Sunday, 31 January 2016

Burning the candle at both ends

Last week was another complete wash-out for all things sewing and craft related, even Storm Jonas didn't dent the pressures of other stuff that had deadlines and so had to be done.  In fact he only brought us about 4" of snow which was starting to recede within 24 hours due to the temperatures hovering around and above freezing.  I keep telling myself that the recent efforts will be worth it in the end.

There was a glimpse of hope this week on Wednesday when, in between loads of laundry, I managed to insert an extra piece of fabric into the backing for my table runner, get it pin basted and started on the quilting.....

After that it was time to head out for an evening of ten pin bowling. Although a complete novice in September last year, I now bowl twice a week - Wednesday evenings and Thursday mornings. Ostensibly this is exercise, but it is mainly good fun, an opportunity for some gossip and a way to make new friends even though my scores are nothing to write home about. Further efforts on the quilting front, and a trip to Stitch Your Art Out for the binding fabric, led to completion of the table runner on Sunday evening. Here it is in place:

Sadly my OMG is just not going to be achieved this month, nor probably next as I know I will be away for two of the four weeks February graces us with. My knitting will travel with me so I hope to have something to show next week.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Busy but not with quilting

Somehow the last week has vanished with me barely finding time to sit at my sewing machine.  A whole lot of other stuff just barged in and pushed out most of my home based plans, so I don't have much to share with you this time. A concerted effort on over the last couple of evenings has led to me completing the top for a wintery (but not Christmassy) table runner.  This was made using some shimmery almost white fabric I had in my stash, together with most of a charm pack and some grey strips from the scrap strip box.  The pattern is, once again, from the Moda Bake Shop with a few extra blocks and skipping the pieced border, as the charms I excluded were largely black and bright red which didn't suit the colour scheme of the charms I had already selected.

Does using just one fabric from the scrap bin and a charm pack make this scrappy? I'm not sure to be honest, but I hope so, so I am linking up with Oh Scrap! for this week anyway!

Sunday, 10 January 2016

A Winter's Tale (part 1).....

Wow! Winter arrived with a bite this week!  UK winters tend to be mild and damp, with a January average high of 6.6°C and average low of 1.1°C (43.9°F & 34.0°F respectively) so the overnight low of 6°F or -14.4°C was a bit of a shock to the system, particularly for Smokey who wanted, nay needed, to nip outside to do kitty things, but certainly didn't want to hang around any longer than absolutely necessary. To put this in perspective the record low at Manchester Airport is about -17°C or 0°F.  I was here for some of the winter last year, but this cold snap still came as a surprise; it was definitely time to break out the hats, gloves and scarves. A couple of milder (and wetter) days gave some relief, but this evening we are back to windy and cold conditions. Brrr!

Nevertheless the weather was largely bright and sunny which made ideal conditions for sewing.  On Monday I got one quilt sandwiched and pin basted and part of Tuesday was spent removing a border from a quilt top, inserting an extra column of blocks, adding some extra border pieces and finally reattaching the removed border.  All this to use up another 8 blocks which turned up as I organised my fabric and projects, but they do add 10" to the width of the quilt, which does make the quilt a better size.

The pattern is Frugal Patch from Marcia Hohn's Quilter's Cache site and I have been using my scraps to make these blocks on and off for more years than I care to remember! Now this top is completed and there are no blocks left I need to choose a new scrap block to make. I am thinking of Simply Woven from the Moda Bake Shop as in addition to fabric pieces I have a box of binding strip remants to use up.

I now have 2 quilts basted ready to quilt and this flimsy ready to sandwich and baste next week now I have bought some backing fabric. Backing fabric is an exception to the "shop the stash" rule as I much prefer working with single piece backings if I can and I didn't have any extra wide "in stock".  Progress was also made on Circle in a Square - all the circles for the border blocks are cut out and ready to fuse to the background squares.

In news from the non quilty part of my life: both of our sons have settled in well in the local school system and our younger son has been immersing himself in the high school music scene.  This weekend he was part of the pit band for the senior thespians' production of Return to the Forbidden Planet which was most enjoyable and well produced, though it was a shame that the Friday evening show was cancelled due to the forecast of freezing rain.

Today I am linking up with:

Oh Scrap!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

OMG or One Monthly Goal - January

An incentive to make achievable progress has come from Heidi at Red Letter Quilts who has come up with a great concept that I am hoping will help me finish off some of my nearly there quilts. Her idea is One Monthly Goal or OMG! For January my goal is to complete the Circle in a Square quilt top that I showed the blocks for last week.

The next step is to cut 72 circles out of a fusible product, iron them onto my fabric, cut the circles out again and then machine applique them to the backgrounds. The wine, whisky and shot glasses in the picture below were used as circle templates......

Added to the squares I have already fused and sewn that should give me the 76 I require for the border.  Then, and only then, will they all go onto the design wall for arrangement and rearrangement until I am happy with the layout.

Thank you Heidi for giving me the push in the right direction to get this top done this month, rather than just sometime in 2016.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Keeping track

This year, now things are somewhat more settled, I am going to take a leaf out of Nann's (With Strings Attached) book and try to keep track of how much fabric I use over the year by counting up on a month by month basis.

As do most quilters, I have a stash of fabric acquired over the years, some with a particular project in mind (not necessarily started), some because it was just right for a current project (and now there are left overs), some received as a gift or in a swap, some because "it was bargain" and some simply because I liked it. My intention is to "shop the stash" before heading out to the quilt shop for more fabric, which may or may not be successful, I tried it last week and still didn't have what I needed, so went out and bought 5 new FQs which don't count in the accounting because I bought them last year!

I also intend to create an ongoing list of completed quilts, some of which are already flimsies (quilt tops ready for sandwiching and quilting, some are complete collections of blocks waiting to be sewn into quilt tops, some are just a few blocks needing more to be made and some are only ideas or uncut fabrics.

First up to be worked on is Circle in a Square, which I started in a class in the Bernina Connection in Phoenix AZ in December 2007.  The class handout, my chosen fabrics and a handful of completed blocks came to light in the Big Move and thanks to some excellent, and most appreciated, detective work by the shop owner and the designer I now have a photo of the finished class sample to guide me. Of course, I can't do things the easy way and am making a twin sized quilt rather than a wall hanging (hence the 5 FQs in the last week of 2015) but hope to make good progress over the weeks.  As of yesterday evening I have assembled all 77 blocks for the centre of the quilt.

Today I am linking up with:
Design Wall Monday