Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Goal review

So, now that January is drawing to a close, time to look back and see what I actually got done!  Here's what I had as my goals:

That's not bad, especially considering that I also got out the Cat Quilt and worked on that - which wasn't on my goals, but which I really needed to do.  So, February:

  • 5 Farmer's Wife blocks (hope springs eternal!) 
  • February blocks for block lotto
  • 1st Round for Cotton Robin
  • at least one charity quilt top (this time, using a .5 metre piece from stash)
  • circular flying geese block for Rainbow Scrap Challenge (not sure of colour yet)
  • work on Cat Quilt some more

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Something different

So, being a bit tired of the cat quilt, I have set it aside for a week or two and pulled out something else to work on - this little roll of strips - there are 10 different fabrics in the roll, so I am using them with some plain white to make some of these drop-dead-simple pinwheel blocks (squares and rectangles only - my favourite!).  I picked this roll up last time I was in the US - the summer of 2010 - so it really is about time to do something with it.

There will be 20 blocks (8") total and any strips leftover I may use as a floating border. I'm only photographed 4, but I think I've made about 10 so far. Given how busy my weekend has been, that's fairly impressive, frankly.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt: Wood Lily

no 110: Wood Lily:  So, here's the pieced Wood Lily. I haven't taken off the paper yet, but that can happen some time in the evening - lord knows it's going to take long enough to do the rest of the blocks!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Giveaway Winners

OK, finally I've had a chance to draw some names for the various bits and pieces I've been meaning to give away, so here we go:

The Beach Huts pattern goes to Kandi. 

The paper piecing pattern goes to Terri.

The Gazebo kit goes to Ms Hennes.

And the Carousel Card goes to Dolores.

So far, no one wants the cat keyring, so if you do, let me know. Those of you whose name I've drawn already, send me your address! (I'll try to email you as well...)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cross-stitch update

Although there's been a fair amount stitched this week, it mostly doesn't show, as it's largely the half crossed background that I've been working on. If you look closely, you can see it at the top.  Progress is being made.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Around the World Quilt Bee

Finally got around to finishing the binding on this piece, which is the result of a sort of round-robin project a while back. I made the block in the top left, and each subsequent participant added to it as it came to them. Aside from one or two blocks which are a little odd in terms of colour choices, I think it looks great. And it's finished!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Start of the Lily

A little over half way there on the Lily Block for the Farmer's Wife Quilt. It's not a lot, but every bit counts!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Evolution of a tail

I've been working on the cat quilt again this weekend, but it's not very interesting to show you the same thing time and time again, so I went for a different approach this time, and decided to show you the way the tails are made.  I've started with a piece of "magic paper" - aka tea bag paper - which is a nice, soft sort of tissue  (only stronger) which is great for paper piecing (you can leave it in) with the tail shape (including seam allowance) drawn on it.

Let the paper piecing begin...

...and carry on...

Here's a tail with all the piecing completed - as you can see, there's rather a large piece of red hanging off the edge of the piece. When I'm piecing like this, with lots of scraps, I don't bother to try to cut them down to close to the size needed - I just let them hang over and trim when it comes to the next round. Then I can put the largest trimmings back in the pile for more piecing!

Here's a tail which has been trimmed, but not folded under and pressed with seam allowance. 

And here's a finished tail, though it's not attached to the quilt top, just laid out on my rather dirty ironing board cover.  I now have 8 tails fully completed (though only 4 appliqued to the top) and another 3 or 4 partly pieced. I need 20...  And I have 5 border rectangles done, with another 5 in progress. Only 18 to go!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wood Lily

So, in preparation for perhaps having a little sewing time next week in the afternoons, I've drawn the next Farmer's Wife Block I need to work on. Anyone who thinks I might be cheating in drawing my blocks - this will prove you wrong.  Oh well, even the blocks with small, fiddly pieces have to be made at some point or other. I do think I'll get out my old laptop and draft up a paper-piecing pattern for this one in EQ (doesn't want to install on this computer as I only have EQ5).  I'm sure it will be much easier to deal with this one by PP'ing than by cutting trapezoids with the templates... Ho hum.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A few more freebies

Before I work out who gets which of the other cross-stitch patterns I recently offered up, I thought I'd offer these as well - I had a little trawl through my cross-stitch patterns and kits (mostly patterns, but a few kits) and pulled out a few I won't ever use. The top one is nice, but it's simply not the sort of thing that appeals to me any more. I think I picked it up in a sale bin somewhere. It's a kit - all you need included.

These two are also little kits - the cat key ring comes with all you need, including the key ring and the carousel horse also a complete kit. Let me know if interested!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday Cross-stitch

This week I moved back over to the left hand side to work - not sure why, but that's what I did. There's not a huge mount stitched, as once again it was a busy week with several evenings not being devoted to stitching, but there's still some visible progress in the window boxes, plants and the door frames on the left hand house. Slowly but surely...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Very odd internet problems at the moment, can get to a few sites, but not others, including my email and Facebook - apparently, though, I can get to blogger. We'll see if this message posts. Anyway, if you are wondering where I am, perhaps this message will have posted to Facebook and you'll be able to tell from that!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Backing for tops

So I took my idea from yesterday of going through all the finished tops and pairing them with pieces of fabric large enough for backing. An endeavour which has been very successful, if I do say so myself (if only actually quilting the quilts was as easy...).  Of the 35 pieces (I know, I know) which are waiting, all but 8 now are paired with a piece of fabric which will suit for a backing.  As many of the pieces are small (i.e. needing less than 1 metre of backing fabric) this was perhaps neither as difficult or as impressive as it sounds.

These four pieces I bought yesterday all now have assigned companion tops - the blue and green at the back will go with the Splash of Lime top; the black and white batik will work with the Scottie Dog top; the green oriental will nicely back the green rectangle top; the brown metallic piece will go well with the Courthouse steps top.

And of these three pieces, two of them have been set aside for backing - the red one, which was purchased with that intent, and the taupe coloured piece with the writing on it, which will go with the HST sampler top.

If you are interested, all the pending tops can be seen by clicking on the Quilt Tops tab at the top of the blog...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Farnham Maltings

Went to Farnham Maltings today, which is a combination of  a fabric sale, quilt show and various other things. We looked at some quilts, played around with some lacemaking, admired some beading and of course, bought some fabric. 

I was very good and only bought fabric for backings - the top photo is two 5 metre (approx) pieces, and two 3-metre pieces, all of which were £4/metre (great price for proper quilt fabric - over here, that runs anywhere from £10 to £15, when not on sale). The photo above is two pieces somewhere between 2 and 3 metres - can't remember exactly, but they were bolt ends - and the red piece is a 5 metre piece - these were all grabbed for the bargain price of £3/metre.

The only other things I bought were two cross-stitch kits for Alex and Olivia, who both came with me - from the £1 bin - and one £1 FQ with writing about birds on it. OK, I did spend some money, but it's all backing stuff, which is great - that's the area where my stash suffers. I'm not totally sure what fabric will be used for what, except the red will go as backing for the red and white top from the blocks I won in the block lotto back in March.  And the blue and green in the top photo is for the blue and white Splash of Lime quilt.  

What I need to do next is go through all my quilt tops and actually pair them up with backings. I have done this with some of the tops, but not all of them, and I really need to do it with all of them, so at least I know whether I need more backing fabric or not - and perhaps whether I can use any of the medium sized pieces I have in stash to pair with the tops. Perhaps that's a project I'll work on this week, in my lack of free time!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A few cats with tails

I've now finished 5 tails and 3 or 4 of the border strips - I decided that I'd better turn, press and applique the tails as I went along so the process didn't drive me bonkers... Here's the quilt top with the tails turned, pressed and pinned - later in the evening I did stitch 4 of the 5 down before I got tired of doing it. 

Slowly but surely!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Free to a good home

A couple of freebies - the cross-stitch pattern for the beach huts I completed earlier this year...

and a paper-piecing pattern for the Christmas candles. This pattern came with two copies of the pattern, one to keep and one to cut. I cut one of them up, but the other is still there, as are the instructions. You could either cut this one or photocopy first...

As usual, leave  a comment if interested, and in a week or so I'll (if necessary) draw the winners.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Winter cross-stitch

Making good progress on this - I think it's because the background is just half crosses and so stitches very quickly. Also, it's a nice design to work on. If I hadn't lost one night to removing paper from a pp-ed project and one night to going to Les Miserables (not really a loss, per se), I might have got even further with it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Can you tell what it is yet?

As promised to myself, I have started working on the cat quilt again - this is two tails (I have to make 20) and 1 complete and 3 partial border segments (28 needed in total). The border segments are fine; the tails are easy to piece, but then they have to have the seam allowances folded in and pressed and be appliqued onto the top. That part is going to be less easy, I feel!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Block Lotto

These are my blocks for the January block lotto (we took a break in December, but are back for 2012...). All the blocks for 2012 will finish at 9", to allow for those who wish to, to make an extra block each month and end up with a sampler quilt. I considered doing this, but decided I had too much going on to commit (even mentally) to it. But I intend to play most months (always allowing for unforeseen circumstances and heavy doses of applique...)

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Farmer's Wife, Take 2

So, using my new system of drawing a slip randomly to choose which block to make first, and using the new colour scheme of Japanese taupe (and similar style) prints and unbleached calico, I went ahead and tackled the Farmer's Wife project again today. 

No 26, Cut Glass Dish, was actually one I had done before, and though there are lots of small triangles, it's not too hard a block to do.

No 43, Garden Path, however was another story - inset seams - yikes! I may yet take this apart and put the red border on using a different technique as this really annoys me that the corners don't quite meet up perfectly. We'll see.   At least it's a start...

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Flying Geese Circle

Here's one of the things I worked on today - a block for my nod at 2012's Rainbow Scrap Challenge... While I am not out of scraps, per se (who ever is?) I don't have nearly such a problem with them as I did last year, so I am not taking part as fully in the challenge as last year. However, I do still intend to make one block a month in the chosen colour scheme, which at the end of the year, will give me 12 blocks for a quilt, which will be fun. Or it's possible I will only use 9 blocks - I may stick to single colours and avoid any combos; that's  a decision I'll take when I need to!   I also dug out my small red scraps and am piecing them together as enders and leaders as I did recently with the green scraps. There aren't that many (fewer than the green, certainly), but I'm sure there will be enough to do something with!

Friday, January 06, 2012

More sorting

So, I showed this a few days ago - the boxes (some of them) which have my smaller pieces of stash in them. In theory, these are supposed to have nothing larger than a half metre in them (and nothing smaller than about an 8" square, though I'm not exact about either end). Lately, there seem to be quite a few larger pieces in the boxes, which mainly means, they are getting too full, so I wanted to clear them out a bit.  Some of the boxes have fabrics with a specific theme in them, like African, Civil War Repro, Christmas - with those, I don't worry about the sizes, just group all those fabrics together.  But the others, which are mainly colours or more general themes (floral, metallic, stripes), I wanted the larger pieces out.

Doesn't look too different here, but this is a before (top) and after shot - I had two boxes in this colour, so the "after" probably has fabrics from both "before" boxes.  

Between the 20 boxes I have, I managed to remove about fifteen half-metre (or larger) pieces, and actually empty two boxes. And quite a few of them aren't crammed totally full, unlike this box of neutrals.  (I have since filled the two empty ones  back up with "fabric sets" - a couple of groups of co-ordinated FQs, some charm packs, a small jelly roll, etc).  

The benefit of doing this is not just that it will be tidier, but that it reminds you of fabrics you had forgotten that you have!  Which you can then use during the year to make things with. Or that's the idea, anyway.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Goal review

As I suspected, there wasn't a vast amount of free time in December, but I did still manage to get some things done...  Here's a review of my goals:
  • 5 Farmer's Wife blocks (hope springs eternal!) - I have to say, I'm a little disillusioned with the blocks for this - should have perhaps chosen one fabric which would feature or something, and then incorporated it into each of the blocks. Perhaps might start again, doing just that! Not like I've made that many blocks, anyway.  - As discussed on my blog, I decided to drop this and start over. Which I will do, in January. Hopefully!
  • October block for Oh My Stars BOM - done.
  • Piece BOM together - done. Woo hoo!
  • at least one scrappy charity quilt top. - didn't get one made in December (although I might end up giving this one away, when I decide if it's finished or not). But I have already made one in January, so there's a good chance I'll get more than one done for this month!. 
  • Baby quilt for my SIL- done
So, what's on the cards for January?
  • 5 Farmer's Wife blocks (new ones, using the taupes)
  • January blocks for block lotto
  • Starter block for Cotton Robin - done, but can't show it!
  • at least one charity quilt top - one done, but want to try to do another one, using a .5 metre piece from stash
  • red circular flying geese block for Rainbow Scrap Challenge
Ambitious, perhaps, but you gotta have something to aim for, right?  And I've managed to cross off two items already and it's only the 5th, so it's not all bad...

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Cross-stitch Wednesday

You can probably tell that there's been a fair amount of progress on the right hand house - as well as a bit of backstitching in the middle house, to add definition. The top of the right hand house looks somewhat unfinished, but that's essentially how it is - it kind of fades away to nothing - same with the left - so the piece is perhaps more done than it appears.  Considering I lost several evenings this week when I might otherwise have been stitching (binding on the baby quilt one night, out to the Panto another), it's not coming along badly...

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Thoughts for 2012

I've talked a bit about some of the plans I have for 2012, but I thought I'd solidify them a bit here. I've mentioned wanting to continue if not precisely reducing my stash, at least rationalising it - that is, using up some of the fabrics I've accumulated which just sit around to no purpose, and so forth.

Last year, I did a pretty good job of reducing my scraps, and while I'd certainly not say I was scrap free, it's all a lot more manageable than it was. I will continue to use them up in projects, but let's face it, you can never be truly scrap free unless you stop sewing!

So the plan is to focus on reducing the larger pieces of stash - especially those in these two photos - the shelf of pieces which are 1/2 metre or larger. The first step was to sort, refold and in some cases, label those fabrics, which I have done. I now have a stack of largish pieces (2-4 metres)

A few two metre pieces

 and a large stack of one metre pieces.

Then, there's a pile of odd sized pieces and some 1/2 metre pieces, which I think will grow quite a bit when I sort out my "smaller bits" boxes.

These shelves (below) are full of Ikea CD storage boxes. There are 22 of them, three or four of which have very specifically themed fabrics in them (Christmas, Civil War Repros, African fabrics, maybe something else), but the rest of are sorted by colour (more or less - also stripes, metallics, etc).  In theory, nothing in these boxes is more than 1/2 metre of fabric, but of course, sometimes I slip. So I want to go through each box and tidy it up and take out any larger pieces (or any very small pieces) and put them somewhere more appropriate.

This also gives me the chance to refold some of the pieces (ironing where necessary) that have got squished, etc and also, just to see what's there. Sometimes you forget about stuff. Especially if it's stuff which was given you, you picked up in a sale or which was part of a packet of fabric, so you might not have paid as much attention to it as you would have otherwise. Some of these pieces might get used in the process, but that's not really the main aim, just a bit of organisation.  It's the larger pieces I want to do a few things with.

I also mentioned wanting to reduce my batik stash a bit - that's still true, but I'm not sure precisely what I'm going to do there. I was considering doing a circular flying geese block each month with the batiks, but I think I'm going to use that block for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge instead - I don't need to do a lot of stuff with scraps, but this will be something fun to do each month to carry on with the scrap reduction.  So, I'm still thinking about batiks. 

I also plan to start anew with the Farmer's Wife Quilt, this time in Japanese taupes (and similar fabrics), which will use the fabrics in this drawer - not that I mind having these, mind you.

A couple of other plans for 2012 include carrying on with the two private swaps I am in theory participating in - we are in a bit of a slowdown at the moment - a taupe Lady of the Lake swap with Cathi and an African block swap with Karol-Ann. Luckily, Cathi is busy doing excellent scrapbooking at the moment and Karol-Ann has a 10 week old baby, so neither of them is putting too much pressure on me to produce blocks for these swaps.

And finally, I have promised my mother to get back to this quilt, which I abandoned some time ago - it only (and here I use only in a somewhat ironic sense) needs a sawtooth border all the way around it and tiny sawtooth, appliqued tails for all the cats.  I may not finish it in 2012, but there will be progress, at the very least!