24 February 2014

The world's biggest postage stamp

I have been beavering away recently to get this quilt finished

For a long time, I have been wanting to make something that will use up my scraps.  I was inspired by the blocks requested by my fellow Stitch Teasers

Hadley requested a low volume block, but not just beige or grey

And I just loved the colours Val requested

I decided to put both of these ideas together, and make this simple quilt , taken from "Liberty Love"

 I finished piecing the top on Saturday, and managed to get a few shots of it yesterday, although the sun was very bright, and this quilt is so big, it's hard to get a photo of the whole thing.

Actually, the size of it is worrying me slightly.  It's for a standard double bed, and I looked up on t'interweb what the recommended quilt size is, but now I find this will fit our 6ft bed!  So I'm wondering whether or not to take two rows of blocks off, and use them on the back.  

I also need some backing for it - the two fabrics I have any decent quantity of, really don't look right.  Does anyone know of some good sales? I'm looking for a large print in pink/red/orange.  I also need a name for it - any ideas?

Hope you all had a good weekend, and are ready for the week ahead.

21 February 2014

Bury me in a Y-shaped coffin

Weekend Doings

My friend Carol was staying with us this week, and asked us if we would teach her to ski.  It's on her bucket list, and for some bizarre reason, she thought we would be the best people to approach.    I'd forgotten just how hard it is to learn, and how exhausting it is! 

Just to make the moment perfect, when Carol was upside down in the snow for the millionth time, my czech friend Lenka skied over and asked Carol

"Would you like a radish?"

I can't remember last time I laughed as much.

16 February 2014

Slow sewing

Thankfully I now have a working FMQ foot again.   Thanks to all the tips and hints I received to "repair" my old foot.  In the end I didn't need them as I retrieved the FMQ foot from my old machine which my friend now has, and it fit.    It's not quite the same, and I think it puts a little more pressure down onto the quilt, because it all drags a bit, but with the zig-zag pattern I'm doing at the moment, it works fine.  In fact I think the stitch quality is probably a little better.

Whilst I had a little down time from quilting, I got on with the 2.5 inch square for a special quilt I'm making.  Using the charms I received from this LV charm swap, and scraps from my scrap bin (s) I have cut 800 squares, sewed them into 400 pairs, then 200 blocks of 4, then 100 blocks of 8 and finally 50 16 patch blocks. Phew - a bit of a long haul, but the results are well worth it

Also, whilst sitting watching the Olympics, I made a start appliqueing the snowballs onto their background.  Whilst Bridget was here, we found an old valance sheet that would make an ideal background for the snowballs, and we had a play around with a design.  We tried several modern, a-symmetric designs, but the background fabric (beige-ish with a raspberry polka dot) was a bit too dull to have huge blocks of it showing. In the end,  we decided on a boring  4 block x 5 layout.  The first three and a half blocks are done, and if I say so myself, I think I made a pretty good job

The corners were a bit tricky, but as recommended by several people, I just stuffed the corners under and sewed them down before they flipped out!  They aren't always brilliant, as you can see, but I'm fairly happy with them

I still have another 16 to go, but I'm finding the slow rythm of this sewing really relaxing, so I'm looking for any excuse to find a free 10 minutes to get a bit more done.

11 February 2014


My Stitch Tease 2 quilt is doomed.  It's never going to get finished.  I finished pieceing  it way back at the beginning of January, and started quilting it shortly afterwards, full of enthusiasm.  First of all I used a variagated thread that I didn't like, so I unpicked it

Then the machine went wrong and had to go into the repair shop, and I had more unpicking to do. And the quilt sat waiting

Sadly the machine was no better when it came back.  Gordon then repaired it (better than the shop actually), but when I tried FMQ ing it all went to pot again, and I had to unpick more.  But it was sewing well in a straight line,  and I needed it to sew for my weekend with Bridget,  so the quilt sat a bit longer

Even when Bridget had gone, I could pluck up the courage to have a go.  I was convinced it was going to go wrong, and I couldn't face more unpicking, so guess what.... it sat a bit longer!

 Eventually, yesterday morning, I pulled on my brave girl knickers, and set to.   Clearly the planets were all aligned , because everything went well.  I was in the zone, miraculousy my machine found it's happy place too and was stitching really well.  Even the music on random shuffle was the good stuff, not the tracks that you never listen to on an albumn!

 I managed to do a side and a half around the edge, when it all started to go wrong.  I noticed that the quilt was not slipping freely under the foot,   I checked out the feed dogs,  the threads, checked I was still in FMQ on the settings.  Then I checked the foot.  It seemed a bit loose, and when I took it off, this happened
I put this photo on IG and got several very helpful suggestions of swear words I could use!  I already had of course, plus a few of the czech ones I know!

So guess where the quilt is now?

Yes, you guessed, it's sitting waiting again!  On a different chair, if that makes it any better, and there is no pun-picking to do this time.  I'm off now to track down a new one (or the one off my old machine if I can!)

07 February 2014

Flashback Friday

Back track to this time last week, and we had Gordon's sister, and my sewing buddy, Bridget staying with us.   She managed to sneak a week away as her husband was off on a short, boys skiing holiday in France.  The plan was to sew, sew, sew, but there was also a little brother/sister time, some shopping, and a trip to the spa.

Sewing first of course.  The aim was to make a quilt for our great-niece Elsie.  I made this quilt for her in 2011 when she was born.

She's now in a big girls bed, and needs a big girls quilt.   Her room is decorated a la Kath Kidston, so the quilt has to fit in.  I thought this fabric would be good
And I chose this Flower Girl pattern from Thimble Blossoms

By Wednesday evening, we had pieced the top, all but sewing together the rows

 It's gone off with Bridget to finish the top, and maybe, if she's a brave girl, she'll quilt it too.  If not, we're off skiing in a few weeks and she'll bring it back again!
Bridget also made a wide open mouth pouch  for her hand sewing.  But she's much more talented than me, and she added a little pin cushion/pocket that flips out when you're sewing, and flips back in when you're not.

I've made a small one for my friend's mum who is 60 and who's party we're going to tomorrow (on sshhhh, she doesn't know about it.)

 No sewing trip is complete without a trip to a fabric shop.   I have always complained about the fabric choices here, but you won't hear me moaning any more.   There is a shop in Brno called Ragos.  In addition to the usual czech fabrics, they stock Makower fabrics.  I'm not sure if Makower have modernised their considerably over the last 6 months, or if Ragos have changed which fabrics they stock, but the choice now is great.  The lady in there was throwing sample books at me! 

And they have an internet shop, so I don't have to go to travel! 

And of course, chocolate was consumed in the form of chocolate muffins  (and also thanks to the lady in WHSmith at the airport who peddles Cadbury's mini eggs)

Thanks for a lovely time Bridget - she went  home on Wednesday and now I'm left sewing alone.   But more of that another day!

I hope you all have a good weekend!