Monday, 29 July 2013

Fat Quarterly Retreat....

 Oh, where to start.  Hmm, I honestly don't know.

Here is what I do know. I came back from Retreat, knackered, absolutely wiped out.  And whilst I didn't exactly set the world on fire with the amount of sewing finishes, I think 48 hours of sensory overload was just too much for me.  And so here we are, 7 days later and I haven't fully recovered- what a wimp!

I had a great time.  I got to chat to loads of real life and online friends, there were many I didn't get to speak to, and really wished I had.  It's strange, many people I speak freely and openly with online, but in person, it was a lot harder- i guess there is only so much looking at peoples chests to see their name tags you can do before you look like a bit of a perv!

After getting my fab goodie bag, some very generous sponsors, thanking you all!

Classes started out on Friday afternoon with English Paper Piecing with Curves- hosted by the lovely Joanna and Julianna.  There were around 20 of us giggly and nervous learners huddled around a table, with 2 very nervous teachers.  But after a few minutes we managed to settle in, and the hour and a half flew by, before I knew it the time was up and I had 2 pieces together, pathetic, and another WIP to add to the pile!

After a little light refreshment on the terrace (the weather was glorious) we headed to the Med Kitchen for our evening meal.  The food was superb, and they managed to feed nearly 40 hungry, cackling ladies very efficiently, if only the air con had been working properly, it was sweltering, and I could barely stop myself from melting.  The lovely Emily brought us all gifts, isn't she adorable!

After a reasonably early night, in my room for 6 in the hostel (not as bad as you might think, took me back to my hosteling days in Oz), and a very good nights sleep, i was up and raring to go on Saturday.  The rest of my classes involved stalking learning from the very funny Lu Summers, Improv and Portholes classes.  

Unfortunately the Improv was split over 2 rooms, and some of the lovely ladies I knew were in the other room, but it probably made me a bit more productive :o).  I carried on working through lunch to get the Improv Mini (snigger) finished, as I needed it to do my Hand Quilting class the following day (also with Lu)
Improv Block from @lusummers class #fqretreat
I'm rather chuffed with how it turned out, I kind of listened to Lu, and half ignored her instruction, and it's the kind of "just go with it" solids sewing that really appeals to me.

In the afternoon the Portholes class started in the main hall, and I sat with the lovely Hadley and Kerry, and we giggled our way through 3 hours of class, the naughty girls at the back.  I just finished 2 proper blocks, which I think I will be using for 2 baby quilts I need to make in August, as 2 of my girlie friends are expecting girls any day now.
Portholes Technique from #fqretreat
I did make an Improv Porthole, but unfortunately the colours are a bit blah, too dark for my tastes, I was thinking I might make it into a pincushion, but maybe not. 

Saturday night involved an early meal with Sarah, Sonia, Marit and Rachael, at a local eaterie, yum.  It was also sample swap night, and I somehow lucked out and ended up in a group with Marit, Susan, and Brioni, check out these beauties! 
Photos shamelessly stolen from Susan
Photos also stolen shamelessly from Susan
And so Saturday night we headed to Quilt Market, and made a few purchases.  I couldn't resist Lu's new book (of course as I have a little crush on her, talent wise only of course!), my copy should arrive as soon as the burly men at the docks have finished educating themselves on the joys of Improv.  
Katy J's newest book also jumped into my hands, there are some really cute blocks in there (you know what a sucker I am for a book).  
I made a little trip to the Oakshott table and picked up this cute little pile, who could resist?  

And a little drive-by to Leanne for one of her scrap packs, who doesn't love her hand printed fabrics?  

And a couple of little cuties for my collection.....

Hadley also managed to tempt me to one of her little Liberty pretties, who could resist?

After Quilt Market I helped the lovely Tracy from Pin It And Stitch to pack up her car and break down her stall, and headed to bed for an early night once Kerry and I had been kicked off the terrace for the evening.  

Sunday saw my Hand Quilting class with Lu, and she genuinely had me giggling the whole time, she has a really dirty sense of humour that I totally get, I guess it must be an East Anglian thing, there isn't much going on in the countryside where we grew up!

The Retreat finished with many goodbyes, and Sarah and I hurrying back to get the car, and bringing it round to Baden Powell House for our bags before the drive home.  

It was a great weekend, and I can't really convey the full extent of the fun and chatting, I'm sorry, but I can thoroughly recommend it, thoroughly.

Ange x

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

August Simply Solids Blocks.

For my month as Queen Bee of the Amaranth group for Simply Solids, I have put together a block on EQ7 made up of 4 different paper piecing blocks.  Now, before anyone cries into their Frosties, there is no need to fret if you're a paper piecing virgins novice, it's a really simple one.
Simply Solids August Block, finished.
Like I said, simple, but hopefully pretty effective.  I made my tester blocks as 5 inches each, but would like to increase this slightly to 7 inches, as I want to make them feel like bigger explosions of colour.  So, here are the guidelines for making them:

Block size unfinished: 14.5 inches ( 4 x 7.5 inch blocks together)
Block size finished:  14 inches
Number of blocks: 4 x 7.5 inches
Seams: I don't usually do open seams for paper pieced blocks, but there are a LOT of seams coming together in the centres, and i really had to wrestle with them, I think open seams as you go would be easiest for when you are putting them together :O)

Colours:  At least 8 or 9 different colours if possible for variety.  Generally bright colours, and if you could please include a few white strips in there (so 2 or 3 white strips over the 4 individual blocks in total), so the eye has somewhere to rest that would be great, and even a few light greys or blues if you wanted too, just a nice contrast.  One thing, no brown please, black is fine, as is navy blue (i've included it), but no brown, pretty please with a cherry on top!

If you want to put the same colour on the edge piece of 2 different blocks, that's fine, and actually it can create some interesting shapes, so I would encourage you to do it at least once :o)

I have included quite a few different blocks for variety (emailing out to my bee friends before the end of the month), and can you please choose at least 3 different individual blocks as I want it to look as random as possible, and not too symmetrical, and try not to just choose the first 4 :o)

Right, well as I am no expert on Foundation piecing, i am going to link up to a few tutorials and YouTube  video's.  And of course, if you're struggling or have any questions, don't hesitate to ask:

Ange x

p.s I promise I will be back with a Fat Quarterly Retreat round up, it's just taken me a few days to bounce back from such a fab weekend! :o)

Monday, 15 July 2013

Better Late Than Never Fabness...

Apologies for the lateness, bit of a busy weekend has thrown me off track, and as I'll be at the Fat Quarterly Retreat this Friday-Sunday, the next one will be a little delayed too.

So, out of the previous bunch of talented ladies, lets pick a few favourites, and then offer up the latest list of lovelies!

So now that's all done, let's have a look at this weeks willing victims:

Friday, July 5
Christa @ Christa Quilts!
Stephanie @ Quarter Incher

Alyce in her fab new dress, over at Wonderland By Alyce..

The Washi Dress looks great, and I plan to make my very own tunic version of this soon, very soon...

Next up is Rachel at Sew Happily Ever After, and this time its the Staple Dress, isn't is gorgeous...

No3 Staple Dress 5 
Think i must have clothes sewing on the mind, but these both jumped out at me!

Stephanie at Quarter Incher, isn't this cushion just stunning, love the colours, love the textured background, love everything about it!
Kaleidoscope Pillow

That's it for this (last) week folks, the next set of bloggers are as follows, so get nosing around, I know there are some absolutely great blogs in here:

Sew and So Farm  
Wombat Quilts
{no} hats in the house
 Let's Begin Sewing . . .
Quilting Along the Grain
 Love by
 Quilty Creations

Ange x

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Retreat Swap And A Play Date

Today I've been over to Susans for a heavy dose of nattering, some light sewing (lets be honest, we never get much done), and some fab choccie cake (she makes the best cake!).
All done @fatquarterly retreat swap.
I took my 3 almost finished travel sewing kits with me, all I needed to do was sew down the binding, which I managed to do today.

I kept them reasonably simple on the inside, a zippy pouch area on one side, and a needlebook and couple of pockets on the other with a loop and button to secure it (the button is covered with a fabric that says sew, sew)
And the inside, including zip pouch, pockets and needle book.
I chose 3 different patterns for the front covers, the first is a paper pieced square in square- this one is also interfaced with Pelmet Vilene, but it felt a bit too cardboardy for my liking, so I didn't bother on the other two.

And the other two are English Paper Pieced blocks, the perfect little projects for the current bbq weather, as I have really enjoyed soaking up the sunshine, stitching them together, with a glass of Pimms (or two).

Each one is about 8 inches square, and hopefully big enough to carry around a little project for it's new owner for their travels or classes.

I didn't follow a particular pattern, as I decided to just wing it a little bit, but the basis is this pattern by Lots of Pink Here, this is the version I made last year.
sewing needle case- travelSewing needle case- travel

But I also rather liked the Patchwork Please! embroidery pouch (like the one Hadley made, fabulous), so decided to freestyle it a bit.

I still have the Weekender to re-start/finish, and the Siblings Quilt, but there is still a week left, just a week, so I had better get my skates on- although their is talk of a certain man being away for work  from Sunday, not that I'm planning any all nighters or anything, but you never know!!! :o)

Ange x

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

A Little Distraction...

Whilst I should have been finishing of my sewing kits for the Fat Quarterly Retreat swap, I got a little distracted, and accidentally made this bag, whoops!
 Oops, made a bag when i should have been prepping for FOR. You're a bad influence @blueberryathome!
In my defence, it was  Karen at Blueberry Park's fault.  She showed a photo of some of her bag collection, and one particular bag caught my eye, so I asked the obvious question, what pattern is this bag from, and she kindly pointed me in the direction of the Origami Market Bag, on the fantastic Whip-up website, pattern written by Alexandra Smith.

Not only is it a fantastically simple and quick bag, it's also free, can't say fairer than that!  I did deviate from the pattern a  little, instead of using the guideline 130cm of fabric for the length, I used  115cm, as it was the width of fabric, and reduced down the size of the width accordingly.  

I made a second bag, and used it as a lining (the £2 a yard polka dot I bought at the Fabric Guild a few weeks back), as the Essex Yarn Dyed in Black I used for the outside fabric wasn't quite heavy enough for the bag.  I sewed the bag and lining together around the opening, and so it's reversible.

The other main difference being the extension of the handle with another piece of fabric, and extending the length of the tube that covered it- this was to account for the reduced dimensions of the original fabric, which made the handle length smaller, so it could still be used as a shoulder bag.  

I would definitely make one of these again, and would line it again.  The question is though, would I make any other changes?  Yes, I would probably make the slightly bigger version, and most importantly, put pockets on the inside, to help me store all of the junk I seem to carry with me.

And now back to the travel sewing kits... 
hand sewing epp onto sewing kits for @fatquarterly retreat :-)

Ange x  

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Finish Along 3rd Quarter Goals...

As quarter 2 was a mixed result, I decided to mix up the types of projects for the next quarter, some big, some small, and see where I got to from there.  But to start off with, lets include 2 of the not finished from last quarter.

1. Siblings Together Quilt- It's all basted, and I tried to start quilting it the other day, but after wrestling with it for an hour or so I had to do some unpicking, grrr!  I might need to wait until a lightly cooler day, it's all sweltering hot at the moment, and I get really grumy when I'm too hot and trying to quilt big things.

2. 2012 Craftsy BOM- Also basted, but I still haven't figured out how to quilt it.  I might even do it by hand with white perle?
Quilt top finished.
3.  Weekender Bag- I really want to finish this before Retreat- we will see!
One side of Weekender and pocket done, first piece laid for side 2.
4.  And I have to make a baby quilt out of these hexies, as my friends baby is due in August, eek (actually 2 friends are having girls in August, best get my skates on)
#widrn Basting hexies on the sofa, watching old episodes of Lewis. Tagged by @rosedahlia tagging @ylmommyx4 @lemonshark @plumandjune
I think that's enough for this quarter, don't want to set myself up for toooooooo much of a fail!!  What are you making this quarter?

Ange x

Monday, 8 July 2013

A Bit Of This, And A Little Bit Of That...

Last week has been a bit of post out, post in type week, firstly, cool post in were these delicious 4 blocks from the lovely Lynz @ Domestic Light and Magic, aren't they stunning!
Thx for my blocks @ochil_lynz you're a super star! 6 down, only 318 to go!!
Lynz is a total superstar, and after posting my original 2 blocks on Instagram last week, she very kindly offered to make me a few to help me out.  Now I can't offer her my first born (her Dad wouldn't like it), but what a kind thing to do, whilst asking nothing in return.  I'm reminded once again what a terrific community I am part of, thank you Lynz you are lovely, your kindness has not gone unappreciated.
So now I have 318 more to do for a Super Kingsize bed quilt, I think I'll leave it a couple more weeks until after I've been on my jaunt to London, as I have a few other jobs to do.

And on that note, the name tag I made for my secret partner has arrived at it's new home.
my name badge for the retreat
Sarah at Guerilla Embroidery is the new owner of this tag, and as an embroidery expert (check out her Flickr photostream), it did mean I avoided like the plague, any embroidery on the tag, hence the splotchy printing of her name!  Sarah seems pretty happy with it, but I admit it was a bit of a shot in the dark from one of her Flickr favourites!

And finally, one of my fabulous bloggy friends, Karen @ Quilty Creations, has a little linky party over on her page, for a Something Old, Something New Challenge:

It's a fabulous idea, you can showcase a project where you have:
  • made an item from vintage fabric
  • repurposed something in your home for the sewing room/space
  • given something a new lease of life by transforming it into something new.
You are not limited to one entry, the more thrifty posts the better!
International entries are welcome.

I have linked up my Hexy Quilt as it has some vintage and recycled materials in, and there are some great entries- and a whisper of a giveaway, and we all love a giveaway, right? :o)

Ok, off to get some more FQR prep done, as time is running very short!

Ange x

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Queen Bee, and Lucky Ducky New Projects...

It's been a busy week with starting new bits and pieces for my must do's for July.  I've started putting together the sewing kits for FQR swap, and this is the block for the first one, I'm thinking 3 different ones for variety:
Block for front of sewing kit, for @fatquarterly swap. 2 more to make. :-)

And in preparation for my month (August) as Queen Bee for Simply Solids, I've been putting together my chosen, tester block.  It comes together quickly, and I think a whole load together should give a nice effect, they're all random width pieces, good for stash busting.
Simply Solids August Block, finished.

And I've been rather lucky, and won a giveaway of a Pink Chalk Fabrics voucher with Clover and Violet.  Unusually, I didn't choose to get fabric (shocking I know), so I decided to get 2 patterns I have been hankering after for a while, including the Single Girl Quilt Pattern by the fabulous Denyse Schmidt:
Denyse Schmidt Quilts Single Girl

and the Washi Dress, Made By Rae pattern
Made By Rae Washi Dress - Downloadable Pattern
These are future projects, September onwards, when I get a little time....

Ange x

Saturday, 6 July 2013

All About Me...

Completed a few days ago, but I had a couple of things on. X
Oh wow, I seem to be doing a lot of posts about me at the moment, and I'm really not that interesting, but as this is the introductory post for Fat Quarterly Retreat, it needs saying I guess, so if you know this stuff already, feel free to skip this one, I wont be offended! :o)

And the backside, with a sleeve and the label.
I am a 37 year old mum of 1 little darling, full time at home, and formerly a wage slave in the Electronics Industry as an Office Manager (snore).  Now full-time, sewist, gardener, house renovator, occasional cleaner, and general dogsbody!

There is a picture of me over on the left hand side, forgive the cheesy grin, I was a little drunk at a friends wedding when it was taken, I'm much more miserable and serious in person (sometimes!). ;o)

I have just finished the first quilt I ever started, it was a massive Hexy quilt, started 2 and a half years ago.

I started blogging about 11 months ago, and wondered who one earth would want to listen to my ramblings, but it seems a few crazy people lovely ladies keep coming back for more, and it is an absolute pleasure getting to know them!  

I am a member of 2 bees, Stitch Tease with an incredibly talented bunch of international ladies (many of whom will be at Retreat), and Simply Solids, which is all UK quilters, and also stacked with talent- perfect for my love of solids.

And I am also part of the East Midlands Modern Quilt Guild, along we a lot of very clever quilters, many of whom will also be at FQR.

I will be travelling down to Retreat with 2 lovely sewing friends, Kerry who lives nearby, and Sarah, who will be travelling down from the north to join us for the drive into London.

On the day(s) I will be sporting this beauty, made for me by the immensely talented Helen at Indianna Dreams.

@fatquarterly My name tag has arrived, its gorgeous @indiannadreams thank you so much!! :-)
i love it, and she has clearly spent lots of time making it just right, It has a little forest featured, and as my blog is named after the (Charnwood) Forest in Leicestershire (where I live), just perfect!

Lunch in the garden under the Pear Tree, oh go on then!
Class wise I am doing the EPP Curves with Joanna and Julianna followed by stalking of Lu Summers as I am in her 3 classes, Improv, Portholes and Hand Quilting- whoops!  And yes I have to admit I have a little sewing crush on Lu.  There, I said it, I adore her prints, her AMAZING solids quilts for the style, design and texture she creates, and she's a fellow East Anglian!

And I might be sporting this bag, maybe, but hopefully in a more finished state, hopefully!
One side of Weekender and pocket done, first piece laid for side 2.

Ange x

This Weeks Fab List...

So, the Let's Get Acquainted Hop continues, and as promised, I've been checking out the links, and picked some more faves for your perusal this week:

Jessica at Stitched In Thyme, just beautiful quilt, made as a gift for a sick friend:
lizzys quilt - front

Amira at  Little Mushroom Cap: I love tea, and this is a fab version of the Patchwork Please Teapot Cosy:
Patchwork Please_Tea Cosy_Paper Piecing Text

and Michelle at Factotum Of Arts, and her cool cushion:

So now that's all done, let's have a look at this weeks willing victims:
Friday, July 5
Christa @ Christa Quilts!
Stephanie @ Quarter Incher

Happy Blog reading!
Ange x

Friday, 5 July 2013

Finish Along Roundup

Well as I didn't finish the full 5 things on my FAL list, I can't exactly claim success, however, I did mange to complete 2 things, and they're 2 big thing, AND make progress on 2 others, here is the original post, and lets check what it looks like:
1: Chevron Quilt- Finished, yay, post here for details

2.: Hexy Quilt: Finished, wooohoo, post here yesterday

3. Siblings Together Quilt.  Well, it's basted now, so that's progress right, will be done this month.
Siblings Together Quilt Top

4. 2012 Craftsy BOM- top is now together and basted, so definitely progress!
Quilt top finished.
5. Crochet Blocks into blanket- not even touched, oh well, can't win them all!

So, that's me done for now, and I need to make a plan for the next quarter, the cogs are already whirring!

Ange x

she can quilt

Thursday, 4 July 2013

My First Quilt, Finished...

That might confuse some, when I say first, I mean the very first one I started in January 2011 when I couldn't resist the temptation any longer, to make a quilt for my darling daughter (sometimes darling, sometimes not), who was 18 months old at the time.  

Although lots of people have said what a brave choice of first quilt it was, that really wasn't the case, more that when i googled quilt to figure out how to make one, traditional hexagon quilts appeared in images, and seemed to be the basic, starter quilt.  Oh what a fool, silly naive me!  So, I found a basic tutorial for making hexagon quilts, cut some templates and found some fabrics to upcycle, and a few in a local shop that were ok I figured for such a quilt.  At the time I had no idea about the amazing array of designer quilting cottons, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, as I used some of the old sheets from my babies cot (a cute lemon yellow), the top that I was wearing when I gave birth to her (a kind of jersey cotton type top- not really suitable for such a project but who cares), and some vintage fabrics from one of my mums friends, dated back to the 70's and 80's.  

I made a decision early on, not to have a pink, girly quilt, I had just painted her bedroom the sweetest light blue, and wanted something that would take her into adulthood.  I had no idea at the time that not only would I want to make her this quilt, that I would catch the quilting bug and want to make her lots more.

So, on long car journeys to my parents, the in-laws, and our numerous friends around the country, Mr HOC drove, and I cut, basted, sewed hexagons and felt like the hours weren't wasted.  The  hexies were sewn together in fits and starts, sometimes the whole project was put down for a few months at a time, whilst other projects took over, quilts, bags pouches and the like all had their chance to take centre stage, and now it's this quilts time.
The final push began when we moved out in March, and I really could see the end in sight, so I got my skates on, and got focused.  I decided early on that every stage of this project would be completed by hand.  That just felt right, like I needed to make it with my hands, no sewing machine, and that this would somehow give it provenance, a history, and hopefully when my now 4 year old is older, she can really begin to appreciate all of the work put into it for her.   

As part of that, I decided I didn't want to cut the hexagons off straight round the edges, I wanted to keep them whole, and that meant finding an alternative way to bind the quilt- so when I found this method at Badskirt, I knew it was the one.  It's been lightly hand quilted in perle, with white around the outside of the binding and to secure the inner part of the binding hexies, and a pink variegated chevron down the middle of the quilt, top to bottom.
So, here it is, 584 hexies in total (481 on the front, 103 as binding), all done, each one around 2 inches along each edge, with my little ones name embroidered onto some of the backing hexies, using the letters from Lu Summers Alphabet print.  Total size of 70 x 63 inches (178cm x 160cm) and as far as I'm concerned, absolutely gorgeous.  It's scrappy, not all of the hexies were exactly the same size, so I've had to tweak bits of it when sewing together, and I don't care, that's what gives it soul.

So, now It's out of the dryer, it's a bit crinkly, but incredibly soft, and actually that's the beauty of hand worked pieces, if you handle the fabrics lots, over time they soften up in a way that you wouldn't normally get straight away in a machine made quilt, until it had been washed and used a while-so that's why don't I want to let her go to her rightful owner, but I will, but after I snuggle a while longer first, if that's ok.....

Ange x

And linking up to Karen @Quilty Creations Something Old, Something New.