This is Taz, one of my three dogs.
He is old(ish) – he’ll be 11 this year – but it’s not him learning new tricks, it’s me but I’m much older than 11 and not as good looking in close-up.
If you remember, I have been taking part in a patchwork block swap called F2F (organised by Kate and Sue) which involved twelve women from around the globe, making three patchwork blocks a month and sending them to one of the recipients in turn so that all twelve of us end up with 36 blocks, having made 3 for ourselves to turn into a quilt. ( You can read about it here if you are interested.) Well, I was leisurely putting my blocks together and joined up for the next swap which starts in June when my name got drawn out of the hat first so I will be the first person to receive blocks – probably in around 7 weeks time. So, that’s put a fire under me and I’m now desperately trying to get the first quilt finished before the new blocks arrive. I have learnt a lot from doing this swap and have started trying new things and challenging myself a bit so that the blocks I send to the other participants are not boringly safe or complete pants.
This time, there are only nine of us but that’s O.K. because we can either make a slightly smaller quilt or make more blocks for ourselves. I have persuaded my Wednesday sewing friend Sandra to join the swap this time which will be a challenge as English is not her first language, she doesn’t blog and is a bit scared of the computer. We usually find a project to sew together on Wednesdays and, lately, I’ve been running out of ideas. Here’s our latest project.
Who wouldn’t want an owl as a tea cosy? Cute aren’t they and will also be useful once I have stopped using mine as a mannequin head which is creeping out anyone who enters my sewing room.
The free pattern and tutorial is by Buzy Day here if you want to repel all visitors during sewing time as I try to do unless they are bearing a cup of tea.
Despite owl cuteness, I thought we might be better employed doing something more patchwork(y) now she’s got involved in the swap. So, for a project last Wednesday afternoon I decided to try paper piecing and
forced encouraged Sandra to join me. Lordy! What a revelation to the uninitiated. Not having a light box, we were holding printed patterns and teensy bits of paper up against her windows and trying to join things up backwards and in reverse. Lots of unpicking was done and I’m sure I saw her take a headache pill at the end of our session. I continued at home and although I’m chuffed to bits with my first try at a paper pieced block it is not fit for eyes other than my own and so I will show you the half that is only a bit terrible and not the half that went completely to pot.
I think I might actually grow to like paper piecing so I made a light box out of an Ikea box frame and one of those little LED lights that you can stick up somewhere and press for ‘on’. Basic, but it works and was free as I already had the two components lying around.
I’ve also been trying out free motion quilting on my blocks as I’m ‘quilting as you go’ with this quilt – two new tricks for me in one there – with varying degrees of success. FMQ is a lone pursuit and requires you to concentrate like hell while apparently needing to be chilled out at the same time. I think I’m relaxed then realise my shoulders are up around my ears with the tension. One YouTube tutorial I watched was by a very sensible lady who suggested you might like to have a glass of wine by your side to help you relax. A woman after my own heart but I’d be too scared to knock it over on to my fabric. Maybe it would be better to have one before – and then maybe another one after. I do need lots more practice but, to date, have been achieving some (very) free form designs which are just about acceptable although how anybody manages to do some of the more intricate FMQ designs I have no idea. The whole bottle of wine by your side perhaps?
I am far too easily distracted – I blame it on being a Gemini – although I’m not really a believer in astrology it’s just that I can’t think of a better excuse. For instance, once I had walked the dogs and fed the seemingly ever growing menagerie that lives in our house this morning, I had a whole day free and thought I’d get on with the quilting. However! I bought some fabric the other day I’m dying to turn into a sewing box and so I thought, ‘I’ll just get all the pieces cut out so they’ll be ready to put together in the future’ – a stage of the box making which is by no means quick – and ‘whoosh’ there went the rest of the morning. Now, at lunchtime, instead of eating, I realised I hadn’t posted anything for ages so here I am telling you about what I should be doing instead of doing it. Hey ho. There’s always this afternoon.
Fabric is Haberdashery Box by Makower
So, I’m learning FMQ, paper piecing and QAYG and, for my next trick I became a model for a day.
I am involved with a group that raises funds for our local dog and cat shelter and we decided to do something a little different. We get lots of second hand clothes donated and, to be honest, they don’t look that inviting when hung up or laid out in piles like a jumble sale. So, we decided that six of us would pick out something from the donations that suited us (or fitted us) and do a ‘fashion show’. We hired a hall with a stage, some steps and somebody lent us a runner to use as a ‘catwalk’. One of the organiser’s partners is a D.J. so we could walk down the catwalk to music and we had a ‘presenter’ who read out descriptions of the outfits we had written ourselves – mostly in humorous fashion and we had clothes by designers such as ‘Terry Err from London’ , ‘Walter Spanielle from Yorkshire’ and ‘Beau de Collie from Paris’. In other words, helped by a glass of champagne on arrival, everybody had a good laugh. We modelled five outfits each and they were on sale afterward for 5 euros each. All the remaining clothes were sold for whatever people chose to put in the donation box.
We made a whopping 1400 euros for the Shelter which I can’t help but consider in terms of how many castrations that will pay for 😉