Wednesday 30 December 2015

Charmed I'm sure, I-spy in a Low Volume vibe.

It started like this...  I've been amassing Low Volume (usually the most required fabric in bee & swap blocks!) for a few years now, and keeping my favourites separate.  The very top right of this picture is a stack of charm squares, all different.  This summer, I finally had a concrete vision in my head of what I wanted to do with them!

Never mind all the amazing, complex, beautiful, clever Low Volume quilts I've been admiring for so long, I wanted to sew. And quickly!  Goodness knows how the wonderful mothers I see on Instagram get their children to play by themselves so that they can get some sewing time...  Moo is Monkey Central..  Anyway.  I started with a plan - the simplest sewing I can think of, squares.  Then I thought about Scrappy Trip Around the World quilts, and Scrap Vomit quilts.  Neither quite hit the mark.  But the notion that every print must be different was a hit.  (Lets not bother pretending that had nothing to do with justifying more shopping... )

It took me about 3 weeks to do all my cutting.  Thats how tired and crappy I was over summer...  But when everything was cut, I had the urge to sneak in a few wee blocks too - the odd drunkards path, a four square here and there, a random pinwheel or two, and the ubiquitous Half Square Triangle.  But keeping to a minimum so as not to be obvious.  Cos you know subtlety is so me...  I also decided to have it On Point.   I counted out what a quarter would look like, chucked it on the wall, and with Supergran to assist, I got 4 mornings sewing, three hours a quarter.  

 This was a biggy in my books.  Our new bed is a whopper (well poor man does have to share with me and my 101 symptoms of sleep disorders and hip pain...) so this had to fit.  (and it does, just!).  There was no way I could quilt it though, and you know, I'd never in a million years have done it justice.  I handed it over to the only woman who would.  Ms Trudi Wood.  She's not just a fabulous quilter.  She's a friend.  She is kind, thoughtful, creative, AND a fab quilter!  I explained my quilt to Trudi.  I told her how much I loved it already.  I told her that every print was different, and so many of them said so many different things to me.  I can remember which were used in who's blocks.  I remember which prints were given to me by friends.  I can spot right away the prints which came from the first swap I ran. And then there are the prints I included for Moo.  You see, this quilt will be on my bed.  As Moo grows up, this quilt will be on my bed and no doubt she will join me snuggling under it.  When Moo has a bad dream we will cuddle under this quilt.  When Moo is feeling poorly we will snuggle under this quilt.  There are many, many I-spy squares included for the very purpose of distracting Moo!
Anyway.  I told Trudi everything, and she told me how she could quilt it.  "an all over with a few things hidden in for fun".  What can I say.  She gets me!  She understood completely.  I knew she was the only person who could or should do the quilting for this quilt.  And she excelled herself!!!

Here it is.  As usual my photos are awful but I'm including so many I hope you'll get a feel for it.  Coming in under 100" x 80" it still looks small on the bed!  You can see the all over pattern though, and I'm happy that no one part of it stands out more than the other.

And this is how the little differences pop up!  Gold Birds.  I love that there are quite a few metallic prints in this too.

Meeses and birds and windmills and bicycles and flowers.  Drunkards Path and two of the prints I bleached to soften the colours for this quilt.

Animals, ballerinas, music, gold sparkly triangles.  An HST, a DP and a four square.  

Postcards, butterflys, girls on swings, pussycats!

Alice in wonderland, Kitchen utensils, cookie cutters, bunny rabbits... Pinwheels!

Mermaids, toadstools, foxes, doodles, scooters, fish, frogs and lighthouses...

Stars, cakes, tents!  Flowers, Letters, Red Riding Hood...

There is so much to find in this quilt, and the quilting itself joins in with the game.  I could not possibly love it more.  I hope you like it too.   

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Let's call a spade a spade. Unless it's a shovel. Or a diggy stick. Or a spayspay, or spoospoo...

*warning - another wordy post with little quilting and a few NSFW words*

So man and me, we're sitting on the sofa exhaling deeply after a successful end to the "bedtime" routine (otherwise known as moos mental hour).
"during her bath tonight she did something" man says, looking frankly a bit shifty.

"oh?" says I, thinking either floaty turds or some such malarkey.

"well,"  he says.  "she had the sponge, washing herself, and I said 'now wash your fanny'."
(*for any American readers, in UK fanny refers to vagina*)

"aaaaand?"  I say, not remotely surprised he's asked her to do it herself, as I know he really makes an effort to try to not be awkward about it but....  Blokes!  Anyway.  "aaaand?"

"Well.  She did it."  he says with concern.

"yeaaaaaah."  I say, with a 'so what' implied....

"She did it."  he says.  "She washed her fanny."

"okay,"  I say slowly, "what did you think she'd do?!"

"no," he says, (I'm clearly not getting the point here) "she did it, she knows she's got a fanny" he says, like all should be clear now.

"well of course she knows she's got a fanny!  what the hell are you on about?!"

"no!  She knows its a FANNY.  She knows that word."  He genuinely seems quite troubled.

I'm a bit bemused here I must admit.  "So?  What's the problem there?"

"well!  Isn't that a bit, well, a bit rude?"

Trying not to laugh, as he seems so concerned here, I said "well, I hate to break it to you but she probably knows you've got a willy's just learning body parts!"

"I know, willys not rude though.  I just thought maybe we should have called it something else, that's all."

"Oh so Fanny is rude and Willy isn't?  What else would you call it?"  genuinely curious as to what he'll come up with now...

"well, I call it her funny front bum".

"...?...!....."  give me a minute...  "okay, so do you want her to grow up thinking its funny or peculiar?  Which?!"

"och no, course I dont, I dont know.  I never thought about it like that before."

"Right."  I said, thinking I should reign myself in a bit here and approach this better.  Admittedly I was enjoying myself a bit too much, and when I could see he was being so genuine too...  What a meany.
"I was told it was my 'front bottom', and in our house even 'bum' was considered a swear word.  Other girls thought I was well stuck up.  I didn't want to call it that with my girl.  Sorry, maybe we should have discussed it ages ago, I just didn't see a problem with fanny."

"ach, well, I don't know, I don't really have a problem with fanny" he says  (I'm thinking dont laugh dont laugh dont laugh)  "I just, well, for kids like, arent you meant to call it something less, well. rude?"

Letting the second 'fanny is rude' go, I say "Let's google it.  See what others say."

What followed was a good half hour or so of incredulity, laughter, disbelief...  Confusion, and in my case, ultimately a bit of a ranty strop!

All the googling and forum reading boiled down to this.  There seemed to be two camps.

On one side we have all the foo foo's, the nu nu's, the flower's, the Mary's (wtf?!), the Moo moo's (oh dear god we nicknamed our daughter a term for genitalia?  Way to traumatise her...), the lady garden's, the bits, the bitsies, the lady bits, the girl parts, the fuff, the gina, the china, the foof, the area, the minnie (what would mickey say?!) the ninnie (in Scotland a ninny is an idiot!), the twinkle (like the little star we sing of?!), the tuppence, the tuppy, the v-jay jay....  I could go on, but if my eyes roll any more they are likely to spin out of the sockets.
I don't wish to offend you if one of the above is yours.  Its a very personal thing, isn't it.  Each to their own!  But me?  I simply couldn't use any of them with a straight face.  Neither could man. (phew!).

On the other side, the straight forwards camp, we have the vagina, the vulva and the labia.
I find these a bit cold.  Correct they may be, but I'd only use them with a doctor...  I get the point though.  Sensible argument - a toe is a toe, a knee is a knee.  I'm more in agreement with a commenter who said "and do you tell her to wipe her anus?!!!"   Precisely.  Again man and I are in agreement (rare thing!), its a tummy not a stomach, its a bum not a posterior, and neither of us are inclined to want to say vagina to a two year old....

However.  This is where I got a bit ranty....  Both camps with their completely opposite names, both camps seemed to agree on one thing.  Apparently, Fanny is a bit rude.  But Willy isnt.


Why is fanny more rude than willy?

Why are we raising girls to be more self conscious and uncomfortable about their fanny than boys would be about their willy?

This inevitably brought me round to a favourite rant of mine, one which man has heard before, many times.  Why is the universally accepted most rude and offensive swear word CUNT?  I disagree with it's use as a derogatory term full stop, but the fact that its seemingly the most offensive of all cursing winds me up no end.

At the end of all our googling, man looked at me with a twinkle... "go on, join the forum, tell them you're telling our daughter it's a CUNT.  You know you want to...  Go on...."

I'm only too sorry to say that I didn't.  But I dont think thats the last of the gender equality discussions me and man will have now we have our Moo.  Not by a long shot!

Anyway.  To lighten things I'll leave you with this for fun.  Many would say it's one who dresses far too young for her age and another just doesn't dress enough!  I disagree.  I see two strong independent women who are always fighting to teach young girls (and the rest of the world!) to love their bodies and not fear their sexuality.  And ppfftt to all that, they do damn good pop too.

Miley Cyrus
“I don’t get the violence revenge thing. That’s supposed to be a good example? And I’m a bad role model because I’m running around with my titties out? I’m not sure how titties are worse than guns.” 

Friday 23 October 2015

tracks of my week...

My esteemed bloggy buddy Lynz has been doing some fabulous posts under the heading "tracks of my years".  Not wishing to inundate you with hours and hours (months more likely) worth of tunes, I'm sticking with tracks of my week...

Either 1984 or Jan 85, either way I was 6 years old.  Its Sunday night.  I'm in bed already hiding my cassette recorder under my pillow in order to listen in to the UK Top 40 (quite unbeknown to me I was following in my fathers footsteps!).  I can still remember screaming into my pillow and kicking my feet with excitement to hear this...

Phew!  What a hunk!  It's been in my head all week as I keep hearing a cover by Hot Chip.  Now this is a bit geeky maybe, but I've had it in my head that there was a cover version of it in the charts at the same time as Bruce, as I remember being absolutely furious at the cheek of it!  I was assuming I'd dreamt this, but some googling has actually verified this!  The things you remember eh.  Apparently this wasnt my first popstar crush either, as Eddy Grants' "I dont wanna dance" was 1982 and my parents say I was nuts about him....

I finally succumbed to Netflix.  Its been so awesome!  I'm useless at watching stuff these days, cant stay awake at all if I'm simply sitting watching something, but sitting at the desk in the sewing room I can cut fabric and watch the laptop with reasonable success.  Yay!  No fingers lost yet either!
I really enjoyed a movie by my beloved Belle & Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch, "God help the girl".  This lovely wee tune in particular has enchanted me.

I remember in my teens my dad telling me an article he'd read said we stop listening to new music in our twenties.  It claimed the average person spent their life listening to whatever they chose between 14-24.  Oh how we laughed.  Not us.  No way.
Well, dad did fantastically well, embracing new tunes well into his 50's and only leaving pop because his hearing went.  Me?  Hmmm.  Honestly lucky to hear a handful of songs in a year that are new and bearable!  This however, is a rare thing - a current track that I actually love!

Sunday 18 October 2015

Its my Prozac....

My buddy the littlest thistle did a fascinating blog post recently and asked  "Why?".  This is my response.

Why do I create?

"Why?" is a question that had never entered my mind!  It's just, well, it's what you do, isnt it?  It was in our house.  One of my earliest memories is an afternoon with mum - the sewing machine out on the dining table, cups of tea, Cliff Richard's Rock and Roll LP on the record player, Mum at the table making and me fannying about doing the twist standing on the piano stool...   What was mum making?  Well, it might have been the time she made me a skirt and waistcoat combo.  Or the time she made an outfit to match it for my ragdoll Annie.  Or it might have been the time of the evening gowns for Sindy dolls.  Or the time we made a whole picnic - sandwiches, cakes, cream buns - out of foam offcuts and felt.  Or the bedding for my teddies bed.

Mum was always at it.  I remember practicing our Macrame with dressing gown ties in my parents bed.  I remember my favourite picture from their stack of National Geographic Magazines wasnt animals, it was someone who had built their spherical house out of old aluminium cans, windows out of bottles, the odd dolls face cemented in here and there.  I remember being allowed to help scrape the paint off an old dresser with a blowtorch.  I remember watching armchair cushions being recovered.  I actually struggle to remember furniture in our house that hadn't been recycled and revamped!  I remember blowing eggs and watching mum cut doors into them and attach teeeeeny tiny little hinges.  I remember the sugar work - making tiny petals to mould into roses.  The easter eggs we made with moulds and melted chocolate.  The baskets of Marzipan Fruits.  I remember going with mum to my school after hours to sit in on the pottery class she took.  We made candles.   Mum knitted jumpers (until my brother and I broke the machine).  I can picture the kitchen table covered in a production line of wee wooden clothes peg dolls.  My brother making a Frank Sidebottom Head with chicken wire and paper mache....  One of my favourite places was the box room, full of mums crafty bits and fabric scraps in old tea chests.   Our utility room was seldom without something or other drying out by the boiler or fermenting under the sink.

Making stuff was totally normal in our house!

Why do I create in this particular medium?

Thinking about it all, I suppose my quilting is more "nesting" than anything particularly artistic.  I've never felt at ease with doing "art".  Unique ideas are not my forte!  I can see what I like and alter it, adjust it, redo it and make it mine, but I've never been any good at starting from scratch.  If I had a normal persons energy and fitness I'd love to be restyling furniture.  That would have been my ideal, but I am not up for it physically.  Too much exertion required with all that sanding!  To be honest actual machine quilting is often a bit of a struggle too.

I started with bag making, and a hope to learn dressmaking, and a sideline in ragdolls.  I don't think I'm cut out for bag making though, I don't like the noises even a good machine makes as you attempt to gently squeeze half a dozen layers under the needle...  I cant cuddle up under a bag either.  The dolls have not been shelved for good, I will make for Moo at some time, but without a prospective owner there just isn't the point in making.  And dressmaking.  Well.  Lets just say that the yardage required these days makes the prospect pretty bloody expensive and patterns hard to come by.  My desire has waned...
However, quilting appeals to me in so many ways.  Not least the thought of a house full of home made pretty blankets!  I want them on the walls, the sofas, the chairs, the beds - there's currently one spread out over the coffee table like a table cloth!
Before Moo came along I was setting up to take it all very seriously.  Good stash.  Computer Aided Design program.  Passion and dozens of ideas.  I was hoping to publish some patterns.  I was dreaming of getting in magazines and the like.  Possibly contribute to a craft fair every now and again.  Do the odd Linus quilt.

Where I am now?

Please don't misunderstand me, I am so thrilled to have my Moo, it simply would have been nice to find out if I could have done it.  I could not possibly give quilting up now though, however little I can squeeze in.  Every single aspect, even the parts I'm not so keen on, has value to me.  It gives me something to think about during the night hours I cannot sleep through.  It gives me excitement to plan, and yes, to stash...  The cutting is hard.  It can take days depending on my energy levels.  The piecing is a thrill, my biggest fault is probably rushing through the piecing and not necessarily going back and fixing scant seams....I cant help it, I enjoy it so I want to get as much done in one sitting as possible before tiredness and or Moo intervenes!  Brushing aside the difficulties in basting and quilting, the binding is a joy.  It is simple, relaxing, and a warm (literally!) anticipation of having the finished, squishy, cosy, pretty quilt finished.

I don't feel that saying "it makes me happy" sufficiently covers it!  When I go through weeks of no sewing it brings me down.  Depression seems to be a bit of a side effect for Narcoleptics.  Not too hard to understand I think, I mean, feeling tired all the time sucks.  From the time I wake up to the time I say goodnight I've usually had at least two separate hour or so long naps.  Some days it feels like I only got up to feed!  Squeezing in even a little bit of sewing gives me just enough of a boost to feel human.  These days my quilting goals are simple.  Keep up with Brit Bee, and sew what I want for me.  Selfish sewing.  If I'm still awake when Moo is of bigschool age, then things might change.  For now, for me, and my beloved Moo, I may not do as much as I like, but I aim to really like doing as much as I am able.

Thursday 1 October 2015


Of random crap that is.  Sorry!

The last couple of months have seemed so full, and have gone pretty quickly.

Here is the finished top for the retro flowers quilt.  I got the bottom row purples back to front but I'm not changing it, I kinda like it!

I had a wonderful visit from Canadian Abroad and her girls - that was priceless.  Moo just adored the girls, and it has to be said who wouldnt, they are such a credit to their ma.  And I got precious time to sit and blether about non-moo stuff!  Yay!

Moo has a wee friend now, and there have been some chaotic but immensely fun play dates, mostly involving swings and cake.  And fabric chat!  Bonus!

Moo is very interested in the body parts right now.  Where is your chin?  Yes, clever girl, there it is!  That's Moo's belly, where is mummy's belly?  Yes, that's it! (could hardly miss it really) And the best yet.  I stupidly said "and where's mummys boobies?"  Little sod lifted my elbow up and pointed under my armpit....

Posts I will try to write soon will cover Stitch Gathering, probably when you are totally sick of hearing about it... My Low Volume  / Scrap Vomit / Charm quilt...  What's happening in Brit Bee this year... and Moo.  Lots more Moo.

Wednesday 5 August 2015

New pet

I made my choice....

Set and ready to sew!

I had a good read of all your helpful comments and looked into the various machines recommended.   It was always a question of "do it all" household machine or "one trick wonder" specialist.  I was a bit scared of the latter to be honest!

However.  I went to visit a machine, had a wee play, and had to take it home with me....

I'm still biting my lip about it, but, I got a Juki!

It had to linger in the box over the weekend as I was just too tired to contemplate sewing - or rather I could have sewn but these days I have to always be thinking "but you need to be rested for Moo" so I slept instead.  Totally boring.  But there you go.  Anyway.  Tonight was the night...

HOLY CRAP it's fast.  I've lost count of how many times in the last hour I've damn near screamed as I accidentally put the tiniest bit extra pressure on the foot pedal and it just about took my fingers off...  But goodness me it sews so good...  I mean, like, wow.  I still cant believe I've got it!
I havent got the knee lift attached yet, and it will no doubt take me a few weeks to get used to the speed, and god knows when the threading will make sense to me and eugh the bobbin is a pain, but wow.  I really do have my dream machine!!!

Its too early to ask me for a review yet, I just dont have the words, I'm too busy freaking out every time I see it sat there...  It needs a name though.  My first machine was "tank", the last one "beast"... I think this one probably merits those monikers better but I want it to like me so I need to come up with something a bit nicer this time.  Suggestions welcome.

Meantime, Moo updates, still no talking yet, although granny managed to teach her how to say "up" and thats a fair bit nicer to hear when she wants her stories than the "ugh, eeeeuuuuugh" noises (accompanied with arms flailing and facial straining) we were getting previously.  We had a lovely morning of sunshine the other day so quick as a flash granny got her in her wee shorts & vest onesie thingy and into the garden.  Just need another 3 or 4 sunshine days to ensure that her summer wardrobe gets at least one outing each...  She also tried to gouge my eyeball out a few nights ago.  That was nice.  Still amazed that I didnt end up with a black eye, but all I got for my agony (and believe me, it hurt like f@*$) was the teeeeeniest wee cut in the big dark bags below my eye and the distinct impression that I sound like a big ol' baby.

WIP updates, I got my #britbeeforever medallion finished (we were to do our own final border) and I got the back prepped and, yay, its off to Trudi for some quilting.  Bit of a travesty there as I've sent it to the most talented quilter I know and asked her just to ditch quilt the rounds so that I can detail the borders at my leisure later!  Well, I wanted it done to an extent that I can bind it right away and hand quilt it over the next few months.
Also, I got my retro flowers top done.  It certainly does not bear close inspection but I knew when I started it that I wanted to just do it and get back into the habit of sewing rather than painstakingly sit and "rip til you get it right".... I didn't trim the DP's.  I didn't even press them - apart from finger pressing.    Lets be honest, it's for me, it's my indulgence; it's not being made to be judged it's being made to be snuggled.  And we all know that a fair bit can be hid in the quilting and post wash shrinking anyway!  Here's hoping anyway.

I'll leave you with this picture, which I've found cheers me right up.

When I cut the bricks for my #britbeeforever medallion I started cutting 5" charms at the same time.  Then I hunted out some LV charm swap packs.  Then I raided my stash for all my favourite LV and LV colour prints.  Now I have 250+ charms, and a further 77 prints, all different, no doubles.  I see a massive big super simple light and pretty charm quilt in Juki's future!  Cant wait!

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!

Thursday 12 March 2015

Daisy doo

I'm just dropping in to quickly wave and blow kisses, and hope you've not forgotten me!  I will get back to blogging in a couple of months, when i have a table in a room of my own in my new house, cant wait!

There's a lot going on (well a hell of a lot for me anyway) and very very little of it is sewing unfortunately.  We're a step closer to getting to the new house though, and I'm hopefully close to setting up an actual final moving date for a few weeks time.  Eeeeek!  Am so keen to get in the new house, but at the same time really scared of not having granny in the same house....  Granny and grampa will be a few months away from being in the same town too...  Dont worry, man is home, I'm not alone!

Anywaysees.  I did get a teeny bitty sewing done.

I attempted some needle turn applique cos I wanted some kind of orange peel / fake cathedral windows block for the long standing WIP that is my sampler in repro 30's prints.  Some of the petals' curves got a little bumpy, but all in all I'm happy with it for a first time go!  Goodness I wish I could get some good solid piecing time.  I have this WIP burning an image in my retinas, and another 3 quilt tops (with the fabric bundled and sat waiting natch) I'm sooooo keen to make.  Oh and I bought 2 huge 28" feather inserts with a view to making 2 covers to match the big blue beeast.  One day...

Right, I'm afraid my eyes are totally going and I need to kip, again.  I shall leave you with a wee pic of my cherub....  (who has given me a whopping big cut down my schnozz, the delicate lamb...) Cheerio for now peeps, pip pip honk honk!  x

Sunday 8 February 2015

Quick fixes

What a shame I missed January!  And a shame also that I started 2015 blogging on such a sad note too.  Fingers crossed it only gets better from here on.

This is gearing up to be another big year for my wee family.  We have a new house to get ready for living in, and thank the Lord mum and dad managed to also get one, near by ours.  So they have a move to prepare for this year too.  A whole family relocation!  Blimey...

My grocery totes.  A bag for life might as well be awesome, no?

So funnily enough my mind keeps wandering to fabric, though not exclusively quilts.  Both bedrooms face what is at the moment a very busy road.  Eventually I hope we'll get planning permission for a 5ft fence or hedge so that the garden at the front becomes usable and we dont have to look at the road.  I'm hoping we'll get some thicker double glazing put in for noise reduction, but I just cant think how to do the windows.  Currently they have net and curtain.  Bleurgh!!!!!  An absolute must is to get blackout roller blinds.  Its what to put with that though.  As much as I hate nets, I dont really want to see the main road, or have people walking past see in.  And curtains.  It can feel awffy cold without them.  I dont like to do away with them, but then the radiatiors are all below the windows, and you dont want to cover the heat source.   Could voile or double gauze replace nets?  And would you still have a thicker curtain?

Floor cushion (needs a bigger infil and maybe a button on that back)

And tell me, has anyone had a sofa recovered?  We'll have a sofa and an armchair that I'd really love recovered, but when new costs so cheap is it worth it?  I'm starting to think that at £600 sofa and £450 armchair, PLUS fabric, the answer would be no....  Certainly I fancy doing a quilt style made to fit cover for the back cushions.  I think homemade and "rustic" might be the way to go!
And just how many quilts can I get away with hanging on walls?  And will I ever find a crown version of my beloved Dulux greys?!

So much to think of. All of it utterly boring to others I'm quite sure.  Just as well I've broken this up with some pictures of the easy makes I've managed to squeeze in.  Just enough sewing to keep me sane, but not so much as to need more than an afternoon or two.  I absolutely love my grocery bags.  They are so strong and get filled to the brim and cope fine.  A nice big cushion for the floor for Moo to mess about with.  Currently used to block access to the telly...  I only got a photo of Moo's baby blankie, I did make another two for besties new baby too.  Moos' is a rather lush Dutch needlecord backed with flannel.  And then we have the beanbag....  Supposed to be a beanbag for moo....  Its way too big!  She does NOT like it...  And it took 2 yards fabric, and 3 bags of beans.  It is filled as much as possible and still it does not look like the one in the tutorial.  Not happy with it to be honest, and it became such an expensive mistake too.  And no, its no good for an adult, even one capable of getting up off the floor!  So.  In all, a pretty bunch with mixed success!

Monkey is spoiled...
So this and the last post kinda cover January.  Bit of a low month, but its that time of year, isnt it, I know lots of folk find it a bit crappy.  Oh, Moo turned ONE though.  ONE.  Unbelievable.

Hoping, dreaming, and longing to get back to some quilting this month.  Seriously, going without it has a detrimental effect on my mental health!  Also hoping I get a wee visit from someone I'll be so excited to see.  And if we're lucky, dada should be coming home at the end of this month.
Onwards and UPWARDS 2015 please!

Thursday 5 February 2015

a bit of an obit.

Oh Harvey. 
You had a rough start before you came to us, and its no wonder really you had a bit of a screw loose.  
We fell out a lot, I didnt like it that you beat up Miss Ellie for pure amusement.  You'd seek her out and just go for her.  You two were supposed to be friends.  Big pity.   

You had a bad reaction to the neutering and developed a massive low hanging gut - totally empty, not fat, not fluid, just saggy gut.  Poor Harveynoballs!  

I think you were at your happiest when my brother came home to live with us a while, boy did you love him!  Two gingers together... 

Moving house did a lot for you too, becoming an outdoor cat with your own big territory, master of your own house.  You decimated the shrew population...  You charmed everyone, the ministers cat welcoming people at the door, always coming to say hello to any visitor, sitting outside the church on meeting nights, waiting for dad.  When I came to visit you were so happy to see me you ran the length of the garden to see me, gut flapping from side to side.  I did love you buddy.  

You were a wee shite though.  You randomly attacked me one too many times for me to really trust you.  You went for mum.  You went for my man.  You'd take a strop at dad and sneak off to deliberately crap in his room... Yup, there was something a bit twisted about you pal.

But the things I'll remember are these.  

You dribbled profusely when you were happy.  
You picked your nose with a single claw, and your nose was almost always scabby.
You LOVED feathers.  OMG you went mental for a feather.  You made a "hehehehehehe" noise and chased it obsessively.
You hounded anyone using the telephone, and loved the fact that it meant they couldn't move away from you.  Using the phone meant leaving covered in white fur and drool....
You did team up with Ellie once - a joint effort one night got the biscuit tub open on the floor and we came down the next morning to the fattest, sleepiest, stuffed cats ever.
The other time you and Ellie joined forces was to hide inside the piano together the day we had workies in.  
You once tried to sleep with mum and dad, and when dad chased you, you picked up his glasses and ran for it, dad stumbling behind you cursing you and yelling at mum to catch you cos he's blind without his specs.
You were a proper little tea-leaf.  If I didn't give you enough affection when you wanted it, you'd steal something and disappear with it - my baccy, my specs, my phone.  Not forgetting the time I dozed off and you buggered off with my bloody toast!!!
You'd always deliberately lie across my mans shins and go utterly prone and completely unshiftable.  Made me laugh anyway.  

You were not a bad lad.  When we turned up here last year, bringing the hated wee cat and a screaming baby, I was all for you living in the shed, but you proved me so wrong.  You didn't give a stuff about Ellie being here.  You even let my wee girl dive on you and "cuddle" you when I wasn't fast enough to get her away from you.  There would have been another move for you in a few months, and you would have been coming with us, not mum and dad, thats how much you'd changed and calmed down.  I was going to take you with me.  

But things happen.  You were fine before christmas, but you faded fast.  Well, I say faded but it was kinda the opposite wasnt it... seriously you ballooned...
The vet said your end would take 10 minutes this morning, but you were gone in a little over 60 seconds.   Thanks for the reassurance that it was the right thing to do.  

You will be missed.  Just not by shrews.

PS.  I'm sorry I said that bird must have committed suicide or dropped down with a heart attack in front of you.  I'm sure you did catch it and kill it.  Honest.