Sunday 26 June 2011

It's a whopper

Now I know some of you will be thinking I am posting the next Mystery block early, but it is already Monday in Oz so just trying to be fair.
The Mystery QAL - join in anytime - is chugging along nicely....all details can be found HERE. There is also a flickr group where participants are posting pics of their progress so far - even if you are not joining in, do go and have a look, there is some super work being done.
Now - not all the blocks are the same size - this is, I hope, a compelling part of the mystery...........this week's block is the biggest so far, and in fact, the biggest in the quilt - it is a whopping 21" square.
This is a stash busting block in its own right.

Thursday 23 June 2011

One Year On................

Tomorrow marks a year since we moved house - it's been quite a year.
Today, we were having some pesky conifers chopped down...........

I reckoned it might be a bit noisy, so escaped with friend for a trip to Ikea...............and I got these -
These boxes are, I hope, the perfect size to organise & store my fabric in, not too big, not too small........oh I am going to have fun...............

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Getting Rusty

Into week 2 of our "staycation" - weather has been really unkind to us, too wet even for the garden on some days, but we are making great progress out there (that would be the "Royal" we)
Indoors I am being a bit of a butterfly in my sewing room, flitting from one project to another but I did manage to get my Japan block done.See more HERE

at least it's sunny at Wimbledon - GO MUZZA!!

Monday 20 June 2011


Lots of people in blogland have joined in the Farmer's Wife QAL - when I first saw the blocks appearing in posts, it reminded me so much of a project I started about 2yrs ago (!!).It was about this time when I had discovered Eleanor Burn's TV programme on Sky TV - she is quite a character and a quilting legend. I really enjoyed the Victory Quilt series as all the blocks were from the 1940s and Eleanor told their stories each week, dressing in 40s gear as she showed us how to construct the blocks.
I was then lucky enough to receive the book as a gift - available HERE
 For one reason or another my few blocks have been relegated to my UFO drawer..........I am being drawn more and more to the modern fabrics being used everywhere and I especially like the way folks are making very traditional blocks but giving them a new twist with the new fabrics.........see Leanne's and Lynne's.
So in the last couple of weeks, I have been thinking about my Victory blocks, I have sort of fallen out of love with the fabric,  not keen to continue so what to do? Here is what I have made so far...they are all 6" blocks and were destined to be placed on point...............
Leanne suggested I just stop now, make something out of the blocks made to date, and move on and I thought that piece of advice was quite, ok, these blocks aren't going to end up as I intended, - so what? The book is still a great one, plenty for beginners, challenges for more advanced, and a variety of techniques and, maybe I'll re-visit sometime with a bundle of new fabric.
What UFOs are lingering in your cupboards? Do they make you feel guilty?

Sunday 19 June 2011

Mother's Day

Favourite son came to stay this weekend and set off with his dad very early this morning for Knockhill and some motorbike event................favourite daughter and I managed a coffee together before she set off to her in-laws in Glasgow.............leaving poor old me home alone with the sewing machine and the rain prevented me taking to the garden and unfortunately my amnesia kicked in and I forgot about the huge pile of ironing Instead, I watched a very old Morse and made this -

Second picture is nearer the true colour.
I bought the pattern which is called the 241 Tote, from Anna over at Noodlehead quite a few weeks ago and have been itching to make it. The stripey fabric is furnishing weight and came in a pile of freebies that Carol brought to class before the end of term, loads of furnishing samples which we all got to drool over. My side panels are lighterweight denim which I pre-quilted and the pockets are quilted cotton. I added two internal pockets and it closes with a magnetic clasp.There is also an option on the pattern to insert two zipped pockets on the front panel but the furnishing fabric was pretty heavy and I thought I'd opt out of zip hell this time.
I am pretty chuffed with my efforts and would recommend the pattern - good, clear instructions and a really useful tote.

PS _ For those of you visiting from outside the UK - this is actually Father's Day.

Wednesday 15 June 2011

New York Mariner

It would appear I have created a block - my little quilt for the Brit Quilt Swap came into my head as a merger of New York Beauty and Mariner's Compass - I hadn't thought of naming it until Gayle brought the subject up I have named it New York Mariner.
I have had so many lovely, positive comments about this little quilt that I thought I would share the pattern with you - the three large segments are three x 9" blocks and the little compass is four x 4.5" blocks.
My first ideas for this were sketched and then I hit EQ6 - I didn't start there as I knew I wanted to insert the compasses into squares rather than circles, and I couldn't find just what I wanted ready made on EQ6, but after I had made my preliminary sketch on paper I hit my laptop and came up with the necessary design to go ahead. I have made the patterns available HERE & HERE.Remember before you print a PDF file you should resize it to 100%. All the blocks are foundation pieced and if you decide to have a go, I strongly advise marking in all your colours on all the pattern segments - saves a lot of confusion.
While I was preparing the blocks, I played a bit more.................
Or how about this..... 
You could have lots of fun with this block design..........

Tuesday 14 June 2011

I was reading Ayumi's latest post over at the Pink Penguin about one of the features of next year's Tokyo Quilt Festival - Partnership Quilts.
There is a major drive to collect blocks that will be made into quilts and sold to help the victims of the earthquake. Last year over 10,000 blocks were submitted which turned into 86 quilts! There is a theme to follow and next year's theme is squaress and triangles so how hard could that be?
Why don't you join in? I am going to make one and the deadline is August so no pressure..............all the details are over on Ayumi's blog HERE.

Monday 13 June 2011

Mystery Block Time

Time for another block in the Mystery QAL. If you go HERE you will find links to the new block as well as all previous blocks if you are tempted to join in.

There is also a flickR group HERE where you can see all the blocks others are making - they are looking gooood.

Thursday 9 June 2011

Bento Bag Workshop

When I first saw this bag

over on the pink penguin blog, I just knew it was the kind of project my classes would enjoy. I contacted Ayumi who graciously gave me permission to teach the bag, as long as I posted some pix afterwards.So today was the day - twelve eager beavers set to and completed their bags with expert guidance from, sorry Katrina!!
Everyone seemed to enjoy their day and agreed that the Bento Bag is a super bag, great construction and ripe for "customising" - I expect to see several more before too long.

So my heartfelt thanks to Ayumi for generously letting us use her design - I have posted all the pics individualloy on flickr, click here to get a better view.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Busy Bee

Had a really productive day - dreadful weather so no need to feel guilty staying in by my sewing machine.
The last few nights I have tried manfully to put the laptop down and get on with the hand stitching on my little Brit Quilt Swap. I don't usually do a lot of hand sewing but enjoy the randomness(?) of seed quilting. I used a variegated perle cotton and am quite pleased with the result. It has been done on the lighter green segments of the pic below. You can click for a closer look.
So today, I set to, and echo quilted around 3/4 of the quilt - I used a slightly wiggly stitch and after a couple of rounds thought it looked time went on my confidence drooped a bit but I had gone too far to bail.......what do you reckon?
I also made a to-do list which was scarily longer than I imagined but by the end of the day have ticked off one item - I have finished Big Little George, a block project from Lily's Quilts.
I had already finished the piecing, just had to finish it off, so I "bagged it" using fusible 80/20 wadding and my usual split backing to turn - this has become my favourite technique for bagging as it avoids the lumpy hand-sewn gap in any one side.
My quilting on this was a machine applique stitch around the 3 circles and then 3 rows of straight stitching in the border.

Think I might have made a Christmas pressie - ahead of the game or what?

Tomorrow is the last of my weekly workshops.......think it should be a good'un and I look forward to telling you all about it.

Friday 3 June 2011

Anyone Like Bears?

There is a giveaway going on over HERE at bearbits...............isn't he gorgeous? And, you don't have to have a blog to enter.

Zip Fear

Yesterday's workshop was Zippy Pouches..................we arrived at the Community Centre on what was obviously the first proper day of summer - to find the heating still on!
So, it is difficult to gauge whether the flushed faces and increasing stress levels were due to the heat insertion!!
Joking apart, I really wanted to show the class how easy it is for us, as quilters, to produce little useful pieces from next to nothing.

The ZIP was conquered by lunchtime and everyone worked really hard to produce pouche..s, yes, quite a few little bags were made.
If you would like to have a go - try these blogs for great tutorials -

Noodlehead - brilliant blog, lots of bags, wallets & zips HERE.
and a fun & straightforward tute from Flossie Teacakes,    HERE
and last, but not least, from Kelby Sews, a tute that concentrates on the zip ends. HERE


Wednesday 1 June 2011

Another New Month

Today I am linking to Fresh Sewing Day on Lily's Quilts. Lynne started this idea a couple of months back and it really helps to reflect on jobs done and to sort out what still needs doing. Then of course you feel chuffed, or disappointed with
My classes all finished at the end of March but I scheduled 6, day workshops from the end of April through to beginning of June, mainly smaller projects, doable in the day.
 I had to re-schedule the first workshop due to local elections but on 12th May got going with a UFO Day - those attending come along to finish off stuff - very satisfying. The small project on offer was a cafetiere cover and as I couldn't locate my previous covers which had been made two houses ago - I made a new one.
Despite a total lack of planning, I was delighted to discover it co-ordinated with my new kitchen, I had used some leftover charms from this -
Technically made in April and yet to be quilted, this runner is also destined for the kitchen.
With luck on my side, I have now counted up all the remaining charms and have enough, with some solids, to make 6 matching mats (maybe in June?)
So although I technically should have a heap of time available, I have to get myself organised for these workshops. We also had a fantastic 3 day wedding to attend in the middle of May and prior to that I was busy making this........

 I blogged about this HERE.
When we got back home from the wedding I found out who my secret swap partner was in the Brit Quilt Swap and got going on my little quilt.
Today I made a start on the quilting, so far a combination of ditch quilting, wiggly line quilting (with dogs up) and then some fmq.
We also had the "Very Useful Tote Bag" workshop in May and I finally finished one that I had started back in September.
The panel was machine embroidered and the fabric for the bag came from Africa quite a few years ago when DH, also known as Big Al, was working overseas - "bring me cotton" I wailed and this was some of it, batik with a very high glaze.
Last week was Quillows, didn't have enough space to make one myself, but tomorrow is Zippy Pouches, and I have a couple of samples ready -
Hoping to quell some zip fear tomorrow.
So, that was May, if you have made it to the end of this blog, well done and thanks for stopping by.
I don't anticipate much in June, it will be far too HOT.................


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