Athens time

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Fat Quarterly is out !!

Guys, I have to tell you all about this new magazine! I have been writing individual people about how great it is and my arm is about to drop off, so then I got clever and thought I might as well tell you all in one go!
(image so scooped from Katy's blog.. I am sure she doesn't mind..)

FQ (Fat Quarterly) is a new online magazine. It is made by modern sewists and quilters for modern sewists and quilters and that is the beauty of it... They know exactly what interests us as they've been there, done that and got the quilts to prove it!

FQ is put together by the combined efforts of Aneela, Brioni, Katy, Kate, John and Tacha. Each of these 6 has a pattern in the magazine, entirely complete with layouts, fabric suggestions and detailed descriptions. There are giveaways, lots of interviews, a challenge for you to take part in and a fantastic review of the V&A quilt exhibition in London by Katy!

I have been asked by a lot of friends who have not been yet or who cannot go at all what it was like and what my impression are etc... and apart from a fleeting impression whilst I wandered through the exhibition completely dazzled and dazed and unable to take in much of the detail, I have told everyone about Katy's excellent review.

You now probably think I am working for the mag or get some sort of commission right? Nope, it's just I met four of them at the V&A. I was impressed then with the amount of thought and work and attention to detail that is being put into this. So I decided to buy the mag just to support them as they deserved it.

Having bought it and read it though, I must say I would have unreservedly bought it immediately had I been able to flick through first!! The price is $8 (£5.22 approx - daily rate) and the magazines come out quarterly. If you subscribe for a year (4 issues) you pay $28 instead of $32. A good saving.

And be honest, where do you find a magazine in which you find 6 patterns you are ALL dying to make? Plus not enough time to read all the interviews and book reviews because they are all so interesting? If I normally buy a magazine, I am happy if there are one or two patterns in it I like... so this is absolutely brill!

This is the summing up the FQ team give of their Issue 1 - Fresh Start;

"Six original project patterns including four all-new quilt patterns, a stunning pillow pattern, and a pattern for a fast & fun table runner

Interviews with some of today's hottest fabric designers dishing about their new & upcoming lines, including Lizzy House, Laurie Wisbrun, Cosmo Cricket, Mo Bedell, and more

Reviews of two new quilting books and a chance to win them both

An interview with Ingrid Press, the designer of the little house quilt that took Flickr by storm

An inside look at Quilts: 1700-2010, an exhibit on display at London's Victoria & Albert Museum

... and more!"

So go and buy it guys... you won't be disappointed !!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

More about my trip to London

You have heard a little about my visit to the Victoria and Albert museum. It was a wonderful visit as you can read in the previous post. I did make some more photographs along the way and would like to share these with you too!

When arriving at St Pancras International station,

I looked through the glass windows to a bit of land next to a derelict building in scaffolding. The bit of land was full of skips, normally used to dispose your building rubble in, but now each of them had a little set of stairs to go up, and in, and inside each skip was a miniature garden!

It was the Kings Cross Skip Garden!!

One skip I looked at was busy growing vegetables, and what is that I can see there, are they leeks? onions? I am not so up to date with it all but it looked very impressive and well tended to!

Isn't it amazing what you can do with a little bit of space? It has inspired me to make a mini herb garden in our backyard.. not in a skip mind you, but if you can grow all this in that miniscule space, surely I should manage a herb garden in a tub??

I arrived at the V&A and had a wonderful time, it was sad when it was time to leave and say goodbye but nice to wander a bit more through London. I had to go to Foyles on Charing Cross Road at the edge of theatreland. This is an amazing bookshop where you have the best chance of getting what you need (and I found it! well... part of it, the other book was out of print but that was not the fault of Foyles! they tried hard to find it!).

So I set off to find the nearest underground (called 'tube' ) station, which was South Kensington;

I took the tube to Leicester Square and on the way, we had to wait for a signal at Hyde Park Corner station;

I was struck by the old (the tiling and lettering) being hand in hand with the new (the modern seating) and thought how most people probably just rush by on a day to day basis without a thought for their surroundings. Looking at the tiling, you can just imagine what it would have been like in World War II when these underground stations were used as shelters for people and they spent time here, worried about the bombs and cramped together in large crowds.

Walking along through London's streets, I saw a pub, where the flowers were starting to bloom. Together with the sunshine, it gave a very springlike feeling!

On my way back from Foyles with my books, I came past a big square, Cambridge Circus;

Right in the heart of Theatre Land with a Production going on there in the theatre nearby;

Looking up, on the corner, the unexpeted find of an art-deco clock;

Another english pub next to Leicester Square tube station

The day I was in London, was also the day the London Marathon was run and once back in the tube, there were a lot of people both in running gear with their medals round their necks and spectators, dressed up in orange with wigs or headgear like this mother pushing a buggy with some antennae on her head and bright orange socks!

And then it was back to St Pancras Station,

with the impressive collection of steel girders holding up the collosal roof;

The Hi-speed trains were waiting;

and ready to leave;

All in all it was a most enjoyable day and I hope you have enjoyed it with me!

Monday, 26 April 2010

The V&A - review, and a wonderful day!

On sunday the 25th of April, I was setting off on the first train into London. It was the day I was going to see the 'Quilts 1700 - 2010' exhibition in the Victoria & Albert museum in London.

I arrived a while before the appointed hour on which I was going to meet several online blogging buddies for the first time! I was really looking forward to it!

After crossing the hall, you immediately come into a shop with some nice merchandise (but very pricey too!). I had asked at reception whether you could take photos and was told "anywhere except in the Raphael exhibition and at jewellery". Surprised I was therefore to be told in the shop by a very stern lady that photography was not allowed in the shop!! I of course asked why not? and she explained that they were very nervous about designs being copied... I wonder really ... as if I genuinely was out to copy a design, I would definitely buy the article and not rely on photographs but take it home and have it there in detail to copy! besides.. they have photos of all their merchandise on their website and in the catalogues.... Oh well... I expect she felt she had averted a major disaster!

I did however photograph the dress they had in the window... OUTside the shop (having expressly been forbidden to photograph INside the shop!). I expect that is legal. Especially as I am stating categorically that this dress is being sold by the V&A shop, that you must go and see it yourself and purchase it if possible and on no account should copy this! Understood? Good.. I wouldn't want to get into trouble...:-)

The V&A itself (through which I consequently wandered) is a maze of corridors and rooms. Most of the rooms in the upper levels are very very quiet and I seemed to be the only visitor, in spite of the great amount of people in the building who all seemed to be downstairs... The only people I met were the V&A guards, who all were very friendly and helpful.

The building is a collection of styles from new to old to modernist..

This is one of the main corridors on the main level;

Here a courtyard where the old and the modern have been successfully incorporated into the overal sheme,

with a weatherproof modern glass roof with hanging glass panes that seem to move when you walk along (only they don't , you do, creating the illusion)

Upstairs, the style completely changes and one can imagine oneself in times past..

I had a great time discovering the various sections, nearly got lost, but managed to find my friends in time!

We met, introduced, and proceeded to enter the exhibition. The entry was timed and it is advised to pre-order tickets on the website, which we had all done so we could enter together. Formalities out of the way, we could go in and were given a short publication with a little information about quilting in general and some quilt specifically.

One thing was immediately noticeable, as the first and second fabrics to be exhibited were also in the booklet... The printing was drab and so were the colours... The colours in the real quilts in the exhibition though were absolutely fabulous!

(photo courtesy of V&A exhibition publication)

This quilt e.g. (sorry it is sideways, still struggling with picasa...) had the most lovely colours in hues of light blue, dusky pink and sand, then on the darker colours the deepest blues and purples.. The absolute amazing colours were what first attracted me to this quilt, on further inspection, you notice the wonderful quilting too. However, this photo does not represent truly what the quilt was like... I also looked at the book that was for sale in the shop. Throughout the same was true... The quilts were accurately photographed, but the photo was 'flat' and the colours subdued, grays/browns, and none of the vivacity to be found in the real quilts. If you are interested in the history and the story of quilting, a lot of information is found in the book. If you are looking for 'eye candy' you will be disappointed.

The quilts themselves were wonderful. Many had a lot of pieces and many were of the 'medallion quilt' variety. Of course we must understand that at the time these quilts were made fabric was scarce and the quilts were made from any fabric that the women at the time could lay their hands on. It was amazing to see how many different fabrics were incorporated in any one quilt and, even more amazing, how they still somehow seemed in unison, due to the layout of the quilts and the colourcoordination.

The further into the exhibition we came, the more "modern" the quilts became. I say "modern", because some of the quilts were pieces of art, especially commissioned for the exhibition. Quite a few of them by artists whose primary medium is not quilting. Of course I am not against anyone using textiles and/or quilting as a medium and some of the pieces were quite amazing and thoughtprovoking. I did wonder though, as this was expressly a quilting exhibition, where the pieces were from existing quilt artists who are using the quilting medium to give a modern twist to the traditional blocks and traditionaly way of quilting. This sort of quilting was not respresented at all, and I rather missed that.

Some of these art pieces, made of other fibres, like one that looked to be made of paper.. I would have expected in an art exhibition, not in a quilting exhibition. Very nice was also a short film about men taking up quilting in prison, saying it was a lifesaver, gave them peace and gave them something worthwhile to create.

The last piece in the exhibition was from Tracey Emin. Almost (once upon a time) my neighbour in the nearby town of Margate (very near to Ramsgate where I live). She created a dressed up bed and used some lovely fabrics she had in her personal stash. Again, I did not find this falling under 'quilt' so much as under 'art'. Tracey did surprise me however by remarking of her work, that quilting is not only sewing things together (I did not write down the exact quote) but that it also is about sharing and community. Right on Tracey! The right note on which to end the exhibition!

We all went into the sunny courtyard to have a well deserved cup of tea and a sandwich! After taking a photo for posterity of course....;

(from left to right; Aneela and her daughters, Tacha, Constanza, Brioni and Katy)

I would like to say a big THANK YOU, to all of them for being such fantastic company and make me feel so welcome and part of the group. I had a fantastic day out and it was SO much better sharing it with you all. I had a brilliant time! (and not only that, collectively these ladies managed to re-fire my enthousiasm for things I had almost given up on and thrown in a corner.. it's magic!). Thank you again ladies. You are the BEST!!

After the exhibiton, there was another shop, in which some fabrics were sold and a lot of books as well as some other presents that could be bought. I picked up a pack of precut shapes.. 6 shapes in a pack and a pricetag of... £12 !! No way! There was a wide variety of quilting books and as all the present were also very pricey I managed to only buy two prints;

The top one I loved so much I could not leave it and bought half a metre (£5.75). The brown is to coordinate and a FQ (£3.50). What I love about the top print is the sort of 30's/feedsack pattern feel about it, just couldn't leave it! This whole series of prints has been especially created for the exhibition. I saw several more but somehow (don't ask me how... it being the end of the month maybe??) I managed to leave them... I am now thinking maybe I should go back one day before the exhibition ends and have another look then get some more FQ's?? mmmmm....

When I got home and tried to photograph the loot, quality control was on it straight away and approved!;

It was a lovely day and I would certainly recommend the exhibition. I loved seeing all the old quilts and the chance to meet up with online friends made it extra super special!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Ricky Timms Convergence Quilt Workshop

Totally encouraged by the kind comments from Jo and Lizzie, I have fixed the bit that was wrong (inbetween other things...) and taken a photo of the square as should be!

I even found time to blog about it now, rather than monday.. How is that for good intentions!! (Being up since 5.30am did help a little there too! It's amazing what you can get done with a little extra time!!)

Ok... the workshop. We were making the basis for a convergence quilt, led by a lady who had the book by Ricky Timms of the same name. This is my table with everything still nice, clean, organised and set out!

First up we were required to bring 4 square's of either 14" or 16"sq. I thought I'd go for the smaller one and see how thing pan out!

We proceeded to lay them out in a bigger square (no photo of this) where I had the horses left bottom, orange spots left top, yellow right top and orange right bottom. Then fold over the bottom squares onto the top (right sides touching) and sew along the bottom line.

Having done that slices them both up, starting with a strip of 1", then 1 1.2",2",2 1.2",3" and leave the remainder. You do that for both of them going outwards from the middle.

You then move the smallest strip of the horse panel, all the way to the right into the gap between the two biggest orange panel. Once you have intermingled them all (converged them!), you open up to full length.

and first sew two strips at a time together,

then, once you have done the row, start again sewing together till they are all connected.

Following this, you turn everyting 90 degrees so you now have the horses/orange bit on the left and the spot/yellow one on the right. Square both panels up aligning onto the long lines by cutting out the middle bit (yeah.. that's right, the bit where I so carefully tried to connect up all four corners! ha!).

And do the same againg... cutting strips from the middle to either of the sides (same sizes strips again),
converge, also as before;

and repeat the sewing the two strips together again;

then, also like before, join all those till everything is joined;

It is then (and only then...) that you realize the interested person who came to look at your fabrics and picked up a strip... has put it down in the wrong place! In the middle, instead of at the end... Being so busy sewing and matching points (a lot, a lot of points!!) I did not notice....

Luckily I have my trusty seam ripper and ripped and re-sewed and then it looks more like it should do!

One more tip I have to give on this and that is that it needs ironing in a very particular way. I was told it did not matter which way the seams went and to iron it all in the end. Someone else then said, she had read the book and if you do not iron half way through (half one way, the other the other way) you never get your seams to but up properly and consequently cannot match your junctions. I was very frustrated as no matter how well I matched.. because all the seams were ironed the wrong way, I could never get them to lie flat.. they sprang back and got sewn slightly out...

But you don't see that from a distance right?.... right??? I am glad I did the workshop thought as that was such a good thing learned.. It was of course very stupid of me as Dana had allready taught us the importance of ironing right at the start of the ORBC group... I KNEW it, that's why I asked, but, not trusting myself I relied on what I was told and came acropper.

All that needs to be done now is a border, maybe some applique on top and quilt and bind. I have a feeling thought this is going to be another UFO... (rather than a WIP...) as I did make time to go the the workshop but don't have time to finish it at home!

Looking back this almost looks like a tutorial... It isn't and to do it properly I would recommend to beg, steal or borrow Ricky's actual book as it is wonderfully well explained in there with lots of variations (wavy lines etc... wow....). I didn't mean to do a tutorial or I would have photographed each stage much more extensively. I just wanted you all to have a rough guide so you have an idea what it entails and whether this is something you would like to do!

I had fun at the workshop, but I somehow doubt I'll make another one... maybe when I have bags of time! Talking about time... must leave you now! Have fun if you are going to try this!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Good intentions...

I am trying to be good and blog a little more often and keep in touch with you all. Trouble is that life seems to have a habit to get in the way of crafting sometimes and you have nothing to show... Also, if you have a down day, you don't really want to moan about it as we all know that the next day will be better don't we?

So I have decided to share the little progress, even if the big jobs are not done yet. You will have to bear with me then even if the posts are not world shattering or the job finished to sparkling perfection! (not that they ever are, but as good as can be!).

This post is the first step. I haven't got the photos sorted yet, so normally I would have not posted and waited for that (probably in a couple of days when I have time to do it) but following my good intentions straight away I will tell you about it instead and photos follow later.

Firstly I sent off my money order with the postage payable on the giveaway to Kelly. So with that paid and the planes flying again I am sure it will get here within about two weeks! Fingers crossed !

Secondly I did a mornings workshop yesterday on a Ricky Timms Convergence quilt. It is only small, the center of a quilt or a small wallhanging (14"sq) but it is an interesting concept. I will blog about it when I can. I have to rip and resew some seams... The piece consists of strips which have to be left strictly in order.. someone picked one up to look at the fabric and put it back in the wrong place, unbeknown to me as I was concentrating on sewing... so ... you guessed! it got sewn into the wrong place in the piece too... When I held it up at the end I saw it immediately so some remedial work has to be done first...

I am going to get on with the real work... Housework, shoppinglists, shopping, washing etc etc... as it does not do itself!!

Hope you all have a great day (or evening/night.. depending on where you are!) !!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

A lovely pattern and ruler

That is what I won in Kelly's massive giveaway at 'I have a notion' blog!
Twice as Nice....Plus More (autographed by Eleanor Burns)
by Anne Dease

which looks to be a great pattern


The special ruler you need to make the quilts to go with it! ( It needs a jelly roll and a few additional fabrics to create three projects and is fun and easy and strip pieced - so the blurb tells me)

It looks great and I cannot wait to see it close up and try it.

Thank you Kelly, the IHAN team and Quilt in a Day (who supplied the prize), looking forward to seeing it fall through my letterbox (once all the air traffic has sorted itself out!)

Monday, 19 April 2010

Picasa, Yummy Goodies and a WIP finished

I have a little bit to catch up on... Regular readers know how I have been struggling with Picasa and not being able to get photos out of Picasa to blog... I have done two things..
1) very bravely I have loaded all my photos into picasa, so at least I could take some (quite overdue) new ones and blog from my SD card..
2) a friend advised me to reload picasa. I have done so and miraculously it asked me to link picasa to weblinked picasa. Apparently these are two separate accounts. I followed instructions, I linked and.... found that all the photos in my blog are already in weblinked picasa (it seems I have had an automatic weblinked picasa account all along without my knowledge...) which is totally separate from computer based picasa where all my personal (not blogged) photos are.
I now can start learning how to transfer (yep, the blog this button now works! YAY!!) as the functions are just a teeny weeny bitsy different from transferring from the sd direct. A bit like from one mobile to the other.. roughly the same but not quite... However, now I am this far I am sure I'll work it out!! (But wanted to tell you all just in case someone is struggling with the same problem!

So now I can blog again, here goes with the update!

Firstly I received this wonderful package of fabric I ordered from Jonathan Avery (via Bearpaw blog). The fabric is ................. and a bit thicker cotton than quilting cotton but thinner than homedec. Wonderful in real life with fantastic colours and great to work with. As a personal gift, she enclosed one of her lovely miniquilt keyrings she makes, knowing I just LOVE them!! Thank you very much Jo! If you would like one too, I am sure she still has some in stock (but hurry as they are going fast, they are so cute!!). A lovely gift for quilty friends as well as having one for yourself.

Then to my surprise I received this lovely package of 6 FQ's from Isaac's mama! I saw this box falling through my letterbox and luckily she had put Easter/May swap on it so I knew straight away what it was and could not wait to open it. I was not disappointed! A lovely card and coordinating FQ's from Kati Cupcake's line in lovely pastel colours. I really love them and thank you so much! What a happy surprise!

Lastly (for this post anyway..) the photo Greta could not wait to see... The no-no bands (bands to be put around babies' elbows after cleft palate surgery so they cannot touch their faces, it's a charity Greta is involved in) I made for her and the baby puzzle ball. The bands have a dinosaur theme.

I must say when I started these they looked quite straightforward. I have seen others posting saying they made tons of these things... So I thought, hey, how hard can it be ? .... Wrong!! You won't believe what a meal I have made of these bands ... Firstly I followed directions and cut out the required size. What they did not say is to add and inch on all sides because after you have folded over a 1/4" and then again for the seam, you have added 1/2" on each side! Secondly the work involved in all the ties... Hours and hours I spent on those... Folding in on one side, then on the other folding in and over and keeping it all straight whilst sewing the seams closed... I made 3 for each band and thought I was done... THEN discovered (by trying them on) that of course you needed 6 for each band otherwise there is nothing to tie onto! duh... idiot (me, that is...) so made 6 more. I have admiration for people just churning these out... They are either much better sewers than I am, or know a better way of doing this that has eluded me... As it is these two bands took me 6 hours to sew... I am sure there is a quicker way!

In any case, it is now done and I hope Greta likes it. She has been grumbling at me lately for not showing her pictures of the bands and the ball ( I really had trouble with Picasa Greta... NOT my fault!!!) so I hope this will make for a happier Greta in spite of the fact I cannot now fly them over as all UK airspace is still a no-fly zone... I will send you a mail Greta and you can choose between surface and waiting for flying to recommence. At least you now know what it all looks like!

Enough for now, more tomorrow. Hope everyone has had a fabulous weekend. Lots of sun here in the UK and beach walks for Rafael!

ps... does anyone know how to get pictures from picasa straight into Flickr? still learning... Thanks....

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Giveaway at Bearpaw's !!!

Another giveaway to report! Look at all these fantastic goodies !!!

Jo at Bearpaw is a lovely very crafty lady! In her shop, Jonathan Avery , (which is her 'real' job btw) you can buy lots of fantastic things for the home in general as well as Jo having her own crafty 'bearpaw corner' (in the shop at Church Hill in Edinburgh) where she sells some fantastic handmade goods. I just wish I was in the neighbourhood and could pop in so if you are in Edinburgh, look for Church Hill and check it out!

Meanwhile some fantastic things from the shop are here in the giveaway on the Bearpaw blog .

Just look at these fabrics !

and this absolutely gorgeous needlecase Jo has crafted;

and there is more!!! So best go and check it out!!

Kelly has a Giveaway Guys!

My oh my.... The lovely, energetic, sweet Kelly from I Have A Notion blog is having her One Year Bloggiversary.

Congratulations Kelly!

For those who do not know of her, she sells notions. But not only that, she is always on the go, finding new gadgets, telling us about it, making jokes, having fun and giving us that all so important information! The woman is a true whirlwind, go and visit her and you will not be disappointed!!

Now she has celebrated her milestone with 30 (yes 30!!) days of giveaways. How I managed to miss it I don't know (well.... I do.... first I had my op, then I erased my bloglist by accident and am very slow in putting it back on... too much to do!), but I am glad I caught it just in time!

First I thought I'd missed it all, but actually, she is not drawing till all is done and dusted on the 15th April so you still have some time to peruse her shop, her blog and ALL the prizes!

The big mama being yesterday's GO! AccuQuilt Fabric Cutter!!!

Wow! who wouldn't like to win that!! Fantastic prize!

But do go and check it out...

Blog Link::
Website Link :

You will not be disappointed.

Best of luck with your 2nd year Kelly, if it anything like the first it will be fantastic!

Friday, 9 April 2010

A week has gone by....

.... and I have been very busy! A little sewing, a lot of house/kids related stuff....

The one you do not want to hear about is the cleaning, clearing, shopping side of things...

The one you do is the sewing and this week I have finished the No-no bands I promised to make for Greta for her charity, the hospital treating children with cleft palates. I have no photos as my SD card is full and I haven't figured out yet how to get them out of Picasa once in there, despite Dolores' best efforts (thanks so much Dee!!). I will get there eventually... Picasa 'Help' did not work..

The no-no bands have a dinosaurtheme and I have also finished the babyball I promised Greta in the pink she wanted. No photos there either of course which is maybe just as well so to leave Greta in a bit of suspense. I will wrap and send it soon!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. We finally have some sunshine here and I hope you all have some too! have a great time.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Hello Kitty advice - Thanks Old Red Barn Co peeps!

A couple of weeks ago I was making a Hello Kity Love quilt. It was going to my swap mama for the DQS8 as a surprise for doing such a wonderful job.

However, in the making of the quilt I ran into some problems.... I had made the foundations of the applique and the outline in black for the Kitty figure (by drawing the picture, bondawebbing it onto Kona black, and carefully cutting out all the voids)

I all fitted fine when laid over the bits that were allready bonded onto the fabric;
The problem was that especially on the skirt, (look how thin that black line is under her right arm - that is left in the picture - less than 1/8" !!)

and on the bow;

I had so many layers that the applique got quite thick!

I wanted to sew the finished applique on by hand like I always do... but it was all to thick!!

What to do? Help is always at hand at the Old Red Barn Co quilt group! I asked for help but I could not reveal the exact nature of the problem because my swap mama, who loves Hello Kitty, would have immediately know it was for her!

Luckily I managed to sort of explain... Got LOTS of good advice (THANKS so much guys!) and got Kitty finished!;