Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Ups, Downs, And More Love

My sewing machine has been hot this week, but little to show, sad :-(  But this sun is ever shining this time in the form of another three doll quilts from the lovely Wendy who lives by the river.  Wendy doesn't blog so I am sharing for her anyway and linking them to Bernie's Wrap Up page.  Want to see them?

How cute is this?  Wendy added a border of lace which sets it off beautifully, definitely a girls quilt.

I love the scrappy border on this one, Wendy made it with leftover strips from her Gypsy Wife quilt, yes she has finished hers completely and no I haven't started making the back for mine yet!

Or maybe Liberty is your preference, what little girl wouldn't like this, and a lot of big girls too.
I know Wendy always reads my posts, even though she has never managed to leave a comment yet, she is definitely not techie, but if you would like to comment on them I know she will be thrilled to read them.

There has been so many quilters who have joined in it has been truly inspirational.  However, once the supply runs out there will still be a need for more so if you wanted to join in but cannot at this time don't think your chance is over, they will always be welcome.

I have been working on my Postcards From Sweden quilt and today is the first link up with Musings of a Menopausal Melon (Mmm Quilts) quilt along, so without further ado here is my progress.

No, I admit there isn't a lot, out of the 36 fabrics to be cut into the required number of triangles I cut seven, but it is a start and there is always next week to try and catch up a bit, hopefully.  Actually I cut another one which seems to have temporarily disappeared, at this stage every little helps!

I didn't have as much sewing time this week, Jack fell and was admitted to hospital.  He is ok, a scrape on his back which is sore, but it turned out to be a lucky fall as they found he has a chest infection and caught it early.  He is now home and getting on with his everyday life.  He plays the piano and organ beautifully, he has an electronic one.  He once played a piece of music he made up out of his head and linked the piano to his computer ( yes he is almost 91, amazing isn't he), he has a programme which printed out a musical score of what he played.  Unfortunately he couldn't play it again from the score, he said it was too difficult for him!   Jack also likes to spend time surfing with his iPad and has requested I get him a new mobile, an iPhone.  Not bad for almost 91 is it?

I did make,

a cross block for Ann as Queen Bee in Bee Inspired this week, you can find her tutorial on Ann's blog Brown Paws Quilting.  The cross was made using a base of calico stitch and flip and I raided my scrap bin and chose lots of my favourite fabrics.  It's a bit brighter than it looks here though with a white Bella solid background.

I want to link to One Monthly Goal this week, I linked in January then events overtook me and I didn't link at the end, even though I had hit my goal.  I didn't link beginning of February for the same reasons, and I hit the goal I would have made with Circles.  This month I HAVE to hit it.

It's my secret sewing quilt.  This is your biggest clue so far and as big as they will get!   I am way behind and now I have had to order thread.  I hope it come quickly I am stuck and starting to panic I can't show you any more than this, three more weeks to wait.

I can show you the new fabrics that came through the post though.

Kona solids for the second signature quilt the panel of which will be on the back.   The signature fabric is the silver one.   This is for my wonderful son Chris and his beautiful bride to be Sarah.   Sarah is very 'arty', she is a teacher (Deputy Head) who has a degree in fine art and is is interested in colour and the quilt design, so with a little guidance and much searching of Pinterest she has designed her own quilt as regard to size, blocks and colours.  I gave her my Kona colour chart and left her to it.  She is leaving the colour placement to me but I will consult her on it.  It is such a pleasure to work with her, I am so very happy with my sons choice of bride.  I have been asked to do the reading at the wedding too (silent scream), as this one is a civil ceremony as opposed to a religious one no mention of religion is allowed and as they want it to be a day of light and happiness I have chosen a humorous reading.  They know it is humorous but they don't know what it is, it will be a surprise hehe!  Hope they like it!

Want to see the view from my window today?

View from my bedroom window upstairs.

Look how it has drifted at the back door.

Nothing stops my girls though, they love it only the snow melts on to their fur and takes some shifting, only heat will get it off.

The back garden has drifts too, and as I write this it is coming down full force again.

The Beast from the East as the media is calling it.  We never get snow like this at this time of year, it is affecting the east side of Scotland and northern England as well as the south east and is expected to hit the south west tomorrow.  I woke up to a white out, we had several inches over yesterday and overnight with another four to six inches expected today and more tomorrow.   Schools are closed as are some roads.  People are being told not to travel if it is necessary and apparently there are abandoned cars on the roads with a fair few accidents already.   It's crazy, there was an earthquake on the west side this morning too, yes really, we do get them occasionally in the UK although thankfully they are relatively small, this one was measured 3.2 on the Richter Scale.
Thank goodness I went food shopping on Monday and I know Jack and my parents have plenty of food and people around them too as we live nearly twenty miles away.

The bad news?  I may not get to Higham Hall for my embroidery retreat on Friday, gutted I am.  It's not only that I can't go but as it is on the west of the country there is no chance it will be cancelled and I will loose my money, almost £250 and I didn't take out the insurance.  I'm nearly in tears at the thought.  As I don't work now I have to choose carefully what I spend my money on, we don't go on many holidays and my weekend retreat was carefully budgeted for, sad!  However, if it isn't as bad as expected and maybe clears up a little then my husband may be able to take my friend and I across in his 4x4 and her husband will collect us.  I have everything crossed, wish us luck in getting there.

This is what I will hopefully be working on.  This small project just needs to be finished and wings aded to the ladybird, it was supposed to be a spider but I don't like spiders.

I would really like to get this one finished I've been on with it for ages.  it would help if I worked on it at home but quilting always seems to take over.

Lastly I have chosen another UFO to work on, my target for the year was to finish three UFO's and not add to them.

My modern sampler blocks.  I don't know how many of these I will need as I haven't decided on the layout yet but as they are only six inches it will be a fair few.  I started this last year and it was meant as a longer term project I could take to my sewing group but as I am finding it heavy to carry the machine and all the equipment I need it came to a stop.  I need a new project to take but I don't know what, maybe appliqué, needle turn to keep up with my skills, I need a think in that one.

So that is all for today, maybe I will get some more triangles cut or sampler blocks made as I can't quilt my secret project, or maybe I will let my conscience dictate and catch up on the ironing.  One thing is sure, my husband who is working from home today will stop me fifty million times for tea, questions, and to show me some stupid video of Facebook of a cute animal.  Does your partner do that?

Until next time,
With smiles from
Kate x

Also linking with:
Midweek Makers
Can I get a Whoop Whoop?
What a Hoot Quilts hosting for TGIFF

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Spreading the Love

I got caught in a DrEAMi moment this week (Drop Everything And Make it), how could I not after reading the post by Bernie at Needle and Foot?   As you know I'm always a bit slow and behind so you may well have read about the Spread the Love appeal already, but if you haven't it's about making dolls quilts for A Doll Like Me who make dolls for children who are a bit different from others.  They may have missing limbs, hair loss, scaring or any and every other condition you can think of, a doll like me is just that, a custom made doll for children who feel they are different, who don't relate the the standard dolls in the shops.  They are made by a lady called Amy who never turns a request down on cost, the dolls are sent all over the world.  This post explains all about it, if you haven't read it yet please do, but I warn you, it breaks your heart.  The doll quilts from the appeal are to go with the dolls Amy makes, if you are in the UK there is a London address they can be sent to.

So, here is the first one I made

I used a mixture of scraps out of my scrap bin and some leftover signature blocks which I cut down wasting only a narrow strip in the middle.   The blocks are 3 inches square finished, with a  2 inch border and the finished quilt is 24 x 22 inches.

I bought the backing fabric in a sale a few years ago, this is the first time I have tried wavy line quilting, I must say it is very quick and easy to do.

Of course it is supposed to be an edge to edge design so I improvised by doing wavy lines in the border and crossing them giving a wavy squared effect in the corners.  The binding is made using one of the centre fabrics to coordinate.

I also made,

this one.   I had lots of 1 1/2 inch strips in my scrap bin and just stitched them all together, easy peasy and much quicker to make than the first one, it ended up 24 x 21 inches.  If the binding doesn't look right it's because it's just pinned in places, I just need to finish the hand stitching but I wanted to show you this week.

I did cut the binding specially, just strips cut from a blue solid I had, I think it's a Moda but it's been around such a long time I can't be sure.

The backing was fabric a friend gave me a while ago, neither colour I had was big enough so I stitched them together.  I did the wavy line quilting again, edge to edge this time.

Both quilt tops were made completely from scraps and leftovers apart from a small amount of a white solid.  The wadding was leftovers, the backing was given to me or sale fabric, all I used apart from that was a little binding from my stash.

Which one do you like the best, the posh one with Alison Glass fabrics or the scrapy strip one that took a third of the time to make?  I admit it, I like the strip quilt best, there is just something about it, it looks comfy cozy, homely, know what I mean?

My friend Wendy is also making doll quilts, Wendy hasn't got a blog but I will let you see what she makes when they are ready to post.

That's all I can show you for this week, I have started my secret sewing quilting, no it hasn't gone to plan, I had to walk away from it at one point, keep your fingers crossed I do better tomorrow.

This year I feels if I'm sewing what has to be done next, not what I actually want to do, can you relate to that?  Just now it's the hop quilt, and I have a bee block I have started today but it's not finished yet, show you next week.  I also signed up for Postcards from Sweden Quilt Along which started last week, I have the fabric but haven't started cutting yet, another week to cut the triangles...........HELP!

The wedding quilt?  I have the signature blocks ready but haven't started stitching them together yet, neither have I started the front of the quilt.

The second wedding quilt?  The wedding is the beginning of May, the fabrics are ordered and I know what pattern to make, that's as far as I have got.

If I think of what I have to do I panic, so I'm doing what is needed for now.

Good news is I'm going to Higham Hall for an embroidery weekend in ten days, so exciting.  I haven't got any 'proper' glasses yet, I'm still wearing the Poundland readers, but I'm starting to think 'do I want to spend upwards of £100 for reading glasses or can I just use the Poundland readers?  What would you do?

That's all for this week, next week I can show you the other small project I have been doing as well as the hopefully finished bee block, but of course my main work will have to remain a secret, though not for much longer...............

So until then
With smiles from
Kate x

Linking up with:
Let's Bee Social
Midweek Makers
Needle and Thread Thursday
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?
TGIFF hosted by Kathy's Kwilts and More
Crazy Mom Quilts
Finished Or Not Friday
DREAMi @ mmm!quilts

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Finished at Last

This week it's all about Circles, apart from a smidge of news, and maybe a sneak peak, of my secret sewing.

But first in all it's glory I give you...........

Circles.  Goodness knows I have tried to give it  another name, but I can only think of it as Circles, so Circles it is.

To quilt it first I secured the blocks going around the circles and diamonds, then I did a meander on the background with Aurifil 2600,  pale grey to allow the quilting to blend in.  The circles was a more difficult decision, I wanted a variegated thread so I decided to use what I had, King Tut 936, quite a strong yellow red and green, if I had realised it would take so much (I ran out and had to buy more) I would have probably bought a paler one, but I didn't.  I quilted pebbles in the circles varying it only with the odd double one.  I'm not proficient at quilting and this was my the first time I had used a meander or pebbles, in fact only the second time I had free motion quilted but I think it's high time I made use of all the Craftsy classes I have bought and take a step away from my walking foot.

I left the diamonds unquilted.

The borders were more difficult, I ended up staying with a small meander in the background borders and doing a single line with big pebbles, I say pebbles, circles they are not!

Want to see the back?

I really must apologise for the shocking colours, it is so difficult taking pics at this time of year when it is so dull and rainy.  However, there is nowhere to hide using a contrasting colour on a plain background is there?

You have seen the back before.  All I did was stitch together leftovers of various sizes and shapes adding in pieces of the background, adding large pieces of the background top and bottom to make it long enough to make a panel for the back.  I cut a piece of standard width fabric about two thirds across and inserted the panel.  It uses up leftovers and allows me to use standard width fabric therefor saving money.

You can see the quilting better here, the meander varies a little in size but all in all I'm fairly pleased with it.

You can see the pebbles and wonky border circles here, I'm not sure if I should go back and add some more quilting to the coloured border, what do you think?

For those of you who have only started reading recently here is how I made it.

The first thing I did was to decide about the quilt style and size.  I had look at a number of circle quilts, but the circles were mostly too big or too small, so I drew it out.  When I was sort of happy with it I counted the blocks so I could determine the size.  The block layout I decided to be 6 x 6,  and I decided on an 8 inch block.   That gave me  a size of 48 inches square before borders.   Fine, I can get 5 blocks out of an 8.5 inch strip, so I needed 7 x 8.5 inches for my background, 59.5 inches plus a little wiggle room to allow for straightening and such.  I decided on 2 meters, then I would have a little left over for scrappy backgrounds, but 2 yards works too.  I can only buy in meters and centimetres in the UK.

Now the circles.  I knew I wanted quarter circles in two corners of the squares, so it wasn't too busy.  I drew part of the square to make my template and marked 4.5 inches to allow for the seam allowance. Actually I didn't have my thinking head on as it should have been 4.25 inches, but it makes little difference.  I got out my compasses which I bought when I started quilting and had never used in 10 years, REALLY, and I kept them all this time.  So, I drew my quarter circle for the template.  I could have just drawn around a dish of the approximate size either, the halved and quartered it, but my brain doesn't always think in the logical way, until I have finished the hard way that is.  Next I glued the paper to the back of a cereal box and cut it out.  If it was something I would use in the future I would have used a plastic template sheet but it's likely to be a one off.

Then it was just a matter of drawing around the template on freezer paper, and cutting them out.  I ironed the papers on to the back of the fabric. and left a quarter inch on the curve so I could turn it under and tack in place followed by a zap with the iron for a nice sharp edge.  The seam allowance was already included on the straight sides.

Then it was just a matter appliqueing the circles to the background.  I like to use silk thread, I have a collection I have built up over the years and some colours are very versatile, but any thread does, thinner thread is better than a thicker one though.

 I didn't want to do bonded applique because I intended to trim the background just before stitching the blocks together to reduce bulk.  I could of course have removed the paper leaving the edge turned under, and tacked the fabric to the background before stitching it with a buttonhole stitch, in fact if I ever consider making it again I will probably do just that as some of my appliqué stitching started to come away a little I noticed when I was quilting it, so I zapped it with the machine.  See, I always tell you the things I could have done better.

When I put them together they were fine but just a bit ordinary and needed some more interest.  

 So, I added a stitch and flip triangle to the plain corners using 1.5 inch squares.

 I added a one inch finished background border, a two inch finished coloured border, and another 1 inch finished background border.  The grey of the diamonds was added as cornerstones to the coloured border. 

I used the grey diamond fabric for the binding, which had posed a bit of a problem as I had used fabric I had, only the shop didn't have any more, panic!  However a bit of hunting and two fat quarters were found so it has a 'few' more joins than normal but it's hardly noticeable.  Good job I went for the extra fabric straight away, I'd never get it now.  So there it is, it ended up 56 inches square.

My last post about circles, sad :-(  There again I will be talking about Gypsy for at least a couple more years until that's finished so there is my consolation.  No I haven't made the back yet, too busy with..........secret sewing!

Yes I promised a sneak peak, didn't I?

Here it is, all layered and basted, ready to start quilting in a couple of days!  What?  You didn't think I was about to show you the front did you?

Ok, as you can probably tell it is a quilt, rather than a wall hanging or something.  What's it for?  For Cheryl and Paige's Modern Plus Sign Book Hop starting on May 12th.

There are over 40 bloggers taking part, I will be posting on March 21st and you will see my version of one of the quilts.  The book is out now and available in hardcopy and a digital version.  I made a block for a group quilt in the book too, ages ago, I feel as if I've been keeping this secret for eons.

I have been doing lots of other stuff this week but I ran out of time to tell you, I've been chasing squirrels too, but more about that next time.

Until then,
With smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
Midweek Makers
Let's Bee Social
Wednesday Wait Loss
Needle and Thread Thursday 
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?
TGIFF Hosted by Lisa In Port Hope
Finished Or Not Friday
Crazy Mom Quilts

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Nearly nearly

For so many things, but mainly for Circles

YES YES YES!!!  So close I can hardly believe it.  Tell you later.

Sorry I havn't been around, the usual as I'm sure you have guessed, the curse of the family illness coupled with having to work, even though I have left, and the wedding last week AND having visitors.  My head was in such a spin with it all and I couldn't concentrate on anything.  But the crisis has again been averted, work is over, the wedding was last week and my visitors have gone home.  Everything in life is transient.

I did miss linking up my goal though, AND I missed for February too.  Never mind, want to see how I did for January?

Make, post, and mail bee block x 2  Done

Make 61 blocks for Tina’s wedding quilt  Done

Cut out blocks for Mystery quilt  Done

Finish quilting Circles  Done

Make three blocks for sampler quilt

Make extra blocks for Trees and Gnomes

Oh yes, I am so happy, I knew I was unlikely to get it all done and the signature blocks had to be my priority for the wedding but I was so happy I got the important stuff done.

Speaking of the signature blocks remember I used tape on the sides to stop people writing in the seam allowances?  It totally worked, and the quilters tape hasn't left a mark, here is the final result of my test piece.

See?  Not a mark.  It says not to leave it more than 24 hours but after three weeks it still didn't mark and I will use it again for the second quilt for the wedding in May.

I have to show you this block, want to see what prompted the comment?

Isn't she beautiful?  That's their daughter Emily (our granddaughter ) sitting on the tractor.  It's the only pic I have just now, I couldn't get my phone in my bag and I have stopped taking a camera as I end up taking lots of pics and not just enjoying the day, so I leave the photographs to the professionals, although I think this one was taken by a friend.

Before I show you Circles want to see my outfit?

It's not a great pic, Gary took it at home with his phone.

I HAVE to show you a close up of my fascinator though, love it, even though the band dug into my head and it got knocked off my head twice, once by Tina the bride, but then she caught it!

Ok last wedding ones, in the photo both with my husband and son, who will be the groom in May.

Unfortunately my daughter in law to be had to work and couldn't make it for the wedding although she drove up from London, nearly 300 miles, for the last hour and a half of the evening reception.  As you can tell we had a great time.

So, want to see Circles?

You can see how close I am, the quilting is finished completely and the binding is machined on, all that is left to do is the binding to hand stitch and a label.  Poor Indi, as you can tell she is desperate for me to go out and start throwing the ball, she ALWAYS brings it back to be thrown again and I can tell you, I get tired way before she does.

I was quite surprised at my quilting, it turned out better than I thought, although the meander is better than the circle bits. 

Tell you what, I will show you it all properly next week when I finish the binding and I will go through how I made it again for those who may not have been here when I started it, or who may not remember as it was so long ago hehe!

That's all I have I can show you I'm afraid.  I have finished the top of my secret sewing quilt but I can't show you that, not until next month anyway.  

Tell you what, I'll finish with the reading I did for the wedding, it was in church and I did the second reading, I love the words and think they are so appropriate for a wedding.

Apache Marriage Blessing

Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter for the other.

Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth to the other.

Now there will be no loneliness,
for each of you will be companion to the other.

Now you are two person’s,
but there is only one life before you.

May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years.

May happiness be your companion, and may your days together be good and long upon the earth.

If you are a quilter and don't follow Needle and Foot ( link to post) I urge you to read this post about children with disabilities and how you can help.

Until next time,
With smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
TGIFF hosted by Katie Mae Quilts