Friday, 29 June 2012

Sunshine in the Storm- mosaic

I also rather like this set of colours, I can see myself making a really interesting applique set of blocks based on these

1. Kona Magenta-215x215, 2. Kona Jade Green-215x215, 3. Kona Purple-215x215, 4. kona coal-215x215, 5. Shop button, 6. PEPPER-215x215, 7. BASIL-215x215, 8. TEAL BLUE-215x215, 9. BANANA-215x215

I like the subdued colours with the banana giving the whole thing a real lift. So, I shall submit this set to, as 'Sunshine in the Storm' .

Fluffy sheep is doing a competition!

If you head over to Cindy, at Fluffy sheep quiltingyou.
will find that she is hosting, and donating the prize, a competition, to win TWO Yards of Kona solids. She has made it very easy, you make and link in a mosaic, with a collection of solids you would like. So here is my collection for just now.

1. Kona Purple-215x215, 2. Kona Dark Violet-215x215, 3. Kona Papaya-215x215, 4. Kona Eggplant-215x215, 5. Shop button, 6. Kona Tangerine-215x215, 7. kona coal-215x215, 8. Kona ash-215x215, 9. Kona Snow K001-1339-215x215

When I was in Scotland, we visited a couple of fabric shops, and saw some wonderful prints in a most unlikely combination- purple and orange, so with that as a kick off point, I thought I would put together an unlikely and vibrant combination of solids. So here it is! I also 'borrowed' the shop button from her flickr site, I do hope she doesn't mind! So I am now off to try to link it up!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Another one!

I am just back from three days up in Stirling with my daughters and husband. Yes, we went to my elder daughters graduation ceremony, to see her get hit on the head by James Naughtie's hat.  He actually congratulated her by name, I know the name is announced as they start to cross the stage, but I am still somewhat impressed that he does this for several hundred students, one after another. The poor man, he shakes each one by the hand, and bops each lightly on the head! He must have biceps of steel! What a workout.

So are you ready for an overload of pictures? well, a few anyway!

 Proud Dad and daughter,

 With her baby sister

I think it was the plot they had lost....

The ceremony was followed by a reception in another part of the campus, where we were rewarded by seeing oyster catchers flying over, calling 'wheep, wheep' as they went.

The grounds at Stirling are really lovely.

We followed that up by going to Edinburgh to join her other half and family for a celebration meal, to congratulate the pair of them, as both of them achieved Firsts! Michael's was in Philosophy, Kitty's in English.

So proud of them both.

Now, other news

I have been lucky enough to have been invited to join another bee, Now despite feeling that I am already doing quite enough to be going on with, this lovely group of ladies is so friendly, and seem so much fun - I already knew several of them through their blogs, or through other swaps,- I just could not resist! I love the button produced by Sarah, I am not sure how hip I am but does it matter! I am in!
And you should see the other ladies, well, you will, over the next few months, as we get going! They are a lovely gang to be a member of- no I know- that's not English, but there..


Sunday, 24 June 2012

New skills

 I have never had a go at free machine embroidery, but, about a year ago, Kirsty Allsop was doing some stuff to submit for a county show, and I thought, I want a go at that!

So, I acquired some soluble embroidery stuff at a craft fair around Easter, and I set about just having a go, after all, from a position of complete ignorance, you can go wrong very easily, and find out how not to do it? yes?

So the embroidery stuf goes in the hoop, a pencil sketch is made on this, and it gets loaded onto the machine. And feed dogs dropped, embroidery foot in use, and hey, we're away!

This was the second lot, I forgot to photograph the first one in progress- over-excited?

 I was trying to copy a garden geranium roughly, though I am not sure anyone would guess, I was using a lilac-y pink Gutermann Sulky thread, and a topstitch needle. And it seemed to go pretty well, I think. What I didn't know, was how densely to do the stitching, nor how much to do in the opposite direction, before I started to sew in the texture direction I wanted, to give a 'net' to work with.

But it seemed to be working. and, because it was working, I got bolder and braver, and added another colour, to try to give some of the petal markings on the real thing, and then added yellow, to look like stamens.

And then, how about a leaf? And a yellow centre to the flower?

And then these were cut out roughly and dropped into a bowl of water, to dissolve the base fabric.

And you end up with some free flowers, and a leaf.

Now, I am doing a frame purse swap with a wonderful group of very talented ladies, and I have not attempted a frame purse before, but for my first one, I wanted to like it myself, so if it is any good at all, I would use it. The next one I will have to try to make to my partners taste, but this is from fabric I have in anyway, and no extra supplies procured, other than the frame itself.
So, having decided where to start, and cut the basic shape, I decided to use my first flower, and free embroider the leaves to go with the flower, using a pretty variegated green thread, and then attach the flower.

Then lining. Again, I acquired the lining fabric- not the pocket- at the craft fair, a lovely John Louden lawn, very fine and smooth.

and this made up, so far, into this. After supper, I will have to try to glue the frame onto it. That is the frightening bit!

Once it is done I will take more photos.

what do you think so far?

I hope, not 'rubbish!'

 As a by product, I am starting to feel I may be able, with practice, to do FMQ at some stage!

Just don't hold your breath!

 just editing to show a bit of finish!
 some piping stuffed into the channel to occupy the space. Need to get that tucked in really well!
 one side glued, now wait for it to cure!
 Both sides glued. Wait for cure!
All done and dusted!


I have been fighting! with a quilt block,The feathered star to be precise!

It has been the hardest one so far, though the next one is up, and promises to be as fiendish.

After Leila had made this block by 'conventional' means another quilter came up with a system for foundation piecing it. I had recently come across the foundation piecing method using freezer paper, where there is much less paper wastage, here and had to give it a go.
It was not the easiest thing I have ever done, in fact, I think it qualifies as the hardest!

 I started by digging out and sorting all my green and whitish scraps. this turned out to be the ideal block to use the tiniest scraps I had hoarded.
 Two sections done, two to go.

I made the sections, three for each quarter, and stitched together, and then laid out, and this is where I got a bit lost in the system. I could see where everything had to go, but getting the precision was a nightmare. In the end I realised the only thing I could do was sew these sections together, leaving a square(ish) hole in the middle and add the centre square later. 

 And I am quite pleased with the finished star. It was a divil of a block to do, though, and I plan NOT to do it again!

In the end I top stitched that centre square into place!

How about the odd garden picture now?
Any takers? 

Gorgeous rich lilies- yes the lily beetles have had a go!
 this salvia, I thought I had lost
 maybe I will get a few of these?
 But I am taking no chances with these! Mr Blackbird, beaks off!
 Penny Lane is very pretty.

And this little pink rambler is prolific!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Super fast sewing!

So I received the fabric Sunday lunchtime-ish. Skirts all done for Bedtime. So, no I did not have to make them in my sleep. All except the buttons, which went on this evening, ten minutes before collection.
So that just left tops. I had my brief. Little jackets, diagonally striped, Peter pan collars, and puff sleeves. Coming down in little points, like a fancy waistcoat. Simple. Unless the fabric is lengthwise striped, so we are now sewing on the bias.
I think we need to line these with polycotton, for stability. And put facings on the fronts to take the buttons and buttonholes. Puff sleeves- fairly simple. Ok we are off.
But not till Monday evening, after work. So, I sorted out pattern pieces, and cut out one top on Monday evening.This is when you realise what you have failed to allow for. The stripes on the sleeves. Now, I don't know about you, but I generally cut out sleeves on a double layer, so two sleeves are cut at the same time. Not this time though. The stripes have to go in the right direction so they go across the whole thing. Cutting back to back I am unconvinced we are going to get that. So each sleeve and each front is cut individually.

Tuesday got it put together.And because I am fraught, I forget to take photos. So, although the orange one was made first, the green one is the one taken on its own. So All done except the collar.

Wednesday is my day off. So collar first thing, and then three more tops, cut out, with all their linings, interfacing and collars, takes me till lunch. An afternoon spent on the overlocker, and then the rest of the evening on the flatbed, chain stitching- thank goodness I could just use white thread, If I had had to keep changing thread I wouldn't have done it!

And then covered buttons. I got a gizmo for covering buttons, and it is a dream!

No more carefully cutting the right size circle, little running stitch round, etc. Now I just cut a rough square, the right size, put it in the hole, press top down, and trim ends and corners straight across th top, Add the top plate, and cover. Press quickly and you are done. Easy peasy and beautiful!
So twenty covered buttons done in about 15 minutes.

So they are all done and dusted in very short order!

Want a look see?

I hope they tap well enough to warrant such pretty outfits!

Collected tonight, and one happy teacher. Hope they fit....

Sunday, 17 June 2012


 I volunteered, again. I think I need my head examining! four skirts and tops for next Saturday. With a bit of luck! Fabric arrived late this morning, and four circular skirts are done. Phew. Now I have to come up with the pattern for and make four diagonally striped tops, with puff sleeves, round neck and Peter Pan collar.
Circular skirts I can almost do in my sleep, so get them done first, and if all else fails the girls can have a different top, so we are started anyway. That one theory!

I have also chosen to go in for the frame purse swap. I have never attempted a frame purse. I have made various bags, and ordered the fixings from U handbags, who are very prompt with the service, So, why not use them again, so a yummy parcel arrived through the post, on Friday, containg glue, and three frames. One in gunmetal, one in silver and one in antique bronze. (This one is really rather nice.) They advise special fabric glue, so, being new to the craft, I thought I had better get it.

I won't unwrap them firther till I am ready to play!
All sorts of ideas are spinning round my head, my partner has been very carefully selected for me, by the lovely swap mama, Nicky. She has a restrained taste, but also loves brights. She likes certain detail, but not OTT. I think she is perfect. I just hope she will love what I do- assuming I get to it in a timely fashion! My swap mama will kill me if I don't!

The other silly I have volunteered for- why did I start this lark- 'cos its fun, that's why- is a 'round the world' swap. As we all do starter blocks at the same time and post them on, I have had to come up with a block for this too!

I saw a block I liked, but it was paper pieced. I love paper pieced blocks, but hate the waste of paper. So I tried to work it out, non paper pieced.
It is not quite square, but, overall it worked. And I liked it. I had other ideas, but they didn't quite work when I tried them, so I came back to this one.

Now, when I was ordering something else, online, I couldn't help ordering some plain in 'pomegranite' -have I spelt that right- don't think so, cannot be bothered to check- so I made it again, with minor adjustments, with that as border. Like it even better!

So that will go to my nexty, probably tomorrow. They will make a block, using this as inspiration, whether looking at the fabrics, colours or block style, and then it will pass along further, and hopefully return to me eventually!

I think I bought these fabrics back when we were doing the zippy pouch swap. They were not right for that, but I loved them, and now they are working!

So my most urgent thing is the tops for my dancers, Sorry Nicky, and as soon as they are done I can do my first practice frame purse!

It would be simple if I didn't have to work as well!

Now I need to go and look at what everyone else has been up to, as I have been doing skirts to exclusion of all else.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Hurray, whoopee and dancing on the ceiling!

My gorgeous elder daughter, feisty, clever and just amazing has received some news today. Her degree has been confirmed!

Well, we were hoping for a 2:1, that would have been very nice indeed.

She phoned at lunchtime.

I had to ring her back.

She drew it out,

You know mamma, you said, if I got a 2:1 it would be the first one in this family?


Well you can be very pleased.

You got your 2:1?

well, I am afraid not....

She got a First!

Wonderful, are you surprised I am dancing on the ceiling!

Please, go and see her on her blog and say congratulations for me she is at this address  and I am so proud of her, and so impressed, and I love her very much! But she is a long way from us here, and I cannot get my arms round her for a hug at present!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

surveyors star, paper piecing

We are in the last month of the skill builder. and Leila is doing tough blocks for us. She wanted to do this lovely star, and advised us to practise on an American Beauty. But, you know how there is always one who doesn't follow the instructions? Ok I thought, I would just get on with it.
But I did not feel like downloading a pattern, 'how hard can it be to produce one's own pattern?'

Well, perhaps harder than I anticipated. It is many years since I did geometry ay school, and I had to remind myself how to bisect an angle without benefit of compass, and try to estimate proportions to get it looking right. 

 my first attempt, the secondary points are not quite pointing in the right directions,
 Second try, secondary points look disproportionately long.
 This one felt right, and turned into my 'master copy' . Photocopy no.1 was cut in half diagonally, and then four more copies were produced of the separated halves, to use as the sacrificial paper copies. And another one to cut apart for patterns for the fabric.
And then I had to remind myself how to sew the fabric on, and to not cut off the bit I wanted left at the end!

Having reminded myself of the usefulness of the stitch ripper, I eventually managed to get all the bits done, and am pleased with my result.

No it is not perfect, but it is good enough for me!

I also realised I never put up a picture of my finished quilt, so here it is,  laid out, rather than just part shots. Nice and snuggly, and on the back of a chair in the living room. 
And I am linking this to Ellison Lane summer sewing, just for fun! Though most of the quilts and bags there are just amazing! 

Monday, 11 June 2012

garden things

One of my silly little pleasures is to take the phone round the garden, while my daughter is talking to me. It is a small thing, but I can exclaim about the progress and tell her the sillies that are happening, at the time, and not just later and second hand.
So, lurking amongst the strawberries, is this soft, silver grey toadstool, with dainty gills on the outside. I have never seen a fungus quite like this before. It is a lovely fairy fungus, and very pretty.

Speaking of strawberries, someone has been munching, and it is not ME!

But there are some more- I will just have to get there first.

Then just some flower pictures, for fun

This allium is a very soft dainty pale pink in life.

 This rose has migrated around the garden, but just isn't happy in the ground! It loves to be in a pot, but just sulks if I try to plant it properly.

And a last little bit of sewing, if you have got
this far!

This pincushion has a 'proper' name, but I cannot remember what it is. It was fun to make.

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