31 August 2012

I'm a believer

It started with this post from Lynne at Lily's quilts.    Lynne set out all her tips for speedy EPPing.  I'm not terribly bothered about the speed at which I sew, but all the tips she gives seem to make for easier and neater stitching, so I've given then a go

1.  I now always use my bestest scissors if I'm cutting the pieces by hand.  It's quicker and gives a neater cut which is easier to baste.

2.  I bought some better needles whilst I was in the UK, but think I can still improve on the ones I have.   I can't say what's wrong, just that I think there is something that will suit me better. I think it's a case of trying several until I find the one that just feels right.

3.  Lynne recommends Aurifil, as I know many of you do.   I really, truly did not believe that Aurfil could be that good.   After all it's just thread isn't it?   But in the interests of this experiment, I ordered a couple of reels, one white for my machine and one cream for hand stitching.  And I have to agree with everyone else on the planet that it iis brilliant.   It is fine and smooth for hand stitching, and my machine is purring away like a kitten!   The only complaint I have is that it does curl up a lot, making control of the thread a little tricky, especially when it's curling up around the foot on my machine.

Does anyone else have this problem?  Do you have a solution?

4.   Threading the needle from the end that comes off the spool, knotting the end that you cut.

5.    Stitching 8 stitches before pulling the long thread through.  This is where you can tell the difference between the Aurifil and other threads.  This is just not possible with the other threads I tried - they don't slip and either get stuck or break. But the Aurifil slips through like a dream.  And I seem to get into a rythm that gives a much neater, more even stitch.

6.  Stitching fewer stitches per inch.  This certainly gives a very neat finish - I just hope the seam is strong enough in the long term.

And the proof of success of this little experiment

A nice neat row of stitches
So I guess I will carry on with using Aurifil, carry on with the 8 stitch rule, but I'm still not sure about fewer stitches per seam.  I think I may make them a little closer together, just to avoid future problems with the seams. 

A big thanks to Lynne for sharing her experience with the rest of the world.  All these little things add up to make me a better sewer (sewist?)

27 August 2012


I'm back.  - just 30 minutes ago.  We've just had a lovely week back in the UK visiting family and friends, and attending the wedding of our friends daughter.  The weather wasn't too bad for the wedding, despite dire weather forecasts, but it seems to have been quite hot here, as most of my plants are dead!

I managed to have a fitting for my supernova quilt, and have decided how to finish it.  Here's a photo of it in it's future home

I'm so glad I waited to see it in situ.  Originally the quilt was supposed to go over the pillows, but turned sideways, against an all white quilt, it looks stunning.  SO this should be a quick finish now.  Once I've finished th washing, ironing, taming the garden, freezing the tommies etc etc..

I've now got an appointment with  a cheddar cheese sandwich and a pork pie!  Will catch up with e-mails and blogs tomorrow or Wednesday.    More photos to follow


20 August 2012

Get that quilt finished...........

Quick!  This baby is on his/her way!

That was the cry that came from my SIL.  Her friend's waters broke last week and this baby is on it's way 5 weeks early!  

So, this early this morning, before it got too hot, Gordon went out with the dogs and I did the machine stitching bit of the binding, leaving the hand stitching bit for Bridget to do.  Oh and sewing in the ends from the FMQ!  Well it's her quilt, she's got to do the work!

I've taken a couple of photos.  This one is my favourite.

I love to see a quilt all bundled up on the machine.  I'm not sure what it is - maybe that all the colours are bundled up too.  Maybe it's because it's sitting there waiting for action.   Whatever!

Then a couple on the front railings

See the little duckie in the bottom corner waiting to be sewn on.   

I think this quilt has worked really well - it's one I would be really proud to have made.  Not bad for a first quilt for Bridget!  I'll ask her to take some photos of the finished quilt before she hands it over.

So, it's now winging it's way to it's new owner - keep your fingers crossed for a safe arrival (the baby not the quilt!) 

18 August 2012

Catching up............

We've had visitors all the last week, so I've not been able to post much, or read and comment on the blogs I follow.  And I also realise that I'd left a few loose threads floating around.

Firstly, and most importantly, Mr Fix-it fixed the sewing machine.   I had apparently popped a bearing (who knew?) and it was mended in seconds.  That is of course not counting the 10 minutes it took to take the cover off!   So when I've got time, that's up and running again.

A while ago, I had asked for help finding the green and pink fabric for my Envy blocks.  Thanks to those of you that sent links to fabric shops.  Unfortunately, no-one seems to have any green left, so I have decided to go with a solid which I know will be available.   So it's out with the seam ripper for me!

My adventures with Instagram have been on hold too, whilst out visitors have been here.   Having already made a horse's ass of myself, I want time to understand what I'm doing with it before making any more bloopers.  And thank you Christine, for pointing out that your 2 year old can use it!

And finally, because I haven't shown you around my garden for a while, and because posts need at least one photo, here's a little medley of flowers that are in full bloom at the moment

Hope you all have a great weekend.


16 August 2012

Well I felt I ought to report back on the Tom Jones concert.  First of all let me say that if any of you have the chance to go to one of his concerts, then do it.  It was absolutley fantastic.   I was a little worried that maybe he wasn't up to it any more.  After all, he is 72 now, and look how bad Paul McCartney and Elton John were at the Jubilee concert this year.  But I needn't have worried.  His voice was amazing - it's lost none of it's power and depth.  And he looked like he was really enjoying the whole thing.  OK, he's not as sexy as he was, and in answer to the question lots of you asked - no I didn't throw my knickers at him!  And neither did anyone else - they're very restrained these austrians.

The photos I took on my phone were rubbish - you couldn't even tell there was a human being there, let alone who it was.  But my brother in law took some slightly better

The pretty town of Morbisch an der see
My banana split

The stadium
Just measuring up if I can get my kncikers over the moat onto the stage!
The man himself (slightly blurred)

He did all the old favourites - Green, green grass of home, It's not unusual, What's new pussycat, Sex Bomb, etc. etc.  Brilliant!!!

Back to reality now.  Not much sewing going on as we have visitors and the garden is taking a lot of time, but I hope to get a bit done at the weekend.

13 August 2012

It's not unusual

Tonight I shall be going here

Seefestspiele - Morbisch, Austria

to see


VERY excited!

12 August 2012

Sorry, but it's mine!

As I'm a bit stuck making progress on any of my projects at the moment, I thought I'd make a start on a quilt that I've wanted to do for a long time, for someone  who shall remain nameless (in case they are reading this).   So I picked out a pattern I thought this person would like, and of course that I wanted to make.  I chose the Envy block from this book

Modern Blocks: 99 Quilt Blocks from Your Favorite Designers

And then I picked out some fabrics that I thought this person would like, and made a couple of blocks to see how they looked.

Pink sashing with mainly green, and green sashing with mainly pink.   And you know what, I like them so much, I'm keeping them!!!!  So sorry friend, you're not getting them, they're mine!!

Unfortunately I think I'm going to have to take them apart because I realised too late that the FQ I have of each of the sashing fabrics, is not going to be enough to do a whole quilt (duh!), and although I only bought it in february, I can't get any anywhere

It called Emma by Michele Scott for Northcott studios.  If anyone has any idea where I can get it from, or has some unwanted fabric in their stash (I need both pink and green), I'd be ever so pleased to hear from you.  I do have some pink and green Kona solids which would do just as well, but I do like the little curlycue on this one!  It adds a bit of texture.

And the good news is that I think Gordon has mended my machine.  He has repositioned the cog that I'd blasted out of place, and now I just have to try it.   Keep your fingers crossed.

11 August 2012

I give in

I'm afraid I have sold my soul to the devil.   I've gone and bought an i-thingy!   I swore I never would, but when we took our old stereo music centre (ooops showing my age there) into the new factory, we decided to buy an i-pod and move on from cd's to i-tunes!   We also bought a little docking station for it - neither of us are huge music fanatics, so we don't need anything really fancy, but when the man in the shop realised he had two English people, he immediately thought rich capitalists and tried to sell us a Bang + Olufson.  He was very dissappointed!

Anyway, I have this small piece of equipment that will do everything I ever want it to do (include making tea I believe) but I really don't have the first idea how to make it do anything much.  I've seen and heard from many people that Instagram is brilliant so I thought I'd give it a go - well it is free!   I downloaded it, took my first photo, and all was going well until it asked me if I wanted to connect with my facebook friends.   Well why not, I though, that can't hurt!  Next thing you know I've sent this photo to all my facebook friends

I have some very confused friends!

So I have joined the i-empire.  Apologies to all those who feel I have let them down.  I'll be buying Starbucks coffee next!

08 August 2012

And then it went bang ....

I was tootling along today, happy as larry, sewing a secret block in the Stitch Tease bee, using my new reel of aurifil thread (yes, I caved in), when I sewed over a pin, and bang went the needle.  The middle bit flew off into the corner, and I was left with the top bit and the bottom bit of the needle, and more importantly, a wobbly shaft that the needle goes into.  Bugger.

So what does a girl do in those circumstances.  Well I had to find the stray bit of needle, so I had a sweep, a cull on the cobwebs, and a general tidy.   What next?

Well I could do a WIP  Wednesday post - it's been a while (May in fact!).  There's still some of the old favourites there, which you have heard about endless times so lets skip over those and just concentrate on the new things

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Bridgets Quilt

My sister in law came over for the weekend, and instead of me making a quilt for her friend, I taught her how to make it herself.  You can read about it here and here.  She got as far as basting the quilt and I have done the quilting for her.

 Just waiting for her to come back at the end of August and do the binding!

EPP - Snowball

At the Fat Quarterly retreat in June, I took the English paper piecing class, mainly because I had no machine.  I was prepared to be under-whelmed, but as it turned out, I was hooked.  I finished the first one

and no 2

and no 3

but put them together and no 2 just doesn't fit

So it will just have to get used for a cushion or something.  Whilst my machine is out of order, I'll pull some more fabrics for this and get ahead with my cutting and basting.

I have also done another couple of blocks for my stitch tease bee

but this is all I can show as it must remain a mystery block.  The second one was under the needle when I broke it!

Shearwater kaftan

I have also ventured out into dressmaking.  Read all about it here.

Well that should be enough for today.   Off to do some hand stitching!

07 August 2012

Something different

So since I cannot get on with either the Supernova quilt (waiting to agree how to finish it with my friend), nor my terraced garden (need more fabric for the back) nor Bridgets quilt (waiting for Bridget) I thought I'd drag out this

and this

I've had both for ages, but they've been on the bottom of the list of things to do.

It's a fairly easy pattern - no darts, zips or waistbands - just a few curves to sew, which I've had a bit of practice on recently.  This is how it looks so far.

Isn't it great?   It's very 1970's but I am a child of the 70's  (clue there, if there are any members of  Sew Euro-bee-an reading this!).

I still have to hem it and do the bias binding around the neck, but the main problem is it's a bit tight acros the top of the arms (swimmers shoulders gordon says!) and it wrinkles.

I've done a bit of "quantitive easing" around the seams and it's a bit better.

Does anyone know a good diet for the top of your arms?

I might get on to finish it tomorrow with a bit of luck.  Just the thought of making the bais binding is slowing me down a bit!

Right, off to watch some more of the Olympics.  I have the advantage of two teams to shout for - GB and CZ!

05 August 2012

Pets on Quilts

There's a comptetition on at the moment over at Lilypadquilts to show off pictures of your pets photographed on quilts.  Generally speaking, I try to keep my animals off my quilts - they are permanently covered in mud and  I don't let them on the bed, so why should they go on my quilts?  Also whilst being quite cute (IMHO) they are not particularly co-operative when it comes to taking photos.  The result is very few photos of any of them on quilts.

I have cats being cute in bags 

I have cats being cute in boxes

I have dogs just being cute

But occasionally they sneak past me when I'm not looking and I find one of the cats curled up in the middle of something.

Like this one

This was not posed in any way, honestly - it's obviously just somewhere where George felt safe!  Clearly,  he didn't know his bum and head were sticking out!

But I explained to Liska what great prizes were being offered, so she grudgingly agreed to pose, but I had to be pretty quick........

....... before she turned on the drama queen act.............

So please feel free to vote for either my dogs or cats on quilts (or both) when the voting starts next weekend, and also hop on over to Lilypadquilts to see the competition!


01 August 2012

Fresh Sewing Day

July was a busy month with visitors and keeping control of the garden, and everything it's producing, but even so I made some good progress during the month

I managed to finish the Terraced Garden top (a quilt formerly know as stained).  I'm now stalled again for a little while due to lack of supplies.  I also managed a block for my Stitch Tease buddy Katy, although I can't show more than a blurred photo to keep it a sectret.   I had a fantastic weekend sewing with my SIL and we managed to get a quilt made as far as the quilting stage.  .......to be continued at the end of August when she comes again.   And then I also finished the blocks for the supernova quilt which looks fantastic, but I need to see it on the bed it is made for before working out how to finish it.

 I met my on-line friend Di, randomthoughtsdoordi, in Vienna and of course we exchanged purses we had made for each other.  Following on from the Fat Quarterly retreat, Helen, runquiltknitwrite, and I have started a new bee.  Blogged  here.   I have been plugging away at the snowball blocks.  I have 3 but one I really don't like very much!.

And finally, the garden has started to produce it bounty, so I am pickling, roasting, stewing and freezing like a mad woman!

I think this has probably been one of my most productive months ever, sewing wise, so I thought I'd link it up with Fresh sewing Day at Lily's quilts.