Friday, 29 March 2013

Spidey senses working overtime

April is my month in the Modern Stitching Bee and I've been really looking forward to this one.  This is it, this is the time, the time is now, big girl pants at the ready, I want SPIDERS WEB BLOCKS!!

I have been so daunted by these for so long, but so completely enamoured too.

Many, many hours spent looking for the right tutorial online; loads of great tutes but I can be a right fussy bugger and I didnt manage to come up with anything that covered exactly what I want all in one.  Only thing for it was to do my own.

It took me 7 hours over all, from nothing to pattern, photos for tutorial and finished block.

It didnt work.

I really wanted a 12" finished size block.  This was just coming in shy of 11 and 3/4 unfinished... just.  I stomped off to bed in a right huff!

The following day, explaining what happened to mum, she spotted this - a blatant sign if ever there was one -

and it gave me enough of a laugh to get stuck in to ... well, to be honest I got stuck into helping Mum have a go at drawing the pattern pieces with me!  I'm afraid to say I was just too tired and too bad tempered to have managed to do it without mums positive outlook and her laid back.... well, to be honest she swore a bit too!  (sorry mum but you did, just a little...)  Between the two of us eventually we got it sorted and I was able to reuse the duff block too, so yay!  Tutorial done!

CLICK HERE or look at the top tabs for pages!

I'm going with Kona Ash centres, and the webs themselves to be bright, but light - ie no batik, no dark, no massively busy heavy prints - with some texty fabrics, and some selvages thrown in too.  I am asking for wonky strips, none thicker than an inch (averaging 7+ strips per side)  I am also asking my bee mates to make one strip, just one in the whole entire block, a light bright solid.  If they all do this and place it next to the grey (spot the pink one on my block below!) I will stamp their name on it myself and there wont be any need for a signature block.

I must say, block one was certainly a labour of love.  And I do you know, I love it!  Block two will be a breeze now.
I hope you have a nosey at the tute, and if any of you actually use it and make a block or two I'd love to hear about it.   In fact, what the hell, I could do with a couple more blocks to get a nice big bed quilt, so if anyone would like to contribute one......  drop me a line and we can discuss maybe an exchange of some kind!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013


My man gave me a new nickname last week.  Not content with calling me "toddler", he decided that apparently I am toddler Borg.  I have been assimilated by the quilty Borg and cannot function without plugging in to the collective....   (if you have no idea what I'm on about, be glad.  Be very glad.)

Yes, I really struggled with my first week of being offline and "no service".  So much so that when ever we were out and I got a flash of a 3G bar I was straight on Instagram...  Yeah yeah, I should be ashamed of myself.  But I had to....  If any of you who may not be on IG missed it, I posted this awesome pic.

It comes from here.

Possibly the coolest tea room I've been to, the Greenhouse, up in the middle of nowhere picturesque highlands of Scotland.  It's two floors of charity shop cleverly decorated with things like a curtain made out of shirts sewn together, bunting from old comics, vintage dresses in frames on the wall... so cool.  That dude was sat right next to me as I had my cuppa.  I think its a costume bear head over a lampshade on a standard lamp, with a fuchsia feather boa too.  Naturally.

Little FUNCy did come on holiday, but I'm afraid my enthusiasm for taking silly photos outside with him did not.  Jeez it was BALTIC!  I did get one pic though, little FUNCy with my snow...thing.  It was going to be a snow dalek and I was quite chuffed with how it was starting to shape up and my man sabotaged it cos he said it looked like something else entirely that really shouldn't be left at the front door for all to see... Rotter.  However,  one snow fight later, little funcy did meet the snow thing.

There has been some sewing, but it has been immensely frustrating!   If anyone has EQ7, and / or English Paper Piecing experience, please please can you tell me where I am going wrong here?
I printed out EQ7 pattern pieces for some blocks.  We cut the pieces out, and we basted, and we joined.  First block, things seemed to be going together beautifully right up until the end, then we realised that no, things had not gone together "nicely" at all!  This will NOT sit flat, it has a swivel / bump in it.  Also, it is WAAAAY too big for the four corner pieces!

Block two was a non starter.  The first ring is way too big for the centre, and even too big for the second ring.  We've had the pieces out and fractionally trimmed them, and it still didn't work!  

Ideas?  Anyone? 

I will be back very soon with a fabulous (ha ha) tutorial for a block that DID work.  Eventually...  Anyone up for spiders webs?  

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Dance FUNCy dance

Ooh I am in trouble here... and fingers crossed I'll be forgiven.  You see, a certain little  Fugly Needle Case came to visit me - and the poor little thing has had to sit and wait 3 months for the house driver to return from sea!  Well, I had to make sure I showed little FUNCy a good time, and that just wasn't going to happen without man to take us out and about.  Sorry Annaliese, thank you so much for sending him, and Rhonda, hope you'll find your nagging patience has paid off.

FUNCys First Big Day Out.

(If you are not in the UK or if you are and you don't watch telly, then watch this first!)

Little FUNCy went looking 
up north for some friends.  
He loved him some 80's,
 he was down with those trends,
Fleetwood Mac on the telly 
and a dancer so sweet
Little FUNC went in search of
 the pony wi' the feet...

He searched the hillside far and near
But all was silent, no dancin' here.

He searched the spot he'd seen them last, 
"am I too late?" he thought aghast.

The more he looked around this place
the more the hope fell from his face

"I wanna make a cool new friend,
but I am on the clock! 
 I'm really startin to wonder now
is there life on this ol' rock?!"

"Its a sign!" shouted FUNCy when this did he spot
"maybe Otters are the friend for me?"
But he waited and waited and saw not a lot
so they must have all been out at sea.

Away in the distance FUNC spotted some sheep
but they just did not want to come play.. 
"RUDE!" thought our FUNC from the sociable south
"thats not how its done round my way."

But wait!  Look there!
Is it really?!  Lets Detour!
Even up close
 little FUNC wasn't sure.

They were cheeky, short and fat,
with the hair and all that,
(now they're sounding a lot like his guide)
Despite no disco scene 
our wee FUNC, being green
 got stuck in with the charm, how he tried.

"hey there cutie, lets jive"

but events took a dive

FUNCy just missed being eaten alive!!!

Thanks be to that bloke or our FUNC might be broke
and in need of a jolly good soak.

"Sheesh!  Little Divas" our FUNC seemed to say 
as he gladly returned to the car
"cute they may be" I advised with a smile
"but they're best when they're viewed from a far!"

We was cold and fed up and the car even told us
it was time to get back to the warm.
And would you believe it, on the sofa right there was
a wee mate in kitty cat form!

Just what will little FUNCy do next?  Stay tuned....

NB.  No needle cases were harmed in the production of this post - although a safety pin with a heavy ball of yarn tied to it did have to be attached or little FUNCy would be half way to Iceland by now...

and big thanks to blokey for the driving, the posing and the phototaking.  And I'm sorry, yes, I should have let you dust the car before I took that photo.  (weirdo.)

Why isnt it called film '94 any more?

Not too much sewing done this last week either!  My zeal for envelopes dwindled rather I'm afraid.  Only one done this week.  Must do better.  Utility room now has my fabulous yellow spotty floor, but I'm saving the reveal photo for when the room is finished - unfortunately a while off yet...

There has been the usual mix of happiness and horror that comes with man's return.  He makes me clean and tidy...  And I have to do much more food preparation too.  Boo hiss.  He has however given in to my whining and accompanied me to the cinema, not once but 3 times!  Woo hoo!  We've seen Argo, Django Unchained, and tonight was This is 40.  Awesome.  I LOVE going to see movies.  I love popcorn...  So far, I dozed for 10 mins about 20 mins in to Argo, tho fortunately I picked it up again very quickly.  Ben Affleck with beard.....  mmmm.

Ben with beard.  And well deserved bafta...  image from the telegraph

Amazingly didn't sleep at all during Django.  Hate to admit it but even although I really loved it, I cant deny I did, twice, think "bloody hell, its still not over?!"  Wooee a long filum.  Real good tho.  And This is 40....  Loved it!  Made me laugh so much.
Other exciting  (granted only for me) news is that we're off to the mainland at the end of the week!  Typically we're off to somewhere even more remote for a week... so I will be offline.  For a week.  No phone signal either.  Am a little scared...

So, before I disappear I thought I'd better get my bee blocks for Di done.  She asked for flying geese blocks, any size so long as finished size was divisible by 12, 6 or 3. She gave us a very definite colour scheme, so that was my first problem...  My reds all seemed either terracotta or pink.  My teals all seemed either aqua or had loads of black in them....  Eventually found some I think fit, lets hope Di approves!

Not having a great deal of experience with Flying Geese I decided to make this a bit of a learning thing - last geese block (only geese block) I did was all foundation paper piecing, so I ruled that out this time.  I had a go at making some using my own maths and my own ideas.

Eventually I found two great tutorials online for two methods, and I tried both, and made two made up blocks.

First up we have the Easy Flying Geese Tutorial from Bee in my bonnet.  This uses squares and rectangles, chain piecing, and also produces lots of little triangles for some extra teeny HST's if you can be arsed.
This worked okay.  My sizes ended up a little bit squiffy (smaller than hoped for) but I think it turned out no' bad.

Second we have the Flying Geese - the no waste method  from Happy Quilting.  No waste means no extra weeny HST's so all of you who couldn't be arsed doing anything *with* the ones from the above tute just need to switch to this one!  The tute is good, it works, but to be honest, I found the maths and the working out just... eugh.  My geese still ended up squiffy.  In fact, these ones seemed even squiffier so I had to trim the blocks down and border up the block.  Got a bit carried away as there was no need for the sides boosted.  Oops.

So, that's my blocks.  I thought they were okay, then I saw ol' flashers block and mine now seem, well, pants!  My oh my she really has done a beauty!
I'll leave you to go nosy at her masterpiece for now...  but I'll be back before the weeks out.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Just a little post

Still no awesome finished Utility room to report I'm afraid.  The yellow dotty floor arrives the end of this week though so I'm sure things will look brighter then....  

The clock on the mantle works again now, the fire is on, and there's man crap geeky stuff on telly....  Man's home

I did get a little sewing done in the last couple of weeks.  There's the various triangular difficulties of Judes requested Bee Blocks...  Tricky!  

And after seeing the envelope on the back of the cushion for postie, my lovely sister in law has asked for a cushion just of envelopes.  So, averaging 2 hours an envelope (flipping triangles!!!) this one might take some time!  

Anything for my bruv and his missus tho x