Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Quilt As You Go

Here as promised is my little guide to how I do my Quilt-as-you-go..... You probably all know this method but there may be some-one who hasn't come across it.. Here goes

1. Quilt all your blocks and trim them to EXACTLY the same size. I lost a few points on my stars here but no matter.

2. You need 2 strips for each section now. A 1 inch strip which will be on the front of your quilt and a 1 and 3/4 strip for the back. The larger strip needs to be pressed in half edge to edge.

These should be the length of your trimmed blocks.

3. Pin the 1 inch strip along the edge of your block ( right sides together ) and the bigger one on the back lining up all the raw edges. Sew through all layers with a quarter inch seam.

4. Get the next block you want to join up and line the other unsewn edge of the 1 inch strip to the edge of the block right sides together. Sew.

The front should look like this -

5. All you need to do now is flip over the back strip and slip stitch it in place.

6. That's it. Keep adding blocks into rows. Joining the rows together is the same method but obviously using bigger joining strips - keep measuring.

This method has pros and cons but overall I like it. I have made several big quilts this way as I struggle to quilt them on my domestic sewing machine. I can see a lot of people will be put off by all the hand sewing on the back but for me it is no problem as I LOVE binding. Very relaxing !!

You can use up any odd sizes of wadding ( batting ) and you don't need a great big piece of fabric for the back. Because you are quilting on small pieces you can experiment with your machine quilting as you're not struggling with a great big quilt.

I am plugging away at my Carolina Crossroads quilt and am being very focused as I want this finished. It is not going to be another UFO for the pile. I keep wavering and looking at other things I want to do but so far have resisted - lol ! Once the main section is done I will look at borders - nothing fancy as the blocks are so busy anyway. I have all the rows joined together now and am just starting to get them together. I have never done quilt-as-you-go on an on-point quilt before but so far, so good.

Onto other things. I have got my PIF gifts posted out and they were all received this week. These went to Julie, Tami and Beth. Here's what I made

These little sewing caddies. There are loads of pockets inside and they hold quite a lot of stuff. I have one I made myself and I try to keep it filled so I can just grab it when I go to my quilt club.

I went last night and our lovely fabric seller was there - I bought these. Yummy !! I will not be temped to use these yet though. I will be strong, I will be strong . . . .

Take care x

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Too much pink !!!

Thankyou all for your lovely compliments on my stitcheries. I would say to anyone thinking of having a try to go for it. So relaxing and such fun to see the picture emerging as you stitch. I have another couple prepared and will do them soon. A few of you have asked for the name of the website where I got the pattern for the rainy day picture. It is . I found other sites but this was the best I came across so far. It has loads of pictures all divided up into sections - seasons etc. There are some really good ones - cute snowmen, angels and especially of interest to many quilters - cats !!! I can see me making plenty of these from here.

On the back of my fabric there was a piece of calico ( muslin ) basted together at the edges. This was a tip given to me by Linda and it worked a treat - thanks Linda. She said it hides stray threads and gives the fabric a bit of body and stops puckers.

Anyway, under Patricks instructions I am doing some work on a WIP - namely my Carolina Crossroads quilt. You probably all know by now this is a mystery quilt. I have never done one before and was a little dubious about my colour choices. Once the blocks were all done I knew I wanted to add sashing as there was - you guessed it - too much pink !!! Now I like pink - as all the fabrics I used were from my stash it is clear that I have a lot of pink fabrics. BUT it needs something else to give it a bit of oomph and take away some of the pinkness. Here are a few of the blocks - see what I mean ?? The dark colours are not as prominent in real life. They all seem to blend together more.

I spent some time at the weekend going through my fabrics and picking out a few that I thought would work. I am doing this quilt-as-you-go and with the method I use you only see a half inch of the joining strips which have the sashing effect. I cut several little strips and put them in place amongst the blocks. I kept walking away and coming back to them and eventually I had a winner. I asked Jason to pick one too and amazingly he picked the same one. He was very pleased with himself about this - lol !

We both decided on the middle one - the green stripe. The only problem was I knew I did not have enough. I bought this weeks ago at the fabric warehouse I go to. The problem with this place is they only have fabrics once and never usually on the bolt. They are all pre-cut lengths stacked in metal baskets and you pay for them by weight. You need to have a good rummage too. Sometimes they are seconds and have flaws in them and you have to be careful what you're buying. I found the fabric I needed on the internet in a shop in Tennessee so I knew I could get more if I needed to. But Tennessee is a long way from Wales and I would have had to wait a while before I got it. I decided to go back to my warehouse on the off-chance that they would have more of the fabric. As we walked up the stairs to the craft section I looked over to the baskets and guess what I saw.......Yippee - ONE piece only of my fabric. Bigger than what I needed and when I unfolded it to check it - it was perfect. Lucky or what ?? I was chuffed - some things are just meant to be. I have started using it and will do a bit more before I show you pictures. My friend says I am brave using a stripe in a completely different colour but I THINK it will work and I like to add a surprise in amongst the mix now and again.

Linda asked how I do quilt-as-you-go and it so happens I've took a few photos along the way so next time I will show you my version.

Happy quilting !!

Sunday, 17 February 2008

I've been bitten too... the stitchery bug. I think we're all getting suckered into this - lol !! There are loads of talented ladies in Blogland stitching away and us non-stitchers have been influenced to have a go. I know Jane has caught the bug too and so has Floss.

Last week I got my pattern and threads to make this wallhanging.

And with a bit of help from Linda I was ready. Here is my first attempt

And here is my second little block

This is so seriously addictive and great fun. Also once the preparation is done it is quick. I can see why so many of you love doing this.

Here is number 3 - now I love this one..

By now I was starting to cast my eye around on the web for free patterns. There are lots of websites with many, many patterns. I found this one too and really enjoyed doing it.

I may make another one of these and use it as the basis for my 4seasons quilt swap for Spring. I am getting a bit ahead of myself here I know - lol !! I have been buying embroidery floss here and there and am building up a nice collection. What fun !!!

I was itching this weekend to start cutting out some bits for a new scrap quilt that I'm planning. However I had a stern telling-off from Patrick ( who is 11 ). "Don't you think you should finish something off first Mum ?" I know he's right so I got out my blocks for Bonnies Carolina Crossroads mystery and that's what I'm working on now. I've decided to do it quilt as you go with a contrasting joining strip. Had fun deciding on a fabric but that's another story and I need to go and supervise Patricks homework..

Bye for now......

Saturday, 16 February 2008

It's arrived !

Just a very quick post to let you know that my 4 Seasons Swap quilt has arrived... It took 2 weeks to get here and I was getting a bit anxious.

Isn't it the cutest thing ?? I love it !! When I saw it in progress on Emily's blog I thought it was great and never imagined it would be coming to me. Emily said it was a steep learning curve for her but she did a wonderful job. It is so quirky and fun and even got the approval of Jess who at 17 thinks nothing I do is cool - lol !! Patrick loved it too. Thanks Emily - it is perfect !!

I also got the cutest little tissue holder too that Emily made me but I haven't a photo of that.

This is the first swap I've done and I loved it and will certainly sign up for the next one. Many thanks to Margaret for organising us all. I am a bit gutted that I didn't do the Autumn one and that has got me wondering.... Would anyone who didn't do the Autumn swap be interested in doing a one-to-one swap with me ? We would then have a full set when the year is up. Anyone ??

Got to dash - loads to do. Have a great weekend !

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Tagged !!

This post is not at all quilt related so please feel free to skip it unless you really want to find out some weird things about me.......

I have been tagged by Julia

Here is the rules of this tag----
1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Here goes

1. I like most foods - I'm not at all fussy but I cannot eat an egg cooked by somebody else. Don't know why. If I eat out and one manages to find it's way onto my plate I smuggle it inside a napkin and find a bin on the way out.

2. I tend not to sit with my 2 legs on the floor. Subconsciously I tuck my right ankle under my left knee. It drives DH Jason mad. I think it is a family thing because recently I was sat with my Mum and sister and noticed we were all sitting exactly the same way - lol !

3. I have a saying or idiom for every occasion - you know such as - locking the stable door after the horse has bolted, where there's a will there's a way, better 5 minutes late in this world than 5 minutes early in the next and so on. Honestly I have one for every situation. Jason is convinced I make them up as he has never heard of most of them but it's just because he's led a sheltered life- lol. I keep saying I will write a book of them and make my fortune. My kids say no-one would buy it anyway - how mean !!

4. On the language thing I HATE bad spelling and bad grammar - I mean REALLY hate it....I have been known to go into shops and tell them they have mis-spelled their signs and so on. If Jess sends me a text message I cringe at the way everything's shortened and letters are substituted. She laughs at my texts as I just cannot bring myself to do text lingo.... I get a real bee in my bonnet over it - see - LOL !!

5. In my late teens I went through a horrible period when I couldn't stop blushing. Don't know what triggered it but it made my life hell for a time. It was a real problem. I mean my face and neck would go tomato red and stay that way for the slightest reason. At the time I was working in a busy office and it was embarrassing to say the least. I read somewhere that a tip was to apply a green tinted cream to your cheeks and wear a pale foundation over it. So that's what I did - religiously day after day. I spent a fortune on the stuff. I have got photos and honestly I looked dreadful - with my black hair and white face I looked like the bride of Dracula - lol !! Eventually I stopped blushing and now I can't remember the last time I did. Strange ??

6. My marriage is based on a lie !!!!! Intrigued ?? When Jason and I met it was in a local nightclub. We got chatting and he asked me to dance. I tell him I only said yes because I was a bit tipsy - lol !! Anyway I was 20 at the time and told him that when he asked. I then asked him and he said he was 20 too. I did not find out for several months that he was actually just 17. He had not told the truth because he thought I would think he was too young for me.... One of his friends told me to cause trouble as I found out later he wanted to go out with me himself. Jason ditched his friend and we have been together ever since - awww !! Nearly 20 years now !

7. I am a nail biter !! I have tried and tried to get rid of this horrible habit but just cannot do it ! I have given up smoking, stopped eating chocolate ( just the occasional treat ), overcome my fear of heights to some extent but the nail nibbling cure eludes me. I have tried painting my nails with foul tasting stuff. False nails. Nail hardener - you name it.... It is not a nervous thing with me - I just do not know I'm doing it most of the time. Now and again I have grown them for a while and been really proud of them. Then suddenly- pouf - all gone and I never even knew I did it.

You know what - this was surprisingly easy to do. I must be weirder than I thought - lol !

Please don't feel obliged to do this but I will tag Anne, Kathy, Teresa, Gudrun, Jenni, Kate and Toni. I would love to know if anyone has the same weird habits as me....

Next post I will show pictures of the stitchery I've been trying.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Tidy for now !!

A few of you wanted to see pictures of my little sewing area so here they are.

I love this corner of my house. You can see the sewing desk that I got from Freecycle and that wretched shelf unit - lol !! It took lots of time to get stuff sorted into these various boxes and baskets but it was worth it. Most of my fabrics are in those wheely trolley things although I keep all my fat quarters in a pine cupboard in my bedroom. About 2 big drawers full. I don't have a vast amount of space but I am happy with it for now. When Jess leaves home though I will whip myself in her bedroom as quick as a flash. No rush Jess - honestly - lol !! Seriously she is only 17 but she has the biggest room with loads of natural light - sigh ! One day......

Anyway onto other things. I was very fortunate to win a draw on Toni's blog and heres what I got through the post this week.

Isn't it fantastic ? I love the pattern - it is just so sweet. And look at all the fabric she gave me too. Wonderful ! Toni is downsizing her quilting stuff and every Monday she has new items up for grabs in her Manic Monday slot. I really, really wanted this and was chuffed to bits to get it. Thanks so much Toni !!

On Sunday I got an email to say my 4Seasons quilt partner had received her quilt and that she had posted about it on her blog. It is Julia at I think she likes it - lol !! I had loads of fun doing this swap and will definitely sign up for the Spring one. My swap quilt hasn't arrived here yet but I'm sure it will be soon. I know some people didn't quite make the deadline but that is ok. I just have a flat nose where it has been pushed up against the window every morning looking out for the Postman - haha - you think I'm joking ??
Have fun !!

Friday, 8 February 2008

All better now !!

My hands are now recovered thankyou ! Do you think I learned my lesson ? Who knows !!

Anyway they are healing nicely - can't believe how painful they were at the time. After 2 days of NO sewing whatsoever I was pulling my hair out. It was like a jail sentence really - lol !!

So once they were ok I couldn't wait to get going. I had started a border on the quilt I showed last and decided to carry on with it. I agonised a bit about measurements and so on but in the end everything came together well. Just a bit of creative ironing i.e a bit of stretching with the steam function on and they fitted fine. I love how this has turned out. The colours on the close-up picture are truer.

When I was cutting the triangles for the border I realised I would not have enough of the dark green with the oak leaves and acorns. I had a quick search on the net but turned up nothing. I debated whether to put out a search on but decided against it and used another different green altogether. I like how it looks. Have you ever seen that website ? Quilters add a little picture of the fabric they are looking for and the amount they need to finish off a quilt. Sometimes they want a fat quarter but I have seen ladies asking for 12 yards plus ?? I have never bought 12 yards of one fabric ever !!

I went today and bought a gorgeous piece of cream fleece to back this with and will baste it over the weekend. This one is definitely for me. Over the last 12 months I have lost a lot of weight which is great BUT I am always cold so this quilt will be my extra layer !!! That extra fat was keeping me warm - lol !

Whilst I was buying my fleece I got the embroidery threads for the Bareroots pattern. I am itching to do this. I have had some great tips already and I am looking forward to trying this out. As it is my first real attempt at this I bought the colours exactly as it says on the pattern. I am sure you stitchery ladies experiment with different colours but I'm playing it safe.

My sewing area is beautifully organised and I will take some pictures soon - running out of time now. My sister came to visit a few days ago and couldn't believe how much fabric I've got. Thats nothing I told her - there are quilters out there who have whole rooms full of fabric and mine is just a baby stash really. She is not a sewer and was not convinced - lol !!

Have a great weekend !

Saturday, 2 February 2008

A break from sewing !!!

For a while now I have been a member of our local Freecycle group. I have given loads of stuff away - computer games, bikes, carpets etc but never actually got anything back. Seems like everytime I was interested in something I had been beaten to it and the item was already promised to some-one else. For anyone who doesn't know Freecycle is an initiative that keeps perfectly good, unwanted stuff out of the landfill sites. Great idea. Anyway the other night I was browsing the postings and saw that some-one was wanting rid of a pine desk. Nothing fancy but in great condition. I thought it would be ideal to use as a sewing desk as it was much bigger than mine. I sent off an email saying I was interested and to my surprise the next day I got one back saying it was mine ! Brilliant !!

Now I share my sewing room with Jason and his computers and sometimes we fight over floor space - me basting quilts etc and him taking pc's apart and re-building them and whatever else he does. He very kindly explains what he's doing in great detail to which I tell him to shut up cos he's boring me - what a supportive wife I am - lol ! So the plan was to get the new desk in place of mine and very kindly donate my desk to him so he could dismantle and tweak to his hearts content and free up the floor - which was not doing his back any good as it was. Because the new desk is bigger I needed to move the cupboard I kept next to the table holding my threads and baskets of UFO's etc. This has now gone to our bedroom where I will use it for 'something'.

I then bought a new shelving system to take it's place and put it together yesterday. It was a flat pack thing that you screw together yourself. Now I am a bit of a DIY fan. I do all our decorating - painting, wallpapering etc. Over the years I have stripped back every skirting board, doorframe and door in the house and re-stained them. I have even been known to lay carpets etc. I just enjoy it and to be honest I have more patience than Jason at it. Anyway this shelving unit was pretty straightforward or so I thought. The problem was though that the pre-drilled holes for the screws were ever so slightly out and as such were bloody hard work. What should have been an hours job at most took nearly 3 hours. And basically my poor hands are in a state. My wrists are sore and I have big blisters on my thumbs and part of the skin on my right palm has been ripped off. Ouch !! It is quite painful - but it is done and today I am going to sort out all my odds and ends into baskets ( of which I have a big collection ) and it will all be lovely ! Jason told me off when he saw my hands and told me I should have waited til he got home from work but I couldn't wait. I have to do it there and then. I would take a photo of my hands but feel it is a little sad and it's not very nice - LOL !!

So no sewing for me for a couple of days - it's even painful filling the kettle for a cup of tea. I made salad last night and it was hard going. Never mind - at least everything will be nice and tidy ready for me to make a big old mess :-)

Onto other things. Last week I saw a pattern on Belvie's blog and it caught my imagination. It was a wall quilt with lots of stitchery phrases and pictures. I really liked it and after seeing some of the beautiful stitcheries done in blogland I thought I'd see what it's all about. Ladies like Anne
and May Britt and many others have inspired me to have a go. Now I've had a look through the pattern and I have a ton of questions. Once I'm ready to work on this I'll be pestering the life out of all you stitchers - just wait and see !!!!!!! Here's the pattern - cute eh ?

I've done cross stitch before but never this sort of thing really - in fact whilst emptying my cupboard I came across a cross stitch picture that has been finished for a while. It has just been folded up in a bag and I may even get it framed at some point.

Here is one I did a long time ago which I did frame and it is hanging up in a corner of my sewing room. This one is a mixture of cross stitch and wool embroidery. I even gave the glass a quick polish in honour of taking a photo - aren't you privileged ? ha.

Have a great weekend and put in a couple of extra stitches for me.