Sunday, 29 September 2013

Scrap Attack Update

See what a weekend of scrap busting can produce?


It's kinda satisfying to know that these fun blocks have come from a load of odds and ends, and even more satisfying to get the lid back on my box and have 410 2.5" squares chopped up too.


There were a couple of questions following my last post about when is a scrap a scrap and when is a scrap actually fabric? I guess we all have our own take on this, but just to prove that I didn't make these blocks from huge fabric remnants, here's a pic of what "scrap" means to me.


My scraps are either strippy bits less than about 4" wide or pieces between 2" and 6 or 7". (I do have weenier scraps that I refer to as crumbs, but they are less than 2" and for another project - I may not always choose to keep such teeny pieces.).

One of things I learned again about scrappy blocks this weekend is to try not to overthink them. There are shades and prints that I really wouldn't put together ordinarily in these blocks but somehow they become quite acceptable in these crazy scrappy blocks. So a weekend of cut, stitch, press, cut, stitch, press and I have a tidier box and the last batch of my crazy blocks. Win win!


Friday, 27 September 2013

Weekend Plans

So, what are you all up to this weekend?

Me? Why, thank you for asking. As well as Bee Blessed, taxi driving and feeding the hordes, I am about to mount an assault on my overflowing scrap box.

I usually make my scrappy blocks as a by-product of other stitching but lately there hasn't been the same amount of machine time so I've just been stuffing scraps away under the table until they just don't fit anymore. The lid spends more time sliding off the mountain of scrap packs than it does containing and protecting from dust!

So, this weekend, apart from Bee Blessed tomorrow afternoon, all machine sewing is dedicated to making my box fit back in its proper spot under the table.

The plan of attack is as follows:

  1. Take a coloured pack of scraps
  2. Make a further crazy scrappy block for my collection
  3. Then see what leftovers can be chopped into 2.5" blocks to be stored in another box for a scrappy mini-charm quilt of some sort at a future date.

No target for the number to achieve, I just want to get the lid on that box!!

Happy weekend everybody!


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Liebster Award

The lovely Jess, daughter of Reene@Nellie's Niceties was kind enough to nominate my blog for a Liebster Blog Award today.  Thank you Jess!

Jess has set her nominees 11 questions to answer so you can learn a little bit more about us, so here goes: -

Q1. What’s your favourite genre of music?
I like a real mixture of music from pop, classical and other genres I'm not sure even exist these days.  If I tell you that I know far too many words to a lot of country music songs would you think badly of me?  (My dad was a HUGE fan so I grew up listening to lots of Country Greats compilation albums.)

Q2. What’s your favourite fabric line?
Ruby by Bonnie and Camille - a million times over.

Q3. Where in the world do you want to visit?

Rome again.  Hubby and I went for a long weekend some years ago but there is so much more we didn't see that I'd love to.

Q4. Which celebrity would you most like to meet?

I truly have no idea.  I'm not a big celeb follower, though maybe someone like Judi Dench.

Q5. What was your favourite subject at school?

English - loved it!  Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dickens, the Brontes - I just couldn't get enough of them.

Q6. Do you dance even if there is no music playing?

That would be telling!  Ok then, I might ...  (I also dance really badly whether there's music or not.  I missed out on the co-ordination gene.)

Q7. What was the first album/single you bought?

Stevie Wonder's 'I just called to say I love you' - think I was about 10.

Q8. Do you play games (video or board)? If so, what’s your favourite one?

I play Bejewelled and Mahjong when I'm waiting to pick my son up from his many activities.  Try not to play at home or my family would never get fed!

Q9. What is your favourite type of weather?

Crisp autumnal or spring days when its cool and fresh, but not with the wind howling and rain pouring.  The kind of days when you can snuggle in cosy clothes and scarves but don't quite need to be dressed like the Michelin man!

Q10. Do you scrapbook?

No, never have.

Q11. Have you played/do you play an instrument?

In a spirit of honesty I have to admit to having had piano lessons briefly as a child.  I hated them so much I "forgot" to go to them (and mum always forgot too).  Well, there was a big slathering dog at the teacher's house and the place smelled really awful, you wouldn't have wanted to go either.  I regret that I didn't just ask to change teacher.

I think I will spare you the optional 11 random facts about me following those enlightening answers!

I've been nominated for Liebster Awards a few times before and it's always lovely when someone highlights your blog, though I notice that with each round there seems to be a bigger no of questions to answer and no of new blogs to nominate.  Honestly, I don't think I have 5 - 11 new blogs with less than 200 followers to introduce you to.  So, Jess I hope you won't mind if I'm unable to manage this part of the commitment this time and thanks a million for thinking of my blog in your own nominations!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Making you even more jealous

Some of you left wistful, envious comments on my last post about how lucky I am to be able to go to Judith's classes.  Well, you are right of course.  Judith's classes are always great fun and she is a brilliant teacher with a real gift for explaining techniques and encouraging us through her great projects.  I love being able to be there and know how lucky I am to have a modern class available to me when I can go. I'm also mightily privileged to know this amazing woman as a dear friend and sharing friendship and our stitching love together is a total winner of a combination! (She's also magnificently patient when I get myself in a muddle and just need to work my way through it with steam slowly escaping from my ears - happens every series of classes about week 3 or 4, just ask her!)

Anyway, at the risk of making you even more jealous, I have been going along on Thursday nights to Judith's pixellated heart project class.  Steam from ears happened at week 1 this time as I seriously underestimated how much time it would take me to lay out all those charms into rows and the lights in the building were going out while my layout still had holes in the middle! (Sorry Judith!)

Thankfully, weekly progress has been good since then and this weekend I took to basting and quilting my pixellated heart because I know that I cannot make class this week.  Vertical wavy line quilting made this a pleasure for me to work through and I am happy with the results.  I could be tempted to add two nice borders to this quilt and it would be big enough for my double bed, but I'd better resist as I plan to give it away to a friend.  I will try not to do so through gritted teeth 'cos I am falling a little bit in love with how it looks.

The pixellated heart works really well with contrasting volumes of fabrics and J recommended using low volume prints for the background.  My selection are a bit lower than low volume ("mute", perhaps?) being a medley of neutral print odds and ends I have had gathering for a long time.  Traditional cream on creams, vanilla oval elements, taupe swirling vines, pale beige damask prints and cafe au lait coloured spots keep this background very subdued but I really love the gentle variation in tone created by mixing them as charms, and it was a great way to use up some fabrics that I don't have enough left of to be a full background in any other quilt.  

I need to warn you now to keep an eye out for Judith's round up post when this class finishes in a couple of weeks.  There are all sorts of fabric combos going into pixellated heart quilts - vintage style, reverse fabric layouts, teal/turquoise hearts and a stunner in blacks - seriously watch out for them!

So, if I've made you really jealous today - nah nah nah nah nah!  Oops did that slip out?

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Framed Purses

Yesterday, I spent the day at a fun workshop where Judith taught us all the pleasures of sniffing bostik and uhu making frame purses.  

The first purse I made is for me and I chose one of my favourite orange prints from my stash.  Oh how I love that fabric!  Inside is a lovely yellow polka dot from Robert Kaufmann.  I'll show you in a mo.

Having got the hang of the first purse and managing not to glue everything in sight, I cut fabrics for my second purse which I hope will be a present this festive season (can't quite bring myself to use the word yet). 

Two pretties to show for my day of laughter and fun with some stitchy friends - old and new.  It was so nice to have a wee escape of a day and spend it learning something new.  Frame purses are something that I have wanted to make for such a long time and now I know how thanks to a smashing Saturday out!

The linings are such lovely bright surprises when you pop open the frame snaps.  As well as the Kaufmann polka dot, I used Rain in poppy (from Simply Solids) - it's such a gorgeous shade of red that I took a lot of photos of but couldn't quite manage to get a good representation of it.  You'll have to take my word for it.

Now, who else could I make one of these for?

Friday, 20 September 2013

On a whim

and on the scrounge.

The whim led me to enter a quilt in this week's Quilting Gallery's Show and Tell.  The theme is "quilts for teens" and as I was reading the blog post yesterday I thought, "I've made one of those",  and next thing I know I've uploaded a pic and a blurb and pressed "submit".  Not very like me, but I did.

This is the "Sweetest Sixteen" quilt I made for my niece last year - all funky Amy Butler goodness!

So now I'm on the scrounge for your votes.  If you have a wee mo and are interested pop over and see if my quilt is your fave.  If it is vote for it, or even for one of the others if they're better.  You could try entering the weekly giveaway while you're there.  Never know what you might win!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Making Me Smile - 38/52

Shopping for fun luggage tags on ebay I came across these wedding gift luggage tags which made me giggle!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Giant Star Quilt

Jeni Baker's Vintage Star pattern was on my to do list for ages before I set to piecing the giant star whilst on my summer hols this year. I've been spending some time this past week quilting and binding this Bee Blessed quilt so that it doesn't migrate on to my UFO list accidentally. Here she is -

It was a very satisfying quilt top to make, and I really love the idea of enlarging block designs to make a dramatic quilt, perhaps more suitable for folks who mightn't be so keen on smaller, fussier patchwork. Hmmm, brain beginning to get ahead of me again ...

I also snuck in some more wonky crosses blocks for the man quilt - I'm loving the deep reds and yellows together.

Until next time ...

Monday, 16 September 2013

Caught the bug

Well, the hand-quilting bug is hanging around these here parts even though my hexie quilt is finished, washed and in use.

Remember my red and cream sampler from the fabulous blocks that the hipBees made me?  I looked and looked at it trying to decide how to quilt it, and to be honest trying to ignore the little voice in my ear.  But you know, the voice was right, this quilt deserves a little more personal quilting attention, so hand-quilting it is.

Using a deep ruby DMC perle thread, I made a start with Rachel's 3D pinwheel

and Tanya's wonky log cabin.  And I am now so glad that I didn't machine quilt this one!

I love the individual quilting of the blocks, which I simply wouldn't have been patient enough to do by machine.  I know the handquilting will ultimately lengthen the process of this quilt.  In truth, I would love to get it finished very soon and up on the wall but I am trying to appreciate that as a wallhanging this quilt will be the better for the handstitched effect.

It's also given me an opportunity to try out quarter inch quilting tape rather than just stitching the seam by eye.  My opinion of the tape:  it can be a bit fiddly and requires a little patience (not much, just a little) to apply but actually I achieved a much nicer straight stitch line as a result and I will continue to use it on each block for this quilt where the red stitches against the kona snow are very obvious if they're badly aligned.

So, two down only 14 more to handquilt!  Sometimes, I wonder if my ideas are my own worst enemy...

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Le Challenge - 5

Le Challenge

Well, I may have wimped out over the "toffee" theme for the last Le Challenge and I have to admit that I didn't think I was going to make it for "heroes" either, until I realised that I was working on something that would fit the bill perfectly. At least I think so.  I worked on the embroidery at FQR this summer, finished it on my hols and after wondering what to do with it, took Jan's advice and put it back in the hoop and hung it in the sewing room.

This little embroidery design from Nana Company is my entry for September's Le Challenge.

The words are an abbreviation of Mother Teresa's quotation which I have in the side bar of my blog - "We can do no great things, only small things with great love.
  It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into doing it."  

Giving so much of your own life to care for the poor, the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the blind, lepers, those who feel unwanted, unloved and uncared for is pretty heroic I think.

Don't forget to hop on over to Le Challenge to see the other heroic makes this month.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Making Me Smile - 37/52

Today I'm going to let you in on a little secret that makes me smile.

Meet my windowsill girls.  They live in my sewing room and every week when he's helping out with the chores, hubby resets these little dolls to tell a wee story.  (Truth be told I spent about three weeks muttering about how he never puts anything back right, before I twigged that their repositioning was deliberate - oops!)

Today it looks like they have some secret sharing of their own going on!  I have to say it's much better than the week I found them huffing with each other (positioned back to back).  Variously, I have popped into the sewing room to find them chatting, hiding from one another and even admiring something together (use of props).  That one with the green hair has even been known to peer out from behind a picture frame giving the other one the evil eye!  He's been quite ingenious that hubby, and it makes me smile when I look up from my stitching to see what they're up to next.  You would be surprised how many positions two such static dolls can be found in - keep it clean, folks!

Smiling is good!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Pulling Together for Siblings Together

Look at these bright, funky blocks that have come my way for the Siblings Together block drive:

Aren't they great?  The colours are much more vibrant than they appear here (camera has now become next to useless and I'm using my phone which isn't as great as the camera normally is).

A few weeks ago Jo contacted me to say that she would make a few blocks for the Siblings Together block drive and just a few days later Mr Postie dropped these four through my letterbox.  Turns out that Jo is a member of the Siblings Together Bee and these blocks are made from the fabric remaining from her ST Bee quilt.  She said that it seemed only right to use the leftovers for the blocks  (I think the fabrics for the ST Bee are sponsored donations).  So how about that - true collaboration in support of the brilliant cause that Siblings Together is!  Thank you so much Jo, for your generosity and for thinking of the block drive.  The blocks are great and will work in beautifully with the others that are gathering until the end of October.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Making Me Smile - 36/52

My fabric selection for the pixellated heart quilt.

So pleased to be back at class again this week!  Great project, fab teacher and good company - winning combination!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Modern Stitching Bee Initiation

September is my first month in the Modern Stitching Bee and the lovely Leanne set a great block for my initiation month.  I'm not sure if the block she asked for has a name of its own, but it is a block of four quarters - two quarters are quarter square triangle blocks and two are the block which is known variously as Economy, Thrift or sometimes just Square in a Square.

These blocks gave me a great opportunity to break in the new mini design boards which I made just before I went on hols.  You may have seen these on Lori Holt's Bee in my Bonnet blog.  (For ref, I made mine 16.5" which is a bit bigger than Lori's.)  I wondered for a while whether I should make them or is it just another thing that would clutter my space without actually being very useful.  In late July I decided to make 4 and try them out (still have to finish two of them with binding as you can see).  I won't kid you that I wasn't covered in glue during the process.  They aren't difficult, I just got myself into a bit of a gluey mess.  I am glad I persevered though as they came into their own when I was choosing fabrics and sorting the layout for these blocks.  Yes, you are right, I could just have laid them out and played with fabrics on the table but the boards meant I could free up the table for more cutting and prep without disturbing the the arrangement of the blocks.  It also meant that the cut pieces stayed put instead of blowing off the table with every little breeze coming through the window!

Anyway, back to the blocks.  Leanne requested that the Economy block quarters are made up in bright colour prints and, of course, the block design lends itself nicely to a few fussy cut centres.   So, I hunted through my stash and found these which I hope will fit the bill in terms of Leanne's colour requirements.  She did say they didn't have to be matchy.

For the QST portions of the block, Leanne asked for a white solid and a horizontal text print (or another print that reads horizontally dark on white).  I'm not explaining this as well as she did, so just let me show you -

Can you see what I mean now?  (The page on the floor was me checking that I had the orientation and positioning of all the quarters correct before sewing them together!  Attempt to avoid disaster.)

And, here are the finished blocks -

I really think that Leanne is going to have an amazing quilt when all of her blocks come together and you get to see the repetitions of her solids and text prints.  I can't wait to see it!

Hope you like the blocks, Leanne.  Thanks for the fun in month number 1!!

PS  Something is definitely up with my camera.  I'm no Lord Lichfield but even I can usually manage to take pics a wee bit better than some have been the past few days. Definitely a little bit of a blur going on and, today there are funny horizontal lines on the camera screen.  So apols if my pics are inducing mild headaches!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Queen Bee Again

I may develop royal pretensions being Queen Bee this soon after my last turn (May) but, after a little re-jigging of months for hipBees' second round, I am the lucky Bee who beat all of the others to the top of the queue (wink) to kickstart the new Bee year.  We have said goodbye to some of our fabulous original Bees (Bye! - sob, sob) but have welcomed some lovely new Bees in their place (Hi!) and are all set for another fun year of block making.

So from these black and white prints

and these pops of colour

I have asked the Bees for concentric box blocks like these -

My blocks
I am hoping for random concentric boxes alternating in black and white final rounds with occasional colour rounds or centre square.  I think this will be a fun quilt and I'm already excited to see blocks appearing on the flickr page.

Go to it Bees!

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