Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Cross Stitch Update

Because I always like to be working on more than one thing at a time, I started another of the Little Sheep Virtues.  This won't take long; the main body of the design is mostly done, save some leaves and clouds, but it also has a border all the way around, which will take a little while to do. I think this is no 5 in the series, but I could be wrong. So just a few more to go - ha!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Black and white...and orange stripes!

And here's that little top again, with a border (well, two actually). Great use for a stripe which has been languishing. This is one of the tops that went off with Liz, the Project Linus Coordinator, the other day.  I'm sure it will cheer up someone small who's having a tough time in hospital...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Too much black

Not a comment you'd normally hear from me, but my black box was overflowing  - to the point where I could no longer get the lid on. 

So I decided to make some log cabin blocks (what else) using black on one side and white on the other. The centres are small colourful squares from my scrap drawers - just grabbed things which were colourful. 

I made 12 blocks, and played with setting them a variety of ways...

And yes, I did manage to actually use some of the black pieces - look!  There's space!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bye-bye quilt tops!

I had a meet up with my local Project Linus co-ordinator, who graciously popped over to my house to collect a pile of quilt tops - hurrah!

She has a network of ladies who will sandwich and quilt these (in many cases straight onto flannel), so I don't have to worry about getting them into completed quilts. Yippee!  I think this may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship...

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Tula Pink, again

This time I tried out block 5 - I had a package of coordinating fat quarters, which I wasn't sure what to do with, so I thought they'd work nicely as a small baby quilt using this block.  The contrast isn't perfect, but I think the overall effect will be fine - colour is much truer in the above photo than the below one.

I think the key to many of these blocks may be choosing the right fabrics - they may be less suited to my perpetually scrappy style than some are, but it will be fun to play with them.  I am hoping to make some small quilts (finished, not just tops!) for the SCBU (special care baby unit) at a local hospital - at the size they need, 24x24 up to about 30x40, I'll be able to do lots of block experimentation...

Friday, April 25, 2014

Tula Pink Bandwagon

I've seen lots of blog posts about the Tula Pink City Sampler and the blocks look like the kind of thing that's just up my alley, though I'm not sure I want to do a sampler quilt.

But I decided the book would be a good investment anyway as I'm likely to want to make loads of the blocks for other purposes...

In this case, Olivia had a mini-jelly roll of red and white fabrics and a fat quarter of cow fabric which she wanted something made from. 

So I used block no 1 (might as well start at the beginning) to knock up this little runner, which will be for her dresser, once it's quilted.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


And here's the pink and black quilt top again, with a border on it. Or rather, two borders, as I thought it needed a narrow black one to divide the centre from the rest of the top...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cross Stitch update

Finished this piece off - not surprisingly, as there was only a little left to do on it. 

And made some progress on this one - all the stitching int he picture at the top is finished; I now only have to finish the words and the two little plants that are set in with the words. And I think there's a bottom border like the top one.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pink and Black Log Cabins

Another set of blocks together...ticking them off the list, slowly!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Something a little different...

A different kind of art project today - some decoupaged little wooden drawers. They had painted fronts and the girls had written on them with pen - they used to hold hair ties and stuff in their room when they were smaller. They were getting rid of them, so I grabbed them for art supplies...

I decoupaged the fronts of all the drawers

while Olivia painted the frame with one of the grey tester paint pots we bought when checking paint colours for the dining room. Voila!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Coffee Border

Nope, not some obscure line between South American provinces, but a fabric which has various coffee pots, etc on it, used around the outside of this scrappy quilt. The borders just keep on coming...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Birds...with buttons

So, I finally got around to putting all the buttons on this piece - which means, it's completely done and just needs to be framed. I think I may have to have it custom framed, though - it's not a typical size.  We'll see. It will probably sit around for a while, while I scour the charity shops to see if I can find a decent frame and then, eventually, get framed...

Friday, April 18, 2014

Another top bordered

Another step in making my way through my stash of donation tops waiting to be bordered (and then, of course, it's on to assembling stack of blocks into the donation tops, which will then go on the pile to be bordered)...  It's getting to be a big stack, so I have contacted some more Project Linus reps to see if they want any tops - if my local ones don't, I shall begin to go further afield!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cherry Ripe?

The little scrap quilt with the cherry fabric is now bordered and ready to be a baby quilt for someone. I think this one is going into my own stash of tops, at least for the time being. I don't keep a lot of the scrappy quilt tops I make, but I'm fond of this one, and it will make a nice baby quilt for someone, when that occasion arrises, which I'm sure it will - it always does. 

The border fabric is based on the hedge maze at Hampton Court, and was given to me by my friend Karol Ann, who thought I'd have a better chance of using it than she would - and, ta da!  I have.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cross stitch update

Lots of progress this week - for a change. I finished all of this except the top border (which is the same as the bottom border, mirrored). I will probably go ahead and finish it next week before I swap back to the other piece - seems silly not to, as there is less than an evening's worth of stitching in it. Think I will do another Little Sheep next before starting something bigger.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bunch of cherries

I had half a metre of this cute fabric with cherries on it (I think it was in one of the kids' stashes as I don't remember it from before) so I decided to do something with it. I grabbed a few of my four patches (from all the two inch squares I am gradually sewing together) and made them into square in a square type blocks, and used other bits of the cherry fabric as alternate blocks. It's small, but cute - it will have to be bordered, of course, but that's a job for another day...

Monday, April 14, 2014

More triangle in a square blocks

The other day I showed some of these which I had made for the block lotto - I decided they'd be a good block to make some use of the solid-ish hand dyes I still have many of (though fewer now) - combined with some plain white, instead of white on white. These colours are a little more subdued in some cases, but the blocks are still striking.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Funky red border

I suspected this wild print with palm trees, surfboards and vans would come in handy as a border print, and I was right. I auditioned a couple of different prints for the blue strip blocks, but it needed something which, while containing blue, wasn't just blue - I think this works perfectly.  Another one for the pile (which is getting pretty big again).

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Blue rail fence top

One of the things I promised myself that I'd do this Easter holiday, with my two weeks off, was to spend some time putting together some of the sets of blocks which I've been accumulating. This doesn't, of course, mean that I've stopped making blocks (because when would I ever) but I am making a concerted effort to get some of them into tops, and therefore make space in my block basket...for more block sets! Seriously, though - this top will still need to have a border added, but at least the blocks are sewn together. One step at a time!

Friday, April 11, 2014


One of the things I did today was fix something, rather than sewing something completely new. Every time I looked into my basket of tops waiting to go to charity quilts, I was annoyed by this top, so I decided to take the borders off and add a little plain border between the centre and the outside. I didn't have any more of the hand-dyed fabric used in the border, so I just trimmed the inside section down a little and made the plain border very narrow.  Definitely an improvement; I feel much better about it now!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thinking about the Block Lotto

As regular readers here know, I play along with the Block Lotto many months (though not all months). I recently posted over there, some thoughts about the lotto and my history with but, am posting an edited cross post here for those who might be interested in knowing more ...
When I first joined the Block Lotto, it was hosted on, and known as the Beginner Block Lotto - it had been going for a few years in various formats, but by the time I got there, the original hostess was back and it was aimed at all levels of quilters - i.e. accessible to beginners. I wasn't a beginner then, but I did (and still do!) enjoy straightforward blocks that produce a lot of effort with minimal concentration.  It was also still a centralised lotto at that point (we all mailed to Sophie and she mailed to the winners.). This involvement actually predates my personal blog, but as near as I can figure, I first made blocks in either March (Queen Charlotte's Crown) or April (Johnny Round the Corner) of 2006. (Yes, 2006 - I can hardly believe it!) I know I made April blocks and I remember the March block, but can't remember if I made them, or just remember it from looking at it. Either way, it's 8 years for me now.
The first blocks I won, were in June 2006, and were the Scottie Dogs. It took me a long time to make a finished quilt from these (longer than from some other wins, I admit) - but the quilt is now made and enjoyed by my elder daughter.
Since 2006, I have made blocks in more months than not, and followed the lotto when it moved first to blogspot, then to wordpress. I have also acted in the sometime capacity of advisor and even co-hostess on the lotto (which, I'll tell you, really reinforced my appreciation for just how much work goes in behind the scenes!). And I've even designed a block for it - the Modern Clover block in April 2011 (which I was lucky enough to win some of - how's that for fitting?)  I made those blocks into a quilt for friend and colleague of my husband, who reached her 20th year of service at his workplace. I really love how this quilt turned out and it's a great example of the things I love about the block lotto. I never in a million years would have been able to get such a fantastic gradation of colours from my own stash...

I can't be sure how many months I've played the lotto - I'd guess my average is 9-10 times per year, as sometimes I'm just really busy and sometimes I avoid the blocks (those who know me know I'm not a huge fan of applique, for instance!).  But I've used the lotto many times to try a new technique or work in a colourway I wouldn't normally gravitate towards, and without re-reading my entire blog for the nearly 8 years it's been going (I first blogged about making lotto blocks in Sept 2006 with the Goshen Star) I couldn't even tell you how many block sets and/or quilts I've made from blocks inspired by the lotto.   For instance, this one:

which uses the August 2011 violet blocks, in a wide variety of sizes (personal tip here - the tiny ones are really a pain!).
I've had a number of wins, perhaps even a high number, considering that some months I donate my chances - going back through, I think I've won the following block sets:
June 2006, Scottie Dogs
May 2007, Scrappy Baskets
October 2007, Batik Sawtooth Stars

May 2008, Buckeye Beauties in Green and Purple
Sept 2008, Cracker blocks
May 2011, red and white disappearing 4 patch
April 2011, modern clover (yep, two months in a row - that was a fun year!)
April 2013, bird blocks (amazingly, I think I only made one block this month and won anyway)
Jan 2014, chevron blocks.
I won't show all the quilts made from these blocks - I know the baskets were made into a number of mini quilts and the Buckeye Beauties and Cracker blocks went to baby quilts - more than one each, I think. Some may have been donated to charities if there were extras.  The Batik Sawtooth Stars, I made a tablecovering from, with a vertical setting. And the chevrons (and the birds), I haven't yet used.  I'll show the red and white quilt, though, as I think it's stunning - again, the one of the wonders of the lotto is  the variety you can achieve. (This was given as a wedding present last year to my younger daughter's flute teacher, who is a big red fan.)

Where was I going with all this walk down memory lane and whatnot? Well, just this, really. I've been involved for a long time - and there are others who have as well - and that's because this is an amazing place. It's well run (anyone whose never been involved with a forum which was less well run might not fully appreciate this, but trust me - the amount of organisation and effort and above all CARE which goes into the lotto is astonishing); it's inspiring; it's fun. And that's before we even think about the things which aren't strictly lotto based, like support for those who are going through tough personal times. I've made some good friends there, as well as being lucky enough to win blocks.
And in all those wins - 9 times in 8 years (hey, good average!) I've only had a very small handful of blocks which didn't quite work out. One or two which were a little small and one or two which the colours were a little off on. I've been involved in lots of other forums and private swaps, and I'm not sure I've ever known one which was totally perfect. Even the ones I've run myself. But that's ok - total perfection isn't the point - that's why, with the lotto, there's a range of acceptable sizes and why we have to sometimes accept that someone else's interpretation of colour is slightly different than our own and just roll with it, when it's within the accepted range.
On the whole, the women (and occasionally men) who make blocks there are creative, careful individuals who do a great job and have, among them, an amazing fabric stash. I do highly recommend it as a fun thing to do with your extra (ha!) quilting time.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Cross Stitch Update

There wasn't a lot of stitching this week either, though I did do a bit - some of the white snowflake flowers (you can't see the ones on the right hand side very well in the photo below, but most of them are stitched already).  More progress (on the other piece) next week, I hope!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Triangle in a Square

Here are some blocks I made for the April Block Lotto.  Although I like these a lot, I'm going to donate my blocks (which means I won't be in the draw to win) - partly because I have won recently and partly because I am making some more of these anyway for myself for other things. These are pretty simple and very cheery, I highly recommend them!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Something scrappy, part 3

Well, here's the finished pile of scrappy blocks from the past few days of sewing. I spent most of today sewing - well, at least about 4 or 5 hours - gotta love having 2 weeks off. It was raining anyway, so it's not as though we could have done much...

Side view - big stack!  I counted, and there seem to be 100 blocks - they are 6.5". 

It made a huge dent on my strip bag, which was full prior to this

and the scrap basket itself is still low, though I've added a bit to it. But almost all the scraps are larger ones, as the small ones went into these blocks (except a handful of small scraps on the top, which are the result of trimming the excess off the strips while making the blocks in the top photo).

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Something scrappy, part 2

Here are some of the completed blocks (measuring 6.5" unfinished) from the little ones I started yesterday. There are still quite a few to be sewn, but I do have a small stack finished...

...well, maybe a medium-sized stack...