Thursday 31 January 2013

Plenty of Pins

Thanks to all who commented on the plan to match the back and the front of the hexi table runner, and especially to Katy and Hadley who instructed me to pin, pin and pin through all the layers.

I finished slip stitching the hexies to the grey side, and then set to matching back and front.  The first time I did the pinning I forgot to add the wadding first - a few, um, *choice* words were used!  Then I took it apart and repinned

I think I matched all the points

I just hope it matches as well when I have finished sewing!  If not, plan B involves the quilting being random hexagons on the plain fabric

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Hooked on Hexies

I made 6 hexi flowers quite a while ago,

from fabric left over from a few table runners I made for my uncle and his wife a few years ago. 

I planned to make the hexi flowers into another table runner for them which I could deliver in person as we'll see them when we go to Norway next month

My vague though was that this could be a hand sewing project on the holiday, ready for seeing them at the end, but then plans changed, and we are seeing them on our first day. (Did I tell you I was going to Norway?  To the Arctic Circle?)

Ooops, I'd better get one with it then

The plan is to have a reversible runner, *hopefully* with the hexi flowers so perfectly lined up that the quilting will each both sides - don't hold your breath, but this is progress so far: 1.5 flowers stitched to the solid kona fabric

Sunday 27 January 2013

Working Weekend

Lots of creating this weekend, but none of it stuff that was particularly my choice, although it had the benefit of earning money, so I didn't mind  TOO much!

One of my friends runs a transport company, and I do the machine embroidery on the company uniforms for her: she left a voice mail last week asking if I could do some embroidery . . .  I didn't expect quite such large boxes!

She also decide that the team needed a new logo for the new year, so that took a bit of time to design.  I am pleased though, as the old font was Times New Roman, and it's horrible to stitch - I managed to persuade her to change it this time!

Each one just take 6 minutes stitching time, but it needs to be hooped first, then attached to the machine; stitched; unhooped; stitches trimmed, stabiliser removed; next one hooped . . . a bit of a sweatshop!
(Still, I managed to type this post while I did 8 fleeces, so *some* multi-tasking!)

I'd also had a request from one of the teachers at school.  She has a 6 year austic child in her class - his main problem is not being able to sit still.  She found a 'shoulder weight' which claims to work, but was quite pricey for an experiment . . . could I make one.  This is the pic she gave me

And this is my version of it.  I used a cast off pair of cord trousers as the base, and added some pleated fabric and then some velvet to give him some texture to explore
It's like a scarf, but with Velcro openings so we can put weighted bean bags (in this case plastic bags of kitty litter as that's what I had) which have the effect of pulling the whole upper body down a bit: actually very soothing, like a heavy blanket at bedtime, or an extra quilt on the bed. 

Friday 25 January 2013

Fabrics From Half a World Away

Last night I sat and watched TV and finished hand sewing the binding onto Stained Down Under (which should really be known as The Australian Quilt)  it has taken a year to finish as it spent several months in the I'm-fed-up-with-this-quilt box, but I'm really pleased its finished - I love it!

HUGE Thank You to Sarah who came up with the design and encouraged and cajoled several of us to make our own versions, and to my lovely Sister in Law, Lisa, who took me to every fabric shop within a 100 mile radius of their home in Sydney, and waited patiently while I bought the fabrics.

This quilt is now on the sofa waiting for me to finish on the computer and snuggle under it watching something decent on TV.

I was finishing the binding while I was watching the Arctic Ice Hotel being built on Channel 5.  I've seen it before but I was especially interested in how the workers were dressed, how they were keeping warm  . . . next month himself and I are off to the Arctic circle, and will then have 6 nights on this ship
sailing down the west coast of Norway.  I'm slightly excited!

Thursday 24 January 2013

And Now April

I think this is becoming a bit addictive! 

I couldn't decide if I fancied bright colours, or pastels for April, so I stitched it twice

I still don't know which I like best

Wednesday 23 January 2013

March Already?

And now I've done a block for March's entry for the calendar quilt.

I got married in March (nearly 25 years ago!!!)  and although I had silk flowers in my bouquet, we had fresh daffodils on the tables at the reception: I love daffodils, and am really pleased how these have turned out.

Tuesday 22 January 2013

February Fun and a Flutterby

Carrying on with the calendar blocks, I have now done a February block - well actually I did two as I'm not sure which one I like best:

I also have been working in Janine's block for the Start of Africa Bee.  Janine wanted a butterfly, where the wings represent our home location, and the centre has some words, preferably foreign.

This has had me thinking since November, very unsure what to do.  There is enough OCD in my genetic makeup that if I make a butterfly, it has to be symmetrical and that didn't really lend itself to anything I could think of.  I did think of a map, but went off that idea.  Then I thought of a windmill - there is one within two miles of my house, we watched it being built, about 20 years ago.  It's not a working windmill, its a cross between a home and a folly - the owner wanted to build one, so he did!!
I tried a machine embroidered picture of the windmill, I could easily do another one as a mirror image to achieve the symmetrical wings, but I still didn't like the idea

This morning I was clicking around some blogs (anything other than get up and go to work) and saw a pinwheel block described as a windmill - and a light bulb went off.  I stitched two halves of a pinwheel block (but symmetrical) and used them for the wings. 

Then I had to consider the requirement for foreign text.   Well I AM Norwegian, and you would think that having lived there until I was three I would be able to speak some of the language, but sadly very little.

One of about three phrases I have left is "Jeg kan ikke snakke norsk", so I machine embroidered that (and it's mirror image) onto the centre strip.  I will save you having to go to - it means "I cannot speak Norwegian"!!!
I hope you like this Janine x x

(Why Flutterby?  That's what I used to call them when I was a kid, and the alliteration worked better!)

Monday 21 January 2013

Changing a PHD

The PHD being referred to is not rocket science or micro bionics, rather it is a long neglected Project Half Done.  I had an idea to do a Calendar Quilt, with different images for each month.

Years and years ago I got this far:



But I went off the blocks, so it never got any further.  I remembered it as I was doing the paper piecing yesterday as, as you can probably see, the January snowflake had been paper pieced.

Today I decided to look at doing the designs as machine embroidery instead

So here is the new January

I'm not sure what I'll do with these blocks, but I do think I'll keep going with the designing

Sunday 20 January 2013

Paper Piecing Project

I'm following two bloggers as they share their paper piecing skills.  Kristy, From Quiet Play is keeping her designs to sewing themed, while Katy, the Littlest Thistle, is going for a kitchen theme.

I've completed Kristy's January project: fabric and a tape measure, and today I was working on Katy's January project: a kitchen shelf with bottles on it.  I'd like to combine these blocks into a sewing themed wall hanging, so I adapted the bottles slightly:

Thursday 17 January 2013

Perfect Post 10

My month for the Star Of Africa bee was September, but I haven't yet received all the blocks that will be coming my way, and its actually lovely to get a surprise stand-alone squishy when I don't expect it.

I was very excited when I saw May's name on the package as I'd already see a pic of the block she was making for me.  She's emailed to ask if I minded an ice-breaker, but I don't mind at all - I think these are awesome boats!

May had wrapped all the contents beautifully, but I didn't stop for photos, I just did my frog impression - rip it, rip it, rip it!

First there was the Ice Breaker Star
And if you cant see enough detail on the Ice Breaker . . . here it is again
I shan't even mention the box of yumminess that made it as far as the photo before, he'hem, vanishing rather quickly in my personal waste disposal system (far too yummy to share, good job the family don't read my blog)

There was also some fab sewing themed fabric tried into an intriguing roll . . .

. . . that opened up into this awesome travel sewing kit

Thank you thank you thank you May

Tuesday 15 January 2013

I really didn't mean to get distracted, but . . .

I know lots of bloggers are on a mission to clear UFOs in 2013, and I know I have a lot of them too (some are confessed on this page), but I'm not ready to commit to finishing any of them just yet, I need to like them again before I can finish them!

But I really didn't mean to ADD to the list, so I decided that I would finish the Tasmanian Twins before I moved onto anything else.  I was doing well . . . but yesterday I went to the January meeting of the Richmond and Kew quilters, and took along Stained Down Under to ask for quilting advice.

Until I took it out of the bag to show to the other ladies (and the gentleman) I'd forgotten how much I love this quilt.

So today, when I came home from work to an empty house (yippee) I quilted it (just in the ditch, along the sashing), machine stitched the binding to the front, and FMQed a kind of label to the front (really difficult to photograph black FMQ on black: this section photographed best)
Not quite a finish as there are a few hours hand sewing left to do, but a very satisfying distraction.  Stained Down Under will be going in the sitting room, so mum, you can have this one for your bed if you want!

Monday 14 January 2013

Tops For Tasmania

I've finished one pink and turquoise woven top to send to Jess for her Tasmanian Bush Fire appeal,

and I've got about an hour's work left on this one. 
It's actually assembled on a pink sheet, so it only looks as if there is a lovely pink border, but I've run out of useful lengths of fabric, and it's not as big as the other one.  I think one black border, then a scrappy pink and black one should bulk it out to the same size.

Sunday 13 January 2013

I'd like to Introduce You to . . .

First I'd like to introduce you to the lovely Jess who blogs at The Elven Garden.  She lives in Tasmania, where huge areas have been devastated by some huge bushfires in the last week. Many, many homes have been completely destroyed and families have lost everything. The latest report is that about 200 homes have been either destroyed or severely damaged in the bushfires.

There are appeals for money, but Jess is arranging for donations of baby's and kids quilts to pass on to the families who have lost so much in the fires.   If you can help out with this, please click to go to this post, and you can contact her for more info.

I'm in the UK, and as Tasmania is half a world away, the cost of sending a full quilt will be expensive -  but Jess has though of this - she says "If you have quilt tops that just need backing and quilting, I'd be happy to accept these too and quilt them up myself to give to the families who've been affected"

Remember those two pink and turquoise and black quilts I mentioned yesterday?  I think they have a good home to go to!

Just need to finish them

I'd also like to introduce you my real life blogger friend, Annabelle, who blogs at Annabelle Serendipity. Annabelle cooks and blogs and patchworks and quilts and blogs and knits and crochets . . . lives life to the full, being a tourist both home and abroad!  She has this fab looking book to give away - with birds, butterflies and beasties to knit or crochet, so go and visit her [here].

I cant knit or crochet but [look away Lisa] I have a daughter who can crochet, and who has a birthday coming up soon - hum, actually, I rescind the suggestion that you enter the giveaway: please don't go and enter Annabelle's giveaway, as that reduces my chances!

Saturday 12 January 2013

Stripping and Speed Dating With My Daughter

No, not that kind of stripping, OR that kind of speed dating!

When you left me yesterday, Lisa had come home feeling poorly. 

After TCL, and cat cuddles . . .

(two dozen patchwork quilts in the house and I photograph her with a shop bought knitted blanket, sigh!)

. . .  she was up stripping wallpaper in the kitchen

. . .  and helping me speed date some quilt blocks.

Thank you sweetie x x x

These blocks started off as a 'will this work?' project with a few blocks

Then went into mass production with 2.5" pink or turquoise strips being sandwiched with black, 

Then being cross cut into 2.5 wide three patch blocks (and added to 2.5" x 6.5" pink, and turquoise strips)

And finally being speed dated into a woven pattern . . .

. . . which will hopefully look better once it is stitched.  There are enough blocks to make another one too, but it would have been much easier to use one pink and one turquoise fabric - not three of each!.  The second one will also be woven but the fabric will vary along the 'ribbons': switching between batik, dotty and plain.

I've got a good idea where these quilts are going too (no, NOT on the UFO pile) but I'll tell you about that tomorrow

Friday 11 January 2013

How to store fabric

I found this on Pinterest, and it seemed very apt (although she is at Uni, not college)

But when I got a phone call " mummy, I'm not well, no one will make me a cup of tea, can I come home, and will you make me tea, and soup, and hot bread, and more tea?" I couldn't really refuse, even though it did take me ages to clear her bed, LOL

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Darn Distraction

Most of you assured me that the tax man would be understanding that I had chosen patchwork over filling in his boring paperwork, but Hadley didn't think he would be quite so accomodating.  Given that she works for the man himself I had to pay *some* attention to her comment.

So I did a little bit of tax return, and then got distracted again!

And I cut a whole load of squares for a Boys' Toys quilt 

Tuesday 8 January 2013

Working from The List

Well one item from the list has been achieved.

The October block for the Star Of Africa bee was a book, and Nicky plans to make a wall hanging based on a library shelf.  I guess I could have used a favourite book, but the background to the bee is that we come from lots of different countries (although Nicky isn't actually that far from me), so I decided to base it on Windsor, or more specifically the Thames.

So I would like to present Wind In the Willow - Mr Toad driving his motor vehicle

(sorry the photo has reduced the contrast, I think it looks better in real life!)
Now I just have November (sorry Janine) and December (sorry Sana) to do and I'll be up to date not be behind any more.

Not on the list was the Rainbow Swirl (Rainbow Vortex?), but that now does have another round of triangles (it now measures 36 inches acros at the widest).  It will go away again for a while but I wanted to make sure I had the method sorted before I did Janine's Africa block and then I can return the books she very kindly lent me.

Saturday 5 January 2013

Easily Distracted

I've been have a email chat with Nicky, aka Mrs Sew and Sow about starting a new group.  She's going to have to find a snappier name for the group: it's working title is the

Can'tfinishthethingI'msupposedtobedoingstartsomethingelseinstead Group. 

I've not been much help with the title, but I certainly qualify.

Today the tax return should have been high on my list, and I have a few things left on "The List" that weren't needed for Christmas, but still need to be done.

Instead I worked on the Spiral Rainbow:

And when I got bored with that, I did the first block from the And Sew On paper piecing project: Measure Twice (and cut once)

I'm sure the tax man will understand?