Thursday, February 28, 2013

Another top assembled

This is another top I put together from blocks I'd made previously - again, used as an enders and leaders project while I was doing other sewing. These are all Christmas scraps, so I suppose this will make someone a seasonal lap quilt... It lacks contrast in places, but I think it has a lot of interest close up.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cross stitch update

Lots of progress. It stitches quickly. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I haven't shown any more of my alphabet series of ATCs in a while, so here are M (moon)

N (nest)

and O (owls). 

And this was a card for the hostess, who wasn't collecting the alphabet but does like cards with tea or coffee on them...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Green scrappy stars

Actually, the stars themselves aren't scrappy, so it's not the best title, I guess!  This is another set of blocks which I've had around for a while, which I finally got around to assembling into a top - I used assembling it as an enders and leaders project while sewing some other stuff, so now it's a top. Another one for the charity pile - hoorah!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Teacups Sampler

 I did say yesterday that I was going to spend some time today quilting (or that I should, at any rate) - so I was very good and did do a little work on the little houses I was working on the other week - not a lot, though, as my shoulder was aching a bit and quilting is a bit tough on it. I haven't taken any photos, though, as the thread was fairly matched today, so it doesn't show well in photos - just textural, really. 

After a half hour or so of that, I decided to move on to something else - something more piecing. I had a selection of fat quarters which I'd been wanting to do something with - I thought they'd make a nice top for a lap quilt maybe for donation to a care home or through Sarah's quilt ministry to someone who is wheelchair bound, or something like that (I threw in a few small pieces of a toning green as well).

I wasn't really sure what to do with them, however, and even looking through some fat quarter books, still wasn't inspired (most of those patterns are for larger quilts and involve background fabric). So I decided to just make a variety of blocks and put them together. The result is a little less controlled than I normally like, but it's still quite sweet and would still, I think, make a nice lap quilt. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Strip variation

In a continuing effort to rid myself of the scrappy 2" strips I seem to accumulate, I decided to do something slightly different - make some strippy blocks and then sash them with a neutral fabric. Originally, I was going to put a border down the left and right sides, too, but didn't have enough of the fabric I was using to do so.  It would probably look slightly better that way, but I think it works this way as well. I still have a pile of strips (even after 3 whole strip quilt tops - baby quilt sized, but still!) but I'm bored of working with them now, so I think I'll be doing something else tomorrow in my last day of holiday. I should probably do a bit of actual quilting, but I'm not sure I will - maybe a little, and then reward myself with some more piecing!

Friday, February 22, 2013

More low volume hearts

Here is my final offering for the block lotto  this month - five low volume hearts. I decided not to do any more, partly because my stash isn't really composed of low-volume fabrics, and partly because it's getting quite expensive to mail my blocks off each month, so in future I might only make 3 - which could all be sent to one winner.  I really enjoy the lotto and don't want to stop playing, but because the winners are usually in the US, it does get a bit pricey...  Of course, what I might do is what I often do anyway - make a few blocks for the lotto and then use the idea to make more blocks for a charity quilt here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

End of the crumbs

As I mentioned the other day, I thought I'd try doing some crumb blocks bordered with other colours - a good way for using up small pieces of other colours as well.  I've now used up all of the crumb blocks in my block stash, between the neutral borders, the black borders and these. There are actually 38 of these, which is not a practical number, but I'll work something out!  I think they came out well, though. It will be fun to try to arrange them in a balanced way - but that's a task for another day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cross stitch update

This week's progress - some - not bad considering at least one night of no stitching at all (one night, when I went to my quilt group, I was stitching down some binding) and several nights of being quite tired.  Anyway, it's getting there. Back to the Winter Wonderland next week, just in time to coincide with the cold weather...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Scrappy Log Cabin top

I mentioned yesterday that I might use my crumb blocks with some different colours (not black or neutral) and I've been doing that today, but instead of resorting to my usual enders and leaders project, I decided to pull out some languishing blocks and assemble them into a quilt top as enders and leaders.... I'm not ready to show the multicoloured crumbs yet, but here's the scrappy top which went together as a result of today's sewing session.  I certainly am enjoying this whole sewing-during-the-week lark!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Crumbs with black

As it was the first day of holiday, I am still getting into relax mode and didn't want anything too taxing to do, so I decided to continue using up crumb blocks - these I cut at 5" and then bordered with bits of black fabric which were lurking in my black box. Not only is this good for getting rid of crumbs, but it's very good for using small bits of other fabrics which aren't so practical for some projects (though as my favourite look is semi-scrappy, I can usually make do).  I haven't sewn these into a top - there are 30 blocks - but that will come with time.  Tomorrow, perhaps some more crumbs, bordered in different colours - might try doing them in a variety of different fabrics, but the border all the way around each block the same. Who knows what I will do when I run out of crumbs!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

De-scrapping, again

Here's what the scrap basket looks like at the end of today's sewing - not a lot there!  Which is good - here's what it looked like at the start of the day...

Ok, not very full, but it's a lot easier to deal with if you attack it at this stage. 

So, while I sewed together some more strips to make another scrappy strippy quilt

I sorted out the larger scraps by colour - and a small stack of strips as well - and left only the small crumb pieces in the basket...  Quite a productive day, especially considering I only spent about an hour and a half sewing!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bye-bye strips

Here's another top ready to send off to Project Linus - just a simple strip top, with scrappy strips. The most time consuming part here is of course sorting the strips and sewing them together to make longer strips. 

But as my bag of scrap strips was nearly full last weekend, I decided I really needed to do some work with it. 

After a bit last weekend and a bit today, here's what's left in the bag - just some long black strips. 

And here's the rest of the strips - sorted (and trimmed) by sizes, in quarter inch intervals from 1.25" to 2.5" (smaller ones get trimmed to an inch and put aside for my narrow log cabin leaders and enders) and sewn together in long strips to make it easier and quicker to sew into a strippy top.  I may do another one tomorrow - it will be much quicker, as the strips are already sewn into longer strips!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Leaders & Enders

Here's another set of blocks completed recently, made as leaders & enders*. The centres were from my crumb block box - what I do with small scraps, generally. I trimmed them to a standard size - can't remember what at the moment, perhaps 3.5", and then just went around them once, log cabin style, in various neutral strips. Makes a nice set of scrappy blocks that aren't too out of control.   They aren't made up in to a top yet, just set aside in my block box.  Sooner or later!

*I remember the first time I encountered this term, I had no idea what on earth it was. In case that's you, this refers to a thread saving device employed when you are chain piecing - something to sew last in a chain of pieces, which doesn't have to be removed from the machine, so the thread doesn't have to be cut just then. It's like a placeholder. Then you can start the next stretch of chain piecing from this block, and so on. I usually have some sort of project on the side to serve this purpose - usually something very scrappy...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Goodies in the post

Now I know you guys all read blogs and many of you blog yourselves, so you don't need reminding that there's a whole lot of lovely out there in blogland, but it never hurts to share an example or two...  So I will. A while back, Angelina mentioned on her blog that she'd made a number of pencil cases for friends of her sons, using Dr Who fabric and blue mesh. I commented on them, saying something about that fact that my own 10YO Dr Who fan would love these, so I was sure the friends would too. And being the lovely person she is, she offered to make one of Alex and send it along, as she had enough fabric for another one.  Isn't that cool?  And I was right - he does love it.  It's now filled with pencils & pencils, and his favourite pencil sharpener (shaped like a battleship).  Maybe I should try to find him one shaped like a Tardis - I bet they have them!

She also included this woven heart - I can remember making them from foil paper in primary school (in fact, my mom may still have one in her Christmas decorations) and recently ran across a tutorial on someone's blog and thought I must make some more - so this was a nice case of serendipity. This one is fabric, of course, but that doesn't stop it being lovely!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Even More Cross-stitch

Wednesday being the regularly scheduled cross-stitch update...  Here's the new piece I'm working on (in rotation with the garden with alphabet) - as I suspected, I did choose something winter themed, but it's not really that heavily wintery - only a small amount of snow and so on - and I don't mind the trees, so I think it will be ok to work on. It shouldn't take very long, anyway, as it's quite open stitching. If I get bored of the snowflakes before I finish, I can always put it aside to finish in November or so.  This church is about 2 evenings work, so you can see it stitches up pretty fast.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

More batik trips

Another bit of sewing I did this weekend was to make a few more scrappy batik trip around the world blocks. I think I have about 9 now, but I will keep making them for a while yet. Not sure how many I am aiming for - no particular number, just want to use up some smaller pieces of batiks which I have hanging about. And these blocks fit in nicely amidst other things.

Monday, February 11, 2013

More birdies

Another cross-stitch picture to show this week - the next installment in the birds; this one is called the Asterisk bird, for obvious reasons.   There's still a few stitches left in the s of the word "feels", but I didn't want to start a new long thread and have it hanging loose for ages, so I'll pick those up when I do the next installment that includes word stitches.  I've begun another piece now, so there will be something different to show for my usual Wednesday update as well...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A little quilting

I spent a good chunk of time this weekend sewing - even managed to do a little quilting during the time - not at lot at once as it can be a bit hard on the wrists.  This little house quilt is a wedding present for a friend and colleague of Geoff's; I am quilting it in a variety of ways and colours a little at a time - it's not the sort of piece for an allover pattern anyway. 

I'm using various kinds of meanders - a square one,

a swirly one

one which echoes the shapes in the fabric

and a regular meander (doesn't show much here).  There will be more - and the houses and roofs will be quilted, too, though not the windows and doors.  And then, I will have to think of something to do in the grass and sky. Time for that later, though!

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Vicki's Strips

I resisted the temptation to title this post something like "Stripping with Vicki", but of course I can't resist the temptation to mention it at all...   Anyway, among other sewing today, I made this smallish top, using these lovely hand-dyed strips that Vicki brought me when we met up in London a while back. 

 I've not used them before because I wanted to do something which really showed them off, and was stuck for ideas. Finally, today, when I moved them yet again from one place to another, thinking "I must use these for something" I decided to make today the day. And I decided that the best thing to do was to let them speak for themselves... I've used 4" strips of 5 of the 7 pieces. I decided the other two, being less bright and a little less varied in colouring might lose a little zing next to the five I chose, so I've put them aside with my other hand-dyes to use in another project, later. And of course, there are some offcuts of the strips I cut!  But I'm pleased with the resulting little top - it really showcases these dyed pieces - and I'm pleased to have finally put such a nice gift to good use.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Cross-stitch finish

As suspected, I finished this one this week - there wasn't a lot left to do, so an evening with Daniel Radcliffe (Woman in Black) saw it completed. I'm glad, too - I'm getting a little tired of winter, so I'm not sure how much more I'd want to work on a winter cross-stitch!

I've picked up the birds on pink to do the latest installment, but it's not very big, so I fully expect it to only take a few evenings.  And then on to something else, which I have selected, but can't off the top of my head remember what it is, other than the fact that it's one of my Historical Sampler Company ones. Hopefully, not a winter themed one!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Scrappy Rail Fence

This is another top made of blocks made as leaders and enders during other work. This one used small rectangles left from the layer cake I've made a few things from, along with some neutral fabric from stash. It's only a little top, but I'm sure will be useful to Project Linus or another charity. As I've got two tops set aside using this layer cake - and I still have other pieces left - I don't mind parting with some of it.  (I just typed "partying" instead of "parting" - Freudian slip?)

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Cross-stitch update

Not a huge amount of progress made this week, although I did get a few more flowers done and begin to fill in the picket fence behind the flowers... Next week, I'll switch back to the winter cross stitch, which I should hopefully finish.  If I do, I have another installment of my birds (on the pink canvas) waiting to be picked up. And I even have everything I need for the piece after that - organised for once!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


A few more in the alphabet series of ATCs - the J doesn't stand for anything - it's just zentangled. 

Monday, February 04, 2013

Granny squares

Among the other things I did on the weekend, I stitched together these blocks to make a top  - I think that ideally, at least, they need more white space and maybe more contrast...