Thursday 31 October 2013

Two Tah-Da's in Two Weeks!

Seriously, it is like buses round here. You don't see a quilt finished for absolutely ages and then I finish two in two weeks. Just do not expect another one to be done two weeks from now. That would be more than a little optimistic.

I stayed up past my bedtime last night to finish off Good Morning Star Shine, and I got Emily to be the photographer this morning as it was too wet outside to place the quilt upon any surface, even my rustic fence.

I finished the quilt with a scrappy LV binding, with one shot of the hot pink (which would be in the upper right corner if I had been thinking about which way I was holding it rather than stretching up on my tiptoes to keep it off the wet grass).

I backed the quilt with a dotty pink cotton I bought at Ikea, which make their fabrics wider than quilting cotton so I didn't have to add any piecing in. Bonus!

The front is made using a myriad of LV charms I had received in LV charm swaps, and Sketch in hot pink for the stars. I quilted it with a straight line stitch on either side of all the charms. You can see the quilting much more clearly on the back. I used an Aurifil 40w variegated golden yellow on the front, and my favourite Aurifil 50w silvery grey on the back. It measures up at 49" x 67". The pattern is just one I thought up, daydreaming, as you do.

I can safely say that I have a LV addiction now. I am already thinking up the next pattern in my head. This is item two off my FAL list. If I finish up a couple more I just might give myself permission to start a new quilt.


Wednesday 30 October 2013

The Kindness of Landlords

It was a beautiful day today. Bright blue skies and a comfortable temperature. Add in the bonus of our landlord having a bonfire in the empty lot behind our house and you have two girls spending a good portion of the day outside. I'd forgotten the appeal of things like fires and half built houses.

Girls happily running around feral outside meant I could get on with some sewing inside. The quilting is now done on Good Morning Star Shine. The basting pins are out. It is trimmed. And a big pile of LV scraps have been cut into strips for a scrappy binding.

There is a finish happening soon. Happy me.


Tuesday 29 October 2013

A Quick Catch Up

It's half term here. Though ours started early here with the girls off school with that tummy bug they caught. Which they then kindly passed on to me. This is unusual as I seem to dodge most germs that go by here. I guess there had to be an own goal eventually. On the bright side, I am pretty well over it now and with the girls out of routine I didn't have to drag myself out of bed at 7am Monday morning, which is good because I really, really would not have been in the mood.

Not much sewing has been going on. Lots of book reading though. Including this one.

I coiuld't hold out any longer as everyone else in the quilting world seemed to have bought a copy. I must say it is bloody brilliant and my brain has been working a million miles a minute with ideas as I go through it. It would probably help if I wrote some of these ideas down as I went along because as soon as I turn the page and a new idea pops into my brain an old one falls out. A sad sign of the times here.

Meanwhile, with the girls at home I've been letting them do their thing in the kitchen. I failed to get a photo of Helen's apple and lemon curd upside down cake, but trust me here, it was good! The bread girl worked her magic too, and I made the cookies.

Then of course it is the week that Halloween falls in so yesterday afternoon had them fully occupied with sharp knives and their imaginations. This is the first year where I made them do it 100% themselves. I was too busy eating cookie dough and popping trays into the oven. (Which might explain why my tummy was still off kilter yesterday. Hmmmm!)

But today I finally turned on the sewing machine. After too long contemplating the LV quilt and trying to decide how to quilt it I went with a boring straight line. I just could not get any inspiration. I was going to fmq it - in some sort of pattern - but when I sat down I just whacked on the walking foot and started following those seams. I just wish I could get the 'straight' part of straight line quilting down right.

The top thread is the variegated golden yellow, and in the bobbin is the pale silvery grey. This should keep me busy over the next couple of days.


Friday 25 October 2013

The Bloggers Quilt Festival

Choosing which quilt to enter into the Blogger's Quilt Festival can cause quite a quandry. Unless, like me, you suddenly realise that you have completed very little in the way of quilts in the past six months. Oh, sure I have made lots of things - just not so much in the way of quilts.

That being said, I knew all along which quilt I would want to feature, because it has been planned for every so long, and been in the process of being created since last winter. (A hiatus or two happened along the way.) And I only finished it last week.

For those who are not familiar with me - I have a slight Heather Ross obsession. I started collecting HR fabrics about three years ago. Unfortunately I was then afraid to use them. My little stack of precious fabrics grew, but seldom saw the light of day. So I decided to create a HR Fanclub quilt. That decision was easier than the one of just how I was going to make it. For such a simple design, it took me a long time to come up with it!

Other than the two Kona solids used, the entire quilt is made with HR fabrics. She kindly came out with Briar Rose in the nick of time for me to use it as a backing fabric, and the binding too. The fabrics are quilting cottons, linen blends, flannels, double gauze, and a couple that I really am not sure what they are.

I quilted in the ditch around each and every piece of HR in the mosaics. Then I did five rows of straight line stitching in the white borders. I finished with pebble quilting in all the blue space. I love the contrasts this gives, and how it helps each 'framed' mosaic stand out. I also love how the quilting gives a great texture to the back.

The finished size is 49" x 60".

This quilt was made for me, and shall be used by me. Now that I have made it I am not putting it away in some cupboard to protect it. It's on the sofa , though my girls know that myabe it is best to steer clear of it. There are plenty of other quilts they can use.

If you are a regular reader here, you are now thoroughly bored because you just had to read all about this quilt last week. But if you are over here from the Blogger's Quilt Festival, welcome. Thank you for stopping by. If you would like to see some of the others things I have made then I have some shown in the tabs at the top of my home page. I hope you are enjoying the festival. I know I always do. I shall be spending a good portion of half term finding an infinite amount of inspiration in all the gorgeous quilts people enter.



Thursday 24 October 2013

The Quilters Bad Mother Handbook

Yesterday I had a sick child. And I basted a quilt. Yesterday said sick child volunteered to make some soup for lunch. And I let her - while I played with fabric. I am a bad mother. I've got my just rewards though, as today I have two sick children and am feeling rather squiffy myself. I am a bad mother, but I did manage to make something. Surely there is something to be said for that?!

After the basting task was done I went into my sewing space (because I don't have a room of my own - yet) and while there was a tonne of things to be done I got distracted by the HR that was still out on the table. I started to play with those scraps and the next thing I knew I was making something. It happens.

You can tell by the photos that I was doing this at different times of the day by the changing light. I cut, I pieced, I sashed, I layered and spray basted, and then I hand stitched.

Today I finished it as a cushion. But I didn't let anyone make soup, so I might be a better mother. On the other hand, I did let Helen make cookies. I go with the theory that if they are busy they are less likely to be thinking of the fact that they feel bleugh.

I used some lovely silvery grey DMC perle 8 for all the stitching bar the line of white use on the blue. I backed it with some spare pink spotty fabric I had. (Forgive the lumpy look of it. I didn't have a big enough insert so I stuffed in some wadding to make it more full.) And I used my last 24" zip from Zipit. Well, I am sure it is the last but every time I think that, another one appears from nowhere. They really are magical these zips! Granted, the blue was a little bright for this cushion, but I didn't have enough pink left to cover it, and the zip is on the back. Who wants to look at it when you have all that lovely HR on the front?!

So, another finish. Another finish not on the FAL list. I really wish you could amend that list as you went along. It's a finish that makes me happy though. And I got fine weather for photographing it. I love autumn weather like this, where colours are so vivid, and the sky so blue. Even with an ick tummy you have to be happy.


Tuesday 22 October 2013

Almost Instant Gratification

The joy of small projects is that you can go from start to finish in a few short hours and be happily looking at a completed project before the school run (or whatever interupts your day).

Today I went from a pile of charms squares, a small bit of cutting, pulling out a piece of bright blue Stof linen, and sat at the sewing machine.

And with minutes to spare, I now have this completed pouch. It's a fair size at 9" x 12" but that was the idea when I started it. I am ever so pleased with the way the fabrics came together. The lining is some Bliss pink that I adore and it just called my name for this pouch.

And now I really do have to run, or I will have to girls standing in the rain, less than pleased with me. I hope you had an equally productive day.


Sunday 20 October 2013

Good Morning Star Shine

I've fininshed my LV quilt top and decided to name it Good Morning Star Shine - because I am trying to name my quilts more and this one sort of came to me without too much bother. I thought all the LV was like mornings first light. The colours hard to read, and the moon and the stars still visible.

Well, that was as lyricle as I ever get so appreciate it while you can! I knew that I wanted to add more LV to my quilt top to bring the stars away from the edge. I had thought to do charms all round but upon ascertaining that I would require 52 more LV charms I came upon the obviously solution - cut the charms in half and make them double up.

The quilt top now measures about 49" x 67". More than enough to cover my short arse body from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. I've got an idea for the binding but still contemplating the backing. As I have to go within spitting distance of an Ikea tomorrow on my way to somewhere else I just might find myself doing a short detour. Surely they will have something appropriate.


Friday 18 October 2013

Fifteen Inches

(I am looking forward to comments from certain individuals for that blog title. Just saying.)

But what I am really talking about measuring here is how much of the hand quilting I have done on my Stitch Tease quilt. Today I hit the 15" mark. As the quilt measures 60" x 80" and I am stitching lengthwise this means I have now done 25% of the stitching. There's still a long way to go but it is a milestone none the less.

I don't do prolonged bouts of stitching on this quilt. And in the heat of the wonderful summer we I had did not do one little bit. Now I pick it up when I have the time and the inclination and find that is slowly building up those rows of stitching.

I still love the way the different colours of perle that I use play a game of hide and seek depending on the fabric they are stitching over. And I love the texture this stitching is adding to the quilt.

When it is done, eventually, I think that this will be one of my most favourite quilts.


Wednesday 16 October 2013

Can You See My Grin?

It's grey and rainy, and a wee bit windy outside, but do I care? Hell no!

Over three years collecting - buying, trading, being generously given - all the Heather Ross fabrics I could get me greedy little paws on.

Over two years talking about making a quilt that featured Heather Ross fabrics and nothing but Heather Ross fabrics. Turning ideas over in my mind. Knowing that the pattern would have to be 100% original to me. No one else would have a quilt quite like mine. (I'm selfish like that.)

Then the best part of a year in the making. Surviving the hiatus from sewing in the summertime. Surviving me discovering that pebble quilting is a bugger to do, and uses thread like there is no tomorrow.

And then suddenly, I was done.

Granted the weather is not condusive to a good photo shoot. There was no way in hell that this quilt was touching any wet surface out there. But I couldn't wait to show you, despite being limited to the hanging from the trampoline photos. Let the wind blow, I am a patient woman at times.

Other than the two Kona solids, the entire quilt is made up of Heather Ross fabrics. Conveniently she came out with Briar Rose in time for me to purchase some for the backing and binding. The varied quilting gives all sorts of texture to the back.

The entire quilt was pieced and quilted with Aurifil 50w 2600, the very palest of greys. You don't notice that it is grey at all, unless you look at the pebbling, especially where the pebbling appears on the white piecing on the back. I rather like the accentuation you get from this.

I quilted in the ditch around every last piece of Heather Ross in each rectangle. There was a lot of quilt turning involved but I was determined that nothing would detract from the feature fabrics. Then I did straightline quilting round each mosaic in the white sashing to frame them. I followed this up with pebble fmq quilting for my first ever time in all the blue space.

The quilting is far from perfect but I don't care. This quilt is for me. Me, me, me. Not the girls. Not for guests. It's for me. I don't want to leave any room for doubt, okay.

Here are some basic facts about it -

Pattern - my own, made up as I went along.
Fabrics - Heather Ross and Kona solids.
Thread - Aurifil 50w 2600
Size - 49" x 60"

And for all the cutting up of my precious Heather Ross stash, the good news is that I still have a fair amount left. But now that I have made this quilt maybe I won't be afraid to use it in other projects.

How can these fabrics not make you smile?


Monday 14 October 2013


I've debated making a really short list for my last quarter of the finish-a-long so that I would have a higher chance of looking successful. But then I decided, sod it, I can't do any worse than I did in Q3. So, without too much waffling on, here are some things that need finishing round here.

1. Round 2 of Brit Bee. I have the blocks. I should use them then!

2. I suppose I need to turn this into a cushion.

3. If you are a betting person my HR Fanclub quilt has the highest chance of a successful finish.

4. These would be lonely if I didn't put them on the list.

5. Must keep stitching.

6. It is waiting for another row of LV all around the perimetre. And waiting, and waiting, and waiting...

7. Too cute not to finish.

8. Because one hand quilting project is never enough.

Seriously, I'm stopping now. Because I am starting to hyperventilate. I think there are more items but I can't face it. Especially as I have had the overwhelming urge to start new stuff of late. Someone stop me!!

Linking up with the lovely Leanne for the last quarter of the FAL for 2013.

she can quilt


Sunday 13 October 2013

Brit Bee Round Three...

... is officially underway for me. As said Friday, all your wonderful comments encouraged me to stick to me original star idea and I put on the third star in pink.

I was happy with the way it looked, but I was even happier when I fussy cut the borders. I used some Helsinki that I bought from Cindy at Fluffy Sheep a little while ago, and I think it works perfectly here. I've no idea what the fabric used for the four corner squares is but it was just the right shades of blue with that touch of lime, and those Helsinki houses thrill me.

Maybe it's because they give a wonderful sense of detail with none of the work. I'm not sure but I am happy, happy, happy! This block will now make the rounds of the bee members and they will each add to it. I shall see it again in over a years time.

I wish it a fine journey. I have the utmost faith in my friends to be able to turn this simple centre into the most wonderful of quilts.


Friday 11 October 2013

The Arrival of Autumn...

...heralds the desire to hand quilt again. It is a cold, wet and grey day outside today. I am happy inside, tucked up under my Stitch Tease quilt slowly adding more rows of hand stitching to it.

Thank you for everyone who left a comment yesterday. You convinced me to abandon my doodling trying to think of a different star and stick with my original idea. It would be finished now too, if I wasn't so happy tucked up under my quilt.


Thursday 10 October 2013

Back To The Drawing Board

As you know, because I am not shy about telling you repeatedly, I am a member of the inimitable Brit Bee. These ladies are not just great quilters, but have become the most amazing friends. I feel very blessed to be part of this group. And we are about to enter our third round of the bee. To make it exciting we are changing it up this round.

We all have to pick a colour scheme and make a centre block for our quilts - a star. We have to do that this month. I sat and pulled fabrics like it was an Olympic sport. I think I am happy with the colours I have chosen for this quilt.

I am aiming for blues in rich tones and navys, pinks in all sorts of tones, low volume as the background and touches of lime to throw in some more interest. I have debated adding in citrus colours rather than just lime. But the above palette is what I am going with at the moment.

The star is flummoxing me though. I was thinking of doing a star within a star within a star. I have the first two  stars done and suddenly I do not think it is nearly exciting enough.

I think I may sit with pencil and paper tonight and see if inspiration hits me. The best stars are all foundation paper pieced and we all know that I am not going there again for a long time. I am contemplating trying to design an epp star.

Anyone have any good ideas they would like to point me in the direction of? Or should I add on the third star, in pink, on the above block and be done with it. It does resemble me - simple. Slightly wonky. But bright and cheerful.


Tuesday 8 October 2013

My Inheritance

I realise that it is unusual to get your inheritance in advance, but that is sort of what happened to me today. My dad has been slowly transitioning to living in the UK permanently over the past couple of years, all in the name of love (which is really, really nice). This year he emptied his flat in Canada, and had the items he wished to retain shipped over here to the UK. Only he does not have room for all these items and has chosen to give some of them to my brothers and I now.

When I was growing up there were a couple of items that I loved, and one in particular that it always was said would be mine some day. Well some day happened today. Now this item might seem rather odd to many people, especially for a ten year old girl to fall in love with. Be that as it may, I am really happy to have it in my home now.

Doesn't everyone want a copper and brass mainmast lantern salvaged from a sailing ship?

It stands about two feet tall, and can be taken apart, as you can see in the photos above. I used to polish it when I was younger and was enamoured with the fact that there was still a wick in it. But to answer the question, no I never filled it with kerosene and lit it. And yes, the girls are already asking if they can do that. I suppose I will have to give it a polish again. Not sure if I am going to enjoy that bit as much as I used too.

The next item was my grandmother's and I fell in love with it when visiting her in my teens. My grandmother told me she had promised it to a friend, but that turned out to not be true and it went to my father, and now it comes to me.

It is a sewing table, and it isn't in great shape. There is damage to the wood, and some damage to the interior too. But I don't care. I shall see if there is anything I can do to help keep the wood from drying out any more than it already has so that it doesn't lose more of its inlay. I am not sure where I am going to put it, as we are not big on space here, but I do already envisage keeping all my perle in that big conical compartment in the middle.

There were more items, all of which I had no idea I would be getting today.

From left to right: 9" candlesticks made by my great-grandfather, ivory dominoes that were mysteriously stored in the sewing table, two snuff boxes (the top one I loved when I was a child; it is incredibly tactile), and glassware that was my grandmother's. The top ones are so thin, and have a wonderful shape. I want to fill them with chocolate mousse. The bottom ones have been hand painted. (There are more of both these glasses but I didn't unpack them all to show you. I believe there are six of each.)

Finally, there were items that I had given my dad over the years, mostly from my travels, which he no longer has space for. These were a nice trip down memory lane for me as I often bought for other people and then after the fact wished I had bought one for myself as well.

Clockwise from top left: A bent wood box from Alaska, a spice holder from Madras (Chennai) India, a birch bark wood container from British Columbia, a completely random huge 15" hoop my dad had and we have no idea where it came from but I will have it, thank you very much, a box with a silver panel from Kusadasi, Turkey, and a hand painted little bone container which I think I bought in either Yalta or Odessa, though it might have been Bulgaria. Who knows!

I shall potter about in the next few days and find homes for many of these items. I would like to have enjoy them, not have them remain in boxes in the back of some cupboard. I hope the girls develop their own favourites amongst the various things. I think that passing down items that invoke memories is the nicest of things. If these items have a family history that is all the more special. So a huge thanks to my dad today. He's brought back lots of happy  memories in me. It's a good feeling.


Monday 7 October 2013


I thought I would take a look at my third quarter wishlist for finishes in the Finish-a-Long. Best laugh I have had so far today - keeping in mind that it is just past 10am here and I've already chased around after an escaped gerbil and been tortured by a physiotherapist. Laughs were few and far between up until this point.

The sum total of my finishes for 3Q FAL is SFA. Nil. Nada. Nothing. Complete and total fail.

Am I surprised? No! This summer sewing seemed to take a back seat to everything else and I don't have a problem with that. It just means that 4Q FAL should be a record breaker. (Insert more laughter, please.) Stay tuned and I will get that list posted in the next few days. Meanwhile here are a few of the things that still languish in the WIP pile.

If you want to see some of the wonderful things that people have been successfully finishing in the FAL then pop on over to Leanne's blog - She Can Quilt. She is the uber-mama of the FAL and does the most fantastic job. Thankfully there are so many people participating and they have a much higher success rate than I do.

she can quilt