Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How my holiday continued...

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my last blog post about our rather windy experience in Wales.  I must admit you all were at the front of my mind when I woke up to all that weather and my first thought was to capture some video for the blog!!  That's dedication if you ask me.
Many of you asked and hoped that we would get away on a second holiday and I'm happy to report we did.  Like Lynda recounted in her comment, we drove towards the best weather in the country, which took us to the opposite side of the country to Norfolk...Great Yarmouth to be exact.  This time we played it safe and stay in a hotel.  We spent 3 nights there and we had a wonderful time.  Having never seen Norfolk before I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.  It is incredibly flat...a huge contrast to the mountains of Wales and has some of the loveliest beaches I've seen.  I, of course, snapped hundreds of pictures...which I shall share a sampling.

The first beach we visited was at Winterton-on-Sea.  It was beautiful and a great place to dip our toes, but strangely it had hundreds of ladybirds!  I have yet to see a ladybird in my garden, but I sure made up for it there.  They covered everything!





This is the beach at Great Yarmouth taken from the pier.



We also spent a day in Happisburgh.  It was a bitter sweet visit in that the coast of Happisburg is so beautiful but it is also falling into the sea.  You can see where the road just stops, dropping off into the sea and you know that every year they lose a bit more.  My DD1 was especially moved to be there as she did a project on Happisburgh when she was at school and being there made it all that bit more poignant.



We spent the day on the beach in Happisburgh...I did a little stiching.



The DD1 did a little KIP (Knitting in Public)...while my DH had a little kip :o)



Our last day took us to a 10 acre corn maze in Hemsby.  I wasn't sure at first, but it turned out to be a great day out.  It was a very relaxed environment and the owners made you feel very welcomed.



Our guide leader (the DD2) got us lost on more than one occasion...and I can honestly say I was walking in circles!!



Along the way we met an interesting creature! :o)



Thankfully we did get a summer holiday in the end, and the weather cooperated.  It started the rain as we left Great Yarmouth and as I sit here it is pouring rain outside.  A perfect day for a pot of tea and some blog reading.

Until next time...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why my holiday ended early...



The sound you hear that sounds like crunching paper is actually rain hitting against the tent. The wind was so fierce that it was pushing the sides of the tent inwards and lifting the tent and the pegs out of the ground. The seams of the tent were pulling so much we could see daylight through them and felt the tent was nearing the point of ripping. Shortly after this video was taken we packed up and left Wales, the wet and the wind...

Until next time...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Well would you look at that...



The second of the quilts has quilted up perfectly! I'm absolutely amazed at the difference. Granted the quilt is slightly smaller at 50" square, but it was the same wadding. I used the Sharon Schamber method of basting as I had with the other, except I thread basted instead of pins. When I was sewing I sewed right over the threads and didn't remove any except for when it got a little tangled up under the presser foot due to user error :o) I quilted from the centre out working towards the edge in 4 quadrants. And I never let the quilt get away from me and I made sure I repositioned my hands often. There is not one itty bitty crease or pucker to be seen! I'm so thrilled.



Until next time...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Machine Quilting Summary...

Wow...thank you so much for all your top tips on machine quilting.  Between them all I think I have worked out where I went wrong and how to improve on the next quilt.  I managed to finish quilting the Chinese Coins and smooth and fix the pleats on the back.  As I learned so much from your comments and my experience I thought I'd do a summary.

  1. Several said to try spray basting.  I was actually surprised how many of you love that stuff..so that's one thing I'll have to look for at the LQS.
  2. Pins...seems there is a bit of a love/hate relationship with these.  It sounds like you have to either used hundreds or use thread to baste.  There is something to the layers shifting during the machine quilting process when you remove the pins and puckers occuring when you try and sew around them.  I'm starting to think that pins are ok for smaller quilts, but perhaps something this size (70" square) needs to be well thread basted.
  3. Along the same theme..basting and how tight that back needs to be is an area of debate.  I used the Sharon Schamber method of basting and I don't think I was diligent enough along the first edge.  Some tape to hold the leading edge might just give it a bit more smoothness.
  4. I won't starch the back again...
  5. Get a grip!!...lots of you mentioned gloves and getting a good handle on the quilt.  After reading that I dug out a new pair of gardening gloves..the ones with the rubber dots on the palms..and made sure I was really spreading the fabric as I quilted.  Sally (who does the most amazing machine quilting) made a really good point about ensuring you've got hold of that quilt and that you don't let it get away from you.  I think Sally got it very right and I do think that was a big part of my problem.  I've got to remember to repositions those hands..LOTS!
  6. Quilt from the centre...seems obvious, but I know there are quilters out there that don't.  Again I think the rules change when the quilt is large.
  7. Lastly...if all else fails, then use Libby's top tip: "use careful label placement or a strategic applique'd heart or star to cover the offending spot"
I'm sure there all all kinds of tips on this subject...you only need to Google it to see...but these are the areas I need to work on and this list is as much a reminder for myself as anything else :o)

Until next time...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I know you can help...

I have just spent a frustrating afternoon machine quilting my Chinese Coin quilt.  And despite my very best efforts I have been encountering several pleats on the back (as shown)  In all the years that I have been quilting this is one area I have yet to master.  I did baste it well with safety pins and pressed the front and back well with a bit of starch and I'm using cotton wadding.  Have you got any suggestions as to how I can avoid this in the future?  I have another quilt waiting to be basted and I'm going to wait for your top tips before I proceed with it.
Thanks for your help :o)

Until next time...

Monday, July 06, 2009

My First Quilt

Camille over at Simplify and Carrie at La Vie en Rosie are hosting a challenge to show our first quilt and our most recent quilt or quilted related item and explain how we've improved and learned about quilting in that time.  It sounds like fun so I thought I'd join in. 

Now you will have to excuse to rubbish quality of the photos, but I have literally dashed up to the girl's room and grabbed this quilt from the bed and then dashed between rain drops to get these pictures.  This quilt is, in fact, not my very first quilt, but rather the earliest quilt I still own.  The very first quilted item I made was a paper pieced star wall-hanging that had all its points sewn across because I finished it with a 5/8" seam!  And the second quilt I made was so badly made and so puckered from the quilting that it was put in the bottom of a dumpster in 1997.  So here it is....a Sunbonnet Sue Quilt sewn step by step by watching Eleanor Burns on PBS! 

I didn't know anything about using only cotton fabric and so this was made with dress fabrics and sheeting that I inherited from my Grandmother...but saying that, it is one of my favourite quilts because it had so many of my Grandmother's fabrics and trims in it.  I was looking at it the other day and smiling at the fact that it has some pretty "vintage" linen in it...something that is all the rage now and it has some Laura Ashley fabric from my purple bedroom when I was growing up.  It's been used well since it was made in 1996 and although it breaks many "rules" it is well loved and is holding together well.

As for the last quilted thing I made...well you only need to look at the next post to see that :o)  I've learned a lot since that first quilt was made and every quilt from then has added to my skill.  I think I've gotten better putting fabrics together, though I don't often make a quilt from set fabrics.  Most of my quilts are scrappy and I don't think that is something that is going to change.  It's been awhile since I finished a quilt, but I do have 2 nearing the quilting stage..one of which needs to be finished by next week!

Until next time...