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..........

Friday, January 03, 2014

To wash................

............ or not to wash, that is the question

If you'll excuse the play on a certain bard's words what do you all do

I virtually never pre-wash fabric

I like the feel and handling of fabric with the dressing in it

and to be honest I'm

a) too impatient as I want to cut into it without waiting for the washing process to be done and

b) too bone idle to do it

However Louise's best friend has a birthday coming up in April and Lou asked me if I'd make her a quilt

Apparently her bedroom is red and white

Uh Oh!!!

How likely is any quilt in those colours to end up various shades of pink if I don't pre-wash the red

And of course as I'm thinking of a scrappy selection of reds that's a lot of red fabric to wash, dry and iron

Speedy blocks with 2" squares chosen by my daughter - I'm getting her trained to pick something mind-numbingly simple rather than something complex for speed and ease for my old brain!

First two blocks done - loads to go as they measure 6" square but quick and fun to put together

And some more Christmas present completions to show you now they've been received by their new owners:

A dinosaur quilt for my 6 year old nephew Spencer

A PINK!! quilt for my 4 year old niece Darcy - both of these have exactly the same layout - incredible how they can look so different just with an alternative fabric placement

and finally a cushion for my gorgeous physio daughter Sarah

Now onwards with all that red and white fabric.............

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Glass half full................

................ or glass half empty

It is the first day of 2014 here at Chez Bebbs

On the whole, for our family, 2013 has been a year to largely forget

We have been very fortunate to see our gorgeous daughter graduate, join the world of work in a still very turbulent employment market, and settle into her new life on the other side of the country

However the state of the job market was brought home to us very sharply when Nigel was made unemployed in September after 10 years loyal service - a change of management structure sadly seems to often result in staffing changes regardless of a person's qualities and talents - in business nowadays it all seems to be about making quick bucks and high profile changes regardless of long term disadvantages not to mention the effects on those in the firing line - he is still looking for something else - we keep hoping the right thing will come his way soon

Throughout the year our family has said a final goodbye to too many people, some were elderly and had lived full and wonderful lives.  Sadly several others were taken way too soon and never had the chance to fulfil all their potential.  They will all be sadly missed.  Now we anticipate the passing of another of Nigel's cousins who has at 57, out of the blue, been diagnosed with secondary terminal cancer which has spread to her brain and will surely take her in days rather than weeks - so sad

Health issues have dogged family members, Dad's dementia continues to march ever onwards which  makes life often very difficult for Mum and in turn those of us close by as we support them both.  Nick has had a mixed year - enough said - family members a little further out have also been struggling this year.  Now Mum will start off her 2014 with a gynae op which will hopefully go to plan but the potential for the possibility of more sinister problems can't be ruled out until all tests have been completed after the procedure - we trust the amazing medical staff and are keeping our fingers crossed for the best possible outcome whilst coping with caring for Dad as she recuperates

Nige and I have found that our love for each other is the only thing that has kept us going at times, fortunately when one has been down and struggling the other has been able to keep us all buoyant

However when I look at the families this Christmas whose houses have been flooded due to the dreadful weather we're having or those in places like Syria who live in terror under perpetual fire I have to keep reminding myself that I and those close to me have much to be thankful for

The gentle process of cutting pieces of fabric and stitching them back together keeps me sane and gives me relief from the troubles which seem to have dogged our family this last year

When you're in the middle of a project it can often be frustrating to make an error and have to embark on a bit of reverse stitching

Obviously my attention was elsewhere when I laid out the pieces for this block

I could have been annoyed and lost heart with the remedial work needed

But, as luck would have it, the bobbin thread ran out half way through the seam so unpicking was less of a task than it might have been - a silver lining in that particular cloud

So my new mantra for 2014 will be 'always look on the bright side' - from the major troubles that still hover around us right down to a faulty block - things could always be worse

To all of you family and friends near and far lets all make the very best of 2014 and wring out as much as we possibly can from every day

Wishing peace, tranquillity, financial security and good health for you all and may all your cutters remain sharp and your bobbins never run out at an inconvenient moment - happy new year to you all