Sunday, 21 December 2014

Red x and + quilt- Ta Da!

The problem with leaving too long between posts is knowing where to begin. So, I'm going to skip my holiday in Chile and Argentina in November and move straight on to sewing  and my latest finish ( and my first finish of Quarter 4 of FAL 2014). I seem to have lost my sewing mojo lately, maybe related to not being able to sew for 3 weeks whilst away and maybe related to preparing for Christmas. In an effort to try and rekindle some interest, I've signed up for the #ukminiswap and I'm in Donna's group . This is my mosaic:

I seem to be obsessed with circles at the moment but I've put in some alternative inspirations. There is also plenty of inspiration on my pinterest  board and Flickr.  I have enjoyed trying to find out more about my partner and thinking about what to make. It's a bit daunting however, as this is my first swap. Still, I've got plenty of time to prepare!
I've also arranged with Sue to take over her Amitie mystery BOM. I now have 3 envelopes of fabrics and patterns to be getting on with.  It's going to be fabulous, but at the moment I just don't have the wherewithal to get started.
When I came back from holiday, Annelise had turned up trumps and sent me some more of the thread I was missing which she had bought for me in Houston. So I was able to finish my Red x and + quilt .
The picture really doesn't do it any justice because it is really beautiful ( if I do say so myself!)
There is however one dodgy block, which I still used because I really didn't want to make another one:
If I'm completely honest, I don't mind the lime green quarter bock, it saves it all from being too matchy, matchy. I quilted it in  a very simplified version of one of Angela Walters pattern. The front is so busy, I didn't think it needed anything too fancy.

Quilt Stats
Size 76 x 85 inches
Front : x  and + plus blocks made by FQR bumbling Honeys and myself using and fat quarter bundle of Oakshott Ruby reds , fabric scraps in reds, greys and aquas with low volume fabric for the background.
Quilt back in extra wide botanics in grey
Binding in Kona cotton Pomegranate
Quilted in Superior Threads Fantastico ( red on red) on top and white So fine on the back.
This will be my one and only finish of this quarter. My original Q4 list is here:
Linking up with Katy FAL 2014
Finish Along 2014

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Scraptastic Tuesday and WIP's

Sewing has been a great distraction for me in the last few weeks. My niece's funeral was a week ago and that was obviously a very difficult time. Emotionally, I feel like I've been put through a wringer but it must be so much worse for her parents, siblings and of course her partner. Carlton, her son, can't express his feelings in the same way, but he isn't 'right' and will need a lot of help.
So I'm going to talk about my sewing which has helped me through all this.
Firstly, I started to quilt my red + and x quilt.

 I got about three quarters of the way through and ran out of thread-arghh!! It was a freebie variegated Fantastico thread from Cottonpatch, that they gave me when I was on a quilting course there.Unfortunately, it did not have a number on it that corresponded to any of the numbers on the Superior Threads website. I ordered what I thought was a match  from Cottonpatch but sadly it wasn't right. However, Liz  came to my rescue and arranged for someone who was going to Houston ( jealous, moi?) to see if they could pick me up a match. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. This has put paid to any more quilting until the thread arrives.

Instead of quilting, I decided to use up my blue scraps from my Medallion quilt to make another top. I had made tons of 4 patch blocks that I was going to use as a border but didn't like them in the end. I only had to make a few more to make this top:

I've been debating whether to make it any bigger ( it's 4ft x5ft) but I really can't be bothered, I want to move on to something else.
I also quickly ran up this pegbag for Madlen.

I used this tutorial but changed the opening ( using the opening on a box of Kleenex tissues as the template). The DS fabric ( deco weight ) was in a bundle of scraps that were given to me by the lovely Claudia at FQR 2013.

Since the clocks have gone back ( something I hate: why can't we just stay in British Summertime) ,I've also been working on a draught excluder for my French Doors. I started this about 2 years ago and it's been half finished in the cupboard ever since. Mr Hare has been making comments about how he'll have to make one, a not so veiled hint! I've made the inner bolster, just have to insert a zip and ends into this:

I bought a ruby red bundle of gorgeous Oakshott cottons for my Red + and x quilt and I used some of  what was left to make this bolster ( so I'm assuming this counts as a scrap buster!)

Next, I'm going to move onto a table runner and place mats, again for Madlen. I'm still trying to firm up the design but I think I've got it sorted out.

Linking up to Leanne and Nicky for Scraptastic Tuesday.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

The post I never thought I'd make

Yesterday was Mr Hare's 60th birthday. His secretaries gave him a beautiful cake and card. I had booked a table for a very fancy restaurant and we were going with my BIL and SIL plus some friends.
I had to cancel it because last Tuesday  my BIL and SIL'S daughter committed suicide. She was only 21 and leaves behind a partner and their 3 year old son. She had been struggling with mental illness and had obviously planned the whole thing.
The whole family is devastated and I can't put into words how dreadful it all is. My MIL who is 90 is beside herself because she was extremely close to Angharad and she is also worried about the effects on her son. She quite rightly thinks he with never recover from it. Like a lot of men, both my BIL and my husband have withdrawn into themselves and won't talk about it, whereas my MIL and SIL have found it helps to talk. Everyone is concerned about Dan ( Angharad's partner) and Carlton who is too young to understand. None of us have been able to sleep at night.
The funeral has been delayed because of the post mortem and later there will be an inquest. It's obvious that she was very badly let down by the mental health services but of course nothing will ever bring her back, so there is not much point dwelling on it.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

FAL Final Quarter

I didn't do well in Q3, and I don't suppose I'll be much better in Q4 with a holiday and Christmas coming up rapidly. So, I've curtailed my list and hope I can get some of it done!

1) Red + and X cross quilt.
I finally managed to sew the blocks together. Being bee blocks they were of variable size, so I had to trim them to 10 inches . I also had to discard a few, hence the dodgy lime green centre middle right. I just couldn't bear to make another block. So, just got to quilt and bind it!
2) Blue medallion quilt
This has gone from this
To this
Again just got to quilt and bind it. The wadding has now arrived, so I have no excuse. These two quilts are Christmas presents, so I do need to get on with them.
3) Geese all round quilt.
These blocks have been hanging around for 18 months. I need to get this finished for Christmas again. I want to give it to my niece Eleri who has just started at Queen's medical school, Belfast.
4) Triangle Quilt.
I definitely need to finish this one. It's only small, but I'm being very nervous about straight line quilting on the longarm. I need to get my big girl pants on and just do it!
5)Table runner and place mats.
These are a new addition to my list, but Madlen needs them for her table in London. Should be quick and easy ( the triumph of optimism over sense!)
6) Aeroplane bag.

I started this in June , made a mistake and have left it ever since ( one of the straps is twisted) . I also do not have bag feet or any of the other bits for the bottom.

Of course there are loads of other WIP's that I could add but that would be at best foolish, at worst moving into the realms of fantasy.

Finish Along 2014

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Scrap Vomit Ta- Da

Yet another quick post so that I get another finish in this quarters FAL with Katy before the deadline. I have failed miserably this quarter, but c'est la vie! I've only managed 2 out of eight finishes.
I had loads of strips left over from various trip around the world bee blocks and quilts I had previously made, so I decided to use them up to make a scrap vomit ( such a terrible name for a quilt!!). Anyway, it didn't take too long to make up into a quilt top and used up loads of scraps, so win, win. It has taken me a lot longer to pull my finger out and quilt and bind it though.

I used the same pink spot on the back as my pink/aqua QATW quilt and bound it with  plain Kona pepper as I had run out of the charcoal sketch I had used in the quilt.

I'm giving this quilt to my BF's older daughter. My pink/ aqua QATW is going to her sister so they will have similar but not the same quilts.

Quilt Stats
Quilt measures: 70 x 70 inches
Front: A blocks made with scraps, B blocks made with Sketch in pink, aqua and charcoal
Back: Pink spot on spot extra wide quilt fabric from Robert Kaufman
Binding: Kona pepper
Quilted with So Fine in white
My original list for this quarter is here.

Finish Along 2014

Monday, 29 September 2014

Bright Scrappy QATW

Just a quick post to show my first finish for FAL quarter 3. I actually finished this quilt sometime ago but being a complete numpty I had taken photos ( which I hadn't uploaded to dropbox) and then promptly dropped my phone down the loo ( don't ask- it was in the back pocket of my jeans). Anyway, we visited  Madlen in London this weekend and I managed  to take some more photos.
 In the end she chose this one, which was the quilt I had made for her, rather than the blue/pink one I have shown earlier. So here it is:

She wanted something bright, so I think this fits the bill.

I backed it with extra wide  lime green with white spot fabric to continue with the bright feel.

Quilt Stats:
The quilt measures 6ft x7ft
Front made with strips from my stash
 Back: Extra wide lime spot ( can't remember who this is by)
Binding: Kona Valentine
Quilted in my usual wavy lines using So Fine.


Finish Along 2014

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Market Hall Decorations for the Abergavenny Food Festival

For the past 3 weeks , I have been crafting/sewing of a different kind. Every year for the past 15 years volunteers have made decorations to hang in the Market Hall for the now famous Abergavenny Food Festival. The absolutely wonderful Tina Reeves designs and oversees the production of the decorations using the Art's Alive building in Crickhowell. The work is done by an 'army' of volunteers with people popping in when they can. Tina manages to direct this team to produce the most wonderful decorations and keep her calm demeanour throughout, whilst up against a tight time schedule.
This year Tina chose the theme of pigs with ( very on trend) Matisse-like garlands to decorate the hall. So we all set to , to produce 1 Black Boar ( called Boris), 6 sows from a variety of pigs, including a British Lop, Gloucester Old Spot, Tamworth, Wild Boar, Sandy and Black, a Saddleback and 13 piglets.
 The decorations are the most amazing constructions made from what feels like smoke and mirrors! Firstly, a cardboard frame is constructed and given shape by stuffing it full of newspaper held in place with sellotape and the odd bit of chicken wire. Then, the pigs are covered with a layer of polyester wadding glued and sewn into place. Next a layer of stretchy jersey, which Tina has dyed, is sewn over the pig to look like skin. Then the ears, eyes, snout, teats, tails etc are added. Finally, the pigs were painted with spots etc to replicate the correct features for their particular breed.
This all sounds easy but in fact takes hours. Getting the 'skin' on was like pattern cutting on the hoof( ha , ha! but we did have Oliver who spent several days making the hooves out of plastic milk cartons and sticking them on).It took me a whole morning to sew the teats on one pig ( with lots of jokes about not making them too long because then they looked more like little boys!! ).
Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of the painting process ( my least favourite bit because I'm way out of my comfort zone). The pigs and garlands are then suspended from the roof of the market hall, so indeed pigs can fly, given the right circumstances!

The sad thing is the decorations ( which really are community based) are now under threat as being too expensive, even though the work is nearly all done by volunteers who don't get paid except with a free entry ticket to the Food Festival.
This morning Mr Hare and I got up early as we had tickets for Radio 4's Saturday Live which was broadcast live from The Borough Theatre in Abergavenny and very entertaining it was too.
I'm hoping to get back to my usual sewing next week because I haven't achieved virtually anything in my FAL list for the third quarter.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Update Time

Well, what can I say, July and most of August have come and gone. As usual I have been busy,  with a lot of driving up and down motorways ( more of that in another post). I've managed to fit in a lot of sewing related trips ( accounting for some of the driving) including FQR in London, a shisha and kantha embroidery workshop, also in London, FOQ at the NEC and a day of longarm quilting using templates ( rulers) with Kim Brunner  at The Cottonpatch.

The classes in FQR retreat this year were fantastic! I won't say much , as it has been said in other peoples posts( Hadley did a great summary here  and here and here ) and I'm a bit late in the day but I learnt  masses in such a short space of time. Of course I haven't finished any of my samples, and I can't find my Thomas Knauer knots anywhere, though they must be somewhere in my sewing room. Jenny Kingwell is truly amazing and her quilts in real life were just stunning and so much better in real life than the photo's can convey.

After FQR retreat my shisha and kantha workshop was a real disappointment. It was meant to be 3 days and I only went for the first day. Life's too short to waste on poor classes. After the intense and focused teaching in FQR retreat it was like wading through treacle. The teacher was very pleasant but disorganised and this is all I achieved in one whole day of sewing:

I enjoyed my brief trip to FOQ and managed to meet up, if only briefly with tons of people. As usual I vowed to organise myself to visit on more than one day. It was  fantastic to see the LMQG stand with all their beautiful work. I completely missed the EMQG entry ( sorry Moira!).And I managed to resist buying too much but I did buy the microtech needles recommended by  Phillippa Naylor. She was demonstrating FMQ on the bernina stand. I really want to do one of her residential courses as she is so talented.
I spent one day at The Cotton Patch in Birmingham learning how to use rulers on the Handiquilter. This was very instructive and Kim Brunner is a very good teacher and had some great patterns which she shared with us. How about these as filler patterns:

Or the smaller version:
I now need to practice, practice and practice all I learnt to improve my skills. Oh and of course, I need to buy tons of new rulers .I'm glad I'll have something to ask for, for Christmas ( there I've said the C word ;0)) 
I have done some sewing as well. I've made my bee blocks:
These are  the July blocks for together@do.good stitches ( we had a break for August), and this
for FQ Bumbling Honeys for July. These are the August blocks:
I also perused t'internet and made a Superhero Cape for the 3 year old next door. I adapted this pattern by making it a bit more rounded in the corners and adding a Superman logo with his initial. Here is Harri, in his underpants , modelling it though he's approx. twice as tall as Haydn.
Needless to say, the recipient is over joyed with it and his friends have been fighting to borrow it. I may have to make some more!
I have a Q3 FAL finish to reveal in another post and I've made good progress on my medallion quilt.
The next round , after the flying geese is going to be this churn dash
If you are still with me up until now, I think that's enough. That's the trouble with not doing regular posts.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Finish-a-long Quarter 3

I did pretty well in the last quarter, but I'm going to scale down my list for this next quarter ( though there is still too much on it) making it a bit more achievable, I hope.
Anyway, here goes:

1)Sparkle Punch Quilt.
This is the next quilt to be loaded on the longarm

2)Scrap Vomit
This just needs binding

3)Triangles Baby Quilt
This needs quilting and binding.
4) Scrappy Trip around the World (no 2)
Blocks need to be sewn together before I can continue

5) X and + quilt for Lois
Need to sew  the blocks together.

6)Blue Medallion Quilt
This is a new one I have started. It's destined for my BF's son. I had done one paper pieced different block for this but then changed my mind but it wasn't thrilling me. So, combined with the fact that I wanted to make a designed- by- me medallion quilt ( as opposed to a known pattern), I embarked on this new blue quilt.  I'm thrilled with it so far:

7) Scrappy Value Quilt.
I have taken up Bonnie Hunters idea of leaders and enders, and started sewing HST's at the beginning and end of chain piecing other blocks. This way, you barely notice you are making another quilt. Every time I use a fabric, I cut an extra 5 inch square and combine one low volume with another of a 'louder' volume and make the HST's

I've accumulated quite a pile already!
8)It's a Wonderful World
This is still a pile of blocks. I'm hoping to make a few more blocks for this quilt in Jenny Kingwell's Green Tea and Sweet Beans class at FQR retreat.
I think that is more than enough. I also think Katie is doing a fantastic job with the FAL.


Finish Along 2014

Monday, 30 June 2014

Jigsaw Quilt- Ta Da!

This will be my last post of finished quilts for this second quarter of the FAL with Katie. I have another quilt ( scrap vomit) quilted but it needs binding and I know that I won't get that done in time. Tomorrow, I'm driving to Durham with Mr Hare because my lovely boy Harri is graduating on Wednesday. He's done really well, so all those hours of hand -holding, essay reading/ editing etc have been worth it. We are also going to meet his girlfriend Juliette's parents for the first time. I have put on weight so had to buy a new dress, which I was reluctant to do, because since I retired I have favoured comfort over looks and quite frankly look like a bag lady most of the time. I have suitable clothes, I just can't fit into them!
Anyway, onto the quilt. This is the second baby quilt I have made recently and appeared in my list as a boy baby quilt, though I actually think it is probably gender neutral

I used the same ish fabrics on the back and I like both sides equally.
The fabrics are mostly Timber and Leaf by Sarah Watts with a few others thrown in. I used some X and + fabric by Alison Glass , Sketch in citron and used a border of squared elements in citron. There are a few other fabrics in there that I can't identify. I used the brown fox fabric for the binding to finish it all off.
I've decided to try and learn something new each week ( probably should be every day but I'm not sure I could manage that). So, one of my new things this week is I learnt how to do the jigsaw pattern for the quilting, which I thought was appropriate given it is a jigsaw quilt.  I used this tutorial and actually it's a fairly simple pattern.
I also decided to hand stitch the binding on. This reminded me why I nearly always machine stitch my bindings- I ended up with shredded fingertips on my right hand. Note to self, always pack a thimble when you go away for the weekend!
 Quilt Stats
Finished size: 41 x 53 inches
 Fabrics from stash as above
Wadding from stash- I have no idea what it was
Quilted with So Fine
This is my sixth finished quilt this quarter. I think this is a record for me. Of course, even though I still have loads of WIP's to finish ( though less than I had), I've still started another two quilts, I can't help myself! All will be revealed soon.
My original Fal list is here and my updated 2nd quarter list is here

Finish Along 2014