Friday 28 February 2014

What I Learned Today

Today I learned that if you take your frustrations about life out by quilting a project you do not do the finest of jobs. But, on the other hand, I can stipple really, really fast when I am in a mood.

Briar Rose is quilted and the binding is cut and ready to be pieced. This will soon be finished.

On an up note, I don't hate this quilt as much as I did when I pieced the top. It's growing on me.


Thursday 27 February 2014

A, B, C... 1, 2, 3...

I know the freezer paper piecing pattern I drew looked a bit hard to follow when seen as a whole, but it is rather simple if you break it down into its components of A, B, C, etc and 1, 2, 3, etc. To keep myself from getting totally muddled I cut out just the pieces featuring the letter 'A' today.

Then using the numbers as a guide I pressed each paper piece on the appropriate piece of fabric and cut them out. I reduced the stitch size on my machine down to 1.50, and I pinned - very carefully. To match up the seams you need to push a pin through the fabric directly adjacent to one of the pencil lines you have made and then come up through the piece it matches up to right by the corresponding line. Pull the pin through the two layers of fabric until the pin head is flush. Repeat with any other marked lines, and then with those pins held securely in place pin the two pieces together as per normal. Remove the pins that were held flush with the fabric before sewing.

You only sew from paper corner to paper corner with freezer paper piecing, and you sew just to the right of the paper through the fabric. I backstitch both ends of the line of stitching for added security. Then I press my seams open.

The 'A' section of the pattern broke down into three clear parts. A1 and A2 were sewn together, then A3, A4, A5 and A6 were attached together. Last, A7, A8, A9 and A10 were joined up. The two long bits then become one, and finally the red and orange A1/A2 were attached to the bottom. I trimmed up the edges and this is the first piece of the puzzle.

For someone who pathologically hates foundation paper piecing (mostly because I am totally crap at it and hate the amount of fabric it uses) I find freezer paper piecing remarkably easy and it just makes sense to me. We all have our preferences. Mine aren't always logical.


Wednesday 26 February 2014

Time Is In Short Supply

I've got the projects stacking up here, and all I need is a little time to get them done. I was out the house all day today. Nothing like spending over three hours going back and forth to Oxford for the ten minute appointment I needed to attend there. In fact, I was there for such a short while that I didn't even get charged for parking. That would be the silver lining on that particular cloud. And I did a full grocery shop on my return. Our fridge is actually looking like someone lives here, and they like their fruit and veggies too.

About half an hour ago I got a little time to poke around in my fabric stash. I was in mind to do a bit of a rainbow with yesterdays idea. I've not done much in the way of rainbows in my quilting career. Then I changed my mind. Here is the current way my brain is thinking.

The idea is make it look a bit like a sunrise/sunset. The vivid colours of the sun, then the almost colourless sky beyond melding into darker and darker blues on the opposite horizon. I may add a touch of violet here and there, not that I actually think I have any violet in my stash. Hmmm, may need to rethink that thought.

Another project looms as my mother accepted a commission on my behalf. For placemats. She even helpfully provided me with a mesh template of the shape her friend would like them for her round dining table.

Mum told her friend this wouldn't be a problem and I would love to make them. Seriously?! Thanks, Mum! My brain  has stalled on this one but I am thinking machine appliqué may be the way to work round all those lovely curvy corners. The binding should be fun.

And in the evenings I continue to sew bits of hexie quilt together. I hugely underestimated how long it would take to join up the larger bits. I did pull papers to make it easier to do though. There were a few, but no I did not count them.

What is scaring me is how many more hexies I will need to get it to the shape I desire. Why aren't there any elves in real life like the shoemaker had in the fairy tale I used to read as a child? I need hexie elves!


Tuesday 25 February 2014

Time To Think

I drove up to see the 'about to pop' Ange today. Funnily enough not one bit of me got pregnancy envy. But it is nice to know that next time I see her she will be significantly more svelte and there will be a baby at her side. I like the honorary auntie idea. I'll be good at that.

On my drive to her house - which takes approximately one hour - I was thinking of new ideas. I wanted to do something different. By the time I arrived I had inspiration bursting to get out of my head and onto paper. I promptly took out the freezer paper roll I had brought with me and got busy with a pencil and ruler.

Well then, that's my idea. Once it was on paper it seemed much more intimidating than it had done in my mind. But I still want to attempt it. Time for a fabric pull I do believe. This one might take a while, but it could also be worth it if I manage to achieve making what I can envision. On the other hand, I just might be plain crazy.


Sunday 23 February 2014

Back To The Land of Wifi...

... and routine. Being without wifi for nine days is no bad thing. I had my phone to get my little mini fixes of contact with the wider world. Otherwise, I relaxed, spent a great deal of time in the pool, walked lots and watched my girls have a brilliant time.

We've done one of our trips to Center Parcs. There has been a lot of time in the swimming complex.

There are not, and will never be, and photos of me in a swimsuit. Just saying!
And there were a few other activities.

Otherwise, there was some lovely relaxing evenings sat by the log fire watching dvds, some nice food, and lots of laughter. Just what a holiday is supposed to be about.

We had this weekend at my mum's 'up north' and did our habitual visit to the Tynemouth Market yesterday. I really wanted the item on the left - a cabinet from an old haberdashery shop. Though as I had neither the £175 being asked for it, nor the space in the car to bring it back home I had to indulge in a small piece of porcelain instead.

Finally, there was a wee bit of hand sewing done on the Oakshotts mini quilt. And I found some inspiration in Helen's school book while I was sorting things out once we were back home. Need to figure out how to turn this in to a quilt!

Normal service has returned to our household. We got home this afternoon and I have done laundry, cooked dinner, done the ironing, and unpacked all our crap. Life goes on.


Friday 21 February 2014


I've got plans. Long distance, no one in this house has any idea what I'm thinking plans. That's because we have a rather large shed going up in our garden.

Bits of shed are being propped up or laid down wherever the shed building boys can find. I'll leave them to that why I sit warm and dry inside and plan. Plan for the day that I have a good clear out and the shed is not required to store everything and anything. For the day that I can get it insulated, and heated, and electricity run out to it. Because when that day happens that shed will be mine all mine. Himself sees a shed going up. I see a sewing annex. How would you  see it?


Thursday 20 February 2014

Basted and Quilting Plan In Place

I found a spare bit of fabric for the back of my little Oakshott quilt. The quilt only measures 30" x 40" so it is destined to be a wall hanging I think. Or just an experiment in colour with beautiful fabrics. Either way, it is basted now and quilting shall commence any time.

As you can see I pulled a lot of my perle cotton threads for this.

I think some simple stitching in and around the pluses is in order. Perle cannot help but make me smile. Though I was surprised I had so many spools in these shades.


Tuesday 18 February 2014

Piecing Together The Puzzle

I've been working on sewing the various pieces of the hexie quilt together into one larger bit.

My ruler is there to give you an idea of the current size. I find attaching the larger pieces so much more difficult than when just sewing wee hexies together. All that bending and manipulating. The poor quilt top is shedding hexies papers faster than a toddler sheds clothes on a hot summers day! But I do like the way it is looking so therefore it is worth the effort as far as I am concerned.

And while I stitch I contemplate quilting options. I had first thought to hand quilt it so that I finished with a quilt that was totally done by hand. But I think that time will be an issue here if I am to get it done for the quilt show so machine stitching looks like the way I will be going. Ideas are forming like new life forms in my mind.


Sunday 16 February 2014

Taking My Own Advise

Having found out the true value of a colour card over a week ago when I ordered thread to match some Oakshott colourshott FQs from Aurifil using their colour card, I knew that there was nothing for it but for me to get myself a Kona colour card too.

Okay, now I know why they make these things. (a) So we can see the variances of shades between the colours and get just the right one we need, and (b) so that I would covet more and more solids. I need (yes, need) some azalea, cyan, citrus, sour apple, torch...      ... and the list goes on. It's like being tortured by colour.


Saturday 15 February 2014

Northern Light(s)

I got out my F8th Lakes bundle a couple of nights ago and had a play. The colours are so iridescent and it is so hard to capture that on my camera. Frustratingly so.

I made a simple ten inch block with each of F8th colours, with a cross made with Midnight in the middle of each.

This photo was taken in artificial light. So I pieced the blocks together and braved the great outdoors between rain storms. (There really is no let up in this weather!)

My attempt at outdoor photography was a big fat fail. So I came inside and hung the wee quilt top in the window and tried again. Not so bad, but the light really is so crap these days that this was the best I could get at noon.

Bring on springtime, and sunshine. Please!


Friday 14 February 2014

And The Winners Are...

... as follows.

First out the hat (aka Mr. RNG) was -

 And comment number 112 was -

Wendy, I will send an email to get your address and the wee gnome will be on his way.

Next up was -

And number 4 would be -

Mary, you don't specify which prize you would prefer so I will send you the cushion cover as soon as I have your address. I know that you have numerous grand children who might like it if it does not suit your own home.

Last, but certainly not least, we have -

Congratulations, number 133, you are -

Angela, you have won the fabric. That will be sent to you on receipt of your address. An email is being sent requesting it.

Thank you to everyone who entered and for three years of wonderful online support from the best community out there. I appreciate it greatly.


Thursday 13 February 2014

Carrot and Stick

I've been a good girl and accomplished the work stuff that had to be done. As a reward I let myself start cutting some Oakshotts.

I think everyone needs little incentives to get the job done. Fabric indulgence is my incentive.


Monday 10 February 2014

Pretty Colours

I now have some Aurifil threads to match my Oakshotts. Thank goodness for colour cards because I never could have managed to do this so well otherwise. My only complaint here is my iPhone's complete inability to capture colours properly.

But this gives you the idea. The threads are as vibrant as the fabric. I know I am making something with all these, but part of my could just sit and look at the colours on the table - All. Day. Long.


Sunday 9 February 2014


Celebrating three years of blogging. Celebrating having my cushion in Love Patchwork & Quilting. Celebrating the lovely and supportive quilting community. Celebrating with a giveaway.

What am I giving? Three things.

A cushion (insert will not be included due to postal costs).

This is my completed 'A Few of My Favourite Things' cushion. I tried to only put in bits and pieces of fabrics I love. So it is heavily laden with Heather Ross, with generous dashings of Aneela Hoey and Denise Schmidt. I threw in some fun texty bits and sewed it all together.

It measures about 19" square. I often make cushions smaller than the inserts as I find that many inserts err on the too small side to make a cushion properly cushy.

Next up as a prize is some fabric.

Six FQs of Birch organic Storyboek that I bought ages ago and never used. Still love it but decided that one of you might be more likely to use it before I do.

Last, but not least, is a little pin cushion made with a leftover block from the cushion I made for Love Patchwork & Quilting.

This pin cushion comes with a wee caveat though. If you win it you must promise not to stab the gnome. He'll cry if you do, and so will I.

Right, if you are interested in winning any of these items then please leave a comment. Only one comment per person. Just tell me what would be your top pick to win, second choice and what comes third on your list. If you would prefer to not win any particular item, please tell me. On Friday, February 14th, around about noon British Standard Time I will draw three names with Mr RNG and first name out gets their first choice, and so on.

This giveaway is open internationally. I will post to wherever you are.

Please ensure that I am able to contact you if your name is drawn. No-reply commenters will be passed over for a win unfortunately. If you regularly leave comments on blogs and never get replies that is a good indicator that you might be a no-reply blogger. I try to reply to comments as often as possible so if you've never heard back from me - yes, you are most likely not contactable. I have several regular commenters who I would love to reply to but cannot. Please be aware that if you are on Google+ it will change your reply status on a regular basis without ever telling you.

So, that's it. One comment, three prizes. My thank you to all of you for cheering me on the past few months even when I was a bit non-communicative. I really appreciate it.


* While I always attempt to reply to as many comments as possible, in the case of a giveaway I don't even try. Thanks for stopping by and entering!

** Entrance is now closed for the giveaway. Thank you to all who entered. The winners are posted in the February 14th blogpost. 

Saturday 8 February 2014

These Are A Few Of My favourite Things

Just sewing together some bits of my most favourite fabrics ever. No idea of it will make for a cohesive design but having fun with it.


Friday 7 February 2014

And I'm Getting My Happy Space Back

You may recall my happy space that I posted about at the beginning of January. The space that involved my sewing desk, my fabric and my computer. Well, the computer has rejoined my space. Funny thing that, as they told me it would be ten working days which gave them until today to return it to me. In fact I got it back Wednesday (I only found the time to set it up again today). The thing is last week I got an email from the repair centre telling me that it would take up to fifteen working days from that date. WTF! I don't think so. I sent them a pithy (but polite) email in reply, and lo and behold my computer was fixed the next day. It just took them five days to then return it to me. Well, better than fifteen I suppose. All is well that ends well, one can but hope.

I am also happy to say that the HST quilt it finished. As is a matching cushion, as I had enough leftover to make one. And another cushion too, that I can't show you. Sorry!

I am also happy because more Oakshott have entered the building. Have you seen the new Colourshott range? Here is some of the colours available -

Aren't those totally lush? I need to make something with these but it is another project I can't show you so instead of taunting you with sneak peeks this is the last time you will see these Oakshotts of mine until they are a completed project.

And it is time I made things I could show you. So I thought the first thing on the list should be something to giveway, because (a) you have all been so supportive of the HSTs despite never actually properly seeing the project, (b) this here blog turned three this week, (c) I haven't done a giveaway in ages, and (d) to celebrate the fun of being featured in Love Quilting & Patchwork.

Therefore the next thing you see finished on this blog will be for one of you. Stay tuned. First I've got to make it.


Wednesday 5 February 2014

I Made Something!

And I can show you. And it is completed before it's deadline of tomorrow, when the recipient shall receive it for her birthday. One cushion, which I hope makes the birthday girl happy. Helen gave her seal of approval on the 'quilt as you go' panel while it was in construction, so I think I'm okay here. But, why oh why, when you ask a child what her favourite colour is does she always say purple? Do children instinctively know this is the colour we all have least of in our stashes? Is it a conspiracy?

Despite nice purple fabrics being a rare commodity around here, I am pleased with the fabrics I managed to pull. I made the quilt as you go panel 16" square and then put a dark purple Kona solid around it to frame it and accentuate the purples that were in there. I backed it with green corduroy, with a simple envelope closure.

Now just need to pop out and purchase an insert so I can remove one of my own cushions from its insides, and find a gift bag big enough to fit it in. Job done!


Tuesday 4 February 2014

The Best Laid Plans

I've been really good at sticking to my 'head down and just sew' schedule of late. I do hope you've been impressed. Some days it works better than other days though.

I got all the quilting finished on the HSTs. I made the binding and attached it to the front this morning, and I started hand stitching it down on the back.

And there I was, tucked under this nice warm quilt on the sofa needle in hand - and I fell asleep for two hours! Needless to say I do not have as much of the binding done as I was expecting. Thankfully I managed to not puncture myself either.

Then there was the fabric admiring time. I got the last of my destash parcels, all the way from Australia. Despite the cost of the post being as much as the cost of the fabric this layer cake was still a lot cheaper than one from my lqs. Thanks Sarah!

There was also time lost to the new app that everyone was playing on Instagram last night that I had to get too. Because I am like that. It makes your photos look like water colours, with various different effects to choose from. It is mesmerising seeing how much better my mediocre photos look with a bit of effect applied.

It's called waterlogue if you feel the need to join the fun.
So, with a big fat distraction of a day, I went to my machine and started something entirely different right before the school run. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

A little bit of quilt as you go. In fact, I think I will go back to doing more of that. Unless I start feeling tired and then obviously sewing the binding down is the answer.


Monday 3 February 2014

Cushion Cloning

Last March I made this cushion. I loved it, but I had meant it to be a gift for a very good friend of mine right from the start. It duly went to live in its new home and is - reportedly - well loved there.

Then in December I got asked to make another one. Not for the same person. The new one can be seen here.

I don't actually have my copy of the magazine yet. I have shamelessly nicked these photos from my friend's IG account. I was too excited to wait until I had my own copy to tell you. Friday, when the issue came out, my stomach flipflopped like it was possessed, but I had to calm down a bit before I could string a sentence together to tell you all.

The best bit about being in this issue of Love Patchwork & Quilting is that I am in there with some of my very best quilting friends, and four of them are my Brit Bee pals. Hadley, Fiona, and Laura Jane all have projects in this issue. And Trudi is the quilting goddess on some the best projects you will see in this magazine. It is so good to be able to share in this adventure together.


Sunday 2 February 2014


My weekend has consisted of basting, and starting to quilt the HSTs,  and then there was spending most of Saturday escorting eight young ladies for a day out in Milton Keynes. The bright side of that is seven of those young ladies were quite happy not to be in my company for a good portion of the time there. All in all, it wasn't a bad day out at all - because I came home with the most spectacularly gorgeous dark purple hand bag. I think having to give up my sewing time for that bag was a trade off I can accept.

Today, thankfully, I got some sewing time in. Back in the early days of this blog I likened quilting a quilt on a domestic machine to wrestling a walrus. My HST quilt is the largest quilt I made (yet). Not big by the standards of many, but for me 6' square is plenty big enough, especially when cramming it through the limited harp space of my beloved Bernina 440QE (design fault Bernina - hint hint!). The new sewing desk is proving its worth already though. Because I have it pushed up flush against the wall and finally I can quilt without the quilt sliding off the other side of the dining room table I used to quilt on, and all the weight tugging viciously and sending my stitching even more awry than normal.

So my spare time over the next few days will be spent quilting row after row of straight lines, maybe with the ocassional corner. It's physical, and tiring, but strangely zen like in the repetitive motion of sewing those liines. I kind of like it, even if I feel rather achy after doing a few hours in a row.