Sunday stitching

I had a busy day last Sunday but did not manage to get the Bearpaw block made. I did get as far as sorting out the fabrics for it though but it will be a while in the making.

Meanwhile, I will show you the troublesome blocks from the previous weekend. I am very pleased with how they turned out but still slightly baffled why I have so many difficulties with the points. There is such a variety in whether they meet, overlap or are too far apart.

Campervan Sawtooth Star 3

Campervan Sawtooth Star 4

Anyway I shall hopefully enjoy using them at some point in the future in my camper van. I am very pleased with the fact that I managed to get matching fabric from my stash for the triangle parts of the design. I decided pink would be better for the other colour as white was too harsh with the cream background of the camper van print.

Campervan Sawtooth Star 1

Campervan Sawtooth Star 2

The spotty fabric is from the scrap bin when Simply Solids was open and the turquoise is some of the wonderful ombre collection by V and Co. I love this fabric and have nearly run out so may have to treat myself to more.

I have started some new Jenny of Elefantz stitching for viewing crafting. This is one of her many circular designs from her previous monthly design club and I am planning to put a cute Liberty hexagon in the middle as I have done with other designs.

May embroidery circle WIP

I am using the variegated Mill House Designs thread that I bought a couple of weeks ago. I love using variegated thread and it works really well for these designs as I only need one strand.

May embroidery circle WIP 3

May embroidery circle WIP 2

I am currently really enjoying the latest series of Outlander and a new series called Sweet Magnolias so had a lovely time watching those while I finished this design. This week marked the last week of marking, yippee ๐Ÿ™‚ 139 pieces of work done and dusted so that makes me very happy.

There are then a couple of weeks work on finishing the doctorate and then I can take some leave. Aside from some DIY, both here and at Ellen’s if I can, I need to think about some scheduling of projects.

It seems very strange not to be making things for events or for Yarndale this summer but I would rather wait to make the Steampunk things until a little nearer the time of the actual events and we don’t really know when that will be.

I will probably devote a lot more time to quilt blocks and maybe start a new Liberty project as I have lots of scraps so I am thinking about a hexagon quilt that I can hand piece. I love the Grandmother’s Garden pattern and have seen some wonderful examples of those.

Look at this gorgeous one used as a tablecloth from Home is Where the Boat is, picture from the blog. I love the quilt and the setting is wonderful with the water in the background. Such beautiful flowers as well.

Granny Flowers tablecloth

This layout is from Alice Caroline’s web site, another one of my favourite Liberty suppliers and she actually sells pre-cut hexagon kits if you want to save time.I love that purple print in the lower right hand side, I have the green and pink versions of this one.

Granny-Flowers-hexagons

Anyway it will be fun scheduling things. I am glad to have been working during the past few months as it has made the time go very quickly but it will be lovely to have some very lazy days in the craft room.

I hope you all have a good weekend ahead. I am very much looking forward to seeing my wonderful friend Kerry tomorrow, she will be visiting me for a nice long walk up to the reservoirs. It has been beautiful weather this week while I have been inside working so hopefully it will continue this weekend as well

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

 

The flower fairy in the wild

I had a very special day yesterday when I saw my lovely daughter for the first time since Feb. Now that we are allowed to travel for exercise she came up for the day and we went on a very long walk to the end of the second reservoir near me. Of course she did not wear the flower fairy dress but something a bit more suited to walking but it would have looked fabulous against all the lovely flowers.

Walk with Ellen 1

We even had a picnic beside the stream. It turned out to be very good weather, despite a very windy start and we sat for a long time in the sun, chatting about all the things that have happened in the past few months.

Walk with Ellen 8

Walk with Ellen 3

Walk with Ellen 9

Walk with Ellen 7

Walk with Ellen 6

Of course we have been keeping in touch by phone and video chat but nothing compares to seeing people live, with legs and everything, rather than just heads ๐Ÿ™‚ She is keeping busy with lots more sewing projects planned while she is still on furlough and some DIY to do on her house. Hopefully I may be able to go and help her with when restrictions are lifted further.

The rhododendrons were starting to bloom all up the valley, this is one of my favourite walks but have not been for a while to this spot.

Walk with Ellen 5

Walk with Ellen 4

Walk with Ellen 2

Walk with Ellen 14

I love the old stone work around the reservoirs. There are long steps either side of the largest one and lots of little ones leading off to other places around the area.

Walk with Ellen 10

Walk with Ellen 13

We had fun trying to work out the names of other plants as well. Ellen has been learning a lot from the garden staff at Clumber but neither of us knew what this was so Ellen has christened it tree rose, pink variety. It may be hawthorn but it has the most gorgeous tiny rose like flowers.

Walk with Ellen 11

Walk with Ellen 12

Today is very cold and windy and wet so after the weekly trip for fresh bread I have been staying in sorting photos and am planning to do some embroidery later on.

I need to work on the next block in the challenge tomorrow. I have not yet had time to do another Sawtooth Star in Liberty so that one will have to wait a while. This week’s block is a Bearpaw one and looking at the instructions it may be very tricky to make a 6 inch one with four ‘paws’ as the pieces would be very tiny so it may be a good idea to make a much bigger block.

I was searching for inspiration and found this beautiful scappy Bearpaw quilt from Wendy’s Quilts. Picture from her blog. This is absolutely gorgeous, I love all of the bright colours. There are more detailed pictures of each block on her blog as well.

Scrappy bear paw quilt

I am thinking that a scrappy Liberty block in a larger size may be a good idea. I can then maybe use it as the centre of my quilt or keep it for something else. Although I am getting better at the fiddly bits of these blocks, after last week’s struggles I think I want to go for an easier option than trying to make each paw only 2 1/2 inches finished size. After all this is meant to be a relaxing hobby ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hope that you have a nice rest of this Bank Holiday weekend if you are in the UK. The weather forecast for Monday is supposed to be very good. As I had my day off yesterday instead I will be working on my doctorate all day but hopefully can go for an early evening wander to the water.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Flower fairies, flying geese and a bit of faith

As promised in a previous post I have some of my daughter’s wonderful creativity to share with you today. She bought a wedding dress from a charity shop a while ago, meaning to turn it into a flower fairy outfit. As she has had a little more time on her hands at the moment due to being on furlough she has created this amazing piece of gorgeousness.

Flower fairy 1

The dress started life as something very similar to my friend’s dress that I added the lace to a while ago. She has added lots and lots of artificial flowers, lace applique and beading to transform it.She is so clever and so dedicated as it took forever to stitch.

I think it looks amazing and can’t wait to see it in real life. I think we need to do a photo shoot in the woods somewhere, she has discovered some very lovely ones near her house so that will be a project for the future.

The dress is to be worn with a flower crown and these gorgeous flower fairy shoes made from artificial leaves that her friend Charlotte has created for her.

Flower fairy 10

Flower fairy 11

Flower fairy 12

Flower fairy 13

I would have had some lovely Sawtooth Star blocks to share with you today but unfortunately they have proved very tricky, or rather the flying geese part has. I do remember having similar problems last time I tried this as well. I am persevering but so far have seam ripped the centre part of the block twice so am going to try again this afternoon.

As with everything you have to have a little faith, in yourself when tackling new things and generally, especially during difficult times.

Have faith pillow

I made this pillow for Ellen at Christmas to remind her to always have faith in herself and that any challenges can be overcome. I was going to post about it a while ago but lost the pictures so thanks to Ellen for this one. This is one of Jenny of Elfantz designs again.

I have also just finished the heart embroidery, again by Jenny. The picture below was the last work in progress shot.

Heart embroidery

I am pleased with this now as I think the flowers detract somewhat from the wobbly lines! I am not sure how I am going to use this, probably a pouch or a bag, I think it would look good with ric rac edging.

Heart embroidery 2

Heart embroidery 3

I need to order some more embroidery hoops before I can begin a new camper applique embroidery so I am going to do a smaller circle and hexagon with my new Millhouse threads while I wait for those to arrive.

Now it is back to trying to sort of those geese, wish me luck! Have a good week ahead, take care, keep safe and thanks for visiting.

An obsession with campers

I have always had an obsession with tents, at one stage I owned 7 of them, I have got rid of a couple and now only have a modest 5 ( all different sizes and one medieval one so I think that is justifiable). Since I started seriously planning for retirement, and my bones started getting so painful I have now switched my obsession to campers.

I think at the moment it is definitely a wish to get outdoors but also because I just love the cuteness of the retro campers and caravans and the sheer ingenuity of all those people who convert vans of all shapes and sizes into homes. I will always love camping but going away with my sister last year just made me really appreciate the joys of a camper van.

I love watching the videos on You Tube of the van tours and keep checking on Gumtree for the sort of camper that I want to buy eventually. There was the cutest one in my price range in a nearby town today. Such a pity that I can’t drive or I would have been so tempted just so I could have it and decorate it while I wait to be able to go away somewhere!

Once I have finished the current embroidery I am going to make another of the camper embroideries that I have just finished. I checked on Diary of a Quilter’s blog this evening to read the instructions for this week’s Riley Blake Block Challenge which is the Sawtoothย  Star Block. I have made these before but was looking at her examples and came across these cute little coasters that she had made. Picture from Amy’s web site.

Camper sawtooth-square-coaster

I thought I recognised the fabric and checked my previous blog posts and yes it is the Riley Blake ‘I’d rather be glamping’ fabric that I bought last year.So that is my plan for the weekend sorted, two Liberty Sawtooth Star blocks and a couple of these little cuties as well.

Campervan fabric

I am currently working on one of my Ebay puzzle purchases most evenings which is also fueling my camper love.It looks very much like a camp site Ellen and I stayed in a couple of years ago in the Lake District when we had a wonderful holiday.

Camping puzzle 3

I bought this as I loved the illustration and had to laugh when it arrived and I saw on the side of the box that it said, ‘before there were holidays to Spain, there was camping and everyone loves camping’.

Camping puzzle 2

Camping puzzle 1

Well I do love camping but I would also like to go to Spain to see my lovely Mum but will just have to be patient about that.

Meanwhile I will spend my time adding pictures to my newly created Pinterest board of cute retro camper designs. Look at these cute interiors! My van will definitely have bunting, lots and lots of bunting.

Cozy Little House camper

Retro cottage camper

I also found these very lovely cushions on this blog, this group of friends have all got vintage caravans and I love these embroidered cushions. They look wonderful with the grandmother’s garden quilt as well.Picture from the blog, stitched by Juli.

Retro camper van pillows

I can but dream, and make pretty things of course so that I when I do finally buy the camper then I will have lots to put in it ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope that you have some nice things planned for the weekend. My excitement starts with collecting my freshly baked bread tomorrow morning (yes I am going out of the house again!) and also a little walk on Sunday, weather permitting.

Take care, keep safe and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Week 9 – I am halfway to a lap quilt…..

Although this is only week 7 of the Riley Blake Block challenge I am on week 9 of working from home and have now, with the addition of the three blocks that I made last year as practise for doing quilt blocks,ย  got quite a nice little collection.

Those from last year are the very top right and the second and fourth from left on the bottom row. They were my ‘experimenting with very complex block patterns’ work. Some of which, as you may be able to see (as in the bottom row, fourth along Dutchman’s Puzzle block) have lost a lot of their points which is a pity.

Liberty blocks so far

I didn’t think that they would all work together and was concerned that some might be a little small but apart from one of the older ones that I think needs a wider border (top right block in particular)ย  I am happy with the way that they look. Mind you I am still tempted to do an all Liberty log cabin one but we shall see ๐Ÿ™‚

This week’s blocks were the Shoefly ones, I am a little behind now as I only had time on Sunday afternoon to make these due to a lovely weekend of walking and doing other things and we are now onto another block for this week. I used the tutorial from Polka Dot Chair for these.

Shoefly Block 1

They are very similar in construction to the nine patch block that I made last week, just using half square triangles instead of full patches. I think I have got the half square triangle construction sorted now, I still end up with some parts with more space at the edge than others but I think that is due to differences in seam allowances.

Shoefly Block 2

I have been adding to my sewing tools stash recently, I have bought a new, slimmer, quilting ruler which has been great as I now have a 12 inch by 1 and 1/2 inch which is much easier for quick cutting than the 18 inch by 4 inch one. I also bought a roleau loop turner.

I am thinking that one of the specialist feet 1/4 inch feet might be a good idea or maybe I could just trial the good old DIY version of putting tape next to my sewing machine foot.

On my wish list as well are a pressing ham and a tailor’s clapper. I really love all the handmade versions of the hams and sleeve rolls I have seen as most of the commercial ones just won’t go with my sewing room and everything has to co-ordinate of course ๐Ÿ™‚

This tutorial looks very good for making one and I love the way that she has decorated it with hand drawn illustrations. Picture from the web site as marked.

tailors ham

I just need to try and get some sawdust as that is the best thing to stuff it with. No doubt I can find it on Ebay which has been a lifesaver during lockdown.

I have not got much planned for the rest of this week craft wise as I am knee deep in marking and going to bed quite early most nights, I am so tired at the moment, must have been that very long walk on Friday! I am also enjoying watching some beautiful sunsets with a good book to read, I find it a very calming end to the day.

I hope that you all have a good week ahead, I have a catch up with Ellen planned for tomorrow and she is going to show me some of the amazing flower fairy dress she has been working on so I will get some pictures of that for you, the glimpses I have seen look brilliant. She is so creative.

I am now off to drink wine and work on my latest jigsaw puzzle as I have staring at a screen all day. I know it is a school night (for the wine) but since I am not going in to work again for at least the next four months normal rules just don’t apply ๐Ÿ™‚

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A little adventure

It does not seem a week since the last post, luckily these weeks do seem to be going by quite fast, helped by the fact that I am so busy with work at the moment. I don’t think that things are going to change very much for us here in the UK, despite the long awaited announcement due this evening, certainly not for me as I expect to be working from home for a long time to come.

I did have great excitement this week though as after 7 weeks of not going into the village I took myself off for a little walk on the Bank Holiday Friday, which actually turned into a two and half hour walk as the weather was so good and I was so glad to be outside. I am spending too much of my life staring at a screen at the moment so am making a conscious effort to do lots of other things apart from be at a computer.

Marsden May walk 1

My route took me through the centre of the village which has the river running through it and out along the canal. This is where, in the summer, the pub next to the river has chairs outside and you can go down and paddle so hopefully, if some restrictions are lifted, we will be able to do that again.

Marsden May walk 2

There are some lovely old houses here, these two cottages are right in the centre of the village and I love the wisteria and the beautiful planting they have.

Marsden May walk 4

Marsden May walk 5

I love clematis, I had lots of it in my old garden and I have one in a pot now which always gets a couple of blooms on it. My neighbour across the road has some which is just blooming now and I was very happy to come across this one in a hedge. The views across the valley to the side where I live are also lovely.

Marsden May walk 6

Marsden May walk 7

Marsden May walk 8

I also went into one of the shops in the village, I have not been anywhere where there are other people (apart from dog walkers and runners up at the reservoir) so I was a bit confused about where to stand but it was good to have a bit of normality and see that life is still out there.

I also went to the local specialist bakers on Saturday to collect my own bread (last week my lovely friend Sharon got some for me). It has been such a treat to have fresh bread, I can eat small amounts of sourdough so am going to get some every week now that they have re-opened.

I have been working on some of my WIPs and found these two that needed finishing in a drawer when sorting things. The circle embroidery is another one of Jenny of Elefantz designs and it just needed the adding of a hexagon. This will be another pouch like the one I finished a few weeks ago.She no longer has this design in her Etsy shop but does have other lovely circle ones.

Circle embroidery 1

Circle embroidery 2

Circle embroidery 3

I had abandoned this one, again by Jenny, some time ago as I was unhappy with the wobbly stitching but decided to finish it and let the wobbly bits be part of its handmade charm.

Heart embroidery

I have just had this delivery from Mill House Designs of gorgeous hand dyed thread as I am planning to do lots more embroidery over the summer.

Millhouse threads 1

Millhouse threads

I have 7 weeks of leave left to use up before September as I don’t think I will be able to travel anywhere so there is going to be a lot of time to sit and stitch. I met Steph, who owns the business, years ago at one of my knitting groups and she makes the most gorgeous hand dyed yarn, thread and beautiful buttons and earrings.

Another delivery brought me some more lovely Liberty for my blocks.

Liberty order May 2

This is from Billow Fabrics and is a collection called Spring Classics. I love the compliments slip with the attached square of Liberty as well. I have lots of smaller pieces now from all of the off cuts from blocks so am going to be making mini hexis with these at some point.

Liberty order May 1

I have started this week’s Riley Blake challenge blocks so will post about them next week, as I intend to finish them this afternoon. Unfortunately it is raining so my plans to take a walk up to the reservoirs to see the rhododendrons will be on hold. Luckily I have lots of You Tube videos of other people’s adventures to watch while I sew.

I hope that you and your family are all well, stay safe, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Keeping myself entertained

Good morning from a mainly sunny Yorkshire. It has been good weather the latter part of this week so I have had some nice walks, which has been a good antidote to hours in the Zoomisphere. I think I had 15 hours on Zoom this week so fresh air and a view of the hills is much appreciated.

Plus, I went past the houses of a couple of friends and was able to talk to three more human beings without a screen in the way ๐Ÿ™‚ย  It really is a case of appreciating the little things and seeing other people is a big part of that, at least seeing them from the neck down rather than a screen full of just heads!

As well as some embroidery and block making I have been keeping myself entertained with jigsaws. I normally do them on holiday in Spain and buy those from the charity shop there so just before lockdown I got a couple from our local charity shop. I chose ones that I thought would be too difficult for children so have been working on this for the last 6 weeks.

Jigsaw Altar 2

As you can see it is very slow going, I placed 7 pieces last week as the colours are all the same now with little to distinguish the shapes. I will keep going but don’t expect to complete it any time soon.

Jigsaw Altar 1

I have also been looking on Ebay for other puzzles and discovered the joy of Gibsons’ puzzles. They have a lot of vintage art designs and I was lucky enough to get this one delivered on Friday.

Jigsaw Gibsons 2

I have chosen puzzles that are themed to things that I love doing so am really enjoying this haberdashers’ shop. I am longing to be able to go back to my real life haberdashers and hope that they will be able to survive this situation.

Jigsaw Gibsons 1

This is my progress since Friday so you can see how much easier it is compared to the other one. I have another expected this week and am planning to buy some more but will have to ration myself to just an hour a day or I will run out of puzzles!

I have completed another block for last week’sย  Riley Blake Block Challenge as I thought a fussy cut Economy Block one would be nice. I have had this tea themed fabric in my stash for about 10 years and am going to make this into a mug rug with some hand quilting on it.

Economy Blocks 4

Economy Blocks 5

This week’s block is the Nine Patch and I used the tutorial from Diary of a Quilter. As I wanted to use different fabrics for each of the squares I opted for the cutting individual squares approach rather than strip piecing so was pleased at the matching of these seams.

Nine Patch Blocks 1

I am definitely finding it easier to piece during this challenge which is good. These blocks came together very quickly as well.There is always one block with less perfect matching but that won’t be so obvious from a distance ๐Ÿ™‚

I have also finished the embroidery on the little camper applique. I just have the backing to sew now.

Camper Van applique 1

I have trimmed the edges of the fabric and just glued them into the hoop with fabric glue and have stuck some white felt on the back which I am whip stitching to the fabric.

Camper Van applique 2

I really love how this turned out and would like to make another one for my future camper van. Especially the little flags, they are so cute!

Camper Van applique 3

Camper Van applique 4

The design is free from Flamingo Toes here. I have also discovered that she has lots of other free hoop art designs and free quilt designs for blog followers at her page here.

So-good-to-be-Home-Embroidery-Hoop

This one above is particularly appropriate for this current situation, I am very, very grateful for a lovely home to be able to stay in, safe, secure and comfortable, which is surrounded by beautiful countryside and with very good friends to support me.Photo from Flamingo Toes website.

I am still enjoying my online courses as well, this week’s ones have been on the history of textile mills and the history of the book. One of my retirement ambitions is to do more creative writing, and one of the themes I want to write about is about the mills around here, so once the doctoral rewrites are finished in June I am going to spend some of my staycation doing research for that.

I hope that you are all ok, not only in physical health but in mental health as well, as this situation and being in lockdown continues it is more important than ever that we can all stay focused on positive things and I hope that you are all finding things to do that bring you pleasure as well as help you fill hours or give you respite from work.

The irony of being a teacher working from home is that people sometimes assume that we are doing nothing, when actually I have never been so busy with all the additional meetings and student support. It is good to find off screen things that bring a sense of normal and both rest my eyes and stretch out the rest of me.

Take care as always, stay safe, stay positive and thanks for visiting.