Friday 31 January 2014

Embarassingly, I Didn't Sign Up For The Fabric Fast

So, while many people I admire stick to their fabric fast I make up for their loss to the fabric shops of the world. (I hang my head in shame.)

First off, every stash should include some Oakshotts. The subtle colour shifts in these weaves entrance me. I like moving them about and watching them change colours. I just can't help it. Yesterday these were introduced to my home.

If you have never had any Oakshotts before then it's hard to describe how brilliant they are. Two different colour threads woven together that produce amazing results.

You can see in the photos above how the colours gently shift just by changing the angles that you look at them. I particularly like the way these F8s stand out against the midnight blue and the black. My brain is coming up with ideas but my schedule is saying it will have to wait. Crap!

More fabric that won't be played with for a while, but that I needed to own. I blame the Great British Destash. I finally got my hands on a little piece of the Farmstyle aqua cherry blossoms. My need festered for a very short while and then before you could say 'look at your bank account, Susan' I had been on Etsy and ordered these.

Love at first sight! May I just say, if anyone has any of these lurking in their stash and decides they don't want them any more, think of me. I will happily buy them. I have loved these fabrics for years and wish I had been aware of them when the line was printed.

Right, I have a floor to hoover so I can get on with the basting task. All sewing was put aside for the birthday celebrations yesterday but today it's full steam ahead.


Thursday 30 January 2014

There's A Teenager In The House

Today is all about Helen.

She's gone from a beautiful baby to a beautiful young woman, and I couldn't be prouder. Happy birthday, my lovely eldest girl.


Wednesday 29 January 2014

Still Stitching

Each and every evening I add to my hexie quilt, whether cutting and basting, or stitching them together. And it is growing much faster than I ever thought it would.

As you can see, it is like a picture puzzle with the pieces fitting together. Since I rarely, if ever, plan my quilts ahead of the game they grow in their own weird and wonderful ways. I am done with the blue hexies on this quilt now, and just need to keep adding LV ones until I have it square(ish). I have a feeling I haven't yet cut enough LV after all, but that's okay as I still have lots of fabric left.

Meanwhile, the backing fabric has arrived for the HST quilt, and I went and picked up some wadding today. I may be gone a while because (for me) basting this quilt is going to be one hell of a job. I bought more pins today too, just to make sure I had enough.


Tuesday 28 January 2014


All HSTs are sewn together and one 72" x 72" quilt top is complete. Happy, happy me.

I've splurged and ordered extra wide backing fabric. Something to do with not wanting to make a whole bunch more HSTs for the back if I had to piece something into a normal width fabric that would make it wide enough and still cohesive with the front design. I went with the cost versus sanity line of thinking, and decided as my sanity was already hanging by a thread I had best just order the extra wide.

So, as soon as that fabric has arrived basting and quilting will commence. Meanwhile I have hexies to keep me entertained.


Monday 27 January 2014

My Neck of the Woods

Whilst the house has been bashed by thunder, lightening and hail storms, things have been busy inside as well. For one, it is the annual 'let's all get sick' germ time. To be fair, poor Emily got it the worst, then I spent the best part of the weekend in bed (and used it as a good excuse to read chic lit and sleep), and now Helen is home. In the scheme of things it isn't too bad a tummy bug, but I have discovered that a child at home feeling ick equates to a child at home sitting at the computer playing Minecraft incessently.

This in turn limits my computer time even more. So to catch you up on all the January nonsense I thought I would grab the opportunity while I could.

First off, my new laptop is still off with the manufacturer awaiting to find out if it is fixable or replacement material. Apparently, I shall potentially have to wait until the end of next week before I have it back, or receive said replacement. I sit here waiting very impatiently.

Back at the beginning of the month I discussed my desk and what to do about cutting a hole in it to recess my machine. Here are my limited conclusions -
(a) I am a big sap because I still can't bring myself to do it because I love the look of the desk so much.
(b) If I get over this flaw in my character I should let him cut the hole because every last person who uses a recessed machine was vocal in their belief that it is the best thing going.
(c) Whether it happens or not is a mute point right now as I am so busy I refuse to clear away my sewing to let him finish it, hole or no hole. I do not have the time.

Next, the Briar Rose quilt still hangs there near my machine, taunting me with its ugliness. (Okay, I know it isn't a total loser but I will never love it.) I don't have time to finish it right now but I will do, just the way it is. Everyone who suggested that sashing between the blocks would redeem it is right. I am just too lazy to want to rip it apart and do that. I am going to back it, quilt it and give it to a very worthy charity. I am sure there will be a little girl out there who will become enamoured with the little froggies - even those rendered legless or motherless by my ruthless cutting.

So, between trying to delve deep into my sympathy reserves for sick kids (I'm really not good at this and think that in bed napping is the best place for them to be), I've been receiving more Great UK Destash parcels. Here's the last of what I ordered.

Heather Ross Munki Munki flannel. Love those foxes and the kittens.  
Winter Kissed panel and charm pack. The cutest of layer cake slices.
I say that is everything I bought in the destash, but must admit that I actually succumbed and bought something in the Aussie Destash as well. Seriously, even with postal costs it was still only £20 for a layer cake. An oop layer cake that I thought had really nice looking fabrics in it. Obviously I will show you when it gets here.

And then there is the sewing I have been doing. I have - finally - finished all the HSTs for my quilt top. And I have been piecing like a mad woman. The top is 3/4 of the way to being complete. As for the hexies, well I just keep cutting, and basting, and repeating that over and over again. I'm still not sick of them yet so this may go down as the only epp project that I ever do that I don't lost interest in half way through.

I'll be back, if the girls don't hogtie me and keep me from getting on this computer. It's getting harder and harder now that they are almost as tall as I am!


Thursday 23 January 2014

House Rule Number One

Don't poke Robert with a pin. Ever!

Look at that face. Poor Robert lives in fear.


PS: Is anyone else this anal about their pin cushions?

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Destash Results

Through the letter box today landed three out of five of the parcels I am expecting from the results of my quick fire buying technique in the Great UK Destash on Sunday night. I, like everyone else, know what I like in fabric. When I saw bundles come up for grabs it was specific fabrics that drew my eye in each of them.

Clockwise from top left. The pink narwhales from Out to Sea is a no brainer for me. I loved this line but didn't have the funds to buy it at the time. The DS will get added to the collection but it was the aqua flowers that I particularly wanted and some of that will be going into my hexie quilt. The dots bundle had a big old piece of HR in it. You know I had to buy it. It's in the rule book somewhere. Then the two blue bundles. You can see my arrows pointing at specific fabrics that I could just see on IG and jumped at the chance to have.

Here's a closer look.

I don't even know the name of the aqua fabric with the white dots with the little black spots, but I love it and it's perfect for the hexie quilt. Plus there was a low volume and three other cuts that are just my sort of fabrics.

I've got a piece of Farmdale - the aqua with cherry blossoms. I covet this fabric like you wouldn't believe and am so, so happy to have a piece in my stash. I will probably never use it but that doesn't matter. I can stroke it once in a while. I would have bought this pack for the Farmdale no matter what else was in the bundle. But look closer and you see a bit of DS Hope Valley, some Madrona Road, lovely aquas, etc.

What most surprised me and pleased with all these destash fabrics was the very generous size of them. The narwhales is a massive piece. The DS cuts are close to a FQ each. The dots and large scrap pack are all big bits. And the bottom scrap pack - supposedly small pieces - all a good size and so easily encorporated in my projects. I do not regreat buying one bit of fabric here.

I think the UK Destash should happen twice a year, and meanwhile I will sit and practice making the finger that pushes the refresh button even stronger, and quicker and I will most certainly be buying again. One person's scraps are another person's treasures. I couldn't be happier. And there is still more to come!


Tuesday 21 January 2014

Deja Vous?

I blame Ange. It was her idea for us to meet up at the Bramble Patch before she came over here for lunch. Does anyone really expect me to step foot in a fabric shop and buy nothing, even if I was there only a few days ago? Thought not.

I practiced a minimum amount of restraint before we returned here and partook of a tasty lunch (if I may say so myself), and talked for England. It's always a good day when you can hang out with friends.

And just in case you think my life consists of fabric shopping and eating, and little else. Here's the latest update on the hexie quilt. Making progress here folks. It is starting to really show the pattern up nicely.

And, yes, my slippers are super comfy.


Monday 20 January 2014

Refresh Button

So, who out there, in the UK side of you all was on IG last night hitting the refresh button as fast as you could in...

Seriouisly, I did not know what I had bought by the end of it. I am still not sure. It's going to be some happy post days in the not too distant future though. I'll show you what I managed to buy when it is all here. Not nearly as much as I tried to buy, mind you. I couldn't type in 'Me' fast enough for some of the fabric on sale. What a fun evening though. And - get this - himself said to me beforehand, 'Don't sell any of your fabric and buy what you like.' Huh?! Not sure what I put in his dinner that caused this but must figure it out and put it in more often!

Not to forget, I stumbled into my lqs on Friday after a flat tyre and all that fun, having completely lost the will to control my spending. I went in for two FQs and some machine needles.

In a strange twist of fate I came out with more. What cane I say? They had some old favourites still in stock and some lovely new lines in. I could not resist.

Finally, I have been doing more HST trimming. The colours are still making me happy.


Wednesday 15 January 2014


Remember my happy space last week? It is slightly less happy this week, because my brand new, I absolutely love it computer froze, then died. Yup! It came with a corrupted file and refuses to work now. As you can imagine, I am less than pleased. It means that my keeping up on blog reading and emails will go to pot again because I will have to use the shared by all extra computer that isn't in any space that I inhabit on a daily basis. Upstairs in the office, away from my sewing, and cooking, and relaxing space. My laptop has to go back to the manufacturer for fixing or replacing. Who knows when I will see it again.

So, I hope you understand but I am in a mood. Being in a mood does not preclude sewing though. I shall show you a photo of what I accomplised this morning.

That would be 84 HSTs all cut, sewn and trimmed. Half of what I require. Things are happening around here. Just not on the computer.


Monday 13 January 2014

My Aim for 2014

This year I want to make sure I make an effort to give away more of the things I make. Give them to people, or charities, who need them far more than I do. In an effort to set myself off in the right direction I have heeded Alison's call for quilts for the street children of Mexico. Please read more about it here.

Like many quilters, I have a fabric stash. It is not huge compared to some. It is varied because I buy lots of small bits rather than many pieces beyond the size of a FQ. For my style of scrappy quilting this suits me fine. But if you dig around in various hidey holes you can stumble across fabric I put aside ages ago with some purpose in mind I am sure. And there it stayed. Well, it is time for this fabric to come out into the light of day and to be used. For all intents and purposes it allows me to make things for free - because if I paid for the stuff more than two years ago it just does not count any more.

At the bottom of one of the girls old toy boxes, now used for storage for me, was a stack of the softest, prettiest girlie flannel. Most of it was left over from a quilt I made ages ago, but there was a big chunk of purple I had picked up on sale afterwards.

That flannel is now this.

Please forgive the wrinkly appearance. I backed the quilt with a fleece blanket and it is acting like velcro, clinging to everything and refusing to let go. Plus I wouldn't iron the quilt for fear of melting the fleece. Just saying.

The finished quilt measures approximately 50" x 60". The combination of the flannel with the fleece should be nice and warm, as well as feeling as cuddly as all get out.

I sewed the layers together and then turned it and top stitched the edge, following Hadley's fine example.

I did very little quilting, other than a row of stitching on either side of the seams going around the patchwork squares. I wouldn't attempt more with the fleece backing, but I did want to make sure it could hold up to lots of use.

I am hoping that somewhere in Mexico there is a young girl who deserves a better life than she currently has. I am really hoping that this quilt makes her smile, keeps her warm at night and helps in some very small way on her way to a better future.

What about you? Do you have fabric lurking in your stash that could be put to good use now, rather than hiding there for a few more years? I'm aiming for a minimum of four quilts of whatever size going to charity in 2014. Just imagine if we all did that.


Sunday 12 January 2014


Yesterday I wrote down my Q1 FAL. I mentioned that I had to get my hexies done as I had given myself a deadline. Actually the deadline has been imposed elsewhere. I've entered it into a quilt show. Eeeek!

Last year several of my brave friends entered quilts in the British Quilt & Stitch Village 2014. We went as a group to see the show and had that inevitable conversation about not being able to comment about a lack of modern quilts in a show if modern quilters are not willing to put themselves out there and enter their quilts in these shows.

So Reene and I made a pact. This year would be the year that we took the plunge and entered a quilt each. I've done it. I've sent in the entry form.

And if you look at the dates on that piece of paper you will see that I need to have this hexie quilt finished by April. I'm stitching as fast as I can here!

Though the question on the form asking me how big the quilt I was entering was completed flummoxed me. How on earth should I know?!


Saturday 11 January 2014

Being Committed

When I wrote Being Committed for the blog title I knew that half my friends would instantly see me in a straight jacket (if they didn't already), and they might be close to the truth but point of fact - today I mean being committed to my sewing. I am signing up for the first quarter of the FAL and this time I am going to try and only put things on the list that I truly think will be finished in the next three months. (Stop laughing!)

So, here goes -

1. Back, baste, quilt and bind Briar Rose - and then give it away.

I like this photo better than the quilt top one.
2. Finish the Christmas quilt. One and a half embroideries to do, and then back, baste, quilt and bind.

3. Finish piecing my hexies and turn into a quilt. Must be done. I've given myself a deadline. Seriously!

4. Turn this pile of cut fabric into a quilt. I've started the cutting and it will be an easy and simple make. It will be backed with the spare Ikea fleece blanket and it is destined to go to Alison for her quest for quilts for street children in Mexico. You can read more about it here. All the fabric was languishing in my stash, including the fleece blanket. Much better that it be put to good use.

5. I can't show you more than this fabric stack at the moment, but it will be a quilt in the not too distant future. Another one that I wish to get done by a set date.

And I am stopping there. Realistically I could put all my WIPs on here, but we know by now I will not get them done, so why bother. I have listed the items I must continue to work on. They're for charity. They are gifts. I need to do them and not distract myself.  (Okay, the Christmas quilt doesn't have to get done but I would really like to not put it off until next December.)

The past few days have been a flurry of fabric pulling, quilt designing, and a huge pile of fabric cutting for three different quilts. I have ended each day exhausted, because obviously real life is happening too, but with a great feeling of satisfaction for actually accomplishing stuff. I like feeling like that.

Now, if you will kindly excuse me, it looks like I might have some sewing to do. Linking up with Katy, because that's what this is all about.

Finish Along 2014


Wednesday 8 January 2014

I Would Like To Tell You A Story

This is a story about how I have the best bestest friend ever. Sorry, if you wish to argue with me over that feel free, but please read this first before you do.

My best friend has been that for almost 30 years now; most of my adult life. We have worked together, shared flats, travelled to all sorts of wonderful places together, played killer cribbage tournaments, laughed loads, and read a million and one books together.

I was away a lot, working and travelling, but the friendship was always there. Then I got married and had babies and moved them to a different continent than her. This was not what we planned! She is their auntie. Seriously, how can we live so far apart?! But never has the friendship faltered. Yeah, I know, you have a best friend just like that too. I think every last one of us should all have a friend like this.

Anyway, last year, before that big '0' birthday of mine, we were chatting on the phone and she asked me what I wanted for said birthday. I laughed and joked, and replied, 'A quilt.' I was just being silly and she knew it. Because I am the quilter and she is the baker. Seriously, she makes stuff like this -

All photos shamelessly stolen from her IG account.
When she comes to visit she always makes incredible tiered cakes with the girls and they have a riot. Dragonflies, and bumble bees vie with a huge array of flowers for space. The end result is always amazing.

Then, in the post yesterday, arrived our Christmas parcel. (Thank you, Parcelforce for keeping it on your shelves for three weeks because we know you had it due to parcel tracking.) In the Christmas parcel was my birthday present too.

She sent me a quilt. I couldn't believe it. But it is better than that. She didn't just have a quilt made for me. No, no, no - she went out and took quilting lessons. Made a quilt for herself to learn on. Then made this for me. This is only the second quilt she has ever made, and she learned to do it just for me.

See, I told you I have the best bestest friend ever!

She used a jelly roll, and yardage of that nice soft dotty blue. I love the colours. They make it look like a quilt that has already been loved for years. Which it will be eventually.

She pieced the back, and did straight line quilting. Only after she took an fmq class though, and tried that but decided against it. Seriously?! It took me years to learn this stuff. She did it on a sewing machine she bought second hand about ten years ago.

She did all this just for me. Now you know one of the reasons I love her so much. She's my best friend and always will be.

The End


PS: She has started another quilt and her partner gave her fabric vouchers for Christmas. She has officially crossed over to the other side. Bwahahaha!

Tuesday 7 January 2014

The Voice In My Head

I made a quilt top. With my Briar Rose. Good thing I still have a fair amount leftover because I am really not sure about what I have done in my first attempt. It is just waaaaaaay too busy for me. Not my cup of tea at all. My inner voice was screaming at me to stop but I carried on regardless, and the result is this (photos limited by the wet ground outside and very strong winds).

The top measures 40" x 50" so just a cot sized. Can you imagine how upset i would be if I had made it big?! Oh well, living and learning here. I should listen to myself more. I'm always telling the girls to listen to me. You think I could take my own advise!

And yes, frogs were hurt in the making of this quilt.

Oh the guilt!


Monday 6 January 2014

Being Happy

I debated what to title today's blog post. The other choice was 'Being Married To A Perfectionist'. I have a few thoughts on both matters.

Being happy is, as I think you would all agree, a good thing. And I am happy. December was a difficult month for me, though I prefer not to go into why. I do not ever wish to purport to have a perfect life here, far from here it, and I like to blog my warts and all approach to sewing, cooking and parenting. But some things I keep private. Suffice to say that I am well, and s**t happens. My point to all this is that despite having to physically drag my arse through the month and struggling at times, my memories of December are good ones. It was filled with family and friends, love and laughter.

And let's not forget my new computer. That came in December as well. Happy, happy me. Himself gave me a brilliant one as my Christmas present. The same himself who gave me a new sewing desk for my birthday in July.

Which brings us to the Being Married To A Perfectionist bit. My desk, my beautiful, beautiful desk is still not quite finished. What I failed to take into account when I requested it was (a) he would need to purchase every wood working tool, implement and table known to mankind to make said desk, and (b) if he was going to do this he was going to do it to the very best of his ability and make it perfect. Perfection, it seems, takes time.

Meanwhile, as it approaches completion, I am using it. Well, most of it, and I clear everything off when he wants to do some work on it. I was sat here this morning, thinking about being happy and being content in my life, and I was loving how even the parts of the desk I am using just worked so well for me.

Do you like the bock of wood I use so my short little legs
don't have to stretch so far for the foot pedal?
The desk is big, and in addition has two winged flaps that I can pull up and make it even bigger. Only one is in use right now as the desk is not properly in position yet and the radiator is in the way of the other wing. But just look at the convenience in the above photo. I have been sat sewing, then swivelling in my swivel chair to the left to press my seams (picture, if you will, my ironing board to the left - burnt cover and all), and then swivelling to the right to my cutting board to trim. Bliss! Swivel to the front again and sew some more.

Then, just past the ironing board I have this.

The dining room table - obviously buried under fabric already - and my new computer. Soon I will be able to move my stash into this room and then I may never leave it, except to eat and sleep, though I suppose I could have food delivered to me directly and put some quilts on the floor. It's worth thinking about.

I am left with one dilemma. I love this desk that is almost finished. Seriously love it. It is big, and solid and made with love just for me. What's not to like? Only, in my original remit I asked for a recessed sewing machine. Himself is all set to do this for me but I've changed my mind. I've changed it because it is big, and solid, and beautiful, and I can't stand the thought of him cutting a hole right in the middle. What if I ever change my machine and the hole is no longer the right size?!

The ash is over an inch thick. The grain is beautiful. The design works for me. My chair can rise up higher to give me a more optimal working angle. Then himself could build me a bigger box to put my foot pedal on and ergonomically I would be great. Wouldn't I? Am I being stupid? Would you cut a hole in this desk?

Or would you, like me, just be really happy that you have it, and the space to put it in. And that you are blessed with a very lovely family and life. Is an inset machine such a big deal? I don't know because I have never worked at one.

Right now I am just kind of happy being happy. Surely that is a good thing?


Sunday 5 January 2014

Bringing 2013 To A Close

she can quilt

You may - or may not - recall that my third quarter in the FAL was a total washout. Being the eternal optimist, I stuck a whole load of things on the list for the fourth quarter on the premise that the more that was there, the more chance I would have of finishing something on said list.

And it worked! Woohoo!!!

I had eight items on the list. I'm not going to go over them all here. If you want to check then here is the post. My success rate is still not all that high, but I am thrilled that there are three items that I managed to finish. 

Number one - the Yak hoop I made for Sarah's nursery.

Number two - my long awaited and much cherished HR Fan Club quilt. If I only finished this in the previous three months I would still be happy.

Number three - my LV quilt, Good Morning Star Shine. Another quilt I am happy with that dwelled in my imagination for a long time before I made it.

And that makes three. I'm happy to be in with a chance to win something this quarter, and more happy with what I have made. Mind you, I still have five things unfinished from that list, and we won't discuss that items that I have not placed upon a list and therefore can pretend don't need doing. Or the fact that I have started two new quilts over the holidays. Nah, we won't think about that at all. Sewing is good, no matter what we are sewing.