Friday, 30 November 2012

November Roundup

These are the things I have made in November, more than I thought in fact.

I've now sent my sewing machine to be mended and I got out my old one. Tried to make a block with the old one but soon realised that I'd not got a 1/4 inch foot on the old one. Gosh, I hadn't realised how easy it makes life! Any more blocks will have to wait until I get my sewing machine back.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Another weekend

I actually wrote an entry a week ago, but being an idiot, I deleted it by mistake and I couldn't be bothered to rewrite it. So this is my attempt this week. Last week ( the one that got away!) I wrote about walking up Pen Y Fan which Mr Hare and I try to do as much as possible in order to improve our fitness levels. These are the photos from last weekend.

Mr Hare on Pont Y Dar
At the top of Corn Ddu
Brecon in the distance
Last weekend I also planted my Paperwhite Ziva's. Last year I planted them at the beginning of November, but they flowered well before Christmas, so this year I thought I'd leave it until a bit later.I've never had any success in keeping them for the next year. The two pots are now in the cellar for a few weeks for the roots to develop before I bring them into the house.

Here are last years bulbs looking very spindly.
This week it was raining too much to go for a walk, so instead I've been doing some sewing. I made a bag as a Christmas present for Jane. It was a real b****. I made every mistake in the book. Firstly my sewing machine is playing up big time. The tension is all to pot and the needle sort of clicks. So not the best time to make a quilt as you go bag
Then I sewed the top edging on and the inner zip and held the bag up. It was not hanging properly and then I noticed that I had sewn the whole thing on but twisted round by about an inch. So I had to take it all down and start again
I used Ayumi's lunchbag tutorial but made it bigger. I also replaced the drawstring top with a zipped closing.
I also made some Japanese + and x blocks for Sue, as she had made some for me.
I also made some blocks for Jo who is making a quilt for her aunt as her uncle is terminally ill.
I also sent off my parcel for the scrappy swap but haven't received mine in the post yet. I've really enjoyed doing this one but found it difficult to respond favourably to all the posts on Flickr because some of the items have not been to my taste at all. I've used the strategy of only responding to those I've liked and not saying anything if I don't like them.




Friday, 26 October 2012

Hope , Holidays and Hemingway

A month since my last post. Doesn't time fly!. I'm a lot happier this month for a number of reasons. Firstly, my clever brother managed to find some wonderful sheltered accomodation in Lincoln for my mother.I drove her over to get her settled in and I wanted to see for myself what it was like. As expected she was anxious and apprehensive but she wanted to be back in Lincoln so she got her wish.
The very good news is that she has settled in well, has lots of company and we don't have to worry about her welfare as she is well looked after. All food is provided and there are only 12 residents in total, so it's not too large and the staff are very caring. Great result for everyone!
Secondly, we had a brief holiday in Florida.

This is the sunset in Key West, which is a magical sight, if not the most magical place. It is a very strange mixture of glorious wildlife and landscape, wonderful food , lovely buildings including the hotel we stayed in (which was listed as a historic inn but was in fact younger than our house at home)..

and tacky tourist shops. Duval Street , the main thoroughfare in Key West, is the longest, tackiest street full of tee shirt shops, cigar shops and bars.Although, you have to admire a place that has a shop selling only pirate costumes all year round.

We took our daughter with us as she needed a break andto celebrate the fact that she has been offered a proper job as a journalist with Pulse magazine. Both she and Mr Hare love the heat ( I'm not  good in heat and tend to wilt like a delicate flower!)
Mr Hare's other obsession (apart from heat) is sailing, so we saw a lot of sailing boats. We even had to take a diversion to Fort Lauderdale to look at some catamarans. Fortunately. there was a very nice quilting shop nearby for me to visit! I asked one of the ladies in the shop why they needed quilts in Florida and she said that they all have their air- conditioning so high that the quilts are used! She did also say that they are put on beds/walls as decoration. 
Which brings me to Hemingway. Quite by chance, Mr Hare and I have visited the 3 places that Ernest Hemingway had permanent homes-Cuba, Key West and Sun Valley, Idaho ( in fact he lived in Ketchum which is the town next to the Sun Valley skiing resort.)
We did not visit his house in Key West which is now a museum but did walk past and visit 2 of the bars that claim to be where he drank. After we got back , I looked him up on Wikepedia and he was a notorious drunk but also interestingly ( and unknown to me ) suffered from haemochromatosis  which along with the alcohol led to his unstable state of mind and subsequent suicide, just like his father.
It is many years since I read any of his work but I am planning to revisit his novels because he was a very great writer if not the nicest of human beings.
I have had a reasonable month  sewing as well. I have signed up to the Scrappy Swap which I'm really looking forward to. Still waiting to see who my partner is.I also had to make a mosaic for this which was a great learning experience for me, but I managed it!
I have completed the October blocks for the Star Block Bee (Amy's month)
Amy is also the Queen Bee for October in the FQR Kinky Bee and she chose wonky log cabins which I love to do.
I also managed to piece together my Sparkle Punch top which has been hanging around since February.
I also have made several Japanese + and x blocks which I'm going to make into a quilt for Lois. She has asked for a quilt for her 60th birthday which gives me a little time!. She didn't give me much to go on, just that she liked red and grey. So I have chosen Oakshott reds from my colourbox mixed with some of the Ruby reds for the front. I have added in some other brights and greys and aqua. I will use a darker grey on the back, but haven't decided on that yet.
I have also had my new Handiquilter Avante installed. Oh boy, such a daunting responsibility. I'm going to have a very steep learning curve on this one. The possibilities are endless. So exciting, but also so scary.
Anyway, overall, a more positive month.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Count your blessings or the whingeing post

Two weeks ago today I had a phone call from my brother that I had been expecting but had hoped would not come for a while. My mother has been living with my brother and his wife, at their invitation, for the last 14 months because she was unable to cope living alone and was having panic attacks. Even without the vascular dementia she is hard to cope with, but the memory loss has made it all far worse. My sister-in -law (who quite honestly deserves a sainthood) had finally snapped and says she can no longer have her in her house. So my mother was shipped off to me.She is the most annoying person ever. It is like dealing with a stroppy 3 year old and she says the most hurtful things then denies it all because she can't remember. Sometimes I'm not sure if all of it is her memory loss or just her personality which is entirely self centred. She is also one of those people who I think of as a happiness drain, so after a short while in her company you want to slit your own throat and hers. Then I feel guilty for feeling that way, because she is my mother after all.  I also feel bad, because entirely selfishly I can't bear the thought of looking after her for the next 10 years when I was looking forward to retirement and having some me time. My children are still not entirely independent either.

Over the bank holiday weekend we took my mother and mother-in -law for a short trip to Mumbles which was not a great success but I found this Burleigh vase in a charity shop. So every cloud does come with a silver lining.
I drove her to my sister's yesterday and we will take 2 week stints until we sort out a solution.

That's the whingeing bit out of the way.

I haven't made that much in the last 2 weeks but before my mother arrived I managed to finish this animal quilt top for a colleagues baby daughter

And this is the back

Now I have to quilt and bind it. I also have made one more star block.

This is a modified Nevada star. I missed out the bits in the 4 corners which make an additional pattern if you make repeated blocks.
I haven't blogged about the Festival of Quilts itself because the moment has gone but this quilt made me cry
And I realise I have to count my blessings.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Serendipity Kaleidoscope quilt Masterclass

I managed to attend a masterclass this year with Patti Hempen called Serendipity Kaleidoscope Quilts.

I got a last minute cancellation so only had 2 days to gather together the fabric requirements which meant no online shopping, bricks and mortar only. Fortunately, I was helping Madlen move into her new flat, so managed to get to Tikki patchwork in Kew which I have never visited before. Fabulous shop with a very helpful lady ( the owner I think).
The fabric had to have a 24 inch pattern repeat and I was soon to discover that there are not many of these around. They're mostly only Kaffe Fassett or Phillip Jacobs fabrics that have that sort of repeat  although I shall be eyeing up fabrics with a view to their pattern repeat for some time I think.

I chose Becca in the green/ blue colourway by Kaffe Fassett. This is my fabric after lining up 8 exact pattern repeats to make the kaleidoscopes. It is quite hard work cutting through 8 layers of fabric in one go and I got through a few blades on my rotary cutter.

This is Patti's demonstration quilt with the 2 blocks (one large kaleidoscope with corners added and one mid size kaledoscope with 4 small ones in the corners)

This is Lynne who had my favourite fabric from Phillip Jacobs producing the most beautiful kaleidoscopes.

This is the lovely Kerry modelling her kaleidoscopes with Sue behind.

A selection of the kaleidoscopes produced by the class

Patti and Marion

I really enjoyed the class and will post the quilt top when(!!!) it is finished.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

The Olympic Post

I've not kept up with my intentions already. I've been too busy watching the Olympics to post anything. Hasn't it been fantastic, I've been hooked. Shame the interest hasn't been translated into me running round the block or cycling or swimming for that matter.

I have made a few things in the last 2 weeks.

Firstly. I made these 2 ET phone home blocks.

This one was for practice and can go towards my star quilt.

 This second one is for Sue Bone  Miss August in FQ Kinky Bee.

 I also bought this quarter inch foot

I wish I'd bought it years ago, it has made life so much easier.

I also bought this walking foot

I haven't tried it out yet, have to finish a whole quilt first!

I have also been a busy bee on the soap front. I made two loaves of oatmeal and honey and one of gardener's soap.

These have now been sliced up and placed in my cupboard to 'cure'.

I have also started a new baby quilt which I will post next time when I have finished the whole top.

I spent Friday evening and all day Saturday helping my daughter move into her new flat in Notting Hill.She used to live in Hoxton so this is a whole new experience. I hope she'll be happy there.

Off to view the closing ceremony now.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Another week gone by

I thought I would try to post something about my crafty activities once a week. I wonder how long that will last! Anyway, I have good intentions.

First up, I managed to finish a  Harry Potter  jumper for Harri.

The wool was from the New Lanark Mills and is Aran weight. It is a lovely mixture of 90% pure new wool and silk. The pattern is from Canadian Living which I think I found on Ravelry

The neck and bottom have rolled edges which means you only have to rib the sleeves

The main thing is that he likes it.

Last Saturday I made a pouch for Toril for her birthday.

This in fact is the reject pouch (I had to make another one ) because I thought the interfacing was iron-on and it wasn't. Result: very wrinkled fabric, so I had to grit my teeth and start again.
Toril is an avid horsewoman, so I hope she likes it.

I also made a few blocks.

This is the urban nine patch from Jenny at Sew Kind of  Wonderful. I bought her Quick curve ruler and thought I'd better try it out. I found the nine patch easy enough but the sides were a real b**** as I found it difficult to line up the curves correctly as you can see in the photo.

I love this one. It's to add to my blocks for a star quilt which I'm making for the daughter of one of my oldest friends. Hopefully, I'll finish it before she leaves home!

This is another block for my red and white sampler quilt. This quilt is going very slowly , probably because after one red block I long for some other colours and have to do something else.

In March 2012 I cut a patch of the lawn out using a turf cutter which I hired locally. Boy was it hard to control but I managed it eventually. The ground was very poor so I added loads of compost and then planted the volcanic seed mix from Pictorial Meadows ( This is a company associated with Sheffield University that has developed a whole range of meadow mixes some annual, some perennial which are used to beautify ugly patches of council land and in some parks. They are very beautiful and very good for attracting  insects so I thought I would give it a go.

I planted the seed in April and carefully distributed it so that it was even across the plot. As soon as I finished we had torrential rain.
Unfortunately, I think the rain washed away a good proportion of the seed as I have large gaps and some of the seeds have failed to grow at all. Still, it looks better now than it did and the insects are happy.

I think I'll try again next year using a different mix

I think they also used some of their mixes for the Olympic sites. To finish wasn't the opening ceremony for the Olympics fantastic!Have a good week