Tuesday, 26 March 2013

And the winner is...

Presents - photo totally stolen from Google
As promised I have purchased a gift certificate at the wonderful Fluffy Sheep for one lucky reader!! Someone who also feels the burden of bloggerhood.

I went all fancy schmancy and did a random number generator on it and check it out!!

I didn't believe it could really pick number one either, but turns out that's how random works!

So to the delightful Miss Anne, who is a profligate blogger and causes the rest of us to have blog envy :-) I give you what every quilter needs - more fabric!!  And if you didn't see Anne's response to my original rant, you should go back and check it out. She has a heart of gold this girl and she absolutely deserves a little love :-)

And If you are every feeling overwhelmed by this wonderful world of online quilting, then I suggest you go back and read the comments because EVERY ONE OF THEM says that they get that feeling too.

I'm sorry I couldn't send pressies to all of you.  You all deserved a little bit of lovin', and a happy reminder that you and your bloggin' make my day.  You could always give yourself a present and check out Fluffy Sheep!  Cindy is wonderful.  She has fabulous customer service and it always makes my day to order through her.  She is based in Ireland and yet fabric I order from her gets to me faster thatn stuff I order from bigger stores in America or even locally in Australia. And don't get me styarted on shipping from Canada...

Enjoy the rest of your week!! I'll try and get some sewing done between now and my next post. Oh! And have a happy Easter! Even if you're not in it for the religious side, it's a long weekend filled with chocolate, so ENJOY!

E xx

(Oh, by the way, CIndy hasn't paid me or bribed me in anyway to talk her up or use her store.  I just really like her shop! E xx)

Monday, 25 March 2013

Desperately seeking swoon

I was on a mission last week.  The linky party for the Scrappy Swoon happened at the Hopeful Homemaker on last Thursday/Friday.

So I was  cutting and sewing quite frantically in an attempt to get my Swoon all finished so I could join in, but I just didn't make it.

I tried I really did, but I have to work, and I don't have unlimited sewing time. I am almost finished the quilt top, but I have a few more blocks to go.

I spent one night just chopping all the chocolate fabric.

Then I spent a night I made the big 3x6 brown blocks.

That was all I managed pre-deadline.

On Friday night and Saturday, I attacked my pile of 3 3/4" squares and made hsts... Many many hsts. Then I had to iron all those stupid seams open. By Sunday I was seriously over it.

One thing I want to say, and maybe it's not fair but it's how I feel, the timeframes were a bit ... *grumble, grumble, mutter, mutter*... for this project.  There was a post every two weeks with sections, which is fine if there's nothing else happening in your life. But one section was "quilt" and I'm sorry but it takes me more than a week to get a fullsize quilt quilted, even if I did nothing but work on that one project. The week after was "bind".  Again, to hand bind takes me well more than a week, so I knew I wasn't going to make the fully finished deadline, but I was hoping to have my top done to sneak into the linky even if I was technically cheating... But the linky was only open for 24 hours!! Now, I have never made a link thingy, but can't you set those up so there is a reasonable amount of time to add projects??? like say open for more than 24 hours in the middle of the week??

I guess I'm disappointed because I only started this project because there was a quilt along, and it worked well for me, in that I liked having the instructions all there and seeing it come together for other people at the same time. I really wanted to show off my finish and be part of the group, and I missed out. I'm whining, but I really am grumbly about it. I just wished I could be part of the cool group with my finished quilt :-(

So status report is that all fabric is completely cut. All hsts are made and ironed. Next task is to make the squares that contain brown angles. Then finish it as a quilt top! So hopefully another week?? Ashley's away, so I'm going to try to devote most of my out of work energy to it.

So wish me luck!!

E xx

PS - Note that so far all my photos are far away artsy looking shots of my pretty colours... this is because I don't want you to look at my seams. They're atrocious. I don't think a single set line up. but, really - who looks that closely anyway!! Right?

Ok, if you want to get in on last weeks gift, go now to my last post! (on the blogger app, so I can't link) I haven't drawn a winner yet so if you get in now I'll add you to the list :-)

Oh!! And I'm linked to Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop! Check the button on the right and go see wow else has got what going on!!!

Talk to you all soon!
E xx

Monday, 18 March 2013

Why hello!!!

I almost didn't see you there!!

I hope you have had a delightful weekend, and a wonderful Monday back at work. I have been a bit sick :-( BUT I cannot feel bad, because I have had some lovely comments coming in after my ramble/rant the other day. I think the overwhelming consensus is that we're all here for fun. Also I am not alone in my fabric envy/guilt over what everyone else is making.

In honour of this, as a treat for all of us overworked and under appreciated quilters, I would like to offer a giveaway. Now, I have no idea how to make this work. I have no concept of shipping or widgets or, heck even how to email replies to my comments, but here goes.

To enter my giveaway, please make a comment. Any comment. Maybe you could impart the secret of how you read so many blogs? Or what your favourite non-crafty down time activity is? Or where you get your inspiration? What ever you want to say, you have a chance to win a prize! And because i love having you as followers, you can all comment a second time for a bonus super dooper free second entry!!

But what will you win?? I am in the process of trying to organise a gift certificate to an onlie fabric store. This way you get soemthing pretty that you'll love, I don't have to ship and we can support a little quilt shop.

I did have a quick rumble through my stash to try to offer some of my own much loved fabrics but I couldn't bear to part with some and I didn't want to give you the stuff I don't love, so a thought a certificate might be a good compromise.

You'll also note that I am not offering to make you anything fancy, although I'd love to, because a)my stitching is dreadful and I don't want to lumber that on anyone who knows better and b) if I offered that it would mean you'd have to wait a month while I made it. Also it would be another job on my list, and we're trying to avoid that, right!

My only hope is that your day is a little bit shinier :-)

I'll draw a winner in 7 days. Probably not an exact 7 days... More like 7 1/2 days, coz I'll wait till I'm home from work :-)


Now I think we all saw that last week I was feeling a little overwhelmed from staring at growing piles of work and fabric. 

But I spent last Saturday playing with my fabric and it made me feel much more content. I don't really have anything to show for it. I did the piecing for my next round of Handstitched borders. This did take me a while as it involved quilt maths. My greatest weakness. I normally avoid the maths and aim to overestimate and then just cut it, but I decided that I was going to do it right!! Also I don't want to run out of my pretty fabrics. The solids should be fine, but I only have half yards of my three prints.

So check out my maths!!
Quilt maths

And I got it right first time!! That, my friends is how you make a border!!

Note that it's not actually attached to the quilt yet...

Then I tried to work out the lengths I needed to attach... This is where my maths failed me. I measured the edge. It's 33". So I need two 16.5" pieces, right?? No. I forgot that I am adding in the central blossom, so I actually only need 12.5". Though that assumes I'm doing the patchwork corners... Not completely decided on that. I don't think I want to mitre the corners, just because I am doubtful I will be able to line up my pattern perfectly like I did on an earlier border. I definitely don't want more blossoms. 
Maybe I could do a scrappy improv-y choppy corner? I don't know that that will work with the rest of the quilt.
Medallion quilt so far

Does anyone have any other ideas?

Once this round is on, I only have 2 simple sections and I can start with the quilting. Although I haven't picked backing yet. I'm tossing up between being thrifty and sewing all my scraps in a pile and trying to make something out of that, or just accepting that that will be too much work and not the effect I really want and buying something. Then the question becomes, do we want plain or pattern? Plain red or stone could look gorgeous, but will also show all the flaws in my stitching. Maybe I could do big pieces of both?

Oh well. A decision for another day!

Go enjoy your Monday and I'll see you later in the week for a Swoon update. Don't forget to comment for a present!!!

E xx

Friday, 8 March 2013

What's been happening

So I admit, I've been a bit absent. 

It's not because I don't love you!! I promise!!  I've just been so busy reading what everyone else has to say that I've had no time to say anything myself.  I've even been very restrained on the commenting. I am reading what you're all up to and loving the stuff everyone is making, but sometimes the only comment I can make has already been said!! Or it seems hilarious in my head, but when I type it I look like a crazy lady so it gets deleted and I have no normal sounding words to replace it with.

But enough with the lame excuses, what's been happening in my world??

Well I have felt like a busy little bee.  I have been working like a demon at my job, staying back nights to try and get things done.  I had a junior girl helping me out and she quit before Christmas so I have been covering all the work.  Nervous breakdown coming my way.  Thankfully we hired her replacement at the start of February so I was very excited to get help.  I forgot that the new girl knows nothing and needs training in EVERYTHING.  OMG this takes so much time. So I am behind on my work because I have no help and the help I have takes twice as long to do anything and I have to constantly stop what I'm doing to show her things and explain things and teach things - this will be worthwhile in the long run, but right now, I am ready to stab someone with a pencil.

And then I spend my nights reading about what all you creative types are getting up to when I get home.  I have seriously got to cut down the number of blogs I follow, because I spend hours every day just catching up with you all.  I'm not commenting, because there are usually 6 screens (minimum) open at once. I just don't know who to cull... I love you all too much! I WANT to know what you're making. I WANT to see what fabulous fabrics your using.  I want to see the glories and the failures and the hiccups and all the goodness of quilting that goes on in all of your work rooms.  It makes me happy!! So I guess I have to become more efficient at reading them :-) lol

But these two time challenges have meant I have had limited sewing time.

I have taken to doing handstitching on the train on my way to and from work, just to keep progressing.  The looks I get from fellow commuters confirm I look like a psycho, but it's time I need to try to keep up to date.

I am loving my handstitched class, but I have fallen behind.  Well behind. So far behind I think I will never catch up.  Luckily I signed up for the level of class where I get an ebook so after the class proper has finished, I'll still be able to work on the projects.

Here's where I'm up to with the centre:

I am still slowing stitching around the centre. I haven't even completed a full side yet!!

I took a day off sick and added my patchwork.  But I still have to do my paper piecing or my applique. And this week we're up to hand quilting, so I really need to get my act in gear.

I originally started the patchwork with just the red, white and black solids.  Then I added in some of the prints, but I couldn't help but think I need some more grey in there to help balance the colour.
Patchwork of black, white, red and some pattern
I sneaked off to my LQS and bought some Stone and I am really happy with the result.
With a little bit of stone.

I am also going to skip the paper piecing on this project. I have done/am doing the mini project, so I've still learnt the skill.
(See look at my pretty hexagon tree!! I'm still stitching them down but I used some of the basting glue to I can take it with me and keep the layout I wanted.)

Pink trees.  Maybe not accurate, but I love the concept.

But back to the quilt.  The storm at sea blocks just don't feel like the right fit to me for the quilt itself.  I'm going to do a second set of dogwood blossoms in the corners.  That will match with the round to come after, so I'll kind of just do two at once.The round after that should come together pretty quickly. So fingers crossed I can knock this off this weekend. I'm so confident I've even added the solid stone ready for the blossoms.
With corner"stone"s - I crack me up!! I just realised this is the only photo of the whole top! Oops.
That being said, I'm also considering not doing the off-set squares for the next layer. Would that be cheating? I'm thinking that if I do some simple borders of different widths, it might work for me.  I think it's because I'm using so much fewer colours and patterns that the slightly scrappy version that is the goal doesn't quite sit right when i lay it out.  I am trying, but I also want something that I love at the end, so I have to do a little bit of compromise.

Too many thoughts, not enough time.

One of the things I'm struggling with with this class is the time frames. Not that Rachel hasn't been generous with spacing the lessons out, but I am not loving having so many deadlines.  A bit of a deadline is good for me to try to get things done in a timely manner.  I am a fan of a deadline.

The problem is that I am trying to do too many things with deadlines.  I want to get each project plus the quilt done on time for Handstitched.  I am in the middle of the Swoon quilt-a-long which is wrapping up in about a week. (hold on for three seconds and I'll update you on my progress with this. OMG you people are sooo demanding!)  I am also ridiculously busy with work deadlines.  I haven't even STARTED by Skill builder BOM. But I can't justify starting another project when I've still got so much left to do... Luckily Alyssa has a much slower schedule. I'm only two...three months behind :-)

I love all of these projects (and the non-deadline ones I have sitting around), But having these deadlines is starting to make this sewing caper a chore.  And I don't like that.

What I have to always remember it that I don't quilt for deadlines. I don't quilt to have something to blog about. I don't quilt for anyone but me.  So if I'm not enjoying it, or I'm not in the mood, or the fabrics are not speaking to me then I'm just not doing it. And bugger the deadline.

I will not ruin a perfect hobby by pressuring myself to achieve beyond what i am capable of achieving.

I love to read what everyone else is making, but ya'll give me a complex at how much and how wonderfully you make things!! I am sloooow. But I am only learning.  I do not have perfect points or seams or quarter inches... But I am getting better. And as long as I am having fun, that's what matters.

And I know you will all love me just the same :-)

E xx

Oops!! I almost forgot to give you the Swoon update!! I have all my blues and cream cut out and sewn into my central star. I have to cut up my browns, but once I do that I should smash through it.  See!!

The start of my Giant Swoon
 (I swear that I did another of those sets of points, but I couldn't find them in my rush to take pictures this morning.  You get the general idea though.)

Up close and personal with my patchwork

Look at these beautiful colours!
Shades of teal

Shades of cream
Shades of Brown
I love it!! It is going to be my favourite-ist of all the quilts ever in all the world!!

If I ever get it finished :-) 

 E xx