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! 

Sunday, 20 August 2017


Hi It's August, and while there has been some sewing going on, there's also been the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham - as good as ever!- and a couple of short holidays.  (A couple of nights in Weymouth - very good - and then a week in Edinburgh for the Fringe festival - fabulous!). That has meant not so much sewing has been completed.  

This UFO has finally been bound and labelled.  A very suitable Linus quilt, I think. 

I haven't done very well on my Sarah Fielke BOM.  I waited till I was ready to choose fabrics, and that was just before we went away to Edinburgh.  The choosing is done, now the sewing follows.  So far, so slow.  Good job it's not a race. 

If it was a race, I'd be doomed.  I never let an unfinished project get in the way of starting something new, so here is the start of a scrappy pineapple quilt.  I have an extensive collection of strings and strips, and the idea of using them whatever width and only in pairs was irresistible!  Off I go! 

Monday, 31 July 2017


I have just finished the current part of my Sarah Fielke BOM.  Apart from cutting all the Dresden petals, which seemed interminable, and awkward, as they couldn't be completely rotary cut, it was quite straightforward. 

Here it is ready for the next instalment.  I'm pleased with it so far, although I'm a bit concerned at how big it's going to be!  It'll be tricky to quilt, but then, I'll worry about that later. 
Meanwhile, I've been trying to use up the scraps!  It's a constant task!  I enjoyed making the Bonnie Hunter design with 2" scraps, and thought it might be possible to make it with 2.5" scraps. 

The answer is yes!  However, since the central nine patch finishes at 6", the trapezium fabric needs to be 26" long.  Not many 26" scraps in the box!  So, I have cut some strips from yardage, and since the blocks are big (finish at 10") chosen interesting fabrics for that part.  Just 16 blocks will make a great quilt, and make a bit of an impression on the 2.5" bin, hopefully! 


Sunday, 23 July 2017

A trial run

It's all Julie's fault.  She was the one who had this idea about jelly roll races, and got me looking at YouTube videos of people sewing strips of fabric together!  Then I saw this idea of a 4Corners Jelly Roll Quilt at quirky granola girl's site and I got all fired up to have a go!  There were just two little snags.  One, I didn't have a jelly roll, and two, I didn't want a quilt the finished at 52".  The first problem was solved by assembling some strips and joining them till they were about 42", and the second with a pencil, paper and a bit of head scratching! 

If I used half a jelly roll, there would be half the number of strips, so if I just joined till there were eight strips sewn, it would work out!  So, I sewed and sewed and this is what I ended up with. 

The strips were mainly blue and gold, and I added in some Viking fabric just to cheer it up a bit.  With the centre square (which I cut to 9" in case you fancy a go) and 25" slices, I ended up with something more than acceptable! 

Not the prettiest of quilts, but I think someone who likes blue and Vikings will be pleased to snuggle up with this!  It finishes at 42" which is perfect for a Linus quilt.  Now I need to get an Accuquilt 2.5" cutter and make myself some more jelly rolls! 

Friday, 21 July 2017

A finish and a start

I am still working through my UFO challenge list, and have been quilting this flying geese and robots quilt. 

I just quilted in the ditch round the flying geese, and then did a free motion geometric squares and rectangles design in the robot sections.  I love the way the blue and white striped binding sets it all off. A lucky find in my stash! 

So now I'm sewing this Bonnie Hunter 2" scrap design. Though my neutral 2" box is getting quite empty there doesn't seem to be the same effect on the dark 2" box.  Still, at least I can get the lid on! 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Catching up

JI don't work well under pressure, and like to be ahead of the game if I can.  So I looked in my sewing room and took a deep breath - need to get some projects out of the way.  First was a few block components I made at Rocheberie Schoolhouse Quilters.  I demonstrated the use of the Easy Angle ruler for making HSTs and flying geese, and had a few of each ready to assemble. 

Not a big deal, but I hate waste and at least now these blocks can be put away in the 8.5" bag ready for their appearance in a Linus quilt at some time. For anyone not familiar with this ruler, I can thoroughly recommend it.  It helps to make HSTs and flying geese that are very accurate, and using less fabric than the usual method.  You can buy it on Amazon for just over £7 at the moment.  Bargain! 

Then I got to work on my Challenge group blocks from Pat Sloans Garden Mystery.  I have till September to make these, but they only have to be made once, and here they are!  I love the one on the left, but maybe it's my fabric choices. 

Then it's on to my Sarah Fielke BOM for this month, Dresden plate.  This was very tedious to cut out (and I have three more!) but very easy to sew.  Just need to appliqué now, which is my favourite part! 

Wednesday, 5 July 2017


I have been busy sewing, but mainly trying to finish off Linus tops.  

This monster is done.  Not the most inspiring of designs, but I think a teenager will appreciate its size to snuggle down under!  Incidentally, it confirmed my dislike of quilt as you go.  Since the blocks weren't all quite the same size, normally I'd ease them to fit, but once they're quilted, you can't do that.   Never mind, it's a finish. 

This is also a finish.  I love the design, but I think it might have been better not quite so scrappy.  Still, it has a lovely animal print on the back, so I'm sure it will find a suitable home. 

Another finish (well, once the binding has been slipstitched it will be a finish!) scrappy blue snowballs. 

This one is waiting for its binding.  It's a collection of orphans, and I think they play together pretty well.

And a work in progress, these giant flying geese which have been paired with a lovely lime green robot print.  I'm part way through quilting this one, so off we go! 

And a sneak preview of something I'm working on for next year.  Sssshhh! 


Sunday, 25 June 2017


As Leicestershire coordinator for Project Linus, I am hugely grateful for the donations which I regularly receive.  These are quilts, of course, but also fabric, UFOs and blocks.  Now, why do people donate stuff?  
Firstly, because they're altruistic and kind.  Secondly because it's something they don't want.  Why don't they want it?  Perhaps they've got tired of it and run out of steam, or maybe it's not turned out as they'd hoped.  Or just possibly it's so horrible they just want to clear it out!  Whatever the reasons, I am always delighted to receive any donations, and making them into gorgeous quilts. 

Take a recent donation.  Lots of blocks already quilted and more blocks ready to go, with backing fabric included!  Super. 

But then, maybe the reason they were donated, they are different sizes - half an inch is quite a bit when the blocks have already been quilted!  I could trim some, but the design would make it pretty obvious.  Luckily there are lots of blocks, so I'll make two sets of smaller ones and larger ones, and make more than one quilt!  

Another problem is that that the backing hasn't quite covered the wadding on some blocks, as seen here.  That's a problem I often have myself as I'm such a skinflint and rarely leave much of a border on my wadding and backing.  I can easily handstitch a strip on there and all will be well. 
I've chosen some lovely bright peach smashing, so the quilt should be finished in no time!

Monday, 19 June 2017

Down the rabbithole centre done

PWe've been away for a week, so the sewing has been on hold, while I've been eating, drinking, sightseeing and relaxing en France!  But as soon as the washing machine's going, I'm itching to get to my sewing room. 

It didn't take me long to complete the centre of my Sarah Fielke BOM, and I'm very pleased with it.  Despite the fact that some of the houses have lost the apexes of their roofs, the whole thing measures just a smidgeon bigger than the 40.5" Sarah has allowed.  I don't think that will be a problem, as I can either fudge it or trim a bit off the blue border.  I'll wait and see what is the best thing to do.  Now to wait to see what comes next!  

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Eat your heart out Carmen Miranda!

I couldn't resist finishing the pineapple quilt! 

I put the blocks offset slightly and added a few squares in the middle to fill it up. I was going to put a yellow piano keys border, but then decided a green one would look good.  When I looked in the Linus box for green fabric, I found this one, and surprise, surprise, there was enough for the border.  I'm delighted at how it's turned out, as I think it's really fun!  Maybe I could use the same technique for apples or oranges?  We'll see. 

So then I was motivated to continue with my Down the Rabbit Hole centre.  One more sunflower and I'll be ready for the border.