Friday, 30 August 2013

Back at school!

The kids are back to school and it seems so am I!  Six more Kona school houses!  

Which one would you choose?  Think I'd have to choose a greenhouse!  Haha!

Liking the brighter look with the lighter text/graph paper background.  Got some even darker background to try out - some black for a bit of drama!

Must go looking for more text fabric (good excuse - don't you think? ) - this could be a never ending project!

Think I'm getting better at putting these together - have even made sure the text is the right way up though that uses up more fabric. 

It looks nice though!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

WIP Wednesday or should that be Thursday?

The muti-tasking strategy could be working at the moment!  Yeah!

Progress on a UFO (one out of nine!)

I have already shown you the schoolhouses, which went from this

to this

More to come ....just got to cut out that background fabric!  Actually that might be my next task!

The bee blocks have got to this stage:

The castle is progressing slightly - from this with lots of pin in 

to this, with an attempt to make a 3D bridge...after all a stone bridge should be quite sturdy, shouldn't it?  Just got that castle to do now Fiona....


Celtic Knot for Cindy- the two easy knots done, the two more detailed ones to do!

Thistle for Veena - started using Turkey stitch to make the thistle head - need lots more stitches though and some leaves!

Nessie for Leanne - is finished off!   She looked like this....

But now she looks like this....she may be departing to her new home soon!  

This is jumping ahead a bit in the order of my bee blocks but I have done this one already so it was easy and now I can concentrate on the new ones!

Just got a few more blocks to get started - I am catching up, I am catching up, I'm catching up, woo wooo!  (Channeling the little engine that could!)

The stamping - aha - new love of my life!   I am still at the playing stage of the Stamp It Up swap and quite frankly there is something on everyone's mosaic that I want to try out so don't be surprised if you see something that could be for you partner, and you, and you!   Don't want to make it too easy for you to guess who my real partner is!

Anyway these arrived in the post!  All Japanese to me but as usual with Japanese craft books lots of pics!

And I made these new stamps!  

An oriental poppy copied out of this design book I have 

available here!  These sort of books are great for sourcing stamping designs - nice line drawings of simple graphic motifs!

A fairy/butterfly from an online image - bit Lucie Mabel Attwell I thought!?

A dog and bone - haha - and an acorn that seems to look more like a spinning top - don't you think?

When I cut the excess off the larger stamps I am making I like to use up the bits if they are big enough - hence these last three!   Can mean I'm holding on with my finger nails to use them though but that just adds to the fun!

Still loving the stampy thing!  

Still so much to learn....and those books will help if I can work out what is going on!

And this new project moved on a bit!   Not an all solid project after all then!  Background being cut from Sketch in grey!  I keep sewing it up wrong - very easy to do and frustrating!   Just waiting on more classic hexies to arrive ...

And one more bee block arrived in the post today - this time from Jennie - making a total of five arrowhead stars.  Waiting on one more to arrive and then I can play around with the layout though this looks pretty good to me though I won't include the rug in the quilt - sorry ran out of wall space!

Phew!   That was a long one!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Startitis - The coping mechanism!

Why is it that starting something you should be doing is the hardest bit?

Sometimes I can sneakily start something by just getting it out, not thinking and say I'll just do this one little bit!   I think my reluctance to face up to the things I should be doing is why I start so many new projects!  I want to sew just not necessarily that project!

So I am going to try something different!  It sort of encourages my startitis but maybe in a more sane way.  Instead of plugging away at one thing until it is finished I am going to allow myself to flit from one project to the next.  After all progress it progress isn't it!?

For example a couple of my bees are finishing up soon and I want to get all the blocks done as soon as possible!!

I said previously I am starting all the overdue blocks for my Star of Africa bee - I have started four and I have two more to start, though I may leave one till last as it requires pre-washing fabric which I don't do as a rule!

I started those four bee blocks by saying I would just cut out the background.   I have done a bit more than that on each one!  Is my devious plan working? 

Only time will tell but I have pushed on a bit further with that castle one of yesterday

 The castle bit is just paper at the moment but it will be fabric in due course! 

 This is supposed to be Eilean Donan castle - Katy guessed!  You will find it on lots of shortbread tins and the like as the setting is amazing!  If you visit the West coast of Scotland I'd certainly recommend looking at it.  Can't remember what it's like inside but it is amazing from the outside.  

Not sure the comparison with my fabric attempt is doing me any favours!  Just how can you do this place justice!??

I have also re-started a UFO (I know don't fall off you chairs) by telling myself I'd just cut out the pieces late last night when I was feeling too restless to sleep.   The UFO is my school house Kona colour chart!  

It used to look like this

It is quite intense as the blocks are 8"square - they have 18 pieced bits in there and two pieces appliqued on!  Madness or what?  

Anyway I came across some strips that the lovely Helen cut out of her store of Kona colours for me - how could I look that gift horse in the mouth??  Answer I couldn't!  I have cut all the Kona bits I need to make 12 more blocks.  Now I need another restless night to cut out the background.

Today imagine my surprise when I found part completed blocks in the box and so I decided I would get them finished.  

I have changed the method of construction quite a bit.  The roofs were previously completed with a bit of hand applique.  Today I finished some by machine applique as the pieces were already cut out.  

But I didn't like the fact that there were no crisp corners so I then completed the remainder by piecing the roofs.  It wasn't that tricky and I didn't even need to paper piece it!

Ok I have three different methods of making the roof in this quilt but I'm not worrying about that.  From now on I'll be piecing them....I doubt I'll notice when it is done and if I do care then I'll have 11 roofs to re do!

But here they all are, a bit blurry thanks to the grey sky outside!   Think I need some a better balance of colours and I will be adding other text prints as the background.  Hubby thinks this is a bit dark!

Wonder what I'll be doing tomorrow?  As long as it is not starting a new project I'll be happy!   

Oooh  I might be sorting those mistakes out in those two yellow blocks - did you notice!?

Bad case of startitis!

Slightly out of my comfort zone I have pieced together a Scottish hillside landscape!  Well that's what it is meant to be...   

I have never done curved free piecing like this before and I have to report that it was a lot easier than I had thought!  There may be more of this in the future though I will probably try a more abstract version next.

I have since added some water and a bridge although those elements still need a bit of stitching - this is another overdue Star of Africa bee block.   There will also be a castle!  I promise!

I seem to have a bad case of startitis at the moment so I thought maybe I should just start all the bee blocks I need to do and see how it goes.

Glad to have got this one started as I have been a bit scared of it and now have found out that I needn't have been!

This next pic shows one of my startitis projects

I have even finished the half hexy ball so all I need to do is the background and I could have a finished top!   First I have to see if I can buy it from my local fabric store!

This is what I hope it will look like when finished - minus that errant white hexy of course!

Since starting this project I have also been mesmerised by the Kona classic hexies - I just love that you get the close shading of bright colours.  There is more of course...

Did I say I've never managed to make a quilt with just solids?  Could this be the one?  

 I am being very pretentious and thinking of calling this one mycelium! 

Just because it reminds me of this...

One up on big hexy balls don't you think?

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

My Sewing Space

I have shown you round before but I'll be joining up with the Studio Spotlight - so I have tidied and cleaned and organised and hope it doesn't look too shabby!

My sewing room used to be the kid's playroom and I was using the spare bedroom but after many threats to take it away if they didn't keep it clean I actually went ahead and chucked my naughty children out!

And this is the oasis where I sew, blog and do whatever else I fancy - this is my room!

Open the door and in we go!

This is the small design board I use to piece blocks - it is swivel distance away from my chair!   And this is where I sew and blog!  I can look out the window or up to my colourful stash!

I have a basketful of friends close to hand on my table...I see Helen, Kelly, Hadley, Emily and Janine

And more pincushions, and sewing kit close by - hi Mary, Janet, Rhonda and Irene!

This is my trusty Bernina!  Nowhere near the latest model but the machine I piece, embroider, applique and FMQ on!

Now under the window I store stuff in vintage baskets!  Each basket seems to have a buddy!   The owl in the first guards vintage sheets etc, the bear in the second looks after my basket sampler UFO. The next basket holds scraps at the moment and a bear that came from Emily!  The little mole comes from the Czech Republic and accompanied a gorgeous block from Di.   And there you see just part of my basket collection!

The next set of photos are what I look at when I sit at my sewing table!  My cutting table lies below my stash, my comfy chair with my precision made cushion from Helen sits below this thirties china - you see I'm ready to serve you tea when you drop by!

And all this is at right angles to one design wall with my offset crosses on it from my Stingy Bee mates !  Hiya girls!   That door is a double cupboard full of quilty goodness and other stuff  - bit of a black hole in there and so not show worthy!

Now we see the door we came in through - a sneaky little design wall there usually seen through the glazing on the door which is usually open wide!

Immediately round the corner are two heavily laden sets of shelves - struggling to cope with a large collection of craft books and quilts and tote bags!  And then onto my other big design wall - with a recent project - the big hexy balls!

And last but not least a chair just behind me near the table - with it's sometimes occupant!  None other than the gorgeous Maddie!  Hello pup!

Hope you enjoyed the tour!  Next time I may even let you in that cupboard!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Great balls of ...hexies

Hasn't got quite the ring of the old Jerry Lee Lewis number but big hexy balls is what I calling this new - oops did I really say that - project.

I blame the lovely Karen Lewis and she says she doesn't even mind!

Well I spotted some Kona hexy pre-cuts going cheap over at Justine's Simply Solids and I thought why not?   So I bought two packs of pastels and two of brights!

The silly bit was opening the packages and looking at the pretty colours!   I should have known what would happen next.

I'm not really a solids only person - not yet anyhow - so I put in a few of Karen's own screen print fabrics and I was sold!  I have been hording her fabrics for a while looking for the perfect project and I think this is it - for me anyhow!

I thought of Karen as she has great fabrics and also because she recently did a tutorial for sewing hexies together using the dreaded - or rather now not so dreaded - y seam !  Not as hard as you think and coming together quite nicely!   Even lying pretty flat after a bit of pressing!

I was just going random and piecing hexies together to make a hexy full quilt 

but after trying this shape

 which I may come back to, I played around on EQ and now this is the plan.

Ah EQ how I love thee for letting me sort out the scramble in my head!  
Here are my hexy balls so far!   Two done - one and a bit to go!

Think I've found my background - back of another quilt!  Now I wonder if my local fabric store still sells this Klona colour?

Monday, 19 August 2013

Not quite stamped out but taking a rest for a little while as I am in admin mode now chasing up a few loose ends before pairing people up as partners in the Stamp It Up Swap!  If you are kicking yourself for not joining up then email me and I'll see what I can do!

In the meantime I have resolved to catch up on a bee I have let slip - my Star of Africa Bee!

I am six - yes six blocks behind!  It is shocking isn't it !   Many of us have slipped behind as it is a challenging task to make a block to the QB's theme and make it representing your country of origin at the same time!  At least I have found some blocks challenging!  Actually it is not so much what to do but more how to do it!

Yesterday I thought I'd make a start on clearing the backlog.

I looked up the details of all my outstanding blocks and did this...

Ok it may not look like much but it will have four celtic knots stitched on it when I'm done!

Here is a close up of is for Cindy!

What is that??  The beginning of a thistle - national floral symbol of Scotland and it is for Veena!   Ok I know just the bulbous prickly bits to show as yet - I am not decided whether to applique or stitch the purple flower bit.  The leaves will be more applique but I need to draw them out properly - it has started though!

And lastly dear old Nessie!  Furthest on because I've made this one twice before and Leanne asked for it.  I aim to please!  Bit of stitching yet to do and that one will be finished!

Still got these to do:  a castle for Fiona - still dithering about how I'm doing it, a Rowan tree for Brinda and a set of bagpipes for Irene.  I'm going to start them all and work on whichever one calls the loudest as I must finish these!

And I have two other bee blocks to work on - a spiderweb star for Janine and a log cabin for Lisa!   But that is a different bee! Nobody has been forgotten ! I think I just ran out of steam a bit but am back in business now!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Little houses....

I have finally used up all my stamped fabric!

Here are my latest makes.

A wee cushion and a covered book which happens to cover an address book!   Thought the houses gave a clue as to what I could find inside.  I am hoping I will be able to find it easier now!

And here is the back of the address book....

Do I love green?  Oh yes indeed and probably because I do love a garden though it has been neglected of late!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Another stampy thing!

The great thing about stamping is that you can repeat the same image over and over again !

The bad thing about stamping is that you get the same image over and over again !

That is unless you do this!

I made a little bird stamp.

Used different colours to stamp it in a strip!  A little colour sample!

So many birds all the same - er except the last two where a bit of the eye came off when I washed the stamp!  (be careful of that won't you)

Too much alike I thought!  Everyone needs a bit of individuality don't they?

Well they have it now!  It is a little hanging but could have been a bit of a tote bag and if only I had stamped them on the horizontal they could have been so many things!

Never mind it is only playing!   

They do seem to have found a funny quirky character - can't help thinking Miss Red is Little Miss Perfect, Mr Blue has a bit of a Mohican thing going on, and Mr Brown is trying to ignore them all, especially the giddy two at the top!

Last day to sign up to the Stamp It Up Swap!  This is going to be fun and I don't want you to miss out!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Still stamping!

I enjoyed my little trial session of stamping on fabric this week and adding a touch of embroidery to tweak up the fun...

So yesterday I embroidered and today I pouched!

Changing this stamping

To this, inspired by Helen who has been embroidering her Summersville squares


And then this!

I took a bit of a risk  here and stamped on the finished article - holding my breath as I did so!  Phew - not too bad!

And this stamping of my blog name changed a little ...

To this!

 This stamping lark is fun!

[Just linked up to Finish It Up Friday]


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