Wednesday 31 July 2013

Even more paper piecing!

Well, I made it but only just :) The missing block for March in Quiet Play's And Sew On BOM is finished, which means that for about 24 hours I am actually up-to-date with the BOM!

Spools and Thread block

After all of the tiny pieces of the rotary cutter in July's block, this was so much more straightforward to do, and is, I think, one of the very few paper-piecing blocks that I have made where I didn't ever have to use my seam ripper :) At one point I very nearly attached a piece the wrong way round but noticed before I dropped the needle, now that is either progress or sheer good luck.

Here are all 7 of the blocks together for the first time.

Seven And Sew On blocks

Only two more to go and I will have a new addition to my sewing room, although these last two blocks look like they have some fiendish piecing.

All this paper-piecing activity means that there has been some progress on my WIP list, which now looks like this

  • In Color Order HST BOM - quilting started!
  • Sunday Morning Quilt Bee blocks received, 2 more to be added by me
  • Sunday Morning Quilt2 Bee 13 sets of blocks received, 3 more to come
  • Sunday Morning Quilt2 Bee blocks sent (on schedule)
  • Star of Africa Bee blocks completed and sent (4 months behind schedule)
  • Scrappy Trip Around the World Bee Q2 - sign ups start in next couple of days
  •  And Sew On BOM - seven blocks completed (On Schedule!)
  • Paris Cushion - fabric received
  • (Almost) Irish Chain quilt basted  
  • 5 blocks of NY Beauty QAL completed and fabric cut for remaining 5 blocks 
  • 18 blocks of Craftsy BOM completed (only 2 more to go!)
Maybe if I can keep this paper-piecing momentum going I will get those last two blocks of the Craftsy BOM finished soon too, stranger things have happened :)

If you have managed to try something new before the month ends there is still time to link up here to the link party for July.

I have some exciting news that I will be sharing with you in the next couple of days too, but in the meantime here is a sneak peek of what is in store.

Linking up to WOW

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday 29 July 2013

More paper piecing!

Quiet Play's little houses have fired up my paper-piecing mojo, so I decided that it was time to try and catch up with Kristy's And Sew On BOM. If I didn't get any blocks made this month I would end up three months behind, and probably never catch up before the last block is posted in September :)

So as some light relief from the ironing which was threatening to take over the kitchen, I set to.

Naturally, this being paper-piecing there were a few hiccoughs along the way!

Hmmn! This is what happens when I stop concentrating and start congratulating myself on how quickly it is all going together, I forget to turn the second piece over and iron before I attach the third piece!

And Sew On BOM June

I had intended to make each hexagon from a different fabric but then realised after (naturally!) I had sewn the three pieces together that I had used the same fabric for the edges of the two hexagons that overlap a strip. I was not going to get the seam ripper out to change that :)

When I had finished this block I was congratulating myself on actually finishing a block for the BOM in the month that it was posted. Premature congratulations as it turns out. When I checked up to see which blocks I was now missing, I discovered that this block was posted in June so I still had July's to make.

Fortunately the paper-piecing mojo hasn't deserted me yet so I printed out July's block and set to. Some of the pieces in this block are tiny!

And Sew On BOM July
I have yet to mark out the grid lines on the cutting board but I will probably embroider them at the end. I am thrilled to bits that the rotary cutter is actually recognisable too!

The March block is now the only one I am missing, so with a fair wind I might even manage to get it done before the end of July and finally have caught up with this BOM. I have said that before though, so I am not holding my breath :)

As we are still (just) in July there is still time for you to link up here to this month's

 Bloggers have been trying out everything from ballooning to wigglegrams, and if you don't know what that is (I didn't!) then check out the links to find out :)

Linking up to

  Fresh Poppy DesignQuilter in the Closet

Friday 26 July 2013

And then there were three!

When Kristy asked for pattern testers for her paper-pieced little houses I jumped at the chance. The house blocks are 6" finished, and would be perfect I thought as complementary blocks to the fabulous house blocks my Star of Africa Bee mates are sending.

I haven't paper-pieced for a while, which is why I am currently 2 blocks behind in Kristy's And Sew On BOM, so I hoped that some tiny little houses might help encourage my paper-piecing mojo to return too :)

Two tiny houses

And it seems to have worked!

The house on the left was the pattern that Kristy asked me to test, which went together like a dream, well apart from this rather stupid self-inflicted error :(

That is what happens when you are so busy making sure that your seam allowances are right that you forget to actually look and see whether you are sewing the pieces together correctly! Fortunately, easily resolved with some quick unpicking.

Once that was sorted I had a go at the next of the 9 blocks that Kristy has designed, and then I had a go at the next one after that!

Three tiny houses

Then I thought that a road full of houses and nothing else wouldn't be a very pleasant place to live. so I re-sized another one of Kristy's blocks, Pine Tree Park, and added some trees to my burgeoning village.

Three houses and trees

Now my original intention was to join these 4 blocks together to make a 12.5" block that will match the Bee blocks I have received, but the houses were so straightforward to put together (apart from the obvious clanger!) that I am having second thoughts.

Alternative arrangement

I think they would look great as a border on the top and bottom of the final quilt, or would that be too much? Decisions, decisions. Whatever I decide I will be making more of those houses that is for sure! Thanks Kristy.

If you have tried something new this month, whether it is paper-piecing or painting, don't forget to link up to July's New to Me link party here

Check out some of the wonderful activities that your fellow bloggers have been trying out this month, whilst you are there.

Linking this finish up to Crazy Mom Quilts

Paper Piecing Party  
plum and june

Thursday 25 July 2013

New to Me in July 2013

It's the 25th of the month already, so time to link up what you have tried out this month that is New to You.

This month I have been all at sea :)

At the beginning of the month we went on our first-ever Cruise.

This was our ship at Bergen, Norway the last port of call before we sailed back to the UK. We really loved Bergen and will definitely go back there someday, hopefully not on a Sunday when the quilt shop in town is closed though!

So we spent a lot of time occupying these

 and even more time admiring views like this.

On days at sea the ship held a craft class in the afternoon, so when I managed to tear myself away from the loungers and the view I got to try my hand at something else New to Me too.

My very first attempt at painting with watercolour pencils with a bit of decoupage thrown in :) The card front is a stamped image, which was painted by either dampening the watercolour pencils on a palette and applying as paint, or, as I did, lightly colouring the image with the pencils and then softening the applied colour with a damp paintbrush. I really enjoyed having a go at this, and as I have a set of watercolour pencils that I bought to mark quilts with, I will definitely have another go at it. In fact, I may just have bought some stamps that were 70% off in the garden centre yesterday for exactly that!

So that is what I have been up to that is New to Me this month, now it is your turn to link up your New to Me activities.

Link them up below and share your triumphs and/or disasters.

As ever please help to spread the word by linking back to this post in your post and/or adding the blog button to your sidebar.

Check out the other links and leave a comment along the way. The emphasis of this link party is to celebrate the trying of something new, whether it works out exactly as planned or not, so a little encouragement here and there would not go amiss! 

The link will remain open until July 31st so if you haven't already tried something new you still have time :)

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Bee blocks in, Bee blocks out

There hasn't been a lot of sewing going on around here lately, but in an effort to keep up to date with at least one of my Bees I have finally got around to making this month's block for the Sunday Morning Quilts Bee.

Julie asked for blocks for a Ticker Tape quilt from the book. The original quilt is put together with scraps of fabric attached to plain white blocks, quilted and attached at the same time. Julie asked us to stitch fabric scrap squares to a 22" x 22" white background square, leaving the edges raw.

July SMQ block

The plan then is that Julie will stitch over the original stitching to quilt the backing, wadding and pieced front together. I wish her luck, I found stitching these squares and rectangles, very tedious! I wasn't sure about the original quilt in the book, when I first read it and now I definitely know that this quilt isn't for me. All those raw edges are too disturbing.

Having seen the other blocks that are on their way to Julie though, this will be a really colourful quilt.

So one block out, and two blocks in.

I have asked my Star of Africa Bee mates to make house blocks for my Bee quilt, and boy are they coming up trumps! Jen made this fabulous block based on her grandparents house, and shared the tale of the making here She has a photo of the original inspiration for the block and has definitely nailed it.

Irene's SoA Block

Irene sent this block all the way from Guatemala, complete with a description of the Spanish Colonial style architecture that the block is based on. The door fabric is an example of typical Guatemalan textiles, and the fussy cut flowers in the windows are adorable.

Although the Star of Africa Bee definitely taxes my brain at times, receiving such fabulous blocks with their stories makes the brain frizz worthwhile :)

So no change on the WIP list this week.

  • In Color Order HST BOM - quilting started!
  • Sunday Morning Quilt Bee all but 3 blocks received 
  • Sunday Morning Quilt2 Bee 12 sets of blocks received
  • Sunday Morning Quilt2 Bee blocks sent (on schedule)
  • Star of Africa Bee blocks completed and sent (3 months behind schedule)
  • Scrappy Trip Around the World Bee -  COMPLETED AND SENT
  • And And Sew On BOM - four blocks completed (two behind schedule)
  • Son's quilt  COMPLETED
  • Paris Cushion - fabric received
  • (Almost) Irish Chain quilt basted  
  • 5 blocks of NY Beauty QAL completed and fabric cut for remaining 5 blocks 
  • 18 blocks of Craftsy BOM completed (only 2 more to go!)

Maybe the rain we are being predicted for the rest of the week will mean some progress will be made on that list this week :)

The Link-up for New to Me in July opens tomorrow, so don't forget to link up if you have tried anything new this month!

Linking up to

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Quilter in the Closet

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Bargains and Beaches

We are making the most of our glorious weather as you never know in this country how long it might be around for!

Druridge Bay, Northumberland

So yesterday we took a trip up the coast to Druridge Bay to dip our toes in the always refreshing (i.e. cold!) North Sea and take advantage of nature's exfoliator :)

Toes in the sand

7 miles of beach is a lot of exfoliation!

Normally a visit to this beach also involves a trip to Calico Barn, a quilt shop in the entrance to a farm 1/2 a mile down the road, but alas, the shop was all closed up so I have to assume that it closed for business whilst I was abroad in Latvia. 

On the way back home, however,  I noticed a sign for a Remnant Sale, so made a quick detour to check it out. The sale was at a small furnishings workshop tucked away behind a farm shop and tea room that are regular haunts, so it was a surprise to find that I had never even noticed its' existence before. I shall be keeping an eye out for their remnant sales in future, though.

Remnant Sale buys

There was a great selection of trims at only £1 per metre, and fabric bundles that started at 20p! The trims above will make great bag handles and the fabric samples will be ideal for small purses and pouches. All of the fabric swatches on the right of the photo were for sale at 50p for the lot, the pale pink fabric at the back of the bundle is pure silk! I told the saleslady not to tell me how much it sells at off the bolt so that I won't be worried about messing it up when I come to sew with it :)

I feel some bag-making coming on:)

It is a while since I checked in to WIP Wednesday but I don't think there has been much progress on the list :(

Here is how it looks at the minute.

  • In Color Order HST BOM - quilting started!
  • Sunday Morning Quilt Bee blocks received 
  • Sunday Morning Quilt2 Bee 12 sets of blocks received
  • Sunday Morning Quilt2 Bee blocks sent (on schedule)
  • Star of Africa Bee blocks completed and sent (2 months behind schedule)
  • Scrappy Trip Around the World Bee -  COMPLETED AND SENT
  • And And Sew On BOM - four blocks completed (two behind schedule)
  • Son's quilt  COMPLETED
  • Paris Cushion - fabric received
  • (Almost) Irish Chain quilt basted  
  • 5 blocks of NY Beauty QAL completed and fabric cut for remaining 5 blocks 
  • 18 blocks of Craftsy BOM completed (only 2 more to go!)
Hope you are making more progress than I am!

Linking up to

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday 15 July 2013

Pleasant Pheasant

I have fallen seriously behind with my Star of Africa Bee blocks, so this weekend I have ignored all of the other projects littering my table and only had eyes for a Star of Africa block :)

Part of the reason for the backlog with this Bee, is that each block is different and depends upon the theme requested by the Queen Bee for the month. The standard of blocks produced by the other Bee members is so high, that my brain freezes every month trying to come up with something appropriate. Once I have come up with an idea it then takes me even longer to work out how to put it into practise!

In April, Cindy asked us to make a block that reminds us of home. I had already made Sana a block of the Angel of the North when she asked for a block to represent coming home.

Angel of the North block

So I needed to come up with something different for Cindy. Time to get my brain in gear!

After pondering over and discarding lots of ideas, I finally decided that the family of pheasants who live at the bottom of our garden were the ideal reminder of home, so I would try to represent a male pheasant in my Bee block.

I can't take any credit for this photo sadly, as they fly off every time I try to take one ;(

The male pheasant is frequently seen strutting his stuff in the garden in the morning, and has a very self-important and puffed up air about him as he does so :) The much smaller female seems to trail along in his glorious wake!

Deciding what to do is only half of the battle with these Bee blocks, the next, and much harder, bit is working out how to do it.

After weeks of deliberation (or procrastination depending upon your viewpoint) and the discovery of the perfect fabric for his plumage in my stash, I finally got down to business and sketched out an applique outline for the block.

Applique Pheasant block

And here he is!

The applique pieces were fused to the background fabric with Steam-a-Steam and then free-machine embroidered around the edges to add definition and reinforce the bond. Cindy asked us to add our name and location to the block background so I embroidered these on once the applique was complete.

I am delighted with how this turned out and think that I might use the applique pattern to make a cushion cover for the autumn.

Next up is a postcard block for Leanne, the block should represent anything you might find on a postcard from your neighbourhood, so more wracking of brains required :)

I can definitely call myself a slow blogger in respect of the Star of Africa Bee, so I am linking this post up to this month's link party, which is hosted by Martha, and to the Let's Get Acquainted Link party, which is hosted this week by Em

Knotted Cotton  plum and june

Fresh Poppy DesignQuilter in the Closet

Saturday 13 July 2013

Another list of hopeful finishes!

Doesn't time fly when you have a list of things that you want to finish! Having only managed one finish from my lovely hopeful lists of projects in the last 2 Quarters, I am continuing with the optimism for Q3 of the FAL at She Can Quilt.

  she can quilt

Yet again top of my list to finish this Quarter is the HST BOM quilt I started at the beginning of last year!

HST BOM Quilt top
The quilt top was backed, basted and bound at the beginning of the last Quarter and I even started the quilting, but then came to a dead halt. I really would like to get this finished so that I can tackle new projects without any guilt, so this is going to be top of my list.

Next on the list is the embroidered cushion I added last quarter as a small project that could be finished quickly! That didn't quite go to plan :)

As usual the delay in finishing this last quarter was more procrastination on my part, when I decided that I didn't have the perfect fabric to finish this cushion and "had" to order more from the US. The fabrics arrived weeks ago and have been sitting on my table top waiting for something to happen to them, so the time has come to stop the dithering and set to.  If I don't get a move on the embroidery will be celebrating its first birthday :)

More stitching for the third project on my list which has been all over Europe with me on my travels and really deserves to be finished by now.

Work in progress

I have been cross stitching this tea towel since we left Riga last year but, in my defence, only when we have been travelling. The band of stitching you can see above is the second band of two so I really don't have that much left to do on it. We have a couple of trips planned to visit our son and daughter-in-law in Oxfordshire and maybe a longer trip to France, so surely that will be enough time for me to finally get this finished. Fingers crossed!

My final finish for this quarter is not quite as advanced as the teatowel, but has been in progress for longer.

Craftsy Catch up

I have two blocks left to complete on this Craftsy BOM (from 2012!). They are both paper-pieced blocks, which is probably why I keep getting them out and then promptly putting them away again! This quilt was originally intended to be a gift for my son and daughter-in-law, and as they are moving back to the North East at the end of next month it would be really nice to have it finished in time for their move.

Well that's my list of hopeful finishes for this quarter, as you can see I am nothing if not optimistic :)

Linking up as ever in hope to

she can quilt 

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