17 July 2018

One Finish and One Start

I'm pleased to say that I've finished something (well two really, but that's secret sewing which I can't show this time).  I have been working on a Kantha stitchery which I've had since last October when a friend bought me a kit.  This is the vase of irises from Fenland Textile Studio.  After the talk and workshop in which I made a hare picture, here, last year.

All washed and pressed ready to go into a frame, when I get one, so the taking stitches have been left in around the perimeter of the embroidery.  It's been a bit of slow stitching to take with me to Bourne Quilters and to Seahorse Quilting's sew and natter over the past months.  I finished this off when sitting out in the garden when its been to hot to sew indoors.

But I didn't have to look too far for another slow stitching project to do as I'd been seeing Tales of Cloth's blog and the sew a long called the Kingfisher Quilt.  These are hexagon flowers sewn onto diamond shaped background pieces.  I've kept to neutral low volume background fabrics and going through scraps to cut 2.5" squares for hexagons with 1" sides.  I have a good stock of paper shapes which I've mainly got from Lina Patchworks that are made of a heavy paper and can be used over again.

The first three I did earlier yesterday

By yesterday afternoon I did two more. The photo above was taken in the evening so its a bit darker.

I have got a little box with hexie shapes already prepared together with thread and scissors, a 2.5" square ruler and a thimble.  I had tacked the fabric to the papers, however I've now taken to using a fabric glue pen which is a lot quicker and just holds until I've sewn the shapes together and is easy to remove the paper after.

Over the years I have had a sore middle finger on my right hand with hand sewing and I've been trying various thimbles, pads, sticky tape, whatever.  I have small hands but I seem to fall between small and medium sizes and it's been difficult to get the one. This is a Clover soft plastic one in a small size which I bought a few years ago but tried this again on Sunday and it's comfortable!  So I am converted to this! I can't remember where I bought it from but I know that Hobbycraft sell quite a few Clover sewing accessories.  I may get another one in case this gets lost.

As well as machine sewn items its always good to have some hand sewing on hand and with the hot weather at present this project just fits the bill nicely.

Lets see how far I get with this...

09 July 2018

Finished and Gifted

A short post as its too hot to sit by the computer for too long!

It was my daughter-in-law Carly's birthday near the end of last month and my grandson Leo's birthday today so David and I caught up with them yesterday and had a barbecue following Leo's birthday party earlier in the afternoon.

Last Christmas I made my granddaughters Harry Potter themed jumpers which I blogged about here
Leo was just getting into the Harry Potter books and was disappointed not to have one too so I decided to make one for his birthday.  What else do you give someone with a summer birthday!!

Anyway he tried on this morning and was really pleased so now I can show photos

This is basically school jumpers (a Stylecraft pattern) made with Stylecraft Special DK acrylic in Claret and Gold colours.  David sent off for the Gryffindor badge, which sent me into a panic as I thought I lost the badge!  But found and sewn on as soon as it was finished and washed.

Well thats 3 HP houses done and I've said if anyone else wants a jumper it'll have to be a Huffelpuff one as I haven't made those colours yet!

Carly is very clever at making small costumes for baby photo shoots and fancy dress for the boys' school events.  I felt she could do with some decent scissors so when I saw these fancy Fiskars ones I had to buy them, along with some smaller rose-gold coloured 'stork' scissors for trimming threads.  I made a project bag from Aneela Hoey's book to keep her sewing projects tidy and also it made a good gift bag. She really liked this and also really needed good scissors so it was well received.

I like it when a plan comes together!

04 July 2018

Solo Finish A Long

The second quarter of my self imposed solo finish a long (well it's solo unless someone wants to join me!).  I've got half my finishes done and half lingering somewhat, so here goes.

1. Woodland Crochet A Long Blanket - This CAL run by Lucy of Attic 24 finished a long time ago and I also stopped to knit other things so it had a rest.  Back onto it last night so will carry on in spite of the heat to get this done by end July/beginning August is my aim.  As it is its length is 45", 113 cm.
This is laid in half lengthwise and it really looks colourful, but see all those ends that need darning in!!  I should have done this as I've gone on, but hey ho sewing all those will keep me busy! So this goes on to Quarter 3

2.  Is the 16 square block quilt.  I've done this in teenage/boy colours of black/grey and orange/mustard and I like the colour combination.  The blocks have been arranged but not sewn together yet.  I have quite a few 3.5" strips left to deal with too, what could I do with them?  This is added to the list for Quarter 3.

3. Are the pouches - done and given to Project Linus for their charity sales table. I have done some more quilted squares and this afternoon I bought some more zips as all I had in my collection were short zips so I may have to do some that will use short zips.  But the pic below are some of the ones that were made from a couple of months ago.  So these are ongoing.

4. Was correcting a wallhanging, which is now finished and has been hanging in our hall for a while now.  I wanted to make a tree to go on this and I did it, labelled it and everything! A finish!

The story about this wallhanging is here. How I finished this off is here.

5  What I will also be doing are a few projects to gift to my room mate on Sewing Shinding which is a retreat that I will be going to in September in Telford (on my own).   I've been away as part of a group before but never on my own.  A new adventure and something really different and I am really looking forward to it.

My room mate is also a first time retreater who is retired so I am guessing a similar age to me but it'll be fun getting to know her.  So that is a new item(s) to add to my Finish A Long list.

6. Also new to the list is the Kingfisher Stitch a Long run by Jodi of Tales of Cloth.  She is an Australian  quilter who specialises is English Paper Piecing (EPP) as is a good way using up scraps into hexies and sewing them onto diamond shapes, which makes for an interesting quilt.  Its hand sewing and I'm often in need of a portable project.  This is another add to the list.

7. Talking of which another hand stitching project, that could be nearing its end, the way I am going with this is the Kantha iris kit.  I'm hoping for a finish this month.  Added to the Finish A Long list.

There will be more makes along the way as well as these items and already I am going to explore making more clothing for myself.  Yesterday I made a skirt from fabric that I bought at Sandown.

As well as having an invisible zip, making use of my new zipper foot, I also drafted out a pocket and it worked!

So that's my list for this quarter.

02 July 2018

Bletchley Park and Other Places

Last Sunday and Monday David and I took another trip to Bletchley Park before our annual ticket ran out before the end of June.  A few of the exhibits changed and it was good to go back and discover new things.  We stayed at the same Premier Inn on the outskirts of Milton Keynes overnight and travelled back home last Monday stopping at two places on the way.

I took a lot of photos from last year at Bletchley Park (although it seems I didn't post them on the blog last year!) so I didn't take many, but in the Mansion I was intrigued by the windows

Just look at them!  Aren't they EPP patchwork patterns?!

David pointed out this little reminder of Slough (where I grew up) in the classroom of the education centre.

As I said, on Monday we stopped on our way home to Nuffield Place in Oxfordshire, this was the home of Lord and Lady Nuffield.  Lord Nuffield was William Morris who founded Morris Cars in Cowley, Oxford.  Although they were wealthy the house was a modest size and was left to National Trust as it was in early 1960's.  Lady Nuffield was an accomplished needlewoman and there is evidence of her stitching around the house.

 She even had a sewing room

It even included children's dresses that she made.

Our next stop was at Cliveden, near Maidenhead, which has the odd mix of an exclusive hotel, restaurant and spa in the grounds as well as the National Trust looking after the grounds.  It is quite a large estate that we didn't get to seeing all there was there, however we saw the rose gardens which really looked and smelt fantastic this time of year.

 After a longish walk we viewed the gardens at the back of the hotel

The photo does not do this view justice, it was amazing.  But was was more amazing were these gilded gates under the balcony where I was standing


It was the start of the really hot weather so we revived ourselves with an ice cream after taking a walk away from the hotel and heading towards the water gardens.

David was snapping away when I noticed some people looking at this heron.  This is a real one, not a fake.  To get its prey it stays still for quite a length of time before getting its fish.  I liked that I also caught the reflection too.

In spite of leaving there late afternoon and being concerned about rush hour traffic, we had a good journey back home.  It was lovely just to have those two days away.

Oh yes, I had to take a selfie, just to prove we were there.

My sunhat came in useful too!

30 June 2018

One or Two Finishes and Other Bits

Now at the end of June and in some ways seems to have gone in a flash and others feels a long month (I think that could be money).  Last Saturday I went on a coach trip to Sandown for the National Quilt Championships, more of that later, following that a return trip to Bletchley Park. On our return I have been helping Sarah with new baby Florence as her husband returned to work after his leave.

First I have two finishes - one is in the bag as I can't show just yet, but will do next month.
I've also finished my socks

These are Hermione's Everyday Socks pattern by Erica Lueder, knitted in hand dyed yarn from Truly Hooked in Summer Haze colour way, which was yarn used in a subscription box of that there were spare skeins of.

There hasn't been must sewing going on as its been a busy week, but with the sunny weather the sun hat shown in my last post has come in really useful with outdoor walks at Bletchley Park on Sunday followed by visits to Nuffield Place and Cliveden (both National Trust places) on our return home on Monday.  I will follow on with another post about these places.

Although enjoying the coach trip to Sundown last Saturday, I think I wasn't the only one that felt some disappointment with the show.  It has shrunk so much over the years and there was room around the traders, none seemed too busy.  The championship quilt was a lovely whole cloth long arm quilted by Lynda Jackson.  This is not the most flattering picture that I took of this, bust as you can see there are coloured threads which enhance the quilt design on a silver grey fabric.
This time there was a lot showcased by long arm quilters which is good in a way as it shows what can be done with these machines and the cost and effort to perfect their craft they have to build a business to make their investments pay.  However there wasn't many other quilts of other varieties to make one inspired.  Or has the Festival of Quilts taken away to the extent that people will enter that and not other shows?

There were some displays like that of Gillian Travis and her display entitled 'Journeys in Stitch'.  Her work is so bright and varied and really illustrates the feel of the countries she has visited.  I remember when I did a workshop at Pauline's Patchworks two or three years back that she started work on a coconut seller on his bike.

Below are just a few of her quilts.
Another display was from Mike and Greta Fitchett, both quilt makers with very different styles.  Like Gillian's quilts these were a collection, not part of the competition quilts.

This was Greta's take on Birmingham New Street station which has a viewing area to see the trains

I quite like the distortion of the image reflected on glass buildings

and Mike's view of The Shambles, York, which has the styling of railway posters

Another quilt that I liked was the really embellished one, this was a competition quilt, by Frieda Oxenham.  I like all the colours, beads and sequins, which actually belong in the quilt instead of being an add on.

I did buy some fabric but I set myself a budget and came home with a bit of change, so pleased with myself.  I think I can even see a quilt coming out of what I bought.  The green and purple fabric will make a skirt, which I hope to have time for next week.

When we arrived I saw a Lego sculpture of a lion and I thought I'd take a photo on the way out, but in the meantime the lion was replaced with this

You can just see the baby penguin at its feet!

One good thing that I always enjoy at Sundown is sitting in the grandstand for lunch.  Views across the racecourse to planes, trains and other things going on and trying to make out the landmarks as you look across to London.

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.