Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Catching Up

It's been a while since I last blogged, sorry for just disappearing, I didn't mean to be away as long but life happens.

I haven't been doing much quilting, very little in fact but I can show you what I have done and what else I have have been doing too.
This is where I'm up to on Tina's wedding quilt, the front is in three pieces and I haven't even started on the autograph panel on the back.  It should have been finished end of May, in reality it MAY get finished end of July or August depending if I can manage to use the sewing machine.

The other wedding quilt for Chris and Sarah I still haven't started putting together and Postcards from Sweden still has only four rows done.................sigh................

I did get my May bee block done for Velda who blogs at Freckled Fox Quiltery though.
A cake block!  Velda asked us to make our favourite cake but as lemon drizzle would have looked a bit boring even though it is so very delicious I chose a raspberry cake with vanilla cream and whole fresh blueberries, I love fresh raspberries and blueberries on cereal.  You can find out how to find the free pattern for the cake blocks on the Bee Inspired blog.

I have been to Higham Hall and had a wonderful weekend embroidering.  I didn't make any progress on my big piece but I did start another small piece.  I can't show you my teachers sample which is made in calico gardens colours (creams and neutrals) but I can show you my work.
A quilted bear, this is stitched all in needle weaving which is just like other types of weaving, long threads from one side to the other then the cross thread is woven through.  The pattern is made by varying the colours of the threads and the number of over and unders, such as over two under one.  I have since bought a book on needle weaving.
It's a lovely little book if you want to find out more about it, with easy to follow excellent diagrams and it's spiral bound inside so great to have open while stitching.

What else............... my parents have had their 65th wedding anniversary, Blue Sapphire.
Here they are on their anniversary.  They were pleased with the greetings card they received from Her Majesty the Queen, Mam said it was a much nicer picture of her than the one they received on their 60th anniversary where she looked quite stern.  By the way the picture in the background is cross stitch, I made it for Mam about 20 years ago and it's still one of her favourites.

Oh and we have bought a holiday home in north Northumberland.  We really want to move there but it is so expensive so we compromised.  We don't go on holiday much because of the girls, it's usually just an occasional week in a cottage and as my husband is past retirement age although he is still working but fewer days, it seemed the right time to do something.  Want to see some pics?
The girls love looking out of the window, this was taken before we had a veranda fitted, now they can enjoy being outside without being on a lead.  What do you think of my view?  The site is wonderful so much space, and there will never be any more put in front of us either.  I wish I had a sunset pic to show you, it is right beside those trees, fantastic.
 I have some inexpensive Ikea throws on the sofa's to protect them from the girls.
 Central heating and an electric fire, it is residential standard and can be used for eleven months of the year.
Remains of our first evening, the wine was a 'housewarming' gift from a friend, we opened the champagne we received from the site owners Anne and Jamie at Barmoor Castle Country Park (yes it does have a real castle), the second night.

Want to hear the not so good stuff that is stopping me sewing?  I've been complaining about pain in my hip for about a year now, I woke up one morning to dreadful pain from my back to my toes on one side.  I have inflammation in my back affecting my sciatic nerve and at the minute all I can do is hobble about the house, I can't sew I can't drive, nothing.  I have been feeling very sorry for myself and in a right mood.  I haven't been blogging, reading blogs, I've hardly looked at any social media, and it's high time I got myself out of it.  I'm still in a lot of pain, especially on moving and it doesn't help that I can't take painkillers apart from paracetamol, I have some anti inflammatory cream for my back too.  I have an appointment with the physiotherapist in a couple of days, fingers crossed it settles down soon.  It's transient it won't last forever, that's my mantra.

The lovely Sue who blogs at Sevenoaks Street Quilts has very kindly sent me samples of all the new Kona colours.
It was exasperating when they added the new colours so soon after I splashed out on a colour chart, no wonder it was such a good price.  I haven't bought any fabric for ages, but until I finish the wedding quilts I am resisting and after all, there is always a wonderful new range being released isn't there?

I have started some knitting in the meantime.  Now I'm not a great knitter, the last time I did any was for our granddaughter Emily before she was born, matinee coats and cardigans for new borns are about my limit.
This is where I'm up to on my favourite pattern, the bottom is stitched up to make a scalloped edge.  The pattern is very old, at a guess about 50 years, it belonged to my auntie who knit it for my children and kindly gave me her pattern about thirty years ago so I could make it for my niece.  Now I'm not saying I'm making it for any particular baby, I'm not making any announcements here, but with a dozen nieces and nephews as well as our own kids there is often someone having a baby.

The only other thing I have been doing is reading, distraction therapy.
This is the first book in the series Earth's Children.   I read it several years ago and it is well worth a second read.  You know how you buy books which are ok but you know you wouldn't read them again and you pass them on or give them to a charity shop?  This is one of the books I kept, I have lent it out a couple of times but it has earned a permanent place on my bookshelf.

It is described as 'the first novel in Jean M. Aurel's magnificent epic of life on the glacial continent of the last Ice Age, when two kinds of human beings, Neanderthal and cross-Magnon, shared the earth.'

We all like different kinds of books, this one has almost 600 pages and if you are looking for a new book I highly recommend it.

I'm hoping to be back quilting soon I'm in the Christmas in July blog hop next month so I really need to get started.  Yes I do know what I will be making and no you can't have a hint.  I just hope I can remember how to do the linky thing for the pattern which of course will be free as always.

I'm not sure what I will be blogging about next time, I can't guarantee it will be quilting but it won't be what I had for lunch hehe!

Until then,
With smiles from
Kate x

Linking up with
Wednesday Wait Loss
Midweek Makers
Let's Bee Social
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Quilt updates and Wedding Stuff

Oh I have had such a busy two weeks, it has all revolved around the wedding of my son and his most beautiful bride of course, however, I have found some time to get into my sewing room.

First the quilting bit, I will show some wedding stuff at the end if you are interested.

I did a little more on Postcards from Sweden, I now have four rows stitched but not stitched together.  Of course the quiltalong by Sandra at MMMQuilts is now over but hey, as long as I finish it I'm still a winner, yes?

So this is it on my design wall, only my design wall isn't wide enough of course, I'm thinking of buying some more fabric and making it wider although it will go behind the door.

Next, yes I'm jumping between projects again, but I really want to get this one done and finished.  Tina and Stuart's wedding quilt.

Tina wanted a rainbow of colours, I have used all the fabrics from the signature panel which will be incorporated into the back and I added a few more, all Alison Glass which blend beautifully together.  The blocks are set 8 x 10 but I'm making it slightly wider and adding another row to the width.   I'm using a pattern by Northcott,  for the front, it's an older pattern but I had a hunt around in the archives and finally found it, the pattern is available as a free pdf.

All the blocks are made, as there are four blocks of each colour, except two where there are only three  as I added an extra ten blocks.   I divided them into four lots with one of each colour in each, using one group at a time I have a more even spread of colours and fabrics.

Once the front is finished I plan on getting straight on with the back. The signature blocks are a reverse of the front, white in the middle bordered by colour and will be set on point and I plan on maybe a narrow border or something and then to set it into a single fabric chosen from those already used, any thoughts on that?

The last thing I have done was to finish preparing the blocks for the wedding of Chris and Sarah.

The blocks were already made so all I had to do was cut 48 pieces of freezer paper and iron to the back of the signature bit and add the quilters tape to the front.  Here they are ready for signatures and messages.

Of course the wedding took place a few days ago and here they are now.  I can't show you all of them but here a one or two of my favourites.

Memories to treasure.

Such creativity.

And as you can tell putting tape on the edges worked well.

You have to get the 'Geordie' dialect to really get this last one.  Geordies is a name given to people who live in the area of Newcastle upon Tyne in England and like other dialects it has certain words and phrases it uses unique to the area.  'Mint' is to describe something exceptionally good and 'like' is used as an emphasis.

That's all of the quilting stuff for today so now for the wedding bit for anyone who is interested.

My heart is full, I can't yet think of the wedding without being moved to tears, rarely have I seen a couple so in love as these.  As she walked down the aisle she looked neither right nor left, her eyes were locked on his and her face was wreathed in the most beautiful smile.  As I turned and looked at him the love in her face was reflected in his and his eyes were full of tears, as were half the congregation.

I'd like to share with you the reading I did at the ceremony, they wanted a day full of joy and laughter and so I chose a humorous reading.  I did change a few of the original words and omitted one of the verses so it was more a reflection of them as a couple and more natural to my way of speaking.  I'm sure you will easily find it if you would like to read original version.

He never leaves the seat up – Anon

He never leaves the seat up
Or wet towels upon the floor
The toothpaste has the lid on
And he always shuts the door!

She’s very clean and tidy
Though she may sometimes delude
Leave your things out at your peril
In a second they’ll be moved!

He romances her and dines her
Home cooked dinners and the like
He even knows her favourite food
And spoils her day and night!

She’s thoughtful when he looks at her
A smile upon his face
Will he look that good in 50 years
When his dentures aren’t in place?

He says he loves her figure
And her mental prowess too
But when gravity takes her over
Will she charm with her IQ?

She says she loves his kindness
And his patience is a must
And of course she thinks he’s handsome
Which in her eyes is a plus!

There's neither of them perfect
But who are we to judge
He can be pig headed
Where as she won’t even budge!

But when all that's said and done
They love the time they spent together
And I hope as I’m sure you do
This fine day will last forever.

He’ll be more than just her husband
He’ll also be her friend
And she’ll be more than just his wife
She’s be his soul mate - till the end.

Here is a pic of my husband and I as I know a few of you are interested in my wedding outfit.

I used the same shoes bag and fascinator I wore for my stepdaughter Tina's wedding in February but the dress and jacket I bought specially.  As I knew Sarah's Mum was wearing blue I chose pink although the background of the dress is dark blue which is overlaid with dark blue lace with flowers and leaves in various shade of pink.  You can't see but it has short sleeves of just the lace.

Me and my sis.

Now for the fun ones.

 Me and my sis, daughter and granddaughter.
 Who said my husband doesn't do fun?
Three months after their wedding Tina and Stuart are still partying with their daughter Emily.

That's all for today, I'm off for a little cry now and to stitch some more blocks together.  Two children married within three months has been a lot to cope with but it may be a years until we have another family wedding so I have lot's of time to recover.

Fingers crossed I should have a finished top for you next week.

Until then,
With smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
Midweek Makers
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Stitching and catching up.

I'm finally starting to catch up, much to my relief, I'm still behind with some things but that's just the way it is and it will all get done sooner or later.  Before I tell you all about my wonderful weekend away want to see my design wall?

Not much has changed with Postcards, at least not on this pic, I have stitched the second row though and half of the third so a little progress.

These are my bee blocks for Paige who blogs at Quilted Blooms, Paige is making what she describes as a Teenage I Spy quilt.  I am a little late with these blocks they were due last month, we have two queens on two of the months in the year so we get finished well before Christmas.   I have very little in patterned fabrics, that is I love tone on tone and solids but when I buy patterned I never seem to know what to do with it, but I found these fabrics lurking in a box which seemed to fit the bill.  You can find the sizes and tutorial on our blog Bee Inspired.

This is my second bee block, Starry Night for Emily at The Darling Dogwood who is queen for April which is me bang up to date.  I met my nemesis, the most dreaded paper piecing, I did say I wanted to get to grips with it this year and this was my introduction.  Emily wanted it either blue with red or red with blue on a white background.  It took me ages, my own fault most of it, I just kept making mistakes, I would add the next piece and then stitch on the wrong line not realising until I had trimmed it therefor wasting the fabric, honestly, it drove me round the bend.  Finally I got the pieces stitched and then I had to stitch them together, that was another story, could I get the joins lined up properly?  Some seemed to go in no bother, I did remove the seam allowance paper and that did help though.  The final seam was the worst, I had it in and out several times it just wouldn't line up, finally I took another seam partly out and redid it and that did the trick, finished at last.  You can find the Bee Inspired post here which has the link to the free pattern too,

Guess what this is

Any idea?  No?   Its freezer paper and there are 48 of them,  they are the backing pieces for the signature panel for the second wedding quilt, I showed you the block last time.

This is it along with the two bonus triangles.  The middle bit is 4 1/2 inches wide, I will have to cut the ends of the paper though.  All the blocks are made and all I need to do is iron the freezer paper to the back and add some tape to the front so guests don't sign in the seam allowance, I did this for the first signature blocks and it worked like a charm, no one wrote in the seam allowance.  I still haven't decided what to do with the bonus triangles yet though.

Want to see my embroidery?

I finished my small piece.  It was supposed to have a spider suspended from a thread but I don't like spiders, I mean I really don't like spiders, I couldn't have one on my work so I made a ladybird instead.  The wings are made separately using wire and stitched in place at the end, stump work, the rest is surface embroidery.

This is the big piece I am working on which I progressed somewhat.

This is the bit I progressed, I did the green closed fly stitch leaves and the stem stitch vein with the seed stitch in the middle.

We only had an evening, a full day, and a morning to stitch but we had a little time off in the afternoon so my friend and I went into the small (as in tiny) town as always and of course I had to visit one of my favourite shoe shops where I found,

these beauties, are they not lovely?  I do so love them.

That's all my work since I last posted.  I've been thinking of what to so next as I have three quilts on the go not including any UFOs.  I also have some secret sewing to do, although you won't see that for a while yet, and I'm still in the planning stage.  I decided to get on with Postcards, at least I intend to finish the first four rows and get them stitched together, then I want to do the front of the first wedding quilt which I think will be fairly quick to put together.  I will need my design wall which is why I will finish the first quarter of Postcards first.  I do wish my design wall was a little bigger but at least I have one now so I won't complain.

I'm not sure how much sewing I will get done in the next week, I have all the last minute stuff to do before 'the wedding'.  However, I will endeavour to be back next week to bore you rigid with my ramblings.

Until then,
With smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
Midweek Makers
Can I have a Whoop Whoop?
Finished or Not Friday
Crazy Mom Quilts

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Postcards and Signatures

It's been a while, I suppose you expect me to have an amazing amount of stitching to show you?   Wrong!  Well, I have done some stitching recently but I just needed a break, you know?  I seem to go on overload now and again, usually when I've had a lot going on, but I'm getting back to normal now.  Want to know what I have been doing?

Postcards, from Sweden to be exact.

Sorry for the dreadful pic, I'm in the process of doing something about those.  I finished cutting all the triangles and started stitching them together.  The first row is all done and stitched, the second has half the blocks trimmed and pressed and the other half waiting to be trimmed, in the third row most are stitched none are trimmed.  I'm hoping to get back to it in a few days but I have had other priorities.

My goal for April, if I had linked up to One Monthly Goal which I didn't and no I didn't link at the end of March either as I was in my shut down mode, was to make the signature blocks for Chris and Sarah's wedding quit which will be a panel on the back.  Sarah is very excited about this, she has a degree in fine art and I encouraged her to design her quit herself giving her guidelines, here is what she came up with for the back.

The quilt will be 80 inches wide by 64 inches deep to lie across their kingsize bed with a centre panel of 48 signature blocks.

First I cut the 48 blocks, 8 1/2 inches square in Kona silver and 96 5 1/4 inch squares in sixteen different Kona colours which Sarah had chosen previously, there are another three greys but we decided to use only the brights for the signature panel.

I added stitch and flip triangles to opposite corners of each block and then stitched an extra line half an inch away to harvest the bonus half square triangles.  Next I pressed them all to set the seams.

Before flipping them open and pressing them.

Next I have to open them all up and cut off the bonus HST's.

This is what I will end up with, 48 blocks and 96 bonus HST's which measure at 4 1/4 inches before they are trimmed.  Only thing is so far I have only sat this one so guess what I will be doing next?  What to do with the bonus HST's?  Haven't decided yet.  Can't wait to start on the front.

Sewing wise that's all I have been up to.  I have read five books though, I also got a dress and jacket for the wedding (I'm going to use the fascinator shoes and bag I bought for Tina's wedding in February) but I haven't got a pic as yet.  Oh and a couple of days ago I bought,

the new camera I wanted.  I was fed up of luging a big camera and lenses around, too heavy, plus it's quite old now and I have had a couple of issues too.  I have been using my tablet and my phone but they have serious limitations.   I decided to invest in a small camera that will slip into my bag, it had to have a large sensor and a decent lens and be able to take nice pics in low light.  After taking advice from my nephew who is knowledgable about cameras I decided on this Sony DSC-RX100.  This is the original camera in the range, there is also a mark two, three, four, and now five each having more and more extra features, but most of them I don't want or need, apart from a viewfinder which I would have loved but the shop only had the mark 3 and four both of which have viewfinders but the three would have almost doubled the price so I did without.  I haven't had a play with it yet but when I do I'll tell you what I think.

The only other thing I have been up to was the Hen Party!  Oh yes, and a good time was had by all.  I won't bore you with all the details but I will show you a pic

of the bride, Sarah, my future daughter in law and myself.  No we were not in jail, and I had all my clothes on under the orange coverall which is why I look huge.

My daughter and granddaughter were there too, my granddaughter is an adult by the way, she just looks quite young on the pic.

That's all my news, except I am going to Higham Hall for an embroidery weekend tomorrow, oh I'm so excited to be going, especially after the disappointment of the last time when it was cancelled for snow.

I'll tell you all about it next time, and hopefully I will have made my bee blocks too, but until then,
With smiles from
Kate x

Linking up with
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Modern Plus Sign Quilts Book Blog Hop - Celestial Stars

The wait is over and I would like to congratulate Cheryl @Meadowmist Designs and Paige @Quilted Blooms on the long awaited publication of their most wonderful book, Modern Plus Sign Quilts.

The book has something for everyone, beginners to advanced, pieced, appliqué, paper piecing, it's all here, with clear directions diagrams and tips, you will love this book.

When I was given a choice of quilts I knew which one to make, the quilt which shines out on the front cover.  Here is the official version

Designed and pieced by Cheryl Brickey and quilted by Johellen George.  Photo C&T Publications

Without any further ado, may I present to you my version of Celestial Stars.

Here it is in all it's glory, hanging on the washing line in my parents garden.   Mine is a nine block version of the original and finishes at 72 inches square, a lovely size for the top of a bed or as a generous lap quilt.

I used some of my favourite fabrics from Alison Glass Sunprints 2017 and 2018 and Diving Board 2017 ranges, the background is 2800 Spraytime, The Henley Studio, Makower UK, a dark blue with black like the night sky to let the bright colours shine out.  The top went together surprisingly fast, here it is in construction and during the job I most dread, layering the quilt.  It took a lot of pins is all I'm going to say, and I'm not sure if my knees have recovered yet.

Want to see the back?

Yes my parents garden again.  Of course I should have used a fabric to hide my quilting stitches but instead I went for a Kermit the frog look.

I must admit though I do like the contrast.

This is a good pic for showing the texture, a loose meander on the background in navy blue.  The plus signs took a lot of thinking about as I'm not known for my quilting skills but rather than resort to my waking foot I decided to try something completely new to me.  Wonky spirals in a thread called Josephs Coat, King Tut by Superior Threads.  It has a completely different look on different colour fabrics.

As you can see these are completely different from the normal spirals, they would be boring, so I made them all different sizes from tiny to large and everything in between.  Wonky spirals are rarely circular, that would be a mistake, mine range from being slightly off circle to egg shaped.    Forget about stitching being a uniform width too, the quilting lines range from wide to touching, and have you noticed the unique feature which sets them apart?  An elephants trunk in the centre, no points here!  Be careful mind, if you stand back too far and squint your eyes up they look just like the normal ones.

Oh yes, if you want to try a new quilting stitch and get it spectacularly wrong the best time is on a special quilt and showing it on a special post, nothing new there then.

Ok, you have now seen the warts and all pics, want to see the posed ones?

The rocking chair lifestyle pic..........

and the thrown down on the chair while I go get a coffee (or a glass of wine depending on the time) pic.

The draped across the back of the sofa pic, only as it is normally against the wall this surely won't ever happen, I'd end up sitting a foot from the tv.

That's better, that's where the sofa goes, although the navy doesn't go with the brown and it still doesn't disguise how the seat goes down at one side either (that's where I sit when watching tv, shhh).  On the other hand with my four legged girls who have been known to 'taste' the odd quilt it won't be staying there either.

Then there is the draped down the stair look but I'm rubbish at arranging folds to make it look artistic.

How is this for a posed shot, I took these at the business centre where my husband works, on a Sunday when no one was there of course, want another view?

Better stop now, I can see your eyes starting to glaze over so I'll quit while I'm ahead, I think........

There are sixteen patterns in the book and it's one of those rare books where I want to make several.  If you have been following the hop you will already seen how versatile the quilt patterns are too, I've picked up more than a couple of ideas.

Signed copies are available to purchase at:

Meadow Mist Design Etsy Shop
Quilted Blooms Etsy Shop

There again you can always pick one up at your local quilt shop or online quilt shop or book store, I'm sure you have your favourites.

Don't forget to visit Cheryl and Paige for a chance to win a prize.

Here is the full list of participants in the hop, in case you missed any and please visit the rest of todays quilts and tomorrows too.  I've had a sneak peak at one and it is so lovely, I'm saying no more.

Tuesday, March 13th

Soma @ Whims and Fancies
Ann @ Brown Paws Quilting
Kitty @ Night Quilter
Sophie @ Luna Lovequilts
Afton @ Quilting Mod
Shelley @ The Carpenters Daughter Who Quilts

Wednesday, March 14th

Jayne @ Twiggy and Opal
Jen @ A Dream and a Stitch
Abigail @ Cut & Alter
Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl
Sandra @ mmm! quilts
Karen @ Run Sew Fun

Thursday, March 15th

Linda @ Flourishing Palms
Bernie @ Needle and Foot
Liz @ Savor Every Stitch
Stacey @ Stacey In Stitches
Michelle @ From Bolt to Beauty
Patty @ Elm Street Quilts
Melanie @ A Bit of Scrap Stuff Blog

Friday, March 16th

Myra @ Busy Hands Quilts
Izzy @ Dizzy Quilts
Ruth @ Charly and Ben's Crafty Corner
Christa @ Christa Quilts

Monday, March 19th

Jessica @ Quilty Habit
Cindy @ Hyacinth Quilt Designs
Jennifer @ The Inquiring Quilter
Julie @ The Crafty Quilter

Tuesday, March 20th

Tish @ Tish N Wonderland
Judy @ Sew Some Sunshine
Emily @ The Darling Dogwood
Wanda @ Wanda's Life Sampler
Karen @ Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
Katherine @ Sew Me Something Good

Wednesday, March 21st

Anja @ Anja Quilts
Kate @ Smiles from Kate  This is me!
Sue @ Seven Oak Street Quilts
Carole @ From my Carolina Home
Alison @ Little Bunny Quilts

Thursday, March 22nd

Debbie @ Esch House Quilts
Laura @ Slice of Pi Quilts
Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts
Janice @ Color Creating and Quilting
Joanne @ Quilts by Joanne

Friday, March 23rd

Cheryl @ Meadow Mist Designs
Paige @ Quilted Blooms

If you are still here normal service will be resumed next week, if I don't get lost in London at my soon to be daughter-in-law's hen party that is......

Until then
With smiles from
Kate x