Thursday 29 March 2012

Shots & Spots

…  having a little {slow} fun with my Oakshott charm pack and the spots & dots charm pack I cut from stash.  

Anyway … I've been sneaking 10 minutes here and 1/2 an hour here - really no longer - I'm like a speed tasker now!  All are sewn and half are trimmed. Here's a sprinkling …


All wrapped up in a cheapo fingernail-snaggingly nasty £1.50 fleece from IKEA, which has now become my travelling design wall.  Just lay em out and roll em up.  Marvellous.

Even while I was sewing these babies I was still a bit meh about the mix of dots and shots, but now that I've pressed and trimmed I'm all in love again.  What you miss from any photo is the divine shot-ness of the cotton.  What you get from a photo is the saturation the dots bring to what is quite a subdued set of colours in the shot cottons.

No pinwheels or such malarkey.  I'm just going to keep it simple and let them sing together as naked HSTs.  I'm not even going to agonise over colour value.  I'm just going to piece them as they come.  I won't have another chance to work on it until next week, so this is a nice place to leave it simmering …

What do you think?  Should I spend some time working out the layout/being clever?  Or should I go with my lazy instincts?!

Don't forget you can enter my giveaway here for a chance to win some spotton dotton cotton for yourself too … runs till Thurs 5th …

Rainbow Spots & Dots Charm Pack Giveaway

--- edited to add --- This giveaway is now closed!  Thank you :) 

In the last few months work has been such a stinker that I've really had no time to enjoy my blog (or anyone else's!) but I have noticed that my followers have hit the 300 mark and I've had over 60,000 views so Yay! You!

To say thank you I'd like to give away a hand-cut-from-my-stash rainbow charmpack of dots and spots (see - I was thinking of you while I was prepping for my quilt and cut two!)


There are about 54 charms in this pack (2 of each print) - as you can see the orange is a bit limited but hey ho … as I said, it's from my stash and I seem to have used a lot of orange recently!  So it goes ... 

If you win you might want to think about using it to make a quilt to donate to Siblings Together - a wonderful charity dedicated to bringing together siblings separated by our UK care system that Lynne@LilysQuilts has brought to our hearts and minds ... Join the flickr group here to find out more and see how you can get involved.

To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is to be a follower of some sort (because it's you I'm thanking for sticking with me!) and leave a comment below telling me what you'd like to use it for.

For a second chance to win you could shout it from the rooftops/blog/tweet/ etc. and then come back and leave a second comment with the link …

(please make sure you're not a no-reply blogger*, or I won't be able to contact you!)

Giveaway ends a week today - Thurs 5th April - midnight UK time …
This giveaway is now closed!  Thank you :) 

Good Luck !!

* to change your settings or to find out if you are a no-reply blogger follow this easy tute.

Wednesday 28 March 2012

shot cottons and dottons … and a festival of HSTs!

I've finally started to play with my Oakshott shot cotton charm pack … (other than just stroking them)

.... just in time for the festival of half square triangles ... over at canoe ridge creations from April 2nd!! Squeee!



Last year I embraced the HST with open arms (and a niftily concealed seam ripper).  I find the whole cutting, sewing, cutting, trimming thing rather therapeutic.

This year I've continued the journey with a massive swoon block and now this … whatever 'this' is … it's still at fledgling stage …

but more of that another day …

Tuesday 27 March 2012

springing to life

There is nothing quite like early evening in spring … that low hazy sun and clear skied chill too light for jim jams (yay!) extension of day. 

Last year I bought this beautiful fragile paperwhite (yes, really just the one - I have 8 foot of garden) and lo! it has come back to visit again this year … how I love bulbs.  I used to really not get the point of spring, but as I get older I appreciate the concept of new life more and more.


What a beautiful sunny weekend it was … all the better for opening wonderful packages and going to investigate Brighton Craftganza and my favourite Saturday {linen man} market … I even managed to fit in a layer of sashing on my swoon-along quilt.

  • Fantastic buttons you decorate by stitching w/embroidery thread, from here
  • An amazing bundle of A Stitch in Color from the fantabulous Julie at The Intrepid Thread - more on that later …
  • Home baked soda bread.
  • A stack of dots and spots ready to be cut into charm squares.
  • mahoosive swoonalong  quilt top - one more border of turquoise to go …
  • I spy a fox at the market.

How's your week going?
springy? or saggy?

I'm going back to the skyscraper stack of marking ... see you soon ...

Friday 23 March 2012

Brighton Spring 2012 Craftganza Tomorrow!!!!

Oops ... I nearly forgot to tell any of you my lovely local or near local readers, that this weekend sees a lovely event at Fabrica in Brighton ... Craftganza!!!

Zoe has a fantastic blog - there's a muchly useful post today with serious advice re. business plans, intellectual property and copyright for designer makers ...

and in other posts, lovely previews of stuff you can buy tomorrow ....

... like this cherry scented brain soap from oh so smelly.  duh yes please.

I can't wait ... I had hoped to be behind a stall for this one, but work just made that impossible !! I'm really looking forward to seeing what's on offer ....

If the weather's nice, you really should come ... the linen man will be in upper gardner street market too ...

Monday 19 March 2012

Fabric Fame at Pink Castle Fabrics

Have you had a go yet?  It's such fun! Read all about the challenge here at Katy @ Monkey Do - you could win your own bundle and have it listed in Brenda's store! Yay! Fabric Fame!

Brenda @ PinkCastleFabrics has such a great stock of delights to choose from, it's almost painful to narrow it down to 12.

Here's my selection (click pic to see more details of fabrics)

I was kind of channelling Mad Men, lipstick, crisp shirts and dirndls with a walk in Central Park ....

You've got until March 31st to enter .... Go on ... you know you want to

The Cat Runner*

*nowhere near as emotionally traumatic as The Kite Runner, but still ...

I got back from work to this fantastic parcel from Lyanna @ PurplePandaQuilts  - my secret partner in the For The Love of Solids swap on Flickr.


Just take a look at this haul! - A beautiful table runner, some lovely embroidery floss, a lovely FQ of Echino, some washi tape (my first!!!!) and an American quilting mag !!  Bliss!  Thank you so much Lyanna.  I love love love …


How great is this table runner?  I love the colours the movement in the quilting, everything.
So did Cat 1 - within about 10 seconds of me taking the pic.  Manny was run over last weekend so he's still a bit poorly, but he's trying to jump up and be generally annoying (pushing objects off tables, etc., so I know he's getting better!) :


And then, just as I took it into my room to see how well it went with my duvet cover … Cat No. 2 staked his permanent claim.




As a matter of fact, it will be incredibly useful because BBC (Black Bastard Cat) sheds like you wouldn't believe. It's as if you read my mind because I was going to make precisely this to avoid the fuzz build up on my bedding!

So, again, thank you so much Lyanna

I we absolutely love my our new table cat runner.  As you can see, it has been thoroughly and lovingly adopted in to this household! 

Sunday 18 March 2012

Triangle Tilt Quilt Ta-Da!

ftlos 1
Huzzah!  It's finished - just over a week late, but I hope my partner on the For The Love of Solids swap on flickr won't have minded waiting so long.  Life got in the way.  Bits of horrid life and frantic work but all is calmer now.

I'm so pleased with how this came out.   I wasn't originally intending to do such intense running stitching, but I quite like how the original calmness of the triangles pre-quilting ...

Foundation Paper Piecing - For The Love of Solids Swap

... becomes quite agitated with the flow of the stitches …

ftlos 3

I also really like the back.  I like to make the back of my swap quilts interesting in some way … and having some form of standalone pattern without any piecing seems to suit the way I sew …

ftlos back

You can see that this is not immensely talented hand quilting - it is just running stitch, hence the short stubby stitches on the back.  The backing is a beautiful deep turquoise linen, which I used to self bind round the front* …
*no sniggering Hadley …


and all from a bit of a doodle when I was sick in bed with the mutant virus ...


I just want to say sorry to my partner for being so late with this.  It's all wrapped up now, along with a few surprises, all ready to go in tomorrow's post …

… hope you like it!

Sunday 11 March 2012

Foundation Paper Piecing - Victory!

As I said yesterday, I really haven't had any me time for sewing in months.  So, as today was the international posting deadline for the For The Love of Solids Swap  on Flickr,  I've had to do some serious planning and sewing the last few nights after work ... But ... 

... I foundation pieced my wacky triangles idea!!  I can't quite believe it  ... This is the only thing I've ever foundation pieced, except for a pathetically disastrous quarter of a flying geese circle a year ago which took me 3 hours, was hell and I didn't even leave enough for seam allowance! *shudder* 

This time I watched a gazillion videos and read a gazillion wise and talented people to help psych myself up.  This is one of my big things I wanted to do this year.  To give it another go. 

So, I drew the pattern in my notebook ...

 then I blew it up on the photocopier and taped it all together ...  

I traced it onto extra large tracing paper and then used that as my foundation, pre-folding all the lines before I started sewing ... I have to say that taking all the guesswork out of where the bloomin fabric goes made it a hell of a lot easier for me.  That and the 'butterfly' trick really helped me keep my cool  ...  It came together pretty quickly.

I only had to rip one seam (forgot the butterfly trick! Doh!) and I used an add a 1/4" ruler for trimming back - what a brilliant thing it is (I bought it at Bletchley!)

I didn't even practice easier ones first ... But what I did do was unplug RoboSew (my sluggish one year old Brother) and dust off glorious beautiful Damiel - my 50s Novum again ... honestly ... it sews like butter, I may never go back to modernity ... 

So here's how it came out!  Not bad eh?  Not perfect by any means, but I'm delighted and massively relieved that my partner will be getting something at least acceptable and only just fashionably late!

It's backed and bound with a deep turquoise linen and ready for quilting tomorrow and the post on Monday, so it's only a day or so late ... not bad considering what I took on! I'll post more pics another day but I just wanted to share my delight at conquering a fear!  If any of you reading this are yet to take the leap I can only say that if I can ... anyone can ... You just need to be logical (and use tracing paper LOL!) 

I think I might be a convert  ... 

Thursday 8 March 2012

distraction - diversion - confession


I haven't blogged for ages.  I haven't sewn for ages.  I haven't done anything but work or be sick for what seems like ages.  iGCSE mocks start in a couple of weeks so it's just full on.

I had my teaching observation today -  if you're a teacher, or just a human being,  you'll understand how very stupidly inept and nervous observations make you feel, even when you know you are a good teacher from the results and connection you have with your students!  It went really well.  My head of department rocks ... her feedback was fantastic.  A bit of reflection almost makes the horrendous marking load worth it.

(this term I've been getting up at 5.30am to get it done and frankly I'm pooped.)


Anyway, while I'm on the endorphin rush of getting that ick out of the way for another year, I thought I'd pop in and show you these amazing test card images I found while planning this "Normal service will be resumed ..." post

 … Excuse me ...  How quilty are these ????

All from a wonderfully nerdy test card website.  Go feast your eyes and I'll be back before you know it …






… aren't they just wonderful?  Oh I dream of doing them all in shot cottons ….

and of course my favourite …



When I was little I always assumed it was somehow a picture of me, which led me to believe for years ... and I mean most of my life ... that each family had their own test card!


see you soon … I hope to show you something new and zingy this weekend!


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