Thursday 26 February 2009

Quilting Retreat Weekend

Well, it doesn't happen too often, and its quite a rare thing in the UK, but, yep, I'm off on a quilt retreat this weekend. Yeeah!!! After the frenzy of Pat Sloan's OP Challenge, I feel its time I concentrated on completed those last few borders and the other UFOs/WIPs/PSs. And just where is this great event taking place, you might ask. Why Grimsby of course! Where else would you expect? I know for me it doesn't conjure up a vision of peace, tranquility and creativity, but more fish, smelly fish and ... yes fish fingers! But fear not, thanks to Lynne Carter of Wisteria Patchwork, we have lovely secluded hotel overlooking the golf course, with a big bright room to spark that creativity into life! Its going to be a lively weekend, with no cooking, washing or ironing, no one saying 'Mum, can you/we just....', and the best part is meeting old friends and making new ones too. I'm looking forward to it :o) I'm pretty much packed and will be heading straight off after work, so I will post my progress when I return. Hope you all have a productive, creative quilting weekend too.

Tuesday 24 February 2009

Thinking Summer Ice Cream

Whilst I was doing my OP Challenge, my top reminded me of ice cream, and even Jan thought the same. We all love Ice Cream right?!! Whats your favourite flavour? Mine has to be chocolate! Well, anyway, back to the OP ice cream thoughts, which got me thinking that I have already made an Ice Cream quilt before, so I thought I would share it with you all. This quilt was made in 2002 whilst I was living in Holland, from a pack of fat eighths ( I think!). I know I had to do a load of maths to work out how many strips of each colour to see what size to cut them. The squares are 1" finished. This was made using the tube method for trip around the world, which is OK if you can sew in straight line without causing those strips to twist this way or that. Whilst I pieced the centre OK, I didn't have any fabric for the border, so whilst I was home for the weekend, a visit to the LQS (top back in Holland) I chose this really subtle rose print and a pastel check for the binding. Fortunately it was only when I got back to the top did I realise just how good a match they both were. Machine quilted, this was one of my early attempts at free motion quilting, and whilst its OK, I know just how much of a battle of wills it was between me and my sewing machine. I was using a Janome, which does not let you lower the feed dogs, you have to put a plate over the top of them. Its a real pain in the proverbial! Fortunately, I have improved my skills, and both my Bernina and Juki lower their feed dogs. Ahh, how I love those machines!
I'll share more of my other quilts with you along the way. I have enough, that's for sure! Can you ever have too many quilts? Certainly as times get more thrifty, I know my family and I will, at least, not be cold! lol

Sunday 22 February 2009

OP Update

Its been a busy day, with DD to keep happy, entertained and on the homework trail, I had to fit in the OP Challenge in between, the cooking, groceries, and baking brownies. :o) but they were delicious, thanks Lisssie! So this is the progress so far. I made a huge error in calculating my setting triangles so there are no cornerstones on the outer edges. Ooops... Still it has worked out well. The borders will have to be over the next couple of days, as its back to school in the morning, and back into the old routine. Plus I really must get down to my allotment! So what do you think so far? Its certainly turned out differently from what I had imagined. And I am thrilled with it, its almost like multicoloured ice cream! Yummy!!!!

Saturday 21 February 2009

Yet more OP blocks

These are my final blocks for the day. And I'm really pleased with them, I LOVE the lime green it really adds an element of wow! Tomorrow I will look at mixing up all the blocks, and seeing what layout options there are. It will be interesting to see what everyone else has done too. I've also started to think about fabric for sashing, and borders. Sashing is proving challenging, but

borders, well, that's an easy choice :o) I've been surprised at how the orange is no longer overpowering with all the other colours that have been thrown in.

Anotehr OP Update

Thought I'd let you all see the newest additions to the OP Challenge blocks I've made this afternoon. Don't they look different with purple sashing. I'm still thinking about it, Hmmm.... we'll see what the lime green does next. I've got 3 different limes lined up, just cutting the next batch of blocks, so will hopefully post more later this evening :o). Then, I'm really going to mix up these blocks (grin). I have to say, I'm really enjoying seeing everyone else's blocks, and meeting new friends too.

OP Challenge

Just a quick progress update, I got these done before I went to bed last night. Its going to be a bright One!!!! I'm going to change the sashing on the next few blocks I think this pale lemon is too glaring. So I'm going to try some of the purple. And then I might try some lime green. (mmm my favorite!) Any thoughts?

Sneaky Little Finish

I added the label to this Double Irish Chain today. So that is the third finish this month! Well, they only had to have binding and labels put on, but it does feel good to finish something. Especially as I seem to have started so much more recently. Overdoing things, no, just over committing!! LOL But I can, hand on heart say that I am working on another UFO, so at least that top will be shortly added to the pile waiting to be quilted. What I really need is some time in the 'office' to get on with quilting my Chocolate and Turquoise quilt. Well, it won't actually be mine, I was asked to make a quilt in those colours for my partners sister. But it is lovely! Am I the only person that becomes emotionally attached to the quilts they make? Surely not, with so much care and attention put into just the fabric selection, the piecing and the quilting, is it any wonder they are hard to let go of. I am getting much better at letting go, I may even sell some one of these days... well not too soon, eh?!!!

Friday 20 February 2009

More... OP Challenge

We are back from swimming and these are some more of my blocks. They are very quick to piece, especially as I have already cut a batch of fabric, which makes it oh so much quicker, just the way I like it :o) I like the floral turquoise with the orange, it really lifts the colours. Its interesting to see what each block looks like reverse and with different corners too. They are big blocks too, 12" so its not going to take too many to make a pretty good size quilt. (I 'm not really a small quilt person myself, its gotta go on a bed! Right?)

What do you think? Have you had a look at any of the other participants yet?

OP Challenge

I've had great fun looking at the Blog hop sites, at all the fabulous fabrics that are being used for this challenge. I thought it was about time I knuckled down and got some of my own blocks started. So these are my first two blocks. I've already got some more cut with different fabrics, but the orange theme flows through them all :o)

I've got to rush off and pick up DD from swimming but I will post more this evening :o) Make sure you have a look at Pat Sloan's site to see what is going on. Just click on the button to the right.

Thursday 19 February 2009

Another One Finished!

Well, that's another one of my UFO's finished, bound and labeled. What a delightful feeling of accomplishment.

This is another of my older quilts, originally pieced when I was living in Holland, though on closer inspection, it looks more thrown together to my more experienced eye now. We are always more critical of our own work, I can honestly say I have improved considerably since. That's a comforting thought too.

I am piecing faster than I am either quilting or finishing and my pile of tops continues to grow at a pace. As I try and work from my stash only, I don't seem to have made much of a dent. Doughty's are coming in April, I need to make some room for my one spending spree! (well, for the time being anyway! lol )

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Orange Pile Challenge

The second thing I did when I got home was to catch up with all you bloggers to see what you have been up to, and boy you've been busy while I was away relaxing (he he). So I ventured into the stash to get my OP fabrics in shape for the weekend. I had already chosen a buddy for my orange fabrics, except I had a choice of two! So I was delighted to see that to make an OP Team I could incorporate my second buddy into the scheme of works too. So the final line up is orange (of course!), turquoise and Purple as buddies or the fourth fabric, and the very palest lemon. I'm looking forward to see what we will be doing with them. Have you managed to get anymore of your own sorted yet?

Men and Machines....

Well since I last posted, I had a very short notice MRI appointment, the morning my partner and I were planning on going away. My Bernina decided it wanted a service, and I was in the middles of finishing a post card for a colleague at work. And the snow came again! Why me?

I tootled off early morning in the snow for my appointment. Decided the machine could wait 'till we got back, and so headed off into the sunshine for a weekend in Warwick. And wow, what a lovely place it is too! I've returned relaxed and renewed with some exciting inspiration for my city and guilds. (I know... that's one of the things I must concentrate on later this half term week)

When we got home, I dug out my old Janome and tested her for roadworthiness, sure enough she burst into life after sitting for the last two years. A well earned clean and oil and I was ready to relinquish my trusty Bernie to the man that can. Now I can concentrate on finishing another UFO/WIP.

Wednesday 11 February 2009

My First PostCard

Inspired by Angela's postcards, I thought I would give this a go myself. It didn't look that hard, I read a few instructions on the net, and tonight with a deadline approaching fast I bit the bullet. I'm pleased with my first attempt, especially as I made it with what I had to hand. It's my first attempt at printing on fabric too. Ooooh, I'm hooked. A great way to make a very quick, but personal gift for a friend. Happy Birthday Grace! Does this count as another finished project? (grin) he he

Tuesday 10 February 2009

UFO Finished

Yeaaaaah ... I finished a UFO. It was a very satifying feeling this morning as I sewed on the label to this Double Irish Chain quilt. Only 10 years in the making. Now that's not bad is it? lol

I started this little quilt when I was living in Holland. The fabrics came from the local Ikea, they were a great price! That was in 1999/2000. And so this little quilt top sat, waiting for some more love. Needless to say it was not lonely for long, it soon had other tops joining it in their wait to be loved some more, quilted, bound, given a label and declared finished! That long wait included, being moved house, moved countries, left in safety whilst I went off to war, until, after many years my commitments have changed, and I can devote more time to quilting. So my little friend here was treated to and all over stipple last year, as another top to be complete on my new table top frame. And then, he waited a little more whilst some of his friends received the same treat. But I am very proud to say he, at least, is finished! (though not my first to be finished this year)

Monday 9 February 2009

Sunshine Sampler

After my play day last week, when I woke up this morning to yet more snow, there was no way I could afford another play day! I was due at work to make up some of the hours I missed last week. Flexitime's, a great tool both for the employer and the employee. I normally quilt on Mondays, and bake for my local Quilt Group meeting. We get together every other week, my friend Jean and I have tried to make a set day to get together for a bit of creative therapy on the alternate weeks.
This evening I logged onto Stashbusters and got the instructions for the first block for the Sunshine Sampler challenge. The aim is to choose an ugly fabric, add some yellow and piece a block a month for the next 9 months. At the end of this time we will have enough blocks, with a few extras thrown in to make a quilt top, at least lap size or bigger.
And so this bright, ugly ' All Hallows' block was born. The ugly fabric has parrots all over it, really quite awful. I think I was originally going to use it for a stack n whack, but didn't have enough repeats. Hopefully the pieces will be small enough not to be able to see how ugly this fabric started out as. I may make the alternate block too.
Bright quilts are not normally my thing, but I do think its good to go beyond comfortable.

Sunday 8 February 2009

Sunday Update

I managed to get bindings sewn on to these three quilts, hopefully I will get them sewn down on the back during our quilt group meeting, or at least get a good start on them. I'll post a complete picture when each one is done and has its label on. I have to thank all the bloggers I have been visiting and the ladies of 'Stashbusters' for shaming me into finishing some of my UFO's. And Tracy for reminding me that sometimes I have just too many things on the go to get anywhere.

I have tried to be a little more focused. Small steps :o)

Blue Horizon - progress

Yesterday I was lucky enough to have most of the day to myself. Instead of going into my office and getting on with the quilting on my frame, I had a whale of a time sitting sewing corner triangles on my blue horizon blocks. I'm almost done with them, just a few more to do, and then I will be ready to join them into fours to make and 8" blocks.

I really should have made the most of our play day, I now have to work a few extra hours tomorrow to make up the flexi-time I took on Thursday. So instead of having 2 days off this week I just have the one. I will just have to procrastinate no more! I hope you like the progress so far :o)

Play Days

The snow that came on Thursday caused havoc on the roads, many schools closed their doors, and here my DD's school decided that it was no great shakes if it was too dangerous to get to the doors of school. So having tried in the car and walked a couple of miles trying, we gave up and decided on a play day instead. Along with the snowman, and sledging someone had a good time. Me, well, I procrastinated on a great scale and failed to achieve anything of note. Other than lots of computer time.
Bad mummy!!

Orange Pile Challenge

Its been a very productive weekend, on the quilting front and the housework front. I managed to get all the washing and ironing done before Sunday morning! (shock horror, ) Was I feeling ok? .... I guess I was on a mission.

I decided to participate in Pat Sloans Orange Pile Challenge. So here is a picture of my first sweep of my orange stash. Needless to say, they weren't all in the one place, that would be far too organsied. but at least they were all in the same room. What do you think to them?

How about joining in?.... its a virtual sew along retreat, should be good fun! The Link on the side will take you to Pat's blog.

Thursday 5 February 2009

Aims for the coming year

My very dear friend Jean gave me a beautiful book for Christmas to use as a quilt journal. We ended 2008 with a pact to use what fabric we have rather than buy more. (unless it is absolutely necessary to finish a quilt! :O ) We've both done very well on that score, restraining from great sale offers, and the urge to just pop out to the LQS.

If this quilt journal was going to record what I make, then surely I should record what I already have on the go? Over a period of days, my list of ongoing projects, started or identified and fabrics put to one side, got to about 26, then there are the quilt tops waiting to be quilted, and the hand quilted projects.... need I go on with the torture! "lol"

Sometimes it is good to remind yourself what your aims are... when I look and see that actually I have started another four projects since the new year and have only struck one off my list as completed.

Perhaps I can be a little self righteous in that all my new projects have all been from my stash, Yeeaaah!

So when you see me blogging about another new starter, please, someone remind of my aims for this year!

Tuesday 3 February 2009

The best laid plans...

My intention was to piece my 'Blue Horizon' for Superbowl Sunday. Plans are made to be modified. Or should we just say that the plan is the first scratch or draft of what we hope to achieve? After a unexpected trip to my partners' parents, I ended up with a request for 2 quilts for single beds in yellows, creams and browns. Mmmm... so my evening was spent preparing and cutting fabrics for a strip twist. The initial trip for colours was very productive! After an evening of pressing and cutting strips, enough for more than a few quilts, I reduced this pile to a more civilized pile. But it didn't really put a dent in the pile. Sunday was spent frantically piecing and cutting blocks. As much as I am pleased with the results, I think this design is a little too busy for the recipients. Back to the drawing board! The day wasn't over, it only took about 3 or 4 hours to get this far. The blocks will be saved to piece together in a quiet moment, when I am not pushing myself to achieve it all in one day!

So back to 'the plan', I did manage to piece my strips and get them cut to size and start with some of the corner triangles. I've nearly done all 360 blocks, and then have to do them all over again with the alternate corner. I'll keep you posted. I'm really loving how fresh the colours are looking already :o)