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

Monday, 27 July 2015

Saturday ...

saw me trying to downsize my large HUGE selection of scraps, and today I have used my '15 Minutes of Play' to produce these.
I had bags (and BAGS) of selvedges which have to be used or thrown away (don't you just hate throwing things away - I do!) this is all part of the downsizing process for my collection of scraps before the 'BIG move'
 I cut 5" squares of calico (from scraps!) and laid the selvedges 'just' overlapping sewing very close to the edges, at first they looked really scrappy but, once trimmed I was happier with them. The top one is all Moda edges but the other is a random selection. I ended up by sorting the rest into 2 piles - those that have 'interesting information', coloured dots or are a solid colour and those that were just plain white or too narrow to sew, those I threw out and the others now fit into one small bag instead of several larger ones. I think I may use some larger scraps or some oddments of curtain fabric to back them before stuffing them and turning them into pin cushions or maybe make some bigger ones and make then into coasters or mug rugs.
My other project today was quilting the Blue star quilt (see previous post) I have used polyester wadding so it's quite thick, originally I was going to hand quilt but my hands are quite painful right now so, I decided to put it on the machine. I set the stitch length quite long (4.5 on the Husqvarna) so that if it puckered or the wadding was simply too thick I would not have too much trouble removing the stitching. However all went well. I used red thread on the front and a variegated blue for the back, I quilted in the ditch around all the pale blue shapes to highlight the stars and I have to say it came out quite well. I think I will try to find some red fabric to match the narrow border to bind it.
Its now 5.50pm and DH has called out to let me know he has a pot of tea waiting downstairs so I'm off to get something to eat and a cuppa, then I plan to veg out in front the TV and finish some doll clothes for H's 'new baby' as my shoulders are now aching from manipulating the quilt through the machine.
Byeee for this time.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Big Build and other news

On Saturday 4th July, I did a volunteer session at the Museum, it was Carnival day in Thornbury and we saw a little of the parade, later I was met by Lisa and her family who came to take me out to lunch (they are sooo kind,) we ended up at the carnival field, where there was of course a  4th July theme, as some of you know I love BIG US Vehicles so after Lisa and Co left for home I hung around and went to find them.

Exciting things are happening here day by day on the BIG BUILD project, there are too many pictures to bore you all to death with but so far the roof is finished, the windows are in and the top area is plastered, here are pictures of the progress to date. About two weeks ago the top flight of scaffolding came down at the back and completely at the front which has exposed the top of the build, so from outside it looks like this
This is the front
and at the back, you can now see where the old landing window is sited. Next up was progress inside, I came home from a trip out and met DH coming down the stairs looking something like a creature from Dr Who, we have black compo (cement) in between the bricks which are dark red (the house was built in 1934/5 and that was pretty standard back then) He was covered in thick red/black dust

DH has now seriously hit through on the landing by enlarging the gap where the landing window used to be (see previous post) he temporarily blocked the hole with an old door so no going in at that point - picture taken from the doorway of my current sewing room.
 Last Monday while I was up here sewing, he moved the storage heater to it's new position on the landing and on Tuesday finished opening up the doorway sooo now  

I can ACTUALLY walk into my new sewing space (as long as I'm careful not to fall through the spaces between the scaffolding planks that make up the floor) WHOOO HOOO - YIPPEEE!!! We are now 'discussing' power points and what will go where i.e. the sewing machine, iron etc. I think I will need at least 6 power points to avoid having to trail extension cables around the floor (as I do now) this room has 3 points (a single and a double) which are on opposite sides of the room so there are extension cables all over the place!)
On the craft front I have not been idle, Little H turned 4 on the 8th and requested a 'family party' at Grandma's house so balloons were inflated and party food was provided for said celebration, 
her present from her Mum & Dad was this splendid abode which is an impressive 6ft x 4ft.
since assembling it, which took a whole weekend (while H came here for a sleepover) DD and hubby have had difficulty keeping her out of it. I have made curtains and a large pillow sized cushion from fabric chosen while she was here,
 plus a smaller cushion in the same fabric and this knitted cushion
and 6ft of pink bunting (all to help with 'furnishing said house) which also has a row of colour changing fairy lights) 
I am still knitting - doll clothes for H's newest 'baby', a jacket and shorts completed plus a sweater on the needles. 
On the 18th it was Clock Tower Quilters, I had requested a full turnout on the pretense of discussing our finances, but what I actually had planned was a BIG SURPRISE in the guise of a visit from Laura one of our founder members who, you may remember moved to Wales in December. Laura had said she may come down for a couple of days to drop her eldest daughter off for a visit with her Grandparents and could she come sew with us for the day. So with it all secretly organized my job was to get everyone there hence, the pretense! Oh boy did it work well, Laura arrived around 10.30 and everyone was soooo delighted to see her, the rest of the day was spent catching up on everyone's news plus some stitching got done too, I got 2 charity quits layered up and tacked ready to quilt 
A star quilt made from donated Orphan blocks and this one from some more of my randon Log Cabin blocks (and Yes I do still have some more left!!)
and made more progress with my embroidery.  

 Oh! and we did discussed the finances albeit very briefly.
Yesterday was an outing with Severn Valley Quilters to Lady Sew & Sew at Henley on Thames, where some serious retail therapy took place. I bought the gridded fabric to make my planned design wall and a few other bits and bobs. During the coach journey there and back I managed to knit another beanie hat to pass on to the local supporters of the Butterfly Space in Malawi. Lots of happy quilters with very big bags of goodies got back around 5.30pm, our monthly meeting was at 7.30 so after a quick bite to eat and cuppa off I went again, only 13 members there but we had a good hand sewing evening with a cuppa and good knatter. I did some more to my embroidery which looks like it could be completed very soon, if  I'm pleased with it I may enter it into the village Flower Show.
And that as they say is that for this time, except to say if anyone is going to the Festival of Quilts on the 8th and would like to get in touch leave me a comment or email me via this blog and we'll try to get together for a coffee.
Bye for now

Thursday, 2 July 2015

More news from the hive

Meaning I'm TRYING  to be a very busy bee!!!! Since my last post I had great plans - not many working out I hasten to add. It was Clock Tower Quilters on Saturday 20th and I hoped to get a couple of things done, however not all went to plan and the only thing I did achieve was some reverse sewing. I took along 2 projects, one to put borders on and some hand work for later! First up I thought I would add some borders to my 'Jackalope' embroidery, I found just the right fabrics at Malvern for borders and backing.
these are from Lewis & Irene (I love their fabrics)
However not all went according to plan! First up we were only a very small band of 4 stitcher's due to holidays, family commitments etc and I did not set the machine up, as I forgotten some of my 'stuff' plus we got chatting as you do at these gatherings so by the time I had coffee and the obligatory biscuits and got down to work it was lunchtime (slapped wristies here!!) So I decided to have my lunch then continue working on this Seed Heads design by Jane Davies (whom I did the Modern Kantha workshop with at Malvern last Oct)
Wrong, VERY WRONG, in fact, I love her work, but this is a different technique to my usual embroidery projects. It seems I had not read the instructions properly, The instructions said tack the fabric to the black felt (which will be the backing!) 1st mistake - I didn't! Next - trace the design onto tissue paper and tack this to the fabric, then tack over the rest of the design. I did not have any tissue so I used greaseproof, I carefully traced all the lines, tacked the pattern to the fabric and tacked along the lines of the design, next it said tear away the paper to leave the design tacked onto the fabric, BUT it would not tear, I tried to score along the lines with some pointy scissors - no joy!! Instead the paper kept pulling all my carefully tacked lines out. In the end as last resort I simply undid the lot and went back to the drawing board as they say. Since following the instructions it now looks like this. I think you can just see the design, but as we finished up early to go home I have not done any more to it. 
I have not been idle since then  at the end of the month I went to the Severn Valley Quilters Meeting where we listened to a very interested talk on Mixed Media techniques by Angie Hughes who so inspired me to 'have a go' I bought the Book... whether or not I do try out her methods remains to be seen (I have no excuse as I already have some of the materials) but it was a very inspiring talk and the book is a good read.
As usual I have been doing quite a bit of knitting, my knitted UFO pile diminishes as I work my way through all the projects in there and of course I have one or two more new ones in the pipeline. Finished recently is this waistcoat/vest, started approximately 30 years ago (YES! really 30 years!!!!) for my Mum. I made several from the original pattern during the 70's including 4 sweaters/cardigans and ran out of steam as they are made on gigantic needles (20mm & 10mm)
I have a little of the chunky yarn left and I may make a scarf, in the same way as its knits up really well and being all Garter stitch it's really quick. Next up was this sweater I started for myself in 2006, It looks quite crumpled as it had got all screwed up in the box, I will need to give it a wash and dry it flat before I wear it.
I have a new sweater for Little H planned and that will be my next project to be ready for winter, and tho I said I would NEVER do another picture sweater EVER AGAIN, this is what she has chosen from my pattern file
Not quite so fiddly this time, only 3 colours, she chose a really rich purple for the main part but the puppy will still be in black & white. Of course I have to also have a project that can fit in my handbag, so I have made a couple of Beanie hats, I won't bore you with pictures of the plain ones but this one I am quite pleased with, I generally knit these in the round and wondered what I could do to make them more interesting, not wanting to just do cables (I've done loads of those) so I worked out a method of purling one stitch which I off set on every round and produced this 'Spiral' hat. I did not bother to work the spiral into the decreases but I think it worked quite well with a plain top. What do you think?
On the building front things are progressing, the roof is on (see last Post) and today Mike & DH started to put the ridge tiles back, they have not done anything up there for a few days due to the heat wave, but today was cool and cloudy so up they went - till it rained! unfortunately we are still waiting for the window company to deliver the new windows which were promised for last Thursday - and are now promised for tomorrow! it was hoped this would be something they could do if it turned wet (they can be put in from inside apparently!) however in order not to waste any time they took out the existing landing window which will be re-used as the 'new' landing window (you can see where it will go in previous pictures) So now the real mess indoors will begin...
 This is how it looks from the doorway of my current workroom, there is now a large sheet of plywood nailed over this gap, which I must say looks 'very elegant'. but hey I guess it's all gotta look worse before it looks better, and I've been wanting the hall stairs and landing redecorated for several years!!!
 This is the back of new room when viewed from the 'gap' and  here's the front view.

 and here is the space where the re-sited window will go.
Well that just about brings me up to date on all fronts, tomorrow afternoon I am doing a shift at the Museum and I'm there again on Saturday, then I may go to the Thornbury Carnival if the weather is OK!
Byee for now