Monday, March 31, 2008
No work done today - only had about an hour free as school let out early for parent consultations - and I decided to eat lunch and browse my email instead... But, although it's not technically April for an hour and half where I am, the pattern for the April Bag on the BQL Bag Challenge has been released to the people doing the challenge, so I can now publish my photo of the one I made to test the instructions. So at least I have something fun to show you!
The photo is not a brilliant one - the bag has a gusset at the bottom, in a contrasting colour, which is what looks kind of odd in the photo at the left - because the bag is sitting on a chair rather than hanging, with some weight in it, it doesn't show well. Perhaps I'll try to get a better photo tomorrow. Anyway, this bag will also serve another purpose, as it will be sent to...someone...for a private bag swap I am doing, courtesy of Barbara. Won't go out in the post for a few days, as I want to include a few goodies with it, and need to buy some...
Here's this week's offering in my little giveaway game - still quite a stack of bits and pieces to get through, believe it or not. These are some 8" blocks from a swap - there's nothing wrong with them, in fact, they are pretty (the corners are navy blue) but I had a silly number of them (18) so I decided to keep a more appropriate number (16) and pass the other two on. [I appreciate you can set 18 blocks 3x6, but as they are only 8" wide, I don't really like the resulting shape, whereas a 4x4 quilt with a border of some sort will make a nice little baby quilt, don't you think?] I think these two were repeated fabrics or very similar to others, so they were the ones chosen to pass on. Of course, I haven't done anything with the other blocks yet, but I will, soon. I do have a couple of baby quilts "in stock" at the moment, although I have just given one to a friend who is more or less ready to pop and I have two more pregnant friends who are a little less far along, so I imagine I'll be needing to restock before too much longer.
Anyway, if you are interested in rehoming these little guys - no obligation to do anything with them at all, though if you win something from me and DO do something with it, please let me know so I can link or put up a photo or just be impressed - just leave a comment on this post before Sunday, when I will draw a winner.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
You know I'm a glutton for punishment - yes, I have joined another swap. This is for a small quilt (max 20" square) and is being organised by Toni, the Quilting Pirate. There are still some places left, so if you are interested, all the details can be found over here...
Forgot to put something on my goals list for the week - the last two (for the moment) pencil rolls for Alex's many birthday parties - these two were originally due to be done some weeks ago, but one of the girls (they are twins) came down with scarlet fever the day before the party was scheduled, so next weekend was the first time their mum could reschedule. Anyway, I did these two pencil rolls this morning, and then this afternoon, made a quick block for Kathi for the birthday block swap - this is a replacement block - we had several people drop out in the middle of the swap and all of the other ladies have kindly offered to make up the missing blocks - this is one that I am doing. Yes, it bears a remarkable similarity to the recent Dear Jane block I did for Cathi - only this one is a lot larger - 12" instead of 6" - it seemed huge when I was doing it!
Well, as I anticipated, this was a very popular giveaway this week - not suprising, really, as I know the pieces have pretty fabrics and the convergence design is fun. But I have a convergence quilt and can't really see using these for much of anything (though I have hung onto them for several years (not sure quite how many - the book's copyright date is 2003 and I know I bought it fairly early on, though perhaps not right away, if it came out as hardback first, and I did try the technique out almost straight away after buying the book) thinking I might someday use them. But let's face it, it's not going to happen).
A couple of people have asked me about the technique - as it's a new technique, and very individual, rather than my take on something traditional, I don't feel it's appropriate copyright-wise to go into much detail - Ricky Tims' book Convergence Quilts is quite straightforward and easy to understand even if you are a relative beginner in the quilting world. In a nutshell, the technique involves taking several pieces of fabric and slicing them into strips of different widths, then sewing them back together in an alternating pattern, then slicing them the other way and doing the same thing. For the ones I did (above) I used two pairs of fabrics for each of the four squares. That's the nuts & bolts description without much finesse to it, but at least it gives you an idea how they were created. He does a lot more in the book. If you are looking for something a bit different, I think this is fun, not too hard, and very effective on certain types of fabric.
Right, so, I know you are all only reading this to see who the winner is, and I'm pleased to say, congratulations, no 8, I will be sending these pieces on to you! I have your address. [OK, I'll spare you the effort - congratulations to Supermom - hope you enjoy them! And for those of you who don't know her, Supermom is the driving force behind the Four Seasons Quilt Swap and the Spring Fling Round Robin, so is definitely a deserving winner - all that hard work must be building up your good karma!]
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while will no doubt recognise these cats, which will eventually be a quilt for my mother - I am hand-piecing the sawtooth backs, and doing the rest by machine - there will be 20 cats in total - I have finished 8, with another one in process. Actually, they aren't quite finished, as they will also have tails, but those are appliqued on later, once the blocks are assembled (there's another neutral fabric to set between the groups of blocks) into a top. The project sort of got stuck in a basket at the bottom of my basket stack, but I have brought it back out - I'm try to get down to only having half a dozen or so projects on the go at one time (not counting finished tops waiting to be quilted, that is). I'll never be one of those people who works on one thing at a time, and that's it, but it did get a little out of control for a while, so I'm trying to get back on top of it a bit!
And in other news today - I have added some rooftops and railings to the beach huts - and Wil has reminded me that this challenge isn't due until May 1st, rather than April 1st, which is a bit of a relief. I still hope to work on it a bit in the upcoming week or two, rather than waiting until the end of April, but at least there's some breathing room.
And on the right, some bits from joggles.com - some collage sheets for an upcoming ATC swap organised by Lenna, some German scrap suns, and a few charms - mostly Egyptian ones, as I know that there's at least one upcoming arch for my arch swap which has an Egyptian theme.
pin together the next Hawaiian quilt top, ready for quilting(done, ready to quilt - used pretty much every safety pin I own!) set of 6 postcards for Fastenings theme for BQLPC (deadline 31/3)(finished, posted yesterday - this also served another purpose - I used the shapes I made for my glue gun challenge on Textile Challenges on these cards finish white quilties for Creative Swaps swap (deadline 26/4)(done and in the post as I type) make a few extra churn dash blocks for the March Block Lotto on about.com to bump the draw up to 5 winners(yes, made four extra - these are so quick I could easily have made more, but decided I had other stuff I really should do instead) pull out and organise some bits for calico cat quilt for Mom - get at least one block ready for sewing by hand in the evening(did this this morning - also, put together a block which was mostly ready and changed the direction of a cat which was facing the wrong way - photos about that on the blog later) journal quilt for the week (deadline 29/3) make and attach binding for Hawaiian quilt and brown and purple dragonfly quilt (not including sewing it down by hand)(done, and also binding for a little batik baby quilt I forgot was waiting to be bound and a placemat. Have begun hand-sewing the binding on the Hawaiian quilt, but not finished yet).
So that was last week - this next week will probably be less productive, as I have two days where there is only a half day of school, Monday, where I have yoga in the morning anyway - might get an hour or so in - and Friday, where I will probably spend the whole day at school. And then we start our two weeks of spring holidays - kids off school - I will set some goals for those weeks, but not nearly so many, as my sewing time is very unpredictable when the kids are off school - we have a lot of errands to run (dentist, school shoes, passport renewal at the US embassy) but also, we will do some fun things, which will take us away from home during the day. And at the end, a short trip up to Grandma Lucy's house, which will involve not only no sewing, but no blogging! I might survive. Anyway, here's what I want to try to accomplish next week:
- journal quilt for the week (deadline 5/4)
- make-up block for Kathi, birthday block swap
- begin to quilt second Hawaiian quilt
- pin and begin to quilt four seasons quilt swap quilt (mailing deadline 1/5)
- prepare materials for another cat block
- work on set of postcards for theme: Starts with P (deadline 15/4)
That should be plenty to keep me busy, though of course, several of them are fairly nebulous goals - "begin to quilt" could encompass all kinds of levels of work from almost nothing to nearly finished - but that's one of the secrets of being able to keep your goals - be flexible!
Friday, March 28, 2008
Busy today, but I did find time to finally start my Beach piece for the challenge quilts group - somehow I don't think I'll make the deadline (1st of April!) but at least I have a start now. Those of you familiar with UK beaches will hopefully recognise the left as being some rather minimalist beach huts. I intentionally made the tops not pointed, but now I'm not so sure - might have to go back and make them all pointy. Another look on google images seems to indicate that pointy is the way to go. Or maybe it will grow on me. (Ooh, or better idea - maybe I'll put some contrasting facing on the peaks - I was thinking about little white railings in front, too, that would balance nicely. Hmm, will have to have a play tomorrow, I think!)
I'm thining at the moment that I will add a deckchair in the foreground and one of those striped canvas windbreaks so popular on our beaches - but I think I will do them after the quilting - at least the windbreak, which I might make 3D, with little bits of wooden skewers for the posts. Of course, what it really needs to be accurate is a grey sky, rain, and everyone huddled around in their long trousers and jumpers, but a girl can dream, right? Anyway, I should manage to get most of the work done fairly soon as it's only a small quilt - not sure just how big but the beach huts were cut at 3.5 inches wide, so that gives you an idea of the scale.
On the right, the contents of a little parcel I received in the post today - some leftovers from a class that Anne took a while back, which she didn't think she'd use anymore, and offered them to me as backings & bits for pcs, atcs, and inchies. There's some fun stuff there - some painted fabric, including a decent amount of silks, and some interested painted papers and tyvek - I'm sure it will be useful for something. And if months go by and I never seem to touch it, well, it may appear here again in another context! Though I think that unlikely, as many of them look to be highly suitable for backgrounds.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I decided to work on my journal quilt for the week today, and pin together the next Hawaiian shirt quilt - I can only do a little bit of that at a time or the safety pins start to hurt my fingers, so it's useful to have something else to do as well. Given how lovely a week I've had with receiving things in the post, I decided it would be fun to do a quilt using only items I had received from other people - not counting things I've bought, though allowing things I have swapped for. And so, this JQ is made up entirely of things from others, except for the vilene (stabiliser inside), the thread I used and the paper on the back. I know where some of these items came from, but some I can't remember for certain - and it's certainly the case that far more people have sent me things than are represented here - I have had things because of swaps, as birthday presents, things I won in giveaways, things sent as thank you's for things I've sent (which I wasn't asking for anything in return for - hence, not a swap), as extras with a purchase from a seller on eBay or etsy, as consolation squishies when my dad died, and sometimes, just as RAKs (random acts of kindness) - that is, for no reason at all, other than the fact that people are nice. I wanted to celebrate that with this quilt - what better way than to use some of the things!
Here are some of what they are - the background is a piece of shibori, made by Ann H, which recently arrived with the shibori swap from my dyeing group. The three square pieces of fabric and the metallic button are from the scavenger hunt swap I did with Angela on Arts in the Mail - oh and the butterfly is cut from a square of fabric from that swap. The green silk strip, piece of marbled fabric and the fleur-de-lis stencil paper are from the grab-bag I won on Susan's blog. The red snowflake stamped in Angelina was made by chaos for an angelina technique swap in my surface embellishment group. The narrow strip of pale blue felt was one of the things I received (in bigger pieces) with my Valentine's Swap from Amy. The feather was in a recent goodie bag from Karol-Ann, sent from South Africa and was hand-collected by her lovely self. The "PEACE" letter beads are from Cathi, who sent them because she thought I'd use them more than she would. (I wanted to put LOVE to go with the heart, but there was no L - oh well!) The white lace flower was in a recent surprise RAK package from Penny. The bit of interesting thread/ribbon across the top of the piece was a free bobbin which came with an order of ephemera and bits from The Fruit Pixie. The eyelash yarn around the edge came from the stash of Annie, who sympathised with my moanings about the cost of eyelash yarn over here, when one only used it for trim rather than a whole scarf and sent me dozens of colours (ok, maybe a dozen - but it was a lot!). The piece of silk mesh (behind the felt and rhinestone flower) came in a wee package of silk scraps with a Christmas Card from Annica. The peach flower button is from Julie. The shamrock charm and the rhinestone flower came from someone(s) but I can't remember who. It's possible they might have come from Anne or Jane, who sent me bits back when my dad died. (If either of you ladies recognises one of those as being from you, leave a comment and I'll edit my post to say!) And if I got any of them wrong, please correct me - mostly I was doing it from memory, and we know what that's like...
As you can see, a great collection of stuff - and there many more things I have been sent on various occasions, which haven't made it into this little 8x8 journal quilt.
The other thing I did, in addition to pinning the other Hawaiian Quilt (which took ages - I had to finish after the kids got home from school, which means my littlest helper helped lay out the pins ready for pinning...) was to cut some pieces for a mystery quilt I am going to do over here on nancyrose's blog. Believe it or not, I have never done a mystery quilt before (being one of those control freak people who like to see where things are going before they start) - but I have a rather large selection of 5" squares (nickels) and so was tempted to try this, which uses 71 of them for a small quilt - along with some other fabric, of course. And because the instructions are posted every two weeks, I figured I'd have time to keep up. I plan to put it aside as a baby quilt, or, if I don't like it enough, give it to Project Linus. I have pulled out nickel charms in mostly pinks, greens & purples to try to keep it under control a little - needless to say, I haven't made a dent at all in my stacks of nickels. Oh well. Thanks to Helen, who tipped me off to this mystery by mentioning it on her blog...
And finally, not quite so interesting as yesterday's post, but still nice - I received, from Freida, two more blocks for my pineapple quilt, and a nice selection of extra fabrics as I may need/want to make up some more blocks for myself to complete the quilt or make it the size or layout which works best...
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
After some fiddling around today, I decided that what the cards really needed was a nice finished, frame-type edge - and was suddenly struck with the idea of using old zips as an edging (the theme is fastenings, after all) and dug around to find some - I knew I had some, somewhere. In fact, I found some which had been handed down to me from (I think) my grandmother's stash of dressmaking stuff - one of them still had a price tag on it - it was reduced to 10cents (US) from the grand original price of 25cents. OK, it wasn't a very long zip, but still. Anyway, I loved the results of using the zips and am now happy with the cards. Hoorah, they can go in the post tomorrow.
And speaking of post, I got a bumper crop today - at left, a parcel of goodies from Susan, who did a giveaway a while back (which I was one of the winners of - how cool is that!) . This parcel is a right treasure trove - lots of little bits of fabric in various materials - some hand-dyed cotton, some velvet, some sheer stuff, some silk and just other stuff. And some nice paper. And some ribbons and stuff, and some findings and just some other stuff. It was a great bundle. I was very happy to see it in the post.
And I got a bunch of other stuff, too - a package of fat eights of shibori-ed fabric which was a swap from my dyeing group - that's what's pictured above. Some fabulous pieces here, I can't wait to find something suitable to use them in.
And finally, a billion postcards - ok, I exaggerate, but there were four - that's pretty good.
These two are both from DebMarie - one is for the Purple Haze swap, the other is for the February Challenge on Arts in the Mail - one fabric, one thread. The thread, if you can see it is a silver metallic - great card.
And last but not least, Q is for Queen from Dawn - such a great idea for a card, don't you think? And O is for Owl, from Kim. I probably won't get any more post for a week, but it was certainly nice today...
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Played around with my fastenings postcards today - they are a little weird, and possibly not quite done (well, to be accurate, only two of them are potentially done - the others I know aren't done yet) but I don't really know what else they want. Or maybe it's just the positioning of the silk crunchies - I might have to play with them a bit tomorrow before I finish the halfway done ones.
Got some lovely post today - my March arch, from Mags - isn't it fab? And the last card for my Doorways swap, from Diane - an actual opening doorway, which is fun.
Also got this fabric from Big Horn Quilts in the US - I needed some shirting fabrics for a block background, and added a few other things, to make it worth the Global Priority Mail postage - some more Civil War repros, and a couple of crazy brights from the sale bin, which will be used for pencil rolls for some upcoming birthday parties (I told you there were lots of them coming up!)
Monday, March 24, 2008
Impressed I remembered it was Monday? I am, too! But I didn't do any sewing today, as we went up to see Ferret's solo exhibition at the Dissenter's Gallery at Kensal Green Cemetery ("we" in this instance, being me, my friend Lana and all our kids) - which was very enjoyable. If you've never seen any of her pieces in person, do try to make the time to go check out this exhibition - it's a lovely small venue and you can get really up close and personal with the pieces, which are many of them stunning. My personal favourite was a new piece called Heat, though I also found myself very attracted to a quilt featuring a herd of cows (or more precisely, young bulls), which is not something I ever thought I'd hear myself say!
After that, we split up and my kids and I went off to the Tate Britain to look at some paintings, which was also enjoyable. Sarah actually looked at lots of paintings; the other two, not so much, though they were amused by some contemporary installation type pieces featuring found objects, such as a cauliflower.
Anyway. Here's what's on offer this week - four squares, about 10-12 inches square (a guess, I didn't measure) which were experiments with Convergence Quilting a la Ricky Timms. I have long since decided I am not going to do anything with these four pieces (particularly as I was lucky enough to receive a convergence quilt in a quilt swap, so my need for that type of piece is satisfied), so am offering them up to a good home - or heck, to any home! If you make small quilts for charity auctions or something, these might be very suitable starting places, needing only a border, perhaps. Or you can cut them up - I don't care, I just want them out of my pile of things I must feel responsible for or guilty about :)
As usual, if you are interested in being in the draw for these pieces, leave a comment here before Sunday.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
I have been resisting ATCs until recently, as I don't really need one more thing to trade, but I do like the size, so I wouldn't be suprised to see the occasional trade opportunity pop up here in the future - watch this space, as they say.
After a fun start to the day - woke up to snow (though it didn't stick) and the kids searching for chocolate mini-eggs and other sweets hidden for them in the living room by the Easter Bunny - I decided to tackle the binding for several quilts - did the Hawaiian one and the brown and purple one which I mentioned and also this batik baby quilt which I forgot was in the pile waiting to be bound (it was under the brown and purple one). And I also put the binding on another one of my scrappy placemats. So, lots of binding accomplished today. And in the evenings, I will begin to sew it down - this is a task I actually enjoy doing, despite the fact that I am not normally a big handworker.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Managed to spend a little time sewing today - frankly, it's not really the type of day you want to spend any length of time outside in, which helps. I did take Sarah to tennis this morning, before it got truly awful, but we were all glad to be back inside. Anyway, I finished off the white quilties - and decided in the end not to add anything else, as they just seemed finished. Not sure how well the detail shows in the close-up - I have tried to get close enough to see some of the different textures, as this is definitely a texture sort of piece. All five are similar - composed of the same elements - though the arrangement is somewhat different in each one.
By a nice coincidence, I got this lovely white fluffy ostrich in the post today - it's an O is for... card, from Jan in Arizona and is a really cute idea, and very effective. And finally, I knocked up four quick floral churn dash blocks for the March block lotto over on about.com. I have already made 8 blocks for this lotto, but a lot of people are making a few extras to try to set a record for number of blocks/winners. and they are very quick to do.
make an ATC for Anna's challenge with washers and buttons (deadline 31/3)- done this and sent it off to Anna - made two spares to giveaway on the blog weekly Journal Quilt (yes, this one is going to be on the list every week!) (deadline 22/3) join blocks together for Four Seasons Quilt Swap quilt- done, then redone! begin quilting the Hawaiian quilt which is pinned- not only started, but finished quilting this, hoorah start working on the white quilties for the Creative Swaps swap (deadline 26/4) work on March arch for the Arch Swap (deadline 31/3)- March Arch made and sent
Didn't really do anything beyond the goals (other than actually finishing some things I only committed to starting) - but that's ok, I'm happy with it.
So, for the next week (which involves another bank holiday on Monday, so I'll have to cross that day off my working list - though I do hope to do something quilty and go see Ferret's solo exhibition):
- pin together the next Hawaiian quilt top, ready for quilting
- set of 6 postcards for Fastenings theme for BQLPC (deadline 31/3)
- finish white quilties for Creative Swaps swap (deadline 26/4)
- make a few extra churn dash blocks for the March Block Lotto on about.com to bump the draw up to 5 winners
- pull out and organise some bits for calico cat quilt for Mom - get at least one block ready for sewing by hand in the evening
- journal quilt for the week (deadline 29/3)
- make and attach binding for Hawaiian quilt and brown and purple dragonfly quilt (not including sewing it down by hand)
Not a lot, but a nice variety, so should be something to suit my mood, whatever it might be. Pinning the quilt together for quilting is the least fun project, but if I have a day to myself where there are no kids around and no errands, I can lay it out on the floor and pin it in small bits between other sewing, and it won't be quite so boring.
Friday, March 21, 2008
There - much better, don't you think? I suppse that ideally, I could have used the same fabric to sash around all the blocks, but I didn't have enough of any one of the hand-dyes to do it, so I would have had to find something different, and it was just getting to be too much like hard work. I like it like this; hopefully the recipient will, too. Now I have to decide how I want to (machine) quilt it.
On the right, the start of some white quilties (6x6") for a swap on Lenna's Creative Swaps website - although small amounts of other colours were allowed, I decided to try to stick as closely to white as possible, even avoiding a lot of the cream stuff I have. The two at the top of the photo are closer to being done than the other three, but I'd still like to add some buttons and shells. I'll put a close-up photo of at least one of the pieces when they are done - maybe tomorrow. Basically, I started with a sandwich of white cotton (which came from a nightdress I bought at a jumble sale for 20p) and quilted it in a different design for each piece. I then added a strip of white organza, some white lutradur, mulberry bark, white netting like you get fruit in (in this instance, it comes with babybel cheese inside), a piece of a strip of buttons off the nightdress, some lace bits (nightdress again - from the collar), some fibre made from rolled and couched strips of cotton (yep, the nightdress) and a piece of white fluffy stuff, which came in my parcel of goodies from Karol-Ann earlier this week. I had more white stuff than I thought I did; there were other things I didn't even get to use...
Also managed to colour some Easter Eggs with the kids - photos over on my family blog.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Well, I sashed the blocks together today and put the top together, but I actually don't think I like it. The problem is the two dark squares. It's a little less prominent in reality that in the picture, but still, I think they stand out too much - I tried turning it so the squares were on the bottom rather than the left side, but I still don't think it works. I think I'm going to have to take those two squares apart and re-sash them in something not quite so strong. Maybe that orangey pink that's on the pinwheel block. That's what I get for trying to be too clever and use up bits of scraps and so forth. Nope, the more I look at it, the more I think that all I see is those two blocks sashed with purple. They're going to have to go... I think the other blocks will be ok, though.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
several more to go! But I am pleased to be done quilting this one - not that it took that long to do, really, so I shouldn't complain. I have to put some binding on, of course - I think that might be next week's job. Along with pinning together another one to start quilting it. As promised, here's a photo of one of the sailboats - it's not the best shaped sailboat, but it's on very light fabric, so is highly visible. Most of them, I tried to get the sails a little larger in relation to the boat. I did have one minor hiccough where the tension decided to go do-lally for no particular reason (i.e. wasn't at a bobbin change, etc) but I did catch it before I'd sewed too much, and of course, when the tension goes odd, it's often easy to unpick as one of the threads is just lying there with big loops around it...
Once I'd finished the quilting, I did debate making binding, but decided against it, and instead decided to mess with my glue gun for the challenge on textile challenges. So, here are some shapes I made with the hot glue gun, which I then painted. Next step is to stitch them on to something - I have a set of cards coming up for BQLPC with the theme fastenings - I think I might use these - after all, glue is a fastening, right? Might throw some buttons on for good measure, too...
And I got lots of lovely things in the post today - first, a small care package from Karol-Ann, who is still in South Africa, but coming back soon. There is a larger one in transit, apparently, but it was sent by surface (whereas this one went via courier (i.e. a mother-in-law) back to England and then into the post) and so still hasn't got here... Anyway, the lovely parcel contained lots of goodies, not least of which some strapping for bag handles, some feathers actually gathered in situ, fluff, and of course, fabric! I think these African fabrics want to be a bag. We'll see.
And also, a Fiberarts magazine, and a card for the fastenings swap I mentioned - this one is zips, and cleverly unzipped to reveal the little charm pictured below it. DD1 is fascinated with this card, and I think I might well lose it to her if I'm not careful...
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Thought I'd share this with you all as well - this is a bowl that my mother, who is an amateur potter and pottery teacher, made. The photo is at a bit of an awkward angle as it's meant to show the underside of the bowl, which has a fabulous design on it (made from lace pressed into the wet clay) - it's a fairly good sized bowl, as the yellow fruit is not a lemon but a grapefruit. I love the little squat legs, don't you?
Also, the other day, Jennifer tagged me for the seven things meme, but I'll just refer you back here...