Monday, 31 August 2015

The last day of summer ....

31st August.  Bank Holiday here in the UK.  And torrential rain nearly all day.  And it was cold - not above 14 degrees.  It certainly feels like the end of summer, although I am hoping for an Indian summer somewhere along the line!

It got me thinking about the summer we have just had and how easy it is to forget the things you have done by doing more things quickly after!  So our summer in some pictures:

The weather in early and late spring was lovely so we made elderflower cordial very early on in June

Home Ed kayaking group met for their second course of the year - the weather was somewhat cold!

Impromptu visit to the National Trust's Hidcote Gardens - truly beautiful and inspiring gardens - well worth a visit

A break on our journey to Bude saw us stop at another National Trust property - this time it was Tyntesfield.  It was the first time we had visited and there was sooo much to see.  Another visit is definitely in order, probably without the children!

We went to Bude for a week and were greatly surprised by its beauty and warm welcome. We quickly fell in love with it and we were already talking about a return visit before we had even left the town environs on our departure!

The lobster pots at the end of the sea canal - that just happened to become my blog header ...

One very happy surf mad daughter - it was hard for her to leave the coast of New Zealand and live in the middle of England

July saw the arrival of my Handi Quilter Avante longarm quilting machine and a glut or Project Linus quilts to practice on, here, here and here.

I attended an indigo dying workshop with Edwina Mackinnon and loved the results

On the Home Ed front things wound up for the summer but there was our monthly group meet up in Snitterfield, a production of Tom Sawyer, sports sessions at the playing fields, a trip to Sulgrave Manor to attend an Explorers in the 16th Century day, a day of presentations on European countries, a visit to the Lunt Roman Fort near Coventry and a lovely day spent at a local farm helping them with hedgerow planting.

August started with a very full to-do list

The Webb Ellis cup, the trophy awarded at the end of the Rugby World Cup, came to Stratford which was cause for great excitement in our household - although we have a divide in our loyalties when it comes to rugby!

August also contained:

- a Flower Show, more to come on that

- lots of sewing on my Straight Line Bow quilt, progress can be seen herehere, here and here

- time spent with family, birthdays, barbecues and sleepovers

- time spent with friends, on the water and in the woods mostly

- lots of reading, magazines and books

All in all a great summer, despite the weather.  I won't be sad for autumn to start I think it's my favourite time of year, but then again I like spring too and I guess winter and summer.  I think what I like is the change of seasons.  When I lived in Tauranga in New Zealand I missed the four distinct seasons we have here in the UK so now I truly relish all that comes with each season and the natural cycle that we move in through the year.  Goodbye Summer - until next year! x

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

And the rainbow continues (as does the rain in our part of the world) ....

The majority of my week has been taken up with my current quilt, Straight Line Bow.  It had another cut put through it and geese inserted, which you can see here.  It made it onto the frame at the weekend which was a momentous occasion!

The quilting for this quilt has changed numerous times.  Whilst I am getting used to the machine and all the different threads sometimes I have to accept my limitations and go for something that I can actually do to an acceptable standard, as opposed to the stunning vision in my head!!

It would be kind of fun to revisit a quilt like this further down the line when my skills have improved and see what my initial design might look like on it.

Actually I probably won't be doing that.  Whilst I have enjoyed working on the quilt I want it finished NOW.  I usually take my time making quilts and they can quite often sit on the shelf for months whilst I work on something else.  I like change and quite often get bored doing the same thing day in and day out.

However, I have a deadline looming ever closer so I have had to get on with it.  In some ways this has been a good thing to happen - it will never end up a WIP on the shelf or UFO, I won't forget what I was going to do with it and it has taught me a great deal very quickly.  I have learnt more about the machine in a very short time which will hopefully make upcoming quilts easier and quicker to do.

Straight lines in the borders, which have taken far longer than I thought they would!

Just got the orange and red columns and side border to do.  Today I think ...... it will be coming off the frame today! x

Linking up with Let's Bee Social over at Sew Fresh Designs and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced today.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

To do is done!

A while back I had to write a to-do list whilst I was in my studio.  All the fabric and no paper ..... so I used the girls' blackboard.  And a look at it yesterday was great reading - almost everything was crossed off. 

Of course this does not mean that everything done - is it ever?!  There's a new list in my head that now needs to make it onto the blackboard ......

Yesterday I posted off my completed ATC for the Very Berry Handmade swap.  It was a blind swap so the person I sent this to is not the person who I will receive from.

Hope my partner likes it!  One of the few remaining items on the board is 'Bed Quilt'.  That is the quilt I am currently working on - Straight Line Bow.  It is now on the frame and the quilting is happening, although somewhat slowly! x

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Into the woods ...

A day and night spent in the woods - fire circle, henna tattoos, tie dying, treeclimbing, capture the flag, 20/20 in, whittling, damper bread, singing, ukulele, food, food and more food ..... culminating in a torch lit parade through the woods - home made torches of course!!

Friday, 21 August 2015

Finish it up Friday

The top of Straight Line Bow is finished - hooray!!!!!  I have posted the progress shots here and here

With the first cut and strip of white:

and it worked so well I thought I would cut it again and add these geese I had been playing with:

It was the first time I had made flying geese and whilst I managed to get the tops of my triangles perfect the sides were quite so good.  But there comes a time when you've just got to get it made!

It was too damp and dirty to take it outside today so a couple of shots from my studio and on the bed!

I now need to get some backing fabric for it and get it on my frame to quilt for a total finished project!

I am linking up to Finish it up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts. x

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

My rainbow quilt ....

I have been continuing work on my rainbow quilt, which I have now named.  I have never named a quilt before but here goes - Straight Line Bow!

All the coloured pieces were joined and then a narrow and a wider white strip were added ...

all the piecing was finally finished ...

I used my binding clips to put it on my design wall - they were perfect for the job and I have to say I don't actually like to use them for when I am hand sewing on the binding I still prefer the metal binding clips that are like hair grips.
And then, I cut it .......  I was a little anxious that I was doing the wrong thing but in my head it looked great!

Figuring out how to join it together again with a strip of white fabric.  It shouldn't have been that hard but I only had limited material, and no matter how hard I tried to source some last week I couldn't find the match.  I would have liked the white fabric to have the grain going vertically but there just wasn't enough so I had to have the grain on the angle and sew very carefully so I didn't alter all those cut edges which are now on the bias.

Ta da!!!!  I think it was worth it all .....

Now for borders and quilting.  I have so many different quilting designs running through my head right now but I think I am actually going to load up a test piece and do a trial run - not something I would ever usually do!   But thank goodness I did.  What was in my head did NOT translate onto fabric.  I am not sure whether it was the fabric I used, the thread, the design ....... I am so new to long arm quilting and it many foibles that a lot more practise will need to be done.  Oh, and the borders didn't work out as planned either - long story ........  Suffice to say there's a little bit more work in this quilt yet!
I am linking up to Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts again today. I have really enjoyed playing along the last couple of weeks and discovering some wonderful new blogs and amazing work.  Also linking to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

This was my guest blogger post over at Very Berry Handamde:

This was the image that got me started on Very Berry’s ATCswaps.  I saw it over on Knotted Cotton.  I had been aware of ATCs before when I helped organised a Quilt Exhibition for my local club in New Zealand.  There was an ATC category and I saw some beautiful pieces of art. 

They sounded fun and I wanted to join in.  I kept an eye out and then saw Ali launch the Winter Sparkle ATC swap.  I signed up immediately.  The premise for an Artist Trading Card is simple – produce a piece of fabric art which is the same size as a business card, 3.5” x 2.5”.  The majority of it must be fabric but how you make it and what stitching you do is up to you – patchwork, applique, beading, stitching, crochet, printing – anything goes!  However, the working in miniature was something I found quite challenging.

The card I received in the first swap was this one:

 And the card I made was …. Whoops I was running somewhat late for this one and did not take any photos, either in progress or as a final piece.  I was crocheting a lot at the time so I got some very fine white cotton and a very small crochet hook and crocheted a star.  I placed this on some deep blue fabric and stitched out designs in white and silver with some bead embellishment.  It was supposed to represent the night sky full of stars and frost.  I made it oversized and then trimmed.  I put it together with backing and a thin piece of wadding.  I decided I would sew it bag style and then turn out to neatly top stitch around the edge.  I’m kind of good with things like that and I thought I would get a lovely finish – that’s one of the drawbacks about working in miniature.  I ended up with quite a fat little thing that was rather bulky at the edges!
Onwards and upwards to my second swap - Home Sweet Home.  This was the card I received:

And this was the card I made (I made sure to take a fair few photos this time!):

The finishing on this one was the more common finish I had seen around and I realise why.  The backing was placed right side down, then a piece of curtain lining with the finish top piece facing up.  I then oversewed the edges with a satin stich.  Or that’s what it would have been if I had been able to do it neatly.  It turned out to be an uneven zig zag/satin stich kind of finish.
So for my third attempt – how will I finish it?  I am not quite sure yet.  I think I had better come up with a design and produce a finished top before I worry about the finishing.  Design may sound like I know what I am doing.  When Ali was looking for some people to write about the process she stated:
…….. contribute a blog post on their ATC progress - with maybe sketch plans, work in progress, ideas behind the planned ATC ………
and that made me laugh.  I would describe my process as organic, flexible, on a whim, totally made up …… It takes all sorts doesn’t it?  At least this time I had an idea.  I knew that I was going on an indigo dyeing workshop before the ATC needed to be sent out and blue really is my favourite colour – so I thought that could easily fit into the My Perfect theme.  Because I offered to write this post I have been thinking about it a bit more than previous swaps.  Blue to me is wonderful. Cerulean, azure, turquoise, lapis lazuli, midnight sky, sky blue, aquamarine, cornflower, forget me not, the words are so descriptive and so many shades including the innumerable colours of the sea ……

So I have the starting blocks which are the fabric bits I dyed on the day.  A variety of cotton, linen, vintage, new and yarn all dyed in the same dye bath but all resulting in different shades of indigo.
I have some ideas in my head but I guess once again it will evolve and grow (but not too big I hope) as I actually make it.

Monday, 17 August 2015

A crocheted gecko ....

A total change in technique and size .......

a crocheted gecko head!!  For my friend Jeanette who owns and runs Wild Creature Features with her wonderful daughter Tegan.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Finish it up Friday

Today I have a quilt to show you.  I know it may not look finished because it has no binding attached but it's finished for me.  This was one of several quilts tops I recently picked up from a local Project Linus co-ordinator.  I offered to quilt them for her because 1) it's a great cause and I like doing things for Project Linus and 2) it gave me good practice on my new longarm machine.  I had done a couple of practice pieces but hated the thought of the fabric and wadding not actually being used for anything (I know some people say to make bags out of it - but really I wouldn't like those bags!) so this is a win-win situation.
The first few I just did an all-over design, here, here and here!  But for this one I wanted to try some other patterns.  I have a quilt that I am piecing at the moment that I envisage quilted with separate designs in each colour column so I could do with the practice.
So, it's got ribbon candy:




a saw tooth kind of design (totally new to me and the points certainly don't match up!):

and a kind of feather!

I am so happy to have something finished to show on Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday, and for remembering to link up!  Looking forward to sitting down after dinner and popping over to some of the other people's blogs. x



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