Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Loads of stuff today

Look what I got in the post today - isn't this great? Now I realise some of you probably aren't as crazy about brown as I am, but even so I'm sure you'll admit this is a lovely piece - I've tried to show some of the quilting detail as well. The brown leaf quilt was made by Liliane, who was my partner for the Four Seasons Quilt Swap 5 (Monochromatic). Yes, I know, I'm a lucky person!

Today I put the border on the Contrary Wife quilt, and pieced the backing (the yellow stripe you see beneath the top in this photo). Now it needs to be pinned (perhaps tomorrow) and quilted (Easter Holidays). I also made several blocks for the April block lotto - but it's still in sneak peek stage until tomorrow, so I won't show them yet.
And tonight, I sewed down the binding on a couple of small pieces (and Olivia's teddy bear quilt, which is upstairs with the teddy bear), which I can now hang up somewhere. Where is the question, as wall space is something we're a bit short of around here most of the time - needless to say, I have already found a home for Lil's quilt.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

ALQS round 3

Announcing a new round of the ALQS - with a few differences. If you are interested, pop on over and check it out!

Lots of stuff

As I mentioned, I wanted to get the top together today; I did. I will put the border on it at some point later this week (I hope) or early in the Easter Holidays. I want to get it quilted during the holidays - shouldn't be a problem really, as it's not that big and we don't have a huge number of things planned. Yet. Yesterday someone commented that they liked the red in the quilt - the photo doesn't show it well, but it's actually a strong pink rather than a red. I think this photo shows the colour a bit truer than yesterday's.

Another thing I did was to put some binding on quilts in order to be able to do them this week in the evening watching telly. I also put some binding on Olivia's little bear quilt, but she had taken that away somewhere, so it didn't get into the photo. I'll try to do that one first - it's only about A4 size, so it won't take long.

And I finished up the recycled postcards - they will go out in the post later this week. The background is made from a Brownie's t-shirt which I had used to demonstrate free motion quilting and let Olivia practice; the black lace is from an old bra; the metal is from a diet coke can; the red ribbon is from a bag of chocolates we got for Christmas (two, actually); the stamps are self-explanatory and the buttons came from clothing. For the backings, I have used paper which is not recycled, but which was leftover from another project, so that's close, at least!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Contrary Wife Progress

I didn't spend much time today sewing, as there were lots of other things going on, but I did finish putting together all the Contrary Wife blocks. This is now in 9 pieces, and tomorrow I hope to get it joined together, and possibly get the border on - we'll see how the time goes. I have a few other things I want to do as well in March (what's left of it) so I may not put the borders on tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Finished. There are some threads to trim, but essentially, it's done. Oh, and I have about 20 more labels to sew onto the back - everyone who made a block for me for this quilt also sent a label. Some people made more than one block. I've sewed 4 labels on so far - I can see the label sewing taking some time... But it's done, it's usable - and it's very good looking, if I do say so myself. Thanks once again to everyone who made a block for this quilt and double (or more) thanks again to Sophie, who organised it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Although I did attach some binding to my pineapple quilt today (and sewed some of it down at quilt group tonight) the main sewing I did was to make some camel humps - Olivia is a two hump camel in her upcoming play (Noah's Ark theme) and her friend Hannah is a one hump camel, so I made some humps - here is Olivia's double (and her modelling it). Hannah's mum is making two camel masks - yeah, teamwork!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Easter cross-stitch

No birds this week as I have been stitching this bunny - the colour is wrong in both of these photos - too yellow on the left and too dull on the right - but what can a girl do? (Well, I do know a few things I could do to make better photos, but I am too lazy - if I had to have perfect photos in order to blog, I'd never blog!). The rabbit is the main time-taker in this pattern; once that's done the rest will stitch up very quickly, I'm sure.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Doll quilt; recycling

In addition to spending some more time working on the blocks for the Contrary Wife quilt (which I shall spare you a photo of this time) , today I helped Olivia quilt a little teddy bear quilt she pieced together yesterday - I did let her try out a little free-motion quilting, but she wasn't happy enough with her results to do it on her "real" quilt, so I quilted it myself. At her request, lots of swirls and loops and some flowers.
On the right, the start of some postcards for a "recycled" theme. These started with a quilt sandwich made from an old Brownie's shirt of Olivia's (not suitable for handing on as a) it was the really old style shirt and came from a jumble sale in the first place and b)it was covered with specks of paint, etc) - this was the sandwich I used to demonstrate FMQ to Olivia and let her have a go. We did that mostly in yellow thread so it would add texture without really showing - I then added more stitching in various other colours, before beginning to embellish. The black lace is from a bra which was being thrown out (has a tear in the lace of the cup) and the silver punched bits came from a Coke can (ok, Diet Coke really). What's next? Not sure - need to check and see what I have knocking around that falls into the category of recycled. I know my mother brought me a couple of baggies of buttons and other embellishments from yard sales, some of which still have bits of shirts on them, so I know they aren't new! And used postage stamps are always a nice touch. We'll see what else I have in a few days' time when I work on them again.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

More contrariness

More progress today on the commissioned quilt - here are some of the blocks laid out as they will appear - you can fill in the rest mentally, as it will be square and symmetrical. Hopefully I will get the rest of the blocks finished tomorrow (all the ones with light blue are done - it's just the yellows to finish).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Contrary Wife

Well, today I made some blocks for the commissioned quilt - I have quite a few more to make, but you can get a fair idea from this photo - they are all the same block, but in different colourways - once I have more of them made, I'll lay them out properly to give an idea of the overall design. (The group of four is only laid out, not sewn together yet, so any lost points, etc are really not as bad as they might look...

I decided on this block partly because I like it, partly because it's not too complicated and therefore won't take too long - although I'm charging an hourly rate, I also know her general budget, and partly because of the name of the block, which makes a nice inside joke. It's called (one of its names, anyway - it probably has half a dozen, as do most traditional quilt blocks) Contrary Wife. As Angela has commissioned the quilt as a birthday present for her future DIL, I couldn't resist.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More fabric

More fabric today, but most of it doesn't really count as I don't get to keep it, and don't have to pay for it! My commissioner (so to speak) got back to me about the quilt and has decided to go with the fabric with the gold touches, so I have been out to buy some more bits and pieces for that project - in fact, I got everything I need including the batting - the yellow stripe in this photo (above) is what I got for backing, from the sale bin - hoorah. The fabric is all washed now and will be tomorrow's main project - I did do some cutting today of the pieces I bought Sunday (which were already washed) and even pieced a few HST units, but trust me, it's not interesting enough for a photo just yet. Maybe tomorrow. I also got a little treat for myself - this package of FQs and box of ribbons in brown & pink - one of my favourite colour combos.

Amidst the ironing and cutting, I also finished up the Victorian house front - doesn't look much different in this photo, but I have added a backing and done the edges, etc. The colour is fairly good here, as well. Hopefully, my partner will like it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

House & cross-stitch

As promised, photos of the cross-stitch - not a lot of progress made on the birds, though I did finish the Rhode Island Red. After that, I worked on this little orange tree, which is slightly (though not much) more colourful in real life. I have started another little (Easter-themed) sampler, but as I have only stitched about 3 rows, all one colour, I shall spare you!

And on the right, a house front for the swap on Textile Challenges. This isn't quite finished yet, as I have to edge it and put a back on, but you can get the general idea. In the photo it looks a bit washed out and samey - it does look better in person, at least I think so. The theme was Victorian, so I have used a civil war repro as a background, a photograph (though they may be slightly more Edwardian than Victorian) and lots of lace & buttons. I'm happy with it on the whole, just wish it photographed better.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Well, this is obviously the week for me to acquire fabric... The above large box of mainly upholstery samples came from a neighbour whose husband brought it home from work (it was being chucked out). I rifled through the box, took out what I wanted (right) and am sending the rest to school - there was quite a bit of brightly coloured poly of some sort which I didn't really see using, even in an artistic way - but lots of fab samples in various odd fabrics and colours which I can definitely see using for smaller, funkier works. It's nice to have a local reputation as someone who can make use of "craft stuff".
And these two things arrived in the post - my fabric club from eQuilter - blues this month, obviously. These are great for stash building (not that I really need to build my stash, precisely, but it's actually very useful to have fabrics I might not normally select in my stash - I rarely get something I really don't like and often find things which are just right, but unexpected). And on the right, some fabulous bird fabric from Carol in New Zealand. She bought this fabric and I admired it on her blog, so she said she'd check and see if the shop had any more. They didn't, of course, but she has sent me some offcuts from her project. How cool is that? I sense some ATCs, etc. with a bird theme.
I have made some cross-stitch progress as well, but I shall save that to show for a day (perhaps tomorrow) when I have nothing else to show.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Things received, things bought

Well, as I can't show what I worked on today (round two of the Exquisite Corpse, finished - I wish I could show it, I'm really having a good time with it!), it's a good thing I have things received and things bought to show...

First, things received. The first is a very belated postcard from winning the December pc lottery on Arts in the Mail - I don't mind it being late, though, as I really like the card and am glad to get it. Cardinals are one of the things I miss from when I lived in the DC area - we don't have them here. The second is my March house front, this one from Pam, who has done "House from the Land of the Rising Sun", a clever interpretation of my theme (House of the Rising Sun). It's a great house, made mostly from stitch - the three large red panels are actually only stitched to the house at top and bottom, so they add a lot of texture. It's a lovely bit of thread painting, and I'm delighted to have it.

And now, things bought. Two sets of possible colourways for the commissioned piece - I have a feeling she will go with the one on the left, but you never know. I like both sets of fabric, so will be happy to have whichever bits aren't needed added to general stash. Once I know which fabrics I'll be using (and who knows, she might dislike both of these options) I'll work out what sort of pattern I want to go with.
The other fabric is fabric for binding the pineapple quilt (it's not quite as pink as it looks - it's more a deep red) and some of the green fabric with blue metallic accents which is in the lighter colour palette above - there wasn't much left on the bolt, so I thought I better buy it, just in case. You know how it is!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

More tops

Well, I did finally get a chance to work today, though as I am still feeling a bit run down with this cold, I didn't want to do anything which was too challenging, so once again I reached for the boxes of miscellaneous blocks which needed putting together. First order of business, 20 8" batik stretched stars, which I've had knocking around for far too long. Despite being swap blocks, I only lost points on one of these, which was nice. As it will no doubt be another baby quilt, I don't suppose the lost points will be all that serious, though it does annoy me slightly. The other thing I did was to use the 4 12" Batik Jacob's Ladder blocks which I saved from a large stack of swapped blocks. I put these together to form a central panel and then added some borders from batik scrap blocks. I decided that with the strong diagonal of the centre, this piece really needed mitred borders, and although the batik rectangles don't meet in the corners, it definitely looks better mitred than not. So, two more for the pile of baby quilt tops. I don't think I'll be caught out unawares for a while! (None of them are quilted, of course, but I can quilt a baby quilt in a few hours, no problem.)

Looks like a trip to the fabric store might be in order tomorrow (one of my locals is open on Sundays, the other - bigger one, unfortunately - isn't) as I have a new commission to work on. This piece is being commissioned by the woman I made the diamond quilt for as a birthday gift for her future DIL and is going to be a large lap-size quilt. Not sure quite what fabrics I will choose, though Angela has given me some idea of the DIL's taste. I'm going to go hunting for a few different palette options and work from there. Should be fun - and hopefully it will fit easily into my schedule. If I have enough energy tomorrow I shall work on the main thing on my schedule - the Exquisite Corpse piece - I haven't wanted to tackle it yet as I haven't really felt like my brain has been working 100 per cent. Better today, though, so perhaps tomorrow is the day. Oh, and I must remember to look for binding fabric for my pineapple quilt if I'm actually in the fabric store - it would be nice to tick that off the list.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bloggery goodness

OK, something to show after all. I forgot about this. The wonderful Lucy Locket is organising a Bloggery Picnic Party which we hope to be able to attend during the Easter Break. It's over near Abingdon (Oxfordish). Check out her blog for more details!


World's dullest blog post, but no work has been done, I've nothing to say or show, just wanted to say I'm here, I'm fine (well, I have a cold, but nothing major) and hopefully someday I will have time to sew something!! Feels strange not blogging for days...

Monday, March 09, 2009

Birds are back

I appreciate it's a little hard to compare these photos as I keep taking them from different perspectives, but here's the latest update on the cross-stitch. The Nevada bluebird in the photo at left is same blue bird you can see at the top right of the right hand picture. Which means I've done three (two and a half, really) birds since the last update, which was a fortnight ago. I only have 5 more to go (and a half) - the two bottom, right hand boxes are for signature and date and although they do have little birds in them, they aren't as detailed as the other boxes. I will be very glad to get to the end of this piece. Once it's done, I shall stitch a few smaller, quicker ones, then retrieve another monster from the box and do the same thing with it - alternate it with something less fearsome. I have always loved cross-stitch, but I like it much better now that I am choosing smaller, less dense patterns, which can actually be finished!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Manipulating & stamping

Something fun today - I started playing with a fabric manipulation technique which was discussed on Fibre Art Traders - with this technique you put together squares of different sizes into a grid, which creates textures in the larger squares. Once I had the basic grid, I bordered it and then started adding to it - first thing I did was quilt it heavily (surprise, surprise) with some feathery fronds in a sage green, then gold and finally a blue metallic thread. Touch wood, neither of my metallic threads broke once during this process. I then added lots of buttons (see below for first stage), then other various sorts of embellishments. Technically, I suppose, I added the buttons before I added the blue metallic, but who's getting picky...

I think this piece will be for a swap I am doing on Creative Swaps - a 12"x12" (which is the size of this piece) Technique quilt swap - though you never know, I might change my mind. It does suit some of the suggestions of the swap - the size, of course, which is a requirement rather than a suggestion - to try a new technique, use mixed media and either recycle, use "found" objects or work from stash (which I did). Everything used is from my stash - few are true "found objects", but I didn't buy anything new. The pink and silver butterfly is a true found object - it came from some or other item of children's clothing that one of the girls was discarding - I of course grabbed it up. The square metal tag with the leaf on it came from a tag on a piece of clothing - they make really elaborate tags these days - this item, whatever it was, had several paper tags with this sort of charm attached at the top.

The other thing I did today was to work on the first lesson from an online (private) class I am doing on fabric stamping & painting. The lesson covered some stamping methods and transfer embossing, which is something I'd never done before. The class project was a pillow cover, but I didn't want to do that, so I just used some fabric and made a nice background. The piece on the left is a couple of trials where I wasn't partiuclarly happy with the results , but which I'm sure will be good for something. The piece on the right I like better, though I'm not crazy about it. Still, I can see it will make a nice background for ATCs, etc.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Wasn't really sure what I wanted to do today, so I just dug into a box of batik string blocks, and put together this baby quilt. I have two friends having baby boys in June, so this can go to one of them, perhaps. Unfortunately, it barely made a dent in the box of blocks, so perhaps I will make up a few more baby tops and donate them to Project Linus or something. Or I could just hang onto them for a while more in case I need them!
I also decided it was silly not to put together this string quilt, which only needed two more seams - it was in three pieces. I won't quilt it just yet as I want to get some fleece or minke for the back - in fact, I may not quilt it at all - may go for the tie option. But whatever will happen to it, won't for a while, as I have neither the time nor the budget for frequent trips to the fabric shops...

Friday, March 06, 2009

Triptych with rickrack

Didn't get a chance to do any sewing yesterday (not surprising for a Friday, where I am at school all day), but I did receive my triptych in the post from the Flickr swap. These three pieces are actually the same size, despite the appearances of the photo, and are about 10" square. My partner for this swap was Kay - hasn't she produced a nice set of scrappy quilties? Thanks, Kay.