Thursday, 21 February 2013

Eighteen months and thirteen years

'Eighteen months and thirteen years of what?', you may be asking.  Well, I'll tell you!  It's exactly eighteen months since I started this blog and Archie celebrated his thirteenth (ish) birthday a couple of weeks ago.  ('Ish' because he's a rescue dog so his exact date of birth is a mystery.)  I realise that most people celebrate their bloggy birthdays at yearly intervals but I like being a little different.  Or contrary.

I had planned this for last August but I was too tired to be able to promise to make the prize so I delayed it.  And delayed it.  And delayed it.  I've been counting down the days until my eighteen month bloggy birthday and decided to let Archie in on the fun (he's going to choose the winner!) to mark his birthday!  I'm so glad I started my blog (after a bit of a push from Nicky!) - I was already reading and commenting on lots of blogs (but not as many as I do now!) but there's nothing like a blog to help make you an integral part of this wonderful community.  I had a fabulous welcome to the bloggy world and the friendship, fun and support has continued!  This post is a little thank you to you all but I'm afraid there's only going to be one winner...

Right, that's enough of that, let's get down to business.  I'm sure that you want to know what you could win, don't you?  Well, don't get too excited...

You could win:

An EPP pin cushion (similar in style and size to this, this and this) made from a selection of Japanese import fabrics:

Shout if there are any fabrics you definitely want including...or excluding!

Or a Liberty thread catcher (like these but not necessarily with the same buttons/ribbons!) made with your choice of three fabrics:

The one on the left is my favourite print, I'd like a dress in it!

Or your choice of either a Union flag thread catcher or pin cushion, made with this flag:


Or the culled hexies, to do with what you will:

Anyone for darts?

Or the leftovers from my 'Leftovers/Turkey Sandwiches' quilt:

There's just under 9oz of fabric here.

Or the biscornu pin cushion I made last year:


All you have to do is leave a comment telling me which option you'd prefer.  If you'd like a second chance to win then I'm afraid I'm going to ask you to work for it...please give me ideas about what I should do with this (3.5" x 3.5") piece of embellished felt:

Ideas needed!

I made it last year and I only have a limited supply of the same type of felt, as you can see in this photo:


Any ideas are welcome, they don't even have to be sensible but it would be nice if I could turn it into something rather than having it sit in a paper bag in my sewing room.  Just one piece of information, though:  I don't wear brooches (on me or my bags) so I'm afraid a fairly obvious solution won't work!  (And yes, I want to keep it for myself so I'm not going to turn it into a brooch and give it to someone who would wear it!)

I'll be back with a catch-up post next week, probably for Fresh Sewing Day!  I've been busy joining hexies, embroidering Summersville and making a bag, but more of that next week!

I've also had a little trip to Ikea and bought one thing.  Well, two things but they go together to make a new bed for Archie!


I think he likes it!

I like it - one bed for my head and one for my behind.

It's destined for the conservatory as his bed in there is a little, well, lacking in style, but it's too cold for him to be in the conservatory at the moment (although he has managed a few hours in there in the last week as it's been sunny and mild) so it's going to stay in the front room (or under my sewing table) for the next few weeks until it can be transferred.

Don't forget:

Leave a comment telling me which prize you'd like if Archie picks your number.

For an extra chance leave me a second comment suggesting a use for the felt thing.

If you think you may be a no-reply blogger then please put your email address in your comment - if I can't contact the winner then I'll get Archie to pick again.  I'm also allowing anonymous comments for this post, for the duration of the giveaway, to give people without any sort of blog account to enter - if you're leaving an anonymous comment then you definitely need to leave me your email address!  Spammers, this does not apply to you!

I'll close the giveaway a week today (Thursday 28th February) on Saturday 2nd March at 7pm (GMT) and I'm going to make you wait to find out whether you've won until after I've made the prize.  In fact, if I already have your address I'll probably post it before I announce the winner.   Hmmm...'Announce' sounds grander than I'd intended but I think 'proclaim', 'declare' and 'promulgate' are equally as grand, if not more so, and 'reveal' sounds a little, well, odd.  As though I'm going to pull back a curtain and find you standing in the nuddy.  Or maybe that's just me...

Good luck, I'm off to continue negotiations with Archie about how he's going to choose the winner - he wants a piece of paper for each number and the matching number of biscuits in front of it.  I've tried to explain that 1) that's not fair to the people who comment first, and 2) there's no way he's eating that many biscuits, but he's not having any of it!  I may be some time...

P.S.  I may not be able to reply to all your comments, it depends how many people enter!  Although I usually reply to all my comments, I'm not going to be replying to any of the comments on this post as there are too many and, quite frankly, I'm shattered!  I'm going to save my energy for the number choosing saga and for making the prize - I'm sure you all understand!

Comments are now closed - Archie will be picking a winner tomorrow and I'll start making the prize.  Thanks for entering and good luck!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Fancy a cuppa...

and a catch-up?!  I'm planning to drink at least two big cups of tea while I write this post (I've done more, and shared less, in January than I thought!) so if you fancy joining me then pull up a pew...there are biscuits, if you want one two!  (Garibaldi's at the moment, or Rich Tea if you're not a fly cemetery currant lover.)  Ready?  Then off we go...

I can finally share one of my FAL objectives (item three: to finish some knitting) as it has been received by its lovely new owner and is settling in nicely!

Here's the (awful!) photo I emailed to Leanne (at the start of the quarter) of my third Umaro scarf (this time knitted in 'Stonewash'):

In progress

And this is what I sent across the pond:

All finished!

I received a beautiful parcel from Deb, wrapped in the loveliest tissue paper I've ever seen.  Yes, of course I kept it!

Not that I'm done with this knitting lark or even this pattern (Umaro from Brooklyn Tweed) - I've started a baby blanket!  No photo yet (next time, perhaps) but at least I'm using a different yarn this time (Aran rather than chunky) and doing nine repeats of the pattern across the row rather than just one.  I'm definitely getting my money's worth out of this pattern!

I've also ticked another item off my FAL list: my stumpwork anemone.  It needed a bit of stitching added and the detached petals prepared and joined to the fabric before I mounted it onto a 4" canvas block:

The front, the back and the finished item.

I gave it to my mam and she's going to find somewhere to put it...she has one in red partially made and my hope is that she'll finish hers but I'm not holding my breath!

I've also managed to make progress with the third (and last) item on my FAL list (the Marmalade hexagons from Our Dear Leader) - I just need to add some (plain) borders and then I can start quilting:

Hexy cushion (front and back) - it needs a press, as you can see!

I've made another couple of pin cushions and given them to two friends.  One is a sister to the pin cushion I made for Danielle and one is another EPP pin cushion, made with Japanese import fabric (EPP and these fabrics are a perfect match!):

Little and large
Little and Large.

After those two big hexy pin cushions I needed some more toy stuffing so was forced (forced, I tell you!) to put in an order with Annie at The Village Haberdashery:

The corduroy is for a bag I'm making (I'm starting it tomorrow in a workshop at my friend's studio, Knot) and it's gorgeous!  I'm using Kona pomegranate for the lining (bought from here - an eBay shop I'll definitely be using again!) and have managed to track down a 20" bright pink zip, which is harder to find than you'd think (especially if you're not willing to pay £2.99 p&p for a single zip), so I'm all set!  All I need now is some energy and concentration...I'd best take some sweeties with me to keep me going!

I've also received some more nice post, well I think it's nice!  I recently snapped my favourite hand piecing needle (it couldn't face another hexy and gave up the ghost!) and I realised that I didn't have many left in the packet so put in an order with JJ Needles and ordered enough needles to last me a decade!  Well, I needed to make full use of the cost of postage, didn't I?  (I think I usually quilt with a #10 between and wanted to move to a smaller needle so got a packet of #11 betweens to act as an intermediate step before I move to the #12 needles.)

New needles
50 sharps and 36 betweens, that should keep me going!

I tried to take a photo to show the size of the needles but I'm not sure I succeeded!  I wanted to put them next to something that most quilters will own or have seen - coins aren't particularly useful if you're outside the UK and I was struggling to think of something when this ball of perle thread volunteered:

I've also had some lovely post from Katy@The Littlest Thistle - she's kindly donated one of her WiPs to me and it'll probably be going on my FAL Q2 list.  I think it's got quite a bit of experience of being on an FAL list...

From Katy
I have no idea why Katy was willing to part with this but I'm glad she did!

If you can bear it, I've got another couple of photos of my hexies to share but feel free to skip past, I wouldn't blame you!  The first is my hexy map as a few of you wanted to see what it was:

Labelled hexies and a hexy map
It's not the clearest photo in the world (I like to use pencil on my block labels and maps, in case I want to alter something and also because I know that pencil and fabric is a fairly safe combination, unlike ink and fabric!) but the hexies all have a number pinned to them and have been split into groups (each in a separate zipped freezer bag) to make the joining more manageable.  I've noted down the number of the hexy, as well as the type of hexy it is (i.e. which design), on the map and have described the fabric for the edging pieces, in case a label falls off! Of course, I've got plenty of photos but I find a paper map is more accessible than a photo on the computer (which I won't print out as I'm a good Yorkshire lass!) and it's easy to have at my side when I'm stitching.  I was intending to join them in groups and then join the groups but changed my mind after the first group and am now stitching one hexy at a time to the main group.  It'll make it less portable but easier, I think hope!

I've now got seventeen hexies joined, which wasn't without drama as I realised (after joining sixteen hexies) that I had the same fabric in two blocks and it was touching!  The horror!  I took to Flickr (the link will take you to see the offending hexy) and Twitter to see what the consensus was...and promptly went against it!  In fairness, I was really intending to leave it but somehow hearing other people's opinions made me realise what my own was.  In Nicky's words, 'Miss PK (Picky Knickers) won!'

This is what they now look like:

Hexy progress
I'm trying to remember to press it each time I add a hexy but I'm not succeeding...yet!

and I'm really pleased I listened to Miss PK and moved that hexy!  It's lovely to be able to see them without their seam allowances, it makes such a difference!

Finally, ('At last!', I hear you cry!) I managed to take some photos of Archie in the snow...well, what was left of it by the time I remembered to take my camera with me on our morning walk first walk of the day ('morning' has a very liberal interpretation in this house, particularly at the moment!).  I think the one I took last year is still my favourite, but these come close!

Now, my cup is empty (again!) and I think it's time for tea...this time the meal, not the drink!  I'm linking up with Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day, why not pop over and see what everyone is up to?  While you're there, why not add your link to the list?!

Lily's Quilts

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