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, 15 December 2013

Christmas QAL - Dec pt2 - Oh, I give up!

Well, there are times that you just have to walk away from something, and tonight has been that time!

Two days, three needles, more unpicking than I care to mention, and more thread breakages than I can hope to remember later, my Christmas Challenge piece is not completed

I have no idea what the heck is going wrong there, but go wrong it most certainly has - it's only a small piece, for goodness sake, how hard can it be to manoeuvre it under the machine smoothly? (Ans: today, impossible).  Here's a bit of the stippling that has made the cut - and that's far less even than I'd like.

I guess a cooling off period for both me and the machine, and a good oiling for at least one of us will do no harm, I'm sure.  Here is my non-red-or-green-not-bigger-than-96" entry for the QAL, nonetheless.

Despite me wanting to throw (a) the runner and (b) the machine across the damn room tonight, I have had a fabulous time on our Quiltalong weekends this year!  Oh yes!

I've had a hoot on hostess duty, and had so much fun when it's been Joanna at the helm!  Thanks to her, to QuiltSue, of course for the wacky Challenge - and everyone who has been along for the ride!

Have a very merry Christmas, one and all!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Christmas QAL - Dec pt1!

Needle, Thread, Happiness

Good morning, good morning!

Here in the middle of England it is a beautiful December morning, and quite warm for the time of year.  I am not complaining as I will be going out shortly to buy the CHRISTMAS TREE!  How exciting!

Then I will be going through the Christmas box and decorating it, and putting up the cards, and playing some Christmas music, and there may be a small glass of sherry involved.

And THEN I need to do some last minute finishing of my entry for QuiltSue's QAL Challenge, and get it posted up onto the Linky party!

Busy, busy - see ya later...

Sunday, 1 December 2013

A Step Forward, A Step Back...

Can you believe it?  In a couple of weekends it will be the final session of the 2013 Christmas quiltalong - where did the time go!

We're all having a grand parade over at QuiltSue's place, so I'd better get a wiggle on and get my Challenge project finished!

I had a good decision making session today - however, as you can see from the pic here, my brilliant idea has only, at this point, translated into a string of unpicked-thread holes in the fabric.  

The idea's still good though, despite my lack of ability to execute it - I'll have another pop at it tomorrow...

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Christmas QAL! Nov pt6

I've had a most constructive evening!

I've finished a couple of dozen tree ornaments, and finished doing a little undemanding knitting.

This little scarf goes really well with this new (to me) green corduroy coat, and with weather turning, it'll get used very soon indeed.  Like Joanna, I've got away with a fleece up until this week, but now the coats and scarves have to come out.

I don't mind, I love to be wrapped up against the cold - and I loved knitting the scarf sat by the fire this evening!

So now I'm wrapping things up here, and getting a cup of hot chocolate for supper.  It's been a busy day what with the run this morning too - here's me showing off my runner's medal!

Thank you for your company, ladies, I've enjoyed seeing what you've all been getting up to throughout the weekend.

I hope that we can all meet up again in December over at QuiltSue's place for a show-off session - we may be lucky enough to get some of her delicious home cooking too ...

Christmas QAL! Nov pt5

I'm back from my race and have brought home with me my entrants' medal, a respectable time, and a ridiculous amount of Kingsbury Water Park's mud about my person.

That's all washed off in huge bubble bath, though, and I'm ready to sew - and this is where those lovely jingly bells come it!

I've been making some tree decorations for a stall at mum's church Christmas fete in a couple of weeks time, and they've turned out rather lovely so I think I may keep a few back!

So easy to make too - I took a charm pack of Christmas fabrics

Put two pieces together back to back sandwiching some fusible interfacing between them.

I quartered each square, they cut round the double sided little squares with pinking shears.

I put then together in pairs, with a piece of ribbon between them as a hanger, and zig-zagged on the machine along the diagonal

I curled the points together on each side and secured with a star and a bead, and put a bead and a bell on the bottom to finish.

Christmas QAL! Nov pt4

Good morning, good morning - and what a glorious blue-sky, bright, sharp, sunshiny autumn day it is!

I'm very glad that it is such a beautiful day, as I'm off in a mo to take part in a cross country race in a local nature reserve.  Until we get warmed up, it's going to be cold; and despite today's lovely sunshine, recent heavy rain means that it's going to be wet underfoot.

Last weekend when I went out for a practise around the route I came back looking like this, so I'm really glad that I will be wearing my trail shoes which at least should keep me upright in the mud!

I'll be back by lunchtime, and as long as I don't actually come last, I'll be happy - and after a soak in the bath, I'll be ready to sew.  In the meantime, make yourselves comfy and and have a choccy. Go on - you know you want to!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Christmas QAL! Nov pt3

Who fancies some CHOCOLATES?  Yup - thought so.

Here's something to satisfy the sweetest of sweet tooths, and they are easy peasy to make to - hurrah!

All you need to do is sift 12oz of icing sugar into a bowl and mix in a whisked egg white.  Knead it all together (it needs a bit of working on) and it will start to resemble plasticine.

Add a few drops of colourant and flavouring/essence of your choice.  I did peppermint, and also orange.

Cut or roll into itty bitty pieces and leave over night on greaseproof paper in the fridge.

Eat as they are, or decorate with melted chocolate.

That's it - and they are SO TASTY, I cannot tell you.  Go on, have a nibble!

Christmas QAL! Nov pt2

I've got my jobs for the day done, and have found some time to do something new - applique!

On my Challenge quilt, I have a flame in gold to sew onto each candle, so I ironed some fusible interfacing to my gold fabric, then drew and cut out two copies of the flame and hand stitched them into place with gold metallic thread.

I must look up applique techniques on Youtube - my method made sense to me, but I've no idea if that's the way everybody else does it!

Now I have also been playing with these beautiful bells, and we'll come back to them later.  Funny things, bells - my mum always says that she couldn't move out of the area because she just has to go outside and listen to her parish church bells pealing in the New Year, and I remember as a child being allowed to stay up until midnight, and going out into the cold night air and hearing them too.

Church bells, jingle bells, school bells - what do they mean to you? 

And while you're thinking about that (and you have signed in to Mr Linky so we can all share what you're up to this weekend?), I'm off to the kitchen to make something CHOCOLATY! Yum! 

Christmas QAL! Nov pt1

Needle, Thread, Happiness

Good morning, good morning!

It's the CHRISTMAS QUILTALONG this weekend, and I'm here to host the party!

I have one or two chores to do before I can play with my challenge quilt, so if you want to get yourselves signed in on the Mr Linky here, or on the tab at the top of the page, and make yourselves at home, I'll be right back!

Christmas music on the CD, coffee on the hob, biscuits in the tin - help yourselves...

Friday, 8 November 2013

Christmas Quiltalong Eve

Needle, Thread, Happiness

Do you know what I'm looking forward to?? Tomorrow morning!  It is my final turn as hostess for the 2013 Christmas Quiltalong, before my co-hostess, Joanna, and I hand the baton over to QuiltSue for one last hurrah in December!

So do say you'll join me?

Get those bells a-jinglin' because they are going to feature over the weekend, along with the chocolate that I promised you!

Have you had a go at Sue's fiendish challenge to make a non-red-or-green Christmas quilt? Or will you be working on your own Christmas projects, perhaps.  As Sue reminded us today, Christmas is just 47 days away! Eek!

So c'mon join the party! I'll have Mr Linky ready and waiting on Saturday morning, and you can get there to sign in by clicking here, or on the Quiltalong tab at the top of the page.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Christmas in November!

Needle, Thread, Happiness

Well, I don't know about you, but we have a serious case of AUTUMN in the English midlands - the nights are drawing in, the leaves are changing colour and falling off the trees, and there has been a distinct nip in the air the last couple of mornings.

The park looks like this:

And I've been playing 'catch a falling leaf', and winning! 

But for one weekend only in November, it will be CHRISTMAS around the quilting world, when it is my pleasure to be your hostess for this Christmas QAL stitching session - we will, of course be having one final weekend in December where we can gatecrash the lovely QuiltSue herself like a bunch of hooligans and show off all that we've been doing these past few months.

But meanwhile, you are all invited over to my place this weekend to come and finish off (ha!) your Christmas challenge pieces (no red or green in a Christmas quilt? Madness, I say!) and join in with some fun and games.  

I think that you all had a whole heap of fun over at Joanna's last month, whilst I was on my holidays, and we're all going to have quite a weekend again!  

I can promise you something involving this...

And something involving these...

And, actually, something involving these - but you don't have to join in that one if you don't want to! Tee hee!
So do come along and join the fun!  I'll have a Mr Linky set up on the QAL tab at the top there, and I'm looking forward to seeing you all!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Eleanor's Quilt - a Finish!

I've been away from the blog (and reading others) for so long that you'd be forgiven for thinking that I'd emigrated rather than just having been away on holiday!

Well, I'm back now, and have found a little time this week to do some sewing.  Although I'm afraid that it is all terribly hush hush at the mo, and you'll have to wait for a little while in order to see what I've been up to.

In the meantime, I can show you Eleanor's Quilt in it's finished glory.

I machined the binding on for speed, which I was fairly happy with, although it did feel like a short cut, and the stitching was not as invisible as I would have liked.

That's me being picky though, as overall it came out looking fabulous! And Eleanor was very pleased with it and sent me a very nice thank you note.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Eleanor's Quilt - Home Straight!

I did the label for Eleanor's Quilts yesterday evening, and got the binding ready to go - hopefully I can get that done and the tails buried tonight.

Which leaves tomorrow for it to go in the wash, then air, then ready to be delivered on Saturday - phew!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Eleanor's Quilt Marathon Session!

From having quilted fewer than half of the blocks on Eleanor's Quilt on Sunday evening, I have now (with the exception of one measly border run) done the whole darn lot.

That's a medium size stipple in cream in the blocks, and small stipple in cream on the background areas, and small stipple in variegated orange on the borders.

I'll do the final border tomorrow, then a huge cheat - I'm going to machine the binding on and not hand-stitch it down.  Then a label and a million tails to bury.

This is all a rush of my own making (I think we'll be seeing Godmother on Saturday, who has commissioned the quilt, and will take it with us), which I'm cross about, as I know that stitching in the ditch around the orange sashing would make the quilt absolutely pop - but I am out of time.

Well - perhaps not - let's see how quickly that binding goes on....

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Christmas QAL - September pt7 - Knowing When to Stop!

I decided that rather than completing my flames for the Challenge runner, I'd better press on with Eleanor's Quilt as I have a deadline to get it finished.

I've nearly quilted four of the eight centre blocks, but I'm having a few problems with thread breakages.  I tried to press on in order to at least get the block finished, but Oliver cat quite sensibly told me it was time to pack it in, and come back to it fresh tomorrow.

So that's your lot for this month's quiltalong!  I have a little something for QuiltSue who got most answers right in the Christmas quiz, and also for Lesley who was the first to spot my naughty gingerbread boy and girl, so email me your addresses, girls, and I'll sort that out.

Thank you so much for coming to my party this month - I've enjoyed seeing all the projects coming along so well!  And next month, it's over to Joanna's place, so make sure you join her party in October!

Pip pip!

Christmas QAL - September pt6 - George says 'Hello'

How are you all getting on this afternoon?  I'd better go and have a look round the world in a mo - it's my favourite part of the QAL!

I've been to see Grumpy George at the plot - it feels quite autumnal now and all the plants are a bit shabby, but George is busy looking after the big light green squash at his feet, and keeping the corn safe from the wicked pigeons!

I hope you all enjoyed coffee and gingerbread men whilst I was out? Did no one spot my two naughty gingerbread men in the last post - tell me where they are and I might have a little prize! Tee hee!

I've been upstairs to sort out the sashing on my Christmas project, and it's all coming together quite nicely.  I can't put off any longer 'doing something applique' with the flames for the candles, so I might have another go at that shortly.

In the meantime, I'm going to have a bite to eat, and a catchup.

See you later.

Christmas QAL - September pt5 - Brains needed!

Happy Sunday morning to one and all!  I hope you are all enjoying your sewing this weekend and nipping round the world to see what we're all up to?  Good!

I've got the kettle on here, so help yourself to coffee and gingerbread men.

I'm nipping out for an hour - but to keep you on your toes, what about a Christmas Quiz?

See how you get on with this lot, and I'll see you later!

  1. Good King Wenceslas was not actually a king but a duke, over which country was he duke? 
  2. According to Swedish folklore, which animals pull Santa's sleigh? 
  3. Which country is the largest exporter of Christmas trees? 
  4. In which modern country did Saint Nicholas spend most of his life? 
  5. Which North American city started the tradition of a Christmas parade? 
  6. In which country is JOULUPUKKI the equivalent of Father Christmas? 
  7. Where is the first decorated Christmas tree thought to have originated? 
  8. In which country are the Christmas presents delivered by the JOLASVEINAR [or Christmas Goblins]?
  9. In which region of the World do JONKONNU parades take place on December 26th? 
  10. From what do Christian children in Syria receive their Christmas presents?

Christmas QAL - September pt4 - a peep...

Slap! No touching!

To be iced in the morning, and you can have one then.

Sweet dreams, girls, I'll be back tomorrow with some games, perhaps, and Grumpy George.  In the meantime, make sure you've signed in with Mr Linky, here, and show us what you've been up to today!

See ya tomorrow!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Christmas QAL - September pt3 - directions and decisions!

Needle, Thread, Happiness

Dolores has quite rightly pointed out that the QAL button doesn't point to this month's Mr Linky! D'oh!

I've fixed the button now, so to come to the party, sign up with Mr Linky either by clicking on the button, on the Christmas QAL tab at the top of the page, or by clicking here.

Dear me - some hostess I am - that's like sending out invites and the doorbell not working!!

Meanwhile, I think you've all given me some wise words on my sashing dilemma, so thank you for that, and I'm going to go with the yellow.

But before I do that, I'd better get baking - anyone up for some festive gingerbread men?

Christmas QAL - September pt2 - Auditions

I've got my Christmas project out and am at the stage where I need to decide on sashing.

I had my glamorous assistant with me, but between us we can't decide between...




...or orange...

Actually, it appears that at least one of us is not keen on the orange.

What do you think?

The sun's come out, so I'm going to nip over the the allotment and ask Grumpy George what he thinks, and with a bit of luck I'll be back with some courgettes and raspberries for tea.

See you in a bit.

Christmas QAL - September pt1

Needle, Thread, Happiness

Good morning, good morning!  Welcome one and all to this month's Christmas Quiltalong!  The QAL is like a pass the parcel game that Joanna and I are playing every month up to December where we have a weekend where we all set some time aside to work on our Christmas projects so we steal a march on those less organised - it's worth it for the smugness alone!

It's my turn this month, and so let me invite you all to join the party!  If you've not joined in the last few months, DON'T WORRY, as you are very welcome to be here now!

Here's where you sign up to Mr Linky (or on the tab at the top of page), so come on in, and help yourself to a coffee - oops - are we out of biscuits?  We'll have to put that right later on, won't we?

Feel free to work on your own Christmas projects or take up QuiltSue's FIENDISH CHALLENGE - can you make a Christmas item without using red or green fabric within the size guidelines set out here? Eek!

Here in the English Midlands, it is grey and dull, and I think we can all agree - it's a GREAT DAY FOR QUILTING!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Jingle, jingle...!

Needle, Thread, HappinessSo what are we all doing this weekend?  We're having a PARTY!  It's the second weekend in the month, and that means that it is Christmas Quiltalong time!

I've got the hosting baton back from Joanna, and I've got some fun and games lined up for us for between our stitching sessions, so please drop by whenever you can!  I'll have a Mr Linky set up, so we can all go a-visiting to see what projects we've all got on the go. 

Will you be using your time to work on the fiendish Christmas Quiltalong Challenge that Quiltsue has set us?  Will you be working on your other Christmas items so you can be all smug and organised when the festive season is on us?

I'm going to be pressing on with my challenge item, but also I want to finish quilting Eleanor's Quilt.  Three of the eight star blocks are done with cream thread, then there's the triangle blocks, and the border the variegated orange.

Whatever you are planning, do come along!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Ready to Sandwich!

Isn't it a funny thing - you put the border on a quilt and it makes you do a step back and go 'Oooh'!  Well it does me, anyway.

Eleanor's Quilt top is finished, I've cut the wadding and backing, and will sandwich to tomorrow.

In the meantime, I have a variegated orange quilting thread, and a variegated cream.  I think the cream will make the cut - you can't see much from the pic, I'm afraid.

It's going to be an all over stipple, I think, as time is of the essence, but I'll think on that overnight.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Date of September's Christmas QAL

Needle, Thread, HappinessThank you for your votes for the definition of 'the second weekend of September' when we hold this month's Christmas Quiltalong!  With the Saturday being the second Saturday, but the Sunday the third Sunday of the month, it wasn't as straightforward as it might be.

And it's a pretty even split either way, but I do have the casting vote, and I'm going for the 14th/15th September.  I'm really sorry for those who are busy that weekend, we will miss you - and I'll save a party bag for each of you who can't be with us.

So spread the word!  All over to my place on the weekend of 14th/15th!  Games, food & drink, a party popper or two - and Grumpy George to make things go with a swing! Can't wait!

In the mean time, I'm moving forward with Eleanor's Quilt - thank you for the votes of confidence for my piano keys border! I have one for the top and the bottom ready for trimming and attaching now that I've done the tricky dicky bit (since this pic) of trimming the quilt top.  I tell ya, if it's not a good solid rectangle now, it never will be.

So once these piano jobbies are
on, it's just the dark peach border to measure cut and attach, and then we're ready to sandwich!

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