Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Burgers, boxes and blocks...

The Bank Holiday wasn't the wash-out we'd feared.  We went to the Steyning Country Fair, and passed a couple of hours perusing the stalls and eating burgers.  The weather was mild and grey, but no rain until tea-time, so that was a bonus. 

Fortunately there were no fabric stalls to pry the money from my purse.  A relief for everyone!

We also went shoe shopping for the 3 wee folk - a bit of a trial, but we came away with boxes and boxes of footwear; 3 pairs of sandals and 2 pairs of sparkly Doodles, so all in all a success.

All the walking and fresh air meant that the period from 'bedtime' to 'sleep' for the under 7s was literally the blink of an eye, so Daddy could watch some old Doctor Who and I could get on with today's new Mystery block at a reasonable hour.

Ta da...

...and it's the right size, as I still have my trusted masking tape in place.

That's the first three blocks completed; even the second one, that I initially had a 'problem' with, looks kind of good now!

Hope you had a good long weekend - now, the sun is shining, it's half term and I really do have fabric to buy!

Monday, 30 May 2011

No Sew Sunday!

A family day, and internet problems to resolve, meant no quilting-action for me yesterday!!  Can you believe it - but a little cross-stitch held the cold-turkey at bay!

I gave mum a glimpse of Dad's quilt, and Dad gave us the info for the forthcoming Artist's Open Studios.

So if you are wondering what to do with yourselves over the next 3 weekends, and you are in or around the Kent area, why not see if there are any open homes that take your fancy!  The website has Art Trails to download, so you can plan a tour within a small area;  I recommend the 'Wrotham'!

Obviously I would love you make a beeline for my childhood home and snap up something fantastic, (you could mention that I sent you, but you'll be charged double!!).

We will be popping up there at some point, but we really daren't take our rampaging monsters into anyone-else's fragile environment; I couldn't take the stress.

Looks like a typical grey Bank Holiday out there, but whatever you are up to, enjoy x

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Skull-tastic Success!

The squares all joined into rows, ready to press...

All ironed and ready to go...

All together now...


Saturday, 28 May 2011

New skills or tricks I've learnt...

OK, 'skills' might be too strong a word, but my Friday night sewing was rather a success.
  • Determined to make the best job I can for the Brit Quilt Swap, and with all those teeny pieces, I needed the most consistent seams allowances of my life.  Hence a smashing blue strip of masking tape on my machine, which although almost flat, actually gives a really good 'edge' to butt the fabric up against - bonus.
  • I chain-pieced each row and didn't get in a tangle!   I'd only tried this once before and had got fed up after about 4 pieces and chopped them apart and carried on as usual.  On these small squares it was perfect for keeping track, and by the end I had mastered the optimum spacing between the blocks.
  • I don't know how I would have coped without the layout photo!  I had to keep checking back which way the tiny squares went together and will need it for the next stage for sure - how did we function before digital photography?
  • I seem to have mastered my iron!  It has scorched, soaked and generally been the bane of my life until last night, when it steamed, flattened and generally made my seams as crisp as they could be - what a difference, and about bloody time!
  • ... and finally the weight of a couple of Argos catalogues straight after pressing each row, just for a few minutes, works a treat to get everything as flat as possible.

So now I have 9 piles of ten 2.5" squares ready to be joined.  Hope my partner is as excited about seeing how this all turns out as I am; dear son has already put in an order for Skull v.2.

Friday, 27 May 2011

The third cut of the week...

After my successful Union Jack top finish yesterday, I spent last night chopping into my scraps and new solids for the Brit Quilt Swap. 

The chevrons won the vote, so I figured if I cut the right number of each colour, then if I didn't like it, I'd still be able to go ahead and make it random anyway.  So what do you think?

I had to post it on flickr straight away last night, even though I usually try to post on here first, but I couldn't wait, sorry!  The colours are a bit 'out' in the picture, but you can see where it's going.

Initial reaction has been good - but I'm still not saying if my partner commented or not.  However, I want to stick with the chevrons and get sewing - there are over 180 little pieces in this mini quilt! 

And as if this isn't a great end to a great week already... it's half term!!  We also have an inset day on the 6th, and I am off work again on the 8th for a trip with nursery to Drusillas Zoo Park.  I love my children!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Union Top...

I've finished my Dad's Union Jack quilt top, and although I have used some 'quilter's artistic licence' that only a vexillologist would notice, (or anyone who feels the need to compare it to a 'real' flag!), I am really pleased with how it turned out.

There were a couple of worrying/confusing moments, especially when one of the four sections turned out to be a totally different size and ratio to the others, but happily only one bit of sewing the wrong, or rather wrong and right, sides together. 

Although I had to carry out a major squaring up exercise before joining the sections together, it still needs a little trim to straighten up the outside edges, but I will do that after quilting; and I have no idea how I am going to do that yet.

There was no way I was going to risk trying to take a picture outside this afternoon, between dodging showers and the gale-force winds, the conservatory was the safest place to be!

I have so many off-cuts, I will be making a scrappy strip or two to add to the backing, although at 40"x 60" I could just back it with one piece of the Klona grey, but that would be too easy!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The second cut of the week...


Looking good so far for the Brit Quilt Swap?

I'm having a dilemma about the background though.  You'll remember that the original pattern should look like this...

However the highlighters at work were too tempting and I've had a play.  Now I'd probably go for the all-over random background, but I've also come up with other patterns...

What do you think partner?  Once again I will either go for majority rule, or the one I prefer if you don't speak up!

I've also be piecing the Union Jack quilt, and the top will be finished tomorrow.  Which reminds me, I forgot to tick these off...
  1. Finish the Sherbet Pips Confetti quilt, and not let it just sit there for fear that my quilting will ruin it.
  2. Finish my Scrappy quilt completely.
That's 7/20 completed and 3 kept on target; Bee block, Mystery Quilt and purposeful fabric buying; not bad I reckon.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The first cut of the week...

Last night, whilst waiting for cutting approval from my Brit Quilt Swap partner and 'wannabee partners', I decided to cut the fabric for my Dad's Union Jack quilt. 

This will be for Father's Day, and it's on the To-Do-List, so why wait.  Lots of strips, lots of trying to make sure that all the little trees are facing the right way, (like I was going to choose a multi-directional print to make life easier!), and lots of different widths for the white bits. 

It's not to scale so it won't be mistaken for a real flag, but I wanted to get it as big and with decent proportions as the fabric would allow.

I laid it out to make sure I hadn't missed anything, nor cut any pieces too short, and I think I am ready for the off!  Looking at the picture I can now see that it is going to be impossible to line up the horizontal tree-lines, so, if I mismatch each of the 8 triangles, it'll look OK!

As for the Brit Quilt Swap - an almost unanimous vote, (can you have that?) for 'get cutting', so who am I to disagree with the BQS masses!  The true recipient might or might not have responded, but I was only asking to be polite!  I will do some final sketching and counting rectangles whilst sonny boy has his swimming lesson later and then I should be ready for some more rotary action.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Last chance saloon...

Firstly heart-felt thanks for all the lovely responses to the completed Happy Scrappy quilt - I don't think I will be able to better it for a long while!

OK, to business.  I will post this on flickr too, to cover all the bases, but Brit Swap Partner this is your last chance to scream 'Halt' before I get chopping into these!

The Melody Miller is for the backing (or if you don't fancy the front much, you can always turn it over!!).  I may add in or take away some of the prints depending on how they look in the mosaic, but I think it is 99% sorted.

The colours in the photo are slightly out, as it was taken during the 5 minutes of sunshine we had this afternoon, it makes the conservatory glow nicely, and your complexion look healthy, but not so good for true colour definition!  But you get the gist.  Now to think of a name...

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Happy Scrappy Sunday Reveal!

Late last night I finished the Happy Scrappy quilt, for that is how it is to be known!

The backing is some super-soft gingham with some Ying Ming flowers, just because I could!  It was a little tricky trying the match the front and back precisely, spraying and basting in the breeze, picking off the greenfly as I went, but I hope it adds to the general 'scrappy' feel.

My binding turned out a treat, and didn't go too wobbly at the seams, which I had worried about.

Again, I have my trumpet all buffed and ready to blow!  It is the prettiest thing I have made to date, and I am really astounded at how good it looks; honestly I did not expect it to turn out so nicely!

It's a neat 42" square and looks perfect covering the trunk that sits at the foot of our bed.

I did not built up the courage, nor the colour-catchers necessary to attempt a wash and tumble - so much white, so much colour and so many 'unknown' quantities, so it might not happen!

For now, I am just going to keep looking at it!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Weekend in print...

This morning's mail was a treat, I received a copy of the Wealden Times from Mandy Shaw...

Her absolutely beautiful home is on the cover and spread over about a dozen pages inside - she is one amazing lady!  Thank you Mandy.  If you are lucky enough to live in the area, pick up a copy, or by the magic of technology you can see it here wherever you reside!  (Thank you Google!)  I will be starting my Union Jack quilt using Mandy's pattern next week.

Lynne has also posted today that Lily's Quilts has been named May's 'Blog of the Month' in Patchwork & Quilting magazine, and Kerry also gets a mention - crazy, I am so proud of these guys, who I only know 'virtually', real 21st Century friends!

If you aren't up for that much reading, then just have a look at these yummies that I received too...

Klona solids from Backstitch, ordered yesterday!  Light grey backing for my Dad's Union Jack, and maybe a bit of each for the Brit Quilt Swap...not sure yet!

**Happy Scrappy Update**  
Final edge of binding about to be finished!!

Friday, 20 May 2011

All fired up...

... to finish the Happy Scrappy quilt, so just a little tease pic of the backing...

I have just quilted it, whilst listening and laughing along with Rhonda's podcast, and I am about to trim and square it up before attaching the binding.  My rock 'n' roll Friday night!

Hopefully I will be able to get it hand finished tomorrow, but I foresee a future full of washing, cleaning and demanding children, and washing and cleaning of said demanding children, so it may be a revealing Sunday.

Whatever you are up to, keep smiling x

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Confetti Pips - A Crinkly Finish!

Having finished the binding in record time, I nervously washed and tumbled the Pips last night, for my first foray into crinkledom.  Just before bed, I pulled out what I have been waiting for, for a long time - a quilt just for me!  Perfect crinkles too!

The Sherbet Pips are a muted version of some of my favourite colours, and the print is probably a little 'sweeter' than I would describe my usual tastes, but there is something so relaxing about the whole collection that made me want it!  And I love it, no excuses.

It measures up at 40"x 52".  If you want Quilt Dad's pattern too, it's in Issue 5 of Fat Quarterly.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Women, know your limits!

OK, so if I had thought about it for a second, I would have realised that I was never going to get the whole Pips bound in a couple of hours, so a broken promise and no finish to show you today, sorry. 

However I did get more than half way round and have mitred 3 of the corners already, so I will have no excuse for not finishing tonight!

So whilst these two stomped, clomped and pranced about at ballet...

I did some colouring!!

Partner if you are looking in, I hope you like the idea I am adapting from a Boo Davis pattern - it will no doubt alter more when I start selecting the fabric - scrappy graphic - but I am hoping this will get the thumbs up!

And finally, seeing as my giveaway luck is completely non-existent, I might as well tell you to pop on over to Kati at From the Blue Chair for the chance to win an extremely useful and beautiful Kona Color Card, because chances are, I won't be winning it eh!!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Here's to a cosy evening!

Quick before I get side-tracked by more blogs, flickr or emails...

I ordered that thread at about 2.30pm yesterday, and it was waiting for me when I got home from work today!!

So I got the remaining quilting finished and the binding attached before the school run and swimming lessons, and now I am going to settle down and finish the Pips.  I will get it washed, tumbled and crinkled tomorrow and then give you the big 'reveal'! 

I have been sketching (well copying!) and pondering my Brit Quilt Swap partner's fate too and will show you before the end of the week!

Monday, 16 May 2011


I cannot believe the reaction to my little scrappy quilt!!  Over 200 views on flickr so far, and all your lovely comments, I am in shock, I really wasn't expecting that; thank you so much.  I hope that I won't disappoint you with the backing!

So here is the final block I made this evening for the back ...

I bought the rest of the backing fabric this afternoon but I'm not going to show you just yet! 

Frustratingly the shop had run out of my thread, so eBay to the rescue (wished I'd thought of that on Saturday, it would have arrived today, but nevermind); however awaiting me when I got home were these Layer Cake beauties...

I got them from Maggie at The Fabric Frieze.  She's one of those people who are just so great to do business with that I will definitely be a repeat shopper; I'll let you know when her non-eBay shop goes live too, as I have a feeling I'll be popping back. 

Before you start wagging your fingers and pointing to the 'To Do List', these have a very important purpose, my November Bee blocks!  OK I am being, perhaps, a little over-zealous, but I have found the perfect pattern and it requires 2 LCs, so I had to get them!

Last night I also received my Brit Quilt Swap partner info and I am totally over the moon with who I am making my mini quilt for, and I can't wait to start posting teasing pics and stalking more... so watch out lady... I have plans for you!  More on that soon...

Instructions for block 2 of the Mystery Quilt have now been posted; some paper-piecing fun; I'm going to save that for the weekend Sheila, I hope you don't mind!

To celebrate all this awesomeness, I cracked open the bags of dried fruit I had bought in a moment of madness before Christmas, (homemade Christmas cake or pudding - what was I thinking!?!), and with the trusted Nigella Rocky Road recipe, swapping biscuits for fruit, its the perfect choccy treat and its one of my '5 a day' too!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Super Smashing Scrappy Sunday!

I wasn't going to post about this until the whole quilt was finished, and then I thought maybe I'd tell you later on tonight, but I am just too excited to keep this under wraps for any longer!!  The silver lining to the Pips thread fiasco is that I decided to start piecing the scrappy quilt blocks.

So I started and I finished and I stitched all the little buggers together and spent an age trying to keep some semblance of 'ironing the seams open' and ended up with this...

Sorry, I know it's not cool to shout about your own stuff, but I love how it has turned out!  When I started making the larger scrappy blocks, I had no plan for what I was going to do with them in the end and I had a couple of changes of direction as the stack grew.  However this has been in my head for the last few weeks, and it works!

I added the extra white sashing round the outside otherwise attaching the binding is going to be impossible!  It currently measures just shy of 44" square, which should make backing almost simple... I have ideas for that now, which, when I go and get the pink thread tomorrow may all get sorted, and could well mean I am on track to finish two quilts this week!

Last night I also gained another tick...
15.  Start the 'KISS'. 

Without any binding to sew and with 18 hours of Eurovision to sit through, I needed something to do with my hands (other than putting them over my ears!), so the first stitches have begun.  Moldova were robbed!

So there you go, it's all good in FB-land, and c.8pm tonight I will find out who my Brit Quilt swap partner is (the person I am making for).  I am nervous and excited and can't wait to get stalking... if you are reading this my mystery partners, (the person I am making for - well you don't know who you are but I will, and the person making for me - I don't know who you are), 'Hello'!!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The agony of the long distance quilter!

I woke up thinking about the Pips... I cleaned the house as quickly and obviously thoroughly as possible and then armed with backing, wadding, top and spray, I got to basting on the deck.

OK, so it was a bit breezy (masking tape to the rescue), the sky was a bit grey (thankfully no rain), but I got everything 'stuck' together pretty easily and decided to get it quilted and the binding attached in time to hand finish it in front of the Eurovision Song Contest (I'm blaming Verity!).  Hmmm...

I got 27/40 of my horizontals finished, when disaster, a total 'non-calculation' of the thread I'd need, meant I ran out!!!  Cue emergency call to the local fabric shop, and a very odd conversation along the lines of:

Me: Can you see if you have any Gutermann thread number 732 - it's a very light pink?
Old lady:  Have I got any red what?
Me: No, thread...
Old lady:  Yes, what number?
Me: 732...
Old lady:  The lovely green?
Me: No, light pink...
Old lady: DMC or Anchor?
Me: No, Gutermann...
Old lady: Let me check.... No...

This look about 5 minutes!

So my quilt has stalled, and I wasn't about to make an hour round trip to town, so it will have to wait until Monday.  Poo!

But I managed to start something else that I will hopefully be able to show you tomorrow.

So in eager anticipation... Bonne nuit, Gute nacht, Dobra noc!

Friday, 13 May 2011

Not on the list!

Thanks Blogger for making my virtual life a bit stressful over the last 24hrs!  (Edit: No need to re-post yesterday's - it's 9.50pm and I've noticed it back - thank you Blogger geeks x).  If that's the worst Friday the 13th can offer, I'm OK with that!

Well with an evening to myself, I set to completing a few bits and pieces.  I made a card to go in my parcel with Trudi's Bee blocks, packaged up my tea-towel swap in eager anticipation of hearing from Leonie about who and where I will be sending it to, and unfortunately I won't be posting any pictures until appropriate!

But I can show you some little 'extras' I made that were not on the 'To Do List'!

With some long thin pieces of fabric, a little folding, pressing and some poppers, this is what I ended up with...


The idea came from Handmade Living, issue1.  Mine is an Amy Butler sari print, the girls opted for the pink and the one that looks like 'mummy's handbags', (good girl trained to spot Orla Kiely at age 4!), and the Doctor Who Tardis blue with red stitching as requested by my little Time Lord.

It's quite a nice magasine if you spot it on your travels, although it is published by the same people as Sew Hip, and this issue does have some of the same projects that I have already seen in the last 10 months, so buyer beware, there may also be other repeats of food and garden articles from sister magasines too.

Well one week down, and two to go until half term, and it wasn't so bad, but for now, I hope your real and virtual weekends go to plan!