Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Hexagon Love.

Most days I travel to work by train and it's takes about 3/4 hours each way. The prospect of this would probably make some want to gnaw off their own limbs, but not me. It means that I get an extra 1 1/2 hours a day to sew....yay!!!

English paper piecing is the perfect train project as it's small and I can be keep my space small enough to avoid jabbing my fellow passengers (unlike knitting!). The added bonus is that's it's a real conversation point and that means that I get to chat to people who I probably wouldn't have otherwise (although some do avoid sitting with me like the plague and look at me like I’m a loony!)

I never thought I’d be a hand piecing kinda gal but this has turned out to be the thing I love to do more than anything else. I find it strange that the projects are so slow but somehow they manage to hold my interest, but maybe that's not strange at all? It has probably become my way of meditating without me realising it. Meditation often involves focusing attention on a single point of reference to achieve a more relaxed frame of mind - so I suspect hand piecing has the same affect on me.
Anyway, This is what I'm working on at the moment (the 3rd quilt I’ve hand pieced on the train):

I saw it here and loved it so once I’d stopped being blonde and realised that each piece was a half hexagon, and raided the scrap box, I was off!!

I am going on holiday in a few weeks and am planning on taking this with me. I could lie and say that as it because it will involve about 12 hours of flying that I need something occupy me, but if I'm honest the thought of being separated from any kind of craft project for 2 weeks brings me out in cold sweats! I did consider holding off doing any more until my hols but (and this is when my counting OCD tendencies become obvious!) at the average rate of 4 pinwheels per work day, I’ve calculated that with 73 pinwheels done, even If I do 4 a day for the 29 working days leading up to my hols then that is only 189. I need around 280 to complete it so that leaves me 91 to do, and then they’ll need all sewing together. So phew, I needn’t have worried!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Finally some sunshine!

The weekend was fairly productive partly down to not having many plans, but the (extremely rare) sunshine gave me a bit more spring in my step than I usually have.
So, firstly I got the zig zag lap quilt finished!!
I stupidly didn't take any photos at the weekend when the sun was shining so have had to wait until the now dreary weather we've had since Monday morning has picked up a bit,
I then realised that i have absolutely nowhere to put quilts to photograph them so hanging it on the washing line in the back yard seemed to be the best option.

More often than not I usually make quite large quilts (usually queen/king sized) so in comparison this was an absolute joy to lay out, smooth and pin, (especially as I managed to to swiftly get rid of the absolutely corking alcohol induced headache I had when I got up on Saturday).
I quilted it with simple zig zags to keep as much loft as possible (and to prevent quilting boredom!) , and am really chuffed with the result. I'm even more chuffed with how speedy it went together - you can't beat instant gratification!!
I was hoping to avoid the cats claiming this as their own but I guess I lost as Maggie seems to have already taken a shine to it.

It was the Bahrain Grand Prix day on Sunday and Grand Prix Sundays are planned with military precision!! Anything that needs to be done is done in the morning and the race Sky Plus'ed so that we sit down and watch it when we're done - partly so we can fast forward past the adverts, rewind to re-watch any spectacular incidents (or bits I've missed cos I'm doing something else at the same time!), but mainly so we don't have to get up at stupid o'clock to watch it because of the time differences.
We got parked on the sofa with the race on the telly and I finally sewed the binding on the last 2 cushions (after my poor fingers have had a few of days to recover). Now I have 4!!!

They match the mat for my hair straighteners I made the other weekend although since I was 'shawn' at the hairdressers I'm really not sure hair straighteners are going to be used very often, but at least the top of dresser looks pretty!
Curly boy reckons I am obsessed by flowers and yes…I probably have to agree. I love flowers.
I have a tons of these flowers so need to ponder where else I can stick them ( I'm sure curly boy will have some suggestions that he thinks are really funny!)
Also, labels are now done and sewn on for all the quilts I've kept and I have even managed to keep up the momentum and make ones for the two that are at the long arm quilter.
I always label quilts that I have made for other people but haven't done any of the ones I've kept. I would say that I don't know why, but yes I DO know why - sheer laziness!!
They're nothing fancy, just simple embroidered labels with my name and the year I made them.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

It's the weekend....

I sneaked an hour of sewing in last night until I had to get ready to go out and have finally finished these patchwork baskets that have been sat around for ages - made using this lovely tutorial at Pink Penguin. I made the baskets and then went off the boil when it came to the easy bit - sewing the linings in! All finished now and will be put to good use on my sewing table holding (stupidly small and possibly useless) bits of fabric, selvedges and other odds and ends. They are made with the scraps of Heather Baileys Freshcut (I'm sure if Heather knew how obsessed I was with this fabric it would probably freak her out!!!).

It was nice to finally get some sunshine so at least my pics don't look too murky.

Here's the lovely Jimmy Boy giving me the evil eye for taking pictures of the baskets when i should be feeding him!!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Zig zags

Last weekend I spent some time chopping (yet more) fabric up for (yet another) quilt.
I was sitting on the sofa one night last week and my feet were a bit chilly - and couldn't be bothered going upstairs to get some socks - so figured I needed a comfort blankie for these occasions. I am slightly ashamed at myself at going off at a tangent again even though I have 3000 (or maybe more) UFOs, but I can't ignore cold feet can I?
Anyway...the top is done!!!! It was really quick to put together and is made from this fab tutorial that avoids having to sew triangles - cos i'm not very good at them!

The browns are from various ranges and the coloured strips are Anna Maria Horners Chocolate Lollipop range.
The backing is underway and is just stripes using up all the pieces I have left. I usually hate to use nice fabrics on the backings, but I wanted to get the chocolate lollipop fabric used up. Although I love it, its much darker than the fabrics I tend to use so it never seems to go with anything. It's been sat on my shelves forever and am pleased that i have finally found a good use for it.
Not too much going on this weekend so hoping I'll be able to get it pinned and quilted on Saturday although.... I spose it will depend on how many brandy's i have on Friday when i'm out with my friend Julie!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Spring flowers

Have been squeezing in a bit of time this week to do bits and pieces on these this week, and today I finished them (well...kinda).

As I made the flowers ages ago (before I went off on tangent onto something else!) I though there wasn't going to be too much work involved. Bit of iron-on sticky stuff, bit of machine applique, a bit of free motion quilting and a bit of hand stitching for the binding and they'd be done. Erm....not quite. Everything went smoothly until the hand stitching of binding onto furnishing fabric. Fingers are sore and shredded after doing the binding on 2....and it took me about 4 hours!!

I worked out that I have had the previous ones 15 years (shame on me!). They match my curtains in my old house and was planning on making new ones after I moved. So I made some new ones - 7 years later! Better late than never...

So, here's the 2 on my sofa......with Rock God monkey doing the honour of modelling them for me!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Wish i could have 4 day weekends EVERY week!

Thought I'd struggle with work this week. I thought I'd find it hard to get motivated after Easter weekend and just wanted to be home continuing the loveliness (is that a proper word?) of having 4 days to do whatever I pleased. But, happy to say i seem to be feeling quite alert and full of the joys of spring!!

We were originally planning to decorate the lounge but found any excuse not to, and so glad we did. So instead it involved going with Curly boy to collect this:

It unfortunately doesn't have blue wheels - this was pic that he played around with in photoshop - but i like them!!!

Finished this for Jenny. What a joy it was to make this and i hope she likes it!

Many hours of cutting scraps into 1" strips - while catching up episodes of The Wire (well and truly hooked!)

Picked these up from the post office, washed, ironed, chopped off all the selvedges and folded them:

A bit of this:

I got rid of a load of scraps to Tara of Sew Gorgeous who lives about 1/2 hour away from me - glad they've gone to a good home.

Yummy pub lunch.

And finally making a mat for my straightening irons so that i could finally throw out the scabby bit of old tablecloth that has been doing the job for about 5 years!! It didn't take very long to do, made me smile and after seeing it in the lounge I feel some new flower sofa cushions coming on....

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Getting with 'it'!

Well…I've finally 'got with the program' and made the big leap into blog land!!!
Up until now I have resisted the urge for a few reasons:

  • I really don't think I am witty or interesting enough for anything to think of reading my blog.
  • Any time I'm spent blogging is time taken away from crafting/quilting.
  • As blogging is likely reduce the crafty stuff, maybe there won't be enough stuff to talk about.

But, as sewing is generally a solitary pursuit (well...other than the cats being with me eating loose bits of thread off the floor!) i am feeling the need to connect with other people who 'get it'! People who understand why i would feel the need to:

  • Cut perfectly good large pieces of fabric up into small pieces, and then sew them back together.
  • Spend a whole weekend chopping scraps into 1" strips...
  • Sit on the lounge floor in front of the telly sorting scraps by colour
  • Stand for hours ironing and folding pieces of new fabric
  • Cut the selvages of every piece of fabric i own (and believe me that's quite a lot!!)
  • Sew 3069 hexagons together into a grandmothers flower garden quilt.
  • Have a spare bedroom as a shrine to Heather Bailey
  • Sit for hours with the Hancocks of Paducah catalogues and a pink Sharpie marker.

I guess you won't all be with me on all those points…..but at least you 'get it'.

I figured the best place to start would be to go through some projects I've completed, until I get into a groove - as I guess once I do there's isn't a hope in hell that you'll stop me talking!!

So...more to come...but please bear with me with the techy stuff!!