Sunday, 23 November 2014

Is being on holiday more stressful?

This post was partly was written during the half term break - I took the whole week but oh my I didn't get half the stuff done I wanted.  Ok it was nice to get up the first Sunday morning and have a leisurely breakfast, even though there were only crusts left - and they were hard.  The day didn't pan out well though. After I hung the washing out to dry John came to borrow my car (prearranged). Half way through the morning it started to drizzle but my back door key wouldn't open the door - a little bit of it must have broken off. My other key is, of course on the key ring with my car keys. Wet washing and no way to get out of the house.

I am making a table runner for a workshop which I had hoped to get finished yesterday but a certain young man had other ideas....

Ben stayed the night on Saturday - you know that night where you sleep for an extra hour? He was awake between midnight and 3am - I watched the digital clock click back from 2am to 1am. He wasn't bouncing about but he wiggles and wiggles. Here he is eating his toast from my little coffee table, using my kitchen step as a seat. He's smiling but behind the camera I look like I've been pulled through a hedge backwards. No change there then.  So that extra hour was sort of lost for this year.

When I make something I start with the fabric to get ideas from that,
Then I get out a pencil and paper and do a few sketches of what I would like it to look like, then I start drafting the pattern pieces.

Even the quirky shapes have to fit into a certain space.  Sometimes I just draw the shapes and then fit them in later though. Depends on my mood.
I love drafting the shapes because that satisfies the mathsy bit of my brain. Maths is a passion rather than a talent - I love the way you can explain the most beautiful of things through maths. However I digress. Then I sew and sew and sew - that satisfies the creative part of me. 
Oh I tried my hand at buttons - not perfect but I can buy those in the shops can't I? I think I need a bit more practice though. 
I worked my way through my to do list never reaching the end of course! I ended the week rocking gently in the corner of a darkened room. A gentle and prolonged weekend of crochet has relaxed me though. Fabric, yarn, I love you.
My hexagons are coming on. I'm sewing all the ends as I go. The threads you can see are the joining up threads. I really don't know what this is going to be. Probably not something really big because it is pure wool and would be difficult to wash and dry.  I absolutely love the natural colours.
I've also joined Attic 24's Crochet Along although I've only done 13 stripes and Lucy is up to 45! I did have another stripe almost finished but while I was hanging out the washing yesterday Ben discovered the delights of pulling out crochet. I'm so pleased the stripes are tied off otherwise it probably would have been reduced to a big knot of wool. Lucy is making a blanket to fit a single bed but mine is going to be a square throw. It should end up about 50". My stripes are much more random - Lucy plans hers and I just pick a colour from the basket that I think goes with the last stripe I did. I love the way she wraps her yarn round pegs.
A lot of the quilting I have been doing lately has been with a very small palette of colours so the rainbow of crochet yarns is acting as a balm to my poor addled brain.

We are having a very special guest to open our newly refurbished school and we couldn't gather together a good set of china for all the guests so I volunteered to get some from Ikea. (Clever - my lips didn't even move). So at half past eight on Friday night I bought what we needed. Loading loose china and glasses into my boot (two trolley loads) in the pouring rain - well that answers the question about the stress in the holidays compared with being at work. How did I drive? Very gently.

This afternoon I am going to add some more stripes to the blanket (no concentration required) whilst I watch the last Grand Prix of the season with fingers crossed that Lewis Hamilton makes World Champion,  but this morning I am going to make a start on fifteen togas for one of our primary schools.  I 'volunteered' for that too. 

Roll on the next holiday!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Where HAVE I been?

I think I've been out of the habit - that's where I've been. So I'm going to run a quick picture gallery of what's been happening and then try to organise myself properly at the weekends so that my weekly blog will restart.
Making zillions of garlands - thank you to all my friends who so graciously accept these as presents - thereby stopping my house from being overrun with garlands.
The start of a little poncho to keep my back warm whilst I am quilting first thing in the morning during the cold winter months when all are fast asleep - love that quiet time.
 The finished poncho
With a lacy edge - this was inspired by Lucy's poncho. I must say she is dedicated - mine covers my chest and back just down to the waist. I decided not to put the pretty flower ties she has on because I think they would get in the way when I'm quilting.  The acrylic yarn comes in some gorgeous colours but I prefer the feel of the natural yarns.

Bit sick of the sight of cushions I didn' realise they would be so popular.
This was a batch of ten for people at work.

Inspired by Karen's lovely quilt and another she has underway,

I decided to make a "Quilts for Comfort" top from a block called Cotton Reel
Which now looks like this - ready to quilt.

We had a team building day at work. All the teachers and teaching support staff went across to the lakes but we had to stay and look after the school so we made another quilt top for 'Quilts for Comfort' - even the caretakers did a block.
I've just got the border fabric for this so may get that sewn on today - visitors permitting.

A little painting
Testing Annie Sloan colours for a new coffee table - I ended up blending some of the yellow ochre with the white.
A thank you present for Janet- most apt!

A little baking:
Chocolate cherry cupcakes and lemon curd tarts. I'll have to take more pics of baking because I make something every week - banoffee cupcakes are a favourite at the moment. Had a great time making stuff for our Macmillan coffee morning but forgot to take pics silly me.

I went to Milton Keynes with John (he was at a conference of chiropracters). I dropped him off and went to a quilt shop I had looked up. Ric rac mmmmmmm
 Walked along the Grand Union Canal
 They crochet here too!
 The lock keeper's cottage
Then went on to Stowe House - it was too far to walk all round the grounds in the time I had, but it was so calm even though I could hear racing cars in the background - it was Silverstone!
Steph and I went to the Busy Bees Studio Open Day. If you ever get a chance to visit do go - I think she is living my dream! Ben loved the donkeys.
 They were right over the other side of the field though
 He ran up and down the hill but didn't wear himself out....
I went to Yarndale a couple of weeks ago. It was stunning. although very crowded. For some peace I went to Bolton Abbey later that day - think I might make a weekend of it next year. I've got some pics somewhere I'll share next time.

I spent all the money I had saved from the cushion sales!
Lovely hand dyed wool from British Blue Faced Leicesters.  Some lemon curd for John and a ceramic heart garland for Steph. Will had eaten his Bolton Abbey Fudge before I took the pic.
These hexagons were made from the Blue Faced Leicester wool and were inspired by the ceiling of a building I saw at Stow House
They are tiny though. I'm also making another cotton blanket which is double knitting.  These centres are the same pattern - I've put a penny next to them.

The cotton squares will become a blanket one day.
And the hexagons will be a Grandmother's Flower Garden.

 I love the little cream jug I bought at Yarndale - it's just the right size for my crochet hooks.
So if you've not been bored out of your mind and have made it this far I promise I'll try to be more organised and blog weekly.  I love reading other blogs - I'm going to redesign mine over the half term break so I'll add the ones I love reading - they give so much inspiration.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Update of Quilting Bee - finished quilt!

The finished quilt - I'm delighted with the way it's turned out - masculine, geometric, urban....

If you want to see more pics of the making hop over to Friday's Child.
I decided to machine quilt it for speed and also because the fleece and wadding are quite hard on the finger joints!
A turquoise wadding compliments the colours in the main fabric.  It is very cosy. The quilting is simple to echo the shapes of the blocks and it is bound with the main fabric. (Only just enough - there are a couple of little squares left!)  It has been washed and I will give it a final steam before taking it up to High Street Quilting to stay for a few days and then to The Crafts House, hopefully this weekend. 

A big thank you again to everyone xxxxxxxx

Sunday, 3 August 2014

One stitch at a time

We had five hours to make a quilt top.  Maybe the odd seam got ripped out and re-sewn but apart from that it all went very smoothly. Some stayed all day and some came for a couple of hours and added blocks to the quickly growing pile.

When I arrived at ten Karen and Eileen were already there with Hilary, pulling out various bolts of fabric to match to the African fabric (shown below under the tan and turquoise bolts) that Eileen kindly donated.  It was a lovely big print which we cut into 8.5" squares for the centre of the block.  Each was different and there was enough left for a border and binding. Hilary kindly donated the fabric to complete the blocks and borders.
Karen sorts the fabric and irons the centre blocks
 While Eileen gets the fabric ready to cut the block borders.
Some were hand sewn and some were done on the machine. Below are Jill and Karen who hand sewed.  

 Dorothy machine pieced individual blocks and then sewed blocks together.
 Two Karens and Jill piecing.
Hilary ironing - check the quilt out in front of Hilary - it's stunning, with hand made lace and tiny piecing.
Even a lady who only came in to get some binding for her quilt sewed some blocks together (thank you Susan and love the quilt)
Rhomboids not squares in lovely soft silvery greys, blues and light chocolates and taupes - so restful.

Eileen had a lovely 'show and tell quilt'.
We drank gallons of tea and coffee made by Karen B, Hilary and Rob and ate cakes:
It was so warm that the icing on the strawberry cakes started to melt. Maybe it was the heat of the iron!
There was a lot of ironing done.

By 3.30 though, we had a quilt top. A huge storm was just about to start and the shop had gone very dark so the vibrancy of the quilt is not evident from this photo.  I will post some more pictures when I have sewn the borders on.
Hilary cut some inner borders and binding from the remainder of the South African fabric and some green for an outer border. The top is everything I'd hoped it would be and more.

Everyone chipped in for the backing which I bought this morning. The remainder of the money will go to the charity. I'll be working on the quilt during the week and will take it to Sandra together with the donations as soon as it's done. I'll post the final pictures of course before it goes. 

It was a great day, thank you Karens, Eileen, Dorothy, Jill, Susan and Hilary for your great generosity. I am always humbled by people's willingness to give. Sandra says there are two sides to each quilt - the one who receives the quilt and the one who stitches it. It was a lovely day - we felt very Amish all working on the quilt - it was a good feeling.  We did agree that we would stick with the quilt making and leave the barn raising to someone else - what a relief!