Tuesday 29 January 2013

What A Long Month

January seems to have been extra long, funny isn't it, I seem to recall saying the opposite in December!
Thanks for all the encouraging words following my last post - I got a sale!!

I had a busy week last week - earlier in the month, in the online sales, I bought two pairs of Laura Ashley curtains, beautiful fabric, fully lined, just too long. No problem thought I!
And here's a top tip - I remembered a customer who used to use the shop I worked in - she made curtains professionally and in conversation, she recommended that if you ever need to shorten lined curtains - do it from the top. Either cut or unpick the tape, cut to size and sew the tape back on. You still have the lovely finish without having to worry about blind hemming or hand sewing hems.
It worked very well for me although I did have a major blip with one out of the four curtains - I measured about 4 times, cut once and it was too short - the air went blue and I felt momentarily sick. Next day when I  returned to the scene of the crime, I put it right and continued with the remaining 3 curtains. All is now well and they look good.

As a bit of light relief and a quicker sewing fix, I ade this wee scarf for my favourite little person.
 And I got going on the February blocks for Emily in our Bee a Brit Stingy Bee. Emily has asked for x & + blocks, they are all over the blogs at the moment and proved to be good fun to make even if I did have to unpick a couple...........

I changed the values in this next one, sticks out a bit like a sore thumb.

Oh, and I watched a lot of tennis..........................

Tuesday 22 January 2013

New Year Resolve

More fingers were pulled out today as I bit the bullet and loaded a couple of things onto Etsy.
One of my unspoken resolutions was to make an effort with my Etsy shop so hopefully things will progress from here. I listed a pattern before Christmas and had my first couple of sales which has given me a bit of encouragement.
You might recall the Mystery Quilt? This picture is of one made by my friend Janet back in 2008 - it won the Viewers'Choice prize at my Open Day that year. Janet adapted the borders from the original pattern, it's quite versatile like that.
So, what else have I on offer?
I recently ran a couple of day workshops for beginners - the project was a baby quilt and I made a couple of variations as samples. I have no plans to repeat these workshops in the next session, and I have come to realise that samples can become a bit stale as tastes constantly change so thought I would try to sell them while they still look fresh and modern.
This first one was made using mostly Lollipop by Sandy Gervais for Moda and is in shades of cream, orange & aqua.
 The next one is very fresh with lots of white, and a mix of lovely modern prints, there's a bit of Bella in there.
Both measure about 30" x 35" and have been washed and air dried.

Lastly, I listed these -
A couple of 6" square, Mug Mats - made with the last precious bits of Velocity by Jessica Hogarth, my favourite fabric from 2012.
All items can be found in my Etsy shop, button on the right.

I do hope those of you in the UK affected by the Big Snows are keeping warm and safe. Here in sunny Ayr we got a light sprinkling yesterday just so we didn't feel too left out of things.

Sunday 20 January 2013

The One Where Sheila Pulls the Finger Out

So far, January has been productive.
All my classes now have their first post Christmas session under their belts and their projects are all coming along brilliantly.
I have also held two workshops this month, the second one was today and it was part 3 of the Strippy Adventure.
We didn't manage full attendance today, life's like that sometimes, but those who made it absolutely blew me away with their progress. Some of these ladies have never made a quilt before and just took a massive leap of faith to try out this QAYG Strippy. Let me show you some of their work.

This one is June's - her first quilt, beautiful greens.

Next up is Marjorie's - the first is the back view........

 and then the front...lots of applique on this one.

The next one is by Sheila M - Sheila missed the first workshop in August because she was having her shoulder replaced - ouch! But she has still achieved this super Strippy.

This next one is by Maureen - hard to see the fabric, but it is French General by Moda, yum.
 the back
the front

 Next we have Susan, layering up her Strippy, this one is very Frence Provencal.
 and last up today, is Colena's - it is mahusive, a Super King and a wonderful achievement for another novice quilter.
the back

and front.
Well done ladies, you all did great.

While these hard working ladies all beavered away, I snatched some time to get on with my Mod Pop piecing, I had a couple of cutting sessions earlier in the week and with only two blocks done, my plan is to get all the Drunkard's Path piecing finished before assembling more blocks. Despite Leanne's great advice, I have continued to piece my curves with the help of one pin - until today, when I threw caution to the wind and went for it - chain pieced and everything!!
Feeling chuffed.

Friday 11 January 2013

Finish A Long 2013

I was trying to describe to my husband, what the Finish A Long was all about - I described it like Weight Watchers for quilters.
Leanne, from She Can Quilt is hosting the FAL this year, having taken it over from Rhonda. I dipped in last year but didn't finish the course, maybe I will do better this year.

I intend entering only two projects into the first quarter - this may not seem many but I might actually be over stretching myself.

1. My Mod Pop Quilt

Not quite a quilt yet - I joined Leanne's Quilt a Long a few months back but it was really wrong place, wrong time. I have completed 2 blocks from my goal of 22 - I plan this to be a very large quilt for our bed. Since moving to this house 2 1/2 yrs ago, our bedroom has been the last to receive any attention. Today we finally had new carpet laid so I think it is time to ramp up the progress on the new quilt. I am aiming for a beachy feel to the room, our carpet is beige,  "wet sand"!! I have done quite a bit of cutting and just need to find a regular slot to keep this one going.

2. My Summer Hexie Project

This was my holiday project last year, following Katy's Spring Carnival pattern.I have taken out the papers but nothing further has been done other than buying a solid in the green - originally I planned to make this into a floor cushion (NOT for sitting on though!)..........but, it measures a bit more than I wanted, and I don't want to square it off, and, and......gave up, life took over again.

And that is my list.
If you haven't yet joined in the FAL, why don't you pop over and have a look - there is still time to join in and link up.

she can quilt

Saturday 5 January 2013

Preaching to the converted - A Tutorial

It struck me the other day there, when I was making my Bee blocks, that sometimes I read a tutorial that is very well received, yet seems, quite basic. Of course, I have come to realise through blogging, that not everyone has the chance to be taught the different techniques that we cover in patchwork & quilting and sometimes it is easy to assume that readers know every step.

The Bee blocks that I made, I blogged about HERE, and were made following a pattern by Anna Maria Horner, and templates had to be made.
I don't use templates all that much, but do teach how to make them because you never know when you will fall for a pattern that calls for them.
This is how I make them.

First of all, I print off the pattern. PDF files always open up on my computer at 133% so I go to the toolbar on the PDF document and resize to 100%. Then as I prepare to print, I make sure it will print to size, with no scaling. If your pattern is from a book, then you might need to trace it.

I then cut out all the separate pieces, but not accurately yet. Leave a bit of space all around each shape.

Some of my shapes had to be joined to make a larger shape.
In this particular set of shapes, there was one that had a fold line. I laid this fold line on the edge of a piece of paper, underneath the paper, and held it up against a window, before drawing around the shape. I then matched the short edges making one pattern piece.(bottom piece in picture)

Templates can of course, be traced directly on to template plastic. Sometimes you don't have any to hand, can't get a hold of the right kind quickly, or in this case big enough for the shapes. And that is why you need to save your cereal packets. I like its weight for template making. But for these I found some card left over from Christmas packaging. It was a tiny bit heavier than I like, I find corrugated cardboard too thick.
Anyway, grab a gluestick, and stick your shapes down onto the card.

Now it's time to cut the shapes accurately. I used a craft knife and my quilter's ruler but you could also use sharp craft scissors.

And that is all there is to it. You now have a set of templates that can be used more than once.
To use my templates, I chose to use a soft pencil to mark onto my fabric. These particular templates were quite long, so I used my rotary cutter and ruler to cut along the marked lines, but of course you could just use sharp scissors. Sometimes I use an ordinary biro pen to make marks, I tend to avoid the air / water erasable pens as the marks don't last long enough to see to work with.
I find that blocks made using templates usually come out a little larger than by rotary methods.Every little step, from tracing through glueing thro cutting and then marking on to fabric adds miniscule amounts in size. If you plan to mix template made blocks with rotary cut blocks, be sure to check individual block sizes before joining. Adjustments might be necessary.

Friday 4 January 2013

Under Starter's Orders

So, the lurgy has gone at last, and the cover is off my machine, and I have been sewing, and, it felt goood!!

But first, I must show you the wonderful giveaway goodies that I won from Christa Quilts via Lucy's blog. Now I am sure I just read about my win on or about Christmas Day and the parcel arrived yesterday, all the way from Nevada, in the middle of the holiday season.
My prize was $20 worth of stuff...........I did overspend a wee bit, but not a lot, but here's the great thing - Christa has a flat rate international shipping rate of $10, isn't that just great??
As I added items to my basket I also qualified for a surprise, free fat 1/4!
I got 5.25yds of Kate Spain's Fandango - I imagine this might be an old line, it was in the sale section at less than $5 yd but I love it and there is enough to be really useful. The fat 1/4 on the far left is the freebie and is so cute. Thanks Lucy & Christa, this was a super start to the year for me.
Talking of Lucy, she is Queen Bee in the first month of our Bee a Brit Stingy Bee - she asked us to make one or two feather blocks, following this tutorial by Anna Maria Horner. I haven't been in a Bee before so my first challenge was actually picking out fabrics and hoping that they would suit. This is a stash / scrappy bee so the Queen Bee doesn't have to provide the fabric, just give us an idea of what she would like.
I try to avoid doing much with templates but this was fun, the blocks finish about 9" x 18" (mine are untrimmed but well within the size) so quite a decent size and hopefully Lucy will be able to get a quilt top put together quite quickly.

My other sewing was for Judith's Bee Blessed - really easy blocks this month - if you fancy making a couple, it won't take long at all, especially if you have some spare jelly roll strips in your stash.(Rotten photo, terrible light)
So that's me off the starting blocks for January. I am back to "work" on Sunday with a workshop -
Part 2 of a Beginners' quilt, and then regular classes start back next Wednesday.


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