Thursday, 23 July 2015

A very British detox

The word "detox" brings to mind a multitude of images - rock and roll celebs camping in the desert, singing song around campfires and discussing their fractured childhoods. Or worse - grey institutional buildings housing desperate individuals just trying to get through another day.

So you can guess which images came into my mind when I was told I'd have to go on a month long migraine medication detox. I don't look good in a hospital jonnie; too many bits hanging out.

For those of you who have read some of my previous blogs, you'll know that I suffer from chronic daily severe migraines. Yup, a migraine every day. For eight years. I always think the "chronic" bit of the diagnosis is redundant - if it's daily, surely be definition it's chronic? I digress.

I'm going to be trying some new medication but, before I do, I've got to wash all the old stuff out of my system. So nothing to stop the migraines for being at their worst and nothing to relieve them once I get them. Basically migraine apocalypse for 28 days straight. 

So for the entirety of August I'm going to be medication free. Plus TV, mobile phone, iPad, computer, cinema, florescent light and anything else that flickers or lights up free. Gulp. They are my triggers so if I'm going to get through this month I can't be near any of them. 

Apparently the first week will be hell on earth and I'm likely to be very very ill. Like "foetal position in the dark for seven days straight" ill. The second week should be better but, let's be honest, it couldn't be any worse could it. Could it?! By week's three and four I'm hoping to be able to work from home. 

I asked work if they'd fund a trip to the Betty Ford clinic but no go. I'll have to do this the British way - with stiff upper lip, no complaining and a strong cup of tea. 

I suspect I'll be surviving on Ritz (like Graham) crackers, Worst Witch books and sewing. But I'll not be able to blog, respond to posts, comments or emails or do anything technological for a few weeks at least. I'll try and load up some posts before I go but I suspect I'll run out before the weeks are over.

Don't forgot me old chums, I'll be back! (A bit of Hollywood glitz before I go is ok, right?!)

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Cabins, kettles and windows

I had a Lori Holt Farm Girl Vintage blitz this weekend and did both last week's and this week's blocks. I might not get ahead with this project but I'm determined to at least keep up.

First up were the Grandma's Quilt Block and Haystacks blocks. I think I might have flower overload in the second block.

The haystacks I remember were never that neat. or colorful. 

Next up were Kettle's On (a phrase I can relate to from my childhood!) and Kitchen Window.

I think Kitchen Window is one of my favourite blocks of this project so far. This project is a great example of a skill builder, something I like about well executed BOM projects. Not something I can say about the Craftsy BOM project for this year which I've sort of lost interest in due to its repetitive nature. Perhaps I'll catch up at some point but there's only so many half square triangles I can stomach sewing! 

Monday, 20 July 2015

Sewing without looking

I recently saw a t-shirt that said something along the following lines "I live dangerously - I run with scissors!". I had to snigger because I still carry scissors blades pointing down. I'm not a big risk taker.

So it was a bit surprisingly to find that I'd mis-pieced at least three units in block 8 of the GenX Quilters Moccasin block of the month project. I can only assume that i was sewing with my eyes closed when I turned two half square triangles the wrong way. And then sewed a flying goose unit in upside down. I guess I should be grateful nothing was back to front and that I didn't sew over a finger. 

Here's the blocks 

The eagle eyed amongst you will note that the colour scheme doesn't quite match the pattern. I'm going with the excuse that it's a design choice - I wanted the centre star to be more prominent and the block look to be less scrappy. It wasn't that I mis-pieced the pink and blue flying goose units. Nope. Noting of the sort. Ahem.

Note to self - look at what you're sewing in the future. 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Sunday stash #17

For some time now I seem to have been on an unintentional fabric diet. It may have been my subconscious screaming "there's nowhere to store more fabric!" or perhaps "you've got enough to do already!" but I seemed to shy away from new purchases.

Well, no longer! I have broken that famine with the fabric equivalent of a giant Devils food cake.

First up, a FQ bundle of Cotton and Steel's Black and White collection from Fat Quarter Shop. I've got a thing for low volume and this just ticks the boxes for me. 

Next, two fat quarter bundles of Skolepos by Katarina Roccella, again from Fat Quarter Shop. FQS divided the collection into "land" and "sea" and I must confess I prefer the dark drama of sea over land. 'Twas ever so. 

Finally from FQS, two fat quarter bundles of Birds and Bees by Tamara Kate for Michael Miller. Again the bundles are divided into "lavender" and "coral" collections and I prefer the lavender slightly. How cute are these birds?! 

I love how FQS package fabric for international deliveries. They squeeze them into little Plastic A4 bags so you can get more in a prepaid envelope. This makes storing the bundles easier as they'll stack nicely in a drawer.

In contrast, Massdrop send fat quarters in little bricks which makes stacking harder but they sit better on shelves. This bundle is Inked by Lynn Krawczyk for Red Rooster. Those colour are so saturated! 

There are still lots of items on my "buy before August" list so I'll take the remaining list along to Festival of Quilts with me. Where I've noticed that Bloc Loc are going to be exhibiting. Yay, maybe o can cross a few long term items off my list! 

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Squares, squares everywhere

I took a brief sojourn from the double pinwheel block to do this week's blocks from Lori Holt's Farm Girl Vintage BOW.

Happily there were no triangles involved in either blocks, just squares and rectangles. And lots of them too! 

First up was the Furroughs block which is basically just eight flying geese sewn together into columns. Each goose is meant to finish 2" x 3.5" raw (which it did) but for some reason, the first time I measured them I must have got my ruler the wrong way around and mis-measured them as 2" x 3". I don't know how! I kept trying to work out how I'd lost a perfect 1/4" on each one! Silly me. 

The second block was a mock Gingham using background, a medium tone and a dark tone to create the gingham look. The picture on the pattern called for the gingham to be orange in colour but I didn't have a medium tone orange. Instead I went for red which turned out well I think.

I'm determine that, even if I don't keep up with the other BOM projects (I'm already behind in the FQS Shapshots, GenX Quilters Mocassin and Craftsy) I'm going to keep up with Lori's. 

Monday, 6 July 2015

Over the top of the wall

You'll be delighted to hear that progress has been made on the double pinwheel quilt this weekend. No, it's not finished yet (so there's still the potential for more moaning in the future, sorry) but we're getting there.

The quarters have now all been pieced, trimmed and pressed.

I've even started sewing some of the half blocks together.

Following some very good advice from a reader, I made up a test block which revealed a problem. See the centre of the block? The points don't quite match.

The centre seams for the top and bottom halves didn't nest together perfectly because of the thickness of the batik fabrics at that point. As a result I'm pressing the seams for all the other blocks open so that hopefully they'll match perfectly. It's a tiny thing but, multiplied across 120 blocks, it would have bugged me. 

I'm very pleased with both the progress made this weekend and also getting over the wall that I hit with this project. Whose your mommy?! That doesn't sound right...

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Sunday Stash #16

This post should be subtitled "WTF?!". It's all about those fabrics that you find at the bottom of your stash and which make you shout "what was I thinking?!".

I should explain (excuse?) that most of these fabrics were bought for a specific project that tied into a retail event. I didn't and wouldn't have gone out of my way to buy them. Well, maybe I would have bought the last one...

First up - fruit. Namely apples, oranges and limes. I should probably be thinking "health" when I see these but all that springs to mind is "margarita" (it's 9am on a Sunday morning - oops).

 I guess I could use these in a scrap quilt - the print is big enough that it'll disappear if the pieces are cut small enough. Unlike the margaritas which disappear much quicker. 

Next up, beer! Yes, beer. I can see a theme emerging here.

 I think I'm going to struggle using this one. Although the colours themselves aren't that bad. Not really suitable for a baby quilt is it?!

Next a couple of fabrics which aren't in of themselves weird prints but represent a type of fabric that annoys the heck out of me - poly cotton blends. 

Stiffer than batiks but without the beautiful depth of colour, these fabrics could almost stand up by themselves without batting or quilting. Heaven knows whether they'll soften with washing but I'm scared to use them in a quilt in case they wash differently to the cottons. Into the scrap bag they go.

Back to funky fabrics, one for the boys here - camo. 

 In fact a whole fat quarter bundle of camo in several different colour palates. And yes, that is purple camo on the top. To add insult to injury, they're poly cotton too. Perhaps I should add this to the beer FQ and make an ultimate stereotypical man quilt?

Finally, one fabric I probably won't kick out of the scrap bag but probably should - monkeys.

 Although weird I can definitely see a use for this in a baby or toddler quilt. Or even in a little outfit or dibble bib. You can stay cheeky monkeys. 

Friday, 3 July 2015

Hitting the wall

I wanted to be able to post about a finished quilt today. I wanted to be able to show you a beautifully pieced and quilted project. I'd even settle for a sewn top at this point. But no. I've hit "the wall".

I've heard about this phenomenon from friends who do EXERCISE (yes, as fat as I'm concerned it deserves capitals). Apparently it's something that you "hit" at a particular point during a long bout of sweaty, painful, blister-inducing exertion. Not that I've ever experienced such a thing. Exercise I mean (see I'm getting better, no capitals this time). Let alone the wall.

But I've hit it with this double pinwheel commission. If I ever see another half or quarter square triangle it'll be too soon.

This is the plan of the finished project. Cute huh?

And this is where I'm currently up to. Not so cute.

The blue triangle blocks are sewn and trimmed. So that's half of the 960 blocks done.

But one half of the red triangle blocks are pressed and the other half aren't even that far along.

Apparently there are only two options for dealing with The Wall - give in or plough on ahead. I've promised myself that I'm going to crack on with this this weekend, if only to stop the moaning (from both me and you who must be bored hearing me moan!). There may be a slight break to piece this month's Moccasin BOM block from GenX Quilters or maybe even the triple scoop block from the FQS Snapshots but no more! I will stay on task, I will! Maybe.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Almost there

Some more sneaky BOM progress today - this time on the Moda Building Blocks project by Simply Solids.

I just love the clean geometric lines of these blocks. They're just so...straight. Which is more than can be said for my photo.

Once again I managed to piece these little 6.5" raw blocks from scraps so didn't have to cut into the fabric posted to me. Score! Into the stash those lovely fat quarters go.

I think we must be almost at the end of this project. This month's blocks included block 47 which is the penultimate block in the pack. I know we're not working through the blocks in order but still, there don't seem to be many we haven't done.

Of course the closer I get to the end of this project, the closer I get to having to actually piece the Elizabeth Hartman Patchwork City pattern I've convinced myself I'm going to put these rainbow scraps towards. Maybe later in the year? Yeah right...