Tuesday 31 January 2012

Mouthy Stitches

Getting on with my zippy pouch for the Mouthy Stitches swap.
Like everyone in the swap, I know who I am making for but not who is making for me. I think there are about 90 of us in this swap and lots of posting going on over at the flickr group.
I think many of us who have already been in swaps have experienced quiet partners - in my case I once had a total absentee - so the rules of this swap insist on active participation, quite rightly. I am finding it a bit of a slog though as there are so many pics posted each day and I would hate to miss out on commenting for my partner's benefit.
Anyway, here is a pic of my WIP......... since taking this photo, I have added fabric zipper ends and purchased some black perle cotton to hand stitch the red linen.

Hope my partner approves, she is a teensy bit quiet.............

Monday 30 January 2012

Monday Memories #9

Before I leave 2003 completely I have to tell you about Jenny's memory quilt.
I headed home from Curacao in the November of 2003 in time for said daughter's graduation. Like the wonderful mother I am, it suddenly dawned on me that her upcoming Christmas birthday (yes, I had an attention seeking Christmas Day birth) would in fact, be her 21st. Now perhaps, as a quilter I should come up with something for her.............
Full to bursting with newly learned techniques, there was one I hadn't tried - photo transfer. So before I headed home, I selected lots of pics and did the planning. Once I got home it was really just an assembly job, whilst Jenny was out during the day!
I used Bubblejet 2000 fluid to prepare my cotton fabric and printed the photos thro normal home printer at best quality. The results were great.(although it hasn't stood the test of time, b&w has now faded to sepia)
This little quilt recorded Jenny from birth thro to graduation and started with a printed verse -

'Twas the night before Christmas
The year, '82
You decided 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".

On Christmas morning, this gift brought a tear to favourite daughter's eye - RESULT!!
However, favourite son, a couple of years younger, was quick to say -
"please don't make me one of those for my 21st!!"
Thought I'd leave you with some close ups to give you a Monday giggle.......

Friday 27 January 2012

Profanity Block

So there I was last night at sewing bee - (me and a few friends have been meeting on Thursdays for 20+ years, sewing, knitting, quilting) -  and I was telling a tale of an email I had received from a bloggy pal containing a sweary word that was so in context and made me laugh out loud. This then reminded me of an email I had sent my son at work containing such a word. It was returned to me because of a "Profanity Block" (I then received a mild rebuke from said son).
Anyway, quick as a flash, Lorna from Outside Inspiration,  with the benefit and speed of a youthful mind, said, "is that a new patchwork block"..........
..........which got me thinking - have you a block that reduces you to profanity??
In today's shop class, this block had that effect -

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Blocks for Japan

Do you remember the appeal for blocks for Japan that we first heard about thro the lovely Ayumi? Well that girl has been to see all the finished quilts in Tokyo, and posted them all on the flickr group - go and look, thay are amazing!
A couple of ladies in my classes made bocks and I have spotted them in finished quilts.

Helen McD made this one -

and here it is in a quilt

Helene R made this block -
and I spotted it in this quilt - (top right)

and I made this one -

and found it on this quilt

You get a much better view of all the quilts over on flickr - take the slideshow and be prepared to gasp in admiration. it's heartwarming stuff.

Monday 23 January 2012

Monday Memories 8

Towards the end of 2002, I saw an article in the Popular Patchwork magazine about online P & Q City & Guilds courses. This had some appeal for me as I had been quite interested in doing the course but there was nothing suitable locally. An online option seemed ideal as I was planning to run off into the sunset with my OH in February 2003........he had spent some years travelling overseas with his work and had the chance of a year long contract in Curacao, a little island in the Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean. Favourite daughter was living at home but at Uni so was happy(?)to look after house & cats, favourite son had just gone to uni in Glasgow so was embarking upon the road to independence!! So, I signed up for the course with the wonderful Linda and Laura Kemshall, an amazingly talented mother and daughter team, and headed for the sun! I am sure you will have come across their work before, especially if you have been to the Festival of Quilts.
Hard now, to believe that we lived in Curacao, it seems so long ago already. Thought I'd put together a mosaic to give you a flavour of the inspiration for most of my course work.
Curacao was a great opportunity for me - OH has been to many places, but this was my first unusual destination - the climate was dreamy, 28 and sunny most days, water was good to drink due to the island's own de-salination programe and there was no risk of hurricanes at this location.
I travelled back home for April & August and our kids came out for a month each too, as well as having several of our good pals visit with us. I became a pretty good tour guide, especially for the ostrich farm!!
Meanwhile, I plugged away at my course - I enjoyed it thoroughly but on reflection would have welcomed some peer interaction. This might well be part of the courses today.
For my first assessment piece, I made a cushion which showcased a few of the techniques I had learned.

Mad, isn't it?
My final assessment was a quilt - I never really liked it, got a bit carried away including every technique I could. I suppose in the sunshine it seemed like a good idea, but I really think the sun must have gotten to me. I have never shown this quilt to any of my classes, I keep it in a cupboard, and have recently been harbouring thoughts of chopping it up and "doing something with it".
 Go on - have a close - up!
So that was 2003 into 2004. I finished the course, got my certificate so was chuffed with that achievement.
It was an intensive course at the time and much of what I learned stood me on great stead for what was to come next..............
Meanwhile, back in the present, I have a finish for Rhonda's FAL.

It's my little Monochrome Magic quilt, started late 2009, finished January 2012!

Wednesday 18 January 2012

It's not about the taking part................

.....it's all about the winning,lol. I finished the Peeps quilt on Monday night, just about the time Lynne posted details of a competition over at Aurifl threads. So I thought, what the heck! I'll submit my quilt. Apparently it's ok to shamelessly ask friends to vote for your quilt so please pop over and vote for me even tho there are tons of better quilts on show.
These are the prizes on offer -
I did hope for a bit of sunshine to show off The Peeps but it's dull and raining - no surprise there, then!
 the front
the back
and my close up fmq - have to show it off, not perfect but I am pleased with it.

and now for something completely different, but well worth winning:-
Ali, over at Very Berry Handmade has a wonderful giveaway linked to New Year resolutions. I have been reading several bloggers' resolutions and have been thinking about it all morning. It would be fairly easy to make a nice long list and then promptly do little or nothing to achieve the goals set out. So, my aim is sort of back to front - I am going to try not to take on too many new projects this year and to reduce my Christmas makes to just a few, for special friends. I have a notion to make my son a new quilt and have fallen for Circa 1934 by Cosmo Cricket so that idea is festering in my mind. So far this year I have joined Rhonda's Finish a Long which I think is concentrating my resolve to clear up those UFOs. And, I jumped into the Mouthy Stitches Swap, how could I not?
So why don't you visit Ali's blog and leave a comment, you might win one of the fabulous prizes on offer. I think I fancy this one -

or maybe,
Good luck!

Monday 16 January 2012

Looking Forward

Today I thought I'd give looking back a miss. I will continue with my Monday Memories but for me, at the moment, 2012 is all about looking forward.
Already, I have 3 pretty important things due to happen this year. The first one has galvanised me into a bit of quilt action - I am making two quilts as we don't know if it's to be a pink baby or a blue baby.I am not all that sure that my quilts are gender specific but I liked the fabrics so much.............so, progress report:-
It's all quilted, just waiting for the binding to be handstitched down, it has progressed from the above pic and should soon be finished. I have been influenced and encouraged by all you clever bloggers and I did lots of fmq on this one.Will give you a closer look next time.
I was a wee bit late to the Sherbet Pips party but bagged myself a charm pack last year, quickly followed by a Little Apples charm pack too. Mother-to-be picked out all the charms she thought would be ok for a boy and I sashed in some plain white sashing as well as red and aqua Pips yardage. I cut my sashing to 2" and then wonky cut all the blocks to 6 1/2". This was a fun and very quick wee quilt to put together. I have Little Apples yardage for the backing and binding. This quilt is a little smaller than the Peeps one.
 I know these quilts won't be cot quilts as it seems babies are all about gro bags and other such stuff - the nursery is ready in beautiful neutral shades. No, I am hoping my quilts will be loved and dragged about by a toddler who will want to curl up on the sofa with it.
The other two events? Well, in May I have decided to leave my part time job with our local fabric shop - I will have been there for nearly 8yrs - shop work wasn't always my occupation but I sought out this job in 2004 when I started teaching P & Q, as a bit of a boost to my income. It's been like working as part of a small family and it's been fun. But as all the celebrities say, it's time to concentrate on my family now. I will however continue to run my classes and workshops as long as there is an appetite for them.
And the third?
We are off to see some of these this year - a very long awaited return Downunder and a chance to catch up with my big sis.
I wasn't even a quilter last time we went...................

Monday 9 January 2012

Monday Memories 7

I am finding this series quite a good exercise in recalling events and in general what was going on in my life, other than quilting.
It would seem that I was a busy quilter from 2000 thro' 2002 and I was thinking about that this morning.
In January of 2000 I gave up my job with our local council as my family were scheduled to move to Cyprus for a year or so. My husband had been working overseas on short term contracts and this one seemed like it would suit all of us. Favourite daughter would leave school in May and take a year out with us. Favourite son was going to go to an International school and do the Baccalaureate instead of Highers.........lots to do and organise. How could I be quilting too?
At the11th hour, the plan fell thro'.......Jenny got a place at Uni and Stu went back to school.
Sometimes life does that - no regrets.

In 2001 Allan & I had our first trip to the US, and Stu came along too. Jenny went off elsewhere with teenage friends (eek!)
How I remember the excitement of going to the Land of the Quilt - I would experience real quilt shops, and I did. Our trip took us from Washington down thro' Virginia and back up. I visited a teeny wee shop in a place called Occoquan, saw quilts in Williamsburg, visited the Harrisonburg Quilt museum, went to a Mennonite quilt store and of course, discovered the delights of Walmart. (We did other stuff too, like see a baby black bear, and have a car crash!)
I bought an Americana "cheater" panel called Sweet Land of Liberty, by Sandy Gervais, and this was to be the inspiration for this week's Monday Memory.
I once heard, or read, that we(quilters) all have one good quilt in us - this is mine. Look closely and you'll see points chopped off and skinny filler strips to bring a block to size.........don't care, it's my favourite.
The pattern for this quilt was published in British P & Q in the January of 2002 - it was a monthly thing, a few blocks at a time, and I decided it would be a good way to learn different techniques. I didn't like using templates but some of those blocks had to be done that way. Oh boy, it was a challenge. I collected Americana fabrics, mainly online from the US and I followed what I think was the best piece of advice given in the magazine, and that was to keep darker value fabrics for star points.By doing just that I think it makes those stars really stand out.
The quilt was QAYG using two different width of strips to join each block - althought this meant the actual quilting was really straightforward, I found the joining so laborious and haven't given this method another thought, until just recently........
 The quilt was designed by Gwenfai Rees Griffiths and the eagle-eyed among you will spot that it became my inspiration for my Mystery Quilt.
So, what did I do with the cheater panel? I cut it up and used it on the back
I named my quilt "Sweet Land of Liberty" (original, huh?) and as well as being a reminder of our American holiday, it also serves as a reminder of the unforgettable events of September 2001.
In March 2004, my quilt, along with lots of other "Houston Stars" was feaured in the P & Q Magazine.
So is it all downhill from here?? Check back next week and see.........
Breaking news - The Peeps quilt is ready for binding, and the Pips blocks are all made, but you will have to wait a wee while longer to see those.

Saturday 7 January 2012

(Sew) Get Started

Sarah over at Fairy Face Designs is beginning a series of tutorials for beginners to sewing. This will be entry level stuff so if you are thinking of taking the plunge I heartily recommend you pop over and start following.
FairyFace Designs
Another good reason to have a look is that Sarah is also hosting a wee giveaway to coincide with the launch of the series so you could win yourself a scrap pack of fabric to kick start your stash.

I will be doing a guest tutorial on 29th March so quite excited about that - I will be doing a Pot Holder/Stand involving a bit of folded patchwork.
Here is a sneaky preview of the sort of thing I mean...........
 Looks like there will be heaps of great stuff going on.................

Wednesday 4 January 2012

Under Starter's Orders......

2012 Finish-A-Long

Rhonda over at Quilter in the Gap is hosting a finish-a-long. I have been watching with interest as folks sign up to join in and pondering my own UFOs.
I already have 3 WIPs so not counting them as UFOs yet as they really are ongoing, well, two ongoing and one just started.
So I went to the drawer marked "UFOs" and pulled out some stuff.......but, I need to be realistic, I just know I won't pull off the finishes needed to complete all my UFOs so will spread them out as the year rolls on.
Most of my UFOs start out as class or workshop samples. I usually have a finished sample ready for classes but quite often make another as I demo. These are the ones that lie unfinished, and unloved.
 Last January I held a Crazy Patchwork workshop and had prepped several hand-pieced blocks. I am holding another similar workshop in early February so would really like to take this wee quilt along, finished! For some reason I layered it with wadding onto muslin and hand quilted. Since then I have put on a backing piece and it needs to be caught down here and there, and then bound - how hard can that be?

This one is also from a workshop - my "Day Trip around the World" - this was a case of showing how to, rather than telling, and it left me with a quilt top. Later, I used my embroidery machine to add some "Carribean Creatures" and nothing more has been done, this might be a 2010 baby. When I took it out of the drawer today I thought it might make a super baby playmat........
And lastly, this next one was my Dead Simple Quilt - I cheated and did a mini version so this only measures about 18" square. It really wouldn't take much to transform it into something.....but what?
My name is Sheila, and I am a poor finisher.......

Tuesday 3 January 2012

Monday Memories 6

I know it's Tuesday, but do you? Still a Bank Holiday here in Scotland and at that stage of forgetting which day is which.
Today's memory is just the one quilt - still flung over a settee so in daily use I suppose. The pattern was in a Fabrications magazine back in 2001 and was medallion style, working out from the centre.
I think by this time I had amassed a bit of a stash and so this was really my first scrappy quilt. I still love an Ohio Star block and am fond of this one - it's one of those quilts that you can pick out fabrics and remember where you got them from.
I have a particular memory of laying all the blocks out on my living room floor - my daughter's friend came round and had to pick her way thro all the blocks, not a startling memory, just one of those wee pictures that flash into the mind.
By the time I made this I was well into using my Sheila's Star quilting pattern and on this quilt there are lots of smaller block sized strars and also one giant one, the size of the quilt.
I quite like that it has no borders too.
Hope everyone here in the UK has survived the awful gales today.

Sunday 1 January 2012

One Last Look...

...back, at December. It was all about gifts. Went a bit mad with the coin trays.....
And for the first time this year, I am linking to Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day - why don't you pop over and spend some time browsing through some fine work.


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