Saturday, 30 December 2017

Best of 2017 Link Up

I thought I had posted my last post for 2017, but who can resist a link up party?  Best of 2017 is hosted by the lovely Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs, you can find the Party on THIS POST!

I hold my hands up and say I haven't posted as much or had many finishes this year, but three of them ended up in the top four of my most popular ever posts.   So without any further ado (unusual for me I admit) here they are:


I took part in the Christmas in July blog hop, one of the most fun, and stressful, things I have done in my almost two years of blogging.  Fun, well,  yes, after all it was a blog hop.  Lots of us participated over the twelve days and it was wonderful, I loved the experience, and to date I have had over 2,200 page views and still rising.  Stressful?  It included me doing a tutorial FOR MY OWN DESIGN and giving away the pattern templates which will always be available free, there is a link at the end of the post.  It was like the dream of being naked in public, opening myself to criticism and ridicule, but it didn't come, so any people liked it, such a relief.  I also had to work out how to share my templates which I did on Google Drive.  It was difficult for me and I did them high quality so they take a little longer to download, but it was the best I could do with my scanner.

2. Quilters Laundry Day Mini Quilt Along

My third most popular ever post, what a great hop this was, so many quilters participated and as the quilt could be personalised there were so many different versions too, some were even 3D.  If you didn't see the hop it is well worth a visit and seeing what some peoples imaginations can produce.  All the links to the participating bloggers are at the end of the post.

3. It's Finished

Oh yes, I couldn't not include this post even though it is so recent.  I finished my Gypsy Wife quilt top  and do you know it has jumped to my fourth most popular post ever?  Amazing!!!    No I haven't made any progress since, due to circumstances beyond my control I haven't been able to do any sewing or even much blog reading since December 21st.  This quilt took over my life from July to December, it has been top of my wish list and my greatest achievement.  It nearly had me bonkers and I am very happy it's finished.   I am so proud of it.

4. Secret Sewing

How could I not include the most fun swap I have ever had?  It was with my special blogging friend and accountability partner Janice from Colour Creating and Quilting.  I made her a mini quilt and named it Home to Roost, she made me one and named it Chicken Poop!  Enough said, if you want to read about it check out my post which includes the link to Janice, you will LOVE Chicken Poop.

5. April Update, and I've been a Numpty Again

I admit I struggled to choose my fifth post, several were ok and had a fair number of views but in the end I chose this one just because I love the fabric postcard I made.  I was sad to give it away I would have loved to keep it but I know the recipient of the swap loved it so it's ok.  Do you ever give things away and wish you still had them?  It doesn't happen often and after all this is a 6 x 4 inch postcard, but that's how it goes sometimes.

So, that's my round up for the year, I hope you enjoyed it.  I didn't have the best year for production but looking back over my posts, revisiting what I have done it was better than I remembered, and as Scarlett always said 'Tomorrow is another day', or in this case year.  Who knows what 2018 will bring but I know if I look hard enough I will find plenty to smile about.  So I'm wishing you all a very happy and peaceful New Year, and lots of lovely quilty finishes for 2018.

Until next year,
With smiles from
Kate x

Friday, 22 December 2017

Planning for 2018

As 2017 draws to a close I'm looking back at the year to evaluate how I did, what stopped me from reaching my goals and planning for next year.

Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl is hosting a Planning Party I joined in last year and it was very positive for me, so much so I'm certainly not missing it this year.  If you have a blog and haven't joined in before I would recommend it, I love seeing how others plan things out, and it gave me some great ideas too.  If you haven't got a blog just hop on over, you can find it on this post, not having a blog doesn't mean you can't make your own plans, and print them out too, they are a great reminder to keep you focused.

I lost my way rather in 2017, I can honestly say it was the most difficult year I have had for a long long time.   We have some serious issues with family illness, they are all ongoing and there is no solution.  Supporting my family members is very important to me, I help out as much as I can and whenever I am needed, everything else in my life has to come second.  It's just what you do isn't it?  I also had cataracts removed from both my eyes this year which was a good thing, I can see colours clearly and my world is so much brighter, so much so I have fallen deeply in love with colour.

So, how did I do last year?

Blogging, a weekly post..........well I did post most weeks but I missed a few due to life circumstances.

To take part in another blog hop.............Yes, I did two and had wonderful experiences.

Keep up with my monthly commitments for two quilting bees.............Yes, well, I have one block left to make for December, but I have delayed it until the end of the month as I didn't want it to get caught up with the Christmas post and it's been a difficult month for me.

Work on one project at a time and finish it, catching up on UFO's at the same time starting with Circles.......... Didn't do it, completely lost my way on this one and I haven't even finished Circles, so ashamed.  Actually I have done a fair bit of work on Circles, all I need to do is finish the quilting and bind her.............

Learn how to work my new Bernina 770QE, Baby.............Yes, I'm not saying I know all about her but I have learnt all the basics and what I need to know.  I love her, although I still love my Bernina 440 QE, Bernie, too and wouldn't part with her.

Practice free motion quilting regularly and use some of the Craftsy classes I have.............Nope, didn't do it and I bought another class too.

Finish the Mystery Quilt I was making and, as I had enjoyed it much, do another one in 2017.............YES, I finished the quilt and  I joined in the Gypsy Wife quilt along which I finished on time just before Christmas.  Gypsy still needs to be layered and quilted but the top is complete.  Very happy with this one.

So that's my 2017 goals evaluated, time to set some for 2018.

1. Two wedding signature quilts to make, one wedding in February, one in May.

2. Two blog hops this year, I would love to participate in the Christmas in July hop again and another one I can't talk about, sorry..........

3. DO NOT add to the UFO's and reduce the number by three, this includes Circles as it has been so long since I started it but doesn't include Gypsy as she is a WIP, but she is NOT to become a UFO

4. Join in with another quilt along, I so enjoyed this years and want to do it again.

5. One Bee this year, two was too much for me I found.  Bee Inspired was wonderful, I tried stuff I hadn't done before and it is a great bunch of girls, lot's of communication and it was so good all of us are continuing next year.

6. Get to grips with FMQ, I didn't do it last year but that's not to say I won't do it this year.

7.  Learn something new, I am rubbish at paper piecing, I have two books on it too, one is full of star patterns and one has quilt patterns.  I don't need to become an expert, I do want to become proficient, so this is my aim for learning something new this year.

8. Improve my health and fitness.  I invested in a Fitbit about six months ago and I'm happy to say it hasn't been a fad.  It get's me moving and I have increased the steps I do over the last few months.  Next thing is to improve my diet by increasing fruit and vegetables and decreasing sugar levels.

9. Social media, by this I mean Facebook.  In the past I didn't spend that much time on FB but recently I find myself checking it at least once a day and it eats up far too much of my time as I get drawn into stuff.  It started with the Gypsy groups and the sew along, I'm decreasing it dramatically in 2018.

10. Weekly blog post, weekly is enough for me, I wouldn't have enough to say to do more than that and you would just get bored with me anyway.  If you aren't bored now that is, on second thoughts don't answer that!

While I'm on about blogging I have been dreadful this year for which I owe you all an apology.  I have been so late in my responses and my visiting has been atrocious, I am sorry, it's just been so hard for me some weeks, and sometimes I have had time but it just pulled me down, please don't give up on me.  Now I have given up work I hope to get on top of things again, family circumstances permitting of course.

So these are my goals for this year, only this year I will print them out and put them up in my sewing room, that way I will see them and hopefully keep up.  I have an accountability partner, Janice from Colour, Creating and Quilting, she keeps on top of me.  Another thing that really helps is to type out my targets for the month, print out the list, and pin it up in my sewing room.  I did that at the beginning of last year and it kept me focussed, I achieved so much.  Then I slipped and kept forgetting to print out my monthly list, I didn't get as much done and not what I should have been getting done.  So that's my tip for you, at the end of every month evaluate your previous months list and make a new one for the next month, you will be surprised at how it improves your workflow.

I am putting the button for the Planning Party on my sidebar, please check it out and support Yvonne who does so much for the quilting community.

This will be my last post of the year, so until next time I'm wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,  sending you all my very best wishes for 2018.

EDIT  I wrote this post in advance, just to let you know I had my cataract surgery on December 21st.  It went well although I expected to see as well as I could out of the other eye the day after, but I can't. Everything is blurry, although I expect it to improve over the next few days or so.  It's just a bit difficult just now covering one eye so I can type with the other.  My lovely son has emailed me a pic of a gift  he ordered for me to cheer me up.

With smiles from
Kate x

Thursday, 21 December 2017

It's Finished

Yes finally, after twenty-one weeks and blood sweat and tears I finally finished Gypsy Wife earlier today.  But that's not all my news.

Want to see her in all her glory?

Gypsy is everything I envisioned, wild and wonderful, full of colour and makes my heart sing.  Oh at last, I can hardly believe I have a finished top let alone Gypsy Wife.  So, what do you think, was she worth the wait?

That's not all my news.  I am so sorry, I am behind in all my emails, reply, and visiting, I have been so busy this week getting ready for tomorrow.  What's happening tomorrow?  I got a cancellation, I'm having my second cataract removed and hopefully I will be able to see properly again.

It has been such a difficult time, my eyes haven't been working together, glasses help but nothing is sharp, colours have improved but if I use both my eyes everything is still yellow, only now I am aware of it.  It's strange really I chose my Gypsy fabrics when I couldn't see colour properly, I wonder if I would have chose them if my eyes had been normal, I will never know.  What I do know is I am in love with colour and colour combinations, more so than any other time in my life.

The thing is by tomorrow lunchtime UK time my eyes will be fixed but my old glasses won't work.  I will have near perfect (I hope) distance vision but will need a prescription for close work.  My current glasses are an odd prescription, with the first eye I had done the cataract improved my vision and the prescription matched that, with the second eye it made my vision a LOT worse, and that's what my current glasses are like, one eye with only a small magnification, one with a large magnification.  From tomorrow my eyes will be both the same or similar and the glasses will be no use.  So, what do I do?  I have to wait several weeks before I can have them tested and a new prescription issued as it takes my second eye a while to settle.

So, I went shopping for magnifying glasses, I can't wait weeks before I can sew again, could you?  I went to a large chemist chain in the UK, Boots, to look at their magnifying glasses, WHAT!!!  They were a ridiculous price, going on £20, no way was I paying that for glasses that would only last a few weeks, especially as I was guessing the strength based on my recent test on my right eye, which was slightly different to the glasses available.  I tried another chain, I can't remember the name of it but it was one of those that sell all the stuff that you normally get in chemists like shampoos and stuff, although I'm not sure about prescription drugs.  WHAT!!!  they were all £16.50 - £30 and I didn't like any of them in either shop. Too fancy, I'm a girl with plain tastes.  So, where next............Poundland, of course.  Finally I found a pair of glasses, plain, same sort of prescriptions, that seems standard, and the price?  £1  If I guessed wrong I can afford to get a different strength and I don't feel ripped off.  Apparently, according to my brother, glasses are one of the two best selling items in Poundland, after checking out the completion I'm not surprised.

That's all for this week but next week I'm hoping to do a planning post for 2018.  That's if the glasses work of course, or work well enough to type anyhow.  So, next time you look at your fabrics or better still look at your loved ones, just think how you would feel if you couldn't see them clearly, and be thankful of your eyesight, I know I will be.

Until next time,
With smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
Let's Bee Social
Wednesday Wait Loss
Midweek Makers
Can I Have A Whoop Whoop?
Finished or Not Friday

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Almost There

Oh yes, I could cry, I am almost at the end of finishing the top of Gypsy Wife.  Then what do I do?  It feels like I have done nothing else for months, and of course I have done very little and am desperate to move on.  First, you get to see exactly where I am up to.

Sections one to five in all their glory, what do you think?  One, two, and three are stitched together but I need to get six and seven finished before I can join them all.  Sections eight, nine, and ten are already done, they form the left third of the quilt and I did them first, except, I am not sure of one of the blocks, it's a big one, I am waiting until I finish this main part before I decide if I should take it out and replace it or if it sits with the rest when I see them all together.  One thing I have learned in the years that I have been quilting is if I'm not sure of something it's best if I fix it, if not it will always niggle at me like a festering sore.

Now I'm thinking what next, well I have got a couple of things planned, but I can't share them, not even a hint, well, one is a bit of a swap, but that's all I'm saying, they are top secret.  I do have a bee block to make though, I did mean to get it done and posted way before Christmas but I have decided to post it after in case it gets caught up in the Christmas post.

There are a couple of things I want to put to bed though, the first one is

Circles, I stopped quilting it when I ran out of thread, I did manage to get some more but Gypsy had came into my life and Circles got pushed to the side.  All I need to do is finish the quilting, bind it, and add a label.

I would also like to get back to

these blocks from the book 100 Modern Blocks by Tula Pink.  They began as just something to do at my monthly class but I'm finding it a bit too much to carry my machine, even though I have a bag on wheels I still have to lift it in and out of the car and the weight is too much for my shoulder.  They are nice quick and easy blocks and I enjoy making them.

Now, I need your help and advice.  My stepdaughter is getting married in February and instead of a guest book she wants an autograph quilt, that's where I come in.  What I need is a nice pattern, that's where you come in.   I'm confident someone will know the exact thing I am looking for.  I want something nice (duh! obviously), I don't just want squares, more of a pattern, but not too complicated.  Anyone have any ideas?  I had a look on Pinterest but I didn't see anything that caught my eye.  I don't know how many people will be signing yet, I must ask Tina for an idea of numbers.  This may not be the only autograph quilt I will be making this year, my son proposed to his beautiful fiancee a couple of weeks ago and they have set the date for May, so two weddings in three months, exciting or what!

It's a short post this week, lot's going on, it's that time of year, and my car broke down, sad.  It's fixed now but my Hubby missed our work Christmas meal out because of it.  My car is always reliable, it never breaks down, it just happened to take poorly when he drove it.  I would love to go down to one car but the oldies are a good 40 minute drive away and it takes me two hours on the bus, it's not practical.  We did try once but trying to get the car one day a week from hubby was nigh on impossible.  The good thing is I have lots of independence and can visit the quilt shop as often as I want without anyone realising how  much I actually spend, so there are benefits.

Yes I'm rambling again, guilty as charged.  I'll post again next week when I should have a pic of the finished Gypsy for you and we can all give a sigh of relief.

Until then,
With smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
Let's Bee Social
Wednesday Wait Loss
Midweek Makers
Can I Have a Whoop Whoop?
Finished Or Not Friday
Crazy Mom Quilts

Friday, 8 December 2017

Nearing the End

I'm nearing the end of a couple of things this week, Gypsy and my temper.  Oh yes I do have a temper but most of the time I keep it well under control with just the odd flash of anger, but this week I feel my patience has been sorely tried.

First, the last of the Gypsy blocks,

Square in a Square in a Square.  I used the Bloc Loc chart as always and I stitch from the back so I can see my points, well most of the time, looks like I just caught these ones, but not bad enough so I can't live with them.

I have most of Gypsy together now, only sections five and six to go.  Want another peak?

The bottom of section one and the top of section two.  The longest time has been in choosing the strips, AGAIN.  Section seven drove me nuts with the partial seams, I worked it out It took me about eight hours just on that section.  Yes I am telling the truth, I keep telling you how slow I am and yes I did use the sewing machine.  One of the problems is by making all the blocks first and using a limited number of fabrics I found some of the blocks just didn't sit right together and I ended up changing the borders of some and replacing others with new blocks.  I think Jen Kingwell would think me a bit picky but if I don't do it it will spoil the finished quilt for me, that much I have learned.

You may just want to skip this next bit because it's not about quilting it's me just venting off.

I had a problem with a delivery this week, my big sack of dog food for Ella who has some food allergies, I have it on subscribe and save from Amazon and the notification came it was to be delivered on Monday.

Monday  no delivery but a notification it had failed, it said a card had been left.  Strange because I had been in all day waiting and no card had been put through the door.  Contacted customer services, it seems to have moved since the last time I contacted them ages ago, it used to be in Ireland and they were wonderful, second to none.  This person was obviously abroad but had a good command of English, he said it wouldn't come until Wednesday, I was concerned, I couldn't wait that long.  No problem they would send another for next day delivery and just refuse delivery of the first one when it came.  He would even ring me the next day to confirm it had arrived in fact he even said they would refund me my money, I didn't expect that but never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Tuesday No delivery and no phone call, I contacted them again, what was going on?  I received an apology, it would be delivered the next day.  Then I received a second call, at midnight, no, sorry, I exaggerate, it was actually 11.58pm.  My mother is ill you can imagine my reaction to a call that woke me up, it took ages to get back to sleep.

Wednesday contacted customer services and complained, received an email of apologies and excuses.  The good news was I also received the replacement order, Ella was very grateful.  It was over.

Thursday  I received a notification that my original order had now been delivered and handed over to a receptionist.  WHAT??? I live in an ordinary house on an estate, there is certainly no reception or receptionist.  Contacted customer services, a bad line and he obviously didn't understand my concerns, AND he said I wasn't getting a refund, which I hadn't asked for in the first place.  I requested to speak to someone else and eventually I spoke to a lady, she sounded somewhere very noisy and kept leaving long pauses is the conversation as if there was something else going on.  She just wasn't interested in what I was saying, and when I left a pause ended it by saying thank you for shopping with Amazon we hope to see you again soon.  I think not.  I cancelled all my subscribe and save orders and deleted everything from my basket and shopping list.  I want someone to listen to my problem, understand what it is, deal with it and do what they say they will.  At least that was the end of it all, I needed a glass of wine to calm down.

Friday, oh no it wasn't finished yet.  The doorbell rang, my second Amazon delivery had been returned to the delivery company from wherever they had delivered it to.  I stood there amazed while he apologised it had no packaging, the box had disintegrated???   Or maybe the receptionist or someone had checked the contents before returning it but didn't have a dog, I don't know, it just makes me think in all different directions.  I refused delivery.  I have emailed Amazon customer services and told them, not that they will be very interested, as long as I give them a good rating on their surveys they are happy.  Apparently I will get a response in six hours, I don't want one, the whole experience has been upsetting and distressing, I just never want to go through anything like this again.

Bet you wish you had skipped it now, oh, you did, well anyway, want to see my hand project?

Well it was going to be a hand project but now it's going to be a half in half, I think.  I have Jen Kingwell's book Quilt Lovely and I have drooled over this quilt

Sorry the pic isn't great, I can't get rid of the colour cast, but you get my drift, it's lovely.  It has got Y seams though, that's why I was going to make it by hand.  Changed my mind after the first one!  Then I decided I would do it half in half, so I cut out the pieces and machined together what I could for the first few blocks, here is where I am up to.

Don't ask me what's happening to my pics, rubbish, Sorry about that.  Here are the first blocks waiting for the background bits with the Y seams, only I forgot to stop stitching at a quarter inch before the Y point.  I'm great friends with my unpicker.  I'm not sure when I will get back to these, they were meant as a long term project I could take to my monthly class so I don't have to carry a sewing machine so don't hold your breath on seeing them any time soon.

You know what, you wait all week for a post and when it comes, rubbish!  Well we all can't be sweetness and light all the time.

Until next time
With smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
Can I Have a Whoop Whoop?
Finished or Not Friday

Friday, 1 December 2017

Good intentions

Well all my good intentions of getting back to posting on Wednesdays I am back to Friday.  So, what happened to make me late?  I don't have an answer to that one, except I haven't much to share and the insanity that is Gypsy is still very much in evidence.  I love Gypsy and it's still my dream quilt, but I would like to get my life back.  Sometimes I have been tempted to shelve it and do some other stuff, like the Christmas projects which will not get done this year, but if I stop I don't know if I will ever get started again.

I have such a messy workspace, it's not my fault, honest, well, not all my fault anyway, I'm blaming Gypsy, there are just so many fabrics I can't put away.  Like the too many commas in this paragraph hehe!  Want to see what I mean?  Not the commas you can see that anyway, the workspace.

That's what I mean, and that's the bit I can show you.  I think it would be so much easier if I was using different strips to those I am using in the quilt, I'm trying not to put a strip next to a block of the same fabric or colour and it is so hard.  I have spent hours and hours just choosing the strips and then I get so far and need to change them it's driving me gaga.   Yes you do get a glimpse of Gypsy, sections 8, 9, and ten are finished and stitched together, about a third of the quilt I would say.  I have also finished section two and section one just has the left side to finish, it should have been done yesterday but for the strip carry on.  On one or two of the blocks I even ended up changing the border as it was easier than finding another strip.   Want to see where I actually do the business?

My sewing table, yes it's just as bad, strips, fabric, worksheets, and the far end is my cutting area too. My bin on the floor is starting to overflow and I can't even show you my lovely new trolly as the bottom shelf is full of scraps to be sorted, I don't know where I will put them, my scrap boxes are crammed full already.

These are this weeks blocks, week 18 Square in a square with Courthouse steps.  There is only one block next week, the very last one, then you get to see the quilt in construction properly and by Christmas the top will be finished and will be revealed in all it's glory.  If I ever get the strips sorted that is.

I was in the lovely town of Harrogate for the Knitting and Stitching show on Saturday with my friend the lovely Jan, we had a great time.  I do think the show is going back though, although there was some lovely quilting stands there were fewer than usual and there appeared to be more of the cheaper retailers in evidence.  It is a craft show though so it's not all quilting, in the ten or more years I have been going there have been many changes.  At one time it was full of cross stitch retailers but there was only a couple this year, and then every other stand seemed to sell stuff for card making and that has now all but disappeared.  Even knitting seems to have shrunk a lot, and in my opinion stands selling handbags which are manufactured don't come into the category of knitting and stitching.  The Bernina stand seemed to be doing a good trade though, no I wasn't shopping for another machine all I wanted was some more bobbins for Baby, there isn't a retailer nearby and online I noticed they seem to sell for more than the RRP so I decided to wait because by the time I added postage it was ridiculous.

The first thing we did on arrival was to go to Betty's Tearooms for brunch.  I don't know about you but I always think the food available at shows is overpriced and poor so we always eat before we go in and it was almost lunchtime when we got there.

This will give you an idea of what it is like, this is the ground floor tea room, we were seated on the lower floor and there is another one for snacks too.

This is how the staff are dressed, it's like stepping back into another world.  The staff are so wonderful too, nothing is too much trouble, no wonder is has such a good reputation and it is always busy.

I always have kedgeree with a poached egg, if you haven't had it before it's sort of like risotto, it has smoked haddock, almonds and sultanas in and has a slight curry flavour, it is also very delicious.

A tray of earl grey tea made with tea leaves, you can just see Jan tucking into her scrambled eggs and bacon on a bagel.

Want to see a pic of me in Bettys?  I took my glasses off specially.

This is what I look like now, or at least last Saturday, I had my hair trimmed a bit yesterday but it's basically the same.

Talking about glasses I was at the hospital for a check on my eyes, they have healed well and I am going to have the other one done.  My distance vision in the first eye is almost perfect and when I get the second one done I can throw the distance glasses away, I only ever used them for driving before but I can't see properly without them with just one eye done.  I will still need a small prescription for close work and reading, I don't mind that a bit.  My world will brighten up even more when I get the second eye done as I still have a yellow cast looking through both eyes together, which I normally do.  I can't go around covering my left eye to see the bright and beautiful world now can I?

After Bettys I was so caught up in the show I forgot to take any more pics and there was no quilts on show anyway, shame.  I can show you some of what I bought though.

Embroidery needles as my local shop just sells multi size packs, a bear pattern so I can make a memory bear, the most beautiful ceramic magnetised pin tray, and a pair of Ernest Wright needlework  scissors, I have been after these for a while.  The scissors are handmade of Sheffield steel and the company has been going for over a hundred years.  They do a repair and sharpening service too, it says on their website the oldest scissors the had back for repair were eighty years old, how about that!  I particularly wanted a pair this size, I have smaller ones and bigger ones but for some jobs they are either too big or too small, these are perfect to fill the gap.  Let's hope I don't misplace them, I'm one pair short just now, I do hope I find them faster than the last time.

I also bought a ceramic needle catcher too as there is never a pincushion when I need it, they are either across the room or I knocked it on the floor, and it's handy for when I'm sitting hand stitching too, it beats playing hunt the needle in case one of the girls gets it in their foot, I found Indi chewing a flowerhead pin once, if there is anything dropped Indi will always find it.  I did get some other stuff, a Gypsy Gripper for my ruler which I haven't tried yet but they always seem to have good reviews, wool batts and needles for needle felted animals, but that's for next year, Jan is going to teach me she has made the most beautiful little hare and I have a love of hares.

Well I didn't have much sewing to show you but I do seemed to have rattled on a fair bit.  I was going to show you a bit more of the book from last week but I'll keep it for another day.

Until then,
With smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
Midweek Makers
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?
TGIFF hosted by Faith and Fabric
Finished Or Not Friday
Crazy Mom Quilts

Thursday, 23 November 2017

I have to show you this.......

What a week this has been, I was determined to get back to posting on my usual day of Wednesday, however, the force that has taken over my life this last couple of months is not through with me yet, and Gypsy took over again.  Thats not what I want to show you though........

First let's get Gypsy out of the way with this weeks blocks for the Gnome Angel sew along.

Square in a Square Bordered, only the five blocks this week after last weeks marathon 35.  I'm not so sure of the one that's top left with the double border but I will see how it looks as I'm putting it together.

That's not what I've been sewing this week though,

This is your sneak peak, section 9 which is actually finished.  You can see the edge of section eight which is not quite complete and section ten is about three quarters finished, but I will show you another day.

If you have been reading here for a while you may remember that I lost my dear mother in law Edna just over a year ago, recently her husband Jack gave me her cookery book.  I had never seen it before, it was given to Edna as a young bride by her mother in law who in turn received it second hand from someone else.

 I think it is about mid 1930's, it's a bit tatty and has what looks like paint on the front, but I will treasure it anyway because of the family history and pass it down to Emily's Mum Tina who is Edna's granddaughter.

It appears to be available second hand if anyone is interested enough to want a copy, they are not expensive, only around five pounds in the UK, mine won't be worth as much as that because there are several pages missing at the beginning, but that doesn't matter to me.

There are lots of recipes inside but today I want to share with you a section at the back.

Oh yes, this book was aimed at the new bride, so you think that's why the new mother in law Sarah gave it to Edna?  I believe their relationship was rather fraught in the early days, Edna was from Kent in the temperate southeast of the UK and came up to the cold north east, no airs and graces here, we call a spade a shovel.  For Edna with her strong southern accent it was a different world, no one could understand her very well and the northeastern dialect was like a foreign language to her.  Still, she never went back to live in Kent and towards the end of Sarah's life it was Edna she lived with and who took care of her.  Edna had no daughters but I believe she was happy with me as her daughter in law, I hope so.

What miners wife Sarah thought of this book I don't know, a salad plate?  Salad went on the same plate as the stew and Sunday dinner, why would you want a plate just for salad?

Hehe!   Oh la di dah, only the gentry had maids, I bet they had a good laugh at this one.  The only bells were at the church and the school, working folk didn't even have a new fangled telephone in those days and who had a drawing room?  One room served as kitchen and living room for most folk, and for those with a big family it was a bedroom too.

I hope you enjoyed this, I haven't even explored the recipes yet, if I find anything good I'll make sure I share.

Yes I know this is supposed to be a quilting blog, and I admit I do tend to go off on a tangent at times, that's just me I'm afraid.  I do have one snippet to add about quilting though, Janice at Color Creating and Quilting has done a review on a new Craftsy class, it's Quilting the Grid by Christina Cameli.  Do pop across and read it, especially if you struggle with quilting or are looking for new ideas, it's a great review and appears to give a great flavour of what the class is about.  I think it sounds great, just what I need to improve my quilting while gaining confidence in my skills.  I do treat myself to a Craftsy class now and again, I have a few, what do you mean you can't tell by my quilting, who said that?  ANYway, this is the one I will be treating myself to at Christmas, I could buy it now but for me a Craftsy class is a treat for myself and it wouldn't be a treat if I just bought them willy nilly on a whim now would it?  Unless  there is a Black Friday offer on of course hehe!  I have to watch the pennies now I have officially 'retired'.

THERE IS I JUST CHECKED!!!  It is SUCH a good price, I don't think I have got one as low as that before.   Yes, I succumbed, oh the shame.   I WON'T be getting one at Christmas now of course, but I am only a month early, there again I could wait until Christmas to watch it, I said COULD, if Gary confiscated my laptop, tablet and phone and locked the door of his office that is.  Sigh..........  no patience.

Just a reminder, I may have included a link to the Craftsy class but I have no affiliates and get no renumeration for anything that I recommend, and neither does Janice which is why I'm happy to mention it.  Just saying.........

Until next time,
With similes from,
Kate x

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Friday, 17 November 2017

I made

something nice.  I'll tell you all about it later but first I want to show you

this weeks Gypsy Wife blocks.  Square in a Square Pinwheels, there are two of them using the tiny 2 1/2 inch pinwheels.  I like these blocks.

I have had little time to sew this week, sad :-(  But I did get into my sewing room for a bit yesterday to start

putting together section nine of Gypsy.  No I haven't done the previous eight, I'm starting with nine on the extreme left.  I was going to do one to five first but I need the longest strips and some double length strips at the sides and it just seemed easier to do the left side first.  As you can see I didn't get that much done but I cut the strips I need and sorted the blocks out.  I'm not sure about the small square in a square top left though, it's in one of the strips too so I may just make another one.  I'll decide when I start stitching it together, as you can see I haven't even pressed the strips yet.

These strips are pinned up on my design wall, they are for the right side of Gypsy.  Colourful enough for you?

I haven't had time to sew anything else this week but I did make

Fork biscuits.  This has to be one of the easiest recipes with the fewest ingredients ever.

8 ounces (250g) butter or margarine, whichever you prefer, at room temperature
4 ounces (125g) caster sugar, thats the fine one for baking, not the one you would use for icing or put in your coffee.
10 ounces (300g) self-raising flour.

Mix the sugar in with the butter with a wooden spoon, no need to cream it like making a cake, just enough to incorporate it will do.
Gradually mix in the flour and any flavourings.  You might need to use your hands to bring the dough together, it should be on the soft side but not sticky.

Take a walnut size piece of dough and roll it into a ball and place on a greased baking tin.  I use those nonstick liners so I don't need to bother.  You will get about 32 biscuits from the full recipe so you will need two trays but you can always just use half of it and make one tray of sixteen.  That's what I used to do but I soon learned it was easier to make the big batch, then I would have some left for the next day.

Dip a fork in cold water and squash them flat leaving fork marks.  It's a great recipe to make with kids.

Bake in the oven at 180degrees Celsius (Gas 4) for 15 - 20 minutes depending on how hot your oven is, until a pale golden colour, but it can be a bit hard to judge when they are chocolate.

I leave them on the tin for a few minutes when I take them out then put them on a cooling tray until cold.

Keep in an airtight tin.  I would tell you how long you can keep them for but they never last more than a day or two.

Add whatever flavourings you like they are so versatile.   I use:

Cinnamon, two teaspoons and I mix a little extra with caster sugar and sprinkle on the top when I take them out of the oven.  About 1-2 teaspoons sugar and a good quarter of cinnamon should do it.  I leave them on the tray for a few minutes and shake off the excess when i put them on the cooling tray.

Chocolate, replace an ounce of the flour with cocoa powder, or even better make it double chocolate and add about four ounces of chocolate chips.

Lemon or orange, add the finely grated zest of a large orange or two small lemons, or just some of each.  Orange with sultanas would be nice too.

How about adding some ginger instead of cinnamon?

What would you add to your biscuit mix?

Well if the thought of the easiest homemade biscuits in the world doesn't make you smile how about

this!  We took our youngest granddaughter out for a walk in the woods at the weekend.  Hubby is trying to get Emily interested in nature and is teaching her the names of trees, flowers and birds.  He asked her if she knew the name of one particular tree,  "Kevin" was the reply.  She has obviously inherited her Grandfathers sense of humour.

And that's all for today, not my usual post but I already told you I haven't been able to sew.  I do hope you will try the biscuits though, they are so easy for children to make and no rolling out or cutting either.  If you try them let me know what you think, and I would love you to let me know what flavourings you think up too.

Until next time,
With smiles from,
Kate x

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Thursday, 9 November 2017

I learnt a new trick

Seeing as it is was the beginning of the month I decided to get my bee block commitments made and posted early so I can concentrate on getting my Gypsy top put together.

First up was my block for Paige from Quilted Blooms who is queen for Bee Inspired this month.  Do you know Paige?  When you see her work you will want to, she designed her chosen block, Planted Pines.

This is the mock up of the blocks and,

this is the quilt, isn't it lovely?  Paige sent us all enough fabric so we could make two blocks, I really enjoyed making these.

This is the new trick I learned, to make fast work of all those flying geese.

First I cut all the pieces for the flying geese and marked the centre line with a Hera marker and another line a half inch away to get bonus triangles.

Then I used painters tape to mark a straight line using my needle, forget about a seam this is directly in line with the needle, use your ruler and any markings on your machine to line it up.

Line up the marked line with the painters tape and stitch.  It's so fast, and you get a nice straight seam too.

I chain pieced them quick as a flash.

Then I guided them all through again and lined up the mark for the bonus triangles.

After pressing and trimming off the bonus blocks I fed them through again for the second side.

At this point of course I should show you a pile of flying geese and another of half square triangles but I got carried away with the momentum and I forgot, though I expect you know what a pile of finished flying geese looks like.

And here they are stitched together in the blocks.  I got a bit carried away and made an extra one, then I remembered I didn't have any more ground fabric so I sent it to Paige in two pieces for her to add the ground as well as the bonus half square triangles in case she wants to do a feature on the back of the quilt.  The background on the left is a linen look, a pale sort of creamy coloured fabric and the one in the middle is an Alison Glass fabric, none of them have photographed very well so you will have to take my word they look a lot better in real life.

Now this is where you say you already knew how to do this and how I must be one of the few quilters who don't use this trick.  I was just so impressed at how a piece of painters tape can make the job so fast and easy, and so much better than stitching on a drawn line, my stitching usually ends up wonky when I do that.

If you want to get the block tutorial you can find it on Paige's post.  I'm looking forward to seeing the finished quilt it will be a lovely autumn winter quilt I think.

I made another bee block too, my last block for Stash Bee 2017.  The tutorial was for a circle of geese block, wonderful, but it's paper pieced and very intricate, and I'm not what you could call a paper piecer, it would have taken me days to make and no guarantee i would have made a very good job, and I hate the thought of sending off a block which isn't made to a good standard.  Fortunately there was a link at the bottom for an alternative block as strictly speaking the circle of geese broke the rules, blocks are supposed to be doable in 1 1/2 hours.  I followed the link and found

This wonderful block, it's called Zig Zag Path at Piece N Quilt.  If you follow the link it takes you to the tutorial which has an illustration of two different quilts made from the block, one looks like it has an optical illusion.  I love this block, straightforward to make and very effective, the perfect bee block in my opinion.

Oh I haven't shown you my Gypsy blocks for this week,

Here they are, square in a square.  Yes it is a lot and no it's not all of them, there are sixteen here, Gypsy contains 35 and yes I have made them all.  They are mostly in two sizes with just a couple in odd sizes so I chain pieced them.   I cut centre squares and outer triangles from lots of different fabrics and just mixed them up.   I didn't follow the piecing instructions in the pattern I used the Bloc Loc chart instead, it gives cutting instructions so the block turns out with a bigger seam allowance which can be trimmed down to the exact fit, but as you can see I haven't trimmed mine yet.  You can find the free cutting chart here and you don't need to use a Bloc Loc ruler to use it either.

That's all I have to share with you this week, I'm having my kitchen painted next week so I don't know how much time I will get to sew, I will be camped out in the sitting room with my overactive girls Ella and Indi and I won't be able to leave them for a minute to nip to my sewing room, the last time Indi chewed a hole in one of my favourite cushions and no I still haven't got around to repairing it yet.  Still, last time the decorator was here I ended up camped out in my bedroom, so at least it's an improvement.

Until next time,
With smiles from,
Kate x

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