Thursday 31 January 2013

WHAT did she just tell me?

If I didn't know better, I'd think that Mrs Nomad could not possibly  be my daughter.  Today she was telling me about something that happened that had stressed her out.  So what do you suppose she did to calm herself down? Apparently she got out the Hoover and started vacuuming! That's just not normal is it?

Saturday 26 January 2013

By Jove ...

... I think she's got it!

My first block for the Country Charmer QAL, hosted by Lesley, (see the button on my sidebar) is what I'm on about.

I have had problems with my fabric selection for this quilt, and yesterday, after completely throwing all my toys out of the pram and wailing "I can't do it", my friend Bilbo came to the rescue.  Unfortunately, she lives over 150 miles away, so she didn't physically ride in on her white charger, but telephones and digital cameras are wonderful things.  She talked me through what the problems were, and then it was obvious.

All my fabrics co-ordinate beautifully, but there was no contrast between them, so everything was sort of mooshing (if there is such a word) together.

So then I dragged out some hand-dyed fabrics that I dyed last year plus a bright (very, very bright) orange to throw into the mix.

Photos sent to Bilbo again, and we rejected the green as there was no other hint of green in my fabrics.  The pink and red went next, as they were too similar to the other fabrics - me co-ordinating again, so that left the orange.

At first, I thought I'd use the orange for the chains in the design, but Bilbo persuaded me to try it in the triangles instead and to keep that as a constant through every block.

So if you're still with me, here is my first block, and I LOVE it!

Thursday 24 January 2013

It's not right ...

... is it?
This is the block where I used the squiggly fabric around the centre square.  When I sewed it together, I didn't think it worked after all, so then I made another block going back to Plan A, ie using the background fabric round the centre.

It's definitely better, but it's still not right.  I am thinking that the scale of the pink fabric is too large, apart from the fact that some of the squiggly squares are pointing in the wrong direction.

I think tomorrow I'll try again, and just use the smaller scale patterns.  Or maybe tomorrow I'll try again using completely different fabrics, like the ones I showed the other day.  The trouble is, I really love these fabrics!

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Got it ...

I think.

I started playing with fabrics for my Country Charmer quilt today for the quiltalong (see button on my sidebar for more details), and after much taking out and putting back of fabrics, this is what happened
Yes, I like it, but it still needs a little something, so I swapped the plain triangles surrounding the centre piece for something a bit louder

and I love it.  So, decision made.  Not Christmas, not repro, but loud, jazzy, pink, red,yellow and orangey.

Monday 21 January 2013

and the winner is ....

... I have made Mr Random.Org do a little work this afternoon, and he has picked the winner of my birthday giveaway and he chose ...
... who is Carolyn Smith, who wrote:
Congratulations Carolyn, you have won the two charm packs of Little Seasonal Gatherings - oh, and shall I give you my address, in case you don't like them, cos I love that range!

Thanks to everyone who entered and wished Chatterbox and I a Happy Birthday.  Thanks too for all the good wishes for Mr Fixit.  He is in hospital again today for some more monitoring, but will hopefully come home tomorrow.  Just to let you know also, that the credit card company were very quick to send me out a new card, so I can still shop!!

Sunday 20 January 2013

Charming button ...

Yes, we've now got a button,for the Country Charmer Quiltalong.  I've put it on my sidebar, and underneath is the code you can copy to add it to your blog too.

Saturday 19 January 2013

Charming ...

... Country Charmer.

Last year my friend Lynn from Sew'n Wild Oaks Quilting showed a quilt on her blog that I just fell in love with.  It is called Country Charmer, and is her own design.
I decided that, although it is a scrappy (eeeekk) quilt, I just had to make it.  (I have "borrowed" the picture from Lynn's blog, without permission, I hope she doesn't mind.) I wanted to use Christmas fabrics, so I thought I'd wait until the start of the new year before I got going on it.  It turns out I am not the only person who wants to make it and another friend, Lesley, The Cuddle Quilter and Lynn cooked up a bright idea.  As a result, Lesley is running a Country-Charmer-sort-of-Quiltalong, and Lynn is going to post hints, tips and general useful bits on her own blog every other Thursday. So it'll be like having Lynn in the room with us as we sew, which is brilliant.     

You'll notice I called it a sort-of Quiltalong, and that's because, in Lesley's own words
This is a no frills, no pressure, no anxiety quiltalong! All you need to do is to purchase the pattern,  have your fabrics on hand, and you will be good to go. BTW, I am not affiliated in any way with the quilt shop. I just love the quilt and it would be a fun one to do with a group of friends. 
Lesley has divided the pattern into 7 steps, so that by the end of August we could all have completed tops, then there will be a final parade for December. There are no quilt police breathing down our necks here, but it should be fun and there are people from across the globe joining in.  You can read more about the plans, and where to get the pattern on Lesley's blog, in this post.

So, I'm all hyped up and ready to go, when I run into a problem.  Yes, already, before I even cut a single piece of fabric.  I have been having second thoughts about the fabrics I want to use.

 I like the idea of using Civil War repro fabrics, like these,

but I am also tempted to go really modern and use these,

or shall I stick with my original plan of Christmas colours?  It would be most appropriate really to use thees fabrics, as I actually won these on Lynn's blog when she was our Christmas QAL hostess last year.

See, I told you I had a problem!

By the way, don't forget to enter my giveaway, here.  You have until midnight GMT tomorrow, 20 January to enter to win two charm packs of Seasonal Little Gatherings from CrazyQuiltGirlFabricShop.

Monday 14 January 2013

It never rains ...

... but it pours.

As if the credit card fiasco wasn't enough hassle for the day yesterday, things got worse.  Colin started to feel more and more unwell and we phoned the hospital who said it was urgent that he came straight back in to the hospital.  So off we went.

We arrived at about 7 pm, but it seemed they hadn't got the right equipment so he was then referred to St James hospital.  8 pm found us in the A&E department at Jimmys.  By midnight he was all tucked up in a ward and feeling much more comfortable.  12.30 am found me back home, and of course too hyped up to think of sleep, so I had a slice of cheesecake, which may have been last night's tea or this morning's breakfast, I'm not sure which.  

Because we'd left home in a rush, neither of us had taken any money, but that didn't matter cos we knew we'd be able to park at the Nuffield in one of their 4 (I'm not kidding) parking spaces, and they were free.  Unfortunately, Jimmy's car park isn't.  I had to ring Mr & Mrs Nomad and ask them to come down with some money.  Then Mr Nomad suggested he took my car home, and he'd come back and pick me up when I rang.  It's as well we did that, cos it turned out that the car park closes at either 10 pm or midnight, depending on which sign you read!  So we got the car, paid the fee, drove to the exit, put the ticket in the machine, only to be told "sorry, ticket can't be read".  Whaaat?  Well Mr Nomad leapt out, harangued an attendant and got them to lift the barrier so we could get out. It's just as well they did take the car as when I eventually got picked up bu Mr Nomad to go home, it was after midnight, so if I'd kept the car there, I'd have been stuck till the car park opened at 6 am!  

Mr Fixit is now home again, with an appointment to see his consultant tomorrow morning.  So what with a disastrous Christmas and a not brilliant birthday, we're thinking of not doing celebrations for the rest of this year!  

PS Don't forget my giveaway here.

Sunday 13 January 2013

Bet you can't guess ...

Please note:  this giveaway is now closed.  Thanks to everyone who entered.
 ... what today is?  Yep, it's my birthday. It's Chatterbox's birthday too.  So, to celebrate, how about a little giveaway?  Sound good to you?  OK but first let me tell you about my day.

First, Mr Fixit decided last night that he'd had enough of being in hospital and wanted to come home.  That was fine and I went and collected him and we were home by about 8pm.  He says he doesn't feel too bad, but he did not have a good night, and therefore neither did I, but he seems quite a lot better today.

Because he's not well, it fell to me to go to the supermarket this morning, which is something he usually does.  Well, I don't know if it was a good thing I went or not.  Apart from the fact that it was full of people who seemed to be out for a family sight-seeing trip and those who left their trolley in the middle of an isle while they wandered off to look at the shelves, etc, it was not too bad an experience, until I went through the checkout and my credit card was refused!  Needless to say I didn't have enough cash for everything, so had to put some things back.  Talk about embarrassing.  I'm sure the whole of Leeds was in there, sniggering at me!  I came home rather quickly, and straight away tried to log on to my card account on line, only to find I couldn't and I was given a number to ring.  When I rang it, I was talking to someone in the Fraud Department, and it seems someone had tried to use my card twice fraudulently, so Barclaycard had blocked it.  My pin number hadn't been "compromised" as they put it, but they cancelled the card immediately and are sending me a new one.  I was told that fraudsters often try to make 2 small payments (in my case for 43p to some company I've never heard of and then for £7.54 to Virgin in the US,) then, if they go through, they start going mad with the card and making large purchases like TVs etc.  Thank goodness I found out in time.  No harm has been done, it's just a pain in the you-know-where.

Anyway, I also tried to change my blog layout today, and I don't know what happened, but all sorts of odd things were going on, so I ended up having to revert to an earlier back up of it.  Thank goodness I do the backups before I change anything major, just in case, otherwise QuiltTimes would have disappeared altogether today.  Still, that's all sorted now.

Now, I think I mentioned a giveaway, didn't I?  This has been sponsored by my favourite quilt shop, CrazyQuiltGirlFabricshop who have kindly donated two charm packs of Seasonal Little Gatherings.  All you have to do is go and look at their website, and then come back and leave me a comment telling me your favourite item. If you are a public follower of mine or of theirs, please leave me another comment telling me so, and finally if you have ever taken part in one of the Christmas Quiltalong Days, leave me another comment telling me that.  This is open to everyone, as long as I can contact you r, so if you are a no-reply entrant, please add your email to the comment. I will reply to every entrant, so if you do not hear from me, then I could not contact you and you might like to look again at your blogger account settings.  The giveaway is open for one week, and will close at midnight, GMT on Sunday 20 January.

Saturday 12 January 2013

Lone Star Parade today ...

... so far it's a very small parade.  There's Jayne, me and one other person, but for people in the States it's still quite early so hopefully the parade will grow.

I have been playing around with quilting ideas, and have just sent Jayne a diagram of how I think it'll be quilted.  Of course, that could (and, knowing me, almost certainly will) change before I get Big Bertha out to play!  My regular visitors won't be surprised to hear that feathers will feature quite heavily. The quilt measures approx 88" x 106", if I remember rightly, and the quilting design will involve about 15000 linear inches of quilting.  Since I normally do not go for heavy quilting, that seems quite a lot for me, and I hope I don't get to regret it.  Mind you, one layout I had worked out at almost double that!

Don't forget, this parade is open to anyone, whether you joined us last year on the quiltalong or not and whether you made it yourself, or are just the lucky owner.  We just want to see pictures of beautiful Lone Star quilts.  (Don't forget, there might be a giveaway too.) So, please send a picture of your quilt to Jayne, and she will add it to the parade on her blog.  To send your picture, go to Jayne's blog, here, click on the "view full profile" on her sidebar, and there you will find a link to her email address.

Thursday 10 January 2013

Lone Star Parade ...

As most of you know, Jayne and I were working on our Lone Star quilts, along with one or two other people, during 2012.  We thought it would be fun to mark the end of this madness by having a parade of stars on Saturday.  We are also inviting anyone who owns a Lone Star quilt, whether you made it or not, finished or not, to add your quilt to the parade.  I'm planning to witter on about my thoughts about how I am going to quilt mine and I suspect that Jayne is also going to do the same but we'd love to hear about the story behind any of your Lone Stars.  Jayne will be hosting this, over on her blog, here, and I have heard a rumour that there might be a giveaway too, but don't tell anyone I told you.

Speaking of giveaways, I'm going to holding a small birthday giveaway here on Sunday, so you might like to pop in for that.

While I'm here, can I ask you all to send good thoughts to Mr Fixit, who is in hospital and having an operation today?

Sunday 6 January 2013

Winner, winner

This is a quick post as I'm in the middle of doing my tax returns, and I really do want to finish them today.

mrs pickles garden
I think we have all enjoyed the blog  hop that Mrs Pickles organised for us, I know I certainly have.  Today is the last day and the hostess is Mrs P herself, so hurry on over there to see what secrets she is sharing with you all.

Now better late than never, I have asked Mr Random. org to pick the winner of the $25 gift certificate donated by the Fat Quarter Shop, and he has chosen
and number 2 is Ruth, who blogs at Country Log Cabin, here.

Congratulations Ruth and I must thank Mr Random for picking a lovely low number so I didn't have to search to far to find the winner.

Thanks also again to Mrs Pickles for organising this hop and to the companies who generously donated giveaway prizes.

Saturday 5 January 2013

Quilting Secrets

Giveaway is now closed.  Thanks to everyone who visited me and entered.

Hello, and welcome to my day on the Quilting Secrets blog hop.  This great hop has been organised by Mrs Pickles from Mrs Pickles Garden, who has asked 6 bloggers to share some of our secrets (no, not that sort, we're talking about Quilting secrets here) with anyone else who might be interested.  Mrs Pickles has also lined up some great giveaway prizes, but you'll have to either read to the end of my post, or skip the rest and just go straight to the end to find out what is being given away here.

My secret involves flying geese. This is  a versatile block that is often overlooked cos people are worried about all the bias edges involved in making them, but did you know there are several ways of making them that don't involve working with those pesky bias bits?  No?  Well read on.

The traditional way involves loads of measuring, cutting, sewing, pressing, trimming and repeating until you have enough.  Boring.

 Then there is the flippy method, where you sew squares onto the ends of rectangles diagonally then cut off the spare bits.  Great, quick, but wasteful, unless you are clever enough to sew twice on each square and cut in between, so you have neat little HSTs ready for another project.  I'm usually in too much of a hurry and only remember that bit after I've cut the ends off, and then I can't be bothered to match them all up again and sew them together!  So, not so boring, but a bit wasteful.

The next method is the one I usually go for.  There is no waste, and you make four at a time.  Great for an impatient person like me, as long as you remember you are making four at a time.

In other words, if your pattern calls for eight flying geese, you do not repeat this method eight times, but just twice.  Trust me, I know how annoying it can be when you make that mistake! So, great, as long as you remember my warning.

Then there is my favourite of all the geese, the 3D curved flying geese block.  This is so simple to make, and a very effective block to use as a border, or in strips, or wherever you want really.  Here is how to make them:

To make a block that is 6" x 3", 
Cut two "sky" fabric squares 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" and one "goose" rectangle  6 1/2" x 3 1/2".
Fold the goose rectangle in half, WRONG sides together so you have a rectangle measuring 3 1/4" x 3 1/2".

Make a goose sandwich by layering a sky square right side up, then your goose rectangle  then another sky square, right side down.

Make sure you match the raw edges and corners up and the goose fold is at the bottom.  Remember, the goose should be slightly higher than the sky squares at the bottom.

Pin and then sew down the right hand side of your sandwich.  To check you've got it right, the sewn seam should be at right angles to the fold in the goose fabric.

Open up you unit, make sure the seam is central, and press it open.

The edges of the goose are now bias edges, and can be curved easily.

Once you have completed your quilt, you can sew the curved edges by hand or by machine, and they can even be used as part of the quilting if you sew through all the layers.

Here are some luggage tags I made using 3D curved flying geese.

OK, now, do you remember, way back at the beginning of this post I promised you a giveaway?  Well here it is

Yes, somebody is going to win a $25 gift certificate which has been generously donated by the Fat Quarter Shop.  Now I'm sure that most of you have heard of the Fat Quarter Shop, but I thought you might like to know a little more about them.  The Fat Quarter Shop was founded in 2003 by Kimberly Jolly. An avid quilter, Kimberley began her shop as a side business whilst still working full time, cutting, packing and shipping from her home during the evenings and weeekends.. From the very beginning, she was committed to delivering top-notch service for every single order and customer. As the Fat Quarter Shop's reputation grew, Kimberly decided to make it a full-time operation. Her husband Kevin joined her not long after, and with his help, lots of hard work, and a tireless commitment, the store began to grow. Over the past few years a few more people have joined the staff!
As a team, they continue to branch out with the best fabrics, exclusive kits, quilt clubs, BOMs, and more. And they will always be driven by the passion that Kimberly founded the store upon, which is always giving you the best products and service! You will find them at
To win this gift certificate, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what your all-time favourite block is.  The giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere, but is only open for 24 hours.  Please make sure that I can contact you if you are the winner, so if you are a no-reply blogger, please leave an email address in your comment.

Tomorrow is the last day of this blog hop, and our hostess for the day is none other than the organiser, 
Mrs Pickles herself.

Tuesday 1 January 2013

Happy New Year and Christmas Quiltalong ...

... I'd like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year, and I hope that 2013 brings you everything that you wish for yourselves.

Now I want to talk about the Christmas Quiltalongs.  As you know, for about 3 or 4 years, I have been running the Christmas QALevery month.  The first couple of years I did it alone, then the third year I had the help of Cathi from Shakerwood Quilts, and last year we had a number of different hostesses.  It has been a lot of fun, and I have really enjoyed organising these days, but I have noticed that the number of participants on these days has been dwindling and so I feel that the time has come to stop.  So, I have decided that this year I will not be running the Christmas QAL's,  The question is, what to do next?  Any ideas anyone?
09 10