Monday, 14 January 2019

What Big Eyes You Have Grandma

What big eyes you have Grandma. What big hands you have Grandma. What beautiful feet you have Grandma.

This wee quilt is for Feet Claire. Claire is she who "does my feet". She does my daughter's feet too, and we love to see Claire coming. Unfortunately for our feet, but lovely for her, she has a little girl now and has been off on maternity leave. Claire is also the daughter one of my scrapbooking friends so we definitely had to make her a quilt.

I had some of these blocks left from a few years ago. I took part in a swap and my swappee, Helen in Australia, asked for a mini quilt her daughters would like. Thankfully it went down so well, Aussie Helen hung it on the wall.

 I had 3 completed Little Red Riding Hood blocks left from memory, and 1 completed and 1 partial wolf block. I had run out of the red border fabric.

I decided the best thing was to get ripping. Where would we be without our stitch rippers? I took the borders from a Little Red and used them around the wolf block. I then used a contrasting red spot to border Red girl. It took a Little Red in the centre and two of her and the wolf to balance properly. It just didn't work right with the wolf in the centre. And why would it? Little Red Riding Hood is the heroine of the story. Who gives a whatever about the wolf?

And so these blocks sat for many months. The plan was to do a spider block square at 12 noon, 3 pm, 6 pm and 9 pm, so to speak. I couldn't work up any enthusiasm though. Just couldn't feel the love. Then I thought about pinwheels, still couldn't feel the love.

Last week I thought I really need to get this going. I had given Claire a baby present at the time, but I really wanted to make her a quilt. Then inspiration struck. Trees. A forest of trees. What more appropriate than that? After all the wood cutter comes to rescue, and a wood cutter needs a forest or at least some trees.

I really enjoyed making the forest. I threw caution and all sorts of measuring to the wind. I cut basic strips of white kona, 3" x 6" and of course the end result depended on the size of the tree fabric. To be honest, this depended on what size of fabric I had to use. I was really using the offcuts from the borders. Then I just built them up to size. Six trees in each block, two rows of three. No one tree above or below a similar tree. I really did enjoy this. It took me two afternoons and I was really happy.

I cut all my blocks to 12" square. When I sewed them together, I used the full width of the foot for seam allowance rather than the accustomed 1/4". There were so many joins in places, I thought this was more secure for a rough and tumble quilt. I can't believe I forgot to take a photo this afternoon of the sewn strips.

Today I pieced the backing. Again it changed as I went along. I had a really sweet fat quarter, a white with a tiny blue blue leaf. It just picked up the blue of the leaf tumbling from Little Red Riding Hood's blocks. I went "shopping" in the roof space and found some white glazed cotton with a blue English rose. Yuck! Far too sickly sweet I decided for Claire, who is not a flowery sort of girl. I remembered I had some off cuts from Jam Sandwiches and Red Lemonade backing from a year or so back. It was a white fabric with a broad red zig zag I bought in Philadelphia.

I had enough  for the backing in one piece, but I thought it was more fun to use the bits and pieces. I like pieced backs, and I think for children it has added interest. So, I used some "bits" and 15" from my yardage. I reckon I have about 20" left, enough to get going another day.

Whilst I was crawling about that roof space, I found some wadding. Just about enough to wad this quilt. Systems are go.  I am hoping to get basted and quilted this week, ready to hand over soon. In fact I am so enthused about sewing again, I am half way through my next project. A big project bag to house the hypothetical sweater I am knitting my husband.

As an aside, flicking through my instagram photos, I found I had used this fabric in a couple of bee blocks. The Little Red and wolf were in paper pieced economy blocks.


Wolf and  Little Red was in a block for a child's quilt of primary colours.

 I enjoyed making those blocks too at the time. This was way back in my first year in Stash Bee in 2015. A lifetime ago it seems! I included these photos as Little Red and her wolf, who actually seems to be Mr Fox, Mr Wolf's friend show up well in them.

Helen x
linking up with Beth and Cooking Up Quilts

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Honey, I Am On Fire!

Cast your minds way back in the mists of time to last July. I joined a very laid back mystery quilt a long devised and directed by Tish of  Tish in Wonderland fame.

 It was called Fireburst Mystery Quilt, and this was exactly what I needed at the time.

 We go to USA fairly frequently for holidays, my son and daughter in law live there, I like to celebrate loosely along with them. Not all the American holidays, mostly just 4th July and Thanksgiving. We eat USA food, hot dogs and coleslaw and beer or turkey (chicken) and butternut squash depending on the type of holiday. I have two things, a stars and stripes bear and a large beaniebaby turkey which I display accordingly, much to the consternation of my husband. Grown woman and cuddly toys? What's that all about? (they were actually my daughter's when a young teen, now they are "my props")

What I was missing was an American quilt, and this just came along nicely. I had bits and pieces of "Americana" fabrics, mostly given to me by friends. I was keen to use these. Tish's quilt just came about at the right time. 

I made my blocks, sometimes on time, and sometimes a month ahead. Some blocks, I could see where it was going.
Some blocks I couldn't!

By Halloween I had all my blocks made, but my sewing mojo went awol. Fast forward to the New Year and Tish was having her official parade of finished quilts. I had to get a shake on, I was anxious not to let Tish down, though I knew she would have a great parade even without me. But, there is no show without punch, and I had to follow this band parade to the end.

When I was putting together the blocks, all went well until I thought I had two blocks in the wrong position.

 I unpicked them, and sewed them in the correct orientation. It was then I realised that the whole row was wrong.

I really couldn't face unpicking again, I was afraid that mojo might go awol again. Sure don't Fireburst and fireworks head off in all directions?

And so I had a finished flimsy for the parade.

 I have been unable to baste and quilt, remember I threw out all my wadding? I have a hair appointment next week, I can multi task and pick up some wadding. Now for the backing. I would really like to buy some red and white stars  and then some more spot for the binding. But ..... up to now this has been made from scraps and scavenged fabrics, except the red kona which was stash. Stash is free isn't it? I have some left over fabrics and will probably use those in the spirit of this quilt, with a spotty binding of whatever I can find.

I have loved making this quilt, I would like to thank Tish for all her hard work .

 You can click HERE to see the parade of quilts. There are some lovely versions. There genuinely isn't one I don't like.

Tish also had a generous list of sponsors, and I was lucky enough to win a prize. And not only a prize, but a prize I am really delighted with. I won my choice of 2 pdf of Yvonne's designs, quiltingjetgirl. Yvonne's designs are bright, modern, clean lines. I love them. I picked Oh Happy Day, which makes  me happy just looking at it, and Perspective. My husband likes bright modern quilts too, he admires Yvonne's quilts also. I see a Happy Day  in my life soon.

After Tish finished the qal she also made a version of the American flag, the stars and stripes. I really liked it too. Now I won't be running it up the flagpole or anything. We have enough flegs here in N'Iron without my introducing any more. I can however see a  version of it draping my chair on the
4 July. Now I have found my mojo, (it was behind the sofa all along), I look forward to making this too.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Finish A Long Link Up - The Knit and Cutting The Mustard

Two  blog posts here in succession, each finish has to be linked up separately. The first is, I think, worth singing about, the second is nice enough but nothing to get too excited about. I got pretty excited about it, but that's just me, not the general public at large. In fact the general public at large would probably ask if this was even blog worthy. But I digress, wait for the second post.

 My sweater was first linked up here in the list of proposed finishes. My Seachange Sweater,  designed by Jennifer Steingrass.

I have knit myself a jumper/sweater/pullover. Call it what you will, but I have knit myself one, and I am rather pleased. The knitting is ok, the foray into colour work has been successful, and I don't look the size of a house in it. That last is sort of a bonus!

Back in the late summer, I had been toying with the idea of knitting myself another jumper. I really fancied knitting a colour work, a Scandinavian type sweater used by Scandinavian in the outdoors. They have become terribly of the moment, though I remember knitting a few of these back in the 1970s.

I chose a Schachenmayr yarn, made in Germany, 100% virgin wool. It is rustic yarn, sort of hairy and good for colour work, as all those little fibre hairs twist and cling on to each other. I didn't buy it locally, I bought online from . It didn't cost too much and came already wound, both of which were a bonus!

Just by chance the theme for my scrapbooking weekend was to be "big jumpers", Scandinavian sweaters. Happy days I thought, and started knitting. The next week I discovered the theme had been changed, apparently not enough people had big jumpers. The theme was "animal prints". I was rather disgruntled and complained. I didn't have any animal print in my wardrobe. Oh no I hadn't . Oh yes you do! How could I forget I had a leopard skin coat? (no leopards were harmed in the making of my coat. And how could I forget that I had one, worn only once?

As you can see from this photo, we all managed to scavenge up some animal print.

The sweater was thrown in the corner, unloved and forgotten until mid December when I thought, I need a new sweater.

 Oh, yes I am knitting one. I had reached the armholes already so it was a quick romp home. I loved knitting the colour work. I found it very relaxed and relaxing, quite therapeutic in fact. All went well until I reached the neckline.

The trend is for knitted necklines, to be, well, to be frank, baggy. Not low, just baggy and droopy. It is not a look I like or find suits me.

I set about knitting the neckline a bit higher, and then doing some "short row shaping" back and front.  Yes, new to me to fairly recently too. I first encountered short row shaping in my Comfort Fade Cardi. Thankfully the neckline worked out ok. Bear in mind with this photo that the jumper is still attached to the knitting needles so it is impossible to put it on properly!

Back to that short row shaping. The pattern added short row shaping just before the colour work, just after the sleeves were added. Now, I was rather confused. ~This appeared to be in the back and I couldn't see the sense of it. Why would I want extra rows in the back around the shoulders? I may be a little round shouldered, echoes, of  "stand up straight Helen",  but I don't have a dowager's hump just yet. Eventually I realised this was around the front, and ensured the sweater fits neatly around the bust area, instead of keeping  a tent like shape. Once I realised this, I was really pleased. I love how the sweater conforms to the bust line and also a little bit of waist shaping. All good to stop you looking like a sack of potatoes, a problem for both the skinny malinks and also the fuller figured.

I was out and about yesterday for the Quilting Guild, it meets at our Folk Park. I took the opportunity to take some photos in the wild. Unfortunately none of me wearing it. Bit too much to ask random strangers to take a photo of me modelling my new sweater. And, today at home, it was dark, grey and bleary, but I am sure I will pop up sometime wearing it. If you have a moment, have a look at the website for the Folk and Transport Park, it is very good

I really do feel this sweater cuts the mustard, my new favourite colour. I can see my wearing it a lot, and I can see my knitting this colour again.

Helen x
linking up with Finish A Long

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Finish A Long Linky Party and Those Tea Towels

It is time for the link up for the Finish A Long for all those works in process malingering in cupboards. I actually have 4 finishes to share with you. Ta Da! Wave those pom poms. Let's celebrate. In brief, my Finish A Long list can be read here.  Too many things to list here, the What's Out The Window quilt (blogged about in previous post), the Kingfisher Liberty quilt, the Liberty Hexie quilt, the Economy Square quilt. There may have also been fabric and a pattern for a pair of trousers. Also, a colour work sweater, some Christmas socks, and some Alice in Wonderland 1hr baskets. Each of these "successes" needs a separate linkup, so bear with me.

One finish I can link up is a baby quilt I made for my friend's daughter, who is simultaneously my daughter's friend. I bought some Cath Kidston tea towels to match the baby bag my daughter bought her. This quilt was previously blogged about here in my Finish A Long list.

I had just enough squares from the tea towels to make a quilt

Well nearly enough . All except one last square, on which I planned to  embroider the baby's name. The addition of grey kona made narrow borders, with a bright pink kona inset corner block, brought it up to about 36" square.

I pieced the backing with some pink check. This is oh so vintage dahling! I have had the little bit of pink check left for years. I love check almost as much as I love spotty fabric. With a grey inset and a touch of pink, it was just big enough to do, just big enough and no more.

Some green spotty binding, green because, you don't want too much sugar pink, made a quick finish.

 I really enjoyed making this and was delighted to have a finish. At the time I took a couple of photos in the garden with my metal blue tit, Kew.

 Kew is so named because I bought him in Kew Gardens. I love it when my quilts and photo props come together.

The quilt was all ready just for Holly to have her name added.  And we have another finish for the Finish A Long link up party.  You know what they say about a party, they take place in the kitchen, so the tea towels seem appropriate.

Helen x
linking up with Finish A Long here

The First Shall Be Last

The first shall be last, and the last shall be first. I know this is a biblical text, but it seems appropriate for the first finish of 2019, which is actually the last finish of 2018.

 I have finished my Quatrefoil Quilt, aka the What's Out The Window.

This on my list in the last Finish A Long list, and was blogged about here in my proposed finishes.

This was also my bee block in my Beeabee2017 group. I had chosen this block when I mentioned my daughter in law was pregnant. Anneliese, my bee mama suggested we made this for the baby. We revised the instructions but I don't think everybody picked up on this at the time. Most of the blocks, but not all, were child themed, those that weren't worked in well.  I previously blogged about this quilt, here when I was the Queen of Sheba. And also here and here.

I had originally been in a National Trust building, Derrymore House  near to my childhood home, and I loved how the sun filtered through the centre of the quatrefoil window.

 The walls were painted yellow, and it just seemed so cheery. I then started to notice how many churches had quatrefoil windows. I had always noticed the trefoil windows, I am a former girl guide, and the badge is the trefoil. St Mark's Dundela, the church attended by the author CS Lewis, and the very same church where I read my late aunt's eulogy has a very nice quatrefoil window.

I finished the actual flimsy quite a while ago. The blocks were from bee members Anneliese, Sue, Kirsty, Gina, Katrina and Sharon. Tish of Tish n Wonderland bee crashed and sent me a block, which was great. I also had some fabric sent to me by Yvonne Quilting Jet Girl and Lucy Charm About You which were perfect.

My son is a scientist, so I was delighted to find this space fabric locally for the backing. I added a panel of my favourite Rose and Hubble spot in black and white to broaden and lengthen it. I have never really done much free machine quilting, this could be my step into this whole other world.

It was rather a steep learning curve. The quilting in the white background is very dense, so dense it took ages and used a ton of thread. I discovered the heavier quilting thread is better for quilting than the moon thread I previously used. The quilting in the windows is ok, a ray stretching out - but would have been better if it went in the other direction! The quilting in the centre, is to be frank, terrible. But it is what it is.

I love how the quilting is on the back, except for the central window bits. I love the swirls, like swirly
whirly things in space. Asteroids, That's what I am thinking.

Of course for the binding, I used my favourite spots again. Bits and pieces that were left for scrappy binding.

Now all I need is to give this a wash and tumble and post it off. My daughter in law always jokes the baby smells of Chanel No5 after a granny cuddle. I think I might be giving this a good squirt of No5 before I post it off.

This is one of my finishes in the final quarter of the Finish A Long, this will be my link up post. I will have to have a think about what I plan for 2019.....

The link to my last finish a long proposed finishes is here

Helen x

linking in with the Finish A Long linky party here

Sunday, 16 December 2018

I Wonder, I Really Do Wonder

Drat that metaphorical dog, he ate my homework again. Once again, I see it is a month since I last blogged. I did blog in my head at any rate. Nothing substantial to blog about, my computer needed recharged, my photos were dreadful. Nothing substantial has changed here , but here I go. You see I have decided blogging breeds blogging, like dusting or exercise I am told. In any case, although the number of bloggers seems to be dwindling, I need to blog. Instagram is great for the quick comment, the instant praise, the chuckle, but I need to put my thoughts down too. Order my process, talk things over with you so to speak.


So, what have I been up to? Well, I made some 1 hr baskets. Four to be precise. I have been talking about this for quite a while. Over a year ago, in a trip to London, I went to Village Haberdashery and bought a selection of Alice fabric by Rifle. I enjoyed this fabric for quite a while, I stroked it, looked at it, admired it. My sister intimated that my niece still enjoyed Alice and would love a quilt if it was looking for a recipient. No problem in itself, but I didn't want to lose my precious fabric. I liked it too much. Did I want an Alice quilt on my sofa? Probably not. Or to be more precise, my husband wouldn't! So .... I made 4 x 1 hr baskets and so began my downfall.

This time last year I bought some wadding locally to quilt my daughter's grey bed quilt. I was assured the wadding was hypoallergenic. I can only assume the assistant was asleep in this part of the presentation or muddles her lefts and her rights. My eyes itched the whole way through the quilting. Ssh don't tell my daughter, we knew when it was all enclosed in fabric it would be alright and it was. I thought I threw the remainder in the bin. I threw something in the bin!

Anyhow, I use wadding and stitch it to my fabric as a cheaper method of using iron on  padded stiffener stuff. I made a sandwich of old pillow case, wadding and fabric cut roughly to size. And boy did my eyes itch and water. That was on the Sunday, by Tuesday, I looked like I had gone 4 rounds with Mike Tyson. Hence the lack of photos.

Believe me, I made 4 x 1 hr baskets for my sister, my niece and my daughter.

They all loved them and all are in use.

my daughter's choice, matches her grey zig zag curtains
my niece's choice

my sister's choice, the teacups match the vase she bought both of us
Apologies for the dreadful photos of the nearly finished articles.

 I have plans for project bags with the rest of the fabric, but in the New Year. The rest of the wadding, in fact all my wadding now, is in the bin. In January, I will go to the shop I usually go to and buy the Heritage wadding I generally use.

My daughter and I were in London for a weekend a couple of weeks to go. Rather restrained weekend, she has hurt her leg and can't get about much. We spent a lot of time relaxing in the hotel, using these rather expensive face masks. Wish I had had it when I was making the baskets. By the way, can you tell which of us is which? Bonus points for being complimentary.

Helen x