Thursday, May 31, 2012

Just Take Two Applique

One of the advantages to sitting on the patio in the warm weather is that I gravitate to my hand work as it is portable and requires little equipment.  I have now completed 2 appliqué blocks towards the Just Take 2 quilt and have a 3rd on the go.

I’m way behind on the piecing parts of the quilt, but I know I can catch up with that when the weather inevitably turns and I retreat back inside.

This is my entry for Katie's Hand Stitching Parade :o)
There and Back
Until next time....

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sew into Solids Update and a Finish.

When it is beautiful outside the last thing you want to do is sit in front of the computer, so I haven’t and I’ve totally enjoyed my blogging break enjoying the sun while reading a good book and doing a little hand sewing.

When it got too warm to do that, I moved inside and got all my 9 patches made for my Sew into Solids blocks.  This was a big turning point because I now have all my units ready and can start sewing the remaining 10 blocks.  At this rate I might catch Katherine up and get to the basting and quilting part :o)

In other news I finished another quilt for Project Linus.  You’ve seen the progress on this quilt here and here and I’m so pleased to have it done.  I don’t often name quilts, but if I was going to name this one it would be “1 step forward 3 steps back”! 

I so enjoyed making the blocks and piecing it was a dream…in most cases my points are just right, but the quilting just about did me in. 

I originally thought I’d free-machine quilt it, but as the back was dark and the top light, the white thread I was using in the bobbin stood out on the back and I just didn’t like it. So I unpicked it and started again with dark thread in the bobbin and white on the top…but no matter how much fiddling I did with my tension I either got black dots on the top or white dots on the bottom…so all that quilting came out and I decided to stitch in the ditch. The result was much better, until I folded one end of the backing under and stitched a whole row with this extra fabric tucked up! Grrr…out came the seam ripper for a 3rd time!! Finally I got the quilt completed and once it was done and binding on, it looked pretty good. Hopefully it will bring some comfort to someone in need.

Until next time....

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer Sewing...

Summer is in full swing here in the U.K. and I'm enjoying little evening sewing with a glass of wine...lovely!

Until next time...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Photos

When I arrived early for my class at Crafts & Quilts this morning I was presented with the most beautiful landscapes.  I was really wishing I had more than just the little camera on my phone, but as it was all that had with me I did my best to catch these few shots.  As always the best camera to have is the camera you have with you.

#54 Spring

(Another one towards my 112 in 2012)

These fields of rapeseed are typical of the English countryside in Spring.

All three pictures were given the lomo effect using The Gimp to give them that instagram feel.  I’m amazed how this one step processing gave these rather normal pictures a little something and accentuated the best features in the pictures.

As you can see even the car park is ready for the Jubilee :o)

Until next time....

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

112 in 2012 (#12)

Another picture towards the 112 in 2012. I made cupcakes for my daughter’s leavers party at school and it was a perfect opportunity to capture my “sweets” picture :o)

#6 Candy or Sweets

Chocolate Cupcake with White Chocolate Frosting.  Recipe can be found here.  The only variation I did was leave out the Nutella in the frosting and replace the bittersweet chocolate for white chocolate…yummy!

Until next time....

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Project Linus

Acouple of weeks ago Lynda organized a Project Linus Sewing Day in a local village hall.  I went along to show my support and offer a hand towards getting some of the tops Lynda had basted and ready for quilting.  I managed to baste 2 quilts while I was there and took a further one home along with some blocks that needed completing.  I’m sure when I take these things on I’m counting on having 36 hours in my day to get all that sewing done!

Luckily as all the quilts I took home were on the smallish size they were quick to complete.  Two of them were panels and this is the 3rd which is very sweet and will be perfect for a little girl.  I’m just working on sewing down the binding and then that will go back to Lynda.

Until next time....

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sew into Solids - Week 11

Almost...does that count?  I almost got all the units made for my Sew into Solids quilt done…  (smiling sheepishly)

The baskets have been next to the machine and I’ve been pulling out a few strips at a time when I have 10 minutes to get the ball rolling.  The strip sets are all done and just need to be cut into their respective segments and then I’ll be cooking with gas :o)

Others in the group have been quite a bit more productive than me. 

  • Katherine has her top done, which considering she waiting f-o-r-e-v-e-r for her fabrics is rather impressive.
  • Cinzia is working on the binding on her quilt…in her gazebo..Montreal must be having some nice weather!!
  • Kirsten used solids in her Zakka Style mug rug.
  • Amy has completed her Fire & Ice quilt which is stunning!
  • and Liz completed several quilts this week one of which was a trip around the world in solids.  She didn’t make it, but she quilted it and did a fantastic job!

Until next time....

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sew into Solids - Week 10

We are into double digits!  Who would have thought it!? 

How are you all doing with your Sew into Solids projects?  I must admit that for a scrappy girl like me this is proving to be a much bigger challenged than I thought…mainly because I’m only using 3 colours and the monotonous aspect of sewing 120 HST is more than I imaged.  I keep gravitating towards my scrappy projects and procrastinating instead of working on the units for my blocks.   

The good news is that I have now sewn all 120 HST units and have decided to square them up in batches of 12 until all my blocks are made.  Hopefully if I break it down like that it won’t feel so overwhelming.  Don’t get me wrong I’m really enjoying the process…I just think I’m just getting impatient and want to get to making the blocks.

As an added distraction, the postman brought a lovely piece of mail this week…it is the first issue of Modern Quilts Illustrated by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr

As you can image this magazine fits in so nicely with our Sew into Solids theme and I was so excited when I heard from Weeks and she told me my copy was in the post.

I say magazine, but it is more like a good quality pattern booklet that you would want to keep for future reference.  The paper is thicker than a standard magazine and the pages are in full colour throughout.  The patterns are achievable and I’m sure would work with both solid and printed fabrics…in fact I’ve got my eye on the one simple, but very pretty.

This issue had 3 patterns and the templates were full size, which is so nice because you don’t need to be photocopying and enlarging them to the correct size.

The instructions and the clear illustrations made it very easy to follow and understand…just what you hope for in a good pattern.   If you fancy seeing more why don’t you pop on over the Weeks’ blog Craft Nectar or subscription info check out this link.

Right…so what else has been going on with the friends of Sew into Solids?

This week if I get all my units ready I will be please …wish me luck :o)

Until next time....

Friday, May 11, 2012

Update on those triangles…

Back in April I told you about a fabulous method to sew two triangles together and cut them in a specific way to yield 1 large HST and 5 little 5 HST.  Then came the fun bit to play with all the possible arrangements.  Truly good fun for a 9 year old daughter. :o)

After auditioning the very many settings, DD2 and I settled on this one.  As I had so many different colours and so many variations of “light” and “dark”, I opted to pool the colours together thus giving the eye a definite shape to see.

To finish I added a fine floral print border.  I felt that the range of colours in the border would compliment the variety of colours but would still “read” as a solid.  Had I gone for a red border then the red blocks would have dominated as would the blue blocks had I used a blue border.

My plan is to quilt it and finish it for Project Linus.  I haven’t decided what pattern to use, so if you have any suggestions please leave me a comment :o)

Until next time....

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Growing Alfalfa Sprouts…

We've been going through a bit of a health kick around here and have been re-examining our diet slightly...I’m guessing it must have something to do with bikini season being around the corner :o)  But one of the things we are trying to do is eat more salads.  I love alfalfa sprouts and have very fond memories of eating them them on sandwiches when I was growing up, but at £1.30 for a little box of them in Sainsburys it is a “vegetable” that has been too expensive to buy on a regular basis.  Determined to make our salads and sandwiches more interesting I did a little investigation and found out that for a lot less you can grow them yourself…

All you need is a mason jar and something to act as a mesh for the lid…I used a £1 plastic strainer from Wilkos and used the mason jar insert as a template to cut out a circle of plastic mesh.  That goes in the lid and that’s all the equipment you need.

As an aside, you may wonder what to do with the remaining handle from the strainer.  I’ve thought that it would make a fabulous giant bubble blower or for those of you that remember Romper about a magic mirror?  …I see Lynda, and Liz. :o)  Didn’t we all wait and hope she would say our name!?

Back to the tutorial :o)

Growing sprouts takes about 4-5 days.  I got my sprouting seeds from a local health food shop called Naturally Good Food.  They do a mail order service for those of you in the UK.

The process is very simple.  Soak your seeds for 8 hours, then drain off the water.  Everyday rinse the seeds at least twice a day by flushing water into the jar through the mesh and drain well.  Leave the jar on its side between rinsings to encourage air flow.

Once you see the little green leaves you know you are good to go.  Rinse them well and store in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days…though we eat them pretty quick and they don’t last that long around here :o)

You can also get mung beans, chickpeas and lentil sprouting kits too.  They are lovely and crunchy and a nice alternative to bean sprouts.

Until next time....

Monday, May 07, 2012

Sew into Solids - Week 9

Well, it was only a matter of time, but I've had a go at the ever popular granny square in solid fabrics!  See Katherine, you were right I couldn’t resist forever :o)

Using the original tutorial I used a cream background and then 4 browns, 4 oranges, 4 purples and 1 pink from the fabrics I got from the Village Haberdashery.  Such fun to put together!

Not stopping at one, I had a go at a slightly different variation that uses triangles for the edge pieces.  The idea is that it is less wasteful.  I have yet to trim it, but as you can see it left me will a generous seam allowance!  Perfect!

If you are paying attention you will notice that my weekly Sew into Solid update is a few hours late and you might have noticed that I haven’t posted since last Monday… well all I can say is that “life” got busy (some good and some not so good) and blogging fell to the wayside.  If you fancy cheering me up…and trust me I could use a giggle…drop me a funny in the comments :o)

Until next time....