Friday, 10 October 2014

FAL 2014: Qtr 4 Goals List



Finish Along 2014


Time for Quarter 4 Finish-A-Long Goals.  Here goes:





1 - Kaffe Fassett Sparkling Gemstones Quilt
Carried over from Quarters 2 and 3 I really would like to have a finish to declare before the end of the year.  Now that it is quilted only binding and labelling are required.




2 - Apple Core EPP Quilt
I was inspired to start this when I saw Fiona's pattern in the first issue of Quilt Now magazine.  I prepped and took it on holidays with me but duly abandoned it until I picked it up again last weekend while on retreat.  I'd love to finish it this quarter.  7 rows are together already (but I can't find the picture) and I have just 4 more rows to go.  Fingers crossed.



3 - Wonky Stars Baby Quilt
This one has been pieced into a top, just needs quilted, bound and labelled.  It could be needed in December so that's my motivation to finish.



4 - Pixellated Heart Quilt
Another inspiration quilt from the first issue of Quilt Now, this is a baby quilt size version of Katy's Pixellated Heart pattern.  I pieced all those wee 2.5" squares at the Brit Bee Retreat weekend, so quilting and binding are up next.  It might be needed in December if the Wonky Stars isn't ;-)



5 - Butterfly Cushions
I guess that Quarter 4's goals should include some Christmas gift stitching, so I'm going to include this set of butterfly cushions which will hopefully become pressies for my husband's nieces.



6 - Skateboard Cushion
Better not forget hubby's nephew.  I've had a go at designing a skateboard cushion, now I need to quilt and add the backing.

That little lot should keep me busy and focussed. I would so love not to have to carry any of these over into a new year, so here's to not getting distracted!


Linking up with Katy at The Littlest Thistle.




Thursday, 9 October 2014

Brit Bee Weekender 2014


Yesterday teatime I waved goodbye to England's green and pleasant land as I flew home from my very extended weekend jolly.  Sigh!

Very long post and pic overload about to begin.  




As you know, I was privileged to have been asked along to last weekend's Brit Bee Weekender Retreat.  The ladies had booked a great property in Derbyshire for all of us with plenty of beds, tons of space for machines and all the equipment us quilters cart around with us.  


It didn't take us long to investigate, move in, re-arrange the furniture a little and get started on a weekend which at times felt equally balanced between sewing and eating!!


Evidence of Saturday morning's tasty cooked breakfast for 12 which Laura Jane cooked up like it was no bother at all.  So tasty!  I missed pics of the other yummy meals and treats provided, but trust me, no-one went hungry, even if some of us might have diced with sugar overload!



Contrary to the foodie pics on other blogs and IG, we did actually find time to stitch up a storm.  This was my little station with strips of pixels that seemed to go on forever!

I think sewing with friends really is the most fun you can have with a sewing machine.  I love the chatter and laughter amid the whirr of machines and the encouragement and support and admiring cheers as quilt tops come together and pretty bags take shape.

Here are some of the gorgeous projects that were worked on over our time in the countryside -

Susan's Bee Quilt - my photo doesn't do this justice.  It's a real stunner.

Ceri's Bee Quilt

Di pieced together blocks started on this year's FQR.
Laura Jane's huge quilt - entirely pieced on the weekend.  She is a speed queen.


These quilts are group finishes by the Brit Bees for our precious friend Terri who was unable to make this weekend.

Trudi stitched down her binding on this yummy sunny quilt.

Di finished binding a baby gift.




And this one is my pixel heart baby quilt top.  Pattern is Katy's from Issue One of the Quilt Now magazine.  All I did was made it up in 2.5" squares to reduce the size of the original to 42.5" square.  I think it's so pretty.  Will need to start thinking about quilting it soon.



And, here we are all together.  L-R: Hadley, Susan, Nikki, Sarah, Ceri, Fiona, Trudi, Laura Jane, Di, Ange, me and Katy.  Fab weekend, ladies.  Thank you so much for inviting me along to join your weekend of laughter and stitches.  Mwah!



Of course, leaving Derbyshire wasn't the end of my little jaunt across the water.  I spent my extra time in the company of my lovely friend Di.  We tried to relax ourselves down off the high of the weekend and then we chatted a little, we stitched a little and we chatted a lot more! 

Genius at work!

I spent Tuesday afternoon in the company of Trudi visiting her studio, her fabric stash and just generally standing with my jaw open in amazement at her skill.  I was so fascinated to see the whole process of long arm quilting as Trudi worked on my Kaffe Fasset Sparkling Gemstones quilt.  For the uninitiated like me, this was a real treat.  Now all those bars and rollers and handles make sense in my head and I honestly did find it mesmerising to watch as Trudi swirled and swished her way over the quilt top.  



I am going to claim I "helped" with this top because I got reasonably good at attaching and detaching the side stretcher canvassy thingies to their bungee cord clamps (check out me and my lingo) but of course, you know that Trudi was the one working all the magic. Thank you Trudi!!

If I lived closer I think Trudi could whip me into shape as quite a good little quilter's apprentice, but I would definitely leave all the swishing and swirling in her capable hands.


My quilt is bold, bright and beautiful and I promise close up pics in due course when I get the binding on.





Sad as it was to leave friends behind, I'm a homebird at heart and I do love being back with my men. My lovely hubby even earned himself some brownie points welcoming me back with roses and lilies! Don't mind admitting that made me blub a little ....

So, if you've ever thought about gathering a group of stitchy friends and running away for a weekend to just sew, sew, sew, I thoroughly recommend it.  It's fun, and while the sewing was furious there's no real pressure just loads of motivation, laughter and good times!  What are you waiting for?

Thanks to everyone who was part of my weekend and my hubby for being such a star about it! Big hugs to you all!!



Saturday, 4 October 2014

Skateboard piecing

Right about now I will be having loads of fun as a guest of the Brit Bee weekend retreat (and am probably pacing myself for the "appropriate" time to nibble on the amazing homebaked goodness I spotted being prepared for this weekend).  



So while I'm otherwise occupied I'll show you what I was up to last Sunday evening.  I spent several hours trying to overcome some mathematical numptiness as I worked out a skateboard design for a cushion for Hubby's nephew.  For some reason the wheels sections took on a life of their own and proved the most tricky part of this - I still can't figure out why.

It's that time of the year again when my photos will all be taken in horrible night time light so the colours look much more garish here than they really are.  I am still struggling NOT to see a squished Christmas tree bauble instead of that bottom skateboard though!!

When I get this quilted and add a zippered back, it will join the butterfly cushions (which aren't finished yet either) as Christmas pressies.  I am determined not to be sewing gifts the night before Christmas Eve this year!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Off on a Jolly!

I can hardly contain my excitement to be all packed up and ready to abandon my normal responsibilities for an extra long weekend of sewing and chatting with an amazing bunch of peeps.

Yes, I am hopeful of some last flip flop days (but I've packed proper socks and shoes just in case).

The Brit Bee are having their first weekend sewing retreat (although they already periodically meet to eat baked goods catch up) and I have been invited to be one of their guests!  So, since baked goods seem to be one of the acceptable currencies of this group I thought I'd better add these to my suitcase!

Fifteens - yummy traybake made from crushed digestive, mallows, cherries and coconut
As if that's not exciting enough, I'm not even going to come home straight after the weekend!  I've got a "leave pass" to spend a few extra days with Di and will be visiting Trudi too!  At the risk of wearing out my exclamation mark key, can you tell that I'm excited?!!!!

On the downside, some lovely folks are now unable to join us for the weekend and to say it's a bummer is putting it mildly.  Hugs especially to my should've been travelling companion, I will miss you. xx

Hope you have nice weekend plans too!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Bee Blessed October 2014


I want to ask where September went but probably best just not to think about it too much!  So yes, here we are in October already and it's time to put everybody to work for a good cause with our Bee Blessed blocks for another month.

Apologies for the bad night time light.

Judith has chosen a scrappy stripey triangle block which really is as easy to stitch up as she claims in her "how to".  You can find the instructions here.

I hope you can squeeze in a few minutes at your machine to whip up two wee easy scrappy triangles for Bee Blessed this month, and have fun doing it!
 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

FAL Quarter 3 2014: Round Up


Finish Along 2014


Quarter 3 was busy in real life and distracted by a summer of sunshine here which it would've been churlish to ignore by locking myself in the sewing room (that's my excuse anyway).  Original goals listed here.

So what did I manage to finish?



1 - Ruby Churn Dash bed quilt
Carrying over from my Qtr 2 list, this top needs to be quilted and bound and placed on my bed.  I am hatching a plan. My plan was to send it to Trudi for a long arm quilting spa experience.  It's back and finished and on my bed! 



2 - Kaffe Fassett Sparkling Gemstones Quilt
Again carrying over from Quarter 2, these fabrics have been set aside for a Pam Lintott Sparkling Gemstones quilt pattern.  They have waited an awfully long time for some attention, perhaps they'll get lucky this quarter?!  Well, they got attention and were stitched into a top but aren't quite a finish yet. Looks like I'll be carrying this one over again.





3 - Aeroplane Bag
Rather letting the cat out of the aeroplane bag with my fabric selection here, but I've been keen to make a larger carry-on/weekender type bag for a while and settled on the Aeroplane bag pattern a month or so ago.  I have finally gathered all the requisite supplies and hope that this bag will feature heavily in my July sewing activity.  (For those of you hoping to see the orange zip, sorry!)  I managed a finish on the aeroplane bag and am looking forward to some travels with it now.



4 - Crocheted Rag Rug
I shall play hopeful here and add in the crocheted rag rug which I've been puzzling over. If the weather plays nice this would be an ideal project for sitting outdoors with.  As it's a scrappy project I have no idea if I even have enough fabric strip rolls to complete it yet, but maybe I will ...  This was fun to work on, even if a little hard on the fingers.  I finished it and even managed to draft my first crochet pattern as a result.


Three out of four planned finishes is still progress, right?  

This summer I think I may have been better at planning and starting new projects than focusing on what should be finished, so I should have plenty to choose from when making my Quarter 4 Goal list.

Linking up with Katy at The Littlest Thistle.



Monday, 29 September 2014

Peg Bag for small washes

My mum recently asked me for a peg bag for her new washing line.  I've never made one before but ploughed on anyway, making it up as I went along.



I started by quilting some panels and then sewing a porthole oval for the peg opening, crossing my fingers that it would work.  My top tip for an oval porthole is to use the piece of cardboard from the opening of a Kleenex box as your template.



The porthole was a success but after a few other numpty mistakes (I'm blaming my lurgy brain) the bag had to be cut shorter than planned.  So, it's a successful peg bag but I hope mum doesn't have too many pegs since it's a bit vertically challenged!

This project has been another stash raider.  The Debbie Mumm bird houses fabric was used in my handstitched hexie quilt and has been hanging around since before I knew how to use my sewing machine (13yrs I think).

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