Thursday 23 June 2011

nine. I need a lovely thesaurus..

Yay!  Stinking cold gone!  Nose now functioning as a nose not a waterfall!  Much, much better now, and all the lovely comments I got over the last week helped immensely so thank you all.  I still miss my man, and I still  don't have a bathroom.... but lovely builder is doing his best so I'm not complaining.  Not anymore anyway ;-)

I had some fabulous post this week, another big factor in the cheer up.  I got a lovely card and treats from my fellow Brit Bee Judith (who blogs at Rags to Bags) sent just to cheer me up (job done!). What a sweetie!   I got a swap parcel from my own personal supertalented seamstress Mimi which was so stuffed full of goodies I was bouncing on the sofa and apparently the squeaking came from me not the sofa!  She made me the purtiest little flower broach (which she will eventually - I am nagging her anyway - make a tutorial for so I'll link to that at some point in the future) some lovely fabric (we swapped!) and a lovely little bag bursting with scraps!
Also I got a couple of bargains from 1st choice 4 quilting and the lovely lovely Shawna sent me a free yard because there had been a delay and a stock shortage!  Yes, I could hardly believe it either, Free Yard!  Awesome.  And, when I got my order from celticfusionfabrics, which was my part of the deal for the Japanese Fabric Swap being held by Fluffy Sheep Quilting I was sent an extra wee sample bit too!

My choice for Japanese Fabric Swap
So yeah, today you find me all high and happy and warm and cosy from the glow of the niceness of others :-)  Nothing at all to do with the fumes from the lead paint builder's been stripping.  Hahahahaha...  No, really.  The people of blog land I salute you, you are all bloomin lovely. xxx

Oh yeah, what have I been up to?  Finishing this...

Brit Quilt Swap

My plans for applique buds and blooms were disastrous...  after many a failed attempt I had to go with embroidery, so although I feel they are a little, well, kinda small and lost in comparison, I don't think I did too bad.  Here's a closer look...

Deary me I need to practice taking photos...  the buds have french knots and a v shape in 2 shades of green, and the blooms have beaded centres.  Honestly they do, you'll just have to take my word for it!  Here's a reminder of the backing cos its pretty...

I also got my June Bee blocks done and posted, but I cant show you yet!  I am allowed to show you the May blocks now though so here they are, pen stains and squiffy points and all.

 I've got a couple new quilt designs finished too.  Fingers crossed tomorrow I'll be able to stay awake a bit more than I did today (can you imagine being asleep on the sofa, probably looking like one of those frozen in motion statues, but still being able to hear the builder knock and come in to talk to me, not being able at all to wake myself up, hearing myself snoring...  thank god I wasnt drooling...)  anyway, hopefully tomorrow I'll be awake enough to get back into the cupboard, and immerse myself in chopping up a lovely bundle of fabric.  Cant wait!

Monday 20 June 2011

Blood, snot and tears...

My week started last week with earache.  Then a sore throat, and a very sore face.  I got stuck into the hand quilting on my Brit Quilt Swap though.  Or at least I was getting stuck into it until I noticed this...

WTF?!  I've no idea how that happened.  Fortunately that is one patch that I do have a little bit more of, so I started doing this...

That's as far as I got I'm afraid.  Well...  I was a bit downhearted with it, and I was getting the worst cold I've had in years.  So, I took that photo and shut the door on the sewing cupboard.

I haven't been back in the sewing cupboard yet.  There are so many things on the go in there that are for other people that I thought it might not be appropriate to douse them in snot.

I could very easily sit here and bore you with a plethora of self pitying rambles, as I feel like crap, I look like crap, I sound like crap, the house is upside down cos there still isn't a working bathroom, having to be up at 7am every morning is killing me, my Narcolepsy is getting worse each day thanks to early starts and nights even worse than my usual crappy nights due to hacking cough and the river of snot that used to be my nose, and my man left yesterday to go back to work at sea for months, and I am on my own again.  However...  I wont.  Or at least that will do for now!  I have something to be happy about, and I'm not just referring to the fact that there was a Kylie concert on telly tonight (which was awesome).  I'm talking about this...

Yes, my single girl quilt.  It has been lurking down the side of the sofa for months, its been on holiday with me, its been in the garden, its basically been kicking about for donkeys so since it was always gonna have to be washed as soon as it was done I figured I might as well sit and work on it, deathly lurgy or not.

I cannot bear to even attempt to calculate how many long hours this sodding lovely quilt has had.  I no longer have any feeling in the tip of my index finger.  I have puncture marks all over my hands. Yes I was using a thimble.  My man did offer the use of his welding gloves...  My stitches are all too big, the space between the stitches too big, the quilting lines wonky, the back doesn't look entirely flat.

Suddenly none of that matters.  IT IS FINISHED!


(and these pics were taken outside at about 10.30pm!)

Saturday 11 June 2011

Introducing Dorothy!

So this is Dorothy!  Its the first quilt I've designed on my quilt program.  I was thinking of my good sewing buddy Mimi and how she is always cheery, loves her bright colours, and I thought the Metro Living might be up her street.  My man looked over my shoulder and said "is this what you're designing for your friend?"  Yes.  "Is your friend gay like?"....   She's not, but the quilt has been known as Dorothy ever since...  None of the photo's I took show up the quilting I'm afraid, I tried playing about with exposure and whatnot but this is the best I could come up.  If you really squint a bit you can maybe see that the quilting is all lines but they're meant to depict rolling hills (bottom) huge sun (top right) with sun rays between the two.  

This is how she started life...

I didn't have Metro Living on the computer program but the polka dots stood in.  Probably not the most adventurous design, goodness knows the program is capable of all sorts, but I'm only just learning how to use it and could really do with lessons!  Its great fun though, I could waste hours and hours just playing around with it... have done in fact!  Hopefully its all good learning though, or that's what I'm telling myself anyway!

I do love the fabric though, wish I had yards and yards of it, I'd happily keep on using it.  Not quite in the photos but doing the holding up of Dorothy is mum!  I got a brief trip to mum and dads this week courtesy of my man so I took Dorothy with me and got her finished with mum.  It was wonderful fun!  I basted on a large table not a mattress!  Oh the joys!  And quilting on a large table with plenty of room to take the weight of the quilt as I stuffed it through mums machine...  (with mum helping!)  It was such a great laugh, haven't fallen over so much in ages!

I tried out a new trick, marking a quilting pattern with 1/4" masking tape.  Sounded like a brilliant idea.  Looked like a brilliant idea when you saw the whole pattern on the quilt and only had to follow the tape with the machine.  Not such a clever idea though cos once you start man handling the quilt through the sewing machine the tape comes off!  D'oh!  Another little lesson learned (at least it really should be by now cos this ain't the first time I've made this mistake) DON'T MOVE YOUR BASTING PINS!  Oh yes, I've blunted two of mums seam rippers now...  Fortunately it was only one section of the quilt that was affected, the rest of the quilt still had the original basting pins in, and there they stayed until the needle was just about on them.

A few highlights of my week -

  • a morning trawling charity shops with mum, got some great wee bits and pieces
  • making binding with me on the folding and mum wielding the beast of an iron, me yelping every two minutes as the beast got too close to my fingers and mum giggling at me and making me wobble every other minute
  • Dad made me collapse completely with this Cricket Commentary
  • me puzzling over why my Dresden's (yes I'm still plodding away at them) wouldn't sit right (very dodgy seam allowance) and mum sitting puzzling over Lynne's tutorial...  "I don't get what the fork is for..."  
  • a warm (and dribbly) reception from elliecats (full name Ellwood P Dowd) nemesis Harvey

I really did have a brilliant time :-)  My sudden holiday was to get me out of the house whilst my man and our friendly builder demolished the bathroom.  Very much appreciated it was too!  I'm back home now the worst is over, but it'll be a couple of weeks before the bathroom is finished.  Carnt wait!  
Meantime I've done a bit more on my Brit Quilt Swap.  Don't think I've ruined it, as I thought I would!  I'll do a bit more on the tree when the quilting is done, but here's an update so far.

Fair bit more work to do on it.    I cant get over how it actually looks like what I wanted it to!   That sounds silly, but I do struggle to picture how something will turn out, and I usually screw up so many times that the plan changes to accommodate!   This is the first time for me that I'm making something that genuinely looks how I want it to look!  I'm now trying to decide whether I do lines around the three main colour panels (basically lines along all the sashing like boxes) or the more laborious but originally intended only horizontal lines through everything except the aforementioned colour panels and tree.  I've got a bit of hand quilting planned for the big colour panels.  Dunno...  What do you think?

Friday 3 June 2011

Plugging away with squares.

I've been working on my Brit Quilt Swap   for my secret partner...  This was where we left off.

(Inspiration picture from Adirana Oancia .)  I would have liked to use my scraps or something from my stash, but my "scrapstash" ain't up to much yet, and it certainly wasn't up to this plan.  So, here's how I got round it.  (Shameless plugging to follow, I'm not being paid to say any of it I just like to share good shopping experiences!)  
There's a lovely wee shop online,  Carol's patchwork and quilting shop  (click on it to go there).  She sells packs of cut squares and strips, in various sizes.  I'd bought a few packs from her to make my Single Girl rings.   I emailed Carol, told her what I wanted to do, and asked if she could help.  Well if you don't ask you'll never know eh?  Turned out she was happy to help, and after a few emails she came up with a custom pack for me, at no extra charge!  Wonderful service, eh?  And the bundle she sent was exactly what I needed.  So, if, like me, you want to do something colourful but don't have the biggest scrap pile or budget, I cant recommend this shop enough.  

So, this is how it's gone so far...

Top layout looked a bit too, well, like strips of colour.  So I mixed it up a bit more in the second picture.  If you can't spot the difference that's cool, but I've been obsessing about this for days..  Which is pretty anal even for me....  A-n-y-waaay.....  Eventually got it stitched together and it looked like this.

After a day or so of being too scared to chop it up I got stuck in!  There followed a few days of sashing, unpicking, rearranging and unpicking again.  I've blunted 2 seam rippers...  No Narcolepsy related errors this time, just my bad maths and shocking attempts at a quarter inch seam.  (Though I did listen to Rhonda's podcast one afternoon whilst sewing and laughed so hard I got cataplexy and smacked my head off the table).

What do you think so far?  I'm actually rather pleased with it!  First time in ages (it feel like it anyway) that I've made something I really like.  Now to figure out getting a tree on it!  Bit confused here, as I think it would be much easier to quilt it before I put the tree on, but then it would have a back and I wanted to do machine embroidery on the tree and the backside of my embroidery should never be seen...  So I think maybe tree first?  Ooh I don't know.  I think I'll just sit and look at it like this for a couple of days, enjoy it whilst it's safe!