Having been given a jelly roll and a quilting book for Christmas 2010, there is no excuse not to get on with quiltmaking.

Here's what happened next...


Sunday, 19 February 2012

Quilting Mum's Quilt

After the excitement of the Christmas Quiltalong last weekend, I'm back in the attic room working on Mum's Quilt.

I've completed the doodled daisies in the centre of each of the blocks, and have to think about how I'd like to quilt the rest of the piece.

Those with longer memories will recall that I've already been round each nine-patch stitchin' in the ditch and I am now heeding Bilbo's advice of continuing with the SID round the block borders. I've just done the one this evening, and I do like the effect.

Next step will be daisy chains all round the red borders, and - I think - a small daisy in each cream triangle to finish with.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Changing My Mind...

Now, I know that I loved my Mystery Quilt fabrics when I cut them last weekend, but chatting with my colleague Rita on Monday, and showing her online how we all got on, and my fabric all cut ready for the next step, she said, "Oh! They're lovely - and some of your medium and light fabrics really blend in, don't they?"

NO! They are not supposed to blend in!!

She redeemed herself well when she suggested, "Actually, I think I have some gold holly leaf fabric on a cream background - would you like me to bring it in to see how it looks?"


Yes, please, that would be very kind - which it was, and the fabric is beautiful, and exactly right.

Whilst I was ringing the changes, the soft off-white curtain lining is a better 'fit' for the background too - so more cutting for me this weekend.

Oh, and I have an exciting trip out to Birmingham Rag Market tomorrow morning - just for a little look, you understand...

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Christmas Quiltalong 2012 - Feb final part

Blimey - I'm sure it was just me, but that cutting out for the Festive Mystery quilt took FOREVER!

Did anyone else tot up the number of pieces (bet Elizabeth did!)? That is 424 squares of various sizes - and it took me from the end of 'Last Word' on Radio 4 all the way through the 'Money Programme' and all of the 'Westminster Hour'.

My back aches from all the standing up cutting, but on the plus side, I've learnt about the effect of Quantitative Easing on pension annuities; why Liberal Democrats oppose their members standing for election as Police Commissioners; and the pros and cons of the Health Service Bill which is going through the House of Lords at the moment.

And on that informed - but rather dull - note, I'm handing the Christmas Quiltalong baton across to Joanna at Needle, Thread, Happiness for the second Saturday in March - I'm looking forward to it already!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Christmas Quiltalong 2012 - Feb pt3

Well, I don't know about all of you, but I have had the most terrific fun at this first quiltalong of 2012!

I've got to thank each and every one of you for coming and joining in the party, and of course we all have QuiltSue to thank for the Festive Mystery quilt instructions!

I don't mind telling you that it's been a pretty exciting and hectic day today - my first as a quiltalong hostess - and I'm going to reflect on the day and come back tomorrow to wrap things up at my end before handing the baton on the Joanna for next month - you won't forget to come back again then, will you?

And I have some posts and blogs that I need to catch up on too - but that's for tomorrow.

So all that's left to be done here is to enjoy a rather belated Christmas Sherry along with a couple of pieces of Tiffin before turning in.

Goodnight one and all - and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Christmas Past...

Whilst I've been cutting my fabric, I've been thinking about how we prepare for our family Christmas.

I look forward to Christmas – I know what to expect, all the comfortable traditions that have grown up through the family evolving over the years.

The first sign of Christmas for us is always the Advent calendar. We have none of that modern nonsense of chocolates in the Advent calendar, just a cardboard door to open each day of December up to Christmas Eve, and a little seasonal picture inside, thank you.

As it is now increasingly difficult to buy an Advent calendar without Sindy/Disney/Bob the Builder all complete with chocolates, I now have an Advent candle - which is not without its drawbacks. I have the attention span of a gnat, and keeping an eye on the candle whilst thinking festive thoughts such that it only burns down one day per day is not always successful.

So many people now put the Christmas tree and decorations up anytime from the beginning of December onwards, but we stick to the tradition of buying and putting the tree up the weekend before Christmas. The downside, of course, is that by the time I get to the store, the only trees left are the wonky trees, the ones with no needles on, or those big enough to grace the Albert Hall.

The tree is dressed with decorations accumulated over the years – the concession to modernity is that if the Christmas lights haven’t survived the year in storage, they are chucked out and a replacement set bought rather than being repaired by my Dad or being taken to the electrical shop for fixing – both of whom are sadly long gone.

We have always gone to the service of Nine Carols and Lessons, when you really know that Christmas is here! The difference now is that the service is held the Sunday before, not on Christmas Eve, and – horror – this year the new Vicar at the parish church only had seven lessons. I think we will be going to the neighbouring parish church next year.

And now, the tradition of putting the presents under the tree early evening on Christmas Eve happens at my house, not at the family home we grew up in. This is accompanied by plenty of laughter, sherry and mince pies, with all the accumulated presents being examined closely with the labels read out and much speculation as to what might be contained therein before being put in the washing basket under the tree ready for the next morning...

How does your run up to Christmas go?

Ready for Something Chocolatey?

Now in our house, Christmas is not Christmas without a batch of TIFFIN being made.

This is a recipe from the lady my Mum used to work with in the 70's (eek!) and has been tweaked to our own taste (walnuts? Yuk - you can keep 'em). I confess that I have it year round now, but when I was growing up, Tiffin was a real Christmas treat.

So first of all, melt 4oz of hard butter with a tablespoon of syrup.

Whilst that is on the low heat, crush 6oz of almond biscuits or all butter biscuits in a bag & add 2 tablespoons of drinking chocolate, and 2 teaspoons of caster sugar. Add 2oz of chopped cherries and mix all together in the bag.

Add the dry ingredients to the pan & mix well, then transfer into a lined tray & press down well so that the mixture is just about an inch thick.

Chill for a couple hours in the fridge to harden, then pour over half a bar of melted chocolate. Put back in the fridge to harden, the cut into tiny conscience-salving squares.


Christmas Quiltalong 2012 - Feb pt2

Well I do hope that everyone is enjoying themselves as much as I am! Surely this is what the internet was invented for!

Mind you, I must say that picking fabric is the most difficult part of quilting, and I've never made a scrappy quilt, so this is a new adventure for me!

So I've spent half the morning dithering over my stash and the attic room now looks like one gigantic jumble sale, BUT I have now chosen a bunch of fabrics for the backgound, dark, medium and light elements of the quilt which I am really pleased with. Hurrah!

I'm not giving myself the option of changing my mind and I'm heading to the kitchen for a coffee.

And I'm going to pop my pinny on whilst I am in there and knock up a little festive something to eat - I rather think that we deserve it...

Christmas Quiltalong 2012 - Feb pt1

For my version of the Festive Mystery quilt that QuiltSue has designed for us for the Christmas Quilalong this year, I'm going to do a scrappy quilt which I have not done before. I guess that the first step in choosing my fabrics is to separate what I have into light, medium and dark, then to look at the colours and see where we go from there.

So I have a pile of each of light, medium and dark ready to sort into colour groups, but now I have to nip to the shops for a couple of ingredients that I will need for a little festive baking later - and I promise you won't want to miss that!

Whatever projects you're working on today, do remember to sign up to Mr Linky on the Christmas Quiltalong tab - I want to see what everyone else gets up to!


Hip hip hooray! The Christmas Quiltalong for 2012 starts HERE!

Today! Now!!

So are you all ready? Tinsel? Holly?
Sherry?(no! too early!), Christmas music? Sleigh bells? Santa hat? Christmas Chocolates?

You are not allowed any further until you have a least one of the above list to hand!

So what projects are we all up to on this festive morn? We have part one of QuiltSue's Festive Mystery quilt over on the Christmas QAL tab at the top if you fancy that, but whatever you are up to, sign in to Mr Linky and join in the fun! (Drop me an email if you'd prefer the instructions emailed to you for ease of printing out).

I'm off to go to have a root through the stash to choose my fabrics for A Festive Mystery, right after I've finished my breakfast bacon sandwich - see you later!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Second Saturday of the Month Coming Up...


...which means that it's just four days to go until the first of 2012's monthly Christmas Quiltalong days! Hurrah!

So - I think that it would be sensible to just say what the Christmas Quiltalong is - you never know, you might want to join in too!

As Sue says, "It's a day when we lock ourselves away*, work on our projects, post from time to time about our progress during the day, go and visit the other people who're taking part to see what they're up to, maybe eat a little festive something (chocolate's always good) and generally give ourselves almost a "retreat day".

During the course of it, cos it's difficult to stay serious for too long, there could be some fun bits, maybe a little quiz, some suitable music, that sort of thing, and there might be prizes too!"

Now that sounds like a heap of fun, doesn't it? Especially when I tell you that there will be instructions issued each month for a Mystery Quilt - which we'll do a bit of each month, and then have a grand Show Off Day later in the year when it's done.

And by doing a bit each month (or any other Christmas project of your choice, of course), it should help prevent that Christmas Eve panic when you are rushing to sew the binding on to Great Aunt Nelly's quilt to wrap it before she arrives in half an hour for sherry and mince pies.

*If you are having trouble locking yourself away, take a tip from Ali who last year drove her husband a healthy distance away from home, dropped him off with some sandwiches and a flask and left him to make his own way back. I can see this catching on - and if you want a little more time to yourself, you could always blindfold him on the way out and drop him in an unfamiliar area.

So where do we go from here?

Well, we have a different hostess for each of the Quiltalong days, and I'm the first, so you want to be rolling up here on Saturday morning when I'll have a Mr Linky up and running where you can pop your blog details (then we can all visit each other though the day and have a nose at what we are all up to), and then I can email the first instructions through for the Mystery Quilt.

All together now, " Oh, I wish it could be Christmas every daaaaaaaaaaay..."

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Progress - and An Announcement!

I'm having a lot more fun now with my quilting now that I have settled on the doodled daisies in the blocks, and now have half of them done.

But the real news this weekend is that Sue has finalised the plans for this year's Christmas Quiltaling. Hurrah!

Blog Button Although the CQAL will still be held on the second Saturday of each month, there are a couple of changes to the format. Sue will be releasing a couple of blocks each month which will make up a Mystery Quilt - and there will be a different hostess each month to keep you on your toes entertained.

The first session is next Saturday, the 11th Feb - and the first hostess? That'll be me!

So I want everyone here bright and early and in the Christmas mood, so look out your seasonal music, paper hats, tinsel, sherry and mince pies - it'll be a hoot!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Blogger Power!

I must say that all the comments on my last post have been brilliant in helping me make my mind up about quilting Mum's Quilt - so thank you very much indeed!

When I posted the photo it was 'unclickable' (is that a word?) so you couldn't enlarge the pic to see the daisies that I was not happy with in all their messy glory. So here it is again, just so you can feel superior - don't worry, it is my mission today to make everyone feel better about their own FMQ! Tee hee!

Thank you to Mrs P, Donna and Reenie who valiantly stuck up for the daisies - but after a lot of thought, I really didn't think that they passed muster and so out came the damn unpicker. Again.

Elizabeth made me realise that the daisies were quite rigid and stylised, when they should be natural and flowing - after all, the daisy chains will be, so daisies in the blocks should be too. Mind you, looking at Elizabeth's quilting, she's a natural doodler with some lovely designs squiggled out on her various quilts (look at her Peppermint Burst quilt here).

Then dear Bilbo emailed me with a blisteringly good suggestion - "Whilst you are deciding upon a different motif, one of the things you could do is stitch in the ditch along the seam lines to stabilise the whole quilt and this will vastly improve the overall appearance of whatever you put in each block."

Lightbulb moment!

So here is the stitch in the ditch around the blocks (from the back - can't see any difference on the front!

Then a smaller, doodled daisy.

I like it - now we're getting somewhere!
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