Wednesday 23 April 2014

Of Men and Quilts ...

... Rewind about 3 weeks, and the conversation between Mr Fixit and I went like this:

Me: We're going on holiday in about 3 weeks, do you need any new clothes like shirts? (which can be roughly translated as "We're going on holiday in 3 weeks, you need to buy some new shirts").

Mr F: OK I'll think about it.

All quiet on the shirt front until last Monday at about 10 pm,  when Mr F comes out of his study and proudly announces: I've ordered some new shirts.

Me: Do you think they'll be delivered in time, considering we're going on Friday? (rough translation: It's too late, they won't arrive by Thursday)

Mr F: Hmm.

So today I went out and bought him some new shirts!

So on to the quilts part of the title.

Here is Tubix as a flimsy, which is also going to be a pattern once I've written it up and it's been tested - any volunteers?
Edited 24 April:  Thanks so much everyone, I now have enough people who volunteered to test this pattern for me.

I've called it Tubix because it looks like square tubes and sort of reminds me of the Rubix Cube.

Also, it occurred to me that I haven't shown you my (unfinished) version of Colour Boxes that I wrote about here, so here it is

Tuesday 22 April 2014

NOW what's her excuse ...

... for her silence you're all wondering aren't you?  Well, I've had a virus.  Strictly speaking, I haven't had one, but my computer has.

Yes, my lovely, shiny new laptop got infected.  This virus is actually a browser hijacker, which, once it's in, overwrites the default search settings on the computer and sends you off to some very dodgy sites instead, so whilst it doesn't actually steal my information or anything, it can send me to sites that might.  This is also a piece of malware which changes itself so that virus scanners such as AVG, which I use and Malwarebytes, which I also use (did I hear someone mention belts and braces just then?) do not detect this nasty little thing.

There are symptoms that tell you you've caught the virus though.  You might notice that your default search engine is changed or you are frequently being told the site you want can't be found.  I found it by accident when I noticed that a lot of sites were taking an age to load and if I looked at the bottom left hand side of my screen it said "waiting for partner18.myadvisor,com".  I then googled and was not happy at what I found out.

There are several ways of getting rid of it.  The first is to try running a virus scan, but that's unlikely to do any good.  The next is to start changing your computer systems files, but I didn't feel confident in doing that.  The fairly drastic version is to do a complete factory reset of the computer. Since mine is quite new, I wouldn't lose anything (except my time), so this is the option I went for.  The final solution is to pay a man to do it for you.  Downloading the current version of Windows 8.1 took an age (4.5 hours) plus about the same to do the 93 updates, so that was a whole day.  Then I had to reinstall all my own programs, run scans, check everything worked OK and so on.  I finished installing the final bit of sorftware this morning, and here I am again.

So that's my excuse.

Saturday 12 April 2014


Eight blocks made early this afternoon ......
Eight blocks to be unmade late this afternoon!

I have sewn, pressed and trimmed all eight blocks before realising that I have sewn the two centre pieces in upside down in every block.  That means the whole block hast to be unsewn every time. How could I not notice such a glaring mistake earlier? 

I hate it when that happens.

Friday 11 April 2014

Thought for the day ...

There was a comment on my last post asking how I can sell the pattern for Wimbledon Squares when the same quilt has been around for ages and can be seen all over the internet? This raises an interesting point and so I thought that rather than replying by email as I would usually, I would put my reply in the form of a blog post so people can join the conversation if they want to. 

I agree the block is not necessarily original, however, if you look at almost all patterns, you will see that they are based on traditional block designs that have been around for many, many years.  As Harry S Truman once said “there is nothing new in this world, except the history we do not know”.  However, what hasn't been around is my version of the pattern.  A designer does her own calculations on fabric quantities, writes her own instructions and draws her own diagrams for how to make the quilt, from how to cut the fabrics and sew them together to make blocks, through to adding the binding to make the final quilt.  All of this is in her own words, and has taken up her time, and that is what she is selling.  In short, I believe that any designer who does this has the right to expect to be paid for her work.

I also think that quilting would stagnate if designers were only allowed to produce patterns using blocks that have never been seen before.

The commenter also stated that she has made quilts like this without a pattern, as have I and many other people, I am sure, but I doubt that a beginner would be able to do that.  If we don’t help those beginners by giving them straightforward patterns with instructions, they won’t be able to increase their abilities and confidence and they might well lose interest and drift away and then there is a danger that the art of quilting will gradually die out.

I think my friend Nancy summed this up by saying “none of us ever got up on our legs for the first time and ran a marathon”.

Thursday 10 April 2014

Wimbledon Squares gets tested ...

... this is another of my designs which is now becoming a pattern.  Here is my version, which I made several years ago.  (Memo to self: get a decent photo of this quilt to replace this one where it's scrumpled up to fit on a washing line.)
This time my testers were Donna, Rita, Susan, Janette who all did a wonderful job with this pattern for me and the resulting quilts are all very different.

Donna and her constant companion and helper Ms Cha Cha Cat, made this version, which she has called Lavender Blue Dilly Dilly.  They have made this for Donna's niece, Bailey, who loves all things pink and purple.  There is a little funny story about the fabrics in this quilt.  They have all come from a range called Henley by Makower.  Now Makower is a UK company, and Henley  Royal Regatta is regarded as part of the London Social Season and would be attended by people such as Lady Mary from Downton Abbey.  All very appropriate considering I live in the UK, don't you think?

This very dramatic version, called was made by Susan.  When she had finished, Susan took this quilt and another one she has made, which you will see in a minute, for a drive to find suitable backdrops for some great photos. Who remembers the Wombles of Wimbledon Common?  Well Susan obviously does, as she's named this "Wombling On".  Once I read that I couldn't get their theme tune out of my head for days, and now it's back again.

Not content with making one quilt, Susan then decided to play around a bit with the pattern  and Autumn on Wimbledon Common is the result.  I was blown away by this version as it is so different and so clever.

Now, this one has made me laugh for several reasons.  You all know my friend Scrappy?  Well, she decided to challenge herself to only use three fabrics instead of the three hundred and thirty three she would usually go for.  That was amazing enough, but then, the other evening, just as she was finishing the top, I had an email from her saying "wasn't I clever, to chose one fabric with tennis balls on it?".  I was with her when she bought the fabrics, and although they aren't really tennis balls, they do look very like them.  So she is calling her quilt Wimbledon.

There are still more quilts to show you, but I expect you're fed up with the sound of my voice by now, so I'll just say thanks so much to Donna, Susan and Scrappy for the great job they have done on my behalf and leave you with the Wombles song

Friday 4 April 2014

Red Sprinkles becomes ....

... Honey Bee Sprinkles, Blue Travelling Sprinkles and The Dragon Princess, thanks respectively to Nancy, Joanna, and Nancy again who have been pattern testing for me.

Here are some pictures of their versions of the pattern

First up is Nancy's Honey Bee Sprinkles.  I love the different colours and the bees in some of the blocks are gorgeous. I think the red border does a great job of keeping them all under control.

This is Joanna's lovely blue quilt.  She has already quilted and bound it, and has donated it to the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge.

Then, be afraid, be very afraid, cos here come the dragons.  This version was also made by Nancy who has called it The Dragon Princess because apparently she had a story in her mind about a Princess who falls in love with a Dragon she finds in her rose garden.  If you look closely you will see that Nancy has only used three fabrics in this version.
Edited to say there are 6 fabrics, the dragon had obviously hidden some when I first looked at the quilt!

I would like to thank all of my wonderful testers for doing such a great job for me.  There will be more posts showing the testers' quilts coming up, so, as they say, watch this space.
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