Saturday 31 March 2012

First Quarter Ends.......

I joined in with Rhonda's Finish -a- Long, in January and aimed for 3 finishes. I am finding the biggest challenge is collating all the info to link back to her blog for the end of quarter judging. Here we go......
None of my projects were big quilts, just annoying stuff that needed me to spend some time getting them done.
First up was my Crazy Quilt, left languishing for a couple of years and it only needed a bit of extra quilting and binding. Done!

My next was another piece made for a class workshop, or rather, along with a class as a demo piece that I never finished on the day. It needed quilting and binding and I added further machine embroidery when I realised it would make a great playmat for Ava.......I finished this one and make no apologies for trying to wring extra votes out of you with these pix.

Last up is my Dead Simple Quilt A Long piece that I made from Lynne's QAL - I cheated and made a small piece about 18" square and liked the colours but didn't follow thro to the end. I have now, and it became this........

.......knitting bag.
I am now off to add these up to Rhonda's linky party.

PS - Still time to enter my mini giveaway here.

Thursday 29 March 2012

Guest Post

Today I am guest posting over at Fairy Face Designs  with a tutorial to make a folded pot stand.
They are pretty easy to make, not a lot of sewing involved, and make great pressies. Thanks Sarah, for inviting me and hope you all have a go at making one.
Co-incidentally, this is my 300th post - leave a comment on Sarah's blog and come back and tell me that you have done and I will have a draw this time next week. The winner will receive the sample pot stand in the above picture. If you do not have a blog please include your email address in your comment. I am happy to send it anywhere in the World.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Granny Brain

Well, I certainly seem to have fallen off the blog train - life has taken a bit of a new direction with the arrival of baby Ava, but I can't blame her completely for my lack of posting. I am now in my final week of classes before my big summer break, and have been knee deep in prep for my annual Open Day and also organising my class lists for next session. Throw in a couple of nappy changes and a family get together and something just had to give.
Hopefully, normal service will resume soon, I feel like I have been off school for ages!
So, I am trying to catch up on my blog reading and have just read this post over at Lynne's. Those of us who have been quilting for a while will be familiar with charity quilting projects - quilters can be so generous.
Through my classes, we support our local Project Linus, and raise funds each year at our Open Day to support a chosen charity. Some of my ladies are also involved this year with the Alzheimer's Project.
So, Lynne has thrown her cap in the ring and is trying to raise about 50 quilts that will be given to siblings in the UK,  who are separated on a day to day basis but are brought together for summer camp - these quilts will be given as a special keepsake.
I am going to pledge this quilt that I made last year - it was what I called my first modern quilt and had no particular recipient in mind. I hope it cheers up a young person.

Oh, before I go, don't forget to pop over to Sarah's on Thursday, where I will be doing a guest tute to make a folded pot stand.

Monday 19 March 2012

Monday Memories #14

Sorry, missed a week, something came up.............., 2007 - since I started teaching P & Q, I have experienced a teeny bit of what people in the fashion industry must experience, always thinking of the next year. As I begin a new session and a fresh project, I invariably start having seeds of thought about the next year. This is necessary because a new project needs a new sample.
Back in 2007 my daughter was getting married. Now when you are a quilter there's more to a wedding than venue and a new frock  isn't there? I asked Jenny if she would like a quilt and happily (she knows better) she said yes. She requested one along the lines of my "Sweet Land of Liberty" quilt. So I thought, stars...........
Her chosen colours for home dec were browns and teals, a fashion that lasted a few years and did indeed spill over into quilting fabrics.I had a notion that I wanted to try and grade the shading of my quilt from top to bottom and play about a bit with the colours. I researched and picked out star blocks that I hadn't used before, and I kept all the blocks to one size.

Well, that kept me busy and it has become a quilt in use,always a compliment in my book.
However, if I was busy making this, what about a class project for 2007?? Brainwave - I'll make it up as I go along run a Mystery Quilt!! Bloomin' brilliant and a testimony to the trust and loyalty of the lovely ladies who came to my classes.
I based my Mystery Stars also on my Sweet Land of Liberty and gave out fabric requirements. I advised on choosing a neutral, plainish background. Remember, the students didn't know they were going to be making stars but I wanted them to get good contrast into their quilts.
This is my own version - apologies to Hadley for the amount of brown in this blog post.

There were lots of beautiful versions made of Mystery Stars - I have added them all to my flickr photostream here. If you have time go on over and have a look. But I will leave you with just one of the quilts - made by lovely Sheena, sadly no longer with us. Sheena was quite traditional in her choice of fabrics but for this project she chose a bright batik as her background - hmm, thought I, how shall we play this? Sheena was choosing her fabrics in our shop and I was assisting - so I suggested for all other requirements, she choose solids. Her quilt was being made for her daughter, an art teacher, and I know it hit the spot, beautifully. It's the middle one in this next pic, so vibrant, so different.
I hope you have enjoyed this Mystery tour - as many of you know it led to me repeating the project last year  thro my blog and I have a flickr group for those who participated, I hope these photos inspire those who are still to complete theirs. And for anyone who would like to begin the tour, all the patterns and instructions can be found here.

Sunday 18 March 2012

What a difference........

........a week makes.
Last week at this time we were sick with anxiety as we climbed aboard the emotional rollercoaster of grandparenthood.
After the initial and lengthy anxiety, came the euphoria of Ava's birth and our first meeting. The relief of knowing that she and her mum, my baby, were ok.
I was on the top of the big dipper as I posted my last blog and then swooped downhill as a message came thro to say the wee one had been whisked off to neo-natal care not long after our visit..........
..............she was in good hands, her slow entry to the world had caused some breathing difficulties and a few days in special care did the trick. Jenny, my daughter, also had the bonus of some extra enforced rest instead of being turfed out of hospital "as soon as the cord was cut".
They are now home and all getting used to being a family together. Phew.
So, I sort of fell out of blogland this week, I have missed many posts but will sneak back slowly now.

On Monday morning I found this on my doormat - from my lovely young friend, Lorna - it is my very own granny square/burp cloth.
And, somewhere in the last week I managed to add the borders to my hexie quilt - how did it get to be so big? It is measuring about 60 x 64, not too shabby.
This week has also been really busy with admin for my classes. My new programme had gone out a couple of weeks ago to my current classes so booking has been brisk - there will be two projects next session for my non beginner classes. I also sent out my Workshop programme and Beginners programme to those on my mailing list.........well, I have had unprecedented response to my beginners this year, I now only have 3 places left, for an August start!! I blame Kirsty Allsopp!! I even had a booking from a lady on holiday in New Zealand - wow!
Hope to catch up with you all soon, but I shall end by saying Happy Mothers' Day to my daughter!! Oh, and maybe just one gratuitous baby pic?

Sunday 11 March 2012

It's A Girl!

Meet Ava Katie, 6lbs 14ozs, arrived today.

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Rhonda Helped Me

When my son was a wee boy he liked nothing better than playing with his cars, he had dozens of them and would spend ages lying flat on the floor "brumming" them around his room. He would listen to music whilst he played and one particular day had the Beach Boys on his (I'd love to say CD player, but I fear it might have been a cassette player)- as I passed his room, he called out to me, "Mum......what's a rhonda??".
And this goes down in family history as funny things the kids say, you know how it is.
Well now I know a real life Rhonda through blogging,  and in January, she launched her Finish - a - long.
I admit wondering if there was much point in signing up, but then thought I'd give it a go, but not put myself down for too much.
I submitted 3 items - and they are all done!! Woo hoo.
I won't re-post the Crazy Quilt that I finished off in January.
The second, I also showed a week or so ago in my monthly round up but have bound it now -
My last UFO was this -

I made this when Lynne launched her Dead Simple QAL last year - I never intended making a quilt but was interested in using a specific colour inspiration and used this image,
I was determined to make my sample from my stash and was happy when I managed to - I used 2.5" squares and this piece finished at about 18" x 20", I think. And that was that. I suppose I thought maybe it would become a cushion but I think coming through February and taking part in Mouthy Stitches, had an effect on me because I ended up making this -
                                                     A knitting bag - it took a 20" zipper.
I think I might have made my first Christmas pressie!!
So thanks Rhonda, I have 3 entries waiting for the end of March.

Monday 5 March 2012

Monday Memories #13

I sat down to do this post but first I trawled through my files of pictures from classes through the years to remind myself of which projects were done hour or so later I have accomplished a great deal of "housekeeping" and have tidied up quite a lot of files. Not before time.I also had a very anxious few minutes where I thought I'd been over zealous and lost some, but all is well - phew.
Things were still quite new with my classes in 2005 into 2006 and I was really pleased at how many ladies chose to return year on year. Coupled with new beginners, this gave me a logistical problem trying to accommodate everyone - good problem to have.
So around about 2006 all my classes became fortnightly (every two weeks) and things sort of worked out and fell into a bit of a pattern.
I tend to plan a quilt project one year with smaller projects the next whilst maintaining the same beginners' course each year.
In 2006 I introduced Trees in the Valley -
This was a fun project made up of 6" blocks in vertical rows of 6 blocks. Some chose to make just two block panels, some 6 x 6 and Nan made four single panels, each depicting one season - it was very special.
This photo doesn't do it justice but hopefully gives you the general idea.
As a self confessed control freak, I hope I manage to encourage a little self expression each year. There is no problem making the project exactly as my sample, but there is always scope for a little individuality.
 This was Christine's take on the project, inspired by her love of the local countryside.
 And Carcassone provided the inspiration for this one, by Lynn.
Wynn chose to depict local salt houses. Lots of clever ladies in my classes, I often feel like a bit of a fraud.
In 2006 my Sewing Bee pals and I decided to go on a course of our own and we attended one Saturday a month for 5months with Pat Archibald.. I am a total Pat groupie and think her work is fantastic. If you have time, do visit her website to view some of her wonderful work. Our course was "A Creative Journey" and she led us through the different elements of design, completing exercises and small pieces of work before producing a covered scrapbook of all our work. The subject matter was a significant place of our own choosing, somewhere we had visited and I chose Queensland. I think we all found the course quite challenging, very satisfying too, and sometimes surprisingly emotional!.This is one of my inspirational pics, of Brisbane.
Next time I shall reveal why I decided to run a Mystery Quilt............

Saturday 3 March 2012

My Modern Mini

There is a competition going on in blogland which is coming to it's finale this weekend. It's the Modern Mini Challenge that is being hosted by Jennifer at Ellison Road Quilts.

Over the last few weeks some very talented bloggers have shown us some very inspirational wee quilts.
I am throwing my hat into the ring with this mini.
It wasn't my first idea but the phrase "think of a big quilt and shrink it" kept coming back to me - so I have recently completed this quilt - finished block size is 6"
  and here is its baby - finished block size - 3". So the size of this mini is 9" x 12"
  and here is mother and baby together.
I won't say I pushed myself too much with this wee quilt but it was a challenge just finding a bit of time at the moment to devote to indulging myself and having such fun putting it together, and I love it. And so I am linking to the challenge. You should pop over and have a look, there are heaps of super quilts there already.

Friday 2 March 2012

Good Friday

Got home from work today, in the sunshine, to find this on my mat -
 This definitely is the prettiest mailing bag I have seen........
 and look what was inside - another two pretties.......
 and then - this gorgeous pouch from Sarah, my secret partner........she certainly stalked me well and studied my mosaic. I got linen, I got log cabin, I got hand stitching (lots and lots of French knots) and on the back,
I got hexies! They are so teeny and she made them in blue to compliment my screen name - wasn't that thoughtful?
There is a lovely charm on the zip pull and the pouch is a really good size, I am going to put this to work very soon, I love it. And I got lovely scraps too. What a great swap this was, thanks to Hadley, Susan & Cindy for all their organisational skills.x
Thank you Sarah, from Iowa (is this Heaven?) x

Thursday 1 March 2012

One Track February

Most of  accomplishments in February were baby related.......I am writing this on 29th in readiness for Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day and as I type, it seems that my favourite daughter has kept her legs crossed to avoid a leap day baby - hooray!
Just missing out in my January makes was this pincushion for my sewing table - it is excellent, no pins lying about......
It's working well for me, and I love the scraps that I used - thoughtfully picked out and sent to me by Reene in the Brit cushion swap.
 Next up was my zippy pouch for the Mouthy Stitches swap - sent this off last week to my secret partner, and am patiently (not) awaiting mine. This was a fun swap and pouches are dropping thro letterboxes all over the World!

In February I managed to finish the hexies, get them all sewn together and I have attached a first, narrow border.I am thinking a wider second border, first thought was white but moving towards grey, what do you think?
Oh, and in case you think I put a lot of thought into my work -lol, the narrow border was binding that I cut too narrow for my Peeps quilt - I did use a bit of the same fabric in the hexies so I think I can be forgiven..

My Pips quilt is pretty much done as far as quilting goes, all bound and awaiting the baby's arrival (if it's a boy) I have done a little machine embroidery (apples) on it and plan a bit more........

I intend calling this one Apple Pips as it is a hybrid of two charm packs, Sherbet Pips and Little Apples.

Next up is my Caribbean Creatures, an almost finished UFO, just the binding to hand stitch and I can add it to my Finish A Long projects - thanks Rhonda for keeping me motivated to finish stuff.
I fancy this one as a playmat for keeping in my own house and I added a bit of fun to it with words.

 This might prove fun in years to come?

I already had the strippy panels in a drawer so just had to pad them out a bit and voila - a backing. Job done!

 May I present to you, my first ever (and probably last ever) patchwork slippers! Ta da. These are for my sis, in Oz,,who spotted them online somewhere - turns out they are one of Ayumi's designs and I managed to track down and download the pattern here. It cost only $4.00 so pretty good value I reckon. As ever, I still have to stitch down the binding and then they will be done. And a big thank you to Christelle for giving me some grippy stuff for the soles, hard to track down in the UK.

And, lastly, I managed to whip up a block for Judith's Bee Blessed project. I have missed a couple of months for this good cause - sorry Judith. But, I had so much fun making this one, she looks a bit lopsided but hopefully will fit right in. If you would like to try this at home, go on over to Judith's blog - she has a great tutorial.

Maybe I should call her Pippi Pips.......
Some of you might have noticed that Monday Memories is missing this week - I am finding the weekly schedule a bit much just at the moment but it will be back soon, promise.
Does anyone ever feel like their head is going to burst, they have so many ideas and projects in there, just bursting to come out??


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