Thursday, 31 May 2012

I'm not going to FQR so...

...I'm going to show off some hexies and some very cute photos of Archie!

In my last post you saw the large group photo of 'new' hexies which have been made over the last few weeks couple of months - here are their close-ups (curlers and all!  Actually, the curlers are hard to spot in these photos, you'll have to look carefully!)

The top right one looks much better in real life!

And so does the one on the top left!

Not sure about bottom left but I think hope it'll be ok...

The dotty one makes me smile!

Are you bored yet?!  Nearly done...

Last one - well done for making it this far!

Stained is at a standstill at the moment for two reasons.  The first one will come as no surprise...I'm worn out (again!) and the second is that I'm busy prepping more hexies (and have five more to do).  Each one takes about thirty minutes to prep so after doing three or four I don't have enough energy (or time!) to do any machine sewing.  I've also decided to go down the QAYG route so I've got to make 24 backs out of the fabric left over from the front (which, in turn, was leftover from the monster so, as you can imagine, I'm scraping the barrel!).  I'm going to see if I can get some more done this weekend, when lots of you will be in London taking classes with wonderful teachers and classmates and generally having a whale of a time.  Archie and I will have one eye on the Jubilee coverage on telly (and/or The King's Speech - I've been saving it!), one eye on twitter looking for Fat Quarterly Retreat tweets (I've just joined and am slowly getting the hang of it - I'm @Archiewonderdog if you're interested), one eye on the sewing and one eye on the biscuits...

In honour of the Diamond Jubilee (not really, I just liked the tin!) I've changed my hexy tin to a more suitable one (a dose of idle-itis means I've just got round to cutting a piece of wadding to size for the bottom - I've had it a few weeks!)

New hexy tin with some freshly prepped hexies and my new thread catcher

And I've even got round to making a proper thread catcher to replace the 2" square of wadding I've had in there since August.  (It took fifteen minutes one afternoon and I have no idea why it's taken me so long to get round to it, I blame the idle-itis!).  I used some of the 'A Walk In The Woods' that the very talented Aneela Hoey sent last November - I love this fabric!  I've only shown the front as the back is just a piece of wadding covered in threads...not particularly interesting or appealing but I can't tell you how much better it is than a scrap of wadding!

 A RRH thread catcher with a guest role for foxy!

It's been raining most of the day today (yeah - no sun cream required!) but when it's sunny (and warm - the two don't necessarily go together up here!) my neighbours tend to cook their tea on the barbecue and eat outside...and guess who likes to watch?!

I know they're cooking...I can smell it...and I can see plates on the table!
I think it's sausages tonight...

What?!  They don't mind...
I just have to be patient...I can do that...
But I'll poke my nose through the gap, 
just in case they haven't noticed me...
Did she just shout "Do you want your tea?!"  I think she did - best go and check!

He didn't get anything that night but he did two days later.  They're very kind to him and if he's out when they finish (he has to come in if he barks or whines at's the rule.  He's not happy about it but...) they always save a piece for him.  In fact they have been known to cook a piece of chicken especially for him, no wonder he wants to be out there every (sunny) teatime!!  Yesterday someone was barbecuing at dinnertime and he dashed out only to find it wasn't them - the look on his face was priceless but I didn't have the camera!  I think he would quite like a dog flap putting in the fence...

I may not be going to the Fat Quarterly Retreat but I have had some wonderful post over the last few weeks so I'll be posting soon(ish) about the lovely things that have dropped through my letterbox - I think quilters (or at least those that blog!) are the kindest people in the world and I have the proof!

If you're going to London this weekend have a fabulous time and say hello to each other for me...and if you see any crumbs on the floor (or need your sewing covering in white hair!) think about how useful Archie would be!  If you're not going to London I hope you still have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

There once was an ugly hexy...

Click here if you want to sing along! *

There once was an ugly hexy

I'm so ugly!

Who resembled a nuclear sign
And the other hexies in so many words said
Pshaw!**  Get out of our box!
Pshaw!  Get out!
Pshaw, pshaw! Get out!
Pshaw, pshaw! You don't belong here.

And she went with a sigh and a whimper and a sigh
In a flurry of dangling threads.

That poor little ugly hexy
Went wandering round the sewing room
But at every shelf she was met with disdain
No, you can't be in our quilt
No, you can't!
Oh no, you can't!
Oh no, you can't join us.

And she went with a sigh and a whimper and a sigh
And a very despondent air.

All through Easter weekend she hid herself away (yes, it's taken me that long to get round to publishing this post!)
Thinking of how to change, unpicking and re-stitching her seams.
All through the weekend in her lonely sewing box
'Til a tessellation of hexies spied her there and very soon agreed
You're a very fine hexy indeed!

A tessellation of (pretty!) hexies

Fine?  Me, fine?  Ah, go on!
And they said 'Yes, you're fine'
Take a look at yourself on the screen and you'll see
And she looked and she saw and she said
I'm a fine hexy...wheeee!

I'm so pretty I'm in danger of getting above myself!

I'm not such an ugly hexy
No resemblance to a nuclear sign
For in fact those hexies in so many words said
Hurray!  You are transformed!
Hurray!  Transformed!
Hip hurray!  Transformed!
Hip hurray!  Please be in our quilt!

Not a sigh, not a sigh, not a whimper or a sigh
But a proud walk around displaying her charm
A very fine hexy indeed.

Say who's an ugly hexy?
Not I!
Not I!

* When I was first sorting out the words for this I was singing along to check the words fit and realised that I could hear the same song but slightly further on...turns out this ad was on telly!

** I don't think I've ever heard anyone say this but I think it's a great word!

A bevy of beauties!

And just so they don't get jealous I've taken some close-ups of the other hexies in the group shot - I'll publish that post in the next day or so as including them here will make for a very long post, even by my standards!!!  Some of them weren't happy because I dragged them out in the equivalent of their curlers (they hadn't been starched or pressed!) but I'm sure they'll forgive me!  Please don't think I've whipped these up since I posted the photos of the halfway point - I've been stitching these for weeks, it just takes me quite a while to remember to take photos/blog about them...

As you probably know Archie loves lying in the sun (and he's had plenty of opportunity this week!) but he's not always happy to have his photo taken...

Can't a dog get any peace round here?

I want to be alone...

That's it, I'm off!

And so am I!  It's teatime and then I have to bake a couple of dozen cakes to take to class tomorrow.  I hope it cools down soon or I won't need to be in the oven to be baked!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Me and my monster...

A monster quilt, that is!

If you want to find out more pop over to visit Liz to read my contribution to her series on monster (big) quilts - I hope you enjoy it!!

Look into my are going to click on the link to Liz's blog...
You will read the post and leave a lovely comment...
You will send me a biscuit through the post...
Maybe even two...

Honestly, you'd think I never feed him!!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Fugly friends together

Charm About You

I'm just popping in to quickly post about the Fugly Fabric Party that's going on over at Lucy's blog Charm About You.  This time I've had quite a time coaxing my remaining fuglies out of the drawer (I thought I'd got rid of them all last time passed them onto a new home after the last fugly party but these two were cowering at the back of the drawer, half hidden in the shadows...not surprising, really!) and they've only agreed to come out and show themselves on the condition that they can hold hands and that nobody laughs.  So, if you laugh can you do it silently or into your hankie?  Thank you!

Now, are you all prepared?  Get your hankies ready...

Yup, they sure are fugly!!

Now, in my defence the orange one (which is a FQ) was a bran tub 'prize' and the floral (which is a half metre of fugliness) was bought on-line and looked much better in the thumbnail!  I bought it when I was collecting fabrics for my hexies and I'd hoped it would be suitable for fussy cutting, either for whole hexies or for the centres of pieced hexies.  And it was ridiculously cheap - £3 a metre...and now I know why!!

Both fabrics would be great on the inside of cushions and I think the orange in particular would benefit from some cutting - I think small pieces of it would be great in a scrap quilt.  Just not my scrap quilt!

Now, although they're shy, I'm confident that if they know they're going to a good home and are guaranteed a nice welcome they can be persuaded into separate envelopes but they will also be happy to be placed together.  If you're interested please leave me a comment - I'll post anywhere in the world (oh, 'Fuglies Take Flight', what a great idea for a cartoon strip!  No?  Just me then!) so no need to be worried that you live outside of the UK and are going to miss out, these fuglies can (and will!) travel.

Edited to add:  The orange fugly has been lovingly claimed by Liz!  And the floral fugly has been adopted by Joyce!  The ATWD Fugly Fabric Party has ended - short but sweet!!

I'm still busy with my Stained quilt and cleaning.  Actually, that's a lie.  I've almost finished the cleaning and just have to spend about another half hour on it and it will be done.  (Until the next time!)  In fact, I'm sitting in my wonderfully clean conservatory at the moment, enjoying the peace and quiet (but not enjoying the way I can see my own reflection in the laptop screen - most off-putting!) and admiring my garden (and the goldfinches) through my newly polished windows.  Pleased with myself?  Well, maybe a tiny bit but I think it's deserved!

It's also a lie that I'm busy with the Stained quilt.  I had a really good run and pieced all the blocks but now I've run out of steam (I blame the cleaning) - I'm flogged at the moment so I'm at a little bit of a standstill.  I'm hoping to get the sashing strips cut this evening and attached tomorrow.  I've already sorted the block arrangement so once the sashing is on I should could may have a complete top in no time!  And when I do I'll be back for a ta-da post!

In the meantime you'll have to make do with a photo of four blocks that I uploaded to Flickr to prove I was actually joining in the Stained QAL and not just looking at my fabric!!

Find me on Flickr if you fancy a closer look...

The observant amongst you will notice that the blocks aren't identical when it comes to how one section is orientated - it wasn't exactly deliberate but neither was it entirely accidental.  That is, I didn't set out to rotate the section but neither did I particularly take care to ensure they were all the same - I quite like the way they're almost the same but not quite!  (And if you haven't spotted the glitch just ignore the last couple of sentences!)

I'll leave you with a photo of Archie to keep you going whilst I go and chain myself to the cutting board/sewing machine...

Here he is attempting a dog version of 'The Thinker' by Rodin

Should I go to the bother asking for a biscuit or stay here and enjoy the sun?

Don't forget to consider giving the fuglies a lovely new home (please, someone, anyone, take them!!) and once you've left me a comment telling me how much you'd love one (or both) of the fuglies why don't you pop over to the party and see who else you can take home with you?

P.S.  Thanks for all the lovely comments about the 101 hexies - you're all so nice!

Edited to add:  I knew I'd forgotten something important!  I'm going with a 'first dibs' basis for the fuglies...

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

101 hexies

I think it's about time I shared photos of my one hundred and one hexies - here they are in a pretty stack, no reason for it I just fancied seeing how high it would be!

101 hexies make a stack about 4.5" high - not a lot to show for eight months of sewing!

They took quite a while to arrange on the floor as I was trying not to get the same fabric or the same type of hexagon next to each other.  I'm not sure I managed it and I'm not sure it was worth the effort but this is what 101 hexies look like when they're all in the same room and playing nicely together.

Sheila has a liquorice allsort (yum!) in her hexy quilt, I have a fried egg...

Sorry for the awful photo - the weather was awful the day I did this (although not as awful as the days preceding it!) and the only way I can get a photo of all the hexies is to put them on the front room floor, stand on the fourth stair and lean over the bannister!!  Oh for a big design wall!

Want to see a close-up?

I only took two close-up photos (I wish I'd taken more!), the other one is in my last post!

I then added the five whole (unpieced) hexies that I've cut out

They're hard to spot so here's a photo with a bit of a clue!

Subtle enough?!

And close-up of some of the 106 hexies

I'm really pleased with it so far and think that so far I've managed to get a good variety of types and a good balance of colour - what do you think?  Any colours I need to use less or more of?  I've got many more of the 'star in a hexagon' hexies than any other type but that's deliberate - I decided that I needed plenty of simple hexies to off-set the more complex hexies.  If they were all smarty pants hexies they might end up fighting!  I'm also wondering how many whole hexies to include - any thoughts?

I'm still not sure if I'm going to be adding sashing - my plan is to make hexies until I either run out of the white-on-white background fabric or hit my 202 mark (whichever happens first!) and then I'll have a good think about it.  The sashing would make it a lot easier to join the hexies together (many of the seams won't nest together due to the seam allowances sometimes swirling clockwise and sometimes swirling anti-clockwise) but one solution would be to add more whole hexies and to ensure that they're between any awkward hexies that happen to end up next to each other.  I honestly can't see me taking the direction of seams into account as I arrange all the hexies but I think I could arrange them and then sort out the troublesome ones.  Or I could (as Elly suggested) add triangles between the hexies but, although I love the way it looks, (Cathi has added setting triangles to her hexagons) I'm not sure if that would help with some of the seam allowances.  If anyone has any other ideas please shout!

I've been busy making some Stained blocks from Sarah's QAL.  I think I've made about twelve at the moment but although I've taken some photos I'm not sharing them yet, I wanted this post to be about the hexies!  I'm really pleased with how the Stained blocks are looking and I'm already thinking about how to quilt it.  This quilt will be for my mam and she likes a heavy quilt so I'm thinking of using a double layer of wadding (probably Warm and Natural) - does anyone have any experience of (machine) quilting through two layers of wadding?  I'm going to be doing straight/wonky lines (no FMQ here!) but any tips or thoughts on needle choice (unless someone tells me otherwise I'm either going to use a topstitch or a quilting needle) will be gratefully received! 

I'll leave you with a few photos of Archie coveting the remains of my breakfast.  His (big blue) liver tablets have to be taken on an empty stomach (preferably after an overnight fast) and at least an hour before food so I give him it as soon as I wake up (such a rude awakening for him!) and then he goes back to sleep until he hears the magic sound of my breakfast being prepared.  (But only if it's toast - if I'm having cereal he waits until he hears me put my spoon back in the bowl after eating as he occasionally gets the teaspoon of milk that's left!)  If I have toast for breakfast he usually gets the last little bit of each slice and he's just not used to having to wait!

What do you mean 'Not now?'  I don't understand!

Maybe if I stop looking at her she'll change her mind...

Well that didn't work - I'll go back to staring!

He kept that up for ten minutes before I moved the plate into the kitchen - he followed and settled himself on the floor for a long wait is too long if food is involved! 

I'll probably be missing from blogland (and possibly email as well) for the next week or so as I'm going to be concentrating on completing my Stained top and cleaning my conservatory (which will take quite a while as I can only do a little bit of cleaning each day or I end up exhausted and it needs a spring clean rather than a quick flick with the duster) so I'll be either chained to the sewing machine or to a bucket and cloth!  (Or watching telly whilst I recover!)

Wish me luck, I'll be back when all the Stained blocks are together and my conservatory is sparkling.  Well, definitely the former, possibly not the latter!

Edited to add:  I forgot to let you other number geeks (you know who you are!) know that there are 1153 pieces in my first 101 hexies....

Edited to add (I'm having a forgetful day!): I'm linking up with Lee@Freshly Pieced for her WIP Wednesday - so please hop over and see what other people are working on!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

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