When I decided to make a quilt this big I knew that I would have to hand quilt it, which was a slightly worrying thought. Sometimes, though, a massive amount of hand stitching is exactly what the doctor ordered. I need something to keep me busy right now, something that doesn't require too much thinking. I've quilted all the way around all of the dresdens and have started on the background, with lines radiating from each point. There are 46 of them. This is a long-term therapy.And I am getting a pretty impressive quilter's callous. Sexy.

This could take a while

After the craziness that was the last week I finally found some time yesterday to finish the fifth ring for my Bloom and baste them all onto the background. I went with grey for the outer ring in the end, so my plans for a light grey background got changed to pale blue. I'm slightly freaked out that it isn't white, but I'm trying to get over it. It took pretty much the whole evening (about 5 hours) to applique the first ring, and I started on the second one (red/orange) this morning. I am usually really crap about using the correct needle - I use size 9 sharps for pretty much everything - but actually invested in some proper applique needles for this. And WOW, what a difference! They [Read more...]

A herd* of handbags

*not the actual collective noun for handbags   I have a new 241 tote, following an unfortunate incident with a ballpoint pen last week. Those pens look like they have only a tiny amount of ink inside, but BOY does it go a long way when they leak. I can't say that I am too disappointed though, because I used my favourite Flea Market Fancy print and a lot more interfacing than last time (including fusible fleece) and am really pleased with its relative sturdiness.   It is my big girl's bat mitzvah this weekend and I *need* a little clutch bag to take to synagogue. I have a serious lack of smartish bags (to be honest, I have a pretty serious lack of smartish anything), so had a rummage [Read more...]

Quick question

When does a collection become an obsession?This is my hoard of Denyse Schmidt fabrics. Well, the pieces that are big enough to fold. I have a whole bag of Hope Valley scraps and assorted other bits hiding in a drawer. Hope Valley is my favourite ever line, I think, and I am getting a bit nervous that I don't have an entire, untouched FQ set to stroke use. I found myself rummaging around Etsy last night looking for Katy Jump Rope. Seriously, I need to get a grip.Fun, and a lovely lunch, was had by all at John Lewis yesterday when some of the LMQG went to see the mini quilt exhibition.They look so fab, in spite of the assorted mistakes in the labelling (typos, missing names, the same name more [Read more...]

Muscle memory

I was tidying the living room the other day (trust me, it doesn't happen very often) and rediscovered the giant granny square blanket that I started making about two years ago. I'm not sure why it got forgotten, but it has been sitting in a basket under the coffee table for a very long time. There was no way, I thought, that I would be able to pick it up and carry on without going back and relearning how to crochet. Surely a two-year hiatus would have erased my extremely limited crochet skills. I was amazed, and a bit relieved, that my hands remembered what to do, even if my brain didn't. That kind of thing fascinates me.It's about 34 inches square at the moment, and I think I have enough [Read more...]

A little grubby, but alive

Well, as expected, it rained for quite a lot of our trip. Luckily we had enough clothes with us, and the wood-burning stove did a fantastic job of drying the coats and wellies. The kids had a great time helping out with the farm animals and really enjoyed having the freedom to disappear for hours on end, in spite of the weather. That was the main reason for going, to be honest. I wanted them to be able to come and go as they pleased - it's not something that they have the opportunity to do when we are at home. On the last night there was a massive gale and a tree came down in the forest about 50 yards away from our tent. That was pretty scary, and in retrospect we were a bit bonkers for [Read more...]

Fantastic things

A lot of pretty wonderful stuff has happened in the last few days. First, my Oakshott quilt won favourite throw quilt! Thank you all so much for the votes and comments - I am incredibly happy and honoured! This was my first time entering the festival, and it was such a great experience. I look forward to the next one.Next was the Fat Quarterly retreat. I could only go for one day, but what a day it was. It was so much fun to finally meet all these people I have been stalking following for such a long time, not to mention hang out with the other members of the London Modern Quilt Guild. I took two classes: freezer paper piecing with Kerry and frame purses with Katy, both of which were [Read more...]

Last minute panic sewing

I decided, pretty much at the last minute, that I can't possibly go to the retreat without an assortment of pouches to hold my sewing guff. Just so we are clear, I'm not suggesting for a moment that I took a sneaky morning away from work to do this, and that I am now in a blind panic trying to get everything done before we go away next week. No, that would be irresponsible of me.Anyhoo, moving on...I desperately needed (ahem) a sewing kit, so had a go at the one from the Zakka Style book. It's perfect. Nice and small, but holds all the necessaries. I added a popper to the large pocket so that things wouldn't slide out when it was closed, and enlarged the pockets slightly from the pattern [Read more...]

Inspired by Klee

The London Modern Quilt Guild challenge for this month is to use solids to make something inspired by abstract art. I love a challenge and coincidentally really like to avoid work whenever possible, so this was a match made in heaven.I love Paul Klee's work, none of which is a quilt, but really could be. After revisiting my shot cottons quilt last week it occurred to me that these fabrics have a really nice painterly quality that would work well here. So, armed with a bit of graph paper, I sketched out a design based on this painting and got to work.There were a whole load of partial seams to sort out, but it came together really nicely. I quilted it in a grid of [Read more...]

Bloggers’ Quilt Festival

Hello! If you are visiting from the Blogger's Quilt Festival, then welcome. I'll put the kettle on. I'd like to share this quilt that I made last year. It was my first foray into improv piecing, with all the bits cut without a ruler, put into bags in colour groups and sewn together randomly. I made a whole load of different sized blocks and put them together like a jigsaw puzzle. The fabrics are Oakshotts, from the wonderful ColourBox. I must admit, it took me a while to get the nerve to cut into them - they are almost too gorgeous to disturb. The original idea had been to hang this on the wall, but in the end I prefer to have it lying around to snuggle under. It's the kind of quilt that [Read more...]