Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Bee quilt from the Stingy Bees

If you are in a bee, each month you make your blocks, check the sizing and make sure you have followed the brief, before you put them in an envelope and visit the Post Office to put them in the post.
I try and get my bee blocks done early in the month so that I am not under pressure at the end of the month. It doesn't alway work like that but that is always my aim.

In the Bee a Brit Stingy bee, I was the April Queen bee and I asked the bee to make me some 'sprouts' although in my head I think of them as Orla Kiely leaves (far nicer)!
My leaves
Well the ladies did me proud and made me lots of leaves. I added a few more and 'hey presto' my quilt top was done.
Quilt top
I knew that I had a couple of metres of fabric that would help make a nice pieced black.
Sizing up the backing
This quilt came together really quickly and I was pleased that I had the forethought to ask the bee to make their signature block as a leaf, as I think that they look really cool on the back.

This quilt is really wide as I want it to drape over a kingsize bed however this presented a quilting problem - it is really large to tackle the quilting under my sewing machine arm. I solved the problem of how to do the quilting by asking my good friend Trudi,who happens to be a very talented short arm quilter, if she would do the quilting for me. Trudi did a fantastic job on the quilting by using different colour threads across the quilt. It has an amazing leaf deign running up each column that spills over onto the negative space.
So after all my rambling here is my fantastic Stingy Bee quilt.
The front

The back with the signature blocks
My leaves quilt
I cannot emphasise enough how much I L.O.V.E this quilt. It is made for me by my bee mates and quilted by my lovely friend , Trudi. How lucky am I ? It is on our bed, and every time I catch a glimpse of it, it gives me a warm fussy feeling.
A big thank you to the Bee a Brit Stingy gang and of course Trudi.
Di x

Friday, 26 July 2013

Fat Quarterly Retreat - part 2

Whilst at the retreat I took both Katy Jones' EPP classes. I was pleased to do these classes as I didn't have to lug my sewing machine to London (good move as it was so hot). I am, however, not that keen on EPP. It just takes more time and I find all the basting really boring. After taking Katy's classes, I think that I can say that I will never like the basting part but I have enjoyed the actual sewing part. I can see that if I think small (cushion or bag) then it is perfectly achievable, using EPP.

The first class was Spring Carnival

I didn't get too much completed as I was having a lovely time chatting with Catrin and Rachel. I finished the first circle this week. I used a candy pack of pre-cuts for the triangle and square shapes and this worked really well. I would really like to keep going and make a cushion with these blocks.

The second class was using the same templates but making a completely different pattern - Triangle City. I was quicker at the basting. so I did do a little more and have added to it since. I am really enjoying doing this one (despite the basting).
Triangle City
I also took the Eraser Stamping class. I sat next to Nicky who was really good at it. She whipped up a taxi and a London bus stamp. I made two awful stamps that even Tacha felt were irredeemable (not that she actually said it)! I eventually made a key and a very bad button stamp. I think that my future isn't in rubber stamping and definitely not in curves!!! I had a lot of fun in this class despite my poor achievements.
Rubber stamping
My final class was also with Tacha, making a flex frame pouch. I was a little late getting there and all the sewing machines were taken, so made my way downstairs to a free table and just chatted with Gertie Pye, Sarah Lou, Judith & Alice. We had a really chilled time and a little hand sewing and crocheting was going on too. So I have the fabric all cut out and ready to be made into a flex-frame purse  - another UFO!

I took part in the sample swap and made some Book of Pockets as my sample swap item. I was paired up with CarolMarguerite and Jenny and came away with these lovely items. I know that I will use each one of these and remember the ladies as I do. Thank you to you all for my sample swaps.
Carol, me, Marguerite and Jenny

Swap goodies
I also received surprise presents from Amy (Teabag holder) and Nicki (Purse).  They were totally unexpected and I love them.
Presents for me!
I also did a couple of side swaps with Nicky and Helen and received the green purse from Nicky and the tiny orange bicycle purse from Helen. Again thank you ladies. They will be well used.
Beautiful purses
So that is my final round up of Fat Quarterly Retreat 2013. It was a thoroughly enjoyable event and I cannot believe that it is all over for this year.
Di x

Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Retreat recap - Part 1

Sometimes I just don't know where to start to convey the sense of an occasion and this is one of those times.

The Fat Quarterly Retreat was just brilliant. It was fun, interesting and exhausting. I have laughed, chatted (a lot), met up with friends and made new friends. I have tried new types of sewing and gained new skills.

I travelled up to London with Trudi last Thursday morning. Once we had deposited our bags at the hotel we headed off to Kew to visit a certain fabric shop. We also had the pleasure of meeting Tiina whose shop it is. This shop is really worth a visit, as it is a treasure trove of beautiful fabrics. 
It was futile to resist the urge to buy, so this is my haul from Tikki. I tried to buy some blenders that I cannot buy locally, as well as a couple of prints.
Lovely fabric
On Friday morning, I attended the Liberty talk as II was one of the lucky 30 who were given a ticket. It was a really interesting talk, showing us how they use old prints to inspire new ones. We were shown how block printing gave different effects to digital printing but how digital printing gave the designers more freedom to alter original designs. The talk was only an hour long but it was packed with interesting facts. 
Liberty talk
We were surrounded by beautiful liberty fabrics and quilts.

More Liberty prints
Liberty print appliqué quilt
After the talk, we quickly made our way back to Gloucester Road Tube Station so that we didn't miss the beginning of the retreat.
Let the fun begin

Look at the concentration!
Friday evening was a really chilled affair. We met on the terrace that was bathed in hot sunshine and we had an informal quilt sharing time as well as the Siblings Together quilts being handed over to Delma, from ST. There were so many stunning quilts being shown. I didn't get nearly enough photos but the ones below are ones made by folk that I know.

 I also met up with my bee buddies and friends. For me, meeting up with friends and making new friends was the best part of the weekend. We were women let loose for the weekend, with no responsibilities, and we were determined to have the best time. 

Me, Sarah, Catherine, Judith and Jan (photo pilfered from Sarah)
It has taken me a full week to process the weekend. It was truly a fantastic time and if you have never gone before then I would urge you to think about attending next year. 

Tomorrow I will show you my swap items and some of the things that I got up to in class.

Di x

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Ready to go

I have worked all day getting ready to go up to London tomorrow for the Fat Quarterly Retreat. I am travelling with my sewing buddy, Trudi and although I really can't remember why we are going a day early it is a good plan!

My bags are packed.This one has my Bee a Brit Stingy quilt in it, all finished and bound.

The quilt was a bit of a squeeze to complete, but it is done!!!! I will reveal it to my bee buddies at retreat and on Flickr, (because some of my bee buddies won't be with us :( ) before I let you all see it. Trudi has worked her magic on it by doing some amazing quilting. It is so beautiful and a quilt that I will always treasure.
I have also been working on my little travel case. I took on board all the suggestions given to me and this is what I have done….

I am using this little case to take my sewing supplies to Retreat. I have a couple of EPP classes so this case will be able perfect to tote around supplies.

I am sorry if you are not going to be at the Retreat however I am so looking forward to seeing lots of my sewing friends. If you are not there, then, as  I have gone all technical - on Instagram (@willowbeckdesigns), - I aim to post some photos over the weekend but for now I am going to bed to get some much needed beauty sleep.
Di x

Monday, 15 July 2013

#fqrlondon 2013 Sample Swap

Whilst at the Fat Quarterly Retreat I am going to take part in the Sample swap. I thought long and hard as to what to make but inspiration arrived when I took a little two hour course at Stitchcraft Studio with Tina. Tina is a talented artist so I apologise to her in advance, as I have adapted her pattern a little (I cannot do the arty bit).

So without further ado, I have Liberty Book of Pockets to take as my samples.
 Book of Pockets
I have made them in two different Liberty fabrics and used vintage buttons on both the pockets and the books. Each book is slightly different as the buttons and prints vary.

Front of the book.
Book of pockets
Now the eagle eyed among you will notice that there are five books when only three are needed for the sample swap. One of the extra books is for Helen as we are doing a little side swap. That leaves one book without a home. Does anyone fancy doing a side swap with me? I am open to offers!!!

I am also planning to make up a few Fat Eights packs of Liberty fabric to sell at the FQ Retreat Quilt Market, if there was any interest. Let me know if you think that these might sell or if you are interested in having one. 
Di x

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Instagram love

Just thought that I would drop in to let you know that after a lot of heckling encouragement from these two ladies that blog here and here, I have finally succumbed to the wonders of Instagram!

I go under the name of willowbeckdesigns and you can follow me by pressing the little blog button just under my profile on the right of the page ----------------->

Just don't expect too much of me just yet as I am getting to grips with a new phone and app. I just thought that it might be fun to use at the Fat Quarterly Retreat!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Finish-A-Long Q3 - Aims and expectations

she can quilt
We are moving onto the third quarter of the Finish-A-Long. So what am I going to aim to get done this quarter?

Well I guess I need to put down my existing finish failures…

1. Echo Quilt
An old favourite I am ashamed to say!!!
Echo quilt
2. My Union Jack quilt needs some TLC. I think that I need to get this one finished as it too has been hanging around for a long time now.

3. My hipBee quilt. This deserves some time and attention as my fellow hipBees have done their work on it for me.
Follow the geese quilt block
4. My gorgeous leaf quilt that my Bee a Brit Stingy bees worked on for me. This is a bit of a cheeky one as I am sure that it will be the first finished from this list. I am hoping that it will be at the Fat Quarterly Retreat with me in 2 weeks time. Yikes… better get going on this one.
My gorgeous Orla Kiely inspired leaf quilt.
That is my list complete. I have a sneaky feeling that I won't get all these quilts done, but I am going to give it my best!
Di x

Friday, 12 July 2013

A Side Swap

If you remember, I made this quilt with some of my winnings of HR Nursery Versery.
Nursery Versery Quilt
I didn't use any of the pink colour ways as the quilt was for a baby boy. Lynz commented that she would take them off my hands and offered to make me a cushion in return. These FQs are too nice just to be put in a cupboard so I immediately said 'yes' to Lynz.
Nursery Versery with the pink FQs
So last week a beautiful cushion dropped through the letterbox.

Beautiful cushion
It is so gorgeous and I love the colourway. It looks right at home on my sofa. I love the +&x block and I know that they take time to do. So thank you Lynz for such a beautiful cushion. The back is just as lovely and although Lynz was using an old sewing machine with no zipper or 1/4" foot, I think that she has done a stonkingly good job.
Beautiful cushion's back
Thank you Lynz. Now I want to see what you turn those pink FQs into.
Di x

Monday, 8 July 2013

Fat Quarterly Retreat - #fqrlondon 2013

Hi I am going to the Fat Quarterly Retreat next week and as part of the 'getting to know you' we have been asked to write a little bit about ourselves.

I am Di and I live in rural Lincolnshire with my husband, 2 teenage sons and a cat. 
Here is a photo of me so if you see me, make sure that you say hi.
I went to the Retreat last year and had a real blast. It was really full on, I met a lot of people and was able to put blog to face (so to speak). Out of meeting up with others the hipBees was born. 

I cannot wait for Retreat to start this year. I am so looking forward to meeting up with my bloggy friends and meeting new folk too.

I will be trying my sewing best at the Spring Carnival and Triangle City with Katy. I am also going to try my hand at Eraser Stamping (yikes!) and +&x Flexi Pouch with Tacha.

I will be wearing my beautiful name tag made for me by Ann Majgeard.

So make sure that you say 'hello' as I would love to meet you.

Di x

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Finish A-Long 2nd Quarter

she can quilt

I feel rather embarrassed at showing you what I have achieved on my Q2 FAL List - which is here. The blog post was entitled Wishful Thinking? and how true that has been!

The first two projects are rollovers from Q1!

The first one is my Echo Quilt. This was nearly a finish in Q1. 

It is about 75% quilted so it should have been finished however it wasn't! I quilt on the dining room table as it is nice and slippy which means that I can move the quilt around easily. My table was taken over by my son for his A level studies and the quilting opportunity was lost! This will be on my Q3 list!!!

Echo quilt

The second item on my Q2 FAL list was my Union Jack quilt. Guess what? Yes really! - no further forward at all. In fact I did have a brief flirtation with moving this quilt on but couldn't find 2 of the flags and gave up for a newer, shiner project! (now found in a very safe place).

UJ Quilt
Third up was a weekender bag. Now this was a finish and I am so pleased with it. It came out really well and I am rather proud of myself in tackling this project so successfully! (well a girl needs to boost her confidence once in a while!).
Weekender bag
The final item on my Q2 list was my my hipBee quilt. Nothing was done on this either. I need to start making some more geese before this quilt becomes a reality.
Flying geese with no home!
So there you are…1 out of 4. Not a good score at all. I have done other projects along the way so I know that sewing has happened. Perhaps Q3 might bring a quilt or two to fruition!
Di x

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Fat Quarterly Retreat name tag swap - part 2

Yesterday a little parcel popped through the letterbox. On opening it, I found it contained my FQR name tag! I was so excited….
It has both my name and blog name on it…..
My FQR name tag
It has been made by Ann Majaerd. I don't have Ann's Flickr address so I cannot thank her personally, so Ann if you are reading this, a big thank you for such a nice name tag.

I also received a second parcel but I will leave that piece of news for another blog post!
Di x

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Fat Quarterly Retreat name tag swap - part 1

I heard today that the name tag I made for my swap partner has finally arrived with her. This name tag was returned when it was first posted, so I was relieved that it finally reached her. 
So who was it for? Well it was for May who blogs at Confessions of a Fabriholic

I showed you a very unhelpful photo of the name tag before it was sent...
FQR name tag for May
…now I can show you the front of it. May wanted her blog name and also Ey-ore on her tag. I have to say that Ey-ore was a bit of a challenge but I did enjoy making it.

FQR name tag for May
May sent me an email to say that she liked it so that means that I'm happy too!

Di x