Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Looking forward

I see lots of people posting about resolutions for the new year. I have been thinking a lot about mine. So I want to make a list of things I really want to achieve.
Free motion quilting - I have the Leah Day craftsy class I have no excuse, get going
Silk quilt - this was started very successfully, interrupted for treatment but no excuses now, knuckle under.
Farmers wife - sadly neglected, a few false starts, lets get this baby moving again.
A few reminders of silk quilt & favourite farmers wife blocks to get me going.

Sunday, 2 December 2012


I know, it's not Hogmanay yet but I have been doing a lot of thinking about where I want to how with my quilting and the arrival of the last instalment of the Hello Sun block of the month reminded me of this.
I have so loved this BOM, every month it has literally added a bit of sunshine to my life, now my blocks are not perfect some are a bit *rustic* :-) but it's not something I normally do, has pushed my boundaries a bit and taught me a fair bit.
So next year, no indiscriminate signing up to any BOM which fleets past me but more targeted signing up for things which will challenge me and which I will actually enjoy!
Here are some of my blocks.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Black and white

I saw this pattern in a magazine months ago, me and my patchworking chum Irene decided to make it our project for one of our patchwork weekends. It's been a challenge finding just the right black and white fabrics, especially the white, some whites look too creamy placed alongside other more snowy whites. I was delighted to find the white and black versions of the number fabric going really cheap at the festival of quilts this year, I bought lots of yardage of both, they will do for many more quilts. I just eked out enough of the last border fabric, had to do a wee bit of frankensteining but I don't think it shows too much.
Once I master FMQ ing this will be one of the first babies to go under the machine!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Finishes for 2012

It's been a messy year, I was full of hope for 2012 and while I don't think it fulfilled its promise neither did it totally disappoint.
I felt during my treatment when I had lots of time off that I had clarified in my mind what direction I wanted to take quilt wise. I had lots of time to sew, going back to work and study full time was a bit of a shock. I felt during my treatment when I had lots of time off that I had clarified in my mind what direction I wanted to take quilt wise. I had lots of time to sew, going back to work and study full time was a bit of a shock. I think I now have more clarity, probably a lot to do with studying educational theory for my PG cert. Reading about surface and deep approaches to learning led me to think about my approaches to patchwork, mostly surface if truth be told. Well let 2013 be the year of a deeper approach. More in depth FMQ ing and less mindless joining in of any QAL which takes my fancy.
So with that resolution in mind, I will buy the Leah Day FMQ class from Craftsy and eventually crack the whole FMQ ing thing. My time off during treatment was great for getting my piecing loads better now my finishing needs attention.
So lets finish this post with some of the finishes I did in 2012.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Playing about

I have been playing about, making more changes, feeling restless. The digital photography course was good, but ... I am not a good photographer. It doesn't come naturally so I will keep trying to perfect it but I have a loooooong way to go.
So I will just plod along trying to make my photos better. The main thing I have been doing is catching up with my Flickr stream. Goodness I had been neglecting it a lot! And the more I had to upload the less inclined I felt like to do it.
Plus it wasn't helped by the completely useless apps for the iPad for Flickr. I have to say that's been my main bugbear with the iPad, the complete and utter useless photography apps. There are some great apps but you can't join them up? You can't access the photos in them from any of the Flickr apps which only seem to go to the official iPad photo storage. I may be missing something but this seems bonkers.
Anyhow, I found a new Flickr app, flickstackr I had to pay for it but it was under two pounds and it has just paid for itself. You can edit quickly and easily in upload mode, organising, tagging sorting is a breeze and it has a lovely flipboard style interface. Double plus good.
So here, apropos of nothing are some gratuitous photos, just because I can and they are all now lovingly sorted in Flickr.

The finished quilt from Bunny hill designs
scrappy Dresden quilt along.

My first two mini quilts from Moose on the porch it's a mini quilt along.
Now all I need to do is catch up with my naming of my farmers wife quilt along blocks ...

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Sunday, 7 October 2012

Digital photography course

Well if you have been reading my blog (you haven't I've seen the stats :-) you would know my shame at my appalling photography skills, my non existent photography skills!
So I went on a course, digital plant photography at the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh to be precise. Now what on earth do I know about plants? Sweet nothing is the answer but I figured plants ... Fabric ... What's the difference?
Soooooo what did I learn?
First thing is, don't get lashed into the wine the night before, always make sure you know exactly where you are going, saves on those pesky taxi fares *sigh*
It was a great course, fab tutor, really knew her stuff, was great with all the participants. I had been reading the manuals before hand but after today they make more sense. I now realise that my wee compact is probably a bit too simplistic and husbands big SLR thingy is a bit too complicated.
Now I am not going to talk confidently about ISO, depth of field etc, but neither will I feel like a complete numpty if someone else talks about them. I do now know what all of the buttons on the cameras do.
Having looked at my photographs, I now feel way more confident about experimenting, using different settings, i need to translate this into the quilty world, but all that need is practice!
I would thouroughly recommend this course to anyone in the Edinburgh area, if you are from further afield then have a look around and see what is out there, look at colleges, local camera clubs etc. Cameras are not cheap and I now feel I may just be starting to get  my moneys worth.
Here are a selection of pics from the day, it was a 2 day course so these are the ones I am taking back next week for the tutor to critique.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Ch, ch, ch, changes

I must come across as a bit fickle, only two weeks ago I was rhapsodising about my quilt class now I am on here saying it is all change!
I thought long and hard about going back, it costs a fair bit, about £65 for a seven week block so its a fair investment in both time and money, one night a week is a lot out of my schedule.
This week I went and didn't really enjoy myself, my (smaller light weight) machine was playing up, wouldn't feed in the fabric on point, kept on chewing it up. The ladies at the class are nice, they are not unfriendly, but I didn't actually speak to any of them, they were busy catching up with each other. Fair enough but it got me thinking what am I getting out of this? I am certainly not an advanced piecer by any means but I would say I am a fairly good intermediate piecer, I haven't needed any help from the teacher, the quilt is nice but one I could easily make from a book or magazine.
So I am cutting my losses and not going back, there were only two more nights to go.
Instead I got in touch with the Stirling Castle Quilters, their second meeting was last Thursday so off I trotted.
What a lovely bunch of ladies, made me feel so welcome. It's £20 for the year so I don't feel I have to go to every meeting, but I think I will. They only meet twice a month which is more in keeping with my schedule.
Sometimes you find yourself doing things out of habit, I need to question what I do more often, I am looking forward to these changes!
Just so I can add a picture of what I have been up to here is a pick of the latest bloggers block of the month from the BOM by Canton Village Quilt Works.

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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Falling in love again

I have totally fallen in love with the Farmers Wife quilt along. I did manage to do three blocks last week, two fairly easy and one more tricky one, but, if I stick to the templates and don't rush at it, I seem to end up with some pretty accurate blocks, now how did that happen :-)
Motto of this tale is read and follow instructions and take your time.
Here are my wee beauties:

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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Farmers wife and being organised

I seriously need to get organised, use my time more productively. I have stalled with the poor farmers wife quilt along, I have about 35 wee blocks done, not insubstantial but still only about a quarter of the way through. How do I fit these into my already insane schedule? I figure if I can get some cut out, maybe about four cut out at a time then I can use the half hour in the morning when I used to walk Bud to get them done, if I aim to do two a week I could get another 30 done by Christmas, I would be well over half way then. Anyhoo, here are some pictures of my finished blocks to try and inspire me.

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Moving with a purpose

Right, we are getting organised in the patchwork room, farmers wife templates looked out for next three blocks. I was horrified to see that I have only done twenty six blocks instead of the thirty or so I thought I and done ... Not good!
I also want to participate in the It's a mini quilt sew along from Moose on the porch. I was so lucky to win this book in the Hello Sun BOM by April Mae designs.
I have more charm packs than you can shake a stick at so I really want to use up some of the ones which have been languishing at the bottom of my charm pack box.
There is one which I got from the 2010 Birmingham quilt festival, I attended the Fat Quarterly design challenge (at which I was dreadful, can't design at all) anyway I got this charm pack, it is so not my colours, they are dark and very muddy. So this poor charm pack has been feeling very unloved. BUT inspiration hit when I paired it up with this perfect fat quarter, I have decided this will be the first mini I do from the book for the sew along, don't you love it when a plan comes together!
Here is the (now loved) charm pack and it's very own fat quarter.

well that picture was lost, thanks blogsy!

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Thursday, 6 September 2012

On point, or not as the case may be

I thought long and hard about going back to my regular patchwork class n a Wednesday evening. I had to stop going while I was having chemo. I hadn't been able to go for a few months before that due to work. I have been thinking long and hard about why I quilt and what direction I want to take with it. I will never sell my quilts, I always want to remain doing them for pleasure, but I don't want to stick doing the same old stuff with different fabric. My illness allowed me the freedom to explore a bit more, be more adventurous. Which I thoroughly enjoyed.
So did I want to go back to a class where we do tend to stick to the more traditional techniques?
Well on balance I would say yes, I had such fun last night, lovely seeing old chums and so relaxing just pootling away at blocks I know well.
Also I realised I still need to work on my accuracy, as these quarter square blocks show:

One on the left I am pleased with, the one on the right, not so, but I'm not going to take it out .... It's not that bad :-)
So roll on class, it is actually quite a clever quilt which uses flying geese units to create the illusion of it being on point. Progress pics will be posted.

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Monday, 3 September 2012

Swapping, lesson learned

So I took the plunge and entered my first ever quilt swap the 3rd round of the Brit quilt swap. After several weeks of frantic sewing quilting and fretting my little baby (literally, the brief was a mini quilt) was posted on Saturday. Sitting mulling over the experience (accompanied by a chilled glass of rose) I wanted to record, mainly for my own benefit, lessons learned from the experience.
So what do I take away from this?
First off, yes I do tend to overcommit but that is not necessarily a bad thing, I was more than able to complete what was a quite complex quilt in the allotted time.
Secondly it's not the quilt itself which tripped me up but the peripherals which I did not consider until it was too late (well almost!)
What do I mean?
Well packaging for posting for a start, standing in Bonnybridge post office with half an hour till closing is not the best place to decide on what packaging to use.
Binding - I need to practice this, I do too much by machine and need to get hand sewn binding cracked.
Label!! Most of my quilts go to Project Linus so I do do much in the way of labels, I need to start, there were some beautiful labels in this swap, i must learn to do better ones.
But my partner loved it (well was polite enough to say she did :-) and I had great fun doing it. Here is the finished result.


And because I did two centers, one light and one dark, I had a spare with which to make a mini mini quilt.

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Sunday, 26 August 2012


It's been a while! Can't believe I haven't posted in August yet. Tsk tsk, I keep thinking I need to get better photographs, but if I wait till I am a better photographer then I will never post .... I am going on a course in October, fingers crossed that will improve things.
So I am dipping my quilting toes into the swapping waters. British Quilt Swap 3, it's a mini quilt.
I was intrigued by my partners mosaic and likes and dislikes. I quickly decided on a very traditional quilt. My partner mentioned she liked machine embellishments so the light bulb went off (doesnt happen often!) and the idea of the silk quilt centre from the Heirloom silk quilt crystallised.
So here is the progress, starting with all the different petals


 There are four different petals, you need to make four of each. I think my favourite are the lightest ones here. They are the most fun and least stressful to do.
Then you need to sew them all together in a circle.

The centre piece is next, I couldn't decide between the light centre

Or the dark one

I let my partner decide, and dark it was

I have candlewicked round the outside and now just need to put on backing and binding. Oh yes must not forget the label!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


I was trying to find things to be grateful for today and struggled, really struggled. It's miserable, rain, cold, am on a train which looks like it is going to be late so I will miss my connection.
So I start looking through my pictures of blocks and finished quilts and realise I have a lot to be grateful for. Not least that I am still here and able to continue with a hobby that gives me so much pleasure.
I have finished off a few quilts recently and these two give me immense pleasure. They were the first quilt along online blocks I did when I started chemo last year. It was the Über fest QAL, quite a tight deadline there was one block per day, I choose to do it in batiks as I had a lot of batiks left over from an Amy Butler quilt I did.
I remember loving waiting to see when the blocks would benposted, it took my mind off what was going on and gave me a focus, thank you to the organisers for that.
I made the blocks into two quilts as I want to give them to Project Linus, I think a child will appreciate the bold colours and wild pattern. So here they are.


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Sunday, 8 July 2012

Raspberry ripple ice cream float

I got the new book from Fat Quarterly Shape workshop, I loved the soda pop quilt in there, faux cathedral windows bright colours, right up my street. When I saw from Lilly's quilts that Sew Allegorical was having a quilt along I had to join in.
I had some packs of fabric from Festival of quilts last year, 6.5 inches square, so I decided to use these with some others thrown in for good luck.
I found this wild orangy batik which is brilliant for the pop it all reminds me of the ice cream floats I had as a child, hence the name.
Some initial work has been done, more to come!

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Friday, 6 July 2012

Over committing again!

Grey dreich Saturday morning, tea and toast in my uber chaotic sewing room. Just thinking yet again of my tendency to over commit. Currently I am doing five BOM s Farmers wife quilt (sadly neglected) Silk quilt, Soda pop QAL and I have at least three quilt tops to make up ..... Oh yes and that is without taking into account the drawstring bag and cross stitch bookmark I have to make for the rural.
I am not the kind of person who can just leave projects in drawers I need to get on top of this and it starts today.
Housework first then this chaos gets a good swift kick up the bahoukie.

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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Old friends

Well its been an eventful few days. Checkup at hospital, all is still well, my long lost niece turns up and she now has six children! Christmas is going to be fun :0)
I have reconnected with some old quilts. While down at husbands parents I saw a lap quilt I made for his Nan who is sadly no longer with us. It reminded me of the pattern I used which I loved at the time. It was originally a quillow pattern, I did the first one in greens for my mother. When I was up at the weekend I managed to get a few pictures of that one.

Now these are even worse pictures than normal! But the light was dreadful. Here is the one I did for husbands Nan, now this was taken on my mobile so quality not good but you get the idea.
I must try and get better pictures, I do love the softer colours I used for the second one.
Well I cant find that picture on flickr so we will have to leave it out for just now!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Saying goodbye

I love all my quilts, some more than others but I don't think there is one I don't like.
So it was with a heavy heart I took some quilts along to my new project Linus coordinator. When I was folding them up I realised I hadn't seen them for a while and I really didn't want to part with them. This batch had a couple of batik quilts in it, if you see my quilts you know I love colour and these have a whole lot of colour in them.
But when I got to see Nikki my new coordinator I realised I had done the right thing. One of the places she will be giving them too is a respite centre for children who have cancer. I can't actually write that without tears in my eyes. Having just come through six months of chemo myself it's hard to think of a child having to do so.
Anyhoo, these will hopefully give some comfort and cheer, they were made with a lot of love.
This is the top of one of the double bed sized quilts I made here are some more shots.

Now for the batiks! Get your sunglasses on!

This I think is my ultimate favourite of the batch, lovely and loud.




I hope they are enjoyed and bring some cheer.