Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Where did March go?

I have been distracted.... my attention has been centred elsewhere & you don't need to know any of the details but I did manage a great day out in London meeting up with other members of one of my sewing bees... Bumbling Honeys came out of my visit to the first Fat Quarterly retreat and I was so happy to meet up with them again after 2 years.. ( I missed last years meet..)
So off I set to Islington for a day of chat, eating and shopping.. we visited Raystich for fabric and Loop for wool (and apparently I 'enabled' in a handbag shop!!)

Although I have enough fabric to insulate a house I did have to purchase some lovely organic cotton and patterns to make the Fabulous Frida some clothes.. - a sneaky way to get swag past the chancellor, who is rather smitten with said Granddaughter FF.
So one afternoon I managed to make up this small pinafore for her to wear on holiday & took it out to Spain as we have just had a lovely relaxed week indulging in family time & tapas...
Here she is in her Charley Harper ensemble..... I think I'm going to be making a few more of these..


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

I'm sewing.....



Has Spring sprung?





You won't believe it but one of my resolves for this year was to get myself organised. I figured that I wasted a lot of time searching for things that have been misplaced or buried. Unfortunately this takes some time to achieve & blogging has taken a back seat as usual.... Enough..!

I am juggling a lot of 'Sewing Balls' in the air at the moment..... Bee Blocks.... Class Teaching Samples, Projects for a book (not mine) and finally a quilt for my parents....
I don't know about you but I have always been a 'last minute' type person..... I work best with a deadline..... My parents celebrate their Diamond (60 years) Wedding Anniversary on March 6th - and before you ask...... they waited a few years for me to come along.... so there!  So last week I suddenly decided that a quilt would be a great present.... I'm not such an airhead to think I could get this done in such time that I have available ... So I searched my UFO's...... Ta Dah....!! I found one.... 
This was a design I came up with 2 or 3 years ago for a class using a Layer Cake... The fabrics are William Morris designs and the colours are, thankfully suitable for my parents.... I cheated by using a border stripe fabric for speed and am now quilting it.. 
I bought a class from Craftsy - Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine...with Ann Petersen 
This is a really good class, she has a ton of information - some of which I already knew but she takes it a step further, and some ideas which are totally knew to me. The tips on spray basting have speeded up the process and given me a super sandwich to sew on... And there is more than one process to quilt a large quilt on a domestic machine..   I'm not advertising but I always thinks it helps to hear from a neutral party... 

That little patch in the bottom right is auditioning for the quilting.... It is simple and can be sewn in one continuous line.... Both of which tick my limited machine quilting skills box....

Doti has been 'patiently' waiting on my blocks for the Siblings bee.... I have to confess they have been finished for a couple of weeks but got 'tidied' away with another project.... I thought I would be remaking them.... Happily they were found and have gone off in the post.... Her designs request was for Slab Blocks.... Simple monotone scrap blocks with a flash of white.... She has been hand quilting them as they arrive... I think this quilt will be lovely & snugly...
A siren red block....
And a precious purple......

If my stash had been organised this would be a really speedy process..... Off to sort a bit more & finish the quilting on Diamond Links..... I may put the binding on as I have already fixed the edge down & can handsew it during the evenings.... Time is getting tight....



Sunday, 5 January 2014

Normal Service.....?

 Well I have a whole list of excuses for my period of 'radio silence' but most of it can be summed up by one picture.....


Just the best thing you could have in your stocking at Christmas....!
Followed by a houseful for NYE and after that I went into meltdown for a few days....

Hope you all had the Christmas season you wished for...... 
And now for 2014 ~ no resolutions, recriminations or promises..... It's a new Year.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Busy with Bees....

I may be quiet but I'm busy.... 
The Bee blocks keep coming and I'm having a great time....
 It's November and I'm a Bee Mama....in the Fat Quarterly Bee - (now renamed Bumbling Honeys... you had to be there!.)  Yay..!  
I am still finishing up my quilt from last year, so I thought that this year I would make mine a little simpler.... But that doesn't mean it won't have IMPACT...
I had made this block for the Siblings Together bee earlier this year and loved the easy fun technique. It makes up really quickly - so the girls were very kind and made 2 foundation squares each which then convert to 4 half square blocks. I sent out strips from a Jelly Roll and coordinating plains so that the colours would all work together. I am going to have so much fun playing with 48 squares to make a design.... The trouble will be choosing.....

Our Siblings Together Bee 2 block this month is for Sue and she has chosen a super pair known as Nut & Bolt.... I think the original name is Monkey Wrench but this method gives you a positive & a negative pattern... So one is a Nut & one is a Bolt.... Just don't ask me which is which....
I think this is going to be another lovely quilt for a child going through a tough time.... This is such a worthwhile cause and I am so pleased to be involved.... Becoming a Nannie has made it more thought provoking and makes me realise that not every child comes into this world with the built in support network of a close family. The reports of the tragic little boy Hamza, starved to death by the woman who gave birth to him ( I can't call her a mother) and then left for 2 years in his cot, has affected me deeply this week.... Children are innocents, it's always adults that mess their lives up. 
So if anyone not in this bee wants to get involved please get in touch..... It's a great way to find a home for those quilt tops lurking in your sewing room.. And you will be giving comfort to a child separated from their siblings.... 

Friday, 25 October 2013

I'm Viral

I've been busy making Bee blocks and it has been great fun.. For the Siblings Together Bee 2 -  Celine has designed a Pixel block that will make a fantastic quilt for a child.. The blocks will create a secondary design when they all join together.... Clever..


The FQR Bee is back for a 2nd year.... We have changed the name (dropped the 'kinky' part for obvious reasons...)  Carol had given us a 'Free rein' on the design for her block... We just had a title of Its a Wonderful World - right from the start I wanted to do Trees.... ( a play on my name??) I just love Trees.... At any season, their shape & colour give me great pleasure. 
My block is fused & then stitched.... I cut the leaves out using a Sizzix die... I was really pleased with the way it turned out...



We share our Bee blocks by using Flickr - an online photo sharing site.... I started getting comments and views from a lot of people I didn't recognise.... Then realised that my picture had been randomly accepted onto the 'Explore' area of the site.... Where people can browse through random pictures .... If they see something that interests them, they  have a closer look, which counts as a 'view'..... I am up over 5,000 views ... Just for my little tree block! 
My husband thinks it's all a great laugh...

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

She's Here.....

Lovely exciting news.... the arrival of our first Grandchild... From my son James and his wife Roisha.

Frida Cristabel was born on Friday 4th October at 9.47am.... after a beautiful water birth.... weighing 7lbs12oz...
Here is her first picture at 30 mins old.....





Water birth babies are said to be very relaxed at first as their entry into the world is more natural to them..... This little Sweet Pea is relaxed full stop.... She hardly cries at all and so far is perfectly behaved... no fretting or fussing. I doubt her parents will be this lucky for long but its very welcome when you are first time parents getting to know the ropes....

Frida (as in Frida Kahlo the Artist - I hope she doesn't have her monobrow!!) 
Christabel (as in Pankhurst - Mum is a history teacher..)
We love the names.... 



Here we are at 3 days old bonding with Nannie.... or Grannie ..... or ....??????? I can't decide who I want to be.... but I don't need a name for now... just looking at this little face will do me...

Friday, 20 September 2013

Getting stuck in...

My busy summer had left me a little behind with sewing bee blocks etc. So when I had 3 days to myself I headed to my sewing room and got to work...

As I am Bee Mama for Siblings Together Bee 2 I was rather embarrassed to be 3 months behind... So first on the list was a confetti block for Svea - this was July...




I liked the easy way this went together but it was a little heavy on white fabric... I think this was because I was only making one block... There were quite a few bits left over that I may turn into a cushion.

August was Colourful Log Cabins.... With a contrast centre these were easy to put together and I probably took longer sorting and choosing fabrics than the actual sewing.



This will make a lovely colourful quilt that will give Suzy loads of choice when putting it together... Modern Log Cabin doesn't focus on the distribution of dark/light colours so the old style patterns don't appear but I still think its a fun block.


September -  Leah had chosen String blocks...


We had some fabric kindly donated by Annie from  The Village Haberdashery and Svea had sent out colour themed packs to us all. I really enjoyed doing these, I used a foundation paper like 'Stitch n Tear' which gives a nice base to sew on. The method that Leah chose was to make a HST with the String square and a plain white square - so this divided each block in 2 and we quickly had four squares to play with.. after each block was complete I removed the paper. The pattens available with these blocks are endless...

This is a wonderful way to use scraps and as I am currently having a 'sort out' of my huge overflowing scrap boxes, one of the 'subsections will be Strips.... I have also bought some new dies for my Sizzix and will be cutting other scraps into 2½"& 4½" squares and 2½" x 4½" rectangles.

We are under a week to go before my first Grandchild 'should' make her appearance but 'Operation Baby Watch' is actually blocking out 3 weeks in my calendar just in case... (don't tell the expectant Mum..)
I have made the quilt top but got a bit carried away and it is currently at 60" square...!! Slightly large for a new born so I am quickly making up another smaller quilt that will be easier to carry around and smaller to lay on the floor... I have been wanting to make something from my Summersville charm pack  (by Lucy) and this is just the job, pattern is from one of my all time favourite 'quick quilt' books - Simplify by Camille Roskelly..


Just got to sew it up, pop a border on, quilt it and we are good to go.... So any time you are ready to arrive Little Miss Wardlaw.......?!!!!