Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Fried PC, anyone?

The heat on Monday did a whole lot of no good to my laptop, which was already susceptible to overheating.  By Tuesday it was refusing to boot up, and is now at the local I'm without many of the links, addresses, tools and my regular e-mail - and I'm missing them!

I'm using my DD's PC (not quite steam powered, but slower and without many of the things that I'm used to) and if you'd like to contact me you can try plumcox at hotmail dot co dot uk....... With good luck and a following wind normal service will be resumed by Friday!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Ain't nothing going on but the.....cake (and giveaway winners)!

DD2 turned six this week.  So although I have sewing to show you - she'd asked for a cushion and wanted a seahorse / underwater theme for her party - it was finished a few weeks ago.  Another Urban Threads pattern sewn by hand, and the machine used for construction and background quilting.

Creative energy (well, available energy, perhaps not as creative as it might be) has been put instead into cakes.

Water Splash was for Frankie's actual birthday (when she had a couple of friends around for tea after her ballet lesson.  Coconut cake (her choice) with blue butter cream.

Seahorse Aquarium is the cake for her party -along with another 30 or so cupcakes with matching icing.  I have to confess that the idea for the streamers for weed / water / general effect was Simon's.  Without them the cake was looking more like a large tin of tuna, and I wasn't sure what to do about it!  Lucky that we have cocktail sticks and a hot glue gun to make construction of them quick and easy!

That aside, the quilty news is that my random number generator (DD2, well, it was her birthday) picked Lis as the winner of the stay at home round robin quilt and Linda as the runner up.  One parcel already dispatched, one address awaited.....

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Another UFO Completed!

 We all have projects that hang around for a bit, right?  So what's your oldest project that you have maturing?  I decided to try and tackle some of mine over this year - I was surprised by how many I had when I actually looked at was was around.

This one of mine - notable because it's been on my 'design wall' (really vertical storage for odd blocks and small quilts destined for other homes) for some time.  In fact, 'some time' should really be quantified.  Really, in this case, 'some time' is in fact 'some years'.  I think that I made the central part of the hanging was made in 2007.  Certainly as soon as I got my 'Quilting Caveman Style' DVD from Ricky Tims. 

Still, now, the second of my pair of quilts is finished, a mere two years after the first one, and four years since I started.

 So did I try to quilt them to make them match?  Crikey no!  The first lily (blue background) was very heavily quilted.  Lots of dense stitching and trying out of freehand feathers.
 It's only by chance that the pair have come out at such a similar size.  I guess that was the benefit of keeping all the bits for the project in one place, and having at least partly made the wonky block borders before I put the project aside.
The detail of this flower shows slightly lighter and looser quilting. This is the densest quilting on the hanging this time.
Aside from this excitement, I've been hand-stitching on my 'Roses from the Heart' bonnet, doing a little light luceting (aim: to be able to lucet a neat cord without needing to look down).  Oh, and making a few more lavender bags.  Now that my 'projects to do' list is down to 7 (or at least, just the 7 that are already started) it was clearly time to indulge in a little retail therapy.  I bought this pattern for four cushion covers - another 'Don't Look Now' pattern - and some pastel FQs to make one or two of them.  Pastels? Me?  I know.  Clearly not in my usual 'the brighter the better' mood, but I suspect that these will become gifts and I do understand that not everyone shares my taste.

Thursday, 9 June 2011


 I've just finished the quiltlet that you see here.  It's turned into a narrative piece - hills, the girl about to climb up to the little house, the tree.  I made it as a 'Stay at Home Round Robin' hosted by Kate North.

However, I made it using colours that I'm not so keen on, just to see how it went.  Unfortunately, although I like the form of the quilt, I'm still not keen on the colours and don't want to make space for it on my walls.  SO if you would like it, please contact me or leave a comment.  If there is more than one person who'd like it I will draw a name out of a hat (probably at the end of the month).  It's about 19" square plus the dangly bit.

 I broke open the packet and started luceting.  This was the first bit.  At the bottom you can see the looser weave, then the tighter weave where I improve with the first method that I learnt.  Then there is a really wobbly bit where I tried to learn a second method, which straightens out enough for me to try to put a frogging line in, and then the section with the frogging.

It's going to be fun to try it with different types of yarn to see what happens, although I can only do a few minutes each day without making my fingers and wrists sore.

 This second photo shows a good step forward to what I want to do.  I want to be able to include beads (but clearly need to pay attention to counting to get even curves around the beads) and this is the easiest bead inclusion pattern that I've got.
On Tuesday I enjoyed a morning with two other Twickenham quilters.  Lesley allowed us to try out her Amanda Jane Pleater.  Amazing!  She gave us these lovely silk samples and I'm still trying to decide how to use mine.  They are very touchy-feely as you can move the pleats around to make pleasing shapes and forms.  I shall be interested to see what Avril does with hers.
And here is a photo of the hanging that I made last week for Kandy, now that I know that she's received it safely.  Similar to one that I made earlier in the year.

Finally, if you haven't already cast your vote, please take a moment to click on this page and vote for 'Unfolding the Quilts' to be a 'Best Heritage Project'. If the Quilt Museum (run by the Quilters' Guild) is the heritage finalist it will get a slot on a BBC show which would be great publicity.  It's already got and spent the lottery money, this is just a vote to say that it was a popular choice.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Five minute lavender bags.

 When you get post like this - a lucet (cord maker - I haven't tried one before), some jewellery findings and a bag of dried lavender, it's hard to know where to start!

I decided to make some speedy lavender bags to calm me from the excitement of opening the post.  If you have the right things to hand, you can make them in under five minutes each, so a real crafting quick fix!
First I half filled an organza gift bag (you know the sort, just pennies each through eBay or other wrapping providers).  I was half tempted to stop at that point, until I remembered that the first thing that either of my DD's would do when they came across them would be to open them to investigate the lavender, and I might never manage to re-fill it!  So I carried on with Plan A!  A line of machine stitching to keep the lavender in place, then a swift swipe with a rotary cutter.  My bag was about 3" x 4" at this point, so I cut a piece of fabric 5" x 8" and hemmed one of the short sides.  Then with the right side of the fabric facing up, I folded the hemmed side just less than 1/3 of the way across the fabric, before repeating the fold with the unhemmed side.  All that was needed now was a line of stitching across what were now the short ends of the folded fabric.  Turn the bag back to the right sides out, slip in the lavender sachet, and you have the perfect item to grace your knicker drawer.  Of course, you could also spot that the left-over end of the bag looks a bit like a flower when you draw the ribbons up, and stitch that on and even add beads to the end of the ribbons for extra pizazz - but that might just be gilding the lily (or, in this case, the lavender).

I've only done two bits of 'real' sewing this week.  I made a wall hanging for an online friend, and also started my quilting group's challenge to start a 'sew a row' quilt.  Mine looks very pink and girly, but the orange should give it a bit of a lift.  If when I get to the end of making the rows (and it's going to average a row a month, I think) I decide that it needs sashing, I think that I'd opt for lime green, at least, if I had some on hand I would.
I hope that you've managed some happy sewing time too!