Thursday, 31 July 2008

School holidays

Now the kids have broken up from school for their 6 week break my time is not my own. Jess has a part-time job in a supermarket a couple of miles away and she is doing extra hours in order to save up for a car. In the meantime I'm ferrying her back and to as the bus times never seem to fit in with her shifts. Also as we're not going away this year we've been having a few days out here and there. We went into Liverpool last week to see the Tall ships sail away - heading for Norway I believe. They were very impressive but the journey home was terrible. What should have taken us about 50 minutes took over 3 hours :- ( The police had cordoned off some of the roads ( very badly ) and they did an appalling job of filtering the cars from the car parks into the main stream of traffic. It was hot being stuck in the car and quite spoilt the day. I think I drove Jason and Patrick mad by continually mentioning how much hand-piecing I could have got done while stuck in queues - lol !

Anyway, this week I have also been doing something of a spring clean - better late than never. Got rid of loads of kids clothes and toys etc and even sorted out my own wardrobe. In my cleaning frenzy I rescued this

It was on my bedside cabinet buried under so much c**p you wouldn't believe. It was so dusty and covered with bits of cotton as I quite often sew in bed - lol ! It is reverse applique and is the one and only time I have done this. To be honest I didn't want to wash it as I'm not sure how well it will hold up so I sponged it and used my lint roller and got it looking ok again. I think I will put it on my quilt wall.

I have started a couple of little things this week but have no pictures as yet. I have also been a good girl and am making headway on a UFO.

Last year I made these blocks

They were to be made into a quillow for Patrick. I looked back in my blog and found this photo along with a statement saying it would be done for Christmas 2007. . . . . . Patrick knew I was making this and every so often he will ask how it's coming along. erm . . . The trouble was once the blocks were sewn together I didn't like it and came to a screeching halt. However Patrick really likes it and as much as I have tried to persuade him it is horrible - lol - he still insists he wants it done. Wretched child ! And you know what after doing a bit more on it and using a border fabric that Patrick chose I actually quite like it again so there you go. I will show pictures in next post as I'm running out of time - again ! One of my friends is going through a major upheaval and I'm spending time with her. She is very sad but hopefully things will improve for her soon. I'm just providing a shoulder to cry on just now.

Have a good weekend and hope you all get lots done. xx

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Can't believe it !

I just can't - really !!!!

I'll start at the beginning. This year I have a big birthday. I will be 40 !! My best friend Jacqui who I met in primary school when I was 4 years old will obviously be 40 too . So I decided quite some time ago that this momentous occasion calls for a quilt - what else - lol ! She lives far away from me just now but we are still as close as we ever were. You know when you can just pick up a conversation months later as if you were just speaking that same day.

Anyway Jacqui is a Television producer and her husband is Chief Harbour master for one of the Scottish rivers so they are very well-off financially and thus I never quite know what to buy for them for Christmas etc as they have everything. Aha - except a quilt !!!

It struck me last week that if I don't want to be busting a gut a day before I need to post this quilt I should really get started . Just a few minor decisions of what fabrics to use, patterns and such - you know little details like that - lol. I have in my stash a small collection of beautiful batiks which are so lovely they come into the " too nice to cut " category. These were bought gradually over time and have been sitting patiently folded nicely and looking gorgeous. BUT seeing as she is my very best friend and I knew they are just her type of thing ( at least I sincerely hope so ) I actually cut them ! ! That's the bit I can't believe. Not quite as painful as I thought but a bit of a wrench nevertheless.. Only a quilter could understand this.

Because they are so luscious I didn't do anything too complicated to let the fabrics do the talking. What do you think ?

I have worked my socks off on this one and even when distracted by thoughts of other quilts and bags etc I carried on - ignoring the dust and other trivial matters - lol ! I have about 4 weeks to get this quilted, bound and labelled before it needs to be posted. Whats the betting I am still hand stitching the binding down the day before ? It has come out well I think. In real life the colours are much richer and vibrant. Should suit Jacqui down to the ground ! You see that fabric I used for the setting triangles - that was my most expensive fabric - it cost £11 ( $22 ) a metre.

Also this week I learned my pincushions had reached my partner. I was getting a bit concerned as I had not heard if they had arrived but there was some mix up over emails I think. I made 2 - Mr and Mrs. I hope Janell liked them.

Here also is the little gift bag I made for Patricks teacher. Patrick chose the fabrics. With a pair of gold earrings and a bit of wrapping paper it made a nice gift and Patrick said she loved it.

It's hot here today and I'm flagging with the heat. Summer is NOT my favourite time of year. If I have a spurt of energy later I may get my batik quilt basted and ready to quilt. Then again I may start something else - lol ! I'm thinking baskets........

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Bits and bobs !

Lots of bits of stuff in the pipeline but not really a lot to show. Last weekend I made it my priority to get started ( ! ) on my Summer 4seasons quilt. The deadline is looming and because I made a mistake by using my partners least favourite colour on the original quilt I was back to square one. I have worked my socks off on this new one and I am nearly done. Just need to hand-quilt the borders and get binding. I am pleased with it but can't show pictures as I know the mystery lady reads my blog.

I have been working on a UFO too and will show pictures when it's done. I did get the baby quilt done and actually finished. Here it is - excuse the spotty sock !

This is for Jess's driving instructors first grandchild and the parents are fairly young so hopefully this will please them. More trendy than traditional colours - Jess approves.

A couple of weeks ago I was having tension issues with my machine. It has a setting for automatic tension but was not behaving well at all. I phoned my local sewing centre and it wasn't so much the price that put me off ( though it was quite a lot ) but the fact I would have to wait up to 3 weeks to get it back - gulp. I have a second machine which is great but I couldn't be without my Janome for that long. So armed with this article that I found on the net

a can of compressed air and a can of machine oil I had a fiddle with it. Don't know if it's more by accident than design but it is now sewing a treat. I am chuffed - lol !

I quilted the whole of the baby quilt without getting stressed by my threads breaking and no swearing at all. The stitches are great too. Perhaps I should set myself up a new career - lol !

Now it's a good job I'm not on a fabric diet this week. My lovely fat quarter bundle arrived from the states. I am SO in love with it you can't imagine. I have been stroking it and it has been sitting next to me all week. I don't know if I will ever undo the ribbon and actually use it - ever !! I took it to my quilting club and they were all so green with envy. I saved an absolute fortune on this. If I had bought it here in UK it would have probably cost me about 4 times as much.

Dh Jason had to go on a business course yesterday and when I dropped him off I realised that if I got on a different road on the way home I was only about 4 miles from my favourite fabric warehouse. Funny how that thought suddenly occurred to me - lol !

I know, I know but honestly it is so cheap it would be rude to leave it there. 11 metres for £18. You just can't go wrong. Just look at these cats -

I am sure there is something else I wanted to say but I can't remember and I've gone on for long enough anyway. It is cold and wet today so I have declared it a sewing day. Patrick finishes school tomorrow for 6 weeks so I'm going to do a little something for his teacher. Talk about last minute.

Have a good one xx

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Just for Toni !

Toni asked where I intended to hang my lovely little quilt for the ALQS. So here you go . .

The three on the right of the picture as well as the big 30's one are made by me but the others are all made by some very talented bloggers. Aren't they all lovely ? My little sewing corner is filling up nicely. I have another to come with the 4seasons swap and then I'm hoping for some more swaps. Making these is very addictive. When signing up for the swaps my partners probably groan as I give NO preferences whatsoever. This is because I just love the complete surprise of what my partner has made me. I am not difficult to please and I am not fussy ( I tell my DH that's how he got to marry me - LOL !!! )

I have been working on my Summer quilt for this latest swap but have made a boo-boo ! As I was working on it something was nagging at me in the back of my mind. Eventually the light bulb went on and I decided to check the email with my partners preferences. DUH ! The only colour my partner does not like is in the quilt. Not a huge lot of it but enough ! I have hummed and hawed and decided that if my partner dislikes the colour enough to list it then I should take notice. So onto plan B. I have another idea and have picked out fabrics and will start hopefully tomorrow. Good job these quilts are small. Honestly I don't know where I keep my brain sometimes.

My very clever daughter passed her driving test last week - Well done Jess !! And wouldn't you know a few days later her driving instructor became a grandma for the first time to a baby boy called Ollie. Well obviously as a thankyou for getting Jess through her test this baby will now have a quilt - lol ! The emergency baby quilt I did last week would have been ideal for a girl but not a boy so I plan to do something very simple and easy. I have some fabric picked out and after getting off here I am going to get it all cut out ready to sew tomorrow. Blimey I'm going to get a lot done tomorrow - lol !

I also need to get these sent off

they are the little hats for the Save the Children campaign I talked about earlier. It only runs for another couple of months so I plan to get a few more done. All in a good cause.

I'd best get my skates on - I am off to my quilting group tonight and need to cut out some more 3D hexagons to sew while I'm there. I suppose I'd better feed the family too - lol !

Happy quilting !

Monday, 7 July 2008

Another Little Quilt Swap .

Oh looky here at what I've got ! Isn't it great ? My lovely ALQS parcel arrived this morning from Becca. What a beauty ! It shows up a bit dark on my photo but my photography is not great to say the least. In the flesh the colours are beautiful - very rich purples and rusts. Just my cup of tea - lol !

Here is another photo with a close-up of the lovely hand-quilting. Such tiny stitches.
Becca also had a fantastic idea to pad out the box with squares from her scrap box. Wow ! I've had great fun sorting through and may have to have a play with these soon. It's so good having a nose at other peoples fabrics - lol ! Like when you're waiting in line in the supermarket and having a gander into other folks trolleys. Or is that just me ?
Anyway thankyou Becca - I love it.
I have been working on more borders for another quilt I've dug out and will show photos when I have anything to show.
Enjoy your week.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Borders !

Well Patrick got back safe and sound. He had a fantastic time and had lots to tell us. He also had a shocking confession - he had only cleaned his teeth once in 3 days - aarrgh ! Dirty little beggar - lol ! Apparently there was no time - yeah right ! He was shattered but happy to be home. Not as happy as us though.

To keep myself busy I set myself a little target for the weekend. Borders on this quilt.

I seem to get to the border stage and come to a grinding halt. I think the problem is I like pieced borders and that's a whole lot more work. I have got several lovely quilt tops at the border stage and I want to put that right. I can think of 4 straight up.

So I worked and sewed whenever I had a spare moment and here we are.

What started as a little 3 inch block as an experiment with some scraps certainly grew a bit - lol !

In my usual manner I had cut far too many piano key strips and these turned into this.

Once I get borders on this ( not pieced - I hasten to add ) it will become an emergency baby quilt if there is such a thing. You know what I mean. I had more fun doing the little one but was very proud of myself for getting the borders done on the big one.

I am going to dig out my next quilt to get the border treatment later on. If I get all the tops completed by the end of the year I will be happy. The quilting can wait for a while.