Remember - Its not the length of your life that's important - it's the depth.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Warning!!!!! Please read on!!!

A short post and no new pictures but please read on. I think this is a disgraceful practise and must be stopped! If you have 'favourite' designers and value the fabrics you use, then please visit this link! www.eternalmaker.com  From the website go to their blog page. PLEASE please lets pass this on to stop this fraudulent use of other peoples designs.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

I have been trying to...

...write this post for almost a week on the laptop but it has had an attack of  'I'll write anything you want but don't ask me to load pictures too' itus. However my sewing mojo seems to be alive and well once more! So this is a picture heavy post to bring you up to date. During the last week I finished 2 projects. The Kantha is done, and now looks like this
 Couched strands of thread over a circle of gold sheer which came with the kit, the ends are loose to allow some movement.
 I found a steel washer and decided to couch it on using blanket stitch
 The whole piece finished, (5" x 17.5") I added some cream cotton fabric to the back to cover all the untidy ends of thread and left a gap to act as a hanging sleeve where I also wrote the label using a pigma pen. I called it 'Kontempory Kantha'
Next up is  my design for Christmas Shadow quilting  needed as a sample for the workshop at S.V.Q.on Wednesday evening. The ladies will only use one of the motifs during the workshop and I will suggest they put it in an aperture card or use it as a tree decoration.
Christmas Pud
Tree- I added beads to look like lights once the stitching was done
Bauble - with Ric Rac braid and French knots
The completed wall hanging is called 'Christmas Shadows' and looks like this (6 1/2" x 15" ) 
Iv'e also made great progress on the Row robin (See post on October 21st) the quilting is done, there are 6 rows and 6 techniques were originally set so this is what I've done
 Row 1 - Squares 10" wide
  Row 2 - Triangles 6" wide
 Row 3 - originators Free Choice Block - I chose 'Farmers Daughter' 10" wide
 Row 4 Strips 8" wide
 Row 5 Applique 8"
Row 6 Free Choice 10" wide.
There should have been one more 6" wide row but one girl dropped out. Earlier this week I decided to trim it up ready for binding. Well you would have had a good laugh, the only place I could do it was the on workroom floor so there was I trying to fit in between all the piles of 'stuff', chuckling away and thought I would give you an idea of the predicament I was in!:-)))
as you can see there's not a lot of room, for a 44" x 65" quilt, but with careful manipulation I got it done.  Having decided long ago to use strips from some of the fabrics in the quilt, I cut the binding strips yesterday, and sewed them together and sewed them on today, again working with NOT MUCH ROOM!!
my machine is very close to the wall so there's not much space for the quilt to move into as it goes under the machine but it's on and I hope to sew some of it tonight when I have completed this marathon blog post.
Well that's it for this time folks, I'm off to do some hand stitching in front of the telly.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

This week I have.....

...been quite busy, on Wednesday evening it was Severn Valley Quilters when the members were making a 7 pocket bag, I was helping to run the workshop so did not make one myself  but I have the fabrics ready and plan to make one at some point. Since then I have finished the embroidery on the contemporary Kantha wall-hanging begun at Malvern last week (see previous post ), and with the weather really warm on Friday, I was able to sit in the conservatory and complete the hand quilting on the last row of my Row Robin quilt (see post on 24th October). I have already decided which fabrics to use for the binding and hope to cut that and start sewing it on during the coming week and there has been some progress on the Big Sweater project. 
On Saturday I met up with Laura for a day at the World Textile Day West. This was the first time it has been held in the Bristol area. We had a great time looking around the various Traders and buying a few items, I got some lovely fabrics and threads  from the African Fabric Shop with which I plan to use to make another Kantha wall-hanging, (a sort of India meets South Africa project!) and some new earrings made in South America from Tukuru Textiles. (photos later) There were two lectures on the theme of the 'Spirit of the Cloth', the morning one by Martin Conlan of Slow Loris Textiles, and the second one after Lunch was with John Gillow, both of whom have an in depth knowledge of the the textiles they were showing from the minority tribes of China and from the Islamic world respectively. I'm teaching a Shadow Quilting workshop at the next Severn Valley meeting and can't find the pieces I made some years ago so I guess I will have to make some new ones.
I'll be back soon with some photos of the above, when I can take them in daylight.
Byee for now

Monday, 27 October 2014

More inspiration.... Oh Dear!... will there ever be enought time?

Well friends, this will be the 2nd time I have been back here in 7 days, which as you all know is not like me at all! But...
On Saturday I set off for Malvern with the lovely Sheila, Laura and Lisa, we left early in order to sign up for some workshops. Originally I was going to do three W/S's during the day but then decided it would not be fair to 'abandon' Lisa for several hours as this was her first major English show and it would not give me chance to look round. So starting the day with a cuppa and a bacon butty we split up to have a look round, wandering round the traders with Lisa I stopped at Sadie Yeoman's stand (Cornerhouse Crafts from Worcs.) and found the pattern for the red-work Christmas bunting for the same price as the class I had planned to do! The workshop I settled on was Kantha Embroidery with the lovely Jane Davies. I did a workshop with her last year (see post on 5/11/13) and she is a very easy tutor to work with, very much encouraging students to 'do their own thing', This time it was no different, we started with a set of her lovely hand dyed fabrics and thread, this was my fabric pack.
First up Jane explained a little about Traditional Kantha going on to say that this class was a little different and used a more contemporary style of Kantha (she also said it was better done while enjoying a glass of good cider - but I haven't tried that yet LOL) I had taken along my other piece, remember this?
to ask if she thought I had it right and she said that I was definitely on the right lines! She then proceeded to show everyone in the class!!! one of whom asked if she could take a picture of it (my ego was well an truly polished here!!) Jane very kindly said we were allowed to photograph her work as long as we kept the pictures for our personal use!
 She soon had us working, first selecting and placing fabrics, before pinning and tacking them in place, we then started adding stitches using the wonderful thread, here are some of the ladies at work
By the end of the class I had managed to get this far....
Then having got home, after a cuppa and something to eat I started sewing again, then did a little more last night and again today after DD and Little H left to go home... I am completely hooked and can't wait to get it finished. I have even thought of a title for it, think I will call it 'Konteporary Kantha' It now looks like this.....
The Centre
The Top - I think! but I may change my mind about that!
Full View

I guess when my Darling Grandmother used to say that pride comes before a fall she was right, I read and re-read my last post before publishing it here and at no point did I spot the mistake in the 'BIG' sweater project, the error in the cable pattern was the same as the last one (a C4b instead of C4f) it stands out a mile in the photographs I showed you. How I would like to know, can I make the same mistake twice!!!! So having got up at 6 o'clock today to let the dog out, (Mr T is staying the week and when he wants to get up I get up!!) I had to unpick 34 rows to get back to the mistake :-o and by 8.30 I had successfully picked up the stitches and knitted 12 of the rows back up.  Guess I will have to concentrate more..

Well It's time to sign off,

Friday, 24 October 2014

My Heart Goes Out

To the residents of Ottawa and all Canadians following the dreadful happenings in the Parliament building this week. I visited Ottawa in 2006 with my Daughter and we had taken the tour of the building, I had stood in the very halls where the shootings had happened. I could not believe what I was seeing on the newsreels. I send heartfelt thoughts to all affected by this terrible act and too all Canadians wherever they are.

On a brighter note I have had a great week, I have done some more hand quilting on the 'aged project' tho it's now too cold to sit in the conservatory, but I only have one row to finish quilting.
I was only going to do one set of diagonal stitching to this row but thought it needed a bit more, so I decided to do a couple of rows going in the opposite direction to see how it looked and I'm really glad I did. I really like the way it seems to give the appearance of  1/4 triangles to the fabric squares so I am going to complete the row this way. I have used a variegated thread which I hope works well with all the pinks. hopefully I can find some good light as I really want to get this finished.
 Secondly I have now done enough of 'the sweater' to see the pattern properly, and I'm very pleased with it so far.

Even if I had to unpick 4 rows today as I spotted a 'cable 4 back' where there should have been a 'cable 4 front'!!!
Then on wednesday after coffee with the lovely Lisa we went off to the The Wool Stop to look at yarns, her sewing machine has become proper poorly since she arrived here and has been sent off to the Machine Doctor, like all of us she misses having something crafty to do and so wants to try her hand at knitting. That done we decided to get lunch at the pub (is this becoming a habit I wonder?) then after collecting her children from school she gave me a lift back home. There waiting for me I found a largeish box that had arrived by post while I was out. I was not expecting any parcels so had no idea what it contained, I took it off to the workroom to open and got called to the phone and then in a 'senior moment' I forgot about it. Later on I went upstairs to have look and what a lovely surprise, I had been sent some freebies from The Knitting Gift Shop. I then remembered putting my name and address in a box on their stand at the  Bristol Wool Fair in August for some free yarn, as I hadn't heard anything I assumed I had not been drawn out but Whoo HOO look at this lot.....
It is all Sirdar Yarns but I like those anyway so I really felt like it was my birthday!! the colours of some are lovely and I feel a few new project/s coming on.
There was 3 balls of this which will make quite a few premmie garments for my charity.
there are two balls of each colour of this one - which is Sirdar Escape Chunky and there just happens to be a pattern for a gorgeous Chunky Cowl in my new Let's Knit Magazine which arrived today! Last but not least is this grey/green Aran,(the picture does not do the colour justice) tho I am not sure what I will use it for
Well my friends I am going to sign off for this time, the lovable Ted is here again enjoying the benefits of 'Grandma's Spa' and as he is convinced it's his tea time he keeps coming over and nudging me with his wet nose so I better go and feed him and also give some thoughts to feeding DH as well!!!
See you all again next time

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

I've been sewing again!!!

...with a little knitting thrown in of course! Yes folks I've had a great time since I last talked to you all, first up the  proper yarn arrived for the BIG knitting project which you may be relieved to hear is going much better and actually looks like it will fit DH when it's done, Whooo Hoo!! I'm now on week 7 of the Rowan Mystery Knit Along (see previous posts) About three weeks ago I decided to randomly pull out a project from the WIP's pile, this turned out to be my Row Robin, set as a group challenge at Severn Valley Quilters in 2005 (Yes really! that long ago) The Row Robin project was a group of 7 quilters of mixed ability, we decided to set some guidelines so that we all worked to a common theme, and the rows were passed around anonymously, I'm sure you all know how these things work so won't bore you with all the details. I had originally thought that I would hand quilt the easy bits and machine quilt the rest, so not being able to remember how far I had got and leaning towards a bit of hand quilting I decided that it would suit the purpose. The weather was still warm so I took it to the conservatory to establish what needed doing. Well! It turned out that there were only 2 more rows to  left to quilt and as I had already hand quilted most of it I decided to continue and complete the whole thing by hand. After a couple of hours I had made some good progress, but the old fingers were aching so I put it away, then later that week I did a bit more. I was due to visit the American Museum to attend one of their sewing bees with some of the girls from SVQ, and thought it would be a great opportunity to get a bit more done while talking to the visitors. At the September meeting of SVQ I met a young woman who with her husband and children recently moved to the village from California, she was looking for a quilt group and came along as a visitor, unfortunately our group is at capacity so she was unable to join, but we had a chat and she's really missing her quilting friends from the U.S. I later emailed her to suggest we might meet for coffee and to invite her to a small local quilt show. We had a great day, the show did not take us long as it was very small and so having gone to the pub to get lunch we ended up staying there chatting all afternoon. Then she invited me to her house for a sewing day last week, again we had a good time and I managed to get more done on the quilting, so now my quilt is almost all done and looks like this...I'm currently working on the final bit of quilting on the row at the top.
Row Robin ably displayed by DH 

During the process I decided I would keep a diary as I worked and looking back it makes interesting reading as I can now see what I was thinking as I worked on each row of the various quilts and how I solved some of the things that cropped up.
Last week on a very wet Monday DD, DGD and I set out for a day at the West Midland Safari Park, we had a great day despite the weather and as there was hardly any other visitors there we were able to get a good view of all the 'residents' including this litttle cutie.
Isn't he just the cutest thing on 4 legs?
Some of the other animals were not enjoying the weather at all as you can see here, all the Lemurs were snuggled up to one another and looked totally fed up!

On Saturday I'm off to Malvern for the Autumn Show with 3 friends, I'm hoping to do some of the workshops, (I did some last year and they were great fun!!) as well as see the quilt displays, I am not 'planning' any shopping as I am trying not to put any more fabrics etc in the workroom, that way there will be less to pack up and move when we get the new workroom built which at this rate is going to be sometime next year! Now I know that seems a long way off but all things considered I probably have just enough supplies to keep me going till then and there are quite a few WIP's waiting in the pile to work on, so I'll try to concentrate on that for the time being and hopefully the workshops will keep me occupied from looking at tooo many traders. Well folks it's well after midnight here so I'll say Night Night.

Friday, 26 September 2014

'Just how many knitting projects are too many?'

On Monday evening at Knitter Knatter the above question was posed and the answer seems to have been agreed at 8 if you have 7 you have one for everyday of the week, any more and you don't have a day to work on them! Phew that was a relief as I currently have several on the go but not that many - Well not quite anyway! I know things are getting serious when I start knitting in bed (which I am doing again!!) The problem is I have a bit of a hiatus on the large sweater problem for DH (see previous posts) which despite having 4 (YES FOUR) goes at getting it right, is still coming out too big. So I have given up on the cheapo yarn bought at a cut price store and resorted to ordering the correct yarn for the pattern from the lovely Tina at The Wool Stop. Then there are 'the hats' 7 at the last count, they are basic beanie hats for the homeless made from left over bits and pieces, I make them as 'fillers' for when things are quiet on the knitty front but once I start they just keep appearing, especially since I started knitting them in the round... Sooo much quicker!!!Then this week I started some pretty cabled wrist warmers, plus I'm still knitting squares for the Rowan Knit Along, and then today my Knitting magazine arrived and it has the cutest little reindeer kit to knit for Christmas which is just calling out to be made!!!.
So what else has been happening around here since my  last post.. first the most exciting news is the Architect came back with the completed plans for my new workroom ans after a few 'tweaks' they have been sent off too the planning office for approval so we now have an eight week wait to see if we can start building. At the end of August DD & Co bought a tent, they came over and practised putting it up in the garden and as you can see it is very roomy, so roomy in fact we had to put it up in the neighbour's garden as it didn't quite fit on the lawn between the rockery and the path in ours.
They managed a few days on The Gower Peninsular (here) earlier this month and managed to get the last of the good weather, Little GD had a great time running in and out of the sea and rock pooling with daddy.
I've done a bit of fabric weaving and made this cover for a little needlebook
My sister in law popped in to leave me this delightful bundle of premmie knits to sent to the local hospital.
Like me she knits all the time and is always making baby things to send to expectant Mums who are work colleagues of her daughters, all of the above were made from her leftover yarns and include bootees, mitts and hats as well as the cute cardi.
A while ago a friend asked me if I could make up a soft toy knitted by her grandmother before she died, I said I would have a look but that I am not good at finishing knitted toys, the bag she gave me contained all the knitted parts' for a clown doll made from a Jean Greenhowe book, and recently I was telling a friend about it at knitting group when one of the ladies there offered to do it for her, it was returned last week and what a splendid fellow he is...
 DH went to out pick and I quote 'a few blackberries' and came back with over 7lbs so a Jam making session ensued
Autumn Fruits
Setting point
equals 10lbs of lovely Jam
There have been babysitting duties with little H including a 2 night stay here for her while DD and DSIL had their belated honeymoon, they went 'glamping' which is a sort of luxury camping holiday, staying in a Shepherds Hut that had all the 'mod cons' of a comfortably appointed cottage.(See Here) H and I had a great time, on the Friday we went shopping on the bus. Then on Saturday we did some baking and took along a few cakes to share with the lovely ladies at Clock Tower before setting off for a picnic lunch at the local Animal Park and Adventure playground at Old Down Country Park (here) which she just loved and spent around 3 1/2 hours bouncing,
 and running around, getting muddy and very tired, she slept 12 hours straight Saturday night then on Sunday she had her favorite 'Roasty chicken lunch' followed by Blackberry & apple crumble with custard before going home with Mum & Dad.
In between all this I have been working on a project for a challenge and have used these
 to make these...

all will become clear when I reveal the final project which I am making for a challenge. I'll also be using some of these fabrics and these nifty notions.


Well that's about it for tonight, the film I've been watching while writing this is over and it's waaaay past my bedtime so goodnight all. Lxx  

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Today It's Hot hot Hot!!!

So hot in fact that I have stayed indoors all day and I have sewn! Now, a couple of posts ago I was bemoaning the fact that I seem to have lost my sewing mojo, but for a little while yesterday and today it seems to be back! Since my last post I have started another 'hexie' project - (more on that later) finished the baby cardi I was knitting and sorted out the sizing on the sweater I want to make for DH with a little help from the lovely Pat at Knitter Knatter on Monday evening. Tuesday was spent as usual at DD's to help with her job and yesterday I went off to Thornbury to meet a friend for coffee (well it was tea actually 2 POTS of tea!) Well we had a lot of catching up to do:-))) at the end of July we had some beautiful sunsets and this is the view I get from the workroom or the conservatory.
Since the above was written (in late July) it's got COLD COLD COLD and rainy, so lots of time spent in the conservatory doing crafty stuff. To catch you all up this is going to be a picture heavy post so make a coffee and settle in for the long haul folk's.
The July Meeting of Severn Valley was a workshop on tassel making with the lovely Anne, I have done this with her before so decided it was time to make another one, this is the two I made previously
 and this is the latest one and each made with just one skein of embroidery thread and a pretty bead, so cheap and cheerful I may make a few to embellish some gifts!
The sweater project for DH is not sorted out despite all Pat's help and several tension squares made to date failed to establish the size needles to use for my 2nd attempt it still came out far too big (for Big read HUGE - 56" chest HUGE:-(). After unpicking, restarting and completing about 10" it still seemed on the large size so more measuring and still HUGE so I took it all out again, I'm now on the 3rd attempt (or is it the 4th  I've lost count!!) This time I'm 2 needle sizes down and knitting tighter, so its watch this space.
On 2nd August It was a sewing day with the girls at Severn Valley and I made some good progress on Hannah's alphabet wall hanging with only two letter squares to go it's time to decide how to set it all out, The following day DD arrived to drop off  DGD who was having a practice sleepover in preparation for DSIL and DD to have a few days away on their own as a belated honeymoon. Despite never having stayed anywhere without Mum & Dad she was a little angel and slept all night, I had promised we would 'do baking' if she behaved and in preparation for that I made her a little pinny which she is very proud of, I found a tutorial on U-tube to get the sizes (and tho she's onnly 3 I'm glad I made the 5-7 year old size she's really shot up of late!) and used fabric bought on my trip to the USA in 2011. The straps are cotton tape with ric rac braid to strengthen them
I put tabs at the side to make it adjustable.
On 9th August I set off by coach to the N.E.C for the Festival of Quilts where I was meeting up with the lovely Laura. I was delighted with the show and took a few pictures of the quilts that caught my eye..of course that had to include a crazy quilt, this one is by Alison Garrett  was made over 5 years and reflected her time spent traveling, it's called 'A Slow quilt'
the next 2 are from the 2 Person Category, this one by Carmen Navaro Alonso & Sylvia Gonzales of Spain entitled 'Flowers in the Wind'
and this one called 'Beneath the Surface' by Sue Roberts & Margaret Owen which really gave a sense of the micro organisms that make up our Oceans.
This one had wonderful humor and a sense of fun and seemed to strike a cord with those around while I was taking my pictures.Called 'Les Q ers'. Made by 9 quilters and entered by Marion Barlow
And last but not least this one really did it for me, it made me smile and I make no apologies for including all the 'detail' shots, called 'Twelve Quilters Quilting' it was entered by Gillan Sutcliffe from Pembrokeshire

the above is actually a knitted quilt with crochet and hand sewing, made by Stoneliegh WI Knitting group its called 'Stoneleigh Steps'. AND THEN there was this, which left both Laura & I spellbound...Made by Cinzia White from Australia and titled 'Raconteur the storyteller's Collection' its a combination of ( & I quote) "Popular trends, Dear Jane, Samplers, Miniatures & Hexagons rolled into one" her use of colour along with the intricate and oh so perfect piecing were a joy to behold. Truly Beautiful!!
Now about that hexie project mentioned earlier... I came across my Hexie project Box and thought I would just make one or two to 'keep my hand in' and it's now become a proper project with a recipient in mind but I can't show too much or it may spoil the surprise but this is the pile I have so far
 I'm even fussy cutting some patches to make her smile! I will keep you all posted when it's safe to do so!
well I did say this was photo heavy so I will leave it there and hopefully be back before you know I'm gone!!!
Byee for now