Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Seductive curves

First an explanation why I haven't been blogging, or more important, looking at anyone else's blog for the last week. The computer decided that it didn't want to find the server! It was very frustrating, because the wireless connection was fine, but we had no joy connecting to the internet at all. Luckily our friend Richard is a computer whiz (apart from being an acting pro and all-round great bloke) and he came round yesterday and sorted the problem out. Thanks Richard!

Now don't worry; the curves in the blog title don't involve me stripping off at all. They're fabric curves in sumptuous colours destined for a quilt for DD. I'd hoped to have it ready for Father Christmas to bring on Thursday, but it's not going to happen.

Here are some of the strips ready to be played with and made into a top. It's quite an easy technique, where you place two strips on top of each other, and then just push the rotary cutter up the middle to make a curve, and then join the fabrics together. Well, it's easy if you don't drop the fabrics and forget how they go together. If that happens you end up with something like this,

and have to get your seam ripper out!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Deck the halls

This quiz was on Lisa-Jo's blog and I am addicted to these quizes, and just had to have a go. (It's slightly American in parts, so I've taken the liberty of Anglicising it.)

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
If I have to choose, it'll be hot chocolate, although I'm not a fan of either.
Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree?
Despite the fact that our children are 25 and 27, all the presents stay out of sight until DH goes to midnight mass with his mother, then all the presents come 'magically' under the tree, ready wrapped and carried down by whoever is around before I go to bed!
Coloured lights on the tree or white?
White lights are the best. I especially like them outside on trees - they look like stars.
When do you put your decorations up?
A couple of weeks before Christmas - they lose their impact if they're around too long.
What is your favourite Christmas dish (excluding dessert)?
Turkey sandwiches with a bit of sage and onion stuffing.
Favourite Christmas memory as a child.
My father was a policeman, and every year there was The Police Party, which was held in the police station itself. Not only was it great going into the inner rooms at the police station, having food and presents from Father Christmas etc, but as we got older, we were allowed to stay on into the evening, when there was dancing, snooker and then sandwiches, crisps, pickled onions and red cabbage and black pudding! (Not that I ever ate any of the latter, but it was ever-present.)
When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I suppose at some point I stopped believing, but I have now seen the error of my ways and am a passionate Father Christmas supporter!
Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Absolutely not. How is it possible when Father Christmas doesn't even bring them till Christmas Day!!
How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
DH has this fantasy (born of too many magazine articles) of a sophisticated tree dressed in green and gold, or purple and black or whatever. Poor man. We decorate the teee every year with all the stuff we have - I like to call it 'Christmas Down the Years'!
Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Love the look of it, but since I had a little winter sliding accident in my car a few years ago, I'm not a fan of driving in it.
Can you ice skate?
No. I went to an ice rink a couple of times as a teenager, but that's it.
Do you remember your favourite gift?
Not sure about favourite, but I can distinctly remember getting a (working) toy sewing machine when I was about 9!
What's the most important thing about Christmas for you?
The bonhommie it generates.
What is your favorite Christmas dessert?
A cranberry and walnut loaf which I found as a recipe on the back of a pack of Ocean Spray Cranberries.
What is your favorite tradition?
Everyone getting up on Christmas morning and opening the presents together.
Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving?
Both really.
What is your favorite Christmas Song?
''When Santa got stuck up the chimney" as sung by an enthusiastic 5 year old.
Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?
Yuk. Both in reality and as a Christmas emblem.
Ever recycled a Christmas present?
Not yet!
What are your answers?

Eye candy

I've been busy with Christmas (cards, wrapping, decorating and cooking) and not had much chance to sew since I finished 'Just call me Bubbles!', but I have had a bit of eye candy to distract me. My good friend Jackie has not only managed to buy a copy of Gwen Marston's 'Liberated Quiltmaking' at a reasonable price, but has lent it to me! What a generous friend you are, Jackie!

I have looked on Amazon to see if I could get a copy too, but at the moment, it's £73 for the cheapest on the British site and £40 on the US site. Neither price is very appealing. Mind you, it's a very influential book, and her ideas have filtered gradually into the mainsteam over the years. Looking at the book made me remember a small quilt I made a while back (no label - sorry!) from a pattern in either 'Quiltmaker' or 'Quilter's Newsletter'.

It's Gwen's Variable stars with a lovely sawtooth edge in my favourite colour! Now back to the mince pies!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

All quilted out!

Hooray! I've finished quilting the 'Turning Twenty' quilt! I made it, in no small part, thanks to the encouragement I got from fellow bloggers. Thanks for telling me how close I was to the end - it was actually true. The last quarter was the smallest - I know you mathematicians out there will say that all quarters are exactly the same - but in this case I'd done an extra circle or two on the ends of rows, which certainly made a difference to the final section.

Here it is, amidst the clutter in my bedroom.
I read an article in the paper recently which said that a scientific study had proved that people look more attractive after you have had a couple of alcoholic drinks! But it went on to warn that after several drinks, the effect increased, so if you overdo it, you might wake up in the morning next to Bubbles DeVere, who is a very ugly character in 'Little Britain'! So, I have decided to call this quilt 'Just call me Bubbles, darling' in honour of the character and the quilting motif. If the writers of the series find out, do you think they will be pleased?!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Quilting, quilting, quilting

I have been quilting my 'Turning Twenty' quilt, and I must say, I'm pretty fed up with it! I don't have much patience at the best of times, but this quilt is taking me longer to quilt than it took to make up! I suppose it's my own fault for chosing such an intensive pattern. I didn't want to quilt it along the sides of the patches (too boring and too difficult, with all that turning) so opted for a bubbles design.

I must say, I'm pleased with the overall effect of the circles on the geometric pattern of the quilt, I just wish there wasn't so much of it!

My friend Jackie came for a coffee and chat and asked how I manged to quilt a double quilt like this. I started this one in the middle, as that's the most difficult place to reach, and quilted a line of bubbles along to the edge. Then I moved down a row and quilted more bubbles underneath the first row, till I got to the middle again.
Here is an illustration (and my camera lead!) to show what I mean. Then I continued to fill in that quarter of the quilt with bubbles. The bulk of the quilt gets easier and easier to handle, the longer you go on. Keep going till that quarter is completed.

Then I turned the quilt a quarter turn and quilted the next quarter (again from the middle) so that half was done. Then obviously, finish the next two quarters in the same way.

I've nearly done threequarters, so feel as if I'm on the homeward stretch.

All I need now is to run out of thread!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Christmas II

The 'card' I made for DD was much appreciated, but involved too much work to be made for many other people. I was inspired by Wanda's clever use of strips to make book covers, bags, quilts etc. and decided this was a great idea to make a Christmas card or two!

I used white and pale blue strips, and Heat and Bonded them onto a piece of pelmet Vilene. I then added the trees (just free machined round the edge) and the sequin stars, before adding a plain piece of fabric onto the back. Then I zigzagged round the edge to finish. esay, quick and, though I say so myself, effective. I'll write on the back but don't have the guts to just put them in the post - they'll have to go in an envelope first!

Talking of post, I received a surprise package from Karol-Ann.
It was a fabulous collection of strings! Why are other people's fabrics so much more delectable than your own? Many thanks for these, Karol-Ann. I can't wait to use them!