Wednesday, 24 December 2014

WOW: Merry Christmas Eve

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday

Where did the year get to? And why do I always find myself saying that this time each year? I was planning on a wind down, but in reality, there hasn't been a slow down - just a reassignment of energy to different tasks. This year, instead of the usual poinsettias that I usually purchase for the home (I do love them) I went with a basket of 'giant red' geraniums. I love these too, they are a lifelong obsession of mine, and I am really enjoying their huge red blooms and heady scent. I have this basket by the front door.
I did also  get two small potted poinsettias because I couldn't resist but I no longer opted for the huge pot with the largest plant like I normally do because no matter what, they never survive January. So I went for two smaller pots to have on the table for Christmas lunch instead. 

Ordinarily on Christmas Eve, I'd be baking with my DDs and by today, most of it would be done. But this year, with one thing and another, we decided not to do our traditional baking routine and it has somewhat broken up our schedule - it just doesn't feel like Christmas because the oven isn't on and the house isn't full of the scent of almonds! Isn't it funny how these little traditions mark out our personal timetables for the festive season? It just means that we've bought our spekulatius biscuits and cakes and stollen this year instead of making them. It will be interesting to see and taste the difference.

Have you made any Christmas tradition 
changes or shortcuts this year?

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

QNNTV: the worst $12 I spent this year

I think we've all been there- you pay for something you don't receive. So you chase it up. When that's ignored, you try again. And again. And because you've had service before, you simply assume the best of the company and wait some more. But nothing happens. And it's annoying because no matter what lengths you go to in order to resolve the issue, you're routinely and rudely ignored.

I'm really disappointed to report that I haven't been able to get hold of anyone at QNNTV since September (and 8 emails later). Sure, $12 is hardly going to break the bank, but I'm quite annoyed to have been treated so rudely and ignored completely.

Is anyone else out there being ignored by QNNTV?

I used to really love their program and would watch it in the background whilst working in my studio. But not anymore. And the bad news is, it seems that this failure in customer service is catching - my Fons & Porter subscription has just done the same thing. I've paid my yearly subscription but have been locked out of all access. And again, no response to queries.

When did quilting companies get so slack?

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

WOW: December Slow Down!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

It's been a whole week since I was online. I did miss dropping in on my quilting friends and their blogs, but I have been focusing on my Love Entwined workshop next year at AQC. There's a lot of preparation that's involved when creating a workshop and because my DH and I travel so often, I like to be prepared a few months ahead. It's just a weight off my mind. And if I can get it done before Christmas (fingers crossed) then I'll be really delighted. 

My Love Entwined posters have just arrived. These are for the purpose of promoting my workshop and I've had them printed in several mock up options. If you follow my blog, you'll know that I agonized over my fabric choices for my own LE, and I have to tell you that colouring in my posters was no different. In the end I simply went for 2 different looks. 

Here is my creamy beige with a pop of red poster

and here's a section from my red version

I do love this quilt and I'm so happy to be sharing my love of it with others. Today I'm working on my notes for the workshop. After that, I think I'll be closing my studio door until the New Year for a much needed break. Although, even as I type this, I wonder if I cant stay out of my studio for a whole two weeks. It doesn't seem likely...

What's Your WOW ?

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

WOW: A Tablecloth for Christmas

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays 

I'm so happy to have completed my festive wall hanging, the 12 Days of Christmas, that I'm feeling reinvigorated enough to maybe get a few other lingering Christmas WIPs finished too. I wasn't planning on it, but today I'm thinking about finishing this Red December tablecloth. 
It's perfect for Christmas and all it needs its some edging in red (which I'd already prepared years ago). Red December is a Christmas quilt that I love. It was released a few years ago as my free Yahoo BOM Group Christmas project. Well, I don't know what's happened this year, but this month I've received 5 requests from members for the pattern, completely out of the blue. And that naturally has me thinking about the quilt and the tablecloth I made from the very same stencils. I think I was planning on adding more stenciled embellishments to the tablecloth, but looking at it anew this morning, I just don't feel like that's necessary.

And this is the quilt. As you can see, its already basted. And now I'm considering whether or not to try and squeeze it in before Christmas. It's a dilemma. Part of me just wants to see it done and I am really looking forward to having it finally quilted. But another part of me knows how tricky and moody my 820 is and I don't know if this is a challenge I have the nerves for so close to Christmas at such a busy time of year. I'm really disappointed that my sewing decisions have to factor in a moody machine, but that's something I don't have the energy to dwell on. If I did, I simply wouldn't get anything done - and my WIP pile won't stand for that!
This is my quilt 'Red December', it's such a simple design and yet so evocative. I really love it and have planned on quilting it for a few years now. I'm looking at it thinking, do I have time? Should I attempt to quilt it before Christmas? Am I really serious? I know I always underestimate how long it will take to quilt a quilt on the 820. On the other hand, this is a simple quilting project so it may be do-able. I'll think about it some more as I finish up the tablecloth.
It's probably no surprise to you to see that my main Christmas colour is red. It always has been. This is something I never really gave much thought to until last weekend when I went to visit a friend of mine. She has all her festive season finery up and its decidedly green. She tells me she's always been a 'green Christmas' kind of woman. That's the first time I'd ever considered that preference. However, now that its occurred to me, I realise that one of my DD's is decidedly gold and always has been, and the other is all snowy whites and silvers.

So of course I'd love to know, what festive colour are you?

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

12 Days Finally Quilted

A WIP no more! This is what its all about: and this is what I had in mind when I designed the 12 Days of Christmas Wall Hanging all those years ago (two years? three years? I can't keep up with myself!). What I wanted was a festive quilt for hanging in December and enjoyed for the month ahead. Finally, I've finally done it. And I had just the corner for it too, above this small cabinet of drawers. It's a good spot for displaying those Christmas trinkets. This 'shelf' is actually a display of items which haven been sent to me in friendship from all over the world, so it has a special spot in my heart and I love walking past it.

here I was last Wednesday and yes, it feels good to call it done
 I went for simple lines based on the existing shapes
 for my tree baubles, I used decorative buttons
and simply stitched a loop of the bauble tip
 For the background, I created diamonds to mimic the tree
 I love this pop of candy stripe for the binding, it really lifts the whole quilt, colour wise
simple lines to accentuate the dove which I love most of all from this wall hanging
I'm already thinking of 'new baubles' for my tree. I do love the 12 Days of Christmas, but I also love the idea of changing them each year, With the button and loop system, its so easy to do. And you could even hang real baubles from the tree. My DD has started silk ribbon embroidery and I'm hoping that in the year ahead, she might ribbon up 12 large red roses on the same bauble shape for hanging, I think that would be a beautiful change. Of course, I think family photos using the transfer fabric could work too. There are really so many ways to adapt the wall hanging. And for those of you lucky enough to have an embroidery machine, the possibilities really are endless!

It's too late to do this year, but I do think that from next year onward, I might start designing 12 new designs for this tree until I've exhausted all my ideas. 

Because my Bernina 820 has been really playing up, it took me three days to quilt this wall hanging. To be honest, with quilting this basic - it could be done in 12 hours and for me, that's one day of quilting.

I'm going to do a separate post on quilting with the Bernina 820 in the New Year ( I just don't have time before then) to cover what threads to use. Unusually, the 820 hates most threads, including most Aurifil which is my go to thread so its been a real challenge to get anything quilted on this machine at all. Like I always say about the 820, it should never have been released onto the market, its not fit for purpose. Everything is a 'work around' with this machine. It really ruins the enjoyment of quilting.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

WOW: Did Someone Say December?

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

Well, I was hoping for a wind down December, but that was not to be! I've got a plan in place to take me up to the 15th of December, and then I think I'll slow down for the Season.

Since last week, I've been having ongoing issues with my copier. It's vital to my pattern work; its where I scan and copy my patterns. I simply wouldn't be able to share my patterns without it. In my household we have a thing called the 'curse of the blog' and it goes like this: whenever I am about to release a pattern and am in the midst of all my busy scanning, the copier dies. It only ever dies when I have a deadline. It's very strange. My DD's jokingly insist that I shouldn't talk out loud when I'm working on it because the copier might hear me. Of course, we all think its very funny that our copier doesn't want me to release patterns, but its also very expensive, time consuming and annoying too. We've had three repairs out on it in the last ten days and I am ready to just take a copier holiday. 

Yesterday we were discussing our Christmas tree plans when my DD's complained loudly about how I still haven't finished my 12 Days of Christmas Wall Hanging. It's been a WIP for the last few years but enough is enough. It's really time for me to finish this festive wall hanging. 

So today, I have plans to finally sit down and quilt it. For once and for all. I'm trying to stay positive about it - because I'm going to quilt it on my 820 and the 820 has been misbehaving more than ever lately, so I don't hold out much enthusiasm for the quilting ahead. However, I am planning to stick with the most basic quilting design and just get this fun piece up on the wall already. We've been enjoying it 'unfinished' for the last few Christmases but this year it will be hanging up finished and done. 

Last night I pinned the layers down, today I hope to get most of the quilting done and I hope to hang it up before Friday dinnertime. We'll see....

What's Your WOW ?

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

WOW: LE's Hardest Block

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays 
I know I said I was about to take an LE 'holiday', but just before putting away my LE project box and getting my household ready for Christmas, I decided that I should tackle the hardest block and have that out of the way first. So what's the hardest block in Love Entwined? This swirling leaf. 
Of course, it's do-able but I have found it to be so small, fiddly and tricky! It requires perfect preparation, patience and a whole day of calm determination. I have used my usual edge turn applique technique so there's nothing daunting about the how of these pieces - just the actual process, they're just so concentrated. 
this is oh so satisfying and now, I can take that LE break with a big smile of my face
 What's Your WOW ?
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