Monday 30 May 2022

A rollercoster time.

Since I last posted life has been a bit of a rollercoster, with good and bad bits. Unfortunately my older brother, Ian died from sepsis. He was quite unwell at Christmas and spent time in hospital  with pneumonia. Since then he hadn't been particularly well. We had been planning on visiting him during my holiday, which is this week. Sadly he died before I got to see him. His funeral is on the 15th June which seems a long time to wait and I'm not sure why it is so delayed. I've never posted a photo of Ian so I'll hunt one out.

Last Tuesday Katy was due to have an induction of labour starting at 5 p.m. In the end they started it at 2 a.m. on Wednesday morning! It was a balloon induction and when they removed the balloon she had a very quick labour with little one being born at 7:15p.m. or there abouts that evening. It was all rather traumatic as his heart rate started to drop, so they used forceps and Katy lost rather a lot of blood, but both mother and baby are doing well. So here is an overload of baby pictures of Aubrey William. The first one is proud Dad Oliver plus baby quite soon after he was born.

The following morning he was very alert but a little grumpy.

He was 8 pounds 2 ounces but the new born size baby clothes seem rather large on him.

He likes his Moses basket for snoozing. I'm pleased I got the lining finished in time.

The blanket was also finished and is already in use.

The other baby in the family, one 15 week old puppy is growing fast and now enjoys going out for walks, although getting her into her harness is still a little tricky. She knows the harness means a walk but is so eager to go out she fights the whole preparation process. Here she is flaked out on the floor after a walk. She likes to pull her blanket and any toys out of her basket and then sleep on the floor.

The plastic box has replaced my knitting bag for the moment as Missy loves to play and bite wool. However she is good when I sit at the table to use the sewing machine. She settles herself on my feet. It's a good job I can operate it without the foot peddle.

Today is a sewing day but I have a dental check up this afternoon and I'm taking Lucy to visit her nephew later so I'm not sure how much will get done. I have a couple of pieces of work I want to get finished but otherwise this is strictly a sewing week holiday.

Take care


Sunday 22 May 2022

Some sewing and some knitting.

I love batik fabrics especially the bright jewel colours. They are perfect for the butterflies on the baby quilt I'm making.  This weekend I was determined to do some sewing and this morning I made a start on the butterflies. I had cut a template from thick card.

I started by cutting all the butterfly bodies and attaching them to the background fabric.

Using the wing templates I cut the wings for the first four butterflies.

I love the bright colours of the batiks. I stopped at this point as I needed to make a liner for the Moses basket Kathryn had been given. I wanted to ensure that all the seams were enclosed so made the liner double thickness. The most difficult part was making sure I sewed the two pieces together correctly so I could turn it right sides out through the openings left for the handles. I wanted to use red ribbon for the ties but didn't have sufficient so used blue check ribbon instead. I'm pleased with the result. It should make a cosy bed for the baby's first few months.

This evening I have been working on the baby blanket and almost finished it. I have 4 more rows to knit. Then I will block it to the right size so it all lays nice and flat. This will be finished tomorrow evening.

Once the baby blanket is finished I just need to finish off the baby quilt. Baby is now overdue and Kathryn will be induced later this week if he doesn't put in an appearance before then. I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching link up. 

Take care


Friday 13 May 2022

Man Made Quilting.

On Saturday I visited my favourite quilt shop, Midsomer Quilting in Chilcompton, Radstock. They always have quilts on display and regularly run exhibitions. We had planned our visit this time to coincide with the Man Made Quilting exhibition.

One of the men exhibiting a quilt usually makes kites and before we went into the shop I watched the kites that he was flying in the meadow. Unfortunately I can't remember his name.

The quilt below is called Steering by Stars and was made by Peter Hayward. Each quilter wrote a bit about their quilt in the programme so I'm give you their comments. Peter wrote "this quilt took me over a year to make, and was awarded second place in its category at the annual Quilt Festival in Houston, as well as the Viewers Choice prize (just as my 'Lone Star Explores Space' had been before.) The quilt was also winner of the 'Best in Show' at the 2018 Spanish Patchwork Festival. The starting point for the quilt was the traditional Mariner's Compass pattern, but a couple of extra cardinal points somehow sneaked themselves into the central shape, and so I ended up with what you see now."

This Sampler Quilt is by Huge Andrew and he writes " I saw the overall design in a Singer book on quilting about 12 years ago. It has taken me until 2021 to complete it and is a record of my quilting skills and interests over that time."

V Rainbow Quilt was made by Matthew Anderson. " This quilt was made from a pattern in 'By the Bundle' by Emma Jean Jansen. The whole was made using Kona solids and quilted by Midsomer Quilting."

Manly by Pete Dell is the quilt below and he writes "For the first 65 years of my life I'd not really done any sewing apart from fixing my wife's machine as needed. Last year she decided to have a go at quilting and I got involved with the process of layout etc, had a play with the sewing machine and found it quite fun. I accompanied her to MQ where I met Chris and was encouraged to have a try. I then searched for a design that was 'manly' and not too complicated and eventually found the design I made. The fabrics really grabbed my attention and I think the whole thing looks like a stained-glass window. It may be my first quilt but it won't be my last!"

I love the fabrics in this quilt.

The quilt below is called Windmills and is by Mike Reynolds. He had several quilts in the exhibition but I can't find this one listed in the programme.

This quilt, Mountain Lake is by Trev Jones. He writes, "This is a Gail Lawther patchwork design, inspired by the work of Claris Cliffe. It's one of a series of 4 which includes 'Pine trees', Country cottage', and 'Fir tree'. I particularly like the Art Deco design and coloring coupled with the stained- glass effect."

This one is another quilt by Peter Hayward called Waves, Tides and Currents.  "For this quilt I wanted to build on the idea of using turned edge fused patches to create perfect pattern matching, and once I saw a fabric based on the eddies and flows of moving water I knew that I wanted to use it. With hindsight I fear that the contrast between the six colours in the collection was perhaps not as stark as I needed it to be and this led to a less successful result that I had hoped but the whole exercise taught me a great deal and I am sure I will return to this technique in the future."

This is a second quilt by Mike Reynolds called Dark Side of the Moon. "I'm a big fan of Pink Floyd and was blown away by the Dark Side of the Moon album and thought about using the cover as inspiration. the idea looked good on paper but proved to be a nightmare to make, especially as this was the second quilt I started (but not the second one finished.) As a woodworker I am used to materials keeping their shape and size - unlike fabrics. Initially I tried to piece the design but no way would it stay in shape and getting all the seams lined up was a nightmare. Eventually advice from my wife and Judi Mendelssohn, led me to use foundation piecing for each section along with stay stitching"

This next quilt was my favourite. The batik fabrics are just so vibrant and the seams were beautifully matched. This is Lone Star by Trev Jones who writes "If you are going to do a Lone Star design, do a big one! I found this pattern on the internet and chose bright batik material. The accuracy required when joining the strips to make the eight large diamonds was daunting, together with joining the diamonds to make the star - it involved a lot of pinning and also a lot of seam ripping!"

Out of Africa by Alan Eaglestone was also impressive. "This is really a cross stitch design by Durene Jones and was adapted by my wife for me to do the patchwork. There are 15,600 individual squares and it used up almost two miles of thread."

Cube by Peter Hayward. "This was a fairly early prototype (number 5 or so out of 13) for my two day class on triaxial weaving 

Another Lone Star, this time by Marius Evans. "Needing a project in the first covid lockdown, I took inspiration from a beautiful quilt my sister in law presented to us as a wedding present. On the quilt she gave us she used predominantly half square triangles, so I took the same idea but used a star as the centre piece." 

Another one by Mike Reynolds titled MU3AK. "When I turned 60 I decided to learn to play guitar and eventually this led to starting a Rock and Blues Band MU3AC. The music is available on the internet. I also used my woodworking skills to make my own guitars from scratch, all of which are depicted on this little quilt."

I couldn't find the number for this little quilt but I like it so I've included it here.

Penguins by Toby Jones. "One of my friend's favourite animals are penguins, which inspired me to create this design for her. I am pleased with the contrast between the bright colourful border and the gloomy background, which I think helps bring the scene to life. Thankfully my friend really likes it.

Sunbonnet by Philip Steward. "This was made as part of a husband and wife challenge, organised by Maggie Relph of The African Fabric Shop, using a piece of 'Peg Fabric' in the quilt. I told Maggie that I had a good title for her challenge, and she said well go and make it. Previously I had only made three A4 size quilts and this tryptic became my first real quilt. I have a dislike for 'Sun Bonnet Sue' and this is an alternative.

Clottie by Peter Hayward although relatively small pulled a huge amount of praise. " Clottie is comprised of just under 10,000 half centimetre squares, but even with that number of pieces she still comes in at just 50 cms x 50cms. The design process was atypically rapid, as it was simply a question of pixelating a photograph and adapting it, with the help of a friend's programming skills, to my chosen colour palette. The real challenge was working with such tiny pieces of fabric, though, between the small size of the finished quilt and the number of patchwork hours there are in a lockdown day, this quilt took only a couple of months from start to finish."

There were are lot more quilts but some were difficult to photograph because of available space or lighting or position. John may have taken some different photos and if he has I'll post those next time. The show was amazing with quilts submitted by men and boys. It truly inspired me and kick started my quilting mojo back into life.

Take care


Wednesday 11 May 2022

It's been a while

It's been a while since I last posted anything, but life and a puppy got in the way. I had completely forgotten how time consuming young animals are and consequently how tiring they can be. Missy is now 12 weeks old and has had her vaccinations . She should have been kept indoors until Friday but this morning she was so full of energy that I cracked and took her out for her first walk. She is now flat out asleep at my feet. She has so much energy that no amount of playing was wearing her out and the only answer was a walk. We didn't go very far but it took a while as there were a lot of sniffs she was fascinated by and there were noises and sights she hadn't seen before. Currently there is building work going on quite near us and as we started our walk they started a heavy machine up. Missy's tail went down and she wouldn't move until she realised that whatever it was causing the noise wasn't near her. After that she coped well with strange sounds and with the passing cars.

I have been able to get on with some sewing and knitting but not a lot. I started sewing the blocks for the Noah's Ark quilt together. 

I'm using rainbow colours between the blocks. The next row across will be red. I still have the rainbow block to stitch then I can put the whole quilt together.

In the evenings I have been getting on with knitting the baby blanket. I still have a little way to go to finish it.

I love this pattern and it works well in red. Even though I only get to knit for about half an hour a night, I should be able to finish this by the weekend.

At the weekend John and I were away. We visited my favourite quilt shop which had a show of quilts made by men. I need to take the photos off the camera and then I be able to show you. I will do that when I get home this evening and so I'll be able to post them tomorrow. I did buy a fun quilt pattern whilst I was there.

This pattern will work really well with scraps and I have a big supply of them. It should be fun to work on as well. 

I need to make a lining for the Moses basket my daughter has been given. This will involve a quick trip to a fabric shop as I don't have sufficient appropriate fabric, (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.) I also took time out to shop my stash for fabric to make two summer dresses. The dress making form is set at my measurements and all I need is some time without Little Missy to pin the pattern pieces on to check if I need to make any alterations to the pattern.

Take care