Monday, 31 December 2012

To Whom it may concern...........

Remember when that used to be on letters.................anyone remember letters?

So, here we are at the end of another year - is it me or does anyone think that was a really fast year? 13yrs since all the Millennium frenzy, who'd have thought.

Before I get down to the mushy stuff, I have just a couple of pics to show from this last week.
A friend, Wendy, made this for me - hexies and linen, I love it so much and just hope that Santa fills it next year.

And these two wee guys joined my Christmas family.

Another friend from one of my classes, tipped me the wink on this site - can't keep this to myself.

What did I buy? 
An advent panel for next year, some flannel to add to my collection ( I have a quilt brewing in my head) and then 3 yds of the houndstooth cotton - it was practically nothing.
                                                            Thanks for the tip off, Morag.

At some point before Christmas, Lucy was hosting a giveaway with the prize coming from Christa Quilts. This is a store that was one of the earliest I shopped from way back in the Dark Ages - I think it was just an eBay store at the time. Well, I only went and won didn't I and spent some pleasurable time "shopping".
I will share my haul with you when it comes - suffice to say that as an accomplished cheapskate, I got an awful lot for my $$$. Thanks Lucy, and I hope that "turkey" didn't give you too much trouble over Christmas.
And thank you also to Christa.
I always think that New Year can be a little depressing, an opportunity to become a little maudelin, perhaps fuelled by alcohol?
Rest assured that so far this Hogmonay, only tea and coffee have passed my lips although I believe I am soon to partake in a capful of Night Nurse!!
Anyway I just wanted to say a few words of anyone that takes the trouble to read this blog that I so enjoy writing. It started off as a way of keeping my classes informed and I know that many of the ladies who attend my classes do read it. To those and indeed all my students, I say a huge thank you for your continued support. At times, the prep for my classes has me a bit frazzled but I love running them. I have met so many wonderful ladies, made friends, watched friendships blossom and of course, I have witnessed so many people take up quilting, grow to love it and gasped at the fruits of their labours. So much talent, it takes your breath away sometimes.
I have a lovely family who probably don't quite "get it" but their loyalty and support is appreciated, especially that of Big Al, my OH, who as a Virgo does have a hard time coping with the loose threads.............
And this year brought me a beautiful grand daughter whose smile widens when I take her into my sewing room, I have great hopes.
I have good friends too, my real life ones have also been so supportive of my classes and of course, they definitely "get it" - most of them quilt too!!
Through blogging, I have made online friends too and every one of you is special to me. Blogging has made the world a little smaller - so I guess that just leaves World peace.............

Friday, 28 December 2012

Every Day a Schoolday

Subtitled - "Itchin' to Be Stitchin'!"

So how was it for you? I considered running a Linky Party to see which particular lurgy befell your household over the Christmas season - here, Chez Donnachie, it was the Morbid Sore Throat (a Poldark reference for those old enough to remember).
The cover went on my sewing machine about a week ago, I have one more family gathering, tomorrow, and then it's coming off. Isn't it funny how we all knock ourselves silly in December, making presents etc and almost think we never want to sew again, but then only a few short days later.......

So, in the last few days before Christmas I came up with a couple of makes.
My December blocks for Judith's Bee Blessed.

And my most favourite make for a long time was this cushion.
The pattern for this Deer can be found here. Now I have been foundation piecing for some considerable time and I love the technique, but I decided I might give freezer paper piecing a whirl. There were many, many small pieces in this pattern and on reflection I might have been better sticking with what I know - but I am glad I tried it, and it does enable great control over the fabric, allowing a bit of fussy placement if necessary.
The eagle eyed amongst you, and let's face it, the extremely short - sighted too, will have spotted that my reindeer is facing the opposite way from the pattern. Of course, it doesn't matter a bit, I blame it on my brain, let's leave it at that. This cushion was a Christmas gift for a good friend and the fabric I used other than for the deer itself, is all from Mod Century by Jenn Ski for Moda.
I have started to quilt my cushion backs of late, a bit of extra work, but the finished look makes it so - substantial. I might have to make another sometime for myself.
Now I have just one question to ask - as we approach the final days of 2012........anyone still eating turkey??

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

My Best Christmas - Ever!

'Twas the night before Christmas
The year - '82
You thought it was time to make your debut
By the time you arrived though
It was Christmas morn
And our own little flue-brush
Our Jenny, was born.

Happy 30th Birthday, Jenny!
And Merry Christmas everyone.xx

Friday, 14 December 2012

Tick, tick, tick tick..................................

I can't believe it's almost two weeks since my last post. I have been off the blogging radar for a few weeks now, no dramatic reason, just feeling a bit harassed and had to let something go for a while - missed it though.
I have a few little crafty makes to share.
Two are related to the Bee that I am excited to be involved in. You might remember our name - Bee A Brit Stingy. We started off getting to know each other by swapping pincushions. This week our Secret Santa parcels have been sent and are trickling in, at the mercy of the Christmas Post!
We all decided to make mini fabric hampers following the lovely Ayumi's much followed tutorial.
I sent mine off on Monday, can't say who it has gone to yet, still in the post.
I got my parcel earlier in the week from Catherine at SewWonderful Life - rotten picture, I had to finally resort to a bit of flash - can you see the teeny sewing machine that I got inside my hamper? Thank you Catherine, love it.

I finished a cardi for little Ava - I am a useless knitter, takes me forever. Luckily, it fits her, but maybe not for long!!

I made a Christmas stocking for Ava too - 
just need to add some jingle bells and it is done. My OH commented as I was making it that I was creating a little heirloom for her - woohoo, he gets it!!
Next up is another poor quality pic; of my EPP Christmas Star - I started this at my recent Hexie workshop and intend to applique it onto a red background before transforming it into a cushion - perhaps for next Christmas?? I got the idea for fussy cutting the little cats from this quilt - isn't it glorious?

The Stingy Bees have not just been making little hampers - oh no - there are 13 of us in  Bee A Brit Stingy - 12 Bees and Helen, our invaluable admin support!! So to show our gratitude, the 12 Bees embarked upon Project 007 and we made her a mini Friendship Star quilt. It arrived this week and I think she liked it!!

Two more finishes this week. The first one was my Chinese Whispers wall hanging (you know the secret one that I can't talk about until 2014) - passed it on to number 3 in our group.
And my classes all finished up for Christmas break too. 
Tomorrow sees us making a trip up the lovely Ayrshire coast to deliver family pressies.
And then we are down to one week, and counting.................................................

Monday, 3 December 2012

The Whole Nine Yards

Tonight's post is a wee bit self indulgent because I have a finish to show off, and show off I shall.
My Velocity Strippy is finished - whoop whoop!
This is a quilt I have been making and demonstrating at a series of workshops on how to make a Strippy quilt using Quilt As You Go techniques.
Boo hoo for rotten winter weather to take a photo - the above one shows the full quilt front. All the fabric is the wonderful Velocity by British designer Jessica Hogarth. Making a strippy is a great way of showcasing a fabulous fabric.
I made this in three sections each with two strips of fabric. The double strips were layered and quilted separately allowing me to concentrate on my quilting instead of heaving a huge pile of fabric and wadding through my machine - this is the first I have quilted in such a dense way.
I used a whole reel of Aurifil 50wt thread, in a soft grey.......that is 1300m!!
Then the pairs were joined together using two narrow strips per join In the above picture can you see the joining strips?
I knew when I saw this fabric that I wanted it for this project - the quilt is completely reversible and it took 9yds of fabric. I got it from the US, (Hawthorne Threads) because a., it was available there first, and b., even getting "caught" by HMRC, it worked out at £9 a yard.
And here is the back...........
and a join on the back..............
and although it hasn't been washed yet, I can present to you - a roly poly view...........
From my 9yds I got my two strips of each fabric and managed all the joining strips and binding along the length of grain. The quilt measures about 78" x 82".
"Velocity" will be a surprise Christmas present for my son who has recently moved into a big, old chilly flat in Glasgow, so hopefully this will help keep the chills away. I hope he likes it as much as I do.

PS. In other breaking news, I had my very first Etsy sale last week!!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Give & Take November

 I told you the days were shorter! Here we are, 1st December and I haven't even bought the sweets for my advent calendar, let alone unearthed it from the loft!!
Dropping off to sleep last night I suddenly remembered it was Fresh Sewing Day too, today! So, a quick mosaic made while munching my brekkie.
November was a month of giving and receiving, good practice for Christmas.
In November, ladies in my classes made blocks which were made into a quilt top for a Hurricane Sandy Appeal.
I got a couple of blocks made for Judith's Bee Blessed.
I sent off my journal cover to Tanya, my secret partner in a Scrappy Swap. And I received a lovely new mug rug with a matching mini quilt - yippee.
I made a pocket pillowcase as a birthday gift for a toddler.
And I made a mini hamper ready to send off to my Bee partner in the Secret Santa Swap!!
Linking to Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day.
Have a great December - keep calm and uncork a bottle..................

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The days are getting shorter......

.......and it's nothing to do with winter! It's definitely something to do with the run up to Christmas.
Life sure is busy just now. Since my last post, I have made another kiddy pillowcase with integrated pocket for a little soft toy - I made the first one in the summer during the Zakka sew a long and this one is for the little daughter of a friend of my daughter. She is going to be two soon.
 The solid cotton is the palest pink so that hopefully it won't fight with any current decor.

I fitted in a tiny bit of shopping at my LQS, Sew Materialistic and got these two fat quarters. 

They are from a range called Mod Century, by Jenn Ski for Moda - I might have to get me some more.

Most of my classes are held in a local community centre, managed by volunteers. Last Saturday was the annual Christmas Fayre and now that I no longer work on Saturdays, I was able to contribute a bit of time to  run a stall.........I found myself offering to do a White Elephant - for those of you unfamiliar with this term, think Bric a Brac. I put out a plea to my classes and soon became swamped with white elephants. My friend Delia and I piled it high and sold it cheap making just over £60 which will go into our Charity fund. Thanks again to all who supported our efforts.
Then on Sunday, it was time for my Hexie workshop - several ladies who came along to the workshop had done English Paper Piecing before, heck , some of them could remember their Laura Ashley kits from the early 70s - I had one in needlecord, never finished.
But new to most of them, I think, was the use of downloadable graph paper, the idea to print it onto freezer paper and the endless possibilities of dissecting hexagons into a myriad of interesting shapes. Little did they know that they would be spending their Sunday discussing equilateral triangles and I even overheard someone say the word rhombus!! Who'd have guessed.
We all had a lovely, if chilly day, without the constant whir of sewing machines and here is a peek at some of the hexies made on the day. I apologise to any of you whose hexie doesn't seem to have made the mosaic.
To make up the numbers on the mosaic I popped in my latest EPP project, bottom right. I intend it as a Christmas cushion, it is making up faster than I thought.
I had hoped for much sewing today but spent time instead tidying up my sewing room. I had an extra shelf put up last week so was able to sort, and change stuff round in my endless quest for order amongst the chaos.......getting there!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Swaps & Bees

I was surprised today to receive a package postmarked Galway - I didn't have anything outstanding from Cindy at Fluffy Sheep so what could it be?
I didn't manage to take a pic today to do justice, (so I pinched this one from Anneliese) as it never really got properly light - these lovely goodies came from Anneliese, - she had started by making me a mug rug that got too big (oh, what a shame....) so went on to make me a second one!! Aren't they super!
I also got a  pile of scraps, always good to have someone else's...........
Thank you Anneliese for the lovely surprise
Of course, all swaps are two way and my offering is this journal cover + scraps, of course!

I have had a good couple of sewing days - I have made progress with my Chinese Whispers project that I can't share with you until 2014 - yes, 2014..........I have been working on another secret project too.........I got the binding on to my strippy Velocity quilt, so the end is in sight, and I have made a couple of blocks for Judith's Bee Blessed. These were quick and easy to make and I reckon would make a stunning quilt, in fact I think I might make more blocks using a charm pack that I have, adjusting the dimensions just a little to save waste on the charms.
                                                             You should try a couple..........

Sunday, 18 November 2012

A Little Winter Sunshine

Sometimes I seem to take a while to finish things - usually it's because I am making along with my classes, like with this cushion.
I used the front to demo the NYB blocks and the curved piecing.
Then I came up with a quilting pattern.
And then I showed how I piece and quilt my cushion backs nowadays - I make an envelope back and always used a couple of pieces of cotton. But I started to quilt my cushion backs and love how substantial it looks. I bind the raw edges that overlap and this gives me the opportunity to demo single fold binding.
But it is finished now.

The peaks of the NYB were all made from a charm pack I had ( I have even started a little something with the offcuts but that will be for another day, waaaay down the line.)
The fabric I used for the borders and backing are from the Sunrise fat 1/8 pack of Kona cotton that I got from Fluffy Sheep Quilting, this particular combination was put together by Susan
Brings a lovely bit of sunshine to a grey November day, doesn't it.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Quilts of Valour

Three of my classes this year are making a medallion quilt - I call it Topsy cos it keeps on growing. I have given everyone a choice of central blocks and several ladies have taken on New York Beauty - and have blown me away with their fabulous work, nothing fazes them!! Here is a small snapshot of some of the quilts in progress, although one, top right, is completely finished now.Go Katrina!!

The quilt in the bottom left corner was made by Marjorie, it is also now finished and she has made this for 
Quilts of Valour. You might be interested in reading more about this wonderful cause that provides injured servicemen & women with a quilt. Marjorie told us that 1000 quilts have now been distributed in the UK and she herself has now made four. Although you never know exactly who has received your quilt, some feedback on regiment is provided.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

I am watching this........

live, now........

Live broadcasting by Ustream Total eclipse of the sun about to happen in the next half hour, Palm Cove, Queensland. Wow. The wonder of technology..........

Monday, 12 November 2012

Final Update on Hurricane Sandy Appeal

Managed to piece the blocks together on Saturday and decided to whip up a length of binding too.
I did try a few layouts of the blocks but went for the simple, all facing the same way, option.
And today it was posted off to Rachel, the quilter, in Oregon.

Let's hope it will bring a bit of comfort to somebody this Christmas.
Thanks again to all the ladies who contributed.


For anyone who has not yet had an email from me entitled HEY - don't open it.
My BT a/c appears to have been got at, my apologies.
If you have in fact opened the email, and clicked on the link - as I did, as it came from a known source - then check your email outbox - I nearly passed out.
So sorry for the inconvenience, it may be as well to change your email password.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Update on Help for Sandy

In my last post, I put out a plea to my classes for blocks for the Hurricane Sandy Appeal. Before I could collect in any blocks I discovered that the appeal had closed at 300 blocks! Yes, - 300 blocks.
I contacted Jennifer at Knotted Thread, who has masterminded this drive and sh e has agreed to take whatever blocks I have. I suggested piecing into a top and  I would need 30 blocks to do this. Today, I am happy to report that 30 blocks were achieved.
Thank you to all the ladies this week that responded to my appeal and who managed to produce blocks at such short notice despite a local shortage of white cotton!!
Thank you, Janet, Wendy, Pat, Caryl, Freda, Amanda, Clare, Eleanor, Audrey, Maggie and Marjorie (who made an astounding 10 blocks!!).
                                  I should have the top finished tomorrow to show you.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Bee Happy

As many of you know, I am taking part in my first Bee soon, Brit Bee Stingy. A couple of weeks ago the bees all swapped pincushions with each other.
I made one of my Mega Pinnies for Nicky, and had one or two comments asking for a tutorial.
Well, I had this project on the back burner for a class in the future, but then I thought, Bee Nice. As we are all approaching that mad season, I really, really, don't have time to make another and do all the pics for a tute, BUT, I have written up a pattern and popped it into Google Drive so if you click here, you should be able to download a copy of the instructions.If you like it, maybe you could spread the love?

Our Stingy Bees are currently making little fabric baskets for each other in a Secret Santa Swap.
We are all following the same pattern by the brilliant Ayumi at Pink Penguin. I went for a sort of modern Christmas look that might be ok the rest of the year too.We are to fill our mini hampers with goodies, but nothing too extravagant, us being stingy bees an' all.

These are really sweet wee baskets, the patchwork is made from 2" squares so real scope for using the smallest of scraps, the finished baskets can be filled with all sorts of goodies for different themed gifts.
I have also made my scrappy item for my partner in the Scrappy Swap 2 - I decided to make a book or journal cover. I made it to fit an A5 sketchbook I have and it's a great fit but bought an A5 notebook yesterday and it is a mighty tight fit - grrrr.

Lastly, some of you lovely readers might recall the Mystery Quilt........this was a super quilt project that I ran in class back in 2008 as a proper Mystery. Then, last year, I also ran it, through this blog, as a Mystery project. Since then I have had a few enquiries about the pattern and have sent a few  copies out to those who have asked so nicely.
But, marketing the pattern has also been on the old back burner and finally, yesterday, I popped the whole pattern onto my Etsy shop. If you haven't come across Mystery Stars before, it is an eclectic mix of different sized star blocks, some rotary cut and others foundation pieced. If you go HERE you will find the flickr group of all the lovely quilts made by my brave blogging friends. And if you go HERE you will see the beautiful versions made by the pattern pioneers in my classes.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Hurricane Sandy - Help

Hadley alerted me to this appeal a couple of days ago.

We all see the images on TV of one disaster or another and if you are like me, here in the UK, you quietly give thanks for living in a country not threatened by such extreme weather - I know there are areas of the UK that have suffered terribly in recent years with flooding, but somehow, the scale and destruction that Sandy left in its wake is almost unimaginable.

We, as quilters, are in a unique position to help out, just a tiny bit, by making a block, a couple of blocks or in some instances, whole quilts, that help to bring a crumb of comfort to the poor souls affected by disasters.
I imagine it might not be just the actual quilt that brings such comfort, perhaps it is the knowledge that total strangers care.

If you would like to lend a hand please read this post over at Knotted Thread and then go to the flickr group where you can find out the instructions for making a block like this -

These three blocks took me no time at all, and so much more pleasurable than Hoovering.

If you are in one of my classes, and you would like to make a block, if you can get it to me in class this week, or by Friday, I will undertake to post them off to the US.
In fact, if you have a class this week and would like to make a block in class then all you need to bring along is an 8.5" square of plain white cotton, and an 8.5" square of another colour, or print.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

October, in pictures

That was another quick month, but I always like this chance to take stock and see if I have achieved as much as I might have wanted.
October was the deadline for swaps, Totes made and received in Mouthy Stitches 2, and Pincushions, made and received by the Bee Brit Stingy Quilters.
I managed to make a sample for a new upcoming workshop and progressed with a couple of other ongoing projects.
Next month I hope to do more of my ModPop quilt.
                              Hopefully, still in time, I am linking with Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

Well, I can't believe it's 6 months since the last Festival. Was looking out for this one, then nearly missed it, now I realise I misread the entry dates and am hoping to squeeze this in by the skin of my teeth.
I have spent many hours over the last 6 months making small stuff, inspired by the Zakka sew a long. But, I did also manage a quilt, as a sample for my Autumn classes starting. Meet Topsy, so called as it's the kind of quilt that just keeps growing.
It was in fact a re-incarnation of a quilt I made years ago with a different block in the centre but this time I wanted curves, and I wanted New York Beauty.
 The big NYB in the centre was foundation pieced in four sections and I popped a quarter NYB in each of the four corners.

Most of the fabric was Joel Dewberry's Modern Meadow that I got at a good price in the January sales, so much so I had enough for the back too.
I quilted Topsy myself by machine. The quilt measures 60" square and probably fits into the Favourite Throw category, or Favourite Home Machine Quilted Quilt.
If you have popped in from the Festival, thanks for taking a look. And if you have yet to look at the amazing work on show, do go on over, you won't even have to leave your chair for this Show!!

Amy's Creative Side


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