Sunday, 7 August 2016

Running Out of Blue!

You know that saying that you can't have too much fabric? Well, it's true. Despite me having a large (ish) case of fabric in all colours, I seem to have run out of blue fabric!

Is this possible? Yes. Because it has to be a specific blue, with a small print pattern that won't clash with what I've already got or used. And considering blue is one of my preferred colours, I'm amazed to find that when I searched through my stash, I only had four different types of blue.


So, unfortunately (hah!) I will have to go to the store and buy some more fabric.

I've had a bit of a busy week, so not much more progress achieved on the blue hexies, but there was some. I've been sat listening to an audiobook of Leaving Time, by Jodi Picoult. I'm only at the start, so don't give me any spoilers. I absolutely whizzed through House Rules (same author) but I think that was because it dealt with autism and my youngest is autistic, too, so it struck a chord for me.

I do enjoy it when a book touches your heart. Makes it special. Memorable.

So, short and sweet, but do let me know how you're getting on with any of your projects. And if you've read a great book lately, do pop on in and let us all know!

Louisa xxx

Friday, 29 July 2016

Hexi Madness!

As stated in the last post, I promised to show you my hexies that I had got started for my Dropped Diamonds Quilt, designed by Tacha Breucher.

The first one is the first full hexi block in pinks/reds. This is as big as any of the blocks will get and I only needed to make one of these. The second, smaller, blue one is just the start of two blue blocks I need to make, that won't be so complete. They miss a few hexies in the corner, where the border will interject.

I'm thread basting my hexies, as I prefer this to glueing. I tried glueing and found it made my needle all sticky and hard to sew through. So I changed where I did the glueing, so that it wouldn't be near the ladder stitch, but I found that it didn't hold the fabric as well, it kept unfolding and I was also getting glue all over my fingers! When you start sticking to everything, you lose your temper very quickly! And as sewing is meant to be relaxing, I stick with thread basting.

I choose not to sew through the papers, I just tack a stitch on each corner fold and that works very well for me, then I hold the pieces flat to ladder stitch. This makes the hexies easier to hold and sew.

This week, I ordered some more hexi papers. I thought I'd ordered more one inch papers, but I must not have been concentrating because when they arrived, they were two inch papers and huge! Lol. Never mind, I will put them to good use. Because of their size, I thought I might (at some future point) make some pieced hexies (a la Mickey Dupre in her book Pieced Hexies and Pieced Hexies Deux) and I think they will work very well that way.

I've also been looking on Pinterest at hexi quilts and trying to design my own. I'm not very good at my own designs, but I've been looking at some other peoples and you can see the ones I like here. Visually, I'm going to use hexi graph paper to plan them out, in case I want to reproduce them.

So do you sew hexies? Have you designed your own piece? What are you working on right now? I'd love to see or hear all about it. Please leave a comment and let me know!

Happy sewing,

Louisa xxx

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Decision Time!

Hello everyone! How are you enjoying July? It's been stiflingly hot here in the UK for the last few weeks and believe you me, that's RARE. I've actually (for the first time in my entire life) got a tan. My legs, arms, face and back of my neck are now brown! You can see when I take my Fitbit off, how white my skin usually is!

I've been walking the dogs every day and getting two and a half hours exercise every day. I get to walk along the beach, or here, which is part of the Hayling Island Billy Trail, as well as being part of a nature reserve. We get quite a few birds nesting here and there's wildlife wherever you look.

Quilting wise, I made a decision. After a long argument with myself, I finally realised that I just wasn't enjoying doing the Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses BOM. The fabrics were lovely, I loved being part of the whole group, but sewing those shapes? Elongated hexies and small squares? I just didn't enjoy them. At all.

I like standard hexies. They're easier to baste, they're easier to sew together. So I decided to abandon the Lucy Boston. The blocks I have already gotten finished I am going to appliqué onto cushions and the fabrics that are still coming in the BOM can be used in other hexie patterns.

It was incredibly hard to make this decision. I didn't want to feel like I was giving up on this project, but like the Passacaglia quilt, I realised I really didn't like working with those other shapes (pentagons, triangles, etc) I'm a traditionalist and so I went back to my hexies, returned to my preferred ladder stitch and began a new project. I'm doing this. Its called the Dropped Diamonds Quilt and is designed by Tacha Bruecher, in her book, Hexa Go-Go. Will show progress pictures in my next post.

Oh and Bonnie Hunter has started the new Leaders & Enders challenge. It's the hourglass block made with quarter square triangles and can be done really nicely using jelly roll strips. Go to her website to check it out.

Anyway, hope you're all enjoying sewing. Have you had to make a decision regarding your quilting recently? Perhaps you've had to give up a project? Have you given away any UFOs? Perhaps you even realised that English paper piecing isn't for you and that you're a machine quilter? Whatever it is, leave a comment! I bet you're not the only one!

Happy sewing,

Louisa xxx

Monday, 20 June 2016

Tumbler Leaders & Enders Challenge!

I finished my top! My Bonnie Hunter tumbler Leader's and Ender's Challenge is done. Well, the top anyway. The tumblers were two and a half inches and each had either an animal, a flower or a pattern, say spots, checks, stripes, etc on it and there is one single tumbler with an ant on it. So I've called this, I Spy An Ant quilt.

What do you think?

I edged it in red, so all I need to do now, is sandwich it, quilt it and bind it. That should take me a few days, fitting it in around everything else, but I'm so pleased to finally have a finish!

Also, last Sunday (19th June) I went to the National Quilt Championships at Sandown Park. This year, there was a fabulous array of different quilts, all different styles, all different techniques and some of the work was exquisite, from hand quilted to hand pieced, I was in awe and totally inspired by what I saw. Here are a few from that show (none of these quilts are mine, credit goes to the maker)

 This one was tiny half inch hexagons, totally hand pieced and each flower centre was fixed with a button.

This was made by the same lady (Gretchen) and you can't see from the picture quality, but again, they were all tiny half inch hexagons, centred with a button. The colour on this one was magnificent and those blue buttons radiating from the centre were totally eye-catching.

I loved this one, mainly because I adore purple, but all the cathedral windows had been hand-sewn and then it was machine-quilted. So rich, beautifully scalloped edges, too.

But this one was my favourite and as you can see, it got two rosettes. The colour was very oceanic and I could totally see this design painted on a ceiling. The attention to detail was astounding.

It was a great quilty weekend and I can't wait for next year's!

Happy sewing!

Louisa xxx

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Lucy Boston Update

My Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses stalled big time a couple of weeks ago. I don't know what happened. There seemed to be so much other stuff going on in my life - I had a manuscript to turn in, there were problems with my youngest son at school(he has ADHD, ODD and possibly autism), I was busy with the dog walking business, one of my pets crossed the Rainbow Bridge and somewhere, I just wanted time to myself to sit back and chill.

Now normally, I would sew for my chill time, but something in me just told me I didn't want to. It was like losing my mojo. So it sat, untouched in its little workbox beside my bed for a good solid week or two without any progress being made.

I even felt guilty about it and contacted the other ladies on the Facebook group and asked if anyone else was feeling the same, as it seemed everyone else was going great guns on their BOM challenge and I felt like I was falling far behind.

Thankfully, the ladies were quick to reassure me and I must have opened a box or something, because suddenly everyone else was admitting to falling behind a little here and there and that losing your mojo for a project was a regular occurrence. The ladies gave me some great advice, told me to forget about the monthly packages stocking up, but just to return to it when I felt ready and just do a little bit here and there.

Comforted by their support and their words, I sat one night and opened the box. I went through it, clearing it out, tidying it and looking at each piece and fabric and allowing myself to get the feel for the project once again. I decided to thread baste a couple of hexagons. That's all. A couple of days later, I sewed those hexagons together and thread basted a few more.

And that's what I'm still doing. I'm not raring to go, but my interest for the project is still there, its just going slower than I expected. But that's okay. It's not a race. And I've invested money in this project and I'm not going to let it languish in a corner of my room. I'm going to work on it slowly.

Thinking about it, I think my big problem is that I've not managed to finish any quilts lately. I've been doing lots of little projects, or I'm working on more than one big project in one go, so it seems to me like I'm putting in a lot of work, but not getting any results.

I know the results will come if I keep plugging away at them. That's how you write a book after all! I've just got to keep the quilty faith.

Happy sewing!

Louisa xxx

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Leaders and Enders progress

First, let me thank everyone who tried to help me with my sewing machine woes of last week. It was something to do with the bobbin and the way it had been wound. I loaded a fresh bobbin and put that in and the stitching went right back to normal! Phew! No major work required!

So I thought I'd catch you all up on my Tumbler Leader and Ender progress. It stalled for a while and I needed to cut a load more tumblers, but there was so much going on in the house with Spring cleaning and Konmari-ing, that it got pushed to one side.

But then I made an effort and had a pleasant afternoon or two of sewing at the machine. It was a pleasure. To just sit there, listening to the Youtube broadcast of Bonnie Hunter's latest Quiltcam episode, sewing away. It makes you feel like you're sat in a quilting group, listening to Bonnie chat about things and showing everyone's else's current projects on her phone. You know you're all working away at the same time and it's just really wonderful and therapeutic. I love it when I see there's been another Quiltcam.

If there isn't one, I'll sit and listen to a podcast or catch up on my latest Audiobook from Audible. I like to have something to listen to. Seeing as I'm in my sewing room on my own. It's not often that I'll sit in silence with my own thoughts. What do you like to do when you're sewing? Do you prefer silence? Do you play music? Or do you do what I do? I'd love to hear it and if you know of any great podcast you can recommend, then please do!

Happy sewing!

Louisa xxx

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Sewing Machine Struggles

So last week, I started more work on my Tumbler Leaders and Enders project. It started off well. I got about five more rows done and attached to the main piece, but then I noticed one of the seams had started to come undone.

No biggie, probably the bobbin ran out, right?

The top stitch was fine, but the stitch underneath, on the back of the fabric, was all loopy and loose. I rethreaded my machine, top and bottom and started again.

Same problem.

I cleaned and defluffed the machine.

Same problem.

I oiled the machine and reset the tension.

Same problem.

I rethreaded again and switched the machine on and off.

Same problem.

So! Am mightily annoyed. Am going to leave it overnight and check on it again later and if it still doesn't work, then I'm going to have to get it checked.

It's very annoying. I want to sew, and I can't. Did think about hand sewing for a bit, but I've got another book to write on my contract and so that has to come first.