Saturday, 29 March 2008

Lucky me !

Recently Dawn had a giveaway in celebration of her 500th posting - yes that's right 500 ! I was one of the lucky winners of a runner-up prize which came this morning. Just look at what I got -

Fantastic little needlecase filled with goodies - love the little scissors :-)

And this wonderful little miniature quilt.

I had seen these on Dawn's blog ( she made several ) and admired them. Now I have one - yeeha ! It is so well made and the machine quilting is brilliant. I don't know if you can see the border quilting but it is a beautiful design. One day I would love to be able to do this... There was also a bar of chocolate but I have hidden that from the kids - lol !!

So thanks Dawn ! Before I started a blog of my own I made a quilted cannister from Dawn's directions and emailed her a photo of it. I was so excited when she posted a picture of it on her blog. I mentioned to Dawn that I was thinking of starting my own blog and she told me to go for it and to let her know when I did. This I did and Dawn started visiting my blog and giving me loads of encouragement and lots of nice comments. She is a lovely lady and I am delighted to have this little quilt from her. I was feeling a bit out of sorts this week and this has really cheered me up. I love blogging !!

Thursday, 27 March 2008

A bit grumpy !!

That's me - lol ! Nothing causing it just feeling a bit bleugh ! Had a few nasty headaches this week too. Feeling a bit unmotivated in the quilting department. Not like me at all. Dug out some more scrappy strips, ironed them and piled them into a basket and there they've stayed. Needs a bit of a sort-out.

Lots of ideas floating about in my head but am still trying to get things finished. However I did come across this pile of blocks leftover from another quilt from a few months ago.

I decided to get shut of them and picked a couple of pretty fabrics to make some hourglass blocks to go with. I bought the companion angle ruler to use in my Carolina Crossroads quilt ( which is slowly getting worked on ) and I used this to cut my blocks - easy as pie.

Here's where I'm up to. Have a border fabric picked and will get that cut out later on after our evening meal ( which is beef stew and dumplings simmering away in my slow cooker as we speak ).

As a lot of you will know Bonnie is starting another mystery quilt on April 1st. She is calling this one Orange Crush. I was NOT going to do this but I have made a boo-boo ! I am subscribed to the yahoogroup discussing this and have been receiving the emails from the ladies who are going to do this mystery. And I have been caught up in the excitement of choosings colours etc so now I AM going to do this one too - lol !! I have been going through my stash trying to choose fabrics and have come up with these.

I don't have a lot of darks in my stash and not a lot of yardage seeing as the majority of my quilts are scrappy but I think these will work. As well as these main 4 dark colours we also need 3 yards of lights and darks so I plan to introduce a lot more colours - purples, blues etc. Lord knows what it will come out like but I suppose that is half the fun of a mystery :-)
In the evenings I have been doing some hand-quilting on a UFO. Hopefully I will have another finished quilt to show before too long but as you all know - hand-quilting is like a man - can't be rushed. Or is that just MY husband lol ?
Take care and thanks for coming to see what I'm up to - I love seeing my stat counter go up and am constantly amazed that people seem to be interested in me and what I'm doing.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Hoppy Easter !!

Sorry - just couldn't resist it !! I am so excited I can't tell you but more of that in a minute. Here is my little crocheted effort. My daughter Jess who is 17 and not at all understanding of mummy's little hobbies took one look at it and said " What is THAT ?" Lol. Quite cute I thought and I enjoyed doing him. One of my cats Marley keeps giving him the evil eye. So funny - he has really took against it... I will put him in my sewing room next to the little gingerbread man Jeanne made me for our Secret Santa swap. He will be safe in there from Marleys claws.

And the reason I am so excited is I have a finished quilt. Yippee. Quilted, bound and everything.

I love this quilt for a few reasons. The main one being it reminds me of a very kind lady - Gudrun. Some of you will know this but for those who don't. I admired a bag made by Gudrun on her blog and fell in love with one of the fabrics she had used. I asked her where she had got it as I REALLY wanted some. A short while later Gudrun emailed to ask for my address as she had been to the shop where they had the fabric and bought me two metres. Amazing !! I was so touched by her generosity. So Gudruns fabric is the star of this quilt. It is wonderful. Funny because I had a few emails agreeing with me and asking the make and number of the fabric.

When it came to the quilting I decided to quilt in the ditch around all the blocks and across some of the 16-patch blocks but I wanted to do a little extra in the alternate blocks. Because I have just started doing some stitchery I have been buying embroidery floss everywhere I go to build up a collection of colours. On Mothers Day a couple of weeks ago I had a little present from Patrick. 20 different skeins of floss in colours he'd chosen. So I decided to do something I'd never done before - some big stitch quilting with the embroidery thread. Nothing fancy - just 4 leaf shapes. The quilt is backed with fleece and the embroidery threads quilted like a dream.

I am SO pleased with how it came out. I think it my favourite quilt so far. I have washed and dried it and it is lovely and soft. The pictures should be clickable to see the big stitch quilting better. I also used an embroidery stitch on my sewing machine which I like the look of.

So thanks Gudrun ( and Patrick ). I am a happy girl today.

Have a great Easter weekend everyone and don't eat too much chocolate - lol !

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Getting close

Here's what those log cabin blocks turned into. Nice and bright. Took me ages to do the border - they are all 1.5 inch strips but I used almost all my bright scrappy strips so I was pleased. I thought I had a piece of fleece to use for the backing but it was too small so I will pick some up next week and quilt it. I still have a load of darker, muted strips left and they are simmering - lol !
I also finished this little quilt. Did the binding today. This will be going to a little girl called Casey for her dolls pram. She is a friend of a friends daughter's daughter - lol ! Originally this was going to be a panel of a bag I was making for my sister but I must have had a brain storm and made it far too big. So little Casey (who is 2 years old ) will have this instead.
I am really fighting with myself at the moment not to start anything new. As the heading suggests I am getting close to a couple of finishes. Won't tell you what but I am really excited to be almost there. I have seen some great things this week both in magazines and in Blogland that I WANT to make desperately but so far I have been good. Not blinking easy - lol !! I have had a little email with Nadine. She has a post about her UFO's that I completely agree with. I have not decided yet whether I will be doing Bonnies next mystery quilt. It is sort of due to start on April 1st. I will see what I can get done in the next couple of weeks and see how I feel then.
I have also been doing a spot of crochet for a change. Just a little item. I would post a picture but at the moment you would not be able to tell what it is. Actually my crochet skills are a little rusty so you may still NOT be able to tell what it is when it's finished - lol !!
Next post will be of a finished quilt I promise - must dash - still a couple of hours til my eyes start drooping. :-)

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Scraps !

I mentioned in my last post I had dug out some scrappy strips from my scrap box. A lot of these were leftover bits of binding. I was sort of planning to make some string blocks. I have never made these before. They are not really my type of thing but I thought I'd have a go just to use up these odd strips. Here is the pile I pulled..

But you know what ? I couldn't do it. I have seen lots of string quilts and some of them are very nice but like I said they are not really me. Instead I spent a morning ironing and trimming down and resorted to an old favourite - log cabin.

The plan is to now sash these and use up the ones I have left in a piano key border. This will be purely to use up these bits so I can get the lid on my scrap box. I may donate this to Project Linus unless I find a home for it. It has quite a few novelty prints in it so will be ideal for a child. I hope to get this done today as I have a few free hours for sewing ahead. I have done all my shopping, cleaning and washing for the weekend.

I have done a couple more of the little stitcheries for the Written in Thread quilt too. I am enjoying doing these.

Not much else going on. I have some fabrics to finish cutting for a swap I am doing with Karen. I did plan on getting these out to her earlier in the week but have had a couple of days where I have felt not quite myself. Never actually came to anything but has made me tired. They'll be on their way soon Karen !

Hope you all have a great weekend xx

Sunday, 9 March 2008

A bit of this and a bit of that.....

Thanks to you all for your lovely comments once again - it was so nice to think of you all rooting for me as I got Chris's quilt done. I went to give it to him on Saturday morning but he was playing at a football match ( he's a busy lad ). I left it with my sister who was delighted with it. Chris phoned me later to say thankyou and he loved it. Makes it all worthwhile doesn't it ? We're all just hoping now he remembers to bring it home as he is a bit absent-minded when it comes to his possessions. I'm sure he will - don't fancy doing another just yet - lol !!

Anyway I went to a workshop on Friday with my little quilting group. The teacher was Deanne Hartwell-Jones and the workshop was Petal folded patchwork. It was a really nice relaxing day - no machine sewing at all. This is what I made...

Pretty ! This measures about 5 inches. Nice maybe as decoration for a bag or a box lid or perhaps a wall-hanging. It was good fun and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. This workshop has been booked for weeks and I nearly never got there. DS Patrick came down with flu and was off school feeling really poorly. All was not lost though as Jason changed his shift for me so he stayed home with Patrick and worked today instead. I phoned up at lunchtime to see how he was and he was not bad. Patrick told me I had a parcel delivered. It was a couple of books I had ordered from Amazon. Quilting books of course - lol !! What other kind are there ?

Because I was on a deadline with Chris's quilt and it was all too much of a rush I have been in the mood for pottering in my sewing room. Bit of this and a bit of that.... A few ladies asked for a tutorial for the sewing caddy I made for my PIF gifts and I made a start on that....

I also got going on the 4 seasons Spring swap. Here's what I've done so far.

I have in mind a sort of medallion type quilt and am thinking about what to do next.

And lastly I have sorted out one of my huge scrap boxes and pulled out some of the strips. I was debating doing a string quilt but I think I have another plan. Watch this space.

Just had to include a photo of my youngest baby.

This is the top of my kitchen door. Don't know how he got up there but he couldn't get down. I had to lift him off - after I grabbed my camera of course. Silly puss !!
Just an extra note - this week is MS awareness week which I have been informed about by KarenDianne. Please take time to visit her blog and also Siobhan's . They have great blogs and are doing a good job of raising the profile of MS from a quilters view.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Brother saves the day !

Can you see me dancing ?? Yes - it's done ! I love it but I will NEVER attempt something so last minute again ! Famous last words - lol ! Finished the binding just now and have added an extra feature that I will explain in a minute.

The top went together quick as a flash and even the mitred borders were fine. Decided to go with 2 colours of border fabric to make a feature of the mitres. This could have all gone pear-shaped as I am no expert at mitres. My second attempt and not as scary as I thought. Onto the quilting. Can you feel a story coming on ? lol !! Picked a thread to quilt with - sort of a dark grey to blend in and started free motion quilting on my Janome machine. Ten minutes in and the thread had snapped about 6 times. I had put a brand new quilting needle in so knew it wasn't that. Took off foot-plate and de-fluffed. Re-threaded and carried on. Still the same , snap, snap bl***y snap. I perservered for a while getting more and more cheesed off. I thought it was the thread as it was not absolute best quality but was all I had in the right colour.

To prove a point I changed machines to my little Brother which is neither a quilting machine ( as my Janome is ) or as expensive and you know what ? it quilted a dream. No thread snapping at all. It is only a small machine really and I struggled a bit quilting in the middle but got there in the end. I am no longer friends with my Janome and have put it's cover on in disgust - think it has tension probs. I am thinking of trading it in as I have never been that impressed with it really. It is great for piecing and walking foot quilting but for free - motion quilting it is rubbish.

Anyway onto my extra feature for this quilt. If you have been following this tale you will know it is for my nephew to travel with at the weekend. He will be spending don't know how many hours by coach and needs to travel light. So, my friend Elaine suggested this to me on Tuesday at our quilting group. The pictures are a bit dark but should be clickable to make them bigger.

Make 2 straps out of the leftover fleece that backs the quilt.

Sew them on the back like this.

Fold like this.

Roll up.

Flip over the straps and voila

How cool is that ?

Chris can shove this in the bottom of his bag when he's not using it. Or maybe he can strap it to the bottom of his rucksack.

I will give this to him tomorrow with my good wishes and hope he has a brilliant time in Germany. I may drop a few hints about finding a patchwork shop but am not really optimistic. Can't really see a 15yo lad in a quilt shop somehow - lol !!
Take care x

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Quick update.

It's official - I love rail fence. Seriously I can't believe how quick these blocks whipped together. So far - so good. I had a bit of a job getting fabrics together that would not offend a 15 year old boy. i.e NO flowers. I managed 12 colours - 6 browns and 6 blues. The colours are much more subtle in real life. The one that looks orange is a nice deep tan. They all blend nicely - sort of a denim and old boots look - lol !

It has got Patricks seal of approval anyway. He is 11 and getting difficult to please. He says it's "mint" - lol ! and that Chris will like it.

It measures 36inches by 48inches as it stands and will have borders of 6 inches all round. Should be just right for Chris to snuggle up in on the coach. I will put polar fleece on the back for warmth.

As the blocks were nice and quick I'm going to have a go at mitring the borders - I've only done it once before. I will try to get that far today. I'm doing the bare minimum of housework - some things are more important - haha !
Oh what fun I'm having ...

Monday, 3 March 2008

Emergency !!

Before you panic it is not a REAL emergency but a quilters emergency - lol !

A while back my nephew, Christopher asked me to make him a quilt. He is travelling to Germany by coach and wanted something to snuggle up with on the long journey. Of course I said yes - I was delighted he had asked me. I knew he was going sometime in March - oh wait - it is March already !! Still plenty of time methinks. Asked him yesterday when he was going. Saturday says he. Not THIS Saturday ??? Yes Auntie Andrea.. OK...

So I have 5 days ( today is Monday ) to come up with something. My sister said not to bother as there is not much time but he asked me and I agreed. And he is 15 years old and I was dead surprised he wanted one so I will do it.

On Saturday I was actually thinking about what I could make him - the day before I found out just how little time I had. I had a stinking headache and stayed in bed feeling nauseous and generally awful. I did get up occasionally to have drinks and organise people and at one point I got up long enough to make these...

I was planning a little idea for Christopher along these lines. I love this block but now I don't think I will have time and am going for a really simple design - possibly one of THE simplest. Rail fence. I've just cut these and after I have some soup for lunch I will have a couple of hours of sewing. If I get a good start today it will be fine.

My Carolina crossroads will have to take a back seat for a few days which works out well as I have no wadding left for the borders and can't get to the shop til Thursday anyway.

A few ladies asked for directions on the little sewing caddy in my last post and I will do that soon. You know when I started quilting and had finished my first quilt ( which is now included in my header complete with 2 of my babies ) I wondered if I would ever run out of ideas and quilts to make. Oh - how naive I was !! There just aren't enough hours in the day. I'm sure you all agree..

Here is another photo of my first quilt. I took a sampler class 5 years ago and instead of doing the 12 blocks we were supposed to I got carried away and made 30 as I wanted it for our bed. Some of the fabrics in it are a bit dodgy and I broke most rules of colour and contrast etc but I still love this quilt. And it is so warm !

Time to stop rambling and get busy. Here goes .....
One last thing - I had a lady ask for instructions for the bucket bag and she was no reply. The instructions are all on this blog - I think they are all in the June listings.
Bye for now !