Wednesday, 19 October 2016

#100days100blocks [Blocks 51-60]

We're another ten blocks in so here's another ten things... just a few days late

Block 51: Nottingham Swing

We had an English ceilidh at our wedding and our first dance was Nottingham Swing: "long ways couples for as many as will". All the guests were up on the floor and as a couple we danced with every single one of them. Infinitely preferable, in my mind, to standing in the middle of the floor with everyone looking at us!

Block 52: Well-Padded

When I was pregnant with Mia I had to see a consultant, because I have an elevated BMI. Now I just call that fat, but my consultant described me as having a "well-padded physique". With me, what you see is what you get. I'd rather you didn't tiptoe round - just call me "fat" or "overweight". I will add that my consultant was no fairy and had certainly eaten his fair share of cake! I went into work after the appointment and told my team, who found it hilarious, except for a colleague from Nigeria. He was absolutely appalled! Far more so than I was. I have to admit that for a while, my password was "w3llpadded"!

Block 53: Apple Pies

Growing up, my Great Aunt, Lil, made fabulous apple pies. Loads of them. Her pastry was legendary. She use to store them in my Grandad's freezer, so every time we visited my Grandad, there would be apple pie and ice cream for pudding. I will continue to try and make pastry that good!

Block 54: Seagulls' Feet

Every summer we go to Sidmouth folk festival. The main concert venue is a large marquee about 200 yards from the seafront. On more than a few occasions the artist or band on stage was up-staged as everyone watched seagulls' feet walking up and down the marquee. All you could see through the canvas was the shadow of the feet. Unless you were very lucky. And after it had been raining, the tent got slippy and the seagulls lost their footing. Then you would see a seagull's bottom slide down the tent until they were able to fly off. It makes me smile...

Block 55: Reverend Ian Graham-Orlebar

As a child we went to church, particularly the toddlers service. And after the service we would go and feed the vicar's horse and the ducks on the duck pond. He retired many years ago, but just this summer we heard that he had passed away. There was a lovely obituary in The Telegraph - it made him sound like a parson from a Jane Austen novel, and brought back lots of happy memories.

Block 56: Cape Cornwall

In August 2004, at Sidmouth Folk Festival, my husband accidentally proposed to me... after I'd said yes, we went on holiday for a week with my future in-laws. We stayed on a campsite just outside of St. Ives and visited Cape Cornwall. My future mother and father in law gifted us a beautiful photograph of it as an engagement present. If you don't know Cape Cornwall it's just a few yards short of being Lands' End, but as the second most westerly point on the UK mainland, it has avoided commercialisation. It is rugged, beautiful, and unspoilt.

Block 57: Tintagel

One of my favourite spots in Cornwall. I love the rugged north coast and the myths and legends from Cornwall. I haven't been since the summer Michael proposed, but we've booked to go back next summer. Just need to buy a tent!

Block 58: AuntyPoo

This is for my brother-in-law, Phil. We may has misheard Mia mispronounce "Uncle Phil" as "Aunty Poo" and it seems to have stuck. Sorry, Phil!

Block 59: Archie and Charlie

This is for our puppies who aren't puppies anymore. Sadly we had to say goodbye to Archie earlier this year.

Block 60: The Danube

I've spent quite a few months of my life living on the banks of the Danube. In 2006 I lived in Vienna for four months as part of the Erasmus exchange programme. When I arrived it was covered in Snow, and by the time I left it was warm enough to be swimming in the Danube! Then in 2013 I spent a while working out in Budapest. We were put up in the Mariott Hotel with a picture-perfect view over the Danube. It was snowing again!

Here's to another ten blocks...

Friday, 14 October 2016

Adventures in Blanket Stitch

Over the last few weeks I've been doing a fair amount of hand stitching, including raw-edge applique using blanket stitch for a few of the Splendid Sampler blocks. I was looking for a more interesting blanket stitch on Pinterest, when I came across a pin, as you do, and I had to drop everything and make one.

I used Finca #16 perle threads in warms - all the warms. I changed thread colour when the length I was using ran out. I drew the "circles" free hand with a Frixion pen, changing the width between the lines randomly. It's mounted in a 6" embroidery hoop and will hand in Jessica's nursery.

Then I was doing another Splendid Sampler block and had a bit of a play with a flower motif. I wanted to have more of a play than that specific block would allow, so prepared myself a little 4" hoop.

That was an unexpected diversion!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Finish Along [Q4 plans]

I scared myself the other day. My WIP list hit 100 for the first time ever. My brain is exploding with all the things going on, so it's time to do a little bit of pruning.  I'm going to try and knock off some of those smaller projects which have been languishing too long - I'm going to make the decisions or buy the minimal supplies that have been stopping me from finishing them. There are some things which should have been finished last quarter but I just missed out on. There's some Christmas sewing. And there are 'just' three big quilts. I will definitely be joining the #ridiculouslylongfallistgang again.

First up are the three big quilts: The most important is Mia's big girl quilt. We haven't made great progress on painting her new room, but she will definitely be in it by Christmas, and a big-girl bed needs a big-girl quilt! I can't even remember how many blocks I've made. I just know I've quite a few left to go.

I have five of these 18" log cabins and need seven more, quilted and bound by the start of December.

And this monster. I really don't want to play with this anymore. It needs to be unquilted, and I was doing it while watching Bake Off but fell of the waggon at the half-way point. I'm putting it on again because its Christmassy and if it doesn't get finished this quarter it will be at least another year I reckon.

I started a new EPP project last week. I don't really have a plan, but I now have quite a few EPP projects without a real aim or plan, so the hexy blob, which is larger now than when I shared it on instagram a few weeks ago, needs to be finished as something,

The black, red and white trapies need to be something.

And these little half-hexies which I started on a whim, need to become something.

Some Christmas presents... these piles of fabric will be R2D2 (on the left) and Darth Vader (on the right). Obviously.

And these will be cushions for my niece and eldest daughter with some geometric foundation pieced letter and pockets for books.

I prepared two embroideries to go in hoops for Jessica's nursery wall - balloons on the left and bathtime on the right.

These two embroideries have been finished a while, but I need to mount them in the hoops. These should have been a finish last quarter but I realised at the last minute that I didn't actually have any 6" hoops. I have now bought those hoops.

Still on the theme of embroidery is the Bee-utiful mini quilt. I made really good progress on this last quarter but didn't quite get it across the finish line. Two more blocks to embroider, and three sets of borders to piece. Some narrow sashing and minimal quilting and this will be done too.

And then there's the alphabet embroidery... I think there's more progress here than the last time I shared it.

Baby quilts: I will imminently become an Aunty again, and these are the fabrics for an equilateral triangle quilt. Sadly I'm not feeling too inspired by this project at the moment. But it needs to be finished by the end of November. No doubt I will leave it to the last minute.

And another baby due in January needs a quilt: I've started a half-sized Moda Building Blocks quilt.

And another: a lovely pile of Alison Glass low volume, plus a lovely pile of rainbow yumminess could result in a quilt that's hard to give away!

And another: I need a few more of these block to make a quilt: it's all cut. Now for some chain piecing.

And another: It's Inside Addition again... but I now have a purpose for it.

Now for some starts that just need to be finished: I made this improv "Goodnight" back in July. Much as I enjoyed the process, the chances of me making anymore is slim. So let's just get it finished. I think Jess might like this one.

I have an oversized Dresden from the Moccasin BOM quilt: it might be a mini, or it might be a hoop. It definitely needs to be finished.

I have a cushion that just needs a zipped back making. I've even found fabric in my stash to make it and bought the zip. This will only take half an hour. Why haven't I done it already?

I have an undersized block leftover from the Jane Austen quilt. I'd like to add some borders, get it quilted and make it into a cushion to go with the quilt. And this block, which will become a dolly quilt for Mia. I think I need to add some more of the pink top and bottom.

I decided that I don't love the Marcelle Medallion quilt I started in January 2015. I made the centre and like it, but I don't love it. I need to do something with it. I just haven't decided what yet.

And to go with the Pineapple quilt I finished last quarter, I want to finish watermelon and strawberry this quarter. It's all cut and ready!

I've started a little Christmas sampler quilt which I also need to get finished this quarter, otherwise it will be another year in the making. I might even make more than one...

Two more quilts that need to be finished by the beginning of December: a yellow and green quilt...

And a blue and green quilt...

And then there's this. Which I currently hate. My only hope for this is that by the end of the quarter I at least know where I'm going with it. It doesn't help that the one petal I've sewn on well is sewn on the wrong way....

I'm also going to add on the My Small World quilt. It's due to hang in Mia's room and would be nice if it were done soon after she moves in... this is quite unrealistic as I'm still a long way from finishing the hand quilting!

Holy moly that list got long quickly, didn't it. I count 33... if I get through all of those (ha ha ha) I'll have cut my WIP list by a third. Which means I could start the new year with some new starts??? It's quite the list and Archie the Wonder Dog asked me on Instagram whether I would be planning interim deadlines, or leaving it all to the last minute. My automatic response was "leave it to the last minute" but maybe I should do a bit more planning!

Linking up with the lovely Finish Along ladies.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

#100days100blocks [Blocks 41-50]

We're half way through this project! And I'm in love with the three projects I'm working on. I decided that this would probably be the last time I have space to lay out all the blocks together until I actually start piecing the quilt top so here are my three projects in their current glory: First up is the 27 blocks of the lap quilt I'm making for our sofa.

Next up is a quilt for Michael's cousin and her husband. The brief was purple and neutral with a splash of lime green. Thirty-four blocks here.

And finally a quilt made up of the 8 blocks I don't really like. Except I love them in these fabrics. This will be a baby quilt. Except she's not a baby any more because I'm so rubbish!

So on to the "Ten-things-about-me" bit of the post!
Block 41: Linda
 This is for my mother-in-law: she lives just round the corner and we see her a lot - she looks after the kids and I cook dinner for her - it seems to work well. We also share a love of patchwork.

Block 42: John

My late father-in-law who is known as Grumps to his grandchildren and missed every day.

John and Linda: Taken on our wedding day in October 2007

Block 43: Road to Jerusalem

This block takes us back to Pembrokeshire and the coast path above Porthgain. There is an abandoned slate mine called Jerusalem, and the road the quarrymen took to work was called the Road to Jerusalem. It's one of the most beautiful stretches of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

Block 44: Autumn

Autumn arrived in full force last week. And this week we're back to sun and blue skies. But chilly mornings.

Block 45: Great Langdale

It's tough to decide whether I prefer Pembrokeshire or the Lake District. If it's the Lakes, then Great Langdale is the place to be. The photo below is a favourite spot, just outside of Elterwater village looking up the Valley.

Block 46: Dad

This one is for my Dad.

Block 47: Nine Castles

Back to Pembrokeshire: it was heavily fortified and boasts loads of ruined castles which are great to clamber over as a kid: Carew - my favourite; Tenby - a beautiful walled town where we stay when on holiday in Pembrokeshire; Pembroke - the biggest castle and birth-place of King Henry VII; Manorbier - we stayed near here when I visited the area with schoolfriends after we'd finished our A-Levels. The owner of the campsite was very dubious about taking a booking from a group of nine eighteen-year-olds: my Mum had to speak to her to convince her we were a nice group and wouldn't destroy the place or get so drunk we'd fall off the cliff. Instread we had bbqs on the beach and walked to coast-path. We behaved so well, she had us back the following year!; Cilgerran - up in the North of the county; St Davids Bishop's Palace - next to the beautiful cathedral; Laugharne over the border in Carmathenshire and home to Dylan Thomas; Kidwelly; and Llansteffan which we only visited once.

Tenby with Castle Hill at the back

Block 48: Jerk Face

A special one for my husband for when he's being a patronising arse. Affectionately of course...

Block 49: Islands

Guess where: Pembrokeshire again: There are three Islands off the coast of Pembrokeshire which have really happy memories: Caldey Island just off the coast of Tenby; Skomer Island: when we visited as children my Grandad would come too. We went on a boat trip round Skomer, except the weather was so bad we only went along one side and then turned around and came back. It was a bit hairy when the boat turned. Grandad couldn't understand why I wasn't wearing my hood, so pulled it up for me. Of course it was full of water and went right down the back of my neck. It was the first trip where I saw puffins; Ramsey Island: when we went back as adults, Dad decided that he really didn't like boat trips, so he and Michael went to the pub and Mum and I went on a speedboat trip round Ramsey. It was so exhilirating and we saw so much wildlife. The boats to Ramsey leave from the life boat slip way at St. Justinians - a tiny, tiny little place tucked into the cliffs just outside St. Davids. There are more Islands off the coast, but I haven't ever visited them.

St Justinians and Ramsey Island
Block 50: Carew Castle

I mentioned this was my favourite castle! It sits on the edge of a tidal millpond and the view across to the ruined Elizabethan windows is one of my favourites.

I can't actually find a photo in the sun - but do a Google image search to see how beautiful it can be
There we go - quite Pembrokeshire heavy this time round!