Friday, 31 August 2012

My first Quilt a Long!

Does that sound somewhat childish?! It makes me think of My Little Pony for some reason...

I'm joining in with Blossom Heart Quilt's Very Merry HST BOF here

A Very Merry HST BOF

The first block is designed to look like tinsel hanging off a tree, here's my attempt:

I'm using two charm packs of Joy by Kate Spain, from Hulu Crafts, I was really impressed with the speed at which they posted out the fabric.

I'm hoping to make these into table runners for Christmas for our mums, fingers crossed they turn out well enough!

Here's my first block, it's not 100% right as I got the rows in the wrong order, but I'm down to my last inch or so of white thread so it'll do :D

Friday, 24 August 2012

Zoo Windows Quilt Finish

My niece's first birthday quilt is finally finished! It is based on the Kitchen Windows pattern in The Practical Guide to Patchwork. As it's made with some animal fabric (which I can't remember the name of for the life of me!), it's been renamed Zoo Windows. I stuck with my original plan on using the pink, and it's worked well I think.

I borrowed a friend's embroidery machine to add A's name to her quilt - my friend joked that it also means that it can't be stolen!

This is the biggest quilt that I've done, as you can probably see from the fact that I can only just hold it up (I'm 5 foot nothing for reference)

I pieced a few pieces of bargainous fabric for the back, 1001 Peeps and some Meet the Gang.

I also used lots of solids from Backstitch - Klona Ash, Pale Pink and Light Lilac, as well as a FQ bundle from the Eclectic Maker.

Obligatory rolled quilt shot!

Sorry about the poor photos, the weather has been rubbish and I haven't been able to get outside in the sun. It's going on a bit of a journey in the next week - London-Cornwall-Manchester-Preston - so I couldn't wait for the rain to stop :(

Linking up to the lovely Amy who's hosting this week's TGIFF :-)

Friday, 17 August 2012

Finally, a finish!

For the first time in quite a while, I have a finish to show!

Unfortunately, it's not one of the items on my huge list from earlier in the week, but it is something that I'm really proud of because it's a big first for me.

I've been to a two week long class at Raystitch in Islington,  their First Steps into Dressmaking class where we made an A-line skirt. I learnt so much in the 6 hours of lessons, and really enjoyed having a good chat with the teacher and the other two participants as well as lots of attention.  Apparently I've picked up some very bad habits through being mostly self taught! The wine and brownies were also *amazing*

The pattern is Amy Butler's Barcelona skirt, and the fabric was from the Washi collection. The bright pink lining was a bit of a spur of the moment thing, but I'm glad that I chose it.

We're off to a Christening and various other occasions in the next few months, so hopefully this will get lots of wear. I've made even more plans now for other skirts, so that's one more thing that'll stop me getting on with making all these quilts :-)

PS - please ignore the pink t-shirt, I don't think I'll be wearing it as a part of the final outfit.....

Here's a quick peek at A's quilt, see if you can spot why I've not finished quilting it yet - oops!

If anyone has any suggestions of how to make quilting this easier, I'd very much appreciate it. I've got a walking foot on, but it's turning into a mammoth task.I'm thinking about leaving the machine-quilted lines just on the middle section, and hand quilting around each block in the two outer columns. Thoughts?

Linking up to TGIFF at Mama Loves Quilts, even though this isn't a hugely quilty post sorry.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Plans, plans, plans!

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my adventure! The kids are all back safely now, and after 4 evenings of sorting, all the tents are away too!

I've been making lots of plans for projects I'd like to make, and thought I'd record them so that I can't (1) back out or (a) forget.

Plan 1 is to sort out the rest of the house before the end of the holidays. A trip to IKEA and many hours spent putting this together (all by myself!) was phase 1 of this plan.

Number 2 is to finish A's quilt for her first birthday at the end of the month. This is all pieced now, it's too big to baste or quilt here, but I'm visiting a friend to borrow her monster machine next week when hopefully I'll be able to get it all finished bar the binding. Here's a sneak peak:

Part (iii) is to do something with my Indian Summer Mystery charm swaps from the fabulous Jenelle at Echinops and Aster. I'm so glad that I signed up for this, as the fabric is just gorgeous -

I'm thinking that I might try using the tutorials at the HST Block of the Month at In Color Order, as they should work quite well, and they're certainly the right size. I'm thinking that I could make myself a wall hanging of 2x6 blocks, perhaps starting with pink-y ones at the top and ending with the blue-y ones at the bottom - I'm going to ponder further...

And the last part involves the dreaded C-word.......................................................Christmas.
I'm thinking about making table runners for our mums using a charm pack of this:

Photo borrowed from the Fat Quarter Shop
Not that I've bought it yet, but shhhhhhhhhh!

I think I might use some of the tutorials from the Charmed Prints QAL here to make them.

I am well aware that both of these QAL's are either finished or nearly done, but never mind - better late than never! I'm hoping that I'm going to hold myself to this now that I've written about my plans- please chase me up :-)

Monday, 6 August 2012

An Adventure

This post is going to sound far more like a diary entry than a normal blog post, but I wanted to record the last few weeks. Please don't feel obliged to read, there's sewing stuff at the end if you want to skip!

I've just finished a physically exhausting but totally amazing week in Denmark with 35,000 Scouts, not all of whom were my responsibility thank goodness! I've walked miles every day (the round trip to the showers was about 1.5 miles....), lifted and carried, lit fires (well, directed kids to light fires!) and pitched tents. I cooked so many meals for so many people that I ended up with blisters from stirring - but if you ever need to know how much pasta is required to feed 65 hungry people, I'm your woman! I've given out plasters, brushed knots from hair that's not been touched in days, given cookery lessons and so much more.

Mentally, I feel really refreshed, which is suprising considering how bone-achingly tired I feel. There's been lots of chatting round campfires getting to know great kids, and making what I hope will be life long friendships with the other leaders. It did me real good to have a clean break from work, even though it felt very tiring having to pack and prepare when everyone else was partying at the end of term.

Here are a few photos, no faces for obvious reasons. Hopefully they'll give you a taste of the atmosphere, which I don't think that I can adequately describe. Can't wait to do it again though!

We spent some of our down time lying in the shade avoiding the blinding sun - and comparing the sizes of our feet - guess which are mine?!

27 hours on a coach tires you out!

 Lots of canvas

Closing ceremony

After leaving the kidlets in safe hands for a second week of camping, I took some time to travel home in a bit more of a leisurely way. First I took the train to Copenhagen, where I learnt that you shouldn't make quick judgements about a city based on the impressions that you gain whilst leaving its train station! I had a lovely meal, chatted to a hilarious American man, and spent a few hours strolling around the city in beautiful sunshine. I only had a short time in the city, but it was enough to make me want to return.

The Citadel in Copenhagen - a military centre and ancient fortification; the Marble Church; Nyhavn

Next, I got the train to Hamburg, via a ferry that the train drove onto! I was really surprised by Hamburg, I was expecting it to be really industrial as the port is still so busy. The city itself is really nice though, a well planned mix of the industrial and the uber-modern. The new Philharmonic Hall is just stunning!

 Hamburg - St Michel's Church, Martin Luther and the view down towards the Harbour

Next was Paris, my favourite city in the world. I think the pictures say it all really!

 The Sleeper train - I was very excited about this!; the view that I saw when I woke up; bridge covered in locks with love messages scrawled on; the Seine; the clockface on the fifth floor of the Musee d'Orsay; Notre Dame, with my wedding ring - we got engaged here four years ago!

 And finally, some sewing! I've been working on a couple of EPP projects for friends, one hexie cushion and one Rose Star block cushion. My friends are sisters who went to school with me who both have young daughters, hence the very pink and girly colours. Hopefully they'll be well balanced and not too much pinkness.

Action shot - sewing on the train from Copenhagen to Hamburg, just before it got on the ferry(!!!!); partially completed Rose Star block, with the fabrics that I'm using for the next rings; 
completed basted hexies for my other EPP project; I love this giraffe!
Piles of hexies waiting to be basted; a possible layout

So, quite an adventure for me. I have never travelled very far on my own - the furthest I've been by myself is London to Manchester! - so this has been really good for improving my self confidence. I didn't get lost, or mugged, and I had fun!!

I loved visiting the different cities, and can't wait to do more. The only questions are: 1. Where next? and more importantly, 2. When will the bank manager let me?!

Ohhh, and sorry to make this longer, but don't forget about this week's Blog Hoppers,
Aug 7
     Liz from What I Did on My Summer Vacation
     Susan from Canadian Abroad

Aug 9
     Kirsten from Gemini Stitches
     Stephanie from Sewing by Stephanie

I'm going back to catch up on the ones that I missed.

Plum and June

Friday, 3 August 2012

Home Safe!

I'm back from my little adventure, returned just in time to see this:

Netherlands v China then Germany v South Africa Women's Hockey!

I hope you won't mind me sharing some holiday pics, I need to sort through them and choose the best. In the mean time, I have 284 blog posts to catch up with so sorry if I haven't commented!