Tuesday, April 30, 2013

More tidying up

Another drawer tidied up - I didn't move much out of this one, just went through it to make sure it all belonged there and there wasn't anything to get rid of. The next drawer in this unit is a big one, and it's full of paper and stuff. Going to be harder to sort, perhaps. Might have to postpone clearing it out!

Monday, April 29, 2013

2nd quarter

Nope, it's not an American football game, it's the second set of 12 blocks from this block set - two more to go and then I'll be ready to piece together the 4 quarters...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

More rail fences

Finished the rail fence blocks today - there are actually 30 of them, but I couldn't fit the other two in the photo because of the table in the hallway. Too lazy to move it!  Not sure this will be the final arrangement - there are a couple of places where the same fabric is fairly close to itself - I didn't use anything more than twice, I think, but I don't really want those instances right next to one another.

This was a remarkably easy block and very satisfying - I will definitely do another one at some point, probably with some sort of controlled colourway or FQ set. Not sure what yet. Perhaps with some of my Japanese taupe fabrics...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Scrappy Rail Fence Variation

I've enjoyed reading Tazzie's blog for some time and lately, have really been finding a lot of scrap quilting inspiration there. It was there where I found the little scrappy stars idea (though it's originally a Bonnie Hunter idea, as are so many great scrap quilts) and now, I've been sucked in by her lovely rail fence blocks she's been swapping. Hers co-ordinate with one another very well, as there was obviously discussion and agreement about the type of fabrics to use, but I reckon it will make a very nice set of totally scrappy blocks, too. Here are the first three I've made - at the moment, I'm aiming for 30, which should make a nice size quilt, not too big. We'll see when I'm done, I might do more or I might do some in a different colourway (or to be more precise, in an actual colourway rather than just in "what scraps do I have the right size". The only consistency in these blocks is that all the centres are the same, and I'm trying not to put any two fabrics next to one another which are too similar in colour or pattern - but it's a very simple control, basically just something like not putting two navy blues next to one another. Otherwise, it's whatever's at the top of the stack of strips!

Friday, April 26, 2013


And, as I am winding up (and as I don't have a lot of stuff hanging around to show as I haven't done a lot of work lately) I thought I'd finish off the alphabet series of ATCs.  You may have worked out that 26 is not divisible by 3, and we've been swapping in 3s - so our last set is y & z - that's including a card which says "and" or has some sort of and symbol on it (ampersand, plus, etc).   So I have a Yellow Y card

my "and" is some famous pairs

and Z, well, fairly obvious, except for the green stripes in the background, perhaps!

And that's the end of my alphabet. Perhaps I will get my act together and scan the alphabet I received, so you can all enjoy that one...

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Coming to the end of the alphabet set of ATCs I've been swapping. Here are V for Vegetable, 

W for Witch

and for X, I went with X marking the spot - not so many words start with X (it wasn't a requirement of the swap that the illustration be a word starting with the letter, anyway, the card just had to use the letter on it somewhere...)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cross-stitch update

As mentioned last week, I'm tired of Winter Wonderland and needed to stitch something different and less wintery. Enter these oriental Iris, a kit which I've had for ages. There's another one which goes with it, which is a poppy, I think - perhaps someday I'll get to that one.  in the meantime, I'm stitching up the Iris, and doing some of the backstitching as I go along, just so it's not all hanging over me at the end...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Quarter Quilt

Not a fat quarter quilt, mind you, which would be something different entirely...  I had loads (48) of these blocks, so this weekend I decided to start putting them together as leaders and enders for a while, to get some of my block stash sorted out. But 48 is a lot to have laid out at once to get the right order (can't trust myself to alternate left- and right-leaning blocks properly unless they are laid out to start with), so I started with 12...

and will do it three more times with these two piles of blocks.  Then I can join the quarters and have a quilt top to give away!

Monday, April 22, 2013

New peg bag

In addition to the mending, the other thing I did on Sunday was to make a new peg bag for the clothespegs which hang outside waiting to be used when the weather is decent. Of course, the weather hasn't been decent for some time, so it wasn't until just recently that I noticed just how awful the existing bag was...

It was very faded, and of course 

a little mouldy - which wasn't surprising, as it does hang outside all year round, and even though it's quite sheltered by the house, it's still outside. 

You can see here, inside the seam, just how faded the fabric was - it was quite bright when it was new!

I started by turning it inside out and finding some fabric big enough for the back

and the front. I chose some hand-dyed (or in the case of the piece for the back, sunprinted) fabric because it was of a quite thick, sturdy fabric, which I thought would wear better when exposed to the elements. 

Then I took the bag apart - into only three pieces - the back (a large, single piece) and the two front pieces (this is how the opening in the bag to put your hand in to get the pegs is formed). 

And I used the pieces as patterns to cut the new fabric. They had stretched a bit, and even with ironing, they weren't totally even, so I folded them, cut around them best I could, leaving a seam allowance on the two sides of the front pieces which needed hemming.  I then hemmed the bottom of the top front piece and the top of the bottom front piece, and laid the front and back pieces together right sides together and pinned it. I then trimmed a little as the back and front weren't totally even (all that hanging in the elements!)

The orange pin at the top is where I needed to remember to leave a very small gap in the seam to put the hanger through.  The two pins at the side are where the two halves of the front join.  After seaming, I turned it right side out, pushed out the corners and put the hanger back in.  I decided that rather than just stitching the side edges together, I'd use a little button at this point - or rather, two - one on each side.

And that was it - I think it took about half an hour, including the time to select fabric and deconstruct the old bag. 

Here's the back of the bag - the front is, of course, at the top of the post!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Not sewing but mending...

In a day full of household tasks, the only sewing on the horizon was to make my way through the mending basket.  This is a sample of the more interesting items in the basket - the several pairs of leggins needing fixing along the seam were easy to fix, but uninteresting.  But there was a bear to mend (this was a glue job actually, as it happened - his "belt buckle" had come off and as it had been glued originally, there was no way I was getting a needle through it...), a bag to fix the strap channel of, a jumper to fix a seam in and a cat tail to make (for a  school assembly - as it happens, there are ears to make as well, but they are going to involve a cheap plastic Alice band from the pound shop and some black & pink card, so again, more glueing than sewing). The final item in the photo is a skirt which I like the pattern and the fit of, but which I hate to wear because it has all these beads at the top and something about the way it's made makes it uncomfortable. I'm in the process of simply removing the beads, which will hopefully make the skirt work - partly the issue is that it itches, but also, the extra weight of the beads pulls at the waist front (the beads are only on the front) in an odd way. Surprisingly, for a fairly cheap garment, the beads are actually very well attached, so it's slow going - I do a little at a time - story of my life - if I wanted them to stay on the skirt, they'd be falling off all the time, I reckon...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Difficult fabric

It's been a while since I did any proper sewing, so I wanted to spend my sewing time today doing what I like best - making blocks I don't have to think about too much.  I decided to go through my stash and find a piece of fabric which would work as a focus fabric and make some simple bordered squares. I picked this one, partly because it's not too busy, partly because I had the right amount of it (between 1/2 and 1 metre) and partly because it's a fabric I've found difficult to use in the past. I don't know where or when I got it, but that's true of a number of fabrics in my stash - sometimes people give me things, sometimes I buy things on sale and forget about them later, sometimes things come as part of a pack...

What makes this fabric difficult is that a) it's out of focus. It's not the photo, it's the actual fabric - the printing is kind of blurred on it and b) although there are other colours in it - blue and purple - the white is so dominant it tends to take over. 

So, here I've paired it with some blues and purples to bring out those colours and will alternate white bordered blocks with white centred blocks. There are actually two of each block shown here - they are 6" blocks (finished), so it will make a nice 5x6 block baby quilt top.  Perhaps tomorrow I will stitch the blocks together!  Unless, of course, I get distracted by something else...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Not giving away...

I was emailing with someone a while back about giving quilts (or quilt tops, as is mostly the case in my case) away, and said that I do actually KEEP quite a few quilts and should blog them sometimes - so I thought I'd share some of them.  These are the ones which live in the basket in the living room for use as lap quilts while watching telly or napping on the sofa.  The brown one above is one of the favourites, as it's really soft and cosy - not sure what batting is in it, but we really like the drape factor on this one.  There are often squabbles about who gets to use it!  It was quilted by my friend Lana, back when she first got her longarm machine - it's one of a number of tops I passed to her for practice when she was getting her business going. She quilted quite a few for me either free or for a very low cost, while she was getting up and running. If only she'd do the same again for me now, lol!

This one is brown and purple (obviously) and is another from the early days of Lana's longarm business - it's quilted with dragonflies and I'm very fond of it. It's not quite as cosy as the other one, but does a pretty good job of it...

This one is a little more recent, and I quilted it myself  on my DSM.  It's actually upside here - the only block which is directional is the heart on the green background - the blocks here were the result of a monthly challenge - each person in the challenge nominated a block to make for the month and we all made that block in our own colourways. 

This is a really old one, and only recently came back to the living room after being in a basket in the guest room/Alex's bedroom. It's smaller and only lightly quilted as it was one I made in the very early days of my quilting.

This pineapple quilt is another one I really like, though I do need to fix one of the blocks, where the black fabric is wearing thing. The blocks came from a comfort project that Sophie organised back when my dad died. For various reasons, I put the blocks together and quilted the quilt myself, which I really enjoyed doing, as I got to handle them a lot and think about the people who made them, even more than I might have if I had received a finished quilt. Plus, I used this fish fabric as a border, which I love and had been looking for a good project to use it in...

And this corn and beans ones is a bit smaller, but I really like it, so I didn't want to give it away. The colours are fun together and the quilting, though quite dense, suits it, if I do say so myself.

These aren't the only quilts which I've made which are still in my house, mind you - there are a number in bedrooms, etc, but these are the ones in the living room.  Perhaps I'll show the others another day!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stripey goodness

OK, a new ironing board cover isn't the most exciting thing ever, but it's quite fun.  Previously, I've had mostly silver metallicised ones, but my last one was badly ripped (and the patches were always coming loose) and this was the best one I found - it has a metallicised cotton insert under it. One thing that's different is that it's a very long cover, so I had to cover the part of the board where the metal plate for setting the iron is. (I could have altered the cover, of course, but I didn't want to bother with that).  Now that I have a bit of metallicised cotton under the cover, I might just make my own cover next time - or not, depending on how creative I feel at the time. Hopefully this one will last a while and it won't be a decision I have to make soon...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cross Stitch Update

You can see quite a lot of progress has been made since this time last week - it's fast to stitch, as it only has about 5 colours and there's lots of space, but I'm enjoying it. This coming week, I've decided to park the Winter Wonderland piece until winter nears again, and take up something different - but you'll have to wait and see what!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


One of the things I love about the blogging community is how lovely everyone is - and generous. I received this fantastic heart in the post from Carolyn, for no other reason than I sent her a collection of some fabric and stuff I was getting rid of (she used some of it to make the heart - clever girl!).  It's a shame it's not photographed better, but the light was beginning to fade (and indoors was right out - it's got lots of sheer fabric so it just glared in the lights...). Still, you get the general idea - isn't it great?  Thanks, Carolyn!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Blocks in waiting

I periodically take stock of the various piles of blocks I have hanging around waiting to be made into quilt tops - hadn't done it in a while, so thought it was about time. I haven't added a lot to it in the past few weeks, but there are still quite a few things I can use.  And of course, the chances that I will make more blocks in future are fairly high...

First off is this set of 11" (finished) blue and cream log cabins - there are 16 of these, so they will make a large baby quilt or small lap quilt. 

There are also 16 of these green and purple log cabins - they are only 10"finished, but again, a baby or lap quilt.

These scrappy log, free-form log cabins are 8"finished and there are quite a few of them - I keep using them up, but they still seem to be hanging around. Funny how that works. I am down to 61 of them, as I recently used some of them to make...

20 QST units (7" UF) from some of the log cabins and some hand-dyed squares of fabric. 

I have a number of bordered string blocks - 20 8" blocks bordered in neutral fabrics, 

30 of the same size, bordered in black, 

and 38 (not sure why that number) bordered in coloured fabrics - mostly TOT, but some with a little more variety to them.

Then there are these blocks - 48 small log cabin blocks with hand-dyed triangles - half leaning left and half right.

These are my  recent leaders and enders project - 41 (again, I apparently can't count) of these blocks, which are approximately 7.5" unfinished, though I'm sure some will need trimming.

And finally, there are the 39 6x9 low volume hearts I won in the block lotto last month, which I will need something to do with...