Friday, 3 August 2012

Top Done

Finished the Civil War top five minutes ago.  Took more photos of progress than I usually do but they helped me make decisions about the fabric for the two dark borders.  None of these photos truly represent the colours but I was in a hurry to get the post done.  One of the background fabrics will be the backing and the sashing fabric will be the binding.  I also have fabric photos of the signing of the peace agreement at Appamattox Courthouse,  Lincoln, Grant and some pennants, banners and flags that I can fussy cut and applique on the back.  I was going to put something of this collection on each corner  square of the pieced border but decided it would not look right but I do want to use the historical stuff on the back to support the commemoration of all those who died.  I'm not American but have read and watched so much about the Civil War that I think the 150 year celebration ought to be marked.  I just love history.

Here's the first border.

Here's the pieced border done.

And the finished top with second purple border.

I've got some cotton batting for this quilt - never used it before but that will be interesting.

Still doing the Dresden Plate blocks for our group's friendship quilt (to be finished by Christmas, so no panic), finishing the teacup embroidery and itching to piece a scrappy star quilt that I've found a pattern for, one of those where the stars are made by the sashing.  At least, I think that's my next one - I'm being magnetically attracted by another with a very complicated pieced and embroidered centrepiece.  Should it be a quick one like the one above or should I make life hard?

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Appomattox Courthouse

Well,  I've finished three of my unfinished quilts (photos next time) and I decided I've earned the right to make a new quilt.  I have great intentions of never again leaving a quilt unfinished to lurk on my shelves for a year or more.  Feeling quite virtuous.  I am never going to have time to finish my Nearly Insane quilt and so have decided to make the blocks I've done into a smaller quilt.  That will be my first chore when this quilt is finished.  Not all the blocks are sewn in the photo - I was just auditioning my sashing fabric but this whole section is now finished and I just need to buy some fabric for the two borders and make the pieced border which goes in between the two.  I'm glad I got the others finished but it is nice to be working on something new again.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Lindenblossom and lovely news

I've just walked our border terrier down by the Rhine and all the Linden trees are in full blossom - the smell is intoxicating.  The design of this tree blossom is so simple, elegant and perfect in every way, I had to pick a small piece to bring home.  In the evenings, the scent envelops you as you walk along, such beautiful trees.  It was this flower that made the tea (limeflower tea) into which Proust dipped his madelaine and the taste of that triggered the beginning of 'La Recherche du Temps Perdu'.  I've not tasted limeflower tea but shall find out how to make it and try some.

The good news is that my youngest daughter, who finished her Masters in Politics at the end of October last year, has just been selected from 200 applicants for a year's graduate placement in a large pharmaceutical company.  She will be working in the Government Affairs office which liases with the government in setting drug pricing, drug policies, explaining new drugs, etc.  She will be going to Westminster for meetings and is so excited.  They have already invited her to choose which party political conference she wants to go to so they can get her a pass.  I think she will be well-developed and get a good network from this job.  It is only for a year but I think it will be a good stepping stone.  It is in a lovely part of England and she has just been for a week to visit us in Germany and has now gone back to spend this weekend finding a house-share ready to move and start work.  Luckily, she still has time before her start date to come to Normandy with us and her sister and boyfriend.  I'm so happy for her and they will be glad to have her; she works like a demon, learns fast and has a lot of mature insight.

I have finished my split ninepatch quilt that was lying around needing border quilting and binding. It's a really cosy quilt and this one is staying with ME!

And here are my two little wild friends who I see every morning and evening - sometimes there are friends and/or family with them but these two are constant (unless I just can't tell the difference between rabbits).  I watch them while I am making tea and they are so lovely; it makes my day.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Old and new things

So here is the first of the unfinished quilts that I want to complete before starting anything new. This is a split ninepatch that I love because of the dark, warm jewel colours and its rich cream/tan background. I wanted a very simple border pattern and went with this Amish pumpkin seed design - it is so elegantly simple and a real pleasure to sew.
And here is the first block of our group's friendship quilt. We are all making ten blocks and will give them to each other for Christmas. I chose Dresden Plate because I had never done it. Our colour theme is blue and cream (much harder to find fabrics than blue and white) and I had problems getting a pattern the right size. Our blocks were decided to be 9 inches finished and I could only find a 9 inch pattern. I didn't want the plate to fill the block from edge to edge so I cut down the pattern and redrew the curved edges. What a pleasure these blocks are going to be to sew while listening to the radio or watching tv and good to take along to quilt group as well. This one is my first sample and will probably be mine as I want to make one the same for the four corners of my quilt. I'm not fond of sampler quilts and a friend said she was going to make the same block for the four corners to give it a bit of symmetry (I always need symmetry in my quilts - a substitute for an ordered mind, I think). Right - off to do some more.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Labelled - what now?

I don't usually label my quilts but realise now that it would have been a good idea, so am going to go back and do them when I have time. But I have embroidered one for my daughter's quilt and am quite pleased with it. The only Aida fabric I had that had the right number of holes per inch was thicker than I would have liked and I must look out for something thinner because the corners were a bit clumsy when I'd turned them under. I know I could have left it flat but didn't want to risk it fraying over the years. I had to reinforce the corners which also took away from the delicacy but I love the alphabet I found - I have used it on embroidered samplers I've given as gifts and it always looks elegant. We're making a friendship quilt in our group; blocks to be exchanged at Christmas. I've said I will do Dresden Plates so I could start them now. Or I could (and really should) put binding on a quilt which I love to bits but have never finished, put binding on a quilt that will really look good on our bedroom wall if I finish it, finish a Halloween table topper that I had to put aside when I was ill or start a new quilt. We all know which is most tempting from those choices and I do want to get into my new pile of Civil War reproductions. On the other hand, my new sewing machine is lovely to use and those two bindings would make me feel really good. We'll see... Hummph! Irritated; I always write in paragraphs and this has come out as one block - I hate the new Blogger setup.

Monday, 30 April 2012


Finished the quilt for my daughter and just need to embroider a label on the back. In the end I decided to do quarter inch quilting in the corners and a quilted pink heart done with embroidery floss. Of course, when I went to photograph it, someone got there before me - what is it with cats and dogs and quilts?
Feeling good - have just booked a country house in Normandy for a week's holiday at the end of June and my daughters and one boyfriend are coming to join us; I don't care about the weather that much because I just love those Norman beaches but I hope it's good for the others' sake. Still, there are all the World War II landing beaches to visit, loads of places from 'Band of Brothers' to see and we have a view of Mont St. Michel. Looking forward to some great seafood. Promised myself 'moules et frites' as soon as we arrive...

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

It's been a while.

Just thought I would show progress on the quilt and the cross-stitch I've been doing. First, the teacup and saucer kit is coming along nicely - I need to do some mauve flowers under the cup and I've already started the pale blue border which goes around the frame (not visible on this photo). It needs pressing but I just grabbed it from the ring for a quick photo.

And here's the quilt with borders done - they are all done although the nearest in the photo just looks wrinkled because of the way the light has caught it. I have left the corners unquilted because I can't make up my mind what to do there - no inspiration. My eldest daughter wants the quilt when finished so I was thinking of a monogram on each corner but I decided it would spoil the simplicity of this quilt. I plan to bind it first and then decide when I see how big the corner spaces are - I do not quilt tightly so it won't matter doing it after the quilt is bound. I also might do a pieced binding as I have some of the fabrics left over from the layer cake.

Thursday, 15 March 2012


I have always hated putting a quilt sandwich together; hated being on my knees on the floor, hated the pinning and most of all hated the basting. I just haven't felt strong enough to get this quilt put together, although I was longing to sit and hand-quilt it with my quilting friends and make my life feel more normal again. So yesterday I just got angry with myself and made a decision to Get It Done. I have never cut backing nor trimmed up batting so quickly. Instead of kneeling, I sat cross-legged in the middle and quickly pinned everything. I hate basting so I decided not to baste. And here it is, ready for quilting, although the borders are still in need of squaring up and are only roughly pinned - the perfectionist has decided to let this go - I will do them later.

And here is the teacup and saucer embroidery that a friend sent me - it is very intricate and lots of the blue shades look like each other, so it needs lots of concentration, but it is looking very pretty.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

No photo day

No photos today but I have finished the cheat's hexagon quilt top - just need to put the borders on and get the whole lot sandwiched for the first weekend in March when four of us from our quilting group are going to our friend Renate's house for a quilting weekend. Sadly, one of our American members (there are only nine members altogether) is returning to Seattle at the end of March and we will be very sorry to see her go. Renate had the idea for a repeat of our lovely quilting weekend when she lived in Bremen last year - we had such a lovely time that she thought we could repeat the idea so we could have sewing fun with Nancy before she and her husband leave Bonn. Although it is a ladies' weekend, my husband has been invited because Renate's husband does not want to be alone in a sea of quilts and they both love to discuss business ideas together, so they will be happy.

I am also working on a little something that I cannnot show just now - I think photos will have to wait as it is a secret. but eventually....

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


So, here again are the blocks before the little squares were added:

And here is a bigger area with the hexagon effect. I must say, doing the applique little squares is addictive. To make it easier, I have only made up half the quilt and when I finish adding the little squares I will then make the other half of the quilt. Otherwise, the top would be a bit clumsy and awkward to handle if I were doing the applique on the whole thing. I shall then join the two halves together and start hunting for border/binding fabrics. It feels really good to be making a quilt again after all that embroidery.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Cheat hexagons appearing

Have been making some progress on the new quilt. I haven't completed the top yet but as I had a few rows done I wanted to try the cheat hexagon technique to check it looked okay - if I didn't like it then I could change my ideas for the design. But I'm quite pleased with it and it has been very peaceful doing some applique for a change. Here is a close up of the effect:

I think it will probably look better when quilted (as do most things) and then the little squares will look flatter, but I'm happy with it - off to do some more...

Friday, 3 February 2012

New Quilt beginning...

Above is the beginning of my new quilt. The fabric is the 'Hartfield' range by Moda - I bought a layer cake over a year ago and thought I should use it instead of stroking it. I love the names of the fabrics, which are houses in Jane Austen novels, etc; my favourite author.

I decided I wanted something very simple, so cut the layers into four 5" squares and am just sewing them together by hand in rows of 10. But then I shall make lots of little cream squares and applique them where the seams meet - this will give the look of a hexagon quilt without having to make and sew hexagons. Below is the photo from the book I got it from.

So the effect is as shown in the drawing below

I think it will be harder to make and applique the corner pieces I will need to keep up the hexagon effect but I like applique and those little cream squares will look good, I think (and hope).

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

That's better!

This pathetic sight met my eyes yesterday morning - my husband had bought me some tulips and they were really pretty but overnight they just decided to give up - I have rarely seen tulips give up so totally.

Here is today's version - lovely husband bought new tulips and these look like they want to be here. They feel really spring-like and full of hope. I adore tulips and always will.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

New Year

Well, Christmas is over but I just wanted to show our perfectly-shaped tree before it gets taken down tomorrow. My husband and youngest daughter chose it and I was so pleased with it - several visitors thought it was an artificial one because it was so neat...

I did rotate the Father Christmas embroidery when I uploaded the photo but for some reason it did not take and I am too tired to go back and rectify it. It was supposed to be a stand-up Santa but it was designed in a stupid way because to make him stand up you have to lace him at the back, at which point most of the handiwork is out of sight and he becomes extremely thin and looks weird. I decided to leave him whole, stuck him on a door and he looked happy enough. He could also be hung on the Christmas tree but I prefer to have him on a door. It was embroidered on plastic mesh, which I would not use again as it made my fingers very sore when sewing. In fact, although I got this at a very reduced price at an exhibition last year, it really wasn't a bargain as it was a huge amount of work for a small result. At least he's done and he can come back next year.

Keen to get started on new quilts and finishing two borders and bindings on quilts already done but haven't got the energy or motivation to do them. Instead, enjoying my youngest daughter's company with dvds and embroidery until she leaves for England tomorrow evening. My husband has gone to Frankfurt on business today and we have terrible storms, so I'm hoping he can leave early after his meeting and drive back safely while it is still light. I'm also hoping the European storms settle down before my daughter flies to England tomorrow - I shall worry myself sick if the weather is still bad.

Happy New Year to all, I wish you a 2012 full of satisfying sewing, kniting, crochet, whatever you love.