Thursday, 28 August 2014

Update Time

Well, what can I say, July and most of August have come and gone. As usual I have been busy,  with a lot of driving up and down motorways ( more of that in another post). I've managed to fit in a lot of sewing related trips ( accounting for some of the driving) including FQR in London, a shisha and kantha embroidery workshop, also in London, FOQ at the NEC and a day of longarm quilting using templates ( rulers) with Kim Brunner  at The Cottonpatch.


The classes in FQR retreat this year were fantastic! I won't say much , as it has been said in other peoples posts( Hadley did a great summary here  and here and here ) and I'm a bit late in the day but I learnt  masses in such a short space of time. Of course I haven't finished any of my samples, and I can't find my Thomas Knauer knots anywhere, though they must be somewhere in my sewing room. Jenny Kingwell is truly amazing and her quilts in real life were just stunning and so much better in real life than the photo's can convey.

After FQR retreat my shisha and kantha workshop was a real disappointment. It was meant to be 3 days and I only went for the first day. Life's too short to waste on poor classes. After the intense and focused teaching in FQR retreat it was like wading through treacle. The teacher was very pleasant but disorganised and this is all I achieved in one whole day of sewing:


I enjoyed my brief trip to FOQ and managed to meet up, if only briefly with tons of people. As usual I vowed to organise myself to visit on more than one day. It was  fantastic to see the LMQG stand with all their beautiful work. I completely missed the EMQG entry ( sorry Moira!).And I managed to resist buying too much but I did buy the microtech needles recommended by  Phillippa Naylor. She was demonstrating FMQ on the bernina stand. I really want to do one of her residential courses as she is so talented.
I spent one day at The Cotton Patch in Birmingham learning how to use rulers on the Handiquilter. This was very instructive and Kim Brunner is a very good teacher and had some great patterns which she shared with us. How about these as filler patterns:

 
Or the smaller version:
 
 
I now need to practice, practice and practice all I learnt to improve my skills. Oh and of course, I need to buy tons of new rulers .I'm glad I'll have something to ask for, for Christmas ( there I've said the C word ;0)) 
 
I have done some sewing as well. I've made my bee blocks:
 
 
These are  the July blocks for together@do.good stitches ( we had a break for August), and this
 
 
for FQ Bumbling Honeys for July. These are the August blocks:
 
 
I also perused t'internet and made a Superhero Cape for the 3 year old next door. I adapted this pattern by making it a bit more rounded in the corners and adding a Superman logo with his initial. Here is Harri, in his underpants , modelling it though he's approx. twice as tall as Haydn.
 
 
Needless to say, the recipient is over joyed with it and his friends have been fighting to borrow it. I may have to make some more!
 
I have a Q3 FAL finish to reveal in another post and I've made good progress on my medallion quilt.
 
 
The next round , after the flying geese is going to be this churn dash
 
 
If you are still with me up until now, I think that's enough. That's the trouble with not doing regular posts.








Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Finish-a-long Quarter 3

I did pretty well in the last quarter, but I'm going to scale down my list for this next quarter ( though there is still too much on it) making it a bit more achievable, I hope.
Anyway, here goes:

1)Sparkle Punch Quilt.
This is the next quilt to be loaded on the longarm

 
2)Scrap Vomit
This just needs binding

 
3)Triangles Baby Quilt
This needs quilting and binding.
 
 
4) Scrappy Trip around the World (no 2)
 
Blocks need to be sewn together before I can continue



5) X and + quilt for Lois
Need to sew  the blocks together.

6)Blue Medallion Quilt
This is a new one I have started. It's destined for my BF's son. I had done one paper pieced different block for this but then changed my mind but it wasn't thrilling me. So, combined with the fact that I wanted to make a designed- by- me medallion quilt ( as opposed to a known pattern), I embarked on this new blue quilt.  I'm thrilled with it so far:


7) Scrappy Value Quilt.
I have taken up Bonnie Hunters idea of leaders and enders, and started sewing HST's at the beginning and end of chain piecing other blocks. This way, you barely notice you are making another quilt. Every time I use a fabric, I cut an extra 5 inch square and combine one low volume with another of a 'louder' volume and make the HST's

I've accumulated quite a pile already!
 
8)It's a Wonderful World
This is still a pile of blocks. I'm hoping to make a few more blocks for this quilt in Jenny Kingwell's Green Tea and Sweet Beans class at FQR retreat.
 
 
I think that is more than enough. I also think Katie is doing a fantastic job with the FAL.
 




 

Finish Along 2014

Monday, 30 June 2014

Jigsaw Quilt- Ta Da!

This will be my last post of finished quilts for this second quarter of the FAL with Katie. I have another quilt ( scrap vomit) quilted but it needs binding and I know that I won't get that done in time. Tomorrow, I'm driving to Durham with Mr Hare because my lovely boy Harri is graduating on Wednesday. He's done really well, so all those hours of hand -holding, essay reading/ editing etc have been worth it. We are also going to meet his girlfriend Juliette's parents for the first time. I have put on weight so had to buy a new dress, which I was reluctant to do, because since I retired I have favoured comfort over looks and quite frankly look like a bag lady most of the time. I have suitable clothes, I just can't fit into them!
Anyway, onto the quilt. This is the second baby quilt I have made recently and appeared in my list as a boy baby quilt, though I actually think it is probably gender neutral

 
I used the same ish fabrics on the back and I like both sides equally.
 
 
The fabrics are mostly Timber and Leaf by Sarah Watts with a few others thrown in. I used some X and + fabric by Alison Glass , Sketch in citron and used a border of squared elements in citron. There are a few other fabrics in there that I can't identify. I used the brown fox fabric for the binding to finish it all off.
 
 
I've decided to try and learn something new each week ( probably should be every day but I'm not sure I could manage that). So, one of my new things this week is I learnt how to do the jigsaw pattern for the quilting, which I thought was appropriate given it is a jigsaw quilt.  I used this tutorial and actually it's a fairly simple pattern.
 
 
I also decided to hand stitch the binding on. This reminded me why I nearly always machine stitch my bindings- I ended up with shredded fingertips on my right hand. Note to self, always pack a thimble when you go away for the weekend!
 
 Quilt Stats
Finished size: 41 x 53 inches
 Fabrics from stash as above
Wadding from stash- I have no idea what it was
Quilted with So Fine
 
This is my sixth finished quilt this quarter. I think this is a record for me. Of course, even though I still have loads of WIP's to finish ( though less than I had), I've still started another two quilts, I can't help myself! All will be revealed soon.
My original Fal list is here and my updated 2nd quarter list is here
 
 
 



Finish Along 2014

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Scrappy Trip Around the World finished

With the end of the second quarter of FAL rapidly approaching I have a couple of short posts to reveal my finished quilts. I'm doing really well this quarter, despite being busy doing other things. This is my fifth finished quilt in the last 3 months, so I'm really pleased with myself!
Here it is:



 
And here is the back:
 
 
I really like the extra wide quilt backs, they make life so much easier! These phone photo's don't quite convey how pretty this quilt really is- I know I need to get a better camera.
 
After my marathon quilting extravaganza with the last quilt, I just used very straightforward serpentine quilting on this quilt. The front is so busy that I think more complicated quilting would be wasted. The binding was from Lizzy House's Constellations ( can't remember the exact name) and I really like the way it finishes it off.
Originally, I had intended this quilt for the daughter of my BF but Madlen saw it and said she wanted it. I have the blocks for  another scrappy trip quilt (to be sewn together soon!) that was meant to be for her ( Madlen), so now I'm going to finish that one and let her choose between the two. They are both very pretty so I don't think it will matter which one she decides upon.
 
 
This was again quilted with So Fine in colour 401.
 
Quilt Stats:
Finished quilt size: 70 x 80 inches ( it's shrunk a little in the wash)
Front: made in various strips from stash
Back: Spot on spot in pink by Robert Kaufman
Binding : from Lizzy House's constellations
Quilted: in So Fine 
 
Another second quarter FAL


Finish Along 2014

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Another ST quilt finished

I have another quilt finished. I'm definitely on a roll as I have another reveal after this one and a couple of quilts very near to completion. These are not as difficult as they sound because I have a huge backlog of tops/blocks that needed making into finished quilts.
So onto the finished quilt.
Last year  FQR quilt bee decided to make some quilts for Siblings Together. We decided on the scrappy trip around the world and made a blue one and a pink one. I had volunteered to sew the blue one into a quilt top, then a quilt. It was difficult as quite a number of the blocks sent to me were not 12 1/2 inches square but smaller. This I discovered is a common problem with quilting bees, mainly to do with the inaccuracy of the quarter inch seam.However, the blocks we had chosen have to line up reasonably well or it just doesn't work. So, I made several more blocks myself and some of my bee mates did too and I managed to make the blue quilt top. Then disaster struck in the shape of my house fire, so Kate kindly finished the quilt off and it was given to ST at the FQR retreat last summer.
Rather than do nothing with the smaller blocks, I  put 4 that were the same size as a middle medallion and deconstructed some of the others to make borders. I also had some flying geese blocks left over from Harri's quilt. I made a lot more and here is the finished result:




And the back:
 
The backing fabric is from Ikea but was designed by Beckman College ( I think there was only a limited run of this). The solid blue fabric in the quilt top is also from Ikea.
 
After the fancy quilting on my previous ST quilt I chose to do very straight forward quilting on this one. To add a bit of variety though, I chose a variegated polyester thread called Fantastico from Superior Threads. It was a disaster! I don't know if it was me and my inexperience, but the thread kept breaking and shredding and I had to unpick so much of it that my hands hurt. I also discovered that I had to underfill the bobbins or the thread just slid off the bobbin and tangled up.
 
 
 
To add insult to injury, the variegated thread doesn't really show up that well and I probably needn't have bothered!
 
I used a Kona navy solid for the binding to finish it all off.
 
 
I'm very pleased with the finished result ( and that it's finished at all) and I'll be taking it to the retreat next month to give to Siblings Together.
 
Quilt stats:
Finished size: 62 x 54 inches
Front: Spare blocks and Ikea blue solid
Wadding from stash
Backing fabric: Ikea
Binding : navy Kona solid
Quilted in Fantastico by Superior Threads
 
This is another 2nd quarter finish for FAL
 



Finish Along 2014

Thursday, 19 June 2014

S T Q B quilt finished

I've written this post once and whilst trying to copy it to send to Lynne, I deleted the whole thing in error. So annoying!!!
So, I'll start again. I have been meaning to write the post about finishing my STQB quilt for some time but real life has been very busy. Nearly a year ago now Lynne set up a quilting bee to make quilts for Siblings Together. She has written about the charity here. You have probably seen a lot of other posts with the quilts we have all made. I was Ms March and I received a lovely huge bundle of Storybook by Kate and Birdie. This was kindly donated by Moda. I added my own white crosshatch ( Botanics from Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander) and chose Melissa's original Happy quilt-a-long as my pattern.  My lovely bee mates made up the blocks ( in fact I have enough partial blocks left to make another quilt for ST at some future point). So here it is in all it's glory:

 
And here is the back:
 
 
 
The backing is another Kate and Birdie fabric ( Hydrangea in Sunrise from the Bluebird Park collection). This was very kindly donated by Alice at Backstitch. I used my own wadding ( Warm and Natural) because I was keen to get it finished. Hadley sent me some wadding which had been donated by Lady Sew and Sew and I will use this for the other ST quilt in due course.The binding is the yellow fabric from  Storybook which I think finishes it off perfectly:
 

 
 
I decided to try out my fledgling FMQ skills on this quilt which was a very 'interesting' experience. I quickly discovered that I needed a proper ruler to sew the straight lines without ruining my machine. I bought one ( now the quilt is finished) called a Line Tamer ( more commonly known as the Lion Tamer for obvious reasons!).The flowers, though far from perfect, were much easier than I thought. I used a Frixion pen to mark out the quilting lines and this worked really well. I was worried that the pen might leave marks, especially on the white fabric, but it was fine. The straight lines were much, much harder and this is something I will have to practice.
 
 
 
 
 
I used my favourite So Fine in colour 401 for the quilting, both in the bobbin and for the topstitching.
The problem with doing fancy quilting is that you have hundreds of threads to sew in at the end. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to move across the quilt without stopping and starting ( less threads to sew!) but was only partially successful at this.
 Anyway, I'm very pleased with the end result and I hope it will make some girl ( it's definitely a girlie quilt) very happy.
 
I just have to sew on a label and it's done.
 
This is also one of my 2nd quarter finishes in Katie's 2014 FAL.
 


Finish Along 2014

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Catch Up Time

Life has been busy here in Hare House, so not much time for blogging. Firstly, Harri had his dissertation to finish, which is now done and dusted. He only has one more exam to go then he will have finished his degree ( hurrah!). He has certainly matured this year, but I will be glad when it's all over. Then, I made a flying visit to Malvern Quilt Show, where I briefly met up with Sonia and her friend to say hello! I bought a few essentials ( wadding, thread, a tiny bit of fabric and ordered some longarm quilting rulers- more about them in my next post).Then it was onto a week in Madrid via London.
Madrid is a wonderful city, full of history so of course it rained for nearly the whole week, while everyone at home enjoyed glorious sunshine! Typical. We did all the usual touristy things including a bus tour of the city, which was actually very informative. We visited a few museums and saw far too much art ( to the point of overload). We also did a lot of walking . Mr Hare , in typical fashion, insisted on a visit to the railway station, to compare the new building with the old 'Victorian' one. I found it surprisingly difficult to get any decent food ( being non- meat eating doesn't help). The one vegetarian restaurant we tried was truly awful. The tapas were expensive but fortunately the wine was cheap!
Mr Hare chose the hotel: The Hotel Puerta America because it has each floor designed by a different famous architect. We were on the fourth floor ( didn't have an enormous choice of floors because we wanted a non-smoking room???). This is the corridor to the rooms:


And this was our bathroom:
 
 
This was the triumph of design over functionality. The floor of the shower was a sheet of stainless steel, seriously slippery when trying to take a shower! The head of the bed was also  stainless steel, level with the mattress and having the result that the pillows slipped off the bed. Seriously annoying. My other final gripe was that the hotel was advertised as having free wifi access, which turned out to be a complete joke! It was obviously designed to make you pay for the access because in the cafĂ© around the corner the wifi was perfect, yet in the hotel it was so slow as to be impossible to use. These are small irritations in what was otherwise a very enjoyable break.
The metro system in Madrid was fantastic and easy to use. There are loads of wonderful buildings,  parks and  museums.
 
Mr Hare on the one sunny day of our trip.
 
 
I didn't take many photos, but here are a few:
 
This is a Salvador Dali painting from 1944 entitled: Dream caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a second before waking up.
 
 
A Painting by Magritte
 
The very touristy Iron Market, though still a lovely building:
 
 
A garden by the Royal Palace:
 





 
Then it was back to go to the last day of Chelsea Flower Show on the Saturday, which is another post in itself.