Monday, 11 December 2017

Square Dance moves forward

I have had very little time to sew but I have managed to put together the blocks, sashings and cornerstones of my UFO Square Dance quilt. I now have a flimsy, just have to add a white border all round.

I also made these 4 Patch blocks using 1.5" scrap squares as a Leader and Ended project.
Adding them to a slowly growing stash of these small blocks.

Adding Square Dance to Angela's So Scrappy blog.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Snow, more snow, still snowing!

What a weekend we're having. Yesterday we visited my brother-in-law, an hour and a half's drive south.  Weather very cold, just managed to creep up to 1C as the day wore on.  Snow had been forecast for various parts of the country including our county of Warwickshire which was due to happen on Sunday.

When we got home mid afternoon I realised the house was cold and all the radiators for the central heating were cold.  Rang the Gas Board who said they would try to send out an engineer before 10pm.  If not it would be the next day, Sunday.  We were classed as an emergency because we are both seniors and I have health issues. Before we got too cold we layered up: I wore warm trousers, a jumper, thick zipped cardigan, my thick winter dressing gown, woolly hat, big pashmina-style scarf, 2 pairs of socks, sitting on my recliner armchair covered with two lap quilts. I have to say I was as warm as toast. My husband was similarly attired, although he drew the line at the winter dressing gown!!!Two hot water bottles put in our bed, added an extra duvet and two quilts.  No engineer appeared so we decided to go to bed.  Just switched off the light when the guy arrived, just after 10.30pm.  Great chap, sorted out the problem, some electronic failure so he had to replace a large electronic board.  All done in 40 minutes and our radiators started to warm through our very cold house. Marvellous. The engineer said he still had two more call outs before he finished his shift.

Then we woke up this morning, very snug, but when we looked outside it was snowing and we already had a couple of inches. It has continued to snow all morning, now almost lunchtime and around 4" now I would think.

Photos taken at 8am from our lounge window of our back garden:

Apologies for the big white light - some weird reflection from a street light in the alley that runs along the length of our property.

And lastly, Teddy (who doesn't like snow either), snuggling under his quilt!


Friday, 8 December 2017

Jolly Santa decoration

A couple of years ago I received a Jolly Santa Christmas tree decoration from my bloggy friend Jo in Australia.

The other day she posted about some more Jolly Santas she had shown her Quilting Group how to make.  I had just decorated our tree with our GD so the crochet Santa was fresh in mind.
I left a comment on her post saying I would have to try to figure out how to make some myself.
Next day Jo kindly emailed me the pattern! What a lovely friend.

So yesterday I made one.  And here he is:

I'm really pleased with my first attempt. Jo and her group used Googly eyes and a little pompom nose but I just used what I had to hand - including a little bell which I had kept from a Lindt chocolate Easter Rabbit.  I'm going to give this to GD for their tree and make a few more for friends and family.

A few days ago, when I was hand quilting my current project, my Twinkler quilt, the end of the needle went straight through the top of my thimble!  I have had it for many, many years so I can't complain.  Yesterday  a few of my Patchwork Group visited a Quilt shop so I was able to buy a new thimble.  They didn't have the same design but did have one with the ridge around the top that I like, but the part that fits on my finger is rubber.  I tried it out last night and it's great.  The rubber really holds it well on my finger and it fits beautifully.

Old and new, side by side, ready for action this evening.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Learning to Square Dance with an old UFO

1st December today, so firstly, welcome to the season of Advent.
Our granddaughter stayed overnight with us last night and was very excited to open the first window in her Advent Calendar after breakfast this morning.  She also enjoyed eating the chocolate she found behind the window.  I was pleased to find a traditional calendar which tells the Nativity Story day by day as the windows are opened.  We are lucky to have a shop/café in town which is run by the churches in the town.  It sells Fair Trade gifts and greetings cards and at this time of year Christmas cards, calendars and Advent Calendars.

We had a very Christmassy start to the day, opening the curtains to a light dusting of snow, a little like icing sugar on top of mince tarts. After I had done the school run when the temperature was 1C
I decided I wasn't up for housework so did some sewing instead. Ages ago I re-found a very old UFO, so old I cannot remember how many years ago it was begun.  This was obviously the second time it had been found because I had pinned a couple of notes to it saying it needed 3 more blocks and it helpfully had a sticky label telling me the name of the quilt-to-be was Square Dance. There were also 2" x 9.5" strips which I needed to make the extra blocks.  Then I laid them out in a 4 x 5 arrangement, finding four blocks were "the wrong way round". The block is made from putting 2 strip blocks (one from lighter fabrics, the other from darker) RST, sewing like an HST to form 2 blocks like these:

These are the blocks I rejected because all the others have the light and dark the other way about.  So I will turn these into 12.5" QAYG blocks for Alison's Soy Amardo Project.  They only need a colourful border to make them large enough as these blocks finish at 9".

When I found the UFO for the second time I had obviously miscounted the blocks as there were 24 and I only needed 20 for this arrangement.

I am partway through sewing the pieces together but needed a break so I thought I could write a blogpost to show my progress so far:

It's getting dark now, so this photo was taken in the electric light and the colours look washed out.
I'll try to take a better picture in daylight tomorrow.

Back to the sewing machine for another hour's sewing before I prepare our evening meal.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Hurrah! A Flower basket block!

I have been admiring Cathy's Flower basket blocks for quite a while (Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting blog).  She turns out these beautifully bright and various blocks as easy as cutting out circles of pastry to make jam tarts!  I have been wanting to try to make one, studied the blog and had a go.  Really difficult because although I got something similar I only achieved it with a lot of trimming and fiddling around - and I knew it wasn't right.

So, an email to dear Cathy and she directed me to a couple of tutorials.  I used this one:

Had a go this afternoon:

As I mentioned in my previous post about the scrap triangles I turned into rectangular blocks to make a Premature baby quilt, I have real problems with spatial awareness and this block has really tested me.  I had already done a bit of seam ripping when I thought I had cracked it. Took a photo, started this block post and then when I added the photo I realised it was wrong again! At this point our son-in-law arrived to watch a football match on TV with my husband. He immediately spotted the mistake and said "your daughter has the same problem". Well she doesn't quilt and I didn't know but she also obviously struggles seeing how things fit.  So I ripped it out again, rejiggled the pieces, sewed it up, pressed it ....................and I had put it in wrongly again ( a different kind of wrongly!).  More ripping out, another press, another photo and I think it's OK now.
Just taken me all afternoon.
Here's the first block I did, made up by yours truly:
I'm adding this post to Angela's So Scrappy RSC blog post.  It is made from scraps and I wouldn't have made it if I hadn't spotted Cathy's blocks on the RSC site so I think it qualifies.
Just going to lie down in a darkened room!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Two flimsies: UFO Mr Scarecrow and wedges

I started a medallion-style quilt based on a Scarecrow printed figure back on 1st August 2013.
I worked on it and then set it aside - for a LONG time!  It's recently appeared at the top of the pile and today I finished my flimsy.

The last pieced border was very recently added, consisting of RSC 2017 4 patches made into square in a square blocks. All made from scraps. I had to make extra 4 patches from green and yellow 1.5' squares as I didn't have enough brown ones. The outer border is a plain cream Egyptian cotton cut at 3.5".

Some close-ups:

I really like the 4 Patch border.

Yesterday I showed the wedge shaped scraps I had been given.  Today I combined an idea I had with a comment from Cathy (Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting blog) and came up with this Premature baby sized flimsy:

I paired solid and patterned wedges, made a template 2.5' x 5.5" and cut them all to the same size.
Played around for a while: a couple of ideas didn't look right but I finally came up with this placement.
I found this a challenge due to my difficulty with special awareness. I wanted the "mountain peaks look" which I finally achieved but it was hard!  I have several finished pieces which are the wrong way round. Now in the orphan blocks pile.

However I happy with both flimsies.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

RSC 2017 Handquilting Twinkler Stars

Linking up with Angela's So Scrappy RSC 2017 to show the progress of my Twinkler Stars Quilt.


I am hand quilting a double row of fairly small Perle stitches around each star shape.
Pleased with the effect. I had already machine quilted either side of all the block joins so the quilt top is well anchored.  No rush to finish this quilt so I am enjoying stitching whilst watching television or at my Quilt Group meetings.

I have now been gifted 2 lots of wedge shaped scraps. The wedges come in pairs, a solid and a tone on tone pattern for each colour.  My friend Candy made yards and yards of pennant shaped bunting to decorate the reception area for her granddaughter's wedding last year.  She and her daughter are now turning the bunting into a quilt for Olivia.  So I have been given the scraps which are around 6" long, the wedge is approx. 3" (they differ slightly!) at the widest point of the wedge.  I don't want to leave them like this in a bag because I know they will just stay there forever.  I had wondered if I could arrange them into Dresden-style circles, but haven't tried playing yet. I would normally cut scraps into usable sized squares (1.5", 2", 2.5" ) but I would waste more than I would be using.
Any ideas on how best to use them? Suggestions would be very welcome!

Monday, 13 November 2017

Kaffe Fassett exhibition

I had a delightful day on Saturday, visiting a Kaffe Fassett exhibition held in a National Trust property called Mottisfont in Hampshire. My best friend Barbara lives fairly near Mottisfont and she had heard about the exhibition.  We have visited a KF exhibition together before and we both love his work, the super bright colours, the way he puts vivid pieces of fabric next to each other and so on.

So, my photos:

Loved this HST quilt, the blues were just beautiful!

Another lovely blue one. A simple design but the use of such lovely fabrics makes it special. Barbara's favourite, I think. I loved it too!
Another snowball-style design, this time in richer colours. Both colourways worked for both of us.
Loved this sign , the words printed directly onto the wall.  Kaffe was born in California but moved to the UK as a young man and our country has been his home ever since. I think this shows his love for his adopted country, why it appeals to him.

The centre of a very floral quilt, showcasing a particularly beautiful flower fabric - like a still life painting.
As he said in the previous sign, Kaffe is fascinated by fruits and vegetables.  They appear in a lot of his work, including this chair upholstered in his tapestry work.  Look at those lush fruits!

Probably my favourite quilt as it uses colours I love. Again, a simple design which shows off his gorgeous fabrics.

A close up of the centre:

Another of our favourites. There was such an amazing range of fabrics in this quilt, including some that almost appeared to jar with the rest of the colours ( look at the 8 pointy stars made from black & lime green stripes and mustard yellow) and the hot pink and turquoise ones ( the addition of the hot pink jumps out and somehow draws your eye to both the centre and the outer edges of the quilt).
The clever placement of stars and hexagons made your eye dart about, sometimes making you notice the stars more, sometimes the hexagons. We looked in detail at this quilt for a very long time!
As you can see one of Kaffe's roll necked cardigan designs was exhibited alongside the quilt.  There was a lot of his knitwear on show - again all using his signature bright colours.
And lastly, two photos of his Folk lore quilt, naïve style pictures and shapes appliqued onto a cream coloured background.

Lots and lots more of course but I couldn't photograph everything.

The exhibition was so well organised, displaying his work beautifully.
Groups of quilts, interspersed with knitwear, tapestry etc were displayed in a series of rooms.  One of the room guides told us that Kaffe had insisted each room was painted a colour he specified: so there was a sky blue room, a hot raspberry pink, a sunshine yellow and  a Spring green one. Wooden chairs in each room had also been painted to match the colour scheme of the room, although in a different shade to the wall colour. The original wall colour in each room was Britain's favourite - magnolia - and Kaffe said if the rooms weren't painted to his specification he wouldn't allow the exhibition to be staged.  How right he was, these marvellous pieces wouldn't have been able to shine to their best advantage. Clever man!
Barbara and I have struggled this year to see each other - it took until 11th November to make this happen. I had a special birthday at the end of May and Barbara brought my birthday present with her which I had to open before we went into the exhibition. She had gifted me Kaffe's lovely Autobiography "Dreaming in Colour".  A perfect start to a wonderful day.
I was then told the "back story" to the present. Barbara had been struggling to think of the right present to mark my birthday but when we decided some weeks ago to visit the exhibition at Mottisfort she researched Kaffe Fassett books. Because she knew I was such a fan she guessed I would probably already have at least one of his books so she phoned my husband to ask him to search my bookshelves.  Apparently this wasn't achieved easily because time after time she rang and I answered!  Eventually she managed to speak to John and he was able to search my bookshelves whilst I was out. Great story, makes the book even more special. I haven't started the book yet but have already enjoyed the super picture on the dust jacket: Kaffe sitting cross legged on one of his bright pink quilts, surrounded by colourful pots of plants, another bright pink quilt as a background and holding a bright pink flowered wreath.  Marvellous!


Sunday, 12 November 2017

Turning RSC 4 patches into blocks

I have turned last week's small brown 4 patches into Square in a square blocks.  I have been working on an old UFO and these will make a great border.

I used 2.5" stash squares for the outside triangles.

Linking with Angela's So Scrappy blog for RSC 2017

Sunday, 5 November 2017

RSC 2017 Using browns

This month's colour chosen by Angela on her So Scrappy blog is dark fabrics, brown and black.
I have very little of either colour but did make 4 x 5" strippy blocks and some 4 patches made from 1.5" squares.

I have also made a few 4 patches using pink, purple and orange:

Joining up with The RSC on So Scrappy blog.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Using new fabrics

The majority of quilts I make are Scrap Quilts so it is a fairly rare event for me to make a quilt almost entirely from new fabric.  But that is what I have been doing for the past few days.
I have been asked to make a quilt for a friend to gift to her sister's expected baby.  They know it will be a girl but didn't want anything too "pink and girly" so I have come up with this:

I haven't used tumblers in any of my designs before and I enjoyed making them.
The wide grey panel in the middle is where I will add the baby's name in large appliqued capital letters.

The colours haven't photographed very well, it's a dull grey November afternoon here.  In reality all the colours are more vibrant and contrast more.


Sunday, 22 October 2017

Pink Cornerstones

I make 4" Crumb blocks as Leaders and Enders.  They have been steadily building up in a tin for a while so I decided it was time to use them. I decided on making a 4 patch block and using white 100% Egyptian cotton as sashing with pretty flowered 2.5" cornerstones.  All from stash.  The Egyptian cotton is from a bundle I bought at the Festival of Quilts last year. Each bundle consists of pieces of white cotton, very long 6/7" strips or quite large pieces which I assume are off cuts from making bed linens.  Beautiful quality.

I started making the blocks a couple of weeks ago at my Patchwork Group but yesterday I really got stuck in and completed the top apart from the final border which I have done this afternoon. Although I had a tin full of Crumb blocks I still had to make an extra six to have enough to make 25 blocks.
The top finishes at 52" which will be a good size for a Siblings Together quilt.

Close up showing the sashing and cornerstones

I have seen a couple of ideas using 4 patch units made from 1.5" squares so made a few as Leaders and Enders as I constructed the quilt top.

Here's a lovely small scrappy pink star I discovered yesterday, hidden away amongst my Crumb blocks. I knew I had acquired it in a Swap and went through my Flickr page to find out its origin.  From Valerie in Canada, sent as a little extra in a Block swap I participated in back in February 2012!
As it's Pink month for Angela's So Scrappy RSC 2017 I thought I should include it. Really beautifully made.

And two more Roman Stripe blocks.

So a profitable weekend's sewing.  I have had a dreadful cold since Tuesday evening and spent a lot of time in bed feeling rotten but yesterday I really felt like sewing and it was great medicine!
Linking up with So Scrappy RSC 2017

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

64 x 1.5" pink squares = ?

64 squares sounds a lot, doesn't?  Not when you are talking about tiny 1.5" squares, especially when one block needs 49 of those 64!

So, Linking up with Angela's So Scrappy RSC blog to show you these 2 blocks:

And 2 more RSC blocks: a Blue 49 patch ( again 1.5" squares) and a Yellow 5" Strippy block:

Monday, 9 October 2017

RSC: Making a start on pink

Not much time for sewing at the moment but I did manage to make 4 Roman Stripe blocks yesterday afternoon. I had a pile of 1.5" pink squares already stacked together in my tin and a set of cream strips cut to the correct size.  So handy to have them ready for the odd few minutes of sewing time.

Linking up to Angela's So Scrappy Blog.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Ready for mailing

Yesterday I finished the 6 Soy Amado blocks I have been making for Alison at

Four made from gifted log cabins which I have enlarged to make the required 12.5" square finished blocks:

And 2 made from orphan blocks:

The first block with the appliqued hearts was a block leftover from a quilt I made last year for Siblings Together. I had to add a little extra cream fabric so that the blocks would be large enough and I experimented with some matchstick machine quilting down the centre panel. I echo hand quilted around the hearts with a variegated pink Perle thread.

The blue and cream block began with the centre square block.  I added extra borders, medallion style, hand quilted in the ditch and sewed a deep turquoise button in the centre.

I'll be mailing these to Guernsey tomorrow.