Monday 31 January 2011

Tufted Tweets: The Trilogy

Part One is here.
Part Two is here.

I still had quite a bit of Tufted Tweets left over (and I only bought 1/2 yard cuts of each fabric) and kind of wanted to see if I could incorporate them all into one quilt. I feel very purist about Tufted Tweets though and feel it would be an affront to their beauty if I up-ended or reversed any of the fabrics - they all have to be the right way up for me.

But I'd done circles, squares and triangles and was looking for something a bit different. Cue Leila in my A Twist On Tradition Flickr bee who started a discussion on where we get inspiration for blocks from. Clearly a bit of a dinosaur, I mentioned a couple of books whereas she mentioned Quilters Cache and Quiltivate both of which I had never heard of before.

So I had a mooch around both sites and on Quilter's Cache saw this and immediately had a lightbulb Tufted Tweets moment.

For those who didn't click on the Quiltivate link - it is paper-pieced. I did it the slow, tedious way of printing off a copy of the pattern and then hand-copying it by hand using a light-box...bought for peanuts on Ebay btw.

I've been very good and kept all the chairs the proper way, except for one block I have deliberately up-ended just to mix things up a little. See if you can spot it!

If you are interested, I used Kona Tan and Ash.

I'm going to hand-quilt this one for no other reason than I have a lot of hanging around at dance rehearsals (not mine) the next couple of weeks and as I am a woman I can multi-task by gossiping  exchanging important information and quilting at the same time.

And that really is it now, I am all Tufted Tweets out. However, I still have a small bag left over.
 I am more than happy to spread some Tufted Tweets love to someone who would like to make something with these scraps.

If you are interested, I would like something in return please - a recommendation.

Here is the pile of books that is currently beside my bed.

I'm currently half the way through The Help and am really enjoying it. If you'd like the Tufted Tweets scraps, please leave a comment with a book recommendation for me to add to my pile. Doesn't have to be new and just out. Just something that you thought was such a good read. I'd love to hear why.

I'll leave this open until the end of the week and then randomly pick a comment.
If it helps, I like fiction and non-fiction books that leave me thinking...

Saturday 15 January 2011

Thank you Kristie

Kristie and I have been corresponding back and forth through our blogs since last year. She's a dentist and I'm not so we've had loads to chat about. Yesterday, she let me know she was going to give me a Liebster. Very nice I thought but I'm not really into foreign beer. Today, I find out that it's actually a blog award... 
I'm not sure where this has originated from (please feel free to tell me) but it is essentially 'awarded'  to those crafty blogs with 300 followers or less who are quietly going about doing their own thing and possibly not getting the exposure that some of the larger blogs are. I personally am quite happy with quality over quantity as most of what I write is drivel anyway and I'd hate to take up hundreds of peoples valuable time with some of my warped ramblings.

Thank you Kristie. I'm secretly quite chuffed but don't tell anyone. I also agree with her that the best bit about this is that you get to pay it forward and award it to 3-5 blogs that you really here goes...and in no particular order:

  1. - this blog popped up on my quilt radar for the first time last year when she emailed me about online quilting bees. She is based in Poland and blogs in Polish and English and produces some really stylish and innovative things. Kudos to her for reaching out to the (mainly) English-speaking quilting world and doing it with such style.
  2. - Jess is bee mama for the Simply Strings bee I am in. The bee was originally set up by someone else who, just at the point of starting, went awol. Jess stepped in and has been doing a great job since. I love her blog. She doesn't know I love her blog though because I follow it through Google Reader which I suppose is akin to stalking someone on the quiet is it? She provides clear, interesting images and is a good read.
  3. - this was one of the first quilty blogs that I first started following for a completely banal reason - she was living somewhere at the time where she didn't want to live (I presume because of her husband's job) and I completely related to that as I have also been there. However, I also like what she writes about and I like her thoughts about quilting. She's a fellow Canadian Kristie!
Let's have a copy break and I'll insert a random image
It was a double whammy from Kristie who also gave me a 
It was a bit like being at the end of term prize-giving ceremony and doing a clean sweep. The rules for this one are that you have to:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pay it forward to 15 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact those bloggers and tell them about their Blog Award!

Well; I've linked back to Kristie so I should get another award for that shouldn't I?

Share seven things about yourself:
  • I struggle to 'give away' any personal details about myself, my family or my life in this blog because I told myself right from the beginning it was a blog about quilting and quilting only
  • I'm still thinking that is the best policy
  • When you live somewhere as small as I live and want to retain some degree of privacy it is the only policy to follow
  • I realise that could make me appear aloof and disinterested
  • But I know I'm not
  • So I'm comfortable with the decision I have made although...
  • I've never had a filling in my teeth in my life and I share the same birth year as this person;-)
If I include the three blogs above I now have to list another 12 blogs for you to go and have a look at. I'm not going to do that because
a) they are well-known to all of us: Red Pepper, Anna Marie Horner et al  and
b) I'd quite like a Saturday evening with my family.

So if you don't mind, I'll just round it up to ten by adding seven more:

Lilysquilts - bee mama of the first bee I joined and does a great job too. Also produces some innovative and stylish quilty stuff
Material Obsession- love her thoughts and love the smorgasbord of visual colourfest that are the photos she shares
Fresh Lemons - fab photos and a good read
Syko - Scandinavian scrumpciousness...although technically Finland isn't in Scandinavia but Nordic scrumpciousness didn't sound so good
Blue Mountain Daisy - who knew the train ride into work could be so interesting
Stitchywitchysisters- doesn't blog that often but when she does, I like what she does
Smittenkitchen - yes, I know, nothing to do with quilting but cooking is a craft none the less and you're probably hungry after wading through all this.

For those of you who took part in my fantabulous giveaway yesterday - spookily,    Kristie was the winner - some of my worst fabric will be on its way to you shortly.

Meanwhile, another random photo from my iphoto file to round this post off.

Friday 14 January 2011

String quilt scrapbuster - and an everso small but nice giveaway!

For most of the past few months, my scrap pot has been looking like this:
Then I went to bed one night, woke up the next morning and noticed it had acquired a partner.

I didn't want to encourage a life-long friendship so knew I needed to do something about it fairly sharpish otherwise they'd be starting a family and then things would seriously start to get out of hand.

I also had/still have some fabric of which I have long outgrown/don't know why I acquired it in the first place but don't know what to do with.

How can you use tomatoes, bears dressed up as doctors about to perform an operation, reindeers skiing down mountains, lions with thermometers in their mouths (who thinks up these things?), carrots and sheep walking on crutches. I felt the answer lay in another string quilt.
But once I've made one style of quilt, I can't go back and just repeat it again. It becomes monotonous, I know what the end result is going to be and so I don't think I have learnt anything new.

So this time, the diagonal stripe across each square is my black and white cow hide print of previous quilts. I also measured in approx 1 1/2 inches from two diagonal corners and used the cow print so I've sort of ended up with cow print squares.
I still can't think of a better way to use up a complete cross-section of styles and colours of fabric that I am not particularly fond of. So long as the strip cut is narrow enough, I don't think the eye is drawn to any one part of the quilt.
And the sheep on crutches just merge into a whole.

For the back I just took two string squares, cut them on the diagonal and sort of did a pinwheel thing with them.

I hand-quilted it, individual square at a time.

And here it is getting cosy with the absolutely fabulous cushion/pillow cover that was made for me by Lori as part of the Flickr Pillow Talk Swap.

It makes me smile just looking at it because it is so happy and fun and all mine.
Thank you Lori.

P.S. First one to correctly guess my house in the header wins a whole wodge of my scraps! (Bit like spot the ball I know but isn't that half the fun?!)

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Happy New Year

I don't know about anyone else but for me, two weeks away from the sewing machine and I was itching to sew something. Anything.

So it was off to a flying start with a new school bag for Daughter No.1 The one I made here did not last longer than the autumn term. By the end of it, it had the contents of an ink pen cartridge over the base and a banana that was squashed to oblivion by the amount of books rammed into it.

I needed to make something more durable and I hope I have come up with it.

I am really pleased with how it turned out and I have to say that although the instructions were spread over four pages, it really didn't take too long to make. I even managed to solve the problem of fusible fleece. There is none available on the Little Island so I just blasted the ozone layer with some temporary adhesive spray and that seemed to do the trick.
Daughter No.1 chose the fabrics herself: Amy Butler Love on the outside and Anna Marie Horner Innocent Crush on the inside - both home decor weight. If I had been making it for myself I'd have had AMH on the outside and AB inside but Daughter No.1 was having none of that.

And look at this please....A ZIP.

I soooo wanted to skip the zip part. Zips scare me to death. Zips make me feel inadequate.
But Daughter No.1 has a habit of losing things, so I figured a zip compartment could keep all coins, calculator, pens etc in one safe place.
So I've graduated from Zip School. I may not have achieved an 'A' grade but I am happy with my satisfactory pass.

I used the 'Messenger Bag' pattern from this book:

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It goes into just the right amount of detail on bag making. So not only can you make the bag patterns in the book but you can also use the different elements/style of a bag to make your own. If you don't want to buy the book but are interested in making a Messenger Bag, there is a very good, free tutorial for one here.

I see more bags in my future, especially as Father Christmas gave me this book the other week when he was passing by:
Pure eye candy as well as being very informative at the same time.

I bought the fabrics for the bag from Hawthorne Threads. I like them for two reasons.
  • Great selection of reasonably priced modern fabrics
  • but more importantly...
  • You can pay with Paypal.

Because twice a year I have a good clear out of my daughters' wardrobes. The 'seen better days stuff' goes to the recycling bank, the 'still got a lot of wear left in it' goes to my niece but the 'looks as if it has been hardly worn' I sell on Ebay. I have even been known to sell the Christmas presents that my mother-in-law gives me on Ebay but that's a whole other blog post ;-)

Anyway, in November I had one of these clear-outs, listed a whole bunch of stuff and seven days later I had £180 sitting in my Paypal account. I'm not a huge Ebay buyer but I do like to buy fabric. So suddenly, I can go shopping here and here because they both take Paypal and it doesn't then feel like I have spent money wantonly. It may be weird logic but it works well for me. It also disciplines me to wash, iron, photograph, list, answer questions (some inane), pack, post the clothes. Oh, and worry they have got to their end destination and positive feedback is left... because this all translates into 'free' fabric for me.

Which means this:

Technically, sort-of, in a roundabout way, is a FREE bag!
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