Thursday, 29 December 2011

Getting close to New Year

In this part of the world and I'm sure in others, the New Year must be met with a clean house.  All the old rubbish is thrown out, cupboards cleaned, floors scrubbed well you know the rest.   The next two days here will be dust bunny blitz time and I may be too tired to blog so I'll let you know what I've been up to.

Boxing Day I finished the Stitch In with 11 tray cloths for the local hospice made from my 1960's cotton curtain fabric.   I first made a cardboard template from one of the old clothes, drew round it on the back of the curtaining and set off to sew.

I had to tape several sheets of card to make the template as I didn't have one piece big enough to cut it from.

And this is the finished result, 11 1960's style tray cloths/placemats
I forgot to show you my swish lighthbox and new rotary sharpener both of which I'm really pleased with.
And last but not least this is what I've been doing this afternoon.  I followed this tutorial on the SewWeQuilt blog.  I've made two but only have one left as Sy has taken one for Julie.
I'll try and pop in again before 2012 but if I get lost in the dust or thrown out with the rubbish have a prosperous and creative New Year.

Monday, 26 December 2011

I'm spending Boxing Day Sewing

I saw on the net that a Boxing Day Sew In was being held here naturally I didn't see it until after lunch today but I'm still going to do a BDSI.   A few weeks ago I offered to help a friend make tray cloths for the local hospice.  They are three layers thick, no wadding just fabric, but must be washable.  This is one of the hospice old worn ones.   EG members made 20 Christmas themed ones but they need at least another 20 everyday ones.  They are to put on the food trays of those patience too ill to go to the dining room.

One day last month an old friend rang me and said she had a bin bag full of new cotton fabrics and did I want them for patchwork.  I thanked her and went to pick them up.  This is one of the furnishing fabrics in the stash.  All are rather dated patterns I'm afraid but I've made several shopping bags for charity out of them until this is all that is left.
 These will be the tray cloths for the local hospice and my task for today's BDSI.  Hope you approve.
Cut out, about to be ironed and sewn together.  It's a rather straight forward job but it will give me the added opportunity to listen to one of my audio books.

Hope Santa was kind to you all, he brought me a very swish light box, one of the new rotary cutter boards, lots of cutting dies to play with and some lovely warm pj's from dh with hearts on them.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Last two Christmas postcards

Snow is Falling from Pauline

Angels Sing from Jane
 These are the last two postcards from the Christmas Song BQLPC swap now all I have to do is work out some way of displaying them all together.   I love the snowflakes on Pauline's card and the linen background on Jane's embroidered angel.  I'm sure if I tried to fringe linen I'd end up taking so much off that the angel would be clinging to the background for grim death.;

Well I'm almost ready for Christmas, last present is wrapped, last bauble beaded and last card posted.  All I have to do now is clear up the mess and then sit back and eat the chocolates and drink the wine.  Not too bad an idea is it.

Merry Christmas to everyone luv Annette

Thursday, 15 December 2011

More Christmas Cheer

Good news - some Christmas Angel picked up my postcards and posted them for me, three have found their way to new homes.  A big bedraggled and looking as though they've been travelling the world but safe and sound.  Thank you Christmas Angel.

More Christmas cheer came in the form of three more postcards, Lois's 'Shepherd and his flock' wandered onto my doormat, Jacquie's 'Ding Dong Merrily on High' bells arrived peeling and Barbara's Rudolph has lit up my life.

I've been busy making lots of beaded baubles and still have some more to go before Christmas Day.

So far I've made two each of the large ones and nine of the small blue ones all in different colours.  I dream of beads.....

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Christmas postcards

I've received four beautiful postcards from the BQLPC group whose theme this year was "Christmas song or carol".
From Alice "It was on a Starry Night"

From Janet "The Holly and the Ivy"

From Carole "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas"

This one is from Irene "Sew This is Christmas" her pun not mine, I just love the bit of tinsel.

Now for a confession - I've lost my Christmas postcards but I do have a picture of them.

Mine are based on the "Twelve Days of Christmas".  I had them all ready to go, stamped, just to pop into the postbox.   I decided to take them down to the main sorting office as I had a parcel to pick up.  I had them when I left home, I had them in the car but I didn't have them when I got to the sorting office.  We had had difficulting getting into the parking area at the sorting office, there was a log jam of cars all wanting to get into the same small area so Keith decided to drop me off and waiting a short distance away.   I don't know if I dropped them getting out of the car in the confusion of the moment but I went back to see if I had dropped them but there were no where to be seen.  There aren't in the car and they are certainly not at home.  I just hope someone kind picks them up and pops them in the post for me.  Failing that I'll have to redo them all again.

Ah well that's all for now folks, back to the bauble making which I'll show you shortly.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

A cautionary tale

I'd been to a very instructive workshop given by Philippa Naylor on applique and decided to try and redo some of the samples we'd made.  I drew out the design onto fusible interface and ironed the interface onto the back of my fabric ready to cut out.  When I looked down my design had completely disappeared!!!   I had picked up the first pen (Philippa said pen worked better than pencil on copying designs onto iron on interface) I came to.   It was a Frixxon pen which I had completely forgot disappears with heat... durrh.
Here's |Philippa showing how to turn a narrow rouleau strip the easy way.   I was very impressed with the technique which I am sure is not new to many of you.   Before you start to sew the strip you pull out both top and bottom threads to a length longer than the strip you want.   Then right side facing up start to sew 2 or 3 stitches only at the mid point at the top of your strip.  It's very important that you stitch these threads into the middle of your piece.  Then fold the strip lengthwise with the right side inside, sew down the seam.   Trim the seam allowance and holding the tube at the top end where you sewed the threads, gently pull the thread tails and your tube will turn inside out smoothly.  I managed to sew a quarter in tube and was really proud of myself.

I mentioned last time that I was going to the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate.  Well I really enjoyed myself there but didn't take any photos as I was too busying looking.   The exhibition devoted to Beryl Dean was outstanding, just wish I could sew a faction as well.  I was dazzled by all that goldwork.

Keith bought me my Christmas presents there, I was hoping for an IPad2 but I think I'll have to save my pocket money for that.   I know I'm getting a lovely new lightbox and one of the new long rotary blade sharpeners and several books.   I bought lots of lovely Oakshott fat quarters for Philippa's workshop then never used them so I'll have to think of something else to do with them, ah decisions, decisions.

I've spent the last few days putting the final touches to Christmas presents and as my dil informed me she was looking forward to her's as she'd read my blog I am not putting up a photo until later.   Bought some beaded bauble kits at the show, all I have to do now is work out how to make them up.

I have finished my Christmas sampler, just half an hour ago, and here it is.

It was my nephew's 21st last Sunday and the family gathered to celebrate.  His mother put on a tea for him which we all thoroughly enjoyed.  

My sister Lesley and my nephew Chris.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Catch Up

Although I have been working hard I haven't been able to post photos because most of what I've been doing are Christmas presents and I know the recipients check my blog occasionally.  However my pre-granddaughter does not so here is something I've made over the weekend for her.

It's a small back cushion which I thought, being pregnant, she might appreciate later on.  The buttons on the back Keith made so its a combined effort.  I used my Accuquilt cutters to cut the basic shapes but the sizes were really too large onced I'd made up the blocks so I cut a piece out of each one so now the roof is a slightly different shape.  I doubt Siobhan will notice though.  Just hope she likes the colours as to my mind they are a bit dull however she likes browns, mustards and neutrals so hopefully it will be okay.

Matty came down to show us the 'scan' photo of our new great grandchild.  To me it looked like a peanut but they are both really happy and I ended up laminating it for them.

Keith too is busy making wooden presents which he hopes to put inside wooden crackers but I think he's being a bit ambitious as he likes to take his time and do a good job. 

I'm off to Harrogate on Thursday to the Knitting and Stitching show.  Don't have a long list of 'needs or wants' but I'm sure I'll be tempted.   My friend sent me a book on Beryl Dean's work which she bought when the K&S show was at Ally Pally and I'm looking forward to seeing her work.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Norfolk Noel

We've just got back from Great Yarmouth where we spent a pleasant couple of days.  The hotel was facing the seafront and the weather was sunny if a bit windy.
We stayed at the Imperal Hotel a short walk from the town.

View from our bedroom window

It's over 30 years since I was last in Great Yarmouth and the thing I remember the best are the sand dunes and the sea being a long way off.

Best of all from our window was the rising of the sun, it was very similar at sunset but I had to open the windows wide and hang out to get a picture without showing the window frame.
 Another longstanding memory of Norfolk in general is the quartz stone walls.

Very pretty but I'm not sure what they would do to the skin if you fell against them.  See how they've been used in patterns along the bottom of the church.

Our main intention in going to Norfolk was to see the Christmas Spectacular in Thursford (hence the title).  We had heard about this show from various sources all praising it.  We arrived in darkness and the lights were at their best.   From outside the Fantasy Land building, where we were entertained by a 4D short film to the 140 ft stage in the main building the lighting was spectacular.

This waterfall of lights was constantly moving and was much better than my photo depicts.

The main 140' main stage (this was taken at the interval so there are lots of people wandering around) the ceiling and stage decorations change according to the scene and music.
I don't want to say much more as some of my friends are going to see the show.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

November already

Thought I'd share my recycling projects with you.  I used a pair of old jeans and a remnant of curtain fabric to make these.

A couple of totes for the charity shop, a lunch bag for a family Xmas present, no names in case they read this blog.   And a couple of shopping list wallets.

The bag has yet to have its beads added along the tendrils.  Its the Poppy Bag from Quilters World magazine, February 2011 if anyone wants to make one for themselves.  The pattern called for wool but I used a pair of old jeans and added the applique felt poppy.   I'm quite pleased with it and might make another one for myself later.
A tutorial for these wallets can be found here I thought they would make good shopping wallets where you have a notebook and places to put your loyalty cards and money off vouchers.  I always misplace my vouchers and then find them when they are out of date.   You could use them for anything.  Again I made mine from a piece of the old jeans and added a crazy patchwork puzzle piece I'd had lying around for some time.  I didn't make the puzzle piece, it was part of a swap I took part in ages ago.  The front of the second wallet (open one) has a swirl cut out of the curtain remnant with the Big Shot and bonded onto the front.  As you can see the lining is also from the curtain.

Next job is to try and make a Domina Chix, I've been looking round for some shiney black fabric but couldn't find anything I liked so I'm now going to bond a bin liner to cotton and see what happens.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Bowes Challenge

Our very small textile art group has challenged each other to create a piece of work based on photos we took of the outside of Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle.  I missed the joint photo day out we had arranged but went along earlier this week to take my photos and get the creative juices flowing.  I've been concentrating recently on quilting projects, mainly Christmas presents and now feel the need to do something else.

I've played a bit in Photoshop with this one, thinking of doing something on the embellisher and hand stitching.

Part of the gate ironwork

 It was difficult to get a clear picture of the formal garden at the front because of the different levels.

When we set off the day was sunny but by the time we got to Bowes it was threatening rain so everything looked a bit dull.

One other piece of news, I'm about to become a great grandmother next year.
My grandson Matthew and his girlfriend Siobhan are to be the proud parents.   I'm trying not to become too excited at the moment as its still a long way off but I am looking at baby quilts.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Jelly Roll Quilts

I saw this on You Tube and was amazed at the speed these ladies can create a quilt top.  I thought I'd have a go too.

I searched through my jelly rolls and decided to use one that seemed to have been hanging around for a while.  It's a variety of batiks but when I unrolled it I I wasn't too keen on several lengths.

Thirtyfive minutes it took the winner of the Jelly Roll Race to complete her top.  As for me - well it took me 3.5 hours just to piece all the lengths together and sew the first row.....   and another 2 hours to finish the quilt top!!  Guess no prizes there then.  I think the race must have started once all the strips were sewn together as it was this stage that took up most of my time. I also made lots of  mistakes at this stage.  First once was not to sew them together one after the other.  Instead I sewed them in pairs and then the pairs to each other.   I found I had to repeatedly check where my seams were lying and I spent a lot of time unpicking them because they were on the wrong side.   But eventually I finished it and here it is (sorry about the pegs the wind kept blowing it backwards).   I must say I quite like it. All I have to do now is figure out what to do next. It turned out bigger than I expected at 64" x 60" so I might add borders and put it on the bottom of our bed.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Drunkards Path

Sy and Julie bought me the Drunkards Path die  for the Accuquilt last Christmas, so I thought it only fair that I make them a lap quilt using this block.  They have decorated their living room in chocolate and lime so those are the colours I've used in their quilt.   I bought 14 differing shades of browns and lime/greens and set off to cut out the pieces.  I happily spent a couple of hours cutting all 104 pairs for the quilt (with some extra) then sewed them all into blocks of 4.  The Accuquilt really comes into its own I think when cutting pieces that are more difficult to do than straight rotary cut pieces.

Once I got them to this stage the fun began.  I had enough for 7 rows of 8 blocks but ended up making the quilt 7 rows of 6 blocks in a sort of sudoko pattern.   Sewing these blocks together gave me a real headache much more difficult than sewing them all together.  I used our bed to lay them all out and get the pattern correct.   Then took each pair into my sewing room and sewed them together.  Easy yes....  Well I put them down in the order I thought I'd picked them up but I'd actually put them down upside down - you following me?   I'd lost the plot and a hour later and several unpickings I finally asked Keith to give me a hand to sort out the pattern again.  Then I did the sensible thing and pinned the pairs together with a label (t for top).

This is the result:
I could only get part of the quilt in the photo but you get the idea.   There were several blocks left over so
I made Buster a matching quilt to go on top of his new bed but I'll keep it until Christmas or Sy and Julie might guess what they are getting.
I've basted both tops onto fleece and hope to get one of them quilted before the weekend.

I've been chuntering on about the Big Shot machine for some time now as a complimentary machine to the Accuquilt.   I must have gone on a bit more than I thought for when we were in Embsay Mills on Sunday Keith bought me one!!!!  He also bought me a couple of dies and embossing folders.  I've been watching videos on Youtube as well as Patsy Thompson's videos on using the Big Shot with fabric and am keen to play with it.  However I want to quilt at least one of the drunkard path quilts before I start or they may never get done.

Almost forgot - Henny Penny has been refurbished, doesn't she look regal.  I almost think if I added a whip she could become a dominachick.