Saturday, 30 June 2012

What to do?

I was lucky enough to win TWO charm packs of Lucy's Crab Shack from Judith last week, look at the lovilieness!

(image from

It arrived in my letterbox yesterday, but I have been thinking about what to do with them all week, I could do with a nice easy to put together top and I was thinking about a simple charm quilt a la Red Pepper Quilts

Then I though half square triangles like this one, from Fran433;

That way I could make my charms go further and make myself a nice big quilt! But when have I ever gone for the easy option? I have been thinking that maybe HSTs aren't detailed enough so I was thinking string HSTs...

(I found this example by Sew Cherry on flickr)

That would still allow me to get 2 blocks for each charm, but it could be an awful lot of work for my 'quick and simple' quilt, then I saw this;

and now I am completely confused!

What do you think, do you have any other inspiration for me? (Not that I need any, mind!) I would love to hear what you think about it.

J x

Oooh and just so I don't forget, I also love this pattern from Sweetwater!

Friday, 29 June 2012

Weekend Walk #1

There has been so much to write about this week that I keep putting this post off, so before it gets too late, here goes;

Each weekend I try to get out with Shep on a 'proper' walk, somewhere that is completely new to us, we don't always manage it due to other commitments or lack of inspiration (or, to be honest, terrible weather) but last weekend we went out to explore the next village as previously we haven't been further than the pub! We clocked a very reasonable 3.5 mile walk in the process.

(route recorded via mapmyrun for iPhone)

Across the fields and footpaths like these;

We stumbled across (Shep's first) horses and said hello - although these particular horses weren't as happy to see us as the first ones we found.

We admired some lovely houses and cottages;

And Shep kept an eye on the locals;

All in all a pretty successful walk, although it was a little hot for the hills we had to cross, I think it was the only bit of sunshine we have seen for weeks so I am not complaining!

J x

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Playing Bee Catch Up

Wow this weekend really ran off with me, despite me taking an unofficial 3 day weekend (don't get excited- it wasn't for fun reasons) but I did manage to get on with my bee block... for may :( please don't be mad at me.

Each month I have been lucky enough to try something completely new to me but this month was 8 pointed stars and I have already tried an 8 pointed star here;

and for our super secret Project 51 here;

As I knew it was going to be particularly late, I wanted to put an extra special effort in so when I found the Lone Starburst block from Six White Horses Studio,

(image from Six White Horses)

I fell completely and utterly in love with it and I proceded to disregard all comments about how long it might take even an experienced paper piecer. Well it turns out they were right, this is one majorly time consuming block and as much as I love the pattern I do not think I could make a whole quilt out of it.  I mean, seriously time consuming, like an hour per 1/8th of a block! This was partly due to my inexperience and a comment from Kerry at the retreat that it was easier to be more precise by hand than by machine, honestly, looking back I probably should have graduated to machine piecing while doing this block but I enjoyed not having to lug my machine out all the time and just picking up a bit to finish off.

So without further ado, block one for Terri, aka Miss May

The colours probably wouldn't be my first choice but Terri has asked for the pink to be used as a background, I can't wait to see what she does with all of these stars; its going to be such a bright and colourful quilt!

J x

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Weekend Catch Up

All weekend I intended to get my sewing machine out, or rather, turn it on (as it has been sitting out in the dining room for weeks now) but somehow I just never got around to it. The only other thing I wanted to do was take some photos of my Bee blocks for Trudi, but the weather refused to agree with me, so even though they have been done since friday they are still waiting patiently.

I have completed my 2 blocks for Trudi; the first is my favourite, from this tutorial on Liesl Made, I love the scrappyness of this block, but I had no idea how long this would take; I used EVERY spare few minutes I had (even pressing a couple geese while waiting for the dog to finish outside before I left for work) and it still took my all week to get them done, but it turns out that 32 geese is a lot of cutting and pressing.

And I got all these bonus HSTs for my efforts. I'm not sure what to do with them yet, but when inspiration hits I will be ready!

The second was a great opportunity to try out a new technique using this tutorial by Jen A-C I had so many leftovers from the first block I really wanted to try a loss-less technique and this was a dream! In comparison it went together really quickly too, I had it done for the most part in one evening :)

I also finally got around to ordering more fabric to get my Curio quilt finished, and it came, from the states, in about 5 days (including the weekend) for only £8 p&p AND I didn't have to pay customs charges! Yey for I will be shopping there again!

So I pulled it off the bed upstairs and realised how much I had done, I started off last night by piecing the already completed blocks together and with new motivation I just want to get it out of the way now!

Tonight's job is to make a start on Terri's stars, after obedience class, I haven't heard back from you with any special requirements so I am just going to crack on (and cross my fingers that you will like them!)

J x

Friday, 15 June 2012

Brit Quilt - Round 3

Today I am soooo excited, as I have finally got around to booking my Festival of Quilts ticket, I'll be there on sunday, is anyone else going?

AND I have signed up for Mike Stead's Happy Villages class, I was really hoping to get into one of Alicia Merrett's classes too but she has completely filled up- procrastinating is a terrible disease, I really should have signed up 2 weeks ago when I first saw it!

AND in the vein of avoiding disappointment by not procrastinating so much, I have signed up for the Brit Quilt swap (round 3 is open for registration now) I have watched these ladies from afar for as long as I have been reading blogs, but I have always chickened out of joining in. Not so much this year though, I am going to throw myself in and see what happens!

This is the mosaic that I made for my fellow Brit Quilters, looking through my pinterest feed (here) I have an ever changing quilty love, at the moment I have been sucked into the rainbow solid goodness that is filling blogland. I also love intricate and delicate piecing and striking geometric and abstract designs. I have a love affair with the art quilt (much to my Bee's dislike) so I am drawn to all sorts of different designs and organic shapes and I am forever drawn to maps and cityscapes that sing to my inner (and outer) architect.

I guess I am still finding my quilty identity, there's just so much to see and try and at the moment I want it ALL!

J x

Monday, 11 June 2012

Robert Burns

Robert Burns
3rd June 1936 - 29th May 2012

I have never had to doubt how you felt about me, thank you for always believing in me and whatever I decided to do. It means so much to me that you are proud of my decisions; even if that motorway to Cambridge that you planned for years went unused in the end.

You taught me how to build Lego houses, how to nurture a seed and to be careful with my money, but thank you most of all, Grandad, for teaching me to love, to play and to always have a song in my heart; even if others don’t like to hear me sing! 

I am sorry, but I think its time to break our 20 year secret and tell Nan about your secret stash, I hope you can forgive me! Thank you for being so strong right until the end, Grandad, I will always miss you, but I consider myself lucky to have known and loved you and I will treasure your memory forever.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Better late than never... I hope

I hope you agree Jo, firstly I have to say sorry that this block is soooo late (as I should have had it in the post over a month ago) but I knew I would have trouble finishing it on time as we were away at the end of april, and half of may. But I hadn't anticipated the chaos that we would come home to.

Enough with the excuses, this is April's Brit Bee block for Jo who simply asked for "circles," any circle technique, any size as long as we used some linen in the block. How open can you be?! She even trusted us with some Heather Ross Far Far Away - forgive me if I don't know whether it is series 1 or 2.

I have never understood why everyone seemed to go gaga over FFA, as up until this block I have only ever seen it online,  but it is such a lovely material to hold and play with (Jo you are sooo lucky to be getting this back as it kept trying to jump into my stash box, don't worry though I have rescued it all and sealed it in the envelope)

After coming back from the FQR last weekend, I could not resist trying out the newest technique in my arsenal for this circle block, can you guess what it is yet...


I was so excited to try this out again and it worked even better than it did in Lucie's workshop, it also came together really quickly, but this was probably because I didn't frame any of the circles. I had to piece the backing fabric as my linen piece wasn't big enough, hope you like it Jo!

J x

ps. Terri, you are next on my list ;)

Monday, 4 June 2012

Home time

I got home this morning after two full days at the Fat Quarterly Retreat and it turns out I haven't taken nearly as many pictures as I thought so I will try to keep this brief.

We got to Baden-Powell House about 9 on saturday morning and had to start the day playing a version of bingo in which we had to talk to as many people as possible until we had successfully spoken to all 6 people on our assigned cards. I only managed to get about 2 of mine crossed off as I had too much fun chatting to the wrong people and didn't end up finding the rest on my list.

My first class on saturday morning was freezer paper piecing with Kerry, where I got to chatting with Lucy and Lorna, but I was still too excited about the whole event and forgot to take any photographs :(

Then after lunch with Lorna, Tanya and Cara, I went to embroidery with the very friendly, and only a little quiet, Aneela Hoey.

In the class we were given a copy of Aneela's sketch of a robin to practice with, i managed to finish my first robin but had only just started my second when the class had to finish as I had been having too much fun chatting to Caroline and Jo. I would love to learn more pretty stitches and this was a great start, see how pretty all the robins look together...

Terri brought her P51 quilt for us all to see, although some of the Brit Bees had seen it in its various stages as it was finished off, I hadn't seen it at all since I sent my blocks off last summer so it was great to see it all together.

After a huge Fat Quarterly raffle, I had drinks with the London Modern Quilt Guild, who put up with me until it was time for us to go to dinner, where we finished off the day with a Brit Bee + Friends dinner around the corner from Baden-Powell House where Judith, Shevvy, Tanya and I set the world to rights. After a day of light hearted small talk, it was a great contrast and I have a lot of respect for these fabulous women (quilting skills and brains; who could ask for more?!)

Sunday morning was the Designer Challenge with John in which I didn't take ANY photographs at all, and I have nothing to show for it as we all handed in our sketches, but you can take my word that there were some great designers in my class!

 I had a somewhat Brit Bee lunch with Ceri and Jo and learned a little about colour theory, before I went to sew portholes with Lu Summers (a class I had been waiting for all weekend!) It is such a fantastic technique that comes together really quickly once all the cutting is done- but that always takes me forever anyway; even cutting my 12" squares ready for the class the night before took me hours.

This class definitely made me want to make more and I would love to make a whole quilt of these (after I have finished all the others on my to-do list; namely my Curio and Brit Bee quilts, but it is definitely on the list)

At the end of the day the fat quarterly gang judged the 6 iron man quilts and our group won!

(left-right, team 2 are: Tracy, Sue, Emma, Lynda, Me and Teresa, unfortunately we could't find Nicole for the photograph) The granny square idea came from Sue, who has been making quite a few of these lately and started us off with the blocks.

It was a great weekend; it was lovely to put faces to the names of all those blog authors I have been following this year and I am so relieved that we were all wearing name tags! Thank you to everyone I was able to chat to, I don't think I have ever spoken to a nicer group of people who all felt like old friends by the end of the weekend. 

I'm off to unpack now and will share my retreat goodies and workshop bits and pieces later in the week, in the meantime I have a fair bit of blog reading to catch up on!

J x

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Too excited

There has been a lot of umming and ahhing this week, and quite a few days when I thought I wouldn't be making this trip at all but here I am. I got to London last night and couldn't believe how easy he traffic was- despite it taking 45 minutes to get on the motorway, at least the route was scenic and from there I was on the north circular in under an hour- it feels so little when you don't have to do it everyday!

I am staying with my friend Helen for the weekend, but I abandoned her his evening to do some much needed cutting and organising, this is me cutting when I should have been socialising.

At long last I think I am ready for whatever the weekend brings and I am pretty certain it's going to be great. I am particularly excited about the portholes class- but that's not until tomorrow and there is plenty more to do before then.

Like swapping!

Can't wait to see everyone in the flesh and read a huge amount of name tags. See you all in a few hours.