Saturday, 24 May 2014


Wow, that was a long break!
Having finished my Postage Stamp Quilt I have been enjoying sleeping under it. Love it!.
Now I am a certain age, I have abandoned my Duvet and have reverted to sheet, blanket and Quilt. When I go away for the weekend my bedding goes with me if the hotel doesn't have anything other than Duvets.

As for what I have been up to - I have passed my Grade 4 Piano exam. I learnt to play piano from age 5 to 9. I stopped when my sister started high school as mum didn't think she would have time to have lessons.
I moved here 9 years ago ( age 46) and Mum gave me the old Piano. I played for enjoyment to start with but last year decided I would do a Grade exam after all, and have spent about 6 - 8 months playing the same 3 Grade 4 pieces. Oh the monotony of it all. I am having a short break and then when the Grade 5 book comes out in July will get it and see if I fancy doing another exam. I don't have to, but it was good having something to aim for, somehow at my age there doesn't seem to be much to aim for, few personal challenges in life.

My eldest boy is doing his GCSEs this year - and will move up to sixth form after the summer. My youngest moves up to high school as well, that will be a big move for him.

So - Sewing.
I have done some more  on my hand sewn Carpenter Star - photo to follow - when I find a cable!

I had a sort out and have reclaimed my sewing room for sewing, and had a good sort through my fabrics and had a creative play a few weeks ago.  I cut through a huge stash of fresh or bright plains - sorted into light medium and dark. That has made a good dent in that pile.
But I also found my Batiks, that I started a long time ago. I bought a few more last ? year. I've just washed them and will start cutting later when they are dry.

The plan -

Initally I was going to do tumbling fish, but then changed my mind. But I have 80 + blocks.

The second thought that I had ages ago was to place each block on a background, which  I may still do.
I have had several ideas - I thought of cutting them up and sewing together again - alternate thin and thick strips, but that may take longer than I want it to. I am wanting maximum impact for minimum time, can't decide whether I should pursue contrast or blending of the colours. The new fabrics I have are mostly paler so may do a colour graduation diagonally across the quilt.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

My latest finish.

My postage stamp Quilt, started in 2010, do it's been 3 and a half years in the making. On and off because I lost all sewing enthusiasm for a while.
Back on track now though.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Saturday night sewing!

Gosh, it's been that long.
I have done a bit of sewing, but only a bit. I did a few Christmas presents, but very little since Christmas.
There is always so much else to do. I'm still trying to get the house in order, I'm trying to get rid of all the surplus things that we tend to accumulate over the years. I've felt great when I've managed to get rid of stuff, or tackled some cleaning above and beyond the "normal" housework. I've been preparing the veg plot, and planting seeds. I hired a chap to prune the over grown bushes in the garden - he quoted me for pruning and taking away the prunings, but bless him he ( or his worker) decided to dump the cuttings on the land behind me. Needless to say I got him to take them away but it's so annoying that some people don't seem to be trust-worthy. I've had a painter quote for some decorating, and I need to get some other jobs done around the house.
I 've had a sewing session tonight, and would show you the results if I could find the cable to let my camera talk to my laptop.
But tonight I let myself do some sewing and not feel guilty about it. To enjoy it.
I've nearly finished piecing my postage stamp quilt. I am going to quilt it in several sections for ease as I hate the sandwiching and basting of large pieces. The quilt is going to be 80" wide by 75" long. I'm either going to do it in 2 or 3 long sections so have currently sewn my blocks together into 24", 16", 16" and 24" so 1 can do either 2 or 3 sections. The jury is still out on the Quilting pattern, and that determines how what sections I'll do.
The boys are with my ex tonight, so it's spread over the living room floor.

It's Saturday night and there's not much on the TV. I've been watching back to back episodes of "The Big C" that I'd recorded whilst I've been sewing.

Sunday, 20 November 2011


Hallelujah, yesterday I finished my Modern Christmas table runner, and today I have finished the 2 christmas ornaments. I had to go into Leicester today to get a move on with the Christmas shopping and to buy some red ribbon to hang the ornaments.

Here's the runner on my kitchen table, and here are the ornaments.
I have 4 rejects - started but unfinished ornaments - I found the ornaments quite difficult.

I need to pack them up tonight and tomorrow I will take them into work to arrange for it to go via DHL.

Housework has taken a back seat whilst I've been doing the sewing this last week or two so I have a lot to catch up on. Think of me....

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Christmas Ornaments

I have had a bit of a "think", and a look through various magazines and supplies that I have and am going to try several things.
1. A check heart. I need to finish stuffing it and stitch it closed, which will be a challenge as I left the gap on one of the curves. I should have left the opening in a straighter section. I may then attach a button or two, or perhaps just a hanging ribbon / cord.
2. This is something I've been meaning to do for about 10 years! I bought some gold bugle beads as many years ago I saw a beaded star stitched on red velvet. I don't have velvet, I just have cotton or silk. I have small round beads and bugle beads. In a copy of "Quilts Japan" ( I used to have a subscription) there are several ideas for stars. I've located my embroidery hoop.
3. A red heart with small beads sewn all round the side seams.
4. A red reindeer. Felt antlers and red cotton body?.
5. Buy some large ( 3") metal rings, crochet a star in the middle of them using gold thread.
6. Shisha mirror - I've had these rather a long time too. Use it as a centre in a log cabin block - I have some gridded vilene which I could sew on to. I'd probably have to glue the Shisha on first.
7. I have some natural buttons - so natural it'll take a bit to pick out the best ones. They are probably horn but I'm not sure. They are ivory coloured, heart shaped. But they're not Christmassy on their own. I also have some small square single hole mother of pearl (?) buttons. I could sew them in a pattern.
8. Felt leaves and berries on a florists wire wreath - 3 inches across.

I have really enjoyed doing this swap, not that I've done yet, and I only have just under 2 weeks to go! I like the focus that it gives, it encourages you to try new things - patterns - techniques. And there is a deadline, and it's great looking at what everyone else is up to.
A non-sewer I know said it seemed like an awful lot of effort for someone you don't know. But that's the point isn't it?. We enjoy sewing and we willingly create these things for someone. We stalk their blog and see what they're up to, and hope that what we are making will be liked and used.
I have participated in 3 swaps before - 2 of my quilts are in the States, and one is in New Zealand. I enjoy tracking my parcel - wishing I could travel with it.
I in return have had one from France, one from Norway and one from Singapore. It's great getting a parcel, but if you receive before you've finished your own it piles on the pressure!
When this is over I will have to do a few things for Christmas then will try to finish my postage stamp quilt. If I see another 1 1/2" strip ....I'll explode!.
I've had to dig deep through my cupboard to find all those bits and bobs. Whilst it's annoying that some things took a bit of finding ( beads and Shisha mirrors in particular) I have actually enjoyed sorting though things. I have the opportunity to sort out and trim down. Oh the things in that cupboard - I'll post a picture later - most of it is sewing stuff but there are lots of other small bags of miscellaneous stuff -old pens, hand creams, bits of paper I wanted to keep, all my old note books. why do I keep all of this? I'm going to have a serious trim down, it is not good surrounding yourself by all this clutter. Our bin ( refuse) collection is fortnightly - alternate weeks for general rubbish and recyclable cardboard /paper. I always used to pride myself on not filling the bins but now it's my challenge to fill the appropriate bin each week and get rid. Of course charity shops do get anything that is good enough to sell on which isn't much by the time we have worn our clothes to death, or the boys have lost parts of games and jigsaws. I always take the rags to the local Leukaemia charity shop in for their rag money.
I have a huge box of the boys school exercise books, and tons of photos. These I'll leave for the time being. I have allowed myself one box of "nostalgia". It contains my old teddy bear, my Barbie ( the proper 1960s Barbie not the cheap modern ones ) and her clothes. She has a Rabbit skin jacket that my mum made from a Rabbit skin I bought once from a local department store. I'll have a look in the box in a day or 2 and show you a few things.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Good old Lego.

And whilst I was typing up the previous blog I had my 13 year old playing with Lego, making a big racket dropping bits on the Kitchen floor.

Ahh, Lego.

Unfortunately he was making a gun...

A working gun, but not that lethal, misfires too often and has a tendency to fall to bits.

The process pledge

I remember taking the process pledge, and I have the button on the right. But of course my followers are few and far between and all in the know, so what do I have to tell you all? Nothing you don't already know but here goes anyway.
Here is the pieced top. I was going to put a white border round it.

Then I decided not to do white, I can't really think why other than there's a lot of white here.
So then I thought I'd do a pieced border of 1" squares. Here's the strips of squares.

I have been cutting strips, sewing them together then cutting them into smaller sections. The problem with this method is that if you are not very careful the seams start to come undone. So I'd have to stitch a securing row of stitches 1/4" in before handling them much. Accuracy is a bit of a problem too, and I've measured my 12" blocks and they're not quite 12" (how rubbish is that!) , so 1" squares need a bit of tweaking. Grrr ..
I pieced the backing. I prewashed all the fabrics before starting this project, but have washed the front and the pieced backing. When I poured the hot water on I got a bit more bleeding, so I put the backing in the washing machine again for a longer wash, and did the front by hand. Double grrrr. Needless to say I would have to wash the delicate 1" squares strips before sewing them to the front, so would definitely have to do the rows of securing stitches before they get a wash.
So this is the stage I'm at.
Ohh, look at the front lying on top of the pieced backing - that would look good. Scrub 1" square border, I'll do an irregular pieced border, with both sides the same, and the two end borders whatever print is on the end of the long side.
I'm still fiddling with the backing - having cut 2 strips off the side some rearrangement is needed. Somehow I seem to be getting through a lot of fabric!

I got the boys back last night so have to fit this around work and boys. I have my sewing group on Tuesday night so if I'm lucky, or a bad mother I could get it pieced, sandwiched and machine quilted by the end of Monday evening. Then I can do a bit of hand quilting on Tuesday. It's now Saturday so that's a no-no.
Next week I need to get my skates on and finish the quilting, and perhaps get the binding on on the 13th. I need to think about a label - I would normally put a label on but If I don't at least it would be reversible.
So secret swap partner have you figured out that this is for you by now?

Do you remember the irregular regular 5 pointed star I did.
I don't particularly like having a central big triangle, and 3 small ones attached. I had to tweak it to get it more regular than it was turning out at this stage but having a large triangle in the middle draws your eye to the irregularities.
So I thought I'd do one with a central pentagon and 5 small triangles attached. I did this the other weekend.

First find yourself an accurate template. Trace off the pentagon and the triangles onto freezer paper. Cut out the shapes accurately. Iron onto the white fabric then cut out using a small ruler to add 1/4 inch. I'm a left handed! Measure how big you need the background fabric and cut a few strips. Cut to shape using the template as a guide. Pin a white triangle to a piece of the backing matching the points accurately. Once it's pinned top and bottom you can remove the paper.Do this with all 5 triangles, then you can start to sew to the central pentagon. The first one needs to be a partial seam.Here the second piece has been sewn on and I'm trimming the excess backing. Here is the last section being trimmed after being sewn on. Now you just need to finish the first partial seam. And here is the final star.

I have no plans for it, it was just an experiment as I wasn't pleased with the first one I did.

On the non-sewing side of life work has been very hectic. I've recently either gone in early, stayed late lots or logged back in once I've got home. It's only this week that I've been managing to catch up with the almighty backlog.
This week we have sat down to watch 2 episodes of a programme I've recorded - "Frozen Planet" by David Attenborough. All the programmes this man does are wonderful . Last year or earlier this year he did a series called "The Human Planet" It was different from his usual wildlife programmes as it was about how humans have adapted to live in various ( and sometimes inhospitable) locations.
I did a degree in Anthropology many years ago and it was always the Material Culture studies that I found the most interesting. I do absolutely nothing related to Anthropology now, I'm a bit of a numbers / database / spreadsheet person.
On Sunday we will be meeting up with my Mum and Step dad, and my late sisters partner for a meal. Jill died in 2009 aged 52, of secondary Breast Cancer. I miss her every day. Weather permitting, if sunny spells are forecasted, I'll drag the boys out for a walk somewhere. Every where is so beautiful with the trees turning. And as it's dark now in the evening you have to make the most of getting out and about when you can.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

4 blocks.

A better photo.
Quite fresh looking I think.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sewing update.

I ordered some fabric on line- I bought a Fat Quarter on ebay and ordered 7 from The Laughing Hedgehog. I have spent quite a while recently looking at fabrics on line - looking for modern prints in reds, and I've been amazed at how difficult it has been to find some of the smaller fabric retailers - I stumble across them 4 days of searching on page 12 of googles results. Oh and how annoying some retailers search facilities are. Then I was off work on Thursday and Friday so I went to the Bramble Patch to get a few more. Blimey - how much fabric do I need to do a table runner - not this much!

So they're all washed and ironed and I've promptly jumped right in. I have almost pieced 4 stars.
Sorry it's such a bad photo - my camera is out of juice and I need to find the charger - this is from my phone camera.
Now I have to deliberate if I am happy with just the 4 stars, or if I need to add someting else.
I have the 4 stars in a row, and I am going to add a border. I wonder about placing smaller half stars at the edges.
It is this point that I wonder how precise my secret swap partner was in her size requirements - I said 10 by 40 - but an inch or two more wouldn't matter.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

What fabric to use?

I am wondering what fabrics I should use for my Stars - I am doing Red on White, and I realise that if I'm not careful I could end up producing a traditional table runner instead of a modern one!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Plan C.

Tonight I have done half a star!

I thought I'd only do half so I would stand a chance of completing it so I could think about what I'll do for my swap. Sorry about the shadow in the top photo.
So here are the 3 ( 2 and a half) stars I've done so far.

I like "C", but realistically is it more than I've got the time for. I would need to do 4 of them. I like "B", the one at the bottom of the board. I'll think about putting a pieced square in the middle.
I'll have to do the vacuuming tomorrow as I've lots of little bits of thread, fabric and paper trailled throughout the house.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Modern Christmas Table Runner - practising!

All I will say is this isn't my partners ideal colour scheme.
Plan A is the 5 point star at the top - it's still not regular - it would be OK at an angle I guess.
Plan B is the big star underneath. I quite like that one, and it didn't take too long.

Tomorrow night I intend to start on plan C, and I need to think about fabric choices.

Off to bed now.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Starting the Modern Christmas Table Runner

The boys have gone to their dads' for 5 days. That's the arrangement we have - we have them for 5 days at a time. I know it's an odd number (true!), we felt a week was too long and any less time too short. 5 days is pretty good - one day is handover but then you have 4 days / evenings to catch up with the shopping, tidying, cleaning, occasional socialising ( v occasional). Then when you do have the boys you can concentrate on them. That's the ideal. Sometimes I don't achieve it as I fall asleep on the sofa, too tired from trying to do it all.

So today I had the whole day to myself. Not housework ( I loaded the dishwasher), or cleaning ( I swept the floor), or shopping ( I did nip out to pick up a rug I'd ordered). Yes, a whole day to myself. It almost turned into a whole day tidying as it took me most of the morning to find my sewing machine cable. I was beginning to panic. The last sewing I had done was in the living room but could I find it? In the end after looking in lots of other places I found it in a drawer in the same living room, tangled up with the wii controllers.

So, off to the sewing room. Last night I had decided to try piecing regular 5 pointed star. Unfortunately my attempt is not very regular, and I have unpicked some of it and will try to correct it. But I don't think it will work because of my seam placement - the star is one big triangle as the central pentagon and 2 points, and 3 small triangles attached. It draws the eye to any imperfection.

So, plan B.

I sorted through my books, magazines and a desk diary looking for inspiration.

Now I am having a go at 2 stars I found on the internet.

I can't go into too much detail re the colours I'll end up using, or the placement of the stars, if I end up using them as my swap recipient may be snooping.

Another annoying thing is that I had to draw the pattern for paper piecing one of the stars as the one I printed off wasn't quite the 4" it said it would be. So then I photocopied my sketch onto paper piecing paper and lo and behold - my photocopied sketch didn't measure 4"!!!. I have copied it on 101% as now it is nearly 4" so here's hoping any sewing inaccuracies will work in my favour.

I spent alot of last night reading my swap recipients blog and looking at flickr photos. What have I got myself into I wondered.

It was about 2 years ago that I signed up for my first swap. It was the Fall Mini Quilt swap so I think alot about Joan and Joans mini quilt alot as I drive past all the beautiful autumnal trees that I looked at 2 years ago, looking for inspiration. This is the mini quilt that I recieved from Anne.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Modern Christmas Table Runner Swap.

Yippee I've signed up to the Modern Christmas Table Runner swap.
I found our about it on Trudis' blog.

I joined at the 11th hour, and had to quickly put together a "mosaic" of images I like. Last night I was up fairly late learning how to do the mosaic so I have at least learnt something new.

I have posted this on my flickr page and you can see the details for these photos there - sorry but I haven't figured out how to paste the link details in here.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Maddening layout of text and photos!

No matter how many times I delete rows blogger keeps putting them back in - resulting in big gaps where I don't want them. Grrr....

Back from Dorset

I have spent last week in Dorset with the boys. Now of course I need a holiday to recover from the holiday. They were OK some of the time, but the rest.......................

I know it sounds mean but I've been looking forward to this holiday since February and constant moaning and whining didn't feature in any of my daydreams. The 8 year old lost the toss of the coin for the bedroom with the bunk beds, that was worth at least 15 minutes of crying. Then we couldn't get all of the TV channels listed - more crying!!. And so on.

Now I have 5 days on my own, apart from work colleages, to enjoy the peace and quiet and try to get back up to speed.

Whilst we were on the beach in Charmouth I ordered more fabric from Doughtys to enable me to make a quilt for my bed. It arrived whilst I was away -

This photo doesn't really show the colours well. There is a lot of Limes and Olive in them. Now I am thinking about what to do. They are a rather zingy combination of prints / colours which is out of character with the bedroom as it currently is - the blue is rather soothing. I plan to do large pieces - I have 2 metres of the Paisley print and the Chrysanthemum, 1 1/2 of the Laurel dots and 1/2 of the lashes. Doughtys only had the Lashes print in another colourway, which I am unlikley to use. I have some plain blue and brown.

I may do something based on a stripe arrangement I saw in "Color Harmony for Quilts" by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. It's called "Passage to India" and just uses 2 fabrics in reducing and increasing widths.

Or I may use a simple block with large pieces.

Or I may use the Paisley as a wide border and use the other fabrics in a large block in the centre.

But I have lots of time to think on, I have too much on my unfinished list. No 1 to do is the Postage stamp quilt.
I have done a bit of sewing.

I finished the sewing part of one of the 2 Roman Blinds that I'm making, unfortunately I'm not entirely happy with it. So I may have to order 2 Roller Blinds for my Bedroom and use the fabric in my Quilt. The failure of the blind adds to the feeling I have of discontent. But I need to chill and remember that it's only been 4 months since Andrew moved out and it's to be expected that I still have masses of stuff to sort out. Really, masses.

School starts on Thursday. Needless to say neither Andrew, Liam or myself can remember where Liams PE kit ended up. Oh joy.

Here are a few more photos from the holiday.

- Watching Punch and Judy show on Swanage Beach. Joseph has the Lime T Shirt and Liam is to the left.
Liam at Corfe Castle-

East cliff at Bridport -
Liam as an angel -
With all his cuddly toys on the chair. Whilst driving down to Dorset he said "Can I use a wipe to clean my hands?" This is a boy we're talking about - cleaning hands isn't really the priority. Making super hero costumes for the toys is!.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

NEC Festival of Quilts

I went to the Festival of Quilts on Thursday. I had mislaid my camera so I don't have photos to show you.
I only had the afternoon there, and I concentrated mainly on looking for fabric for a new quilt.
Firstly though I went to say Hello to Mandy at her Simply Solids stall.

I painted my bedroom blue - and it's difficult to find any bedlinen to go with it, and it's also difficult to find quilting fabric!
But I have found 4 prints, and a plain. Obviously having only bought half a metre of each I now need to buy more. I got all the 4 prints from Doughtys so will try to order some by phone on Monday. 2 were sale fabrics so I have to hope they still have some.
The brown is an Oakshot fabric so I will have to send a swatch to them if I need more.
So the question is - what pattern do I do. I feel I need one with larger rather than smaller pieces so it isn't too busy. I 'll have a look through my extensive quilting library and post any ideas.

I also bought some "worn and washed" fabrics. I had said to myself "Rule - don't buy from a stall that you have bought from previously if you haven't used your purchase yet" Failed!

Oh and I've bought a bit of Christmas fabric to make a few Morsbags for my work colleagues.
And I bought a book -"The Bag Bible".

And a grey print from Monkey Buttons and 2 plain greys from Simply Solids - hopefully to make a few cushion covers for my small living room.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Welsh Quilt Centre.

The weekend before last was my first weekend without the boys at all, so I planned a trip to Lampeter in Wales to see the Welsh Quilt centre.

I left work on Friday and drove over to Leominster for the night to break up the journey. I had booked into a B&B - The Copper Hall. It was very nice - it was £36 for a single room - infact it was a double room I had. Lovely house, and very hospitable hosts. It was great to just sit and relax, when at home there are always things to do.
Saturday morning was bright and sunny, and the drive down to Lampeter was beautiful. Driving past Brecon was hard - the mountains loomed tall and I have many memories of a great holiday when we walked the Brecon Beacons Horseshoe - we being myself, Andrew and Joseph who was 5 at the time. It's early days but I realise I'll have to organise myself and see if a friend would like to do that sort of walk with me, or I'll have to join a walking group or go on a walking holiday.
It started to drizzle when I got to Lampeter. I had coffee and a Welsh Cake in the Cafe adjoining the Gallery then went round the exhibition.
After lunch I walked around the town, then drove out to Llanbydder to visit Jen Jones shop.
I pride myself on being good with maps. I enjoy map reading whilst other people drive. But obviously I was a little too relaxed and whilst I set off with a map printed from google I hadn't considered which direction I was coming into LLanbydder from!
I was hopelessly lost when I reached the centre and drove in and out of the village several times. What a dummy.
The shop is so quaint. It is in an old cottage, 2 rooms downstairs, very narrow steep wooden steps up to the 2 rooms upstairs. It reminded me of some of the cottages at St Fagans folk museum, but as it is many many years since I've been there how accurate that memory is is debatable. I ought to take the boys there one day - I'm sure they'd find it interesting.
The quilts are beyond my purse at the moment until I have a firmer idea of what I want. Having decorated my bedroom blue - I need to make sure that anything I get will go.
I have an old Welsh quilt that my maternal grandmother made - it's what is called a "cottage" quilt. Unfortunately it's mainly yellow.

The initial "honeymoon" period following the separation is over. First I was somewhat elated to have the space to myself, and to be able to come home and not have to listen to his constant music, to have the kitchen back as a kitchen instead of his work room, to have a second living room instead of his (work) storage room, to have the evening meal at a sensible time. Now though my initial burst of energy has been used up and I am bogged down by various unfinished things. The reality is work 5 days a week, looking after the boys, thinking what they are need to take to Andrews house, thinking what they need to bring back to my house, housework, keeping on top of the cleaning, washing, shopping, not letting things go off in the fridge, cooking properly for just myself when they're not with me, getting though the list of 50 plus things to do, reclaiming the veg plot, getting to bed at a sensible time,.......
On the positive side I have regained control of the kitchen and therefore the food that comes out of it, and through some effort have lost some weight. Not masses - less than a stone but I didn't have much excess weight to start with - just excess fat round my middle on a skinny frame! So I won't tell you the numbers, I'll just say that I now need to take my skirts in by a couple of inches. (No. 37 on my list to do).
I don't get in till 6, and I try to sit down at 9 to watch a bit of TV whilst I check emails and do other internet stuff. My 4th bedroom is my sewing room and at the moment is in need of a good tidy up. It also has a spare wardrobe in it which doesn't help matters. The boys haven't taken much of their stuff round to Andrews - I don't know why - I ask them but don't get a meaningful answer. Liams room at my house is nearly always a tip. He tidies it then somehow, overnight, something happens.
Achievements - I painted my bedroom a delicious blue colour. Up until now all our rooms have been neutral but this is a real colour. I had to buy a new bed, wardrobe and chest of drawers. Ikea has had a fair bit of my money recently and I don't want to see another flat packed item for quite a while. I now have more Bedroom storage than I've had for a long time. On the "unfinished" list is - wardrobe doors to put on ( No. 4) - new roman blinds to make in the same blue ( No. 1) - painting all the woodwork ( get the picture yet?) - painting the en-suite bathroom. So I've a way to go yet.
Downstairs is the second living room. This room is suffering from Artists dye spillage. Oh yes, no more dye on quilts !.I need to get the man back to sand down the floor and recoat it. Unfortunately this means emptying out the main living room and the second living room, including the really heavy piano, putting everything in the kitchen so all the floor boards can be treated. We had this done about 3 years ago but since then my Artist husband has split Blue and Pink dye on the floor so it needs re-doing. I have a large kitchen so everything will fit in but it's just the inconvenience of it all.
The kitchen itself currently has 3 x 3m lengths of work surface in it waiting for me to find a kitchen fitter to fit it . I have been looking, but it's proving to be difficult. I have one coming round on Saturday so I hope he follows up with a quote, unlike the last 2.

I shall report back at the weekend.

Tonight I went for a walk, the weather is still pretty good and the scenery is fantastic.

Friday, 11 March 2011

No pain, no gain.

Here comes the pain.
Last Saturdays sewing was the easy bit. I had already got to a fairly good position on over half the strip sets, and I was just cutting and sewing "good" strips together.
Now I'm attending to the Bad strips. My good strips measure 17 1/4 inches ( not the 17 1/2 they are supposed to, but that doesn't really matter ).

The bad strips sets measure 16 1/2 - 17 - 17 1/2. So last night I had to lay the ruler over the strips to see which squares weren't an inch, and unpick seams. I have quite a pile of bits now, and I'll have to have a few sessions carefully sewing back together.
My machines default needle position isn't at a quarter inch when I fit my quarter inch seam foot - how ridiculous is that?. I only realised this after I'd started sewing strips together, so every time I sew I need to remember to amend the needle position.

I also have another bag of bits - so now would be a good time to go through and check / amend these as well.

I persuaded ( moaned at?) Andrew to clear a bit of space in his work room so that I could doing my sewing in there. He hasn't used it as a work room for probably over a year - it's just been storage as he's worked at the kitchen table. I've had to do my sewing as well as sleep in the smallest bedroom.
So now I'll be able to leave the various piles on the table out of my way, and my bedroom can be tidier.
I have asked him what are the chances of my getting Dye on my quilt and he has replied "slim", and then "very slim". Guess I can't do better than that. For previous references to Dye on Quilts read this -
So order of work -
Go through bag of odd strip sets, measure and unpick if necessary.
Iron all odd strips, pick out all "unpicked" stitches.
Arrange new strip sets, mark and sew.
Calculate how many 1 & 1/2" strips it will make.
I will need 25 blocks 17 x 17 in total ( or the equivalent ).
I currently have 32 "half blocks" 17 x 8, so I will need 16 single strips to complete the 16 blocks.
And I need 9 more blocks 17 strips wide.
In total I need 169 more strips ( of 17 sqs).

When I have re-sewn the bits I've just unpicked I'll sew together the last of the strips I cut - I think I've already cut all the patterned strips I need, but I may need to cut more plains.
Then I can have another good session 2's, then 4's, then 8's.
When I'm at the stage of having 50 "half blocks" of 17 x 8 I will need to make the decision regarding how I am going to quilt it as that will determine how I sew it together.
If I get it quilted on a long arm machine I sew all 25 17 x 17" blocks together to complete the top.
If I am going to quilt it in sections I need to decide if I am doing 2 or 3 sections - or more?
I could sandwich and quilt all 25 squares individually having 25 different fabrics on the back. Having cut up all my odd fabrics to do this quilt I don't actually have 25 different fat quarters left. It would be easy to manipulate a 17" square on my machine - making certain patterns possible but ruling out others.
I guess I need to decide if I can afford to get it quilted, and what sort of quilting I actually want.

I like the old Welsh Quilts. I plan to go to Jen Jones Quilt museum some time in the near future.
Once I have separated from Andrew when he moves out ( pending his house purchase) we will have a shared care arrangement where the boys spend half the time with each of us. I will miss them dreadfully when they are not with me but will try to use the time well. I will be off to Wales to visit the Museum, I'll be able to go round to friends, I'll be able to sew!. It'll be a taste of what life may be like when they are older and no longer dependant upon us.
Once Andrew has moved out we are going to make the work room into a second living room - it'll be cosier than the main living room so easier to keep warm, which is a consideration as my house has Oil fired central heating which is expensive to run. Also I have the Piano in the living room where the TV is - so I have to turf the boys off the TV when I want to practice, or I leave my practicing until late. My little bedroom will become just the sewing room, and I'll get the main bedroom. I'll paint it, buy a new bed and decorate to my tastes.

I have a new camera with more mega pixels and I think that it is really slowing down my uploading pictures to the blog.
I will fiddle with the sizes to see if I can improve things, yet another thing to sort whilst watching TV in the evening.

Last week I blogged and mentioned I had rather a lot of projects on the go.
Here they are, in no particular order ! -

1. Hand sewn Carpenter star.
Came to a halt as
a) it's on a cream background and I have cats with dirty feet,
b) I have a husband with dyes,
c) It was getting to a stage where it needed space to be laid out,
d) I needed reading glasses.
This should probably get worked on over the summer when the light is good. Started it perhaps 4 years ago - and haven't touched it for about 2 years.
This project is typical of the sort of thing I do. I am sewing over papers, but I am wanting to quilt it in 3 pieces then join. This makes the thing rather difficult. Yep - that's me all over. Perhaps it's this quilt I should send off for Quilting!

2. Ikat bag.
Needs laying out and thinking about.

3. Brights bag.

Used the wrong weight stiffener. Made a real mess sewing the lining so it hasn't progressed.

4. Batik Squares bag.
Wish I hadn't used wadding. I will probably cut this up again!

5. Acid Green quilt.
I this started with a charm pack I had. I made various 4 patches, and planned to edge in green, then cream then use green again for the background.
I was trying to do varied border sizes and angles. I've completely gone off this. I think I'll use the acid green for another project.

6. Bright stars from left-overs.
Hand paper piecing. This will only be a small project as I don't have many more brights left over. I have not made much of a dent in some of the fabric I was trying to use up - these florals. I have 2 rules for this project -the stars have either a spot or stripe or check centre, and have one of the floral print colour ways in.

7. Little houses.
Combination of foundation piecing and normal piecing. I have done a few houses, and have others cut ready to sew. I ought to have a few sessions at it and then utilise what I've got.
Wall hanging ? Cushions?

8. Batiks.
I started this on a Friday night sew-in. I am stuck having gone off my original intention of putting the squares on point. Have absolutely no idea what to do, but I might make this my next machining project.

9. Snails Trail.
Oh my goodness. This must be about 12 years old. I started quilting it on a machine quilting day, then it got packed away. It wouldn't take too much to finish it.

10. Blue Gems.
My 12 year old wants this one. I stopped it as I wanted to put it on point, but couldn't work out what to put in the 4 corners. I bought enough fossil fern in pale blue and navy blue so do 2 corners in each, but I don't think that will work. Joseph is happy to have it as it is.

11. I have assorted workshop pieces not finished, and most won't be either. The one I may finish at some point is a village scene, from a workshop by Ineke Berlyn based on the paintings by Ton Schulten. I could make a cushion cover.
12. 1930's prints. I have 42 squares. I thought that next time I need to do a baby quilt I'd pick 16 boy colours or girls colours and sew them together.

13. Dare I admit it - my Rudolph hanging. Needs 1 eye, 1 Antler and to finish the binding.

Can you call boxes of fabric unfinished projects - best not go there!

Cotton prices have rocketed - but I guess I don't need to buy any for a while.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The thought process.

I am thinking about whether I am going to Quilt this or whether I should pay someone to do it on a long arm machine.
I have never had a quilt quilted before- for one thing it's the expense, and secondly it won't then be all my work.
If I get someone else to do it I will let them sandwich it - I sure thats probably the norm?

If I do it I will have to do it in sections - I can't sandwich such large quilts. So I'd probably do it in 2 or 3 sections. If I do 2 I need to do 2 1/2 blocks wide by 5 long.
If I do 3 I'll do 1 & 1/2, 2 , and 1 & 1/2 blocks wide. So for now I 'll carry on sewing up the strips into "half blocks" - 8 x 17 so I will be able to decide at a later date what I'll do.

I did my log cabin quilt in 3 parts - and that was manageable.

I have this book -
and here are 2 pages of designs from it -

And here is a doodle, I quite fancy doing some more free, fluid lines and fillers.

When I did my sisters quilt - Trip around Ireland - I quilted it with the Baptist fan design. I still have the template, but I feel I should try and learn something new.

I stopped at this field on the way home, all the sheep came over to the fence in eager anticipation.