Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Granny's Garden

Hooked by the granny squares trend on the web, I decided to make a quilt from my scraps for the Siblings Together project as quilts are being handed over at the Fat Quarterly retreat so no postage cost. I found a piece of wide navy fabric in my pile and that worked well for the backing showing off the rose pantograph and bright thread choice. again the binding was in the pile and matched the colour of two of the fabrics in the blocks and the white on white was offcuts from the backing of my Swoon quilt.

The quilt looks good from the back too as the bold thread contrasts with the navy fabric.

Tomorrow I'm going on the WI walk, into town for a mystery shop and then I need to do some serious packing. Cutting board, ruler, rotary cutter etc. I hadn't even thought about having to take thread. And Nick though I could take just carry on luggage as I'm only going for a couple of nights!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fat Quarterly retreat

In a week's time I'll be getting ready to head to the Fat Quarterly retreat on 2 and 3 April. I decided to go for both days meaning I get to do four of the ten classes on offer. Today there is a linky party on the Fat Quarterly blog to introduce each other and get to know others better. I only know one person going to the retreat, Wendy, who I met at the recent Gogogetaway and twisted her arm into condiering going. And she's booked for Wednesday. I suggested a blog hop to get to know each other, but Lynne is organising a linky party which is a much simpler method to achieve the same objective. I can't wait to meet you all.

My name is Sue (libertyjsy on flickr) and I live in Jersey. I am an experienced sewer and almost a year ago I invested in a mid arm machine - the HQ18 from Handiquilter. So what am I doing whilst at the retreat?

Sat AM:
The Fat Quarterly Design Challenge - all in need for this is coloured pencils which are packed

Sat PM:
Zippered Pouch - I have nothing prepared for this. Hmm, I need to think about this one very soon

Sun AM:
Paper Pieced Pillows - I'm planning to do the union jack pillow and I have my patriotic fabrics ready

Sun PM:
Portholes  - I'm thinking of mixed yellows for the background and blues and novelty printed for the circles then I can turn it into a baby quilt. And I may just have ordered some Summersville charm packs and tape from Lu. 

Sample swaps - done and wrapped

Badge - done and I have received my badge

Ugly swap - that was easy to find

Jelly Roll race
Iron Man Challenge group 2
Siblings together charity quilt - ready to be quilted 

Show & Tell - I'm taking my Swoon quilt once I've sewn on the binding which I've messed up big time.

I'm also looking forward to an evening at Tikki Patchwork in Kew followed by dinner with some of the other girls who are there on Friday. My Monday shopping has been curtailed due to my In Laws diamond anniversary lunch on the Monday. However I'm sure I can get plenty of shopping done on Friday.

Fat Quarterly

Friday, May 25, 2012

Siblings together

As night falls, I have just finished putting together some scrap granny squares for the charity quilt to take to the Fat Quarterly retreat next weekend.

I have a white on white backing ready. However as it's destined for a child, I am thinking that white isn't a serviceable colour, so I am going see what Fiona has for sale or what I have in my cupboard. Or perhaps I should die the white on white yellow or pink. What do you think?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Making some progress

Yesterday I felt that I needed to finish my swoon quilt and make some more granny squares for a quilt for Siblings Together, both for the Fat Quarterly in nine days time.

Whilst I didn't do any more quilting of Swoon yesterday, I have done one row this morning and I am almost have finished. After all the small jobs I need to do today, this will be my priority. Once it's quilted, I will sew on the binding whilst the granny square quilt is on the machine.

I thought I had completed all of the blocks I needed for the charity quilt. Despite counting three times and getting two different numbers, the camera does not lie and I need to piece one more block. Fortunately I do have one cut out ready. However the dark blue is dominating the quilt and if this fabric is in the last block, I will substitute it for something less strong.

But first I need to do lots of small jobs on my to do list. It's almost nine, so time to get started.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Schnibbles for May

A quick finish with a little help from my friends. A quilting life have a monthly sew along using a Schnibbles pattern. The creator of the patterns which use charm packs and layer cakes, Carrie is now selling pdf versions of her Schnibbles patterns which will make it so much easier for the likes of me to participate. The pattern for June will be posted on 1 June. I now have a little stash of charm packs courtesy of a 20% off coupon from Fat Quarterly magazine for the Fat Quarter shop and I'm picking up some summersville from Lu Summers herself at the Fat Quarterly retreat on 2 June, so I am set for a few months.

This pattern is called Doc and uses two charm packs ( in this case Basic Grey's Blitzen) and some yardage. I started it last week and got lots done during FNSI. Having fixed the glitch on my long arm, I finished two customer quilts on Sunday so I quilted this yesterday morning. I quickly applied the binding, sewed up one side at home and took it to our guild meeting last night. Jenny and Lorraine kindly took over where I'd stopped whilst I ran the busy meeting. By the end of the meeting they'd sewn on the binding.

Another finished project. Now what to work on next? I have my Swoon quilt to quilt. I'm thinking of the baptist fan pattern which I'd like to finish to take with me to the Fat Quarterly retreat. Have I mentioned I'll be in London for the retreat on 2 June? The weekend starts with some retail therapy at Tikki Patchwork and dinner in Kew. I'd also like to have a quilt - possibly granny squares - finished to donate to Lily's Siblings Together project. And then there's my Hopscotch quilt which just needs the blocks to be laid out and sewn together. Decisions, decisions. Fortunately I have two UFO days to attend this week and I can sew on one binding at next week's Chez Soi quilt group. Thinking about it, it would be nice to have a binding to sew on this evening whilst sat in the car whilst Lizzie does her first sea swim with the Long Distance Swimming Club.

Pattern - Doc by Miss Rosie's Quilt Company
Fabric: Blitzen by Basic Grey for Moda
Thread:White linen King Tut by Superior Threads
Pantograph: Feather Delightful

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bloggers Quilt Festival

For the first time I am participating in the Blogger's Quilt Festival organised by Amy of Amy's Creative Side from May 18 to June 1, 2012.  The Blogger's Quilt Festival is an online quilt festival where bloggers from around the world showcase a quilt.  Once you have had a look here, head on over and take some time viewing the other wonderful quilts. 

I have chosen to show my pinwheel party quilt which is a single quilt of my own design. It uses two jelly rolls and two different blocks to make the overall design. Leftover jelly roll strips have been joined on the diagonal to make a pieced binding. This was my first attempt to draft my own pattern and I was pleased with the results. I love jelly rolls and wanted to see if I could design something as nice as the examples seen in many books, the best of which are written by the Lintotts.

An extra block has been turned into a label with some embroidery and mixed with some more leftover jelly roll blocks. This also makes a feature of the join in the fabric to make the backing.

This was also the first quilt I quilted for myself on the longarm I bought in 2011 using a digital pantograph called "Blustery Breeze" This panto is a favourite with me and my customers.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

FNSI May 2012

I was lucky for this FNSI, everyone else was out and Moyra offered to bring Lizzie back from JACY, so three hours to myself.  I managed to complete:
*  My ironing
* One more granny square. I think that makes ten in all
* Doc Schnibble up to the last border.

The granny squares are for two things:
1. Block lottery at our Quilting group - Caesarea Quilters on Monday evening. These squares are seriously addictive.
2. a quick quilt for Siblings Together to deliver at the Fat Quarterly Retreat in two weeks time. There's nothing like an unattainable deadline.

This is Doc, a pattern from La Vie en Rosie's Schnibbles range which uses two charm packs and some of my half bolt of White on White. I think I may need to order some more very soon. I just need to finish piecing the half square triangle borders, two of which are done. If I can get my long arm working properly again, I plan to quilt this one and the one already on the machine for Monday evening. Another ludicrous self imposed deadline. I have use Basic Grey's Blitzen line for this project.

Right, a busy day today with a cupcake workshop this afternoon and a daughter to be delivered here there and everywhere for dancing at 1.30 and a walk in aid of Seamen along St Catherine's breakwater at 10. Cakes are ready for the cupcake class so no panics at the moment. What to do next?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Interview with author Carole Matthews

I am an avid reader and one of my favourite beach reads is anything by Carole Matthews. I help at the book stall at our school's summer fete and there are several ladies who come year after year and ask me to select some beach reads for their holidays. I think they'd enjoy Carole Matthew's latest book Summer Daydreams which is due out in paperback on 24 May. I was offered the chance to quiz Carole and accepted the chance to get to know a favourite author a little better.

The first page of the book has a letter from you, which is a refreshing change and makes the reader feel connected to you, what gave you the idea for this? 
 It was a suggestion from my lovely editor, Cath Burke, at Little, Brown. She knows that I love chatting to my readers on Twitter and Facebook and thought this would be a nice extension of that. For me, when someone chooses one of my books, I see it as an investment of their money and time in me and I really appreciate that. If it wasn’t for my lovely readers who go out and buy my books then I wouldn’t have a job. 

The book is set in and around and the fish and chip shop, Live and Let Fry and the first page of the novel, conjures up the unique smell of fish and chips (with vinegar of course). You are also known for your love of chocolate which comes through in The Chocolate Lovers' Club. What is your favourite food and what is your favourite restaurant or cafe? 
I just like to eat, full-stop! I don’t really class myself as a ‘foodie’ because I’m not very discerning. We recently went to the lovely seaside town of Southwold for the day and had fish and chips for tea with a big mug of tea - it was absolute heaven! I’d rather have that than fancy, fiddled about food any day. I do like a coffee shop too and wish I was the sort of author who could sit in one all day and write. But I can’t. I get too distracted by people watching. I think my favourite food, next to chocolate, is probably curry. We have an American friend who comes to the UK regularly and always wants to be taken for an ‘English curry’. Can’t beat a chicken tikka masala. 

All this talk of food in the book was enough to make me very hungry, how do you keep slim. It must be a challenge when writing books based around food when your words tickle our taste buds. and let's not forget your regular visits to the Pudding Club. I’m a woman of a certain age and constantly struggle with my weight. I tend to be quite strict and watch what I eat during the week - fortunately, I love salad - and then it all goes to pot at the weekend. I do a lot of baking too which is a terrible temptation - so I have to force my cupcakes on everyone who comes through my front door. To balance out all the food, I do quite a lot of exercise too - mainly zumba and hiking. When I start making a ‘harumph’ noise when I do up my jeans, then I knock out all the carbs. Apart from one piece of Lindt chocolate after lunch every day. That never gets dropped. 

Who was the inspiration for the character Nell? 
 My good friend, Helen Rochfort, who is an accomplished and very successful handbag designer. She runs a busy company and balances it with a hectic family life and two young girls. She’s amazing. The story of how she struggled to set up her business and break into the world of high-end fashion is truly inspirational. It was a book just waiting to be written. 

What do Helen and Nell have in common and how are they different? 
I think they have a lot in common. After writing the book, I confess that I’m sometimes not sure when Nell ends and Helen begins! I also think both Helen and Nell have a lot in common with many women now who will empathise with the pressures of trying to have a fulfilling career and making sure that the family are all cared for. It’s not easy. 

It sounds like you know Helen well. How did you and Helen meet? 
We’ve been friends for several years now and met through social networking, of all things! Helen’s status photograph was Barbara Cartland and I thought it would be another romance writer and, instead, discovered her wonderful handbags. We became friends through chatting back and forth. Then Helen designed some promotional bags for The Chocolate Lovers’ Club and we spent more time together. She told me her story over lunch one day and we’ve spent a lot of time working together over the last year as I wanted to make sure that she was very happy seeing her life and experiences in print! 

I loved the sound of the button handbag. As a keener stitcher it has my name on it. Does the bag exist and where can I get one? 
You know it does exist! I saw this amazing button-encrusted handbag at a craft fair when I was writing the book and described it in one of the chapters - I love buttons. But I lost the business card I picked up and now can’t find the woman who makes them. I have scoured the internet, but have never come across them again. They were very beautiful but quite pricey. 

The world is filled with slick men like Yves, is he based on anyone in particular?
No, he was just a combination of a variety of slick men I came across when I was a corporate wifey many years ago. I think there are quite a lot of businessmen out there like him! 

I was conned once in Spain by a market trader who sold me a table cloth with a hole in the middle. Certainly nothing on the scale of the tricks played on Nell, but even as a teenager, I couldn't let it lie and tracked the seller down at another market and got a replacement after talking very loudly so others would hear. Have you ever been conned? Would you seek restitution or put it down to experience. 
I had a similar experience. We were in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China a few years ago and it’s a place where everyone goes to fly kites. I negotiated with a market trader to buy a pretty paper butterfly kite. He started at three hundred dollars and we settled on ten in the end. He handed over my kite and then asked me to pay three hundred dollars for the string to fly it with. He learned a lot of new English words that day. I don’t mind playing the game, but I don’t like being ripped off. 

I enjoyed reading the book (in one sitting) and have one final burning question? Where does the title of the book come from as the book spans more than just the summer. 
Book titles, I think, are the hardest thing. I liked this one because it sounded fun and summery. Also as I do two books a year now, one for summer and one very much a Christmas book, my publisher wanted to make that distinction so that my readers know what to expect. The Christmas book also does the same thing and is called With Love at Christmas.

Now two competitions. The first is being run by Little Brown Bird to win your own design on a handbag by Helen Rochfort go to: The second is open to anyone living in the British Isles and is a copy of the book in paperback. To enter this, become a follower of this blog and let me know your favourite beach read. This competition will end on 31 May 2012 and I will post a copy of the book to the winner. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Busy doing nothing

Or that's how it feels. However my swaps for the Fat Quarterly retreat have now been finished. The badge is on it's way and the sample swaps are ready to wrap.

I made Carol's badge from one inch hexagons in Tilda fabric. Thank you to Lorraine for the loan of her fun serif dies to cut the felt letters.

My badge was made by Leanne of Shecanquilt Leanne has used the same range of fabrics (Sweetwater Home Town) that I've used for my sample swaps.


I have also made Carol a zakka style pin cushion and finger pin cushion to match her name badge.They were slightly bulky and unfinished so they'll be wrapped today ready to take with me to London.

Here are the Zakka pin cushions ready to be wrapped for the sample swap. We will be put into groups of six and will receive five handmade gifts from the other participants in our group. Some of the gifts all ready finished and photos posted on the Flickr group are fabulous. My gifts will be wrapped in a tissue paper pattern with baker's twine to attach the finger pin cushions to the packet as decoration. A job for Sunday I think.

 I thought my gift was a little simple so I also made finger pin cushions using the instructions at Inklingo I changed the instructions slightly by using a 2" Sizzix circle die to cut the fabric and a slightly smaller circle on the same die to cut some iron on wadding. I then successfully adhere the gathered and stuffed circle to a 1" button with a rim around it.

I have my ugly swap fabric ready to go and am waiting on some patriotic fabrics for the Union Jack class. For Lu Summers porthole class I'm going to use a variety of pale yellow fabrics and some novelty fabrics from my stash. I have a bag in our bedroom gathering items such as PJs, toiletries and swaps. It's a bit too early to break out the suitcase. Only three weeks to go.