Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bags & Apron

Finally got a chance for a little more sewing - it's been incredibly busy this month - so first on the list was to finish off the stuff I'd offered to put together for the library's fundraiser Summer Fair - two more bags and an apron - all from material which was pre-cut - it was just a matter of assembly. I did manage to do one other thing, which I'll show later in the week - doesn't feel like much, though!  The one bad thing about being away all summer will be lack of sewing time - my mother does have a machine, but of course I won't have access to a lot of stuff, either, so I probably won't sew much. Might make some ATCs, of course...

Just seen this in an email - thought I'd share it - I hope they do well - fun to have a photo of the quilt on the poster!

"Tickets for the raffle are available now – the first prize is a fabulous handmade baby's patchwork quilt. Ask at the library for purchase details (50p each or £1 for three). "

Summer Fair (poster)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

More from the Cotton Robin

Well, I showed you the finished piece I got back from this year's Cotton Robin round robin, but now that the Big Reveal has happened, I can also show the bits I worked on which I couldn't show at the time. 

Above is the block I sent out originally. I didn't think about the fact that it was an "A" until I got the finished piece back - I just saw it as three crossing lines/extended triangle. But as I mentioned the other, I've solved that issue by hanging it the other way up, so it doesn't look like an "A" (it looks like an upside down A...).

This is the first piece I received to work on - this is Catherine's block. My job here was to add the first border. Although there was no strict restriction on how big a border I could add, I knew the piece would get a second border, and there is an overall size restriction, so I wanted to leave space for the next person to work. 

So I added some rays coming out from the centre of the block, using the oriental print which came with the block. I tried to use some of the diagonal lines in the centre piece. Then I added some wavy pieces to suggest water, which I thought went with the fish.  I then sent it along to the next person who added another border before sending it to the person who quilted it. 

And here's what it looks like all quilted!  It's amazing how these things grow and change, I think.

The next piece I received wasn't simply a centre (though this is what it looked like before the addition of the first border) but I forgot to take a photo of it as it was when I received it. 

What I received was everything within the small black border. I only added to three sides of this - I added the stripes radiating out from the centre and the peaky bits across the top on the black background (and the little squares in green and gold to echo the red ones in the centre).  I then sent it off to Julie to be quilted. 

And here's what she did with it - I think it works very well. It's possibly my very favourite quilt in the entire round robin. (Don't get me wrong - I am plenty fond of my own piece!)

And finally, the piece which I quilted - here's how it started out.  Sophie then added some lovely applique flowers and vines and the next person added the outside border. 

It took me a while to decide how to quilt it, but in the end, I started with the applique. I went around those flowers, used that same shape in the centre and the corners, and then echoed the vines. Then, in the four light triangle sections in the middle I quilted a simple flower with tall leaves and did the same in the borders, though the leaves are a bit different in the border. 

It's good fun to work on such a variety of things, most of which, not like what I'd make for myself - challenging sometimes, but also good for your development as a quilter - making you think outside your own box!  I enjoy taking part in this round robin and look forward to a new round perhaps next year...

Friday, June 28, 2013

Quilty visit!

Bizarrely, I wrote this post, and then it vanished into the ether. Not sure what happened, so I shall try again! My friend Karol-Ann came to visit me this weekend, following a brief trip to Wimbledon.  We live near the tennis (15 minutes drive normally, longer during the tennis fortnight) so she popped over after the tennis finished (i.e. was rained out) and had dinner, a lovely evening hanging out, and stayed the night before travelling back to Yorkshire. Especially useful as her mum, visiting from South Africa, was with her and it's quite a long journey down to London and back in one day...

I also invited my friend Lana, who lives nearby, because she knows Karol Ann in the context of longarm quilting - they both have Nolting machines, and when KA acquired hers recently, Lana helped her get up and running. Coincidentally, Lana's mum is also visiting from abroad, so she came along as well.

We had a lovely evening talking and eating and sharing stories and eating and laughing and sewing was done, but I still got some fabricy goodness - a lovely hexagon bag made with African fabrics (KA and I have been involved in a private block swap of African blocks) which I shall use as a project bag, I think, as it's very soft, not at all rigid, so probably wouldn't work well as a handbag. She also brought me some tonal fabris in just my sort of colours. Lovely!

There were also a few zipper bags/pencil cases for the kidsl, but they've wandered off around the house somewhere and I can't work up enough energy to track them down to photograph them!  It's a shame the visit wasn't longer and we didn't have time to sew together, but it was still lovely to see her and we had a great evening.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Stitchy goodness

Of course, I can't go to a quilt or stitching show without purchasing some cross-stitch patterns - and Sandown was no exception. I found three real bargains - only a few pounds each - 

and some others which, while not expensive, were more along the usual lines.

A simple star alphabet sampler

A summery stitchery (I tend to buy autumnal stuff all the time, so am trying to branch out a bit).

And a little house (I probably won't stitch the Home Sweet Home motto  - just the house).

Then there's a little Spring sampler with a house

and a winter piece, which I just thought was really sweet, especially with the fence going along the snow covered hill.

Another sheep themed stitchery (ok, I know, I'm into sheep stitcheries lately, but this one is very different than the virtues). 

And finally, another sampler with a house on it. Can't have too many of those, right?

Yes, I do have far more patterns than I need, but it's nice to have something to suit every mood, and I am working my way through things - I do finish quite a few cross-stitch pieces, so I don't feel too bad about buying them.  These days, I don't buy very many kits as I have quite a large collection of floss colours, both DMC (where I have tons, but still never seem to have all the numbers I need for a new piece) and some of the newer hand-dyes and over-dyes, like Weeks Dye Works, Gentle Art, and so on. 

One thing I did do recently - and I'm not sure if this makes me really organised, really sad, or some combination of the two - was create a spreadsheet for all the patterns I have, listing the colours they need. I also have a page of that sheet listing all the colours I own - this way I can easily determine which colours I need to buy to work on a project. Also keeps me from buying too many duplicates - I do check my box before buying, but if a thread is tucked away with a project somewhere I might not realise I own it - this should help solve that problem...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cross-stitch update

So, this week I finished off the 7th installment of the bird piece - I reckon there's one more installment on the top of the branch - so I'm guessing the next one will be the top right hand corner of the piece - then after that, four on the bottom.  I could be wrong; I guess we'll find out before long.  There are a number of little buttons to add as well, but I'm doing them all at the end, as it makes frame placement while I'm stitching easier not to have them on the piece.

Once this was finished, I started one of my little sheep...

This is "Peace".  Technically, it's not the first of them, but I didn't really feel like stitching a snowflake just now, so I didn't start with hope. You can see the six which have been released so far, on the Little House website. I have four of these patterns in hand, and will receive the others on a monthly basis - I'm hoping to catch up with the installments before too long - they are quite small and quick to sew.   I actually took this sheep with me to start while I was queuing to get into a rock concert on Saturday (The Killers at Wembley) but I didn't get a lot done because it was quite windy and therefore hard to work. Maybe half a sheep or so.  But the rest is just two evenings' work, so you can see how quickly it goes.  Next week, back to the Irises, and then I'll finish off the sheep and perhaps start something new (or another sheep - we'll see...)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fabric in...

I can't go to a quilt show without buying some fabric, and this was no exception. However, I did stick mainly to tonal fabrics, trying to buy where my stash is particularly sparse, like purples and yellows and some white-on-white.

I also stuck to the cheaper sale selections of fabric - I didn't pay more than £1.50 for any of these FQs and as little as £1 for some of them. These are the same FQs, but displayed attractively with the aid of my lovely helper...

These are the only non-tonal ones in the bunch - the two in front are for a specific project (a bag, by request) and the others are prints I liked which made up the numbers in sale offers (e.g. £1.00 each or 6 for £5; £1.50 each or 4 for £5 and so on...).  The only other thing I bought was some cross-stitch patterns, which I will show another day - though I was tempted by a little clip-on light and magnifying glass combo - I don't quite need it yet, but I can see in a few years' time, it may well come in handy!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cotton Robin

Well, I received my little quilt from the Cotton Robin round robin I've been taking part in, but I wasn't able to show it right away, as Julie hadn't done the Grand Reveal yet. Now that she has, I can show the piece I received. It took me a while to work out which was is up.  I think this is what I like best, with the flowers going down the left-hand side.  What do you think?  I like the last one, too, but then the green lines look like an "A" and that grabs my eye too much...

If you want to see all the other pieces, check out the Big Reveal...

I'll try to hunt up the photos of the work I did on the pieces and blog them at some point - I think that's always fun to see...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A few quilts from Sandown

Alex and I popped over the National Quilt Championships at Sandown today - it's only about 15 minutes from us (the girls were busy elsewhere, though).  It's not a large show, but it was enjoyable (partly because it's not a large show - it could be bigger and still enjoyable, but some of the really big ones just hurt my brain after a while). There were several exhibits of quilts by a single artist, in addition to the ones in the general judging categories and the challenges. I haven't taken many photos, partly because I never seem to actually USE any of the photos of quilts I take, even for inspiration, and partly because I don't like to blog lots of photos of other people's quilts, especially when I'm not sure I can keep track of who made which one.   But here are a few where I do know who the artist is, so I feel ok showing them.  This first piece is by Annette Morgan, whose work I really like. Funny thing - I saw this from across the room and was immediately drawn to it - when I saw the name on the label, I thought well, at least my taste is consistent!  The quilt you can see a sliver of to the right of the photo is hers as well - the one to the left, I think not, though it's in similar colours. 

These are both detail shots from the quilt above - I just really like the squares and rectangles in different sizes, and the way they are quilted - in addition ot the colours. This quilt is both geometric and quite random at the same time, which I like.   Her work is wonderful - if you aren't familiar with her, do go check her out. 

Ferret, a longarm quilter who does amazing work, had an exhibition of some of her quilts (quite a few, though not one of my favourites - her cows!) there - I've picked out just one to show, although I like many of them. This one (Phoenix Rising) is a good example of one of the things I like about her work - from a distance, this is a lovely quilt of a Phoenix with lots of interesting colour gradation, etc. But it's up close where the quilt really begins to amaze, I think - have a look at the quilting detail in the photo below...

all around the Phoenix, there are red flames quilted, and further out, black quilted onto black.  And the quilting on the bird itself is amazing. The photos on her own website show the quilting even better - do go have a look!

This is a detail of a quilt by Lesley Brankin, who I've known for many years (since before Alex was born) - we were members of a birthday block swap together a long time ago.  The members of this group stayed in touch for quite a long time and some of us are still good friends to this day. I haven't seen Lesley in a while, but I really enjoyed seeing her piece at Sandown - it's really lovely. 

And this is a quilt which I just liked - I took about 5 more pictures of quilts I just liked, but this is the only one where I remembered to also take a photo of the blurb, so I'd know who the artist was.  The quilt is called Dance, and is by Rebecca Handyside. As far as I can tell, she doesn't blog or have a website, but she's made a nice quilt - I enjoyed looking at it!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A few things to give away

Here are some more cross-stitch patterns I'm ready to send on to new homes.  This first one is for two small pieces - Eek & Creepy are part of the same pattern. I did try to give this one away before but the person who wanted it was set to no-reply,  or I deleted her message or something, and I never managed to connect back up. If it was you, please try again - first priority to that person, otherwise, will happily send to whoever wants it.

A little garden sampler - photo not great, but you can see it stitched up, here

This little Spring Sampler won't come with the cabbage button, as I have used it, but you can do a stitched cabbage - it's a different colour green underneath, so it looks just fine anyway. You can see it in this post - if you aren't using the button, you stitch a spiral on top of the cabbage ...

This pattern has two different samplers in it - the one I stitched (on the left) and another, which I won't stitch. 

This is actually a kit which was passed along to me from another person who also was given it as a gift. I kept it for a while, thinking I might get to it, but I have now decided I won't, so let me know if you want it. Although it's a kit, it's small and not heavy, so I don't mind posting it abroad.

This is a different lighthouse - just a pattern from a magazine; it's one page. It's quite sweet, but again, I'm not going to stitch it.

This one is a photocopy of a booklet I got from a friend of mine. I've finally decided that I'm not going to stitch anything from it, but it's got some cute stuff. 

And finally, another kit - it's for a bookmark, so again, it's small. But we have tons of bookmarks and I doubt I'll ever get to it. 

If you are interested in any of these, leave a comment and let me know which one(s) and I'll draw winners (if necessary) in a week or two.