Thursday 30 May 2013

Really Random Thursday - Reasons to be Cheerful

My daughter designed and sewed this while I wasn't paying attention. I don't take any credit for it at all - it just makes me really happy that she did this all by herself!

Other reasons to be cheerful this week: sunny weather!  The flowers are coming out,

and so are the creatures.  I really love stripey snails.

Things are always interesting close up and I love that my camera can show the flowers on this tiny grass/sedge(?).

This satellite picture of a strange planet is actually a huge lichen.

Of course things aren't always sweetness and light and we are not the Walton family!  This always cheers me up though.

Live A Colorful Life

Saturday 25 May 2013

New to Me in May

I'm linking up today with Fiona at Celtic Thistle, for New to Me in 2013.

This month, I've been making Artist Trading Cards for the Textile ATC swap organised by Ali at Very Berry Handmade.  I have to admit that until I saw the one that Ali had made, I didn't really see the appeal of ATCs, but the challenge of making something so tiny (at 2.5 x 3.5 inches) is such an interesting one, and possibly I'm slightly addicted. It's the kind of project which keeps you lying in bed at night plotting.

It's a fun way of trying out new techniques on a small scale too.  I posted this one earlier this week, which was made using a mixture of piecing, and reverse applique.

Then I made this one, which uses curved piecing on a really small scale, together with some machine and hand embroidery.

Then last night, inspired by all the Union Jack quilts popping up, I made this Liberty one just to see if it was possible.  It's also by way of a tribute to our swap Leader!

I wondered if I might be able to foundation piece it, but chickened out and went for applique in the end.  I sewed it together using Bondaweb as a foundation though, which meant that when I sewed the backing on face to face and turned it right side out I could iron it to affix it to the backing fabric for a bit of rigidity. I think it would look better pieced so will have to pluck up courage.

Thanks to Fiona for spurring me on to try something new! In the bloggy world of quilts where I lurk it's fun to see what new things other people have been getting up to too.

Sunday 19 May 2013

New Leaf

I'm not very good at signing up for things because it takes me ages to think about a project and then to get on with it, but I couldn't resist the Textile ATC Swap at VeryBerryHandmade, partly it's such lovely idea, and partly because these Artists Trading Cards are so small at 2.5 x 3.5 inches that it seemed a manageable commitment.

Very Berry Handmade

Small doesn't mean fast at all!  It took me the whole afternoon yesterday to make this, but it was so much fun.

I'm now totally hooked and as I'm not sure whether my secret partner would like it I'm going to try and make another couple.  Incidentally, the theme of the swap is Something New - so this is a new leaf, possibly as in "turning over a new leaf" and getting my creative finger out.  You can see progress of all the really lovely ATCs in the flickr group.

By the way, if you are looking for something to sign up to without any commitment and accompanying guilt what about the Me Me Me Bee which Moira Kettle Boiler is running - read more about it here.  Inspired!  No deadline, no-one to make for but yourself - I can cope with that, but only after I have finished the pay-it-forward gifts I owe.

Friday 17 May 2013

Emerald - Blogger's Quilt Festival

If you are visiting from the Blogger's Quilt Festival welcome to my blog!    If you're already a reader, apologies as you might have seen too much quite a lot of this quilt already.    Anyway, here is Emerald which I am entering in the Wall Hanging category.

I am still a quilting novice and feeling my way style-wise but I was really happy when I finished this one because it is very me!  Emerald was originally made for the Pantone Colour Challenge using five shades of green Oakshott cottons, and sand linen (maker unknown).   I wanted to use the different colours of shot cotton and the way that they reflect the light depending on how you work with the grain of the fabric to suggest the cut facets of an emerald in a claw setting.

If I tell you the central square on point in this WIP shot is made from one fabric you can maybe see how the way you orientate the fabric changes the tone, and you can also see the effect where two very slightly different shades are used side by side.

Picking threads
Although I wanted to suggest the shininess of the emerald with the shot cottons I wanted the rest of the quilt to be quite quiet, so I used linen round for contrast and to represent the rough stone where the uncut emerald came from and bound it in the same linen with scraps of the Oakshott.  

To add to the rough texture of the linen I hand quilted this part, but machine quilted the emerald block using matching threads a quarter inch inside the seams.

Then I had to take lots of photographs of it in different places:-)

This is my favourite picture, in the snow.

Quilt details:

: entered in the Wall Hanging category
: approximately 26 inches square
: made using Oakshott cotton and linen
: hand quilted using a matching thread in the linen
: machine quilted, again using matching threads inside the seams of the Oakshott triangles
: bound with linen and scraps of Oakshott

Thank you very much to Amy, for all the work involved in organising the BQF.  It's inspirational looking through all the entries so I'm just off there now.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Party on

Moira is the hostess with the mostess at the Slow Blog Linky party today, for people who occasionally find that life gets in the way of being creative.  You don't have to drop out of the loop - there is plenty of time before the link closes, so join in and hang out with some fellow slow bloggers.

After a slow start to the year work has been really busy this month - I'm a gardener, and have clients, an allotment and garden volunteering stuff I do at the children's school so things have been a bit mad.  My own garden is tiny so I have to make the most of pots.

The cat has decided that the pot on the left is actually a cushion installed specially for him.

Also although in my head I'm still about 26 I seem to have turned into a mummy and am endlessly ferrying small kids from one class or social event to another - not sure how that happened.

It wasn't all work though because I made the round trip of 280 miles and dropped off the children at their grandparents for the first time, and got to spend a weekend with my husband.  There was a lot of culture (well, alright, it did include Iron Man 3), eating and drinking, and just sitting. We found these shoes - wonder what the story is behind them.  I hope that someone very young and happy walked home barefoot and carefree after dancing the night away.

With the luxury of no interruptions we also managed to build and instal a coat rack down our stairway - we know how to live the high life!

And I did manage to make a quilt!  I got really lucky and managed to score some Nummer fabric from Ikea - the one you see on the back of hundreds of quilts because it's mega-cheap and goes with no end of different fabrics.   I've made many trips out to Ikea and they either weren't carrying it, or someone else had beaten me to it, but this time it was in. Yay!  (Of course I had to buy 7 yards.  Also I think there's a unit of currency, called an Ikea, which represents the minimum amount you can get away with spending on all those bargains in the Marketplace.)

Do you think there's any chance of making another quilt in four days and entering it in the Blogger's Quilt Festival?  

What about you?  I'm looking forward to hearing what other Slow Bloggers have been up to.

Knotted Cotton

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Slow Bloggers Unite

Hey fellow Slow Bloggers!  

You might have had a quiet month, or an amazingly productive one, but don't forget you can join this month's Slow Blog linky - being hosted tomorrow by the lovely Moira at Kettle Boiler - to show off your month of creativity against the odds, celebrate one great make, or just tell us about the obstacles life put in the way.

Knotted Cotton

Sunday 12 May 2013

Siblings Together Quilt 3 - Through the window

 I had hoped to finish this up on Friday, but it's done, Hooray!, and I'm linking up to Plum and June's Let's Get Acquainted linky, hosted today by Alyce at the lovely Blossom Heart Quilts.  If you are visiting - hello!  This quilt is for the charity Siblings Together (find out more  here).

 It is made using a bundle of Joel Dewberry's Aviary I won in a giveaway at Red Pepper Quilts, and I struggled to think how to use such large prints before settling on a window-pane design.  I like the thought of looking out at the little birds.

I bound it in the same white as the body of the quilt (Klona cotton), but I added in scraps of the patterned fabric on each side.

It is backed with Ikea Nummer...

and you can just make out the little cross stitches hand-tying it together in the patterned blocks where I didn't want to machine quilt.  I unpicked and redid my first attempt after Karen very kindly wrote to say how she did it here.  These stitches took me a whole afternoon - there were 80 of them!

I also unpicked the lines of hand-quilting I tried in the wider white sashing when my daughter, who had been watching me work, said in a very kindly voice "well, it's not what I would have chosen to do, but it looks very nice"!

I hope the teenage girl who will receive this quilt through the charity Siblings Together likes it.  Someone does. These fabrics have really grown on me and I'd rather like to keep it too!

I just have to wash it and post another pic (or ten) of it looking crinkly.

You can see some of the great quilts people are making for Siblings Together in the Flickr Group.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

WIP Wednesday

[edited: managed to post with a para and photo missing. Trying again.]

Thank you very much to everybody who commented on my last post and made such helpful suggestions for quilting this Siblings Together quilt - I really appreciate it.

I'm back with an update!    I was supposed to be working yesterday but was stuck in with an ill child so, I spent the day tenderly ministering seized the chance and went ahead and did some machine quilting.  I pretty much stuck to my original plan and started by shadow quilting the patterned rectangles.

I then went twice round each block of four.

And then once round the outside of the whole thing.

I'm a bit concerned by the puffy central cross (possibly I just should have ironed it before photographing. And photographed it in the sun.).  Some hand quilting would definitely help knock it down, but at the moment I really like the unfussy simplicity and quiet plain-ness of it.

The final decision still to be made though is what to do with the patterned blocks. I didn't want to quilt them and Marit and Sandra had suggested hand tying them, which is the perfect solution.  I tried a couple of things and unpicked it, then I tried some cross stitches.

Something along these lines is definitely the way to go but I am worried it looks a bit crap and have to do a bit more experimentation!

After that I just have a bit of snagging to do.  It's my mission to have this done, dusted and washed by Friday since I only seem to be capable of working on one thing at a time (thanks for your tolerance:-)) and am itching to start a new project.  I'm linking up with the awe-inspiring lists of WIPs at:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Thursday 2 May 2013

Reasons to be Cheerful....

Having exactly enough (no more, no less) basting spray in the tin!

I like how the tin matches the quilt!

 This is my quilt for the charity Siblings Together - it's intended for a teenage girl.  I have plans for a bit of hand quilting...

combined with some straight line machine quilting, but don't know how to do it.

I was wondering about boxes inside boxes.  I don't want to quilt across the patterned fabric but these rectangles are approximately 7x9 inches.  Probably best to sleep on it (again).

I'm linking up, for the first time in ages to:

Lily's Quilts


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