31 December 2012

SDW Sampler SAL Week 9

This week I have had very little time for stitching of any kind, I did however manage to complete the carnation motif for my SDW Sampler.
This brings me to the end of another band section and so before I scroll the fabric to start the next band, I thought it would be good to see the progress so far.
I am really enjoying this SAL with Nicola, Michele, Krista, Shannon and Robyn. I know this would be a WIP by now if it were not for their encouragement! I love the different motifs and the silk colours, stitching with AVAS using my new millennium frame is a really enjoyable experience!

28 December 2012

Easy Street Mystery Clue 6

This week we have the easiest clue so far, no sewing! (well for me anyway) Bonnie uses a scrap management system that cuts leftover fabrics into usable sizes e.g. 2" strips; this week we had to sew two strips together and then cut 3 1/2" squares. This step would be really fast and easy if you already have pre-cut strips, but as I don't follow Bonnie's system, I like to leave all of my scraps as large as possible for as long as possible! I decided that instead of cutting strips and sewing and then cutting again, I would just cut the squares from as large a selection of creams as I could find.  The finished design will differ from Bonnie's original, but I have already changed all the colours and have some units sewn upside down - I don't think this new deviation will really matter!
I ironed my scraps on top of each other in groups of five...
And then cut the squares...
I didn't quite manage 128 different fabrics, but near enough...
I then stack everything in sets of ten...
And pop them into zip lock bags with a note on the clue number and contents. Someone commented that I am very organised with all my labelled bags, it's because I am so disorganised that I need to do this lol! The first Bonnie mystery I did was total chaos! I spent so long looking for the pieces from previous clues and remeasuring squares etc that I found the whole top assembly really stressful. This time round I am determined to be better organised and to keep up! Next clue due New Year's Day.

23 December 2012

Grandmother's Choice BOW

I have lots of other quilts on my to do list ;) so this is the final block I will make, I would like a strippy lap quilt and only need 15 sampler blocks. I have really enjoyed making these each week and reading about women's suffrage around the world. Barbara's wonderful BOW will continue for several more weeks and has it's own blog http://grandmotherschoice.blogspot.co.uk/

This Block is named Mother's Delight and is named for Christabel Pankhurst, perhaps one of the most famous suffragettes.

 I just need to decide on which fabrics to use for the setting stripes and backing. I think I might use this stencil which looks a bit like a chain to hand quilt in the stripes, representing all the women jailed during the suffrage movement.

I still have to decide on the final layout and arrange the blocks to spread the colours evenly throughout the quilt. My design is still a work in progress lol! I should end up with a lap quilt about 54" x 52"

21 December 2012

Easy Street Mystery - Clue 5

Bonnie has just published clue 5 for this fun mystery. In honour of Christmas she has very kindly made it any easy task this week. I was able to get these done in a couple of hours after lunch. We had to cut one large and two small squares and then sew one side and then the other.
After the fiasco of last week when I managed to sew all my geese upside down, this week I think I got it right! Bonnie has named these 'sitting turkeys' rather than elongated geese as she promised no more geese! I think I prefer to call them swans! Whatever you call them, call them done and I hope I used the correct colours!!
The bags of units are starting to add up, it will be fun when actually we start putting them together.
Maybe someone could help me explain why it is that no matter how much I cut, the scrap basket still seems to be overflowing! Does fabric multiply when you are not looking? I seem to have more than I started with!!

20 December 2012

SDW Sampler SAL Week 8

After weeks of (not very) patiently waiting, my millennium embroidery frame finally arrived. I spent 20 minutes or so trying to figure out how to put it together, when my youngest son stepped in and built it for me. Why is it I have no trouble working out fabric measurements and linen counts, but am hopeless as soon as I see wood?!
As soon as it was up and running, I loaded my current WIP and with my daylight magnifying lamp I am good to go. I am really impressed with the frame - it is very sturdy and well made, apparently the assembly instructions are also excellent and very easy to follow! (unless you are me!)
There has been very little time for stitching this week and I will probably get very little done next week too. One of the nice things about having a blog is that it forces me to photograph things in progress, so even when I think I have done very little I can see some progress.
This is at the end of last week:
And at the end of this week, I am pleased to say that the lamb of God is no longer headless!
I am really enjoying stitching this sampler, one or two afternoons a week with my online stitching friends but there is still a long way to go...
If you haven't already visited, then pop over to Nicola's Scarlett Letter Year Blog HERE to see this and many other wonderful samplers being stitched, at last count I think there were over 130 participants.

17 December 2012

Vintage Valentine

The postman has just been and delivered my fabric order from the US for this amazing quilt - Vintage Valentine by Vera Mosquera of the Vintage Spool, much better pictures on Vera's website HERE!
I have had the pattern for several years, and although I found some fabrics for the applique, I never had enough variety for the whole quilt until now. All the new fabrics are from Shabby Fabrics in the US, Jennifer is so lovely to deal with! Want to see what I bought?
The last piece of this beautiful floral from the 'Mary Rose' collection by Quilt Gate for the Border
Some luscious creams for the backgrounds from Quilting Treasures
Pinks/Reds from French General and Lecien
A couple of Tans from Lecien and a lovely stripe from Blackbird designs

I spent a happy hour in my sewing room pulling all the rest of the fabrics I have been collecting, mostly from Lecien, French General and Robin Pandolph.
Tans and Greens
Pale Pinks
Dark Pinks

I plan to start this in February along with some of the girls from my Applique Yahoo Group,  but for now the new fabrics are in the wash and then I will enjoy looking at them for the next few weeks. If anyone would like to join us then you would be very welcome! Details HERE

15 December 2012

Easy Street Mystery Clue 4

Bonnie posted Clue 4 for the Easy Street Mystery yesterday, an easy clue this week, we had to make some more flying geese...

and then add them to the geese we made in week 2, to make stacked geese, fast and fun!
I am sure lots of clever people have figured out what we are making, but I don't have a clue! I am just really enjoying sewing without thinking too much!

EDITED - Thanks to Diane (no-reply blogger) for pointing out that I have sewn these upside down! The question is, do I unpick them all or leave them and see if it really matters? I am already using different colours to Bonnie, maybe I can pretend I always meant my pattern to be different too!!

P.S. You can see what everyone else is up to over on Bonnie's link up page HERE

13 December 2012

SDW Sampler SAL Week 7

Very little progress to report this week! I did manage to stitch the deer and the pear/chilli? still not quite sure what it is! Hopefully by the end of next week the Lamb of God will no longer be headless!

10 December 2012


I mentioned in my previous post that I was about to hibernate Phebe for a while as I am not really happy with the way it's going. Debra asked what the problem is and the short answer is I don't really know! I think the issue is that I am trying back basting on this one, I have used this method before on other projects but nothing as detailed as this. I like the fact that you can position fabrics easily but I am frustrated that my applique on this is not as neat as with regular needle turn. The leaves and berries are fused as I could not get these right at all and they are starting to peel off ;o(
I am really not enjoying working on this quilt!
I like the fabrics I have chosen, so I want to ask - what would you do? Should I start over or carry on?

This is a large quilt, I still have a long way to go. Photo of the complete quilt from the Threadbear website. The pattern is available from them HERE

Planning Ahead

I have mentioned before that I sew in a very small room just off our dinning room, I love my space but I have to keep things tidy and organised, well at least I have to try! One area that was out of control was my current WIP's I am very easily distracted :o) and used to flit from one thing to the next on a whim. I bought five of these lovely baskets which fit perfectly on top of my wire stash basket unit, and I have made a self imposed rule that I can't start anything new unless I have an empty basket!
They currently contain the pattern and fabrics for:
Jane Austen Quilt (still collecting)
Grandmother's Choice (plan is to have a completed top by 31st Dec)
Easy Street Mystery (aiming to have a top completed by mid Jan)
Friends of Baltimore (very long term applique project)
Phebe - I am not happy with the way this is progressing so it will hibernate for a while. Which means I now have One Empty Basket!!
When Shelly over at the Applique Your Way Yahoo Group offered to host a QAL for 'Birds of a Feather' I immediately signed up. I have had the book for several years on my shelf.
I especially like the large lap sized quilt that Alma made with it's different backgrounds.
One thing I have been aiming to do this year is to use fabric from my stash as much as possible before buying more! I often buy fabric from America and as I have to pay a fixed rate for postage I try to add some sale fabric to my order to make it worthwhile. I knew I had a 2 yd piece that would work for the border, appropriately enough it is from an old Blackbird Designs range 'Antique Fair'.
I thought I may have some fabrics that would work for the applique, but I was convinced that I had nothing suitable for the background until I found these, the photo looks a bit washed out, they are a bit more golden in real life. The bird fabric is from another old Blackbird range 'Harvest Home'.
I found several FQ's and scraps that will work for the applique and piecing.
I even found some fabric that will be perfect for the back, I bought this years ago and then changed my mind about the project it was intended for! It's been in my stash ever since.
Who knew those wire baskets could hold so much ;o) no-one is more surprised than me that I may actually be able to make this whole quilt from my stash (my husband says he never doubted it!)