Wednesday, 26 May 2010

I said I wouldn't start any new quilts. But I lied. This rainbow stack is getting snipped up....

and sewn back together again....

more sexy hexies are being prepared for holiday crafting....

It's that frantic last minute 'what have I forgotten' time before we go away on our holidays to sunny (please) California.

One thing that was forgotten was to renew Miss G's passport that had expired last year (oops). Thank heavens for the emergency service at the passport office. Possible major frik up averted. Now I just have to buy toiletries, sort out what we want to take, pack it all, and word up the house sitter to make sure all packages are kept safe. Better tidy up for the house sitter as well, hadn't I? Oops, add that to the list.

I've started the new quilt to try and convince myself that I'm not coming down with the flu virus the husband has had for the past week (and been bedridden with it too - something I seriously don't want right now, thank you). Keeping busy keeps me from sitting down and accepting the fact that I actually don't feel very well. No virus for me. No no no - not got the time, thanks. You will not get me to acknowledge you. I shan't. Mind over matter. Sometimes it works. That and a whole lot of caffeine and sugar.

Thank you all so much for the dresden plate love. She is a beauty, isn't she? All down to the quilting, I think. Got to love that Chris.
As for the binding, I've chosen a deep purpley maroon solid. I would take a picture, but I can't remember the safe place I put it. Hmm... It's a nice choice, I'll show you when I find it.

So I think that's it from me for a couple of weeks. I'll still be uploading to flickr so if you miss me (I know - you won't notice I've gone) then you can find me there.

See you in a couple of weeks - hopefully all bronzed and beautiful. And with a suitcase full of fabric ;)

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Chris - you rock

The dresden plate returns. She's spent a little while at the quilters and had a lovely time.

I don't think I need to say anything. You can just see for yourselves....

the front...

the back....

close up of the quilting on the plates (as seen from the back)....

(Click on the pics to see them better)

Needless to say, I am in love.

Now for binding. But I'll just sit and stare at her for a while first, if that's ok.

perfect weather for a fair

Just in case you are stuck for something to do tomorrow (23rd), and happen to be around the Primrose Hill area of London, you might want to check out the Primrose Hill Fair. It's on from 11am til 5pm, with lots of stalls, fun for the kids, stuff to eat and the added bonus of no traffic on Regents Park Road.
The weather looks pretty perfect for it!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

more lobster than monkey

The sun is continuing to shine in my little corner of the world.
Things I should have learned by now (being 35 yrs old)....
  • I am very pale skinned
  • pale skinned people burn in the sun
  • English sun is just as capable of burning as 'foreign' sun
  • sitting in one place for a couple of hours means only side will get tanned (or, more appropriately - burned)
  • factor 20 sun cream was a sensible purchase (if a little after the event)
On the positive side.....
  • spidey is now a little over halfway quilted
  • a birthday quilt for a friend's niece is finished
  • more sunshine is forecast (and sun cream has been purchased)
  • after sun lotion is lovely and soothing
  • the dresden plate is ready for collection from Chris
(I am a little obsessed with bullet points at the moment - I think it has something to do with the long list of things to do before I go on holiday next week)

pretty pics of the day....

Shauna's 18th birthday quilt.....


Tuesday, 18 May 2010

getting there


  • picked ginger up from nursery at lunchtime
  • went round to grannie's
  • ginger played
  • mummy sewed
  • daddy sat in his studio and recorded music
  • the spiderweb is about 1/4 of the way quilted
I think we'll do the same tomorrow. Having no computer to distract me is marvellous for keeping me on the right track.

Monday, 17 May 2010

note to self...

Next time you want to sew an alphabet onto a quilt, do it before the blocks are sewn together. It will make things much easier. Although it's not exactly difficult, more of a pain in the bum trying to negotiate a biggish quilt under a smallish machine throat.

However, that see-thru applique foot I bought a little while ago when I went on a new foot spree is a genius invention (I got teflon, gathering and see-thru applique - I wanted rolled hem as well, but couldn't justify it, unless I start making hankies or scarves. Now, there's a thought...)

The weather over the weekend was really lovely. Sunshiney, if not exactly warm. The ginger one stayed outside the whole time playing with his cousins at Grannie's house. We are not blessed with much of a garden, which was never a problem with Miss G - she didn't run around too much, and played inside her little house mostly. Ginger likes to run, and scoot, and kick balls around. When I sit and watch how much fun he has at Grannie's it makes me a bit sad. Their garden is fully enclosed as well, so I don't have to keep my eyes on him, and worry about cars or him wandering off onto the main road. I have told my mother in law she could move into a nursing home and let us move into her house, but she's not taking the hint. Maybe I should just turn up with all our possessions and see what the reaction would be? Actually, I don't think she'd mind all that much. I have been blessed with a wonderful mother in law. I wonder how she'd feel about a caravan in the garden? Hmm........

I think I'll have to start dragging one of the machines down there after nursery sometimes and sew in the sunshine, like Lily does. No computer either, so it might make me more productive in tackling those unquilted WIPS. I bet if I stay late enough I'll get my dinner made for me as well.

Speaking of dinner. Or food in general, I went for a lovely lunch on Saturday. It was just the husband and me. Miss G had gone to the movies, and Ginge was down at Grannie's. I didn't even know this place had opened. Jamie Oliver comes to Leeds - and it was really fantastic as well. He has a few of these Italian's - which are more River Cafe than your local pizzeria. Gorgeous, fresh tasting food. You can watch the pasta being made - you know, rolled and cut, not just put in a pan out of a packet. The staff were really good, it was not expensive (not cheap cheap, but not expensive - around £12 for a main course), and the setting was beautiful. I took a photo of the tiled floor because I feel a quilt is coming out of it.
Anyway, if you happen to be anywhere near one of these restaurants you should try it. If the Leeds one is anything to go by you won't be disappointed. We're going back with the kids (well, probably only Ginge, because Miss G doesn't want to hang out with us any more on a weekend. It's all movies and mall these days. *sigh*). Move over pizza express, I've got a new weekend family eatery!

Friday, 14 May 2010

sunday stash...and a lightbulb moment

It's no secret that I get a little excited about American Jane. Sandy Klop and Denyse Schmidt constantly battle it out for most favourite designer. I think Sandy has the crown today. It's likely to be different tomorrow though.
Today's Sunday Stash is a little pile of American Jane pre-cuts - recess layer, jelly roll, charm pack, and happy campers charm packs. And some charm sized left overs from the quilt top I thought I'd finished back in February.
It seems I hadn't finished it. It bothered me, something was missing. It didn't seem quite big enough for anything other than a lap quilt, and I wasn't sure I wanted it to be just another lap quilt.
Too much time passed. The special person that was getting this one got another quilt, and was happy (and none the wiser, more importantly).
I pulled it out this week and attached an off-white border, and decided I'd also add a piano key border using that recess jelly roll up there. And then I noticed the set of iron on alphabet appliques I'd bought from Jen Duncan.... PING!!!

I need to sew on those letters, they're fused on but I'm not sure how they'll last without some help. And I need the border sewing on. Finally, it's big enough - 80 x 90 inches - for Ginger's bed and he seems really quite pleased with it, because of all the 'numbers' on it (he's no genius, that child). I don't think I'll try quilting it. This one's coming to you, Chris.

I've told myself no more new quilts until I get some finished. So let's look at the list.....

spiderweb - that's being quilted, but I'm so bored of all the lines, it's taking forever. I'll do some this week and show you how it's going.

String Quilt - has gone to Christina's for quilting (yes, all the way across the ocean)

That leaves me with the roundabout, simple squares, and a couple of random baby quilts to quilt myself. And I'm not buying anything to use for backing etc etc. I supposed I should get cracking.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

at last

It seems my dreams have been answered. After years of wondering why on Earth Liberty comes up with some random names for it's fabrics (Mark? Curtis?) they have finally caved in to my subliminal telekinetic pressure and named a fabric Katy.
Thank you Liberty and Westminster. I shall be buying it by the mile. It's only right, isn't it? And I am almost positive you named it just for me. Didn't you? Yes, of course you did.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

hex love (with an edit)

Working on some hexagon love this week. Actually, every week for the foreseeable future, I think. A hand pieced hexagon quilt is no quick project. Not that that should ever put anyone off, because it's the most relaxing past-time ever. And it's done in your dead time - watching TV or waiting for the kids to come out of school. Any time when you're hanging around doing nothing. This is coming on holiday with me this year and I'm hoping I can get a fair chunk of it done on the flights to and from the US. All being well. BA are planning on walking out and striking when we're due to fly, so I'm hoping replacement chartered flights get put on to cover and we get to Cali safely and in a timely fashion. I won't start ranting about industrial action. I could. I do. Not here though, I'll bite my tongue and think happy hexy thoughts. I can always sew my hexes whilst we wait in the airport for the delayed flight, can't I? (Trying to find a silver's not really working).

I've also been sprucing things up here in Monkey Towers/FQ Headquarters. A new lick of blackboard paint, some re-hanging of pics and stuff. It's a lonely office to work in, as the other members of staff are sat in their own personal FQ headquarters in their own houses. It would be awesome cool if we could actually hang out together all day in a hustly bustly studio space surrounded by sewing machines and giant cutting tables. Maybe in a loft somewhere. New York would be nice. It's a bit far for us all to go to work though, and I think we'd be running at some massive losses profit wise with all the travel expenses. Not to mention the carbon footprint with international flights to and from work every week. Oh well. I'll settle for the fabric covered letters above my desk instead and dream of the loft space studio.
I bought those letters from Anthropologie. I was very excited when I saw them. So excited I got a nosebleed. Luckily the ever resourceful Brioni had a tissue, so I shoved that up my nose and all was well again.

Talking of all things Fat Quarterly - there's a giveaway going on for some Saffron Craig fabric. Go check it out, because that stuff is super pricey (but worth it - believe me, it's got a really nice feel to it and the colours are so fresh and crisp and spot on).

And whilst we're on the subject of giveaways... Julie has details of a heap that's going on in blogland right now. Just click on the button below and it'll take you there......


EDIT - I just got an email from the people that do the media for the V&A. This is such a fun tool. You can upload a photo, it analyses the colours and patterns and turns it into a quilt pattern for you. Genius. Potentially useless, but a fun way to spend a few hours.

Monday, 10 May 2010


After the not so awesome week of last week where everything I touched seemed to either go missing or break I can say so far sew good for this one.
The lost favourite scissors turned up, would you believe it, under a pile of scraps. The lost credit card also materialised - in the cats' health records in a drawer (obviously - where else would you keep a credit card but in a health record for your pet?). I retraced my steps and decided the last time I had seen it was when I went to the vet's, and I had shoved the health records into my pocket, thus snatching up the credit card at the same time. The ever OCD husband tidied them away into a drawer (after I left them on the desk in the hallway). It came to me in a flash of brilliance in the middle of the night over the weekend.

My flying geese are not quite so perfect. Actually block number 2 has more clipped wings and beaks than block number 1. (I'll add a pic tomorrow - blogger is being unhelpful in loading of photos right now), but you know what? I don't care. I will love my flying geese quilt and I will master them to achieve those Anita points (as I like to call them) by the end.

Hopefully the planets are realigning. We almost have a new Prime Minister. Not sure who. I'm no more clued up than I was on Friday. One thing is for sure, even if I don't manage to get my flying geese super sharp, it's not quite as devastating as poor old Gordon Brown's life must be right now. I'm glad I'm not in his boots.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

honk honk

Anita is having a quilt along. This festival of flying geese is the quilt we're making....

Pretty awesome, huh? A LOT of flying geese blocks. Tell you the truth, I'm not all that good at flying geese, not made in the 'proper' way at least. I can't get those perfect sharp points like Anita can. But my theory is practise makes perfect, and surely after I've made all of these I'll be getting points so sharp you'll poke your eyes out with them.

This is my first block. Just like Anita I'm using Hope Valley. It was fate I think, I saw the original photo of the quilt and thought 'that'd look lovely in hope valley', then I read the blog post and that's what Anita was thinking. Fate, see? So Hope Valley it is (and some Kona Bone as the solid). See what I mean about not being perfect? Now, don't be nice and tell me it looks perfect to you - that triangle centre left...where's the point? See now? Hmm. Must try harder.

Why don't you join in with me and make some geese? Head over to Anita's and you can get all the info. She's VERY thorough, I feel like I'm having some really excellent quilting lessons but for free. Everyone likes that kind of deal, don't they?

I'm having one of those weeks. So far I've dropped 2 glasses on the floor and smashed them into tiny pieces, spilled washing powder (except it was the liquid kind) all over some clean laundry, lost my credit card (although I had it when I left the post office 2 days ago, and I'm positive I had it when I got home), and now I've lost my favourite scissors. The ones I've got tattooed on my arm. If they were just any old scissors I'd not be bothered, I'd just go and use a different pair but these are my absolute favourites. They're very special. But they haven't left the house, so where the hell are they? I'm starting to get a little bit grumpy about it now.
I don't mind admitting it to you, I think a good cry might be in order *sigh*

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

teflon foot love

(yes - ignore the fact that I didn't have any matching's contrasting, ok?)

A little while ago I got sent some Amy Butler fabric from Harts in Santa Cruz. I set it aside and planned to use it in a quilt, but never quite got round to cutting into it. It's such a great print I couldn't quite bring myself to cut it into little pieces, like I'd planned. So it sat there, taunting me (like fabric does, I have to shut it away to ignore it's little pleading cries). Until one day last week when I remembered I'd bought a teflon foot to sew oilcloth with (after my bit of masking tape around the regular foot method wasn't entirely successful). 'Ah!' said me 'I'll make a bag to carry fabric in when I go shopping!'. Because what else would you carry in a shopping bag? Groceries? Nooooo, surely not. Fabric is what is best carried in shopping bags.

I'm rather pleased with it. I'm not a bag maker, I get VERY confused by bag patterns (or patterns in general actually) so something this simple has made me feel rather proud. It even has a little snap closure to avoid pick-pocketing types from whipping out my precious fat quarters and stealing them from me when I'm unaware.

Have you been to Harts Fabrics in Santa Cruz? I haven't been to the real life shop, although I am going soon - next month in fact. According to a friend of mine it's like a porn shop, but for fabric lovers. See why I needed the bag? I just ordered some Kaufman carolina chambray from the website, which is like a shot cotton but with a slightly lineny feel to it. I know what I mean even if you don't, it's lovely, take my word for it - you most likely need some, I'd go and buy some if I were you - just in case. My friend Katie got me hooked, she uses them all the time and then started me panicking because they're not too easy to find. I probably could have waited until I got to Santa Cruz to buy them, but then they'd take up suitcase space and I will need to buy more stuff, won't I? I wonder if I could fit bolts into a suitcase? hmm.........

Sunday, 2 May 2010

sunday stash

I obsess over large gingham prints to use for binding quilts. O B S E S S over them. They get me weirdly excited in a way that no other type of print can do. The ones on the right I've shown before, probably a good few times, but I don't think you can ever look at them often enough. If I ever run out of them I think I'll have a melt down, but fortunately I am pretty well stocked up. And now I think about it, I might stock up a little bit more, just in case one of you decides you'd better clear the shelves.
On the right Prairie Gothic by Jane Sassaman, on the left Fun with Feedsacks by P&B Textiles
You can find more stashes in the flickr group and if you really need to go and shop for some big fat checks you can find the feedsacks in fabricbee's etsy shop (search for buffalo check, she has the green and the blue for only $5.50 a yard) and the Jane Sassaman check is from Down Shadow Lane on etsy. ($6 a yard) Just don't buy it all, OK? Leave a bit for me.

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