Not much time left!

As some of you will know, I’m working on quite a large project on the computer than needs completing this week (no it’s nothing exciting or quilty in any way) so I can order my holiday spending money, so this is taking priority, BUT…

imageimage2There’s always a little time for sewing isn’t there? I’ve started making two sew together bags which will be made in a batch of two, one for my wedding make up (the Field Day one- totally got inspiration from Sonia on the fabric choice for this) and one for my in-flight hand sewing which shockingly will be for my Instagram Mini swap. Yes you heard right- I am HAND PIECING.

Don’t get used to it!

It’s a shame but the quilting tension on my panels isn’t great, my machine seems to be hiccuping again so I’m going to have to patiently experiment with the tension, etc. Again.

This time next week I will be frantically packing my suitcases and probably forgetting all of the make-up/jewellery/shoes/formal documentation/tickets/general holiday stuff, etc needed. OK now I’m nervous. Tomorrow evening is itinerary-writing-with-Port night, then I will know when I am going to make the trip to Edmonton, when I will have free time between hockey games (Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks) , going to Canmore for a photographer meeting, going to Banff town hall for our wedding license, the helicopter tour and visiting the restaurants I already know I want to go to… it’s not going to be relaxing but we won’t get bored!

I will not be having any FAL finishes this quarter for the first time in three years but I have an excellent reason.

Not your usual WIP plus Hug Hearts

I haven’t actually been sewing at all the last few days, which makes blogging a bit harder. The usual times have been filled with taking Hank to puppy day care, getting shin splints, boring appointments, going out for a carvery and that kind of thing, but I have kind of been working.

I’ll have more photos when I’m finally all done (hopefully this weekend) but the workroom is getting an overhaul and a helluva lot of stuff is being thrown away. In fact, anyone who wants some Sizzix dies for paper and maybe a couple suitable for appliqué, please give me a yell as I have a bunch I was going to put on eBay but I’m not sure I can be bothered. My scraps are moving location and being resorted with the stupidly small bits being chucked, I’m losing an entire piece of furniture and I’m hoping my clock will get put on the wall! WIP pics…

And the always expressionless Hank… thankfully he’s not such an annoying companion in the sewing room anymore. Solution? Give the dog a bone! He’s seven months old now.

Before I forget, I got a surprise in the post yesterday from the ladies on the Popular Patchwork forum (where I’ve been MIA for a few weeks, oops). How sweet of them! I got some “hug hearts” which are heart appliqué blocks usually sent to members who are having a stressful time, etc. I think someone who reads this blog (Margaret?!) may have tipped them off about my imminent wedding, totally unexpected thank you! Love the card too, thanks Katy, it’s gone on my wall :) I really should make some for others, especially now I’ve received some!

Having a doodle

I’ve decided to move onto quilting my neglected Lone Star quilt (btw any suggestions for names?) – it’s been sat on top of my shelves for a couple of months now since I basted it. I printed off a photo of the finished top and had a doodle…

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Other than the bubbles (I hate doing them, so I’m probably going to continue with the little stipple from the applique areas), this is the plan!

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Yeah after winding bobbins, changing needles and cleaning out the fluff, I managed to stitch in the ditch around one diamond today, that’s it!

Diospyros quilt top

I’ve been working with a Basic Grey Persimmon jelly roll lately and have finally finished the top, ready for basting on my favourite extra large floor this weekend (once I have sorted the backing of course). I’ve not yet decided on a quilt pattern, but I’m thinking something nature-y, like maybe some vines and leaves, and an orange peel border.

A happy coincidence is that the flower shapes look like the flowers of the Persimmon (or Sharon Fruit in the UK) plant, part of the Diaspyros genus, hence the name I’ve decided upon for this quilt.

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I’m now getting on with some longer term WIPs!

English Country Garden BOM – Block 6 – Dahlia

This one will be up for an extra week folks as I’m going on holiday to get married and won’t be back the first monday of October. Luckily I made this one a good one!

Here’s your next pattern for the BOM, the Dahlia. The next one is out on the 13th October so this pattern is free to download until then. Previous templates are $1.50 in my Craftsy shop if you missed out.
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Click here to download

This pattern includes repeat instructions from the last block, but with new templates. The instructions are: making bias tape stems, turned edge and raw edge machine applique, thread choices and the pattern in standard and mirrored formats depending on which type of applique you opt for. Instructions are included for an inset circle background too.

I’m on the end of an e-mail if you get stuck, just leave a comment or email me.

For previous posts on the BOM, please click the button below. Don’t forget to share your photos in the Flickr group!

WIP Wednesday

You know how I have a BOM design to do, an appliqué bear quilt, a pixel quilt and a magazine project (not to mention an untouched Finish Along list) I’m working on, or SHOULD be working on? I’ve also got a 100-180 page manual I’m working on on the side for holiday spending money (one month!!!). Yeah I’ve been making this quilt instead…

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I love the autumnal-ness of Basic Grey’s Persimmon line. I’m now thinking I have made a quilt from a considerable number of their ranges, especially this year. Off the top of my head I have a Max and Whiskers footstool, a Curio quilt, a PB&J quilt, a 25th and Pine quilt (still under wraps for a little while longer but complete) and a Hello Luscious quilt in my long term WIPs before we even consider this one. This will be my 6th proper size Basic Grey creation.

image2(pictures courtesy of OH whilst I’m not at home….)

I’ve got three more blocks to finish up and then sew together the four patches when I’m happy with the diversity of prints. Then it will be sashed with coloured cornerstones and a border of squares also from the Persimmon range. This quilt will be square and it uses exactly a jelly roll, and I’m pretty pleased with myself that the idea worked out that way as precuts are hard to gauge until you just get stuck in! I’ll have to be good for now as I’m almost out of Kona Glacier and need another 1/2 yard (I think) to finish this. Funny how I never gauge the solids quite so well!

I’m hoping this will be a magazine project in the future too.

Right, well I have a new bike this evening, time to find out if I still hate cycling or of I can embrace it. My new bike isn’t red but that’s pretty much the only thing wrong with it (especially since I didn’t buy it!). Time to work off that massive Maltesers bar I ate all of today…

What do you think?

OK so I have three projects on the go right now, only one of which you have actually seen. And then I want to make OH the bear quilt.

I’ve been thinking though, I would kinda like to make another pixel quilt. OH says I should go for smaller pixels so I am thinking 3/4″ finished squares, otherwise there will be as much fabric in the seam allowances as in the top if I go smaller. It’s probably not going to happen this side of Christmas but I like to think ahead, and this is where you come in.

Who do I make a quilt of? I’ve decided to limit myself to someone British, an entertainer and someone still alive, and that’s pretty much it. Part of me thinks it should be a woman this time, but I don’t want to miss a fab idea by dismissing the male gender completely. I also would like it to be of someone who was around any time from 1990 to the present day rather than going more historic than that. My list in my head at the minute is…

French and Saunders

Bill Bailey

Celia Imrie

Rowan Atkinson as Blackadder

Any other suggestions, or votes for any of the above?

Bloghop thing

Ruth asked me to take part in the Around the World blog hop. I don’t normally like these things but seeing as I like her, here are my answers…

1. What am I working on?
I’ve done absolutely nothing on my Finish Along list, so I guess I’m not working on any of THAT, but I had a play with a jelly roll on Sunday morning after being ill in the night and having clever ideas as a result (anyone else get this?). So this will probably be my next project when I have some sewing time. Maybe tonight?

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
It probably doesn’t, but I don’t like rules. Rules are for schools. I don’t like that something seemingly has to be classed as either traditional or modern by quilt police on either side. I don’t like that brown and batiks are the bad guys of the moment but feedsack repro prints (which I love by the way) and Liberty fabrics are somehow fresh and “on trend” despite their roots being just as historically placed. I can get behind ‘contemporary’ as it just means I made it now, which is true. Anyway blah blah you’ve heard all this before….

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I have noticed a bit of a theme starting to emerge and that is I like to make things that relate to me culturally. That sounds like I’m being artsy and arrogant, but what I mean is I like making stuff that is to do with entertainment of my time. I’ve made a quilt block in the shape of a floppy disk, I made the famously redundant Billy Bass, an iPhone inspired cushion and I’ve featured Stephen Fry and David Bowie on quilts. I’d quite like to make a CD-ROM quilt and also if I’m going to make another celebrity quilt I’m pretty certain it will be Annie Lennox next. No hard hitting “proper art” relating to real news issues will come from me I can assure you on that, though I think Jacquie Gering does it wonderfully.

There are many many exceptions though to these rules, as explained in….


3. Why do I write/create what I do?

I also like making animal quilts, mostly because they usually turn out right so I’m comfortable making them. I need to make a bear one for OH soon actually, I have promised. What happened was, I made the moose and it got promoted from the designated wall to the living room and now the designated wall is still quilt naked….

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I make stuff that is designed as patterns so needs to be more commercial in design, fabric choices, etc. Yeah I’m a sell out ;) My quilting habit is funded by the sale of my patterns to magazines, and more recently, within my Craftsy shop. So I have to take this into account and that’s why a lot of my quilts don’t actually fit in with what I said over the previous two paragraphs.


4. How does my writing/creating process work?

I take photos as I work on my new designs and make barely legible notes of measurements, sometimes on the table (or the wall) itself if I’ve got no paper to hand. Then if I pitch the end result to a magazine, all I need to do is use the pictures and notes as a memory guide It amazingly always works.

Whilst I’m talking about my thoughts on design and stuff, it falls in neatly with a meme doing the rounds that I saw on Molli Sparkles’ blog yesterday

13 Spools
I think this is a great idea, and it brings a bit of realism into blogland that isn’t all “everybody loves this fabric so you should too”, and, “I’ve got a new book out, you’d better buy it because everyone else has” that. Sometimes we have these doubts that we’re not fitting in with the crowd, and that’s OK. Here’s the original post by Amy. May as well do this as well, then!
  1. I am scared of Y seams and mess them up every time I am brave enough to try them again.
  2. I seriously do not have the time for hand quilting, hand applique, hand anything. The machine is king in this house. Actually I don’t think that’s really a secret. I only break this rule to avoid machine Y seams!
  3. I don’t get the hype around Anna Maria Horner’s designs- I liked some of True Colors and the daisy-type print in Pretty Potent but the rest, no thanks. I own the ones I like. I do admire her FU attitude to traditional colour combinations though, Alison Glass is also amazing at this.
  4. I think brown and neon colours are a pretty awesome combination.
  5. I don’t ever bury my thread ends. I just snip them off and nothing has fallen apart yet.
  6. I think some notions, fabric ranges, magazines, etc are overrated, and my cynical side says this is due to a very well created marketing campaign, but I’m not completely sold (Clover wonder clips, Cotton + Steel and Aurifil amongst others, I’m looking at you, you marketing geniuses).
  7. Sometimes I use polyester batting. Bowie quilt is a case in point.
  8. I just can’t make a quilt entirely from solids, and I’m not even sorry. Solids (and shot cottons) are a bit boring for me, I need my fabrics to be exciting too. Closest I got was Wallander and that was pretty boring.
  9. I have never used a twin needle.
  10. If I pucker up my quilt backs when quilting I just whack a label over it, sometimes the labels are VERY big.

Hundreds and Thousands finish and Giveaway winner

Another finish!
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This quilt is made with a confetti technique of slicing a bunch of scraps to hell and then catching them in a net of tulle. I’ve called it Hundreds and Thousands because the little slices look like cake sprinkles. It’s wall hanging size so I’ve popped a sleeve on the back. Once it’s been published, it will go into my Etsy shop. I need to remember to put Mr Bowie in there soon too.

STATS
Size – 54″ square
Number of blocks – n/a
Time to make– an hour of prep and positioning stuff, five hours of quilting and three hours of slow binding and adding a sleeve – 9 hours
Fabric – Scraps shredded into oblivion and Klona white
Backing Fabric – Some heavy weight Ikea stuff
Binding Fabric – More Klona
Threads – Coats Moon, plus Superior Threads monofilament
Batting – 80/20 Soft and Elegant
Quilting- Vertical matchstick over the scraps but 1″ wider apart on the plain edges.

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In other business, I’ve drawn the winner for the fat quarter bundle giveaway! It’s my fellow Sewvivor contestant Marci - we’ve both been knocked out of this round (I think Billy Bass might have been a bit too crass for more discerning tastes) so it’s nice of Mr Random to choose her!

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Give it away, give it away, give it away now….

This is my 900th post! Looking back, I’ve been blogging since June 2008, but I missed my six year blogiversary, so hopefully you won’t mind a giveaway now.

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I bought this custom FQ bundle from Fluffy Sheep Quilting as a prize knowing this would be coming up soon. I want to offer it to my readers as you are the reason I’ve kept going all this time, otherwise I’d be talking to no one!

There are four ways to enter:

  1. Leave a comment, any comment.
  2. Let me know in another comment if you follow my blog in a reader, by email, etc.
  3. If you have voted in the Sewvivor competition, please let me know in another comment. The voting is open until midnight EST tonight (or 5am GMT tomorrow, Thurs 14th) so you will need to be quick if you haven’t already! Here’s the link. I’m number 3 if you fancy helping me into the next round ;)
  4. Spread the word on social media somewhere that I’m doing this giveaway, or if you’d rather, spread the word about Sewvivor voting, but before the deadline closes please if you take this option. Please tell me in another comment if you have done this.

I will be drawing a winner randomly this Sunday, which is 17th August. It will probably be the morning around 9am GMT so get your entries in before then.

Thanks for sticking with me :)