Thursday, 31 May 2012

Bee Blessed June Block

Hello Folks!

June's Bee Blessed block is inviting all you cool girls (and guys) to go square.  Are you up for it?  Just temporarily?

Back in January/February when we had a period of making up sampler blocks for Bee Blessed I had a wee go at designing my own block primarily to make use of some very small Soul Blossoms scraps.  The result was this block

This photo should actually be rotated 90 degrees for correct piecing (sorry).
which I subsequently called "Very Square Like Me" and which we are going to make our June block.

And here's another gorgeous version made by Judith -

So if you'd like to stitch along with us, bust some scraps and donate blocks to Bee Blessed this month, here's what you need to do:

The block is made up from a centre square surrounded by a series of borders pieced together in the courthouse steps fashion (adding alternate sets of opposite sides at a time, rather than working in a round like the log cabin).  Your completed block should measure 12.5" unfinished (measurements will allow the block to finish slightly larger so that you can trim it down).

For our Bee Blocks please work borders C and F in white and borders B and E in a second solid of your choice.  Other colour choices are completely over to you.

Measurements (assumes piecing with a 0.25" seam throughout):

A   Centre square - cut 3.5" square (lovely for fussy cutting if your fabric allows)
B   Solid border - cut 1" wide
C   White border - cut 1.5" wide
D   Border of pieced squares - cut 20 2" squares
E   Solid border - cut 1" wide
F   White border - cut 2" wide

To make up the block:

Start with the centre square A and add border strips B to the left and right sides, and then to the top and bottom.  Throughout press seams away from the centre square as you go.

Now add white border strips C to the left and right sides, and then to the top and bottom.

For the pieced squares border D:  join 2 sets of 4 squares together and add one set to each side of your block centre.  Join 2 sets of 6 squares together and add these pieced square borders to the top and bottom of the block centre.

Now add border strips E - again left and right first, followed by top and bottom.

Finish the block with border strips F - adding left and right pieces first and top and bottom pieces to complete.  Trim your block evenly to 12.5" square.

Easy peasy!

Hope you'll want to have a go at this month's block - it's going to look great in a quilt.  Thanks in advance if you do!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Bee - I - Bee - I - O

We all know that 'Old Macdonald Had A Farm' but did he have any bees on that farm?   Maybe not, but this one has all sorts of cute animals on it and it is destined for Bee Blessed.

Rooting through our little Bee Blessed stash I came across a lovely farmyard panel, a small offcut with matching polka dots, a few wee label type squares and a piece large enough for backing just crying out to be put to good use in a quilt.  What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon (last weekend, not this one) when you have a heap of other WIPs and UFOs you could/should be busy with? I am so easily distracted (and it's much easier to justify a new project to myself when it has charitable status)!!!

I found a lovely green pillowcase in my own little stash to extend the borders and it was a great way to be able to feature those smaller label type strips rather than them going to waste - don't you think?

If you read my earlier Quilt-mares post you'll know that I tried to be clever with the quilting on this little lovely and the results were a bit tragic, but now that it's all tidied up with some binding and a wee label it will hopefully pass muster.

Most importantly of all though, we hope it will show a little touch of kindness and thoughtfulness to its Bee Blessed recipient in due course.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Fantastic Saturday!

What a fabulous day!  Sunshine, heat, family time and quilts.

Look, look, look - pure blue skies!

Our first stop this morning, after a two hour drive, was an orienteering competition in the very north west of Northern Ireland at Magilligan Point.  The men in my life competed in their class while I had a beautiful morning stroll among the sand dunes in the HEAT, proper glorious sun drenched heat with a gorgeous breeze that just kept it all bearable.

Next stop was one of the oldest original thatched cottages left in Ireland, Hezlett House near Castlerock.  It is now owned by the National Trust and we took advantage of our membership to pop in today and have a picnic lunch in their small orchard garden.  It was pretty, quiet and peaceful.  The staff were fantastic answering the questions of my inquisitive 10 year old, letting him feed their chickens and taking a really keen interest in him.  And, best of all, totally unexpectedly today was the day that the local quilting group was holding an "Airing of the Quilts" event around the gardens.  

We had our little picnic among the quilts and daisies - it was so lovely!  Talk about being in my element!

Prepare for pic fest.  (Please note that none of todays quilts are mine, they were all stitched by members of the Sew'n'Sews Quilting group from Castlerock.)

There were so many quilts, hanging on trees in the orchard garden, strewn across tree stumps, draped over rocking chairs and old bicycles, spread out on the lawn and pinned on two washing lines.  All very different, but all beautiful and stitched by those who love what they are doing.

Among my favourites were these two antique quilts (probably not stitched by the Sew'n'Sews themselves):

I love this red one and the zig zag quilting was so beautifully stitched - I'm just sorry I didn't have the real camera with me to get a better pic of it.

This quilt was so faded and the fabrics had disintegrated massively in parts but somehow that was so much a part of its charm.  It felt like a real privilege to be able to see it so close up.  You can see more of that fabulous zigzag quilting on the photo below.

Oh it was such a lovely coincidence to turn up at the Quilt Airing today and to meet some of the lovely ladies from the Sew'n'Sews group who were lunching in the garden.  If you happened to be local to Castlerock, Northern Ireland, they are looking for new folks to join them and I know they meet in the Christ Church Hall in Castlerock to stitch and chat and drink tea!  I'm sure they'd love to hear from you, and although they had no online contact details I am sure you could contact them via Hezlett House, National Trust property where some of their members are also volunteer gardeners.

By the way, if you didn't know (as I didn't until the ladies told me) it is apparently an old American custom to air the quilts before storing them away for the summer.

After this little quilt indulgence we headed off to visit Mussenden Temple and then my men took to the sea for a little swim around the rock pools.  

Looks like my little one may inherit dad's knees!

Something for everyone in our day out today!  

Doesn't the warmth and sunshine just make you feel gooooooood!

Friday, 25 May 2012

New Things

Two new things for you tonight ...

First up is my new class project - charcoal and white wonky stars for a boy cushion.

I'll be adding in a splash of this turquoise too.

It's been a great excuse to cut into the postmarks fabric which I LOVE.

I've not been able to go to classes for a while and it was so much fun to be back among friends, stitching up a storm and maybe having a giggle or two as well!

And, being back at class brings me to the second new thing I have to share.

Click here

Fiona, who I met at class in January, is discovering or perhaps re-discovering her love of stitching and has taken to class like a duck to water.  It was the beginning of the slippery slope (you all know what I mean, admit it) and now she's stitching away, nurturing a seedling addiction to fabrics AND she has started her own blog.  Please, please pop over and visit her at Sew Fi as she settles in and finds her blogging feet and voice!  Last weekend she bought fabric and made a quilt all in a day!  The girl's got it bad (in the best possible way), I tell you.  Go visit and leave her an wee word of encouragement - you know how much that means to all of us.

Hope you are all getting a fair share of the glorious sunshine.  Have a fun weekend!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Can you believe it?

I have been working hard to finish up this Birds Nesting Jelly Roll quilt to take advantage of this week's glorious sunshine for some finished pics, but look

can you believe it?  It was practically too sunny for a decent photo!! (Though the backlight of sunshine does show up the pattern piecing quite well.)

Anyway, back to the living room carpet for a pic which shows the colours of this quilt a little more realistically -

This quilt has grown on me as I've progressed it through the various stages and I like it a lot more than I thought at would at one earlier stage, and I could actually imagine keeping it now.  However, it will find a new home via Bee Blessed in due course and hopefully bring some peace and gentleness to someone.

Sunday, 20 May 2012


Want to see my weekend quilt-mare?

This sweet little mare has caused all sorts of quilting woes as I have tried to progress a little project this weekend.  She is part of a very sweet pre-printed panel but sadly she has been printed a bit wonky and when it came to quilting this part of the project straight lines just weren't going to help.  All they would do was accentuate her wonkiness, so I needed to think of an alternative.

I thought that since she's only a part of the centre of the project I would be brave and have a go at stippling.  So I did ...

seven times!!!!!!  Yep, if perseverance won prizes I'd definitely be on the winner's rostrum today, but sadly all my perseverance achieved was seven lots of ripped out thread similar to the pic above.  It looked awful, and that's putting it kindly!

Then I decided to try arcs using the special wee gauge thingy that attaches to my walking foot.  There was some considerable ripping out at this stage too (with my hair soon to follow).  Eventually, I sort of got the hang of it and, while I would have hoped for slightly smother arcs,  it's not too terrible for my first time.  

I am sure there must have been an easier solution to all of this but somehow today my brain just wasn't for having it!

Hope your weekend stitching was a tad less problematic.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Bee Cushion

Today I thought you might like to see a wee cushion finish that we've been working on for Bee Blessed.

Ta Da!

Back at the beginning of the year when our theme was sampler blocks, Terri kindly stitched us up a host of modern blocks to include in our projects.  Among them was the pleated blue and white centre block that you can see on the pic above.

When we saw this block, several of us automatically said how great it would look in a cushion front to really feature its 3D quality to best effect.  So, when we had some extra fabrics from a blue and lemon quilt that we are working on (pics in a few weeks over on the Bee Blessed flickr page we hope) Terri's block seemed to lend itself perfectly to becoming a companion cushion for the quilt.

We popped on a border of the remaining squares and made up a similar back from Ruth's lovely courthouse steps block in just the right colours and hey presto! a cushion with decorative and practical aspects.  Pretty pleats to look at one one side and and cosy courthouse steps to rest your head on on the other.

I hope Terri and Ruth will think we've done their blocks justice and be glad to know that they will be gifted along with one of the group's quilts shortly.

Thank you ladies!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Ooh la la!

Bonsoir Mes Amis!

Meet Elise ...

That's my name for this sweet little French girl who likes to walk her poodle through the avenues of Paris, cycle past the Eiffel Tower, feed the birds in the park or visit her local cafe for some elegant patisserie.  Oh, what a lovely life she has!

Today I managed to hide myself away with no work, no family, and no prior commitments.  It was just me, Elise and my sewing machine until tea time.  And this is what we created so that Elise is no longer hidden away in my stash drawer where she has been resting neatly folded for about a year now.

I promise the front is not as gathered as it looks in this pic.  As well as Elise, the bag is made from a
lovely cotton/linen blend fabric in petrol blue which it's really hard to get a true representation of here.

This great multi-purpose bag is from Judith's Boxy Bag pattern which I have been dying to try for ages.  Sadly, I was on holidays last August when she held a workshop for this bag but thankfully she is now selling the pattern on her Etsy shop, and since I have a crochet project on the go that is currently being toted about in a horrible reusable grocery bag that's a good enough excuse to stitch up a new stylish project bag.

The pattern was lovely to follow and is a snip at just £4 on Judith's Etsy Shop.  The bag finishes at a substantial 12" x 12" x 6" deep and although this one is destined to carry my yarn, hooks and chevron throw in progress, it's a great size for books, for lunches or for general shopping.

My little embellishment was made using this lovely, simple hair clip tutorial from Polka Dot Pineapple.  Can you see those cute little pastries on a plate on the fabric covered button?


Friday, 11 May 2012

Photo Finish

I love it when I unexpectedly find some time for stitching!  It did look as though this week would be another bleak stitchless week, but courtesy of staying up late, I have two quilt finishes to show you tonight.

Firstly, I have at long last finished my Kaleidoscope quilt from last summer's QAL with Don't Call Me Betsy.  In spite of resurrecting this quilt from the UFO pile a couple of weeks ago I did have visions of her returning there, but she is a UFO no more, not even a WIP, and I love her!

Look at the quilted crinkly loveliness!

Next up is a special Bee Blessed quilt that I stitched up at Easter from a charm pack and fabrics kindly donated to Bee Blessed.

Crazy life took over for a bit, and throw in a lost fabric order, and I didn't quite get around to finishing this one up.  Last night I took the bull by the horns though and decided to piece a back together because Bee have identified a young man as the recipient of this quilt and we would like to gift it to him sooner rather than later.

Pieced back.

Generally speaking, I have avoided piecing backings at all costs and this one is actually a first for me.  I think it looks quite well, but it is a doozie trying to keep everything straight both on the top and on the back.  That bit I didn't enjoy, but the rest of this quilt I have loved making and it's nice to know it's going to a good home.  Hopefully the recipient won't inspect it with a spirit level, and just enjoy the comfort it is intended to bring.

Quilting close up.

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