Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Another (small) finish

I have sewn my Spider web Block for our Group's quilt so that's another item ticked off my "To Do" list. Everyone shared strings last week, all in the colours we have chosen for this particular quilt. Originally we thought I needed to make two blocks but one will be enough.

It measure 13" square and has a lovely cream soft muslin centre to the string triangle corners.  I think the finished quilt will look very pretty.

Last Saturday we had another bright sunny Autumn day so DH and I decided to make the most of the weather and drove to Upton House, a beautiful National Trust property which is situated about 25 miles from our house. The gardens are just lovely and we enjoyed walking around them and also visiting the Exhibition they have on at present in the house.  It's theme is set at the beginning of WW2 when the merchant banker owners of the house brought their bank and staff up from London ( which was being bombarded on a daily basis) and housed them more safely at Upton House.  Part of the Exhibition features a Make Do and Mend room - displaying re-made garments, a wedding dress made from parachute silk etc. Visitors were urged to take a little Kit set to knit a Christmas Tree ornament. Mine was a bell. The ornaments will be mailed back to Upton House and used on the Christmas Tree as part of the House's Christmas decorations.  Of course I couldn't resist taking one so that is another (small) addition to my List.  One ticked off, another added!  Sounds about par for the course!

Doesn't look very exciting in the bag but there were examples that had been knitted and they looked quite jolly.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Getting through my list!

Last Saturday I made a list of Crafting Projects that need to be done.  I always find that making lists is very useful as it helps me make sense of all the random thoughts about projects which whirl round my head.

I have had another extremely busy week, concentrating on the garden and getting it ready for winter.  We have a lot of shrubs and large bushes in our garden and due to our rather wet summer they have all grown like crazy.  I spent a large part of three days pruning - actually a job I enjoy, although I do tend to get carried away and everything gets a very severe haircut! Had the day off gardening today but hope to get back to pruning tomorrow morning.

But I have also managed to work on "The List" too. 
First on The List was to Finish both Baby Quilt WIPs.
Last week I had put the walking foot on to my machine to machine quilt some lines on A Star is Born quilt so whilst the foot was still on I sewed the binding on to Noah's Ark, my other WIP Baby Quilt.  During that evening I hand sewed the binding on so, voila, my finished WIP!

Everything in this quilt is from stash, including the pieced backing (which I forgot to photograph).

I didn't have quite enough of the border fabric leftover for the binding so I added a few pieces of three different yellow fabrics.  They were in my leftover binding bag, so more scraps used up.

So my first Baby Quilt WIP is finished and waiting for the New Zealand baby to put in an appearance.

During the evenings whilst I've been watching TV and again at Patchwork Group this morning I have been hand stitching away at the other WIP, sewing around each star with a double row of Perle and sewing in the ditch around the centre square of each star.  It's coming along well and as hand quilting is something I enjoy, I've been enjoying the process very much.

I have partly done the Second item on my list as I have cut loads of strips from lots of scrap fabrics but I haven't got back to finishing the blocks of the String Quilt I am making.  This was because I decided to make 10 QAYG String blocks for Jan MacFadyan in Australia. This job really need the walking foot so, as that was already on my machine I moved them up the list.  Again I very much enjoy making these blocks and really had fun sewing them.

Here they are:

Jan does such great work making quilts for all sorts of good causes:  a lot she makes entirely herself but she also re-jigs quilt tops donated to her and uses 10.5" square QAYG blocks to make very bright and cheerful ( and warm!) String Quilts.  If you are interested in putting some of your scraps to good use, have a look at her blog: Sew Many Quilts- Too Little Time
The instructions for the QAYG blocks and photos of her finished QAYG quilts are on the blog.
I have got the parcel ready to post and tomorrow I'll take it to the Post Office.
Another item ticked off!

I want to machine quilt around the border on my Star Quilt and then I can change the foot  on my machine.  I find putting the walking foot on very difficult as it needs me to use my left hand - and I am right handed.  In addition the screw is very short and my fingers aren't as nimble as they once were. So once the walking foot is on I make the most of it and use it for as many projects as I can.

After my big string cutting session the other day I have plenty of strings to finish my String Quilt WIP and make the Spider web blocks for our Group Quilt. Plenty to keep me busy there!

And I need to start knitting the beanie and the shoulder bag.  Will look out the patterns, yarn and needles tomorrow.

This evening it's Rugby:  NZ v Namibia, so I will be watching TV and hand quilting too.
I am not a Rugby fan - I find the game so confusing as I don't understand the rules - but, much to my surprise,  I have very much enjoyed the games I watched over the weekend. As my other half will be watching I will too and work on my quilt at the same time.  I expect there are lots of crafters doing exactly the same, watching TV whilst working on their current project.

Go NZ - until I am watching England play!

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Working on WIPs and making a list

I am working on two baby quilt WIPs.  Making good progress as I haven't had a lot of time for sewing this week. Visitors with two young children so we had to move a lot around in the house, get out the travel cot and folding bed etc. Now I am tackling the washing!

So, here are the quilts:

The one on the left is the Noah's Ark quilt, all trimmed and ready for the binding ( which is already made too)
The quilt on the right, with its bubble gum pink sashing is being hand quilted with Perle thread.
Here's one of the blocks I have quilted:

Noah's Ark is for a baby boy, expected any day now and A Star is Born is for a baby due in a month's time ( if it's a girl!).
I have been thinking of Craft Projects that need to be done:
1.  Finish both Baby Quilt WIPs
2.  Finish making the blocks for my String Quilt ( which means cutting a load more strings first)
3.  Make some QAYG String blocks I have promised for Jan (Sew Many Quilts Too Little Time)
4.  Make 2 Spider web Blocks for a Group Quilt
5.  Make a little drawstring bag for my Christmas Shoe Box appeal gift
6.  Knit a beanie and a little shoulder bag for the Christmas Shoe Box.
Hope to tick off the Noah's Ark quilt asap!
Off to do some more Perle hand quilting.  Leaving re-jigging the house until tomorrow!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Robots in Space flying to Germany!

This year is a busy year for new babies. My friend became a Grandma again on 28th August. I knew the baby was going to be a boy so I made this quilt:

I embroidered the label and passed it over to my friend yesterday as she is flying to Germany on Thursday to see her new Grandson Rafael.
In the meantime I have continued with some 6" String blocks.  Again I am piecing the strips onto telephone book sheets ( idea from Bonnie Hunter).  Sewing up a storm until I came to trim the last few blocks when I discovered I had used the 'left over" paper, not quite the 6" square after I had cut out the original ones.  Fortunately it was only 4 blocks and I was able to rectify the situation!  I do enjoy making these blocks.  The more contrast the better, I find.  I cut lots more strips for this set of blocks so there is more variety and new fabrics to enjoy piecing.
A little break now as I hand quilt another baby quilt for a little boy due very soon in New Zealand.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Back home, some sewing and a catch-up

Arrived back home yesterday lunchtime from a family holiday here:-

We have been in Florida for the past two weeks, enjoying Disney World with our daughter, SIL and 5 year old granddaughter. We have had a magical time, fitting in SO much in such a short time. Little GD had the time of her life: theme parks, meeting Disney characters, doing so many of the rides, shows, swimming, crafts etc.
So now it's down to earth time!  Unpacking (all done), washing (all done), grocery shopping (all done), picking vegs from my garden ( see photo below) and, finally, a bit of sewing! 

We have one rhubarb plant - crown? - which was a piece taken from my MIL's garden 15 years ago.
I don't know the variety but I think Mum used to call it a Strawberry one.  It grows well in our garden but in Mum's garden it was amazing.  Very tall, thick stems of rhubarb which were very sweet and tender even though the stems measured a couple of inches in diameter. a couple of pieces were enough for a pie! Every time I pick any I think of her and remember the size of the rhubarb in her garden.

This year I have 3 tomato plants in pots: a shorter shrub like red cherry tomato, a normal red cherry variety and an orange variety.  All had done well in our absence so this morning I was able to pick a bowlful of both red and orange ones. We ate a few at lunchtime and they were delicious, full of flavour.  Then I picked the red chillies you see on the saucer.  Quite small and all from the one plant I have in a pot on the terrace.  I picked quite a few chillies just before we went on holiday and popped them into a small glass jar and put it in the freezer.  Hope that works and that I can just use the chillies when I need them.

Last night I was trying to keep awake so I could go to bed at a more normal bedtime so watched a few TV programmes I had recorded.  My fingers were itching to sew - I didn't take any sewing to Florida as I knew I wouldn't have time for stitching, but of course, I missed it.  I am hand quilting a baby boy quilt for a friend in New Zealand whose baby is due later this month. The quilt is completely made from scraps and in the centre is a Noah's Ark panel I discovered when I recently did a sort-out in my Sewing Room.  I was very unsure of how to quilt it but copied an idea I saw my friend Sarah use in one of the baby quilts she made recently.  I am using a variegated yellow/green Perle cotton, sewing parallel rows across the Noah's Ark panel at approximately 1" intervals.  I am very pleased with my choice as I think the stitching actually enhances the panel.  I will decide on how to quilt the borders when I get to them.  Very much a 'suck and see' experimental quilt but I am very happy with it so far.

A photo of the centre panel:

And a close up:

Then this afternoon I decided to reward myself for being such a good girl with the post-holiday chores to disappear into my Sewing Room for just over an hour to continue with the String blocks I started before our holiday.  I did another 7 blocks which pleased me.

Now  I must make our dinner: plaice (a flat white fish we get here in the UK) and fresh vegetables.