30 November 2011

Happy birthday to me!

On Monday it was my birthday - I'm now 56.  Where did the years go? But I have a husband (he's two weeks older than me) of almost 34 years as we were married in December 1977 (Silver Jubilee year), three children - the eldest of which, Sarah, turned 30 this year and now 4 grandchildren - the eldest, Sophie is 5 and has been to school for some time now.  The youngest Freddie will be 2 years old in a few days and a proper little boy.

I had the lovely surprise of birthday postcards from the postcard swap that I belong to.  Being towards the end of the year with just one more birthday to make a card for at the end of December, it is nice to be on the receiving end this time (who said it was better to give than receive?) with such a varied array of postcards.  I asked for flowers, no-one else had asked for that so I thought I would.  Here they are:

From top left is from Plum who stitched through paper with real petals, next to that is Jan's Union flag with gathered flower middle.  In the middle is Avril's velvet background postcard with textured flowers, then Pascale's liberated flowers.  The bottom row is Rosemary's crazy flower patchwork and Sandra's painted and stamped card.
From Janet is a foundation pieced flower and next to that is Jacquie's blue paper flowers on blue leafy background.  At the bottom is Lesley's trapped flowers under orgranza and lastly from Carole is a machine embroidered bunch of flowers.  There are a couple more to come that I know are on the way.

On the subject of birthday postcards, the week before was Avril's birthday and this is that I sent her
I made this card way back in August bank holiday and her theme was sea, boats, beach and I appliqued some cottages to look like a fishing village.  The boats were cut from the same fabric and the sea was made from layered strips of blue cut with a zigzag rotary cutting blade and sewn over with wavy stitching.  I ought to have put a photo of the fabric that I used (on a few occasions) with the cottages and boats on a sew theme as its been fussy cut so much that it has holes all over the place!

Another collection of cards that I've received recently come under the heading of "Here's one I made earlier"  of cards made from earlier swap collections.  In the post here were the ones that I sent out and below is a photo of the ones I've received.

Bunting from Benta, a Penguin (from a black and white swap) from Jan, Sunbonnet Sue (windy days) from Carole and Kandinsky inspired circles from Janet.

I've taken to knitting recently but the trouble with it is the sewing together of the parts that make a garment, as it's not so easy to sew things in the artificial light, so at the weekend I finished sewing in the end to some fingerless gloves that I've knitted.

This was one ball of sock wool but it looks like different yarns, but there would have been even more ends to have sewn in!  Another knitting finish I can't show yet are a couple of scarves that I've made for Christmas.

Here's progress on another Dresden Plate block in progress.

Lastly on a flowery note is a Christmas Cactus that I bought in Ikea a couple of years ago which has been flowering brilliantly, if a bit early, for Christmas.

20 November 2011

Sunday post

Just catching up after a weekend away and getting ready for work tomorrow.  First of all I must show off my prize from Lis' giveaway recently a gorgeous little tea cup mat.  It was larger that I thought it would be at 7.5" square so a nice size for a mug too and plenty of room to admire the sashiko.  In the spirit of giveaways, there was a little bit more in the envelope some white gloves for free motion work and a note pad.  Thank you once again Lis.

I also made my Herman cake as mentioned in the last post.  I think I should have put the mix in a larger cake tin and it took longer than the instructions stated but it came out really well and I took half with me to my Brother-in-Law's where we stayed this weekend.  It seemed that people I knew heard about the cake but didn't want the sourdough mix to make one themselves so I'll use one part to make another cake to freeze.

Last week I made a start on a sewing machine cover to replace the horrible plastic one on my new little sewing machine.  I've quilted the two sides and the gusset bit in between and put a pocket on one of the sides.  I've got to think about what to applique on this.  I was given a photocopied pattern but want to put my own style in this.  The shape of the machine cover is similar to the red one here.  A lot of the patterns that I have seen don't have a space for the carrying handle on the machine to come through, so as I intend to carry this to workshops this was important to me. Now I'll have to find a way of finishing the hole for the handle, which probably use a bias binding.
Above is my progress so far.  The parts all quilted and the pocket put on the front.  David is away during this week so I may get some sewing done on this.

15 November 2011

Odds and Sods

Didn't know what else to call this posting as I have a miscellany of things to post about.

First off, I won one of the prizes on Lis' giveaway, which is a delightful little sashiko teacup mat, which I am looking forward to receiving soon.  Benta, who commented on this blog has also won a prize too, so well done Benta!

I've made progress on my Dresden plate block which I'll take for showing and telling at Bourne Quilters on Thursday.  First block done and I'm quite happy with it.  Hope to to one with the rounded tops to the blades next.

On Sunday I dug out my needlefelting machine and had a busy time embellishing fabrics and roving onto some velvet fabric which works pretty well.  I saw a project in Stitch magazine for making corsages from embellished fabrics so see how that goes.  I've not used the machine since going to a workshop back in the summer, as I'd managed to lose the tool kit including the tool that detaches the needle unit from the machine so up until Sunday I'd not been able to use it.  Anyway here are the pieces that I've made

 The piece above is a velvet base with blue dyed cotton fabric and wool roving
 This has a multi coloured silky polyester fabric and wool roving
This is some white panne velvet with natural cotton scrim, silver painted bondaweb and white organza.

I've free machined over the pieces with metallic thread that complemented the pieces.  I've yet to cut up into the flower shapes so this is as far as I have got.  Nice to have a play.

I'm taking part in a postcard swap where I don't make any postcards as they are already made!  This one is called "Here's One I Made Earlier" and the cards I'm going to send have either been extras from previous swaps or some extra I made because I liked the theme and wanted to make more.

From the top then.  A card from selvedges (as I have a large bag of them) and used the wording on them, next is a postcard which was from a Fastenings swap - March 08 (popper, button and ribbon with a bow on the front, a brad on the back).  In the middle is Rainy Days - Nov 06, and a sample postcard to show fabric weaving which I made in 2008.  The bottom row has Folded Wonders from April 09  and another selvedge postcard from 2007.  These cards will be going in the post tomorrow.

And finally, here's a new resident at our house - Herman the German Friendship Cake.  This is a sourdough mix which gets topped up with flour, sugar and milk after the fourth and then the eighth day before being split into four and a quarter is made into a cake.  Karen at work tried this out and I had a quarter of the mix from her.  You can read more about it here.

Here is my Herman
Bubbling up nicely but will need feeding tomorrow.  See how it goes.

09 November 2011

Giveaway Alert

My friend Lis, on Piece 'n' Peace is celebrating her 500th post with a giveaway with some lovely quilty gift of threads, fabrics, book or tea cup rug.  Go over and have a look at her blog post here

05 November 2011

Autumn Colours and a Dresden Plate

As Autumn progresses, last weekend in the UK the clocks went back an hour from British Summer time to GMT.  On Wednesday, my day off I went out photograph the autumn trees at a nearby lake, Hatch Pond.  Where we live is just a few minutes walk from there and on the edge of an industrial estate.  Two sides of the pond are inaccessible as it is a nature reserve but the other two sides have roads running alongside and on my way to work I've seen the lovely colours.

 The family of swans seem to think that I may have some food for them (I didn't though). I moved away quick
 Just a hint of the industrial estate with the building in the centre background.  To the right is a group of silver birch trees
  This is what I wanted to get the autumn colours of the trees.  The water is very still here.

I have not neglected my sewing (or knitting - I've been doing some of that in the evenings).  The Bourne Quilters have decided to do a block of the month, a Dresden Plate sampler from an article in Popular Patchwork by Nikki Tinkler from a few years back.  Last Sunday was grim so I set to.

 These "blades" look almost like little coffins (it was the day before Hallowe'en!)
 But I soon got them stitched up, now it looks more like Dresden Plate
And here is the block tacked onto the backing ready to be hand sewn.

There are a total of six varieties of blocks which will carry on into next year.

I've also got a postcard to show from the birthday swap which I sent to Jacquie, which I made ages ago, but could show until now as her birthday was week before last. Jacquie requested Cats for her birthday postcards and here are some really cheery ones.

02 November 2011

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

I've notice lately that some of the blogs I read have entered their quilts on the Bloggers' Quilt Festival run by Amy on Amy's Creative Side, so I have decided I would join in the fun on this online quilt exhibition.  At the time of writing this post there are almost 500 people from all corners of the "blogisphere".

So here is my entry which does have a story to tell.  This is my Oriental Fan quilt which I made almost a year ago at a weekend workshop that I thought I would treat myself to for my birthday at the end of November.

I was living in Yorkshire at the time and this workshop was held at the Silver Thimble Workshops between York and Malton.  The tutor was Pat Archibald, whose quilts I have admired and really looked forward to this but what I'd not bargained for was the weather as I hadn't ever experienced snowfall before the end of November! The weather was exceptional for last year.

Anyhow we were all ready for a weekend away as David and I were staying in a hotel just outside Malton, which looked really nice (it was quite a good hotel) after the first day of the workshop.  David was keeping himself entertained going into York for the National Railway Museum and doing some Christmas shopping.  There had been falls of snow in the north eastern counties and north of York and a small flurry where we were living and some doubt in my mind whether the workshop would take place, but indeed it was.  Once off the main road, which was clear, to the Silver Thimble the snow was about 4" deep and we just made it down the lane.  There were snow flurries during the course of the day which others there who were local worried about and the sky had that greyness about it. So it finished early and David and I departed to our hotel. The next day was just as bad, David had trouble getting out of York to collect me and it took us 3 hours for a less than one hour journey to get home.

About the quilt - the workshop was called "Ghost Images of the Orient" where there was a choice of 2 patterns - the fan or the boat - and the sheer images created by layers of net going from dark to almost faint in the top fan.  The curve to the left of the quilt was appliqued on after making the curve with stitching very close to the turned edge.  The quilt was layered up and the left side was quilted (I stitched echo quilting following the curve) before the fans were stitched and there was further quilting to follow when I used some gold metallic thread to machine stitch some stars.

Earlier this year we moved back to Poole and by chance at the regional meeting of the Quilters Guild in June one of the speakers was Pat, so I had an opportunity to show her my quilt from the workshop.

I hope you enjoyed my story and I'll have lots of quilts to see too.