Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Small Step Forward

I knew that it might be tough to get many blocks made this week.  It turns out that this was the only one that I made.

I might have made a couple more, but I slipped over on our long weekend away and it's taking me a couple of days to get back to normal - in addition to being tired from half term and our short holiday!

Not to worry!  I've got an appointment with my splendid osteopath tomorrow, so I should be sewing with gusto again by Friday!  I'm still hoping to finish the blocks by the 28th February!

Happy sewing everyone!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Block Bonanza!

 Nothing as tricky as last week's Twenty T's, so I actually made more blocks than I expected to this week.
 Of course, they aren't all mistake free, but I'm not going to worry about the 'unexpected design outcomes' as my friend Benta might call them!  A phrase that she shared at our Quilt Guild meeting last night, which I shall borrow shamelessly, thanks, Benta!

Thanks to her too for a stack of batik charms - in case I needed a little extra to get me to the finish on this project.  Very sweet, and if they aren't used in this, then they will team very nicely with some other charms that I have and will make a cheerful little quilt - something fast and fun and quick to finish as a breather after this one, perhaps!
 I was pleased to manage 14 blocks in between a little card making (well, it is Valentines day after all) and having my DD's home for half term.

Of course, as I'm typing this I realise that I haven't set a single stitch since they broke up from school..... oh well, there will be plenty of time when they go back next week to make more forward progress again.
 I'm still revelling in having my blocks either made or cut out up to 25th December - so the end of the block making is definitely in sight!
But which was the quilt that won my heart last night in the 'timeless treasures' trunk show?  This one - just part of it shown here - which was a Canadian Red Cross quilt.  Made in WWII it was sent over from Canada and went to a family who had been bombed out of their home three times.

There is a fabulous use of fabric.  Not a scrap turned away - whatever type of fabric it was, it was included.  No fabric trimmed if it could be helped, so as little as possible was wasted.

The quilting stitched were erratic, but there is clearly a cable pattern quilted across it.  It is a wonderful vibrant piece, that seems to embody all the best of people crafting for utility - and to show that it doesn't have to be perfect to be used and cherished, which is the message that I wanted to take from it this week.  It is also another bell ringing in my head to remind me to get back to making for Project Linus.  There are still people around who need something to wrap them in a bit of love and I love the chance to be one of the people who is lucky enough to be able to spend some of my time making for unknown recipients, just like a Canadian, or group of Canadians, in WWII.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Sew, Press, Trim, Repeat!

 This block - "Twenty T's" - has been the most time consuming so far, I think!

Any block instructions that start off with making 88 half square triangles of just 1" square should come with some sort of health warning.  I enjoy piecing but didn't really look forward to trimming all these pieces!  Still, block complete.
 In addition to that particular one, I made six others.  Some of them simpler than others. 


 These were all straightforward, though!
I'm just about to make the 11th December now.  Just 20 more blocks to make - and 20 days left in February until my target date for completion of the quilt top.  With over a week of half term, including a few days away, it's going to be touch and go as to whether I'll make it, but I'll be giving it my best shot!

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Good Progress

 Are you fed up with just seeing progress on one project?  It feels like it's been a bit of a long time since I've worked on anything else!

Another 14 blocks this week.  I'm up to the 4th December, which is great!

I also tidied my table top this week and found some lost blocks, so I'm confident that I've got all the dark blocks in one place ready for when I get to assembling the top.
 These blocks are all 6 1/2" square - and all 'bright' blocks.  Nice and sunny to compensate for our grey days this week.
 I've been working through these - some easier than others to piece.
This is quite an exciting stage of a project - speeding towards the end of the piecing!  Then there is the fun of the layout and sewing the sections together, following by the basting (probably my least favourite part of the process, even with spray baste) and quilting  - but that's all in the future.  This week will be another week of  piecing!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Still Bright!

 Remember me saying that I was going to have to measure walls to see where this sampler quilt could go, and exactly what shape to make it?  Well, I did that, and it caused me to falter slightly on my block making, as I'm going to struggle to fit anything with all the blocks included anywhere in the house!

I've decided to go ahead and make all the blocks still, but to be prepared to make a mini quilt if I have left over blocks from whatever layout I choose.  The layout isn't yet a 'done deal' in my head!
 In the meantime I made these last blocks - four 'real' ones and two simpler bonus blocks.
The rest of my sewing time was taken up with this 12 1/2" corner - the final one - as I wanted to make sure that I'd got enough fabric for it to match the other three.  It was really complicated and time consuming - but working through, one step at a time, I not only started but finished it (apart from one rogue red piece in the central stem - how did that get there?!?).

Now it's time to embark on the final push - a set of 6" light blocks - I'm guessing that there must be about 50 to make, although I haven't counted them. Looking forward to them!

Hope that you are sewing in a happy way too!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Bright January Days

 Even if the weather means that the light outside might be dull, I can always find some beautiful fabric to brighten up a day!

That plus finally getting rid of my cold are enough to cheer anyone up!

This is a 12 1/2" block - the third corner of the 365 ultimate sampler quilt. 
 These two are 6 1/2" blocks - quick and simple ones.
 Then I made a full dozen of these little 3 1/2" lovelies - some of them easier than others!

 Lots of fun to make, though!  I'm still two months behind, but cheerful.  I do enjoy these fiddly piecing projects, even if I could work harder at being accurate.
It won't be long until it will be time to sew all these darks into border blocks.

As I'm intending this to be hung on a wall I need to make sure that I've got the dimensions of the space I have available ready so that I can avoid stitching it together and then having to unstitch it!  I just hope that I've got room to include all the blocks.....
This set have lots of movement in them, don't they?

As a total contrast, I lead one of a set of mini workshops at my quilting meeting - on freezer paper applique!  Not what I've been working on this year at all, but I found that I'd got a lovely sample quilt from 14 years ago!  Sometimes it's easy to forget how long I've been quilting for.  Playing with thread and fabric is a big part of how I choose to spend 'me time' and has become part of how I see myself.  Thank goodness that I have this fabulous world to indulge in and fabulous quilters to share it with.  Thank you, one and all!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The Lost Weeks!

 Like so many other people I've 'lost' a couple of weeks to a horrid cold (and the collected illness days of the rest of the family too!).  Not fun, but I'm starting to get over it all now.
 The blocks above are the 6 1/2" blocks - I think that they might be the last 'big' dark blocks of the challenge.

The blocks to the right are 3 1/2" square.  I counted, the top right one has 49 pieces in it - quite a lot in a small block!
This was the last 3 1/2" block that I made this week.

I'm hoping for a little more sewing time this week, but only time will tell how the stamina is!  My next target is the third corner block which is a 12 1/2" block.  Now that I'm up to the November blocks I'm getting quite excited about them all!

Hope that your New Year is being kind to you and that you are managing to get plenty done!

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

New Year Wishes!

 Christmas festivities carry on in this household - we like to make the most of the chances to get together with family and friends over the holiday period!  We're having a lovely time with meals, games, chatter and the occasional event like watching our local rugby team, Harlequins (at Twickenham Stadium for the Big Game) and going to Kew Gardens Lights.  Busy, busy, busy!

I'm pleased, therefore, to have anything at all to show you!


 A total of eight blocks.  I was pleased that on Christmas Eve I was exactly two months behind - much better than the worst position I'd been in!

I'm still hoping to finish all the blocks by the end of January, although I'm saying that more in hope than expectation.  I think that having the top all put together by the end of February might be more realistic.  Can this count as my New Year's resolution?
My only other sewing was this postcard, trying to represent 'celebration' - the last of my birthday swap postcards for this year.

Whatever this year brought you, I hope that next year will be better, perhaps even your best yet!  Wishing a happy, healthy, joyful and peaceful 2017 to one and all!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Merry Christmas!

 Just a few days to go until Christmas Day!  I hope that you are making the most of any time that you have to enjoy some sewing or crafting.

This week I've made 12 blocks.

I enjoyed this little boat.
 Not as accurate as I'd like to be on all the blocks, but overall the effect of them will be fine, I'm sure.
 I enjoyed using this striking linear patterned batik fabric - and I really like blocks with strong diagonals, so the first one of this set is my favourite of the week.
 I also made some tissue holders (excellent teacher gifts / stand by presents!).  No two the same - although that may change as I'm about to make a few more.
The tree is up!
 The quilted tree is up!
The stitcheries are up (not a great photo, sorry!).

Wishing happy holidays for you and your family and much peace for all of the world.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Proud Aunty Alert!

 I am lucky enough to know a number of creative, wonderful people.  This would have to include my eldest nephew, Stuart, who has this week published his debut novel, Stacker.

I've only just started reading it - and I'm enjoying it so far (although I've been warned that there is some bad language and that things get pretty tense - just saying in case that might not suit you).  Some very slick phrases to be found, though.  Free on Kindle unlimited, and not much money to buy if you haven't.....

What have I been doing this week apart from reading?  I'm pleased to say that I've achieved my target 16 blocks!


 The block above is a 12" corner beauty - it took several hours to make.

The one to the right is a 6 1/2" block.  Fun to make!
These four - two of them not such dark blocks - and the one on the top left not exhibiting the level of contrast that I'd be aiming for, to be honest.  Bad understanding of which fabric would dominate on my part!
 These four showed better contrast.
And these ones too.  These last 14 are all 3 1/2" square.  It means that some of these pieces get quite small!

I'm now just into October's blocks.  Thinking that this project is easily going to take me through into February!

Enjoy your pre-Christmas crafting!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Busy week!

 A busy week, but not busy at the sewing machine.

No chance of meeting my 16 block target - this week I didn't even manage to keep up, let alone get ahead, with a total of five blocks made.

This was the 6 1/2" one.
 These are the 3 1/2" blocks.

I'm hoping for better things this week, although if someone could gift me some extra energy and let me unwrap it early, that might make it easier!
 As well as the blocks I made this card with sheers.  I almost think that it looked better with the fabrics just as squares, not cut around the stitching.  Wish that I'd taken a photo to show you!

Then it was time for a few cord wraps, based on this tutorial by Leafy Treetop.  Great for a quick make, and much nicer than the cord spaghetti that I seemed to be plunging my hand into on a regular basis.  I need to make a whole heap more, though!

Lastly, this was my secret santa haul from my Richmond and Kew Quilt Group meeting - thank you Marianne!  I love the idea of not just giving me a coffee cozy, but also a copy of the tutorial that she used to make it!

The first of my Christmas decorations went up this morning.  More to follow this weekend.  It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

More small sewing

 Did I hit my 16 block target this week?

A resounding 'no'!

However, as I had both a broken down boiler (and thus an unscheduled boiler replacement) and a lovely weekend away, this isn't a total surprise!

This was the 6 1/2" block for the week.
 And four smaller blocks.  The bottom RHS one doesn't look at all right - I may need to revisit that and check that I wrote the measurements down correctly!
 These are the final four that I made.  I like the one on the RHS - but I'm still not sure how I managed to make a set of fabric strips and squares to make a second block!  I changed the colours on the half square triangles a little, so it's not identical, but I really don't know why I thought that I hadn't already made it!
Lastly, a postcard for Inge for my fabric postcard birthday swap.  Always fun to build up something fun for someone else!

Another busy week coming up, so I'd better start making some more blocks now to see how I get on with the 16 block target again!

Frosty weather here, and thoughts turning to early Christmas festivities.  Hope that you too are enjoying the season!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Blocking Along

 So, do you think that I managed to make my target 16 x 365 challenge blocks this week?

Count along and we'll see!

This is the first block that I had to make.  Of course, I hadn't realised that I'd have a 12" square 'special' on my list  - I was tempted to call that 16 blocks done - it's the right area for 16 blocks, after all, but I realised that it wouldn't help my block count / date target to do that, so I persevered!
 Four blocks here - so up to five in total.

Points missing, I'm afraid..... but not a bad crop overall.
 Another four (with a howling mistake on the ivy leaf - I might have to go back and fix that!).  So that's nine blocks.
 This little cutie - I can hardly wait to see this simple block made up in 2 1/2" strips.  I need to do the maths and see how big a block this would make.  It makes me smile.

Ten blocks so far..... keep counting!
 Ah.  Ok.  Stop counting!

So, no, I didn't make my target - I haven't even got 16 blocks cut out!  Oh well.  Fun to have a target but I'm not going to berate myself for not quite making it, but carry on playing with a smile on my face.
 One post card here - sheer fabric over printed houses. Start of a play of overlays.
Last (but not least!) a lovely fabric wristlet from my lovely friend Benta.  Thanks, Benta - its fab!

I'm off to see how I do with my block target this week.  Happy sewing, everyone!