Saturday, 25 August 2012

Finished 'USA #5' ... so happy :) but also a little sad :(

I was on holiday, sitting in cousin Lora's screenporch in Chesapeake Bay last September when she brought her Mom's box of fabric out of her garage where it had sat for 20+ years. I was overwhelmed - not just at the quantity and quality but I had a profound emotional reaction when I touched my great-aunt Jenny's fabric ... it made me cry. I felt a connection to my great aunt and became very excited when Lora said I could have it all! How very kind. This post shows how much I had to fit in a suitcase and bring home ... just as well I have an understanding husband :)

I decided early on that I just had to make a lapquilt for each of my great aunt's female relatives - 1 daughter, 2 grand-daughters and 2 daughters-in-law and that I would only use her fabric - no adding from my stash so no cheating allowed!

I started in January 2012 and finished the last one on Thursday night - 'USA #5' is for cousin June, also a quilter (and a much better one than I - no pressure there then!) and, although I tried to make it perfect, it isn't ... I hope she won't mind:

A close-up:

And the back:

I have really really really enjoyed making these quilts for my cousins and I am a little sad the adventure is now over. I have handled this fabric more than usual as I just counted up:

1) First touch in the screenporch
2) Back in the box
3) Into 'sucky bags'
4) Into the suitcase
5) Out of the suitcase and folded
6) Sorted, selected, handwashed and pegged out to dry
7) Ironed and cut
8) Pieced and quilted

and many times I have thought of my great aunt Jenny and where she might have been and what was going on in her life when she was touching and buying all those different pieces of fabric. I think she had great taste, I am so grateful she had small and larger pieces in her stash - I got close to running out on a couple of occasions - but i did it. Five lapquilts in 8 months ... each one lovingly made for my 5 very special cousins:

'USA #1' - for Lora (daughter):

'USA #2' - for Lauren (grand-daughter):

'USA #3' - for Emily (grand-daughter):

'USA #4' - for Jeanie (daughter-in-law):

'USA #5' - for June (daughter-in-law):

I am a lucky girl - lucky to have my wonderful USA family in my life, lucky to have found this fabulous hobby, lucky to have the time and space to create, lucky to have a husband who supports me (and chooses fabric colours for me sometimes too!) ... I am so lucky and very thankful :)

Friday, 24 August 2012

I'm cured!!!

It must have been one of those 24 hour bugs or something because this week I have spent some money!! A couple of charity shop finds, a garden centre flower pot and a visit to my LQS today has restored my faith in my compulsive shopping habit!!

I'm always on the lookout for little baskets or quirky pots to store things in my quilting room and whilst this isn't a typical quilting supplies accessory, it was just too lovely to leave on the shelf:

In the charity shop at Rochester, I picked up this really cute vase which is ideal for my spare cottons and it's just big enough for my hand to reach in like a kid in a sweet shop:

And in my local charity shop - the bargain purchase of the year, nay the decade!!! I am always envious of people who just 'stumble across' the best little objects but this week it was ME! Look what I found for only ... wait for it ... £5 - yes, you read it right: FIVE English Pounds:

I wasn't sure what to put on it at first because the little compartments are too small for a fat quarter but they are ideal for scraps of 1/8 size and jars of cottons and bobbins and pins and tape measures ... I may paint it pink one day but, for now, how wonderful:

I 'popped in' to Yarnia today - my local quilting supplies store: it's such a cute little shop and Nicci and her Mum Trish work so hard trying to make the business a success ... I just had to support them by buying a few fabrics (and some cotton, rotary blades and ribbons):

The orange and turquoise blenders are 'Dotty Scroll' by Makower and the flowers (front right) is Tanya Whelan's Sugar Hill - Falling Rose and the middle 3 lovelies from left to right are:

'Wild Flowers', 'Sweet Birdie' (Tweet Blooms) and 'Sweet Birdie' (Petals and Pals) by Kathy Davis:

No idea what I'll use them for yet but that doesn't matter, hey?? Oh, I am sooooooo looking forward to a 3-day weekend of quilting :)

Monday, 20 August 2012

I didn't buy anything ... am I ill????

It has been soooooooooooo very hot here the last few days. We (Nick, his Mum and sis) all ventured out on Saturday down to Rochester, Kent for a spot of retail therapy and I can only conclude that it was the heat affecting me ... I NEVER go into this shop without buying anything - but that's what happened - Deborah and I walked around for a good 10 minutes and I did not buy a thing that's right ... NOTHING!!!


Oh my, please let this not be a serious setback in my quilting life ... how very dare I call myself a passionate quilter if I can resist the temptation of new fabric purchases ... I still can't believe it myself :(

I did make another couple of tote bags over the weekend! Even though the loft was a sweltering 30C, I wanted to make Mum a bag - and she picked out her own fabrics, which was lovely (Winchester by Makower):

And then another for Aunty Ruth's birthday - well what do you give to an 87 year old who has everything? I added some biscuits too! Mum said 'purple' is Aunty Ruth's favourite colour and I've been wanting to use this Eastern Eye Miniatures collection from Fabric Freedom for some time so this is what I made:

And a glimpse of the inside:

And I have machine sewn the binding onto the front of 'USA #5' but just need the temperature to cool a few degrees before I lay it on my lap for 3 hours to hand sew the back of the binding.

Happy quilting ... I'm really hoping my little stash-resisting setback is nothing serious  :)

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Done my quilting!!

Well, as suspected, Jury Service was a little slow the first two days ... I didn't even get selected :( but on the plus side it meant I was home by 3.30pm Monday and Tuesday and I was able to complete the quilting of 'USA #5' ... yippeeeee :)

I was very tempted to try and FMQ it with the little flowers I did on the table mats but wise husband advised to 'stick with what you know' ... so I did:

You can definitely see some funny shapes in my meandering ... But, you know what? I think I prefer it better when it isn't perfect. And the binding is all waiting to be attached. I can't wait to finish and get it in the post to cousin June in America :)

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Bags and basting!!

I have FINALLY basted 'USA #5' this morning (thanks Nick x) and will be quilting it within the hour ... YAY!!!! I have made the label, cleaned my machine, changed the needle, auditioned the cottons and prepared 5 bobbins:

I have also made some more bags this week too ... I am a monster out of control with this bag making lately but it's wonderful to a) make lovely things for the lovely ladies in my life b) think up, create and finish a bag in a few hours and c) use up my fabulous stash :)

Just to be clear, these are gifts and usually I am not even asked to make them ... I just kind of get carried away once I start ...

For Ajoke's daughter (friend at work):

For Mum:

For Mandy's daughter (friend at work):

For sis (in-law) Deborah:

Deborah doesn't know I've made her this so it will be a nice surprise when her and Mum arrrive for their mini-break next week. She'll be able to use it when she (inevitably) goes shopping!!

I start jury service tomorrow (how exciting!!) so I do not know how much time I'll have to sew at the end of each day ... best I MYBA - move yer bloomin' **** - up to the loft and get quilting :)

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Summer Table Mats ... for meeeeeeeeeeee!!

I made some Table Mats last year which I love but I have wanted some that were a bit lighter and brighter for the Summer but just haven't got around to making them ... how many other quilters make lots of lovely things for everyone else in their lives but not themselves?!

I bought these charm packs last September in Charleston (or Annapolis ... I forget!) and knew they would be perfect for table mats and a runner. I unpacked them and laid them all out to see what was available ... lots of lovely pinks and reds and greens ... 

I chose the ladybirds for the centre pieces and just went with a very simple 9 patch:

And after choosing the squares for the four mats, I arranged the remaining squares into a 5 x 9 patch runner:

For the backing, I used up some bright and funky Fat Quarters that had been in my stash for ages together with some red fabric left over from Mutter's Christmas Quilt and, luckily, there was enough for the binding too:

And I tried out a new free motion quilting pattern - flowers and leaves - instead of my usual stippling. It was tricky to begin with but definitely got easier by the time I got to the runner. I like it ... okay, it's not perfect but it doesn't have to be:

I am very pleased with the end result, they really do brighten up the table and they cost me nothing ... well it's free if you take the fabric from your own stash ... surely??!!

I am a happy quilter :)