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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Finish-along Q2 Report

It's FAL link up time!

2012 Finish-A-Long

Well this has swung round quickly, too quickly for me to be able to tick off all my, albeit short, list!

I posted back here my top 5 hopes and dreams, but I only managed to complete 3.

i.  Hexie Cushion - yay!


ii.  Mystery Quilt - No - but it now looks like this...


... some progress has been made in that it now consists of 100 4.5"squares, but not a finish; I feel the longest-running carry-over happening here!

iii.  Stained - huge big yay for this one!


iv.  Retro Flowers - this got sidelined in all the pre-Retreat/post-Retreat making, but I will get this one finished soon...


v.  The final FPPFTT - oh yeah!


In my defence I did complete a tonne of new stuff, so I am not going to be too hard on myself, and I already have a batch of other things to add to the Mystery and RFs for Q3.

How did you get on?

Friday, 29 June 2012

Twins!

Not my girls, but the quilts for a friend who is due with twin boys any second now.

I love how these quilts turned out.  They aren't big, c.36"x44", and they are not particularly clever, just like babies really, but I think they will come in handy and be taken in the spirit in which they are given...

...mainly sympathy!!

Pre-wash & tumble
It is such hard work having twins, that I won't bang on about here; but for those first couple of months, even the most laid back parents would be forgiven for wishing it wasn't really happening - it eventually gets easier, and you are able to laugh at the sight you must have been trying to breastfeed both babies at the same time, and you eventually give up fretting about how selfish people can be, not holding doors open when you are struggling to manoeuvre 2 baby carriers to see the health visitor; trust me, double-buggy revenge is sweet!

But I digress...


These were fun to make, easy to quilt, and I think make a nice change from traditional blues and baby prints for boys. 

Now enough of the successes, I need to get on and start making up excuses for my FAL failures!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Swaps abound!

Yesterday, I received my partner allocation for Brit Quilt Swap 3, and I've got a great person to make for.  She loves things I want to try and I am already putting together fabrics in my head; OK in reality would help, but we have the whole summer to make, and I am going to ensure I get this one right!

In my iPad denial, I also got my head down and made my In The Frame purse!

I was going to give my partner options; but I personally don't like that too much - I spend time making my mosaic, filling in the forms, and don't want to pick the fabrics, decide the design and do everything except glue it!  That's just me, but I want to trust that my partner has read the signs, and my comments, and been left free to interpret what I would like; obviously woe betide if they get it wrong ;)

OK, so in reality, my partner didn't get a choice as I only had one F8th of the Summersville fabric I thought was perfect, and if I'd cocked it up, there would have had to have been a change of plan, which, if a preference had been expressed, could have been a bit awkward!

However, it went perfectly, and I love it, and if my partner doesn't, then I will happily keep it!


I did as I had planned, turning in about an inch either side of the hinge seam and top stitched, and it worked a tidy treat.  Lined in aqua Kai dots, and with both some iron-on fleece and medium interfacing for a little structure, I don't think it's a all bad, especially after the last mini-fiasco!  Now to ponder the extras.

But that's not all I've been up to, tomorrow, twin quilts!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Catch Up...

I am still trying to play catch up with blogs and emails and presents and all sorts, whilst trying NOT to spend every minute on the iPad, honestly!

So here's a little mosaic of some of the things I received yesterday, including the lovely Melody Miller Reels notebook made by Terri...


The box of polystyrene chips contained a non-birthday, but perfectly-timed parcel that I am so looking forward to showing you all very soon; I am VERY excited indeed!

And if you haven't joined in yet, please nip over to Cindy's for the full details of her Kona-picking challenge - choose a combo of 8/35 Kona solids from Cindy's shop Fluffy Sheep Quilting, and you could win 2 yards of the Kona(s) of your choice. 

Make a mosaic and link a separate post or flickr pic for each entry, name your bundle and bobs your uncle, more or less.

So my 3 entries are these...

Calm Sea...

Tequila Sunrise...

Batgirl...

Full deets of my selected Konas are shown in my flick photostream.

There has been a little sewing today and a lot of cutting up, so I am not completely lost to the charms of the iPad just yet (but only because I don't really know what I am capable of doing with it!), so I will have some stuff to show you tomorrow, promise x

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Gone Paddling...

I have been truly spoilt today!  Wonderful husband came up trumps again, thank you my love, and the kids put in stellar performances at sports day whilst the sun shone down.

Thank you so much for all your lovely birthday messages, I will try to respond, and catch up with blog reading later, but I have a new toy...


... so please forgive me if I get rather sidetracked!

xxx

Monday, 25 June 2012

Up, up and away...

Despite the germs trying to get the better of me, (this morning I think I am winning), I still managed to get my Belle embroidery and the Retreat bag completed...


Belle is a natural brunette, but she's gone for a change of look for this balloon ride, and I think it quite suits her!  She has also swapped hands and side parting, as I traced the pattern with water soluble marker rather than using my heat transfer pencil, which I have yet to master.

To hide the knots and snaggles on the inside, although it actually wasn't too messy, I decided to line the bag with a nice piece of Klona Orange; I love how it changes the look of the canvas, and it just gives the whole bag a nice finish...



Aneela's patterns are so beautiful, and her thread count and stitch suggestions make it so easy to get the look, because to be honest, left to my own devices I would not have a clue!  Thanks missus x


Next on the cards are those twin quilts, and the little matter of ageing!  Wish me luck x

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Achoo!

I've got a horrible, horrible cold!

Why, when I have a few days off, time to do stuff, and stuff to do, I end up feeling like cr@p!?

Yesterday I took a quick stroll round the Village Day celebrations; dear son managed to win some sweets on a couple of tombolas, so he came away happy, and the fact we were only there for an hour in the wind and arctic temperatures made me happy too.

Excuse me, please may I borrow a hankie?
When we got home I worked on the twin quilts, to try to beat the lurgy that was taking grip, as I need to hand them over when my Mum and Dad come down next weekend.

Basting and quilting these little babies was so quick and easy.  I managed to frankenstein enough wadding for both, without having to cut into the nice big piece reserved for my Retro Flowers, spray baste them and get one quilted and ready for binding in about 2 hours.


I am going to bind in Kona Ash, supplies of which are winging their way from Fluffy Sheep Quilting as we speak, so some more lovely hand sewing to look forward to.

I have no progress on my Spring Carnival to show, but I do have another project from my pile! 

Ripping off Laura's idea to embroider her FQ Retreat goody bag, as soon as Aneela sent me her Belle embroidery pattern, I knew what I wanted to do.

So I've made a start...

For scale, this is a 10" hoop.
I finally had to stop last night when I could no longer focus through my streaming eyes, and nose!

I am hoping therefore to have a few finishes to show you shortly; talking of which, I need to check out my FAL-Q2 list, there's less than a week to go!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Basted!

I have prep'ed all the hexies, squares and triangles for my mahusive Spring Carnival cushion...


I know I could have basted as I went, but it was quite satisfying getting them all finished, and then after a bit of counting, recounting and a bit more basting, finished again.

Now I can really get on with the piecing, and that is going to be fun!

Friday, 22 June 2012

It's Fabric Friday!

Well this week I have received a few squidgy packages, some I shopped for and others were gifts and I am over the moon with them all!

Firstly some long awaited yardage of Summersville from Brenda at Pink Castle - I did have plans, then I changed my plans, now I think I will wait until I have finished off a few other things first... probably!


With specific plans, I ordered the backing for the twin quilts.  You know when you just order with your fingers-crossed and hope that the online photo really is what you will receive, and when it arrives you are so totally thrilled that the plan came together?  Well these Essential Stripes from Seamstar so perfectly match the Reunion colours, and were on offer too, so I did a little happy dance when I ripped off the lovely tissue paper!


I also ordered 1/2m of Domestic Bliss to assist in making my Spring Carnival cushion - I know I won't need it for ages, but why pay two lots of postage and not take advantage of 10% off?

And then onto real treats...

A generous benefactor, who may have a lovely online shop in Galway, sent me an amazing sample pack of the full Mama Said Sew line to play with!!!  It's so gorgeous, I thought I was really going to have to think long and hard about what to make, but Lynne's ET Phone Home block is obviously a strong contender.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?


And finally today - the mail to end all mail!

I got home to find that 'popping a few bits of Denyse Schmidt fabric in the post' actually meant 'sending a dream parcel of wonderful fabric that will make you giddy'!


My lovely friend Deborah, you may know her as Simply Miss Luella, spotted my persistent moaning around blogland about how we are so hard-done-by in the UK having neither Joann's nor Spotlight to satisfy our DS cravings and so she asked (asked!!!) if she could send me some.  Guess what I said!


I also received a smashing parcel from the one and only Terri - I asked if she could pick me up some DS fabric on her recent trip, (having found out where she was); and she also enclosed was a beautifully wrapped birthday present which I will, (if my resolve remains strong), save for Tuesday, and show you all then...


I have already gushed my thanks by email - but I need to say it again, online quilting friends are the most generous wonderful group of ladies and gents anywhere.

Now I am going to sit back and let my long weekend begin - I am not back to work until next Thursday, which is probably for the best, as I think I need to go and clear some space for all these new additions! xxx

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Trial and Error...

Yesterday the sun shone, unlike today, and I managed to create the ironing pile from my worst nightmares, resulting from 4 loads of washing and making the most of the glorious line-time; but I also had time to try out frame purse number two as a practice for the In The Frame Swap.

Now I started off thinking I would just use some rubbishy old fabric, and hope for the best, but then figured it could be a waste of a perfectly good frame, so I got all brave and cut into my FMF!

I followed the best bits from numerous online tutes, making my pattern, using the turn through the lining method for super neat hinge corners and then it all started to go a bit wrong.

I boxed the corners thinking I was making a nice deep boxy shape - but no, I had created the opposite, and this was the shallowest of purses I could have created; hey ho, not a show stopper.  Then I did my usual machine stitch closure of the lining - but as the bottom of the purse was not exactly buried deep inside, it shows way too much, and thirdly, unless I had wanted gathers galore and an inch gap below each hinge, it was not going to fit the frame.

Bugger!

However, having amassed a selection of frames in my eagerness the other week, I found that it actually fitted another one almost perfectly!

The glueing and sticking went fine, although I possibly could have done with a bit more glue as the frame was too snug in the end to fit any piping in.

I tried to squeeze the frame a little tighter with pliers, which has left it a little wobbly, but it is all holding together, and looks damn pretty, even though it won't hold a lot. 

It is most definitely just a posing pouch...
So lessons learnt...
I will be using an amended version of Katy's Retreat method - keeping the raw edges on the outside, and then coating them in glue and wedging into the frame for a bit more grip - this means no seam allowance having to be spot on for a perfect fit either;
I will just turn the hinge corners in when I top stitch the lining to the outer, for a nice neat finish;
I will research 'bottom shapes' a bit further, and read instructions fully (for once!), and,
I will remember this is meant to be fun - swearing is not big and clever, and does not change things, ever!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Retreat to home...

I said I would, and I did...

When the Retreat edition of Fat Quarterly came out last week I printed out Kerry's little freezer paper-pieced house straight away.

A bit of life and other stuff got in the way of my eager plans, but I have now built my own little home...


I tried really hard to go with the freezer paper - I even managed the Y-seams, (although one side was a lot easier than the other - is that always the way?).  But I have serious doubts that this method is for me.

I now love, love, love foundation paper-piecing, however I just don't quite gel with this.  I like to use freezer paper to cut my fabric when foundation piecing, and that works really well, but I just couldn't get the accuracy I have grown to love this time.  Nothing to do with the freezer paper dropping off, having been ironed on and removed a dozen time in the fabric auditions, I'm sure!

So in the end it may be a little bit wonky, but I still think it's cute.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Votes and Swapsies...

***Voting has begun over at the Ellison Lane Quilts Summer Sewing Contest, and I am proud to say that my Union Jack cushion has made the grade - No.10 in the Home Decor category; if you haven't voted already, please pop over - I am competing against friends and some of the quilting blogger big-wigs, so I am just proud to be in amongst them.  You have until my birthday, (just saying), to log onto as many computers/phones etc as you can and cast your votes!***

In other news, sign ups for Brit Quilt Swap 3 have begun, and I have already signed up.  I missed Swap 2 for a number of reasons, but I am raring to go this time.

My mosaic has already been posted, forms completed and now to patiently sit back and wait for partner allocations.


I have been far more specific in my mini quilt 'likes' this time, I have bolstered my flick profile and hope my partner-to-be will have fun!  I was careful to only choose pictures of things I would happily attempt to make for my partner, that's fair, right?  OK so there are a couple I know I wouldn't have a chance of being able to name, never alone make, but worth a punt!

Over the weekend I also received my In The Frame partner info though, so I have started getting my thoughts together for this.  I am making for a great partner, and I really really don't want to let her down.  It has the makings of a great swap thanks to the effort and enthusiasm of Nicky and Helen.

Izzy-wizzy let's get busy xxx

Monday, 18 June 2012

Weekend round-up...

Yesterday was good fun, no rain, even enough sun to give us a healthy glow; unfortunately the miles of walking were negated by the amount of sugar the kids consumed, so they didn't drop off to sleep last night as early as I wanted to!

I also made time over the weekend to make a couple of blocks for Bee Blessed.

Sarah has a great tute on her blog for the blocks the lovely ladies over the water are looking for this month.



Using 2" squares, it was dead easy to pull scraps, although they didn't honestly make that much difference to my bulging bags!

They need a good press, they really aren't that wonky; I'll trim them to size, and then send them on their merry way over to Belfast soon xxx

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Because a man only needs so many Moshi Monster drawings, and seeing as my husband already has a quilt and couple of cushions, mug rugs and soft toys, for this year 's Father's Day he has benefited from my new infatuation...


Our initials conveniently make a lovely sentiment!

We are off to the Countryman Fair today - so hoping it stays dry, at least long enough to get everyone fed and worn out.

Hope you are spoiling any men in your life that need spoiling, and if not, spoil yourself xxx

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Cockney Stitches...

Having embroidered a bunch of rather random things over the last couple of weeks, I hatched a Father's Day plan for my Dad.

First there was the little dog, which I originally thought I would stick on a card...




Then there was the little old fashioned phone...


So guess what, I stitched up a little bone to complete the scene.

Did you see where I was going?


Now for those who are not familiar with Cockney rhyming slang, I suggest you have a play hereAneela suggested I whip up a 'cock' and 'knee', and I may well do so!

I popped the card in the post yesterday, so I hope it arrived today in time for tomorrow, I will phone him in the morning to find out; and I will also be able to show you what I made for my dear husband too.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Liberty Love.

Until FQ Retreat, I have to admit that I didn't really get the fuss about Liberty fabrics.

I didn't dislike them, but they weren't top of my shopping list by any stretch of the imagination.

Along comes the Liberty Lifestyle lady and I had a good look at, and stroke of the soon to be released quilting weight cottons in all those lovely modern colours and teeny prints; it was love at first sight.

http://www.liberty.co.uk/lifestyle-fabrics/article/fcp-content Dorothy - even in brown!
So as soon as Jo offered a super discount for her Etsy shop last weekend, I was there.


I went for the greatest little scrap bag and a couple of F8th.  Jo was so sweet to include another F8th that I had mentioned was a favourite and now I have my own little Liberty stash at last.  I have even popped the lot into the Liberty drawstring bag I received in the swap.


Does that make me a grown up stitcher?

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Summer Sewing Contest...

I have been 'umming and arrghing about what to enter into Jennifer's amazing Summer Sewing Contest...

Ellison Lane Quilts

Browsing back through my recent photos, it seemed a bit obvious really...

My paper-pieced Denyse Schmidt - Union Jack cushion, started in Lynne's class of Fat Quarterly Retreat on Jubilee weekend, the epitome of the British Summer (rain obligatory).


I love this cushion, it brings a smile to my otherwise grumpy face now that the Retreat glow has faded and the bunting is looking bedraggled from all the shocking weather we have had recently.

If you haven't checked out any of the other entries in the Home Decor category, please do, Lindsey has already entered the most beautiful cushion/pillow in the universe!

For anyone interested, a special Retreat edition of Fat Quarterly will be available to buy here which includes the templates for this cushion; and a load of other amazing stuff too.

Sorry to the regulars who have only just seen this, and welcome to anyone new in town coming over from Jennifer's for the first time.

Tomorrow, I promise something completely different... probably xxx

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Sunny Sewing!

At last the sun shone, and I stayed in doors sewing!

Back in March I chopped up most of my Reunion layer cake into 5" charms, and added in a few other prints, then duly popped the lot in a box and chose to forget about them.  Now these were to be destined for a friends' twin boys due 'in the Summer'; well despite evidence bringing into doubt the existence of such a thing as 'Summer', time and babies wait for no-one, so today was the day to get on with it, as those chaps could come any time.

I was originally going to sew up a pair of simple patchwork quilts, but I had to go and make life a little more complicated; I am glad I did.



I sewed up 4-patch squares, then turned these into HSTs.  The squares though have one corner cut off in the process; however after the initial realisation and bit of swearing, I actually like the look it gives.


Since taking the pictures this afternoon, I have added strips of Kona Ash and more Reunion to turn them into 36"x 44" tops.

I was going to back with fleece blankets, but I have gone off that idea now, so will be doing a quick bit of pondering before finishing these off.

Hope those boys don't put in an appearance too soon x

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Idle hands?

Not me!

Not only have I been passing time with embroidery since Retreat...

OK, it might have a puncture!
That's Aneela's little red bus to add to the collection, but I have also started on another mid-size project... a Katy Jones' Spring Carnival mega-mahusive hand-pieced cushion cover.

Using two charm packs of Domestic Bliss, and a FQ of Kaffe Fassett shot cotton, (yes Emily, that one!), I am still at the basting stage, but already loving it.  I know I could have Pritt-sticked them, but I like this bit too...


This should keep me out of trouble for a while; I was kind of hoping these would be my summer garden sewing projects, but they seem to work very nicely as sat on the sofa under a quilt projects too, which is lucky x