Thursday, 31 December 2009

SSCS gifts

The big question in my house was would the wait be worth it ? The wait to open my SSCS gift that is..........

The answer was OMG - yes.

Just look at my wonderful present from Toni.

I was so pleased when I started opening these. You might know I have 3 real kitties - a black + white, a grey + white and a tabby. How clever of Toni to come up with the perfect gift for me. I love them so much - absolutely gorgeous. My house is still a bit messy from filtering in all the Christmas gifts but once I'm organised these will be pride-of-place somewhere.

Look at the detail

Thanks so much Toni - as well as for the lovely chocolate and beautiful buttons - which I've forgotten to photograph.

My gift went to Kerry. Heres what I made

A tote bag, a hexie table runner and a few little things.

Another successful swap organised by Donna - don't know how she manages this. Thanks Donna - especially for the encouragement to hold out on opening - lol !!!

Just time to wish everyone who reads this all the very best for 2010. Cheers xxxx

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Happy Christmas !!

Just a quick post to wish each and every one of you all the very best for a lovely, relaxing Christmas. Despite the last minute rush everything is in order here - gifts bought and wrapped - food bought - last minute home-made gifts finished with hours to spare - lol !

I think this is my favourite part of Christmas - the anticipation and knowing everything is done and most importantly the shops are closed so I can't spend any more money :-)

Will be back in 2010 hopefully with lots of new stuff. I would like to thank you all for visiting my blog and once again I send my warmest wishes to you all at this special time of year.

ps. I am so looking forward to opening my SSCS gift tomorrow - go on admit it - you never thought I'd last out - lol !!!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Bright !!

Do you remember this ?

that turned into this

well now it's this

It's going to a friends daughter and I hope she likes it.

There was as much pressing in this quilt as actual sewing. I pressed the seams open so they would lie flat and guess what ? They did !!

I quilted in the ditch but decided it needed something more.

So I did some big stitch quilting with 3 strands of DMC embroidery thread. It looked good but what a lot of extra work. I roughly worked it out as 25 hours more. Ever wish you hadn't started something ? lol If you click on the photo below you may be able to see what I mean.

I did the binding in a black and white polka dot just because I thought it needed a strong colour to finish it.

Too much Christmas shopping and cleaning and driving around going on at the moment and definitely not enough stitching. Can't wait to get something done when things calm down.

AND I still haven't opened my SSCS gift yet - think I've cracked it. I've gone 13 days so may as well last out now - sound like an alcoholic - lol ! Ooh the anticipation !!

Will try to post again before the big day...

( message for Aisha - can you email your address and colour choice for the FQ's - tried getting you a few times now ) xx

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Quilt Winner !

Well I put all the raffle tickets into a bowl

and Jason gave them a good mix and picked one ticket and the winner is Kathy. So my quilt will soon be winging it's way to Canada.

A huge heartfelt thanks to all who bought tickets. A few of you just bought tickets purely to help Jess's fund while others just wanted the quilt. For whatever reason we are both very grateful for your kindness and it was definitely worth doing ( even taking into account the paypal fees ). It has bumped up Jess's total nicely and I think she was pleasantly surprised how much we raised - the total was £255.

And the winner of my little giveaway is Aisha from Bahrain. I will send you an email soon for your colour choice of fabric and address.

And my SSCS parcel has arrived safe and well from Australia. You will all be very proud of me because it has been in my house for a whole 24 hours and I have not opened it yet. I am trying SO hard to keep it til Christmas. Do you hear Gudrun ? lol...... A huge thanks to Donna for doing this again - I can't imagine how much work goes into a swap of this scale.

I may be quiet for a while - lots to do - including putting up new wardrobes in Patricks room and trying to get him to part with some junk - you know what 13 yo boys are like.

Thanks again to all raffle participants xxx

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

A few finishes

After 7 years of quilting and I don't know how many finished quilts my DH Jason finally has his own. I started this a while back when we knew we were in a recession and I laughingly named it Jason's Credit Crunch quilt as I told him he would have to wrap up in this instead of us having the heating on - lol !!! The time I took the poor man would have froze to death if that was the case :-(

Anyway all done and although I wanted to get a photo of him with it finished it seems now is the time for his business to take off and I can never catch him when the light is good. So here it is draped on my sofa - not the best picture.

This is the first quilt done on my new machine and I found it much better having the extra space under the arm. Had a few issues with thread snapping at first but after some new needles and much adjusting of tension it is fine.

It is backed with polar fleece and the piece I bought was just slightly too small so had to trim the second black print border to fit. Actually one side out of the 4 is an inch smaller but no-one has noticed so I will keep quiet about it. Jason is very pleased with it and will now stop muttering that everyone has a quilt except him - lol !

I've also been doing some knitting. I was a knitter long before I ever quilted - my Mum and Nana were great knitters and my sister and I were taught at a very early age. Maureen was 4 and I was 6. I bought a knitting magazine a couple of weeks ago as it caught my eye and have made a few things.

These are pressies - I love the pink hat - I have bought more wool to make myself one only in blue.

And I haven't actually bought much fabric lately but fancied these last week - must be a seasonal thing. Although there is no chance of anything being done with them soon. Hopefully I will have another finish in a few days - I am working on another quilt.

And we are drawing the winning number for the raffle tonight. I have bought a book of raffle tickets as I thought it was fairer than having some-one pick a random number. If you have requested tickets and have not paid there are about 3 or so hours left. If anyone happens to pay after we have chosen I will refund your money. If you are in the draw look out for an email if you are the winner. Good luck xxxx

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Stitchers Angel

OK - I didn't mean to fall off the radar but life is busy-busy just now. I have some quilting to show but for now I just want to say a big thankyou to lovely Annette for my stitchers angel parcel.

It took it's time getting here but was absolutely worth the wait. Everything is beautifully stitched and wonderful. Pictures -

Aren't I lucky ? I have thanked Annette personally last week just not got round to posting here. Thanks again - I will use these often I'm sure.

My swap package went to Margy and she thanked me and also bought some tickets for our raffle quilt which was a lovely gesture I thought. Thanks !!

My SSCS is on it's long journey but no pictures of that as you all know. The big question is when my pressie arrives will I be able to resist opening it til Christmas day - I wouldn't place bets on it - lol !

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Raffle Quilt

This is a bit of a different kind of post and I hope I don't upset anyone by doing this. I'll tell you the background first.

My daughter Jess is 19 and attends a local college doing Beauty therapy and massage. She is into her third year and doing well and really enjoying it. She recently came home VERY excited with some great news. She has been chosen to attend a college trip to AFRICA. Her and her team members will be helping out at local schools in deprived areas, visiting a shanty town and also an Aids orphanage (terribly sad ). They will also have educational trips to museums and things as well as possibly a days safari. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and she is so keen to go. The college is buying several hundred pounds worth of educational books for them to take. We attended a parents evening on Tuesday and saw footage of what they will be doing etc. Quite harrowing in places but amazing too.

The proviso of this trip is that they must fund-raise the money themselves - a cost of £1200. We as parents are not allowed to give them money towards it. It is down to themselves to really get into this and come up with the cash.

So far Jess is doing well. She got up really early ( 5am ) on her days off a few weekends ago to do carboot sales. She came home freezing and tired but very pleased with her takings.

Last Friday was hilarious as she did a sponsored silence - from the moment she got up til she went to bed. Now if you knew Jess you would think this was virtually impossible as she is very lively and loves to chatter. But she did it bless her and now is collecting her money from that. We all had such a laugh as she mimed what she wanted to say - lol ! Of course half the time she couldn't get her point across as we just didn't get it. She spent a lot of the day banging her hand on her forehead but didn't utter a word. Well done girl... She has other events and things planned too.

Anyway a few nights ago she turned to me and said " Do you have a quilt we could raffle Mum ?"

As we all know it is quite hard to part with our quilts but as this is a good cause I have decided to do it. I actually finished this one a couple of weeks back but hadn't got round to showing it yet

So if you would like to own this here is the plan. Each ticket will cost £2 and every penny will go straight to Jess's fund - I can assure you this will all be done properly.

I have set up a paypal account and special email address for Jess just for this purpose. I thought if anyone would like a chance to win this here's the plan

1. Send an email to this address with the number of "tickets" you would like - ( one would be fantastic ). Please include your full name and email address.

2. Myself or Jess will then send a paypal request for the money.

3. Once this has been done I will allocate a number to each ticket and keep them on a database. I'm sure you understand it will not be feasible to send out tickets.

4. On December 1st Jess will ask one of her college tutors to draw a number and I will then contact the winner and will mail this anywhere in the world.

I should tell you a little about the quilt.

It is my own design and typical me - scrappy style. All best quality quilt fabrics and backed with a tawny colour polar fleece - very snuggly. It measures 58inches by 70 inches approx. Pieced and quilted by machine.

If you would be so kind as to spread the word about this and post on your blog I will be doing a little giveaway too. Perhaps 8 fat quarters in the colour fabrics of your choice. If you do mention us on your blog please leave a comment on this post and it will make my life a little easier - lol !

All support greatly welcomed. And again I hope this is okay with everyone for doing this. Thankyou xx

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Something old(ish) and something new !

Finished - tralala !!!

My 3D hexagon is all done.

Hand-quilted up to the borders and then I tried out my new machine to do some free-motion squiggling.

For anyone who doesn't know I started this quilt during the Olympic games 2008. It is a charm quilt - every piece is one from my stash and is different.

I have had the most fun ever doing this and am delighted with it. I would recommend making a charm quilt to everyone. So many memories tied up in this.

And because I am so chuffed with a finish I decided to do a "start" - lol !

I have limited space to store my stash and it is busting out all over. I need to get some used up. Now I have my new Janome I will be making backing for tops I have so that should make a dent. But I have been toying around with an idea for a while now. Want a look ?

2 strips joined along the length with a small stitch. These are width of fabric cut 2.5 inches ( good for jelly rolls )

Then I am trying something radical ( for me anyway - lol ) pressing the seams open. Do you do this ?

Using a 60 degree template cut like this.

And this

Join 3 together - pressing seams open again.

Here we have it

Need to make a good few more - so far I have cut enough strips for another 20 blocks. Keeping this bright and using spotty and stripey fabrics as much as I can

All good fun

have a good day xxx

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Lucky me !!

Firstly here are a few things I made for our little quilt show.

It was a great day and we were kept busy all day with visitors. Looking at the quilts - buying from our sales table - cushion tombola - raffle and most importantly drinking tea and eating cake - lol ! I'm not sure how much we raised towards local charities as the money hadn't been counted up when we left. Quite successful though I think.

Earlier in the week I did a little knitting for my friends gorgeous little boy.

He will kill me for this when he's older :-) He's 7 months now and such a love...

And I had another birthday this week ( man - they come round quick ) and here's what I got.

I have been saving up for ages for this and had got about halfway there and so for my birthday DH said - just get it - so I did...Yippee.

Do you see the big space under the arm ? That is why I bought it. It just basically does a straight stitch and I will only use it for machine quilting. Apparently it is FAST - semi-industrial. It is a big machine - makes my others look tiny... I am hoping to be able to machine quilt on this with a bit more ease - ie - not nearly wrenching my shoulders out of their sockets - lol !

So far I have only threaded it and sewn a few lines but next week I plan to try and get a quilt done on it. I think I have a top or two ( cough ;-))) I can get backed ready to quilt. I bought the free-motion darning foot too and look forward to giving it a whirl.

I got a free gift with it

should keep me going for a while.

I am busy putting the finishing touches to my Stitchers Angel swap package and should get that in the post early next week.

So much to do - I love it xxx

Thanks for all the lovely comments on Dannys quilt - I always try to reply but somehow the time gets away from me..

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

By the skin of my teeth

Well you all know where I've been and what I've been doing - lol !!

Happy 21st birthday Danny !

All done just in the nick of time. Guess I will always be a last-minute sort of quilter.. Finished the binding just last night and gave him his quilt a little while ago. The smile on Danny's face made it all worthwhile - he wrapped himself in it and declared it the cuddliest thing ever.

For a bit of fun I quilted his and Jess's (DD) names in it and they both had a search for them. This is the Peaches and Dreams pattern kindly provided free from Judy Laquidara

The borders were just made from random sized leftovers from the blocks. Because I was running short of time I did them differently to how I normally attach borders. In golfing language I believe there is a term " hit and hope" - well that's how these borders went on - sewn a load of strips together and just whacked them on hoping they'd fit. Sort of "piece and pray" - lol ! Turned out fine.. So glad it's finished. The quilt is actually blue and green although my photos are showing it all blue. Feel quite a pang giving it away.

Our little quilt group has a small exhibition on Saturday and I am making a few things for the sales table. Only little items but I need to get moving.

Take care !

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Feeling blue . .

Before I show my new quilt project here is a photo of Septembers quilt of the month. This is a UFO that I said I would work on through September whenever I could. I did get side-tracked once I started hand-quilting my hexie quilt but I have made some progress. Last month it looked like this.

And now it is at this stage.

I also have all the hexies prepared for the next row - I think I will continue to take this to my quilt group on Tuesday evenings where we all sit and do hand-work. I can't wait to get this done.

Because I have a deadline coming up I have decided not to work on a UFO this month. I am making Jess's boyfriend a quilt for his 21st birthday and what a performance this is turning out to be.

A while back I bought yardage of this fabric.

The width of the fabric is divided into 4 sections ranging from light to dark. I bought this in blue and green and this is what I decided to use for Danny's quilt. I love Judy's blog and she has some wonderful free patterns on there. One caught my eye a while back and I thought this would work well with these fabrics. Because the shaded fabrics are quite plain I thought I'd add a bit of something else to make sure the quilt wasn't boring. Like so . .

Then after a time I realised I was going to run out of the stripe. Tried everywhere to get hold of more to no avail. So I knew I would either have to scrap the stripe or add something else.. So a few different stripes came home with me

I went with the top one and duly made 12 small sections. These were quite different when next to each other but I thought I would alternate the 2 different striped blocks throughout the quilt although I wasn't convinced this would look very good.

I am bearing in mind here that Danny's birthday is getting ever nearer. This morning I realised I have 11 days to get this finished. I have had a cold-like bug for a week and have not really done any machine sewing in this time as everything seemed to make me tired.

Anyway I am feeling better now and if I get moving I will get it done.

I had a quick rummage through my scraps the other day for something else when just what did I find ? A whole big fat quarter of the first stripey fabric !!! I did not know I had this - I was amazed.

So now I have enough to just use the one stripe - which was my original plan all along.

This is one reason I make scrappy quilts - no running out of fabric and no headaches - lol !!

Here are 2 finished blocks - must get moving. If I had a brain I would be dangerous :-)

Oh and I managed to nip and see May - although I had to miss my quilt group because of my cold and she was delighted with the quilt top. She couldn't thank me enough. Big sigh of relief..

Just off to cut more strips. Meant to say it is the Peaches and Dreams pattern. I have 4 blocks made out of 24 - help !!!

Take care xx

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Quilt SOS

Last week at our groups sewing day I got talking to a lady called May. She is a fairly new quilter and has only been coming to our group for a relatively short time - about a year or so. She is a really nice person - will do anything to help anyone . Anyway we were talking quilts ( what else ? ) and she mentioned she had put some blocks together with sashing and was ready for the border stage. She had hand-pieced 24 Grandmothers fan blocks in lovely pastel shades of mainly lilacs and pinks. Then she had toddled off to a quilt shop for sashing fabric. She duly bought 2 metres of expensive fabric ( I think on the advice of another lady ).. She set them together with sashing and then took a look at it. She HATED it.

The green she felt was too dark and overpowered the pastel colours of her blocks. She also did not like the way she had set them together. She confessed she felt like throwing the whole thing away. Argghh - can you imagine all that time wasted - not to mention the cost of the fabrics as well. A couple of us told her to bring the quilt into our next meeting and we would see if we had any ideas. She did and here it was. The green is much stronger in real-life..

Some-one suggested a nice lilac ric-rac sewn down the middle of the green to take a bit of the greenness away. She liked that idea but it didn't solve the problem that she hated the way the blocks were facing. May said it reminded her of those well-known mints with a hole - lol !

What about splitting the sashing strips and adding something paler said I. She liked that idea too. Maybe she said. Ok said I " would you like me to do it ? ". May said she couldn't possibly expect me to do that. To which my good friend Elaine ( who knows me very well ) said - " Go on May - can't you see Andrea is just dying to get her hands on it ? LOL ). So as May could not face doing the job the quilt top came home with me.
I have unpicked, trimmed ( as the sashing strip fabric had frayed a bit ), re-jigged and re-sewn and just about got it done. What do you think ?

A close-up of some of the pretty fabrics.

I like it much better and I think May will too. Anything was better than see it go in the bin - all those hand-pieced blocks. Couldn't see it happen. A few days well spent I'd say. I quite enjoyed the challenge. And the thing is I know May and indeed any of our quilting group would do a similar favour for anyone else - that's one reason I love being a quilter.
Back to my own stuff xx

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Hand Quilting !

We had our sewing day on Saturday and I used my new basting gun to get my 3D hexagon quilt ready for hand quilting. What I did was quickly pin the 3 layers together and then used the microstitch. Took a bit longer to do than I thought but no hurry. And ever since I have been hand quilting away. The little tacks do not get in the way at all and I am really enjoying quilting this. Honestly I could sit all day doing this - if only . . .

The other ladies in the group were quite interested in this and a couple of them may be investing in one themselves. It seems we all hate basting generally.

Besides this I have finished a couple of smaller items. My quilt group has a small exhibition coming up and we all make a cushion for a raffle. I used up some of the little blocks I made from those hundreds of squares I cut for the quilt I didn't make !! Here it is - turned out well enough.

And I got a little top quilted that has been hanging around for a while. These were leftovers from something else too. This will probably go to Project Linus.

Click for a better look. Do you see a member of our family here ? This is Gizmo and he is a leopard gecko. He is about 6 years old now and belongs to Jess. Having said that guess who cleans and feeds him ? Always ends up to mum. . . . The cats are not allowed in Jess's room at all but they know he is in there in his tank. Occasionally if the door is left open for a minute they sneak in and make a beeline for him. When he moves he makes a scuffling noise on his special sand and then the cats scarper - lol ! They are such babies ...

Here he is again. I never thought I would be able to handle him but he is a sweet little thing and always licks my hand and occasionally even nods off when I stroke his head.

And a nice bit of post today -

Great start to the day. I have jarred my back a little so think a bit more hand quilting is in order - yesterday I had the choice of cleaning or quilting. I made the wrong choice it seems as I was hoovering up the stairs and overstretched and felt my back "go" - knew I should have sewn instead - lol..

Jess and her boyfriend Danny have been away for 5 days to Disneyland Paris and are due back today - looking forward to hearing their adventures. The trip was a present from Danny for her 19th birthday. I have started his quilt but am having a bit of a fabric issue - photos soon.

One last thing my cousin Sarah has just launched a quilty Chat room through her blog. Great idea - spread the word !
Take care xx

Saturday, 12 September 2009

My bit towards the economy

Here is what I spent my pennies on at the quilt show

If you have been reading for a while you will know I am having a little dabble with cross stitch. And that I have 3 lovely cats. Guess what kind ? A back and white, a grey and white and a tabby - lol. This will NOT get started until I have finished the other cat cross stitch I am working on. I don't want cross stitch UFO's as well as quilting ones. The aida is for yet another project I've seen. Help . .

Didn't go mad on fabric as I have so much but these were very nice and found their way into my bag.

Love this book - the fabrics are unlike anything I have in my stash and not sure if I would ever think to buy them but WOW - the quilts are amazing. I think this book will be a firm favourite.

And a question for you. Has anyone ever used one of these microstitch things to baste a quilt ? Apparently the little tacks cause no problems when hand-quilting ( or so I've been told ) time will tell. I'm going to try this out next week.
And there is a bit of a story about this last purchase. I saw this wonderful plaid bundle soon after I got there and really liked it. But it was a bit expensive and I didn't want to part with my money so soon after getting to the show. So I decided to have a think about it. Towards the end of the day I was still thinking about it and just thought I'd have a little mosey towards the stall and see if they had still got them. There was ONE bundle left - not just on the stall but that's all the stall holder had left in the world - lol ! This one sure had my name on it :-)
I am mainly working on stuff for swaps that I can't show. Still doing some on my Quilt of the month - from a few posts back. However today I am starting a new quilt - hurray !!
DD Jess's boyfriend Danny is 21 next month and I have decided he needs a quilt to mark the occasion. He is such a lovely lad and she has been with him for 2 years now and he is a big part of the family. He is here more than at his own place. I have a pattern and fabric chosen and more importantly - a free afternoon. A new blade for my rotary cutter is in order ( there is a fair bit of cutting to do ) I have a piece of beef for pot roast in the slow cooker - bring it on - lol !
Have a great weekend xx