Friday, 30 November 2007

Where has the week gone ? I've not really got going this week quilting-wise. Been trying to get organised for Christmas and lots of driving people about hither and yon. Next week will be better as I have far more time to myself - :-)

We had the second part of our Dilys Fronks workshop on Tuesday night and she gave some wonderful tips on machine applique. I have not done an awful lot of this before ( neither hand or machine ) but I so enjoyed doing this I may try some more. Dilys is an excellent teacher and I learnt a lot from her. On Wednesday I was fired up and literally sat on my backside and appliqued on and off all day. Once I got confident with what I was doing it was great. This is all but finished except for hand sewing the binding down on the back. It even has a hanging sleeve ready to go.

I also mentioned in my last post that I had a load of cut strips leftover from the braid quilt and was going to make some 9 patches. In between shortening jeans for customers I did a few of these and was quite surprised that I ended up with 50 blocks. Will leave them to mature for a while as I'm sick of brown just now - lol ! Once the braid quilt is done for the in-laws I'm planning something lighter and pretty. Just not sure what yet ! I am trying not to start anything else now til the New Year but that could all change... I still have a few gifts to make yet.

Look at these lovelies

bought them yesterday and am toying with a few ideas as to what to do with them. I've never used plaids before. First time for everything .

Forgot to mention that I took my sewing machine back on Monday and the owners son had a look at it and adjusted a few things and tweaked about and sanded something down and the mysterious noise has all but vanished. He reckoned it is just a little wear and tear and absolutely nothing to be concerned about. If I ever need to go back there I will make sure the son is there not the father who was very abrupt with me when I took it back. I'm sure his hearing was not all it should be - lol !!

Onto nicer things than grumpy old repairmen - I had a lovely pressie through the post from Anne. We did a swap a short while back. I sent Anne some fabric in return for the pretty little needlecase. A good swap indeed ! I was also lucky enough to receive a PIF gift too. These are both wonderful items and I love them. Anne - your work is beautiful - thankyou !!

One last thing - as usual I would like to say thanks to all for the lovely comments. Some people however are coming up as no-reply and I am unable to answer personally. A shame especially when they are asking questions. If anyone wants to email me directly instead of leaving comments then that is fine.

Happy quilting....

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Scrap busting

I am a bit of a last minute person - especially when it comes to Christmas. I am the one frantically racing around on Christmas Eve shoving Christmas cards in letterboxes at 9pm. And I'm usually up til the small hours the night before Patricks annual fancy dress competition. Last year about 3 days before the big day I decided to make a friend a quilt. Yes 3 days - lol ! Never again - I was like a bear with a sore head. No-one could speak to me as I practically chained myself to my machine and sewed like something not right. I got it done and my friend loved it but it was a BAD idea.

This year I decided to make Jasons parents a quiltand not to do it right at the last minute. Not a bed quilt but something they could throw over their new sofa and use when it gets cold. As some of you know I don't really have a local quilt shop. There are a few nearby but they are really expensive so I tend to buy most of my fabric from US or from that fabric warehouse I go to. I also buy a lot from the lady who comes to our quilt group about once a month - she came last week and I got some lovely stuff !
Anyway as the lid would not fit on my scrap box ( and it's a big one ! ) I decided to look through my odds and ends and see what I could come up with. I picked out all the beiges, browns and tans and threw in a bit of red and green to add a bit of interest. I cut them all into 2 by 6 inch strips.

When I made the bag for the SSCS I made a braid for the first time and so the first part of the quilt was put in action. I liked making the braid and it grows quick.

After making 2 long strips I got bored and started sewing 4 of my little strips together and re-cutting. Now what to do . . .

Add a nice brown spotty border

And choose a fabric for the alternate strips. It was looking a bit busy at this point and needed an unpieced panel I thought. I went with the darker fabric after a bit of deliberation.

A quick piano keys border with some of the rest of my strips and there you go.

The colours on this are not showing completely true - it's a lot darker and more subtle in real life.

I have loads of these little pieces left and am making some 9 patches to use at a later date. I've done such a lot with dark colours lately that I am now itching to do something lighter and brighter. I have a delicious basket of 1930's prints somewhere needing attention.. I hope my in-laws like this. I love scrappy !!
I had a really frustrating day yesterday. If you remember my sewing machine was making a funny noise so I took it in for the chap to have a look. I could have took it to a local shop but was told that they really weren't very good there and I was better off taking it to a shop further afield ( about 45 miles further actually ). I took it in and the man told me to come back in an hour. When I arrived back at the shop it was all done and I was told it was sewing a treat. I paid my bill - drove home and plugged it in. Can you guess what's coming next ?? The machine was still making the exact same noise. I couldn't believe it !! Straight on the phone to ask what on earth was going on...He told me it was sewing well when it left the shop to which I replied that wasn't the problem - it was always sewing well - just making this grinding noise. Hindsight is a wonderful thing - I wish I had insisted on hearing my machine going when I was in the shop but it was all packed up and ready to go. Anyway I now have to go back on Monday ( another 90 mile journey and the waste of another morning ). At least I have my other machine which I have now bought a quarter inch foot for but honestly how annoying !!
Anyway times getting on and if you're still reading - well done - this has turned into a really long post. Going to do some nice relaxing hand piecing after tea to de-stress me.
Have a great weekend !

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Middle of the week !

I don't know what it is about Wednesdays but I don't like them. I always seem to get the mid-week mopes. I can't seem to get much done on a Wednesday for some reason. I think maybe it's because I'm usually all caught up with housework and laundry after the weekend when everyone is home - and it's a couple of days before the weekend rolls round again. Anyway because of my Wednesday blahs you are going to have a treat ! Yes - I am going to give you a tour of my sewing room - lol !! Are you excited ?? :-)
I told you in my last post I needed to focus - well it's no better. When I was a knitter I used to buy a pattern ( or choose one I already owned ). I would then buy some wool and start knitting. Every evening for 2 or 3 hours until my chosen garment was made. I would then sew it up - try it on - decide I didn't like it and then give it to my mum -lol ! Then I would choose another pattern - buy wool - and the whole cycle would start again. But now I'm a quilter - this just doesn't happen. Need I say more !

Here goes

In the corner of my sewing table you will spot some split flying geese blocks that will hopefully be the border for my LOTL quilt. I have made a few but nowhere near enough of the million I will need. You will also see here my pathetic attempt at stitchery i.e. the drunken cat....Goodness only knows what will happen to him !

Moving round there is a lovely teetering pile of stuff. The top item is my SSCS that is underway. You can probably tell what it is going to be and I will post piccies when it is finished. Under this is Patricks quillow that I started a few days ago - this is needing borders and the actual cushion part needs finishing off before it gets quilted.

Looking down from here is a "pile". I am good at making piles. This one needs attention - lots of bits for the scrap box here as well as some homeless fabric !

Swivelling round on my chair is another "pile". These are mostly fabrics I dug out for the quilt that started life on my birthday. I have yet to show this because as yet there is nothing to show - lol !! I have been cutting out shapes the old fashioned way - templates and scissors and it is taking time. But I like having a good few bits cut out before I sew so when I get going I don't have to stop and cut out more.

And just newly pinned on my wall is this

Last night we had a workshop at my quilt group. It is a 2 part thing. We finish off in a fortnight. The workshop is with Dilys Fronks who is showing us how to make this wallhanging. It is lovely and the 2 she had made as samples were stunning and inspired us all to have a go. Her workmanship is excellent and we were lucky to have her as she doesn't teach so much these days. When she visits again we are going to applique this ( it is just fused at the moment ) and machine quilt and bind it.

So there you have it - mess and more mess and too many projects in the pipeline. But you know what - I love it !! Who has time to get bored when you're a quilter ?

Thursday, 8 November 2007

A bit of focus is called for...

I recently signed up for Donna's Secret Santa Christmas Swap and have been wracking my brains for a while as to what I could make. Inspiration was a bit low - several ideas were thought about but later abandoned. Anyway with the deadline looming I was thinking I'd best get my act together. We need to have our gift posted by Dec 1st so this week I really wanted to be decisive. Off to my enormous pile of magazines I went for ideas. The good news is I now definitely know what I'm making and I'm really excited about it. In fact I'm going to make 2 and keep one for myself - lol !! The bad news is I got side-tracked and have started another project. Before you all shout at me for my lack of self-control let me exonerate myself by explaining this will be a Christmas present. For my ds Patrick who really, really wants a quillow. Anne is busy making some for gifts and whilst reading her post it reminded me that Patrick has been asking for one for months. Ever since I explained to him what they were. By the way his little party was a big success and he declared it the best birthday ever..

In the British P&Q magazine from a couple of years back I found a pattern for a starburst quillow. Patrick loves stars and indeed has a quilt called Patricks Starry Night on his bed at the moment. Don't think I've shown that one yet. So I've made a start. If this is successful - I've never made a quillow before - I may make more for gifts. Then again -maybe not.

There are 2 blocks to this and hopefully depending on colour placement a wonderful secondary pattern will emerge. We'll see...

At the moment my sewing room is an absolute tip - it's like sewing in a war zone. If I was more focused and actually stopped myself from going from one thing to the next maybe I could pause for breath and do some tidying up. But where's the fun in that ! It's only ever me and Jason that use this room - I've very graciously allowed him a corner of my room for some of his computers - aren't I kind ? Occasionally he looks at my mountains of mess and mutters but that's as far as he goes so no matter...

I have also finished my paper pieced top that I started a few months back. I'm going to hand quilt this and it will go on my sofa as a throw. I'm planning to decorate in the new year and this will tie in with my new colour scheme. I absolutely loved making this and feel a little sad it is all done. As the pieces were not too small it grew really rapidly. I'm not ready to quilt this yet as I have another hand quilting project on the go and want to finish that first. I will leave the tacking and papers in for now until I'm ready. These pictures are not too clear as the light is going. They are clickable for a better view. The background fabric is a lovely creamy yellow with tiny stars.

I'm still working on my split flying geese border and hoping it will work. If not it's back to the drawing board - lol! And talking of flying geese in my magazine search I came across a wonderful flying geese quilt that I have just the right fabric for . . . . told you I needed to focus :-)

Monday, 5 November 2007

Happy Birthday Patrick !

Big day here today - my little baby has reached the grand old age of eleven. Patrick has been so excited this year about his birthday and has been counting down sleeps for a while.

We are planning a surprise party for him tonight. Only close family but he does not suspect. As tonight is Bonfire Night here in UK the plan is for his big sister Jess and her boyfriend to take him to the local firework display while I get everything ready. As you see I have made him a cake and have spent most of the day in and out ( mainly in ) the kitchen cooking and preparing.

As I've said before he is a real sweetie. Very kind and considerate, sensitive ( a bit too much sometimes ) and very, very polite. One of his teachers remarked that Patrick was the politest person he had met in his life - lol !! He takes a real interest in my quilting and loves reading through the blogs with me. He loves Karol-Ann's blog because he likes to see what her boys have been up to. Earlier this year him and Jess were called to the Crown Court as witnesses to an incident that had happened last year. Everyone in the court couldn't believe how well he did and what a "star" he was. We're all so proud of him - so happy birthday mate !

Actually Patrick is responsible for the next photo. He has been nagging me to put a photo of myself on my blog. He said that all the rest of the family have had photos on so I should put on one of myself. Now I am not a good candidate for having my photo taken. In fact I will do anything to avoid it. I never seem to look normal on photos !! Don't know what it is.... I think because I have black hair and quite pale skin I always look washed out - like the bride of Dracula - lol !! Anyway just for Patrick......

In between cooking chicken drumsticks and sausage rolls etc this morning I have made a start on the baby quilt for that little premature baby I spoke about before. My mum has asked me to do this and wanted something small and simple. Now simple I can do but small I have a problem with. My quilts always seem to come out much bigger than planned somehow. It is a bit of a standing joke at my quilt group. I have done this so far.. I was planning pinwheels but after all those triangles I was craving squares and rectangles - lol!!

I love the fishy fabric. I actually don't think I will put on borders as I like it as it is. Also because the baby is in intensive care in an incubator I don't think anything bigger will be practical. Will try and start quilting this tomorrow.

One last thing - got some more nice fabric from the warehouse including this. I love it but haven't a clue what to do with it yet - it just made me smile. Which is what quilting is all about I think - having fun !!

Take care now !

Thursday, 1 November 2007

So far - so good !

Well the Lady of the Lake blocks went together like a dream. I've only ever set blocks together on point once before I think and never this many. I did get a little confused now and then and had to stop what I was doing and re-jig things a bit.

I have a few blocks left over as I wanted the quilt more symmetrical than the pattern in the magazine. I wanted the corner triangles to be the same size whereas on the pattern they were different sizes as the blocks were off-set. That sounds confusing but I know what I mean even if no-one else does - lol ! I don't think I've explained that very well but never mind.

I tried to mix up the colours as best I could but there a couple of places where very similar blocks are close together but no matter. They're staying where they are now !!

I love how it's looking but now need to add borders. I actually like it without borders but NEED this quilt to be bigger as it's for a double bed and I like a good overlap. When I cut out all my blocks I deliberately cut loads of extra small triangles for an idea I had brewing. What do you think of these for a border idea ?

My sort of plan is to have a double strip of these going around the edge maybe with a plain fabric seperating them. Not altogether sure how big my borders need to be yet to get it to the size I want. Where is my tape measure ??? Could be triangle overload - we'll see !
I will trim the edges and work out sizes and then go from there. If I decide not to use these split flying geese - no matter ! It will be the start of a whole new quilt - lol !

Oh what fun we have.

Also I'm thinking I may hand quilt this after all instead of getting it done on a long-arm quilter. A daunting prospect for something this size but I know it will look lovely. And there is absolutely no rush at all because this quilt will be mine and Jasons.
I am going to my warehouse again tomorrow but as a passenger. Jason wants some more driving practise - hope I'm in a fit state for some shopping and my nerves are intact :-)