More stuff

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