Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Snips and snippets

Thank you all for the wonderful response to my last post!  I have a lot to consider, but I also found somewhere I can go see a few machines, so hopefully I'll have chosen soon!

Meantime I pulled some grey, white and sandy low volume prints for the final border on my #britbeeforever Medallion Quilt.  It took couple of nights, some cake and some help from mum but they are all chopped and ready to go now.

My retro flowers blocks are all done, although trimming them and squaring them looks like it will be a bit of a 'mare....  (I was in such a rush to sew I didnt stop to press or trim as I went.)  I have a small quantity of the text print ("how to sew a pillowcase" from Timeless Treasures) for sashing, but unfortunately I couldn't find any yardage anywhere to get some more to do borders.  Looks like this will be a small throw.  Or a Moo Quilt....

Granny has been cutting for me, and we have almost got all the cutting done for a Kaleidoscope quilt.  Oh and I did some rummaging through the stash and found a few packs of Low Volume charm squares.  That has given me something nice to think about when I'm awake all night.  Lying awake for hours each night in pain and alone kinda sucks chunks, and on bad nights I start imagining all sorts of nasties.  I love having fabric to obsess over, quilts to plan.  Such a fun alternative.

I had an awesome flying visit from bestie, with her hubby, her lass and new baby in tow.  Any time spent with them is wonderful, however long or short.  And, BONUS, I got a fantastic haircut!  Hubby is a top hairdresser and salon owner....  What a top bloke to bring his tools and work on his holiday!

Moo is, well, she's wonderful of course.  But my god she can be stroppy.  And what a temper!  She still isnt talking and I think it must really be starting to bother her.  She's scarily smart though.  Really gotta watch what you say in front of her.  She understands everything.  Of course she steadfastly ignores most of the things you want her to understand... Naturally.
I am exceptionally lucky with Moo loving her bed and her story cds.  (That's my girl!!)  However my nightly check on her is becoming a military operation.  She is determined to catch me and get up and damn it did she not inherit her mothers sixth sense for detecting parental presence.  I can actually remember doing much the same to my mum.
Each night I get the light right, not the hall light - too bright - but the bathroom light with the door half shut so there only just enough light to see.  I open her door in absolute silence, and sneak (as stealthily as a fatty who can barely walk without staggering or tripping, joints clicking or swearing with pain can sneak) and get to the crib.  Often I'm caught before I get there and have to back away fast and try again later.  Eventually I get in.  Lift the blankie from the end of the crib.  Slowly, one hand, don't let it swing over the inside of the crib.  Locate the child.  Easier said than done.  Where is the child?  Cant see.  Is that the child?  No, its a monkey.  Screw eyes up and panic.  Locate the head!  Locate the head!  Got it, blankie on!  S#*t she's stirring, Retreat! Retreat! Retreat!  Kid can go from sound asleep on her knees with her butt in the air to wide awake standing, crying and grabbing, in a Millisecond...
But check on her I must.  Tell me, oh wise mothers, tell me, when do I stop needing to go in and check on her every night?  By "needing to" I of course am referring to my need not hers.  I cant 'not' check on her.  I need to hear that she's still breathing at least twice (bare minimum) every night.  When does this stop?!!!  Its mental.

So these are some of the joys of my days.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015


Last week the people of Instagram were a wonderful help advising mum on her choice of new sewing machine.  Now its my turn please!

My machine is a Janome 8077.  It has about 30 stitches, of which I use straight and zigzag...  It has a speed control, which I love but admittedly mostly keep on fast.  It has a needle threader which I could not do without now.  It has a needle up / down button, which I most definitely dont want to do without!  Its a top loader, and has a start button for sewing without the foot pedal. 
I love it, but I find it a nightmare for quilting.  The throat space is larger than average but still too weeny for comfort.  It has an extra lift on the presser foot, which has lead to the presser foot being too heavy and not adjustable.  This makes curves tough!  

For the last few years I've been saying I want a no nonsense straight stitch only tough machine thats designed for quilting.  No fancy stitches, just an even feed and the ability for FMQ.
I also fancy a machine with a knee lift for the presser foot.  And I dont want to be without the few features of my current machine that I love.

I was looking at the Janome 1600PQC.  Seems like what I was looking for....
But I'm now being tempted by the Pfaff Expression 4.2.  It does so much more than I wanted but it has a wider throat and frankly seems less scary!

Janome 1600PQC

Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2

I dont really live anywhere near somewhere with enough machines to go try some.  I'd end up getting one 'sold' to me and I dont want that.  So peeps, any advice?  I dont want to get the straight stitch only and find that the 9" throat is still tiny and the machine too utilitarian.  Its not like I will ever get a frame to use it on.   However, I dont want to get a very expensive machine that does hunners of stuff (200+ stitches!) and still say "I just need a good straight stitch machine..."!
If I'm honest, all that I've read about the Pfaff has me more or less sold...  especially the even feed and the 11" throat.

So, if you have a machine that you do all your piecing on, that also does your quilting, and you'd recommend it, what is it?!

I'll try to make the next post less boring, honest.  

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Medallion city

If there are any readers new to this blog, let me explain that I am very fortunate to be an original member of Brit Bee, the best quilting bee in Britian.  We started about 4 years ago, a bunch of strangers on Flickr, and fast became firm friends.  We got to know each other so quickly, and were all shocked when one day our Terri told us she had been diagnosed with Cancer.

Our bee, our quilts, our meetings, our chats and sadly Terri's ultimately losing battle with Cancer are all parts of how we have become more than just a bee.  This weekend past was the memorial service for our dear Terri.  I'm sorry to say I couldnt make it in person, but my thoughts were there all day.  She was an amazing person whom I am honoured to have know.  But she didnt want sadness.  She didnt want dwelling.
We have been working on a group medallion for the last 2 years, and we chose this day for our grand reveal.  A fitting tribute I think.





Laura Janes







We each did our own centre, chose our own colour scheme guide, but the overall design was done by Hadley.  The #britbeeforever medallion.  13 Stars.  Yes, they are awesome, aren't they?!  What will we come up with next?

In other news. well there isnt really any.  No sewing done yet, spending all my spare time sleeping.  Moo got a sandpit today.  Not entirely a huge hit yet, but she is definitely interested for 5 minutes.  Teeth brushing continues to be an absolute nightmare.  They way she acts one might think I was extracting each one to brush it...  However sleeping is still going well, touch wood.  Tippietoes running is the favourite game of the day, and she is finally starting to make singing, pleasant, sweet noises for a change!  And she likes a wee bop in the high chair.  This morning it was Bob Marley's Jammin!

Eugh.  Bed time already.  Night night!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

New shoes.

Hopefully my break from blogging is past now.  I needed the time to move to our new home, as our wee family.  Shame there had to be so much crappy work to do in the house though.  Rotten home report didnt spot a ton of stuff.  Dont get me wrong, the lovely lady we bought from wouldn't have had a clue about any of it either.  But you move in, things expose themselves.  Knackered roofs, rotten floor, packed in central heating, "vintage" boiler, leaky shower, rotten door, the list goes on and on.   Big ol pile of POO.  However, we love the house, love the garden, love the (slightly) better weather, the central location so near by to everything we could want.  Man has had many adventures on his bike.  Moo has been to the beach and paddled in the sea, toddles to duckponds, tea in a castle, drives through forests, as well as going to big shops and big parks.  I've had a visit already, from Aunty Katy!  Man had his cousin visit!  Visitors in Shetland were few and far between... Anyway.  Past 3 months has seen loads of wonderful stuff.

 I have a sewing area set up in the spare room.  God only knows how I had all that stuff squeezed into a bloody cupboard!!!  At the moment sewing time is extremely limited.  Nap time really does have to apply to her AND me.  And by the time she's in bed, well, its only an hour or two until mine!    Every now and again Granny has come to the rescue and given me the space, the time, and a nudge to remind me I'm allowed, and I've done a few bits and pieces.   A few blocks for a long standing WIP (a made up sampler with 30's repro prints) and now the start of a retro flowers top too.  I guess I'm not alone amongst you when I say that a wee bit of sewing just makes me feel, well, human - ME! !

Man is back at sea now, so that means a whole new and equally big adjustment for me and moo (and granny and gampa!).  I need so much help, every day, its a bit sucky.  But its not sucky when its Granny and Gampa.  I'd be so utterly lost without them.  Moo heard Gampa come in this afternoon and leapt off the changing mat and ran to him with one shoe on and her dungarees round her ankles!
Elliecat is settling in too, although there's less activity for her with no stairs, no high window ledges, fewer rooms, etc.  She seems like a much older cat!  But whenever I worry that the kid is too much for her, she actively seeks us out.  If the kid bothered her she wouldnt always need to find her, would she.  There is a wee bitty of a territorial dispute over her bed though...

Well, I've a lot more settling in to do, like a new shoe I've got a whole new situation to break in.  This could be so cool, I just need to get beyond the blisters.  I'm so thankful that I'm not on my own.  When I started this blog I was starting to adapt to life without employment in a remote place where I was living alone often.  Blogging brought me so many friends, both online and in real life.  And I've missed my blog, my mates.  Even if the followers have dropped like flies...  I hope to be able to answer any comments again, but it might take a while.

Big ol' Mwah!