Wednesday 19 December 2012

Buckwheat and bias edges.

Buckwheat block.

Here are the two little blocks I made today. One for me and one for Ruth in her 1930s colourway. This is a rather challenging block as there are lots of seams to make the sizing tricky and of course template cut triangles have lots of bias edges!

It isn't a bad idea to make one for yourself first as a practice!!

The cat has just brought in a mouse - for the second time. We shouted at her and she took it out but she brought it in again and it's currently cowering behind the loo!

I often catch them and put them out in the shrubs by the front door, but there is often a little body, or pile of innards on the doormat in the morning.

Monday 17 December 2012

Home again

Here's a picture of the little Japanese purse I have been making for a friend's birthday present. It has been my take-along hand sewing for quite a while so I am glad to get it done, and it's late for the occasion...

The buttons in the middle of the appliquéd flowers on each side are Japanese Kurumi buttons which are like those you cover yourself, but without the teeth to grab the fabric and without the button back too. The project had stalled because I had covered one and sewed it on with beautiful tiny stitches and then realised you could see the metal button form shining through the cotton fabric. Well I have now taken it off and put a small circle of blanket under the fabric. I am really pleased with the result. Just hope the recipient will like it - it is a few hours of hand stitch which is difficult for me!

Lovely to be home again and in time to spend half an hour in the garden tidying up, and to enjoy the bright crab apples against the green background. My Red Sentinel tree had grown so huge I cut it back quite severely earlier in the year so there are not nearly as many little apples this year as before, but there were so many two tears ago that it broke one of the main branches and I had to tie it back together with clingfilm!

Friday 14 December 2012

Hoar frost

Yesterday I travelled down to Hampshire to sew with buddies. It's a long way but it was good to see the hedgerows and seed heads adorned with hoar frost where the sun hadn't reached for several days. Pity I couldn't stop to photograph it.

All gone today, dreary rainy day. Perfect for sewing though. I have been working with my embellisher with dyed scrim and threads on hot-washed blanket.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Mad, bad cat.

Early this morning there was a huge crashing noise outside the bedroom door. The mad cat Lucy had got her head stuck into handle of a stiff paper carrier bag and flew down the stairs, straight back up again and then shot under the bed trying to escape it!

When she recovered enough to eat breakfast she disappeared and I found she had got into the guest room and was laid out on the white quilt with a "don't think of moving me" expression on her face!

I am fond of this quilt - you can see why I wouldn't want muddy paws on it!

Monday 10 December 2012

Christmas is coming

Here is the little embellished angel I made last week at Embroidery Group. Printed 6 to a page they make nice Christmas cards. I took some back to group today and they were much admired.

This morning we made button necklaces which was great fun and I really enjoyed my morning, but now need to get to work and get the cards written - Christmas is catching up with me and the only one I have sent so far was to the USA..

Sorry about the scary photo!  I am gobsmacked by how like my Mother I look...

Friday 7 December 2012

End of Day.

End of Day is the name of the block I made today. But it is beginning to get dark as I write this and I'm yawning!

I thought it would be easy to make this one from strips joined together first, and so it is - except that you only need one side of the pieces you cut! Inevitably you make enough for two blocks. . .
  Because I really hadn't thought it through, on my first attempt I made enough parts for four blocks, as I cut the strips all on the same diagonal and then had to make more as you need mirror images.

Have a look at the picture of four and see if you can spot the differences!

It then transpired that they were too small! I had started with 2" strips, joined them and then cut squares before cutting on the diagonal, but when I came to join them they had shrunk!

Cut like this!

Well after that I remembered the blocks I had made on retreat from Jelly-roll
Strips for the baby quilt as these are the same design with the corners rotated; and tried some with 2 1/2" strips. These will make a 7"block, but can easily be trimmed to make a 6" block for the Farmer's Wife sampler. Join the two pairs of strips and press, then place them RS together dark on light, matching seams. Cut into 4 1/2"squares. Draw the diagonals and stitch either side, cut on the drawn line and press open. For details of how to trim these, contact me as I have now made a crib sheet for it!

 Rotating the corners of the block before assembly makes the Double Pinwheel I used in the baby quilt. I should have remembered they were a challenge to put together as some were clockwise and others anti-clockwise!

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Experimental piecing

While I was on quilt retreat I spent some time making these tiny experimental blocks. Every so often I revert to free piecing and am constantly attracted to Contemporary work where colour and contrast are important elements in the design. Although unplanned these have quite an architectural flavour.
They were completely addictive and I am quite anxious to find time to make some more, and have spent a while today considering how they might be finished.

Back to preparations for class on Saturday. My students are studying Log Cabin and Pineapple blocks, and the fun Woodpile block too. After Christmas we will be playing with Curved Piecing.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

The pictures!

The dark Pineapple quilt:

I am now wondering if the centres might be a bit bright and need toning down a bit perhaps by tea staining?
I am very pleased with how this has come together and it will have a wide medium blue border, and then go off to be quilted.

Many of the fabrics in here, which are left-overs from other projects are now going into my Farmer's Wife blocks.

The Wonky Log Cabin blocks:
 The Baby quilt with double pinwheel blocks made from Jellyroll strips for my nephew Carl and Agnieska.

The Farmer's Wife blocks:
Noon and Light and Fruit Basket
   Broken Dishes and Peace and Plenty 
   which both use 16 half-square   triangles.

which both were made from the templates Gilly sent

Chequerboard and  Storm Signal which were made from the Fiddler's Jig templates on Marcia Hohn's site here as the square-on-point is a strange size
and below is Whirlwind which is straightforward to make.

Little Angel

I went to the Monday embroidery class and made a little angel with my embellisher. Perhaps she will  make a nice Christmas card design.

Time now to get out the sewing machine and get the tidy dining room set up again as a workroom!
I have yet to make a F W block for yesterday or today, and need to get on with prep for my class on Saturday too. I'll put up some pictures of my retreat work next.

Saturday 1 December 2012

More Farmer's Wife blocks

I have been testing Gilly's templates today and they are spot-on! I've made both Day and Light and the Fruit Basket which turned out well. I have also had a look at those blocks that have squares on point in them as these are awkward sizes. I found a block with templates to print out on Marcia Hohn's site quilters called Fiddler's Jig which gives the square, half and quarter square triangles and they printed out to size for 6"blocks. I have used them to make Storm Signal and Checkerboard, and they have worked out fine too.

I have spent most of the day finishing the baby quilt I started yesterday and it just needs the binding stitched down now.

This afternoon I worked on the quilt as you go bag that I'm making with the bright jelly roll I won at quilt group in the draw in the summer.

Thursday 29 November 2012

More cabins

I have added the borders to my dark pineapple blocks and joined up the wonky log cabins they look much better than I expected, and I've added a narrow border on them too. Also got a couple more Farmer's Wife blocks made but have not yet found out how to add pictures here!
I have had a good time making some modern blocks with tiny inserts... Pictures to follow!

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Pineapple blocks and home cooked food

Having a great time with three meals a day cooked for me and homemade biscuits for morning coffee and cake for afternoon tea!
My random pineapple blocks are joined together and fabric bought for the borders.

Monday 26 November 2012

Exciting day!

I bought myself a present today - an iPad! I now have to get to grips with it and work out how to do what I want. Hopefully I can check email while I am away but I can't find my blogger password!

This is Whirlpool and is clearly the same as yesterday's block except for the arrangement of colours.

I did manage to get the turnings all going in the right direction this time but the dark fabric is a slightly heavier weight and was tricky to press. I should choose lighter weight fabric next time for a block with so many seams.
This is probably the last one for a while as I need to go and pack up my projects for tomorrow. And have a bath... showers only where I am going!

Sunday 25 November 2012

The Stair where I sit...

Here is Lucy in stair-guarding mode. Should anyone venture near the kitchen she's at the ready!

Today I had a look at the collection of blocks that use 16 half square triangles. I was surprised to find that there are five of them, and another five that use 6,7 or 8 half square triangles in the same size so I will mass- produce some on grids while I am away at quilt retreat this week. 

This one is called "Windblown Square" and it's the first time I've made it. You have to watch out for which direction the turnings need to go. I thought I was on top of it, but still got a couple out of position.

Saturday 24 November 2012


Misty, moisty morning turned into a damp and dismal day. I had a round trip to visit all three Christmas fairs, starting with lunch at Lessingham where they were raising funds for the Methodist Chapel. 

I drove across country through coastal communities that hide from the North sea behind the tall sand dunes, past Sea Palling and Waxham with it's ancient manor house and huge and famous thatched barn, through Somerton to Winterton where the girls from the friendly quilt group were raising money for the Air Ambulance and local Hospice. 

On the way I saw another barn...

not so cared for this one! Ripe for a bit of tarting up I'd say.

Then back to the village for the Catfield Christmas fair. I'd sold quite a lot of raffle tickets for their hamper raffle and 3 of them won prizes so now I have a bit of delivering to do.

Friday 23 November 2012

On a Roll.

Lovely sunny day today so I was able to get outside for a while when the lunch was cooking and plant up some new autumn and spring flowering wall-flowers and a couple of Penstemon that I got in a sale at the Garden Centre. I also gathered up the huge pile of dead leaves that wind eddying round had left by the front door.

It was good to get out into the sun after 5 injections at the dentist to fix a tooth which has been bothering me. I am off on quilt retreat next Tuesday and didn't want to be feeling too poorly to sew!

Here is yesterday's Farmer's Wife Block, Periwinkle, and today's Jack Knife - an interesting one - and a couple of unnamed blocks that I made with the bits left over from it.

I also had an excited phone call from my daughter who had opened the box of Roman outfits in front of her class and tried a few on. Fortunately M&S size charts were right and they fit well!

Wednesday 21 November 2012

My own version - again

Here are a couple more small blocks:
Ribbons and Honeycomb. 

I used little squares on the corners for the stitch and flip technique and cheerfully threw away the small triangles!

The second is not quite as in the Farmer's Wife book... but I didn't mind as I wanted more hexagons. Not too difficult to machine piece, you just have to remember to stitch to the junction point and then reverse, not stitch right to the end through the turnings.

Friday 16 November 2012

Romans and Buzzards

Had to drive into the city to the wonderful Anglia Fabrics. There are two shops on opposite sides of the road. The dress fabrics on one side and the furnishing store on the other. I have been asked for help with costumes for the school play. 20 Roman soldiers skirts! For about £20 I have leatherette, velcro, elastic and tape. I was going to paint up vilene or brown paper and add several coats of PVA which would have worked fine but would take much longer... this will be quick. 

Except I now find they need 23 soldiers... in my day we told them what they were doing, now they get to choose!

Here is Buzzard's Roost:
How I thought it was the same as the Empire Star I can't imagine!
For many of these small blocks I find it easier to draw it out to size and cut out the parts to use as templates. This one I worked out  by thinking in terms of squares cut in half, or quartered.

Thursday 15 November 2012

Boxed Cat (and a new Block).

Here is Lucy in a box. Usually she is more of a stair cat, stretched out so that no-one can go anywhere in the house, especially the kitchen where her food is, without her knowing..
and here is another little block:         Empire Star which I found here               

At first I had thought it was Buzzards Roost, but it's not the same at all, so it isn't one from the book.    

But it can go in my quilt!

Tuesday 13 November 2012

A Good Day


Last Saturday I finally received my Quilt that some of my students have made for me, using the techniques that we have covered in the first four of my Patchwork Without Pins classes. 

It was exhibited in The Norfolk Quilters show recently and was a lovely surprise. It is called "The Fruits of our Labour".

And here is the next of my Farmer Wife blocks, Spider's Web.
I was initially stumped as to how to do this one as the segments are not even.
Eventually I drew the block out on paper to size and cut out the two parts to use as patterns. I pieced a couple of strips together and cut out the larger parts then added more dark fabric and cut out the corner segments. Quite wasteful of fabric but an easy way to achieve it.

Friday 9 November 2012

Stacking Fabrics

I am teaching a log cabin class tomorrow and have been experimenting with stacking squares and cutting lots of blocks at once using wedge shapes. It should make a pattern of rather wobbly zigzags when I put it together.

 Waste to be trimmed...

Might be interesting coloured as a Target or Bulls Eye maybe.
Of course I forgot that when you stitch all the bits back together you have quite a lot of waste to trim off, so my 10" squares trimmed down to a finished 6" size!

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Trying a New Tack.

Looking at the Hill and Valley Block no.49, I had a problem finding where to start. In the end I drew out half the block to size and measured what size pieces I needed to cut. After that it was very easy, I cut the squares and sliced 'em up and stitched up the block while my cup of tea was cooling!!

The light fabric is a Moda, Coraline, reproduction of one current between 1850 to 1880.

Friday 2 November 2012

Temperance Tree Block

Here is another tiny block from the Farmer's Wife Sampler book:
Number 95, Temperance Tree.
There are 18 half square triangles that finish to an inch so I began with two 6" squares and divided them into a 9-patch and then drew the diagonals. Stitched each side of these lines and cut on all the pencil lines to give me 18 - which then were trimmed to one and a half inches.
I made up the other part without a pattern and trimmed to size.
Didn't take as long as I expected and it's reasonably accurate.

Thursday 1 November 2012

Catching up.

Quilt show over and grandmothering achieved till next school holiday.
 Here is my little stall with toys, cards, brooches
and bookwraps. The quilt behind to draw in the visitors
and one on the table to help sell patterns.

How Hill is a beautiful house with amazing views out
over the river.
 The drainage wind pump.

The gardens are famous locally with
clipped hedges that are huge and wide
and there is a walk down through woods to a wonderful water garden.

The Autumn colours were just coming through, glowing in the sun.

And I had a good day and sold quite a fair amount!

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Suffolk Puffs

Helped with setting up the Norfolk Quilters Quilt Show today, at The Assembly Rooms in Norwich, so if you are in the vicinity come and visit! Tomorrow I will be demonstrating all day and then off the radar for a bit as I am off Grandmothering in Bedford until after the weekend.

Looking forward to getting back to my little blocks... I have a plan for making tiny half-square triangles.

Till then I should finish my cushion made with large Suffolk Puffs.

Monday 22 October 2012

Autumn Trip

Had a lovely afternoon driving over to see Helen which takes me over the river on an ancient chain-drawn car ferry. I saw a woodpecker fly from a tree, and all the autumn colour in the hedgerows with dark blackberries and bright red haws.
I acquired some lovely fabric scraps too and our usual information swaps!
No pictures though as it was foggy...

Sunday 21 October 2012

Night and Day

Another 6" block, this one, Night and Day, I pieced over paper - took ages to pull it all off, but it is a nice little block.

Friday 19 October 2012

Stones, and bookwraps.

Jude at Spirit Cloth Posted a thank-you for the stones I sent her here: 
and a link to my blog which is nice!

I've spent the afternoon making lemon meringue pie for the Church Harvest Supper tonight.

Consequently I haven't made another block, just got the pattern ready.

I did make 7 small covered books this morning though, for the craft fair at How Hill on the 
31st, Halloween.
How Hill in Norfolk, is a beautiful old house on the river with lovely gardens. The story goes that one of the Colman girls (an heiress to the mustard fortune) was sailing up the river with her Beau, an architect called Boardman, and looked up at the hill and asked him to build her a house there - and he did!