Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent Calendar: Day 0

It's been a few years (3, apparently) since I blogged my quilted advent calendar, so I thought I'd do it again this year. Each day, another little picture is added to the calendar - it has slip in pockets, a bit like an old-fashioned photo album with those black corners... I actually have about 30 different little (about 3" square) pictures to choose from, so it's always a production - and sometimes and argument - between the kids which one to put up. Watch, as they say, this space!

Cross stitch Wednesday

Better progress this week than last - and not just because I'm more fond of this project than the angels (though it's easier to read & count, so it does go a little faster) - mostly, it's just that I was actually home, not entertaining company on more nights... It's a bit hard to see the really pale colours on the right, but there is quite a bit more done than when I last picked it up - not just the plants growing between the two buildings, but quite a bit of pale wall as well. Next week, back to the angels...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Little yellow house

A little house in a black background which I am sending off to a new home as part of a project. I actually made this yesterday - I didn't get any sewing done today even though I'd hoped to work on the Oh My Stars BOM piece, as I was asked to work this afternoon at the last minute, to cover someone who was ill. Maybe Thursday...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Oh My Stars

Ok, so I still haven't done section 12, but one of the things I did do, in my limited sewing time today, was to join together the pieces I've made so far, as much as I could. There are now three sections - the large, bottom on, the little piece at the top left and the right hand corner. When I do get the last section done, I'll have very little joining to do, which is nice.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Woven ribbons

These are just the blocks - they aren't sewn together - and actually, for some reason I ended up with 28 rather than the 24 I thought I was going to get. I don't really like this long and skinny, so I think I will either make 2 more for a 5x6 layout or use 25 of them for a 5x5 layout. I have enough fabric for more blocks, so I might just make a couple as it will improve the layout. I also have enough of the fabric I used in the centres of the blocks to use as a border.

This is a start on my 2012 effort to use some more of my stash (not just the scraps, but some of the slightly larger pieces) - I'm looking forward to that, actually - it will be good to get into the stash and actually use some of it!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Blue and brown four patch

Here's the second one of the two brown and blue four patch quilts - with the alternative layout. I do like this better, I think. Anyway, I don't suppose it matters too much as they will both be charity donations...

Friday, November 25, 2011

More found poetry

Again, a few just for fun - not for a specific swap.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

More altered cards

These are just for fun - not for a specific swap.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Barely any cross-stitch...

Didn't stitch much at all this week, due mainly to either being out or having guests three nights in the week, which is unusually high. Usually, it's more like none - or possibly one! But I did manage to do some outline stitching on the left-hand bell rope, hands and face of the red angel. Perhaps next week there will be a bit more time for stitching...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Altered Playing Cards

Another ATC swap - these ones for altered playing cards (yes, just playing cards which have been altered to be art pieces).

This one had an animal theme to it.

It didn't matter what animal, so long as there was some kind of animal.

I decided not to let myself think too much about it, and just got out an envelope of little bits and pieces to see what sorts of animal things were in it. And it went from there...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Found Poetry

For a found poetry swap with a seasonal theme. Found poetry, for those not familar with it, is when you take a page from a book, magazine, newspaper and look for words or phrases, which you then assemble into little poems. I used an old book, but admit that I only found one or occasionally two phrases per page, and then mixed and matched rather than taking a single poem from a single page...

Sunday, November 20, 2011


This definitely works better - stitching the blocks together so that the browns cross the blocks rather than the scrappy blue. Wish I'd done the other one this was as well...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Blue and brown four patch

I put together some of the blocks I've been making into a small top - problem is, I don't really like the effect. I will keep it this way and donate it to Project Linus, as I'm sure it will come in handy, and I don't hate it, but ideally, because the blues are all scrappy, the browns need to be the blocks which form the diagonals, rather than the blues (in the smaller blocks) - the other half of the blocks, I will put together the other way, which I think will be far more effective.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Planning ahead

Because it's the kind of person I am, I've been thinking about what I might do next once the blue and brown double four patches are done, and although I know I have blocks to make for other things (like the Farmer's Wife quilt and the Christmas Oh My Stars mystery) I don't really want to (well, I might do the Oh My Stars) so I am planning something else. I decided to take a little break from totally scrappy and clear out something from my stash of larger pieces - the Art Nouveau fabric, which I got cheaply on sale somewhere and actually find quite hard to use (large pattern). I'm going to use it, with some FQ size (or so) pieces to make a pattern in M'liss Rae Hawley's Fat Quarter book (can't rememeber which one), so that will be a nice stashbuster in the run up to the new year. Whether I keep it, or whether it goes in the charity pile will depend on how much I like it when it's done...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

One more to show...

One more quilt I have received in a swap - a private one this time - which I forgot to show before - I can't remember what I swapped for this - maybe some unfinished tops or orphan blocks - but I'm very fond of it. It's a Mongolian Knot, and was made by Ann in France.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cross stitch update

I didn't have a huge amount of time to cross-stitch this week (two evenings I spent doing binding on various projects), but I did manage to make a start on the right hand house, which is all in creams and neutrals, so it doesn't show much yet - hence the close up. Back to the angels for next week, which I imagine will be another week of little progress, considering how busy I am likely to be, but you never know, I could surprise myself...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thoughts for next year...

This year, I've spent a fair amount of time trying to rid myself of scraps, organise a bit, and declutter. With a fair measure of success, I think! However, I still have loads of scraps, as well as a decent sized collection of smaller pieces of fabric (up to FQ size, say), many of which I'm not crazy about and might not tend to use in works for myself. Especially as I am doing fewer large ones of those these days.

So, I think 2012 will be another year of de-scrapping and de-stashing. And I will probably tackle some of the (slightly) larger pieces, rather than just the little scraps.

I enjoy the entire process of building a quilt - I like choosing the fabrics, I like cutting, I like piecing, joining blocks together, quilting, binding - there's none of it I really hate. However, what I do to relax - the bit I find the most soothing - is piecing blocks.

Which is, of course, why I have so many tops hanging around waiting to be made into quilts. This past year, I have sent many baby quilt tops to Project Linus through my friend Karol-Ann and her local Linus contact, and I will continue to do that next year as well. However, I am also looking for other worthy causes - either other Linus groups, other charities which use quilts or just quilt groups or ministries which make quilts for charitable causes - to send quilt tops to.

If you are involved with such a group and would like a quilt top or two in 2012, please leave a comment - and make sure you are not set to no-reply, so I can contact you in return...

Here's the catch(es):
  • I don't intend to make big tops - baby quilt size, or lap size only. Or I would consider some smaller ones, for instance if you work with a charity that does tops for neonatal units or stillborn babies.
  • I'd prefer you were in the UK, due to postage costs. Alternatively, I can mail anywhere if you want to reimburse me for postage. (Sarah, if you are reading this, I'll happily donate a top for your ministry when my mother visits at Christmas - she can mail it when she goes back to the US in January, as we've done before.)
  • Tops only. These aren't finished quilts, so you or your group need to be willing to finish them yourselves!

I can't promise a quilt top to everyone straight away (some will depend on how much interest there is) but last year, I made at least 2 most months, and sometimes even more, so I think there's space for lots of people to receive, even allowing for a good chunk of them to go to my established place!

Monday, November 14, 2011


My elder daughter Sarah is working on her Baden-Powell Challenge for Guides (like Girl Scouts for those in the US) - and one of the things they are doing is fund-raising for their unit. To this end, I have donated a raffle prize and they are selling tickets at 50p (about 80c US) a shot. The raffle is due to be drawn on Monday, 19 December. All proceeds to the Girl Guides.

She and a friend who is also working on the challenge have sold a number of tickets already, but as their audience is limited, I've offered to publicise it a little more widely... So, if you are interested in a raffle ticket (or more than one) for the chance to win this quilt (approx 78x62"), please let me know... I'm sure we can work out the payment issue either by paypal, discreet cash, etc. I can easily accomodate people in the UK and the US (my mother is visiting in December and can mail a quilt in the US after the new year); for other locations, I'm still happy to have you buy a raffle ticket, but I might have to ask you to pay the postage if you were to win, so it's up to you!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

More scrapbusting

Today, what I felt like doing was some fairly mindless piecing (I am a big fan of piecing - of all the parts of the quilt making process, it's the bit that relaxes me the most. I like other parts, too, but they take more effort, concentration, brainpower, what-have-you - simple piecing I just find really relaxing. This is why I do so much of it and end up with so many tops). So I decided to see if I could whittle down my drawer of blue scraps even further by making some double four patches, using 2.5" squares and 4.5" squares. I found a bit of browny-neutral fabric which I've had for years - it was given to me - which I thought would be good for the non-blue blocks, and away I went. I've cut enough fabric for 50 of these blocks (which finish at 8") - that will make two baby quilts for various charities. And, more to the point, it did make a serious dent in my blue scraps - look:

This was full to the top before I started cutting! Of course, it's nearly time to clean out the scrapbasket again, whereupon lots more scraps will be added to this little drawer, but at least there's space for them now...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Finished flowers

Here's a shot of the completely finished quilt - bound and everything. Ready to go off to its new home as soon as I label the back...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Little tiny quilts

A few more from my gallery of quilts made by other people - this one was made by Anne, and I think I swapped her fabric for it, rather than a little quilt.

This one came from a flickr group swap, I think - the theme was something to do with using words. I can't remember who made it, though I imagine I blogged it at the time. OK, it was Katy - I had a feeling it might be, but I have looked it up to confirm it. I stopped swapping with that group after a handful of swap because, this piece notwithstanding - I think it's great - I felt I tended to receive pieces which were not comparable in effort to those I was making... Though I did also get a great Volkswagen beetle in a swap from that group as well.

And this one, I honestly don't remember where the swap happened, though the theme was, I think, possibly to do with something old/something new/something borrowed/something blue. (OK, having looked it up, it was a swap organised by Kiwi Carole through her blog and the quilt was made by Sue in Washington State. I was right about the theme...)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Brown scrappy top

Another one for the Project Linus pouch - this one designed to reduce brown scraps, with some other autumnal colours thrown in. The four patches are made from 2.5" squares, but then cut slightly askew to make a 4" block, which is the (unfinished) size of the larger squares. I tried very hard not to repeat any fabrics in this one -yes, I do have that many different brown scraps! These came entirely out of my scrap drawers - many of them already cut at 4" or 2.5". I did throw in some yellow, orange and red squares in the smaller size as well.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Cross stitch nemesis

OK, so, it was the first week of the Christmas nemesis. Not sure how well you can see the bottom photo, but I have done quite a bit of work in the hair of the red angel, as well as a little in the dress and some work in the bell pulls. I have remembered why this piece annoys me - it's just constant colour change. Can't go for a more than a few stitches in any direction without having to change colours -argh! Luckily, I can now have a week off and go back to my houses....

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Blue squares

Remember a while back I did a green version of Judy Laquidara's Peaches and Dreams quilt to use up green strip scraps? Well, I decided I'd tackle some blues with a blue version, only a little smaller - baby quilt size (36" square). What an excellent idea - I love this. I was going to give it to Project Linus, but changed my mind once it was made - instead, I've taken a blue string quilt out of my stash of tops and replaced it with this one! I might even do this again someday - such a simple yet effective pattern.

Monday, November 07, 2011

The other heart quilt top

This one has only black, purple, green and blue hearts - the colours I seemed to have the most of - and the layout is a bit different. This will go on my baby quilt pile, I think.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Pink and yellow, with spirals

True to my word from yesterday, I have managed to get Lynn's quilt quilted today. After some dithering, I decided to quilt it quite simply with open spirals - I did considering doing something which worked in the individual flowers, but it was getting too complicated, so I reverted to an all-over design, using a pink and yellow variegated thread (of course!). Next step is to get it bound, but I didn't really feel like doing that today, so I did some piecing instead. There's still plenty of time to do the binding, anyway.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

October goal review

Just realised, we're almost a week into the month and I haven't yet managed to review my October goals. Perhaps I know it's not going to look good, lol.

October goals:
  • 5 Farmer's Wife blocks - no. Just didn't have the time.
  • Block for October block lotto (maybe - might not make any this month) - yes, made five. Here and here.
  • Sept & Oct blocks for Oh My Stars block of the month - finished September, still need to work on October.
  • finish quilt for ALQS6 - yes, finished, and swapped.
  • no 6 of 7 baby quilts (top made, needs quilting and binding) - finished, and given to the mum-to-be, who greatly admired it.
  • birthday ATCs - done.
  • at least one charity baby quilt - yes, this month I managed to make one specifially for Project Linus and will probably also give one of the two rainbow string heart tops to Linus as well. (I have a third top, in a different pattern, which I will also keep)
  • Lynne's quilt top made, just needs quilting - no, but it's first on the pile for tomorrow, so hopefully I will soon rectify this!
So, not as bad as I feared - it felt like a month where there were a lot of things which didn't get done. So, my aims for November:

  • 5 Farmer's Wife blocks (hope springs eternal!)
  • Blocks for November block lotto - done already - did in the sneak peak period!
  • October block for Oh My Stars BOM
  • Assemble pieces for Oh My Stars BOM
  • birthday ATCs - finished, mailed. That's the end of that, as there are no December birthdays...
  • at least one charity baby quilt
  • Lynne's quilt (needs quilting and binding)

Friday, November 04, 2011

New quilts!

Two more quilts to add to my in-home gallery - this piece, called Runaway Chairs, was my prize from the ALQS6 - it was made by Di and it really tickled my fancy when I first saw it. As a friend said "because if chairs were going to run away, the first place they'd go, is a tree..."

This little piece also arrived as a result of the ALQS6, but it's not one I swapped for, it's a lovely hostess present from Susan - above and beyond the call of duty, really, but who am I to say no to a quilty gift? It looks lovely in my kitchen, while Chairs will go upstairs somewhere - not sure where just yet, but I will find room.