Sunday, March 31, 2013

We survived London

And we managed to surprise Matthew at Gatwick airport - his response "Oh it's you" was a little underwhelming but perhaps typical of a teenage boy. We last saw matthew at the end of February half term when he returned to Welbeck. School finished a week ago and he went on the school skiing trip to Kitzbuhel. They came back on the Ferry and landed in Dover where they left the coach and took the cross country train to London Gatwick. Matthew knows the cross country route and its changes well as that's the route that they take to get to the Farm in Kent.

Whilst in  London we had a few crafty things to look out for. Our first success was a trip out to West Hampstead to The Village Haberdashery.

I was momentarily distracted by Bill Nighy walking along the road,  but I did manage to pick up a few bits!! The first bundle is all of the range that Annie stocks of Comma by Zen Chic. There are also green fabrics in the line and others that I will have to try and source.

Then some Summerville Spring.
Some basics including two greys and two Architextures text prints.
Some Pearl Bracelets and a couple of others. I thought I'd bought more pearl bracelet FQs.


And whilst stood at the till waiting for fabric to be cut, I browsed the scrap bin. Amazing how much more interesting other people's scraps are to your own. I picked some plains, Denyse Schmidt, Pearl Bracelet etc.
And I know some of you are asking yourself, what is she going to do with those fabrics, I am putting the following together for the Orbit quilt along. I know it has finished but I do think it's a lovely pattern and not too challenging now I have my design boards back.

One of the first places we visited on Friday was Selfridges magazine department to pick up a copy of Love Quilting and Patchwork or so I hoped, I had to be satisfied with a copy of Quilty instead. There are not many WH Smiths on Oxford Street but as we approached the bottom of Lower Oxford Street yesterday, Lizzie remembered one where we'd bought lottery tickets on a previous visit. And success. Friday afternoon we ventured out to London Bridge to see the Kaffe Fassett retrospective. I am not a big fan but it was interesting none the less and so much to look at. I had seen an exhibition at the V&A at least 25 years ago where it was said his inspiration came from ginger jars and the like at the museum but here it was claimed it was pottery bought in Portobello Market.

Time to put the roast potatoes in for our Easter Sunday lunch. Tomorrow sees a lot of BOM patterns released and the first week of the Frosted Pumpkin's Spring sampler. What to start first?
Linking up to:
Lily's Quilts

Plum and June

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Stitch me up Blog hop

I am so glad that I decided to make my project last week as for the last three days I have been a couch potato and done virtually nothing whilst fighting off a chest infection. I even visited the doctor as we hope to go away for two days tomorrow which I don't want to have to cancel. Thinking of filling out those travel insurance claim forms is enough to give anyone a relapse.

We were provided with a number of embroidery patterns, some Colonial needles and 10 Presencia threads. Now I have used thicker Presencia threads for a Leanne Beasley embroidery, but this thread is much easier to do embroidery with. I also used it on a mini quilt for February too.

I broke out my stash of Tilda fabrics again and selected a few fabrics. I chose the pink gingham to stitch on as it has a subtle pattern and colour.

I chose a pretty floral design to stitch and reduced it to 70% of its original size to make a needle case. I changed the French knots to some pink crystals.

As I had to pick up a prescription after my doctor's visit yesterday, I chose the pharmacy next to a craft store as I had made do with a mid blue felt in the middle of the needle case. I am much happier with the light pink which I was able to pick up from their limited choice of about ten colours.

Please visit today's other participants:
Kristin @That Other Blog

Monday, March 25, 2013

Liberty Love

Sarah lent me her copy of Liberty Love yesterday and I was prepared not to like it as I find the patterns too busy and the weight of the fabrics too light. However there is plenty of information and inspiration in the book for quilters and sewers alike. The Liberty fabrics have been combined with many of the modern fabrics I love and also the variations of the Marcelle medallion quilts online are amazing.


The book is available at Amazon for about £20. If all you want the book for is the Marcelle Medallion, try and track down on of the elusive copies of Love Quilting and Patchwork. I'm sure you'd like to know what's in the book before you commit your hard earned money - there are 25 projects including nine quilts, six garments and six accessories. But first of all there are several pages of notes - I had no idea Tana Lawn was 54" wide for example. The author writes that her usual choice of thread for most sewing is polyester all purpose whereas many quilters avoid polyester thread. It comes down to personal choice. I'd always assumed a bodkin was a large needle but the photograph in the book of tools and supplies proves me wrong.
The first quilt in the book is a little disappointing as it's a 36" nine patch. Described as "uncomplicated" - you're not kidding - but I guess the book caters for all skill levels and we all have to start somewhere. If you've not combined different weight fabrics before, it's a good place to start, but I prefer the sixteen patch postage stamp baby quilt which follows. The busyness of the Liberty fabrics is beautifully offset by the spotty fabric they're combined with. You know I like most spotty fabrics so that will come as no surprise. :)
Then the quilt patterns step up a notch with a scalloped applique and curved piecing. I like the look of the Good night fairy tale quilt would think it would look nicer with fewer seams, using applique or even use the porthole technique for a better result. I like most of the quilt patterns and if like me you aren't a Liberty lover, you may even become a convert or see the possibilities of the patterns in other fabrics. I do like the whole quilt that Film in the Fridge has made from the plus sign border of the Marcelle Medallion. Perhaps that's an idea to add to my Bee in My Bonnet row along. Hmmm.
Linking up to Simply Miss Luella who coincidentally has a Liberty project featured today.
Plum and June

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Easy Sunday morning

After a busy day yesterday at the screen printing workshop with Lucie Summers followed by a sleepless night worrying about Matthew, I was pleased not to have signed up for the Portholes workshop today. I took a shorter version of this workshop at the Fat Quarterly retreat last June which is when I invited Lucie to come to Jersey to teach. I picked up my fabrics from the hall this morning and introduced Lucie again. Sarah was kind enough to lend me two books which she has spoken highly of:

Liberty Love - 25 projects to quilt & sew featuring Liberty of London fabrics; and
Material obsession two by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke

One of the quilts featured in Liberty Love has gone viral - just search for Marcelle medallion quilts and you'll end up with loads of eye candy and inspiration. This quilt is also featured in the new magazine Love of Quilting and Patchwork. Of course it's not available in Jersey, and is scarce in the UK, but I will add it to my London shopping list, as we may come across a copy. I am surprised that a project from such a new book is already being reproduced as the book has not been in print for more than a few months, I think. I'll let you know what I think of the books tomorrow once I've had time to have a second look through.

I had a good Friday Night Sew In and completed my Challenge STATW throw. Or so I thought, when we were asked yesterday to share our own projects, I pulled it out of my bag, having shared it with Sarah earlier in the day, and I found two threads to sew in on the back.

 I emphasised the secondary pattern of diamonds by doing straight stitching on the diagonal and in the third diagonal of every block, I used a machine embroidery stitch. It was fun to look through the reference card and pick out a few stitches I'd not used before and work out how to get the stitches number 100+.

It feels great to finish a challenge which isn't due until December, but there's another challenge due in December too for Caesarea Quilters which I need to start sketching. Now I need to read more of our Book Group pick for March - The hundred year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared. It was a 20p bargain book, but I need to have read more than 15% before we meet tomorrow evening. Then tomorrow I'll work on a small project I have for the Stitch me up blog hop for Thursday and let you know what I thought of the book Liberty Love.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Screen printing

Had a great day with Lucie Summers showing us how to make a simple screen and how to use Thermofax screens. We even got to make some prints with Lucie's screens which she fit into her suitcase. I had two canvas bags which I printed onto. The pink one on the left is now sporting a pair of hearts printed in a popular mulberry colour that I mixed.


Lucie also showed us several samples ready for the Portholes workshop tomorrow.

I am also the pleased as punch owner of some scraps of Lucie's prints too. Tomorrow I may succumb to some Summerville - Spring.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A little bit of this

Yesterday I completed two of the three tasks that I set myself. I sorted my scrappy strips for the Fat Quarterly Retreat exchange, bagged and labelled them and put them in a safe place!! With the Easter eggs.

I also made progress with my Scrappy trip around the world challenge and did a little bit of the quilting and all of the binding. Then I found a couple of rucks on the reverse, which have been undone and need to be remachined. I couldn't leave the backing like that even if it will end up being a charity quilt.
I also used some of the embroidery stitches to quilt some of the diagonals. I kept it to just one of the six diagonals on each block.
Tonight it's a Friday Night Sew In so I plan to work on this some more and get out all of the supplies I need for Lu Summers' class tomorrow. I'm collecting Lu and her mum, Jenny at the airport at 3. First I'm having lunch at Durell with a spot free Jane who came down with chicken pox last weekend. I'm glad it wasn't when Matthew's home as he had shingles aged about 3, so I don't want to risk another attack when he needs to be studying very hard. Today he's heading to Kitzbuhel on the school skiing trip and will be home on Easter Saturday. It will be a full on Easter holiday with both Lizzie and Matthew studying for exams. One definitely needs to work harder than the other.

Handmade by Heidi

Thursday, March 21, 2013

WIP Wednesday

Yesterday was a mixed day. I got lots of small jobs done, all of the Chez Soi quilts were delivered to their owner, the STATW backing is done and my ironing is up to date. However after a busy morning I cam home and vegetated for the most part. I hope I'm not coming down with a bug, I definitely don't want to miss Saturday's workshop. I also e-mailed all of the ladies that we met at Denman from other WIs and received several lovely replies and photos. I also received an e-mail asking me not to e-mail someone, but she gave me her e-mail address voluntarily. Never mind, I've e-mailed an apology and will move on but just a little mystified.

I didn't manage to clear my sewing table but I've already made a start this morning, making up packets of 14 sets of twelve 18" by 2.5" scrap strips. These are for the Fat Quarterly retreat in July but it's good to get them ready and I've cut up fabrics from my pile that I no longer like so it's also a tidying and destashing exercise.

So today I aim to:
  • Finish the packets of scrap strips
  • Clear my sewing table
  • Sandwich and start quilting my STATW for the Chez Soi challenge
Linking to:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What a difference a week makes

Last week we were housebound by the snow that had fallen over Monday and Tuesday, today is lovely and clear and nice enough to take a photo of Liz's quilt before she collects it later this evening. The colours in the quilt remind me of Chinese willow pattern porcelain. Liz has mixed fabric recovered from shirts with patchwork fabrics for a fresh look. She has made her own jelly roll and done the classic jelly roll race pattern.

It has been quilted with Popcorn pantograph and King Tut for Superior threads in colour Temple. Here it is ready for collection this evening.

I had a lovely surprise yesterday when Jenny gave me some extra card bobbins to wind my DMC threads onto. She had read that I was planning to get Lizzie to buy some and surprised me with a bundle at lunch time. What a lovely gesture. All of threads I have at the moment are organised. A friend has a miscellaneous bag of threads to use and when they return, I'll sift out the DMC threads and add them to my box. They are all labelled with some mini labels I bought at Kisko in Leicester for a whole 25p. It means that I can tell at a glance if I have a colour or not as if the label hasn't been used, I don't have it.
On my jobs list for tomorrow
  • Finish piecing the backing for my scrappy trip around the world
  • Tidy my sewing table
  • Get my ironing up to date
But tomorrow morning is my favourite meeting of Chez Soi, my Wednesday morning quilt group. we have a group photo with all of our Eisteddfod entries and get a chance to read each others comments, but first I have to load all 40+ entries back into my car. A job for this evening I think, but in the mean time I'm going to relax and complete a few more frames on the Spring Sampler. I deserve it as I've completed a lot of small jobs today as well as Liz's quilt.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Expert procrastinator

Now to remind myself what I should have been working on this week:
Liz's jelly roll quilt needs to be quilted and returned to her - it's now half done
Scrappy trip around the world for our guild challenge - doesn't have to be finished until December but Sarah and I are going to have our own mini show and tell at the Lu Summers' workshop on Saturday - insert excited dance.
So what did I actually do this week? I started and finished two projects, the cupcake pennant whose deadline is this Friday and my project for the "Shake your Pom Poms" blog hop at the end of April. Have I even started my project for March's blog hop - that would be a no.
My scrappy trip around the world top was already finished. I zigzagged some wadding together as ultimately this is going to be a charity quilt, then I set about piecing a backing. I started with the green homespun which was neither wide enough nor long enough and added in some strips, and voila finished. Oops no, back to the drawing board, it's still too short. Sigh. That was Saturday's accomplishments.

I've done a bit more on the frames of the Spring Sampler. They are mostly finished and will be quicker to work on now that the main structure is done and I won't get to the end of a square and find I'm one thread short as this is worked over two threads of linen and the weft and warp threads are sometimes irregular. and I still can't get a decent representation of the colour of the linen which is a lavender grey. 

Give me a drum roll, what I mainly spent my time doing was organising my DMC threads. No it didn't need to be done, but boy does it look pretty. The downside is my two biggest jobs still need to be done but are slightly closer to being finished. Now I wonder if Lizzie could be bribed to go and buy me some more cards to finish the job?
The Eisteddfod has now finished, but tonight Caesarea Quilters put on a show at their monthly meeting and members vote for their favourite piece and favourite novice piece. So I still have the job of unloading 60 pieces from my car and setting them up with Janet's help and numbering them in the same order as the voting sheet which is almost finished by Jenny. Then on Wednesday, I load the 40 Chez Soi entries into my car for our annual photo shoot at our Wednesday morning meeting. I hope someone helps me unload them. At the moment they're sitting in the lounge.

Linking to Let's Get acquainted at Busy Bee Quilts.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

International Quilting Day

I'm sure you realise that today is International Quilting Day. I started the morning off with a free show on precision piecing from The Quilt Show. The shows are free all weekend. Next I think I'll watch Edyta Sitar on episode 1112.

Just before 9, I set off to town for a few supplies, it was pouring with rain but I reckoned that the shops would be emptier and I was right. Unfortunately the sewing shop I needed supplies from didn't open until 9.30 am. I picked up - webbing, iron on interfacing, two baking books from the library, a Hobbs shopper I won from a local store and fish for lunch tomorrow as Lizzie is making potato gratin. I forgot to pick up some batteries, never mind.
I then picked out the following supplies together with the webbing and iron on interfacing. I started cutting. Not so easy when I only had fat quarters of most of the Tilda fabrics and I need two half yards. I added the turquoise and grey spot from Bonnie & Camille's Ruby fabric range.
I know this is another new project, but I finished it today, but can't share it until April, sorry. I did make one mistake but it has been mostly rectified but I think only I will know where my mistake is. I also managed to get to the Eisteddfod for an hour whilst Lizzie was dancing. Now I should get on with piecing the wadding and backing for the scrappy trip along challenge quilt otherwise it won't be ready to share with Sarah next Saturday.
I hope you've managed to get some sewing done today.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bunting for WI competition

Bunting for WI competition by libertyjsy
Bunting for WI competition, a photo by libertyjsy on Flickr.

Insipired by Victoria and Heidi who were starting their bunting during the three day snow break, I started this item early this morning. A quick trip to Lorraine who cut a cup cake and stand on her Cricut at 6". I used the negative of the stand to stencil it onto the white background fabric with a silver paint dabber. It's been a long time since I've been in the box of paints and surprise, surprise, this one had never been used.

I appliequed the cupcake with matching threads and dismissed several of my initial ideas including adding a lace trim to the cake stand, crystals to the stand and quilting words in the background, so I managed to get it finished early this afternoon. Then I had to unpick the overpowering coloured buttons and substitute the off white buttons which is much more pleasing to me.

Not bad as the deadline is next Friday. I still have Liz's quilt to finish, two projects for a blog hop, the first of which I may start tonight and the chalnnege scrappy trip around the world so that Sarah and I can have a mini show and tell of our own at the Lu Summers' workshop next Saturday, we're already giddy with excitement.

Via Flickr:
Second version as in first version I used multcoloured large buttons and it drew your eye away from the cake.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

And another snow day

It's even thicker today. I sent Lizzie into the garden to get these photos. I love the rich purple backing Anne has chosen which shows off the quilting. Not that my photo shows much other than the colour and the snow.

Pantograph: Alex
Thread: wisteria lane by Superior Threads.

Now that Anne's quilt is done I'll start loading Liz's quilt on the machine.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Second snow day

Blizzard conditions were forecast for this morning and at 6am it was a disappointing sight as although there had been high winds overnight, there was a distinct lack of snow. Not long after the schools decided they weren't going to open and by 7 am we did have snow here. Lizzie went out to see whether she would walk into town for her Project Trident work placement but came back and decided it wasn't worth risking slipping.

Yesterday Nick reinstalled my design wall as a late Valentine present. I've got my Mother's Day present too but he won't find out about that until the credit card statement arrives. :) Here is the finished scrappy trip around the world for the Chez Soi challenge. I'd like to get it quilted and bound this week, but today I have Esietddfod certificates to check and sort as well as quilting Anne's quilt on my long arm.

In the UK yesterday was Mother's Day so I installed myself in the lounge and apart from moving my stuff from one side of my craft room to the other so Nick could get to the wall, I stitched the frames for the Spring Sampler from The Frosted Pumpkin. This is a particularly rubbish photo as the linen is actually pale lilac not grey. I'm pleased with how this looks as this is one of the remnants of linen that I bought at denman and it only cost me £2. The patterns for each block will be released once a week for five weeks in April, making a total of 25 little spring vignette's which include cupcakes and umbrellas. So far I've completed six out of the 25 frames.
Participating in the Let's get acquainted blog hop at Owen's Olivia