Monday, 26 March 2012

First thanks so much for the 3 comments on my last blog!  How wonderful to have "readers" - something I never imagined.

What a beautiful weekend it was in Cumbria and I made good use of it.  Firstly my March make .... this feels a bit like a cheat because I had finished the cross-stitch a little while ago but hadn't finished it.  Due to a distasterous baby jacket, which I thought would be my March make (long story but ended up with holes!) I needed to finish something quickly and the cushion was ideal.  I hadn't got round to it because I couldn't find a cushion the right size, so first I had to make one and in the end I used a pillow which I sewed in half.  Then used some Laura Ashley plain Duck Egg material for the back.  Note the little paw .. who may be trying to steal this for her bed!

There followed more sewing machine efforts on Sunday and tonight.  I finished making the top for my patchwork quilt.

Then the "sandwich" ....

So finally its the quilting.  Bear in mind this is my first try at patchwork and quilting.  I am also a real beginner with my sewing machine, so the first challenge was changing the foot and adding my extension table.  With that achieved  I started - the 1/4" Seam foot was great and really helped to make straight lines.  Two rows later ....

and actually I was rather excited (isn't the backing fabric fab - a bit like a delft tile).  So  was thoroughly enjoying myself but then a problem emerged how to you continue sewing as you get more and more fabric under your sewing machine arm!   I'm sure there is a very simple way to solve this but I wan't sure how you coped with all the fabric.  Due to the guide on one side of my machine foot - I could only stitch on one side of the seam, so I just rolled the rest up ....


... and this did work for this size quilt but I have no idea how you could do that with an ordinary machine and a double quilt.  It seems like an enormous amount of work to quilt by hand though many do and I now understand why some send their quilts off (presumably to a long arm machine).  Personally I am finding the quilting very satisfying so couldn't imagine giving this bit to someone else.
So far I've done about a quarter of the quilting and I'm pretty proud of the results so far, and should be at the binding stage for next weekend.

Some progress also on my cross stitch as demonstrated by my lovely assistant:

Just a little reminder of all the lovely hyacinths I've enjoyed this winter of which this is probably the last few flowers

If only cross stitch could smell as fantastic!

Finally a quick film review; The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (8/10) thoroughly enjoyed though some bitter sweet as it reminds you of things to come (at least if you are the wrong side of 50).  Very evocative of India and reminded me of a great Xmas there in 2006 including a great time in Jaipur and definitely the scariest road crossing I ever had to make.  The hotel certainly looks better than a care home in England!  India is fantastic - what architecture ..

Monday, 19 March 2012

Weekend Enjoyment

A lovely weekend- sun and son - what a combination!

Sunday started with a lie in, cup of tea and 2 new magazines.

Followed by Mothers' Day pressies (we worked the calorie count for the chocolate as 2,300!)

A bit of knitting (baby jacket which I haven't photographed - to be truthful not really enjoying the process nor too happy with the results) whilst watching Grey's anatomy, then a sunny walk.  As usual the cat started with us ... then waited on the corner for an hour for us to return.

Meanwhile Rosie has her own way of greeting people

Beautiful walk ... and look at these views only 5 minutes from my house ...

Then Dan and I took a trip to Blackwell House - built in the Arts and Crafts style ... interesting ...

Beautiful paint colours and views of the lakes .. not to mention scrummy afternoon tea ...

Still enough sunshine at home for a bit of gardening - including planting some new plants.  Just loving having some colour back in the garden.

So a busy weekend, not to mention lots of films; Water for Elephants (7/10), Ides of March (8/10) and We Need to Talk about Kevin (8/10).  No wonder there wasn't much time for crafting.   More progress next week and roll on Easter.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Chinese State Circus

Just returned from a rather good evening with the Chinese State Circus ... a little incongruous at Barrow's Forum ... but great seats, good parking, very reasonable drinks ... what more could you want.  There were some great skills but funnily when something went wrong all it seemed to do was endear the performers more - some looked so young, and the girls were so beautiful.  Plus my lovely Dan and Gemma are home ... so looking foward to a great weekend.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Spring is in the air

This is a very late weekend blog and I can only plead a rather busy time at work!  A pleasant weekend as spent.  I didn't actually do any more on my quilt but did buy all the bits to complete and got loats of great advice from one of my favourite local shops ( that the quilt is perfectly fine as it is ...

I especially enjoyed a walk through the woods ...

Rosie enjoyed it too ....

There were wild daffodils and blue skies .... lovely.

Making-wise I was concentrating on knitting  baby jacket which I hope will be finished next weekend, and a bit of baking ... not for me I hasten to add but various friends.

The strangest part of the weekend was when I went round to my friends for tea, I've already mentioned that our cat Meg has taken to starting walks with us  and she duly set off ,with Rosie and me, to our friends.  We left her at the door of my friend's house thinking she would go home.  Ten minutes later I noticed her on the window ledge looking in and mewing a bit .... when this didn't work she changed windows.  I thought she then went home but 2 hours later she was spotted still waiting at the front door and feeling guilty we let her in!  Is this normal cat behaviour?

Monday, 5 March 2012

quilty times

Some pleasant times this weekend.  A trip to Manchester to visit Dan which also included a popping in to the Cath Kidson shop.  Much restraint at some of the dearer items but I did splash out on a new cup and some fabric (as seen in the photo) to use in the quilt I am making.

Awful weather but things cleared on Sunday and I set out on a walk in the sunshine, admiring the daffodils and crocuses and even the last of the snowdrops.  I particularly love helibores, not showy but such lovely colour for this time of year and there are some lovely plants in gardens.  The sun lasted about 30 minutes and by the time I nearly got home the heavens had opened again and the wintery showers, as they are rather pleasantly known, were rushing down!

Back to my first attempt at a quilt.  I cut out all the necessary pieces and risked laying them out on the floor - although this clearly attracted several pets who made a game out of mixing them up.

Then pinning and stitching.  At this point I realised how it important it is to get the squares exactly the right size (yes I know this is obvious!)  and I'm not great at accurate cutting.  Some squares didn't fit exactly right, but I decided I really couldn't cope with taking too many seams back, so the occasional errors can be seen.  Rosie supervised the sewing!

... and finally I sewed all the pieces.  I'm quite pleased, although I think I should probably have been braver and been more random in placing the patterned pieces.  Also I have decided it needs 2 more rows and this means buying yet more fabric at the weekend.  Hopefully I will make more progress then.  I'm not sure I'm really going to get into patchwork quilts because it is just too precise for me and so less relaxing than other forms of crafting.  Still I will definitely finish this one and if I could buy the pieces pre-cut I might have another go.

Also working on a small cross-stitch - a little bowl of hyacinths ready to replace the lovely real ones which will shortly be finished (will miss their lovely smell).

Roll on next weekend!