18 June 2018

Get Ahead

That saying "If you want to get ahead, get a hat"?  Don't know if that's true today as not many people wear hats.  The recent sunny weather caused me to need a hat when I visited Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour last week.  Using Pinterest I found a 'bucket' hat pattern which seemed simple and so printed out the pattern and instructions.  This was from Lost in Paris blog which has some free patterns on its website of a reversible denim bucket hat.

Not having any denim I backed some blue fabric in a firm Vilene to give the hat some body and left cutting out the lining until I finished the outer of the hat.  My sizing was between small and medium so I cut out the medium size but took a bigger seam allowance.  I found the middle section a bit deep so cut that down by just .25", though could have gone to .5" and again took that slightly bigger seam allowance from 1.3cm to 1.5cm (which is marked on the plate of my machine.  I made the lining from some batik fabric that I had and matched up the seam allowances around the brim.

Top stitching the edge once the hat was turned out was ok, but I had a job accurately top stitching the lining to the outside of the hat on the body and crown.  So the hat won't be reversible but that's ok.  It fits and thats the main thing.

Here it is modelled by my iron (no, it wasn't switched on!)

Then as a selfie by me!

Does anyone else feel they look odd when taking a selfie pic?  Eyes keep going from the screen to see what the image is to trying to look up so it doesn't look as though you're checking out the screen!

A Bit of News

I don't often write of family news on my blog, but I had to share this one.  My daughter Sarah, who married last year gave us news that she was expecting a baby last Christmas.  Yesterday was baby's arrival, 2 weeks earlier than expected.

This is Florence and she is tiny at just 4lbs 15oz.  She had an early birth in hospital as she wasn't growing and Sarah also had high blood pressure. Mum and baby are now doing well.

Florence is Sarah and husband Andy's first baby and our 5th grandchild after a gap of over 8 years

12 June 2018


I enjoy making fabric postcards, which I've done on and off for several years.  They are small pieces of fabric artwork which I've done mainly for swaps, but also as a way of trying out different techniques on a small scale and don't take up a lot of time.  They are usually between 6 - 6.5" wide by 4 - 4.5" high (or vice versa depending on whether the design is landscape or portrait).  They are usually made in such a way that they can be put through the postal system as a normal postcard, which is sometimes referred to as being posted 'naked'. Sometimes some extra embellishment is needed for which a cellophane envelope is used.

Last month I made a couple of postcards for a UKQU (UK Quilters United) Postcard swap entitled 'My Dream Home'.  First off is this beach hut one

I had a little piece of this beach hut fabric from which was the also the inspiration for this.  Adding a strip of the yellow 'beach' I fused the hut, roof, door and window and stitch to secure. I found this little seagull on another fabric which had to be added!  Since living in Poole I've been envious of people who have beach huts - they are either rented out or owned by families and they are expensive too! So although I'd like one I'm unlikely ever to have one, but if I did I'd be down the beach more days than I do now!

Getting in the swing of things I made another postcard, just a normal house.  It's home, nothing more.  East, west, home is best.  I've done some decorative stitching for the flowers above the green fabric and found a tree to fussy cut from another fabric.
 There they are both together.
I should get an email later this week of the new homes they are going to.

When I was on holiday on our way to Yorkshire we stopped by The Bramble Patch in Weedon.  It is my all time favourite quilting shop and visit when I can.  They support the Macmillan charity for cancer care and hold exhibitions and other events for this cause.  When I was there there were kits to make postcards for a donation and to make a postcard or two to send back to them.  The theme for this year is Flower Festival and on Sunday I made a card for this which I will send in the post this week.

I started with the background, the idea for this came from a design by Jo Avery of My Bear Paw and her design for a mini quilt (I've linked to her blog post about her mini quilt) in a recent issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting (Issue 59). The background are low volume fabrics with small wonky square, half square triangle and drunkard's patch blocks, raw edges left stitched down with lines of variegated green and peach threads.  The peach thread is a rayon one, so it gives the surface a slight sheen.  I've had that thread for ages but I can see me using that again!

Afterwards I noticed this on the back
Ooops! How did that bit of fabric get there?

On the front I used Jo's tendril technique for stems and for flowers I used my cotton reel technique,   Fabric is backed with a small piece of fusible and I trace around the a medium or large based cotton reel.  After cutting the circle I then cut into the shape to get petals. The leaves are free cut, I've done so many leaves before by putting fusible on the back of some green fabric and cutting and sticking down it's almost second nature to do that.  Lastly I felt there was a little more needed so some decorative feather stitching was added.

On the back before adding address, etc.

I like to add a piece of selvedge to separate the address side from the message.

I may make another to keep in my technique folder as a reminder of what I've done.

04 June 2018

So Much Stuff

After coming back home from holiday I decided to turn out the built in wardrobe in my sewing room and it was strewn all over the floor!  I really have so much stuff that one does accumulate over so many years of sewing and crafting.  Also I have some finished items that I have no home for so time to do an assessment of what I can finish off and find homes for.

I like to make blocks and enjoy the calculating of sizes, working things out and cutting things up, so I have an accumulation (ooh, that word again!) of blocks which need to be joined an somehow.

These aren't joined together I've just arranged them.  They are made from a book called Fast Fat Quarter Quilts, where layers of fat quarters are cut into different sized units and there are suggested blocks to be made from them.  I used fabrics that I didn't really care for just to try this out.  It made more blocks than then twelve here but those have been used already in separate items.  In the photo above they don't look that bad and provided that I can made a decent sized border around it could make a reasonable sized quilt.

As you will have seen from a previous post here I have some blue cross blocks, some of which I am keeping and some are in a swap which will take place this month.  I have now put the swap blocks in a padded envelope along with the little orange card so they are ready when I get the recipient details later.  I may make some more so that there is a small child size quilt from this, so there will be a purpose to these.

Next on my list is some random blocks that I am not quite sure what to do with 

The white and coloured square blocks on the left are sweet 16 blocks some of which I received from a swap with Benta with a couple of my own.  They are 8.5" squares so they will use odd 2.5" squares which I do have so I could made some more of these blocks to make something productive out of these, not sure what as yet.  

I made the decision to throw the little blocks on the bottom right of the pic, they are small and I don't think I can make use of these.  The larger blue and white at the top could be made into a cushion cover to go in the charity makes bag and the other two in the middle I can't make my mind up about.  The cream/purple/pink one was just trying out a block so that could go the same way as the little blocks.

The grey and pink one is a big project though.  Cut out last year when the Bourne Quilters were into kaleidoscope quilts.  I may need some help on this one as the pieces are cut out into wedges of the same pattern repeat and I know that some of those pieces will need a large size of the grey to border.  Now its either Googling to get some idea of the method or picking some brains.  Any thoughts?

I think I still have plenty of things to keep me busy in just the sewing front, let alone the knitting and sewing projects on the go!

Yorkshire Trip

David and I went away 2 weeks ago and returned home on Bank Holiday Monday from our holiday in Yorkshire.  We stayed in Wakefield, York and Thirsk, before making our way back home and stopping over in Cheltenham.  The first two days home have been catching up days with washing and shopping and generally sorting out.

Our first stop was just outside Wakefield, where we were able to visit old haunts from when we briefly lived up that way. David caught up with old work colleagues and during our 3 day stay we visited Sheffield city centre (we were hoping to go to Kelham Island steel museum but it was shut - on a Saturday!) Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Nostell Priory.  I also had some time at the Hepworth art gallery (a couple of pictures of Barbara Hepworth's sculptures above) and in Wakefield centre itself, which doesn't seem to have changed much but there is a nice wool shop now!  Another day we went further south to Crich near Matlock to visit the National Tramway Museum which also had it's Classic Car Day. As you can see from the pics below it was a really gorgeous sunny day.

On to York, a place we know quite well and a chance for David to make another visit to the National Railway Museum while I had a mooch around the city.  Another day we took a trip to Harrogate on the train and the chance to use the Champagne Afternoon Tea gift that we had from my sister and brother in law from our 40th wedding anniversary last year.  Very luxurious and enjoyable it was too.

On to Thirsk where we had a rainy day when visiting the Heriott Museum, which we really enjoyed and spent quite a bit of time there and opposite there was the Thirsk Museum which had all sorts of interest pieces there.   Thirsk was also the birthplace of Thomas Lord, who founded Lords Cricket ground in London and some history about him.

Around the town there was a lot of yarnbombing of knitting and crochet around the town.  During last month there were 2 big events - the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race and the Royal Wedding.  Also marked was the 100th anniversary of the RAF.

A Spitfire in crochet outside this large house near the parish church.

A lot of bunting in the shape of small jumpers were around the route of the tour

And there was lots more, but I've done a collage of some of the pics I took of these

 Big crochet mandala hoops in the trees in the park
Traffic bollards in the town centre were all decorated.

On our way back home we had a stopover at just outside Cheltenham and visited the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) where there was a Steam Gala Event to mark the opening of the newly rebuilt station at Broadway, Worcs.  While David was watching the train comings and goings I took the old London Routemaster bus ride into the village and enjoyed a wander in the village and a leisurely lunch.

I rather liked the look of this Maclaren sports car

but had rides on these instead!

That was our holiday, but there will be more pics to come soon.

16 May 2018

Bit of Sewing. Bit of Knitting, Bit of Crochet

....and any other bits I can think of!

I'm into my third week of retirement and it doesn't feel quite so much like a holiday now.  I've joined a local knit and natter group, although I will miss tomorrow and next week's meet, which I'm enjoying.  Going on long walks (as I had a small Dorset walks book and walking longer distances locally too).

I'm still keeping busy, with some sewing, mainly quilting, but no more skirts at the moment.  I have bought a couple of books from Amazon by Wendy Ward about skirt making and also sewing with knitted fabrics, which might be a good skill to learn.  I bought a small amount of plain stretch fabric and I discovered an overlock foot that comes with my sewing machine and tried out a few stitches to try seaming and hemming.  There are patterns included in the books which will need tracing onto pattern paper, which I will get around to and will try a t-shirt top next month.

I found a block that my Mum had made along with some fabrics to match.  She had started on a disappearing nine patch block which didn't quite work out for her.  While David was out all day I took the block and fabric pieces and played around.  This made a little quilt 25" square, which isn't that big, but may be ok for a small baby or to drape over pram/buggy, but definitely not a cot quilt.

I didn't have the blue fabric for the strips but chose one that matched really well.  From the middle picture I joined up square of the cream fabric but the print is quite busy so it doesn't notice as you can see in the bottom pic.  I quilted and bound it at the weekend and finished off the ends and it doesn't look too bad.

I chose a length of green fabric with coloured wavy stripes, with goes well with the green fabrics on the front for the backing.  Its labelled too so the quilt is properly finished.

Yesterday I made a 'Dodgy Bag'. This was a make along hosted by Ali of Little Drops of Wonderful video podcast.  She labelled this term for the knitting project bags that she makes as she was learning to sew and the name has stuck.  So I decided to make one (one can't have too many bags!) yesterday using some leftover fabric from my Mum that I rather liked although it is pink!

There are two different dark pinks for the base and the ribbon casing.
 It's big enough to hold 3 x 100g balls of yarn
 There is even a pocket for bits and bobs
Trying to think of a solution to finish off the ends of the ribbon I made to small hexies and joined together on each side.  There is also a little tag with a D ring on which stitch markers can be clipped on to.

For the bit of knitting I have been using the Crocus colour way from Lay Family yarn to make the Spring Bandit Shawl.  This is not going well at the moment and I think my inclination is to undo the final edging rows and do some more of the rows in the body of the shawl as there is quite a bit of yarn  to do this.  The original pattern uses Aran yarn although a few projects on Ravelry have used 4 ply/fingering weight wool.  So heres how it looks, sorry if the edge looks a bit funny but thats the cable on the circular needles not lying flat.

Lastly the Crochet bit.  I'm picking this up of an evening when watching the television and keeping track of the colour changes on the Notes on my iPad. When I've worked each colour I put an asterisk next to colour's name.  Here's how it looks now

I hadn't turned this photo so that the green with the markers is on the bottom.  I've nearly finished part 4 (of 6 parts) of the colour changes and it is getting quite big.  The last blanket I made, the Granny Stripe one I didn't continue to its full length and I am not sure if this one will either.  It is a really good pick up, put down project.

So that's my makings for now.  David and I are off on holiday to Yorkshire tomorrow and touring around, ending on a trip to Gloucestershire on our way back home on Bank Holiday Monday.  No doubt some pics will appear on Instagram or Facebook (links on my sidebar) but will have a proper catch up when I get back.

Meanwhile I will leave you with some pics of my walks.  See you soon.

06 May 2018

Early May Catch Up

A lot has happened since my last post and I have finished work at the end of April and am now (I hope!) retired.  More time for doing stuff (again, I hope!).  Go places, see new things. catch up with friend, more time to sew, knit or crochet and this week enjoy the sunshine!

My work colleagues have been really lovely and they have been a good bunch to work with, however all the changes that have happened in payroll legislation over the past few years have made it a more complex job and felt it was right time to leave.  I also felt that my family needed more of my support too at this time.

So what have I been up to since then?  Well David and I have been out and about locally,  I went to Christchurch on Wednesday to sew an A-line skirt, went a local Knit and Natter group on Thursday and in between I've been slowly, slowly sorting out UFO's and using up fabric to make into small sewing projects and I have finished of one of my Finish A Long items.

Last Sunday David organised the family for a gathering at West Moors Country Park near Ringwood but it was soooo bitterly cold, we struggled to keep warm.  Managed to ride on the miniature railway and walking on the play trail with the grandchildren.  I won't show pics here as I didn't take many (good ones anyway!).

On Wednesday I went over to Christchurch to the Little Sewing Company to learn how to make an A line skirt.  Myself and another lady were taught by Amy and we learnt some really useful things, like neatening the side seams before joining the pieces, how to insert and invisible zip and about cutting the facing pieces inside the skirt.  I haven't sewn my own clothes for a long time (when patchwork and quilting took over my life!) so this was to give me back the confidence in making my own clothes.

It fits ok, but having worn this properly yesterday I think next time I could take in the waist a tiny bit more.  The pattern sizes are different from shop clothes sizes so it's having to go by measurements  rather than dress size.  It was a good class and I hope to do another later.

This week, I can't remember which day, I saw a blog post by Just Jude which had a link to a tutorial to make a Dumpling pouch by Michelle Patterns. My own attempt lead to a slightly wonky zip placement in the pouch, but it was quick and easy to make. I think there may be a few more of those.

Thursday was knit and natter at the local community cafe and although I know Carol from Bourne Quilters I also knew another lady from the slimming club and also met another girl who is a friend of my daughter Sarah.

Yesterday was one of the nice days in this Bank Holiday weekend and David and I went off to Sherborne.  Its well known for its Abbey and it was nice to wander around the town and market, also taking in the craft market too.

 It is really large and a job to take in the whole building, so here's the central section.  We briefly went inside although there was a big band concert going on so couldn't wander and explore.
 A memorial to one of the Digby family. who own Sherborne Castle
We went into Sherborne Museum and amongst the artefacts there came across this unfinished hexagon quilt. At the bottom of this pic you can see that it was turned over to see the papers. The museum was celebrating its 50th anniversary, so we had a piece of birthday cake!

I also took the opportunity to visit The Slipped Stitch, a lovely small yarn shop in Cheap Street and saw these lovely little yarn cakes in cake cases with stitch markers in the middle.  Irresistible.

But I finished something today - woohoo!  My house wallhanging, which is on my Solo Finish Along list, was worked on today and now hanging in the hallway.  I made this too small for last year's mini quilt swap so made another to send to my swap partner.

This is the quilt I made

And this was the one I sent my swap partner, Gillian
As you will see the one I sent was wider.

I didn't like the giant beanstalk that the one I kept had on it, but didn't know if it had enough room for a tree. A little while ago I removed the giant beanstalk and drew a tree to about the size I wanted for the quilt.  A bit different from the tree in the above wallhanging.

 The drawing was turned over so I could trace the reverse design onto fusible web.  The remnant of fusible was used to draw leaf shapes which I backed onto there scraps of green.
I used one of the decorative stitches to create drapes at the windows.  It makes them look less stark.  For a bit of fun I also appliqu├ęd on an owl sitting on the roof.

It's properly finished now as I added a label.  I'm really pleased I've got that done.

During this week I've also managed to get all the black/grey and yellow/orange 16 patch squares done, all 20 or them.

I've put them into rows and will stitch those up this week I think.  Good to see a bit more progress with this.

I've also got 6 blocks done for the low volume/blue cross blocks for the block swap.

So one way or another its been a busy week.