Saturday, 1 March 2014

March did that happen?!

I didn't intend to leave such a gap between blog posts but when you're spending more time asleep than awake it's hard to find time to do very much at all, let alone write a blog post.  Enough of that, let's get started, shall we?!

Have I told you I joined Bee A Brit Stingy?  There was a space available for 2014 and I decided to take the plunge and become a full member, rather than just helping out with admin and cheering from the sidelines.  I was concerned about whether I'd manage to make the equivalent of two 12" blocks each month as my sewing time is variable and my sewing machine time is extremely limited most of the time* but I decided to give it a whirl.

* To any new readers who are wondering why this is: I have M.E. and so have limited energy to spend on all aspects of my life as well as having to recover from any physical or mental activity by resting.  I find machine sewing very tiring so only attempt it on an afternoon but I often spend the whole afternoon asleep which means that days/weeks can go by without me managing to take the cover off my machine - I do most of my sewing by hand as I love hand sewing and it's also a lot less tiring for me.

In January, Lucy asked for two butterfly blocks (we had a choice of two blocks) and, after seeing one of the options, I asked if I could redraft the pattern (I removed a couple of seams) and hand piece it as I knew there would be no way I'd get two machine blocks done in the month (I was spectacularly tired!), no matter how straightforward they were.  These are my contribution to Lucy's eldest daughter's 'big girl' quilt:

Two butterflies for Lucy
For more details about the block pattern, please go to Lucy's post introducing her choices.

In February, Emily asked for two log cabin blocks and Sheila kindly emailed me the foundation piecing templates after learning I was going to draft the blocks with a ruler and several pieces of A3 paper (I knew FPP would be an easy way of ensuring the blocks finished square and at the right size but don't have EQ so was going to draft the old-fashioned way!) and I made these:

Two log cabin blocks for Emily
Elisheva, can you spot some of the lovely text fabric you sent me?!

This month it's Sheila's turn to be Queen Bee and she's asked us to make some mini blocks that she can stitch into dolly quilts for her granddaughter's dolly bed so it's like the bed in 'The Princess And The Pea' - I'll let you know how I get on!

I managed to accidentally start something new:

Embroidery on 28 count evenweave
Can you tell what it is yet?!

It'll be turned into a cushion once it's finished - it's worked on 28 count evenweave (this is the first time I've used it and I much prefer it to Aida!).  I've had to make a couple of adjustments to the pattern (changed the spelling of 'fibres' so it was the UK spelling rather than the US spelling and changed a couple of 'r's so they were lower-case rather than upper-case - I can't stand upper-case letters in the middle of words...ever the teacher!!)

I have finished something, though.  It's even something that's on my (badly photographed) FAL list for this quarter (I'll wait here while you go and marvel at my poor photography).  It's the hat - would you like to see it on?

Do I really have to wear this?  I feel like a right plonker.

Well you didn't really expect a photo of me wearing it, did you?!  (Despite being told by everyone that's seen me in my slouch hat that I'm talking nonsense, I'm still not entirely convinced that it doesn't make me look like Compo!) I'm hoping to have another finish by the end of the quarter as I've started lining the (very long) handle for the crocheted bag and hope to have it attached by the time we have to account for ourselves.  I'm not doing so well on the other two items on the list.  The bag is still just a pile of fabric and after a brief spurt of quilting energy I've come to a complete halt on the other project:

DP progress
Yes, I did use rather a lot of pins when I was layering - I wasn't sure how many would be removed as I marked the lines so put in (a lot!) extra, just in case!

I think I have another thirty-six lines to quilt (I'm quilting a 3" grid) so it'll be a while before it's finished!

In the next few weeks my back garden is going to be overhauled so that I can manage it myself.  It currently looks like this:

Garden at the end of February

It hasn't always looked like such a wasteland but the grass has been killed and all but two of the plants (I've kept a climbing rose and a Japanese maple in the ground as I'm particularly attached to them and didn't want to risk losing them!) have been dug up and saved (you can see some of them in the next photo) or removed.  I'm hoping that by the next time I blog I'll be the owner of a garden that's partly planted (I'm going to potter round and do the easy planting myself) and easily managed!

I thought you said we were going for a walk?

Archie has been honing his already expert skills: eating, walking (otherwise known as an opportunity to search for food that's been left by the food fairy), sleeping and snoring.  He's excelling in all of these but would like more practise in the first and wouldn't turn down extra walks!  Those of you who know Archie will know that he likes to snuggle under his bed by making a cave and tucking his bed (summer-weight duvets) around him.  I don't quite know how he managed it but here's an Archie cave without its occupant:

Sorry it's blurry - I was trying to take the photo before Archie came back and laid on it/destroyed it!

Archie had his fourteenth birthday and got a giant chew stick as a treat:

Is it really all for me?
He hasn't finished it yet (I decided that half was quite enough for one day!) but he'll get the other half very soon!

Thanks for popping in and putting up with my waffle (assuming you've got this far!).  I'm linking up, as ever, to Fresh Sewing Day at Lily's Quilts - why not pop over and see what everyone else has been up to?
Lily's Quilts

P.S.  Have you made some 'Soy Amado' blocks for Alison's appeal?  I'm going to attempt to make some this month.  If you don't already know about this appeal, please visit this page on Alison's blog for more details and help if you can.  Thank you!

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