Friday 25 May 2012

Jubilee Jack

I thought I would join in the Jubilee fervour and share Jubilee Jack with you.

All my blog pals out there know I can't be with you in London for the Jubilee weekend  retreat - another time perhaps.
Meanwhile I wish you all a wonderful weekend and hope you might like to make your own Diamond Souvenir.
I have made the foundation pattern available for download here.

Thursday 24 May 2012

Mama's having a giveaway!


Jo, over at Bearpapw, was my first ever swap mama in my first ever swap. She also has a shop in Edinburgh, my home city, so for these two reasons alone, I urge you to go visit her blog.
Her real life shop sells all sorts of lovely stuff, homewares and fabric and wool etc. The shop has just launched its online facility and to mark this, Jo is having a giveaway. Whether you knit, sew, craft or do a bit of all of this, it's worth joining in. Just click on the picture above.

Monday 21 May 2012


My number came up in last week's Zakka draw!! I have won $30 gift voucher from Zipit, our favourite Etsy zip store. I foresee many zippy pouches in my future, really chuffed to win, thank you Zipit.

This week's Zakka style project is a smallish quilt - I am giving this one a body swerve for now as my holiday approaches - but I was asked yesterday if I could make another cot quilt for my little nephew and I think this one might fit the bill.

Looking ahead through the projects a couple of weeks ago,  I started making the messenger bag - I spent a lovely self-indulgent day breaking the back of the project but had to put it on the back burner until I sourced and took delivery of the required hardware.

I pencilled in today as the day it would be completed and despite an unscheduled babysit, I have just managed to complete it.
It is actually next week's project but too excited not to share now.

I am pretty pleased with myself - now before you all rush to tell me about my wonderful quilting, I have to confess and tell you about my fabric choices.
The book, of course, suggested linen, but I have a wee pile of interesting fabrics that one of my lovely ladies in class - "Pink Caryl" provided. She has a friend who works in a textile company, not sure where or what, but she accesses samples that...wait for it......sit down............would otherwise be sent to .......landfill!!
Most of these fabric samples are decent sized, all home decorating weight, so when Caryl brings a pile to class, we all shout , with one accord - "BAGS".
So the fabric in my stash that became my bag outer, is a cotton/silk blend, yum, and has a quilted finish. My husband, known for his artisitc sensibilities, thinks it looks like a bit of carpet underlay - remember "Tredaire?"
The leaves were fashioned from scraps of faux suede and other home dec samples I have had for many years. They give lovely texture to the front of the bag.
Inside I used fresh, new apple cotton but miscalculated the amount needed and had to mix it with some Lizzy House bracelet fabric.
I used a strong cotton webbing for the straps. This is one of those smug makes that hasn't cost much at all, I might even use it!
I found the pattern fine to follow. I did reduce the width of the gusset (not keen on the word "gusset") and I completely missed the instruction to topstitch the top of the pockets..grrrr.......and I think I might slip something into the base just to firm up my bottom. (steady...!!)

Sunday 20 May 2012

Spring Quilt Festival

I am hoping to squeeze my quilt into Amy's Quilt Festival, as I write this post there are already 340 entries - wow! Why don't you pop over and have a look while you enjoy a cuppa?

Amy's Creative Side
So, I looked at the criteria for entering and decided to show off my hexie quilt again, some of you have seen it before, if you are visiting for the first time, welcome and thanks for popping in.
I started this quilt last year after Lynne and Gail started their hex-a-long. They, in turn, had been inspired by
a beautiful take on a traditional quilt and I was intrigued. I started quilting in 1998 but have fervently avoided piecing over papers. I am not fond of Grandmother's Flower Garden and could never have believed that I would spend hours and hours cutting, basting and that was a huge learning curve.
In blogging, I was getting to know others and I learned that it was possible to make real friends this way, who'd have thought? Several of us would share our hexies and compare notes along the way.
As someone who hated maths in school, I was obsessed with all the intricate shapes possible from the humble hexagon. I began to see hexies everywhere........
I never really imagined it would become a quilt, didn't think I'd make it that far, but the obsession was too strong.
My fabric choice started with the soft greys and teals and then I pulled from my stash and added in pinks & purples - I was into 1001 Peeps at the time so some of that crept in and before I knew it I had a quilt.
I set myself goals - finish all the hexies by Christmas, join the rows by end of January, etc, etc.
Then came the quilting. I had never hand pieced a quilt before so was dubious about the lasting qualities of my stitching. I machine quilted every seam with a fancy schmanzy stitch. I did the borders with a straight line half hexie shape. One day, I might, will, might, do a little hand quilting too.

I love it - it's a quilt that doesn't fit in with any colour scheme I have, not really big enough for a bed (about 60 x 70), but it has wormed itself into my affections nevertheless.

Saturday 19 May 2012

My Thursday and Friday

Can't think of a clever title - I am feverishly hoping to post a quilt in the Spring Festival but that will have to be tomorrow .
Just wanted to mention Thursday - I visited the Loch Lomond Quilt Show, now in its 8th year. It was the brainchild of three ladies who built it on the idea of the quilt show they were familiar with in Alsace, France.
Each year, there are many and varied exhibitors located in various churches from Dumbarton to Loch Lomond shores.
It is a clever and interesting concept, if a little tiring to get round.
This year we enjoyed several of the exhibitions.The first was an amazing collection of quilts designed to reflect and honour women in Scotland who have left or are making their mark, in many varied walks of life. The design  and execution of so many quilts was awe inspiring.The quilters who produced this work were Tina M Gravatt & Lorraine Sullivan.
The next exhibition that really took our breath away was by a group of Scottish textile artists calling themselves collectively, "Off The Wall" - our favourite pieces were by Jane Appelbee. Do click to go and look at their website.
Lastly we were looking forward to the exhibit of work by Philippa Naylor - even I know that she is a world class quilter and we enjoyed a super chat with Mr Naylor. He graciously allowed photos to be taken and mine certainly don't do justice to these amazing quilts.
You'll have seen this one in magazines, behind Bernina machines.Philippa's husband said this was basically a Lone Star, given Philippa's trademark twist. Oh yeah!

And this one apparently, is a simple Amish design - could've looked at it all day long. The wee white spots were sparklies.

.and then these too -

and then Friday, arriving at work -

and later, look at these - how clever!
What a week.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Sunshine & Showers

I hesitated on this week's Zakka style project - it's a mug rug with a rain cloud on.
In these parts, I think we have had enough rain clouds recently, although no-one is listening, tomorrow's forecast is atrocious.
Anyway, encouraged by Hadley's take on this project, I too decided to inject a little sunshine into the rain.

and now for the arty farty shot,

and on the back.......nice weather for ducks (or whatever)........
If you would like to see some of the other projects made by the participants of this sew a long, then pop over to the flickr group for a look.

Put the Flags Out

I have made a couple of things in the last week

The first, some bunting for a little person's room. My brief was - pink, but my daughter was more than happy with bunting made from leftover Peeps fabric. Even my SIL recognised it as the same as the quilt!!

My next project was a gift for Lorna over at Outside inspiration, and her husband Matt. They celebrated their first - paper - anniversary this week. Happy Anniversary!!
They are both enjoying their first garden so a gardening journal took care of the paper bit. Then I made a quilted cover for it. I have made quite a lot of book covers but this one, I adapted from my Zakka style sewing kit - it was nice and simple to put together. My machine embroidered seahorse is a reference to a certain feature from their wedding,
and they also live very close to the sea.

I dipped out of the Zakka project last week, couldn't source the magnetic sheets required for the tiny blocks. I haven't been idle though and hope to post a finish very soon of one of the more challenging projects in the book.

Monday 14 May 2012

Monday Memories 16

I am almost catching up with myself in this series but this week I am being extra self - indulgent.
You see, on Friday this week, I am leaving my job in Sew Materialistic - I am taking extremely early retirement, lol.
I realise however, that I am unlikely to seek or secure further paid employment and I suppose I am about to experience another rite of passage......this has led me to thinking over my working life and I hope you'll forgive the indulgence.

I always wanted to be a teacher - however, due to circumstances, I left school at 16 with a bunch of O Levels, and joined the Civil Service. I was posted to the Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries for Scotland. I can hardly describe how exciting this was for a 16yr old........but I met some nice people.
After a year, in an unbelievable move, I returned to school!! It was a bit weird, all my pals were in the year above. However, I stuck in and left a year later armed with a clutch of Highers.
Despite a couple of offers from Universities, circumstances prevailed once more and guess what? - I joined the Civil Service! This time it was with the Department of Employment, in Edinburgh - I met some nice people. It was 1971.
I can sort of recall the Winter of discontent and have a memory of being allocated a personal supply of candles in case of power cuts. There were regular cuts and I recall evenings, still living at home with my folks, all huddled under duvets, playing Scrabble.......
I married in 1974, and in 1975 we transferred (Civil Service speak) to Worcester - I was still with the Dept of Employment but I was about to have a bit of a wake up call. I was posted to an Unemployment Benefit Office on promotion, and met a lot of people, some nice, some not!
This is the job I always think of as my proper job, my career job, if you will. I was there through high levels of unemployment, trained in the Birmingham office that dealt with British Leyland, and achieved another promotion, eventually becoming manager of the office with about 40 staff. In my twenties, this was not always an easy time.
I re-married in 1980, and when baby number 2 came along in '84, I decided to resign. Long career breaks had not yet become common in those days. I sometimes wonder how our lives would have been different had I kept on working, but I would not change a thing.
When the kids were tiny tots, I became a Tupperware lady - needs must and all that. One of my best friends told me much later just how obsessed I had become with plastic boxes! I like to think I had sales flair!!
Then followed a spell as a child minder. I met some nice babies.
In the approach to Christmas 1988 I got a temporary job with Marks & Spencer, and was kept on in the New Year. I think this was my first experience of having a woman boss - strict but fair. I have a nightmare memory of ordering way too many shoes using a new fangled hand held computer thingy called a Psion. Oops!
In 1990, we returned to Scotland and settled in Ayr.
I found work with the local council and have to say it was a pretty horrible experience. I worked in Housing Benefits, later to be called Unified Benefits, and enjoyed such highlights as rent - collecting door to door. But I met some really nice people.
I lasted there for 10 years and leaving in January 2000 probably saved my sanity.
I was rather idle for the next couple of years apart from a few spells of invigilating school exams - thanks to our friend Ken.
 I rather enjoyed this, it gave me an insight into working in a school, maybe teaching wouldn't have been the right move all those years ago..........
2004 was spent in Curacao and in Spring 2004 I started my P & Q classes, back in Ayr.. However, those pesky circumstances prevailed once more and I approached Marie, who had taken over Sew Materialistic, our local fabric shop in Ayr. I started in the October, and by January 2005 had settled into a part time routine.
I sometimes wish I had jotted down all the funny things that we have experienced together over the last 8 years - there is nothing so funny, frustrating or unpredicatable as the Public!!
It's not a big shop, we are a small team, and we have had some great laughs along the way. Once again I have met and worked with nice people!! I will miss the banter.  (The playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks.)
But, it's time to move on once again.
I will continue with my classes - you see, in the end I did become a teacher - I have truly experienced what it is like to pass on knowledge to others and marvel at the way others grasp that knowledge and run with it. I hope to keep going with that as long as I can.
In the meanwhile, I will be spending time with Ava, and hope to indoctrinate her into the world of sewing. Wish me luck.

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Bee Blessed in May

I managed some time today to have a go at the Bee Blessed blocks for May. Judith asked us to make a Converging Corner block using the tutorial from Film in the Fridge. , a blog well worth visiting.

This block does not need specific measurements cut, nor is it strictly improv pieced, it's a bit of both and I goofed up a couple of times. If you visit FITF you will be able to see images of a full quilt made using this quirky variation on a Courthouse Step block - it looks brilliant.

Here are mine.

Monday 7 May 2012

Monday Memories #15

It's been a while since my last wander down memory lane, I am now looking back to 2008/9.
In February 2008, our nephew Evan, was born. I had made his mum and dad a quilt, blogged in this post, and set about making his quilt from the leftovers of theirs. I liked this idea and thankfully, so did his mum. The pattern came from one of the two British quilting magazines, not sure which one, and was foundation pieced.

One of the nicest things I can recall about this quilt was many months later when visiting, I peeked into Evan's room, and his quilt was in the cot, all crumpled up and so obviously in use. His mum confirmed it was his "daytime nap" quilt. Don't you just love it when they get used.
Meanwhile, in class, I was slipping into a big project, small project sort of routine and my 08/09 session was made up of different smaller, projects. I think we all enjoy making small, manageable items and I think everyone enjoyed that year.
We had reversible "Log Cabin with Attitude" table-runners, based on the book by Sharon V Rotz. We had a lot of runners that were suitable for different seasons.
Project 2 was a foundation pieced Star, which was from a very old Anja Townrow pattern.
My Sailrigger's Bag workshops are always popular and challenging enough to use as a class project.
And my 4th option that year was Journal Quilts. This was quite a popular trend back then and everyone was producing journal quilts. I really enjoyed this class - journal quilts can be as simple as trying out a new technique on a small piece of work, or translating an actual event or emotion into a small quilted piece. At that time I made a few of these little (A4 sized) quilts and I am currently working on a similar project to produce 12 of them to bind into a fabric book for Ava's first birthday.
My photoshoot from back in 08/09 was not quite as prolific as for this year but maybe you get a feeling from these...

In 2008/9 I was asked to make a quilt for my sister in law, Karyn, she really takes an interest in my work and I was happy to undertake this. I asked her to look in her LQS and maybe give me a sample of fabric she liked - she gave me one fat 1/4 of a very floral print, not something I would have picked for her, she comes across as having a very modern style.
I chose a one block pattern and produced this quilt -
I think the block was Road to Ohio, or somewhere..........I need to take better photos. I think Karyn was happy with it.
Flash forward to 2010 and it was their 25th wedding anniversary and I made this for them, from the leftovers - I imagine you are recognising a thrifty pattern emerging here! Can't find the photo, but this was my design from EQ6.(25 hearts!)
This project has since become the basis of a very successful Day Workshop - "Love is in the Air".
Time to leave memory lane for now, I need to go put on a load of washing!!
Hope you are all enjoying your long weekend if your are having one!

Thursday 3 May 2012

Ooh er...

I am being interviewed over on  LIZSQUILTS today in the first of her series on Monster Quilts.
You should pop over and say hello.

Tuesday 1 May 2012

April in Pictures

Such a quick month. Pleased to have achieved one big finish, and lots of little satisfying projects with the Zakka Style sew a long. Linking as always with Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day.


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