Thursday, 28 May 2009

Have I mentioned how much I love selvages*?

It all started when I saw THIS!!!!!
(If you were considering skipping that link, trust me don't - just in case you haven't already seen it - and I'll wait for you to come back)

Is that not the most gorgeous thing you've ever seen?? (barring Jon Bon Jovi in full leathers of course.)

I loved it enough to spend 2 days dragging all my fabric off the shelves and chopping the selvages off all of it, and trust me that's a fair amount.
I have already made this for my jolly holidays....

....and here's the back

Yes, I know. I did say the zig-zag one was for my holidays too but a girl can never have too many bags can she?

I want to come up with something gorgeous that I can make with this lovely pile!

There is also some selvage love going on over at SummerSadies place. She's not telling what she's making yet and can't wait to see what it is.

*I googled it to find the correct spelling and there appears to be a zillion ways of spelling it!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Jam packing it all in...

I love having an extra day tagged onto my weekend. I'm not sure i achieve much more, but at least it means that I'm not doing it all at the same frantic pace i usually do!

A swap I signed up to on Swap-Bot (as clearly I don't think I have enough on my plate!) was to make a decorated dishtowel. My swap partner seems to like most things so that made life easier, and her kitchen is red, yellow, green and orange.

It's along the same lines as the one I made for myself. The one that serves absolutely no purpose but just sits on the kitchen towel rail looking pretty!

I made the next block for the Around The World Quilting Bee. I'm rather pleased with it and hope the recipient likes it too!

I bound, labelled, washed and dried the Irish Triple chain quilt.
When it was quilted i requested the cotton/polyester wadding that shrinks a bit as i wanted it too look old. I'm not 100% convinced i've made the right choice as it has really changed the look and feel of the quilt and i really loved it how it was. Although i guess it's probably no less lovely, it's just different, and i will be fine once i've got used to it.

I did some more granny squares on my blanket. Very satisfying!

We also squeezed in a trip to Temple Newsam House. It's a stately home in Leeds and only about a half hour drive from us. There was Steam Rally on so we had a look around there, and then wandered around the gardens and admired the rhododendrons that were all in full bloom. The sun was even shining for us - which was a bit of a novelty!!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Feels like all my birthdays have come at once...

My quilts are finally back from the long arm quilter - whooo hooo!!!

They have been with Chris for about 6 weeks. When I took the quilts to her there were 22 in the queue in front of me and although I was bummed that I'd have to wait so long, once I saw the piles of her own quilts I knew they were going to be worth the wait! Katy dropped hers off about a week before mine so I knew once she had her quilt back that mine wouldn't be long behind.I actually felt quite emotional when I went to collect them and saw how beautiful they looked ('quite emotional' being an understatement as had I have known her better I would have blubbed like a baby!!) I think Maggie likes them too!

The first one is a Grandmothers flower garden. It's hand pieced from 3069 hexagons and took me about 3 or 4 months to do as I attacked this project like a woman possessed. We probably didn't eat too well, jobs around the house didn't get done, and fingers were shredded to bits but I loved loved loved every single minute and every tiny stitch of this quilt. I had a romantic notion that I was going to hand quilt around every hexagon but know myself well enough to know that after 50 I would have wanted to poke my own eyes out with the quilting needle - or it would have stayed unfinished for years. I have (stupidly!) decided to bind around all the hexagons with narrow continuous bias binding. It will be a pain to do but I think it will be worth it.

The second one is a Triple Irish chain using mostly my favourite fabrics of all time - Heather Baileys Freshcut (with a bit of Amy Butler thrown in). I hand pieced this one from 2" squares and it probably took me about 6 weeks. This was the start of the hand-piecing frenzy that led onto the Grandmothers Flower Garden!! I wasn't too keen on the large expanses of calico so i appliqued the daisies on and then embroidered around them.Because the design didn't lend itself to an all-over pattern I opted to have it custom quilted. This was the one that I most wanted to see as it had sat folded up in a carrier bag for 6 months as I was too scared of messing it up by attempting it myself. I so LOVE it.

I will spend the first part of the weekend parked on the sofa sewing the binding on the Triple Irish chain and then I plan to spend the rest of the weekend wrapped up tightly up in it.

I think it will be a loooonng time before I'll be able to say the same about the grandmothers flower garden!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

I always have a nice weekend, but this one was extra nice.

One of the highlights of my weekend was meeting up with Katy for a cuppa and quilty chat on Sunday morning.

It was a huge huge pleasure to meet her and we cunningly combined meeting up with a visit to the tea room (for bacon and sausage butties) and a touch of retail therapy at the sewing shop. You probably won't be suprised to learn that most of the conversation revolved about fabric, quilts, fabric, quilts, templates, quilts...oh, and fabric.

I don't have many crafty friends so I was wonderful to chat about fabric without worrying about whether I was boring the pants off her, and I could discuss the merits of making king sized quilts out of hexagons the size of my thumb nail without her looking at me as though I've lost the plot!
I'm really looking forward to meeting up with her again in the near future.

By the time I got back, my swap partner for the 'Quilties' swap on Swap-Bot had been allocated so I squeezed a bit of sewing in. The brief was to make a quilt between 5" and 10" and here's what i came up with:

My swap partner likes vintage things so tried to some up with something with a vintage look, and added some hand quilting with embroidery floss (while I watched Eurovision Song Contest). Hope she likes it.

Talking of Eurovision, is it just me that thought that the Norway song was rubbish???

Thursday, 14 May 2009

The little voices made me do it….

It was VERY silly of me to buy yarn. No idea how I imagined in a month of Sundays that I’d be able to keep my mitts off it? Especially when the little voices keep talking to me...

I wanted a blanket made from granny squares with flowers in the middle of them so I have been playing around deciding what I'm going to do. Many many decisions to make.
What size granny squares? Single colour or multi-coloured? Single or double layer flowers? All flower centres the same colour? My oh my....

I had a play on the train to and from work and here's what I've achieved so far....
I think I like smaller squares and the centres of the flowers all one colour.

Going to have to be strong and ignore the voices at the weekend, as I have got make a mini quilt and a decorated dish towel to make!

Katy has done her block for my Around The World Quilting Bee quilt and I LOVE IT!! You can see it here. I'm just hoping the cute birdie doesn't eat the flowers on my block…..

I also got Marias block so have to get my thinking cap on - the cogs are already turning (albeit very slowly, as i was up until 1.30am doing some stuff for work).

The colours are very 'me' so looking forward to having a play!!!!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

My first block for ATWQB is done!!

I have made my block for the Around The World Quilting Bee!

I suspect what I love about patchwork is the structure and repetition. I have seen some of other peoples improv stuff on various blogs and felt very envious of their ability to just try things out - something I don't find very easy. Having a quilt made by people all over the world is a really exciting prospect , but I knew that this would definitely take me out of my comfort zone - also a really exciting prospect!

When it came to deciding what I wanted to do for my block I felt really overwhelmed. Usually my head is filled with vague ideas of things I'd like to try but they all disappeared and I had no idea where to start. After giving myself a talking to, I fiddled around for a bit and this appeared....

I have added my details and it will be going in the post today! Very excited for the next one now...

I got loot!!!

After stumbling across this BEAUTIFUL blog I feel really inspired to crochet again and REALLY want to make a blanket.
Crochet was my first love before I got sucked into quilting, and now I'm just itching to get going again. I did want to make the hexagon blanket from the tutorial on the blog but was side-swiped by the granny squares with flowers in the middle.

After having a shufty on t'internet I found Sirdar Snuggly Bamboo. The colours are exactly what I was after so I dashed over to Texere after work to bag myself some. How gorgeous do they look??

I learned to crochet about 4 years ago. After trying to teach me, my Mum suggested that I might find it easier to learn if I found a pattern that I wanted to make first, and then I'd learn the stitches as I went along. I found this book and it was all the inspiration I needed! I sat on my own for a couple of hours until I had figured out the stitches and then asked Mum to make a granny square while I watched, and then it all fell into place. Many many hours, many balls of yarn and a heavy dose of Repetitive Strain Injury (as I couldn't leave it alone!).......

Anyway, back to loot. I also got sweeties from a swap I joined on Swap-Bot.

The first package I received was from Texas and contained 2 candy bars, however I have no pics as they were scoffed in record time. The first was a Whatchemacallit (is that's how it's spelled?) and Curly boys eyes nearly popped out of his head with excitement as he hasn't had one since he moved here from US 7 years ago. I made him a very happy by sharing it with him. The 2nd candy bar was a Zero bar. Oh man, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. It's a good job I don't live in the US as I'd be eating twice my own body weight of these on a daily basis.
If anyone in the US gets an overwhelming urge to sending Zero bars to random people in the UK....then I'm your gal!!

My 2nd package came from Malaysia and contained lots of Japanese sweeties.

Everything is right up my street and the butterscotch wrappers are even pink and flowery!!!

All is good with the world today.....

Sunday, 10 May 2009

P.S. I hate spaceships and sci-fi but....i LOVED Star Trek!!!!


I love rhubarb. I have a lovely memory of being little and sitting on my granddads' back step in the summer with a stick of rhubarb and a cup of sugar to dip it in (does anyone still do that or is the sugar thing bad now?).

The house I grew up in (and where my Mum and Dad still live) was built on rhubarb fields and everyone had patches of it in their garden that they spent years trying to get rid of.

I have a teeny tiny garden and 3 years ago I put a rhubarb plant in a big pot. It thanks me every year for ignoring it by sprouting plenty of stalks - there were only 4 that were ready but there looks to be another 10 stalks growing - and I thank it in return by yanking the stalks out.

I've no idea when I'm supposed to yank them out or cut them, but it keeps coming back so it can't be too upset about it!

I chopped it all up and mixed it with sugar and left it overnight until it went gloopy

.... boiled it all up in my jam pan and ta-daaaa!

It called for soft white bread toasted. Mmmmmmmmmm.......

Saturday, 9 May 2009


Feeling REALLY crappy today. Kind of a cold with stomach pains and just....well.....crappy.
Was going to work wonders and s**t miracles today. Was planning to:

Plant strawberry plants
Make rhubarb jam
Pay cheques into bank
Drop some things at the charity shop
Make my block for the quilting bee
Re-bind my green quilt
Go fabric and yarn shopping

But....can't be arsed. You KNOW it's bad when you can't even be bothered going fabric and yarn shopping. I was even going to get lovely yarn for one of these!!!!

Got a hot date with Curly boy and the 'USS Enterprise' this evening (and i don't think he'll let me back out unless I'm dead!) so I'm gonna ditch my plans and go back to bed!!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

A knife and fork would probably have done a better job

Is it only me that attempts to cut out with a blunt rotary cutter blade???

A couple of weeks ago I changed the blade and then more of less immediately ran over a staple with it. Gggrrrrr. Did I change the blade? No. Couldn't possibly as I had only just changed it, so I persevered with it even though I had to go over everything I cut twice, and then snip some of the missed threads with scissors.

After Curly Boy listened to me tutting and sighing (and swearing!) after every cut for God knows how long, he pointed out that I was allowed to change it.
I relented and all I can say is WOW! So little effort, no blisters (with having to press down so hard!) and no snipping off the missed threads.

The thing is, i KNOW i won't learn from it!

Monday, 4 May 2009

Good job jobbed.....

The pile of half finished stuff has been bugging me lately so thought I'd crack on with some of them, No idea why i went off the boil as had a lovely time finishing them.

Notebook covers x3. Cut out and half decorated last year.

I started this bag to see whether my sewing of half square triangles had improved. And…it hasn't! Now it's finished it actually doesn’t look too bad considering how un-square the squares were. Think this will be my holiday bag for carting my odds and sods to the pool.

Chocolate lollipop skirt. I did all the hard work and cut the pattern and cut the pieces out but only managed to get the front sewn. I did wonder whether the rest of the pieces had ended up in the scrap box but i managed to find them. 3 guesses what I'm wearing for work tomorrow?

My Sue Spargo wool wall hanging is now ready to go to the long arm quilter!
I finished the top in record time about 18 months ago and attempted to quilt it, but the gap between my foot and the plate isn't big enough to sew where the seams are and I made a complete hash of it. I’ve unpicked all my crappy quilting, bought new backing and sewed it, and am planning on taking it with me when I go to pick up my quilts from the long arm quilter. No pic as
by the time I'd thought if it the weather was way too dreary.

I hemmed Curly boys trousers (only taken me a year), buttonholed my beige trousers (not too bad as they've only sat there for 2 weeks), took up some red/brown linen trousers (have worn them too long for a year) and altered a skirt (I loved it so bought it in the sale a year ago for £4 even though it was 4 dress sizes too large!)

So, rather a productive weekend all in all!!