Thursday, 20 October 2016

Eerie Nights Blog Hop.

Hi everyone welcome to the first day of the Eerie Nights blog hop

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Will you be going trick or treating this Halloween? I prefer to stay in doors and read or sew or watch TV. Here in London, trick or treat is a bit hit and miss. A few of years ago we had lots of callers and most of them were children, two years ago most of them were adults, mainly medical students at the local hospital and last year our door bell didn't ring even once. However just because trick or treat isn't a big deal doesn't mean we dislike Halloween or don't join in. A lot of people decorate their house and enjoy the festivities. When our children were younger we used to have a family party and play dunking for apples and other Halloween games. In the past I've made table runners especially for the party.

This one was great down the middle of the table and we used it for our Guide party as well.
Last year I made this table topper for my coffee table. I can't find the photo of the finished version and after Halloween my friend bagged it for her house this year

I loved the leaves on this as they were made from wool and gave a lovely different texture effect.

This year I'm making mug rugs for friends. The first one I have made several times before using slightly different orange fabric but sticking to the same colour combinations and backing fabric.

This one is staying home with me as I can't find my previous Halloween mug rug. The background was the same but the orange had pumpkins on it.

I've also almost finished the other two mug rugs. I have told my regular readers that I recently bought a new machine and so I decided to try it out by making these mug rugs. The making was a slow process because the machine operates quite differently from my old one. It is a lot bigger, computer controlled and looks like it may be capable of powering the USS Enterprise. I know that in the end it will be very quick and easy to use but at present it is taking a bit of getting used to......maybe reading the whole instruction book may have helped?  I'm pleased with the way the mug rugs have come out so far. I have a little hand stitching to do on them before I quilt them, mainly giving them faces!.

I used a narrow zigzag stitch to applique the pieces onto the backing. I also used glue stick to hold the pieces in place whilst I stitched. My new machine has a button for raising and lowering the pressure foot and I kept on forgetting this when I needed to change the direction of the stitching. I also forgot I was using the start/stop button and kept taking my foot off the non existent foot pedal and wondered why the machine was still working. The pressure lever is heavy to use so getting used to the button will be a great help.

I think I like this one better as the kitten is so sweet. He is going to have green eyes. I've pencilled in where I need to embroider his little nose. I used some wool fabric for the kitten as I liked the texture.

There are some fluffy bits around the applique that need to be trimmed but otherwise not bad especially for the first time using the machine. 

Several year ago I made mini tote bags to keep the treats in out in my hall. I managed to find one to use again this year. Ignore the fluffy character in the other bag he just likes photo bombing other people's pictures. These totes are really quick to make and make great gift bags.

Picasso our very own witches cat has been practising his moves recently. He loves to look a little menacing and can arch his back with the best of them. He likes Halloween, it's the perfect time for black cats.

Now you have 2 things to do.

The first is to enter the give away which is sponsored by Fat Quarter shop. This is running on all the blogs taking part in the hop.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Then you need to visit the other people taking part today to see what they have created.

Thank you for stopping by and special thanks to Marian from Seams to be sew and Amy from Sew Incredibly Crazy for organising the hop and keeping us on track.

Looking forward to seeing you again soon and good luck in the give away.


Sunday, 9 October 2016

Walking, theatre and a stitching show.

This last week has been great fun, especially yesterday.  Over the week I've managed to get some bits and pieces of sewing done even though I've been working. Having thought I'd done all the quilting on Lucy's quilt, when I lay it out to trim it I found a couple of areas I'd missed plus a few ends I'd not sewn in. That was soon sorted and I could get on with the next job of cutting and preparing the binding. I will machine stitch that to the front of the quilt a little later this afternoon and then this evening I can start hand stitching the binding to the back.

I have also started work on another project. This is for the Eerie Nights blog hop so I can't show you what I'm working on. My day is 20th October so I'm on a tight time schedule

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I'm also using this as my October 'Let's book it' project. I love using one item to complete two things.

Let's book it 2016

Although I've been working I've done a lot of walking this week. I've forgotten to take my camera and phone with me most of the time but earlier in the week John had his phone so took this photo for me. 

This was taken on Wednesday and as you can see the leaves are just starting to change colour and some leaves have already fallen. It was predicted that we would have magnificent Autumn colours due to the rain in the Spring and then the hot summer days but so far that isn't happening. We spotted this patch of Neapolitan cyclamen in a woody area of the walk just poking through the fallen leaves.

Yesterday John and I went to the Stitching and Knitting Exhibition at Alexandra Palace.  This show has been running for many years and attracts a lot of visitors. I don't go every year as I find the crowds challenging and it detracts from my enjoyment of the show. However this year I wanted to go to look at the sewing machines. My home machine has a very small aperture under the arm and it makes quilting a chore so I decided I needed one that would work better. To get to see all the different types of machines is difficult if visiting the shops as they tend to only stock one manufacturer. The show offered the chance to see lots in one place. I had fun getting the information and test driving different machines. I decided on a Brother and my new machine will be arriving on Wednesday or Thursday. I can't wait 

Whilst at the show I also stocked up on some fat quarters for background fabrics

and a new magnifying light. Now that will make hand stitching much easier. I tend to stitch at night and often find it quite challenging. I sat and worked on my millennium sampler last night and I might have a better chance at finishing this now. Yesterday I was working on the spitfire.

John treated himself to some wool to make a jumper........ only problem he doesn't knit so I now have another project Not such a problem as knitting in the winter whilst watching TV is OK. This pattern is also mainly stocking stitch except for that neck/collar bit.

John and I had an evening at the theatre on Thursday. We had dinner at Pizza Express first and then on to the theatre in Richmond. I haven't taken any photos of the theatre so when I go next time I'll take my camera. We went to see Alan Ayckbourne's comedy Relatively Speaking with Robert Powell and Lisa Goddard as two of the four cast members. We really enjoyed our evening.

So walking, a trip to the theatre, and the Stitching and Knitting Show with a new sewing machine makes for one fun week.

Now I need to get a wriggle on with attaching the binding so I can sit and hand stitch whilst watching Silent Witness later tonight. I'm currently slowly re-watching the whole of the back series.


Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Catch up goals and Bag ladies stitch along

It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted and now I'm back playing sewing catch up. Never mind, the last couple of weeks have been spent doing some decorating and catching up on vital paperwork. The work on the house is moving forward very quickly and the end is in sight, thank goodness . Missing out on stitching time has been a small price to pay to see the house finally coming together. Now I need to buy the flooring for the main living areas.

On the sewing front I nearly, so very nearly, completed my September goal for OMG at Red Letter Quilts  Still sad though it is, 'nearly' isn't yippee I completed my goal.  I still need to trim the quilt and bind it. This quilt is for my daughter Lucy and she was really looking forward to having it during September. Now the weather has already turned colder and she really would like it to curl up under in the evening. Especially as she has a lot of reading to do in preparation for writing her dissertation for her Master's course.

We are both very happy with the quilting but sewing in all the ends took simply ages. It was slow stitching most days of the week not just Sunday.

Although this is so close to completion I'm not using this as my October goal. Instead I want to quilt Buddy's quilt.

This is a big quilt but then Buddy is a large dog. Here he is lounging on the settee after a long Christmas day keeping us all entertained.

My goal for October is to get the quilting done and if I have time to bind the quilt as well.

Although I haven't been blogging recently I have been doing some hand stitching. I'm still trying to get all my badges (or patches) sewn onto my camp blanket and I've done some cross stitch on the book mark. I love hand stitching but I tend to be very slow. My spare time is in the evening and often my eyes are tired from using a computer all day so hand stitching is out of the question. At the end of October I will be working an hour and a half's train journey away from home twice a week. That will give me 6 hours stitching time each week so I'm hopeful I will be able to get some of my hand stitching projects finished.

I'll need to finish some of the projects as Barbara at Cat Patches is planning a monthly stitch along starting January 1st 2017. Her plan is to stitch the 12 Bag ladies of the fat quarter club. These are such great designs from Chickadee Hollow Designs Barbara is also having a give away for the patterns, so click here for a chance to win. This is open until 11.59 p.m. (PST) on Friday 7th October. It's open to all residents of planet Earth so what are you waiting for?

Tomorrow I'll add the binding to Lucy's quilt and maybe I'll have a finish on Friday to cheer about.


Sunday, 11 September 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching.

It great that it's time for slow Sunday stitching as yesterday I quite wore myself out with speedy Saturday quilting. I knew if I got a wriggle on I could more or less finish the quilting on the 9 patch quilt. I had some work to do for work so I paced myself by doing 2 hours of work followed by 1 hour of sewing. This way I don't feel bad doing things for work on a day off. Yesterday was wet here in London so I wasn't missing out on time to be enjoying the outdoors. By the end of yesterday the quilting was almost completed but that left the final bits and sewing in the ends to be done today. Not an exciting bit of hand stitching or even one people notice once the quilt is finished but it is very satisfying. I know some people just clip the ends off but I just can't bring myself to do that. 

I shall be finishing the quilting once I've finished this post. I can already tell you that next weekend will see me hand stitching the binding to the back of the quilt. I know I could do this on the machine but I enjoy the job and it doesn't take that long, especially with a good film on the TV. I do have to decide what to bind it with before then.

During the week I received a little package in the post that was most exciting. I know in other countries and particularly in America you can get subscription boxes for fabric and notions but I couldn't find one here. Buying from America isn't really an options as you can end up paying a lot of money in taxes. So when I came across a new service just starting in the UK by The Bramble Patch I signed up. The box is only small as they planned it to fit through the average letter box and this is reflected in the price. 

Inside the contents are protected by tissue. This will go into our brownie craft box as tissue paper is really useful.

It was an odd feeling opening the box as I was excited but worried whether I would like the contents.

I shouldn't have worried as as the contents is fine. The charm pack is really pretty and I have a plan for this. The FQ is a very useful colour and the measuring gauge has already been put to use. As you can see there is also some thread and a pattern, oh and Scamp's paw. He was being a little possessive. I'm happy with this months box and so long as it doesn't turn out to be very 'samey' (is there such a word) I will continue to be happy. It's also an odd coincidence that the pattern is for a cutting mat bag, as I had been thinking about making one since my cutting mat goes to Guides with me when we are making quilts or doing any sewing.

If I have time tonight or tomorrow I'm going to sort out my stash. I don't have much yardage but I do have a good supply of fat quarters and a couple of charm packs. I have a new project in mind but need to check what I have before I go to the shop.

I'm linking this post with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching.


Sunday, 4 September 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching.

Today I planned to finish my marking but I decided to award myself a couple of hours sewing before I got started. I had fun quilting some more of the 9 patch quilt. This quilt is for Lucy but when she popped in to see me she asked who I was making it for. She was very pleased when I reminded her it was going to be hers. She's been so busy between her new job and her MSc that she'd forgotten all about it. I didn't get much sewing done as we sat and chatted but there's always tomorrow.

For my Slow Sunday stitching I grabbed my camp blanket and settled down to sew on some more badges whilst watching TV this evening. Today the weather has been very overcast here in London and as evening wore on it started to rain and the temperature dropped dramatically. It was rather nice sitting with the camp blanket over my knees as I stitching the badges on.

This blanket has been around for quite a while and has done a fair amount of travelling. The farthest it's gone is to Switzerland. I've taken it to Switzerland each time we've gone with our Guide unit, so in 2001, 2006, 1010 and 2013. Our next trip is in August next year and I'm trying to get all my badges sewn on before then. I love collecting the badges for the events and camps we go on but I never seem to get round to stitching them on the blanket. I think I have between 2 and 3 hundred that need to be sewn on! I also know I've got some duplicate badges and I have to keep checking I haven't sewn any duplicates on. As I'm stitching the badges on it brings back the memories of the camps and the fun we have had. This is a fun activity to do with Lucy as she has been on most of the camps with me, both as a youth member and now as an adult leader.

For now the stitching needs to go away and I need to prepare my things for the morning as I want to get into work early. I'm linking this post with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching linky party


Saturday, 3 September 2016

September Plans

September rather crept up on me. one minute I was enjoying holiday time and then it's suddenly September and time for a new group of students to start. At this rate it will be Christmas before I know it. As I'm getting rather behind with my quilting projects I need to make some plans to stay on track. I need to be incredibly organised this year as I am basically working full time from October and that doesn't leave a lot of time for sewing.  With this in mind I decided I needed to boost my sewing in September while I have a chance, so I am setting myself several goals.

1. Finish quilting the 9 patch scrappy quilt.

Today I have been quilting the blocks and I am now over halfway. That will still leave the sashing to do and the binding but one way or another this quilt is being finished this month.

This is my one monthly goal and the one that must be finished if at all possible.

2. Quilt Buddy's quilt. 

I have the backing and the wadding so I need to put it all together. At the very least I want to make up the quilt sandwich ready to start the quilting next month.

3. It's a dog's life quilt

Again this quilt is all stitched and ready to be prepared for quilting. I would like to get it all prepared so I can quilt it during November. Between now and then I need to decide how I want to quilt it.

4. Cross stitch the Celtic Knot bookmark

This is only a small piece and I should be able to finish it, especially as I have several train journeys in my future. I will probably use this as a Christmas gift but I haven't finally made up my mind as I love Celtic Cross patterns and I need a new bookmark!

5. Catch up with the RSC 2016

This year I'm making granny square blocks and at the moment I'm a couple of months behind on the colours. 

I think that's enough to be going on with after all I've got to be realistic. If I should finish the bookmark I'll switch in the Christmas tree cross stitch or the millennium sampler.

I'm linking this post with Heidi at Red Letter Quilts for her One Monthly Goal link party.

Here in London it's raining so I going back to my quilting. I've already taken Scamp for his walk and I have no need to stop for a little while. 


Wednesday, 31 August 2016

WIP Wednesday

Today is my first day back at work after my holiday. Well that's not entirely true as I have actually worked 3 days during my holiday but then I knew the next day was back to holiday and so it didn't cause me any stress. Now it's back to the weekly grind. Don't get me wrong I love my job but I also love having a little more time to do the things I enjoy. By the end of my working day I hadn't really got very far. I had so many emails to deal with and some were quite complicated and took some sorting with. There was a ridiculous number of meetings to be put in the diary and of course the meetings require a lot of preparation. I haven't gone through all the emails yet. The day wasn't all hard work as my colleague came in with her 10 week old baby, so I had a lovely cuddle.

Isn't he a little cutie? This is the baby I made the last baby quilt for.

It's not just about starting back at work, we also start Rainbows, Brownies and Guides for the new term next week so this evening Lucy and I cleaned out our equipment cupboard and made a list of items we need to buy. We then went across the road to the pub and enjoyed a very tasty vegetarian burger and chips whilst we finalised the term's programme. 

By the time we got home it was almost 8.30 so I quickly set up my machine and managed to quilt another four of the blocks from the 9 patch quilt.

The quilting is very simple with straight lines being used to produce diamonds. The sashing will be quilted separately. I think I should be able to finish the quilting this weekend. There are 49 blocks in all and I think I've quilted half of them now.

Having done a lot of walking throughout August I found my number of steps is very low today so shortly I'm going to take the dog for a late walk and hopefully John will come too since it's nearly dark. Scamp will enjoy it as the evening is finally cooling down. I also found I didn't drink anywhere near enough over the day. So keeping up the walking and water intake are two issues I need to sort out on the days I'm working. I guess there are just too many things to remember. Tomorrow I'm interviewing in Ascot  and I'm travelling by train so I'm looking forward to the journey as I'm trying to catch up with some reading. I've actually managed to finish two books during August which helps towards one of my goals for the year which was to read at least a book a month.