Be careful what you wish for …..

I mentioned to a colleague recently that a few weeks ago, before all of ‘this’ I came home late one night, cold and wet after waiting a long time for a bus that never arrived, tired and aching. I remember thinking at the time ‘I wish I could just stay here, not have to go out to work, just stay here and enjoy myself at home.’

So…. not that I think I caused this pandemic whole lock down thing but I did get my wish didn’t I? I have only left the house a few times since then for short walks and although it would be nice to be able to go somewhere I am enjoying the novelty of being in my house on leave.

I am usually away when I have leave so I have not spent this long in the house ever but am making the most of the enforced staycation. As I mentioned in the previous posts I am trying to get a good mix of sewing, reading, study on my online course and practical tasks done while I have the time.

My house has never been so clean and the garden has been done, I am just waiting for delivery of some bedding plants for my baskets, and today I painted the shed. I also got the garden table out in honour of what looks like a wonderful Bank Holiday ahead. Of course if we had been going to do a re-enactment event it would have been howling gales and packing up wet tents so we will all enjoy the fact that we are not doing that!

This week has been all about the Riley Blake block challenge for my sewing room time with a record five blocks completed up until today! You can see lots of lovely blocks over on their Instagram as we are now on Week 2. I have been using the Liberty stash as I want to add to my existing blocks, am going to eventually make these into a bed quilt.

The churn dash ones I was confident with and I am happy how they have turned out. I am using the same white on white print for most of these blocks, until it runs out, as I love the contrast between that and the Liberty.

Liberty churn dash block 3

This second block is the log cabin, a block I have never done before. Partly as I am not good at straight seams but I am pretty happy with the way that these have turned out. I used a tutorial from Citrus and Mint with very helpful diagrams.

Liberty log cabin blocks 1

I found it easier to cut 1.25″ wide strips from my length of fabric then cut them to size as I needed them as when doing the first block found that some of the pre-cut sizes that I had done were a little small.

The first two I used the white on white as a contrast row and then I did a more traditional layout with just three fabrics.The seams are not too wonky which is good!

Liberty log cabin blocks 7

Liberty log cabin blocks 8

Liberty log cabin blocks 9

I will make one more of these tomorrow, I am a little restricted for this type of block from Liberty as most of my stash is 5″ squares and the outer strips are around 6″ but do have a couple of pieces of longer fabric.My pin board for completed blocks is now looking very lovely 🙂

Board with Liberty blocks

I am looking forward to next week’s block and to moving on to the next week of the fashion course. We have been looking at the Georgians this week, the embroidery on the men’s coats is amazing and I have been lucky enough to see lots of examples of these in museums, we saw some gorgeous examples on our recent trip to Liverpool. That was the weekend of the dreadful Storm Ciara, we really are having a challenging 2020 aren’t we?

I have recently discovered another historical costumer through You Tube and she does the most amazing Georgian garments. Go and have a look at the wonderful things on Sewstine’s blog, she writes really detailed step by step posts about her constructions and makes the most wonderful things. This is a reconstruction of a 1780s gown and she digitised all of the embroidery herself, made the gown and had a baby in the middle of all of this process, what a superwoman! Picture from her blog.

Georgian dress

So over the weekend I have plans for some more Liberty blocks, more Barbie dresses, another coat of paint on the shed and probably a walk. I am back at work on Tuesday so am going to really enjoy this extended time in the house. We are probably going to be on lock down for another four weeks or so and that gives me plenty of time for sewing.

I hope all is good with you and your families, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Other things to keep me occupied

Hope you are all coping with lockdown, self isolation or still going to work if you are a key worker, if you are a million thanks for all that you are doing. All have their own stresses, and it is important that we find ways to stay occupied or stress free. Not that I really need any more projects but I find having some structure to what you are doing helps with what can otherwise be a week that just blurs into doing the same thing every day and it is also important that I don’t spend too much time staring at a screen.

I am officially back at work tomorrow but my lovely employer has given us extra days off over Easter as we have had a pretty manic couple of weeks so will only be working for two days this coming week. That and the fact that I am probably not going to need all of my leave this summer means that I am going to have the joy of having a long weekend on quite a few of the coming weeks.

It seems a little bizarre that I spent all of the first term working six days a week and teaching so many Saturdays and I am now working so much less. It is very nice though, I am looking forward to some more little walks like the very lovely one I had today, keeping up with my online learning and other projects.

One of these is going to be the Riley Blake Quilt Block Challenge. Many years ago I did a short quilt block challenge with some friends from my knitting group and although I found some of the blocks difficult I enjoyed the participation. I found out about this challenge from Amy at Diary of a Quilter and she is doing the first block, one of my all-time favourites, the Churn Dash.

I made several scrappy churn dash blocks a few years ago from this tutorial from Amanda Jean from Crazy Mom Quilts. I love using up tiny bits of Liberty like this. I think that I will use my Liberty stash for this challenge as well as I would like some cohesiveness to all of the blocks, but not make them scrappy as I am not sure that would work for all the designs.

Scrappy Churn Dash 1

Scrappy Churn Dash 2

Scrappy Churn Dash 3

Scrappy Churn Dash 4

I am not sure who else is participating as regards the designers for each block but you can find information on the Riley Blake Instagram. Since I now have an Instagram account I can join in and even use hashtags! This lockdown business is improving my IT skills no end, I have learnt to use Zoom, downloaded Skype though not yet used it, (a little late to the party I know), but my Mum uses it so am hoping I can chat to her more using it as well.

I have also discovered that I can get jigsaw puzzles on my I Pad which has made me very excited 🙂  I have a couple of puzzles that I bought from the charity shop just as we began working from home before lockdown and am also hoping to win an auction for some from Ebay this week. I love jigsaws and always do them when on holiday in Spain so having them here makes me feel more like I am on holiday. Now I have unlimited jigsaws and am especially happy with the ones of beautiful places from around the world. I may not be able to travel for the next few months but I can still look at lovely places.

So I have a busy week ahead planned. It is week three of my fashion history course and we are going to be looking at Georgian fashion. I have enjoyed looking at Stuart fashion this week, I always love the lace in these outfits as in this one dated 1610. Picture from Google search.

stuartfashion1

Take care whatever you are doing, have a good week ahead, stay safe and I will see you all again soon.

 

 

So many wonderful things to make!

I am making fairly good progress with my latest Barbie outfit but have had to ditch a little blouse today, note to self, thick satin does not work well on a miniature scale. I just could not get the seams neat enough as they were too bulky so will remake it with thinner fabric. I have managed to make a very cute little silk jacket though.

I have so many lovely things on the wish list, some of these will stay there for a very long time whereas others will probably find their way onto the ‘do now’ list soon.As you know I love all the work that Jenny of Elefantz creates and she has a new monthly series of stitcheries that I have recently subscribed to.

They are called Faith in Hand and are beautiful designs all featuring quotes from the bible. As well as the subscription she also sells them individually from her Etsy shop the following month.  This is one of my favourite so I think this will be the first to be made for me (picture from Jenny’s Etsy store).

Elefantz Faith in Hand

She also has a free block of the month with the 23rd Psalm again with gorgeous designs. She is so generous, there are always so many free stitcheries on her blog and I love visiting just to get updates on her life.

One of my other favorite places to go for inspiration is Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet. She has just finished a Vintage Block Along with some beautiful designs that she gives all of the very detailed introductions for accompanied by photos.

Lori Holt Vintage Block Along 1

The links for all of these blocks are at the bottom of the above link and I would love to make a quilt like this one day.I love that multicoloured star block in the top right of this second picture. (All pictures from Lori’s blog.)

Lori Holt Vintage Block Along 2

Her latest make is this gorgeous Vintage Housewife Sew Along . 

VintageHousewife-SewAlong_1

I really love the dress on the washing line as well as the cleaning stuff block.She has got some fab free clip art of the design in the guide as well as the overall plan on her first post in the sew along.

Vintage Housewife Quilt 1

Vintage Housewife Quilt 3

She has just made the first block which is this very cute oven.

Vintage Housewife Quilt 4

I would love to use some of these designs on their own as things like recipe book covers and think that this one below would make a wonderful sewing machine cover.I love the little quilt hanging over the edge of the machine.

Vintage Housewife Quilt 2

Ellen and I have a very exciting trip coming up next weekend as we are going to Liverpool to see this exhibition, An English Lady’s Wardrobe, at The Walker Art Gallery. Not that we need any more inspiration for beautiful costume but it looks fascinating. There is also an 18th century costume collection there as well! Exciting stuff.

I hope that you have a lovely weekend and week ahead. I am teaching tomorrow so will have to wait until Sunday to get back to the Barbie blouse. Take care and thanks for visiting and hopefully I will have lots of lovely pictures for you in the next post.

 

 

 

Happy World Embroidery Day!

To be honest I didn’t know it was World Embroidery Day today until one of the textile companies I subscribe to e-mailed me about it but it is, so many happy stitching returns to you all.

I was just about to start some new embroidery this evening so that is fortuitous. I have a new project that I will share with you in a bit. If you want to know more about World Embroidery Day you can find out more here. I particularly like the part of this description that says…

‘To embroider is a peaceful occupation. It can be traditional made from a common
remembrance, drawn designs, from a pattern, or from your own imagination. You embroider for joy, beauty, decoration and for the creation of identity.’ 

I am sure that all of us who embroider share those sentiments. The lovely Karen from ‘Did You Make That’ has recently taken up embroidery and talks about the different emotions different crafts give us in this post here. I love all of my crafts for different reasons, some can bring frustration as well as joy (the black velvet jacket that never was) but mostly they bring me peace and sanity in a frantic world.

I have been doing a little bit of crafting over the last few days, mainly as respite care from the increasingly frantic work on the doctorate which is due in exactly 2 months from today!

We have had some more people leave work under our latest voluntary redundancy scheme including my very best friend.We have worked together for 15 years and shared wonderful times together. I am very, very happy for them all as they  are off to enjoy retirement or adventures travelling the world but I am very sad to see them go so I made a couple of pouches as gifts for special friends.

Liberty star bag 1

Liberty star bag 2

Liberty star bag 3

These are from some of the blocks I made last year which have been waiting to be turned into something special and details of how to make the bags can be found in this tutorial here. The beautiful lace zips come from Buddly Crafts and I shall be ordering a little restock very soon.

Liberty block bag 1

Liberty block bag 2

The embroidery is part of a new hat for the Steampunk Asylum event in Lincoln over August Bank Holiday. I had contemplated making a new jacket but with the focus needed on the doctorate and a few minor household issues (one involving an expensive boiler repair!) decided that I needed something that would not add any stress.

So I am wearing the tablecloth jacket again but I am making a tea party hat to go with it. I had done some planning for this a while ago for another hat that I have not yet created but am well on the way with it.I loved wearing it last year with the sewing themed hat and it deserves more outings.

Steampunk event Alison 5

I will devote a whole post to the creation of the hat when it is completed but meanwhile here is a sneak preview of a very cute felt cupcake that will be part of the tea party. I have really enjoyed making these, as with the felt flowers it is a joy to work with all the lovely colours of felt and add little beads and embellishments. I used this tutorial to help me and found lots of different ideas and videos for all types of felt food.

Felt cake 1

Felt cake 2

In other exciting news with the help of my wonderful children we repainted the kitchen at the weekend and my daughter very enthusiastically Marie Kondoed the contents meaning I have far less clutter. I was very good and let lots of things go.

We also had a surprise visit from a herd of cows in the back lane. They were being escorted from a farm up the road when they made an unexpected right turn. This picture was taken as they were being escorted off the premises which is why is is a bit blurry. This is why I love living in Marsden, there is never a dull moment 🙂

Cows 1

Well I will love you and leave you and get on with some more of the hat, the embroidery is for a little sign that will say ‘everything stops for tea’ for the front. Take care, thanks for visiting and have a happy week whether you are embroidering or not.

 

Sorting out the stock

We had a lovely last event at Caldicot Castle, the weather was mostly very good which always helps and it was great to see everyone one last time before the end of the season. As always I am sad in one way but with the colder weather on its way am looking forward to cosy nights in with the candles lit and lots of stitching!

We visited Gloucester Cathedral on the way home so have a lot of beautiful pictures from there to sort for you, lots more inspiration for embroidery designs.

Glos cathedral 1

I have spent part of the morning labeling all of the stock for Yarndale, I finished the last two pouches this week. As last year I have used a lot of Liberty but tried to do something different this year in case I have customers coming back who have bought in previous years.

Yarndale Stock 3

Yarndale Stock 2

This year’s new stock has been quilting themed with pouches and baskets with blocks and hexagons on.

Yarndale Stock 5

Yarndale Stock 4

I still have some things left from last year like these sheep themed knitting pouches as well so have a nice bag of goodies on its way to Sarah.

yarndale-sheep-bags-1

These pouches below all use recycled denim from old jeans and the lovely Liberty hexagon fabric for the bases.

Yarndale Stock 6

Yarndale Stock 7

The pretty flower zips are from Buddly Crafts and I need to order more stock as have now run out of coloured ones.

I have finished the large stitches sampler from Jenny of Elefantz that I was working on and have just started two smaller circle monogram designs of hers from last month’s Stitchery Club. You can buy just this design from her Craftsy page here and I am going to the finished stitching into pouches for Christmas presents. Picture from Jenny’s Craftsy page.

ELEFANTZ+monogram+circlet+cover.jpg

She has so many beautiful designs and I have just had a sneak peak at the Christmas stuff she is doing for next month. It is gorgeous and I am really looking forward to stitching them.

Term has started and I have had a very busy and very nice week getting to know all of the new first year students. It is so exciting for them and I really love this time of year, despite the very wet and windy weather, the trees look gorgeous and I have lots of nice things to look forward to in the next few months. Oh and I have just booked my flights for Spain for New Year so I am very pleased about that.

I am planning lots of stitching on the sofa this weekend while watching Netflix. I am currently enjoying watching Star Trek Voyager again, our outfits for Steampunks in Space in November are going to be based on the uniforms from this series so we have been busy collecting things for those.

Hope that you have a lovely weekend, take care and thanks for visiting.

Finding ways not to make flying geese!

To paraphrase Thomas Edison I didn’t exactly fail this weekend, I just found out one way not to make flying geese for a Dutchman’s Puzzle block.

Dutchman's puzzle 1

I had looked up the block in one of my quilt books but although it said the finished blocks were 6″ square when cutting out the triangles they were far too big so I thought if I halved them that would work.

Turns out that means that when you join them all together you loose the points of your geese. Oh well, it still looks pretty and I can pretend to have invented a new block.

I have found another way of doing it which although looks a little weird at first appears to be working so started another block this afternoon.

With the left over triangles I made some pinwheel blocks, the smaller ones is a result of not matching the centre correctly so having to take it apart and recut it all, resulting in a mini version. It still looks good though and at least I have some points on these triangles 😉 I love the brighter colours in these ones.

Pinwheel block 1

Pinwheel block 2

It has been a very lovely weekend. Ellie came up to spend some time with us from Thursday so we went to the cinema to see the new Jurassic Park movie, (I love those movies and this one was very good).

We also did some gardening replacing all of my pots and hanging baskets with new flowers which I am hoping the sheep are not going to eat.On Saturday we managed to have our 8th BBQ of the year!

I spent two whole days in the craft room. As well as the blocks I have made myself a new shift for re-enactment, just have the hems and seam finishing to do in time for the Tatton event this coming weekend.Then Ellie and I go to the Lake District for a few days camping which will be fun, lots of National Trust houses to visit and hopefully some beautiful views.

Hope that you have all had a lovely weekend and have a nice week ahead.Thanks for visiting and take care.

I do like a good freebie!

I recently treated myself to a quilt magazine, I used to have subscriptions to three magazines but stopped as I had so many lovely ideas that I didn’t ever get time to make but bought this one because of the free gift of quilter’s graph paper.

Quilt mag

As you know I have been resizing blocks and thought this would help me. It is great as unlike ordinary graph paper it comes in one inch sizing with the option to use different scales. There was also a useful article on how to resize and add the all important seam allowances.

Quilt graph paper 1

I was just going to make some more churn dash blocks but there was an illustration of a Philadelphia block and I thought that looked pretty if quite fiddly in smaller scale. You do know how I love to make tiny things though so I worked out the measurements using my graph paper for a 5″ finished size block.

Quilt graph paper 2

Quilt graph paper 3

Philadelphia block 1

I completed it yesterday and am very pleased, most of the pieces match really well, not easy when some are only 1/2 ” across. This is on the pile of blocks to make into pouches and bags for gifts and Yarndale.

Philadelphia block 2

I am on with another couple of blocks today from one of my books. I have also just discovered this site with free Block of the Day cutting instructions so that  should keep me amused for a while!

I decided to have the complete weekend off work despite being away for the last two weekends as well. I have marked 142 assignments in the last 5 weeks and have 22 more to go but am feeling a little brain dead so thought a weekend in the craft room would be good for me. The weather is lovely today so we are making plans for our 6th BBQ of the year!

I have a quiet week ahead with just a few meetings and the marking to finish off so am looking forward to getting that done and then spending some serious time on my doctorate, after I come back from my holiday in Spain 🙂

I do love this time of year, the rhododendrons are in bloom and the sunshine makes everything look lovely. Hope that you are having nice weather where you are.

Take care, see you soon and thanks for visiting.