Monday, February 26, 2007

Yeah I did it!!!

Today I conquered by far one of the hardest blocks I've ever made...and I'm really pleased with the results...and it's straight and is exactly 12 1/2" (unfinished size)! Years and years ago...way before the Internet, I participated in an exchange with some ladies in the USA. Believe it or not we communicated over the phone and through letters and ...well, it didn't really work! The idea behind the exchange was that you sent a pattern to the other participants and then they made that block for you. In exchange you receive patterns from everybody else and you made their blocks for them. It was a nice idea, but as there were about 12 of us spanning across the States, Canada and the UK it was very difficult to chase people who were behind in making their blocks. It was also costly in that you were either writing letters or phoning people. So why am I telling you this? Well, one lady sent me a pattern for this block and back then when I made it I did not have today's success. The bias edges stretched, nothing matched and the centre would have made a lovely patchwork bra! I ended up making a different block for this lady (she sent me an easier one to do), but I have always been haunted by this block. I'm so thrilled I got it to work after all these years...I feel confident that I can conquer just about any patchwork...curves, set-in seams or both. :)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Longton Park and Fabric

We were up in Stoke-in-Trent last weekend for a christening and I wanted to share with you a couple of pictures we took on the Saturday. It was the first time I'd been to Longton Park and I thought it was a fabulous park to walk around. Most of the animals seemed very tame and just about every squirrel checked to see if we had any food. That's my DD1 having a chat with one of the little furry guys. There were plenty of birds, geese, and ducks. It felt like the first early days of spring...great stuff!

Yesterday a lovely care package arrived from a dear friend in Canada. Along with these beautiful fabrics she also sent me a year's supply (or even a lifetime' supply) freezer paper, a beautiful appliqué pattern, a 2007 calendar and some wool wadding. I'm going to have to plan a special project for that wadding it feels so luxurious.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Look what I've been up to

Last year two lovely ladies at Lutterworth Piecemakers designed a challenge in which we were given instructions each month to make a specific row. I took the challenge one step further by using colours that are very much out of my comfort zone. I had 1/2 a metre of some bright batik fabric which was the inspiration for the colour scheme and will be used for the borders. I machine quilted it using a quilt as you go method and I just need to quilt the borders and add them on to finish it off. I'm really pleased with the results.
(And yes, if you look closely in the bottom left, you can see my youngest. She managed to walk into the shot just as I took the picture :)

Also today, I needed to make a quick trip into town and decided to have a peek in one of the charity shops that I missed the other day. I bought 4 shirts, all of them around the £3 mark, and one of them a beautiful shibori effect. I couldn't believe my luck!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Secret Fabric Source...

What do you think of this lovely selection of homespuns? Want to know a secret...I got them from my local charity shop..."what?" I can hear you saying, "the Rugby charity shops sell fabric?" Well, no...but they do sell 100% cotton shirts! I don't know why I didn't think about this sooner, and by my children's reaction they are probably glad I didn't, but I was able to find nice large men's shirts which probably have a good metre of fabric and in each for much less than what I'd pay at the local quilt shop...and they come with complimentary buttons! The cheapest one was £1.68 and the most expensive was £3.00. I found others for more, but my Scottish blood made me put them back :)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Snow Day

I have to smile. Growing up in Canada I was very accustomed to waking up to lots of snow...and occasionally a snow day. This rarely occurred when I was in high school as I went to an all girls Catholic school and it was believed that trudging our way into the centre of Montreal was character building. Well this morning in central England we woke up to the man on the radio listing off the schools closed due to bad weather. Now keeping in mind my background, I was expecting the end of the drive to be impassable and the blizzard to still be whistling through..much to my surprise I woke up to what would be classified as a dusting in Canada! For my North American friends who have experienced several "snow days" this year...yes, you are seeing right...those are blades of grass poking through the snow. In all fairness though, the UK isn't terribly well prepared for snow. They don't even have separate tires for the winter (A great shock to me when I first arrived in the UK) and moving around was tricky for most. My eldest got the day off school and the youngest had school...but very few of her regular teachers, as most couldn't make it to the school....go figure!
I, being a rugged Canadian :), braved the roads and went to the grocery to stock up as one can't be too sure how long this is going to last...heck, we might really get snowed in :)