last night I stitched the dove block. This is only little so was completed in an evening.

 Tonight I'm going to start work on the lion block.

Before I start work on this block I will be finishing off the giraffe and Noah block. The pattern said to stitch his beard using French knots but I didn't like how it looked so unpicked it. Susan, one of my followers commented that she would stitch it with straight stitches as this is how her husband's beard looks. I agree with her, John's beard is straight rather than curly. It shouldn't take long to finish this block off.

This morning I went with John to our local church. Every Maundy Thursday they have an overnight vigil as part of their Easter preparations. I took part years ago and decided to do it again this year. John and I had the 5 to 6 a.m. slot which meant that we were in the church as dawn broke. It made the stained glass windows look beautiful. This is the altar and window in the Lady Chapel where the vigil takes place.

As we left I looked at the west window which has recently been cleaned and restored. The colours are so vivid.

Today I'm hoping to do some quilting. Yesterday I had it planned in but ended up doing some more wallpapering. Tomorrow I've promised to go and help Katy  get everything organised in preparation for her baby. Her due date is in 4 weeks but she isn't planning on going on maternity leave for another two weeks. She now has all the baby items she needs but she needs to make some alterations to make the best use of space in their flat. Back to today, before I get started on quilting I need a cuddle with little Missy.

Take care


Tuesday 12 April 2022

Some stitching and a play.

Yesterday was a busy day. There were several jobs I needed to get done. The usual cleaning chores were up first and they were dispatched reasonably quickly. I had done some more laundry and so there was some more items requiring ironing. I took the opportunity to press the last 7 nine patch blocks I'd made. Now I need to create the butterfly blocks and for that I needed to cut some cardboard templates to cut or draw round. Much easier than using a paper pattern. Then I had the joy of deciding which pretty batiks to use. Do I want them all different or should I stick with a small range of fabrics. You'll have to wait until I start stitching to find out. I love these bright jewel batiks.

Next there was some filling and wallpapering to do. Richard and I are doing this together but we aren't rushing. I'm not spending all my precious holiday time decorating. John is working today so he was making sure he had all the information he needed for the day and left us to it.

I sat and did some slow stitching on the rabbit block. I'm very random in how I work on these blocks. I have all the threads I need to complete the block in a bag with the fabric. I just pull out a colour and use that first. On this occasion the thread was for the block outline so that got done first. Usually I stitch in the evening whilst having some chill out time but yesterday evening we were going out so I stitched for a while in the morning.

Yesterday evening John and I had tickets for the theatre in Richmond. I had previously booked tickets for two other plays but both were cancelled due to the cast having covid. Today we managed to see the play I'd booked.

This is a play by Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert and is based on the French play 'Trap for a lonely man' by Robert Thomas. Patrick Duffy, Linda Purl, Gray O'Brien and Ben Nealon played the main characters. The play is about a man whose wife goes missing and then has another woman turn up claiming to be his wife.  There is a murder and a great twist at the end. The auditorium was full and the audience were asked to wear masks but only about 20 of us in the dress circle were doing so. It just seemed too high risk not to wear a mask. We really enjoyed the play and also our meal at Pizza Express before the performance. 

Today I'm driving with Lucy to meet some puppies and hopefully there will be one that we bond with and he/she bonds with us. I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow. Today I may get some stitching done this evening but it depends how the day pans out.

Take care


Sunday 10 April 2022

Slow stitching.

Yesterday evening I settled down to watch an episode of Midsomer Murders and do some slow stitching. I need to finish up Noah but I decided that I wanted to work on a new block. My choice was the kangaroos. By the time the episode had finished and it was time to think about going to bed I had finished the Kangaroos and just had the block outline, flowers and the eyes to do. I finished the block this morning and I'm pleased with the result.

Before I could finish the block I needed to make another loaf of bread. I haven't been making bread very often recently and the family showed their appreciation by eating the lot. Having got the bread started I decided to clear the ironing pile. As I neared the end the timer went to signal the end of the first rise for the bread. Having given the dough it's second knead and popped it in the bread tin I quickly pressed the 9 patch blocks I'd completed before packing the iron away.

I still don't feel like completing Noah so I picked another block. This time it's the rabbits. It's in the hoop ready to be started later this evening. I've found the threads that I need for the block and will be ready to go. Sorry for the quality of the photo but wherever I positioned myself I was casting a shadow.

This afternoon I finished sewing the last 7 nine patch blocks together. Once I'd done that John and I went for a walk. The weather was warm and sunny so perfect for a walk. This tree looked lovely in the sun.

 Here's a close up.

John used his flower and tree app which told us it was a Taiwan cherry. We also saw these cute white flowers.

The bluebells were starting to open.

We have some in our back garden but they are still in bud at the moment.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching link up. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone's been working on this week.

Tomorrow I'm planning on doing some quilting and I also need to phone a lady to arrange my visit to her on Tuesday to view her puppies. I'm hoping one of them will suit us but I'm not counting on it. Any puppy we get has to be right for the family and my family has to be right for the puppy. 

Take care


Saturday 9 April 2022

April goal

This month I am too late to join Patty from Elm Street Quilts for her One Monthly Goal but that doesn't mean I can't set myself a goal. I have 2 weeks leave and so I have more time to work on my various projects. I stand a good chance of completing my goal this month.

The most urgent project to finish is the Noah Ark baby quilt. Here's what I've completed so far plus Noah and the giraffes. Noah needs to be completed but there isn't much stitching to do on this block.

Here are the blocks to be completed. I should be able to get these done. I just need to keep my fingers crossed that Katy's pregnancy goes to full term. Completing this quilt will be my April goal.

There is one other block but that just joins up with the rainbow on the cow block and goes across the top of the set of blocks. As I have enlarged the blocks and haven't fully planned out how they will go together on the quilt, I haven't drawn that one out yet. 

I also need to work on the butterfly quilt but this isn't so urgent. This I can work on during the day as it involves machine sewing and the 9 patch blocks will go together really fast. I had considered hand appliqueing the butterflies but I think I will do it on the machine. I'll keep my hand stitching for evenings.

Today was a wallpapering day. We need to repaper the hall, stairway and landing. Richard was helping me and we got a good bit of the hall done before we both felt tired. The paper we are putting up is lining paper and will be painted once it is all done. The house is approximately 140 years old and so the walls aren't all perfectly flat and the lining paper gives a better surface to paint .

Having stopped papering for the day I made a loaf of country grain bread and then set up the machine. I decided I would sew the 9 patch blocks together and then sort out the butterfly blocks. Taking care to keep all the patches as I sorted them I first sewed the square into rows and then pressed the seams before sewing the rows together. When I stopped to prepare dinner I had completed 11 blocks leaving 7  to do.

The next time I get my machine out, which I'm hoping will be tomorrow, I will be finishing off these blocks and pressing them and then if I have time, I will be quilting a couple of blocks on the Austen Family quilt.  Having finished the machine sewing for the day I took some time out to make some chocolate nests once dinner was in the oven. On Wednesday we made these with our guide units. We had more ingredients than we needed because many of the girls had already gone away on their Easter holidays, so I decided to use them up. I used crushed up shredded wheat and melted milk chocolate to make the nests and finished them with mini eggs. The bright orange eggs are mini chocolate orange eggs and they are very tasty. 

Later this evening I will finish off Noah and make a start on another block. I'm slowly re-watching all of the Midsomer Murder episodes. These are perfect to watch whilst slow stitching as I've seen them all before and most of them more than once. I can concentrate on my stitching rather than worry about missing an important part of the plot.

Take care


Thursday 7 April 2022

Setting up a new project

Today I needed to set up a new project. The administrator for my course is expecting a baby girl in July and I want to make a baby quilt for her. I started the morning by spending a little time going through my quilt patterns. I finally decided I would make the butterfly quilt. I made this quilt a couple of years ago for one of my students and really liked the way it looks when completed. It has the added advantage of using scraps to make the 9 patches. This morning I spent some time sorting scraps and making piles of squares. I needed 18 piles of 9 two and a half inch squares.

On Friday, when I next have sewing time, I will sew them into 9 patch squares.

Next I pulled my neutral box of fabrics. In the end I decided to use cream as the background fabric for the butterflys.. The fabric needed pressing before I could cut the squares.

I wanted bright colours for the butterflys so I pulled out my batik fabrics. These should give a great pop of colour to the quilt.

I have sufficient bondaweb to use for the applique. I'll get the butterflies cut out tomorrow evening.

Tomorrow I need to look through my yarn stash as I want to knit a shawl for Katy's baby. I think I have sufficient yarn to make it.  

When I finish work tomorrow evening I am on leave for two weeks. I'm really looking forward to it as I have a lot of things I want to work on. 

Take care


Tuesday 5 April 2022

A walk in the sun.

On Saturday John, Lucy and I set out to walk at Leith hill. As we left home the sun was shining and the temperature was perfect for walking, not too hot and not cold. We had to drive to get to the starting point and during that time the weather decided to deliver snow flurries and then back to sunshine.  This was a pattern repeated at intervals throughout the day. The last bit of the journey was along very narrow lanes with passing places. There were a lot of cyclists enjoying the weather and the woodland tracks. I wish they would take a little care as they suddenly appeared on the road from the woods, but we did safely arrive at the car park. We started by walking up a steepish hill to Leith Hill Tower. We took Little My with us as she wanted to spend some time in the woods. We needed to do something as we didn't have Scamp to accompany us.

If you don't know about Little My you need to read the Moomin books by Trove Jansson. 
As we neared the top of the hill we had a good view across the valley.

At this point there was a flurry of snow, hence the overcast sky.  A short walk bought us to Leith Hill Tower. The Tower was built in 1765 by Richard Hull of Leith Hill Place as 'a place for people to enjoy the glory of the English countryside'. The tower is owned by the National Trust and you are able to climb to the top and enjoy the view. Although it was open we decided to get on with our walk since the weather was unsure of what it was doing.

For most of the walk the scenery was mostly woodland.

There was evidence of various fungi, but they were all rather old and so looked a little sad.

Some of the trees had very interesting bark.

Meanwhile 'Little My' found another place to play.

At times we were walking in an old hollow way. The sides were high and much of the tree roots were on view.

We came across a boggy patch of western or American skunk cabbage or Swamp Lantern. They looked very pretty but are not native to the UK.

We took several wrong paths during the walk, not because we are poor map readers but because a lot of new paths had been set up, so it was sometimes difficult to pick the right one. We enjoyed our walk and the sunshine. The snow flurries were an added bonus.

In the evening I worked on the giraffe block and had planned to finish it. The last bit to stitch was Noah's beard, face and hands. The beard was to be completed using French knots and I made a good start at it but I didn't like the effect so unpicked it. I haven't decided how to stitch the beard yet, once I do this piece will be complete.

This evening I'm going to trace out the final blocks for this project. Tomorrow I'm not working and I'm going to be cutting fabric for the start of a new project.

Take care


Friday 1 April 2022

A little sewing.

The weather here in London has turned cold and every so often yesterday and today there have been little flurries of snow. I would have loved to stay in all day and sew but I'd promised Katy we'd go shopping. She needed to buy some baby things as she's now 34/35 weeks. We headed to Kingston, my favourite shopping centre, where we decided to start the outing with lunch. We needed to plan the order of shops we wanted to visit. There was a list of things we needed to buy including a car seat but in the event we only got one item. Everything else was out of stock so we'll order things online. We enjoyed our outing and had a great time chatting 

Once home I set up my machine and set to work on the Austen Family quilt. I wanted to get two more blocks quilted. Here's the first one I did.

It looks prettier from the back.

The second one I did is this one. I need to do another photo as this one is a little blurry.

I have also been working on the Giraffe block for the Noah's Ark quilt. I had hoped to finish this block but unfortunately I still have a bit to do.

Noah's beard and hair is done using French knots so that will take a little time. The little cat should be fun to do. I need to draw out the remaining blocks and get them finished.

Today I also took time out to remember my mom. April 1st was her birthday. I pulled up these old photos of her to share with you. The photos were taken around 1958 to 1961. I can't be exact but I wore the dress in the second picture between the age of 5 and 8. Mom made both her suit and my dress. In fact she made most of her clothes.

Tomorrow, John, Lucy and I are planning to go walking. I hope the weather is a little warmer as the wind was really cold today. I'm also hoping to have time to quilt another two blocks.

Take care