Sunday, November 29, 2009

Birthday ATC Swap - 2010

Over the past year, I hosted a (mostly) successful swap of ATCs (Artist Trading Cards)* - mostly in mixed media or fabric, but also some in paper. I had a lot of fun with this (as did, I hope, many of the participants) and I intend to run another round next year. Here's how it works:

I'll take somewhere around 30 participants (and if there's a huge swell of interest, I am happy to run two groups) - so that we average around 3 ATCs per month, which shouldn't be too much of a burden for anyone.

Each month, you will be expected to send one ATC (in any media, on any theme, must be your own creation, can be something you made earlier) to each of the participants whose birthday is that month (any time during the month is fine). I will send a reminder each month to help you out. Also, there is a yahoo group for the swap, which you will be expected to join in order to take part (very low volume of messages, mostly used for acknowledgements, lateness apologies and posting reminders). In turn, in your birthday month, you will receive ATCs from everyone else. Easy as that.

If you are interested, send me an email to katelnorth at yahoo dot com (or leave a comment here, but if you do that, be sure I can contact you - comments set to no-reply are hard to respond to, unless I have your email address already for some other reason). I'll need to have your full name and postal address (but don't leave that in a comment) and also, your birthday (I don't need the year!).

*ATCs are 2.5x3.5" creations; they can be made from virtually anything, the main rule is that you are not allowed to buy and sell them, but must swap with other artists to increase your collection... If you missed seeing the ones I received for this swap, here's a post with a big chunk of them...

Cross-stitch update

So, here's the red house piece - I've just put this away for the season, and got out my Christmas cross-stitch. I have another seasonal piece, with much less dense stitching, which I might also work on, but the major thing I will work on over the holidays is my angel piece. Some day, I might even finish it!

Here it is at the end of the season last year - and the second picture is after about 20 minutes work the other night, once I pulled it out, so if you don't spot much difference don't be surprised...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Win this quilt!

I always seem to be shooting myself in the foot with raffles by passing on the links to my readers (if I were sensible, I'd give them as little publicity as possible so I had a better chance of winning!) but anyway, here's a chance to win this quilt, made by the lovely Andrea (aka Welsh Quilter). I do actually already own a quilt made by her (we swapped minis for our 40th last year) but would I bypass the chance to own another? I think not. Anyway, the info and the story of what the money raised will go towards is all over here on her blog. Good luck in the draw (but not too much good luck!).

Christmas Quiltie

Although I've not managed to do any work myself since Tuesday (one of the other TA's in the class I work in, in the mornings has been off ill, so I've been working the afternoons as well) I do have something to show today - this lovely Christmas tree, full of very small squares and triangles, which is my mini quilt from the Four Seasons Quilt Swap. It was made by Cecilia and did come with some other goodies - a Christmas towel, a little ornament, some chocs and sweets, but the camera ran out of batteries and I was too lazy to go back and photograph them later! Anyway, the quiltie is the main thing to show...

It will make a nice addition to my Christmas decorations, but not for another week or two, as I'm not quite ready to decorate for Christmas - though of course, we will put the advent calendars up on Tuesday (ok, Monday night) and put the wreath on the door.

I hope to have some work to show after the weekend, but who knows - I have to brave the shops on Saturday to do some Christmas shopping, so I may have to spend all of Sunday recovering!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ATC days

Even small amounts of time can be useful, if you plan and have things ready. I have a box of ATC backs already prepared (i.e. cut up from test pieces, abandoned projects, etc) so even with only an hour or so to work, I can get something done, if I'm in the mood to work/have the energy.

These ATCs simply had some ribbon, a metallic shape and some beads strung on wire added to the background. And that's all there was to it!

I've had a couple more ATCs in the last day or so... The one on the left is from Leah, and the photo doesn't really show the ATCs very well - especially the stamp used in it. The one on the right is from Aine and is felted, with beads - this one I really love - it might well stay up afer the rest of the birthday onhes get put away...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Beach House/Alien

Despite a weekend relatively clear of obligations, I only managed to do a small amount of sewing. Yesterday I just had one of those uninspired days - or rather, there were things I could have done, but I knew that what I really needed to do was make a Tropical Cabana house front for Michelle - the last of the house fronts in this year-long (but bimonthly) swap and I was having problems working out what I wanted to do. Consequently, I felt I couldn't really work on anything else until that was done - you know how it goes, sometimes! - so in the end, I just hung out with Alex while the girls went swimming, read, cooked, played games, and so on.

Today, I did finally manage to work out how I wanted to approach Michelle's theme - I had a good rummage through all my bits and pieces and while I couldn't find the little flip-flop motif I thought I had, I found something better, which I had forgotten about - a sheet of fabric images with a seaside theme. A little alteration and this bathing beauty was a perfect basis for the cabana. I was going to move on to work on a set of ATCs using some of my prepared backgrounds, but my lurking 6YO expressed some interest in making stuff, so we worked together to create a cosmic arch - his design, mostly, but the execution is largely mine. Though he worked the pedal. A very successful alien, I think. Maybe he should join next year's swap!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A few more treats...

Here's another ATC from my birthday swap - this one from Mary in the Netherlands. And, a whole package of loot from FlossyBlossy, who was my partner in the Rainbow Swap, organised by the lovely Trashalou... The scarf is totally funky, and as for the other bits, well, what can I say. Am I lucky or what?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Birthday ATC Swap

As some of you will know, this past year I have organised a birthday ATC swap, the idea being that over the course of the year you will send a card to each member in the month of her birthday, and in your birthday month, you will receive one in turn from each member. It has been good fun seeing some of the cards others have received and now, it's my turn. Amazingly, I waited until nearly my birthday to open them, but decided to do it today - why not! - as there will be other openings tomorrow, I'm sure. Perhaps it's technically my birthday anyway, as I was born in Germany and it's already tomorrow there!

So, here, in no particular order other than how blogger uploaded them, are the cards I've received to date. Several people have sent other bits and pieces, but frankly, this will be a picture heavy post anyway, so I'm not going to show all the extras, though I am pleased to have them!

From Di.

From Kathy.

From Wendy.

From Norma C.

From Lynne.

From Wil.

All from Pauline - the one on the card is ATC-sized, but is actually mounted on the card rather than backed, unlike the one below...

...from Ann, who has finished the back and only loosed taped the ATC on, so I cna use it as a card now and then take the ATC for my album after (this is a clever idea - wish I'd presented mine that way - maybe next year!).

From Jovita.

From Sheila.

From Pippa.

From Joyce.

From Marga.

From Julie.

And the really fun thing is, there are still some more to come!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Drunkard's Challenge...

...or something like that. Here's the small Drunkard's Path quiltlet, for the November Challenge on BQL, all finished & bound and so forth. Only one more to go (not that I've done them all, mind you ,but I've done the ones I wanted to, so that's fine for me). This one is 16" square rather than 12 (yes, I have to follow my own path, even in a challenge) but I think it still fits the bill.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Little red houses

It's been a while since I showed this - partly because I haven't worked on it much lately and of course, partly because I snuck in a Hallowe'en sampler in the midst of stitching this one. I will sew this one until the end of November or until it's done, whichever comes first, and then I'm going to pull out my seasonal one, which I may even someday get finished. Not this year, though - still too much to do!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Oriental Lanterns

Amidst the Junior Monopoly, loads of laundry and other demands on my time today (Saturday there was no sewing as there was another kids' poetry festival and a friend to lunch) I did actually manage to put another top together. This is yet another set of swap blocks which have been hanging around forever waiting to be put together. The good news is, this is the LAST SET of blocks from swaps. All the others have been used - a few of those tops still need to be finished and loads of them still need quilting, but there are no more block swap blocks hanging around. (Actually, that might be wrong - there might be half a set of framed batik 4 patches hanging around - I must check that.) I do have one or two more things which need making up, but they aren't swap blocks. Now, of course, they all need quilting!

I also managed to get some binding sewn on to the Drunkard's Path mini quilt, so hopefully will get it stitched down in the next few evenings and then that will be really finished. Woo hoo.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Big Knit

No sewing to show today, but here's something fun... Did my shopping in Sainsbury's today for a change (usually have it delivered from Ocado); one nice thing was being able to pick up a couple of smoothies. Yummy, yes, but also, hatted. This is the first year I've remembered to go look at the right time to hit The Big Knit and while these aren't perhaps going to win the prize for most original hat of the week, I think they are great. Hopefully there will be more next week when I shop at Sainsbury's again (I have a really good voucher - £12 off a £60 shop. And yes, the idea of being able to do a £60 shop is totally laughable!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A little quilting

Literally a little - I didn't have a lot of time to work today, but luckily, this piece didn't require a lot of time. A basic wavy line with leaf motif - simple and straightforward. Binding tomorrow, perhaps? Well, I wouldn't hold my breath...

Monday, November 09, 2009

Drunkard's Path...

Now here's something you don't see often - I got these lovely fat quarters in the post today from Lisa in return for some cross-stitch stuff I sent her (ironically, she was my send-to partner for the Four Seasons Seasonal Swap and she received the log cabin Christmas Tree quilt from me today as well) and they were so perfect - great colours (accurate on the right - purple, not blue!) and very autumnal, that I felt I had to do something with them right away. Luckily, this desire coincided with several free hours this afternoon (kids all farmed out various places, so I didn't have to do the afternoon school run) so I knocked up a slightly free-form Drunkard's Path mini for the November BQL Challenge. I shall use the dark brown on the back and more red & purple to bind it - I might quilt with leaves. It's not big (I think 16" square), though it's a bit bigger than the 12" squares many of the BQL Challenge members are doing for their perpetual calendars.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Another block swap top

Amazingly enough, I am nearly out of sets of blocks to put together into tops. I think I have 3 or 4 left, and then that's it (I know - time to quilt some of them!) These blocks are from a swap with my dyeing group in 2005 - I know the year as some of the blocks are signed & dated. All the fabrics are - of course! - hand dyes.

I also worked on another round of the Bloggers Round Robin today, but as that's a secret project, I can't show what I did - too bad - these are fun to watch grow...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Some I made earlier...

I knew there would be a good time to show these blocks for the November block lotto, which I actually made in the end of October... They are spools, in Christmas fabrics, with red backgrounds. Simple, but effective. As it happens, I won't put my name in the draw this month - too many other things hanging around waiting to be finished, the last thing I need is more blocks...of course, that excuse won't stop me when it's something I really really really like... There's nothing new to show because I've been a very good girl and worked on the decorating in the girls' room yesterday and today in my small bits of free time. I did get one coat of paint done, though, so I guess progress is being made!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Yes, a couple more...

Here's one of the tops from yesterday - it definitely works better with a wider border, and the narrow blue frames it nicely, I think. It's still quite a small piece, and will make a good wall0hanging.

And this is the other thing I worked on yesterday, but I didn't get the batik stripe borders on until today. These tops have all gone together very quickly - even with sashing and additional borders, because the blocks themselves were all already made (including the blocks for the border in this quilt), putting them into tops is quite a quick process. These are 9" blocks from a batik & black swap - all the coloured fabrics are batiks (as are the border pieces). The blacks are an assortment of blacks and black-on-blacks.

I am down to just 4 or 5 sets of blocks which need making into tops - started with another group today, as it happens - I'd love to get all of them made up into tops by the end of the year. We'll see how that goes, though...

Monday, November 02, 2009

Now that's what I call progress...

So, keeping up the good vibe from yesterday, I decided to dig back into my boxes of swap blocks (which are getting emptier by the day - hoorah!) and tackle the blocks from the first Birthday Block Swap. Which finished a while back. Just how long a while back isn't info you guys need to have! Back in January, I had a good clearout and got rid of lots of blocks I thought I might never get around to using, but was left with a number of sets of blocks which still needed to be made into tops. This set of blocks was one of the big ones, so it feels good to have tackled them.

I had asked for blocks (any size) with a black or black-on-black background, and then solids, tonals, or handdyes. Any block, maker's choice. For one reason or another I ended up being in all three groups of the swap, so I got LOTS of blocks. Plus, as hostess, I did receive some extra blocks as thank yous. I got blocks which ranged in size from 2 3/4" square to 18" square (only one of each of those), with most of them being either 12" or 6" blocks, but some in between. I also got blocks with a wide range of black in the background. Consequently, I decided to divide the blocks up into several different projects.

The first, left above, is the 18" square, surrounded by 6" squares. I had received 15, 6" squares, so I actually had to make one for that piece, but that's ok; it was by far the best way to use those blocks.

The second piece (right) uses four 12" blocks which had backgrounds which weren't quite as black - they are all BOB prints, but just aren't quite as dark black and therefore, looked better together, rather than with most of the other 12" blocks, which I have used together. This piece also uses the one little tiny block which I received (kind of a joke, that one, but hey, I wanted to use it!). I think I will add another black border to this one, possibly with a thin blue one first (to complement the star in the centre). I know the outer border is too narrow, but I used all of that fabric I had. I thought it might work, but actually, it seems a little odd. Back on the work pile for that one, I think. But it's a good start, at least!

Then, I decided to use these three blocks (left) together in what will be wall hanging. They all use very muted solids (except the turquoise) for the colours and next to some of the brighter fabrics, they appear quite dull, whereas on their own, they really work. One was a 12.5" block unfinished (the middle) and the other two were 10.25 and 10.75", so the answer was to put borders around all of them, to bring them up to 15" square. One of the smaller ones actually had a black border around it, but I took it off and put a larger one on. The top and bottom blocks, which are the same block, came from two different people - no doubt why the sizes don't match. This is one of the challenges of swaps, of course.

Finally, I used a dozen 12" (finished) blocks in a top together.

There are actually a handful of blocks left over - six, I think - a few of them just didn't work in terms of size or colour in any of these pieces. One 12" block had a black where the printing was almost grey, so it didn't really coordinate well. I can't remember why the others didn't work. I think there were two 8 inch blocks, which were awkward size-wise. A couple of them might go on the back of one of these pieces (or more); at least one I will use as a mini quilt base in future. I don't mind having a small handful of blocks hanging around in case they are needed for something - it's when it gets into the hundreds that one worries!

I actually did some other work today, too, and started putting together another top from a swap of black and batik blocks, but I want to put one more border on it, and as I already have lots to show, I will save that for another day.

Still, looking back at all the blocks I had hanging around at the start of the year, I've made some good progress. Tomorrow is back to school and back to work for me - in addition to my lunchtimes, I have a few hours every morning until Christmas - this is good for the budget, but less good for my sewing time. But I'm sure there will still be the occasional thing to show...