Friday, 28 June 2013

So, Sew Fresh

So a few weeks before our holiday, I mentioned to Janet that I had spotted a mention by Peg, of Sew Fresh Fabrics, that she lived in the Boston area...........
The bold Janet took the bull by the horns, so to speak, and contacted Peg to ask if she had a bricks and mortar shop or was it only online. The latter is the case but Peg said if we were in the area, to arrange a meet.
And that is how our first Tuesday came to involve a nice drive up the coast to Ipswich - they certainly don't call it New England  for nothing. Eventually we drove through Plymouth, Barnstaple & Chatham too, but not all on the same day!
Our ever patient husbands were more than happy to take us on our fabric jaunt, they certainly know how to keep us quiet.
Where Peg lives is this beautiful coastal hamlet before you get to Ipswich town itself - we were beyond excited at the prospect of seeing her operation in the flesh.
We had taken the liberty of making up wish lists in advance so that it would let Peg do the cutting at her leisure but of course when faced with more bales there were a couple of extra choices made. Let me show you in pictures.

Is this Iowa? No, it's heaven.

The adorable Peg herself.

Travel organiser of the year.

Bluepatch Bliss

We had a lovely visit - thank you Peg, for having us - I was particularly impressed by the whole concept that this fabric mad lady had started up a virtual business in her corner of the world and has customers all over the world. If you are not familiar with Sew Fresh, do go over and have a look at her super selections of fabric.
Oh, and Lynne, I gave her a hug from you, as requested!!
And I shall leave you with some, not brilliant, snaps of Ipswich town.........

Have a great weekend everyone.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Two Go Mad in New England

I am back in sunny (not) Ayr after a really brilliant two week holiday with my friend Janet and our two very patient, and quilt - tolerant husbands!
I don't intend boring you with holiday related tales but some of it is very much quilt related and I just know it will be of interest.
Let me give you a bit of background. Janet and I have been friends for as long as I have been in Ayr, about 23 years (how did that happen??)
I introduced her to quilting back in 2003 and she is brilliant at it - she doesn't blog - yet - but does have a Flickr account and is one of our Bee a Brit Stingy members. You should go and have a look at some of her work.
Anyway, about three years ago, a casual conversation turned into a savings plan and our goal was to go on holiday to the New England area. Time passes and plans were made over several suppers.
Our trip started off in Boston.
Now I just have to say here that I am a good organiser, and a bit of a control freak (Aries) but I surprised myself by being extremely laid back and relinquishing most of the planning of our trip to Janet.
Even I could not have arranged for our first day in Boston to co-incide with this -
                                            Hurricane Andrea - just the tail end.......................
So, after a day of Scottish-like rain, we awoke to a better Saturday and Janet had booked for us, a walking food tour (yes, food tour) of Boston. This time she had arranged or it to take place during this -

My, but it was a busy place that day. To be fair we didn't see much of the parade, we were too busy pounding the streets of the City's South End, scoffing delicious food at various locations. Yum.
Janet's next feat of amazing organisation was in booking our Boston accommodation - it was a traditional New England house located in the suburb of Jamaica Plain, just minutes walk from shops, restaurants etc. The local CVS pharmacy was just on our street corner.............or so we thought. See those green blinds?
Those were positioned under a huge CVS sign but were actually on the windows of the most fabulous fabric/yarn shop....JP Knit and Stitch
We headed in for a look on the was the most exquisite retail space that I have encountered................only modern fabric in stock.............beautiful yarns.......patterns............comfy seating area.........................class area..........................evidence of beautiful work created................inspiration all around........oh, and did I mention a SALE section............we just had to start buying. It would have been extremely rude to have left the shop empty handed. But have a look at some of the pics I took inside.

This shop had such a young and vibrant atmosphere and obviously has an important role in the local community. As you can see from the next pic, knitting seems to be extremely popular.

As promised, I am not going to go on and on about our holiday........but stay tuned for the next instalment. It's one you won't want to miss because it's all about what happened when Janet organised for us to meet Peg of Sew Fresh Fabrics.......................

Monday, 17 June 2013

Spotlight on Melbourne

A couple of weeks ago my big sis in Oz asked if I had any spare mug rugs hanging about. She has gone off coffee big time and has reverted to using a teapot. So she fancied a teapot stand and mug rug.

I instantly knew which fabric I wanted to use - I bought it last year in Spotlight, in Cairns. It's a cotton / linen mix with images of Melbourne on it. Sis lived for many years there so I hoped the right project would show itself eventually.

I looked to Ayumi's book 
and decided to make the hexagonal trivet and two co-ordinating mug rugs, they are smaller than the trivet but don't look much smaller in my photos. I sized them at 110% of the pattern in the book.
Foundation pieced, I mixed the Melbourne fabric with some colours inspired by the drawings and added in some fine calico, it's a quilting quality, just lovely - think it would be described as muslin in the US whereas our muslin is so thin you could spit peas through it -(a favourite saying of my mum - never saw her try it on anything thankfully)

My only modification was to choose not to do a separate binding - I was a bit pressed for time and decided to "bag" it. When I do this I always split the backing, sew it back together leaving a gap in the centre of the backing for turning. This saves the tell tale bulge that usually happens (with me) when I leave a gap on the side.You can see where I have done this on this pic.

I used Insulbright for the trivet to make it heatproof. And for the mugrugs, Hobbs 80/20

 This has ended up being a wee early birthday pressie, so Happy Birthday, Auld Yin.x

Monday, 10 June 2013

Mod Pop - Quilted

I was on quite a roll last week, and aided by my wonderful Bertha, I finished up all the quilting on my Mod Pop quilt.
 As you can see, it's still in three sections. My next job will be to join the sections together using strips of fabric.
By assembling my quilt this way, it allows me to actually enjoy the quilting, as the widest section is only about 36" wide. I quilted simply, by stitching on either side of the vertical and horizontal seams. A minor error has become a design opportunity (coughs).
My backing had to be pieced a bit - I had, a while ago, bought 4yds of a beige & white houndstooth patterned fabric. Got it cheap and had no plans. Note to self, if buying like this buy in units of at least 2.25 yards and I would at least get multiple drops for a quilt length. The other fabric was an AMH stripe in a lovely aqua. Forget the name of the range, I'll find out for the final reveal. Anyway, the centre panel was backed in the aqua so I matched my bobbin thread to that and used the same up top.
Moved on to an outer section, this time backed with the beige, so I filled up a bobbin to match..........and forgot to change the top back to the lovely pale aqua thread I had used. So for the sidxee sections I quilted vertically in beige, and horizontally in aqua, as if it was always meant to be!! Both threads were Aurifil 50wt.
I set my stitch length to 3.5 and always use a Schmetz 80/12 Jeans needle, both for piecing and quilting.
If time allows, I might even get finish this up in time for the end of the 2nd FAL quarter. I am rather thrilled to be featuring on Cindy 's blog, Live a Colorfil Life Life as part of The Name Game series. I hope you will take a few minutes to go on over and have a look.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Zakka 2.0

Hardly seems a year since I took part in the Zakka 1.0 Sew A Long, it was great fun.
This year we are following the project in Ayumi's book, Patchwork Please and the SAL kicks off today with her Bell Pepper Coasters.

Here in the UK we don't tend to call them bell peppers (do we??) - just plain old peppers, but there's nothing plain about these wee babies.
The instructions were clear and concise and I made my pattern pieces from freezer paper. I ironed them onto my chosen fabric pieces and stitched around the edge of the paper.
My only, tiny, modification was to fashion a couple of wee stalks from fabric rather than felt.
I have only made two as I am a bit pushed for time this week, although to be fair, these took no time at all. I might come back to the project later and make the full set of four, reckon they would make a cute gift.
I am linking to Lindsey's blog. Lindsey is our host again for this SAL.

Meanwhile, I have managed to get on with my two Bee commitments for June. First up was Judith's blocks for Bee Blessed. This month she chose the Woven Ribbons block which was quick and straightforward to do and I look forward to seeing a pile of them come together.

And then in Bee a Brit Stingy, it's Collette's turn for blocks and she has chosen a Scrappy Trip Around the World. Again, pretty straightforward. Now this Bee is a stash / scrap bee and Collette asked for scrappy and bright. Hmm, I think  hope I got it right. usually when I make a couple of bee blocks I make two similar ones but today I decided to cut fairly random strips and see what I could come up with - think I was paying homage to Katy's Scrap Vomit theories.

I have made coordinated Trips before but am amazed at how good these totally scrappy blocks look together.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Flaming June Already

May has been a busy sewing month with several of my projects yet to finish, let's hope I keep up the momentum in June.

I am linking to Fresh Sewing Day over at Lily's Quilts - if you have time to have a look you should check out some of the other links.
PS - I might have lied about summer..............


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