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...


Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Eleanor's Quilt - Cutting, pt1

I've made a start on cutting my brand new fabric for Eleanor's Quilt.  It is just the most exciting thing - but scary too!  I've checked and double checked the cutting list, and these are the strips ready for cross cutting.

But I'm stopping here.

However much fun it would be to carry on with the next bit, I know that it is MUCH MORE SENSIBLE to do this in stages, so that the ol' grey matter is in tip top order.

I'm much likely to make a good job of not just cutting, but piecing too when I'm fresh, and the 'oh, that'll do' shoddy bits are always when I'm impatient and tired at the end of a session.

Well, no more!

Half an hour cutting, and that's enough for the time being.  Cross cutting will be later after I've gone to visit Grumpy George at the allotment.  He'll point out courgettes (zucchini), runner beans, french beans and raspberries for picking, I'm sure.

Oh - and Oliver cat says that in the meantime, he'll make sure that no one steals the fabric.  Well done, Oliver, thank you.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

A Bit of Housekeeping

Just a couple of items to clear the decks before I embark on Eleanor's Quilt!

I have neglected to thank Donna for sending me some cat fabric scraps - she's made such a lovely quilt to make you smile with these, and offered to send me the rest though the post!  How lovely was that!  She asked for a postcard in return 'of something English'.

I live in a suburb of the second city, Birmingham, so sent her one from there - it's not very touristy, so the postcard showed some of our finest Victorian civic buildings, and our modern Symphony Hall which is very well thought of and is host to many fine acts.

I think I know who got the better end of the deal in that particular exchange!  Thank you again, Donna!

Oh - talking of posting things, the Secret Garden fabric went off to Reenie in NY state after she won the July QAL draw, so I hope that's winging it's way to her safely.

Now although I have a shiny new project to work on, I didn't feel that I could have fun with my new fabrics without having finished off the camera case for the Next-Doors, which I started this just ages ago.

Blooming funny shape, cameras!

The only thing I had to do was attach a Velcro strip to, yet this one thing took me longer than the entire rest of the project - no idea why I kept putting it off, it was only a half hour job, and it's now out the way!

Hurrah! Now where's that cutter...

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Aren't Quilters Nice?

Having decided on the pattern for Godmother's Niece's quilt from QuiltSue's excellent book 'Pick Four', and the fabrics I want to use, all I have to do is make sure I can re-size the pattern in order to ensure that the quilt will sit nicely on a single bed.

Here's where it pays to be in with the Author!  I need the blocks to be a finished size of 10" and not 12", and QuiltSue has kindly done all the tricky re-jigging and emailed me the cutting list for the revised block size.  How brilliant it that!

She suggested I make a trial block using the revised instructions just to make sure that the heat hadn't fried her brain (her words not mine!), and so this evening I grabbed some scraps and gave it a whirl.  She's done one too - if you ask her nicely, she might show it to you.

Here we have it - this is a finished 10" as requested.  The fabrics jar like mad, but I'm only making sure the sizing/cutting/instructions are good, so that's ok.

And before anyone calls the Points Police, I am aware that the last seam putting the two block halves together is well out of kilter, but I'd exceeded my concentration limit!

This all works though, so thank you, Sue, I can get cutting with confidence!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Starstruck - Fabric Bought!

Firstly, thank you for your help and advise on fabrics on my last post, girls - I've taken it all on board and been to our LQS to compare to what I found last night at Hobbycraft (I only looked, and didn't buy last night).

I've ended up with these, and hope that I've done the right thing!

I think that this is why I am scrappy quilter by instinct - if I find I have a block that doesn't work, it's not a big deal - if I find that I've just made an epic howler on yardage for a whole quilt, that's £45 up the swannee, by today's shopping bill.

If this had been my quilt, I would have gone for green with the peach, but should the quilt's new home be a peach/blue room, the green would not be a great move (and vice versa, I guess), so hopefully my choices will go with whatever it has to go with!

The plan is to use the strong peach as the main fabric (it's come out a more orange in the pic than it is in real life), the patterned mid tone for the 'accent', and the cream with beige small markings for the background.

QuiltSue has very kindly offered to work out a revised cutting list for my plan of using 10" not 12" blocks; which will bring the width in a bit; then I'll insert a row of flying geese top & bottom before the border goes on to get the proportions right for this single bed quilt.

So that's the difficult bit done, finding the fabric; now for the exciting bit - don't you just love starting a new quilt!

A Commission - but Second Guessing!

Remember the 2012 Festive Mystery quilt?

I gave mine, called 'Festive Holly' to my under-the-weather Godmother, who showed it to her niece, who would now like me to make a quilt for her.


My Godmother wants to gift the this quilt, and this week dropped me a note to commission me for the piece. She asks me to produce a single-bed size quilt, to co-ordinate with the (enclosed) peach tie back.  Request: peach (to match, or darker); cream.

Of course, although that gives me a pretty free rein, it doesn't give me a lot to go on, either! I do want to turn something round pretty quickly on this one - let's just say that Godmother is not in the best health and it would be best to crack on with the project.

I don't know the room for which this quilt is heading - so with the vague brief, I'm having to second guess what Godmother Merris' niece Eleanor would like.

I had a brainstorming session with my colleague Rita this lunchtime, and we worked out the QuiltSue's 'Starstuck' design is perfect (from her book 'Pick Four') - albeit with the odd tweak.

As we're working to a single bed size, there's been a bit of maths going on here to resize Sue's blocks from 12" to 10" - which I am still not sure about - then I'm going to add a flying geese border top 'n' bottom to rejig the size to suit. Headache's all round!!

I'd love to make as a scrappy quilt, but find that my limited stash is short of enough peaches to suit. So I've had a recce at Hobbycraft - a craft chain which includes a limited fabric range - this evening.  The darker fabric isn't a 100% tonal match, but has the advantage of being cut price £14/m to £6/m.  The lighter fabric is spot on - but £14/m.

So, the jury is still out - and I need a mid tone too.  I guess that I'd get what I need from the big (by our standards) quilt shop across the city, but hope that I can pull what I need from the smaller wool and craft shop just a few miles away, which I will pay a visit to tomorrow.

 Any thoughts that you might have, girls, I would appreciate.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Christmas QAL - July - PS.

I cannot believe that I didn't credit Grumpy George the Scarecrow in my wrap up post last night! D'oh!

To make amends to his hurt feelings, when I went to the Hill allotments tonight to do some planting out, I let him pick a winner for the yard of Secret Garden fabric.

I had twelve sweetcorn (maize) plants to plant out, and three cucumbers - so I labelled each pot with a number jigged them about, then put them back in the seed tray & picked out a random one.

Kim missed the cut, being a bit late to the party - although I do hope you'll come by and join in at Joanna's next month, Kim?

I had fifteen seedlings and fifteen on the Mr Linky - and as you can see George has the winning pot - it's number 4, which is Reenie!

Reenie's made a wonky log cabin as a start for her QAL Challenge - I can't wait to see what she has lined up for next month's session!

Well done, m'dear - let me have your address, and I'll get the fabric off to you.

So it's goodnight from George, and it's goodnight from me. Goodnight!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Christmas QAL - July - final part

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend over here with me - I've had a smashing time!

I've finished my candle block (bar the applique flame) and cut the pieces for my two star blocks for the Challenge - and I'm where I want to be on this project at this point.

I've done some baking, stretched the ol' grey matter a bit and been around the world admiring what everyone has been up to - the best bit of the Quiltalong!

Just before I go off to bed with my hot chocolate and Christmas biscuits, I have to say thank you to QuiltSue for coming up with the mad no-red-or-green Challenge for a small Christmas project, and to Joanna who's sharing hosting with me.

Thank you to everyone who signed up on the Mr Linky which allowed us to have a good ol' nose round; and to everyone who came and had a look but didn't take part.  Will you join us next month?

And as a thank you, I'd like to offer out this yard of 'Secret Garden' fabric.  Our local dept store which has a small haberdashery/wool/fabric section had selected yard packs on sale (75% off!) the other day - and I had a bit of a rush to the head and ended up with *ahem* rather more than I can sensibly use.

Anyone who's participated today will go in the hat, and I'll pick a winner tomorrow.

For next month - 10th/11th August - we're back to Joanna's for more fun and fabrics.  You coming?

Christmas QAL - July pt8 - Biscuit recipe

I think that I'm going to chicken out of the egg nog - I made my mind up on this when I was beating the egg for these biscuits, and thought, 'can I drink this?'. No.

OK, so that Fail aside, let's get a load of these BISCUITS!

The recipe is from the BBC website, and makes about 2 dozen biscuits.

Christmas Biscuits


100g/3½oz unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
100g/3½oz caster sugar
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
275g/10oz plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

To decorate
400g/14oz icing sugar
2-3 drops food colourings

Preparation method

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
2. Cream the butter and sugar
3. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract
4. Stir in the flour until the mixture comes together as a dough.
5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 1cm/½in.
6. Using biscuit cutters, cut biscuits out of the dough and carefully place onto greased baking trays.
7. Bake the biscuits for 8-10 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. Set aside to harden for 5 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
8. For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir in enough water to create a smooth mixture. Stir in the food colouring.
9. Carefully spread the icing onto the biscuits using a knife and sprinkle over the glitter. Set aside until the icing hardens.

Shall I tell you what would work here:  A pinch of cinnamon.  I only came up with this particular brainwave as I was icing them though. Tut!.

Oh - top tip for icing - if you make the icing in a shallow bowl, you can dip the top of each biscuit, shake off the excess icing, whip it upright, and you have lovely edge to edge icing with very little mess.

And finally - take no notice of '2 or 3 drops of food colouring' - the icing needs more than that - and mine still turned out lime green and pink, rather than Christmassy green and red.

Taste good though.

Christmas QAL - Jul pt7 - Biscuit, anyone?

Good afternoon, all!

I've been making some Christmas biscuits this afternoon to share and whilst waiting for them to cool down enough for me to ice, I went up into the attic room to finish off my candle block.

I like it very much - just the flames to cut from small gold squares which need to be appliqued on.  I've not done that before, so I'm going to have to look up how to do it.

I guess that if I iron on some interfacing to stiffen the fabric before I cut the flame shape, that would stop any fraying or stretching - but that experiment is for another day.

I'm going to cut the fabric for my star blocks now, then ice the biscuits and share them and the recipe with you.

Hope you are all having as nice a day as I am - see you later on!

Christmas QAL - July pt6 - Sunday Morning

Needle, Thread, Happiness

Good morning, good morning!  It's another hot steamy one here in the English Midlands, and the second day of the July edition of the Christmas QAL!

I'm just checking that everyone who is playing along either with Christmas projects of their own, or taking up QuiltSue's fiendish Challenge have signed up to Mr Linky on the QAL page above?  I hope so, so that we can all come a-calling and see what you're up to!

So what does today bring?  Well, for one, I want to finish my candle block that I started yesterday, and I might do some cutting for the two star blocks I have planned too. I found a really helpful free tutorial for the block in the size I want here, at Arbee Designs.

Also, I'm out of biscuits, so I need to do a little baking - with a Christmas theme of course!  Perhaps you will want to make some with me?

I'm still in two minds whether to go for the egg nog that I was talking about last night - I have all the ingredients in for Joanna's Betty Crocker recipe, but it still sounds vile!  Does any (apart from Donna's Dad and Sunny's BH) like it?  In the interests of research I may have to go for it - we'll see how brave I am later!

Right - let's get on!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Chistmas QAL - July pt5 - Curses!

Granddad George the Scarecrow is looking a million dollars in his home at he Hill allotment, scowling at the pigeons!

Now my Plan for the final post for today was to make eggnog which, according to Wiki is "a popular drink throughout the United States and Canada, and is usually associated with Christmas", which is a good enough endorsement for me to give it a whirl.

But I have fallen at the first hurdle (Bilbo say that ''Plan' is a 4-letter word!') as I have no cream in the house (although all other ingredients inc. brandy - is so happens - not a problem).

I have to re-schedule - but in the meantime - over there in the New World, is eggnog really a Christmas staple??  And of course, if it is - let's have your recipe!  Frankly, it sounds utterly vile (brandy notwithstanding), but I'll give it a whirl for the sake of the QAL!

That's me for tonight, then - see you in the morning, girls - sweet dreams!

Christmas QAL - July pt4 - Brainteasers!

What a lovely day this is turning out to be!  Such fun in the sun with Granddad George the Scarecrow, some piecing for my Christmas Challenge, and travelling around the world to see how my quilting buddies are all getting on!  Brilliant!

Let me show you my first block - well, it's half a block, really, but I was so excited to get the pieces together I've done one half rather than both.
The candle 'flame' is not cut yet - I'll do a flame shape out of the gold and applique it on at the end (hark at me with the new technique!)

I love this, and hope when the other half is added that I'll love it even more!

Right - I'd better get on with taking Granddad George to the allotment site and get him settled in the pumpkin bed to scowl at all the pigeons!

I'll be back later - but to keep you out of mischief whilst I'm gone, I'm going to let you have a few QUIZ QUESTIONS of Christmas around the World!

How many do you know, I wonder...?

  1. In which country are gifts bought to children on Epiphany Eve by a female Santa Claus named BEFANA ? 
  2. In which language is Christmas referred to as NADOLIG ? 
  3. In which German cathedral is there a shrine to the Three Wise Men ? 
  4. What is GLOGG, traditionally served at Christmas in Sweden ? 
  5. Which country in 1937 became the first to issue special Christmas greeting stamps ? 
  6. BOAS FESTAS is the Christmas greeting in which language ? 
  7. In which country is COUGNOU a sweet bread served for Christmas breakfast ? 
  8. Where would you celebrate Las Posadas, a nine day Christmas celebration ? 
  9. Eaten prior to the Christmas Eve meal in Poland, what is OPLATKI ? 
  10. The Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square in London is an annual gift from the people of Oslo in Norway, when did this custom originate ?

Christmas QAL - July pt3 - by GEORGE!

You know what?  It's not very festive round here yet - so we need to put that right!

So here is GEORGE THE SCARECROW in his Santa hat to get us in the mood. Yup - he looks like Lesley's Granddad George, so George it is.

I wonder if Granddad George ever wore a Santa hat...?  Actually, I wonder if Granddad George ever looking this grumpy!

Time for a bit of piecing, I think - and then, a little festive baking?  Mmmmm!

Christmas QAL - July pt2 - Name the Scarecrow!

Well it is turning out to be a scorcher here in the middle of the UK - all the windows and door are open, the cats are flat out in the shade, and this gentleman is sitting taking in the sun on my bench.

I've fished out the fabrics for my Christmas challenge, and now I've done some housework, I'm nearly ready to sew.

But I need to sort something out first, and could do with a bit of help. I'll be taking my gentleman over to the Hill allotment site later where I grow my fruit and veggies - we have a scarecrow competition running, and he has to be in place ready for judging next week.

I know he's looking grumpy, but then he is there to scare the pigeons off my cabbages!

But surely he should have a name!  What do you reckon he should be called?

Christmas Quiltalong - July - whoop, whoop!

Needle, Thread, Happiness


'It's Friday, it's 5 o'clock and it's........Crackerjack!!!!!!!!!!'

Ahem.  No it's not - but a metaphorical prize for those who recognise the immortal words above (and an extra pat on the back for the names of any three of the presenters).  And we don't feel old at all after that, do we? No. Yikes!

Try again.  'It's Saturday, it's 10 o'clock and it's........the Christmas Quiltalong!' Hurrah!  Now you might not win cabbages on this show, kids*, but we are going to have a CRACKERJACK of a weekend!  (see what I did there?)

You are all invited to come over to my place for a weekend of SEWING and - I hope - a great deal of seasonal fun. We have a CHALLENGE to take up, a little Christmas baking, something to stretch the braincells - and a heartfelt plea to be answered!

Of course, by 'seasonal', I mean Christmas - though you might not know it in the middle of July.  Here in the UK we have a proper Summer going on - wall to wall sunshine today is due to be the hottest day of the year with temps up to 29C!  This is what it looks like out of my attic room window at the mo.

I've just thought!  OzSue has this sort of weather at Christmas all the time - wow!  Weird (for those of us with snowmen and roaring fires at Christmas), but I love how different our experiences of the Festive Season are!  More of that later........

In the meantime, there is sewing afoot!!  Have you taken up the gauntlet of QuiltSue's challenge?? Can you come up with a Christmas project not measuring more that 96" around the edge with USES NEITHER RED NOR GREEN FABRIC - boy!

Uh oh!  Too tough?  No!  Not according to those girls who played along last month at Joanna's place!  But you can always use this time to work on any of your Christmas projects - there's nothing like being ahead of the game to give you that smug feeling in December!

Come and join us?  Do say you will!

I've set up a Mr Linky on the QAL page - sign up and join the fun!

*as an aside, if you look at youtube vids of this quiz/games show for 10 year olds, you'll see what facts the children were expected to know.  I like to think I am bright enough, but I struggled on the gen knowledge questions.  Are we dumbing down our education system? Hmm.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

I'm so Excited!

Needle, Thread, Happiness

I'm a busy bee getting my outstanding sewing jobs out the way in time for the Christmas Quiltalong this weekend (haven't you heard?).

The scarecrow is still faceless - I like him - although my mum says that it is the creepiest thing that she has ever seen, and my neighbour jumps every time he comes round the corner into the courtyard.  But Domino cat is quite happy to share his company - I thought I saw him on his lap, but perhaps that was a trick of the light...

The camera case has moved on a-pace - I've taken on board a tutorial on how to bind internal corners and was making great progress this evening, until I realised my binding strip is too short. *Sigh.

I did measure, but didn't account for enough for the corners, I guess.  So, a joining strip on tomorrow, binding finished and sewn down; a velrco opening strip to be hand-sewn on, and we're done!

And THEN it's time this weekend for Christmas Quiltalong! Hurrah hurrah!  So the plan here is to join in with a spot of Christmas season quilting.  If we can do a little an often on our festive projects we won't be are less likely to be running round like the headless turkey come December!

And if you want to really join in the fun, well, QuiltSue has thrown down the gauntlet and set us all a CHALLENGE!  Will you pick up the gauntlet?  Can you come up with a Christmas project within the size parameters not using red or green fabric?? Oh my!

On the first Christmas Quitlalong weekend in June over at Joanna's we all fainted with the tricky nature of this one - but are we to be defeated? NO! Heads were scratched, plans were made, fabric was pulled and designs contemplated.

This will be the second session - and I can't wait to see what we've come up with!  It's not too late to come and play along with us - the more the merrier (and I'm not just talking about the sherry. eggnog, bucks fizz etc etc).   There will be decorations, nibbles, party hats, cats, festive drinks - maybe a challenge or two, maybe recipes - who knows!

I'll have a Mr Linky set up on my QAL page this Saturday morning - do sign up any time over the weekend when you can, and come and join the Christmas party!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Summer Sunshine and Christmas Fun

Here in the UK we can truly say that SUMMER HAS ARRIVED!

We've stopped saying to each other, 'Well, I suppose that it's not exactly cold, but you wouldn't call this the end of June, would you?', and - as of last weekend - have started saying, 'It's SO hot I haven't the energy to do a thing!'

But then we are Brits and love having a good moan - and all the better if it can be about the weather!  I'm not moaning though, oh no!  I love the long summer evenings and wall-to-wall sunshine - hurrah!

It does mean that I'm doing more in the way of gardening and less in the way of quilting, but I'm quite happy to swap my hobbies with the seasons - after all, there's plenty of days when 'rain stops play' outside and I'm tucked up in the attic room with my fabrics.

I haven't been totally idle with my needle and thread, though - this camera case for the Next-doors has given the ol' grey matter some exercise - this might be the sort of thing that Trudi knocks up in half an hour, but it's a first for me; and the learning curve has been how to bind the opening, given there are a couple of inside corners to bind. I think I've cracked it now, and will hope to have that finished for the weekend.

Also to be finished for the weekend is this chap.

He's for our Scarecrow competition at the allotment site - I need to give him a bit more hair, make sure he's sewn together strongly enough; and give him a face of course, and then he can sit and relax amongst the pumpkins with his fork, and a beer.  Marvelous fun!

And why all this activity to get ready for the weekend?  Well can you believe it - it's the July Christmas Quiltalong weekend!  I'll give you all the details a bit later in the week, but playmates new and old, you are all invited over to my place this weekend - we're gonna have a party!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...