Monday, 8 February 2016

Yep, it's definitely ....

It's gone off to the dealer this afternoon and let's hope they can find the problem and fix it for me.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

It's bronken*, how Bizarre ....

.... What's bronken?

My car, that's what's bronken.

Why is it bizarre? Well, read on and (eventually) you'll get to that bit.

Yesterday was the meeting of Yorkshire Modern Quilters so I set off to the local station to pick up Scrappy so we could set off for a day of fun with friends, fabric and food. I got there, in the pouring rain and left my engine running as Scrappy's train was just pulling in. She climbed in, and as she was settling into her seat we were both saying how excited we were cos one way and another it has been months since we last went to a meeting. Anyway, once she was safely strapped in, with her bags all securely tucked in too, off we set. Except ....

... I moved about two yards, Just enough that I was more than half way out of the parking bay and the engine died. I tried restarting, but, nope, nothing doing. I tried swearing, but that didn't help either. As I was a bit (major understatement there) in the way of other traffic coming and going, we thought we'd better push the car back into the space I'd just left, but the car had other ideas. Because it was an automatic, and because I'd put it into Park before trying the restart, it was effectively all locked up and wasn't going anywhere. So, back in the car for us, and we became a human (or automotive) roundabout and all the cars had to drive round us! at least we were out of the rain, and I called the breakdown service. It was going to be about an hour and a half before they would get to us, so we settled ourselves in for a good natter and even did our own little show and tell in the car. We had food if we were there a long time, so we knew we weren't going to starve although we might die of thirst cos we didn't have any drinks. (I must remember next time to breakdown near a Costa or Starbucks and not in the car park of a small, unmanned train station.).

Mr Breakdown arrived a bit earlier than we expected, which was good. He found that my battery was totally, completely and absolutely flat. He was puzzled for several reasons and our conversation went a bit like this:
Mr Breakdown: How bizarre, Honda's don't just cut out like that.
Me: Well this one did
Mr B: Honda's are one of the most reliable cars there are, it's very bizarre.
Me: I know, that's why I have Honda
Mr B: it shouldn't have just lost power while it was running.
I shrugged my shoulders.

By this time I had come to the conclusion that Mr B was in one of these challenges where he's given a word for the day and he has to use it in every sentence and the word of the day for yesterday was "bizarre". Anyway, he jump started the car, Scrappy climbed on a train and went home and Mr B followed me home. When we got back the battery had fully charged - in less than 3 miles. So, no sewing day for us and I'll be on the phone to the garage on Monday. The breakdown guy did say it was probably a one-off that will never happen again but if it did then I should contact the garage. Hmm, I don't think I want to wait. I was just thinking that if it had happened 10 minutes later, I'd have been driving along on the motorway and I don't drive at 50 (or even 60 or 70) on the inside lane as a general rule, so it could have been worse.

* Bronken: the word Chatterbox used to use when he was just starting to talk when something was not working. It's just one of those words that the family adopted and still use, just like we eat chinken!

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Handy Household Hint number something or other....

.... When you put leftovers/spares in the freezer, always label them.

Why do I say that?  Well, one very cold morning this week I pulled out a bag of puréed butternut squash, intending to make a nice warming soup. Unfortunately, it wasn't butternut squash in that bag, it was actually Snickerdoodle dough! Oh well, we enjoyed some nice biscuits (cookies to my American friends) even if they weren't as warming as soup would have been.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Book review

I was recently offered a copy of the book called Machine Quilting with Style by Christa Watson to review. Since I already had the book, I passed the opportunity on to Scrappy, so here, in her own words, are her thoughts.

As an apprehensive machine quilter, I found the introduction to this book both positive and encouraging - "don't get hung up on perfection" along with " the most important tool for successful machine quilting is a can-do attitude."
 The book begins with good advice about the choice of batting, threads and work surface around the sewing machine before starting the topic of machine quilting by using the walking foot. The author acknowledges that this is where most of us start and it is good to be encouraged to think beyond stitching in the ditch. Quilt designs and machine quilting suggestions then follow with clear instructions, diagrams and pictures. The pages and pictures on continuous spiral quilting were very appealing and I was glad to note the tips for avoiding spiralling out of control!

The second half of the book tackles free motion quilting favourites with useful tips for getting started. Of particular note is 'Quilt Daily" - that encouraging tone throughout the book is exemplified by the suggestion that fmq should be practised for just 10 minutes a day in order to see improvement. Different hand positions are illustrated so that the novice machine quilter can see which feels most comfortable when guiding the quilt under the needle. Quilting designs then follow such as simple stipples, loops and spirals all illustrated on beautifully designed quilts with clear instructions where to start. Freewheeling vs Precision is highlighted - the choice between marking out the quilting diagram or going for "free-form and somewhat imperfect".

For anyone who is seeking to become more adventurous with their machine quilting this book is an excellent place to start.
I will also point out that the book includes 8 designs using your walking-foot, 10 free-motion designs and 12 quilt patterns.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Happy dancing ...

... is going on over here at QuiltTimes Mansion. I've been practising quilting with rulers as you know from my previous posts, and this is my latest effort.
When I bought the special foot, it came with one ruler, but the company had also put together a "sampler" package which I treated myself to. While I was waiting for them to arrive I spent hours watching videos on their site and also found one or two others on YouTube so once I had all these goodies in my hands I couldn't wait to have a go. After a couple of days of just trying things, I felt ready to really push my luck, so, I made up a quilt sandwich about 18" square and this is what I came up with. It may not be perfect, but I'm happy. 

Not bad considering I've only had the foot and rulers for 7 days.  

(Mind you, when I proudly showed it to Mr Fixit, he looked at it and said, hmm, it's OK but what's it going to be? After I counted to 10 I explained the "practice, practice, practice" idea to him.)

Now I'm off to sew some poor little orphan blocks together so I can get quilting on them.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

I've been playing....

... and having lots of fun with my new quilting rulers.

Here are my first efforts. I know they're far from perfect, but considering I have only had them for 5 days, I am very happy.

I was trying curved cross hatching here cos I love the effect. This was really my first try at doing anything with a purpose, and I know the photo is slightly out of focus, and my spacing between lines leaves much to be desired, but I still love the effect.

This is my effort at using an arc shape to fill a border. I have learned that I need to "draw" in the boundaries before I start otherwise I am not very good at judging the distance.

and yesterday I got really ambitious.

All in all, I'm learning a lot during my playtime, and who knows, maybe one day I'll feel brave enough to actually do this on a real quilt.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

it's playtime ...

Look what Father Christmas has just delivered:
There's a special quilting foot and all these rulers so I can have a go at quilting with rulers on my domestic machine. I've been watching videos and am now excited to get started and see if I can do this.

By the way, I've also decided to join the 21st century, and am now on Instagram. I can be found by just typing in the name QuiltSue, I think. This is thanks to Helen, who gave an impromptu tutorial to a few of us while we were on the retreat last weekend.
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