Sunday, 29 November 2015

So many stockings.......

Due to a chance conversation I seem to have found myself with an order for six Christmas stockings to be completed before the middle of December.  This will test whether I stitch for pleasure whatever the item.  I'm nervous to find out though.  I would love to make a full time business of this but will I buckle under the time constraints?  I'll let you know.
It was our Christmas Fair at school yesterday so I have only had a half day 'off' this weekend by the time I'd cooked and cleaned and shopped today.  This afternoon I got out my trusty mdf stocking shape and, while watching a rather boring final F1 race I cut out the six shapes, plus one for Max
Next I'll cut a cuff (for the names). The applique shapes are all traced (all different) but they will have to wait until tomorrow to be ironed on to the stockings before being layered with wadding. I'll make six of them without binding but Max's will be bound to match Ben's,  although he is having a gingerbread man on his, together with a Christmas Pudding. His great grandma calls him 'Pudding' so it will be quite apt.

This is him in his teddy suit - he's already too long for his play gym.
 But at last he is turning over - much later than Ben.
And, exhausted from the effort he fell asleep with his teddy.
At five and a half months he is just about growing out of 9-12 months clothes. I'm not used to such a big baby.  My two were like runty baby rabbits and Ben was a skinny little thing too. 

For the fair I made some Christmas pudding shaped 'bean bags' (actually dried chick peas that were well out of date)

Sorry about the awfully blurry photos - these were all taken at night. There was a slight miscommunication between me and the art teacher - she made a four foot high Christmas Tree with holes in thinking I was making snowballs. On the plus side we'll do a 4 foot Santa with a gap to throw the puddings into his sack for next year and I'll be one step ahead!

I've been making a cover for my iPad so that I had something reasonably mindless to do when I needed to switch off.  It is actually finished but I'll have to wait until next time to get some daylight to take the photos.
Daylight is in short supply at the moment - even in the middle of the day. The weather has been awful and I seem to have a leak in the sun-lounge.  I think the gutters are overflowing with the heavy rainfall and water has found its way behind the flashing. It's so windy though I doubt if a roofer will look at it at the moment. The telly signal is flashing off and on as the rain hits the satellite dish sideways and in a moment I'm going to turn it off.

I'm looking forward to my Thursday night classes resuming after a two week break due to work commitments. I haven't got a pattern written yet but have a simple design for some table mats, half in my head and half down on paper. That'll be the first thing to do this week. 

Have a good week and don't spend too much money on Christmas presents! I've just bought my first - rather early for me!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Apple Crumble

Not what you would think - I've had a nightmare week with my laptop.  I had to reset something on my apple password at work and when I came to log on to my laptop it wouldn't recognise old new, newer or any password or swear-word.  It wouldn't connect to the internet to update the passwords... from Tuesday until Saturday morning I tried everything I knew until boom! Back it came.  I hadn't realised Apple was so secure until I tried to reset things. I still have one more problem to sort out but I'm heartily sick of keychains and IDs and security questions and glad to be back online.  I think it is all connected with the firewalls at school- I have a works iPad which somehow got linked to my personal things. I have a million different passwords - maybe I should only have one. My countdown to Christmas diet suffered a bit on Thursday night when I comfort ate a large ham sandwich and some muesli bar that I'd baked for the quilting ladies but I'm back on track again although I could kill for some real apple crumble now I come to think of it.

Anyhoo - the crochet blanket (oh dear):
First square is too small.  This is not blocked so looks a very lopsided, but even if I tried to block it I couldn't get it to be 16" - so it's back to the drawing board.

I haven't got a 4.5mm crochet hook so I am making a looser one on the 4mm.  If this doesn't work I'm switching to the Granny Blanket!

My quilty mind is veering towards all things Christmas partly fuelled by a purchase
These are a bit big for what I had in mind but I've done a pattern for bunting with various cookie cutter designs but I have something else in mind for these and more to do with quilting than biscuits.

Yesterday morning I went to the dentist - on the way from the station (I usually get the Metro into town) I have to pass Lakeland.  Don't go in there, really don't go in there...... but my feet weren't listening, so I came out with these:

Again - I'm not thinking biscuits - they are just the right size for buttons, so I will dig out my Fimo modelling clay and see what happens.

We have a severe weather warning out today but it's 3pm and nothing horrible has happened yet.  We will probably get the storms just in time to knock the satellite signal out when I want to watch the F1 race!

Will went for a quick ride on his bike today to blow away some cobwebs before the rain came - it is 16 degrees in the middle of November and he only wore a T-shirt - how strange that looks. He was out celebrating his birthday last night so has been very quiet today! He did manage to make himself a hearty breakfast whilst I was out shopping. It's marvellous how bacon and eggs can steady the stomach after a heavy night.

I'm pleased to report that Max's tummy is back to full health, but now he, Ben and Steph have a cold.  I excused myself from seeing them so I don't catch anything but I have to say my week has been poorer for not seeing any of my babies.

3 hours later................

Yes the satellite signal went off about 90 second before the Brazilian Grand Prix was due to start. I got it up online but sadly it was very boring. It did however, allow me to concentrate on my second block which came out bigger, but still not big enough. I think I will carry on though.  I can add a bigger border or just have a slightly smaller blanket. As a quilter I think the join marks are pretty naff and I might darn over the top to hide the uneven bits.  I really hope it steams out straight though - it looks really wibbly wobbly and I find that quite hard on the eye.  I think I'll steam this block before I do any more just to check!
I can't say anything about what has happened in Paris which sickens and disgusts me. I'm just holding my loved ones, my friends and family close to my heavy heart.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Double Dip Sock Weather

What a week!  Poor little Max had had a severe tummy bug and had to be admitted to hospital for two days.  Poor little mite just kept being sick - couldn't keep anything down. Coupled with a really bad dose of diarrhoea which left him dehydrated he was in great discomfort.  Luckily he's back home and on the road to recovery - lucky too that he is quite a chunky boy so he had something to fall back on.  Everyone is worn out.  Ben had a dose of jippy tummy on holiday but we're not sure if that was the same bug.  He came over this afternoon to show me his new coat.

He loves Thomas the Tank Engine as much is his Daddy and Uncle Will did when they were little and now Ben is eating from the little dishes that they used to eat from!

Well I haven't done a great deal of crafting this weekend because I 'lost' a whole day sorting out birthday presents for my two lovely boys and covering at the clinic while Steph nursed her poorly Max.

Yesterday afternoon and this afternoon I have been happily sorting through my Stylecraft yarn ready for the Attic 24 crochet along Part 2.  I had already made the centre squares:
Some taken in bad daylight and some with a flash.  (The flash pictures are truer colours). I'm leaving some at the sunflower centre stage because I am going on a long train journey next week so I wanted something small to take with me. I completed eight centre squares.

Last night I sorted out the colours I wanted to use - autumny shades - my favourites!

Then I wound some yarn into cakes. I may have to get some more 'Grape' and 'Camel' but should have enough of the other colours.  I think I only bought five colours in the end because I had plenty left from my blanket last year.

I've put the little colour pegs into a box so that everything is ready to go.... I think I'll put the colours in order in the little box as I do each square.

Late this afternoon I made a start - the anticipation has been overwhelming!

I've made a start but (tssk, I can't help myself) I'm doing the pattern slightly different from Lucy's.  She is using a variation of the original Log Cabin Quilt Block (Courthouse Steps) but I wanted to used the original setting.  I'm going to set it out to make an eight pointed star when all the blocks are finished. Instead of using 16 colours (plus the centre square) in each block I will only be using eight colours.  This is where I'm up to:

There'll be more before I go to bed because I can't keep my hands away from the yarn!

There hasn't been a huge pile of clothes to wash this week.  Much more than in the summer but much less than in the deep winter.  What I have noticed is what I call double dip sock weather.  When it gets cold Will wears two pairs of socks.  In the deepest winter weather he wears three pairs. I got him some long johns one year for a joke and he immediately asked for more. When it gets to Triple Dip sock weather you know it's time to break out the long johns. That makes for a lot of washing! 21 pairs of work socks every week. Let's hope we don't have a triple dip winter eh?

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Pumpkin patch

From this
 To this (low calorie pumpkins)
and this,
  to this - rather higher calorie pumpkin cake.
A little bit of orange fabric to a squishy stuffed pumpkin for a friend and from a fresh pumpkin (which strangely photographed white when it was bright orange) to pumpkin whoopie pies filled with marscapone and maple syrup cream.  Yes it's Hallowe'en.

Sometimes we get one or two callers and other times (like last night) we got loads and I ran out of sweeties. One of the little groups of witches that knocked on the door had a cauldron full of sweets - maybe twenty or so packets.  I did ask her if she had a good dentist but she just gave me a black look.  I bet there were loads of children across the country bouncing off walls last night.

Karen finished her Making Merry Wallhanging this week - her stitching is beautiful:
And Archana continued with her Durham quilt - stitching the blocks together - here she is lining up the blocks - this is her first hand quilting and I am so impressed with the quality of her work - it is going to look beautiful.  She made 12 blocks and is going to do an 8" border as well.
So today - hot off the press is the appliqué version of the Making Merry Quilt
The same, but different this is in Scandi colours and matches in with some other Christmassy its that Steph and I have done.  It will look perfect in her sitting room. I have to say I prefer the appliqué version myself, although the colours that the ladies have done for their stitchery versions are lovely too.  Perhaps mine was a bit pale.

I love the little stockings panels

I started the Attic 24 crochet along challenge this afternoon - with a mistake. Poop. I will have to unpick this and start again but since it is in two shades of dark brown I will have to wait until I can do some daylight work (which effectively means next weekend).  I made 11 mid brown petals instead of 12 which only showed when there weren't enough gaps for the yellow petals.  I am doing a sunflower rather than the one that Lucy is doing because my colours are more autumny. I got a few balls from Raing-a-Rosie to make for a better mix,  but I still have loads left from last year's challenge. I've never done group of stitches with six loops on the hook before but once you get the rhythm it is quite easy. I'll just have to remember to count the stitches before I change colour.
So that's all my news for this week. Until you read me again - stay safe.