31 May 2013

Then disaster struck

I had the afternoon to myself yesterday, so I set to quilting the Stitch Tease beast.

I had tried out a few different FMQ patterm, most of which looked rubbish!  I did find one I liked, and managed to sew without it looking awful, but then realised it was very much a single direction pattern, and that would have made it very difficult sew without scrunching the whole width of the quilt under the harp of my machine.  So in the end I opted for my old favourite, stippling.

I managed to do a whole pass along the length of the quilt, but I wasn't comfortable with how it was going.  I seemed to be pushing and pulling too much,the weight of the quilt was taking over and the curves weren't very curvey, if you know what I mean.  When things aren't going well, I believe in going back to basics, which for me is Elizabeth Hartman (Oh Franson!)  She has a tutorial for quilting a large quilt, which I had most likely used before, but over time I had strayed, developing my own bad habits. Having refreshed myself,  I set off again, this time  with  Shania Twain full blast on the i-pod, and for an hour or more, I was "in the zone".   

After a break for tea, I almost changed over to do a bit of regular sewing, but as it was going so well, I thought I'd carry on.  BAD MOVE!  Within a matter of minutes, I had sewn over a safety pin, broken the needle, and the main shaft that holds the needle was wobbling around in free space.  Last time I did this, Gordon had repaired it, but this time, I think it's terminal.

So it was off to the repair shop for me today.   It's going to be a minimum of a week, but that is only if there is no parts that need to be re-ordered.

Already I've tidied my sewing room, sorted a few drawers, and swept.  Now I'm off to sort out some new projects that can be cut, and some hand sewing.  I think it's going to be a long week!

28 May 2013

Stitch Tease basted

Visitors descended chez-quiltova this weekend.  We have been friends with Carol and Clive since we all worked together at Pirelli back in the late 70's/early 80's  Carol and I sat next to each other, talked all day (in the days when you could do that!) then went out or phoned each other at night.  You know the sort of thing.  We after 40 years, we can still talk like that!  Our husbands haven't really got a word in edgways all weekend!

We've been out walking, just locally, cooked, played games, and best of all, although she not a needlewoman, and (she won't mind me saying this) frankly I wouldn't let her near a needle and thread, she has helped me baste my stitch tease  quilt.  I was really dreading it, because it was so big, and by the time I'd put the borders on, it was a little lumpy.  But it makes such a difference with two people, one of which is NOT your husband and gets fed up after 30 seconds!

The back went down perfectly (although it's a terrible photo - I think I had my finger over the lens!)

Then the batting and top

and 40 minutes later, it was all pinned

It's a bit wavy, but better than I expected, and better than I could have done on my own!  From now on I will be making this a condition of all friends and family's visits!  In fact, if I had had enough batting and pins, I would have done this one too!

Our friends go home today, so guess what I'll be doing tonight.

26 May 2013

Euro Siblings Together Bee

Happily our new Euro Siblings Together Bee is up and running, all be it with only 11 people at the moment.   Queen Bees have been allocated their months, and as no-one volunteered for the first month, I took it on.  I searched amongst my books and on line to find a simple block that I could easily size up to the required 18-20".  In the end I opted for a block called linoleum, which doesn't sound very exciting, but  I think it will make a really bright, happy quilt.

This block is from blockcrazy, but I took the original instructions from quilt.com and sized them up to 18".  My instructions can be found here.  And for bee members, I have started a new thread about my block, so feel free to ask any questions.

For my colour inspiration I used this fabric, which I bought ages ago,  to make a childrens quilt but never used.

I still might not use it for this quilt, as I don't have enough for the whole back, but I've asked for blocks in these colours (minus the brown!).

Here's the first block I made

I have asked for the background fabric to be white, so that I can sash the blocks with something bright.  That's the plan anyway!

As I said earlier, we are still looking for a 12th member, if I could persuade anyone to join us.   You wouldn't have to be the Queen bee until right at the end, which would be May next year, and as you can see, we are trying to make the blocks simple and quick.  We are making largely from our own stashes, to keep postage costs down, unless anyone can get any  donations or sponsors for their month.   And you only have to make one block per month.  There, have I persuaded you?  

Our flickr page is here if you want to follow how we are getting on.  I am so looking forward to getting all my blocks in a seeing what the whole thing looks like together!

22 May 2013

No WIP Wednesday

There is no WIP Wednesday at Lee's this week, but as I'd prepared a post, I'm not wasting it!

I have been a seriously rubbish blogger recently - not posting much, and not reading and commenting other blogs.  I am spending a good deal of my time out on the garden, grabbing a quick half an hour here and there to sew when I need a rest.  When I settle down at night, I'm too tired to sit reading and commenting, or writing a new post.   I've barely looked at the Bloggers Quilt Festival entries.  I hope you will all forgive me!

I have managed to get quite a lot of small things done recently though.

I made and posted a little bag to the second SMS giveaway winner.  I'm not going to show you though until I know it's arrived, as I would like it to be a surprise for her.

I made and posted two blocks for Di in the second round of the Stitch Tease Bee

And two blocks for Christine in the Sew Euro-bee-an bee

I must admit, Christine, that the colours didn't inspire me to start, but now they are made, I think they are very effective and will make a striking quilt.  That's the thing I like about bees.  They make you do things you wouldn't normally do!

I seem to have loads of WIPs sitting around my dining room, but mainly I've been working on my Art trading card for my secret partner in Ali's swap.  Here's a photo of the progress a couple of days ago

I have since sandwiched it with a couple of layers of thick cotton, and a layer of the stiff liner that you use in bags, then machine embrodered around the edge.  It just needs a tidy up, and the label on the back, and it's ready to go off.

I have also been slogging away at my Stitch Tease quilt.  I finally finished all the flying geese around the edge, which I'm very pleased with. 

I then had to add at least an 8" border so that the quilt will fit our new bed.  I contemplated putting in a small patterned border

but decided against it.  I'm not too happy with the big border, but the patterned part of the quilt will sit nicely on the top of the bed, and the white border will hang down, so it should be OK.  If I didn't do it, I would never be able to use the quilt on our bed.   And I made a quick trip into Ikea on Monday to buy some backing fabric, which cost about 15 pounds, as opposed to 60 pounds for normal quilting fabrics. 

I then spent a couple of unhappy, uncomfortable hours on the lounge floor yesterday preparing everything to baste it, but had to give up before actually taping it down and pinning it as my knees and back couldn't stand any  more!

This is one mahoosive quilt.  Heaven only knows how I'm going to quilt it!

Next on the list of things to start before I finish the others, is a name badge for my secret partner for the Fat Quarterly Retreat in London, and my sample swaps for the same.   Small and quick, hopefully!

PS  I'm on my own at work today, so I'm catching up on some sewing stuff!  Don't tell the boss!

Take care

19 May 2013

Bloggers Quilt Festival

The Bloggers Quilt Festival has snook up on me once more.  I was totally oblivious until I saw other bloggers burning the midnight oil trying to get a quilt finished in time.

Earlier this year I finished a quilt that is very lucky it was ever finished.  When I saw that Leanne was running a QAL to make Julie's MOD POD quilt.  I just had to join in.  Two or three years ago, I had saved this tissue box

 hoping one day I would be able to work out how to make the pattern into a quiltn.  Then Julie from Distant Pickles came up with this pattern, so I didn't have to worry any more!

Not a bad match.  Having just turned the spare room from an uninspiring office, back to a bedroom, I chose fabrics to go with the new loud turquoise and lime green decor.

 There were a lot of tears and tantrums went into this quilt, let me tell you!  I had never sewn curves before and there were many early Sunday mornings where the blocks nearly went out of the window, followed by the sewing machine.  To begin with, they were truly awful

 but I tried several methods of getting those curves neat, and through sheer perseverence, I think they were reasonable good.  I developed my own way of doing them, which took everyone else's tips, strategies and methods, incorporating them in something that worked for me.  I have not sewn a curve since then, and I'm pretty sure I can't remember how I did them!

The quilting was a challenge.  I wanted to echo quilt around each of the circles, but that was something I never managed, so ended up stippling the background, letting the linked circles pop out


I'm so happy with my finished quilt, and I can't help patting it fondly every time I go into the spare room!

Finally, I would like to thank my various animals without whose help, this quilt would never have been finished!!

 Quilt Stats

Name: Mod Pod
Pattern:  Mod Pod by Julie at Distant Pickles
Quilted: by me on my Viking Sapphire 875
Category:  Two colour quilt

15 May 2013

Le Challenge - Wait for me

Today is the day I can reveal what I made in this months "Le Challenge".  Now, I know I wrote a teaser post about it, but I managed to delete it completely (don't ask!) and I can't remember what I wrote,  so if I'm repeating myself, I apologise!

The theme this month was wings, and after some cruising through the internet I came up with using flying geese, then I found a tutorial for a slightly different style of flying geese.  Unforunately I cannot find the link back to it anymore, so I have to apologise to the author for not recognising her hard work!  But I did draw up the template for the paper piecing myself!


We get a lot of geese flying over our house - I think we must be on the flight path to their summer holidays - and I've sort of copied their formation.

 Although in truth, they are a bit of a raggle taggle bunch.  No where near as orderly as mine!  But there are always stragglers, and I have one little goose who is getting left behind.  Hence it's name "Wait for me"!

I tried piping for the first time, and managed to sew it onto the wrong side of the fabric, so I would have had internal piping!

The back is made from a fabric I bought in the fabric shop in Brno that I have started going to.  It's a Makeower fabric, and I just love it.  The colours are so me!

And finally both of my Le challenge cushions together

I think I might squeeze another one in, but don't tell Gordon!

14 May 2013

New Bees and Old

I spent some time at the weekend making my first bee blocks for the second round of Stitch Tease.  Di gave us a very easy block to make but was very specific with what she wanted.  These are Di's first 9 blocks

The blocks should be only Aqua, Teal or Turquoise, with the possibility of one block having  one piece of Essex dyed linen in flax.  Now colours are not one of my strongest points, and although I think I know what colours aqua teal and turqouise are, when faced wit having to choose, I found it quite difficult.  And I really don't know what colour the one piece of linen I have, is.  So Di you will have to let me know if I've got it wrong, and I can start again!  Comparing photos above, my linen looks much greyer than yours, but in real life it looks about the same!

I also had to re-draw my SMS giveaway on Sunday because sadly one of the winners was a no reply blogger.  This time the random  number generator picked out Dee. 

  Dee said...
I am now following you based entirely on your list of things you blog - we have similar interests.

So that's my job for today, pulling out some fabrics and making Dee her custom made bag!
I'm also still trying to get enough ladies together to form a European Siblings Together Bee.  We have 8, and just wanting another 4.   So if you were undecided about joining us, you've still got a chance.

Tomorrow I will either be joining in with WIP Wednesday, or showing off my finished Le Challenge cushion.  Either way, watch this space...Blogger

11 May 2013

SMS Giveaway winner(s)

I'm very happy to be able to announce the winners of my giveaway.    I say winners because I reached and surpassed my target of 100 blogger readers (now 129) therefore I picked a second winner to celebrate.

I did have a certain amount of difficulty with numbering my comments and getting the random number generator onto and working in this post.   So I generated two numbers on the random website, then actually counted the comments!   So the first number was 40 which is

Maroesja said...
You made a lovely bag! I love the colors you choose.My worsdt habit... I tend to sew without pinning, if possible

Congratulations Maroaejs, who I have contacted Maroejsa and she has chosen to take the blue one. 

The second winner is number 174

Jacklynn said...I have quite a mess on my sewing table which bugs my husband 'cuz he's a neat freak - I'm just creative
Infortunately Jackie, you are a no-reply blogger, so I am unable to get in touch with you.  Please, if you read this, drop me a line before 10 pm Sunday (Central European Time).   If not, I will pick another winner.

It was very interesting to read about everyone's bad habits.  Apparently, we  quilters/sewers are all untidy, , fabricaholic, obsessive, creative geniuses who are unable to finish what we are working on because we have had "a great idea" for something new!.  So tell me something I didn't know ! 

Thanks to all my loyal followers for entering the giveaway, and all you lovely new followers, I do hope you stay and revisit my little corner of the blogosphere.

10 May 2013

European Siblings Together Bee


When I read Lynne's idea of starting a Siblings Together quilting bee, I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't join, as I don't live in the UK.  Then I had the bright idea of starting up a European branch of the bee, so that we quilters living in Europe could join in too. It would run it along the same lines as Lynne's bee, one large 20" block per month, finishing up in summer 2014.

Is anyone interested in joining me?  If so, please leave me a comment and we'll see how we go. Looking forward to hearing from you.

06 May 2013

Sew, Mam, Sew Giveaway Day



Welcome to my first giveaway in the  the biennial Giveaway day at Sew, Mama, Sew and if you're visiting for the first time, thanks for popping in to my humble corner of the blogging world!  Unfortunately I don't have any mega-sponsors, so I'm offering a little something I made.

Earlier this year, we had a holiday in Vietnam, and I bought this little bag

which I thought would be really pretty made in some of my own fabrics.   I don't have any qualms about copying it, as most of the things on sale there are fakes anyway!  Calvin Klein, D & G, Rolex, they're all there. Come to think of it,  it's only right and proper than we get our own back a little!  Here's my take on the bag

 It's a useful little bag,  good for holding all your sewing bits and bobs, as it opens out to let you get right down to the bottom.   It would also make a good travelling sewing bag, as it closes quite securely. I've also used it as a going-out-in-the-evening-holding-my-lippy-and-keys bag.

 If you'd like to win this bag, then please leave me a comment.  I'd like to hear about your worst sewing habit.  Apart from being a very untidy sewer, my worse habit is not putting pins back in the pincushion as I take them out.  There's always a huge pile by my machine, which takes me twice as long to untangle and put back into the pincushion!
As I have been hovering around the 90 followers mark for quite a while now, it would be really good if I could make that illusive 100 followers.   So for a second chance to win, please become a follower and let me know you have, or that you already are of course.  If I hit the 100, I will offer a second bag, which I will make especially for you, to your colour scheme/design etc.  I am quite happy to ship internationally (well I'd have to really - as far as I know I only have 2 czech readers!).

The giveaway will stay open until 10th May, 5pm PST, wherever that is in the world, and 'll announce the winner before the 12th May.!  I'm not sure how I'm going to do the draw.  Last time I had a giveaway, the cat did it because I couldn't make the random generator work, but I'll have another go this time!

And finally, you really must hop over to Sew Mama sew to see all the rest of the giveaways.  Thanks for calling in, and good luck in the draw. 

05 May 2013

Art Trading Cards Swap

Very Berry Handmade

Until a few weeks ago, I had never heard of Art Trading Cards.  Then I read this post by Ali at Very Berry Handmade, and it really sparked my imagination.

Just in case, like me, you don't know about ATC's (look I'm picking up the jargon), a trading card is in effect, a very small mini quilt or mug rug, just 2.5 in x 3.5 in.  This is a fabric specific swap, but they but they can be made using any type of media that you like.  They can then be traded or swapped, and people collect them.

I now have my swap partner, and a million ideas of what to make, all of which are probably totally impossible in a space 2.5 in x 3.5 in!  Here are some that I've seen of flickr to give you (and me) some idea of what I'm talking about

Isn't the campervan just wonderful.  That one is actually Ali's

So despite my resolve not to join anything else, I'm in.  But it's only small isn't it.  I can do this at night in front of the TV.  And I do have to the end of May.