Sunday, 25 April 2010

Blossom and Busy Bees

Spring has sprung and the garden is full of flowers and blossom. I don't know what this little shrub is , I bought it for 50p at a school fayre years ago but it puts a lovely show on every year - which is more than can be said for Whitney Houston
For Christmas I bought my DH tickets to see Whitney Houston at the Newcastle Arena. We had looked forward to it for months but the press reviews were poor. Whitney was full of cold and disappointing to say the least. She coughed and sneezed her way through the show. The big numbers were sung by her backing group with Whitney just putting in a few Diva warbles here and there. Certainly past her sell by date!!
Today we have been out visiting other bloggers again. After a treck through the Durham country side , down some strange single track roads following the sat nav, we found Busy Bees studio.
Helen has this wonderful studio in a The Old Goose House which was open for the day.
with lots of lovely things to buy. Her next open day is in May - go and pay her a visit. Or in the mean time - check out her blog here
I have been doing some sewing too. I have got around to quilting my latest creation. I wanted to machine quilt it with a pattern rather than just stippling.
Free motion quilting is quick but certainly not easy.
First , the preparation,
1. Cancel everything else that needs your attention
2. Get in plenty of take away menus - you won't be able to stop to cook.
3. Set up your machine as per the instruction book.
4. Ensure all the planets are lined up in the most favourable horoscope

5.Trace the design onto the quilt.
6. Concentrate
7. Sew - go for it!
8. Don't get complacent and think "I've got it!" as this causes the thread to snap immediately.

And if you're lucky it will come out OK as its near to impossible to unpick.

Just the border to do now , Will keep you posted.

Happy quilting xx

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Sunsets and Strippy Quilts

A beautiful sunset courtesy of the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Too good a photo opportunity to miss

We sat and watched the sun go down on Friday evening after another lovely spring day.
When I saw this quilt pattern in a copy of Fabrications magazine I bought for 50p at the quilt show in Edinburgh, I knew that it was just the sort of thing that Margaret would love to make.

Sue Goodman is the designer of Little Strippy a miniature quilt which has been beautifully hand quilted using North Country quilting patterns
Margaret has made a beautiful job of it and here is a close up of her lovely quilting.
Jenny Rayment made a third visit to The Fat Quarters at the weekend. Teaching on Saturday and Sunday , then giving her very entertaining talk on her life and times as a quilter. And here she is modelling her outfit from the Houston festival of Quilts.
On Saturday she gave a talk on dying fabric in the microwave and here are a couple of landscape quilts she has made with fabric she dyed herself.
I have been layering up my latest quilt this week so haven't done much sewing but Jenny and I made a couple of little purses. After a trip to Accessorize for inspiration we then went into the market and bought a bag of fabric scraps and 2 zips for a total of £1.40. We are quite pleased with the little purses we have made and think they are certainly as good as those for £7.00 a time in Accessorize.

Hope you''re inspired too.

Happy quilting xx

Monday, 12 April 2010

Up close with Alpacas

After plans for a weekend away had to be cancelled at the last minute- we had an unexpected bonus on a run out into the country. We have passed by a field of alpacas before at Lowgate just south of Hexham and have stopped to take blog photos. This time when I was leaning over the farm wall with my camera , the owner shouted us in to come and meet the alpacas.
The owners of Wear Alpaca have a herd of 12 alpacas, with 6 of the females pregnant , lots more babies on the way. They were quite timid but allowed us into their field and let us feed them by hand. It was great to be so close to them and look at their lovely coats and find out all about the process which turns the raw fleece into their lovely hand knit accessories.
Their collections are created by local knitwear designer Susanne Steward and knit using the traditional skills of Northumbrian ladies. Visit the Wear Alpaca website for a closer look.
When we eventually were able to tear ourselves away from the alpacas we carried on to visit Katie in her new shop Make at Allendale. This is the ultimate etsy shop. One with a door, windows, counter and a till. Lots of lovely goodies to buy too. Upstairs is her workshop where she will be running classes and next door a bakery and tea shop.
The weather was so lovely we sat outside in Katie's bath seat and sampled tea and cakes from the bakery while we chatted. Do try and get up to visit her and support this great new venture.

Inspired by Katie's great ethic of recycling, I came home and decided to see what I could make from my stash. This fabric Michael chose when he was a toddler and I made him a pair of trousers from it. Then Jenny had a PE bag made from it and 20 years on I used the last piece to make this apron. I guess at 20 years old it is a vintage fabric. The Leanne Beasley Apron Strings pattern is used yet again.
And before we went out we did a spot of gardening - here is the front garden looking quite tidy.

Happy Quilting xx

Monday, 5 April 2010

Quilted Hottie for Easter

This Quilted Hottie from Cath Kidston's Sew book is my latest project. I made it in a flannel material so it is warm to the touch
However, Ms Kidston's instructions were for hand quilting - This would have taken an age and not the one evening I spent on it doing the cross hatch quilting by machine.
and a close up of the quilting and the button and trim.

On Saturday we went on an open top bus tour. Can you guess where we went ?
We learnt all sorts of things we didn't know. Andrew's liver salts were invented here!
This is St Andrew's church in Newgate Street in Newcastle. It might see weird going on a bus tour of your own town but it was absolutely fascinating - I can thoroughly recommend it .
And no bank holiday weekend would be complete without a trip North to see my Dad and a picturesque shot of St Abbs Harbour.
The sun did come out for a few minutes.

But you have to beware of other bloggers taking photos!!

Then today we went for a breezy walk around Derwent reservoir. which was over flowing with all the rain we have had recently.

Hope you had a busy weekend too

Happy Quilting xx