Thursday, 22 March 2012

(Brit) Bee Happy

This morning, when I was already running alightly late for work I couldn't stop thinking about the bee blocks I received last month that I still haven't blogged about; February was my month in the Brit Bee and I now have most of the blocks back (although I still haven't done my own!) so I wanted to share some images of the blocks I have received and be warned that you will be impressed, these girls are seriously talented and the level of detail surpassed everything I had imagined!

1. Hadley @ Flying Blind
2. Jo @ Life In Lists
3. Judith @ Just Jude
4. Fiona @ Poppy Makes
5. Judith @ Needles and Lemons
6. Ceri @ Inspired By Felix
7. Laura @ Needles, Pins and Baking Tins
8. Susan @ Canadian Abroad

Don't they just make you smile?! I love these blocks as each one reminds me of the year we have been having :)

 I am really looking forward figuring out some random sashing to tie all the blocks together and the extra blocks to complete this top, I will keep you posted with my progress, I hope I can do it justice!

J x

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Quilt in a Week

You may have noticed that I haven't checked in for a while... I have been busy sewing for a change! Ok, so it's not quite a "quilt in a day" but for evening sewing while working full time it's not too shabby.

I present to you, "Grandad's Quilt," sorry for the lack of a fancy pants name but I was exhausted by the time I finished the binding on this one (and apologies in advance for not taking any process pictures of this one as it was definitely dark by the time I finished each night!)

The story starts before Christmas, when my grandad was first diagnosed with stage iv lung cancer, and time seems to have whirlwind-ed since, but to cut a long story short; the various treatments he has tried have failed him and the inhibitor has made him really ill without really having much of a positive effect so the new course of medicines are designed simply to remove his pain.

With this in mind, he was informed that he was on a waiting list for a bed at the hospice so that they can observe him and prescribe his painkillers effectively and I decided to stop putting off making a quilt for him because I could not let him stay alone in a hospice without a quilt for company.

I thought I would share my week with you;
D-1 / Sunday: Figuring out fabric requirements, shopping at the Fabric Guild and cutting, lots of cutting.
I was supposed to get started straight away, so I got to cutting out all the pieces but it was a beautiful day and I got distracted by planting vegetable seeds in the garden. Ooops, I will regret this later!

Day One / Monday: Piecing blocks
I scheduled out my week, as I am a great list maker and planned to complete 6 blocks a night for the next 5 days as each of my cut fabric strips would make 3 blocks. First 6 blocks done!

Day Two /  Tuesday: Piecing blocks
I took Shep to his obedience class, which takes up most of my evening on a tuesday and then sat at the machine until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer; 9 blocks done.

Day Three / Wednesday: Piecing blocks
While lying in bed last night (thinking about quilts, not sleeping) I decided that if I could get 9 blocks done on a tuesday of all days I should puch a little harder and be aiming for 12 blocks a night, that way I have a chance of finishing by the weekend, when I plan on going home for Mothers' Day - then I won't need to post the quilt and could hand deliver it. 15 blocks done.

Day Four / Thursday: Squaring all blocks and sashing to make up quilt top.
My grandad had an oncologist appointment today, as he does most thursdays it seems and was asked to go back in tomorrow for observation so now I really had a deadline as he was due to go in much sooner than I anticipated, but I am feeling in control of this monster with the quilt top now finished, although now the hard work starts.

Day Five / Friday: Quilting.
This is my first adult sized quilt and I had no idea how I was going to make the sandwich when I was drawing up my fabric requirements on saturday as I didn't think I had a table, or a floor or even a wall big enough, (to be honest I don't think I realised quite how big it was going to be either!) but I had decided to just get on with it and I would figure it out when I came to it. Luckily, it turned out that the finished quilt *just* fit on my living room floor for pinning- I knew it would turn out right! Quilting was fun with such a big quilt but I stuck to my tried and tested straight line quilting in the ditch around the blocks and I managed it... if you don't look to close :)

Day Six / Saturday: Binding, labelling and stray thread trimming.
I have always planned on labelling my quilts but never really know what to do and usually leave it so late that there really is no time left to figure it out, but this time it was important so I found some instructions online and printed my little message to add to the bottom of the quilt. Half an hour after finishing I packed up the car and headed for the m6 to stay with my nan as this was the first night she was going to be home alone as my other family members had all gone home.

Day Seven / Sunday: Wished my mum a Happy Mothers' Day and we all headed out to visit Grandad, quilt in tow, to find out that he had been given extra blankets as the room was too cold- how fortunate that we were bringing something to keep him cosy (and as an extra bonus the colour scheme even matches the room- although I think this may be a bad reflection on my colour choosing skills.)

I am so glad I pushed hard to get this quilt done so that I could hand deliver it, mostly for selfish reasons because I loved giving it to him and watching him glance down at it and smile while we were there, but I am also glad that he received it when he really needed it and I hope it can provide him some comfort, because it was a great comfort for me to know that I was doing something useful and productive and now I hope he realises how much I am thinking about him, everytime he sees it because even though I may be far away, I always am.

J x

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Full of useful information

As you probably know, the Ellison Lane Modern Mini Challenge ended yesterday and after much deliberation the finalists are availble for us to vote on today. So head on over there to vote- but bear in mind that you WILL have your work cut out for you as there are some great contenders!

None of my favourite mug rugs made it to the voting stage, but 2 of my favourite mini quilts did and they both happen to be rainbow coloured;

From The Blue Chair's New York Beauty, the colour selection is perfect (I don't know how people manage this) and I love the accuracy in the details but I am partial to a NYB block;

and Jen Johnston's Rainbow Compass which I spotted on Flickr last week and imediately fell in love with!

Head on over to the competiton pages to check out the rest of the contenders and place your votes!

I also got an email this morning from Fat Quartley to remind me that the groups are closing today for the London Retreat sample swap and the name tag swap. I have been on these lists for months now and I am crazy excited about the quilty weekend, but I popped back on over just to double check. If you're coming along have a look at the discussion boards!

And to top it all off, I am avoiding flickr today as the lovely Susan of Canadian Abroad has told me that her Brit Bee block is done and in the post, so I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the surprise.

 I will have most of them back soon and will be showing a lovely group photo asap.

After my mini challenge weekend, I had a night off the Maple Leaf Rag last night while I took Shep to his obedience class but should be back on it tonight with pictures to share soon.

J x

Monday, 5 March 2012

Silver Lining - A Mini Quilt

About 4 weeks ago I was soooo excited about the Modern Mini Challenge at Ellison Lane Quilts, I was inspired by the daily blogs I was reading and I had roughly two tonnes of sketches of all these amazing mini quilts I could make... and then I forgot all about it, until saturday morning. When decided to forget about the scenic art quilts I had sketched (as I didnt have the scraps I needed) and I had instead narrowed it down to 2 blocks that I have been itching to try but when I was glancing through the link up I saw that both my blocks had already been done - and one had been done more than once. Not wanting to copy any one else's efforts I hatched a new plan to create a mug rug with a technique I haven't had the courage to try it; reverse applique.

My finished mug rug is 7" x 15" so I am not sure if it qualifies as a mug rug anymore, my smaller version did not have enough detail and although the technique of reverse quilting was ok, even I could not tell what the picture was supposed to be! Hopefully this one is a little more clear :)

I found a cute silhouette shape of a couple under an umbrella and go to work and at 9.30 tonight it is finally quilted, bound and photographed and soon to be entered into the competition! Woohoo!

Stupidly I have left it too late to get a daylight shot, but luckily the colours aren't far off.

For the quilting, I had hoped to use a raindrop pattern, but I chickened out as I haven't had time to practice with my free motion quilting needle at all and settled on a dense 1/4" straight line quilting for the ground, leaving the rest mostly unquilted which hopefully gives it a billowing cloudy feeling. The quilting is quite clear on the back, I had toyed with using blue to make sure it was visible but I am glad I didn't as the white is clear enough for my liking.

And as a bonus, it is the first itemI have made entirely of scraps, yey for finally having enough of a stash that I can do something with it... even if I can't do a street scene of my little town- yet! Maybe check back in a year or two to see if I manage that one :)

I know it is not a patch on a lot of the minis in the pool, some of which are amazing, but I am pleased to say that I decided early on that I wanted to be a part of the mini fun and for once I made sure I finished in time, now as for the swoon-a-long (I'm blaming my lack of stash and slow fabric ordering for loosing momentum on that one but at least I am fully equipped when I do have the time.)

Now back to the many pieces of curio quilting.

J x

EDIT: link 198, that's a lucky number, right?!