07 November 2018


A week into November and less than 7 weeks to Christmas - less than a month until our holiday.  Time as ever flies by!

Last month saw the rediscovery of a crochet project that has been lingering for more than a year.  Crochet Now magazine ran a Crochet A Long (CAL) called Vintage Sweethearts which was designed by Sandra Paul of Cherry Heart blog.  Rather than have the yarn in a net bag I took the decision to work on this and with the longer evenings I have been steadily making crochet blocks of which the one above is in part 7 (I got up to part 6 before abandoning the project).  I have since just finished the blocks in part 8 and made a start on part 9.  As yet I haven't blocked the crochet blocks  and sewn together, that's yet to come.  I have seen a tutorial on YouTube by Helen of Crystals & Crochet about blocking acrylic yarn which has been useful and will at some stage get on with the blocking before sewing up.  Much better to be a blanket than a pile of yarn sitting in a net bag!

So, part 8 is on the left and part 9 is on the right.

Back in September I went to a retreat in Shropshire (which I didn't blog about) and in a lucky dip bag amongst other things I had a fat quarter of a lovely fabric called Boho Forest with squirrels, bears and owls.  Too nice to tuck away in stash so I made a folio with it.

The instructions came from Aneela Hoey's book of Stitched Sewing Organizers, which has been a useful resource for me this year.  I used fabrics from my stash, picking out the colours of the Boho fabric = mainly the taupes, yellows and duck egg blues and appliqu├ęd the bears on the remaining piece of the fat quarter. It will hold the book along with pattern pieces in one place.  I have a couple of dressmaking books with patterns that have to be traced so there will probably be folios made for them too.  I used basal interlining for the cover, which although soft made it heavy so next time I will probably make a quilted cover instead.

A few months a go I signed up to make blocks on a monthly basis for a Siblings Together quilt bee and the requirement was to make blocks of warm colours.

They've now been sent off to the Quilt Bee Mama - a collection of those should make a lovely bright quilt.

It wasn't that long since I went to a quilt show, but I went one in Basingstoke run by North Hampshire Quilters and also took the opportunity to visit my brother-in-law's just a short hop up the motorway after.  They are a large group and their quilt styles are varied - from traditional to modern to contemporary.  A small but enjoyable show

Next Monday will be my first visit to West Country Embroiders Poole branch, making Dorset buttons.  I saw their exhibition back in September and made enquiries about joining, so see how that goes.  

26 October 2018

October Happenings

This post will be another miscellany of going out and making things too.  Last week David and I had a short visit to St Austell, Cornwall to visit the Eden Project.  We had some Tesco Clubcard vouchers for our visit there and the offer of a cheap Premier Inn stay gave us the opportunity to visit.  There have been changes to the roads around the area so no twiddly lanes to drive to get to the Eden Project now and avoids the town centre.

The weather on the travel down wasn't good and return journey was even worse, which was followed by glorious weather in the days after we returned home!  Fortunately the day we visited Eden it was dry so that was good.

On our trip down to Cornwall we visited Castle Drogo, near Exeter, which is shrouded in covered scaffolding while work ongoing work takes place.  The castle has always had problems with a leaking flat roof and concrete mortar joining the granite blocks so a layer of the castle has been removed to make the building watertight before relaying the roof.  We took the opportunity to don hi-viz vests and hard hats to climb the temporary stairway and see the work being done from a platform at the top of the building.  The north side of the building is being worked on while the south side is open to visitors and below is the best photo I could take as on the far left you will just see the white of the covers over the scaffolding.

Then after a hairy journey from Castle Drogo down single track lanes with very small passing places until we reached the main roads we went onto St Austell.

I think this must the be third visit we've made to the Eden Project and there is always something new to see as well as familiar things like the allotments with vegetables grown that reflect the different cultures cooking.   There were also some changes to the biomes too with the Californian plants in the Mediterranean biome being replaced by Australian ones.  It just makes for an interesting visit.

 A version of the mud maiden
 Roul  Roul Partridges near the banana plants in the Tropical biome
 Orchid display in the Tropical biome
Loving the colour fade of the Grevillea that comes from Australia in the Mediterranean biome.

Going onto the Core building the mechanical ball run was replaced by the a large sculpture called Infinity Blue, which has blue ceramic panels with holes that blow out vapour circles at intervals to represent invisible bacteria called Cyanobacteria.  It was fascinating to both adults and children watching the puffs of vapour and seeing the rings float and disappear.  Theres a link for more information here

In spite of it being mid October there are some plants that are really putting on a good display like these dahlias on the slopes.

And changes to plants that are just spectacular this time of year, like the vine leaves that are turning

On Saturday I went on a coach trip organised by Happy Patchers to the Craft 4 Crafters show at Shepton Mallet.  It is a mix of crafts, not much knitting but fabric and papercrafts mainly, but also organisations are represented here such as Project Linus, West Country Embroiderers, Somerset Spinning and Weaving amongst others and textile artists doing demonstrations/mini workshops.  I didn't buy much, even came back with change from the budget I set myself.  I was looking forward to seeing 'Briswool' which is a community knitting and crochet project, but it wasn't there as the group had decided to retire the display but it was pretty big so I had to make do with Kevin the crochet crocodile!! He is pretty long and those crochet scales must have taken ages, but the imagination to make something like that as a group  project.  Here's a link to see pictures of the project and to Crafting the City

Just next to Kevin was this seagull

I'm not keen on seagulls but he did look spectacular.

There was a display of exhibits by textile artist Kate Crossley, famed for her grandfather clock at Festival of Quilts a few years back.  There is just so much detail in her work.

And I also like the quilts made from the same pattern but the fabric choices make the quilts different but still recognisable as the same pattern (if you get my drift!)

This is Cornelian quilt from a pattern (which was a block of the month) by Hugs 'n' Kisses which involves hexagons and embroidery so really intricate.  These were just 2 of the quilts on display by the quilt group. And no, I'm not going to have a go at this!

In spite of this gadding about I have made time to make things.  A couple of baby items for Flo, some small socks and a baby bonnet (she isn't keen on hats so a bonnet might stay on better)

Pictures were taken in different light but they are the same shade of pink.

I also made a Wee Braw Bag, which has been seen a lot on Instagram just lately.  I had a copy of the pattern from a past issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting.  It is basically a small drawstring pouch and having made a few of pouches recently it didn't take me long to put it together.

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.

Popular Posts