Tuesday 31 December 2013

Auld Years Night.....

We've been just about washed and blown away here in the Scottish Borders these past few weeks, the rest of the UK has been just as bad and in some cases worse.  We didn't suffer from power failures and managed to cook the traditional roast turkey with all of the trimmings and stayed warm and dry to boot. The river did burst it's banks again and the river side fields flooded.

I manage to quilt up a couple of pantos on the beanstalk quilts...I use my Quilt Path computerised system. I will be transitioning to use Quilt Path for customer panto quilts in 2014. The first of the beanstalks was quilted using 'Daisies' by One song Needle Arts, this is a lovely fresh design. The beauty of using the Quilt Path system is the opportunity to change the density of the quilting. I quilted Daisies quite close but some of my customers may like it less dense......myself I like more dense quilting.

The second of the beanstalk was quilted using 'Florence' by Apricot Moon, this one is more open, this was a good exercise to show the difference achieved by changing the size of the designs.


All now bound and gagged.....

I sent this little quilt to Linus, simply quilted with the 'Wildflower' panto by Willow Leaf Studio, plain gray backing fabric with a fleece roll from Ikea....makes a lovely cuddly quilt for a little one....

I started a bit of crochet work on this shawl....I'm loving the grungy colour of this slubby wool.....it's laying on a little quilt I made up to use as a backdrop for my rosettes.....


I've been intending to do this for a while, it's been a good project and shows my rosettes off really well but isn't in your face as it's above the door and isn't really seen when walking into the room.As I was pinning up the rosettes it was good to reflect over the past three years to see how much I have achieved.  It's amazing to think I only started to quilt in 2010 and never entered a quilt into a show until November 2011 when I won 3 firsts.  2012 brought my first Best of Show.....and 2013 brought a second.....I've left a little space in the middle row for a Blue rosette that should come home soon with my purple wholecloth....I've missed that quilt...

Clearing the rosettes from my little shelf has left more space for my silverware too....It was great to reflect over the past year and think about friends old and new.  I hope that you find some time to reflect over the past year and plan a path for the year to come.......here's hoping that it is good in some way for all of us.....Happy New Year to You and Yours......

Tuesday 24 December 2013

It is the night before Christmas.....

As we all wind down at Christmas, there comes a time when you can do no more even if it isn't all done. That's the time when the presents are wrapped, the turkey is stuffed (mines in the Aga for the next twelve hours), the house is warm and the tempo changes slightly.  It's Christmas Eve.....however you celebrate, I wish you health wealth and happiness of the season and through out 2014. See you in a few days with some quilty customer updates....

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

                                                                 By Clement Clarke Moore

Sunday 15 December 2013

I couldn't believe it...

Way back in August at Festival of Quilts I was asked to do some light custom quilting....I said, well yes, if you are sure???
Bit stunned actually, mainly because my customer is a very proficient hand quilter of note. Guess who? No other than Barbara Chainey! Yes, Barbara Chainey, Internationally renowned tutor, pattern designer, stencil designer and Author.
It's a few weeks since I shipped this quilt back home, I'm just able now to do a bit of catching up. Barbara's quilt top was a 'Tree Everlasting' design in dark teals, blues and cream.

Looked what popped out when I opened up the top....

I quilted free flowing feathers up through the negative spaces, continuous swirly curves in the triangles with echoed swirls in the sashings.

In the top and bottom borders I quilted longarm feathers with a swirly spine and piano keys.  Hobbs 80/20 batting and Glide thread.  All freemotion hand guided with a little ruler work for the piano keys....


I hope she likes it.....not really what she is used to is it????

Remember this one....I was just playing and entertaining myself.....

 Added a bit of paper piecing to an already traditionally pieced feathered star

 It turned into this, either a table topper or a bit of wall decoration, it's only 18 inches.

I took a bit of time to piece up this tree skirt and it's now on the longarm...

Seems like ages since I started this Judy Niemeyer project with Jackie Kunkel in a class at MQX in Portland....managed to make up a few more crowns and centers....had to dig deep to remember all the steps  but got there...hope to work on this again soon.....but now need to unbox Christmas and catch up on farm accounts and VAT returns.....

Sunday 8 December 2013

Batten down the hatches.....

The weather outside is frightful.....

We lost the feed shed roof this time, luckily it wasn't full of feed else that would have caused a panic. We lost power for most of Thursday so no phones, internet browsing, sewing, quilting, ironing or hoovering but I had the Aga that day so was lovely and toasty in my kitchen. I did a bit of kitchen cleaning and before dark pulled out wind up torches, oil lamps and 'fourcandles', that entertained the Grandkids when they came over for dinner. The mince and tatties in the Aga was just ready as the the power came back on, then it's soon all forgotten. Different problem next day when the Aga decided to go on strike and refused to stay a lite so it's been a bit chilly over the weekend hopefully tomorrow the Aga Engineer will short it out?

I had some quilts picked up/delivered and am now on a countdown hoping to have all customer quilts finished by the end of this week.

I had a new customer bring this French Braid table runner in Christmas fabrics.  Although Olga said she wasn't in any hurry for it I quilted it with holly leaves and wreaths ready for her to pick up before Christmas.

These hexagons were rescued, up-cycled and loving stitched into this 'flower garden' design and appliqued onto a striking dark navy background. The Primrose panto replicates the shape of the hexagons. This quilt will be raffled to raise money for Church windows over in Selkirk.

I was thrilled and honoured that my quilt 'Inner Circle Flower of Scotland won Best of Show at The West Country Quilt Show in Somerset, UK

I wasn't sure that my Scottish themed quilt would be well received down in the south of England so I really appreciated that it arrived home with rosettes for Best in Show, Best Surface Embellishment, Best Large Wallhanging and Visitors Choice (sponsored by Lady Sew and Sew with a lovely Kaffe Fassett book and jelly roll).
I was also told to expect delivery direct from the show sponsors of a Janome sewing machine sometime soon......lovely, Thank you so much......

Monday 25 November 2013


I'm missing but very much in action quilting, getting caught up with deadline quilts but can't show any just yet till they are picked up or delivered to my clients.

I've been on the phone on a few occasions to call centres in Mumbai, well, at least somewhere in India, trying to get some help with my abominable broadband connection. I could only get a connection on my iPad, it must be able to connect to a weaker signal, although it still wasn't possible to do much, couldn't upload photos or download attachments, definitely couldn't book a courier parcel collection. I was lucky at times if I could open my emails???? On Friday, I spoke to a young Lady who promised she would help....I told her I wanted to believe her but had been suffering with this problem forever it seems.  We have never had a fast broadband connection but we can usually get by. Unfortunately since our telephone line was struck by lightening in July we have had intermittent problems with the line here in our valley. After the lightening strike I installed a new router, here was where the problem was found. This new router has a dual band connection so that it can switch to which ever signal is the best but the router needed to be adjusted by the broadband technician and switched to auto.  It is amazing what can be done over the phone line, just a shame that it has taken so long.

So, I worked on clients quilts during the day and while I couldn't surf the internet in the evenings I made a pact with myself to finish a few UFOs before I move on to drawing up and finishing a couple of quilts that I really want to get to.

First up was this lone block that has been pinned to my design wall for what seems like years. It's a feathered star block that I pieced in the traditional way a few years back, the block didn't get pieced into the quilt I was working on. I decided to de-construct it a bit and add some paper pieced inserts....trust me to try paper piecing with such small pieces. The finished top is only 18 inches square.

It is interesting to see the finished result. The feathered star was pieced some years ago and may not have been pieced well but the paper pieced sections definitely have sharper points, I like the more precise piecing.

In contrast the next quilt top was started in a class I took at FoQ, Birmingham, it's kind of a slash and burn (err...learn) type technique, supposed to be liberating....do you have any 'PIGS' (projects in grocery sacks)? I found this one as a complete quilt kit, it had very little work done to it apart from maybe four sewn strip sets. A couple of evenings and the quilt top was done. Strangely though there was enough cut fabric to make nearly another top, I had to cut more background fabric but I even had more of that too. So that's two beanstalk quilts.

So there are now another three projects waiting for the longarm.....

Next to get some attention are these colourful strips sets....I can't remember what was intended for these as they seem to be 60 degree diamonds so maybe I'll be inspired by them????

Sunday 10 November 2013

Happy times...

I delivered a couple of quilts back to customers recently.  Happy times pantograph is always a popular choice, it makes for a wonderful, open and draping quilt.

These two quilts were lovely and flat and quilted up without a problem. The 'fairies' quilt is another very large quilt, super kingsize.  the fairy blocks are set into self fabric log cabin blocks.

Lovely fabric choices for these simple blocks make for a stunning quilt....

This batik hexagon quilt backed with a very light weight fleece/fur fabric is quilted with special randomly placed motifs requested by my customer.....