Sunday, 23 August 2015

I must be mad

I've been seeing quite a few people both in blogland and on Instagram sewing Heaven and Earth Designs. If you've never seen any of their cross stitch designs take a look as they are amazing.

Anyway I was looking through the website the other day and the hubby wandered over to see what I was doing. " Oh I really like that one " he said. "Why don't you get it, you haven't done any real stitching for ages". So like a fool I bought it.

30 pages of pattern and 3 pages of thread lists from my poor printer,and the design is only 25" by 25".

So what was the design

Yes ladies I am mad.
There are 88 different colours in this design and it uses 30, yes 30 skeins of black. It'll be done on 25 count linen over one thread and it'll probably destroy my eyes. You can find the design HERE

Having not got many threads I've had to order in most of what's needed and they came this week, along with the linen.

At 625 x 625 stitches I think it's going to take all week just to grid the linen.

On another front my hexagon quilt is growing

I need to prepare some more hexies so I can continue. This is my morning and car park project. I'm up at 6am each morning and after I've walked Stan I have an hour to myself before I take the daughter to work. I can either get a rosette done or attach one to the quilt in this time. I can also part make a rosette while I'm waiting in the car for Gemma to come out of work, and yes I do get some strange looks from others in the car park.
I'll be linking up to Kathy's Quilts Slow Stitching Sunday  and hopefully will be able to post progress of the Nebula cross stitch each week although I think I'll need to name my posts extremely slow stitching.

Not so much a thought more an instruction for the week

Saturday, 22 August 2015

My Sesame Street Moment

CAUTION: Ear Worm Alert

Yesterday I took part in Wendy's FNSI.

I decided to play catch up with the Meadow Mist Mystery Quilt. This month's instructions were to make flying geese using the no waste method.
 That's when I had my Sesame Street moment.

All together now " one of these units doesn't look like the others. One of these units is not the same"

 No I don't know how I managed to do it either. It's all sorted now though and I'm caught up.

I've also made a start on my Under The Ocean swap. With this you have two options, your partner names three marine creatures and then you can either make three small items, one themed of each creature or a larger, mini quilt combining them all. I've gone for the quilt.

 I've decided to use HST's as chevrons in various blues and batiks to represent sea floor to sky.
I've sewn together the first two rows
 and got the next one ready to sew together
 I've also cut out the squares for the other rows, each HST will finish at 2".

Once it's all pieced I'm aiming to embellish it with applique, hand and machine embroidery and machine quilting.

Well that's all I managed yesterday. I'm off now to see what the others got up to

My Sewing Machine is in there somewhere

There seems to be a trend at the moment for showing your sewing room/space, started by Amy who's just re organised hers. Well I was going to show you mine last week but it needed a huge clean up first.

These are the before photos so feel free to skip past them

My room is what's known as the Box Room or the smallest bedroom. It's about 8ft x 8ft square and looks out over the end of the street.
It took me two days to clean it up, but it does mean I've now got space to sew again.

This is my villains corner with some pics of Loki from the Marvel films. I must admit to having a bit of a crush on Tom Hiddlestone and he's by far the reason why I watch the films.There's also a cross stitch pic of Gru from Despicable Me that was sent in a swap and a tea towel of Maleficent, the best Disney baddie ever. If you look closely you can also see the Wicked Queen's crown and poisoned Apple, also sent to me in a swap.

Under the Tea Towel is my Singer hand powered sewing machine. This was given to me by a gentleman I used to look after. According to the Singer website it was made in Glasgow in 1902. The gentleman who gave it to me was in his 90's and it was his grandmother's. It's still working although I lack the co ordination to sew on it for long.

 My stash in all the drawers, FQ's in one basket. scraps in the other. The white containers contain my WIPs/UFOs, tops that need quilting and my cross stitch/embroidery stuff. THe bags in the bottom corner are extras for swaps.

The top shelf serves as my Altar and the bottom has all my buttons, charms, trims etc. All in jars. You can see some of the mini's I've been sent on the wall.

 Some of the extras from swaps that I've been sent now live on my windowsill, just the other side of my ironing board that is permanently up.
 My cutting table is now clear. My quilting books are on the shelf and the quilt of Maleficent that I received in a swap on the wall. The drawers contain all my threads and are colour co ordinated. The boxes on top contain my variegated quilting threads,  metallic threads and black and white threads. The piles on my table are the three WIPs I am working on at the moment, the jars contain my pins.
 My sewing table, I've found my machine. The feathered Star quilt is the only quilt on the walls of my sewing room that I made. All the rest are ones that have been sent to me. The chest of drawers next to my machine are used as a table to keep my thread on the spool holder and any spare bobbins for the project I'm working on. The top drawer is all sewing machine related - spare feet, needles, empty bobbins, scissors etc. The second drawer is stationery, the third 2.5" squares for a postage stamp style of quilt, the bottom drawer contains 5" squares for my hexagon quilt.

I've put an over the door ironing station up which holds all my rulers and quilting templates. You can also see my calendar which I can stare at when I'm sewing. Yes he's semi naked and yes he's a Royal Marine. It's my traditional calendar that I buy each year for charity. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it
 After having a good clean I've now a pile of mini quilts that have been sent to me in swaps that I need to put up.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Weak Moments

First up it's not my fault. I'm blaming my friend Celine for this.
When she was at the Festival of Quilts she signed up for a Block of the Day with the Gourmet Quilter. I'd seen the quilt and hadn't really thought much about it. After she mentioned signing up though the quilt started to whisper to me, and then shout, So to shut it up I too have signed up.
The idea is simple, starting January next year, you get emailed 7 block patterns a week to make which eventually be sewn into a 84" square quilt. There will be 365 4" blocks making up this quilt.
At the moment there is a code giving you a third off the price of the pattern and the quilt and details can be found HERE

Next up another pattern purchase and news of a Blog Hop that I'll be participating in.

Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts has released a new quilt pattern

Sew Fresh Quilts

Isn't it cute. She'll be blogging it as a sew along in the Autumn but you can also buy the pattern now and in October take part in the Blog Hop of finished quilts. Looks like I'll be on a fabric buying frenzy this week. Haven't narrowed down a palette yet. 

And talking of sewing I've been doing a bit, and I do mean a bit, of hand sewing. 

Scrap Hexies. 
I had a magazine given me a few months back that came with 500  2" (ish)paper hexagons so I decided to use them and make a scrap bed quilt. Well I say bed quilt. it depends how long it takes me to get bored with it. It could end up a cuddle quilt. or even a table topper. 

Thought for the week

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Festival of Quilts

Last Sunday saw me heading up the motorway to Birmingham and the Festival of Quilts, supposedly Britain's biggest quilt show over four days.  Two hours of driving saw me at the show just as it was opening. A cup of coffee later and I was ready to go.
Now first up, before I start I hadn't gone there to shop. I go to look at the quilts and for inspiration. Yes I did a shopping list but it had just four things on it.

The show opened at 10am. I wandered around the quilts, took pics and then looked at my watch 11am. Yes that's right it took me just an hour to look at all the quilts. So I wandered through the many, many stalls. I managed to cross one thing off my shopping list. So I wandered through the quilts again, in case I'd missed anything and had a spot of lunch, 12.30 pm. I found a friend who had a stall and had a chat to her, wandered back through and by just after 2 pm I was back on the road home. Very disappointing experience.

Now I know some people loved it and went for two or three days, I know some people seemed to have bought the place out with what was being carried around, but I'm afraid I was very disillusioned with the whole thing. I've been going for a good few years now, since it started to be honest and it seems to be less quilts and more stalls each year. I remember when it first started and it was supposed to be all about the quilts. The first year it started I didn't get any shopping done as there were so many quilts I didn't have time, not so any more. I will think long and hard before I decide to go again. I was lucky enough to have a free ticket for entry as I wouldn't have been happy paying.

Anyway you haven't come to here to hear me moan, you want pics. A link to the photo album containing most of the pics I took is HERE. Pull up a chair as there are 124 photos in the album.  Be aware that the show is not juried. Yes there are winners in each category but anyone can enter anything and there is quite a range of skill levels.

But my favourites, not necessarily the winners are

I love bleak landscapes and this one just drew me in

This owl was amazing. So detailed and lifelike

 The winner of the Gina wants to take it home category

 It stood about 3  or 4 feet tall and was completely quilted. Stunning work. Can't believe it didn't win the 3D category

This was in the Mini category. I've put my chubby finger next to it for scale

Second in the Gina wants to take it home category

 THis was another amazing landscape where the trees are free machine embroidered

This was the winner of the mini quilt category. The detail was amazing

This was my winner of the mini quilt, all these birds are thread painted

And what did I buy I hear you ask. Not a lot really.

The only thing I managed to cross off my list was some blue/green batiks and some bits and pieces for an under the sea quilt I need to make for a swap.

 I also picked up a metre of black lab fabric. It's upholstery weight so it'll probably become a bag or two.
 Some hand dyed, sparkly cross stitch linen. I was going to use it for a specific project but I've changed my mind. I need to find a pattern that will show off the linen as opposed to one which will hide it.
 And finally a new quilt pattern. I saw this made up on the stall and it's fabulous. It's all raw edge applique so should be fairly quick and easy to make up. I just need to decide on the background fabric as the white doesn't really do it for me.

Well that's it for the quilt show. I'm hoping to go to a smaller one in a few weeks time. It combines my two loves, quilts and gardens and as the quilts are set out in the garden it's weather dependent so I'm hoping for the good weather to hold.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

My fish need a Patronus

What a week. Not much sewing done as I've been spending a load of time working in the garden. To be honest I hadn't planned it that way but we've had an unwanted visitor. More of that later.

I've finished my Hogwarts/Harry Potter swap quilt.

 and the back
My partner named her favourite part of Harry Potter as the Snape dying and the "Always" quote.
As a result I decided to quilt a wand with Snape's Patronus leaping out using metallic threads.

Here's some better pics of the quilting

 I used a lot of metallics on this. The wand is grey thread with silver metallic banding and outlining. The wording is outlined in silver as is the symbol. I used two layers of wadding. The first backed the fabric for the wording, wand, symbol and some of the silver and gold stitching coming from the wand. I then sandwiched the whole thing as normal for the background quilting, appliqueing the white doe and adding some more lines. This is when my metallics started to play up. They were ok going through the one layer of wadding but they didn't like two. I had an horrendous number of breakages. Luckily I wasn't doing too much on the second quilting. I used a Kona grey for the binding. This is another finish from my FALQ3 list and will be mailed out tomorrow. I'll be linking up to this and various other linkys listed here

Anyway back to my visitor. The Heron.

He/she had been back and fro for a while but he's been fairly nervous and I've always managed to frighten him off.

  Yes I'm watching you.

Well earlier this week I was having a coffee on the patio and taking some snaps of the garden when

This is just before he stuck his head in one of my ponds and stole a fish. I didn't even know he was there. The ponds are now better protected ( hopefully) as we've put a fence around them which will stop him reaching in. They won't fly straight into a pond, they like to land some way off and walk in so hopefully this fence ( now it's planted properly and not higgledy piggledy like in the pic) will prevent him taking any more of my fish.

Either that or they are going to have to learn the Expecto Patronus spell. I wonder what the Patronus of a fish would be, a shark perhaps?