Thursday, January 31, 2008

Early blogging: Journal Quilt Project, week 11

Normally I blog quite late at night - at the end of my day - but as I am off tonight up town with friends to see The Phantom of the Opera in the West End, I thought I'd best post now, so I don't forget - not sure what time we're getting back, but it won't be particularly early. [I tell you - one of the reasons I blog late at night has just been illustrated by the fact that it has taken me 20 minutes to write this post, due to being constantly interrupted by people wanting unimportant things - Sarah wants me to help her do something on a game, Alex wants to know the words to We Wish You A Merry Christmas, Geoff wants to know if he has a pair of trousers in his wardrobe suitable to wear to some event at this conference he is going to in Barcelona (don't even ask why I have to answer that question!) - grr.]

Anyway, Olivia was back to school today, feeling much better, though a little tired still, but Alex was home from school - he has the same thing, only not nearly as severely -but as his birthday party is on the weekend, I thought it best if he stay home today and rest - then he can go to school tomorrow and be well for his party - hopefully. Anyway, he had a quiet day at home mostly watching DVDs, after a quick trip out to Wimbledon to run some of the errands that have been piling up (and in addition, to replace the toaster which decided to die last night - though nicely, for once it died BEFORE I went to the shop to buy something else, instead of directly after, which is what usually happens...)

Right, so, today's work was first to fix the block where I sewed a piece on backwards - not much work there. And then I did the piece above with the four different colour trees - it was an exercise for my online class about colour and mood - and actually, I am really pleased with the way it came out - and it's sparked a more definite idea of what I want to do for my group challenge "forest" - lots of little machine quilted trees in different coloured squares. I'll have to work out how many squares and whether I am going to join them before or after I quilt the trees (I'm inclined to attach them after, as the trees will be easier to do if they are in smaller squares) but those are small issue which can be dealt with in future - inspiration is the important part really, and this has helped a lot with that.

And thought I'd show this as well - it's the autumnal string quilt with the apple quilting, with the binding finished - hoorah. I finished it up last night watching telly & started the next one. Thought I'd show the back as well, as Atet and I have been talking about quilt backs - this one is pieced from one fairly large piece which was given me, and several other smaller pieces - nothing leftover from the top, but just general stuff which was hanging about. I do like finishing things!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Block bonanza

Well, Olivia was still not completely well today (though she is better, thanks), so once again, plans I had to go out (today was just some errand running) were shelved, and I spent the day sewing, mostly. She spent most of the day watching DVDs. Luckily, because it's just a bad cold, sore throat, temperature, she doesn't really want me to do anything much, which leaves me free to just check on her periodically, sit and watch for a little while, and otherwise, just get on with what I wanted to do. So I decided to get ahead of the game and do some (or all, as it happens) of the February blocks for the block lotto. I started with a purple & yellow star for Sherry - this is the same star from last month as I liked it so much then. Then I saw these baskets in the same book the star is from (Judy Martin's block book) and decided to try them out in African fabrics, as I still owed Karol Ann another block (not anymore, ha ha - your turn now KA). I'm really pleased with them - wasn't sure how well they would work as African fabrics are all very bright and busy, but I think they've come out well.

Then, more birthday block swap blocks - on the left is a block for Sophie - the bear claw points are green, not black, the light isn't great. And on the right, a block (where I have just noticed I put the top panel on the wrong way around - I'll change it tomorrow) for Angelina, who wanted us to do a block using the colours of our local NFL team or fabric with the team logo, etc. As I have no local NFL team, she said a local Premiership soccer team was fine, so I have picked Fulham, which doesn't play particularly near me, but the training ground is just down the road - less than half a mile. They sponsor football training at our school, too, and anyway, I like the colours, which are black, red and white. I have used t-shirt transfer paper to put the logo in the centre of the block.

What a productive day, even for me!

Oh, just remembered I had a postcard in the post - forgot to take a photo, so I will show it tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Placemats & stuff

Today I didn't expect to get any work done, because I thought I'd be going to a Longarmer UK meeting - unfortunately, Olivia wasn't very well (sore throat and fever type of not-very-well, not the throwing up type, which is good), so she didn't go to school, so I didn't go to the LAUK meeting. Which is a shame. Though it did mean that I did a couple of placemats - I made up 8 or so of these from scrap pairs which I've been using as enders and leaders - I thought I'd practice some of the 72 ways not to stipple or meander from the new Dijanne Cevaal book I got - the placemat on left is actually from the other day and has a leaf type meander, the one on the right has a "paisley" design - wavy lines, with straight lines and dots down the middle. It was fun, though I need to practice making my wavy lines more symmetrical. I'm going to try out some of the other designs on the other mats, and then end up with a set of placemats either for myself or a gift - we won't talk about how much more binding this will all mean!

I did take a moment during the day to pop out with Olivia (who perked up a bit at midday before going downhill again) and go to the chemist for more Calpol and throat lozenges, pop into my local haberdashery for much needed plain black cotton and more pelmet vilene (ok, and a few other goodies, too, of course), and a quick foray into McDonald's for a milkshake to ease the sore throat.

I also got a good chunk of binding done on the autumn strings quilt - some last night, and more this afternoon while watching Chicken Run with Olivia - contrary to what some may think, I don't normally spend my time during the day sitting with my feet up watching telly!

Brown & Purple dragonfly top

With today being a Monday I didn't get a lot done (I have a yoga class Monday mornings, so don't tend to even get home until noonish), but I did finish backing and edging the Be Mine postcards, and they've gone out in the post. I also made a few nine patches for a group quilt my Thursday group is making. They are 3 inch (finished) blocks. And that was about it, although I did collect this quilt from my longarmer:

I can't tell you how long this quilt has been at the longarmer's - it was a top I gave her back when she first got her machine, to put in her practice stack, but somehow she never needed it. Finally, we decided to just quilt it -I think I might have made the top about 6 or 7 years ago. I made it in purple and brown because of the fabric which is in the border - a purple and brown paisley which my friend Cathi gave me a long time ago. And we quilted it with dragonflies as there are dragonflies in the fabric in one of the borders. Guess I'll have to add that to the binding stack!

And today's post - a metallic card from Jan in AZ (you can't see the metallic fabrics very well, but trust me - it's metallic) and some lovely Japanese fabrics from The Antique Angel - this is my new fabric club for 2008 - I changed from the Fat Quarter Frenzy to this one - it's 16 sixteenths - I decided I'm using a lot of small pieces these days, so it made sense to go smaller...

Funny scrappy giveaway

What we have here are the off-cut quarter circle shapes from a quilt I made a while back - there are 30 of them, with half or so including the red dotted fabric. They are about 3.5" along the sides. Maybe someone out there can think of something clever to do with them! If you are interested, just leave a comment before Sunday, as usual, and I will draw a name, or have one of my helpers do it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Winners (a wee bit late)

I actually drew the giveaway winners last night, and wrote them down, and then forgot to blog them until just after I turned off the computer. As it was nearly midnight at that point, I didn't put it back on! But anyway, the two winners are: Anne Bebbs & Betty Donahue. As Anne is in the UK, she'll be receiving the book (I have your address, Anne) & the issue of QNM goes to Betty - you'll need to email me your postal address, Betty. My email is katelnorth at yahoo dot com.

New giveaway later today. Must dash, busy morning!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bound to happen...

...a pun in the title of this post, that is. Today, I spent most of my quilting time attaching binding to things. The quilt on the left is one one which I've been sewing the binding down - it's actually nto quite finished in the photo - there's about 8 inches left to do at the bottom right corner (it's finished now, though). This actually took ages to finish (i.e. three sessions, despite being fairly small, but this is because the back is a hand-dyed peice of fabric with a very tight weave, so it was a real challenge to stitch through. That's the polite word! It looks nice, though. Somewhere I have a photo of the back, I think, from when I quilted it... Ok, here we go - there's a photo of the back in my flickr album.

The other photo is a pile of quilts with binding attached which now need to be stitched down. One of these was already waiting - I actually quite like doing the hand-sewing on binding, I just haven't done much lately because of doing a lot of cross-stitch (I do hand-work while watching telly) and because now that I have a laptop, I often catch up on email during some telly watching. Though that's usually after I have done an hour or so of hand-work anyway, so it's not too much of a drain on my time. Anyway, there are four quilts in this pile -one is a Chinese coins scrap quilt which was done some time ago. One is the autumnal quilt with the apples from that same blog post, if you followed that last link... The other two are the recent snail's trail and batik small quilts. Believe it or not, I started on the binding for the big one (the apples) because I'd really like to get that quilt on my bed before it gets too warm to need it. It will take me a few days to do the binding, though, as it's a bed-sized quilt.

This was actually a perfect job to do today - making & attaching binding is fairly mindless - it requires a certain amount of precision, but not much thought - and this way I could not only rest my brain, which is not feeling very creative at the moment - but also multi-task by drilling Olivia on her times tables at the same time. Another activity requiring precision but no creativity! Told you it wouldn't take six months, Atet!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Journal Quilt Week 10: quilting and bits

I haven't been very inspired to work on my journal quilt piece (or many other things) in the past few days, but today I finally got down to work on something - I started with a fabric sandwich and filled it with a number of free motion quilting patterns in different threads - some of them inspired by the ideas in Dijanne Cevaal's book, some of them just off the top of my head. The book was downstairs, so I couldn't check it while I was quilting and I was too lazy to go get it...

Then I added some stuff - just whatever struck my fancy. There's a transparency, held down by some heart-shaped brads; a bit cut from an old postcard; a bit of an old mobile (the metal figure); some polymer clay pieces, a bead, a flower and some sequins. I think i will either bind it or finish the edges, but for the moment, it's more or less done.

Here are some detail photos.

I didn't do anything else today (quilting related - I did cook a nice lunch, including three types of sorbet for dessert) as we had a friend around for lunch - he also helped translate some of the old papers that were in my dad's stuff (the older ones are in German). A lot of them are birth, death & marriage certificates and extracts from baptismal records and so on, which is as I suspected (I know a tiny amount of German, though not much) but it was nice to have a German speaker on hand to help with all the bits I wasn't sure of.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Forgetful Friday

Uploaded these photos to the computer last night (I changed the date on this post to avoid confusing myself in future but in reality, am blogging on Saturday morning), but forgot to post about them - it's probably because I didn't really do much work yesterday, having spent most of it at school laminating reading words (ah, the exciting jobs we get to take on as parent helpers). Anyway, I received this card in the post from Sarah - it's for the Something starting with N swap and her theme is "Naughty but Nice", which I think is fun.

And, as I didn't do any sewing during the day, I thought it was time to show some progress on my cross-stitch - admittedly, not a huge amount of progress, but the alphabet is now joined by a tree, a patch of ground and the start of a building. Slowly but surely!

I won't get a lot done today, as we have a friend coming to lunch, and I have to make some sorbet this morning, but hopefully I'll at least get a chance to do my journal quilt for this week - I have not been very inspired this week to work on it (or much else) so it's been a bit of a slack week. Yeah, I know, it might not look like it, but for instance, yesterday I had about two hours between working at school and going to pick up the kids and I didn't do any sewing - just checked emails and stuff - in a normal week, I probably would have at least worked on finishing the postcards I'd started, etc. Might have more energy next week.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Be Mine...

So here's what I've been working on - started these a few days ago - they are for the something starting with N swap - "Night". I'm quite happy with these cards, which is good as I seem to have signed up for two groups instead of one, so I need to do four more of them. Luckily, I did them early for once so I have plenty of time to get some more done before they are supposed to be in the post on the 15th of Feb.

And working my way through my to-do list, I am up to the end of January - these cards, which are for a Valentine's Swap - the theme was open, as long as it included the words "be mine", which, as you can see, they do.

They aren't quite finished yet - I need to back and edge them, but otherwise, nearly done. Five of them are for the swap, the sixth is going off to a suprise home (I won't mention where, as, well, it's a suprise...)

And it was one of those postcardy days in other ways, too - a postbag full of pc's - a Be Mine of my very own, from Leah and a yummy Muffin (for M) from Kim. And another M - or two, more precisely - Moon over Mountains, from Beth. Unfortunately you can't see the texture of the background fabric very well on this one - it's lovely - it looks a little nubbly in the photo, actually, but it's even better in real life.

And even more goodies in the post:

The latest issue of QA. I like QA ,but I'm thinking about not renewing as I have far too many magazines and not really enough time to read it thoroughly. We'll see what decision I make... I also got this - Dijanne Cevaal's book 72 ways not to stipple or meander. I thought as I'd be doing more quilting on my machine, I ought to get some more ideas for quilting patterns. I ordered this back before Christmas and it never came - I thought it was just delayed in the holiday post, but it did apparently go walkies. Dijanne kindly sent another copy, which zipped its way around the globe in a mere week. Oh well, perhaps some day the other will arrive, too, and make a nice giftie for someone.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Valentine arch card thingies

So, what's behind door number one? And door number two?

One of these is for an upcoming swap, the other is a Pay it Forward gift. Both of them are arches made with a pelmet vilene base, stitched together to make a folding "card". I started with a postcard sized rectangle (4x6") so they are quite small. There's a fair amount of shiny material on them, so they didn't photograph quite so well a they might have done, but I'm very happy with them.

And see - I finished quilting the batik quilt - now to put a binding on and stitch it down. Don't hold your breath on that, but it WILL get done, sooner or later.

Go ahead...make my day (again)

Another lovely person has passed this award on to me - this time, it was Sophie. Last time I didn't list any blogs which make my day, as there are many of them, this time, here's a few, by no means all of the ones I regularly get joy from, but just a list in case you've never visited these folks before...

Ok, there are lots more but I'm bored of adding links! Maybe I'll treat you to a few more tomorrow or some other day...

Blog (not blog)

Just a quickie to say there's nothing much to say today - no post, and all I worked on was quilting some more of the batik quilt. It's almost finished, but my arms were aching, so I stopped. Will finish tomorrow, and who know, might put some binding on that and the snail's trail, if I have something suitable. I do like progress...

As a day without pictures would be like a day without sunshine (common in England in the winter!) here's some more of the vast collection of tops I own...

A couple of custom quilting jobs, I reckon - the autumn one is from a swap with Quilt Shoppe Forum; the fans are from a swap with EuroQuilt. If I had any idea how either of them should be quilted, it would make my life easier. I think the autumn one might just get echo quilted in the blocks, with maybe a general meander with some pumpkins in the rest of it. The fans, I've no idea. Echo quilting and fans? The problem is, fans are a pain for machine quilting - and let's just all have a good laugh at those who suggest I might hand quilt it!

Monday, January 21, 2008

M is for Monday

I started quilting the batik baby quilt today - did about half, perhaps not quite, but decided I needed a break after that, as it's hard on the arms and shoulders. These two closeups of the quilting show the sort of leaf motif I am using, combined with sort of pointy bits - hard to describe, but basically, I just echo around the leaves a bit and do these pointy things. Anyway, it's working fairly well, even the tension is doing ok, despite the tightness of the weave of the batiks (I didn't put batik on the back, which does help). Might finish it tomorrow, we'll see how it goes. I'd like to try to do a few hours quilting on one of my hanging around tops every week until they are all gone (i.e. until the end of time) - obviously, as the quilt tops get bigger and/or more in need of something specialised they will take longer to complete. Which is partly why we are starting with the small ones!

Also did my postcards for the 1970's swap - found a great fabric in my small stash of non-cottons for this disco ball, and used glitter for the rays of light - simple, but I think it says 70s, don't you? They will go out tomorrow as the glitter wasn't dry yet earlier. I did also start working on what I might be doing for the starts with N swap, but the photo didn't come out well, so I'll wait to show a picture until I get a little more done and/or decide if this is where I am going or not.
I did also receive two postcards - M is for Mardi Gras from Wanda and Little Houses from Ann. I do love all these little houses - great idea for a swap!

Book & mag giveaway

One book, one magazine to give away. I don't usually have magazines to get rid of as I usually end up ripping something out of them, but this one seemed to have survived unscathed. And the book is one that didn't sell during a recent clear-out, so rather than send it to the charity shop, thought I'd offer it where I know it will be well received. I'll happily post the magazine anywhere, but the book is fairly heavy, so UK only on that (or if you want to paypal me to cover postage, that's ok too). As usual, to be enterred in the draw, leave a comment on this post before Sunday. Two winners will then be drawn...