Tuesday, 30 December 2008


I rejoined the fabricholics yahoo group to take part in their NYE mystery and there was chat about all those dreaded UFO's. Up for a challenge I started to drag out what i could lay my hands on without looking for and guess what 27 projects now all on the dining room table. I still have a quilt on the quilting frame to be hand quilted only a couple of rows to go, and I have a quilt in bits on the design wall. Plus heaven knows how many leaders and enders.
I then decided maybe i should actually clear up the piles of mess now scattered all over the floor and came across many orphan blocks, all different sizes all different backgrounds and styles. Those i just popped into another box, maybe I will do something with those at some time.
This purge also found some Japanese quilt magazines I want to sell on eBay, some magazines that I had kept and have marked with quilts I want to make, patterns downloaded from the net and some bought. I found fabric I didn't know I had and it really is too nice to use!
Earlier in the year i catalogued all my books and numbered them, and organised strips into boxes.
So now my computer desk is covered with papers and patterns with barely enough room for a keyboard, and there is a heap of everything else that was lying in a corner now in the middle of the floor.
I suppose I'd better go and do something about it I dread finding more UFO's Happy New Year to all

Monday, 8 December 2008

another finish

This quilt is a basic churn dash ... but with a difference as you see its curved. This is for my grand daughter of 14 hence the mad colours and as you can see another inspection

Finally at last

This is the quilt that has been on my little Grace 11 for almost 2 years. The cat has used it as a hammock all that time !! The had shredded the wadding into holes and I neded up taking it off the frame and leaving it with Susan Taylor a local long armer. As you can see the cat is still inspecting it. this was a 9 patch swap originally using 30's fabrics with an online yahoo group quilting sisters

Monday, 1 September 2008

Short break and doings

I was doing some leaders and enders and turned them into 4 patches, put them up on the design wall and they looked pretty boring, being just all 4 patches. decided to try some HST (half square triangles) made a few up my way!. Really easy cut a strip of fabric in light and one in a contrast, decide the size of finished triangle you want remember to add on the 7/8th ( i cut 4" strips, I don't fiddle about with an !/8th of an inch i'd rather trim)) with a pencil mark of vertical lines every 4" then draw diagonal lines from corner to corner, making where you ended the start of the next diagonal marking so that it zig zags, then stitch 1/4 " either side of your marked line in a continuous line then turn and stitch the other side of the marked line 1/4 " in. With your rotatry cutter cut along all the pencil marks hey presto HSt's quick and easy. Time to play and make a load more 4patches and HST's

I managed to get my Orange Crush quilt back from the long armer ( Susan Taylor) photographs show the finished top and the back of the quilt it is now safely transported to New Zealand. Really pleased with this.

Also completed a disappearing nine patch for my niece to give to her best friend, this is one i was playing around with and didn't finish at the time..
I see Bonnie has another mystery on for Labour weekend , unfortunately I can't start this one with everyone else, I'll be over in England visiting family.
The dogs have been groomed and all ready for the kennels, found a few lumps under baileys 'arm pits' so he wll have to go to the vet when i get back. they don't look like spaniels at the minute. Oh I have blocked the washing machine I had put all the dogs soft toys in the machine to wash and hadn't realised some of them were coming apart, the washing machine was full of little bits of foam ( just shows these child safe toys have filling in them that shouldn't be there) yes the foam has blocked the machine now i need to get someone out to get rid of it all, can't you just there the guy!!
I am really getting tired looking at rain everyday. If the grass gets any longer I'll need to invest in a goat!

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Another month

Why does life hurtle by like a rate of knots. All the plans seem to fall by the wayside, I am settling in to the new job well , could do without the long travel to work over an hour is ok in the summer but its gonna be deadly in the winter. Finished the Orange crush quilt .. finally.. I was late starting it with the new job and only settled down to do it this month . I choose a grey for the background , it looks better in real life the colour seems much brighter in this photo.
As soon as i get it back from the longarmer It is going off to Alan in New Zealand, the first quilt I have made him!
Managed a few real nice days this summer and got the work finished round the pond really pleased now with the way the garden has turned out, just the piece behind decking and the dogs to fill out next summer and it will done as far as done goes in a garden.
I need to sort out some of my UFO's most just need quilted, really must knuckle down and put one together this evening, maybe choose one that can be hand quilted i can always take it into work and do it at lunch time, providing it isn't too big.
Want to start the friendship star for Spain as well, but more about that later.
I bid and won 100 x 2" squares on eBay, its only afterwards and u work out that it is really only a FQ's worth, it was real bad value. i paid double what I normally pay for a FQ, only plus is that the squares are all different. Wont do that again. I haven't even done anything with them yet , which makes it even more stupid to buy!!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

The world needs to slow down!

I really can't believe yet again another month or two has passed. Life became very hectic, and I seem to be chasing time and never catching it. I have been having fun tho. The week before my birthday Jim took me out on the Goldwing for a birthday surprise. We wove our way through country roads and turned up at a field. Yes I could see what was in the field and I could barely contain my excitement. I immediately knew what the surprise was.

We climbed of the bike and walked over to a building beside the field, and waited outside he had been told to arrive early and indeed we were. Elderly gentleman starts talking , "is this your first time ?" he says. "Yes" says Jim and I in unison. "I do it all the time" says the elderly gentleman. "Wow" says I looking at this guy who wasn't a day under 75 and walking with a stick. "You do" says I. "love it" says he.

Then a few more people arrived all smiling and happy and some do it every week and would do it more often others like me it was a first time, and was given as a gift. Now you are all asking what is it. Clues coming up

We all went to the fence round the field and looked " gosh its smaller than I thought" says I. Rather nice man comes across and says ok we need to give you all a briefing first.

So everyone including those who were regulars and the beginners had a briefing, we were to go down the field in order and as it was such a good day it could take 30 mins. I was third so i trotted off down the field and watched and felt quite sick.

Then my turn came out across the field another briefing and the parachute went on ( it weighed a ton) then instructions how to step in. I stepped in slid down was belted in. more instructions. Then the front plane took off and hauled us up to 3000 feet ... yes you got it , it was a gliding lesson. The tow plane dropped the line and we were gliding in the glider oh myyyy , even when the vertigo kicked in i was going of this is fantastic.

We 'flew' around for about 30 mins catching the wind< i had a go at controls and turned the glider and went up and went down then we finally came into land The instructor took over and very gently put the glider down in the rough field... it was so good I could have gone up again... a great experience and a wonderful gift. This was something on my I want to do before I die list.

The following week on my birthday off we went on the bike again to Slemish which is a 'mountain' or a very high hill depends on your perspective. Another i want to do though I really only wanted to see it and was expecting to walk to the base say very nice and go for a cup of tea. No not Jim after i went this is great etc. he says oh we are going to the top! I took his temperature and no he wasn't sick. and being fairly adventurous i said OK but i didn't like heights and he promised to turn if it really got bad. I thought this will be a gentle sort of amble up the side of this .. NOPE got that wrong we climbed oh let me rephrase that he climbed and he pulled me up I got dragged up, My legs don't go as high as they used to and everything is so stiff, not supple anymore. we climbed the rock face, i muttered mightily at first under my breath and as the climb got steeper and more difficult louder and louder. Each mutter was dismissed by we are nearly there.

we did get to the top and we could see all 6 counties of Ulster and see the islands of Scotland the view was worth everything, till i thought how do we get down! He scrambled down I came down 2/3 of it on my bottom, sliding and manoeuvring my feet to find something solid to step onto.

We did make it to the bottom and another tick of the list.

The next day I started a new job 1 hour drive to and from work adds on a lot of hours and not mcuh sewing gets done.

I did finish topping a cot quilt and I normally would quilt these myself but the baby is now born so I will leave it with the longarmer this weekend. It is only small but if i dont the baby will be a teenager before he gets it.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Where did the week go

Last weekend I went to a QGI ( Quilters Guild of Ireland) retreat. I left home at 5 am and drove to co. Tipperary not sure how far but I arrived at 9.15 am in time for my first day workshop with Sally Schneider. The work shop was on woven stars and i really liked this. Browns aren't my colour but I decided id take down autumn shades to do my workshop in.boy did I ever get the green wrong. I was trying to do browns, rusts and muted green... I'm going to have to do the two green blocks again maybe in a golden yellow.

The sashing forms a star really like this idea where the sashing forms another pattern and makes the quilt look intricate.

Sewed most of the day and generally had a good time. Saturday was another class with Sally.
However, in the morning I had my shower . Well the first thing that happened was that because I wear glasses and am as blind as a bat without them i turned on the sower and stepped in ... onto this soft wet thing. yep it was the bath mat... what a stupid place to put it .inside the shower!.
I flung the sodden mass out onto the floor and turned the shower up full .the shower head shot up vertically and washed the whole of the opposite wall in the en suite. BY now I'm wrestling with the shower head trying to get it to point down and trying to turn the tap down..
I was exhausted nearly had to lie down .

Gathered all my bits and headed over to the next class with Sally all about borders.

This is really very simple but again looks difficult.
She was so full of ideas.
She suggested for scrap quilts to cut up a FQ along the widest part in the following strips
1.5 "

This uses up most of the FQ what a clever idea especially for these FQ's we no longer like

Monday and Thursday of this week I had two job interviews , the first interview was relaxed and went well, the second was the interview from hell, I could barely string a coherent sentence together. Dreadful.. On Friday I got word to say I got both jobs!!,
They are both 60 miles away, they both are in the university, one was easy the other more challenging. Guess which one I took? The one that is gonna send me nuts lol .. I like a challenge.

Talking of which I started the Orange Crush mystery quilt with Bonnie, and did half of clue 1 and I thought no i want something different and instead of using cream background I am doing mine in grey I now have about 1/3 done and still step 2 to do So far behind

Will have to knuckle down next week as I am going to France on Sunday for 2 weeks.

Now I am almost embarrassed about this next bit. I was looking for something in one of the bedroom cupboards and thought ah great there

those 3 boxes they will be perfect for the strips
I'm cutting as I was short of them I couldn't figure out where they were.
I opened them up and they were full of fabric. I had not missed this fabric, I had not looked for this fabric, It is all 1/2 yards, all hand dyed, all colours. I can't even remember why or when I bought it all. I don't even know if I had a project in mind when i did buy it.


Sunday, 13 April 2008

Caved in

I caved in and have decided to do the orange crush mystery... I even bought orange ... scarey colour!!!

I did half of the 9 patches and I decided I dont like them and found some grey fabric that has been lying around for year.. can't even remember anymore why I bought it or what I was going to make with it.

I am toying with the idea of using the grey as my background, just not sure if it will work or not

Jim and I took the terrible two to a deserted beach this morning they spent 2 hours galloping in and out of the sea and generally enjoying life, tomorrow they go to the groomer. Who will cut out all the baby fluff from Bailey. He looks like an Afghan !! and he is meant to look like a cocker spaniel, so its clip time for him . Saphy will just have a wash and tidy up. They are almost a year and a half now and still giddy.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Jenni's quilt

I have a dilema over this should I put the border on or not in my minds eye it looked all so different now I dont think I like it.

The border was meant to curve round and echo the pattern it just looks busy to me and i think if just bind it with a multi colour strip it will look better.

I also have not a clue how to quilt this one.

It was a really easy pattern I cut a black square and the same size coloured square. folded the coloured square into a triangle, basted it to the black. Then turned back the edge and slip stitched, leaving a little 'pocket'
Its a basic churn dash pattern and could be done with any block to give a nice curved effect without all the fiddling when sewing.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Oh what a day

Ta da from the squares to this

Pattern called Japanese Jigsaw by Tracey Brooksheir. Its a 9 " squares chopped in four laid on point. A 3/4 set round the sides and after that they are sewn in units and using a diamond template hey presto a neat wall hanging and real quick to do.

Its funny tho its not till it was finished and I had taken the photo that i realised there is a 'bad' square, in that it hasn't as much colour in it as it should have.

It needs quilted but it will be simple as this is for a retreat challenge, we were all given the centre fabric the theme is 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'. Oh and the retreat is in less than three weeks away.

I have also been making some bits and bobs for goodie bags. The fabric in the bag is from Hancock's, its made up of small 6" panels, so works well for the bag. Have a few more of those to do and also have made for the bag little tissue holders.

A work colleague has just had a premature baby I have a number of Dear
Jane Blocks and I'm tempted to make her a quilt with them , but may go for something more funky for her

Having done all this today I then decided as it was a nice day and about 4 o'clock an hour of feeding the pups that I'd take them a walk to the forest. It s a nice place to go very remote, on the side of a mountain ( by USA standards its a hill, but here its a mountain) I have been a few times there are tracks through it, but i decided to try a different path figuring if I kept turning right I ought to end up back where I started and if it was like the trail i usually do about an hours walking. So off we set two excited dogs and me and we walked and they played through the shughs ( Manky ditches). Met one other lady with 3 dogs we passed the time of day, she was coming in the opposite direction so next turn should be back to the car. We walked and climbed, oh must be an incline to the car park, turned a corner and there's a clearing where the foresters are cutting down trees. In the distance I could see a house with a crane, and thought ok time is getting on I better head for that , I realised by this time i was lost. Kept going and kept climbing , Ok for some reason i was going up the mountain and ok If I ended at the top I knew the main road was there and it was a case of walking back down the road to the car.

Keep going cos by now the sun was going down, at this point Bailey decides to go into yet another shugh followed by Saphy. next thing I hear this dreadful crying , tear back and Bailey is going crazy barking and getting on and I look and there is Saphy totally caught up in Brambles down this 3 foot shugh well and truly stuck in the mud and brambles. Bailey is back and forward jumping in and out and barking and carrying on like nobodies business , manage to tie Bailey to a tree to stop him going in again. I make my way through brambles and shrub lean down to grab the brambles and shrub from Saphy to release her. and yes in I went.

By now I'M sinking in to my ankles, manage to get the stuff off Saphy chuck her on top of the ditch and grab a branch to haul myself out. Dang left a trainer behind got trainer chucked it of ditch 15 mins later I'm finally out. By this time I'm exhausted totally disorientated, Thank heavens for mobile phones, for some strange reason I took mine with me I usually forget it, I never have a pocket to put it in.

I phoned a male friend to tell him. I am so lost. Phone would not work. I phoned his business to get them to get him to call me, he did, no connection. I sent a text I'm lost. I keep walking up, he texts back what is ur location. Trees was the response but I knew the sun was on my right I should have been going down not up! OH and for some reason I am on top of the mountain somewhere, I had passed a fire dam I could no longer hear traffic. I keep going surely one of these tracks must take me to a road or at least the edge of the forest. Three hours later and two whinging dogs, I finally see the road and we cross more muck mire and whatever and scramble to the main road.

I sent text to Jim , I found the road, ........... on my way was the reply and I start now walking down, heck I was further up than I thought 20 mins later my knight in a white minibus arrives. I would have had a 5 mile walk back to the car. The dogs were mucky I was mud from head to toe having been in a shugh. He burst out laughing bundled the three of us in and took me back to my car.

it was 8 o'clcok before I was home, fed the dogs, stripped in the kitchen everything into the washing machine and had a shower.

That was when I decided to download office 2007 tot he computer and that is another story as they say.

Friday, 28 March 2008

I cant believe it

I can't believe its 2 months since I posted, i have been sewing !

I've just noticed you can see my Little grace machine frame peeping out of the top window, yet another room i have extended my sewing area into.

My Carolina crossroads is back from the LAQ I must say I am pleased with the overall effect. Finished just in time to start the next mystery with Bonnie on the 1st April I haven't chosen my fabrics yet. I may have to start later.

I'm going to a quilters weekend retreat in Neenagh in Southern Ireland and have a challenge to finish for it . we were all given a 9" square of fabric and it is to be used in our challenge. I have it partly done in that it is on the design wall , but have another set of cutting to do, here is a first preview, it will look completely different when its finished. The challenege fabric is the centre and its actually purple ! The rest of the fabrics i ordered , do you know I did not have a piece that matched it! All japanese fabrics.

I am taking two classes with Sally Schneider, Woven star and twisted ribbon. I need to sort out my fabric and get some cutting done for that asap.
I am just putting the borders on my curved churn dash quilt for my grand daughter, and also have made goody bags and tissue holders for a group of us who are heading of in October .
I really havent been idle, oh yes and the terrible two have kept me busy, i can't keep them out of the pond, now it needs repaired as the water is seeping away i can't find a hole so have ordered a new liner and will empty pond and refil and replant as soon as it arrives. maybe I should make booties for the two!

Sunday, 3 February 2008

We had snow and a few almost finishes

Woke up yesterday and we had snow all 1 " of it. It is still a novelty we so rarely get it and it never lasts. When the kids were small I would have had them up at 3 am just to play in the snow , cos as sure as shooting it would be mush in the morning.
When i let the cat out she went very carefully every so often lifting a paw and shaking it and then another slow step. The pups? oh I think they went to puppy heaven, it wasnt long before there was bare patches with them running and tumbling.

Four hours later the snow was all gone everywhere.

Decided to finish, well not quite finish but to at least get things to putting on border stage. First one was the Carolina Crossroads mystery of Bonnie Hunters and it just needed joined in middle, pressed and trimmed. I have decided to make more railfences for the border so started those this am.

It will need a separating strip though between the main quilt and border .

The next one to get finished was a mystery done with Pocket full of mysteries. Must admit I like the quilt but if I'd known it was going to be hearts in it I wouldn't have done it. Its too syrupy.

Heaven knows what i will do with it, I toyed with making it into 3 cot quilts and even then the hearts are too syrupy..

Its ready for binding i think i'll just bind it in the cream just to get it finished

Then it was on to the churn dash I do like this, I like the way it is turning out and I like the curving that makes it so different. The basic idea came from a book Annette Ornelas Peeled Back Patchwork. I love this book it is so full of ideas and it sure would change the look of many traditional quilts.

My problem is going to be the sashing I've auditioned a few ideas but not happy with any yet. I still have a lot of blocks to turn back so its not an immediate rush.

I also put the border on my small swirrls quilt , maybe get that quilted this week, its small enough to put under my regular machine.

I have such a pile of tops all small and they all would make good charity quilts if I ever could make the time to finish them.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

This is one I did Earlier lol Disappearing 9 patch

OK this is disappearing 9 patch in just two colours it is just as effective in totally scrappy, (look at the other posts for the different ways you can do this. This is so easy to do and is a basic 9 patch but with HST so it reads

First row HST (light and contrast) contrast, contrast (squares)

Second row light, contrast contrast ( all squares]

Third row light, light ( both squares) HST

This quilt is tied and tufted. Is an everyday quilt the dogs and cat bounces on and is on the bed.

I make my quilts to use, why put them in a drawer? Its not like I don't have anymore fabric to make another!

Yesterday I went home from work at lunch time (11 mile drive home and 11 miles back) to let the dogs out and they were fine, left them back inside the baby gate was closed and anything they could reach was removed ( I have learned) I got to the back door and i thought what on earth all this paper all over the place .. darn they have shredded a magazine where did i leave a magazine. Walked further in and the floor is covered in plastic bags ( small ones for popping poop in) matches? and pot pourri.......... now none of that is in the kitchen lo and behold his lordship had opened the baby gate ( it has to be HIM ) and trashed the downstairs bathroom....... the roll of toilet paper reached all round the bathroom, hall and kitchen, towels were 'played with' and inspection of beds showed they both had been in the cat litter tray. So she wasn't completely innocent in all this.

He can open the gate if the lever isn't down right so I always make sure it is. When they were very young they could work at the round cog at the bottom till it was loose and then flip the gate up. But this time the gate was open and I'm intrigued to know if he has discvered to bite and flip it.

Thank heavens I had my sewing room door closed.

They of course greeted me with waggy tails .......... however they must have exhausted themselves cos they slept all evening. I wish I had cctv to record all the mischief

An easy way of doing a number of HST (half square triangles}

There are several other ways to quick-piece half square triangle units. It's not a bad idea to try them all to see which methods you like best for different situations, because triangle squares are one of the most common components used in quilts.
Try this grid assembly technique when you need lots of identical triangle squares. By drawing it directly on the reverse side of the lightest triangle square fabric this is really quick and easy

Refer to your pattern or calculate the finished size of the triangle squares. Add 7/8" to that size to determine length and strip width. I tend to add on an inch I can’t be doing with fiddling with 1/8 “, it’s easy to trim it off.

Determine how many squares you need. Each square in the grid produces 2 triangle squares.

To calculate total strip length, multiply the grid size by the number of squares required. Use shorter lengths of multiple strips if necessary to make the best use of your yardage.

Cut strips of the two fabrics chosen for your triangle squares, remember add on the 1” or 7/8”

Use a pencil to mark square segments along the length of the strip. The distance between each vertical line is the same as the width of the strip. Straighten the edge of the strip before you mark to make sure all vertical lines are perpendicular with the top and bottom of the strip.

Draw a diagonal line from top to bottom of first square, next square draw line bottom to top… your making a zig zag line.

Continue marking until all squares are joined by diagonal lines moving in an up and down manner along the strip.

Place your two strips of fabric right sides together match edges. Pin the strips together along their length to keep them from moving apart.

Begin sewing at one end, placing your seams a scant 1/4" from the diagonal line that connects squares. Use your 1/4" presser foot to gauge the distance. Stop sewing and turn at each corner to change directions.

Repeat to sew a seam a scant 1/4" on the opposite side of the original diagonal lines.

This image shows the dark side to show the stitching line as it wont show on the cream side.

Cut units apart on all your pencil marked lines that define your squares. Cut each square into triangles along the pencil mark on the central diagonal.

Place the units on the ironing board, darkest triangle up. Press seam to the darker fabric

Measure units with a square ruler to verify size. The ruler's 45-degree line should flow precisely along the line created by the unit's two triangles.

Trim to required size and to square up if necessary

and if you have only a square of fabric the same principal works mark, grid and sew either side of the pencilled line.

right sides together and stitch either side of the diagonal line easy peasy lemon squeezy

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Getting there

Finally all the blocks sewn, have run out of space on the design wall to put them all on but this is the overall effect. Oh and I was one teeny weeny 9 patch short by the time I got to the last block, I did look in the dogs bed and everywhere else they carry things off to but no it couldnt be found . Nothing else for it but to make one.
I do like the colours in the quilt, and i do like my quilt. The one thing about a mystery quilt is that sometimes if only you had known you would have chosen differently.
With hindsight I would have made my Ohio star stronger and the 9 patches more muted. I feel its a very busy quilt almost too busy. I think this would have been really nice totally scrappy with no common colour I used blue and green and cream. I'm sure this would look really good in 1930's fabrics.
I have considered sashing it to quieten it down a bit but the size of the small pieces would lean towards a very narrow sashing and I feel it might look odd. To bring in another colour at this stage would make it look too bitty. So the only sashing alternative would be the cream or a pale green.
I haven't deided about the borders yet, at the minute Im toying with a one very narrow border, possibly the green, then a blue border (using different blues all around) and then bound in green. Or maybe blue, then green inbetween then bound in blue. But first it has to be put together.
I wonder how many wrongly placed 9 patch Im going to find !!

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Split 9 patch

I had a few split 9 patches to make into lap size charity quilts. The pic on the left is the one we associate most with the split 9 patch. As I was putting them up on the design wall so that when i come to sew I get the pattern right. As fast as I was putting the blocks up the pups were taking them down so Istarted looking at other patterns to get with the same blocks

I quite like the one on the left. The stripes above are a little boring but if it was a full size quilt a nice diamond shape could work well.

The one above I don't like but its another pattern, nor do i particulary like the chevron pattern, maybe if the blocks were smaller it would work.

The last one is nice. These are just a basic 3" block with a HST's, to make the HST cut a square (its supposed to be 7/8" larger than what you want if your splitting a sqaure in two) so for a finished HST you need to cut a 3 7/8 square well i'm not going to lose sleep over fiddling with 1/8" so I cut the squares 1" bigger. I can always trim of the 1/8".