Thursday, 31 January 2013

Fresh Sewing Day - January Edition

'January - sick and tired you've been hanging on me' 

Forgive me for feeling ever so slightly smug but last month I turned 2 quilt tops and a pile of blocks in to three finished quilts. This is a personal record.  Likely never to be repeated.  

I continued to work on my bee blocks and still have a couple of outstanding ones, which I shall finish over the next couple of days.

January was the month I celebrated my 2 year blog anniversary, or rather didn't.  Keep your eyes out for a belated giveway...coming soon!

And here's a mobile phone snapshot of our non-sewing January.

Tomorrow I shall link up with Lynne and her Fresh Sewing Day.  Head on over there for lots of inspiration of the sewing variety.
Lily's Quilts

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Less UFO Sightings Reported

You wouldn't believe the mayhem going on behind this quilt as I was taking photos.   Short of a responsible adult to hold the quilt, I enlisted the help of Zaki (age 4) and his cousin Salma (7 years old).  Behind the quilt, one of Zaki's 'big' cousins was restraining another 'small' cousin from jeopardising the photo shoot.  Light was going and I had to be quick.  Hence the wonky tilt to the quilt!

I have definitely made a big old dent in the UFOs lying around since I joined Leanne's Finishalong 2013. This is my third finish of 2013.

Last October, it was my second turn as quilter in the Care Circle of do.Good Stitches.  I asked the lovely members to make bright scrappy patchwork wheel blocks. The blocks look so pretty when assembled together - there is just the right mix of dark and light in this quilt.

When you look at the quilt sometimes you see hugs...

...and sometimes you see kisses...

I made a backing using white cotton and some of Tula Pink's Birds & Bees, and used some for the binding too. I bought some half yards last year and never did work out quite how to use them... 

...especially these it makes me happy to see them off the spare bed and in a quilt.

When I returned from England at the beginning of the month, I was uncharacteristically slack when I gathered up my sewing kit and caboodle and left behind fabric (*gasp*) and my hera marker at my mum's.  So I chose simple straight line quilting again and as this is a smallish quilt (48" x 48"), it was done in a flash.

Thank you to all the wonderful women who contributed to this quilt.  I am sure it will give lots of quilty hugs and kisses to a sick child when I hand it over to  Project Linus UK.

Things will be a bit slower on the quilt making front but it has made me realize that if I lived somewhere where I could buy batting or thread at a local quilt store or online and have it in a couple of days then I would probably be much more productive.  I bought 4 kilometers of thread (4 x Gutermann's 1000m spools) back with me along with 3 lots of batting - the batting has gone as has over 1 kilometer of thread but I'm looking forward to finishing bee blocks and working on some quilt tops - after all my favourite part of the process...

Linking up with TGIFF being hosted by Laura this week!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Over Two Years

Have you ever forgotten your birthday?  No, I haven't either.  However, it appears I have forgotten my blogiversary, which in blogging terms is forgetting your birthday. Clearly I was too busy entertaining a 4 year old on his holidays and making quilts.  It was on January 20 apparently.  Yep - one week ago marked two years since I started my little blog.  My witterings.

I have also been hovering around the 400 follower mark for a while now.  So together with my blogiversary I think that calls for another giveway.  I shall get back to you on that one very shortly.  I have a cunning plan.

Today, I assembled the blocks for my second Care Circle quilt top. Last October, I asked the circle to make bright blocks using Elizabeth's Patchwork Wheel block.  You can find the super easy tutorial here.

I still can't get over the fact that these blocks were made with lots of different stashes - they just go so beautifully together.

This won't be a very big quilt - it will be 48" square. Once made, the quilt will be donated to Project Linus UK and give comfort to a young sick child.  I'm hoping to make the back, get it basted and start quilting it tomorrow or Tuesday and perhaps there might be one last finish for January.

I'm not promising as I have some important bee blocks to attend to including a paper pieced one.  Have I paper pieced before?  No.  What am I paper piecing?  A Union Jack from the book, Modern Blocks. Off to find my seam ripper...

Linking up for the first time with Plum and June and the Let's Get Acquainted Monday Link Up!

Plum and June

Saturday, 26 January 2013


Solve the equation. What does n represent? 

n = x + y (+Care Circle) 

Ughh.  Algebra. Mathematics and I didn't get on well at school and it was only when I had to teach the subject to 6th graders that I started to enjoy it.  6th grade math is. as. far. as. I. go.

I've been a little quiet over the last week or so but I have been a busy bee I assure you.  Last weekend I decided to have a computer and sewing machine 'lite' weekend so that I could have some time doing fun stuff with Zaki.  Then on Monday he appeared with his 'dossier' - a huge tome of all the things he had done since September.  It had a whole end of term feel to it and yes, he was on his holidays (having only been back at school for 2 weeks).  Somehow, we hadn't got the note. If I checked my husband's coat pockets, I'm pretty sure I might find one in there as he usually does the last school run of the day (there are three as Zaki comes home for lunch). Thanks honey!

Anyway, I have had Zaki at home and have been sewing although trying not to be chained to the machine.  I do have another, yes another finish for you!

I know, I know, I'm starting to spoil you as this is my third finish since December 24, 2012.

n = finish!

Last year, I was a quilter in the Care Circle of do.Good Stitches - a really lovely group of women.  I asked the circle to make super sized scrappy x and plus blocks based on badskirt's original tutorial but a bit bigger.  They did good.  Very good.  So on Tuesday, I whipped up a quick back using a couple of spare blocks, basted it and then started quilting it using 1" straight line quilting.

I finished the quilting on Thursday.  As I too go to the school of  'we'll cross that bridge when we come to it' I then had to figure out some binding.  I ws thinking of going scrappy to  match the whole scrappy vibe going on but then found a half meter of some Sherbet Pips' fabric in amongst the huge box of mystery fabrics I had bought from Lynne when she had a destash last year. I like how the binding kind of just blends in.

So this quilt was destined for last year's Siblings Together appeal by Lynne. Siblings Together is a UK based charity which provides camps for siblings separated by the care system. However, for one reason or another I didn't receive all the blocks until July and the moment passed.  Lynne has just started her Siblings Together appeal for this year and I'm very happy that this is done and will go back with my mum after her visit here in April and to the summer Siblings Together camp.  I'm really hoping this will make a young girl very happy! If you want to join in by making a quilt or donating fabrics or batting then the flickr group is here.

Oh, and I almost forgot - this is my second finish of the first quarter of Leanne's Finishalong!

Quilt Stats
Quilt Design x and plus blocks
Quilt Front Fabrics Scrappy!
Quilt Back Fabrics White sheeting and 2 blocks
Binding Sherbet Pips
Measures 55" x 65"

Linking up with TGIFF over at Nat's, who is hosting it this week...even though it's Saturday :-/

Friday, 18 January 2013

Any Suggestions?

After the euphoria of finishing a quilt so early in the new year, my mind turned to starting something new.  Perhaps using these... 24 FQs of Anna Maria Horner's Field Study.  I bought one of the colourways in the sale from Pink Castle (I think) just before Christmas and my mum bought me another colourway for Christmas. I love AMH's designs and saturated colours and these fabrics make me very very happy.

Perhaps you can help with what to do with them and what solid would work well with them...if I was indeed to use a solid.  I like the idea of just letting the fabric sing, so perhaps simple squares or strips, clamshells or a plus quilt or a swoon...I have had the pattern for ages but done nothing with it? If I do use a solid, it won't be white. So what do you think?

Since returning to Morocco, I have been working on my bee blocks and I still have a few to do.

This month,  Nicole in the Sew Euro Bee An bee asked for 2 X and Plus blocks using grey and black fabrics with an accent colour - red in one...

...and orange in the other

In the mystery round robin bee, Stitch Tease, Hadley asked for a 10"x 60" strip of rectangles and squares in aqua, green, teal, orange and grey with some white for the eye to rest on.  I can only show you a pixelated version as these quilts won't be revealed until April. That's 6 strips down, just 2 to go!

Now the next bee block is very embarrasing.  The EEEEP EPP Bee, an English paper piecing bee, is a very relaxed bee (perhaps too relaxed) with a 2 month trunaround for blocks and back in September Helen requested 2 HST blocks which turned out to be cursed as far as I was concerned.  First, Helen's templates and Kona snow got lost in the post and having no Kona snow I ordered some. Then I was half way through the block and spilled coffe over it. Then there was Christmas and so finally I got to make the first block again (no coffee this time) and it's too big and I'm running out of Kona snow! Gah.

Thank you to Helen who has been so incredibly patient. So next up is trying this block again and trying to get it the right size!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

A Curious Finish

There have been times over the last couple of days when I have felt like I was assisting in the lambing shed or competing in some sumo wrestling as I tugged the Man with a Curious Nature quilt through the throat of my machine.

I wanted it to have a squishy feel so that it was ideal for snuggling and so I quilted it 'lite' by simply echoing the squares and rectangles. It still took ages as I was continually having to reposition the quilt.  Ideally I would have liked to quilt it more densely.

But it's done...finally, and my first finish of 2013.

It was a surprise for my husband who had no idea I was making anything for him. Zaki and I took it to the riad so that we could surprise him but he had popped out for lunch so we took a few snaps while we were waiting for him.

I'm ashamed to admit that I made the quilt top in April last year! I used lovely Sarah's stained pattern as part of her QAL and Parson Grey's Curious Nature, which I still really love.  At the end of last year, I made the backing using Denyse Schmidt's Four Square (Hope Valley) and some Oakshott striped cottons from the FQ Retreat goodie bag. The binding is Flea Market Fancy.

After signing up to Leanne's FAL (Finishalong), I knew that I wanted this to be one of my first finishes. I love the stained design but I am kind of wishing that I had used a different solid as I'm not really loving the Kona herb which came with the FQs I ordered. However, my husband who is not known for his quilt enthusiasm seems to like it and that's what matters! It definitely has more of a masculine feel but it was fun to do something a little different.

I've  nominated it an early wedding anniversary present for next month - I couldn't keep until February.  I'm like that with surprises!

Quilt Stats
Quilt Front Curious Grey by Parson Grey and Kona Herb solid
Quilt Backing Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley Four Square and Oakshott Cottons
Binding Denyse Schmidt's Flea Market Fancy Medallion
Size 60" x 72"

Monday, 14 January 2013

Don't Ever Accuse Me of Being a Drama Queen

After a nice weekend with the in-laws celebrating my youngest sister in law's engagement, which involved quite a lot of eating, I had good intentions for today - dusting off my gym card and eating healthily. However, things were thrown a little off course when I had a major run in with the accounts woman at Zaki's pre-school.  I really hate confrontation and usually do anything to avoid it but I was surprised to find myself quickly arguing in French with the rudest woman I have met in a long time.  It's amazing how your language skills improve once fuelled by adrenaline.

Joking aside, she really upset me and it was all I could do to buy the vegetables for lunch and get home whereupon  I 'phoned my husband, burst in to tears and announced we were going back to England! Of course we're not although I may be hatching a plan to return at some point but as it involves winning the lottery or writing a best selling book, it isn't going to be anytime soon.

No visit to the gym.  Healthy eating until the afternoon when I had some chocolate cake.  Comfort eating is my downfall.

I did manage to calm down and make a start on my FAL list and while experiencing a bout of deja vu, basted the stained quilt for a second time...

You can still see the stitch marks from the last quilting so I had more deja vu while starting to quilt it for the second time...

...while wearing these funny quilt grippers - they did sort of grip until they fell off and I temporarily lost them underneath the quilt.  On more than one occasion I worried that I would turn my quilt over and see one of them impaled in the quilting!  Don't buy them - they are flim flam.

I'm hoping to get the quilting finished tomorrow.  The binding is made and so I hope to have my first finish in a day or so!  Now I'm off to work on that plan...lottery, best selling book, Dragon's Den investing in my business, aged reclusive billionairess aunt who I have never met makes me sole beneficiary of her will, tax rebate, premium bond comes up...

Friday, 11 January 2013

2013 FAL - 1st Quarter

We're home! We arrived back home on Monday and while the sun is shining, it's chilly and I'm really struggling to settle back in to our normal routine.  However, before we left I was delighted to be reunited with my machine.  It was fixed under warranty and as suspected, it had a faulty bobbin casement.  She is clean and shiny and purrs while sewing like a dream!

With a to-do list as long as my arm, I'm linking up with Leanne's FAL (Finishalong).  Perhaps this will be the kick up the butt that I need!

So what would I like to get finished this quarter?

First up are the two quilts for the Care Circle of do.Good Stitches. I promised Rachel that these will be done by the end of January. Before we came home, I bought thread, backing and batting so these should be among the first finishes of 2013.

There's the already pieced X and Plus quilt top...

...and the unpieced Patchwork Wheel quilt top

Another important finish for me and long overdue is the Stained Man with a Curious Nature quilt for my husband. It was the last thing I quilted with my machine before it broke.  I hated the quilting and so it was a relief to unpick it all so that I could steal the batting and use it for my mum's quilt, now known as the Turning Corners' quilt (thanks Flo!).  I have new batting for it, a recovered machine and no excuses!

Another one languishing sadly in a plastic body bag is the Drunkard in Central Park quilt top.  I finished it in December 2011 and loved it.  Only it was too small.  Then in a serendipitous moment last month, Amy was having a destash of Central Park and I snapped it up! It arrived the day after we left but I shall ask my mum to send it over and somehow use it to make this quilt bigger.  It may mean some deconstruction but it will be worth it as I love the colours in this top.

Lastly, it is almost a year since I made my granny squares - I jumped on the bandwagon and made a few and then there may have been a kona white crisis and I stopped making them.  So I would like to finish this one too. This is a little ambitious as there are quite a few more blocks needed.

So I'm linking up with Leanne and crossing my fingers. This is very optimistic I know.  I have a gagillion bee blocks to figure in as well.  Wish me luck! So what are you hoping to finish?  If you fancy joining in and haven't yet done so, the linky is open until Sunday January 13 at midnight MST.

she can quilt

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Yea, it's the New Year!  I'm always happy to go in to a new year, not that 2012 was bad or anything but it always feels good to turn over a new leaf and start afresh.  I am feeling creatively reenergised - one of the things I want to conquer my fear of this year is paper piecing and as I have a paper pieced bee block to do, it looks like that will happen one way or another. There are also other areas of my life which I really want to work on like getting fit, decorating our house and finally getting to grips with the Morccan dialect! I have a lot of vocabulary but I need to get those verbs sorted...

We spent New Year up in Warwick with my aunt and uncle.  It was a lovely quiet evening in front of the fire with a bit of Jools Holland watching some wrinkly singers from the eighties make a reappearance - it was great!

Even the sun made a reappearance yesterday.  We blew away the cobwebs on Warwick racecourse in the morning and it was beautiful - one of those perfect cold blue-skyed sunny mornings.


Walking the course
Mum took her quilt with her so that she could show my aunt, and we managed to get some better photos of it - in the sunlight.  So indulge me if I show you a couple more for the last time!

Here's my mum...she looks happy! Any ideas for a name for the quilt?

...and a vertical shot of the front.

I have plans for what I want to achieve this month - assuming that I return home with my machine.  I have a couple of finishes for the Care Circle of do.Good Stitches to do, then I will be retiring from this bee. I have my husband's quilt to finish and some bee blocks to make and send off...yikes, that machine had better be ready!