Sunday, 23 January 2022

Zooming Along

Our friend Chooky has hosted three Zoom stitching days this month, which has been fabulous.

The first was while we were on holidays and staying with friends.  I got up early in the morning and toddled off to my friend's sewing room and joined in for a little while.  I didn't take any hand sewing with me, so just chatted and listened.
The second was also while we were away.  This time we were in a caravan park in the little town of Biggenden.  I was just chatting away again, when I realised that I did, in fact, now have some hand stitching to work on.
While staying with our friends, I was given a UFO cross stitch bookmark that had been given to my friend in a destash.  She wasn't going to work on it, so it came to me.  All the cross stitch and the backstitch on the dragonfly body had been completed.  It just needed the remainder of the backstitch and putting together.  While joining in with the girls the back stitch was done. 

There was a stain on fabric, but a soak in napisan soon fixed that.  Then it was ready for the next Zoom Day, which was this morning.
This morning's Zoom only went for four hours, so I made the effort to get out of bed early.  There was such a good roll up of girls, from all over the world.  We seemed to average about 20 on screen at a time.  Several popped in for a short time, so there would have been at least 30 participants, all up. There were a couple of newbys, which was nice to see.  This is such a nice group to be a part of, especially as some are not going out into the community very much at the moment.

Firstly, I worked on my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks for January.  The colour is red.  My plan is to have several quilts under way, but so far I have only prepped the blocks for one.  

This quilt will be made from 30s fabrics left over from my Splendid Sampler 2.  
There will be butterfly applique blocks alternated with nine patches, creating an Irish chain........Well, that is the plan at this stage.  All subject to change.

The nine patches were pieced and the butterflies appliqued.  I'll stitch their antennae at a later date.

Once that was done, it was time to work on my little bookmark.
I stitched the felt onto the back to cover the stitching.  After we finished Zooming I made a tassel from embroidery thread, as the one that came in the kit was a bit ordinary, and just added that to the cord that was supplied.  

Ta da!  That is my first finish for 2022.  One to add to the side bar for OPAM.   Only a little finish, but better than nothing.

By the way, the book is one I found in an op shop the other day.  I was quite excited, as I have quite a collection of Abbey Girl books by Elsie J Oxenham, but did not have this one.  You rarely see them now.

Once I had finished the back of the bookmark it was time to find another project to work on.  
Yesterday, in readiness for today's stitching morning, I finally removed the papers from the Ruby Cushion wreath and glue basted it to the background.  I have stitched down the inner ring, but still need to work on the outer ring.  I may just save that for the next Zoom get together. My main aim is to have this completed before we meet again at Scrub Stitchin' in April.

All in all, it was a rather productive few hours.  My main  goals for the month have been achieved.  However, I still have more I wish to work on before February arrives, which will be soon enough.

Thanks Chooky and all the girls for your company.

I'll link up with So Scrappy for the RSC.  Pop over to see what other girls have been up to.

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Swooning Along

My One Monthly Goal for January was to work on my Swoon quilt, to have two completed blocks and all the blocks cut out, ready to just pick up and stitch.
This is where I was up to in December.  The HST and flying geese were stitched but not trimmed and the stitch and flip were stitched and flipped.  The various components still needed to be joined together to complete the block.  A nice quick finish for that block in January........... or so it should have been.......

On Friday I trimmed down the HST and flying geese.

On Saturday I got up really early, as I was wide awake, and made a start.  Nothing seemed to fit.  I always struggle with accuracy with stitch and flip points and they really did not want to play this time.  I restitched a couple of seams four times!!! I'm still not really happy with them, but the fabric would have started to disintegrate if I used my quick unpick any more.  Mick reckons I am being too finicky, which I probably am.

I think part of the problem was that I tried to use home made quarter inch tape and not draw a diagonal line with the stitch and flip.  It was good in theory, but not as accurate as if I had drawn the line....... live and learn.  Also, I was in a rush with all that was happening at the end of the year, so not really a good time to work on this.

It turned out relatively well in the end.........about three hours later....... The blocks are 24 inches square.
Move onto the second block......  I took my time and everything went well, as it should have.  I really like this block.

The fabrics are from various ranges of Bonnie and Camille.  They all work rather well together.

The second part of my goal was to cut out all the blocks.
Done, and all in their little baggies, along with my notes on stitching with the directional fabrics, of which there are a lot.
Unfortunately, the baggies don't fit in my pretty box, so they just have to have their own separate tub.  

My plan is to use quilt as you go with this one and I had hoped to piece and quilt a block each month.  I had an idea for a backing, but do you think I can find the fabric......that may be telling me something.  I need to hunt it out or find an alternative.  In the meantime, I will keep working on the piecing and then catch up with the quilting at a later date. I also reckon I will end up getting the blocks pieced relatively quickly.

Anyway, my OMG for January has been achieved and it is time to start working on my other goals for the month.

Saturday, 15 January 2022

A Big Surprise

A few days after we returned home, my neighbour from two doors up knocked on the front door.  She said she had a little New Year's gift for us.
You could have knocked me over with a feather when she produced the elusive orange mug.  It looks like it has never been used.

For anyone who has read my blog for a while, this will be something you are familiar with, but I'll tell the story anyway........ 

Years ago, at Girls Day in the Country, the mug I was given was orange with white spots. (I just checked - it was 2012 - I can't believe it was that long ago.)  Mick quickly claimed it as his own, as he likes orange......it is a bit of an ongoing joke.  Anyway, this was part of a popular range of crockery, so we added mugs in green, yellow and purple and matching bread and butter plates to go with them as well.  Nice and cheerful to use for breakfast.

After a couple of years, Mick's mug got a crack and we replaced it with another one, as, like I said, it was a popular range and you could find them anywhere.  Then, a few years later, his mug got a chip.  

By then, the range was not in the shops, so the quest was on to find a replacement somewhere, probably in an op shop, or a gift and homewares shop in a small town.  We were rather surprised at how hard it was to find one.  Friends were recruited, girls who were at the same day at Nundle were seeing if they still had the mug, even Lou in NZ was on the hunt. We looked on ebay, (although that wasn't nearly as much fun as searching for it on our travels), but no luck.  This has been going on for nearly four years!!!!!  Over time we have found duplicates of all the other colours and tucked them away in the back of the cupboard and Lynda from Brisbane has found some red ones, if we really had no luck.
When we visited Forbes in October, there was an antique shop with loads of orange items in the range.....everything except the jolly mug!

Back to my neighbour...... She has been on the lookout in op shops, but was looking on ebay for some splayds.  She found some splayds and the seller also had the mug, so of course she bought it.  I think she was nearly as happy as us.

You know what?  Even though we now have the mug, I think we will always be on the lookout for the range.  Also, I reckon we will find them everywhere now.  That is just Murphy's law.

Friday, 14 January 2022

Some Nice Mail

When we returned from our holiday, there was a parcel waiting for me at the post office.  I knew exactly what it would be, and in the end, the timing was perfect, as the parcel I had sent to the recipient had arrived on the same day.  I sent mine on the 10th December and it arrived at the address in NZ on 7 January.  It didn't leave Australia until 23 December.  Just as well we were both patient.

Of course, it came from my good friend Lou.  So, what was in the parcel?
Firstly, there was her beautiful beaded Christmas Decoration.  A red one this year, to add to the blue one she made last year.  They will both take pride of place on my twiggy Christmas tree next year.  Mick was thrilled with the card, as he loves Far Side cartoons.
The main gift is very handy for the sewing room.  There is a nice block keeper, which will be really useful, a cute little bag, a pincushion, some sweet scissors in a scissor keep and one of those natty little needle cases that look like a lip stick.  Oh, and just to keep up our energy levels, there is some Scottish shortbread in a very cute little tin, which I'm sure will end up holding something in my sewing room.

Thanks so much for such a nice little collection.
The next mail, which I received today wasn't a surprise, as I had ordered it online.  What was a surprise, was how fast it arrived.  I ordered it on Sunday afternoon and it was here today, having come from Queensland.

I want to try new techniques, one of them being making a quilt using triangles.  
This is the Creative Grids Mini 60 degree diamond ruler.
I recently saw the Vintage Windmill pattern, which looks really involved, but when using this ruler, isn't so bad.  I always like the idea of maximum effect for minimum effort. The pattern just happened to jump into my online shopping cart, as did the ruler.  I think the ruler will be rather versatile, not just for this particular quilt.  

I have quite a collection of Denyse Schmidt fabrics and I think this may be the ideal project to use some of them.  

Don't expect me to be starting it anytime soon though, as, if  you read my last post, I already have one or two things I want to work on this year.

Watch this space.......eventually.

Sunday, 9 January 2022

2022 - The Year Ahead

We are now back home from our holidays, so it is time to have a think about the year ahead.  At the start of 2021 we hoped that the year would be better than 2020, but were prepared to expect the unexpected.  That was a pretty accurate description, as last year progressed.  So what for 2022?

If I was to choose a word for the year, which I won't, it would be  CHANGE or ADAPT, as I have a pretty big change coming up and will have to adapt accordingly.

At the end of June I will be giving up work.  I will have been with the same employer for twenty years, so I feel that is a good time to move onto the next chapter of my life.  Mick has been working quite a bit this last year as well. So much for retirement.  They are starting to call him "Johnny Farnham" - with so many comebacks. Hopefully, he will really call it quits then too.  We plan on taking a long caravan trip once I finish up, all things being equal, after which we will have to work out our own "new normal".
On the stitching front I have decided on a few goals, keeping in mind we will be on the road for a while.
I intend to continue to take part in One Monthly Goal, hosted by Patty at Elm Street Quilts.  It keeps me on the straight and narrow.  The goal can be lofty, or quite small.  Just set it and achieve it.
After taking a year off, I will once again join in with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, hosted by Angela from So Scrappy.  I hope to make some blocks to end up in donation quilts.

I started to work on some donation items last year, and wish to continue along these lines in 2022.

Over the last two years I have joined Cheryll in the WOOFA Challenge to work on or finish a project, or work on something that you have been eyeing off, or have a kit sitting patiently for its turn.  I'm not sure if it is running again this year, but I will endeavour to keep on with the idea anyway.

One Project a Month has been run for the last twelve years by Kris of Tag Along Teddies.  I will once again join in.  
I always have great intentions of joining in with Friday Night With Friends, also hosted by Cheryll, but in the end it is only on a sporadic basis.  The first Friday was this week.  I had good intentions, but after unpacking the caravan, I opened the doors to my sewing room, had a look and then did nothing.  Hopefully next time.

I hope to work on something Christmassy, but won't commit to a monthly goal.

So, what projects do I have in mind?
Swoon is a priority.  It will also be my first foray into quilt as you go.
My next priority is to make a start on this quilt.  It has been waiting patiently for a few years now.  I have all my suitable blue fabrics quarantined, which is a bit of a nuisance at times.  I am not a great hand stitcher, and there is lots in this quilt, therefore it will definitely be a long term project.  The applique will be done by machine, but the stitchery and EPP will be obviously done by hand.  If I have this prepped, it will be a good project to work on while travelling.  I actually miss having a long term, involved project on the go.

I have a few different blocks I wish to make for RSC. Once again, if I get some prepped, they would be good to take on the road.  I will take my baby Elna Stella sewing machine away with us.  There is no needle up/needle down, knee lift or buttonhole stitch, but it will be fine for simple piecing.

It would be good to have a lot prepped, so they can be used as leaders and enders.
I've made a good start on my project from last year's Scrub Stitchin'.  I'd like to have in completed for this year's event.

Like each winter, some crochet or knitting would be good, especially as I now have my new stash of yarn.

I'm sure the list will grow, as the year progresses, but that will do for now.
As far as non stitching goals go, they will continue much as in the last couple of years.

I would like to continue to read at least one book a month, try new recipes, have Friday Fun Day, go away in the van as often as possible and maybe, finally, get out on the motorbike a bit more than the last couple of years.

As usual, it will be interesting to look back in twelve months' time and see how things panned out.