Monday, 31 December 2012

Last finish of 2012

Just finished a quilt for a two year old relative called Ava.  Ava is Robert's cousin, another baby who caught me by surprise so when she was born I just had time to russle up two flannel cot sheets. 

My Wise Owls quilt is a new style for me; a strippy quilt, strips laid horizontally, using  a very pretty owl fabric ( Urban Zoologie by Robert Kaufman), pretty trees ( Riley Blake) and a fabric depicting rabbits running through the woods.
Applique is hand blanket stitched and the whole quilt is hand quilted using Perle cotton.
Came together really quickly and I hand quilted it quickly too. Didn't do a lot of fancy maths - just used the width of fabric, cut in a variety of depths. The only 'working out' was making the top and bottom stripes the same fabric so there was more order to the look of the quilt and I wanted the length suitable to go on top of a toddler bed.
I'll certainly do this style of quilt again but for a baby quilt I would make it from narrower strips.

And a close-up to show some of the applique:

All the fabrics were in my stash, some have been there for 2 or 3 years so it was good to be able to use them.  I was so pleased at how the colours came together too, especially the green binding. This was a fabric I bought some years ago for a Block Swap which asked for colours outside my normal range.  Used it in a couple of swaps but then it has sat in the drawer waiting for this quilt binding. The green is exactly the shade of the grass in the woods that the rabbits are scampering through! All used up save for two small strips which have gone into my Strips Bag ready for another String Quilt/cushion.
Last night I worked out how many items I have sewn this year and was amazed at my productivity!
16 quilts ( included 6 Preemie Quilts)
6 Needlebooks
9 Cushions
3 Tote bags
2 Patchwork Bathmats
Participated in 2 Group Quilts
1 WIP Children's quilt, almost done
I also knitted a stripey Baby blanket and made a few Crinkle squares for babies.
So, my Wise Owls Quilt is the last of my finishes for this year but I have already started another
I Spy Bubbles quilt for a baby expected in New Zealand in a couple of weeks time.
I hope wherever you are in the world you have an enjoyable New Year's Eve.
See you in 2013!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

New Year Resolutions

As a general rule I don't make New Year Resolutions but a few years ago I decided to make One Rule for my Quilting Life.

To use up scraps as much as I could.

I have to say this has worked really well, particularly as I love making ( and looking at ) Scrap Quilts.
During the past few years I have made loads of quilts, many of them Baby or Children's Quilts in a variety of designs.  Wonky Star quilts, I Spy quilts, Log Cabins, String Quilts and Cushions, Ticker Tape Quilts, Coin Quilts, Freckles Quilts ( inspired by the book Scrap Republic), Crumb Quilts etc etc.  My Flickr photos show them all in their glory.

I also started to piece backings, backgrounds to my Freckles Quilts and extended the piecing to joining pieces of batting.  Batting has always been expensive but now seems to cost more than ever so I have every intention of using up all the odd bits you get left with after measuring out wadding for a quilt. I even sorted it all out a couple of months ago so it is all 'to hand'!

One of my Christmas gifts this year is a book produced by York Museums Trust. 
It's called Through the Needle's Eye: The Patchwork and Quilt Collection at York Castle Museum.  I have so enjoyed reading about all their Patchwork and Quilting collection.
We all know that Patchwork and Quilting started off as a utilitarian way of making warm bedcovers from scraps and recycling fabrics, reusing the 'best parts' of worn out clothing and this collection reflects that so well.
As a child born not long after the end of WWII, when rationing was still in place, I was brought up not to waste anything so of course this has been carried on in my Quilting Life as well as in other aspects of my world. So I was delighted when I came across the following in the York Museums Book:

" Old patchwork quilts were frequently re-used as wadding inside newly made covers.  Even in well-to-do Victorian homes thrift was assiduously practised, and books on household economy gave advice as to the best use for old materials.  In the early 1870s Cassell's Household Guide enthusiastically recommends wadding for counterpanes in patchwork for the upper rooms.
' Take all the old blankets and flannel petticoats to spare, wash them clean, and dry and air them well.  Cut out all the best portions and join together.  You may make them two or three thick. Line with a sheet of cheap unbleached calico, first soaked, or even an old sheet, neatly patched.'
Perhaps aware that this procedure might deter rather than encourage useful economy, the writer adds: " We have also seen old counterpanes and quilts in mere rags tacked together, placed between a patchwork quilt and a sheet........ Of necessity such arrangements are as warm and comfortable as they are thrifty.' "

Well my continuing thrifty New Year Resolution will not take me quite that far, but I shall continue to join pieces of batting together for my quilts and continue to use old pillowcases and sheets as the foundation squares for my String Quilt blocks and feel proud of myself for doing so and keeping an old tradition alive!

And of course, the scraps, however tiny, will continue to be used!  ...................  Only one problem:  mysteriously, however many scraps I use, more and more scraps magically appear!


A few of my 'Scrap Quilts':

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Big reveal and .........finish!

Well, our Patchwork Group celebrated Ruth's birthday on Thursday with a lovely Christmas lunch at a local pub. Delicious!
And we handed over our Group Quilt as her special present so I can now reveal it.

And a Close-up of some of the blocks:

My personal gift was a matching cushion:

And a small poster in a photo frame:

We had a lovely time and Ruth was thrilled with all of her gifts.  Job done!

Now today I have worked hard to finish two little Tote bags I have been making for little gifts for my nextdoor neighbours's grandchildren.  Pleased with them both; I love the colours and I am very pleased with how well their names show up on the bags.  Handing them over secretly tomorrow to be found under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning along with a storybook for each of the girls.

And a photo of the back of the bags:

I used lots of 2.5" squares from my stash.  Whenever I finish a project or come to almost the end of a piece of fabric I cut a variety of squares: 2.5" & 3" being my favourites.  So the bags were just a matter of choosing squares I felt went together, in two different colour groups to make the bags look 'different'.  Happy with the result so I hope Isla and Neve love them too!

So, that's my sewing done until after Christmas!  Tomorrow I am going to give my sewing room a quick sorting out, putting away things tidily so I can start afresh after the holiday break with some new projects and finishing some outstanding ones!


Monday, 17 December 2012

Plodding on

Gradually working my way through my 'To Do' List!
 Finished the strippy cushion to compliment the Group Strip Quilt our group has made for Ruth. I'm really pleased with it and I'll publish a photo on Flickr and here on my blog after I hand it over on Thursday. We are having a celebration lunch/Christmas get-together in a local pub. My first turkey dinner of the season!
Cut out the linings and handles for Isla's and Neve's Christmas gift patchwork totes. Tomorrow I hope to find time to start sewing them. We'll see, as my daughter and little granddaughter are coming over for lunch. Can't wait for them to see our new tree. It really looks beautiful.
Recorded the first of my two Hospital Radio Christmas broadcasts this evening and tomorrow I have to finalise the script for my second programme ready to record on Thursday evening.
Oh, and I even made 4 dozen Mince pies this morning. I shall be making a couple more batches including one that I want to give to the wonderful team at the Cancer Centre where I have been so fantastically looked after this past 15 months. I'm going for some blood tests on Thursday morning so plan to take a big plate of home made Mince pies for their morning coffee.
Goodness, Thursday sounds pretty busy! Perhaps Friday will be more restful.
Hope you are all working through your 'To Do' Lists too. No doubt lots of sewing, perhaps a little cooking too? Leave a Comment to tell me what you are working on and hoping to complete this week.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Phew! All's well that ends well

I had a worrying weekend after I discovered that the I Spy Bubbles quilt I had posted to little Robert hadn't arrived! All that work, all those weeks of sewing, only to be lost in the system somewhere.
After several phone calls to Robert's Daddy and his visit to the local Post Depot yesterday he found the parcel and had it safely in his hand, ready to take home for Robert to open. What a relief! Whenever I post off one of my quilts I always say a little prayer for it to arrive safely
Didn't work this time though.

I'm busy on the sewing front, trying to finish several projects due by Christmas and also writing two radio scripts for our Christmas/New Year special schedule at Hospital Radio. Finished the first one yesterday and about to write the second one today. Love researching for the programmes and then choosing the music and working out all the timings. Like doing a jigsaw puzzle really.

I must finish hand blanket stitching names on the front of two little patchwork bags I am making as little Christmas gifts for my nextdoor neighbours' little granddaughters. 
Also need to cut out the pieces for a cushion that is intended as a gift for a lovely Patchwork friend whose birthday is next Wednesday. Help! I'm running out of time.

I will post some photos of my finished projects soon! I think that's called Positive Thinking!.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Flickr friends and finishes

Goodness, it's almost a month since my last post.  However, I have been busy, starting various projects and finishing an I Spy Bubbles quilt for Robert.

I have also had lovely little surprise packages from Flickr contacts.

Firstly, some scraps from Cindy in Florida:

And a pretty linen heart (which I shall hang on our Christmas tree) from Dorte in Denmark:

I love looking at everyone's work on Flickr and occasionally send little packets of scraps to people whom I feel conected with.  Both of these little gifts were in a response to packets of scraps I had sent.  Aren't quilters a lovely group of people?
I have really enjoyed making another Freckles Quilt from the book Scrap Republic by Emily Cier.
Each one comes out so well, a little different from the previous one and I have loved making them.  More to come too I think as I have lots of novelty scraps to fussy cut for the "bubbles" and several pieces of fabric in my stash I can piece together for the background as I did with this quilt that I finshed a few days ago:

The background was pieced using four different cream coloured fabrics from my stash.

Two close ups of some of the fussycut I Spy Bubbles

As with the other quilts I have made using this design I have hand quilted around each bubble using Perle cotton, this time a variagated turquoise one. Quick to do and it really makes the bubble stand out.
This one was posted off to little Robert on Thursday so I hope it arrives safely and that he enjoys looking at all the I Spy bubbles and snuggling under it.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Sorting out WIPs and tidying up

Had a busy time sorting through the cupboard in my sewing room.  All in a terrible mess! Finished quilts, unfinished WIPs, batting, etc etc. It's a job that I have been intending to tackle for some while but felt daunted by the task so it was put off and put off.

I treated myself to 4 new plastic storage boxes with lids then set about creating some order.
I put all the finished quilts into one storage box, the WIPs into another and smaller pieces of batting and stuffing for cushions into the 2 smaller boxes.  Looking better already!

I was ruthless with very small pieces of batting and threw them away. Sorted the other pieces into similar sized ones, ready for Premature baby or small cot quilts. I was surprised by how much batting I have and will not have to buy any for a long time. Good job as batting is SO expensive these days.

Then I discovered an abandoned quilt which I started many years ago at a Workshop.  It was going to be a Seminole Patchwork single bed quilt in turquoise and purple.  I had made all the strips, each one a different Seminole patchwork pattern and had started to put it together........................ then I obviously lost interest!  Looking at it now I know that I don't like the colours or the fabrics any more and that I will never finish it.  So, I have pressed all the Seminole strips and will pass them on to another quilter I know who has a group of ladies making Linus Quilts from donated fabrics and  left-over blocks.  I am sure another quilter looking at these strips with  a fresh eye will come up with a pretty Linus Quilt.

I found two of my little Premature Crumb Quilts which were almost finished.  I set to and have finished both in the last couple of days.

This one with Blue Sashing:
and one with Pink Sashing:
And now I have 6 ready to donate to the local hospital:
I now feel justified in starting another project which is on my "To Do" list, the I Spy Freckles quilt for little Robert.  I have made it larger and pieced the background from left-over pieces of cream fabrics.  There are 49 I Spy bubbles which I have fused to the background and this afternoon I started to hand blanket stitch them onto the top. This is my favourite kind of handwork so I am enjoying myself.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Busy sewing cushions for birthday gifts

At the moment it is a flurry of sewing cushions for gifts. Several friends have "Significant birthdays", an 80th, a 50th and in December a 70th birthday and I have decided to make String cushions for all three.  I have had such marvellous treatment from my physiotherapist, Sue, I decided to make her  a String cushion too!

Here's what I've made so far:

For Sue:

And for Doreen's 80th Birthday:
Finished today, another String Quilt to be gifted in a couple of weeks' time:

All three cushions feature Amy Butler fabrics, the first two use a vibrant hot pink and yellow fabric called Chrysanthemum and the turquoise and green fabric is Amy Butler's Daisy design.

I love making String blocks and hunting out scraps to tone and/or contrast with the main fabric.

Now starting a fourth cushion for a Patchwork friend who will be celebrating her 70th birthday in December. I'm really on a roll!

Having a great time sewing at present. I have several baby and children's quilts to make so in between sewing strings together I have pieced a cream background for another I Spy Bubbles quilt, using up several old pieces of cream fabrics I had gathered together for this purpose.  It's for a 2.5 year old little boy, Robert, my husband's cousin's grandson. We didn't know about his expected arrival until it was too late for me to make  baby quilt so Robert had a regular shop bought baby outfit.
When his brother James came along 9 months ago I made an I Spy quilt for him which has been loved and admired by all the family.  As it was such a great hit, when I saw Robert two weeks ago at his Grandpa's birthday party I asked if he would like an I Spy Quilt too?  Yes, please!

Here is James's quilt:
I have decided to make another I Spy quilt using the Freckles design from the Scrap Republic book by Emily Cier as I love making them and they are a great handwork project.  I have decided to increase the dimensions by 10" in each direction so I will need lots more fussy-cut "bubbles".
So, the backgound for Robert's quilt is made and I now have the exciting task of looking through all my fabrics for interesting I Spy motifs.
At the same party I met another of the same cousin's grandchildren, a delightful 19 months old little girl called Ava.  Again we didn't know about Ava's arrival until the last moment so I hastily stitched a set of burp cloths and two-sided flannel cot sheet to mark her arrival. 
 As I'm making a quilt for Robert I feel I must make one for Ava too.  I have an idea in mind, a strip quilt of various pretty girly pink fabrics.
Three more babies due next year, so I have lots of quilts to make!  But I LOVE it!


Sunday, 14 October 2012

Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child

Well, I spent an enjoyable time this morning gathering together the little gifts I have bought or hand made ready to put in my Shoebox for my contribution to my Church's donations to the
Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child.

Here's a photo of the small presents:

My box is for a little girl, aged between 2 and 4 years old.  Hence a lot of pink!
Then I covered a shoebox with Christmas paper and wondered if I would fit everything in!

Amazingly I fitted all the gifts in and there is room for more!

Look how easily I put the lid on the box!

So now I will be able to look for a few little extras to fill in the gaps! This is the sort of shopping I enjoy.  Perhaps a little purse, a bracelet, a pack of stickers? And a few more sweeties?


Friday, 12 October 2012

Scrap Vomit squares have arrived!

I enjoyed taking part in the Swap-bot Scrap Vomit Squares swap organised by Angie who lives in Canberra.

Angie also ran a Giveaway of a set of 49 SV Squares which I was lucky enough to win.
Here they are:

All three of my packages from my three swap-bot partners have arrived, from different parts of the globe. Always exciting to receive goodies in the mail!

From Dhia Peach:

From Barbara Walsh:

 And some really quirky ones from Dorte Petersen  ( Not yet the Dodo! ):

They are all great, a good mixture of colours, fabrics and shades.  No two alike!
I'm really hooked into this Swapping and hope Angie organises another one as she had promised. She was thrilled with how popular this one was and everyone taking part in the International Swap honoured their promise and sent their 49 x 2.5" squares.
Well done to everyone!
And VERY well to done to Angie who did all the hard work organising the Swap.  Much appreciated! Thank you!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


A busy couple of days, some sewing and a little knitting and I parcelled up my 3 sets of Scrap Vomit squares for the Swap. 

The SV Swap was organised through Gnome Angel ( ) but managed via swap-bot which worked like clockwork!  As soon as the deadline for registering as a participant expired I received an email linking me to their website and discovered the names and addresses of the three people I had to send my sets of squares to.  This was the International Swap and 80 people had signed up for it.  My three partners were from three different continents........ Europe (Germany), Australia and North America (Canada).  All very exciting. You can keep track of who has sent their packages via swap-bot and I know my Canadian partner has sent her packages out.  What I am not sure about it whether the folk I send to actually send their sets to me.  We shall find out when our Postlady, Julie, starts popping packages through our letterbox!
This swap reminded me of when I was about 11 years old........ a very long time ago!...... when I registered with the girls' comic School Friend for a penfriend living in another country.  I was really disappointed when I ws given the name of a girl living in Yorkshire! However, we happily corresponded for about fifteen years and then, sadly, lost touch.

I have had quite a productive few days, managing to finish another little Crumb Quilt and I am ready to bind another one.  I have also sandwiched the Siblings Together Project quilt, a job I heartily dislike.  Difficult to do as I don't have a large table or a hard floor so I crawl around the bedroom floor trying to pin the layers together without getting loads of creases.  Very tiring and time consuming!  Anyway, it is now ready for me to start the hand quilting. 

My church is again taking part in the Samaritan's Purse Shoebox Scheme.  You pack a Christmas paper-wrapped shoebox with gifts for a child in parts of the world where they wouldn't receive any Christmas gifts.  You decide whether to make up a box of little gifts suitable for a boy or girl and the age range you have aimed the parcel for.  Gifts can be little toys, toiletries, warm hats, scarves, gloves, etc. We were provided with a knitting pattern for a simple Beanie and I have enjoyed making two so far. They look very pretty in the variagated white/pink/mauve wool I chose. I'll make a few more which can be popped into other Shoeboxes.  I now need to shop for some little gifts, hair slides, crayons, soft toy etc.  Good fun, the sort of shopping I enjoy.

We are going to a family wedding on Saturday which should be great, a lovely chance for a family get-together.  One of the bride's cousins is Helen who has been so kind and supportive during the past year since my cancer diagnosis. She loves knitting and sewing so as another little "Thank You" I have made one of my Strawberry Needlebooks to give her on Saturday. I'll pop some pins and needles inside too.

And another photo showing back and front.

Off now to get ready to go to a friend's for coffee. Haven't seen her since she returned from holiday so lots to catch up on!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

SCRAP VOMIT SWAP, ready to go

As I have a busy couple of weeks coming up, including attending 2 weddings!, I decided to get ahead with my Scrap Vomit Swap squares. Yesterday I cut all three sets of 49 x 2.5" squares.  Each set contains basically the same fabrics, with a few differences in each set.  Hope they are the sort of Vomit squares folks will be looking for!

A few photos:

One set, fanned out to show the variety of prints.

All 3 sets, neatly piled up.
And finally ........................
All packed up in clingfilm, ready to pop into envelopes!
If you want to take part in this swap, there is still loads of time to sign up.  Go to where you can find all the details about this swap.
Cut off date for registering is 22nd September and the sets of squares have to be posted by 5th October.  The last time I looked at the International Swap there were 48 taking part.  I'm sure that figure will get higher!
Happy 2.5" square cutting!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Exciting Giveaway on Bearpaw

Giving you the heads up on a really great Giveaway currently running on Bearpaw's blog. Some fabulous Liberty prints that you can win!
Here's the link:
Liberty fabrics are so beautifully soft and the colours are fabulous.
Go on, enter the Giveaway!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Scrap Vomit Swap

If you are a follower of Imagingermonkey's blog then you will know all about her fabulously colourful Scrap Vomit Quilts. And, if like me, you have been intending to make one yourself, then perhaps The Scrap Vomit Squares Swap that Angie has set up is just what you need to get you going on that quilt. She is organising a swap of 2.5" squares of fabric, all the details are on her blog Gnome Angel.
There are two versions to join, either for Australians or the International one.
I've just signed up for the International Swap, easy to do and it will be exciting waiting to see what great Swap Squares will be coming my way.
Happy swapping!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Help required

I recently saw a gorgeous example of a Plus Quilt, in a Scrap style but with each scrap Plus separated by a Kona Ash solid. It looked fabulous and I think the maker had done at least one in the same design previously. Unfortunately I didn't make a note of it and now can't remember where I saw it. Infuriating! So, of you recognize this as your blogpost or if you have spotted it too,  please  leave a Comment on my blog. Thank you!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Festival of Quilts update

Just found the blog where I saw the boxer shorts and socks quilt. It's on HenHouse, a great Uk blog. Very quirky, some really interesting posts. I would recommend viewing.

Festival of Quilts and sewing

I visited the Festival of Quilts on two separate days and enjoyed both days as I do every year. This is the first year I haven't been a Quilt Angel ( still receiving treatment so not up for all that physical hard work) so it was strange not to have seen behind the scenes before the Show opened.
Saw lots of lovely quilts, loads of hexagons including one which had zillions of tiny tiny hexagons ( less than 1" I would think!).

Hard to pick out a few favourites, but I'll try!

Loved the Group winner, "The Quilters' Games" which was a very amusing quilt reflecting the idea of quilters as synchronised swimmers!

This quilt was beautifully done, made from boxer shorts and socks! I have seen it chosen on another blog too so you may have seen this quilt before.

Also enjoyed the exhibition of Quilts created out of a British/German exchange of fabrics.  All really different and so clever with their use of the fabrics sent to them and combining those with fabrics from their own stash.

Two fabulous Pictorial quilts which caught my eye:

One of the competition quilts which was a wonderful representation of a little view of a Venice canal, all beautifully embellished so it was 3D.

And this was in a Gallery within the Festival of Quilts which was like looking a photograph of Darling Harbour in Sydney!

And my all-time favourite which I chose for my Visitors' Choice was this fabulous quilt showing a marvellous variety of faces, all created from snippets of fabric.  Absolutely stunning!

Entitled: This Many faces, This Many Cultures by Rita Dijkstra-Hesselink, Hengelo, Holland

As always, loads of traders and I enjoyed saying hello to Katy aka I'magingermonkey, busy working and doing demos.  Tried not to buy too much as I am still trying to use up fabrics from my stash.  But I did need more batting, and some Kona cotton in yellow and aqua, Aurifil thread and I couldn't resist a lovely turquoise fabric with a lemon spot which I know will be great for bindings and perhaps a border or two.

On the sewing front I have now completed my Siblings Together Top and I am pleased with it. It is now ready for pin basting and like most of the quilters I know, this is the part I dislike, so it is sitting there looking at me! But I do have the batting now and I have cut the backing to size so I just have to bite the bullet!

I have also been putting together a few little Premature Baby/ Doll quilts with some of the Crumb blocks I have been making.  I have finished two, another is ready for binding, another being hand quilted and two more ready to be sandwiched. I gave one to my daughter for a little gift from our Granddaughter to another 2 year old girl and just posted another to accompany a storybook for our neighbour's little granddaughter who is one tomorrow.  When I have a few more completed quilts I'll pop them round to our local hospital.

So a busy few weeks and lots of sewing to do and hundreds of ideas whizzing round my head!