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:

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

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

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

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.

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..., 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!

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