31 December 2017

Review of 2017

This will be about my makings during the year and at the end what I hope to achieve for 2018.  

At the beginning of the year I was still making blocks for the Splendid Sampler which finished in February.  The blocks remain in a bag and awaiting what I'm going to do with them.  I didn't completed all of the blocks as I just didn't have the time to do all the embroidered or foundation pieced blocks, but you can read about the processes from tab at the top of my blog.  It was fun to do but with 6.5" blocks it is difficult to get a cohesive look to make up a quilt.  I think I may have a play around an see what setting I can come up with this year to put something together.

During this time I was also knitting a clown for Isobel's birthday in March.  In 2016 I knitted a Bedtime Clown for Sophie and Isobel wanted a clown of her own.  

I had fun making him but I thought after 2 clowns I don't want to make any more for a while! 

I also made a sporting teddy for my Mum, who loves teddies and saw this on Facebook.  Little did she know I had the pattern book and was making it!

I'd also made a cushion cover for my grandson, Leo, who had to go into hospital for an operation.  He liked cats and I had a cat panel so having quilted and made a backing this became a cushion he could take into hospital for a bit of comfort. He did also receive a Project Linus quilt during his stay and thankfully the procedure he had worked well.

Another pair of cushions were made later in the year which went to my daughter Sarah as a house warming present when her and her husband moved into their house in September, just before their wedding!

This was made from fabrics and pattern from the The Bramble Patch subscription kit. I was still receiving monthly subscription boxes from, which I have now stopped as I couldn't keep up with the projects.  I did like this poppy wallhanging kit which I made up.

 On the yarn front I made a couple of crochet hearts, tea cosy and also had a go at making a sparkle sheep.

Last New Year's Day I made a start on a Frivols Quilt, which is still in progress by the time this New Year arrives.  I hope to finish this soon when I get the binding fabric.

But an ongoing quilt project has been finished, which is my Doll Dress Up quilt

And matching cushion

I made a sewing machine cover and matching pouch for my daughter-in-law, Carly, who is a whizz at making fancy dress costumes (unlike me, I always hated fancy dress!)

Also on a practical note, I had to make a new peg bag to replace the one that was falling apart
Another set of cushions for the living room

Lots of pouches made with quilt as you go method for charity stall to help Project Hope

This year I've discovered the joy of sock knitting and having tried short circular needles (which I haven't really got on with but haven't written them off yet) and then magic loop method with longer circular needles which I felt more comfortable with, I was away.  I made some blue and green WYS yarn for the first pair, then made the pinky/orange pair in Stylecraft for my sister.  Another pair has been made which will be gifted in January but I've just made my easy lace socks in orange King Cole Zigzag yarn.  Here they are below

I've belonged to the UK  Quilters United Facebook group for a few years and this year I took part in a mini quilt swap to be completed in September and made this quilt for Gillian

Then had this quilt from Helen

 So gorgeous and has real depth and detail.  I'm still amazed when I see this.

Also with this group there is another sub group that does fabric postcard swaps.  Instead of having up to half dozen to send, which is really expensive with the postage today you receive the same number as you've sent, so if you just want to swap one postcard you will receive one in return.

So this has fired my imagination. The first was a free swap where you could either make a card of any subject or use another card from a previous subject that wasn't included in a swap.  
 The one above I sent

 And this one received
 This was an experimental one (with the back below) this may be used for a future swap

 The Christmas ones sent (the one on the left was for the swap)
 And this, above, I received in return
And then I made this one to use for my Christmas header.

Lastly I've been making some items from the Stitched Sewing Organizers book so here's a few of these

I've also enjoyed exhibitions near and far, having gone to Farnham Maltings at the beginning of the year for fabric sale and group exhibitions, Malvern in May, Romsey in July, Festival of Quilts in August and Kaffe Fassett at Mottisfont.  Went to workshops at Pauline's Patchworks earlier this year and then Angela Daymond's workshop at Charminster, near Dorchester.

I've also had a personal goal of losing weight too and have lost 1.5 stone.  Although I will have gained weight over the Christmas period, I will get back to this and hope I can get to my target weight of 10 stone (which was about 10lbs away when I was last weighed, but could be a little more than that now!)

I'm sure there is something I've forgotten here, but at times I feel that I've not achieved much, but its actually quite a bit figuring that I also work 4 days a week too!

What I hope to do in 2018 is that I'd like to take a more artistic route and also do some me-makes.  I thinks there's only so many quilts that can be made and wallhangings to hang so would be good to do something a bit different.  I have joined (and hope to keep up with) 30 Day Sketchbook Challenge run by Susan of Magenta Sky starting tomorrow for this month.  I have a small square sketchbook and will sharpen up my pencils to get ready for that. Its a start.

I'd also like to gain more confidence in making my own clothes,  as its been a long time since I've done this and would be good to wear something that I've made and fits me so I hope I can book a workshop place to get me going on this.

I want to also progress beyond the smaller jumpers and socks and knit a garment, possibly cardigan(s) or jumper, and extend my crochet skills too.

Some Finishes For This Year

I hope you had a good Christmas and looking forward to a Happy New Year.  This year has been a mixed bag of ups and downs with family illnesses, bereavements but also a wedding too and hope for a more positive 2018 year to come.  Looking forwards David and I have just booked a cruise for next December around the time of our 41st anniversary so at least its something to work towards. There may be some other good news too, but that will wait until further into the New Year, watch this space.

I did mention some finishes in time for Christmas and these were well received.  I made a couple of jumpers which I hadn't mentioned before (just in case the family had seen this).  Sophie and Isobel, my granddaughters like the Harry Potter books, in fact Sophie is HP made so a couple of jumpers were made which I can now share here:

This is Isobel's - Ravenclaw House (I found out later this should have been blue and bronze, but I think the bronze would have been difficult to interpret in a yarn colour.

And Sophie's - Slytherin House
(excuse the scissors, how did they get in there?)

David managed to source the badges, which I sewed on and they don't look too bad.  On Boxing Day when they received their jumpers they were worn straight away! However my grandson Leo has also recently discovered Harry Potter and almost devoured the books and looked a bit crestfallen that he didn't get a jumper.  Guess who will now be knitting a Gryffindor version!  The order went to Wool Warehouse which arrived yesterday along with a yarn pack for another project for next year.  Plenty to keep me busy!!

This is a Quarter 4 Finish as this was the Christmas knitting I couldn't reveal earlier (just in case).

I also put the finishing touches to a picture that I made at the Kantha stitching workshop a few months ago.  I bought a canvas just slightly bigger than the stitching.  I painted and mounted it onto the canvas so I'm pleased that its another finish, just have to think where it's going to go.

Really pleased with that and I may try another picture using this technique as it was so relaxing doing this piece.

I have made progress with a quilt I am making but just have to finish off threads and I've just ordered some fabric to do the binding, which I found was on sale and is in the same range. Hoping that comes during the week next week it may be a finish on Sewing Saturday next Saturday.

Back to knitting and this was finished on Christmas Day evening, so here is a sockfie.

I loved the pumpkin colours as I chose the yarn back in October and used Winwick Mum's easy lace pattern, though the yarn colouring is probably a bit busy for the pattern and perhaps I should have used a plain yarn, but I think it looks good and was a good pattern to follow.

Next up I started on another pair of sock starting from the toes instead of the cuff. The free pattern on Ravelry is by Louise Tilbrook.  Seemed to go ok until I hit the gusset and heel shaping and I don't think things are going right, so may need a bit of un-knitting (frogging) and starting again from the end of the toe increase.  Its a bit more of a learning curve but sure I will get there in the end.

This was the photo I posted on the Winwick Mum Knit and Natter group on Facebook.

My next post, which may be this evening or could be tomorrow will be a review of 2017.  Until then, have a lovely time, whatever you do for New Year.  With my best wishes for a 


25 December 2017


Just popping by to wish my friends a HAPPY CHRISTMAS

Hoping you have a lovely time, wherever you are and whatever you do.


Sue  x

17 December 2017

Sadly Neglected Blog

It's been nearly a couple of weeks and a lot has happened which I've not had a chance to spend typing at the computer.  I really miss that I can't post from my I-Pad as Google no longer has an app to compose blog posts.  Anyway, which David is watching American football catching up from games shown last night and will be seeing more of today's games I thought I would take the opportunity to spend time on the 'Big Mac'.

Week before last saw us go to Middlesex for the funeral of my Aunt and David and I went with my sister and brother in law.  My aunt had been having respiratory problems for a long time and the last two weeks were spent in hospital before she passed away.  She was my Mum's younger sister and was well loved by family and neighbours.  The service was taken by someone who grew up next door to my aunt's family and so knew my aunt well, which was a nice touch.  Anyway unfortunate circumstances lead us to meet up with cousins that we've not seen for a long time, must have been 17 years ago and it was good to see them all.

Last Sunday was our 40th wedding anniversary.  David had arranged for us to stay near Stratford-Upon-Avon.  We were able to see the Victorian Christmas market going on there although it was bitterly cold.  We managed to find the Nutcracker Christmas shop and we also had a look at the shop next to Shakespeare's birthplace and added to our Christmas decorations.  I joked before we went that I hoped to get a Christmas Bard, and David bought it for me!

There were Christmas parties being held at the hotel that Saturday and felt like gatecrashers going through the bar to the restaurant! That's the only problem with having a December anniversary!  Anyway, on Sunday morning we were greeted with this....
Snow! We put a brave face on and went to Stratford town centre and the roads weren't too bad, if really pretty with the snow covered trees.  Here's the view from the car.

Needless to say there some shops open, but not that many so we consoled ourselves with some coffee and cake in a lovely warm coffee shop and later went back to the hotel room to hibernate!  Any thoughts of going out to a nice restaurant to celebrate our anniversary were out the window and we stayed and had the hotel buffet dinner, but it was good to get away.  On the Monday we returned back home, leaving a little later in the morning fortunately once out the hotel car park the roads were ok to drive and the snowy scene on the roadside did look pretty.
View from the car again, this time with a promise of a wee bit of blue sky, but that didn't last long.  The snow line stopped at about Marlborough, where we had a coffee stop before heading further south to Poole.  I'll be there still won't be any snowfall for Christmas though!

Last month on the UK Quilters United postcard group there was a Christmas swap announced and I made a couple of cards one of which went in the swap, the red one on the right.  My card went out on Monday.  The one on the left has gone to my friend Brenda.
I received this one from Sharon on Thursday
On Thursday I went to the Christmas dinner with the Bourne Quilters and at the pub there were also my ex-colleagues from Borough of Poole so it was good to see them too.  Today David and I met up with a friend of ours for dinner, which means no cooking today!

This morning I made a quick postcard which will form a Christmas greeting so I won't show that here just yet.  I've also recently joined together some hexagons from last year's hexie swap to make a wreath shape which will be sewn onto a background, will make a table centre.

Will it be done in time for this Christmas?

04 December 2017

Quarterjack Quilters' Christmas Speaker

Every December local quilt group Quarterback Quilters put on a Christmas lunch with a speaker in the afternoon.  I used to belong to this group before my move to Yorkshire some years ago but although not a member there are tickets available to non members to enjoy their hospitality and it's good to catch up with people I've not seen for a while.

The speaker this year was Alicia Merrett, whose work you may have seen in quilting exhibitions, usually known for her quilted maps.  There was some of her work on display and I took a few pictures and there are more details on her website.  Her talk was about the exhibition in New York in 2003 about the Quilts of Gees Bend and how it influenced her work.

For this not familiar with the Gees Bend quilts, these were naive style quilts made by African American women in small community virtually cut off from the outside world in whatever fabrics they had and there are some images here

I took some photos of the afternoon

 This was the intro from the slideshow presentation.
 Afterwards I took a couple of photos of one of Alicia's quilts
A close up shows the detail of her stitching, using contrasting and matching thread and different free machine patterns.

 The quilt above looks influenced by Gees Bend as well as curves and free machine quilting there is also the addition of decorative machine stitches.
 A map of a village at night, the bright colours pop against the black background, but again the coloured thread is used for quilting to give more interest.
There was a members' challenge for which I didn't take photos until they took the pieces down, so I caught a couple of small wall hangings before they were taken away!

 A lovely Christmas candle mat
And an equally lovely robin on a tree stump.

A lovely afternoon was had and while I was out David was at Corfe Castle signal box while the Santa Special train was running on Swanage Railway.  He already had a Christmas jumper from last year which he'd bought at the National Railway Museum and I found just the hat to go with it.

We're gradually getting into the Christmas spirit!

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