16 April 2018

April Happenings

April is a busy month, mainly because at work it is tax year end.  I'm finishing my job at the end of the month so just this week and next to go!  

Friday before last David and I went to a Twenties themed Murder Mystery at my youngest son's local community centre near Chandler's Ford.  There were seven of us in all taking part and we were nowhere near guessing who did do the murder as a team on another table got that.  Anyway David and I don't normal do dressing up but managed to cobble together to make up outfits.

A selfie taken just before we went to bed!!  We hadn't taken a photo earlier on or during the event!

Before Easter I saw on Instagram that Lucy Lockett was promoting an Easter egg filled with surprise yarn mini skeins (20g) and other little bits and bobs.  I looked forward to opening the little parcels of yarn with a little Easter joke (think Christmas cracker jokes with an Easter theme!).  Here's a pic of what I opened on Easter Sunday and at the end of the week

Not sure what I'm going to make with them all but they do look colourful.

I'd also treated myself to some yarn from Lay Family Yarn in a delicate Crocus colour way

I love the pale buttery yellow with specks of orange, violet mixed in.  I'd like to make a one skein shawl with that, but haven't found the right pattern yet.

On the sewing front, I've recently made another vinyl fronted pouch.  Some time ago I made one using the instructions from Aneela Hoey's book of Stitched Sewing Organizers.  

Then I saw an article in the West Country Quilter, newsletter of Region 4 of the Quilters' Guild of the British Isles written by the editor about a workshop making Posh Pockets, which looked to have a patchwork pieced back to the pouch.  So I made a pouch which had a flip and sew quilt as you go back and vinyl front with square edges.  Big enough to hold A4 sized print, say a pattern.

This is what I made - that's the front

and the back

 Big enough to hold an A4 size piece of paper, this a tree I drew out which I used for an appliqué.
Really quick and made in an afternoon.  There might be more of these made in different sizes in the future.

This weekend I delved into the really untidy, overloaded wardrobe in my sewing room and came across some block that made last year in a workshop at Pauline's Patchworks.  I mentioned about this here.  I made these last April, and didn't take things any further as sometimes I was desperate for time to sew and a workshop fitted that need.  Anyway I dug out and got sewing into rows and rows are in the process of being joined together, just two rows left and a quilt top will be done.  Here's a pic taken yesterday with the top spread out on the spare bed.

It looks as though it will be a single bed size so it may end up being a charity quilt.  Wait and see.  Also in the pic is another zippy quilt which I made on Saturday morning, which adds to the charity makes.

Looking forward to making more things but I'm asking myself if I will have enough time when I finish work!

08 April 2018

My Solo Finish A Long

I started of the year with a list of my own Finishes as I couldn't find and was too late for the Finish A Long 2018.  I decided that I would start a Solo Finish Along, a list of which is on my sidebar.

I have finished a lot of things at the end of March which I can now deleted from my list.  This has been a handy aid for me to keep track what is outstanding.  I know there will be ongoing items like the pouches, which is fine as I make the odd one now and again and I have several in my collection which will go to charity sales.

 I may do a little tutorial about these as they are quick and easy to make.  Oooh, haven't done one before that's something different!

The Woodland blanket is growing too.  I'm on the 4th part of the colour changes in the CAL (crochet a long) which was designed by Lucy of Attic 24 blog here. I'm crocheting the Random colour way in this CAL and to keep track of the colours I've copied and pasted the changes onto Notes on my iPad and each time I've finished the two rows of the pattern in each colour I've put an asterisk next to the colour's shade.  Here's a pic of the progress so far,  Folded in half lengthwise you can see all the ends on the left hand side to be darned in - I haven't darned as I go.

Third item is the wallhanging with the 'beanstalk' which I've not done anything more about.  It still looks the same, just ridiculous with the stem and leaves all out of proportion with the rest of it.  I have roughly drawn a tree on paper which I can transfer once the 'beanstalk' has been taken out. I should crack on and get this out of the way.

Fourth item is something new to this quarter and is a black/grey and orange/yellow sixteen square blocks.  Nice and easy to cut strips, sew, re-cut and sew again.  I'd like to think these colours would suit a teenage boy and would go towards Project Hope.  My progress as at yesterday was 15 x 12" blocks and I think 20 would be a good number to make. Eventually I would quilt as you go method and join with sashing strips.
So that's my outstanding projects for this quarter of my Solo Finish A Long.


It is so easy to be taken in by social media, one thing leads to another and another path is taken.  This time its embroidery, which I do dabble in now and again and when I saw the Good Intentions SAL (Sew A Long) by @chrissie_crafts and seen her video tutorials on You Tube I joined in.

It was to have a word or words of what your intentions would be this year and I decided on the word Changes.. , reasons of which I will go into later.  It was a few weeks into the SAL so I did several of the techniques in one afternoon!

The stitches used so far were backstitch, couching (the brown twiggy wreath), fly stitch for the leaves, woven wheel for the flowers.

There were some lazy daisy stitches for the small leaves and flowers, then a few French knots in flower colour thread and also in the word too.  This was all done just before and around the Easter break, then I bought some felt to back the embroidery after finishing off and trimming the fabric.  I used a light beige Grunge fabric by Moda, which has a mottled effect and sets off the colours well.

If you'd like to see what others have made go and have a look here

As for Changes, well this has been and will continue to be a changeable year so the word seemed appropriate to me. I took the decision to retire at the end of last year.  I am 62 and of an age when women of around my age had found their State Retirement Age was increased from 60 to 65, then again to 66,  but I am lucky enough to have a small Local Government pension and also saved to enable me to retire earlier.  I gave my notice in January to work 4 months so I will finish work in three weeks time at the end of April.

In January my Dad became ill and died just the day before his 95th birthday, so that was the first of the changes that have come this year. My Mum seems to be coping well but there are things that still need sorting out.

My sister, her husband and son are hoping to move down to Dorset from Berkshire. They have found a bungalow that they like and the legal stuff for the sale is going ok but the purchase looks not to be so it could be a little while before they move, but we hope not. So that is another change.

My daughter Sarah (she was married last September, see here) is expecting her first baby in July and after a gap of 8.5 years since the last grandchild this will be grandchild no. 5.  She will be starting her maternity leave at the end of May so the changes continue.

I'm hoping that going forward that David and I have time to do more things together as well as our own interests.  Changes is just a reminder of what this year will bring.

30 March 2018

Three Finishes this week

I've posted at last weekend about one of the finishes, a slow stitched table runner which I finished on Sunday here, so I won't going into more detail.  So that was Finish No.1

One Monday I continued with Finish no.2. My Frivols quilt.  I've had this on my Finish A Long list since last year in fact I started making the quilt in January last year, but there's been a lot of stops/starts along the way so I am pleased to have finished this.

It's only 42" square and the coloured fabrics were small squares of Moda's Little Miss Sunshine range in a Frivols tin, which I bought a few years back from Pauline's Patchworks in Dorchester.  The range is no longer available but I wanted to have a fabric to finish off the binding and around Christmas time I found there was some of the fabric on sale at Pretty Fabrics and Trims online shop in green.  I bought a metre which was way more than I needed but I'm sure this will be useful in the future. So last week I got on with the job of Getting It Done.

 I've got in laid out on the spare  bed with two sides on the binding on

 Above is the detail of the pattern and binding

 I just had to show the selvedge of the fabric I used with the motto on it "she always looks on the bright side" - ah, lovely.

So I needed to get the binding slipstitched and finished all bar the label (must get that done soon) on Monday, now there's more daylight in the evenings.

And a little look at the back, where I used some Tula Pink hexagon fabric which goes really well the quilt.

For my third Finish the following day is my pair of Rhubarb V for Valentine socks.  It was too late for the Knit A Long organised by Ellie of Craft House Magic but the first sock was delayed by the heel turn.  I didn't get on with it until a few weeks later, but I got it finished and the second sock was soon on its way and I'm really pleased how its turned out.  I've mentioned about the socks before on this post here towards the end of the post, but with the second sock I used long circular needles for the shaping around the heel and instep before reverting back to short circulars and that seemed to work better than getting in a muddle with DPN's.  As I've said before there is always something new to learn with knitting socks.

So the last bit was doing Kitchener (grafting) stitch and finishing off the ends.   Below are a couple of 'sock-fies' (like selfies but with socks!)

With the smaller (2.25mm needles) this gives a much better tension and they fit really well.

Three finishes in a week!

25 March 2018

Swanage Railway

Last Saturday we spent a freezing day in Swanage.  This was the second of the 'Beast From the East' weather episodes and the sky was grey, sea was grey and really stormy.  There was snow too, not a lot but enough to whiten the hills in the Purbecks slightly and while in town it was falling horizontally!

Anyway after going in and out of the shops and visiting a coffee shop to keep warm we went for a ride on Swanage Railway up to Corfe Castle and back.  David volunteers as a signalman on the railway but its not often that he actually travels on a train.

Here's some photos that I took

The steam train operation was 80104,  made in 1955, the year David and I were born.  As well a carriages it was also pulling an observation car.

 There was another engine just outside the sheds which was fired up ready for the Spring Steam Gala which is this weekend.

There is an artist whose house overlooks the railway and she created an artwork on the wall of her garden.

I also enjoyed some of the railway posters both vintage and modern, really artistic

 Beating the traffic by going by train
 And what's happening now and coming soon

And while on the train I came across an old metal advert advertising sewing machines in Weymouth almost hidden by a shrub.

March Catch Up

Its been 22 days since the last post and in between then and now there's been more snow which has come and gone, International (or Worldwide) Quilting Day (which I didn't end up celebrating with some sewing ;o( ) and I'm a few weeks nearer to my retirement date at the end of April ;o)) .

As Spring progresses there's a bit more plant life to see and lighter evenings to come home in.  When it was Mother's Day I bought a plant pot display for my Mum and a different one for my Daughter Sarah, who's a Mum to be. I could not resist the Primroses, which I thought looked different

 These are Zebra Primulas, I bought one for me, one for Mum
 At another garden centre last month I bought some tulips in a pot which were half price.  They're all in flower now.
 Surprised to see the rosemary was in flower already
 And there are a lot of daffodils in flower in the garden
Yesterday I took a photo of the hyacinths in a pot along with a small budealea just coming out in flower.

About a week and a half ago I went to the West Country Embroiderers Dorset Day at Canford Magna.  They have a morning of traders and mini exhibitions to see.  The Christchurch group of the WCE organised the event and their banner had this lovely collection of Dorset Buttons sewn onto felt Paisley shapes.
There were also some hooped embroideries that were inspired but the Sea, which I also saw when I went to the Craft for Crafters show last autumn.

This was followed by lunch then the afternoon speaker, Jennie Rayment.  I've heard her speak before quite a while ago now and she is a very entertaining speaker talking about her travels and the tweaking a tucking that is her quilting speciality.  She mainly uses calico, which in the USA is known as muslin and has the moniker of the "Muslin Mistress" I took a photo after her talk when she was signing her books and I also managed a photo of one of her quilts.  And yes, she is wearing thigh high books and frilly knickers!!

She has such energy travelling to and fro that I think would leave youngsters exhausted!

Sunday afternoons are usually a time I like to spend in my room to sew and I have been trying to progress things to finish this month and I have succeeded with my small hexie table runner.  It's been on my Finish A Long list for a while as it was a slow project with English Paper Pieced hexies sewn together and appliquéd onto a background fabric which had several rows of quilting.  I felt a need to finish off and machine sewed the binding on.  It's only 18" long by 10.5" wide, but much smaller length than the pattern that came with the Bramble Patch Box of Delights and I also preferred the dark grey Grunge background fabric.

 There's the back view for which I made a hexie label to go with it.
 And heres a view on the table with the primrose.

Other sewing projects I've done has been a couple more pouches. which brings my pouch total this year to 6.  I made these last Sunday (for the quilting day that I missed out on the day before).

 Trying something a bit different with binding two opposite sides the quilted square with some ricrac underneath on the pink one.  To the green one I added some ribbon on a couple of the strips.

There they all are.

Another item which I hope to finish this week as I've put on the binding and just got to slipstitch that down is the Frivols quilt, another thing on my Finish A Long list.  Good to see the end in sight for another long awaited finish.

Two sides have been slipstitched already.  So I'm please to be getting this done.

Sock progress - this was taken a few days ago, but the second sock is not far from the toe shaping so not long to go for this now.

So that's it for now.  Still keeping busy.....