Friday, 16 February 2018

Beginning the Belfast Bulletin

The chase is on. I have the beginnings of the quilt based on Sarah Goer's Ombre Quilt.

 I labelled all my fabrics.

 I have cut all my squares out, labelled them all. I have paired them up with their partners, sewn them together. Cut them  up, ironed them with seams open and labelled all the quarters. I have kept them all in their respective piles, 1 (1 square of each, making 2 blocks), pile 2  (2 squares of each, making 4 blocks), and pile 3 (you get it, 3 squares of each, making 6 blocks). Whilst doing this, I thought this would be great to do with young kids who were interested in numbers and number games.

I got out the plan, the numbered diagrams. I hoovered the floor. I started to lay the labelled blocks on the floor in accordance with the diagram, taking the blocks from pile 1, 2 or 3.

I decided this was far too hard.

I reorganised the blocks in a new system. All those that shade 1 in block, all those that shade 2 in the block, etc, all the way up to block 7. Again the numbers game. I didn't have to a shade 8 pile as all those were accounted for already. Where are 10 year old children when you need them? Sorry no photo of this step of organisation!

This made the laying out so much easier. It wasn't long until I had 10 rows of 8 blocks. All except those which were supposed to be blocks of shade 4 and shade 1. Four of them. I strangely had four blocks left of shades 3 and shade 2. Mislabelling? In my system.

I also had one space with one random block left. I must have muddled  a couple up whilst crawling around the floor. Unlike a jigsaw piece, these blocks all have straight sides and it fitted straight in. And it looked ok.

There was a momentary panic when I thought this isn't going to big enough. Then I remembered. Sarah in her plan has a handy helpful slide rule. If you want a bigger quilt, you make bigger squares. The actual plan remains the same. I, however, don't like very big blocks but am happy with medium blocks. I would need to make 10" blocks to have a quilt measuring 72.5" by 90.5". This would also be too oblong for my taste. I know historically quilts should be oblong, but I like my bed quilts to be square. We don't have a lot of "real estate" at the end of our bed. An big overhang takes up walking past the bed space. I like my bed quilts to be just over 70" square. I had forgotten this in my enthusiasm crawling about the floor. So the plan always was to make my blocks 8" cut and add two extra rows. I haven't made these blocks yet, as I will see what "fits" and make accordingly.

I took a photo of the quilt on the floor, minus the "rogue block". I then labelled all these blocks yet again. Each row is labelled 1 to 10 and each block is a - h.

 All neatly put in Ikea jiffy bags.  My husband was marginally amused by this, but if I am not organised I have no chance. I then cleared away to "allow" him to make the tea. It was St Valentine's Day after all.

Every day we should learn something new. On Wednesday I learned I need more pins. I used every pin I had in the house in this labelling. I also learned that when taking tiny labels off and replacing with big labels, be careful.  Tiny labels go soggy when accidentally thrown in the cup of coffee rather than the bin.

I love how this quilt is taking shape. From breaking away from Sarah's ombre, I was worried it would muddle her design.  I love how the green and blue run into each other like seaglass. I posted a few photos on instagram, and got a great response. I sent a photo to my son and his fiancée. His comment was "nice". Understated as always, my son. His fiancée was rather more enthusiastic, thankfully.

Now I have broken the back of this, I will cut out my blocks for my Postcards from Sweden quilt this weekend.
Helen x
linking up with Myra, Busy Hands Quilts and not quite finished Friday 

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Valentine's Socks

Valentine's Day is to be a busy day in our house. Postcards From Sweden is kicking off. I am going out for "a wee day out" with my friend, Liz, I will be at my Scrapbooking Class in the Evening. I will no doubt have a romantic tea with my husband, hopefully. And I will be starting a new knitting project.

A week or so ago, I bought myself a skein of Strawberry Fields Forever sock yarn from Ellie in Craft House Magic's etsy shop. Sue my IG and bee friend bought one too, and we decided to knit a pair of socks beginning Valentine's Day. Ellie thought this was a wonderful idea, and joined in too. Now Ellie is hosting a Valentine's Day Cast On in her ravelry group. Check out her ravelry page and thread. I can't link you without linking up my own online account! I am really looking forward to this. I have fallen in love with knitting again, and I really love knitting socks. To knit, albeit it virtually, with friends, well that is just lovely, very lovely.

Ellie has designed a heart themed sock which she is launching on the day itself. This will be fun. Now, will I keep these socks for myself or will I knit them for my husband? The yarn just looks like a bowl of ice cream and strawberries. Some of my favourite summer things. Roll on the summer. Ellie does a great podcast which I love to "watch". I know, podcast - listen, not watch. Check out her blog for details.

Helen x

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Postcards From Sweden - Thinking and Contemplating

Wednesday 14 February is the launch of the Postcards From Sweden quiltalong, hosted by Sandra, mmmquilts. Sandra is a great organiser. I blether, buy the Postcard, maybe even write the Postcard and then stick it behind the clock . Sandra talks the talk, and actually stamps and posts the Postcard. ~Why don't you check this out and jump in too?  Louise of Quilt Odyssey made a really cool button. Rather pleased that IT challenged me was able to add it to my margin first time. This takes you direct to Sandra's host page and all the prizes and news.

Wednesday is cut out day, the beginning of cut out fortnight. Even I should be able to cut out the fabric in two weeks! Because I am multi quilting, working on the Belfast Bulletin and the Postcards From Sweden at the same time (can't spell simul simul simultaeneously), I am following the colours used by Kelly , jeliquilts, in her original design. Kelly has kindly given me permission to use her photographs. So because I can, I am going to admire this lovely quilt again.

I also drew inspiration from Whitehead, in Co Antrim. My friend Liz and I went to Yarnfolk, a yarn festival last August. It was set in Whitehead and we had enjoyed a walk along the prom whilst we were there.

And then of course there were the Hotel Sacher boxes of sacher torte from our holiday in Vienna last year.

I received a parcel of fabric from Sandra a few days ago. She has been my fabric enabler. Sandra ordered up some kona solids from Missouri Star, cut them in two and posted them to me. It was fun to open up the parcel and see this great rainbow of colour on a cold wet and snowy day here.

And here is a little rainbow of colours that will be used in the quilt. There are more to come, Sandra and I did a little swap from stash too. Please Mr Royal Mail, could you hurry and give them to my lovely postman? I think there 36 different colours in the quilt, and 21 colours in this rainbow. There are a few more colours lurking in the cupboard.

I won't be racing ahead with this over the weekend. Whilst you are reading this, I will be in Dublin with my scrapbooking friends. Well, not Dublin, but the seaside outside Dublin. The seaside - must be made, snowing today and raining all weekend. Scrappers on Tour, sounds bad doesn't it? My husband will be home alone, eating everything but chicken (I LIKE chicken) and relishing not picking threads off his socks as he walks across the floor. I know he will miss me and my constant trail of threads, but I will be back soon for a chicken dinner.

Helen x

Friday, 9 February 2018

The Belfast Bulletin

The Belfast Bulletin is coming along. Not necessarily the way I necessarily thought, but coming along. There is no point in calling this an ombre quilt anymore, I think the ombre has gone in a melee of blue and green. The last of my ordered fabrics arrived yesterday, definitely a green thing going on there. I am pleased with all of them, but the Holly is a little too green. Not to matter, I am sure Christmas will come around again, and Holly will be required.

As if today, I have three piles of half square triangles in varying shades of blue through to green.

As I said before, Sarah of Sarahgoerquilts has fantastic directions for an ombre quilt. Sarah's instructions are very clear and precise. This is what makes the difference between a quilter and a quilt designer. I can quilt, I can even design a quilt, or make it up as I go along. But ... the end result isn't always what I envisioned, often it is better, and I am not great at writing it all down. My organisational skills aren't great. That's where Sarah comes in.

Sarah has worked out exactly how squares versus shades are needed, and rounded this up to the optimum. She has then broken this down into pairings, and more importantly how many pairs of each pairing are needed.

She tells us to make 1 square of  "these shade pairings" , cut into half square triangles, these make 24 blocks.
She tells us to make 2 squares of  "those shade pairings", cut into half square triangles, these make 32 blocks.
And lastly she tells us to make 3 squares of each of  "them shade pairings", cut into half square triangle, these make 24 blocks.

This I have done, and I have 80 blocks, all 8" square untrimmed, waiting for the next stage. There will be some trimming going on here next week. I have kept the blocks in the three separate piles to make it easier to lay them out. As I am looking for the individual blocks, I can check to see which pile they are in, rather than hunting in a big pile of 80 blocks. Believe me, each of these blocks has been labelled to within an inch of its life.

Then it is just a matter of laying out the trimmed blocks in the pattern detailed by Sarah. The size of the blocks dictates the size of the final quilt.  Sarah even includes a colouring sheet to help design your own quilt.

This is where it all goes a little Slippery Slope. I love this photo from Portsmouth esplanade in England.

You see, an ombre quilt, goes from the lightest of a shade to the darkest of a shade, possibly passing through other colours in between. Pale blue can go from pale blue, through bluish green, greenish blue, blue green, green blue to dark blue. In our discussions, the bride and groom thought they would like pale blue through to mid blue, passing through blue green, green blue, bluey green and greeny blue, ending up with a combination of dark blue and dark blue in the last row.  If I was in church I would say, "And you know, folks, that is what marriage is all about". No, not a slippery slope, but a passing through routes, converging and meandering, ending up with a strong statement at the end.

It is so tempting to see what they would look like. I need to do all trimming first though before the muddle up pile OK, I have succumbed. I laid out just one row to see, just to rest my mind.
Terrible photo I am afraid, very hard to just get a long strip in focus with an iPhone.


Not necessarily an ombre quilt, but a pleasant mix, hopefully of green and blue. So it is back to my original way or working: I also love this wall advert from the National Bar in Belfast.

Any thoughts on the name? Belfast Bulletin because, I originally was going the Postcards from Sweden route with this and I like alliteration. Belfast Bulletin trips off the tongue I think. We send bulletins from home across the Atlantic ocean, bulletins in the form of emails, postcards have a tendency to not be delivered.

Helen x
linking up with Myra and Busy Hands Quilts

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Three Women, One Fictional, Two Real.

As you know, I have been meaning to photograph my #waywardtransparency quilt in the wild, so to speak. There is a particular sculpture in Belfast, The Unknown Woman Worker by Louise Walsh.

 This may have caused a little controversy, and heaven knows, we love controversy here. Seemingly the sculptor intended the women to include all "working" women. Not quite what Belfast City Council originally intended. The sculpture has now found its way into the hearts and souls of the people of Belfast. It has even been yarn bombed.  Anyhow, I digress. I was going to photograph my quilt draped around the shoulders of these two women. I may still yet, but I have changed tack.

I love this quilt.

                                                  quilts in the wild, Killyleagh harbour

                            well, if it fell in, guess whether I or my husband was going after it?
As I said before, I am naming it after Private Godfrey's sister Dolly in Dad's Army. Dad's Army was/is an institution in the UK. It was based around a battalion of the Home Guard, the army reserve during World War 2. This reserve army was made up, mostly, of older men, hence the name, Dad's Army. My own maternal grandfather was in the Home Guard.

                                         my English Grandpa, centre front in Home Guard
The opening credits showed arrows, both British and German converging to and fro on each other on a map of Europe. The movement in this was what sprung to mind when I finished my quilt.

Looking for a quilt name, I thought of Private Godfrey's sister Dolly who made an upside down cake and lovely cucumber finger sandwiches. Hence my name of "My Sister Dolly's Upside Down Cake". I had talked in my last related post, about today's strong women in the recent news. In the series Dolly was a ditsy, elderly, fussy old lady. But was she? Was she really?

I know Dolly is merely a character, probably even a caricature. Think about it. Dolly and her ilk were elderly in 1940, probably born around 1880 or 1890. Middle class women like Dolly didn't work, their place was in the home. until  marriage, then they switched one home for another, and a father for a husband. Simples. But, my learned friend, I would propose differently. The likes of Dolly lost their menfolk in the Boer War of the late 1890s. My Irish great grandfather was in the Boer War as a stretcher bearer (more about him later). They dealt with the fallout of life as these menfolk returned home. They ran homes before electricity, no modern conveniences and generally no indoor plumbing. They rarely received more than a basic education but these women were often astute, clever. Dolly didn't marry, so swapped keeping house for her father to her brother. She lived through WW1 when a whole generation of  marriageable men were slaughtered or damaged, physically and emotionally. Dolly would have seen the suffragettes campaigning, though I think Dolly would be suffragist rather than suffragette. These women were the legal property of their father/husband/brother. And then in WW2 Dolly was keeping the home fires burning again. Dolly was not old, fussy and ditsy. Dolly was dealing with what life dealt her. So, my #waywardtransparency is proud to be called "My Sister Dolly's Upside Down Cake". Pink with attitude.

Now onto the real women. Two of them. My honorary Nana  (my greatuncle's mother) was a Dolly.
She and her husband lived in Kent and he headed off to war in 1914. Nana found that unsurprisingly, she needed to make up the income lost whilst her husband was away. Kent is not known as the Garden of England for nothing. She raised chickens in her garden  and sold the eggs in the nearby town. She used the surplus eggs to make and so sell her bread and cakes. This really took off.  My  honorary Grandpa returned from war, and was astounded to find his wife running a prosperous bakery and tea shop in the town. He didn't return to his original employment, but joined his wife in her business. A strong women indeed.

                                               my "honorary" Nana and Grandpa in late life
Next up is my great grandmother who was born and brought up in Killyleagh, N Ireland,  where these photos are taken.
                                                                 Killyleagh Castle

 By chance we were there today on a Hidden Ulster History tour.

my great granny Andrews, Ellen Jane

My great Granny Andrews was from a  humble background. Her father was a farm labourer and when great Granny was around 10 years old, she went  to work in the local spinning mill. The children who worked there where known as "half timers". Half the day, and it was a very long day, was spent in work and the other half in school getting a rudimentary education. They worked 5 1/2 days a week, Saturday afternoon was off work. The work was hard, bare foot in a long noisy room, the floor was kept wet to prevent the linen from drying out. Family rumour has it that my great great grandmother waited at the mill gates to collect her daughters' wages, and then spent it in the pub (?), Certainly by the 1890s her parents were living in two different houses. My great Granny was with her father and brother. Her sister lived with the troublesome mother. Granny Andrews met my great Grandpa Andrews, just returned from the Boer War,  at a masonic dance on Boxing Day 1900 and married him on Christmas Eve a year later.
                                                      1st Presbyterian Church, Killyleagh

                                                                      the pulpit

                                                 quilts in the wild, I love Church windows

 At this point her life changed, she went to Belfast,  married to a an engineer. They had three children in quick succession. She kept the home, no more mill work. Unfortunately my great grandfather became ill and died at the age of 34. During his illness Granny Andrews went to work cleaning houses, eventually becoming a Housekeeper. During that time she supported her young family and managed to keep the family home, even after the death of her youngest child. No short measure in a time of no social security or government support. During that time great Granny Andrews lived through  WW1, civil unrest in Ireland  and ensured that her own daughter, my grandmother, did not enter the mill, as she had. She ensured her children got an education. My grandmother would have liked to become a teacher had circumstances been different, and was very well read. They saw the introduction of the motor car, votes for women, the value of education and said goodbye to those who left for a better life in America. Those were strong women.

And so, my #waywardtransparency quilt is now known as "My Sister Dolly's Upside Down Cake." As good old Queen Elizabeth is credited as saying - I know I  have the body but of a weak and feeble  woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king". No weak women these, these women wore pink with attitude!

I tried my quilt today on my decking, my reading and writing corner this afternoon. It was a bit grey and bleak, but will nice when the good weather comes and my Narnia wardrobe/aricula theatre is full of bloom.

My sister has just asked me, "Am I not strong?" are we not strong? Well, of course we are and so are our daughters, This was the last post sister!! But we are strong because of those who paved our way. With that I will leave you with a photo of Emmeline Pankhurst's grave in Brompton Cemetery London. I pop in to say hello when I am passing. Tomorrow is 100 years since the vote was given to  women in Great Britain and Ireland.

Helen x
And lastly, thank you again Yvonne for such a fun quiltalong.

|New Year's Resolution? Did That Include Fabric?

I don't think I make/made New Year's Resolutions regarding stash. I do think I  promise myself I will deal my stash responsibly, so that's ok then. There has been a little stash enhancement this week.

I am making this new #coulterweddingquilt mark 2. I have dragged out every blue or green or bluish/greenish solid I have, but it is always fun to buy more. By complete coincidence, the colours chosen for #coulterweddingquilt mark 2 are the same as those of  #coulterweddingquilt , the original. There is some yardage left and other yardage  I bought last year in Purl Soho, but still not enough. It takes a lot of fabric to cut it all up and sew it all together again!!

Unfortunately, I snoozed and "loosed" the 10% off day in The Village Haberdashery, I thought it lasted the whole weekend. Never mind, I had a look at Simply Solids and found they had the "cool" kona bundle. As I said in my last post, it was sold out, but I had a lot of fun going through their listings and picking out my own cool colours, blue and green and shades in between. Hmmmm. In linking up this blog post, I see Simply Solids have all 340 colours in stock again.

I was so pleased when I opened the parcel that all the colours blended really well with the gradients of colour I already had. This quilt will be an ombre quilt, going through the spectrum of green/blue.

There was only one blue which came out too lilac, ironically called denim. Denim is blue, not lilac blue. This is in shade 2. See? All labelled and now in freezer bags. All organised.

 One of the shades turned out, I think, to be pretty much the same as the yardage I had lost the name of, but one out of ten wasn't bad.

I know I will say this again and again. Sarah Goer's ombre quilt which I am sort of making, uses 8 grades of shade. As I am going green into blue, 8 shades will not be enough. My 8 shades will be subdivided. I had lots of fun dividing these into the 8 groups. You know what? I think my spectrum is a sandwich short of a picnic, or maybe that's just me. I looked at The Village Haberdashery and picked out three more greens. I think there are a green or two in the fabric coming from Sandra, my fabric mule , friend, and definitely a couple of blues. Hopefully this will complete my two tone rainbow.

There has been a little rather a lot of yarn stash enhancement as well. After the frenzy of Christmas stocking crafting and the circle quilt I have enjoyed the break from quilting, and more yarning. I have started using up some yarn I have bought every single trip to Philadelphia, there is a great yarn shop there, I just was not sure what to do with it. I decided to knit the So Faded cardigan by Andrea Mowry, she who designed the #what the fade shawl. I had 6 cakes (?) of Koigu Painter's Premium Pallet in a purple/red colour way. stocks it, and I was able to buy some more in two, hopefully coordinating shades. The last colour may be a little strong on the aqua, but perhaps I won't need too much of this.

I  bought a skein of Strawberry Fields Forever from Ellie in Craft House Magic. Ellie dyes her wool in  a very small scale and names it after pop songs from the olden days. I mentioned  this would be a lovely Valentine knit and my bee buddy and yarn enabler Sue agreed. Ellie thought this was a great idea, and she is now hosting a Valentine's Day cast on and has designed a new heart motif sock. I am really looking forward to this, and it is good to be in on it from the concept. I also ordered one of Ellie's badges, this now gives me a collection of 2. Is that a collection? I will have to make a pouch to pin them on. Ellie also has some lovely stitch markers and progress markers. When I saw the bee progress keeper, I knew I just had to have it.

My last yarn purchase has yet to arrive. Sarah of Sherlock knits has come up with the bonkers (as she herself puts it), yet brilliant idea to use yarn as fund raiser for Marie Cure cancer research. She did phenomenally well last year in her fundraising. I don't use twitter but I have included a link to her twitter page HERE. Each month a different indie dyer dyes a yarn inspired by the flower of the month, and distributes it through Sarah. A generous donation from each sale goes to Marie Cure. There are also water colour prints to buy and related competitions to enter. I didn't partake in January, lovely as it was. January was snowdrop. February is hellebore from Down Sheepy Lane. I love hellebores, so did my parents. A skein of hellebore will hopefully do a happy mail dance in my hall.

So, that's all for the moment folks. I anticipate there will be more stash updates in the next week or two, but that's all for today. Tomorrow, I am fairly confident in getting some quilt photos taken and maybe blogged about the next day or two. Don't worry about holding your breath, it will still be here.

Helen x

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

New Beginnings, Postcard from Sweden and Another Wedding Quilt

 Back to the sexism again. Sir Harvey Goldsmith (a British businessman) once said, "when you marry the mistress, it creates a vacancy". This created an outrage when he said this, and also much smutty humour. Not popular with any of the various Mrs Goldsmith either I am sure. It is however, true of quilting. One project is finished, it makes room for another project. Are you not done with making quilts yet? My father once asked me that. No, there is always another quilt to make.

Now my #waywardtransparency is finished, I do have a vacancy. I have two quilts in the pipeline. Both quite similar yet different, and already evolving. The very popular Postcards From Sweden quilt, (free pattern download in Craftsy)by Kelly of  Jeli Quilts has been about for the last year or so. It is based on an Ikea postcard of Swedish summer houses, would you believe. Sandra of and I have discussed our love for this and really felt we both wanted to make this.

                  photo credit, Kelly of jeli quilts , used with permission and grateful thanks!
Sandra has great organisational skills, and from these conversations, hop, skip and jump to a quilt a long Sandra has organised, beginning February 14th. She will have link ups, and has a sponsored prize already, from Stitch Stash Diva.  This is just what I need to give me the impetus to finally make this lovely quilt. You should check out Sandra's blog and join in. I am. And so are, well, lots of others.

Originally, when we had our conversations, I was going to do a variation on the Postcards of Sweden. Last summer we were in Vienna, and were lucky enough to stay in the beautiful Sacher Hotel. The Sacher Hotel is famed for its Sacher Torte, a very rich chocolate cake. Every year a artist designs their special edition box, and 2017 was very like the Postcards From Sweden. I was going to make myself a Postcard from Vienna. That was the plan.

Now I have decided to keep things simple. I am going to make the Postcards of Sweden in its original format. I also prefer the stronger colours in the original.  I have pulled what fabrics I have, ~Sandra and I have swapped a few fat quarters, and Sandra, aka the great enabler has ordered some fabric between us. More about that as time goes on.

My second project is the same but different. My other son, as opposed to my "second" son, is getting married this spring. Cue another wedding quilt. They loved the Postcards of Sweden design but would like something a little calmer, less robust. My son likes blue, and restful. I had foreseen that and showed them the blue ombre quilt design. Sarah of sarahmgoerquilts had designed this for another quilter, Mary  of quiltingisinmyblood who I also "know". (Mary's blog name makes me smile, in my case my blood is in my quilts!). The couple really liked this but would like some green as well. This is where the different comes in. Luckily green does ombre into blue in the colour spectrum, so I will tweak and poke at Sarah's design. This is where the plan falls apart rather.

Sarah has great instructions, all colour coded and planned, using 8 different shades of blue. As I am going to "fade" two colours, I felt 8 shades were not enough to do this. I started off pulling all my blue/green kona. There about 9 shades but there are still few gaps.

Hurrah! A shopping opportunity. I went on Simply Solids. Not only do they stock Postcards From Sweden kits, all sold out, but they also had a Kona cool colour bundle which would be perfect for my Belfast Bulletin wedding quilt. (That's it named already). Unfortunately this was sold out also, but it set me in the right direction. I went through the website highlighting the appropriate colours. I must have been fairly on the ball, as a lot of the green and blues I picked were, not surprisingly sold out. In the end I just went along popping greens and blues into the basket, a FQ of each. There will be some blues amongst the fabric Sandra sends me too. Between it all, it will all work out. Winging it again. Seems to be what I do! Generally works out ok.

So, two quilts at the same time. If I get a fair wind behind me, I could have the Belfast Bulletin started before the Postcards. I am hoping this won't be confusing in the slightest. It may even make the procedure easier. Make one quilt, get one quilt free? MOGOF?

Next up is to take my #wayward transparency photos and link up before 7 February. You know what, I am going to link up my last post just to be linked up and in the running. Just in case. You never know, I might win that Caribbean Cruise and have to go in a hurry.

Helen x
linking up with Beth Cooking Up Quilts and her Main Crush Monday
linking up with Lorna Sew Fresh Quilts, Lets Be Sewcial

Saturday, 27 January 2018

TGIFF , Could Have Sworn This Was Saturday

I said I was going to finish my Wayward Transparency quilt for Friday, in time for Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday. But as Rabbie Burns, it was Burns Day on Thursday, would say, the best laid plans of mice and men are aft to go astray. My husband and I have been cooperating. Goodness, that sounds bad. We have been cooperating on a genealogy thing, I do the research, and he combs it all out and puts it in readable format. This is was to be one of our retirement goals. It has been an interesting experience, this working together. Anyhow, most of last week was taken up with that and the quilting got put on a back burner. Sure wouldn't a finish next Friday be fine. After all Yvonne has extended her link up deadline to 7 February.

That all changed when I saw this week's TGIFF link up. Firstly it is hosted by my good online friend Sandra. Sandra will have plenty of link ups already, but it is nice to link up with a friend. Sandra assured me there was plenty of time to finish and link up before cut off. I was still going to wait until next week until I read Sandra's post. Hence me quilting and sewing down binding all day until my fingers feel like a pincushion.

So .... Ta Dah! Whoop! Whoop! I have a finish. A few threads to sew in, and a wash and tumble still to be, but a finish none the less.

And the reverse -

By complete coincidence Sandra and I both chose pink for Yvonne's qal. Myself, solid pinks, and herself lightly patterned pinks. By coincidence we both seem to have thinking the same things over the last week or so.

I was anxious my pink quilt wouldn't be too sugary pink, I wanted a pink with ATTITUDE. Not girly little girl pink. Pink that strides out and says I'm female but I like pink and it's not a stereotype. At the same time we have all been watching recent events unfold on tv news, Last year there were marches in Washington DC and other major US cities in defence of women's rights. These women, and many men, marched with placards and many wore pink knitted hats with kitten ears. Strong women in pink demonstrating against misogyny.

More recently there has been a lot of new coverage of the betrayal of women and young girls in the workplace, specifically the entertainment industry. Here I have my own input. Almost two years ago we were in NYC and went to a restaurant in Tribeca for lunch before heading to the airport. Into this restaurant came Harvey Weinstein, who remarkably I recognised. With him was a young women. Now, it was lunch time, broad daylight, a busy restaurant, both looked stone cold sober but I immediately felt a sense of concern. The young woman, looked to me to be ill at ease. He just set off all my creep detection radars off. He looked, well creepy, and lascivious. I felt uncomfortable enough to mention it to my husband, We had a chat about it and came to the conclusion I couldn't raise anything on account of my having a feeling. So, we headed off to the airport. Now .... my point is ..... if I was just passing through and I felt that, how the hell did nobody else notice anything .... or say anything? Somebody somewhere must have noticed. I can't say I forgot about it until the whole thing broke on tv. I hadn't actually forgotten. I had thought of that girl from time to time. And I am sorry for her.

This week on the UK news there has been a big story about a head of industry dinner, all male, where the young female staff were treated like meat. I doubt there could be anybody my generation, and before, who hasn't come up against this in the workplace. That was then and this is now. Totally unacceptable and shouldn't happen, Personally I found a hard slap to the face worked wonders, but again that was then and this is now.

I am proud that my daughter, my daughters in law and their friends "take no crap". Good on them.
My pink quilt is not a sugar, girlie quilt, it is a quilt with attitude, and I will be proud to sit with it in the garden . Like Sandra, I will be keeping this quilt for myself. This won't be the last you see of it. When I sew in the loose threads and wash and tumble and "do" the photos, I will blog again and link up with Yvonne.

Helen x

Sunday, 21 January 2018

It's Been A While

It has been a while since I have done a Sunday Stash post. Has it been a while since I bought any fabric? Possibly, possibly not. I refuse to answer as I may incriminate myself. I have actually bought very little fabric recently. I bought the some Christmas fabric, oh, way before Christmas, to make those Christmas stockings. And some white kona for the Liberty quilt. Those were quilting essentials.

I always hope for a little crafty stuff of some sort on Christmas morning, and my family never disappoint. This year the English son and wife, (and new grandson) bought me two charm packs. Both charm packs were spot on in their choice. They bought them on a weekend to Bath, I can't remember the name of the shop.

They are both Moda . First up is Moda Evergreen, designed by Basic Grey. Now, they wouldn't know this, but I love Basic Grey scapbooking papers, so this is perfect. I don't know what I will do, but I have the perfect backing. I bought some red and white scandi fabric last year in an online shop closing sale.

Second up is Figures, by Zen Chic. I have already had some of these fabrics in meterage and fat quarters and have used it all up pretty much. It is all mathematical symbols, circles, dots etc. Love it. I will enjoy these.

I have been treating myself to some yarn off and on. I had a bit of an accident with a knit pro circular needle last year, and Lynne, a fellow blogger and instagram peep very generously sent me some needle points and wires to try. It was so kind of her. I liked them very much, and in fact bought some more. I have been beavering away at knitting socks, I do love knitting socks. I also decided that 2018 was to be the year of the Sweater, and maybe even a sweater for me. This will be interesting! I had some Koigu Painter's Pallet I had bought a couple of years ago in Loop in Philadelphia. I no longer liked the intended pattern, I don't think I ever really liked the intended pattern. The wool got stuck away in a cupboard and nearly forgotten about. I couldn't really justify buying yet another sweater's worth of wool, so I decided to use this up. Guess what? There isn't enough for the So Faded sweater I thought I would knit. After a quick search to make sure I hadn't simply mislaid more yarn, I came to the conclusion I had only bought 300g . What use is 300g to a sweater my size? I very quickly discovered Love Knitting stocked, or at least could order in this yarn. As it took a week to arrive, I strongly suspect they ordered in what I ordered. I must admit I love Love Knitting. They are a really personal website, the online chat helpline is really helpful if there is a problem, and they are usually super speedy in delivery.

 It is difficult ordering contrasting yarns via a website. I suppose the beauty of a fade is they contrast fade or fade fade. My original yarn is a fairly deep purple with hints of red and lilac, and tiny bits of aqua. The first fade I ordered two skeins of, is a paler purple with a pink and violet coming through. These first two work brilliantly together.

 The last fade is more of a contrast. It is a definite acqua with hints of lilac and blue. I am not sure all well this last will work in. Maybe I will be able to finish without actually needing it, or perhaps just the last few rows rib. Que Sera, Que Sera. It will all wing out in the end.
So far there is not much to show you, but you can see the sweater will be good in the case of red wine spillage!

I have so much confidence this sweater is going to be a SUCCESS and I will be singing it from the rooftops that I am already planning my next big knit. One of the local indie dyers is slaving over a hot bowl of steam and dye as we speak. Hoping for collection next Sunday. Oh, there is that blog post sorted already!

Helen x
linking up with Sunday Stash and Molli Sparkles

Friday, 19 January 2018

Going Forward, Not Just Wayward

I am going forward, I am meeting my own imaginary targets. You know the way you think I will tackle that pile of ironing on Friday? Or we clear the loft on Wednesday? Some targets ... do, some targets don't ....  my Wayward Transparency is meeting all its expected targets. More or less.

As of this afternoon I have the basic quilting all done.

 My quilting is always very simple. I actually don't like quilting that has a flounce or flourish. I prefer variations on straight or wavy lines rather than feathers and flowers. Just me. Horses for Courses. Firstly I sewed a straightish line along the seams in the same off white thread I used for piecing. Next I changed the top thread to a mid pink. The original thread I had chosen was in reality too similar to the off white. I had a slightly deeper pale pink spool, but only half a spool. Hence only the top thread was changed.

 I set the needle of my Pfaff to  1/4" from the centre. The position I use for piecing. This time I stitched this 1/4" from the seam on the left around the square. Then I flipped the quilt around and stitched along the same road but in the opposite direction. The needle was still set at the 1/4" setting but was this time sewing at about 3/4" because of the change of direction swing. Yes, it wasn't intentional. I thought it would be 1/4" each side. Don't even try to understand what I am talking about. This seems to have worked out ok. The two central lines are quite close together.

 Except when it came to the last quartile. You know how it is good to mix it up? I forgot to reset my needle when I started the last quarter so the quilting lines are much more evenly spaced in this last quartile. It's a design feature, isn't it?

It has been very cold in my sewing room this week, and when I got to this stage today my hands were cold. The fire lit in the living room was calling my name. I am happy with where I have got to. Next up I will use a stronger pink thread to quilt occasional lines where there is an appropriate gap. Not all "roads" will rise up to meet this pink thread. ~A random effect is what I am looking for. I am really pleased with how this has taken shape.

I have just realised I have yet to show you the backing. I had thought the Tula Pink fabric with the circles would work really well. I had bought 1m of it locally last year. Of course, they had sold out when I returned. I did however have some other Tula for Free Spirit fat quarters and half yards. Some of this I bought and some Lucy of  Charm About You had previously sent me. I also for some reason had a whole load of hst left over. Don't even ask how that happened! I think I had already made some triangles then changed my mind about the pinks. Anyhow, waste not want not. I like an interesting backside   reverse side.

That will bring me on nicely to the binding. I found some pale pink gingham one day when I was clearing the loft . I do tidy it, it just never looks any better, does our loft. The gingham had that whole sugary pink, Doris Day thing I was trying to avoid. My pink is much more edgy! So, back to basics again. I have some bright fuschia spot. You know the stuff. I think there should be enough, if there isn't I will wing it. It usually works.

I have loved this quilt. Mind you, I have told you that before. I know exactly what I am going to do with it too. We have a corner of our garden which has decking, a seat and a wardrobe. It is actually an aricula theatre, but we refer to it as the wardrobe. When I am writing my blog there, I rather pompously refer to it as the writer's corner. There are usually pots of pink geraniums there too, in the summer anyway. This pink quilt will slot right in. The pink colours of Kona, which I haven't actually mentioned, are Azealea, Pink Carnation and Pomegranate. I think they will fit right in. Don't you?

Helen x
linking up with Myra and Busy Hands, Finished Or Not Friday
linking up with My Quilt Infatuation and Needle and Thread Thursday