This wallhanging is my entry in SewCalGal's Virtual Christmas Quilt Show. If you go to her website here you can either join in, or just go and look at loads of lovely Christmassy quilts.
This wallhanging is applique'd, which is unusual for me, and shows "pictures" of the carol, The First Noel. I sort of designed it myself, in that I found various pictures of things such as the angels and Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus, which I turned into fairly simple applique shapes. Then I embroidered words from the carol on each panel. The idea of the separate panels was taken from another wallhanging I had seen somewhere in the past. I can't remember where, so if it was one of your quilts, I apologise for not crediting you here.
This quilt is way out of my usual comfort zone in terms of techniques, design and even colours, but I love it and it hangs over my mantelpiece every year.
That, together with the advent calendars I made for Professor and Chatterbox, all have to come out every year, and they all have their own places where they must hang. I think the kids would be most annoyed with me if I tried to change any of it!
I nearly forgot to mention the quilt on my sidebar, called Sister's Christmas Braids. I make my sister a quilt almost every year for Christmas, and this was made a couple of years ago, when Jelly Rolls first appeared, but was only quilted and finished this year. I have just today posted this to her, so she will get it in a couple of days.
One of our "traditions" is to go out for lunch on Christmas Day with as many of the family as can be around. There are usually 4 generations, and up to 11 of us. The hotel we go to every year has a lovely lounge area with a big open fire, and Professor loves that we sit in one corner, near the fire, and all chat together before and after the meal. I think it's great that a kid of 11 thinks that is the best part of the meal.
I hope you like this quilt, and that you will go and look at all the other fantastic quilts people are showing.
Last week I had the swine flu jab, and that gave me the most awful headache which completely knocked me out for about 3 days. I think I'm OK now though.
This morning I decided I needed to have a "paperwork" day. I have now done all those horrid official chores like filling in and filing my tax return which is due by 31December at the latest. Phew, made it! I also had some insurance paperwork to deal with, and various other bits of "official" paper that needed my attention. I did it. All done.
Yesterday afternoon I decided to just piece the backing for the One Day Wonder, then the sewing machine would be put away till after Christmas and the conservatory reclaimed as a room, not a sewing area. Good idea? Nope. I cut the backing, and cut it in half as I was going to insert a strip of the coins in the middle. I made the stripey strip, started to sew it to one side and realised it wasn't long enough. In my usual stupid way, I didn't think to check why, just added more coins so it was long enough, and finished sewing it all together. Pressed it. Ta-dah, all ready for quilting. Went to fold it up with the top and realised something was wrong. Why was the top wider than the backing? That's when I realised I had sewn the wrong edge of the backing to the strip! So I then had to cut more backing and put a piece down either side. I could have undone it all I guess, but I was so annoyed with myself I didn't think of that until it was too late.
About 5.30 this morning I had a thought. You know my sister's quilt has been finished for quite a while? I even bought a box to post it in. Perhaps it would help if I put the quilt in the box and posted it? Duh!
Traditionally in our house we don't put the Christmas decs up till the last weekend before The Day but today I decided I need the cheering-upness they can give. I don't think I told you that I bought another small fibreoptic tree last week? We have a small one in the bay window in the lounge, but I have taken a dislike to it. It was a multi-coloured one, and I prefer a one colour version. I also bought a red tinsel pop-up tree to go on the dining room table. That is definitely not "me! at all. Mr Fix-It has not been well lately, so I haven't asked him to go up in the loft to get the lights etc down, so the big tree isn't up yet - that will happen hopefully one day this week.
Tomorrow I am going to Mrs PennyPot's for our version of a Christmas party, ie some sewing, some chat and some food. Should be good.
....... apparently it rained every day, and it has also rained each day in December so far, so what are we doing? Having our back garden completely re-landscaped. Of course we are, that's logical isn't it? Unfortunately for the gardeners, our garden is on solid clay, so they are slip-sliding around in a positive quagmire. So this is what it looked like yesterday morning:
YUKK! Can you imagine just how squelchy that is to walk on?
This is made from a pattern in Kim's book. I used a jelly roll called Faded Memories and a variety of neutrals from my own stash, so it's half scrappy! I came to a full stop cos I wasn't sure a) what to do with it, and b) what to do about borders. This evening I took it into my father to show him, and he liked it and pointed out it would look good in his lounge,so that's that sorted, and all it needs is just one very narrow border.
This is one I whipped up in one day! I have seen similar quilts and suddenly thought, "I bet that would be really quick and easy to make". So, I raided my stash again, and found loads of batiks and a white tone-on-tone. Out of interest, I sort of timed myself with this one. So yesterday I spent 30 minutes with my Go! cutter cutting the strips from FQs, then spent some quality time with my sewing machine. After 3 hours, all I had to do was add the borders and I had a quilt top measuring 57" x 62". How about that?
Well, now I can show you what I was up to. The blocks you can see were all table runners I was making as surprise gifts for some friends, plu an advent calendar for Little Person.
Here are the finished things:
I also put some matching coasters, a Chicken and some good old fashioned Yorkshire Tea in.
I think everyone enjoyed their surprises.
PS the top two runners were made from block patterns from Kim's book Scrapbasket Surprises. I find that making table runners or placemats is a great way to just make a few blocks of a pattern you like if you haven't got time to make a full quilt.
Thanks to everyone for putting up with my whinging yesterday. Today I decided to get all my chores done early, and planned a really easy lunch, so then I was able to do some sewing! Hurrah!! I have made another 8 blocks for the quilt I am making. I only have 4 more to do. Then I can put the top together and make decisions about the borders. I will try and take photos of it tomorrow when I have decided on the final block layout.
Apart from that, I have bought some more Christmas cards, and bought a Christmas present for Mrs Nomad, which reminds me, I wonder if Mr Nomad and Mr and Mrs Teacher have written to Santa yet?
Today is the day the gardener is supposed to start digging up and re-landscaping our garden. He told us a skip would be delivered early, and since that usually means about 7 - 7.30 am, I was awake before 6, and up by 6 cos I couldn't get back to sleep and was worried that the skip might arrive and get put in the wrong place. So, faffed around till about 7.30, then, because I had a dental check up at 9am, I headed to the shower. Guess what? Mr Fixit was in there! AAAAHHHHH! I couldn't go into the bathroom instead, cos someone had to be around in case this flipping skip arrived. I got into the shower at about 8.10. PANIC. I had to leave about 8.30 to get to the dentist in time. Boy did I get ready fast.
I left here, got round the corner and promptly got stuck behind a dustcart. Since today is their first day back after 80 days on strike, I know I shouldn't complain, but did they have to start there and at that time? The road was too narrow to pass him, so we just had to wait. Luckily the dentist was late too!
Then, I went to the local hospice's charity shop to buy Christmas cards. Last year, we bought them, and were horrified when we opened them to find that inside they had printed a note on the card asking the person who got it to make a donation. I complained to the charity about the "begging letter" bit. They offered a refund, but I told them to just keep it as a donation. So, this year, before I bought them, I emailed and asked if they had done the same thing, and got a reply that they had not. So I bought 6 packs this morning. When I got home, I decided to check them, and, yep, you've guessed it, all but 2 packs did have the message inside! I fired off a furious email to the person who wrote to me, and have told her that this year I do want my money back. This afternoon they contacted me, and said they were sorry, the shop must have been selling some old stock since this year's cards definitely did not have the message in. Well, yes actually some of them do, cos one of the packs I bought is on their website as being this year's designs. Anyway they have arranged for me to take them to the manager of the shop for a refund. I don't like doing this since they are a charity, but I feel that I have supported them by buying the cards, and the recipients, who may not be local or interested, should not be asked to do so.
It's now almost 5.30 and still no skip, no gardener, and no christmas cards.
The rest of the day was OK, apart from the thumping headache I have, until I decided to make myself a cappuccino just now, sprinkled chocolate on top, and the lid fell off. Noooooooo.
.............. I thought I'd just show you why I have been a bit quiet lately. I've been a bit busy. These have all gone in the post now, and 2 of them have been received. One was a quilted advent calender for Little Person, which I forgot (yeah, yeah, I know) to take a photo of. Another was for my friend over at Copper Patch, who has quickly become a very good friend. The others? They are to say thank you to some people who have been extremely generous to me recently.
Then, this morning the postman brought me a box, and inside was this little treasure trove. This was my PIF gift from Trudi at Quilting Prolifically. There is an absolutely gorgeous table runner in my favourite autumnal colours, a cute little bag which had chocolate in (yippee), another bar of chocolate (oh dear, I think my reputation must be going before me. What a good job my diabetes test last week came back OK!) and a lovely gift card.
This is what the runner looks like. I keep moving it around the lounge to decide where it will live eventually, but it does look rather gorgeous on the table doesn't it?
Thank you so much for your generosity Trudi.
Now, the idea of PIF gifts, are that when you receive one, you "return" it by giving a gift to 3 other people withing 12 months. Apparently the idea originated from a film called Pay It Forward, which I have not seen, but I loved the idea. Soooo, who would like to receive a gift from me? The first 3 people to put their hands up (by making a comment below), will be the ones. I wonder who it will be?
....... back again. I've been rather quiet for a few days I know, but I'm here now. I thought you'd like to hear about my weekend.
On Saturday I went over to Ten-Ton-Tessie's mummy and daddy for the day. I was going to try and help them get to grips with using some software we both have for digitising our own quilting designs and also to look at some tops they had and work out what to quilt on them. Well, we did a bit of the UFO-planning, then we hasd a lovely lasagne for lunch. After that we looked at the tops that they have quilted since they got Tessie, talked about some more tops and it was time for me to come home. We must have talked too much, so the digitisin part of the day didn't happen! perhaps we'll do better next time?
Yesterday was the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate. Mrs PennyPot and I went to that. We were both very disappointed with it this year. The only quilt we saw was made up from flattened beer-cans. The show was £12 entrance, which is a lot too. We spent a couple of hours there and then left and went to a nearby hotel where we had a lovely bar-meal. Next year, we decided, we'll skip the show, just go to lunch. (Mind you, we "do" lunch quite often, even without that excuse!)
And where are the photos, I hear you ask? Well, guess what? I forgot my camera both days!
Dear Father Christmas,
Please could you bring me a new, working, memory for Christmas?
.......... style of quilt. That is the question my friend from Copper Patch asked me recently. I had to think for quite a while, and I still haven't really come up with an answer, except that it would use traditional (and probably reproduction style) fabrics. Perhaps my answer is "the quilt I am working on at the time"? How about any of you out there in Quiltland, is that a question you can answer easily?
I also had a lovely package from Ms Copper Patch this morning. She had sent me some lovely Australian quilt magazines and some Cadburys chocolate made in Australia. She thinks it is better than ours, but I didn't see how that can be, after all, Cadburys started in England. I will do as she says, and conduct a very in-depth survey comparing the two, and then report the results. Thank you Ms CP for the mags and the choc.
This is it, closed, sitting waiting to be put into action:
and this is a picture of the shapes I can cut. I can also cut 2.5" wide strips. There are loads of other dies available, so you could cut anything from a snowflake, to ... oh I don't know. If you were into applique, which I am not, there are loads of shapes for that too.
This is what it looks like opened up and ready to use. Notice the little handle on the side? That's important.
Now here you can see a layer of fabric laid right-side upover the appropriate die.
Then I laid another fabric, right-side down on top of the other fabric, followed by 2 more layers on top of that.
Now, remember that nifty little handle? This is where you find out what it's for. You put a mat on top of the fabric which is on top of the die, and start turning that handle. The die etc start moving and going under that bar-thingy you can see in the middle, which is where the cutting actually happens. As it goes through, it is cutting the fabrics for me.Here you can just see the leading edge showing on the far side of the centre bar.
This is what it looks like after coming out the far side of the machine, and having the protective mat removed. If you look very carefully, you can actually see where the fabric has been cut through.
This is what I am left with when I removed the surplus, edge pieces of the fabric.
Here you can see nice little pairs of triangles. As I put them, right sides together, all I have to do now is pick up one pair, sew the seam, and voila...........
Half-square triangles. OK, I didn't sew these together, but you get the idea.
Doing all of this, to produce 8 HST's would take less than 15 seconds, and the accuracy is brilliant. So, that's it folks, my Go! Cutter.
I've been playing, and here is the little number I knocked together this afternoon:
Do you like it? I used my Go! Cutter to cut all the tumblers, and it took me less than 10 minutes to have 50 tumbler shapes cut! It's a brilliant toy, and I love the accuracy as well as the ease of using it. I got mine from my friend at Asding. (It's not on the website, but they are easy to contact!) I thought I'd tell you all that, as it is not available anywhere else in the UK, and Christmas is coming!
Anyway, as you will know, I do not "do" scrappy, in fact I don't even like scrappy normally, but there are exceptions and this is one of them. I really, really like it. Please don't ask me what it is though. It started as a table topper, but grew! It might well grow some more too. I think the part that took longest was going through my stash for Christmas fabrics, then I made no attempt to match them up, I just jumbled the shapes up and had to use whatever came to hand next, unless it was the same as the one next to it.
I love it, and can't wait to put my frame up again and get it quilted.
This afternoon I was chatting to my friend Bilbo, and she said I should include some comments about sizes, so, being a very obedient person (yeh, yeh, stop laughing, Bilbo) here are my thoughts about sizes. Overall, this top measures 48 x 60 inches, which is a good size for a lap quilt. The original blocks were made at 12" square, so when they were cut up, each piece measured 6" square. Originally I had planned to use blocks at half this size, but after making a few, I decided they were too small. It was going to make a very busy quilt with a lot of small blocks, so I restarted with different sized blocks. I have added 2 borders, the dark green is 1" wide and the final one is 4". If you want to see what the quilt would have looked like with the small blocks, made to the same overall size of the one I have done, here is a diagram:
....... Disappearing 9-patch block
It really couldn't be simpler. here is how:
1. make a 9-patch
2. cut it in half lengthways and widthways to give 4 smaller blocks
3. arrange layout to suit!
This is how I arranged the colours for my red 9-patch:
This is what it looked like after I had cut it into quarters.
I made mine with a limited palette, but it could be totally scrappy, scrappy but with the same colour in the centre of every block, using just 3 colours, etc.
This is a great block, with loads of potential, so just try it and have fun with it!
... with strikes. Our mail delivery stystem is erratic, to say the least, due to the mail workers' strikes. They are being clever and not striking all the time, just 2 or 3 days a week. Quite enough to hold everything up. I am not happy cos between us Mr Fixit and I are expecting 5 packages, some of which were posted several weeks ago, and the only post we've had is 2 letters in the past week, and they were both junk mail! Locally our refuse collectors are also striking, and have been for 9 weeks now. The council have told us to still put our bins out for emptying on our normal day (Saturday for us), and bring them in after 8pm. We have obediently been doing that. Other people have just been leaving them out. We have also been doing their job for them, and taking our rubbish to the local dump. Imagine how annoyed I was yesterday (Tuesday) to come back from shopping to find the bin men had been. This meant those who ignored the council's instructions, have had their bins empty. We have not.
So now you know why I am fed-up with strikes. It's all about ME!!!!
You wanted to see it (well, one of you did anyway!), so here it is...my Disappearing 9-Patch top. I haven't put the borders on yet, that will be done tomorrow, all being well. As I have said, I love this pattern, it is so easy, and there can be so many different layouts. For years I have intended to make a Christmas quilt, and now I have.
Hope you like it, and if anyone wants to know how to make it, just let me know.
.......would like to thank you all for saying how cute he looked in his Halloween outfit. He has changed a bit in the three years since then, so here is a picture of him this year on Halloween.
As you know, last week I went down to Mr and Mrs Teacher's so I could go to Mr Teacher's graduation ceremony. Unfortunately, after I got there I started to feel extremely unwell, and the next morning I decided I had to come home. I had a very, very high temperature and drove home with the aircon set to keep the car at 14 degrees, but even then I was still hot. In retrospect, driving was probably not the brightest idea I have ever had, but after 3 hours I did get home safely and I took to my bed for a few days. I missed the graduation, but Mrs Teacher did send me some photos, and here is one of them.
I hope you all survived Halloween? We had about 50 visitors, and I was impressed by the costumes. Every child was dressed up, and so were quite a few of the parents. Also, every child said thank you when I gave them some chocolate, and some even wished us a Happy Halloween. How sweet is that?
I have spent today making 9-Patch blocks in red, green and 2 shades of gold, as I am making a Disappearing 9-patch quilt as a Christmas quilt. I have seen some absolutely stunning versions of this pattern (and some less-than-stunning versions too.) so I sat down and worked out how to do it, drew it up on the computer and played around till I had a layout I liked. This is a really quick and easy pattern and in just a couple of hours I have made 2 rows of a top that will have 8 rows. I have everything cut out, and more blocks made, but I haven't put them into rows yet. Tomorrow I will add more rows and then post a picture. I have decided I love this pattern, and can see myself making more quilts with the DNP in the future.
As you all know, I don't usually post about giveaways, but Quilthaze is a good friend of mine in real life so I am doing this post. If you go to her blog, here, you can enter her "Triple Treat" giveaway. Three people will win, but since I would like one of those three to be me, I would prefer it if you ignore this post!
I am now with Mr and Mrs Teacher, and Little Person for a couple of days, and tomorrow we are going to Mr Teacher's (2nd) graduation ceremony.
When I get home again I will tell you about my new toy, the Go! cutter.
.. who feels guilty when she hasn't posted anything for a few days?
I was thinking this evening, "I haven't written anything since Saturday, and I feel bad about it." The reason for the silence is that I haven't really done anything worth talking about it, so why feel guilty? Hence my question:
Am I the Only One?
I'd be interested to know if it is just me or if other people feel the same when they are quiet for a few days.
Today I had a casserole planned for dinner this evening, and was timing it so we could sit down with it and watch the Grand Prix Qualifying session at the same time. Sounds good on a chilly evening, yes? Well that's what we thought. Except.... I managed to lose an hour somehow this afternoon, so dinner was ready at 5 instead of 6 pm.
Oh dear, poor Mr Fixit, I feel very sorry for him having to live with me, I'm such an idiot!
Woww, two posts in one day! I really must stop spending so much time on this computer.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed a new button on the right of my blog. The Park City Girl, Amy, who's blog is here is hosting an online quilt show for those of us who can't get to Houston this week. Actually, she's hosting it for those who can get there too! It's not a competition, or a juried show. What you do is choose one of your quilts and show it and tell its story on your blog, put a link on her blog and that's all. Then you can follow all the links for an amazing on-line quilt show. Oh yes, and there are prizes too, which I think are won in a draw.
I have called this quilt Raspberries and Cream. Some of you have seen it before, and those who regularly look at my blog have even lived throught the agonising over quilting designs! For some reason it is proving almost impossible to get a photo of this that does justice to the colours. The background is a lovely soft, buttery yellow, the green is a sage green colour and the pink is a gorgeous deep pink. I started this top in August 2008 at a workshop at the Festival of Quilts, but I didn't finish piecing it for ages. In fact, although it is from the Quilt In A Day series, by Elinor Burns, mine should be called a quilt in 8 months!
This is a close-up to show some of the quilting. I used a pattern which was originally meant for the centre of a Double Wedding Ring block in the Snowballs, and some heart type motifs in the stars. The border has a wavey feathery pattern.
I do love this quilt, and maybe, one day soon, I will get to burying all the ends and sewing the binding down!
The day before yesterday we decided it was time to retime Bertha, so Mr Fixit got his screwdrivers out, took her out of the sin-bin and put her on top of a cabinet, all the while muttering dark mutterings to himself about sewing machines that don't sew! He then went in with his screwdrivers. There is a hook thingy, attached to a shaft thingy, and the instructions said that he needed to move the hook-y bit a smidgeon or two. Well, he tried. He really tried. The mutterings got louder, and still he tried. No good. He could not move it. So we decided to admit defeat and send her to the sewing machine hospital. By this time it was quite late on Thursday, so I did not do anything about contacting the repair man. Friday morning Mr Fixit suggested we ought to try Bertha first, just in case he had moved something an infinitessimally (OK, he didn't use that word, that was my interpretation) small amount. So we did. Guess what? Yep, she sewed beautifully. Not a skip in sight. So now she is back on the frame waiting for me to give her something to do. Well, she can wait. She made me wait after all.
Meanwhile, I'm going back to piecing the blocks I'm piecing.
....... to everyone who voted for me in the Nature's Best competition. The winners have now been announced and you can see them here. All the quilts were wonderful in their own ways, and I was amazed at the variety of different quilts entered. (Leaves Around the Cabins came 5th, by the way, which I was delighted about.)
Bertha decided to be very naughty, so I have sent her to sit in the corner, with her back to the room, to think about her bad behaviour. Meanwhile, Her sister, Ten Ton Tessie, has come to me for a working holiday, so I could finish a couple of quilts. I think Bertha's timing got knocked out when I broke a needle on the second of the 2 raffle quilts I was struggling with, so she kept skipping stitches. I was sure it was not a problem with Mrs PP's fabric or wadding, and the thread was the combination I always use, so my friend brought Tessie over to try, and lo and behold, perfect sewing. So Bertha is in the corner. Tessie coming over for her holiday has meant that I could finish the Pineapple and do my Christmas Braids quilt.
PS Christmas Braids is finished, so I'll probably put a photo up tomorrow.
One of my blogland friends, Paulette was talking about how easy this block was to do with a ruler she bought last year. You can read her comments about it here, so I said I would show this quilt I made using the same ruler.
I made this quilt in 2006 with blue and yellow fabrics I collected on my holiday to Pennysylvania. It was made for my sister - well who else would it have been for in those colours?
No, don't worry, you haven't missed a general election, or a local one or anything unimportant like that, but you onlyhave until tomorrow to vote in the Nature's Best virtual quilt show. Currently my Leaves Around the Cabins is in 5th place, but I am a competitive person who wants to be in the top 3, (OK, OK, I'll be honest, I want to be the top one, but there is some pretty stiff competition there) so if you haven't voted, please go and put your mark against Leaves Around the Cabins. You don't have to be a member, or a subscriber, or anything else, just click on the button on the right of this post and then click on the Vote Now bit, and vote for Leaves Around the Cabins. If you have voted, then thank you.
PS I've just found out that the voting deadline has been extended to Tuesday, so there's still time to vote if you want to do so.
.... well actually, two funny stories about Chatterbox and his maths homework.
The other day, he had to do mental arithmetic and I had to ask him to tell me the answer if he took a number (given by me) from 100. He was good at it, and I think he got them all right, so then Mr Fixit suddenly said, 100 take away 105? Chatterbox just looked at him and said " -5 Grandad. I do know about minus numbers". Not bad for a boy of 7.
Today we had to do something different. He and I had to write down 3 random numbers on separate sheets of paper. Then we had to take it in turns to choose a number between 1 and 6, and the other person had to subtract it from one of their 3 numbers. With me so far? We had to do this 3 times each. Chatterbox knew it was a game, and a game has to have a winner, right? So, after the first time he asked me how you win. I said the winner was someone with one of their final answers ending in the number 1. Purely by accident he had won the first round. We had to have 3 rounds, so what does he do on the next go. He chose 11 as one of his numbers, and did not subtract anything from it, thereby winning again. Clever I thought.
OK, maybe I am biased, but I thought that both of these stories were really funny.
I see from the comments left yesterday that one or two of you doubted that I had a stash at all, or that I ever intended to show the pictures, so here, for all of you Doubting Thomases, ........ My Stash