Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Reasons I Should Blog, Number 1015

Reasons I should blog? There are all the obvious reasons that spring to mind, the companionship of fellow makers, the communal bouncing around of ideas. There are the reasons that don't come into it for me, raising of the profile, the self promotion for a business. One of the lesser known reasons is that it actually helps my organisational skills. You see, as I have said before, I quite often have no great plan. I don't have a computer programme to plot out my quilts, there would be no point, I wouldn't use it. Sometimes I draw something on a page, very occasionally I do the math. More often, the drawing goes AWOL and the math is wrong. Usually I just wing it.

The advantage of winging it is you don't know what's coming. That can be good. The disadvantage of winging it you don't know what's coming. The advantage of blogging is I write something down to focus on, I can see it more clearly.
About 3 years ago I bought two boxes of Cotton and Steel fat quarters from Craftsy. Craftsy was in due course taken over by Bluprint. Bluprint is closing down. I blogged in January 2017 about buying it, read here. I remember it was beautifully packed.

 I thought maybe I should have a look at my fabric. I had actually cut a load of 5" squares, and even made half square triangles with a variety of grey kona cottons. That was as far as I had got. I  blogged about it in February 2017, you can see here. I had vague ideas of these transforming into the quilt of my dreams in a random, intentional half square lovliness. Further than that I had no plan. Then I got waylaid in my Postcard of Sweden quilt, and that was that.

We need two quilts for the sun loungers. I have been saying this every few years for the past few years. I did make two quilts for the loungers, Mr Cool and Mrs Hot.

                                                                       Mr Cool

                                                                         Mrs Hot

 They received marital approval and live over the back of the living room sofa. As some famous financier said, when you marry the mistress, you create a vacancy. We still need two quilts for the sun loungers. The Postcard from Sweden is perfect, except there is only one, and it is not long enough for my husband's longer legs.

I had this great idea I would make use of  those grey and Cotton and Steel half square triangles. Calm, neutral and relaxed. My husband says, they aren't very bright. I like your bright quilts. Tough. These will be calm, neutral and relaxed. I started laying them out in an envelope formation. That was vetoed, the mix of greys complicated the layout, apparently. Sometimes it is better not to ask for an opinion, just to do ahead and do it.

Ok. I always liked this arrangement. I would try and bring in 3 of the points in the same vague colour group, the 4th would be a contrast. A slight variation on the Millwheel block. This would, I hoped, liven up the colours. I started to think myself, it might be a bit drab the first way. I appreciate this photo doesn't show any matching colours! (It is also not a real fly on the fabric.)

This is where the blogging would have helped. It would have helped formulate my plan, plus I am always open to helpful suggestions.  I was sewing and sewing. I was planning on two long narrow quilts. Gradually it started getting a bit broader, just to bring in enough of the squares for an actual block pattern to evolve. Two blocks wasn't wide enough. Three blocks, or two blocks centred and a half either side didn't really show off the pattern. Four blocks was getting rather wide for a narrow quilt. The photos below are just my playing around with two narrow layouts.

I began to be concerned that for 2 quilts  I would run out of grey. Unbelievably grey kona cotton, any shade, is sold out all over the UK. First hand sanitiser, then toilet paper, then grey kona cotton. Who would have thought that? That's ok. I have lots of blues. Two contrasting quilts, one grey and one blue. The deep blue will help to lift the grey.

Then I made the fatal flaw. I asked for advice. It wasn't what I expected. The grey is calm and relaxed, seemingly, it would make a lovely alternative quilt for our bed. Our current quilt is my Kaffe Fassett quilt, which is a seething cauldron of colours and madness. With the opportunity to make another quilt for the bed, who am I to argue? For our bed it is.

So .... Progress as it stands. I have four blocks sewn together in fours. These will form the centre of the quilt. I will add single blocks around the edges to make the quilt bigger and even on all sides. It is difficult to get a photo at this stage. The sun came out, the breeze blew the blocks around the garden. You know the drill! When I start to get them together, I will get another photo.

I will make the flimsy of this, and set it to the side for quilting at a later date. I have two sun lounger quilts to make ! Bright ones. Maybe my Kaffe Fassett leftovers will be bright enough?
Speaking of sun. We had a quilt show one sunny day in the garden. It was very select attendance, just the two of us. The intention was to post it here. When I posted it to my Facebook account, Warner Brothers got a bit over excited over the copy write of the music in the background. Not music expertly overlaid or anything, don't be daft. Just music playing in the house on the stereo. They then gave permission, then blocked it again. So, I don't want to tempt fate by posting it here. You can however see it in its blocked state on the Northern Ireland Patchwork and Quilting Guild facebook page if you so wish. I will try to post some of the stills photos here. It passed an afternoon for us. Another happy day in quarantine!
And with that I shall leave you, stay safe. stay well.
Helen x

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Bits, Bobs and Sods

The sewing mojo is returning. Last week I made a few things. And this week I started not one new quilt, but two quilts. A pair of quilts to be precise. Like animals into the Ark, quilts in our house often come in twos. I will tell you about them next week. This week is all about the bits and bobs.

Do you remember I made a gazillion 1hr baskets for the girls in my scrapbooking class? I made everyone a basket except one. My friend Mrs R was in the middle east visiting her son and family. I was basketed out and in any case had run out of wadding. I thought I would make hers on her return. Her return was to overlap with my holiday, but like the best laid plans it all went pear shaped. I had plenty of time with our aborted holiday but still no wadding. That was easily sorted with online shopping and still the fabric and wadding sat there. Last week I decided it might help the brain fuzz if I cleared up some outstanding stuff. It took me no time at all to make the 1hr basket. Actually a little over the one hour this time, due to the afore mentioned brain fuzz. Also, I was trying to ensure this one had no little, shall I call them quirks?

I used Essex linen plus some fabric I had in stash I knew my friend would like. I think this fabric came from Thimbleberries. I used it in a Coin quilt I made for my father a few years ago. Even at that stage it was fabric I had had for a while. I teamed it with some dark plummy red batik. I am not quite sure of its provenance, but think it was the remains of a fat quarter bought in a quilt show. The linen is Essex linen bought especially for the purpose of making bags and fabric baskets. I usually run a few lines of quilting along the outer fabric to attach the wadding, this time I did so on the lining.

I was unsure at first what thread to use for the over stitching. The first thought was to use a grey/silver aurifil thread. See, I am increasing my stock of aurifil threads, and no longer saving them up. It would have shown up though on the lining. I decided to actually go with black thread. There is a form of  English embroidery known as Blackwork. Wikipedia tells me it is Spanish in origin, but I always heard of it as English, so English it is. I asked my husband if it looks ok. He can be brutally honest or my best critic, depending on my outlook. He knows nothing about blackwork, but if he thought it was ok, then that was ok for me. He looked, he pondered and the man from Delmonte, he say yes. It looked good. Good enough for me then, no need for the seam ripper.

I had stitched the wadding to the lining, because I wanted to keep the outer linen plain and simple. Clean as we would say. Thinking of the Quakers and the Shakers and William Morris. Nothing in your house which is neither beautiful or useful. I am not saying this is beautiful, but I wanted it to follow the simple lines. I carefully stitched down the opening in the lining, so my friend can have it which way out depending on her preference. She is talking about taking a crochet class when life returns to some sort of normal, nor new normal. This wee basket will maybe of help.

That in itself started me thinking. I imagine  going to a crochet class, I can't crochet but assume it  will involve a crochet hook (see I am smart), stitch holders, some money for extra yarn and cups of tea and somewhere to stash your car keys. A pouch I thought. I love zippered pouches. I must admit I am not great at making them. They are ok, ok for friends and loved ones, but not perfect and certainly not with a professional finish. There's always a bit of roughness around the zipper finish. Draw string bags I have perfected, but not zippered.

Cue my friend Judith. Judith, justjudedesigns  runs some very successful patchwork and quilting classes in an old mill in Belfast. I have never actually got to any, working, scrapbooking class, retirement, scrapbooking class etc. Never enough hours in the day. I will go though, it has always been my intention. Anyhow, with the lockdown and all social activities coming to an end, Judith has put some tutorials online. One of these is a scrappy pouch. Judith explains it so well, any mistakes are my own. Even though I firstly put the lining in the wrong place, the fault is my own. I ended up with the neatest pouch I have ever made. And I am going to give it away. That's fine, the pleasure is in the giving, as my father always said. Now I know how to do it, I will knocking be these out of the park.

Judith's scrappy pouches are totally mismatched scrappy, but I knew my friend would like her scrappy pouch to be a matching scrappy pouch. I made the back a simple stripe. The size was of course totally dictated by the supply of zips I had.

 Again, I love mismatched zips, but I figured my friend would like a matching zipper. I only had one dark red one, so the pouch was made to match the zip, It has ended up about 5" x 8 1/2" and has a plain cream lining, the linen would have been too stiff.

Next up was my "friend around the corner". Her birthday is in May and we always exchange birthday gifts. We are both keen gardeners, so it is often a selection of seeds or some gardening accoutrement, or a novel. This year, due to the lack of shopping, a 1hr basket is perfect for her. She can wander around her garden in flowing dress, dreamily dropping cottage garden flowers into her basket. No she will not, but she may keep her seed packets, her socks or even her toilet paper. I had used some of this blue and orange check in the Scrapbooking Challenge Marathon, but there was enough left for another basket. I am not sure quite how, but seams attaching the wadding (again I attached it to the lining) didn't quite line up. I know how that happened. I trimmed off one of the sides, and then my muddled pandemic brain forgot to line up the stitching again. I am sure she will be kind.

None of these can of course be delivered, we are still in lockdown. All these new words in my vocabulary. That's what I love, covid, coronavirus, lockdown, R rate. All new terms now in everyday usage. Heaven knows when they will get them, there is a little pile of undelivered gifts in my spare room.

Of course, there is no show without punch. I was one of the original members of the Scrapbooking class, I need a basket as well. I made mine in Essex linen too, with a light Liberty pink toned floral fabric. The fabric is much lighter weight than quilting cotton. This time I did the over stitching with the silver/grey aurifil. The blackwork stitching would be much too  heavy for this. My basket is a little smaller, dictated to by the size of floral fabric I had. The little bits I have left, the cut out corners, I have kept. I keep all the tiny offcuts of my Liberty fabrics. It would be against the law of Liberty to throw them out. No scrap goes to waste, or as I say to my husband these troubled times, we are not at home to Mr Waste.

You know what, this blogpost is long enough and I have told you about the bits, the bobs but not the  sods and the other bit. It took me two weeks to write this, hopefully the second part will be quicker.
Whatever the advice is your chosen country to live in, Stay Safe and try to Stay Home.
Helen x

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Hello My Old Friend

Hello my old friend, this period in quarantine is the perfect opportunity to finish off all these straggling wip. My Liberty EPP (English paper piecing) has been my friend for a very long time. Now, it isn't necessarily what you think. I could say this has been on the go for many years because it is all hand pieced, but in reality, it has been dipped in and out of.

Today I had another look at it. I have been sewing all the flowers together for the last while, off and on. Over the weekend I have really been going at it. So today I laid it out on the grass, fully expecting to be at the a flimsy finish. It was a bit of a shock to discover I still have a fair bit to go. I really thought I was ready for putting together the quilt sandwich. I ordered some wadding from the Village Haberdashery and it arrived Easter week.

This quilt isn't for a bed. This quilt is for ME. A quilt for me to snuggle under whilst watching tv on the sofa, or sitting out in the garden. It doesn't need to be huge, but it does need to be bigger than some of my other quilts. My husband complains most of my lap quilts are too small for him, I am just over 5 ft, I have no problem with them.

So the hexie making will continue for another while, maybe another row both vertically and horizontally will be it. I haven't actually measured it, that might be too depressing. I do have a finite amount of Liberty fabric. It isn't cheap. Some of my Liberty comes from Liberty, some has been presents from my daughter and daughter in law respectively. Some comes from Shaukat on the Old Brompton Road, London. They sell Liberty fabric a bit cheaper, and sell offcuts. I never go past without buying something, heaven only knows when the next time will be.

I have another 3 flowers ready to sew on.

I have 3 more lots of  hexies nearing a stage to sew around the central grey hexie.

I have a meter of this lovely gold fabric. I am not quite sure why I bought this. I think I had some vague hope of making a top for myself. Realistically that will never happen, I think I can spare a 2.5" strip from it.

I do have some other fabrics, but I have kept to try to a light floral tone. Some of the offcuts I have are darker in tone, paisley patterned. I can always double up on the flowers, that won't be a problem in some cases. I also still have another Liberty EPP on the go . These have both made a right dent in my Liberty fabric basket , which can only be a good thing .

Miraculously this post can link up with Sandra's squirrels. How come? I hear you ask. This project is a bit old hat. Aha! Every quilt has a backing. Thinking I was nearing the end, I was thinking about the backing. I saw a Tilda floral in the online shop of a local quilt tutor. I think she mostly sells fat quarters though, I did email to check, but I think the email went rogue. In the meantime, inspiration struck. I have this bag of my husband's old shirts.

He retired a few years ago, and unlike me, he doesn't wear his clothes to the death and then some. He also had a penchant for expensive, locally made, cotton shirts. The collars and cuffs wore out first, so I had been literally squirreling these away for some time. I am sure these would make a nice soft backing for my quilt.

Do you think I will have a finish for Friday? For the end of lockdown? For the summer? Watch this space.

Helen x

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Kaffe Fassett is in the House

Have there been two moons in the sky? Nope. There was the most beautiful full moon at the beginning of this month, The Pink Moon I believe it was called by the indigenous American peoples. There was a definite pink glow around this one, it was a very pretty moon. I have a wee thing I do with the moon, I will tell you at the end. There weren't two moons in the sky, but I have two finishes very close together. I present to you, the finished Kaffe Fassett snowball quilt, formerly known in time of stress as the Kaffe Fokkett quilt. I have to find a new name now I suppose.

This quilt was started last March at a workshop run by Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably run by The NIPG (N Ireland Patchwork and Quilting Guild). I blogged about it here at the time. It was a long day, a full on day. By the end I had acquired a design wall, the bones of my quilt and had got to know some of my fellow guild members much more. A great day all in.

I had great intentions, as I always do, to finish this quilt "in a timely fashion". I made a Liberty quilt for my new granddaughter, well that was essential. I knit a load of stuff. I made some other stuff.

 I dabbled with the quilt every now and again. I set myself a deadline of Christmas to finish it.

Christmas was oh so close to a finish. I was down to the binding and sewing in the gazillion loose ends from the quilting. I did proper quilting in this. I quilted in different directions and did some sort of made up quilting patterns, all set within the border. The problem with this is there are millions of starts and finishes. Loads of ends to be sewn in. As it got nearer Christmas and family coming home, I admitted defeat. I had baby and toddler knits to finish for presents. I trimmed the edges and thought it would go on the bed anyway. My husband rebelled at that. One of the life differences between us is this. To me nearly finished is finished enough. To him nearly finished is not finished. Not even near a finish. He probably knows, wisely, if it went on the bed, it would never be finished.

It went over the back of a chair, just to show it off, neatly folded to be duly admired. In the way of family things it got shifted to the floor. My toddler grandson was running the circuit of the room, he is potty training, and you know what happened. Uh oh Mummy, I had a wee wee. The lovely thing about Kaffe Fassett fabric is it crinkles beautifully when washed and tumbled and  no harm was done. And so the quilt sat there  for another month or two.

Come quarantine, and there is all the time in the world to finish up these things. And so I proudly present the Kaffe Fassett quilt, formerly known as Kaffe Fokkett quilt.

I had the corner snowball fabric for the binding, a black/dark purple with a bright purple spot.

 It wasn't singing out to me though, and mantra these days is, you have to love it. I love bright bindings. I have some bright orange orange and white Rose and Hubble spot and it was perfect. Just as well, it was all there was.

My photos are , surprise, surprise, all taken again in the back garden. If I get another couple of finishes, you will see my garden through the seasons.

No visits to the garden centre unfortunately, but making the most of what we have.
The story of the full moon. At one stage all 3 of my children were in the same city in England. When there was a full moon, I used to look up and think, "under this full moon be thee and me". When my son went to USA, I used to think, "under this full moon, wherever we be, are thee an me." I never told any of them, and I eventually did. They all thought this was really nice. The quirks of motherhood! One of their favourite books as children was "I will love you to the moon and back" by a local author Sam McBratney. There is little nut brown hare and big nut brown hare. Little nut brown hare tells big nut brown hare how far he loves him. But you know what? No matter how far, big nut brown hare loves little nut brown hare further.

Stay Safe
Stay Home
Stay Alive

Helen x
linking up with Finished Or Not Friday and
linking up with TGIFF and Chrisknitssews
linking up with Can I have a whoop whoop and

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Can I Have "A Big Hug"?

Can I have "A Big Hug"?

The answer is No. Just a virtual hug, but I will leave that question just hanging there. I have decided the perfect name for version of The Grace Heart Quilt, designed by is THE Big Hug.

The hearts seem to be very relevant at the minute. The big read heart at the front just seemed to leap out at me. I thought of The Big Love, but that reminds me of a tv series that was on (not that I watched it). The Big Hug just seemed to wrap itself around me, just the way a hug should.

The warmth and love that comes from a hug, says it all. Love, affection, caring, concern. This quilt embodies all this. Yet it is cheerful, these strong colours that I picked just seem to sing out. I decided to go with a rainbow of colours rather than the pastel shades Sandra had chosen. Again, this is coincidence, but windows all over the country are now displaying rainbows. This is to give children something to hunt and count when on their once a day walk in the area where they live. I can't blow my own trumpet. I didn't know what dreadful calamity was about to hit us when I started this quilt. It just all seems dreadfully appropriate.

When we went on the holiday that didn't happen, we returned 5 days into a 23 day holiday, I thought I would get stuck into the quilting. I still had some of the background left to quilt. The one heart I hadn't quilted was the big red heart on the front. Again, somewhat appropriate. Since I arrived home, I had been posting a Drink of the Day and a Craft of the Day on both my facebook and instragram  feeds. A couple of people referred to the red heart and how it shone out. One man said he kept returning to the picture of the red heart, it was calling to him. A beacon of home. I was so touched when he said that. Another friend called it Heart Art, again I thought that was lovely.

When I started the embroidery on the heart, I wasn't sure how it was going to go. I had said I didn't want that vortex of heart within heart. I didn't know what I did want exactly. There was a danger it could end up a dog's dinner. First off I did a load of French knots, then a sort of unofficial stem stitch running along the left hand side of these. Pretty quickly the top French knots , or love knots, looked wrong. They were too bitty, and the white knots were lost in the white spot fabric. I took a chance and carefully unpicked them. I continued round with the green stem stitch and started adding daisies. As a child, I used to embroider with my mum. My favourite stitch was lazy daisy. I loved the name, I loved the stitch. I wanted to stitch lazy daises everywhere.

This quilt is for my sister. Have I told the story here about my sister and the daisies? I know I have in facebook and instragram. My mum was going to cut the grass. My sister began to cry because the daisies would all get cut and die, so mum left the grass. (I think I may have told this last post, apologies, my head's all over the place these days).

So that was a finish. I had already bound the quilt. I bound it in, guess what? Some spotty fabric, the good old Rose and Hubble of norm. Some things continue as normal. I used straight runs of the orange, with one of red just to break it up. And that left the photos. Recently we have been taking a day out to photograph my finishes. Generally we go to the coast, we have some lovely scenery here, albeit we are a small country. As I am confined to the house for the next 12 weeks, apparently my health makes me "special", so our photos are in the garden. How many photos have I taken on the bench of what we jokingly call the Writer's Corner. It isn't a corner, and its mostly for reading, but hey ho. If Monty Don can have a Writer's Corner in his garden, he is a tv gardener on the BBC, then so can I! The photos are taken in every direction in our small garden. There may be some repetition over the next few blog posts!

This last photo is one of those, you should have been here last week. Last week this witch hazel tree was filled with the most beautiful yellow blooms. Such is life!

In the mean time,
keep safe, stay safe and most importantly, Stay Home. Please

Helen x

Friday, 27 March 2020

What Can I Say?

What can I say? What do we say? We can't say anything, except STAY HOME! I go through great sweeps of emotion. We have been in the house for 12 days now, or maybe it is 13. Long story short, we were 5 days into a 23 day holiday and made a quick dash home. As we had travelled internationally we are self isolating for 14 days. Being at home is ok. we have enough to keep us occupied. Then I watch the news and see the projected figures coming soon, the countries a week ahead of us. And I get frightened. Then I pick up my sewing or knitting and my heart rate returns to normal.

That is what hand sewing and knitting do for us. The gentle rhythm of the in and out, the gentle motion slows our heart rate, and calms us down. Or me anyway. And that's all we can do. With that in mind, here is my grace heart quilt designed by Sandra of mmmquilts. The quilt is known to me as The Big Hug.

I have finished the machine quilting. When we last spoke, I wasn't quite in love with the quilting. Now I am, it was a slow burner this quilting. The lilac shadow heart is simply quilted up and down in wavy straight lines, a foot apart. I had felt the variegated gutterman thread was a little dark, but Yvonne was right. Now it is finished, it is grand. The overall look is fine.

The white background, I decided to go with the flow. I followed the line of direction of whichever heart I was nearest. Sometimes, vertical, sometimes horizontal or diagonal. I am more than happy with this.

Most of the hearts I had already machine quilted. Some just have swirls.

Some have straight lines in various directions.

Some have hearts fmq on it in swirling formation.

When I finished my background quilting, I realised the large red heart at the bottom hadn't been quilted. That really wasn't intentional but seems rather as if it was. I looked at if for a few days, and brooded. It feels as if this red heart has become the mainstay of the quilt. It needs something special.

I feel drawn to hand embroidery, we all return to comfort things, things of the past when stressed. I don't know what it is, a simpler life, being self sufficient, hunkering to things of the past. I really don't know, but I did feel I wanted to hand stitch. So ......... this will be either the icing on the cake, or a bit of a dogs dinner.

I don't like hearts within hearts, that vortex isn't good for women with vertigo, it feels like a vortex that is going to draw me and I will tumble, tumble, tumble. I also think they are a bit childish in their design. So, with no great plan in mind, except for that, I started.

I did a heart swirl of French love knots along the right hand side. I was pleased with that, except the white love knots disappeared into the white polka dots in the top right hand quarter. I started adding a green line, a bit like a stem echoing the line of polka dots. I thought maybe this might be just a stem or maybe a line of tight little flowers. I added some leaves.

All of  a sudden it is turning, or will turn into a daisy chain. The daisy chain, although again unintended, is rather fitting. This quilt is for my sister, her birthday was in March. No rush, I don't know when we will get to meet again. When my sister was very tiny, barely more than a toddler, my mum went out to cut the grass. The grass was a sea of daisies, my parents didn't like using chemicals even then. Sister started to cry, don't cut the daisies, they will get hurt. My mum put the lawn mower away for another day. My sister doesn't remember this, but I do, so, a little bit weird that daisies are appearing in this quilt.

The embroidery was rather a rabbit hole to fall down. What Sandra refers to as a squirrel chasing a new idea in every direction, so if her sign up is still open, way to go.

I will finish off now,
keep safe, keep taking deep breaths and remember, STAY HOME.

Helen x

linking up with mmm! quilts
linking up with Tish's Adventures in Wonderland

Monday, 16 March 2020

I Made A Basket, Or Two

Anyone who knows me, knows I am not monogamous .... I multi task my hobbies. I wish I was an expert in one of them, if not all of them. I am more of a jack of all trades, master of none. One of my "trades" is scrapbooking. I have been going to a scrapbooking class for 17 years now, from the first week of inception. The tutor has decided "she has nothing left to give" and after 17 years of helping us with our cutting and sticking, she is calling it a day. Fair enough. I felt I wanted to make the friendship not just with Jacqui the tutor, but with all of the girls. So ... I started making one hour baskets as designed by Kelby Sews.

I have very little wadding, the last of it was used in the grace heart quilt,  just a little offcut left. I did however have an unused white Ikea fleece. The first 4 baskets were easy.

 The next 2 were a little bit more of a drag. By the time I finished basket number 7 I was really starting to flag. And do you know how hard it is to take photos of lots of baskets? A bundle of baskets? I really need to up my photography in the blog.

There was a mammoth sewing session all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning. The sort of sewing session where I say, call me when dinner is ready. I had a think and came up with a plan.

My friend L was conveniently on holiday. L and I are good friends, we met on the very first day. All my baskets would be special, but I particularly want the one for L to have no wobbly lines of sewing or patterns running off. I knew she would be happy to wait until her return and I get some more wadding. My plan is to make hers, and also mine, with Essex linen.

All was set, last Wednesday, I took the baskets to class and took the floor. Told them all we have been together through births, marriages and deaths. Secrets have been told, and kept. Nights out, afternoon teas and weekends away have all happened. I handed around my 10 baskets and everybody was delighted.

Cue later that evening in bed. I was telling my husband that one of the girls wasn't there, she had flu. So, says he, you have one basket left? No, said I. I gave them all out. Says he, but you must have one left if Karen went home before you arrived. No, said I. I gave them all out. Oooops the penny dropped. I got up checked, my list, checked it twice. Yes, I was one short. Easy peasy, I have this basket making down to a fine art.

Each basket takes 2 pieces of fabric 10.5" x 16.5" for the lining and the outside, 4 pieces of fabric altogether. By basket no 10 I was starting to make a dent in my fabric. A lot of my smaller bits were too small and I have yardage I wanted to keep. I did however have a piece of blue, black and gold swirly lines I really didn't like. I told myself, one man's poison is another man's meat, it would be fine. And so I knocked up another basket and used some Cotton and Steel aqua for the lining, leftover from the backing of a wedding quilt I made for one of my sons and his wife.

And you know what? All of a sudden the fabric came together. I loved the basket and really wanted t keep it. I had wanted to keep a few of the 10, not all, but some of them. This one I really wanted to keep. Next up the postman delivered my pre ordered copy of the new Hilary Mantel book, The Mirror and The Light, the last in her trilogy about Thomas Cromwell. It is a huge tome of a book,
 and unbelievably the cover matches the new basket. Of course now, I had to keep this. It couldn't be the one that got away, that I would spend my life regretting.

I was meeting another couple of the girls the next morning and knew they could pass on the new, yet to be made basket to Karen. So, up at 7.30 am and at the sewing machine. This time I had to use some of my favourite fabrics. I hadn't time to piece smaller pieces, and the other baskets hadn't been pieced apart from maybe a border. I used this Free Spirit fabric in an aqua tone and lined it with some fabrics I won in Sandra's FreeFall quilt a long a couple of years ago. I have been keeping this fabric, but had already dipped into it for another lining. And you know what? I really liked this one too! Can't keep them all. That really would make me a sad bag (basket) lady! I knew when I looked at it, it was exactly right for my friend I was meeting later. Yes, she did a swap. Karen is now getting a lovely red polka dot one. I liked it too.

I am a little busy over the next week, but I plan to make the remaining 2 shortly. Yes of course, I need another one . I already have my lining made, it is a lilac/pink floral Japanese fabric. I had it earmarked for a Japanese rice bag but it is too light weight for that. Yes, I see Japanese rice bags in my future too. You can never have enough project bags, and heaven knows I have enough projects...

And don't worry about my having withdrawing symptoms. I told you upfront I wasn't monogamous.  I joined a wine society the same week  I joined the scrapbooking, both were on the same night. Eventually the wine society lost out. Sorry to my husband. The last few years I have been dipping in and out of a crochet group, Hookery. It is on that same Wednesday night so I went when scrapbooking was off. I am an imposter, I can't crochet but hopefully the Ladies won't mind too much. That's right. Girls in scrapbooking, Ladies in Hookery.

For now I'll finish off and contemplate what I am going to do next. I know, finish the quilting on my grace heart quilt, bind my Kaffe Fassett quilt, finish knitting my Floozy cardigan, finish 17 years of scrapbooking pages! The world is my project bag.

Keep safe and well, see you again.
Helen x