29 December 2016

Mad Dash to Cornwall.

Last Christmas we wanted to see the Christmas lights in Mousehole Harbour, but didn't get there because my Mum was ill over the holiday.  This year we decided that we would go and booked a hotel room just for one night in Camborne, which was just half hour's drive from Mousehole.  

According to our satnav it is a 3.75 hour journey without stopping.  Being as it was Tuesday and a bank holiday the roads were fairly quiet and the weather was good our travel went quite well. We did stop at a service area just south of Exeter;  a surprising place as we didn't expect much, just a drink and loo break but came across an ex-Little Chef with really nice food.We eventually got to Camborne as it was starting to get dark so pretty good run down.

After an early dinner in the pub next door to the hotel we set off for Mousehole and we managed to park quite easily in the pay and display car park just outside the village.  Here are some of my photos taken by iPhone and as ever I'm surprised how well the photos turned out.

At the entrance to the village
This was the sight that greeted us as we got to the harbour. Three sailing boats, a whale and a Loch Ness monster lighting up the water. On the left harbour wall were a church and some trees.

Stocking, baubles, Christmas pudding and present were on the back wall.
There had to be a mouse too, with a lightbulb too.

The streets around the village we light with strings of lights too so it really was a colourful sight. A church in the backstreet had a nativity scene all light up.  The whole village really goes to town with their lights.

Not to be outdone the nearest town to Moushole is Newlyn, who had their own lights and a took one of an anchor the side of a building (this photo I took from the car windscreen, so I'm surprised it turned out as well as it did).

On the wall of a pub was a mermaid (you can see our sat nav in the bottom of the pic).
And a few other light decorations too.

We headed back towards Camborne and stopped of at Marazion where we saw St Michaell's Mount lit  up not a good pic as the Mount is so far away, but can be seen just right of the We,come sign
We travelled back home the next day but instead of whizzing straight back on the A30, we headed towards Newquay then Bude.  There was a sign along the route which took us to Widemouth Bay and stopped briefly to take in the views.  Seeing the waves coming in to the coast it was easy to see why this bit of coastline is popular with surfers.  We walked a short way along the cliff top and took a few photos.  I like this one, taking advantage of the long shadows from the winter sun.
Isn't the sky fantastic?

And looking across the other way.
David wasn't keen on stopping in Bude, too many people so we went on to Holsworthy (didn't stop there either) then Okehampton.  Lovely tea shop there had tea and scones and oh dear, there's a wool shop just across from there.

Two balls of yarn were calling to me to buy them.  What was I to do!

From Okehampton we headed towards Exeter then took the Lyme Regis road back into Dorset.  We don't go there often so it was a pleasant walk around the town and the quirky shops there and seeing the sun go down over the Cobb.
And of course there are Christmas lights in the town. 
After a stop in Dorchester for an early dinner we were soon home.  It too all day and were tired by the end after our two day there and back trip, but got today to recover before I go back to work tomorrow.
It was worthwhile to get away albeit for a short time and lucky to have had such good weather too.

Knitting and Crochet Stuff

I hope your Christmas went well and looking forward to the year ahead.  No quilting goodies for Christmas, which is good, as I like to choose my own.  I did get some crochet hooks in a wrap and a travel sewing kit and a small tin (good size for bits and bobs).  I've taken to knitting and crochet recently as you will have seen in my most recent posts so these will come in useful in my knitting bag. I did get lots of other pressies too including a radio with Bluetooth speaker which I will keep in my room. Music while I'm sewing. I will have to update the playlist on my iPhone now.

I can now reveal the secret knitting that I've done in recent months, which the recipient, my granddaughter Sophie, is now enjoying.  It's a Jean Greenhowe clown, Mr Forty Winks.

There he is just getting comfy on the settee before being wrapped up.  Sophie kept going to our spare room when visiting to find the one my Mum knitted years ago for my daughter Sarah, (in the picture below) so instantly David and I thought "Christmas present!". Pattern sourced as Mum no longer had it, but found in local wool shop and some yarn using what I had and buying some more too, I managed to make this well before Christmas.
Guess who else wants a knitted clown - her sister Isobel! Better get the needles and yarn out for another to be knitted by her birthday in March.

Here's a pic of the clown in progress together with a picture from the pattern. He has an amazing number of little bits to knit but the detail is really good. The body is the easy bit being worked in one piece from the ankles to the hat but even bits have to be added, like the hat band and brim, hair, collar and band with knitted buttons, so did take a while on and off from September onwards (so better get a move on with Isobel's then).

It was good fun and I hope the next one will be too.

Meanwhile we have been to Cornwall and back during those between days and I took some crochet with me as David was happy to drive both days, so my corner to corner blanket which has come out of retirement is on the go again.

I'll post about our Cornwall trip next time as I've got several photos for that.

24 December 2016

Christmas Wishes

This is my 600th post on the blog and Christmas Eve. We've been kept busy with Christmas preps and work (that's me) and catching up with family.  We are having a quiet Christmas Day at home, just the two of us probably eating and drinking too much! The day after Boxing Day will see us on a brief trip to Cornwall to see Mousehole Harbour Lights which was going to happen last Christmas but didn't. 

Recently I've been knitting tiny Christmas stockings

And yesterday evening completed a little tiny Christmas Bear. I've placed a £1 coin beside it so you have an idea of how tiny it is
Both the patterns are free ones from Little Cotton Rabbits pattern blog. The last stocking and the bear are on the Christmas Tree now.

I also found through Pinterest a crochet Christmas tree so made one of those one evening this week.
The fancy Christmas yarn doesn't really show the crochet up that much.

Earlier this week we caught up with my youngest son Jamie and his family.  His wife, Carly, Is a professional photographer and earlier this year we gathered the family together for a photoshot.  This was a birthday present to us both which was meant to be an album, but I wanted the pictures in a frame.  I chose a 12 picture frame in Next and this is how the photos turned out. My photo of this was done in the evening so difficult to take in the artificial lighting but here it is

My grandsons (Jamie and Carly's sons) were reluctant to have their photos taken so there are no individual photos of them, which is a shame, but a lovely collection of photos nonetheless.

Have a lovely Christmas and hope to do another blog post around New Year. The beginning of the year will see the 10th anniversary of my blog so I will have to think how I will celebrate this.

18 December 2016

16 Years in the Making

Years ago I used to do cross stitch.  The pictures I made became larger and more intricate but then quilting took over and this piece got left.  I originally stitched this on Aida fabric but didn't like it so stitched again on this even weave fabric and I preferred the blue background.  I started the embroidery in 2000.  I have the receipt to prove it - to buy some of the threads that I didn't have to stitch it.

The pattern was in a sorry state too. It had been folded and unfolded so many times that I had taped it but over the years the tape deteriorated, leaving yellow marks on the pattern.  This was kept it a plastic  document pouch.


I think the reason why it was left was because there are so many different but similar shades of the dark blues and reds in the skirts that I became disoriented.  Anyway, roll on 16 years and my Mum asked if the embroidery was still around.  It was and she took it on along with the threads. There was only one shade of the dark blue that was needed but the dye lot of that number thread was slightly different but she blended strands of old an new thread to make that less noticeable.

So here it is, The Quitmaker. 

She did a fantastic job and it was returned to me for washing and framing.  I won't do anything just now as I will get the Christmas holidays out of the way and look for mount and frame to finish in the New Year.

Thank you Mum.

07 December 2016

A Bit of Knitting and Crochet

Recently I've taken to doing some knitting and crochet.  In my last post I had knitted but not seen up a little Christmas stocking, but now I've completed three.

This was from a free pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits and because they are so small each one takes me an evening to knit and they look so sweet. One at least will go to my sister who asked for one and he other two may have new homes too.  

Underneath the stockings is a crochet mandala. This was from a pattern in Crochet Now magazine who have been asking for mandalas to swap for mental health.  This was worked with just one variegated yarn, which I bought for just £1 at my local Wilkinsons store.

Sometimes it takes a photo to get a sense of the texture in this piece. It was interesting to make haven't ever done this before. It took a couple of evenings to crochet this and not having to change colours means there was just the beginning and finishing ends to darn in. I'd like to try this in a plain coloured yarn with some texture.

The Christmas tree has gone up now. Familiar decorations adorn the tree that we've collected over the years, the Pirate from Penzance, some little cross stitch pieces, Bugs Bunny and Alien we bought years back from America years ago, Dutch decorations from our holiday last year and our new flashing reindeer.  This is probably the last year for this tree as we haven't got a small table to put it on and is to short to stand on the floor.  Just two and half weeks away from Christmas now. 

01 December 2016

And Now For Something Completely Different

It was my birthday on Monday. 61. How did that happen? Anyway another year passes and as always happens it collides with having to think about Christmas things.  

A few weeks back I had an email from Seasalt, who have a shop in Wimborne.  They were hosting as Sketchbook Club session byJennie Maizels last Thursday evening.  After a bus trip from work in Poole to Wimborne I spent an enjoyable hour and a half with eight other ladies doing a winter scene. We had a 'recipe' to make a scene with using paint and drawing techniques with clear stages.  These were the paintings produced

Mine was the middle left in this picture and a close up below
Not bad.  I was really excited by what I made. I wanted to have another go.

No fluke, I can make another winter scene. This was my version made at home. I really enjoyed the process and may take this a bit further next year.

Something else I've had a go at recently has been knitting and I've got some on the go which I can't show here until after Christmas, however I have made this yesterday evening, which has got to be sewn up.
A cute little Christmas stocking, just over a couple of inches tall, from a free pattern by Julie of Little Cotton Rabbits.  Do have a look at her blog, she has designed and made the most gorgeous little knitted animals (including rabbits!). There are several patterns for small stockings.

Just goes to show that however old you are you're never too old to learn something new!  To sign off here's a selfie with Shaun the Sheep perched on my shoulder. I was given some Mardles, character stickers that cone to life when using the app on he phone, whatever next!

20 November 2016

Splendid Sampler 14

It's getting to that time of month and another round up of my Splendid Sampler blocks.  As at today the 81st was published so 19 more to go. 

Block 72 - Full Circle Star designed by Victoria Findlay Wolfe a mix of techniques, an applique centre and pieced star.  There were meant to be applique circles but I replaced these with buttons.

Block 73 - +Love. A pieced block designed by Jennifer Albough. A little fussy cut owl fitted nicely into the centre of this block.

Block 74 - Button Basket designed by Karen Soltys.  I'd recently bought this brown/red marbled effect fabric which contrasts well with the dark grey/black of the honeycombe fabric and red in the background fabric and on the buttons.

Block 75 is an embroidery block, which I haven't yet made. I am thinking of embroidered this by machine and using decorative stitches but will leave this for later.

Block 76 - Little Things by Jacquelynne Steves.  Quarter square triangles with cup and saucer appliqued in the middle square. I was able to use oddments of the red and white fabrics.

The next block, Prism designed by Sara Lawson is Block 77.  Another chance to use the little bits. And pieces left over from other blocks. The owl fabric and the white Dutch Heritage fabric were the ones that had to be cut out as the other pieces were scraps that were trimmed to fit.

Block 78 is Jersey, designed by Carrie Nelson. A pieced block and another chance to use the Owls again.  The orange fabric that have made an appearance in many of the blocks is now beginning to dwindle and I've just got little bits left, but a new orange fabric is about to appear in the next block.

Block 79 is Spoole of Inspirational Threads by Melanie Barrett. I cheated with this block as there should  be strips of fabric foundation pieced 'thread' but I utilised this selvedge fabric as the thread instead.

Block 80, Heartstring Stars by Elizabeth Dackson. Foundation pieced strips added to half square triangles and joined into a nine patch block.

Block 81 is With Love From designed by Cat Demack, which is the block published today and while having sewn the other blocks decided to get this done.  Ummm, I've cheated again. This should be foundation pieced but I layered the background and X and O fabrics with the pattern behind the background fabric and sewn through, cutting back the front fabrics.

Going back a bit this is my version of block 65. Stripe and Flowers by Siobhan Rogers. I struggled with this one as there were little triangles in the borders, which I have omitted as they weren't complete triangles and I didn't like that look.  So the above block is what I came up with.

Lastly a bonus block for this month which is Canning Jars by Joan Ford,  This made me think of sweetie jars rather than preserving ones, which influenced my choice of fabrics.
I added some ricrac under the lids of the jars, lots of little bits bit so long as they were kept in order it all went well and didn't take long to do.

I thought that was the last but no, I made one in October.  It could only be a pumpkin block by Pat Sloan.
The yellow fabric with the acorn leaves go just right with this pumpkin. That is definitely it. I'm now up to date with my Splendid Sampler makes.

16 November 2016

Journal Quilts

 I belong to the Contemporary Quilters group of the Quilters' Guild of he British Isles and this year have participated in making journal quilts, small quilts that are made each month.  This year has a specific size and displayed in portrait format, with certain colours appearing in them.  So far as at yesterday I've made 11 with one more to be made for December.

My head was bussing with ideas following the West Country Quilt Show and seeing a number of textile artists there.  On Sunday after seeing Helen Howes tree technique on her website I decided to have a go. The colour to be featured in these quilts is Yellow and I chose a dark mustard yellow with gold highlights  for the tree.
I had a piece of batik which I thought was big enough but after cutting out, joining and re-cutting soon shrunk things, so a couple more pieces of mustard were added. Basic outline quilting on the batik fabric and a double layer of zigzag finished the quilt.

I also purchased Gillian Travis' book of Interchange Applique quilts, but instead of using one of her patterns my thoughts were of drawing my own and it made me think of rainbow carrots. A bit random, I know, but not completely mad as I'd seen packs of rainbow carrots in M&S.  I used my painted fabric as backgrounds on which to applique the colourful carrots and stitched down with straight line quilting.   It was finished by sewing the backing fabric and bagging out.

Just have one more little quilt to make that that'll be my year of journal quilts made.

13 November 2016

West Country Quilt Show and a Couple of Finishes

Yesterday I went on a coach trip organised by Happy Patchers to the West Country Quilt Show in Bristol, at the University of West of England's Conference Centre.  The weather was really wet so I'm glad someone else was doing the driving.

I heard from last year that this was becoming a quite good show as it not only features quilts but also other crafts are represented too, such as spinning, felting, lacemaking and others and wanted to go this year.  It was interesting to hear demonstrators talk about their crafts even if it wasn't what you do.  There were quite a few textile artists, such as Hilary Beattie, I could watch her demonstrating the different colour mediums that she uses all day.  Needless to say that one of my purchases was her third book, Making it Personal, book 2.

There weren't many competition quilts and only a few competition cushions, but quite a few traders who had mixed fortunes showing at this show.  The aisles were quite wide so plenty of room to explore the the traders and demonstration booths too.

I took pictures of quilts, these were the modern mini quilts from the Modern Quilt section of the Quilters' Guild featuring white, black and another colour
Then there was a textile group with Sixties inspired quilts
Cushions and quilts
Competition Quilts

I made some purchases too, but as I'd only recently bought fabric at the Doughty's sale last month I resisted temptation.  I did buy books, Hilary Beattie's as above, and also from Gillian Travis, a crochet kit, textile brooch kit, a few more Aurifil threads and cards and contact details from other traders.

Now I can say that I have a couple of finishes today - yay!

A little while ago I bought a lovely skein of wool from Kathryn of Crafternoon Treats. It was would fairly quickly into a ball and I used it to make a Hitchhiker Shawl, a pattern by Martina Behm, which was a simple pattern which would show the hand dyed yarn to good effect.  It has been picked up and put down, but it was easy just to sit and knit while watching television, so it has taken a while.  When we stopped in Sherborne on our way home from the Motor Museum the other week the two ladies in the wool shop in the town were wearing Hitchhiker shawls and they looked so different in the different yarns.  Anyway it is finished today and all the sewing that was needed was weaving in the ends at the start and end of the knitting. This is it

And a selfie of me wearing it, sorry, looks a bit odd, didn't know whether to take a photo reflected in the mirror or not, in the end decided a selfie was a better option.
And a start and finish!  A journal quilt for October (I also have a November one in progress).  This was inspired by the tree quilts made by Helen Howes at the quilt show yesterday and the instructions are on her website here

I'd cut the background fabric to size with another thing in mind but it wasn't big enough so the size was expanded with the mustard yellow fabric on 2 sides.  The cutting and inserting was quite quick to do but its thinking in what order to do piece this.  Quite enjoyed this, as I do like to take time out to play with a different technique.

While I was out yesterday David, who volunteers on the Swanage Railway, did a stint of signalling at Norden, near Corfe Castle and had to stay to operate the level crossing for a visiting engine that travelled down on an excursion from Sussex to Weymouth which was stopping overnight at Swanage.    It was night time by the train arrived and the engine was travelling to Southall from Swanage today so we went to Poole station to see it go through. The engine is called Braunton, but as it is Remembrance weekend it was temporarily named Lord Dowding.

That was my weekend, hope you had a good one too.