Sunday, 30 June 2013

A Welcome Finish…Baby Quilt

Yesterday I finished the baby quilt that I was making. Despite the sewing machine misbehaving during the quilting of this quilt, it has been a quick and fun project to do.
I decided that as the quilt colours are so subtle that I would use a brighter orange irregular striped fabric for the border.
A reel of lovely binding
 Below is a photo showing how the binding picks up the orange on the wee mice. I like this fabric as the stripes aren't regular, but are a mixture of wider and smaller irregular lines.
Binding ready to go
 Please note that I used Susan's idea of storing the binding on a finished cotton reel. I quilted a 1/4" either side of the seams and I like the effect that this gives.
A finish!
I am really pleased with how this quilt turned out. It is not your usual blue boy baby quilt and that pleases me. I will now have to wait to see if E's parents also like it.
Baby quilt for E
Size - 45" x 54"
Fabric - Heather Ross  Nursery Versery, Kona natural and a grey plain. 
Binding -  an orange strip

I thought that I would also show you what I saw out of my bedroom window at 9.30pm last night. I have seen the geese around but didn't realise how many goslings there were. This was taken with a long lens.

Di x

Friday, 28 June 2013

Restarting and resending

After the drama of my sewing machine missing stitches it has been looked at by a person who knows what he is doing, has had a couple of new parts, and I was able to collect it the following day. Now that is good service! I actually wonder if my walking foot is moving whilst I am quilting and hitting the needle. I am going very slowly and checking regularly and all seems to be ok at the moment.

My job today is to get this baby quilt, quilted.
Baby Quilt for E
I have completed all the quilting down the quilt and now I am making my way across the quilt sewing 1/4" from the seams in each direction. I really want to get this one quilted quickly but I think that other things might displace this job!
Quilting has started!
Bizarrely, the name tag I made in the swap for the FQ Retreat has been whizzing around the postal system for a whole week and arrived back with me. It has a great big sticker on it saying that not enough postage has been paid. It was sent from our local Post Office, so I hot footed it up the village today, to see if our post office could shed light on it. It has now been restamped and put back in the postal system. 

Sorry partner if you are getting anxious about not receiving your name tag, but the postal system has let me down! Let's hope it gets through, second time around!

Have a good weekend. I will be quilting for all I'm worth to get this quilt ready for binding!
Di x

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Not quite a baby quilt!

Earlier this month, my boys (young) Godfather became a father. I have held back sending a card to N and his wife R, as I wanted to make a baby quilt to send with it. On Sunday I managed to cut, sew and baste a quilt for Baby E. Back in February this year, I won a fantastic FQ set of Nursery Versery from Alice at Fabric Yard.
Nursery Versery
It is lovely fabric and the little nursery characters are really sweet however I was sort of stumped as to know what to do with these gorgeous FQs. So when Baby E arrived I set to with making a 'boy' quilt. First thing was to separate all the pink sweet fabric. This left me with just the green, grey and purple FQs. I then added half a metre of a neutral and grey fabric. The patchwork fabric (lower right in the photo) was then taken out as it was too pink!
Fabric choices
I then got to it and by 11pm I had this quilt all made up and the backing pieced.
Nursery quilt

Pieced back with little frogs on two of the blocks
Yesterday, I got together with a friend for an afternoon of chat and stitching but I did more unpicking than sewing. My machine kept jumping stitches and no amount of tweaking would fix it. This quick project is now at a halt. 
Skipped stitches
This morning I had to do a 1 1/2hr round trip to drop off my machine at the 'fix it' man. 
Now that has put a fly in my ointment! So I have turned my attention to cutting out my sample swap items. Below is a little peak at what I'm doing. 

I am using Liberty fabrics with a little green retro print to line the Liberty with. You will have to wait for a full reveal but that can only happen once my machine is back and hopefully working!
Di x

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Reporting in...

The week has just flown by and I have eventually (nearly) caught up on my bee blocks for June. First up was the improv log cabin block for Lynz in the Hipbees. I have to say that it took me until now to make it, as I was dreading doing it. I am not one for wonkiness or making it up as I go along, so this month was a test of my abilities. Once I got started, I really got into it and had a really fun hour making it up as I went along. I just love that about being in a bee. Sometimes you don't think that you can do something and it pushes you out of your comfort zone. Lynz asked for a little of us in the block, so I added a little of Flea Market Fancy as it matched the colour palette. 
Improv log cabin 'Di Style'
I used just about all the fabric that Lynz sent, so I had to piece a little square together together to make the signature block.
Left over pieces from the improv log cabin
I have no idea if this is what improv log cabin really is, but it is my best shot. It went in the post on Friday so it should be with Lynz very soon.

Second up, were Trip a Long blocks for Collette who is June Queenie in the Bee a Brit Stingy. These blocks really did trip along through my sewing machine at great speed. 
Trip a longing for Collette
The block on the right was made with my new fabric that I bought at the Quilt Show at Springfields, in Spalding. I reckon that Collette is going to have a really vibrant quilt once all her blocks are made.

I started this blog with saying nearly all my bee blocks are made. The Bee Blessed blocks are still outstanding. As I have seen where Sarah and Judith meet in Belfast, it makes this Bee more real and so I don't want to let them down. I will do them before the end of the month - promise.

Yesterday was a really nice day. The National Centre for Craft & Design is just down the road in Sleaford. It is based in a former pea warehouse and has been transformed into a truly brilliant space. It is the largest venue in England to be entirely dedicated to contemporary craft and design. Why it is based in Sleaford is beyond me, but it is a jewel in Sleaford's crown! 
National Centre for Craft and Design, Sleaford
Yesterday they had a special day based around crafts with yarn. I planned to drop in and see if there were any demonstrations and be home before 11.00am. I was quite amazed at what was going on as there were workshops and an exhibition along with demonstrations taking place throughout the day. All the workshops were free and included yarn.Their advertising is really poor and the website doesn't say what is going on so it is always a surprise when you show up.

So I tried my hand at crocheting in two separate workshops. I can crochet a little but it was great to have someone explain things to you when you got stuck.
In the first workshop I  made a couple of little hearts. I now know what a half treble stitch is!!!
Little crocheted hearts
Then I progressed onto flowers...

And in the second workshop I made a hexagonal granny block.
I had a blast. So much so that I didn't get home until after 3pm! It was a really fun day.
I reckon that I might now have a second craft to pursue as I found crocheting really addictive. Watch this space!!!
Di x

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Post Belfast party...

I returned from Belfast, late on Monday evening. I have had a really good time but I was whacked when I got home. I am definitely out of practice on the partying front!

I was met at Belfast airport by Judith, and driven down to Sarah's. We were greeted with a typical Ulster morning coffee - White chocolate and raspberry scones (they don't do tea and biscuits in this part of the world). 
Doing the 3Fs
Then we got down to business…the 3 Fs
Friendship, food and fabric. 

How can three women chat constantly all day? We certainly managed to do so. In the evening Sarah and myself went up to Belfast to see Judith in teacher mode at one of her patchwork classes. It is really nice to see where Jude's classes and Bee Blessed are held. I also had the pleasure of meeting Rachael. This girl is seriously talented… check out her blog here. I have been following her blog for a wee while now so it was really great to meet her in person.

The following day Sarah and myself went to a walk around the lake in Hillsborough before Sarah kindly dropped me off in Belfast for the second part of my weekend. As you may note, I forgot to take a single photo. This is so typical of me….just lets say that President Obama followed in my steps by visiting the Waterfront! There were four of us who stayed in Belfast over night. Again this evening was filled with a lot of laughter and fun.
The bags that I made for the 'girls' went down well too.

I spent Sunday with my friends in Co Londonderry. My husband and W went to school together and that was a long time ago! Our families get on really well together, so it is a real pleasure to visit. The cushion was for A and W.

W has ordered some more, so I need to get sewing as we are meeting up again in August.

I also got to visit my elderly Mother in Law before I flew home. This was a real bonus and a blessing. I am very unusual in the fact, that I love my Mother in Law and it is hard to live so far away from her and not to be able to visit when we would like to.

It has taken me a couple of days to catch up on my sleep as I was exhausted when I got home. Life is gradually getting back to normal…washing, cleaning up, cooking etc. The best bit of all is that my elder boy took his final A level today and my younger boy finished his GCSEs last week. This family is officially on summer holidays now, however I think that it will be the boys doing the hard partying this weekend!
Di x

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Belfast here I come!

Tomorrow morning I am catching the 08.30hrs flight to Belfast….

The alarm is set for a 5.15hrs wake up call…
No not 1:50!!

The flying geese are all ready to fly…
Flying geese cushion
...They will be fed in NI to look all plump…

The shopping bags are made and now have fasteners…
Shopping bags
And of course I will need a bag for the aeroplane…
Aeroplane bag
All that is left to do is pack, get a meal ready for the men and be out of the house by 6.15pm to head over to Tanya's for Stitch it Together

See you on the other side.
Di x

Monday, 10 June 2013

Frantic Sewing

It is nearly a week since I have blogged. The week has just flown by. Last week I 'road tested' my Super Tote (Anna - Noodlehead pattern) in London. It is the perfect city bag as it is large enough to carry everything and the kitchen sink, as well as being safe due to the zipper closure.
The perfect city tote!
Last Friday I went to a local, to me, quilting show in Spalding. I really enjoyed seeing the quilts that were displayed, meeting up with quilting friends for coffee and going on a fabric buying spree.

This is the fabric that I bought.

I am off on my annual trip to Northern Ireland later this week. I am going to meet up with friends, to go to Focusfest. However, this is also the perfect opportunity to see some of my  bloggy friends in person! I am therefore going to fly out a day earlier and stay with Sarah and see Judith too. How good is that? I am getting excited about my big trip abroad!!!

As I am seeing lots of friends I need to take a few little presents with me. Having seen on both Judith's and Sarah's blogs that there is now a bag tax in NI, I decided that I would make some fold up bags. The left hand fabrics in the top photo was bought to make these bags.
Shopping bags
Do you want to see how I managed to keep that cane up?

Tall boys were the answer!

Now that the bags are made, I need to find a way of keeping the bags rolled up. That is my job for this afternoon!

I also need to have a present for my friend, who I'm staying with over the weekend. I decided that due to the luxury of having a hold bag as well as hand luggage, I would make a cushion.
After seeing Catherine's post I decided to copy her idea and make the flying geese block. I like making flying geese so it was fun to do. Unfortunately this is as far as I have got…
Potential cushion!
As I am out for dinner with some school mums tonight, going to see a Shakespeare play performed outside at Tolethorpe tomorrow evening (please don't let it rain!) and then Stitching it Together at Tanya's on Wednesday evening, I think that late night sewing might be required if I'm to ever to get these projects finished. Wish me luck!!!

Right, I can't hang round as I need to get sewing!
Di x

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Busy being Busy

Over the weekend I met up with the East Midland Modern Quilt Guild at a fantastic Village Hall near Ashbourne. It was so nice and sunny and we had our guest speaker give her talk to us on the patio in the sunshine. It felt as if summer had finally arrived. Later that evening I realised that the sun was stronger than I thought as I had a very red and sore neck!

On Sunday I pieced the backing for my lovely leaf bee quilt together. I used some ‘In My Room’ by Jenean Morrison to frame the bee signature blocks.Below you can see me trying to gauge whether I indeed had enough fabric. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the finished backing. This quilt is going to look wonderful once it has been quilted by this talented quilter.
Will it fit or not?
This week has also seen me make a Super Tote using this pattern by Anna-Noodlehead 

I had bought the fabric a while ago, specifically to make this bag. Gwen from Celtic Fusion was super helpful in matching some fabric for me. I really like this shop as it stocks some unusual and different fabrics and the service is second to none. The linen was from the local market stall.

I have to say, that it took ages to cut out the pattern pieces and then interface each of them. I also used, a new to me, interlining called Soft and Stable. It is just perfect for making a structured bag and it sewed well despite being quite bulky. The only drawback was that I did struggle to sew around the top of the bag once it was completed. The bonus is that the bag stands up on it's own.

It has taken me a full day and a bit to see this bag to completion. I pretty much stuck to the pattern, with the exception of making the handles ‘my way’ and adding a key fob and copying Hadley  with an little inner pocket for tickets etc. in the outer pocket (if you get what I mean). Fortunately for me, Hadley posted her thoughts on the bag making process just as I was getting to this stage. Thanks Hadley!

Me, my bag and husband are going to London tomorrow, so I will be able to road test this tote to see if it is really a Super Tote. I am sure it will be. It is a brilliant size - big without being too big, with lots of pockets to sub-divide my rubbish that I carry around ‘stuff’.
Di x