Sunday, 16 October 2016

And Now The End Is Near - The Happy Version

And now the end is near ....

Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption.

Yes there were times I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew....

I've loved, I've laughed, I've cried....

The records show I took the blows
And did it my way.

With apologies to Frank Sinatra my end is near. Or rather the end of the #behemoth, the artist formerly known as the #coulterweddingquilt.

As of today the binding is on. All that remains now is to slip stitch the binding on the backside, bury my ends and maybe do a little more quilting. It is difficult to see when enough quilting was enough. I thought if I actually finished it and laid it on a bed, then I could tell. To be honest I am not actually sure that the quilting looks as it did in my head. Quilting is not my forte. I'm hoping I'll lay it out and go, yes, that's it.

As I used the dark blue spotty binding in the rear of  Snowflake Shimmer, I called in to the Paragon and to buy some more. Some things are meant to be. Not only did I get parked right at the door, but I saw a sea glass blue green spot in this Rose and Hubble fabric. This was waiting for me. It was meant to be. I'll have a metre of that, thanks very much.

I had toyed as well with the idea of scrappy binding. In retrospect that would be too fussy. This aqua marine blue green, blue is perfect.

Whilst I was there, I spotted another tiny blue star fabric. Tiny blue stars look a little like snowflakes on a shimmery night. My Snowflake Shimmer's backing is a little short top and bottom, rather like myself. A metre of it found its way into my bag too. And you never know, there might be enough left for the binding.

No there's not! I trimmed the top and bottom down, so it looked like a deliberate band top and bottom, not just that the fabric didn't reach. You see, I have done this before. I added in the aqua spot as well, I still need a little more. This Snowflake Shimmer is bigger than it looks. You know what? I don't think there is enough left for the binding. The ladies in the Paragon will be asking me to come to their Christmas Staff lunch.

So, that was my stash in and my stash out, all in the one weekend. My other totally selfish purchase was I downloaded Lucy, The Charm About You, stitchy pie needle case. It's really sweet, there have been some lovely versions appearing in blogland, both fabric and embroidered.

In the meantime, again back to Lucy. I have made a few more Liberty hexie circles. I tend to make these on a Saturday night, watching tv en duo and joining in with #Saturdaynightcraftalong with Lucy and The Charm About You.  I  think I have about 30 or so of these now. It must soon be time to start putting them together. I have my Liberty stash all stuffed in a small clear plastic bag, I know, sacrilege. I still have some fabrics I haven't hexied. (is that a word?)

It's a busy week between one thing and another, so probably not as much done as planned. I'm fairly sure now that the #behemoth won't be finished by Wednesday as planned. I wanted to show it off to my aunts and uncles on Wednesday. This little Miss Show Off will have to content herself.

All the best,
Helen x
linking up with Molli Sparkle's Sunday Stash

Friday, 14 October 2016

Mr Cool, and Mrs Hot, Hot, Hot - Ta Da

We have a finish! We had a finish at the end of August, I just haven't blogged about it. Hinted about it but not blogged about it. You see, timing and organisation was never my strong point and apparently when you blog about a finish is of prime importance. You want maximum exposure, not a time when readers are off doing other things. I don't have a regular  timetable for blogging, Sunday is Sunday Stash, Monday is Main Crush Monday. Apparently Friday is Thank Goodness Its Finished Friday, but I have been busy the last few Fridays. Yes, I know, you can schedule publications. This is hosted by a different quilter each Friday. This week it is the turn of The Carpenter's Daughter Who Quilts.


We have a finish! We have two finishes both together!

Way back in 2014 I joined my first bee. It was MQI (modern quilters Ireland) and I picked a really bold and more importantly, easy block for my first tutorial. I had earlier seen this in the Bee Blessed blog and it really appealed to me. By 2015 I had all my blocks in. The MQI is quite relaxed! The plan was always to divide them into two and make enough extra blocks myself to make quilts for our sun loungers in the garden. You see, I don't like the rough feel of the canvas coverings against my little toes and heels. I tend to put a quilt under my delicate little tootsies. I was all for simply dividing the blocks into two equal piles. Enter my style directors. My niece was up to visit and likes to be creative at Auntie Helen's house. Out came all the blocks. The niece and the daughter decided they were better divided into hot and cold colours, and Mr Cool and Mrs Hot, Hot, Hot were born. I was a little worried about writing blogposts about Mrs Hot. It might drive up my visitor numbers but under a false impression! I'm at that hot, hot, hot stage, so Mrs Hot, Hot, Hot it was.

Of course Mrs Hot, Hot, Hot was finished first. In fact it may have been finished in 2015. I promised faithfully Mr Cool would be soon after. The months went past. A whole year went past. As mentioned before, for some inexplicable reason my husband will not take ownership of something until it is completely finished. I was happy for him to use it before it was bound. I was more than happy for him to use it before all the ends were sewn in. But no, he just says, take it away and bring it back when its finished. He knows me too well. When I looked at the back of Mrs Hot, Hot, Hot none of the underneath threads were sewn in! Here it is sneaked out, but not bound.

My promised delivery date was this summer. So, on the last day of summer, the August bank holiday, the quilt was formerly handed over. Luckily we had a great September, so he did get some use of it.

Here are a few more gratuitous photos of the finishes.

And Mrs Hot, Hot, Hot in beside the hot colours, our fuschias and lilies.

And Mr Cool beside the hydrangea and the white roses.
Even Ronald our wooden head approves.

And a quilt is not just for summer. They have migrated into the living room, over the back of the sofa. His and hers matching quilts for the cold nights watching tv, and occasionally shared with  a daughter.

We planted up our cyclamens in our auricular theatre, or more commonly called "the Wardrobe". Everybody needs a little Narnia in their life. The sun was shining and Mrs Hot, Hot, Hot just seemed to calling to go into the garden again.

Thanks to everybody in that first ever bee. And thanks to Cindy who asked me to join. Just breathe she said. Well, I breathed and I survived to tell the tale.

Helen x
linking up with Thank Goodness Its A Finish Friday with The Carpenter's Daughter Who Quilts

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Three Go Hitch Hiking

No, don't worry, I am not living dangerously and ignoring all sensible advice, but I did go on a hitch hiking adventure with two other friends.

What's the question? Not Sure. But I do know the answer.
"The Answer To The Ultimate Question In Life, The Earth , The Universe And Everything" is according to Douglas Adams, "42".

And 42 are the number of teeth knitted in this Hitchhiker Shawl.
Confused? No, you shouldn't be.

Over the last month or two I had seen a few Hitchhiker Shawls knitted. The shawl is designed by Martina Behm and can be found for paid download in Ravelry. Its not very expensive to download and great fun to knit. It takes a ball or so of 4ply, sock wool is great.

Two bloggy friends, Ali from Crazy Dazy Knits, @crazydazyknits on instagram and Lorraine, @lola2038 on instagram and I decided to have a little knit a long. We called ourselves #3gohitchhiking and periodically posted photos of our progress.

And here, with their permission, are the results!

Ali: Isn't Ali's photo beautifully styled. I did try that with mine, but not as successfully.

Lorraine, who is nearly, nearly finished. You can see the teeth!

and yours truly.

(excuse the unironed t shirt)
 (I really do need to look at my styling)
It was fun to knit together, albeit virtually. I could pass either Ali or Lorraine in the street and not know them, and we all live in the one small country. Maybe I would recognise them by their hitchhiker shawl. If either of them fancy a knit a long again, I would love to do it again! In fact I have my next project all lined up, a scarf pattern and wool I bought in Philadelphia last Easter, and my daughter has decided to knit a garter stitch scarf along with me.
I will leave you with this gorgeous little baby hat. My stateside son's girlfriend crocheted this. And its just as sweet in real life as it is in the photo.

Helen x

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Finish A Long, The Final Quarter 2016

I missed joining up with the 3rd Finish A Long of the year and listing my goals. We were in France for the Euros, sez she blasé. Too much drinking wine and watching football and pfft, the link up was over before I knew it.

If I had taken part, I would have surely listed three things, Mr Cool, Mrs Hot, Hot, Hot and the #behemoth, the quilt formerly known as the Coulter Wedding Quilt. Since then I have finished but not blogged the finished Mr Cool, and Mrs Hot, Hot, Hot. This leaves the #behemoth or quilt formerly known as Coulter Wedding Quilt.

So, here is my finish a long list for the 4th Quarter in the Finish A Long 2016, with Helen of Archie the Wonder Dog as my UK host.

1 #behemoth or the quilt formerly known as Coulter Wedding Quilt
    quilting is nearly finished, ends to be sewn in and bound

2 snowflake shimmer quilt
   basted already, needs quilted and bound

3 knit Portfolio scarf from Loop Knits, Philadelphia last Easter
  not even started, but enjoyed knitting my hitchhiker scarf, so keeping up the momentum

4 plus cross quilt, stash bee hive 6 2016
   bit of a long shot, won't happen. The red and white plus squares would be a great Christmas quilt

here's hoping! There was one more thing I thought last night, I must include that in my list, but when I woke up this morning I couldn't remember. Ah well, I probably wouldn't have finished whatever it was anyhow.

Helen x

linking up with Finish A Long 4th quarter 2016 with Archie The Wonder Dog

We Have Not A Finish, But A Top

It has been a fairly quiet week here on the sewing front. I have just this link up, basting, not even sewing.

 I have been scrap booking like a good one. I  made 5 double spread pages this week, that's really 10 pages. For me, that is some achievement, well for anybody that is some achievement. Wedding photos and family photos, particularly of my dad and us. I was particularly pleased to find I had two photos of my nephew playing rugby and of my dad playing rugby 65 years earlier. The photos were so similar but 65 years apart. But I digress.

My other crafty stuff this week, was finishing knitting my shawlette and basting my Snowflake Shimmer Quilt in Yvonne's  quilt a long. You see, to quilt a largish quilt takes a lot of organisation. Yvonne described this as a large lap quilt. In America everything as we know is bigger. I think I'll probably throw this over the bed. My table for basting is my sewing room/utility room/wine cellar room/keep fit equipment room, and general junk room. To baste the quilt I had to clear off all my sewing projects, my sewing machine, a ton of scrapbooking stuff, some family history "important stuff" and a ton of photos. You get the picture. It took me a whole afternoon. One only gets away unscathed with basting on the "good" table once.

The quilt sandwich came together very easily. I  have a really good feeling about this quilt. I've flicked it over the back and there don't seem to be any big lumps or bumps I can't deal with. I used my new box of curved pins, then took all the pins out of the #behemoth. The good news is the #behemoth didn't fall apart, good news on the quilting front. The Snowflake Shimmer is now quilted to within an inch of its life. I think I am going to quilt straight lines from left to right across the blue fabric and detail in the white and turquoise contrasts. I had bought some blue through to white Aurifil thread and was going to use it. It is the red core though and I see that is really hand embroidery, I should have got the 40 or 50 weight. I'm a bit of a novice at Aurifil, I just usually use ordinary cotton or Guetterman quilting thread.

I love how the back of this quilt looks already. I am glad this one is for me. We are having people to stay in December, so I have to get this finished. I would like to thank Yvonne for this great quilt a long. It has been fun to sew and especially as I "know" some of the others who are taking part. Even though I haven't quilted mine, I consider this as a finish for me!

Do you like the sneak peak of my dresser? It belonged to my husband's grandmother. She died long before he was born but it has passed along to me. Not us, to me. My husband's cousin kept his motor bike parts in it and passed it to me. Not us, to me! It took me ages to scrape the paint and grime off it. My husband and his mum both offered to buy me a new dresser, but I persevered and now we all love it. I have since discovered it isn't an actual dresser, but a set of drawers with a mismatched cupboard on top. Doesn't matter, I love it just the same.


Helen x
linking up with Yvonne, Quilting Jet Girl, Snowflake Shimmer Quilt A Long
also linking up with Lorna in Lets Bee Sewcial

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Not Last Week, But This Week

You're not imagining it. This post looks rather similar to last Sunday's post.  I have finished piecing the backing of my Snowflake Shimmer Quilt. I didn't have to go shopping, I shopped in the attic and found some bits and pieces of blue fabrics to fill in the shortfall. Some slightly different toned blue Rose and Hubble spot. Told you I had it in nearly every colour! Some lovely blue circle fabric, can't  remember the name and another little bit of the blue and white star fabric. So this week's stash in, stash I had forgotten about but am pleased to be reacquainted with, which very quickly became stash out.

I patched these up together and then added a final strip of blue klona and turquoise kona. The blue klona is bought locally and is slightly heavier cotton fabric than its better known sister. The turquoise is the fabric from the front. The plan is to get it basted and linked up with Yvonne before Friday. As I said before, it wont be quilted, I have other quilting to do. I do have the thread, a nice random blue and white toned Aurifil thread. I don't use Aurifil thread much, not available locally and too expensive. This means I'm not sure if it is quilting thread or sewing thread, but that's the plan anyhow. I think I will quilt straight lines across the quilt and some detail in the snowflakes.

In the meantime I have been quilt wrangling again. I have been continuing to quilt my squares on the #behemoth. I have a 12" square and basically I have marked the four corners with pins and quilted the outline of the square. The squares overlap within each other. As you can imagine, I have lots done around the outside but not so many in the bulky centre. The reverse sewing button has been useful here.

As the placement of the quilting has been quite random, I really need to lay it out and see "what needs done". I am cautiously hopeful I may be near completion. I'm not going to hold my breath though.

In between I have been continuing with my knitting. Did I tell you? Myself and two IG "friends" have been collaborating on a shawl knit a long. It is weird, we all live locally but have never met, yet get on in the tiny world of a phone screen. I have also been doing some scrapbooking. I am making a scrapbook for the happy couple, married in August past, and also scrapping  some long over due family photos. I should be working in the garden. I do love gardening, I need to get some bulbs.

Helen x
linking up with Moli Sparkles Sunday Stash

Thursday, 29 September 2016

September in Hive 6, for Judy

Well, leaving it a little close to the end of the month here, two days or so to go. It was a pleasure to make these blocks for Judy. Judy chose a simple checkerboard design. For me I was glad to see this, it has been bit of a mad month here.

The blocks sewed up in no time, but I did find I have a dearth of large print fabrics. Is that a shopping opportunity? Well, maybe for the future, but for today I had to make do.

As it turned out I made 4 blocks for Judy. With hindsight, I should have mixed them up a little more. Great thing hindsight.

Judy, it has been a pleasure to make these, and I look forward to seeing your finished quilt.

Helen x

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Pavlov's Dog and Quilting

Like Pavlov's dog I am now conditioned. Last week I learnt how to successfully piece the back of a quilt and like Pavlov's dog I will do this every time I hear the whistle, or hear the bell or whatever it is Pavlov uses to train his dog.

This week I am backing the Shimmer Snowflake quilt in Yvonne's quilt-a-long. And this time I jumped at the chance to piece the backing. The front of the quilt is very restrained, it is ok to go a bit mad in the back. Its good for the backside to be a feature.

So, "stash in" this week  was the dark blue shower of hail, from the Paragon in Belfast. Cheap and cheerful Aladdin's cave of a shop. I think I have bought that Rose and Hubble spot in nearly every colour.

I found a length of fabric at home in pale blue with a star on it. I thought the star looked a little  like a snowflake, so that's good. What seemed like a meter had a big chunk cut out of it. This snowflake quilt is bigger than it seems, the backing still wasn't big enough. The half meter of pale blue spot for binding the #behemoth was called into play here too.

I had also added in a long strip, both long ways and cross ways of offcuts of the front fabrics. I also added in some rocket fabric. Well, I have to, it is a quilting jet girl quilt-a-long after all. This is some fabric Yvonne herself had previously sent me, so it is somehow appropriate to incorporate it.

If I was being hyper critical I would say the white to bulk out the star strip should be in line with the stripe. Call it lack of planning, or benefit of hindsight.   Life isn't perfect and neither is the backing. Good to live outside the box!  In our scrapbooking group, we joke about being matchy matchy in our outfits. Always a danger in the middle aged woman, matchy matchy. Not a good look.

Of course this morning the sun shone, but once again I couldn't get a perfect photo. Every time I went to snap, the wind blew the whirly bird round. I wish I had my old straight line back. Yet by some strange thing, once I hung out the bed sheets, the wind dropped and the rain started again.
 Once again I will leave you with some more gratuitous photos of trying to photograph a quilt back.

I won't promise I will have this quilted for Yvonne's link up. In fact I know I won't. You may notice I still have the bottom right hand corner to piece, and the whole backing is narrow by about 10". I need to go shopping in my stash again. I have some donated blue paisley fabric, but I'm not sure about it, not matchy matchy enough. I have however started quilting the #behemoth. It is more pressing. It is also a ton weight. I will definitely be weighing  this - Wahey!

Another excellent example of Pavlov's dog is that Sunday night means its time for me to write a blog post and sign up with Molli Sparkles Sunday Stash whilst I multi task by watching Poldark. I don't do it every week, but it sort of marks the weekend and beginning of a new week.

Helen x
 So, linking up with Molli Sparkles and Sunday Stash

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Who Stole My Daylight?

I thought as you hadn't seen this quilt, oh, for at least two days, I would update on the progress. I did get caught rather on the hop with the end of summer/beginning of autumn thing. I left the quilt out for my husband to take a photo when my quilt holder came for Sunday dinner. We had Sunday dinner, watched the Great British Bake Off on tv, and who stole all the daylight? Hence the rather dark indoor photos. Who wants to be a professional blogger anyway?

The Front

On Friday night, I had the house to myself so I cleared as big a space as I could and pin basted the #behemoth. I didn't use my basting spray. It seems to leave a tackiness everywhere just not on the quilt. Sometimes the spray is too quick acting. Everything all sticks together before I get my wrinkles smoothed out. I am happy enough with how it has basted. I have used every safety pin in the house. If I can, I will buy some more to make it as stable as possible.

The Backside, Can You Spot the Stripe Down the Side?
One thing for sure, this quilt is a ton weight. It will have to be hand delivered, not posted. The airfare will undoubtedly be less than the Royal Mail charges. We quilt holders struggled to hold it up whilst the photographer sized up the I phone.

Quilt Wrangling

Quilt Wrangling is a Family Sport

I have also, this week, finished piecing the shimmer snowflake quilt in Yvonne's quilt a long. Those photos are for another day.

No stash in unfortunately. We were in London last week with friends. A whistle stop tour of "our" London, the Natural History Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum and the Revolution exhibition (brilliant). Camden Market, great for vinyl and male bonding, Chelsea Physic Garden, the Garrick Theatre to see Kenneth Branagh in The Entertainer, but no fabric buying. I had intended to go top up my Liberty fix in Shaukat, but didn't make it during opening hours. Peeked in the window when it was shut though.  Cheap shopping.

The Natural History Museum

Helen x
linking up with Molli Sparkles, Sunday Stash

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

What Did The Fox Say?

I say, I say, I say. When is an 1hr basket not an 1hr basket?
Every flipping time you make one!

The #mqisummerswap for this year was to be the 1hr basket, designed by Kelbysews. The 1hr basket, is as the name indicates, a quick and easy make. Most of us I think found it took more than 1 hr, it was referred to at times as the many hours basket and the not 1 hr basket. My first basket took me a couple of days, but having mastered the make, a plain basket could certainly be made in 1 hr or so.

 I had pretended not to notice the mqi (modern quilters Ireland) swap was underway. Between the Euros, a wedding, a wedding quilt and so on and so on the last thing I needed was to sign up for a swap. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I am as susceptible to flattery as the next person and Aideenol contacted me to ask would I not take part! And so I did.

In fact I made two.

My swappee, Dawneika (what a lovely name) had posted her mosaic. She featured a basket with a fox face and mentioned she loved Heather Ross fabric. Now, I had some HR fabric and I like foxes so that was us sorted. My first practice fox was in a small green floral, similar to my orange HR fabric.
It was ok but slightly squinty. If I squeezed my eyes, they looked straight enough.

So, I moved on to the orange HR fabric. A bit like in Little Red Riding Hood Mr Fox's eyes were a little big. A bit less what big eyes you have grandma and more of  a ghost fox. Whooooooo!

Next up, make a plan. I drew out a rough plan of a fox face and started again, again with the orange HR fabric. This was do or die. Having sketched out a rough fox the sewing started again. And strangely, this time it was more successful. In case you are wondering, the fox on the right is the one I used.

Next up to make the basket. Having learned from the prototype I decided to use the green fox first to make the basket. The basket itself is easy enough and fun to make. Instead of buying the iron on stuff for making bags I used a fleece blanket from IKEA. By the time it is quilted it does ok, and I do love a gratuitous visit to IKEA.

 Having mastered this, I made a second basket with Mr Orange Fox and I was reasonably pleased with the end result. If I was being hyper critical I would reposition the fox. I wanted him to be off centre, but he looks just a bit to the left (or maybe the right) rather than off centre.

After completion, in an email conversation with Ruth, my great mqi mentor, I remembered I actually have a pattern for Elizabeth Hartman's fox block!

So, Mr Fox has wung (winged) his way to California along with another fat quarter of the orange Heather Ross fabric and two toning turquoise blue zips and some matching embroidery thread. I didn't photograph these. Contrary to what my daughter thinks, I am not attached to my phone.

So - What Did The Fox Say?

If you don't know, check out this youtube link to a Norwegian band called Ylvis. The video is brilliant. You will be bopping all over the kitchen before you know it. Let me know if you did. By some weird licensing thing if you can't work the link, just google "what did the fox say".

This morning I was delighted to get my basket!

My basket was made by the lovely Louise Mullan. Louise and I were in the mqi bee last year, so it was a bonus that I "know" Louise.

I love my grey basket with the flying geese and my matching pincushion and the extra fabrics. Thank you Louise.

And thank you Aideenol and Cindy for organising.

Helen x