Saturday, 8 December 2012

A Little Xmas Sewing

In our family we exchange Christmas stockings filled with little gifts on Christmas morning. Usually these are sneakily filled by another member of the family on Christmas Eve but this year my sister is spending Christmas with her boyfriend's family, so we won't see her on the 24th.  Actually we realised that the only time we'd see each other before the big day was last weekend, so we'd have to exchange (but not empty!) stockings then.

Not a problem, until the realisation dawned that neither of us had a clue where our empty stockings were.  Cue a sewing session till 3am on Saturday morning to ensure we had something to (over) fill.

As I have never made an Xmas stocking before so made it up as I went along I'm pretty pleased with the end result.  Perfection will take a little more thinking out.  Another plus point is that these were made entirely with stash fabric - a small dent in my collection!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

And the Celebration Keeps On Going...

With the last mailing of the Debbie Abrahams Mystery Blanket we had it confirmed that the theme was "A Celebration of Sport" and I had it confirmed that I needed to get on with knitting my remaining blocks (especially as I had overcome my fear of intarsia).

This is my progress so far, less the block and a half strip which is currently on my needles and being knitted.

Admittedly this is before the final details have been added and no squares have been blocked, but I'm starting to really like this blank.  The finished blanket is 7x7 and with how tight I knit that is going to work out as a small lap blanket.

I have really enjoyed the challenge of making this, but I have decided not to sign up for next year's. Nothing against the concept, and I love Debbie's designs (I've had her books for years but never been brave enough to try anything) but I think my next long term knitting project may be something fair isle. Then again I could try finishing off the squares for an Aran blanket that my mum and I started ages ago. We'll see!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Great South Run 2012

On Sunday, around lunchtime, I completed my fourth Great South Run. A 10 mile run around the city of Portsmouth, the cousin of the Great North Run. I completed this year's run in 2 hours 1 minute and 23 seconds. Very pleased, as that was nearly my target time, and now very achey!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Getting There...

Does anyone remember the monster batik wave quilt top I finally finished piecing a couple of months ago (hopefully my sister does as its for her!)

Today I finally got it basted.  As it's approximately 3m square I've been having trouble finding a suitable space in which to lay it out.  But at today's Bath Quilters Sewing Day, using an adjoining room (apologies for being somewhat antisocial) and taking the best part of 3 hours to press, layer, baste and grab a quick lunch it was done.

(Basting in progress on a large table)

And as I think I've figured out how to quilt it (though still toying with the easy option rather than the correct option!)  This will hopefully be done by the end of Nov.

I seem to be in the mood for finishing off, partly to clear a little space, but mostly so I can start new projects which I have planned!

Thursday, 18 October 2012


With a week off work and my littlest sister visiting from Scotland I decided an overnight trip to London was required.

We did a museum...
 And dinner and a play...

(Picture to follow)

Bumped into some famous people whilst wandering along the Thames...
And generally took in the views...
We also squeezed in a little shopping in Covent Garden (visiting a store selling a brand of t-shirts my other sister loves and failing totally to buy her anything from there!).  A good time was had by all.

(Slightly limited as to the number of photos we could take as I forgot to put a memory card in my camera so we had to rely on the camera's memory.  How did we ever cope with film cameras and only 27 shots???)

Monday, 15 October 2012

Mystery Blanket Update

I have been slowly working my way through Debbie Abraham's 2012 Mystery Blanket (a knitted one), and I mean slowly.  We received the patterns and yarn for the last squares at the beginning of this month and I'm now working my way towards them.

Finishing has been a little held up by my fear of the intarsia knitting technique.  Finally I've taken the plunge and completed my first ever intarsia square...

...which will eventually become a bicycle wheel.

A few more to go...

Monday, 27 August 2012

Two Quilts, One Weekend

The jelly roll race quilts went very well.  My sister and I worked on them on Saturday and Sunday, alternating time on the sewing machine.
My sister's quilt was made from a Kate Spain Serenade jelly roll with some grey pezzy print as the binding.  She has done really well with it and has totally finished her first ever quilt.
Mine was made from a Summersville jelly roll and I still have most of the binding to sew on, judging by my sister's efforts that shouldn't take too long!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Let the race begin...

I have a weekend of crafty activities planned with my sister and the main event is Jelly Roll Race quilts.  Although our race will be a bit more of a training run as we only have one sewing machine and this is my sister's first ever attempt at using one.  I'm sure the results will be good all round though.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Festival of Quilts 2012

On Saturday, after a badly planned hair appointment (15 minutes before I'd wanted to be at the festival and over an hour away - I should really check a diary when making appointments!) I set off for the Festival of quilts

There were so many lovely quilts,  I hadn't meant to photo many (especially as I didn't have my camera with me and was relying on an IPod and my phone) but I couldn't resist.

There were wholecloth type quilts...

And lots of variations on log cabin blocks

And some beautiful pictorial quilts...

And so many more.

I also braved the crowds... do a 'little' shopping...
I tried to be restrained, the fabric was all bought for specific projects that already had some fabric allocated at home (all except for the elephant squares and batik fabrics - but after I couldn't resist the elephants I quickly developed a suitable project which needed the batiks!).  The patterns were impulse buys but I know I'll use them all (no detailed pictures of them as they may become presents).  I think, on the whole, considering all the wonderful fabrics available and all the other lovely things, I did quite well.

Already looking forward to next year!

(Makers details and quilt name will be added once I track down my festival program)

Sunday, 19 August 2012

FNSI Results

Not the most successful FNSI ever for me due to getting home a little later than planned and then realising I'd forgotten to bring key items home with me such as some studying that needs doing and my internet dongle.  And then my technological items started playing up and all in all I got quite wound up but I did manage a little hand sewing to calm me down.

A few more blocks for my brother's quilt.

Hope everyone else's FNSI was entirely relaxing.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Friday Night Sew In

I've just noticed that August's FNSI is taking place today!  I'm not 100% sure what I'll be working on but I'm looking forward to it as I haven't participated in one since February!

If you want to join in there's still time to sign up (just!).  Pop over to Crafty Vegas Mom's blog to join in the fun.

What with the FNSI and the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham I'm going to have a very quilty  weekend.

New shoes!

This past week I seem to have turned into a shoeaholic! And before anyone asks I also have the matching pair for each shoe.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

First-ish attempt at crochet

Truthfully this is actually my third attempt at crocheting this shells and chain scarf (pattern found via Ravelry).  Nothing was technically wrong with the first two attempts - the first was two wide for the amount of yarn I had and the second was unravelled when I found this random, sparkly, fluffy yarn (Rozetti Nida Simli from Aberkhan Fabrics).  I think I now have the right kind and ideal quantity (500g - hopefully more than one scarf's worth) of yarn to finish this crochet.  And then I may even attempt some fingerless mittens I've seen using the same shell motif.

 I hoping to have done quite a bit more of this scarf by 25 Aug as the lady who taught my to crochet is teaching at my LQS that day and I'd love to show her my efforts.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Rediscovering my sewing mojo...

Actually I think the title of this post should refer to my crafting mojo as I have appeared to have ground to a halt with all my crafty projects over the last couple of months.

However I am pleased to say that the apparent estrangement between my sewing machine and I has ended with the creation of another kindle cover.

I really should make a note of how I make these and the correct measurements as I seem to have to figure it all out from scratch each time! Fabric was specially chosen with the kindle owner in mind as he has a lovely collie dog.

Monday, 16 July 2012

A Week in Normandy

As part of my Open University course I had to do a summer school in Caen, Normandy - one whole week of having to speak French all the time! Some of the classes weren't that great but I had a fun time.
The teeny tiny room I got to stay in (I think the students exist in these for a whole year. No clue how, no wardrobe!)
Some Caen architecture
A Caen street
Bayeux Cathedral (unfortunately I couldn't photo graph the tapestry but you'll have to take my word it is amazing)

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Bath Quilters

I actually made it to my first Bath Quilters talk tonight (had a bit of a nightmare when I tried to go to this month's sewing group, realised I was a week early, decided to go and have a look at a flat my friend recommended and then got very lost after driving down the world's twistiest downhill road and took well over an hour to do what, had I found the correct route, should be twenty minute journey).

It was definitely worth going tonight, the talk was quite unpromisingly entitled "Management Quilts" but it was fantastic.  The speaker was Ann Rippin who is an academic from the University of Bristol specialising in Management and Economics.  Her quilts were all inspired by companies she had researched and had a phenomenal amount of work and many, many hours of thought in them.  I didn't take any photos but if you want to visit her blog it's

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

A Cultural Weekend

My friend and I headed up to Sheffield (Yorkshire) last weekend, the original plan was to catch up and go to watch a gig but we also managed to sample a wide range of cultural activities on offer in the area.  

Our first afternoon was spent in the large shopping mall that is Meadowhall, two enjoyable meals were eaten (for anyone that is interested the Handmade Burger Company do a surprisingly good range of vegetarian burgers and their sides are massive), plenty of shopping bags were carried around and on the whole we shopped till we dropped.

Saturday started off more refined with a quick visit to Bakewell for some original Bakewell puddings from Bloomers and a bottle of the Sheffield delicacy - Henderson's Relish.  And these were nothing like your icing with a cherry on top cherry bakewells, but were still absolutely delicious. (Unfortunately at this point in the day I was yet to break out my camera).

And then we drove on to Chatsworth House which was simply stunning even on an overcast day.  

The amazing library

A squirting willow (the original was from the 1600s)

I really want to visit this house again with my fancy camera.

And then in the evening we headed off to the highlight of the evening the Blink 182 concert with support from the All American Rejects.

 (Sorry photos from a mobile at full zoom)

A slightly less hectic day on Monday, a lazy morning followed by a slow drive home via an exhibition of ice age artefacts from Cresswell Crags

Definitely a lot packed into one weekend and my excuse for not having done any crafting this weekend!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

I've created a monster!

I have finally finished the Batik Wave quilt top and I think it's beautiful.  I think I've also decided how to quilt it, just need to figure out how to mark quilting lines on a black quilt - blue washable marker is not going to cut it here.  Now follows the mammoth task of basting this quilt.

And to give you an idea how large a task that is...
...the bed modelling the quilt is 4 ft wide, the quilt drops to the floor on both sides; if my memory is right this quilt is 96 inches square! I have a tendency to make oversize quilts but I think this may be too much even for me.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Crafty Gadget

I'd like to take my yarn projects away with me but inevitably when they get chucked in a bag they get tangled up with everything else and knitting on the go from a small plastic bag isn't that great so I decided to get a bag that would be fine for a single ball of yarn and dpns or a circular needle or, after my recent class, a crochet hook.  I've decided a climbers chalk bag may be the bag that would be up to the task.

You can just see the crochet hook peeping out the top.
After chucking it in my big bag to keep me occupied in the evenings during a few days away with work I did spot a slight problem - needles and hooks can slip out of the top opening so I must be a little careful about keeping the bag upright.  Other than that my plan has seemed to work well, the yarn comes out of the bag fine when the bag is open and stays protected when it's closed.  All I need now is some sort of clip and then I can craft as I go!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

My sister's finish

The cross stitch celebrating the Millennium, which my sister took over from from me is now totally finished bar a good press and a frame.  I think it looks great - all I need now is a wall to put it on!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

This may take some time...

Its a little difficult to see thanks to my sister's ability to match the sewing threads perfectly to the fabric, but I have started the hand quilting on the rainbow quilt.  Not doing anything fancy just a single line of stitching in each round following the chalk lines, I don't want to detract from the hexagons themselves.  As this is meat to be a curling up on the sofa quilt (even though it is huge) I'm going against the "rules" of quilting and not including any batting just the quilt top and a thinnish fleece blanket banking.  Hopefully it'll work okay else I could be undoing a lot of stitching!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Totally Hooked

I've been waiting with anticipation for today's course at Nimble Thimble and my patience was paid off royally.  I am now pleased to say that I can crochet...well at least I now know the basics.
I haven't concentrated so intently for so many hours in ages.
I even managed to make this camera shy flower (it looks better in real life).

Monday, 7 May 2012

Prep Work

Spent a good few hours this weekend getting the rainbow hexy quilt ready for hand quilting and as I used a low surface to spread the layers out on my back knows all about it!  At the moment I can't decide whether I dislike preparing a quilt for quilting or pressing seams more.  But at least it's done and the mammoth job of hand quilting can begin.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

A Work Slightly Further In Progress

I have now managed to sew together 6 rows worth of blocks for the batik wave quilt, so I thought to treat myself and to check that the finished project will look ok I'd sew the finished rows together.  I the end I only managed 3 rows but I like the way this quilt is going (the colours in the photo are a bit washed out by the camera flash and energy saving light bulb combo).

The other thing sewing 3 rows together let me see was how much of a monster the finished quilt is going to be.
 The waves will run horizontally along the finished quilt.  Another couple of weekends and hopefully this top will be finished.  Then all I have to do is figure our how to back and quilt it!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Fantastic Fabric

Browsing the internet is excellent inspiration and education for my quilting, it does mean that I have a long wishlist of what I want to make. I do try to keep my fabric purchases (nowadays) purely to my current project, and once that is underway for the next one.

My most recent purchase of fabric was a little pre-emptive but I knew which design I wanted to make (Elizabeth Hartman's Sparkle Punch Quilt if you were wondering) and I was keeping an eye out for the perfect fabric.

After a lot of looking and discussing with the intended recipient, it was decided that a scrappy, turquoise/aqua based collection would work.

A bit more keeping a look out online and...

...the following selection was gathered.  It's definitely turquoise and its definitely scrappy.  And it's definitely a fairly large pile of fabric to store!  Now all I need to do is finish the batik wave quilt.