Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Wonky Star(ts)

This week I made my first ever blocks for a Bee - yippee!  Initiation complete.  Bee Blessed is the first bee I've ever joined and the block for our first quilts is the wonky star block - Judith has posted all the details here.  Never having made this block before, I thought I'd have a go and stitch one or two up in advance of our Bee meeting on 10 Sept.  It was lots of fun and quite straightforward really.  So here are my first two blocks -

I think the blue one is my favourite.
Keep an eye on the Bee Blessed flickr page too.  There are some gorgeous blocks from our generous blog friends appearing there too.   It's very exciting to think that we will shortly be making these up into baby quilts to bring a wee touch of blessing to someone in need.

I also managed to make a start on another gift cushion by cutting the fabrics.  This one is for a fifteen year old girl who I am hoping will love these Amy Butler Soul Blossoms prints as much as I do.  Here are all the pieces cut and ready for stitching -

The cross layout has nothing to do with the final make up of the cushion, though I kind of wish now that it did because I like these.  More soon I hope.

Monday, 29 August 2011

You are NOT the only one

Not so long ago, my lovely blogging friend Susan asked if she was the only one.  Well, Susan, this one's just for you to assure you that YOU'RE NOT THE ONLY ONE.

I posted about my birdie stitches blocks on return from holidays and a few days later as I caught sight of the photo of the August block on my blog post, I noticed that something was slightly amiss.

Would you notice the problem?

It took a few minutes to work out why it just didn't look right, but it's all to do with the alignment of the script prints in the Sunkissed fabrics.  They should be running horizontal and right way up, but I must have transferred the embroidery design at a 90 degree angle and so they were running vertical instead.  Not a huge crime but because all the other blocks were consistent and 7 others were already stitched this one just looked a little odd.

So, with trusty stitch ripper in hand I unpicked the block borders and reassembled them.

Aaah, much better.

So you see Susan , you're definitely not the only one!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Pincushion Fun

I have a heap of projects requiring attention but they're all of the larger variety and I just knew I didn't have the capacity for them this week, so I attempted a couple of quick fix pincushions just to keep the withdrawal symptoms at bay!

I raided my teeny tiny scraps box to ensure that no fat quarters were harmed in the making of these projects.  Why is it so satisfying to make things entirely of leftovers?

I know they're pretty basic but that was kind of the point for me this week, and I like them anyway!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Bee Blessed Beginnings

I am very excited about a new venture with my friend Judith - a real life quilting bee!

Bee Blessed is a charity quilting bee where we will get together with other local interested folk for a wee stitch and a cuppa to share our skills, our resources and hopefully a laugh or two.  Our aim will be to create quilts and other little projects to bless others.  All of our quilts will be donated locally to those who need a little blessing and thoughtfulness in their lives.

We know that the hardships faced by many will never be solved by a patchwork quilt, but maybe just maybe, someone who receives a quilt will feel the blessing of knowing that we cared enough to think of them and to want to do something nice for them.

Our plan is to meet locally (house hopping) every three weeks starting on Saturday 10 September 2011, 2pm to 5pm. If you would be interested in coming along to the Bee meetings in the Greater Belfast area (and maybe a little beyond) to stitch with us please do let us know.  Other dates are posted on my Bee Blessed page.

Judith has set up a flickr group too so you can have a peek at what we're up to.  AND, so that all you virtual bee friends out there don't feel left out, we'd be more than delighted if you wanted to get involved by contributing a bee block here and there.  Just join the flickr group to let us know and keep an eye there and on our blogs for details of upcoming projects.

Thanks to inspiration from Susan's fab quilt, to get us off to a start we're going to make up some wonky star blocks to make small baby quilts.  Judith has posted the details for the first meeting and blocks here.  I hope some of you can be tempted to join us either in person or via flickr.  (It's a good excuse to use up some scraps and to make some blocks you might not have tried before!)

Hoping to see some of you there!  And a huge THANKS to those of you who have already joined the flickr group or promised a block or two via Judith's blog - it's all very exciting!!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Post Hols Hello!

Hello again!  Just got back from two lovely weeks holidays in the Lake District where it felt like going cold turkey with no access to blogland!

Me and my Bean at Sizergh Castle.
All ready for his big climb!
Stunning view from top of Helvellyn which the boys climbed while I sewed!
I am beginning to realise that I have a problem.  These two -

were taking bets on the return ferry yesterday afternoon as to how long it would be from arriving home until I turned on the Mac to check out the blogs again!!  What started in December as a tiny toe in the water of blogging has somehow, without me really noticing, become a big part of my week - that's a bit crazy really!

Probably a good thing then that I took the sewing machine on hols as I'm not sure what state I'd have been in if I'd had to survive two weeks with no internet AND no sewing machine!  So, on the rainier days or just in the peace and quiet created when the men in my life went to be adventurous in the great outdoors, I did manage to catch up on some sewing that had gotten a bit behind.

I stitched away happily in the evenings at Little Miss Shabby's Birdie Stitches.  The pics all have a slight blue sheen to the embroidery because I haven't just gotten around to washing out the transfer pen yet - sorry about that.  So here they are ...



June - redrafted from the original a little

July - redrafted from original 4th of July design


And, I spent a LONG time beavering away on the kaleidoscope blocks which you may recall I messed up and then have had to re-work by paper piecing in order to make the most of the 360 pieces of fabric I had already cut (wrongly).  I wish I could say it was fun and relaxing, but it wasn't.  The kaleidoscope blocks and I developed a hate-hate relationship.  Suffice it to say, I reached a point of frustration where I had to decide that I was either going to stop and never EVER touch them again in my lifetime or I had to just plough on through the hatred to get them done.  I ploughed on and they are done and maybe, in a few weeks time when I come to sew the blocks together I will actually like and appreciate them, but the wounds are still a bit too raw!  (Melodramatic enough for you?)

There are 30 blocks in all
but that was too many to lay out for this photo.

I also worked a little on my hexagon quilt (no pics as it doesn't look much different from last pics).  I started this quilt top in the Lake District last summer and it was the project and the holiday which made me decide I needed to find more time for sewing in my life.  I think looking back over the past year I can certainly say I've done that (and more).  There are some practical changes about to impact our work and home life routines around here and I'm not sure how much time I will find for my sewing this coming year, but perhaps now that this hobby is part of the fabric (apols for the pun) of my life, I'll at least be able to create a little space for it and benefit from the therapy it provides amid the chaos!

Good to be back and looking forward to catching up with everybody else's blogs soon.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Forgotten Crochet Project

I think some time back in January I had picked up on these crochet squares which were planned for a small lap throw.  At that time they were a UFO and I was trying to resurrect it.  Needless to say, as this post title suggests, that was a short-lived resurrection and they were packed away with good intentions never quite being realised.  (I think it might have had something to do with all the thread ends that needed sewn in - seriously unfunny amount to be stitched in.)

See what I mean?

Last week, as I took stock of various projects in various states of progress, this one started screaming at me - "just five more squares to crochet, sew in some thread ends and joining, that's all we need!" 

So, here are those five more squares crocheted and blocked and all the ends sewn in.

Sometime after the hols I will add them to the squares which have been waiting and create a little leg warming lap throw.

In keeping with being a forgotten project, this one was started so long ago that I cannot even remember what its original purpose was - could have been a baby gift for a child that can eat steak now for all I remember!  How terrible is that?! Must do better (which is why I've created my wee stitching plans page to keep on top of and try not to forget things in the future)!

Anyway, there is now a layout planned (excuse the drawing)

and hopefully this will look halfway decent when it's all together.  If crocheting is your thing and you're interested, I would really recommend 200 Crochet Blocks for blankets, throws and afghans by Jan Eaton which is where all of my square patterns came from.  There are lovely crochet block patterns and even design pages with suggestions for how various squares can be combined to make throws of all sizes.

Hoping to be back with further progress well before another 7 months passes!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Kindle Cover

I've been thinking for a while how I might create a quilted cover for my Kindle, but with everything else that happened here this summer I just couldn't seem to get my head around how the construction might actually work.  I had a picture of the finished item in my head, but just couldn't get the steps straight.  I did try to cheat and find some other clever person who'd already thought it through and published a wee free tutorial, but clever as they all were they weren't quite what I had pictured.

Then, mum joined the bandwagon and said she'd love a soft cover for her kindle too, so I knew I'd have to try and get that thought process operating again!  Try as I might, some of the finer points just wouldn't come to me, so there was nothing else for it but to just get the machine going and make a stab at it.

So after some measuring,


fiddling with elastic,

and stitching

here's my first effort

It does need a tweak or two here and there to adjust the width a fraction and get the top flap looking a bit neater, but all in all I'm pretty pleased with the result so far.  Don't worry mum, if you're peeking in this one isn't yours, you will get a better, upgraded and slight less snug version of my Kindle cover shortly!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Beach Huts Finish

Last night I finished off the Beach Huts cushion that Judith has been teaching at her classes.  I love it!  It's so fresh and fun and girlie.  And, to add the icing to the cake, it is my first completed pressie for this year's festive season (too early to say the actual word just yet)!

Even the envelope back is cute with its colourful prairie points!
Huge thanks to Judith for such a gorgeous class project!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Farmer's Wife - More blocks

I've been pulling out the stops to try and catch up with the Farmer's Wife blocks in the hope of (maybe) getting back on track by the end of August.  So here are the latest offerings-

Block 16 - Calico Puzzle

Block 20 - Churn Dash

Block 41 - Friendship Star

Block 10 - Bow Tie

Block 9 - Box

Block 21 - Contrary Wife

Block 61 - Northern Lights

Block 48 - Homeward Bound
Block 111 - Wrench

I love them all but especially the friendship star.  I think another five this month and I'll be back on track (until the next delay anyway).  Here they all are together with previously made blocks -

I'm enjoying these little blocks (all measure 6.5" unfinished) but it can be tricky on such small blocks not to lose the sizing in the seams.  I love the colours of my fabric choices for this quilt - they feel much more feminine than I've made to date - this one is definitely for me to keep!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Birdie Stitches BOM - another one done!

Yes, I know that these Birdie Stitches blocks from Little Miss Shabby's BOM were meant to be being saved as my portable holiday project, but I have caved and stitched up another one.  Their cuteness is too hard to resist, and you all know what my willpower is like!  This one is the March block with its promising rainbows.

I am taking the remaining blocks so far (Apr - Aug) with me on hols to while away a few hours of an evening or when I am enjoying peace and quiet as the boys head off mountain biking.

Before I do, I'm just trying to decide how I might adjust the block designs for June and July to sit a little better in my quilt.  The original June block is a typography based block and while I think it's lovely, I might just like to simplify it a little (as a personal preference, and if I'm honest to cut out on a little of the stitching - there's a lot in that one).  Not sure which words to leave in and which to leave out.  I have pared it right down to just the name of the quilt and the year of stitching, and think I'll maybe go with that, and maybe add my signature too - would kind of make it the quilt label but in a whole block.
Hmm ....

Also, the original July block is fabulous but, not being American, the 4th of July doesn't have the same significance for me, so I was thinking maybe a picnic basket birdie - what do you think?

Before you go thinking that I'm in any way talented with a pencil, let me let you in on my secret ... I used a few motifs (picnic basket, bee and butterfly) from Aimee Ray's Doodle Stitching - The Motif Collection book for the redesign of this block.  And since Little Miss Shabby cleverly matches her birdie's tummy each month to the rest of her design, I gave this birdie a checked picnic blanket tum too!

If you like this simple kind of doodle embroidery, this wee book is a very useful resource, particularly if, like me, your own drawing skills are a little challenged!  The book comes with a CD-rom which has all the motifs on it so that you can open each one, re-size it to suit your project or combine it along with others to create you own design.  I used it before to help plan my design for Judith's birthday mug rug in June. (I bought the book from Amazon, if you're interested.)

So, as long as I don't change my mind on these, I'm all set for some fun holiday stitching!

PS - here's what was waiting for me in my son's room this morning -

Isn't that sweet?

Then we had fun knocking them over!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...