Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Two finishes - Twin Quilts

I've been working hard on finishing these two baby quilts. 
The one on the left is "Sailing By" and the one on the right is called "Zooming Along" as it features rockets, planets and cute little space robots. 
I'm really pleased with them both. I machine quilted along the sashing and  hand quilted around the blocks.
Both backings and bindings came from stash so I didn't have to buy much new fabric for these projects. I have used quite a bit of stash this year which feels good.

Tomorrow I'm going to embroider labels for them -  minus baby name and date of birth as babies have yet to be born!

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

So many projects.... like juggling plates!

I always have several projects on the go ( plus those UFOs lurking in the cupboard of course) But at the moment there are more than ever that have deadlines.

Four baby quilts, two of which need to be ready by the beginning of December when twin boys are due in The Netherlands. Two more need to be ready for me to take to New Zealand at the very beginning of January. One I know is for a boy, the other the parents have chosen not to find out until baby is born. Really I need to take two for that baby, one for a boy and one for a girl.

One Dutch baby quilt is finished, the second one has the binding on and tomorrow I'll slip stitch the back at my Patchwork Group.

I have completed a flimsy for a girl quilt and I have a plan and have a bit cut out for the NZ boy one.  So, it's a matter of ploughing on with the quilts.

Then  I am knitting angels! My church has asked for a simple knitted angel (pattern and wool provided) as we are hoping to have lots and lots which will have a tag tied around the neck and will be secretly left all over our town in the run up to Christmas.  Whoever finds one can take it home and enjoy the Christmas message on its tag.  That's the idea anyway, we haven't done this before. They have to be done by 9th December. I have knitted four so far, two of which have been sewn up and are ready to be gifted. I hope to make a few more before the deadline as they are quite quick to make.

This year I have taken part in the Sunshine Guild blocks for charities. As the blocks are sent to the USA the postage is rather prohibitive so I decided to send two or three months of blocks in one packet. For what I feel is a reasonable amount of postage for me to pay I can send 10 blocks in one little packet.  So today I posted 4 "Brights" for October, 3 "Fall" blocks for November and 3 "Potluck" ones for December.
                                                               October blocks

                                                                   November blocks

                                                              December blocks

A very grey day here, rain too so I'm afraid the blocks all look too dark.
The centre square of each of the Potluck blocks is one of the string blocks I made a few weeks ago.
I just have one String square left now. Nice to turn those gifted scraps into finished projects straight away.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Trio of small String Quilts

I used all those vibrant gifted 0.75" strings to make 20 x 4" String blocks.
I used many of them to make 3 small String Quilts.
One measuring 14" square which is intended for the lilac teddy which is going into my Christmas 2018 Shoebox Appeal.
The second one measures 14" x 18.5" which I'll give to our local hospital's Premature Baby Unit.
The third measuring 18.5" x 23" which will be gifted to 2 year old Libby when her expected baby brother/sister arrives towards the end of January.
And I still have a few left which I will probably include in Sunshine Quilt blocks.
Oh I do enjoy using scraps!

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Lest we forget



Yesterday my husband and I visited the most wonderful Exhibition of Poppies commemorating the end of WW1 which is being held at St Mary's Church, Warwick. Over 11,000 Warwickshire men were killed in the dreadful war and a couple of years ago 4 couples from St Mary's suggested to the  vicar that the men should be remembered and  hounoured for Remembrance Day 2018. They put out articles, messages through Facebook, contacted local organisations etc and the word spread far and wide. Knitted, crocheted, crafted poppies were sent in from all over the world, including South 
Africa and Australia. 80 poppies were sent from Warwick in Queensland, Australia as apparently the town was named after people from Warwick UK who went to Queensland to settle. The original idea was to create an exhibition containing the same number of poppies as there were Warwickshire lives lost. When the exhibition was put up a week or so ago the team counted over 60, 000 poppies! We managed to speak to one of the ladies who was one of the eight who had the idea and she said everyday more and more poppies were arriving. She was holding three beautifully made poppies with leaves attached which had just be handed to her. The work involved in making the  poppies, the unbelievable effort made to create the displays is mind blowing. There is a whole section of work done by children, schools, Brownies, Cubs etc. 
Displays featuring poems are also included, some I knew like "Do not stand at my grave and weep" and a most moving poem (new to me) called "Naming the parts" by Henry Reed. This was actually written in WW2 in 1942 but is very apt for this exhibition. If you live near or can visit Warwick I can't recommend this marvellous Exhibition enough. We will certainly go again. The length of time the Exhibition is being held has been extend until after Christmas. Thank goodness, after the mammoth task of putting it all together!

I never cease to be amazed at the ideas people have and their expertise in putting them into practice.

But above all I am humbled by the loss of life caused by this war. How can we ever thank those men for laying down their lives?

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Sailing By, a finished baby quilt

I am making a few baby quilts for babies due in December and January.
This is the first for a pair of boy twins due to be born in The Netherlands in December.
Most of the fabrics came from stash including the lovely seaside themed backing which I bought last year at The Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. I bought a pack of 4" squares mainly for the little boats and also the under the sea fabric was bought especially for this quilt so I could create a Nautical themed quilt. The Dutch have always been known for their sailing abilities so I thought it was apt.
The finished quilt measures 48" x 38".

Sunday, 21 October 2018

The Magic of Leftovers

When I am sewing I love to use every scrap of fabric and when I'm cooking I like to make use of those food leftovers.
Last night's dinner was one of those Magic Leftovers meals.

A couple of days ago I cooked up a batch of beef mince as our granddaughter was eating with us. She doesn't like spiced food so I kept one portion separate for her and added diced courgettes and chilli flakes to the rest. Served with pasta tubes and of course I cooked far too much pasta. We had two meals from that and I had a portion of mince and cooked pasta left over. So last night I stir fried thin strips of courgette and parsnip in olive oil, added salt, pepper and a sprinkling of cumin. When the veggies had begun to soften I added the cooked pasta, stirring all the time until the pasta was reheated, then added lots of baby spinach, again stirring until the spinach had wilted slightly. Whilst this was happening I reheated the mince and the result was a really delicious meal.

Don't usually take photos of food but did last night as a reminder for myself. I'll certainly make this again - my husband would be happy to have it again this evening! 

Isn't it great to use up those leftovers straight away?

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Attic24 style crochet gifts

I love reading the blog called Attic24 and recently saw some crochet covered coat hangers she had made. 
Of courseI had to try making some, sent off for a set of 10 coat hangers from Amazon and have now made 5 to give as little presents.

I didn't add the green leaves that were in the tutorial as my crocheting skills aren't too great but I love them with just the flowers.

I gifted one today as part of a birthday gift to one of my Patchwork friends. She loves doing crochet projects herself so I hope she likes her new coat hanger.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Beautiful gifted scraps, saturated colour!

My Patchwork friends know I adore bright  colours and scraps! I wasn't able to attend my Monday Group but three bags of scraps were passed onto me from one of those members a couple of days later. This bag of narrow strips, around 0.75" wide particularly excited me. What stunning colours!, I think they may be  Kaffe Fassett fabrics and I was eager to jump into them. This afternoon I felt I needed some sewing therapy so disappeared into my Sewing Room and sewed up 4.5" strip blocks using squares cut from telephone directory pages for a basis. I used small triangles from another of the bag of scraps for the last piece of each end of the strippy square. I'm thrilled with these colourful blocks, trimmed and ready for me to de-paper this evening whilst I watch Strictly Come Dancing Results on TV. I have three different projects in mind for using these little blocks and have a few more strips left to make a few more blocks.

The saying "Small things please simple minds" springs to mind but I'm a happy bunny after a couple of hours sewing and trimming!

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Windfalls, foraging and thrifting

I always enjoy finding ways of thrifting and I found a few windfalls in our garden from our apple tree. Only one branch fruited this year,very high up so windfalls are our only crop! A neighbour's tree drops windfalls over the path so these are the combined fruits. 
In the bag are lots  collected from another tree on the roadside near our house. I've now stewed them,

Some eaten with the foraged blackberries, picked with our granddaughter a few weeks ago, the rest bagged in the freezer for future enjoyment. 

Thursday, 20 September 2018

A forgotten quilt,now called Flying High

Our daughter's friend had a third son at the beginning of the month and as I gifted quilts to her other two babies I needed to make a quilt for Number 3. Before I started to make a new quilt I thought I would have a look through my stash of finished Quilts and found a little beauty which I have called Flying High. I remember buying the aeroplane fabric at the Festival of Quilts some years ago but have no idea when I made this baby quilt. I looked through my Flickr page as I use this as a record of my quilts and other craft projects. But it seems as though I didn't photograph it either so I still don't know when it was made. However I think it's great for baby Auden so I will be mailing it to him and his proud Mummy and Daddy tomorrow.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

My Fidget Quilt is finished

Earlier in the year the organiser of  my Patchwork Group brought to our attention an article about 
Fidget Quilts which help people suffering from dementia. She suggested that we tried to make some and members contributed orphan blocks, zips, beads, buttons, fleece and so on for us to add to our stashes.
I actually found this difficult but here's my finished offering. Backed with a lovely blue fleece, lots to
do and feel and look at. I crocheted  the orange rose using a You Tube video, bought little teddy from Oxfam, used a plastic coated ladybird square I had had in my stash for ages - a  nice  shiny "feely" square. A heart from a stiff net-like piece on top of a contrast fabric.

Little teddy is on a ribbon, press stud fastening so he can be taken off when the quilt is washed. The button to cover the stitching was chosen by my granddaughter.

In the end I'm happy with the result.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

RSC18 - using the blues

RSC18 colour for September is Dark blue.
After I finished trimming my Ticky Tacky houses yesterday I had a few minutes to spare before I needed to make dinner so I decided to add a few more Roman Stripe blocks to my stash. This is another Cathy inspired block. I have a handful of cream solids cut to the right size and a biscuit tin of 1.5" squares stashed in colour piles so it was only a minute's job to sort out the dark blues. I had enough for 4 blocks. Now have a total of 39 Roman Stripe blocks.

Linking with RSC18 

Ticky Tacky houses inspired by Cathy

A few Ticky Tacky houses like the ones I admired on Cathy's blog: Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting.

I had both the Easy Angle and Companion Angle rulers which I have never used. I know Cathy uses special rulers to cut triangles from more friendly-sized strips, for instance 2" rather than weird  sizes involving eighths inches so I followed Bonnie Hunter's YouTube tutorial and managed OK.
Not all exactly the same size but that's OK. I can use them somehow in future projects. I was raring to try them out. I love little Scrappy houses, and these remind me of the work of Gwen Marston and Freddie Moran whom I've always admired.

Thanks for the idea, Cathy๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

Friday, 31 August 2018

Delving into my stash

Since tidying my sewing room and stash I reacquainted myself with some of  my fabrics and decided to cut into them for my August and September Sunshine Guild blocks. Some were paired with scraps too. The 4 blocks pictured above are my August blocks: theme was "Boyish".

These are my 6 September blocks: theme is 4 patch. Mostly new fabric here except for the rows of Dutch people which has been in my stash for so long I really don't know who gave it to me. Some left too so the fabric may be used in future blocks.

In between I have been sewing a 4" Crumb block to a 4" square of fabric. These will eventually be sewn into fours and into little Premature baby quilts for our local hospital.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

A Quilting Puzzle

Four picture clues: can you guess which quilt I am making?
Other clues: the quilt is from a book by one of my favourite quilters/bloggers, mentioned very recently on my blog.
I'm having fun making all the little units and hope to start putting the parts together into blocks. I'm only making 20 blocks, the actual pattern makes a much larger quilt.

So, can you guess whose pattern this is and can you work out the name of the quilt?


Friday, 17 August 2018

Finally finished, an outstanding UFO!


I started this little Premature Baby quilt last year - on 19th November, according to my blog. Using scraps gifted by a Quilting friend ( I still have more left, squirreled away somewhere).
It went into a cupboard as a flimsy and finally saw the light of day last week. Years ago the same friend gave me two pieces of baby -style fabrics which have also been waiting to be used. I thought this yellow and blue one was just right for the bright diagonal rectangles of the design. 

I hand stitched using various colours of Perle cottons and feel pleased with the result. I now need to make a few more of these small ( 15" x 20" ) Quilts so I can take them to our local Maternity Unit.
Heavens knows I have enough scraps and pieces of batting!

Monday, 13 August 2018

Glitter Quilt inspiration

I spotted this quilt at the Festival of Quilts. It was made by Regina Maier from Berlin, Germany. 
She called it "Twinkling" and the quilt certainly twinkled, full of lovely scraps which Regina had lovingly sewed using the EPP method. The quilt is from a pattern called "Glitter" by Jen Kingwell. Regina made the quilt using a variety of fabrics, including many from old clothes worn by family and friends. What a lovely idea for a Memory Quilt.

A Close up to show the blocks in greater detail. Each one made from different fabrics ( I think, I haven't studied it in such great detail).

I have seen this quilt on two blogs I follow:
Cathy of Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting finished her version earlier this year, a truly scrappy one.
Wendy of Wendy's Quilts and more is in the process of making hers but using a restricted colour palette, greys and lime greens I think I remember.

Cathy lives in the USA, Wendy in New Zealand and Regina in Germany - that quilt pattern has certainly circled the globe! I think that's one of the facets about quilting that appeals to me, the worldwide friendship and inspiration from other quilters who you will likely never meet but their work catches your eye and inspires you to do more sewing.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

2018 Festival of Quilts spark memories

The winner of the Art Quilts Section at this year's Festival of Quilts was this amazing quilt made by Jean McClean from Blenheim, New Zealand.
It's title  "And the sky danced "was so apt. Jean was depicting The Aurora which she says "is an amazing and exciting demonstration of raw energy as well as being incredibly beautiful ".
Having spent much time in New Zealand over the past 20 years this quilt really spoke to me, reminding me of so many memories, many of them actually in Blenheim. Congratulations, Jean!

In the Pictorial Quilts Section this quilt of an Indian Chief really caught my eye. The detail and the dynamic appearance of the Chief was wonderful. Made by Adricina Brianes Calleja from Spain.
Again, lots of memories were stirred - this time of a visit almost 20 years ago - to a Hopi Mesa in Arizona.

This little quilt in the Miniatures Quilt Section really called to me. Entitled "Memories of the Farne Islands" by Judith Bevor, UK. We lived in Northumberland for ten years and visited the Farne  Islands on several occasions. Visits in Spring are particularly exciting when the birds are nesting but puffins are gorgeous at every part of the year. This little quilt beautiful showed the bright colours of those funny birds.

On Thursday I visited the Festival with my sister and she immediately spotted this quilt was of Amsterdam. And of course it was, made by Juliana Teixeira and Isobel McBay from Wick in Scotland in the Two Person Quilts Category. Very cleverly and precisely made. My sister and I and our husbands spent a lovely few days together in Amsterdam back in 2014 so again a quilt evoked
some happy memories.
As we were  admiring the quilt three ladies approached us and very proudly told us the quilt was made by friends from their Guild. The three friends were staying for all four days of the Festival having flown all the way down from Wick.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

I met Bonnie Hunter!

I am fortunate to live very near the NEC, Birmingham where the Festival of Quilts is held each year.
Two years ago I knew (through reading Bonnie's blog) that she would be visiting the Festival as part of her UK trip. I hoped I would spot her in the crowd of visitors so I could say Hello. Of course that didn't happen and I was disappointed.

So when I watched Bonnie's recent QuiltCam and knew she would be signing books yesterday afternoon I was sure to be there armed with my two books: String Fling that I bought a few years ago and More Adventures with Leaders and Enders which I bought at the Show yesterday in readiness. So, at last, after all those years following her blog I actually managed to meet her in person and I wasn't disappointed. Bonnie is as bright, bubbly and friendly as she appears in her blog and on her QuiltCams.

I told her that even my husband recognises her voice as he's heard it emanating from my iPad so many times! She laughed.
And here are my signed books. I'm now all fired up to make one of the patterns from my new book: 
Four-Patch X. I have quite a lot of 2" squares already cut but will need to go through my scraps to cut some more.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Funny little Unicorn

My 8 year old granddaughter has been asking me to knit her a Unicorn. Apparently Unicorns are the favourite toy at the moment, not sure why, hard sell by Disney, Toy manufacturers? I don't know.
I haven't knitted a toy for years so wasn't very excited by the thought of making a Unicorn. However I found a pattern on the Internet and knitted up the pieces very quickly. Some very weird shaped pieces. I found sewing it up difficult, not sure I was interpreting the instructions properly. Anyway, this is the funny little Unicorn I created.
Giving it to GD tomorrow, hope she likes him  - the jury's out for me!

Saturday, 28 July 2018

An afternoon spent sewing

I haven't done any sewing for a long time. Here in the UK, most unusually for us, we have had a prolonged heatwave, drought and high humidity. Most uncomfortable and draining. I normally like sunny weather but the last few weeks have made me very lethargic and I've had no desire to sit cooped up in my sewing room.

The forecasters have been promising rain for the past few days and at 3pm this afternoon it arrived. Nice and steady, no thunderstorms, just what the gardens and reservoirs needed. Now 6pm and it's stopped!

However I took the opportunity to sew, nothing too tasking and have made a needle case for my Patchwork friend Val whose birthday is coming up soon. I'll add packets of pins and needles and some handcream too.

The pattern is one I've made lots of times before but I enjoyed my afternoon immensely.

This summer has been compared with 1976, the last major heatwave we had - one I remember very well as I was pregnant with our second child and we moved house on 20th August that year. I can still vividly remember packing boxes, cleaning cupboards, watching our 2 year old son and dripping with sweat! 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

It's a finish!

I have repaired the quilt I gifted to Catherine 17 years ago. Never done a repair to a quilt before so this was a steep learning curve.. ..... I started with replacing the worse block, a log cabin which had two badly sun-rotted logs and replaced it, sewing one seam on the machine, the other threes sides I hemmed into place.  I was lucky to find little strips of the original fabrics in my strip stash.

Two more repaired blocks. Fabric strips under the ricrac darned and hidden by pink ricrac. Herring bone stitch around the centre of the Star square hopefully supporting thinning fabrics and a flower to cover the worst bit.
I gave the quilt a good wash on a gentle machine wash and dried on the line overnight when it was cooler. I didn't want it in the direct sun!

So, fingers crossed it works. And fingers crossed England wins their World Cup match tonight!!!