Thursday, 29 August 2013

BIG Quilt top - DONE!

The day before the Stitch Gathering, I finished the top of the BIG Quilt.  It isn't a complete finish but I got as far as I could before I had to move on to my quilt for my Grandparent's anniversary (sneak peek below).

I like to finish things before moving on to the next thing so I decided the top was a suitable milestone at which to stop and move on to the quilt with a deadline.

I'm a little concerned my ironing style is a bit severe and I have been stretching the fabric.  Perhaps a little tugging doesn't matter over a smaller quilt, and I have thus far managed not to notice my extreme pressing, but I have managed to get a few puckered areas like this:

The only explanation I can come up with is the ironing - any suggestions?  Also, can I sort it out in the quilting?

And as promised, here is a glimpse of this week's occupation....

Linking up with Kelly on Needle and Thread Thursday!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Stitch Gathering

On Sunday I attended the Stitch Gathering retreat in Edinburgh.  It surpassed all my expectations and was an excellent day of sewing fun.  It was wonderful to sit and sew with so many great people and accomplished stitchers.

It started with me driving ALL BY MYSELF to the venue.  I arrived ridiculously early as it had taken me 25 minutes to park the car the day before (did I mention I'm new at the driving?) and I wasn't taking any chances with being late.

So, I was first in.  I met some lovely people over coffee before being presented with the first of LOTS of gifts.  It was pretty much Christmas if you like sewing.

The first surprise from the Stitch Gathering team (headed up by the ever so kind and supportive Jo Avery) was this goodie bag.

 Over the course of the day, between goodie bags, lucky dips and a swap I ended up with 17 new fat quarters of lovely fabric, as well as a pooch of Liberty scraps.  How generous is that?

So on to the name tag swap.  I was astounded with my partner's thoughtfulness.  Brenda, who until the day was a stranger, had been assigned my nametag.  Not knowing the first thing about me, she had looked up my name in Gaelic, which apparently means white wave.  I did not know this and am so touched by what she made me.

And it turned out she loved cross stitch, so I was on a winner too!

My first class was crazy patchwork with Sheila.  Behold the fruits of my labour!

Turns out hand sewing might not be for me, but I love how it looks so fully intend on cheating and making more of these stash busting beauties on a machine.  This technique finds value in the tiniest of little scraps and turns them into the vital bridge from one corner to another.  Again, it was lovely to spend a couple of hours sewing in the company of fellow enthusiasts.

I happened to be sitting right next to the display wall where all the embellished tickets were hung.  These are going to be sewn together into a quilt which will be raffled off next year.

There was some serious talent on display.

And some not so serious....

I'm allowed to say that - it's mine!  I was petrified of cutting my ticket and wanted to play it safe.  I think I went a little too safe, but I did use fabrics from my very first sewing class which is how I had heard about the Stitch Gathering in the first place so it was appropriate and had a story to tell (if only to me).

There was a show and tell after lunch.  This is my favourite piece and the inspiration for the next project.

My second class was with Fiona and involved learning how to make a jelly roll quilt. I really should have thought about the design of it before the class because it seemed to take me a while to get going but once I did I was on a (jelly) roll...

I adore the fabric I chose and think it is going to be a really striking quilt.  I've pretty much decided to keep it for myself.  I have not kept anything I have made on my quilting journey but I don't know if I can part with something so "me".  Here's what I managed to accomplish during the class:

Unfortunately, I have another project to be getting on with (to a ludicrous deadline - there's a pattern forming here) so this is going to have to go on the back burner.  I just hope I don't forget all Fiona's expert advice!

The day ended at the Avery Homestore in Edinburgh for a private viewing of the Quilt Show hosted during the Edinburgh Festival.  Here's some of my favourites:

There were lots of other beautiful quilts on display, but I did too much chatting and not enough photographing!  They all had a note on them discouraging you from touching them, which was fair enough but extremely difficult.  They were so tactile and inviting.

The day was over in a flash and I can't wait until next year.  I'll definitely be signing up again. I was so apprehensive about it but I really need not have been. It left me feeling confident in my abilities and proud of how far I've come while still relishing and recognising the challenges of the classes I had chosen.

I'll leave this post on a high note of some of the lovely fat quarters I acquired throughout the day.

My fat quarter swap bounty - it's blue and white!  For more on why that's important, stay tuned for my next post in which I will be showing off some actual sewing.

These bundles were actually tied up with string - definitely a few of my favourite things.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Brown Paper Packages - 3

I've been on a little spree recently as my birthday money was burning a hole in my pocket.

For my next project, a 65th wedding anniversary quilt for my Grandparents, I have been stockpiling blue and white fabrics.

The ones on either end of this bundle have already featured, but the others are some recently purchased fat quarters.  Now, if only I could decide on a pattern.  I thought I would use the opportunity to make a Scrappy Trip (which I really want to do and thought it might be fun sticking to a colour scheme, while still keeping it random).  However, FH saw this bundle and commented on how busy it was, so now I'm thinking maybe I will have to buy either some blue or white fabric to create large areas of negative space. Maybe a Swoon quilt?  Suggestions would be most welcome and appreciated, but please go easy on me - I'm still learning and this needs to be good.  It is, after all, for two very special people.


In a fortnight I am off to the Stitch Gathering.  One of the classes I am taking is about how to make a jelly roll quilt, so I had to get one.

I saw this jelly roll on an American shop website and decided it was the thing for me.  However, the international postage was going to make it crazy so I needed to find a UK stockist.  Cotton Patch came up trumps and was also the source of my new cotton batting for BIG quilt and one of the two projects mentioned above.  I'd never shopped there before, but it's great.

I can't wait to get going!

Friday, 9 August 2013


As part of preparation for some guests arriving this weekend, I decided I should audit my stash.

Then I saw Sarah at Sarah Quilts was hosting a link up on the very topic! So here goes:

This is it all laid out on the dining room table.  I then decanted it from the large box it has inhabited since I began quilting properly. Hey, that must be almost a year ago now!  So it is now living in three boxes including one for current projects.

Hopefully this will make it easier for me to pick fabrics, without having to pull everything out each time!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Work in Progress

I have been working on the BIG quilt for what feels like forever.

I decided I should press open all the seams to avoid bulk and then square up all the corners and sides.

On every one of the squillion squares.  Okay, there's only 120 but it feels like more.  I've done half so far.

Now, I like to finish one thing before moving on to the next, but the Stitch Gathering is fast approaching (woo!) so I thought I better get going on my ticket and badge (I might never finish the BIG quilt and I can't let it stand in the way of sewing greatness and me).

Being, as I am, extremely out of practice at embroidery, I decided to play safe and sew the name in cross stitch, but I've added a little quilt for fun.  

The name has to remain a secret until the day, so this might be the last shot of the ticket for a while.

And this is a block I have made but can't say anything else about.  How dull!

EDIT 13th August - I'm so touched by everyone's kind comments about my block.  To clarify, I don't think it is boring (simple maybe, but not boring).  I meant it was a yawn that I hadn't said anything else about it - it is a secret!  Thank you everyone for your encouragement though!

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced  Liz at Shush - I'm Quilting and Kelly ay My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday (Edited):

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

I must have done something good

Wow, what a fortnight.

Apologies for the radio silence folks and thanks so much to everyone who stopped by A Note to Follow Sew via the Let's Get Acquainted New Blogger Blog Hop.  I am slowly responding to all your kind comments.

I am afraid I have been neglecting all things blog because the BIG quilt is still not done.  I decided if I have time to read blogs, take photos and write, I have time to sew and have been prioritising that.

I promised myself there would be no more posts until I had finished the top but I can't do any more on it for a week or so (we have guests coming, so the dining room table has to be used for boring things like eating).  And I have something pretty amazing to show...

So I had a big birthday in the last couple of weeks and my FH bought me this:

The handle on the side turns and that creates the motion.

She's so pretty I could burst.

My lovely friends also bought me this stash of goodies (beware quilters, this photo contains other craft materials and you may wish to avert your eyes):

Okay quilters, you can look again for there was also some Liberty....

I'm a lucky girl.