Sunday 31 July 2022

Slowing down with slow stitching

There has been a lot going on at Sew Many Yarns over the last couple of weeks and as a result blog posts never got written. By the time I had space I was so tired I went to bed instead. I've seen a lot of my grandson Aubrey, one because he is adorable and loves a cuddle but also to help my daughter. Young babies are difficult at the best of times but in a heat wave it has been more difficult. Our house is old and in hot weather stays cooler than most, so daughter and baby have visited more frequently since their flat is very hot. 

Missy has also found the heat a struggle and keeping a puppy cool is just as tiring as a baby. She has enjoyed spending time in the paddling pool but that has meant muddy trails though the house and a continually wet dog. She was neutered just over a week ago and since she is such a bouncy and excitable dog it took a lot of energy to keep her calm. Frequent short walks helped. She has now been signed off by the vet and she can commence longer walks so hopefully she will be less bouncy in the house.

Work has also been full on with graduation ceremonies for the students who have completed and resubmissions and retakes for some students. The graduations are great fun and a chance to meet my student's families. I also love the ceremonies as a chance to enjoy the clothes and shoes the graduates chose to wear. The summer dresses have been very colourful and stylish and some of the heels are so high!

I've been making time to do some sewing and I finally put Aubrey's quilt top together. I unpicked what I had done before, cut different sashing and finally ended up with a top I liked.

Since taking that Photo I've made the quilt sandwich and started the quilting. I've used the paw print fabric on the back. I gave my daughter the choice of two fabrics and she chose the paw print because it is so bright and colourful.

I have also sewn the 4 inch squares together ready to cut out the pattern pieces for my quilted jacket. 

I still have to decide what fabric to use for the back and this is why I haven't moved forward yet. I think I will have to buy some fabric which might have to wait until next weekend. I could use this polka dot fabric since I have enough, but it makes my eyes go funny.

I haven't done any slow stitching since I finished the last of the blocks for Aubrey's quilt. I do have several projects that need finishing and I finally picked the Christmas cross stitch to work on. This is where I've got to so far.

I really want to complete this piece but I no longer particularly enjoy cross stitch. For this reason I'm going to try and get as much done as I can before I become bored and put it away to finish another day.

I've also started reading again. I go through phases with my leisure activities. I will read a lot for several months and then not pick up a book for ages. With sewing I need several projects on the go as I like variety in what I'm making. Since it's a hobby and being done for pleasure I don't get worried about how long it takes to finish, unless there is a deadline for a reason. Anyway, as I said I've started reading again and try to fit some in at lunch time and also during the evening. 

I liked this book, with it's  dark humour. It's about loneliness, betrayal and finding yourself single again.
The author also wrote The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

I enjoyed reading Esme's autobiography and I love her as co presenter on The Great British Sewing Bee. She is slightly older than me but I recognise a lot of her experiences in London after university. 

I've never read anything by Harlan Coben but I'm pleased I've found him as I enjoyed the story a lot. I'm going to watch The Stranger on Netflix to see how the story was dramatised.

This final book is another new author for me. I've only read a few chapters so far but I've already been sucked into the story. It's a good job I've got back into reading because I pile the books I'm planning on reading on my bedside table. The pile had got ridiculously high and was in danger of falling over especially if I knocked the table. I'm surprised Missy hadn't knocked them over. 

This afternoon I want to some cutting. I have a lot of scraps and I want to cut them into usable squares I'll probably spend an hour or so as I also want to cut some pieces for the dinosaur quilt.

I've also got a lot of catching up to do with the blogs I follow. I feel like I have moved away and lost touch with my friends! I won't have time to read all the posts I've missed but it will be fun to catch up on the goings on in blogland.

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

Take care


Saturday 16 July 2022

Seal watching

Last Saturday we had breakfast early as we wanted plenty of time to explore the Blakeney National Nature reserve. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty and home to many species of wildlife, including common seals.  We headed to Morston Quay as we had booked a boat trip to see the seals and the boat goes from here. It's the luck of the draw whether you will see lots of seals or none at all. The tide was out when we arrived and the surface of the salt marsh was fairly dry in places since the weather was very warm. The moored boats were all sitting on mud and it was fun to watch the tide come in and lift them off. The area is all access land and so we were able to wander at will but taking note of the signs to be careful of ground nesting birds. Our trip was booked for 12.45 so we were able to enjoy our walk and still be back in time for the boat.

We discovered sea lavender.

The ground in this area was very dry

We watched oyster catchers on the other side of the inlet

There was a lot of area to walk.

Slowly the tide came in and lifted the boats.

Around 12.30 we were able to board the boat as there was sufficient water in the centre of the channel to get through. As we headed out into the water protected by the spit the crew explained that we had to stay in the channel marked by the green buoys or we would run aground. They also told us a bit about the history of Blakeney Point and bits of gossip about the moored boats we were passing. Their running commentary was amusing and informative.

There were a couple of boats that looked like Noah's Ark. 

and this one which is a modern replica of the types of boats that were in use in this area years ago.

By now all the boats were afloat.

Looking back we could see Blakeney Church in the distance.

We went past the Lifeboat House. This is now used by students and National Trust staff and volunteers when monitoring the seal and bird populations. The doors were open and a deckchair was outside so there were staff in the centre.

At last we saw the seals

The boxes in the background are for the birds to use for cover and nesting. We saw some grey seals swimming near the boat but they were quite shy and I didn't manage to get a photo.

After our boat trip we walked from Morston Quay to Blakeney along the sea wall. There were a lot of teasles and other wild flowers

The wheat looked ready to be harvested.

These bright flowers were further away and I couldn't make out what they were (probably Rosebay willow herb) but they made a very pretty splash of colour.

We followed the sea wall around until we came to Blakeney. Here we found children with nets enjoying catching crabs of varying sizes. On our return journey to get back to the car some of the children were crying as the crabs had to be returned to the sea.

In Blakeney we found a folk festival taking place and the venue was serving food. We sat and enjoyed the music whilst we ate a delicious crab salad.  We explored the village and took a trip to the church. The church had two towers. The main one at the front.

and one at the back. Like many churches in Suffolk and Norfolk it was built of flint.

Inside it was very light and spacious

The pews all had carved animals at the end. As far as I could see, they were all different.

The pulpit had beautiful carvings

as did the lectern

There were a lot of needlepoint kneelers. They were all stitched using the green thread as the main theme colour.

Pretty cushions in memory of members of the church

There was a model of the Blakeney lifeboat that was in service from 1873 to 1991. Elsewhere in the church there was information and pictures of the crew who saved passengers from 2 steamers during a bad storm.

We were pleased we diverted to look at the church as it was very interesting. We walked back along the sea wall to the car and drove back to our hotel where we enjoyed a very tasty meal. John really enjoyed the locally caught fish. We sat outside to eat our desserts and so did two other couples. We ended up sitting and chatting with them for a couple of hours. It's very strange how sometimes you 'click' with strangers and are happy to sit and chat with them. 

We had planned a visit on the Sunday so I'll tell you about that tomorrow. Today I got my sewing machine out and started sewing my 4 inch squares together to create the fabric to make my quilted jacket. I forgot to recharge my camera so I'll take a photo tomorrow. This evening I have some unpicking to do and a little hand sewing.

Take care


A finish and a trip

I have a finish to post. I actually finished it last week and gifted it to my colleague and friend for her baby girl. Her last day at work was last Friday and her expected due date is this weekend. We are looking forward to the email to tell us baby has been born. I hadn't quite finished stitching the binding on so I took it into work on Thursday morning and it was all finished by the time my colleague arrived. I love this pattern which is one of Connie's from Freemotion by the river. The batik's make the butterflies really pop.

I had to buy fabric for the backing as I didn't have any yardage that would work. I was pleased with the fabric I found and it looks good.

To quilt, I stitched in the ditch around the individual blocks and then stitched diagonally across the 9 patch blocks.

Now I need to get my grandson's quilt finished. I've had to do some unpicking but I hope to have the quilt top finished tomorrow. I'll post pictures once I've completed the top.

Last Friday, John and I went away to Norfolk for the weekend. The weather was warm and sunny and we had a fabulous time. I had a couple of errands to run before we could leave. I needed to pick up puppy food for Missy and mail some letters, but that meant we missed the rush hour traffic. Instead of driving straight to Norfolk and our hotel we stopped on the way at the wetland centre at Welney. When we visited last year they had a glossy ibis visiting and it was visiting again this year. Unfortunately we didn't see it and there wasn't a lot of birds to see. This little crew were on the main water.

There were also two hooper swans.

Since there weren't very many birds we took a walk around the reserve. I found this beautiful teasle. It still has some growing to do.

We spent about three hours at Welney before we resumed our journey to the hotel. On the way John told me he'd booked a boat trip for the Saturday to go and see common seals. I'd been wanting to do this for some time so I was very excited.  I'll tell you about the trip tomorrow.

The temperature has now dropped and hopefully I will be able to sleep. The temperatures are supposed to be even higher over the weekend.

Take care


Monday 4 July 2022

Just the binding to do

Last week I had a few health appointments to attend. On Thursday I had my regular 6 monthly appointment with the oncology team. My blood results and check up were all good. Later that afternoon I had a dental appointment, just a checkup, but it always causes a worry in case the dentist finds a problem. First thing Friday morning I had an appointment with my podiatrist. It's always good to know you are fit and healthy!

The rest of Friday  I spent quilting the butterfly quilt.  Once done I had to decide on the binding. I had several possibilities but finally decided to use some of the rainbow paw prints. It didn't take long until the binding was attached to the front. Now all I have to do is stitch the binding to the back. So far I've completed 2 sides. I need this finished for Thursday as my colleague is then on maternity leave.

On Saturday Lucy and I took Missy and Aubrey for a walk to the common. Missy is very interested in the baby but is very well behaved when he is around. 

Aubrey is now 6 weeks old and very alert. I don't get anything done when he is visiting as he doesn't like to sleep as much as he should. We take him out for a long walk so that Katy can catch up on some sleep.

Missy is growing fast and keeps us on our toes. She loves her walks and also loves watching people pass the house from her seat on the rocking horse.

On Sunday I spent some time copying out a pattern to make a quilted jacket. It is one of the patterns from the sewing bee this year. I enjoyed watching this years programmes and really liked some of the patterns they made. I decided to make the jacket in black and white so once I'd copied the pattern I set to cutting my chosen fabrics into 4 inch squares. I need approximately 100 squares for the fronts and the sleeves. The back is made from different fabric but I would like to make the whole jacket in patchwork. These are the fabrics I pulled.

I haven't used all the fabrics from this selection. On my next sewing day I'll piece the squares together so I can cut out the pattern pieces. These are the fabrics I've used so far.

 I love the patterns on the black fabric in the centre.

The last few weeks have been tiring with Missy and I haven't had a lot of time for sewing. Now that she is older, has almost finished teething  and has been responded well to training, I have more time to get back to work on my various projects. Also Katy is much more settled with Aubrey, he is progressing well and getting into a routine. Life seems to be calming down. It was fun this weekend to get my machine out and get back into the swing of things. I've also restarted reading the blogs I follow and I'm hoping to get back to writing more blog posts.

For now I need to get on with stitching the binding. I'll post a photo of the completed quilt once it's finished. Once that's done I'll be able to complete Aubrey's quilt.

Take care