Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Going Large

Well I had hoped to post a bit more frequently but life is a bit hectic and I'll need to be satisfied with as and when I can manage.
I have a bit of time at the moment but as luck would have it, BT Mail is playing up and I am having trouble receiving emails  downloading attachments before my connection drops out. It is so frustrating as I have sent myself pics from my phone for this post. I'll concentrate on the words for now. (edit; it's taken most of the day on & off but have made it!)

So, January - managed a bit of sewing. I made a start on my Bee a Brit Stingy Row by Row quilt. The first row is for ourselves and I really liked the NY Beauty in one of my Pinterest pics. But I wanted to experiment a bit and drew up a square block inspired by the points of a NY Beauty. The trial block ended up in the bin - too many points coming together creating a big lumpy mess.
Take two - not too bad so I soldiered on and got my row completed.

I have asked my Bee mates for a basically black and white scheme with one extra colour of choice in each row, in each block. Background to be black or white in alternate rows and I am happy with greys being thrown into the mix. Funny to think I won't see this row back until about this time next year....

I have also been beavering away on my class quilt, quilting the four panels that will come together QAYG style to make a double version of my Modern Sampler quilt.
In an update to my last post regarding backing, I am regretting my choice of the Ikea duvet cover - it was cheap, it felt cheap and well, I just wish I had bought better stuff. It quilted fine, but I doubt it'll stand the test of time and when you consider the time and cost that goes into making a quilt top, it probably deserves something a bit better quality.
I should've known better...............

Yesterday I managed to make a whole quilt - it took me about an hour. Yes, you guessed - it's another for the Princess and the Pea project. I have been working on this wee project for over a year in a very relaxed manner. I want to make 20 little quilts to adorn an Ikea dollie's bed for Grand daughter Ava's 3rd birthday. The birthday is now only 6 weeks away so I need to pull out the proverbial finger now and finish them up - I think I have 3 to go. yesterday's was made quickly from slicing up a Heather Ross fat 1/4 and adding in strips of another fat 1/4 that I have been hoarding because I loved its colours. Not a lot of measuring took place and I bagged rather thank bound. Needs must. I will, I promise do a separate post to show all 20.

On Sunday, in Alloway Village Hall, directly opposite Robert Burn's Cottage, I held my first workshop of the year. It was 25th January, Burn's Birthday and I suppose we should have been taking part in the Haggis Hurling, but believe me, I think we were happier sewing. The workshop was one of my Accuquilt ones, using diecut animals to make a baby quilt.

The ladies had fun cutting,


                                                                 They made quite a mess,


                               Some got carried away and seemed to be planning a Safari Park,

Quilt tops were created,

And not a pink elephant in sight - just lilac giraffes.

                                                       Great fun was had by all.

                                              And finally, remember my Mega Pinnie?

Somebody always has to go one better - it really was more like a small pouffe, no end to the variations on a theme. Coffee mug in the pic is for scale, honest!!

Little & Large.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Sewing Again

Isn't it good to get back into a routine after endless days of holidays, chocolate & Christmas cake!!

I made a gentle start to my sewing by making two Bee Blessed blocks. The January block is Maple Leaf and Judith has a great tutorial on her blog. Pity I didn't pay more attention to it!! My blocks are straight & square but were snapped lying on the back of a settee so they look a bit weird. I am trying hard to use the pre cut, useful fabric that I organised last summer and pulled what I thought was perfect for these blocks. I decided to compromise and have a contrasting stalk, so far so good. However, I hadn't looked out the 3 x 4.5" print squares and of course, didn't have enough to complete without adding in the little imposter, and I had already made the HSTs.............hope it's ok.

Next I want to share a great tip - during this next term, my students will be joining the blocks of their Modern Sampler quilt and getting ready to Quilt As You Go. I have always tried to encourage a bit of creative thinking when it comes to backing fabric in an effort to save the pennies. Those of you in the US will be shocked to learn that craft cotton here in the UK is averaging the best part of $22m - totally not an economical option for backing. I have seen loads of gorgeous quilts over the last couple of years appear in blogs, with backings made from the ever popular Ikea number fabric - secretly I felt I was slipping dangerously towards recruitment for the Quilt Police because I have looked at this fabric a couple of times and turned my nose up at it.
About a year ago my friend Janet, clever girl, took herself off to Ikea in search of ideal backing and opted for a duvet cover. Now this is just genius because you basically get twice the fabric for your money. A double duvet cover is 2m x 2m and you get both sides, that is a lot of fabric.
So I threw caution and prejudice to the wind and took a trip too. And got this -

I grabbed the double duvet cover at £15, not realising until I got home that the quilt that I am making is 84" long! You might be noticing a pattern in my approach to projects............
Anyway, inspiration struck and I unpicked a couple of the pillowcases that were included and would you believe an unpicked pillowcase measured 70" wide!! So I have joined sections on to the panels I have cut ready to layer up.

Onward, ever onward.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year

subtitled - always look on the bright side of life.

Goodbye to 2014 and welcome 2015. As we hurtle through the 2000s it always amazes me how quickly time seems to have passed since we were all worrying about the Millennium Bug and nearer to home, we were preparing for a Millennium party.

Usually we look back at this time of year but I'll keep my sewing memories short and stick to December only - I kept my sewing to a minimum to avoid that horrible stressful feeling that seems the opposite of the pleasure we should get from making gifts.

I made three things.

The Death Star cushion, for my 7 yr old nephew - very well received, phew! Pattern was courtesy of  Melinda at Quirkygranola girl

My second gift was a Kilner Jar pincushion - very quick to make and open to many possibilities.

My third, and final gift was a Bionic Gear Bag. I have watched many bloggers produce beautiful Sew Together pouches and discovered quite an online controversy over the origins and originality of both of these bags. Being slightly perverse and really not interested in joining the debate, I chose to buy the Bionic Gear bag pattern, all 33 pages of it...................it took me two full days to make and I found it quite the challenge, mainly because I don't really enjoy struggling with thick seams  However, I was chuffed with the result, wouldn't say no to making another and the recipient liked it!

But, no more looking back, let's see what the future holds.

My classes start back next week for a term of joining blocks and Quilting As We Go.
I have two Sunday workshops before the end of my quilting year in March - both involve help from my Accuquilt Go, Gordon.

On the personal sewing front, I am pretty excited about Bee a Brit Stingy 2015. Sadly we are reduced to six members and we have chosen to do a Row by Row Round Robin quilt. I have a Pinterest board with some inspiration and I think I have reached a decision which is good as I have January & February to complete Row 1.
I hope to get back in the Bee Blessed saddle and contribute blocks each month to this worthy cause.

In less than a week, my daughter & family move in with us whilst they are "between houses". Their new one will not be ready until May and the old one was sold much quicker than anyone anticipated.

Our house is not huge so I am nobly sacrificing my sewing room, aka the spare bedroom - the upside of this is that I spent today re-locating to the conservatory and having a bit of a clear out at the same time.
We may not have many rooms but we are blessed with loads of big cupboards, some of which are being re-organised. Upside - a nice pile of stuff for the next charity bag and finding a haul of bubble wrap in the loft which had been put away in case it came in useful, and guess what? It has.

So for the next few months I will accentuate the positives and look on the bright side. Another upside - we shall have a cat in the house again after a couple of years without. And if no one else is quite ready, Colin certainly seems to be.


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