Sunday 29 June 2008

Slowly but surely

getting there.

Fliss on her travels or not?

Last night she got on a coach to Igazu at 6pm. At 8am this morning their time the coach is still in the same place it was when she went to sleep. The farmers are blocking the roads in protest against taxes on exporting grain.
Meanwhile back on the quilting front I'm worried that the fireworks on the quilting have distorted the quilt so it won't hang straight. It could be when all the fireworks are done and when it's been blocked it will sort itself out. Have I mentioned I will NEVER enter an unfinished quilt into a show ever again?

Friday 27 June 2008

I couldn't resist

just doing a little of the fireworks. Of course this means I have taken away my little reward for doing all the background work. Like my other Heide Stoll Weber fabric, these ones are also difficult fo photograph, Think deep teal and magenta for both the fabrics and the threads. The teal thread in particular wanted to show itself as white. This is the best I could do.
I'm 3/7ths through the background quilting. It takes about 3 hours for each side of each 6 foot feather. This is better than I feared but still stressful as the labels arrived to attach for the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. I figure I have to have both quilts finished on the 29th to post on the 30th July and that's with paying for the extra guaranteed 'next day delivery'.
Can you see the feint feathers at the bottom. The area wasn't quite big enough to put in full scale feathers but it needed something to even out the amount of quilting. I just added these in self coloured thread, they are there but they don't stand out and spoil the design.

Today I've been pondering the changes in the last 20 years. Colin buys freshly made sushi for lunch, I'm not sure I'd even heard of sushi then. We have cable TV, time slip TV, many many channels, but almost none I want to watch. Digital radio. (but radio 4 is barely worth listening to any more). Wonderful ready cooked meals and soups in the supermarket. And even specialist shops for them. Twenty years ago when my DD was conceived with IVF, she was one of 2,000 babies world wide, now it seems every other baby is conceived this way. Colin had a car phone, but it weighed a ton but it was a great improvement on his previous one which had been hard wired into the car. Now my mobile phone allows me to connect to the internet. I had a computer in the house, but it was only used for work, now only for pleasure. All the pasta I buy is fresh. Supermarket strawberries have flavour again rather than being just big and red. My oven has a special ring for stir fries. My microwave has both microwave, fan, and a grill. I love my robot vacuum cleaner. Every morning it does it's thing. It's a joy! But the biggest changes are turning off all the lights not being used, not using the car unnecessarily, not taking plastic bags for my shopping, not keeping the house so warm I don't need a layer of wool in winter. And these things will change more and more.

Wednesday 25 June 2008

I have been quilting and here's the proof

This is how it was first thing this morning. All the feathers are done except a few of the small ones down the left hand side.
I'm pleased with the feathers thus far but the lack of background quilting means there is no definition.

By tonight I've finished the small feathers and made a good start on the background quilting. This photo is closest to the true colour.

I've decided on a version of echo quilting. I didn't do true echo quilting as the straight lines of the strips would make it very boring one one side. So I sort of created wavy lines to echo away from. I'm seriously pleased with how this is coming on.

From the first time I saw Patsy Thompson's feathers I knew I would enjoy playing with them.
Did I think I would make the over 70" long? Maybe not. I also knew when I bought the fabrics they would be a stripy, I didn't envisage them like this. It was pure serendipity to discover her method which fits so well with these bright fabrics. I can't wait to get the background done so I can 'reward' myself with doing the fireworks.

Happy 50th Birthday Paddington

I don't really collect bears but I saw this Paddington in a car boot sale and had to have him.
I bought him off a young teenager boy called Oliver. Paddington was obviously so well loved I was amazed he wanted to part with him. I promised to look after him and gave him my phone number in case he ever changed his mind.

Tuesday 24 June 2008


Was written off...
I started the day by asking Pauline my ex quilting friend (ex quilting not ex friend) if she could help me out yet again with pinning a quilt. Have I mentioned I went over on my knees again on Saturday? Stone floors and falling over are not a good combination. However I think it's a good thing that it's my other knee this time...
Hit the supermarket and discovered it's a bad thing to go shopping when you are hungry. And even worse to end up eating two large chocolate ├ęclairs when you get home.
As I walked in the door Ferret rang and said she'd come over to collect her quilts from the Sandown show. The afternoon disappeared somehow as we sat outside having a little to eat and cups of tea discussing this and that and putting the world to right.
One thing we talked about was wavy borders. I avoid this by laying my quilt top on the floor, smoothing it out. I then lay the border fabric over the middle of the quilt top. I line it up at the top and make a mark at the bottom. I then cut the length at that mark exactly. I then fold then lengths in half, mark it with a pin or a pencil, half it again, mark it again. I do the same with the quilt top. I then pin it together on those marks and use extra pins between the marks. And I always cut borders down parallel to the seams. I have one quilt where I didn't do this and it has wavy borders, not so bad that I couldn't quilt it but bad enough for me not to have signed the quilt. I don't want that work ever to be associated with me and my quilting.
And just a couple of photos from the garden. I love the way the cistus opens out with new flowers every morning.
And these are just so much fun. I think they are called Whirligig, for obvious reasons.

Sunday 22 June 2008

So I'm weak...

I just couldn't resist these 50's flavoured ones.

And these repros (I got these from Fabrics Galore one of the shops which sell the older fabrics cheaply) and these are very old but as they are repros does it matter? Would it matter anyway?

And this was so cheap, I'll use it for a cool pair of pants to wear in the garden.

I also got Ricky Tims book on his Rhapsody quilts. When I did a class with him I found he was very generous with his tips and tricks so I'm hoping this book shall be the same. I'll let you know in a day or so.

Off to the Quilt Show

I'm writing this here because I feel if I make my intentions public I might actually carry it through.
I will not buy any fabric unless I can see the finished quilt in my head.
I will only buy threads and one of those new diamond sharpeners for my rotary blades if I see one.
There, I've said it.
Watch this space......♠
I'm taking my vintage/antique quilts with me to see if any are wanted for the antiques to be displayed at the Autumn Quilt Fairs.

Saturday 21 June 2008

And you wonder why I worry?

Here she is just a few nights ago.
Today she messaged me on Facebook, 'Mummy can you ring my phone? I can't find it.'

Now I don't know about you but we're always ringing our mobiles (cell phones) to locate them, but I thought being on different continents might put an end to it (grin).

Friday 20 June 2008

Farewell my love

Our alarm went off at 2.30am and we took Fliss to Heathrow for her South American trip.
She looks happy and confident. I hope her adventures in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico (and maybe a bit of Belize and Guatemala thrown in) are fun and above all end with my baby back happy and in one piece.
I didn't have expectations of ribbons at Sandown so was happy to hear of a third place bed quilt and a judge's merit.

I can't find a photo of this quilt finished, this is a small bit before washing out the marking lines.

Wednesday 18 June 2008

Super Victorian quilt

When I delivered my quilts yesterday an antique show was taking place at the venue. This gorgeous quilt was on it's way out of the door. I asked permission to take this photo but stupidly my phone was stuck on video mode and it's taken me ages to get a still from a 3 second video and this is the best I can do. These tiny little hexagons are about 1/2 an inch across. Some of the centres have been fussy cut and one had a darling little cat in the centre.

Many thanks to Ferret who knows my phone better than I and managed to get my phone back into photo mode, alas too late for this quilt.
I got glimpses of a few really super quilts so those going to the National Quilt Show at Sandown this week are in for a treat.

Monday 16 June 2008

A quickie quilt label

Click on this to see how quick and simple it is. If you can machine quilt, you can do this. Put a piece of fabric in an embroidery hoop to hold it stiff. Write your name in thread and go back over it a few times. Cut out a square, fray the edges a bit and then just stitch it to the quilt back. 5 minutes and it's done. Not the most wonderful label in the world but when time is short, it's good enough.
Sleeves for hanging. When you sew on your sleeve, bulk it out on the open side. This means when they thread the wood through the sleeve it doesn't distort the quilt. I first iron my sleeve flat and then move it so the original pressing is about an inch in and then I press this side by eye balling that inch along the length of the sleeve. I pin it both sides before stitching. Big stitches are fine, you are not judged on how good your sleeve is.

Saturday 14 June 2008

The infils

I decided to do reflecting feathers in a question mark shape. I wanted the pines to be fairly much a reflection but the feathers themselves to be similar but not exactly the same to keep the informal contemporary feel. I did the first one and then got a little worried about distorting the lines of the strips so I basted each seam with water soluble thread. I did this without the feed dogs as there is less pull on the seam this way. I could have used a walking foot but free motioning puts neither top nor backing fabric under any stress at all.
I'm beginning to think I CAN get these quilts finished on time (sigh).

Friday 13 June 2008

Sleeping pills and quilting

Those who've been with me a while know I suffer from post traumatic stress. One of the symptoms is insomnia. Normally I just go with the flow, read, have a cup of tea and get on with it. Occasionally about once a year I take prescription sleeping pills for 10 nights in a row. This establishes a better sleep pattern but the amount of continuous sleep reduces over a couple of months until I'm back to where I started. Sometimes I take a herbal remedy, just for the occasional night. Wednesday was a herbal pill night. Thursday, despite having 8 hours sleep, I only achieved one of the long feathers, today after 5 hours sleep (not bad in the great scheme of things) I managed two of the long feathers. So less sleep, more quilting... or something

I'm pleased to have all the large feathers done. This is the bit which needs the most concentration, keeping the feathers evenly uneven if that makes sense.

I think I know what I shall do in the circular bits between the feathers, but I'll draw one or two first just to make sure.

I'm pleased with it so far.

Thursday 12 June 2008

Forgot to add this little warm up area

in the excess fabric at the bottom of the quilt. I crossed the two colours to see how each thread appeared on each colour.

and nearly two more strips

Nearly finished the main feathers on the next two strips, you'l have to click on it to see the quilting.
Whilst I'm stitching, I'm mulling over what to do in the shapes between the feathers. Please don't make any suggestions as I'd like it to come from my own head.

Wednesday 11 June 2008

Got a bit done yesterday

on the strippy quilt. It's draped over the back of the sofa so just the one line of feather that I've done is on the top. Ignore that the stitching looks like a light thread , the camera is picking up the gloss of this thread which in reality is a deep rich teal.With the coloured wholecloth, I'm unpicking a little each evening, I'm getting there but it's slow progress.

Tuesday 10 June 2008


I sat on the sofa last night burying the threads and took a look on the back. I had checked the back when I first started and the tension was fine so I just kept stitching away.
I found the backing fabric has bubbled up unbelievably. This fabric felt 'different' from normal quilting fabric, much stiffer but as it doesn't have to drape I wasn't fussed. Wrong!
So now I have to unpick the whole motif. I'm tempted now to dissolve the water soluble thread and do away with the trapunto. Time is of the essence.
I've also realised I've booked myself in to deliver my Sandown (National Quilt Show) entries on the day Fliss comes home before flying off to South America in the morning. This time with her is very precious so I'm going to have to find some way round this.

Monday 9 June 2008


I get something done. Not a lot but something.
I washed the going round in circles quilt and it's now blocked and drying on Fliss's bedroom floor.
And I got the first bit of the contemporary wholecloth quilted. Can someone tell me why on earth I decided to trapunto this piece. It has dimension without it. It's far harder to quilt through the layers. I've used Quilter's Dream poly in the de luxe weight (the thickest). It has actually made the motif quite stiff, not a problem as it's a wall hanging but it is a problem as I'm posting it to the Festival of Quilts and even if I manage to send it on a roll, they romove it and fold it up into a bag prior to hanging. So it WILL crease.
And it has a name now "Contemporary Wholecloth #1" might not be very original but it does leave the way open for me to do more on the same theme.

Sun protection

Having two sisters with skin cancer and as I'm the one who grew up in Australia I don't suppose I shall escape it, I want to recommend this product. I don't work for them, know who the owners are or have any connection with the manufacturers but I do know it works!
It's now called Bergaderm and used to be called Proderm (and for all I know still is in some countries). We first used it in the tropics. We put on the factor 30 on the first day, went swimming, towel dried etc and none of us had any colour on our skins at all. So the next day DD and DH went down to Factor 15 and I went down to Factor 8 next evening still no colour on our skins at all. The following day I used no protection and DH and DD used the factor 8 again. Nothing happened. No colour. The next day I got burnt with an oil based sun tan cream.
The Bergaderm really does stay on. I'm not recommending anyone only uses it every other day but that's how long it took for it to go from my skin, despite snorkelling and showering.
When we left I saw a mother with a pair of red haired babies. I offered to give her what we had left. She then told me they had already been there for 2 weeks and were going home on the same flight and she had put it on these babies.
It's lovely stuff and though expensive as you only need to use it once a day, it works out quite cheap.
I've just bought some for Fliss to take to South America from the Sunshine Health Shop
It used to be for sale in Boots and Waitrose but I couldn't find it this year.

Saturday 7 June 2008

Another day out

In the south of England. Sorry about the quality but it was from a moving car with my phone.
Stonehenge is only a hundred yards or so from the main road to the South West. There have been many arguments for putting this road under a tunnel (but the expense has put those that be off) or diverting the road away from the henge. Personally I like the road being where it has been for years and put up with the occasional traffic jam to see it as part of the country side. When I was young we were allowed to go right up to the stones and touch them. Now with so many tourists the route on foot is restricted.

The same has happened with the Acropolis in Athens. I remember running round inside and hiding behind the columns. Sadly this again is no longer allowed.
I love our country side at this time of year. The green is such a fresh green. In a month or two it will start to fade.
The reason for our trip. We had to go down and get DD's things which won't fit in her little car and bring them home before she's flying off to Buenos Aries.

Friday 6 June 2008

The Pleat

For those who thought my 'pleat' was in my brain, it was just a trick of the camera which removed it. I've just spent a few minutes adjusting my camera and here you can see it all in it's full imperfections.
And here's the pleat. Click on these to fully see what I mean about the stitch length being all wrong for the fineness of the thread. Each of the red and white squares are 4". And also the background quilting is too far apart, far more suitable for heavier thread.

Thursday 5 June 2008

Bits and bobs

I promised Quilt Direct a sample of machine quilting with YLI silk thread as they are such a lovely company to deal with. So I did this little piece yesterday and of course I didn't warm up first so it's quite dire. The stitching is far too big for this thread on the feather (and perhaps the wrong thread anyway for something so dominant) and in the background quilting I managed to get a pleat. Haven't done that for years so another little piece shall have to be done.
Sorry about the quality of this photo, I took it with my phone and forgot to put the anti shake on. I did want to show you how difficult the simplest of quilts was to pin. The fabric is my favourite Heide Stoll Weber hand dyed cotton sateen. This fabric just glows but my goodness it does have a lot of stretch. Keeping those seams straight when pinning was a major achievement.

Another shot to show you how well that backing fabric goes with the front. Notice how I haven't closed the pins, it's so much easier to close them later when sitting on the sofa watching TV.

And this is 3 evenings work cutting away the trapunto on the hand coloured quilt. I think I put in my entry form for Birmingham that it had no trapunto and realised that half way through stitching with the water soluble thread. Thank heavens this show gives you an opportunity to correct your entry information.

You know you are missed when you start

receiving emails asking if you have fallen into a tub of paint!
So I'm back and stitching again.
I nearly withdrew the quilt I haven't started yet from Birmingham but someone pointed out it would give me something to concentrate on whilst DD is in South America travelling. It's a strippy so there isn't much piecing involved. I do hate cutting large long pieces though. These were cut 84" by 9¼". The finished quilt will be only 72" long but I wanted an area to practise on.
Now this might seem a little anal (even to me) but I used matching thread on each side of the seam.
When pressing seams I always find it better to iron the seam flat

before pressing it open. I'm being very particular about these seams as they are so very long and any vagaries will stitch out like a sore thumb. This is the back fabric and I was surprised to find the pattern did not match up anywhere near the selvedges. So I fold and pressed on side down using a point in the pattern as a guide. And then you can see about 6-8" away from the other side of the fabric I had to fold it back to press it on the same pattern line. I then pinned very carefully and stitched bith sides together on the pressed lines.