Wednesday, 30 March 2011

It's Finally Finished!

IT'S DONE!! Finally I have put this one to bed - sorry, couldn't help myself! I have to say that I am very glad to be finished with this quilt. There are 12 years of guilt wrapped up in this one - my poor mother has been so very patient with me, and hasn't nagged me - well, not much anyway. This is my Mother's Day gift to her:

I am very pleased with the layout, with 13 blocks it gives a really nice double bed sized quilt. I would definitely use that one again. There are coping strips around each block as my piecing skills have obviously improved over the 12 years I have been making the blocks. Some of the early ones came up very short of the supposed 12" block and the brown strips around the outside of the block very cleverly disguise that fact. The quilting was very much a case of running before I could walk - I took this one to the NEQ Retreat, but I didn't dare take it out of the bag as I was slightly embarrassed by the quilting - but I know my mum won't care about that because after all - it's finished!!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Things of Beauty

Aren't they lovely and sooo addictive:
I, like so many other sewers, quilters, crafters, have to manage to find a piece of the house for myself. I found that space in the dining room, which fortunately is a good size and I can manage to get the frame, my Horn cabinet and even the ironing board in there, as well as a piano and computer! Yes, it is a multi functional space and let's face it, with families multi functional spaces are common. This is the "dining room":
As you can see - all set up for sewing. That is my collegues quilt on the frame done as a favour last week. The Horn is just off to the left. Great isn't it? Please note Trudy - the new light on the top of the machine - huge help, great tip thank you!

Unfortunately though, people come to stay or dinner parties need to take place. Then it all needs to come down and out of the way and it becomes a dining room once more:

Hard to believe it is the same space isn't it? This is the morning after and if you looked closely then you would see the food stains on the table cloth!

And the next day - it all goes back up again!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Great Day

Today has been a good day!

Firstly because I had the day off! I know I am very lucky in that I only have to work part-time and I get to work at something I love doing. But I worked every day last week, and yes two of those days were only half days, but they may as well have been full days by the time I had done the shopping and kids etc. But I also had two workshops last week and I don't care what you say, taking workshops is tiring! Being nice to people all day long is tiring! Although I have to say that it really isn't hard when your ladies are as nice as mine are - we have such a laugh most of the time that I sometimes feel guilty taking their money off them as I enjoy their company too. But today I got to stay home in my house - in the peace and quiet -and those days are precious.

Secondly I got to have a good old chat with my older sis, which always cheers me up. Miss you loads!

Thirdly, and probably very sad, but I got two loads of washing dry out on the line today. I love, love, love seeing washing blowing in the wind on the line - I told you, sad!

Fourly - I managed a bit of time on the quilting frame today. I got chance to try out my new tracks from Martha. I had a real nightmare before Christmas working on Mum's quilt (the binding is on by the way - I am getting there slowly but surely). But at the retreat I picked up the new seamless tracks - my word, what a joy! I will post more on this in due time, but I have really enjoyed the time on there today.

So following a request from Trudy to "show my feathers" (which I have to say sounded a little strange) these are the feathers I did at the retreat. The first one was the beginning:

Not good is it? All over the place - stubby lady fingers. One side, the bottom side wasn't too bad, but the run along the top - dreadful!!!! As time went by, they did get better:

But then I lost it again. I will have to practise more at home. I am not defeated though!

Monday, 7 March 2011

NEQ Retreat 2011

I've been a lucky girl - actually not sure if I can call myself a girl these days, but you know what I mean! I got to go to the first New English Quilter's Retreat!!! Oh, it was lovely, I would highly recommend it if you get chance to go.

I drove up on the Friday afternoon, and managed to get myself horribly lost - I mean an hour and a half lost - a journey that took me four hours on the way home managed to take five and a half hours. I have to admit that the roads around Newark and Lincoln all managed to merge and become a blur after a hours driving. Of course I was in such a rush to get out of the door before someone could stop me, that I never thought to take Martha's phone number or the phone number for the bed and breakfast - you know that feeling, of escape from everything and quick, get out the door before someone gets ill or the phone rings, get away from the housework/ironing and the cooking! Luckily I had managed to swap mobile numbers with Trudy the week before and she very kindly managed to talk me in from the wilderness.

The weekend was really wonderful. I had the best room in the Bed and Breakfast, a private little number with no noises apart from the birds in the morning. We ate out the first night and then everyone retired fairly early. After a full cooked breakfast the next morning we all gathered in the barn ready to work. I say "all" but there were only five of us, so there was plenty of time for some one to one with both Martha and Trudy. After seeing Trudy's work at the NEC last year, I was keen to have a go at some feathers - failed, but not defeated! Other's just needed a bit of a kick start to get going.

Here is Martha doing some show and tell with her work:

And here is Trudy (on the right), taking Lesley through her paces:

It was a lovely way to spend a weekend. Both Martha and Trudy are very generous in their advice and help, and very patient too. They needed to be with me when it came to feathers!! More on that another time. The food throughout the weekend was plentiful and tasty too - amazingly enough though it would just appear and then disappear afterwards - no prep, no washing up - gets my vote! A lovely bunch of ladies, who all had the same frames and the same goals - to learn how to use it. I have come home all fired up, and the frame is back up, cleaned down and machine oiled ready to go. I have even managed to get a quilt loaded on yesterday too. Now I just have to start it. NEQ weekends - if you have a frame and you have to opportunity to go - do it!!