Saturday, 30 May 2015

Some Things I've Been Up To

It's nice to be able to finally show you a couple of the projects I was commissioned to make for Love Patchwork & Quilting that are in Issue 22 which is now out.

This quilt is one that I've been playing with the pattern for over a year so I was really pleased when Jenny, the editor, liked my idea as well. There are six different blocks and a border in this quilt and it took a while to make, but it was worth it for me because seeing something go from a visual idea, to a sketch, to a finish is just bloody good fun. 

Since I get to have such fun making things, and have the wonderful support of the Love Patchwork & Quilting team, I thought it would be good to pass on some of the happiness by donating this quilt to Siblings Together I've fallen behind in the making of the quilt I meant to do for them and this ensures I absolutely get one to this worthwhile charity. It's a win win situation all round in my mind. 

The other project in this month's issue is this massive pincushion. 

It has a needle book hidden on the bottom so you always have your needles handy and not mixed in with your pins as was my habit. Needless to say being able to play with my Heather Ross while making this meant I was in another of my happy places. 

Which is good because this has been the week of motorways. M40 (multiple times), M25 (again, more than once, M23, M3, M27 and M271, plus the A34 which is always busy too, especially around Oxford. Today I repeat the M40, A34, M3, M27 and M271 route on another return trip. The girls have just spent four days on the Isle of Wight with friends. Time to go fetch them. 


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Then The Sun Came Out

While we still had a great time in Venice despite the rain I must admit it was nice to wake up on Sunday to a bright blue sky. 

We went out early because we found out that there was an event called the Vogalonga on Sunday morning which consisted of well over 1500 small boats that were rowed or paddled. They were off on a 30km trip around the Venetian islands, starting from St. Mark's lagoon. And I have to say it was quite a sight to behold. Traditional boats with all the rowers standing. Copious amounts of kayaks. Dragon boats. Big, old wooden row boats. They were all there. At 9am a canon was fired and music played them off on their way. It was definitely worth getting an early(ish) start to see. 

From there we went off to see the Doge's Palace. Opulence and grandeur, and a prison next door connected to the palace by the Bright of Sighs. 

That's my brothers in the background there. 

The Grand Salon was the most impressive room. It truly represents the wealth and power of Venice in its heyday. 

The view from the Bridge of Sighs from the inside looking out was almost better than the view from outside looking in. 

We wandered around in the afternoon, and then went to the Rialto Bridge to see some of the rowers returning from their around the islands trek. I was glad we did. There was a general euphoria from the rowers/paddlers and lots of cheers for them from the onlookers. 

Later on we encountered a flashback from my past in the form of a cruise ship arriving as we wandered about. Though the ships I once I sailed into Venice on were a fraction of this size, and this behemoth did not get the privilege of sailing past St. Mark's to get to the cruise terminal. I think I agree with the new rules restricting the route for these ships. This thing was massive! 

Another dinner out and then I talked one of my brothers into drinks in St. Mark's Square seeing as how it was our final evening and the weather was warm and dry. A totally beautiful evening. 

Yes, I know the drink prices are exorbitant but you do get live music and one of the best atmospheres in the world. Worth the price in my mind. 

And that was the trip to Venice done. I have to say spending time with just my mum and my brothers was really, really nice. Turns out we still all get along well, even without the buffer zone of spouses and children. I'd happily go away with them again. Hope they feel the same. 

Here's my favourite photo from our trip.

Seriously, I look at my mum striding along there and there is no way you'd ever guess we were celebrating her turning eighty. No way at all!


Friday, 22 May 2015

It's Wet...

... But it's all still good. How can it not be?!

I'm in Venice with my mother and two brothers. The rain has been falling, and is due to fall most of tomorrow too. That's not keeping us inside though. 

Besides, you can get some really cool reflections in these wet streets. 

It is also the Biennale right now, which means there are some really amazing art installations in the city. Above is my favourite. Seriously awe inspiring. 

The evenings, walking around, are up there in my favourite times too. The photo below was taken just a minute or so from where we are staying, which is off the beaten track, quiet, and brilliant. Except the church bells at 0700, and 0730, and 0800...

I've always loved Venice, and have been lucky to have visited a good number of times, independently and when I worked at sea. It's so good to be back. 

Sunday is supposed to be sunny though. This would be good, because here's what my feet look like after a day in the rain wearing my red shoes. 


Monday, 18 May 2015

Friends, And Stuff

On Saturday I went up to Lincolnshire to Di's house for a wee Brit Bee get together. Only six of us could make it, but as always with this group any and all gatherings are joyful, laughter filled, and food is consumed. Saturday was no exception. 

This is the first time any of us have gathered since Terri died. Obviously this brought bittersweet moments, but mostly love and laughter because that is Terri's legacy. Ceri brought up the pieced bee tops from Terri's two years in the bee. Fiona and I had finished the last two blocks with an embroidered prayer that are in the centre of each quilt. Ceri and Hadley pieced the blocks into tops. Trudi has now taken these home to put them on her long arm and do her magic. 

These quilts will be presented to Terri's daughters in July at her memorial service. It was the least we could do in her memory. 

Another thing being done in her memory is Ceri is going to do The Race For Life in a couple of months. She will do this wearing a costume made out of donated quilt blocks. And she will be raising money for cancer research whilst doing said 10k. If anyone is interested in sponsoring her run please do follow this link and give her your support.

I also came away from Di's house with fabric, (Yeah, yeah, I know. What a surprise.) 

I topped my supply of Essex linen and aurifil. Another of our original founding Brit Bed members, Judith, is selling fabrics and patterns in her Etsy shop - Just Jude Designs. If you're in the UK I have to say the linen is only £10 a metre. Get it while you can. Other fabric is listed at great prices too, just saying, but I needed the linen. 

It never fails me how amazing it is to be in this group of such talented, loyal and wonderful women. I totally lucked out the day Laura Jane asked if anyone was interested in being part of a UK bee four years ago. Totally lucked out! 


Thursday, 14 May 2015

A Little of This...

... A little of that. 

I'm about to start quilting my latest project, having done the basting today. I was so pleased that my backing and wadding were just (just!) the right size. 

I've also started on my next mini. I like having (at least) one hand sewing project on the go. 

Then there is a bit of appliqué going on for a gift for a friend. This will be all I'll show until she receives it. 

And if that's not enough. Cupcakes.

So, I wrote this post two days ago and just saw that it failed to publish. That defeats the purpose of this whole blogging game. Attempt two.


Monday, 11 May 2015


It's a finish. And I have to admit that I am so happy with it. 

The colours in this mini are totally me. The pattern is mine, in that there was no pattern. It just evolved bit by bit, from the mermaid star outwards. 

I've always wanted to make a mermaid star. Saw ones other people made and just knew I'd have to do it eventually. This was my eventually. 

The mini measures up at 30" point to point, so it's a good size. It's all pieced using the English paper piecing method, and it is hand quilted using perle cotton - 8w. The back is not pretty, (a) because I used a piece of godawful fugly fabric for the backing, and (b) as I used some different embroidery stitches in the quilting process I made no effort to hide what some of those stitches looked like in the back. Suffice to say, I'm not showing you the back. 

But I think the front is pretty. 


Sunday, 10 May 2015

Stitching Finished

I've added some running stitches.

Some stem stitches.

And some colonial knots.

I'm trimming the edges and getting the binding ready. The end is nigh. Woohoo!


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Stuck In The Middle

I want to blog. I want to sew. And I'm caught in the middle here, sewing but not being able to show you, therefore left without things to blog like I would with progress reports when I'm making non-commission stuff. 

And it kind of sucks sometimes. Because I really like what I'm making right now. But I also really like having commissions because they do help pay for things like super nice holidays. 

So here I sit, sewing, and I really think colours are pretty. It's my kind of quilt. I've got sixty six inch blocks lying on my floor right now. I'm at the halfway point in the piecing process. 

And I'm kind of on a roll. Some of my seams and nesting just put me in my happy place. 

When I'm not sewing I'm doing the necessary - which, unless it's baking, I really think you don't want to see. Because cleaning loos is not pretty, or blogable! I'm also working on something else totally different than sewing that I would like to tell you about eventually, but because it is a new thing for me and I'm insecure I'm going wait until I finish it and like it enough (and am having a super confident day) before I tell you about it. But I will eventually, though it is a big project and will take a while. 

Finally, I went off to the canal with himself and Helen on the holiday Monday just past and a hilarious thing happened with cows, their apparent fascination with the canoe and kayak my two were in and culminated with a cow deciding the canal was a good place to be (I kid you not) and I didn't even have my freaking phone with me to take a picture. So you'll have to trust me, it was really funny. And would have made a great blog post, if I had pictures. 

Hope life is going good for you and I find some time to make some things that I can show you. Because that's the best bit about this blogging thing. Making stuff, showing my thought process (or lack thereof in some cases) and watching makes go from a few pieces of fabric to a finish.