Monday, 8 December 2008

Hannah's quilt finished!

Not the greatest pic in the world, camera was playing up, and I couldn't load it onto the computer last night, wrapped the quilt and then realised this morning the flash hadn't worked. Anyway excuses over. More about the quilt.

I bought the plain pink and purple fabric in Birmingham with Hannah in mind, and the bundle of batiks I picked up somewhere (Truro?) I went for the same pattern that I used for Carly's 18th birthday quilt last year, and used a purple fabric I bought without taking the top woth me, so I was really lucky to get such a great match for it.

It's FMQ'ed in a random squiggle, but to make it different, where the pink squares are, I've drawn a freehand flower. I aimed for 5 petals, but some of them have six, and I know there's one with only four! Also at random places throughout the quilt, I've drawn a freehand leaf. I was trying to keep the individual parts of an ash leaf in mind while I was doing them, but some are a bit fatter than others.

The borders are short leftover bits of strips, and a narrow purple stripe, and I used more leftover strips for the binding.

My other finish this week has been this tessellated top:

I'd bought the fabrics from eBay, they're a Moda collection called Portugal. I knew I wanted to use them together in a scrap quilt, to show off the colours to the best I could. I was flicking through a really old magazine that I'd got as a freebie with one of the current ones and found a tessellated quilt. I've looked at them and loved the way all the blocks interlock and the edges between block and pattern are blurred. This one had a simple enough looking block and the cutting instructions looked straighforward! Ha! Famous last words. They suggested using the same fabric for the background blocks to make piecing easier, but I didn't have enough of any single fabric to do this, so first of all I worked out how many blocks I could get out of a FQ (3) and then how many I needed (pattern said 42) then started slicing fabric.

I quickly realised the pattern hadn't been written very well, and I needed a lot more background fabric than they suggested. OK, this is what EQ's for...a quick re-draw and colour!! 3 days later I had my quilt drawn and printed. I went for greens around the border and a repeating colour design where the variety of patterns would give a scrappier look. I'm thrilled with how it's turned out.

Now I just need to work out how best to quilt it. There's no specific plans for this one, but I might think about asking Serendipity how to go about selling through them

Friday, 5 December 2008

December bag challenge complete

I really enjoyed making this one. The fabric was a piece of Designer's Guild glazed cotton that Pat gave me a couple of years ago. I liked it but wasn't sure where I was going to use it. When this bag pattern came up, I knew I could use the Baboushka fabric. I started it, then checked with H that she liked it...she loved it, so looks like she'll be claiming it for her own! Another great pattern from the BQL bag challenge, and once I've got it posted on the thread there, I can get a bonus pattern for having finished it before December 21st.

I had my 4 week post TT check up yesterday. They found two small primary tumours in my thyroid, and another secondary in one of the lymph nodes the surgeon removed. This doesn't affect the course of treatment at all, and I'm all set for the RAI in January as planned. Back to work on Thursday. I mentioned to the surgeon that I was planning on running a full marathon next year, which he supports, and when I said it was at St Austell, Eden Project, he may well do the same one himself. It sure helps to have a surgeon who's a runner!! He might see me on the start line, but by the time I finish, he'll have finished, showered, changed and driven back to Plymouth!

Sunday, 30 November 2008

It's beginning to feel...

I've been working hard on finishing some UFOs before the turn of the year and radio iodine treatment. The first one I wanted to get done was the Christmas quilt I saw in a magazine last year. It was designed to be assmebled in wiggly rows, then turned through 60° and cut into a large rectangle. Hhmmm! I really don't have floor space big enough to be able to do that, so I unpicked some of the shorter rows, and re stitched them so I've got a rectangle. It's big enough to cover our king size bed, but we'll be using it as a snuggle quilt for the lounge.

I was going to go for a totally scrappy look, but in the end decided to stick to a red and white colour scheme, with one stripe of green.

I bought some muticoloured thread from our new Hobbycraft store which I'm planning to quilt it with. I'm not sure whether to go for straight lines (contrasts with the wiggles of the quilt, but boring to sew) or to use a pre-programmed stitch on the machine and do wiggly lines down the centre of each wide stripe. Decisions decisions.

I finished darning the ends of Ben's quilt in this afternoon as well, so it's all wrapped and ready for the tree. I've not done a label yet, but I'll practice on some scrap fabric before doing the real one.

Finally, my BQL list Secret Santa present arrived. I've been a good girl and put it on top of my wardrobe until the big day.

Monday, 24 November 2008

More thyroid news.

Backdate to early November.

I went in to the local hospital on November 11th for my thyroidectomy. This is the first stage of my cancer treatment, and will be followed in January by a dose of radioactive iodine. I was told to be at the clinic to see the surgeon at 7.45am, but didn't go down to theatre until gone 1pm.

I was back on the ward around 4.30pm with an IV drip, morphine pump and a drain. Dreadful night's sleep, every time anyone came in the bay, I woke up, couldn't get comfy due to wires and tubes and the staff having to wake me for post op obs. Mike came in to see my in the early part of the evening but I know I slept through his visit.

I was reviewed by the surgical team on the Wedesday who took bloods for calcium levels as I was getting pins and needles in both hands and around my lips. No chance of discharge on Wednesday but if the drain reduced the amount of fluid being collected each hour, I could go on Thursday. Drips and morphine taken out mid morning and I was able to get dressed and start moving a bit. The drain came with me in my back pocket! Eventually it came out shortly before the family visited me.

Once I was free of tubes, the worst thing was the boredom! I read 2 books, magazines and played online. I'd forgotten how much I treasure my ability to be active! Now I'm back home, all I want to do is sleep! I spent the first 2 weeks lounging and being incapable of any housework or anything really. Now I'm gradually able to do more, but typically I'm pushing myself to do more, so I'm even more wiped out!

Getting better slowly now though!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Birthday, mud and cakes!

Backdate this one to the 8th/9th November.

We'd decided to race the Sodbury Slog way, way back in February. We'd heard it's a great race and a big gathering for people from the running forum we're both members of. The race itself is around 9 1/2 miles, but the key word in the title is SLOG. There's only about 1 mile on tarmac, the rest is through ploughed fields, rivers and slurry. Now I know it's strange, but I really enjoy doing off road races, the muddier the better. I think it's because I reason to myself that the faster runners are slowed down by the conditions, but being a plodder, they won't affect me!

We got to our pub in Yate, a mile from Chipping Sodbury, and settled in, then walked into CS to recce the race HQ and pubs. Back to our pub for a couple of pints, then back to town to meet up with TP and ST. Lots of girly gossip, and then met with JW who helps organise the race, and some of his mates. All to a steakhouse, then pub until chucking out time. I was so busy having a good time, I forgot about running with a thick head the next day.

TP and ST presented me with a tiara to wear as a Mudhoney, and they both raced in stripy fingerless gloves! The race starts after a short service of Remembrance and all the runners are asked to wear poppies. The first mud bath came after about 2 miles, a short queue and plunge in up to our knees. There was a group ahead of me searching for a lost shoe already! There were hay bales to scramble over, a stile, one of the steepest downhills I've run and more mud than I really care to remember.

My favourite bit has to be approaching the final river (not river crossing, we had to run through the river). There were crowds on the banks, so I stopped and told them I'd only go on once they'd sung happy birthday to me. As they got to the name part, I turned to show them KWILTER on my vest and as I turned back, I lost my balance as my feet were buried in mud, and I was up to my knees in fast flowing water. You can see the result for yourselves!

I've no idea how long it took, somewhere close to my half marathon time I think but it was such great fun. We've already booked the hotel for next year!

Once I'd got back and showered we went to the local Italian restaurant that JW had booked and ate roughly our own bodyweight in pasta. Even B was defeated...although to be fair, he did eat half of H's pizza as well as his own pasta. M had brought cake for me, which after we'd cut it into 40 portions gave 3 crumbs each.

Great weekend, great friends and can't wait to do it all again next year

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Ben's quilt

Backdate this one to early October!

I was in Truro in summer to track down some long dead ancestors and once I'd finished at the record office, strolled down into town. I turned onto a street I don't usually use, and imagine the surprise I got as there was a quilt shop there! No honestly I'd had no idea. I knew there was a shop on Lemon Quay but not about this one. I browsed a bit and picked up some black T-o-T to use as the background to a table topper I was making and a roll of black and white batiks for no other reason than I liked them! You see the resolution not to buy more fabric unless it's for something specific? Well it's like the January Pledge where wine used in cooking doesn't count, if I see something I really really like it's allowed. I got them home, and B claimed the batiks. I'd bought a pattern ages ago for a strip club quilt with bright stars in the corners of a block, and he asked for this for Christmas. He picked the BRIGHTEST orange fabric imaginable for the contrast...His quilt, his choice!

While I was at the FoQ, I was led astray by a roll of 6 metres of celery green fabric for a bargain £20, then once at home realised it would be a great backing for this quilt. Ben picked green and blue thread, and I've quilted it by outlining the stars then going inside by 1/4" and outside by 1/4". I copied the star shapes in the blank spaces using the same method and using blue thread on top and green on the bottom, then swapped the threads over and stippled all over the quilt top.

2 months later, I've still got to stitch the ends in, and label it but it's all bound and ready for Christmas.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

New Sewing machine

Backdate this to October 25th!

So DH finally got his terminal gratuity, and I was on my way to the Sewing Machine Shop in Exeter I played on quite a selection the the FoQ waaay back in August, and had set my mind on a Husqvarna Viking. I'd looked at the top of the range model, but was quite happy with the next model down. DH left me and DD in the shop while he and DS went back into the town centre with instructions not to come back until I texted him.

I soon settled down with the mid range model, and got to grips with it quite quickly, most of the functions seemed clear, it was just the normal case of being used to the controls on my old machine. DD was taken upstairs where there was a children's craft club in full session...a great idea, £5 and they get to make mess and create something for 5 hours, lunch included.

Eventually I decided that the mid range would be great for what I needed...however, DH got back just as I was letting the shop know which one I wanted, and told me to get the top of the range model instead :-D Who am I to argue??

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Mass update coming soon

Ooops, I'd not realised it's been such a long time since I last posted. To save having one mahoosive War and Peace sized post, I'm going to post lots of shorter ones over the next few days.

Coming soon: New Sewing Machine!, Operation!, More Quilting!, Race and Social Meeting!, My Birthday!, Driving Test News!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

bugger! Bit of a shock

Where to start??? Last weekend I was thrilled to have got a PB in my latest race, didn't even mention having a hospital appointment with the surgeon who removed the cyst, it was so low key on my event horizon. I was fully expecting to be told the wound was helaing very nicely, and to go away never to darken his door again.

So imagine my shock when he told me there were thyroid cells in the cyst, it was very unusual but indictaed that I'd either had a cancerous growth which had resolved itself or that there was a very small growth within my thyroid which they'd not picked up on MRI! How the hell did that happen???

He told me everything very clearly, but I wasn't taking it in, so once he'd explained for the first time, he started straight over again from the berginning and went through it again, then a third time! I only managed to ask him how long I'd need to wait till the operation. Couldn't think of anything else to ask. Naturally, M hadn't come with me! As I left, i went to get a drink and phone home, then work. S came out to collect me and drove me home, where bits of what I'd been told kept coming back to me. He'd given me his secretary's phone number but I couldn't rememeber why, so called her. It was to make an appointmennt to see him again, whicih will be on Wednesday.

Now with a combination of remembering bits and google I'm gradually getting a fuller picture. It's either very small or resolved which is GOOD. I'm young fit and female which is GOOD. He needs to remove my thyroid and the lymph nodes to make sure any cancer is removed either before it gets larger or to make sure it is fully gone. This is also GOOD. Something about papillary thyroid cancer on the interweb sounded familiar but I'm nopt sure why. I may need radioactive iodine which I only took in the "iodine" bit rather than "radiation" until i got an email from someone mentioning isolation. I googled and I'd need to be in hospital for anything up to a week, but this is only if the thyroid biopsy shows any disease. I'll need to take thyroxine tablets daily, but I checked with an online buddy and they have very few side effects, hell he's done an ironman!

I have no idea how long I'd need to wait till the operation but sooner rather than later. Does this mean next week or next month? I'd need to stay in hospital for about 4 days (ugh hospital food) and be off work for 2 weeks. I've got a long list of questions, each of which will give me the same number of sub questions I'm sure as he answers them!

Oddly enough I've done no quilting since I was told this, although I did manage a 2 mile run to clear my head. More on Wednesday I hope

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Another weekend, another race, another PB!

So today was my first race since my operation, and to be honest I was a bit concerned, as I'd struggled with the distance last year, and I've not been able to do any training since the Dartmoor Dash 3 weeks ago.

Anyway I duly turned up and after 4 river crossings, hills, mud (but not as much as last year) and an impromptu toilet stop, I finished in 1:40:50 by their timing and 1:39:02 by mine. Damn those 2 seconds! Still an 8 minute PB is a PB!

Nice T shirt in the goody bag, and instead of a medal we got a trophy. One of those laser engraved acrylic ones. Very smart. I hope stories of the race's demise are greatly exaggerated!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008


Looking good this morning. It didn't take so very long to piece, I followed Carol Doak's instructions for paper piecing, and found them great! I've done PP before, (of course, see my Dear Jane quilt!) but I'd always had trouble cutting pieces big enough so they covered the patch once they were flipped over, and also reversing angles kind of got me confused...reminds me of the time I was steering a submarine and got totally lost between left and right as the boat went in the opposite direction to the way I steered...anyway I digress.

Carol recommends measuring your patches first, then adding a nice big seam allowance and cutting each piece as a rectangle. You then pin your first patch in place on the reverse of your pattern (I found flower head pins helpful here) Next you fold the pattern back on itself along the first seam line (use a postcard as a guide) and cut the fabric using either the 1/4" line on your rotary ruler, or the add-a-quarter ruler. Next you line up your second patch with the newly trimmed first patch, flip it to make sure it covers all the pattern it's supposed to and sew it down.

My only trouble came when I realised I'd not got the pattern pieces marked out as well as I could have done with EQ6, I'd ended up having to sub-cut them into smaller pieces. Good to note with a small piece and not with the full quilt! It still came together reasonably well.

I need to applique the central circle in place then applique the whole thing onto a cream backing square and it's done. Maybe tomorrow?

Monday, 22 September 2008

still off work

I've been off since last Tuesday following the operation, slowly getting better and more energetic, anyway on Friday I woke up with a really itchy leg, right where I'd been bitten. It was swollen, hot and so itchy it was unbelieveable. Eventually we ended up at the out of hours doctor's facility, and I got myself a new course of anti-biotics, double strength, some anti-histamine tabs and some hydrocortisone cream. Lucky me then also got one of the commonest side effects of anti-biotics! So now I'm off sick for the rest of the week, with instructions to finish the course.

Even better, he warned me that the discolouration may take up to 2 months to clear. Just as well it's winter and I'm in trousers.

So, while I've been off, I've been working on the Christmas gifts for my quilt group. Currently up to 24 in all, so about another dozen or so to go. Needlecases, pinwheels, pin cushions, could do with a couple of new ideas for some new gifts but I'm happy with how they're turning out:

I'm also carrying on trying new ideas for that mariner's compass star. I've re-drawn the borders to emphasise the spikey-ness of the compasses, and today got as far as printing off the foundation for the central star. I'm not making it up as the full quilt this time, but it'll make a great cushion while I practice the technique. I thought I'd go traditional and stick with red, white and blue. All I need to do is cut the foundations and sew the thing together!

This was also my first attempt at trying one of EQ6's new features, being able to choose my own sections for foundation piecing. (Actually I'm not sure if this is new, but it's the first time I've used it!!) Tomorrow I'll pull fabric from the stash to try piecing the star.

I also finished my Christmas table mat yesterday after only being able to sew in half hour bursts for most of the week. All appliqued, quilted and bound, and ready for the Christmas meeting:

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

So tired...

I had my throat op yesterday, and can't believe how shattered I feel! I was up at 6am to get to hospital by 7.30. Final check by consultant, then up to pre op ward. Lots more versions of the same questions I'd been asked before, then walk down to theatre. Just after the gasman had put the venflon in, the fire alarm went off :-O so up to recovery section for nearly an hour until it was silenced. Fortunatley it was a false alarm.

Next thing I was up on one of the recovery wards, but first I was wheeled to the wrong one! Eventually I went to the right one and spent most of the afternoon asleep. I was allowed home at 5pm.

Today I woke up with a galloping sore throat and my legs felt like I'd run a marathon. Still drowsy but determind not to lounge around all day doing nothing, I started working on the extra quilting on my siggy quilt. I'd seen it at the show, and thought it needed more emphasis around the signed block, so I'm going over the diamonds. I'd done 3 rows before this morning and started merrily on the 4th, only to discover that recovering from a general anaesthetic and sewing in a straight line don't mix! Luckily no pictures of the wobbles!

Instead of working more on that, I decided to do some of the pin wheels I'm working on for the quilt group:

They're not as out of focus in real life! I've only finished the bottom two, but should get the rest done tomorrow.

At the last group meeting, the programme was down as "Plym Challenge", but there was no other information. It turned out to be a challenge to produce a table mat for our Christmas meeting, using two provided fabrics. There were no other conditions, but Kathleen showed us some mats she'd made for inspiration. I decided the way to go was to make a block on EQ into a mat shape:

Then to see how well it came out in real life:

Just noticed the leaves are going in opposite directions, but I don't suppose that'll matter! Kathleen said we weren't allowed to eat unless we brought our mat! I'm off to Derry's on Saturday to buy some glittery thread, I used most of the Christmassy bobbin I had on making the pinwheels :-/

Saturday, 6 September 2008

keen or what??

I've decided I'm going to have a go at that quilt. Started by printing off a batch of templates from my quilt program, which has led me to simplifying the block by deleting some line I didn't need due to the way I coloured the block, then re-printing the block. Tomorrow once I'm back from the race, I'll get my scrap box out and try piecing it.

The letter from the hospital arrived with a huge questionnaire, so that's all filled in ready for the pre op appointment on Wednesday and the op itself next Tuesday.

Friday, 5 September 2008

I wonder if I could...

make this?

Lots to catch up on

First of all, I played some more with the fabric dye kit. First time round I used up some of the pre-prepared solutions I'd made up for the small samples. Sadly, I discovered the dye doesn't remain stable for long, I've since been told it can go off in 4 hours if it's hot! So all the fat quarters I dyed came out of the washing machine looking very faded and sorry for themselves. Not to worry, I made up some more dye and repeated the experiment:

Just need todecide what to do with them.

The online bag challenge issued another pattern for September:

I'm really please with how this one turned out. Even the zip went in OK, although I cheated by accident, and bought an open ended zipper. I've used up the Japanese taupe strips I bought in Birmingham. I'm in the middle of making a slightly larger version as well, using the left over batiks from H's quilt. She's baggsed it, but has asked me to make it up as a cushion. I'm also planning a version in black and white using the leftover strips from B's quilt. I'm even going to use the orange contrast as the centre squares.

The Christmas quilt is coming along slowly, but piecing the curved blocks is a drag. I'm almost finished with making the curved strips, then with a bit of luck, the straight seams will go quickly, otherwise it won't be finished until next Christmas! Another potential saga like the tree skirt!

I've been given the date for my operation at last. 16th September. It was going to be next Tuesday, but typically it's DH's fist day in his new job, so I had to postpone it by a week. I have to go to the hospital one day next week for all the pre op checks, but as the consultant said that won't be a problem for a runner! My first question was when I'd be able to get back to running, but work for some reason wanted to know how long I'd be off work. As it's a Tuesday, I'll probably stay off until the following Monday.

The op date fits in well with races, as it's 2 days after a 8 mile one, and then I don't have another until nearly a fortnight later. strangely enough these two and another one I've got on Sunday are all trail races, so an excuse for shoe shopping! Managed to ask for club discount too, and got a pair for £45. I need to ask at work if I can beg a lift to an October race with one of the guys as it's difficult to get to by public transport. DH is working so me and the kids should be OK with M in his car. I can only ask anyway.

Off to marshall on Saturday for a club 5K. Rain forecast, and advised to bring bikes to get to the marshalling points.

I've been struggling with a toe injury since Torbay, so I'm off to see a podiatrist tonight straight after work. He asked me to bring my running shoes, but as I'm in trousers for work, I'll pack my leggings and top as well. Hopefully he'll be able to sort me out. I think it's due to my flat feet, and according to Google, I could be in line for another operation to sort it out...maybe I could ask if they can do it the same time as my neck?

Sunday, 24 August 2008


Very quick post tonight, it's late and I'm sleepy. It was the Torbay Royal Regatta 10K today, I was hoping to get close to 1:10, and a good friend offered to pace me back for the second half. Anyway, I managed not only to run the whole way including the bastard hills that got the best of me in June, but smashed my PB by almost 5 minutes.

Happy happy happy :-D

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Playtime for quilters

Who can blame me for playing with some of my new goodies? First of all, I dyed some small pieces of fabric. I wanted to get a feel for the techniques and see how the dyes reacted together. I've noted exactly how much dye, salt, mixer and water I used in these samples, and just squirted pipettes full onto the fabric. The golden yellow seemed to develop in the minutes after I put it on the fabric. My favourite pieces fromthis selection are the green and the multicoloured yellow-magenta-blue which I made by drizzling lines of each colour onto the fabric and letting them blur and mix together.
So what could I possible make with these small pieces of fabric. I didn't want them to end up in my scrap box! Fabric postcards of course...and the chance to play with some more new stuff. This time I used some of the Madeira thread, and a piece of pelmet vilene I'd bought on Sunday and of course one of my favourite pieces of hand dyed fabric:

Best bit of this? Even the applique flowers are leftovers from another project. Next time I do one, I'll use thicker wadding, and remember to bond the vilene to the upper of the postcard rather than the back, as the guidelines can still be seen through the white backing. Still, live and learn!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

FoQ woop woop!!!

I arrived bang on time, met sis, and then spent the next 6 1/2 hours in quilter's heaven! My main priority was to get to as many sewing machine manufacturers as possible to have a play. Of the 4 I visited, Husqvarna Viking were the most helpful, and I'm expecting to buy the 870 in November. The lovely lady showing the machines looked after me for 40 minutes while I tried stitches, buttons, FMQ, embroiery etc etc. Then she showed my the quilt moving thing which I found would make FMQ-ing a large quilt much easier...£250 easier I hope ;-).

We didn't spend as much time as I would have liked looking at the quilts on show, but I was still able to get inspired. One of the quilts literally took my breath away. It was one I'd seen featured in a magazine, and I believe won Best in Show in Paducah this year. I glimpsed it from the far end of a line of quilts, and nearly ran to see it. It's truly a masterpiece! The winning Large Traditional was truly inspiring too, it was like flipping a coin to decide between the two. I'm so glad I'm not a quilt judge. I adored the celtic bias applique...not a stitch in sight to my amateur eyes :-O

If I'm being brutally honest, and whyever not? I wasn't overly impressed by the winner of Quilt 2008. It was Union Flags made from Liberty lawn prints. The construction was good, but the design wasn't as inspiring as I thought some of those in the open category were. The quilting seemed to me to be utilitarian...purely to hold the layers together. In a grid pattern, and (can I be honest) I saw lots of puckers. Now I know my quilts are puckered where lines intersect, but I'm not an award winning quilter :-/

So on to the best!!! I took my budget and spent most of it. Treated sis to a beginners rotary set of mat 2 rulers and a rotary cutter, then bought myself this little stash of goodies:
From the left: a book on quilted postcards, one on scrap quilts and Carol Doak's 50 Paper Pieced Stars. Then the before I start, I know I was only buying fabric for specific quilts, but FoQ doesn't count right??

Here we have a 6m piece of green good for backing fabric, pink and purple batik from Doughty's for H's quilt. See that gorgeous pack of hand dyes in the front? That's from Heide Stoll Weber and is adorable. I don't know what I'll use it in, or maybe I'll just stroke it! Next is the Christmas prints I needed for this year's festive quilt and on the right is some plain white which is PFD fabric. That stone coloured wheel is some Japanese taupe wovens which I've already sliced into 1 1/4" strips ready for September's Bag of the Month.

See the white with all those threads on, the scissors and the purple pen? That's all Madeira goodies I got as a freebie as a subscription gift for British P&Q. The white is called Avalon and dissolves in water to leave a filigree effect with the thread FMQ-ed on it. Also there are some applique pins schmetz needles and a pair of bag handles also for the September BOTM. Finally there's a 24" ruler as my old 18" one was getting a bit faded in the middle and I was having to guess where the marks were.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Festival of Quilts

I'm off there in the morning!! Can't wait. I'll be meeting up with my (non quilting) sister, but hopefully we'll be going round separately and meeting up for lunch. I need to look at new sewing machines, DH has promised me one at the end of the year. I'm also going to be hunting for books on dying fabrics, along with the fabric to dye and the dye.

I did have a list somewhere but can't find it now!

Monday, 4 August 2008

Here it is!!

All that's left not is to make a label and a hanging sleeve.

First I'm off to see Kung Fu Panda with the children.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

all done!!!

Post of triumph! All finished except the hand stitching the binding down. I@m having a break then I'll do that after a shower. I need to get it round to P's house tomorrow afternoon, so lots of time now to do the hanging sleeve and label.

I'm so relieved I've done it, but a bit sad at the same time that it won't be mine for long. I'm really pleased with how it looks, the red thread was a great choice, and although, like many quilters I can point to every wobble and wrongly sewn section, I'm determined not to.

getting closer...

This is the current position on the night garden quilt. I've got all the main cabling done now, just 3 short ones and 4 Vs to do. Should be no reason why I can't get them finished today. I'm still not sure whether or not to go round each section again as an echo. DH thinks it's fine as is, but I'm not convinced. I think what I'll do is get it finished for the show and see what happens there, then once I get it back I can make a decision before I get it to its final destination.

Back off to the sewing room as soon as I've finished my drink.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

working hard...

...on that quilt. Today I've gone almost all the way round the outisde of the main part of the cable design. Just one inverted V to do. Then I've got to go round the inside of it all, and do the short Vs and shorter straight cables to close each square. All going very well so far.

Yesterday I spent the day at the Truro record office, looking for ancestors hiding in the paperwork. I manage to locate around 20 baptisms of people I had in census returns, so more gaps filled in there. Tomorrow we're all off to Camborne parish church to see if we can find any memorial stones...hope it's in better trim than Illoga's was last year.

I did my hill session on Monday, it was a lot more gentle than I'd expected, a 3 hill loop done twice. The hills were more slopes than big hills, so very much a confidence building exercise for me...even if I was last to finish, I didn't take any walk breaks, and got all the way up each hill without too much of a struggle.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Very quick update

Panicked phone call from my friend who is also finishing quilts for the Princetown's all Go go go!!!!!! She's taking her quilts to a collection point this week. I've got 3 all finished, labelled and hanging sleevs attatched, neatly folded and covered. The final one, the one I'm hoping to sell, to fund a new machine is still only about half quilted. Today I've finished marking most of the remaining sashing strips, and only have 1/2 of one of the pieced blocks to quilt.

Tomorrow was reserved for sorting out my family tree notes before a trip to the record office, but I'm going to have to quilt instead. Looks like my lie in has gone too!

Last night was the Cornwood 10K, which I can only say wasn't as bad as the Ivybridge one! Very hot and almost as hilly, but I did it faster than Ivybridge. Managed to get a photo taken where I almost have both feet in the air:

The other one I have of me looks llike I'm blessing someone off shot. In fact, as I was just finishing, the rest of the club were at the finish zone, cheering me home, so I was waving to them. Tomorrow, apparantly, I'm doing a hill session

Could use the unfinished quilt as an excuse....

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Not abducted by aliens!!!

Oooops, can't believe it's been so long since I've posted on here. I've been in a bit of a quilting rut, haven't been able to settle to any one piece, and couldn't find anything to inspire me to start on. My Torbay Half race seemed to have affected my more than I'd realised, as I simply couldn't face running, training or anything to do with keeping healthy.

So, nearly a month on, a huge update. I finally got a diagnosis from the endocrinologist: goitre, but none malignant, and no need for further investigations by his team. The mysterious lump is now due for another ultrasound, with needle aspiration, scheduled for early next month. He's expecting it to come back as bone and connective tissue. Only thing is I'm not sure now if I'm automatically referred to the orthopods, or if I'll need to go all the way back to "start" and my GP!

Running-wise, I did another race at the weekend, but it was incredibly hilly, and very hot, so struggled quite a bit with that too. I decided that I really want to improve my running, so went along to the club's track session yesterday. We had to do 5 x 800m with 2 1/2 minute recovery in between. I didn't bother timing it, but felt that I'd worked hard. Next week is onward and upward

The quilt show is getting closer now, but I'm finding it a bit frustrating to be honest. At the last group meeting, they hadn't been able to get in touch with the person who was booking the hall for the show, so weren't sure how much space we were going to have...or even confirmation that we were showing at all! I had a phone call from a friend in the group and she'd heard from someone else we're still short of stewards...I can't due to work and not driving, I guess everyone else has the same reasoning. Seems a shame that as at other groups and organisations there's a few people pulling out and doing and many more sitting back and watching!

Anyway, show or no show, I've got 3 quilts all completed, hanging sleeves on and 1 labelled. Tomorrow I hope to do the rest of the labels. The one that's holding me up, is the one that always holds me up, my night garden! I marked a good lot more of it over the weekend, and today I've quilted most of one of the pieced blocks. Not the greatest photo, the colours are much brighter in real life, they seem a bit washed out on here!

There's also 2 new pieces in the planning stage. Firstly a string pieced lemoyne star for the coffee table. I just need to get some Kona Black for the setting pieces. I'm not sure if I'm going to piece a middle border in strips of the main colours with another black border around it or not. The beauty of making something quite simple is I can plan it as I sew. As long as it's large enough to cover most of the table it'll do fine. I'm planning to quilt it using some of my newly acquired FMQ skills.

The next piece planned is a Christmas sofa quilt I saw in QNM last December. It's a wide and narrow curved piece which together make the block. What makes it a bit special is you assemble it at 60* so the wavy lines aren't straight up and down. I bought a 2lb pack of Christmas scraps from and have been able to use most of the pieces. I'll still need some more reds, but I'm off to the Festival of Quilts in 3 weeks, so should be able to pick up some there!

Final project which doesn't even have a photo of the fabric or blocks is an experimental piece using the Kona Black once it arrives. I read about cutting a masque from wallpaper lining paper using a plate, taping it down and spraying it with bleach to create a moonscape...Looking forward to seeing how it will turn out!

Monday, 30 June 2008

Races and quilts

Last weekend was the Torbay Half marathon. I'd not expected it to be as hilly as it was, and what was worse, all the hills were concentrated in a 1 1/2 mile stretch that we had to cover 4 times. They seemed to get steeper each time I apporached them, and I ended up walking most of them. Great boost to see some people from the running club, I'd not realised just how great it was to see someone with the same vest as me! The eventual winners overtook me twice, first within the first mile loop, and then again as I was finishing my first lap and they were part way through their second.

A bad case of runners trots saw me rushing off to the loo twice, and it did cross my mind to hide then re-join the race later on to chop some of the distance off. I did the full length of it however! No matter how bad I felt at the end, I can take comfort from the fact that the M25-29 I overtook on the line must have felt worse ;-)

Got to running club on Thursday, and told them I'd got a personal worst, and was surprised to get a round of applause! DH later told me he'd been told they liked my spirit and attitude that I wasn't too depressed about being rubbish! Still another 60 points for the grand prix!

My plan for that is to enter as many races as I can that are far enough away not to attract too many other people, but close enough to get over 3 ladies.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Jane's Pilgrimage is finished!!

I can't believe after over 2 years, I've finally finished my Dear Jane quilt. This little gem has been sewn in hand and machine quilting, hand and machine applique, strip pieceing, and a fair bit of judicious colouring in where some bits didn't quite meet! If I reckon on each block taking an average of 30 minutes to make...some a LOT more, it's taken 112 1/2 hours, or close to 5 days of solid work. That's just for the piecing. Then a couple of hours for layering and basting it, plus all the machine quilting, then nearly 3 hours to hand sew the binding on, and a couple of evening's work to sew all the ends in!!

Even though it's not quite big enough to drape on my king size bed, it fits great as a topper, and sets the room off nicely.

This close up shows the quilting detail on the first block I completed. I'm still not 100% convinced I've done enough on it, but as I'm planning to show it in August, I didn't want to miss the deadline for getting them to Brenda. I might go back to it after the show and put some more work in on it.

Of course with all this UFO completing, I'm running out of things to work on, and despite all the books, magazines and patterns I've got, really can't find anything that screams "make me" at me. I've got 2 more projects on my UFO list so maybe I'll just have to get my head down and finish them. By the time I've done them, I'll have been to Birmingham, so will be brimming with new ideas.

Bristol quilt show

Can't believe how long it is since I lasted posted anything! I've not fallen off the planet, just been busy.

So I was planing to go to Bristol to see a quilt show last time. I went, saw and loved it!! Some amazing pieces there, including 2 by Sandie Lush, whose work I really adore:

can you imagine how long it took to applique all those berries??

The main reason I wanted to visit another quilt group's show was to see how well my own work would fit in with theirs. I was hoping that mine wouldn't stick out like the proverbial sore thumb! Anyway mine would have looked right at home there, so I don't need to stress out over that. Because I've only been to the national quilt shows before, even though I've had lots of compliments about my work, I'm still a bit unsure about showing it in public, where strangers can see it.

Once I'd browsed the show for ideas, I came out for a drink with my phone full of pics. I loved the black and red drunkard's path, whcih was displayed right at the end of the hall so you could see it straight down the aisle:

What a fabulous colour scheme. Just imagine that on your bed in winter!

Once I'd left the show, it was a nice stroll down back into town, via a bike shop to pick up some new cycling shorts. I'd not expected to pay £40, but they look and feel great. Just need to find the time to get the bike out now!

Lunch was at a Thai restaurant on the main street between the school and town, then s quick mooch round bristol and on to the train home.