Saturday 31 August 2013

I'm still here ...

.... As I mentioned before, I had two quilts to make before I jet off to the US, so I have been quiet.  The first one is made, quilted, bound and I will finish the hanging sleeve this evening.  So tomorrow I should be able to show you a picture of it.  Meanwhile, I have also been making blocks for the other version of the same quilt. This one is being made in ruby red, dark pink, chocolate and cream. Sounds horrible doesn't it?  Well I think it's just gorgeous and here's a picture of some of the blocks (without the cream) for you to see.
This picture actually shows the effect of using shott cottons a bit more specially if you look at the four centre triangles above.  The effect is even better in real life.

Do you remember sweets called Raspberry Ruffles from when you were a child?  That's just what these blocks remind me of, so I have a feeling this quilt might be called Ruffled Raspberries or something similar rather than 3D Noughts and Crosses v3.

Now I really must put down the laptop, ignore the quilting magazine that dropped through my letterbox a short while ago, and go sew ......

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Aah, that's better ...

... This is a follow-up from my last post about the manly quilt with flowery quilting.   I finished the unpicking (but not the audio book) and then started again yesterday on this quilt.  I did the final row this morning , and here it is.  I was too impatient to wait until I'd added the binding, but I am now very happy with it.

This is the quilt I will be teaching at Quilting in The Garden while I am on holiday staying with Lynn from Sew'n Wild Oaks.

I used fabrics very generously supplied by Oakshott Fabrics, and have tried to get a photo that shows the colour variations in the fabrics, but I failed miserably.The dark fabric could be anything from jade through peacock to emerald or even purple and the light varies from light grey through olive to mid-blue, all depending on the angle the light hits them.  Quite amazing.  The thread was a variegated purple which I fell in love with when I saw it.  I usually use a very neutral colour for the thread so it doesn't show very much, but I felt that it would work here.

Tuesday 20 August 2013


...... I wanted to make a quilt that would be suitable for a guy, so I chose my fabrics carefully, made the top, got Big Bertha out to work her magic on it and quilted about half of it.  All the time I was quilting, I knew I did not like it, there was something wrong.  So I stopped for the day (this was on Sunday) and walked away.  I went back later and had a look at what I had done and that's when I realised the problem.  Here is a photo taken from the back
Now what on earth made me choose a pattern for the blocks that is distinctly floral-looking?

So I spent yesterday and this morning in the company of Mr Seam-ripper and a good audio book, un-sewing everything.  Now I'm off to start again, this time I am doing an all-over pattern that is a favourite of mine, called Double Bubble Trouble.  I have used it before several times and I am quite sure I will be much happier with it this time.  I'll be back in a couple of days with a photo.

Sunday 11 August 2013

Christmas QAL - Day 2, post 2

My friend J, who is going to be called Scrappy in future, on account of the fact that she always goes for scrappy quilts, has decided to enter our Christmas Challenge.  Because she does not have a blog, I have said that I will post her progress reports here.

Scrappy is trying to restrict herself to four fabrics (bet she can't stick to that!), so here are the fabrics she's chosen

Her design involves a box, which will be the dark blue and the gold, the light blue is for the background and the other blue may be the borders.  I've seen a drawing of her idea, and can tell you all it's going to be a wonderful quilt.

Don't forget you can go to Jolly Jo's here to see what other people are up to during this quiltalong weekend.

Christmas QAL - Day 2

Yesterday I mentioned that I had a lovely dinner cooking away in the slow cooker while I attempted to do some FMQ-ing, and SewCalGal and several other people have asked me for the recipe, so here it is.

Boozy Beef in Beajolais:

  1. Cut 2 sticks of celery, 2 carrots and 1 onion into roughly 1/4" dice and put them in the slow-cooker
  2. Mix 1/2 tsp garlic flakes, 1 tbsp tomato puree, and 1 tbsp Dijon mustard into the vegetables
  3. Season with salt and pepper
  4. Pour in 1 bottle of Beaujolais and 250 ml (9 fl oz) of cold water
  5. Sit the rolled and tied brisket joint on top
  6. Put the lid on and cook on high until it's bubbling, then turn it down to low.  I have cooked this for anything between 5 and 8 hours.
  7. Just before serving stir in 25 g chilled butter and 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly.
  • the original recipe says to cook on low for 8 hours, it does not mention starting off on high
  • I have used various light red wines in place of the Beaujolais, just go to the supermarket and get a cheap bottle
  • the redcurrant jelly is optional
  • if the sauce seems too thin, I just thicken it with a little cornflour
  • I have added other things like chopped tomatoes and also I sometimes peel and dice potatoes and cook them in the pot too.

It's really quick to prepare, easy to do and yummy to eat.  When I take the joint out to serve it, I could carve it with a spoon it is so tender.  It makes the house smell lovely too.

There is no picture of it cos we ate it before I thought of that so here's a picture of my slow-cooker reheating some for today:

Now I'm off to have a rethink about my Christmas QAL challenge entry.  Don't forget to pop into Jolly Jo's, here, to see what everyone else is getting up to this weekend.

Saturday 10 August 2013

Houston, we have a problem ...

or Christmas QAL post 2.

What's the problem?  Well let me show you:
this is my attempt at FMQ.  Cos I know I can't do it, I thought I'd draw something first and just sew along the lines.  Sounds easy like that, doesn't it?  Well, let me tell you, I did NOT find it easy at all.  This was not my first effort, I'm not even going to show the earlier ones.  It's a good job this isn't a police test to check if I'm driving while under the influence isn't it?

Just to give you a laugh, I thought I'd give you a close up, so you can see just how bad it is.  I'm not even going to show you the back which is even worse.

I have to come to the conclusion that I just can not do FMQ-ing.  Come to think of it, I already knew that, that's why I have Big Bertha to do my quilting for me, so why did I ever think I might be able to do it now?

So, It looks as though I'm going to have to go back to the drawing board regarding my Christmas Challenge entry, cos the quilting is an essential part of it.

Then, just to console myself, I decided to play with all the hexie pieces I cut out yesterday.  What a shame the challenge says no red (amongst other stupid restrictions), cos I'm loving these, although I have no idea what they're going to be when they get older.

Ho, ho, ho ...

... Happy Christmas everyone.

Yes, it's time for our Christmas party weekend again, and this time it's over at Jolly Jo's place.  Everyone is welcome and if you're joining in and sewing something Christmassy, then you can link up here.  I'm going to do some more work on my entry for our Christmas challenge.  It's going to need some free-motion quilting, which is not something I do, so will need a lot of practice first.

Now I've done my housework, I have a joint of beef cooking in red wine in the slow cooker, and it smells gorgeous, so I'm going to have a cup of coffee and go visit all the other party-goers before I start on my practice.

If you want a quick trip around the world to see what everyone's doing, then just go to Jolly Jo's Christmas QAL page and click on all the Linkies.

Friday 9 August 2013

It was a busy day ...

... for some!  A couple of days ago, as I told you yesterday, my friends J & F came over for a day of sewing, eating and chatting (and not necessarily in that order) and this is what they did.

F is hand-sewing a clutch-bag, complete with a zip (I can't do zips, so I'm always impressed when someone can) using a charm square pack that she fell in love with and just had to buy. I think we can all relate to that, can't we?

J started by making a needlecase after I showed her one that I had made a few days before.

Then she used my Go! Cutter to cut out loads of hexagons, and laid them out like this to see what they would look like as a table topper,

and, as if that wasn't enough, she then started on a mug rug.  This is going to have a little pocket to hold a serviette.  I just loved the fabric she is using for it.

As for me, I bet you're all wondering what I did, aren't you?  Well, after a very bad night (less than 2 hours sleep) and an early morning visit to the doctor for my annual diabetes blood test, where the nurse tried and failed five times to get any blood, I was tired and so the sum total of what I did was  ... nothing.  Zilch.  Nada. I did manage to do lots of talking and eating though and had a great day.  So that's why I said it was a busy day for some!

Thursday 8 August 2013

You're never too old ...

... to learn something new.  I proved that yesterday.  My friends J and F were over for the day, and J was using Big Brother, one of my machines and she was using the thread cutter, see that handy little "bit" on the side of the machine, next to the label? 
"So what?" you're all thinking. Well I'll tell you "so what".  I have had Big Brother for over 7 years, and always wished he had one of those!  I had honestly never realised.  I was so happy, until I told Mr Fixit that I had this handy-dandy little device and he simply looked at me a bit pityingly, and said "yes, I know, and I thought you did too"  J and F (OK and me too) thought that was so funny.

Tomorrow I'll tell you all about our day together and show you the great things that J & F both made.  Oh, and don't forget, Saturday is party day - yes, it's time to hop over to Jolly Jo's for the next Christmas QAL day.

Thursday 1 August 2013

Country Charmer ...

... check-in day.

Yes, it's the first day of the month, so it's time to check in with all the other Country Charmers around the world.  We're all making this great quilt, designed by Lovely Lynn, as a quiltalong which is being hosted by our Leader Lesley. This quiltalong is a bit different from most, as we are really all working at our own pace each month, doing as much or as little as we want and then on the first of each month, we show our progress, and link up at Lesley's place.

If you read my blog regularly, you will know that I am now the proud owner of a design wall (of sorts). and it has proved invaluable this month while I have been sewing the blocks and sashing together.  this is where I finished up my last report, all the blocks, sashings and corner posts laid out on the "wall"
 so the next step was to sew everything together.  Easy-peasy yes?


I sewed sashing to rows, I sewed rows to sashing, then I was going to sew the top half to the bottom and this is what I had.


How did that happen?  I thought the "wall" was supposed to stop things like that happening?  Oh well, I got out my trusty friend the very blunt (I really must treat myself to a new one) stitch-ripper, and soon put it right.

So now everything is looking great again and I need to decide on borders.  I am thinking I may go "off-piste" with the borders, if I have the courage.  I may not have time to work on this wonderful quilt at all during August though, as I have two quilts to make to use for the class I am teaching in September while I am staying with Lovely Lynn, but I will try.

So, to see some lovely eye candy, just go to the bottom of Lesley's post here and click on each of the links.
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