Sunday, December 31, 2006

January sneak peak...

Spent some time working today, hoorah! Finished off (I think) the sunset piece - added a little more angelina to soften the look. Now I have to bind it, and sew down the sleeve, and it will be done.

That didn't take very long, so I made four pairs of double four patch blocks in blue and white-on-white for the January Block Lotto on Technically, it's not January, but as the instructions are up early (there was no December block), I won't be spoiling anything by sharing this photo. The other three pairs are similar, but with different blues.

And then (productive day, or what?) I also worked on some blocks for a winter swap in jewel tones on quiltshoppe forum on delphi. This photo is a little dark, but essentially, the corners are to be a deep, sapphire type blue, with the central stars in another jewel tone - the three gold ones are a topaz type colour and the dark one is actually a deep purple - just doesn't show well. As the background for those is white on white as well, it seemed sensible to work on them at the same time.

I probably won't get much sewing time tomorrow, as New Year's Day is traditionally when I take down all my Christmas decorations, and in keeping with that, I usually rearrange some of my ornaments, too - I do have one box of stuff I rotate, as I have too many pieces of pottery, etc to keep them all out at the same time. But I only allow myself a small amount of stuff in storage or it just gets too silly. Luckily, I didn't get any new ornaments/knick-knacks for Christmas, so I don't have to do TOO much rearranging, but I do like to move it around from time to time, otherwise, I think you stop seeing things so much. And this is a good time to do it. And give everything a really good dusting at the same time...

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sunset, sunset

Spent my sewing time yesterday (nice to have some of that!) working on the little art quilt "Sunset on another planet" -- first I finished the quilting, mostly in the orange variegated thread, but also added a little red, including some quilted circles. Then I used angelina to make some sheer suns to add on top. Then I took it downstairs and added some foiling and tiny beads. I think the foiling looks a little raw, so I think I'm probably going to add a little more angelina in places, just to soften it a little - especially on the sun with three foil stars. Then I think it's probably finished (though I still have to stitch the binding down, as you can no doubt see in the photo. On the whole, I'm happy with it, though, and as it's not "due" until the end of January, it's nice to be ahead of time, for once!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Sewing holidays...

As expected, not much sewing done over the past few days, though I might get a little done today, before Sarah's friend comes to have a sleepover (a bit of a misnomer, surely, as they get very little sleep, but you know what I mean!). Thought I'd share some quilty Christmas presents instead - the bag is from my Secret Santa swap on BQL (British Quilting List) - I don't know who made it, but it's a "green" shopping bag for life - just the right size to take out shopping, and very cleverly, it doesn't drag on the ground when I hold it by the handle - so many shopping bags are too long! Anyway, it's had good use already, shopping for half price Christmas cards in New Malden on Wednesday with the kids and my mother in law, and it went to London Zoo yesterday to hold our lunch - I anticipate it will get used until it falls apart...

The fat quarters and cotton are from my other Secret Santa - BQL runs two groups - a "made" Santa, where you have to make a present for your Santa (that was the table runner I was working on in late November) and a "bought" Santa, where you buy a gift up to a certain value. I've been pretty lucky over the years with what I've received, both bought and made - for instance, last year I had a packet of coordinated hand dyes for my bought present and this year I had these lovely black and red orientals, with the variegated valdani cotton. It's fun to have some presents under the tree which you know will be quilty and which you haven't picked yourself!

I also did a Secret Santa swap with my small group, for which I got an amazing set of Christmas placemats, but I'll show pictures of them another day - I'm sure there will be more days I don't get any sewing done!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sunset on another planet, revisited

Made some progress on this little quilt today - put the red/orange "suns" on, and began quilting it - I've got a nice variegated orange thread which I'm using, which I really like the look of. After I finish quilting with the orange variegated I think I'm going to do some more in gold or red or possibly both - I think it wants lots of quilting. So far, so good - we'll see how it comes along.

I also did some more of the 9x9 squares - just finished up what I started the other day - photos of them on another day, perhaps, when I don't get any work done - like tomorrow & Thursday... And I've received a really super set of Christmas postcards and Winter Solstice ones, too, so I should really get some photos up of them. Especially the Winter Solstice ones, as there are only 7 of them (6 +1 still left to arrive) and the others, though great, are essentially just Christmassy, for the most part.

I meant to put up a photo of Sarah's log cabin blocks, which we worked on on Saturday (I think - I'm losing track of days a bit at the moment), but forgot to photograph them, and can't really be bothered to get them back out and do it, but next time we work on them, I really will remember to take a photo. She's doing all the sewing, although I am doing the rotary cutting - just too hard for a nine year old, especially a left-handed one with a right-handed mum - and frankly, I don't like watching her touch the rotary cutter in the best of circumstancees!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

More of the same...

Did some sewing today, as you may have guessed, just more of the same - one more of these 9x9 blocks finished, and two more partly finished. This is a pink batik - not necessarily apparent in the small photo, but should be visible in the enlargement. Also did some more of the 4x4 scrap blocks for that swap. I already have far more than I need for the swap, but there's no harm in having extra blocks, right? *g* Not sure how much more time I will have to sew between now and Christmas, but the kids seemed to calm down enough today to give me an hour or so, which was nice. Maybe that will be true tomorrow, too. After that, there's some serious cooking to be done, so who knows...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Not mending but sewing

So, yesterday I gave my sewing room a little mini-orgnisation before spending the day baking for Christmas and came up with a virtuous pile of mending (in addition to some items that I was able to get rid of without mending at all, as they either no longer fit the child in question or haven't been asked about in months), which I really ought to try to get through over the Christmas season. Christmas is actually a good time for mending for me, because I never have time to get into my sewing room and really sew, so a little mending doesn't somehow feel like the deprivation it normally is. I am not a fan of mending, as you may have gathered! Anyway, today I DID have the chance to actually sew, so I grabbed it, as it may well be the last chance for weeks. Worked on some more 4x4 scrapbuster blocks, and did one more of my 9x9 blocks. At least I have no more sewing deadlines for a while, so it doesn't matter too much if I can't get much done for a week or two...

Friday, December 15, 2006

Curves or circles

Finally worked on round two of the Nesting Robin #2 - the instruction was to "use curves or circles", so I did a kind of drunkard's path thing, only with quite small circles, so they didn't overlap. In a perfect world, I think the four quarters of the orange would have met up better, but it wasn't worth the effort of trying to get them perfect. The main photo doesn't show them well, but you can see all the different fabrics in the detail photo. Wonder what will be next?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A little less precision...

was what I needed my work to demand today - although I am feeling fairly good, and seem to have come through this cold without hitting a real low, instead just losing my voice on and off at inconvenient times, like when I needed to tell the butcher at Tesco how many pork chops I wanted, I still didn't want to work on anything which required too much thought or concentration. So, I decided that rather than work on the 9x9 squares or do any curved piecing (which I have some waiting for me to do - the November round of the nesting robin requires curves & I'm doing some Drunkard's Path style blocks) I better do something a little less demanding, so I made some string squares and also worked on the 4x4 scrappy blocks for that swap. No photos today; I'm too lazy to get the camera out, especially after an evening with the Brownies at the Build-a-Bear Workshop.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Messing around with Angelina...

Did some experimentation with angelina (a fusible fibre) today - this is basically a mess of angelina in different colours, fused together, with bits of fabric trapped inside. It's hard to photograph well because it's all shiny so you either get weird reflections if using the flash or blurry photos without flash due to not having a tripod. But you get the general idea. I'll spare you the other photos, but I sense lots of fun potential for this material, and I'm sure it will continue to make appearances, especially in things like postcards.

Speaking of which - I finished all the Winter Solstice ones, hurrah! Next postcard swap is "January Cheer" due at the end of January. Other than using Angelina, I'm not sure what I'll be doing, but at least I don't have to do it in the next few days...

Monday, December 11, 2006

December strikes again

No work today, or yesterday for that matter, but I did finally finish up all but the last 4 of the postcards on Saturday. Luckily, the last ones aren't due until the 21st (Winter Solstice) and all within the UK, so I can hopefully get them done tomorrow. I explored a couple of new ways of edging them with the last batch - did a wider zigzag, but went around several times (didn't really like that) and then, just did a very small straight stitch all around and trimmed outside it, which is definitely a good option, very quick, especially if you have lots of cards. I really need to play around with different stiffening options as I'm not thrilled with using card. But frankly, I don't want to face John Lewis (UK dept store with good haberdashery department) until after Christmas, so I guess it will wait. Not that I have time to play, anyway! I know a lot of people use pelmet vilene and other types of vilene, so maybe that's the way to go...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Start of the sunset

Started working on another new thing today (welcome to the way my mind and art work!) - this time, the background for a small quilt which I will enter into the swap on a yahoo group which swaps quilts (everyone sends in photos, then you send the coordinator a list of your favourites in order and she pairs the quilts up with new owners - apparently it's very successful - a friend of mine on my dyeing list belongs and I thought it sounded like fun. Last swap, no one got lower than their fourth choice - out of about 70 I think).

Anyway, I got these coordinated fat 16ths a while ago, I think as a Secret Santa gift and have never been able to decide what to do with them (not doing a lot of applique). So today, I just stitched and cut and stitched and cut until I ended up with this... It's 18 inches square, more or less. And the plan now is to applique orange and yellow "suns" on to it and quilt it with some sort of variegated thread - haven't quite decided yet. I'm going to call it "Sunset from an unknown planet". Pretentious title, I know, but it popped into my head, so why not.
I also managed to do some more postcards (well, the tops) - really must get those finished, but I'm now lacking motivation :) Not really, I just was itching to do something different. Oh, and I did two more of the little square blocks I was doing the other day. So I made up for not doing more yesterday (started to work on postcards, but felt really icky and tired, so decided to lie down for an hour instead - luckily, it seems to have done the trick as today I feel a little tired, but basically ok. Last thing in the world I need this time of year is to get sick!)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Christmas tree skirt

A lot of bloggers have been showing their tree skirts lately - I guess everyone has been thinking about Christmas decorations... I made a tree skirt for Christmas 2004, so this will be the third Christmas with it in use. Being me, I used somewhat untraditional colours, but I really like it.

More projects than sense?

OK, being me, I couldn't resist starting a new project today, despite having other things waiting for me. I was good, I did several postcards first, but all I really wanted to do was try out a block from a project I am going to do for a friend's birthday next year. And here's the block - what I'm going to do is make 20 of these blocks (which are 9 inches finished - those are 1.5 inch squares), each with a different colour batik/hand-dye, but all in pink, purple and blue, and all with the same cream coloured background. Then I'm going to set them on point, with alternating squares of the same cream coloured fabric. I got the idea from a magazine article (which is upstairs and I'm too lazy to go get it) which used this design as a way to use old ties in quilts - they actually cut all the pieces in 1.5 inch squares; I of course am strip piecing where possible. I think it's going to look great - I should go do a sketch in EQ5 to share... OK. Not the best picture, but you get the idea. The colours in these blocks repeat, whereas mine won't, though some may be similar. And I don't know yet quite how I will arrange it - might try to grade the colours from one side to the other, for instance. I expect the blocks will take a while to make up, as there are lots of seams to match, but I think it's going to look very effective.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Paying it forward...

A number of blogs I read (including Cathi's and Marion's) have recently made mention of a Pay it Forward kind of scheme - someone offers up a piece of work to the first however many takers (usually 5 or so) and instead of swapping directly back, you agree to make a similar offer on your own blog. Having taken up at least two of these offers (and I think maybe one more, but I can't remember on whose blog!) I hereby make a similar offer to people reading this blog: I will send you a piece of my work; in exchange you have to post a similar offer on your own blog. I won't promise it will be a large piece, though it won't be smaller than a postcard (it may be a postcard!) and I won't promise it before Christmas as I'm not completely insane, but you will get it in the new year, probably January and it will be original...


a day to do some sewing, after two days barely being in the house, let alone in the sewing room. It's one thing when you are on holiday or something, but I hate being home and not being able to get anything done at all - not even a few minutes! Guess I'm a true addict. Anyway, today I was a good girl and did some more postcards - getting there, though there are still quite a few to go. It's the edging them that takes the most time - or actually, it probably doesn't take that long, it's just a bit boring, whereas creating the actual postcard top is much more interesting. Mainly the problem here is trying to do too many at the same time - next time I will either do a variety of designs or just not sign up for more than one swap with the same kind of theme/timeframe - it's not the total number, it's just that I'm getting bored with this style!

And I quilted and edged the three extra advent calendar pictures (which I pieced last year but never got around to finishing. They have all now been added to the pile of pictures waiting to be put up on the calendar. I don't have much choice this year in which pictures to put up as I have a very bossy three year old who insists on making the choice for me...