Thursday, 29 August 2013

Which quilting design?

Dancing nine patch baby quilt
I'm fairly sure my college won't be looking to see what's going on so here is a pic of the baby quilt ready for sewing-I can't decide on  a design to sew!  Any suggestions?   

I want to sew in the blue squares fairly densely, leave the red and the yellow, and densely quilt the border. Even after looking at Leahs site I can decide!

Gingko leaves
 I was playing around trying things out last night.  I realised my travel stitching needs mere work!  Then I came up with this design for gingko leaves that I quite like (wibbly borders, no smooth curves, I can manage that!). 

I may use this as a background filler for the cream areas on 'Moth in a Window', another one that looks to be done by the end of the year.
Moth In the Window layout trial

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Oh! Shedloads of ideas for free motion quilting

Have a look at Flicr (or the net) for Zentangle.    If you search 'groups' there are some that have step by step instructions for building your patterns.

I have tried this myself but lack the imagination and the will to practice with a pen, stitching interests me more!
And of course, there is Leah Day, the queen of invention!

The Insomniacs Guide to Staying Awake

10pm. Browsing quilt pics on Flickr. Hm, I have enough pre-cuts for one of those for Project Linus.....................out come the strips, blocks and bricks. 2am, still not tired, but have to force a shut down as up early to take the cat for her operation. 

This should take my mind of her for the rest of the morning........then on to that baby quilt layering.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Off topic

Not much sewing done in the last two weeks. Life has conspired.   I have been taking stock of where I am and where I'm headed. I am Rubenesque girl, I have been for along while now anyway, since I stopped competitive sport.  My dad was a big  chap, I take after him in a lot of ways. These days, a lot of my interests are sedentary, which isn't doing me any favours  as I approach middle age, I can see me having similar health issues in 20 years. A lot of things have come together recently to make a reality check necessary in all areas of my life.  I have listened to other peoples life experiences, taken advice on board.   Time to stop struggling and change my health status along with a lot of other things.   I have a week off work this week, to look at jobs that need doing and put a different regime in place-literally getting my house in order!     

Happy to say that lots of quilty projects will have come together by the end of the year, as I have overcome my doubts about free motion quilting and stopped striving for immediate perfection (a character fault that often stops me trying something as I know I can't achieve it immediately!)  

This week I have to finish the baby quilt, before Master Gurr is actually here in the middle of next month! I can show you that once its completed and handed over. 

Then  this charity quilt to be bound, along with two more VE1 series table mats.  Then, four more charity quilts that are already pieced are ready for my free motion practice.  Lets face it, children aren't the quilt police!  

I have been reading a lot: losing myself in a book separates me from reality a little and gives my mind a space to ponder. I struggled getting through Moby Dick by Herman Melville for a month- it was a fascinating historical document of life on board a whaling ship, so I'm not sure why I found it so much hard work!

This weeks read is a RABCK (random act of Bookcrossing kindness)  for fellow Bookcrosser 3vie, My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurrier.  I have a lot of books bought form charity shops to read. Literally hundreds!  As a way of choosing my next read I ask Bookcrossers to pick one for me, I read it and send it to them.  On the 'to be read and sent' pile are Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, The Difference Engine by William Gibson, Creatures of the Earth by John McGahern, Treasure Island by RL Stevenson and The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.  That will keep me busy for the next 6 weeks or so!  Sadly, I can only send within the UK now s its often more expensive to post a book abroad than it is to buy a new one!

I had a couple of days on Brighton this weekend house sitting for my son. Saturday was rainy and dreary, no one about at all in the morning,  sad to see my home town like that on a bank holiday weekend.  There were eldery ladies out for the day on the pier prepared with wooly blankets!  In August! I took lots of photos for the Flickr 'empty seats' group-thankfully Sunday and Monday were warm, otherwise it could have been another financial disaster for local businesses, on the tail of last years bank holiday washouts.

Off to move furniture, I need a third coat of white on my bedroom walls, the streakiness is disturbing me! 

Sunday, 11 August 2013

A thank you to Jane

I haven't spoken to Jane for nearly 30 years, though I think about her. She is settled in America now.  Jane hand pieced me a duvet cover as a wedding present when I was first married, from scrap fabrics, something like this the days when there were no templates to be bought and everything was cut with scissors. Now I understand the work involved, whilst she was raising a young family I am still touched by that gift.    

My mum was a seamstress so I learnt to sew, it was part of my DNA. Now, I pretty much only sew patchwork.  That is, due to the influence of these two women.  Mum, thanks for passing on your skills.  Jane, thank you for the gift all those years ago, thank you for those hours of hand stitching. Sadly, it's long gone.  If I had known better then, I would have patched it up and kept it living somehow.  xxx

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Free motion phobia

I have a Bernina 440QE and lots of quilt tops.  And no talent for free motion quilting.  Then I found  In one of Leah Days posts she said 'pick a pattern and quilt three tops with it'.  I had been practicing over the last month, but every time I tried sewing on one of the charity quilts I ended up unpicking it (tedious).  
Having spoilt  myself by buying the 440 QE it's crazy not to use it. So, I picked a pattern with a rhythm, rather than trying to plug away at stippling and it all looking uneven.  So many to choose from on this site! I picked one called wormhole (appeals to a sci-fi fan), practiced and adapted a little.  The front is OK, pale on pale, but the back! Not so cool in closeup!

I started quilting a border in a dark variegated pink: that came out as  it was too noticeable! I left that pink in on the bobbin as its closer to the backing and found something paler. Better!  I'm starting to get the hang of the foot control.  It's actually better now I have sped the stitching up.  This is something I want to be really good at.  I will have plenty of practice, I have six charity quilts, a baby quilt and four double tops to do! 

The centre is lightly quilted with the walking foot, the border will be a contrasting texture. 
One side down, three to go on this charity quilt.  Then it's on to the baby quilt for a work colleague, same pattern but all over and in a slightly larger scale.

Saturday, 3 August 2013


I haven't been able to settle to much sewing.  Last weekend I went to London and visited the Victoria and Albert museum, I took lots of very poor quality photos for inspiration.  This one is from the top floor, the lighting was OK as it was outdoors!

I took some 1/2" diamonds to do on the train. I did a few in my lunch break at work this week too.  I worked out I do about one a minute, 100 done.

I also did a little machine work every evening, 64 bow ties done. Mostly uglies, but they will be fine when mixed in.

We have been looking after a lost kitty for two weeks.  She is definitely lost and not a wild cat, loves her food, home comforts, knows how a household works. As its warm she's living out doors because of our own aged cat and territorial issues.  We have put up posters, but no luck. I think a work colleague will take her next week. She really wants a home, she sneaked in a while ago and has discovered the joys of quilting. I don't have the heart to turf her out. She has been asleep and relaxed for about an hour, my cat hasn't noticed, thank goodness!