Saturday 31 December 2011

You CAN teach an old dog...............

Although I started my blog back in 2009, things really took off this year - when I started it I don't think I really knew what I was doing - so what changed? Well I looked back at my posts and I reckon it all started when I found other blogs.
One of the first ones that made a big impression was Pink Penguin where I learned from the delightful Ayumi that making small stuff is FUN.

Another HUGE influence in blogland, especially here in the UK has been Lynne from Lily's Quilts - Lynne needs no introduction, you'll find her button on nearly every quilting blog. But because of her amazing energy and enthusiasm Brit Quilters were conceived and I learned about online friendship and swapping. I have met some great people scattered all around the world and consider myself privileged to count them as bloggy pals.
 I entered my first ever swap and made this -
 and received this beauty, from Alison, at Little Island Quilting.
In another swap, I received these beautiful items from Svetlana, at
S.O.T.A.K.Handmade - when I was looking at the mugrugs I was intrigued at the method Svetlana had used to stitch on the binding. I learned to apply  binding in the normal way but instead of handstitching it down on the back, you can machine stitch in the ditch on the right side, never come across this before.
Another thing I learned was from Kerry at verykerryberry 
Her advice was to use single fold binding on smaller items like mugrugs and what a difference this makes, so much less bulky.
Through my re-energised blogging, I discovered Flickr where you can while away many hours looking at quilts, joining groups, and chatting to like-minded folks.
I learned that red and aqua go together!
....and orange and aqua.........
Just recently, I learned from the afore-mentioned Alison, that you can actually free machine quilt with the feed dogs UP -- I tried it, and it worked. Who would have known?
I learned that hexagons were not in fact, the work of the devil and became rather obsessed by them.
A little behind my original schedule, I completed the final 5 hexies for my Hexalong project, yesterday!!

So even after quilting for a good few years, and teaching it to others, I also continue to learn from all you brilliant and generous bloggers. I try to pass on to my classes much of what I am learning.
I had fun this year running an online Mystery Quilt - still not too late to have a go altho' the mystery is no longer there - check out the page at the top of this blog.
Of course, blogland is a bit of escapism for us all - many of us post stuff that we all have in common and don't always include the realities of life that we come up against every day - sad times & happy times, we all have them.
My family said goodbye to a very dear friend in 2011 and in 2012 we look forward to welcoming our first grandchild. A bit of yin and a bit of yang.

I hope 2012 brings happiness and health to all of you.
Happy New Year.x

Tuesday 27 December 2011

It's a Wrap

And so that was Christmas..............and what have we done, another year over, etc etc.
As far as this household is concerned, lots of food, good company, great pressies given and received, I imagine much the same as for most of you.
Hands up if you are yearning, just a tiny bit,........for your sewing machine - I know, sad, but true.

I can now post my final makes that I couldn't show before Christmas for fear of spoiling surprises.
This was an enlarged and slightly altered version of Leila's fabric organiser - I loved making this.
The above quilt is really a completed UFO from last year - all that was need to finish was a bit of quilting and binding. My incentive to finish was realising it would be a perfect pressie for a pal.
The above is a Sailrigger's Bag - I have taught this bag over and over and a friend asked me to make one for her to give.
 oh, and I made another couple of coin trays.................
 ...................and of course, some of Susan's samosas - they went down rather well, think I might make them a new Christmas Eve tradition.

Friday 23 December 2011

Almost There.........

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Monday 19 December 2011

Monday Memories 5

As this might be the last chance this year for a Monday memory, I thought I would make it a Christmas one.
When I was putting my decs up this year I thought to myself that there must be a quilter living in my house - amazing how it all piles up.
This quilt was the product of a day workshop (must have been about 2002ish) in Linlithgow, at Purely Patchwork. Back in the day, when me and my friends were fledgling quilters, PP was the nearest LQS, only about 2hrs away. I know we drove there, parked, had no fabric rquirements till we arrived, bought fabric ++, went for lunch and came home happy with purses much lighter than they were when we set out. So no change there then! The quilt was simply a 9 block, built round 5 Debbie Mumm cushion panels. Whilst there in the workshop, I remember spotting a wallhanging, also DM, so had to buy the book and make this............

I am sure all these twee Christmas designs from Debbie Mumm and Lynette Jensen etc just fed in to our fascination for the American Christmasses that we grew up seeing on TV.
This would be a lengthy post if I included pics of every Christmas make, but in 2005, I held my first "Christmas in July" workshop. The above mantel cover was just one of several items available to make that day and the photo gives you a tiny glimpse of the mess that is my sewing room - I don't have a fireplace.
Around the same time, Anja Townrow published the pattern for the above star (foundation pieced) - I made one for my friend, and she made one for me. Pioneer swappers obviously!!

These wallhangings were made in 2005 too - by this time I was working part-time in our local fabric shop and we had a bale of these panels come in - I think they were by Teresa Kogut or maybe Nancy Halvorsen. I made a set of these quilted hangings, put them in the window and the whole bale sold - great feeling.
This quilt was the subject of my 2006 "Christmas in July" workshop - it included patterns and instructions to make lots of items from a mug mat to the full quilt. All the stars were foundation pieced.
And that concudes My Quilted Christmas - ta da!

Sunday 18 December 2011

Time Strictly Limited.

This week I have been a cooking and a sewing.........last night we celebrated the Strictly final with a bit of a do - so there was much merriment, lots of food, lots of drink and fab - u - luss dancing (to watch).
Harry was a worthy winner predicted in week one, by three of our guests so I had to do a very quick random selection - where is Archie when you need him? - and we had a glitter ball winner of our very own.
On the sewing front I got a couple of things done that I am able to show you -
Two Kindle covers for a friend to give.
 They were both simple flap over wallet style, made from some strip piecing. The poppy was machine embroidered.
This little organiser was made following Leila's tutorial here.
Inside - two little pockets, a pen slot & a key fob.
 and the front view - this was stitch and flip log cabin, great fun to do.

Can't show much else before Christmas but there have been more finishes - only a couple to go.
and finally......

a little something from Sew Fresh. The Little Apples yardage will be used in Baby Quilt #2 - the Boy One.
The Circa 1934, on the left, I have sort of fallen for and is I think the start of a collection that might lead to a man quilt................

..........this time next week.....................................................

Sunday 11 December 2011

A Bit of a Marathon

It's been a whole week since my last post and I have heaps to share, you might need to grab a coffee to stay the course!
Last Sunday was Gordon's Coming Out Party - when I bought my Accuquiilt Go, I set about registering it online and was asked to name my Go - em??oh...G...G...Gordon, that'll do, I thought. I bought Gordon with the intention of making him work hard and perhaps finding a way of through my classes, of hiring him out. So, I rented my usual workshop venue and threw Gordon a wee party, his "coming out" you might say.
In preparation, I cut through many scraps and made up a mini kit party bag for all who attended.
Gordon was very well received and we had a great few hours eating mince pies and cutting up scraps.......

Susan was saying Christmas had come early to her house, it would seem so here too.......last Sunday I was given this cute trio of fat 1/4s from Christelle who is embarking upon her first quilt...
We had some new fabric in the shop recently and I just had to have some.
This selection are a touch more purpley in reality, and are from Stof's Basics range. The picture doesn't do the spots justice - those particular two have a real vintage look to them.
 I just had to make up some mini bundles of 10" squares, they have been really popular.

The cat fabric is Japanese, feels like a bit linen-y, and check out the selvedge!!
The next pressies I want to show you are from Wendy.........and led to a making frenzy.

I have seen one or two tutorials over the months from Noodlehead and Hadley (sounds like a posh Gents' outfitters)for these wee coin/change trays and thought they would fit the bill nicely for some these are the boy ones (cos they wouldn't know what to do with them otherwise.)

and the girl versions.............
and so, Nicky, I'll see your 5 zippy pouches, and I'll raise you, 10 coin trays!!

 Today I finally got some Christmas stuff out - I realise I have quite a lot that would qualify for Monday Memories but might postpone that for another post. In the meantime here are a couple of future memories.
The first is my machine-embroidered Christmas bunting that I made last year.
 and new for this year.........Big Little George!!
and for anyone who is still with me, I am going to end on a real high. Yesterday I was surprised to receive an unexpected package - hadn't ordered was a fabulous gift from Helen &Archie

This lovely gift got me on several levels - Helen knows that I have some Pips and Little Apples waiting to go into a quilt - and she used some of her precious Walk in the Woods that she got from Aneela, to make this for me!! What she didn't know was that my only childhood memory of dress-up was as Little Red Riding Hood, my mum made me a brilliant red cloak..................
...........there was also a yummy choc bar in the parcel that somehow didn't quite make the photo shoot. Thank you Helen, and Archie (hope you got that biscuit).x

Sunday 4 December 2011

Monday Memories 4......... really more of a December memory and not intended to be maudelin.
I hung our advent calendar on Thursday.........
You can't make out the date on this but it's 1989, hidden by a sweetie. Obviously this was made during my cross stitch period and I recall the pattern, full size and humungous, was published in Family Circle.
1989 was our last year in Worcester. Our two wee English born babies, both December birthdays, were approaching the ages of 5 & 7. I can hardly believe I have been hanging it for 22 yrs.
But my memory of the making of this calendar puts me on a train, from Worcester to London, for you see, my pal Sheila was in Hammersmith hospital having a bone marrow transplant to try and fight off the leukaemia that she had been stricken with. She also had a family of two, aged 5 & 7.
I stitched on that train.
This is Sheila, having gamely been "made-over" by Bella magazine.
Sadly, happily ever after was not to be, and on 18th December 1989, Sheila lost her fight for life.
I think of her now and again, and always at this time of year, as Christmas approaches.
Never forgotten, forever young.x

Thursday 1 December 2011

November Highlights.

November has had a bit of giving, and some receiving, almost like a dress rehearsal for Christmas!
As always, am linking to Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day.

Monday 28 November 2011

Monday Memories 3

Now into 2001 and I had forgotten this next wee wallhanging until I was browsing thro my little record book. The reason I am posting it is because it reminded me so much of my Peeps project, turrets and pointy bits - this one was made from a panel for my niece Hope, for her 3rd birthday.(she is now 13!!)
My next project is in my book as being started in Spring 2000 and finished January 2001 - it was "T Shirt Memories" and made for favourite son. The basis of this quilt was outgrown t shirts from holidays, or brought back from foreign parts by his dad. My challenge was in unifying the pieces in some way as I cut small motifs from some and  great big squares from others. The small bits, I sashed, so I had blocks of a similar size, and I stabilised all the t shirt fabric with iron-on Vilene.(interfacing.
I remember being at Ingliston for a Quilt Show (March 2000), my first, oh and how I recall the fluttery excitement of seeing so many quilt traders.......anyway, my friend knew I was after some sashing to suit this quilt and came running up to me to say she'd seen some "boy" fabric and indeed it did suit very well. I also got some denim effect cotton too and a Debbie Mumm check for the borders.
This quilt became quite a recycled project, old t-shirts, and the backing was a cotton sheet but the unique feature is its wadding. I made use of an old wool blanket that had followed me from childhood, you know the sort of thing...I used it as a mattress cover for a while and then it lay forlorn in the airing cupboard for years. I dug it out for this quilt as it was single bed sized and imagine my surprise when I spied the label on one corner - it bore a wee picture of a sheep and the words 100% wool, made in Ayrshire. So this well travelled blanket had come home to Ayrshire via Edinburgh and Worcester and was in fact an Ayrshire blanket..
The quilting must have been quite challenging for me as this quilt is quite heavy, I did a mixture of dodgy fmq and some straight line quilting.

So, I harboured a notion that Stuart would take this quilt off to uni with him, like you read in all the American magazines but the reality is it still reside here, in my sewing room! However, favourite son is happy to have it draped across him on a cold night when he comes home for a visit.


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