Wednesday, 25 May 2016


Year end accounts?Done!
Taxes? Done!
Shredding? Done!
Feeling relieved? You bet! 

These are my shredded papers, not my accounts and taxes - in case you're wondering..

Thursday, 19 May 2016

What goes with taupe?

I want to fix my taupe leftovers up with batiks.

This may be a question for Goldilocks – one is too similar in tone, one is to bright and so on – but what do you think?

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Monday, 16 May 2016

Treasure Day

I recently posted about my effort of taking control of my ever growing collection of works in progress. I’m still enjoying it even though the pile on my desk seems to grow rather than shrink. Oh well, it will show soon enough I guess.

This plastic box holds all the little starts and leftovers I managed to cram into it.

In addition to the Purple book, I keep records on my iPad where I have separate albums for WIPs and Tops ready for quilting. I also have an album with all the quilting drafts made in YouDoodle which I posted about here. Looking at the WIPs, touching them, and writing about them here are all important ways to bring the projects back into the conscious-quilting-brain. Whether scientists have or have not located this particular part of the brain is moot, we all know we have one.

Some of these projects are really old, and some of them are quite young; for some there is a plan, for others the future is more uncertain:
A 2 ½” roll of gorgeous orange fabrics gifted from my friend Marit from Quit It after a workshop last year. I have a plan for these!

Tri and Recs shapes also from Marit. I’m not sure what I will add to them, but it’s going to be fun playing with them!

Fabrics intended for pillowcases from the grandboys purchased in Birmingham in August.

Vinyl intended for pouches for my sister.

The Design a block project from this post for which I once had a plan. Maybe I’ll stick to it.

Leftover 2 ½”*4 ½” rectangles from these pillows. I’m thinking a table runner.

Pink window improv blocks which I recently started. No particular plan for these, but then again – it’s improv.

Shapes to be ironed to scraps and cut out. Once intended for a quilt for our oldest grandson’s kindergarten. As he’s now in third grade, it may be for the youngest kindergarten instead...

Two Christmas place mats that did not happen this past Christmas, but there's another one coming around this year, and next year too.

A hundred houses from back here; I’m thinking a Christmas quilt. I love those houses!

The Spike blocks from back here. I have wanted to play with them forever, but so far – nothing.

The cut-out circle from this quilt. The plan was to make it into a pillow and I think I’ll stick to that plan.

Cut-out circles from this quilt and it's companion which will either be made into two pillows or a table runner.

Leftover heart blocks from this quilt. I used some of them for a Christmas tree mat for my daughter this past Christmas, and I’m thinking to add alternating plain squares and make the rest into a lap quilt – if there are enough heart blocks.

A string project gone bad. I have some unpicking to do before I make them into a quilt. I actually have a plan.

A house block received from Beth from LoveLaughQuilt way back here. I collected a few inherited 80-ties fabrics to add to it, and it’s still sitting here. I think I need to add something brighter to make it sing.

Various squares and rectangles leftover from whatnots back in the day. Quite a few are from recycled table cloths, and I an eager to work with them. I need to have a look through the thrifted goodies for more cloths to make them into a table topper.

Small scraps saved for a table runner, or a small wall quilt, or maybe Christmas cards?

Taupe 2 ½”*4 ½” rectangles leftover from the Mrs Moen Mystery back here. Hmmm, a table runner or a pillow maybe?

That was the content of one box; no wonder that there’s no visible dent in the pile on the desk..

Tomorrow is Norway Day and we’ll be watching the parade. I forgot to bring my flag to the studio today to iron it; I cannot seem to locate the one I have at home and now I’ll have to bring a wrinkly flag. Oh well, as long as my quilting fabrics are properly pressed, right...

Saturday, 14 May 2016


As of today, we are the proud grandparents of a 9-year old. We have been celebrating big time this week.

Happy birthday, young man!

Sunday, 8 May 2016

A very useful app

We have been enjoying a bright and sunny weekend in the middle of allergy season, and it felt ever so good to get inside and close all the windows when the boys left. It's still hot, but far less itchy, and I cannot imagine stitching anything by my sweaty hands tonight.

I was meeting up with my guild friends on Wednesday, and one of them brought a wonderful quilt of which she will make a variation for another friend. She was wondering how it would look if she changed up some of the colours, so I shared my favourite creative app with her. I love this app and use it a lot when sketching out quilting designs, so I thought you too might find it useful.

The app is called You Doodle and has lots of uses; this tutorial is for sketching quilting designs on a block or a top. The app comes as a free version and a paid one and I have it installed on both my iPhone and iPad. As I use it often, I chose the paid version to avoid the ads, but the free one is just as good for this purpose.

Take a picture of your block/top/part of top using the phone or tablet on which You Doodle is installed. I use the iPad as a camera all the time, particularly in the studio. The bigger screen will of course make sketching easier than on a smaller.

Click on the You Doodle icon and this screen appears. You can draw anything on it, make notes and sketches, but for this tutorial we’ll be drawing on top of our photo. Click +

Click Draw on top of a Photo

Click Camera Roll

Click the photo which you’ll be working on. I’m using this picture as an example.

You can rotate and crop it as you wish; I rotated mine. To crop, slide any of the marked dots on the 4 sides. To rotate, click the circular arrow on the bottom.

Click Done when you’re done.

Click the paintbrush

and chose a colour that will show against your quilt. I chose white. You can also choose a thicker line by sliding the Size button. Click Done when you are finished. You can go back here any time you like to adjust your settings, just click the paintbrush.

Use your finger to draw anything you like on your quilt. You can go back, line by line, anytime you like by pressing the regret button.

Save any keepers to your camera roll by clicking the icon on top left, and the file type you want. I use jpg.

Click Camera Roll. You Doodle creates a new image every time you save it, so you can keep as many variations you’d like without changing the original photo. I love that!

I will typically try out different ways to stitch quilting lines to get as few stops and starts as possible, and to see that the quilting lines are close enough to keep the layers together. I’ll save my sketches, press the regret button and start over again.

To upload another photo, just start from the very beginning by clicking the + and follow the steps.

I think I’ll actually use this quilting design on my table runner which is next in line for quilting.

You can also use the app to try out different colours (which was what I was showing my friend), but there are not too many neutrals to choose from a quilter’s viewpoint. It will still give you an idea though.

When colouring, I choose a bigger size on my line. I have chosen black on this example,

and added some white dots afterwards. Just touch the screen lightly, and you’ll get dots. Rather handy if you're thinking about adding buttons or paint. I added white on the ground too, but it does not show very well on these pictures.

It looks quite similar to the original Make a village table runner from back here.

I no longer use Paint to draw on my tutorial photos; I now draw my yellow circles in You Doodle and upload them to my computer all ready to post.

Thanks for stopping by and have fun playing with quilting design ideas!

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Excuse me, do you floss?

A resident quit shop owner came with a few machine maintenance recommendations on our last guild meeting, and one was new to me – floss your machine.

Take a piece of thick cotton thread or thin yarn and thread your machine as usual all the way to the needle. Now floss – pull it back and forth a few times to release any dust.

I cannot really say whether it made any difference or not, but it makes sense to clean more than the bobbin case – which I do rather often by the way.

Do you floss your machine?

Monday, 2 May 2016

Unplugged: Improv Flowers

One of the things I would like to learn is needle turn appliqué and planned to watch some videos on YouTube over the Easter break. As I said in this post, our WiFi was less than cooperative, so I started on a non-needle turn hand appliqué project instead which I finished today. 

With only scissors and a regular paint stick at hand, I cut freeform pieces from some scraps, pre-creased the folds, and glued them onto a basted background. The background is a piece of a thrifted shirt with a lovely woven pattern.

I only had a few colours of thread, but practise is practise, so I stitched down one shape after the other, quite enjoying the rhythm and watching the shapes take form. Looking at it, I can tell that I got better at tightening the stitches and smoothing the curves as I worked my way through the pieces.

With so much hand work put into it, I wanted to hand quilt it, also something at which I would like to get better. I outlined the appliqué with heavy weight blue thread, and quilted lines on both sides of the basting stitches before removing them.

The quilt was bound with a flowery grey binding from The Big Box of Binding before diving into my button box.

It was rather difficult to restrain myself from adding too many buttons because they all looked great, but I was good, I stuck to the plan only embellishing the flower heads.

I am very happy with the result of my hand appliqué practise, particularly with the improv quality, and will most certainly give hand appliqué another go.