Friday, 28 December 2012

Christmas Joys

We have had a great Christmas with our two kids and their partners - despite all the rain  but at least we did not suffer any flooding like some parts of the UK- and still have the New Year festivities to look forward to.

I was a very lucky lady as I received CD's of my favourite singer Alfie Boe and some comedy DVD's - Peter Kay and Sara Milligan which we all enjoyed watching.  

My wonderful son once again braved  RAy Stitch in London (!!!!) and bought me a bundle of Amy Butler  fat quarters - lovely delicate prints and flowers. Not sure what I will make with them yet.

Then my hubby bought me a lovely book  " Quilts from Grandmothers Garden " which is another English piercing book but using only 1/4 or 1/2 inch hexagons -the design are really lovely and I intend using some of my Liberty lawn as it will be ideal for these small hexis.  I wondered if its a subtle hint to downscale my quilting to make smaller versions !!!
The patterns will make lovely wall hangings and even  postcards.
I treated myself to a Craftsy course just before Xmas -  Painted Pictorial Quilts by Annette Kennedy. It is excellant and very well produced. I am starting with a Cala lily and now need to wait for some textile medium to arrive before I can start the painting. 

I have spent much of the time whilst with the family crocheting a lovely Granny square blanket which I found on a blog by Lucy on Attic24. She makes some lovely things using some luscious colours so I sorted out my wool and got started.  It is growing quickly and looks so rich. I've also started a bag from her site -it's getting quite addictive.  !!!!!


I enjoyed opening my Santa sack gifts from Melanie and can't wait to see what swaps Cheryl at has planned for the new year. 
Happy New Year

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Santa sack gifts

I opened my Santa sack gifts from Melanie and I am so grateful for all the lovely things she has included particularly the handmade gifts. The Quilters Handbook is a great resource full of information you always need.
Thanks Melanie for being a great partner.

A lovely Xmas cushion 

Thanks to Cheryl  as well for organising another great Santa sack 

Monday, 3 December 2012

Bits and Pieces!!

I have been struggling with a nasty bout of flu and subsequent cough which I then passed  to Hubby and he   is still struggling to shake it off.   I have been unable to do more than flit between small projects depending on my energy levels and have discovered the worlds of antiques and home improvement shows on day time TV!!! - can't wait to summon up the energy to retreat to my sewing room and Radio2.  
I have managed to find aplace to hang my two new mini quilts from the recent mini quilt swaps  in my sewing room and think this is an ideal way to show them off.  Thanks to Sharon and Sue for these - they are both so lovely I intend leaving them up for quite a while.

I have started a new small quilt in red,white and blue, with no real pattern but just wanted to use up some of my stash in colours I don't often go for. It will be a medallion style with various blocks in each round and plenty of free space to practice machine quilting.   

There is also a new  apple core mat which I am doing by hand plus this  has also been an ideal time to start a crochet blanket in bright cotton to pick up when I feel in the mood.

I have also made a few embroidered Xmas cards but not nearly as many as I usually do by this time of the year so I need to get on and get some done this weekend. I still like to send REAL cards to friends and family - I don't think emails or e-cards are quite the same.

Christmas Shopping has not yet really started for us although the postman can be expected over the next week with some on-line orders I have made to try and make an effort!! 

My final parcel arrived from Melanie in the Santa Sack swop and my sack is now well and truly stuffed!!!!   I can't wait to open all these wonderful surprises she has sent. 

I have also received a lot of my Xmas postcards and they make a nice display on my pin board.

There are lots of great give-always at the moment in blog land and the one organised by Sew Mama Sew has been the one I have entered the most- there are some terrific prizes. So I hope I might be lucky this time around!

So lets hope we all get over this bug and can start to count down to Xmas and the arrival of some festive spririt!!

Best cough cough cough


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Surprises from MR Postman!!!

Seasonal Swap Mini Quilt
I was thrilled today to receive a mini quilt from Sharon of Vrooman Quilts in Cheryll's seasonal mini quilt exchange.  Sharon has been a great "bloggy" friend since I started blogging and I always admire the work she does and the quilts she shows on her blogs. She is a very generous lady and always quick to offer encouragement so I was so pleased to now have one of her quilts.
I intend to have it on display in my sewing room all year round! It is a tiny pierced windmill design only 12 inches square so you can imagine how small the windmills are and it is so neat.

She also sent some fabulous fabric which has a map of the area in which she lives- this is so original and unique - I will have to see if I can get some made of North Yorkshire - I'm sure it would be a fun addition to send in swaps.
Another package which arrived unexpectantly was from Cheryll at Stitchingcubbyhole.blogspot who organises all these wonderful swaps I have joined- she was so kind in sending me a couple of Australian patchwork and Stitching magazines which she knows I love. It was so thoughtful of her. So more new ideas !!!!

I also received another couple of Xmas postcards from the Tradingfabric postcard group on Yahoo which  I recently joined making 5 all together - but I expect another 9 yet! .  These are lovely  little  fabric art cards and will make a great display this Xmas.

 I have also stitched out 4 of the new free designs from BFC - they are lovely whimsical birds and I am going to make a small quilt for the day nursery where my daughter works for nap times.

The postman is being kept busy and is intrugued by some of the mail arriving  from abroad!!  I am so grateful to all these kind people in blog land.


Monday, 5 November 2012

Chain Reaction

I have been "playing " with my new machine and have completed two mini quilts for the two swaps I am involved in over at Cheryll's -  at Stitchingcubbyhole.blogspot.   But because it is Spring in Australia and my partner is in Europe like me - I have decided to make two mini quilts for my secret partner - one for spring and one for winter.  This is the winter one. 

And the Spring Mini .....

And my xmas XMASmini quilt just needs a border and binding

I have finished piercing my bali pop Irish Chain and I am  now appliquing the petals - it is not a good photo as the light is poor with the weather being so damp and foggy but I managed two flowers whilst watching Homeland last night! This is a pattern from Australian Patchwork & Quilting Magazine which I love - and even though it works out expensive  there is always at least one pattern which I fall in love with !!

I also recieved the latest parcel in the Santa Sack swop from Melanie - the sack is really quite full now and its exciting waiting to open them at Xmas!! Cheryl is quite strict and makes us wait until just before Xmas to open them!!!

Lots of interesting ideas as usual from reading blogs but must stick to finishing off the UFO's hidden in my cupboard (!!) and but also start my embroidered xmas cards which I always make for family and special friends.  

My postcards are all completed for the XMas Swop so must post them to ensure they get to all their destinations overseas.  I have also signed up for the Birthday card swop which will be good to keep going with throughout the year.  

So hoping everyone is safe after Hurricane Sandy


Monday, 22 October 2012

All systems go????!!!!

I have been given the all clear as my blood results came back negative  so  I can start quilting again - as long as I take it easy !   Not sure what the problem was but it is settling down and I' m in less pain than I was but had hoped that I would know by now what is causing the discomfort- calling it fibromyalgia is just a common term for muscle pain but does not give me any clues as to why it flared up.  At least I managed most of the exercises at my Pilates class last week.

I have been frustrated at not being able to use my machine but did manage to do some hand sewing  - and watercolour painting.  I had some pictures in an exhibition this weekend  but only sold one and some cards.

I have also delivered the commission quilt and Irene is completely bowled over by it so I am really pleased.

This is the largest quitl I have made and is shown with the two pillow shams as well. The candlewick blocks from KennyKreations stitched out beautifully  and I am tempted to make another one to the same pattern.

So after my  visit to the Knittng & Stitching Show I debated with myself whether to buy a new machine and in the end after some helpful advice from Keith Lord at Lord's Sewing Machines ( and a good part exchange deal) I splashed out and went for the top of the range Brother NIve!!!  It is a beautiful machine and came with a great package of upgrades and free software which I am just getting to grips with but it has some exciting possibilities.

I think I now might need a larger sewing table but that will have to wait!!!!!

So I think it's time to get on with some machine embroidery for Xmas on the new machine !!


Saturday, 13 October 2012

Ally Pally!

just spent a weekend in London - went to the Knitting & Stitching show+ lots to see and buy  Loved the knitted villages
Tempted to buy the new brother series 7 machine!!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Black and White!!!

I had a lovely package from Naomi in Australia today from the Black and White bag swop on Cheryll's   It is a large bag with lots of internal dividers and pockets which will make a great sewing tote. .... And a mug bag and scented sachets.  The mug bag is not something I have seen before but which I now want to find a pattern for as it will make a good Xmas gift to make for quilting friends to take their mugs to group get-togethers.

I am still having problems with my shoulders and I'm waiting for the results of some tests - so still limited to some hand sewing or machine embroidery.   I have made a knitting bag for a friend who admired the one I received recently in a swop and also started a Joseph's Coat quilt as it is ideal for doing by hand.

I' m looking forward to the trip to London to the Knitting and Stitching show on Friday- just need to make sure I don'T buy too much to carry back to the hotel!!!
 I have spent a lot of time reading blogs and that of course means lots of ideas!!!


Saturday, 22 September 2012

Doctors Orders!!!

I have been suffering from severe pain in my shoulders and upper arms over the past month but had continued sewing particularly as I have not yet finished the  medallion quilt which is the commission I undertook for my Mum's friend Irene.  However, I have now been ORDERED to stop machining for the next 2 weeks and to do the shoulder exercises I have been given to stop the stiffness and pain getting any worse!

What will I do with my self?   I am wary of increasing the hand sewing as I am worried this will also exacerbate the problems SO .......  the only solution is to catch up with some painting for the next exhibition in October and perhaps read. I have a Kindle which I love and lots of books saved up so it may mean putting my feet up in the afternoons and reading some of them.  It also means I have an excuse for reading lots of blogs although I must not sign up for any projects Ha ha ! .

I am relived that the medallion quilt is almost finished - just the large outer borders to add - and Irene is really pleased with it so far  - so  hopefully I will manage to also get the two pillow shams completed before November which is when she is expecting it to be ready.

 I am lucky that I have completed all my  swap committments ( or else have them stored away ready for posting)  so I have decided that I must NOT start any more large quilts whilst  I have this problem  but to stick with small items over the next few months and in particular I have signed up for a couple of post card swops.   Making postcards was the way I got back into sewing a few years ago whilst still working- as they were small enough to make quickly and as they do not entail too much machining I think they may help me cope.  

My Sue Daley bed runner project is also finished and has been given to my friend as a surprise -so I may do some more EPP to keep me going while banned from the machine.  I have just seen the new Brother Series V and am in love ! !!  but cannot justify a new machine at the moment. That's the danger of spending too much time surfing on the web!   

DID make an Advent Calendar  on the machine this week ( it was quick and simple so I thought I could get away with doing it - until my husband heard the machine!!!) -  as it is for my son and girlfriend for their first Xmas in their new flat - and I  want to start buying little gifts for them so at least it is done and I can now shop for the small gifts to go in the pockets.
I have posted my "Black and White bag"   in Cheryl's swop to Naomi so I hope she likes it and it arrives quickly.

So there may not be much to post about until my arms are in better shape!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Dresden Challenge and lots of pics!

I have entered my Dresden Fan in the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Dresden Challenge so have a look at all the lovely quilts that have been entered.  Mine was made using  fabric I bought at the Scottish Quilt Show in Edinburgh in February from CraftsandQuilts of Southport.  I love their stall at the shows and they were at Harrogate last weekend and are now doing ready-cut binding and sashing packs.  These are a great idea and I bought some to use on the large embroidered quilt I am making at the moment- more of this later.

I love they way this has turned out using the EZ Dresden Ruler and I added a wavy border as a final finish.
This quilt is for a charity raffle later this year.  I  loved the colours and prints of the fabrics in the fabric roll I used. 

My other finish is my flannel Crochet Fusion Blanket which is double sided and will make a nice present for the next baby that comes along !   This will also be a good project to use up some of my Liberty Fabrics as you don't need very large pieces and I enjoy the crocheting whilst watching tv.

I have recieved another package from Melanie in the Santa Sack Swop - the xmas tag is just beatiful. So that is two more surprise parcels for my sack.

I have entered another of Cheryll's(Gone Stitchin) swops -this one is  a black and white bag.  I am posting only a sneak preview of the one I have finished for Naomi - it will be posted to her this weekend so I don't want to spoil it for her.

Ongoing projects now include a BaliPop 9 patch which I have just started and which I am planning on making quite large as I had two packs of Balipops and I have wanted to start this for a while. It is from an advert in an amercan magazine so I have made up the pattern as best I can- it will have plain blocks in between. It is a good project for taking to the Mowbray Quilters group.

My other big project is coming along quite well - the medallion embroidered quilt. The centre embroidered panel is done and I have started the candlewick blocks for the next round. At the moment it is manageable but it will cause a few headaches I'm sure as it will be 105" sqaure when it is finished. I am using the quilt as you go method to try and make it less stressful.

So lots of projects and pictures.                                         
Must paint some pictures now for my next exhibition!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Festival Fever!

We are back after a wonderful 2 weeks in Scotland - we had some of the best weather I have ever known in the UK. It was dry, hot and sunny nearly every day.  The first week was spent near Stirling and we had a great time in the area known as the Trossachs, including a day cruise on Loch Katrine.  I have been nagging my husband about going on cruise for a while and so he called my bluff - he says this will have to count as  my cruise!!

Also visited the Falls at Killin - I can see that the pics I took will make good material for paintings.

Then we moved to Edinburgh for the 2nd week where the Festival is in full swing - this is an amazing event with lots of street performers as well as all the Fringe comedy and music events and the Edinburgh Book Festival. We have been going for many years and always enjoy the bustle and excitment but this year the weather made it even better- it felt like we were on the continent with outdoor cafes and events. We saw a couple of shows but the best was definately Tim Vine who is  great comic performer.

So it was back home and catch up with the garden and the washing.  I was able to complete my Dresden Fan quilt before I went away but did not have time to post.
I am really pleased with it and the back looks very good so my free motion is definately improving.

 Also made three pin cushions for a quilt show stall at the end of the month. I could get addicted to making these biscornu pattern pin cushions. Also made a simple crochet doll which now needs some clothes

Whilst away I have got on well with my Crochet Fusion Blanket and have only one more strip to add before  starting on the crochet border.  Also made a candle mat using a paper piercing pattern I came across. So lots of hand stitching but itching to get back on the machine!

Before the holiday I was invited to join another quilt group - The Mowbray Quilters and attended my first meeting. They are a lovely group and it was lovely to be made to feel so welcome.  My other group has suddenly attracted quite a few new members so I volunteered to make us name badges to help us get to know one another so that has been my first task since getting back. 

 Now it is time to get down to making the large embroidered quilt which I have a commission for.   Lots of exciting projects on blogs but I'm trying to limit myself to joining in too many - I always enjoy Cheryll's at Gone Stitching - she has a new Black and White bag one this month -which I have joined and of course the Santa Sack swap is ongoing.  So a good holiday and its still WARM and SUNNY !!!


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Summer Sun??

Santa Sack from Melanie
I have recieved my Santa Sack from Melanie and it is beautiful!!  I can't wait to open the packages but have put the sack away for now(  I can squeeze the parcels every now and then!!)

I am surprised at how much I seem to have got done- I think its a sign of the bad weather that I have not felt guilty about spending time sewing. I have made quite a few gifts for Melanie for her Santa Sack but can't show them!!! And also knitted a short cotton summer top for my daughter.  

I've decided to show off my "Hexi Hanging" now my hanger has arrived- it looks great up in my sewing room.
I have also  just finished a chair cover using a method similar to the one being shared on the
Fusion Blanket Crochet Along.   It is for my camping chair and makes it so  comfortable and looks colourful when we are out with our caravan trying to find some of that stuff called sunshine!! It also doubles as a picnic mat as it just ties onto the chair. Its made from Kaffe Fassett and Westminster Fabrics I bought in Liberty's last year.

I have plans to do another one maybe in Liberty Tana Lawn squares or in soft brushed cotton as a baby blanket as it is an enjoyable way of combining quilting and crochet while I am on holiday.
There is another trip to London planned for the autumn after the Olympics are over to
see our son's new flat and also visit the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexander Palace- so more shopping !!! 

I have also used up some charm squares  to make some placemats for the caravan using a Scrappy 4 Patch tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Co which Khris from Freebies for Crafters shared.  It is a great tutorial and makes wonderful 4 patch blocks. I had some lovely daffodil fabric which I used to make them reversible - they look very spring -like and will cheer us up even if the sun does not shine!!

My Dresden Fan is nearly finished - just needs quilting but might have to wait until I can find some approppriate backing material. I also plan to make the edges scalloped  which will be a first. I will be hunting  down some fabric while we are in Edinburgh later in August.  I've promised it to my Mum so that she can raffle it for the  Leukemia Care Charity.

My big project after the holiday period will be the very large embroidered quilt I have a commission for - it is 104" sqaure so will keep me busy this autumn. I have designed it using Quilt Pro 6 which I like although I know most people seem to prefer Electric Quilt. It will contain the new Candlewick and Candlewick Rose blocks from KennyKreations. They have a Celebration sale on at the moment so I was tempted to buy these as they are really lovely.

I also ran up a Machine Cover after seeing some in blogs - it covers my small Janome and has pockets to keep bits and pieces with the machine.

So lets hope we all see a bit more summer sun and can enjoy the Olympics over the next month.