I aint ‘fraid of no ghost…quilt!

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Sorry that title was itching to get out.

Now to the main event. I have finally as early as this morning finished the Halloween economy square quilt, hurrah!

Whilst shopping at an Plush Addict open day we had picked up some Halloween fabric for Rockette as a trade-off for not taking her on the hour (and then some after we got lost) car trip up to their warehouse. But what to do with it?

I found a nice easy looking economy block tutorial at the brilliant Red Pepper Quilts blog. I love this website there is so much inspiration.

http://www.redpepperquilts.com/search?q=+economy+block

I am quite lazy and don’t like maths very much at all, so instruction wise I made a 6″ block instead and when it came to trimming the blocks down all I did was line up the quarter-inch seam measurement on my Quilting square at the point where the two squares met and just cut across that point.

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That worked most of the time and it was good enough for me.

wpid-20141031_092236.jpg       wpid-20141031_092223.jpgIt was more difficult was to work out the fabrics that worked together so they wouldn’t clash, but like most things in life I was over thinking it. Rockette came along and put a few together that looked pretty good so between us we manage to make sure it didn’t look like a vomiting Pinata. So all in all it all came together pretty easy .

Where I had the most issues was with the quilting. I’m not a good quilter, we know this. At first I was ambitious, the world was mine for the taking and that free motion needle was going to do as I commanded.

Ha ha yeah right. The original plan was to have candy/lollies/sweets sewn into it, but after I had done one it took away from the blocks themselves so that felt wrong. This took me 2 days to unpick the mess I made so after having a rethink I gunned for wavy lines.

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Disaster! I had no sewing mojo on that fateful Saturday. None of the curves were working making them intertwine just made it worse. OH MY SWEETNESS WILL I EVER BE GOOD AT FREE MOTION QUILTING???? I screamed to the heavens. Not today sucker came the reply. I spent the rest of that Saturday damaging my eyes on the sofa unpicking the whole thing. I could’nt save any of it.

Anyway back to square one and referring back to Red Pepper Quilts I opted for the simple cross as others had done.  The end result Ive labelled as “spooky” because the quilting is so crooked . I’m not sure why as I used the walking foot instead.

wpid-20141031_092248.jpgI love the back of this It’s Riley Blake, as usual I was a tight arse and didn’t buy enough of it, thank god I has some hard cheap fabric to go up the top.

The Bumble bee’s appear to be fans. I think this one was trying to make some moves on it.wpid-20141031_092405.jpg

Enjoy Halloween, it’s something I’m quite new to.Growing up my dad always said it was a load of bollocks and we will have nothing to do with it, so tonight I’m going to eat some chocolate and watch Ghostbusters, cause that’s as scary as I get.

While were here I’m adding a picture of my great late Nan who also never celebrated Halloween but love to act shamelessly in public (I get it from her). She makes a pretty good witch don’t you think?wpid-20141031_154758.jpg

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The witching hour is almost upon us..

I say almost because this is almost a blog entry. I had hoped to finish the Halloween quilt grand finale today but with Rockette on school holidays and keeping me up most nights with a vicious cough it wasnt going to happen. (I have seen enough Spongebob DVD’s to pass the time with her so I’m not complaing too much)  I will hopefully have that for you tomorrow.

So in the mean time I will show you the best (and only) bit of felt business I did last Hallo’s eve. I keep meaning to go back to felt but I never find the time. It is quite fiddly and wrecks my eyes.

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The pattern came from an old Mollie Makes magazine. Sorry I can’t give any further information than that, It appears I’ve misplaced the magazine!

Until the next time.

 

finally crossing the finishing line….

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Last week I become an aunt for the first time (yay).But since I found out about impending birth I’ve been planning this baby quilt, which has been so long in the works I was happy to pass it over to its rightful owner.

I have written about the process of this quilt here http://wp.me/p4z5nn-5G. Once it was done It did look good. The block was sourced from The fat quarterly Shape workshop for quilters, which is a brilliant book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fat-Quarterly-Shape-Workshop-Quilters/dp/1454702826/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414086975&sr=8-1&keywords=fat+quarterly. (apologies for the Amazon link if you can get it from an independent retailer do it!)

wpid-2014-10-18-16.13.32.jpg.jpegIt was a Katy Jones design (I am always drawn to her stuff) but I did need to reduce it over and over again until I got the little 6″ squares. I over cut the fabric again but this time I was just happy that “hey I may have all these wasted squares but I do not have to do another block! ” The other squares were from Birch Fabrics’ Yay  Day range (not overly easy to find in the UK, this one had to come in my friend’s hand luggage from New York). Then had to add a border of Kona Tomato around each one as I lost most of the original border in seam allowances.

The whole thing was at least 5cm smaller than I wanted it to be, which looking at photos still bothers me but it’s wide enough to wrap him in it.

But’s all done now with a custom-made label I got made up (oh the donut (me) forgot to take a picture of the back) and the baby looks quite nonchalant about it all. (I’m sure he will love it when his older……)

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In other fabric news Halloween quilt almost done, I did try again to do some free motion quilting and I chicken out/ failed again. I really need to take some sort of course . I also feel it took away from the whole design of the quilt so I had to unpick it. That thing took 4 flipping hours over 2 DAYS… to get rid of every stitch. Like I said I need a course, preferably not one that is going to cost 80 quid…

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That is all for today. Nothing for the music this week. I could talk whimsically about the old shoegazer band Ride but I’ll save that for another post. You are now free to go about your other daily business.

The contestant that will never be.

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Two weeks ago I received a very amusing email from a friend of mine.

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That’s not too easy to read is it? It said

Hello lady, hope you’re well!

 Apologies for the email out of the blue, hope you’re well. Mel has gotten me into watching the Great British Bake Off and led me to decide you should go on it for 3 reasons:

 1)      You’re very good at baking

2)      You’d be entertaining talking to Mel and Sue

3)      Your surname can be found in cakes.

 Blame Mel for this idea.

As flattered and thrilled I was to receive this email, that there are actual humans who like my baking, I will present several reasons now why I could never enter such a competition.

1)    The time delay button that bleeps all the swearing being broadcast would break.

2)   I would get annoyed with Paul Hollywood constantly which may or may not result in a fight.

3)   I would probably kick at least one cake across the tent.

4)   I would be an angry, stressy elf.

5)   I’m not an overly patient person, I would liken it more to George Costanza’s dad entering, dancing.

6)   Try as hard as I can, I can not make a macaroon.

7)    I can not make any super fancy decorations, I can not ice a cake or biscuit with any sort of precision.

8)    I’ve never even attempted a pastry.

It probably would be entertaining though.

Short and sweet today.

A stitch and a fan girl.

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The trains amazingly for once (and even more amazing for a Sunday) ran seamlessly, like it was all synched up train, tube, bus . We had left on the 8.25 am train to London and were at the entrance of  Alexandra Palace by 10.02 am. This was amazing time, and we were still dry!

This was the knitting and stitching show, I only generally go to feel fabric and look at how big the prints actually are (it’s hard to get a good idea on the internet) and make long lists of stuff I want for future projects , unless of course I’m walking past Abakhan…I’m buying that fabric at £4.99 a meter!

I had a list I was prepared, I was looking for Floral Amy Butler, Cotton and Steel and Liberty stuff. I was good, so good that although I went back 3 times to look at the amazing Tula Pink stuff I did not purchase it. Some of the fabric I was after had disappointed and I was glad I had seen it in person (the fabric felt wrong say or the print didn’t look right). I had seen new bits of fabric that filled my head with new ideas for future projects (I’m not allowed to buy without a project in mind, this applies 92% of the time excluding sale stuff of course) I even went past this beautiful Alexander Henry and only took a photo.

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It was crowded, there were only about 4 men there which I find dissapointing..there must be more men into this stuff surely? I already needed a cup of tea but for went it in search for wadding instead.

I try not to meet people I admire, in the past this experience had been limited to musicians who 8 times out of 10 are arrogant so and so’s who wouldn’t give you the time of day. The flip side is that I always say something incredibly stupid when I do have a nice conversation with the remaining 20% . So logically I always think best not to meet them.

I didn’t think this would apply to the quilting world but I still could not trust myself not to look like an idiot, so when I read that one of my quilting heroes Lynne Goldsworthy (of Lily’s Quilts  http://lilysquilts.blogspot.co.uk / Fat Quarterly website http://www.fatquarterly.com/  and her work is featured a lot in Love Quilting and Patchwork magazine, quilting wise to me she is the big time)  was at the show, with my track record I thought best not approach if I do see her.

Oh but I did and it happened by accident. I had seen the latest Fat quarterly book on display and had a quick flick as I hadn’t seen it yet and I noticed a person next to me. I looked up and realised who it was and my mouth just started.talking without asking my brain if it was ok to do so. “This is your books isn’t it? I’m a fan girl.”.After a demo on a Sizzix machine (I want one of them now) we talked about medallion quilts , all the other quilters I should be following on Instagram  and beautiful fabric, which she even took me over to look at the Amy Butler and divine Tula Pink fabric.she took an interest in my work and blog, (seriously it was quite a pinch me moment ). She was one of the most loveliest person I have met, I wish could have stood there all day talking to her. I only left conscious that I was taking up her time and that at this stage my travelling companion had wandered off quite some time ago and went to buy fabric. It was awesome and worth my entry fee.

So as a fan girl I had asked to take a photo with her for the blog (what am I 17?) but the photo turned out bad on my part I looked horrid so I’ve substituted two pictures to give you an idea of what it looked like.

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The lovely Lynne is on the right and the closet thing to what my hair (on my head,  not chest) looked like. I couldn’t find a picture of Paul Stanley wearing a purple cardigan/jacket thing.

I needed a sit down and a cup of tea after all of that. The rest of the day was average (could it get better?) The only other really noteworthy thing of the day was when all of the toilets in Alexandra Palace refused to flush. There were ALOT of women there, a lot of women who needed the toilets. I anticipated a mild riot with knitting needles at dawn. Sadly this did not materialise.

Blasting on the radio..

Translations Darren Middleton

I’ve been listening lots to Darren Middleton’s new album, one time guitarist from Powderfinger since their split his decided to go it alone.This  is impressive, I love “One Thing” It’s been on repeat for at least two weeks. It probably would have been easier to write lesser quality pf type album, instead he has made a contemporary album with much more leanings towards slower beautiful better crafted songs. I did read somewhere that it was supposed to be a mix of Elliott Smith and the Beatles, I can’t hear it. What I do hear, like so many other Australian albums is the streets, pubs, towns and beaches of home. It has a very Australian sound to it. It should be a massive hit back home,but looking at the iTunes chart I don’t know if it has. Which is a shame, for an album which is an unexpected surprise.

http://www.darrenmiddleton.com/

The album is not available in the UK so I’ve had to listen to it via Sound cloud which you can find here. But In the last few day’s Soundcloud has refused to work on the ipad so it’s also streaming on his website.

That’s it for now but I wont leave it so long in between….

…relax it’s only a theory test.

I’ve been placed on a no fun self-imposed ban this week. No quilting, no blogging,nothing interesting to speak of, why? Due to me being lazy and a bit of a tight arse I needed to take my UK theory and driving tests.

Life would have been so easy, I would have exchanged my Australian drivers licence, I even had the envelopes but failed to send it off. ..and then 6 years ago when my Aussie licence was going to expire, there I was waiting at the Vic roads offices for someone else and was too lazy to sort it out. So now here we are, embarrassingly going for my licence again. I’m sure the test was easier when I was 16. I think the rules in Australia were stop, go, go faster, how to do doughnuts in a safe manner.

But fast forward to now and I’ve got 300 rules to remember and other bits like first aid, how to avoid a collision and things that fall under general stuff (how can I help the environment? Walking.) I must have completed 20 mock tests and answered at least 700 practice questions. I’ve got t be ready don’t I?

I arrive at the weird DVSA office, I say weird because all there is in there is a set of lockers, a woman at a desk from the 80s and not enough chairs to sit on. With military precision you are told that you need to put EVERYTHING in the locker, and they must inspect that your mobile phone (that is going in the locker) is switched off. Items locked in, I take the key which is attached to a MASSIVE wooden spoon and lean against the radiator due to lack of plastic seating, and read the sizeable list of rules I’ve been given to read.

After a while I was called over to enter the next room I was asked to empty my pockets in front of them (and everyone waiting) to which I produced a used tissue (acceptable) and Rockettes small mermaid hair clip that made its way into my pocket. I was ordered to put it into the locker, not in my hair but in the locker. This was starting to feel like a TV prison show.

Satisfied that I was clean and I had no answers written on my arms ( others were asked to raise their sleeves and show their hands, on watching this I hastily rubbed out the word “Toil” I had written on my hand the night before to remind me to request some time off work, luckily this went undetected. )I was asked to join another queue to enter the room.

Now before entering this room which was perhaps 4 meters away from my last check point I was asked by another staff member to empty my pockets and show the back pockets which I explained were skinny jeans and there for decoration really and then asked to lift my hair to see behind my ears just to ensure I wasn’t wearing a blue tooth (I wanted to ask for a hair lice inspection but I doubt that would have gone down well). At this point can I say that I visited the Czech Republic when it was still under communist rule and getting through the airport was easier than this ordeal.

Finally ushered into the room to be shown exactly where my ID was supposed to sit (bottom left of table) and my massive wooden spoon (on the headphones hook) I was eventually permitted to start the actual test, sweaty palms and everything .

After all that, Did I pass? I flipping hit that thing out of the park! If I had known what rear view mirror a caravan is supposed to use I would have got 100 per cent.

The hexa year of my life.

Well it’s done! It took about a year of my life from start to finish (leaving out 2 months when I had the worlds worst cold and went off quilting and coffee). The design was from one of my favorite books Hexa go-go by Tacha Bruecher http://www.bookdepository.com/Hexa-go-go-Tacha-Bruecher/9781607053576

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It’s all hand pieced using my beloved English Paper piecing except the sashing and the quilting because as we all know I would never hand quilt, forget that for a joke! Plus it was bigger than I expected, it was massive.

I have posted about this quilt before….

still to go!

still to go!

EPP in progress

EPP in progress

There were times I thought I would never see the end, then the thrill of them all coming together sent not-so-little cheers of excitement. This is a great fat quarter buster luckily as that’s all I had. Most of the fabric I used was either Liberty cotton that I picked up in sales or Riley Blake and other bits and piece I had.

The back was good old trusty Ikea fabric again (I do need to make that 2 and a half round trip again shortly). The wadding inside and the back was all a bit “Frankienstiney” (pieced from this and that)so I have some bumps where there should be but I’m not going to stress about it.

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The original design added a flying geese border which I didn’t add for two reasons, 1- I think it took away from all that beautiful hand pieced art and 2- I couldn’t be arsed.

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So it’s all done and now although I need a blanket on my sofa to keep warm (flipping drafty house) do I trust myself to not get Tea, coffee, chocolate and everything else all over it? I don’t mind washing it now and then but I’m always paranoid it’s going to fall apart if it has constant use.. Then again what is the use of it if it’s not used and loved? I’m not making a museum.

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Now to finish a Halloween quilt and one for a teeny tiny person.