Saturday, 24 January 2015

Grow Your Blog - Good Intentions

2 Bags Full

Welcome to anyone visiting via GYB 2015. I hope you enjoy your visit.
I had the date for the party post on my diary and as I was having a full week at my daughter's house before the date I had plenty of time to write an interesting post once I had taken the children to school. Well, dear readers, it wasn't to be!

I arrived here in Wiltshire to find my son-in-law burning up with a fever in bed so I made him drinks and gave him Paracetamol to get his temperature down. He looked ghastly but was determined not to miss the flight to Jamaica. The next morning my grandson had a temperature of 39° so he had to stay home from school for three days until his temperature dropped. On Thursday I started with the same thing and felt awful. My husband Mike took over the school run and I am writing this in bed on Saturday morning at the last minute.

2014 was an exciting year for me. It was my first year of blogging about my new hobby of quilting and as I took so many classes and courses there was plenty to write about. In the run up to Christmas I have concentrated more on my knitting and crochet. I've learnt new skills and made many new friends both in the real world and on the net. I also include posts on family life, the occasional book review and recipe.

So, maybe I should tell you a little about myself: I am a 61 year old wife to Mike, mother to 2 daughters and a step-daughter who between them have 6 children. I don't feel like an old-fashioned granny though. I like to keep active and interested in life. I love crafting, reading, family history, foreign travel, listening to music, cooking and gardening as well as spending time with friends and family. I was a nurse, midwife and pharmaceutical rep in my working life. I married a doctor and all three daughters are doctors and one is also married to a doctor so we have most bases covered medically! Mike and I live in the Vale of Glamorgan near the coast in South Wales in the UK. Our house is a converted stone barn on a farm that was in existence 500 years ago. We don't farm the fields but Mike keeps bees and we grow plenty of soft fruit as well as damsons, pears and apples for our own use.
The view down the garden from the house
Last weekend I attended a day course on Bargello with the marvellous Judi Mendellsohn, past editor of British Patchwork and Quilting magazine. The class were asked to bring a jelly roll with a good variation on light and dark tones. I used about 22 strips from the roll and discarded the colors I did not think would work. The jelly roll is Atelier by 3 Sisters for Moda.

The finished top is 40x29.5" so I may add a narrow fillet of red then the brown fabric as a border to make a lap quilt. While I like the finished pattern I am not too sure I will do any more Bargello work. All that straight line stitching was fairly boring- although it did come together very quickly. That is the beauty of one day classes. They provide a taster of new techniques without a huge amount of outlay. Over the past year I've discovered that I'm a piecer; I love EPP and appliqué. I'm trying to improve my quilting skills but I am struggling with my Brother machine and would love to upgrade. I am ADDICTED to fabric and yarn.

A few of my highlights from 2014:

I try to blog weekly or at least fortnightly but I will not write a post unless something interesting has happened. I do not sell stuff or make to order. I quilt, sew, knit and crochet for the love of it and give to my friends and family. I'm not interested in getting sponsorship for my blog and do not see it as a business enterprise but as a record for me and a chance to meet new friends.

I would like to offer a giveaway to say thank you for reading through my blog.
The prize is this cute quilted wall hanging kit. The wallhanging would be a super gift for a new baby or small child.

 The giveaway will close on Sunday February 15th  to give you all lots of time and is open to anyone. I will post anywhere in the world so no excuses not to enter. All I ask is that you leave a comment below telling me what attracts you to a blog (is it photos, content, variety etc?) Please check you are not a "no reply" blogger or leave an email address in your reply if you prefer.
******* Sunday 7am. The giveaway is now closed*******************

I really appreciate your comments and the fact that you have read through until the end. If you have the time please take a look through some of my older posts to get more of a flavour of my blog. I hope that some of you might become good blogging friends too!

I would like to thank Vicki of 2 Bags Full for running the Grow Your Blog 2015 party. I'm sure it will be just as successful as last year.


Friday, 9 January 2015

A late start to my 2015 blogging.....

2015 almost started with a bang; or should I say a major incident which has shaken me up quite a bit.

Our house, an old stone built barn, is at the end of a single track lane with high hedges on both sides. We have neighbours and we are all aware of the dangers of driving too fast along the lane. On January 2nd I decided I needed a few bits and bobs from the supermarket and so I set off after breakfast. I was tootling along the lane when the postman appeared around the corner. I slammed on my brakes and was almost stopped but the van kept coming. When people say that your life flashes before your eyes I have never believed it but it does! Suddenly the van mounted the bank to the right and flipped over onto it's roof. I felt sick and could not take in what had happened. After a few seconds, when I had figured out how to use the phone, I rang 999 and my husband. The van had landed a few feet from the front of my car. I moved my car back a few yards as I was so worried that the impact might cause the van to explode.

Within a couple of minutes my husband arrived and checked on the driver. He was conscious and able to answer questions. The paramedics came followed some time later by 3 fire engines, the ambulance and police. The driver was cut from the van and taken to hospital where it was found that he had no injuries apart from bruising and whiplash. What an amazing escape for him.
However the whole thing left me shaken and tearful for the next few days. I suppose one thinks of what might have happened.
So, excuses over, I'm back to my blog.

I know it is customary to start with a review of the last year but I am keeping that for my next post which will be linked to Grow your Blog 2015 on January 24th.

I've not managed to get my sewing machine out since the van incident. I'm not concentrating well at all so I have decided to do a few knitting projects to keep me occupied. The first one is a Bunny Girl in a Spotty Dress. The pattern is available from Julie on the Little Cotton Rabbits website. I made one some time ago that went to live in Thailand with my friend's granddaughter. The project is a bit fiddly with lots of seams but I love her to bits. It's also a great way to use up leftover yarns.

I used Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Chapel Stone for the body and Rowan Wool Cotton 4 ply for the dress, tights and shoes. Julie provided lots of tips on the pattern for stuffing the head to get a good shape but I have possibly over-stuffed the arms a bit. She is now put aside to add to a certain little girl's birthday presents.

My second project is the Cosy Blanket from Attic24 which is coming along quite nicely but I have no photos yet.

Lastly, I am challenging myself to knit a pair of socks. Despite knitting for years and years I have never felt the need to knit socks but as there are such beautiful yarns available (and sock knitting is all the rage on Ravelry) I decided to have a go. My yarn is the 4 ply sock yarn from The Old Piggery and is a hand-dyed 50/50 mix of merino and tencel in the Petunia colourway.

I'll be having a break until I have to post for the blog party on the 25th. The house looks like it has been blitzed with the various combinations of visitors over the Christmas/ New Year period and it will have to be tackled.

I hope you all have a wonderful, uneventful, New Year.

Linking up to Freshly Finished Friday, a brand new Friday link party at hardknitlife run by Jenna
Also linking to: