Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Bee Blessed Summer Block Reminder

Four Wonky Crosses Blocks

Just a wee reminder that this summer's Bee Blessed blocks are wonky crosses block in red, blue, grey and yellow.  All the details were posted here if you missed them first time around.

And, to inspire you, here are some we have received already - I love how this is going to look.

Thanks for remembering us in your summer stitching plans!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Pressed for Time

I am seriously wishing I could rewind this month and do it over again, building in the appropriate amount of sewing time to achieve the bits and pieces I need to.  Crazy doesn't begin to cover what July has been and all of a sudden it's the end of the month!  Most alarmingly, I still have not finished my MIL's special birthday quilt which will be needed very soon and was planned to be finished by 31st - um, that's 3 days away!  Quick ostrich impersonation may be required.

Anyway, earlier this month I did make these two pretty new ironing board covers for the sewing room boards.  It was a weekend when I just couldn't face crawling around the floor in the sweltering heat trying to baste the sampler quilt - honest!  (Might be regretting that now!)

I haven't chosen to cover them in my favourite fabrics because I suspect they will be grotty again soon, but some affordable, pretty pink and green gingham does the trick and is certainly an improvement on this stained, holey mess -

For both boards I simply cut fabric two inches bigger than the board itself, pinned and stitched white bias tape with the pull string tucked carefully inside it (so as not to sew through it) all around.  Then, I cut one piece of leftover dec weight fabric and two layers of wadding to the exact size of the board, keeping the dec weight uppermost so it would be immediately underneath the gingham (to provide another layer between the heat of the iron and contact with the wadding).  Stack them all in the right order, and place the upside down board on top and pull the cord tight.  Tie off and hey presto!  Pretty pressing boards!

The extra layer of wadding has made such a difference to how well things press on them now.  Don't know why but it works.

Tip - keep the dec weight fabric pale enough that the colour or pattern doesn't show through your cover fabric.

Hope that all made sense!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Summer Tree Swing

Tanya took up the reign of Queen Bee this month in hipBees and sent us some very pretty fabrics to make tree blocks any way we wanted for a quilt for her daughter.

Checking in with Tanya for permission re the embroidery (just in case it should interfere with her quilting plans) I added Aneela's Cherry on a Tree Swing to my sketch applique tree.  I like her a lot, even though my stitching has given her a slighly less svelte midriff than Aneela planned, and she has slid across her swing seat a bit!

I hope she makes a fun addition to your daughter's quilt Tanya!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Making Me Smile - 30/52

A gift from someone special!

Smile no 1 - chocolate, special chocolate. Need I say more?

Smile no 2 - I don't think I've ever been described as a "decadent tart" before.  Sounds like it could be fun for the weekend ;-)  (See the labelling on the box if you're wondering.)  Still chuckling to myself!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

FQR Goodies and UFOs

So, some of you were nice enough to be curious about my FQR classes and shopping.  Those who are FQRed out can skip this post with my blessing - I know there's a lot of FQR rumbling about this here blogisphere!

I will be brief, if such a thing is possible for me.  Okay, so I tried to be brief and it just wasn't happening.  Hope you won't be too bored with more of my ramblings!!

On Friday afternoon I went to John's embroidery workshop and was ever so grateful for the air-conditioned seminar room!  Needless to say, amid the chatter there wasn't a huge amount of stitching done, but I did make a start on a pattern I had brought with me (available as a free pdf download from nanaCompany).  

I even tried a wee bit of (slow) stem stitch which was new for me.  Nice workshop = UFO no 1.

Lynne's Touchdraw table top session was really informative given that prior to the weekend the only thing I could manage on touchdraw was to draw a square and I'm not even sure how I did that!  So, with great  patience for the numpty at the table (me)  I did manage to draft a churn dash quilt

and had a go at making a paper template pieces (less successfully)

I suspect Touchdraw just needs a lot of practice and then it will finally click with me and actually be one of those things you can do quite quickly.  But maybe not today, nor tomorrow ....

UFO nos 2 and 3 (I'm not counting that unfinished touchdraw drawing - ahem) came from Lucy's portholes class.

This was lots of fun, though I am a wee bit frustrated by my wrinkly circular porthole.  Still, I foresee two cushions from these lovelies (with some gentle persuasion of the wrinkles) when I ever get the time.

Probably the least impressive of my unfinished items coming home from FQR (yes, that's 4 UFOs from 1 weekend!) is my needleturn applique block.

I had to put Mandy's illustration in the photo so you could see what I was supposed to be doing.  I have all sorts of excuses for this one.  1) It was Sunday and I was only just about awake at 9am! 2) I did a lot of hanging about for an iron because those at the cathedral windows class were pressing their little lives away, bless them!  3) It was only an hour and a half session, and most of all 4) when I had a spare hour after my session I didn't continue with the applique as planned, but allowed myself to get distracted by a hop over to the V&A Museum shop!  Oops!!

I did like learning this technique and would love to pick this up again and have a go at finishing it.  I need to learn to make that bias strip curve!

As well as the classes, of course, there were freebies to be had and I even won a book in the raffle draw

All for free!

Lots of lovelies from the generous sponsors and a few goodies from Emily too!

And, of course, in spite of my best intentions, I did succumb to the temptations of quilt market wares.

Fab reds from Eternal Maker.

Key fobs from Hadley.

Random pretties from Tikki, London.


Liberty Blues from Di - v generous fqs!

So, that was it.  Great classes, fun shopping and brilliant friends!  Do I need to do more to persuade you to go sometime?

And, just to round of all this FQR news, I'm showing you where my name tag (liberty hexies) is now proudly on display on my sewing room notice board.  It's much too fab to get chucked away in a drawer!  Thanks again Justine (who by the way is just the nicest person, with a fab laugh)!!

Phew!  If you hung in there, pat yourself on the back and go get a cup of tea, or a medicinal brandy!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Hugged Out!

My hugger is burned out after all the squeals and squeezes incurred in the meeting of bloggy buddies at this past weekend's Fat Quarterly Retreat!  What a fab lot you all are and how brilliant it was to meet so many online friends.

Warning - long and potentially rambling post ahead.

Di, Me and Catherine - so great to meet up with them again!

Di, Judith and Me - yep, we had a photographer swap!

Di, Me, Catherine, Judith and Jan
We must have nabbed somebody passing to take this one, so thank you whoever did!
I look so cheesy with my big grin in these pics but it was a good time and I just couldn't stop myself smiling!

So, as a newbie FQRer, what can I tell those of you who didn't make it this year?

Most importantly, start saving your pennies and go next time if you possibly can!

You will get to be inspired by fabulous quilts at the Show and Tell like these -

Nicky (on the right) made this massive beauty with Oakshotts.
My son thinks this quilt is amazing, Nicky! (He's right!)

Jan's Road to Tennessee quilt from her Bee A Brit Stingy bee is a glorious riot of summery scrappiness!
Catherine's Lynne Bob Square Pants Quilt is fabulous - wish you could see her gorgeous handquilting on it.
She's smirking behind that quilt, you know, because she had the hipBees do all those HSTs for her!!!

Di's sprouts quilt is nothing like the manky greens on your Christmas dinner plate.
It's totally gorgeous and has been stunningly quilted by the uber talented Trudi.
Just so you know, there's no gain without pain and the downside to Show and Tell is that you might get to be the quilt holder while photos are being taken -

Poor Catherine - she's about to drop under the weight of about five quilts in 28 degrees of sunshine!!
She's a trooper!

Then, there's the handover of all the quilts that have been made over the year for the Siblings Together charity which Delma came to collect.  I am going to be honest with you and say that I found this time really touching.  So many amazing quilts were passed on for the kids who will be going to the Siblings Together camps this summer.  As I know from Bee Blessed, there is truly something special about a quilt that is made and gifted with love, even when we don't know the recipients personally, and I just know that kids are going to be really blessed by the quilts they receive this year.  Here are just a few, but I promise you Delma (on the left in purple in most of the pics below) went home with a humongous pile on Friday night!

All the way from Canada -
Leanne's Octagonal Orb extravaganza of a quilt - she is just such a lovely person too!
Susan handing over her daughter Helen's brilliant quilt.
Susan's own quilt for ST.  I LOVED getting to meet Susan.
We've been blog chatting for over two years now and it was great to finally give her a hug or two!
Hadley delivered this very pretty girl quilt.
She snuck out from behind the quilt and for once I got the timing just right, though I'm sure she won't
thank me for this pic.  She is beautiful, so I don't know why she shies away from piccies so much.
And, she was wearing that fab tunic she made herself!
Catherine used her raffle winnings (Salt Air jelly roll) from last year's retreat to make this smashing Lonestar quilt.
I am really inspired by it to want to try a lonestar myself sometime soon!  (Dreaming on ....)
I handed over the Bee Blessed collaborative Funky Wrench quilt which so many of you contributed to making - thanks again for all your efforts.  Doesn't it look great finished?

Of course, there was a myriad of other things going on too - the classes, the Quilt Market, the swaps, the chatter and laughter of old friends and new meeting up.  I will spare you those pics, mainly because I don't have any.  Seems I was so busy on Saturday and Sunday that not a single pic was taken - oops!  Anyway, I'm sure you'll see more on many other blog posts this week.  I cannot imagine there will be a shortage!

I think for patchwork and quilting bloggers FQR is an experience you really should have at least once.  It's fun, fast and fabulous.  But now, I am totally wiped out - can you imagine how good I was at work this morning having to design a new set of financial reporting spreadsheets on an FQR (non-alcohlic) 'hangover'?  Yep, I shall be spending some time making up for my fuggy brain action tomorrow!

I might come back later in the week to tell you about my classes and show you the new UFOs I have accumulated as a result, if you can take more FQR news by then!  Promise not to labour it too much.

If you were there this weekend I hope you had a great time too.  If not, I hope you enjoy the tales that will be told on blogs this week and maybe be encouraged to consider planning ahead for a visit yourself next year.


Thursday, 18 July 2013

Making Me Smile - 29/52

Tight squeeze but I think it's all in!!

All packed and ready for my weekend away - smile, smile, smile!!!!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Making Me Smile - 28/52

I have officially started a new job this week which in itself is making me smile, but the grin maker I can share with you is my personal crazy patch mousemat that I ordered for my desk.

I may have uttered some juvenile, not terribly professional, squeals when this arrived through the post.  Easily amused, I know!

It's going to help keep my desk a cheery place to be!

PS - In case you are interested the personalised mousemat is from  I have no links whatsoever with them but I have ordered from them several times (photos of grandson for grannies' and grandas' mousemat gifts) and am always happy with the results.  £7.99 per mat (including postage), easy photo upload, arrives in about 2 days, AND it has a PVC surface so is waterproof and lasts much longer than those fabric covered ones.

Monday, 8 July 2013

My hipBees quilt top

I was going to keep the blog reveal of this quilt top until after I had taken it to show the other hipBees at FQR, but I'm too excited by its yumminess not to show you now.

The gorgeous blocks sent by those busy worker bees were skinny sashed in a red Mama Said Sew print, bordered with more Kona snow with little insets of the fabrics used in the blocks.  I have tried to keep the sashing and bordering small in the hope that this quilt might make it on to a wall, rather than becoming a lap quilt, but I'm not sure that it might not still be too big for the space I have in mind.  We'll see when I get it finished and can borrow an extra pair of arms to help me hold it up to see.

I love the crispness of the limited red and cream colourways and now I'm feeling impatient to make up a backing from the siggy blocks and get it finished.  Will probably have to wait a bit though as I have some projects to finish for others first, but I love how this has come together!

Thanks again Ladies!

PS  Before I go, I promised that I would tell you when Judith's Made to Measure Sewing Machine Cover pattern became available on her etsy shop.  It is the pattern I used to make my pretty Ruby cover and it worked a treat.

So why not hop on over there and nab yourself a copy so you can dress your machine in style!
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