Thursday, 28 June 2012

The hippy hipBee chicks..

For some time now, I have really wanted to be part of an online sewing bee. I didn't, however, want to be part of one where I might never meet any of the members. I went to the FQ Retreat this year with the idea turning over in my head, but not fully formed. I met Catherine at the Retreat and we spent some time chatting over the idea and how we would like the bee to be. The following weekend I met Sarah and Judith in Belfast and I approached Sarah with my idea. Sarah too, thought that we should form a bee so then there were three of us until...Judith wanted in too. Over the past couple of weeks our numbers have gradually grown until now there is  a complete hive of hipBees. The hippy hipBees come from Scotland, Northern Ireland and England so hopefully we will be able to meet up at some point in the future. I think that we are all looking forward to our new venture and our email inboxes have been buzzing with news and information these last couple of weeks. Sarah has made us a brilliant blog button which looks very hippyish! 

We would like to think that we are the 'flower power' hipBees of the quilting world! Please feel free to follow the hipBee link and check out our shiny new hipBee Flickr group... We are starting our hipBee in August with Reene being our Queen Bee. So watch this space and join us on our hipBee adventures over the next 12 months...
Di xo

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The day the Torch came to town

Today the Olympic Torch came to town.

It was a glorious warm summer's afternoon with brass bands, men on stilts, school children parading, creative art displayed, a fly past and the torch passing down the High Street. The atmosphere was electric and I was glad that I took the time to go.
Di xo

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Sunshine and fun...

Sarah, my friend, who blogs at Sew Me has kindly nominated me for a Sunshine Award.

 It's aim is to pass on a bit of happiness and to be a bit of fun where you answer a few questions and link to some blogs that you want to pass the sunshine onto. Thank you Sarah for thinking of me.

So here is a little bit more about me:

Favourite colour - I just love yellowy green with pink (am I allowed two?).
Animal - I am a cat lover and have always had a cat. Our present one is a rescue cat and is minute. She was the runt of the litter left in a dyke to die. She and her brothers were rescued by the local postman. She follows me around the house and is a real companion.
Number - I don't think that I have ever thought of having a favourite number. If I ever have to pick one then I would pick 7, as my birthday is on the 7th.
Drink - I am definitely a tea drinker but I like a prosecco in warm weather!
Passion - Well I love sewing and cannot imagine what I did eighteen months ago before I got the sewing bug. I am also a bit strange too as I like studying and learning. Perhaps this is because I did my degrees when my children were little and the effort was huge.
Giving or getting - Ooh I love both. There is something so special when you watch someone unwrap a present but  I also love receiving presents. I think that birthdays are special and always look forward to mine (with or without presents)!
Favourite Day - receiving my PhD and seeing my 'men' up on the balcony looking proud of me.
Favourite Flower - Freesias or any flower with a fragrance.Now you know a little more about me I am going to pass on this little Sunshine Award to four others (before they are picked by anyone else!).

Collette at Poppy and Poochie
Judith at Just Jude Designs

I hope that you girls don't mind sharing some random facts about yourselves with your readers. I hope that you have a little sunshine in your lives, as the weather isn't providing us with any at the moment!

I also need to remind you all that the 'Let's Get Acquainted' Blog hop continues this week with the four blogs being
June 26
Plum and June    Svetlana from Sotak Handmade
    Beth from Plum and June 
June 28
    Julie from Jolie Maxtin
    Lori from Adventures in Fabric

Please go and check them out and leave them a comment.

Di xo

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Finished just in time!

I have been working really hard this past week to finish my Retro Modern quilt. I was planning to give this to my niece for her 18th birthday, which is this coming weekend. I had thought that we wouldn't be seeing her until August so I have been doing it just in my monthly class. Over the Jubilee weekend, my sister in law invited us to a birthday lunch this weekend! This has meant that I have been 'extreme sewing' this past week. I have hand quilted a motive in the setting blocks and machine quilted the blocks. I finally finished sewing on the binding this morning. Phew... I have made it. I will make a label for it in class tomorrow. So for the big reveal...

I am really pleased with how it has turned out. The hand quilting could have been done in a thicker thread but I have now run out of time to change it. 
I hope that she will like it and will treasure it. For my 18th birthday my Grandmother gave me a series of paintings, done by herself, depicting nature through the four seasons. This is so precious to me and has moved with me throughout my single life, from nurses' homes and flats, through to my own flat and then to my home when I got married. I would like to think that my niece uses this quilt to make her own student room homely when she leaves home next year. I will let you know her reaction.

Just to keep you up to date with the "Let's get Acquainted" blog hop the blogs to hop to this week are 

June 19
    Jennifer from Sewlandia
    Nicole from Mama Love Quilts
June 21
    Suzanne from SuzClaas
    Mina from Kindaquilty
Di xo

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Retro Mod Quilt progress

All my spare time the past couple of days has been concentrated on getting my Retro Mod quilt completed. My class, that I am doing the quilt in, has two more sessions to run. I, however, want to get this quilt finished for my nieces's 18th birthday and give it to her as a present. I was quite chilled about achieving this as I knew that we wouldn't be seeing them until August...until we were invited to a Sunday birthday lunch next Sunday. So I have been sewing quickly. My only problem has been doing the quilting in the setting blocks. I have finally resulted to hand quilting as the FMQ looked so awful. I am not happy with the end result, so if any of you have a quick fix, or an idea for me, let me know asap.

Late on last night, I managed to machine around the inner border to secure it.

What do you think to those bits of blue plastic cloths? They were a pressie from Trudi when we were at the FQ retreat. They are cut from an anti slip mat for a tray, that Trudi got at a pound shop. They are brilliant for helping move the quilt whilst sewing. These, and a walking foot, are just the bees knees! To finish this quilt I need to bind it and sort out the hand quilting. All help/suggestions will be gratefully received as time is not on my side.
Di xo

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Just a reminder that the 'Let's get Acquainted!' blog hop continues this week. The links for the blogs featured yesterday and the ones for tomorrow are below. This covers my tardiness and gets me ahead...phew!
Plum and June
June 12
    Kelly from Jeliquilts 
    Yzo from Chez Roo
June 14
    Debbie from A Quilter's Table
    Sarah from Silly Banana Sewing

If you visit Beth's blog you can also read about

Advice from Lynne from Lily's Quilts
Giveaway from The Intrepid Thread
Monday Link Up
AND something new 

I hope that you will have time to take a hop to check out these new blogs.
Di xo

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

I'm back...

I have just had a brilliant long weekend in Belfast and Northern Ireland. I met a friend and her two friends, to go to Focusfest. This was the second year that I have been invited by the group, so it was really nice that we knew each other, and that the others knew who they were getting in this English girl! Obviously we were going to make a weekend of this, so I was up bright and early last Friday morning and was over in Belfast by 9.30am! I met up with the girls and we had a great morning looking around the Titanic Belfast. The building is striking and houses a large exhibition, centred around the building and subsequent sinking of the Titanic. It was pouring with rain so we were glad to be under cover. 
Titanic Belfast
Titanic Belfast
Once we had finished looking around the exhibition we went to our hotel and had a good cup of Ulster tea and tray bakes (NI hospitality is legendary and always consists of home baking. I nearly died of cake overdose when I got engaged to my husband as we had to visit all his relatives before we got married!). Friday evening and all day Saturday was spent at Focusfest, but on Saturday afternoon I snuck away to meet up with Judith and Sarah. I am sure that some of you may have read their posts about our time together. 
Sarah,Di (me) and Judith
We had the most fabulous time talking non-stop for three hours, over one cup of coffee . It was such good fun. It is so nice just to 'click' and chat away, as if we have known each other for years. We had a bit of fun trying to get a photo of us together, as the first gentleman we asked, just turned off our cameras. We decided that we needed to ask a younger person with techie skills, so Judith made a bee line for a chap in the menswear department. He didn't dare say no!!!!! We must have terrified him!

Whilst we were together Sarah gave me a wee pressie of a travel tea bag holder (I don't think that is the correct terminology but I can't think of the proper name). Isn't it beautiful? Sarah is a very talented lady.
Sunday, was spent with my friend and her family. In the afternoon, we sat outside and enjoyed the warm sunshine. I flew back late yesterday afternoon but was able to see my Mother in Law in the morning. My MIL is elderly and frail. It was a real joy to see her looking well (she has been in poor health for a while now) and being able to chat with her. My big adventure is now over and I have turned back into Mum/Wife, however, it was nice to be out and about and have no responsibilities for a while! 
Di xo

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Union Jack pillow cover

On Tuesday evening I decided to complete my Union Jack pillow cover that I started in Lynne's class at the FQ Retreat. I should have known better... late night sewing equals mistakes. For every seam I sewed, I then had to unpick it. I was determined not to go to bed until I was back to where I started, in terms of progress. It was well after midnight before I threw in the towel! Yesterday, I picked up where I had left off and had a much better sewing time with only minor problems getting the horizontal stripes to match.

So without further ado... this is my Union Jack pillow cover. 
I am pleased with how it turned out and have enjoyed the process of using paper piecing in making it. Lynne described paper piecing as marmite to the quilting world. I think that she is right and I definitely like it.

I am away for a long weekend in Belfast, leaving very early tomorrow morning. I am not back until Monday night so my blogging will be non-existent, but I am managing to squeeze in a coffee with a some quilting bloggy friends so watch this space....
Di xo

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Missing in action

Yesterday I showed you a photo of my sample swap buddies TeresaElisabethNicky and Emily   (L to R) 
Sample swap partners
I also showed you the samples that I received from these lovely ladies.
Sample swaps
BUT I didn't show you them all! I had inadvertently missed one out. My only excuse is that I am so tired that I cannot think very well at the moment. I had a trip to the beach in Norfolk on Monday and I am presently waiting to collect a teenage son from a party, so I won't be in bed before 1AM tonight. My age is showing and I cannot take the pace anymore!

Elisabeth made each one of our group a beautiful boxy zippy pouch. I missed showing it to you as I have already started using it. It was in my bag when I took the photo.

Elisabeth also tucked inside the pouch some gorgeous London fabric. Elisabeth, thank you for such a lovely but useful pouch.

Now that everything is accounted for, I am going to get some coffee into me to keep going for my late night!
Di xo

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Fat Quarterly Retreat 2012

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the FQR in London. It is a tall order to try and encapsulate such a brilliant weekend into a blog post, but I will try...

I was up bright and early on Saturday morning and caught the 07.17hrs train up to King's Cross. Tanya and myself were texting each other as were both travelling up to London. I am so glad that I had met Tanya a couple of weeks ago as it made me feel less nervous about walking into a room full of strangers.
Getting to know each other
 When we arrived we were greeted by the Fat Quarterly team.
My first class was with Lucie Summers. Lucie is a really friendly and warm person. Her class was lots of fun and very relaxed. She taught us how to do Portholes which was not as complicated as I first thought it might be. I think that you will see some stunning creations popping up in Blogland.
Portholes with Lucie Summers
It is a great technique and Lucie uses it to make some fantastic quilts.These portholes quilts are just stunning. This lady is seriously talented. See the photos below of some of her work.

 At lunchtime we had our sample swap. I was in a group with (L to R) Teresa, ElisabethNicky and Emily
The swap girls
How lucky was I to receive these sample swaps? Very, I reckon! Thanks girls, they are soooo nice and I will treasure them. This swap kind of sums up the spirit of the retreat.
The sample swaps that I received.
Saturday afternoon I met up with Claudia Toelle as I took her zippered pouches class. Claudia made my name tag for me, so it was really nice to say thank you to her in person. Her class demystified zippers for me and I will definitely be making more pouches in the future.

Saturday evening, I went out to dinner with a great bunch of women and failed miserably to take any photos, so if you want a peak, try here!

On Sunday I did Lynne's class. I was so looking forward to doing this class as I have wanted to make a paper pieced Union Jack pillow cover for ages. Now Lynne was a great teacher but my brain took time to get this technique. Thankfully Mandy was assisting Lynne and she kept me on the right track, as I just couldn't get the back to front thing!
Lynne taking us through paper piecing

One quadrant of a Union Jack
Second quadrant is a work in progress

 I did eventually 'get' this, as my brain caught up with the instructions. Lynne described this technique as marmite. I think that I could get to really like this technique as long as my brain can 'see' how to get the directional fabric the correct way up. I am so eager to finish this project as I just love those butterflies.

My last class was the complete opposite of Lynne's. Instead of being precise and careful we were encouraged to embrace our inner wonk! John took us through wonky log cabin blocks. This was such a laid back class and we had lots of fun. 

It is harder to produce a wonky block than I thought it would be... We are just too used to using that 1/4" foot!

This post is a poor attempt at trying to convey the mix of classes, friendship and fun that was present at the FQR. As you can see, we had a blast. 

The weekend passed so quickly and as the rain fell, late on Sunday afternoon, Trudi and  I collected got our bags and trundled off to Gloucester Road Tube to get up to King's Cross Station with the hordes of Jubilee watchers. I am afraid that the Queen will have to wait for me to catch up with her weekend, although the Red Arrows are now back in Lincolnshire as they flew over my house just a little while ago, after flying over her house!

Just a quick reminder before I go that the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop continues over at  Cinzia from Deux Petites Souris
Kristy from Quiet Play
Di xo

Friday, 1 June 2012

May round up

Lily's Quilts

Today I am linking up to the June Small Blog meet hosted by Lily's Quilts. May seems to have been a quieter sewing month although there are a couple of bigger projects included in the round up.

I am off to London town early tomorrow morning, to join lots of other bloggers in the sewing event (FQR) of the year. I am not back until late Sunday but I will make sure that I  take lots some photos to show you. I will try not to go overboard.
I hope that you have a good Jubilee weekend and enjoy the extra days off.

Di xo