Tuesday 22 February 2011


Yay!  I did it, I got all three quilts finished!  And as bizarre and unsettling as my time / sleep for the last few days would seem to a normal person, I'm feeling pretty good for it to be honest.  Possibly a little short on whatever vitamins are gained from sunshine, but as far as I've been aware there really hasnt been much up here in the last few days anyway!  There I was relying on Ellie cat to make sure I still got up in the "morning", turns out Ellie cat would much rather snuggle in bed than eat.  That or she knows me too well to even bother trying to force me out of bed!  Oh, I should maybe clarify, Ellie cat isnt IN bed she's ON it.  We're cute, not freaky.  Anyway, 3 WIP's cleared.  Feels so good to have them done and posted having been working on each of them little bits at a time for the last 5 or 6 weeks... 

Zigzag part one - non natural wadding, straight line quilting on both diagonals and vertical, flannel back, narrow blue binding.  This one is really light and puffy, it will keep its shape no matter how much its washed.

Zigzag part two - 100% cotton batting, quilting has been done with vertical zigzags, flannel back, wider polka dot binding.  This one doesn't have the airy, puffy look, but it will get the supersoft and crinkly look as soon as its been washed! 

And finally, The Nicey Jane Quilt - 100% cotton through and through, flannel back, ditch quilting and a little decorative highlight stitching on the frame blocks.  This time I've washed and tumble dried before sending, so it looks exactly like its always going to look, if you get what I mean...  Now you can see the crinkly look I've been wittering on about!

I have to apologise for the really poor photos.  And that's after me playing with them for ages on the editing thingy.  I must, I will try and do better in future.  Its stupid, in retrospect, to not try harder with the photos, I mean, it's the last time I see the quilts, I should take better pics for my records!  But when it comes down to it I always seem to be in a hurry to get it down to the post office the second its finished.  Probably something to do with the fact that my head is always full of half a dozen other quilts in planning...

Anyway, I will practice this week and see if I cant come up with a better way/place to do it.  And I'll have help too.  Mum is coming to stay with me for a week!  I cant wait :-)  A whole week just the two of us (and Ellie cat too obviously), I feel spoiled rotten already!  I'm gonna sound like such a mummy's girl in this post, and probably the next one or two... but I don't care.  Just for the records my dad's completely awesome too, he's just not that into spending hours with fabric in a cupboard!  It'll be a bit of a squeeze fitting two in there, but I'm looking forward to every minute of it. 

Friday 18 February 2011

Never mind 'what time is it?' What day is it?!

I spent last weekend sat on the sofa watching movies and old re-runs of murder mysteries - the quaint kind, nothing gruesome or gory - and I got all my ring pieces sorted out for the Single Girl Quilt-along.  I'm doing the baby size which involves 4 rings, and I've used various bright subtly patterned and solid reds, purples, blues and greens.  Once I finally decided on the layouts of all four rings I then had to trace and cut 124 pieces... 

It looks bloody enormous at the moment but keep in mind every single piece will lose 1/4 around the edges.  All very time consuming, the only tricky part so far has been ensuring everything stays in the exact order i need them!

With this done that brought my current WIP total to 4 quilts...  To be honest this kind of got me down a bit during the week, I mean, 7 weeks into 2011 and I've still not finished anything yet!  I get very frustrated sometimes not being able to get things done, and the things done are done in what seems like twice as much time as it should take.  I know its the same for everyone, most people feel at some point that they aren't getting time to do everything they want to get done.  But for most people this is due to work commitments, parenting commitments etc - not cos they cant stay awake for long enough! 

Valentines day not entirely without a cuddle!
However....  The last couple of days I've put a concentrated effort into doing a bit, then sleeping, then doing a bit more.  In other words I've temporarily moved into the spare bedroom, the room where the sewing cupboard is located!  It really does need to be temporary as I'm in danger of losing all sense of time and reality...  but I'm keeping it up until at least 3 of the 4 are finished.  Hopefully by the end of this weekend! Here's how things are going so far.

Having sewn nice (ever so slightly wonky) lines to grid around all the blocks, I decided to do a teeny bit of detail around my favourite framed blocks, so I marked off an inch around each corner (half an inch away from the edge) and used one of the supermachines fancier stitches in between.

I got the binding cut, folded and ironed

and attached to the front.

Keeping things simple I just did some straight-ish lines on the first of the zigzag quilts

And I like the teeny wee triangles it created on the back!

Just before I go, in the spirit of passing on good deals found, here are what I think are two good ones..  First, Pink Chalk Fabrics Monthly Solids Club  which for me has worked out to the equivalent of about £1.40 (that includes shipping) per Fat Quarter for 8 co-ordinated solids, which can and will include designer solid ranges (which can often retail for anything between £1.50 - £3.50 per FQ, NOT including delivery) delivered to my door every month!  Woohoo! 
Secondly, a certain web/mail order "french" fashion retailer I wont name cos I would not want to give them free advertising is doing a great sale on flannel duvet covers, one of which would easily provide at least two cosy flannel crib size quilt backs, and give you left overs.  Lovely colour selection too...

Must go, WIPs to finish - so many ideas for new quilts to start!

Thursday 10 February 2011

Sore fingers

I feel like I've had quite a busy week, though at the same time I don't exactly feel like I got a huge amount done!  I did manage to merit  a new nickname from my man..  He's calling me Conan (the destroyer) now cos on friday I managed to blow two lightbulbs, and knacker a stereo and two plug sockets....  Okay so they just happened, I didnt actually 'do' anything, but he does have a point when he says that nothing goes wrong when he's home...  It's been a pretty good week Narcolepsy wise, most of the times I fell asleep were fortunately when I sat on the sofa - although I did fall asleep in the bath again, but the bath is so old it doesn't have enough enamel on it to be slippery so my head was no where near the water.  Anyway, no nasty naps this week, no hallucinations, no vile dreams, pretty good!  In fact, the worst Narcolepsy issue of the week was repeatedly sleeping through making tea and neglecting to put milk in, not noticing till I was upstairs - black tea... ewwwwww nightmare!  As I said, pretty good week all things considered. 

I think this week I've just taken twice as long to do things, a prime example being the two days I spent just arranging and re-arranging the layout of my squares for the Nicey Jane quilt.  Big thank you to mum who had to sit and go though 20 plus photos of block layouts and reassure me that I didn't have any awkward clashes...  Taking photos helps though, there were a few times that I took a photo, left the room, looked at the picture and saw something I hadn't noticed.  I saw online someone made a design wall with cotton batting (bits of fabric will stick to cotton batting) and I'm really wishing I had a wall I could use! 

My quarter inch seams were driving me mad too.  I have a quarter inch seam foot, which I've read other sewing enthusiasts raving about, but mine clearly hates me.  No matter what I try it just pushes the top piece of fabric squint.  I pin, I go slow, I start with the needle down in the right place, but still it keeps shifting.  I've resorted to the standard foot and "measure 1/4 inch from the needle and mark with masking tape".  Which I thought was working splendidly, but on closer inspection a lot of my squares are, well, not entirely square... 

I've basted this one as much as I can (every safety pin in the house), but I'm still worried that my not-so-square squares might lead to lots of "pucking hell"...  I was still putting off quilting today and decided to baste one of the zigzag boys, with the basting gun.  I love the basting gun, not sure my fingers do though... but I don't really need sensitivity in all my fingertips really, do I? 

I had a lovely surprise this afternoon.

Window feeder? Nah..  Canopy bed? Yeah!
I've had this window feeder fully stocked and out in place for 5 weeks now, and never once have any of my feathered friends gone anywhere near it.  This little birdie has nestled into all the seeds and curled up for a kip in shelter from the rain!  Have to admire his napping skills :-)
I'm still trying to decide on the fabrics for the Single Girl Quilt too.

Can I get away with saving my yellow for a future yellow quilt?
 Although it could be said that I'm just fannying about listening to stories (Kipps by H.G. Wells at the mo') and delaying quilting Nicey Jane...  Must just get on with it.  Tomorrow... 

(doh! Spell check isnt working, sorry if you spot a clanger...)

Tuesday 1 February 2011

Just a table?

I'm starting to get back a little bit of a sense of routine again, despite really crappy nights, so I'm getting to spend a little more time in my beloved little cupboard.  Got a bit done on the Nicey Jane quilt.

I'm holding the other end up, it doesn't take flight of its own accord...
For those of you who don't quilt, this is something I learned called Chain Piecing - basically you don't stop in between pieces you just keep adding to the chain.  Couple of reasons for doing this, first of all its faster and handier, secondly (and this is the technical bit i wouldn't have known about) because you are not stopping and starting with each piece the stitching stays tighter and so you can snip the pieces separate and they wont (shouldn't) unravel so quickly.  I love it as it gets things done faster, and you really get the feeling things are moving along quickly.

I love this range, and I'm rather fond of these squares as they are!  Might have to get some more for another quilt later...  I can just picture a few more of these, maybe a little larger, with some sashing in between made from wee scraps of the patterned fabric...

Look what I got in the post the today.

A present from gran, "Oh I just emptied a drawer for you"...  Awesome!  The colours are so gorgeous, I'm tempted to look for a wee box frame and just stick em on the wall like that.  Gran doesn't do Internet, (in fact I'm having trouble convincing her a blog isn't an open door to pure evil!) however I've been making photo books of everything that's come out of the sewing cupboard and sending them on to her.  We were talking the other day about knitting - like me, gran admires knitting, and can do knitting, but considers it far too slow and laborious work compared to sewing.  If you cant knit superfast it just takes forever to see a shape of what you are hoping to make.  When you sew you get instant gratification in seeing your product take shape as soon as you've made your first few cuts into the fabric.  And from my point of view, there's no worrying about dozing off and your head dropping and getting a knitting needle thru your eyeball...

Talking of dozing off, I had a horrible "nap" this afternoon.  Nap sounds like far too pleasant a word...  It was one of those nasty sleeps, when I only sleep for a few seconds but each time I wake I feel it coming again, and again, and again.  Then I feel trapped, its like I'm trying to get up, get out of it, and I wake and go to move but it comes again and I'm just stuck making the same attempt at movement over and over again.   Mind you, that didn't suck half as much as last night.  I woke up and my man wasn't there, and my dopiness lasted long enough for me to actually get up and go downstairs to find out why he hadn't come back to bed yet.  It took a few minutes of standing alone in a dark living room in the middle of the night before I completely came to and realised I'd only dreamt him saying he was going for a drink of water, and that he'd been at sea for almost 2 weeks. 

Anyway, I digress, I was supposed to be telling you about Gran.  She was telling me about how she didn't like knitting, so she got a knitting machine!  She used it to make all grampas cardies, all the jumpers for mum and her sisters as they grew up, everything was made on that machine at her table.  "Even if I could still do it, the machine needed the table, it wont attach to the one I've got now."  She said.  So I pointed out that she gave her table to me, didn't she realise that every single thing I've made has been made on that table? 

I think she was quite happy with that! 

I think I've gotten a bit too ambitious of late, I've joined The Single Girl Quilt Support Group  Well, I thought, looks like a cool quilt to try, and it'll be a bit of a lark making the same quilt at the same time as a few others.  Got the pattern the other day and 'by Timothy!' (I've been listening to too much Paul Temple)...  Each pretty little ring has 31 individual, non-identical, asymmetrical, little pattern pieces.  31!  Took me all today's awake time just to make my templates...

That settles it, if I'm to have a hope in hell of following the same schedule as the others then I'm going to have to stick to the smallest baby quilt version!