Friday, 31 May 2013

It's Official

Yes, I think summer might have arrived here in Ayrshire.
Without giving way too many details, we normally sleep with a 4 tog duvet which would normally be as much use as a chocolate teapot, but with my super king sized quilt atop, it adds the weight and warmth that we like.

However, last night, temperatures soared to 11 degrees and we threw caution to the wind and kicked the quilt into touch!!

So today, I awoke to bright sunshine and said quilt got its annual wash. Little do these teddies know that they will soon be usurped by my Mod Pop

Life on the edge, that's me...

Thursday, 30 May 2013


Another couple of Cathedral Window pinnies, this time from Christelle. I love her fabric choices...

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Playing Catch Up

I am now officially on my Summer break, my workshops are done and I have a free run through until July when I start all over again!
Three weeks ago I told you about my Foundation Piecing workshop - I intended this to be individually tailored to the needs of the students, to have them leave at the end of the day feeling more confident about foundation/paper piecing. Last week, a coupe of ladies showed me their projects.

This is Lesley's Compass project - Lesley completed my Beginners' Course in March so I think you will agree she really took on a challenge, isn't it stunning?

Wendy has completed her project by making a bound cushion - she tells me that this pattern took her out of her comfort zone and built her FP confidence - result!! She made this as a Christmas project, can you spot the subtle Santas?

Last Thursday was my final workshop before Summer - I advertised it as an introduction to Cathedral Windows, by hand, and was overwhelmed at the interest. First of all I had to hone my own skills and bought this book by the wonderful Lynne Edwards.

This is a truly beautiful book that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend. I considered the methods in the book to be the "proper & traditional" way to construct a CW unit. I almost fell at the first fence though when my first fabric sample refused to behave and lie flat. I tried again using a printed cotton, success. I was cooking with gas and completed a pincushion that I thought would be a great starting point for the class.

I continued to research other methods and discovered most online tutorials make their CW units using a square of card and a folding technique, so I tried it and had 100% success. On the day I decided to go with the card method and if time allowed, which indeed it did, the ladies could try the more trad route. Those who did try the traditional way had complete success - shows what a numpty I am!

Taking guidance from both the internet, and Lynne Edwards, I prepped another sample that I think will go on to be my holiday project - it is a combination of Cathedral Windows and Secret garden units and you can see the Secret Garden colours beginning to peek through behind the windows. (It is actually straight & flat just a useless photo.)

And here is a finished pinnie, made by Freda, I am hoping the others will let me see their finished pinnies too.

Since last Thursday we have had a Bank Holiday weekend, sun shone and in between family stuff, I managed a few hours to myself sewing ...........

I quilted my Mod Pop leftovers cushion in a sort of square spiral - I rushed at it and next time would go a bit slower, but I enjoyed it immensely and would explore this quilting style again.

I finished up my foundation pieced hexies - I did plan to EPP these together but found that despite the 3/8" seam allowance, the outer edges had too many seams to allow neat folding so I machined them together. Not sure where I am going with this, applique will give me the same problem so I might draft the right shapes to square it all up. I have a notion I might make it the centre of a new quilt, but it is just a notion at the moment.

And lastly, Mod Pop inches forward. On Sunday I cut  my wadding into three big chunks and using my bed as the best space, I laid out the three sections of quilt. I also managed to prep the backing fabrics too.
Today I got started on the actual quilting - when I made my Strippy a few months back I quilted it in three main sections, each one the full length of the quilt. I was nervous about the quilting at the time, thinking my heavy straight line style might cause the fabric to "creep" but it behaved perfectly. Not so today. It became obvious that the pieced section was going to move so I unpicked my first couple of rows of quilting and repinned, I also quilted from the centre out to each end and things were a lot better. This is the first quilt I have done on Bertha, my new machine, and so far, I am loving her, she has such power!!
So that's me all caught up - can I just say thank you to anyone who took the trouble to go and vote for me in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival - I appreciate it, and hope you enjoyed visiting all the great quilts on show.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

International Matters

I think this might be quite a long post so I shall cut right to the chase. Lots of quilty stuff in the last week.
First up, I had a parcel from Rhonda who hails from Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. Rhonda was the driving force behind the Finish A Long last year and has handed over the reins to Leanne for 2013. She did however, sponsor the first quarter of this year and my name got pulled out of the hat. And this is the pile of goodies that arrived - thanks again Rhonda for your generosity.
Talking of the FAL, my main project yet to be finished, is my Mod Pop quilt - since my regular classes have finished for summer, I seem to have got a bit of a wriggle on, and I have finished all the piecing. Now I am really at the coo's tail on this one as I think it was back in August or September that I joined in the sew a long on this one. I intended making a super king sized quilt but have limited it now to a queen which I think will still comfortably fit our bed. So I had one less strip of blocks to make but added in an extra row of patches on either side. I have photographed it on the bed but it is still in three sections as I plan to QAYG - I think I can achieve this without compromising the fabulous pattern.
I doubt I will finish before the quarter end as our holiday is looming but never say never.
As I was tidying up the leftovers I had a few pieced units, the curved ones, so played about for a wee while and have made this cushion front.
It still has that 60s feel for me and I am planning to quilt in a sort of squarish, roundish spiral. I have been reading a bit of The Quilting Edge and feeling inspired to try something a bit different for me.

I was tidying up after a recent EPP workshop and thought I might as well complete the two little rosettes I had used as samples. They were lying beside the pouch that I had made a while back and used to carry the hexies in. Small lightbulb moment and this is what happened.

Fast forwarding to last Thursday (sounds like time travel) and I had my Day Trip Round the Word workshop - been doing this one for a few years now but have been tickled by the interest in RTW blocks & quilts on blogland and am particularly keen to try a scrappy one someday. In the meantime, I contented myself by teaching the clever loopy technique and the ladies did me proud.
The big pic in the mosaic is the top made by Amanda, and featured Noteworthy by Sweetwater, another great fabric line. Have they ever produced a dud? I don't think so. 
Ever thrifty and resourceful - ha - I found some strips leftover from Mod Pop that I was able to use to demo the technique. I like to demo as well as show a finished article, think it helps.
So when I got home, I continued with my little piece and it became quilt number two for the Princess!
I tidied up my sewing room yesterday and found the makings of at least two more Princess quilts, think I might have slipped into a second childhood.
For those of you still with me on this world tour, I received a package this morning from Oregon, from AnnMarie, who blogs at Run and Sew Quilts.
I was lucky enough to win her giveaway last week in the mega SMS Giveaway Day. I won this charming little quilt, measures about 20" square and came ready to hang. The quilting on it is divine and it looks and feels like it has been washed and dried, all squishy, gorgeous. I think I have just the place to put it.
Thank you again, AnnMarie.
Now feeling a bit tired after all that travelling (or maybe it was just running about after a 1 yr old!) time for a restorative cuppa. I hope you are all having a good week.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Bloggers' Quilt Festival - Spring 2013, (take 2)

For my second entry into the Spring Festival I am entering my wee Dollies Quilt into the Doll / Mini category.

In August, I will be attending, and teaching at, the Stitch Gathering, in Edinburgh.
I think this will be the first retreat get together of its kind, in Scotland and I can't wait to meet up with blog friends that so far I know only in a virtual way. My little class is to be on Crazy Quilting, a very traditional technique but we will be giving it a modern twist. I had been looking for an excuse to buy one of the Ikea Dolls' beds and this was the perfect one. I put together a little quilt made up of 4" crazy blocks, each one sticking to a colour family, and each one stitched by hand.

The little quilt measures 18" x 13" and was hand quilted using embroidery floss, and then embellished with colourful buttons. The binding was done by machine, I have my limits.
Making this little quilt and buying the bed has launched me on a new make a pile of little dolly quilts so that when my grand daughter is old enough to understand the Princess & the Pea, she will have her own real life scene from the fairy tale.
Linking this to the Festival. Thanks to Amy once again for organising such an event - I got a bit confused at voting time last time but think it may be a bit simpler this time around.
Thank you for visiting.

Bloggers' Quilt Festival - Spring 2013

Hard to believe it's Festival time again, hard to believe it's Spring - we have the lights on here, it's just after midday and we have torrential rain - just as well I quilt!!
We are allowed to enter two categories this time, so for my first I am entering my Strippy quilt into the Bed Quilt category.
For those of you visiting for the first time, I should just mention that I teach P & Q here in my little corner of Scotland. Last year I ran a mini course in making a Strippy Quilt and how to put it together using Quilt As You Go techniques. I am a great believer in QAYG, saves all that heaving about of large, heavy quilts and cuts down on the swearing too.
Early on in the year I came across Velocity, a fabric line by Brit Jessica Hogarth, and I just knew I wanted to use it, and I knew it would make a great "manly" quilt for my son.
Strippies are brilliant for those fabrics that you really want to showcase and can't bear cutting into. My Strippy is totally reversible and was constructed in three sections, each of two fabrics. I used four different fabrics from Velocity and each one made an appearance in 3 strips.
Each section was heavily quilted with lots of unmarked vertical and horizontal lines, using Aurifil 50wt cotton, almost a whole 1300m spool!!

The front

The back

and some close ups

I loved making this quilt, and was so pleased with the finish - it measures approx 80" square, fits a UK double bed (US full??) and I used Hobbs 80/20 batting, my favourite.

I am linking to the Festival and would encourage you all to go and visit regularly to see all the quilts, it is so inspiring. Thanks for dropping by. (I am off to put the heating on!)

Saturday, 11 May 2013

SMS Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everybody who took the trouble to leave a comment in my wee SMS giveaway - I enjoyed reading every single comment about your gardening aspirations!
So let's cut to the chase - I had quite a few no reply blogger comments and I had a couple of duplicates that I deleted. That left 104 to pick a winner from and the winner is -

(I am useless at getting the Random box to appear here - you just have to trust me!!)

True Random Number Generator  5

cheeky monkey 5said...
This looks gorgeous! I need some sun here :)

If I could I would grow cocktail tomatoes, berries and I would love to have a little apple tree.

Anneliese aka cheekymonkey! I have flickrmailed you Anneliese, will get the mini off to you as soon as I get your address. Well done!!

Thursday, 9 May 2013


If you are looking for my Sew Mama Sew Giveaway please go here.

It's been quite a creative week here, and not all of it sewing related. Last Saturday, friend Janet & I had a great day workshop learning about stained glass. We took the class with Leona Stewart here in Ayr. Her work is super and we had great tuition in her workshop , just the two of us, such a great opportunity. Leona had asked us in advance if we had any idea what we would like to make.
Janet wanted to make a panel that reflected the textile piece she had made in class last year.
Here is her wallhanging -

And here is her glass version, isn't it brilliant!

I originally thought I might try a patchwork block in glass and then changed my mind and opted to try a lighthouse as a gift for the OH who has a thing for lighthouses. It turned out not too badly, almost circular but I have to admit I was chuffed to bits with it. Neither of us had tried this before and we were thrilled to complete our projects in the day. My day was a birthday gift (yes - another one) and it was just perfect.

Today I had one of my "summer workshops", I use the term "summer" very loosely. Basically, I am just running a workshop each week for 6 weeks following the end of last session. Today's workshop was foundation piecing - most ladies who attend my classes have tackled FP before. Some have a love hate relationship with the technique and nearly everyone hesitates as they start a new FP project. Today's workshop was small, just 6 students and the emphasis was on challenge. I encouraged the ladies to choose or have me source, a reasonably challenging block that would leave them feeling much more confident about foundation piecing.
Avril already had a pattern she wanted to try and today she pieced onto paper for the first time rather than use the lightweight Vilene that I usually start folks off with. Paper is of course much quicker and more verstile as you are able to print straight from the internet etc. So this is her block, pieced in four sections. She is going to make three more.

Norma wanted to do a block with a cat in it and I sourced her block here. Probably the trickiest of today's patterns, Norma made great progress with her sleeping cat and should complete it at home in next to no time!

Elizabeth came to the workshop today after a few years away from class - she wanted to do a Pineapple block so I printed one off for her from EQ7. She soon got back into the swing of things. Her block is destined to be a cushion.

Christina had found her project in a book of animal FP projects, A Quilter's Ark, by Margaret Rolfe. 
And here is her owl! He measured about 3" x 2"!!

My final two ladies followed patterns from the same source - I sort of fell upon it and want to share with you as it's brilliant if you are looking for a meaty FP project - they do several Block of the Month programmes, some charged and some free.
Lesley chose to do their Compass of Many Colours and learned how to "chain piece" her segments. This is going to be a stunner.

Wendy is already planning Christmas projects for family gifts and when I spotted another pattern on the same site I thought she might fancy giving it a go - here is her block so far - look at those wee Santas!!

So which site am I talking about?? It's Quilting on the Square
Now they have just launched a new BOM and I couldn't believe my luck, May's block is a combo of foundation piecing and EPP.......heaven. I have made three blocks so far - once the FP hexies are made I will EPP them together, genius idea.

Lastly, I also got going on this Viewmaster block, courtesy of Kim's blog. I have plans for a quilt based on this block but will share more of that later. In the meantime I am off to Sewing Bee, I have trousers to let down!!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day

Welcome to anyone who has dropped by from Sew Mama Sew for Giveaway Day. 
I am offering this Sunshine & Showers mini quilt that I made in last year's Zakka Sew A Long. I hope it will bring a little sunshine wherever it may hang.

I am happy to post internationally - as I sit here typing I am looking out at the early evening sunshine and I can see my rhubarb which is doing extremely well this year - yum. To enter my giveaway just leave me a comment telling me which fruit or veg you grow or would grow if you could.
In the event that I get a deluge of entries, I will not reply individually if that's ok. If you think you are a no-reply blogger then please include your email address in the body of your comment. I will choose the winner as soon as practical given time differences etc, (late Friday 10th May or early Sat 11th) and if I am unable to contact you then I will re-draw until I find a winner that I can contact.
Now leave a comment and then pop over to Sew Mama Sew to see all the other goodies that you can try for.
Good luck!


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