Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Happy post

Look what popped through my letter box this morning.
Sue, of the Kinky Bee, sent me some lovely red scraps of fabric. I had mentioned that I had a dearth of red fabric when we met up last Saturday.

Thank you Sue for your kindness and thoughtfulness in sending these large 'scraps' to me. I will use them.
Di x

Sunday, 28 April 2013

A day out with friends

Yesterday I went up to London to meet up with Liz, Moira and Jo. Liz had invited me but failed to mention it was their Kinky Bee meet up. I am afraid that I gatecrashed it (actually I'm not sorry at all as it was a great day). I got to catch up with Amy and meet new people too. We all met up at the cafe in Liberty's. 
How did they get that taxi up there?
The Kinky bees and interloper (Photo nicked from Liz)
We then proceeded from Liberty's up to West Hampstead to the Village Haberdashery (minus Amy who didn't trust herself not to spend money), where we found Pennie behind the counter.
The Village Haberdashery

The 'girls' in fabric heaven (Photo nicked from Pennie)

After cups of tea and coffee, fabric stroking, shopping and chatting to Pennie and Annie (whose shop it is) we went back down the hill for pizza. I travelled back to King's Cross with Moira and then caught the train home. 

Thank you to the Kinky bees for having me and if anyone else wants me to gatecrash their get together just holler!

Amazingly, my younger son had no idea that I had been to London - I think that he lives in a parallel world!
Di x

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The highs and lows of sewing

The high of my recent sewing is definitely my weekender bag. Do you want to know what the low is? I am going to make a full confession of botching up a bee block.

I was devastated when I realised what I had done. I am always very careful with bee blocks made in someone else's fabric. I normally change my rotary blade if it is dull, use a new needle and check and recheck dimensions before I cut. Yesterday, I did all this as I set about cutting into Karen's beautiful fabric that she sent out for her hipBee block.
Where did that hole appear from?

How did that happen?
It took me ages to figure out what I had done but after a lot of head scratching I realised that I had miscalculated the pieces by 1/2". I am so sorry Karen. This block is really simple and I failed completely. So fellow hipBees do you want to sack me as your bee Mama? I haven't set a very good example. And Karen - please answer my email and put me out of my misery.
I hope you have a better sewing day than I did yesterday. I am now in the middle of making the Bee Blessed blocks but at least if I mess these up I don't have to confess!
Di x

Sunday, 21 April 2013

My Weekender bag

My weekender bag is finished and I am now going to show you LOTS of photos. I am really pleased with it.
My weekender

I have personalised it in a number of ways. Firstly I added a zippy pocket on the inside of one of the outer pockets. This secret pocket is just large enough for a passport or train tickets. The idea is that they are accessible, without having to delve into the bag and there is no chance that they would ever fall out.
Secret zippy pocket
Do you notice that I also added magnet snap fasteners to the outside pocket? In all my blog reading I noticed that some people had trouble with the outer pockets gaping, so I took no chances and added fasteners.
As you may have guessed, I like pockets. For me, they help divide and conquer all my bits that I seem to carry around. On the inside of the bag I added a big zippy pocket on one side and on the other side I added a divided open pocket. I simply cut out a third outer pocket and piped it before dividing it in the middle.
Inside of bag showing pockets 

I remembered to add my blog name label too!
My husband also made me a bottom from very thin plywood. I covered this and inserted it into the bottom of the bag for shape. I honestly don't know if it is really necessary but it made me happy! The final adaptation of the pattern was to add 6 little feet onto the bottom.

Just so that you see it in all it's glory, here are some more photos.
Inside of the weekender bag
Weekender bag from all four sides.
I can honestly say that the pattern isn't difficult and if you do the QAYG method there is no need to use any peltex or any other stiffener. I did use a lightweight vilene on all the inside fabric pieces as they were of a quilting cotton weight. This made the inner parts crisp without being stiff. My straps are 1 1/2" wide and I also used vilene on these pieces and then encased a cotton webbing within them to make them strong and sturdy. 

Can you tell that I am really delighted with this bag? I am now ready to go away for a weekend or perhaps a overnight weekday break!
Have a happy Sunday.
Di x

Saturday, 20 April 2013

East Midlands Modern Quilt Guild meeting

The East Midlands Modern Quilt Guild  (EMMQG) met for the second time today, just 10 minutes up the road from my home, at Stitchcraft Studio, on the edge of Grantham. We had a big and airy room at our disposal with refreshments and lunch provided - perfect. Ten of us met to rise to the challenge of making a Weekender Bag (Amy Butler pattern). I have had this project on my radar since November and I have been gathering supplies in order to make this bag. The fact that the EMMQG decided to make this the project for our meeting was just perfect. For the last ten days I have been making QAYG panels, piping and plotting what 'extras' I wanted to include into my bag. 
Quilted panel and pocket
Handle detailing
One completed side
I have poured over blog posts looking at handle construction and what pockets people have gone for. I managed to get all my pieces ready for our meeting today as my aim was to get my exterior panels together whilst I had folk around to ask for help and advice (I'm not daft!).

So at lunchtime today this is what I had completed
Construction in progress
I spent the whole of this afternoon getting the exterior together. I managed to 'mash' a corner but as I got desperate, Trudi stepped in and got me sorted. That is definitely a plus to sewing as a group. Below are some photos of the day.

I came away with my exterior completed. I still have the lining to hand sew into the bag but I don't think that it will be done tonight! I will post photos of it all finished and ready to use, once I have the lining securely fixed. I am really pleased with how it turning out as it has been easier than I thought it would be.

It was great to sew with others and see how other people tackled the project. We had a lot of fun and now the pressure is on for us to get the bags finished!

So what did you do today?
Di x

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Saturday catchup

I have been trying to get some of the panels of my weekender bag quilted all ready for the East Midlands Modern Quilt Guild meeting next week. As a group we are going to make these bags together but I want to be able to walk away after the meeting with it nearly completed so I need to get these panels completed this week. It seems to be taking ages to do and it tedious doing the QAYG. I am nearly half way through so I just need to push on with this one.
Quilted panels for the Amy Butler Weekender Bag
 I have also been having fun making some small cushions. We have had a pair of little cushions for over 15yrs but they don't really look good in our present home. I have been meaning to make them new covers for ages but it has never happened.
Old cushion cover looking out of place on the sofa
Last week I broke into a little mini charm pack of 'marmalade' and got started. After making one cushion I realised that it needed a matching one so I cut up some 2 1/2" squares in similar colours and made a second one.
Small Cushions
They look much better nestled with my 'Ruby' cushions.

There was also a secondary purpose to making these little cushions as I made piping for the edging. I have never done this before and it was super easy. This is something I have to do on the weekender bag so I am glad to have had a practise run at it.

Have a good weekend and I hope the sun is shining with you.
Di x

Thursday, 11 April 2013

FAL- Q2 Aims or wishful thinking?

she can quilt

At last…I have beaten the boys to the computer so that I can finally post about my projects that I want to add to the Finish A Long being hosted by Leanne over at She Can Quilt The FAL is to provide motivation  to finish any Un-Finished Objects!

The first two are rollovers from Q1.
The first one is my Echo Quilt. This was nearly a finish in Q1. It is about 75% quilted so it should be an early finish. I am pretty optimistic that it will be finish in this quarter.
Echo Quilt

Second on the list is my Union Jack quilt. Some concentrated sewing is required to get this quilt together and then to start the quilting. I like quilting, but I find it intimidating too. I guess my skills in the quilting department let me down and I always feel disappointed with what I have done. This quilt will stretch me when I actually get to this stage.

UJ Quilt
I am also going to add a couple of new projects. The 'biggie' is to complete a weekender bag. It is all cut out and some QAYG has started. I have been building up to this project since last December. I have been choosing fabric, ordering piping and practicing skills that I will need by doing some smaller projects along the way (perfect tote and triple zippy purse). I have been catapulted out into the open to share this with you as it has also been picked as our first project for the next meeting of the East Midlands Modern Quilt Guild.
Weekender bag in progress

This has to be a finish as I would like to use it in May as we are going away to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary! So this may be the first project that I will complete. 

Finally, I am going to add my hipBee quilt. I would dearly like to finish this one before the Fat Quarterly Retreat but I may be being a little unrealistic here! I will do my best to get it together, at the very least,  as I would like to show it to my bee mates. The blocks have finally all arrived so now I need to make a lot of flying geese to get this one done!

HipBee Block for me
I think that this list is a little unrealistic, but I will give it my best to get at least some of these finishes done. I am going to link this post up with the FAL over at Leanne's.
Di x

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Finish A Long - First Quarter

Well it is time to confess up and see how well I did with the first Quarter of the FAL with Leanne.
she can quilt

I only had four items on my list but somehow I seem to have mixed results.
First up was the outstanding bag for Liz.  This was how it looked at the beginning of the FAL.
And it was completed - hurray!
Bag for Liz
Second on my list was a quilt for my son as he was turning 18yrs old. This had to be a finish too. I was really pleased with how it turned out.
Birthday quilt
The third item was a quilt that has been in the making for nearly a year now. I fell in love with the prints all over again and it was so nearly finished except I got sick and somehow missed two weeks of life. This is a fail but it won't really take long to finish in the next quarter.
Not there yet!
The final item on my list was the UJ flag quilt. Let's just say that I managed one seam and then put it down! This is a definite fail! I have the three UJs made. They just need to be put together!
Work in progress
All in all, that is 2 out of 4. I really thought that it would be 3 out of 4 but illness got in the way. Time always seems to be in short supply!

I will be back tomorrow with my list for the second quarter. 
Di x

Tuesday, 2 April 2013


Re-entry is exactly what life feels like. After 15 days of feeling really ill, I am definitely better and nearly well again. We went out to lunch with friends yesterday, and it was so nice to see other people and join in the chat. I am so grateful to be feeling better.

I am not going to link up with Lily's Quilts Fresh Sewing Day as I have only had a fortnight sewing in March, and my sewing seems to have been comprised of bee blocks and zippy pouches.

Today, I must have been back on form, as I have been sewing and having a lovely afternoon pottering with fabric and thread. First up, I made a cover for my iPad. I have been using a cover that has seen better days so I have gone ahead and made a fabric cover. I used my stash of Summersville to make it. I followed this pattern and it came together really easily. I like the fact that the sun was out and there is shadow in the photo!
iPad cover
I then decided that my wonder clips, which are a recent 'buy,' needed  dedicated storage as they will get mislaid if left on my desk.
Wonder clips
I whipped up a little 5" x 5 1/2" zippy pouch, using one of my charity shop zips, and had a play at free motion writing.
A bag for everything
All in all it has been a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

Tomorrow, my hubby and I are going up to London for a night away, leaving the teenage sons 'home alone'. I just love this part of having teenagers. I will obviously be taking my iPad in it's smart cover!
Di x