Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Tomato Haul!


Not a bad collection of tomatoes from the garden this year.  Don't they look pretty, all those beautiful colours.  We had far more than we could possibly eat, so we decided to roast them up in the oven, and then freeze them.  


The black ones looked very interesting, but were very disappointing when it came to flavour.  The tastiest ones with the orange ones, I can't remember the name of the variety but they were absolutely delicious.  

This was our first year doing tomatoes,  and it was such a success that we are looking forward to having another go next year.



  We took on an allotment this year, it was great fun to start with but we have very quickly realised that time is precious and unfortunately with the hours that we both work it was adding unnecessary stress,  especially to me.  I really enjoyed my garden last year and this year I don't feel I have as much.  Any spare time that I have had I have been torn between the garden and the allotment.  It's all about keeping the balance isn't it and I have enough to worry about without having to worry about the allotment as well.  And so the decision has been made to hand the allotment back and hopefully someone who has got more time will be able to enjoy it to the full.  I feel like a big load has been lifted off my shoulders!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

English paper piecing - cheats way!


I love English paper piecing, always have done, always will.  My first two quilts were made using this method, not particularly successfully looking at them now.  My first ever quilt was made for my sister, I did everything you could possibly think wrong with this quilt but it is still around even now.  It certainly doesn't have pride of place, I think it is tucked away in the cupboard somewhere but it's still there and a lasting memory of how I started.  It was made using the honeycomb shape, a shape I decided I would come back to again this summer.

English paper piecing is the perfect project takeaway with you on any trip. I was a little worried about getting the necessary implements i.e. pins and needles through customs but as it turned out I had no problem at all, I sailed through, unlike my youngest son who was stopped and searched and also had a bottle of water in his luggage!  I didn't even try to take scissors though and decided I would get some when we got to Italy.



I used a new method for me this time. Traditionally I have always pinned the shapes to the fabric and then tacked round as we all used to do. This time I took a glue pen with me.  These are special fabric glue sticks and they are washable after you have finished.  You just put some glue along the paper,  fold the fabric over, work your way around the shape and you're done in half the time.  Gets my vote!


This is my first layout and I have stitched this together.  Then I started adding in squares…


I would do eventually but you'll have to use your imagination with the gaps on the table for now.  Love the look of this one, the centre fabric in particularly as it creates the lines as it goes round.


Used Aurifil thread to see these together with a small whipstitch.  It works really well and seemed to disappear nicely.  I know some people don't like seeing the stitches but I actually love seeing those little bits of thread anchoring it all together firmly for me.








Thursday, 4 September 2014

Holiday time!

It started with a plane ride over the Alps, the view was incredible we were so lucky with the weather on the flight.  Unfortunately the landing was in the middle of a lovely thunderstorm, we weren't quite so lucky then.



Can you guess where we went? Yes you're right the leaning tower of Pisa and it really does lean!  Quite shockingly so actually I was really surprised at how much it does lean over.




We had a lovely day walking round Pisa and then the following day we picked up a hire car and headed out to our villa, again unfortunately in a wonderful thunderstorm.

The weather was very undecided for the first few days but from the Wednesday on for the rest of the week it just got hotter and hotter. Our villa was situated on the side of an Italian hill and the views into the valley were just amazing.



We had a really relaxing week just reading books, sitting by the pool, eating and of course there was some patchwork involved.  More on that to come later.  


We have been to Italy a couple of times now and we just love the country and the people there. It makes you realise how lazy we are as a nation really, as most of the people we came across could speak English. Our Italian is a little bit more limited but we managed with lots of gesturing and perhaps shouting a little too loud.  


So we all came home with a little bit of a tan and a few extra pounds heavier but it was well worth, it was a lovely lovely holiday.  



Wednesday, 20 August 2014

I got a new phone!

New phone, which hopefully means more photos and posts - maybe.  Latest quilt on the frame,  have practising swirls and there is a big improvement.  I am really out of practise and after a visit to the Festival of Quilts the other week, I am all inspired again - just before we go on holiday! 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

New Tracks - new quilt

 I got new tracks.

About a month ago, no probably nearly two months ago we had the pleasure of hosting Martha and The New English Quilt Frame at work- we had a great time.  Lots of people came by to see us, old friends and new.  Lots of interest in the frames too.  I took mine in as well so that we had two frames on the go for people to try.  Whilst it was in, Martha recognised a small problem with my tracks.  Now, to be honest I thought it was just me and never really thought about it much, just worked around it as you do, so it was nice to know it wasn't me!!

Anyway, Martha took my old tracks and replaced them with some nice shiny new ones.  This is the first quilt on them.  They are taking a bit of getting used to, they have a completely different feel to my old ones.  I have now finished this quilt that you can see loaded on, and I think that I am getting used to them.  I have struggled to get this one finished and mainly because it seems the wrong season to be doing it.  This is a jelly roll quilt from ages ago (common theme with my quilts) and is very autumnal and I decided to quilt leaves all over it, which suits it perfectly.  But I am crying out for sun and warm and summer and this just doesn't do it for me at the minute.




I have used a lovely muted variegated So Fine thread in browns, really nice.  But because I didn't have bobbins in that colour I decided to wind my own - tedious!!!!  Pre-wound bobbins are definitely the way ahead in my book.  Like I said I have finished this quilt and I am about to take it off the frame - that wonderful moment where you see whether it has actually worked or not.  Will let you know.


Thursday, 29 May 2014

Little Woollie


I had the great fortune to teach over at Little Woollie at the weekend.  This new little shop is in Bromley, Kent.  Well, I say new, but they have been open since October time last year.    Have a look at what a great space this is:



That's Trudy there in the centre, who owns the shop.  As you can see she is surrounded by all of her lovely crochet - they offer classes in that as well - just saying.  Some of my hand pieced blocks are hanging above her on the washing line - really must those back and finish them off one day.   And this is the wool choice:



Doesn't it look lovely?  All that colour.  

I was teaching a quilting class and had seven lovely ladies all keen on how to finish their quilt tops.  We start with hand quilting in the morning and then quickly move onto the machines in the afternoon - that's what a lot of people want to learn - the free motion quilting.  Although for the first time in a long time I had one lady who, although she had a go at the machine work, decided that by the end of the day that really, she was quite happy sticking with the hand quilting.  I love hand quilting, but as with most people it is finding the time to do it.  So when I got back I suddenly felt the urge to do some hand quilting.  I will show the results soon, but boy oh boy am I out of practise - my hand hurts now!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Still raining here, don't know about you.  

My new love - straight line stitching - love this!  And the best thing is - it's simple,  no major worries but maybe a bit boring to do. 



These are from a table runner that I finished off - only had it made for about three years, but still it is finished now. 

Had a lovely Bank Holiday weekend, worked a bit but then had a nice family day on Sunday and then some nice quality time with my daughter.  She has been messing with the family camera - she comes up with some lovely and interesting shots:




This from my wedding anniversary flowers - 22 years and still got the heat!  Or so my husband reckons...


And then this....


Why????