Friday, 11 December 2009

I'm nearly a week behind which seems to be the story at the moment...

Anyway, last weekend was clear apart from my work Chrimbo party on the Friday at The National Media Museum. Even though it was a free bar i managed to not get spectacularly drunk (probably my mouth didn’t stop flapping long enough for me to drink very much) so i wasn’t nursing a hangover on Saturday morning.

My normal pattern for a weekend is to give myself a completely unrealistic to-do list, and then get all cranky on Sunday evening when I’ve only got hardly any of it done. I still had the unrealistic list but managed to get enough done to avoid the crankiness on Sunday evening!
I was up fairly early both Saturday and Sunday as Curly Boy was snoring like a lion. I was spitting feathers when i couldn't stand it any longer and had to get up, but i guess i have him to thank for me having so much time.

Amazingly I got my Orange and Teal wonky log cabin quilt finished!

I quilted it on the frame and I finally remembered to take a pic of the frame with the machine on for those of you who have asked. Sorry – i did mean remember before now, but better late than never?

I don’t know how I’d describe the quilting. Sort of lines and squares? I love how it looks on the front....

but it shows up even better on the back.

It was good fun and QUICK to do. 5 hours including the ½ hour ish to put it on the frame. I didn’t realise having THAT much fun quilting was possible and judging how achy my legs and bum were on Monday morning – fantastic exercise too.

I even hand sewed the binding down apart from ½ side which i finished on Monday night. The binding it wasn’t even on my list! That’s a grand total of 2 UFOs done!

I also made a block for the Around The World Quilting Bee, finished the last couple of bits on the Reversible quilt (blogged about on Saturday), prepared a few blocks for the Josephs Coat quilt a long, embroidered a label for the Bento Box and even did a bit of tidying up!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Busy busy...

I think i have had the busiest 3 weeks in history not helped by my back.
2 evenings of rotary cutting last week and I managed to totally cabbage my back to the point that the muscles around my ribs have been so tight that my stomach has been really upset, and I’ve been a bit pukey. Nice.

But being a brave little soldier (yeah...right!...) I managed to do just about everything i needed to do with the exception of going and seeing my favourite girlies dancing last Saturday night. I was gutted that i missed it and I’ve been popping the pain killers ever since until i could finally get the Osteopath last week to get it sorted. Thankfully it’s on the mend now but I’m trying to avoid the rotary cutter. That shouldn't be too hard as i shouldn't be cutting out for anything new anyway with a list of UFOs as long as it is!

The evenings I spent rotary cutting was the fabric for 2 quilts that Mum and I made at a class last Saturday. My Mum is THE hardest person to buy for so i thought i'd book us into the class as her birthday pressie. Here’s my finished lap quilt made with Amy Butler Love.



I chose Moda Panache for Mum and it looks lovely so I’ll try and remember to snap a pic of it next time i’m at her house.

I finally stopped ignoring the Bento box and after unpicking the crappy pattern I did last week on 4 blocks, I cracked on with it again.

After a disastrous start to the whole quilting frame malarkey – like EVERYTHING seeming to go wrong – this was an absolute breeze. I started quilting it on Sunday and finished the last 20 minutes before work last Monday. Probably 5-6 hours work in total with very little hassle and no thread snappage! I love the swirls and loops and it was a joy to do. It’s all bound and washed although, the downside of using unbleached cotton is that it wrinkles like the hell for the first 2 or 3 washes until it softens.

That’s 1 off my list of UFOs and I've managed to quilt another one today so I'll show you that when I've hand sewn the binding down and the light's better. So, it's nearly 2 down, 10 to go!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Not much progress.

It’s generally been a bit of whirlwind couple of weeks.

I have a ton of UFOs, but also a ton of social events which eats into my crafting time so I’m really trying to not put too much pressure on myself to finish up my mahoooosive list, but still actually achieve something!

In the main I’ve been working on this.

Not on my UFO list but it’s what i really want to be doing. It’s the time of year. There is nothing more lovely that curling up on the sofa with the fire on, hand stitching.

Doesn’t help that i put another quilt on the quilting frame last weekend, started quilting and made a complete hack job of 4 blocks!!

I drew on the design thinking “how hard can it be to jut follow the lines?”. Erm...very hard!! I think i was trying to run before i could walk.

The shapes were so wonky i actually laughed. Very loudly. I guess that’s preferable to taking a sledgehammer to the quilting frame though.

After ignoring it for a few days i will be unpicking it this weekend and will opt for something a little easier. I'd like to get it finished by the end of this weekend if i can just ignore the lure of the cerise pink flower petal!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


Posting the picture of this block last week was quite appropriate as last weekend started with Curly Boys Citizenship Ceremony. Yup...he’s now a Brit!
(Well, kinda. He hasn’t given up his US citizenship so now he has dual nationality)

He has been here for 7 ½ years and has had Indefinite Leave to Remain for the last 6 (ish) years so would be able to stay here for as long as he wanted anyway, but he wanted to become a UK Citizen.

As he says, all the previous immigration steps have been essential to allow him to move here in the first place and stay here with me. This one has been about him being allowed to vote (which is really important to him), and declaring that he is ‘home’.
The ceremony took place in the Leeds Civic Hall. After waiting and queuing for various things - I’m sure to test whether the new to-be UK citizens had mastered the British art of queuing - we all trooped into one of the beautiful oak panelled halls.

He first had to say the Affirmation of Allegiance (as he opted to have the non-religious one):

I (name) do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that on becoming a British citizen, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her Heirs and Successors, according to law.

...and then the Pledge:

I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfill my duties and obligations as a British citizen.

He was presented his certificate by the very jolly and uniformed Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire and a photographer took their picture along with a portrait of Queen Lizzie - looking rather marvelous in her Queenie finery.

During the ceremony the Deputy Lord Lieutenant gave a lovely speech where he talked about everyone’s journeys. Curly Boys has been fairly easy but there will have been people amongst the group that the journeys won’t have been quite so easy. There were people from (amongst others) Somalia, Iran, Iraq and Zimbabwe and although i don’t know their stories i can probably hazard a guess that their journeys may not have been quite so easy. I wish them all the health, wealth and happiness in their new lives here.

Other than going for a lovely lunch and a wander around the German Christmas market, afterwards we celebrated by re-mortgaging the house for a box of American goodies.

Since then I’ve already inhaled 2 of the Zero bars and plan to bathe in the root beer once I’ve remembered to get some ice-cream from the shop!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Deadlines...well kinda.

Rather than working on my UFO list I’ve been a bit distracted by a few other projects.
It’s not me going off the boil already (honestly!) but these really needed to be done as there were deadlines to meet.

First up is little colourful and rainbow inspired things for Trashys Rainbow Swap – that needed to be out 1 day before i actually put it all together (oops!).

A block for Courtney for the Quilt Around The World Bee.

She wanted us to create a block with something about where we live, and something about us. A Union Jack was quite fitting – with some selvages of my favourite fabrics.

This was my first attempt at foundation piecing. I can do English paper piecing standing on my head but this....jeez. I think the block took me about 5 hours in total – not that you can tell from all wonkyness going on. The whole point of foundation piecing is for accuracy so i think i must not have quite grasped it. I probably should have read some tutorials or instructions – and didn’t - so the wonkyness and inaccuracy probably had something to do with my ‘make it up as you go along’ approach. Having said that all that, it does make me smile.

And I cracked on and made a cushion for The Pillow Talk Swap that needed to be out by the end of the month.

It’s my swap partners favourites mixed with an idea from quilting magazine. I quilted it on the stroppy Janome who for a change managed to behave herself while i quilted it. I didn’t want to part with it so I’m adding making 2 for me onto the (ever-growing) list of projects i want to do.

Last but not least I’ve been fiddling with bits of stabiliser and fabric for the Don’t look now quilt along. The conversation with Curly Boy the other night went something like this.

CB: That looks suspiciously like a new project.
Me: No, this one? Nooooo.
CB: It is isn’t it? That’s a new project and not a UFO.
Me: No it’s not a new project as I’ve been planning it in my head for while, so it’s not a new project. Technically speaking it’s a UFO.
CB : Well the pieces ARE kind of UFO shaped so i guess that would count as a UFO.

Haha. He’ll do for me!!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Joy in the New Year

I’ve finally decided to participate in Joy in The New Year over at Tallgrass Prairie Studio.
Unfortunately i dithered after i first saw it so now have 2 weeks less than i should have to complete, although I guess as no one’s going to come and lynch me if i don’t get them all finished so i might as well have a stab at it.

Here’s my list and i think i might have bitten off more than i can chew. All the quilts are quite large (approx 72” x 84”) so they’re not ones that i can get done that quickly.
I considered cutting them all in half as then they’d all be half the size and really quick to do, but then i realised that would just double my UFO list – so that wouldn’t work!

1. Hexagon pinwheel – to finish quilting (I’m just over halfway) bind and label.

2. Whirlygiggle – to quilt, bind and label.

3. Orange and teal log cabin - to quilt, bind and label.

4. Bento Box - to quilt, bind and label

5. Sue Spargo wool quilt – to HAND quilt, bind and label.
Hhhmmmm, not sure adding one that is going to be hand quilted to the list is the best idea I’ve ever had!

6. Momo quilt – to join the blocks, quilt, bind and label

7. Arkansas Crossroads quilt – join the blocks, quilt, bind and label

8. Eurovision Bee quilt - make 20 tiny log cabins, finish the top, quilt, bind and label

9. Bee Addicted 3 star quilt - make 15 or so blocks, finish the top, quilt, bind and label

10. String quilt - to make another 34 or so blocks (!!!!!) , finish the top, quilt, bind and label

11. Sew flowers on crochet blanket.

12. Finish doll.

As yet i have no plans for New Years Eve. It’s a good job really!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

What I'd do with my lottery winnngs!

I wish i could win the lottery (although....doesn't everyone!). The Euro lottery last Friday i believe was 95 million Euros. Curly Boy’s is in a Euro millions syndicate at work so he spent a significant chunk of last weekend spending his winnings (that he didn’t win!) and the rest of the week feeling depressed that he didn't win!

Obviously the first thing I’d do is order Lamborghini Murcielago and book a holiday, then I’d look for a house that is just like mine but with enough space for a fleet of super cars and an extra room downstairs for my sewing.

Last week when Holly the Pfaff came, i sat at the dining room table and played with her. I loved it. Loved being close to Curly Boy who was in the Lounge watching TV or reading. We could have shouted conversations between rooms and he could shout me to come and watch the water tank explosions on Mythbusters (although i do have to admit that after the 4th time i stopped what i was doing that i told him that i wouldn’t be coming in again!).

Curly Boy noticed that i loved it too and jokingly suggested that i buy another sewing machine to keep downstairs (yeah, like i need any encouragement to buy more sewing machines!) but it has got me thinking. My theory was that If i moved my machine downstairs i might be more inclined to do a bit when i get home from work, or while tea is cooking, and be more inclined to sew after tea rather than laying like a vegetable on the sofa.

So here it is. My machine is downstairs on the dining room table. I’m not convinced i can be well behaved enough to stop my stuff getting strewn everywhere but in the last few evenings in between Judge Judy, cooking tea and The Dog Whisperer i got these done.

Blocks for Katrina for Bee Addicted 3

A pile of blocks for my Arkansas crossroads quilt

I've had to take a pic of the blocks on the lounge floor as - ahem - the Momo blocks are still on my design wall waiting to be sewn together!

I don’t whether this means that my theory is working or whether it’s the novelty of being able to check on the boiling pasta after a few seams. We’ll see!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Distracted already!

I had a weekend pretty jam packed full of so I wasn’t sure I’d get much time to mess around with Holly the Pfaff. But, as I’m not ‘hip and with it’ and had no plans to go out clubbing on Saturday night, i had a play then.

Instead of doing some free motion quilting to figure out what thread she did and didn’t like etc, and to figured out the tension, i did the last thing i should have been doing – starting a new quilt!

It an Arkansas Crossroads quilt and will be made from all brown/rust/beige scraps - to go with my bedroom. I hate scraps with a passion for some reason. I think it's because i haven't found a good way of storing them so they don't fit in with my OCD tendencies. I have piles and piles of the sodding things.

Saturday evening i got all the 84 4 patches that i need made. I was astounded.
Maybe everyone else does them that quickly but as i generally have the concentration of a gnat and get bored of chain piecing after about an hour, so i didn’t expect to get anywhere near that much done.
Before work yesterday (i know, I'm obsessed) i got the HST triangles sewn and last night and this morning before work i trimmed them all. I've had to come up for air from my quilting as I've run out of quilting thread, so until Mr Postie brings me some more i have the perfect justification for doing this rather than the stuff i really should be getting on with.

Monday, 9 November 2009

I was going to do all sorts this evening but i got sidetracked by The Dog Whisperer. Have you seen it? That man is a genius!

We used to watch re-runs of Road Wars on the telly while we ate our tea (as we're heathens who believe the dining room table is a place to just dump all the stuff that we don't know what else to do with) but now we've discovered Cesar Milan.

He makes me want to dash out and get a dog....and a pair of roller blades.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Pfaffing about.

I’ve been AWOL while I’ve been messing about with my new quilting frame that arrived at the end of last week....oh, and watching the rest of Season 1 of Little House on the Prairie.

I booked 3 days off work to get so i could take delivery of a few things and have a break, and you know how some things – even when planned with military precision – don’t work out that way? Well, that’s been the case with everything in the last few days.

Curly Boy set about putting the frame together on Saturday morning....and there was 2 bolts missing. Curly Boy had a rummage around to see whether we had anything that would fit, and he didn’t. Dad had a rummage in his shed anything that would fit and he didn’t either. So it was erected with clamps holding the legs on until Curly Boy could get some from work on Monday.

I was planning on using my old machine on the frame except....the cord for the foot pedal isn’t long enough so I’ve had to put my newer machine on the frame.

I ordered wadding to arrive on Friday as well – it didn’t arrive. I didn’t arrive on Monday either. After a few phone calls from me to the company, and the company to UPS what it boiled down to was that UPS said they “were too busy”.
At 6.40pm there was a knock on the door and a rather pissed off UPS man was stood there with my wadding. I suspect had been told to get off his butt and get to me and judging by his expression wasn’t too happy about it.

Anyway, I have a quilt loaded on the frame and am about halfway through it. It’s going, but I’m not sure whether I’d go as far as saying it’s going well. The quilting looks lovely but i definitely need more practice.

Things I have learned:

* My Janome is VERY temperamental. I knew that anyway but it’s a pain in the backside when i have to keep sorted it out when it gets jammed.
* My Janome LOVES YLI quilting thread. That is, until the bobbin gets low and then it hates it.
* My Janome can’t cope with free motion quilting for hours on end. After about 3 hours it just stopped and went off and couldn’t turn it back on for another hour.
* The lighting in my room is appalling.
* Borders on a quilt are a pain as they stretch differently to the rest of the quilt.

So, on Thursday i bit the bullet and bought this

I haven't used her yet as she only arrived last night. She's called Holly. As she is a hobby 1200 and my very first sewing machine was a little childrens Holly Hobby one, and as she's an early Christmas pressie to myself, the name seemed fitting. She came with a pile of goodies to which are nearly as exciting as the machine.

Enough thread to last me a lifetime and extra bobbins and needles.

And this. So if i ever want to take her anywhere with me, or just wheel her around the streets i can!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Placemats for PQS2

I was that busy making sure i didn’t show any pictures of the placemat i made for the PQS2, that i totally forgot to show the one i received.
Stephanie was my swap partner and she sent me this! Isn’t it a beauty?

I love those autumn trees. A lot. I think she read my mind (or maybe looked at my favourites) but I’ve been admiring quilts with these little trees on Now i have one of my very own! She also sent fabric, so even though i loved her when i saw the placemat, i REALLY love her now.

She’s now received the one i made, so I can show you it.

I'm thrilled that Stephanie loves hers as much as I love mine!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

My sewing machine loves me.

Cos i was a good Mummy and gave her a clean.

It was only because i was finding the squeak really annoying but don't tell her i said that.

She is purring with happiness now. She loves me.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Momo on the prairie.

My cold turned into Pharyngitis (i think i might have just made up that spelling!) so rather than doing all the things I'm supposed me to be doing i felt perfectly justified in starting a new quilt. Oh, and spending a whole weekend watching a Little House on the Prairie box set!

I had a Momos Wonderland jelly roll and layer cake that i bought when i was feeling the need for those cute lil packages of fabric, and have been wracking my brains for weeks trying to come up with a pattern that would make maximum usage of the fabric. I told Curly Boy and within about 5 minutes he'd come up with a pattern idea!! Yay for Curly Boy!

So I've chopped up my jelly roll, my layer cake and some yard goods (that's what Ma Ingalls calls it!) and I'm all set to go.

My half square triangles are trimmed and ready

and I've even tried a block to see whether i like it, and now just need to park myself at the sewing machine for a bit.

I will when I find out whether Laura and Jack the dog have both caught rabies from Jasper the raccoon!

Saturday, 17 October 2009


Had the mother of all colds this week so although my heart has been very willing, my body hasn't. I've achieved little of what i set out to do but luckily i haven't missed any deadlines!

Mostly I've been obsessing about my Dear Jane quilt and luckily i got a few things done last weekend that i never showed you.

First up, Curly Boys' quilt is done!

Here's the back.

He loves it and is very pleased to have a quilt of his very own - finally. I figured he's worth it for putting up with a house full of fabric and always being covered in thread ends!

I got some bee blocks done.

October is my month in 2 bees and the blocks are coming in thick and fast now so although the posties are still threatening to go on a national strike, for this week at least i love my postman.

For my Eurovision quilt i planned on sashing the blocks with unbleached cotton and Curly Boy came up with the idea of making mini log cabins for the corners - genius!
These were GOOD fun and are 2.5", so will finish up at 2" square. I think i might just be tempted to keep going and make a whole quilt out of these. Would be a great way of getting rid of all those stupidly small pieces that i insist on saving!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Dear Jane....

Dear Jane....

I seriously wonder whether you were as mad as a lump of wood when you make your quilt in 1863

...and i wonder whether I'm also mad as a lump of wood to even contemplate making one now.
Now the excitement has worn off fear has set in!



Tuesday, 6 October 2009

I think summer's over...*sigh*

The weather has really turned wintry this week....and rainy....bbboooo!! I guess summer is finally over.
It feels really strange getting home from work and it’s already starting to get dark, and although I hate winter with a passion I do find that when the days start getting shorter I’m strangely comforted by it.

I can also tell it’s winter as Cliff Richard has crawled out of the woodwork and is starting to do the chat show rounds – just like he does EVERY year about this time. I apologise to all you Cliff Richard fans out there, but i really dislike that man. I have absolutely no grounds to dislike him, but i just can't help it. Even more than Kerry Katona and that’s saying something (for those of you in the UK you’ll know who she is, for those of you in the US you probably have no idea who she is and i wouldn’t bother wasting your time googling her!).

Anyway, back to a much more interesting subject - my ‘To do’ list for this week was to: Make placement for Flickr place mat swap and work on Curly boys quilt.

The place mat will have to remain a secret until the recipient has received it so i can’t show you that, but i can show you curly Boys quilt top.

He has been pouting for months for a quilt and i have been able to use the excuse that it’s summer and that it’s too warm for one but as i can’t use that one anymore i figured I’d better crack on with it.
I can’t remember whether he looked through my books or whether i threw some suggestions at him (not literally, as he’d have thrown them back!) but we arrived at the Colour wheel quilt. He’s an arty boy (with a degree in Fine Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago) so it’s perfect for him. Colourful but not too girly, and if he should ever forget colour theory he can just look down on his lap and he’ll have the answer! It's a bit heavy on the aquas but for him to snuggle up in, and spill his dinner down, it will be fine.

The instructions said i needed something like 7 ½ yards of fabric. I thought i was being clever and knew better and only bought 5, so i am short of fabric for the back and as that particular charcoal grey was a one-off i can’t even get anymore. Serves me right really!!

So, I’ll be bodging the back with stripes and pretending that that was my intention all along.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Birthday weekend.

This weekend was my birthday weekend!

It got off to a nice start with a trip to Katy's on Thursday so we talk about fabric and quilts for hours...and we did just that (in between 76 cups of tea and a bacon sandwich....Mmmmmm!)
She even got me a birthday pressie. Thank you Katy!

The rest of the weekend involved presents....

.....eating Brazilian food, Thai food and Hello Kitty cake...

...and hours and hours (and hours!) of hand sewing 1" bias binding while watching the Japanese Grand Prix.

With a bit of work on a new little project thrown in.

Weekends don't get much better than this!