Monday, 27 July 2009

Made it!

I've managed to meet my self-imposed goal of finishing my Irish chain quilt in time for Number One Son's visit. I had to machine sew the binding on as time was running short and I'm a bit weary today, and washing will have to wait until after his visit, but it's done and on the bed. I must say it's come up lots larger than I anticipated, and I rather wish I'd made it 6 x 4 blocks instead of 5 x 5, but there you go. It looks great and I'm delighted with it. It's great to have it done; it's been sitting in the sewing room staring at me accusingly since I started it after Oliver's last visit.

I've started on my next large quilt, using Lynette Anderson's pattern Gordon Bear which I won in one of her giveaways. I'm using scraps for this, though I'm sticking to her suggested colour scheme. So far I've been doing it as leaders and enders, and there's no rush as it's for one of the beds in the larger guest room.

And now I need to actually buy some fabric (sorry Bec!), as I've cut up all my greens for the Gordon Bear quilt and I'm going to a workshop on Sunday to make a log cabin Christmas tree wall hanging, and need some greens. I've never had much in the way of a stash, though I'm keen to use it up so I can buy some new fabric when the sales come round.

And finally, a gratuitous photograph of Rosie sitting in the sunshine in the lounge, trying to look nonchalant after I shooed her off the new quilt.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Tied to the sewing machine

I reckon I'm going to be pretty sick of the sight of this quilt by the time it's finished! I started this a couple of months ago, and really should have finished it by now. I finished piecing the blocks some time ago, but then other things intervened and I got no further. It's intended for our small guest room, which has one single bed.

Number One Son is coming to visit next week, and will use that room, so I decided to make that a target for getting it finished. So, over the past three days I've quilted three rows of five blocks. I'm using a quilt-as-you-go method, which means quite a lot of extra work as the blocks have all to be joined together once they're quilted, but, oh, the quilting is so much easier. I reckon that if I take the next two days to finish the rows then I should be able to join the rows on Sunday and bind it and wash it on Monday, ready for Oliver's arrival on Tuesday.

Watch this space!

Friday, 17 July 2009

That's a bit better

Following a couple of suggestions to improve my FIL's quilt, I appliqued some stars over the worst of the puckers and now it doesn't look too bad, so I'll package it up for his birthday tomorrow.

We're leaving in an hour or so to head back to Reigate, where we used to live. We're taking the motor home to show everyone, and tonight we'll be parking it on my FIL's drive and sleeping in it there. Tomorrow we're taking Number One Son down to Brighton to meet up with Number Two Son. I can't wait. It's rare that the boys get to see each other these days, or that we get all four of us together. It won't be for long enough, but it will be so good to see them.

On Sunday morning Christopher will be running with his old running club, then we'll be heading home. Just a quick visit, but I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Thank you

A huge thank you to everyone who has responded to my recent cries for help. I've had lots of suggestions for my butterfly quilt and downloaded loads of patterns. I've also found a pattern in a magazine, so I've got loads of inspiration to choose from.

And thank you also to all the suggestions about my quilting. Those of you who said it would look better after it was washed were quite right, the puckers are still there but not so obvious now amongst all the other crinkles. A couple of people suggested putting some applique patches over the worst of the creases, and I'm certainly going to have a try at that in the next day or so. I've never tried using basting spray but I'll try and get hold of some and try that next time, and I also need to buy some more pins. I think that perhaps I hadn't put enough pins in so that the fabric wasn't well stretched. I was using a walking foot, but in a way that made it worse as it's harder to ease fabric to fit.

I think Angela hit the nail on the head though. She said "I seem to have the most problems with puckers when I quilt in one area and then come back to it again from a different direction. So I try to work in sections and finish every thing off before moving on. The crossing seams seem to cause problems, especially when you keep coming up on them from different directions. It looks like that might be what happened in your quilt. The stretchiness of the bias versus the straight of grain probably caused things to shift differently as you moved back and forth."

Aren't bloggers wonderful?

And this is nothing to do with sewing, but I thought you might like to see a photograph of an orchid that I was given for a Christmas present. It hasn't stopped flowering since then, and now has six beautiful blooms on it. I think this is its last flush though, so need to look up what to do with it after it finishes flowering.

Monday, 13 July 2009

A bit of a shame

I've been making these nine-patch squares for some time now as leaders-and-enders and found that I had enough to make a lap quilt - originally intended for my father-in-law as a birthday present, so that he could wash the one he seems to use constantly. I decided to keep things simple and easy and quilt with just straight lines. The first rows of quilting, the diagonals, went fine, no problems. But then I decided to add some extra vertical and horizontal lines of quilting too. And they puckered.

I had to make a decision. Whether to unpick the whole lot and start again or to give up on the idea of it being a gift, just finish it any way and keep it to use in the car or the garden, or for Rosie. Being somewhat less than a perfectionist, and rather lazy, and of the mindset that hates to unpick and just wants to get on and get it done, I went for the second option. It's a bit of shame as it's quite colourful and cheerful and now there's no time
left to make another for FIL. Hey ho.

Of course, absolutely typical,
the back is perfect, not a pucker in sight! I'm not keen on machine quilting, straight line or free motion, unless it's on a small project; but I can't afford to send them to the long arm quilters, though I will treat myself one of these days when I make something wonderful. So I suppose that I'll just have to persevere. Any tips?

Monday, 6 July 2009

Help needed please

Does anyone know of a good butterfly quilt pattern? The friends we went away with this weekend help to run a charity set up by their family to raise funds for sensory play equipment for brain damaged children. Their logo is a butterfly, and I offered to make a quilt for their next auction. So now all I need is a pattern. Any ideas?

Thursday, 2 July 2009

A new toy and planning for an adventure

Christopher came back from Wells with a new toy for me, a manual Singer sewing machine in good working order. He found it in a charity shop for a laughably small amount of money. I haven't yet done the research to find out how old it is, but it must have some sewing tales to tell. It's in very good condition and has a lovely old wooden case. I'm certainly going to try my hand at sewing with it sometime.

Tomorrow, we're off on our first adventure in the new motorhome - christened Ronnie (it's a Swift Escape, get it?). We're going to Tewkesbury, which is about two hour's drive from here, for the weekend. Some neighbours of
ours who also have a motorhome have offered to come with us and show us the ropes. I've spent the last ten days stocking it up, sorting out bedding and sewing a few bits and bobs.

So, in honour of the occasion, I made myself a new bag, using a U-Handbag pattern, the Expandable Pack it in Tote. It will hold masses of holiday stuff. I've also made a new case for my camera, something I've been planning to do for ages.

Check in to my other blog and I'll try to take you on a mini-tour of Tewkesbury camp site and town.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009


It's another ferociously hot day here in the UK and very humid again, so it's a day for enjoying the sunshine from the coolness of the inside of our house. The older part of the house has walls that are about two foot thick, and made of stone, so it really does keep the heat out, and in during the winter. At the moment I'm sitting in my bedroom which has windows on both sides of the room, so there's a cross draft as well, so it's reasonably bearable. I've just been outside to hang out the washing; the heat should dry it quickly, but the humidity will probably mean that it will take all day.

So, as you can imagine, I wore the socks purely for the photograph and then whipped them off again quickly. It's the first time I've knitted with four needles, so as I'm feeling pretty chuffed with myself. I'm slightly mystified why the pattern looks so different on each sock, but there you go. They've even turned out much the same size! I need to learn a different way of casting on as the tops are a little snug, but I shall certainly have another go soon.