More stuff

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

OK so it's been a year and a bit ....

I hereby charge myself with wilful neglect of a blog.

Guilty, M'Lud.

The problem has been mainly one of time, namely trying to do a fairly full time (yet unpaid) volunteer job at the same time as childrearing a pre-schooler and a junior who gets a steady stream of bizarre homework, plus attempting to keep my household management just above the threshold where I get shamed by a TV program.

The other problem has been Instagram.

IG, home of instant gratification, clicking the little heart when something nice whizzes past the screen as I scroll through at light speed.  It is just so quick.  And colourful.  And fun!

I was considering totally abandoning my blog as I'm not sure about the future of blogging for the casual and slightly lazy crafter.  I see some people essentially make a career out of it but I can see they work very hard to maintain that.  I am never going to be sufficiently prolific at making stuff to blog about to have a proper serious blog.

However, occasionally there is something that I get sufficiently excited about that I want to blog about it.  Currently I am very excited about a new QAL that I saw on IG (obviously) but which I might try to blog about, and then you can have a sweepstake on how embarrassingly quickly I fall behind.

My Small World QAL

Ketty at VeryKerryBerry is co-hosting the "My Small World" QAL - namely this wonderfully whimsical quilt from the fantastically named Quiltmania magazine.  This pattern is from the Spring 2015 Special Edition of Quiltmania - the front cover looks like this:
Kerry has made a list of stockists in her Small World QAL post here.

I have a very poor track record for keeping up with QALs - I still haven't finished my Pervalong quilt from Autumn 2012 (oops) although I have recently made significant progress on it which I will post soon.

Anyway, apologies for the serious hiatus in this service and let's see if this QAL can kick-start my SewJo in 2015!


Friday, 17 January 2014

FAL 2014 Q1

Now really, after a 4 month break from blogging, surely what I need is a Start-a-Long rather than a Finish-a-Long?  Either way what I need is a good kick up the bottom.

Finish Along 2014

The last few months I have done precious little sewing although I did do two fantastic patterncutting modules at Fashion Antidote near Brick Lane.  The course was right at the upper edge of my ability so I feel like I learned more in those few hours than I have learned in weeks of faffing around with patterns myself.

However the focus was on getting the basic blocks drawn up and then using small scale models to show how to manipulate them in theory, so I have a huge pile of scribbles rather than any finished garments.  Which leads neatly into the first item on my FAL:

(1) Finish personal dress pattern and make up in calico

Doing this course (including homework!), coupled with knocking together 2 costumes for my elder daughter's school dressing-up day exploits, has meant that I did practically no quilty stitching whatsoever in Q4 2013 *sigh*.

But every cloud has a silver lining.  This hiaitus has highlighted to me what I really want to be doing and I have been itching to come up with a low volume / monochrome quilt of my own. So yesterday I broke my fabric-buying moratorium and bought a whole bunch of fabrics that I hope will be the start of something special.  I would love to remember 2014 for being the start of something creative so I am putting this on the list to make sure it gets some attention:

(2) Low volume / monochrome quilt

Hm, a distinct lack of pretty pictures so far.  I will post a photo of the new fabrics I have bought as soon as they arrive (obviously after I have finished doing a happy dance around my living room).  In the meantime I had better consult my back catalogue for some of the millstones that are hanging about my quilty neck:

(3) Siblings Together improv quilt

This is a proper FAL as the top is pieced and ready to go.  It will be my first full size quilt that I plan to home quilt rather than send off to the longarmer.  Argh!

(4) Pervalong

I love the colours in this PP so much that every time I see it waiting for me it makes me smile.  I am about halfway through the blocks so I just need to knuckle down and get the rest of them finished.  This is going on the FAL list even though I know I have a cat in hell's chance of finishing it because I plan to hand quilt it.

Thanks to Katy for hosting this year's FAL and also for posting a deadline reminder so that Last Minute Charlies like me can join in.

Happy New Year one and all x

Monday, 16 September 2013

Here's one I made earlier

Just as well as there is not much sewing going on here at the moment - back to another weary episode of "When Toddlers get Ear Infections".  Poor little lamb has been walking about with her head sideways all weekend saying "Ear hurts, Mummy".  Got some antibiotics from the doctor this afternoon so fingers crossed that it will clear up soon.

Happily I did do some sewing in August and so this post doesn't have to exclusively relate to ENT problems for the under-3s.

This is the needlecase I have made for LMQG's December needlecase swap with the Vancouver MQG.  Having had a good gander at the VMQG website, I am only sorry I don't get to deliver it by hand myself, as it looks like the good quilters of Vancouver have a lot of stitchy fun in their beautiful city.
My favourite part is the metallic stitching I added to the tiara outline - it doesn't really come out on the photo but in real life it is nice and sparkly :)

I tried to make it as UK themed as I could with this linen stamp fabric on the front, with some Echino London on the back:

And found some nice bright felt colours to go in the middle:
Good topstitch practice!

The needlecases will be picked by lucky dip so I hope this one goes to a happy new home in Vancouver x

Friday, 30 August 2013

Where do you come from?

Where do you come from?

Don't worry, I'm not searching for my roots or getting esoteric. I am just curious how my fellow quilters found quilting - or how it found them.  I am a bit of an accidental quilter, even though I have always loved needlecrafts.  A chance 'pop into a shop' on a chance 'I need lunch' stop off in a random small town whilst on honeymoon is the culprit for starting my quilting adventure.

(PS thank you, Sugar Pine Company in Canmore, Alberta - although you sure have cost me a lot of money over the past 10 years)

However, in terms of where I "came from" - my needlework beginnings almost did not get off the ground at all, as although I loved this subject at school, we had a rather touchy-feely matronly teacher who liked to fondle us in the way that most of us prefer to fondle fabric.

Happily, despite having dropped Needlework in favour of Art, when I was 17 one of my Christmas presents was a Forever Friends cross-stitch like this one:

Smitten as I was with my new boyfriend at the time, I duly stitched it up in proclamation of our puppy love.  Stupidly I then gave it to him so I no longer have it.  And although our puppy love never grew into a full grown Alsatian, I had definitely been bitten by the stitching bug.

Over the next decade I cross-stitched away merrily, occasionally doing a bit of embroidery but always returning to cross stitch.  It was my first love and I am still very fond of it (unlike my first boyfriend).  But it doesn't quite push my buttons any more.  Maybe because it confines the stitcher to the grid - but then there is something very comforting about knowing what it will look like at the end.

Just as I have a huge pile of quilting fabrics waiting patiently for their turn to be stitched, so I have a considerable pile (but not enormous - I didn't have much money in my twenties) of cross stitch kits waiting to be made up.  And this week I finally finished one that I had started whilst I was expecting Baby #2 and thought I could finish it before she was born:
Obviously I estimated incorrectly as she is now 2.  But I hope she will like it when she is old enough not to cover it in sticky fingerprints.

The pattern is "ABC Lessons" by Lizzie*Kate and uses some hand dyed variegated thread to give it a bit more depth.

And fittingly it includes our family motto (or what I say to my kids 300 times a day...)

So where do you come from?  What is the primordial soup of your needlework?  I would love to know!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Siblings Together improv quilt

Going to the Fat Quarterly Retreat really reignited my sewing mojo (Sewjo?) and so the week following it I spent every spare minute rattling up a new quilt top for Siblings Together with the leftovers from my Bee quilt.

I had based my Bee blocks on this wonky rectangles tutorial by Tallgrass Prairie Studio:

I wanted my fellow Bee members to have the freedom to do whichever sized rounds in whatever order so sent out the same amount of each fabric, which would mean they had plenty left over.  I also said they could keep the fabric or if they chose to make strips or improv blocks which I would then incorporate into a quilt for Siblings Together.

I had received most of my Bee blocks back (more of which when I've sewn them together) along with a number of strips / improv blocks from my fellow Bee-ers.  I had also taken the same fabric to FQR to use it up and so had some blocks from my classes.  Thus armed, I rallied my newly revitalised Sewjo and we embarked without a compass on our improv quilt top.

I had some Portholes from my class with Lucie Summers:

 And some leftover hexies from Tacha's paper piecing class at last year's FQR:

 Plus one lonely orphan block from my Apple Crisp quilt - I had made 64 blocks but only needed 63:

Put them together and what do you get?

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo!

I found putting this quilt together quite liberating because I really had no idea what it was going to turn into.  Having seen the wonderful array of Siblings Together quilts at the Retreat, I needed no further motivation to get this pieced so that I have time to quilt it (eeek!) in plenty of time for next year's call for quilts.

And also this plus my Bee quilt should use up the last of my blasted Rouenneries fabric that I bought too much of when I was terrified of running out of it for my Apple Crisp quilt.  Being a pedantic self-disciplinarian (not that you'd know from my messy house and numerous bars of Dairy Milk), I have it in my head that I am duty-bound to use my fabric on a FIFO basis.  I have already agonised over this in this post and even though I know my Curly Watts approach is not logical, I can't help myself.

So hurrah for breaking out some new fabric and maybe even breaking my own rule and going straight for those lovely Oakshotts ......

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Mothers and quilters

Having seen this mosaic many times ... and how true it is:

I was very happy to see another one on Miss Rosie's blog for quilters ... also true:

Monday, 12 August 2013

Paper piecing is not my strong suit

I have my computer back, hurrah!  It is like regaining feeling in a lost limb.  I have felt rather cut off from the world without it, not least because we then all decamped to the West Country for a week, where the 21st Century has still yet to arrive in some places.  What the South West needs is a nice big MOTORWAY.

Although given that any road in the South West is liable to be roped off with orange string at any given moment to allow a herd of 200 cows to pass by, perhaps this wouldn't be such a good idea.

Not much sewing going down last week as we were too busy driving along wiggly roads and trying in vain to wear out the children with a variety of exciting activities.  In fact all we succeeded in doing was exhausting ourselves whilst the children went into overdrive, although we did manage to watch most of the first series of Breaking Bad once they finally went to bed.

So a bit of a catch up first - here's what I was working on just before the Retreat - my final block for the FQR Bee:
This was actually February's block but I was so scared of paper piecing that I put it off until June.  Bad girl! 

The fabric we got was Sew Stitchy by Aneela Hoey, and we got free rein on the block except that it had to be sewing related.  I was blown away by some of the blocks the other girls did, such as this one by KettleBoiler:
... and this one by Dandelion Liz:

Er, pressure!  It took me a long time to draft the pattern from a fuzzy picture I found on Google Images, and then a great big panic when I realised there wasn't a lovely straight line to sew down at the end.  Thankfully it didn't end up with a big crease in the middle - just as well, as I don't do unpicking if I can get away with it.

I have also just finished my Siblings Together quilt top so hopefully will have a blog post about that very soon too x