Showing posts with label quilting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quilting. Show all posts

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

And Quilting On!

Having completed the HST BOM this month already, I am all enthused to tick another one of the list!

So this week's sewing has all been about my And Sew On BOM wallhanging. Having decided not to make the final block to have instead a 2 x 4 arrangement of the blocks, I dug out some appropriately themed fabric for the sashing  and some calico for the backing. The back will rarely see the light of day, so it made sense to use a plain, basic fabric for the back.

Apologies for the odd angle of the photo, the quilt is presently draped across the top of the sofa bed in my sewing room, and no I haven't taken to sleeping with my sewing machine!

I have quilted in the ditch around the blocks and straight line quilted the sashing blocks and borders, but now I am a bit stuck. I am not really sure how to quilt the blocks. Whilst quilting the sashing I was watching Leah Day's  Free Motion Quilting Class on Craftsy, so was feeling all ambitious about tackling different Free Motion Quilting patterns in the various blocks, but I am not 100% convinced that that is the way to go, so suggestions would be very welcome :)

Recently, Catherine at Knotted Cotton was looking for someone to go halves with her on a purchase of Oakshott Cottons. Having never bought any Oakshott before, it seemed like the ideal opportunity to experience the loveliness of these fabrics without breaking the bank! This bundle of loveliness arrived in the post this week, and I have been admiring them ever since. Now I know what all the fuss is about, they are just beautiful!

Post of a different kind, but no less welcome, has been pinging into my email all week too. The list of giveaway sponsors for the Ho,Ho,Ho and on We Sew Link party just gets longer and longer!

This month's giveaway is the wonderful Ornamental and Sew Seasonal Pattern Bundle from Quiet Play's Craftsy store

The Link Party is open over at Mud, Pies and Pins until the end of the month so there is still plenty of time to get started on your Christmas and Holiday projects and link them up to be in with a chance of winning.

If you are looking to add some Christmas Fabric to your stash check out the Christmas Sale at the Fat Quarter Shop. Check out too the generous sponsors we have lined up for you in the coming months!

Quilting Fabric at the Fat Quarter Shop Backstitch - Hemingford GreyBustleandSewPhotobucketPosie: Rosy Little Things Ray Stitch Haberdashery

That's enough WIP's to be going on with for now I think :)

Linking up to

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced 

Friday, 24 May 2013

Wine, weddings and quilting

A few weeks ago our eldest son proposed to his girlfriend and, fortunately as he had already bought the ring, the answer was yes :)

Wedding planning is, therefore, featuring heavily in their lives at the minute and more specifically wedding venue hunting. As they live in London and the wedding will take place further afield they wanted to keep a record of their search by pinning locations on a map. However, as they currently live in brand-new rented accommodation they weren't keen to pepper their shiny, new walls with pinholes. Their solution was to ask Mum if she could sew something suitable!

So I got my thinking cap on and decided that this was the perfect excuse to cut into some of that bargain fabric.

They were looking for a padded mat to keep on their desk that would be thick enough to pin a map to without marking the desk. I decided that the wine bottle fabric would be ideal for the front of the mat with the pink birds for the back.

As we were meeting up with the happy couple a week after the request was made time was of the essence, so piecing was out!  I knew that wadding wasn't going to be thick enough for the pins but I wanted to do more than make a pillowcase for the 1/2" thick foam sheet that I had ordered. I decided to make a quilt sandwich for the front of the mat and then add the foam sheet as a filling.  So I took a deep breath and quilted the wine bottle fabric top with FMQ lettering in appropriate wording!

Cheers quilting

I quilted the bottom row of the top with their names as I was getting really carried away by then, but I forgot to take a photograph of that! I made the quilt with an envelope back so that when the map is no longer needed they can take the foam pad out and be left with a quilt. Although quite what state it will be in when they have finished pinning things to it is anyone's guess :)

Wine bottle table topper

Son's faith in the ability of Mum to "sew something suitable" is still intact until the next challenge! Our youngest son has put in a request for patchwork Pyjama trousers, but I am still working up the nerve to tackle them. Fortunately he is very patient :)

If like me, you have tried something new this month share your successes and failures at the Link Party for

The link opens tomorrow (25th) so come back then to link up your New to You posts. I would love to see what you have been trying out in May.

Linking up this finish to 

Crazy Mom Quilts



Monday, 10 December 2012

Handmade Christmas - Part 1

Now that our youngest son's birthday has passed (last week) we are officially allowed to mention Christmas in our house!

So I decided to get a start on some of the handmade presents I am hoping to give this year. I have had lots of ideas spinning around in my head, but it is now boiling down to what I can get the appropriate supplies for locally and what I actually have time to do.

First up some pineapple chutney for my foodie son and daughter-in-law,

Before the big day I will search out some Christmas fabric and my pinking shears to make covers for the jars I promise!

Next up a bracelet from memory wire for my eldest son's girlfriend

This was actually a kit that I bought a couple of weeks ago and was so easy that I will definitely be out buying more memory wire soon. It must have taken all of 10 minutes in front of the television to do - definitely my kind of project :)

Finally I got around to using up some of my blocks from Quiet Play's Say Cheese Polaroid Block swap to make a doll quilt. The doll and quilt are for my niece's daughter, I am not quite sure what that makes me to her or her to me!

I had great fun sorting through the blocks I received picking out the girliest ones!

Now that I am finally reunited with my stash I had the ideal backing fabric - bright pink and flowery, not something I would normally use but perfect for this.

I hope she enjoys playing with this quilt as much as I have enjoyed making it.

Just in case you are thinking that I am really on top of things I am admitting to this disaster, a stollen that didn't rise!

 It wasn't entirely my fault as I went to what was billed as an "Edible Christmas Gifts" cookery class and we ran out of time to prove our stollens for the second time, which meant taking it home and having to leave it overnight to prove. I think the freezing cold journey home didn't do my poor stollen any favours and it could have doubled as a brick the next day!

Unfortunately the stollen wasn't the only disaster in the kitchen this weekend. I dropped my Christmas pudding when taking it out of the steamer (I know it should have been made weeks ago!) and the pudding basin cracked in two! Cue a hasty switch to another bowl, but I will only know on Christmas Day whether it survived the fall or not. I am hoping everyone will be so full of the festive spirit they won't actually notice that the pudding is a rather strange shape :)

Hopefully the next bout of handmade activity will be less disaster prone!

I hope your weekend was productive too.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Friendship Stars and Free Motion Quilting

My faithful sewing machine does not know what has hit it these last few days, not content with making buttonholes and trying out machine embroidery on the Dresden Sunflower cushion, I have been trying out another new (for me) function of the machine.

The Time for Tea quilt was backed and basted but I have been putting off doing anything about the quilting as I know what I would like to do - teacups in the border - but don't know how to achieve it. Never having attempted any quilting other than straight line and echo quilting, it is a big leap to contemplate fancy motifs, even if this is only a lap-size quilt. I did, however, have the 4 spare Friendship Star blocks as a result of my shockingly bad maths, so now had the opportunity to play with them.

Bordered with another dotty fabric from the Sunny Happy Skies line, then backed and basted the quilt square was ready to be practised upon. Beforehand though, I checked out Leah Day's video tutorials on Free Motion Quilting, to help with the machine set up, as the machine manual was sadly lacking in this respect! Armed with this knowledge, I set to.

What fun! How tense! Oh dear! Not so bad! All ran through my head in the space of a few seconds, whilst also trying to remind myself to breath and relax my shoulders. I have new found respect for the FMQ experts abounding in blogland, their hand-eye co-ordination is amazing :)

It wasn't perfect by any means, but when I got the hang of moving the quilt sandwich evenly my FMQ stitches even began to look quite respectable in places! In other places, not such a good result, but it was good fun. I think it will be a while before I am rattling off dancing teacups, but at least I can add another new technique to my mental list of things tried.

I didn't get too carried away though the Friendship Stars were echo quilted first, before I tried out the meandering loops on the dotty borders!

Having seen the photo of the cushion I am now regretting using two such similar prints for the bottom-right star, as I don't think the star stands out as much as it could do, but as these were spare blocks anyway I shall just chalk it up to experience.

Fortunately, the Friendship Stars in the quilt itself are better balanced.

Last weekend we visited a Coin and Collectors Fair here in Riga. The stalls were mainly geared to Coin, Stamp and Postcard collectors but there were a few other interesting items to be found.

 These medal ribbons were a glorious jumble of colour in the midst of all the military paraphernalia

And these Christmas Decorations seemed very out of place on a baking hot day! Not that there has been that many of these this summer in Riga.

Have a great weekend.

Linking up to TGIFF

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Sunflowers and Sewing

Just back from our Easter holiday in France, hence the silence on the blogging front for the last couple of weeks. We hoped to be heading off south for sunshine and some welcome warmth but, alas, that wasn't quite what we got! Still, besides the rain we did get to see our sons and daughter-in-law over the Easter weekend, which more than made up for the wet, miserable weather.

As they were all flying in to (and in two cases out of) Bordeaux, we took the opportunity to wander around what is, undoubtedly, one of my favourite cities. In recent years, there has been a big "clean-up" operation in the city, so the beautiful golden stonework of the Old City has been re-instated and you can see some of the results below. The clean-up operation on the Cathedral is still ongoing so the contrast between the cleaned up tower and the still to be cleaned main building is striking.

On a sunny day the city glows!

In amongst the trips to airports I did manage to fit in some sewing, although not the first projects of the Zakka-style SAL that I had planned! Over the last few years I have been patiently piecing together Dresden plate blocks in shades of yellow and gold for a Sunflower quilt. In the summer the SW of France is a blaze of golden yellow from the sunflower fields and it is lovely to see the rows upon rows of sunflower heads lifted to the sun, so my Dresden plates were to remind me of these when the sun is in short supply. The quilt top was pieced last Autumn, so this was my first chance to get the top backed and bound.

I had what I thought was sufficient wadding for this top but, unfortunately, turned out to be some several inches short when I laid the quilt out, so a trip to the nearest fabric shop was called for. The shop mainly retails fabrics for curtains and dressmaking so the only wadding that I could find was very puffy (high loft??) but wide enough to be used in one piece so ideal, or so I thought.

My small sewing machine had other ideas! The machine (and I) really struggled to cope with the backed quilt. The stitch length shortened as the speed increased, very frustrating, so the initial plan to outline machine quilt each sunflower was abandoned in favour of hand quilting. Much less frustrating to manage, but hard on the fingertips!

When I quilted the Circle of Geese cushion top that was basted with ordinary low-loft wadding there were no problems with the stitch length, so I can only assume that the puffiness of the wadding was the problem.

(See Megan's blog for the inspiration for this quilting)

Encouraged by the problem-free quilting on the cushion top and determined, however, to have the borders and sashing machine quilted I braced myself for another tussle with the machine. This time the main problem was that the top thread kept snapping! I was using King Tut thread for the quilting, which I had bought a while ago specifically for this quilt. I have never used this thread before but thought it was a reliable make. I ended up going out and buying some Gutterman all-purpose thread as the King Tut thread snapped so often that it was impossible to use. Has anyone else had any problems with this thread? I have bought the same make of thread to quilt my Almost Irish Chain quilt and I really don't want to start using it if I am going to have the same problems all over again!

After much muttered (bad!) language and several inadvertent tucks the quilting was eventually finished. It certainly doesn't bear any close scrutiny but it will definitely keep us warm at night when the temperature drops, which is what it is for.

I think if I was starting this quilt now I would probably choose a solid for the squares as it looks a bit too busy for me now, but given the hassle involved in getting it finished I can happily overlook that :) When I look at the quilt pattern that inspired it in Quilt magazine in 2007 it too is too busy for my tastes now, but as they say you live and learn!

As it is a Wednesday I can take pleasure in moving this quilt into the completed part of my WIP list and it is also my finished WIP for 12 WIP's in 2012, so another bonus to its' completion.


  • Reindeer Cushion
  • Shades of Green, Fleur Bleu, Checkered Heart and Orange cushions 
  • Orphan Block needle roll 
  • Pieced arc tea towel  
  • Yo-yo maker purse 
  • Padded hangers and tutorial

  • 3 blocks of In Color Order HST BOM (up-to-date) 
  • (Almost) Irish Chain quilt now basted 
  • Zakka-style SAL (2 projects behind schedule)
  • First border of teatime quilt completed, blocks calculated and fabric cut
  • 4 blocks of NY Beauty QAL completed (2 blocks behind schedule)
  • 6 blocks of Craftsy BOM completed (on schedule)


  • Indigo, yellow and violet rainbow cushions
  • Last block of Sampler quilt
  • Amy Butler bag 
  • Bag Making Bible Fashionista Bag 
  • Dragon Bag
  • Patchwork Block bag
  • Christmas mini quilts 

I am off to reply to the comments all the lovely readers have left on my blog whilst I have been away, so if you haven't received a reply now you know why (unless of course you are a no-reply blogger!) and then catch up on all that has been happening in crafty blogland

Linking up to Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday and Esther's  WOW

      Monday, 19 March 2012

      Paper Piecing Blocks and Beauties

      Five hours of rugby on the television on Saturday was the perfect excuse to get stuck in to the backlog of blocks I seem to have amassed lately.

      First up were the first two blocks of the NY Beauty QAL. I am using a Kona Solid in Hibiscus and a FQ bundle of Kaffe Fassett fabrics for this QAL. Even although these are the first blocks to be done, I am already thinking that I don't have enough fabric! When I read the initial instructions for the blocks the fabric requirements were 10 Fat Eighths of the main fabric and 1 and 1/2 yards of the background fabric, so that is what I bought, but having done the first two blocks (and read the introduction to the QAL again!) I now realise that this yardage is only to make one of each block.

      Having seen the photos posted to the QAL Flickr group I think the real beauty of the blocks is only really seen when there are 4 of each joined together. So for the minute I am making one of each block, but I suspect that I will have to go back later to make 3 more of some of them at least.

      I really enjoyed the paper piecing of these blocks, I found the rhythm of pin, sew, cut, press quite relaxing, but the curved seams were another business all together! The second of the blocks above came out a good 3/8" smaller than it should have been, which was I think down to a too generous seam allowance on the curved seams. More practice needed I think!

      With the backlog of NY Beauty blocks out of the way, the next target on my list was the Craftsy BOM that I have managed to ignore since signing up in January. However, having discovered on Friday that I had won a $25 Fat Quarter Shop gift certificate in Ellison Lane Quilts' Craftsy BOM Giveaway, guilt kicked in and I finally got around to watching the video for the first two blocks, and wondered why I had put off starting this BOM for so long! As I had also promised my son, the recipient of the SH QAL quilt, another, bigger quilt for their bed, this seemed like the ideal time to start another sampler quilt for them.

      A quick trip to the factory store and I had my 4 metres of solid fabric in pale turquoise to go with the several metres of Amy Butler Daisy Chain fabric, which I have been hoarding since using them as linings for these bridesmaids bags used at my son's wedding.

      Two blocks down, four more to go to catch up!

      Of course now that I have just finished the Sew Happy QAL, there is a gap to be filled, so naturally I have signed up for another project. This time, though, it is not a Quilt a Long but a Sew a Long for Rashida Coleman-Hale's new Book, Zakka Style hosted by LR Stitched I really enjoyed Rashida's earlier book, I Love Patchwork and had debated whether to buy the Zakka Style book when it was published in the UK, so it only took a minute to decide to sign up for the Sew a Long! There are, apparently, 24 projects in the book and there will be 24 different bloggers hosting the Sew a Long, which starts on April 2nd. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I get the book in time. 

      Linking up to Sew Happy's Manic Monday Link Party, Canoe Ridge Creations Sew Modern Monday and What a Hoot's BOM's away Monday

      Friday, 16 March 2012

      Circle of Geese and Shades of Green

      Determined not to fall too far behind in the two paper-piecing Sewalongs, FPPFTT and NY Beauty, that I have joined, I have been cutting, snipping and sewing up a storm to get this week's FPPFTT block completed. The Circle of Geese block lends itself very well to becoming a cushion, so I decided to use up the last of my scraps from the Sew Happy QAL to make a matching cushion for my son. I thought that I ought to tackle this block first before attempting either of the two NY Beauty blocks, where the capacity for disaster seems even greater!

      Mind you, this block was not without its' fair share of mishaps. Accidentally folding a piece under the wrong way and sewing it to the seam was bad enough, but quickly remedied but slicing through the last sewn piece when cutting off the extra seam allowance was really pushing it! Lesson learnt the hard way, concentrate all the time and more haste less speed will need to be my watchword from now on I think, otherwise those NY Beauty blocks are going to drive me mad.

      With tomorrow being St Patrick's Day and an England v Ireland rugby game imminent, Irish feelings are running high in our household. Irish stew will, no doubt, be on the menu tomorrow and I have a recipe for a fruity soda bread that I am looking forward to trying out. In addition, the day gives me my first opportunity to use my Shades of Green handbag.

      I really went for the Shades of Green theme with this bag. So the exterior is a fine green tweed, the interior is a brighter green cotton and as you can see I have used green satin ribbon to line the handles. There is more green cotton for my yo-yo trim and as if that was not enough green I added a shamrock button! If St Patrick's Day is not the perfect day to use this bag, then I don't know when is :) The bag pattern is from the City bag collection in Nancy Zieman's Trace'n Create bag templates. I have used them a couple of times and found them very straightforward to use. The patterns call for a number of Nancy Zieman products, which I cannot get here, but they are easily substitutable (is that a word??) with local available hardware, so it didn't cause any problems.

      Last night we went to the National Opera house to watch a performance of the Ballet Don Quixote, the tickets were a birthday present for my husband from our son. Whilst sitting in the theatre waiting for the performance to begin, I caught myself thinking that I should have brought my camera to take pictures of the interior to post on my blog! Am I becoming obsessed do you think??

      If you are ever in this part of the world, I would definitely recommend a visit to a ballet or opera performance. It is not something we did very often back in the UK partly because of the cost (especially if the whole family were going) but also because of the time and effort required in getting to the theatre. In Riga, the Opera House is within walking distance and ticket prices are very reasonable so whole families go, in fact you can see all sections of the society here at a performance from grannies with their granddaughters to students, visiting dignitaries and all groups in between. The dress code is similarly broad, so at the same performance you will see couples in evening dress, little girls dressed up (in flamenco dresses last night!) and students in jeans and jumpers. The theatre looks like I imagine it must have done decades ago, especially the cafe for the interval, where rows of cups and saucers sit on long, lovely wooden counters and delicious cakes are displayed in beautiful glass cabinets. You can definitely imagine ladies at the turn of the century in their finery sipping their tea in these surroundings.

      Hope you all have a great weekend, Happy St Patrick's Day in advance!

      Tuesday, 13 March 2012

      The Best Laid Plans!

      I had it all planned, we were going home to the UK for a week last week, so I brought all the blocks of my Sew Happy QAL with me to finish off and send to my son and his wife before we flew back to Riga. It was all going to be so straightforward, all I had to do was print out the instructions and template for the last block, cut out and sew the sashings, buy the wadding and then back, quilt and bind the quilt. That doesn't sound so hard, does it? Hah!!

      There was the small matter of a trip to Dublin, the husband's birthday and catch-ups with friends to fit in too, but it was all going to work out. Hah!!

      So what I really needed was for the phone line to die and for us to have no Internet connection for 5 days!!

      Buying the wadding was easy enough, fortunately I had already found the perfect backing material in Riga before we left.

      A local bedlinen manufacturer, I discovered, sells 100% wide width cotton for around £1.50 per metre, so when I saw the last 2.5 metres of this grey, shadow striped faux patchwork for sale I knew that I had found my backing fabric!

      When we did eventually get our phone line sorted, something to do with old wiring in our area being replaced and engineers inadvertently twisting wires apparently, I had only a couple of days left to make the last block, finish the quilt top, quilt and bind the quilt. Nothing like a deadline for concentrating the mind :) Cue also much muttering from my husband about how much longer was I going to be tied to the sewing machine!

      Fortunately I have already practised Dresden Plate blocks before for the QAYG sampler quilt that I started years ago at an evening class, so I had an idea of what to expect. I didn't, however, have enough of any of my fabrics for the background 12 and 1/2" block for the fan, more shopping needed!

      Ideally I would have like to have had less grey in the fans in this block, but these were the only fabrics left that were big enough for the fan template. I really went down to the wire with fabric on this quilt!

      I had to raid my stash for the turquoise solid for the pieced blocks in the sashing and paired it with blocks from the extra white fabric I had bought to finish off the Dresden Fan block.

      With some of my feature red leaf fabric in each corner, this is what I ended up with.

      I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole process of Jenna's Sew Happy QAL, it has been a great learning experience, even the foundation piecing (!), and I would definitely recommend joining a Sew Happy QAL to anyone.

      Finally, the evening before we flew back the quilt was quilted and bound. The binding was a bit rushed to say the least, but, fingers crossed, neither my son nor his wife will notice the few tucks here and there! I posted the quilt to them yesterday morning, so they will, hopefully, be snuggling under it soon and my son can no longer remind me that he is the only one of the family not to have their own quilt :)

      So, I can tick off my March WIP of my 12 WIP's in 2012!

      I am off to check out the blocks I have missed on Katy's FPPFTT here and Sew Sweetness NY Beauty QAL, before I end up too far behind!

      Linking up to Sew Modern Monday here and Sew Happy Geek's Manic Monday

      Wednesday, 29 February 2012

      Paper, Snow and WIP's

      After my enjoyment of the first instalment of Katy's Foundation Paper Piecing for the Terrified FPPFTT I was definitely looking forward to the second tutorial, especially as it would come one day before the long-dreaded foundation pieced block in the Sew Happy QAL! This time we were practising triangles so more capacity for disaster I would have thought! In the end, the block turned out better than I had anticipated, which is always nice.

      I hadn't been overly keen on the fabric combination when I had pulled them from my stash, but was keen to get on so had gone with them. They definitely came together better than I had expected, so I was very pleased. Now I just need to decide what to do with the block and whether to do more of the same to give me more options. All suggestions gratefully received! My son and his girlfriend have decorated their bedroom in purple, so I could maybe do something for them.

      It wasn't entirely plain sailing with this block as I did find that I was being a bit too generous at times with the seam allowances. I found it more difficult to judge with the triangles than I had with the strips for the first block, but, hopefully, that is something that will improve with practise. Let's hope so as Jenna's next block in the Sew Happy QAL is a star full of foundation pieced triangles, and I can't afford to mess it up as I haven't got much fabric left!

      There has been a great incentive to be indoors sewing these last couple of days here. Just when the temperature rose above freezing for a couple of days and it seemed that the winter might be over, this is what we looked out on yesterday!

      So as well as getting to grips with the paper-pieced triangles, I also got around to starting the teatime lap quilt that I have been planning for several weeks after the discovery of a forgotten, embroidered linen in my cupboard. The borders are on to square up the linen and I am busy working out the maths for the first row of blocks. This may take some time as I am always forgetting or miscalculating the seam allowances, if only someone had been able to tell me at school how important maths would be I might have paid more attention :)

       I really like the stripe fabric for this border, it picks up the embroidery colours really well. I am finding the linen centre very contrary to work with, trying to get the edges square has been difficult to say the least. Hopefully, now that the cotton border is on it will be a bit easier. I have a pattern for an Irish welcome quilt that I would really like to do, but it has a linen centre too so will no doubt have the same problems. I will see how this one turns out before tackling any more linen I think.

      Here is how my WIP list is looking at the moment;


      • Reindeer Cushion
      • Shades of Green, Fleur Bleu, Checkered Heart and Orange cushions 
      • Orphan Block needle roll 
      • Pieced arc tea towel  
      • Yo-yo maker purse 
      • Padded hangers and tutorial
      • 10 blocks of Sew Happy QAL (this weeks to do)
      • 2 blocks of In Color Order HST BOM (up-to-date) 
      • (Almost) Irish Chain quilt now basted 
      • First and second blocks of FPPFTT completed
      • First border of teatime quilt completed, blocks to be calculated and cut
      • Indigo, yellow and violet rainbow cushions
      • Sunflower Quilt 
      • Last block of Sampler quilt - no progress but it is in the UK and I am in Latvia!
      • Amy Butler bag 
      • Bag Making Bible Fashionista Bag 
      • Dragon Bag
      • Patchwork Block bag
      • Christmas mini quilts
      • New York Beauty QAL signed up for (starts March)
      • Craftsy BOM which I have signed up for but still haven't looked at yet!
       Oh dear, nothing has moved on the Waiting list! I will definitely have to try and find the time to at least have a look at the Craftsy BOM as the March tutorials will be out tomorrow.

      Linking up to Lee's WIP Wednesday and Esther's WOW

      Monday, 20 February 2012

      Guns and Tacks

      Well, I shall have to be more careful what I wish for, having said that more snow would be handy for sewing over the weekend, we had snow all day on Sunday! Unfortunately, the temperature rose this morning so walking along is a dangerous pastime both underfoot and overhead, where large folds of snow wait to fall from the roofs onto the unwary.

      Snow wasn't the only weather we experienced this weekend, there was definitely a strange alignment of stars and moons on Saturday. I finally got down to basting the (almost) Irish Chain quilt and what a job that was! My knees are still recovering from the hours spent crawling over a wooden floor.

      As you can see this has turned out to be a rather large quilt! So large, in fact, that there was nowhere big enough in the apartment to lay the whole quilt out flat, so the basting had to be done in two halves. Not ideal, I know, but nothing else for it. Never having basted such a large quilt before I was a bit worried about the whole process, with just cause as it turns out as it was hard work trying to keep everything flat.

      I also was using for the first time my new toy, a Microstitch basting gun!

      Isn't it neat, and look how tiny these tacks are! I bought this a while ago specifically to baste this quilt but had never used it before Saturday. I am now a fan, the tacks as you can see are tiny so equivalent to pinning but the process of stapling them is much faster than pinning, for me anyway. I was, initially, a bit worried that the stapling action might mark the wooden floor, but had no problems with that at all. As this quilt will have to be basted for a considerable time, and probably moved whilst still basted, I think that the tacks are probably also much less likely to be accidentally removed than pins might be. Well that is what I am hoping anyway.

      Now that this is basted I, in my head at least, feel that it has moved from being a UFO to a WIP!

      My question to you all though is how to quilt this? Is it possible, or practical even, to machine quilt something this size on a domestic sewing machine? If so, how do you manhandle the quilt through the machine? Is the only option really to hand quilt this and again how do you cope with the sheer volume of the quilt? So many questions, you can tell I am a bit daunted by this quilt, but now determined to get to grips with it.

      Today I am looking forward to my first paper piecing lesson from The Littlest Thistle , which after my efforts at the weekend will seem like working in miniature. New York Beauty here we come!!

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