Friday, 31 December 2010


Well a combination of being really busy and having a bad sciatica flare-up meant my poor old blog has been neglected. We had a fantastic Christmas and enjoyed every minute of it. Lots of food, gifts and fun all round. Who can ask for more ?

Without further ado here is the Christmas part of my SSCS parcel organised admirably once again by Chookyblue.

My partner was Kate and just look at those 3 cute santas. They will be hauled out year after year I know. Had to keep them away from one of my cats as he took quite a shine to them - lol !

The main gift was these 2 beautiful items - a block of the month holder and a needlecase.

Here's the insides. Lovely, lovely fabrics - very well made and practical too. I plan to start a little stitching very soon so these will be set up ready to go.

Thanks so much Kate - I really love them. I am also very proud of myself for lasting out til Christmas Day to open them ( second year running - lol ).
And here's what I sent to my partner in Brazil. Denyse got these as well as some little extras of fabric, thread and a diary. Hope she likes them. Had a little fun with the instructions at one point but all came right in the end. Took a long time to make as those flowers are hand-appliqued which you may know is not my forte.
The back is the same as the front.

Over the next few days I will try and cobble up a couple of posts together as to what I was up to before Christmas. Sewing was done including some very last minute stuff - I will never change.
Wishing you all a very Happy and Peaceful New Year and thanks so much for coming back to read my blog even though posting has been sporadic of late.
Take care xxx

Monday, 22 November 2010

UFO - tick !!

I am SO glad this one is done. English paper piecing takes a long time anyway but when you're stopping and starting for umpteen other quilts well time just flies. Last time this appeared on my blog I was up to the navy blue hexagons. I then found this lovely print in my stash and appliqued the whole thing on. With mitred corners too I'll have you know - lol ! That was a job in itself. Then a 3 inch strip of navy added. This did 2 things - made it bigger obviously and meant I didn't have to bind those funny shaped edges. I thought long and hard about hand quilting this but decided it would probably add another couple of years onto it ( took about 3 years I think anyway )

So I took the bull by the horns and quilted it on my Janome 1600p - only the second one I have done on this machine. I used a lovely pastel variegated thread and meandered away. My machine quilting is not perfect by any stretch but I love how this turned out. I am glad I went for the machine option although it would have looked good hand quilted - especially as it is all hand pieced but there you go.
At one point I nearly abandoned this. I had started out just working in rings round a single hexagon but after a while decided I didn't like it. Because the fabrics are pretty I went ahead and unpicked the whole thing. This was on a quilting day with my group. Whilst everyone else was sewing away on lovely new projects I sat and unpicked and unpicked. Took all day and some of the evening too when I got home but then I was able to start again.

These pictures should click to make bigger if you want.
Anyway after my last post when I told you all my machine had been stripped and oiled by me it was working like a dream - for about a couple of days. Then the funny noise re-appeared. So this time I did take it to the repair place. Apparently I may have a slipped jockey pulley - ouch !! Sounds painful - lol ! They have had it 2 weeks now and I am anxious to get it back. They have a lot of machines in and told me there would be a 2 week wait so I'm sure it'll be home soon. I have another back-up machine but to be honest don't get on with it that well. I have done a little on it but am looking forward to using my other one.
I have pulled fabrics for Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery quilt and this is what I'll do when my machine gets here. I will show you my colours next time as well as some photos of what I've been doing whilst my poor machine has been in hospital.
I have finished my SSCS gift but of course can't show photos of that yet. But lets just say I went out of my comfort zone a little and did some hand applique - shock !!
Anyway time is getting on and I have to dash - take care xxx

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Tempted !

Because I have been very good and spent a lot of time lately working on UFO's I am feeling the need to use some new fabric ie. start a new quilt. It seems so long ago that I did this. I have a big UFO finished this week but have not taken photos today because it has been so dark and dismal that the light has been awful. I will wait for a brighter day to do so as I really want you to see this quilt at it's best.

Before I did anything however my sewing machine needed attention. Not the newish machine that I bought for quilting but my ordinary machine that I do all my piecing on. When I used it last it kept making a funny noise every so often. I can only describe it as the noise Donald Duck makes - I kid you not - lol ! At the time I was intent on quilting anyway so I just put it to one side and left it. Yesterday however I was in the mood for some serious piecing. I had phoned the sewing place and they said if I brought it in they would have a look at it. But there was a 2 week wait and a basic service would cost £50 ( I think about $80 ). Now I love spending at anytime but when I thought of what else I could spend that cash on - well it got me thinking.

I had already removed the footplate and gave it a good old clean in there - I do it all the time. Being brave I decided to go a bit further and started removing the side cover being careful not to lose the screws. Surprising how much fluff had built up. Then I started manually turning the wheel and watched which bits inside moved up and down. I'm not sure of the technical name for any of these parts but being very cautious I applied a couple of drops of machine oil to the bits that seemed to be doing the most work. I had a hairy moment when I did indeed drop a screw inside the machine and said a very rude word - lol ! But with the removal of the bottom of the machine I managed to get it and screw it back in the right place. Once it was altogether I grabbed a bit of scrap fabric and tried it out. To my absolute delight it was great. No strange noises and definitely sewing smoother. Nowhere in my manual had it mentioned oiling the machine - it is 3 years old and I have used it a LOT so I suppose it stands to reason a drop of oil would not go amiss. I am chuffed to bits and am now deciding what to spend my pennies on.

To give it a bit of a workout I spent a couple of hours sewing strips together cut from these fabrics.

They are quite subtle for me and I have had them for a couple of years. Also unlike me they are all from the same range - I never normally buy stuff like this. It is called Zen from Makower and is vaguely Japanesey.

I had bought a new ruler a few months back and armed with a wonderful tutorial from Lurline (she has it listed on the left hand side of her blog ) I had a lovely time sewing and chopping and pressing. Today after a bit of applique I have this

The question I am asking myself is do I like the block enough to make more and turn them into a quilt ? These are big blocks - almost 20 inches square. I would need to make another 11 and then borders to make a new quilt for Jason and I. Shall I or shan't I ? If I do go ahead I am thinking to hand quilt each block separately and put them together Quilt As You Go. I need to think about this one - lol !

As usual I am behind on answering emails - still having back probs - so if I owe you a reply you never know I might get round to it soon. I have been having some lovely comments from no-reply bloggers whose profiles are private so have no way of thanking them for taking time to chat to me. All comments are very much appreciated even if I don't always manage to answer.
One last thing. I am trying to get hold of a copy of Australian Patchwork and Quilting. It's Vol 17 no 7 - 2009 Yearbook. I will gladly swap, buy or whatever. I would be eternally grateful for any help..

Take care xx

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

UFO done !

Here is my first UFO finished and quilted on my new machine.


And backed with polar fleece.

After a lot of trial and error I have found 3 quilting threads that the machine likes. So I am now in the process of building up a collection of different colours. Once I've adjusted the tension on my sample piece and got the stitch to my liking the machine quilts FAST. I have to remember to stop and breathe I get that carried away - lol. So far all I've done is a meandering stitch but I hope to branch out and try something different. But I like the quilting to be quite open to retain the snuggly feel and a lot of machine quilting patterns seem to be too dense for my liking. More practise is called for. I have also quilted another UFO and am onto binding stage. This is also quilted the same way - perhaps that will go on my tombstone - She meandered her way through life - lol !!
Last week I heard a rumour that quilting fabrics are going to become rarer due to the high price of the cotton crops ( thats what I told DH anyway :-x ) so I had a little shop. Quite a lot here as some of those are 3 yard pieces. And so my fabric diet is well and truly over - didn't last long !!

And another birthday has come and gone. Thanks for the cake Jess !
One last thing - I have a busy day planned - there were 765 hexies in that pile. One from each fabric in my stash. The closest was Floss with 750. I will get busy with my SSCS gift and make something as well for Floss to be sent out the same time - about a month away. Best get cracking on those.....
Take care xxx

Sunday, 10 October 2010

This week

I've been on a mission . . . . to prepare all my hexagons for my new quilt. It is a charm quilt with one hexagon from every fabric in my stash. I have been sorting and rootling about and think I have it all sorted now. I have been cutting papers and fabrics and basting all week and have just finished them all. Here they are in all their glory.

This will be a good record of my stash and depending how big it turns out I may hang it on the wall. I have no idea of the size this will be - may become clearer once I start sewing them altogether - lol !

Now these are done I will have to decide how they are all going together - I have a few ideas but that may change.

My next project is my SSCS organised again by the lovely Chookyblue. I know what I'm making and have chosen fabrics. The pattern for this was in a box on my shelf. I got the boxes containing my patterns out and within a minute look what happened.

He is so nosey - lol !!

Actually I have just had an idea. As I passed my 200th post a couple of posts back I think I will have a little competition. If you would like to guess how many hexagons I have in my pile ( I haven't counted yet ) I will also make a little present to be posted out the same time as my SSCS gift to the person who gets nearest. So if you fancy an extra Christmas present feel free to have a go. I will let you know who came closest on my next post - a week or so.

I have a couple of quilts I have been working on that are nearly ready to be quilted. I had this for my birthday almost a year ago and have hardly used it.

Maybe I will be brave and actually use it and you may even see a finished quilt very soon. The trouble ss it is very choosey about which thread it likes so I have had a lot of frustration with it. However after a lot of experimenting I think I have found a thread to use. In fact you can see a bit of my practise piece along with the hexagons. So wish me luck - I'm going in - lol xxx

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Baby Steps

Thats what I'm taking on my sewing machine. Don't want to overdo it. So I started a baby quilt for my neighbour a couple of weeks ago and just did bits at a time. I had it layered up and ready to quilt. On Sunday I decided to start the quilting - a simple machine stipple. Because it was small it was done in no time - after a few tension issues - grrr !! I got binding on and sat on Sunday evening hand sewing it down. Very pleased with myself as the baby wasn't due until October 14th.

Funnily enough the next day we got news that little Millie had arrived the day before surprising everyone being 3 weeks early. How funny is that ? Seems I wasn't early but bang on time - lol ! I popped round earlier today to give her mum the quilt and she was delighted with it. Sometimes you don't know if a quilt will be appreciated or not do you ? She really seemed to love it and although I'd told her I made quilts I don't think she'd seen any I've made. Anyway here it is

I love pastel colours and had fun choosing these fabrics.

First finish I've had in ages - hurray !! I would quite like to make a bigger version of this in Autumn colours but am trying not to start anything else - maybe next year.

I'll tell you more about my tension issues next post as it's getting late - lets just say I had a dash to a quilt shop for thread and whilst I was there grabbed these fabrics.

Later on that evening ( about 6 hours later ) I remembered I was supposed to be on a fabric diet - lol ! Knew it wouldn't last.
See you soon xx

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Don't faint !

Hello I am Andrea and I am a Quilter - lol.

You may be forgiven for not believing that statement due to the content of my blog recently. You may be aware I have been having terrible problems with my back - to cut a long story short it is apparently chronic sciatica nerve damage. Sounds impressive huh ? Anyway the pain has now moved from my lower back to my left leg - lol ! Which although not ideal is far less debillitating than the pain in my back. I am much more mobile, in less pain and more importantly have been able to use my sewing machine - hurray !!!

I have a free-ish day today and have big plans to sew some more. A neighbour is heavily pregnant ( due in a couple of weeks ) and I have it on good authority that she is expecting a girl. I have had a ton of ideas swimming round up top and off I trekked to my pretty pastels - lots of half-square triangles made.

I will show you progress soon but for now here is what I did with the off-cuts -

The whole thing measures 6 by 8 inches so really bitty bits - I normally throw them but because I was so chuffed to use my machine had some fun with these. DH Jason was very impressed - lol.

I also have started another charm quilt - more hexagons I'm afraid - why didn't anyone stop me !! Just been going through my stash and cutting ONE piece from each fabric and turning them into a hexie. Here's what 400 look like. Pictured next to my last charm quilt - 3D hexagons whish just happened to be on the end of my bed.

and here's the next batch ready - about 200 I think.

Much deliberating how I'm going to sew these together but just enjoying basting them for now. As the dark nights are drawing in ( much to my delight - I love Autumn and Winter ) I will have plenty of time to slowly work on these.

And talking of time something happened this week that will free me up A LOT. DH Jason has passed his driving test at the ripe old age of 38. It was his first attempt but boy was he dragging his heels to actually go for it. I have been driving him round for work for 2 years and it is a lovely feeling to see him toddle off by himself to his jobs. I feel like waving a flag every time I see him go - haha ! Well done love - about bl**dy time !!! More quilting time for me...

Sure I have more news but I am anxious to sew - just waiting to hang out some washing and I'll be away.

Thanks for your lovely comments and emails - I have managed to keep up my blog reading via Patricks iPod but haven't been on my pc to leave comments as it was too painful to sit on my chair. Hopefully things will improve in that department too - fingers crossed xxxxx

Saturday, 21 August 2010


Two posts in a few days - what's happening ? lol

Well my little quilt from the swap organised by Kate has arrived and here it is

I know - it is gorgeous ! I am delighted I am it's new owner. Such lovely colours and great workmanship. It is from Rebecca in New Zealand. Rebecca doesn't have a blog which is a shame if she is making little beauties like this - I for one would love to see more of her work. How about it Rebecca ? lol .

She was very kind to add a few extras in the parcel

Thanks so much Rebecca - you are a star !!

And here's the one I made which went to Val. I nearly didn't get this done as it was when my back pain was at it's worst but with a bit of effort and a few painkillers I got it finished - hurray!

One last thing - I bought this earlier in the week

My first layer cake. I never really enjoyed using the one jelly roll I had ( I bought 2 but sold one on Ebay ) so decided to get a layer cake to see how I get on with this. I have a few ideas but will need to dig out some extra fabrics from my stash to pad it out and not have it looking too matchy.
A quiet afternoon planned - a few episodes of Gilmore Girls whilst doing some cross stitch. Wonder if I can persuade Jason to nip to the shops to get me some chocolate ? lol
Enjoy your weekend xx

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

What I've been up to !!

Still unable to use sewing machine much due to ongoing back problems - have a few new blocks to show you next time though.

So lots of hand sewing going on. I am currently hand quilting my log cabin sampler which now looks like this.

Sneaky shot of Patrick holding it up. Newly tidied noticeboard in the background - was a real mess before.

Also been working on my 3D hexie quilt which is growing nicely.

I am thinking of a new English Paper Piecing project but really want this together first. I am being quite good about not starting anything new although a couple of friends are expecting babies and we all know what that means :-)

And as promised here are the instructions for the little knitted squares.

I use Double Knitting wool for these and 4.5mm needles but as long as you use a correct needle this pattern will work with any type of wool. Maybe just make one for sizing purposes. I use two colours.

Cast on 89 stitches with colour 1

1st row (colour 1) - Knit

2nd row (colour 1) - K2tog, ( K19, K3tog ) 3 times, K19, K2tog. 81 sts

3rd row + every following alternate row using colour from previous row - Knit row.

4th row (colour 1) - K2tog, (K17, K3tog ) 3 times, K17, K2tog. 73 sts

6th row (colour 2) - K2tog, (K15, K3tog ) 3 times, K15, K2tog. 65 sts

8th row (colour 2) - K2tog, (K13, K3tog ) 3 times, K13, K2tog. 57 sts

10th row ( colour 1) - K2tog, (K11, K3tog ) 3 times, K11, K2tog. 49 sts

12th row ( colour 1 ) - K2tog, (K9, K3tog ) 3 times, K9, K2tog. 41 sts

14th row ( colour 2 ) - K2tog, (K7, K3tog ) 3 times, K7, K2tog. 33 sts

16th row ( colour 2 ) - K2tog, (K5, K3tog ) 3 times, K5, K2tog. 25 sts

18th row ( colour 1 ) - K2tog, (K3, K3tog ) 3 times, K3, K2tog. 17 sts

20th row ( colour 1 ) - K2tog, (K1, K3tog ) 3 times, K1, K2tog. 9 sts

22th row ( colour 1 ) - ( K3tog ) 3 times. 3 sts

23rd row ( colour 1 ) - K3tog and fasten off.

They will look like this and then you simply sew up the row edges.

Have fun - I have made a good few of these and will probably do more during the Winter months.

I have also been working on my cross stitch but have forgotten to take pictures and it is late now so that's something else for again xxxx

Monday, 26 July 2010

Catch up post !!

You know it's time to update your blog when you start getting emails from concerned readers wondering where you are - lol !! I'm fine but still taking things easy due to this bloomin back pain. I have been working on a few things though which I'll show you soon.

But first a massive thankyou to my wonderful cousin in Australia. Sarah has sent me a beautiful hand-made gift which arrived a few days ago. I apologise in advance for my rubbish photography - this is absolutely gorgeous.

You see - I am so lucky to get this - thanks a million Sarah - I will treasure it. I also received a lovely warm and snuggly hand-knitted hat and scarf set from my Auntie ( who is Sarahs nan ) but the photo was very unclear. I think I am going to start an Australia fund so we can get to meet in person one day - wouldn't that be lovely ?

I have also been dabbling in a bit of knitting - aren't these cute ?

They finish about 4 inches square and are knitted on 2 needles. Nice and quick to do now and again - I may have enough to make a blanket in about 5 years time - lol ! If anyone is interested I will post a little tutorial soon - need to translate the instructions in my head onto paper first :-)

In my attempt not to start anything new I am working on a UFO that's been in progress for quite a while. I think the last time I showed this it was like this.

A while back I got it to this stage

and very soon I'll show you how it's looking now - just want to do a bit more first.

I've also been working on one of my hexie quilts - I have 3 in progress !! Please don't ever let me start another - lol ! I enjoy English Paper Piecing but boy - it is labour intensive !

Now I've started this post I realise I have loads more to say but time is running out - and my back is saying enough - so that will have to keep til next time

take care xxxx

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Still here !!

Seeing as this is a quilting blog and a slipped disc and quilting are not good friends you will see why I have been so quiet. I have been doing some hand work - bit of hexie stitching and a bit of knitting and crochet but nothing really to show.. The pain in my back is improving slightly - I am on new tablets and they seem to be helping. The trick is to strike a balance - rest too much and my back seizes up - move about too much and I'm sore - lol ! Sorry I have not replied to all your good wishes but sitting on a computer chair has been a no-no !

Anyway enough moaning - I have managed to finish my little quilt for Kates swap but I won't show it quite yet. I can say it came out nice and my DD Jess has asked me to make her one too as she loves it. She wants to put it on her wall. Seeing as she usually calls me sad for hanging little quilts this is quite a breakthrough - lol !

I decided to work on a UFO as it mainly involved unpicking as opposed to sewing. I made this over 3 years ago - I think it is one of the first things I showed on my blog.

I was enjoying working on it until I added those black thin borders and then I stalled completely. I just couldn't decide what to do with it next. I think the black killed it although it seemed like a good idea at the time. I have pulled it out loads of times and pondered over it and then put it away again. The little log cabin blocks are 4 inches finished. This picture actually makes it look better than it was - in real life the black is much more overpowering.

So I got busy with my seam ripper and replaced the back strips with a nice yellow. While I was at it I took off a row of blocks top and bottom as it seemed a bit of a funny shape. I had never been able to find anything I liked for an outer border but a fabric I recently bought very cheaply seemed to fit the bill. Here it is

I like it much better. I am not up to basting it yet - don't think my back can take it but I'm pleased with it now. I may take it to my sewing group next week and bribe some-one to pin baste it for me :-)

I did some cutting out today so I'm ready to sew when I'm able. I couldn't resist chancing a bit of machine sewing. Heres a picture for you Dawn.

We are both making the same quilt verrrrry slowly. This is my second block - 23 to go.

I have done quite a bit of fabric buying lately so I am now trying to ease off a bit. Lets see how that goes.....

Will try and not leave it so long next time xxx

Monday, 31 May 2010

The winner

of my little giveaway is Rosemary. I used the random number generator and tried to post the result here but failed miserably. I could ask Jason but I don't want an hour long lesson - lol ! I am waiting for Rosemary's address and then the book and quilt top will be away across the water. Thanks to all who entered anyway.

And it seems I have managed to lay myself up with a slipped disc in my lower back. Ouch - very painful. It seems to be improving slightly but I understand these things take time. Very inconvenient I must say. I have lots I want to do - incuding finishing painting my hallway. Will have to wait.

The first couple of days the pain was excruciating and I was sent to bed. I am now at the pottering around stage but machine sewing is a no-no !

So when the pain gets bad and I need to rest I have been basting shapes for my 3D hexie quilt. This is the second one I'm making.

My first was a charm quilt but this one is in a limited colourway of green/purple/brown. All 577 shapes and ready to sew and I couldn't resist sewing a few together.

I must say I'm not loving this really but will carry on seeing as I've done so much already. Once the shapes are basting they go together quite quickly. It's very subdued - not as colourful as the photo shows. We'll see . .

I also started a crochet blanket to do when the mood strikes - nothing fancy - just going round and round in stripes. This is good to do when my back is hurting as I can work on it whilst lying alnost horizontally - needs must - lol !

Off to pop a few pills :-) take care xx

Sunday, 23 May 2010

It's time . . . .

. . . . for a little giveaway. It is 3 years since I started my blog and now I couldn't imagine life without it. I have had so much fun and met some lovely people. You all know the feeling I'm sure. So now it's time to give a little back. I don't always have time to answer every comment but each and every one are much appreciated and that goes for those who pop in and read what I've been up to but don't have time to comment. Personally I read tons of blogs and honestly couldn't comment every time.

Anyway like a lot of you I am trying to stash bust and I'm doing okay ( apart from my little blip last week but we won't talk about that - lol ! ) But I have been buying books. I've bought Jennifer Chiaverini's The Lost Quilter - Kaffe Fassetts Simple Shapes, Spectacular Quilts and this one

What a lovely book. Obviously it appeals to me ( my blog name is a bit of a clue ) as I am Welsh and I make quilts - lol ! In fact I loved it so much I bought another one for my blog-birthday. It has lots of history and pictures of Welsh quilts and also contains instructions for making your own Welsh-style quilt. One of these in particular caught my eye. A very simple design which when quilted in the Welsh style looks gorgeous. There are many quilting designs and motifs in this book. So part 2 of my giveaway is this quilt top

made by me this weekend and just ready for some lovely quilting. I plan to make another for myself and love the idea that there will be two of these in the world made by yours truly. It measures 24 inches square and is yours for the taking. A Welsh quilt of your own ! This is a typical example - very simple piecing but then brought to life with beautiful hand-quilting.

So if you would like to win both the book and the quilt top you know what to do. Leave me a comment and I will pick a random number a week from now - Sunday 30th May - 8pm UK time.

A couple of things - if you are set as no-reply ( I get lots of lovely comments I am unable to respond to ) could you include your email address in the comment. And I would prefer this to go to one of my regular readers so please don't advertise this on your blog.

Good luck XXX