Saturday, 20 August 2011

To Squiggle or Not To Squiggle?

This post is purely to give a feel for how the free motion quiliting looks on the quilt. I would love any feedback on what you think (the pics may need clicking to make them more viewable). I think the free motion bit is breaking up the whiteness as I wanted,but I don't know if it's a bit too much for a baby's quilt or whether it's fair to use my somewhat wobbly quilting on a gift for a friend (who does appreciate bright colours). I'm taking break from the quilt now, maybe for the rest of the weekend, just to make sure it is definitely the right thing for the quilt - unpicking a whole quilt's worth of quilting is not worth thinking about.

Right where's my stash of UFOs?

FNSI Results

Posting this a little later than I intended to as I had to make a dash to the post office before it closed.

Had a very productive FNSI and completed the quilting on the centre of my baby quilt.

I'm fairly pleased with the back of the quilt - the pinwheel stripe looks good against the grey, unfortunately the number of pleats I've accidentally sewn into it don't look too good. Unfortuntely they don't seem to be just have been caused by only one or two lines of stitching but I'm not sure I can live with them. I will have a think whilst I get on quilting the borders - fingers crossed for my first serious attempt at free motion quilting!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Oh Heck!

Why the title? Well...

...firstly, I have just entered myself in a half marathon - I am not the world's keenest or most dedicated runner - but it's not until March.  Maybe I will be better behaved than when I have previously entered (shorter races) and actually do some training!  Did 3 miles this evening in the drizzle - see how long that motivation lasts!

...secondly, my chilli plant is going mad, the six chillies I originally had have gone red and there is at least half a dozen more baby chillies evident.  I have no idea when they are ready for picking and I don't think I've ever used fresh chilli before.  Looks like I'm going to have to frequently in the not so distant future! I'm loving how nice the plant looks with its white flowers and red chillies.

...thirdly, after deciding that I simply had to make the Farmer's Wife Quilt (courtesy of some wonderful tutorials from Lori at Bee in My Bonnet) I decided to work out whether I already had too much on the go (craft wise) to actually go and buy some fabric.  Well it turns out I have (insert embarassed cough here) 9 crafty projects (knitting, sewing, cross-stitch) in progress, 1 project on hold but definitely in progress.  And the materials and patterns ready to go for another five projects.  This does not include any fabric or yarn I've bought just in case!  I definitely need to get some finishes under my belt before I even consider doing anything about the other half dozen or so projects that have attracted my attention.  And before my sister points it out, I almost definitely shouldn't have started all those projects until some of the others were done!

And on that note I'm off to attack one of my WIPs and watch Torchwood - whilst ignoring the ironing pile!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Festival of Quilts 2011

Firstly apologies - this is likely to be a long and picture heavy post (if it isn't then I've decided to make two separate posts).

After visiting the quilting museum in York I made my mind up to visit the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham at the NEC.  Wish I'd made my mind up earlier as could've saved a bit on the tickets and maybe  pre-booked a class (some classes were still available on arrival but not the ones I'd been interested in - lesson learnt!)

I hadn't a clue what to expect, the instructions simply said to get off the train and go into the NEC, when  finally got there I discovered that the NEC is HUGE (at least compared to anywhere I've ever been) consisting of 20 large barn sized halls, conference rooms and at least one arena.

Any how I finally hiked to the halls and it was well worth it.  So many beautiful quilts from all round the world, by junior and senior quilters, professionals and amateurs.

One of the prize winners - Octopussy (Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga) - I overheard some fellow viewers commenting that this had been done by an amateur in amazement (this is just a small proportion of the quilt.

Other eye-catchers were...


Billie Joe Armstrong by Charlotte Bailey, which for those of you caught by the hexies bug was constructed of nothing but...

Can't remember the actual size (and the brochure has no details).

(Back to centralised pictures can't force Blogger to do what I want!)
This one is A Little Bird Told Me by Rosalind Jones, I just loved the deceptive simplicity of it with the straight line quilting.

Living Adventurously by Judith Caroline Lynch, e mails from her son's gap year free-motion quited.

Blue Like a Wedgwood by Kumiko Frydl, no dimensions but a minature quilt wholecloth with trapunto and free motion quilting.

And finally (and barely scraping the surface of the approx 100 photos I have!) a work record breaking quilt from Czechslovakia...

A six metre long 2 metre high Sulky House quilt.

Along with all the quilts were all the vendors stalls...I resisted pretty well (although I know which stands I liked and have noted their online addresses for future reference!).  That's not to say I came away empty handed - some fabric and a button as a souvenir to replace my missing kindle case, a log cabin paper piecing book which I'm itching to try out, some heat resistant wadding (which may have been a bit of an impulse purchase but I do have a use in mind for it) and a moda Xmas jelly roll for the Xmas quilt I've been wanting to make which I found at the lovely Simply Solids stall reduced significantly - and it was just the range I wanted!  For me quite a restrained fabric shop.

I'll definitely be going again next year better prepared now I know what the Festival of Quilts is like.

PS I think I've managed to keep myself to just one post on the Festival!
PPS I'm not sure of quilt blogging etiqutte but I'm assuming it's polite to include full details about a photographed quilt if I have them?

Sunday, 14 August 2011

On A Quilting Roll (Finally)

I finally seemed to have regained my quilting mojo (useful as another FNSI is approaching) and have made great progress with the third baby quilt in surprisingly little time.

I got all the borders sewn on, the back pieced, basted the layers after a major battle with the fabrics and commenced quilting.

I'd decided that quilting each side of the joins would be most forgiving to my wonky piecing and originally meant the stitching to be very close to the seams. But due to some sloppy stitching I've ended up quilting quite a distance from the seams. But I'm actually pretty pleased with the effect.

Well you can just about make out the white quilting, only in one direction so far.  The top looks good, unfortunately the back has kept up the fight it started during the basting and there are a few puckers I've managed to sew in.
I also intend to do some stitch in ditch and stippling on this quilt and I have the perfect excuse  - the Friday Night Sew In on 19th Aug.  Click the purple text to sign up too (I've bottled posting the button this month).  Looking forward to seeing everyone's achievments from the evening.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Ready for Posting

And the zig zag jungle quilt is complete (bar some last minute tidying)...

And the baby it's for is still less than a month old!

I think I've finally got the hang of the corners on the binding too.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

More Holidays!

So another weekend has gone by and I have yet again achieved zero crafting (even with carrying knitting round in my handbag all weekend!).
Instead I have had a wonderful and very busy two days in York with members of my family.

After an overnight coach journey and a stint of window shopping (not due to lack of cash just because the window displays are so lovely) we started our tourist extravaganza with a visit to an archaelogical dig in Hunsgate.

Its coming towards the end of the dig but we could see Victorian drains and wells, Viking store houses and Roman graves - and this was considered an empty bit of York.

Next was what was possibly the highlight of the trip for me - the Quilt Museum curated by the UK Quilter's Guild (which I have decided to join).  Unfortunately we were not allowed to take any photos but for a small museum (in one of York's many 16thC ish guildhouses) there was plenty to see  - wedding dresses covered in trapunto, celebratory quilts from the 1800s onwards, stunning modern quilts and some mono mini quilts.  If you want a peek click here - Quilt Museum - I will definitely be paying another visit when next in York.  This was followed by sitting and watching the world go by in the sun and then a very pleasant meal in what I think may be my favourite restaurant -Cafe Concerto.

Whilst waiting for the others to arrive on Saturday morning I couldn't resist photographing some of the Minster's gargoyles...

Unfortunately it was quite a gloomy day.  So the mostly indoor National Railway Museum was a welcome place to visit.  It's an absolutely massive place with a wide range of, obviously, train related exhibits and a really little tank engine giving rides.

A really good weekend with a trip to a craft shop snuck in, although even with two cameras at my disposal I seem to have taken next to no photos.  Even though we were busy the whole time there is still plenty that I haven't yet seen in York so I predict another visit in the near future.

As well as some serious (and late) Spring cleaning I have another enjoyable trip planned for next weekend - hopefully accompanied with lots of photos!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Unexpectedly Green Fingers

I enjoy having a plant or two around the house, usually one I've managed to pick up cheaply as I seem to have an ability to kill them easily.

For a change I thought I'd try growing a chilli pepper plant as I have a warm and relatively sunny room for it to live in and so one got lugged back from town in my tote bag and dumped in a mug on my window sill.

It quickly became apparent that it needed repotting, even though flowering happily, so a trip in the car to a friend's house to get necessary supplies saw it repotted and in a tiny bucket on my window sill. What has surprised me after my somewhat neglectful care (and several trips in the car to be plant sat whilst I was on holiday) is that not only has the plant grown and still got all its leaves, but it is also flowering away merrily and producing several chillies.

Unfortunately I have finally got round to reading the care label you can see in the phot which advises a 10 inch diameter pot for this plant at initial repotting (I though you had to increase pot size gradually but not in this case it seems). So another trip in the car is planned for the plant to get it more soil and a significantly larger pot. Fingers crossed its still doing as well after the journey.

Now all I have to do is to figure out how to tell when the chillies are ready!