Sunday 28 June 2009

Two posts in one day!

Here it is in all it's glory: True Scrappy. (Remember, as always you can click on the photos to enlarge them and then get back with your back button.)

This quilt has been a first for me in several ways. It is the first scrappy quilt I have made, and I love it! The back was a first too because I have never done a pieced backing before. The quilting was done eventually in cream thread and uses an edge-to-edge pattern I have used before called Double Bubble Trouble.

I have now finished quilting tops for a while. I do have one more top ready, but in my usual organised way, I have now run out of wadding and haven't got the backing for it yet. Still, I do have a bit of time in hand on that one as it is destined for my sister for Christmas.

So now I shall go back to piecing for a while. Now shall I do the neutral one? Slight problem might be that I haven't decided what design to do that one. I could do the red and tan? Same problem. What about the yellows I was going to use for a Dresden Plate? It's just dawned on me that that might look too much like sun with its rays. Perhaps I'll do the paper pieced Jinny Beyer one? Oh dear, so many decisions. Suggestions anyone?

This time tomorrow.......

.........I should be in my car on the way to visit my friend Bilbowaggins. She lives in the Lake District and, although she is only about 130 miles away from me, according to the route planner it's going to take me 3 hours to get there. Crazy really, since my son lives about 180 miles away and it takes 2 1/2 hours to get to him. I guess the difference is motorways, since I am about 8 miles from the relevant one, and then he is only about 2 miles from the same one at the other end?

Now, here is my Handy Hint for today: when you are quilting and are feeling tired, do NOT attempt to do "one more pass/motif" cos then it's finished. You will only end up unquilting! Now ask me what I spent yesterday evening doing? At least I could do it while the Andy Murray match was on. He won, which I am sure was due to my support.

By the way, you remember my petrol consumption problem? Well, husband suddenly said to me, "have you checked your tyre pressures? That can make a difference" Checked tyre pressures? How do I do that? Course I haven't, that's what it goes in for servicing for isn't it? Well that and valeting. I wouldn't know if they were right or not and certainly don't know how to put air in/let it out if needed. I've never done that in my life. Spose I'm going to have to learn now aren't I?

Saturday 27 June 2009


......not to be beaten by them! Here are the missing photos from yesterday. You can get a better view by clicking on the photos. The colours haven't come up very well. The light, and the background on the backing are a lovely buttery/clotted creamy yellow, and the pink is a vivid raspberry. Can you guess how this quilt got its name?
P.S. The blue fence is no more! It's wooden fence colour, hurrah.

Friday 26 June 2009

It's finished

Raspberries & Cream is now finished and off the frame and blogger won't let me put the photos in to prove it! I have still got to bury all the ends (yukk) and then sew the binding on. Perhaps by the time I've done all that I will be able to show you!

I wasn't going to put another quilt on the frame today, but, well, you know how it True Scappy is now on there. Mind you, I did suddenly remember, after I had put the backing on, that I had forgotten to get some more wadding. Duhh, idiot. Then, I realised that this quilt was going to better with a black wadding, and I had this feeling that somewher, deep in a cupboard I had some black left over from another quilt. Oh boy, was I lucky, it was just the right size. This quilt has a batik backing, lots of seams and a poly wadding - talk about asking for trouble. I am using an edge-to-edge pattern on it, and I have done 2 rows with no problems so far. Keep your fingers crossed for me everyone. I also couldn't decide what colour thread to use. The borders of the quilt are plain navy, the centre is multicoloured (very) and the back is light blue marbled batik framed by dark blue marbled batik. See what I mean about thread colour. In the end I went for my usual cream - largely cos I didn't have anything else that worked with it, and I was too impatient to wait and order some. PPP (and no, that doesn't stand for practice, practice, practice) seems to be the motto for the day doesn't it? I really must do better.

I'll try and creep up on blogger later and get those photos on - watch this space.

Thursday 25 June 2009

She won!

My very clever friend Sewali, entered a challenge at quite a big quilt shop in the UK. Everyone who entered was sent a piece of the challenge fabric, and they were free to add whatever else they wanted and use whatever design they wanted, to make a quilt. The results were all displayed over a number of days up to last Sunday, and she has just been told that she won the Visitors' Choice award. This is a picture of the winning quilt. You can see it in better detail on her blog here. This is the second time she has won this annual challenge. She also said I had to tell you all it is a small show, but don't believe her! Anyway, well done Sewali.

P.S. regular readers will note that I have, at long last, learned to use the "links" facility on this blog! and just to prove it, here's a link to Sewali's online shop, ASding. What she doesn't know about wadding just aint worth knowing and if you're ever not sure what to use, go check out her Waddipaedia and you'll soon have all the information you need.

Tuesday 23 June 2009

He's a mystery, I've got homework, and I'm full up

It's official - Husband is a mystery to the neurologist he's been seeing. After a year of MRI's, lumbar punctures, blood tests, X-rays, etc, etc, they have told him they don't know what is the matter with him. It's not multiple sclerosis, it's not Parkinsons, but it might be that he has been having strokes. Scuse Me? It might be? After all this time, and all these tests, it might be? The consultant is still waiting for the report from the brain function tests ( that consultant decided to go on holiday before sending his report) which, although it won't explain the reason for the brain scarring, may show the results of it. So much for our health service.

This morning I took my car to the doctor - should have known better really after the above, but no, my life these days seems to be a triumph of hope over experience. The garage don't know what the matter is! They don't seem willing or able to listen to me when I explained that on the sort of driving I do I should be getting about 50 mpg, even though I have never got over about 42, but over the last few weeks I am only getting 30-32. Now, to me, that means something's not right. To them, I'm a woman. So now I've got some homework. I have to fill the tank right to the brim, drive for 60 miles, top up the tank and go back to the garage and tell them how much fuel I had to put in. Now, I'm wondering, how do I make sure I end up at the petrol station after driving exactly 60 miles? Visions of having to drive round the pumps on the forecourt to make sure I get to the magic figure. What if I get to the figure and I'm nowhere near a petrol station? Then I'd just have to refill and start all over again. This could go on for a long time if I'm not careful.

Lunch time today we went back to the pub I mentioned before for lunch, and I had a lovely meal. It was called Carribean Chicken, and it was chicken (obviously) cooked in a sauce of cream, coconut, Malibu and pineapple. It was gorgeous, but I really did not need (or eat) 2 chicken breasts, or the chips, and I don't think I'll eat again for days.

Now I'm off to watch the rest of the Andy Murray game.

Monday 22 June 2009

Sneaky peekies.......

.............of Raspberries and Cream. I had to take the quilt off the frame to turn it so I can do the side borders, so I thought I'd take these photos before I put it back on.

I hope you can see the motifs I have used in the Raspberries and the green triangles as well as the border (of feathers, what else?). The other one is of the back of the quilt.

I'm not sure how well these photos show up the quilting, but I've taken the photo now, so it's going in here! So there!

Archie went home last night. Mrs Nomad came round in the car so she could take all his "stuff" with her, plus him, in one go, rather than take his stuff then walk round to get him so he didn't have to go in the car. He definitely does not like cars. It took both of us to lift him in, and one to hold him in while the other closed the back of the car. Apparently he was delighted to see his humans again, and also his cat, but I gather Kit was not quite so pleased. I can't think why?

Tomorrow I have to take my car for a check-up. It is a hybrid engine, and I am suddenly getting about 15 miles per gallon less than I should be. Not good. Thank goodness it's under guarantee.

Husband is busy this afternoon planting up pots with the bedding plants we bought last week. We decided that an Archie weekend was not a good time to do them - he'd either have eaten them, (most likely), dug them up (quite likely), or sat on them (also likely), or any combination of the above. Husband knows that now it's Wimbledon fortnight I'm not likely to anything much (I think he's learnt that from years of experience), and he doesn't enjoy tennis so he's doing them. Reeeesult!

Saturday 20 June 2009

Guess who came for dinner?

and stayed for breakfast? And will be having dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow?

Yep. Archie. The Nomads have gone to visit some friends in Wales, and Archie hates even going a mile in a car, so he invited himself to stay with us for the weekend.

Friday 19 June 2009


has struck. I think my computer that I use for running the PCQuilter has just died.

I finally made the decision to put a heart in each of the triangles (and at 4 triangles per block, that's a lot of the durned things. So, this morning, while Husband was at hospital, I started. I did about 6, then had to stop. When I went back to them this afternoon, I did one and then the computer went on strike. No, it did more than go on strike. It stopped completely and I had to to force a crash landing to get out. So I just switched it off, then back on again. It lets me log on, goes through all it's boring little waking-up procedures, gets to the point where I think I can select a program and get going, and what happens? Nothing. Turn it off and on again and repeat the hanging around waiting bit - I'm really too impatient for all this. Result this time? Nothing. Repeat it all again. NOTHING. I've walked away for now, but I'm going back in a minute to see who is going to win, it or me. Any bets anyone?

So, very little quilting done, and a very annoyed me. What a waste of a nice, quiet, child-free, quilting day.

Boo. Hiss. I hate computers.

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Raspberries and Cream again

In case any of you are interested, I thought I'd give you a progress report.

I finished quilting the blocks this afternoon. I have been thinking about those green triangles, and I now have about eleventy-seven ideas about what to quilt in them. I think tomorrow I will have to stop playing around and make a decision. Then there's still the question of what to do with the borders. Ohh, all these decisions............

The things they say.

Not much to report here, so I thought I'd share this little gem from my (almost) 3 year old grandson. The other day Mrs Teacher asked him what he had done that day at the childminders. He looked at her, shrugged and said the classic word: "nothing". He's obviously in training to be a teenager.

Monday 15 June 2009

I'm not stupid, really

Want to hear a funny thing?

A couple of months ago we bought a new, wireless printer. It lives upstairs in the study, but I use my laptop downstairs, so it is fantastic to be able to print from down here. I just wished it could be a bit neater in it's habits. Every time I printed, it threw all the pages on the floor, and I then had to collect them all up and put them back in order. Why hadn't it got a thingy that would keep the printed pages neatly together, I kept thinking to myself. Well, today I went to pick up my printing, and guess what I discovered? It DID have a thingy. I just hadn't realised that I had to pull out a bit on the paper tray, swivel it and flip it, and hey presto - a paper catching/tidying thingy. Whooppee.

Saturday 13 June 2009

More Raspberries and Cream

Just a sneaky peek at the cream.

I have just finished quilting the second row of blocks, but I can't decide what to do in the borders yet.

I have also decided that these blocks need something more. I think they need something in the dark green triangles, so I'm thinking about that too.

It seems the quilting design on this quilt is very much a work-in-progress.

Friday 12 June 2009

Raspberries and Cream anyone?

This afternoon I put Raspberries and Cream on the frame and sewed a straight line across as tacking, then I had to go babysit for a while, so that was the end of quilting for today. Tomorrow is housework morning, but then I think I'll plan an easy cook dinner for the evening, and hopefully I could then get cracking. I have tested all the patterns out on scrap, and I think they will all work OK and the tension looks good.

I wish I had taken my camera with me when I went to the Nomads'. Mrs Nomad had taken Archie for a long walk this afternoon and he met 2 of his friends and spent a long time playing in the field with them. When they got back he was so tired. When I saw him he was flat out on their patio, lying with his head on an old covered sandpit, like a pillow. He looked so uncomfortable, but was fast asleep. He just looked so funny, but no photo, sorry.

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Good news, bad news and a good book

Today I have had some great news. Popular Patchwork magazine are going to publish my pattern for Leaves Around the Cabins, probably in September. I am VERY excited about that. They are also interested in an article from me about my "hands-free" quilting system, so I am going to have to get writing again for that.

The bad news is that the DVLA have finally come to life again. Boo. When Colin was first diagnosed with his sleep apnoea thing, he was told he MUST tell the DVLA and that they might suspend his driving licence until his consultant said it was under control. Well, being a good, law-abiding citizen, he did just that. After filling in 3 forms in quick succession, he has heard nothing from them now for a couple of months. Until today. Our doctor's receptionist rang to say the GP needs to see him tomorrow, as he has had a form now from the DVLA and they need to fill it in and discuss it. He has an appointment for tomorrow mid-morning, so keep your fingers crossed that they're not taking his licence away.

On a more positive note, I am about to go and put Raspberries & Cream on the frame ready to start quilting. I have today checked all the patterns, cos some of them are my derivatives of other patterns, and also I am using different threads, so needed to check tension too. All being well, I'll start that one tomorrow.

I had a new book delivered today, courtesy of Mr Those of you who know me will know it's not at all my usual sort of thing. It's called Scrap-Basket Surprises by Kim Brackett, who is a follower of my blog, and is from Magnolia Bay Quilts. This book has made me start itching to go sort through my fabrics, or maybe go buy a jellyroll (or 2) and start piecing. If you get a chance, have a look at it on Amazon to see the quilts in it - yes even you Sewali!

Monday 8 June 2009

One down........

3, or is it 4, to go.

Big Bertha and I have bonded again, and to prove it, here are photos of a quilted BarJelly. (By the way, if you ever want to see a Iarger photo in my blog, all you have to do is click on it, then use the back button to go back to normal.) haven't trimmed or bound it yet, but I wanted to show you all. I was worried about quilting this one as there were so many seams to contend with, but I should have had more faith in Bertha. There were about 3 skipped stitches, but hey, who's counting? It could have been much worse.

Now all I have to do is decide who to give it to - Little Sis is always happy to get my quilts, Mrs Nomad won't want it, Daugther-in-Law (aka Mrs Teacher) might do. I might just sit back and wait and see who asks first, or I might just put it in a cupboard. I still don't like it, although I do quite like the reverse of it.

Sunday 7 June 2009

I WON!!!!!

I had an ah-ha moment in the middle of the night. I was running Big Bertha too slowly. This morning I did do other things first like changing bobbins, needles, etc, as several of you suggested. I also took the tension thingy apart in case there was some thread or something caught in it. Then I turned up the speed, started up the PCQuilter, and off I went. What happened? It worked! What worked? Not sure cos in my usual impatient way I did several things at the same time! OK, the tension still wasn't perfect, but a few tweaks and together we were making beautiful stitches.

I have now put BarJelly on the frame and completed 3 passes on it, and the stitching is pretty darn good if I do say it myself. Tomorrow I will take some photos to prove it.

Thanks to all who made suggestions, I was very grateful.

Saturday 6 June 2009

Big Bertha............... NOT behaving herself today.

Husband set up the frame this morning and I gleefully got Big Bertha out. (For those of you who have not yet met her, Big Bertha is my 17" throat long-arm machine.) I gave her a good clean, oil to drink, and a nice shiny new needle. Was she grateful? Was she heck!

As she hadn't been used for a couple of months, I decided to do a trial run before I put a quilt on. I am sooo glad I made that decision. At first the tension was so bad that the top thread was just lying on the top fabric, then I started to get loops of bobbin thread showing on the top. Fiddle with tension, try again, and again, and again. Some improvement, but not enough. I was trying to use So Fine on the top as well as the bobbin, which I had never done before. I was also using prewound bobbins, which I usually use. OK, I thought, I'll go back to using my usual, King Tut on the top. Exactly the same problem as before. Change the tension, and again, and again. I just can't get a decent stitch top and bottom. The top stitches seem to be loose somehow and there are almost loops of top thread on the top. Got fed up. put her to bed for the night and walked away. If anyone has any suggestions as to what to try I would be very grateful to hear them. Please? Anyone?........

Friday 5 June 2009

Happy Birthday Mr Methusulah............

..............also known as my Dad

(just in case any of you are interested, clockwise from the top left the photos are my parents on Dad's retirement in the 80's; husband and I plus both sets of parents on our wedding day in 1967; Dad in 2008; my boys - is husband, father, grandson and son in 2007; Dad in uniform c.1945); my parents, sister and I about to go to Buckingham Palace for Dad's award of an OBE, early 70's;my parents, husband and I setting off to Royal Ascot, early 80's.)

Yesterday was his 85th birthday, so I thought I would make up a photo collage of him through the years. May there be many more of them Dad.

The day before was my sister's birthday, so I thought I would do the same for her. I failed though as she hates having her photo taken and goes into hiding as soon as she sees a camera! Happy birthday anyway Little Sis.

I was hoping Husband would set up my frame today so that Big Bertha and I could bond again over some quilting, but he was so busy on THAT fence, trying to get another panel finished before it rained, that I didn't feel I could nag! So no quilting despite the good intentions. Maybe tomorrow. (and for anyone who is about to ask, NO the oven hasn't been cleaned yet. Maybe tomorrow?)

Tuesday 2 June 2009

Ladies Who Lunch

It's been a busy day today. First I went to the hairdresser to have my feathers fluffed. Now I can see through my fringe again. I must confess I had trimmed it myself about a week ago, when I realised it was becoming very difficult to see out. I confessed to the hairdresser, and she very nicely told me I'd done a good job of it. I took Father down with me as he had made an appointment at his barber to have his hair and beard trimmed too. Then I went on to a meeting of the Ladies Who Lunch group. There were only 3 of us this time, but we had a good time with loads of food and loads of gossip. Then I came home, and I must confess that what with the food and the heat, I spent the rest of the afternoon with a book.

Tomorrow morning I hope to actually get the backing pieced for True Scrappy. I have cut the pieces out, so made progress. I couldn't bring myself to do a true scrappy back like I had intended, but am just using 2 colours. I think it will look OK, but we'll see tomorrow.

The kids are back at school after the half term, so it's back to normal again now, collecting them from school, overseeing homework, etc. That's why I can only quilt in the morning tomorrow.

If any of you are still wondering about the blue fence - there's been no progress today. The thing is, to do the rest of it Husband will have to be in the sun, and I don't think he'd enjoy that much. Maybe he'll do some more tomorrow as the temperature is set to go from about 74 the last few days down to 61 for a few days. Good old British summer's here!

Monday 1 June 2009

Wandering Star and Blue fences

You remember the "unquilting" I have been doing recently? Well, this is the quilt, Wandering Star, with no quilting now. It's very crumpled after the quick was I gave it today, so that's something else to be added to the ironing pile.

I have also made the backings for Raspberries and Cream and for BarJelly today, so they need ironing too. I was on a roll until I discovered I haven't got enough of the fabric I wanted to use as the backing for True Scrappy. Still, in the tradition of "scrappy" quilts, I am going to piece the backing too. I've never done a pieced backing before, so wish me luck with that.

For those of you who are waiting with bated breath to hear about the fence - the latest installment is that Husband went off to B&Q this morning, bought some more paint and a very big paintbrush and attacked the gate. He'll just keep on, even though it's not covering beautifully, till all the panels have been done, then we (actually, he, cos I just have this feeling he might not let me get involved this time round) will spend the next year considering what to do next. My answer would be to pay someone else to come and do it, but then Husband always says I have more money than sense! Don't know what he means.
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