Monday 30 May 2011

Melody Miller Giveaway Winner

Your questions were wonderful!  Thank you so much. 

Despite Blogger’s hissy fits, which made the giveaway post & comments disappear (still not back!) I got there in the end! 

6a0120a64ba23a970b014e8863484e970d-600wiIt was incredibly hard to get to the final 20, so I went nerdy on it and tagged them all ‘inspiration’, ‘design process’ etc. and then picked the most comprehensive or interesting ones from each tag before sending the whole lot to Melody…

Writers of the 20 Qs all got a bonus chance in this and the next giveaway. 

(You’ll have to wait until interview day to find out who you were though!)

6a0120a64ba23a970b01543242a458970c-600wi 6a0120a64ba23a970b014e886337f6970d-600wi

The Winner of this wonderful news piece and some secret something,

“Like maybe a little sketch or two, or some fabric scraps, or some fun little thing I made, who knows what”

… is …

6a0120a64ba23a970b01538e6fc3a6970b-600wi 6a0120a64ba23a970b014e886336d4970d-600wi

18 Leila


Yay! Congratulations Leila!  Melody will send you the goodies in due course (I’m so jealous!)

Leila has a great blog …

Where the Orchids Grow.  Luna Lovegood Scarf

ruby star rising 2011-05-09 19-42-35

For the rest of you, commiserations, but don’t forget  … you still have until midnight (UK time) on Tuesday 31st to enter the Ruby Star Rising 4 FQ giveaway from Eternal Maker

Stay tuned for Melody’s interview!  And the Winner of the FQs … I’ll keep you posted …

Sunday 29 May 2011

sunday sorbet

I meant to post this ages ago …  A few weeks ago lovely Lizzie from Liz'sQuilts was giving away some Perle cottons and this is what she sent me! 


Aren’t they just mouthwatering?

Thanks again Liz,

Boo Blogger – Yay Pants!

Guess the one post Blogger lost from my site in the outage over the last few days ??

Yup.  The  Melody Miller giveaway post LOL!  it disappeared into the ether some time yesterday afternoon. 

Maybe the seagull was good luck after all - cos all blog comments come through Disqus straight to my mail - (I already had them backed up cos I’m a paranoid nerd)

but honestly!  … Can you imagine if I hadn’t ??


Today I have been importing all the questions into the most amazing mega spreadsheet.
Oh I love Excel … whoops, nerdswoon

Yesterday I finished my giant Lynne Bob Square Pants block  – using 5” squares – for my Feel The Fear sampler quilt.

I’m really pleased with it … 

And today I had a little fun with some squares and threw in a couple of pinwheels for good measure. 

… hope your weekends are stress free and colourful …

Friday 27 May 2011

dear diary, blogger broke again and a seagull fell from the sky

So, thanks for all the brilliant comment action, such fun to read, and there are some cracking questions there … Squee! I’m loving all the button shop & fabric lust out there too!

I’m going to extend the Eternal Maker Giveaway to Midnight Tuesday 31st to make up for any time you may have lost trying to leave a comment over the last couple of Blogger meltdown days … 


I’ll announce the Melody Miller winner as soon as I get some time this weekend.  Promise.

Yesterday was a weird day.

I got up at about 6am and pottered around making coffee, grunting, doing a bit of barely-conscious sewing.  At some point I noticed the sky go that lovely yellowy grey dark,  and I could hear a a little rain spattering, so I thought I’d take a picture out of my back window. 

It’s not a great photo, it was only meant as a memory prompt.

I thought I’d go out and take a photo of the wet on the stone. 

I like things like that.  I love the lush green and ridiculous size of the fern too …

I pulled on my boots and went out the back door …

and then there was a


<warning – you did read the title, right?>





How weird is that? 

Obviously it didn’t land neatly at my perfectly centrally positioned feet like that, this is one of those arty blog feet photos … but it was only about six inches away.

It was already dead when it landed.  Not stiff but definitely dead. It had ceased to be.

I still had to do that poke-it-with-the-toe-of-your-boot thing, just to make sure it wouldn’t flap its wings when I picked it up.  Judging by the eye, he’d had a bit of a dogfight in the sky.  He was a young adult. 

Then I picked him up and my whole concept of ‘seagull’ dissolved.

I have lived in Brighton for 16 years.  Seagulls are part of our lives here.  Love them or hate them, we can’t help but study 'em.

I don’t love their bomber command scavenging … I’ve had a sandwich whipped out of my hand on the beach once or twice ... bastards … But I do just love their bird-ness.

They are so stout and bolshy.  I have this thing about wanting to squeeze them, … I always imagined that they were quite bulky. like when you pick up a cat, I mean, they’re huge, they must be quite weighty, right?

Well, wrong apparently.  Of course, if you think about it, which I obviously hadn’t, birds have the finest of porcelain-like bones, and are full of air pockets to keep them buoyant and aerodynamic.  Oh, and covered in feathers … But so floaty light?

It was like picking up a candyfloss seagull.


It was profoundly moving.

So this is my shot of the wet on the stone

giveaway here

Tuesday 24 May 2011

As one giveaway closes - another opens! - 4 ruby star FQs - closes 30th May!

Wow you guys rock!  We have some a-ma-zing questions to choose from for next week’s Melody Miller Interview … this is going to be so great … stay tuned for the winner & the interview next week!  Thank you so much!

You've still got until midnight Wednesday (25th) UK time to enter the Melody Miller giveaway here

If you wrote one of the winning Qs for Melody’s interview you will automatically get a bonus entry for this NEW giveaway too!

I first met The Eternal Maker at the Stitches & Hobblecraft show in Brighton, earlier this year.  Their stand was completely rammed with people, but I still managed to elbow my way in …


To get me some of these lovely Ruby Star Risings …


Now, one lucky YOU can get your hands on some of these too!

Anna at The Eternal Maker … described by Melody Miller as “the cutest little thing in all of the UK” … is kindly giving away 4 Fat Quarters of Ruby Star Rising to the winner of this second giveaway in my little Melody Miller Fest.

The Eternal Maker are based in Chichester, West Sussex, a mere stone’s throw from Brighton … and yet I’m still to visit their shop in real life - that’s because they have such a fantastic online service. 

They stock such a great range of fabric, including lots of Kokka, which probably explains why I use so much Echino & Ruby Star in my quilting!  I love the fact that you can choose by colour as well as brand/product …


They also have another shop - The Button Company

button company

We all know how I feel about buttons
click the pic if you don’t


So what hoops do you have to jump through for this one?

Well, it would be really great if you could go and have a look around their fabric shop here, or their button shop here …  

… and then come back to leave a comment here telling me what would be top of your shopping list! 
  • One entry for each shop you visit.
  • Easy Peasy 
  • International entries welcome!
  • Closes Midnight (UK time) Monday 30th May 

+ 4 Bonus Chances (please leave a separate comment for each)
  1. if you are a benign stalker of my blog = bonus entry !
  2. if you follow the eternal maker’s blog  = bonus entry !
  3. if you blog/tweet/tell someone on the bus = bonus entry !
  4. if you belong to the Brit Quilt Group on Flickr = bonus entry !

I wish I could enter this myself, but then it’s probably just as well I can’t … as I’d just choose Me … and then you’d all stop coming by … and that would be sad.

Sunday 22 May 2011

Melody Miller Monday Giveaway - {now closed}

26th May - Edited to add:  This giveaway is now closed!  I can't thank you enough for the amount of really fantastic interview questions I've had ... 

It's going to be really difficult to choose - unless Melody fancies answering them all *joke*

But don't despair!  there is still heaps of time to enter its sister giveaway - 4 FQs of Ruby Star Rising from The Eternal Maker .... Click Here!

I'm posting this a little early because of the time difference from UK to Eastern & because I'm not sure I really trust Blogger enough to schedule it!

I signed up to participate in Sew Mama Sew’s May Giveaway Day, which is an amazing linky link linkup of giveaway wonderfulness! (be sure & check it out later!)  

I also wanted to acknowledge and celebrate 113 followers, and nearly 11,400 hits.  I know they’re not stratospheric numbers, but I only started this blog last August, and I’m utterly delighted that anyone else bothers to read my ramblings.

So … I decided to try and organise something fun for us all.

I have the coolest news!

Two Giveaways over the next two days!

Pings And Needles
please grab my button*
*is it just me, or is that a bit phnaar?

Melody Miller Monday Giveaway 

Melody Miller

(designer of the delicious ruby star rising and the soon to be released ruby star spring -->)

is doing an interview
next week
HERE on my blog!

And YOU get to ask the questions!

The lovely Melody is also giving away this absolutely fabnificent print promo designed by Blake Tannery of Bravo Charlie Tango   … along with a little scrappy something … to one lucky (random number generated) winner.


ruby bk1 ruby bk2

(click on the pictures to see more on Melody’s blog)

It’s easy peasy to enter - just leave a comment below* with your question for Melody.

It can be about anything - process, inspirations, likes, dislikes, cat/dog etc.

If you’re after some inspiration for a fandabeedozee question, try these posts from Melody’s blog here & here or her fab web gallery here. I love the way she talks about her process.


This giveaway ends Wednesday 25th midnight UK time.
Winner to be announced Friday 27th - Interview w/c Monday 30th.
International entries welcome.

* The winning Qs get bonus chances in both giveaways!
* if you belong to the Brit Quilt Group on Flickr - let me know in a comment! - you get a bonus chance too!


6a0120a64ba23a970b0147e1181516970b-800wieternal with addressRemember to come back for my Ruby Tuesday Giveaway on 24th May - sponsored by Chichester based & online swoon-shop, The Eternal Maker - a chance to win 4 Fat Quarters of your choice of Ruby Star Rising!


Friday 20 May 2011

Yin & Yang

Here in the Pings Household (which in reality is just me and my multiple personalities) we are experiencing severe sewing machine trauma. 

Poor Damiel.


He’s like an eccentric old spitfire … he’s got all the parts you need to fly, and all the enthusiasm and intention of a teenager, but none of the modern technology to make the flight smooth and zippy like a jet fighter …

Johnny Depp would play him in the movie.  I do really love him.  He’s shiny.

Anyway.  My obsessive use of the walking foot in my quest for perfect HSTs and paper piecing is starting to take its toll on his 63 year old frame.

Piecing this, (left) only my second (of 16!) spiderweb blocks for the Brit Quilt Swap


… has seen 2 broken needles, a locked bobbin. motor flipping the wheel lock off, and general spinning out with associated clunking.

To this 1950s boy racer of a machine, a walking foot is the equivalent of sticking a memory stick into a typewriter.

He’s wearing out and needs a break. 

So, I think I’m going to bring back Mrs Singer again … (She’d be played by Patricia Routledge)

She’s been on ‘sabbatical’. (snitty tension issues) 

I sympathise with her, really I do. 

 But she’s Yin to his Yang, Man.  It’s her turn.

 In other news …

I have got a wonderful double bubble giveaway starting next week …

Let’s see now, Melody Miller, Interview, Fabric

… Spoilers!

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Brit Quilt Swap - First thoughts

If my lovely secret partner just happens to be passing by my blog ... 

I've had a little doodle and pulled out some potential fabrics ....

Brit Quilt Swap - First thoughts by Sarah @ pingsandneedles
Brit Quilt Swap - First thoughts, a photo by Sarah @ pingsandneedles on Flickr.

I thought I'd try a calm neutral scrappy spiderweb, with bright citrusy scrappy strip centre stars?

I've never done one before, so I can guarantee that I'll be paying attention while I make it LOL!

I thought I'd echo quilt it with some neutral perle threads ...

Is this you? Would you prefer all plains? eh? eh?

Do tell.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Feel the Fear and do a Lynne Bob Square Pants(ish)


I'm sorry to present this all untrimmed and all .... but I couldn't wait!

I didn't do it completely to Lynne's pattern cos I had 2" squares prepped ... so instead of using two sizes I just used the 2" squares throughout ...

I love it. It's my most accurate stitching, piecing & trimming to date. Especially as it was just that bit more fiddly due to my insubordination!

Scraping and Bowing to Lynne for such a great workout ... She's like the Jane Fonda of Quilting, man ...

I'm quite pleased it's over though, as I did unpick two rows TWICE because they were just too misaligned to cope with.

Honestly, I was desperate, and then like magic ... it was like a little fairy visited me ... I remembered this great tip of sewing from the centre point outwards when joining nasty pointy fiddly rows ... worked brilliantly!

You may as well go through another stage in the process, if it means you can give it your best shot ...

I also PRESSED (whodathunkit???) all the seams open to make the points easier to match. I'm pleased I did.

This is my story: I'm a cack-handed sewist with a good dose of OCD on the side. I may cock it up 10 times, but I'll keep on going until I admit defeat.

Gonna go big (5") again next block ... Woot!

Monday 16 May 2011

Feel the Fear and Sew It Anyway

Via Flickr:
Today, a small whirlygig star - another block in my fun with HSTs sampler experiment ...

I wanted the challenge of working with something smaller and more fiddly.

I think the fact that I'd already made the large one, so it was repeating a process, really helped.

Process is all with these babies. I like the process though!

Echino Lightweights and Calico.

This calico is fine but stiff, and has some creases that won't press out, so it's quite tricky to work with, given the buttery-ness of the Echino. I like the flecks in Calico, so a few creases doesn't spoil it for me.

I think it''ll soften up (and the creases might weaken) when washed ... but that extra 'stickiniess' is quite handy when for lining up straight lines - no fraying!

This 6.75" block uses 2.5" squares (trimmed to 2")

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Desert Island Quilt

Over on the Brit Quilt Swap Lynne posted a great meme:

Desert island Book, DVD, CD & Quilt

I put my answers in on the discussion, but I thought I’d just expand them a bit here:

For a start, just let me say this is an entirely impossible task! I have so many multiple preferences/personalities!

So I will have to go with today.
Today I am feeling brave and positive and excited, so ...

Book: Between Silk and Cyanide - Leo Marks

This is Leo Marks' (he was the son of the owner of 84 Charing Cross Road ) memoir of life in the SOE, during WW2 - all those amazing cryptographers & spies who helped the Resistance. So many of them women. So absolutely inspiring ... ok, and a bit nerdy cos there's lots of secret code stuff on silk handkerchiefs ... bliss.

 He also wrote possibly the most beautiful poem ever used in codebreaking

DVD: Wings of Desire

The tale of an angel craving mortality in order to have the sensory and emotional depth that he cannot have as an angel.

It's set in Berlin, in B&W, in German with subtitles and very gently slow, and yet it's the most breathtakingly easy film to watch.

It also has Peter Falk. Of all people. Playing himself. Truly heavenly.

(absolutely not the fluffy awful American remake with Meg Ryan as a brain surgeon? ok?)

Album: David Bowie, Hunkydory

This can take me back to the impossibly hopeful weightlessness of youth in the twang of a guitar string. Consistently great songs, chirpy, positive and let's face it, there's a Bowie song for every playlist.

Quilt: the Wandsworth Prisoners Quilt

This was shown at the V&A Quilt exhibition last year.

Wandsworth Prison was built in the 19th C and is now massively overcrowded.

I couldn't imagine being locked up in such a small space. (whatever the crime) and I totally understood how sewing kept them calm. Awesome.

Watching the video documentary was the only time I've ever cried in a museum.

(Apart from getting lost in the dinosaur hall at the Natural History Museum when I was about four. Tres traumatique, I can tell you)

What would you choose? 

If you’re in the Brit Quilt Swap, get on over there and tell us, or if not, just take the meme and run with it!

If you’re a Brit Quilter and you’d like to take part in the swap, signups end on Friday …

Tuesday 10 May 2011


Via Flickr:
I now accept that these are all unavoidable stages in the life cycle of a sewing woman.

I'm sure I'm a little greyer and a little older since I decided to bite the bullet and confront my fear of the Half Square Triangle.

I was so inspired by Suz's wonderful block over at PatchworknPlay, that finally  ...

and after a fair bit of Grr! and Ack! ... but, I cannot deny, also quite a lot of pleasure ....

... we have ...

A real, live HST Block -

My first (other than some awful disasters in the past!)


And finally I've done something with some white in it! Huzzah!!

(actually it's a very yummy unbleached calico)

It helps that I was using Echino's new yummy lightweights - they're just so soft and buttery and sew like a dream .... I got the fabric online from The Eternal Maker ... They're in the UK! Yay!

I really do love the fact that it's so perfectly spring/summery

I also took no risks and used my walking foot to chain piece LOL!

Berlin - Bebelplatz

Today I’m going to show you some more photos from my Berlin trip.


Bebelplatz.  This is a wonderful square in Berlin, flanked on three sides by wonderful architecture and formerly known as Opernplatz. 


Before the book burning, that is.

Bebelnacht - 10th May, 1933 - the  night when 20,000 banned books were burned.

Click here or on list to read more (from Wikipedia, and a jolly well written article it is too … ) 2011-4-19 20-12-51

There is also an inscription here from one of the banned and burned authors, Heinrich Heine, who wrote in 1821:

"Dort, wo man B├╝cher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen" 

"Where they burn books, they ultimately burn people".

Yes.  Indeed.  A truth foretold.

Bebelnacht is marked by a very simple plate glass window in the cobblestones.


In daylight you can’t really see so clearly.  Under the window is a white, empty shelved room.

It was an amazing place to visit - quietly unassuming yet direct and to the point; which is like so many memorials in Berlin.

I had to adjust to seeing beautiful things commemorating dreadful happenings.   But we have to be reminded that our shiny world is capable of such things. To be warned that once you start telling people what they can and cannot read, things can go rapidly downhill.


Although I saw more emotive and strident memorials and places in Berlin, this wins hands down on simplicity and profundity.

It was the place where I felt the most sadness, solar-plexus-numbing sadness.  For all that happened then and all that was to come in both the war and the 28 years of The Wall that followed, and for all that may happen in the future.

I met an elderly Italian couple at the edge and we talked quietly, in appalling pigeon French and Italian - so desperate were we to be able to communicate and share this tristesse/tristezza (we got there in the end!!)


Then, after walking for a gazillion hours, on my way home, I returned to see it properly.  After all it was built to commemorate something that took place at night.


It quite literally glows with nothingness. 




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