Tuesday 30 June 2020

Another finish to share

Sunday was a grim, wet, cold and miserable day, just right for staying in doors and playing with some bright and cheerful fabrics. 
I've been dithering about how to quilt my batik strings for a week or two, and finally decided that as my trusty walking foot was already on my machine, some straight line quilting would be just fine.
I mean really, those lovely bright fabrics just speak for themselves don't they?
I kept it very simple. A row of stitches just inside the pretty squares.
And another outside the pretty squares.
Having quilted two quilts, even though they are quite small, my machine needed some love and defluffing.
Then it was time for binding. I found this amazing orange batik in my stash. Perfect for what I had in mind.
Last time I visited Cathy at the quilting shed, she was encouraging/challenging me to try something a little different. This is not quite what she was aiming me towards.
But I thought I might try this first.
The orange peeper, is not as narrow as I would like, but works beautifully with the green.
And I got to finish it with the machine, rather than by hand, so it was very quick too.
I have to say, I'm rather happy with that. Though I do want to try to get that peeper a little narrower.
I still have one more smaller quilt that needs to be quilted and bound.
Maybe it will get it's day this weekend.
Back to Kaffe tomorrow.
There is only one little bag of fabrics left!
Then I'll need to find another project.
Thanks for the scrap quilt suggestions.
Trailmix seems to be the winner.
I do like the simplicity of it.
It's a maybe.

Sunday 28 June 2020

A Finish!

But only a tiny one.
Remember this cute wee runner sized quilt top I made during Chookys Zoom meeting?
Well yesterday I finally got around to layering and quilting it.
Nothing fancy. I popped on the walking foot and did a simple cross hatch.
 Through the squares.
A quick trip around the outsides of the squares, just to hold the border in place, on went the binding and
One finished table runner. 
I'm rather pleased with that.
Another thing I'm rather pleased with is my wee blanket. Now that my yarn has finally arrived I am able to start joining all those coloured squares I was making.
It's a fiddly but satisfying process.
Hmmm, I'm really not sure about that strong pink square.
It doesn't slap you in the face quite so much in real life. I need to make a decision before I get too much further or it will be a pain to remove.
With no lamp and no stitching I have been doing a bit more reading. I'm re reading some old favourites and thoroughly enjoying them. 
 I have company while I read of course.
 I told her it is very rude, to read over someones shoulder like that.
But she didn't let that stop her.
It's a very wet and gloomy day here, just right for sewing or crochet or something crafty.
What to do???
I could carry on with Kaffe.
Quilt one of the two tops I have waiting their turn.
Add the final touches to Flip Flop scraps.
Or start something new?
I need to find another good scrapper pattern.
Any suggestions for a new scrappy project, what is your go to for using up scraps?

Sunday 21 June 2020

FNSI and lifes ups and downs.

This past week has been a bit of a roller coaster.
My poor back has caused some of that ride. Thank you to everyone who sympathised and sent healing thoughts. It is all very much appreciated. As I said, it was mostly down to my footwear. I've had a weak back since I was a teenager and know the signs. I knew I needed new work shoes, and my Chiropractor had also pointed out the wear on them.  I didn't get a chance to go shopping before lock-down, when all the stores here in NZ were closed. Then after lock-down was over and things began to open up again, I thought, well I might manage to wait a little longer and hold on until Tony is able to find work again.
Serves me right! I should have known better.
Anyway, the new shoes did make a difference and things started to feel oh so much better.
One of the high points of the roller coaster.
I have been slowly working away on my Kaffetastic quilt top through the week, missing only one day. And here it is, after Friday Night Sew In.
I have completed three parts of the BOM now. Though I am going a little slower than a block a month. LOL
As you can see, Belle had to get in on the photo shoot. She had just emerged from behind the bottom.
Before you exclaim over all those points, they have been some of the low points of the week. many of them were sewn, ripped and sewn again. I resorted to the many, many pins method and still had issues with points and seams lining up. Grrr 
I've had that issue throughout the project, but this week seemed to be the worst yet.
That aside, reaching the milestone was very definitely a high point on my roller coaster. 
So after my high and the quick photo shoot on Friday evening I settled into my chair here in the sitting room planning to stitch some more of my I stitch project.
I was able to complete the second of the stitched pieces and made a start on the third.
But my lamp began to flicker. It's been doing it for a while, and turning it off and on again usually fixed the problem, but this time that didn't work and the flickering grew more and more bothersome. 
Tony took a look for me and announced that I need a new tube. This one is 16-17 years old and has worked very hard in that time. 
I'm told that very black looking patch is a bad sign. A new tube has been ordered but may take 6 - 8 weeks to arrive. Which will mean I fall way behind on my I stitch and Christmas ornament stitching, and no Cross stitch either. 😢
I can't do any of those crafts without my trusty magnifier and lamp.
Another low point on my roller coaster.
The bright blue marks? 
LOL That is ink. When I am cross stitching I use a gel pen to mark my pattern, to show where I have stitched. I hold the pen in my mouth, so I don't lose it. It often ends up drawing on the cover for the magnifying glass. LOL
Unable to stitch I turned my attention to my crochet and have made some good progress. I now have three little boxes of squares. Only one ball of leftovers left to use up. Then I'll need the yarn that has been 'In Transit' for eight weeks.
Guess what arrived on Saturday morning?
 I was just about to leave for work when I noticed a package sitting on the doorstep.
There were five different address labels, applied by two different European postal services and two different delivery labels, applied by two different delivery companies here in NZ!!
The poor package must have been so confused.
Never mind, it is here now and just in time to send me off to work on a high.
Only to plunge way, way down again...
My back!
Helping out downstairs I was leaning down into one of the big industrial washing machines to reach the last items in the bottom, when another area of my back gave incredible pain.
New shoes won't help this one.
Only time will fix this.
I can still potter about and do things, it's nowhere near as uncomfortable as the lower back pain I had earlier in the week. I've started to prep the next round of Kaffetastic and sorted out some bindings for some other recent finishes.
Cathy at the quilting shed has talked me into trying something new...
She does like to put out these challenges.
More about that at another time.
maybe it will be another high point.
I hope so, we need a few more in this house just now. 
I do hope your week had more highs than lows. 

Thursday 18 June 2020

New is not always improved!

I really don't have much to show so far this week. Very little of what I had planned has come to fruition. I did finally get to make a start on my I stitch block on Tuesday.
They really are very pretty and quick to stitch pieces.
One of the reasons I didn't get much done yet is because I hurt my back again.
It has been threatening for a while and finally gave up on me on Monday. I just could not get comfortable in my stitchy chair. The only comfy spot was flat out on the couch! There my back found some relief. The floor might have been a good spot too, but I wasn't getting all the way down there, just in case!
I needed new work shoes, that's it something as simple as that. But I was putting off getting them, because my poor Tony has still not been able to find another job. We are trying to be very frugal, but his redundancy payout is trickling away .....
So now I have new shoes and my back is improving slowly. I'm hoping I don't have to pay for a few visits to the Chiropractor as well. 
So Tuesday I was able to get comfy for a short while in my chair and did a little stitching and again on Wednesday.
I also managed to sit at my sewing machine for 15 mins on both nights and plan to get in there for a while once I'm done here.
Kaffe is growing. I think I'm beyond the halfway point now.
Slow progress is better than no progress. Though I would like to get my I stitch block and my Christmas ornament completed before the end of the month.
Wish me luck.
New Blogger.
For me formatting and publishing a blog has not changed.
I see the same screen and click on all the same buttons.
The big change I have found is that once I moderated comments, copies of them were not being emailed to me. The only fix I found for that was to go into settings and invite myself to moderate the comments!! I then had to confirm my email and since then the comments are emailed to my inbox where I have a choice of publish, delete or spam links to click on.
I suppose it is a little more streamlined, they have chopped out a couple of steps and made it easier to reply quickly to a comment. 
But seriously, it wasn't broken, why did they have to fix it??
As my lovely Mum used to say, 'New is not always improved!'
Well that's about all the time my back can stand of this chair for now, so I'm off to find another one.

Sunday 14 June 2020

Trying out new blogger....

It's coming whether I like it or not, so I thought I had better click on that button and see how it goes.
You can't have a blog post without a picture or two, so here is a peep at my latest crochet finish.
This cute wee shawlette was crochet using an acrylic yarn I purchase a couple of years ago, it was one of those have to have it purchases with no real plan.  
There was just enough yarn in one cake to complete this wee project.
Which is just big enough to wrap around my shoulders on a cool day.
Well so far so good with new blogger, I don't see any major differences to my usual blogging routine.
This is my second post today, so keep on reading for more on this weeks goings on.
I'm off to click on the orange 'publish' button.

OK so new blogger is not forwarding your comments to my email..
Has anyone else come across this?
And how did you fix it?

Were you lonely this week?

I don't know about you, but when I ventured into my sewing room this weekend, I found it rather lonely. I blame Chooky and her Zoom party.
It was great to be able to sew along, while listening to others chatting away about their crafts and life in general but this week, there was just me and it was rather lonely. I do hope Chooky has another get together soon.
I didn't let that put me off though and got on with some sewing. Part three of Kaffetastic has begun the construction stage. All of the square in square blocks are made up. I know there are a few different ways of making this block, I'm using the method described in the pattern I'm following. Cut a bunch of HSTs and sew them on. Many years ago I came across this simple but effective method of ensuring that they go on straight. Fold your centre square in half and give it a quick press. You could probably get away with finger pressing, but I use my iron.

Use the crease to line up the point of the triangle.
 Attach both sides, then press your seams and fold and press the other way.
 Now you have a new crease to guide the other two triangles.
A quick trim to tidy up those pesky 'ears' and you're done.
Lots and lots of square in square blocks in this quilt.
As you can see I started to put them together.
I did think I might get to spend a little time in my armchair this afternoon. Maybe do the stitching for my I stitch block or work on Spring Queen.
Someone had other ideas.....
It was my grand daughters birthday earlier this week. Her package from me arrived in plenty of time and her mum had to hide it for a few days.
As you can see, she is delighted with her very grown up Unicorn quilt.
If you didn't see it before, or need a reminder, you can find it here.
My armchair has finally been vacated, I might settle in for a while. 
I'm feeling a little guilty, we are half way through the month and I didn't start the stitching on this months I stitch block or start my secret Christmas ornament. I feel the need to do some catching up.
Beef stew has been cooking away in the slow cooker since 9 am, maybe himself will volunteer to make some lovely mashed spuds so I don't have to move.......?
I can hope.

Wednesday 10 June 2020

The company we keep.....

So after saying goodbye to the lovely company of ladies in the virtual Chookshed on Sunday, I wrote the last blog post, then settled into my chair to do some more to my crochet project. It was a little cool, so I pulled a blanket into my lap, and very soon had company.
She gave me dirty looks every time I fidgeted under her, trying to change position and maintain comfort. LOL
And look, the first picture of my latest crochet project, that seaside coloured object draped over the cat!! I really do need to get a photo of it for you as that particular project is almost complete. I actually only started it when I ran out of steam and love for the baby blanket I was making. Remember the tiny squares for the Battenburg blanket? The yarn I need to complete it has been in transit for over 50 days. The concern for that yarn and the worry that it may never arrive was spoiling the pleasure I should have been getting from each little square.
 I was starting to think I would need to try to find an alternative yarn and maybe try to claim a refund. Then yesterday I heard that a lady who had ordered from the same place just over a week before me actually received her package yesterday, she had commented on FB as she knows others are waiting for packages from the same company, so maybe there is hope for mine yet. I'll wait just a little longer. We will see.
Progress is slowly being made on Spring Queen. 
             Here you see what a difference a busy week can make. Not much, but still progress.

I've given up on my 15 minutes of sewing before work. It is cold and dark in my wee room at that hour of the morning. I am trying to get in there when I finish work instead.  (Go visit Kate at A Life In Pieces Blog to see who else is trying to squeeze in 15 mins every day) As life returns to pretty much normal here in NZ, my working hours have stretched out again and I find I am later and later getting away from work. Today I was very late getting away. So didn't get chance to go into my room until after dinner. Tony decided he would join me and keep me company. If that was ok with me??
Of course that is fine with me. He brought his laptop and was watching a video about building a fine scale model of a Sop-worth camel. A type of plane. I did know that, but listened to what he had to say.
While he watched, I sliced and sewed.
As you can see, Kaffetastic part 3 looks pretty much like Kaffetastic parts one and two. LOL
All the pieces are cut, except cutting the black with white spots into HSTs. I simply had to get off my feet, my poor back is sore tonight. 
Hopefully I'll get a chance to finish cutting them after work tomorrow, and maybe even sew a few bits back together!
I may not be getting in my 15 mins in the morning, but between all of my projects, I am getting in 15 mins somewhere in the day. So although slower, I am still making progress. 
And that feels good.
I might go crochet, until bedtime...

Sunday 7 June 2020

FNwF and a Virtual Chookshed.

It was the first Friday of the month, so it was time to get together again in the evening and craft along together. I must confess I didn't do much as I was feeling very sore, stiff and tired. I hooked away at my crochet project for a while, then off to bed for an early night.
On Saturday I had to go into work for a while. I didn't want to, I really didn't because it was Chookyblues Zoom party. She would normally have a stitching retreat at her chookshed, but travel restrictions and social distancing made that impossible this year, so instead she organised a zoom party.
There was an open invite on her blog, and those who were interested were sent a zoom invite.
I spent the afternoon and most of the evening in the company of some very friendly, chatty and talented ladies. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
What did I do in the virtual Chookshed?
First I cut and prepared the stitchery pieces for this months I Stitch block. 
No pics sorry, nothing much to see yet anyway. I plan to make a start on stitching them later today.
Next I sorted and cut the pink fabrics for this months RSC. But didn't sew them together.
Then, I swapped rooms and tried to cross stitch, but I was distracted by the conversation and all the images of lovely projects both in progress and finished. So many inspiring quilts.
I put away my cross stitch and settled with my crochet. I've started a new project, but have no pictures of it yet. LOL
All of that and still no pictures!
What sort of blog is this?
Because we were having so much fun, it was decided that the party would continue into Sunday.
Now I have pictures. 
Chooky and I were first to arrive and while we waited and chatted I put together my pink butterflies for the RSC. As with other months they still need to have bodies appliqued on.
 More ladies joined in, some still yawning with their first cuppa in hand.
I had moved on to my batik strings. I had the small foundation sewn squares all made up and it didn't take me long to sew them into the larger squares, before adding the green sashing strips.
 And then I had a finished top.
I didn't contribute much to the conversation, moving as I was between the cutting table and my lap top, to the sewing machine, then the iron and back to the table. It was nice though, listening to the talk going on and stopping to look as others showed their projects. Raedene's blue stars looked amazing, and all made form scraps she said.
 One last little trick for me, was to take one of the mini charm packs I purchased last weekend and turn them into a little table runner.
Mr H was getting hungry and had made cheese on toast for lunch.
I said my goodbyes and went off to eat.
It was lovely to spend more time with such an amazing group of talented ladies and I look forward to discovering all of their blogs and following those projects as they grow into completed quilts.
Thank you Chooky for organising a wonderful weekend.
Please don't wait a whole year before you do it again. 
How did your weekend go?
Were you at the virtual Chookshed too?

Monday 1 June 2020

Darn It!

Today has so far been a very busy one. We knew we would be in for another lovely day, so the washing machine went on early, and there were still spots of frost in shady areas when the sheets went out onto the line. Then it was time to deal with those chilli.
I worked with three varieties today.
On the left, those long red fingers are our own home grown wildfire chilli. I quite like them, not too hot. 
Then in the middle, the orange habanero chilli. We also grew those. They're a little hotter, more to Tonys taste than mine.
Last of all, on the right, the wrinkly, evil looking ones are reaper chilli! Not me at all.
Once I had cooked up a batch of evil chilli chutney I scraped the last bits from the side of the pan onto a cracker and fed it to himself.
He did well, very well. There were almost tears....
Some puffing and blowing, then sighs of relief when the next cracker came, smothered in cooling cream cheese.
He says he won't be spreading this stuff as thickly as my usual offerings. 
Chilli dealt with, it was time for the Louise cake.
I'm sure there were more than 6 slices.
I think he likes it.
He also requested a bacon and egg pie for lunch.
I eventually got to sit down just after 2pm. Time for a little mending.
Some time ago I ruined one of my favorite sweaters, I was being lazy and leaning against the kitchen worktop, unfortunately the button on my jeans rubbed/ wore its way through the front of my sweater, more that once. At one time I thought I may make it into a cushion cover, I've seen that done with old sweaters, they look good. But I just never got around to it. Then the other day on pinterest I saw someone darning a damaged sweater. She made the repair look like a pretty flower. I don't think I am up to darning  a pretty flower but I thought I might manage to have a go at plain old darning, it couldn't make the sweater any worse and I would still have the cushion option.
 Last time I tried darning was waaaay back in my 20s. I had worn through the palms of my woolen gloves pushing my daughter Kaiy around in her pram, the rest of the gloves were fine and I was very fond of them and pretty broke at the time. I'm not sure where the too thick lilac purple yarn came from, (Possibly left overs from a tapestry kit?) but it did an ok job of repairing my black and white gloves! LOL
 I used a much finer yarn this time and a pretty good match too. It is obvious that I have repaired my sweater, but it's ok. I can live with my effort.
I know darning is usually done on a darning mushroom, I don't have one so tried various items from the kitchen and as you can see I settled eventually on using my small embroidery hoop. That worked, it gave me plenty of room for weaving the needle in and out, under and over threads. 
I shall endeavour not to ruin any more sweaters in the same way, but it's nice to know I can slap a band aid onto them if I do. 
It's nearly 4pm...
Shall I stay here and cross stitch?
Or shall I go play in my other room?
It's the first of June, so a new I stitch block will be sitting in my mail box waiting for me.
It's pink for RSC this month.
I need to start a new secret Christmas ornament.
Those mini charms are calling to me.
And Kaffe is still fun to work on.