Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday tool time

As I have been working on finishing my Ruby Hopscotch, I have been appreciating some of the tools that I have so I thought I'd share a trio of tools today:
Easy thread needles - less than £1 a packet
Clover thimble - the rubber thimble with its metal top is comfortable to wear and doesn't make grooves into my nail polish like a regular thimble
Curved tip scissors

I was introduced to easy thread needles many years by machine quilting tutor - June C Barnes who was visiting Jersey to teach a workshop for Caesarea Quilters. You can use it when sewing thread in on your quilt, even those short tricky threads. No eye to thread, it really does help make short work of  a job that most of us hate. You could just cut off the threads after a number of minute stitches but I don't like that method and have seen too many quilts made by "professionals" with bobbles of thread on the reverse of the quilt.

The curve tipped scissors which came with my long arm with their zinger and let you get close to your work to trim threads with less change of cutting your work.

What tools do you love the most for finishing your quilt?

Red cross day

Whilst both Monday and Tuesday could be described as red letter days, I think they are better described as red cross days. Four packets of X & O blocks came home and they look lovely together. This is the February Simply Solids Bee. It's still January but five packet out of eleven are already back with me.

I also received a present from Claire - a china Camembert baker - the recipes sound delicious; Island Berry lip gloss from a Telegraph competition and highlighter tape to help me keep my place when using a stitching chart.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

CQ UFO day

Last weekend we held a UFO weekend for Caesarea Quilters members to  work on UFOs. Usually we just meet on the last Sunday of the month. However if we then enter the piece we've worked on into the local Eisteddfod, we get a voucher for our next UFO day free. I took my ruby hopscotch quilt to work on and also the binding to be cut and stitched into a long length. Just making the binding for the Ruby Hopscotch and my Farmer's Wife quilt took almost two hours. Too much time chatting, catching up and admiring other people's work, I think. I do now have enough binding wound on my large vintage bobbin ready to go later in the week by when I should have finished the straight line quilting.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Friday night sew in - results

I didn't quilt my client's quilt as I wasn't happy with the results from the thread I used and Sarah told me that she had tried the same thread (Masterpiece) for quilting and wasn't happy and like me preferred the look of King Tut. I will have to wait for my order of threads to arrive.

However I did work on this valentine and I'm planning to work on it some more this afternoon and
perhaps even finish it. I will straighten it and probably mount it on a canvas, but I think I need to buy my own stapler to do that.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Jill's quilt

This is a beauty, which becomes more apparent when you look at the whole quilt. Jill has used a load of aqua ,white and cream scraps. I am particularly drawn to the aqua dots. No surprise there.

If you had asked me I would have said not to mix cream and white, but it does work and gives a texture to the background.

Pantograph is Alex which I think I will use on my Farmer's Wife quilt. This weeks quilting plans include my farmer's Wife quilt and Anne's Christmas quilt. I have just placed a large order for threads from Barnyarns, so once they arrive I'll be good to quilt up a storm (or at least two quilts) this week.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Stitch me up

Whilst I try to figure out how to add the badge to the side bar, perhaps this is another blogger enhancement which is which it seems trickier than it used to be, here's details of another blog hop in which I'm participating.

Having just finished the heart stitchery in Presencia 8 which I found a little thick, I thought it would be interesting to compare with the Presencia 12 which is what's being provided for this project for the sum of $10 for ten different threads. We are being provided with eight stitching patterns to choose one or more to make a project. I'm hoping I can make a mini quilt for my hanger as it still has my Christmas mini quilt in it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

It's time for January's Friday Night Sew In

So it's time to pick up your sewing and sew with virtual friends tonight. I'm in, are you? Both Lizzie and Nick are out tonight so I can be productive hopefully.

Handmade by Heidi

I have a client quilt ready to go, so once I've chosen the thread I can get it quilted. I have already chosen the design which is a stars pattern for a Christmas quilt. Whilst that's stitching I will probably do some more cross stitch on my Woodland sampler.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Getting organised

Taryn has produced PDFs and Word documents of her project worksheets and master list. I'm going to visit her blog now and download them. Click on the picture to go there. At least by finishing my stitchery I have one fewer UFO and project sheet to complete.

It has got me thinking though that I should prepare bindings for quilts that are at the quilting stage when I have a spare 30 minutes or sew the strips together when sewing another project.

Second Eisteddfod project finished

It may only be 9 AM but it's been a productive day already. I have finished stapling this Leanne Beasley stitchery to an artist's canvas. This is now ready for the Eisteddfod.

My long arm quilting machine came back from being serviced towards the end of last week. I got it back on the frame and ready to go or so I thought. When I tried to use it yesterday I found that I had one cable I hadn't plugged in and despite reading the manual (yes I was that desperate) I still couldn't see where to put the cable. I rang the cotton patch and they soon had the cable in the right place for me and I managed to complete one quilt from my backlog yesterday. This morning I have already pinned most of one quilt onto the leaders and I hope to get that done today.

Monday, January 21, 2013

New year's resolutions

A little late I know, but I have already shared my Eisteddfod plans so that's most of January and February accounted for. I'm going to join in two UFO busting programmes this year. Judy has changed her programme to listing at least four planned tasks for the month and for a Lovely year of finshes you choose one project per month to finish.

January get it done list
1. BOM commitments:
Blogger girls (6)
Lucky stars (12)
The sugar block club (12)
Sisters ten (10)
Woodland sampler (12)
2. Hopscotch quilt - needs quilting on my Bernina This will be done at our January UFO day
3. Farmer's Wife Quilt - needs two borders and quilting on long arm
4. Pink heart embroidery >>>>>>>>>>>>>> To finish in January
5. Live laugh love already complete

6. Convert one Christmas stitchery into a mini quilt (five to do in total)
7. Mini quilt for February -

1. Hopscotch quilt - needs quilting on my Bernina This will be done at our January UFO day
2. Farmer's Wife Quilt - needs two borders and quilting on long arm
3. Live laugh love already complete
4. TQS BOM 2010 - ready to quilt
5. Christmas stitcheries
6. Pink heart embroidery >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>chosen for a January finish
7. Honey bee paper pieced stars - need to see how many more blocks I need
8. Thimbleberries book club quilt - need to finish the quilting
9. Dear Jane quilt
10. Pink and grey quilt from Carolyn Forster workshop
11. Jan Krentz star quilt
12. Tree skirt - ready to qult

TQS BOM 2012 - I will try and do one month per month after February
Xmas star blocks
Hugs and kisses
Elefantz BOM
Vignette quilt - least said the better
Floral cross stitch

A Lovely Year of Finishes

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wood land sampler frames

On Friday we had a snow day. That in my mind gave me carte blanche to start the woodland sampler. My threads arrived on Friday so I was ready to start. Stitching in front of the fire was exactly what I needed. We did go for a walk into Swiss valley which we do every time that it snows. Lots of children were playing on the fields which are sloped and perfect for sledging.

I have never stitched on to linen so this was a new technique for me where you have to count two threads in both directions. I made a mistake on the first deer which I unpicked. Then I decided to get most of the frames finished. Each of the frames have at least one of the two sides of the cross stitch done but I am now about to run out of that thread.

There are 13 frames in total and 8 are completely finished. I now need to buy some more of thread 782, bind the linen so that it doesn't fray any more, finish the frames, and do the January stitching.

First I need to get on with quilting one of about eight quilts waiting for my machine to return. My machine returned on Thursday and Friday we were able to get it back on the frame and working. This is my priority for this week.

I may also have purchased a Valentine geek stitchery pattern for my little geek. This will have to wait until February as I am busy with Eisteddfod work and client quilting.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I've got Jenny's gun and I'm not afraid to use it

I've been looking for a television table for a few months and Jenny was good enough to pick this one up at a charity shop for just 3 pounds. Armed with Jenny's staple gun, four layers of wadding and some pretty fabric by Momo, I now have a new mini ironing board for use in my sewing room.

I'm very pleased with how this turned out. And when it's not in use it can be folded up and placed on the side of the room.

I used the tutorial at oh Fransson. I wish I'd reread her tutorial as she's made a better job than  I have of the corners.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Glossy box

I treated myself to a three month subscription to glossy box. The first one arrived on Tuesday and it was a lovely post Christmas detox box. Several subscribers have been very vocal about their disappointment in the contents on Facebook, but I think you get what you pay for. What can you get for less than £10 these days? a couple of coffees?

The boxes come very well wrapped and are a delight to unfold.

First there is the outside box with the pink logo on it, inside you have a lovely box that you can reuse.

And then you have a wrapping of tissue paper with a lovely ribbon and sticker which encloses your products. Each month you receive five trial products for less than £10 including postage. A great way to try new products and perfect for taking on a weekend away. My box was only posted yesterday London and arrived promptly this morning.

You also get a newsletter with full details of the products and cosmetic news.

If you're tempted to try this monthly box, drop me a line and I can send you an invite which gives me points against future boxes.

Exactly what i needed

Snow is threatened on Friday. This delivery was exactly what I needed to cheer up my day. My solids  stash was looking a bit lacking in cheery colours, and when I received a complimentary voucher from the Village Haberdashery for participating in their customer advisory board, I immediately placed an order which arrived just a few days later.

I still love their happy mailing bags too.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

No reply blogger

In trying to add Google Friends Connect to my blog, I ended up signed up to Google + which changed me to a no reply blogger. Just in case you're in the same boat, here are the instructions to change you to a reply blogger:

And other good news, Taryn is planning to share her project sheets with the internet world:

Today I'll be working on a hexagon project with Jenny and Lorraine. We took a break over Christmas and need to pin and stitch one more border. Then I need to make some leaves and the stitching will be finished and it will need pressing and quilting. Hopefully my long arm and computer will both arrive back today, but then comes the tricky job of putting it all back together.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hopeless case

One of my first jobs in the morning whilst everyone else is sleeping is to browse I don't know if you've already found this website but it has the most recent posts from 100s of quilty blogs. I've discovered so many projects I have to do from this website along with Sharon Schamber's binding technqiue using glue. First I need to find the glue to try it out though.

So on Monday this little gem popped up.

Typical that I discover it just after it's gone up in price!!  I really enjoyed stitching the pixel people from Wee Stitches over Christmas, so I was powerless to resist. I've bought the pattern and ordered all of the threads from ebay for 40p a skein plus £1 for postage. I just need to get the linen which I'm going to try for the first time and the silver thread. The pattern is packed away with the needles, thread and other accessories for me to stitch the frames, January and February on our trip to Denman College. Do you think I can resist that long?

I also came across this blog on Monday and I love her project cards, so pretty and clean. Do you think they'd help me resist more projects and actually finish some of the many I've started?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gen X BOM - January

Today I finished the fourth BOM for January. This one I've done in Bonnie & Camille's Marmalade and a Kona grey. I'm waiting on a delivery of various Kona greys from Village Haberdashery to add to this quilt and also for my Simply Solids Bee. Hopefully today.

You would think that was all of my BOMs done, but I found another that's appealing. Shabby Fabrics - celebrate the year. This makes a 10.5" block and I'm thinking it would make a lovely mini quilt for January. I need to find some felt snowflakes to sprinkle on it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Japanese X + O blocks

I had not heard of this block until Carol asked the Honey Bees to make some blocks in November. They are seriously addictive and quick to make, so I made five blocks for Carol from the fabrics she sent. She gave us Oakshott reds for the centres, so inspired by Carol, I'm sending different reds for the centres and a range of greys for the background and asking ladies to use stash for the corner blocks.

Here's a mock up that I've created using Quiltassistant.

Eight 2.5" squares of background grey
Two 2.5" squares of red
One 6.5" x 2.5" rectangle of red
Four assorted 4.5" squares - please use your stash
Four assorted 2.5" squares - please use your stash

 On the eight background squares mark a diagonal line from two opposite corners on the reverse of the fabric. Place on two opposite corners of each assorted 4.5" square and sew one thread width away from the line towards the corner. Press to the corner, trim away the excess fabric from behind.

Sew two 2.5"squares to each end of the red rectangle. Press open. Join an assorted colour and a red 2.5" square. Press open, repeat once more. Then using the diagram above join the units. Pressing seams open.

I have realised my solids stash is seriously lacking greens, turquoises and pinks so I may have to do a little stash shopping again at the Village Haberdashery. Hopefully my order will arrive today so that I can post out fabrics tomorrow.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Getting there

However there are a couple of projects I'd hoped to work on but can't find. I think I need to work on one pile of stuff in my work room this afternoon.

I have finished two small items on my to do list:
1. Siggie squares for the Bumble Bees - just need an address and they'll be posted off.

2. Two lottery blocks from this arrowhead tutorial for Caesarea Quilters.

I'm now going to work on my HUG cushion.

Friday, January 11, 2013

M is for Make me Happy

Having finished my stitchery and my blog hop commitment, today is for catching up on bee commitments and blocks of the month. Anne from Belgium sent us a selection of small scraps as January honey bee mama along with instructions (guidance really) to make an improv letter which will eventually spell out Make Me Happy. As you may be able to tell, I got the letter M.

I don't do improv, I like things to be straight with specific measurements. So I approached this task with both trepidation and excitement. I drew up the letter on a large envelope from the bin and then cut it up to give me a rough foundation piecing pattern. I also organised the scraps into a rainbow so as to give some order to the piecing.

I have to say I'm pleased with how the block turned out. I've trimmed it to 10.5" so that Anne can trim it down further as she wants when it comes to putting the quilt top together.

I will leave sewing the siggie square and my last January BOM block until tomorrow now. Being the top pick on Thursday's blog hop certainly made me happy.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

In your words blog hop

And welcome to day 4 of the In your words blog hop hosted by Linda at Buzzing and Bumbling Here is my contribution which is hot off the press. My thanks to Jenny for the loan of the staple gun to attach the stitchery to the artist's canvas.

This stitchery was designed by Leanne Beasley and is sewn on linen with Cosmo threads. I started this over a year ago and I had intended to show you another of Leanne's designs but I couldn't find it. So over the last week I have beavered away. This project has proved to me that I need to practice my satin stitch more. As I was getting to the last few patches, they all had satin stitch in them - I was definitely avoiding them. I changed the fabrics included with the kit to some of my favourite Moda red dot, the pink is Sew Stitchy by Aneela Hoey and the turquoise border fabric is by Bonnie & Camille.

The squares of fabric were intended to be needle turn appliqué but I wasn't happy with the result so I used some Steam a seam and then did a machine blanket stitch around the blocks. Now it's finished, I'm really chuffed with it. The canvas was meant to be about 4 inches larger with more border, but I wanted the emphasis to be on the stitching and not the borders. 

I think this stitchery was from an Australian retreat originally and a few retreat bags were available for sale, so I jumped right in and bought myself one. Unknown to me, my friend Claire also bought it for me. She knows me well. The pink, Sew Stitchy fabric was also a present from Claire.

Now I'm off to view the other projects for today:

Scrappy 'n Happy (Jess R.)
Sowing Stitches (Beulah aka. Carol)
Just Quilt It  (Kathy G.)

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The three sisters quick and easy Indian cookbook review

This book is published by Simon and Schusster and was provided to me for this review. The cover of the book is pink and turquoise with gold embossing which is immediately appealing. The photography is gorgeous and makes your mouth water. I was keen to dip into the book.

I was intrigued to try some of the recipes of this book as I have never really cooked a curry from scratch. After choosing two recipes, the first job was to purchase the spices. I was pleasantly surprised find that Waitrose stocked all the items necessary for the Goan fish curry and the Rajasthani chicken strips.

The book is divided into 10 chapters and starts with an explanation of how to be quick and easy. When making the Goan fish curry I made the mistake of not preparing the garlic and ginger paste beforehand which took longer than expected.

Not being used to spicy food, it would have been useful if each recipe had been rated from mild to very hot. I did leave out the whole chilli from both recipes. The Goan fish curry was delicious and there was plenty of leftover sauce so on the following day I baked some salmon in the oven topped with the leftover sauce which was also delicious.

The Rajasthani chicken was easy to cook having already prepared the garlic and ginger paste, however it was too hot for my taste even with the whole chilli omitted.

This is a lovely book for beginners and experienced curry cooks alike with full colour photographs of all recipes. I do feel it would benefit from an indicator of spiciness for each recipe. If you like it hot, you'll love this book.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Bloggers BOM - January

bloggers BOM - January, a photo by libertyjsy on Flickr.
And here's my third completed BOM block for January from Opengate Quilts. I don't have the flying geese ruler used in the pattern so I made the flying geese with the double half square triangle method using 2.5" by 4.5" rectangles of background and 2.5" squares for the points.

Bonnie & Camille's Marmalade with Kona grey.

Uploading photos to Blogger has changed , I hope it goes back to the previous set up.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Sugar Block Club - January

The first block is called Snow Blossom. As it is a five by five grid block, the pieces are all odd numbers ending with 7/8". Not an easy one to cut, but once cut it went together quickly. I dipped in my scrap bag of white on white fabrics to find the background and used my stash of Bonnie & Camille fabrics to make another block for my honey bee quilt.

Today I need to continue my slow tidy up of my craft room to find a pink Kaffee Fassett fabric for a friend and a stitchery for me to finish asap.

2013 Sugar Block Club

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Lucky Stars BOM - January

This is the first proper block and is called funky star. For the 12" block to go with my Honey Bee blocks, I've used a mixture of Bonnie & Camille fabric lines with my favourite white on white background. I love the look of the red spot and the contrast of the green in the centre.

For the 6" block, I've use Marmalade by Bonnie and Camille with a Kona grey for background. Again the stripe works well for the main star points

Here are this month's blocks in both sizes together.

And the two six inch blocks so far including the practice block.

I've printed off the Blogger BOM to try tomorrow after I've done some WI labels for tomorrow night.

In your words

The In Your Words blog hop starts on 7 January. Go to on Monday and return here on Thursday, 10 January for my contribution.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Star BOM programmes

I love a good star block and I have come across several good ones so far this year. I need four more blocks to finish my Honey Bee quilt and a few more for my Christmas stars, so I will use the patterns for those and then the rest of the year they can all go together in one quilt. If you're interested, the details are as follows and click on the picture for a link to the website.

Costs $15 for twelve foundation pieced block patterns in 6" and 12". Also one practice block. released by e-mail on the first day of each month.

$7.95 for twelve block patterns and a recipe per month too. Released on the first day of the month by e-mail

Free for six block patterns downloaded from the website. The patterns will be removed after the six months are up. There are five other variations being shown on other blogs.

Thelma from Cupcakes ‘n Daisies ~

Lissa from Moda Lissa ~

Denise from Quilter’s Window ~

Nicole from Sister’s Choice ~

Lisa from Stashmaster ~

Free for ten block patterns downloaded from the website on the first Friday of the month in a chioce of 9" or 12" block sizes.
What a great selection.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A vague plan

As 2013 is here I need to have a plan of what I want to finish for the 2013 Eisteddfod and get a grip on my UFOs and WIPS. I have subscribed to a few blocks of the month along with the Bee in My bonnet row along to keep me interested.

      1. Union Jack pillow - finished
      2. Swoon quilt - finished
      3. Hopscotch quilt - needs quilting on my Bernina
      4. Farmer's Wife Quilt - needs two borders and quilting on long arm
      5. Hugs tapestry cushion
      6. Pink heart embroidery
      7. Live laugh love
Projects 5 needs a lot of work and 6 and 7 need application, but all three are perfect projects to take to Chez Soi on a wednesday morning. They are all doable and I will do the quilting of my Hopscotch quilt at our Guild UFO day in January.

Let me scare myself as to what other projects are on the go:
  • TQS BOM 2010 - ready to quilt
  • TQS BOM 2012
  • Tree skirt - ready to qult
  • Xmas star blocks
  • Honey bee paper pieced stars - need to see how many more blocks I need
  • Hugs and kisses
  • Thimbleberries book club quilt - need to finish the quilting
  • Elefantz BOM
  • Vignette quilt - least said the better
  • Just as I was thinking that was it - Dear Jane quilt
  • Christmas stitcheries
  • Floral cross stitch
  • And how could I forget - Jan Krentz star quilt. I think I've used the fabrics to finish this in other projects so it needs to be looked at.
And there's my Honey Bee commitment and the new Simply Solids bee too.  If I get eight out of my UFOs finished during 2013, I'll be pleased and relieved.

Ooh and I forgot that we have Lu Summers teaching in Jersey in 2013, I'm definitely looking forward to her screen printing class and I'd love to do some felting too in 2013.