Sunday, 26 March 2017

Slow stitching Sunday

Thursday was my clinic appointment prior to chemo on Friday. Last week I had a scan to check how treatment is working. The scan showed the lump is smaller and all is going well. I've acquired a tickly cough at night which is a side effect of treatment but my oncologist got me to have a chest X-ray just to check all is well. No problems seen and my blood results are OK so treatment went ahead as planned. With that in mind I needed to plan for some sewing over the weekend. I can do some machine stitching but I find I need lots of naps. Cutting pieces doesn't work well at this point as I seem to lose concentration quite quickly and I also fall asleep easily. I've found a variety of projects to work on helps me chill out and relax. On Friday afternoon after the chemo I decided to watch TV and woke up 6 hours later. I also slept all night so on Saturday morning I felt quite rested.

Saturday was a lovely warm day and John and I had some errands to do. We needed to pick up a recorded delivery item from the sorting office. Following this walk I cut out the pieces for two of the star blocks on my compass quilt. The cutting went well but I think I unpicked every seam on this block twice.

I'm still not happy with it but it will do for now. After that we walked to the store to get some milk and bread (and a little treat). The little treat was enjoyed with a cup of tea before starting to stitch the second block. this one went together easily.

It was nice sitting at the dinning table sewing. John was working on his laptop at the opposite end although he disappeared when I prepared to take this picture.

A little later since I was feeling full of energy we decided to drive to the common and give Scamp a run. Not such a long walk as usual but we all enjoyed it as the sun was warm. During the evening I did some knitting, watched some more TV and finally went to bed to read as I didn't feel tired. 

Today we took Scamp for a longer walk walk over the common and the weather was even warmer. It is lovely to see the sun after the bleak, wet days we've been having. Once home I decided to cut and sew another block for the Austen Family quilt. This time I had problems with the cutting. First I cut two squares into quarter triangles when I should have cut them into half square triangles and then I cut a strip 4 1/4 inch instead of 4 1/2. I have a lot the fabric so it didn't cause a problem just annoyance. However this time the sewing went well.

Then I really had to get down to one of my least favourite jobs - repairs. John had a couple of shirts that needed buttons re stitching and I'd torn a small hole in the side of a top when I got caught on a pin at work. This evening I eventually made a start on sewing on some more badges to the camp blanket. Oh why don't I sew them on when I get them?  Most of this lot have now been added, just 5 to go. That isn't the end of them as I have a bag full to add. I haven't really sewn any badges on for 4 years.

I was going to do some more on Millicent but decided not to as just stitching the badges down was rather taxing. I'm not sure my embroidery stitches would have been straight. Hopefully tomorrow night I'll get to do more embroidery.

I'm linking with Kathy for her Slow Sunday Stitching Hand stitching on a Sunday is very restful and gives you a little space to think. Do go and see what everyone has been working on today.


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Wednesday work in progress.

If you're looking for the Quasy Quilt Queens post please click here

Today was a day off and I had hoped to take Scamp for a walk over the common but the weather just wasn't cooperating. The day is cold and very wet so I decided that it was better for Scamp to stay home and have play time indoors. However I did venture out as I had a few errands to run. I needed stamps and some craft bits for our Rainbow meeting this evening. By the time I got home I was cold and wet and in need of something to cheer me up. What better way than getting out my sewing. The next round on my compass quilt is star blocks but before I can do that I needed to cut all the borders. The star and flying geese borders use all the fabrics left after all the other borders have been cut. When I looked again at the pattern I'd already got a lot done but I needed to cut the green narrow borders before moving on. Cutting the green borders didn't take long and I was able to move on to cutting the centre of the stars. That's when Picasso decided it would be fun to sit with his tail across my cutting board. Whichever way I turned he re positioned himself to put his tail in the cutting line.

In the end I played with him for a while and commiserated with him about the weather. He loves to be outdoors during the day and he was most upset. I finished cutting the star block centres (the two lots of squares) and the narrow green border strips. Next I need to trim the four small compass blocks to 8 and half inches square. After that I need to cut the pile of fabrics on the left for the star blocks.

I could be cutting for some time and thankfully Picasso has gone out as the rain has stopped for a while. I have 20 blocks to cut before I start sewing. and I need to remember that I need alternate light and dark backgrounds.

Whilst I was taking photos I decided to show you these cute fabrics Lucy gave me last night. She was near our local quilt shop and popped in to see if there was anything I'd like.  I love them all particularly the one with the sewing machine on it. I have been meaning to make a cover for my machine and now I have the perfect fabrics.

Last night John and Richard were both out and I'd hoped to have a quiet evening watching a good film and getting on with stitching Millicent, the latest bag lady. Sadly the phone kept ring and in the en I gave up with the stitching and film, just watched the news and went to bed. Maybe this evening I'll have a chance to do some stitching when I get home from Guides.

So now I'm going to get back to my cutting. I should be able to get most of it done today.


Monday, 20 March 2017

Quasy Qwilt Queens

Quilt Qwazy Queens 2017

Welcome to the Quilt Qwasy Queens blog hop organised by Marian from Seams to be Sew to celebrate Worldwide Quilting Day.  For this hop we were asked to show you our sewing room or how we organise, a favourite tutorial or something we make again and again.  So no pressure to get a project made for the event and panicking if I'll get it finished in time.

We live in London UK and have a mid terrace house. For the last 2 years we have been renovating it, starting with a complete rewire and redo of the plumbing and heating system followed by a new kitchen, completely redecorating and in April having all the windows replaced. We have 3 grown up children and only 2 still live at home so finally there will be a bedroom that will become the guest room / sewing room. This room is still in a state of great turmoil being the last room that will be done so for the moment I am continuing to use my normal sewing space.....the dining room table.

The dining table gets used for all aspects of sewing. From cutting out my dressmaking patterns,

laying out and organising fabrics for my latest quilt,

and where I use my sewing machine. Currently in one corner of the dining room I have a box which contains my fabric stash and scraps. The box used to hold everything but now it's bursting at the seams with my projects. Maybe I ought to finish a few of them.

Soon all of this will move upstairs and will be stored in a cupboard (which has yet to be built). I store my projects in zip lock bags or plastic boxes and within them I keep the pieces for the individual blocks together by using plastic bags.

My two favourite tools for making sewing easier are my magnifier light.

This light makes it possible for me to see well enough in the evening to do some hand stitching such as cross stitch, applique, sewing on bindings or English paper piecing. This picture was taken when we were still decorating but now the bamboo flooring has been laid and all the furniture is back in its rightful place.

For embroidery where I need to copy the pattern I usually use Fabric solvy.

You need to follow the instructions carefully but I find it works very well and allows me to stitch without needing to have a light box to draw out the pattern. Once stitching is complete it washes out easily in lots of warm water.

An important element of my quilting is my piggy bank. This little fella likes to take care of my change. When I'm visiting quilt shops this means I have money to buy some of the delicious fabric on offer.  Without my piggy bank I wouldn't be able to buy those items that I don't really need for the projects I'm working on but which I just can't leave the shop without.

As always with a blog hop there are giveaways. Unfortunately I can't get the files to open properly so I'm emailing Marian and hopefully will have it all up and running correctly very soon. Meanwhile why not go and visit the other people hopping today and come back later to enter the giveaway.

March 21

It's been great to have you visiting and I hope to see you again soon. Once all our refurbishments are complete I post lots of pictures and show you round my sewing room.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

It's been a while!

It's been a while (nearly 3 weeks) since I last did any sewing or blogging. I'm not sure why it's been so long as I've had some time available but two weeks ago I started reading a book that I couldn't put down, nothing heavy just a good murder mystery. Once home from work I was rushing through preparing dinner so I could get back to the book. On the 3rd March I had my second lot of chemo which does slow me down a bit but worse still makes my eyesight a little blurry for a several days. I can't risk cutting myself with the rotary cutter or sewing seams completely wrong. Last week was a busy week at work with teaching all 5 days and overwhelming tiredness in the evenings. That meant housework to catch up on at the weekend and poor Scamp has missed out on quite a few walks so this morning we had to take him for a good run. Back home again and I feel like sewing. No I don't just feel like sewing I have a real need to stroke fabric and to make something. So what should I do first?

First I set about adding the green border to my compass quilt. I didn't have anyone to help by holding up the quilt so I folded it into four and took the picture this way.

The next row round is a star round but before that I need to cut out the rest of the different border pieces as you then use the remaining fabrics to cut the remaining blocks. Here's a picture of what it will look like.

As you can see there is a row of star blocks and then outside that flying geese blocks. I'm sorry about the picture but the pattern is glossy and it was difficult to get the lighting right. Just as I added the picture I realised I should have scanned it in as it would have given a clearer image. Never mind, hopefully you get the idea of the next stage of the quilt.

Before getting on with the cutting I wanted to get my hand stitching organised. I started making some place mats last year but I've never finished them all. I found this lovely Clarice Cliff design fabric and it's exactly what I wanted. I added a narrow border of black and then I'm hand quilting the mats.

I'm quilting around the outline of the design and I love the way the mats look when they are completed. I'm making 8 in all.

Next I pulled out the March bag lady. Meet Millicent, isn't she adorable. Having found the threads I needed I just had to make a start. I've had fun stitching her hair and her scarf this afternoon. So much so that I didn't get my cutting done. 

As soon as I've finished writing this post I getting back to my stitching as this is just so relaxing. I'm only working a couple of days this week so I'll have time to do some more work on the quilt.

I hope you've had time for some stitching today. I'm linking up with Kathy for her Slow Sunday Stitching.


Saturday, 25 February 2017

Sewing and ironing.

Today I had planned a sewing day but I have an ironing mountain of Everest proportions so I needed to get it under control. What? You think I ditched the sewing in favour of the ironing? Not a chance. I had intended to put the lining in my green jacket but then I spied the box with my Mariner's Compass quilt and changed my mind. The last time I worked on this quilt I completed the centre panel.

Today I wanted to add up to the first border. A happy time was spent cutting and sewing and a while later I had 4 pieces that looked like this.

The pieces all look neat on the back

The pieces were than sewn onto the central square. This was a fun experience because those triangles are 30 inches across the long edge and stitching on the bias is always a little challenging. Finally it was done and I'm pleased with the result.

Every time I tried to take a photo Scamp plonked himself on the top so he could be in the photo. He wasn't at all concerned that I wanted the top all neatly laid out. He has been most helpful all day when I've been muttering about the sizes of the strips I needed to cut and as I cut the 45 degree angles. As I pressed each seam he demanded a scratch behind his ears before I could stitch the next seams, he insisted it was to make sure I didn't tire myself out. Anyway he has signed the top off as up to required quality so far. I'll do the first border when next I work on this.

The good news is that not only have I got on with my quilt top I have also ironed some shirts,

and a small pile of T shirts and pillow cases.

For each seam I sewed I ironed 1 item. That helped reduce the ironing mountain a little. I'll do some more tomorrow.

Tonight I'm watching Kingsman and doing some knitting. Scamp is already curled up comfortably on my lap and Picasso is asleep on the back of my chair. We've had a very tasty take away curry and all's well with the world (if you exclude politics etc etc).


Friday, 24 February 2017

The wind's a blowing and I'm happily sewing.

Yesterday in London we were hit by high winds as storm Doris battered parts of the UK. I was teaching in Reading yesterday and since high winds were predicted I travelled by train rather than driving. I was very relieved on the journey home that we weren't held up by fallen trees. The train was travelling a lot slower than normal so the journey took longer but we arrived safely. Once home I listened to the wind outside and the gusts rattling our windows before I turned the TV on to cover the noise and set about doing some stitching. I needed to finish the binding on the 'It's a dog's life' quilt so I got on with that first.

I'm really pleased with this finish. I enjoyed doing the stitching for the blocks and it is a really cute quilt. Once my sewing cum work room is finished this will hang on the wall. Before then of course I need to add a hanging sleeve to the quilt and a label.

Next I did a little more work on my knitting. I'm hoping to finish the first sleeve up to the start of the arm hole by the end of the weekend. I'm not taking another picture of my progress as it looks the same but longer.

Today was a day off but I needed to do some work for work. I hadn't checked my work emails since Monday and so I had dozens to deal with and then I had some marking to do so the day flew by. When John got home we took Scamp for a walk over the common. Following the storm of yesterday the temperature had dropped so it was back to wearing my duffel coat and hat but at least the sun was shining weakly. I still have more marking to do but tomorrow I'm going to take the day off and make some blocks and work on my green jacket. I want to celebrate the start oof Spring by wearing this jacket.

I have the lining and the buttons so this should be a quick finish for next week. I really do need to get some of my older projects finished so I can start some new ones.

So I'm celebrating my Friday finish by linking up with Amanda Jean for Finish it up Friday  I'm also hoping to have some other things to show you tomorrow. For now I need to snuggle in bed as the excitement of a finish has quite worn me out.


Sunday, 19 February 2017

A bit of an odd week.

This last week has been a little 'odd'. Odd in that it's been almost normal but with a slight shift. I went into work for two days and worked from home on my third day so from a work point of view it was fairly standard. It was half term so we didn't have Rainbows, Brownies and Guides which was a nice rest. We walked the dog over the common, twice in beautiful early Spring sunshine that warmed us as we walked but the 'odd' was ever present. The odd was a niggling worry as I monitored how I felt and watched for side effects and signs of infection. Odd because I couldn't settle to do anything in my down time and so I didn't really move any of my projects forward but mostly odd because I didn't feel how everyone told me I would feel. So this weekend it stopped being odd as I stopped waiting for things to happen and just got on with my life.

Yesterday Kathryn, Lucy and I headed for Kingston upon Thames for a girls shopping trip. We haven't had one in ages so this one had to include morning coffee, lunch and shopping. We didn't buy much in the end but had a good look round the shops and enjoyed lunch at Wagamama's. I finally got some lining that I liked for my green jacket having decided the one I'd ordered wasn't right. I also chose the buttons so later this week I can hopefully get it finished. After our trip we headed home to cook dinner and to enjoy a very lively family evening.

I wanted to get at least 4 blocks made for my Austen Family Album quilt but I only completed 1 however I was really pleased with how the frame around the central block worked. I made a very similar block a couple of years back and found it very difficult  but I've learnt a lot since then and this went together easily. I did however have to undo the seam on the bottom right as the points of the star weren't matching up. You can see how off it is (the 3 o clock position) This is now dealt with and matches perfectly - thank goodness for the unpicking tool.

Today I've been doing a little slow knitting on a sleeve for John's jumper. The wool for this is beautiful to knit with and is just so soft. 

The front and back of the jumper are in stocking stitch but you can just see in the middle of this picture that in the middle of the sleeve there is a section of knit 2 purl 2 rib that continues all the way up the sleeve from the ribbing. I should have this sleeve finished this week.

I've had a lot of marking to get done so I haven't had time to do any work on Charlotte this week or to finish stitching the binding onto the 'It's a dog's life' quilt but it is almost finished.

Work on the house has moved forward in leaps and bounds this week. John has been laying the bamboo flooring in the dining room, living room and hallway. This is all done but he is still finishing off the edging. It looks so good. We got quotes this week for our windows and we have now decided on a company and placed an order. The windows will all be individually made and will take several weeks to do. It's all very exciting and I'm looking forward to it being completed. By the time it is all done it will be two and a half years since we started. I'm looking forward to being able to show you what we've done.

I'm linking this post with Kathy's  Slow stitching Sunday Dopop over and check out what everyone has been up to.