Monday, 25 August 2014

Into the Groove

Well, I couldn't call it Back to School again.

Yes, schools are back here in Scotland and my classes resumed last week. It seemed for a moment there that Summer was over but the weather picked up again and we enjoyed a pretty good weekend. I am sorry if your Bank Holiday today was not blessed with sunshine.

So I am running four classes this year, two in Week 1 and two in Week 2 - everyone is following one main project, The Modern Sampler. Basically there are four different blocks although a couple will have variations - and then the quilt will be layered up in 3 main sections and joined using Quilt As You Go techniques.
One of the things I love about teaching a project is seeing the variety of fabric and colours that are chosen. All these different choices come together to make very different quilts. I finished making the one in the above picture in January this year and recently decided (as always!!) that I might as well make another, along with my classes. I find demonstration is the best form of tuition, and everyone loves it if I mess up like on Wednesday when I didn't notice my wee mechanical machine was still set to zig zag and I had my 1/4" foot on - oops!!
So I have chosen a very different palette to the one above. I pulled a fat 1/8th bundle of Cuzco by Kate Spain, from my stash and decided to go for a b & w spotty background, very different for me.

Just before classes started back I asked my students if they would like to make some blocks for Nicky's Siblings Together drive. Here is what turned up on the first week, also in the post and to my door...........

and a few more,


Thank you ladies, you are all brilliant!!



Thursday, 14 August 2014

A Kaffe Treat

Shared by a friend who is in Aberdeen at the moment and caught the exhibition.Enjoy.

Kaffe Fassett: 50 Years in Colour from Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums on Vimeo.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

136 Days Until Christmas

A fresh month always means new Bee blocks to be done. This month the Queen Bee in our Bee a Brit Stingy Bee is Nicky and she has thrown us a curved ball. She plans a Winter quilt and has asked for blocks of a Scandinavian feel - we can choose or design the blocks ourselves and we have a choice of sizes. She favours red, cream and aqua and from what I have seen so far, this is shaping up to be a glorious quilt.
I have enjoyed raking about looking for blocks and have made a couple of FP trees which will finish at 3" and a 9" block inspired by knitting patterns.  I have more up my sleeve..........

Nicky obviously has the bit between her teeth this month. She is already involved with Siblings Together and has decided to make an early start on quilts for this great cause, that will be needed next summer! She has come up with a really simple block that has a great look when multiplied in a quilt. I made this one very quickly because as many of you know I underwent an organisational epiphany last month so have a box of 2.5" strips just waiting for such a project. Maybe you have some Jelly Roll strips lying about?

Nicky is hoping for each block to be kept to a colour family with the diagonal steps in white, and running in either direction to allow flexibility in block layout. Nicky knocked up this whole top last week..........
If anyone is interested in helping Nicky, I have a quick handout here for making the block.

I also made good progress on my Advent Calendar, just waiting for a fabric delivery to finish, and I finished off the second Tree Skirt. So again, nearly everything I have been doing this week is related to Christmas, or Winter!! As I look out of the window at the moment, I could be forgiven for thinking it is already Winter.
And I bought my first Christmas pressies today! I blame my daughter who is a Christmas Day baby and always encourages me into early shopping...................





Sunday, 3 August 2014

Late Call for July

Better late than never with my review of July. Some project finishes, some progressed and some ignored, that'll be a normal month then.

I got my Bee a Brit Stingy blocks done early on in the month for Charlotte. Then there was a birthday pouch and a workshop Tree Skirt. And with leftovers from the skirt backing, I made the Nested Churn Dash, yet to be made into a finished item.

I made good progress on one of my FAL Q3 projects which is a double bed sized quilt. I have pieced it in three sections so that I can QAYG it, took a lovely pic of it in the garden when it was dry & then discovered that not only did my camera not have its memory card in, it doesn't have an internal memory. Every day a school day!! Since finishing the piecing I have made a start on quilting one of the thirds.............lots more to do though.


I spent some really enjoyable hours making  remaking my tote bag for the Stitch Gathering. Last year we were all sent printed patches to embellish as we wished and Jo made them into a quilt that is going to be raffled at this year's SG. This year we were sent a printed calico bag. I forgot to take a pic until I had started my makeover that included unpicking all seams and cutting away the printed circle in the centre. That was a wee bit scary.


I then faced the hole, porthole style and laid it over a 4 patch I had prepared earlier. Then it was layering up, quilting, firming up the handles a bit and then putting it ll back together.

I really love how it turned out and hope my partner will love it too.

Lastly, and so far not shared here, is a Mini quilt I made for a friend who celebrated a 0 birthday yesterday. This particular friend introduced me to quilting way back about 1998 so I really hope she likes this little offering which is a bit different for both of us - from granny to granny.

The four little granny blocks were all different sizes, I brought them up to an equal size with white solid and added the border in Bella (?) .

This was my first attempt at matchstick quilting, good fun on a small piece like this. Granny came in at about 17" square.

          

And so that was July - not too shabby considering the amount of time I have spent in front of the TV becoming an armchair expert in several sports. Glasgow has done itself proud putting on the Commonwealth Games, so well done to everyone involved.
I think I may just have enough time to link to Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day over at Lily's Quilts.









Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Cooling Off for Christmas

My Sunday workshops have a bit of a reputation - the weather is always really good. Seriously, even in the winter the sun will be splitting the skies. People have been known to check out my workshop programme before organising weddings & BBQs. (ok, so I made that up)
Well, my first workshop of the new season was on Sunday and it rained. After a week of temperatures in the high 20s, I don't think any of us minded the cooler temperatures and as we were about to make Christmas Tree Skirts it seemed more appropriate weather.

I think everyone enjoyed themselves and all left with their Skirts ready for a bit of simple quilting. I was thrilled to have a young quilter join in on Sunday. At 12yrs of age she fairly brought down the average age, that's for sure!!




Thank you ladies, for easing me back into the old routine and for acting as unofficial pattern testers!
If you would like to make one of these Tree Skirts, you will find the pattern in my Etsy shop.




Sunday, 20 July 2014

No Secrets.........

Sometimes when we do secret sewing it is easy to forget to mention it later. I have a couple of projects that I have made this month, both birthday gifts and one has now been received so I can share.

I made this embroidery pouch for a good online friend, Salley, in Sydney. Sadly we have yet to meet but our online friendship has blossomed with much in common and I know she enjoyed a special birthday last week.

I have made similar pouches now a few times and you will find the instructions in the lovely Ayumi's Patchwork Please book. Although aimed at the embroiderer I know Salley appliques and thought it would suit well for travelling projects.

Happy birthday Sal, I really enjoyed making this for you.

Recently, I taught a two day Intro to Patchwork course where the students learned the basics and used them to make a fully quilted cushion. I am still working on my second sample but decided to offer the original for sale. I have added it to my Etsy shop.

I hope all the FQ retreaters are recovering nicely after a wonderful weekend.




Thursday, 17 July 2014

Back to School

We are right in the middle of school holidays up here in Scotland and the shops are full of school uniforms - I always used to think that was a bit depressing.
But you have to keep ahead of the curve and I find myself slipping quickly into class mindset with my first workshop of the season approaching fast - it's a week Sunday, 27th and will be Christmas in July. We are making a Tree Skirt and although I already have a perfectly serviceable sample I decided I would make a couple of new ones.............one for daughter & one for son & his OH.
For daughter I chose these fabrics, by Nancy Halvorsen, I think it might be an older line as one print was tricky to find.

The first two fabrics are combined for one side, perhaps for the grown-ups, and the backing is more kiddie friendly with snowmen tumbling everywhere.

I just have some big, silver jingle bells to sew on each point and this one is done.


I hope to have the pattern available for this in early August.

When I was making a start on this Tree Skirt I realised I didn't have the necessary matching ribbon to progress, and I wanted to sew, anything, so after cutting out all the pieces for the Skirt, I wanted to use up the scraps to make something . Recently there was a bit of a blog hop that I stumbled upon that resulted in me buying this pattern. It was terribly cheap and the instructions are beautifully written. I did intend it as a treat for myself with carefully chosen fabrics,  but I used up the Christmas scraps and I might turn it into a table topper, it works out at 24" square and was great fun to make.


This morning, I made a start on one of my FAL Q3 projects, a biggie, a quilt! It was a project I dreamed up back in January -ish, and I wanted to see what I could use from my stash - I had two identical Charm Packs and made them into 4 patches having designed what I think might be quite a modern quilt. It will have a lot of negative space so I bought a solid cream fabric. I have spent time figuring out how to cut in the most economical way, I had bought an extra metre along the way. To my delight this morning I found that the 3m piece was actually 4m so I am not as tight in my calculations as I thought I might be. And so, out came the rotary cutter and I made a start. I got a good bit cut before I had to leave the sewing room for a few hours in the sun. And if you think I am mad talking Christmas already, here is what we found......perfect for Frozen fans.

And so, back to thoughts of school, I have been reminding my students of their start dates and hope they are all looking forward as much as I am to starting our new project. I am sure many of them have still to make final fabric purchases so it might be a good time to point them in the direction of rather a lovely UK site, Plush Addict. As I am in a Christmassy frame of mind, aren't these great, from Moda's Yuletide Boulevard range.
 
They also have 

 I like their website for browsing, it's really well laid out and they don't just sell quilting cottons, they have something to suit all kinds of sewists. (nicer word than sewers which makes me think of unsavoury things). UK postage is free for purchases over £40 and you can find them at  






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