Sunday, 30 March 2014

Buying Myself Presents?

I thought I would pass off the entering into my life of new fabric as me buying myself a Mothers Day gift. It made sense to me, slide it by without a moment of guilt, and why not after all?! That would explain how I got this lovely, lovely stack of Wee Wander arriving in the post.

I ordered it off the lovely ladies at Pin It and Stitch and if you haven't got your hands on any of this line go get some now as people are buying it up quick! The colours are stunning and the cotton super soft. I am seriously happy with this purchase.

Back to me assuaging my conscience by pretending it was a Mothers Day present. That is going to be hard to do because in actual fact I got breakfast in bed (Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict as per tradition - my tradition), homemade cards (the best kind) and chocolates. Lots of chocolates.

So can the fabric still be considered a Mothers Day present? Hmmm?

Even more guilt inducing is the fact that himself took me out yesterday and bought something else, and then said 'Happy Mothers Day' to me after the purchase.

I've wanted proper garden furniture for just about forever. Love this set. And next time Brit Bee comes a calling, I hope it is a sunny day so we can use this.

Which brings me back full circle to the fabric. Can I honestly pass it off as a Mothers Day present now? Or would that make me look really, really bad?


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Another Cat Out The Bag

I was so excited to show you the Man Quilt yesterday that I forgot to mention that I have a second project in Issue 7 of Love Patchwork & Quilting. I made a cushion in two of my favourite colours.

Once again, the photo is 'borrowed' from the magazine.

This pattern was a result of me wanting to inject a little of an ombre effect into the traditional 'x'&'+' block. I had been mulling it over for a while and  I requested it as my bee blocks for February which was my month in Stitch Tease. Having the blocks used as a cushion for the magazine was a major bonus.

My bee mates have been so wonderful as they have all made their blocks but they kept quiet about it, fully understanding that I couldn't go public about the block until the magazine had been published. Meanwhile, blocks have been arriving and I have a nice stack built up.

All the blocks are here except Annabella's, and hers are made. She is using the courier skills of her mother to take them from Marrakech back here to the UK, and I will receive them soon. I've had absolutely no time to work on this project so there was definitely no need for them to get here any sooner.

I made some extra blocks, and have one more to go. With Annabella's and this last block from me the quilt will measure 5 blocks by 6 blocks and measure up at 50" x 60". I am trying to decide whether I will add a border or not. This is what the blocks look like all together right now.

A big thank you to all my Stitch Tease friends for keeping quiet all this time and for making such beautiful blocks.


Friday, 28 March 2014

One For Himself

You might have picked up on the fact that there was a secret or two going on around here about a month or two ago. Well, the secret is allowed out the bag now. I made a quilt for himself. It wasn't a secret from him, just from everyone else as it was another project for Love Patchwork & Quilting.

I am so pleased to finally be able to show you what I did with all those HSTs I was making.

Photo shamelessly 'borrowed' from LPQ.

There's a cushion to go with it too.

Professional photography picks up with colours so much better than my phone.
Go figure!
I really enjoyed designing and making this quilt. I like that it is asymmetrical. I like the bold colours and the grey crosshatch background. I like that it is very much a man quilt, my man's quilt. What I totally love about it is himself loves it so much that he has a copy of the photo on his phone and has admitted to showing it to people at work. Mission accomplished.

Finished quilt is 72" square. I used a mix of Kona solids (the dark grey is Charcoal), and the cross hatch grey is from the Botanics collection. The quilt was pieced and quilted with Aurifil 50w 2600, a very pale grey.


Thursday, 27 March 2014

Snail Trails

I like stitching these snails.

Individually they are not perfect but all together I think they look kind of cool. I don't suppose the judges in the show will look at it with the same relaxed eye?


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Quilting Has Begun

I had an idea in my mind of how I was going to quilt the hexies. It involved FMQing squiggly lines, just going back and forth and crossing over each other on occasion. Seemed simple to me. You can see what I was aiming for below, better seen on the back of the quilt.

Theoretically I don't think it looks too bad. But that didn't stop me from ripping it all out. For a couple of reasons. One, it was a bitch manoeuvring the quilt about in those squiggles in the limited space I trialled it in. I could not envision me managing much larger spaces with any competency. Two, it was going to take me forever to do and I don't have forever in the scheme of things.

So I tried another idea. And ripped it out. No photos available. Nor the soundtrack that accompanied the ripping. Ugh!

Third time lucky?

I'm planning on a swirly snail in every last LV hexagon. There are about 500 of them. The swirls are super quick to do though, compared to those wavy lines I showed above. Funny how two fundamentally simple designs are polar opposites to quilt. The blue hexagons have perle thread designated for them. Though of course I reserve the right to change my mind about that too.


Monday, 24 March 2014

It Makes Me Feel Grown Up

I finally bit the bullet and ordered a roll of wadding. Not one of the huge ones. 10m is big enough for me to store as it is. I have to say, it is sad but true, but having this makes me happy.

And it makes me feel like a grown up quilter. Is that odd?

Now that the wadding is in the house I have been able to baste my hexies.

I've used the Ikea numbers print for the back because I had some and if I used the fabric I originally bought for backing I would have to piece in some more to the width and I was so not in the mood. So numbers it is then. Time to start quilting. I have a plan. Stay tuned.


Saturday, 22 March 2014

Private Swaps

I've spoken before of my intention to do more one on one swaps with some of my online friends. I find these easier than joining a Flickr swap that I might not be able to give as much attention as would be fair to all the participants.

My most recent swap (though my side of things is not complete yet - ooops) was with Agneiszka, who I had the pleasure to meet in person at the Retreat last summer. She came over from Poland and is one of the loveliest of people. And a very talented quilter. She blogs here.

This is what arrived in the post for me.

In interest of honesty I have already eaten a different (smaller) packet of chocolates and had a good go at those delicious barrel chocolates. They are lush! Agnieszka also included two pieces of her precious and limited stock of HR. How thrilled am I? Especially as I have never seen nor owned a piece of those mini bicycles!

The real star of the show is the cushion cover though.

It is so gorgeous. All those little sprouts evoking spring as they pop out the ground and the first leaves appear. Low volume backgrounds, teeny tiny pieced squares providing pops of colour that make such a difference to the whole design, despite how small they are.

Can you tell I love it? I may have to up the level of the cover I have been working on for her. Thank you so much, Agnieszka. I am so lucky to have this cushion and to be able to call you a friend of mine.


Friday, 21 March 2014


The last piece was sewn on. The papers were plucked. And then the back was inspected for all the papers I missed. It happens!

Then I took it outside for some photos. A bit of a challenge.

But it doesn't matter because it is finished. Other than the basting, quilting, trimming and binding that is. Small details.


Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Finish Line Is In Sight

I've not been working on the hexies as much as I should be doing, though I been making slow but steady progress. In all appearances it looks like I've got the straight back and sides I was after.

Only I have a problem with it. To me it is not balanced, which might sound like a weird thing to say about this quilt. If you look at the close ups of the edges of the quilt shown above you will see that the large 'circle' hexie on the left is one full hexie from the edge of the quilt. The one on the left is right on the edge. I do not like that.

I thought about doing half hexies all down the right side and then adding two rows of full hexies and then the half hexies on the left. Instead I have decided to chop off half a hexie all down the right side and only add a row of full hexies and then the half hexies on the left. Make sense?

So not that much more to piece really. And you can see that the large hexie circle on the left will now be half a hexie away from the edge. This makes me happy. Happy is good.

And that has been today. Hexie cutting, basting and sewing. Sure beats yesterday. Nice and peaceful and not a call centre putting me on hold anywhere to be seen. Woohoo!


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Some Days

Some days test your patience. This is difficult when you are not blessed with much of the stuff as it is. Like me.

I would love to show you photos of the sewing I did. But it all needed posting, so I packaged it up and sent it on its way. Then I realised I hadn't taken any photos.

My debit card did funny things at the post office. And when I came home I had a phone call from the fraud people at the bank. Only it wasn't people, it was a computer. I wanted to speak to a real person to find out what was going on, but I was on hold so long and the music blaring into my ear was so god awful, I eventually had to hang up.

I tried calling them while I was sat waiting for the girls at the end of the school day. 45 minutes later, two full sets of security questions, and I find out that they flagged my card for a £2.10 Amazon payment. There was me thinking it was the massive transfer of funds I had done - seriously massive in my little financial world. Nope. £2.10. And 45 minutes of my life listening to crap music and telling call centres in far flung places my mother's maiden name.

I had to go back to the post office and tell them the payment they thought had gone through had not. Good thing it is a small village post office and the ladies there know me. How embarrassing!

Then there is the handbrake on my car which has decided that it doesn't want to work when the rear of the car is pointed downhill. I can't get hold of my mechanic. I will park pointing front end downhill, not the other way round, in the meantime if I am on a hill.

So, I thought I would come online and tell you I was having a crap day. Only my internet connection wasn't working, until a short while ago that is. Finally, my window of opportunity to have a good whinge has happened.

Your reward for listening to me go on is this shoddy photo of the very beautiful L-shaped wall mounted desk that himself made for Emily.

He had never done inlay before. I told him he was quilting in wood. I do not think he was impressed with that statement. Emily loves it (as do I of course) which is the important thing but her fear of marking it with a Sharpie is high.

In case you are wondering, he hasn't finished my desk yet. But that is my fault not his, because I refuse to clear off my sewing to let him at it. I've been far too busy to even consider it.

That, folks, is my day. Because it is 4:46pm here and I officially refuse to play any more. Tomorrow is another day. I will try to be productive then.

Oh, before I go, I have been unable to leave comments on anyone's blog that have a pop up box. My computer won't open them. I wasn't sure if my blog was doing that to other people so I have changed my settings to an embedded comment box. If you have been having problems please let me know. And if I normally comment on your blog and have gone mysteriously quiet that might be why.


Monday, 17 March 2014

Bee Blocks

This week I intend to tick a lot of (mental - I don't tend to be very good at writing down lists) boxes. First up was my Stitch Tease bee blocks for Helen. A square, in a square, in a square, in a...

You get the idea. For reference sake, these blocks are six squares in total and measure up at a whopping 14 3/4". Helen asked for bright and for us to avoid fussy cuts in the centres. I hope I achieved her requirements.


Sunday, 16 March 2014


I have sewing to do. Not least of it the hexie quilt to get finished by its deadline. But it was such a lovely - and relatively lazy - day today that I decided to pick up a project I started a little while ago. My Sunrise/Sunset mini. I cut out the next section, did the fabric pull, ironed on the freezer paper pieces, cut and then got sewing.

 It took me about an hour to do the actual piecing. Less time than I would have guessed if anyone had asked me beforehand. It really isn't difficult this freezer paper piecing lark.

I added on the smaller section I had pieced weeks ago and here is what it looks like now.

Just about at the halfway mark. Yay!


Saturday, 15 March 2014


A friend shared some of her very precious fussy cuts with me.

It made me cry - in a good way. I trust she knows she is far more precious to me than these fabrics, but a heartfelt thank you to her for sharing.


Friday, 14 March 2014

Any Way You Look At Them...

... Oakshotts are beautiful. I won the Colourshotts giveaway on Leanne's blog and they have arrived. Again we had sunshine and I could take photos outside. Back to using the trusting old trampoline as my backdrop.

Nothing else to report today. Because I am sure you do not want the details of the school running, grocery shopping, errand running, telephone banking (that went on waaaaay too long), dinner making, laundry hanging, loo cleaning day I've had. Way too boring for words. But needs must. Hopefully that means I have freed up some time for sewing this weekend.


Thursday, 13 March 2014

Hip To Be Square(ish)

Adding hexies here, there and everywhere in an effort to turn my hexie quilt into a usable shape. Slowly, slowly getting there.


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Add A Little Perle

I got out my perle and added some hand stitching to my porthole. A circle of running stitch, and then a circle of stem stitch. A dig in my stash produced a precious piece of Just Wing It and I had the backing. I did keep to a simple envelope closure though.

It all came together quickly and easily. And for the first time in ages I got to take photos outside. No artificial yellow light. Seems so odd. But good, oh so good.

I hope the recipient likes it.


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Back to Normal?

I think the weekend larks are done for a bit. And the going off visiting or having visitors. It was very quiet around here today, other than the inane sound of me talking to myself and catching up on things that needed doing.

But the things that needed doing got done, and I got to sew a little. I added to my little QAYG project.

Obviously you can see the rough circle shape I was aiming for here. I had marked a large circle on the wadding to show me how big I needed to go. I went beyond the line all around the circle, and then used the same household item (pizza pan if you must know) on some Kona snow to make a porthole.

I then spent an inordinate amount of time making the QAYG bigger as apparently the pizza pan grew between me making the two circles and the porthole was bigger than the quilting it was supposed to frame. Do not ask me how! I was perplexed and peeved, but I persevered. (How's that for a little alliteration?)

And now I have this.

Hopefully a cushion in the making that a five year old will love.


Sunday, 9 March 2014

A Little Bit of Sewing

I've been showing Francine how to do quilt as you go today. In the process I started another project. But this one does have a destination already so all is good.

I have a little girl in mind to give this to. I am sure these are colours she loves. I hope to have it finished in a few days time as I will be back to routine and on my own. (Sob!)


Saturday, 8 March 2014


My ability to escape the routine has escalated to herein unknown levels. Once again I buggered off this weekend to lark about. I chose to take me and my bestie to a city neither of us had been to before. Bath. Well worth the visit, in case you too have never been before. We could have spent much more time there as there was so much to see and do. In our short stay we managed to see the Roman Baths. Excellent place. It exceeded expectations.

And I took a selfie that I wasn't totally ashamed whilst there too!

The evening was spent dining out. There was a restaurant recommended to us by Amanda but they didn't have a table available. Instead we went to Loch Fyne, the seafood restaurant, and it was so very good.

This morning we took a little stroll around Bath before departing and made sure we took in the sight of it's most famous Crescent. The sun shone done, the daffodils were gloriously in blossom and the day could not have been better.

Upon departing Bath we took a indirect route home via Cheltenham and Burford. And now we continue our culinary feast here as I picked up some bacon ribs for our dinner. Seriously, if I'm not sewing I'm eating. Nothing to complain about here. Hope the sun was shining on you today too.


Thursday, 6 March 2014

Let Them Eat Cake

Ever since the girls were five (Emily) and six (Helen) they have done the same thing with my bestie when she comes to visit. Make a cake, or more specifically - decorate a cake. This time was no exception. So, if you are on a sugar free Lent, look away now.

Four layers of chocolate cake sandwiched together with raspberry buttercream. Yes, real raspberry purée went into that there buttercream.

While this was being accomplished the girls were making and decorating flowers and little dragonflies, ladybugs and the like. (Me? I was sewing.)

Then there was the fondant or no fondant discussion. A compromise was reached.

And a cake of two halves created. Helen did the cascade of flowers on the side with fondant. Emily did the garden with lovely insects and flowers with our names written in them to show where our first slices were to be had on the buttercream. The result was a gorgeous cake I think.

Then we ate some.

There is lots left and I am happy to share.


Tuesday, 4 March 2014


Friends are the greatest of treasures. I got to spend the weekend with a good number of them, as you know. One of them - Hadley - made us all a wee gift that says it all about our group.

One key fob that sums up how we all feel. Perfect!

If that was not enough, my bestest friend is visiting for a week from Canada. Eeeeek! Happy, happy me. It is she who learned to quilt to make me a quilt for my birthday last year. Now she is fabric obsessed too, and understands my particular obsessions. She participated in the #greatcanadiandestash and bought a few things for herself, and a few things for me. Look what she brought me!

Yup, Heather Ross! And there is more HR that she wishes to share with me. Some Munki Munki that she would like me to divide up. She trusts me! Oh goodness me, I am going to have to be good when I do that task. Because she also bought me this...

FQs of Farmstyle. Except the blue which is a half yard. Can you hear me squealing? I am so, so spoiled. And I am not complaining. Love my friends totally. That sentiment goes for those in the UK, the one visiting and all the friends I have scattered around the world. I am very lucky to have all these friends in my life.


Monday, 3 March 2014

A FAL Finish

I have completed another item on my Q1 FAL list. Woohoo! I took my Briar Rose quilt along for the drive to Hastings and tried to hand stitch the binding down while Laura Jane drove. Theoretically I should have been able to finish it by the time the three hour drive was over, but apparently my multi-tasking skills of sewing and talking do not work so well in the car. I did get it done before we departed for home again yesterday.

Lo and behold, something about quilting and binding it turned this into a quilt I liked. That was a relief! It's still super busy and will never be a favourite, but that's okay. I do like the feeling of satisfaction when I complete a project.

I used Object of Desire yardage I had lurking around for the backing, and an assortment of solid colours for the binding. I think I like the binding the best, or rather how it works with the rest of the quilt best.

Moments after finishing I handed this quilt over to Judith for her Bee Blessed charity in Northern Ireland. The charity will gift it to a family in need and this quilt will be keeping a baby warm soon. What better use for a quilt can there be?


Sunday, 2 March 2014

Laughing and Sewing Is The Best Combination

Home again, after a quick trip to the south coast to hang out with my Brit Bee pals. As always, it was the best of times.

Laura Jane drove, because she is a star and far braver on the M25 than I am. The guest of honour - Terri, above right, was already ready and waiting with her noodle salad. There has not been a Brit Bee gathering that this salad has not been featured. We love it. And, needless to say, chocolate was involved in all the desert options.

There was time for quilt admiring. This time Trudi and Laura Jane each brought a gorgeous make for us to admire. Trudi has the Swoon and LJ the Tula Anchor.

Then it was down to business. We pooled our fussy cuts and rainbow scraps and got to sorting them into colour piles. There was much ooh-ing and aah-ing over little snippets of fabric, as we are want to do. Then in a joyful display of teamwork, laughter and much chatter we got to making blocks. By the time the evening was done we had finished the centres of 32 ticker tape mosaic blocks. All we have to do is add the solid borders to each one and we are well on our way to two completed baby quilts.

There was something hugely satisfying about working with my friends on a common purpose. I wish we could do it all the time. But getting any time with the lovely ladies is always a joy. Those who couldn't be there were very much missed, but there in spirit. Brit Bee shall always be considered a blessing in my life.


Saturday, 1 March 2014

Going To Sew With Friends Today

I'm off down south - really south, right on the English Channel south - today to meet up with my fabulous Brit Bee friends and we are going to do some sewing together. We needed fussy cuts and colour. Well I figured I was a positive gold mine for the fussy cut side of things so I have been doing some digging through my stash. I raided two different drawers of fabric. One that I call 'fussy cuts' (go figure), and the HR drawer.

I'm hoping these will go a long way in assisting to make our project perfect. Can not wait to see my pals. And I am going to miss those who can't be there hugely.