Monday, 1 December 2014

An unexpected break in transmission

Fresh Sewing Day

Oh, it's nice to be back online!  For over a fortnight I had no internet access at home (so could only check for vital emails, etc. when I went to see my mam and her laptop mouse pad is a little erm, temperamental, shall we say?  It likes to suddenly scurry over to one side and refuse to move, or sprint around the screen while you try to get it back under control, etc.  Not the most relaxing experience!) and I missed all my lovely quilting friends.  I haven't yet managed to get completely back in the swing of being online again and, quite frankly, I'm going to try to keep it that way as I feel as though I've got lots of sewing done while I wasn't able to read about what other people were sewing...

First, though, I need to say a long overdue thank you to a couple of quilty friends for prizes received:

I won a gorgeous cushion from Leanne (which happens to be made from the same pattern as my very first wall hanging/small quilt) and it's made itself quite at home with cushions from other friends (none of the cushions on my settees are made by me as I've been able to put them away and just use cushions from friends; how lucky am I?):


A settee full of friends
Cushions from (L to R) Trudi (screen printed byKaren), Leanne and Yvonne
Isn't it fabulous?   Thank you, Leanne.  In fact, aren't they all fabulous?!  My mam keeps trying to smuggle one out (no particular one, they take it in turns!) but I'm on to her now so she stands no chance!


I was also lucky enough to win an Etsy voucher from Kelli.  It took me quite a while to decide what to buy but in the end I decided to treat myself (or rather, have Kellie treat me!) to a pair of new embroidery scissors which I thought would be really useful when cutting small pieces of fabric (for hand piecing and appliqué, etc.) as one of the blades is serrated, which helps it to grip small or slippy fabrics and ribbons.  I've got to say that they cut beautifully and I think they'll come in really handy.  Thank you, Kelli!


New scissors
Despite the implication on the packaging, they don't cut with a pinked edge.  Unless I need a more powerful magnifying glass, that is!

They've been added to my 'collection' of scissors, which is growing nicely!  (Not pictured are my paper cutting scissors (I seem to have three pairs of those!) and my wadding cutting scissors.)


My scissor 'collection'
I have a pair of scissors in each hand piecing/quilting project tin as well as a pair on my sewing table and in my knitting/crochet bags.  I like to have a choice, as you can see!

I have a feeling that I've forgotten something, please shout if I owe you a thank you!  (And, obviously, my apologies for having forgotten!)

Speaking of lovely things from friends, November was my month to receive blocks in Bee A Brit Stingy and so far these lovely examples have arrived from Emily, Collette, Janet and Sheila:


Bee blocks are rolling in!

Thank you, bees!  I'm looking forward to the rest arriving so I can start playing with the layout, etc!


While I was cast adrift from the online quilting community, I managed to finish my Christmas Cherry quilt top (based on the Made In Cherry pattern by Sarah Fielke).  It's turned out a little larger than I intended (does anyone else manage to accidentally make big quilts or is it just me?  Surely not!) but I love it!  I don't have a photo of just the quilt top (the weather hasn't been conducive to outside photos as the ground hasn't been dry for about four weeks) so I just have this one of it laid out ready for tacking (the backing is a brushed cotton sheet which I dyed):


Christmas Cherry quilt layers, about to be tacked
I couldn't manage to get it all in the photo - I was already stood on the coffee table and couldn't get any higher/further back!

I've started hand quilting it with perle 12 in dark grey (Anchor 400).  It's not the easiest quilt to hand quilt as the combination of Warm and White wadding and a brushed cotton backing make it a little on the tough side but I'm enjoying it and, as I'm in no rush, I'm quite happy to reduce my quilting speed in order to get even stitches.


Hand quilting - the start!
Not quite all of that 'wiggle' has been quilted but it's been marked with a hera marker so shows up in the photo

Hand quilting - detail
I'm fairly happy with the evenness of the stitches, even though I'm having to stab stitch through the seam allowances as I'm finding it next to impossible to get a small enough stitch if I attempt to rock through them.

Hand quilting - the back
And this is how the stitches appear on the back - they're not the same size as the stitches on the front but I don't mind!

While I was machine piecing Christmas Cherry (a daytime task), I managed to get rather a lot of hand quilting (an anytime task!) done on my hexy quilt (I watched a lot of telly - the whole of the most recent series of Downton Abbey, among other things) and I've even managed to get a photo which shows the resulting texture:

Hexy quilting progress
The combination of a dull day and a horizontal quilt seems to have resulted in a good photo of the quilting texture - I'll have to remember that!

You may be just able to make out the section that is left to quilt, in the top left hand corner.  If not, here it is:

Hexy quilting progress - still to do
I think there are twelve lines left to go and then I can start marking the other (final) direction which is the remaining diagonal which doesn't go through the centre of the hexagons (I decided to avoid those because of the ridiculous number of seams at the centre of some of them!).


Some of you asked for photos showing my quilting so here's one (and there are others in my Flickr album) but my camera doesn't do 'up close and personal' so you can still only really see the texture rather than the stitches themselves.  Sorry about that!


Hexy quilting 3


I've also finished something on my Q4 FAL list but I'm afraid the photos are as rubbish as the light/weather:
Blueberry Park Pencil case
Note the lack of sky in the photo - that's because the fret had rolled in and was refusing to roll back out again!

This lovely pencil case was a kit by Karen (who has changed her name from Blueberry Park and is now 'Karen Lewis Textiles') and features her wonderful (hand drawn) screen printed fabrics.  I was very impressed by the way the design lined up on either side of the zip but that's entirely down to Karen's printing skills and nothing at all to do with me (it didn't occur to me to check it until the case was finished).

Blueberry Park Pencil case

I love the little tab on one end, it gives it a lovely finish.  The lining is a gorgeous (plain) lilac and works beautifully with the bright pink outside and navy zip.


Archie has been honing his camouflage skills:

Practising my camouflage - what do you mean you can still see me?
What do you mean you can still see me?
as well as assessing my quilt design:

What are you doing up there?
What on earth are you doing up there?
critiquing my colour choices:

Are you sure about that turquoise square?
Are you sure about that putting that turquoise square there?
and assessing my tacking skills and speed (or lack thereof):

You do realise that if you'd chosen to machine quilt this you could have used safety pins and you'd be finished by now, don't you?
You realise that if you'd chosen to machine quilt then you could have used safety pins rather than tacking thread and you'd be done by now?

By taking up all the available floor space, I gave Archie the opportunity to practise his tiptoeing skills.

I know to tiptoe round the edge
Yes, I know I have to tiptoe round the edge, I'm not daft!
He did that without any encouragement/commands; he just knows that fabric laid on the floor is not to be walked upon without a specific invitation!  (Unless it's bedding, in which case he seems to think it's fair game.)


I'm going to try to blog again before Christmas (I'll be back with two finishes, only one of which is mine!) but just in case I don't I'll wish you...

...no, I'm afraid I can't bring myself to say it so far in advance so I guess I'll have to come back before then!

Bye for now and thanks for popping in!


24 comments:

  1. Great going Helen, the Hexies are amazing, you've done an incredible job.

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  2. Love the Christmas Cherry quilt top! You have a serious scissor fettish! I am slightly concerned!! Jxo

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  3. I'm glad you have been stitching away. Don't you love it when the dog just gets what you need from him and then just does it.

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  4. Lovely to "see" you again! I've got loads of things to comment on (your fault for such a long post, lol) so feel free to make a cuppa first!!!

    Mum's mouse - is it a ball type one? If so take the ball out and clean it and the cavity

    Scissors - I have similar number, but clearly not enough little scissors - mine are mostly the big ones

    BABS blocks are a great idea, and cherry star is looking fab: love the extra stars top and bottom, and the quilting looks great too.

    Hexi quilting - thanks for that, I never know how to quilt them as the seam joints are so bulky - I'll try your method next!

    Hello Archie, how you doing? Could you come and teach The fabric rule to my cats? They seem to think all clean fabric is fair game- washing, cut fabric, being stitched fabric (sewing binding on is a battle). The only thing they have sort of learnt is not to sit directly on the sofa: they have their own quilts that they can sit on, but they have introduced their own spin on that lesson- and add "Only when anyone's watching me" to both parts of that lesson!



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  5. Now that I have seen your sissors I need to tell you that your bee blocks are in the postal system (I wouldn't want to cross you with those instruments at hand)! Beautiful cherry quilt. I am a real sucker for cushions and your collection look fab. Di x

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  6. Hi Helen and Archie! Great collection of scissors and I'm happy to see the Fiskars for the fabric cutting. Your pouch is beautiful and the corners so perfect. And the bee blocks are Super - I do like squares. Hugs to you and Archie! Happy quilting and lovely December! x Teje

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  7. Lovely post Helen! I don't know how you manage all your beautiful hand quilting, it would take me forever.

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  8. Welcome back- that is a lot of scissors! I have three pairs not counting snips- paper, fabric and appliqué!

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  9. Archie REALLY is a wonderdog: love the star quilt

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  10. I'm in awe of your scissors collection, and the way you put it out there, without apology.
    For me, it's retractable measuring tapes. I have plenty, but whenever I see a new one I have to get it, just in case.
    Not that I use them that frequently, either…..

    Archie is amazingly clever, skimming the edges of the quilt tops so as to navigate around the room.
    Would he consider making a tutorial that I could read to my cat?

    Lovely projects, your hand stitching is amazing!

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  11. What a lot of lovely stitching - I wish that my hand quilting was as even as yours! Great collection of 'stuff' that you've told us about!

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  12. That big star is fabulous and of course so are the hexies

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  13. I absolutely LOVE it your Christmas Cherry. Just beautiful.

    The next time you go to visit your mam, turn her mouse over and see if there's a little plastic door thingy that will open up. My old mouse used to do exactly that problem and it always meant that it was clogged with little white Dalmatian hairs......

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  14. Gorgeous Christmas Cherry, love the cushions, worrying amount of scissors but we all have our obsessions!
    Assume fret is the same as haar??

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  15. That was a monster of a post Ms ATWD! Hope you could put your feet up after that one!
    Loved it all... that Leanne is a pretty clever gal.
    Could Archie please give discipline lessons to Polo.I could never lay out a quilt like you (actually..my quilts are rubbish so it wouldn't matter)
    I never realised how big your squares were, for the divine Christmas Cherry. Massive. thats a lot of quilting you need to do, plus finish the gorgeous hexies .. I need a "Bex and a good lie down" just thinking of all the hard work ahead of you. Hope there is time for an actual Christmas!
    Does Archie get some turkey? He is just SO well behaved.
    ...and could you and Sheila please start talking in english....

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  16. Welcome back! Well done on all the sewing, and love the delicately tiptoeing Archie!

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    1. Oh, and I always make big quilts so that they're bed sized. I know they're going to be big, but somehow the measurements in my mind never quite correlate to the size I imagine they will be, ie they turn out mahusive! They are the right size for a bed though, it's just that every time I make one I go 'oh shit' when it comes to quilting it...

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  17. A dog saying "I am not daft" results in giving me a big grin.
    He is tiptoeing indeed. So sweet.
    So different from my cats. whenever I am in the middle of taking pictures of quilts or some other handmade stuff: they just let their fat bodies be dropped right in the middle of it.


    I just love everything in your pictures. Everything ! But most of all I adore your hexagons.

    Must be quite thrilling to receive tissues from lots of bees. nice to have a hive, isn' it?

    Great to have you back,

    Brigitte

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  18. Loving the cherry quilt Helen. And isn't Archie good tiptoeing around the quilt

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  19. Wonderful projects. Archie looks like he's trying really really hard to behave. I've been admiring Karen's fabric on IG and love the pencil case you made. Happy Holidays

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  20. Lovely projects! I'm glad your break gave you more creative time :)

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  21. Your hand quilting looks beautiful!!! It would take a month of Sundays for me to get a quilt done by hand, I think.
    I once made a king sized quilt that was so humongous it dragged on the floor ALL THE WAY AROUND the bed. It was a monster...the Godzilla of quilts. It went to a good home, but I doubt it has ever been washed because it wouldn't fit in any washing machine I've ever met.

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  22. Christmas Cherry is gorgeous! Where can I find a pattern for that one? And yes, I tend to end up with bigger quilts than I imagined too. I need to find balance in the shape or not waste fabric, I think.

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  23. You get so much done!! Christmas Cherry is fabulous!! I start out with the intention to make small quilts but then find that they keep growing almost on their own!

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