Friday, 28 September 2012

A wee pixie....

got out her photoshop and made everything better!  Hopefully this header solves all the bigger name issues and I love the colours!

All plaudits go straight to Charlotte!!!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Been thinking....

I know, I know, it's dangerous, I'm not normally allowed to think....  And maybe the bit of thinking I did today wasn't such a good plan.  But Lynne at Lily's quilts got me pondering.  

I've had a shabby, almost but not quite, totally unprofessional blog header since I started.

So I thought I'd try a revamped header, but now I've done it, I'm not sure.  

What do we think?  Should it be logo only or logo + photos?  

Is the font right for the tone of the blog - I suspect it's not quite informal enough.  

I might have more playing to do yet, but I'm off on hols on Saturday, so I might change it again tomorrow, or I might leave it till I get home.

All feedback, same as Lynne, honest rather than kind please, will be very much appreciated!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

WIP Wednesday

I got a bit busy in the sewing room over the weekend, not only cutting out Megan's double A-side quilt, but also tackling the brown batik challenge set by Charlotte while I was convalescing.  It's taken me a while as I couldn't decide if the brown batik would drag down the lovely accompanying fabric in whatever I made, or if the lovely stuff would lift it to acceptability by association.  Well, you tell me....

I used the FQ retreat goody bag, and a Google image for inspiration, which in itself was I think drawn from a Cluck Cluck Sew tutorial.   I used Innocent Crush for the leaves and hand stitched them on with perle.  I haven't decided yet whether to line the bag with a patchwork Innocent Crush made with the remains of the charm pack I have.

Today I went over to Charlotte's to pick up the Snow White fq, check the layout of the double A-side on her design wall..... oh, alright & to cuddle the puppy!

I took this photo of the Heather Ross side in the office at the weekend, and for some reason the proportions look odd, but trust me, in reality, they are fine!  The gaps at top and bottom will have the Snow White fabric in them.

Much as I love this, I wasn't sure it would fill the requirements for a pink quilt, and so you may remember I did another side with Aneela Hoey fabrics which definitely fits the brief!!  If you don't like pink, look away now!

 Hopefully it will all work out - there may be extra sashing needed to make up for seam allowances etc, but fingers crossed it will all come together wonderfully!  

So, that's what I've been working on this week, together with the raw circles hand quilting, which goes without saying!!  

Linking up with WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Already down to 99 day hustle!

Kelsey Sews

Doesn't sound as good as the 100 Day Hustle though, does it?!  Kelby Sews launched this linky thingy to get us all working on our unfinished projects or starting new planned projects before the end of  2012.  

Anyway, I wrote myself out a to-do list, and I've already lost one of those 100 days, so here goes....

1) design & make a cd holder using the Melody Miller records fabric
2) Make double-sided quilt for niece Megan
3) use the brown batik Charlotte challenged me with - 2 projects in mind for this.
4) Make an Amy Butler weekender bag using 'Newquay' fabric
5) make the Christmas wonky log cabin into a mini quilt
6) finish the double circle flying geese cushion cover from FQ Retreat
7) make mug tree / Christmas cards
8) make 3 thank-you popsicle mug rugs
9) finish campers travel sewing kit
10) make 2 x hopscotch quilts with jelly rolls
11) finish Maison de Garance quilt for Christmas gift
12) make make 4 x Oh Fransson! bags for Christmas gifts
13) make a notebook cover for Christmas gift
14) make a duvet cover for the spare bedroom out of IKEA fabric
15) make a QAYG version of Weekender bag using Tula Pink fabric.
16) various bee commitments
17) edited to add: finish raw circles quilt!!!

So.........  not much to achieve then!  Clearly it's no good sitting her rabbiting on to you lot, best get cracking!

Linking up with Kelby Sews 

Saturday, 22 September 2012

So much for improv....

It's been a busy day today.  I think working with Melody Miller's Ruby Star Vinyl recently has gone a bit to my head, because when I started cutting fabric for my niece's 3rd birthday quilt today, in my wisdom I decided it would be a double-A side

Megan, the niece in question, is responsible for my beginning in quilting.  I'd done lots of knitting over the 3 or 4 years before her arrival - and it was her brother Dylan's arrival that started that off.  For Megan's birth, I made a playmat, using a cheater panel and yardage from the same range, and I basically made two quilts with high loft polyester wadding and bound them together to make it nice and thick.  I didn't take photos.  All in all, I've learned a lot since then!!

So as Megan's about to move into a new bedroom with a big girl's bed, I thought I'd like to make her a new, pink quilt.  It has to be pink, it's been requested!  I've been collecting fabric for a few months and today decided to cut the pieces ready to sew together while I'm on holiday at the start of next month.  I've got loads of Heather Ross, because I loved the fairy tales theme, and also loads of Aneela Hoey, because it's pink!  As the two are so different in style, colour etc, I decided I'd do one side in one and the other in the other, and then Megan can decide which side she wants on show.  

Heather Ross layout
It was to be improvised, no pattern, just cut and sew bits together to make the 36" x 52" quilt I wanted. 

Only I couldn't do it, I couldn't just chop into the Heather Ross preciousness without a plan.  So I spent a while measuring the motif sizes on the various different fabrics - I've got Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Princess and the Pea and the Owl and the Pussycat, along with some lovely roses.  With the recent Spoonflower offer of a free fq for the price of postage I bought a princess and the pea panel, which is the centrepiece.  I then spent an hour with the PC and a dtp package in the absence of a high-falutin' electronic quilt design package, and drew it all out, working out what filler pieces I needed.  (I took a photo of the pc screen so I could check the layout, as we're not high-tech enough to have a printer at home!)

Once it was all drawn out, I very, very, very carefully cut the pieces out, with only one mistake.  I followed the wise advice, of measure twice, cut once.... measured twice, talked about the measurements and then cut it wrong!  Luckily it was a fabric I had lots of, so no major drama....  I used some lovely toning peach and gold oakshotts for some small filler pieces I needed and I've got 2 gaps to be filled with a Snow White.  Lastly, it'll have a pink oakshott border.  

Then I started on the other side, and the Aneela Hoey fabrics from Sherbet Pips, Walk in the Woods and a Sew Stichy panel.  It's very, very pink!  There's an occasional flash of pale blue and a couple of bits of grey, but otherwise it's unrelentingly pink!!  I thought the first side was quite a symmetrical pattern so I tried to make the pink side a little more out there.  This time, I'd cut the fabric before I did the drawing, so it was a case of fitting in what I had and working out what more I had to cut.  Whether it will look anything like this when I'm done is another matter!  

Once I'd got both bits done and used the screenshots to check the layout, I broke both sides down into blocks and put them all in separate bags, and once I have picked up the Snow White from Charlotte on Wednesday, I'll be ready to sew it all together.  

Once I'd finished those, I got on with yet more hand quilting of spirals, which is flying now I'm on the outside blocks.  I'm happy to report I only have 13 more to do!  Then I have to choose a binding, but it should be finished by the end of the holiday.  

And talking about Charlotte, have you all signed up for the Pervalong?

Displacement Activity

I was bravely resisting as I'm supposed to be on a fabric diet (even more so after yesterday's extortionate vet bill!!) but I was tempted over to The Village Haberdashery today to look at the pre-cut kits that Annie has put together for the project....  Firstly, let me help you a little in case of confusion - Charlotte's quilt, on which this QAL is based, was originally called Fractured, but because of it's colours and a certain line of literature popular this summer, it became known as '50 shades of perv'.  Annie has quite properly stuck with the Fractured moniker for her kits!  Anyway, I'm waffling....

I was doing so well with the brave resisting, until I saw this little bundle of pink and grey loveliness, and now I'm wavering....  

Lastly, I just want to say that although it seems to me like I've had a tough time lately, there's a friend of many of us going through something truly awful with her family at the moment, which really puts things into perspective.  I'm sure all of us are thinking of them, and wishing there was anything we could do to ease their pain.  

Friday, 21 September 2012

Positive thoughts please...

Those of you who know me personally, or who read my post linked to the FQ Retreat introductions thread, will know I have two spaniels, who are unashamedly child substitutes! 

 Those of you who know me on flickr might now have a lightbulb moment when I say they are called Bella and Daisy... And they are gorgeous and have got us through a lot of difficult times this year.

Bella,  is not remotely interested in my sewing, she ignores it as much as possible, however Daisy likes to 'help'.  It's tricky for her because she doesn't like the sewing machine, so she settles down just outside the sewing room door.  But she does like to help when I'm laying stuff out on the spare bed...

However, and this is the purpose of today's post, we also have one of these:

This is Bruno, he rules the dogs with an iron paw, and he likes sleeping in odd places - the linen basket, the bathroom sink, a teatowel on top of the fridge, and any of my fabric that he can get on!  

But he's poorly sick, and seeing this photo this morning has made me realise just how sick he is - he's about half this size now.  He has a couple of odd lumps and has lost so much weight and today he goes to the vet for blood tests and biopsys, and probably an x-ray of his abdomen to see if there are any other lumps.  I'm hoping everything is going to be OK, but I'm not confident we're in for good news.  He has to be anaesthetised  for the tests, so he's been starved since 9pm, and normally by now he'd be battering down the door for breakfast, but he's fast asleep on the spare bed.  

So, please give us a little positive thought today, keep a couple of fingers crossed, or if you can spare them, cross all those fingers and toes, and hope for the best.

ETA: Thanks for everyone's good wishes.  

OK, so Bruno is now home, but he's had an eventful day, with an extreme reaction to the anaesthetic - he basically struggled to breathe and went very pale.  In order to save him they had to give the injectable reversal drug immediately.  So this meant they got the blood samples they needed, but couldn't do full biopsies, only needle aspirations.  

We have to hope now that they got enough to get some definitive answers, because the vet is still stumped.  It's possible his reaction to the sedative was linked with his unexplained fits, and he's struggling to know where he is tonight, which often happens after his fits so that makes sense.  He hasn't had a fit for 2 years so we thought that was something he'd recovered from, and he's only ever had 1 op, when he was a baby before the epilepsy started. 

We're no closer to knowing what's wrong till next week, but we are now just praying he doesn't need an op, as apart from further astronomical vet fees, it doesn't look hopeful that he'd survive a deeper anaesthetic.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

WIP Wednesday

It's another lovely morning here today, although it's once again showing up the deficiencies in my photography skills!  I thought for once I'd try and get my WIP linky post in early rather than last.

I'm STILL ploughing on with the hand quilting on the raw edge circles quilt.  I am beginning to think I wish I'd taken up Charlotte's kind offer of a loaned darning foot so I could machine quilt it, as it's taking forever and my poor needle pushing finger is getting very sore!!

I have to admit, in between pushing the blunt end of the needle into my finger tip, I am loving the effect of the spirals.  Last night after doing a few more in front of the telly, I decided to count up how many I'd still got to do.... 34!  

Then after I went to bed and couldn't sleep, first I sent an annoyed email to an etsy supplier who is a month late sending out Sew Stitchy panels, then I worked out how many circles there were in total, so how many I had completed.  I thought that would make the remaining 34 seem like small fry......

Until I worked out that 9 x 7 = 63 and therefore I've only done 29!!!!!!!!  Oh, I could have cried.  But, before I do any more, I WILL be investing in a thimble...

Anyway..... am linking up with WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced

(Oh, and this morning I had a reply from that etsy supplier, claiming that Moda were so busy producing another fabric line, they were late sending out the Sew Stitchy panels to everyone.  Sorry, but do I look like I came down in the last shower????  I've seen the panels on blogs, and I doubt very much a company like Moda would allow that - with the number of lines they produce they'd never get anything shipped if the production of one stopped the shipment of another!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Sitting in the morning sun...

I decided to make the most of the dappled morning sunshine to take a couple of snaps of the baby quilt that I finished last night.  We've been having such lovely early weather lately, although it's sadly usually clouded over by lunch!

Anyway, here it is, backed with yellow magic beans from FairyTale Friends by American Jane, and bound with a scrappy Kona solids mix, in I've no idea what official colours!

Linked up with Canoe Ridge Creations Sew Modern Monday, because although I blogged it today, I did finish it last night, honest guv!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Hushaby baby

Today I finally got chance to tidy the sewing room - believe me it needed it!  (A couple of weeks ago as I was getting ready for the latest LMQG meeting I remembered I was meant to be taking some 5" charms to swap and I had a charm pack in mind to pull them from  - but could I find it???  I found it today behind some other fabric having fallen down the back of the shelving!)

Anyway, I digress.....

About 6 haircuts ago, I changed hairdresser.  As we were discussing at Aneela's embroidery class yesterday, I'm frightened of hairdressers.  I confessed this at my first consultation with Brett, and he made it his mission to make me not worry any more.  Since he started cutting it, I've had more compliments about my hair than I've ever had, so when he and his partner had their first daughter, about 9 weeks ago now, I decided I would make a little something.  

I had a charm pack of Freebird by MoMo and another of Chrysalis by Sanae, both for Moda, both with butterflies and flowers and similar colours.  As they are such lovely bright colours, I thought they'd be perfect for a baby quilt.  So this afternoon I got a simple patchwork top pieced, and made a scrappy solids binding in the main quilt colours.  I'm going to back it with yellow magic beans, I think.

Then I just have to hope they went with modern funky colours and not traditional pink!

(I also realised I seriously need a new camera, and can't keep taking blog shots with my mobile phone!)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Vintage Icons

OK, you remember a couple of posts ago I was wrestling with some fabric for a project and worried about cutting it right, etc?

Well, head on over to The Daily Stitch at The Village Haberdashery today and you can see what I was making....

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Thames Festival this weekend....

My lovely super-achiever quilting pal, Judith, of Needles and Lemons fame, is hosting a stall at the Thames Festival craft fair this weekend - see her blog here for details.

For quick reference:

"The craft fair is located at Bernie Spain Gardens which is a beautiful relaxing garden located between Oxo Tower and Gabriel's wharf.

I will have a stand somewhere there on Saturday and Sunday from 12 midday to 10 pm at night (yes 10 at night !)."

So do pop along and see Judith, buy some stuff and make her weekend worthwhile.....

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

WIP..... are you sitting comfortably.....?

Then I shall begin.  

Many, many, many years ago, I went to school In Lincolnshire, & one of my friends was Kathy.  Over the last 31 years, we've kept in touch, both ending up living in the Reading area, co-incidentally.  Kathy is very musical, playing many instruments herself and is now a music teacher.

Never have we particularly talked about art and crafts or indeed sewing of any description.  Until last summer when I started talking about my new found quilting hobby and Kathy told me she had started making a quilt for her sister's 18th birthday, but never finished it.  We would have been 21 at the time, so this is one or two years ago.....

To be fair, Kathy was very modest about this quilt, didn't give me much info to go on and said it was in a bag in her mum's loft in sunny Mablethorpe.  I said if she retrieved it, I'd help her finish it.  Then last week, I heard the quilt had been found and was ready for more work.  

Well, today we met for lunch and I got to see it, and Kathy has been well and truly hiding her sewing light under a thousand bushels let alone just the one!

This is 80" x 66" in size and is all EPP hand stitched hexagons.  I am in awe!  At the time Kathy made it, her boyfriend's father owned a factory which made christening and confirmation gowns and he donated loads of scraps for the project.  Some of the fabrics are solids, but many are voiles or finer, some are broderie anglaise, and they are just gorgeous.  The whole thing is as light as a feather, and the stitches are tiny and invisible!

Having no proper hexagon template, Kathy drew one out on paper and hoped for the best - she was at Reading University at the time, studying music.  Some of the hexagons still have the music parchment paper in them that she used as the templates.  She'd even gone so far as to embroider her sister's name in one of the hexagons and the number 18 in another one.  You can see from this close up how fine some of the fabrics are.

We took a little trip to Village Fabrics in Wallingford, to see about how best to finish off such a delicate piece - I had ideas but I'm still quite new to this so wanted some expert opinion.

Because of the transparent nature of the fabrics, I'd suggested Kathy add a solid layer behind that so the wadding wouldn't show through... luckily the fabric shop agreed.  We then decided on soft bamboo wadding so the lightness would match the quilt top.

There was a pieces of white on white fabric in the bag too, which Kathy said she didn't know the purpose of.  However, when measured it was the perfect size for the backing so we pretended that was the plan all along!  For the quilting, because it it so light, we decided tying was better than quilting, and so it's going to be tied through the centre of some of the blue sashing hexies.  We picked out some blue for the border, and as Claire's birthday is the 16th September, we agreed to meet up again on Monday to get it all put together and hopefully finished in time for Kathy to get it posted to arrive on the big day - it'll be 24 years late, but I reckon we can blame that on the Royal Mail.....

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Small blog meet.

Lily's Quilts

When I started this blog back in March, I had every good intention of joining loads of link ups on a weekly and monthly basis.  Unfortunately, life got in the way a little, and although I've done more recently, I think it was April when I last joined in the Small Blog Meet.

Which is a shame as it's an excellent way of seeing what other new bloggers are up to, and keeping up with the newer members of the online community.

So if you're in the same boat as me, head on over to Lily's Quilts, link your blog, and have a read of a few of the others - new friends await!