Sunday, 7 July 2013

Rounding up quarter two

It's time to declare my finishes for quarter two of the Finish-A-Long - I feel a bit of a fraud writing a new blog post when I haven't replied to the comments from the previous one but instead of spending time on the computer (I'm also way behind with other emails and reading/commenting on blog posts) I've been spending a lot of time crawling around my front room floor, listening to/watching six episodes of 'Broadchurch' and a fair few of 'Party of Five' and tackling this:

I'd best get tacking...
Hexy quilt top, wadding and backing, ready to tack
and I'm pleased to say that late last night (with blisters on both index fingers!) I finished tacking my quilt and can now start to experiment with threads and choose which I want to use.  Oh, and I suppose I'd better give some thought to exactly how I'm going to quilt it - that very much depends on the threads I choose, though...

I'll reply to comments soon (honest!) but I need to post my FAL Q2 finishes so I can link up.

I had three things on my Q2 list (knowing full well that I didn't stand a hope in hell of finishing one of them - I've really no idea why I added it!), here's how I've got on:

1.  Make my first ever foundation pieced block into a block keeper/stitching book (using Cathi's examples as inspiration).  I managed to do this quite early on in the quarter.  FINISHED!  

I blogged about it here but here's a photo to prove it exists!

Block keeper - front

2.  Finish off the lovely cushion from Katy (I think this project is a veteran of the FAL list!).  I've just looked through Katy's FAL lists and as far as I can see this cushion has now been on three 'quarter' lists.  Well, no more because it's FINISHED!  It's not a cushion, though, it's a massive stitching/block book:

Block book - front

I decided that the first one I made was really useful but not quite big enough to hold all the pieces for one ET block on one page.  I think this will be big enough as the pages are just over 18" square.  You can see how much room there is for four 6.5" (unfinished) blocks so I think I'll just fit my next ET block on one page, once I've prepped it, that is!  Thank you, Katy, for giving it to me!

Block book - inside

The gorgeous chevron ribbon is from The Village Haberdashery.  I initially fell in love with the turquoise ribbon so Annie matched the Kona solid to it (I think it's 'cyan') but then I couldn't resist buying other colours.  I decided to use the orange for this (I used 1m in total because I decided two ribbons would be best for such a large book) and save the others for another time because there are more stitching books in my future, off that I'm sure!   You can see how it looks rolled up here.

3.  See how far I can get with a double bed-sized blue and white nine patch and snowball quilt.  

Well, it's nowhere near finished but I've gone from not having all the blocks made to this:

Progress on the nine patch/snowball quilt
1. Section B and the first two rows of section E, 2. Section C, 3. Two sections joined (A and D)
It may not look like much progress to the rest of you but just joining a section of ten blocks (like the middle photo) is all the machine piecing I can do on a good day so turning 255 blocks into a quilt top is always going to be a long-term project for me - definitely not something I can manage in a mere three months!  So it's a FAIL but I'm not disheartened, I just need to keep plodding - something I'm quite good at!

Thank you to Rhonda for setting up the Finish-A-Long, Leanne for running it this year (I think it's a lot of work!) and all the sponsors for this quarter.  There are some fabulous finishes this quarter, why not take a minute to visit a couple of them?

I still haven't decided which photo of Archie to have turned into 'wall art' - if you haven't voted please do, I need all the help I can get!

I'll leave you with a photo of the man dog himself watching the neighbours:

If I told you I loved you would that earn me another treat?
Please excuse the state of the garden - it's getting 'done' sometime this year so all I'm doing is chopping stuff down when the mood takes me and cutting the grass!

My neighbours are lovely: if Archie is in the back garden when they start a BBQ they cook a piece of chicken for him.  If he misses the start of the cooking but appears in time for the eating then they save some chicken from their meal and give him it.  If, like Friday, he misses tea altogether they give him a dog treat!  No wonder he loves them!

she can quilt

Monday, 1 July 2013

Plodding along...

I'm not entirely sure what I've done since I last blogged so let's see what I can find in my 'June' folder, shall we?!

I got the backing sorted for my hexy quilt.  There was a bit of a problem when I discovered a small hole (which I knew I hadn't caused) in my first order (after I'd washed and ironed it) but the wonderful staff at The Cotton Patch sorted it out in a jiffy and sent me a new piece of fabric (and kindly allowed me to keep the original piece, I suspect because I'd already washed it - their customer service is wonderful, I've shopped there before this and will definitely be going back!)  This is how it's been for about four weeks:

Ready for layering and tacking!
(A big piece of fabric folded in quarters and laid over the back of a settee!)

Isn't it pretty, though?!  It'll be even better when I get it layered and tacked - I've got as far as finding the masking tape and tacking thread/needle tin but not much further, I just haven't had the energy!

I've managed a bit of crochet, though.  This yarn was originally going to be a blanket (for me) but then I realised that you can't tumble dry it and a big blanket that is impractical to wash isn't a good thing when you have a tendency to spill cups of tea so I decided to look for an alternative yarn for the blanket (still haven't found anything that comes in the right colours - blues, greens and greys, mainly - and can be tumble dried, suggestions welcome!) and make a bag.  I need another bag like I need an extra hole in the head but I felt the need to crochet (and saw a friend's stripy crochet bag and got inspired!) so I made this:

Stripy bag - the yarn is King Cole Bamboo and is beautifully soft

The bag body is based on a pattern by Patons (but altered so that it's larger) and the trim is the same as the trim on Attic24's bag.  The handles are going to go all the way to the base (so will hide where I've started and stopped the rounds in each colour) and are going to be in the dark blue.  I just need to find some twill tape in 1" and 0.5" widths in navy, bright pink or purple (or anything that will go!) - any ideas?

I've also made a bee block for the Siblings Together Quilting Bee after a bee couldn't manage her block (life got in the way but I'm happy to report that's she's back on 'duty' for July).  I really enjoyed making the block but it confirmed that I was right not to volunteer for a 'proper' place in the bee - there's no way I could make a big block every month, particularly not on the machine, which I find it very tiring.  I did enjoy it, though, and it's nice to be able to contribute to such a wonderful cause!

Siblings Together stars for Lynne
Big star block for Lynne

The fabric (PB&J for Moda - bee mates, is that right?) is gorgeous and I've seen a photo of the finished top and it's wonderful!

Finally, I've made the first block in my new hand piecing project.  Remember the photo of all the bright fabric on my bed?  Well this is what it's going to be turned into:

The first block (after pressing!)
ET phone home block - the first of many!

Back of the first block
The back

I even used my new block book (my first FAL Q2 finish) and it works a treat!  More photos of my stitching sequence, etc. can be found in my Flickr set.  The pattern is ET Phone Home, designed by the very talented Lynne@Lily's Quilts and the foundation piecing templates can be found here.

I hand pieced my block my usual way - print out the templates on freezer paper and cut out.  Iron them on the wrong side of the fabric, draw round them (to get a sewing line) and remove the templates.  Cut out (leaving an approximate quarter inch seam allowance - it doesn't need to be exact because when you hand piece you line up the sewing lines, not the edges of the fabric) and then stitch together using a running stitch with the occasional backstitch.  In other words, not EPP *wink* (The only time I do EPP is when I'm making teeny tiny pin cushions out of Japanese import fabrics.)  I couldn't work out a better way of pressing the seams than the photo above but bulk of the intersections doesn't interfere with the sharpness of the points on the front so I'm happy!  I'm hoping to make another 34 blocks and then join them together with squares on point (which is instead of adding triangles to square up the block - I thought I'd cut out a few more seams!) - needless to say, this is a long term project.  My hexy replacement, if you like!

In other exciting news, I won a voucher for Photoworld in a competition on Clare's blog and I'm having trouble deciding which photo to turn into some 'wall art'.  I've narrowed it down to (naturally!) a photo of Archie and have narrowed the choice even further to one of these photos:


Please can you let me know which one you'd choose because I really can't decide!  (The top of his head isn't really chopped off in photo three, it's the effect of the mosaic!)  Feel free to comment in either a comment on this post or on the Flickr photos (either the individual one or the mosaic), just please comment!

I'd best go, Archie wants his tea and he's been through enough today what with a b-a-t-h without having to wait for the final highlight of his day!

I'm linking up to Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day (thank goodness she does this, at the moment it's usually the only time I'm managing to blog!) and I'll be back towards the end of the week (yes, two posts in one month!) with my Finish-A-Long quarter two post.  I'll give you a hint - I've missed something off this post because I wanted to save it for the FAL post!  If you want another hint then it's something that's been on many FAL quarter lists but they've not necessarily been mine...

Lily's Quilts

P.S.  The title of this post makes me sing this in my head.  Or out loud...

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