Monday, 25 April 2011

Busy as a Bee!

I've been productive these last couple of weeks and should have shown these sooner, but I was waiting for the sun to shine! 

This little quilt is so pretty, in my humble opinion!  Pattern called Feed Sack from the book, Scrap Basket Surprises by Kim Bracket.

And this quilt was on the frame, then off the frame as it wasn't quite finished before I needed to take the frame for a Quilting Retreat.

And then it went back on after the retreat for finishing!

Pattern from McCalls Quilting magazine Fast Quilts of 2008 I think!

This Star quilt is my March UFO Challenge - DONE! 
(Don't tell Nancy, but I haven't even looked at the April UFO yet! -  Shhhh!)

And I finally got the binding sewn down on this beauty!

Another Kim Bracket designed pattern!  (She's a very clever lady!)

Wow, 3 finishes in one post! 

Happy Quilting!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Contemplating Lily's QAL

I know I've been a little absent, life.... what can I say!

But that doesn't mean I've been doing nothing - honestly.  Trust me, I have lots to share, but I thought it was important to let you know how I've been contemplating my Lily's Quilt Along blocks (ok, block at this stage!)

This is my one completed block which is currently about 25" square.

Grab some of that clear tablecloth plastic, leave in a warm studio so it's wrinkle free and soft and pliable, and lay over your block.
Grab yourself some washable felt tips, or whatever, as long as it's not permanent!

And begin to play!

The green didn't like it at all, but you begin to get the idea ... right?

Just see what different patterns look like...

I like how these two look together ... don't you?

the start of feather spines ...

or maybe not!

All sorts of filler patterns to play with, that are really not difficult at all...

Hmm, some friend came over to play with some free motion quilting and this gave me an idea too!

So, when I'm contemplating a little free motion quilting, first things first, I give the machine a little spring clean, brush up and oil if necessary.  Make sure I have plenty of bobbins pre wound so no stopping required.  A new sharp needle, and for this I like a Schmetz Microtex 75/11 or topstitch/quilting in size 70/10.  The finer the needle the less noticeable your needle holes will be after all is done.

And I have a couple of sets of those blue thingys.  That's non slip stuff for draws and shelves, found in general diy stores and best of all - Poundland!  I'll explain why in a mo ...

But first, before you go getting all excited and grab your blocks to do the quilting, grab yourself a little practice piece, layered up with the same wadding you'll be using in your quilt, pinning is easier than tacking (them little big stitches can get caught up and become a real pain in the ...... neck!)

Ready?  OK, lets begin.  Make sure your feed dogs are down and if you can set your sewing machine to stop with the needle in the down position, do that too  :)

Now, listen very carefully, hanging onto your top thread, needle down, needle up (just once) and pull the top thread until the bobbin threads come through.  Grab hold of the bobbin thread and pull it all the way through so both threads are on the top of your quilt sandwich. 

When you begin to quilt, hang onto these and it will stop you getting those nasty little birds nests on the back.  (I know it's spring and all that, but really, the back of your precious quilt is no place for any nesting birds!)

I want to talk a little about holding onto your work.  You could hold onto it like this below ....

Or many people prefer to wear gloves that do the gripping for them, if you like these, great, fill your boots if it works for you!

Now,back to those little blue non slip pads....

they work just like the gloves, gripping your fabric, without the hot hands  :) You just need a hand size piece for each hand!

You can see my little fat hands are quite close to the needle and working in this small space means you have way more control to create beautiful free motion quilting that trying to concentrate on a big area.   Yes you need to move and adjust the position of your hands more, but it really helps. 

Have a little play, see how it feels, don't get all speedy, because just like learning to drive, you feel like you're less in control if your foot has lead lined boots!

Play, you really do have permission, it's ok,  see what you can do...

See what you can do...

Try new to you techniques...

practice the patterns you want to use on your quilt

And before you know it, your little sandwich of practice is filled ...

Now, go play, it's all about the practice!

I'm off to finish off a few more of my blocks, and write a few more blog posts  :)  Hopefully the sun will shine sufficiently for a little photo call  :) 

Until next time...

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Meeting myself coming back...

... well I'm not surprised really, it's been a little hectic, good news is my Mum will be back home tomorrow. 

So, during the quiet time on Sunday I decided to ring the changes of the season with a change of eye candy in the studio...

... a bit of spring breeze ...

And peeking out there is my version Amanda Jeans' Filmstrip.

I've had several questions about the studio, so I thought I'd give you all a quick update, as you can see, it's well and truly moved into, UFOs and all ...

I like to work on several projects at a time, and the tables allow me to spread a little too much I think!

I'm still to sort out that design wall...

... but on the whole, I love it in here, and have never been more happy creating.  Thank you all for your encouragement. 

Later on Sunday, the light changed ....

and the heavens opened...

and then mother nature did her best!

On Monday I had a wonderful surprise, these gorgeous mug rugs arrived from Colette.  They had originally been sent out in November 2010!  Yep, they came here (via a neighbour), went back again, and finally arrived to me this week.  Aren't they beautiful!

And I forgot to tell you (or did I?  It's been so busy lately)  my Juki decided to have a little hissy fit, nothing too serious, but enough to need a little trip to the engineer - in Kings Lynn!  Not local!

Well I picked her up yesterday (was that Monday?) and promptly quilted this for a friend.  Poor little quilt had been on the frame since the machine threw it's teddies out the cot!

and the back gives you a better idea of the quilting...

And today, I finally went and did some stitching!  yes, really, real stitching!  I got the centre sewn into this Dresden, part of the Lily's QAL.  And then decided I wanted to see if my templates fit for the outside too.  I know, so impatient! 

And yes, it's a bit wobbly, so it got a mighty dose of steam, and then some!  I'm not normally a steamer when it comes to quilting, but this baby got steamed into submission for sure! 
Thanks for that great tip Lynne!

I was hoping to start the photo's for a bit of a Free Motion Quilting tute, but the camera decided that the battery was dead, and turned itself off!  So I just carried on and had a right old play!

So, now I'm pooped, today is the first day I've not got to the hospital, in fact it's been a lazy day that has caught up with me, so early to bed for this young lady!

in the mean time...

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Mothering Sunday!

Today is Mothering Sunday here in the UK.  To all mothers out there I hope you've had a wonderful day.

We visited my mum in hospital again today, she is doing much better and will hopefully be home this week.

I was delighted by breakfast made by the Teenage Diva, fresh fruit salad, pains au chocolat, and a nice cup of tea!  And a delightful necklace, box of chocolates and some vanilla fudge!  My favourite! 

Happy Mothers Day!

Saturday, 2 April 2011


Firstly, this is my February UFO finish...

... yes, I know it's April, (April?  Already?) and I did have this finished back in Feb but only managed to sew the binding down in March.  I'm sewing the binding on my March UFO at the moment.  :)  April's, well that is still in pieces!

And this is a layer cake quilt I pieced maybe last year? 

Again, it was quilted and finished in March, I'm just getting to post about it now.... Things have been a little busy ... but that's a long story.

This gives you a better idea of what it really looks like...

Quilted with all over feathers  :) 

And this little baby quilt I quilted for a friend, who after waiting for years for grandchildren is finally going to be a Grandma!

And loving sewing for the expected arrival!

Back to the busy life ...  time for another hospital visit to my Mum, I'll be back as soon as I can!  In the mean time ...

Happy Quilting!