Yesterday I went for a manicure and a pedicure. When I got there I was stunned to find I had to make decisions! What? I'd come for a relax, not to have to do decisions. I was asked, first if I wanted a deluxe mani & pedi, or express? Well, that wasn't too difficult. I went for the deluxe of course. But then came the tricky question. Would I like polish, colour, vinyl, deluxe vinyl, gel or shellac? And there was me thinking I just had to choose a colour.
By the way, who stole my hands and replaced them with those of an old lady?
In the last couple of weeks we've quilted 3 quilts.
Sadly, I now have absolute proof that Bertha is, as I had suspected, a fabric snob. The first quilt she did was the pink one on top, and she merrily worked away, forming perfect stitches and we finished the quilt in record time. Then, I put my Country Charmer quilt on the frame, and we set off again. Well, Bertha just threw hissy fit after hissy fit. The stitches were absolutely perfect on the background fabric and the red in the sashing, but as soon as she came to one of the other fabrics, which were cheap and not very good quality I'm afraid, she started skipping and forming horrible stitches, then as soon as she got back to the good quality fabrics, the stitches were perfect again. I am going to have to hope that a good wash will crinkle the quilt enough that it won't show. Then, when Country Charmer was finished, I put Heartfire, which was made with good quality fabrics, on, and once again, perfect stitching. Anyway, enough of my whinging, here are a few photos of our work.
Here is Country Charmer, designed by Lynn. I have quilted a sort of curly-loopy pattern in each block. I did it oversized, so it extended into the sashing and the borders, which I will do on my DSM, will just be straight lines. I did try to take photos of the offending stitches, but they weren't good enough to show you what I mean.
The third quilt we've worked on is my version of Heartfire, also by Lynn. This is the quilt that I made after my wonderful holiday with Lynn and Mr Joe in California. The fabrics were a FQ bundle that I bought while I was there and I have amended the pattern to include some "flowers". The yellow ones represent the California poppy, and the red ones to represent the red rose of England. I also made small hexie blocks to go in the corners of the borders, then I quilted it with a lovely all-over design. I am going to call it Californian Dreams I think cos of all the wonderful memories I have every time I look at it.
Here is a close-up of the front, so you can see the quilting a little better. I absolutely love the texture this has given the quilt.
I think Scrappy's influence must be rubbing off on me, cos I pieced the backing with leftovers. The quilting really shows well on the red fabric in this photo.
Just to finish off, here is a close up of the quilting on the back. Can you tell that I love this quilt?
Just to finish off, you remember the quilt that Scrappy and I are making together? In case you've forgotten, you can see it in this post. Well yesterday, when we were together for a playday, we had all the blocks finished, we shuffled them around on the design wall until we were happy with the layout, then took them all off, carefully labelling them as we went, and here they are, all ready to be sewn into their rows and then a top, next time we get together.
A few days ago Scrappy was here for the day, and was going through some scraps I'd just given her. She came to one piece that was so narrow it really had no business being there. We measured it and it measured 1/2" wide and I made a comment that she would need to be very careful with her seam allowances to use that. Apparently she both saw and heard the exclamation mark at the end of what I said when I challenged her to use it in something. This is what arrived in the post yesterday. The piece in question was appliqued on to make the exclamation mark. I think it is so clever, and she's even personalised it by including her nickname, and the title of my book and I love the result. Thanks so much Scrappy.
.... I put my latest quilt on the frame and asked Big Bertha to do her best with it, using a lilac/purple variegated thread. I knew after about an inch that the thread was too dark, but kept going for about half a row before I listened to myself and stopped, undid the purple and started again with white. Before undoing it, Mr Fixit happened to wander past and asked why I'd stopped. I told him I was unsure about the thread and asked if he thought it was too dark too. He did. (I was a bit surprised, as usually he makes some fairly non-committal comment when his opinion is asked for - I think he feels that discretion is the better part of valour!) so out came the seam ripper, out came the purple thread, and off we went with white. Much better.
Yesterday Scrappy and I had a fun day at the Yorkshire Modern Quilt Guild day. Scrappy finished a quilt. This was her first attempt at FM quilting and the quilt looks great. It only took her two weeks from starting the quilt in a workshop run by QuiltHaze from Cotton Cocktails to finish.
While Scrappy was busy finishing her binding and burying the ends on her quilt, I made some more blocks for our joint quilt. We've now almost finished making the blocks, and here they are on my design wall. This picture was taken under electric light, and the colours are much more vivid in real life. I think they are just GORGEOUS, even though there are rather more than four fabrics in there!
why I use a long-arm machine. This week I had the "clever" idea of quilting a lap quilt with my domestic machine. Well, my knees definitely do not think that's a good idea. I've spent the afternoon on my knees (or so it seems) pin basting the thing. First I took it outside (and it was c-c-cold out there) to spray baste it. That was no good, firstly cos it was windy, and secondly cos I ran out of spray. So back indoors and onto my knees I went. Me and my knees, (and my back), hated that. Anyway, finally it was done, so then I started to quilt it, and guess what? I hated what I was doing, so after 3 rows I stopped. This evening will be spent unsewing it and tomorrow Mr Fixit is going to set up Big Bertha.
I am wondering though (and so is Scrappy, I'm sure) why I've been playing around with this, when I have homework I should be getting on with. This week we had a fun day together and started making blocks for a charity quilt we are making together. This is a picture of the blocks we've made so far,
We saw the pattern in a magazine and both loved it so we decided to try and make a dent in Scrappy's stash of, yep, you guessed it, scraps, by making it together. This is my homework. Scrappy has a similar pile to play with, and we want to finish all the blocks before we get together again in a couple of weeks to put them together into a top.
While we were making the blocks, we were thinking that we'd both like one of these for ourselves, so quilts no 2 and 3 will probably follow on. We were discussing colour schemes, and Scrappy wants an autumn one, I want a Christmas one, we also though a neutral one would look good. Do you think we like this design?
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Lynn's now starring in episode 1604 of The Quilt Show, where she talks about how she takes the fear of maths out of quilting, and shows her wonderful method of making complicated blocks by breaking them down into simple components. In the show Ricky Tims also has a play with some components, showing how you can make different blocks using the same "bits".
By the way, you can buy Lynn's book through the Quilt Show, or through her own blog.
Lynn also talks about her strip taming device, aka a pasta dryer. Her clever husband, Mr Joe is a whizz at woodwork, and has come up with this super-duper improved version of it,
and Lynn is offering one as a giveaway over on her blog at Sewn Wild Oaks. This link takes you to the post with the giveaway. That same post gives you a link so you can watch Lynn's show for free. It's a fascinating show, and I urge you all to rush off and watch it, if you haven't already done so.