Sunday 21 April 2024

Weekend sewing.

This week I haven't been able to do as much sewing as I would have liked due to having sore wrists and an achy right arm. A lot of things I can do with my left arm and hand, including producing readable hand writing, but hand stitching isn't one of them.

Over the week I managed to get another stegosaurus made. This time it is the blue one. It isn't as bright as the yellow stegosaurus but I like it. Having made the pattern once I found it went together quicker but it is still a lengthy process with lots of seams that require pressing before you make the next seam. 

I also sewed the binding onto the baby quilt. I chose to use some red fabric rather than the blue I had used for the borders and the backing. The red gave a better effect. Having finished the quilting I still have ends to sort out but since I had the machine set up I took the opportunity to get the binding on. Now I just need time to stitch it down.

Today I did some hand stitching on the cat cross stitch This has been moving quite slowly but it is nearly done.  As soon as I finish this blog post I will get back to working on it. It's easier to see the cat's head now that the ears have been added. When I'm this close to a finish I just want to keep stitching.

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

My sewing plans for this week are to sew down the binding on the bay quilt, make a third stegosaurus and sew my new peg bag together. Hopefully the cat will be finished in the next couple of evenings and I will need to pick a new hand stitching project. I have several waiting to be worked on or finished.

Take care 


Tuesday 16 April 2024

Bird watching and sewing.

On Saturday, John and I had a trip arranged to Strumpshaw Fen, a nature reserve in Norfolk. We were travelling by coach which meant I could watch the scenery go by, chat and do some hand stitching. I can't read when travelling but I wondered if I could do some knitting or better still crochet. I decided to take some crochet along and was pleased to find that I could happily stitch without making myself travel sick. When we were in the covid lockdowns I had started making crocheted squares to make a blanket. I had a lot of left over yarn and this was a perfect project to use it up. It still isn't finished and utilising some of the coach journey seemed like a great use of time to move this forward. I managed 4 squares on the outward journey and 4 on the return journey. That left me time to enjoy the scenery and chat with John

I have already started crocheting the squares together and it is taking shape very nicely. I still need to make a few more squares but I will be able to make a big blanket. There will be a lot of ends to sew in when it's finished.

Next time I'm travelling on a coach or a train I will take my knitting and see how that goes. I know I can't read when travelling by road as it makes me very travel sick.  

This was the first time we'd visited Strumpshaw Fen. In order to get into the reserve you have to cross a railway line. Most people thought it only had a train pass by once a day and were surprised when they found the line was used by fast trains. Crossing the line worried some folks but the line was straight at this point and so you could see when it was safe to cross. The river Yare runs on the other side of the reserve. The water level was quite high.

As we walked round the reserve we saw a lot of butterflies but they were impossible to photograph as they wouldn't settle anywhere. The selection of butterflies we saw included Peacock, Brimstone, Orange tip butterfly and a few white butterflies but I don't know the difference between them. we did a circular walk around the reserve, stopping to enjoy the views and to watch the birds. At times the ground was very muddy. The area in the photo below was tame compared with some of the mud. 

There were also wild flowers including primroses,

Henbit dead nettle

and garlic mustard

Walking alongside the river we watched several boats go by.

Over the day we saw 30+ different species of birds including several marsh harriers, red kites and a buzzard. |Having stood listening to a Willow Warbler for about 10 minutes we finally managed to locate where he was in the tree. It was also fun watching the large crane fly around. Bird watching becomes more difficult as the tress get their leaves.

Sunday was my sewing day and I finished stitching the binding down on the pinwheel quilt. This is now a finish. 

I also finished the quilting on the Give a Twirl baby quilt. I haven't taken a photo yet so I'll do that once I've added the binding. I need to hunt through my stash to see if I have some suitable fabric. Yesterday, I met baby Lucas who will be the recipient of the quilt once it is finished. He was born on 28th March and is a very cute baby. I must remember to add the quilt label.

The next two days are busy working days but I'm looking forward to another sewing day on Friday. That will be after I've taken Missy to be groomed. I'm hoping to get the first sleeve of my cardigan finished over the next two evenings.

Take care 


Friday 12 April 2024

This and that.

This week has been rather busy. I needed to catch up on work having been on holiday for two weeks and I had several things that I needed to catch up on at home. The problem, however is that a busy day at work left me too tired to effectively complete anything in the evenings. Despite being tired I did make a start on the quilting on the pinwheel baby quilt.

On the white blocks I'm doing simple geometric quilting using the walking foot. I really like this quilt because it looks so fresh and bright. I usually bury the thread ends before I pack up the quilting for the day but I hadn't got enough energy left to do it. When I work on this again, hopefully on Sunday, the ends will be sorted.

I have done some work on the cat cross stitch. I had a problem identifying exactly where I was on the pattern. Sometimes I colour in the stitches I've done on the pattern. I hadn't been doing so and managed to confuse myself, which meant some unpicking. I highlighted the stitches I'd completed on the pattern and I am now able to carry on. I should be able to get this finished this coming week. There really is very little left to stitch.

Today I decided to cut the fabric for the remaining stegosaurus blocks. You may remember that there are a lot of pieces to these blocks. Here's the photo of the pieces when I made the first block.

There are 5 more of this block to make so I repeated the process of cutting and labelling the pieces for all 5 blocks. That took over 3 hours to complete. The pieces are all neatly stored in envelopes ready for the next time I get my machine out. I want to get at least one of these blocks made over the weekend.

I've been meaning to make a new peg bag for some time. The old bag was falling apart and at the moment the pegs are stored in a plastic bag. I went hunting some fabric I could use. My original plan was to use something bright and very pretty but then I came across some fabric that I am not very keen on and I know won't get used in a quilt. I can't remember where the fabric came from but it reminds me of the upholstery fabric on old sofas, like the sofa my grandparents had. There is nothing wrong with the fabric, it just doesn't suit my tastes but I think it will be perfect for a peg bag.

Earlier in the week I attached the binding to the red and blue pinwheel quilt and I've managed to stitch round two corners but there is still quite a way to go to have a finish.

Finally my treat for the day was some fresh strawberries and I also bought thick cream. The strawberries were so sweet.

Tomorrow, we are going bird watching again, this time in Norfolk. We've never been to this reserve before so I've no idea what it will be like or what we might see. The weather tomorrow is supposed to be dry and warm so it should be a good outing. I need to check I've got everything I need for the outing as it will be an early start in the morning.

Take care


Sunday 7 April 2024

Slow stitching Sunday.

I have quite a lot of slow stitching that I want and need to get done so it seemed like a good idea to make a start on it as early as possible. A lot of the hand stitching I do is in the evening and often my eyes are tired and I can't stitch for long. The opportunity to stitch in natural light is very pleasurable so I got started. I settled myself comfortably and settled down to watch a video whilst I stitched. I'd just got organised when John appeared with a couple of boxes. He had decided to continue with the sorting of the loft and had found my wool stash. He wanted me to check out the contents and decide if I wanted to keep it all. I wasn't in the mood to sort the boxes but also I wasn't in the mood to disagree as I want to clear all the stuff we don't need or won't use. It also meant I would know exactly what I have got in the boxes.

I tipped the yarn out of the first box and checked that it was still in good condition. I then repacked the box making sure it only had double knitting yarn in it. It took some time and I took out any yarn I knew I wouldn't use. That will go to the charity shop for someone else to use.  The heap of yarn on the floor was very pretty with a full range of colours. The double knitting yarn is being used up on my crocheted blanket. I want to do some more work on the blanket as the year progresses.

I then repeated the process for the 4ply yarn, which was mostly baby wool and I also found some aran yarn. I did find some yarn that I had been looking for since Christmas. My yarns are now neatly stashed in three boxes. One large box full of double knitting yarn and two small boxes, one with baby yarn and the other for aran weight yarn.

Fast forward to this evening and I settled to do some hand stitching. I'm currently working on the head of the cat in the cross stitch. The tail end of the cat is already done. The face is mostly white and very pale grey.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching link up. It's always fun to find out what everyone is working on.

I'm back at work tomorrow but I'm hoping to get some stitching done in the evening. 

Take care


Saturday 6 April 2024

A walk and sewing prep

Today John, Lucy and I had a walk planned around the Devils punch bowl in Surrey. The Devil's punch bowl is a visitor attraction and is a biological site of special interest.  The Punch Bowl is a large natural amphitheater. John and I had visited the area before but Lucy hadn't . We started the walk from the car park and cafe. This was the view from the rim of the bowl.

We kept Missy on her lead.  Our reasons for this were
1 so she couldn't run down the steep slope and maybe get herself into difficulties,
2. to protect the ground nesting birds 
3. to stop her rolling in the puddles. Missy is currently being treated for an ear infection so mustn't get her ears wet.
This photo shows the depth of the bowl better.

The ground was very muddy in places. We all had our hiking boots on and Missy thought the mud was great fun. She also tried to get into any large puddles we passed. She shook her head as I took the picture.

During the walk we saw several wild flowers. The gorse was beautiful and oddly it smells like coconut.

This one is Lesser celandine. In places it formed a carpet.

The Wild garlic was in flower and gave off a lovely smell of garlic.

This one is Annual honesty.

and there were lots of dandelions.

We stopped to rest and enjoy the view at a bench. It had some beautiful decoration on it but unfortunately the weather had caused some damage.

We walked around the rim of the bowl and also went to Gibbet hill. The gibbet was used to deter highway men and others with criminal intent.

There is also a Celtic Cross in the same locality.

As we headed back to the car park and cafe we passed this piece of sculpture. Not sure what it is so I need to do some reading.

Missy wasn't impressed. Back at the cafe we enjoyed a toasted sandwich for a late lunch. and Missy had some flapjack. By this time she was flagging and she slept for most of the drive home. It had been a very enjoyable day out.

Once home and refreshed with a pot of tea I set about adding the binding to the blue and red pinwheel quilt. It is now ready for me to stitch the binding down, and  I'll make a start on this tomorrow.

Whilst John cooked dinner I made the quilt sandwich for the pinwheel baby quilt. This is now ready for quilting. A border has been added since the last photo and the backing fabric is the same as the border.  I'm keeping the quilting simple on this quilt as I need to get it finished for next week. I'll start the quilting tomorrow.

Yesterday evening I spent the time knitting so tomorrow I need to get on with the cat cross stitch if I want to have any chance of finishing it this month. For now the evening is drawing to a close and I need to think about going to bed. 

Take care



Thursday 4 April 2024

A visit and some sewing.

On Tuesday John and I got up early and headed up the MI to visit my brother Alex and his partner Karen. I'd been meaning to organise this trip for a while but work and life got in the way. We stopped at one of the services for coffee and a croissant for breakfast. The day was sunny and the trees were starting to get their leaves. It was a pleasure to be travelling, even the lengthy road works couldn't annoy us. Alex and Karen live on narrow boats in a marina. They each have a boat and they are moored next to each other.  Here is Karen in front of her boat. Her flowers always look beautiful.

When we arrived Karen was sorting out her central heating, which had developed a fault. Fortunately there was a heating engineer on the marina and he helped to sort out the problem. Whilst that was happening John, Alex and I chatted and had coffee on Alex's boat. Fortunately the heating was sorted out fairly quickly. Once Karen joined us we exchanged presents, including the William Morris tote bag I'd made for Karen. It turns out that Karen loves William Morris fabric as much as I do.

We went out for a leisurely lunch at a great restaurant (sorry I didn't take any photos) The food was really good and the conversation flowed beautifully. We even had the lady at the next table join in when the conversation turned to music. Back at the marina we went to Karen's boat for tea and more conversation. It was great fun. All too soon the day drew to a close. The weather forecast was for rain and so before it got too late we headed home. Unfortunately the weather decided it needed to rain heavily for the whole journey which was vey tiring.  We were very pleased to reach home.

On Wednesday I did some sewing on the trousers I'm making. I need to turn the hems up and add the trouser clip and bar to the waist band and they will be finished. I also did a little stitching on the cat cross stitch. Unfortunately the stitching I did doesn't really show as it was white or cream thread against a white background.

Today I was interviewing during the morning. We finished about 1 p.m. and I decided to get my machine set up and work on one of the stegosaurus blocks for the dinosaur quilt. I started by sub cutting all the pieces of fabric need to make a block. I carefully labelled all the pieces so that I didn't get confused. There are just so many bits. The block finishes at 10.5 by 21.5 inches.

The instructions are clearly written and there are diagrams which make it even easier. Quite a lot latter I had one completed block.

I'm very pleased with the block. It took time to make but there wasn't any problems when making it. I was very pleased I'd taken the time to label everything as it stopped me making any mistakes.

Tomorrow. I'm interviewing again in the morning but I hope to do some quilting tomorrow afternoon. I need to make the quilt sandwich for the pinwheel baby quilt and get the quilting done. I also want to add the binding to the other pinwheel quilt I made a little while back. It would be good to have a couple of finishes.

It's now eleven p.m. and I need to go to bed. If I stay up any later I'll need a nap tomorrow afternoon and I won't get any sewing done.

Take care



Monday 1 April 2024

March round up and April plans.

When I look back over a month I tend to think that I had a very unproductive month, especially if work has been a bit heavy. As a result I like to check out what I achieved. In March I created the vine blocks for the dinosaur quilt. This quilt is going to be so colourful when completed. Apart from the background all the fabric came from my scraps or fat quarters.

I took part in the 'Give it a Twirl' blog hop and made a quilt top. This is a baby quilt for one of my students. This has had a border added and is ready to be made into a quilt sandwich. I need to get this finished for a week on Wednesday which is when my student goes on Maternity leave.

I finished the quilting on the other quilt I made using the pinwheel block. It is now ready to have the binding added. I'll up date the photo once the binding is on.

I made a tote bag from William Morris fabric. The bag is a really useful size.

I completed all the blocks for The Good Hope Guild mystery challenge. This involved a ridiculous number of half square triangles. I need to complete the top this month so this will be my One Monthly Goal.

I cut out all the fabric for the blooming rings quilt and spent some time practicing making the curves. The one on the left was the last one I made and it doesn't look too bad. I'm happy with it but will still do a bit more practicing. This was my Chookshed challenge for March.

I also made time to start adding the little slate tiles to the roof of the doll house.

In addition I have finished the back and two sides of my knitted cardigan. This is the point I planned to be at by the end of March. I have started the first sleeve. My hand stitching didn't get finished. I tend to work on this in the evening and especially on a work evening my eyes are tired from using the computer. It has moved forward and I hope to finish it in April.

Today is the first of April and was my mother's birthday. So today I am celebrating my mom who taught me to sew, knit, crochet and cook. Thank you Mom, you have made my life so much easier and more rewarding because of all the time you spent teaching me such important skills. Here is a photo of me and mom when I was about 6 or 7. Mom had made both her outfit and my dress.

Now I need to look at plans for April. 

This is my number 9 and also the challenge I least want to work on but I do want to get it finished. I used to enjoy cross stitch but I'm not very keen anymore. I think completing the millennium sampler was a cross stitch too far.  As you can see the back end and tail of the cat is complete. I think I'll take this to work with me and stitch in my lunch break. If the weather is good I can go across to the local park to each my lunch and stitch.

I will start making the Stegosaurus blocks this month. There are a lot of small pieces so it may take a while. I find the instructions in this pattern very easy to follow but I did need to read them carefully a few times first.

I'm planning on adding the next round on the Red Manor house quilt. I did two round in February so didn't work on it in March. Missy loves to photo bomb.

I want to complete the middle column of the blooming rings quilt. The quilt is put together in columns and that works well with me. I can split the making of the quilt into nice easy sections. In addition I plan to finish at least one sleeve on my cardigan, finish my trousers and complete the dolls house roof. I'm sure there will also be a new project somewhere in the month. It sounds like a busy April.

There won't be much sewing or knitting this week as we are planning on visiting my brother for the day tomorrow which involves a long drive and also visit John's sister on Friday afternoon. I am interviewing on Thursday and Friday morning. I will get my time back for the interviews but it does disrupt my leave. It's a good job I'm good at squeezing my hobbies into small packets of time. 

Take care


Take care.