Tuesday, 30 July 2013


It's rare I follow a pattern - well, not completely - but this design from 'Material Obsession' is an exception.  Well, except for the fact that I reduced the border squares by one row!  That was a very easy decision.  It's for my Mum to fund raise for her Townswomen's Guild and I think it'll be very suitable. 
This one is a bit trickier.  I love the centre, and I love the on-point, but needed help deciding how to fill in the sides.

I have used a few orphan blocks to help with the decision.  I orginally thought baskets, but that's obviously a rubbish idea!  Liz suggested New York Beauties which I think is a possible, although not in those colours!  Jane thought more applique, but I don't think that'll work.  I like the Lemoyne Star though, and think it definitely needs to be something semi-circular.  New York Beauties, Lemoyne Stars and Dresden Plates are all in the frame.  (Are there any more blocks with place names which can be added to the list?!)

Friday, 26 July 2013


My quilt-as-you-go project is now all ready for its binding.  Phew!  Attaching those borders is very tedious!  Now, don't get me wrong, just because I hate q-a-y-g, doesn't mean everybody has to hate it.  In the same way that I love needle turned applique, I don't expect others to give up using 'Heat and Bond!   Everyone can use the method which suits them.  However, this is my blog, and I am entitled to my own opinion!

This quilt has turned out very well, and with a dark green binding, it will be lovely.  Thanks to Andrea, Bunty and Ruth of Piecemakers for organising this project.   I can't wait to see all the other versions!

I've also been continuing the attack on my UFOs.  Here are four applique blocks designed by Kim Diehl (although I don't think she used those colours!) which I made as portable holiday projects.  They're too gorgeous to languish in the UFO box, but what can I do with them?
First I put them on point and sashed them.  The little pinwheel in the middle was an orphan too.
Next a calmer border, although the green fabric is actually striped, so can hold its own.  Now I want to fill in the corners, but am unsure what will be suitable.  Any ideas? 

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Anna's wedding

Last Sunday we went to my niece Anna's wedding to the lovely John.  It was in Canterbury, and while the weather was cooler than it has been of late, the sun shone!  Here is the happy couple at the reception.  They are perfect for each other - both slightly wacky, as you might see from John's sensible footwear!
Here are DH, DM-in-law and myself before the ceremony, in the car park!  Not an ideal setting for a portrait!

When I got home, I realsied I had hardly any decent photos, but here are the best.  At the table (from the left) there is nephew Edward, DS, then DM-in-law opposite and then DD and fiance.  The reception was at a country pub, and there was plenty of space to relax, both inside and out.

The family had spent quite a while putting up the decorations, but apparently the mother of the bride was the only one brave enough to go up the ladder to secure the bunting!  Way to go Julia!  It certainly all looked very festive. 
Here is DH and his younger brother, the father of the bride.  They don't look very alike, do they? 
Here is a better photo of DH and fiance Ben.  It won't be that long before their own wedding in October.  Hope they're saving hard!
And finally, I couldn't resist these cheeky pics of nephew William, who was entertaining his daughter and friends by encouraging them in silly dances.  This seems to be a kind of 'Jungle Book' number,

and this a devotional piece!  I think it was a plea to the band for an encore, and who could resist?!

It was a fabulous day and we all had a lovely time.  Congratulations to Anna and John, and I wish you both many years of happiness ahead!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Brights and pastels

The weather in the UK is unusually hot, and since my sewing room is relatively cool, I've been doing more sewing than gardening!  Thanks to Liz's generosity in letting me have some purple fabric, I have finished the binding on my Easy Street and here it is, looking good.  I just hope Lauren- the intended recipient- likes bright colours!
Then I moved out of my comfort zone into pastels.  Quite a leap for me.  My Mum asked if I would make a raffle cot quilt for her Townswomen's Guild group, and while I personally think that babies like bright colours, I think a more subdued palette will probably sell more tickets.

It's a design from Kathy Doughty's 'Material Obsession' book, and I rather like the way the border is made from squares rather than yardage.  I've kept to a gender-neutral colour scheme, and hope it will appeal.  I'm planning some handquilted motifs in the white squares which should ad to the ahhh! factor (hopefully!)

Monday, 15 July 2013


People sometimes ask me how I manage to make so many quilts.  Well, there are a number of answers to that question, such as being retired, having a dedicated sewing room, not being a domestic goddess etc, but one of the main ones is being organised!  I take no credit for my method, as it is Bonnie Hunter's scrap-users system, but this is how I work it.
I have been binding my 'Easy Street', thanks to Liz's kindness in letting me have some suitable purple fabric which she had bought from a sales table.  That saved me from a trip to the quilt shop!  First I trimmed the excess wadding and backing from the sides.

The small strips of wadding (on the left) went into the charity shop bag (they can get money from waste fabric) and the larger went into a bag to be used for bags, table mats etc.

The backing offcuts are cut into the widest strips they can be.  That is, one and a half inch, two inch and two and a half inch strips.  (The purple is a piece of leftover binding.)  These will be put into boxes for strips and squares of the same size.
Here are strips which just don't quite measure one and a half inches - they go into the string drawer for mile a minute blocks and general play!
Anything less than one inch wide has to go into the charity bag.  Even I can't use that!

And here is an example of why it's worthwhile.  These border 2" squares all came from my 2" box, without me having to cut them or disturb my yardage.  Result! 

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Why did I agree to quilt-as-you-go?

My local quilt group, Piecemakers, is running a mystery quilt.  I was happy to participate in it - I'm always up for a challenge.  However, it's quilt-as-you-go, and I have decided I hate q-a-y-g.  Last time there was a q-a-y-g option I didn't take it, and I should have stuck to my guns on this one.  Here are my blocks partly joined together.
I know the advantages of q-a-y-g, which are that you can use up oddments of wadding (true) and backing (true) and that you don't have to wrestle with a whole quilt, just quilt a block at a time (true).
But the disadvantages outweigh these (for me). 
Oddments of wadding can be joined to make a whole quilt back (true), and so can backing pieces
(true).  You have to be very accurate with your sizing with q-a-y-g, whereas ordinary quilt blocks can be fudged slightly (true) and all that fiddling about with 1" and 1 1/2" pieces of sashing is annoying (true) and then the endless slip-stitching, particularly on the border sections, is very tedious (true).

Add to that the fact that I don't really like sashing and quite enjoy quilting, and you have a recipe for dissatisfaction!  I know you should never say never, but I don't intend to do q-a-y-g ever again!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

How time flies!

Time seems to have run away with me just recently, and the recent good weather in the UK hasn't helped.  It's too tempting to enjoy the garden and the sunshine while we can - goodness knows, it's the first summer in a while that the weather's been half decent!  Add to that a much recovered husband who is keen to go out after being stuck inside for so long, and it means that I didn't get the twins' quilts finished in time for the deadline. 
  My Easy Street is now all layered and quilted and I just need to get some dark purple for the binding.

The Scrappy 9-patch is finished, so I'm nearly there.  Luckily the twins are currently on holiday, so that's given me a little breathing space! 
I've been very busy making up a fund-raising booklet for my local quilt group, Piecemakers.  I have done a couple of these before, and we have sold them for charity at our biennial exhibition.  This time I have decided to raise funds for Prostate UK, a charity which has been very supportive of DH during his recent illness. 

It was quite difficult to do, as I like to have diagrams in my instructions, and that's very tricky to produce digitally, unless you have some clever software which can do it (and I don't!)  Luckily, the printing company I used were absolutely wonderful, and allowed me to submit hard copies of the art work, which they inserted for me! 

There are twelve different quilt block ideas, a zippy bag pattern and book cover instructions.  Some of it is in colour and I'm really pleased with it.  I have 200 books, and if you would like one, please send a cheque for £5 and a stamped addressed A4 envelope to me.  Leave a comment and I'll give you my snail mail.  If there should be anyone abroad who would like one, we could do a deal on some fabric!  (That's much easier than messing about with money orders!)

And here I am at the Hinckley U3A Craft Group with the square in a square blocks they made for Project Linus.  It took me ages to cut all those squares ready for the activity, but the end result will be worth it!

Monday, 1 July 2013


I have been in the habit of giving family members a quilt when they reach the age of eighteen.  This has become a bit of an expectation amongst the younger brigade.  That's more than fine by me, but this year, I hadn't fully appreciated that another birthday was looming, that of the twins!  So, not just one quilt, but two!
Luckily I have an extensive collection of UFOs and have finally completed this scrappy nine-patch. 
It's one of Bonnie Hunter's designs.  Looking good, or at least it will do when I've finished sewing down the binding (and cutting off all the threads!).  This will be perfect for Frankie.

And here is my lovely Easy Street as a top.  I'm hoping Lauren will like it.  It's a bit of an acquired taste, but young people usually like colour and it's the only UFO which is a decent size.  I'll keep my fingers crossed here.  So what did I do last night while watching the tv?  Finish sewing the binding of the scrappy nine-patch?  Layer up Easy Street?

No.  Start another Kansas Sunflower!  They are gorgeous, but I really need to get on with the twins' quilts.  Watch this space!