Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Modern Retro Quilt progress and Blog Hopping

My monthly machine quilting class was last week, and with some extra work over the weekend, I have managed to put the whole of the quilt top for my Modern Retro quilt together. 
Mod Retro Quilt
Mod Retro Quilt
The border is quite busy but it is balanced out by the plainer blocks. 

My aim is to try to finish this  in time to give it to my niece, as a present, for her 18th birthday which is in June. I will have a little extra time to get it completed, as we won't be able to visit until after her birthday. 
Have you noticed that this quilt was photographed against the trellis in a shadier part of the garden? I mentioned to my husband that the washing line was not the ideal place to take photos, as when the sun shines the photos look all washed out. His solution was to put some hooks along the top of the trellis for me. Genius!

The Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop continues today with the hop jumping to
Plum and June
      Heidi from Fabric Mutt
   & Amy from Amy's Crafty Shenanigans

Please hop on over and visit their blogs. The Blog Hop is designed to highlight new blogs so go and say 'Hi' to Heidi and Amy.

I am also going to advertise where we jump onto this Thursday. I have a really full Thursday so don't know whether I will have time to blog. So that you don't miss where to go we are due to visit, the Thursday hop the links are below. 
     Jodi from Tickle and Hide
 & Jennie from Porch Swing Quilts

My aim today is to baste my Modern Retro quilt ready for quilting next week (time too short this week!)
Di xo

Sunday, 27 May 2012

A Perfect Day...

Today was a perfect day... The sun was shining and it was warm. 
At church we had the privilege of having Adrianna Walker of Mercy Ministries talk to us. This woman is inspirational. Have a gleek at the website...

This afternoon we lazed around in the garden, had a BBQ,  read the paper and just chilled. 
I might have had a glass of this too...
I hope that your day was as mellow.
Di xo

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Countdown to the London FQR

In 7 days I will be in London at the Fat Quarterly Retreat and I am so looking forward to it.
Today is the official Fat Quarterly London Sewing Retreat 2012 Linky Party. So follow the link to meet some of the other attendees.

Fat Quarterly

It seems such a long time ago since I bought my ticket and booked my hotel. At the time I was really apprehensive about going. My husband really encouraged me to take the risk and book a place. The fact that I had my ticket bought, propelled me into starting my blog about my quilting progress and milestones. Blogging has given an extra dimension to my world and I have made so many ‘virtual’ friends. Recently I have met a couple of these friends in person (Tanya & Trudi) and it has been really fun to be able to chat to someone with a common interest. I know that the Retreat will be one big party! 
Saturday am I will be discovering what portholes are and how to make them
Saturday pm I am going to be making a Union Jack paper pieced pillow
Sunday am I will be machine piecing a placemat
Sunday pm I am going to make log cabins wonky.
I haven’t quite worked out how I will get my sewing machine, sewing clobber and a change of clothes, up to London on the train. I may end up looking like a packhorse! Hopefully I will look more like this 

and you will be able to identify me by this lovely name tag and my London bag. 

I know that some of my bloggy friends won't be able to be in London and it must be kind of nauseating to be constantly reminded of this. Just remember that I will truly miss not meeting up with you. You know who you are....
Di xo

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Sample swaps

I have just finished my sample swap items for the FQR. I know that I left it a bit late, but the inspiration was lacking. I finally settled on making some little coin purses using springy hinge purse frames and using a tutorial posted by Rashida Coleman-Hale. I ordered the hinge frames from Hong Kong and they were with me within a week! 

I have used some of my prettiest buttons, linen and some of my favourite scraps.
I have then tried to FM 'write' on the back of the pouches to ensure that the recipient remembers the occasion. Some of the writing is wobbly but it is getting a little better!
I hope that the folk that I swap with, will like them.

Please don't forget that the 'Let's Get Acquainted' Blog hop continues and the blogs to hop to for today are 

Nik from Bold Goods
Alyssa from Pile O Fabric

I am now off to enjoy this wonderful sunshine! I hope that the sun is shining for you too.

Di xo

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Getting acquainted

Today I have  two 'getting acquainted' to blog about...
The first is that the 'Let's Get Acquainted!' Blog Hop starts today.
Plum and June
First up are 
Kelsey from Kelsey Sews and Erin from Billy Button Designs
Go and check their blogs out and see what little project they have to share.

The second 'getting acquainted' is that I have spent a very pleasant sunny and WARM day with Trudi from Quilting Prolifically. We have chatted and admired each others handiwork, eaten and chatted some more! It will be really nice to know another person when I get to the FQ retreat in June. We have also put a date in the diary to meet up again in June. It is just great to have blogging friends turn into real life friends (so to speak!). 

I have no photo to share of any makes or works in progress, but the photo below is especially for Judith... I thought that I had better keep up with the crowd, as it is so nice here today! You can see that we have had a lot of rain as the grass is so long.
Summer is here as the nail polish is on!
Di xo

Monday, 21 May 2012

Desperation at work...

This past week has just flown by, but I did manage to fit in a little sewing this last weekend. I am acutely aware that I need to make some swap items for the FQ Retreat. Time is ticking away and I have absolutely no inspiration at all! Desperation has now taken over, so I got to work with some cutting and sewing.
I have chosen some bright colours...
I have also had a little go at writing on some linen... As you can see it isn't great. You will be pleased to know that I scrapped this one!

I think that I have done a little better with the one below. I don't think that I can hone the skill in time for the Retreat, so this is my best effort.

I  am going to try and finish this project  in the next couple of days. I will report back when I have a finish!
Di xo

Saturday, 19 May 2012

The 'Let's Get Acquainted!' Blog Hop

This summer there is going to be a Quilty Blog Land hop through some new blogs that were started in either 2011 or 2012. It is called the Let's Get Acquainted! Blog Hop. The hop is being run by Beth of Plum and June Blog. Beth emailed me and asked if I would like to take part. 
Plum and June

The idea is that by hopping from blog to blog you might come across blogs new to you that are filled with creative inspiration and fun projects. The latter sentence fills me with fear, as I don't think that I am creative nor is my blog filled with fun projects. I think that I need to buck my ideas up before my turn on 3rd July! 

The Hop begins on May 22, 2012.  We are going to hop to 4 blogs a week (2 on Tuesdays and 2 on Thursdays). So if you want to discover new blogs, find out about the person behind the blog and perhaps try out a new tutorial, then hop on board! I will post the links to the blogs so all you have to do is press the link and hop!
Di xo

Friday, 18 May 2012

A bag for London

My journey into sewing started early last year by making a bag. I then made another and then another.
I was using a really cheap sewing machine from Aldi's. It did basic sewing and it was just fine for what I wanted it for. One day it jammed and was found to be beyond repair. I talked with my SIL about sewing machines, as she had just bought a new one. My lovely hubby encouraged me to get a 'good' one, so I ended up with a mid range sewing machine. Oh boy, it was just great to sew lovely straight lines and not feel as if I was fighting the machine. 
Lots of bags

I then decided that I could only make so many bags. One day I 'googled' patchwork quilt tutorials and this led me into the world of blogs, and sewing/quilting blogs, in particular. I lurked for many months as I really didn't know what the protocol of blogging was, and was very baffled by the acronyms, for example, QAL! Over the past year, I have really been bitten by the quilting bug. I have met people through blogging, that I would now consider to be my friends. 

Often things come full circle in life... I have just made another bag! I am looking forward to going to the FQ Retreat in London in a couple of weeks time and I thought that I really should have a themed bag for the occasion! I wanted one that was big enough to carry my junk around in, but not too big that it was a burden to lug around. I looked at various patterns on the net and in the end I used a reversible bag pattern by Amy Butler. I really didn't want a reversible bag so I decided that I would make the inner with a zipped pocket and an open pocket. I fussy cut around my fabric for the outside and picked up some lovely soft brushed 'linen' fabric for the inner.
 Houses of Parliament side
London Bus side

Inner zipper pocket

Open pocket

 I am so pleased with my zip, as it went in well and looks absolutely fine. I also added a magnetic press stud to close the bag with.  I am rather chuffed with how this bag has turned out. My sewing skills are definitely better than a year ago.  So, if you are going to London to the FQ Retreat, you will recognise me by my bag!
Di xo

Thursday, 17 May 2012

A Strawberry Fields finish

Last week I managed to finish my Strawberry Fields quilt. The past few days have just been so busy that I haven't had time to post about this finish. Thank you to all of you who gave me suggestions as to how to quilt it. I was really keen not to do a straight line down either side of the seams, as I have gained confidence and skills since doing the Stitching for Texture workshop with Angela Dymond (blogged about here).
So here is the finished quilt...
Front of quilt
Front of quilt
 I ended up doing two circular lines through each block in a cream variegated thread. They are not full circles but more semi-circles in shape. I don't know if it is ok to quilt 'open' shapes like this, but I guess I will find out over time!
Quilting detail

Quilting detail
The sun was shining when I was taking these photos, and I couldn't get a good photo, so my son grabbed hold of the washing line and wandered around the garden for me until the shade versus photo opportunity was maximised! Thanks son.

The backing is a green gingham which compliments the country feel of this quilt.The binding is made from the pieces left over from the jelly roll.
Backing and binding detail
All in all, I am really pleased with how this quilt has turned out. I am also pleased that  I have grown in my quilting abilities and in how I approach the quilting process. Although I am not great at quilting, it is actually my favourite part in the quilt making process.
Di xo

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

My name tag has arrived

I have been scouring Flickr wondering which name tag was going to be mine for the FQ Retreat in London. I have greeted my postman with a smile everyday, in the hope that he has a parcel for me. Today he did have a parcel for me...See this gorgeous speech bubble name tag - well it dropped through my letterbox this morning! It is my FQ Retreat name tag. It is just brilliant. It is so neat and has hand printing on it. 
Front of name tag

Back of name tag
Thank you so much Claudia for such a beautiful and funky name tag. Thank you for spending time and effort on making me such a cool name tag.

I cannot wait to meet you, and all the other bloggers, in London. I am so looking forward to talking 'sewing and quilting' with other people who also share a passion for sewing, fabric and quilting. 
Di xo

Saturday, 12 May 2012

A walk in the woods

Today was a bright sunny day and it has been much warmer than of late. It just felt good to get out and enjoy the countryside. We went for a lovely walk in a bluebell wood. 
We heard cuckoos, saw beautiful wild flowers and of course lots of bluebells.

We then went and had a splendifious pub lunch. All in all, a perfect day.

Di xo

Friday, 11 May 2012

Learning new skills

Yesterday I learnt a new skill. I attended a workshop run by Jane. She makes beautiful tea cosies, cushions and other lovely textiles. I really wanted to learn how to 'write' with my sewing machine and I was fortunate as Jane did a class just for me at her home. I spent the morning practicing how to 'write'. I was pretty woeful at it. I was assured that it is all about getting the rhythm  and speed of the machine in sync. The syncing did happen a couple of times with me, but I think that further practice is needed! Below is a photo of my efforts....

As you can see, my 'writing' is shaky but just occasionally it did come together. This is the top of my coffee cosy. The second 'e' is shaky as I was talking and not concentrating!

I came home absurdly  pleased with my results. I now need to perfect the art of 'writing' with a sewing machine. I think that it will take a little time and patience though!
Di x 

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Bloggers in the flesh

There is a lot of chatter in Blogland about next month's Fat Quarterly Retreat in London. Flickr is a hum with news about sharing equipment, swaps etc. My secret worry is whether will I find someone to chat to or will I be in a corner on my own?... I know that there are other Bloggers out there that have similar anxieties. 

Well, I will know someone, as today I met up with another blogger, Second Chance Tan or Tanya in real life. We met this morning in a town midway between where we both live. It was a little nerve wracking as I wondered how we would recognise each other. The safety net was that we both had the other's phone number. 

The photos below are proof that we did meet up. We spent two and a half hours chatting over a couple of cups of coffee. Not bad for two bloggers who had never met before!
Here is Tanya... she is lovely!

This is me...
Here we are together...
We chatted solidly (sorry Tanya if I chatted TOO much!). It is so nice that we will both know someone when the FQ Retreat comes around. Thanks Tanya.

I'm off now to do some more quilting on my Strawberry Fields quilt.
Di xo

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Sunshine and quilting

It is a sunny day here - hooray! I have had some time this morning to think about how I was going to quilt my Strawberry Fields quilt.
I have tried going around the blocks but it didn't add anything to the quilt, although it was a very safe option. When I asked for suggestions, some folk thought that baptist fans would work. Now, I didn't even know what a baptist fan was, so I had to google that one. I have had a go this morning of doing a fan shape over the top of each block. It certainly gives movement to the quilt so I will probably continue with this pattern.

I am drawing around a plate and then quilting along the line. If I have enough determination I might do a second arc within the middle section of the block. 

Finally, Lily's Small Blog Meet was fun yesterday and I met some new people as I hopped from one blog to another. If you haven't done it yet, then follow this link here.
I hope that the sun is shining where you are.
Di xo

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

May's Small Blog Meet

Today is the 1st May... May Day, my Wedding Anniversary and the Small Blog Meet over at Lily's Quilts. I look forward to the Small Blog Meet, as I am getting to know other quilters from all over the world and it is fun to share our makes and be able to help each other with tips and information.

To round up what I have been doing this month... I completed my Psychedelic quilt that used bright colours and free styling quilting. All new things to me. I grew to love this quilt as I went along, and now it resides over the back of the sofa in the den.

Psychedelic Quilt
Next up, I rescued my Strawberry Fields blocks and put them together to make this quilt top. 

The challenge for me is to quilt this top. I had some wonderful suggestions from other bloggers but I need a chunk of time in order to work out what would be best. My attempts so far have not yielded anything that feels right. I think that is because I did something new on the Psychedelic quilt, and it has shown me that there is more to quilting than following the lines of the blocks. I would like to try something to push my skills.... not sure what yet!

I also made a small linen bag from the Zakka Style book by Rashida Coleman-Hale. I used a half of a typewriter from my precious FQ.

I also learnt from this tutorial from Judith how to put a zipper into a cushion backing. I was really pleased to be able to do this successfully and now I have a set of cushions for my new sofa.

I made a name tag for my secret partner at the FQ Retreat next month. This gave me a little angst as the recipient was one of the organisers. How intimidating that was. I chose a Jubilee theme as the retreat is over the Jubilee weekend.

Finally, I have completed and sashed all my blocks that I am making at my monthly machine quilting class.I just love the modern retro feel of the fabric and I am looking forward to piecing the top together, later in May when we have our next class.

Well, I have done more this month than I thought I had. If you are new to my blog please leave a comment and then I can come and visit your blog too.
Di xo