Tuesday 30 September 2014

Hurrah for Sewing!

I'm delighted to say that I've finished my September quilt - an 'Angelika' (a quilt made from the leftovers of another quilt - this was made from the scraps of my August quilt - named after a member of one of my online quilting groups who has turned this into a fine art!).  I have to confess that I still haven't finished the binding on my August quilt yet..... so still running a bit late on that one.

I have hardly thought about what to make for my October quilt, but I'm hoping to make a 'proper' pattern rather than just relying on novelty prints for interest!
 So based on that, I'm not sure that I could raise a (an?) hurrah, but based on my birthday experience I most definitely can!

I received all this wonderful cards - aren't they fabulous?

I chose the theme 'purple' - can you tell?
 My girls and I keep on sorting and re-sorting them - tremendous fun!
I was also lucky enough to get these most excellent quilty presents!

The zipper pouch is a hand made lovely from Benta - isn't she clever?  Beautifully finished, a great inspiration.

The book and jelly roll are from my wonderful sister (and BiL, of course, although I suspect that he may not have been involved in the choosing process).  Great looking patterns, and I can hardly wait to get stuck in with the lovely bright fabric!  She clearly knows just what I like.

So, hurrah for sewing and fingers crossed that I find a bit more time to do some this week! I'm impatient to get on with several small projects!

Wednesday 24 September 2014

After the anniversary.....

After the anniversary, I can present the proof that my DH hasn't ever ironed Hama beads before....of course, the real proof is that on the back of this is a large swathe of Teflon coating from the iron.  Release paper? Nah.  Baking parchment? Nah.  

He says that next time he'll leave it until I get home (I was only out for an hour, visiting my lovely osteopath!) so we won't need to keep buying new irons!

Aside from that I'm mainly sewing down binding - no photos of those August and September quilts yet.

I also made my best beloved a card, of course.
And I've been sewing on a 'secret' mini project - just a glimpse for you now. 

Of course, I've really been spending time looking at lots of other lovely bogs.  Starting here with SewKalico who has played along beautifully with the worldwide blog hop -  and moving on via the blogs that she and KatesQuilting have highlighted.  I suggest you pop over for a look too - lots and lots of inspiration to be found and crafting loveliness to be admired!

Hope that you are enjoying some sewing time as the weather becomes a little cooler here in the UK.

Monday 22 September 2014

Twenty five years ago.....

Now that's what I call a long 'work in progress'!  Still married, still smiling, still wearing glasses (but not these Eighties ones) and still in love with my DH!

Do you like my wedding dress?  I did buy new shoes / hat / bag, but the wedding dress was a £10 find at a second hand bookshop set in what used to be Osterley tube station before it moved to its current location on the Great West Road (or the A4, for those of a more prosaic outlook).  I spent many hours and quite a few pounds on treasures there - all the rest of which were books!

Happy anniversary to us!

Monday 15 September 2014

Around the World Blog Hop - Twickenham Stop

 Hello!  Please let me start with a great big 'thank you' to Lea Anne at Podunk Pretties for tagging me in this world wide blog hop.  Always fun to take part in something that spreads around our marvellous quilty (or otherwise!) world. 
Lea Anne makes a series of bright and beautiful quilts that never fail to put a smile on my face when I see them - colours that can always cheer you up!  I found her blog through a linky party earlier in the summer - hope that you enjoy what you find there too!  I particularly like her scalloped edge tutorial - a way of finishing an internal border that I hadn't thought of - its great!

So, the idea for this blog hop is that I answer some questions about my stuff, for those people who haven't had the  (dubious!) pleasure of meeting me before and then link to some other lovely bloggers who I think you'd like to meet.

 1) What am I working on?

I'm embarrassed to admit how many projects I'm working on.  In fact, now that I've had a good think (not quite time out on the 'thinking step' but close to it!), I have decided to try and complete all my current UFOs within the next year.

However, I'm committed to sharing the start point of this task with you, however embarrassing, so here goes!

The top of the post shows a hand stitchery (design by Urban Threads) which is going to form part of a Round Robin in my quilt group.
 Then I've got these two little houses which just need filling and closing - based on Janet Clare's lovely pattern.

I'm still working on my 'cuff book' too - just a few pages in this one, so I'm sure that by the end of 2014 I'll have finished it.
 Of course these are all hand sewing projects - this is not surprising, as machine sewing is so much quicker that I'm less likely to have the projects sitting around for quite so long.  This shows a 'flimsy' and backing that are just ready for the wadding and some quilting.  This will by my 'September' quilt to give away - this year I'm trying to make one quilt every month (not always big ones, and not usually complicated ones!) to give away.  A few will be presents but most will be gifted to Project Linus or similar charities that distribute quilts.  I love that I can spend my time doing something that I enjoy in order to make something with love for someone else.  Quilting is a great hobby, isn't it?
This pile - ahem - is the front and back of my 'August' quilt.  I'm really not at all up to date, am I?!?

These two are definitely 'boy' quilts - tractors, cars and other 'boy' novelty fabrics make up these as an antidote to the girly ones that I usually make!
 More hand project UFOs to show now.  These hexies are made from my late FiL's shirts, and represent pretty much the last of the great fabric stash that his shirts left.  I made double quilts for all four of his grandchildren, and then a series of smaller 'use it up' quilts after that.  This will have five rows of hexies, which I shall then add to.
 Another piece of handwork - my progress on Esther Aliu's Love Entwined quilt.  I'm only planning on making this central part of it - it's a wonderful pattern that Esther is sharing, but pretty daunting in its entirety!  I'm really happy to have got this far, just one corner to finish before quilting, binding and finishing.  It has a worldwide following with some absolutely wonderful quilts being stitched - you should go look for some!
 Lastly, my long term WIP - a hybrid of hand and machine sewing - my Dear Jane quilt.  I'm only planning to do the squares on this project too, but it is by far my longest running project.  Over eleven years so far - I should really, really get this finished!

So, eight projects (and about a dozen more in my head) to finish.  That should be doable, right?

2) How does my work differ from others of it's genre?

Ummmmm......I'm tempted to say that it's not as good, but that sounds a bit down and I'm a more cheerful person than that!  I don't know that my work does differ.  As you can see, I'm happy to follow patterns from all sorts of people, as well as to create my own, especially when machine piecing.

3) Why do I write / create what I do?

I quilt because since becoming hooked on it, I really miss it when I can't! I credit patchwork and quilting with being the glue that holds me together.  I suffer with ME / CFS so the outlets that I used to have (working, walking, swimming, socialising, travelling, dare devil sports) aren't open to me in the same way anymore.  Instead I've thrown myself into something that offers many different disciplines and lots of lovely colour.  Shopping online, sewing with a machine, enjoying internet communities - I can't imagine ever managing without a 'fabric fix' to enhance my day now!

I blog so that I can record what I do for myself and so that I can put occasional tutorials up to help other people, something that I'd like to do more of.  That's my way of 'giving back' something to the wider crafting / quilting community by way of thanks for everything that has been shared with me.

4) What is my favourite piece?

This quilt - fusible applique and machine quilting, from a pattern by 'Don't Look Now' is probably the favourite out of the quilts that I've made (and that number is up over a hundred now).

It hangs over our bed and I get to enjoy it every single day. 

So that's all about me and my quilting.

I'm thinking that you'd like to go and look at someone else now!

I'd like to tag Sewkalico and .......oh, hang on, I remember, I'm supposed to have found two more people who'd like to be tagged by now - oops!  If you'd like to play along please let me know as soon as possible and I'll tag you too!  In the meantime, let me entice you to along to Sewkalico by telling you that I've been following her blog for ages, and that she is the absolute master of quilt shots in the bucolic English countryside - so it's a double pleasure to look at her quilts, as you get great backgrounds too.  Of course, it's not just quilts that she makes - but you'll be able to hop on over and have a look yourselves.

Thanks again to Lea Anne  - and remember to go and have a look at her blog too!

Happy quilting, everyone!

Wednesday 10 September 2014

More Bits and Bobs

 Still not much of anything happening this week, apart from (even more) name tag sewing onto new items of uniform for DD1.

Still, I managed to make the Monday evening deadline to participate in the next challenge that my quilting group are running - a round robin.

This is my fabric pull (yes, it looks just like the fabrics that I used for my C&G samples - what can I say, I like the colours and they were to hand!).

My theme is the lyrics from the Military Wives song 'Wherever my Heart'.  I'm hoping for lots of
hearts and stars, perhaps a bridge..... Who can tell what I will actually get!  All good fun.  This is my own block strip (6" x 36") combining applique hearts, improv stars and foundation pieced flying geese (and no, there are no geese in the song, but they refer, in my mind, to Chivenor which is an air base that I drive past once a year....!).  I hope that people understand I am happy with any style of patchwork in this piece!

I have also bought myself an early birthday present -  some rubbing plates and Markel paint sticks.  I spent a happy 10 minutes yesterday transforming this scrap of muslin (and no, I didn't bother to iron it, it was play time, not laundry time!).

I love the look of the rubbings, and I'm thinking that I'd like to transform a plain t-shirt with them (hoping that I can manage the stretch without it looking too gruesome).  HOWEVER, not one site that I've seen has talked about the powerful smell that emanates when you use these paint sticks!  Crikey, what a smell!

I know that it's recommended that you leave the paint to 'cure' for three days before ironing it, but I'm really thinking that I shall have to leave anything I colour in the shed rather than in the house, as I'm not at all fond of the strong aroma.  Of course, before I actually commit to a t-shirt I will also need to think about how to overlap the patterns (like they show in the ads!).  Its going to be a bit of a learning curve, foreshortened only by my reluctance to buy any more of the paint sticks until I can prove reasonable results with the ones that I have (three minis, one full size) as they are pretty expensive.

I'm off to contemplate the Round Robin that I have to make a block for this month - a theme of 'tea', which does have lots of scope to it, I'm pleased to say!

Sunday 7 September 2014

Busy Week!

With one DD back at school and the other starting her new school tomorrow, I'm hoping to have a bit more sewing / crafting time again soon!

In the meantime, I'm still trying to decide whether to be flattered that DD1 wanted a home made PE bag and bag for a second set of clothes.....or concerned that she was too lazy to go to the shops to choose something!

Either way it was a good excuse for a little simple sewing with some fun prints from my stash.

 I even got to use a couple of fancy printed wooden buttons.

Of course, now that I've realised that by using a satin stitch I can sew buttons on with the sewing machine, I'm more likely to let buttons appear on things!

Of course, my hand sewing this week has been mainly name tape labels.....
 I did find a few minutes to make this book cover too, using a left over block.

I'm running out of blocks to pick up and use for this sort of quick project.  Perhaps I'd better do some more random printing and stitching - perfect for when you want something to occupy the fingers but not the brain!
My last little project for the week was this fabric post card for my 'birthday swap'.  I wish that I'd moved the chicks just a little further left so that they didn't look quite as much as though they were going to be stepped on!