Tuesday, 23 October 2012


DH and I have just been on holiday to the Holy Land (or Israel, if you're not sure where that is!).  Not being religious, I was a little trepidacious about the trip, but I needn't have worried, as it was fabulous!  We went on an organised tour which visited all the Christian sites plus a lot of historical ones, and since I love history, I was in my element!  I won't bore you with all my snaps, but just tantalise you with some artistic inspiration!  Here is a possible applique idea from the Church of the Beatitudes.
 A quilting motif on the top of a pillar in Caesarea.

 Celtic applique designs plus quilt blocks from a mosaic in Bethlehem.

Islamic motifs of flowers and flowing shapes from Jerusalem (although I think I'll need a magnifying glass to see them properly!)

More quilt blocks from Jerusalem.

And just a little sample of the gorgeous eye candy - all the colours of the rainbow!- in the souk in Jerusalem.  (Can you see the little boy minding the shop?  So cute!)

And finally, just thought you might be amused by this picture of myself bobbing in the Dead Sea.

                                                                            Look, no hands!

Friday, 12 October 2012


People (both quilters and non-quilters) sometimes ask me how I find the time to make so many quilts.  I'm usually at a loss to answer this question, and say something like, I use the time they use for doing other things, like watching the television, playing or watching sport, gardening or even doing housework to do some sewing.  But recently my friend Jane asked me the same question, and I started thinking.

One of my main advantages is the fact that I am able to leave my sewing machine up all the time.  This means I can sew for a few minutes and don't have all the bother of getting things out and putting them away.  But I think the thing which is really time-saving, is having storage which works for you, and being organised.

Most of my fabric is organised by colour, and here is red, pink, yellow and batik in an IKEA basket storage unit.  Sometimes I have too much fabric of one colour for one container, so separate them into lights, mediums and darks.  Blues are like this, but for reasons that will be obvious to those who know my favourite colour, greens are divided into light and lime green in one box, and other greens in the other!  I have a lot of lime green!

But the main time saver is my adoption of Bonnie Hunter's scrap user system.  All my scraps have been cut up into useable sizes.  Here I have 1.5" strips and squares and 2" dark and light strips and squares. 

Here are dark and light 2.5" strips and squares, 3.5" pieces and charm squares.

I even have a container for selvedges and triangles - I just can't bear waste!  When I have finished any project, I spend a few minutes cutting up any scraps into the biggest strips I can and putting them in (or on, if I'm feeling lazy) the relevent container.  Then when I need, say, 2" squares, I don't have to spend time choosing and cutting yardage, just look into the box and see what's ready to go! 

If you don't already sort your scraps (as Jane didn't) and you feel a bit overwhelmed by the bag of scraps you have and at the idea of all that cutting, just remember how to eat an elephant.  A bite at a time!  Buy yourself a couple of plastic food containers from your local hardwear shop and put aside just 10 or 15 minutes to cut some scraps from your bag.  If you do that every day, you'll soon empty thebag, and have made yourself loads of extra quilting time!

Monday, 8 October 2012


If you are of a nervous disposition, I advise you to read no further!  (Don't worry - it's not spiders, it's something MUCH worse!)  Today I had to pop into Rugby on an errand, and while I was there I decided to see if I could buy some red fabric.  Recently I noticed that my red drawer was a bit depleted, so thought I'd see if I could add to it.  I successfully bought a couple of fat quarters and a half metre for a good price, and returned home in a happy mood.  (This is where it gets really shocking!)
I always wash my fabrics (usually in the washing machine with everything else) but since I didn't have any washing to do, I decided to wash them quickly in the sink.  When I put the first piece into the water, this is what I saw!
Just look at the colour of that water!  I've had fabrics bleed a bit of colour before, but never as badly as this!  Thank goodness I washed it before it ended up in a quilt!  Now it's had several rinses and is on the line with its fellows, ready to behave perfectly in the future.  What a cautionary tale!

Monday, 1 October 2012

September UFO Challenge - failed!

I was doing so well with my UFO Challenge quilts - so far, 8 tops out of the cupboard and completed.  But this month I haven't even managed to finish the top!  However, I'm not too despondent, as at the beginning of September, I had this:
 and at the end, I have this.

It's certainly a stunning design!  Now I have to decide on borders.  Bonnie had put a white one with black half square triangles as the border, but I'm not sure I can face that!  Maybe a narrow black border than piano keys in red or blue?  What do you think?