Sunday, 23 July 2017

Start of Summer

So Friday marked our last day of term - and a really lovely evening spent at the pub with a lot of colleagues (it's so amusing watching drunk people when you're sober!). It was a relaxing end to the term, and a really sunny evening.

In the run up to Friday, I spent a lot of evenings sewing - and I even managed to get some good progress shots! I decided to just focus on the section in my hoop, and then I moved my hoop to work on the second half of the page. I even got onto some sparkly tweeding, which was great but irritating too (it's not a flexible type of thread!). I also managed to start a new shade of blue that I had yet to use - quite impressive considering I have stitched more than I have left to stitch!





I was given a beautiful rose plant by one of my year 8s as an end of year gift. Such a lovely surprise, and it smells so wonderful. Just slightly concerned about how well it will survive as I seem to have a knack for killing plants no matter how well I look after them!


Last night, I took Darren to go and see Wicked for his first time (my fifth!). I'd seen it already this month, and fallen in love with Willemijn Verkaik & Suzie Mathers as the leads. It was their (among many) last show last night, so I was determined to see it. It was absolutely incredible; they and the rest of the cast were incredible, and Darren even admitted he loved it. Pretty good all around! I could waffle on about Wicked, and Willemijn & Suzie for hours, but all I will say is it's worth popping on Youtube and watching a video of the pair (West End Live from a few weeks ago would be good). Great chemistry and great voices. And Willemijn has done Wicked for 10 years, in German, Dutch and English. Mind-blowing. And that's probably enough Wicked advertising for a post!




Have a lovely week!



Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Little By Little..

...the giant cross-stitch is getting there!

I spent most of Friday afternoon and evening, as well as chunks of Saturday working on it. I've started taking more photos, and I honestly think I can get this section finished by the time school ends next week!

I've even managed to use some colours I've never used before!




Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Pirate Perfection

This weekend was a very pleasant weekend - 2 days of sewing!

Sunday involved a quick trip out to top up my thread (I ran out just as I ran into backing issues!) - that took a bit longer than planned because I briefly forgot about Sunday opening hours.

I cut and pieced together the backing fix, which I'm really pleased with. However, in the process I caught the end of my finger with my rotary blade. Whoops! Darren cut the finger off a marigold glove to stop any blood coming through the plaster getting any further; I must admit, it did help with my grip on the quilt!



I headed up to my friend Jo's house to do the quilting. It was a lovely afternoon, and made the quilting seem to go a lot faster. I also ended up teaching her some tips and tricks - in particular, the benefits of a walking foot over a normal foot for quilting! I also found she is pretty good at incredibly neat binding - the corners I ended up with during the hand quilting portion were amazing! The neatest corners I have ever had. I will need Jo to sew on my binding for me from now on.




The quilt was completed ready to give on Monday - just before the baby's due date. I was pretty pleased I had finished a quilt before the deadline (a running joke in our family is that we can't get our crafty quilts to the recipients until after they are born/married etc). Annoyingly, baby had arrived early, but I still take my finish as an 'in time' one.



I'm pretty pleased with the quilt - I love the weaving effect blocks. They looked really complex, but once you look at the pattern they are very simple; just very effective! They will be a block I do again!

Saturday, 1 July 2017

A Calculation Calamity (almost!)

Today has been a Saturday of sewing, pinning, pressing, sewing and a bit more pressing - you know how it goes! It's actually been quite productive and quick, give or take one or two minor unpicks.



I've also been enjoying my new 12 inch square ruler - I got it for another quilt, and this is my second time of using it. I've also been squaring off a lot more, which I have found to be (surprisingly!) quite useful! Also surprisingly, I have found a lot of my blocks have been a very similar size, just a little wonky. That's always a nice feeling!


I managed to get from separate pieces to blocks to a finished top and ready to back and quilt. And that's where it went a bit wrong!

I picked up some lovely backing and binding, based on my calculations of block size at the start of making my quilt. The red stripes are the binding - I'm not looking forward to cutting that material, as it is quite trippy on the eyes!


However, as I lay my backing out on the quilt to just double check, I noticed a problem:


The backing is too small!!!! And a tiny bit too narrow! Arghhhhh!!!

Cue a bit of a grumpy moment, as I had somehow made a quilt much larger than I had planned. Luckily the wadding is just wide enough otherwise teddy might have well and truly gone out of pram! (Have I mentioned this quilt needs to be finished by Monday? Nothing like a bit of time pressure!)

Luckily, big sister and best friend were both there with some advice. Either add some spare material through the centre (and I have a bit of one fat quarter left) or trim the quilt down so it's a bit more narrow and suitable for a pram. I think I'm going for the big sister's idea of the fat quarter split, as it will work well with the backing and I won't loose the front pattern as much (though it may need a tiny trim still). I'm glad I slightly overestimated my fat quarter needs!


And here is the pesky front (sorry for it not being as well-laid out as it could be - I'll get a better one when it's all done!)


Other than calculation errors holding me up, I'm pretty pleased with how this has ended up so far!



Sunday, 25 June 2017

A Seaside Start

I finally got an excuse to buy some really lovely pirate/seaside material! A colleague and his wife are expecting their first baby, so of course I have to make them a quilt!


I found a lovely pinwheel block on Pinterest, and decided to use that for this quilt. I didn't have filler fabric to do a traditional pinwheel quilt, so out came the pencil and the rubber, and some amazing coloured pens!




I spent about 2 or 3 hours planning this out, and have tweaked some combinations since doing the original pattern!

This weekend, alongside supervising the Year 11 Prom, having a meal with one set of friends, and going swimming with another good friend, I have managed to get all my big blocks, rectangles and little squares cut out and ready to go!





Please note the notepad - there to carefully track how many of each size block for each pattern I needed! Makes the disappearing nine patch seem far easier now! I also think I'm becoming much more particular with how I lay things out and how I prepare a quilt (not that I wasn't particular before, but I think I'm getting worse!).

In none sewing updates; last weekend I had a bit of an explore of Cambourne whilst Darren had a course there. It's a new build village (there's quite a few down here). It was absolutely gorgeous, and the really hot weekend helped show it off - and also helped me get burnt.




I have also been marking coursework and exams in work for my year 12s - that's mostly all done now, but has kept me away from the sewing a little (mainly because I have felt too guilty to sew in the evening when I had work I should have been doing).


But I did manage to find time on Friday to have a clearout of a lot of resources - I have a rule for home and work clearouts; if I haven't used it for a year, it needs to go. If it's presence surprises me, it definitely has to go! It's awful how much paper I will be clearing out, but at least it will be recycled!


Thank you for reading yet another long post - hopefully there will be more quilt updates during the week! To finish, here is a lovely sunset (well I thought it was anyway) from my bedroom window! Have a lovely week all.


Friday, 9 June 2017

A Bit of a Catch-Up

Hello! I have been shockingly remiss at posting this past month; although I have been taking lots of pictures ready for the blog. Looking forward to catching up on all your lovely blogs too!

It's going to be a bit of a pictureful and chatty post, but I hope you enjoy!

Going back about a month ago, the lovely Lin from St Victor Quilts sent me a gorgeous parcel due to her blogaversary give away. I love getting post, and it had a bag of lavender in it, which I could smell before opening the parcel.

Look how lovely it all looked wrapped up!


Upon very careful opening, I found lots of lovely things! A beautiful sewing pouch containing some different threads and a very neat needle pod (with needles); some beautiful material (I didn't get a good picture of this) that coordinates so well with the thread; and a beautiful wall hanging, that is yet to go up but I think I have the perfect spot for it. I just need to work out a lovely thing to make with the material - I'm sure it will come to me!


Thank you so much again Lin - I feel very lucky!

Last weekend, one of my closest friends from university, Becky, and her husband Martin came to stay. They'd never been to Cambridge before, and it put on a good show and was gorgeous and sunny for their visit. We walked into the city centre, and I showed them a fair few of the colleges; unfortunately most weren't open to the public that day, but we sat in the grounds of one and enjoyed watching people punting (with varying degrees of success!). It was a really lovely day, and it was nice to show off Cambridge - although I think I need to work on my tour guiding!





I haven't been sewing as much as I would like, but I have managed to finish one page of the cross stitch pattern! I even got to use some shimmery thread in a tweed effect, and it looks lovely (can't quite catch it on camera).


That corner of the cross-stitch suddenly feels much more solid, and weighty if that makes sense? So pleased with how it's looking!


I chose to carry on with the top right corner - basically because the pattern for that is on the back of the pattern of the corner I have just finished! Keep working on the sunset in the evenings, and getting distracted by the non-sewing sunsets going on around me! Here's a bit of a before and after:



Planning to do some sewing this weekend, but not sure if it will be cross-stitch or something else...

In another bit of exciting (for me) news, I got myself a lovely little car! And we have managed to get some Yankee Candle into Claudia the Cleo! Already loving the freedom (we managed to go to Aldi for food shopping - how exciting!!!); I definitely think Claudia will help with the sewing habit too! I made sure there was plenty of boot space for material...


I think I'll leave it here for now! Thank you if you made it to the end!



Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A Yarny Weekend

I didn't quite manage to take part in Friday Night with Friends, as I was in Nottingham visiting my step-sister. We did sneak in some crafting, as she too has got the bug.

Saturday was Love Your Local Yarn Shop day, so we visited her local yarn shop in the centre of Nottingham. It was a really lovely atmosphere, and there were lots of ladies set up and knitting. There were also a few being tempted by the wool surrounding them. And yes, I was tempted. Although I also feel I was very restrained!! I am planning on using this wool for some gifts, but we shall see! It is so soft to touch, and the turquoise-blue one is my favourite colour.



We also spent the afternoon at Hardwick Hall. This is a Tudor home, that housed Mary Queen of Scots for some time. It was built by Bess of Hardwick, and her granddaughter Arbella lived there. I learnt that Arbella could have inherited the throne from Elizabeth I, but James was named and seemed to have a slightly stronger claim (although they were both descended from Henry VIII's sister). It was quite fun to learn something new from that period of history. I also learnt that the Dukes of Devonshire are the same family - their more famous home is Chatsworth House, which I love visiting and is worth going to if you're ever in that part of England.

I also learnt that tapesteries were used as table coverings (like table cloths!). Not sure how I feel about all that work at risk from food spillage. There were tapestries everywhere at Hardwick Hall, and it appears it is quite famous for them. Bess of Hardwick made a lot, using material from priests robes. Some have been restored really carefully; the last owner of Hardwick Hall even painted some tapestries where the pattern had gone. It was amazing to see things that were at least 500 years old still there, mostly intact. And in some cases, it was hard to believe such intricate things were handmade so long ago.


                                                                           Arbella

                                                                 Mary, Queen of Scots

                                                                    Queen Elizabeth I

                                                                    Amazing tapestries

                                                   A really giant (and yummy) scone!

                                                       The back of the house

The evening was spent cross-stitching. I'm ever so close to finishing the first page of the pattern (or the crosses anyway!). Will manage that by Saturday morning (fingers crossed!)