Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

I waited right until Christmas Day to open my Secret Santa gift from Cheryl - and it was certainly worth the wait - just look at all the goodies she sent me! I'm intrigued by the Peppermint Bark - we don't have anything like this at all in the UK - and you may have noticed that it is all sitting on a lovely Christmas table runner which just fits nicely across my hall table.
We have been in Carlisle since Boxing Day and just got back yesterday so not much done on the creative front (what am I talking about - I haven't done anything creative in weeks). I seem to have lost a bit of impetus - my sewing room is a tip, which doesn't help. Another reason is that I've got three tops waiting to be quilted and I don't want to start piecing another until I've quilted at least one - I really want to see them out on display and not folded up in a plastic bag. I think the thought of sandwiching a big top is becoming a bit of a mental barrier. Still, it has to be done, no pain (in the knee region), no gain.
I'm not much of one for New Year's Resolutions, but I do want to get back on track both with blogging, which I have missed enormously since I've been so busy at work and with getting on and being creative.
Part of Cheryl's Christmas Gift was fabric with pre-printed quilt labels with quotes on them, and one of my favourites was this one, "The best things in life ... aren't things". With that thought in mind I'd like to wish everyone reading this blog peace and happiness in the New Year.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Parcel

My Secret Santa Swap arrived! All the way from Cheryl at Polka Dots and Rick Rack. I opened the (big) box - sorry, couldn't resist it - to find this gorgeous bag filled with presents wrapped in polka dot paper tied with polka dot fabric bows. What could be better? I am going to save the presents inside until Christmas Day but I am thrilled just with the wonderful bag made of such lovely fabrics. I don't think my photograph does it justice but in my defense (a) the battery compartment is now being held closed with a piece of sellotape and (b) there has been no sunlight in the UK for days so I was doing my best at night. Better pics when I've opened the presents but you've got to admit, it does look nice and Christmassy against the evergreens.

I think Cheryl has a very generous nature, not only did she send me a wonderful present but if you visit her blog she is running a drawing for a beautiful Christmas Quilt - but hurry, there are only two days to go!
At the weekend I actually tidied the house - now I don't mind if you step over my threshold. I put my Christmas row of houses on the mantelpiece - I bought the one on the left last year and the one on the right this year. I hope they carry on making them, I'd love to end up with a whole street!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Work-Life See-Saw

Aaagh - it's been a whole month since I posted anything - what is the world coming to? Well, I'll tell you, my work life balance has become seriously unbalanced that's what - I've got an impending audit at work and it has taken over my life! I am soooo sad. Once it's over I hope life can get back to a semblance of normality. It's a good job none of you can call on me because I couldn't let you over my threshold - my housekeeping skills are minimal anyway but even I can't stand this level of untidiness for much longer.

Needless to say, not much creativity going on here, I just managed to finish my Secret Santa Swap (sneak peek above). Posted a little bit late, but at least I finished it. To cap it all I've just dropped my camera on the floor and the catch that holds the battery compartment closed has broken off - rats!
Roll on the Christmas holidays, that's all I can say.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Okay, so it's several days after Halloween, but as this cake is just about the only creative thing I seem to have accomplished in weeks I couldn't miss an opportunity to post a picture.
So easy too - make a chocolate cake, buy some ready-made orange fondant icing, roll it out, cut out the pumpkin features, whack it on the top of the cake and voila! DS had a Halloween party for himself and four friends instead of trick and treating (though we gave out treats to anyone who knocked on the door but there were only three knocks anyway).

I'm seriously thinking that I must stop purchasing fabric, for a couple of years now I've collected shirts, bought fabric online from the U.S. (mainly sale fabric, very little at full price) as I concentrated on building up my stash. But ... the time has come when even DH commented that it was getting 'a little excessive'. Early on in my blogging days, I wrote a post here, about how I cut a small piece from every fabric I purchase, stick it on a business card with double-sided tape and catalogue all my fabric purchases in slide-pockets. I started off with just an A4 ring binder - it has now grown to 2 huge lever arch files. Here's a few of the contents. I still find this a great way to look at my stash. I have to keep the actual fabric in boxes on shelves, as the room they are in is very sunny and they would all fade if I didn't (might fade anyway for all I know). But, I have got a lot of fabric - I never buy with a particular project in mind, I just buy fabric because I like it. I've got a good range of colours, some of it is new and some of it is recycled and I think I could make mostly anything I want to now - if I had the time!!!!

So what did I do this morning? Yup, in between trying to write up a contract (I really know how to have a fun weekend) I went to a LQS that I didn't know of before and only just found out about. Well, what bargains were to be had! I've always loved the 'Bon Voyage' range from Makower but I absolutely refuse to pay £9 a yard (which is what it was retailing at). I got 3 yards each of 2 designs from the range for £1.25 a yard! Novelty fabrics aren't usually my thing but I bought the one with the Jam Jars for my Mum. The embroidered braid and the cute red polka dot bows were from the market yesterday. Do I know what I will make with any of this? No, of course not, but for me, that's the exciting bit, I couldn't bear to shop for fabric knowing what I was going to make with it first. And whilst I am going to be good, if I pass a thrift shop with a lovely cotton shirt for a pound, I'd be mad not to buy it, wouldn't I?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Road Trip

Did you wonder where I'd gone (again)? We took a week's break over half term and headed back to Florence. This time we also went to Rome, just for a day - on the high speed train it only takes an hour and a half from Florence.

The last time I was in Rome was over 20 years ago and boy, have the crowds grown. Admittedly, then I was a student and spent weeks there so could amble at my leisure, but we didn't actually get to go in St. Peter's or the Colosseum - we would have spent the whole day in a queue. Instead we walked round the city to see as much as we could - as you can see from the photograph the weather was great that day.

In Florence, we climbed up to the top of the Campanile (over 400 steps and I am way out of condition, believe me). I took this quirky view through the stonework.

And this is one of the vegetable stalls in the market at San Lorenzo looking very seasonal. I caught up with some reading too, never started 'Reckless' which I had put on my sidebar as the next up to read but have read three others (all recommended) and am halfway through a fourth - I can read at the speed of light if I've got no work, no cooking and no sewing to do!

Next up - I must get started on my Secret Santa Swap - I know what I want to make, it's just a question of converting the plans to reality.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My Fall Quilt Swap arrived! And isn't it gorgeous? It was made by Darlene at Quilting Daze and I am absolutely thrilled with it. She is such an accomplished quilter - it's just perfect - thanks Darlene! I know that mine also made it safely across the ocean to my swap partner Alice.

This afternoon I'm going to see the exhibition by Lutterworth Piecemakers so I might just see Jane or Lynda there if I'm lucky.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A Tiny Bit of Creativity

I'm still here! Hate to whinge but whilst I actually love my new job I am sooooo tired it's untrue. It's on the same sort of level as the tiredness you feel when you have a new baby. It will get better but right now I haven't got much energy for anything other than work and I am hopelessly, hopelessly behind in my blog reading (sincere apologies for not leaving comments - I will improve!). So, in a bid to restore the old work-life balance I thought I'd work on something small. I had seen the idea for a celebration banner on a couple of blogs and had been wanting to try out something similar for a while.

As you can see, I have only got as far as making the letters for the first word. What I'm thinking is that if I make enough letters I can do a kind of mix and match to be able to put them up to say Happy Birthday, Happy Christmas, Happy Easter etc. etc. I made them the same way you make fabric postcards with Timtex in the middle but they are only 3 X 4 inches. I hung them up with these dinky little pegs I bought off e-bay - I put a ruler there for scale so you can see how tiny they are. My goal is to make enough letters for DS's birthday at the end of November.

Monday, September 24, 2007


With a bit of luck this will get posted out by the deadline of 30th September - just the label to do now. Once again the colours aren't as yellow and mellow as in real life but you get the general idea. It seems to have taken a while but I have got quite fond of it. I want to use yo-yos again in a different project soon - those tools make them so quickly.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Where does the time go? I haven't done anything quilty for weeks apart from sporadic bursts on the Fall Quilt (nearly finished, but not quite). I see that I haven't posted anything since August 27th either.

Nothing much to report really, I've been busy, but not with anything creative. DS started a new school term (and for those that remember my faux pas last year, yes, I did send him back on the right day). DD started her last year at Sixth Form College and is in the process of applying for a university place for next year. Starting a new job in a college makes me feel like it's the start of the year for me too so I resolved that I am going to be more organised instead of living my life in my usual haphazard fashion. Oddly enough, I am very organised in a work environment but I just can't seem to get it together in my home surroundings. I put together a folder with tabs for Weekly Menus, Daily tasks, Weekly Tasks, Shopping List, etc, etc - we'll see how long I stick to it.

One place we did go was the 800th anniversary of the town of Coleshill, Warwickshire being given a market charter by King John in 1207. My Mum's family have lived in Coleshill since at least 1748 (maybe longer, but that's as far as I've got with the family tree so far). There was jousting and renactments of daily life in medieval times including breadmaking and a blacksmith.

And my latest e-bay purchase was a copy of Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking. I think this was a bit of a bargain, as the cheapest second hand copy on Amazon was £58 and I got my copy for £17. I haven't seen any second hand copies cheaper than that. If I spent as much time actually quilting as I do looking through quilting books I'd triple my output!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Coming along

You wouldn't believe how long it has taken me to come up with a design for the outer border of this quilt. It has gone through several stages - most of them abandoned because of my lack of applique skills. It would have been good to use bias tubing but not right now (yes, I am a bone idle good for nothing woman and you all thought I was industrious). It would also have been good to do hand applique but I can't get my head round that one right now (and possibly ever). So I took the short cut - machine embroidered stems and fused leaves. However, what I really wanted to do was to use one of my new yo-yo making tools to make the tiniest size of yo-yos and use them in this project, so at least that's a first. Here's the progress so far with the first leaves fused on but not machine appliqued yet.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fall Quilt Progress

Here's the start of the Fall Quilt - it will get a bit more busy than this before it's finished. It seems weird to have pulled all of those fabrics and yet used only the tiniest piece of each one. I cut 2" strips to get the squares so I may feel the urge to make another in a different pattern once this is finished.

Finn surprised me by tagging me for Nice Matters - the logo is so pretty I've put it on my sidebar for a little while. I would find it well nigh impossible to limit my nominations to just 7 people - so instead I'm just going to say is that this is a great international community and I love being part of it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

First of all thank you to everyone who left a comment on the mile a minute top - much appreciated! But be warned - it is infectious, once you start making them you can't stop - check out Andrea and Lynda's blogs to see theirs, and Patti, who started it all, has completed a mammoth 534 blocks

I couldn't resist joining the Four Seasons Quilt Swap and pulled these fabrics from the stash for the Fall Quilt. Can I cram them all into a quilt that has a maximum size of 18" X 18"? You betcha!

My other non-quilty news is that I have got a new job in a college, starting in the middle of September. Even better, it is within walking or cycling distance of home so I might get a bit fitter, you never know.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

'Mile a Minute' Progress

My string bag is now virtually empty - I'd been making 10 blocks at a time and I don't think I've got enough strings left to make even another 10.

Here is the result - a year's worth of strings and oddments that I think many people would have thrown away (though I have to confess that I did use my pre-cut 2.5 inch squares for the centres just to have that bit more variety). I can't tell you how much I enjoyed making this and how much I love the finished effect. The colours though are a bit bleached out in these pictures, they are brighter in 'real life'.

I am just so sad that I'll have to wait another year to build up enough strings for another one. I know I could use strips from yardage but I just don't think I'd get the same effect - this uses lots of odd long triangular pieces from cutting straight the sleeves and yokes of shirts and besides, I just love the notion that nothing is wasted and it's kind of for free. I'm going to put a dark navy border on it to make it up to a big enough size to use as a throw on my kitchen sofa.

Siobhan commented that sewing mile a minute blocks is kind of like therapy and I couldn't agree more. I've had a bit of a stressful time lately for a variety of reasons culminating in a trip to London for my son to have an MRI scan last Monday. We were in an awful car accident nearly two years ago and my son was badly hurt and in intensive care for a short period. Thankfully there is no lasting damage and the driver of the car who caused the accident was prosecuted, but for insurance purposes my son has had to have MRI scans of his head. This was the third try - he had a panic attack in the first, traditional enclosed tunnel-like one and then they tried another wider one which was supposed to be less claustrophobic but he still panicked. This was the last resort, a 'wide open' scanner where he didn't have to go into a tunnel and I am glad to say that he was okay and stayed still enough for them to do the scans (not easy for a ten year old) and he was very proud of himself. On the positive side, after that was over the two of us had a lovely afternoon and evening in London (including a trip to Hamleys Toy Shop in Regent Street for a reward) before heading home on the train.
This morning we went to Birmingham. I like to go to the 'Rag Market' - of course it doesn't sell rags any more but it does sell fabric and has lots of haberdashery stalls. I like markets anyway - I'm far happier in a market than a globalised chain store.
Have a good weekend everyone.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I am addicted - after seeing Patti's 'Mile a Minute Tutorial' I just had to try it out. I have a bag full of strings that I need to use up ('cos otherwise they will multiply and become two bags).
These are true strings - button bands and collars off shirts, hems off skirts I've cut up for the fabric and uneven pieces from straightening yardage so hopefully the blocks will come out at least a little bit wonky.
I'm going to try not to use any of my evenly cut 2 and 2 1/2 inch strips - though I might renege on this if the blocks all start to look a bit samey and I want a bit more brightness and variety in the fabrics. I can make 10 X 6 1/2 inch blocks in an evening and it's nice, relaxing mindless sewing with no cutting to do - bliss. Thanks Patti!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Doll Quilt made it to my swap partner JoAnna without mishap so I will now post a full picture of it.

I haven't been able to blog, sew or comment much on other's blogs lately so please don't think I'm ignoring you. I've been a bit preoccupied by some things that I need to sort out and it's taken up all of my time at weekends, hopefully all will be resolved in the next couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to some sewing time this weekend anyway. I haven't gone without sewing for so long in ages - I'm getting withdrawal symptoms.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Flower Yo Yos

I was looking for round Yo-Yo makers on the Clover website when I saw that these Flower Shaped Yo-Yo makers were coming out.

Quilt shops have just started to stock the round yo-yo makers here in the UK but the flower ones don't seem to be available yet - I bought these 'buy it now' from I think I need a bit more practice to perfect the technique and I have no idea whatsoever what I will use them for but I just couldn't resist them. I think it was the pictures of the finished products that I saw here, they look so pretty. The bigger ones are 1 1/4 inches and the smaller ones 1 3/8 inches and they are very quick to make. And this, I'm afraid, is the sum total of my sewing activity over the last week and a half: life, work, rain, and other stuff has got in the way.

Friday, July 06, 2007

I finished the CW Doll Quilt and although the colours and pattern were very different from the first one it did grow on me - I see more in my future! I also found a neat label that I thought went with the era quite well. It is now on its
way to the Swap recipient. I'll post a picture of the completed quilt once she's received it.

I also got this book in the post today,

which I first saw on another blog (but sadly I cannot remember which one) and have had on my wishlist at Amazon for ages. It is so lovely, the text is in Japanese but there isn't much of it, just pages and pages of photographs of feed sack fabrics. You can see more of the content here at Amazon.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Just a couple of pics today.
First of all the completed Doll Quilt #1, it's just got minimal stitch in the ditch quilting and around the applique pieces. I'm scared to do anything more adventurous in case I 'ruin' it. Afraid the lighting in the photo isn't brilliant but yes, you've guessed it, it's still raining.
And another bit of the CW quilt, I've sandwiched it today so I should be able to finish and post it well within the deadline. I'd show the whole thing but I'm not sure if you are supposed to or not.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Raspberries and runner beans

As it's been raining non-stop I've made a start on the CW(ish) Doll Quilt. Here's a bit of it.
I did nip down to the allotment in between showers to try to pick some raspberries - there are loads of ripe ones but I haven't been able to pick them because it's always raining.
I picked quite a few but then it started to rain again so I came home. I did remember my camera though and the rain will do the runner beans good.

Have you seen Jen (Fairybread) and Jen's (Hedgehog) posts about Quilts for Leukaemia? I've made a few of the red and white blocks for Clare, but was beginning to worry about the fact that while it's relatively easy to show support by making a block, Clare still has to purchase the backing and batting. Luckily, the two Jens did more than think about it, they have come up with a cunning plan - at Quilter's Quarter, an online store in the US, there is an option to buy a Gift Certificate that can be emailed to Clare, which she could then use to buy batting and backing fabric. Quilter's Quarter accepts PayPal, and they felt that quilters, if they were able to donate, would be confident that their donation would go toward quilting supplies and not toward a bottle of wine! (Clare does live in France!). The smallest gift certificate is US $10, but they think the store might be prepared to accept 2 people each donating $5 to make up one certificate.

I am not for a moment pressuring anyone to contribute - all of our circumstances are different and it is always an individual choice, but it is a very worthwhile cause and if you have made any blocks you might want to know about this.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

On the Doll Quilt Swap front, there's good news and perplexing news. The good news (for me at least) is that my partner likes Civil War Reproductions, so I get to keep the quilt I'd already started. Usually I am not bothered about whether I keep a quilt myself or not, but I'd gotten quite attached to this one and I really wanted to put it on the wall in my kitchen - so much so that I had in fact cut out all the pieces for its twin. I've just got the put the binding on the first one and then I'll post a picture. So far, so good. The perplexing news is that I don't have a huge collection of Civil War reproduction fabrics, so ... I've just pulled all the fabrics that look as if they might be from that era to give a similar overall effect. What do you think - will they be okay? I think they will be fine, and in fact there are a few that are repros. This is an unexpected challenge for me. I like all of the fabrics - I wouldn't have bought them otherwise. But I wouldn't normally use this selection all together. And yes, I know I could limit the number of fabrics I use, but once a scrap quilter .... In the Doll Quilt in the last post I used over 40 different fabrics - just because it's a Doll Quilt doesn't necessarily mean that you have to use fewer fabrics. And for me, the scrappier the better - now I've just got to decide on a pattern.

Meanwhile, I went to my first ever Quilt Group meeting in Lutterworth, where I met fellow blogger Jane, from Sew Create It. It was such a friendly group and there are some very talented members if the Show and Tell was anything to go by. It made a nice break in a week where work has taken over (again, and I know I keep going on about it but it accounts for the fact that it's been two weeks since I last posted anything).

I also found this article a couple of weeks ago about how women are using the web to forge friendships - have a look, it really reinforces what most of us know already, but it is interesting in that it shows that men don't use the Internet in the same way as women at all.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Doll Quilt #2

I knew I was right to get cracking - the sign up for the Doll Quilt Swap has had to end early, due to the sheer number of people wanting to join up.

On the home front, the scraps are now transformed into... this layout. I string-pieced the scraps for the sashing and fused and machine zig-zagged the flowers. I'm hoping it'll piece together okay as there are a lot of seams in the sashing which could be bulky when it's all sewn up, but so far so good. I have, of course, got a lot of scraps left so I maybe see another Chinese Coin Doll Quilt on the horizon (get a grip, girl, you haven't finished this one yet). With a border, it should measure 18 X 22 inches.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Doll Quilt #1

I'm all fired up for making doll quilts now (note how nonchalantly I cast aside my earlier vow to finish things up before starting another project - maybe there's hope for this completer-finisher yet). I thought I would try to make more than one before the swap deadline so that when I know who the recipient will be I could pick one closest to their taste (okay, this might be wishful thinking but humour me).

Anyway just to give you a quick peek, here's the start of Doll Quilt #1, which is very much to my taste, I just like looking at the scraps, never mind a pieced top!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Almost there ...

... with the Road to Arkansas top - I've put three narrow borders on - another two to go but I've kind of lost impetus - too much scrabbling on the floor to measure.

I've also joined the Doll Quilt Swap, Amy posted about the first one a while ago but I missed the deadline for signing up. This time round it seems very popular and I'm really looking forward to seeing all the different quilts that people make. If you want to join the swap, sign-up is open until June 17th.

This week the door fell off our (built-in) fridge, I left my debit card in a shop and the flush mechanism on our (one and only) toilet stopped working. But ... I got these shirts in a charity shop sale for 50p each.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Bits and Bobs

Just pottering about really. I made a fabric basket for my SIL's birthday, haven't made one of these before so it took a while but at least it worked. Here it is without contents.

And here it is with added toiletries - I did wrap them in cellophane and add a bow but that was after the camera batteries ran out. Of course, being a person who thinks ahead, I looked for the 2 spares in the charger - needless to say they weren't there. I have a 10 year old son, three guesses where they were? Yes, you're all correct, in his PSP of course.

I also received a lovely parcel from Jane - she drew my name for her 50th post. We were both tickled by the thought that of all the bloggers around the world I won, and yet we probably only live about 30 miles away from each other.

A couple of you have asked about the pattern for the quilted bags a couple of posts ago. The pattern I used was from a book, but Dani has been making the bags too (check them out) and she put this link to instructions for a similar bag on her blog if you are curious about how to get the square shape.

Other than that, all I've been doing is starting to put the borders on the bright Road to Arkansas quilt that I pieced a while ago. I really hate to have too many UFOs - I try to kid myself I'm a free spirit but if was a stick of rock I'd have "completer/finisher" in letters right the way through - it makes for a very stressful life, that's all I can say. I have a Yellow Brick Road quilt all cut out and ready to go from recycled shirts but can't bring myself to start it until that top is finished. Trouble is, my mind is always about 300 quilts ahead of the one I'm actually working on, there are just so many possibilities and so little time (and so many beautiful quilt books to drool over).
Have a good weekend all, the weather forecast is sunny!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I've finally finished the Depression Block Quilt - we went up to Carlisle for the Bank Holiday weekend so I took it with me to handsew the binding. I do like the peacock feathers but I think it might be a while before I use them on another quilt because they did take a long time.
And I made a bargain purchase, this book, Quilted Planet by Celia Eddy, normally retailing at £25 but on sale at £10 (and I have seen it for sale at £25 in my local branch of Borders). It has examples of many types of quilts from all over the world - just goes to show, there's nothing new under the sun.
Now I'm going to sit down with a cup of tea and catch up with all the posts I've missed over the weekend.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I've been tagged by Clare to reveal 7 things you didn't know about me:

  1. I have a phobia about tinned baked beans. I just cannot bear them, I hate their smell, their appearance and I couldn't possibly eat one. I can just about bring myself to cook them in the microwave for my kids, but I have to do this without touching them or getting any of them on my fingers. I couldn't possibly wash up plates by hand that had the remains of beans on them - ugh. It would make me retch just to touch them.
  2. I have the widest feet ever (and very short toes) they are a UK size 3 1/2 in length but I would have to buy shoes in a size 6 to get anywhere near the width I need. Hence a lifetime of squeezing my feet into shoes that are too narrow and buying shoes just because they fit, never mind if I like them or not. And don't talk to me about sandals - it's only in the last few years when manufacturers are making wider models that I've been able to find a few that fit and still look reasonably fashionable.
  3. Can't bear the hairdressers - I would rather go to the dentist! I have to do it because I like fuchsia streaks in my hair and I would rather have them than not, but it's an ordeal.
  4. I can't tell left from right instinctively. If you said to me 'look up' or 'look down' I would instinctively look in the right direction. Can't do it with left and right, I have to stop and think about it and work it out. I dread being asked for directions because I get my lefts and rights all mixed up and learning to drive was a nightmare because I had to concentrate twice as hard on working out where the instructor wanted me to go. If I need to write out directions for myself I have to put arrows going in the right direction instead of writing left and right. My kids think this is hysterical.
  5. I have a B.A Honours degree in Art History achieved when I was 21 and young and foolish and a Masters Degree in Training and Performance Management achieved whilst working part time in my late thirties when I was older and a bit wiser.
  6. I never ever wear yellow, orange or green clothes on account of the fact that I have very sallow, yellowy skin (just think Marge Simpson without the blue hair) and these colours provide the most appalling contrast. Don't I make myself sound wonderful - it's not that bad but I do look seriously awful in those colours - hence the fuchsia streaks in my hair - much better.
  7. I wish I could dance, my favourite music of all time is big band swing from the 30's and 40's - it would be terrific to be able to dance to it properly but my left/right dysfunction kind of puts the kibosh on this. I did go to 'Latin in Line' a couple of years ago but as you can imagine I had to concentrate pretty hard and the instructor was sarcastic to me for going in the wrong direction.

I must surely be the last one to do this meme so I'm not going to tag anyone else. I have finished quilting the peacock feathers but I won't put up a picture of the finished quilt until I've put the binding on.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Guess what this is going to be?

Crazy patchwork of course.
I have never before had a go at those stack and shuffle crazy patchwork blocks - mainly because I love love love chain piecing, sooooo quick to cut and to sew. I've learned from this that I'm not really a block by block kind of person. But I also love the random effect of the stack and shuffle crazy quilts and the thought that it might be quicker than piecing a crumb block. So ... my cunning plan was that if I made some red and white ones for Clare's Quilts for Leukaemia I could just make a few blocks without having to commit to making a whole quilt and find out if I liked the technique or not. Then ... I thought if I was doing a crazy block for Qs4L it would look pretty if I embellished it with a bit of ribbon and rick-rack and, shock, horror, use the embroidery stitches on my machine, which go unused from one year to the next.

Well, dear readers, I have to tell you - I nearly put my eye out - twice. Completely my own fault - kept forgetting to set the stitch back to straight when I changed the foot from the normal one to the 1/4 inch one and of course the needle hit the foot and splintered, both times. My machine was screaming at me - really, it sends out a high pitched wail when something is not right. Luckily there is no damage to me or the machine. And the crazy patchwork technique? Well, I might try it on a bigger quilt someday, but probably without the embellishments (unless I take the necessary safety precautions, like wearing a pair of goggles). And I have to agree with the criticism that you often hear about this method - there does seem to be a lot of waste.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

And the winners are ....

I made two more bags which I think are slightly improved on the first one I made - in the same way as the first pancake is never quite as good as the rest of the batch. The names were drawn by my own in-house randomiser - DS and his friend R. We were very professional about it and typed out all the names, folded them up small, put them in a box, put the lid on, shook it up and picked two out - DH was the presiding officer.
All very exciting. It was lovely to receive all your comments and I wish everyone could be winners but the two names drawn out of the box were ... Rebecca and Tami.

Just chilling out at the moment, this has been the work week from hell - didn't get back home until 7 p.m. on Thursday and I was so terribly tired I went to bed at ten to nine! So much for work-life balance. Now I must get back to the peacock feather quilting as my thread has arrived, hope I haven't lost the rhythm.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A year ago today ...

... was my first ever blog entry, doesn't time fly? This is actually my 98th post - I was trying my absolute best for my 100th post to coincide with my bloggiversary but couldn't quite make it - anal or what? Still, though 100 posts a year is chicken feed to some, at an average of 2 per week I don't think I've done too badly considering I work full time and I've got 2 kids (make that 3 if you include DH).

There seems to be a bit of a tradition developing to have a giveaway as a celebration of blogging anniversaries so I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon. This was meant to be a doll quilt but somehow it turned into ... well, I'm not quite sure what, but it's bound to be useful. DS thinks it's a pencil case, DD thinks it's a make-up bag. I used a pattern from Lise Bergene's book, A Passion for Patchwork, very easy. All comments on today's post will go into a hat and I'll get my kids to draw a winner at the end of the week so please do leave a comment. It may not be this very bag though, it is my first attempt and so I might make another one.

I never thought that I would still be blogging today, I nearly gave up early on and probably would have, if it weren't for the encouragement of another blogger. It will probably come as no surprise to many of you that that person was none other than Finn, she took me under her wing, encouraged me to comment and told others to 'visit'. And her kindness, I think, typifies the community of bloggers that post about quilting and crafts. It is a community that shares ideas, inspiration and thoughts and is welcoming to all who join it. Now there can't be much wrong with that, can there? I am thrilled to be able to have connected with so many people from all over the world and I just wish that I had more time to sew and blog - darn that job!

I'm trying Leah and Belem's tips to make the pictures clickable - but I have to confess to a slight disaster on the hollyhock front so maybe I won't be too sorry if that particular picture doesn't click! I thought I'd practice a scalloped edge but I made the 'inward' curve of the scallop too sharp instead of gently curved - hence less than perfect bias binding at those points. Ah well, you live and learn and 'it is a practice piece' - I'll go ahead and finish it anyway. I can see that becoming my stock phrase from now on!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Quick Update

The hollyhocks are progressing - I like just making a small quilt, though my son, quilt aficionado that he is, did ask me if it was 'just one block' for a larger quilt. I was quite impressed with his encyclopaedic knowledge of (one) quilting term and it would be good to make a whole quilt of different flowers, but not right now.

I did a bit of free motion machine embroidery round the petals - I like the effect on the darker ones, not so sure about the one at the top on the left. However, I sure ain't going to rip it out and I'm viewing this as a practice piece anyway.

In my last post Connie commented that the photographs weren't clickable to make them open up in a larger size in another window to show more detail. I would like all my pictures to be clickable, but sometimes they are, and sometimes they aren't and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. Does anyone know what you have to do to make them all clickable? (In words of one syllable avoiding the need for shedloads of html.) All hints gratefully received.