Friday, 28 September 2012

Slow sewing

I feel that although I have been sewing I don't have too much that I can show you. This is because my sewing has included my swap pincushion for the Bee a Brit Stingy bee and a secret piece of sewing that isn't quite finished yet.

In the summer I decided that I had three quilts on the go and that they all needed to be finished. The first one was this one below and I am going to give to my parents this weekend as we celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary.
Golden quilt
The second one was just in blocks. I had bought the Echo material with my Christmas money and I did a pattern called Turning Twenty. It is very simple and each piece is quite large. I like it as it really showcases the fabric. I managed to piece the blocks together in August. 
Echo quilt - Turning Twenty blocks

Echo quilt pieced

Echo quilt layered up

Straight line quilting
I have sort of stalled on this quilt as I have been distracted with new projects. I aim to just do a line or two as the mood takes me. The third quilt is still on the back burner for now.

One of the new projects I have taken up is to follow Union Jack Quilt QAL on Lynne's blog. I have made so many mistakes on my first block and I can still see that it isn't perfect but I cannot unpick it any more as the fabric is beginning to fray.
UJ Quilt flag

Detail of first UJ block

I really like the fabric that I have chosen it is a little old fashioned but the spotty fabric gives it a more contemporary feel. Unfortunately I could only obtain two of the fabrics from this collection, so I am going to repeat one of the fabrics. I am undecided as to which one it will be. I am making this quilt for me so I can change my mind if I so wish!

There will be no sewing going on at Willowbeck this weekend, as we are travelling North for our day of celebrations tomorrow, and then travelling back on Sunday morning so that the boys have time to catch up on their schoolwork. I think I might be 'car - lagged' as we will be in the car longer than we will be at the celebration lunch. We also have to fit in a quick look around a University on Saturday morning. I somehow don't think that this will be a relaxing weekend!
Di x

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Pay it forward surprises

Yesterday I received a rather big package through the post. We are blessed with a large letterbox and so most parcels go through it. Even so, I think that our Postie had to give it a big shove to get this parcel through it. The best thing about this parcel was that it had MY name on it. 
In it, was not one item, but two. It contained these…
A potholder or mat
Lavender bag
The potholder/mat is far too nice to be used as a potholder so it is going to be used as a mat on my kitchen table. The lavender bag is paper pieced and it smells delightful. 

So why did I receive such lovely presents when it isn't my birthday and who are they from? Well just before I started blogging I used to "stalk" and comment on blogs but really didn't know how blogging really worked. I had commented on Tanya's blog at the end of January when she did this post. Unfortunately, as I didn't have a blog, I wasn't eligible. Within a week I had taken the plunge and started this blog and I then received a nice email from Tanya saying that I could be part of the PIF. I can truly say that I had forgotten all about this so thank you Tanya for such superb presents and a nice surprise. There is also a twist in this, as I have since met up with Tanya several times, as we live within 40 minutes of each other. Tanya knows that I love green and that lovely mat goes really well in my kitchen. 

So would you like a surprise parcel pop through your letterbox in the next year? If so, then leave a message and abide by these following rules

1. I’ll make something handmade for the first 3 people who comment on this post. What I make will be a surprise and will arrive to you when you least expect it. Doesn’t everyone love a surprise?

2. I have 365 days to make and deliver it to you. But there’s a little catch, to get a handmade giftie from me, you have to play too! This means you take the pledge to send something handmade to 3 of your blog readers. It doesn’t have to be a quilt, just something handmade!

3. As stated in #2 you have to have a blog.
4. Once you comment here, you have to post about Pay it Forward on your blog and keep it going

So...... Jump on board and join in as you may receive something nearly as nice as I did.
Di xo

Saturday, 22 September 2012

A generous present

The sun is shining today so I have taken full advantage of it to take some photos show you.
First up is a gorgeous bag that Liz has made me. This bag is really special, as when Liz knew that I had not got into the Mouthy Stitches 2 swap she emailed me to say that she would like to make me a bag. I think that that was so thoughtful and kind. I quickly said YES as Liz makes some fabulous things. Have a little look at her blog as you will spy some lovely makes.
A parcel came yesterday morning that contained my non MS2 bag. Look at it… it is beautiful.The front has a Japanese + and x block.
Front of bag

Back of bag
Liz revealed on her blog that she spent a whole afternoon straight line quilting the outside of the bag and that she had used extra special embroidery threat. I know what a pain straight line quilting can be, so I really appreciate all the work that has gone into this bag. I will also show you the inner fabric too as it is very cute.
Inner fabric of my Janpanese + & x bag
Liz also gave me a key ring which is already in use as my existing one is a car garage nasty type of one.

This bag has accompanied me to town to do some shopping AND someone in the supermarket  commented that they liked my bag.I felt a warm glow at that point. Thank you Liz for thinking of me and making me such a splendid bag.
Di x

Thursday, 20 September 2012

New projects

Now I know that I promised myself not to start anything new, until I had finished up outstanding projects, but there is only so much of this that a girl can do in any one day. 

Quilting in rows.

Going up and down a quilt to produce rows of quilting 1/2" to 1" apart can become tedious. This is a quilt I have never blogged about so I will let you see some more photos once the sun comes out and I can get some decent photos.

To relieve the boredom I have decided to join a QAL. There are a few around at the moment and there are two that I would really like to do. I am still undecided about one but I really wanted to join the one being hosted by Lynne at Lily's Quilts. I had had the thought that I could make a giant UJ quilt for my son as an 18th birthday present until his younger brother pointed out that he wasn't very patriotic and probably wouldn't want UJs on his bed. This was a bit of a spanner in the works so I then changed tack and thought I would make it for me! It may be selfish but I really want to make this quilt. I have bought some fabric from a new fabric shop that has opened up in one of our local towns. I was quite constrained in what to choose but here are a few shots of progress so far.

Detail of first UJ
B block
Gone wrong!

As you can see, I have had a few issues with getting my UJ lined up and looking as it should be. I have had to do a lot of unpicking and also buy an extra FQ as I mucked up on the cutting (I didn't make a practise block!). All was back on track until I tried to get ahead and attach the quarters together. Yep - I have put the vertical strips over the horizontal ones and not vice versa. Guess what I was doing sitting in the car at my son's drum lesson last night!!!! I think that, in the future, I will wait for Lynne's posts before I race ahead! I am really loving this quilt as it is not made up of lots of blocks and the maths is keeping me on my toes so there is a challenge involved too. I really enjoyed making the UJ pillow cover that I started in Lynne's class at the Fat Quarterly retreat back in June.
UJ pillow cover [June 2012]
Another little project that I need to think about is the pincushion swap that the Bee A Brit Stingy  bee is going to do. Now listen up Catherine…. do you like this little selection of fabrics?
Possible fabric for a stingy pincushion swap.
We are to use fabric from our own stash and are not allowed to buy any new fabric. Well, I don't know if I have broken the rules but I did buy the floral fabric today. It isn't new fabric as I bought it at a charity shop. It is old fabric but new to me. Do you think that I will get away with it or will the Bee Mamas be after me? Help… I may be out before the bee has begun!

Di x

Sunday, 16 September 2012

A Golden Finish

I have been competing in my own Olympic competition. The "finish that quilt" one. Yes, I have finally finished my quilt that I am going to give my parents for their Golden Wedding Anniversary. It has felt as if it has been a long course to get to this point. The quilt pattern was the project given to us in January at my patchwork class. I have battled with not hand sewing it, not liking the colours (they were picked with my Mum in mind) and generally not feeling the love for it. In the past week I have had a final push for a finish. The binding was machine sewn and I have been hand sewing it down during the last couple of evenings. I machine quilted around each block to stabilise the quilt. I then hand quilted each block to highlight the block pattern. I actually enjoyed doing the hand quilting by the time I reached the end. Unfortunately my camera is not good enough to pick up the hand quilting detail but I used a soft green and a light blue floss that blended into the quilt colours.

A "Golden" finish
I shared this quilt with  Sarah & Catherine when we met last month. They gave me some wise advice (get it finished) and encouragement. So a BIG thank you for getting me over the line. Thanks too, to you lovely bloggers have given me lots of encouragement to get this quilt finished.

"Golden" Quilt
I am pleased that now I can mentally move on.  I have two other quilt tops that I put together when I was away in August. I cannot start quilting either quilt yet, as I have run out of 505 spray, and I cannot face grappling around on my hands and knees using pins. For now, I am content to have a Golden finish.
Di x

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Bee A Brit Stingy

I have been having a bit of a tidy up of my blog today. You will notice a new Autumn banner and also a new button down on the right hand side. 

Bee a Brit stingy

Yes, I am in a new sewing Bee. It called Bee a Brit Stingy. It is being run by Sheila and Nicky  and they are being ably assisted by Archie and Helen

Now Sheila and Nicky are from Scotland and are therefore canny lasses. This bee is going to be run on a shoestring with second class postage and the expectation that all blocks will be made from scraps and stashes. We are going to try our best to please our fellow Bees with their colour preferences but we are not allowed to buy (gasp!) fabric nor send out fabric when our time comes to be Queen bee. This will be very interesting and I wonder if some bee member will attempt to break the stingy rule. I think that Archie being the superior dog that he is, will be tracking down any rule breakers so I for one have taken the 'Bee a Brit Stingy' pledge and hope that my stash will be able to come up with some suitable fabric for the tasks each Queen bee will be giving us.

We are not going to start the bee until January but we are going to have a little bee swap to break us in gently. The task is to make a pincushion for a fellow bee. I am going to be making for my fellow hipBee and Bee a Brit Stingy friend, Catherine

I think that, despite missing out on the Mouthy Stitches Round 2, I have ended up with as many swaps as I can manage at the moment. I am going to have to put my thinking cap on now…
Di xo

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Our own version of...

Our nation has been gripped by the spectacle of the Olympics followed by Paralympics. The Paralympics used to run alongside the main games (hence it's name).

My late night bloggy friend, Amy of [Amy's] Crafty Shenanigans (Amy nearly always blogs late in the evening and I am normally just having a little browse on blogger before I turn in for the night) have decided to have our own private version of Mouthy Stitches 2

This is because both of us missed out on a place in the main event, so when commiserating with each other we decided that we too could do our own small version of the swap. We are going to make the same tote bags that the Mouthy Stitches  crowd are making, but we are going to just swap with each other. I think that we are both really thrilled that we too can be part of the swap. 

Amy has named the swap the 'Paramouthy Stitches' . It could be because we are a 'Pair-of-mouthy-stitchers' but you would be completely wrong. It is because like the the Paralympics, we will be running this little swap alongside the main Mouthy Stitches event. I have just peaked at Amy's mosaic here. It looks like there are many complicated snail like blocks within it. I reckon that Amy is trying to go for Gold and want to leave me with silver.

My mosaic is below
Paramouthy Stitches swap mosaic
[Credits are at]

I have met some lovely bloggy friends through my ramblings about my sewing and one of these friends emailed me to say that she was sorry that I had missed out on the MS2 swap. She offered to make me a tote bag too. This kind and generous bloggy friend is Liz. I was so bowled over by her offer that I obviously said, very quicky, YES please. So now I have two entries in the side swap stakes. I have that warm fussy feeling inside. Thank you to both my lovely bloggy friends.

Di x

Monday, 10 September 2012

Indian summer

Our schools went back this past week and the weather is glorious. It seems such a shame that the children have to be in school. As we spent much of our last weekend culling a tree, I was promised a trip to the seaside as recompense! I have to say that it is my favourite day out. Saturday didn't disappoint either as we had blue skies and warm sunshine.
A Norfolk beach
Unfortunately, due to our grand day out, I missed the sign up for the Mouthy Stitches Round Two. I was rather sad about this but I will just watch everyone else's makes from the sidelines.
I have not been completely idle on the sewing front. I have hand quilted each of the blocks on my Golden Quilt. I cannot get a really good photo to show you the results but I think that it has made me like the quilt a little! My goal for this week is to get the binding and label done. I will feel so much better when this quilt is ready for giving to my parents.
Golden quilt
Recently I was alerted by Susan that Spoonflower were having a promotion. Susan kindly gave me a code that enabled me to buy a fat quarter with a huge discount on postage. I ended up buying this FQ for a princely sum of $2. 
Spoonflower FQ
I love the soft colours and would seriously consider buying a little more of this fabric so that I could make a quilt for my bedroom.

Di x

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

HipBee blocks

In the hipBee our Queenie for September is Jude and she has asked for a Wonky Friendship Braid block based on this tutorial by  Tall Grass Prairie Studio.

We are a conscientious bunch, as several blocks have already appeared on our hipBee Flickr group and it is only the first week in September! We have all been given different colours to work with. Mine colour is yellow. I tried to incorporate the bathing beauty and her tent in my block. It will remind Jude of the summer!
September hipBee block for Jude
 This block is really easy and quick to make. They are a little addictive too. So much so that I had to make a second, inner section for Judith. 
Second September hipBee block

This block, in all the different colours, is going to make a really fun and colourful quilt.

Di x

Monday, 3 September 2012

Blocks and parcels

Today a large parcel dropped through the letterbox. The best thing was that it had my name on it. 
This is what was inside...
Vintage Modern hexies hand-pieced by Yvonne
A beautiful mini quilt made by Yvonne of Nellie's Niceties. It is made with tiny hand pieced hexagons. It must have taken Yvonne a long time to make this quilt and it is full of detail. So how did I get to have this beauty? Well, Reene and Yvonne had a giveaway over at their blog to celebrate their 2 years of blogging. My number was picked which was such a surprise. I think that it is absolutely beautiful and I was delighted that it came my way. See some of the detail in the photos below

Tiny hexies hand-pieced and machine quilted

Lovely label with my name on it!
Thank you to Yvonne (and Reene) for such a beautiful giveaway.

Last week before the tree felling incident I did manage to do a little sewing and a lot of socialising. I met up with Trudi and we had a day of chatting, eating and a little sewing. Trudi showed the blocks that we did together (with her stash) on her blog. It was fun to sew with a friend.  The blocks are for Bee Blessed
Bee Blessed blocks (Front 2 made with Trudi)
 The following evening I met up with Tanya. Tanya made us a scrummy supper and we  also chatted and ate! So much so, that we didn't actually get round to any sewing. Fortunately I had got the 'Bee Blessed bug' that afternoon so I had already made two more blocks.

Bee Blessed blocks
Finally, another package dropped through my letterbox on Saturday. It was my swap mini from the BQS3. I was so excited to see who had sent me my mini, and also to find out which one is was, from all the ones posted on the Flickr group.
Mine had been made by Jenny
BQS3 Mini quilt made by Jenny

Porthole label

I am so delighted with it. Thank you Jenny. You have incorporated my favourite colours and I think that the label is lovely. The seat in the garden is full of details such as  tiny flowers and a little blackbird.There is also a lot of clever piecing incorporated in it too. It must have taken a lot of time to make. 
Detail on the BQS3 mini quilt 
I really enjoyed taking part in the Brit Quilt Swap and it was both fun to make for someone else as well as receive such a beautiful quilt. I will definitely be putting my name down for round 4!
Di x

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Tree business, scary business

For three days this past week our family have been in the tree reduction business. I don't think that I have ever been so scared as when I saw my husband near the top of a 15m tree, chopping the branches above him, down. 
Tree felling in progress

After two days work we ended up with this massive pile of wood that now requires chopping into logs, so that we can use them in our log burning stove this winter. I think that there will be plenty to keep us warm. 
Bonfire supper
The upside was that we have had bonfire suppers each night. The downside…every part of me aches and there is another tree to tackle - crown reduction this time time, I think, to send my husband back to his day job where he will be safe in his office.
Di xo

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Fresh Sewing Day (August 2012)

I am linking up with Fresh Sewing Day at Lily's Quilts for a round up of August 2012 in the sewing department. For me, August was about completing projects and not starting anything new. I finished three quilt tops and have pressed on with quilting one, so that I can give it to my parents as a golden wedding anniversary present. The only other things that I made were a pouch for my partner in the BQS3 and my first block for the hipBees. Our queen bee (Reene) asked for house blocks and supplied us all with some very nice Summersville fabric.
August 2012 - round up
The middle bottom photo is just to remind me that part of the fun of blogging is to meet up with bloggy friends too. I had the pleasure of spending a fun day with Sarah & Catherine during the month.

So as the summer draws to a close, with schools returning this week, perhaps I will be able to fit in a little more sewing into the rhythm of life.
Di xo