Wednesday, 30 April 2008

I hate forms

I lost today.
I had to get entry forms into two shows. 3 of the 5 quilts are not yet made (2 haven't even been started!). I didn't have enough forms so I had to get photocopies which entailed getting drenched even with an umbrella. Then I found my inkjet was out of ink and spent a goodly amount of time searching local suppliers only to find no shop had any for my particular Epsom.
Then I had to name the quilts. I find this hard, even harder when I can only see them in my mind. And then of course the artists statement.......
Tomorrow is another day. I did mange to get two or three of the feathers done on the green quilt so all was not lost.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Do I learn nothing?

I found out last year that these free form feathers need an awful lot of starting and stopping and burying threads. If I'd remembered, I would have designed it differently but I'm committed now and on a time line.

I laid the sample on top to show you how much adding the extra line of quilting outside the feather makes a difference and how quilting down the background makes the feathers stand out.
2 weeks and 2 days ago it was snowing, on Saturday it was in the mid 70ºs and it was hot in the garden. Today the cloud cover is so dense I've had to have the lights on and the rain is so heavy, I can see our little stream bursting it's banks again.

Monday, 28 April 2008

A bit done today

Poor Sinclair got under my feet on Friday and I trod on him. He seemed fine but Friday night he was limping. We decided to take him to the vets in the morning but come the morning he was fine and so it went on throughout the weekend. I took him to the vets this morning and poor old thing, he has arthritis and me landing on his leg has left it inflamed. What with his regular shots etc, he's been wiped out all day and I'm £128 poorer.
I did manage to get some quilting done today, I'm showing the back because the front is covered in threads waiting to be buried. Once I've done the heavy work, I shall put on a backing over this batting and do the rest of the quilting. I have a month to complete this. (gulp)

Sunday, 27 April 2008

The promise of things to come

This year has been a disappointment in the quilts I've managed to achieve so I've decided to 'go for it'. I'm entering a quilt into a show and I have to have a photo for identification in the post by Tuesday so I've done this little sample to for the photograph.
Fliss has a delightful friend, Libby. Libby asked if she could have one of my quilts. 'Of course' I said, 'get your mother to buy Peace #1' (grin).
She asked again whilst I was on the phone to Fliss last week and I said 'yes'. I heard Libby in the background doing a happy dance and felt quite guilty when I knew I was going to say, 'get your mum to buy Peace #1' again. Sadly she thought for just a few seconds I would make her one. So I have, I just finished off that little sample of the Blue and White feathers and bound it. She won't be able to wrap it round herself but she can hang it on her wall.

The tree fern is just starting to show it's new fronds in the centre of the trunk. They look like hairy little puppies trying to break out at this stage.

And my tree peonies have huge buds, I can't wait!

Friday, 25 April 2008

quilts and gardens

As you see I'm 9/16ths through doing the middle of this quilt. Strangely I can quilt all day without my neck aching but this process means I have to stop every 1/2 hour or so. I love the way these spin.I bought seeds for the garden yesterday these are the fully hardy plants. I'll just scrape the soil and sprinkle them around. I find this a totally magical process. This is the first time I've seen the California poppies in a single colour other than orange. And these special Kew purple Godetia make my mouth water.

These are the half hardy ones, so they shall have to wait until mid May to be sprinkled about. If I could be bothered I could grow them in pots first and then plant out, but waiting is just so very much easier.

And I've treated the local birds to this bird feeder. The top is about 9' high so they should be safe from the cat and I'm hoping the blessed squirrels can't get up there.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

It's warm

Yesterday Ferret came over with her quilts and spring firmly arrived. The temperature went up to 70ºF and we sat in the sunshine on our t shirts. Whilst we we outside Marion rang asking about getting Ferret to quilt the top she's made for her son.
And today I went over to a friend's house to photograph the blue and white quilt with a posh camera. And I got a good photo of 'When Heide met Sally' at the same time.
I quickly just used the generic software to clip this one, but if you click on it, at last you will be able to see it closest to it's real colours and effect.

Monday, 21 April 2008

This is what today's post was supposed to be

My ornamental apple tree is in blossom. This little tree is delightful, it's little crab apples are bright red and stay on the tree all winter like Christmas baubles.
My sister bought me this acer for a birthday. It's five years old now and still not very large. It's supposed to reach 20' in ten years. By the end of summer the leaves are green and then go red again in autumn. Normally the backdrop to this fiery red is the cool blue if the ceanothus.

Now this is the story of the princess and the pea. Or rather the tale of the new mattress. I know it's my age but the most comfortable memory foam in the world made my night time hot flushes intolerable. The hunt went on for a replacement, and this new one is the same with pocket springs but with latex on top. The mattress shop told me they had a fabulous delivery team who would take the old mattress downstairs and put the new one on the bed.
Guess what, they delivered the new mattress upstairs but never offered to remove the older one let alone take it downstairs.
So poor DH and I when he came home from work lifted the old one off (memory foam is very heavy) and put the new one on the bed. We put the older matress on the landing but it was in the way. Solution, or so I thought was to put the old one under the new.
You can see I now need these steps to get into bed. Very comfortable but I'm sure I can feel a pea somewhere........
Steph is coming over next month to help with the redecoration of the bedroom, not a moment too soon.

That was lost is now found!

Part of the strategy of finding the quilt was to post it on the blog, knowing if I did this it would immediately appear and it did.
Where? In DH's office is a wardrobe with the hanging rail removed where her keeps odds and ends. I had washed and blocked the quilt (now this is my fault but you try and remember things on three hours sleep a night) and hung it on trouser hangers on the inside of the door.
I had asked DH if had seen the quilt, and no he hadn't seen it for months. This is despite going into the cupboard/wardrobe several times a week!

Missing Quilt

CR*P day!!!!!!!
I read the instructions for the French Show and it says the quilt must not have been exhibited before except in your region. Does showing a photo on my blog rather than exhibiting the quilt itself count?
And today I was going to steam 'When Heide met Sally' to send off to a show. I have been searching high and low for 7 hours, I can't find it. I'm hoping against hope that it's like when you look in the fridge for the tomato sauce and it's right there in front of you but you can''t see it.
I've emptied the quilt bags four times now and unfolded all the quilts, but I cannot find it. It's the quilt I use on my masthead of this blog and to my mind is the best quilt I've made. Not as good as I hope to make but the best so far.....

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Another stash purchase

I couldn't resist these Moda marble charms when Hancocks of Paducah lowered the price to $4.98, so I bought 8 of them.
And they came in these cool little tins.

But my biggest purchase was this. Not a lot cheaper buying 25yds at a time but it does avoid most of the creasing of packed batting.

Am I the only quilter in the world with a batting stash in addition to a fabric stash? This is the stuff I keep on hand in the sewing room. I also have batting up in the loft and now I have to find space for the roll. I thought it would arrive in a 108" roll, but it is folded in half thank heavens. It should be OK in the garage with the proviso it will fit back in it's plastic bag after having bits cut off it...
One of the many jobs on my list is to tidy this lot up, but I find when it is tidy, it's more prone to fall down....

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Binding and sleeve

When I'm binding a quilt, I roughly pin it in place with a fold in the conrners.

I do this to ensure the joins in the binding do not hit any of the corners.
I add the binding with my walking foot. I move the needle to the extreme right and then make myself a little paper template. I stitch it in two directions to the corner so I have a template of where to stop before I fold the binding over to go round the corner.

When I'm making a sleeve, I cut the fabric at 9" (I know 8½" would be enough but who ever heard of a quilting being rejected for the sleeve being a little large?) I lay it at the top of the quilt and cut each end just off the edges of the quilt. Why use a tape measure when you need it just short of this measurement.

I then fold the ends over to the wrong side twice and because the walking foot is still in the machine, it's quite nice to use the edge of that slit up to the needle as a guide so the stitching is close to the edge of the fold.

Monday, 14 April 2008

My latest bit of quilting kit

What?!? These are for quilting?!? Yup.These knee pads are gel filled and it means I can get back down on the floor to pin my quilts!(and all the other things I never realised I'd needed my knees for)

Saturday, 12 April 2008

If I live to be this old

I want to do it like this man though I've never been able to run vary far...

Diane Gaudynski

Diane posts new tips monthly. Follow what she says, she is NEVER wrong, there's a reason I refer to her as the god (should that be goddess?) of machine quilting.
Whilst you are there check out her previous tips of the month and explore her site. If you have her books get out a magnifying glass and look at those stitches, in all her work I have only found one stitch which was a little out. No one can tell me her hands are human, they are guided by the divine.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Something quilty

Just to show I have been doing something quilty. I got one feather done after Will left on Wednesday, two yesterday and almost one today. Yesterday I got one of the new fence panels painted and today only about half of one as we had very impressive hail , so much so it was mentioned on the radio as it affected the motorways.Most of my life seems very mundane this week. Meeting a lawn guy, arranging another to give a quote, washing, supermarket shopping, you know how it is..
I forgot to mention on Monday, one of the local quilt groups turned up with 10 quilts for the children at the women's refuge. Aren't quilters wonderful!

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

One of the joys of

having a teenage daughter, is her boyfriend. Whilst my knee has been out of action and all the work last autumn in the cottage the garden has been going to the dogs. Along comes Will, hero of the day.
Not only can he tell a weed from a plant, he can also weed out bindweed and brambles without destroying all the plants around them. He also managed a good job on cutting off all the new shoots at the bottom of the goat willows.

Sinclair thinks he is great too.

Monday, 7 April 2008

The quilting is done

I'm wondering now whether to keep it straight at the top and curve it round about an inch or two round the feathers? If I do this I'll face it, if not I'll cut it back to 40" square and put a binding on it.
My life is so exciting, as I spent time at the weekend quilting, I have to do the ironing today. How wonderful.........................................

Sunday, 6 April 2008

This just doesn't happen here

or if it does, not in April.
This was taken at 7.30 after the first ten minutes

Then half an hour later
I love how pretty the bird feeder looked

Trees look magical
Even the chain link fence by the stream looks pretty
Of course Fliss had to make a snowman.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

a little bit more

Thursday was lost in my search for a mattress. Currently I have the worlds most comfortable bed which is a combination of pocket springs and memory foam. My back has never been so good. The downside is not only have I reached the time when I am hot at night but also the memory foam makes me hot in it's own right. I thought latex would be the answer but trying to find one of these to test drive meant a trip into London, or and this seemed the better option a trip to Steph's (she of the cakes) and take my own pillows with me.
So we had lunch, I tested the mattress for about 20 minutes (no heat but too firm for me) and then we hit the shops.
The matress hunt goes on.
A little sewing got done yesterday but DD had friends over and they all went to the pub and then a nightclub and because DD had not remembered her keys, they had to wake me up to let them in at 2.30am. Bless!
I thought I'd try taking photos outside to see if I could get the colour of this quilt as it really is. The first shot shows the progress, the 2nd nearly shows it's true colour but the wind wasn't cooperating.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

It doesn't look like much but

it is 6 and a half hours work. and nearly 1,000 yds of thread today and yesterday.

Click to see these larger.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

More on the blue and white quilt

Yesterday was quite frustrating, with a lot of unpicking as the horrible black batting had distorted the fabric. I did manage in the end to do the two lower right hand swirls and bury the threads. I put it in in our high pressure shower last night to remove the water soluble thread and hung it up folded into three and hung it in the airing cupboard over night. It was totally dry this morning.
It took all morning just to echo round the outside of the feathers.
Then I changed machines (the little spanner came up letting me know it's time for Aurora 1 to be serviced). And I changed over to the YLI silk thread from the heavier weight embroidery thread I used for the feathers. This involved doing another sample to get the tension right and finally make sure I had the right style of background. I lay this sample on red, green, blue, and yellow trying to get the colour of the fabric right but the camera won't play nicely.
This is the close up, it should come up to fill your screen if you click on it.