Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Power of Blogging

I had to check first, but I started this blog in September 2009, if I'm honest I wasn't even sure what a blog was and thought it might become a useful platform for the ladies in my classes to interact and keep in touch.

As it evolved I became friendly with other bloggers and discovered the world of swaps and bees and became enthralled and re-energised by the whole modern quilting movement.

That said, I also learned to do English Paper Piecing, a technique I had previously ignored and had no plans to dabble in - but Lynn's Hex a Long drew me in and through the friendly Flickr group I became friendly with Helen, her well loved blog is archiethewonderdog. I eventually finished my Hexie quilt having loved the infinite variations on piecing the hexagon.. I was also able to pass this new obsession on to my classes.

Fast forward to 2012 and me and Mr Bluepatch were embarking upon a trip Down Under - enter Helen, who suggested I look up Salley, not a blogger but she is on IG as appliqueensal. We exchanged a few emails and were all set for meeting up at the Sydney Quilt Show that year. Alas, it was not to be. I take full responsibility for my poor grasp of technology - and so we missed each other.........it did not deter us however, and a firm online friendship followed.
So last year, great news - Salley and applikingdave were heading for the UK - she and I were booked in for the Stitch Gathering in Edinburgh and then disaster - Salley had a fall and broke her ankle really badly. Their whole trip was cancelled.............and re-scheduled for August this year.

And that leads us nicely to Glasgow Central railway station last Monday as we nervously awaited our Aussie visitors. They arrived, having spent almost a week in Orkney so it was now up to us to give them a warm, Ayrshire welcome, sprinkled with a little overview of Glasgow,courtesy of the rather chilly open topped bus. I reckon over the next four days that Salley and I rarely drew breath. Fortunately our menfolk got on famously and a good time was had by all....despite the low temperatures.


Of course, I had planned a present for Salley , really a belated birthday gift. I had a stash of Lewis and Irene's "The Glen" and made her this cushion - I was aiming for a little touch of Scotland.


 & the back,

Salley and I have often remarked upon how much we have in common and we obviously had similar thoughts because she wowed me with this cushion....and yes, she did indeed bring it all the way from Sydney, complete with inner pad. Isn't it fabulous? Such attention to detail, beautiful fussy cutting and the pom poms are adorable.

From Ayr, the four of us set off in our red car, to Redcar, where we finally got to meet Helen and of course, Archie, I was so pleased to finally shake his paw (or at least scratch his ear) and it was just brilliant, the three of us together at last.
More present swapping took place - I had used more of "The Glen" in a slightly different colourway and made Helen this cushion -


& the back,


Helen had made me not one, but two Lola pouches in different sizes - they are just beautiful and she remembered I had a red & blue thing going on in my sewing room. Perfect.


 Our time together was limited and on Friday lunchtime we bade farewell as Salley and David headed for Birmingham and me & Mr B headed home via Durham.

So although blogging has been overshadowed somewhat by the instant gratification of Instagram, I shall always be glad that I took the plunge and started this one.

To quote Salley - who I feel might have pinched the quote from elsewhere (wink)- "when shall we three meet again?"




Thursday, 4 August 2016

By Popular Demand

Back in February I had my 15 minutes when my Mega Pinnie was featured in Today's Quilter.

It has always been a popular project and I have lost count of the emails I have received asking for the pattern - I am now delighted to say I am able to offer the updated and improved pattern with you.

You will now find the pattern available to purchase in my Etsy shop. It is a PDF purchase and consists of 8 pages of easy to follow instructions and diagrams.

Hope you like it.


Saturday, 30 July 2016

Normal Service.............

....................has been resumed.

My shop is now open again after a brief closure whilst I attended a local quilt show with my pop up shop.

The exhibition was held in the little village of Barr which nestles in the hills of South Ayrshire and is a total delight on a sunny, summer's day.

Held by the Stinchar Valley Quilters, it was a great exhibition of quilts, cushions, wall hangings, all the usual culprits, all made by members of this close and tight knit group of ladies.

So this is my little pop up shop............


And here is a flavour of all the work on show. There were also two major traders on site, one, R&M Hobbies from Dunbar and the other, I'm afraid I can't recall their name, but loads of quilty goodness, from Doncaster - so if any of you local ladies haven't been there is still time to attend tomorrow.












So, a lovely day was had by all - well done ladies, you put on a very professional show and your hospitality was second to none - yum.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Shop Stuff

My shop will be closed on Saturday 30th July as I will be away at a Quilt Exhibition - I will however be back for business on Sunday 31st and any orders will be posted out on Monday.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, 22 July 2016

Results!

So I had good reason to be cheerful as Andy Murray went on to lift the Wimbledon trophy for the second time - I particularly enjoyed the film montage showing his progress from a young player to the fine sportsman that he is today.
The first time I recall hearing about him was when he won the US Open - Juniors, and probably the mention that he was Scottish made my ears prick up - it's great to have a national sporting hero and following Andy's progress has elevated our interest in tennis from just watching Wimbledon for two weeks a year to becoming interested in many different competitions.

Our weather certainly cheered up when we enjoyed summer for a day with high temperatures not often enjoyed in these parts.Unfortunately, the high daytime temperatures also gave us high overnight ones making it almost impossible to sleep well. Since our one day summer we have experienced much rain, and what we would describe here as - clammy weather.

In sewing I have continued with the Rozelle project from my last post, it's a whisker from finished and I'll be sure to share a finished photo with you when it is.

A bigger project which was started and finished was the recovering of our dining chairs. We picked up a super quality G Plan dining table & six chairs locally, via Gumtree. I think the chairs had previously been recovered but I was keen to get rid of the dull fabric and the old foam padding - I really couldn't have done it without the help of Mr Bluepatch - he laboured long with his pliers and gained one or two blisters removing the hundreds of staples...........

I ordered some foam and wadding from a very helpful eBay site and used fabric purchased at our Open Day back in April. I had to buy extra to allow for pattern matching and the carvers being a bit bigger. Once again, Mr B helped, weilding the electric staple gun this time.


And here is how they turned out - I also made a little cushion for Ava's Ikea chair and I plan to use some leftover fabric to make a seat pad for another old chair that I have that had to be used last weekend when numbers required it.




        So, quite hard work, but so worth it - I love them and I reckon they look a lot cheerier.

I have also been working on a couple of projects that I won't be able to share for a few weeks, and then today I found myself with some unexpected time so I got all my Today's Quilter BOM blocks and magazines out and made a start on catching up. The latest edition landed on my doormat this week and I am hoping we have now received all the instructions so that I can finish off this project.

And finally, as usual, an Aurifil plug - this week I added a few more colours to my shop...........


Next Saturday (30th) I shall be attending The Stinchar Valley Quilters' Exhibition with my wee Aurifil Pop Up shop so for all you local ladies who like to see what they are buying why not have a day out in the lovely village of Barr, Nr Girvan. The exhibition is on both Saturday and Sunday and will be held in Barr Village Hall from 10 - 4. Admission is £3 which includes tea, and I believe - cake!!

For those of you who are unable to attend, enjoy free P&P on orders over £25 (EU & UK)

Have a lovely weekend.



Saturday, 9 July 2016

Reasons to be Cheerful

1. Charlotte won the Great British Sewing Bee and watching her progress and her eventual win was feel good tv. Congratulations to Charlotte.

2. Andy Murray is in the Wimbledon final - the mens' quarter finals possibly shaved moments off our lives but it was magic to watch - just wish there was a slightly longer gap between the high profile matches so we could at least get the tatties on!

3. Sewing - yes, for everything else, there is always sewing.

I have completely ignored my BOM and will return to it later.

Ayrshire Quilters are having an exhibiton in Rozelle House, Ayr, in September/October. We have been asked to make a piece of work, no bigger than 20" square, inspired by Rozelle.
The house itself stands in large parkland, fringed by woods, only a stone's throw from where I live - We are very lucky to have a second large park / golf course almost adjacent to Rozelle so  we often take a walk through both parks in our efforts to make our 10,000 steps!

In the last year, some of the wooded areas have been cleared and the most wonderful tree sculptures have appeared, to commemmorate WW1, the work of someone very skilled with a chainsaw!













That is my Rozelle - and I came up with a wee plan to represent my "Walk in the Woods"

The basic plan was 20 little log cabin blocks, each finishing at 4" square - Lots of greens with a brown "path" of 5, four patch blocks running through diagonally.


In the top right section, the logs were made up of slightly bigger, and therefore fewer, strips and had centres of pale blue - the sky!

All the other log cabin blocks were made up of skinnier strips and had centres of fuchsia or purple - these colours remind me of the beautiful rhododendrons that are so prolific in the park in early summer.

The bottom left corner consisted of four log cabin blocks, pieced in a more considered fashion, marrying brighter greens with creams/whites and arranged to produce a central area to accommodate a bit of applique.

The applique is a simple silhouette of the Scottish soldier - I printed off the picture of the soldier, fiddled about with the size, then traced his outline on to Bondaweb, then used some plain black fabric for the actual applique. My daughter thinks it is a woman, my grand daughter thinks it is a dolly........


And here is the top, all stitched together. At this point, like many of you I am guessing, I instantly feel I am going to spoil it by moving on to the next stage - the quilting! But I plodded on. I quilted all the green/brown log cabins in my twisted log cabin quilting pattern, and the four patches with my usual, unimaginative "Sheila's Star". For the applique area I did some straight line quilting and then decided to fill in with seed stitching by hand - I haven't finished this yet but decided to go on to straighten and bind yesterday while I had the time. I used a magenta batik from my stash to bind and also popped a hanging sleeve on.


I have really enjoyed the process of taking this challenge from an idea to a quilt. For those of you interested in such matters, all of the fabric came from my scrap stash - I might have finally wiped out my green scraps.........I used the following threads to piece, and quilt -


L to R - Aurifil 2325 (so useful, blends with lots of colours), Gutermann 9938, Aurifil 1240, 
Aurifil 5023

Which leads nicely on to a question for you - what is your favourite Aurifil shade, considering the huge variety available, that is a tricky question. But, is there one that you consider a staple for you, one that you return to again and again? For example, I wouldn't be without col 2600 - Dove - such a pale grey I use it sometimes instead of white if I can't be bothered changing bobbins or top thread.......
Another one that I have grown to love is Col 2847 - Bright Grey Blue. I have long considered grey thread to be so clever, blending with many colour themes. It often is the answer to your quilting thread dilemmas. 2847 takes it to another level, blending with so many colour schemes. I only have it in stock at the moment in 40wt. 
And just a reminder that there is free shipping on orders of £25 and over (UK/EU) in my shop.

Have a great weekend and...........C'mon Andy!!











Sunday, 26 June 2016

The times they are a changin'

In two weeks since my last post so much has happened - we lost a young and vibrant mum, gunned down in broad daylight whilst just doing the job she obviously loved and believed in.

After a dishonest political campaign (by both sides IMO) we are now a country in turmoil, divided and facing an uncertain future.....

Day to day however, life goes on but routine here at Bluepatch central has been a little disrupted - following on from Nursery Sports Day, we have been taking precautions to avoid - NITS - we have all been under the weather with what might be hay fever, all the while waiting for the inevitable eruption of chickenpox!
Finally this weekend it is well on the wane and the little 'un might make it for her last day at nursery year 1, on Tuesday,

The event that I mentioned in my last post, in aid of Memories are Better than Dreams went ahead last Saturday and was very well attended, with over £2000 being raised.

For those of you who were involved in my Open Day fundraiser back in April for "Team Beth" and The Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity, you might be interested in watching this video - it lasts quite a few minutes and shows off Scotland at its best. I am proud to say my son in law is one of the cyclists taking part - they did so well.

Tip - Watch it fullscreen.




So on a sewing theme I have been plodding on with my Today's Quilter BOM by Jen Kingwell, still working on Month 9 (Month 11 has just been published) but I am happy to say I have just finished all eight blocks for month 9.



I might have to take a little break from the BOM as I have decided to take up an Ayrshire Quilters' challenge and make a small quilt for an upcoming local exhibition, hope to have more info for my next post.

I managed to make a quick block for Leeds Modern Quilters' Guild in response to their "Quilts for Jo" - they are hoping to have enough blocks to provide Jo Cox's children (and family members) with comfort quilts. (see opening para)

And I almost forgot - I made a start on my Luna Lapin kit by Cool Crafting. I treated myself to this back in April when I was at the Knitting and Stitching Show. I have thoroughly enjoyed making her, and have the kit to make another dress, plus coat & shoes - she will be one smart bunny.

And finally, I took delivery of a lovely selection of threads from Aurifil for my shop.
I have a super selection of 40wt & 50wt large spools, a fabulous boxed collection by Karen Lewis Textiles, and some Aurifil storage boxes. One of the things that frustrates me greatly about my shop is the fact that just one spool of Aurifil thread constitutes a small parcel in Royal Mail eyes - I could also fill a shoebox with spools for the same postage rate - crazy!! So, I have played with my calculator and am now offering free shipping on UK / EU orders of £25 and over. I hope you agree that coupled with my competitive prices, this offers great value.

Enjoy the video!





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