Monday, 11 December 2017

Square Dance moves forward

I have had very little time to sew but I have managed to put together the blocks, sashings and cornerstones of my UFO Square Dance quilt. I now have a flimsy, just have to add a white border all round.

I also made these 4 Patch blocks using 1.5" scrap squares as a Leader and Ended project.
Adding them to a slowly growing stash of these small blocks.

Adding Square Dance to Angela's So Scrappy blog.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Snow, more snow, still snowing!

What a weekend we're having. Yesterday we visited my brother-in-law, an hour and a half's drive south.  Weather very cold, just managed to creep up to 1C as the day wore on.  Snow had been forecast for various parts of the country including our county of Warwickshire which was due to happen on Sunday.

When we got home mid afternoon I realised the house was cold and all the radiators for the central heating were cold.  Rang the Gas Board who said they would try to send out an engineer before 10pm.  If not it would be the next day, Sunday.  We were classed as an emergency because we are both seniors and I have health issues. Before we got too cold we layered up: I wore warm trousers, a jumper, thick zipped cardigan, my thick winter dressing gown, woolly hat, big pashmina-style scarf, 2 pairs of socks, sitting on my recliner armchair covered with two lap quilts. I have to say I was as warm as toast. My husband was similarly attired, although he drew the line at the winter dressing gown!!!Two hot water bottles put in our bed, added an extra duvet and two quilts.  No engineer appeared so we decided to go to bed.  Just switched off the light when the guy arrived, just after 10.30pm.  Great chap, sorted out the problem, some electronic failure so he had to replace a large electronic board.  All done in 40 minutes and our radiators started to warm through our very cold house. Marvellous. The engineer said he still had two more call outs before he finished his shift.

Then we woke up this morning, very snug, but when we looked outside it was snowing and we already had a couple of inches. It has continued to snow all morning, now almost lunchtime and around 4" now I would think.

Photos taken at 8am from our lounge window of our back garden:

Apologies for the big white light - some weird reflection from a street light in the alley that runs along the length of our property.

And lastly, Teddy (who doesn't like snow either), snuggling under his quilt!


Friday, 8 December 2017

Jolly Santa decoration

A couple of years ago I received a Jolly Santa Christmas tree decoration from my bloggy friend Jo in Australia.

The other day she posted about some more Jolly Santas she had shown her Quilting Group how to make.  I had just decorated our tree with our GD so the crochet Santa was fresh in mind.
I left a comment on her post saying I would have to try to figure out how to make some myself.
Next day Jo kindly emailed me the pattern! What a lovely friend.

So yesterday I made one.  And here he is:

I'm really pleased with my first attempt. Jo and her group used Googly eyes and a little pompom nose but I just used what I had to hand - including a little bell which I had kept from a Lindt chocolate Easter Rabbit.  I'm going to give this to GD for their tree and make a few more for friends and family.

A few days ago, when I was hand quilting my current project, my Twinkler quilt, the end of the needle went straight through the top of my thimble!  I have had it for many, many years so I can't complain.  Yesterday  a few of my Patchwork Group visited a Quilt shop so I was able to buy a new thimble.  They didn't have the same design but did have one with the ridge around the top that I like, but the part that fits on my finger is rubber.  I tried it out last night and it's great.  The rubber really holds it well on my finger and it fits beautifully.

Old and new, side by side, ready for action this evening.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Learning to Square Dance with an old UFO

1st December today, so firstly, welcome to the season of Advent.
Our granddaughter stayed overnight with us last night and was very excited to open the first window in her Advent Calendar after breakfast this morning.  She also enjoyed eating the chocolate she found behind the window.  I was pleased to find a traditional calendar which tells the Nativity Story day by day as the windows are opened.  We are lucky to have a shop/cafĂ© in town which is run by the churches in the town.  It sells Fair Trade gifts and greetings cards and at this time of year Christmas cards, calendars and Advent Calendars.

We had a very Christmassy start to the day, opening the curtains to a light dusting of snow, a little like icing sugar on top of mince tarts. After I had done the school run when the temperature was 1C
I decided I wasn't up for housework so did some sewing instead. Ages ago I re-found a very old UFO, so old I cannot remember how many years ago it was begun.  This was obviously the second time it had been found because I had pinned a couple of notes to it saying it needed 3 more blocks and it helpfully had a sticky label telling me the name of the quilt-to-be was Square Dance. There were also 2" x 9.5" strips which I needed to make the extra blocks.  Then I laid them out in a 4 x 5 arrangement, finding four blocks were "the wrong way round". The block is made from putting 2 strip blocks (one from lighter fabrics, the other from darker) RST, sewing like an HST to form 2 blocks like these:

These are the blocks I rejected because all the others have the light and dark the other way about.  So I will turn these into 12.5" QAYG blocks for Alison's Soy Amardo Project.  They only need a colourful border to make them large enough as these blocks finish at 9".

When I found the UFO for the second time I had obviously miscounted the blocks as there were 24 and I only needed 20 for this arrangement.

I am partway through sewing the pieces together but needed a break so I thought I could write a blogpost to show my progress so far:

It's getting dark now, so this photo was taken in the electric light and the colours look washed out.
I'll try to take a better picture in daylight tomorrow.

Back to the sewing machine for another hour's sewing before I prepare our evening meal.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Hurrah! A Flower basket block!

I have been admiring Cathy's Flower basket blocks for quite a while (Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting blog).  She turns out these beautifully bright and various blocks as easy as cutting out circles of pastry to make jam tarts!  I have been wanting to try to make one, studied the blog and had a go.  Really difficult because although I got something similar I only achieved it with a lot of trimming and fiddling around - and I knew it wasn't right.

So, an email to dear Cathy and she directed me to a couple of tutorials.  I used this one:

Had a go this afternoon:

As I mentioned in my previous post about the scrap triangles I turned into rectangular blocks to make a Premature baby quilt, I have real problems with spatial awareness and this block has really tested me.  I had already done a bit of seam ripping when I thought I had cracked it. Took a photo, started this block post and then when I added the photo I realised it was wrong again! At this point our son-in-law arrived to watch a football match on TV with my husband. He immediately spotted the mistake and said "your daughter has the same problem". Well she doesn't quilt and I didn't know but she also obviously struggles seeing how things fit.  So I ripped it out again, rejiggled the pieces, sewed it up, pressed it ....................and I had put it in wrongly again ( a different kind of wrongly!).  More ripping out, another press, another photo and I think it's OK now.
Just taken me all afternoon.
Here's the first block I did, made up by yours truly:
I'm adding this post to Angela's So Scrappy RSC blog post.  It is made from scraps and I wouldn't have made it if I hadn't spotted Cathy's blocks on the RSC site so I think it qualifies.
Just going to lie down in a darkened room!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Two flimsies: UFO Mr Scarecrow and wedges

I started a medallion-style quilt based on a Scarecrow printed figure back on 1st August 2013.
I worked on it and then set it aside - for a LONG time!  It's recently appeared at the top of the pile and today I finished my flimsy.

The last pieced border was very recently added, consisting of RSC 2017 4 patches made into square in a square blocks. All made from scraps. I had to make extra 4 patches from green and yellow 1.5' squares as I didn't have enough brown ones. The outer border is a plain cream Egyptian cotton cut at 3.5".

Some close-ups:

I really like the 4 Patch border.

Yesterday I showed the wedge shaped scraps I had been given.  Today I combined an idea I had with a comment from Cathy (Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting blog) and came up with this Premature baby sized flimsy:

I paired solid and patterned wedges, made a template 2.5' x 5.5" and cut them all to the same size.
Played around for a while: a couple of ideas didn't look right but I finally came up with this placement.
I found this a challenge due to my difficulty with special awareness. I wanted the "mountain peaks look" which I finally achieved but it was hard!  I have several finished pieces which are the wrong way round. Now in the orphan blocks pile.

However I happy with both flimsies.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

RSC 2017 Handquilting Twinkler Stars

Linking up with Angela's So Scrappy RSC 2017 to show the progress of my Twinkler Stars Quilt.


I am hand quilting a double row of fairly small Perle stitches around each star shape.
Pleased with the effect. I had already machine quilted either side of all the block joins so the quilt top is well anchored.  No rush to finish this quilt so I am enjoying stitching whilst watching television or at my Quilt Group meetings.

I have now been gifted 2 lots of wedge shaped scraps. The wedges come in pairs, a solid and a tone on tone pattern for each colour.  My friend Candy made yards and yards of pennant shaped bunting to decorate the reception area for her granddaughter's wedding last year.  She and her daughter are now turning the bunting into a quilt for Olivia.  So I have been given the scraps which are around 6" long, the wedge is approx. 3" (they differ slightly!) at the widest point of the wedge.  I don't want to leave them like this in a bag because I know they will just stay there forever.  I had wondered if I could arrange them into Dresden-style circles, but haven't tried playing yet. I would normally cut scraps into usable sized squares (1.5", 2", 2.5" ) but I would waste more than I would be using.
Any ideas on how best to use them? Suggestions would be very welcome!