Sunday 28 April 2013

Spideys love, zippers not so much

Alas I still dont have any cushions to show.  They are still sitting on the sewing cupboard table in bits.  In fact, I'm avoiding them.  I've relocated to the dining cupboard, which is a little less cupboardy than the sewing cupboard.  My machine hates zips.  I've had one attempt end in tears already.  I'm sure I've said this before, but the presser foot comes down too heavy and makes everything shift too much.  But, I desperately want to get Sister-in-laws cushion done so I might break out the old "tank" sewing machine and see if it does better!

I had my Friday Night Lock-in at the Local Quilt Shop with Polly, which was a great laugh.  Anyone who falls about laughing at Jewellery fixings is fine by me.  (Ball ends.)  Polly made a bag, start to finish one night.  I managed 2 quilt blocks...  Still, there was pizza and cuppas AND chocolate.  Bet you wish you could come too!  I managed to get out without taking half the shop with me again (sorry Polly!) but I did spy a must-have notion I'm going back for...

Pre Fused Piping Cord!

How clever is that!  Shall be cheating a bit during a certain someones bag-along...

Since I cant show you the blocks I've been making (more secret stuff, sorry) I CAN show you the wonderful blocks that have come in so far for my long long awaited Spiders Web Quilt!  Check these beauties out.

How lucky am I?  I am getting so excited about these blocks!  

My mans leave at home will be coming to an end sometime soon, which I'm preparing for by having unfinished sewing projects lying around waiting for me wherever I look.  (Thats the excuse anyway!)  Given that the kitchen and dining cupboard are one room really, all I need to do is put a project in the bathroom and I'll have occupied every room in the house...   All lavvy project suggestions on a postcard...  I think I might be due an almighty crash when he goes, I'm getting more dozy by the hour.  Hope I can hold if off for a week or so!  Already in the last week I've had hallucinations, falling asleep whilst talking, and have apparently offended someone online with my god awful memory.  At one point the other day I was sitting on the sofa with my man chatting then in my head I was utterly convinced I was back in the house I grew up in with my brother, accusing him of eating all the christmas cake.  My man is used to such nonsense, but honestly, when I came round I was gutted!  Almost cried cos my brother wasn't there.  (no christmas cake either...)   So, take note, if you are dealing with me and I ask the same thing repeatedly, or seem blunt, or dont show up for skype dates, or forget to reply to an email, or forget your real name / screen name etc I am apologising now.  Its nowt personal, and really, I'm not that bad a lass, just a tired one!   

There's a wonderful article in the Guardian (click here) which, if you have time to look, will tell you all the same stuff I tell you about.  I cant begin to tell you how much of a relief it is for me to read it, even if only to hear that all the crazy crap happens to other people too!  However, I would advise you not to look at the comments on the article.  I wish I hadnt.  

Wednesday 24 April 2013

one down, so many to go...

Now didn't I tell you I was stubborn?!  I've been working on list stuff, no deviating so far, and I have my first finish!  

Its my Rock 'n' Romance 16 block, part two.  The first was a giant star in January.  This was supposed to be another giant star, but I'm afraid I just hate doing the same thing twice, so I played around with the HST's and liked this layout for something different.

The quilting for this one also had to be different, and for some reason it was a total pain in the ass!!  Sorry, but this one just really upset me.  It just kept going wrong.  Again and again.  And the quilting here looks much simpler than on the giant star too, so I do not understand it.  Its just one of those things I suppose.  Maybe the sewing machine didnt like it...

So, it was a  bit of a trial, but I got it finished eventually, and after a 2 hour drive around looking for a nice quilt photo location, I am having to make do with the back yard again.  Well, it might have looked like a beautiful day, but if I'd taken the quilt out of the car I'm pretty sure it would be half way to Norway by now...

One finish down, another two are imminent!  I have 2 cushion tops sitting patiently waiting for backs.  I will be sooo much cheerier about my sewing when they are done.  Fingers crossed for next week!  Its zipper fear again.  I've proved I can do it so I dont know why I'm procrastinating but the thought of them is just putting me off...  Tomorrow is the day I think.  Well, I'll start the backs tomorrow anyway....  Honest.  

Ooh one more thing, just incase you havent heard, Emily of Strawberry Patch is offering a new basting service!  CLICK HERE for more details.  Basting sucks.  Seriously, someone tell me they enjoy doing it...  No?  Didnt think so!  Bending over, crawling about, taping, stitching, pinning, spraying - eugh.  Back breaking.  And that's all if you are lucky enough to have space for doing it!  For a very reasonable price, lovely Emily can baste for you.  Just thought I'd pass it on!

Wednesday 17 April 2013

the inner brat

Ever since I blogged that list, I just dont want to do any of it!  It all seems so, well, dull.  I know its not really dull.  But, eugh.  Not interested.  I just dont want to.  (can you see me stomping my foot?)  I have been doing stuff from it, but its been a proper deliberate challenge..Like trying to pretend I am a grown up. Nothing finished as of yet but I do have a few things much closer to getting there....  I'm sure some of you know what I'm talking about here, and will understand how if I can just get a finish or two things will look quite different.
When stuck for photos a gratuitous cat photo always comes in handy....  I ordered some more foundation papers (I found Legal size - what fun!) from amazon and they came in a massive big box full or brown paper.  Paper happiness all round!

I had a wonderfully quilty weekend though.  My mate Polly invited me for a lock in at the quilt shop (dangerous I know...fortunately she closed up the till at the start of the night...).  So, we had a really blissful 4 hours Friday night sew-in!  Naturally I used that time to start another project rather than finish all I have to show for it is another little baggie of cut fabrics ready to assemble.  (I have a few of those...)  
Polly also managed to convince me to go with her to a class the following day.    

Swords in Stone, Norway.  By Rosalind Johansson, who was teaching the class

You can read some about it on Pollys blog, but suffice to say it was completely out of my comfort zone!  Art quilts scare me.   I've said before, I LOVE to quilt because I can choose beautiful fabrics and its not too difficult to make a "pretty".  Art Quilts, to me, are all about ART and EXPRESSION and all those elusive things that require true talent and flair.  Stuff that gets me running to the hills in fear...  (metaphorically obviously.  Not sure which is more improbable - me ever running again or approaching a hill on foot...)  Anyway.  Wanting to prolong the laughs and fun of actually sewing with other people (not cats) I went along.  The class was about creating a picture inspired by a view really.  To be fair, I'd only had 12 hours notice and most of them were spent sleeping, so I hadnt been able to think of or find picture of a view to do.  The teacher gave her talk, and I latched on to her notion that the quilt could be anything inspired by the area - even the knitting.  I googled Fair Isle Jumpers and right away started jotting down rows and shapes.  Woohoo!  Its just like the Medallion borders I've been seeing so much of online I'm now seeing in my sleep!  

I did have a fun time, the chat was good, the jokes suitably filthy and tone refreshingly low.  However, I have been left with a nagging feeling that there are some real flaws in my character.  I found myself to be, well, quite set in my ways....  Not only did I fail to open my mind to batik and blenders, I also failed to experiment and applique.  In fact, I heard one suggestion of inspiration that was close to my style of geometrics and piecing only, and I clung to it.  Poor teacher twice offered a suggestion of applique to get me out of the hell of teeeeeeny piecing I'd dropped myself in and both times I quite stubbornly, politely and nicely I hope, but stubbornly didnt go for it...  Even Polly tried...  I dont have anything against applique - I've done it before, and I will again I'm sure, but I got so stuck on my plan and just would not budge.  Never mind that what I was doing was a million miles away from what every one else was up to.....  

Apparently when I was in Primary School (aged 5 or 6) the Headmistress told my parents "Sarah is thrawn."  
Thrawn  -  adj, Scots, meaning stubborn, perverse, contrary

  1. Showing a deliberate and obstinate desire to behave in a way that is unreasonable or unacceptable, often...
  2. Contrary to the accepted or expected standard or practice.

I'm told that I had cracked the "how to" of adding sums (math addition) and so point blank refused to continue to do another 2 pages of sums like everyone else.  Well.  Maths sucks.  I'd proved I could do it, I got it right, why on earth did I have to sit and do more of the horrible things.....  (Unfortunately I did not grow out of that, and I now totally suck at maths.)

Oh well.  So I'm still an obstinate 5 year old who just has to do things her own way.   At least my stubbornness comes in handy some of the time.  I bloody well will finish the stuff on my finish list, just you see if I dont!

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Second Quarter 2013 FAL : the proposal

or "Bung in everything you can think of and hope for the best!"

After last quarters piss poor result this time I'm gonna list as much as possible so that I don't feel there's a wip I *have* to do, I can do whichever I feel inclined to.  I'm hoping that this might help really, cos goodness knows I'm not so hot at doin what I'm supposed to get on with!  So, prepare yourself for the most ridiculous FAL list yet.

To start with, lets carry over the stuff from last quarter that I didn't look at.

One almost, but never completely finished hoop.

This is a 20" panel for a cushion front.

This is my beloved vintage stripes quilt bits.  Dont know why I keep putting this one off!  Its all there, its all in various bits that just all need put together.

Now lets add the things I didn't quite get finished in time.

When I made my giant star quilt, each HST had another half - it was supposed to be an identical quilt but I couldn't resist mixing it up a bit.  Still have a few days worth of squeezing it through the machine to get the quilting finished, but my frixon pens all ran out and my quilting guide marker is knackered.  

My beach trash hexies.  These are so close!  I am hand quilting with perle, and then it will be made into a  20" cushion.

Now lets add the things that should have been in last quarters list, as they've been sat patiently waiting for long enough.

The two quilt as you go panels I made need to become a tote or a zippy.

Confession time.  I loathe the machine quilting I did on my stained II quilt.  Instead, I started hand quilting in each patch.  Mum did some too.  There's still a few to go before I can rip out the awful machine quilting.  THEN it will actually be finished.

This lass needs shoes.  And a wedding dress extraordinaire.  She has a date this summer!

And finally, lets add the things that I've started in the last 4 weeks...

Need to fix it, somehow!

I have a wee pile of these, and the wee pile should get much much bigger as this is to be a quilt I'm really excited about!

My Brit Bee round II blocks are in!  I'm ready to go with these.

I need to do a few more of these spiderwebs whilst I wait for my bees to send some.

My awesome sister in law is waiting patiently for her envelopes cushion....

No, it is not a scrappy trip along, but it is 1/3rd of a quilt top started then forgotten about....

And last, but most definitely not least, the 2 quilts I picked up from Project Linus.  Here we have 2 tops with batting, one has a back ready, the other needs a back pieced too, then baste, quilt and bind.  

Lets not go into the fact that I started yet another cushion top this afternoon.... and this evening I started another wee hoop....  And I have 3 quilts in my head that I desperately want to do but have *just* enough sense not to start, yet...  Seriously.  Attention span of a gnat.  

Now, must pay a certain someone some attention....

Monday 8 April 2013

Refresh my soda...

Still with the "finishing" theme, (don't worry, I'm not trying to claim it on the FAL) is something from last year.  One that I thought was finished but wasn't.  One I had almost given up on...


Elliecat's Nemesis, little harvey-no-balls in on the act

Yes, mum fixed it.  I can hear her sighing and rolling her eyes from here, she doesn't like me telling you when she's done stuff.  Tough.  Mum, quite rightly, thought I was being far too picky and defeatist with all the falling off leaves and stuff, and when I was suggesting re-quilting the entire thing, yet totally dreading the prospect, mum took it off me and just stitched down the worst offenders.  She likes to help, she's pretty good like that!  Then we washed it....  Oh the nerves!!!  Heart in mouth stuff taking it out of the machine I can tell you.  Don't know who was more worried; me, that half the bubbles would be hanging off,  or mum, that the bright orange binding or shocking pink squares might have bled all over the white....
Massive relief, we were both worrying about nothing.  No colour run, no hanging off bubbles.  Okay so there were a few slightly more dodgy lookin ones, but mum stitched those down before I could over think it.   I did help tie and sew in all the thread ends.....

Definitely a joint effort this one.  I'd even go so far as to say that it would not be done at all had it not been done by us together.  Honestly, that just makes me love it even more.

Sunday 7 April 2013

from one list to another.

I'm hopefully just sneaking in under the wire with the First Quarter review for Leannes Finish Along....
Not that I have had much success.  One quilt finished out of three, one cushion finished out of three.  And I cant be arsed with the whole show and tell thing either cos the worst thing is that both those finishes were right in the first month, and both blogged about in the same post....  Bit poor really!

What can I say...  Well, I can tell you that I've had a touch of starteritis.  The quilts in progress and random blocks lying around the place have multiplied, the FAA fabric diet took a bit of a blow, and the ideas list is longer than ever.  Oops!  

In keeping with the lists theme though, I hope you will indulge me here.  A long long time ago, I did a list of things that I would like to try.  It went like this...

1.    Learn how to do free motion quilting
2.    Make a quilt out of something other than light/medium weight 100% cotton
3.    Make a large (Queen size) quilt.
4.    Make a quilt of my own design.
5.    Make a quilt using small scraps, ideally a spiderweb pattern.  
6.    Get over my fear of triangles!
7.    Have a go at dying and bleaching fabric to make my own  colourways for quilting.
8.    Make more effort to try new bag patterns.
9.    Use some nice wool fabric for a bag.
10.  Practice and improve my machine embroidery.
11.  Learn how to do piping.
12.  Practice and improve sewing zips into bags.

Now admittedly this is a very old list, but I'm still working on it!  

I've been gathering fabrics for a low volume idea (like, so totally last month I  and I thought now would be a great time to have a go at completing number 7 there.  I'd tried the dying half when I made my first bee quilt, but had never gotten round to the bleaching.  Until now...

I followed the tutorial on Oh Franson! and this is how I got on.  

Top - field study print, bottom, simpatico print.

Top - Summersville print, bottom timeless treasures rainbow raindrops
Really I think they were in the bleach too long.  The Simpatic Golden Straws have all but disappeared!  I love the new look field study though.  Still think a little less time in the bleach would have been better tho.  
I do love how the summersville came out!  I know there was a turquoise-y blue line, so in one sense I've not really achieved much, but, but I love the new white background.  The rainbow raindrops print there... well... eugh.  Not so happy.  Not sure I'll want to include it with my low volume as the blue raindrops stand out now even more than ever.  Bit crap.  

Things that I have learned - reds and yellows go fast!  Bleaching must really be monitored minute by minute, and ideally not whilst watching the grand national.    Great fun though, and I might be looking out a few more to try!