14 October 2018

Quilty Week

Since last Saturday most days this week have involved sewing of one sort or another.  Last Saturday I went to a Linus day of the local Project Linus group near Wimborne stitching Christmas quilts.  There were packs of ready cut pieces and basic patterns to sew together to make small quilt tops and together with some fleece fabric (in place of wadding and backing) and binding made really cheerful and cosy quilts.  These will be distributed to hospitals and refuges in the local area. Whilst attaching the link above I came across this BBC South Today report with Joan, Lourdes and Brenda who coordinate the making, collecting and distributing  of quilts in this area - here's the link to the You Tube video

I took one pack and made the quilt as far as attaching the binding by machine to take home and slipstitch the binding to the back of the quilt, which I finished on Saturday evening while watching Strictly Come Dancing. As you can see from the pics below the large square had owls on, well I had to take that pack to stitch together!

I then took another pack thinking it would make the same size quilt, but no, this was bigger! It was 5 blocks across by 5 blocks long and I could only half make the top.  So when I came home I sewed the rest of the quilt top together.

David was volunteering at Swanage Railway on Monday and Tuesday, so it gave me a chance to quilt the larger quilt and then I took it to a sew and natter afternoon on Tuesday at Seahorse Quilting.

Sorry the pic is a bit dark here, the days getting shorter I think the light was going when I took the photo.

During this week and the sewing time that I've I also made a couple of blocks for this month's block drive for Siblings Together group and a request for 2 12.5" Hunter's Star blocks. I love making blocks  and these were made in no time at all.

Another call was put out on Instagram to make some black and white half square triangle (HST) blocks and 16 patch blocks.  So I made a few of those, which will be going in the post tomorrow.

The blocks in both pictures are going towards Siblings Together's quest for 100 quilts before next year's summer camps which joins siblings together who are in the care system, which you can read more about in the link above.

If my modest contribution makes a difference to someone's life then it makes it all worthwhile.

In other stitchy news I'm managing to get more blocks sewn together for the Kingfisher Quilt - the quilt along having been back in July but I'm not doing bad at having made 38 diamonds out of 46, so they are piling up.  It won't be that long and I will have to think about fabric for the half diamonds to complete the rows when I come to join up.  I don't think that I have that much low volume fabric to make it random, so I may have to get metre-age to edge the diamonds.  I will be going to the Crafts 4 Crafters show next weekend so I might see something there - wait and see. This is my quilting project for Quarter 3 and I know this will go into Quarter 4 of my solo finish along.

As for the other items in this last quarter they have all been completed and gifted so thinking cap on for other things to finish in quarter 4 - which is a bit tricky as some things in progress are for Christmas!

10 October 2018

Sunny Days

What I love about autumn are those sunny days that just pleasant to go out in, the light is very bright but its not too hot or too cold for walking.  Lately we've been out locally having a wander followed by tea and cake (we share a slice of cake, trying not to be too naughty).

Our nearest and favourite National Trust site is Kingston Lacy, just outside Wimborne, which has a Japanese Tea Garden and Acer Walk; across the back of the grounds is the kitchen garden with a flower garden and allotments for local people.

In the first pic there were dahlias, roses and canna lilies making a colourful display while the weather is still mild, unfortunately the shade of the trees don't show them well.  But the acers looked spectacular as the colours of the leaves change before they fall.

Another afternoon out on Sunday was to visit Moreton between Wareham and Dorchester.  Its not far from Bovingdon Camp, home of the Tank Regiment and was also nearby the home of T E Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia.  The village has a walled garden (and tea room too), which is open to the public and provides employment for people with learning difficulties.  The garden was pleasant to walk around in

We also went to the nearby church, which unusually has etched instead of stained glass windows.

 Almost lets the outside come inside the church, making it very light inside.
And I could not resist taking a photo of the lovely Victorian tiled floor, this was taken near the font. Isn't that just wonderful?

T E Lawrence is buried in the cemetery near the walled garden not in the churchyard and I didn't take a photo, but there were some flowers that an 'American Friend' always sends each year on 1st October  and they were still looking fresh.

Next week will see David and I going off to Cornwall for a couple of days as we have some Eden Project tickets to use and if the weather stays as good as it has been it'll be a bonus.

06 October 2018

Still Playing Catch Up - Sewing Shindig

Two weekends ago I went to the Sewing Shindig near Shrewsbury, which was a weekend retreat with a mix of workshops and social sewing.  When I booked to go on this back in March it was just before I finished work and thought it would be a good retirement treat to myself.  Events had overtaken me in the lead up to going to this and I rushed to get things ready for going away.  Together with that, instead of driving myself there and back (route and timings all planned) the car became poorly and David drove me there and came back to collect me at the end of the weekend! I thought this trip is doomed!!

Anyway, I had to make gifts to swap with my room partner, Marie, who made me some lovely gifts in return.  She had requested a roomy storage bag for taking supplies to workshops, a Goody Binding pouch, notebook cover and mug rug.  I didn't manage the mug rug and I had a disaster with one of the bags (more of that later) so had to make another. Here are some pics.

This is the Sewing Date Traveler by Cynthia Frenette which is a free pattern on the Robert Kaufman Fabrics website, which is linked here , which I found a really good make with clear instructions and I used a mix of Alison Glass 'Road Trip' and Beth Studley 'Sundance' fabrics.  A bag like this needed a firm interfacing, but the US sites recommend Pellon interfacing, which we don't have in the UK so the nearest equivalent is Bosal in R Form, a foam interfacing with a single fusible side (it is also available with both sides fusible). Although a lot of seams to go through at the end and the springy-ness of the interfacing making it challenging to machine sew it was a quick make and would happily make another.

Some time ago I made the Goody Goody Binding Kit, which is not a pattern as such, as all the instructions are in a blog post by its designer Vanessa of Lella Boutique.  That was a good make too which I really enjoyed and used a modern print with hexagons by Aneela Hoey which I had after some time broken into and also gave me colour choices for the other elements in the folder as you can see from the pics below.

I'd made a notebook cover from earlier this year which I put in with the gifts as well as some Dorset made Moores biscuits and a pack of Grandma Wild ones too.

From Marie I had this super bag which I didn't imagine when saying I would like a tote bag! She used Alison Glass fabrics too and if you look at my pics above it was the same design range but different colours!

There was another smaller bag as she picked up that I knitted socks and this was just right for my sock knitting.  I used this to put my current knitting in on my journey home!

Another make was this lovely zippy pouch from an Aneela Hoey pattern from her book Stitched Sewing Organizers which Marie made with more of the Alison Glass fabrics and she included some low volume fabric and a set of hexies towards my Kingfisher quilt.

Its in use everyday as I make more progress on this slow stitching project.

It was a lovely weekend of sewing, sewing and more sewing.  I took a workshop on free machine quilting with Trudi Wood and designing how I would quilt my sample quilt, so this gave me the basis on which to start this process and I started on this the next day but haven't progressed since being at home. It was a valuable lesson in quilt design and also learned that I don't have to drop the feed dogs on my sewing machine to free motion.

The afternoon was another workshop from Susan Standen (Canadian Abroad) called Quilt As You Go.  Using small fabric pieces, fussy cutting and selvedges on top of backing and wadding with close stitches to effect.  Also learned about a porthole border to create a cushion top. Here's my sample

I enjoyed this so much I made another piece, below, which will be a large pouch to go in my rucksack  to contain purse and phone.  I used fabrics from my collection of reproduction 1930's style.

There was also a goody bag and a

lucky dip during the weekend and I won some threads and two patterns
 My purchases were really modest
In spite of the problems on the lead up it was a great weekend.  The bookings for the next one is full already so I won't be going next year.  I will be on the lookout for another retreat a bit closer to home as it was a really good to get away.

01 October 2018

It's October!

I don't know what happened to September - its flown by so quick! I've kept busy though, with sewing, knitting, days out and a weekend quilting retreat (more of that in another post) which all took place last month.

First of all it was my sister's birthday and I had gifted her the crochet blanket that also doubled as a housewarming present since her, my brother-in-law and nephew moved into their bungalow a few months ago.  I was pleased to get this finished and she was delighted with the blanket.

This was the Woodland Ripple blanket designed by Lucy of Attic 24 which I wrote about in this post here.

Remember the Summer postcard that I made for the UKQU postcard swap of that theme for the West Country Quilt Show?  I received the swap postcard which was made by Norma Hasham with hand drawn and sewn scenery with lots of little owls on the branches of the tree.  It was gorgeous and a really good swap.

My collection of owls could not be missed out of the photo here.

On the knitting front I had a go at making double knit socks.  With thicker yarn, bigger needles and less stitches these took less time than normal 4 ply.  I took this green yarn (I wasn't bothered about the colour) these turned out lovely cosy socks, just right for the winter evenings to come.

These were a close fit and although they will do my small feet nicely I may go up to the next size needles if I make more.  I used the stitch pattern from Hermione's everyday socks, which is my go to pattern to help keep track of rows when using plain coloured yarn.

I've also received the second of a current subscription box from A Little Box of Crochet which featured a design of mini Granny Squares with small balls of cotton yarn to make into a notebook cover for a crochet project organiser. Love the colours

David and I had a trip to the Isle of Wight - an early start to the day driving from Poole to Lymington to get the ferry - but the day was bright and we had a brilliant day.  Visiting the Garlic Farm for breakfast and a wander then onto the Isle of Wight Steam Railway which was really delightful.

The train services run from Haven Street station to Wootton at one end of the line then back to Haven Street and onto Smallbrook Junction, the station that adjoins the railway to Ryde pier. There is also a museum and a carriage restoration workshop where we found the Victorian carriage that was restored of a Channel 4 programme shown earlier this year.

When the railways were drastically cut on the Island, a few of the old carriages were used as homes or holiday accommodation.  Near the museum was this carriage to show how this was done in 1950's style.

I also liked seeing the collection of railway posters too, nice to see the designs of ages ago are not lost but reproduced for people today to enjoy.

There has been plenty of sewing action too most of which I share in another post but I will share this now, some blocks that I made for a Siblings Together block drive, so I made and sent these off to the coordinator.  I enjoy making quilt blocks so I made these in no time at all.

So that's nearly all for September other than the Sewing Shindig which I will follow with a separate posting.  October is seems to be a quieter month but I'm sure it will get busier as time goes on.  

02 September 2018

Out and About

This last week was the last week of the summer school holidays and meeting up with my son Alex and his family for a day in Portsmouth.  We used our Tesco Clubcard points were converted to vouchers which we used to get tickets for the Historic dockyard there.  It's a year's ticket which will allow us to visit again later, because we barely touch upon all the exhibits.

We visited HMS Warrior briefly before taking the boat for a tour of dockyard and the ships that are berthed there and different views of the harbour.  Several years ago part of the dockyard was sold to developers and is now well known as Gunwharf Quay shopping centre with its Millennial tower called the Spinnaker Tower.

Spinnaker Tower

 HMS Warrior

View across Portsmouth Harbour with the Isle of Wight ferry coming in

Later we went on Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory, which despite its age and being permanently in dry dock is still classed as an operational ship and still has the Royal Ensign at the back of the ship.  There is also a museum about the life of Lord Nelson together with the artifacts that celebrate his life and being victorious in the battle of Trafalgar.

The top part of the masts have been removed due to ongoing restoration.  I couldn't get all the ship in so I took photos in two parts.  If you zoom in on the front of the ship you will see the figurehead of Nelson, which is on the ground behind the ship.

There were some other things on display - outside the Naval Museum was what looked like a wooden Nutcracker statue displaying tattooed arms as there was an exhibition about the Navy and tattoos.

There was also a naval helicopter outside HMS Victory

Yesterday I went on a coach trip organised by Happy Patchers to the West Country Quilt Show half at the University of West of England (UWE).  An early start but I was organised the evening before so didn't take long to get up and out for the pick up.  I took my knitting with me, another pair of socks which I think will be a present when finished (got to start thinking about Christmas!) to keep me busy.  Here's my progress by the time we reached Bath, which I Instagrammed, I started at the grey line

This is a relatively new show, but it does come quite soon after Festival of Quilts, so it wasn't that busy, however it is nice to be able to go around the exhibits without a lot of crowds and there are a lot of contemporary, art and modern quilt exhibits.  There is a small display of competition quilts  and another of cushions which were displayed hanging from rafters at the top of the stand.

I managed to get a close up of one that won a rosette which has curved lines of embroidery.

This quilt I liked which was really unusual in that it was stitched on deer hide and quilted and painted with leather paint.  This was made by Annelize Littlefair, I just liked the texture

I also liked seeing the Modern Quilters' exhibition, with their challenge quilts and also display of sample quilts.  They have teaching cards and also tutor packs that are lent out to groups.

I liked this collection of shoes in this quilt on the Contemporary Quilts West stand.

 Even I had a quilt displayed there!!  No, its a postcard, but it is still classed as a quilt as there are 3 layers!

This was on the UK Quilters United stand and this was the sunflower postcard that I made for this display.

I also met up with my room mate for the Sewing Shindig, which I will be going to later this month.  Her name is Marie and she happened to be at the exhibition on the same day as I was there - it wasn't planned!!  We enjoyed a coffee and had a chat and I think we will get on well and I'm looking forward to the Shindig.

I made some purchases. including some lobster fabric which I was unable to get earlier this year.  The screen printing kit in a tin will. be interesting, I hope I can try that out later this week. I also bought some hand dyed fabrics and threads (the green fabric on top) and blue fabric for another project.

More knitting was done on the way home (got to keep busy!).  The stitch marker fell off my needles so its a good job that I had a long tail of yarn which I could use to keep track of the beginning of rows.
With a two + hour journey each way it was amazing how much the sock has grown

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