26 May 2014

Look what I found

OK, you have to persevere with this post, past the pictures of greasy bikes!

For his birthday, our friend Lenka gave Gordon a great birthday present.  It's a czech motor cycle called a Babetta.  It had been languishing in her shed for years and was in "a bit of a state" to say the least! This is a picture of a Babetta, not his, this is from Honest's Bob 2stroke Emporium.  His was much worse than this
Unfortunately he has no before picture of his, but this is what it looks like now.

 He is like the proverbial "pig in muck" in his garage vainly attempting to restore a bike that was never very good in the first place! Well it keeps him busy!   But why am I telling you this?

Well yesterday we ventured into the dark and dangerous depths of Lennie's shed, looking for missing parts that her husband had taken off when he started to restore it.  No luck on that score, but look what we did find

This too is in a bit of a state,
Complete with rust and mouse dropping!
But imagine what it will look like when I've cleaned it up a bit. It's got accessories with it - not too sure what they are.  Probably bobbins and feet.   And, according to Lennie, it "used to work"......yes well, they all worked once upon a time, Lennie!  The funny thing is it's a Jones, a British company no longer in existence, and is the same make as my old machine, which I gave to Lennie when I got my new one!  What comes around, goes around.

21 May 2014

Make hay while it pours with rain

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Up until this Monday, the weather here has been foul.  It started raining on Thursday, and barely stopped for a rest until the early hours of Monday.  Thankfully, the sun came out and it has been up in the mid 20's so I've been able to get out again.  But whilst it was rotten, I took to my sewing room!

It was my great niece's  birthday, so I set to and made her a beanie hat, using this reversible bucket hat pattern from Oliver & S.  It was quite easy to make, just a bit fiddly getting the hat to fit into the rim, but I was so pleased with it, it being my first ever hat.

But even with my limited knoweldge and experience of children, I could tell it was too big - it nearly fit me, let alone a 3-5 year old!  I will very quickly say, this is not the fault of the pattern.  More likely my inability to sew a 1/2 inch seam.  I appear to be programmed to 1/4"!

So I had to make a second, this time, knowing I would never hold a half inch seam, especially around the curved bits, I made a size smaller, and hopefully that will be nearer the mark.  The finishing on this hat makes it look much more professional - top stitching on all the seams and a spiral of top-stitching around the brim.

It may still be a bit big, but there'll be room for growing.  I think it might get worn a lot like this
I've also been making progress on my Sew Euro-bee-an quilt.  I've been making Tea cups
 I had 18 from the bee ladies, and had to make another 9 myself.  They're all done now, and I've moved on to Tea pots
This one is now finished and there is one more to make.  Then there's just lots of filler blocks to make, and I can get this one pieced.   But the sun is out now and the garden is calling!
Bye for now.

19 May 2014

Bloggers Quilt Festiva Part 2

My second entry in the Bloggers quilt festival is the quilt I made for my sister for her birthday

I took inspiration from some of the colours and designs selected by my fellow bloggers in the Stitch Tease bee for their months as Queen Bee.   I combined oranges/reds/yellows and pinks
with low volume fabrics to make 16 patch blocks, which I then alternated with plain blocks of Kona Putty.  I took this idea from the Postage Stamp Baby Quilt in "LIberty Love"

I backed it with a flouncy pink flower fabric and quilted it with straight diagonal lines, which left the quilt with a beautiful drape.  I bound it with a pale grey zig zag print.
I delivered the quilt to my sister by hand last month (she lives in Portugal) and was able to get some cracking pictures.  I called the quilt "Paraiso", which means Paradise and is the name of their house.   Thankfully she was thrilled with it!

There are a few more photos if you go back to my original post.  It's a good job there are so many photos in the post, because it would seem I have managed to delete all of the photos I took off my computer.  Not sure how, and I don't think they are still on the camera either.  Last chance will be my deleted box!

I am entering the quilt in the Large Quilt Category, as it measure 78" x 84".  If you are visiting from the Bloggers Quilt Festival, thanks for taking the time, and please leave a comment

18 May 2014

Bloggers Quilt Festival Part 1


Sometimes I am a numpty.  Knowing it was the Bloggers quilt Festival at the end of this week, I still posted about my Stitch Tease quilt on Tuesday, instead of waiting till Friday.  So, sorry to regular readers that you're having to go through it again! 

I am entering my Stitch Tease Bee quilt in the scrappy quilt category, because the inspiration for it was a scrap left over from one of the first fabrics I bought, and which still remains a favourite.  It's the one with the cockerels on the bottom
Sorry about the quality of the photo - the rest are much better, honest!

I added a few scraps of co-ordinating fabric, surrounding a central white block.  Then I added some embroidery.  And basically that's what I asked my fellow bee-ers to make.  A scrappy border, colours of their choice, with a central piece of embroidery/piecing/EPP/applique - something that they love doing.  And this is what I ended up with

I sewed them all together to make a medallion style quilt, and added a border of wonky crosses.  I quilted a spiral of straight lines in the middle, loopy loops in the first border, and zig-zag lightening in the outer border, using Aurifil 50 in a bright yellow colour.   The finished is exactly what I hoped I'd get - something scrappy, colourful and very busy. 

In deference to all those that read about it only this week, here is a link to my original post.  If you've not read it before, please take a couple of moments to take a look at it.  There are lots of closer-up photos of the beautiful blocks, so you can see the work of my clever bee mates

Details of the quilt

Made by: the members of the Stitch Tease Bee
Fabrics: From our stashes
Backing: Henna Teal Henna from Makower Fabrics
Binding: Henna Magenta Pop gtom Makower Fabrics
Started: July 2013
Finished: April 2014

To anyone visiting who is new to my blog - thanks for visiting.  I hope you enjoyed it, and maybe you could call back again when you you're not frantically trying to see all the beautiful quilts in the Bloggers Quilt Festival!

13 May 2014

Stitch Tease 2

Is it safe to come out now?   I was going to post yesterday, but competing with the SMS Giveaway day is a very bad idea!

What I was going to tell you about what my round 2 Stitch Tease Bee Quilt (runs off the tongue nicely eh?)Finally, I have finished it and to be honest, it's been a bit of a 'mare.   For my month, which was July last year,  I had this great idea to make a sort of a sampler quilt.  I made this block as an inspiration for my fellow teasers

 I asked for a scrappy border in two or three colours (any colours) then a central-ish feature panel, with a little embroidery, piecing, applique, paper piecing etc.  Anything really that showed a little bit of themselves.
The blocks started rolling in and I knew I was on to a winner.  Even Gordon was impressed!

When it came to piecing the blocks, I had this idea of making a medallion style quilt and added a border of wonky crosses
So far so good.  I chose two fabrics from the Henley range from Makeower for the backing and binding
and off I trotted to quilt it.  That's when the trouble started.  Firstly I chose the wrong thread - a variagated which I just didn't like - which had to be unpicked.   I continued with a yellow Aurifil thread, but then the machine started playing up.  I lost count of how many times I had to unpick it, and how many threads I had to bury.   I did put it down and walk away many times, but I persevered, and as always, it's worth it in the end.

I do think it's worth showing a closer shot of the blocks, because they really are the stars (Don't worry that some look upside down - this quilt is meant to be seen from all sides

I even did a bit of hand quilting inside each block - it looked a bit amateurish when I saw it closeup, but you know, when it's washed and on the settee, you don't see that.

 I so am lucky to be in this bee - the ladies are all so talented and come up with  bee blocks that seriously push the limits! So thanks to you all of you.  I just hope you all love your quilts as much as I do!  It is wonderful to have a quilt that I know is totally unique.

I'm looking forward to Stitch Tease 3  which will be starting again next month (sadly without Helen).  Now I wonder what I can ask for this year......................?

Oh and lest I forget, I can clam another finish for this quarters FAL.
 Finish Along 2014

07 May 2014

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I'm pleased to say my Diamond Falls quilt is edging nearer to being finished, as I finished piecing the top on Monday.  I had more sizing problems with the triangle border, due I'm sure to the fact I did something wrong cutting the diamonds.   But a quick adjustment to the size of the triangles, and it fit perfectly. 

I tried to get a few windy day shots, my favourite actually, but it was probably a bit too windy, and I must learn to look what is in the background!!

You are focusing on the movement of the quilt, OK?  Not the fallen chair or the pool net in the background!

There will be a short delay now, whilst I order some fabric for the border.   Next project out of the cupboard will be this one

Beeblocks from the sew Eur-bee-an Bee from last year.  I have to make about another 8 tea cups and 2 tea pots.  My bee mates also made me a few of the stripey filler blocks, but there's a lot more of them to do before I can fit them together.

And I'm being very good at not starting any new projects, until I've finished those on my FAL list.   Of course I don't count the socks I've started

Or a bit of cross stitch

which are strictly travelling or sitting in the evening projects, and do not eat into my sewing room time, so they don't actually count as new starts!

I'm linking up my work in progress with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

04 May 2014

ATC Swap

Very Berry Handmade
Back in February, I signed up for the third round of the Textile Art Trading Card swap organised by Ali of Very Berry Handmade.  This swap was "tricky", to use Ali's words, mainly due, I believe, to the international postal system .   Weeks after the deadline, quite a few of us still hadn't received their swap card, me included.

Firstly the theme - we were able to vote between a literary theme, or "spring".  The vote was close, so we had two groups, me being in the literary themed group.  My secret partner said she would "like anything that was made for her, so that gave me free range.  My two favourite books are Rebecca and Jane Eyre, but unfortunately my artistic skills didn't run to Mandelay burning to the ground.  So I went for something easier.   Another childhood favourite

I couldn't resist Pooh contemplating his favourite food - hunny!  And he is ably supported here by his old mate Wol.

I got this off in the post bang on time, and then I waited to hear from my secret partner Geraldine in the UK.  And I waited and waited.  In the meantime my card was coming a very long way and I waited for that too! 

Eventually, I decided Pooh must be lost (he is a bear of very little brain after all) so I set to and made Geraldine a second card.  This time another childhood favourite was the theme - Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.

Thank goodness Geraldine got this one in super fast time. 

And still I waited!  But you know what they say about buses - nothing comes for ages, then they all come at once.  On the day that my original arrived, I also got a second,  that Ali had arranged as she thought the first one must be missing!
The original, from Gina in Australia, is a little book with a quotation from Cicero "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.  So very me, although if you added a bottomless stash of fabric, I could be happy forever!  Part of the quotation is embroidered inside - only part, it is quite a long quotation!

The second, coincidentally made for me by Geraldine, has some rather clever "Bookerflies" embroidered onto it!

So in the end, all was well.  I hope everyone from this swap has now had their cards.  Thanks to Gina and Geraldine for my lovelycards and thanks again to ALi for organising things.  I do enjoy this little swap!

Oh, and if anyone in the UK happens to see Pooh wandering around, please send him home!

02 May 2014

Fresh Sewing Day

Lily's Quilts

I haven't joined in with Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day for a couple of months, mainly becasue I had so little to show for my time in the sewing room.   But April has been a good month for me, helped by having the house to myself for 2 weeks - it's amazing what sewing you can get done when the husband is away! 3 of my FAL projects have been finished and blogged, with another couple almost ready to be revealed.

Here's a few finishes that I have blogged about.  If you're visiting for the first time,  and you have a spare few minutes,you can read about them  here, here, here and here.
 I've made bee blocks for the Stitch Tease bee and the Euro Siblings together bee.

And there's a few finishes that I've not blogged about, but will do a catch up later.

And then there's all those those projects still patiently awaiting my atttentions.  Diamond Falls, Tea Cups, Baby quilts, even that cursed ad infinitum. It's a busy time out in the garden right now, sewing seeds, planting plants, pulling weeds, so time on the sewing machine is limited.  But the days are longer and the weather is fantastic, so I'm not moaning!

Hop over to Lynnes blog to check out what everyone else has been up to.  Lynne suggests we visit at least four other blogs who have joined in with Fresh sewing day, so I'm off to make a start, before the rest of the world wakes up!