Thursday, 3 August 2017

I'm gobsmacked

at the number of you who have taken the time to read my posts AND sign up to follow my blog this past couple of weeks.  I know of course people who sign up to follow don't read every post but even so, WOW!!!

So, what have I been up to this week?  Well my sewing mojo is coming back, as I won't be taking my machine to class in future I decided to get some more of the six inch blocks made for my modern sampler quilt.  I have gone from 21 blocks to 30 so I'm happy with that.

What do you think?  This won't be the layout of course but I can see the colour mix when I put them all together.  I cut three strips of each fabric when I started, 11/2, 21/2, 31/2 inches, but after making some of the blocks added another two fabrics in, so I have been using those two more to catch up.  I have used most of them about the same amount but I do have an excess of the tone on tone black that looks the most solid, the off white, and the dark grey and green with the little dotted lines on.  But, as three of them are dark it's harder to use them up together so I will probably cut another 31/2 inch strip of each but give preference to the fabrics I need to use most, if that makes sense.  Do sing out if you think my colour or fabric mix is wrong though, I may have missed something.

These are the latest I made, triangles, I can't show you a pic of the other three because I had already mixed them in and I can't remember which ones they are.

Oh I didn't show you the fabrics for the Gypsy Wife quilt I'm starting did I?

What do you think?  There are a fair few from the Alison Glass Sunprints which I love, some of the fabrics are from my stash and some I bought specially.  The Carolyn Freidlander low volume ones at the front I will use as backgrounds.  All the ones at the back I have in long quarters so I can cut a couple of strips off before I start cutting into them.  Now what I need to know is are there any I should remove.  A couple of the blues are rather dark and a couple are a bit insipid, and do you think the orange one with the yellow stars is ok to use as all the others (apart from the low volume ones) are tone on tone but that one has two definite different colours.  I would love to hear what you think.  The first block is today 3rd August, if you haven't heard about it and want to join in check out Gnome Angel for the first block post which contains all the other links.

Now to tell you one of my two pieces of news, I may have to have a short break in October, although I'm hoping to get a couple of posts pre scheduled, why?  I have to have one of my cataracts removed.  I don't know how long it will take for my eyes to settle afterwards, I know I won't be allowed to drive for several weeks until after an eye test, and I will need new glasses.  One cataract has been growing a lot faster than the other and my sight is very lop sided, the worst thing is I have problems seeing colour accurately, in fact it was the first thing I noticed, I see colour differently in each eye but because my eyes have been affected differently the eye with the worst cataract has the best sight, it's weird.  I don't know when I will have the second one removed, it depends on how it grows and also how my sight is as it will be different again after.

I forgot to show you what I bought,

I know some of you won't have forgotten what happened when I borrowed Wendy's (blush blush), I wasn't sure about using one at all but two things changed my mind, the first is I have been talking to a couple of people who use them and they tell me how wonderful they are, the second is, I found out the pink side goes down, not up, whoops!!!  Maybe it will work better this time.

I also had a sudden revelation about my quilting, you know how my table is set up now, I showed you last week?

I suddenly realised that for the last few months since I got the table I have been quilting with the cutting mat in position, and of course it's a non slip surface (more blushes), so when I try the slider out the mat will be back under my bed, out of the way and nice and flat.

Oh, my other piece of news, I had been thinking of early retirement, I was supposed to last Christmas then I couldn't as someone left work and I was the only one who knew all the systems and I said I would stay another year, then I said I would leave this Christmas, well I'm leaving in OCTOBER!!!  I won't be going back after my cataracts, all that lovely time for sewing and getting fitter.

You see my fitness has been going downhill the last year, it started when I had the fall in Corfu, I fell on my head and I didn't even have time to put my hands out to save myself.   I ended up with a nasty concussion, it affected my memory and knocked my confidence.   I didn't feel well enough to go out on my own for a few weeks as I had dizzy spells.  Anyway, I'm fine now and have been for ages, but I stopped walking my dogs, Gary was doing it all, and I have just slipped further and further back ever since, sad.  But now that I'm leaving work I realised I can go two ways, either stay as I am and become a total couch potato, becoming more and more unfit as the years go on with less and less mental stimulation as I loose touch with people and eventually stop going out.  Then I will become a recluse and fall into early senility from watching soaps and reality TV, (well, I may have exaggerated a little, giggles).  Or, I can get off my butt and get moving, do more quilting and pattern designing (yes I know I'm not a designer and no I don't ever want to be but if I so happen on something good I will share it, honest).  So, seeing it was the first of the month and as it was an investment in my health and my future I treated myself to

a Fitbit.   In case you haven't heard of them, and I hadn't until a few months ago, they are a combination of a watch, step counter, sleep monitor, and fitness tracker all in one, mine records my heart rate too.  They sync with your smart phone and you get a permanent record of your progress.  At least that's my understanding in a nutshell.   Now I didn't just jump into it, I did a fair bit of thinking and spoke to three people who had them, the general opinion seems to be they can be excellent for improving fitness, as long as you use them that is.  One said her daughter and husband used theirs constantly and challenged each other (can't see Gary getting into THAT), one likes it but doesn't use it to it's full capacity, and one just checks her daily steps and bought it as a watch really, although sometimes she finds she has almost reached a target and marches about the house to the tune of 'The Grand Old Duke of York' until she hits it (is it only my daughter who would do that or do you see a family trait somewhere?  Don't answer that).  I've only had it for three days so I will give you my early impressions next week if anyone is interested.

The long arm of the curse that is family illness has caught us again, it turns out to be similar to the episode we had in January.   When illness comes like this it is frightening, potentially devastating and turns your nice ordered world into turmoil as all the potential scenarios play constantly through your head, and the worst thing is there is nothing at all you can do about it.  At the risk of sounding unfeeling and uncaring I will tell you how I am learning to cope with it, but if it isn't your thing come back next week to see my first Gypsy Wife block.

Life is full of problems of all different sizes, some are small but to some seem huge, it depends on your perspective and past life experience.  Others are so enormous is their magnitude it is hard to imagine how you will cope, but you will simply because there is no other choice.  These moments in time are all transient, they will pass and eventually another event will come along which will rock your world, for good or for bad.  I try to recognise the bad times as just that, moments, and just get through them knowing they will pass, I try not to focus on possible outcomes, only the fact that life is all transient.  Do you remember the fantastic things that have happened, the most wonderful times, like holding you child for the very first time, your wedding day, or looking up and seeing the most beautiful rainbow that stops you in your tracks with the beauty of nature?  These are also moments, we don't constantly think of them, and when we do we are living a memory, not the present, and it doesn't seem as vivid in it's intensity as it did.  The bad times in life are the same.  I try not to let my wonderful moment memories be spoiled by this moment or situation, that I know will pass in a few hours or a few days, or sometime.  I'm not saying that it works for me all the time, I still have my moments of absolute panic and fear, but in my more rational times it's what I try and hang on to.   That's my thoughts for what they are worth, you may agree you may not, we are all different, that's what makes life so interesting, it would be very boring if we were all the same.

Oh dear, I've probably bored you all silly with my philosophising, and you thought this was a quilting blog.
Before I forget the winners of the 12 Days of Christmas blog hop are announced tomorrow Friday 4th August at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  You can find my contribution post with the free templates to make your own on this post if you missed it.

Normal service will be resumed next week, with maybe a little about the Fitbit thrown in.

Until then.
Smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
Midweek Makers
Wednesday Wait Loss
Needle and Thread Thursday
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?


  1. Good luck with your retirement. I'm usually not a fan of sampler quilts but yours is really nice...I think it's the color palette you choose.

  2. you will find that getting cataracts removed is no big deal and you will see better in the long run. Depending on your doctor the rules are different- some give you no restrictions like mine did - I could drive the next day. Some say no heavy lifting and no doing this, no doing that - and others say get on with your life and do what you want! Really they all need to get together and have the same rules. I have a fitbit and feel naked without it - I want to know I am moving. I quit work a long time ago and at 65 (next month) I am happy to report I do not watch soaps, I am a bit of recluse by choice - I do not mind being by myself most of the time - but I stay active and in constant touch with people of my choice I just don't go out a lot. Happy retirement!!

  3. I so enjoy your posts, Kate! I hope your cataract surgery goes well and that the recovery is quick so you can get back to all that fun quilting you do! I'm so excited that you are doing Gypsy Wife (I'm sooo tempted to join in)! Happy retirement too! I have a Fitbit; it's resting quietly on the counter over there. Hahaha. I'm in the same boat as you physically, so I'll encourage you if you encourage me! Thanks for posting!

  4. Congratulations on scheduling that retirement! You will be so happy come October. Love the colors for the Gypsy Wife quilt!

  5. I am a new reader, and quite new to quilting too, although I used to do a bit of dressmaking. I have read your whole blog now (since Monday) and would argue with you that you certainly are a designer. I love the snowman you showed the other day and hope you don't mind but I am going to use some of the ideas from it for a Christmas panel of my own that I have been thinking about trying. I'm not sure where I am going with my quilting as I am in the early stages and want to try everything (no patience and a butterfly mind) but I do know I love traditional blocks but done with modern fabrics. I have just come back from the fabric shop so will be playing with the new material for a while.

    1. Hello and welcome Aileen. You came up as a no reply blogger so I hope you come back to read this. I am so flattered you liked my posts so much you read my whole blog, and especially that you consider me a designer. You would have noticed how my writing style has changed since I started, my first posts were quite brief with little detail, but as I became more confident in blogging and made lots of wonderful blogging friends I relaxed into it and now it's trying to shut me up!

      I'm glad you like the snowman, use the pattern any way you wish, change it by adding things or taking away, you could take the concept and use a different shape snowman either, I don't mind a bit. Not everyone likes or wants more cushions, it would make a lovely mini or use it in a larger wall hanging, table runner, or as part of a Christmas quilt. To me patterns are guides, you can make them the same or change them to give it your own special twist. I would dearly love to see a pic though, the thought of people making up something I designed gives me such a thrill.
      Kate x

  6. Wow, such news! Love the fabric pull for Gypsy Wife, and yes the orange and yellow sunburst goes just fine. But if you are hesitant, no need to force it! Congrats on the Slider. It's on my list of tools to purchase sometime. Now the big stuff--I'm so very happy to hear of your retirement. It's not only deserved, but long overdue. I'm also glad to hear you're going to work on your health. I need to do that too, so maybe you'll inspire me!

  7. Oops forgot! Kate, I will pray for you that your surgery goes well. These things are typically routine, so that's what I'll pray for. Can't believe it affects colors! Isn't that interesting? Thanks for linking up to Wednesday Wait Loss.

  8. Congrats on your upcoming retirement and striving to get fit! I need to work on that too! Your gypsy wife fabrics are lovely!

  9. I am soooooo jealous of all the time you will have to sew! And Kate, I absolutely love the fabrics you pulled for your Gypsy wife. I am really going to enjoy watching that one come together. So I am definitely one who doesn't use her Fitbit to its full potential so maybe we should get a challenge going between us? :)

  10. Oooh, Kate, I'm loving your modern Sampler blocks all together! Wow! You must be so pleased! I think your fabric pull for Gypsy Wife looks good. Definitely leave those fabrics in! Congratulations on your new Fitbit. I think you'll find their website very supportive and motivating. Having your cataract removed will be a breeze because you are so upbeat and positive. You'll love retirement! It's a wonderful state of being! XO

  11. Good Luck with your cataract surgery-I was able to drive the next day, but chose not to go too far. Knowing I would need new glasses, I had the doc take out the lense on my surgery eye while it healed, since the prescription was harder to see through-a thought! I was back to doing yard work in no time-my favorite exercise!

  12. Lots of big thinky thoughts from you today, Kate! I agree completely with your philosophy. The present is where we must live, in the good days and the bad ones. And no matter what, we have to live in the one body we've been given, so good for you for choosing to improve your health! That's the gift that keeps on giving, isn't it?

    I've heard really good things about cataract surgery; everyone I know who has had it rave about how much better they can see afterwards. And yes, your color vision should improve!

    Here are my thoughts on colors: I think the color mix so far is good on your modern sampler. Keep adding in those black pieces because they give the contrast that allows the shape of each block to really show.

    Same thing on your Gypsy Wife fabrics: keep those dark blues in the mix. You have lots of really gorgeous medium value colors in there, so you need to keep some good darks, too, or it will all be very colorful but might get "mushy" with not enough contrast. Also, I think the orange with the stars reads as quite solid, so keep it if you like it!

    Of course, this advice is "do as I say, not as I do" because I'm forever being fooled by saturated colors and not getting enough contrast in my own quilts. Sigh.

  13. Two pieces of advice for now. One, squint when you look at the blocks and you will see the contrast, which is excelllent. Two, please don't think so much. Read a good book. Hugs and prayers

  14. Good to see you're making progress with your Tula Pink sampler. I love the way this is taking shape. I bought a Fitbit last year and it now resides in a drawer. I should probably get it back out - I stopped wearing it in summer because it was too damp under the band (too much information?) and forgot to start wearing it again, I'll charge it on the weekend. Love the fabric pull for the Gypsy Wife Quilt, it all looks good to me and I love the low volumes.

  15. you seem to be going through a bit of a trial at the moment, hope all is well soon, I am sure retiring will give you one big boost and think of all the sewing time, I have been retired over 11 years now and it is great. Fingers crossed for the eye op, have had both mine done so worth it and was soon driving again though the car had to go when I retired.
    Tula blocks are coming along so well, thinking I will do another set of them as I enjoyed doing them, one of the first ones I tackled. Good range of colours for your Gypsy wife best of luck with it

  16. I like your sampler blocks, you've got a good mix of light, dark and medium in the mix. Lots going on in your life. I'm sure you are ready to deal with the cataract issue and get past that. I love my Fitbit. It was one of my key metrics that helped me lose 50 lbs last year. So they can be a great motivator.

    Hope the family member with the illness recovers quickly. As you say, those times are so scary, but as there is often not much you can do, learning how to cope with the uncertainty is key to one's sanity.

    Congrats on the retirement. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with when you have more time for the creative stuff in life.

  17. Hi Kate. I hope you enjoy your retirement as much as I have. I retired a year ago after 50 years of working and 20 at my last employer. I sure wish I had been able to retire earlier. I certainly miss the money but we get by. I absolutely love my freedom to choose how I spend my days. Especially quilting. You are quite a designer! I should get a Fitbit-- maybe.(heehee). Its too hot here to go out from May to Sept but I hope to get back to my walking in Oct. I like the way you think and enjoy your posts. mary in Az

  18. Love the sampler. I think stories about life are terrific and thank you for sharing yours. The older we get, the more it takes to just maintain. If you plan and act on what you know to do when retiring, you will have a huge jump on your health. I retired due to chronic migraines and neck issues, and quilting has been the thing that propels daily.

  19. 1. Had to look up gobsmacked, even before I started to read the post
    2. Congratulations on your progress. Love your neat points.
    3. I have a fitbit - happy to be challenged. I'd love to connect with you on a fitness level :-D
    And I am going to stop typing now because I need to wipe the drool off my keyboard - thanks to the yummy fabric for Gypsy Wife.

  20. Congratulations on your perseverance with your blocks despite the setbacks, and I hope your eye operations go well and lead to a fruitful and healthy retirement. I retired officially five and a half years ago; in preparation for my retirement I bought myself a new sewing machine and signed up for a patchwork and quilting course as I would need a new hobby to occupy all those extra hours. Ha, ha; I was immediately, on retirement, asked to come back and now after five years have my second permanent employment contract with the same company. I won't be staying there much longer though; I think it's time they learnt to manage without me!

  21. I can totally see myself marching around my house singing "the Grand Old Duke of York!" Congrats on your upcoming retirement!!!!!

    I really love your fabrics for Gypsy Wife and I wouldn't take any out. That quilt is so busy that a few prints that stand out a little like dark blue and the orange with stars will be good in it.

  22. That is certainly a sidetracking injury. Glad your better now, and that you're ready to get back out there. The Fitbit is a well deserved accessory. Thanks again for sharing this week - do come again!

  23. Enjoy your retirement and hope the surgery go very well.
    I`m a fan of sampler quilts and your fabric combo is an eye catching I`ll looking forward you progress.

  24. Sorry to hear of your impending surgery , hoping it all goes as planned . No . Not hoping . Of course it will ! Your philosophy in dealing with the bumps in life is rather like my own . I feel there are rough times and there are good times in any life . Remember the good times . Enjoy the best of times .
    I thought looking at your blocks that they were monochrome at first . Then I could see the depths of colour . I hesitate to say that as you are having problems with your eyes .
    And as for watching tv - if I waved a fit bit whilst watching Jeremy Kyle would that count ?

  25. I really like how monochromatic your sampler blocks are, they are going to look fabulous in the finished quilt!

  26. Sorry to hear about the family health issues. It is hard to stand by and wait. I have a Fitbit. I'm fat. My friend is fat. We are trying to be healthier and more active together. You can friend me at if you need a Fitbit buddy. I'll be working on the Gypsy Wife QA as well. I finished my 100 blocks this week. Might as well start another project. LOL.


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With smiles from,