Tuesday 29 December 2015

Review ...

... (please note that I was given an e-copy of this book to review)

There may not have been much quilting going on around here lately, but that doesn't mean I can't read about it, so, when I was offered a free copy of this book to read and then write an unbiased review, I leapt at the chance.

Simple Blocks, Stunning Quilts the Squareagonals Way, by Sandi Blackwell

I have been aware in a vague sort of way of Squareagonals before, but never really known much about it. Well, it turns out to be really simple. You make blocks for a quilt, lay them out and sew them together, make two cuts across your quilt top, rearrange them and sew together again, and hey presto, you have a quilt that is set on the diagonal, with no worrying about setting triangles or silly maths or anything.  There are six designs in the book but each one shows an additional two layouts, so in fact there are eighteen quilts you could make. The instructions for the blocks are all well-written and a relative newcomer will be able to make most of them. The only stumbling block might be finding the courage to take the plunge and making those scary cuts at the end. I think it'd be well worth it though for the great looking design you could end up with. It's certainly a technique I intend to have a go at as soon as I get the time to get back to quilting.

Friday 25 December 2015

Happy Christmas

Do you like my latest Christmas tree?
It's made of biscuits and I actually made it myself. 
(Most people don't realise what a Domestic Goddess I am.)
It was very tasty, even if I do say so as shouldn't.

Have a great day everybody.

Wednesday 9 December 2015

It's definitely ...

... Christmas in my house, look

and here is my first Christmas present of the year.
Isn't he gorgeous? This cute little snowman was made for me by Scrappy. I really love him and it makes me realise that I must learn how to machine applique soon.

Meanwhile, because Dad's been very ill, I've been spending a lot of time sitting with him, so my lovely new sewing machine is not being used very much at the moment, but I have managed to do a some hand sewing at the same time. 
There will be three little redwork squares made into a small wall hanging. Mrs Nomad saw this and asked if I'd make it for her for Christmas. Fortunately she didn't specify which Christmas cos so far I've only got this square complete and half of the next one! 

My gift to Scrappy was only finished at the last minute. She and Mr Scrappy were coming visiting last Sunday and it was the last time we'll be able to get together before Christmas and Saturday evening at 9pm saw me putting the last stitch into my gift to her, and I know she was also doing last minute sewing. 

Hmm, maybe next year I need to restart the Christmas Quiltalongs? What do you think? Who'd be with me?

Sunday 15 November 2015

Well, I'm here, ....

.... but is anyone there?

I know I've been very quiet lately, but it's been due to ill-health unfortunately. It started with Mr Fixit developing a virus which gave him a temperature and a horrid cough for some weeks. Fortunately, he is virtually over it now. Then my father was ill again. This time he was confined to bed for quite a while but he is now making slow progress. Father was taken ill before we were due to go on our quilting retreat to Bridlington, so unfortunately I could not go. That was a shame cos I'd been looking forward to that and had projects planned, fabrics bought, etc. and I was really looking forward to the food. Still, that's how things go sometimes isn't it? Then, not to be left out, I decided I ought to have my annual chest infection a bit early this year, which has wiped me out for the past week. I'm getting better too and I can now talk again, but I'm still prone to coughing a lot.

One good thing about not going on the retreat is that my son and his family came up for a few days. They were here for Halloween, so here's a picture of young Mr D all ready to answer the door to Trick or Treaters.
and here's a picture of the pumpkins they carved

So all that means no sewing has been happening and if I don't get my act together soon, Christmas won't be happening here either.

Wednesday 4 November 2015

One of us ...

Scrappy and I had another lovely day out today, with wonderful food, but, one of us is on a diet. You can tell, can't you?

Monday 2 November 2015

Vote now ....

.... at the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  You can vote for up to 3 quilts as your favourites and cast your vote by clicking on the little heart in the top right hand corner of the thumbnails. Just in case you have fallen hopelessly in love with my quilts and would like to vote for them, here they are again
            This one is in the Original                            and this is in the Modern quilts
                   design section, here

Saturday 31 October 2015

They did the Mash ..........

It's Halloween again.  If you've been with me for a year or more, you'll know that I love to hear the Monster Mash at this time of year, and here is this year's version.
Warning: it's not very scary just quite funny.

Happy Halloween

Friday 23 October 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival 2015 - Original Design entry

This is my entry into the Original Design section of the Blogger's Quilt Festival being organised by Amy Ellis from AmysCreativeSide. You can read more about the Festival here, but in summary, this is an event that Amy organises twice a year and it is open to anybody in the whole wide world (or further!) It is not a juried event, so if you have a quilt you would like to share, then just go here to read all about how to do it. In about a week, viewers can vote for their favourite quilt in each section, and there are prizes involved. To see all the entries in the Original Design section, just go here.

So, here is my entry into the Original Design category of the Festival.  This quilt is called Charming Columns, cos it's made from Charm packs and is asssembled into columns (aren't I clever at naming my quilts?) and measures 54" x 60".
This was started when I went to a class (which was run by my friend QuiltHaze) with Scrappy. I didn't want to make the quilt that everyone else was doing (yes I know, typical stroppy student, me) so asked if it would be OK to do my own thing and QuiltHaze was fine about it, so this is the result.  Just because I can, here are some more pictures of the quilt.

When it came to the backing, I found I had miscalculated somehow on the amount of fabric I would need, so I had to get creative, and here is the result
This quilt has been published in November's issue of British Patchwork & Quilting, and all of the photos have been taken from the magazine, with their perrmission.

Blogger's Quilt Festival 2015 - Modern Quilts entry

... for the past few years I've managed to forget to enter this event organised by Amy Ellis from AmysCreativeSide, so this time I made a big effort to remember.  The festival is open to anyone to enter a quilt and there are loads of different categories, there will be voting in each category for the Viewer's Favourites, and there are some great prizes too.  To read more about it all, you can go here.

This quilt, called Colour Boxes is my entry into the Modern Quilts section of the festival and you can see all the quilts in this section, here.

Colour Boxes measures approximately 50" x 50" and I designed it specially to use fairly large pieces of some fabrics that I loved and didn't want to cut up. Here is a flat shot of it
It was fun to make, and also to quilt.

I chose to do an allover quilting pattern that almost looks like great big flowers bursting out of the boxes and as luck would have it, I had some variegated quilting thread that has all the colours of the fabrics in it.
The pattern for this quilt was published in Make Modern last month.

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Because ...

.... I'm a spoilt little princess, (OK, strictly speaking, I'm not little and I'm not a princess) but look what my lovely Daddy bought me recently.

By the way, I've had a few emails recently from people who are having trouble leaving me comments, so if you have a problem, would you mind emailing me at sue(dot)abrey (at) gmail(dot)com and let me know if you're using Chrome or something else and also what problem you encountered, so I can try and find out what's going on?  Thank you.

Monday 19 October 2015

Handy Household hint ...

Here's another in my occasional series of Handy Household Hints.  This one is brought to you courtesy of Mr and Mrs Nomad.

1.     Break your tumble dryer
2.     Wait for a rainy day
3.     Decide to wash every towel you possess
4.     Take them to mother, who has a washer/dryer
5.     Make sure you don't work too hard while your washing and drying is being done.

Friday 16 October 2015

Ooohh, look ...

... I'm a cover girl!
That quilt, called Charming Columns (cos it's made using charm packs, and they are in columns) is one of mine.  I couldn't show it on here until the magazine was published, but it's out today, and I've just seen the cover. I've never been on the cover of a magazine before, so I'm chuffed to bits about it. I will show some more photos of the quilt soon. This was started when I went to a class (which was run by my friend QuiltHaze) with Scrappy. I didn't want to make the quilt that everyone else was doing (yes I know, typical stroppy student, me) so asked if it would be OK to do my own thing and QuiltHaze was fine about it, so this is the result.

I'd like to thank the editor of the magazine, Joanna from British P&Q for making me famous, QuiltHaze for being happy for me to be a revolting student, Scrappy for suggesting we went to the class in the first place, my family for all their support, the local supermarket for the food they supply that keeps me going, Honda for my car that gets me to these workshops, and, sob, sniffle, I'm getting so emotional, anyone else who knows me. There, how's that for an acceptance of an honour speech? Worthy of the Oscars, or do I have some work to do on it?

I must admit that I have "borrowed" the cover photo from the magazine's website without their permission. I hope they don't mind.

Friday 9 October 2015

If at first ...

... you don't succeed, keep trying. And that's just what I've been doing as you can see from my waste basket and pile of "stuff" next to it. I've had to stop now cos my sewing machine is refusing to work. I did think to check that it's plugged in and switched on, and it is, so it's just gone on strike. I'm hoping it's only going to be a short strike and it'll work again tomorrow.

Moving on to something else, do you remember our apple harvest from last year?

Well this year it's  a bit better, look.

Thursday 1 October 2015


I am an idiot.



Yesterday I was at the local station to buy train tickets into the city for a hospital appointment today.  It was much, much later in the day that I realised my appointment is next Thursday, not today.  See, I told you I was an idiot.

Not to worry though.  I went back to the station today, explained what I'd done and asked to change the tickets.  They couldn't do that, but were quite happy to issue a full refund of the £2.50 cost of the tickets.  Great, thought I.

Then I was told there would be a £10 fee.

I decided not to go ahead.

Friday 25 September 2015

I forgot to show you ...

... my sort of modern wedding ring quilt.  I started this last year and acttually finished the top at the quilt retreat last October.  It didn't get quilted till after Christmas and the binding finally went on a couple of months ago. It took so long cos I fell out of love with it when I was making it. I had all sorts of issues with biases (yes Bilbo, I did use starch too) so the blocks were not fitting together properly.  Originally this was going to be a much larger quilt, but I decided enough was enough so it's quite a small throw instead.  Now I've finished it I am happy with it and it is currently decorating the back of the sofa.
Here is a close up of the quilting, and also, my pieced backing - I was obviously determined to use up all the odd bits of fabric from the front, as even the binding is pieced.

Sorry it's a bit scrumpled looking, but my back didn't feel like I should be crawling around on the floor to smooth it out, so what you see is just how it landed.

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Happy birthday to ...

... Mrs Nomad. I can't tell you how old she is, but the numbers six and four feature in her age although not necessarily in that order.  I will say she's changed a bit since this photo.
I will also say that she's going to be furious when she sees this!

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Talent ...

... I've got some very talented friends that I'm going to boast about.

Firstly, You all remember Naughty Nancie, who I met when I was staying with Lovely Lynn in California two years ago? (Two years?  Where has the time gone? How can it be two years?) Anyway, back to topic in hand. Well, during the Country Charmer quiltalong (Pattern by Lynn, quiltalong run by Leslie) Naughty Nancie and I had a little private challenge going on, which you can read about here.  Nancie entered her unquilted top in a competition, The Better Homes & Gardens, American Patchwork & Quilting, Handi Quilter Big Finish Sweepstakes and from over 500 entries, Nancie was one of the four winners.  The prize was to spend time at HandiQuilter on a very special retreat where they got to actually long-arm quilt their entries. Nancie is back home now and has shared some of her experiences on her blog, here. I'm not jealous. Nope, not at all, the green shade on my face is just reflection from my sweater. Here's a picture of the unquilted top, which I have shamelessly stolen from her blog without asking her permission.
I'm looking forward to seeing the finished quilt now. Come on NN, you've been home a week, surely it must be bound, labelled (and on it's way to me as a surprise present) by now?

My other talented friend that I thought I'd give a shout out to is Lovely Lynn herself.  Lynn was a guest on The Quilt Show a while ago, and they loved her so much they asked her to do a teaching series based on her Patchwork Math book.  You can find the details about her classes here.  They are available free, to anyone and will be there for ever and ever. Lynn's classes are aimed at taking the fear out of the maths that can be involved, and they are great. 

Congratulations to both of you for being so clever.

Saturday 5 September 2015

Handy Household hint ....

.... when you're cleaning a shower screen, make sure you know which side the marks are on.

I spent ages this morning trying to get some splash marks off my shower screen, with absolutely no success, until I realised they were on the outside of the door and I was trying to remove them from the inside.

What can I say?

Tuesday 1 September 2015

I'm a published author again ...

Edited to add: I've just added this to a great monthly Linky Party called Let's Bee Social. The Linky badge is on my sidebar, so hop on over to join the party or just for some inspiration.

The really observant ones among you will have noticed that, although I showed pictures of my quilt testers' versions of this, (thank you again Nancy, Sandie, Sassy and Susan,) and I did give you one peek at my unfinished top, you never actually saw mine completed.  Now you know why. I can tell you, it is very difficult for me to keep secrets like this, but it has to be done!  Here are two more photos, one showing the quilt full on and one to show a close up of the quilting.

This time I've been published in a great on-line quilting magazine called Make Modern. If you've never seen it before, then you are really missing out on something. The magazine includes all sorts of interesting articles as well as patterns and I recommend that you go here to have a look at it and maybe even buy a copy, I promise you it's a good read..

Monday 31 August 2015

They're off ...

... to South Africa tomorrow.

What are?

The charity quilts Scrappy and I have been working on.

First, here are photos of my two quilts complete with bindings now, then there is a group photo of the charity quilts that Scrappy and I have made, all of which are off to South Africa tomorrow.

Bon Voyage.

Saturday 29 August 2015

Yippee ....

.... last night I paid for my place on a five day quilting retreat in October.  This is at the same place as last year, right on the coast and about 60 miles from home, which is a very easy drive. We went there last year, and the food is fantastic and there will be plenty of time to sew, walk by the sea and eat.  I am really looking forward to it and planning what I am going to work on.

Then in January we are going on a weekend retreat. This is being organised by a member of the Yorkshire Modern Quilt Group and is actually being held about 15 miles away and very easy to get to.  More projects to plan for that.

Wednesday 26 August 2015

We didn't buy much ....

.... really.
 Yesterday Scrappy and I had a day out.  We went off to a new-to-us shop called Simply Solids based in Huddersfield.  After Scrappy spoke to the girls in the shop a few days ago, we found that it was going to be easy to get there by train and bus, so we bought our train tickets and were ready for the off. We had reserved our train seats and were in Coach B.  Scrappy would get on the train at her home town and I would join her at the next stop.  My, not unreasonable, question was, will Coach B be near the front or the back of the train?  Scrappy gave me a bit of a look and pointed out that the train only has three carriages, (which, if I'd thought about it, I would have known,) so it would be in the middle.   That really set the tone for the day I think.  Early yesterday morning I had a text from her confirming the time of the train and the carriage.  That was because, when she got up she kept thinking the train was an hour later.  Anyway, she caught the train, I caught the train, and we settled down for a good chat.  We were having such a good chat in fact that we almost missed our stop. When we got to Huddersfield we found the bus station for the next stage of our adventure and we had a need for coffee so we went into the cafe, certainly not a Costa of Starbuks and definitely a bit of a greasy-spoon type of place, but we were desperate.  Well I don't know what we were drinking, but neither of us could detect a taste of coffee in our cups and the milk was powdered (I know that cos of the lumps of powder in it).  We didn't finish the coffee. Then we clambered on to a bus (an adventure in itself for me, the last time I caught a bus was in 1972) and in a few minutes we were at our destination.

In we went, and although it may be small, it had loads of fabrics so we dived in happily.  An hour or so later we had finished and paid for our fabrics (oh yes, and look at the lovely, re-usable bags we were given). I have to say that Scrappy was outraged when she found I had spent more than her, but nonetheless we left and went across the road for lunch at Ruddi's Vintage Tea Rooms.  The quiche we had was gorgeous and so were the scones with strawberry jam, not to mention the lemonade - all home made and sooo tasty. We did order coffee after lunch, but were both so full up we couldn't finish them! While we were eating Scrappy decided she couldn't cope with the idea that I had more fabric than she did, so we went back to Simply Solids and she added some more fabrics to her stash. When we left the shop we were told we should catch the bus just round the corner rather than right outside as there were more buses running that way, so we set off and guess what?  Just as we turned the corner, a bus went past us going on the route we had chosen not to use. Typical.  Never mind, another one came along a little later.

When we got home, we enjoyed a cup of tea with a cake each which we'd bought from Ruddi's so we could share them with Mr Fixit, we played a little with some blocks on the design wall, and then it was time to take Scrappy to the station for her train home.

These are our purchases. Looking at this photo, can you guess which pile is Scrappy's and which is mine?

Friday 21 August 2015

Sale time

Summer's coming to an end and with cooler days on the way, we quilters start thinking serious thoughts about new quilts.  Craftsy are clever, they know this is how our minds work, so they've decided to give us a helping hand by holding one of their great sales.  To go shopping, simply click here,  but don't hang about though, it's only on for 3 days. starting today and closing at 11.59 MT on Sunday 23 August.

Small print: this is a sponsored post, so if you buy anything, I receive commission. Thank you.

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Rescue operation ....

... Remember the other day I had a little bit of a problem when I was quilting and found that I had rather less backing than top? You can read it here if you are interested. Well, today I mounted a rescue operation.

First I made some flying geese, then I cut up the rest of the pieces into strips and sewed everything together into three rows,

then I sewed the resulting piece to the end of the backing

and this is what the back looks like now. Pheww.

Sunday 16 August 2015

Sweatshop Central ....

...  that's what was going on at my house on Wednesday.  Do you remember that Scrappy and I had been making some charity quilts?  Well one day, Scrappy had a good idea.  Wouldn't it be nice, she said, to make a tote bag for each quilt?  Yes, said I, and it would be great if they had a block on them the same as the quilts themselves.  Hmm, yes well .....

They were both good ideas, until it came to Wednesday when we were making them.  We decided we don't like making totes, but, by the end of the day we had finished them.  (If you look closely, you will notice that the idea of putting blocks on them didn't last too long.)

The day did not go without mishap.  Don't you hate when you are sewing a long seam, get to the end and then realise you've run out of bobbin thread?  Yes, so do I.  Especially when you put a new bobbin in, start the seam again, sew along merrily then realise you had run out of top thread a while ago!

Saturday 8 August 2015

What the $%&*#~ ?

Bertha's feeling much better now.  She had a few days in hospital but when she came home she was worse than ever.  I was very worried about her, but I left her alone with Mr Fixit and his big screwdrivers for a day while I went to play with Scrappy, and when I came home, she was all better.  To celebrate I put this large quilt on the frame and spent the next day quilting it, but .....

....  I got it wrong.  Measure twice, cut once, "they" always say. What a shame I didn't listen.

I actually made this top, and the backing about a year ago, which means I have no more of the backing fabric left so I'm going to have t.o improvise.  The quilt is my version of a Missouri Star tutorial which you can see here.

By the way, I've now joined the current century, and started a Pinterest page where I will show all my quilts. The board is by no means complete yet, but I am working on it.  If anyone wants to see them, they are here

Monday 3 August 2015

Boys and ...

... their toys.

My son has been here this weekend with his family. He brought his latest toy up with him

and he and Mr Fixit went out to play. Don't you just love the looks of concentration?

 It's a drone, and it's fascinating to watch it wandering around and taking photos. Ooh look, it's our house
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