Sunday, 27 July 2014

Piggy Bank, Hexies and Fabric

This week has been a bit of a roller coaster for trying to get things done. Monday saw the last of the assessment meetings at work and the only marking remaining for the summer are the resubmissions following referrals. Fortunately I don't have too many of those to come in so that gives me a little breathing space. Next up I've been trying to get everything ready for the start of the new academic year. To feel really comfortable the first three weeks work needs to be fully prepared. That's almost completed and so very soon I will be able to sit back and enjoy the summer.

Trying to get the day job sorted hasn't left much time for sewing but I have got my projects reorganised so I know what I'm doing. It's very confusing when I haven't worked on a project for a while and it seems to take an age to get my brain back into gear.

First up I reloaded the printer drivers on my computer. I haven't made the hexie blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for May, June or July because I didn't have any templates. I printed them out earlier today and sat watching an episode of NCIS whilst I cut them out. Now I need to get the fabrics from my stash and get cutting.

Valerie from Val's Quilting Studio invited me to join in with her Piggy Bank Challenge - money for quilting challenge. This seemed like a good idea as fabric is quite expensive. At the same time I was tidying my daughter's bedroom. She has moved into a flat with her boyfriend and some friends but seems to have left most of her belongings. On a shelf I found this cute piggy bank and I've adopted it for this challenge.

I had some change in my purse so he's feeling a little full. Hopefully by the end of June next year I will have a good amount to spend on fabric.

A couple of months ago I was asked to make a quilt. Lauren had the fabric she wanted me to use and she wanted different sized squares or rectangles. I decided the best approach was to make nine patch blocks and then cut them. This would gives squares and rectangles. I took some photos as I went along but at the moment can only find these ones.

I think the next steps are on my other camera. The blocks are large and so they went together very quickly. The quilt is all but finished, just a tiny bit of binding left to be stitched on by hand.

I also forgot to post the fabric I bought when we had our mini break. On the Saturday morning we went into Andover. There are two quilt shops in the area and we had planned to visit both but we spent so long in the one that we didn't have time for the other. A couple of the pieces are 1/2 metres whilst the rest are fat quarters.

I got some red fabric for the corset quilt I want to make. The gingham is Riley Blake and is for a blog hop I'm taking part in in September. 

The top two of these are for use in the Jane Austen family album quilt and the lower one I need for my grandmothers garden hexi quilt.

I don't have a particular use for these three but I like them. Do I need a better reason?

I particularly like the ducks and I do have another baby quilt to make soon. I could also use the leaf one in the Jane Austen quilt. I must try it with the other fabrics I've got.

Finally I've been making a T shirt dress.  This is a really simple design. Two pieces make the back with a central seam. Then there is the front and the sleeve pieces. The neck edge, sleeve and hem are finished with a simple narrow hem. I've still got to finish the neck and the hem. The fabric is cotton knit and will keep me cool in our current very hot weather. I'm currently working hard on losing weight so I wanted a couple of quick easy dresses that I could make from fabric in my dress making stash. I'll show you a photo when I've finished it.

Finally we have been having some amazing sunsets. I took this photo on my phone as we walked home on Saturday evening. Everyone was busy taking pictures on their phones. Unfortunately it doesn't do the sunset justice as it was so much better in real life.

Well that's all from me for now as I want to go and hunt the fabric for the hexies. I can then sit and do some stitching whilst watching something on the TV. I hope you've had a great weekend and the weather has been good for you. Here in London we have been enjoying a heat wave. I really hope it continues for a while.


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Computers, sewing machines and catching up.

Wow I didn't realise it had been so long since I last wrote a post. Because my computer had to go away for repair I've had difficulties getting on line. I could sit and read through some blogs during my lunch hour at work but I couldn't realistically write a post. Never mind my computer arrived home last weekend so now I can get back to writing posts and catch up with what's been happening in blog land. My computer had a pleasant trip to Germany to be repaired and is now working well. It was also reset back to factory settings so I've got to reload some programmes and generally get it set up how I like it.

My sewing machine is also feeling fit and well after its health issue. The bobbin tension had been playing up and it just wasn't stitching correctly. It is also now fit and well again so I can get on and complete some of my projects.

The first job has been to make the Rainbow Scrap challenge blocks. The colour for June was yellow.

and July's colour is red.

I'm still working on the two hexi blocks.

It would have been lovely to spend lots of time sewing this week since I had my machine and computer back but I had the last bits of marking to finish and we had organised a mini break to celebrate the end of the academic year. Our main objective whilst away was to visit Chawton, the village where Jane Austen lived. Those of you who visit regularly will know she is one of my favourite writers and for a long time I have wanted to visit her home. The village and the house were charming and I can see why she was inspired to write whilst living here. I can also recommend lunch at The Greyfriar pub should you be visiting.

Jane Austen spent the last 8 years of her life in this cottage, which her brother Edward gave to his mother and two sisters for their use for the rest of their lives.

The house contained many Austen treasures including the table and chair where she used to write every morning. Both are protected by a screen to prevent visitors posing for photos. The quill pen is not original but does help remind people that all her books were written by hand using a quill pen. I learnt to write in pen using a dip pen and always made the most horrible mess that you could hardly read what I had written.

Upstairs the Admirals' room has memorabilia of Jane's two sailor brothers Francis and Charles. Francis became Admiral of the Fleet and was knighted by King William IV whilst Charles became a Rear Admiral and served in North American waters and later in the Far East. The cabin bed below would be packed up and taken aboard ship. I like the red and white coverlet.

A big reason for wanting to visit the house was to see the patchwork coverlet made by Jane, Cassandra (her sister) and their mother whilst they lived at Chawton. It doesn't have a wadding layer and hasn't been quilted but it is beautiful. I took quite a few photos. It is of the Old English Medallion pattern and the patches are all diamonds. the whole cover is hand stitched.

The cover has a border all round of small diamonds. Nine of the small diamonds fit into one of the larger diamond patches.

The sashing fabric is an ever popular polka dot.

The large medallion in the centre is a floral basket.

The overall effect is beautiful. The shadow on the cover is from the bed frame.

The garden was very tranquil. Jane wrote in the morning whilst her mother gave responsibility for the housekeeping to Cassandra so that she could enjoy her gardening and her embroidery.

Before we left Chawton we walked to St Nicholas Church.

Jane, Cassandra and their mother worshipped here regularly and Cassandra and their mother are buried here. Jane is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

The inside of the church was refreshingly cool on an exceeding hot day. The triptych behind the altar was delightful.

Finally walking back to the car we passed a field with these beautiful shire horses. I love the feathers on their hooves. They were intend on munching grass and wouldn't look up even to have their photo taken

I still have lots to write about in order to catch up all the posts I've missed but that will have to wait until tomorrow as I have a need to get the sewing machine purring once again.

Hope you are enjoying the weekend.