Thursday, June 30, 2011

6 months of daily blogging

I don't know if any of you have noticed, but I made a decision this year that I would try to blog in my art blog every day this year and so far, I have managed to put up a post for every day. Amazingly, we are halfway through 2011 (I know! Where did it go?) so I thought I'd mention it...

So, have I really blogged every day? Well, no, not quite - there have been days when I just didn't manage it and blogged the following day, and days when I knew I wouldn't be there to do it, so wrote a post earlier and scheduled it for the day I knew would be hard to make. And apparently, one day in May when I blogged twice, unless May has suddenly acquired an extra day! Am I ok with that? Sure, that's the way things go. And by having a blog post every day, even if I have to sometimes do them on different days, it does break up my blogging into small, manageable chunks, which I like, and I imagine my readers like as well.

Have I managed to do something arty every day I blogged? I wish! But what I have done is divide stuff into related sections - so if I have an entire weekend day to play and do four different things, I do spread them out over the week's blogging. I think the posts read better that way anyway...

On another note, I've been playing around with Picasa a little (not too much - don't need another addiction) and have made some mosaics - the top being a selection of things I made in 2011 so far, the middle one being a selection of ATCs made in May and June and the bottom being sewing projects worked on in June. I might do a monthly ATC mosaic and a monthly sewing mosaic - or maybe not - no promises, other than the fact that I'm going to carry on trying to blog daily wherever possible in 2011. I'm not quite sure what I'll do when I'm on holiday, though I did figure out how to blog, including photos, from my phone, so you never know!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cross-stitch update

Making excellent progress on the Beach Huts - the steps on the middle hut (in this photo - the grey one is actually the middle one of the finished piece) are finished - indeed, almost all of that hut is done except a few small bits. And all the sand to the left hand side of the piece is finished. I also made good progress on the far left hut.

Now, back to the other cross-stitch for next week - who knows if there will be any time for sewing, but maybe I'll be lucky and be able to get at least a little done...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mixed media ATCs

Unthemed mixed media cards for a swap - featuring paper, transparency (acetate), German foil scrap, metal charms, plastic "gems".

Monday, June 27, 2011

Baby quilt backings

This is a pile of the six baby quilts I need to work on, along with their backings - most of them, because they are small baby quilts, didn't need to have pieced backings, which means trying to find backings for them is a lot easier than if they were larger pieces, where the backings inevitably have to be pieced (unless I buy special extra wide fabric, which I am trying to avoid doing). There was at least one pieced one, though.

This is the first one that I'm going to work on - this weekend, so it can go off to its new home - with its backing ready. Shouldn't take long, as it's quite small, and I won't do anything too fancy for quilting.

This is the one which Lana is going to quilt as the recipient is a mutual friend. So it's now at her house, which is great, because it means it's out of my pile! (This is the one with the pieced backing - it's a little wider than some of the others. I decided that since a) the recipient of this quilt already has two kids who might want to join the baby on the quilt it would be nice to be a little bigger and b) it's being longarmed anyway, so it's not like it will take me longer to do!)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Farmer's Wife block 4

no 79, Silver Lane.

Had enough time this afternoon to put together another Farmer's Wife block - this one was quite tricky, with some oddly shaped pieces and lots of little bits. I'm not totally happy with it - might redo it later - but it will do for the moment.

I'm doing these blocks in the order in which they appear in the narrative part of the book at the front (which is why the block numbers seem quite random), and in theory that's a good thing because if left to my own devices, I'd probably choose all the easy ones first and then be stuck with all the hard ones at the end. However, the first few have been quite complicated blocks with lots of pieces, so it will be a bit of a relief to get to the next pair, which are much simpler!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Farmer's Wife block 3

This one is no 24, Country Path - it's actually even in real life, but it was lying on the sofa, and obviously not very flat! I only had about an hour to sew today - this morning before I went to school to help set up for the fair - but I decided to do a little sewing anyway, and it was just enough time to get this block done, in between some enders and leaders.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Oops - left one out!

I had a comment yesterday from Sophie, who reminded me that "all but one" of my baby quilt choices yesterday came from blocks we did in the Block Lotto - hmm, thought I, I'm sure there was another non-lotto-inspired baby quilt - and sure enough, looking back, I left one out of the mix (it was late and I was doing a lot of cutting and pasting!) - this quilt also is scheduled to be made up for a baby quilt in the near future. Unlike most of yesterday's selection (the exception being the batik squares one) this quilt was not inspired by the block lotto - but it's true - the blocks chosen for the block lotto frequently inspire me to make more blocks and use them in my own quilts - and that doesn't even take into account actual block lotto winnings!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Baby quilt lineup

A while back I mentioned that after a long time with no one I know needing baby quilts, I now know 5 people have babies in the autumn. Since I mentioned it, the number has increased to 6, so it's certainly time to start quilting baby quilts. Probably not going to happen until summer, though, as I really need a decent stretch of uninterrupted (or only a little interrupted) time. We are very busy at the moment, and it's only likely to get worse in July as school comes to a close - especially as Olivia is in Year 6 (last year of primary school) so there are all sorts of extra things, like plays, ceremonies, etc.

However, I decided I would at least try to work out which ones I was going to use. Those of you who commented on my last post may notice that I have cheated a little by choosing at least one top which I didn't post in that last post!

I'm not going to say which quilt is for which person, just in case any of them read my blog, which they might (at least one of them does, I know for sure!) but I do think these are the six. One of them, my friend Lana (who is a professional longarm quilter) is going to quilt up because the recipient is a mutual friend.

Next step - sort out some backs. I'm going to see what I can do from larger pieces in my stash - there's got to be something which will work on most of them - they are only baby quilts after all, and the back is going to go on the floor at least some of the time!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cross stitch Wednesday

A fair amount finished this week - it doesn't look like much from a distance, because it's mostly cream and tan, but from closer up, you can see there's quite a lot of stitching in the left-hand building now. Next week, back to the beach huts - if only the weather were a little more beach-hut friendly, I'd be much happier!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Farmer's Wife

no 26 - Cut Glass Dish

no 54 Kitchen Woodbox

In the course of my blog hopping, I came across someone who was working with the book The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt to do a weekly quilt-a-long to make up the sampler quilt (this is a project on a scale with the Dear Jane quilt - lots of blocks, all different). This really appealed to me as a project (because I need more projects!) although unlike some of the people doing it, I don't know that I am going to try to do 2 blocks per week. For one thing, the book uses templates for the blocks, and I'm not a template kind of girl, so many of them will have to be redrawn or worked out mathematically to make them compatible with rotary cutting or paper piecing.

The blocks are 6" finished, and I have decided to do them in whatever fabric takes my fancy - I am not going to make a concerted effort to use up scraps, I am just going to browse my stash and use what I feel like using. I will, however, not buy any fabric for this project at all (except if I need more background - I am using plain, unbleached calico for the backgrounds - it's easier that way). If I happen to buy fabric for other reasons, I might use it for this, but nothing bought specially. I'm not going to worry if the fabrics "go together" from block to block (though I will try to ensure they work within the context of a single block), as they will probably be sashed anyway. In other words, a true sampler quilt.

I've also decided that I am simply going to work my way through the book in order - which actually, doesn't necessarily mean block order as the blocks are linked to a series of letters written by farmer's wives to The Farmer's Wife magazine back in 1922.

So, the first two blocks are done - no 26 Cut Glass Dish and no 54 Kitchen Woodbox. I tried to have a go at no 24 Country Path without redrafting it, but couldn't quite get the measurements right in my head, so have now redrafted it in EQ5 and put it upstairs to work on next. I know this is a big project and will take a long time to finish (I am aiming to complete at least 5 blocks per month) but I am hoping it will fill some of those gaps when I want to just sit and make a block. And who knows, it might involve a tiny bit of stash reduction as well - or more importantly, give me a chance to use some of the fabrics I buy a FQ of just beacause I like them and they are on sale, but then never do anything with!

There is also a flickr group for the project, which I might hang out with a little, just to see what others are doing, but all my deadlines for the project are going to be self-imposed - it's just something for fun.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Oh my Stars - latest installment

After waiting several weeks for the June instructions to be posted, I finally had a chance to work on this on the weekend. If you are doing this BOM project, be warned there's a mistake in the background size for the trees. Not sure what the actual size should be as I free-pieced it in the end, but I'm sure you could work it out!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cool and warm wonky log cabins

Continuing the trend of putting together all the sets of blocks I have into tops, here are two more sets done and dusted - these were blocks I made in (according to my blog) March 2010, to try to empty my scrapbasket. I made 36 each in cool colours (the blue, green, purple, black and white above)

and warm colours (red, orange, yellow, pink, brown, cream and black - notice black getting into both sets!). The blocks were 9" blocks, I think.

I have a feeling that these blocks were inspired by something we did for the block lotto, but I could be wrong. The plan now, I think, is to quilt them back to back to make a fully reversible piece. Obviously all quilts can be turned over to the back, but some are more interesting than others when that's done. I've not quilted a two-sided quilt before, but I don't plan anything fancy, so it shouldn't be too tricky - the worse part will be lining it up to pin - but luckily, the design of this quilt means that if it's a tiny bit off, I can always trim the edges and no one will notice!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Field of Clover

Here are all the modern clover blocks I received from winning the block lotto a few months ago. Not sure what I will do with them yet - I don't really want to set them on point, but it may be the best way to go. It's possible I will split them up and do several smaller things with them, but I have to think about it for a while. So, they are going in my block stash for a while, while I think. There's not that much in there these days, though, so I don't mind too much.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Domino Blocks

This is a block which I saw on's newsletter. I used to be fairly active on that site, but my usage has moved away from the types of blocks and swaps they tend to do over there. However, I am still on their mailing list, and once in a while, I do see something I quite like. This block* was in last month's newsletter, or maybe the one before, and despite the sample block used for the pattern, which I thought was in rather dark and uninspiring colours, I could see some potential. So I decided to us some of my fabrics from my medium sized piece stash (stuff which is about a metre) to give it a try.

Here are the fabrics I chose to use:

The block is made of strip pieced units, so it goes together quite quickly.

I didn't manage to use all my fabrics, though - perhaps I'll piece a back for this quilt (when it's ever finished!) from what's leftover.

*A note on the pattern, if you do decide to use it yourself - on page two it tells you you need two each per domino block of all the various units - in the diagram show, the thinner of the bottom two units (which in my block is mainly light blue with a small brown floral square - in the picture showing my units, the second from the right) you actually need FOUR per block, so adjust your cutting as necessary. I'm not sure if the total amounts of fabric listed are right or wrong (because I used larger pieces and cut for a different number of blocks anyway), but certainly you need to make twice as many of this unit as Janet's instructions say.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fabric and Fibre ATCs

I recently did four in this series - with a discharged fabric background, lots of fibres couched on top and then some scraps of fabric and beads added at the end. The swap theme was just a media type - but I really like ATCs with a limited colour pallette, so I decided to keep these in oranges, browns and yellows...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cross stitch Wednesday

Wednesday seems to have become my day for cross-stitch update. Not sure why - perhaps because it's far enough from the weekend that there's not a lot of stuff left to show from then? For whatever reason, that seems to be the way it is. Used to be Monday, now it's Wednesday. Whatever! Anyway, here's the progress on the beach huts - not a huge amount, though you can see I did nearly finish the hut on the left (except some white in the window, which I'd had to unpick for various reasons) and start on the sand around the steps (though not the steps - that area is still blank). Below is where it stood at the end of the last time.

Starting tomorrow (or whenever I next cross-stitch) it's back to the old road scene - I think my plan of alternating is working for the moment as I'm quite eager to get back to that one still! We'll see how long that lasts, though.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Handy Labels

A little while ago, I was contacted by Pam Nelson of Mountain Street Arts about a new range of labels she has available in her etsy shop - she offered to send me some free samples for review. Of course I said yes, for one thing because I am, I confess, a bad labeller when it comes to quilting. I have good intentions but often don't follow through well (though I am usually good at writing, with fabric pen, on lighter coloured quilt backings)...

Anyway, these labels come in several designs, on nice quality twill tape, and of course, what you can have printed on them varies - though they are fairly small overall, so if you are the type of person to put a lot on a label for a quilt, they might not work for you. Some of the labels in her shop are aimed at hand knit or crocheted items - this size label would, I think, be particularly useful in something like a scarf or hat, where you are not going to want a huge label with loads of detail.

It strikes me that these will be useful for me with a lot of the smaller projects I do - if I want to add a date, I can easily do so in fabric pen onto the label itself.

She also does a range of care labels (e.g. "Machine wash on gentle, lay flat to dry") which could also come in quite handy!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Scrappy Tops finished

It occurs to me I didn't show these after I sewed the blocks together... There are two of them, and again, they will be charity donations. By the end of the year, my scrap stash will have a proper, visible dent in it! Of course, I'm sure I will keep adding to it as I go along...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Taupe Corn & Beans

Don't think I showed this when I put it together a few weeks back - again, this was a handful of blocks I had lying around waiting to be sewn together. Not sure what I'm going to do with it now, though - a border or two perhaps and then a nice baby quilt?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rainbow Scraps

Yes, I have really sorted my scrap basket into colours. This is not a permanent state of affairs, mind you - in future, I will go back to just dumping scraps in there. But I was influenced by two things - the first being Jane's comment that she had made crumb blocks monochromatically before and it was a great way of making them less busy. What a good idea, I thought, but honestly, would I ever take the time to organise my tiny scraps by colour? Probably not. That was before BBC4 decided to show series two of the Yellow Bird series of Wallander again (not the original series, but the ones with Krister Henriksson) on Saturday nights. This is a great show, I love it. I'm a fan of detective fiction anyway, and this one is really well done - low-key, interesting stories, good acting. However. It's in Swedish. With English subtitles. As I don't speak Swedish, if I want to have any chance at all of understanding what's going on, I really need to read the subtitles - which means looking at the screen far more frequently than I would while watching something in English. Which means, no cross-stitch. I find it very hard to just sit there and do nothing with my hands, though, so I thought - perfect project for this evening. Olivia helped as well, so now I have very well sorted scraps. Who knows what I'll do next Saturday, though...

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Green scrappy quilt

This is another of the tops I've put together recently from accumulated blocks. This is a great pattern for using scraps up - it's a Judy Laquidaria pattern, originally in peaches and oranges, but I pinched the idea from Julie to use greens instead (plus, it was green month in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge). Julie's, you may notice, is quilted and bound, which mine isn't yet. But at least it's not a collection of blocks lying around!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Cross stitch Wednesday

Well, here's the update on the cross-stitch for this week - quite a bit has been done since last week - even though it doesn't look like much when you just look at it, compared to before, it's not bad. I've decided on this one to do the backstitching as I go along - for one thing, it will be less boring that way, but for another, the definition will look so much better as things go along. This is what it looked like last week:

Also, because I should work on them as well, and because I know that although it hasn't yet started to bother me, the density and constant changes of colour will begin to drive me bonkers in the houses above, I am going to alternate weeks between it and the Beach Huts, which I was working on last summer, and which I put down to do some seasonal (Hallowe'en) stuff and then never picked back up due to working on winter and Christmas stuff and being generally a bad girl...

Here's where the Beach Huts stand now - you can see the completed picture back here.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Yellow, finished

Here are the finished yellow hearts, to add to the blue, red, green, purple and pink I already have... And here is the blue and yellow baby quilt actually sewn into a top.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Block Lotto

Here are this month's blocks for the block lotto - if you've never played the Block Lotto, now could be the time to start - it's a very simple block this month in honour of how busy June is in the US (many of the players and the hostess are in the US, though you don't have to be, of course) - and it's a great scrap buster. Check it out!