Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Holiday Fun

 Week five of the Aves BOW.  Another 6 1/2" square.

Not much sewing aside from that!
I did, however, have the chance to see lovely rock formations like this - Hay Tor - on a family trip to Dartmoor.  Despite being lucky enough to have DH drive me very close to the Tors that we'd chosen, the walking involved has left me with batteries that are beyond flat.  Worth it for the fun that we had as a family, but I do sometimes wish that I didn't have M.E. / C.F.S and that I could just enjoy life without the preparation / consequences.  Oh well!  Enough grumbling.  I'll be back at my sewing machine soon!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Totally Tropical

 It will only be people of a certain generation and geographical area that are now picturing a can of Lilt.... with the 'totally tropical taste'!

Not much sewing this week - just this block to keep up with the Aves BOW.  It finishes at 6 1/2" and is a very pretty and delicate design.

So this wasn't the tropical bit, the visit to the Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens was.
 My photos don't do it justice.  We had the pleasure of a sunny day and were able to enjoy the colours and shapes of the flowers and plants in the best possible way.
 It makes me so happy to enjoy the bright colours that nature gives us without any help at all.
 It makes me want to start flinging fabrics in gorgeous hues around!
 And then adding more fabrics as backgrounds to set them off....
 I'm pleased that the hive is staying at Kew for a bit longer too.  Magical structure - I love the look
and the sound of it!
We enjoyed a quick canter through the Palm House too.  We are so lucky to live nearby and just be able to pop in when we choose.

More half term excursions planned, so sewing will take a back seat for the week whilst family fun takes centre stage.

I hope that you are also enjoying your week!

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Fun times!

 Just one 6 1/2" block to make this week for Aves - leaving plenty of time for other projects!

I may revisit this one at some point - I think that I could do better in trying to preserve the points of the Seminole bands.  I need to remember that I should just persevere with an accurate 1/4" seam, not be swayed by someone who found her block came up slightly short, and try to compensate in my own work by using a scant seam allowance.  Clearly not the right thing to do for me!
 On a larger scale I started the layout of my HST blocks.
 Can you see that it's mostly blues in the middle, then purple on the top left and 'warm' on the top right?
 After that it went slightly to pot - the delight of scrap quilts is that you are working with what you have in your scraps, of course, so 'brown' and 'grey' were quite loose interpretations in the lower corners!  In real life it seems to read OK though.  I need to get the backing and batting cut for this as it's now sewn together.
 I decided to use my small scraps from a recent mini quilt this week too.  Made as a 'quilt as you go' block I used what I had to make a mini quilt - scrap wadding, backing, binding....

It wasn't quite right though.  That top RH white triangle was too shouty - and was arguing with the focus triangle in the centre.
The solution?  Play with my Inktense pencils to colour in that top triangle.  It's close enough to what I want to make me happy!

The final touch is my 'maker' scissors - a badge of honour, I like to think!  One of several pins that I bought from Jodie Carleton of Ric Rac.

Another quilt (roughly 8" x 11") formed from the leavings of other projects.  Very satisfying!

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Works in Progress!

 Another week of FPP in the Aves quilt BOW.  I love this circular flying geese piece!

I took a trip to my local quilt shop to get my background fabric (and, ahem, just a few more to top up the colour families).  Looking at the box I've got them stored in makes me feel very happy!
 I wasn't sure how I wanted to attach the outer ring to the initial circle.  I ended up machine stitching around each of the appropriate seam lines through the foundation paper and fabric with a big stitch (for easy unpicking) and then appliquing the outer ring to the inner using the stitched lines to guide me.

Of course, I only thought afterwards that I could have made the needle hole lines without thread in.....doh!  Something to remember for the other four circles!
My other WIP is the scrappy triangle quilt.  You can see here the relative piles of trimmed HSTs, untrimmed HSTs and unironed HSTs!  Progress always seems slow at this trimming stage, but I love the precision of the trimmed squares which makes it all worthwhile!

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

A Big Start and a Little Finish

 This week saw the start of Kathryn Kerr's (you remember, designer of the 365 challenge quilt) 'Aves' Quilt Block of the Week program.

On Saturday night I sat down and had a chat with my stash.
Participants had already been given fabric guidelines, which includes a recommendation for the use of three main colours and a range of tones within them.  I'm using not just batiks but prints for this quilt.  I don't know if I have the required amount of yardage, but plan to add more fabrics if required over the year.
 I did well on the turquoise, OK on the pink, and need a bit of a top up of purples in order to get the range of tones.
Here they are with the background that I'd like to use - a soft blotchy grey with sprigs of foliage on it.  I know that it was printed by Robert Kaufman but can't remember the name of the range or find it on the Robert Kaufman web site, so I suspect that it's out of print.  A trip to my local quilt shop beckons, as the one yardage that I'd like to keep consistent over the 47 weeks that this will run for.

 And here is the first block!

The outer edges are untrimmed, but I'm happy with how it turned out!  The journey has begun!
 I also made this little lovely.  The pattern is called 'Drawn Together' by Sarah Fielke and finishes 15" square when made like this with out the borders that she suggests.

I still can't decide whether or not I should have quilted the star - but I was happy with the close background quilting!

This is made with foundation paper piecing.  Enough to get me 'into the zone' for the Aves block above, and enough to remind me that I probably don't really want to make a New York Beauty quilt, lovely though I think they look.  I had been wondering about that as a project....

Instead of a New York Beauty I've decided to get back into my scrap drawers.  This is a pile of 5" squares.  I'm planning to split them into lights and darks (more or less), sew them in HST pairs and then to play with them to find a fun layout.  Simple sewing for undemanding fun!

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

First Finishes!

 As hoped, I finished this 'Sweet 16' lap quilt.

It has finished at 42" square.  Another one to be passed over to Project Linus - and one more step to dealing with all my scraps!
 It's a nice size to work on, but I still think that making it 60" x 42" would give a more useful size - but I was limited by the scraps that I had in this colour way!  Sometimes you have to listen to what the fabrics or blocks are telling you!  It's fun to work within these 'constraints' sometimes.
 I found myself wondering what to make next - not a usual state of affairs for me, as I often have quite a long list of projects that I'd like to get started with. 

I wanted some simple sewing that would use some of the fat quarters that I was given for Christmas.

After trawling though my mini / small / miniature quilt books I decided on this one from "Little Quilts all Through the House".  Called 'Stars in the Snow' it used three of my fabrics (you can't see the lustre on the background one) to make a Christmassy mini quilt.  I am pleased with how neat my diagonal quilting it.  I shall add it to the others that I hang in the kitchen each year.  It finished at 18" x 14".
My last sewing adventure for the week was to make this card.  I need to set aside some time to make more cards soon, as my stock seems rather depleted at the moment.

This week I plan to start another mini quilt with more Christmas FQs, to consider fabric choices for the BOW that I've signed up for (Aves by Kathryn Kerr - it looks amazing but I'm not sure that I'll be able to keep up with it as it also looks quite intricate!) and to have a look to see which scraps I might use in my next lap quilt.

Lots of planning and thinking there!

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Under my Needle

This little sashed 'sweet 16' is now under my sewing machine needle and having the attention that it deserves  - surging forward to my first completion of 2018, I hope!

The colours are a little brighter than they appear in this photo - in my mind the colours of an African sunset - very cheerful in these grey days!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Happy New Year!

 The only sewing that I've completed over the last fortnight is this postcard for a birthday swap - the rest of my time and energy has gone into having a lovely time with my family, making memories and laughter together.

I should also mention that I spent some time in A&E and a London Eye hospital.  Nothing seriously wrong, but I'd like to say a resounding 'three cheers' for the NHS and all the staff who worked over the holiday period, particularly those in the West Middx and the Western Eye Hospital.

 I was, however, extremely fortunate at Christmas as my friends and family gave me some tip top presents!

Benta gave me this porthole pouch and scissors keeper - aren't they fab?  If you've previously admired her port hole quilt then you might recognise the style.  Terrific!
 Avril gifted me a fab pair of sprung snips - perfect for someone with a nagging wrist like me - which have a needle threader hidden in the end.  Clearly designed with me in mind!  As well as that lovely set she gave me the softest trimming that I've ever encountered.

 My DH, DD2 and a niece gave me some fabrics.  My brain is humming along deciding which combinations to use and what to use them for.  I've almost decided on making two mini quilts, one a winter one and one for the rest of the year..... but it's hard to decide exactly which patterns to use!
 DD2 also chose these little charms for me - aren't they sweet?
DD1 also bought me ribbons for sewing as well as other craft making pieces.

I'm so fortunate that everyone is so generous - and so mindful of my hobbies!

I hope that you were equally fortunate.  My thoughts have turned once more to those who are not, and I'm keen to get my next Project Linus quilt on the go.

Happy New Year, everyone.  I hope that 2018 brings you all that you'd like!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Merry Christmas!

I think that this will be my last finish before Christmas - and it was the right sort of colours to show it next to our Christmas tree!
 It's finished at 60" x 44" and I'm pleased with how it looks.
 The binding is the same fabric as the sashing / border.  It also makes a stripe within the blue-grey backing which serves both to bring the backing fabric to the size as well as give it a little more interest.
A few more Christmas decorations - made with friends - and this 'new home' card for a friend, made with some of the scraps from the decorations!

My energies now will be engaged in family and festivities, although sewing will be squeezed in when I can manage it, of course!

I wish you all the best of good wishes for both Christmas and the forthcoming year.  May you enjoy good health, much happiness and plenty of crafting goodness!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Under my needle

The blocks that I showed you last week have been sashed and ironed and backed and basted and, almost, quilted.

I would have finished the quilting completely if I hadn't had caught one side of the backing up and folded it under by accident.  I have a few inches of quilting to remove so that I can fix it.

Looking forward to making and adding the binding to this.  My happy colours for sewing!

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Pleasant Patching

A total of 22 '16 patch' blocks were made from the 3" squares in my box.

I'd already split them into warm and cool colours, so it was a simple task to lay them out and chain piece them.
 I've decided on these layouts.  The warm colours around one central mostly black and white block.

The cool colours in an alternate pattern - more saturated colour blocks mixed in with those that have more black and white in them.

A fairly efficient use of them, and the size of the lap quilts will be extended by the use of sashing and border fabric.
Just one orphan block left.  I don't have a plan for how to use it, but I do have a plan to look for any other orphan blocks that I have and to decide what to do with them once I can see them together!

Enjoyable, easy patchwork - a deliciously relaxing background to the preparations for Christmas.  I'm now in the happy state of almost all Christmas cards having been written and sent, and almost all the Christmas presents wrapped and put into the appropriate places!  Things are going well!

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Almost there!

 Every year I like to make a few fabric decorations to give away.

Not many this year - and a very simple pattern that's all over Pinterest made them a straightforward proposition.  It doesn't really explain why it's taken me a fortnight to get them from the initial cutting out to the final stitches!

Never mind, now that they are complete I can add them to the appropriate parcels ready for mailing out!

 I finished the parliament of owls too - they all have their brooch backs on now, and, as you can see, some of them have their wings stitched into different arrangements.

I'm pleased that they each seem to have their own character!
 Now it's time to find the energy for some proper patchwork and quilting!

These scraps need to make their way out of their temporary home in the box that I use to store Christmas cards when they arrive!
I think that I'll probably put all these 3" squares into 16 patch blocks and then sash them.

Just the sort of mindless occupation that I need at the moment - sometimes you just need uncomplicated sewing projects, don't you?  This year I seem to have done nothing but them (although that's better than nothing, I suppose!).  I do get frustrated sometimes by not being in the best of health.  I'd love to do even more with my daughters and husband, and I'd love to sew more too.  Oh well!  I shall carry on being grateful for the time and energy that I do have and make the most of it by filling it with as much fun as possible!

Happy sewing, everyone!

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

My Own Parliament!

 I added these.... these.....
 ....and got these.

With the addition of buttons and stitches.....
.....I got these.

Some of the wings will get caught with a stitch or two to show more of the back fabric when I add the brooch backs.

A total of twelve unique owls make up this parliament.  They won't be with me for long - destined as presents for the teachers and teaching assistants who do such fabulous work with my DD1.

Fun to make and each of them unique.  I did wonder about making them in Christmas fabric, but decided that they were more fun like this.