Thursday, 29 March 2012

Finish Along

The first quarter of Rhondas finish a long is coming to an end despite the fact that I don't seem to have done much sewing in the last few weeks, I made up for it earlier in the quarter and finished the two quilts I had committed to at the beginning.

My original post mentioned the mystery quilt and the scrappy stars top that had been a ufo for a year or so.

Here they are both finished.

Now I just need to decide what goes on the list for the next quarter.....

Friday, 23 March 2012

Playing with curves and circles

I've been in a procrastinating mood this week. I have an essay and stuff to hand in at class next week and although it is on track I keep distracting myself with bits and pieces rather than just knuckling down and finishing it off.

I did discover this new technique for circles which also applies to curves so decided to have a play.

I dug out some fabric from my not very nice pile (nothing wrong with it but it was stuff I bought when I started quilted before I had discovered designer ranges), my freezer paper which I haven't used much and some pritt stick which is the only glue I had. No idea if it is fabric safe, but it was only for playing with.

I ended up with this mini and actually, I quite like it. The first curved seams went a bit wonky and had to be redone, but by the time I got to the circles (deliberately wonky) I was happy with it.

I then decided to practice circular echo quilting as I was playing...

It is actually flatter and more squared off than it looks and is about 9.5 x 12 inches.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

John Lewis Mini Machine Review

I was chatting with Leanne at the other day about sewing machines for the Fat Quarterly retreat.

One of the things I've been thinking about buying was the little mini machine that John Lewis is selling as a back up and for taking places like the retreat. For those that are coming to the retreat from out of town, they have a big store in Oxford Street.

Off I went to Bluewater this morning; I was going to go for the yellow but ended up with the red as the yellow wasn't nice. They didn't have all the colours in stock but a good selection. It is a proper red, I just couldn't get the photo to show it.

Just to show how mini it is this is my hand in the pic.

It's funny when you start using a machine like this you realise all the little things you take for granted.

Firstly, when threading it there isn't a needle threader. Well, sorry, I tell a lie it does come with one of the little hand held things you use for hand sewing. But I managed. There also isn't a light, so that makes a big difference, especially when trying to thread the needle.

I've had a little fiddle with the foot and it doesn't seem like it comes off. I was going to try and see if any of my other feet fit it but that clearly didn't work.

It has a teeny tiny pedal. It basically starts and stops it. You press to go at one speed only and release to stop. It doesn't go at a mega speed (you won't win the jelly roll quilt race with it) but it isn't painfully slow. I noticed it most when winding the bobbin how long it took to finish.

It does come with 5 straight stitch lengths and 5 other stitches. I must admit I only tried the straight stitch. I started with the smallest and this was teeny.

Then the next size up and still tiny.

The size C worked a treat for what I wanted and that is where I stopped playing.

Without a quarter inch foot I'm rubbish, so I just used the edge of the foot as my guide. This was a bit over 1/4 inch so if you really needed accuracy you would have to put a bit more effort in to get it right.

I just used some old ugly charm squares to give it a run. It doesn't have a needle up/down but I used the manual turning to get my needle down at first. I think it was a fluke that when I stopped sewing it was still down (I don't think it is clever enough to remember how I start).

It did have a bit of a tendancy to want to skew the fabric sideways a bit so I had to hold properly all the way through. Apart from that though, it ran fine. No niggles or hiccups at all. It didn't once knot up orchew at the start of the fabric. I chained pieced all the way but there is always that starting point that can go funny.

This is what I achieved without any bother at all.

The last point I should make is that there isn't a very long power cable with it which is why in the photos above it is perched on the corner of the table. It was the only way I could get it to reach.

It is only when doing this post I've also realised I forgot to try reverse!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Bits and bobs

I have no excuse for not posting in over a week, just for some reason I kept thinking to myself, I'll do that later and later didn't come until now.

I certainly haven't been overachieving like some people I could mention (hmm, Mrs P) but have a few bits to share.

Firstly - shopping. My greatest skill/vice! Thanks to Annie at my credit card took another hit.

She has this stack of Garden Wall range which has really mad prints including these two.

I also gave in and got myself some Melody Miller Ruby Star Shining. I have hesitated over this as it is so pricey, but I saw some in real life a few weeks ago and liked the texture so went for a stack. Don't you love the clocks and typewriters?

But what I needed most was these. Old age is creeping up and I had real trouble a few weeks ago threading my needle when doing my hexies.

I had a play at making a name tag for the Fat Quarterly Retreat Swap. I can't show the front which is best as it isn't great but I was pleased with how I constructed the badge part. I used heavy sew-in interfacing to give it structure and stitched a basting pin to the back. I will have to have another play soon.

I also made this mini, inspired by our LMQG challenge. It caused me so many problems. This was the first time I used a black solid and I couldn't get the quilting right. I unpicked 3 different colours and styles before the final version. I wanted to have shooting stars and imagined the quilting to be the star trails, but it looked rubbish. You can see it in the bottom left of the picture.

In the end I went for this grey and FMQ swirls and stars.

Finally I have another corner of the paper piecing quilt put together with all the paper pulled out. That means I'm half way through. Hooray.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Quick Crochet

After my visit to Tricolette at the weekend I had to get started using my new wooden crochet hook.

It took me a while to get used to it as it doesn't have a flat bit along the middle that the metal or plastic ones have which I usually rest my thumb on. I was worried a bit about the balance with the detail on the end but it wasn't really noticable. In all honesty, I can't say that it was any better or worse to use than the regular hooks.

I did have one little thing that irritated me. I have a habit when putting my work down of shoving the end of the hook into the ball of yarn or the piece I've been working on to keep it safe. With the fancy end of this hook that wasn't possible.

Just to remind you what I'm talking about, this pic from sunday is of my purchases.

And now my wool looks like this. I just wanted something quick and simple and made a long skinny scarf with a bit of a raised stitch to give it texture.

I really like this wool, it is Rowan Colourspun and it has enough mohair to give a bit of a fluffy feel without being annoyingly sheddy (not a real word but I think you know what I mean).

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Special Delivery

Looked what arrived on my doorstep! Has someone sent me a man to keep me company?

Alas, no. It is a lot more useful though...

I've been coveting these bolts for the last year and finally cracked. And here it is sitting on my UFO bed with the tops it will be used for.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

London Modern Quilt Guild

Today was the 3rd meeting of the London Modern Quilt Guild. As I missed the last one due to London Transports inability to deal with a little snow so I was really looking forward to this.

We had a great turn out and it was lovely to get a chance to chat to everyone, a really good bunch of people with lots of skills and ideas. Its exciting to see how the guild is taking shape and there should be a lot of good stuff happening over the next few months.

This time the meeting was held in a lovely shop in St Johns Wood  thanks to Michael which was a little bit dangerous. They had some fabric, but I couldn't resist the wool they had on display. Mostly I was taken with their crochets hooks so had to get one and some wool to play with it. Isn't the hook different? I've only ever used the boring metal or plastic ones so want to see how this feels.

I've been doing some other shopping as well! But I won't share until it arrives in the week. Its far too easy to click button online to spend money!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Visiting the dreaming spires

I spent the night in Oxford last night (yes the university Oxford) but have I got pics of the dreaming spires, different colleges, pubs where Lewis Carroll, Tolkein or Inspector Morse hung out?


I arrived at the hotel

Sat in the hotel bar drinking and chatting with friends I haven't seen since last summer

Took a cab to a restaurant that I can't remember the name off already

Had a lovely meal and quite a lot of wine

Back in a cab to the hotel bar for a bit more drinking and chatting

Went to bed at 3am

Got up, had breakfast and left hotel by 10am.

Came home this morning without hangover as I never get them, but really tired. I'm too old for all that early hours drinking.

Didn't see a dreaming spire or anything touristy at all.

I did however go shopping before I arrived in Oxford and treated myself.

A girl can never have too many green handbags, but I am getting dangerously close to the limit!