It’s been a funny old time…and it still is a little bit strange. I’m sure that there are some of you out there who have managed to significantly reduce your stash, sewing for a range of causes out there. I have been doing a little bit to help – masks for family, friends, neighbours – and those I have made have been very well received, especially by other foster carers. When I made the offer to foster carers, it was quickly accepted – and I have accommodated fabric colour and / or designs where possible.

Apart from making items to help out, how else have you been occupying yourself? Our garden has never looked so good – my husband that been very busy with the weeding, and I’ve sorted most of the vegetables to be planted. The rain recently has been very welcome, and our cabbages and peas really are taking off. It is a delight to be able to eat things that we have grown.


The first pick of the mangetout

I’ve been trying to keep busy – we’ve made banana bread, we’ve made biscuits, cheesecake, bread – but none of these things are particularly new – I’ve made them before. At the start of the year I decided that I wanted to finish projects that I had started, rather than starting new projects. That it quite a lofty aim (given the number of quilt tops I have that need quilting), but until this time started I was working on it. However, working on the same things day in day out, has taken its toll. It does feel like Groundhog Day, and last week I really had difficulty working out what day it was.

I decided that I needed to start something new, that I wanted to start something new. As I am the one making the rules for me, I went for it. Facebook has been great – there are lots of ideas, and one particular inspired me – Love ‘n’ Hugs from Australia. 16 designers have submitted a design free of charge – and when you have names such as Lynette Anderson, Anni Downs, and Gail Pan amongst others, you know you are onto a winner! Even better is that this group is now preparing for some Christmas designs, which is another free stitch-a-long starting in July. Some of the blocks I have completed are below – I’ve decided that I want to do two of most blocks: one entirely embroidery, and one a mix of applique and embroidery. Even better is that I’m using some threads I’ve bought at quilt shows / crafting shows, that I bought because I liked the colours – but didn’t know how or when I was going to use them. The same thing applies to my fabric choices for the applique – I’ve decided to use my Lynette Anderson bundle, that I bought simply because I liked it.

I might add some more embroidery to this one; the photos on the Facebook page provide a lot of inspiration  and ideas
I’m actually using some of those lovely threads  (and fabrics) I had bought, but had no idea at the time what I was going to use them for!
I  just need to get rid of the pencil marks I made for the hexagon placement
I think I’ve managed to perfect my technique for French knots (it has only taken me about 35 years…)

I also started doing the Couch to 5k programme just before lockdown was announced, and I finished it at the start of June. A week later I went for my first run since finishing the programme, and I manage to injure myself somehow. What has this got to do with sewing and quilting I hear you ask? Well, I decided to retreat to my sewing room, but this then showed the extent of my knee injury. Using the sewing machine pedal makes my knee and leg hurt; just how are you expected to keep your knee elevated higher than your heart? As for using my sewing machine – well, yes, I know I could use the start and stop button on it, but I’ve not got used to that feature yet (despite having the machine for more than 12 years), so I thought that I would try using my other foot on the pedal. Have any of you tried this? It feels so very strange – I suppose that is the result of using the right foot for the accelerator in the car. Still, at the moment I am going to have to persevere, no matter how difficult it is to get used to. Does the adjective ‘ambidextrous’ apply to feet too?

Proof I finished the training
My current view (total rest has been advised by the doctor, as it has been 3 weeks since I hurt it)

It has been suggested that those of us who blog think about what the trends may be for the next year. As sewing machines have been in great demand, I think we can expect to see a lot of handmade gifts, and a lot more ‘make do and mend’. I think this will be due to the abundance of ideas on Pinterest and Facebook, the limited means that people have due to being furloughed, and ideas from the Great British Sewing Bee. Of course, I could be entirely wrong about this…only time will tell. It would not surprise me at all to see more fabric lines featuring rainbows – such designs are already popular, but I think there will be an abundance of them coming, and possibly more ranges featuring hearts, hugs, and caring motifs. Each virus and bacterium has its own unique shape (so I believe; again, I could be wrong about this, but if they all look the same, how can you tell them apart??) – so we shouldn’t be surprised to see such shapes appearing in designs; whether they will be included intentionally, or we will ‘see’ them in patterns remains to be seen.