Friday 21 December 2018

Merry Christmas

It's been so long but I wanted to give you an update on where I am just now, and what I've been doing.

I have finally started sewing again, although I started and had to stop and now I've started again.  I have been doing other stuff though, cross stitch, knitting, and I have news too, a new baby, actually two, hehe!

This is the cross stitch, actually I made two identical cards.  Admittedly they are small, but on 18 count navy blue and using nineteen colours and a blending filament it's a pattern I can't whip up in a day.   I worked it out it takes me about 30 - 40 hours depending on the light to make each card.  I've had the pattern for about 20 years, I bought a magazine especially for it, this one is called Christmas Mass.  There is a matching one which is Christmas Morning.  I don't make many of these, usually no more than one a year, but as Chris and Sarah, and Tina and Stuart, had been married this year I wanted to make each couple a special card.  The first one I ever made was for my parents and Mam still puts it out every year.

I started to do some knitting too, I can knit, as long as it isn't a particularly complicated pattern, and it's a small item, like BABY knits.

Remember Chris and Sarah, my son and his bride who were married in May?  Oh yes, their first child is due in March 2019, their excitement is mirrored throughout both families.

My favourite matinee coat pattern.  This pattern must be near on fifty years old, my auntie knit it for my daughter, in fact all my children had a coat of this pattern.  I loved it so much that in the end Auntie Bertha gave it to me.

Another favourite, I think this pattern belonged to my mother, it's a very traditional pattern, feather and fan.

This cardigan is tiny, and it's a 17inch, the second size.  The colour on the pic is wrong though, it's a lovely shade of pale blue.  Why blue?  They couldn't wait to find out, it's a boy.

I'm busy knitting another cardigan now, white with a little blue, show you next time.

I have news of another baby too.

Meet Maggie, a 1952 Singer Featherweight 221.  I have wanted one for AGES, but I hadn't come across any, so, after looking sporadically over a couple of years I took the plunge and bought her from eBay.  The seller was wonderful, he gave a very detailed description and she was very well packed with the spool pin removed for transportation.  I have all the original feet and she has had the foot controller and main machine rewired, she has also been PAT tested (an electrical safety check).  Maggie is after my maternal grandmother as sewing comes from her line of the family.

I have done some sewing, I still have to finish the two wedding quilts so I can start on a floor quilt for my new grandson.  My midwife daughter told me not to make anything for the cot, in the UK the recommendations are to use cellular blankets only, the ones with all the holes in the fabric.  If baby was to pull them over his head the holes enable him still to breath, a quilt would block out all the air.  So, the only cot size quilt I will be making will be for the floor.

I have made a little progress on Tina's wedding quilt.

I added the setting triangles and the borders, this is with the first border.  It's the first time I have ever put blocks on point but it was quite easy.

I layered it on my big table instead of on the floor which I used to doI love the Kwik Klip for fastening pins, it takes a fraction of the time and no sore fingers.  If you haven't heard of them or used one before and pin baste there are YouTube videos, I can honestly say it is one of the best notions I have ever bought.  I put the pins in first then go back and fasten them all at once.
The plan is for organic wavy line quilting, so it doesn't distract from the signature blocks on the back.  I did start it but it is still a bit much for me and I had to stop.

This has been such a year, a daughter and a son married, a new baby on the way, we bought a holiday home AND,

My husbands second book was published this month, a month before schedule.  Like the cover?  The illustration is by a renowned artist Toby Ward who is a family friend.  There are black and white drawings at the start of each chapter too, lovely.   This is nothing like Gary's first book, an academic book on teaching mindfulness published by Willey, this is more of a novel and such a lovely and humorous read.  It's the story of two springer spaniels who are interested to find out why their owner meditates, and to enter spaniel folklore.  They are assisted in their quest by The Bookshelf who I think is my favourite character.  It's got some lovely quotes and poems, 

This is one of my favourites. 

The dedication is to his mother.

Oh I could go on and on, all I will say is, a lot of the incidences and adventures the narrator and Half-Sister get up to are based on real life happenings in the life of me and my two half sister springer spaniels, spanielised of course!

Oh, I meant to tell you, I had a lot more problems after my last post back in August, it seems a lot of them were caused by side effects to the strong painkillers I was on.  Let's put it this way, I know what it's like to experience dementia.  I didn't know how old I was or who my husband was at one point and I was so frightened.  I was taken off the worst offender and guess what?  It made no difference to my pain levels, but I did get awful withdrawals, I thought I was going to die and was frightened to fall asleep in case my heart stopped beating.  But I could think again and made the decision to stop the morphine too.  It made little difference, painkillers don't work on me.  I then read a piece of research which said after a year there was no difference in condition between those who had surgery and those who had painkillers.  I was so afraid of medication at this point I didn't want anything injected into my spine, or an anaesthetic, so I cancelled the nerve block and surgery.  
I still have pain but I'm coping with it and it is slowly improving.  I can walk for about half a mile and drive about four miles to the supermarket.  This is huge progress for me, I'm taking responsibility for my own health, I have lost weight and I'm looking to do a course in pilates to strengthen my core, and to make sure this never happens again.  

So, here's to a wonderful 2019 to you all, I have a feeling it's going to be a great year.

With smiles from
Kate x

Monday 13 August 2018

Goodbye..............For Now

It's been a while, again.   Unfortunately my condition I told you about on my last post has worsened, I can't sew at all and it's unlikely that I will be able to for some time.   The good news is that it is a mechanical problem so it's not life threatening or anything like that.

The bad news is I'm in quite a lot of pain, it's better than it was but that's due to several different types of pain meds which now allow me to walk a few yards and in the last week I managed to use the stairs.    Oh the bliss of sleeping in a bed instead of a sofa, and being able to take a shower instead of washing a piece at a time, I'm just thankful I have a downstairs loo with a handbasin, imagine the problems if I didn't!

Apart from not blogging I haven't been reading blogs either.  Sorry about that, it's just that with the pain meds a fog tends to descend within my brain and I can't think straight, actually I can't talk properly either as I slur my words, no not like I usually do after a glass or two of my favourite red wine I'll have you know!  I have to do what I can when I can.

The good news is I saw a consultant last week and he thinks he knows what's causing the problem although it needs to be confirmed which may take a while due to waiting lists.  Once it is I'm assuming I go on to another waiting list for spinal surgery.  That's the part I'm not looking forward to.  My doctor tells me there is still a chance it will right itself on it's own so fingers crossed.

My only regret is that I had to drop out of the Christmas in July hop, but Sarah says I can participate next year.

But I have to tell you about the wonderful girls in Bee Inspired, the quilting Bee I have the honour to be a member of.   When I told them about not being able to sew they made a list of all the remaining months and all volunteered to make angel blocks for me, and the ones who didn't manage to bag a month are in a list in case anyone has to drop out.  Now that's friendship for you.  Sorry, I can't add a link but you can find it on a lot of my old posts.

I have to go now as I feel the fog descending and I can't think straight.  I will be back sometime but I don't know when so please don't delete me from your email or Bloglovin list.

I did want to tell you something else but I can't remember, sorry.

Here are some pics of some of the things I have made I really like, only you will have to search for the post because I don't think I can find them.  The ones which are my own have a free tutorial with them, like the Christmas cushions.

I'm not sharing this post at all, it will go out only to those of you who like my posts enough to subscribe, and those of you who get them via other sources, in particular via Life After Money, with special thanks to Mean Queen aka, Ilona, who added my blog to her special list of favourites.

Until then,
With love and smiles from,
Kate x

No I haven't forgot the pics although I nearly did hehe!

The End...........for now...............

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Catching Up

It's been a while since I last blogged, sorry for just disappearing, I didn't mean to be away as long but life happens.

I haven't been doing much quilting, very little in fact but I can show you what I have done and what else I have have been doing too.
This is where I'm up to on Tina's wedding quilt, the front is in three pieces and I haven't even started on the autograph panel on the back.  It should have been finished end of May, in reality it MAY get finished end of July or August depending if I can manage to use the sewing machine.

The other wedding quilt for Chris and Sarah I still haven't started putting together and Postcards from Sweden still has only four rows done.................sigh................

I did get my May bee block done for Velda who blogs at Freckled Fox Quiltery though.
A cake block!  Velda asked us to make our favourite cake but as lemon drizzle would have looked a bit boring even though it is so very delicious I chose a raspberry cake with vanilla cream and whole fresh blueberries, I love fresh raspberries and blueberries on cereal.  You can find out how to find the free pattern for the cake blocks on the Bee Inspired blog.

I have been to Higham Hall and had a wonderful weekend embroidering.  I didn't make any progress on my big piece but I did start another small piece.  I can't show you my teachers sample which is made in calico gardens colours (creams and neutrals) but I can show you my work.
A quilted bear, this is stitched all in needle weaving which is just like other types of weaving, long threads from one side to the other then the cross thread is woven through.  The pattern is made by varying the colours of the threads and the number of over and unders, such as over two under one.  I have since bought a book on needle weaving.
It's a lovely little book if you want to find out more about it, with easy to follow excellent diagrams and it's spiral bound inside so great to have open while stitching.

What else............... my parents have had their 65th wedding anniversary, Blue Sapphire.
Here they are on their anniversary.  They were pleased with the greetings card they received from Her Majesty the Queen, Mam said it was a much nicer picture of her than the one they received on their 60th anniversary where she looked quite stern.  By the way the picture in the background is cross stitch, I made it for Mam about 20 years ago and it's still one of her favourites.

Oh and we have bought a holiday home in north Northumberland.  We really want to move there but it is so expensive so we compromised.  We don't go on holiday much because of the girls, it's usually just an occasional week in a cottage and as my husband is past retirement age although he is still working but fewer days, it seemed the right time to do something.  Want to see some pics?
The girls love looking out of the window, this was taken before we had a veranda fitted, now they can enjoy being outside without being on a lead.  What do you think of my view?  The site is wonderful so much space, and there will never be any more put in front of us either.  I wish I had a sunset pic to show you, it is right beside those trees, fantastic.
 I have some inexpensive Ikea throws on the sofa's to protect them from the girls.
 Central heating and an electric fire, it is residential standard and can be used for eleven months of the year.
Remains of our first evening, the wine was a 'housewarming' gift from a friend, we opened the champagne we received from the site owners Anne and Jamie at Barmoor Castle Country Park (yes it does have a real castle), the second night.

Want to hear the not so good stuff that is stopping me sewing?  I've been complaining about pain in my hip for about a year now, I woke up one morning to dreadful pain from my back to my toes on one side.  I have inflammation in my back affecting my sciatic nerve and at the minute all I can do is hobble about the house, I can't sew I can't drive, nothing.  I have been feeling very sorry for myself and in a right mood.  I haven't been blogging, reading blogs, I've hardly looked at any social media, and it's high time I got myself out of it.  I'm still in a lot of pain, especially on moving and it doesn't help that I can't take painkillers apart from paracetamol, I have some anti inflammatory cream for my back too.  I have an appointment with the physiotherapist in a couple of days, fingers crossed it settles down soon.  It's transient it won't last forever, that's my mantra.

The lovely Sue who blogs at Sevenoaks Street Quilts has very kindly sent me samples of all the new Kona colours.
It was exasperating when they added the new colours so soon after I splashed out on a colour chart, no wonder it was such a good price.  I haven't bought any fabric for ages, but until I finish the wedding quilts I am resisting and after all, there is always a wonderful new range being released isn't there?

I have started some knitting in the meantime.  Now I'm not a great knitter, the last time I did any was for our granddaughter Emily before she was born, matinee coats and cardigans for new borns are about my limit.
This is where I'm up to on my favourite pattern, the bottom is stitched up to make a scalloped edge.  The pattern is very old, at a guess about 50 years, it belonged to my auntie who knit it for my children and kindly gave me her pattern about thirty years ago so I could make it for my niece.  Now I'm not saying I'm making it for any particular baby, I'm not making any announcements here, but with a dozen nieces and nephews as well as our own kids there is often someone having a baby.

The only other thing I have been doing is reading, distraction therapy.
This is the first book in the series Earth's Children.   I read it several years ago and it is well worth a second read.  You know how you buy books which are ok but you know you wouldn't read them again and you pass them on or give them to a charity shop?  This is one of the books I kept, I have lent it out a couple of times but it has earned a permanent place on my bookshelf.

It is described as 'the first novel in Jean M. Aurel's magnificent epic of life on the glacial continent of the last Ice Age, when two kinds of human beings, Neanderthal and cross-Magnon, shared the earth.'

We all like different kinds of books, this one has almost 600 pages and if you are looking for a new book I highly recommend it.

I'm hoping to be back quilting soon I'm in the Christmas in July blog hop next month so I really need to get started.  Yes I do know what I will be making and no you can't have a hint.  I just hope I can remember how to do the linky thing for the pattern which of course will be free as always.

I'm not sure what I will be blogging about next time, I can't guarantee it will be quilting but it won't be what I had for lunch hehe!

Until then,
With smiles from
Kate x

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Wednesday 9 May 2018

Quilt updates and Wedding Stuff

Oh I have had such a busy two weeks, it has all revolved around the wedding of my son and his most beautiful bride of course, however, I have found some time to get into my sewing room.

First the quilting bit, I will show some wedding stuff at the end if you are interested.

I did a little more on Postcards from Sweden, I now have four rows stitched but not stitched together.  Of course the quiltalong by Sandra at MMMQuilts is now over but hey, as long as I finish it I'm still a winner, yes?

So this is it on my design wall, only my design wall isn't wide enough of course, I'm thinking of buying some more fabric and making it wider although it will go behind the door.

Next, yes I'm jumping between projects again, but I really want to get this one done and finished.  Tina and Stuart's wedding quilt.

Tina wanted a rainbow of colours, I have used all the fabrics from the signature panel which will be incorporated into the back and I added a few more, all Alison Glass which blend beautifully together.  The blocks are set 8 x 10 but I'm making it slightly wider and adding another row to the width.   I'm using a pattern by Northcott,  for the front, it's an older pattern but I had a hunt around in the archives and finally found it, the pattern is available as a free pdf.

All the blocks are made, as there are four blocks of each colour, except two where there are only three  as I added an extra ten blocks.   I divided them into four lots with one of each colour in each, using one group at a time I have a more even spread of colours and fabrics.

Once the front is finished I plan on getting straight on with the back. The signature blocks are a reverse of the front, white in the middle bordered by colour and will be set on point and I plan on maybe a narrow border or something and then to set it into a single fabric chosen from those already used, any thoughts on that?

The last thing I have done was to finish preparing the blocks for the wedding of Chris and Sarah.

The blocks were already made so all I had to do was cut 48 pieces of freezer paper and iron to the back of the signature bit and add the quilters tape to the front.  Here they are ready for signatures and messages.

Of course the wedding took place a few days ago and here they are now.  I can't show you all of them but here a one or two of my favourites.

Memories to treasure.

Such creativity.

And as you can tell putting tape on the edges worked well.

You have to get the 'Geordie' dialect to really get this last one.  Geordies is a name given to people who live in the area of Newcastle upon Tyne in England and like other dialects it has certain words and phrases it uses unique to the area.  'Mint' is to describe something exceptionally good and 'like' is used as an emphasis.

That's all of the quilting stuff for today so now for the wedding bit for anyone who is interested.

My heart is full, I can't yet think of the wedding without being moved to tears, rarely have I seen a couple so in love as these.  As she walked down the aisle she looked neither right nor left, her eyes were locked on his and her face was wreathed in the most beautiful smile.  As I turned and looked at him the love in her face was reflected in his and his eyes were full of tears, as were half the congregation.

I'd like to share with you the reading I did at the ceremony, they wanted a day full of joy and laughter and so I chose a humorous reading.  I did change a few of the original words and omitted one of the verses so it was more a reflection of them as a couple and more natural to my way of speaking.  I'm sure you will easily find it if you would like to read original version.

He never leaves the seat up – Anon

He never leaves the seat up
Or wet towels upon the floor
The toothpaste has the lid on
And he always shuts the door!

She’s very clean and tidy
Though she may sometimes delude
Leave your things out at your peril
In a second they’ll be moved!

He romances her and dines her
Home cooked dinners and the like
He even knows her favourite food
And spoils her day and night!

She’s thoughtful when he looks at her
A smile upon his face
Will he look that good in 50 years
When his dentures aren’t in place?

He says he loves her figure
And her mental prowess too
But when gravity takes her over
Will she charm with her IQ?

She says she loves his kindness
And his patience is a must
And of course she thinks he’s handsome
Which in her eyes is a plus!

There's neither of them perfect
But who are we to judge
He can be pig headed
Where as she won’t even budge!

But when all that's said and done
They love the time they spent together
And I hope as I’m sure you do
This fine day will last forever.

He’ll be more than just her husband
He’ll also be her friend
And she’ll be more than just his wife
She’s be his soul mate - till the end.

Here is a pic of my husband and I as I know a few of you are interested in my wedding outfit.

I used the same shoes bag and fascinator I wore for my stepdaughter Tina's wedding in February but the dress and jacket I bought specially.  As I knew Sarah's Mum was wearing blue I chose pink although the background of the dress is dark blue which is overlaid with dark blue lace with flowers and leaves in various shade of pink.  You can't see but it has short sleeves of just the lace.

Me and my sis.

Now for the fun ones.

 Me and my sis, daughter and granddaughter.
 Who said my husband doesn't do fun?
Three months after their wedding Tina and Stuart are still partying with their daughter Emily.

That's all for today, I'm off for a little cry now and to stitch some more blocks together.  Two children married within three months has been a lot to cope with but it may be a years until we have another family wedding so I have lot's of time to recover.

Fingers crossed I should have a finished top for you next week.

Until then,
With smiles from,
Kate x

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