Friday, 29 December 2017

Slow progress

There hasn't really been much sewing going on here recently.  I know there's been Christmas, which always slows things down, but before Christmas I had a very nasty cold which knocked me off my feet for two weeks!  I've never had a cold like that, and I ended up with earache so bad, I had to get up and take painkillers in the night!  Luckily (apart from a hopefully temporary) deafness in one ear, I'm back on form.  But my sewing is well behind. 

I usually do the latest Bonnie Hunter mystery, and while she has released six clues, I'm only just working on number four!  I only do half the units too!  Not to worry.  She doesn't send the Quilt Police round to check up on you, so it's all fine.  Cutting more chocolate triangles now and I'll catch up eventually. 

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Coming clean

I have been making some kiss clasp bags recently, but they were for a Christmas surprise workshop, so I couldn't share them.  I don't remember ever seeing anyone make one of these, although there are plenty of instruction videos on YouTube. 

Here is bag number one.  It's a glue in frame and it's about 4" wide. 

Here is the inside (made from scraps, well, it is just a prototype!) .  Makes a good bag. 

And here is the final product.  This one is 4" as well, but since the top is curved, it makes it less roomy inside.  It's a sew in frame.  I like both methods, although they're both rather fiddly.  On balance, if you can handle glue, the stick in one was easier I think. I was aided by the talented Di, and she thought the sew in frame was best, so that's what we went with. 

It certainly seemed to absorb the attendees!  I'll look forward to seeing some finished bags in the new year. 

Friday, 15 December 2017

Difficulty with UFOs

I decided to list my UFO list for the American Patchwork and Quilting 2018 challenge.  All went well for a while, but I was so successful last year, that I struggled to find twelve UFOs!  Unbelievable but true!  So some are UFOs and some are what you might call possibilities!  
Number 1 is En Provence. 

This is a completed top, so shouldn't take too long to finish. 
Number 2 is Talking Turkey. 

This one is more of a possibility.  Two blocks completed and some more components in a bag.  We'll see about this one. 
Number 3 is my Pat Sloan Garden Quilt. This was her mystery for 2016. 

The blocks are together and I've purchased the border fabric.  This is definitely a UFO! 
Number 4 is a Scrappy Pineapple. 

One or two blocks made plus some bits. 
Number 5 is a few dollies I made one day when I was bored.  

I'm sure I could make some more and big it up somehow. 
Number 6 is a batik drunkard's path. 

Such a shame not to make something of these. 
Number 7 is a Mile A Minute. 

I always have a few sets of these blocks.  I pin them together in tens so I know how many there are. At least 50 here, which will be great for a Linus quilt in a 7x7 arrangement. 
Number 8 is Boxy Squares. 

This is a great Bonnie Hunter pattern for using up scraps.  
Number 9 is my bag of orphan blocks.

  I'm so mean, I can't bear to waste fabric, so any leftover blocks live in here, waiting to find some friends they can play nicely with.  I'm sure I can make something awesome from some of this! 
Number 10 is log cabin. 

I follow Bonnie's scrap user system, and cut leftover strips into useable sizes.  I like the 1.5" strips for log cabin.  It uses up lots of stuff and looks good too! 
Number 11 is Down the Rabbithole. 

Here is this Sarah Fielke design at an earlier stage.  It's a BOM for 2017, and while it hasn't actually finished yet, I'm quite behind.  I haven't finished September's border yet - although strangely, I've nearly done October's.  Keep going! 
Number 12 is granny squares. 

I did quite a lot of these at one time, but obviously stopped working on this green and purple one.  Interesting combination of colours!  
This is a very ambitious list, but I don't need to worry about the quilt police coming round to check on me!  I like ambitions, and love finishes too! 

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Challenge finished!

Last year I decided to take the American Patchwork and Quilting UFO Challenge.  You had to find twelve UFOs, put them on a list and aim to finish one every month during 2017.  Some of the UFOs were tops, or well on the way to completion, but some were only a bag of bits.  I like having a new year resolution, because it is a positive way to approach the future.  I don't often succeed in keeping my resolution for the whole year, but even a few weeks of self improvement is better than nothing!  Anyway, I have just finished the last quilt on my list! 

It's Bonnie Hunter's Tulip Fields, and I think it's come out well.  It's a great way to use up strings and scraps and will give a needy child a well deserved hug!  The challenge is running for 2018: want to join it? 

Thursday, 7 December 2017


Ive been doing various secret things which I can't share recently, but here is a bit of progress.

I have assembled and bordered my Tulip Fields quilt, and only need to layer and quilt it before the end of the month.  Should be possible, at least theoretically!  

I've also made up this half a jelly roll quilt.  We were fortunate to have a parcel of fabrics arrive from the lovely Katy Jones of 'Quilt Now' magazine, and amongst the goodies was a fat eighth bundle of 20 different fabrics.  I cut each fat eighth into four 2.5" strips, and separated the strips into two sets.  Two of the strips of the same fabric joined together to make a wof strip, so they went together beautifully.  This top measures about 38", so will benefit from a border.  Light blue, I think.  I'm keen to join up the second set of strips to see how the same fabrics join together in a different arrangement.  Watch this space! 

Thursday, 30 November 2017

UFO challenge nearly done!

I have finished the eleventh UFO on my list!  That means there is only one more to go (tulip fields) and I've completed all twelve of my nominated UFOs this year! 

This isn't the most wonderful quilt in the world, but it's a finish! 

I didn't do any fancy quilting, but I'm quite pleased with the free motion flowers in the centre of each medallion.  Done!

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

New sewing machine!

My old sewing machine was beginning to wear out.  Often, when I lifted the foot to remove some fabric, it just clonked down again, meaning I had to repeat the motion a bit more forcefully, which was a real nuisance!  Well, I had it 17 years ago, and I do quite a bit of sewing, so it's not surprising! 
The problem was, what to replace it with?  I had been very satisfied with my Elna, so decided to go for another, and delighted to find that my LQS Sew Charming was able to advise and order one for me. 

Here is the Elna EXperience 580, which I think is just a bit better than my old one.  It has a much wider throat (8.5" as opposed to 6.5") which will make quilting large quilts much easier.  It also has an automatic thread cutter, which will be very useful, and means I can save enough on thread to eventually pay for the machine!  I rarely use alphabets, but once in a while they're fun, and this machine even has the Russian alphabet!  I can see that being really useful.  Unfortunately it doesn't make cup of tea or make sure I get points on my triangles, but I'm looking forward to giving it a workout! 

Sunday, 26 November 2017

On Ringo Lake

Bonnie's annual mystery quilt is up and running!  Instructions are every Friday on her blog, and her colours for this year are chocolate brown, aqua, coral and of course, neutrals.  
The first instruction is nine patches.  Easy peasy! 

Here are my blocks all ready done.  What's next? 

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

UFO challenge

I'm very pleased with my progress on the UFO challenge.  Twelve UFOs nominated and ten already completed, with two months to go!  I looked at the remaining UFOs and my heart sank.  More of the pink and red hexagon medallions and a Bonnie Hunter Tulip Fields which was barely started.  I looked and then put them away!  Then yesterday, husband was out watching his football team so I had a clear evening and I got the UFOs out again.  With the medallions, I decided that finished was better than perfect, so appliquéd them to cream background squares, joined them together and bordered them. 

This will be fine as a cot quilt.  A bit of fancy quilting (or not so fancy quilting in my case!) and it'll be fine. 

Then the Tulip Fields beckoned.  I'd forgotten how much fun it was to use up scraps for the tulip bases!  Four blocks were made, so I made another couple.  I realise I've made a cutting mistake on my new blocks, but I'm not undoing them!  Only another ten blocks to go! 

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Poor posting

I haven't posted much recently, but you can be assured that I've been busy sewing! Ive been trying to finish various Linus tops which have been donated, as we had a request for quilts from the local hospital, and we were a bit short.  We managed to rustle up 36 quilts, which was a good result.  There are still plenty of tops to finish, so I'll get on with some of those. 

It's also coming up to panto time, so I've been getting on with assembling the costumes.  I've started with the chorus, and have made a couple of flouncy skirts.  This one just needs elastic in the top and then it's done!  Thank goodness for the ruffle foot I bought for my machine, as it takes all the fiddle out of gathering the flounces. 

There must be something in the air round here, as we have had quite a few lovely donations of fabric for Linus.  I've sorted through them and put them into my colour coded Linus fabric boxes, and rescued any orphan blocks.  I try to cut these blocks into useable sizes and keep these together till there are enough to make a top.  These beautiful roses are a bit big and there are just two of them, so I've cut them down to 12.5" and put them in the right bag. 

Here is my orphan storage system in all its glory!  It works for me! 

Here is my latest project.  It's a Bonnie Hunter design scaled up from 2" to 2.5" strips.  I have another row ready to join, so it won't take long to finish.  Onward and upward! 

Monday, 30 October 2017

One rabbit

I'm progressing slowly on my Down the Rabbithole quilt for a number of reasons.  One is that I've been poorly, (fine now), and been on holiday, but I think the fact that there's so much repetition in the quilt isn't really suiting my butterfly personality.  I loved the new challenges in Happy Days, last year's BOM, and am finding the 'make 10 more like that', 'you need 40 altogether' etc a bit boring.  It's not Sarah's fault, it's mine, and I need to knuckle under and get on with it.  

So here is my first bunny.  He was a bit tricky, especially the second ear, but he's done. Now to do 3 more. Sigh. 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Free fabric!

At the last meeting of Rocheberie Schoolhouse Quilters in Rugby, there was free fabric to be had!  Each person got a half yard of this fabric 

Which is actually turquoise, not grey, plus a half yard of this fabric, 

Leaves in brown, orange, red, blue and turquoise, plus a cot wadding!  Where's the catch? 
The only catch is that it must be used to make a quilt, which will be viewed at the next meeting in November.  After that, the quilt belongs to the maker to keep or donate to charity as they wish.  What a great idea! 

Here is my progress so far.  I don't think it's the best quilt I've ever made, but I wanted something which would be suitable for Linus, so have called it The tree of wishes, and there are six leaves to make wishes on.  I half wish I hadn't put the piano key border on, and had bought yardage for a border, but then, it's used all the fabric up and saved a trip to the quilt shop, so it's staying! I have till 11th November to finish it, so I'd better crack on! 

Monday, 2 October 2017


Having finished the appliqué border on my Sarah Fielke BOM, I started cutting hexagons for the next border.  Sarah has now released instructions for another border, the one with the rabbits! but that's fine.  How do you eat an elephant?  A bite at a time! 

I have two sides of the border done, and I think it's looking good.  I used a plain blue alternated with a patterned blue for the rolling hexagon border.  I think it would have been even better if I'd used fabrics with a bit more contrast, but at least it makes a nice firm statement as a foil for the two appliqué borders which will go either side of it. 

I'm pleased that this scrappy quilt, a Bonnie Hunter design, has used up lots of 2.5" squares and strips.  I actually started it in July, but there's no deadline to be met.  I think the turquoise binding really helps to pull it together.  I'd make this one again. 

And here are the jars which were made by a U3A Craft Group in Barlestone , earlier this year.  I still have jars fabrics left, so I can see another of these in the future too! 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Nearly up to date

I have been working steadily on my Sarah Fielke BOM, and am catching up gradually.  I have now finished the sunflowers and leaves, and I'm happy with them.  I used some gorgeous fabric I bought in Australia for parts of the sunflowers, and fussy cut them.  It's amazing how much fabric this uses, but I'm quite satisfied that I didn't have enough matches to make all the flowers the same.  Nature doesn't make all the flowers the same, so why should I?

It's getting very big!  I think the next border needs to be blue, but I'm having a brief rest before that. 

One of the things I'm using for a bit of mindless sewing is this jars quilt which was started by some U3A Craft ladies who meet in Breaston. It just needs a border then it'll be done. 

Monday, 25 September 2017

A sort of Victorian bonnet

I am doing the costumes for our local production of 'Frankenstein' and needed a Victorian bonnet.  The only ones to buy that I could find were actual ones, and consequently out of our budget.  So I decided to have a go at making one.

I got a straw hat and chopped a piece off.

Then I bound the edge with fabric.  I could have used ribbon, but I used fabric and my trusty Clover 0.5" bias tape maker instead.  I started and finished at the side of the bonnet so the ribbon ties would hide the join.

Next I put the ties.  It's one long piece of ribbon sewn onto the bonnet - makes it secure that way.

Then some decoration I found in my ribbon box.  I think theyve been saved from boxes of chocolate, but they do the job pretty well!

Here is the finished item modelled by my good self.  Not the most authentic bonnet,but certainly passable, quick and cheap!

Friday, 1 September 2017


HI don't like quilt as you go.  It's a great method for making big quilts without all the hassle of heaving them about under the machine, but personally I find all the fiddling about with covering the seams on the back outweighs the heaving.  That's just my view of course: I know others love it.  Well, they say a lady has the prerogative to change her mind, and I'm making a reasonably big quilt, and I thought, 'What about making it in two halves?'  

It's a mile a Minute with hearts, and I thought if I made it in two halves, then I could join it down the middle and it would save both the heaving and the fiddling!  Plus, I'm using large pieces from my stash as backing, but only making them half as big as I would have had to do! The first half is ready for quilting, and I'll report back. 

In other news, my pineapple blocks are ready to layer up.  I'm really pleased at how well the scrap box went down, and am waiting to show Carole, as it was her scraps in the box!  Just shows what you can make from what was ready to be thrown away! 

And here is my Sarah Fielke BOM so far.  I've been a bit slow on the corner sunflowers, but that's fine, because it isn't a race!  I'm pleased at how they're going, and will just take it steady till they're finished.  

Friday, 25 August 2017

Class finish

I've layered up, quilted and bound my class quilt for this year.  The reason it's not been done before this is that I thought people might like to see the back of the work, especially for the appliqué centre. 

It's inspired by old quilts in Sarah Fielke's book, 'Old quilts, new life' and I've called it 'Heirloom'. I'm really pleased with it, and love the setting.  I started by choosing mainly Baltimore appliqué colours, red, green, yellow, and added a bit of turquoise and pink along the way!  The date is 2016 because that was the year in which I made the top.  If I'd been sensible, I'd have bought the border fabric first and chosen the colours from that, but I was lucky to find this border fabric in my LQS and I think it's a good choice, even if it does contain purple! 

I've also been making more pineapple blocks.  Carole gave me a bag of strips and scraps which have been perfect for this project. 

And here is a bit of progress on my Down the Rabbit Hole quilt.  I took a long time to decide on my sunflower fabrics, but now I just need to get on with them!