Colour...   Thursday 16th October 2014


is such an important thing for Quilter's, possibly even the most important. I agonise over colour with every new project that I start.

Autumn colour is my favourite...



But bright colour is good too...



I like subtle colour as well...





In fact I like all colour, with the exception of purple, though that has its uses too. I have just finished this little sewing pouch, Susan and I were admiring one last Saturday at our Quilter's Guild Regional day. It had been made by another Quilter called Jackie Martin who is very talented. It was one of those little projects that you just have to make. By co-incidence Susan has also made one http://www.sew-susan.blogspot.co.uk, go and check hers out as well.

Janet

 

Travels...   Thursday 9th October 2014


It is very easy to get out of the habit of blogging especially if you are not doing any sewing. But last night I picked up needle and thread and made a few stitches and now I know that I am on my way back to my sewing life.

September passed in a blur of travel. Firstly my sister, Emma and I went to London for a few days, specifically to see the "Wedding Dresses" exhibition at the V&A museum. We also wandered around taking in the sights...


 
and on our second day we visited here...



Buckingham Palace State Rooms are only open for 2 months a year , they were truly amazing, it is difficult to describe the grandeur.

Then it was packing to go to Portugal for our 2 week holiday break, and very relaxing it was too...



Emma needed to get back to Durham as soon as we got home, so in the blink of an eye September was gone. October means warm cosy nights at home and plenty of sewing...

Janet

 

Harrogate Quilt Show   Sunday 31st August 2014


 Today I am recovering from our journey to Harrogate, we had a lovely time, we saw lots of old friends and many of the quilts I took over for other people were also successful in winning awards and rosettes. Susan made a stunningly original piece which was very very successful but I will let her tell you all about it at http://www.sew-susan.blogspot.co.uk
 I was pleased that Log Cabin Strippy got a Judges Merit and I also entered a miniature called "African Lady" and this won 3rd place and also got a Judges Choice! This piece has caused me much laughter as not everyone shown the piece could  "see" the lady but they could "see" lots of other things...



I didn't take a lot of photos preferring to just enjoy looking at the work and also it was very busy (and hot) and Harrogate never has the best lighting, as you can see above. My legs are suffering today, stiff and sore so I am going to have a relaxing day pottering in my sewing room...

Janet

 

At Last...   Thursday 28th August 2014


my marathon quilting session is over and the quilts have been delivered to Harrogate. Here is the finished quilt:



I had to check that it hung straight,
 and here is a close up:



I have watched every sporting event this Summer and believe me there were a lot of them!! John said it is the same every year, I spend the warm Summer months quilting and get very hot and fractious...

I have had a day to recover and yesterday I worked on a small project for our Quilter's Guild Area day next May so now I can have sewing time for myself, can't wait...

Janet

 

Taking A Break...   Saturday 26th July 2014


from my quilting! I am watching a lot of the Commonwealth Games in order to quilt Log Cabin Strippy. I only have a month left before the quilts need to go to Harrogate. Of course the weather has been glorious and the last thing I need to be doing is quilting but I have no choice. I know I should only enter quilts that are already finished, but what is the fun/stress in that!!

Anyway last night I had a break from quilting and Emma and I cycled to Newsham Park to see the Giants. I think most of Liverpool were there...



They arrived and Grandma continued with her story and they then got ready for bed and as the sun set we made our way home, so glad that we were able to be part of this fabulous spectacle...



Janet

 

Duckingham Palace...  Monday 7th July 2014




Welcome to Jemima and Patty who have come to stay with us for 3 weeks while my sister and family are on holiday. They arrived days after John discovered fox activity in our garden and according to my Brother-in-Law foxes like ducks even more than chickens!! This has led John to spend the weekend constructing a multi-layered secure structure for them and I am going to have a stressful 3 weeks just hoping we can keep them alive.

Nothing to show sewing wise. I am quilting everyday! Through the football, the tennis and now through the Tour de France. Thank goodness for sport....

Janet

 

World Cup Sewing...   Wednesday 18th June 2014




This is John's first attempt at helping me layer and pin a quilt. I was kind enough to have the football on so he didn't miss anything! Not to be too critical but he was a bit slow. This quilt has been at the top of my "to do" pile for years and now that we have settled in to watch the World Cup I needed to make sure I had plenty of hand sewing.

Also have hexagons to sew if it gets too hot to quilt...



I am up to 31 of these simple squares...



And just thought I would try out a few of these 6" squares to see if a project springs to mind...



And lastly the utility room is finished which makes me feel I must clean etc... Not a good feeling!



Hope you are enjoying the warmer, sunnier weather

Janet 

 

House Disruption...   Monday 2nd June 2014


What a funny month May was! A lot of rain, occasional sunshine, Emma's 2nd year exams and No. 7 was in a state as we had work done on our utility room. This was a truly awful room but it was quite large and was a dumping ground. We still haven't finished as the flooring and cupboard plinths will be done next week. This is just one side of the "new" utility room and those cupboards form a larder area and storage for kitchen overspill. I will tidy the other side of the room before you see it!



I have also had to spend some time in the garden and I have now painted 36 fence panels, this must be the most boring tedious job!

However I have been doing some sewing and here is Luke's finished quilt and 
matching cushion...



Emma is home for a few days for post-exam recovery and has been busy dressmaking, she does like to spread out and has stuff everywhere leaving me no space to take a full photo of Luke's quilt...

Janet


 

Thought Process...   Wednesday 14th May 2014


As I said confidently in my last post, my new quilt was sorted in my head by the time I had returned home from Blackpool. I had worked out the size and design of the quilt from the available fabric (2 honey buns) and I was good to go. I was sewing away on the blocks last weekend and when I got to 15 I realised that I was starting to get bored. This was a problem as I needed 64!! So I started to rethink the design and drew a little sketch of the old design and then drew up an alternative plan. I know the picture won't make much sense to you but I know what it means, sadly it still needs 57 blocks....

Blocks progressing:



Design doodles:



Janet

 

New Project...    Monday 28th April 2014


At last!  I was with a lovely group of ladies from Blackpool Quilters at the weekend and they were making a start on my Flower Power block of the month quilt. I wanted to show them my technique for sewing log cabin blocks so I took with me one honey bun (same as a jelly roll but narrower) and this is what happened:

One honey bun:



Within minutes it looked like this:



Then a block emerged:



And they started to multiply:



I was so ready to start something new, I am still hand quilting Luke's Uni quilt and I am still working on my paper pieced elongated hexagons but I wanted to sit at my machine and sew!! The plan for this quilt evolved as I drove along the M57,M58,M6 and M55 and by the time I got home the plan and measurements were done...

Janet

 

Where Am I?   Sunday 20th April 2014


You may be asking that very question. I am here, but I have been feeling very lazy and although I have been writing a blog in my head for several weeks it has not made it to the computer.

So what have I been doing? Well, last weekend I was here:



and here:



Then there was culture:



and walking:



and wandering along canals:



Yes we were in my favourite place in the world: Amsterdam. We had four wonderful days and the tulips were fabulous.

When we returned home I was able to collect this...



My Silver Wedding anniversary gift from John.

So you can see my life has been quite eventful, I have been quilting Luke's quilt, ignoring the housework, enjoying the sun and now I have the sounds of football coming from the living room were John is nervously watching his beloved team.

I hope you are all having a good Easter break and that you have time to do what you want, be it sewing, family time or just resting...

Janet

 

Spring Is Coming...   Monday 31st March 2014


I realise that it is technically Spring but I think that our Seasons are not true to date. Having spent the last couple of years digging every green shrub and tree out of our garden (due to them being overgrown and just green!) we are now in the process of starting to think about new planting. Of course gardens take time to mature but we thought a few Daffodils wouldn't come amiss and so we planted 1500 bulbs in the Autumn and now have splashes of yellow all around the space we call a garden. The garden centre was selling the bulbs off so I only paid £10, that was a good buy!! You just feel better by looking at Spring flowers...







I am sitting at the edge of the dining room table, the rest of the table is covered by Luke's quilt which Emma kindly helped to layer and pin. I am going to spend the rest of the afternoon tacking it together and then it is going to have minimal straight line quilting on it. I have already finished the matching cushion, talk about getting ahead...

Janet

 

Missing March...   Tuesday 18th March 2014


I have been travelling around the Northwest doing talks and workshops and meeting lots of lovely enthusiastic Quilters. I knew this was just an excuse as to why I haven't done any sewing!! So during the very exciting Liverpool v Man U game last Sunday I decided to make a start on a new project. My nephew Luke goes to Uni this Autumn and obviously he will need a new quilt. From my stash I found some suitable fabrics, all geometrics and stripes. However they were only fat 1/8ths so I needed to come up with a block that made the most of the available fabric. After working out the maths I made a test block and was happy with it and have now made 10 of the 20 blocks. You can see a sample of the blocks here...



I feel as if my sewing groove is back!

Janet 

 

Quick Gift...   Thursday 6th March 2014


I realised last Friday that a lovely young lady called Ella was about to set off on a year long travel adventure to New Zealand and I really wanted to give her a small but useful gift. Several hours later I had this made..



Then I filled it with these essential things...



The pattern came from a tutorial by http://www.aspoonfulofsugardesigns.com.

On Sunday we popped over to Durham to see Emma. It was a grey miserable day but as we walked alongside the river there was plenty of activity going on. Emma had been rowing that morning but we saw plenty of other teams practising along the river.



Janet 

 

Apologies...   Thursday 27th February 2014


I never meant to stay away from blogging for this length of time but time does seem to have run away from me. If you are still with me I do thank you. Apart from getting over the jet lag it has been difficult to settle to do anything. I have even contemplated some Spring cleaning and as you know that is not something I undertake with any enthusiasm. Also I am aware that perhaps some of you would like to know more about the Tokyo Quilt show and rather than make a half-hearted effort I will direct you to http://www.myquiltdiary.blogspot.co.uk where there is lots of information and photos of this years show.

I still have over 2000 photos of our trip and decided to choose about 70 and have them printed into an album by Photobox, that way family and friends won't be too bored, hopefully!



My favourite image from the holiday is the Golden Pavilion at Kyoto...



Finally I have at last done some hand-sewing, this is my third attempt at a hand-sewing project and yet again I am unsure about it. I am just not happy with the fabric used for the squares though my friends at Liverbirds assured me it looked OK...



Janet


 

A Few Snippets...   Friday 7th February 2014


Just before the weekend I thought I would give you a few more photos from the quilt show. Because of the time it takes to upload the photos I won't be able to show you that many at a time but it gives you a flavour...

This is what you see when you enter the Tokyo Dome:



Over 10000 blocks were made into 82 group quilts, each quilt having 130 blocks:




A French style quilt made with Japanese workmanship by Yoshiko Kurihara:




Have a good sewing weekend...

Janet

 

Where To Start...   Wednesday 5th February 2014


Yes where do I start to tell you all about our trip to Japan. As a quilting blog I know I should concentrate on the Tokyo Quilt show but I have hundreds of photos of quilts and I am trying to decide the best way to show you them to you. We also had other textile experiences including Shibori dyeing and John was under threat not to make his better than mine!! But we also experienced the culture of Japan including the food, shrines, temples, gardens, cleanliness, politeness and the most amazing toilets!! All in all I took nearly 2500 photos and they need to be reduced "a lot". As we are suffering with jet lag, today I have chosen 3 photos to get started:

John and I at the Quilt Show:



Mount Fuji taken from the Bullet train at several hundred miles an hour:



Tree wrapped against the weather but look at that knot!!



Janet 

 

Gizmos & Gadgets...   Monday 20th January 2014


Preparing for a holiday involves so much technology today. We are taking 2 i-pods, 2 mobile phones, 2 computers and 1 mouse, 2 cameras and lenses and 2 Kindles. With these come any amount of leads, wires and chargers. I hate cables, it is something that I nag at John all the time about. One day I am sure everything will be wireless, may that day hurry up!

Anyway getting back to sewing:

One Birthday stocking for Mike:



One computer cover for me:



One computer cover for John:



I had every intention of making covers for other things but because I have ran out of time I focussed on the most necessary. John will be carrying most of the gadgets in his backpack, I carry reading material and snacks!!!

There will be so much to tell you in forthcoming blogs so stay tuned...

Janet

 

2014...  Tuesday 7th January 2014


Back to normal, whatever "normal" is!! After visitors for both Christmas and New Year I am now getting back into some sort of routine. The house has been de-Christmasfied and due to my extra housework before Christmas doesn't look too bad. Normally it shows up my sloppy housekeeping skills with dust everywhere on all the bare surfaces. Enough of all that!

Resolutions: I don't make them because to be a failure by January 2nd is a little disheartening...

Yesterday I started sewing again. I have to make a 12" block using fabric from a shirt and tie for a challenge. What a horrible task, I did stabilise the tie fabric but it was still difficult to sew the finer shirt fabric to it. I am quilting the block at the moment so will take a photo when it is done!

I am also making a Christmas stocking, a little late yes but I prefer to think of it as early for next Christmas! Unfortunately I have managed to cut several pieces the wrong way round and that has hindered my progress.

One of the reasons I haven't blogged for a while is my lack of photos to show you so I decided that you will just have to see us as we were on Christmas Eve...


I hope you all had a good Christmas and that 2014 brings you everything you wish for...

Ps. Have I mentioned that shortly I am off to Japan for the Tokyo Quilt Show!!!

Janet 

 

Meet Betsy...   Sunday 22nd December 2013




This is the soft toy that I have been working on. Emma requested her after seeing Julie's work on  http://littlecottonrabbits.typepad.co.uk. Her work is lovely but she is not able to make as many rabbits etc as people would like so this year she produced the pattern which I bought in preparation to making one myself. Her directions were very good and I was pleased with my first attempt. My sister has also said she would like one!



Emma produced these mini Christmas muffins yesterday and they were really delicious...



Finally a photo of some Christmas lights in Liverpool City centre. Just in case I don't get a chance to blog again before Christmas I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and hope they have a wonderful time with friends and family...

Best Wishes

Janet

 

Feeling Festive...   Monday 16th December 2013


The trees are up and the house is decorated and I am feeling very festive. I have baked and eaten frangipane mince pies and mincemeat muffins and they were both very good. Of the making list I have only to finish the soft toy and it is coming along nicely.

A herd of festive reindeer:



Fully finished quilt:



A festive stocking:



Friday afternoon sunset:



You will think I am obsessed with sunsets but there have been some spectacular ones recently and they last just a few minutes. I was sitting at the computer and felt the change in light and the sky had this fabulous striped effect.

Menus to plan and presents to wrap, looking forward to Emma coming home tomorrow.

I hope you too feel festive and not too stressed at this busy time...

Janet

 

Racing on...   Tuesday 10th December 2013


I am really enjoying the pre-Christmas build up, partly because my cleaning and preparations are going well. The housework is on target and it is a long time since our house sparkled, but mainly because my "makes" are coming along well.

Two more finishes (or nearly finished):

Lacy scarf for my sister:



Lap quilt for my brother-in-law in the final stages:



Pieces are cut out for the Christmas decorations, fabric chosen for a stocking (new addition to the list) and pattern out ready for the soft toy. I realised how much your health influences your life and now I am feeling so much better I am more able to cope with "life". You know my philosophy though, if any of these things don't get done I won't be too upset.

This afternoon's jobs include some kitchen cleaning, looking out of the window at a lovely day and card-writing...

Janet

 

December Countdown...   Tuesday 3rd December2013


I think for most people December is a month for countdowns. We have never-ending to-do lists and things can seem quite fraught. Not in the Keenan house! I am a firm believer in the "if it gets done, OK, if it doesn't, OK". But I am progressing on my Christmas makes list.

Here is Emma's cardigan finished, maybe needs a good pressing...



A pair of funky hand-warmers for Luke's girlfriend Ella...



Pincushion for Liverbirds challenge (no you can't see the other side yet!)



The fabric is chosen for Dave's lap quilt and I have started the scarf for my sister. I am trying to decide on a quick and easy design for the lap quilt, probably will be quilt-as-you-go.

Starting to compile a food list in my head, though possibly may be better to write things down...

Finally, driving home on Saturday afternoon we were aware that a great sunset was happening so jumped out of the car, rushed to the corner of the road and managed to get this image...



Hope the arrival of December isn't making you all panic, take care!

Janet

 

3rd Time Lucky...   Thursday 28th November 2013


I have started yet another hand project and there is a good reason for this. Last year I started making a hexagon quilt and at the final hurdle everything went wrong, the colours were hideous and I discarded it. Recently I showed you a tessellating design and when I started to stitch it together is just wasn't looking right either so I abandoned that too. But I do need a hand project to carry around so this is what I have started and I feel quite excited about it...



I am making a pin cushion for the Liverbirds Christmas challenge so you can't see that yet but I have nearly finished Emma's cardigan. However the "makes" list for Christmas keeps growing, decorations, fingerless gloves and a soft toy have all been added. I  Do work better under pressure...

Finally, the exhibition at Sefton Park Palm House. We were offered space at the Palm House for a one day pop up exhibition. The last thing I thought of as I was having breakfast was to pick up my camera but that thought popped out as quickly as it popped in. So no photos, but my more organised friend Susan took lots and you can see them on her blog http://sew-susan.blogspot.co.uk. It was a fantastic day and the quilts were very well received and non-quilters were amazed at the work. Over 800 people visited that day and what a day they had, beautiful quilts in a fabulous venue. I do have a photo of the Palm House taken earlier in the year when Emma and I went to have a look and start making plans for this exhibition. I can't thank my friends at Liverbirds enough for all their help, they give me unstinting support for any madcap ideas I come up with and I hope they enjoyed the day as much as I did...



Janet

 

Must Start Earlier...   Thursday 21st November 2013


Who am I kidding? You read my earlier blog with my very elaborate plans to make all sorts of Christmas gifts and not one of you wrote and said "Janet, don't you think you should have started earlier". I now realise that these plans may be a little (or a lot) unrealistic and may have to be amended!

My sister and I have been travelling, we have been visiting our student children. Last week it was Emma's turn to have a visit and we arrived in Durham as they were setting up for their Festival of Light. We were able to see several of the exhibits and this one, part of the "Consumerist Christmas", was made from used shopping bags that were stuffed and had lights fitted and they were very effective. The first photo shows the bags more clearly and the second how lovely they looked in the dark. I only had my small camera with me as my family are not very patient with my photo-taking!!




This week we went to Birmingham to visit James, we were able to visit the Christmas market and the new Library as well as eating some delicious South American food. This photo shows the cladding on the Library and I love it as it is my favourite quilting design.



I have managed to finish the blue quilt top and it now has rich dark blue borders
ready for the "going to have impact" quilting.

I am sure you are all being far more sensible than me in your plans...

Janet

 

Monday Again...   Monday 11th November 2013


I can't believe another week has passed. I have done some sewing and some knitting but my idea of a little Spring cleaning during November has been ditched!
It does occur to me that maybe I should make a start on the hand made Christmas gifts that I have planned. These include a lap quilt, scarf and the cardigan for Emma, which I am making progress on. Also I have several small challenges to complete. On top of this I have begun a tidy up of the sewing room as I have convinced myself that it is stifling my creativity! The only thing that is doing that is my laziness...

Rather than leave these blocks I have decided to sew them together so the finished top can go on the unfinished quilts pile.



I am looking forward to doing the quilting on these blocks, hoping it has a Japanese flavour to it.



Yesterday afternoon on top of Liverpool Central library, the sun was just starting to change as dusk approached...



Hope you all had a good weekend

Janet

 

Good Morning Monday...   Monday 4th November 2013


This is my sort of Autumnal day, bright and frosty. I have neglected you I know but my knitting does not seem to be very photogenic. I have also been reading a lot as part of my recovery!!!

Anyway on Saturday we had our Quilter's Guild Area day and the speaker was Susan Briscoe. She talked about Japanese Sashiko designs and in the afternoon we worked on a small sampler of stitches. I found the double thread made my tension a little tight (normally I don't have issues with tension) but I carried on thinking a battering with a steam iron might help. Well it did a little and now I am thinking maybe I can "quilt out" the rest of the puckering. What do you think?

Before ironing:



After ironing:



Janet

 

Waiting...   Sunday 27th October 2013


for the promised storm to arrive. I am looking out at blue skies and sunshine yet the forecast for the next few days is terrible. John and I rushed out this morning and planted some Winter pansies and we feel quite pleased with ourselves that we have actually been in the garden...

Sewing has now recommenced, I thought I would ease my way back with some simple machine sewing and I remembered these blocks. I have now finished 75 of the 80 needed. If you recall, this quilt is one where the quilting is going to be the most important aspect of the quilt...



Janet

 

Hand Sewing...   Thursday 24th October 2013




This is my hand sewing. It is done over papers and I have now laid it out in its tessellated pattern and I realise that from now on it is not that portable. Each piece has to go in its exact position or the pattern is lost. It is only about 24 inches square and I will sew it up and then add borders to make it a useable size. I won't make any more tessellated pieces, so it won't be long before I am looking to start another hand sewing project.

Last night at Liverbirds we saw 2 finished versions of the Christmas Strippy, they really looked fantastic so perhaps I need to get on with making my version!!

Janet

 

Hello!   Wednesday 16th October 2013


I am sorry that I haven't been blogging for a while. Had a few days in hospital last week getting some gynae work done, but I am resting and recovering well. I am about to get stuck into my sewing again so I know I am on the mend.

The phone rang just after 7am this morning, my husband to tell me that the sky was a fantastic colour, so I jumped out of bed, ran for the camera and by hanging out of the front bedroom window I took this...



Janet

 

Everything is Good...   Thursday 3rd October 2013


Can you believe it is October already? Those last few warm sunny days in September seem like a distant memory as I look out at rain,rain.rain...

I have just returned from my afternoon with Southport Quilter's. We had a great time and best of all they liked Flower Power and I left with 25 people already signed up to do it. Now you can have a look too...



At the weekend I popped over to my sister's and couldn't resist taking a photo of this! How cute is he/she? 



Janet

 

Still Here...   Sunday 29th September 2013


I am sure you are wondering if I am still around. It has been a funny week, catching up on the holiday washing, getting Emma off to Uni, John away on an activity weekend and of course finishing Flower Power. Yes it is finished but you can't see it until after the unveiling at Southport Quilters on Thursday. However I will give you a little peak...



Other things on the go:

Emma's Christmas present...


My new hand sewing project:



Making more of these blocks which were started ages ago:



So you can see I have been busy and I hope you have found some sewing time too...

Janet

 

Back To Reality...   Tuesday 24th September 2013


Yes I am back from 2 wonderful weeks in Portugal. We had the most relaxing holiday, with sun, eating, reading and swimming high on our list of priorities. I managed to take over 950 photos which I  have whittled down to 600. You can breathe a sigh of relief as I have no intention of showing you the  holiday snaps but I just wanted to show you one which encapsulated the mood of the holiday and in the end I chose these two.




Of course home is reality and within hours of returning I was at the sewing machine, and I am now very close to finishing Flower Power! I have also started a new hand project ready for the long Winter nights...

All will be revealed soon...

Janet

 

Time to Panic...   Monday 2nd September 2013


Is it time to panic yet? Flower Power needs to be finished by Oct 3rd, a whole month away you say, but I am on holiday for 2 of those weeks!! I might have to start burning the midnight oil. No, I am sure it will be OK but I certainly won't be stopping to do any housework...

Harrogate has now been and gone for another year. Great excitement for my friend Susan  who won 1st in Cot Quilts and 1st in Theme, she was so excited (read her blog to hear all about it!!  sew-susan.blogspot.co.uk). Congratulations also go to Jenny for 1st in Cushions and Sue's beautiful "African Dream" which came 3rd in Theme.  Photos are in short supply, it was very busy and the lighting was poor so I am going to have to fiddle with the photos to make them brighter and that will have to wait for another day. It was a great day and it is so exciting when friends win awards, you know how hard they have worked on their pieces and it is great to see that hard work rewarded.

For those of you who could not go I will leave you with Diane Abram's "Nature's Treasures" which won lots of awards...



Janet

 

One Day To Spare...   Thursday 29th August 2013


Yes I managed to finish the octagon quilt with a whole day to spare, phew!!! I left it on the floor to keep it flat and with the intention of taking a photo to show you it completely finished. I took the photo and the sunlight was in stripes across it so I decided to take another photo later when the sun had moved. Guess what? I forgot, so I only have this to show you. 



Never mind, I will take a photo of it at Harrogate when I go on Saturday. Also I don't think I ever showed you the miniature finished either, so there will be plenty of photos next week...



The plums are getting riper day by day, we have eaten 2 so far and they were delicious!!

Janet

 

So Close...   Saturday 24th August 2013


to finishing the octagon quilt...



I am halfway around stitching the binding down. I would have finished it last night but we had visitors. Of course there is the added job of stitching the hanging sleeve and label on as well, but I have the long weekend ahead of me so no problem...


We are enjoying our own home grown beans. There is something quite satisfying about popping into the garden and then coming in with a hand full of fresh beans which are eaten within minutes. We are hopeful of a decent plum crop soon...

Janet

 

Brum Brum...   Monday 19th August 2013






Above are some images taken in Birmingham this weekend. Yes for the second weekend running I was in Birmingham, this time for a Keenan family celebration. John's twin brothers were celebrating their 50th birthday and the whole family met up to spend time together. On Saturday we had a wander around the city centre and walked along the canal before taking a boat trip along the canal. The city council had made a fantastic job of the floral displays in the city, they were beautiful...

Now I really have to get on with finishing the octagon quilt, only 8 days before it goes to the show!!

Janet 

 

Renewed Enthusiasm...   Tuesday 13th August 2013


When I return home from a quilt show I spend a little time looking at my purchases and then I study my photos. Often there is so much to take in at the show that when I look at the photos I can't always remember the particular quilts. However all this exposure means I want to get stuck in and do some sewing.

Last night I finished this little embroidery which I started at the Rowandean Embroidery stand, it was a chance to sit down and rest my legs! I really enjoyed making this piece and I have mounted it on a piece of felt.



I am full steam ahead on Flower Power, so another peek...



Lastly I am quilting the final border for my octagon quilt for Harrogate, it is taking longer than I thought. I have 12 more days before it has to be delivered (taking into account days away) and I think I will be stitching right up to the last minute. Of course the binding and hanging sleeve also have to be factored in.

No time for day-dreaming....

Janet

 

Safe Return...   Monday 12th August 2013


Before I knew it, it was time for the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. Emma, Susan and I travelled down early on Friday morning and when we arrived we were immediately thrown into the sights and sounds of a fantastic quilt experience. We arrived home last night absolutely shattered with our minds in a whirl. It really is too much to take in but I know after a few days to recover we will start to plan for next year. I am going to show you photos of my two favourite quilts of the show, "Flight" by Jill Exell won the first prize in the Art quilt category, it was stunning and I would love it on my wall.



Irene MacWilliams's  "A Blog" was a lovely quilt full of little snippets which you could spend hours looking at. I am only showing you part of the quilt so you can see some of the detail. 



There were many more fabulous quilts but for now these are the two that are in my heart and mind.

Janet


 

Something...   Sunday 4th August 2013




To show you at last. It is not as if I am not sewing because I am quilting every day but there is nothing to "see". Yesterday however I decided to start on the blocks for the "Flower Power" quilt. Yes the quilt for Southport quilters has a name, chosen by John! I have deliberately only given you a small peek as I don't want to reveal all yet.

John has now gone out for a bike ride so I am heading off into the sewing room to make more blocks...

Janet

 

6.30am...   Saturday 27th July 2013


At 6.30 this morning I was converting these:



to this...



They were our own gooseberries which I was too frightened to leave any longer in the garden in case the birds ate them. I only got 2 jars of jam from them but we had some on John's home-made bread for breakfast and it was delicious.

I then spent 20 minutes unpicking 2 hours worth of quilting, it just wasn't right so had to be done!!

Janet


 

Tantalising Glimpse...   Thursday 25th July 2013




Yes that is all I am giving you, a tantalising glimpse of the new design for my Block of the Month quilt for Southport Quilters. It occurred to me that with holidays, Summer busyness, and quilting "Floral Octagons" there was actually not much time before October. How scary is that. So I am getting started and hope to get a fair bit done before my holidays and I will take some hand sewing with me...


Janet


 

Sunny Days...   Tuesday 16th July 2013


And we must really make the most of them, but it isn't the best time to have to sit with a quilt on your knee to hand quilt it! I have only been quilting later in the evening and I really need to be doing more than that. So here is the same quilt with a bit more quilting on it...



I have spent some time making rhubarb jam this afternoon, it seems to have worked. 



This follows on from my elderflower cordial making a couple of weeks ago and I have high hopes for a batch of gooseberries this Summer! We are eating in the garden as often as possible and generally enjoying this lovely spell of weather. I hope you are enjoying it too...

Janet

 

Good Weekend...   Monday 8th July 2013


Well that was a good weekend wasn't it? The sun shone, Andy Murray won at Wimbledon and the Keenan family enjoyed themselves in our own unique way.

After my last post I sat down to this lunch. Now I know that this isn't to everyone's taste but it was delicious! Home-made bread, eggs from my sisters chickens and black pudding from the local butchers, yum-yum....



Early Sunday morning, John and Emma set off to do the Liverpool-Chester-Liverpool bike ride. This is an opportunity to cycle through the Mersey Tunnel, they had no time to pose for photos as they shot off down the path...



I managed to tack the octagon quilt together and have now started the quilting...



Perfect weekend, I hope you had a good one too!

Janet

 

Sunny Saturday...  Saturday 6th July 2013


While Emma is cooking lunch I thought I would drop in and say "Hello". The weather is beautiful, sunny and warm at last. I have just put the final border on the octagon quilt and hope to layer it later (at least I hope Emma will layer it!).



We always try and make use of our garden so as soon as we saw the sun yesterday we had a bbq for tea and then Emma produced this dessert. Strawberries and ice-cream, with nuts, fudge and honeycomb pieces. Really delicious...



Enjoy the sun and the tennis and have a great weekend!

Janet

 

Decision Made...   Monday 1st July 2013


This morning I had Emma hold up the potential quilts for Harrogate and I made a decision. It will be the miniature and the octagon quilt. Although I am still working on the borders for this quilt it is not that big, so it won't be a problem to quilt it. More importantly I know how I want to quilt it and that made the decision easier. In the photo you can see a portion of the final border and I am pleased with how it looks. You will get a proper full photo when it is finished...



Janet

 

Hello Everyone...  Thursday 27th June 2013


Emma is home and the Keenan family unit is whole again. I have spent a week tackling the mountain of washing that came home with her....

The Harrogate quilt show is on the horizon, but more importantly the entry forms need to be in by next week. Dilemma! What am I going to send, nothing is finished and I am trying to be realistic about what I can manage to finish in two months bearing in mind that I am away for 2 long weekends in August. I know I can finish the miniature, possibly the Farmers Wife quilt (now called Farmers Child because of its size) but I am unsure about the octagon quilt. I am sewing the applique border but then it has another pieced border and then it needs to be quilted!!

This is the border in progress...



Janet

 

  Recovering...   Wednesday 19th June 2013


From a busy weekend. On Saturday I did a flower pots workshop with Wirral Quilters. The ladies produced some lovely pots and we also ate some fantastic cake. I think you realise by now that cake is quite high up on my list of things I love.
On Sunday we had our trip to Durham. For those of you who don't know, Durham is very hilly and Emma lives at the highest part. So there was a lot of climbing up and down steps. We had a delicious lunch and enjoyed our wander around the city.

On Monday I felt exhausted after these two eventful days and I felt I needed to rest. Yesterday I managed to get to the sewing machine and continue sewing the appliqué for the Christmas panel. So although it doesn't look very interesting I thought I would show it to you as proof there is sewing going on here!!!



Janet

 

Busy Busy...   Tuesday 11th June 2013


Yes I have been very busy indeed and today I will show you what has kept me busy.

Miniature quilt in progress for Harrogate...



Christmas centre panel for strippy quilt...



Octagon quilt, blocks made over several years...



Completed boring Christmas quilt...



I have also been busy visiting quilt groups with my work. Wirral Quilters, Bent Needles and Llandegai Patchers have all had the pleasure of my company in recent weeks. I had a fabulous time at each group and met lots of lovely ladies. I have said it before but Quilters really are the best people. I hope a few of them have joined me on my quilting journey.

John's trip to Barcelona this weekend gave me lots of time to sew, though I didn't sew as much as I had hoped. Liverbirds had a sewing day last Saturday and we had a very relaxed day, sewing, laughter and cake all being on the menu.

The weather has now changed so I can now sew with no guilty feelings that I should be in the garden...

Janet

 

Progress Of Sorts...   Monday 3rd June 2013




There are two ways of going about a project that you don't care about. Firstly you get it done as fast as possible so you never have to look at it again. Secondly you dawdle and resent the time spent on it. Of course the first option is the best choice but life is such that often you find yourself on the second option. That is me with the Christmas quilt made with the blocks I found. However John has agreed that it is starting to look better now that it is coming together with its sashing strips. Only 3 more sashing strips to go!

We have been busy in the garden with this spell of nice weather or rather John has been busy with me chipping in with suggestions...

Janet

 

Dropping In...   Tuesday 28th May 2013


Hello again. Sometimes the days just fly by and sometimes there doesn't seem to be much to say. I am sewing but it is not very interesting to look at. John thinks I shouldn't waste my time on a project that I don't like, but the blocks were made and it seemed wrong to just abandon them. At least finished it could bring some comfort to a child (it is Christmas fabric). 



Also I am sorting in the sewing room. I want all my fabric/books/threads etc in one place. Unfortunately the place is too small so a cull is necessary. So far I have managed to clear a couple of shelves in the bookcase by sorting out the books. Next is the magazines and finally the fabric. I am a great one for order and tidiness and I know I will benefit from an organised room.

Hope you all enjoyed the weekend, two nice days luckily...

Janet

 

Monday Morning...   Monday 20th May 2013


On Saturday I went on a course called "How to get the best from your DSLR camera". I had a great day, took 350 photos of which I have kept about 50. We spent the afternoon down on the Liverpool Waterfront. It was wet and it was very cold but some of the group took fabulous photos. Mine were OK, I was pleased with what I achieved. So yesterday morning I was up early and in the garden with my camera and in the evening we went for a walk and the camera came too. I don't want to bore you with the photos but I thought I would show you 2, apple blossom in the early morning light and John and Emma as the sun is setting. I have a long way to go with my photography but I have made a start....  They are better on my computer as I have to compress the images to put them on the blog.





Janet

 

Patience...   Friday 17th May 2013


You will have realised from reading the blog that John has the patience of a saint and has a lot to put up with living with me...

Today we find this small piece behind the sofa...
In front of the sofa we have this...

No complaints from John!  I am working on quilts where I have made the blocks but never sewed them together, so you will get more information on these soon.
Have a good weekend...

Janet

 

Busy Morning...   Monday 13th May 2013




Emma will be home this weekend for a few days to recuperate from her exams. When we bought her dress for the Summer ball there was a matching bag but it was very expensive and Emma said it was not worth it for the amount of time it will be used. It has bothered me that she doesn't have something to put her essentials in, so this morning I have made her a small bag. I hope it matches the colour of the belt on the dress and more importantly that she likes it...

Janet

 

Comfort...   Saturday 11th May 2013




This is John tucked up under his new lap quilt, shouldn't need it in May but it is so cold...

Janet

 

I Am Excited...   Saturday 11th May 2013


I am always spending too much time on the internet, looking at "stuff" and reading blogs etc. I read the blogs of a couple of Moda designers and one Sweetwater asked a while back for anyone to submit their address to be included in a new line called Road 15. I have seen some photos of the range on the blog but today I looked at the Moda website and by enlarging the little image of the fabric I was able to find my address ( only the first line, not enough to identify you in case anyone is worried). I will have to buy some of the fabric when it comes out later in the year and I will be able to show you that my address is printed on the fabric. I have to say that hundreds of people sent their address and I think they did really well to get them all on the fabric.

I know it is only a small thing but I feel quite pleased...

Janet

 

Finished...   Thursday 9th May 2013


Yes I have finished the pieces that I want to show to Wirral Quilters tonight and the floor in the living room is now clear. I say "finished" when it is obvious that the taupe quilt is going to be added to the "to be quilted" pile. The contrast fabric in the selvedge quilt looks black on the photo but is actually navy blue with a fine white pin dot. I feel selvedge quilts need a strong colour contrast to balance all the white in the selvedges.





So what next? I need to start a new hand project. I am going to quilt one quilt from the "to be quilted" pile. I will catch up with the Christmas strippy and I am also starting a new design for a block of the month commission. I am going to complete my Seasons cushions, this means new designs for Spring and Winter (I wasn't happy with the originals) and I haven't even thought about Summer yet.

Yes I am back in full flow...

Janet



 

 

In Progress...   Friday 3rd May 2013


Just before I settle down to do a couple of hours sewing I thought you may like to see what my husband has to put up with and have a little chuckle at my life...

This is the area behind our settee
This is the area in front of our settee
This is the spare chair next to me
This is the seat in the bay window
Finally this is the dining room table

All of these are my works in progress and this does not cover the actual sewing room, only all the areas that I have infiltrated around the house. I think that after all these years John doesn't even notice anymore because he certainly hasn't said anything!!

Perhaps you can use these images and feel pleased that you are much more contained with your sewing than me.

Have a good weekend

Janet

 

Good & Bad...   Monday 29th April 2013


I am a very optimistic person but occasionally even I have to acknowledge that not everything is good. I have just finished my stripy crochet blanket and I am not happy with it. I have sewn it together really badly and the border is very wavy. I have tried to batter it into submission with the steam iron, which has helped, but it is not great. I had really thought it would be a great design.



The good however is how I feel, which is marvellous with lots of energy and positive thoughts. I have been sewing up a storm and have completed 36 selvedge blocks. I have told John that this is going to be his TV lap quilt and he is showing more interest than normal! I am undecided whether to add borders. I have cut the selvedges ready for the border and believe me I am never going to make anything else with selvedges so I should use them all up. I felt as if I was snowed under with them, my bin in the sewing room was overflowing with all the trimmings. Today I intend to start sashing them together.



I am not daunted about my crochet failings and on Saturday night I couldn't bear to sit and do nothing. So I started using this Malabrigo sock wool, which is a lot finer than anything I have used before, and I am intending to make something for the neck, perhaps an infinity scarf or a cowl or just a normal scarf. I know you will be thinking the colour is horrible. The photo doesn't do it justice, it is a sludgy green but with purple, gold, brown etc highlights. We shall see how it progresses...



Hope you had a great weekend!

Janet


 

Productive Weekend...   Monday 22nd April 2013



What do you think of this quilt? Many years ago I signed up for a Block of the Month quilt from Antique Angel. It was made from Japanese Taupe fabrics, and while I was making the blocks I decided to do another colour variation as well. The original quilt isn't sewn together and I only made 9 blocks of the alternative colour way. However I always intended to sash and border it like this and had already cut the squares. So it was just a case of sit and sew everything together. Had I put a bit more thought into it when I was originally sewing it I may not have made 6 flowers facing one way and only 3 facing the other!  John likes it because it is colourful...

In a couple of weeks I will be giving a talk to Wirral Quilters and I am very conscious that I want some new work to show them so I am hoping that my productivity level remains high. I have even dusted 2 rooms today...

Were you productive this weekend?

Janet

 

Laundry Bag...   Friday 19th April 2013




Three days ago Emma announced that she needed a laundry bag for Uni. It was not good enough to have a Tesco Cath Kidston bag. Luckily because of my tidying up I knew which fabric would be perfect and exactly where it was!! I then spent 2 days thinking about the construction. I made it this afternoon and to say I made mistakes is an understatement. I wanted it to be robust so it is lined and has French seams for a neat finish. However I forgot to leave a hole for the drawstring to thread through. So I then made 2 tubes and stitched them on top. Everything was then double or triple stitched for strength as I think it may get a lot of abuse...

Janet

 

Pleasing Progress...   Monday 15th April 2013




I am really happy with the way the new crochet blanket is coming together. I may not be happy when I try to sew it together! I like the offset stripes and different widths and certainly the narrower widths crochet up very quickly.

I am also making progress with the sewing room tidy-up. I am trying to get all sewing related "stuff" in one place. It is amazing when you start working your way through fabrics, books, threads etc that so much is forgotten about, that it is almost like buying new fabric, and certainly cheaper!!

Yesterday we went for a walk along Crosby beach. It was extremely bracing and certainly the wind was enough to blow any cobwebs away. The tide was coming in and Anthony Gormley's Iron Men were slowly being covered over giving a very strange perspective to the shoreline...

Janet

 

24 Years...   Monday 8th April 2013


That is how long I have been married. It was the day of the Grand National that year and Emma recently suggested that instead of remembering the date (which I have been known to forget) that we should celebrate on Grand National day instead and I am thinking that that is a very good idea...

Chatting to my friend Susan this morning on the phone and she asked what sewing I had done. I had to admit to very little but I had spent a lot of time sitting in the thinking chair. I am looking around the sewing room and itching to have a bit of a sort out and tidy up and that seems too much effort. I have done some work on this small piece which was just lying around. It was our first Christmas card challenge and I was never happy with the border. Now I have completed some more big stitching in the border and I am happy. He is such a happy snowman that I am going to base the snowman on the Christmas strippy quilt on him.



Finally, we went to Dunham Massey for the day on Saturday, had a picnic, the sun was out and it felt quite warm in the sheltered areas.



Please tell me you are doing more sewing than me!

Janet

 

Easter Greetings...   Thursday 28th March 2013


I hope you are all going to have a relaxed long weekend with family and friends. My sister and family are coming on Sunday for an "Easter Feast" and they will stay over till Monday. Before that I may have to encourage my family to help with a little light housework! But today I am going to sew. With my renewed health has come renewed enthusiasm, I have so many ideas and plans for future quilts and in my mind they are "fabulous"! Of course I am not quite up to full speed yet but watch this space...



I made these Easter bunny hearts from Tone Finnangers "Crafting Springtime Gifts". They were so sweet that I couldn't resist. Emma has one on her bedroom doorknob and there is one in the dining room and finally one in my sewing room to keep me company.

Have a good weekend and if you have a little sewing time even better...

Janet

 

That's Better...   Friday 15th March 2013




4 completed Dresden plates and one Log Cabin block, a definite improvement. I have now finished all the Dresden plates and am thinking about layout and border. The Log Cabin block is the first of 14 needed for the Christmas Strippy quilt. However I am not happy with the fabric for the centre block. It had gold sparkles on it before I ironed it and then they disappeared leaving a very dull cream so I will have a think about it before I make any more.

The sewing machine is now threaded with navy blue cotton ready to sew up the jelly roll blocks which I am hoping will have a Japanese feel to them.

You will not have appreciated that the photo on the previous blog was the first that I have managed to upload on this computer. I complained to John that my photos were disappearing and after an hour of bashing the keyboard I think that I have now learnt how to do it. The proof will be when I manage to put a photo on this blog!!

Emma is home tomorrow, our little family unit is complete once more. Life is getting back on track for the Keenan family and I am feeling great...

Have a good weekend.

Janet

 

Don't Laugh...   Monday 11th March 2013





But this is the sum total of my sewing since the op. As you know I was busy cutting up a jelly roll last week and when I finished I got ready to sew. Then I realised that I had cream thread in the sewing machine so I might as well finish the last 4 Dresden plates that were just sitting there looking sad. After I had sewn three quarters of one I was tired and I knew that I needed to plug the iron in and that was a step too far!!. So that was that for that session. And before you know it days have passed. 

I have decided that this week I will sew every afternoon leaving the mornings for household chores and exercising.

I hope you have had a good weekend and maybe have managed to sew more than me...

Janet

 

March Sewing...   Monday 4th March 2013

I never would have believed that I would be back sewing so soon. Last week I started to think about what I could sew. It was a little difficult to rummage through piles of fabric but I was able to pick up a jelly roll and start cutting! It is a simple pattern, in fact one which I have already made but this time I have lots of ideas for the quilting. I am hoping that the quilting will be the main emphasis of the quilt. Sometimes these ideas don't always work out as I would like but here's hoping...




A little sunshine these last few days has lifted my spirits, along with feeling well and moving better. I do hope Spring when it arrives continues to give us "feel good" vibes.

Janet

 

Little Treats...   Thursday 28th February 2013


Missing photo lost in my computer, have searched high and low...

There is only one thing to do when you are recovering from surgery and that is to have little treats. For me this means friends bringing cake and chocolate and the postman bringing fabric. I have ideas for all this fabric and I can see that I am going to have to hold myself back from starting lots more projects. My mind has gone into overdrive. 

Back at Liverbirds last night and I have unveiled the design for the Christmas strippy. One of the ladies Michelle doesn't "do" Christmas and wants to think about a colour scheme that would work for her. This got me thinking, I was going down the original green/red route but this morning I am headed in a different direction...

The sun is shining so I am going to make the most of it and head out for a walk...

Janet

 

Day 14...   Tuesday 19th February 2013


I promise that this will be my last operation countdown but today was important as I had my clips (stitches) out, all 27 of them. I am hoping that it will be a bit more comfortable now. My days consist of rest/exercise/rest/exercise, you get the idea.
So it is difficult to write about quilting at the moment because although I am thinking about it, talking about it and dreaming about it, I am not actually doing it!

This will change very soon I am sure, and I am hoping to have a photo or two to show you instead of my endless waffling about my "op". But I didn't want you to forget about me and our quilting journey...

My friend Susan and sister Elizabeth have both visited and got stuck into some jobs for me so I can look around and be relaxed about the housework situation...

Hope you are all doing more sewing than me...

Janet

 

Day 8...   Wednesday 13th February 2013


Well the days are passing and I am feeling stronger every day. I am going to the hospital later for physio and a wound check. John and I are getting organised and into some sort of routine. I am very much a person who needs routine! My Occupational Therapist thinks it is OK for me to start sewing as it is my left leg which has been operated on and I sew with my right leg. However the machining is only a small part of the process and lots of other things that I need to do are out of reach at the moment. Of course I could be designing lots of new quilts but really I want to start on the Christmas strippy. I don't want to write all the instructions up just yet without having a test to check them first, but I have at least started to write them up in the "rough".

It is time for another set of exercises!!

Janet

 

Day 6...   Monday 11th February 2013


Hello everyone! Yes is now 6 days since the "op". I came home on day 3 and have had the weekend to get used  to being at home. I am already walking better than I have for months though obviously I am being cautious and have my list of do's and don't's to follow. Emma was home for the weekend which was lovely and yesterday was John's birthday so we had visitors. 
Today feels like the start of our new routine/life. John is working from home this week so I have help on hand but I am hoping for lots of visitors and company (there are only so many exercises one can do in a day!!).

I think it might have been a bit ambitious to take 4 books and my crochet into hospital. I managed 2 and a half books and no crochet, but already I am eyeing the new strippy design and plan to do some work on it soon. I think once the wound has healed it will make things easier.

Thank you all for your kind wishes and thoughts, it means such a lot to know that friends are out there thinking about me and wishing me well.

Janet

PS. John and Emma are not natural "carers" but I love them...

 

Quilter At Work...   Friday 1st February 2013

At last do I hear you say? I felt so perky yesterday that I sat down and drew up the design for the Christmas Strippy quilt and I started to write up the instructions. Still a way to go yet but I am pleased with how it is shaping up. Don't try and get close ups to see what it looks like....



Here is the crochet snake. It is a bit wider than I anticipated and one ball of wool only makes 2 inches. When I made Emma's blanket it was bigger than I thought and took 40 balls of wool. So then the second blanket ended up a bit small and now this one is again quite large and I don't think 12 balls of wool will go very far.


Can I just wish my nephew Luke a Happy Birthday, 18 today!! Not that he will ever read this but his brother James reads my blog occasionally to check up on me ( Hi James!!) and Emma also checks out the blog to see what I am writing about her!! ( Hi Emma!!)

The sun is shining and here we are in February already, I can't wait to get in that sewing room...

Janet

 

Self Pity...   Tuesday 29th January 2013


Is a terrible thing and I must own up to feeling it for a couple of days last week. I am over my flu but I was waiting for a new date for the hip operation and I was feeling sorry for myself. I am usually a glass three quarter full sort of person so I gave myself a talking to and this weekend I went into the sewing room and turned my sewing machine on. I sewed four quarters of a Dresden plate ( I probably would have finished it but I was too lazy to turn the iron on) and I went and retrieved some wool and started a new crochet blanket. The blanket took a few goes before I got the effect I was looking for and looks like a wriggly snake at the moment so I haven't taken a photo.

Anyway this morning I got the phone call and my new date is February 5th, so only a week to wait, I can do that...

I hope you are being more productive than me!

Janet

 

Quick Update...   Thursday 17th January 2013


I would like to be able to give you details of my progress following my hip replacement but sadly it hasn't been replaced just yet. 24 hours before the op I came down with flu kindly given to me by my husband. 10 days later I am just starting to pick up and hope to be able to contact the hospital shortly to get a new date. It is a long time since I have felt so bad, but I was mad that it had to happen now.

 I have even felt too ill to sew...

Janet

 

Back to Normal...   Monday 7th January 2013

That is what we all say in January isn't it? After the busyness of December we can't wait to get back to "normal", whatever that may be. The decorations are away, chocolates are eaten, we have hoovered and dusted and now we can get on with our lives. John is back at work but has a stinky cold, Emma is snow-boarding down the mountains of France and I am enjoying being back in the sewing room even if I am just sitting there.

Anyway remember these:



I am sewing these hexagons together. They are stitched into rows and the rows are now being sewn together.

I have finished the ripple blanket and have edged it with flowers to give it a bit of something extra.


I hope that the New Year has brought you a little time to sew...

Janet

 

Plans...   Monday 31st January 2012


I am a person who likes to make plans but I do not beat myself up if the plans fall by the wayside. I am often distracted along the way and sometimes the new path is better and sometimes it isn't. I think I mentioned resolutions at this time last year and yet again I don't think I will make any, rather I will take pleasure in the small things that bring a smile to my face. I know I have a hurdle to face next week when I have a hip replacement but my mobility has been so compromised this last year that I know that the Spring will bring with it a "new" me and I will use this as a starting point for lots of plans. John and I will continue on our new life together with Emma popping in and out. Emma will continue hopefully to enjoy her life in Durham and I wish that you all have a wonderful New Year and 2013 turns out to be a special year for everyone.

This afternoon I am going to finish a project, and 2013 will start as I mean it to go on with lots of finishes! This years Liverbirds project is a Christmas Strippy quilt, maybe if I start early enough I will have a Christmas project finished in time...

Enjoy tonight with friends and family and best wishes to you all for 2013

Janet

 

Good Day...   Friday 21st December 2012


Yes I have had a very good day. The decorator has finished, the dust has been removed, John is on his way home and has all of next week off and there is a Hotpot and a Raspberry Bakewell cake in the oven. Emma has conquered the ironing (though most of it was hers) and although we don't have many decorations up I feel relaxed and festive. We are going to have quality family time with card and board games featuring strongly and hopefully not eat too much.

So it only leaves me to wish you and all your families a Merry Christmas and I hope you get the chance to do a little sewing. I have plans already for 2013 and although the hip replacement may slow me down in January, by February I will be up and "running" and hopefully achieving lots.

Take care

Janet x

 

Tea Cosy 2...   Friday 14th December 2012



Well I am confident that this second version of the tea cosy will fit. I have another small teapot that I have tested it on and it should be OK. The bike fabric was one that I was going to use for Emma's laptop cover but never did so at least Emma has something made from it. I didn't do any applique on it as I was too lazy...

I have now made 6 decorations but have yet to start the Liverbirds challenge decoration. It is funny being stuck in the house, Christmas seems so far away as I have not experienced any of the hustle and bustle associated with it. I did manage to get out and see "Skyfall" and really enjoyed it.

Today it is such a dark and dismal day that perhaps I should be glad to be in, warm and cosy. I hope that you are all coping with the pre-Christmas stresses and perhaps managing to get a little sewing "me" time...

Janet

 

Mug Cosy...    Wednesday 12th December 2012

That is what I have made instead of the promised tea cosy. I used the last of the fabric from Emma's quilt and I was really pleased with the fact that everything matched for her room at Uni. But the finished article isn't big enough! Emma only has a small teapot and I was just guessing the size but I know it isn't big enough. Now I will have to make another one and the fabric won't match but Emma won't mind. Her quilt is finished though!!!





Janet

 

No Pressure...   Monday 10th December 2012

I know that I am a very lucky person because I get no grief from John about the state of the house. He gets his clothes washed and a hot meal when he gets in and anything else is a bonus. Luckily I am laid back also and I don't nag him too much about the jobs needing doing around the house. We managed one thing this weekend and that was to put the mirror up over the fire, result! I am happy and so is he...




Here are the two cushions finished for the spare room ( made from the cut off bits of the quilt) and I have sewn down 3 sides of the binding on Emma's quilt, so close....

I have made 5 of my 8 decorations and this afternoon I am going to attempt to make a tea-cosy for Emma. The pattern is in my head, could go disastrously wrong, watch this space...

Janet

 

Good Light...   Thursday 6th December 2012

I think I have mentioned before that you need good light for good photos (as well as knowing how to use the camera!!) and I do try. I have been wandering around the house looking for just right spot to take some photos and it is so difficult. It also doesn't help that I don't seem to have any plain walls or furniture to use as backdrops. Anyway here is a photo of the finished Christmas cushion, 2 of this years decorations and a little wreath made from all the bits of felt that I had thrown in the bin and retrieved...



I hope that the December stresses are not proving too stressful for you and you are able to get a little sewing done as well...

Janet

 

Juggling...   Monday 3rd December 2012


That's what we all do in December isn't it? Apart from all the Christmas preparations and shopping, we all have places to go, people to visit etc. It can seem that we don't have a minute for ourselves. This year is different for me as I am at home,my hip preventing me getting about as normal. Some shopping has been done online and some people know they are not getting anything! I will write my cards and wrap the reduced presents. Food shopping will be done by Emma when she gets home, John cannot be trusted to get the correct stuff but with Emma to guide him we should be OK. I have been very impressed with Sainsbury's online shopping, so at least John is not starving.

So all this has given me time to sew! I have half-finished 8 Christmas decorations for family/friends. I have less than 2 borders to quilt on Emma's Uni quilt. I have designed my decoration for the Liverbirds challenge. I need to bind the quilt for the spare room and make 2 blocks into cushions. I am going to prepare some some paper pieced blocks (a new quilt) to take into hospital with me. Yes that is right, I am going to have a hip replacement very shortly. Yes I also know that you are laughing at the thought that I will get any sewing done while I am in!!

And tomorrow the decorator arrives to continue the upgrading of the Keenan house (this time it's the  hall, stairs,landing and small spare bedroom) so the house should be looking good if I can reduce the dust levels!

And I will finish with some good news, yesterday one of the girls managed to lay an egg, our first in weeks. Both chickens are regrowing their feathers after the moult and they are looking particularly good so hopefully egg production is back on their agenda...

Janet


 

Cheating...   Thursday 29th November 2012



Years ago when we bought our antique brass bed I had a mad moment (one of many over the years!) and bought a quilt. Never mind that I have bags full of my own quilts. I have never used that quilt but recently it surfaced after we were moving "stuff" around during the decorating and I realised that it would go perfectly in the newly decorated spare room. However the quilt was huge, too big for the bed, and do you know what I did? I cut it up amd made it smaller, at least this way it gets some use and I don't feel so guilty for buying something so stupid. My good friend Susan suggested that I should make some cushions from the offcuts and that is what I am going to do!

I have been organising Christmas from the comfort of my home, shopping nearly done and I haven't left the house. Today I am hoping that a decision is going to be made about my hip, I am frustrated that I should be doing so much more but my hip is preventing me, fingers crossed....

Janet

 

Meet Betty...   Wednesday 21st November 2012



I am hoping that Emma is going to love her! Emma does her sewing on a really old hand Singer and she does great work but it is not very portable. In fact it is incredibly heavy so I thought maybe a little Singer Featherweight would be the answer. I have a black one so I looked out for a white one and managed to get this one on ebay. She will be able to take it away with her and it may be useful when she makes costumes for the many fancy dress evenings she seems to go to!

John has pulled his back and now the two of us are on crutches, it is comical (and painful) to watch us both...

Janet

 

Slowly But Surely...   Monday 19th November 2012

John and I are getting the two bedrooms that we have had decorated sorted out. It has been a chance to have a bit of a clear out too. John does not like to "clear" out anything but at least it was a chance for me!
More importantly is the fact that I have things to show you.

Firstly this little wallhanging is now completely finished and bound
This is the pattern that I won in the giveaway
This fabric has original images printed on it from the book "Emma" by Jane Austin. I think my Emma will love it
Finally I have used some wallpaper samples to cover these notebooks. The wallpaper is a Habitat design and has the most amazing feel to it.

I feel that this week is going to be productive on all fronts, sewing, housework and Christmas shopping but maybe I should not be too ambitious...

Janet


 

M60 Madness...   Wednesday 14th November 2012

Last night I gave a talk to Montague Patchers at Sale. This meant me driving down the M62/M60 at peak time and it was horrendous. I feel so sorry for those people who have to do it day in and day out. I arrived feeling very wrung out but they were such a brilliant bunch of ladies that I soon recovered and had a great night. Luckily the traffic was so much easier on the way home and it only took me 30 minutes ( 1 hour 20 minutes going). I never sleep well after giving a talk as my mind is full of "stuff". One lady mentioned that she liked to read my blog and it was so nice to meet someone who is joining me on my quilting journey. It also gave me a kick up the backside as I haven't been giving my blog enough attention recently.




Anyway here are 2 photos, the first is a little kit that I bought because I liked the Sashiko stitching of the clouds, it has only taken a few hours to piece and stitch. The second is some fabric that arrived yesterday, a few pieces of "Tapestry" by Fig Tree Quilts. The soft orange/tangerine colour has been very popular this year and I am loving it...

Janet

 

Men Are From...   Thursday 8th November 2012

Well I don't know what planet they are from but they are not from the same place as women. On Saturday night I asked John what his plans were for Sunday. Bearing in mind that we have had a lot of jobs done in the house and there is quite a lot of finishing things needed to get the house back to normal, I expected him to reel off a list of things he was going to tackle. Well he did reel off a list but it was completely different to the list that I had compiled. Not one of my jobs got done and very few of his either!



Have a look at these. The large egg was laid by one of our girls last week. Compare it to the shop bought egg (large).  It weighs 97g  ( large are 63-73g) Ouch! We are not getting many home produced eggs at the moment as they are going through their moult so it was great to get an egg but I feel for her...

Great excitement here this morning as I recieved an e-mail telling me that I had won a giveaway, my first ever. I don't know what I have won yet as there were a selection of prizes, but I was just really pleased to win!


Working on a small project at the moment, keeping it a secret as it is for a workshop next year...

Janet

 

Bits & Bobs...   Sunday 4th November 2012

Yesterday was the Merseyside Area day for the Quilter's Guild. The speaker was Sue Sercombe who is a textile artist, she had the most fantastic work and was really fun and inspirational. In the afternoon we did some felting and made a little design to go on a Christmas card. We all had great fun, stabbing away!! My design could have done with a bit more felting to make it a little more dense.




These are the threads I purchased from Sue, what fabulous colours!!

The usual apologies for the standard of the photos, lighting is everything with photos and I am hopeless!
As always with these days it is the laughter and chat with friends that help make the day so good, I come home feeling not onlt inspired but uplifted too.

Hope you had a good day too...

Janet

 

Weekend Over...    Monday 29th October 2012

And there is no excuse for not getting down to some sewing now. I am waiting for the men to come and fit the bedroom carpets. The house is now in more of a turmoil then ever. The fireplace has now been fitted and it is difficult to get the furniture arranged in the room.

We have gone from this:
To this...

And we still have to fit the mirror and the skirting board. The silver line in the middle of the fire is the reflection of my crutch!!

We spent the weekend just having time with Emma. She had so much to tell us, she really seems to be having a great time.
I have managed to do a little bit of this:
And a little bit of that:

So I am progressing on the sewing front and we are progressing on the house front, things just take time....

Janet

 

I'm Sorry...   Friday 26th October 2012


that it has been so long since I have written. Every day I have ideas and things that I want to write about but the day disappears. I think part of the problem is the disruption in the house. We now have one bedroom decorated and on Monday the carpet arrives for two bedrooms. Once John and I are back in our own room we will be fine with the rest of the jobs. Tomorrow we have a fireplace being fitted and more importantly tonight Emma comes home! I am so looking forward to seeing her. We are going to have a great weekend.

Am I doing anything creative you ask? Well yes, the Christmas cushion is at the embellishment stage, the crochet blanket has more stripes and I am looking at the beautiful Dresden plates itching to sew a few. Also the brain is buzzing with ideas for quilts and bags and cushions etc. I can promise you that there will be plenty of photos to see in the coming weeks...

Happy sewing weekend

Janet

 

Taking Shape...   Thursday 18th October 2012

There are lots of things taking shape in the Keenan household at the moment. Firstly on the sewing front I am making progress on the Christmas cushion. I am going to take it with me in progress as I think it makes a big difference to the design when the embellishment is added, and perhaps it would be interesting for the ladies to see the "before" and "after".



In our house we have embarked on quite an ambitious amount of decorating. We are decorating 3 bedrooms and the hall, carpeting 4 bedrooms and the hall and installing a fireplace. Needless to say the house is in a state of chaos and we have visitors staying this weekend ( they know it is a mattress on the floor!!). But if most of it is done for Christmas then we will be pleased. Emma won't know the place when she comes home. Funnily enough I can remember my Mum doing lots to our house when I was away at University, and when I came home everything had changed!!

Janet

 

Waiting For...   Monday 15th October 2012


Inspiration!!  All weekend I have been hoping that something would pop into my mind. Today I have realised that it just isn't going to happen. I am making a Christmas cushion and I had decided on the basic layout and I just wanted to give it a bit of "oomph". As I need this for Saturday I am now hoping that it will develop as the design progresses. It is not at a stage for photographing yet.

Saturday was our Regional Day and we had two very entertaining speakers with lots of colour and design in their work. Always have a great day when you are with friends and like-minded people. The inspiration from the day is leading me away from my cushion so it will have to wait.

Emma is loving Durham, she has joined every club imaginable and we have to book a time slot to speak to her. We are so happy that she is enjoying herself after all her hard work.

Janet

 

Bad Night...   Thursday 11th October 2012

I had a lovely evening last night with my friends at Liverbirds and when I got home John had moved us into the spare bedroom. This was necessary as we are having work done in the bedrooms. However I was now on the wrong side of the bed and I had a terrible night. I will have to rearrange the room later!

Anyway some finished projects:


A cushion for a workshop next week. This is also made with Emma's fabrics...

The Kindle cover


Those of you with sharp eyesight may notice that the fabric for the Kindle cover was not the fabric that I had already shown you. I have to confess that the first cover just did not fit!!

I have already started another cushion design for the workshop, this time Christmas themed.

Janet

 

Monday Again...   Monday 8th October 2012

It is hard to believe that Emma has only been away for one week, it feels like ages. However she is having a good time which is great and today she starts the hard work, the actual studying...

Here is what I have been doing:


One quilt tacked and ready to "quilt"

A new crochet blanket, in dodgy colours!

Getting stuff ready to make a Kindle cover.


I will be making the Kindle cover as soon as I have finished some paperwork, I feel that this week is going to be very productive...

Janet

 

Flat Battery...   Friday 5th October 2012


I was just about to take a photo of a little something that I have started when the camera died. So now you will have to wait to see what I am up to...
I have had the promised housework help from my sister!!! She hoovered downstairs for me and then she helped me layer Emma's quilt, it made me realise how we all have our own special ways of working. I am truly set in my ways and it was hard to let go. But the end justified the means...

I thought that I would have so much extra time this week and I could blog every day. I have not done any noticeable sewing or any noticeable anything for that matter and yet the week has disappeared. John and I are at the beginning of a new phase in our lives and it will take some getting used to. Emma has had a very busy first week, and the bunting was very much admired. 

I am going to sit in the "thinking chair" and fondle some fabric. I hope you have time to fondle some too...

Janet

 

Hello October...   Monday 1st October 2012

How can it be October already? October is my second favourite month of the year as I love the changing of the colours in the trees and plants.



Yes I did manage to send Emma off with some finished items: the cushion, bunting and lap top cover ( which she sprung on me at the last moment). The quilt was never going to be ready so she took another one and I can work on this one at my own pace instead of rushing it. I was not able to go with her to Durham as my leg was bad and I couldn't manage the 5 hours in the car. Maybe it was for the best as I felt quite weepy all day. John took some photos of her room so I can visualize where she is. I hope she has the most fantastic time in Durham, at least I had the opportunity to see her college and department earlier in the year. One good thing about my leg is that my sister is going to come and do some housework for me!!!

This afternoon I am going to make some dresden plates, something soothing and easy. I hope you have all had a good sewing weekend...

Janet

 

Bags,Bags,Bags...   Thursday 27th September 2012

Before I go any further I must apologise for the photos you are about to see. I only had my small camera, the battery was dying and the lighting was terrible and the photos do not do the bags justice. Remember when I gave everyone in LiverBirds a John Lewis organic bag and asked them to decorate it. Here are some of the results.






The variety of designs was amazing,and I was so pleased how everyone entered the spirit of the challenge. The ideas ranged from simple to incredibly complex, but they were all fantastic.  I will try and get some better photos because you really need to see up close all of these incredible bags.

That is it for today, I must go and make bunting and finish a cushion ( to match the unfinished quilt!!)

Janet

 

September...   Sunday 23rd September 2012

is my favourite month. I know it is nearly over but I just thought I should mention this. I love the idea of the new school term with fresh books and pencils. I love the nights drawing in and the change in light that you see on a sunny day. I love the fact that the TV improves with all the new series starting. It is my birthday month too and this year we were away when the day dawned and my lovely husband and daughter both forgot it!! This is not something that they can get away with. Emma had bought me a present but left it at home and I have since recieved it and am very happy. Yesterday a parcel arrived and it was a Kindle for me from John. I have had a Sony e-reader for a number of years and had never got to grips with it. However I had taken it away with us and enjoyed using it but John decided that he wanted it and hence I now have a Kindle.

Anyway I am sure you want to know who won the draw. Emma wrote all the names and drew "Susan", so Susan you will be receiving all the goodies! Thank you to every one who left me a comment. It was lovely hearing from those ladies who have heard me talk and have joined my adventures online.

Finally: the QUILT

The top is finished and we are happy with it...



Now it just needs quilting!!!

Janet

 

One More Day...   Saturday 22nd September 2012


Until I do the draw for the giveaway so make sure you have left a comment to be in with a chance to win. 

Emma and I are now much happier with the quilt. It is sewn up and has a white inner border and the outer border is ready to be attached, so I can show you that tomorrow. Thank you for all your encouraging comments on the quilt. The problem has obviously stemmed from the fact that the fabrics are very vibrant and patterned. A stripe fabric really didn't work and all the blocks with this fabric were removed. When we looked at white sashing it seemed to deaden it, so we carefully chose fabrics for the final blocks that had some contrast. It is not a huge quilt but big enough for "student accommodation" and I am making a large 24" cushion for floor use to match.

Hope you are having a good sewing weekend...

Janet

 

Next Effort...   Wednesday 19th September 2012

Here is the quilt with the 3 new blocks. Emma is coming round to it now, but before I sew it together I will put some white strips in and check if she prefers that...



This is the selection of goodies for the giveaway, just leave a comment and say "hello" and you have a chance of winning these ( the fabrics are 8 fat quarters from a new Moda range called Birds and Berries)


I have now finished the John Lewis bag challenge but I can't show you yet, Emma thinks my design is boring...

Janet

 

I'm Back...   Tuesday 18th September 2012

Though not feeling so refreshed as I expected considering we had a really lazy holiday. It was hot and sunny and we did very little. We swam, read and ate and did a little sightseeing. We though the island was lovely especially where we were and we would go back again. I know other peoples holiday photos are boring but here a just a few to give you a flavour of Majorca.











Holiday washing is done and so I have to get on with the sewing. Here is the photo of the disaster. I have now taken out 13 blocks and I am going to make 3 new ones this afternoon. Originally this quilt had 42 blocks, then it was reduced to 30 and now it is only 20. I am going to look at whether sashing with white will tone the blocks down as Emma is still not happy with it. This is not going to be ready for the 30th!!! Just as well the photo is a little blurred...


I am gathering together a pile of goodies for the giveaway so check in tomorrow and be ready to leave a comment....

Janet

 

Disaster...   Friday 7th September 2012


In case you were wondering what has happened to Emma's quilt after I had promised you a photo. Well yesterday all the blocks were finished and I laid them out onto the floor and it looked terrible, truly awful!!  I could see Emma's look of horror when she saw it. We decided to sleep on it and see what we felt this morning. Guess what, it still looks bad. We started thinking about whether it could be rescued and decided that it may be possible by removing some blocks and making some new ones. I have taken a photo and I will show it to you when I have done some rescue work on it so you can see before and after. Of course you are all looking at the date and thinking I have left it a bit late. Yes I have, and what is worse is that we go on holiday on Sunday for a week. We are looking forward to some warmth and relaxation in Majorca and now I can spend the whole week worrying about getting the quilt done too!!!

Off to a wedding tomorrow so just in case I don't get a chance to blog before I go to Majorca, have a great week and be prepared for the big giveaway when I get back...

Janet

 

Look At These...   Tuesday 4th September 2012

The doorbell rang this morning and the man said "Interflora" for Mrs Keenan. John said immediately " It isn't me!" That would be a miracle I thought as he is not known for romantic gestures.


 On opening the parcel I found this box


And inside, these fabulous biscuits...


I had known straight away that they were from my friend Sue as she is a most generous person. We had to test them with our afternoon coffee and they were delicious.

Yesterday my sister informed me that she needed James' quilt by tomorrow. I had to abandon Emma's quilt to make James his matching cushion, and here they are finished!


Janet

 

4 Weeks Today...   Sunday 2nd September 2012

Emma goes to University, and there is a lot to do before then. Most importantly to make her quilt. I have made some progress and should be able to show you some photos tomorrow. I know there have been no photos recently so here are a few to give you a flavour of the Harrogate Quilt show which we went to see yesterday.


My favourite quilt by Hilary Beattie, overall runner up and winner of the theme "In a Spin"

Small wall-hanging of Amsterdam ( my favourite place on earth in case I haven't mentioned it!!!)

In the miniature section these sweet mittens, such a change to see an unusual shape

Natterjack quilters made this group quilt over a very long time. My Mum made a block for this quilt (one of the red ones) and it was so poignant to see a little bit of her work after all these years ( it is 7 years since she died)

I have lots more photos but I am still struggling to do the photos on the new computer so have had to power up the old computer. Very slow start today as we went to a wedding last night so went to bed late and got up late!!

Have you noticed that we will soon reach 5000 viewers and I will celebrate that milestone with a big giveaway so keep reading...

Janet

 

Still Here...   Monday 27th August 2012


Just in case you are wondering what has happened to me. I have been getting the 2 quilts ready to go to Harrogate. By the time you have bound them, added hanging sleeves and various labels the time has just flown by. Tomorrow I take 36 quilts to Harrogate and it has taken my friend Jenny and I two hours to get them ready to go, sorted into the different categories etc. 

At last I can start/continue some fresh projects. Urgently is Emma's quilt for Uni. I have adjusted the size as she won't need a huge quilt, so I need to make another 12 pieced blocks and 6 appliqué blocks. I thought I had 5 weeks only to realise that we are away on holiday for a week. Also both James and Emma are getting matching cushions!!!

Can't wait to make some more dresden plates as they are really adorable, just love the fabrics and I know that I am going to love this quilt. Then I need to make a couple of cushions as samples for a workshop I am doing in October. Where has this year gone?

Sadly we lost one of our chickens last weekend. Ginger was taken ill and died, at least we didn't have the savagery of an attack by fox. Shirley and Babs have settled down now without her.

The Bank Holiday weekend has been a total washout weatherwise but I hope you have enjoyed the time anyway...

Janet

 

Just Too Tired...   Tuesday 21st August 2012


How can something so enjoyable as the Festival of Quilts be so tiring? Two days spent looking at quilts and more quilts, chatting to lots of friends and spending money on fabrics and stuff and I have come home exhausted. My shopping is piled on the floor, the washing basket is full and I need to sew. I have seen some photos that other people have put on their blogs and I wonder if I was at the same show.

I have finished the quilting on James' quilt so hope to get the binding on later. Then I need to put hanging sleeves on both of the quilts going to Harrogate. More importantly I have six weeks to make a new quilt for Emma. She leaves to go to Uni on 30th Sep so I have a deadline.

James came over to help do some work on the computer for me. He got up at 11am, started at 12pm and was meeting friends at 2.30pm, so we got a little done but not enough. Teenagers live such different lives to us...

Janet

 

Well Done Emma!   Thursday 16th August 2012


As most of you are aware today is "A" level results day. Emma has her place at Durham University, she got an A* and 2 A's and we are so proud of her. She is going to study Engineering. My nephew James has got his place at Birmingham University to study Economics. We have just had a wonderful celebration lunch. Now I am exhausted from a worried nights sleep...

Janet

 

Garden Olympics at Number 7...   Monday 13th August 2012

Well, where did that 2 weeks go? The Olympics have flown by and I have enjoyed every moment of them, today I am actually feeling quite bereft. In the true spirit of the games we decided to hold our own version and I thought you may enjoy looking at some photos.


Starting with a sedate game of croquet, something new to the family!

Fast and furious flying discs... We have yet to retrieve the one from next door!

Badminton over the chicken coop...

Energetic trampolining with accompanying barbecue smoke...

What is happening here?

Finally nourishment after all our exertions...


Now it is time to sew...

Janet


 

Still Quilting...   Thursday 9th August 2012


Yes I am quilting every day and it is going well. I feel confident to have it finished in time. I give myself a couple of hours in the afternoon while I watch the Olympics and then all evening while I watch more Olympics. Can't get away from the Olympics anyway on TV!  I do think it is showcasing this country at its best.

Emma is away for 2 days and she is very much missed. I don't know if I can tell you this as it will make you all very jealous, but Emma has taken over cooking the evening meal and does all the ironing!!!! I know it is only for a short period of time but I will enjoy it while it lasts....

Janet

 

Off They Go...   Saturday 4th August 2012



This is John and Emma off to the Olympics. We didn't apply for any tickets as it seemed such a hassle at the time. We have settled down to enjoy the games and there is always regret that we didn't bother and two days ago we were given tickets for the football today at Old Trafford. I know it is not London but at least they will experience a little Olympic atmosphere.


Here at last James' quilt is layered and half-tacked. I will finish the tacking today and can then race ahead with the quilting. Race is the important word as this has to be finished by the 28th August to go to Harrogate!!

Enjoy your weekend whether it be Olympic or sewing based...

Janet

 

Pictureless  Post...   Wednesday 1st August 2012


I hate to write a blog without a picture but there is nothing to photograph at the moment. I am writing up a pattern at the moment. This is always the last thing that I want to do but the tension of watching Bradley Wiggins is too much. Emma is watching Henry V and it is pouring with rain. I think I need to sit in the thinking chair and look at fabrics...

Janet

 

Olympic Fever...   Saturday 28th July 2012


I am not so much a sports fan as an interested spectator. But I am going to make the most of watching the Olympics and supporting Team GB. I think it will be hard to get away from the coverage but there is always the "off" button if it drives you mad. It could be the opportunity to do lots of sewing!!!

The opening ceremony was  a mixture of the breathtaking and the bonkers. The James Bond and Queen section was fantastic. The forging of the rings was excellent. I think we forget exactly how much the British have contributed to make the world as it is today. Anyway enough of the pontificating...

It was a very late night and we were woken up early by the chickens. Every now and again they get spooked and they squark like roosters. So we got up to check on them (always fearful of the dreaded Mr Fox) and they were fine and I have stayed up to make the most of a little extra time before the family are up and needing breakfast.

Hope to layer James' quilt and finally get on with the quilting...

Janet



 

Something For Everyone...   Wednesday 25th July 2012



That is what I have called this small Olympic piece. The size limit was 144 square inches, mine is 6" x 24". I have delivered it this morning and it was remarkable to see the variation made by 9 different people, I have said it before but that is what makes Patchwork such a satisfying and unique hobby. Having thought up the design I was slightly hampered by my lack of artistic ability but the little symbols are what popped into my head when thinking about all the sports in question. It could be said that what goes on in my head is a little worrying...

Janet

 

Conspiracy...   Monday 23rd July 2012

I am sure there is a conspiracy to stop me from sewing. A weekend free of family did not happen because as soon as I got rid of one section of family others descended but really
I did not mind. Family is everything to me and if my nephews need Sunday dinner then I am going to make them dinner!! Also I had to stop to watch the final stage of the Tour de France. It was so exciting. Most years I watch bits of it with John but this year with such a strong British element we were watching it religiously. I cannot help but think it has given us a boost with the Olympics due to start at the end of the week.

If you are not interested in sport make sure that you allow your "other half" to watch as much as they want and use that time for sewing!!!!



Anyway I finished the crochet blanket. I can now read a crochet pattern, I feel confident enough to do my own "thing" and I am quite proud with how it turned out. It is very heavy and took about 40 balls of yarn.  The Olympic project is underway and here is a sneaky preview, am confident to have it finished by Wednesday...


Did you have a good sewing weekend?

Janet

 

Under Pressure...   Saturday 21st July 2012


I have until next Wednesday to complete a small piece of worked based on the Olympics. I drew the design up in January and that is as far as I have got. All the time that I waste and now I have to sew,sew,sew...
I have given myself the whole weekend as I am on my own ( after delivering Emma to Christian Camp this afternoon) and hopefully the piece will work as planned or else I am stuffed!!
I am on the final round of the border of the crochet blanket and on the final border of the second "Going to Uni" quilt so you can see that things are progressing to a point when there will be many photos to show all this work...

Hope you have a good "sewing" weekend...

Janet

 

More Unpicking...   Wednesday 18th July 2012


How stupid can I be! I was sewing the rows together of the second "Going to Uni" quilt and instead of checking why the rows didn't fit together, I just carried on , sewed them and then trimmed the surplus!!! DUHHHHHH. I now have a quilt with a most peculiar section in the middle ( the MIDDLE...) and I still ignored it and added a border. Now I have to hope that some unpicking and resewing will help this problem. Serves me right for hurrying. Patchwork needs and deserves a slow methodical approach, a bit frustrating a times but it always teaches you a lesson....

Janet

PS, now my chicken has disappeared too..

 

Monday Again...   Monday 16th July 2012

How was your weekend? At least we saw a little sunshine this weekend even though it hasn't lasted and we are now back to rain. What a miserable Summer we are having. Anyway I got on with some sewing on Saturday and I have now sewn 8 blocks for Emma's new quilt and 7 Dresden  plates. Emma took one look at the Dresden plates and said they were gorgeous and that she might need this quilt too!!



My sister took one look at the crochet strippy blanket and decided that she wanted one of them. She then remembered that she could crochet and so could make her own, not getting involved....

Janet

 

Will I Ever Learn?   Friday 13th July 2012


This morning I spent two hours unpicking my first Dresden Plate. This was because I blatantly ignored the instructions. I had used the Easy Dresden template to cut out the wedges. This meant that I could rotary cut them and it would be quick, it was. I machined the points of the wedge, very quick. I trimmed and turned them, not so quick!! I then sewed 20 wedges together and decided that although the instructions said use a 1/4inch seam allowance I would sew them with a very scant 1/4inch. Result - one very bumpy Dresden  Plate that did not lie flat and was never going to lie flat.  There was a reason why I did this, but instructions are there for a reason and ignore them at your peril.....

Now my Dresden Plate lies completely flat but I can only thank the person who designed the Stitch Unpicker, the very  best gadget...

Janet

 

Ladies Who Lunch...   Wednesday 11th July 2012

Yesterday I went to the Summer Lunch held by Gatehouse Quilters. I was invited as a guest because for the last year the members of the group had been working on Medallion quilts based on my design from a few years ago. Anyway the food was fantastic, the company very lively and the quilts were stunning. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera but I am hoping to get some photos of the quilts. I just love to see how people interpret the same design, the beauty of quilting being the infinite variety of colour/design/stitching. It was a very long lunch and when I got home at nearly 5pm I was so full I could hardly move. Thank you so much ladies for inviting me and making me so welcome.




Here is a photo of the lovely gift I received from the group, 4 beautiful fat quarters and all the fixings to make a Kindle cover. The other photo is the first block of Emma's new quilt, I know it only looks simple but there are some applique blocks as well.

Janet

 

Did You Guess?   Monday 9th July 2012


What the littles wedges were for. Yes of course, Dresden Plates! I have sewn about 250 of the wedges and they are really quick to machine sew but take a long time to trim and turn right side out. I had bought a Moda scrap bag and half of the fabric inside was from Fig Tree quilts, my favourite Moda designer. The strips were only 3" wide so I calculated and decided that I could make 20 Dresden plates from the available fabric. My intention this afternoon is to finish sewing these wedges, make a sample block for the new quilt for Emma and sew the rows together for the second black "Going to Uni" quilt. As you can tell, I am on my own and I have time to sew...
But first just a small random selection of photos from Berlin to give you a flavour of this amazing city...













Janet

 

I'm Home...   Saturday 7th July 2012


Having arrived home very early on Thursday morning I now feel that I need a holiday to recover from that one. Berlin was fantastic, I took about 600 photos, don't panic! I am not going to subject you to "holiday photos". I decided that if I took enough surely some would be good, and I have got some great photos of John and Emma and some decent shots of Berlin. The weather was fantastic and the hotel excellent. 

I am itching to get to the sewing machine, luckily Emma is away for a week from Monday so I will definitely get some sewing time in. I am ignoring the 3 foot high pile of ironing.

I did take some hand sewing with me but had no time to sew. I found no Quilt shops but the KaDeWe department store had a fantastic craft section, however the fabric was very expensive. Liberty prints were 39 euros/metre, cotton patchwork fabrics 20-25 euros/metre.

Hope you all have a great weekend and fingers crossed for Andy Murray...

Janet

 

Holidays   Friday 29th June 2012


Tomorrow we are flying to Berlin for 5 days. The forecast is heavy rain and thunderstorms every day we are there, but luckily I have a family who just get on with it. Will have lots to report next week, I am taking some hand sewing and my book to draw quilt designs in, also my necessary 6 books to read.

Have a good week...

Janet

 

Who Is This?   Thursday 28th June 2012




Janet

 

Time Flying...   Thursday 28th June 2012


Now that Emma is home and relaxing I seem to have less time than ever. What with being a taxi as she has lots of parties to go to, going shopping with her and helping to sort out her bedroom, there is very little sewing going on. In fact John asked if we had new floor covering as the quilt blocks had been lying on the floor for so long. 

Tonight is Emma's prom and I promise I will take a photo as yesterday she had all her hair cut off and it is SHORT...  Also the colour was changed back to her normal tone. She really looks different and very young...

Janet

 

New Rotary Blade...   Monday 25th June 2012



I treated myself to a new rotary blade and then set to on some major cutting. I cut all the black strips for the replacement "Going to Uni" quilt including the binding. Then I cut 120 strips of those lovely florals ready to start Emma's "Going to Uni" quilt. Then I cut 400 of those little wedge shapes for yet another new project. Emma is exasperated with me. "You're not going to start another project are you? Surely you should be finishing something first". It could be a long Summer...

Anyway treat yourselves to a new blade and see what you can achieve!

Janet

 

Girls Having Fun...   Saturday 23rd June 2012

Yesterday a group of us went to the Gresford Craft Show. It was when I was thinking about this that I realised I had missed the 1st Anniversary of writing this blog. I know that last year I put a photo of us at the show on the blog and it was SUNNY. Look at this? Would you even believe it was June? It was freezing and wet!



The exams are over for Emma and it seems an anti-climax for us all. For 2 years the whole emphasis has been to get Emma to this moment and then hopefully for the results to be good enough for her choice of University. Now we all have wind down time. Her treat on Thursday was roast potatoes and sausages. Not a normal combination I know, but Emma loves both of them. My friend Helen had brought Emma a white chocolate cow, a little sweet treat to get her through the last day. Finally last night we went out for a celebratory meal. Italian, Emma's favourite.


 Emma has already cut out the pieces to make a cover for her new Kindle and this morning we went shopping and she bought fabric to make an Amy Butler bag and wool to knit a winter hat. So she has plenty to do, also I am hoping she will take over some of the cooking duties...

Janet

 

I've Done It...   Thursday 21st June 2012


After a lot of frustration I have managed to put the Quilt-As-You-Go tutorial on the website. It is in the Top Tips section as a separate page. I know it's not brilliant but it is a start and if you just need a reminder then it may be just enough to help you on your way. It helps that by showing me how to do things John also gets to know how the website works, but it is always very tense when we are on the computer together. He is now relaxing watching the football and Emma has gone to bed to get ready for her last day of exams. Tomorrow we can relax and go out for a meal!!

I did have a photo to put on the blog but it seams to have disappeared into the depths of my computer. I will hunt it down, it will not escape from me...

Have a good night

Janet


 

 

Beartown P's & Q's   Wednesday 20th June 2012

What a fabulous bunch of ladies! I gave a talk last night to this group and I knew from the noise level as they were arriving that they were a lively bunch. I had a great night and I had been apprehensive beforehand as I knew some of them had seen me before. But as I told them, the alternative to looking at my quilts was to watch England play football, no contest...




Here is the proof that the quilt is finished and bound. I have just finished the final instructions. Another peek at the strippy crochet blanket. It is quite heavy and warm on my knees just as the weather has got warmer!

Emma's treat yesterday was home made Apricot flapjacks. Today's is a craft magazine and some delicious birthday cake provided by Beartown p's & q's.

Janet

 

Nearly There...   Monday 18th June 2012



I'm sure you wondered whether I was ever going to finish this quilt. Well I am one step nearer and hopefully later this afternoon I will put the binding on. Every section of this quilt has been quicker and easier than I thought so there was really no excuse for not getting on with it. Sorry about the photo quality. When it is finished I will hang it on a quilt stand and hopefully get a better photo.

Emma is in her last week of "A" level exams. Physics is finished, just Maths, Further Maths and Biology to go! I read quite a few blogs, websites etc and I have to say there are some fantastic, talented, creative and perfect Mums out there. I am not one of them. However this week to help with the stress I am going to do something special for Emma every day. She will faint when she reads that, as she is well aware that I don't qualify for any of those Mum titles. Today I am making Lasagne, her favourite meal...

Janet

 

Please Join Us...   Thursday 14th June 2012




Joan Mc was intrigued and asked what were all the "bag comments" about? I did not want to set a Jubilee or Olympic challenge as quite a few Liverbirds are working away on Summer Harmony. But then I felt as if an historic time was passing us by. Anyway I purchased some John Lewis Organic cotton bags and all the Liverbirds were given one and told to go and decorate them in any way they want. They are a really good quality bag and only cost £1. When Joan asked what was going on I realised that I could say to you all that if you want to join in please do so. If you don't have a John Lewis nearby any plain cotton bag could be used instead. The best thing about this is you end up with a really strong bag for fabric shopping and therefore are helping the environment too...

Janet

 

Remember These...   Monday 11th June 2012



I had eventually made 8 of these crochet squares and I was bored. It was the thought of all those ends to finish off and tie in and then I had to sew them all together. So this weekend I persuaded Emma that a stripey blanket would be lovely and off I set.


 It is about 48inches wide and I have done about 6inches and I love it (and secretly so does Emma!). I managed 2inches while the football was on. I feel that Euro 2012 could be quite useful. The down side was that each ball of cotton will only make about 2inches so I am going to need a lot more balls and also the cotton yarn is not soft and yielding like wool would be so is quite hard on the fingers to crochet.

While this is happening at night, sewing is happening during the day, how good is that?

PS. Happy Birthday to Mrs T, 102 today, fantastic...

Janet

 

Sewing At Last...   Saturday 9th June 2012

I sat in my sewing room and waited for inspiration. Really I didn't need to start any new projects so I have set myself a target of 2 weeks to finish the 2 projects that lots of you are waiting for. That 2 weeks is the time that Emma still has to complete her "A" levels and I can stay out of the way in the sewing room. Emma normally writes my patterns up but this time I will write them and John is going to format them ( his words!! ).



"Going to Uni" version 2. Possibly not as vibrant without the number fabric but with the black sashing will still look good. The blocks are not in their final position, I just wanted to show you that they are complete. FYI the blocks only take 20 minutes to sew!!

Janet

 

Harry Potter "A" Level...   Wednesday 6th June 2012

Did you know there was a Harry Potter "A" level? There must be as every time I look at Emma she has her head in a Harry Potter book. Only two more torturous weeks and then the exams are over!!

We are now fully recovered from the party. It was a bit manic, so many people and it rained. But we had a great time and it was lovely to see all our friends, family, neighbours and plenty of teenagers!! Now however I have a clean house, a tidy garden and yesterday I sorted out the sewing room. It had become a dumping ground for all the "stuff" that needed to be put away for the party. I can feel the need to sew becoming more urgent and I won't be able to stop once I start...



What do you think of these very cheeky chickens? Keeping an eye on John as he planted seeds for our vegetables. Just after this I couldn't find them, they had wandered into the house. Too much freedom and they take liberties...

Janet

 

Promises...   Friday 1st June 2012


I promise that after this weekend it will be sew,sew,sew... I have lots of new ideas and rather cleverly for me I am writing them down, so hopefully there should be plenty of sewing stuff for you to see. You have been very patient with my party waffling, the housework, the garden but we are on the final countdown. Will post some photos after the event.

Going to cycle to see the Olympic torch later. It is passing just a mile from our house so felt that we should go and see history in the making.

I hope you all have a fabulous Jubilee weekend...

Janet

 

Tuesday Mutterings...   Tuesday 29th May 2012


As I write the date, the thought of how quickly the year is passing goes through my mind. Truly scary. As you can see I am up with the lark getting ready for my full day ahead. Every day I have a target and so far I am doing OK. I will not beat myself up if I don't get everything done. The only problem is that very shortly I am going to have to clear the sewing off the dining room table. I know I have not done much sewing recently but I am at least looking at it in front of me.

I think I have sorted out the font size problem and using the new computer this is the size it will be in future. Just have to master the photos and I will be sorted. John has promised that as soon as the party is over he will finish transferring all the "stuff" from my old computer to this. He is working from home today so I am off out..

Hope you are sewing more than me...

Janet

 

Summer Mini Quilt...   Sunday 27th May 2012



This is what we made yesterday afternoon after an inspiring morning looking at the beautiful work made by Jackie Martin. Her speciality is applique and there was such a lot of lovely work to see and admire. The afternoon workshop was a small foundation piecing project which I completed last night in front of the TV.

Up early this morning cleaning the windows outside before the sun came round. I think that both the garden and house are now showing signs of definite improvement!!

Hope you are all enjoying the beautiful sunshine and warm weather we are having...

Janet

 

Friday Question...   Friday 25th May 2012


I would like you to think about this. Can you have too much fabric? As many of you know I have a very large fabric stash but I can still have the problem of not having the "right" fabric for a particular project. So is it better to go and buy the fabric when you actually need it. As with most things there are pros and cons with this. There would be no waste, but you may not be able to get to a shop to buy the fabric and therefore would be frustrated as you can't get on with your sewing. I would find this very difficult as when the mood takes me I have got to sew.

Can you put a price on the joy you get from stroking/feeling your fabrics? I can spend a lot of time just looking at my fabric, perhaps not too productive, but very enjoyable. 

Fabric styles/colours can go out of "fashion" and what was the best fabric ever 10 years ago is now just dated and relegated to the back of the cupboard to be used as a backing.

There is no doubt that every year we are tempted by the fabric manufacturers as they produce ever more colourful/beautiful/stylish fabrics and I know that I can't stop buying these lovely fabrics ( weak-willed!!) but I just don't have enough storage room. Being more productive is not really the answer for me as then I would have to store the finished article. Yesterday John asked if I had thought of selling some of my smaller pieces, keeping my own designs. Is this an option? Probably not.

Tomorrow I am off to a Quilter's Guild area day, more quilts, more ideas, more fabric and great company, can't ask for more...

Janet


 

Thursday Thoughts...   Thursday 24th May 2012

Well Emma is now 18 and I don't think it has changed her in any way. We had a small gathering for cake and champagne on her actual birthday but of course she has to wait until next week for her party.



The intensive cleaning is coming on, spurred on by John being upstairs in his office! The kitchen is gleaming, the telescopic duster has rid the house of cobwebs and soon we will be able to see out of the windows. All this effort and before you know it the dust will be back...

What is happening to my sewing I hear you ask? Not a lot... I am so close to finishing Summer Harmony, I should get on with it so I can start new things. I have been putting the thinking chair to good use and even today while I was dusting an idea popped into my head for a new cushion design (actually I should write it down before it pops out of my head...) but I know that I have to get the house ready for the party and then I can sew all Summer long.  Emma has lots of plans and will be away for quite a bit of the holiday and of course I won't need to do any housework...

Now it is time for cappuccino on the patio...

Janet

 

Monday Musings...   Monday 21st May 2012


I'm sure you are fed up hearing me mention the garden and my lack of love for it but today I have positive news. I have finished the pots!! They are supposed to give the garden an instant lift but I think that at the most they may perk it up a little.

This morning I have been out and about getting things ordered/sorted for Emma's party. Emma is actually 18 tomorrow but we are celebrating next weekend because it is a long weekend and there is a break in the exams.

I am now thinking about the intensive cleaning, but will show willing tomorrow when John is working from home. I am writing this blog on the new computer as I am in a hurry but I am not convinced that the font size is right. We  must have set a default setting on the old computer and I don't know what we did. Will continue to try and get it right. Not sure that I can get any major sewing done today...

Janet

 

More Gardening...   Saturday 19th May 2012

This is what I don't like about gardening, it never ends. You just get everything looking good and it keeps on growing or it dies and therefore creates more work. John is still cleaning the pathways but this morning he kindly went out and bought yet more plants for me to put in pots!!!

I'm sure if I just went out and got on with it, it wouldn't take long but it makes me feel such dread especially as there isn't even any sun to brighten things up. On top of that dread there is the housework dread. Next week I am going to do intensive deep cleaning so that just before the party I can do a light sprucing up, that is the intention anyway...



Enough of the house/garden misery, I have finished another batch of hexagons. I think that will bring me to the halfway mark. I am wondering if I can have it finished in time for Harrogate but that really could be ambitious as it is a totally hand sewn quilt. I have done some work on the design of the abc quilt.

Hope you all have a happy sewing weekend...

Janet

 

Must Do Better...   Thursday 17th May 2012

Yesterday in my haste to write my blog I didn't check it over as carefully as I should and later I found 3 mistakes. I had missed a question mark, spelt "to" instead of "too" and I had forgotten to remove the lines from around the photo. You really do deserve better!

At our Area day a couple of weeks ago we had "show and tell" and one of the quilters showed a lovely quilt and as I was holding it up I was really taken with the fabric on the back. She had had it a while and couldn't give me any information about it but when it comes to tracking down fabric I am like a bloodhound. Just from what I could remember about it I first tracked down the manufacturer and then with the wonders of the internet I found a fat quarter of the black colourway and a yard of the cream. Now to think what to do with it, of course I don't need to hurry...



Janet

 

Subtle Difference...   Wednesday 16th May 2012



Can you spot the subtle difference in the photo above. Last time you saw this quilt the outer borders were not attached and now they are. I really like the red joining strips but it does need that final border of black to frame it properly.

Although I have started the second version of "Going to Uni" it is not the same as starting something new. I am timing it however so you can see how long every aspect of making the quilt takes. Because I don't have the design stimulus with it, an idea has popped into my head and it has alphabets. Will get it down on paper asap.

I have done 6 pots for the garden but have decided that I musn't peak to soon on the housework...

Janet

 

Productivity Increase...   Sunday 13th May 2012

Yes there has been a definite increase in productivity in the Keenan household. We are gearing up for the upcoming 18th Birthday celebrations for Emma. I was just waiting to have the Area day done and dusted and now it is full steam ahead. Not only has the garden got to be in shape but so has the house!! Now you all know how difficult I find housework especially Spring cleaning so I have a couple of very boring weeks ahead as I tackle jobs that really should be done more regularly but I can always find excuses to delay or avoid them.

John has been working in the garden and it is improving already. My job was to do some pots so we would at least have colour. So far I have not managed that but I have managed to order lots of things for the celebrations online and everyday lots of parcels arrive!!!!

I told you that I would not be able to resist cutting some fabric. Here are the first blocks for the duplicate quilt that I am making with the design for James's "Going to Uni" quilt.



Anyway I now really must go into the garden (groan.....)

Janet

 

 Friday Feelings...   Friday 11th May 2012

Oh I do love Fridays. I like the thought that the weekend is nearly here and in this house we are very relaxed at the weekend ( too relaxed maybe!). Also today I got to go to the Southport Quilters show. They do a show every two years and it is so enjoyable. Lots of lovely quilts, great lunches and most of all the opportunity to meet up with loads of other quilters. There is so much chatting and laughing that at the end of a couple of hours you feel quilting refreshed!!

I am writing this blog on the old computer to see if I have the problem with the font size on that computer, so far I don't.  Also I can't remember how John told me how to do the photos ( and he is cutting the grass so musn't disturb!!!) and I wanted to show you how Summer Harmony is coming along. Especially for Joan who is enjoying the "mystery" of seeing it step by step...



Janet

 

Time Wasting...   Thursday 10th May 2012

I have a perfectly good opportunity to do lots of sewing today but already I have managed to waste an hour looking at things on the internet. Computers are both a blessing and a curse. I see the end in sight for "Summer Harmony", the new quilt and I know that I won't be able to resist cutting out some fabric for a new quilt. I am so weak-willed....
Janet

 

OK Here We Go...   Monday 7th May 2012

As you will have noticed I am having difficulty with my font sizes, they are all over the place but I have managed to upload a photo so let me see if I can get it onto this page. Hopefully I will get to master this new computer.
Anyway here are my blocks getting sewn together, this is one of the photos that will go on the tutorial page...



Janet

 

Recovering...   Sunday 6th May 2012


My friend Susan and I did our last Area day as Merseyside reps for the Quilter's Guild yesterday. We had a great day, lots of laughter, great company, brilliant quilts and best of all fantastic cakes. Whenever you take on a job of volunteering for an organisation you never know what you have let yourself in for but I can honestly say it has not been difficult and it does not take up too many hours either. So there is no excuse for not sewing as well !!
We were lucky in that we had great support from Liverbirds and other friends and that really helps too. I was tired last night so after a refreshing sleep and getting all the paperwork completed I can get back to sewing...
A little glimpse of the blocks going together...


Or not as I can't upload the photo!!
Janet

 

Delicious Smells...   Friday 4th May 2012

are coming from my kitchen. Emma and I are baking up a storm in preparation for tomorrows tea party at the Quilter's Guild area day. Coffee and Walnut cake made, Apricot flapjacks just coming out of the oven and Emma is making Orange curd to go in her Butterfly cakes....

No time for sewing, I'm sorry, but we should have a great day tomorrow...
See you soon
Janet

 

Computer Progress...   Wednesday 2nd May 2012


Tonight John and I have been doing some work on the photo side of the new computer. I have to say that John has not had his Apple computer very long so it could be a case of the near-sighted leading the blind. I am very impressed so far with this computer and I am sure that the possibilities are limitless with what it can do but as with anything technical and me it will be one step at a time. So there won't be any photos tonight but this is my first blog written on it and it is FAST......

I have been working on some folded flower embellishments that I want to show all the ladies who are coming to our Area day in Crosby on Saturday. Also I am about to attach the blocks to the appliqué centre of the new quilt. I am going to do a step by step tutorial of this version of Quilt As You Go and put it on the website as a reminder for anyone who forgets one or two of the steps.

Anyway time to  watch a bit of TV before bedtime...

Janet



 

Monday Again...   Monday 30th April 2012

How quickly does a week pass! A week ago we were in Durham, today I was in Formby! Anyway enough of my travels, the bad weather this weekend meant I did get on with some sewing and I completed all the quilting on the blocks. Once I got going they took no time at all, they are now trimmed and edges tacked ready for putting together.




My favourite flowers, Stocks have arrived in the shops. Because they are only available May/June I try and buy them regularly, they are behind me as I write this blog and the scent is wafting over to me, delicious...

Forgot to recommend to you the film "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen". Saw it on Friday night, really enjoyed it, the type of film the British do best, funny, good characters, an easy way to pass a couple of hours...

Janet

 

Beautiful Fabrics...   Saturday 28th April 2012

Yesterday I went to the "International Craft and Hobby Fair". Although this event is held very near to me I don't usually go because it covers lots of different crafts and I am really just interested in patchwork. Anyway I was given a free ticket and so decided to go and thoroughly enjoyed my day. Mets lots of friends, spoke to people about my love of patchwork and there were a few vendors selling fabric. I can never resist and this is what I came home with...


Some beautiful florals and spots (very me)

Some soft furnishing fabrics in beautiful florals and spots


Map of the world fabric to make something for John (he is thrilled!)

Can you see a bit of a theme here. I have always loved floral fabrics but spots are catching up...

janet

 

I'm Happy... Thursday 26th April 2012

Yes I am happy because this morning I quilted 4 of the Summer Harmony blocks and they only took me 20 minutes each. 5 minutes to cut, press and layer the block and 15 minutes to do some simple quilting. This means that I feel energised to finish this quilt and then I can start something (or 2) new.



Last weekend Liverpool played host to the "Giants". The "Sea Odyssey" story was played out by 3 giant puppets that roamed the streets of Liverpool. Needless to say we dashed into the city to find that we were too late and they had gone to sleep!! But here is a photo to prove we were there.


Feeling the need to quilt more blocks...

janet

 

Durham...   Wednesday 25th April 2012

For those of you who have never been to Durham please put it on your "to do" list. It is a beautiful city, only small, surrounded by the River Wear and set on a hill. It is dominated by a fabulous Cathedral, Castle and the University, all of which have been there many hundreds of years. It has been classified as a Unesco World Heritage site. At this time of year everywhere you look there are students, vibrant young people amongst the splendour of the ancient buildings. I wish I was young again with their opportuinities. Anyway we looked around St Aiden's College, walked to the Engineering Dept and then explored the city. Great day...






Now going to do some sewing...

janet











 

Learning...   Saturday 21st April 2012

You are never too old to learn!!  I am embracing technolology and at this moment I am using two computers side by side. How technical does that sound. I have started to get to know my new computer and I can tell already that it is going to be fantastic. Yesterday I had a little play with it but today John was able to help me start customising it. I love the internet, it opens up the world to us from our homes and I cannot imagine life without it. There is so much good stuff on it.

As I am writing this I know I am delaying myself from getting stuck in to some sewing on Summer Harmony. I want to start something new!  I am hopefully going to Durham on Monday ( by train not driving) to have a look at St Aidens College with Emma. Also we have started to plan Emma's 18th birthday celebrations and this might mean some spring cleaning is needed.

Spring Cleaning v Sewing

NO CONTEST...

Enjoy your weekend whatever you may be doing!

janet

 

It's Here...   Thursday 19th April 2012

At last the "thinking" chair has arrived and here it is....



I'm thinking it possibly needs a cushion! I am not sure that I need to do any more thinking, a lot of doing would be far more helpful.



Here are the fabrics that I am going to use to make the second "Going To Uni" quilt. Although they are the same colour as the first quilt I am not sure that the designs are as striking as the first lot. Time will tell...  I am itching to start the quilt but I need to do some work on "Summer Harmony", really it would be so much easier if I was the sort of person who started one thing and finished it before starting the next! I think I have mastered the crochet granny square, or my version of it at least....

janet

 

Man Flu Strikes...   Tuesday 17th April 2012

It has been coming on for a few days but it is now official, John has Man Flu. He is feeling very under the weather and if I was a good wife I would be tending to him with paracetamol and lots of hot drinks. However I am not a good wife and he is fending for himself though I have shown him where the painkillers are kept!!!

Anyway what a great day I had yesterday with the Tingewick Quilters. They were a very lively and enthusiastic group and were very appreciative of my work. In case you are wondering where Tingewick is, it is a lovely village near Milton Keynes. Yes I travelled over 300 miles (return) yesterday to be with them and it was worth it. I had met one of the ladies Gillian when I was in the Isle of Man and she had asked whether I could visit her group and I must have known they would be a good group as I said yes. Thank you ladies for being so welcoming. Whenever I am with a group of like-minded people I always come away full of enthusiasm, I think ideas bounce around my brain as I am chatting away. I was tired when I arrived home but my lovely daughter Emma was cooking the tea so I was able to relax. I had a little go at producing a crochet granny square last night (for Emma's "going to Uni" blanket) and after a bit of trial and error I made this. It must be 40 years since I last made one of these!!



Have caught up with a few things today so now I can sew....

janet

 

Look At This...   Sunday 15th April 2012


This is John and Emma outside John Lewis having been to collect this...

An Apple MacBook Air.

There will be no stopping me on the internet now. My little netbook computer in a beautiful shade of lime green does everything I need, but it is very slow. Hopefully the new computer will be faster, however it is going to take time to get used to it. I hate the word "intuitive" which is always mentioned in relation to gadgets and technology today. It maybe intuitive for young people but it is a real mystery to me.

Thank you for the kind comments about James' quilt. I have washed the fabric ready to make the next one and I am going to time the making of it. It will be interesting to see how fast it goes together as I felt it was a very quick quilt. I have packed my quilts as I am off on quite a long journey tomorrow to see the ladies who belong to the group Tingewick Quilters.

John was a happy man when his beloved Liverpool FC beat Everton to go through to the final of the FA cup.

janet

 

No Title...   Friday 13th April 2012

Usually coming up with a title for the blog comes easily but occasionally I sit here and wait for inspiration and today none is coming.

Anyway do you remember this? Last shown on 25th Oct 2011, James' quilt.

Today after a flurry of activity it now looks like this.


This is a big quilt (he is 6ft tall) and I am not sure about the border. However I only used half the fabrics that I have in this range so I am going to make another one. The fabrics left are the same colour range but more feminine designs. Also I need another quilt as I will have nothing to show once he has taken it away. Emma is showing concern about whether her quilt is ever going into production, also I did mention that I would crochet her a blanket to take to Uni as well. I think if you have read my blog long enough you will know that these dilemmas occur frequently, but really I do work better under pressure...

Looking forward to tomorrow, the Liverpool v Everton Semi-final at Wembley. We have had to get a bigger cable package so that we can watch it on our TV. Then we will watch the Grand National. I have studied the horses and have picked out the winners ( and I am not going to tell you what they are)...

janet

 

Back To Normal...   Wednesday 11th April 2012

Or as normal as it ever is in our house. John has returned to work, his back is a lot better. Emma has started doing some revision with lots of breaks!! And I have made the third block for the latest quilt. I cut out the pieces ages ago and just didn't like the colour choice but today I looked at it again, changed some pieces and now I am very happy. It sewed together really well with few seams to match, I now need to make another 7. Having written up the instructions I now have a problem with the printer which my computer "guru" Emma is endeavoring to solve...



janet

 

Easter Monday   Monday 9th April 2012

Hope you have had a good weekend even though the weather has been pretty miserable. We think of Easter as the beginning of Spring, time to be in our garden and enjoying the longer days. We will have to wait a little longer! John is on the mend and can now stand up straight and make a cup of tea. We have had plenty of visitors to take his mind off his pain and we are waiting for my family to arrive in the next half hour. They are bringing us food so we are very happy to see them. Sadly not a lot of sewing has been done but I am doing lots of thinking....

We have a busy week ahead of us, will keep you informed of its progress.

Enjoy the time with your families...

janet

 

Gorgeous Fabrics...    Saturday 7th April 2012








If only they were quilting fabrics but they aren't. A while ago I was given a book of furnishing fabrics, the range is called "Nouveau" by Globaltex. I absolutely loved the designs. There are 6 patterns in 6 colourways and I love them all. But what to do with them. Obviously the fabric is too thick to use  in quilts and also there is not that much of it. Gone are the days when I believe that a pack of 5 fat quarters will make a king size  quilt !! Cushions and bags spring to mind but I am not making any decisions just yet. All suggestions will be given consideration...

Today is my Wedding Anniversary, 23 years. John bought me a lovely card but sadly didn't get one in return. Truthfully I thought it was tomorrow!!  Yesterday while making the bed John pulled something in his back, he now can't walk and has taken to bed. I was looking forward to some "football" sewing time this afternoon but now will be running up and down stairs with cups of tea...

janet


 

A Few Mutterings...   Thursday 5th April 2012

I have promised John that I would get on with writing up some patterns but I am daydreaming... Sometimes I am so productive that I amaze myself and othertimes I get nothing done at all, I can pass hours doing nothing! There is so much sewing that I want and need to do so why aren't I doing it, I need a kick up the proverbial !!!!

Looking forward to the long weekend. My nephew James is coming to stay tonight so Emma and I are going to do some baking and talking of Emma, I thought you might like to see 2 recent efforts by Emma. Although she is not interested in making quilts, she does like to make thinks with dimension to them. I can assure you that the penguin bag was very complex but she took each step at a time till she had mastered it.




Anyway I have kicked myself and off I go to sew...

janet

 

April Already...   Monday 2nd April 2012

Yesterday we woke up to an unexpected beautiful day (we hadn't looked at the weather forecast). We had breakfast on the patio and yet again looked at the disaster area of our garden. We like a nice garden but just aren't prepared to put the work in. When we bought this house we realised that the garden had no colour at all except green. We are slowly trying to put colour in and here are a few of our efforts and also "Man At Work". He needed to do something physical after watching football !!!!






janet

 

Yes I Am Sewing...   Saturday 31st March 2012

I wouldn't like you to think that I am slacking in the sewing department. It is just that what I am sewing doesn't seem so interesting at the moment but just in case you are interested here it is....



These are half of the blocks for the outer border of the new quilt.

I think that I have made about a quarter of the hexagons needed for this lap quilt, but I do like how it is progressing!

This is how much fabric I have washed this week...

This is the promised peek at yet another new project, not sure that it is working out quite how I imagined but I will do some more work on it and see.

Off to an 18th party tonight, but still should be able to get some sewing done over the weekend.  Hope your weekend is good..

janet

 

Fabric Washing...   Tuesday 27th March 2012

I have really been enjoying the warm sunny days we are having but only today did I think that it may be good weather to wash some fabric. Yes I am one of those who washes all her fabric, I think when I started it was recommended to wash your fabric in case it bled, but I think today the fabric quality is so good that you don't really need to wash it but I can't get out of the habit. So now the fabric is flapping on the line, the chickens are basking in the sun and all is well in the Keenan household.

I am just writing up the instructions for the next part of the new quilt ready for Liverbirds tomorrow. I am then going to do a bit of work on the new project and I may give you a peek soon.

Last night Emma and I went to Knutsford to do a talk for Cranford Quilters. We had a great night, they were a fabulous bunch of ladies, very lively and producing some lovely work for the "Show and Tell".

janet

 

Carpe diem   Monday 26th March 2012

In this country we really must "seize the day". The weather has been fantastic these last few days and even though it is only March we can't wait for Summer as we well know that it may never come. On Friday afternoon John and I sat in the garden with a cup of coffee and decided that we need to find a gardener. On Saturday morning we sat in the garden with our coffee and said we really do need a gardener. On Saturday afternoon I put the other two borders on the quilt and started a new project!



But yesterday Emma suggested a National trust trip and the day was too good to sit at home so off we went to Erddig. This is a beautiful house near Wrexham where the family had a very good relationship with their staff and a lot of information about the staff was recorded. We had a picnic in the grounds and had a walk through the formal garden. The blossom and daffodils provided a splash of colour and looking at my photos I realise that it is essential that I go on the photography course!




Hope you enjoyed your weekend...

janet

 

4 Weeks Today...   Thursday 22nd March 2012

and my "thinking" chair arrives!! Not a moment too soon as Emma and I are spending some time in the sewing room when she gets home from school.  We have a cup of tea and we plan all the projects that we would like to do. I do believe Emma is like me, we are not good at finishing before we start a new project!!




Anyway some progress on the new quilt. I have started putting on the inner border, and I have also tested another block for the outer border.


The sun comes in the sewing room in the afternoon and yesterday I opened the cupboard and the fabrics looked gorgeous. I am not one for fancy words but it truly was a "cupboard of loveliness" Maybe I should dream less and sew more!!

janet

 

I'm Sorry...   Monday 19th March 2012

that I forgot to mention that I was going away for the weekend. It was the annual Keenan family get together. We had a great time, caught up on everyones news and today I have sorted out some house stuff and I am ready to sew...

Last Thursday I went to Lytham St Annes to do a workshop with some ladies from Windmill Quilters. What a great day we had, lots of laughing and chatter as well as sewing. All the things we do best. On the drive home I came up with another new idea for a quilt. As soon as I got home I drew it out quickly before I forgot. Luckily Emma was cooking tea ( a present for Mothers Day! ) so I had time to sit and doodle.

janet

 

Coming Along...   Wednesday 14th March  2012




I am really pleased with how the new quilt is coming along. The centre went together beautifully and I can't wait to do the blocks for the next border.  But last night I just had to do a small project! It only took a couple of hours and I think it looks good. It came about because some friends and I had been laughing when we saw the assorted plastic bags we were carrying our sewing in. That just wasn't good enough for a quilter!!  I have made many bags over the years but I wanted a small one that would fit my hand sewing and notebook..

janet

 

Quilters Are The Best...   Tuesday 13th March 2012



I do believe that quilters are the very best people. They are generous with their time, ideas, help and fabric. I have received this packet of fabric from a lovely lady called Carol. She had used it in her first sampler quilt and I told her how much I liked it. Not only did she send me some of the fabric that I had admired but the co-ordinating fabrics also. I know I am going to put some of it in my hexagon quilt.  Thank you Carol.

Today John is working from home and Emma is home from school early, it feels like the house is alive, normally when I am on my own I am always waiting.....

janet

 

Time To Sew...   Monday 12th March 2012

Yes I am making time to sew. Sometimes I get so bogged down with life and too many project ideas that I grind to a halt. So this morning I set to and attached the first 2 corners onto the centre piece of the new quilt. Then I made one of the blocks for the next border. After writing this blog I may have time to do some housework!! Normally it is housework first then sewing but I am going to change my priorities...

Anyway here is my progress..




janet

 

Normal Service...   Thursday 8th March 2012

will be resumed soon. There are times in your life when you wonder what exactly are you doing with your time. Truthfully I have a brain absolutely full of new ideas and projects and a body that just isn't up to the job. I just don't seem to be able to get things in order.

However yesterday I did a workshop with a local Quilt group. I had a great day with a fabulous bunch of ladies and as usual I came home pleased that they had enjoyed themselves but also with lots of ideas for new things. So instead of thinking about them I really must get on with them!!!

janet


 

Where...   Sunday 4th March 2012

did that week go?  John is home looking fit and healthy. Although I have sewed every day there isn't much to show for it. I will finish the applique corners this afternoon and will put the centre of the quilt together in the next few days. Hopefully I will have something to show you then. It also means that I can start on the outer blocks !!!  On Wednesday I am doing a workshop and I have decided that instead of doing more samples I am going to make a new version of "Flower Pots" as so many people ask for the pattern.

We have just had a wander around the garden, it is in a very sorry state. Then we remembered that John had his accident last year and so very little gardening was done and it shows ( I did have the job of cutting the grass while he recovered!! ). We will have to put a lot of work in as we are going to have a garden party for Emma after she has finished her exams and to celebrate her 18th birthday.

Went to see "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" on Friday and it was really good. The audience clapped at the end! It was happy and sad and laugh out loud funny, brilliantly acted and well worth seeing.

Off to sew....

janet

 

Spring Sunshine...   Thursday 1st March 2012



I know it is too early to be talking about Spring but todays sunshine makes you feel as if it is on its way. As you know I am not a gardener but looking at our first flowering daffodils made me want to have a fabulous colour filled garden. Emma mentioned yesterday that as she has a long Summer holiday this year she would like to do some work in the garden. We will not refuse that offer!!

Back to sewing the other 2 corners, getting bored now but the next blocks are on the horizon...

janet

 

Too Many Ideas...   Tuesday 28th February 2012

How is it that you never get as much done as you hoped. I am already half a day behind on my sewing. I have completed 2 corner sections but I had hoped to have started the other 2 as well. Howver I have decided that I will write the instructions up for this section so I am not rushing tomorrow and then I can carry on. While I was sewing yesterday my mind started wandering and I started thinking about a new quilt. For "Goodness Sake" I haven't even got half way with this one but that is how I am, always thinking about new projects. That is why I have so many W.I.P.'s. Today it got worse as a fully fledged quilt design popped into my head and it will be started soon....

 A little peak at my progress...



janet

 

Progress...   Sunday 26th February 2012

John left at 10am yesterday morning and I have been sewing ever since! I have done over 75% of the machine applique on the centre piece and will finish it today.


I hope you can see how much better the piece looks now that the applique is sewn.

Also I have been preparing the corner pieces.

Here is one in progress
 Hope to get 2 corners bonded today and maybe even start the stitching. I don't even need to cook my dinner as my sister has invited us to hers for a meal. Will take some hand sewing there!

Happy weekend sewing...

janet

 

Not Much To Show...   Thursday 23rd February 2012

for a full days sewing. Firstly I quilted a 20inch sandwich, this took 1 and a half hours not counting the cutting and preparation of the sandwich. After lunch I did some machine applique on the centre piece of the new quilt, one quarter of the design took me 2 hours plus another hour this evening to finish off the threads. Inbetween I was doing necessary "stuff" around the house. Only other quilters could understand the enjoyment we get from our sewing as I am sure non-sewers would think us mad to spend so much time and have so little to show for it. In todays fast society when gratification needs to be instant I think we quilters know that our work is worth the time and effort we put in and it will still be around in many years to come ( who can say that about all the gadgets and gizmos that everyone has come to rely on ). Also not one of those gadgets keeps you warm on a cold Winter's night!!

janet

 

Lovely Gift...   Tuesday 21st February 2012

My friend Judith has been helping a group of ladies to make their first patchwork quilts. She asked me whether I would bring some quilts to show them and answer questions. What a lovely morning I have had. They were very keen and were really enjoying their patchwork and quilting. Even when you are doing your own work it is such a social thing and there is nothing better than to discuss your work and look at others. I always get inspiration from other peoples work, be it colour, pattern , fabrics etc. When it was time for me to reluctantly leave they presented me with this lovely pot of Grape Hyacinths, they smell lovely and I came home ready to do some sewing...



janet

 

Sunny Sunday...   Sunday 19th February 2012

What a beautiful day, cold and sunny. I felt so perky today and the Keenan family have been very productive. I want to make sure the housework and necessary jobs are done before John goes skiing and I have my sewing week!!

Yesterday we had a Liverbirds sewing day. It is so good to be with your friends doing what we love best. I made some more log cabin octagons which I started on the last Liverbirds sewing day. It was great to see some of the girls starting the new project and I know they will look great. Last night while watching 2 Harry Potter films I carried on with my hexagon project so I know that I had a really good sewing day yesterday.

Hope your weekend was good...

janet

 

Sewing At Last...   Thursday 16th February 2012

Well we had a great day in Cardiff and yes there were at lot of changes but the traditional part of a city doesn't change. Emma and James both liked the University, it has a friendly and unpretentious feel to it. Of course yesterday I was shattered but I had to make sure that I had completed the next section of the new quilt. So here is the pre-quilted centre piece with the stems appliqued on and now I have added the rest of the applique though it isn't stitched down yet. The stitching always gives it another dimension so I will press on with it.




Today I have been able to have a more relaxed day. I have stuffed the cupboards in the sewing room full of fabric and of course it didn't all fit in. But I have an emptyish airing cupboard upstairs that I can fill with the overflow. I need to refold all the fabric so that it fits better in its new home, but one thing at a time!!

janet

 

Working Hard ...   Monday 13th February 2012

Yes I am working hard on the new quilt project. Liverbirds will be expecting part 2 on Wednesday and I had forgotten that I am going to Cardiff tomorrow so that Emma and James can look around the University. It is just over 36 years since I made this journey at the start of my University course and I had a great 3 years there. It will be interesting to see all the changes.

John has finished all his jobs in the sewing room and I have done a lot of sorting, just need to get all the fabric into the cupboards !!!

janet

 

First Peek...   Friday 10th February 2012

From this...To this...









OK don't be too disappointed if you were expecting a fabulous "studio". I am making progress but slowly. The curtain rail is missing its finials and the cupboards don't have their door on. Under the white table the metal rack system will be going back, this holds my everyday fabrics as I call them. All the stuff that you see on the shelves has yet to be sorted and then it will be given a proper home. The top half of the cupboard doors are glass so you will see a fantasy of colour from the stacked fabrics. It took me two hours just to sort through the button boxes!!!

janet

 

Sewing Again...   Thursday 9th February 2012

No photos again, Sorry!  But this afternoon I did some sewing in my "studio". It really isn't a studio at all, just lots of stuff that I can't live without. I haven't got everything back in the room yet but each day I do a little bit. Today I put the cutting board table in and put pictures on the wall. The extra cupboard that John went to Ikea for is in its place (John found himself in the B&Q carpark, the trauma of going to Ikea was too much for him). I will take some photos tomorrow so you can see how I am making progress. I am trying to be ruthless with the sorting as everything comes back into the room and I am really looking forward to the arrival of the "thinking" chair as I can see a lot of time spent sitting in it....

janet

 

Nearly There...   Tuesday 7th February 2012

I bet you are thinking that I have not written anything because I am in my sewing room stitching away. Wrong! We are getting the room sorted slowly. When we fitted the corner units we had measured it wrong and so we couldn't fit the original cupboard back in. So a trip to Ikea is needed and John is going to do it on his way home from work ( I will pay a heavy price for this as John hates Ikea!) Also when the cupboards were delivered one of the glass doors was broken and so that needs replacing (should be coming tomorrow). But worst of all is that I decided that I didn't like the room. Because I had to keep the original bookcases I chose wood units and I now have a mixture of wood tones. All I could think of was I wish I had done the whole room white. Of course all the decorating has been done with the wood in mind so I will have to live with it. And a room which takes 3 people a whole weekend to empty takes a long time to put everything back, having to sort through it all as well! So that is what is happening here. You will see photos soon...

Talking of photos, I have found a one day course on how to get the best out of your DSLR camera. I am putting my name down for it and hopefully I will be able to take the photos that I would like.

janet

 

Hard At Work...   Sunday 5th February 2012



Sewing room update...

Do these two look as if they know what they are doing? I can't make any negative comments about their abilities in case they down tools and refuse to do any more. I think John realises that the quicker he gets things done and all the furniture moved back in the quicker we get back to normal in the house. Or as normal as we ever are! I don't like the disruption of having jobs done in the house. I like to have things in their place so I have been wandering around all week doing nothing. That is not quite true as I still do cooking and washing but no housework. However I have done two more new designs so when that room is up and running there will be no stopping me...

janet

 

Cup of Coffee...  Wednesday 1st February 2012

Just stopped to have a cup of coffee and write up part one of the new quilt design ready for Liverbirds tonight. I have spent the morning stripping wallpaper in the sewing room and I have to do the polyfilla yet. Tomorrow I will undercoat and gloss the paintwork so that it will be dry by Saturday ready for the decorator to do his bit. The new radiator is on order and will be fitted on Monday so if we get the furniture in on Sunday I will be back in business next week. It will be a couple of months before the "thinking chair" arrives so till then no thinking will be done !!! I think there will be a lot less stuff going back into the room. We had a visitor last night and it was embarrassing to wonder what she must of thought of a house full of sewing bits and pieces because truly it is everywhere...

janet

 

The Winner is...   Monday 30th January 2011

JOAN Mc.

I know you don't do the e-mail thing Joan so I will send your prize via Jenny to Natterjacks if that is OK with you. Write me a comment if you prefer it another way.

The decorator is busy and is trying to fit me in one day this week. Will have to help him out and try and get the undercoat/gloss done. Bought the paint and wallpaper. Think I might need a new radiator. The list goes on.....

Really enjoyed the film Coriolanus, the acting was fantastic but you would have to like Shakespeare to watch it.

Hope you all had a "productive" weekend.

janet

 

Empty Room...   Sunday 29th January 2012




Here is my empty sewing studio ready for its makeover. Honestly it was really hard work emptying it and I think perhaps I need a hobby which has less stuff. But as you know it is not a hobby for me it is a compulsion/obsession so the family will have to put up with it, and I will try and clear out more before it goes back in the room. John has looked at the  work and decided that I need to ring the decorator (just waiting for him to ring back). Next I need to clean and prepare the room for said decorator, however I am set up in the dining room so the sewing won't stop!!!

Off to see "Coriolanus" later. How has your weekend been? Plenty of sewing I hope and don't forget to leave a comment on the "what is this" blog to win the giveaway

janet

 

Missing Lilac...   Saturday 28th January 2012

Having finished the new quilt design I looked through my stash for suitable fabrics. I usually start with a multi-coloured feature fabric and base my colour choices on that. One of my fabrics had lilac flowers on it and when I looked in my fabric drawers it was to find that I had no lilac fabrics at all !!. Purple has always been my least favourite colour and I don't have much of it in my stash but NO lilac, I mean how can I make quilts when I do not have the full range of colour to go on. Anyway this is now the choice of fabrics/colours for the new quilt (chosen by Emma) and I am raring to go.



Emma stated last night that I am full of ideas but not very productive !! Have starting emptying the sewing room (may have to call it a "studio") and have ordered the new storage and the new "thinking" chair so progress is being made.

And finally, I have not finished messing around with the website. I just haven't got it how I want it yet, a bit of colour but not too much, a bit of pattern but not too much. Clean simple lines that are tasteful and elegant. Asking too much.....

janet

 

Help...   Thursday 26th January 2012

Can't get the website back to how it was in the beginning! Will have to wait for John but maybe I could be taking some artistic photos ready...

janet

 

What Is This?   Thursday 26th January 2012


Yes you are right, it is the new quilt design for Liverbirds. I will do it in sections and it is going to be quilt-as-you-go. Then if the design "works" I will make it available for sale. It is good that I have got some ladies willing to give it a go (hopefully). Once I am happy with the blocks then I will use pen to draw the final version.

Yes you are right, it is the giveaway for reaching 3000 visitors. Just pop a comment onto the blog and you have a chance to win. I will draw it on Monday, don't mind posting it anywhere.

P.S. Did you notice that John had finally put the patterns on the website.

Feeling very perky today so must get on with the design...

janet

 

Quick Change...   Wednesday 25th January 2012

I decided I didn't like how I had changed the website, the yellow was too in your face so this afternoon all on my own I have managed this. Normally I would wait for John to do it but Liverpool are playing at home tonight so I have no chance of any computer time from him so I thought I would give it a go. One thing I have found out is that I can add photos and personalise the header which I have always wanted to do but never knew I could, so this will be temporary while I take some suitable photos of beautiful and artistic sewing things !!!!

One thing that is essential this year is to learn how to use my new camera to its full potential. I know some people just naturally have a good eye for photography and composition but I don't. The beauty of a digital camera is the ability to take lots of photos until you get one you like. I have bought 2 guidebooks on how to use the camera, really I must read them!

Getting very close to 3000 visitors so the time will be coming for another giveaway. I know more people are reading the blog than make comments but please join in to have a chance of winning.

janet

 

Update...   Monday 23rd January 2012

Yes I have done a little update on the website. What do you think? I felt that the New Year is a good time to refresh things and it just so happened that John had the day off and I asked him for a couple of hours of computer time. He is also now aware of how much work I am planning for the sewing room and he is happy about it! Luckily I have managed to find a corner cupboard that will fit the room and give me a bit more storage space than I had originally thought so I am going to press on with the decorating. I think you can tell that I have cheered up from my January blues. I think the refreshing of the website has refreshed me because the ideas are flowing and I am itching to get sewing. Although the sewing room will be out of use for a while (we are the slowest decorators!) I will set up in the dining room and John hates when I sew all over the house so that will be incentive for him to get me back in the sewing room!

I have also managed to do some "updating" of my wardrobe. This has mainly been a big clear out, it is amazing how much "stuff" you accumulate. I am also tackling the kitchen and utility and everywhere else!!

janet

 

Beautiful Workmanship...   Thursday 19th January 2012




This beautiful piece of crochet work was brought to Liverbirds last night by Barbara for "Show and Tell". To say I was stunned was an understatement. It is the most incredible work and she tells us it has taken her 4 years. I could never do something so intricate in a life time and it makes my crochet shawls look crude. I just had to say to her that I loved it and would she leave it to me in her will and she immediately said if I liked it I could have it, she had no use for it. Knowing that Emma was really taken with it, I can assure Barbara that it has come to a good home and will be loved and treasured. It is very rare that I ever covet work by other people, I can admire it certainly but for me the enjoyment comes from making my own work but I truly do love this piece of work ( I don't want to call it a tablecloth or throw because it is so much more than that).

THANK YOU BARBARA!

janet

 

Here Are...   Wednesday 18th January 2012



the six bags of fabric that I have cleared out of my stash. They will be going to Liverbirds tonight to find new homes. I may have to clear more out yet as I have decided how I am going to do the sewing room and I think ( in fact I know ) that I will have less storage space for fabric than I do now. I have spent a lot of time thinking about sewing but not doing a lot sewing recently. I have many images in my head for projects and I really must sit down and start working on the designs properly especially the new quilt project for Liverbirds!
It was interesting to see what words you came up with following the last post, I feel that I could apply them all to myself. We will have another look at them later in the year and see how you are all doing with them.

janet


 

Words...   Saturday 14th January 2012

I talked a few days ago about resolutions and how I won't be making any only to fail. However I have been reading some blogs and a few people have mentioned about choosing a word and applying that to themselves this year instead. During our dinner yesterday I brought this concept up and asked John and Emma to come up with a word that they could apply to their lives in 2012. Here is what they came up with:

John  :  Effective

Emma  :  Productive

Janet  : Update

Have a think about it and see if you can come up with a word to apply to yourself. John is not always effective in his time management. Emma knows she has to be productive this year to achieve her goals of University etc and I just need to update most areas of my life !!!!

The fabric sorting continues and the pile is getting bigger and bigger ...

janet

 

Sorting Out...   Friday 13th January 2012



This is the pile of fabric that I have cleared out of my stash so far. I am about halfway through. I realise that because I don't have a definite patchwork style that I buy fabrics in a very ad hoc way and there is often nothing that goes together. I will buy a piece of fabric because I love it even though there will be nothing like it in colour or design in my stash. This makes for a very eclectic fabric stash. I have recently been concentrating on Moda ranges only so there will be some continuity in the fabrics that I possess. But sometimes this can be a bit boring and I wonder how to combine both styles of fabric buying. I know some people are very disciplined and only buy what they need, IF ONLY.....

janet

 

I'm Not Sure...   Wednesday 11th January 2012

that the answer to January blues is cake ( see comments on the previous post ) but it certainly can't do any harm!! I think the idea of a minicoach of fellow quilters coming to visit would be a pick me up anytime as you know when quilters get together it is always fun. Let me assure you that I am not ill in any way just haven't got my normal vim and vigour but it is returning slowly! Emma is about to start her exams and these will be followed in the Summer by her final exams and hopefully University in the Autumn. I think I am more worried than she is ( she luckily has John's very laid back attitude to exams). My nephew James is also going through this so I have to suffer my sisters stress as well.

Anyway I am going into the sewing room for an hour before dinner, even if I just sit there and look at fabric it is good for the soul...

janet

 

Monday Already...   Monday 9th January 2012



Here as promised are the blocks for my new hand sewing project. It is going to be completely scrappy although the ones you are looking at are quite similar. I am making them in pairs with alternate fabrics and I can prepare them during the day to sew at night. I have done a small amount of sorting in the sewing room but maybe I have January blues as my energy levels are very low. Any suggestions will be greatfully received....

janet

 

Lists...   Friday 6th January 2012

We all make them don't we? We have lists for every aspect of our lives. I thought today that I should keep a proper list of everything I make this year with a photo. I did this once before but never got to the end of the year, I will try harder this time. I have seen several blogs where they have done a photo montage of all their work in 2011. I was thinking I would quite like to do that too. But I can't remember what I have made last year! Since starting this blog I have taken photos of everything I have made but never thought to put them in a folder where I could easily access them. Now I have a jumble of folders which don't even have titles so there is no way I am going to start looking for photos of work. Then if I said I would only show finished work then I would really be snookered ( being the mistress of the unfinished quilt!! ).

Another list I could write would be the books I read in a year. I read on average 3 books a week and today I got 14 books from the library. I have already read 2/3 books this year but I couldn't tell you what they were, except they were definitely crime stories. I find that because I read so quickly I can read the same book again and generally I don't remember them as so many stories flow through my brain.

One list I definitely won't be writing is patchwork spending! Also the list of jobs that need doing in our house!

Have started my new hand project so will do some photos this weekend to show you what it is.

Happy weekend sewing

janet

 

The Winner Is ...   Wednesday 4th January 2012



Maureen!

Well done Maureen, send me an e-mail with your full address/post code and I will get these in the post to you. The prize is 5 half yards of Sandi Henderson's "Secret Garden", some hand made buttons and some Oliver Twist threads. Thank you for all your best wishes and kind thoughts but Gwen you really don't want all my fabric! And yes the chair is likely to have a snoozing element to it.

Still haven't finished the Christmas decorations but an idea has popped into my head for a new hand piecing project so that should give me an incentive to get all these boxes sorted. Has anybody else started on a new New Year project? Let me know how you are getting on and what it is.

janet

 

Back To Normal...   Tuesday 3rd January 2012

I am trying to get back to normal and as such am supposed to be putting the Christmas decorations away. However I am procrastinating over the job. I want to put them away in a more ordered manner and I am just not in the mood. I know the decorations should only come down on the 6th but I need to take control of my life again ( how dramatic does that sound!).






There was a brief burst of sunshine earlier and I dashed into my sewing room and took photos of all 4 walls so you can see the layout. The floor area still has the piles of stuff that I photographed a while back. John at this moment believes we are just going to move the furniture around in the sewing room. I have yet to inform him that I plan to decorate and remodel the room. I have a lovely comfy chair upstairs, cream with faded roses, which I would love to put in the room and then I could sit and quilt/design etc in comfort. However it doesn't matter how I re-arrange the room in my head I just cannot fit it in. Any suggestions please?

You have until tomorrow to make a comment on the previous blog to have a chance of winning my New Year giveaway. Hope you are all getting back into sewing mode after the holiday break!

janet

 

101 Posts...   Saturday 31st December 2011

I didn't realise but the post I did yesterday was my 101st post. Can you believe that? It definitely calls  for a celebration giveaway. The giveaway will be a surprise but you know they are always worth it, so give it a go and leave a comment. You may be the one who starts the New Year with a goodie parcel.

My cold is developing very nicely but I have cheered up as I am looking forward to 2012 and all the challenges that it will bring and all the sewing that I have planned. So it only leaves me to wish you all a "HAPPY NEW YEAR" and to hope that 2012 will be good for you and your families, and to thank you all for your support and encouragement which means such a lot to me.

Best Wishes to you all for 2012

janet

 

Resolutions...   Friday 30th December 2011

Do you make them? When I was younger I would always write a list and it was pretty much the same each year, lose weight, do more exercise, eat healthily etc. I think that these are what most people would write. Then there was the year I said I wouldn't buy any more fabric! How foolish was that, I didn't even last till the end of January. Much as I don't need to buy any more fabric ever,  I know that it isn't going to happen. Maybe next year I can try and think about my fabric spending, budget properly and enjoy my fabric rather than feel overwhelmed by it. But the one thing I am determined to do next year is improve my computer skills and John is going to have to find the time to help me.

Still full of cold and feeling generally miserable with it, I am ready for the New Year now and getting back to normal!

janet

 

No Sewing...   Wednesday 28th December 2011

And I admit I have hardly thought about sewing either for the last few days but now that is about to change as I start preparing for the New Year and all the projects I intend to do!
 We have had a very festive 4 days with laughter, food, games, more food etc but now the family have gone home leaving an empty fridge and their cold germs. So today Emma and I are having an easy day, getting the house back to normal and I am going to venture into my sewing room. I am itching to have a good clear out not just of the sewing room but the whole house. I feel as we have too much "stuff" and it is weighing us down, if you see what I mean.



Anyway this is a photo of us all after our Tapas meal on Christmas Eve. I hope you have all had a wonderful time with family and friends and Father Christmas brought you lots of goodies especially of the sewing variety!

janet

 

Merry Christmas...   Thursday 22nd December 2011

I would like to think that I would be able to do another blog before Christmas but I think that may be ambitious so I will take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a big thank you for all your encouragement and support. I hope you enjoy the festive break surrounded by friends and family.



Our good neighbours Marg and Charles have their first great grandchild, a 9lb boy called Charlie and Emma has knitted this rabbit for the new arrival.

One of our chickens, Ginger has been a bit off this week, she didn't lay an egg for a couple of days and has a slight limp. She managed to produce this yesterday, the smallest egg we have ever had but at least she is on the mend.

This is the pile of unfinished quilts in my cupboard. 16 there are here and I have to say there are other quilts not as far along as these. These mainly need to be quilted and bound, a couple need final borders as well.

How many should I challenge myself to finish next year? I already have many ideas for projects for next year but I really can't keep accumulating unfinished work like this, it is a dilemma. Anyway I can ponder the problem over the holiday and see what I come up with.

With very best wishes to you all!

janet


 

Sewing...   Monday 19th December 2011




Yes I have managed to do some sewing today and Elizabeth's "hostess apron" is complete. Emma is modelling it for the photos. It was a nice pattern from an old Stitch magazine and is reversible though I used the same fabric front and back as I had a lot of it and truthfully I could not find another fabric that went with it. Honestly what is the point of a fabric stash when you never have the "right" fabric.
 Emma and James are doing some Christmas baking! We have completed our big food shop and just need to go later in the week for veg/milk/bread. It is so much easier with Emma helping especially the unpacking when we get home.

I got everything done that I wanted to at the weekend so am feeling good and enjoying this build up to the big day. I hope to do some more sewing tomorrow and tackle another mug rug.

Well I must go and clean up the kitchen now as I can't expect them to do that as well !!

Take care everyone

janet

 

Snow...   Friday 16th December 2011

What a great day. I feel good, my family are all home safely, the house is warm and festive and it is snowing! 


Just a glimpse of one of our Christmas trees with snow falling outside.

Looking down our road from the front door.


Emma arriving home from school!

I love the snow and it does make you feel Christmassy. It is not likely to stay as it is too wet, just hope we don't get ice. Spent the afternoon watching "Harry Potter" with Emma. I know I should be sewing and ironing and wrapping presents but sometimes you just have to stop and enjoy the moment.

janet

 

36 Lost Hours...   Thursday 15th December 2011

Yes that is how long I have been incapacitated with a bout of vertigo. This is a horrible condition, if you have never had it be thankful. I know it doesn't compare with many life threatening conditions but it is still horrible. Luckily John was able to work from home and look after me. This afternoon I have been able to resume my daily life and yes I am behind with things but I will get there and if I don't, I don't.

We are just about done with the Christmas decorating and I will post photos tomorrow. Emma is at this minute decorating her bedroom! And really there is still a week to go for shopping/ cleaning etc.  We should also be able to have quite a relaxing weekend too so thats good. I hope you are all keeping calm in the madness that is pre Christmas. I notice the difference between how I was when I worked and how I am now. It was so busy in work and you were exhausted but you had the friendship and support of work colleagues all in the same boat.  Luckily I have good friends who I can share this time with and I am much more relaxed ( John would say too relaxed!). Anyway take care at this busy busy time...

janet

 

Busy Monday...   Monday 12th December 2011

I am sure this is a busy day for everyone, you start feeling the pressure and countdown to Christmas. Having had a lovely relaxing weekend at my sisters, today I got up bright and early ready to tackle allsorts. I have done my first lot of food shopping. I have planted two box balls ( replacing the two that were dead! ) in pots on either side of the front door. John can now decorate these with lights hopefully before the stormy, windy weather arrives. We did manage to get the indoor Christmas trees up but they need decorating, the next job to do after this blog!



This is the fabric I have chosen for my sister's hostess apron, fun don't you think! Don't let the Christmas stress get to you, make sure you have a little time for yourself even if it is only time to make and enjoy a cup of tea. Yes I am feeling thirsty!

janet

 

Friday Finishes...   Friday 9th December 2011

I have finished my second mug rug and it is better than my 1st but I have started  to plan a third. I won't show you the second one in case it is the one that I have to take to the Liverbirds Christmas night. Does that make sense! I did "Google" mug rugs and found 3 and a half million images, so all those people didn't have a problem so why am I !!

Anyway I have been writing cards and wrapping presents and feel quite pleased that I have made progress in these areas. In the last few years I have had to beg Emma to wrap presents for me as I ran out of time. Of course no housework has been done, but it occurred to me that if I dusted too soon it would need dusting again before Christmas!

A weekend of family and Christmas decorations awaits me, hope your weekend is good for you..

janet

 

Lots of Progress...   Wednesday 7th December 2011




I think I am winning on the list. Today I have finished Luke's sleepover cushion and last night I completed the crochet shawl for Linda.  Yippee!!!!!!  On the original list of 8 I have finished 6 but of course I have added 2 more. Once I have finished the ironing ( life has a habit of getting in the way!) I should be able to get on with mug rug number 2. I have pinned the binding on so it JUST needs sewing and finishing and embellishing. I can see myself making another one because I am not really happy with this one. Next I am making an apron for my sister and that is all the essentials done, the rest of the list can wait and if it gets done, great but if not next year is fine.

I must say that I allocated this week to getting the house ready to put the decorations up. This is not going well at all, in fact nothing has been done. There is always tomorrow!

janet

 

Feeling Refreshed!   Monday 5th December 2011

After a good nights sleep I am raring to go. The focus this week will be to make Luke's sleepover cushion, the mug rug and to finish the crochet motifs. As well as doing all the other things that need to be done 3 weeks before Christmas!



So for those who want to see the decoration, here it is.

These are all the ones that I have made.
The variety of fabrics used by the ladies on Saturday to make these decorations was fantastic, and I hope they enjoyed making them. It was fantastic to see so many finished ones and I am sorry that I didn't have my camera to take some photos.

I have had to change those buttons on the banner, I think these look better.



I am progressing on the list, I will work on the basis of what is essential from now on. Also I am drawing up the design for a new quilt, but I promise I won't start it before 2012!!

janet

 

So Tired...   Sunday 4th December 2011

Yes I was really tired last night after the Wirral Area day. But what a great day we had. I so enjoyed the whole day and it was really brilliant to spend the day with lots of lovely enthusiastic ladies. I hope a few join me on my quilting journey because let me tell you I was so full of ideas last night that I have starting designing a new quilt! I find that when I am sharing patchwork with others it always leads me to new ideas, my mind goes into overdrive.

I have had a lazy day to recharge my batteries but I did take the opportunity to start work on my Christmas menu. Don't forget that I am not just cooking Christmas dinner but we have the family here for the full 4 days and with three teenagers the food needs to keep coming

Photos of the new Christmas decoration tomorrow.

janet

 

Christmas Countdown...   Thursday 1st December 2011

I love the build up to Christmas and today is the start when we get our Advent calendars out.





I have also got a new front door mat and I have finished the cushion for John's Mum.



I am pleased with how I am getting on with my list, another 2 crochet motifs last night!

Yesterday Emma was off school and when we are at home on our own we often watch films. We decided to watch "7 Brides for 7 Brothers". I am not a big fan of musicals but when I was a child my dad took me to see this film. It was just me and him, we went on the bus and I don't remember it being for a special occasion but of course in my memory it is now a very special occasion as it was the only time we did something like this on our own, and I know that I loved that evening together. Watching the film yesterday brought back those happy memories, even though the film is very cheesy!!  However there is lots of patchwork in it, on the clothes, beds walls etc. Perhaps my love of patchwork started then.

janet

 

Rainy Tuesday...   Tuesday 29th November 2011

Yes what a miserable day, very dark and wet but at least I don't feel guilty about going into my sewing room and doing what I like most. I have finished 9 Christmas decorations with one more to sew together. I have done the machine applique on the cushion for John's Mum and I have done some work on my next mug rug. I can't show you the decorations as they will be unveiled on Saturday at the Area day. I will do all the hand stuff on the cushion tonight, I like to save my hand work for the evenings when I can sit with the family and watch a bit of TV. Oh I also managed one more crochet motif, so quite a productive couple of days.

We did go to the Christmas Market on Sunday and I did have a hog roast sandwich and it was really good. However I don't think I will ever enjoy one as much as the first one I ever had several years ago. It was a very cold evening and Emma and I were wrapped up well and that hog roast was so tasty, the man gave us lots of crispy bits and it was soooooo good.

This afternoon as I was sewing I got to think about the sewing room. In the New Year I think I will decorate it, take every thing out ( a massive undertaking!) and really give it an update. John doesn't know about this  yet but I know he will love the idea!! This may also mean I will have a big sort out so plenty of giveaways will be happening.

Just a bit of news about my friend Susan. Yesterday she moved back into her flat after more than 3 years of renovations. I hope she will be very happy back in her home and that she gets her sewing room set up as quick as possible. Hopefully she will be back on the internet by the weekend so she can update us on what has been happening. Also I can't help but feel tremendous admiration for the removal men who carried her settee up 10 floors as they couldn't get it into the lift. Her view on that 10th floor is fantastic, welcome home Susan x

janet

 

Still Stitching!   Saturday 26th November 2011

Last night I finished the Xmas felt cushions and here is how they will look on the day bed.





I also managed 2 and a half crochet motifs. This morning I started getting fabric out for the Christmas decorations and will start on them as soon as I have finished this post. While I was choosing fabric I came across a nice fabric which I think will look better on the covered buttons on the banner, but I won't change them yet as I have got to prioritise!

Tomorrow we may go to town to wander around the Christmas market stalls. I love the food stalls especially the hog roast sandwiches and just thinking about them makes me feel hungry.

Off to sew!  Have a good weekend.

janet

 

Stitching Like Mad...   Thursday 24th November 2011

Yes I am stitching like mad and making slow progress on the list. Unfortunately the list keeps getting longer, I have added a mug rug onto it for the Liverbirds Christmas challenge. As you know I have made one mug rug but I was not happy with it and my second effort doesn't seem much better. How can one small piece of work cause so much trouble.


Anyway the buttons are on the banner but I think they are a little dull. If I see better ones I will swap them but for now they stay.

Have made a start on the cushion for John's Mum.

Have made 12 of these tags for the new Region 12 Quilt stands. The stands are piled up in our dining room and I think John would like to see the back of them. Thank you Susan for the pelmet vilene.

Just for your information Joan Mc. Yes I have also managed 1 and a half crochet motifs and I am just finishing the edge of the felt Xmas cushion.

So far I think things are going to plan, I will only start to worry on the 24th December!

janet

 

New Project...   Tuesday 22nd November 2011

Last Saturday we had a Liverbirds sewing day and even though I have that long list of projects I decided to start something new. You may remember a while back I showed you some lovely fabrics with an octagon template resting on the top. Well here is what I am making with them.


It took all day to do those 3 and a half blocks. That could have something to do with the talking and eating of cake. I thought I would get 10 done at least as well as some hand sewing. Such optimism!



I am getting to the final stages on these 2 projects. The Xmas banner just needs buttons and the cushions need their backs put on. Tomorrow I have scheduled some sewing time as I want to work on my list.

I have made progress on my Christmas shopping. I hate to shop in December with all the crowds so I try to get everything done in November and can then enjoy December with friends and family. Obviously I do food shopping and unfortunately I do have to do some housework as well!

janet

 

Being A Good Wife!   Thursday 17th November 2011

That is what I have been doing for the last couple of days, looking after John following his laser eye surgery. I have administered his eye drops, made cups of tea/coffee, fed him etc and have  done no sewing. You know that this cannot go on as I have a LIST! I have added make an apron for my sister to this list. Hopefully back to normal tomorrow.

Last night I went to give a talk to Garstang P's and Q's. I had a lovely night meeting the ladies there and I hope some of them come and follow my quilting adventures here.

Normal service resumes tomorrow!!

janet

 

Priorities..   Monday 14th November 2011

It is that time of year when most of us start to prioritise what needs to be done before Christmas. I couldn't believe it when I realised it is only 6 weeks till Christmas. So will have to be making decisions as to what will get done. Here is my list:
1. Finish Christmas banner (nearly done).
2. Finish Christmas cushions ( nearly done).
3. Make a sleepover pillow for Luke ( not started but have design in my head)
4. Finish crocheted wrap, have got 16 more motifs to crochet. It is not actually a Christmas present, but my friend Linda has now waited over a year for her Birthday present.
5. Make a Christmas cushion for John's Mum. She doesn't bother so much with decorations now so I thought a cushion would just bring a bit of Christmas cheer ( got fabrics out and design is in my head ).
6. Make some more 2011 decorations to give to friends and family. Most of you know I design a new decoration every year and this year I will be doing a workshop for the Wirral Area day. 8 should do it, I have made 1  !!
7. Get borders on to James' quilt. They are partially made, but want to get the top done and then I will quilt it in the New Year.
8. Just want to make a little surprise something too.

I am going to be super efficient over the Christmas food. I am going to do a complete holiday menu and then write shopping lists and at some stage I will actually cook too!!
Photos soon...

janet

 

I Need More Time...   Thursday 10th November 2011



The year has flown by, the days are flying by and I just need more time! I have finished the final Christmas stitchery and will hopefully make the banner when the instructions are published tomorrow. I am still working on the two Christmas cushions and they really shouldn't be taking me so long as they are not complex in any way. I needed some red buttons for them so last week when I was shopping in John Lewis I chose some lovely red buttons and took them to the till and asked how much they were as they had no price on them. I was truly shocked when the assistant laughed and said they were £3.50 each! Apparently they were real Italian shell buttons, they did not come home with me as I was really just looking for plastic!

Today I am going to make the borders for James' quilt, I have chosen the design and hope it works!

PS. Message for Joan Mc.  You can get the Lynette Anderson Xmas fabric from www.quilterscloth.co.uk I have ordered from them several times and they are very quick and efficient.

janet

 

Busy Weekend..   Monday 7th November 2011

Hope you have all had a good weekend. Just a quick update on what I've done in the last few days. Friday I prepared the house for an influx of visitors and in the evening I went to a charity night. Saturday was our Quilters Guild area day. Susan and I organise the day and we had a great time. Our speaker was Fiona Macaulay Davies and in the morning she showed us her work and in the afternoon we made tassels. I just love these days, it is wonderful to spend time with friends doing what we love. I dashed home to get ready for the 16 people who were coming to ours for food and fireworks. We had 6 of them staying overnight, so breakfast on Sunday was a very leisurely affair for the 9 of us. Once everyone had gone it was time to do some major clearing up and there was just time for a short bike ride around the block.

Now I was tired, we had leftovers for tea and then slumped in front of the TV, but I knew that I just had to do some stitching.


Finished last night are another workshop sample, I really like how the 2 sunflowers worked. The black piece was a trial using the bias strips to see if I wanted to make a larger piece using this idea, the answer is probably no. The third is my first mugrug. In my mind it was going to look so much better, I like the shape, lemon obviously, and I like my quilting designs but it just doesn't look much, so hopefully my second one will be better.

janet

 

Thursday 3rd November 2011

Busy sewing!!!

janet

 

The Winner Is...   Tuesday 1st November 2011



SUE H.

Well done Sue, thank you for reading my blog and leaving such a great comment, the prize will wing its way to you. John had the job of picking a name out of the bowl so you can check with him that it was done fairly! There will be plenty more opportunities for the rest of you lovely ladies in the future. Stick with me!

Also in the photo are the 2 Christmas stitcheries and the 2 mobile phone covers. Had hoped to get a lot more done today but have spent the afternoon shopping with John, stressful, tiring and expensive.

janet

 

One More Day...   Monday 31st October 2011

Till I do the draw for the giveaway so if you haven't left a comment now is the time to do it!  I don't feel I was as productive as I could have been this weekend. This is what I did :

1. Finished Christmas stitcheries number 5 and 6.

2. Made 2 mobile phone covers.

3. Finished the machine applique on another workshop sample, prepared the binding.

4. Drew the design for another mug rug and chose the fabrics.

5. Designed two cushions for the display at our Area day on Saturday, chose the fabrics, cut  out the shapes and started the applique. Picked out the embellishments.

6. Decided on a border design for James' quilt.

I looked out of the window before and the sky was a strange yellow colour with a vibrant rainbow across it, dashed for the camera and guess what, flat battery!

Photos tomorrow!
PS. Have loved reading all your comments.

janet

 

Giveaway...   Thursday 27th October 2011



I promised that when my visitor counter reached 2000 I would do another giveaway so here it is. The numbers jumped this morning and raced past the magic number. All I want you to do is leave me a comment at the end of this blog. Just a simple "Hello" will do. I will draw the winner on Tuesday 1st November 2011. The prize includes 8 fat quarters of "Terrain" by Kate Spain for Moda, 17 fat eights of Lynnette Andersons latest Christmas range and Natalie Ross' "Get Red Red Ready for Christmas". So plenty to keep you going. Get commenting!!

On the sewing machine front, I tested Miss Featherweight yesterday. I gave her a dust, put a new needle in and with just 2 tweaks on the tension I produced a perfect stitch. How amazing is that! She is 56 years old as her serial number dates back to Feb 14th 1955.

janet

 

O.M.G.   Wednesday 26th October 2011

I am totally in love with this....



It came this morning and when I took it out of the packaging I was so excited. The condition is good and all its bits are there. Will have a go at sewing with it this afternoon after I have given it a bit of a clean ( will that count as housework!). I know you are probably wondering what all the fuss is about but let me show you this...


Haven't managed to do a thing all morning!

janet

 

What Border?   Tuesday 25th October 2011



This is James' quilt ready for a border. Although I know exactly how I am going to quilt this I am undecided as to a design or the border. My original idea was for a piano keys border and truthfully I haven't come up with any other ideas. Any suggestions would be gratefully received.


I have now finished 4 of the Christmas stitcheries and I know the swag will look good because the finished design is lovely, it's just a pity that I don't have a fireplace to hang it on. I am going to have to think outside the box!

I am now going to start on the Liverbirds Christmas challenge. This year the challenge is small and "easy", it is a mug rug. Got lots of ideas, may have to make more than one.

janet

 

Slowly But Surely..   Monday 24th October 2011

Things are happening behind the scenes of the website. I have opened a new bank account to set up the Paypal account in the way that is needed for the patterns. I now have the software loaded for the new camera and that means I can take photos with it for the blog. I can only take photos with the automatic function so far as I need to read more of the instruction book! Let me know if you can tell there is a difference. Another Christmas stitchery finished and a batch of green tomato chutney made and "bottled". Now to get on with James' quilt.





janet

 

A Moment Of Madness...   Sunday 23rd October 2011

Nearly!



I saw this Singer Featherweight sewing machine on a website and my heart nearly had palpitations. I loved it. I couldn't get my credit card out quick enough, I had to have it. Then my head said "Stop". There were a number of disadvantages to this machine. The first being the cost $1169.00, the second the fact that the electric voltage is wrong for the UK and the third being the amount of import duty it would cost to bring it here. I couldn't stop thinking about it so had a quick look on e-bay. These sewing machines come up regularly and if they have been "done up" they cost £125 -£200. They are nearly always black and very occasionally white. They are never as gorgeous as that red one but look at the cost difference. Anyway after a fast and furious bidding war I am now the proud owner of this..

at a cost of £64.45.

The photos have been taken off websites and that is why they are not too sharp. When it arrives I will take a better photo of it. It is basically the electric version of the sewing machine that Emma cleaned up and has decided is hers!

janet

 

Friday Sewing!   Friday 21st October 2011



I have now finished two of the little Christmas stitcheries and have started my third. They are just what I needed for these dark evenings until I have finished James' quilt and I can hand quilt it. If you want to see where I found them on the internet, the site is called SewHappy.Me. I can't do a link at the moment as I keep losing all the blog that I have just written when I try to add a hyperlink, this is really maddening when I have just written a Booker prize winning piece.

Anyway I have started my "Spring" cleaning and have decided that it is important to not do too much in one go. So far I have cleaned 2 kitchen windows and wiped the kitchen cupboard doors. Enough for this week I think!!

I hope you are keeping an eye on my visitor numbers as we are getting close to 2000 and when that happens it will be time for another giveaway and you wouldn't want to miss that would you? Must go and sew!

janet

 

Tidying Up!   Wednesday 19th October 2011

I am not a person who can work with a lot of mess around them. I am known to be very tidy ( this has nothing to do with housework!) and I sew in a very structured way. Free and easy is not for me! Every now and again I have to stop and tidy my sewing room, a lot of "stuff" enters my room but not a lot leaves it.



These photos show what has accumulated on the floor and really needs a home but of course there is no room so I must be decisive and get rid of stuff! That is really hard to do but I know when I have done it I feel so much better and liberated. So watch this space for the after photos.


This is just a little peek at a Christmas project I am sewing at night.

janet

 

Chicken Run!   Monday 17th October 2011



We knew as soon as we got her that Shirley was going to be the natural leader of this new set of chickens. Yesterday as we sat out in the garden enjoying the lovely Autumn sunshine Shirley was determined to show the others how to fly and escape!! Babs and Ginger having joined her on the table took the easy option and jumped down but Shirley took off and flew all of 6 feet, she really needs to watch the film!!

No sewing yesterday as we had a lazy day, having enjoyed a delicious Thai meal at Chilli Banana on Saturday night. I LOVE Thai food! Today I am still sewing James' quilt but as each joining strip is sewn on it gets one strip nearer to finished. I am going to start a little Christmas piece tonight that I can sew while I am watching TV.

janet

 


Coming Together...   Saturday 15th October 2011


I have finished all the blocks and have now started assembling the quilt for James. I love the colours and design and I know already how I am going to quilt it!! It is going to have a border as well. I can see this design working well with many different styles of fabric, Japanese, floral, conversational etc. I wanted to get all the blocks sewn together this afternoon but all the Keenan men have arrived home after the match ( Liverpool v Manchester United ) so I have stopped for tea and biscuits.

Last night I made the decision to go no further with the Farmer's Wife blocks. I am not enjoying it and don't like the fabrics. I have made one more block today to replace a very poorly made one so I still have 30 blocks and will put them together very simply. I am happy to have made that decision especially when I know that I have so many other ideas that I want to try.

Happy weekend sewing!

janet

 

Well Done Girls!   Friday 14th October 2011

I was going to call you "ladies" which you are of course, but yesterday I realised that quilters are young at heart, in their enthusiasm to learn new things, to have a laugh and to come up with their own ideas and suggestions and to share with others. I think quilters are unique! What a great day I had with the "girls", I came home brimming with ideas and I only hope they did too.  So here are the photos of the work that was done yesterday. I hope I have not missed anyone.













You will be glad to know that I am practising with the new camera so hopefully soon the photos will be better. Anyway thank you all for making me feel so welcome and I hope to see you all again soon.

Here I am "hard" at work!

janet

 

Bags for Quilts!    Friday 14th October 2011

Yesterday at the workshop the ladies were very interested in the bags that I had brought my quilts in. They are very bright and colourful and the patterns are lovely. I had recently bought some more of these bags as I realised it was better to have more bags with fewer quilts in as they would be easier to carry. So here they are ...


You can buy them at www.dotcomgiftshop.com ( having problems doing a link, sorry!)

janet

 

Getting Prepared...   Wednesday 12th October 2011

Tomorrow I am teaching the Vase of Flowers workshop to a group of ladies from Southport Quilters. I am looking forward to it as it will be great to see what designs they come up with and it is good to spend time with like minded people. I have nearly finished getting everything together that I need, sometimes it feels like I am moving house.

On the subject of houses you know I have a very loose relationship with housework and this house seems to be particularly difficult. I think I am going to have to rethink how the cleaning etc gets done as it just isn't working. I am even thinking of doing some "Spring" cleaning as long as it doesn't get in the way of my sewing. I am sewing although I don't have any photos to show. I have made 3 more blocks for James' quilt and I have done the calculations for 6 more Farmer's Wife quilt blocks so there will be plenty of photos soon.



I just wanted to show you this photo of James, Emma and Luke taken at James's 18th party. It was taken by Colin Pierce. I love it!

janet

 

Harvest...   Monday 10th October 2011



What do you think of these? Before you suggest that they may be a little small I should tell you that they are mini pumpkins. I don't think there will be much pumpkin to eat but I think they will look great in an Autumn bowl. But they have given me yet another idea for a quilt. Today my head has been buzzing with ideas.  Firstly though a recap of the weekend.

Yes I did manage some more blocks for James' quilt, I am now halfway through the blocks and I really like how it is looking. Then on Saturday it was our Regional Day for Quilter's Guild members in our region. The morning speaker was Sandra Meech, an Art Quilter who showed us her work based on time spent in northern Canada with the Inuits. I could see how she started her work and how she ended it but I am not sure I understood all the processes between. It was very interesting though. In the afternoon a local group of quilters called Cauldron showed their work based on the many challenges they set each other. The work was fabulous, very diverse, the ladies were very entertaining and it was a great afternoon.

On arriving home my sister and nephew came to stay. This seriously curtailed my sewing but it was lovely to spend time with them. We do have a good laugh when we are together even though she complained my dust was setting off her allergies. So today it has been Monday tidy up ( no dusting though) and now I can set to on some of my many ideas. How was your weekend?

janet

 

Lovely Surprise..   Friday 7th October 2011

A small package arrived in the post today and when I opened it, it was a beautiful "Thank You" card from the Mannin Quilters of the Isle of Man. It has a lovely vase of flowers on the front and it is full of lots of lovely comments from the ladies I met there. They also included a Mannin Quilters badge as a momento for me. What they didn't see ( as I didn't take it!) is that I have a wallhanging in my sewing room which is full of badges from exhibitions etc and I couldn't wait to go and add this one to it.




My nephew Luke loves music. He plays the guitar and is in a band. On Wednesday he went to the Cavern Club in Liverpool and played there during the lunchtime. This was organised by school but the significant thing, for those of you who may not know, is that the Cavern Club is very important in the history of the Beatles and they also played lunchtime sessions. We were well impressed with this opportunity for Luke as the Cavern Club is an iconic venue and so important to Liverpool. He said that plenty of people came and listened and they got a good reception. Well Done Luke!

janet

 

Windy Day!   Thursday 6th October 2011

Well the weather is most peculiar. We have had torrential rain, several hailstorms and the sun has shone all in the space of a few hours and on top of that it has been really windy. The chickens don't like the wind and they like even less the fox that was trying to get into their run this morning before I chased it off. I have managed to sew 4 Farmer's Wife blocks, this brings me upto 30. It is definitely better for me if I do all the calculations first for quite a few blocks, then the cutting out. When I come to sew them it doesn't take long and I don't find them so tedious.


Block Number 25 (Cups & Saucers), Number 12 (Broken Sugar Bowl), Number 70 (Prairie Queen) and Number 34 (Flock).

Hoping to get two more blocks of James' quilt done before tea.

janet

 

Post...   Tuesday 4th October 2011



These arrived in the post this morning. About a week ago I was wandering around the internet when I found this shop on etsy selling zips.http://www.etsy.com/shop/zipit?ref=ss_profile The colours looked so bright and fresh that I immediately felt I could do lots with these zips and had to have them. The price was good too even adding in the postage. There is such fantastic stuff "out there" but it takes time to find it.The little round things are zipper pulls, they just give a nice finish to the zip.

janet

 

Monday Sewing...  Monday 3rd October 2011

Can you believe it is October already? I really need to get down to some serious sewing and get stuck in to putting "stuff" on the website. John has been so busy in work recently that I don't like to ask him to spend yet more hours in front of the computer for me. I know once we get going I will pick it up, it just takes me a bit longer!
Anyway here is some progress on James's quilt. The fabric is called Circa 1934 ( not 34 as I previously mentioned) and I have not shown it to James nor the design. I have decided it will be a surprise.



This is my third effort at breadmaking, not bad shape and totally delicious!


janet
















 

Next Project   Friday 30th September 2011

After planning two projects combining my love of applique and pieced blocks, today I have veered in another direction altogether. I have bought a range of fabrics called Circa 34 by Cosmo Cricket for Moda. When they arrived I split the fat quarters into 2 groups. One group has all the numbers, letters, spots and plains and I just knew that I wanted to make a  quilt for my nephew James with them. This will be his "going to uni" quilt. I have drawn up the block design and I am half way through cutting all the pieces for the block. As soon as I have made a few blocks I will show you and you can give me your opinion. This will not be a complex quilt but hopefully it will be a quilt that will have love in it for when he is far away. Mind you Emma is now worried that I won't get a quilt made for her going away but you know I work better with a deadline!!!

janet

 

First Attempts   Wednesday 28th September 2011

John has wanted a breadmaker for ages but I am not a big bread eater so thought it would be a waste of time and one more gadget to clog up the kitchen. Yesterday in Sainsbury's I bought a breadmaker for £11.46. How cheap is that. Today I have attempted to make bread.




The short one was my first attempt and I used the wrong type of yeast and didn't set the "colour" button. The bigger loaf was attempt number 2 and it stuck to the sides of the machine. John and Emma had better be appreciative of my efforts as I have done no sewing at all and I am getting withdrawal symptoms. Just as well it is Liverbirds tonight.

janet

 

Lovely Day...    Tuesday 27th September 2011

What a beautiful day! The sun is shining and it is lovely and warm. I found three courgettes and one ripe tomato in the garden, really our vegetable growing has been abysmal this year. Anyway as I mentioned yesterday Emma did some sewing while I was away and here it is..



Emma is enjoying learning to knit at the moment and a couple of week ago her Grandma gave her lots of knitting needles. After we had sorted them and paired them up she decided to make a knitting needle bag. She checked the tension on the old machine and you would not believe the fantastic stitch it made, so even and smooth. When I came home she presented me with her finished bag and I was really impressed. Hope you  are too?

janet

 

A New Week...   Monday 26th September 2011

Where does the time go! I sound just like my Mum now, when you are young time goes so slowly and when you get older it flies by! I didn't mention that on Saturday morning I was able to get to a Quilters Guild Area day. The speaker was Gwenfai Rees-Griffiths and although I have heard Gwenfai speak before, I am such a big fan that I had to go and see her again. Her work is unbelievable, her stitching fantastic and she is a really nice person too.


I couldn't resist these fabrics from "Patchwork Gallery", the colours are so rich.
One more Farmer's Wife block, Number 44 (Gentleman's Fancy).

Tomorrow I will show you what Emma made with her new "old" sewing machine while I was away in the Isle of Man.

janet

 

Birthday Boy !   Sunday 25th September 2011

My nephew James will be 18 this week and last night we went to a party at my sisters to celebrate. We had a great time and stayed over. My sister and I are very close ( even though she doesn't like quilts!)  and we have always spent a lot of time together as one big family. Anyway here we are with James, and a photo of Elizabeth and I. We really are sisters!!





janet

 

Friday Sewing...   Friday 23rd September 2011
When I started the Farmer's Wife quilt blocks I liked the idea that each block was different. Because the book has no rotary cutting instructions I have found calculating the cutting measurements quite tedious and had seriously started to get fed up with it. Last week I sat down and worked out the cutting requirements for 12 blocks and have now whipped up 7 blocks in no time. I will not make all 110 blocks, I had thought it would be a miracle if I made 20 but I have now set myself a target of 42. This will make a nice lap quilt size and that will be fine. With the two blocks I made yesterday and 5 I have made today I am upto 25.  However I have two other projects that I am desperate to start and I really think that I HAVE to make them!!



Number 69 (Practical Orchard), Number 49 (Honeycomb) and Number 72 (Railroad)
Number 92 (Streak of Lightning) and Number 56 (Maple Leaf).
 

janet

 

Back To Normal   Thursday 22nd September 2011

I think I am well and truly back to normal, or as normal as I can possibly be!


I have done the stitiching on two more workshop samples. They seem to come to life once the stitching is done. I am going to embellish the purple flower as I think it is a little small and some beads around the edge should help.
I have made two more Farmer's Wife blocks, Number 68 (Postage Stamp) and Number 6 (Big Dipper).

Finally two new pieces of technology for me to master. OH DEAR !!!!


janet

 

Isle of  Man  Part 3   Tuesday 20th September 2011

On Sunday after a relaxing breakfast Sue took me on a tour of the northern half of the island. It was a beautiful day and I hope you enjoy these photos. For those of you who know Sue, doesn't she look great? I came home on Monday morning and yet again the sea was calm. I had asked all the ladies at the workshop to pray for calm waters and they obviously had. I have not unpacked the quilts yet and I have just chased a fox out of our garden but the memories of the weekend keep rolling through my mind. I feel energised after being in the company of like-minded people and now it is time to get on with some sewing!!











janet

 

Isle of Man   Part 2   Tuesday 20th September 2011

On Friday night I gave a talk to Mannin Quilters. There was a very good turnout and we had a great night, lots of laughter, cakes etc. On Saturday I taught a workshop using my pre-quilted background technique. Again we had a great day and I would like to thank Teresa, Vicky, Chris, Val, Beverley, Joy, Catherine, Nora, Jo, Val, and Marian for taking the workshop and I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did. Here are the photos taken of their work, I thought they all did brilliantly, don't you!











janet

 

Isle of Man   Part 1   Tuesday 20th September 2011

I had every intention of writing a blog before setting off to the Isle of Man but I had problems with the internet. This was so frustrating as I wanted to show you how much "stuff" had to be packed in the car. Luckily after several days of terrible weather Thursday was bright and sunny and the sea was calm. It was chaos as I arrived at the dock as the cruise ship Queen Mary 2 was in port and there were thousands of people milling around coming to have a look at her. She dwarfed the sea cat Mannanan which I was going on!  Anyway having arrived safely, on Friday Sue had the day mapped out and off we set for a look around the south end of the island. I particularly liked Cregneash, the National Folk Museum. If you have seen the film "Waking Ned" some of the filming was done here. Anyway a few photos for you to look at and in Part 2 I will tell you all about the talk and workshop.









janet

 

Pattern Writing Chaos!    Tuesday 13th September 2011


This is my pattern writing chaos. I am trying to write up the pattern for "Spring Flowers" as I have had a few requests for it. When I originally designed it for Liverbirds I gave them weekly installments and I was able to discuss in person how each section was made. It is not a complex quilt to make and it goes together beautifully as long as you follow the sewing instructions. Now I am writing it for people who don't have me there showing them everything and it is quite difficult to write up and make sure that I have covered everything. It is going to have more pages than any pattern I have ever seen. I knew it would be difficult and so I kept putting it off, now I am not allowing myself to start that lovely new project until it is done.
 HELP!

janet

 

Choice Made!   Saturday 10th September 2011



OK, I have decided to go with my heart. These are the fabrics I am going to use and this is the shape!! This is going to be a full sized quilt so I will work on some smaller projects too. Once I have made a few blocks I will show you how I am progressing. I have made some more samples for the Isle of Man, each at a different stage to demonstrate the ongoing process.

I just commented to John at lunchtime how envious I am of Emma. She is at such an exciting time in her life, University ahead (hopefully), moving away from home (hopefully), choosing a career path (hopefully). It seems such a long time ago that I was at this stage and I don't remember it as being exciting but rather frightening. I was so homesick at first that my parents used to dread my weekly phone call ( in the days before mobile phones!! ) because I was so miserable. It got better!!

Happy weekend sewing!

janet

 

What To Do...   Thursday 8th September 2011

I have so many ideas that I can't decide what to do next. So instead of just getting on with something I am sitting thinking about it. I have tried sitting in the sewing room but that hasn't helped as I just look at all my "stuff". I need a new hand project that is portable for carrying around but the project that is foremost in my mind is machine pieced and I really want to do it. How do you resolve this dilemma when you come across it? Let me know how you make these decisions and maybe it will help me.

I have done some research on cameras and have now chosen the camera that I want, this should be good for everyone when I can take better photos (I know it is the photographer and not the camera which is the problem!!).

Off to the sewing room to see what happens!

janet

 

Catch Up!   Wednesday 7th September 2011

Four more Farmer's Wife blocks, didn't make any last week so have now caught up.


Number 21 (Contrary Wife), Number 48 (Homeward Bound), Number 31 (Evening Star), Number 55 (Linoleum).

My bargain buy at Harrogate was these Aurafil rayon threads. 50 spools for £30 and the colours are gorgeous. I use rayon threads for my machine applique as they have a lovely sheen.

Look what arrived yesterday, these beautiful flowers were from my friend Sue, she is very naughty to have sent them but they have lifted my spirit.

I have been really excited to find that some of the lovely ladies I met the other night at Gleneagles patchwork group have taken the trouble to have a look at my website, it makes me more determined to keep progressing even though I find the computer side hard. There is so much that I want to add to the website, I know I will get there!

janet

 

Harrogate Quilt Show 2011  Tuesday 6th September 2011


















I hope these have given you a little taster of the show, I am sorry about the quality of the photos. The lighting was poor and there were a lot of people so I couldn't stand far enough back to photograph the whole quilt.

Had a great night last night with the ladies of the Gleneagles patchwork group. They made me so welcome and we had much laughter. By the end of the evening I had several offers to adopt Emma when they found out she could cook and so I had more time to sew!

Off to do some sewing.

janet

 

So Much News!    Sunday 4th September 2011

I am sure you have been waiting to hear all about Harrogate. The most important thing is that after 4 years of trying my friend Susan got her first rosette, a judges merit for her wallhanging "12 days of Christmas". She was so excited, a big lottery win couldn't have made her more happy. I won 2nd place for my Liverpool cushion and my friend Jenny also got a judges merit for her beautiful taupe medallion quilt.




I will post more photos tomorrow as I am sure you would like to see some of the other quilts if you were not able to go to the show yourself.

I have been preparing for a talk that I am giving tomorrow and I thought I would show you my first 2 patterns all printed and ready to go, just waiting for John to put them on the website.

Emma designed and made this lego chess set as a birthday present for a school friend, I was really impressed with it.

janet

 

Retro!   Friday 2nd September 2011



Today things are not old they are "retro". Emma loves vintage style clothes and "stuff". She found out I have an old Singer sewing machine and wanted to look at it and she loves it. She spent several hours getting it to this polished perfection and her next job is to find out how to use it from the original handbook. I have looked it up on the Internet and it was made in 1934 and it is in very good condition. I have got rid of a lot of sewing machines over the years but I kept this one in case we have a worldwide power meltdown and I would still be able to sew.


Captured this cheeky chicken thinking she should be at the table with us!

A little peek at this piece of work which is going to be part of a present for a friend. She doesn't read my blog but I won't mention her name. I am going to enjoy embellishing it.
.
Off to Harrogate to see the show, will have lots to tell you when I get back.

janet

 

September Already!   Thursday 1st September 2011

What a mad few days I have had. John came with Emma and I to Harrogate and after delivering the quilts we drove upto Fountains Abbey. Although it was raining it was a beautiful spot. The Abbey ruins were so atmospheric and ripe with photo opportunities, but I had left my camera at home. Yesterday had lots of places to go, just house and personal stuff and then it was a mad rush to clean the house before my friend Jan came to stay. Housework does seem to go to pot during the summer holidays.

Jan came to Liverbirds last night and today we have been into Liverpool. She is now on the M6 returning home and I am exhausted, too tired to even think about sewing  but tomorrow I am going to start something new!

janet

 

Finished With A Day To Spare   Monday 29th August 2011

Last night I put the finishing touches on the pieces that are going to Harrogate, a few more lines of quilting and the show labels. Now today I can relax and start planning new projects!




We had a lovely time in Lytham St Annes yesterday, there is always lots of laughter when the extended family gets together. After dinner we went for a walk down near the sea and for those who don't know Lytham at all, it is always windy and the wind coming in off the sea is cold!!




janet

 

Hard At Work     Saturday 27th August 2011





Yesterday my friend Val came to my house as she wanted to make a "Vase of Flowers" wallhanging. I thought this would be a great opportunity to test out the workshop before I go to the Isle of Man. We were a bit slow getting started as Val had problems with the tension on her sewing machine but once I had her sewing on my machine there was no stopping her. If we hadn't lost the time with the tension I know she would have got the flowers on too, but she was really pleased with what she had achieved and I can't wait to see the flowers sewn on.

John has informed me that we have been invited to his brothers tomorrow. He lives in Lytham St Annes and that means most of the day will be spent there. I had to admit that I needed time to finish the Harrogate pieces so now he is cleaning the windows and I am sewing!!



Cushion finished, photo doesn't really show the hand embroidered details.

Quilt just needs binding, this afternoons work.


janet

 

What A Day!!   Thursday 25th August 2011

I have had such a busy day. The phone hasn't stopped ringing, lots of visitors and I am feeling quite panicky with the busyness of it all. There are no sewing photos to show you as I still haven't made the cushion up and when I thought I had finished all the quilting on "Spring Flowers" I now realise that I need to do a bit more. However Emma is going away tomorrow for the weekend so should be able to finish everything off for Harrogate with a day to spare.

I took these photos of Emma and her two cousins James and Luke the other day and today we heard that Luke got 10 A's in his GCSE's ( 1 A* and 9A's ) so we are so excited for him, well done Luke!!





I thought you would like to have a laugh at this photo, my sister with her favourite gadget, her hand held Dyson hoover.

How Sad!!!


janet

 

And The Winner Is ....   Monday 22nd August 2011

Pauline!

I have the photos to prove I have been as fair as possible!




Exactly cut 2" squares, one name per square and folded into four. Emma's hand pulling out the winning ticket. Well done Pauline, I hope you enjoy your prize. Please use the details on the contact page to e-mail me with your address so I can get these to you asap. Thank you all for joining in and I hope you stay with me on my quilting journey.

janet

 

One More Day   Sunday 21st August 2011

One more day is all you have to respond to my giveaway. I will draw the winner on Monday at tea-time so make sure you leave your comment on the previous blog. So far the chance of winning is 1 in 4, they are fantastic odds!

On the sewing front the cushion front is finished , now I just need to make it into a cushion! More sewing stuff coming very shortly, I have a great new project in mind and can't wait to start.

janet

 

Giveaway   Saturday 20th August 2011

Would you like to win this little set of goodies? All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. It is easy and for those who have never left a comment before, don't worry as there are no personal details shown, you can even leave a pretend name! You have a very good chance of winning as I don't have that many blog readers. The two Moda charm packs are beautiful and the notebook will soon be full of your quilting ideas.

I am looking at the sunshine outside and I can't believe that it was only this time last week that I was at the Festival of Quilts. I am keeping very busy quilting "Spring Flowers" and I am pretty much on track to finish in time and the cushion is quite near completion.

Emma is in London just doing tourist things. Her happiness on hearing her AS grades ( 4 A's and 1 B ) was soured when she had her phone stolen. I feel bereft being out of communication with her. How quickly we rely on this "modern technology".

janet

 

Panic Over   Wednesday 17th August 2011

I have calculated that I need 8 nights to do the quilting on "Spring Flowers" and that leaves me the rest of the time to do the finishing of the quilt! The cushion is progressing too.


2 Farmer's Wife blocks, Number 41 (Friendship Star) and Number 81 (Snowball). These are made of identical components but are just sewn together differently.


The following photos are from one of the galleries at the Festival of Quilts. Yoshiko Katagiri: The Magic Of Silk. The photos don't do the quilts justice at all but the best thing of all was meeting the maker. She was a tiny Japanese lady who didn't speak English but she was with her daughter who did. They had such a dignity and grace that it stayed with you.






I am in the process of making up a little goody bag for a giveaway as yesterday I passed the 1000 visitor mark, so watch this space.

janet

 

Two Weeks   Tuesday 16th August 2011

Two weeks is the amount of time I have to finish the pieces for the Harrogate quilt show. On Sunday night even though I was really tired after travelling home from the Festival of Quilts as soon as I had eaten my tea I started the stitching on the cushion. I didn't even empty my suitcase or look at my purchases, no time for that.

We  had a great time at the show. When we arrived at the exhibition I was overwhelmed that I had not left myself enough time to see everything, two days was just not enough. I rushed around taking lots of photos, and have now found that lots of them were blurred. But what I did realise is that one of the best things about the show is meeting old friends. Everywhere you go you bump into someone you know and you have a chat. It was great to bump into a couple of friends who were part of the group that made the 1st prize in the group quilt category, they were so excited. Their quilt "Comparethequiltdotcom" was brilliant and had a crowd around it all the time, everyone appreciated the humour of it.

I really enjoyed some of the galleries and will talk about these in more detail another time, my stitching is calling. This morning I found a great slideshow of photos from the exhibition here http://angelasquilts.blogspot.com/2011/08/festival-of-quilts-2011.html so if you didn't get a chance to get to the exhibition then have a look at these.

Here we are  after our dinner on Saturday night, there is such a lot of laughter when quilters get together.




janet

 

Charging The Batteries   Friday 12th August 2011

Yes I am literally charging my batteries for the camera so that I can take lots of photos at the Festival of Quilts. There is such a lot to see that I suffer from sensory overload and I can't remember what I have seen. When I come home I can relax with a cup of coffee and look at the photos and be inspired all over again. No blogs for a couple of days but there will be lots to talk about when I get home. Just to keep you going, a couple of photos of the progressing cushion. There is lots of hand embriodery on it but you may not be able to see the design properly.





janet

 

Festival of Quilts   Thursday 11th August 2011

Today is the start of the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham. For the last few years I have attended for the whole 4 days and there is certainly enough to see and do for 4 days. But this year I felt that I could only manage 2 days and I am going on Saturday and Sunday. I have noticed that photos have already started appearing on http://quilterblogs.com/updates/ and now I am itching to be there.


I just thought I would show you these doodles which are part of the design process for the cushion. I am no artist!!

My sister has just visited, she invited herself to lunch. "Spring flowers" was lying on the chair ready for quilting at any spare moment. She looked at it and said it was just typical of my "style" and when was I going to do something different. There will be no quilts made for her!

janet

 

Welcome!    Wednesday 10th August 2011

That is a very ambitious welcome to any new blog readers. I applied to have my blog added to the http://quilterblogs.com/updates/. Quilter blogs is a website just for quilters blogs, I know that is obvious, sorry! I have been looking at the website for a while, there is such a wealth of talent out there that I wanted to be part of it. Quilters are very generous people, not only with patterns, encouragement, help and free stuff that it will be great to have the opportunity to share my quilting life with anyone out there who would like to read my blog too. I am not abandoning my faithful readers ( you know who you are!) but the website brings together quilters from all over the world and we all have this shared passion which brings us great joy, with perhaps a little frustration too.





Anyway I thought I would give you a tantalising glimpse at the start of the cushion design which I am entering into the Harrogate quilt show in 3 weeks time!

janet

 

Oh Dear!   Tuesday 9th August 2011
Every night I set myself a target for the amount of quilting I need to do on the "Spring Flowers" quilt. Last night I had to unpick a border of quilting as I realised that I had drawn the design on the border the wrong way round. Just a little setback! I have sewn 3 Farmer's Wife blocks, one to replace the incorrect block from last week. The more I looked at it the more it looked awful.


Number 1 (Attic Windows), a second attempt, Number 20 ( Churn Dash), Number 54 (Kitchen Woodbox).

These are the fabrics that Emma has chosen for the cushion.
  That's it for today.

janet


 

1 Down,  2 To Go   Sunday 7th August 2011


Well the Lemon Tree Quilts wallhanging is finished.
The design for the cushion is in progress and the fabric choices are next. Quilting going well on " Spring Flowers ".

There is work being done on the computer but it is "behind the scenes" at the moment.

janet

 

Final Amsterdam Photos   Saturday 6th August 2011

I promise I won't bore you anymore about Amsterdam but to finish I thought you may be interested in the houses of Amsterdam and particularly the rooves. When the city was being built you bought your plot of land alongside the canal, you could buy 3,6 or 12 metre widths, depending on how wealthy you were. The houses were then built, so often aren't attached to their neighbour. Now if you look along a row of older houses they are leaning in all directions with gaps between them. In this country a row of houses would have been built at the same time, all looking identical. There are a number of different shapes to the roofline and this makes Amsterdam so different. The houses are still built with a hoist attached to the top of the house. The houses are so narrow and have even narrower staircases that the hoists are used to move furniture in and out of the houses via the windows.











On the sewing front I have attached the binding onto the wallhanging and I am about to start the design for the cushion.

janet












 

So Close   Friday 5th August 2011

I am really close to finishing this wallhanging, just the binding and maybe a little bit more embellishment. One down and two more to go for Harrogate, 30th August is the date they have to be finished but I'm not worried!!




janet

 

Cycling In Amsterdam   Thursday 4th August 2011

I think the Dutch learn to cycle as they learn to walk. Everyone cycles there, young and old and there is every permutation of a bike. I have seen people cycling, talking on a mobile phone and holding an umbrella all at once, mums with upto 3 children on the bike, now that is multi-tasking. You take your life in your hands when you cross a road as not only do you check for cars and trams but bikes as well and they ride fast!  I took these photos while sitting in the park having a breather. They whizzed past so fast that lots of the photos only had the back wheel disappearing off the edge of the photo. I didn't realise that the camera had a sports function so maybe I could have taken better pictures but I think the blurring gives an effect of the speed as they cycled past.














Some more progress on the wallhanging


janet

 

I Am Sewing !   Tuesday 2nd August 2011

Now that August is here I must sew, sew, sew. It is frightening how the time flies by. A few photos to show you what I am up to.


Four more Farmer's Wife blocks. Number 61 ( Northern Lights ) Number 73 ( Rainbow Flowers)  Number 16 ( Calico Puzzle ) and the fourth one has no number because it is not in the book and yet again I have made a mistake. I cut the pieces out incorrectly but will keep the block for now as I may get desperate as I run out of fabric.


The chicken has started to appear on the wallhanging.

This is a Dutch magazine I picked up in Amsterdam. Previously when we visited I was able to get French and German magazines  which had been translated into Dutch but now they have their own.

The quilting is progressing on "Spring Flowers".


John is going to do some work on the website tonight, look out for the changes!

janet

 

Double Dutch   Monday 1st August 2011

The Dutch language can be quite intimidating. Even if you know some German there are only a few words that can be recognised in both languages. When I was a child if we were talking rubbish we used to say we were talking double Dutch. Here are a few street signs and these really are the easy ones. 







Sewing photos tomorrow!

janet

 

Take For Granted   Saturday 30th July 2011

A few weeks ago I popped into the Walker Art Gallery and while drinking my coffee I noticed that there was a guided tour of some highlights of the museum and it was free. It was the most enjoyable hour, I felt that I learned such a lot and it brought the pieces that we looked at to life. What I wanted to make a point of was that it is on our doorstep and it is free. Earlier this year in Paris we visited a few museums and the entry charges were 8 - 10 euros each. In Amsterdam Emma asked to go to the Rijksmuseum as she felt she was quite young when she last went and couldn't remember all that she saw. It was 12.50 euros each to get in and the majority of the museum is closed for rebuilding work. They had put all their very best work in the available rooms, beautifully displayed and fantastic works of art. It was very crowded and the queues outside are never-ending. We bought our tickets at the hotel so we could bypass the queue and it made a big difference and we enjoyed the exhibits very much. Look at the photos and tell me if you want to wait in that queue in the rain!!





Just waiting for the 20+ teenagers to arrive later!

janet

 

Canal Scenes   Friday 29th July 2011

Todays photos are canal scenes. Canals are an integral part of Amsterdam, you can spend hours wandering along the canal banks. Some canals are busy and bustling and some are peaceful and quiet. You can see from some of the skies that the weather really was not good but if you wait for good weather in Amsterdam then you could be going home without seeing anything.

















I did manage to make my 2 Farmer's Wife blocks yesterday but haven't taken any photos yet as I am getting prepared for loads of Emma's friends coming for the weekend.

janet

 

I'm Back!  Thursday 28th July 2011

We arrived home late on Tuesday evening and yesterday I was so tired that I had a very lazy day. City breaks are tiring anyway as you are on the go all the time. We had terrible weather, it rained every day and was quite cold and we had no more than a couple of sunny spells of about 15 minutes. We still love Amsterdam, there is such a buzz about the place. I imagined where we could live if we had won the lottery.  I took 253 photos as I was determined to get at least a few good ones. Today's selection is a mixed set to give you a flavour of Amsterdam.












The chickens were fine when we got home and are now laying 3 medium eggs a day. Our foolproof veg is growing abundantly. I am going to make my 2 Farmer's Wife blocks for this week, then I need to do some ironing and quilt, quilt, quilt every evening !

janet

 

Amsterdam Countdown   Thursday 21st July 2011

Tomorrow we are going to Amsterdam for 4 days. I absolutely love Amsterdam, it is my favourite city and even though I have been many times I can't wait to go again. I am going to take lots of photos for you and will have lots to tell you but you will have to wait till I get back as I am not taking the computer. Writing this blog has made me aware of how important photos are and how you should always carry your camera with you as you never know when a photo opportunity will arise.

I have spent the morning sewing on the bindings on the workshop samples so they can go to the Isle of Man and hopefully Mannin Quilters will like to do the workshop.


Last night at Liverbirds my friend Sue brought her version of "Spring Flowers" for us to see and I thought you would like to see it too.


janet

 

Mistakes Galore!   Wednesday 20th July

I had one of those mornings when everything goes well.  So I knew that when I did some sewing this afternoon I would be able to achieve lots. How wrong could I be. First I sewed the final seam on the jelly roll quilt so the blocks are now together. I am not going to put the borders on yet as in the post came all the entry details for the Harrogate show so I now know that I can't waste anymore time, I must get those three pieces of work ready. But the day was going well so I thought I could make 2 quick blocks from the Farmers Wife book and then I would have this week's blocks done. Now I still haven't downloaded the templates yet so I am looking for blocks that I could calculate the template sizes myself. The first block ended up too small and totally incorrect, the second was too big one way and way too small the other way. Both ended up in the bin. The way I am going on this is going to be a very small quilt. Anyway I just had to make some more and hopefully get these right.


Finally here are blocks number 9 (Box) and number 10 (Bowtie). Need a cup of coffee now!


janet

 

Childhood Over   Tuesday 19th July 2011

We went to see the final Harry Potter film last night and of course Emma came too. Even though she had seen it on Saturday with her friends she wasn't going to miss coming with us too. It was a great film and the 3D effects are amazing. At the end of the film she stood up and announced "my childhood is officially over!" She has grown up with Harry Potter and it was sad for it all to come to an end.

On the sewing front, trying to snatch a few minutes here and there between visitors!

janet

 

Saturday Sewing   Saturday 16th July 2011


Well I have finished the 20 blocks for the jelly roll quilt. I am going to try and get them sewn  together and the borders on.
However I am very conscious of time passing and the Harrogate Quilt show getting closer. I have to deliver the quilts on Tuesday 30th August. I have not started the cushion nor drawn the design up. I am still stalled on the chicken for the wallhanging. But I am quilting every night on "Spring Flowers", last night I quilted for 5 hours ( the length of time it took to watch 2 Harry Potter films!) and am enjoying it.

Emma went out to the school Law Society dinner, she hates having her photo taken but did allow me to take one. She had bought a 50's style dress for a party in the Summer and wore that and she did look lovely, the photo doesn't do her justice and you can't really see the dress.

John has eaten 2 of our newly laid eggs and both of them were double yolkers. Chickens only lay double yolks when they first start laying and although these eggs were small it is amazing to see two perfect yolks inside.

janet

 

Harry Potter Countdown   Thursday 14th July 2011

Emma has grown up with Harry Potter. We have read the books together, watched the films together, I have been up at the crack of dawn to go and buy the new books as they were released and generally Harry Potter has been a fixture in our lives. On Saturday Emma is going to see the final film with her friends. What do John and I do? Going on our own doesn't seem right but of course we do want to see the final film. Obviously Emma is growing up and moving away from us. By the way we are watching all the previous films, one per night so she is ready for the final part!



I have made two more Farmer's Wife blocks, number 109 (Windows) and number 84 (Spool). They are quite addictive because they can be made so easily and quickly.

 The book comes with a CD of all the templates but of course I have not downloaded them yet. I am making blocks where I can work out what size pieces are required in my head. Not a good idea as I have managed to cut the wrong size pieces for Windows, and I can't waste fabric because these have to be made from that pile. Where did you all get the idea that I wasn't going to buy any more fabric? Foolish thought, I am not going to buy anymore fabric for this project only!

The chickens have now laid 11 eggs since Sunday. Isn't that fantastic, they are small but absolutely perfect. Also today I have picked some fresh spinach from our veg patch. Do not get the idea that we are "Good Life" types. The only veg we can grow is foolproof veg eg. lettuce, spinach and runner beans.
Foolproof  spinach!

Anyway I am going to sew a couple of jelly roll quilt blocks before tea, see you soon.

janet

 

Egg Laying Day 2    Tuesday 12th July 2011
 
After the excitement of Sunday when we had 2 eggs laid it was with some hope that I checked the coop at lunchtime on Monday but there were no eggs. When John came home and checked at teatime we had 3 eggs, I know they are going to be good layers, they must know  how lucky they are to be spoilt by us. Today there was 1 egg by lunchtime. It takes a little while for the egg laying to settle down into regular production so we are doing well. 


These are the three eggs from day 2, aren't they fantastic.

I have made my first two blocks from the Farmer's Wife book. I chose blocks number 4 ( Basket Weave ) and number 2 ( Autumn Tints ). They were chosen for simplicity and didn't take any time to make.
I am using the fabrics I showed you a while back. I don't normally like reproduction style fabrics but something about these black/brown/gold colourways really grabbed me. I supplemented the fat 1/8th's with some from my stash and I am not going to buy any more for this project. The blocks are 6" square so I will make them till I run out of fabric or get bored!

janet

 

Monday Blues    Monday 11th July 2011

I have had one of those days when you have to dash around going from a to b to c and back again. You feel really good when all the items can be ticked off your list but it is tiring. At the weekend we spent the whole of Saturday tidying the garage and having a good sort out in preparation for our new car. Anyway it arrived and it was too big for the garage!!
I am in the mood for starting something completely different, even though I must have 20 projects on the go already and some of them really have to be done as I have entered them in the Harrogate quilt show.



Does anyone out there have this book? Out in blogland there is a big Farmer's Wife quiltalong and I don't want to join the quiltalong but I do fancy just making some of the blocks. Maybe one or two a week and certainly not the whole book, just the easy ones! If anyone wants to sew along with me please do.

Here are some of the blocks from the jelly roll quilt. Isn't the fabric fantastic? It is going to have a sophisticated look about it even though the block is not complex.

janet

 

Shirley's Laid An Egg!   Sunday 10th July 2011

At 7am this morning I went out to see to the chickens and when I popped my head in the coop I saw this beautiful little egg. We were not expecting the chickens to start laying for about another 3 weeks. I was so excited but of course John and Emma were in bed.


I have put a large bought egg next to it so you can see the size, it is tiny but perfect.

A little later John decided to check and there was another egg. You can't believe how exciting it is to see eggs laid by your own chickens.

On the sewing front still stuck for the right fabrics for the chicken on the wallhanging. I made 3 more blocks for the jelly roll quilt and they are looking good as the fabric is so stylish. I have also been quilting "Spring Flowers"  so that isn't any good for photo opportunities. Have decided to start the cushion design and leave the wallhanging for a bit, the chicken won't defeat me but sometimes you have to step back.

janet



 

Two Glasses of Cider    Thursday 7th July 2011

I am not much of a drinker, I am not teetotal but alcohol is not a big feature in my life. This is because I usually can't manage a second glass so I am a very cheap date. Tonight John asked if I would like a glass of something and I thought a glass of of cider would be refreshing.


Kopperberg Elderflower and Lime is my favourite but usually Emma and I share the bottle, one glass each.  Tonight she is out so I drank the whole bottle, so this post will be short as I am now ready to go to bed!

Today I have drawn the chicken from Susan's design but I am still adjusting the size ( the first one was too big and the second too small) and also the fabric chosen didn't have enough contrast. So not a lot of progress on the wallhanging. However I am mulling over a cot quilt design for a girl as I heard today that my goddaughter Kathy has had a beautiful baby girl called Phoebe.

I just wanted to show you my friend Gwen's version of Spring Flowers. The colours are beautiful and the border is just perfect.


janet

 

Taking Over The House  Tuesday 5th July 2011

John has now complained that I am taking over the house. When they got back from Durham I had set up my second sewing machine in the dining room to work on my Lemon Tree Quilts wallhanging. The machine in my sewing room was set up to sew the jelly roll quilt blocks and the chair in the living room holds my hand work that I do in the evening when I am watching TV. I don't think this is unreasonable at all !





The chickens are settling down and we have now allowed them out in the garden when we are in the garden too. It doesn't take them long to be cheeky!

janet

 

Too Hot To Sew   Sunday 3rd July 2011

Yesterday John and Emma went to Durham to visit the University. They set off at 6am and I knew I could get lots done with a whole day to myself. I made provisional timings in my head.
7am. Get up, have shower, see to chickens, empty dishwasher, put washing machine on and get the newspapers.
8.30am. Have breakfast
9am. Start sewing. Put borders on log cabin strippy.
10am. Do pre-quilted background for Lemon tree quilts wallhanging
12pm. Lunch
12.30pm. Make 10 more blocks for the jelly roll quilt.
3pm.  Carry on with the applique for the wallhanging.
Can anyone see the flaws in these timings?

It was 9.30am before I started sewing and it took me until 12.15pm to get the borders done. After lunch I made the pre-quilted background which only took me 1 1/2 hours but then I was exhausted because of getting up so early so I had a read of my book and closed my eyes for 5 minutes. But determined not to waste anymore of my day I did get on with the wallhanging applique. You can see my step by step progress for the rest of the afternoon, the bow alone took me 2 hours to stitch.






 Then John and Emma arrived home.  They had had a wonderful day and Emma loved the University, lots to tell me so sewing was over for the rest of the day.
Today it is too hot to sew!!

janet



 

Lady Lever Art Gallery   Friday 1st July 2011

Two blogs in one day is exhausting both for me and John!  Today my friend Shirley and I went to the Lady Lever Art Gallery to see an exhibition called "Finishing Touches". It shows fashion accessories through the ages including shoes,hats,jewellery and gloves. It was really interesting with snippets of information about manners and etiquette. They had gloves and hats for you to try on, sorry those pictures are a bit blurred.
To get to the gallery we walked through a small area of Port Sunlight.  The houses in the photos are some of houses that Lord Lever built for the workers in his soap factory. It is truly a beautiful area, a place that I would be happy to live in.










janet

 

Missing Pictures    Friday 1st July 2011

Here are the missing pictures from yesterday.



These are John's latest shirts, chosen with future use in mind! He does look good in them but they will be coming my way when he has finished with them.
This is a close up of the stitching on the 3rd workshop sample.

janet

 

Inspired Idea!    Thursday 30th June 2011

I have only a week left to get my entry forms in for the quilt show at Harrogate. I have decided on a cushion design and I am going to get the quilting done on "Spring Flowers
". But I also wanted to make a small wallhanging. The number of different ideas has been plentiful but I haven't made any decisions. Today it has come to me in a flash. When my friend Susan painted the logo design for me I knew straight away that I would make a wallhanging from it and now I have realised that it can be my piece for Harrogate, problem solved and decision made.

I know this post has no photos but John is at work and downloading and uploading photos is still a bit tricky for me, so will add some later.


janet 

 

Quiet Day   Tuesday 28th June 2011

I have enjoyed wandering around the garden today while the sun was shining. The few vegetables we are growing are sprouting up and it makes you feel good. I had a great crop of gooseberries and for weeks Emma has warned me to get some netting over the bushes but I was just too lazy and now I have 3 gooseberries left. Serves me right, next year I will put up that netting.
Have only managed to do a little bit of machine applique on the third workshop sample, it amazes me how the machine stitching really adds depth to the piece, hopefully will finish it tomorrow.
I am going to show you 2 more photos from our day out.  Did you notice the photo of the lilies in the previous post?
Well these were giant lilies, about 8 foot tall and the scent was incredible, read the explanation about them and be amazed. If the writing isn't big enough to read then do a right click and view image.









janet

 

Our Day Out   Sunday 26th June 2011


So how much sewing did I get done yesterday? I took 4 projects in the end and I made 7 blocks for my latest jelly roll quilt. They are 12 inch blocks !  The best part of the sewing day is seeing what everyone else is doing and giving help and support where needed and just being with friends doing what we love. So here is the block I have chosen for this latest quilt made with French Generals " Rouenneries " fabric. It is a subtle blend of reds and greys with a dash of cream. Here are the Liverbirds hard at work, heads down to the sewing machine with some hand quilting going on as well.






Today John, Emma and I went to visit Dunham Massey. Years ago we used to visit National Trust properties regularly and enjoyed looking around the houses and gardens and then we had a picnic.The weekends became too busy to spare the time and Emma doesn't remember what great days we used to have so we have decided to redo some of our favourites. I have put together a few snapshots of things we saw today that made an impression on us. We enjoyed our picnic sitting in the shade and then treated ourselves to a delicious strawberry ice-cream on the hottest day of the year so far.












Now the weekend is over and I have to plan what I am going to do this week, if only days were 48 hours long !!


janet

 

Dilemma     Friday 24th June 2011

Tomorrow is a sewing day for the Liverbirds, we all get together and just sew all day without the interruptions of home life. There is also a lot of talking, laughter and food but that is just another aspect of our quilting life. My dilemma is what am I going to sew? I truly believe that I can achieve such a lot in that six hours. I normally take at least three projects and hope to do them all !! I have such a lot of unfinished work that in my head I know I should do some of that but my heart says " start another project ". 



So candidates for tomorrow are:
 finish this workshop sample.




Start a " Farmers Wife quilt " with this fabulous bunch of fat 1/8ths bought from Dot at Gresford. I have managed to put some more fabrics together to supplement the set. When I first started quilting and found traders and shops, I would buy a set of 5 fat quarters and just know I could make a quilt from them, king size at that, but the reality is that 5 fat 1/4's will not make a king size quilt. The Farmers Wife quilt is a book of stories and blocks that go together to make a quilt. A lot of people out in blogland are participating in a Farmers Wife quilt-along and I get so enthusiastic when I see all the beautiful colour combinations that other people are using.

Start another jelly roll quilt, I am actually cutting up a French General jelly roll to make my 4th quilt in my jelly roll series. 20 blocks won't take me anytime!

Finally should I make the selvedge cover for Emma's netbook computer, she has only been waiting 2 years.

I shall let you know what I do actually manage to do,  hope you get some good sewing time tomorrow too.

janet

 

New Additions

Emma's new bike arrived on Saturday and what a lovely bike it is. She sees herself living in Amsterdam one day.
Then we had the arrival of Shirley, Babs and Ginger. At 14 weeks old we have a long time to wait for an egg. Shirley is definitely going to be the leader and is very feisty, Babs was not happy with the picture taking hence you have a lovely view of her bottom!
The cold has put me out of action for a couple of days but I have made a start on the samples for the workshop I will be taking later on this year, so I thought I would give you a peek.
The wallhangings can be individual to your liking by the choice of flowers, leaves etc but I hope to show how versatile this method of pre-quilting is.

janet

 

Liverbirds Let Loose!

Today was our annual visit to the Gresford Craft Fair.  Four Liverbirds travelled under the Mersey to the land we call "over the water"  and a great day was had by all.  There is a variety of craft work to see including quilts and the venue is in such a lovely spot.  It is always a pleasure to visit.  Also they do the most delicious lunches with fantastic cakes, very important! When people from Liverpool travel we are very noisy and we are well known for this but we think of it as normal, it is our way of expressing our enjoyment of life.

My three companions, Shirley, Sue  and Susan sitting in the cemetery next to the beautiful old church. I have a fascination with graveyards which Susan tells me has a name but I don't know whether I would like to know what it is!



These beautiful daisies were just growing wild around the gravestones and looked so beautiful in the afternoon sunshine. I always admire people who can take fabulous photos and I hope that my photography will improve as I try to use the camera every day to record events for the blog.


janet



 

Too much to do!

I woke up this morning with a cold and as the day has progressed I have been left with the feeling of too much to do and not enough time. When this happens I find it best to do one small thing and finish it then move on to the next. So I have finished the Christmas decoration and then I prepared the borders for the Log Cabin Strippy so I can applique them while
watching the TV later.     

       


      Borders prepared for stitching.







I am thinking it may be good to have a page of Top Tips  and I can list things which I have found useful in my quilting life , I think it can be daunting when you start and there is so much to learn and you just want to get going. Maybe you have top tips of your own that you would like to share with us.

Also I am going to have a free patterns page so I can share with you some of the work that I have done that you may like to have a go at. Much as there is very little time in my life to do anything but quilting, sometimes something grabs your imagination and you just have to have a go.  This is what happened when I saw Japanese Flower Scarf on a website and I bought the book even though it is in Japanese and I can't crochet. With help from my friend Sylvia I got going and now I am on my second scarf, seen here.


                            Bye for now

janet

       





 

Day 2 already!

I can't believe that it is 24 hours since I wrote the first blog, the time is racing by and my mind is racing even faster. I have got a number of projects on the go. I am trying to design a new Christmas decoration ( I know it is June !!) and get three wallhangings done for a workshop. I am trying to prepare the patterns that I want to put on this website and decide what work I am going to send to the Harrogate Quilt Show,  these pieces are not done yet but the entry forms need to be sent in! At the weekend I sewed a simple quilt made of strips which I then wanted to completely hand quilt. The end result of the sewing was not good and I have chosen a new set of fabrics, shown here.

 

They are very pretty but very pale and I hope the quilting really adds to it.   However I think I may be a little optimistic that I can complete this in 3 months so I think I will carry on quilting "Spring Flowers" which I showed you yesterday and send that instead.






This is a quick look at my Log Cabin Strippy with Applique, I am upto the borders. This is my second version of this quilt. I designed it last year and quite a few of my friends at Liverbirds joined in and made it and there were some fantastic versions of it, I will try and take some photos of the others to show you.



Finally today I would not be here if it wasn't for the encouragement of my friend Susan (http://sew-susan.blogspot.com/) who designed the lemon tree and chicken motif and her husband Colin (http://www.colinpiercephotography.co.uk/) who came and photographed some of my quilts to give them a more professional look, thank you both. 


janet
  

 

Hello - is anyone out there?

Welcome to my brand new blog on my brand new web site.

I never thought I would ever get to this point as I am not the most computer savvy person and my husband who is has not had time to help me. Anyway he has realised how important this is to me so has made time for me. It will take a while before I am confident but I am going to stick with it!!  I really enjoy reading blogs and I hope to share the ones I like with you as well. I am going to show you what I am working on currently and my ideas for future projects. I am not an Art quilter but tend to like pretty fabrics and quilt designs incorporating pieced blocks and applique. I have realised that I have a low boredom threshold and making these sorts of quilts helps me keep motivated. My friends in the group I belong to "Liverbirds" ( of whom you are going to hear a lot ) are very supportive and are sometimes swept along with my enthusiasm. I have realised that there is so much to tell you but a long first blogpost will put everyone off and that's assuming there is anyone out there wanting to read these words.


This is a sneak peek at the quilt I am working on at the moment and it is a pattern that some of my friends in Liverbirds are working on as well.



janet



 

Click here for RSS feed