Sunday, September 21, 2008

My new best friends . .

. . . are this dinky pair of curved embroidery scissors, a can of spray starch and some bee-ooo-ti-ful YLI #100 silk thread:
Yes, I've started some hand applique. I'm onto a new project which I aim to get finished before 14th January, 2009, in time for the entry deadline of our next National Symposium. I was halfway on the way to sewing a pattern I bought a year ago which I thought I might enter. It was for a lovely wall hanging and I had decided to enlarge it to queen bed size and make a new quilt to use on my bed. Then I read the entry rules which state entries have to be original designs. Jam on the brakes and come to a screaming halt! It took me a some time to get over the 'oh darn, I'm not going to have enough time to make this plus another quilt' feeling and come around to the idea of putting aside the first quilt and make up my own design. Which I have and it has some applique. Normally I would fuse this, but I don't like raw edge on my bed quilts (O, la di dah, doesn't that sound snobby? Like I've got a huge stash of bed quilts to ring the changes with - not!)

The scissors I picked up on a sales table earlier this year, thinking 'I've always wanted a pair of these curved scissors'. I was delighted to find that the price was further reduced when I went to pay for them. The spray starch is for ironing the edge over the freezer paper. It smells like home baked biscuits around here at the moment, I'm using so much of it. I'm not normally known for my hand stitching skills. In fact I was told very clearly (grin) the stitches on my test piece were way too big, hence the silk thread. Which is wonderful to stitch with. The thread just disappears and I can get really, really tiny stitches. Of course I know really, really tiny stitches are the aim here, but how come no one ever tells you in the quilting books and magazines that the tinier the stitches, the more of them there has to be?? And the more of them there has to be, the longer it takes to stitch something down?? Huh! What was that deadline?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Unwelcome Visitors

WARNING: This post has no pictorial content.

I live in a 70 year old house and old houses, being as they are, are prone to invasions of certain kinds of pests. In the last week I have trapped and disposed of the remains of eight (yes, 8!) furry little rodents that decided to make their home underneath my kitchen sink. There is a wonderful mouse trap available called the 'Better Mouse Trap'. It is a gray plastic trap that works a bit like a spring loaded bulldog clip. The great thing about it is that when the mouse is trapped the head can't be seen - wonderful for the slightly squeamish like me. Don't, however, make the mistake I did. After hearing the trap spring I suggest you wait a decent interval before opening the cupboard door before disposing of the contents of the trap. You want to give enough time for the poor thing to be properly dead and not wriggling its little legs!

PS: This post had no quilting content either :-)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Wee Bag

For those of you who know me, you will understand that I don't 'do' bags. I don't mind making the odd one to put a quilt in for an exhibition, but as far as handbags go I buy a black one, put everything in it, and I use it until it wears out. Then I replace it with a new one. I don't change my bag to go with my outfit (I don't 'do' outfits either, but that is another story - vbg). So it was with some surprise that I found myself making a bag the other night. The teacher of Japanese from my school wanted to make a bag like one she had seen in a magazine but there was no pattern. Yours truly volunteered to draw up a pattern to make something similar. After a test run using left over scrap homespun this is the result:

It is not exactly like the original. The bottom is curved instead of having what looks like a gusset insert in the bottom and the handles are wider and not as long, but I'm pretty happy with the result. I love the fabric I used; chocolate, pink and lime green - what a funky combination! In fact it would look really good in a quilt, wouldn't it? Of course it will have to be a much smaller quilt now, since I now have less of the fabric than I started with. But hey, it's not like I don't have plenty of other fabric to quilt with!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Night Metropolis

I tried to make this post last week but my internet connection and/or blogger was not playing nice. After waiting for ages I lost the post completely. Who knows why these things happen? I gave up and went to bed instead.
I've put the last stitches in the binding of "Night Metropolis" - apart from a label. I hope the picture is clickable so you get a better view. I quilted the 'windows' on Janice's Swiftquilter. I was pretty impressed with how straight I got the freehand stitching:
Bur I have to confess I was going to quilt the grey' window ledge' as well but it didn't go so well so I stopped and ripped out what I had done. Stitching lines on a 45 degree angle was much harder than going up and down. I did the 'in the ditch' quilting on my own machine after I did the windows. I found it too hard to keep the stitching next to the seam line on the Swiftquilter. After that I decided it didn't need any more quilting :-) Considering that I used scrap batting the quilt hangs reasonably straight.

I am impressing myself that this quilt has taken only a couple of months to finish. It is growing on me. I'm feeling an urge to make another one. I bet my scrap pile still won't look any smaller!