Monday, 27 August 2012

BQS3 - adding the little bit extra

I entered the Brit Quilt Swap Round 3 back in July. I  checked out my partner's mosaic and  her blog. I ordered fabric and came up with this. I thought that it looked like bubbles coming out of the deep.
Mini Quilt made for the BQS3
My plan was to make my swap mini before the school holidays so it would take a lot of pressure off me at the end of our holidays. The plan worked as it was all made before the school holidays began. In the back of my mind, I knew that I needed to do an 'extra' too. The posting date is this week and until this morning I have had no 'extra' made. So today, I have been busy sewing a zippy pouch. I have so enjoyed making it. I used just odd pieces of fabric mixed with some linen. So here it is…
Front of zippy purse
 I have embroidered my partner's blog name in the middle of the front panel. You didn't think that I would show you that part did you? 

Back of zippy purse
I sewed down each side of every seam to make the whole pouch firm whilst also giving it a 'sharp' look.
Here is a peek inside... 
Inside the zippy purse

So partner, I hope that you will like this 'extra' as well as the mini quilt. I will be putting it in the post in a couple of days time and then scanning Flickr and your blog to see when it arrives with you.
Di xo

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Golden Quilt update

Thanks for all your comments on the quilt that I have been making for my parents. I have been steaming along with it and now have machine quilted around each block. I am now shadow quilting in each block with embroidery thread.

I have completed hand quilting the pigeon feet block
Pigeon feet block with hand quilting
Quilting detail
 And the second block to get the treatment is this one based on a variation of Sawtooth Star
Sawtooth Star
Quilting detail

So that is 2 done and 10 to go!
Di xo

Saturday, 25 August 2012

WIPs, UFOs and FALs

I often wonder why people don't finish one project before moving onto another. I am generally an organised person who likes neatness and everything in it's place. I look at peoples' lists of Works in Progress, Unfinished Objects or Finish Along lists and think to myself that I will never go there! HaHa… if only I could say that this were true. 

In truth, I have three quilts that fit into the WIP & UFO categories. This summer, I knew that I would have a week away when I would be on my own. Mentally, I had put this time aside for finishing off my three quilts. Well, they are not finished BUT all three quilt tops are made and are now ready for quilting. I feel soooo much better to know that these quilts are progressing.

The first quilt was always going to be made as a gift for my parents, as it is their Golden Wedding Anniversary at the end of September. The fabrics were picked to fit in their home. The blocks were made over 12 weeks, at the beginning of the year, at my patchwork class. 
Butterfly quilt blocks (with one missing)
I don't know why, but I have never loved this quilt. It was a tussle, as I used my sewing machine although the class was for hand stitching. I was disciplined in making a block a week but it has just been put aside waiting to be put together. I don't think that the tone and values are right and the spotted background makes it too busy.We had to use a feature fabric and mine is the butterfly fabric that features in every block. Time has marched on, and after asking quilting friends for advice, the general consensus was to complete  it and give it away. Is it bad form to give your parents something that you personally don't love? I have wrestled with that question and come to the conclusion that the fabric was bought with them in mind and it might be a small quilt but I need to give them something for their anniversary and at least this will make a personal present. I just hope that they like it.
Butterfly quilt
My aim for today is to get this quilt layered up ready for quilting. The plan is to sew in the ditch around each block to stabilise the quilt and then perhaps do a little hand quilting to highlight features of each block. I have a month to complete this so it is do-able. 
Di xo

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

hipBee blocks - Month 1

The hipBee bee is underway! 
For our first month, our queen bee, Reene, has asked for house blocks. This block was on my holiday "To Do" list and was made one warm sunny evening. I really wanted to try paper piecing, so egged on by Trudi  (T gave me some freezer paper), I decided to make my block following a pattern from this book. Now, it is always a risk to try something new when it matters if you muck up, but this did not deter me. Oh no, I just fearlessly went cutting into Reene's Summerville whilst also hoping that it would all turn out fine.
August hipBee block for Reene
Fortunately it did turn out ok with no mishaps. I really enjoyed the freezer paper technique and will not be shy of using this method again. So one bee block done and a new skill mastered!
Di xo

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Home again...

I am truly home again after a really relaxing holiday in that well known sunny place, Cumbria!
Yep, it only rained for one and a half days out of fourteen - definitely a record in my book.

The cottage we were staying in is nestled in the Howgill hills, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park (but in Cumbria!). The attraction for me is that there are plenty of walks, secondhand bookshops and definitely no TV. During the first week our younger son debunked to his grandparents to watch the Olympics on their TV. This meant that we were childless which felt both strange but rather nice too. The sun just made everywhere look so beautiful. We had picnics in the hills, afternoon tea with my parents in a posh hotel overlooking Lake Windermere and generally just chilled. 

The second week my hubby had to return home to go back to work and our younger son went to a CYFA camp in the North Lakes. This was his fifth year at this camp so he was really happy to meet up with his gang and do all the outdoor activities his parents don't partake in - kayak surfing in the sea, gorge scrambling, canoeing, walking etc. I was effectively alone this week but I was definitely not lonely. I spent time with my parents, had dinner with my brother and sister-in-law and their boys, and met up with my friend from Northern Ireland whose son was on the same camp as my son. She was staying the week with her sister in Carlisle so we managed to fit in a day together. I had my sewing machine with me and managed to complete three half-finished quilt tops (I will show them to you another day).

I also met up with two of my Hipbee friends, Sarah and  Catherine. It was a beautiful sunny day and we spent the time chatting, admiring each others creations, eating lunch and having a stroll in the summer sunshine. It was a really fun day. 
Sarah & Catherine
(Look at the sun and blue sky!)
Me & Catherine

Me & Sarah
My hipBee buddies also came bearing gifts. Sarah is such a thoughtful and kind person (she also has a wicked sense of humour) and has made each of the hipBees a zakka pencil case. 

Sarah also commissioned Shannon (Judith's daughter), who has an etsy shop Poppy Pocket to make each of us hipBees a little bee. It isn't any sort of bee though, it is a hippy bee with flowers on it's bottom. 
Hippy hipBee
Sarah thank you for such superb presents. You are really thoughtful and I do appreciate your kindness and friendship.
Catherine also gave me a lovely present of Tiptree jams and a little fabric bowl. I would love to show you my complete present but I am sorry - the jams are eaten! This is the little fabric bowl and I am going to use it to keep my scissors and thread in. Thank you Catherine for my presents.
Cool fabric bowl
So that is the resumé of my sunny Cumbrian holiday! The washing machine has been on for most of two days, to clear the backlog of holiday washing including the boys sleeping bags and some very smelly wet clothing from camp! Normal life has now resumed and it is rather nice to be back in the groove, refreshed and ready for the next academic year. 
Di xo

Saturday, 4 August 2012

The holidays are here

This past week I have been 'not camping' at New Wine. The Newark show ground is just 20 minutes from home so I left my men with the tent and went home every night for a good night's sleep and a warm shower! We returned home late last night and the washing machine has been whirling for the last 16 hours! 

I may have been away from my sewing machine for a week, but on Thursday I did manage to get a place at the art tent for a 'Sew, hook & needle' session. Ah... it was just so nice to be able to chill out and do a little hand sewing. We made a needle book made from old material and a recycled blanket. 
Work in progress
Old blanket being used for the leaves
Three completed needle books (mine is in the middle)
We are packing up again, to travel north tomorrow, for our holiday in Cumbria. It will be different this year as our elder son won't be with us. My husband only has a week off so I am going to stay a second week, on my own, so that I can see my family and also collect  our younger son at the end of the second week from his Venture camp in north Cumbria. I know that it will be quiet without my men during the second week but there is a silver lining. I am going to be meeting up with Sarah & Catherine for a 'Girls and Sewing' day as we are all on holiday/seeing family that week within a stones throw from each other. I might have slow internet access with my iPad but unfortunately I won't be able to blog whilst I'm away. Hopefully I will be able to use Blogger if the download time isn't too frustrating. If you have a holiday planned I do hope that it won't rain on you!
Di xo

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Round up of July sewing

I am linking up with Lily's Quilts for Fresh Sewing Day. This is the first month that I am not eligible to enter the Small Blog Meet. I find it astounding that there are people out there who follow my blog. Thank you for popping in and leaving comments. I really do appreciate them and it makes my day to get feedback on my sewing projects.

This won't be a long entry as I have done very little sewing in July. The main focus has bee on completing the In the Frame Swap.
Frame purses
I made two framed purses before gauging the reaction of my partner. I went with the top one and my partner said that she liked it. That was really important for me as it was my first swap.
I have also entered the Brit Quilt Swap-Round 3.This swap is to make a mini quilt between 12" and 24" in size. I wanted to make a porthole as I learnt how to make them at Lu Summers class at the recent FQ retreat. I then just went with the flow and came up with an abstract quilt that I named Bubbles. It uses appliqué and hand quilting. I printed the label using permanent ink and stamps. I really enjoyed making this and I hope that my partner will like it when she receives it at the end of August/beginning of September.
BQS3 mini quilt
 Tanya of Second Chance Tan came over the other Saturday and we did a lot of chatting and 'show and tell' but we also made twins too!
Frame purses made with Tanya. Mine is on the left.
 I also started a quilt using Trade Winds fabric. I love the vibrant colours.
The start of a new quilt
Our family holiday starts this coming weekend. In all, I will be away for a fortnight. I am going to be on my own for the second week and I will use that time to see my family, some friends (including bloggy friends) and perhaps I will do some sewing too. There is no TV or internet at the cottage, so it will be Radio 4 and sewing when I am on my own. My aim is to put the Trade Winds quilt top together and start my hipBee blocks. I hope that I will have these put together to show you when I return.

Di xo