Friday, 27 February 2015

Quilts to inspire & a BIG finish!!!

Hello there!
How are you doing? Can you believe February is almost over already?  For all the hints of spring it is still winter here, we have had icy blasts from the north lashing the rain/sleet/hail/snow against the side of the house & howling down the chimney for a lot of this month. But we also had some days when Spring felt very close & I made a start on cleaning up the greenhouse, began planning seeds for the year, & actually got quite a few trays started off!
It is lovely to see these first little shoots appearing but still way too cold at night to put them out in my unheated greenhouse so in the house they must stay for a few weeks yet. The wintery weather made a return in earnest this past weekend, just in time for our trip down south to the Spring Quilt Festival in Edinburgh of course! It is an unspoken requirement of living up here in the Highlands that every so often you must make the return trip up the A9 through the cold dark night uncertain whether the road remains open before you (if not it is unlikely you would find another route open that will take you home), and under these conditions it is the longest 114 miles you will ever drive! Sunday night we were lucky and made it home, albeit very much later than we would have without the snow & wind to contend with.
After my crafty buying spree in the States last Fall I couldn't really believe I was back looking in craft stores again, but we had a little wander in Edinburgh on the Saturday afternoon where I found some gorgeously soft & squishy baby yarn at less than half price which will work very nicely for a couple of things for my grandsons!
Of course at the show on Sunday I had to take advantage of some great show only deals (end of bolt fabrics at £5 per metre, 10 fat quarters for £10 etc.) and Hubbie struck a fabulous deal with one of the stallholders on an almost full roll of wadding (which I really needed as I was down to scraps here). Here are some of my purchases...

But that is only part of the story, most of the stalls are beautifully laid out with quilts, bags, softies, wall hangings, cushions, etc. advertising the fabrics & patterns they are selling but also very inspiring in terms of color palettes & techniques. For this part of the show photographs are not allowed so the only way to experience this is to go yourself! Then there are the display quilts. Oh boy! They were a very mixed bunch this year, ranging from textile art on a large scale right down to A4 size...

contemporary quilts on various themes... 

and more traditional quilts....

Overall it is such an inspiring day out so if you ever get the chance to go to one of these events then take it!
In the weeks before our trip I made a concerted effort to finish my sons' geek quilt so that we could deliver it to him whilst in Edinburgh. This project has hung around far too long but finally I can report - it is FiNiShEd!!!!!!!
You can read about the story of this quilt here and here ( and yes, I am embarrassed to admit it hung around for pretty much a full year waiting to be quilted & bound!). Part of what slowed me down was the hand quilting that I added to some blocks and to the borders...
This is the "Spock" block from the Big Bang Theory blocks on the top row (from left to right the blocks read "Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock). My son picked out four quotes from various fandoms represented in his quilt for the borders, the black embroidery thread doesn't show up so well from a distance so I would try a different way of doing this if I had to do it again...
This is the bottom border which reads "Winter is Coming" (from Game of Thrones), the top border reads "Bazinga!" (from The Big Bang Theory), the left hand side reads "The Cake is a Lie" (from the video game Portal, and the right hand side reads "There and Back Again" (from The Hobbit).
I am so relieved to have this behind me now, I learnt a huge amount in making this, both in terms of techniques & about myself as a quilter. The techniques will always come in handy (no knowledge is a waste) & I think it's very valuable to discover that you can like admiring the finished result but not really enjoy the process of actually making something! I have discovered that in my soul I am much more of a traditional quilter than this, and flying geese & sawtooth borders make my heart sing in a way this kind of quilt never could.
Now I am free to play with my fabrics & work on some of the other projects that have called to me over the last eighteen months while this has been lurking! This week I started working on a little kit I bought at the quilt show last year (follow this link for a sneak peek) and I am enjoying it immensely :-)
Thank you for visiting me here today, don't forget there's still time to enter my blogiversary giveaway here if you haven't done so already. I'm off to do a bit of stitching, I hope you have a lovely weekend doing something you enjoy!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Game Over!

Hello there!
It seems a long long time ago that I started making squares for the Tetris Blanket (you can read about the start of it here but it actually began life back in July last year!) so I am more than a little excited to share these photos with you today. Here is it at the start of December...
 Bit by bit it grew...
...until at last the bricks were all in place and it just needed a border!
(Oh and about a bazillion ends sewn in!) Hubbie decided he would like a grey border, not too deep, and with a scalloped edge like the Giant Granny Stripe Blanket I made a few years back. Would you like to see how it turned out? 
Now you need to imagine the colors are much brighter, just turn up the intensity until that green is almost fluorescent, and the purple is the color of a bar of Cadbury's. What purple? I hear you ask. Yes well that has been the most frustrating bit of this blanket. Capturing the colors accurately with the camera. I have been through every setting on the camera, in different rooms (and the garden) in different weather conditions & they all come out looking like this (or worse).... oh and in case you are still wondering which is the purple it's the brick that is on it's own "falling" from the top! ;-)
Anyway the main thing is Hubbie finally has a blanket to call his own & I (of course) have started a new blanket! 
Thank you for visiting me here today, I hope all is good in your corner of the world and this week brings happy things your way :-)

Monday, 2 February 2015

Blogiversary giveaway!

Hello there!
It's February already! This means that even if it doesn't feel much like it outside Spring really is getting closer and also that I have reached my Blogiversary once again! I thought I would celebrate this blog's three years of existence with a little giveaway for you (a little reward for sticking with me this far!), and as you are such a diverse crowd, I thought we would have two prizes. For the stitchy folks amongst you I have some little kits which were all cover gifts from a cross stitch magazine at one time...
They come complete with all the fabric, floss, cards for mounting etc and most importantly the charts! For the bunting this is by way of two pages carefully removed from the magazine, the two card kits have their charts inside the wee kit. Happy stitching!
For those of you of a more yarny disposition I have a book on amigurumi....
This contains 10 very varied patterns for you to make including this rather cute monkey!
I picked this up in the after Christmas sales as it was sitting rather forlornly on the shelf by itself, the cover isn't in pristine condition but the insides are (which is really what matters!) and I thought one of you could give it a new home?
To enter just be a follower of this blog & leave me a comment on this post saying whether you would prefer the stitchy or the yarny prize if your name is picked! If you would like to share this either on your blog or on your facebook or whatever that would be very nice of you but I'm not going to make that compulsory :-) The giveaway will be open until the end of the month & on Sunday March 1 I will pick one name from the stitchy entries & one name from the yarny ones. Oh and this giveaway is open to any follower of this blog no matter where in the world you live. Good luck everyone! :-)