Monday, September 29, 2014

There may not have been much blogging.....

........ but there has been quite a lot of stitching

Three of my work colleagues had new babies over the summer

Hetty's quilt for the new daughter of our Year 2 teacher and his wife

Jonah's quilt for the new son of our Year 5 teacher

and Joshua's quilt for the little boy born to our Year 4 teacher
It's always a delight to make baby quilts for my colleagues - however the Headteacher is getting a little tired of it now - he suggested maybe he ought to commission a quilt for each member of staff as he reckoned they were all either starting or adding to their families just to get one of my quilts.  It has become a bit of a tradition now
Because of Nick's health issues over the past two to three years he's not due to head off to university until next September and his little sister will most probably go at the same time.  However Nick's two best friends headed off to Swansea and Sheffield a couple of weeks ago.  These twin boys have been the most incredible support to Nick going right back to his Diabetes diagnosis five years ago.  We will all miss them as they have really been an extension of our family.  I decided to make them both a quilt to take to university with them.  Often Halls of Residence can be a bit bland so here are their quilts - it was nice to work on something grown up and masculine for a change
Elliott's quilt to take to Sheffield where he's studying Chemistry

Zach's quilt to take to Swansea where he's studying Economics
Bless them both - they both posted a picture of their quilt in situ in their new accommodation for me on Facebook on their arrival
Sarah's best mate Kim had a very nasty accident in the summer - she came off her racing cycle at great speed and collided with a wall - sadly the wall won but thankfully her cycle helmet saved her life.  Unfortunately her pelvis, wrist and cheekbone came off a bit worse for wear and the pelvis fracture was in such a place that she will be non-weightbearing for twelve weeks relying on a wheelchair to get about.  I found some Michael Miller cycle fabric that was just the ticket and designed this lap/wheelchair quilt with a fluffy fleecy back to keep her legs warm as the weather gets cooler

It was quick to do but effective - think I may well make this again with a different focus fabric and maybe a dark background
Finally the teenage daughter of my Slimming group leader has just undergone major spinal surgery for Scoliosis and had two titanium rods fixed to her spine to straighten the curvature.  She has been so brave and I thought a bright and cheery snuggle quilt might brighten up her days as she recovers.
I had the blocks in my cupboard - they'd been maturing for some considerable time with no particular project in mind - so with some fun dotty fabric they soon made up into this quilt to cheer her up
At the moment I'm off work with a horrid flu type bug so not really feeling like sitting at the sewing machine - however once I feel more like it my cousin has just had a little boy who I'm sure needs a quilt and his older 6 year old sister would probably like one too so they're the next projects to get on with

Friday, May 30, 2014

What a treat.................

........... Sarah was home for a few days last weekend

Since she graduated and started work on the other side of the country last year we get precious little time with her

So this weekend was extra special

She drove home on the Friday night and as he had a gig with his band on the Saturday night her boyfriend James followed her on the train on Sunday morning

They then stayed with us until their return to Essex on the Tuesday evening

Fortunately it is school half term holidays this week so we could all spend some lovely time together

Nigel is working on a long term contract for Honda in Swindon about 90 miles from home - work is work and although the commute is a pig the work is well paid and interesting.  From next week he will lodge up there for part of the week to ease the travelling.  This week the plant is closed for a scheduled shut-down so he has also been at home all week - a full house - lovely!

On Saturday the weather was absolutely vile - solid heavy rain all day

So what's a girl - or girls - to do.........

........ but quilt!

Sarah has a colleague who's expecting a baby in July

So we worked together on a quilt for her

I cut the confetti blocks

She assembled them

And then for the rest of her stay I stitched them together to make the quilt top, and then sandwiched, quilted and bound it

Et voila!!!!

All done and dusted in time for her to take back with her on the Tuesday teatime

I don't think she's necessarily a total convert - apart from anything else her life is way too busy for quilting to sneak in on it to any great extent - but it was great fun working on this project together - and she can proudly say she did some of the work when she hands it over to her friend

As for me - I have a bonus pile of opposite blocks with white triangles and batik backgrounds - another quilt in the making methinks

Thursday, May 15, 2014


............ the hand got better really quickly

I took my daughter's professional advice, rested it and sure enough after a couple of days it was good as new

Since then I've been sewing up a storm - lots of baby quilts all finished and done

This is the first to go to it's new home for a Slimming World friend's new baby grandson

Love the cat fabric in the centre of the sawtooth stars

A new project for a commission well under way - does anyone else have an old favourite design they revert back to time and time again - Jewel Box does it every time for me - I never tire of that 3D faceted effect where the 4 triangles meet - lovely in subtle greys and white - very in at the moment - hope it doesn't date too much - need to make 16 of these units for the centre of a SuperKing sized bed quilt - then am thinking of an appliqued floral border and then she want's a drift of electric blue butterflies floating across the quilt - that'll keep me busy for a while but she's in no real hurry for the finished article

And a quick diversion courtesy of a little distraction from Kate - never really had much of a thing for log cabin blocks but I really enjoyed making these black and white ones with bright batik centres - this will probably have a mix of a thin bright border and then a checked black and white outer border eventually

Busy busy busy...................

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Am feeling....................

................ heartily fed up

I finished school on Friday afternoon for the two weeks and a day Easter break

I have lots of projects on the go and a lovely block of time to get on with things

Three baby quilts to sandwich and complete among other things

But I have been struck down

By a very sore hand

A quick telephone consultation with my physiotherapist daughter

Physical tests carried out under instructions long distance over the phone

And a diagnosis

The pain in the base of my right thumb going down into my right wrist is apparently

De Quervain's Tendinosis

I'm struggling to write, lift the kettle or use scissors

Driving is uncomfortable and the pain has been keeping me awake at night

But worst of all

I can't hand stitch or use a rotary cutter and even holding a paperback book is painful

I'm taking anti-inflammatory tablets and using anti-inflammatory gel and reluctantly resting it

Sadly nothing seems to be having much effect yet but am guessing I will just have to give it time


Apart from the frustration of not being able to get on with current projects the boredom is driving me nuts

I'd been making such good progress and with a lovely block of school free time I was hoping to crack on some more

The red and white quilt for Louise's best friend was completed and given to her for her birthday much to her delight

The appliqued baby quilt top is complete

And the first of the baby quilts is also finished

Mind you not without sailing extremely close to the wind on that binding - just squeaked in with a couple of inches to spare

Close or what?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Making progress...............

................ slowly but surely

I'm usually quite speedy with hand applique

I use the freezer paper on top method where you iron on your shape in freezer paper, iron it onto your fabric, cut it out with a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance, tack it onto your background and then needle turn it stitching as you go - Simple! - it's the first one I was taught, it works for me and I thoroughly enjoy doing it

But for some reason progress seems to be rather slow on this piece of work

No idea why but I'm just chugging along and enjoying the process

Here we are - two rows completed and stitched together - three more rows of flowers with the applique hearts and leaves between them to go - then I'll complete the 1" border all the way round and possibly add a deeper yellow flower fabric border onto that - finally a pink binding to complete the job

Ok I'm away to applique some more

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's been quite a wee while..............

............. since I did any hand applique with freezer paper

I've done plenty of handwork over the past few months, but most of it has been English Paper Piecing over hexagons with my lovely Liberty Tana Lawn

Despite all the tops I showed you last time I still have to make the two alternate flavour quilts for a friend who is expecting in about six weeks.  To complete the little boy option I could have gone back to that pussy cat sawtooth star quilt I showed the start of in the last post - indeed eventually I will do

But with so many blue options already done to the flimsy stage I had a fancy for something a little more girly

When I was hunting out yellows for the blue and yellow floating rectangle quilt I came across a big piece of floral fabric with a buttery yellow background.  It has salmon and lilac flowers and mid green leaves in a pretty sprig pattern so I also dug out some Spraytime in a lilac plus a spotty green and a salmon pink with little white flowers on it

Looking through all the photos I've saved on my computer of quilts I like and wanted to save for further inspiration I found a design with simple flowers made with a four patch snipping one corner off each quarter

Add a hand appliqued circle in the centre and there you have it - a simple flower

Five of them with a lilac sashing between and you have the start of a strippy quilt

Then add a deeper sash before the next row of flowers and some more hand applique and you're ready to add the next row of flowers

I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed hand applique

Better piece some more flowers so I can do some more

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I've been...............

............. a busy old bee here at Chez Bebbs

As I said in my last post all those new babies need quilts

So a stitching I will go.............

The three babies of work colleagues are to be two little blue versions and one little pink

So the first quilt I'd started was a pink version

This cute owl fabric was the starting point

And a not quite enough of the lighter pink meant a rethink and the centre blocks sport a deeper pink to match the other owls

The second quilt is based round a blue fabric with lots of vehicles on it that I bought on the market in Den Bosch in the Netherlands last year on holiday - such a wonderful array of reasonably priced fabrics that were quite different to anything we get here in the UK

I decided to work a bigger scaled version of the ring of friendship stars I'd tried earlier this year

 Then I thought I'd like to work on something simple but striking and this easy-peasy block in blues and yellows was just the ticket for the little boy of Louise's college friends

Lots of them together with a yellow border and there we a go

Then I turned my attention back to my last colleague and her little boy

I found a piece of fabric with some sweet little blue and orange cats on and thought I'd work on a design to use it

I love sawtooth stars - they always make me smile

All well and good until I spoke to the Teaching Assistant who works with this particular teacher and she happened to mention that dinosaurs was the theme for the nursery

And I just happened to have another piece of fabric bought on the same market on holiday with little brightly coloured dinosaurs all over it

Bonnie Hunter's Star Struck pattern popped into my mind for this one

So here we are

That's four of the five quilt tops all done

The parents of the last baby have chosen not to know the gender so I shall probably make a male and a female orientated quilt and give her whichever one fits once baby arrives - who knows the cat sawtooth stars may well fit the bill for one of them

Watch this space on that

Some while ago I started work on a two colour design in purple and pale grey

As the blocks went together I decided that rather than making a full smaller lap quilt with it I would use it to make a runner for the bottom of our bed as our bedroom is purple

Nigel is holding it up folded in half so you can see how wide it will be

And last but not least I finished the top in red and white that I was making for Louise's best friend's birthday next month

Sandwiching this will have to be my next job as her birthday is only a couple of weeks away

Busy busy busy!!!!!

Saturday, March 01, 2014

There's going to be ....................

................... a real glut of little feet to patter around in the vicinity this year

None of them at Chez Bebbs I might add

However I have three more colleagues who are either expecting a new addition or are married to someone who is - one little boy and two others yet to be determined - all three are due in July some time

One of Louise's primary school friends and his girlfriend are also expecting a little boy - at 17 years old they are so young and it was a complete accident but one that they are both determined to make the very best of and give their son the very best start they possibly can when he arrives in May - if anyone deserves a quilt I think they do

And finally one of the girls at my Slimming World group is also expecting in about 9 weeks - they have decided to leave the gender a surprise until baby arrives so this will definitely need a neutral colour scheme


Baby Quilts galore to get busy on

But here's one I made earlier

The recipient arrived before Christmas but I have failed miserably to pass on his present until this last week

I didn't know until he was born what flavour he would be - so went for something neutral - just love these little prams in the middle of the saw-tooth stars

Better late than never

Ok back to the fabric face to crack on with more baby gifts as I've plenty to be getting on with

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

We interrupt this programme.................

.............. or should that say 'stitching' ..............

to weather watch!

The weather in the South West has been very peculiar

Rain, Rain, Rain!!!

Storms, Storms, Storms!!!

The Somerset Levels which are a low lying area of the county about five miles to the east of the town where I live have been flooded since before Christmas

Farmers have had to evacuate their stock as their entire farms have been covered in water

Households and in fact entire villages are under water

The main 'A' road between the town we live and the place where Nigel used to work has been closed for almost two months

This photo shows you a business at the side of the road before and after the flooding - the water is currently over 10 feet deep

The ground is so saturated that any puff of wind blows down trees

This morning when I arrived at work I parked at the side of the road

I considered reversing another couple of yards back down the road and something stopped me

Thank heavens it did

This is what I came out to at lunchtime when I came home

A bit too close for comfort

Just the weather for hunkering down in front of the fire and getting down to some stitching

Sadly the Met Office seem to think we're in for more of the same for the foreseeable future

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Lots of stitching...............

............. but precious little tangible progress to show you

That's the way it is with hexagons

Especially when they only measure one inch from point to point

Lots of Liberty Tana Lawn

in a glorious variety of colours

and pattern designs

makes for some very random fabric combinations

My only criteria for the lozenge blocks in this quilt is to have a contrast between the inner round and outer round in each diamond

I'm on the homeward strait now

Only 21 more diamonds to stitch I think

And then the beast which has taken probably over four years to get to this stage, having been stitched in several different countries, will be a completed top measuring approximately 8ft 6ins by 7ft

I think I shall feel rather lost once it's completed

Which is why I have a length of several yards of black lawn cotton purchased ready to start another hexagon project in a different pattern - after all it would be criminal not to use up all the rest of that big basket full of Liberty Tana Lawn fabric offcuts

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Fair exchange ...................

................. is no robbery, or so they say

Remember this secret santa present for my work colleague

The recipient has a little girl of around 3 years old

She obviously had other plans for this festive wallhanging

She purloined it for use as a doll quilt and refused to part with it

So I thought that maybe she might be persuaded to give it back if she had a suitable replacement

Twelve squares of striped fabric stitched together in alternating directions, surrounded by a white border and three of my trademark butterflies appliqued on to pretty it up

This photo taken in a different light shows you the quilting - I intended to leave the butterflies unquilted in false trapunto style and quilt a different pattern on the white border.  However the white fabric is from a cotton sheet with a very tight weave and the machine just didn't like it, skipping stitches and thoroughly misbehaving so I left the border puffy and unquilted and I think it works.  I will have to address this issue at some point as I've used this fabric in other projects which won't allow it to remain unquilted - any ideas for a solution anyone?

However back to this little quilt - Mummy tells me it's a real hit and, unbeknown to me, perfectly matches the purple doll's pram that Father Christmas brought for her

Psychic or what?

Another satisfied customer and such fun to make

Monday, January 06, 2014

Why start just one quilt....................

............. when you can start three?

The red and white blocks are stitching up a dream - a simple design but effective - I need to make this 9 blocks wide by 13 blocks long

Here are the first four rows all stitched together - I'm really enjoying simple stitching and how all those red fabrics are playing so nicely together

The mound of fabric in front of them on our scruffy but incredibly comfortable old sofa is a result of a friend moving house shortly so de-cluttering before they go - 100% cotton bedding all cut into useable fabric - plans already formulating for two of the plains - I can feel more of the red and white blocks but in dark green and dark blue with neutral plains

The teal, red and white quilt I was working on a few days ago with the huge big blocks is now all stitched together and awaiting plain white borders before I sandwich it ready to quilt (picture another day) - not a lover of attaching borders but I just need to man up and get on with it

The third start of the holiday season (you know me - I can never work on just one thing at once) will be a quilt for my gorgeous big girl Sarah - now she is settled in her new lodgings a stone's throw away from the hospital where she works she has a double bed - this circle of friendship stars with owls in the centres will be joined by another 3 or 5 (design still in formulation in my head)

I have a roll of this border fabric which was given to me in a bag of remnants a long time ago when I used to go to a quilting group before I worked Mondays - it's been sitting looking at me asking to be included in something, I think it may be fairly old Laura Ashley fabric but it's cotton and rather pretty - what do you know, the colours match the owl stars - it may end up at some sort of sashing between the star circles

Watch this space

In the spirit of my New Year's Resolution I'm counting my blessings and looking for the bright side of things.  I'm not back at work until tomorrow - it's a teacher training day at my school today and the office staff didn't have to go in

Therefore I have a day at home with no kids (they went back to Sixth Form College this morning) so I have a day at home with my lovely man.  If he weren't unemployed we wouldn't have this special time.  Also his old route to work took him across the Somerset Levels - last year the road was flooded for several weeks meaning an increase in journey time at either end of the day from 20 minutes to a 45 minute commute.  According to those in the know this was a once in a generation occurrence due to unusual weather conditions.  Well would you believe it, the road is flooded again this year and looks like being so for the next few weeks - but as he no longer works in that direction he doesn't have to worry

Clouds and silver linings eh?

Right there are some more red and white blocks calling my name - off to stitch..........