Friday, 28 November 2014

Jumping Through Hoops

I was a little at a loss of what to do as an extra for my #igminiswap partner, but then I went back and read her brief and she mentioned loving Christmas so I decided to do a wee seasonal hoop.

Then I got out the tissue paper and did a version of  my usual inept wrapping. (I really wish I was one of these people who could do pretty parcels, but I am so not!)

I popped in a couple of FQs and a little spool of lace. I do hope this is enough to make my partner happy because it scares me how much some people send as extras. I know they are not obligatory but I want to find the right balance between nothing and over the top. Hope this is it.


Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Fabric Mule Cometh

Yesterday I got to hang out with some of my Brit Bee pals. Hanging out with any of this group is always pure joy but it was made so, so much better because we were meeting up to see the inimitable Terri. She had flown in from LA for a visit. It was a day full of love and laughter.

In our group Terri is also known as the fabric mule, because she lets us order fabric and send it to her which therefore allows us to skip horrendous international postal costs.

I may have taken advantage of her kindness. Here's what is in that stack.

Clockwise from top left - A destash bundle of Sew Cherry. Assorted half yard cuts, and a yard of Essex linen. A fat eighth bundle of Miss Kate. And assorted FQ cuts.

The sad bit? I had ordered a FQ bundle of Mimosa but sent it to Terri's old address by mistake, not her current one. It is MIA. I am, needless to say, devastated. But it was my mistake so I will just have to suck it up. I'm going to go in my corner and loll about in this lot to help me feel better about being thick as s**t a times.


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Finished The Mini

I've been out all day today, so I only have one photo - taken quickly this morning by artificial light - to show you my completed Instagram Mini Swap mini.

I free motion quilted matchstick quilting in all the low volume negative space. I did not do any quilting on the rainbow bits at all to help them pop out. I really appreciate all the name suggestions you all gave me - all of which were better than mine - and have decided that the overall winner was Emerging and I am just changing that slightly to 'Emerging Rainbow'. Thanks for the help.

So all I need to do is sort out my extras and off this goes in the post. I really hope my partner likes this but if not she can post it back to me - because I like it. It reflects my own odd, quirky style but I did try to meet the likes in her brief too.


Monday, 24 November 2014

When Procrastination Bites You In The Butt

A long time ago, at the end of the summer, I signed up for the IG Mini Swap. Seemed like a good idea[; I hadn't participated in a swap in a very long time. Plus the three months time period to make our minis was such a good time frame that I just knew I would not be under pressure.

Ha! You think I would know myself better than that by now. I started my mini, put it aside and ignored it until now as the posting deadline looms. This weekend I dedicated every available spare moment to working on this epp mini - when I wasn't quilting Christmas present quilts that is.

I am torn between two names for this quilt. Opinions - or completely alternative suggestions - are welcome, please. The names I have in mind are 'Broken Tiles' or 'Shattered'.

The papers are pulled, and I had to take advantage of a rare moment of bright sunshine to take another photo outside.

Hope the sun is shining on you too, wherever you might be.


Saturday, 22 November 2014

Quick Progress Report

I have managed to get two of my quilt tops quilted. The Wee Wander quilt has a larger stipple around the edges with a smaller one in each Wee Wander fabric. There is no quilting in the 1/2" white sashing, but there is two rows of straight line stitching in the blue border. The boy quilt is just cross hatched all over with a variegated thread. Not very interesting but I do like the added interest the thread adds to the charcoal background.

I have a goal to have these quilts in the post by the end of this coming week. My chances of finishing them are higher than posting them as my ability to parcel things up and post things is - as history has established - abysmal. But I remain optimistic.


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Back To Normal

Yesterday I was at Ikea and I bought the backing fabrics for the girl quilt and the boy quilt. Today I woke up with plans. Basting plans.

Yeah plans, without a deadline hanging over my head, and an empty house so no one placing demands upon me. Needless to say I messed about, sorted some fabric, looked at IG photos, ate cake (of course) and dithered. I eventually got the wadding out and in the process found a scrap of it just the right size for a cushion. Next thing I knew I wasn't even thinking about basting, but I was making a cushion cover. Typical!

This eventual cushion will be for one of our lovely hosts in Sweden this past summer. Their sitting room and dining room is very monochrome in black, grey and white, with just a few touches of teal. I quite liked working to this limited palette. 

I didn't do what I was supposed to but I had a great time. I was spiral quilting at full tilt, happy as can be, and there was even sunshine to take a photo of the finished front - which totally threw the colours out but it was a beautiful day and I refuse to complain about that. I may not have done anything planned but I did do something. In my life that is called a successful day.


Monday, 17 November 2014

When Inspiration Strikes

I woke up early Saturday morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed (so to speak). The house was peaceful as everyone else had the sense to sleep later than they did on weekdays. As I eased myself into the day I suddenly had inspiration for a quilt. No idea where it came from as I had just been sat reading the news online when the pattern popped into my head.

So I drew it out in Touchdraw - as you do. It was as simple pattern and I very soon had the fabric requirements sorted and was happily delving into my stack of rainbow charms. I eliminated the pink and purple charms as this quilt was to be for a boy, and once I had pulled enough fabric I trimmed the majority of the charms down to 4.5". Made some HSTs with the rest, combined with some Kona Charcoal, and got piecing. Sometimes these things just come about quickly and efficiently and this weekend was one of those times.

By Sunday lunchtime I had a quilt top measuring 48" x 64".

I feel really happy with this endeavour after my weeks of little to no sewing time.

Once I finished this I went about adding the borders to the Wee Wander quilt. I confess that I kept the dimensions for the side borders slightly narrower so that I could cut WOF fabric strips for the top and bottom borders.

The borders bring the final size to 43" x 56". Part of me thinks it should be bigger but the other part of me thinks that a four year old will be perfectly happy with this - and I can always make her a bigger one in a couple more years time. Who knows what fabric lines I will have fallen in love with by then.


Friday, 14 November 2014

The Light At The End Of Tunnel...

... is not a train headed towards me but, in fact, the light on my sewing machine. I finally got a chance to sew again and am optimistic that I may get other chances over the weekend.

This panel now measures 33"x 42". I know the quilt won't be a full on single bed size but after I whack on nice fat borders I trust that it will be big enough to fit a growing four year old over the next few years. Really fat borders.


Saturday, 8 November 2014

A Small Part...

... of a bigger project.

I was really thrilled to be asked to participate in making some blocks for a Christmas quilt for Fat Quarterly last summer. I made them right at the end of August with the fabric Lynne sent me. The hardest part was having no idea what anyone else was making for their blocks and just hoping like hell that my blocks would fit in, oh, and not look like the dogs dinner beside everyone else's.

Photo nicked from Lynne
The pattern is in the latest issue of Fat Quarterly and I am in awe of Juliet's reindeer. The other people involved in this project are Lynne, Nicky, Joanne and Joanna. My strip in the quilt is the snowball stars. Not the most exciting strip but it does fit in better than I thought it would. Phew!


Friday, 7 November 2014

The Start Of Another Gift

I have a pattern to write. A quilt to baste. Bee blocks to make. So instead I hauled out my precious hoard of Wee Wander fabrics yesterday. I love this line, and bought what I could of it, which while not being the line in its entirety is more than enough to make an interesting quilt for a certain lovely four year old in Sweden.

Then I unfolded, laid different cuts beside each other, looked at my solids, sketched, dithered - and did nothing. The prints on these various cuts really vary in size and I was stumped on how to show them off to their best.

What a difference a night's sleep makes. This morning I got a window of opportunity - that won't happen again until Monday at the earliest - and just started cutting and piecing as I went. I don't have a pattern I am following. Not even a sketch to guide me. I am making decisions on the fly and so far so good I think. It seems to be my preferred method of sewing much of the time.

Shown above is the first 18" x 27" of the main part of the quilt. I am basing all my cuts on factors of three inches. Because of the narrow 1" cut white sashing between the blocks of fabric I do not have to add seam allowances into my maths. I am now working on expanding the mosaic. I have a feeling I will eventually bring the quilt up to an appropriate size for a four year old with some wide sashing, but we shall see how big I get this first.

Actually, how big does a quilt need to be for a four year old?


Wednesday, 5 November 2014


I did it! I made the first Christmas make for 2014. I am so chuffed with myself it is ridiculous. Not that it was a huge item or anything, but I can tick one small Christmas present making list box.

This pouch is for my sister-in-law. She is spending Christmas in Hong Kong where her son is spending half this university year studying. I thought I could fill it with travel miniatures (and maybe chocolate too). She could open the gift before she leaves on her trip and hopefully like it enough that she takes it with her. The pouch is massive so she should be able to fit everything in and then some.

I used a piece of my long owned and very occasionally used flamingo fabric, because I love it so much. I paired it with hot pink Stof linen, a lime green zip and a pink lining. I used line green thread to top stitch a little, but I didn't do much as I used fusible fleece.

I love the various flamingos. Whoever designed it is genius - a flamingo snorkling? Come on, you've got to love it.

So now my mind is turning to all the other things I would like to get made over the next few weeks. Lets hope that I find the time.


Monday, 3 November 2014

How Did That Happen?

I turned my back and ten days had passed since my last blog post. That's never happened unless I've been on holiday. It's been so busy here that I haven't been on my computer at all the whole time. Any online stuff has been quick looks on my phone for the most part. So bad has it become that I am currently sat on Emily's bedroom floor writing this - because that is where I found my laptop.

So what has been happening? Well there was the boring but essential company stuff. Enough said on that subject. Then the girls started half term.

I did manage to make a cushion. It is a gift for one of their friend's who lives on the Isle of Wight. She just had a birthday plus her family is moving house and she is getting her own bedroom for the first time ever so I thought I would make something that was for her own space.

I have since bought an insert that fits. And the pink piggy fabric is important because their friend has a major pig thing going. I dug out my one special piece given to me by Jan ages and ages ago and I was saving for just the right project.

We went and spent the day with family on Tuesday. And Thursday I took the girls to London. Specifically to see the poppies at the Tower of London.

The crowds were horrendous, but despite this it was totally worth going. The girls really thought it was awe inspiring, and thought provoking. As did I. I didn't think that the vast sea of poppies would have such an effect on me really. But it did. The crowds were so bad that the following day officials were requesting people to stay away and closed Tower Hill underground station to try and control the amount of people viewing. I think this poppy exhibit has really struck home with people and caught the hearts and minds of the population, and rightly so.

We met up with the delightful Shevvy at the Tower of London. Thank goodness for mobile phones to talk to each other so Shevvy could home in on us in the crowds! I think we would still be looking for each other otherwise.

The remainder of the day was spent stuffing ourselves having dim sum in Chinatown. Then I introduced the girls to the delights of the Liberty's Christmas shop. They loved it. Who wouldn't mind? And on our way through the train station to catch our train home we were serenaded by the guardsmen band. A spectacular day from beginning to end.

Friday was Halloween, which we spent with friends.

Emily decided she wanted to be cute, not scary, this year. Helen had no such reservations. Though I think the pumpkin takes the prize for true horror. Never underestimate a child's ability to do gruesome.

Finally, during all that was going on, I made a quilt. A big one - for me - as it measures up at approximately 63" x 78". The reveal won't happen until January, but I really like this one. Even if my finger is sore as **** from stitching down almost 300" of binding yesterday.

And that is what goes on around here when I'm not blogging, or reading blogs, or generally faffing about wasting time.