25 May 2015

Quilt at Lytes Cary Manor

A couple of days since our visit to Lytes Cary Manor and we've uploaded the camera photos.  David has a camcorder that takes very good stills pictures without flash so have used this to take photos of the quilt in the Great Chamber.  At first glance it looks an ordinary hexagon bed cover (I'm not sure if it was a quilt or coverlet and I'm not sure of the date of this).  A closer look has found some unusual things about it.

The maker wanted to make good use of the patterns in the fabric and so made shapes of multiple hexagons instead of making several hexagon shapes to achieve this.
In the photo above (if you can close in on it) the maker made the shape of 3 or 4 hexagon sized pieces instead of separate ones (on the bottom left and left of the picture.  At the top of the picture (the pink swirly patterns) the separate hexagons have been fussy cut. Even the middles of the Grandma's garden blocks have a fussy cut individual flower hexagon within it.

In the photo above is another 4 hexagon shape with red leaves in. Interestingly the 4 hexagon shape next to it has a vertical seam in the middle of it.

Here are the last two photos that David took of the quilt.  The last one has a row of 3 hexagon shapes.
I hadn't seen anything quite like it and it couldn't have been easy to piece those shapes so it wasn't the easy option when making it.

As English Paper Piecing is quite popular at present I thought I would share these photos of this unusual quilt.

24 May 2015

This Week Has Been Eventful

We started this week ordinarily enough. David went to the office at Southampton for this weekly 'Day out' as he normally works at home, however he complained of a tummy ache after getting back, which during the course of the evening got worse and worse so by just before 11.00 I took him to A&E at Poole Hospital.  No waiting around, he was seen straight away and taken to a cubicle and Sarah and I were able to see him an hour later after he was violently sick. After being observed and having X-ray and other tests he was admitted and we left hospital at 3 am on Wednesday morning.  

Wednesday was taken up in phone calls to our managers, visits to him in hospital (he was left with just a hospital gown) and catching up with sleep! Suffice to say, my head wasn't where it should be and although I took clothes in for him, I realised he had no reading glasses, no money, a phone which I hadn't charged up. By the time he left hospital on Thursday there was something else I'd forgotten, shoes!  The conclusion was he'd suffered gastro enteritis but there would be further follow up tests.

So after that kerfuffle we cancelled a weekend break we were going to take in Devon and we decided to take things easy this weekend. So yesterday, with David feeling very much better and raring to go, we went to just outside Yeovil, about an hour's drive from home, where there are several National Trust places to visit in a few miles of each other. I've been having trouble with my camera and I took the memory card out and forgot to put it back in, so the photos taken have been with my phone. Being a nice sunny day  I couldn't see the screen so had to take a chance with what I was taking.

We went to Lytes Cary Manor, with a Tudor Manor House owned by a family for many generations, left neglected before being lived in again from the early 20 th century which was kept in moreorless the same style it was previously in, not much sign of more modern things.  But the gardens there were pretty amazing and very peaceful apart from the birdsong.

Not far away was Tintinhull Garden. A small house there but that was used as the visitor centre and small tearoom but as the name suggests, the garden was the main feature, and it didn't disappoint.  Lovely and peaceful, with had garden 'rooms' and just masses of flowers and a large vegetable plot. 
The photo above was a picture of the water in the pond, on which the clouds above were reflected, but look closely and the grey bits in the water are tadpoles, seemed like millions of the things. The White spots might have been the water boatmen there were loads of those just below the water surface.

We.then went onto Barrington Court, which we visited last year, but was nice to make a return visit and have a wander around the gardens there too. There was temptation in the form of a patchwork shop there but I'm saving myself for a visit to Sandown exhibition next month. No photos here from the phone, but David took several so I will share those in a later post.

We finished our day out going back to Dorchester on our way home and having a meal at Carluccio's restaurant there, very nice.

17 May 2015

What I've Been Up To

We've been busy recently with visitors coming to stay, a day trip to Guernsey during the week and this weekend I sold this...

My old Janome machine has a new home, I hope the new owner is having a play with it this weekend.

I bought this...

Our lawn mower died, so I had to pop out and get a new one.  Easy to put together and got the lawns mowed too.

We saw this on Saturday...

Steam engine on Poole Quay.  The sun was shining so I couldn't see the screen on my phone, so had to hope I had some decent photos. This one was pretty good.

And I achieved making a button hole with my new machine, at the third attempt I managed to mark exactly where I wanted the button hole to be and it worked perfectly.  Not only mastering zips, but button holes are being conquered too!

A good weekend then, how about yours?

04 May 2015

Sew I Bought a Machine

Lately I've needed to review where my sewing is going and what I will be doing and one of thought s has been about sewing machines. I had 3, my little workshop machine - a basic Janome which I bought about 4 years ago - nice and light mechanical machine. It's a bit noisy when it hasn't been used for a while but soon warms up and doesn't give me any trouble. It seems to like going out and about and I like the fact that I don't have to lug a big machine out with me. Most workshops involve patchwork or free machine embroidery, nothing fancy that it can't deal with.

My main machine is a Pfaff, which is a sewing machine with an embroidery unit which I bought second hand and is about 5 years old and I've had this for almost a couple of years. It is big, it stays at home on my sewing cabinet and I think is just about on the edge of the weight the cabinet will hold. I thought I would use the embroidery side of it much more, but not having the actual design software, or the fact that I've not taken any training to learn more about about designing means that I'm buying designs and  not really doing much at all and it seems a waste.  There aren't many sewing centres where I could get tuition and I was really wondering if I needed this at all.

In the back ground to this is my third machine, my big Janome, which the Pfaff replaced, but I never got around to selling although I had been meaning to. It's a Memorycraft 4800 and it is probably about over 10 years old.  It had been a good workhorse but I had some frustrations with it, which caused me to get some thing else.

My Pfaff has gone for a service, I dug the big Janome out which was ok and started sewing with that.  I did say that I had 3 machines - I now have 4.

We went to Salisbury on Saturday, just to a general shop and mooch around the town and I went to Franklins sewing shop, managed to resist the fabric and the wool and looking a the machines there. They stock several makes and we came across a Juki machine, the one model below this lovely. Not a flattering picture as the desk sits in front of the window

Juki are a Japanese make who specialise in industrial machines, but also make domestic machines that have recently been introduced into Europe. I remembered using one at Festival of Quilts year before last and finding it simple to use for free machining. So we had a demonstration, talked about it over lunch, went back for a test drive, now it's on my sewing desk. 

On Saturday evening I put some fabric together and quilted.  It does come with a quarter inch foot and walking foot but I didn't need either as there is a stitch number for moving the needle to get the correct seam width and the feed was so even that I didn't need to change to foot from the standard one. And yes, I even found the letters so I could sew my name on the bottom block.

Sunday morning was spent free machine quilting and applique and I'm really pleased how it's turning out. The running of the machine is very smooth and quiet. I've also found that the stitches stay the same length even when going over thicker layers of fabric, as other machines tend to get smaller stitches going over layers.

So the future for the Pfaff and big Janome is that I will sell on (eBay? Gumtree? Anything else I should go for?) I have found that I am still happy to be a patchworker and want to continue to down this road with making quilts and little bits like the pouches, bags and cushions which fit easily into my limited sewing time. I don't want to complicated things, just keep it simple. I think I may have found a machine that will fit the bill.

01 May 2015

May Day

One third of this year gone and into May! Bank holiday this weekend so an extra day to enjoy and hopefully find time to escape to the sewing room.

April has been a month of big change as I've mentioned in previous posts.  Two trips to Bristol to help my daughter, Sarah, move back to Poole after living away from home for nearly 13 years and to start a new job.  Celebrations to as my youngest son, Jamie, had his 30th birthday.  This involved a trip to the Isle of Wight for the day, where Jamie, his wife and sons were staying on holiday.  A smashing day out   with that holiday feeling coming over us even though we were away for a day.   I also had a trip to Brockenhurst, with my Mum, to top up on some fabrics at the Needlework Fiesta.  So all in all, a very busy month, and that's without work, where it's been hectic too with the tax year end.

At the beginning of the month I sent off 8 more Home Sweet Home blocks (above left) to Mary, who requested boyish blocks for Siblings Together Quilts for the summer camps.  I hand quilted two more Dolly Dress Up blocks (above centre) and will have to think how I will put all 6 blocks together in a pleasing arrangement. The photo on the right show all my fabric purchases, some half metre as well as fat quarter pieces that I bought this month, when I totted the lot up it came to 5 metres in all!

I've also made a bit more progress on the deconstructed quilt and sandwiched the layers together ready to quilt.  I've got a few bags of scraps (Mum's and my own) so had a good sort out into strips, useful size bits and itty bits which will go to good "homes" this month.

My main machine has gone to the sewing shop in New Milton for servicing and although I'll be without it I do still have another machine to fall back on. If all else fails, then there's knitting and I could not resist this knitting book, it may be Christmassy, but the way this year is going I may have to start now.

Don't those reindeer look fab?

I've been trying to get a photo of a bus, not any old bus, but one designed by the Arts University Bournemouth and one day got a ride home on it. I don't know what the bus driver thought of my taking a photo when pulling away from the bus stop!

Does this look like patchwork or what!! Diamonds, Half Square Triangles, Clamshells, Cathedral Windows, what else can you see?

What's in store for May? Quilting my deconstructed quilt, now its been sandwiched together and I have some blocks laid out on my desk to be put together as a cushion cover, which will go towards charity makes.  Keeping the list small and simple, that way I'm not putting myself under too much pressure.  Hopefully I may get more done that I hope.

Linking up with Lily's Quilt's Fresh Sewing Day.

Fresh Sewing Day
Happy May Sewing!

26 April 2015

Where Do I Begin?

Since I've last posted on the blog life has been busy. Besides work, we have been doing the last of Sarah's move and she left her flat a couple of weeks ago. She's started her new job and came home with lots of equipment and has been going through a lot of training.  She's finding it a bit tough going with all this, but it's early days and I hope she will soon settle into it.

Then last Saturday we had a visit to the Isle of Wight, which was a fab day out, but my phone refused to share them with my iPad, so no pics to show here.  The occasion was my youngest son, Jamie's 30th birthday and we were joining him and his family for the last day of their holiday there.  We had a lovely time seeing small aeroplanes in the nearby airfield and later a nice meal at a pub with a play area, which kept younger ones amused.
Yesterday I went with my Mum to the annual Brockenhurst Needlework Fiesta. It has a lot of varied traders, from embroidery suppliers, quilting shops, knitting supplies on the ground floor and demonstrations by local groups and teachers on the upper floor of the community centre.  I also took the opportunity to take my main sewing machine to New Milton for servicing en route to the Fiesta.  I had to buy fabric, from The Dye Bag and from Cherry Tree Fabrics

I also bought a knitting pattern book
Yep, it's Christmassy, but it will take me a while to knit, so starting early!!

But I have also been sewing.  Now the evenings are lighter I don't need so much artificial light, so I have been hand quilting a couple of Dolly Dress Up blocks that seemed to have been hanging around for ages. I've still got to get more of the water erasable pen removed in spite of spraying copious amounts of water the other morning.

I've also sewn together backing fabric for my deconstructed quilt from last year, piecing the remaining blocks to two halves of backing fabric to extend the width of the backing.

As a reminder, this is the quilt top
Next job will be to iron this and sandwich together the quilt ready for when my machine comes back from its service.

So I'm still fitting things in when I can.

10 April 2015

Coming Home

Last weekend we spent Good Friday taking a van to Bristol to load up most of Sarah's belongings to bring back to Poole to a storage unit near us. With the help of her friends who came up from Dorset furniture was taken apart, boxes were filled and packed which all went inside the van easily. 

Sarah came with David and I back to Poole in the evening to unpack the van on Saturday, together with our son, Alex and more of Sarah's friends to help.  Sarah returned to Bristol on Sunday to finish her last shifts at hospital, moreorless camping in what remains in her flat until tomorrow.  I'm taking the trip back to Bristol to collect her and the rest of her belongings, leaving the flat she's lived in for almost 10 years.

She starts her new job on Monday and which will be such a change from working in the NHS and in a hospital. She will be out and about in the community, so see how things go.

Meanwhile, the journey in the van last Friday and travelling through Somerset gave me the opportunity to stop at a quilt shop, Midsomer Quilting, just a bit north of Shepton Mallet. A lovely quilt shop and a handy break in the journey, I hadn't been there for a few years and noticed how much the shop has expanded to include a workroom and long arm machine and more space for fabric.

So it would have been rude not to buy some fabric

I like these Aboriginal inspired fabrics by Makower

A couple of pieces from the bargain shelf.

Some seaside inspired fabrics too.