Sunday, 6 April 2014

Like the No.33 bus... can wait ages for friends or family to come visit and then 3 lots come along at the same time.

Hand Drawn Garden Plus flimsy
It's been pretty busy round here lately. As Ferris Bueller would say, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Two weeks ago, fellow Stitch Tease bee mates Di and Helen came to visit, and stayed in our little riad. On their first morning, Zaki and I gave them a basic orientation of the souqs.  Here's Di and Zaki having a chat and putting the world to rights.

And here's my 'How am I going to carry 2 stools home!" face. Thank you Di for your help!

Photo credit - Helen at Runquiltknitwrite
I'll admit it was sometimes difficult to make conversation or share a joke. Not.

Photo credit - Di at Quiltova  
It was great fun to show Helen and Di around - by Day 2 they were old hands...sipping mint tea, negotiating like a local and telling me about places I should go to!

Of course, you can't have 3 quilters in the same room without the obligatory show and tell.  Here are the three of us holding my first Stitch Tease quilt. It was snapped by our guardian while Helen and Di's taxi to the airport waited outside hence it is a little fuzzy.

I hope they'll come back and visit again. It was fun to have them around.

 It was also lovely to catch up with my best friend from high school who came to visit too!

And yesterday my mum left after staying for 2 weeks.   Here she is waiting for her camel burger at Clock Cafe.

...and here's the camel burger. A-MAZING!!

...and here's a snap of me having a cuddle with my boy.

So has there been any sewing going on I hear you cry.  Well yes there has.  

A few weeks ago, I cut up most of the half yard bundle of Anna Maria Horner's Hand Drawn Garden bundle I bought from Jennifer a few months ago.  I cut it in to simple squares as I wanted to make a simple patchwork quilt.  Only this line is very eclectic and I wasn't sure the whole thing was working.  After asking for advice on Instagram and receiving some good stuff, I ignored it and made a plus quilt.

Crazy and eclectic.

I added a 2 1/2 scrappy border of low volume fabrics to frame the craziness and then added a 2" border of more Hand Drawn Garden.

This may not be everyone's cup of Orange Pekoe but it's most definitely mine.  I absolutely love it - it's big, bold and beautiful and I can't wait to baste and quilt it.  I just have to order some backing!

So now it's back down to earth with a bump. Back to work but with the promise that summer hols offically start in 10 weeks - woohoo, oh and a quilt commission too.

More of that next time. Happy Days.

Friday, 28 February 2014


Well where to start? It's been a while.  I confess I've felt a little lost the last few months.

It all began with the small person who shall remain nameless dropping my lap top and breaking the screen so that blog reading and posting was impossible for a while.

But it wasn't his fault. The screen was easy to fix..but then there were computer glitches of the viral kind.

They got fixed too and after finding a spare moment to sew, I basted the scrappy trippy and started to quilt. Straight lines quelle surprise! Nothing fancy.

But a couple of lengths in to quilting, the needle fell down...and then again...and again...and again.  The quilt was thrown in a corner. By now, mojo was dissipating by the second. I was 1500 miles and several months away from getting the machine fixed or serviced. I felt completely lost. I couldn't read blogs. I stayed away from Instagram. I seriously thought about throwing it all in...  stopping blogging...trying something else.

But I missed the emails and contact with bloggy friends. After a couple of weeks, I left the pity party and tried to find a solution to the needle problem. I looked online and found a forum where someone had posted the same problem. Despite never having had to do so before, I tightened the screw using the metal key and it worked! I was surprised by how much further it turned than simply by hand. I quilted and bound the scappy trippy and have my first finish of 2014.

I love it! It's the biggest quilt I have made at 72" x 82" and I hope it'll fit in nicely on our soon to be re-modelled roof terrace. The front is pieced entirely from scraps and definitely a few fuglies! The backing and binding are Cameo by Amy Butler.

So that's it! Expect more from me...I'm not going anywhere for the time being and I'll be getting back to commenting on a regular basis...I promise.

Linking up for the first time this year with Lynne over at Lily's Quilts.

Lily's Quilts

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Something for the New Year

Back in April, I posted the first few blocks of my scrappy trip around the world quilt. For one reason or another, they were then put away in the WiP cupboard and that was that...

...until a couple of weeks ago when I found them and wondered why I had left them languishing?

I cut up a bunch of strips and started making blocks; Instagrammers encouraged me and soon I had 42 blocks. Ignoring housework, visiting guests and internet shopping, I sewed them together.


And now?  Well now I have a flimsy measuring 72" x 84" ready for the New Year when we get back from England.

Without sounding like a creative lovey, I feel like I have gone back to my quilting roots with this one. Little or no negative space, bright and bold.  That's me.

Monday, 2 December 2013

I Shall Tease You No More

As some of you will have gathered, I have been struggling to find a balance between family life, work and blogging these last few months. My new teaching job has taken up much more of my time than I thought it would with lesson planning replacing any sewing and blogging time. I've missed sharing everyone's makes  - the highs and the lows.  Still, I'm hoping that as this semester winds up, things should improve and I resolve to be a better blogger!

Still, I have a finish to share!

Almost 2 years ago, my sweet blogging friend Di invited me and a few other friends to form a new round robin bee.  We picked a theme and over the course of the next year, we secretly made for each other.

I asked for scrappy curves, and my bee mates didn't disappoint.

Di assembled my blocks perfectly and in spring this year I received my gorgeous flimsy - an eclectic, one of a kind quilt top!

I quilted it with alternate 1 1/2" and 2 1/2" diagonal crosshatch straight lines and bound it using a couple (on the basis I never have enough of anything) of different Anna Maria Horner Drawing Room prints.

I wanted a darker binding to frame the blocks, and I think the colours work perfectly. I used a bamboo and cotton batting from my mum's local quilt shop and the backing is Pagoda Hill by Tina Givens. The quilt measures 72" square.

It's such a pretty quilt, and I can't thank my bee mates enough.  It really is one of a kind!

Top Row (left to right):  Di's wonderful Drunkard's path block, Katy's beautiful abstract appliqued blocks and my clamshells.
Middle Row: Susan's gorgeous portholes in her signature bright colours, Helen's amazing Dresden block that reminds me of millefiori every time I look at it, and Di's beautiful lemon and limes block.
Bottom Row: My lozenges using my quick curve ruler, Danny's beautiful appliqued pebbles and Hadley's exquisite New York Beauty!

Thank you my friends - if I'm not checking your blogs....know that I'm thinking of you every time I look at this quilt.

Linking up with Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day.

Lily's Quilts

Sunday, 10 November 2013

(Big) City Girl QAL

It's my turn on the (Big) City Girl blog hop - welcome to Marrakech!

Situated in Morocco, N.Africa, Marrakech has been my home for the last 11 years.  Love it or hate it, it's a crazy, colourful and vibrant city known for its beautiful winter sun and searingly hot summers.

I won't lie - it took me a while to come up with a design for my block.  I can only just paper piece let along come up with a pattern (have you seen some of the amazing blocks in this QAL?!) and when I thought about this city, it is really known for its souqs, Djem El Fna square and its iconic colour.  You see, all the buildings are a dusky pink.  Marrakech is known as The Red City.

To ward against the evil eye, Moroccans believe in the powers of a palm shaped amulet called the Fatima's hand.  They can wear it as a piece of jewelery or you often see it as a door knocker (see the centre image in the mosaic below) - believing that you never really knowing the true intentions of some visitors!

Here is my block - an improv. pieced Fatima's hand in the colours of Marrakech, using Oakshott cottons.

So here's a quick and super easy tutorial!

various scraps for the improv.pieced hand (solids or patterns in any colorway)
Paper template, which you can download here (enlarge to desired size)
Template plastic (not essential)
10 1/2" x 10 1/2"backing fabric
Double sided fusible interfacing

Step 1
Improv. piece scraps of fabric together until you have a rectangle approximately 9" x 9". There are lots of good tutorials online. I didn't use a ruler - I just used random scraps - sewed them together - trimmed and kept piecing! Go with your heart!

Step 2
Using the template, trace it on to some template plastic and lay it across the block diagonally.  This isn't necessary but does help you position the hand on the pieced square so that you can decide where to position it.  Try not to position the edge of the template near to where seams meet, like you can see half way along the top long edge in the picture below.

Step 3
Use the plastic template to trace round on to the non sticky side of the double sided fusible interfacing and trim around it leaving a half inch or so.

Position the interfacing on the wrong side of the pieced block with the sticky side down.  Fuse the two together following the manufacturer's instructions (usually applying a dry heat for a few seconds).

Step 4
Cut around the template and peel away the interfacing paper - don't leave it on too long and be careful so that you don't pull the seams.

Fold your backing fabric in half and press with an iron so that you have a central line.  Position your Fatima's hand on the backing fabric using the central line as a guide.

Step 5
Applique the hand to the backing fabric using your preferred method - either by hand or machine. I machine appliqued using the applique stitch.

Et voila!

Thank you so much to Aylin and Amy for organizing this QAL.  It's not too late to join in - it's low key and low pressure! Why not design a block of your own for your city? You can read about the QAL here.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

WiP Wednesday

I rarely do WiP Wednesday but have decided to start on the basis that it might focus my mind now that I'm going to have other commitments.

So keeping it real, I shall list only a couple of things.

First up are my blocks for the City Sampler. Since starting these last Friday I have made the first 15 blocks, which are all crosses. These blocks come together so easily and I am loving the combination of different Tula Pink lines and Oakshott. I have a way to catch up with the sewalong, which are at the mid fifties but who knows, I might do!

Second up is my gorgeous Stitch Tease quilt top, the theme for which was curves.

I have the batting and I'm going to do a pieced back...just need to decide on the fabrics. The only thing is that I left a lot of my basting pins at my mum's and so energy is required to face basting it with thread...and if I do that then I'm quite tempted to hand quilt it on my big hoop! Am I mad?

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Bee Frazzled

It's October and round here that means one thing...cooler temperatures! Not that they are here yet...

September was a bit of a frustrating month for me sewingwise as I was behind from the start, lacked momentum for most of the month and really only found my rhythm in the last few days.

There were bee blocks to be made of course.

I had Jennifer's Stitch Tease bee blocks for August *blush* to make.  She asked for Arkansas Traveler blocks (far right) in hummingbird colours against a dark grey background. We used this super straightforward tutorial by Lee and the block came together with no difficulty.  The only problem was that the background was paper pieced and there was a lot of wastage so using the cutting instructions I got through a whole FQ for one block! The diamonds for the second block are made, so once new fabric supplies arrive, they will be off to Jennifer.

Hadley was Queen Bee in September's Stitch Tease and asked for 49 patch blocks using low volume in one block and aqua, deep pink, dark grey and low volume in the second block.  Now these was easy to put together but only once I had found the fabrics, which was challenging to say the least! She is going to have the most beautiful quilt.

A few months ago, Rhonda asked if I would join her Modern Stitching Bee and seeing who was in it I jumped at the chance. Leanne was first up for the new round and asked for square within a square blocks and QST blocks. She asked for fussy cuts in pinks, acid greens, aquas, zesty oranges and lemons and juicy purples. For the QST blocks, Leanne wanted prints which would read as horizontal lines - this challenged not only my fabric choices but my brain in correctly positioning the components of the block and let's just say there was seam ripping and then some!

Determined to do better this month, I decided to get on with Emily's blocks for the Modern Stitching Bee. Emily asked for log cabins using a little red, yellow and green surrounded by navy and low volume fabrics. While I didn't repeat within each block, there are some repeats within the second block but I'm hoping that with some careful positioning they will fit in nicely. Another beautiful quilt me thinks.

A couple of bees wind up this month and I won't be joining in any Round 2s. I need to lessen my bee commitments and concentrate on just a couple.  If you hear me joining another you have permission to shout at me!