Friday, 29 May 2015

Instructions for those that want to join the Mini Mania for June

This post is all about our Mini Mania Challenge for June.  We have started a flickr group now, and I am going to give the instructions for the June Challenge here and any of you folk can join in.

  You have a choice of size with this mini,
First the larger of the two will measure 11 1/2" x 11 1/2" approx without borders

Shoo Fly Mini Quilt

This quilt is made from your scrap bag, but you may need a little more than scraps for your background fabric.
Approx.1/8 mt. for back ground fabric from which you will cut 6 x 3 ½”  x 1” strips, 4 x 10 ½” x 1” strips 2 x 11 ½” x 1” strips,
36 x 1 ½” squares of back ground fabric
18 x 2” squares of background fabric
2 x 2 “ squares of 9 different coloured fabrics = 18 square total
9 x 1 ½” squares of 9 different fabrics ( these would be the same 9 fabrics as the 2” squares.

Place each white 2” square with 2” square of coloured fabric (right sides tog.), draw across diagonally from corner to corner and sew a ¼” seam each side of the pencil line to make 2 half square triangles.

cut on pencil line to make 2 half square triangles.  

 You should have 4 half square triangles in each of the 9 different fabrics.  

Press open, and if necessary trim to make half square triangles 1 ½” square. 

Sew half square triangles to background square to half square triangle’

Sew one background square to one scrap square to one background square, 

Join these strips to make 9 shoo fly blocks.

Take the 2 of the 3 ½” x 1” strips and join 3 of the shoo fly blocks together (this will be the middle row of your final quilt).
Using the other 3 ½” x 1” strips join your remaining blocks into two more rows. 
Take two of the 10 ½” strips and join your rows together.  Using the other 10 ½” strips sew these to the sides of your quilt.

Note: When I sew the side strips to my quilt I find the half way mark on each piece pin this and if necessary ease to fit properly.(am I teaching you to suck eggs??)

Take your 11 ½ strip and add to the top and bottom of your quilt. 
 You can now add borders, sandwich and quilt.

If you are feeling small is this for you ....... try this

This quilt is made from your scrap bag, but you may need a little more than scraps for your background fabric.
Back ground fabric from which you will cut 4 x 2” x 1” strips, 3 x 6” x 1” strips 2 x 5” x 1” strips,
24 x 1” squares of back ground fabric
12 x 1 ½”squares of background fabric
2 x 1 ½  “ squares of 6 different coloured fabrics = 12 squares in total
6 x 1” squares of 6 different fabrics ( these would be the same 6 fabrics as the 1 ½” squares.

Place each white 1 ½” square with  1 ½”  square of coloured fabric (right sides tog.), draw across diagonally from corner to corner and sew a ¼” seam each side of the pencil line

cut on pencil line to make 2 half square triangles.  

You should have 4 half square triangles in each of the 6 different fabrics.  Press open, and if necessary trim to make half square triangles 1” square

 Sew half square triangles to background square to half square triangle’ 

Sew one background square to one scrap square to one background square,      

join these strips to make 6 shoo fly blocks.

Take the  4 x 2” x 1” strips and using one of them join to 2 of the shoo fly blocks.  Now join a 3rd block.  Rep this so you have 2 rows of 3 Shoo Fly blocks.
Using the other blocks join your blocks into two rows.     
Take one of the 6” strips and join your block rows together.  Using the other 6” strips, sew these to the sides of your quilt.

Note: When I sew the side strips to my quilt I find the half way mark on each piece pin this and if necessary ease to fit properly. (even though this is a very small border, I still think I halved it, pinned then sewed)

Take your 5” strip and add to the top and bottom of your quilt. 
 You can now add borders if you wish, sandwich and quilt.

Phew! that took a bit longer than I thought it would.....

O. K. that's the instructions done, now for the rules.......we can post just sneak peek photos of the quilt in the flickr group  and you can show the fabrics you are using but the quilt cant be shown until the last day of June.

If you want to join us, and have any questions you can go back to the flickr thread and hopefully some bright spark will be able to answer you.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Mini Mania Early posting

As many of you know a group of us are making mini quilts each month and this month we are going to 'show and tell' early because I have a plane to catch on the actual due date.

This month our 'leader' asked us to choose a colour each, pink green and yellow were chosen.  Our instructions were to make 12 half square triangles from each of the chosen colours, making 36 in total,  we then had to arrange into a block that we loved.

I chose this little lot of colour from the scrap box

Ready to go
Half square triangles coming up

Chain pieced this lot
Looking neat

neat and tidy
 pen and colouring pencils out and working

Not to good at this!

Played with the actual triangles.

off centre on purpose....not sure

Centred--- mmmm! better

this would make a nice big quilt

but finally settled on this.

Floating half squares 
I am very happy with this block Yeah!!!

My international 'flickr' friend D also joined us this month and showed some test blocks here, but her final design ........ 

Dee's first Mini Mania, but not her first mini quilt 

So we are truly international group now as Dee is going to join us again next month, any more takers????

I am sure if you go here you will soon find all of the May blocks.

I am off now for a while, but if I get a chance I will pop in and let you know how my holiday is going.

We have set up a flickr group if any of you would like to join?  Go and have a look here

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Busy Busy Busy

I feel that this week I have been running around like a 'blue a*s*  fly',  We spent the weekend in London visiting friends and making the most of the sun by spending time in the garden and walking by the river Thames.  Back home for Mondays and off to 'all day' sewing at higham piecemakers and this week 'J' (one of our members) was being our 'teacher' and the title was 'Hearts and Flowers'. 'J' showed us some simple stitching and turned the stitching into a 'Hussuff' (which translates to a Housewifes sewing kit).  Tuesday saw us back in London to visit my sister and brother.  We visit my sister first and, while we are with her, take time out to have a trip to the shops that we can't normally get to. This time we went to Stratford and the Westfield Centre.  I have to say I am very impressed with the whole rejuvenation of this area of  Stratford which does of course include the Olympic Park now known as the Queen Elizabeth Park.   We visited my brother on Wednesday morning then made our way back home in time for me to pack up my bags for sewing on Thursday.  I could have done with skipping this Thursday, but as I wasn't there last time and will be away for the next month, I really felt I had to show my face.  That brought us to Friday.... time for the vacuum cleaner to show itself  and the washing machine to work its magic.  Phew!  What a week.

This is my version of the 'Hearts and Flowers' Hussuff that 'J' showed us.

The stitching begins
this is what I added to the inside of my one.

Pockets Pins and some Paper piecing

I have to say I have enjoyed the embroidery and even found some new stitches.....
This is the back 
 The stitch around the little blue heart is new to me and so simple I really like it.

Its called 'Scroll Stitch'

And this the front
I have finished the lace weight knitted scarf, and am beginning another.

The blue is a varigated blue, but that doesn't show on the photo
 and finally I am getting ready for our trip to Canada to see our son, daughter-in- law and their two children.  No I don't have the suitcases out.....lets get our priority's right here.... I am collecting my hand sewing projects.  I am going to take some English paper piecing to sew while waiting around at airports etc.

I'll show you these once its finished...

We have a fairly quiet week before we fly off, but I don't think I will be doing much in the way of sewing although I hope to show you my May contribution to the Mini Mania before we go.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Wonky and Walking

On Wednesday my sister-in-law 'S' and I trundled off to a local craft centre to have a "play" day.  The hubby's were happy going off to the National Space Museum  in Leicester and seemed to have a good day playing 'hopeful' spacemen. We on the other hand took our sewing machines and were ready for action making a wonky pentagon table runner.  On arrival we were told to choose our fabrics....goodness with such a selection that took a bit of time, but we were all busy sewing in no time.  It was a really enjoyable day, with the 'teacher' cutting strips of fabric that we needed and making us tea.  I think all of us had a little bit to finish at home, but the majority of the table runner was complete at the end of the day.

Bright and Breezy

The Tuesday evening walk was another success, and a beautiful evening to boot. We started at Medbourne a small village just over the border into Leicestershire, (as you may have gathered I live on the borders of Northampton and Leicestershire).  We always follow the footpath markers and Leicestershire do seem to mark the footpaths very well, and just look what we found on the posts.

This carving must have only been about 6" from tip of ears to the bottom of his beard

It started with a gentle stroll, then came a couple of 'steepish' hills, but oh my goodness! it was well worth the effort once you got to the top and saw the views.

You can't see how high we are

God's own country

Crops growing rapidly 

We also had a good peek at Neville Holt where I believe you can have a stunning
evening at the Opera.  I personally have not been, but my trusty friend has, and although she wasn't keen on going to an Opera at first was totally won over and would highly recommend it.

My hands have been a bit sore lately, so I am giving them a rest from crochet but my knitted scarf is coming along.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Not much to 'show and tell' but....

Last Tuesday, saw us 'ex-water aerobics' girls on another walk through the countryside and I have to say this one is my favourite so far.  We started off in the village of Maidwell, Northamptonshire. The girls with the maps did a splendid job of navigating and what a beautiful part of the county! We walked to Bluebell Farm where the Hawk and Owl Trust look after an area which is noted for its bird life , and some of the fields looked like they had been left to grow naturally with meadow flowers and grasses to give a natural habitat for the creatures.  We met at about 7 o'clock and as we approached the conservation area it must have been the time for the Owls to beginning their hunt for supper and we were able to watch these wonderful birds swoop and soar in search of food.  It was a bit of a chilly evening, but once we got moving we all soon warmed up and the skies gave us another wonderful sunset.

Rapeseed fields, so bright and cheerful

At home we found a local guy to replace our central heating boiler and what a nice chap he was.  I now have a warm house and piping hot water for baths and showers.  On the other hand my radio/iPod docking station is once again back with the manufacturer.  They have sent two replacements and both have had different problems.......in the end I phoned the shop and said I was bringing the radio back and wanted their guys in the audio department to make sure it wasn't me messing up the b#**#* thing.  The last we heard the 'head honcho' of repairs has phoned the manufacturer, given them a piece of her mind and we are now hoping for a 'tested' replacement soon.  I won't mention the fused plug sockets, the fridge, and the fact that the car drove backwards into one of the garden pots and smashed it....yes- the car did that not me!  Thank goodness the sun is shining and we have a holiday to look forward to!

As our holiday is not so far away, I thought I had better get cracking on making some more summer pants....... I had a practice run back in January and thought they turned out O.K. so Tah Dah!

As for crafts, they have been put on the back burner, but I am still working on my 'lacy' scarf and trying to add at least two rows on the crochet blanket each evening.......slowly, slowly getting there but they will get done!

Quite a few more inches to do

Lots more inches (if not metres) to make this into a blanket

We have been given the destructions instructions for the May 'Mini Mania'. The three of us had to choose a colour a week ago. Lesley chose green, Lynda chose yellow and I chose pink but until the instructions arrived we had no idea of what or why we had picked the colours.  All has been revealed!.... We have to cut 6 x 2 7/8" squares in each colour i.e. Pink, Green, and Yellow. We can use different fabrics, but have to stay with the colours.  We then have to cut 18 x 2 7/8" squares of background fabrics and make half square triangles which we can then arrange into a mini quilt.  Sounds good doesn't it!  I think I've got my fabrics, now what to choose as my design.........I will show you once it's up and running, but why don't some of you join us in this 'mini challenge'.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Mini Mania ---show and tell

Just thought I would pop in to show you April's Mini Mania...

 This one belongs to Lynda...

Oh so pretty 

This one belongs to Lesley

So neat.

and last but not least my one...

Funny that we all used pink, yellow and green fabric in the same areas, just slightly different shades.  We now have the May Mini to play with.

Update on my iPod/ radio docking station, and the boiler......radio replaced and back working......boiler to be fixed on Wednesday morning YEAH! 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

They say things come in threes!

You know they say it never rains but it pours!  Well that has been a good saying for us over the past few weeks.  Just after my last post our iPad/ radio docking station started to play up and as it was still under warranty we took it back and had it replaced...great you would think, until, we got the replacement home to find this new one had the same problem as the old one, so, back we go again and are still waiting for the outcome......luckily our T.V. does give us most of the radio channels (I love my radio).
Next the central heating 'combi' boiler seemed to be leaking gas, so  the  engineer promptly condemned it....no heating and no hot water.. yuc!  It's the hot water I am missing most as luckily the weather has been kind to us and I do have a few crochet blankets I can wrap myself up in.
There has to be a third thing.....yep! The garage door came off its runners.......we manage to close the door with a little bit of brute strength, but carrying  my bike through the house it not ideal.  I have called the guy that fixed it back in February but he seems to be a bit busy at the moment so Mr. D and I spent an hour or so this morning fighting fixing the 'spring/wire thing' (thing is the technical term!).  So, my weeks have been busy getting quotes for all sorts of things which takes up a tremendous amount of my sewing time.

All I can say is that I have started a number of things (unlike me!) so I can give you a bit of a glimpse of some of them.

Sat under my blanket I started to make one of the laceweight yarn scarves,  I think these may be for Xmas gifts so there is no rush.

This yarn is hand dyed Angora, and beautiful

Then I saw some bargain yarn locally that I could not resist, so have started a baby blanket.  This yarn is so soft I am really pleased with it and as 200g was only £1.75 I can't really go wrong can I?  Not sure if there will be any left, but I bought it from here

Its the 'Attic 24' pattern
One of the ladies (A)  in the crochet group fancied making this, so I thought I had better have a practice run before she started.  The stitch is not too bad, but I did have trouble making the stitch that would denote the corner,  but after conquering that little problem I find that 'A' is going to make a round one...no problem with the corner then ....phew!

Not sure making baskets is my 'thing', but love the colour

For the next 'group meet' I found  this little critter.  I thought some of the ladies that are interested in making animals might just like the little snail as well. The pattern can be found here, there is an English version or your computer can translate for you (that 'Mr Google' is a star).  I  realised (after stuffing him with all wadding) that his house needs to be stuffed with plastic beads (or the like) otherwise he just falls flat on his face.  I think that is mentioned in the pattern, but I obviously didn't understand it or just chose to ignore it,  He is quite cute don't you think?


I have been asked to help at our group in September and the theme for the day is Mini Quilts.  So looking around I found this and thought the ladies that like to hand sew might enjoy making a mini Dresden plate.  Phew!  I have gone off that idea pretty quickly.  I have not quite got all the points perfect and some of them are drastically one sided.  Not that I am a perfectionist, but thought it should be a bit better than this sample.  I will go back to the drawing board internet and have another search.  I do have one pattern that I think they may like but won't show you that just yet.

just the start

looking good so far

But those points are just not quite there

I have had a couple of evenings out walking and riding my bike.  The walks have been country walks and surprisingly informative, and the bike ride showed just how unfit I am  (again informative!).  Note to self.....get out on that bike more!

Northamptonshire countryside...beautiful

Beautiful sunsets

Tomorrow (Monday 27th April) will be a reveal of our 'Mini Mania' quilts, so with a bit of luck I will have something that is completed to show you next time.