Monday, 20 June 2016

A hot and tiring Sunday.

Yesterday the current monsoon season here in London stopped long enough for me and Lucy to go up to town to try out her challenge route. Not only did the rain stop but the sun shone brightly and very warmly. I forgot to take sunscreen with me but by moving fast between patches of shade I didn't get sunburnt. Although there were no special events on in London there were huge numbers of people out in the capital. 

Lucy is running an event next weekend to help a group of girls from various places outside London celebrate 100 years of the Guides senior section, that's the 15 to 25 year olds. She had the broad plan for Saturday but needed to check the clues she will be giving to get from place to place and the timings. We roughly followed the route but we did make some detours to visits bits we have either never seen or haven't seen for a while.

I have wanted to visit the memorial to Bomber Command for some time, well since it was unveiled by the Queen in 2012.  It's situated in Green Park and commemorates the 55,573 members of bomber command crew who lost their lives in World War 2. One of my uncles was a rear gunner in a Lancaster bomber and survived the war but many of his friends died.

I'm not totally in tune with the fake greek style columns but the statue of the air crew is amazing and you can see the weariness in their faces.

The bomber command insignia and motto is carved into one of the walls.

A second memorial we visited was The New Zealand Memorial at Hyde Park Corner. It commemorates the bonds between New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and sacrifice during times of war. It symbolises the two countries common heritage and of New Zealand's distinct identity.

Diagonally opposite is the Australian War memorial. We decided to visit this another day as it's a bit overwhelming to visit a lot of memorials in one day. 

Part of our route took us along Knightsbridge which is the home of Harrods store. We didn't have time to pop in and browse. Maybe another day.

We also saw some interesting architecture exhibitions in Kensington Gardens. When you walk inside this one it is huge

The loop effect of this one reminded me of the way pencil sharpenings curve and loop.

This one picked up on the shapes of the temple in the background.

Had trouble taking a photo of this one as there isn't much to photograph. It was certainly causing a lot of questions...what is it? what does it mean?

Finally this one opens out like the first one so you can walk through the middle or maybe take a break on the benches. The children certainly liked this one.

I walked 25,346 steps over the day which was just short of 11 miles. By the time we got home I was worn out. I had intended to finish off my scrappy blocks but once we'd eaten all I wanted to do was chill out and watch some TV. I carried on stitching badges on my camp blanket. It seems to have been about 5 years since I last added any badges so I think I have about 60 in totally to stitch on. The badges are quite thick and I found I needed to use a thimble as my finger was getting very sore. I don't usually use a thimble as I find it slows my stitching down but I think I need to persevere .

Having finished my knitting I also decided it was time to revisit my millennium sampler. I haven't stitched on this since our holiday at the end of March. Here's how I left it at that point.

This is so close to being done and is definitely my oldest UFO. I set this as a goal for the year as I want it all finished and framed by Christmas. I stared the block of the Spitfire on holiday. It shouldn't take long to finish this square off.

Sunday's stitching was very slow. In fact I only stitched 3 badges on to the blanket. Hopefully this week will see the spitfire completed. 


Saturday, 18 June 2016

A scrappy Saturday

Today I had several jobs I needed to get done. I needed to finish some marking and I'd promised Lucy I would help her with an activity she is putting together for work and I really really needed to get my sewing machine out and show her some love. Sewing helps me relax as I lose myself in the project I'm working on. I haven't had a lot of sewing time recently and I could hear my machine alternately sobbing and gnashing her cogs or whatever machines have at my lack of interest in using her. I decided to leave the marking till last and so when Lucy arrived we got down to finalising her project.  The project is an activity around London for the senior section of Guiding who will be staying in London to celebrate 100 years of their section. Lucy got her head round the plan and tomorrow we will go and check the route and the clues.

So next up was my sewing. First I decided to check on the progress of my projects. That turned out to be quite scary as I had started several new projects this year and I have an awful lot of UFO's. It also took a lot of time. Memo to self - concentrate on finishing some of the projects! 

I decided to start with the rainbow challenge blocks. The colour this month is aqua but unfortunately I have very little of this colour so instead I decided to use up my large amount of green scraps. I also decided to work on the mini 9 patch blocks for the baby quilt. This baby is due in August so the project has to move up to top of the list. I had fun chain stitching the pieces for the 9 patch and the 5 granny squares but ironing the seams was a pain. I decided to stop and finish these off in the morning.So here are the groups  for the 9 patch.

We know the baby is a girl so I deliberately made quite a few pink patches. This is what I have already finished for this quilt.

I'm hoping the 9 patches I've started today will be enough for the quilt but I'm not sure. Still I have a lot more 1 1/2 inch squares if I need more blocks.

These are the strips for the 5 granny squares. They will finish up quickly tomorrow.

Last night, having finished knitting the baby blanket I was looking around for something to hand stitch whilst watching TV. I have a lot of pieces of embroidery on the go but I wanted something easy and that wouldn't require a great deal of concentration. I remembered I had a mountain of badges needing to be stitched to my camp blanket so that won. I stitched on 5 badges. This shows just some of the badges as they are stitched all round the blanket.

I want to get these stitched on this week. Some of these are from our trip to Switzerland in 2013 so really need adding to the blanket especially as our next trip to Switzerland is next year..

I also have these lovely badges which Girlguiding UK produced to mark 100 years since the start of world war 1 and show how Guides helped in the war. I can't decide whether to keep them as a set in the pack or add to the blanket.

Earlier this week Scamp went to the groomers. He always looks so cute when he is trimmed and he loves his short fur. The only problem is he suddenly becomes a very small dog. With his fur he is bulkier than the cat but now Picasso is larger and feels the need to boss him about.

I love that you can see his big button like eyes when he's been trimmed. He uses his eyes to good effect to get exactly what he wants.

Whilst I'm stitching on badges I'm going to try and decide which embroidery project to work on this week. It will be fun to do something different from knitting.


Friday, 17 June 2016

A lovely Friday finish.

I'm feeling really happy today as I have a finish. It was a close run as I had to finish it off this morning. When I put my knitting down in preparation for going to bed last night I still had 6 rows to knit plus the ends to sew in. I was only going into work today for Maria's tea party so once dressed this morning I got right on with my knitting. I'd love to say that in next to no time I was finished but in reality it took quite a time. My wrists have become very painful with the knitting, made worst by the wet weather. Whenever it rains all my joints ache. Anyway eventually it was done. I gave it a press and the baby blanket was ready to be gifted to Maria. The blanket is 40 inches square.

The pattern should have a lacy border but, a) I didn't have time to knit it and b) the baby's little fingers get caught up in the lacy pattern so I don't usually add the border. The pattern is really easy to knit being just knit or purl stitches but it looks very pretty.

I also gave Maria her baby quilt. I posted this as a finish a few weeks ago but I'm going to indulge myself and repost the photo.

Maria was very happy with her gifts which after having the fun of making the quilt and blanket is the icing on the cake.

Now all I have to do is try and finish some of my other projects before I start anything new. I'm linking this post with Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom quilts.


Sunday, 12 June 2016

90th birthday celebrations and slow stitching.

London has been been the centre stage for the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations. This is her official birthday celebrations as her actual birthday is in April. Last Saturday (4th June) Lucy and I took a small group of Brownies and Guides to London to try the London challenge. This takes you round by Buckingham Palace through Green Park, along Piccadilly to Piccadilly circus, on to Trafalgar Square, along Whitehall down to the MI5 building and back to Buckingham Palace. We knew that the rehearsal for Trooping of the colour would be taking place and we got to see quite a lot of the practice.

This weekend saw the full splendor of the Trooping of the colour on Saturday followed by the Patron's Lunch on the Mall on Sunday followed by the parade. 

I had planned to be active today but after our walk yesterday my joints were a little stiff so I decided some stitching was in order. I switched on the coverage of the parade and settled down with my knitting. It has grown a lot since mid April when I started the blanket.

It is almost complete with just 62 rows to go but with 240 stitches a row that is still a lot of knitting.

The pattern is really easy using just knit and purl stitches. For the rest of this week this is my main focus as Maria is leaving for her maternity leave on Friday. She opted to work until 38 weeks and has found this last week very tiring. Next week she is mostly working from home but will be in on Thursday and Friday. It should be done in time to give it a wash and dry. The pattern has a lacy border to it but I'm missing that off as I found my children's little fingers used to get caught up in the holes of any lace pattern. It has a narrow border all the way round as part of the main pattern anyway so will look properly finished. 

I'm hoping to post this as a finish next Friday and the news that it's gone off to its new home. I am linking up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching  I've enjoyed knitting the blanket but will be pleased to get back to a little slow sewing.


Walking, talking and stitching.

The walking was the next stage of the Thames Path from Henley to Reading that we did yesterday. It's always fun to walk with John and Tony as there is conversation along the way although I must admit some of the talking was in my head as I worked through the various projects I have on the go at the moment. I never seem to listen to myself and I'm always starting new projects. I think I have enough on the go to fill the next 10 to 20 years.

Along with John and Tony I am walking the Thames path. The path takes you from Woolwich in London  back to its source. Well you can walk it in either direction but we are doing it that way.

The path is 184 miles long (294 Km) and is a nice gentle route. It follows the river so not alot of up hill and down dale. For most of the stages there is a convenient train station nearby, although in some spots getting from the path back to the station can add extra miles. Yesterday we decided to take the car to Reading and then get the train back to Henley. This way when we arrived in Reading after the walk there was no hanging around for trains. On the connections worked perfectly so we had time for a coffee before our first train and when we reached our change point our second train was waiting in the station.

Henley is always pretty but especially so in the sunshine. We didn't go into the town itself but turned from the station to the river.

We hadn't gone far when we came to this walkway.

The path takes you along the walkway which gave us a good view of the weir

The walkway continued round and took us back to the bank. To the left of the weir and wooden bridge is marsh lock which I didn't take a photo of. The thames is the county border between Berkshire and Oxfordshire. We were walking on the Oxfordshire side as this is the side with the tow path. The lock and weir have been situated here on the river since the 1500's. On the towpath side there was a mill that was used as a brass foundry that blocked the route for the barge horses. Obviously having the lock on the opposite side to the towpath was very inconvenient for the barges so they built the wooden bridge for the horses to use. 

As we walked along the walkway I spotted this cute house and boat house. I love the thatched roof.

Back on the river bank again we over to the Berkshire side where there were steep hills. We also saw this bridge that was made from robbed out stone from Reading Abbey. The bridge carries a road over it.

A little past this point the path turned away from the river and we didn't rejoin it until Shiplake. Here we stopped to have lunch at Shiplake Lock. Several boats went through the lock whilst we were there but I was too busy eating my lunch to take a photo. At this point we had completed about 3 miles with 6 left to do. After lunch we set off on the second stage to Sonning. This section was a little disappointing as the wet weather had encouraged the growth of the wild flowers so we couldn't see the river most of the time. The first two flowers I can't remember the name of.

The thistles made a great patch of colour.

The rape had escaped from the fields and was growing along the path.

A pretty Dog Rose

This was climbing along the brickwork of the bridge at Sonning.

There was another lock at Sonning but more interesting for a girl who loves her cups of tea there was a little cafe. We enjoyed a cream tea here, with cornish clotted cream. It was yummy.

We had just under three miles to the end of our walk from this point. There were quite a few swans along the way.

including a pair of black swans

Finally Reading bridge came into view marking the end of this section

A short walk back to the car park and we were soon on our way home.

At home Scamp and Picasso where there to greet us like long lost relatives. The whole ritual of welcoming us home takes between 5 and 10 minutes depending on how long we've been away. Scamp in particular loves to give and receive hugs. Once they had settled down and we had eaten I set about looking for scraps for this months rainbow scrap challenge colour. The colour is teal blue (aqua) and I know I have a few pieces somewhere. I managed to find two small pieces but not enough to make my blocks so I shall have to add in other shades of blue. I cut some of the pieces for the blocks but at that point tiredness set in and I decided to take a long soak in the bath to avoid any possibility of aching muscles and joints from the walk before going to bed. So the walking and talking happened on Saturday but the stitching had to wait until today.  I'll tell you about that in my next post.

Hope you had some stitching time this weekend.


Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Opposites attract.


Hi everyone sorry that you couldn't access my post yesterday, unfortunately it was scheduled but due to lack of internet access it didn't go live. I wrote my post last Thursday as I knew I wouldn't have time to sort it over the weekend. Unfortunately my father in law died last Thursday and it threw us into slight chaos. It also meant my project didn't get completely finished but it is a completed top.

I love opposites when it comes to colours. As a child my favourite colour combination used to be orange and purple. It sounds really jarring but I used to be able to carry it off. Since then I've still kept my love of colour but I've toned it down slightly.

For this hop I went with the tried and tested version of a dark colour and a light colour as the opposite. I usually love using white as any colour you pair it with it always looks crisp and clean. For this quilt I decided to use grey as the light colour. Marion said we could use up to 3 colours so I also picked two shades of blue to give a male look to the quilt.

Ha you're wondering which lucky man was the quilt made for? Well he is male but he's a male dog. Buddy is a two year old but quite large as he is a mastiff labrador cross. He belongs to Lucy's boyfriend Richard and when they got him I promised I'd make him a quilt (once he was full sized)  He's certainly full sized now and weighs in at 40 plus KG. I had to take the picture indoors as last Thursday it was raining in London. Now we are enjoying a heat wave.

I love the way the blocks make patterns with the colours. It took me ages working out the layout but I am pleased with how it looks. I had planned to get the quilt finished over the weekend. I am just going to do in the ditch quilting. The backing fabric is in the same colours but in a camouflage pattern.

Here is a picture of Buddy after he had wrecked the sofa and cushions when he came for Christmas. When he wants to he curls up quite small.

Here's his opposite in size, little Scamp tucked up in his basket during the May bank holiday weekend when he was unwell. Yep you can see the floor boards but not for much longer. The work on the house is moving along quite quickly now.

There is also a give away today. Click on the link below to take part.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Finally you need to visit the other blogs taking part today. I'll add the other blog addresses later this morning as I can't find them on my email at the moment but for now visit Seams to be sew to see today's schedule

I'm off to catch up on the blogs I've missed since last Wednesday. I'm enjoying seeing which opposites attract.