Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Good Bye Horrid Hoodie

Next week my Husband, Michael, and I will celebrate 7 years since he proposed to me in Sidmouth, Devon. And we will be back in Sidmouth again this coming Friday for the week long folk festival - we've been counting down for months. So what has this to do with a horrid hoodie, you may ask?

Well, since before I met my Husband at university in September 2003 he has owned a bottle green hoodie with the words "St. Michael" across the front. Brits amongst you will recognise this as Marks and Spencers brand. And looking at the Wikipedia article for Marks and Spencers, this brand died a death in the early 2000s. This is how old the hoodie was. It was shapeless, as big as a tent (even before Michael had lost all his weight) had holes in it and was truly horrid.

A couple of months ago he asked if I could include the hoodie in a quilt - a asked him whether he wanted a comfort blanket and that was the last I heard of the idea, until he bought himself a Kindle.

As we are going on holiday next week, he now wants a cover for the Kindle to stop it getting and scratched. And here we return to the hoodie.

Oh how I enjoyed taking nice big scissors and a rotary cutter to it :) Here is the finished article. He is thrilled and so am I.

It's a bit longer than it needed to be for the kindle, but it meant we could keep the entire motif - and the holes!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Beautiful Ambrosia

No - not custard!

You know when you just see fabric and think " I just have to have that" and "I have to do something with that straight away". Well, it happened last weekend. I'm busy making my sewing machine cover, when Nicola goes "have you seen the new fabric round the back - I think you'll like it". The fatal mistake was going and having a look, cause she was right. I posted a photo of the fabric on my blog last week. It's Ambrosia from Westminster Fabrics in really summery reds and greens. I added in an extra green and bought six fat quarters. Already a project was in mind.... Linda bought a new book a few weeks back called "Fast Quilts from Fat Quarters" by Barbara Chainey. The idea of the book is that you cut each fat quarter to the same standard cutting pattern that is designed to get the greatest yield from one fat quarter. You then reorganise the pieces into blocks. The design I chose was the first one in the book. It's twelve four-patch blocks made entirely from pieces from the cutting plan. Instead of doing a repeat of two blocks, I picked two others from the design library in the front of the book. Interestingly, despite following instructions, there were not enough of one of the shapes to make the quilt exactly as was in the book, without cutting additional fabric. I worked round this by adapting the blocks to the fabric I had. It took me three hours to cut the fabric and decide which fabric to put where and which blocks to make and then three hours this morning to piece all 12 8inch blocks - that is what I call quick.

Here is the result

I dashed out to the nearest patchwork shop once I'd finished to get some white fabric for the sashing. But in the whole shop she only had two white fabrics, so I shall have to wait till next weekend to continue my project. I also have enough pieces left that I can make key blocks for all the corners. I'm going to use 4inch sashing, so the finished piece shouldn't be too small.

This week I've also started doing the embroidery on the August Calendar Girlies (though I've only actually finished one) and I have completed one more of the Farmer's Wife blocks - this time I went for an easy one - #1 Attic Windows. Maybe I'll make a bit of a move on next week :)

So many projects, so little time! And just in case you havent' noticed - I've finally grasped some photo editing software!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Farmer's Wife, Mystery BOM and a Sewing Machine Cover

I have now recovered from passing my driving test - it was very strange driving the car by myself for the first time. So far, that has only been to the chip shop and back and to Linda's and back - each drive lasting a good 5 minutes. But today I drove Linda over to our latest patchwork class at the Fat Quarters - it's about 40 minutes each way and involves the worst roundabout in the North East (Moor Farm) and the A1. I did ok, and also enjoyed it.

Of course, the drive to the Fat Quarters was not without good reason! Linda and I went to a class to make a sewing machine cover. It's a design from the 1oth Birthday edition of Homespun magazine. The main body is made from Osnabruck Linen - it's a fairly large weave linen with all the inclusions. The fabrics are a bit of mixture, but definitely include some (one) Moda. The "stitch" is hand embroidered and I added buttons. And round the edges is my first ever attempt at piping, which is no where near as tricky as I thought it would be! Although mine isn't perfect, I'm vervy pleased with my first attempt. My sewing machine was determined that it did not want a new home and broke two needles in the process of making it!

I've been up to other things during the week. My duties as a Farmer's Wife continue: This week I have made another two blocks: #54 Kitchen Woodbox and #77 Seasons. Both were foundation pieced, and I'm realy pleased with the accuracy of my seams.

I've also continued with block 8 of the mystery block of the month from the Fat Quarters. All of my blocks are in pastel greens and pinks. There will be twelve blocks in total and I think fresh white sashing will make the finished quilts look lovely and fresh and spring like. I now have block 9 to make.

And today I just couldn't resist some new fabrics that were just in at the Fat Quarters. they are reds and greens, but not at all Christmassy - I think of Christmas when I see those two fabrics together normally but these are really summary with leaves, cherries and hearts. I've borrowed a book on fat quarters quilts from Linda and I think I'll have go :) yummy stitching!

Driving Test

Wohoooo - I passed my driving test yesterday - tomorrow I hope to go car shopping. Now I can get to the patchwork shop under my own steam.
Maybe some more stitchy updates tomorrow! Watch this space

Sunday, 3 July 2011

I am a Farmer's Wife

Not literally, obviously - anyone who knows Michael would struggle to picture that. But I have finally started my Farmer's Wife quilt. The background to the quilt is really interesting: in the 1920s, farmers' wives in America were asked if they would like their own daughters to marry a farmer. The book contains some of the responses to that question and 111 6inch patchwork blocks.

Yesterday I completed block 9, "Box", and today I have completed block 26, "Cut Glass Dish". I am foundation piecing (on paper) using a black background and abtoks from my stash. As my stash is not very mature I am using this as an excuse to buy any pretty batiks I see and it will end up a scrappy batiky quilt. I went through my stash yesterda, knowing I had some batiks there, only to find that they are all blues and turquoises. This will keep me going for a few blocks, but I think I'll have to add to this colour palette fairly soon.

So here is block 9, Box. The batik fabric for this block came from a quilt shop in Milton Keynes.

And here is block 26, Cut Glass Dish. This was considerably more complex and I can't say that I am particularly happy with some of the seams - maybe this wil be one that is redone once I am better practiced at foundation piecing. The light turquoise batik came from the same shop in Milton Keynes and the darker blue came from the Fat Quarters.

The darker blue fabric in block 26 above if the remants of the fabrics I've used for the July calendar Girlies as this month's angel is at the beach. I finally finished these yesterday, ready to pack up and send out.

I haven't mentioned my Vignette quilt for a while. I continue to do the embroidery on the first block, and blocks 2 and 3 are pieced. Blocks 4, 5 and 9 came out in the last magazine. I only feel a bit behind - that's the downside of having so many wonderful projects on the go. But I don't think I'll be changing that any time soon :)

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Back in Blighty

I have had a very unquilty week. And as I said in my very quick post on Thursday, I am getting withdrawal symptoms. I spent last weekend with my Mum and Dad. I took the train down on Wednesday after work and Mum and I spent Thursday and Friday baking cakes for the cake stall at the church fete: 48 jumbo cookies, 6 gingerbreads, 8 fruit cakes, 6 lemon drizzle cakes, a slab of chocolate sponge, 4 chcolocate sponges, 4 coffee sponges, 6 coffee and walnut sponges, 2 batches of chcolate brownie, 2 batches of chcolate orange brownies, 4 batches of Shortbread, 100 scones (half fruit and half cheese). In the end we bakes about half of the cake stall and the stall made more money this year than any other year, as did the fete as a whole, so it was all worth it! Needless to say, I didn't have much time to get any stitching in! I did manage to print off the paper piecing patterns for the Farmer's Wife Quilt, but that was all. I also spent a long time talking to my Aunt and Granny who both do embroidery. Aunty Catherine has been doing some white work, so I've pinched the patterns, and I think there is some potential there... but perhaps not in white!

I got back home on Sunday night and spent a few hours desperately searching for my passport.... I was due to flew to Germany for work very early on Monday morning. I finally found my passport, then checked my emails to find that my card had been declined and I had no flights. An hour on the phone and I had flights and had ordered an emergency card.... This was a good start to the week.

The one advantage of the new flights, was that it was a lunchtime departure, much to managers disgust - she was still on the early flight! I got the flight from Newcastle to Charles de Gaulle wihtout issue. Except that once we had finally taxied to the gate I knew that there was no way I would be able to catch the next flight - there just wasn't enough time. For the first time ever I was relieved to see that the second flight had been cancelled!!!! I was booked on to a later flight and finally got to Frankfurt only two hours later than we had originally planned.

I took some embroidery to Germany with me, but had no time to do any. I contented myself with the odd look at the Flickr quilt a long and the Vignette blog. My replacement card finally arrived on Thursday, so luckily I was able to pay for my hotel! But it didn't end there....

I left the office at 3.30 on Friday to get back home. Got the taxi to the airport where I tried to pay with card (I had no cash). The taxi drivers card machine was broken. So we sat there until his colleague arrived and he took my payment. Not a good start.... Got to check in and instead of doing the DIY check in I was sent to the counter - never a good start. My flight from Frankkfurt to Charles de Gaulle was fine, but the flight on to Newcastle had been overbooked, and I didn't have a seat.... so I was eventually rebooked on flights via Amsterdam. I got home an hour later than intended, but at least my suitcase arrived with me (one better than the last time I travelled to Germany). I don't think I want to travel by air anymore.....

So today I plan to do some catch up on my quilting and finally make a start to the Farmer's Wife Quilt. All I need now if my Husband to clear his models and paints off of my quiting table - you go away for a week and he takes over.......

Oh yes - and apologies to those who havent' got their July Calendar Girlies yet - I've been a bit busy..... They'll go in the post on Monday :)