Saturday, 29 November 2014

London Quilters Coming Home Exhibition 2014

This runs from 17th November-23rd December 2014 and 2nd-4th January 2015
Swiss Cottage Central Library, 88 Avenue Road, London NW3  3HA

This is such an inspirational exhibition of around 50 quilts made by beginners to clearly very advanced members of  London Quilters.  It's also, the magic word, free!  I had such a good day there today and spent quite some time at the Workshop table learning how to raw edge applique circles.  Others were sewing squares together for baby quilts and some were make cathedral window blocks.  There will be a workshop there each Saturday from 10am-4pm and all that is asked in return, is to buy a raffle ticket for this quilt made by the members:

I had two viewers choice quilts: I couldn't decide between them!  
Here they are:-
"Sarah's"  by Margaret Jarvie

The description of this really made me laugh but I can't remember exactly how it was written but something along the lines of considering applique rather than piecing curves!

"Dreaming of San Juan"  by Maggie Paykel

This quilt is made of raw edge appliqued
triangles which were then caught with 
a perle thread at each of the three points
of each triangle and then seed stitched
all over the background

A really moving quilt was "Heart of the Home" by Yana Krizka.  It has been made with her fathers' shirts.  He escaped the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939 and the maker has made many fabric transferred photos of his various passes and identity cards along with his favourite things, hand-embroidered around the main photograph.  I especially liked the flag, cleverly placed as the background.  A really sad but yet uplifting piece of work.

This is Tracy Chevaliers' "My First Quilt".  I particularly like her description:-  "It was surprising to me how similar writing and quilting can be: the meditative quality needed, the mix of planning and spontaneity, the inevitable mistakes that creep in the make you wince afterwards"

I think we've all been there!

On the way out, was a group of 18 small quilts all 12" x 12" commemorating the First World War.  I especially like these four, all made by Sabi Westaby.  However, all these mini quilts were so moving and also fittingly displayed along a wall in a quieter area on the way out of the Library.

It was such an inspiring day with lots of chatting to other quilters around the Workshop table.  I can highly recommend this exhibition!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Inchy Hexagon Flower Swap

I'm also in this  swap, swapping hexies that are an inch on each side.

I asked for icy and pastel colours for my quilt.  These are the ones I received from Jan in Georgia, USA and they are just perfect!
The photo really doesn't do them any justice - they are much brighter.  I need to really learn how to use photoshop.

I forgot to take a photo of the ones I sent to Edda in Iceland.  Damn!  Only this sneak preview one that I should have posted on the Inchy site:

Crazy Quilting Sampler with Button-Button

I'm also taking part in this swap over here.  I can't just do as I'm told so instead of making a square, I made a circle.....and covered both sides.  And, I sewed the pieces onto wadding instead of fabric.  I pieced it by the stitch and flip method explained on Julie's blog here.  I didn't sew up to the outside 1/2" and turned those to tidy the sides of each 'arm'.  I've no idea what happened on the right-hand side?!?  I just whip stitched the edges.

This will be the right side

This will be the wrong side

Then I whipped stitched the edges together to make a bowl.  I used the Christmas scraps that Michele gave me at the last Icknield Quilters evening.  

This is the bowl sewn together with some of the stitches that Julie showed here and here.  Julie uses a wall paper seam roller for pressing like I do!  You can't see the stars I embroidered up the joins on the front or the herringbone stitch joining the sides on the back or the button-hole stitch around the central circle.  Just as well, I think!!
Right way up!

Wrong way up!

I'm going to make more bowls as we had the most inspiring talk by Sheila Cetti who showed lots of her quilts and fabric and yarn bowls which she just tossed across the room to members!  You can see some images from that evening here.  I'm making a more traditional crazy quilted bowl at the moment, using the first photo on Julie's Pinterest board here and will use most of the stitches on Julies' pages.

I'm also taking part in Julie's Orange Peel Quiltalong here but just cannot decide on my fabric choices - oh make a decision! I really liked Brioni Greenberg's Petals, which was a workshop at FQR, so will likely use this colour combination.

Secret Sister package has arrived!!!!!

My Secret Sister package arrived from Celine.    OMG as the young people say.  It's just amazing.......She has a really good blog with lots of ideas and inspiration here which I can highly recommend.

This is what I found this afternoon, when I got home:
And, inside (sorry for the bad quality of the photo):
Look at the beautiful label!
A great modern quilt (and I just joined the London Modern Quilt group), a mug, a Yankee candle (I just love those), ahhhh Paris stickers, super-smooth lip butter, a sewing case and pincushion (ooohh hexies!), stitch ripper and ribbons including two really snazzy French ribbons, a notebook and 3 pretty pens and 2 bars of Green and Blacks chocolate - no, I don't know where the other bar went?   Finally, and best of all, good quality thin applique pins (I've been searching for fine applique pins for ages and these are just perfect to continue with my Green Tea workshop with Jen Kingwell at the Fat Quarterly Retreat a little while ago).  I just love the quilt and have put it on my sewing wall to remind me how important friends, especially quilty ones, are.

I've packed some hexies to piece in my new sewing kit to take out with me tomorrow for some guerrilla basting in Clinic!

Outside -  I should have left it tied up with the bow so you could see that properly

Inside - you can't quite see it but there are pockets on the right and a place for the pin cushion on the left

I'm just so thrilled with my Secret Sister swap - many, many thanks Celine - it's just perfect!

I hope my Secret Sister won't be disappointed with her small swap package.  I sent a notebook in a golfing cover 
And a cat that I adapted from my Body Farm Bears pattern.  I made the legs slightly longer and it actually stands up on it's own by pure accident design improvement.

 This swap was just amazing.  Can't wait for the next one!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Tidying the garden - who knew what I might find!?!

Can't believe my luck!  Bethany and me I me were cutting down the branches of my over-hanging trees, so that Jo Public could actually use the footpath behind my garden without fear of loosing their heads, and what did we find!

Firstly, this tree:

I know, I know.  How hard is it to loose a tree...

But, what's this?  Limes?

So, we consulted Dr Google and, guess what?

It's an conker (Horse Chestnut) tree!!!

I've lived here for 24 years and this is the first time this tree has had anything weird on it (except for the boys, when they were younger) but had they known about this, it wouldn't just have been cherry pips they threw over the fence at poor unsuspecting passers-by.  Could have been a serious problem.........

It's not all good news though.  My 'bumper' harvest of runner beans:  all 4 pods, was a huge disappointment.  Not because of the paucity number, but the un-eatable-ness (surely there's a proper word for this?).  They were woody and chewy, completely inedible (ah, there's the word).  Turns out, they were borlotti beans and should have been dried.  Well, there's always next year to exercise my black green thumb! 

But, that's not all.  We found this nest with 2 pigeon eggs in it.  I know we're not supposed to encourage pigeons, but...........

Fat Quarterly Retreat - well, most of it!

I had the most amazing time at my first Fat Quarterly Retreat. It was just so much more than I had expected:  truely lovely people, fantastic tutors,workshops - what more could anyone want......! Oh yes, a goodie bag!!!

My Friday class was the Mail Organiser, that gave  everyone here a good laugh - organised?  Really?  This is as far as I got but I think I really got to grips with foundation piecing and if my trusty old Bernina really is terminal, I now know that I want a Janome XL601.  It made me jump a few times (electric-trickery and all that new fangled stuff) but once I got used to it, well....... want one, want one, want one!  It was so quiet....

 These are everyone else's.  How did I manage to not put mine on the table?  Ah well, underneath is my stab at foundation piecing.  I think I really have got to grips with it now, at last.  Although, apparently, I haven't got to grips with Picasa!

Apparently, this is the Australian version....?

Saturday morning was my most important reason for going to FQR - screen printing with Karen Lewis.  It not only lived up to expectation but far exceeded it - I just loved this workshop!  Literally, 5 minutes from dithering to printing.

Saturday afternoon was the most amazing hand-piecing and applique workshop.  I've always done a lot of hand sewing but have managed to avoid applique, thinking it far too fiddly for my shovel hands!  I just so loved it though and will certainly do a lot more.   Jen is a really generous and encouraging teacher: 'it's that easy'  and it sooooo was.  She gave everyone a finger pincushion (that I'm sure will be never used and kept in pristine condition on it's card!) and a copy of her Green Tea and Green Beans quilt. 
This is my effort that leads a bit of pressing, although Jen told us that she never presses her blocks until the whole quilt is finished.  Don't think I can wait  until then to 'encourage' mine to lay flat!  This is as far as I got, but Jen explained hand-piecing so well and now I know that matching edges greatly improves stitching accurately on the marked lines, with only the occasional flipping over and checking.  Now I know what to do with that tiny (add a 1/4")brass wheel I've had for years!

If that wasn't enough, we then had the Strip Swap!  
from PippaP
from Nessy - eccentrically green
from Corrine - Blue Haired Manxie

from Roseanne - Roseanneduk

Followed by the Sample Swap.  These are the bears I had to swap:

These are the ones I was lucky enough to receive:
Coasters for my special ornaments made by Sonia of
Beautiful drawstring bag made by Di of
Really useful zippered bag made by Trudi of

Sadly, I didn't get to the Retreat on Sunday: my new kidney had to recover from the shock of buying all that Oakshot fabric the night before!  I'm so pleased that Sue (Libertyjsy) was kind enough to send me the raffle prize I was lucky enough to win - another Jen Kingwell pattern, the Circle Game - yippee!!  Although I missed out on the Oakshot fabric and Fractured Quilt workshop (sob..), Sue also sent me a copy of the instructions for the Fabulously Fast Quilt workshop. So, if you ever get to read this Sue, thank you!

I just can't wait for next year now and to meeting all those lovely ladies when I'm feeling a bit more on form.  Roll on 2015!!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Disorganised...? Who....? Me....?

I can hardly breathe I so excited to be going to my first retreat tomorrow.  I'm going to the Fat Quarter Retreat in London and just can't wait.  I'm not at all worried about going there on my own and I wouldn't even have known about it if I hadn't joined the Siblings Together Bee 2.  So, I am very grateful to those kind ladies who never once complained about my poor piecing or lateness!  I've not yet met a quilter I didn't like - shame that couldn't all say the same thing!  I also made a complete hash of adding my blog to their blog - I did it twice.  Sort of.  And, I'm still not sure I've done it right....ah, well!

This is my Sibling Together Bee 2 Quilt and that's the first thing on my list to finish.  I seem to remember thinking last Monday that I should, perhaps, start quilting it?  My usually trusty old Bernina just went into a complete sulk for not giving her notice in triplicate several weeks earlier, so I had to quilt it by hand.....!  Arggghhhhhhh.............  

As you can see, my son is now hideously deformed as I had to sell his right leg in order to buy more fabric. 

As I was binding it today I noticed 6 un-quilted squares but.....I don't have time to stitch them today:  I still haven't prepared the linings for the Mail Organiser workshop tomorrow.  

I'm also taking the  Screen Printing and Sweet Tea and Green Beans (I know this is the wrong title for the workshop but you will understand the name change once I mess it up completely!) on Saturday and the Fractured Quilt workshop on Sunday.

I still haven't cut all my strips for the strip swap.  Or, packed up all my sewing stuff and fabrics for tomorrow.  Or sorted out what I will be wearing (can't believe it will be in the '30's - I will explode.  I hate the sun, heat and all that hideous Summer stuff!  Roll on Winter and grey coloured slush!  We might get a thunderstorm though, so that will make up for a lot!

These are my 'body farm' bears that I am taking to the swap.  They are neither use nor decoration, as my mother used to say, so quite appropriate from me.  Get out your violins now....!

Yey!!!  Retreat tomorrow!
Off now to print name badges for my bears......ooooh nooooo!   Haven't made my name badge yet either.  Perhaps I should just write pilchard on my forehead instead.....

Good job it's not like me to leave things until the last minute..........

Saturday, 12 July 2014

I'm famous! and fat (sigh....)

Here I am in my local paper.   I was so happy to be included in the event and so enjoyed the day, chatting to people and helping to sign up many to the NHS Organ Donation Register. huge I am!

So I have been racking my brains to remember all the advice I have been given in the past to help me loose weight and here's what I remember:-
  • Plan ahead 
  • Make gallons of veggie soup 
  • Plan each day's meals beginning with 5 portions of veggies and 2     portions of fruit
  • Look up portion sizes and measure everything for the first couple of days and then once a week so portion sizes don't sneakily increase 'it's not the portion size that increased, it must have been the spoons..honest'
  • Have around 400kcal/meal but, sadly, only 3 meals a day.  Can people really survive on that?
  • If you're still really starving later in the evening God, yes I am... have a bowl of packet porridge but put it off for half an hour, when the time's up try to put it off a little longer.
  • If a meal is missed, it's gone can't have double for the next meal...
  • Drink plenty during the day apparently, not alcohol.  Strange?
  • Try to keep busy or distracted during your 'stuffing your face with abandon' time not allowed to keep busy by cooking chips or the like
  • Clean teeth when wanting to eat extra but I've just got used to the mixture of toothpaste and cheese..
  • Don't buy unhealthy food or food that you know will start a binge.  It's not good for you or your family  and you can't pretend it's for the children/friends/pets/passing burglars..

  • Aim to walk 10,000 steps a day but not to the sweetie shop Increase the number of paces until this number is achieved do not attach pedometer to dog..
  • Try to make your belly button touch your spine to ensure correct walking posture
  • Lengthen your stride to ensure hips are engaged all of them..
But, always treat yourself with love and respect.  

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Look away if you might be offended.....!

Usually, I'm quite a fuddy-duddy patchworker but just occasionally, something really sparks something...I saw Annabel Rainbow's quilt previously  (and was quite shocked that her pieces were frowned on by some with a lot of tutting and head-shaking) at the NEC.  I soon started stalking following her online and started reading a magazine that she started with her friend Linda Kemshall.  This is a free online magazine and I think it's just the bees' knees. Have a good wander around this ISSUU site, too.  I couldn't quite believe how many free, high quality magazines are on this site about all matter of subjects.

This is the second issue of the magazine, the first issue can be found here.
 And, Annabel Rainbow is the lady who's work I love.  Please don't be offended and, apologies if you are but I just think her work is honest about how our bodies truly are and these are only a small part of her work!

She has also written a free e-book about her method of working.  Of course, I have downloaded but not yet read it!

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Scrap bags and what I made with them - the before.......

There are such lovely people at my quilt group, Icknield Quilters.  They save up their scraps for me!  I used to put them all in a box together but have now started to keep the bags as they were given to me and to then take them back to the group so that person can see what I have made with their scraps - with a dead-line for their use!
This is Jo's bag

There is a pile of pieced bits that I've managed to bury but I'll post all the bits and what I used them for before July 8th (so I'm ready to take them to the next IQ meeting)!

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Back to the Body Farm.....

I've slightly revised my pattern for the Body Farm Bear.  I now print the pattern onto the fabric (buy sticking the fabric right-side down onto freezer paper, then putting it through the printer manually) and folding it in half.  
You should just be able to make out where I have stitched round on doubled pieces (legs, body and arms) and have left the other pieces to be cut out - all but the gusset of the head will need two pieces.
There is just a pile of such double-fabric pieces for hand sewing underneath this heap.  I hope you can see where I've sewn on the top pieces.  I have tried to sew this by machine but the pieces are prohibitively too small for the machine.

Yet again, such fab pressing!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Siblings Together Bee 2 but...brace yourself...long post!

SB2 is a group of quilters that is a UK only off-shoot from the Siblings Together Flickr group.  We all are making quilts for a charity, Siblings Together, that supports children separated by the Care system which provides a summer camp so that they can have a holiday with their siblings.

The Sibling Bees have taught me a lot!  Having mostly sewn by hand and only pieced my own stuff before, I now realise that my cutting had a lot to be desired and, as for 1/4" seams, well...what can I say?  Apparently, it's not just enough to have a quarter inch foot on your machine - you actually have to use it!  I've marked the 1/4" with masking tape on my machine and now see that the edge of the foot should actually follow the edge of the fabric (actually, a thread or two in from the edge of the fabric).  Who knew......?!? Think I should have!

Well, those ladies who received my 2 blocks each month must be angels!  Nobody 'returned to sender'!  I learnt a lot and it just shows that we can all too often become complacent with what we do.  All of a sudden, my stuff actually looks good...well, I never!

So, excuses excuses excuses now out of the way, these are the blocks:-

June 2013 - Wonky Star - Rafael's Mum 

 Impressed by the photography, lighting, pressing or stitching?  Hmmm.........

July 2013 - Confetti block - SveaP

August 2013 - Colourful Log Cabins - susycat1 &

September 2013 - Half Square String - Sewtobed
           I loved making this block.....!

October 2013 - Crossroads - espritpatch
November 2013 - Funky Wrench - suespatch

December 2013 - catching up, as per usual!

January 2014 - The Missing U - elfinpatch
via Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Jean Nyberg

February 2014 - Love in the Mist - jennies threads

March 2014 - Scrappy Sprouts - sewsarahsews
I forgot to either photograph this or accidentally deleted's what it should look like (but with more loose threads and wonky seaming!).  If only I could work out how to put the picture here...!  Can't believe I forgot the photo, they were my better blocks....sob....

April 2014 - Scrappy Woven - Me!
I'll post the finished quilt as it needs to be finished for the Fat Quarterly Retreat in mid-July - need to get my finger out!

May 2014 - Reverse Rainbow Starburst - libertyjsy
Forgot to take a photo of this one too.  So annoyed......but, this is what it should look like (from the flutterkat site).  Mine are orange and blue.

June 2014 - Scrappy Trip Around the World - HillyFilly

Now, I just need to put my blocks together, baste and quilt them and take them to the Fat Quarter Retreat on July 22nd - no sweat!