Sunday, 14 June 2020

A Big Catch Up - The Long Weekend

So much has been happening lately and I haven't had a chance to get it down here, so let's make a start with the long weekend, last weekend.


I did very little, which was nice.

I read another of the vintage Maigret books I have sitting here.  This one wasn't memorable, but at least I have read it.  That is a goal for June met.  Yay!

Then, the more important thing - I visited Mum at her aged care facility.  You have been able to visit by chatting through an open window for a little while now, but we had both decided we wouldn't bother with it.  Finally, we decided to give it a go. It was nice to actually see her, after nearly three months.  

The aged care home she lives in has been wonderful and very thorough.  As of last week, you can now visit residents on a very limited basis.  You have to book a time and two people can visit for up to two hours.  Only one lot of visitors can be in each wing of the building at a time.  I will be able to do a proper visit next Thursday.


Friday was a running around day, getting lots of things done.

At home we baked a cake.

This was a new to us recipe - another goal for June ticked off the list.  It came from a recipe book I recently purchase.  This was written by ten local breast cancer survivors as a fund raiser for breast cancer research.  Definitely not just a few recipes typed out and stapled together, rather a beautifully presented book with short biographies on the women and beautiful photography of the food and local landmarks.  It is something they can be very proud of.

We made the Pear Cake.  More on that later.

Friday night was Friday Night with Friends.  What to work on?  I decided it was a good opportunity to make a start on my UFO table runner stitchery.

I spent most of my time trying to decide on what colours to work my cupcakes.  I'm hopeless at making a decision.  

In the end I just stitched the cherry and strawberry.  It was pretty easy to work out what colour for those and I stitched the little circles in back stitch on the teapot and cup.  The only problem was, the colour from where I traced the stitchery was showing through, so I put it all away and went and watched TV.  Not very productive at all.


Oh My Goodness!

What a fun day.  Can you believe I had a Zoom meeting going for twelve hours!!!  Blame Chooky.

Each year she celebrates the birthday of "The Chookshed" (her sewing studio in her back yard). Sometimes she has a few girlfriends join her in person and quite a few of us stitch for the day and use the party as an excuse, and of course blog about it.

Well, now that, thanks to COVID-19, we know how to join in on Zoom meetings, Chooky arranged a virtual Chookshed Party.  Of course I had to join in.

Ladies joined in from Australia, New Zealand, Belguim, France, Germany, USA, Canada and England.  

It was great to catch up with old friends, put faces to names of bloggers I have been in contact with, and actually chat to them, and to also meet new to me bloggers.

Oh, and I may have committed to starting a new long term pressure...... More on that later.

Now, back to our pear cake......  It has been a bit of a tradition that Mick and I bake the birthday cake for the Chookshed party each year.  Any excuse for cake, right?

She's a bit rough and ready, but there she is for all to see.

I must say, it was rather tasty.  We were kind of pleased we didn't have to share.  

So what did I achieve on the stitching front during all that time?  Not a great deal actually.  Too much chatting.

I mainly worked on the stitchery I started on Friday night.

Firstly, I wanted to fix the teapot and cup.  I figured the best way to tackle the circles was to stitch over them with buttonhole stitch.  It worked well, thank goodness.

Then to actually make a decision on the cupcakes.

I decided to use the same pink on one of them.  However, once it was done it really was way too pale to stand out.  So, what to do?  I stitched around it again in a darker pink. (I wasn't going to unpick it all.)  Then I thought chocolate will go well with a cherry on top.  I am just going to use the caramel colour for all the cake bases, as I don't want it to look too pretty, pretty.  And that is as far as I got.  I still don't know what colour to do the third cake.  It may end up being pink as well.  We'll see.

I did do a little crochet on my shawlette as well, but I haven't taken another photo yet.

It really was a fun day to be a part of.  I'm guessing that now we have the technology and know how to use it, we may have more of these get togethers.  I do hope so.  There was another get together on Sunday, but I thought I had spent quite enough time sitting there and had better actually do something on the following day.


I sewed!  I pretty much stayed away from technology!

By late lunch time I had the sashing borders on all of the 100 blocks for Splendid Sampler 2!

This little pile doesn't look a great deal for two years of work, does it.

I'd had enough of sewing by then, so we went for another walk, as the weather was nice.

We walked up the quiet country road behind us and one of the paddocks had heaps of sheep with new lambs.

As we walked further we commented on what a squiggly tree this one was, with funny bendy branches.

As we got closer, we could hear lots of buzzing and found a hollow in the trunk, right down near the ground which houses a hive of bees. If you look really closely, you can see a bee about the hollow.  Funnily, they don't sit still and pose for photos.


Back to Splendid Sampler 2.

I laid the blocks out on the floor and faffed around for a little while, but certainly didn't overthink it.

I figured that the best way to tackle putting them all together was to work on each quarter at a time and then join the four sections together.  As it turned out, I'm really please that I went that way, as it would have been far too cumbersome otherwise.

By bedtime I had the four quadrants completed.  After the first row corners not meeting up as well as I would like, and subsequently a bit of unpicking, I did lots of pinning to hold everything in place.

It's kind of a weird feeling seeing this come together, after such a long time in the process.


I created the two halves before I went to work and then the final long seam when I got home.

This is a terrible photo, but I will take a better one in daylight, when I get the chance.

I started this project on Saturday 16 June 2018.  Here is my first blog post about it.  There was a stitch along that was working on four blocks a week.  I always knew that there was no way I would be able to maintain that and therefore set myself the goal of one block a week, which would mean that it would take about two years to complete. Well, the top was finished on 9 June 2020.  Goal met!  When I re-read that first post I had a chuckle at the size of my 1930s stash.  Now, to be fair, I did find another little stash I had here, but had "lost" when we moved house and then found, but I have way, way more 30s prints now than when I started.  Maybe I shouldn't have bought any and I would have been fine.  I will definitely have plenty left over to make another quilt one day.

There won't be any rush to get this quilted just yet.  I have to decide on a backing first.  I will have a little rest from it for a while.

Now, just to end things, remember I mentioned that I may have been talked into starting a new project.  Well, Deana from Utah, who joined us in the Zoom party has just started to make a Trail Mix quilt.  I've borrowed this image from their website.

There is a free pattern and it is made up of six inch blocks.  I have two tins that are now sitting empty after my six inch Splendid Sampler blocks have been put together.  Maria then suggested they would make good leader and ender blocks.  I'm sure you can see where this is going.  Some of the blocks are really simple, while other have tiny little four patches that finish at one and a half inches.  There would be twelve rows of twelve blocks. (I will make it a little smaller than the original.) If I did a row a month, it would take twelve months.  I have plenty of scraps and a ready made Civil War fabrics stash that I've never used, so I think I will have to get scheming and get month... 


jude's page said...

You may not think that pile doesn't look much for 2 years work, but when you lay them all out and see the amount of work in each block you change your mind. Amazing. Love the Trail Mix quilt, but as I have lots of UFO's and started new ones this year instead of finishing any of those I better resist. Yes, Chooky's Zoom meeting was fantastic.

ButterZ said...

Wow... what a catch up post. Your splendid sampler looks fantastic. Good luck with your Trail Mix. I'll definitely be watching you...

Gail said...

You have been busy! I was going to make a Splendid, actually made two or three blocks but really not for me so that's all I made. They are languishing in the orphan box! Yours is gorgeous and you did beautiful work-not that I'd expect anything less. The Trail Mix is tempting-it is all squares and rectangles-so I'm going to print out the pattern and think about it! Say Hi to Mick and Mum! Blessed BE.

Cheryll said...

I enjoyed your week...very full of interesting sewing and bits-n-pieces.
Good luck with the trail quilt...I'll be watching you and the others making progress over the coming months.
I hope you have a wonderful visit with your Mum too...xox

kiwikid said...

Y9u have had a great week Janice, I think that pile represents a lot of work and it looks fantastic all laid out. Well done you!! 👍 good to hear you enjoyed the cake, it looks great to me!! You are pregresing well with your stitcheries, I think a lot of
us take a lot of time making colour decisions. So good you got to visit your Mum. Looking forward to your Trail Mix progress.

simplestitches said...

you may think that pile isn't very big for 2 years but it is! I did Splendid Sampler 1, and it took me 2 years from start to when I finished the last stitch on the binding...didn't do SS2 but suppose I can also go back and do it...same as Blockheads 1 (all patterns saved), and BH2 and now I'm doing BH3...well I do want to leave each of my girls a sampler quilt, so plenty of inspiro there....

Love that Trail Mix quilt too!

dq said...

Yay, Janice! You go for it girl! Trail Mixing together in 12 months? Ok. I am on board with that. I need to pace myself, and that sounds like a reasonable pace to me. I am already going to love yours more because I love Civil War fabrics. I will stick with my scraps though.

I love your little 30s Splendid Sampler blocks/quilt top as well as your adorable embroidered blocks. I would not pick it out either. Doing it again in a darker color is a perfect fix. Your stitches are so pretty!

Jenny said...

How "splendid" all your sampler blocks are! Congratulations on getting them all sewn together.
And your cake looks delicious.

Susan said...

Oh my word - SS2 looks great - I love the alternate green & white borders...and I spied that SEW block - have to love that one!

The Trail Mix plan sounds quite achievable for you - but a 4 patch at 1.5" finished . .OM MY GOSH...not for the feint hearted.

perhaps the same pink for the cupcake for a balanced look - but maybe a green with brown sprinkles?? You will sort it.

excellent achievements

Hopwing there is another Zoom one day.

Chookyblue...... said...

wow SS looks great well done on getting it together.....thanks for the birthday cake.....looked great once again and then best weigh watchers cake I can get.......
I zoomed for 15hrs sat.....not so long on Sunday but it was so much fun and so easy.......the group was great together......yes we will be doing another one.....
Goodluck with trail mix I do think it is lovely..........and hope all is well with your mum and you have enjoyed a visit......that has been very hard for aged care but I understand....there risks are so high was we see.......

Michelle Ridgway said...

Oh my that was a full week! SS2 looks fab and lovely remedy for your teapot stitchery. Your Mum must be so glad to have a visit again. Thanks for sharing your great week x

White Rose said...

Hi Janice wow great post ,lots have been happening I love your blocks a lot of work has gone into them ,well done. Great that you got to catch up with chooky by zoom and lovely that you can catch up with your mum soon,take care xx

loulee said...

You finished SS2 on Jiffy and Faiths Birthday!!It must feel like a great milestone to have it as a completed top.
Trail mix is going to be another interesting one to watch from the side lines. And you're right, the perfect use for those empty tins.
The zoom party, or virtual Chookshed as I called it was great fun and I look forward to another one.

Patty said...

Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and congrats on your finish.

Kim said...

Your Splendid Sampler 2 is truly gorgeous! What a lot of well done work!