Saturday 30 March 2024

Practicing making arcs

Yesterday I decided to have a day off sewing and work on a couple of other things for a change. I decided over Christmas that I wanted to spend some time sorting through my belongings and getting rid of things I no longer need or use. I've been sorting bits and pieces over the last two months, mainly my sewing supplies. I got rid of very little but I did move along some fabric that I knew I would never use, to a friend. Yesterday I went through my craft and art supplies. I don't do much drawing or painting but I do enjoy it and find it very relaxing. Mainly I restructured how I stored my supplies. When it can to the craft drawer I wanted to get rid of things I no longer enjoy doing. One of these is rubber stamping. In the past I have done a lot of stamping, making wedding invitations for friends and Christmas cards that we sold to raise money for the Brownie and Guide units. I kept the various Celtic knot stamps I had but offered all the others to a friend, along with card blanks and envelops. It's good to get rid of belongings to a good home.

Having finished a little decluttering I decided I would start the roofing on the doll house. I haven't done any work on the house for a while. The tiles I'm using are slate and only 1mm thick at the rebated end. To stick them to the roof I needed to use PVA glue. Fortunately I have a good supply of it. I'd bought full tiles and half tiles which makes the roofing easier but I will still need to cut some of the tiles. I'll use Richard's Dremel for that. This is how far I've got. I'm pleased with how the roof is progressing. Fortunately I can take to roof off the house, which makes it easier to work on.

Last week I ordered some wool to knit a jumper ready for next winter. I couldn't resist the offer of 60% off the cost of the wool I wanted and I loved the colour. The wool arrived this morning and I'm very happy with it. Once I've finished the cardigan I'm knitting, I'll be able to start knitting with this beautiful green wool.

This afternoon I decided to make a start of the rings quilt. I had cut some extra arcs so I could practice sewing the curves. I had 4 attempts and I got a little better with each arc. I still need more practice but I feel more positive about my skills to make this quilt. Here are my 4 attempts. The arc on the left is the last one I made and I'm happy with this attempt.

Tonight or rather in the early hours of tomorrow morning, the clocks will spring forward in the UK. It means there will be more daylight in the evenings and I can't wait. It will make walking Missy, after work, more pleasurable.

Just a short post tonight. Today has been very busy and tiring but at the same time I don't appear to have done much. Most confusing.

Take care


Thursday 28 March 2024

Busy but fun

Yesterday was a busy but fun day. I had one or two household chores to do and then I was able to focus on my sewing projects. I had several things I could work on but I decided to sort and cut the fabric for the rings quilt. I am always surprised how much fabric it takes to make a large quilt. Generally I buy fabric as I go along so buying all the fabric for the quilt meant quite a big pile. I needed to check which fabric was for which parts of the quilt. In the quilt shop I was making decisions as I went along and didn't write anything down. What I did have to help prompt my memory was the receipt which listed all the fabrics and also gave me information about the fabric in case I needed any more. It took me a little while to organise the fabrics and I labelled them carefully. There are 8 fabrics needed for this quilt. Next stage was to cut the fabrics into smaller parts. All of this involved width of fabric cuts. I ended up with a neat pile of cut fabrics and some bits left over.

I made one mistake in the cutting but I had enough fabric so there was nothing to worry about. By the time I had cut all this my wrist was hurting a little so I decided a rest was in order and I sat and read for a while. Most relaxing. Next I decided to cut some of the ring shapes and the smaller parts that go in between.

This meant I knew how many I would get out of a WOF and therefore how many I could use to practice sewing the curves. I have to admit I'm not great with curves but I think I will be by the end of this quilt. The instructions give a lot of hints and tips. My plan for today involves making up some of these units. I'm not going to cut any more pieces until I have mastered this technique. I'll let you know how it goes in my next post. 

I also did some knitting yesterday. My plan was to finish the second front of the cardigan this month. By the end of the day I had completed that and started the first sleeve.  Because of my completing that piece of knitting I didn't work on the embroidery but that is on the radar for this evening. I also want to finish the trousers I'm making so I will start with that today.

I also started some bread this morning and it is on it's first rise. Whilst I wait for that to finish I'll  catch up with my blog reading. I love seeing what everyone is making and the trips they have taken. At some point today my flower delivery will arrive and need arranging. Oops they have just arrived and the buzzer also went off for the bread!

OK bread and flowers sorted but while sorting them I remembered that I'd meant to post some photos of the Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens which John and I visited in early March.  This year the festival was showcasing orchids from Madagascar.  Here are some of the photos.

There are always some of the animals from the country depicted in the festival. The ring tailed lemurs were fun. Madagascar has nearly 60 kinds of lemurs.

Madagascar's biggest bird ever. The next photo gives you the information.

A chameleon, which Madagascar has several varieties of. Chameleons do not change colour to match their surroundings. The colour is used as a language to express emotions, defend territory and communicate with mates 

I can't remember what this one represents but he was cute amongst the orchids.

The orchids are displayed at different heights and different settings which means you have to constantly check all around or otherwise miss something special, including these two birds.

There were a few giant moths and butterflies on display to show the insect life in Madagascar. I'm pleased I didn't see any giant spiders.

I liked this orchid a lot as it reminded me of an orchid my mom had once nurtured.

The flowers on this one reminded me of a group of little mice busy checking out what was happening.

These ones looked like they might bite given a chance but they were very pretty.

These ones were wearing their sunglasses to make themselves look cool.

More animal life lurking amongst the orchids.

A couple of snakes joined the mix.

The orchids were beautiful and there was so much to see. We really enjoyed the festival and to round off our trip we treated ourselves to lunch in the orangery restaurant.

So I'm off to my sewing machine. I'm going to start by finishing the trousers. That should be nice and straightforward. The rings will follow later which may involve some head scratching and maybe some naughty words! Next time I'll tell you what happened.

Take care


Wednesday 27 March 2024

I can't make my mind up.

I was thinking I might make a dress or a pair of trousers whilst on holiday. I have some cute fabric in my dressmaking stash and I'd really like to use some of it up. The problem is I can't make up my mind what I want to make or which fabric I want to use. I'm also aware I have several projects on the go which I want to get finished so I'm even more stressed trying to make a decision. Do I do some dressmaking or get on with some quilting. The main thrust of my argument with myself is that I can make a dress easily in a day, or two if I don't want to sew all day. That means I'll still have time to finish most of my March plans by next Sunday. On the other hand I haven't made a plan for April yet so I could do the dressmaking the following week and factor it into my months plan. The silly thing is, I could have just got on with it and it would be part finished by now. Do you dither about what to do and end up doing nothing or very little?

On a positive note I got on with the mystery quilt from The Good Hope Quilters guild. I had put together 4 of the blocks but still had five to complete. By the end of Monday I had made all 9 blocks.

So now I have to make another decision, do I want to add sashing or not? If I add sashing I will need to check my fabric to see if I've got anything suitable and if not I'd need to buy some. Why does everything require decisions? 

Having started to write this post on Monday, I made a decision on whether to do some dressmaking. I decided to have a go at making a pair of trousers. I own jeans but only one pair of proper trousers and sometimes I want my outfit to look a little more dressy than jeans. Anyway I had a pattern and some grey fabric that has been lurking in my dressmaking stash for some time. I checked all the measurements including the crotch length and rise as I don't want the seat area to be too tight or too loose. That took a little time as I needed a helper to get my measurements right.  Fast forward and I almost have a pair of completed trousers. I need to add the waist band and do the hem. However I have decided to take in the legs a little as I feel there is too much fabric. I'll tack them first and then check what the mirror says before asking the family. These should be finished in the next 24 hours. Photo of me wearing them to follow.

The last couple of evenings I have done some work on the countryside scene. There is still a fair way to go but I think this should be finished by the end of the month. That gives me 5 evenings of stitching.

In between knitting, sewing and embroidery I also finished the puzzle John and I started. This is a panoramic view and so the puzzle is long and thin. The problem with putting it together is that the detail on the puzzle is fairly small and there is a lot of foliage which is all of similar colours. It was fun to do but annoyingly there was one piece missing when we finished it. We are always careful not to drop pieces and never leave any loose piece out of the box when we stop working on the puzzle. Oddly Richard had made a puzzle recently and there was also one piece missing.

Although I am on holiday, I interviewed for work yesterday. It was online so travel involved. For the rest of this week my time is now fully my own. My plans for today include my regular dental checkup, finishing making my trousers and if I have time starting cutting the fabric for the rings quilt. I have been reading the instructions very carefully and all the hints and tips for sewing the curves. This quilt is really going to tax my ability but I do love a challenge. I am also not in a rush to get this quilt finished so there is no stress involved (except the curves)

Ok so lets get this day on the move. Lots to do and I'll start by walking Missy. I had to take her to the vet yesterday as her one ear was causing her pain. She now has heavy duty antibiotics and also strong pain relief. She is a much happier dog. She needs to stay on her lead until her ear is better so no walks on the common. Being a water dog she tends to roll in puddles etc and the water tends to get in her ears and occasionally they get infected. 

Take care


Saturday 23 March 2024

A great day out.

Today I visited The stitch festival with Michelle. The event is held at the Business design centre in Angel, London which is an easy journey for me as I can take the northern line all the way. Unfortunately the train didn't stop at Angel and so I caught the train going back the other way. As the doors shut there was an announcement saying that Angel station was closed. Never mind I got off the train at the next stop and took a bus. It made me a little late meeting up with Michelle but at least I got there. We had to join a long queue to get in but it moved very fast but I was surprised that there was no bag check as we went in. The show covered all stitch crafts so there was a lots of fabric, quilting, dressmaking, patterns, knitting, crocheting, felting, embroidery and bead work. Neither of us had anything particular that we were looking for, rather it was a chance to get ideas. We were enjoying having no responsibilities for the day. We were looking at the wide range of crocheted animals on the Toft stand and decided we needed a photo with our new friend.

I couldn't help wondering how long he took to make and how much stuffing was needed. We stopped and looked at all the stands and I got a lot of inspiration for future projects. I also found a silly present for my son's birthday, a felting kit to make a frog. He did some felting several years ago and enjoyed it and he likes frogs, so as a silly present it works well.

I bought this little kit to make three tree decorations. I loved that one has a sewing machine, one some embroidery and the third is a knitter.

I found a stand selling patches with various animals. I bought these four dog patches to create a cushion for my younger daughter's birthday, which is next month.

I like these Liberty Tana Lawn and will use them in a hand stitched English paper pieced project.

My final purchases seem a little random. Some bobbins for my machine, buttons , 2ply wool to knit another blanket for the doll house and a bag of small scraps. The scraps are a challenge to see what I can create from them.

Michelle treated me to lunch which was very tasty. I enjoyed felafel and a choice of different  salads whilst Michelle had a tart and salads. We spent some time chatting to two ladies who shared the table with us. It is so easy to get talking to people you have never met at events like this. Whilst we were in the show it rained and hailed but by the time we left the sun was shining again. A fun day out and all the more fun because I went with my friend.

Take care


Friday 22 March 2024

Making blocks.

The week has been quite busy. At work it was the run up to my holiday so I was trying to finish up as many tasks as possible. I hate returning from holiday to half finished projects as it takes time to reacquaint myself with what I was working on. On Wednesday evening I decided I needed a break and got my machine out to do some quilting. I'm still quilting the pinwheel and squares quilt. I'm hoping to have this finished early next week. I haven't taken a photo recently but here is the completed top.

This morning I was interviewing but this afternoon I had time to do some sewing. I decided to work on the dinosaur quilt. I set about making the vine blocks. I needed to sub cut the fabrics for the blocks but once that was done they went together very quickly. I like these blocks.

I now have all the plant blocks. Here are the other sets.

This is going to be a big bright quilt. Next month I will start making the dinosaur blocks. I think I'll start with the stegosaurus. There are a lot of pieces in each dinosaurs so I will need to be very organised. The pattern is well written and easy to follow.

Tomorrow I'm going to The Stitch Festival at the Business Design Centre in London, with my friend Michelle. Last year we had a great day out, including lunch and prosecco. I've set myself a small budget for buying any fabric or threads. Having got all the fabric to make the rings quilt I really don't need to buy much else. I want to start cutting the fabric for this quilt, which will probably happen on Sunday. Cutting the fabric makes my wrists and hands painful so this will not be a quick job. It will also be slow as I am rather nervous of all the curves but it is good to challenge myself.

For the rest of this evening I'm going to work on my knitting. I've nearly finished the right front so only the sleeves and front bands to do.

Take care