Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Happy New Year

Not quite the New Year, I know but tomorrow we are off to New Zealand via Singapore. We will be in Singapore on NYE, looking forward to the huge firework display.

I have  had a quick look at my totals for 2016. 20 completed quilts, from premature baby quilts to larger ( 60" sizes). I gifted 19 quilts but one of those was completed in 2015, waiting for the right recipient to come along. I made a few smaller gifts including a knitted beanie, Christmas place mats and Christmas tree decorations. I finished a few UFOs, putting together a couple of sets of blocks and creating 2 lovely large quilts which I donated to Siblings Together. I have a UFO Spider Web quilt waiting for me to finish when I get back to the UK in the Spring. And of course there are more UFOs to tackle and lots of new quilts to make - loads of ideas buzzing round my head!!!!!

Not sure how much sewing will be done in NZ this time so perhaps the totals for 2017 will be rather less. We'll see.

Happy New Year to you all and Happy Sewing!

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Last Patchwork Group before Christmas

This morning we had our last Patchwork Group meeting before Christmas.
All 20 of the Group's Premature baby quilts were on display and I took a few photos:

I love the rabbit in his Carrot Car!
Amazing what can be made from scraps and orphan blocks.
Happy Christmas!

Friday, 9 December 2016

Christmas is coming

Our little granddaughter has a room at our house which is "hers".  She is staying overnight so I decided to surprise her by putting a Christmas Quilt on her bed.  Hope she likes it!

From the label I see I made the quilt back in 2002 when I went on a course.  I have had it packed away all these years, suddenly thought about it today and thought it was time it went on to a bed.  I had forgotten what a good size it is.

Are you getting into the Christmas Spirit yet?

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Final finishes

 I have just completed the last Premature baby quilt for my local hospital which I think my Patchwork Group will hand over just before Christmas.

I have made 5 and they are nice and bright and cheerful.

3 were made using 4" Crumb blocks & 4" squares from stash:


One used up my last remaining scrap from a piece of novelty fabric I was gifted several years ago.
I used the elephant/jungle scrap as the centre for a medallion-style quilt. The 2.5" squares and strips for borders were all from stash:
And this last quilt used my last frog squares:

I have enjoyed making these little quilts ( 15" x 20") and hope they will bring joy to the parents of premature babies.


Monday, 14 November 2016

Charming Charm squares

I have really been enjoying looking through my scraps,strips and squares to find inspiration to make more premature baby quilts. The quilts are fun to make and it's lovely to get the creative juices flowing , finding ways to use up scraps that have languished in my stash for far too long.

The 6 quirky 4" squares are a good example of what I mean!  They have been in my Squares stash for so long I can't even remember where they came from. There were actually 7 of these Charm squares so I still have one left over! Quite cute pictures which I framed with strips from my Strips stash.
A while ago I won a Giveaway and ordered a few metres of fabric that could be used for bindings ( my favourite spots and stripes). The turquoise one with white spots was the fabric I chose for the borders and also the backing of this little quilt. The binding is aqua Kona Cotton also from stash.

The finished quilt measures 16" x 20".

Linking up with Nicky's Mrs Sew & Sow's Scraptastic Tuesday - November Link Up

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Another 2 quilts gifted

Last Sunday our neighbours became grandparents for the fifth time. Another girl, making five little granddaughters in all.  Lots of pink there then!

I felt this baby would also be a girl so I had made a very 'pink' quilt some time ago.  However I did recently make a 'boy' one but that has now been put away in my Finished Quilts cupboard.

So, this is the quilt I have gifted to baby Norah:

Ana this Ticker Tape Doll quilt for her 2 and a 1/2 year old big sister, Eadie:

Apparently Eadie loves to walk her baby dolly called Mollie in her doll's pushchair so I think this little quilt will get well used.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Tiny premature baby born

Life never ceases to amaze me.
On Thursday morning last week  my Group made little quilts to gift to the premature baby unit at our local hospital. On Saturday I learned friends in our town had become grandparents - far too early at 28 weeks - to a tiny premature little boy, Nathan ( Gift from God).
Nathan was actually born very late on Thursday evening, just a few hours after our Workshop.
I had completed three little quilts by then so decided to gift one of them directly to tiny Nathan.
I also added two lemon premature baby hats I had knitted some months ago, intending to pop those into the hospital with my next lot of little quilts.

I chose this bright frog quilt to gift to Nathan and hope and pray he pulls through. 
At present he is holding his own but is very tiny at around 2lbs in weight.  I have seen photos of him and he is unbelievably tiny, fitting into his Daddy's two hands cupped beside each other.
Please hold baby Nathan in your prayers.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Premature baby quilts Day

At our group meeting last Thursday we made Premature baby quilts.
Lynne started the group 20 years ago and I have belonged for 19 years. Every now and then Lynne organises a Workshop at her house.  In the past we have made tote bags, a lovely drawstring bag with outside pockets, a scissors case and even tried Foundation piecing.

Lynne had been clearing out a cupboard and had organised her scraps into pieces large enough for backing, and strips, squares, larger strips, orphan blocks, thin strips etc.  She had set out a cutting station, an ironing station and displayed her scraps in areas so we could mix and match to make premature baby quilts. Our local hospital requests they are 16" x 20" so that was what we made. Seven of us, happily sewing and chatting and enjoying the delicious coffee and cake supplied by Lynne.

What fun we had, delving into her scraps - always more interesting than your own!  Lots of chatter and new ideas tried by some members. Our newest member had a great day, learning so many new things. We all put together one little quilt, some completed two and then they were taken home to hand stitch the bindings.  Every one was completely different.

Here are my two:


This one used 6 of Lynne's orphan blocks. Nice and bright with their cute frog centres. Lynne and I have a similar taste in fabrics.  I bought a strip of these froggy pictures a few years ago and made a baby quilt for my friend's grandson with most of them.  It was a very quick quilt to assemble as most of the work was already done. I added a simple green and white gingham border from strips which had already been pre cut. Quilted on the machine but I did add a line of hand quilting with Perle thread around each frog centre which made them stand out more.

The second quilt was also quick to make. The centre piece was a larger scrap which was pretty much the right dimensions.  A flowered piece was cut in two and added to each side of the centre houses strip.   A narrow border top and bottom made the quilt just the right size. Again, machine quilted.

Of course we barely made a dent in Lynne's scraps!  There were enough left for us to have many more Premature Baby Workshop Days.
I so enjoyed making these little quilts I had another sewing day at home on Saturday.  I finished another one and have three more in various stages.
Here's the 3rd finished quilt:
The four animal pictures were in a strip which I have had in my stash for years - gifted by a friend who was sorting out scraps prior to her house move. I have never been able to find the right project for it until now. I cut up the strip of pictures and framed them with strips from my stash of scrap strips.  Two 3.5" froggy fabric strips were added as top and bottom borders and the top was done.  I even used leftover binding scraps to make the scrappy binding.
We hope to gather together all the completed quilts at our Patchwork Group meeting on Thursday so I hope to get more photos then.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Operation Christmas Child Appeal box is ready

This morning I packed all my little gifts into the wrapped Shoebox ready for the
2016 Operation Christmas Child Appeal.

Several of the gifts are a little larger this year so I didn't manage to fit quite so many into the box, only 20.  However, I hope that is OK and the presents will be well received.

As suggested by the organisation there is a mixture of toys, toiletries, stationary items and toys.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Christmas Placemats

One of the quilting groups I belong to has been asked to make either Christmas decorations or sets of 4 Christmas placemats for a fundraiser at our local Hospice.  From now until Christmas they will have a stall in the Hospice Reception area where people can buy Christmas cards and homemade Christmas decorations and placemats.

In the past few days I have made two sets:
The first was based on an idea from Sheila who is coordinating this project:

And the second was one I designed:

I haven't made placemats before and these have bindings made in the same way as a regular quilt.
However they are time consuming to make and I think I will try the 'bagging out" method for the next set. Hope it works and speeds up the process!
Unfortunately we quilters know from experience that however beautifully made such projects are, people expect to buy them very cheaply (just because they are handmade!) and sometimes you don't even recoup the cost of the materials.  In this case anything we do earn is pure profit as all materials were donated by us group members.
Fingers crossed for the "bagging out" method!


Friday, 14 October 2016

Shoebox time again!

I have been saying all year that this year is flying past FASTER than ever. And now I KNOW I am right!

It's Shoebox Appeal time again.  Seems about three months since I was making items to put in my 2015 Shoebox. We have the service on 6th November when people bring their Shoeboxes to church and they are put at the front by the communion rail, creating a marvellous display of Christmas paper-wrapped shoeboxes. It is a wall of colour.

As usual I am filling my box with little gifts suitable for  2-4 years old girl.
I have made a patchwork tote bag, a little quilt for the teddy I bought and a knitted beanie.
Tomorrow I will go to the shops to buy the other items: toothbrush, soap, toothpaste, crayoning things, little gifts like a ball etc.  I love collecting them together and am always surprised how much can be fitted into a shoebox. There are strict rules about what the boxes can contain and after the service we have a team of ladies who go through each box, methodically checking that everything is "allowed". Next day they are taken to a local centre where they are all checked again by another team of people before they are loaded onto trucks to be despatched to various countries ready to be given to the children in time for Christmas.  It is a huge operation and everyone involved is a volunteer.

Sorry, somehow this photo has turned sideways and I don't know how to turn it around!

Off to read through the Shoebox list if "Allowed items".

Sunday, 9 October 2016

What a small world!

Yesterday I visited the Trinity Quilters Show in Sutton Coldfield.
The Show happens every 2 years and this was their 10th Show.

I immediately met an old friend, Marion.  We originally got to know each other about 14 years ago when we were both Quilt Angels at the Festival of Quilts Show in Birmingham. Then we met every year, even after we both stopped volunteering as Quilt Angels.  However, we have rather lost touch over the past couple of years - but, as I had hoped, there was Marion, taking ticket money at the Trinity Quilters Show. Marion has been involved with the group for many years, perhaps even since their inception 20 years ago. It was so lovely to see her, catch up on news and so on.

I thoroughly enjoyed looking round the Show.  Lots of lovely quilts all made by members of the group.  A table of cushions, another of bags of various kinds and a display of premature baby quilts which will be donated to Project Linus.  The baby quilts were this year's Chairman's Challenge idea.  Other years the Challenge has been small wall hangings with different themes. I thought making Linus Quilts was an excellent idea. The local Project Linus branch had a display table there too, with examples of simple and colourful children's quilts, patterns and two ladies who were so interesting to talk to.  I discovered that this group has gifted over 17,500 Linus quilts since they started (6 years ago, I think).  Isn't that an amazing total?

Here's my favourite Chairman's Challenge Quilt:
And a close up:

Coincidentally, my Patchwork Group is having a Linus Day in a couple of weeks time when we will make some premature baby quilts which we will gift directly to our local hospital. Various members in our group - including me - have donated quilts to the hospital before.  I think I may try to make a quilt like the Funky Cat quilt shown above.  I have lots of novelty fabrics which would be great in a quilt like this. Dimensions are small: 15" x 18" so they are quick to make.

Now a few of my favourite quilts from the Show:

This Japanese Applique Quilt was beautifully made, including such a lot of detail as you can see by this close up of one of the blocks:
Another Japanese style quilt also caught my eye:

An amazing Hexagon Quilt - the hexis were very small!

A cute baby quilt - I loved those teddies:
And a close up:

A large Red and White quilt with redwork blocks featuring different African animals:
And the quilt I voted for in the Visitor's Choice:
This was a beautiful Art Quilt entitled Marjorelle Gardens.  Made by a very well known UK quilter, Pauline Barnes who is also a member of Trinity Quilters.
Her programme notes said: Bamboo, Benganvillea and Waterlilies. Beautiful gardens in Marrakech which were created by the artist Jacques Majorelle who gave his name to the vivid blue colour with which he painted his studio.
It is the most beautiful blue and the quilt was exquisite.
There was a lovely quilt with sheep and borders made from snippets of Kiwiana fabrics.
I had noted it and then got chatting to the steward on duty only to find she had made the sheep quilt which she called New Zealand Lunch.
Her youngest daughter lives in NZ, in Nelson which is very near our house.  During our conversation I discovered that her daughter and husband own a restaurant (he is also the chef).  My husband and I know this restaurant very well, eating there each time we are in NZ. In fact for the last few years we have our last evening meal there as we stay overnight in a nearby motel which is handy for the very early morning taxi ride to Nelson Airport next day as we begin our long trip home.

So, what a Small World!  Here's the quilt that started my discovery:



Thursday, 29 September 2016

Groovy Movers for Oliver

I have finished another baby quilt!
This time a commission one for Oliver born on 12th September.

My friend wanted the baby's name on the front and as it was a last minute request I made a fairly simple design using some already-made crumb blocks alternately arranged with 4" squares of various coordinating fabrics.

A few weeks ago one of the Quilt shops which emails me had a sale of some children-type fabrics and I bought 3 metres of several of them to use mostly as backing fabrics. One was a lovely robot fabric, depicting some great funky robots with amusing expressions.

Here's the finished quilt:

As you can see I used the robot fabric for the borders and the backing.

The quilt measures 32" x 38".
The title "Groovy Movers" was an idea suggested by my Patchwork Group.  One of member's son's removal business is called "Groovy Movers' and the dancing robots reminded them of this name.

A close up of some of the blocks:
I mostly machine quilted this quilt, hand blanket stitched the appliqued letters and stars and hand quilted around them.
This quilt was really fun to make, quick to put together and I am pleased with the  result.  The robots really make me want to smile.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Look what I found

This afternoon I decided to sort out the cupboard where I keep Finished and Unfinished projects plus yarn, some batting etc.  Only way to do this is to get everything out and spread out on the floor.

Here are the quilts ready to gift for the next few babies (as yet unknown!)
1.  Finished Fairy Lights Quilt completed in October 2014.
2.  Two latest Baby Girl finished quilts:
3. Applique Overall Bill and Fish quilt from September 2006 entitled "Little Boy Fishing".
4. Crochet baby rug made in December 2014
5. Two knitted Premature baby hats:
There was the lovely lap sized quilt that I won in a Raffle at a Quilt Show in New Zealand back in January:

I am going to keep this on hand in the room that my granddaughter has at our house. She loves wrapping herself in a quilt to read and watch TV so it will be nice for her to have a choice of quilts for her "down time".

Then an unfinished Sampler Quilt which I am ashamed to say goes back to the very first project I started back in September 1997 when I began my Quilting Journey.  The Group I joined  (and still VERY happily a member of) was learning how to make a Sampler Quilt.  So I joined in too, making the demonstrated block each week.  They were made as QAYG blocks.  I managed the blocks very well but found it very difficult to join them together.  By then I had fallen out of love with my colour choices, they looked fairly uninspiring to me by this stage and the project was hidden away in a bag in the cupboard.  In fact over the past 19 years it has lived in several cupboards in my house!  It probably wouldn't take me too long to finish this quilt but I still can't summon up much enthusiasm.
It would probably be a good one to finish for Siblings Together.  We'll see. For the moment it has been put back in the cupboard.  Poor quilt!

Here are some of the strips:

There were also several packs of completed blocks which really should be sewn up into quilts  .....  again for Siblings Together?  Another "We'll see"!

And then, a most exciting find! A partly completed Spider web Quilt:

My Patchwork Group decided to make a quilt for Sarah, one of our members. Several people had not seen this style of quilt before so I made some blocks showing various stages to talk people through how to make them.  Once the demonstration was over those blocks got put away and eventually out they came again ( following another of my Sort Outs, I guess) back in November 2015 when I decided to participate in Jo's Country Junction UFO Challenge. 
Well the quilt got to the stage shown in the photograph above: several of the blocks already hand quilted in Perle thread and then somehow got forgotten about.
I was really thrilled to find this quilt - I had completely forgotten about it - and my intention is to finish it once the two baby boy quilts I am currently working on are finished.  Then I will put it on our granddaughter's bed at our house.
There's also an unfinished tote bag which again wouldn't take me long to complete and could perhaps be a Christmas gift.
I have enjoyed finding these UFOs and hope to show you some finishes in the not too distant future.  Of course there are other UFOs lurking in other drawers in my Sewing Room but I don't think I'll investigate those today!!