Friday, 28 June 2019

Joys of Retirement

Just nipping in to say hello and apologise for missing last month 's round up and Linky.

In surprisingly spontaneous fashion we booked a late deal holiday so found ourselves enjoying the sunshine at month end.

I did manage a little bit of EPP by the pool but had underestimated supplies and only achieved this -

I am also trying to lay off hand sewing a bit as my silly thumb is still troubling me - apparently it is trigger finger and I have secured a hospital appointment that I hope will lead to a pain relieving injection, I shall cross my other fingers in the meantime.

My main accomplishment to share is the completion of the Overnight Bag for my DH. Back in 2014 I ran a six week class making these bags and I think approximately 50 were completed. What a great feat it was for my lovely ladies!

So I used  my own bag when away for a weekend in February and DH asked if he could have one - "of course, I said" inwardly groaning............but I did it and made one or two changes.

Last year I used Annie's Soft and Stable for the first time and was keen to try it out for this bigger project - well, I am just delighted at how robust the bag looks. I also added integral zips to the side pockets instead of magnetic catches, and I lined the bag with a heavy ripstop nylon giving it a waterproof element. This made the finishing stitching alongside the big zip a bit of a chore but think it was more to do with aforementioned thumb than the fabric!

The main body of the bag was made using a heavy calico from stash and also in my stash was the great New York print fabric, a sort of linen, that I had bought at Stitch Gathering a couple of years ago. It was a perfect way to use it up and I had just enough.

So there it is, ready to make its debut this weekend as we set off for Wimbledon. (waving excitedly)

Hopefully I'll still be in time next week to link up to Mini Archie's Furtle Around the Blogosphere.

Meanwhile I've managed to find photos from way back then, the first is my prototype, followed by some absolutely stunning bags.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

31st April

My way of sneaking in an April blog post, where did that month go?

After the excitement of March, April has been busy but I have managed some sewing. I seem to have had a chance to make great progress with my Irish Chain quilt which I started many months ago, using up scraps but in a controlled way and using a lot of low volume fabrics. I was inspired by reading Rita's blog post, Red Pepper Quilts and although not a direct copy of hers, I have followed her excellent pressing plan and have achieved rather nice seams on the reverse of my project with every patch and row interlocking beautifully. I have only two blocks left to make and have thoroughly enjoyed the process, the constant repetition allows the mind to wander in an enjoyable way!

Some of the joined blocks.

Being so far on with one long term project has allowed me to start another - ha ha. A whole year ago when we were on holiday in Australia, I collected some templates that my sister had kindly sent for on my behalf from Tales of Cloth. One set was for the well known Mandolin Quilt and I spent quite a while sorting through my stash which is not all that huge and have laid aside my selection. I really do intend this as a long term project and will try to pace myself, especially as the first two blocks have left me with quite painful thumbs. Strangely it doesn''t actually hurt to sew but aches terribly the next day. I have just bought some Sue Daley Size 15 milliners' needles that come recommended for those with carpal tunnel or arthritis so I'll see if they help. I do tend to grip my work quite tightly so will try to relax that a bit. Anyone else have this problem?

It was my birthday in April and a friend gifted me a hand spun skein of yarn - she thought it might be suitable for making into a basket so once that was suggested I was on it! And produced this sweet little basket.

And that was my April.

Linking to Archie and his Furtling adventures.

Archie The Wonder Dog

Sunday, 31 March 2019

A Little Madness in March

March was always going to be a busy month.

Our third grandchild was expected on 13th of the month but arrived two days early in rather a hurry making a very special birthday present for his big sister Ava.

Ava and baby Murray sharing a birthday forever.

A few days later our other grand daughter Macie jetted off on her first foreign holiday and loved the warm sunshine.

Macie, now 5 months

Back in my sewing room I was able to get busy. The quilt I had prepared for Baby Murray was fashioned out of his daddy's shirts, I mentioned this a couple of posts ago. I had bought rather a nice cotton gingham fabric for the back which felt almost like a soft flannel. Before assembly, if I can, I like to machine embroider a personalised label using the backing and wadding and then fully layer up, creating an integral label. However, as soon as I started to embroider the machine began to chew up the backing fabric - ugh!!
Back to the drawing board, I decided the gingham fabric was quite a loose weave nd ditched it (although I did go on to use it for binding)
I then decided to stick with shirts and made up a backing using 9 large pieces. Although I loved the soft feel of the back and front I was very nervous about quilting this little project - I just knew it was going to ripple and pleat and do all those other nasty things you just don't want. I knew I wouldn't sit and hand quilt so I opted to machine tie it. Every intersecting point was stitched with a small fancy satin stitch pattern and then each plain white patch was treated to two similat "ties".
I do feel a bit disappointed but remind myself that I have made this quilt totally from used fabric (apart from the wadding of course) and think in a funny way that the quilting sort of suits its style.

Moving on, I made a bit of an effort and achieved my second quilt finish of the month. This next quilt started over a year ago as an alternative colour sample of an old class project and is something I am hoping to offer soon as a pattern. 
When I bought the Lewis and Irene "Island Girl" range it made me think of Disney's Moana so it was always destined for Ava, I just hope she still like Moana by the time she gets it

I also continued with my Luna Lapin wardrobe.............I am now happy to say that as well as her coat and shoes, Luna not only has a new polka dot dress but finally her modesty is preserved with the addition of some French knickers.

My final March make was somthing I have fancied doing for a while - converting a small tin (typically an Altoids one) into a mini playset. It was so much fun as I footered (or furtled) with little bits of paper, felt, glue etc........

And finally before linking up with Mini Archie, please indulge me as proud Grandma as I share my attempts to get all three into one photo. Herding cats came to mind.

Archie The Wonder Dog

Thursday, 28 February 2019

February Furtling

Wasn't February quick, as always?
Here in the UK. the last week has been unseasonably warm with temperatures in the upper teens, about double the seasonal average.
Locally we have had the dilemma of whether or not to "cast a clout before May be oot". Always a tricky decision to switch to a less warm coat or jacket too soon but this week we have been quite safe to do so.
This image is from a local small park area, always a glorious Spring sight, maybe a little early this year.

Earlier in the month, before the warmer weather, my OH and I enjoyed a mini break to York. We had never been before and thoroughly enjoyed tramping along the City Walls and maze of streets. For a chilly February weekend it was extremely busy, not sure I'd relish a weekend there in July! We visited the Castle Museum and the famous Railway Museum, both excellent and really just enjoyed a relaxing time away. Of course I had to visit Duttons for Buttons.......

I took my Overnight Bag that was a class project from a few years ago and had forgotten how spacious it was.

Plenty of room for three days away. My OH has requested one and it gives me the opportunity to tweak my pattern and perhaps include different features and fabrics. 

The rest of the month saw a bit of sewing action. I had made a start on this applique project at our Ayrshire MQG meeting at the beginning of the month and since then have made a little more progress.

Last term in Amanda's class we were making a Sew Together bag and as I had made the very similar Bionic Gear bag (front in pic) I decided to make one of each to compare. The SG bag is smaller and seemed to have fewer but comprehensive instructions (in pic it's behind the BG bag, to the left)
This term we have been making a Boxy Pouch and I followed the pattern by Pink Stitches, it's at the back of the pic. Which just leaves Lola, on the right - this pattern is by Svetlana at Sotak Handmade and really is a peach of a pattern. I think the bound zip is genius and the finished effect so professional, do try it if you haven't already made one.
Most of the fabrics used in these pouches were Lewis and Irene.

Two yers ago at Creative Stitches in Glasgow, I used some birthday pennies to buy a Luna kit (by Cool Crafting) - I made the actual Luna + dress pretty soon after but has taken me until last weekend to make her beautiful winter coat. Another great product, I was full of awe for the attention to detail in this pattern, just note the faux pockets and sleeve tabs. I must admit that I did not make the six tiny buttonholes required for the six tiny buttons, I was too scared to spoil the coat, so instead have secured it with two discreetly placed press studs.

The sudden inspiration to do the coat was inspired by finding these  books........
I have my eye on some French knickers.

And once again I will be linking to Mini Archie's February Furtle Around the Blogosphere

Archie The Wonder Dog

Wednesday, 6 February 2019


Just a quick post today - now that we are reviving our blogs it is so good when you lovely readers leave a comment, believe me it is much appreciated.
As always happened before, I receive an email when someone comments and I would always reply. However, some bloggers are no - reply bloggers meaning their email address is not visible to me and therefore I am sadly unable to comment.

Leaving a comment within the body of my blog post seems a bit silly as I would doubt a reader would return to an already read post.

I also think there might be a complication follwing the data protection rules that were changed last year but I makeno pretence of understanding what those might be.

In summary, if you commented on my last post, many thanks. If you have not received a personal reply from me it is because you are a no - reply blogger.

This article might help you to resolve the problem.

Good luck.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Furtling in January

So, when Helen and I happened to each publish a recent blog post for the first time in a long time we were bemoaning to each other how so many blogs have fallen by the wayside.
Helen decided to take the bull by the horns, approached a few other bloggers and from today we are hoping to refresh our blogging habit.

And furtling? It's a word that tickled us all, it means having a rummage, a delve, a look at the contents of something. For example, 'Have a furtle in that cupboard and see if you can find it.

I have furtled a good bit in January working on a few little projects. I also have a few outstanding bigger projects too but won't load them all onto here, baby steps.

My main focus has been to work on the quilt I planned for my expected Grandson. He will be a baby brother for Ava and due just a couple of days after her 7th birthday in March.
Meanwhile, we welcomed baby Macie into the family in November, a first baby for my son & his wife. It's amazing increasing from one to three grandchildren in such a short time, we are so fortunate.

Baby Max ( not his real name but the bump's name) has a daddy who passes on his shirts to me for patchwork. He tends to wear rather nice quality shirts and so I thought perhaps a quilt made from daddy's shirts might be cute, even including one of his pink shirts. I spent one session at the Ayr Modern Quilters' Guild stripping down a few shirts to useable chunks.
A further session had me cutting a number of 5" squares and 2.5" squares and then I got going with the quilt itself.
I am sorry but can't recall where the pattern came from but definitely found it free online.
One of the joys of using old shirts is how soft the finished top is, the shirts having been washed numerous times, I must remember to pre-wash the backing fabric.

Why don't you go have a look at some of the other Furtling blogs, just press the button below.

Archie The Wonder Dog

Saturday, 12 January 2019

To Sir (s) with Love

This week has been most thought provoking as I contemplate the lives of two of my favourite well known Scots.

On Thursday we caught up with part 2 of the recent Made in Scotland programmes featuring my favourite ever comedian.
Billy Connolly has been reducing me to tears since probably my late teens.
These programmes included many TV clips of his shows through the years and with celebrity comments along the way we were reminded of so much of his particular humour. Being born only a decade later , many of his observational stories really resonate with me and I consider Sir Billy as a real National treasure.
As he brought the programme to a close he reflected on his condition and admitted that due to his Parkinson's disease he felt his life was slipping away slowly.
Once more, he reduced me to tears, but sad ones, as I realised we are unlikely to see him on our screens much more, but happy for him to have been able to bow out to all his fans on his own terms.

Next morning I awoke to the news that Andy Murray had decided that enough was enough and with luck he might make Wimbledon in July but there was a very real possibility that his match in Melbourne on Monday might be his last due to the constant pain he lives with.

I first heard of Murray when he won the Junior US Open at the age of 17 and have been a fan since.
There have been dozens,maybe hundreds of tributes paid to him in todays papers, on social media and of course, TV, and I cannot better any of them but I do feel privileged to have been able to watch him rise to the very height of his game and enjoy the many matches I have been able to see, including some heart wrenching hide behind the settee moments too!
I realise how special it is to have felt such National pride in a sportsman of his calibre.

So, Sir Andy Murray, unlike Connolly, is unable to bow out on his own terms, but when the dust settles and he has his pain under control this young man will be able to look forward to a long and happy life with his lovely family and I am sure we haven't seen the last of him on our screens.

As I reflect on their lives and careers I have come to the conclusion that like our National drink, these two fine men must indeed have been "Made in Scotland from girders".

I wish them both, a' the best!


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