Thursday, 20 December 2012

Butternut chooks

At the end of the day when I'm tired and really don't have much energy for anything else, I read.  Mostly I read blogs and sometimes I see some things that really appeal to me and make me wish that I'd thought of that.

These butternut chooks are not my own pattern or design and I don't remember where I first saw them but I did fall in love with the picture.  So, about a year after I first saw it I still remembered the chooks and drew the picture from my fading memory and then embroidered them on circles of fabric that I cut out from the back of the dresden plate quilt. To soften the look there is a layer of batting behind the fabric and I've embroidered through both layers.

The embroidery hoop is 6 inches wide and I've covered it with a strip of fabric from Denyse Schmidt's range of fabrics.  I used a second cut out circle of fabric and sewed that onto the back to finish it off neatly.

To hang it up I've taken the ring off of a pop can and sewn it on.  This allows the hoop to hang nice and flush with the wall.

If you've also seen these chooks somewhere else or know who the original designer is, please let me know so that I can give them credit.

Thursday, 6 December 2012


Everyone else seems to be posting blogs that are related to Christmas, be it Christmas trees, presents, sewing or making gifts for family, friends, teachers, neighbours, colleagues or the last few frosty mornings.

My blog posts are so behind and I'm not going to ask forgiveness for this.  The fact of the matter is my chosen career path just plain and simply does not allow for some form of routine.  I work long days, sometimes up to 14 hours, on an unsociable unpredictable rota which includes Saturdays and Sundays and most of the bank holidays.  When I get home I'm too tired to eat and after a chit chat with my man all I want is my bed.

However, after a day of recovery (translated:  doing the bare minumin for a day) I do have spurts of energy.  The latest energy spurt was spent 'thinning' out our wardrobes and drawers.  Since the start of the steroid treatment for my arthritus, my dress size has changed and it seems it might be a long time before I'm going to be able to fit into some of the pretty items in my wardrobe. 

When all was done and the black bags had been delivered to the charity shop It felt good and there was space between the hangers.  Enman then followed suit and had a clean out of his wardrobe.  If I tell you he had 22 t-shirts I'm not lying!!  Oh, and that does not include proper button down shirts with collars and cuffs - we won't count those.  His dress size has also changed (in sympathy with mine) and it didn't take long for him a also have a pile of t-shirts ready for charity. 

 Enman uses his late Mum's leather recliner which is well worn but oh so comfortable and fits his large frame perfectly.  However, he has a dodgy back which surgery cannot mend, and so he needs some extra lumber support in the way of a cushion.

When I saw this one, which I quite liked, was also in the pile I decided it was time to intervene.  It didn't take very long to cut up and stitch. T-shirt fabric is very forgiving when it comes to fitting it as a cushion cover.  As Harry sleeps on the chair at night I've included a zip along the length of the new cushion cover so that it can be removed and washed when the need arises.

I think it looks pretty cool and Enman is thrilled.   Best of all, it only took about half an hour.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Progress by the UK border agency

In about July I got stuck in with planning the border to add to the fab star centre block in Round One of the UK Border Agency Bee.  At first various fabrics got pulled to audition.  I also posted a pic with various fabric options for approval.   

Not having done something like this before (a medallion quilt) I was not sure how to get started and so read up a little bit and found that traditionally each border would be not less than 3 inches wide so that after it was added, it widened the size of the quilt by 6 inches.  That kinda gave me an idea of the size of flying gees I wanted to add, but first felt that a solid strip all the way around would help to define the different borders and also allow for new colours to be introduced.

So I started drawing out some flying geese on graph paper and found it very helpful in more than one way.  I knew that by using the graph paper drawing as foundation to sew on, the seams would be accurate, it would be easier to trim and keep tidy and make the strip stable until it was sewn onto the centre block.

This is what the finished block with it's full first border looks like and even though it is not perfect, I'm pretty chuffed with it.  It's going to be fun to keep tabs on it and see how it grows.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

[Bow] Tie [and] a few stars

Some time ago I was lucky enough to get into two of the Hives in the 3 x 6 Sampler Quilt Mini Bee Flickr group.

In each Hive there are seven members (including yourself) and each member gets to set out their choice of three colours and one background colour that they would like you to use when you make their block.  Then you make six blocks in the same design only varying the colour and send each member a block in the colours they requested.  You can of course make yourself a block in the same design, in your own colour choice and keep it to add to those you receive from everyone else. 
The first of the Hives I got in to was for star blocks.  At first I tried to make the 8 pointed star and struggled so with the y-seam that the sample block was an epic fail.  I tried again using a different method and the block ended up 16" instead of 12 1/2" (12" when finished).  So I went back to the drawing board (my library of quilting and patchwork books).

I know I'm very lucky to be able to have collected some super books and magazines that are filled with ideas, inspiration and patterns.  The result was these blocks.  They're pretty cool to make and I was very pleased with the result.  I hope they are well received in their new homes.  
Then it was time to make blocks for the second Hive.  The theme that was chosen for this Hive was traditional block patterns.  Ever since I saw what Katy did with her bow tie blocks, I've wanted to try them and am so glad I did.  They come together really easy and I think they would be brilliant use for scraps you may want to use them up.  I didn't use scraps though.  Quite a few of these fabrics were on my shopping list when I went to FOQ this year.

The sun is out, the washing is ready to be hung up and there are onions to plant before the weather changes.  See ya soon xx

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Adding to the churn dash pile

It really doesn't take much time to put one of these blocks together.
The fantastic part of this journey is digging up and discovering fabrics I'd forgotten.
Somehow over the years I've become a hoarder ... without realising it ... Actually I think many quilters will relate to this revelation.

I don't even remember where some of these fabrics come from, but I am enjoying seeing them again.
Some of them, I remember, where put aside for that special project that you knew was going to come along one day.
It's not going to be a big quilt. I've laid them out and decided it will be a 6 rows x 4 coloumns quilt.  This means in total there needs to be 24 blocks.

Hey ho hey ho, I'm off to sew.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Watcha doin?

If the sights on this work table are anything to go by, then you would think I’ve been a little busy.  See those blocks hanging sideways, well they are there because sometime ago when I went to visit Longarm Chris we ended up in a discussion about colour and fabric planning.  I’ve always been terribly shy and cautious in the use of colour and you will struggle to find purple, red yellow or neon style coloured fabric in my stash.  

Before I left Chris had set me a challenge which I’d accepted. The challenge is to make a quilt top using the churn dash block which I really do like.  The fabrics for the block may not be selected by matching or pairing them up.  It’s a bit like a brown paper bag challenge.  I’ve decided to use all my stale stash.  Some of these fabrics are ten years old if not older!
So, where the fabric piece could only offer 2 squares it was put together as a background set and where there was a bigger piece of fabric, it was cut to be the churn dash.  Then I took one of each set off their respective piles (without matching them) and sewed them together. 

This is when I admit that one block ended up looking so absolutely awful, that I did actually unsew it and sew it up with different fabrics.
 As I went along I pinned them up on the board so as to keep track. 
 There are a few more since then and I think it’s going to be OK especially when you consider that the fabrics have not purposely been matched.  After all, it's going to be my cuddle blankey for those cold evenings that are just around the corner.


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Sew Buzzy

Yes, I have been 'Sew Buzzy' - that's also the name of the 12 month Flickr quilt block bee that started this month.

Michelle asked us to make her this block, named My Blue Heaven, using the pattern instructions from Quilter's Cache.  It came together very quickly and very easily.

If you look at the finished quilts listed under their makers names on page 2 of the pattern, you'll see that it's quite a good block for a scrappy quilt as well.

More coming soon,

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Do you wash ....

.... your fabrics, after acquiring them and before you use them?
I usually do and so when the sun came out in all it's glory today, I was so happy to take some of my winter time fabric finds and get them washed and out in the warm shade so they could dry. 

On my recent visit to the Festival of Quilts 2012 in Birmingham I found lovely additions for my stash, at Backstitch which was manned by the super friendly and helpful Alice and her assistant.  (Sorry for the blurry picture.) My stash severely lacks shades of yellow and orange as I'm only now learning to make friends with these colours.  Alice was very patient in helping me make a selection.   If you've got any scraps in those shades that you want rid of then please let me know.

Measure twice, cut once

Friday, 7 September 2012

And the sun came out

Last weekend we spent time gardening in the sunshine - yes - a few dry warm days with sunshine is enough to get anyone out of doors and soaking up the warmth of the sun.

There have been comma butterflies, tortoise shell butterflies, bumble bees and honey bees all over the buddleias.

The warm sunshine is finally ripening the tomatoes ... these are the little ones that are growing from a hanging basket.

They're lovely and juicy and it's great to pick them and eat them as we walk around the garden.

The blackberries are also starting to ripen and in a day or two we'l be picking them to make and add to our winter jam stash.

I've also been sewing and will post some pictures of those blocks tomorrow.

Until then, keep well,

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Meet Beatrice and Eugenie

During August (the proverbial) we did get quite a lot done even though it is not all photographed.  We made strawberry jam, pickled some green beans, and spent time with the chooks.  Have I told you about them yet?

 Meet Beatrice and Eugenie, who are rescue chickens and came to live with us in June.

Creating their sand bath

Nothing is sacred to these two and they have systematically all but destroyed the flower beds.  Now everything that we want to keep is fenced off and they have the run of the back garden, which thanks to them, is now snail and slug free. 

They really settled in well and answer when we call them, when they hear us rattle the dry worm container they come running over in their amusing waddle walk.

 When the green peas were ready for harvesting I'd pick them and then sit on the bench in the garden shelling the peas.  The chooks would climb up onto the bench, one on either side, and wait for me to shell the peas and then pick them out of my hand.  Needless to say we've not had many peas to eat ourselves this year.  They do love their greens ... they even attacked the spinach crop!  I must be getting old because I'm really enjoying the interaction with them.

And there are the obvious rewards.  They give us two eggs a day and as you can see, we've even had a double yolk egg.  Amazing!! 

Until next time,

Thursday, 30 August 2012

BQS3 posting day

And so the day has finally arrived when we're allowed to pop our Brit quilt Swap packages into the post.  In the end I put two quilts up on offer to my partner and asked her to vote, then based on the responses received, the one that she preferred is all wrapped up together with some goodies and in the hands of Royal Mail.

The postage stamp fabric is our new dining table cloth and I'm absolutely loving it.

 Last year I saw the tutorial for this little hexagon needlebook on Angela's blog My Three Sons and decided to bookmark until such time as I needed to make one. It really is the easiest tutorial to follow and takes almost no time at all!  As a quilter we don't always need things as much as we want them :)  While I was stalking my swap partner and following comments she left I got the impression she wasn't really a frilly fabric type of person and these buttons were just calling for a needle and thread ... get it ...

Then I wandered if she might one day like to try some hexagons the way Katy describes in her tutorial on Fat Quarterly blog, using a glue stick and popped one of these fabric glue pens into the parcel.

I'll be at work supporting my residents over the next few days and won't be here to keep pulling the curtain back when the postman is due, or to check the flickr group to see new photo's posted or ladies posting that they've received theirs. 

Be back soon,


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