Tuesday 30 April 2024

April round up

The end of April already, the year seems to be flying by. It's always fun to look back over the month and celebrate achievements and I'm very happy with my achievements this month. Today I wasn't working so I was able to have a sewing day. I had some household chores to do first, tidy the kitchen, laundry including ironing and some meal planning. 

My goal for April was to make the top for the Good Hope Quilters Mystery Quilt. I had made all the 9 blocks. I decided I needed to add sashing and so I had to look though my stash for something suitable. I am currently trying to reduce the amount of fabric I have but I have very little yardage which makes sashing and fabric for the back of a quilt difficult. I knew it would look better with a solid colour for the sashing and I decided on green. Having added the sashing I couldn't decide if I wanted to add a border. In the end I did and I really like this completed quilt top. I would usually use the floor for a photo but Missy kept getting in the way so in the end I took it outside and hung it on the line.  This is the best I could do, it was really sunny and there were lots of shadows. Never mind I'll get a good photo once it's finished.

Number 9 was the Chookshed Stitchers challenge for April. My number 9 was the cat cross stitch and I wanted to finish it. This was the beginning of April...

and this is the end of April. This is a finish. There should be some words above the cat. I stitched these but then unpicked them as I preferred it without the words. I have now washed this piece as it had been stored for some time and the aida was very dirty. Once it is fully dry I will either frame it or turn it into a small wall hanging.

Today I made a cushion for Lucy. I bought the 4 dog blocks when I went to the Stitch Festival in March. This is a large cushion (20 inch cushion pad.)

I completed the pinwheel baby quilt. This has been gifted to the new father and he was very pleased with it, especially the alien panels. 

I made a new peg bag

I Completed the Give it a twirl quilt, which is destined to go to Project Linus.

I complete two stegosaurus dinosaurs, one yellow

and one blue.  The red, orange. purple and green dinosaurs are partially made.

When I was in the garden I had to take a photo of my Lily of the valley. The flowers look so prefect. The weather is warning up over the weekend so hopefully it will be warm enough to sit in the garden and do some hand stitching.

I'm linking this post with Stories from the Sewing Room for One monthly goal link party and Dreamworthy Quilts for the Chookshed Stitchers challenge April link up.

Take care


Sunday 28 April 2024

Slow Sunday stitching.

Yesterday John and I , plus a few friends did our annual walk to see the bluebell wood. The walk itself is about 5 miles in the Surrey hills. The walk this year was rather muddy due to very heavy rain on Friday night but fortunately the rain stopped in early Saturday morning and the weather stayed dry all day. We passed a field of cows with their calves.

The wild garlic was in flower. 

The bluebells were beautiful

We stopped and had lunch at the garden centre at the end of the walk before getting the train home. The food as always was delicious. By lunch time the sun had come out, rather weakly, and there was no wind so we had lunch in the garden.

Today I have been catching up with my slow stitching. I worked in half hour slots. First I started some bread and then spent half an hour stitching the binding down on the baby quilt. Then I cleaned the kitchen floor before returning to the binding. Over the morning I caught up on some household chores and stitched the binding down. A good use of time.

I also completed the cat cross stitch today. It should have lettering on it

Unfortunately I couldn't make the letters look good even though I tried several times, so I decided the piece was much better without the words and I declared the stitching finished. The stitching isn't exactly right as I had made several mistakes when I first started the piece. This is why it had been put away and forgotten about. Now I need to find a frame so I can display it. I just realised I need to add a pink stitch on the cat's nose. I'll do that in the morning.

I am linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching  Today has been a good day with two finishes. That doesn't happen very often.

Take care


Saturday 27 April 2024

A sewing day

Yesterday was a none working day, well almost. I had an online meeting that lasted an hour and then I was free to do whatever I wanted. My choice of activities was sewing, so I set up my machine and decided to start with making the peg bag I'd cut out last week. The morning was spent putting it together in between some household chores. It didn't take long.

Having made the bag I decided that I liked the fabrics I used. I'd chosen the fabric because I didn't particularly like them and couldn't think how I could use it in a quilt but didn't want to get rid of them. It's interesting, that when you put the fabric into a different situation it takes on a different look. As a peg bag, the fabric worked well and I particularly like the big red flower on the front. When I'd finish the bag it was lunch time and John had made a delicious soup, just what I wanted.

In the afternoon I decided to make another dinosaur. I wondered if it would be possible to work on the four remaining dinosaurs at the same time. I set the four colours out on my cutting mat and made a start.

I worked on the left side panel first for all four colours, then the right and finally the middle panel. Everything went well until I started making the middle panel. I stitched two pieces together the wrong way round. It took me a little time to sort out but I eventually finished all 12 panels. Note to self, stick with making one block at a time as there are too many pieces involved in the dinosaur blocks.

There are still several steps to complete all four blocks but that will have to wait until Sunday. I am very happy with what I managed to complete.

I still had some time to play with so I pulled out the cat cross stitch. I haven't finished it yet but it is very close. I still have some outlining on the cat to do and the hearts and wording. I want to finish this piece by the end of the month.

In the evening i completed the knitting on the sleeve of my cardigan. This project is also nearly finished. One more sleeve to knit, the button bands to knit and then sewing up. My day had been really good and projects moved forward. 

Today John and I went walking but I'll tell you more tomorrow. 

Take Care 


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