Tuesday, 27 November 2012

News from the House of Ill

We are officially the House of Ill.  There hasn't been a lot of sewing going on recently for one reason or another.  Zaki and I had to go up to Rabat (the capital) for a couple of days as we had a visa application to make and have both come home ill.  Zaki got sick in the early hours of Monday morning while we were at my sister in law's in Casablanca.

Not quite the romantic image most people have of Casablanca...

It's funny how things turn out but Zaki and I were sharing a double bed and I found him at 3AM burning up.  Had we been at home, I might not have known he was sick until perhaps the morning.  Despite feeling lousy, he was absolutely amazing and a great companion and we were able to do the paperwork on Monday and get a train back to Marrakech...he slept most of the way home (a four hour journey) and we went straight to the doctors. It looks like he picked up a virus. He didn't go to school today but he looks like he is on the mend!

Anyway, there has been a little progress on the orange, aqua and grey hexies.  I love working with these 1" hexagons - they baste really easily and all those precise corners satisfy the usually very latent neat geek in me.

...and I am making some progress with my EPP Fireworks ferris wheel.

and here's a sneaky peek of a block in Danny's strip. I'm on the naughty step in this bee.  Danny gave us pretty much free reign to make her strip in the Strip Tease bee *edited to add that in fact I'm in a bee called Stitch Tease lol - thanks Di!* and I have been paralysed with such a choice and I'm very late.   However, I am going slowly with my old machine (no quarter inch foot, no light but great tension!) and I'm 4 blocks down with 2 to go.

This bee finishes up next spring and I know there are going to be eight very happy chappies as their quilt tops arrive. We really have no idea what our tops will look like...I'm starting to get excited!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Winner Winner, Turkey Dinner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Zilch Nada Zip Liberty Stile giveway.

We have a winner!

It's lovely and talented Kirsten who said, "Hope your mojo returns soon!Thanks for the chance to win these gorgeous fabrics."

I've just emailed you Kirsten - the fabrics will be winging their way to Australia as soon as I have your details.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends - have a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The One with Lots of Colour

I haven't been blogging much recently but I'm feeling a lot better and the pity party is officially over.

These are the 12 blocks I have received so far from the Care Circle of do.Good Stitches and all from Australia I think.  It was my second  month as quilter in October and I chose Elizabeth's Patchwork Wheel block.  I can't believe six different people made these blocks as they are so incredibly in tune with each other.  I asked for scrappy and I got the most beautiful rainbow blocks.

Thank you lovely ladies of the Care Circle - this is going to be a gorgeous quilt! 

Being machineless has meant that I can get on with an EPP bee block due by the end of the month.  Celine wanted a Row A and a Row B of Katy's Spring Carnival templates using some Liberty lawn fabrics of her own and supplemented with fabric of our own.  This is Row A.

I am really enjoying being in this EPP bee - there is a two month turnaround for each block, and it is great always having a little EPP project on the go.

Had I not been in the bee, I might not have made any Spring Carnival blocks. However, I have and Katy's free templates are perfect and come together pretty easily.

I'm now thinking of a cushion using this gorgeous charm pack of Katherine Wheel, which my lovely Aunt Jan gave me when we were in England back in August.  She picked it up at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham and having met Nel Whatmore declared her absolutely lovely! I'm thinking of using this pretty purple or perhaps navy for the solid background. That will be tomorrow's EPP project.

Lastly, here's a view over the scruffy Marrakech medina south toward the Atlas mountains, which are back! They disappear every year as soon as it gets really hot and then return in the autumn.  If you look really closely (forgive the 'phone quality), you'll notice they are snow capped.  The recent rain has turned to snow and that's why it's now so cold at night! Brrr.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Good Intentions

It seems I'm not the only one feeling less than creatively inclined at the moment.

If I couldn't sew then perhaps I could get my camera out.  It's a holiday here today and so Zaki and I headed in to the old town for a wander round the souqs.  Armed with a new SD card, I had grand intentions of taking lots of photos but it was quieter than usual and my people watching was being watched by other people.

Taking bread to be baked at the community oven 'faran'

Then I spied a sign on the wall stating how rude it was to take photos of people without their permission (which I guess it is).  And that was it. My photographic mojo would have needed one of those little blue pills to do anything else...

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Zilch Nada Zip Liberty Stile Giveaway

I've been feeling a little bit in the doldrums the last few days.  I have completely and utterly lost my mojo. Zilch. Nada. Zip.  It may be to do with the fact that my machine has broken down (it judders in quite a scary way and Error appears on the screen) and will have to come back with me to the UK in December.  Luckily, it is still under guarantee (it turns out that it is 2 years rather than 1 year as I originally thought) but whether they will be able to repair it in the 3 weeks we are back is another thing.  My old machine is not behaving either and I have uhmm... lots on my to-do list.

So in an effort to revive my spirits, what better than a giveway? If I can't sew, at least others can! My followers are approaching 400 and that makes me super happy as does this whole quilting and sewing caboodle, the support, the generosity, the humour and the wonderful comments that my readers leave me. This is a thank you from me to you.

So when this morning I was basting some templates for some EPP using some Liberty tana lawn and saw  Annie's newsletter announcing that the 2nd Liberty Lifestyle collection, Stile had arrived, I thought I would give one of you lucky ducks 4 fat quarters.  Using Annie's Build a Bundle, I chose one each in:


(Photo - Village Haberdashery)

(Photo - Village Haberdashery)

and Rennie

(Photo - Village Haberdashery)
The collection is of course based on Art Nouveau designs and the Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

So to be in with a chance of winning 4 fat quarters of these fabrics, simply leave a comment. Followers get a bonus entry.  The giveaway is open internationally.  I shall draw a winner on Thursday November 22.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Cool Brittania

It has been pouring with rain here the last couple of days and thoughts inevitably turned to home.

You may recall that I recently received a lovely order of cool blues and neutrals from Pink Castle for a quilt I had in mind for my 11 year old Godson.  I was thinking of an improv. quilt but decided in the end that he might prefer a Union Jack.

So yesterday, as the rain pelted down I made this monochromatic top. I wanted it to have a fairly retro feel to it. I used various shades of blues and neutrals. If you make a Union Jack quilt, you definitely have to concentrate so that you get the quadrants in the right order.  I won't lie.  The seam ripper came out more than once.  But it's done.

Now before you accuse me of being a serial topper, the batting has arrived for my Man with a Stained Nature quilt and I'm all set to go.  Except for the bad back that is! Oh and the mountain of other things on the to do list.

If you are missing all that election fever on the other side of the pond,  Perri Lewis author of Material World  and craft writer for The Guardian, shared the US best election craft which you can see here.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Travellin' Pic Stitch Blog Hop

It's my turn today on the Travellin' Pic Stitch blog hop - the brain child of Katy and Laura who have just returned from their own hop through national parks in the US.  If it's your first time here then welcome - I hope you'll take a look around!

I am a Brit but for the last ten years, I have lived in the Moroccan city of Marrakech in N.Africa. If I'm not sewing then I love to get snapping. Living here is incredibly inspiring and a bit of a sensory overload. You either love it or hate it. Some days I love it...some days I...miss the old country.

Take a look at some of the tile designs I found...you see them everywhere here...see what I mean about the inspiration?

I love those clamshells! That's my son there...when he was aged one and half.

So when Laura and Katy invited me to join them on their blog hop, it was a no brainer. Especially given that I had discovered English Paper Piecing (EPP) in the summer with this project. My 1" aqua, orange and grey hexies.
Aqua, orange and grey hexies
In Marrakech, all the buildings are painted a pinky red colour and it's known as the Red City or Rose City. So I chose this photo I took in a vegetarian restaurant to show you the type of  interior you might find here and the red/pink coloured walls I mentioned. The lantern, ornate railings and low seating are typical.

The Earth Cafe, Marrakech
Using a palette builder at play crafts, I created a palette for an EPP block. Play Crafts is incredibly easy to use.  You simply upload a photo and within seconds you have a palette which can then download it.
After pulling some suitable fabrics, I used some of Lynne's lozenge templates to create the bathroom tile block from the Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters book.

The original block pattern was on point but I think I prefer it this way round.  After appliqueing the block to a square of Kona Regal, I trimmed the corners so that it became an octagon - the shape of many of the tiles you see here in Morocco.  I'm not so sure this looks like a Moroccan tile as the prints are too large - perhaps a 1970s Moroccan tile? I would like to try this block again using smaller geometric patterns.  I think they would look great.

This post is part of the Travellin' Pic Stitch Blog Hop.  

From 1st October - 30th November we are hopping all over the world EPP-ing in some fantastic locations.  Check out the full list here and be sure to check out the other participants.

On 30th November it's over to you to link up for a chance to win these fabulous prizes! You'll need to take a photo, create a palette and do some EPP using it.

Full details of the competition can be found here.

Tomorrow, be sure to hop over to my lovely bloggy friend Sarah at Narcoleptic in a Cupboard. She is a fabulous quilter and lives in the most beautiful part of the world!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Miscellaneous Monday

Megan's Star blocks made by the We Bee Modern Too bee (so far).

1. Megan's Star Block, 2. WBM2_October, 3. Bee Modern. October 2012, 4. We bee modern too october block, 5. Megan's Star Block, 6. We Bee Modern Too, October block, 7. We Bee Modern Too - October 2012, 8. We Bee Modern Too - October 2012, 9. October Block for We Bee Modern Too

My secret sewing was...yes, you guessed it...for Susan! An early Christmas tote.

...and here's the back.

A big bundle of blues and neutral solids from Pink Castle - to hopefully become a monochromatic improv. pieced quilt for my Godson James.

A quick, simple and small tote for a pink loving 7 year old neice.

...and here's the back.

A sneaky peek of my EPP for the Travellin' PicStitch Blog Hop on Wednesday.

Happy Guy Fawkes!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Sent, Received, Delivered - I'm Yours!

October was the month of Mouthy Stitches 2 and I can't believe that by early November I'm done!  It's not often that my flickr name is struck through in a swap SENT, RECEIVED DELIVERED so soon.

Yesterday, I felt like Dolly as I was working 9 - 5, okay more like 8.30 - 3.30 as a substitute teacher at the American school here. Clearly unused to a bit of hard labour I was pretty tired last night and enjoying the prospect of a quiet evening.  At around 6PM my husband arrived home carrying a box. "This came for you today", he said.  I looked at the label.  It was from my BFF, Di and could be only one thing, my tote and fob!

...and now I have my own blue soda pop tote and gorgeous fob! Di has pretty cool cards too.

Take a look at my inspiration mosaic for the swap.  Di knows me pretty well and I was thinking how she could not have read me better.  But actually Di says that she had decided what to make me before she even saw my mosaic.

Inspiration Mosaic for Mouthy Stitches 2

Di comes across as sweet and as lovely as anything and she is the most talented quilter but trust her? Never again! When I saw the fabrics she had pulled for the tote as well as the the tote itself as Di posted progress pics on flickr, I was very excited and very positive in my comments and she threw me completely off the scent with comments like, "Oh I wish I could send it to you...my partner has been really quiet and I have no idea whether she likes it."  She's very very clever!

After days of rain, the sun has returned.  Doesn't the front look beautiful?

I love the fabrics, the soda pop design and the quilting!

Here's the beautiful back...and Di knows I love me some organic wavy quilting!

The tote feels really robust and it has a reinforced bottom (now, now).  The lining is gorgeous too and Di inserted a lovely inside zippered pocket.

...and see that lovely little label there?

A huge thank you to Di - I love love love my tote and shall carry it with pride! It's all the mores special because you made it.

My partner, the lovely Ali of Very Berry Handmade has received the tote and fob I made for her. I was delighted that swap mama Cindy assigned Ali as my partner.  Coincidentally (or not Cindy?), Ali made for me in Mouthy Stitches 1, when she made me this beautiful pouch which I use on a daily basis.  It was so lovely to return the favour although I was slightly daunted as Ali makes such amazing things.

So that's it. Sent, Received, Delivered.  Thank you to the lovely swap mamas Susan, Cindy and Hadley who were tested in their private lives but were relentlessly supportive and enthusiastic in the swap.  Put your feet up ladies but not for long...we are looking forward to Mouthy Stitches 3! Oh and a huge thank you to the Moroccan postal system - you did good!

Hurricane Sandy Quilt Appeal

Yesterday I logged in to flickr and found an appeal for blocks from fellow bee mate Jennifer.  While she now lives in sunnier climes, she is originally from New Jersey.  Many of her friends and family have been seriously affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Silent Cinema blocks
She is asking for these blocks...one or however many you want to make, using this amazingly quick and easy tutorial by So Sarah Sews. There are various colour schemes.  I chose scrappy and  made these in minutes. Jennifer will make them in to quilts and deliver them at the beginning of December. You can find out how to help by clicking here.

The mailing deadline is November 23.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Fresh Sewing Day - The Scrappy Edition

Pinch punch, first day of the month!

1. Not available, 2. Megan's Star Block, 3. Mouthy Stitches Tote Front, 4. Scrappy X and Plus Quilt Top for the Care Circle of do.Good Stitches, 5. Mouthy Stitches Tote Back, 6. Christmas Star Block, 7. Lazy Day Lozenge Block No.2, 8. Mouthy Stitches Tote Front, 9. Megan's Star Block, 10. Not available, 11. Tote Lining & Handles, 12. Aqua, Orange & Grey Hexies

Looking back at October, it was definitely the month of scrappy but I like scrappy...it makes me happy!

A big highlight was the Mouthy Stitches swap, which is all but done.  My tote has arrived safe and sound with my partner but I'll tell you who tomorrow. I'm hoping the tote heading my way might arrive any day!  It was also the month of English paper piecing with Lynne's lozenges and my orange, aqua and grey hexies, which I continue to work at.  I was queen bee in We Bee Modern Too and I chose Megan's Star. I'm excited by the blocks popping up in the flickr group for me.  I also started my mum's Kaffe Fasset quilt and received the backing and binding fabric - it's going to look quite dramatic I think.

November looks to be super busy already so wish me luck!

Linking up with Lynne at Lily's Quilts.