Saturday, October 27, 2007

Stitch 'til you drop!

Yesterday was a typical English autumn day, cold dank and dreary.

Sarah was tied to the dining room table working on two lengthy English essays - English is not her strongest subject and essay writing is a task she really dreads. So a mammoth session with pen in hand was the order of the day - lots of planning out on separate sheets, amendments, insertion of quotes and then neatly writing up the final efforts.
I vividly remember why I didn't take English Literature to O level at her age - sadly she doesn't have any option. I love reading but just couldn't bear the analysis and dissection of books that this subject requires - after all who cares what Shakespeare was thinking when he wrote The Tempest?
However in order to go to 6th Form college next year Sarah has to have passes of C or above in English and Maths, plus three other subjects, regardless of which A levels she wants to take. Last summer saw the Maths in the bag for her with a B grade so now the real effort has to go into the English. Also the better grades she gets for this coursework the less pressure there will be on her to get high marks in the exam which includes more essay writing but at a much greater speed than she's currently au fait with.
Throughout the day the two younger ones were in lazy form too and spent most of the day in front of the tv or playing on the computer. Most of their friends seemed to be out and about doing something a bit more interesting so they only had each other for company and spent a good proportion of the day scratching and squabbling.
Nigel was bored but thankfully realised that if I am to accomplish my goal of churning out handmade presents for this up and coming festive season (see, I didn't mention the 'C' word Meggie) to help stretch the household budget that little bit further I must be left to get on with it.
Bless him, he'd pulled out some chicken breasts from the freezer the night before so spent the first part of the day in the kitchen preparing a large pot of chicken korma - evening meal sorted and lots to return to the freezer too for future busy days.
Then with the 'bored head' still on him he proceeded to tidy my sewing work surface around me as I stitched.
I'm the world's worst for getting things out as I work and not putting them back again. Mounds of pieces of fabric, bobbins of thread and all the other sewing detritus that other members of my family dump on my work table when they clear up around the house had completely filled my working area up to the same level as the extension table on the machine. So much so I daren't actually machine quilt anything I've sandwiched for fear of catching a stray piece of fabric on the back of my work. I'm not precious about accepting help and he managed to keep out from under my feet so it worked well.
As we pottered away he was very good, just putting things back in their respective homes and amassing a large pile of folded fabric. Now I can actually see the surface again even if the job isn't quite complete.
I spent the day wandering between sewing machine at the front of the house and the cutting board/ironing board in the conservatory at the back of the house - this is what I loosely call exercise! He suggested if I cleared the sewing room floor I could set up the ironing board next to the machine, I replied that walking the length of the house every few minutes is the only real exercise I get and it enabled me to check on Sarah's progress and add helpful comments as I wandered through the dining room.
The sum total of my 'to do' present sewing list is as follows:
Three quillows, 2 female (one flowers and one bright spotty stars), 1 male (tractors)
One I spy quilt for the owner of 'Spencer's Stars' (my nephew)
One table runner (like the one I made last year with flower fairies but this time in neutral beiges and creams for use all year round) for DB & SIL
Three lined baskets one for each mum and one for my university studying niece.
This list may grow if I come up with ingenious ideas for the impossible people on my list, like DF, DFIL and my 17 year old nephew, but nothing springs to mind at the moment
Thursday evening saw a completion on the tractor quillow top
Yesterday saw the first 10 of 36 'I spy' blocks for Spencer. I did think about doing proper Churn Dash surrounds to them with HST's in each corner but then decided that I really didn't need the stress and aggravation of triangles - who does? - and I'm more than pleased with how these blocks have turned out. I shall sash them with the white and use lots of different brights for the cornerstones.
In and amongst all this Sarah broke off from the mammoth writing stint to do her Duke of Edinburgh weekly one hour's quilting with Megan - pictures of their latest blocks to follow in another posting.
This morning I will have to persuade DH back up in the loft to get down my fabric boxes so I can dig out different fabrics for the other 26 'I spy' centres. I'm sure I can persuade him if I agree to return some of that pile of fabric he tidied up yesterday back into its respective boxes.
And last night in front of the tv I managed to make a start on the stitchery for the first lined basket (after a quick trip out to pick up three £2.99 baskets during the afternoon that is)
So on a roll now - gotta keep on stitching................


Karol-Ann said...

A DH that tidies? I must have read that wrong!! Wow! Now that would be a wonderful thing LOL

What progress - I am very impressed!! Well done Anne!

Jeanne said...

What a wonderful peek behind the door into an ordinary day! I feel like I just had a visit at your house. GREAT writing!
Jeanne :)

Doodlebug Gail said...

Wow, what a great DH you have!!! A real keep I'd say. Now, saying that if my DH ventures into my sewing room I start to get nervous ..... he's usually there for a reason (mending, altering a jacket etc).

Anne, the I SPY quilt for Spencer is gorgeous .... so nice and bright for a little chap. And the stitchery, oh so pretty.

I really admire you with that long list of gifts ..... good luck and I'm sure that you'll have everything ready in time.

joyce said...

You have been busy. And so has your DH! I am impressed with your organization and also your exercise strategy.

Andrea said...

I too keep the ironing board in a different room for exercise purposes - lol ! Love what you're working on as usual. You seem to be on a roll !!

Finn said...

My goodness, sounds to me like you've made a fabulous start on the dreaded "c" gifts that are needed!
And help from DH? I think a DH that straightens up is worth his weight in gold....and staying out of your way too boot..impressive.
I took extra English while in High School, but can't say it did my any particular good in college or in life. Strange how they emphasize the need for it ho. Keep up the great work, love the first of the I Spy blocks! Hugs, Finn

Fiona said...

Got to say that the difference between you and me is that I think about making gifts at this time of year and you actually do it. You are inspiring me to maybe just make a couple of small items (better than nothing and definitely better than bought gifts).

meggie said...

You manage to get so much done!! Good for you. I am liking that I Spy, it looks very interesting.

Tanya said...

I don't think I could convince my husband to step into the sewing room let alone would he offer to help clean it! You have a gem!

Jane Weston said...

Well the bit of that post that caught my attention was the bit about the homemade chicken korma. I was just saying to my DH that I'd love a recipe that tastes as good as the stuff from the take away. (This comment was after I read on our Sainsbury Korma's that the chicken was either Thai or Brazilian!!!) Doesn't bear thinking about!

Tracey in CT said...

Smart solution on the I-Spy blocks! Skipping all those triangles in favor of squares will certainly save a lot of work!! I might just take that idea and use it myself!!! Thanks for the idea!

I give you a lot of credit for making so many handmade gifts for the holidays, I don't bother because I don't have the patience and fortiude to finish them, and bcause I know that they won't be appreciated as much as I think they should be!