Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas everyone!

On earth
This angel has fallen...... I can't reach...... hope she enjoys it.....

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Quilter not a cake decorator

Steph was here yesterday and she attempted to teach me how to decorate a cake simply. I learnt lots about how to get the icing very smooth, how to make it and the marzipan to stick and then we moved onto the roses. The one in the middle was my very first rose. Unfortunately, it was my only rose, no matter how hard I tried I could not repeat the exercise. And this is why I make quilts and she is queen of cake making.
This is what happens when snow comes out of season. Instead of beautiful white virgin snow, the leaves keep coming. Some of them are even falling whilst still green.
The foot prints are from the fox.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Quilt, fabric and Christmas

A lovely bright quilt to be working on in this cold weather. It's a top made by the local quilt group for charity. I'm not sure if it's to raise money for supplies or for a raffle.

I found this lovely fabric at Hancock's of Paducah. I've been looking for birds to appliqué on a reproduction (ish) quilt for ages. It only has these two birds on it but they are the right size. I might amputate their feet to make life easier. It can be found here.

A friend came to stay last week and she came with these fabulous roses. I adore this faded colour.

I hang this along the bottom of the stairs each year. It's so much better than hanging near the bannister rail where it gets in the way.
This year I decided on a more simple look for the mantle piece.
Growing up in Australia I dreamed of a white Christmas, now we have it, and although it's beautiful, perhaps my dream should have had the caveat, the snow should start on Christmas Day and not before.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Lucky find

Six dinner plates, two covered serving dishes, one gravy boat an oval serving plate and (this is the sad part) five side plates.
I love this stuff, it will look so pretty with the Cath Kidston retro things. The whole lot was found for the princely sum of £10. I will have to keep my eye out for one more side plate, or perhaps you will find one for me?

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

I think this is it.

The poppy is from my brown Chateaux Rococo fabric. Remember how I'd bought 18 yards of this? I lost it until this morning. How can you lose 18yds of fabric? Burying it under all the quilt backing fabric will do it nicely...

I spent the afternoon on the phone looking for more of the stripe from the range. There are two versions of the stripe one is cherry/magenta with sage green, the other sage green with cherry/magenta. I don't know what I've got, so I've had to order both. I can see another of my twisted borders on the horizon.

Now I'm off to cut out some more poppies and leaves.

When I look at the preview of this post it has pages of links to this post? What's going on Blogger? On the other hand I'm very impressed with Blogger's new spam filter for blog comments so far it has picked up all of them (will they give up now they know it doesn't work?) and hasn't put any genuine one in the spam box.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

AQS Blog of the Week!

How cool is this? Thank you AQS. See my lovely little badge on the left?
Yesterday Steph and I decorated the house for Christmas. I saw this hanging thing in Cox & Cox I think it's for hanging herbs and flowers to dry but I thought it fabulous for hanging Christmas things above the table. Great table decoration but it doesn't take up any space on the table. Of course it's one thing coming up with great ideas, it's totally another executing them. Steph to the rescue and a very good thing too. It would have killed me getting up and down and tying in all that fishing line. This little effort took as long as decorating the tree. There is a plan to store it with the baubles in tact.
I'm hoping the cats are old enough this year to leave the tree alone. And although it's only a hope, we're shutting the door at night. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Liquid Thread resolved.

Before I forget, I have found a UK supplier for Liquid Thread (the UK equivalent of Liquid Stitch). The products seem to be the same thing, just different packaging. The good news is Liquid Stitch has a longer finer nozzle. If you get some be very careful to cut it really near the top so the hole is tiny. I can get a very small machine needle down the hole but not a large one. The shop is here I have never bought anything from them so I can't comment on their service etc. I was amused to see the appliqué squeakers on the same page, it took me just a little while to work out what you would use them for.

I never did find the quilter who I first saw using this. I did get lots of suggestions as to who it might be and most are doing it a similar way to this. I put a bead of the slightly watered down Liquid Thread along the outside of each rose. I then placed another silicon sheet over the top and pressed it quite hot, Steam escaped round the edges, so if I were doing it again, I would do smaller pieces.
 Wait for it to cool before removing the silicon top and bottom. You can buy expensive nice white sheets of silicon from quilt shops or more cheaply as cooking silicon sheets and black.  Cheap suits me just fine.
I love these roses with their photographic quality. Thank you Lois, who very kindly gave me the fabric.

Now before you look at this next photo, imagine a blue bow where the stems cross, green leaves and the stems curving.

An alternative centre is this rose. I think the colour of the stem has too little contrast with the background fabric, but I can create something different.

Meanwhile Christmas is coming.
I got this great wreath at TK Max, the postman will be relieved not to cut his fingers on the silver trailing one from last year.

And we've had an early snowfall. The tree fern became a giant white octopus when viewed from above.
The foot prints aren't the cats, they come from the wanderings of the fox.
Too cold to sit under the pergola.
These photos were taken earlier in the week and the snow has mostly melted. The temperature is still below freezing and there is no end in sight to the cold. No problem for me, I like a cold bedroom.

People sleeping rough on the streets are having a very hard time of it. If you can possibly make a donation to the Salvation Army this year, it is needed more than ever. I know that in addition to their normal Christmas appeal (which due to the economy is much needed) they are helping the people on the streets in this very cold year.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Liquid Thread Liquid Stitch Applique

I know someone some where posted about using this stuff for appliqué. I cannot for the life of me remember what they did or how they did it. I Googled to find their blog or Youtube but by the time I got to page 20 on the searching, I gave up.
So I tried to reinvent the wheel. Firstly I tried to squeeze it out of the nozzle but the stuff is very thick, so I diluted it with water (first checking it did mix with water). Then I squeezed a line round the edge of the rose on the back of the fabric. I left it overnight to dry.

Notice I am using Liquid Thread, not Liquid Stitch. I bought the former somewhere in the UK but for the life of me cannot remember where. I think they are probably much the same but I haven't opened the Liquid Stitch yet.

I cut round the edge of the rose from the front so I could see and get a nice edge. As I cut the dried Liquid Stitch fell of in places and made a white powder over my scissors.

I then ironed it in place with a very hot iron and no steam using a silicon sheet to keep the sticky stuff off both the iron and the ironing board cover. It wasn't very successful and I had white residue round the edge of the rose and it just wasn't stuck down. Duh moment, I had turned off the iron and it just wasn't hot enough. Waited for the iron to get up to top heat and tried again. This time it stuck but only where the glue hadn't fallen of during the cutting out.
This time I cut out a yellow rose and placed it right side down on the shiny side of some freezer paper, then went round with the Liquid Thread on and just over the edge. It was quite difficult to pick it up without getting the Liquid Thread everywhere.
Duh moment part 2. Yet again I had not remembered to turn the iron back on (actually I can't remember the logic in turning it off, I blame it on the increased medications). You can see where the Liquid Stitch has spread out. Only I thought it just hadn't sunk into the background fabric. This dark grey fabric is one of those ones which have a plasticy feel.

I had success with a very hot iron on this green fabric (I don't think the different fabric had made any difference whatsoever, it was the heat which did it). I stitched it down with a double pass blanket stitch on the machine. I'm not happy with this stitch on the sharp points.
I cut away the background fabric behind the rose to lessen the thickness of the fabrics.
On the whole I am reasonably happy with the result with two exceptions. One is that it is quite difficult to place when it is covered in wet Liquid Stitch and the other is the blanket stitch.

Perhaps cutting out the rose and applying the Liquid Stitch after cutting and leaving it over night would be ideal. Or even applying it, pressing between layers of silicon sheet and then cutting will work.

I need to play some more...

Friday, 26 November 2010

Wrapping station

I'm feeling a little smug, as I have all the presents wrapped for Christmas and it's still November. It doesn't feel like it though with the temperature well below freezing. The sun is shining on the heavy frost so my spirits have lifted.

I am glad I stopped to take some photos as I found these other four hidden in my secret hiding place.
I haven't done any sewing as my fibromyalgia pain came back big time. I've increased my meds by 50% and I think they are starting to kick in.
I also had a silly accident. I boiled up some prawns (shrimp) in their shells to make a fish stock. I then went to put them in the blender before straining the stock. I realised just in time I had not put the little stopper in the lid. Found it, put it in, turned it on, then found I hadn't put the lid on properly. Boiling stock hit my chest and arms. The burns are healing now nearly a week later but it has curtailed what I can and cannot do a little. Ouch!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

The difficulties of entering shows.

Well over a week since my last post, how did that happen?
I ran out of spoons as my meds seemed to cease working properly. My dose is up 50% so the side effects of being sleepy all the time is back with a vengeance. 
I made some very pretty and very tasty cupcakes, I love the spotted papers, not so keen on the blue icing taking on a green tinge from the butter.
 I decided to enter one of the US quilt shows. They would like you to take your photos outside against a plain wall on a day with no wind. They don't live in wet damp England in November. Would you try and hang a wet quilt outside here at this time of year? And that is without the plain background. Most house walls in England are brick, not all but most. Stone wouldn't have helped much nor would a timber framed house.
So I used decorators tape to hang a sheet in front of the wardrobes then set up the quilt stand. I used the cheapie Finepix camera I'd bought but the distortion was too great, then I used the older one with the iffy focus motor but wasn't entirely successful. I ended up buying one of the super optical zoom cameras with a wide angle lens. Luckily my credit card gives me vouchers at John Lewis so I only had to pay a little extra. The close ups were amazing!
I won't show the entire quilt until it's had it's first show outing.

But the shots getting the whole quilt in still had a problem. Even though I had 360watts of light and forced flash,  the lighting conditions were such that the resolution wasn't high enough. So I have to move it out from in front of the wardrobes and closer to a window. See the problem? That's right, the sheet background can't come with me.
At this point I want to cry each effort takes it out of the small amount of energy I have and that's not even taking into account the pain.
I pin the quilt to the sheet from the back, then pin the sheet onto the frame (no I didn't make a sleeve for the sheet ).  At this point George has decided to add his 2c worth and distorting the sheet.

I got a good shot in the end and mailed it on time. Now I just have to wait to see if it's juried in...

And just so Rosie doesn't feel left out.
 She often disappears at the first sight of a camera and her fur confuses the lens most times I do get a shot, so this photo is a marvel.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Go see this quilt!!!!

Sandra Leichner This is one of the Houston Winners. Make sure you scroll down her page to look at the close ups. I was given a nudge about how wonderful it was, but in the little photo on the winners website, I'd thought the enthusiasm a little over blown. I' so glad I made the effort to find a good photo to check it out. Wonderful!!!! And it seems there is a book on it as well. I don't know if it's out yet and I know I don't have the hand skills, but I shall buy it just so I can drool every so often.

George last night insisted 6.30pm was the time for me to stop quilting the little special baby quilt.
I finished the quilting this morning. Just need to sew on the binding and throw it in the washing machine after carefully removing every single cat hair.

DH pointed out I should not make these little quilts quite as special as the recipients will not be quilters and producing a few is better than just one at show quality.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

For a baby in need

I drew this out this afternoon, it's only 20" X 16". There has been a call from the local hospital for little quilts for babies who 'need to be baptised' quickly.

This is the back to give an idea of how it will look when the marks are washed out.

It's been therapeutic for me today to concentrate on families who have problems I can't even imagine. I sincerely hope the baby who will lay on this little quilt lives to grow up.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Can it really be less than four years?

I first started drawing my own feathers in 2007. This one is from my old blog 'Bird on a Wire' from the very first post. I used it in Old Gold, as a mirror image.
I urge you to try and draw your own feathers, it is so much more satisfying to 'own' your own quilts.

Why am I looking back today? No good reason really except my baby is starting her life as a fully fledged woman. She has a job and is moving to an apartment in London today. So today is an end of an era in my life and the beginning of one in hers. I'm very proud of how she has grasped life with both hands and knows how to enjoy it.
How I wished then to have a window to see her now.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Sending me quietly insane.

Firstly blogger deciding to rotate this photo.  Why?
And secondly all those little circles, I love the effect but terminally boring now I'm on the 2nd quilt with them. In real life the effect is like the skin of a very large lizard, wonderful!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

How lucky am I?

A friend is downsizing everything and I gained this fabulous quilt frame. Now I have no intention of ever hand quilting at a frame, but if I can find an extra rail, this will be brilliant for basting. I'm so excited about this, just wish I had a quilt 'ready to go'!
Anyone know where in England I can get long wooden rails? Just the one...

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Another strip quilt in progress

This is the other strip of the same Heide Stoll Weber fabric. I decided this one should be free form feathers (to find out how to do this get Patsy Thompson's first DVD on feathers) This feather is about 12" wide so this stretches my abilities on a domestic machine, I like to do each line without stopping and my hands just aren't in control over such a big distance. I have a very small disagreement with Patsy over variegated threads on this sort of feather. I just love the effect.

See how different the same threads are on different coloured backgrounds! Love it, love it.

And then the intensity it adds by adding a dense dark background. (Always click on the photos to get the full effects.)

George just needed to let me know that white quilts are made for cats to mess up. This is why I have a cheapie imported easily washable quilt on our bed.