Saturday, 14 July 2018

Quilting Planning Party 2018

My last reflective post for another few months, thank goodness I hear you cry.
This time it is Yvonne's 2018 Quilting Planning Party. Her button is in my side bar. This is different to finish a long, it is more ethereal, more what would YOU really like to do?

  I have linked back here to all the goals I laid out. I am not going to list them all, but I am pretty pleased. I have finished the main goals I laid out, collaborated on a quilting project, Sandra and the Postcard from Sweden. Made a wedding quilt, the Belfast Bulletin. Strengthened quilting friendships, or I think I have. I have even won a few things which helps to subsidise this hobby. This is just a matter of luck of the draw, no skill involved.

And what to set out for the next six months?
Not to join any bees. Easy, it is mid year now, and I have held out all year. Except to help out in any outstanding quilts for Beeabee2017. I have however accumulated 3 bee brooches and a bee stamp. Here's a photo of one of them. You actually might struggle to see the brooch on this bee happy yarn  by Lay Family yarn. I am trying hard to be real bee friendly too.

Not to jump on any more roundabouts, at least until I have finished up some things. This is harder, as soon as I hear the music, I am running after the band. May or may not follow up on this. As a young girl, you won't know this, I wanted to play the saxophone. I loved Acker Bilk and his jazz band, in particular saxophone bits. My uncle had one, I couldn't even get a peep out of it! My sister on the other hand played the tuba. She practised and the dog joined in. We never knew if it was pleasure or pain with the dog!

Make all my Christmas presents this year, and delight everybody with my whimsy, still and originality. Well .... we will see! I know I want to make wee braw bags this year for those nearest and dearest to me. But I want to do many things. What I don't want to do is ...... well, I loved my late mother in law very much. We were great friends and so kind. She made me a dress I wanted. And then knit me a cardigan I liked. The only problem was she loved her other daughter in law too, and made her exactly the same. We looked like fraternal twins but 12 years age difference! Not the look I was aiming for in my late teens early twenties. She loved it when we accidentally wore them at the same time. Me less so. I would like to make something for my daughter and two daughters in law. Wee braw bags should be ok. Last year it was 1 hour baskets.

Just one more thing. I have taken to buying clothes making patterns. I like to look at them. I even bought one last week for a dress. A dress! Me! I know ... I could make the girlies matching dresses for Christmas! That's a plan! I shall perhaps make a pair of shorts for my summer holiday.

And that is about it. No more, no less. Just carry on having the fun, and when the fun stops, stop. As they say in the tv adverts.

Helen x
linking up with Yvonne and the Quilting Planning Party 2018

Friday, 13 July 2018

Finish A Long Qtr 3 Proposed Finishes

Time for a bit more navel gazing, gosh, I hate that phrase. Anyway, time to link up all my dirty washing, all my unfinished works in process. Here we go in no particular order:

1 Quatrefoil quilt
for my grandson, a beeabee2017 quilt. Half quilted and binding already sewn on.
Finish quilting and hand stitch down binding. Should have been finished for this weekend. A likely finish.

2 Playtime Plus quilt, aka Sandra's Scraps

Partially quilted. Blogged about this week, should have been finished by link up of this week. A likely finish.

3 Economy Square Quilt
Economy square quilt, it does what it says on the tin. Made from a year long subscription to a Japanese fabric charm club bought by my daughter in law. Just (!) needs blocks sewn together, basted, quilted. Liklihood of a finish? Highly unlikely!
4 Liberty Hexie Quilt
I have been at this for as long as I have been quilting in this recent reincarnation. I want to finish this, yet I never want to finish this. You see I love it so much. Most of the two ring hexie circles are sewn together. A finish? Maybe, maybe not.
5 Kingfisher Stitch A Long Epp
This is a newbie making an appearance for its first time. In fact it is more of new project than an unfinished project. A real wip. Liberty epp, sewn onto diamonds. What's not to love? How far am I? half of the hexies done, no diamonds cut out.
6  Beekeeper Cardigan
On to the knitting now. My beekeeper cardigan, a 4 day knit a long, which is taking me rather longer. About 10 days so far, but that's ok, I am enjoying it. Love it, love it, love it. Likelihood of finish? I would bet money on this on.

7 Timely Cardigan
I love this. I was knitting this until the Beekeeper cardigan came along. Now there is a bit of a thing. I was knitting a size slightly too small and hoping for the best. Now the pattern has been updated with larger (?) sizes. Should I keep going or rip and start again? Likelihood of a finish? Possibly. Possibly not. Trust me I have started this, but I don't have any photos.

8. My Luna Sky Wrap
Should have made this ages ago. Apparently it only takes 20 minutes.
So, that's it. Not all my projects by any means, but the ones that come to mind. What would life be without a project? Somebody famous must have said that somewhere sometime.
Helen x

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Playing with the Adults

You probably remember the plus playtime quilt a long.

 I kept thinking of playtime with extras, playing with the adults. This was a qal based on a quilt Sandra of mmmquilts designed for the Modern By The Yard ezine.

I decided to do mine with spots. I love spotty fabrics. And just by chance, Sandra had sent me some of her scraps. I love other people's scraps. These were scraps left over from this very magazine cover quilt. And some of the fabrics had spots! It was serendipity.


I started off working from top left using Sandra's scraps along with some white kona. Then for my background plus I used blue kona left from the two wedding quilts, the behemoth and the Belfast bulletin. I actually used two blues, believe it or not, this was intentional. When I had used up Sandra's scraps, I turned to my own mostly spotty fabrics.

At one stage, I felt the balance was wrong, two small pluses next to each other jarred with each other and spoiled the whole balance of the thing.

Sandra to the rescue again. She sent me just enough fabric for 2 pluses, I chose which one I wanted to use, and the unpicking began. The difference in the balance of the  quilt was incredible. It was just how I envisioned it.


Next we moved along to the backing. Now, this was a conundrum. I have finally worked out how to change the sewing foot on my machine to the free machine quilting foot. Now, I can do more than just straight line quilting. And this made the problem.

My head told me to use a neutral fabric so the quilting wouldn't show up too much on the backing, if it was all a bit skew wiff.

My heart told me to use something bright and spotty.

This pink spot as opposed to the offcuts of pale blue and yellow check given to me many years ago was undoubtedly my favourite.

Eventually I went with the strips of check. Following along the ethos that this had turned into an other people's scraps quilt, I had to use the neutral checks.

  I have had them for ages, my friend Val gave them to me when she stopped sewing. Luckily I got another sunny day for basting in the garden. So much easier on the back, and when I get fed up, I sit and read for a while then start again.

And so I started quilting. Along each of the segments of the large blue plus, I looped a strip of loopy loops. And then I sort of looped more loopy loops in between. And that is as far as I have got. I even went and bought quilting thread for this. I found ordinary sewing thread didn't cut the mustard. And that was as far as I have got.

As it turns out, so far I am happy with the quilting on the reverse, but I am glad I am going the scrappy route after all. I hereby rename this quilt Sandra's Scraps.

We are expecting visitors from overseas soon. Like all good hosts, I am in a frenzy of cleaning. No I am not, I am mainly shifting stuff from one room to another room. And weeding. And cleaning windows. And scrapbooking. Very important the scrapbooking. I have been scrapbooking my son and new daughter in law's recent wedding. I have scrapbooked so much my shoulders are positively aching. All so the visitors can say, what a wonderful mother in law you are, what a wonderful scrapbook!

This weekend my other daughter in law is graduating and we are spending time being granny and granda. Great fun. So, there will be no more added quilting in the horizon for this week.

So, take it as you find it.

 Once again I am linking up in the final parade with a nearly finish rather than a finish.

That's ok. I will enjoy it all the more when it is finished. My husband did ask his usual, What is this? Where is this for? Followed up by, It is very bright. I think that means he likes it. Always a good sign.

And by not finishing it, I can link it up in my Finish A Long for the next quarter! Always a silver lining!

Helen x
linking up with Sandra mmmquilts
linking up with Lorna sew fresh quilts

Monday, 9 July 2018

Finish A Long, the Last for This Quarter

This is my last Finish A Long post for this quarter, the last of my finishes. Finish no 5!!! Finish no 5 is my Circles quilt, my Bubbles Bee quilt. I blogged about it here in the proposed list in April, here in the summary of the proposed list last week.

My circles quilt was the Bubbles quilt designed by Alyin-Nilya and was a bee I took part in way back in 2016. My quilt has been a push me, pull me for quite some time.
Not Finished
Not Finished

The problem was that I got rather bored with this quilt. The blocks are very labour intensive. Foundation paper  pieced and each block is actually 4 blocks.

At the beginning they were incredibly difficult and loads of people dropped out, or just disappeared. Eventually we struggled towards a finish, our stash, our my stash, greatly depleted. At times I found myself having to buy fabric. I work on the principle that I wouldn't send anyone a block I wouldn't want to receive myself.

I decided to make mine double bed sized. Oh why, oh why! This meant I had to add a whole extra column and an extra row. That was a lot of black and white fabrics, and a lot of sewing.

 And then when I really did lose the will to live, I added a deep border in black and white stripes.

Next I moved onto the quilting. I know exactly how I wanted to quilt this. Lots of directional lines emanating from the circles. Didn't quite work out that way. I wanted white quilting on the white fabric and black in the black fabric. The reason I think it looks disjointed is because there simply isn't a dense enough quilting. This is where the finished/not finished debate kicked in. The quilt has been deferred in the Finish A Long a few times.

I added some hand stitching in perle cotton. I enjoyed doing this. I am happy with this. I added to this over the last quarter. It is restful to sit and hand stitch I find. And of course I love my spotty binding.

So . with the addition of that perle quilting ............. I have decided this quilt is finished.

Here it is over my garden lounger. It started me thinking about circles in the garden. I have houseleeks in pots, circular houseleeks in circular pots. Our feature on the BBQ, we haven't bothered using it this year. May as well make a decorative feature. You probably can't see, but there are circular logs and sticks for the fire stored underneath.

To be frank, I doubt I will ever get around to more quilting and it is already on the bed. It currently lives on the single bed in my daughter's old bedroom. What's that? A single bed? I know! I could have saved so much effort. I did put it on our own bed, but my husband didn't like it. Maybe he thought it needed more quilting! Actually he just likes the modern maples quilt I made. He helped me pick the fabrics, oh goodness, 20 years ago now. He waited about 15 years for this quilt, he seems determined to get his use out of it!

Of course this quilt deserves its own photo shoot. There are actually photo opportunities in and around Belfast, but I haven't had the opportunity to do it. So, I have unashamedly "borrowed" two photos online, I apologize, please don't sue me.

The first is Nuala with the Hoola. The common parlance for the Beacon of Hope sculpture, just at a busy junction for taking photos.

At an even busier junction, one of the main traffic intersections in Belfast, not easy for photos, are the Balls on the Falls, or as they are known locally, also known as the Westicles due to their proximity to said Westlink roadway. Apparently the Balls are officially known as Rise and controversially cost £400,000. I am a lover of public art, so I am happy enough but there was a lot of complaining at the time.

Helen x
linking up with Finish A Long, qtr 2

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Finish A Long, Another Knit

And another knit! This is proposed finish no 8. Now that doesn't mean I have 8 finishes. I have 5 finishes, this is no 8 in the list of proposed finishes, blogged about here in April and here last week in my lists of proposals.

Are you still with me? I know it is confusing. Or maybe it just seems that to me, and I am writing it! This finish is my Impressionist Shawl knit a long with Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. I knit this back in May and blogged about my finish here

And here I am modelling again. It may seem I have only one pair of  trousers, or that I do all my knitwear modelling on the one day. Neither are true. Just my favourite pair.

It ended up I didn't use the yarns I originally bought, sorry, found in stash for my shawl. I felt the colours were rather too similar to the brioche shawl I knit. So, I went for the purples instead. Luckily this all came from stash, some of the new yarns and some I had already from the Flower Power fund. I loved the purples.

Helen x
Helen x
linking up with Finish A Long qtr 2

Finish A Long Yet Again

Finish A Long finishes tomorrow, 9 July, so guess what this blog post is? Yep, it is another in my Finish A Long list. I have jumped to number 7 in my list, blogged about here in my roundup blog last week. This time it is all about the knit.

I first blogged about my Comfort Cardi designed by Andrea Mowry back in the spring. By the time I listed my proposed finishes here back in April, I was well underway. My intention was to finish in time to wear the cardi to my son's wedding in Philadelphia in May. Pretty soon I realised it would be too warm so it got set aside. When I came home, I thought I would finish and wear it over the summer. Still too warm, but it's finished.

The yarn was dyed especially for me by Giddy Aunt Yarns from their superwash merino yarn in double knitting. Claire, one of the two Giddy sisters was knitting this cardi herself and I really liked her Alien colour way.

 It is a one of a kind Claire dyed for herself, and then again for me. Claire and Janice are super girls. I love their yarn and I love spending time with these happy sunny girls.

I fell between two sizes, so I knit the smaller size, superwash merino grows with wear and when blocked. I did a few extra rows in the collar to compensate for the fact that my frontage is bigger than my back. I also made the sleeves slightly shorter. Don't I paint a great picture of myself?

Here I am modelling like I was in a knitting pattern circa 1970. You have to look into middle distance.

I loved knitting with this yarn. The latest thing seems to be, do you enjoy the process or product when knitting. This time I can honestly say I enjoyed the process and I will enjoy the product when the weather cools. Best of all, I have yarn left over. I love that, feels like free yarn!

Helen x
Linking up with Finish A Long qtr 2

Friday, 6 July 2018

Another Finish A Long Link Up

The Finish A Long link ups are happening now, here for link up. Number 2 in my link up finish posts, but number 1 in my list of proposed finishes is my #Belfast Bulletin, the Coulter Wedding Quilt no 2. The wedding quilt for my, I can't say second son, I have twins and this is the marginally younger son who got married. We have to be sensitive to these things! The quilt was listed in my original Finish A Long link up post here.

Anyhow the wedding quilt for my younger son.

Noooo .... the wedding quilt made for my son and his fiancée in 2018. That's better.

I made them a blue and green ombre quilt, based on a quilt pattern designed by Sarah Goer. I used Sarah's blue ombre quilt and added some green tones. I then made it bigger, a lot bigger. I am not the blogger you come to for facts and figures. Put it this way, it is big enough for a king size bed, so over 100" square. Or maybe it is longer than its width, I can't actually remember. I make it then move on to the next one.

Anyhow, here's some nice photos.

Helen x
linking up with FAL qtr 2

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

FAL Qtr 2 Link Up

Would you believe it? It is time for the Finish A Long quarter 2 link up of hopefully finishes. There's a link up to my blog post here

When I look, I had 8 projects. I like to keep my list manageable. Some people have incredibly long posts, this would just send me into a pit of despair and anxiety. Not really the point of a relaxing hobby. I am not saying I don't have a very long list of unfinished projects, I just don't find it helpful to be the cause of my own intimidation!

So my list of 8.

1 Coulter Wedding Quilt, mark 2, the Belfast Bulletin

2 Writing from Whitehead Quilt, aka the Postcard from Sweden

3 Quatrefoil Quilt, the Beeabee2017 quilt

4 Circles Quilt, or the  Bubbles Quilt

5 Economy Square Quilt

6 Liberty EPP Quilt

7 Comfort Fade Cardi

8 Impressionist Shawl

How did I do? Not too bad, considering. I have 5 finishes out of 8. Unfortunately they all have to have separate link ups. I don't seem to be able to have to link ups from the one blog post, so prepare to be bombarded over the next few days! The ~Writing from Whitehead quilt is already linked up, as I only blogged about it last week.

Helen x
linking up with FAL qtr 2 finishes