Sunday, 27 May 2018

Thunderstorms and sewing.

For some inexplicable reason work got completely out of hand last week. There was no more work than usual to be done but everyone seemed to be very stressed and tetchy. Not a good combination as it is almost impossible to switch off from it and just carry on serenely with what I needed to do. It could have been the result of our very odd weather. The week before had been unseasonably cold and we were all pleased when the forecast said it would warm up again over the week and this weekend would be very hot and sunny. Those of us who are more cynical took little notice of the predictions of a hot and sunny bank holiday weekend, after all you only have to look back through the records to see that this combination doesn't usually fly in the UK. However many of my colleagues were excited at the prospect of BBQ's and days in the park or pub garden. On Thursday afternoon whilst teaching I had to turn the lights on as the rain swept in and since then it's been a bit of a rollercoster with warm and sunny weather followed by heavy rain and scary thunderstorms. Last night's thunderstorm was spectacular for the intensity of the lighting. There didn't seem to be a break between the flashes and the whole sky was lit up. It was mainly sheet lightening which I always think is more interesting to watch. I didn't get a photo as I was trying to keep Scamp calm, he is just so frighten when the thunder starts. Today he's really tired.


Picasso on the other hand likes to sit at the window and watch the lightening, oh how I wish Scamp could do the same. Because of the storm and Scamp getting so stressed packing up my sewing didn't happen and Picasso took the opportunity to make himself comfortable for the night. When I finally got him to move there was quite a lot of cat fur left behind as he's still losing his thick winter coat


Yesterday after some household chores I set up my machine and managed to complete the quilting on the star block border of the compass quilt. I had hoped to do more but my neuropathy has been bad recently with pains like electric shocks in my arms and hands when I do certain movements. Moving a heavy quilt during the quilting process is too much to deal with for long periods. Not to worry because I'm going to do some work on it today since I left it all out last night.

On the hand stitching front I've finally finished Mathilda. She is another lovely bag lady. These girls have so much character once they are completed and they're so colourful. I've now finished 6 of the 12, halfway there. 



The next one I'll work on is Earlene. This is how far I've got with her.



I won't be starting work on her until the beginning of June. Until then I'm going to work on my millennium sampler. This is my oldest UFO and I'd like to see it finished. I used to enjoy doing cross stitch but unfortunately over the last few years I don't find it as much fun to work on hence the need to seriously push myself to get this finished. I find the cross stitch much more tiring on my eyes and this is probably why I've gone off doing it. This evening I will be working on this section and I hope to complete the spitfire. It does rather depend on how exciting the new episode of Midsommer Murder is, ( I hope it's on tonight but you can never be sure when it's a bank holiday weekend.)


That section is the top right hand corner. I haven't worked on this piece since June 16 so it's more than ready for some more attention and love. Even when all the main stitching is done there is a lot of outlining with back stitch before it's finished.


John has just created a fabulous salad for lunch so I'm off to enjoy it. I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching link up. Do hop over and see what folks have been hand stitching.

Take care,

Lyndsey

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

A walk in the sun

Yesterday I wasn't working and so I had some time to do my own thing. I have lots of projects I need to work on but as the sun was shining I decided to go for a walk with John and Scamp. I asked John to organise a walk of about 6 miles and that didn't mean we had to drive too far. He met both of these criteria without any trouble. We headed out to Bushy Park, the start of our walk. Bushy park is a large flat site near Hampton Court Palace. It is the second largest of the royal parks (only Richmond Park is larger)  From the car park we headed a short distance to an open area of water that had swans, moorhens, coots and mallards on. The swans had a good clutch of cygnets.




This juvenile grey heron was desperate to have his picture taken and kept flying ahead of us and posing.




A little further along in the shallow water we spotted a lot of tadpoles. They were quite large and should be growing their legs soon. If all of them survive there will be masses of frogs.



The walk took us through the park. We were heading for the woodland garden which is a fenced area. Unfortunately no dogs are allowed in the area so we had to circle around the outside of the fence. It was at this point that John realised he didn't have his rucksack on his back. When I stopped to take the picture of the swans he had stopped at the bench to get his camera out of his bag. He then took several pictures and together we walked away from the pond. Now we retraced our steps so he could pick up his bag. I didn't walk all the way back with John. Instead Scamp and I sat on a convenient bench and enjoyed the scenery. That's when I saw the bear! OK so it's really a tree stump but it looks like a cuddly bear to me. 

John joined us happy to be reunited with his bag and we resumed the route. We passed this old pump along the way.


A bridge took us over another water channel and I spotted some large fish. Back at the main pond the fish had been creating a frenzy in the water. Spring definitely seems to be in the air! The fish in the main pond were bigger,some probably 40 lbs in weight.


As we circled through the park we came to the Diana fountain.This is a bronze statue of the goddess Diana set on a marble and stone fountain.


At this point we followed the road out of the park and crossed the main road into the grounds of Hampton Court. We decided to stop for some lunch at the cafe and we got Scamp some flapjack. This is his favourite snack when out walking. We didn't stop to go round the house. Instead we just walked across the front drive heading towards the river Thames and exited the grounds onto the tow path.


From here we walked along the Thames path until we reached Kingston. It was fun watching the boats on the river. Scamp found a lot pleasure in all the different smells along the path.


Several of the Canada geese had young. These little ones are so soft and cute.



As we got nearer to Kingston it became more built up on the opposite bank. Scamp fancied getting a drink from the river but we held him back as it was deep here and he doesn't swim.



Once at Kingston bridge we crossed the road to enter Bushy Park again. Walking through this side of the park we saw a lot of deer. The red deer were very interested in us and one of the females followed us for a fair distance before entering a water channel and moving away.




The fallow deer kept their distance and were very wary.


Almost back at the car and I managed to get a picture of Scamp and John.


As it was hot we enjoyed an ice cream at the little cafe at the car park. I shared some of mine with Scamp to help cool him down. Then home in the car. Scamp fell asleep on my lap.

Yesterday evening I did some planning on the next baby quilt. This one is gender neutral as the parents don't want to know the baby's sex until it's born.. At the moment I can't decide on the pattern I want to make but the baby isn't due for a while.

It was lovely to have a day off yesterday but I was in work today and now I'm really tired. There are three more working days till my holiday starts and I can't wait. I just need the time to go as quickly as possible.

The wish upon a star blog hop is continuing. Don't forget to go and visit.


May 23

May 24

May 25

Lyndsey

Monday, 21 May 2018

Wish upon a star





Today is the start of the wish upon a star blog hop being run by Carol from Just let me quilt Thank you Carol for organising these hops as they are such fun to take part in and a great source of inspiration. I love seeing what everyone has made. For this hop we could make whatever we liked but there had to be a star in it somewhere.

My first idea was to make a table runner. I had four lonely star blocks that I'd made for a project a while back and then hadn't used. 




I will use these blocks eventually but as part of a scrappy quilt. I will need to swap out one of the squares in the top block of the picture above as there is too little contrast but that will be easy. Using these blocks up didn't interested me at the moment. Then inspiration came from my students. One of them is pregnant and the baby is due in August. The rest of the group were discussing having a baby shower later in June and so making a baby quilt was a perfect idea. She knows she is expecting a boy so I could go for blue fabric.

The fabric choice took a little while. Everyone had a view on what fabric to use. In the end we went for these three, white, one blue and a cute animal print.



The next job was to decide on the pattern to make or so I thought. However the first choice was to decide on which star to use. I had great fun looking at lots of different star blocks. In the end I pulled these two. They had been part of the Moda Size matters blog hop and they helpfully give you the sizes of the pieces you need for different sized blocks. I decided to use both of these stars and to make 12 inch blocks.


I decided to use a simple 9 patch block alternately with the star blocks. For the nine patch the blue and the animal print was used and for the star blocks it was the blue and white fabric. I also decided not to do sashing all round each block but to use a strip of animal print between each row.

Here is the completed top. No one was around to hold the quilt for me so I had to lay it out on the bed. I tried taking the photo on the floor but where ever I stood I created a shadow.




I'm very pleased that all the points on the stars are nice and crisp or should that be pointy? There is enough contrast between the animal print and the white and generally the pattern works well. The blue is actually darker than it looks in the photo. The animal print is directional but I didn't worry about that I just let the pieces be sewn in any which way. As a result whichever way you look at it there are animals facing you.

I pieced the back from the blue and the animal print. The quilt is now sandwiched and waiting to be quilted. I would have made a start on it but I want to finish the quilting on my compass quilt first. My machine has been a bit temperamental when quilting recently so I didn't want to alter the thread or settings in case it played up. As the baby shower will be in June I have time to get this quilt finished during my weeks holiday.

Here are the blogs posting their projects today. Do pop over and visit them.

May 21
Sew Many Yarns (You are here)

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has made..

Lyndsey

Sunday, 20 May 2018

A good weekend.

I've had a fun weekend. Yesterday I spent most of the day working on my compass quilt, and I managed to get so much done. By late afternoon I had to stop as my arms and shoulders were aching with the weight of the quilt. I've nearly finished the quilting and I should definitely have it all done by the end of the month so long as I don't run out of thread. I didn't have the energy to take a photo. In the evening I was too tired to finish the last of my stitching on Mathilda. Instead I went to bed early.

Today I had cleaning to do but I took time out to go for a run with Lucy. We are both trying to get fit and so are starting running three times a week. Lucy started last week but this was my first attempt. We are following a structured training programme so that we don't cause ourselves any damage. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be and I really enjoyed it. I can't wait for Tuesday evening when we are going for our next run. I'm also going to re start Yoga. I seem to have lost a lot of my flexibility and I know from experience that yoga will help. 

This evening I'm working on Mathilda and I know I'll have her finished today. I'm then going to spend a little time working on my cross stitch until the end of the month.


I just have her hands, legs and shoes to finish . I think she's looking fabulous. These ladies really come alive as you start stitching them. I can't wait to have all of them done and then I can make them into a quilt wall hanging.

Tomorrow is the start of the Wishing on a star blog hop . I'm showing my project tomorrow. Do take some time to visit everyone and see what they've been making.

May 21

May 22

May 23

May 24

May 25

I just need to check up on my post for the hop and then I think it may be time for bed.

Lyndsey