Sunday, 1 August 2021

Festival of Quilts 2021

 On Friday I went to visit the Festival of Quilts, held at the NEC, Birmingham UK.

Of course the Covid19 pandemic prevented a Show being held last year and I thought long and hard about whether I should attend this year’s event. However, I bought my ticket online and also the Show Guide. Both were posted out to me so I was able to read about the Show and plan my route around the Competition quilts, Galleries and Traders before I went. 

Everyone had to show a Covid vaccination certificate along with their ticket, social distancing was observed and masks were worn at all times. The Festival used an extra Hall this year, so there were 4 instead of the usual 3, one Hall entirely devoted to the Competition quilts so the aisles were wide. I knew less tickets were being released this year - 16,000 over the 4 days instead of 26,000 - but it was very quiet so I don’t think all the tickets were sold.  Fewer traders too. The big Sewing machine companies were there and the smaller traders but none of the big ones which come every year were there. I normally go two or three days but I’m glad I just bought the one ticket as I got around everything really quickly. Less to see and also no crowds to work around. Very few wheelchairs which always slow things up as people wriggle past them in the aisles. Only a minimum of food outlets compared to normal which was fine because I only stopped for coffee and cake mid morning and a hot chocolate just before I came home. I always take a packed lunch and this year there were lots of seats where you could eat picnics. Normally it’s difficult to find one! I remember one year when my sister came with me and we ended up sitting on the floor to eat our sandwiches!

Anyway, there were lots of lovely quilts, the majority were the more “Arty” ones, very few Traditional quilts. 

A few photos of quilts that caught my eye:

And this amazing 3D creation depicting Cornwall, both sides were different.

As you can see from that last photo there were very few people around.

Didn’t buy too much.

These were 5 scraps I bought for £1 including a couple of neutrals which I’m always short of.

Then 5 pieces from the Project Linus Stall, fabrics which had been donated. The blue one is a favourite - I bought a couple of metres of that a few years ago and it’s been very useful in Baby and child donation quilts.

And  2 x 2m remnants and a metre of solid mauve fabric for my stash. 

A good day and I’m glad I decided to attend. Hope by next year things will be a bit more back to normal.

Saturday, 31 July 2021

Christmas in July

 First of all, the RSC blocks I’ve made recently. Some Wonky stars and three Ticky Tacky houses.

Not much sewing in the last couple of weeks because I’ve finally had my Christmas present!

Back in November last year my husband asked what I would like for my Christmas present and I said a new sewing table as I have been using my son’s old desk for the last 24 years. Not ideal because the desk had drawers on the right and with the kneehole on the left it meant that my sewing machine was on the left of the desk and nowhere for my sewing to rest. Particularly difficult when I was machine quilting or sewing on binding when I had to balance the work on my knee to take the weight! I also decided to have two shelves put up on the wall above the sewing table and a set of shelves too. Our carpenter was too busy in the run up to Christmas and then another long Covid Lockdown and our carpenter became difficult to contact. Eventually the job was done on 21st July! Better late than never, I’m delighted with the result.

I spent a long time last weekend sorting out all the things I had taken out of the room ready for the carpenter to assemble everything. I sorted out all my RSC projects, putting them into labelled plastic  boxes which went onto my new shelving units.
Then I sorted out all my tins containing all sorts of bits and pieces and labelled all of those too. They went up onto the wall shelves. All my other equipment, plus rulers etc are in the drawers, all to hand when I’m sewing. 

In between I’ve been knitting. One of my quilting friends has a young friend who is training to become a midwife. She is at a hospital in London which has a lot of mothers living in deprived conditions, so the Maternity staff try to make up baby packages for the Mums to take home including baby clothes. They welcome hand knitted jackets, hats and little blankets so I’ve started knitting. I made this little cardigan and am now knitting a second one. I have lots of yarn so I’ll continue knitting until I run out.

Yesterday was a big day as I went to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC,Birmingham. Obviously there wasn’t a Show last year due to Covid so it was exciting to go yesterday. Lots of differences: 10, 000 less tickets on offer over the 4 days of the Show, an extra hall(which are like aircraft hangars), wider aisles, everyone had to wear a mask and observe social distancing and so on. Most of the larger traders didn’t attend which was a shame and there were not many people there either. I don’t think there were as many Competition quilts and all the Galleries were home grown people and collections, not the world wide variety we are used to. Glad I went but it was all rather surreal. Nice to have fewer people though as I was able to see the quilts easily, photograph the ones that particularly caught my eye and move around quickly so I covered the whole Show very easily. Other years I’ve gone two or three of the four days but one day was more than enough time to see everything. I didn’t make many purchases but I did buy two metres of this rainbow fabric which will be a useful backing for an RSC project.

I’ll write another post just on the Show as I have lots of photos to sort through.

Joining up with Angela’s So Scrappy blog for RSC 2021.

Sunday, 11 July 2021

Rainbow Beach huts finished

 Ever since I spotted Ticky Tacky houses on Cathy’s blog Sane Crazy Crumby Quilting I have made them like crazy, often each month in the RSC colour of the month, or at anytime using up odd scraps I had in the right dimensions. As a result I had a ton of them so looked around for ways to utilise some of them.

I regularly make Premature baby quilts for my local hospital so made a couple when it was purple month which I’ve already shown on a recent post. We have been asked if we could make some at 1m square which I believe they put over the top of the incubators so I used some rows of Ticky Tacky houses to make one.

I machine quilted in the lilac strips between the rows of houses and then hand quilted with Perle thread around alternate houses. 

The rows of houses reminded be of my favourite row of Beach huts at Southwold in Suffolk, so I am calling this quilt Rainbow Beach Huts.

A close up of some huts:

I’ve had a wonderful piece of rainbow fabric in my stash for quite a few years and I finally found exactly the right quilt to use this as backing. Not quite large enough so I added a strip of the lavender solid fabric I had used on the front of the quilt.

As I’ve been making a lot of quilts during the last16months of the pandemic and Lockdowns I needed to replenish some of the colours in my stash so I did a bit of retail therapy online. 

First quite a few pieces and a couple of FQs from the Fabric Guild, a company I’ve used several times. 

Then some spots and checks from a new-to-me company called Pastel Rose, recommended by my quilter friend Sarah.

The purple and green with tiny white spots I’ve bought before but can’t remember where I got them, so I was delighted to see them on Pastel Rose’s website. The purple is the same fabric that I used in the Rainbow Beach Huts so it’s great to have another piece in my stash. I’m contemplating getting some larger pieces of both of the spots fabrics and have a look to see if they have it in other colours too. A nice basic for my stash. 

Now off to watch the Wimbledon Men’s Final Game and then this evening the Euros Final between England and Italy. Spent the last two weeks watching tennis and football which is why not much sewing has happened here! Better chance next week?

Joining up with Angela’s Soscrappy blog for RSC 2021

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Purple Easy Breezy blocks

 Found a little time yesterday afternoon to make 7 Easy Breezy blocks. These blocks take longer to cut out than to sew up but I like making them.

As you can see I have very few purples to work with but I’m happy with the blocks I made.

Linking up to Angela’s So scrappy blog.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

Sewing purple in June

 I haven’t done much sewing this month as we have had a nice spell of weather so I’ve enjoyed sitting in the garden reading lots of library books. 

But I have made some RSC blocks using this month’s colour purple.

Firstly I was tempted to make some little Flower Baskets which I had seen on Cathy’s blog Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting. Cathy used 2” squares so I worked out how to make them using a cream background fabric, a purple square for the basket and various coloured waste triangles for the flowers and the base of the basket. I’ll add more blocks as the colours change in the coming months and probably continue into next year.

Then I made some more Wonky Stars - I never tire of making these.

And 4 Ticky Tacky houses.

I turned the two Premature baby quilts into fished quilts, measuring 15” x 20”.

I’ve read some books I saw mentioned on various Quilting blogs: 

This is set in WWl and I have the sequel to read too. A good story giving an insight into how soldiers tried to cope with horrific life changing wounds.

And these three:

Sorry this photo is sideways! 

Peter James and Peter May are both authors I enjoy and both books have topical themes. 

Dead at First Sight by Peter James deals with Internet Dating fraud, the story moving along at a page turning pace with a satisfactory ending.

Lockdown by Peter May is very topical as it deals with a pandemic. Apparently it was written before Covid as the author had done a lot of research on Bird flu and decided to base his next book on that theme. However, he had difficulty publishing it as it was thought to be too far fetched! It is surprisingly close to what our world has and is still dealing with during our current Covid Crisis.

Anne Tyler is a new (to me) author. She has written lots of books and I picked this one, A Patchwork Planet, for obvious reasons! I enjoyed it, she has an interesting writing style and her storyline appealed to me. I shall read more of her books, our library has lots more titles.

Joining up with Angela’s So Scrappy blog for RSC 2021.

Saturday, 29 May 2021

End of the reds

 Virtually no sewing here this week. 

But  managed to make a 49 patch square with my 1.5” red squares. Not enough of them left to make a second one. 

Made a Ticky Tacky house with a red roof.

And re-sewed two Strippy blocks which I discovered hadn’t been sewn well when I made up my last Strippy quilt. Trimmed down to 4.5” blocks for my Parts Department.

My birthday yesterday and I had a lovely day. Lots of cards, gifts, email messages and Jacquie Lawson electronic cards, phone calls and a couple of friends popped over for quick chats on the doorstep. In the evening my husband and I walked round to our daughter for an Indian takeaway meal. And Birthday Hugs! We had our first hugs from them last Sunday - the first ones for 14 months due to Covid restrictions. 

Linking up with Angela’s RSC 2021 on her So scrappy blog

Sunday, 16 May 2021

RSC Premature baby flimsies

 I’m continuing to use some of my RSC Ticky Tacky houses and have made two flimsies which will be donated to our local hospital. I understand they put them in the base of the cribs.

The little quilts will measure 15” X 20” when they are finished.

Joining up with Angela’s Soscrappy blog for RSC 2021.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

RSC Bringing in The Reds

 I never have a lot of red in my stash, even scraps, so I always struggle with the Red Month

However I treated myself to 3 red FQs from my LQS and during the week I made 10  Wonky Stars.

14 Easy Breezy blocks,

Looking at the photo I took of all the previous Easy Breezy blocks  I had made, I noticed two sewn together incorrectly so I rectified that:

I also knitted another baby cardigan using up yarn passed onto me and adding a little of my linen coloured yarn in stripes in the sleeves so I had enough to finish the cardigan. Buttons from my stash,  which were passed on to me by my daughter’s  ex colleague when her mother died.

This is going to Great niece Maggie.

Sunday, 2 May 2021

Ticky Tacky Houses flimsy

As part of my RSC blocks I have been making Ticky Tacky Houses, inspired by Cathy of Sane Crazy and Crumby fame.

My tin of these lovely quirky blocks was overflowing and I needed to start using some of them. The Patchwork Group I belong to makes little baby quilts for our local hospital. Our leader recently took in a batch and asked if there were other things we could donate. Yes, covers for incubators, approximately 1 metre square. So I decided to use some of my Ticky Tacky Houses and this is the flimsy I put together: 

Of course, as Leaders and Enders I made another couple of houses!

Linking up with Angela’s So Scrappy RSC blog.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Rounding up the Blues

 I have had a productive Blue month. Just made a total of everything I’ve sewn this month.

First of all, those already written about this month:

Blue Patches Cat Quilt 

Cool Strings Quilt

15 Wonky Stars 

12 Easy Breezy blocks

24 Ticky Tacky Houses (17 shown last week, 7 more made yesterday)

Underneath the latest Ticky Tacky houses are 2 piles of Pink and Green Easy Breezy blocks.

I discovered 8 cut out and kitted up Pink ones when I was looking for something else in my stash and then decided to cut out and make some green ones. Before I knew it I had 14 Green ones too.

Laid out all 34 blocks to see what they looked like together:

I can see the blocks will need some careful laying out eventually, those with strong deep coloured diagonal blocks will need to be placed in the same direction for a good effect.

And I also knitted another little cardigan for Seren, my 6 months old Great Niece.

The buttons came from my stash and were ones I inherited from either my Mother in law or her sister in law, Aunty Gertrude. Both were relatives on the same side of the family as Seren’s Mum, my niece Philippa, so it’s nice to keep the buttons“in the family”.

Linking up with Angela’s So Scrappy RSC 2021 blog.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Cool Strings Quilt - a finish

 I finished my Cool Strings Quilt this week. Measures 42” square, machine quilted either side of the rows and columns seams.

A close up of some of the string blocks:

And the backing, using one of the new backing fabrics I recently bought online, increasingly the width with a band of fabric which came from  quilting friend Helen after she downsized her stash.

This has gone into my cupboard until the right recipient comes along.

I added to my Ticky Tacky houses for the RSC 2021 Blue month :

17 blocks, all have some blue fabric,  some blocks more blue pieces than others.

Then a 49 patch block and 5 x 4.5” Crumb blocks, made from mostly blue fabric scraps.

Then I made a start on the Bonnie Hunter Easy Breezy blocks I had chosen as one of my blocks for this year’s RSC project. Quite a few pieces in these blocks but they went together extremely quickly. They take longer to cut than piece - for me anyway. 12 blocks in total.

But of course for my country this week has been all about HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh who sadly died  on 9th April, just a few weeks short of his 100th birthday. What an amazing man he was, a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather but most of all a great husband for our Queen. A love match which lasted 73 years. He was a very clever and talented man, having expertise in so many different fields which have formed the basis for many, many ideas that will outlive him.
One of his creations was the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme, for young people of any class, creed or colour. Both of our children took part and learned so many new things. Our son, Christopher was a Scout, attending the Jamboree in Seoul, South Korea when he was 16 years old. Christopher completed his Gold Award not long before he tragically died in a car accident at the age of 21, in February 1996. The local 
D of E organiser asked if we would like the Award to be made posthumously and we agreed. We were invited to St. James’s Palace in London a little while later and we had the honour of being presented with Christopher’s Gold Award by Prince Philip. We were taken to an anti room, away from all the other recipients and their families and had a private time with the Duke. He was so kind and thoughtful and made a point of speaking especially to our daughter who was just 19 at the time. We will never forget his kindness and hope he is now at peace and at rest after all his labours. God bless you, Prince Philip.

Adding to Angela’s Soscrappy RSC 2021 project.