Monday, 7 April 2014

In for a penny in for a pound - Q2 Finish-A-Long Link up

Finish Along 2014

So it's time to link up for the second quarter of the finish-A-long. I really feel I can't do much worse than quarter one (I completed one project!) But having just sewn a whole quilt top up at the weekend and quilted it I'm feeling confident I can at least match the quarter one results.  I'm certainly raring to sew!

On to the list!

1) Having completed this quilt top on Saturday and basted and quilted it on Sunday I only have to finish sewing on the binding and do a label. (I often don't bother with labels but as this is a special gift I'm going to make the effort!)
St Louis 16 Patch Lap Quilt Top

2) The HipBee's are on their second cycle. I was part of the first and when it was my month I sent out selections of Denyse Schmidt fabric from Flea Market Fancy, Katy Jump Rope and the odd bit of other ranges done for the likes of Joanns and asked my fellow bee's to make me stars. I got a lovely selection back but as the bee was only doing one block there has never been enough to do more than a baby quilt. Which due to my lack of a baby would be rather redundant. It's meant that from time to time I've got them out and pondered whether to make loads more stars to make the quilt bigger or add some more negative space or even a border to size it up. But pondering is all I've done. That and decide that when it is a quilt top I'm going to hand quilt it in perle.

I'm still open to suggestions on this one. It's going to be a challenge as I'm still on a fabric diet for the rest of this quarter so can't go out and buy more Denyse Schmidt fabric to add big borders or something. I really do want to get this one finished though.

I think doing something with these lovelies at long last will be my next quilty project #hipbees

3) It was on the list last time and has been lurking on my cutting area. I'd like to actually turn it into a cushion and maybe offer it up as a give away prize?

Just a few bits to sew. But should I go bigger or sash what I've done so far?

4) Another from the list last time. These are the attachments for what will be some camera cushions for a hide located where Chief works. I have a huge bag of poly balls to stuff the camera cushions with and for that reason (if no other) I'd love to get them made and get rid of some of those damn balls. If I don't hurry up and make them there is a very good chance Chief won't be working there any more, so they'll be surplus to requirements and I have all the materials!

I'm going to stop there. There is other WIP's crammed in a basket.  I want the list to be manageable and given my track record this is more than enough to keep me occupied!

So what do you want to get finished? Or what do you want to see me get finished the most. I feel I will need plenty of encouragement!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Has it really been a month?!

I am not sure whether I lost my sewing and blogging mojo or whether it's just been a case of my head being full of so many other things that there just wasn't enough space for me to sew or blog about it. Either way it seems a whole month has slipped by and I have felt completely out of the loop. I had decided to myself that I wouldn't blog again until I'd sewn something. Mainly because it would be all to easy to completely turn this blog into non sewing blog. Whilst I never did want this blog to only be about sewing; I know that's why the majority of my readers stop by.

So today I can blog because today I sewed something. A whole quilt top in fact!

St Louis 16 Patch Lap Quilt Top

I'd pulled the fabric for this from my stash and cut it into the strips needed over a month ago now. All the fabric came from my stash. I am on a fabric diet (not that I checked in last month. I didn't by fabric though!) so I had to shop my stash for this one and it worked out really well because it forced me to use some fabrics I'd sort of been hoarding. I used the instructions from here to make the blocks. I know I'm really behind jumping on this particular band waggon. I usually am behind with these things!

This is destined to be a present and I will back it that famous Ikea numbers print everyone uses and have a rummage in my stash for suitable binding. 

I hope to try and stop by more often. And sew more often. Sometimes the niff naff and trivia of life gets in the way. There are some potentially life changing things happening over the next few months. It feels exciting and exhausting in equal measure. In the mean time I have wadding to cut for this quilt and backing to iron. I'm sort of on a deadline with this one.  Hope you've all had a good Saturday too.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Vintage Sheetery

Ok, so Sheetery is a completely made up word!

The other day when I did my catching up post I told you it was Mum's birthday, but completely forgot to show you a picture of her opening her vintage sheet quilt.

Mum's 81st Birthday
The moment when she realised the quilt I'd been making under her
nose was for her!

She was pleased with it (only asked when I would be doing a label for it! That was one thing she hadn't seen me working on in front of her, because I haven't done one yet!) 

Then yesterday my fat quarters from the UK and Ireland Vintage Sheet Swap arrived. These are the lovelies I got!

Vintage sheets from the swap have arrived.  @indiannadreams thanks for organising @memmens love my selection

Mary did a great job not only co-ordinating the swap, but picking out the lovelies for each of us. I have had it in my mind that my next vintage sheet quilt will be yellow/orange with a hint of pink, so I couldn't have been more pleased with these. I'm still vintage sheet hunting because I want to be ready for round three of the swap!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Too Busy To Blog!

Things have been a little hectic around here. Hectic in a good positive way. I think it will mean for the time being at least there are less blog posts, but longer ones when I do! I am frustrated by the lack of sewing. Whilst not sewing I've been busy hatching away plans for future sewing.

Last Sunday Chief and I went to Otmoor. There was slight confusion when I mistook the time he was likely to arrive. So when he did I was still in bed and then had a mad dash to get dressed and go out!

This was our first visit to Otmoor this year and the floods had started to recede. Only just though. I was still grateful for putting on wellies to wade through certain sections where the path was flooded.

Otmoor February 2014
Me at Otmoor

Otmoor February 2014
Thank goodness for wellies!

Otmoor February 2014
Still flooded at Otmoor

Otmoor February 2014
Can you spot the skylark? One of three we saw at Otmoor this visit.

Monday I was back to school. It was quite strange to find myself at a conference at my old school, sat in a room that used to be my 6th form form room! I now find myself part of another committee!  

Wednesday was Mum's birthday. Last year she had a milestone birthday but both of us were too ill to celebrate so I thought we should make up for it this year. 


Last night Graffiti Classics performed out my local village hall. I went along with a friend. We were really lucky to find that we'd been allocated front row seats. It was a great night and they're great entertainment if you get chance to see them. About half an hour before the event was due to start I was asked to take pictures at the event. We didn't have permission (because nobody has asked!) to take pics of the entertainment; I was asked to take some other event pics. I hadn't got the right camera gear ready so had to take a back up camera and only took about three shots! Well I was there to enjoy the event.

Graffiti Classics Event at Holton Village Hall

Today I decided to have a rest after the supermarket shop. Only the sun was out and it felt like a good bird day.  So I went off with my camera to see what I could see. I lose track of time when I do this. Invariably worrying Mum who assumes after I've been gone for hours I've fallen over and broke my leg or something! The highlight of the day was seeing not one but two tree creepers working an old tree. A field on and the bird song noise from a huge mixed flock was deafening!

Can you spot the tree creeper?


Tomorrow I have a family lunch to celebrate Mum's birthday.  I may just fit some sewing in if I don't sleep. 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Fabriholics Anonymous - Check In Time - February

Well, I've spent another month on the not-buying-fabric-waggon and I am pleased to report I haven't even started to fall off. (Although when Jo started selling off her Liberty stock to make way for new season Liberty I could have cried. All that lovely reduced Liberty, including Hello Kitty and I couldn't buy!!!)

The only fabric to cross my threshold this month has been in the form of a fab prize from a give away Helen did to guess where she was going and what she would be doing. As luck would have it, my name was drawn out of the hat of correct answers and I got some treats!

Valentines Day
The little packet contains needles and they're a joy to sew with!

The only time not buying fabric has been a big challenge this month is in the planning of a lap quilt for a birthday present.  I have been musing on ideas for a quilt. I want something quick and simple (so I don't start a project, find I've bitten off more than I can chew and relegate it to the WIP's basket for a good few years.) but the trouble with anything I was thinking of that's not random squares from my stash sewn together was: needing things I don't have. By things I'm really thinking solids.

Maybe there is a big message about being a fabriholic in here. You see I'd say I have a pretty reasonable sized stash. It's not going to fill a closet or a sewing room. But it does spill out of a decent sized chest of drawers. However, I'm beginning to think those that can restrict themselves to a few lovelies they can't live without and then only buying what they need on a quilt by quilt, bag by bag basis might be onto a winner. No wasted pennies on a load of lovelies that might take them years to use - when really what they're crying out for is a yard of Kona in a bright colour.

I decided as I wouldn't be buying Kona or even swapping for it I'd go back to my stash and see if I could approach it like I was in a fabric shop. I pulled open the drawer where my fat quarters are stashed and pulled out a couple I thought my friend might like. Then I pulled out some others that matched at least one or two colours in the first two and went from there. Before I knew it I'd pulled out 11 fat quarters and a half yard and had everything I needed to make the front of a quilt.  I tried really hard to only look at colour and patterns and not get precious about whether that was some bit of special fabric I was saving. I  mean saving for what exactly? A special project? Well, this was that project. It made it much easier to let go and just use the fabric.

I pulled out enough fabric to get started on a St Louis 16 Patch. It's all cut up and waiting for me to have enough time to sew it together!

I'm thinking st louis 16 patch lap sized for a birthday gift?


Sunday, 16 February 2014

My First Quilt Finish of the Year

There is actual bright sunshine. (Shock horror!) So this morning after the usual trip to the supermarket I went outside to try and get some pictures of my first quilt finish of the year. Now I know I said I'd be more creative with my photography, but I can think of where I can go which won't be damp and muddy right now, so the garden it is. The quilt hasn't been washed so I wasn't too bothered by a bit of dirt (As long as it doesn't mark the quilt back forever!)

Mum's vintage sheet quilt
I'm not going to complain about the sunshine being so bright there are shadows!

The quilt is made entirely from vintage sheets. The backing is half a single duvet I found in a charity shop. One of my first vintage sheet finds. The majority of the rest of the quilt is pieced from 5" charms or fat quarters bought from Mary, I also used some of the left over bits of sheeting from backing my first vintage sheet quilt and Helen kindly sent me a couple of pieces of her latest vintage sheet finds. Both lovely additions to the quilt. 

I quilted it in diagonal lines in both directions through each square using some neutral 50wt Aurifil.  The binding was a vintage pillowcase cut into strips and joined so it would create this stripy binding. I still have about a quarter of the pillowcase left so it's amazing how much just one can yield. I don't have the exact size of this quilt, but it's single bed sized - round about 5' x 6'.  (which made it a nightmare to baste and I didn't really get that right and have a few puckers on the back to show for it!)

Mum's vintage sheet quilt

Not only is this my first quilt finish of the year, but it's my first finish for the FAL first quarter 2014. You can see it on my original list here.

Finish Along 2014

Saturday, 15 February 2014

It feels like forever...

...since I've been here in blogland. It probably isn't that long. I've just had my head in another place of late. Trying to figure some stuff out and so I've not been around here that much writing, reading or commenting. Somewhere along the line my sewing mojo resurfaced. It had been on a little holiday when I had a cold and then with all my birthday celebrations there was no time to sew. I really needed to get back to it. I can't tell you how good it has been to get playing with fabric again.  In fact I have finished Mum's birthday quilt and in time for her birthday. She still doesn't know it's for her. I just need to do a label and get some decent pics.

And it's done!

I had all these plans that this year I'd make more effort with photographing my makes. Not sure how I'm going to achieve that with the weather we've been having of late. Still until I can get some better shots I'm sure you get the idea from the above IG picture.

I hope wherever you are in the world right now that weather is not being too troublesome and you're all keeping safe. 

Monday, 3 February 2014

Stitchy pressies

The whole birthday thing this year has been a little overwhelming. Even more so than other years that I remember. Many stitchy friends asked if I was getting fabric as presents given the fabric diet. And yes that would have been a sneaky cunning way of getting a fabric fix during the fabric fast, as technically I wouldn't be buying it. The only flaw in that cunning plan is my family and non sewy friends don't really do fabric purchasing as presents.

However, I did get some stitchy presents which I haven't managed to photograph and blog about until now.

First up is this pincushion, tape measure and Cath Kidson mending box. It'll make a great project on the sofa box and everything will brighten up my sewing area.


Next up is this home made notebook cover and key fob made for me by Tanya of Second Chance Tan. Isn't it lovely? When I've used up the notebook I'm going to use it as a writing case as I still write letters with pen and paper.


Last but not least was this great nail varnish set from Lynz.

  Birthday gift

It was quite funny when I opened it. I was sat on the sofa next to Chief and Mum was sat in the chair the other side of me. Chief was waiting patiently whilst I opened all the cards and presents.  I opened this one and squealed. Then I started to explain to him about Lizzy House and the pearl bracelet fabric and what the nail varnish was all about. His eyes positively glazed over. So I turned to Mum and decided to explain to her instead. At least she looks interested even when she hasn't a clue what I'm on about. At the end of it Chief said something like: well as long as you're happy with it. Men eh?!

Happy with this lot? Really stupid statement, I was over the moon!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Sshhhhhh Don't Tell Mum!

Hmmm I'm not sure this is a very well kept secret. After all I'm going down the 'hiding in plain sight' route on this particular quilt. You see Mum's birthday is later this month. If I'm going to give her another quilt for her bed (one she can sleep under whilst the other is in the wash - she won't let me remove the last quilt I made from her bed to wash it, because she now likes a quilt on top of the duvet.) and give it as a birthday present, then I really need to get on with making it.

So far all I had was my little vintage sheet stash. Most of which was in the form of fat quarters and charm squares purchased from Mary, a duvet to use as backing and as of the other weekend, 4 pink and white stripy pillowcases I could use for binding. What I hadn't done is any sewing.  So I rectified that this weekend with some not so secret sewing. Well, I can hardly claim it to be secret when Mum's reading the news paper on the sofa and I'm sat sorting charm squares into piles to see how many more I need to cut. She even asked if I was making a quilt to send away somewhere.

Planning Mum's quilt
Sorting out piles for the rows of squares.

I'm was going to have to try and sew the top without her seeing realising it's for her, to put at least a little surprise element into it. I have the quilt top pieced (I just have to check the size is correct as despite counting the squares in her previous quilt, this top seems smaller.) and will baste and quilt another day. As she goes to bed early I hope I can at least bind it after she's tucked up in bed.

Quilt Top Finish
Completed top - the next time you see it I hope it's finished!
One thing I'm really hoping is I can be a bit more inventive on the photographing of things I make this year, particularly quilts. I have the equipment camera wise, even if I don't always have decent light. It would be so nice to have some interesting quilty photo shoots. (Not just drag a quilt out to the garden and throw it over the lawn/front bench/back fence.)  Don't you just love quilts photographed in interesting locations? I will be location scouting all the while now! There has to be some more interesting places I can photograph what I make around these parts!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Fabriholics Anonymous - Check in time

Hi my name's Jan and I'm a Fabriholic.

That's the easy part. Admitting that I kind of love fabric so much I can't stop buying it and sometimes hoarding it away until the perfect project comes along. Given how much fabric I own and how much sewing I've done I do wonder if I don't have too much fabric. So it was a no brainer for me to sign up to 6 months of fabric fasting with Fabriholics Anonymous.

But how have I done this first month?

Well, the only fabric I have bought are these vintage pillow cases. When I signed up I said the exception to my fabric purchasing would be vintage sheeting. For one there is a swap imminent and also vintage sheets are so rare around these parts it would be silly of me to leave any behind in a charity shop.

@memmens look I found pillow cases this am. Yellow is mt fav'

No other fabric has been purchased. I've even sent some little scraps out of my stash to others. I think I've done pretty well considering there was a big UK destash going on the other weekend on IG. But even though I followed the feeds with delight I didn't place a single bid. Afterwards I didn't really feel I'd missed out on anything. I think it may have been worse to have wanted something and tried for it only to be pipped to the post - Looking for the silver lining there!

Of course my lack of sewing time this month due to lurgys and birthdays has meant I've been less fabric focused. Oh and Saturday night Chief asked to see his quilt. He said it was OK. (This is as enthusiastic as he gets really.) He said he would have preferred it without the tools but it was ok and he liked the back only the green was very bright. His next comment was when will it be finished.  Ha! His guess is as good as mine. I've got to work out how to baste the beast first!