Sewing room update

This is a very cold winter and we have found that heating this old house is turning out to be a very expensive experience. We mostly use a woodburner upstairs, which means it is lovely and warm there and still freezing cold downstairs. It is the same on the days we decide to use the heat pump instead of making a fire, but although the heat pump does the job upstairs it is very expensive to run

At first we considered installing a heat pump downstairs too, but when my husband retires we will be on a limited income and definitely would not be able to afford to run it upstairs and downstairs, it will simply be too expensive

So we decided to get a second woodburner downstairs in my sewing room. Of course I am very happy about this because the is my ‘hang out’ space with all my needlework stuff, a comfy chair, television, books and sewing machines and fabric. A very expensive one-off expense, but the payoff will be cheaper living costs in future winters.

The negative is that, because the sewing room is downstairs, immediately below the lounge, the flue had to be channeled through the lounge and we now have this big round black pipe running through the lounge area. On the positive side – when the woodburner is going downstairs the lounge will automatically be heated a little bit too. And because heat rises this could mean that we will only have to light both fires on extremely cold days. Or that is the theory 🙂

Does it look good with a flue running through the lounge, where there is already a woodburner? No, not necessarily, but we have to heat this place to have a comfortable and affordable life and the sacrifice had to be made. If this is where we will be in the future we had to do something about heating it and this was a good solution. I even think it could be a positive point when we eventually sell the place as it would suit a big family and they can use the sewing room as a children’s place. There are still plenty of other bedrooms left to fill with said children

I love my sewing room even more now as I can see myself all snug and warm, sitting in my chair with hand sewing, in front of the fire, watching perfectly good rubbish on the tv. With the cats enjoying the warmth with me (the sewing room turned out to be a ‘no man, no dog’ area)

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We will be hanging blinds in the window next to the woodburner as curtains could be a fire hazard.

The woodburner wiil not be used this winter as I am leaving for my trip to see the children in 3 sleeps’ time. Still can’t believe this is happening as it was a very late-minute decision to take the trip now. Friday we will drive over to Christchurch we the airport is (about 3 hours over the Southern Alps), then fly to Sydney, then Hong Kong and at this stage it seems Japan! After a few weeks in Japan and then Hong Kong it could maybe be New York, before leaving for Canada to visit my daughter. According to her I will be there for at least a month

I am potentially planning a little detour when in New York – maybe fly to Tampa, Florida and surprise an old primary school friends who lives there. We haven’t seen each other for nearly 50 years and I think it could be time for a catch up. We’ll see if this plan comes together

I have packed some hand appliqué blocks to sew a my daughter’s. This is for a cat quilt I was tempted to make. Once a month a block is released of this mystery quilt (The Little Red Hen’s Wooly Mysteries)  and the layout will be released in December. Seven blocks have been released already but I joined quite late and haven’t made a single block yet. In preparation to my trip I prepared all seven blocks, packed thread and needles and hope to come back home with completed blocks. The face details will be embroidered and the plan is to use small buttons for the eyes (Can’t believe I am making ANOTHER quilt!!!!!!)

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In the meantime I am up to date with the Splendid Sampler and the Sweetest Little Things QAL’s. I have made all the blocks released up to date. When I come back there will be two Sweetest Little Things blocks to make and quite a few for the Splendid Sampler.

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Cat quilt done

The cat quilt is done, and it even comes with authentic cat hair! It is lovely and warm with the cuddly minky backing. I had to order the fabric for the backing online and, of course, did it without measuring the quilt first. It was a huge relief when it was just enough! I am planning to use the quilt as it is freezing cold here in New Zealand. We are definitely experiencing a very cold winter this year

Also had a lazy day in front of the embroidery machine today. Decided to make myself a needlework bag. The eight blocks which will be used for the front of the bag are all completed and ready to be turned into a bag. And because I am making it for myself I could go into blue overload!img_0582.jpg

2018 – the year of quilting

It is funny how I suddenly find myself in the middle of four quilts! The cat quilt topping was made last year and then put away. I have now added the batting and done the quilting, just to add the backing and binding and it will be finished! As with the SS quilt I decided to give it a minky backing. The moment it arrives (I ordered the fabric online as we the closest fabric shop to me is nearly 4 hours away) I’ll finish the quilt and it will be ready to be used. Mollie already tested it and I think it has her approval.

The second quilt is the Sweetest Things Sampler QAL. A third of the blocks has been completed and joined. One block a month is released and block 6 will be released in July. In the meantime I am making the Irish Chain blocks. Five done, eight more to go. I have a feeling this quilt will also get a soft and cuddly backing

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And then the Splendid Sampler QAL. Block 3 will be released tonight. I am completing the blocks as I go, back and front, and crochet a border around each before joining the blocks

I have another quilt topping completed (Going to the Zoo), it just needs backing and binding. I am definitely planning to complete this quilt soon too, it has been put away since last year.

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This is turning into a quilting year, not what I expected at all!

Splendid Sampler 2

Can’t believe block 2 has just been released – we only started with block 1 the other day! I decided to use the Splendid Sampler blocks for a crochet fusion quilt instead of a normal quilt. I usually enjoy making the blocks, but do not enjoy finishing off the whole quilt, and I am not really very good with it. But in the past I enjoyed making fusion quilts. This way I complete each block – with minky fabric on the back of the block and crochet around each block; these blocks can then be joined and I can add as many blocks as I like. With the previous SS QAL I completed just over 50 blocks and used it for a quilt. My aim this time is at least 49, for a 7×7 quilt, but it will be possible to add more if I feel like it. And then crochet a border around it

So here are my first 2 blocks 🙂 The main colour will be blue, with a touch of yellow, green, white and navy; and of course white around all the blocks as well as the border eventually

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Sewing the blanket stitch around the block before I could crochet was a huge problem for the first block. I used the same yarn for the blanket stitches and it was really difficult to get the needle through the layers of the block. For block 2 I used DMC for the blanket stitches – it was much easier to do and actually looks better. I am going to leave block 1 as it is, but will use DMC for all the future blocks. I think this is going to be a pretty quilt

Quilting or knitting?

It is a well-known secret that I don’t like knitting. It is also well-known that I said I have retired from quilting. But I am itching to do something different. And I was tempted when I went on the Splendid Sampler FB group – they are starting Splendid Sampler ll in June. So here I go again! I really enjoyed this QAL when I did it in 2016, and also I didn’t make all 100 blocks I was still very happy with the quilt I made.

So fabric ordered, book ordered…….I am ready for the June kick-off. This is going to be a blue quilt, with a touch of green and yellow

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In the process of choosing fabric for the SS quilt, I came across the Sweetest Things QAL 2018 and fell in love with the blocks already published and, as I was now in quilting mode, decided to do this one too 🙂

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