Friday, August 28, 2009

Back before you know it...

Although I did some work today on the log cabin blocks in the new colour scheme, I didn't take any photos, so this will be a quick, uninteresting post... We are off tomorrow for the bank holiday weekend to visit Geoff's mum, and his two brothers (the one who lives in Australia is visiting at the moment, so it will be a big reunion of sorts) - back Monday afternoon. She has no internet, of course, so I'll not be blogging for a few days (not that I'll be sewing either, though I'll take my cross-stitch with me). Have a nice weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Don't go enter this giveaway...

...because I'd really like to win this quilt - isn't it lovely? I came across this giveaway on the blog Don't Look Now while I was bloghopping (found it through Emma's blog, where I am a regular visitor) and decided that while I don't normally enter random giveaways at blogs I don't usually read, I would make an exception in this case, as it's such a lovely piece. And who knows, I may well become a regular reader, too. I wish I'd found it a few days ago, though, as Kelly (the blog author) mentions that her patterns have just started being stocked at Creative Quilting, which is my LQS, and where I made a visit just yesterday. I might not have bought a pattern of course (not being a big one for patterns, these days) but it would have been great fun to look.

It was timely to have this to post, as I'm not able to share my own work today with you just yet - I worked on the blocks for the September block lotto, which is not yet public (I had a sneak peek - if you've made blocks before the last week in the month, you get one for the next month). This is particularly good for September, as I have a lot more time now than I will once school starts back. Probably. And tomorrow, the kids and I are off to Legoland, so there will be no quilty pictures - at least, I don't think there's a lego quilt at Legoland, though you never know. There will, however, be photos on the family blog for those of you who, like me, can't quite seem to get over the fact that they build scale models of the great world cities in Lego. And dinosaurs. And what-have-you. Never mind the rides, lol.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dresser Runner finished

Our original plans for today - to try to visit a lido (outdoor pool) near us - had to be put aside, partly because the weather was a bit dodgy and partly for Alex to go to the dentist, but I still managed to get some sewing time in, and my planned visit to the LQS (which is near the lido). In my sewing time, I finished quilting the dresser runner - I did take a photo of it which showed the entire length, but this one in the dining room actually shows the effect of the quilting much better. And a detail of the quilting - I just did lines across the width of the piece, with little seed heads, like grass plants. I thought it looked slightly oriental and it was simple to do.

The trip to the LQS produced the fabrics on the left - who knew there were so many Christmas/winter themed light blue fabrics? In addition to the blues and whites, where my stash was very slim, I also replentished my stash of greens. I am thinking, perhaps a little madly, that I will make two of these pieces - I really like the effect, and don't have a lot of Christmas pieces. I have a feeling I might be reluctant to part with the piece once it's finished! Anyway, I can use the all green blocks I made before, though of course the other ones won't be useable. I'll use the dark blue blocks and the blue and green to make something else.

Oddly enough, one or two other things found their way into my shopping basket - a copy of Quilting Arts for me - I haven't bought one in a while - and the other things for Alex and Olivia, who were with me. Normally I only buy them a fat quarter each, but Olivia found this great little roll of red and white strips, so I couldn't say no - she has good taste, doesn't she! In light of that, it didn't seem fair to make Alex choose between the two fat quarters he liked.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What day is it again?

I didn't do much sewing today, as I was feeling lazy - about sewing anyway. Alex and I had a nice walk to the B&Q to look for a replacement lightbulb for the one in the fridge and then to Tesco to pick up a few things to eat. I kept forgetting whether it was Monday or Tuesday - summer holidays do that to me, I guess. When I got back I decided to tackle Nann's block for the Around the World Quilt Swap - here's my block and all the blocks together. This block was paper-pieced as the finished size needed to be 7". I did also start quilting the Japanese Taupe dresser runner - didn't quilt a lot of it, but at least I made a start. I'll save that photo for later in the week, when either it will be finished or I'll need to show something because I've not done any work at all - like Thursday, when we have planned a trip to Legoland.

I also spent some time re-planning the log cabin Christmas tree mini quilt - obviously this is just a rough plan as the fabrics I use will depend on what I find at the LQS, but I think the lighter colours will work much better. I had considered the light blue previously, but it was Margaret's comment about white as a snow background which really clicked - thanks Margaret!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Log Cabin Trees

Here are the finished blocks, laid out together. I am going to go ahead and put it all together, but I think I am right in thinking it doesn't have enough contrast. Not sure if I will take up Margaret's suggestion and use light blue or white (i.e. snow) as a background, and re-do it, or whether I will try something different. I still like the basic idea, and I do like log cabins - even paper-pieced ones, so perhaps I will make another one. I will have to shop for fabric first, if I do, though, as I have depleted my (relatively small) stash of Christmas fabrics and don't have anything suitable for snowy background. I was hoping to visit the LQS in the next few days anyway, and they have a whole room of Christmas things, so perhaps I will have a browse there...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Two-tone log cabins

Today, I finished all the log cabin blocks which need to be both green and blue, and made a good start on the 13 which need to be all blue. I'm not sure there will be enough contrast in this quilt for it to work, but I guess we'll simply wait and see. It's possible I can enhance the contrast with a lot of quilting, if need be...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Log cabins everywhere...

I had a request from the budding teenager not to wake them up this morning, so I let them sleep in (which they did until 10.30 or so) and did a bit of sewing on the log cabin blocks for the Christmas tree piece. Once they started stirring I put it all away and focused on getting them out the door so we could go to the British Museum for a few hours - really needed to do something and I wanted something cheap and rain-proof (and not involving eating at McDonalds, having had quite enough of that already this week). But still, I got the 6 all -green blocks done, and will now start work on the 12 which are part blue and part green. I wonder if the ones which are all blue should be pieced as well, or just whole fabric - will have to check how the textures work, I guess.

Speaking of the British Museum, check out these mummified cats - especially the pattern in the left-hand one!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


The opposite of picture-less, of course. And hurrah - internet seems to be back. Thank goodness for that. Here's the EQ5 sketch of the christmas tree quilt - it won't look quite like this of course, as I will use scraps of Christmas fabrics, rather than coordinate all the rounds...

I thought I'd start it nice and early so that in addition to being sure I have time to make the deadline I can either make something different if I don't think this works, or if I really love it, have time to make myself one...

I forgot to mention that the other thing I did yesterday morning was to pin together two small pieces for quilting - the fish quilt for the toilet room and the Japanese Taupe dresser runner. Hopefully they will both get quilted in the next week or so. Both are small, so shouldn't take long to quilt. I probably won't even have to move my machine downstairs to the dining room table, which is always a plus.


Well, I have been doing some work today - been starting to work on what might be my quilt for the Holiday Edition of the Four Seasons Quilt Swap. I even remembered to put a picture of it on my memory stick. What I forgot, was to bring the memory stick to the library with me. Sigh.

Anyway, what I am playing with is using small (3") foundation pieced log cabin blocks to make Christmas Trees in a night sky background. We'll see how it works out - a picture of the plan will be uploaded as soon as I remember to get all my stuff together in one place at the same time. Yes, I am definitely not coping well with not having internet at home!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Possibly in limbo...

Just a quickie to say that if you don't see me post and/or don't get a response to emails for the next few days, it will be because of internet problems at home. They aren't quite sure what the problem is, but it's on their end (for a change) and has been referred to engineers. Problem is, depending on what the problem is, it could be 3-5 working days. It might not be, but then again, it might. Sigh. At the moment, I am at the library, and I can use the library again later in the week, plus the free WiFi at McDonalds and so on, but needless to say, my internet access will be a lot more limited than normal. Perhaps I will get more sewing done (if only - usually late evening/night-time is internet time - not a time which is good for sewing for me, so unfortunately, the time won't make an easy transfer across. Too bad!)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cloudhill & Corpse

We had another day out doing fun things today - Sarah went to tennis camp and the rest of us - including Geoff, who had taken a day off, and Stuart, whose last day with us was today, before heading up tomorrow to visit their mum - went to the London Wetland Centre. It was a lovely day weatherwise and we all had a good time. Tomorrow, I shall perhaps do some sewing.

Despite the lack of sewing on my part, I did receive some rather excellent post - my own quilt ("Cloudhill") from the ALQS3, which came to me from Lisa in Australia and which is absolutely perfect - and which doesn't have a great big shadow down it, unlike the way it appears in the photo. I have actually hung it in my newly painted toilet room, which is the perfect colour to set off turquoisey blues in the quilt.

The other thing is my own Exquisite Corpse, which I received from Emmy, who worked on the final section - the feet. The head is my own creation, the upper torso is by Nancy, then below that, Donna's section, with Debby doing the legs. There is some truly remarkable work in this piece and I'm very happy with it. I just have to now decide how to finish it off and present it...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday around the house

Lots of things to show today, after a few days of less to show. Here is the batik sampler quilt - I finished stitching the binding down tonight - it's at an odd angle in the photo because I turned it sideways to show the quilt right-side up, even though I took the photo side on for space reasons. It looks good. Might keep this one, as it has no particular purpose at the moment, though you never know - something could very well come up.

I also did some work on the Japanese applique - finished the bridge, added the land at the front and on the right and put up the tree - though I haven't satin-stitched that yet. After that, it's just the bunches of leaves to do, and an optional moon (which I think I will include - I like it).

I also decided to make some fish for my newly painted toilet room - this is a small piece, about 18 inches by 30, I think. Obviously, it's not quilted or anything yet - just pieced together - but I will quilt it fairly soon so I can hang it up. It's attached temporarily to the toilet wall at the moment, just to check the colours and so forth... Oddly enough, this is the third quilt I will have made specifically for a toilet room - but the first for my own.

Friday, August 14, 2009

House of the Rising Sun

Another non-sewing day, as the kids and I took Uncle Stuart to Birdworld for the day, but I did receive this lovely house front in the post. The photo isn't great as it's a bit shiny, but you can get the general idea and see how well Alis did with my House of the Rising Sun theme - she's chosen to interpret this in a Japanese way and made me a tea house. It's great, isn't it!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday whatever

Took the kids swimming today, so not a lot of sewing was done (though I did start on an applique piece - see below), so I thought it was time for a cross-stitch update. As you can see, I have mainly been working on the cream coloured dress. This is quite slow going as there are about 5 different shades of cream and they are all fairly similar so I have to count even more carefully than normal. I did take this to Scotland with me on holiday, but only stitched on it once or twice. Still, progress has been made and I am down to the last cream colour (white, actually), so it will soon be time to move on to something else in the picture. Thank goodness!

Here's what I did have time to work on today - another in the old block of the month of Japanese images. This one is called The Bridge (I'm guessing you can tell why) and has quite a few more pieces to piece, including a large tree with lots of little leaf clusters, which I'm sure will take ages to do. Next up is to satin stitch the red span of the bridge - at the moment it's only stuck down. That will be fiddly as well and it all looks kind of odd, as the bits of land in the foreground aren't attached yet, but I'm sure it will improve soon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Finally got around to binding the little southwestern quilt which was last month's BQL challenge - and to binding this month's one, while I was at it. Both these pieces are small, so it's not too surprising I managed to finishe them up. I haven't yet started binding the batik sampler quilt, but the binding is at least attached, so perhaps I'll be able to make a start on it tomorrow night...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Quilty Day

So, apparently, in the mathematics of family life, tennis camp + new computer game = sewing time for mummy. Olivia started her week (M-Th) at tennis camp (10am-3pm) today, had a nice time apparently - came away chatting animatedly with another girl her age ("Her name is Georgia; she's a really good singer; can we get a Michael Jackson album?") and claims to have enjoyed herself. The other two spent a large chunk of the day playing on the computer - but as I wanted to do some quilting and as they were working as a team rather than arguing, I let them.

Consequently, I have quilted the quilt I pinned together on Sunday. Admittedly, I chose a simple quilting pattern (what I call a flame meander, which is essentially slightly flame-shaped wavy lines), so it was fairly quick to do - probably took about 3 hours total, though it's hard to tell as I always take frequent breaks for other stuff to make sure my back isn't killing me at the end of the process. In the end, I went with not a purple thread, but a dark reddish colour. This was, I admit, entirely due to what I happened to have in stock, but it looks nice, which is what counts.

Tomorrow I think we will be out for the day, but the next time I have some free sewing time, I think I need to get binding on this and the rainbow mini quilt - and then I really need to bind some of the things sitting in my binding pile - it will be up to at least 4, counting these two, possibly five. Yikes!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sunday in the country

A couple of pairs of blocks today - both 6" blocks - the first pair is for my African block exchange with Karol-Ann - if you are thinking you haven't seen any of those in ages, that's because we stopped when she went to South Africa for several months. We agreed on a slow start back to the swap as we are both really busy. We were previously making 12" blocks, but both of us have quite a few of those now, so we decided to change to 6" for a while, to give ourselves some setting options for making actual quilts from the blocks.

The second pair are Dear Jane blocks - this is J2, Picture Perfect. For those who are new here, this is another private one-on-one swap - this one with Cathi. We are swapping DJ blocks in certain fabrics (we both have the basic fabrics) at 6". Eventually I will make a small quilt or wallhanging from them. We are NOT going to do all the blocks in the DJ quilt, LOL. At the moment, she does mostly the curved ones which she pieces with a freezer paper technique and I am doing the ones which can be easily rotary cut or (as in this case) paper pieced.

That was the extent of my work today, as we decided to take a trip out in the lovely summery day to Parham House in West Sussex - I had a family ticket from the school fair. It's a lovely Elizabethan House with a nice garden, and in another instance of serendipity, they have a huge collection of needlework and tapestries. No photos allowed in the house, but I did buy a few postcards (most of the needlework I liked best, they didn't have cards of, of course) - if you live nearby and enjoy needlework, it's definitely worth a visit as there is all sorts, including some impressive stumpwork, some of the smallest petit point embroidery I've ever seen, some amazing 16th century tapestries which look like they could have been designed in the (19)70's and an absolutely beautiful 18th century embroidered Mexican shawl.

Here are a couple of the postcards - on the left a late 18th century silkwork rabbit, on the right a Tudor christening cushion - the petit point here is tiny - the guide in the room said 32 stitches to the inch - I believe it. It was rather astonishing.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Quilting & pinning

Well, I did actually manage to do some work today - I quilted the little rainbow piece, to start with. I used the clamshell pattern which I used on the corn and beans quilt, which I really like. It's very time-consuming, so it's a good one to use on a small piece rather than a larger one. I chose to use a brightly variegated thread as I couldn't think what else to do - nothing really matches (or everything does, depending on how you look at it). I will bind the mini in the sky blue fabric (it's actually sky fabric - has clouds on it) to make it seem even more like a rainbow in the sky.

And I also managed to get this quilt pinned together, ready for quilting. Not totally sure what colour I will quilt it in (leaning towards purple) and what pattern (no idea), but I'm sure I will come up with something. Don't think I will work on it tomorrow as I feel like doing something else, but you never know. I kind of fancy piecing or maybe some mixed-media stuff - and I should start by attaching binding to the rainbow mini. Nice to be back sewing - I missed it - not so much on holiday in Scotland, as that's different anyway, but during the last few weeks' of school I was so busy I didn't get much done at all, and was left feeling a bit at a loose end.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Rainbow mini

Not a lot of sewing accomplished today as the kids and I spent the day at the Rural Life Centre (I've blogged about this on the family blog for those interested), but I did have a chance this morning to put together a bunch of HSTs I made yesterday. These will be for the August BQL Challenge, and the resulting piece may also suit another swap I am signing up to, with a rainbow theme. Yes, I'm planning these things carefully to kill as many birds as possible with as few stones*. Tomorrow I hope to have a chance to quilt the little piece - shouldn't take long as it is only 12x14".

I also hope to have a chance to pin together a larger piece for quilting - I bought some more batting a while back so I don't really have any excuse for not quilting something this month - just have to decide what. I know I have a couple of things upstairs which actually have backing fabrics all ready - pieced together, even - so it will probably be one of those. I will no doubt show it tomorrow, once I have made the decision...

*no actual birds were harmed in the writing of this post :)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Log Cabin Lotto

I've been a fan of the block lotto for a long time now, and I try to play most months, even if the blocks aren't necessarily something I'm dying to win. Sometimes I even donate my chances, if the blocks aren't really "me". Other months, I really like the blocks, and would be delighted to win them. Guess which of those is the case this month? Log cabins are one of my favourite blocks, and I really love the way this colourway has turned out - they make such a cheerful baby quilt...

So now I'm torn between telling you all to go on over and make blocks for the lotto so there will be a lot more available to win, and suggesting you do something else this month so I have a better chance of winning myself!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Somewhat funky house

I had plans today to do a bunch of sewing - catch up with a lot of deadlines, and so on. That was before my laptop decided that it simply was not going to go to some websites. Some, yes, others - nope. Much discussion with tech support, etc, suggested the problem was with the security being somehow set wrongly, so that websites with encryption were unreachable, but none of the proposed solutions worked to fix the problem. So, an impromptu trip to the computer shop, which was actually very annoying because while I was hoping to be able to leave the laptop there for them to fix, they didn't want me to - the guy suggested that the best thing to do was back everything up and do a system recovery (i.e. reset to factory settings so it would be like I just brought the machine home). As it happens, in the end that did do the trick, but of course, it takes all day because not only do you have to backup all the photos, music, files on the computer, then do the actual restore, but after that, you have to set the computer up as if it were new and of course move the backed up files back onto the machine, and reinstall all the stuff you have been putting on it over the last two years (well, perhaps not ALL of it). So, there's most of the sewing time. I shouldn't complain too much, I guess, because at least in the end the only money I spent was a call to the helpdesk - would have been a lot more had I left the computer for them to sort out...

But anyway. I did manage to make a block for the Around the World Quilt Bee - this one for Dionne, who has a kind of house theme going. And I added the next section to the Bloggers Round Robin, but that's a project I'm not allowed to show, so I won't. I had hoped to make some logcabin blocks for the August Block Lotto, but although I started them, I didn't get very far once I had to start playing tech guru. We did, just, manage to have a little time to go over to the park and visit the paddling pool - it was a hot, muggy day and that was a welcome change (for the kids anyway - personally, a 6 inch deep pool of water filled with a hundred screaming kids is not my idea of a fun time - especially as they are all either splashing, shooting each other with water pistols or throwing water balloons. Or all of the above!) Anyway, perhaps I will have better luck with the log cabin blocks tomorrow.

Monday, August 03, 2009


In my Textile Challenges group, we are doing a year long swap (every other month) of house fronts. This month - or rather, July, as I am running late this month - forgot I'd lose the first half of July to school and the last week to being away on holiday! - the theme I needed to work to was "Green house". I had fun with this - I wanted it to look like a greenhouse, without having to come up with a design that was too complicated. So I thought I'd try layering sheer fabric over the top of the house front to make it look as though it was all behind glass. I think it's come out quite well!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

A day's work

Yep, that's all I have to show for the day today - ok, I did do six loads of wash, iron all the fabric my mother brought me over from the US, make a little mobile phone bag for Sarah (no photo - d'oh) and spent quite a while helping my mother finish up a quilted bag which she took the first half of a class for (but not the second), but what I did for myself was to finish up these little blocks which I cut out a while back after I finished the corn and beans quilt. Just had a hankering for more corn and beans. Not sure what I will do with these - maybe add some borders and make a little baby quilt or not add borders and make it a wall hanging...

Saturday, August 01, 2009


So, on our holiday we popped into the town of Cullen to check out a local quiltshop/cafe (Puddleduck Patch, which doesn't seem to have a website - at least not that I can find) and look what we found at the town hall - do I lead a charmed life or what? Not much else quilty on this holiday, though lots of stuff done and loads of photos taken. If you are interested, my family blog is full of details, photos and links to more photos. Soon, the quiltiness will begin again...