More stuff

Thursday, 26 July 2012

I was blind, but now I see

I have always been a prints girl.  Whenever a new collection comes out, I look for my favourite print.  I love dots, checks, little flowers, swirls, paisley.  Prints, prints, prints.

When I see "solids" on a fabric website, I think background.  99% of the time I think cream or white.  To go with my prints. Prints, prints.

The first time I saw solids in a different light was when I saw this quilt by Judith:

In the flesh it is totally amazing.  It is called Comet and the back shows the comet "exploding".  It is quilted with 2 different variegated threads.  Perhaps that's why I like it so much, I thought.

Then earlier this week I chanced upon THIS:

Totally solids, totally groovy.  I LOVE THIS QUILT!  I am such a child of the 70s.

Pile O' Fabric

Alyssa at Pile O'Fabric is hosting a Totally Groovy Quilt Along of this amazing Groove quilt.  I so want to join in - I have printed off all of the Kona solids from the Village Haberdashery website and have pulled out 2 sets of 5 that I think would make an amazing quilt.  If I could get hold of a Kona colour card I think I would be a bit less nervous about which colours to choose.

I am teetering on the edge of joining this fabulous quilt-a-long - the only thing stopping me being my duty to not buy any more fabric and instead chop into my stash (which, obviously, is all prints!).  I am not even scared of the curved piecing!

Help me decide!  Argh!
Gertie xxx

Sunday, 22 July 2012


Very quick post to apologise for the lack of posting, which also reflects the lack of sewing ... this is due to a snotty, mildly feverish, and teething 18-month-old who is keeping me up for large portions of the night and being very clingy in the day.  Hopefully this will pass soon!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Beatles in stitch!

Have you seen these Beatles stitcheries on the BBC and the Liverpool Echo websites?

Photo courtesy of Liverpool Echo website

My favourite band combined with my favourite hobby!  Love it!

Gertie xxx

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Progress mid-July

Not much going on in the Pye household this week aside from waiting for the Summer Holidays to begin.  I am keeping everything crossed that this 3 and a half months of rain might finally be coming to an end just in time for the school holidays.  That would make things much easier!

Stitchy progress has been slow but not entirely static.  I haven't done any Apple Crisp or Dolce Jelly Roll quilt, but I have been plugging away at the Union Jack pillow.  It is now all quilted on the top, and the backs are cut & lined and waiting for binding strips to be attached before I sew them onto the back of the pillow:

I really must sort the lighting in my photos.  The quilting is probably clearest on the green but basically in all of the coloured areas I have straight line quilted according to the fabric pattern.  The border is only lightly quilted on the main red and green horizontal and vertical lines.

Also I have been building up the hexagons but I am not loving it so I am tempted to turn this into a cushion:

I should then have enough hexagons to make another cushion to keep it company, and perhaps a Christmas stocking as I have Camille's "Merry" pattern - see the hexagon stocking in the foreground:

Off to do a bit of hand stitching on the baby's Bucilla felt applique stocking now - here's the kit from the Colray Crafts website:
I have modified it slightly because on the kit, the name is on the reverse of the big candy cane in the corner.  However, on daughter #1's stocking, the name runs across the top cuff of the stocking and so I don't want daughter #2 lamenting that her name is hidden whilst her big sister's is emblazoned for everyone to see.  So I have converted the top into a red / green / very thin white strip and cut out a strip of white with the name on in the centre.

Although Christmas seems a long way away, I only actually have just over 4 full months until the beginning of Advent so I can't afford to slack on this one, especially if I keep getting waylaid by hexagons.

Gertie xxx

Friday, 13 July 2012

Hexagon trauma

I have been steadily making hexagons in the evenings over the last month ... I am up to about 150 now.  I had not made them before and was quietly impressed with how quick it is to get a little pile going:

I then printed out some hexagon paper as suggested by Bonnie at Quiltville, whose epic hexagon medallion quilt is the inspiration for my hexy layout:

I really like the effect that Bonnie gets from using just 3 colours, as I have only 3 colours too.
So, today I did my first hexy rosette, which will form the very centre of the quilt:

Now I like this very much.  But goodness me it took a very long time.  I am trying to make my stitches nice and small so that you can't see them but it just seemed to take an age.  Maybe I have been spoilt by the super-zippy hexy basting stage.  I was hoping to do a quilt as big as Bonnie's extended epic but now I think I might just do the central hexagon:

Maybe I'll just see how it goes.

Gertie xxx

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Finish-a-long Q3

I was very happy to stumble upon the Q3 Finish-a-Long over at Rhonda Quilter in the Gap because there's nothing like a little peer pressure to gee you along with those pesky WIPs that just won't do themselves.

2012 Finish-A-Long

I am only going to put down those projects which I think are achievable, and the first in particular is one that I have sort of fallen out of love with, but I was in love with once, so surely I can be in love with again if I can just get it finished.  Okay, here goes:

(1) Rouenneries - Apple Crisp

This picture was taken when I had done 18 of the 63 blocks.  I have now done 60, so I am on the home straight.  All borders etc are cut, so I expect the only tricky bit will be deciding the layout as this is quite a big quilt and I don't have a design wall, unless you count the spare bed.  This old friend has been rumbling along since January 2010, so I really need to knock it on the head.

(2) Union Jack paper piecing

Since this photo, I have machine quilted all of the central red area and all but 2 of the green triangles.  I then want to quilt the border a little, then get it made up into a pillow.

(3) Dolce Jelly Filled
This is a jelly roll pattern for my daughter's bed which I have chopped from Dolce by Tanya Whelan, so it is all ready to go.  I think I might try to involve her with making it too.  Once this one is done I am going to do an identical one for Siblings Together.

Other WIP
These are things that I am going to continue working on, but which I am not putting on the list as I know I won't be able to get them to completion by the end of Q3:

(1) Hexagons - just going to keep plugging away at these whilst deciding final layout
(2) Bucilla felt applique stocking - for daughter #2 - before she notices her sister has one and she doesn't
(3) Bee blocks - I am quietly impressed that I managed to turn July's block around in a single sitting and so am feeling a bit less apprehensive about blocks from future months sidelining my other projects

Gertie xxx

Monday, 9 July 2012

Bee Block July

After the FQ Retreat, I have to admit I felt a little bereft when it was all over.  It was similar to the feeling I had as a child being taken home after a birthday party.  I wanted the fun to carry on for a while, even though I knew I had to go back to reality and we would all have to wait until next year.

Jersey Sue confessed that she had "Bee Envy" after the Retreat, and I knew exactly what she meant.  We had seen the charismatic Brit Bee group all together in person for the first time, holding up Terri's Project 51 quilt:

It is just the most wonderful creation.  I wish photographs could always do justice to the wonder of needlecraft but unfortunately they can't.  Even my close up doesn't show how vibrant this quilt looks in the flesh:

The back was funky too!

Sue put feelers out asking if anyone would be interested in starting a new Bee group, with a view to meeting up again next year.  So many of us jumped at the chance that we have 2 separate groups within our Bee - the Bumble Bees and the Honey Bees.

I am in the Bumble Bee group, and our first Queen Bee is the lovely Kelly of Jeliquilts.  Yes, she with the Melody Miller viewfinders bag that I wish to steal:

For July, Kelly has asked us all to make a huuuuuuge 19" block with random circles appliqued on it.  Now even though I have read a zillion online tutorials about how to do machine applique, I have always been too chicken to try it.  Until now, that is - here is the block I made this morning in Kelly's lovely rainbow colours:

In fact one of the main reasons I chose to join a Bee is to get me out of my little comfort zone and to try new things.  I thought this would take me hours and hours and be littered with mistakes, but in fact it is a really straightforward technique (thank you Mr Bondaweb) and I really enjoyed it.

Gertie xxx

Saturday, 7 July 2012

My social weekend

Since my kiddiwinks were born, I can count on one hand how many nights out I have been on.

Which is why this week is veeeery strange...

I went out on Thursday night for a nice civilised dinner ...

.... I am going out tonight for what may be an odd combination of civilised buffet / disco bop ...

 Hmmmm.  I am not planning on making too many shapes on the dancefloor.  First of all I am too old, and secondly I have to be compos mentis tomorrow as in the morning I am off to North London to my very first London Modern Quilt Guild meeting!

I am not as scared as I might be as I have already met some of these lovely ladies and seen the great work that they have done on their John Lewis quilts.  My favourite is the Andy Warhol Queen!

Can't wait!
Gertie xxx

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Getting stuck

I have oodles of sewing projects going on - more than I would normally have - but somehow I seem to get stuck not knowing which one to carry on with and so end up doing none of them.

Being a bit of a flibbertygibbet (sp?), I flit easily from one thing to another, especially if I hit a boring bit of a project, like borders or sorting out my backing.  So I established my "no more starting new things until you have finished an ongoing project" rule.  This rule worked quite well until I came home from the Retreat with 3 unfinished items ...

 e.g. Union Jack quilt - 1/4 done at Retreat, 3/4 done at home, red bits quilted, need to quilt the green bits...

....along with a real hankering to try new stuff.

One of my hankerings is for bags.  Bags bags bags.  I have seen so many cool bags on blogs, and making the frame purse has made me believe that I can do it.  In particular I found that Christine, who I met in the first EPP class at the Retreat and also is a member of the London Modern Quilting Guild, has expertly made a number of fabulous bags like this:

Photo courtesy of Christine at

Cue spending spree - these things hit the credit card a month later and so I expect my husband might be asking some questions in the next couple of weeks.

This is Christine's gorgeous Echino version of the Nikki Tote by Michelle at Paisley Pear Quilts.  This alone was enough to make me buy the pdf pattern from Michelle's etsy shop.  And as Michelle was doing a deal on patterns, I purchased the Pretty Pleats reversible tote at the same time, because you guessed it, Christine has done one of those too - see her funky froggy version here (I can't add the photo because it keeps coming out sideways!).

Christine has been very helpful to me in her advice as to interfacing and fusible fleece, which I know very little about but which seems very important for bag-making.  So last night I put in an order with U-Handbag for the various accoutrements that I need to make the bag behave like a bag.

My only problem with this is that it is yet another project when I haven't finished the others on my list!  I have an unusually social few days coming up, which is no bad thing for the soul, but a very bad thing for my sewing output.  Hopefully I will have time to make some real progress on my endless WIPs before school breaks up for the summer holidays.

Gertie xxx

Monday, 2 July 2012

Siblings together

Today please spare a thought for young folk in the care system who, through no fault of their own, are separated from their siblings and risk losing what should be a life-long relationship with their own family.
Swim, Bike, Quilt

When you have siblings, growing up in an ordinary 2.4 family, they can annoy the heck out of you.  I rather take it for granted that I have an older brother and that he was around all the time when I was growing up.  I have never particularly considered what it would have been like had we been separated.  Our adult relationship, although perfectly pleasant, is intermittent and based almost entirely on things that we shared in childhood.  So if our shared childhood had been taken away, I'm not sure what sort of relationship we could maintain today.

A lovely lady called Delma grew up in the care system herself and was separated from her siblings and subsequently found these relationships had been irrevocably damaged.  She decided to set up a charity to try to keep children in touch with separated siblings, so that as they grew up they would have a connection to their real family and a chance to maintain a permanent relationship with their brothers and sisters. 

The care system, and finding the best way to look after vulnerable young people, is highly complex and often (usually) leads to a lot of moving around, uncertainty, and transient relationships.  Delma's idea was to set up summer camps for children to be reunited with their siblings for a short time and to keep that relationship going.

(Photos courtesy of Siblings Together)
However, the camp is for a short time and the continuing separation is for much longer, so Delma wondered if the children could each take away some sort of memento to remind them of their sibling and keep the connection between them alive until the next time they met.

Luckily for her, she came across the inimitable Lynne from Lily's Quilts, and found someone who had not only the ability and the passion to make some quilts for this amazing project, but who would continue to rally support until every quilter in the country is making something for these kids.  Because Lord knows they need every bit of comfort they can get.

At the Fat Quarterly Retreat, I had taken along a 5 yard quilt backing - very pink Ta Dots that didn't seem to match anything else I had - that I didn't have any idea how I would use in the future.  I took it along to see if anyone else could find a use for it.  Someone suggested that I give it to Lynne and that she would find someone with a quilt top so that it could be finished off for Siblings Together.

I hadn't heard of Siblings Together, and when I went up to Lynne and gave her the backing, she began to cry (although to be fair, she was crying practially the whole weekend), so I thought when I got home I would look it up to see what was involved.

If you go over to Lynne's blog today, you can read her story of how she got involved in this wonderful charity.  If you can, please think about pledging to make a quilt, or getting your group to put some blocks together to make a quilt top.

I have a quilt all chopped and ready to sew for my eldest daughter which I am planning to do over the summer.  Happily I have enough fabric to make another one, so I am going to make that for another little girl who deserves to have her family around her too.

So please hop on over today!

Swim, Bike, Quilt
Gertie xxx