Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Blessing of Thoughtful Friends

It's been an eventful two weeks, though sadly not on the sewing front.  An unexpected illness and lengthy hospital stay have rather put paid to plans for all the various projects on my to do list.  Not so great when I'd just signed up to two new QALs either.  Still, a few more days to recuperate and hopefully I can start to get back in the sewing saddle (I guess once the other priorities of life have been re-established too).

Although being ill has been rather miserable, there have been some lovely blessings courtesy of the thoughtfulness of friends and family.  Judith kept me supplied with patchwork and quilting mags while I was in hospital.

These were so appreciated since I hadn't the energy to concentrate on a book for the first week and in between the sleepy spells and tests and procedures looking at the colourful pictures of quilty goodness was just the distraction I needed for a few minutes at a time.  To Judith - thanks for knowing just what I'd need and for taking time out from all that you do to come and visit me in the hosp a few times.

I just got home yesterday afternoon to find a little parcel which had my family intrigued.  Susan, a lovely friend I've made through blogging had been thinking of me and kindly sent a Get Well card and a lovely little embroidered needle case which she had spent time to make herself.

I cannot tell you how touched I was by her thoughtfulness and it was such a welcome little surprise to come home from hospital too.  Sorry about the rubbish lighting in my photo - check out Susan's post for much better pics.  My family are still curious that a bloggy friend would be so thoughtful.  So to Susan - thank you for being so sweet!

Last night the food brigade arrived laden with goodies to ease the weekend for our family.  Look at this amazing stockpile from my church friends Stephanie and Suzanne.

Their own lives are crazy busy so I really appreciate that they took time out for us and hubby will be grateful for not having to cook this weekend - thanks Steph and Suzanne!

So you see, it might have been a bit rubbish generally lately, but the kindness of friends old and new has been a real blessing from God in this time and I am so grateful to Him and to all of you.  Thank you lovelies!!!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Farmer's Wife Quilt-A-Long

Did you know that there are really bad people out there in the blogosphere and world of flickr?  BAD, BAD people.  People who make beautiful 6 inch sampler blocks, post lovely piccies on the blog posts and on a flickr group, who write about their enthusiasm and the addictive nature of the project.  People who are having fun sharing their plans, their achievements and the odd chuckle.  Like I said, BAD BAD people - you have been warned!

I didn't quite manage to avoid the influence of these baddies (how's that for transference of responsibility?)  and have signed up to the Farmer's Wife Quilt Along being hosted by Amanda from Fussy Cut and Angela from MsMcPorkChopQuilts.

I have flirted with sampler quilts for a while and even made a very small, tentative start on a Dear Jane, but life kind of took over and that got sidelined (maybe one day I'll get back to it).  I am delighted and so excited to see the buzz and enthusiasm for this block sampler quilt 'cos in all honestly I was getting to the point where I thought I had a nasty, dirty little secret because I love and have so wanted to try a sampler quilt. Modern quilting is fantastic but I think the sampler has been sadly neglected in this, and you only need to check out the fab blocks appearing over at the flickr group to see these are not blocks your granny would have made.  I have a bit of catch-up to play as I've come to the party late, but roll on the weekend and let me at them!

My stash selections for this QAL
It's not too late join in the fun, buy your copy of the book and sign up on the flickr group - you know you want to!

PS The more observant among you will have noted that yes, I have now signed up for 2 QALs in the space of a fortnight - next sign up is Quilter's Anonymous!  (Eeek, what am I doing?!)

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Log Cabin in Greenfield Hills

Not so subtle that title, but it's what I was working on this afternoon as a wee start to a gift.  A log cabin cushion in Denyse Schmidt's Greenfield Hills fabrics.  Not sure somehow that log cabin and the Plantation homes that inspired these fabrics are compatible, but for this wee cushion front I think they've come together nicely.

It's not a very contemporary look, but I do love these fabrics in this blueberry colourway and they are a dream to work with.

I am hoping to make this into a gift for Agnes.  I've never met Agnes but the week before Christmas, when we had 8 inches of snow, my hubby was out for a snow run around the lanes where we live and he met Agnes for the first time.  Agnes is 84 and we learned she has no family, and she was there in 8 inches of snow underlaid with ice on a crutch trying to drag her recently emptied wheelie bin back up the lane to her house - hardy or what?  Anyway, hubby clearly offered to help and given the weather conditions offered to look in on her again.  So he and our son have been visiting Agnes from time to time just to check that all is well and she has all she needs.  I just thought it might be nice for them to take her a little handmade gift on one of their visits.  Probably more info than you are really interested in but there you have it - a start on Agnes' log cabin cushion.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Summer Picnic Rug

Remember these?
Heather Bailey, Nicey Jane

I flashed the stash with a wee blog post a few weeks back as I was gathering these Nicey Jane prints for a class project.  Well, 78 full brick cuts later (plus 39 wadding bricks) and 12 half brick cuts (plus 6 wadding half bricks) - whew(!), here's where I've got to:

Bricks cut and all sorted and labelled into rows

This class project is the Rag Quilted Picnic Rug, but I am beginning to wonder if this little quilt will ever see a picnic given the unreliability of our weather for the last four summers!  Anyway, picnic or no, this one is intended as a summer gift for someone in the family and will find a use at those summer bbq evenings where we all put on fleeces and huddle around the chimnea on the decking like hardy fools!  Imagine this cosy, but summery quilt around your legs while you finish a Pimms or G&T in the fading light (all sounds a bit more romantic than reality probably).

So all these lovelies will be quilted individually, like so

I am really enjoying this wavy line quilting!

then stitched together in a brick like format and finished by ragging up the raw seams, I think. If you want to see how it should look when it's done take a peek at Judith's own version which she is teaching us from.  I love her combination of fabrics which give this such a vintage feel.  I love this look - it's really cosy and familiar without some of the formality of other quilts, perfect for relaxed summer evenings.

I am enjoying the fabrics in this project so much - don't think I've ever had so much of one co-ordinating collection before and I really do love the lightness of the colours (though the yellows do add a bit of zing to proceedings).  I am going to struggle to part with this one and if I feel it's not being loved as it should might just sneak it away again at next year's family 'do'!  Alas, I think it will be loved and we will be parted forever.

PS you really should keep an eye on Judith's blog in early July when this class finishes up because there are some really gorgeous fabric combinations going into this project from all the other 'girls' at the class - I am envious of them all!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Daisy, daisy give me your answer do ...

So here it is, Partner ...
It won't actually come with the matching blue clothes hanger!

A little bit of quilting.

I think the colours appear a little darker than they are in reality
- there's been no good light at all this week.

Another wee close-up.

Quilt label - whose name could be hiding under there?

Well, it's all yours and I hope it makes you smile when you open it!  Not long to go before it's in the post.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Kaleidoscope Quilt A Long

I spotted Elizabeth's Kaleidoscope Quilt A Long on her blog a few days ago and have been valiantly trying to pretend I didn't.

But I'm afraid I did see it, and now, encouraged by my quilty partner-in-crime Judith, I am exercising absolutely no will power at all and am signing up for what I'm sure will be a fantastic and fun experience.  I shall now spend the next week justifying this sign up in the face of everything else that's going on as something I really do need to do as parting of the learning curve - lol!

If you fancy having a go check out Elizabeth's blog and sign up there and to the flickr group.  Things have kicked off but the first cutting instructions will be posted on 23 June so there's still time to talk yourself and a few friends into the fun!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Pleated Tote Bag

I've had this free pleated tote bag tutorial bookmarked on Artsy-Craftsy Babe's website for a while and today was the day it was calling to me.  So this afternoon I unearthed some Ikea fabric and voila, one summer tote (just for me this time).

Apple green lining and pleated outer fabrics 

The lovely green lining lurks inside but
I just couldn't get a decent photo of it.
I am quite pleased how the tote turned out, although I made a wee adjustment or two to the pattern just because my preference is to turn the bag right way out through the lining rather than by the top seam, probably because I'm not good enough at tidying up the top seam properly thereafter! The Ikea fabrics were a bit heavy and really tested my machine (there were some parts where there were 7 or 8 layers to get through), but a little perseverance and a bit of huffing and puffing with the Janome and I have a great wee carryall for this summer - just in time for the sun to disappear this afternoon and the forecast to be for rain all day tomorrow!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Who's a Lucky Duck?

I am, that's who.  Look what loveliness arrived with me courtesy of Judith's Pay It Forward commitment -

A beautiful crochet brooch

Wish I could get my crochet flowers to turn out so perfectly!

and this cute little pouch for me to fill with cosmetics, necessities or whatever I fancy really.

Love the reds and blues J chose for this.

The pouch has lovely wee pockets inside.
Thank you so much Judith for these gorgeous goodies - great way to cheer up a day!

Now if anyone out there would like to be on the receiving end of my Pay It Forward participation, please check out my post here and be one of the first three to comment.
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