Monday, 28 November 2016

#100days100blocks [Blocks 91-100]

Here's our final installment of 'ten things about Jennie'!

Block 91: Fight

I've just learned that one of my best friends has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She has a hell of a fight ahead of her. It took me a long time to decide on a name for this block - it was nearly "Cancer Sucks" - too many people I know have been lost to cancer. But the thing is that other people I know have to fight against other illnesses too, so "Fight" is inclusive of them too.

Block 92: Grandad Reeds

This is for my maternal Grandfather - the one who called me poppet, served apple pies and was the eldest of six brothers, who went to war and all came home. His mission in retirement was to earn as much from his pension as he had from his salary. And I believe he achieved it! He passed away in 2008.

Block 93: Ben

This is for my husband's cousin. He is Jessica's godfather and one of the undateable - see below!

Block 94: Mrs. MacBeth

During the Second World War, my Grandmother, and her mother, moved to Patterdale in the Lake District. Whilst there, my great-grandmother worked as a housekeeper for Mrs. MacBeth. She had been at the Glasgow School of Art, a contemporary of Rennie MacKintosh. Although and old lady at the time, she was reknowned for her beautiful embroideries, and painted a beautiful tea set for my great-grandmother. Apparently, aged three, I saw the tea-set on my Granny's dresser and asked to have it. I inherited it a few years ago. I still love it, but sadly, my husband doesn't. One day I will display some of it - Michael you have been warned!

Block 95: Christmas is coming

Well, it is - we put our tree up today because today is the first Sunday of advent. On the day of this block we went to our first Christmas market of the season!

Block 96: The Undateables

These are my husband's friends: they come over every Saturday to play board games, drink beer and eat takeaway. They are all away this weekend and Saturday night is certainly quieter without them. They're a nice bunch of lads and sometime soon I'll have to think of another name for them as they are gradually all getting girlfriends, and engaged, and married...

Block 97: Decision

Life is full of them, isn't it?

Block 98: Sewing Machines

I have two sewing machines that I use regularly. One is a Husqvarna Viking Sapphire, and the other is a Brother Innovis NX2000. Both have good points and bad points, neither is perfect - a mix of the two combined with some reliability would be great. Both are currently being serviced so I'm using my mother-in-law's Big Bertha - a Brother embroidery machine - but I'm only using the sewing part of it! I am not confessing here how many other machines I have as there is a slim chance Michael might read it!

Block 99: Nap Time

Isn't it lovely when they sleep. Jess still generally has two naps a day. Mia decided that naps were for the week when she was a year old. I would love to nap.

Block 100: And they all lived happily ever after!

The End.

But it's not really the end, is it? No. I have a stack of of over 170 blocks all waiting to be sashed (my favourite part of the process...), basted, quilted and bound. Only then will it be The End. You may be watching this space for some time yet!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Bee-Utiful Mini [A Finish]

Another finish - I promise I'll start sharing some progress posts again soon, but believe me, a lot of progress is going on to get to these finishes!

For now, this has to be my favourite of the recent abundance of finishes (I was looking for a good collective noun I could use for my finishes and got very distracted - did you know that a group of Flamingos is called a flamboyance of flamingos - how good is that? If you have ten minutes to waste, try googling collective nouns!)

Anway. This project started out as many do, on a bit of a whim, and became, as many do, far more involved than originally planned. I had planned to embroider the cat for Mia, who likes cats, and either make it into a cushion by itself, or frame it in a hoop.

Bee Curious
The pattern came from the Moda Bake shop website and is called the Bee-Utiful quilt. It was designed by Pamela Morgan. She released 20 blocks finishing at about 12" (I think). I ended up picking out the nine I liked best, and shrinking them by 50%. I'm now going to bore you with lots of pictures because this is some of the best embroidery I have EVER done - no more just backstitch and the odd French knot - I've used backstitch, stem stitch, french knots, cross hatch, lazy daisy stitch, satin stitch, chain stitch, and raised fishbone stitch,

Bee Courteous

Bee Courageous

Bee Lovely

Bee Sunny

Bee Charming - he's wearing a Morris Man's hat!

Bee Simple

Bee Sweet

Bee Fruitful - this is the block I am most proud of
I decided very early on to frame the embroideries with scraps. I foundation pieced the borders suing primarily warm colours with flashes of green and purple. I then found a wonderful warm purple from the Moda Grunge collection that was perfect for the sashing and the binding.

I kept the quilting simple. I started off by hand quilting it, but it didn't look right, so I unpicked it and used the machine to just echo round each scrappy frame.

I used Finca Perle #16 thread for all of the embroidery. I'm using this thread increasingly for both quilting and embroidery: it's very fine and I've built up quite the collection of colours and I don't need to split the strands like I would with embroidery threads. Also, my embroidery threads are stored upstairs and these are in a zippy pouch close at hand - it's lazy, but it makes a difference! It finishes at about 20" x 20".

This is another Finish Along finish. You can find my original list here.
2016 FAL

Monday, 21 November 2016

Goodnight [A Finish]

On a roll with the finishes at the moment! I finished this last week, but it's taken me until the weekend to combine weather and daylight to get some photographs. I tried to convince my little helper to hold the quilt, but it didn't quite work!

Anyway: this is a quilt I started back in July at a wonderful workshop with Sarah Fielke hosted by the lovely ladies at Simply Solids in Huddersfield. You can read all about the workshop here - suffice to say it was the hottest day of the year in a room where the large windows didn't open!

I had grand plans at the start of the day of a full quilt, but the reality was that the technique ate low volume fabric just a bit too quickly for my liking. I stuck with the single word I made on the day and knew that I was never going to get any further. I added a bit more background and quilted it up.

A bit of purple binding and I have a finish. It's 36" x 12" and might end up on Jessica's bedroom wall.

This is a Finish Along finish. You can find my original list here.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Inside Addition [A Finish]

This is a Finish Along repeat offender! But finally I can tick it off the list. I started these blocks last summer (as in summer 2015) on a whim. I had very little plan other than each block had a warm colour and cool colour - with purple muddying the water a little!

I had originally thought a cushion would be a good idea, then I realised they could make a baby quilt, then I realised just how many blocks I would need to make a baby quilt, then I added in the blank alternate squares. At no point in that whole process did I love it. And at times I hated it. I finished the quilt top this summer, and hated it. So it sat on a shelf.

Then my husband said two things in different conversations: firstly, two of his work colleagues were expecting babies, and secondly that he quite liked the quilt. Sorted. I found a backing in my stash, layered it up, quilted a cross hatch, bought some aqua for the binding and it was finished in just a few days.

And I have to confess that now it is done, I like it a little bit more. I've thought a lot about why I don't like it - I don't want to make the same mistake again. And I think it's because whilst I have no problem with scrappy quilts, which this is, I like my scraps to be in rainbow order. Or at least have some order. And this quilt has no order at all!

The quilt finishes at 40" x 45" and is made entirely from stash fabrics - even the white was something that I had left over.

This is a Finish Along finish - you can find this quarter's list here.

2016 FAL

Friday, 18 November 2016

#100days100blocks [Blocks 81-90]

Our penultimate trip into the crazy world of 100 things about Jennie!

Block 81: Aunty Mary

This is for my husband's Great Aunt, Aunty Mary. She is the sister of Aunty Margaret, whose block can be found at number 27!

Block 82: Pyjama Day

Because that is exactly what we had on the day of this block. Every so often, you just need to slob out for the day and not bother. It was lovely!

Block 83: Grandad Tom

This is for my paternal Grandfather. He was actually called Eric, but with the surname Thomas, he'd been known as Tom forever. He was the grandparent I know least about, but he loved woodworking and built us our wendy house at the bottom of the garden. Michael's Grandad was also called Thomas (his block is #74).

Block 84: Sampler Quilts

In case you hadn't noticed I have a bit of an addiction... the quilts I'm working on with this hashtag #100days100blocks is just the tip of the iceberg!

Block 85: Princesses

We're a big fan: Jasmine, Elsa, Anna, Ariel, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Belle....

Block 86: Rob and Michaela

This is a block for my brother and his wife.

Block 87: Family Tree

I have never really researched my family tree myself, but other family members have, so I know a little. I would love to investigate further one day. I found that having children made me more interested in where I came from.

Block 88: Vicky and Karl

This block is for Michael's cousin, Vicky and her husband Karl.

Block 89: Teething

Life at the moment is all about the teeth: Jess now has two!

Block 90: Spoons

So when this crazy family I married into get together, they play spoons. It's the most competitive, vicious, hilarious game I have ever seen. The basic "rules" ( a loose term) are that you have four playing cards dealt to you, and you pass a single card on the count of three (one of the Great Aunts often takes on the role of counter and referee) to the person next to you. This keeps happening until one person has four of a kind. That person then grabs a spoon from the centre of the table and everyone else does the same as quickly as possible. But there is one spoon fewer than the number of players. The person with no spoon is out. Loser! And this goes on until one person is left standing. With a spoon. I have seen my husband on one end of a spoon and his best friend's sister on the other end, dragging each other around the living room, as each refused to concede the spoon. I have also seen her fiancee and my brother-in-law on each end of a spoon, at a wedding - one dragged the other through a bamboo plant... he was literally dragged through a hedge backwards. But he didn't go! We are all totally bonkers!

See you again for a final instalment!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Jane Austen Cushion [A Finish]

Back in the summer I finished a quilt for some friends following the Jane Austen Sampler Quilt tutorials and using Sweet Serenade by Basic Grey. That whole process went very smoothly, and our friends loved the quilt. I say smoothly. I had one little hiccup... one block. It should have measured 12" finished, instead it measured 10.5" finished. I remade it for the quilt, and the block got put with the other orphan blocks I own.

The other week, I took it out, added some mitred borders (the #365quiltchallenge means I'm definitely not scared of mitres anymore!) and quilted it up. I had enough of the border print fabric from the quilt left over to back it, and I followed my favourite zipped back tutorial to finish it off.

It's quite a petit cushion at 14", at least by my standards, but it will look good with the quilt.

This is a Finish Along finish - you can find my original, slightly daft, list here.
2016 FAL

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Ugly Sweater [a Pincushion]

There's a bit of an ugly Christmas Sweater thing going on over on Instagram. I didn't pay it much attention to start with. And then I kept seeing it pop up. I checked out the pattern. Decided I didn't love it enough to pay £5. But I kept seeing it and thinking about it. So today I happily paid my £5 and made one straight away!

This is now the world's largest Christmas pincushion! The penguin fabric was something I received in a swap somewhere along the line. I didn't have much, but managed to cut out the front of the jumper, and the full backing square for the pincushion. The green for the sleeves doesn't quite much but #sewmystash2016 ! And you can't beat red polka dots, can you? 

I didn't really intend to make any more of these... but it's the perfect size to add into the Splendid Sampler as a replacement for one of the blocks I'm not so keen on - perhaps not a Christmassy themed one though. And I do have a snowman print from the same range as the penguins, so perhaps I'll make another Christmassy one too!

This project was just too quirky to pass up! There are loads more if you search the hastag #uglysweaterblock. The pattern is by @kidgiddy.

Hugo's Quilt [A Finish]

{following on from yesterday's post...}

Our neighbour's grandson needed a quilt too. Whilst Orla, who is 3, clearly loves yellow, Hugo who isn't yet a year, hasn't yet expressed such a preference. So we took the safe option and went for blues and greens.

This time we started with a backing fabric, which we picked up in Harrogate (at the back in the above photo). It was a lovely ombre fabric from light blue to dark blue, dark green and light green. I mached the fabrics for the front to these colours, and ended up with quite a small colour palette, to which I added a pop of red.

I used the same setting as his sister's quilt, but the fifteen blocks are all different. The blue sashing and negative space is Kona Copen, and I used the same fabric to bind it. Here you can see both quilts together pre-binding. I quilted it with the same 30/60 degree cross hatch as the yellow quilt.

Here you can see the backing, and the fundamental error I made when planning the quilt. The extra strip of the blue from the front wasn't planned, and meant I had to place a second order to buy fabric to bind it! Whoops!

The finished quilt is 40" x 48" - perfect for a toddler.

This is a Finish Along finish - you can find my original list here.

2016 FAL