Blog Archive

Peaceful pinning...


Our little village has been battered and bashed by the storm on the weekend and sadly some of our neighbours have been flooded out of their homes for the second time in four years.  We live on top of a hill, so thankfully stayed dry, and our only damage was a wicker fence that blew away (later retrieved in tiny pieces) and our bird table, which was smashed to smithereens.  We consider we got off extremely lightly. 

I was in a reflective mood today and felt the need to 'nest'.  I started the day by cleaning the house from top to bottom, and after some lunch, and a good walk with Daisy Dog, I took myself off to my sewing room for a couple of relaxing hours piecing together some more blocks for my patchwork quilted placemats.  I have recently downloaded the BBC Sounds app on my iPad, and on the recommendation of my good friend, J, listened to four episodes of Middlemarch, by George Eliot this afternoon.  I've seen and enjoyed the television adaption but it was so peaceful listening to the dramatisation, quietly matching, pinning and stitching the blocks together.

The placemats are a project that has grown in size, and I am now making ten of them - our dining table seats 8 and I have two spares for serving dishes.  Consequently I ran out of the some of the  fabrics from the 'Hedgerow' range, which is now discontinued.  It was therefore difficult to find the ones I needed in the right quantities, but I luckily chanced upon The Tartan Reel, which had the two fabrics I needed.  I was delighted with the service as I ordered them on Monday evening and they arrived Wednesday morning, beautifully packaged in a reusable/recyclable cardboard box, with the fabrics wrapped in tissue paper, complete with a lovely note from the proprietor in the lid!  Definitely a company to use again.

I have all the materials I need now to finish the placemat marathon, so I shall plod on, listening to my talking books, matching, pinning and stitching away...

Donna x 

January Projects

Hello from a very dark and gloomy North of England.  Outside it's trying to snow, but inside it's lovely and cosy here in my sewing room.  Radio is on, the daylight lamps are making it feel like spring, and I am sitting down to write to you about my latest projects. 

I am continuing this year logging all my finished articles and so far in my book I have completed:

My 'Stained Glass Window' quilted wallhanging.  This is from a design set by Anita Goodesign and I am really pleased with how it came out.  I started this design in early December and finished it mid January, so about six weeks work, whilst working on other things as well.

Each block is applique, and the 'lead lines' are machine satin stitch.  I stitched a pocket on the back to thread the rod through that is set above the woodstove in the living room.  I am pleased with the brightness of the colours and it certainly brightens up these dark days of winter.

Next is a baby cardigan for my friend's new baby:

I am not sure if the buttons are a bit close together, so next time I will space them out a little more.  The buttons are wood and are rather cute!  I wish I could wear teddy buttons on my cardigans!

I've also made some small items which I can't show you as one is a present for a friend, who may just read this, and two are trial items I have made which will be Christmas gifts, so I can't show you those yet either!! Sorry!!!

OK, on to current projects that I can show you!  I knitted a pair of socks for Christmas for my friend's husband (he's also my friend!) and he is apparently wearing them so much I am knitting him a second pair as a surprise.  I am taking part in Winwick Mum's Winter Haven KAL, but in a loose sense as I am using Christine's original 'sockalong' sock pattern and some King Cole Zig Zag yarn.  It's still really lovely feeling I am part of the KAL though and I like that feeling of community.  This photo was taken on week 1 of the KAL and I am a lot further on now!

My current large quilting project is a set of placemats.  A few years ago we added a large extension to the house, which was originally going to be our 'garden room'.  However, once it was finished we liked it so much we use it for our main living room, and have our dining table in there, two large sofas, sideboard etc., and our woodstove.  The original siting room and dining room, whilst fully furnished as a sitting room and a study, are not used as much at all now as the 'new' living room is bright and cheerful in the summer, having 2 large sets of glass doors that open out onto the garden.  In the winter the woodstove and soft lighting from table and wall lamps make it feel so comforting and welcoming.  

Anyway, I have completely digressed, but felt we needed some background to the theme here! I wanted to echo the original feeling for the room, as a garden room, and have a bird theme to the placemats.  They are pieced using a lovely fabric collection from Lewis and Irene called 'The Hedgerow'. 

Each placemat features a large block with an embroidered bird, again from a collection of patterns by Anita Goodesign, called 'Songbirds'.  

This is proving to be a very long project - the embroidery takes a considerable time in itself - plus it's like making seven mini quilts (six placemats and a table centre!)  I dip in and out of it so I don't get bored doing them!

This year I am continuing with my sockie scrappy Friendship Blanket, which I making from generous donations of sock yarn leftovers from my lovely friends at Cooper's Creative.  I am using my friend Lucy's (Attic24) solid granny square pattern.  When I saw Lucy last week we worked out how many 4 ply squares I would need to make it single bed size... Let's just say it was several hundred!  Again, this is a work in progress that I dip in and out of.  The tiny blocks are so soothing and rhythmic to make and they are a great project for travelling too.  This is how it's looking so far:

I bought the silvery grey for the alternate squares from Wool Warehouse, and it's Drops Flora.  

I've certainly got lots to keep me busy, which is just how I like it at this time of year. 

Donna x 

Happy New Year!

Hello again and welcome to 2020! (Must stop thinking about the optician's every time I say that!)

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, with time to do some of the things you wanted to do.  I always enjoy those days between Christmas and New Year - ''twixmas"!  There seems no urgency to do anything in particular and everyone appears to be so mellow.  This year DH came down with a cold so it meant we spent most of twixmas at home by the fire, but do you know, that suited us very well!  We listened to Classic FM, watched a couple of Box Sets on television, ate leftovers and simple meals and generally enjoyed the opportunity to relax and not feel as we should be 'Doing'.  I enjoyed my knitting and crochet - I didn't sew much as my sewing room is upstairs and I was enjoying being together downstairs.

DH was well in good time to go to my Daughter and her partner in London for New Year.  With some trepidation we took Daisy Dog with us for her first trip to the Capital, but she was amazingly good!  Sat patiently on my lap on the train going there, and wasn't fazed by the noisy underground trains either.  She made herself at home in their apartment (we took her favourite blanket to help her feel settled).  

On New Year's Day we took her to Greenwich park and she had a lovely time as I'm sure every dog in London was there for a walk.  She made lots of new friends, including Dylan!

The following day we went to Oxford Street and Regent Street to do some shopping.  I had read that certain stores were dog friendly (with different rules, so do check if you plan to go with your dog).  Liberty are completely dog friendly, as are Fenwick of Bond Street and Peter Jones (Sloane Square).  Selfridges prefer dogs to be carried as did John Lewis on Oxford Street (probably as it's so busy). Fortunately Daisy is really happy being carried in the extra large Yarndale bag - the one known as 'Nigel' so we were able to have a good wander around knowing she was secure and happy.  She rests her head on the side of the bag and has a good look at everything going on.

Now that we have ticked over into the New Year I have totalled up my completed projects for 2019.  You may remember I pinched the idea from my friend @judipop1 to document all the items I finish each year.  I only include things totally finished, not projects in progress.  I'm happy to report the total for 2019 is 67 items! This includes:

12 adult dresses
4 skirts
4 pairs of knitted socks
1 knitted dishcloth
5 crochet baby jumpers/cardigans
10 embroidered cloths/napkins/towels
1 bed quilt
1 quilted wallhanging
2 quilted table mats
2 crochet shawls
2 hats (1 knitted/1 crochet)
17 embroidered bookmarks
1 quilted cat flap cover
1 knitted capelet
1 ladies shirt
4 small crochet blankets

I really love seeing it all written down and feel like I actually achieved a lot, when I sometimes feel I seem to be frequently starting new projects!  I am most surprised by the 10 dresses - 7 were for my daughter and three were for me.  The prize for the most random make is the quilted cat flap cover, which I wrote about here.  It's proved to be such a worthwhile make as it has warmed up the laundry room no end, and makes it cosier for Daisy Dog, as she sleeps in there at night.  

I am definitely going to keep the notebook of projects going this year.  So far I have lots on the go, but nothing finished yet, but I am busily working away on a 'stained glass' quilted wallhanging, as I will need something to replace the Christmas one, coming down on Twelfth Night.  There'll be more about this as it takes shape...

I wish all of you lovely readers a very, very happy and healthy 2020.  Thank you for following my blog, for your comments, which I love to see, and for just being there for me to write to.

Until next time, take good care,

Donna x