Thursday, 18 July 2019

Baby Quilt Number....I Lost Track

It wouldn't be me if I didn't make at least one baby quilt in a year!

This one was for a colleague in the school I worked in (weird to say in past tense!). It took me ages to find material I loved for it - and I managed to find it on Ebay Australia. Of course, I then just had to have that material and nothing else would do. Luckily, shipping wasn't too much and it arrived speedily!

I hadn't done the maths on the amount of material I needed properly, so had to buy more material to fill some spaces. I think the teal is so gorgeous - the pictures don't do it justice!

This quilt annoyed me as the front felt like such a bodge. I also had to use some of the yellow material for blocks in the quilt, rather than just using it for binding. However, once I had cut it all up into the disappearing nine patch pieces it started to annoy me much less. I carefully sewed all the pieces to make sure any with writing were the right way up - and, for once, they all managed to stay that way!

There was a tiny bit of unpicking as I started off sewing using clothes seam allowances rather than quilting seam allowances. Luckily I realised after two blocks!

I am so chuffed with the backing. It really fits with my clashing yet coordinating signature!

And, an added bonus. It was ready at 11pm the night before it was being gifted. No very late night sewing. No sneaking sewing into work. No handing it over late! The recipient (or his dad anyway) was very chuffed with it. Yet another quilt gifted before the baby is even born; I do much better than my big sister in that regard - tee hee!

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Yet Another Sewing Course, Yet Another Project...

....and yes, yet more material! I may or may not have bought yet another pattern!

I bought it in about April when I got my place on a sewing course. Unusually for me, I actually bought the pattern and then bought some material. Though then again, I think when sewing clothes you have to have more specific plans so you know exactly how much to get compared to quilting.

The course was similar to one I had been on before - but closer to my home, and with a slightly bigger group of people. The ladies in the course had been going for a while and had just kept signing up. It was such a friendly environment and everyone welcomed me so warmly. The instructor Sally was very helpful, and a little strict in how you carried things out - which I really liked. I like rules when sewing; the idea of self-drafting and so on terrifies me!

Anyway, over 6 weeks I made up the toile for the trousers. I used a king size flat sheet for material - not perfect, but much cheaper than fabric and I've got some material left over! The size of one leg was comedic - and to be honest, the size of one leg is still quite amusing.

I forgot to take a picture of the final fit, but adding the waistband made a huge amount of difference. Sally then helped me adapt the pattern so that the trousers would fit better, especially as my waist is quite small in relation to my hips.

I'm not 100% sure about the trousers at the minute - they are supposed to be quite baggy, but I don't know if that look actually suits me. It has been a real learning curve making them so far though!

During the course, we got taught some skills. I annoyingly had to miss a week for work (not ideal but is unlikely to happen next year), so the only thing I learnt was how to make and attach bias binding to a neckline. I kind of regret my use of the sheet, just as it is so hard to see, but I'm really chuffed with the end result.

Oh, and yes, I have signed up for the course next September! I'm really looking forward to spending 2 hours a week sewing with a very lovely group of ladies again.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Easter Adventures Part 2

So as I did a Part 1, I thought it was time to do a belated (very!) part 2!

The second part of our Easter holidays in April was a little more adventurous. We went up to York for 3 days to celebrate our anniversary, and because we both like York. Neither of us had been since we were about 12, so it was like going there for the first time.

We found an amazing cafe, courtesy of my big sister's recommendation, called Cafe Concerto. It had an amazing view of the Cathedral and we went there every day (once for lunch, once for cake, once for breakfast). It was a lovely little cafe, and as you may have guessed from the name, had a lot of music and instruments in it!

Day 1 - we had a tour of the city on one of the red city sightseeing buses. We learnt a lot about the city, and the bus driver was really funny (which I feel is a pre-requisite of being a sightseeing bus driver).

We then went on to have a look around the Minster and the area beneath it. I did my best tour guide impression and read from the tour leaflet we were given! I came across some lovely stitching whilst there; the 12 days of Christmas. It felt rude not to take pictures!

It was really fascinating being in the area under the Minster, as it talked about how they had worked to underpin it, as foundations weren't really a thing when it was built. In the process of underpinning, some Roman ruins were found also, so it was fascinating learning what was there before the Minster.

Day 2 - we went to Jorvik, the Viking Centre. Some friends of ours had been a few weeks before, so gave us their tickets which meant we got in free (it's one of those places that you pay once and use your ticket all year). We had been when we were younger, and our overriding memory was of the smell of Jorvik. As we were queuing, we were hit with the distinctive smell! The centre started off with a glass floored room which showed you some of the dig that had occurred in the 70s which exposed the Viking history of the area. We then went on a ride around a Viking village that had been set up, with a voice over. This had been put in since we visited, as we had remembered walking around a village. I liked it though as it was a well thought out pace and you didn't have lots of people to peer round to read information. We then went into the museum part, and came across a well-preserved sock, and a fair amount of well-preserved thread with bits of gold in, which I found amazing.

Our afternoon was spent on a walking tour of York. This tour is run by volunteers at least twice a day, except for Christmas Day. They don't accept any payment or tips either. You can read about them here. This tour took us along part of the walls, which it turns out were built in parts due to rivers and so on going into York, so weren't 'bitty' due to age, which I had originally thought. The tour ended at the Shambles, which is a very touristy street but I can see why it is very photographed. It also had at least 4 Harry Potter themed shops!

We also had a brief little wander around the museum gardens

Day 3 - We went to the York Museum before, which had some Roman and Viking rooms as you would expect in York, but also had rooms dedicated to dinosaurs, which I hadn't been expecting. There was an amazing fossilised skeleton of a sea-dinosaur (of which the name escapes me) which was pretty complete and pretty sizeable! It was also a very family friendly museum, with sofas and children's reading books scattered around, as well as dress up items and some fun 'did you know' facts (which we also found interesting!). Oh and there was an amazing library tucked away off a little reading room at the top of the museum.

It was a lovely adventure, and we are keen to go back again to explore the city more, and to head out into some of the wider area.

Monday, 27 May 2019

May 2019 WIPocalypse Check In

I can't believe the end of the month is here already - although I am pretty sure I am not alone in saying that every month.

Considering I have a new job with more time in the evenings, I thought I would be more productive with my sewing. However, I haven't really had the sewing bug and have taken up running. Something I thought I would never do! Currently working through the Couch 2 5k, which is a 9 week programme that eases you into running. Pretty sure 2 weeks in it is more walking than running, but it is good.

Anyway, I digress. The aim of this stitch-a-long, hosted by the lovely Measi's Musings, is to work on projects we would like to complete before the end of the world. Looking back at my list from January, I appear to have added to this list rather than done anything with it!

I have been working on my cross-stitch. I am currently working through threads in the order they are on the cards; I tend to go colour by colour but randomly select/pick the colours with the largest amount of stitches. This has varied it up a bit, and I think is working better. I really enjoyed the dark purple I was using yesterday - the pattern has a lot of grey, green and brown so it's always fun to use more colour.

I have also started going to a sewing course again (more about that in a separate post). Which means I am working on some clothes sewing. But nothing on my list! This time is a pair of trousers, as I wanted to learn how to fit them with a bit of guidance. Like last course, I am not managing to sew between classes so it's going slowly, but I aim to do a bit of sewing today.

Each check-in, we have a question to discuss. This month's is:
Where do you love to shop for stash?
I must admit, I tend to use a couple of places but could possibly do with branching out. There aren't too many shops local to me, but one I use a lot is Cambridge Fabric Company. A lovely independent sewing shop that has a nice selection of fabrics. It doesn't have the hugest range, so I do go online. I have tended to use Empress Mills or The Village Haberdashery.
I do also use Hobbycraft, as it does have a good selection and is so close by. This has been the source of a lot of my wool for my crochet doll.
If it counts, I also love to shop at the Festival of Quilts - I never fail to add to my stash from the many, many stalls there!

Have a lovely June!

Friday, 3 May 2019

April WIPocalypse Late Check In

Uh oh. I've not been doing very well keeping up with my check-ins and so on. Hopefully that shall now improve. My excuse is, of course, work. However, it's because I have been changing jobs. I now work 'behind the scenes', and instead of teaching I am working with an exam board. 2 weeks in, it is very very different to what I am used to but I am enjoying it.

Here you can have a shameless selfie of me on my first day!

But now, to the case in hand.

The WIPocalypse is hosted by Measi's Musings and the aim is to share (and ideally complete) projects we wish to finish before the End of the World.

Talk to us about your longest-running WIP or UFO
Unusually for me, my longest WIP is not a cross-stitch. It is my lovely crochet doll. I started it at least 4 years ago, and it is still going strong. I did make the doll and then stop for a few years. There has been a lot more progress in the past 6 months than in 4 years.

I am generally following patterns in the book My Crochet Doll by Isabelle Kessedjian. However, my friend requested that the doll not be a white doll (just so her children have a little more variety). So I made up a pattern to make a sari. I used a some of a top pattern and some of a dress pattern from the book, and then fudged the sash! Really love the wool for it though.

My problem is that I keep just having ideas of more and more outfits to make. And I get my tensions a bit funny, so I can't just give the doll and make more outfits. I started the doll when my friend's daughter was 3 and a bit. She is now 7 and has a little brother who is about 3 and a half - on the brightside, both of them will now get a lot of enjoyment out of the doll - if I finish it.

I am actually aiming to finish it as part of WIPocalypse - but we shall see...

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Easter Adventures Part 1

We've had quite a busy Easter break so far (and after the sheer volume of meals out, we never want to eat again!)

The first few days we were based in Cambridge. I had a bit of a sort out of all my bags of material. They usually live in the corner as my drawers are full, so I went through the drawers and was able to put loads away. I forgot to take a before picture, but there were about 4 more bags in this corner! This remaining bag contains wool for an ongoing project, so I thought it was okay to leave it out.

Our friends Becky and Martin and their lovely dog Brienne came for a visit too. It was a very chilled few days, with a walk to our favourite cafe and lots of games both in the garden and inside the house. We all just needed a relaxing few days, and that is what we had.

I also managed to squeeze in a bit of crochet (and trying to get a picture of the sparkly material). Hopefully another outfit for the crochet doll will be complete soon!

Just before the Easter holidays, we also squeezed in a spot of gardening. We had a patch of the garden with a dead tree and lots of other dead plants in. Darren spent an afternoon digging out as much of the roots as possible - the picture is of him looking quite pleased with his day of work! We then went to our local garden centre to get some lovely new plants to put in the garden. Fingers crossed they grow well. We picked a variety of plants that would be bee and butterfly friendly so I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with them in the summer and so on.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Shirt Dress Finish

Yes, you have read the title of this post correctly - I have finally finished my shirt dress! I spent yesterday evening adding buttonholes and buttons. I am definitely a huge fan of the button hole foot and short cut on my sewing machine.

I had a very slight incident with a brand new seam ripper jumping the pins at the end of a buttonhole, but I fixed it. This just sums up this whole sewing experience - a great learning curve but lots of odd things went wrong.

Having said that, I can't wait to make another one!

Baby Quilt Number....I Lost Track

It wouldn't be me if I didn't make at least one baby quilt in a year! This one was for a colleague in the school I worked in (weir...