Friday 22 March 2013


Whenever I make something I get very enthusiastic about it and take hundreds of pictures.

About five minutes after posting them I always have that feeling you get when you say something inane in a loud voice at a party at exactly the same time as the noise suddenly drops. So, I know it's sad really but I was very excited to have a quilt featured on In Color Order.   By the way have you come across the Humblebrag yet?  It so is a requirement for blogging;-)  Having learned the art of the hashtag from one of my favourite bloggers I will be now be using #humblebrag at every opportunity.

My quilt didn't place in the Emerald Quilt Challenge, but look at the winners - they are amazing.

Going off to be a slow blogger for a bit. Sewing machine is being fixed and we both need some RandR!

Monday 18 March 2013

"Claiming Your Blog" - Don't Panic!

Yes, the plug is being pulled on Google Reader in July.   If you happen to use Google Reader to read blogs in one place, you will probably want to find another reader, but there's no hurry.   If you don't use Google Reader, carry on as normal!  Whatever the case may be your own blog is safe, and it's still at the same web address it ever was.

So don't panic when you read references to "claiming" your blog!     Claiming in this context is not staking out a claim, reserving a space, or anything like that.    If you do currently use GR to read your blog subscription list and happen to want to switch to Bloglovin, you may be curious to know who is reading you using Bloglovin.   If you have "claimed" it Bloglovin can send you info about who is subscribing to it, but your blog won't disappear if you don't claim it on Bloglovin and others can still read it on Bloglovin or anywhere else.

When Bloglovin talks about claiming, what they want is to be sure that you are the owner of that blog so they can send you stats on it.  You know if you subscribe to a newsletter by email, you enter your email address, and generally you receive an email in which you have to click a link to verify your email address and activate it - it's kind of like that.

When you follow their procedure for claiming you end up with a link in your post inviting others to follow you on Bloglovin. That doesn't mean that you now exist only on Bloglovin, it's just a clever bit of advertising on their part.  And if you see this link on a post by one of your favourite bloggers, you don't have to click it!  You can still find and read them wherever you like.

So take your time looking at Readers to decide which interface you like best for reading your own list.   That decision is the only action you have to take and you don't even have to do that if you are currently happily reading blogs some other way.   No decision you make affects how anyone else reads your blog.   You don't have to "be" on Feedly, Bloglovin or anywhere else!

Saturday 16 March 2013

Bloglovin vs Feedly

Like everyone else who uses Google Reader, I'm checking out the alternatives.

I've been having a poke around on Bloglovin, and so far the only thing I don't like about it is that compared to Reader, where I can scroll through full recent posts from the blogs I subscribe to, in Bloglovin you see a partial preview and then have the option of opening up the blog within the Bloglovin window.  

This seems laborious and time-consuming, and I think that anyone who has a Bloglovin readership is going to have to make sure their best pic is located in the first paragraph of their post as a hook to counteract any tendency for the reader just to move on to the next blog!

On the other hand, the transition to Bloglovin is very straightforward.

Given the number of mentions I'm seeing I suspect that there's going to be a mass migration to Bloglovin, but I'm off to look at Feedly next.  In the meantime, I found a comparison of the features of Bloglovin and Feedly here.

What do you think?

Friday 15 March 2013


Excuse me while I just join the other bloggers testing out Bloglovin, since Google Reader will expire in July.   I have to post the following link in order to "claim" my blog on Bloglovin (ie to have Bloglovin verify that it is my own blog).

 Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Slow Bloggers Unite!

Time to invite all Slow Bloggers to celebrate their achievements small or large with a linky party. You can link up to show off a single project, or why not share something that inspires you, introduce yourself if you're new to the linky, or let us know what other adventures life has thrown at you recently.

Of course, if you have been having a very FAST month, you can celebrate it here too!  The last few weeks have been reasonably productive for me - it's just been great to have some time and mojo.

Tiny happy improv quilt: Pond Weed: Emerald: Curved improv miniEmerald

Now my sewing machine has stopped working and a tag team of ill children means I haven't been able to take it to be fixed so I'm probably about to go very slowly again!   The point of the Linky is to take the pressure off when life gets in the way or that sewing mojo has gone walkabout.  If you worry about disappearing off the face of the blogosphere, you will always have a place to come.

So, if you are a temporary or permanent Slow Blogger do link up below (link now working)!  Spread the word by including one of the buttons in your linky post or sidebar, and please encourage other Slow Bloggers by visiting them and commenting since Slow Bloggers need all the support they can get:-)

Wednesday 13 March 2013

In pursuit of a good quilt photo

They say that Scotland can have four seasons in a day,  but this is how much it can change in 40 minutes of walking up and down trying to take good pictures of a quilt:

There was an arctic blast of wind, and I kept pinning the fingers of my glove to various surfaces instead of my quilt.   And the quilt kept blowing away.

It's all gone today!

Sunday 10 March 2013


I am so happy to finish this quilt in time to link it up for the Pantone Emerald Quilt Challenge :

I wanted this quilt to be all about the effect that light has on surfaces and colours and so I used green Oakshott cottons that I had left over from another project. These cottons catch and reflect light differently depending on the way they are cut, so I thought I could use this quality and five shades of green in a block representing the facets of an emerald held in a clasp setting. It is all made from the same size HSTs.  I bordered it with linen to add contrast and to suggest the rough rock it comes from.

This rather dim picture taken pre-quilting shows a bit better the effect of the direction of cutting on the reflection of light and you can also see that I used very slightly different shades of the palest green.

It is machine quilted in the middle, using matched threads, to emphasis the sharp lines of the central block, and hand quilted over the rest in two strands of sand cotton, again for contrast.

When it came to binding, my sewing machine stopped working!  I made the binding by hand and laboriously hand stitched it on (and unpicked the dodgy bits and restitched it on...).  My hand stitching was a lot improved after about five hours of this:-) The binding includes scraps of each of the five greens.

Other details: the quilt is approx 26 inches square, so I am entering it in the Mini category.  I am very, very happy with it - although I learned a lot about how I wouldn't do it next time!

It is a difficult quilt to photograph, just because just like an emerald the colour of the Oakshott really shows when it catches the light. Here's my grandmother's engagement ring to show that the emerald is a good match!

It matches the Quilt Challenge button too!

2013 Emerald Quilt Challenge

The challenge linky is open until 17th March and there are some really amazing quilts, tops and minis there.  You can visit the linky here or just click on the button to go to the flickr pool.

2013 Emerald Quilt Challenge

Friday 8 March 2013

It was all going so well...

...but just as I started to make the binding for Emerald my beloved sewing machine has developed a mechanical problem.


Thursday 7 March 2013

Really Random Thursday

I thought I'd share my view over the weekend.

Resolutely ignoring each other!  I think these cats are playing "Cat Chess" - as described by Terry Pratchett.

I like the way that cats (and dogs) feature so often in their owner's sewing blogs.  Mine likes to make his presence known, generally inappropriately, as in this recent protest against my paying attention to something else, demonstration of mousing skills:

or in this mis-timed concern as I lay on the floor trying to take a photograph.

Apparently this sort of thing has been going on for centuries.

Linking up to the fun at

Live A Colorful Life

Wednesday 6 March 2013

WIP Wednesday

It's lovely to have WIPs for show and tell!

My daughter has been making paper snowflakes and I really loved this:

As soon as I saw it, I wanted to dig out the Essex yarn dyed linen, and Liberty.

With a bit of perle cotton, it's turning into this:

The perle cotton is just lovely to use for satin stitch - my stitching needs work, but it's much better than floss - and for blanket stitch round the applique.

I'm not sure whether to add something else to it or not.  I'm also not sure what, if anything, this will turn into - a mat, a framed piece, or part of a bigger project.  Some stuff just lives in the cupboard after it has fulfilled its job as a learning experience:-)

I think I have settled on threads for quilting Emerald, the quilt I am making inspired by the Pantone Emerald Quilt Challenge.  I've been thinking of machine quilting the central motif, and handquilting the rest so I have been testing out some rustic stitching on fabric/batting scraps.  (If you are interested in utility stitching, check out Elizabeth's blog.)

Thank you for visiting!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Fabric Tuesday

This is the latest thing to emerge from the pile of scraps I have been playing with this week.  It's just a very tiny thing curve-pieced from strings of Klona. I have started keeping everything and these strings are probably 1.5 cm wide at the most. I quilted it with variegated thread and added some beads.


Or pond weed?!

It's been a distraction from making my mind up about quilting Emerald - sometimes you have to do that!  I like these Klona cottons more and more - they have a lovely sheen and the colours are very intense.

PS, Welcome Marjorie, my 100th reader!  I think most gave up long ago, and inevitably someone will get fed up of my wittering (or maybe bored of my latest obsession with blue/green scrappy piecing) and unsubscribe, but I am very grateful!

Monday 4 March 2013

Calling Slow Bloggers!

After a bit of thought I have decided to move the Slow Bloggers Linky to the 15th of each month.

Probably most of us blog so we can engage with other people and worry about dropping off the radar when we don't feel we have much creative productivity to show.  Slow Bloggers may not always be able to get a lot done - but any act of creativity is a triumph over inertia and the other demands of life!

That's why I set up the linky.  You can link up to show off a single project, or several if you have had a good month, share what inspires you, or just let us know what other adventures you've been having.  Link up if even you're only an occasional Slow Blogger and a creative whirlwind the rest of the time!

The aim is to take the pressure off and provide a bit of an antidote to the feeling that you have to keep up.  But I don't mind if it's just me and the sound of whistling tumbleweed!    I had a lovely email from a blogger who said that she got a sense of calm every time she saw the button at the top of her blog - that's what it's about.

Knotted Cotton

Friday 1 March 2013

New to me - Tiny Happy Improv Quilt

Fiona has a great linky going here.  I have added the button to my side bar as a reminder to be adventurous and try new things. Today I'm linking up a tiny piece of scrappy improv which I did last night (I am so happy to be on a creative roll at last).  It's the first time I have done this, and also tried anything more complicated than line quilting, wonky, wavy or straight.

I really loved doing it.

 It is quilted using my Guterman sulky threads in solid green and variegated shades.  It surprised me how much the colour of the fabrics appears to change, depending on the fabric it's next to or the thread it's quilted with.

This was such fun to do, and I can't wait to do more, but I'll have to hone my mitreing skills.  This binding is only just 1/4 inch and it was fiddly.

Fiona's jewellery making also inspired another new project.  These are flat periwinkles - they come in so many different beautiful colours and I have hoarded a collection of them.  They are so jewel-like I thought I would try a bit of wire wrapping.

My attempts are pretty inept, and I'm not sure this is going anywhere but it's fun.  Thank you Fiona for all the inspiration!


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