Thursday, 25 August 2016

Lets all do the Shimmy

A little while ago I joined in Yvonne's quilt a long for her snowflake shimmer quilt using up the kona left over from the "behemoth" or wedding quilt I've been working on. The funny thing about leftovers, whether it be roast meat, white sauce or fabric is that whilst there looks to be loads, there's never quite enough.

This week was the first in the actual sewing. Easy Peasy thinks meself. A square within a square. Two opposing darks and two opposing lights. I even double checked to ensure it is fabric A and C for these blocks. What I forgot was the order the blocks are sewn in ..... not dark, dark, light, light, but dark, light, dark, light. As Eric Morcambe used to say in his piano piece, "I know all of the right notes not just in the right order". Luckily I hadn't completed all four sides, just three of them!

A few minutes later and we were back to the beginning again.

Dark, light, dark, light. One, two, three, swing your partner to the left, you know the type of thing. #

From there all progressed swimmingly and I now have three little piles of square within a square. They aren't trimmed yet, but they are sewn, well nearly all of them. They will be next time. I read Lisa's link up post and she said slow and steady. Slow and steady it is.

Helen x
linking up with and her snowflake shimmer quiltalong

Friday, 5 August 2016

Nothing To See Here Sir, Move Along There Sir. Thank You.

Snowflake Shimmer Quilt Along

I know, I have done it again. Started another project with so many unfinished around me. This looks so much fun though, how can I not be in? And so far its easy. Last time Yvonne had us picking our fabrics for her Shimmer Snowflake Quilt Along, that was easy. And this time we are cutting the fabrics into little bits, all ready to be sewn together again into bigger bits. Do I need a life? This is what I do!

I have cut up as far as I can, my shortfall fabric is en route from Galway and Fluffy Sheep Quilting as we speak. So, I have cut my mid value fabric, all  nice and neat squares in a pile.

My deep fabric (I went with my first choice of blue, see last post, pictured below). It is called Pacific and is a Kona cotton by Robert Kaufman.

I cut the easy bits, the squares. I do have some more yardage here, but I am waiting for my supplies to arrive before cutting the different size rectangles. Keeping it simple, we are not at home to Mr Confusion.

And as for the light fabric, well I have about 6" x 3" left from the #coulterweddingquilt, so I think I had better wait. It was rather a close call in the end of the #behemoth and the off white fabric.

I had a bit of a wobble there with the off white fabric. It is called "snow" and I thought perfect for a snowflake quilt, and I anticipated having slightly more left over from the quilt. And, pure white looks grubby quickly, off white is meant to be slightly, well grubby. Which brings me to this .... she who shall remain nameless, a bloggy friend, said she was never sure about "snow", it looks more like pee'd snow! My hand hovered over the order/delete button at that! My father always did advise "don't eat yellow snow". But hey, life isn't perfect. Yellow snow it is! I'll smile every time I look at it.
It will be a conversation opener  anyway, my quilt with yellow snow.

What else is going on this week? No #behemoth anyway. The kona cotton frays terribly, and I cast like a moulting dog all round the house. The house is spotlessly clean, as far as that goes. The, I hesitate to say second, son is coming home for a while and to a clean and thread free house. Unless I sit in the garden, I'm limited to some gentle hexie sewing and some knitting. So, I'll use a gratuitous photo of my Liberty hexies Grandmother's Flower Garden. They haven't moved on much, but I do love looking at them. I'm using this week to think about the quilting and be ready for a quilting marathon in a week or so.


Oh, I nearly forgot, no I didn't, I'm fudging it here. Last week  I went to copy and paste my July stash bee blog post to show you my blocks wot I made. And, I did "something" and deleted the post from stash bee. I don't think anybody has noticed, it wasn't me, honest. Here's the photo of blocks wot I made for Tracy.

Helen x
linking up with Yvonne snowflake shimmer quilt a long

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Throwup, Sorry, Throwback Thursday

There are loads of linky partied in QBL (quilting blog land). You could link up every day in every way if you had the time, and the "stuff" to blog out. You would get pretty bored reading it. One linky party that is fun is Throwback Thursday, the first Thursday in the month. It originated first of all in the USA, as lots of new social media ideas do. I  have a vague feeling it may have something to do with a Mama And The Papas' (Papa's) song, but I stand to be corrected. Anyhow, you blog or # something important to you from another era. Jenn at www.aquarterinchfromtheedge hosts the linkup.

I'm sorry I cant get a better face on photo in my narrow hall.

This particular quilt came to mention when blogging about the mini mini Sandra sent me, and I thought I would tell the complete story.

 A few years ago, in the summer of 1999 to be precise, my 9 year old daughter and I went for a walk. Weirdly I remember it was a Wednesday afternoon. A flock of geese flew over us, Canadian or otherwise, and I told my daughter they were geese from Canada, and they were flying either south, or north for  the winter. Anyhow, they were flying overhead, in a v shape and doing a lot of squawking. I explained how they flew in that formation to ease their passage through the air currents. The leader broke the wind current, and it made it easier for the others to follow, they could cruise along the current easier. I also claimed with great authority, that the geese take it in turns to be leader, to share the burden.

I explained that patchwork blocks have names and usually represent something. There is a block called flying geese, and until June of this year they had always defeated me.

I am a good mother like that, educate whilst having fun. I have no idea as to the science of all this, but it sounded good.

When we came home she asked me if I could sew her a cushion with the flying geese block. I remember then my heart sank. Now, 17 years later I could so do that! Then this cushion changed to a sewn picture with the geese flying overhead in the sky and us out for a walk down below. This I could actually have had a stab at. Once my sons heard about this, they wanted to be included in this picture too. Around about that time I had seen a book on photo quilts and promptly bought it. Any excuse to buy a book!

By this stage the picture had grown in the planning to a full size wall quilt depicting our family over the years. The children had great fun sorting out their favourite photos. These were duly photo transferred onto Ulster Linen and framed with fabric. In keeping with the original applique idea, I made a couple of applique pictures.

Some are better than others. Rather surprising inclusions were The Simpson family and Henry V111. Grandparents were also included, after all they are part of our family too, whether dead or alive.

My husband then thought it needed a little je ne sais quoi. Except he did knew exactly what it needed. Some embroidery just to finish it off. He had recently read Captain Corelli's Mandolin and had been very taken by one particular phrase.

"When being in love subsides you have to work out if your roots have so entwined that you will never part"

Thankfully our roots have entwined.

He also came up with the idea that it would become our Millennium quilt. Little bit of pressure there in the tail end of 1999 to get it finished for 1 January 2000.

This was duly embroidered in running stitch in brown embroidery floss. I tried chain stitch but it was too bulky. Now I would use cotton perle and possibly a split stitch. I have a fancy to try embroidery again.

Next up we started attaching badges or pins, or rather the kids did. This was destined to be an interactive quilt, a real family collaboration. After a while the quilt began to sag on its nails banged into the wall, no fancy quilt hangers here. We were also afraid it would fade, and this is to be a family heirloom! My husband left it in to get framed as a surprise. I must admit I did miss it from the wall!

My daughter, as youngest children tend to, especially girls, told the boys they could look but when I'm dead it passes on to her! Mind you she also divided my teapot collection between the three of them at that stage. Somehow I doubt my sons will be looking for teapots!

I'm sorry the photos aren't great, unfortunately it is hard to get far away enough in our hall for a decent photo. We should have bought the stately home instead.

And now another chance to the see the lovely mini mini Sandra sent me with the Canadian Flying Geese, front and back.

And lastly, you may have seen my post yesterday on my gallery of 2016 finishes. Never put me in charge! I decided to do some virtual housekeeping, set up a page of gallery finishes for 2016. It seemed to have gone into a post rather than a page. Ah well, my blogging has been rather frequent this week. Just as some of my favourite bloggers seem to be blogging less, I get my house in order!

Helen x
linking up with Jenn www.quarterinchfromtheedge Throwback Thursday

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Gallery of Quilt Finishes 2016

Modern Maples Quilt, finish blogged in March 2016, link here

To Coin A Phrase, finished April 2016. Finish blogged here

 Mrs Hot, Hot, Hot finished in May 2016, blogged about here

Sunday, 31 July 2016

One man's WBA Featherweight is another Woman's Behemoth

Last night a local boy Karl Frampton made boxing history. In NYC he beat Leo Santa Cruz to be the WBA world feather weight champion. It made history as apparently Karl is the first boxer to be world champion at two different weights. By all reports he is a nice guy, all I know he weighs much less than me. Boxing is a little, a lot, too brutal for me, but it is daunting to think he weighs substantially less than me.

Last night (well Friday night to be pedantic) I won my own personal heavy weight fight, I finished the flimsy of my #coulterweddingquilt or the #behemoth as I came to think of it.

For anybody new to me, I have been making a quilt for my son and future daughter in law, a wedding quilt. All I have to say is thank goodness it is only one quilt and not twelve as it was in Little Women. The wedding is very, very soon, days now and it was beginning to be a race against time. Yes, I know it is only the top, not the whole quilt. I had to readjust my timing a while ago. Quilt top for the wedding, quilt for the first time I see them post wedding. Luckily they live what we call "across the water" and it will give me a chance  before I see them.

They live near the sea and I wanted to have a sea feel about the quilt, but not too overtly nautical. I thought an  ombre look would have a nod in that direction.  Dr P loves blue and Ms C's favourite colour is greenish blue, turquoise. I went with half square triangle squares, thinking they would flow into each other. Most of the squares are repeated in the different ombre colours, the smaller squares are repeated more often. I started recording all the block names, and choosing blocks that seemed appropriately named. After a while I cut my losses and just sewed hell for leather. I will try to make as comprehensive list as I can.

I gave up counting the blocks after 70 odd. When is a block a block? Is it  still four blocks if you sew four blocks together? When do blocks become block? Who really cares?

At this stage I don't know how big the behemoth is. It is big enough to cover our own bed and then some. I thought I had finished at exactly 4pm Thursday and brought it in to show my husband. Then I noticed the bottom row was longer on the right side than the left, a whole 2 squares, that's 4". Back to put the pedal to the metal again, and by Saturday it was done.

I'm taking a break this week, and next from to draw breath. Then begins my favourite bit (NOT) , the quilt wrangling. I'm going to baste it myself and quilt it on my domestic machine. If my soon to be dil can make her own wedding dress with no pattern, then I can baste and quilt this sea monster.

Watch this space.

Helen x
linking up with Beth at Cooking Up Quilts and Main Crush Monday

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Too Blue Or Not Too Blue, That IS The Question

Blue is the colour. So sing the fans at Stamford Bridge, the home for Chelsea Football fans. And blue was always "my" colour so it was perhaps serendipity that my husband and I ended up together. I love blue, it reminds me of the sky, the sea and lots of things in between. Forget me not is the most gorgeous shade of pale blue. Pigeon wings have a lovely blue/green shimmer when you see them close up, as do pigeon eggs. Enough reminiscence, I have a fondness for blue.

The behemoth is blue, or as described to me a shimmer of sea glass. That was fantastic, the happy couple live by the sea, and it was that sort of tone I was aiming for in my head. The piecing is coming together well, I'm just over half way through. I think. Or put it another way, from my toes to my nose which is about 54". When it reaches the top of my head it will be about 60".

The photo is not great, but my preferred photographer is off on her wanders in Europe. The resident photographer, groans, takes 1 photo and that's your lot.

There is rather a lot of blue left. Originally the quilt was to be blue ombre tones. Ms C admired the  greenish blue and a quick supplementary order introduced more green tones.  I think in retrospect this was a good thing, the green adds more depth and warmth overall.

So, again, serendipity came into play when Yvonne mentioned her Snowflake Shimmer quilt a long. The quilt is based on a photo her husband took of a snowflake. (her husband obviously has more of an interest in cameras than mine!). If ever a quilt a long was waiting for me it was this one.

Snowflake Shimmer QAL

The decision I have to make is, which blue is the best blue? I have enough turquoise but will have to order some more blue. I decided to use the blue I had the most of. And you know what? Amazingly I have almost 2 metres of each blue! Maybe I could fudge it and use both. Probably not, what I like about Yvonne's quilt are the clean crisp lines of the snowy sky.

Now see if you can spot the difference?

blue 1

blue 2
This brings us neatly to my white. The white is an off white, appropriately Kona snow. I have about 6" left. I think I'll have to order more, won't I? Fluffy Sheep Quilting may expect an order from me.

Helen x
linking up with Quilting Jet Girl

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Catch Me If You Can

This is a sort of catch all blog post.

Last year, as you may or not remember, depending on how full your non quilting schedule is, I took part in the new bloggers quilt hop. It was great fun, I learned such a lot, and my blogging skills improved no end. This year I was able to support the new intake from afar, the first and last week anyhow. Yvonne's group are "The New Sewcial Network" and her final four bloggers are taking part this week. Go check them out, they are an interesting and varied bunch.

Jennifer @dizzyquilter
Seven @concernedcrafter
Mary @madebymarnie
Amanda @quiltology

And if you still have the stamina, Cheryl @meadow mist designs and Stephanie @late night quilter also have their stables of newbies for this last week.

2016 New Quilt Bloggers

Next up is what must seem to be part of a Yvonne love in. A week or so ago Yvonne posted a mid year review at our priorities and ambitions at the start of the year. Now I am sure I posted these and linked up with everybody else, but I can't remember! But I am sure my wants would have been along these lines.
1 Not to over commit myself this year. To limit the bees and swaps I am taking part in.
  Well, my husband may tell you different, but I have sort of done this. Two bees, rather than the one   proposed and the possibility of three. Only one swap, to be finished the beginning of September, a little tiny swap.
2 To complete my bee blocks on time.
I haven't done this unfortunately a couple of times.  I have had a good excuse each time though. Dog ate my homework, you know the type of thing. I have however posted within a week of the deadline, and always always kept my queen and mama in the loop.
3 To concentrate this year on making for myself, and finishing wip.
Well, yes and no. I finished a couple of longstanding wip and have been working on a quilt, not for myself but for my son Dr P and his lovely soon to be wife, Ms C.
4 To have fun.
Yes, I have had fun. I'm not a professional quilter, I am not trying to make my way in the world. I just want to have fun.

And lastly, an up date on the #coulterweddingquilt which I am renaming the #behemoth
It is coming along well, it is taking on a life of its own. Here it is to date, as of this afternoon. Tomorrow it will be different.

I am going to take off the big white square on the left after much deliberation. My gut is not happy, my instinct tells me I will never be happy with it. Off with its head whilst I still can!

The love in with Yvonne continues tomorrow, check back then to see why.

linking up with Yvonne, @quiltingjetgirl

Sunday, 17 July 2016

More Liberty Fabric For Me

It seems rather crass to talk about Liberty in the aftermath of the dreadful atrocity in Nice, and especially upsetting as we were there in June. We stayed in the Negresco Hotel and it was just below it the lorry finally came to a halt. I could see our bedroom window on the tv screens. My thoughts are with the French people.

The addition to my stash this week though has come from Liberty of London. We were there a short time ago for a hen party and the bride to be mentioned she had popped into Liberty and bought some fabric. And ... they had a fabric sale on! In the spirit of bonding, she walked with us as far as Regent Street the next day. We said our farewells. I think it may have been a test to see did I "nip into Liberty just for a minute". Or as we say in Norn Ireland, "to see what the craic is".

Three metres of tana lawn for £36. You can't be bad to that. It is an oatmeal background with a lovely purple or lilac rose. Very 1940s tea dress.

My daughter fancies a simple summer dress. It would need to be simple if I am making it. Round necked, sleeveless, A line skirt. Take it as read this is for next summer, she may not realise that. There was a "nice" dress pattern instore, a blogger pattern, Claudette, or Chloe. I can't quite remember. But, it was £18 for the pattern! Now I am not a skinflint but I did think that it was a little pricey, even if it is on trend. I know this has been carefully crafted and all the rest of it, but £18 for a pattern!

Stash out this week, is continuing to be pretty much the wedding quilt. I have given up counting squares. I kept churning them out last week and have finally mastered the geese. I'm quite the little goose girl now. Blue geese and green geese, flying every which way.

Now the time has come to start putting this masterpiece together. At the minute its a bit like 52 card pickup as was suggested to me. Its going to be rather like a jigsaw fitting all the different sizes into each other. I have decided to, as far as possible, make up smaller units. These smaller units will then be sewn together, hopefully avoiding too many Y seams. In fact Y seams might be OMG, one month goal, for July. Feel the fear and do it anyway. I've conquered the fear of geese.

So far I have sewn together the best part of the first row.

The second photo shows the next unit of one large, four tiny and one medium blocks ready to be slotted in.

Speaking of geese, Sandra published her blog post of making my mini mini quilt, Flashing Geese. Check it out, she says lovely things about me! I forgot to say in my post last week, Sandra always adds the initial of the recipient. There is the tiniest H in the bottom pale pink goose. To be strictly honest, I forgot to look until Tish  reminded me.

All the best for now.
Helen x
Linking up with Molli Sparkles Sunday Stash

Monday, 11 July 2016

Finish A Long, 3rd quarter

For me there can only be one quilt on my Finish A Long list for the 3rd quarter in 2016. No messing about, no setting unrealistic targets I know I can't meet.

Ta Da ..........

The "wedding quilt", as opposed to "THE wedding quilt". The quilt I am making for my son, Dr P and the delightful Miss C, soon to be Mrs C.

No pressure.  If I don't finish in time for the wedding, they do have other forms of bed coverings. Unlike the bride who is making her own wedding dress. As she tells me, she has to finish on target!

I hope to finish the flimsy by the wedding and the quilting by Christmas.

The quilt is all kona cotton, bought from Cindy at and in a mix of blues and greens. An ombre quilt I'm hoping. As I said before, there is really no great plan. Lots of hst blocks in hues of blues and greens, all eventually sewn together to make a stupendous quilt. Hopefully.

And here are 2 close up photos. The blocks aren't in their final order, the three white blocks together will be repositioned for a start.

Helen x

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Me and the Dodo

It is Sunday, time for Sunday Stash with  and it has been just over a week since I last blogged. I was so shattered after my holiday, aren't holidays supposed to be restful, and there of course was the hen party. And what with so much sport on tv there hasn't been time for much else. Except that's not true. I have been catching up on sewing, doing lots of reading and a visit to the dodo.

When I came home from said holiday, I was delighted to see an envelope waiting for me and even more delighted that it wasn't a bill. It was in fact from Sandra. She of , a very talented quilter and a good quilty friend. And why I have not revealed this parcel before today?

Delayed gratification my friend. Delayed gratification.

I wanted to time my "publicity" with Sunday stash, but I was too knackered last Sunday after the hen party.

Sandra, like myself, loves a bargain, especially those once in a lifetime offers you can't live without. So, in the FQS flash sale she kindly facilitated me to buy a charm pack. She's a great enabler is Sandra.

She also included this gorgeous miniminiquilt. I make no secret that I love miniminis and that I struggle with flying geese. Or I did until "I faced the fear and did it anyway last month." These flying geese are beautiful, and they are true Canadian geese.

The backside fabric has the Canadian flag on it. The quilting is exquisite, straight line, swirls and geese shaped. Its beautiful and I will treasure it.

What Sandra doesn't know is why geese are special to me. About 1999 or thereabouts I was walking with my daughter and a flock of geese flew overhead. I explained they could be Canadian geese flying south (or back north, I'm not actually sure) and that there was a patchwork square called flying geese.  By the time we got home, my daughter had decided I was to make a cushion depicting our walk with the geese flying over head. (a kind of Children of Lir thing going on here I thought). In no time at all, this had progressed to her deciding I was making a wall hanging with lots of important family stuff on it. This ended up as our millennium family quilt which my husband later framed for me. It hangs in our hall and does indeed have lots of important family stuff on it. I think I may have blogged about it in the very early days. Maybe time to tell that story again.

My stash out has of course been wedding quilt sewing. I have concentrated on the blue tones this week and last, using mostly darker tones. I made a few named blocks and also some generic star blocks. I also made a load of geese! Some of these are truly flying and are sewn into blocks, some will be random geese used as fillers. I think it must be time to lay them all out on the floor again.

hourglass block, block no 59
the block with no name (sorry Game of Thrones) block 61
open window block , block 62, my favourite
variation on above, doesn't quite work!
father's choice block (not so puckered irl)

my geese! I'm so proud
the dodo
For those still with me, the dodo is alive and well and living in Mount Stewart, a National Trust property in Co Down, N Ireland. The house belonged to the Castlereagh family and overlooks Strangford Lough. The gardens, designed by Lady Edith, 100 years ago, have been restored and are magnificent, as has the house. Well worth a visit if in our neck of the woods.

Now to get back to the sport, Sunday seems to be sport day. Andy Murray has won Wimbledon and Portugal are currently thrashing it out with France for the UEFA Cup, nil all if you are interested at 38 minutes.

Helen x