Thursday, 10 August 2017

Summer, Scotland and Stitching

Summer has gotten off to a lovely start. We went to the wedding of two dear friends - who we met a few years ago when Darren accidentally fell on one of them during climbing (no injuries but a funny story). It was in the gardens of a beautiful house and the rain held off. During the time between the wedding and the reception, there were lawn games including Ultimate Frisbee. So surreal watching lots of people in fancy clothing running around after a frisbee. Even the bride joined in!!


My wonderful friend Hannah stitched me a very cool bag. She got the material from a website with loads of different material patterns (she has some Tardis material) - I don't know the site, as wisely she has not told me! It was perfect timing, as the bag my cross-stitch was in had split on both sides, and this new bag is a perfect size. Look how awesome it is!:


My brother and his wife came over from New Zealand for a visit, and so our entire family met up at our mum's in Scotland (we both decided that the family meet-up was to celebrate our birthday!). It was really lovely us all being together, if not a bit manic having 9 people in one house! We went for a walk in the Cairngorms, and went up to the reindeer herd there. They're very used to visitors, so came over to us expecting food. They got a photo shoot instead!





We also spent time with my mum's dogs - Noodles the Poodle, and Misty. They were loving having a lot of people there to pay them attention!!



With all the activity, I have also managed to get some sewing done! Edging closer to another page finish - I think another week and I'll be there!






And I've filled in all the gaps on the front floor since these photos - just keep forgetting to get a photo!

Hope you are all well

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.