Saturday, 30 June 2012

Fluffy Sheep Quilting...

Cindy@FluffySheepQuilting is running a competition to make some Kona solids bundles.  If you haven't already entered then pop over to Cindy's blog to find the rules and then go to her shop, Fluffy Sheep Quilting, to pick the eight colours you want in your bundle.  The winner of a public vote will receive two yards of Kona solid  and the top five bundles will be available for sale (as fat eighth bundles) in her shop.  You can even choose the name under which they will be sold but I'm not good at thinking of names so mine are very predictable!

My entries are...

Archie's choice

Archie's choice

and Alfie's choice

Alfie's choice

Details of the colours I've they've can be found in my Flickr photostream.

I'll leave you with a photo of the man dog himself enjoying the sun and a comfy bed...

It's not as easy as it looks you know...all this lying round looking cute is hard work!

And the moment he realised he'd asked to go outside at just the wrong time...

I know I asked to go out so I could wriggle on the grass in the sun but...'ve just opened the fridge...

...and I can hear you slicing cheese...

I can hear my sewing machine and some little pieces of fabric calling so I'm off would be rude to ignore them!!

Have a lovely weekend and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

ET and his intergalactic phone call

When Lynne blogged about her ET phone home block a couple of weeks I knew I wanted to make lots of them into a quilt using my Terrain charm packs (plus extras) and, inspired by Susan's Terrain quilt, a navy solid for the background and I waited patiently to see if she would be making her pattern available for us to buy.

Last week Lynne (who is one of the most generous and talented quilters I know) published the (free) foundation piecing templates for the block and, after a request from me, she set to on her ipad and created some hand piecing templates for me to try.  (Honestly, I think I gave her a headache...or an ache somewhere me to be awkward!)

After printing out the templates on freezer paper I spent quite a while sorting through my scraps to find fabric that would work with the navy background.  I didn't want to use any of the fabrics I'd set aside for the 'real' project so I searched my scraps for four colours that would work together and, after a bit of a marathon session ironing templates and marking sewing lines, I got on with the sewing - it was as much fun as I'd hoped!

Want to see what I made?

ET phone home - designed by Lynne@Lily's Quilts

I wanted to see what the block would look like if I made the colours radiate out in lines rather than making each round of triangles the same/similar colours and now I know!  I don't think I'll be doing this version in the 'real' blocks as I want a scrappier look for my quilt but this block will work fine as a cushion.  Unfortunately I don't have enough of any of the fabrics left to make a back but I'm sure I have a piece of blue velvet in the loft  that will work perfectly on the back!

The back isn't quite as pretty (the seams were better pressed out from the centre rather than swirled at the intersections) but I love seeing the back of other quilters' blocks so I thought I'd best reciprocate!

The back

I'll be making a couple of changes when I start making the Terrain et al quilt.   The first change is that I won't be using a dark solid for the background.  Partly because it's hard to see the stitches on such a dark fabric (which makes the inset seams harder to get accurate), partly because solids are much harder to hand sew than blenders, etc. (just one block has made my fingers sore) and partly because I don't want a solid background - I fancy a change!

The other change I'm going to make (apart from making it scrappier!) is the way I construct the block.  For the first two rounds I stitched the triangles on first and then added in the quadrilateral background pieces but getting the accuracy I wanted was difficult (partly because the stitches were so hard to see on the dark background) and it felt clunky so for the final round I attached each triangle to a background piece and then stitched them onto the block.  You can see some of the pieces ready to be attached in the photo

This turned out to be a much better method and although there is no difference in how the rounds look now they've been pressed I'll definitely be adding all the rounds like this when I make my ET quilt.  All I need to to do now is finish piecing all my hexies (which should take another three months or so) and I hope to be startingt ET in November - if I can resist him for that long!

I'd like to say a huge thank you to Lynne for being so patient with me and my endless 'the templates still aren't printing the right size' emails (honestly, I drove myself batty with it so goodness knows what I did to her!), I hope it was worth it!   I think it was but then I wasn't tied to the ipad fiddling with triangles, etc. on Touchdraw!

If you make an ET block please add it to Lynne's Flickr group - there are a few wonderful ET blocks in there already and it would be great to see more!  If you don't fancy making one yourself you could always just pop over to Lynne's blog and tell her how marvellous she is!

I've had a couple of lovely parcels in the post this week (I know, I'm really blessed with lovely friends!)

The first was from Nicky and contained all manner of wonderful things...

...including a frame so I can make myself a purse, some Liberty silks, some lilac fabrics for my hexies, some Oakshott and some Aurifil!  Thank you, Nicky, I'm going to have fun!

My second parcel came from Trudi and was equally wonderful.  Thanks to her kindness I've finally got a case for my sunglasses - for the past two/three years they've been living in a little plastic bag in my handbag and now look at them!  Very posh!

Trudi also included some of her favourite batiks (they're gorgeous, I can see why they're her favourites!) as well as a lovely quilted postcard

and... very own Liberty bag (blagged from the Liberty team during the FQR weekend just for me!) - I love it!!!  Thank you, Trudi!

A few weekends ago Archie and I (and Alfie but he isn't on any of these photos!) went a few miles down the coast to see the 'Jubilee knitting' (and have an ice cream!) at Saltburn.  This seaside town has a group of secret knitters who make the most wonderful figures, etc. and then yarn-bomb various locations round the town.  The most recent addition was a tribute to the Diamond Jubilee (they've also done some Olympic knitting but I'll share that another time)

The Secret Knitters of Saltburn

I've heard that the graffiti art that Archie is posing in front of has since been removed by the council...I hope that's not true but I suspect it is.  (It took at least five attempts to get Archie to sit and stay in front of the artwork - he was more interested in looking for chips!)

Turning to more serious matters...

...I've had a complaint about my blog...

Someone feels he isn't getting enough attention so he decided to make himself look appealing in the hope I would pick up the camera - I did!

Aren't I handsome?  Maybe I should start a petition to campaign for more blog appearances...

Meanwhile Archie looked distinctly unimpressed...

I don't know who he thinks he's kidding...this is MY blog and I'm not budging!

I'm afraid I'm way behind with my blog reading/commenting - I've been having problems with Blogger not responding and on a couple of occasions have just given up.   I'm not sure I'm going to be able to catch up but I'll see what I can do!  I also owe quite a few of you a reply to an email (or two!) - I will reply but it may not be in the next couple of days...

If you don't hear from me it'll be because I've succumbed to the charms of ET!

Edited to add: I think (and it's only think, rather than know!) that Lynne is going to share the hand piecing/EPP templates for 'ET phone home' but as I only told her yesterday that the templates worked I would think she'd need a few days (at least) to sort them out, ready for her blog...

Friday, 8 June 2012

I didn't go to FQR 2012 but...

...look what's just arrived in the post!

A party bag!!

Lucy@Charm About You very kindly had a word with Brioni from Fat Quarterly and somehow managed to get me a party bag!  Actually, it's probably called a goody bag but it's been a while since I've had a party bag (I used to get them all the time when I was teaching - I used to turn down the party invitation but would often still get a slice of cake and a balloon!) so I'm sticking with calling it a party bag!

Thank you so much Lucy and Brioni (and the rest of the amazing Fat Quarterly team) - I don't know how to thank you enough.  Following on Twitter and seeing photos over the weekend (as well as a few texts from Nicky and Sarah) enabled me to feel really included but this makes me feel like I was there!  Words can't express how much I appreciate this parcel (didn't I say that quilters are the kindest people imaginable?!) but please know that if you could see me now you'd know how grateful I am.  (Tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat!)

I have been working on some embroidery over the past few days though.  I recently won a give away at Lu Summers' blog - two pieces of oilcloth (laminate?  Same difference?!) from her Summersville collection and a (fabulous!) magazine featuring her wonderful Blooms quilt which accompanied a very well written tutorial on how to do reverse appliqué. 

From Lu Summers

I loved the Summersville so much and was so inspired by this post of Lu's that I treated myself to half a metre of 'Town' and 'Weave' so I could make myself a couple of cushions.  I decided to do a practise piece first (most unusual for me, I usually jump straight into a project with both feet!) and bravely cut into my 'Town' and opened the 'Pezzy Prints' charm pack I won from Lucy's first fugly fabric party and this is what I have so far...

I've finally used Pic Monkey - I love it!!  Photos also on Flickr.

It's going to be a while until it's ready to make into a pincushion but you know me: I love a bit of slow stitching!

Nicky is hosting a framed purse swap over on Flickr (it's full now, sorry if you missed out...).  She was so inspired by her class with Katy over the weekend that she's already made another purse (she's obsessed!) and has started a swap.  I've been drafted in for my organisational skills (I hope they're still there!) -  I'll be honest, I've only been in one Flickr swap before (and I'm not even joining in this one!) so I'm not the most experienced swapper in the world but I'm hoping everything will go well - cross your fingers!  If I can manage thirty-odd six year olds on 'large apparatus' surely I can help manage thirty or so quilters!  No?!

Laura has been wonderfully helpful with techie things like buttons (they're a mystery to me at the moment but I'm determined to learn one of these days!) and Katy is going to take lots of photos of the intricacies of framed purse making and create a tutorial.  Well, I think Katy is going to do the making and Lynne is taking the photos!  All we need to do now is wait for sign up forms, etc. to be submitted and we can start assigning partners!  (I hope we don't miss anyone out!)  Go on over to the Flickr group to see what's happening - if you spot anything wrong please shout!!  For us, so we can fix it, not at us!

Archie had a bath a few weeks ago - look how white he is!  He's known as the Daz dog by some of the bairns in the street!

Are you talking about me?  Did you say the B word?  Better not have done...

Yes, I'm exceptionally handsome but now I smell funny: like a baby.
 (He gets bathed with Johnson's baby shampoo!)

Enough of that; it's time you used that hand to give me a fuss...

This was supposed to be a short, simple post to say thank you to Lucy and Brioni...why can't I manage a simple post?!  I blame Archie...(he's not here - out on a walk with Alfie - he'll never know!).  Or I could blame Nicky for setting up a swap...or both of them...

If I'm not around for a few days it's because I'm looking for my teacher hat...and the organising skills that come with it!  Or I could be working on Stained.  I doubt it, but I could be!

P.S.  I don't think I've replied to any of the lovely comments left on my last post (I don't usually post again until I've done that but today's parcel was cause for an exception to be made!) but I will do it soon!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

A kindness of quilters

I'm not sure whether there's an official collective noun for a group of quilters and although the possibilities are endless (a creative, a thread, a bundle, etc.) I'm going to petition for 'a kindness of quilters' to become the description.

Over the past few weeks I've been lucky enough to receive some wonderfully generous parcels through my letterbox - some were completely unexpected and some were half expected but they are all fabulous.  So, whilst many other bloggers are writing about how friendly and welcoming quilters are (as well as talented and generous!) I want to share just how incredibly kind this community of ours is - I feel blessed to be a part of it!

The first thing I want to share is a giveaway prize.  I won a wonderful giveaway to celebrate lovely Liz@Lizsquilts' first year of blogging and this is what she sent...

From Liz

Thirteen (yes, thirteen!) FQs of Heirloom (and unlike many of you (Sarah!), I wouldn't have known what it was if Liz hadn't mentioned it on her blog!).  It's the most beautiful fabric - gorgeous, rich colours and patterns that will fussy cut really well and I'm really looking forward to using it!  After, of course, I've stroked and admired it for a few more weeks!

The delicious Deb@SimplyMissLuella sent me the most wonderful parcel of fabric, including some Sherbet Pips Puppies for my red and white quilt.  (I have a collection of red and white fabric and a desire to make a quilt, despite having nothing red in the house!, but I can't seem to decide which of the many designs whizzing round my head I'm actually going to make!).  Before I saw Deb's gorgeous red and white quilt I hadn't thought of using the puppies but now I'm going to make sure I show them to their best advantage!

Here's a photo (shamelessly pinched from Deb's blog - I hope she doesn't mind?!) of her fabulous quilt

Deb's red and white quilt

And here's the marvellous parcel of fabric she sent

From Deb
I've come to the conclusion that my camera doesn't like green - it never turns out right!

I also received two splendid parcels from Northern Ireland...

From Judith

Glamorous Jude sent some gorgeous green prints and some 'sorry you can't go to the retreat' Union Jack ribbon (I love it!).  She also sent a marvellous green unpicker but that missed the photo shoot as it was busy's so much better than the one I've been using because it's sharper but also because it's bright green!  I was going to use the fabric in my hexies but I think I'm going to save it and make either a zipped pouch or a sunglasses case, I just can't decide which!  

And the always wonderful Karen (she's also kind but the alliteration is starting to drive me batty!) sent me the earrings I won in her giveaway back in *ahem* February (!), a wonderful notebook and some lovely gift tags

From Karen

My final parcel came from oh-so-kind-and-generous Fiona.  She asked if I would be interested in giving her Rose Star block a home as she thought it would work well with my hexies and I, of course, jumped at her kind offer.  Not only did she send the gorgeous block (which is going to be appliquéd onto either a cushion or a pillow) but she sent me a honey bun (I told her I'd never met a jelly roll or honey bun in real life - I live a sheltered life! - so she raided her stash and sent me the most wonderful HB imaginable!)

From Fiona

I haven't yet decided what to make with the Aviary HB - maybe some cushions for my conservatory? 

Fiona also sent some biscuits for Archie...

Can I look yet?

My favourite!  Biscuits!  Yum!

I'm sure they were in here somewhere...

What have you put them in there for?  I wanted one...okay, five!

I've gone off you...

He did get one eventually but it didn't happen as quickly as he'd have liked!

So, what do you think...a kindness of quilters?  I think so!

Thank you so much to Deb, Fiona, Jude, Karen and Liz - your parcels meant more to me than you can ever imagine.  I feel truly blessed to know you and to be able to call you friends, even if I didn't get to meet (most of) you at that little get together thing you went to at the weekend.  I'm not sure but I  think it was in London(Which I've loved reading about - I had such a good time following along on Twitter over the weekend!)  It would be lovely if you visited one or two (or all!) of these lovely ladies and told them how brilliant they are!

I'm off for my tea (I forgot to eat dinner, again!) but I'll hopefully be back soon to either show you my progress on Stained (slow) or some embroidery (even slower but it combines Summersville and Pezzy Prints!) - be good whilst I'm gone!

P.S.  I've changed the font - any opinions?  Or didn't notice and don't really care either way?!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Fresh Sewing Day - finally!

Lily's Quilts

It's my first FSD post of 2012!!!  (And we're not quite halfway through the year, it's a miracle!)


I've spent most of the month piecing my Stained blocks, trying to work out how to stretch the leftovers far enough to make the backing blocks (still not sure it's going to work!) and preparing hexies...and taking lots and lots of photos of Archie!

(And I've finally managed to upload a photo directly from Flickr!  Not that it's hard, I just haven't got round to doing it before - I think I'm going to have to give in and go 'Pro' though...)

I have a feeling there's a couple of big things going on in the UK this weekend - I just can't quite remember what they are...I'm sure it'll come back to me!

Whatever you're up to, have a brilliant weekend (and wave a flag for me!)
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