Monday, 31 March 2008

More DJ blocks completed.

As I said in my previous post we are currently in Scotland. I do not have my sewing machine with me so have been getting on with my applique blocks. This is the first time that I have done reverse applique and due to Anina's excellent instructions it has gone very well. I am really enjoying the DJ challenge so far and also I am learning so much as it is such a complicated quilt pattern. That is also my excuse as to why I am allowing myself to do it alongside my City and Guilds. Actually I think the two complement each other very well. Dad's plaids did give my a hard time. As usual the problem was that I did not read the tutorial carefully enough and I didn't realise that some of the diagrams in the book did not actually match the blocks exactly. So when I traced the design onto freezer paper the 'melons' were too large to do the reverse applique. Anyway I think I have figured it out ok - they need to be stitched together - I will do this when I get home on Thursday.

The other two applique blocks worked out fine - I also loved learning the 'freezer paper on top' method of applique.
That is 7 of the 8 blocks completed - I have left Uncle Homer to be done on the machine. I have also redone the Mirror Image by the hand piecing method and will join that by machine later. Of course I will not be doing todays foundation pieced block until I get home either.
Glad to have nearly caught up though as when I get home I must get up to date with my City and Guilds and shock horror I have to go to work next week as I have loads of teaching coming up.

Hello from the Trossachs Scotland!

Yes, I know we have only just got back from our holiday in the USA! Now we are away on our yearly family holiday to Scotland. It is a family bonding holiday - Geoff is currently 'bonding' with my two teenage sons on a bike ride around Loch Katrine! I am blogging and getting on with my DJ blocks! I know that a lot of you are fans of Scotland so here are some photos of where we are staying - it is called Tigh Mor and it used to be the Trossachs hotel near Brig O' Turk in the Trossachs. It is now converted into apartments - we are in the annexe on the left hand side.
This is the view from our sitting room - the loch in the picture also belongs to the property - the boys will probably be 'bonding' on a rowing boat tomorrow or perhaps fishing!
Another view of the loch. Today is the first sunny day we have had - hence the biking! The rest of the time the weather has been very Scottish! (Rain and snow).

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

My first Dear Jane blocks

We are now back home so it is time to catch up with the Dear Jane blocks I have missed. We were delayed 24 hours in Philadelphia due to bad weather and our bags were missing in action for 3 days but now everything is sorted. Only problem now is adjusting back to the time change - at first I couldn't stop falling asleep but now I can't go to sleep! Anyway we had a fantastic time so I'm not complaining.
Since the Dear Jane challenge started we have been given 7 blocks to complete. Here are the first three, the next 4 to follow asap.

The first two very straight forward. The third one much more complex - I decided to piece two circle within a square blocks and then chop them up. This worked well except for the fact that my maths was not quite right so my circular area is smaller than it should be. I don't think this matters though as my block is still the correct 5 inches.
Believe it or not I am getting ready to go on holiday again - this time it is our yearly visit to Scotland with my parents and two sons. We leave on Thursday - loads of washing and ironing to do before then!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Feedsack fabrics and quilt.

Here are photos of the quilt I bought in Amarillo. It is a single size and is in very good condition apart from a hole in the top which I will easily be able to repair.
This photo shows the corner section and more detail of some of the fabrics.

The next two photos show the feedsacks I bought.

We are now in Flagstaff Arizona preparing to drive back to Phoenix to fly home Wednesday.

Standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona!

Yesterday we visited Winslow Arizona which is famously mentioned in the Eagles song 'Take it Easy'. I have been a fan of the Eagles since the 70s so it was great to visit. (Even though this was my second visit!)

Such a fine sight to see??!!

Route 66

Friday we visited Santa Fe in New Mexico and the Georgia O'Keeffe museum which was excellent. No photos were allowed in the museum so here is a photo of the cathedral! Santa Fe is very upmarket but had a fantastic market selling turquoise jewellery (of course I bought some!)
Saturday we were in Alberquerque and this is the diner where we had lunch. Had a great day shopping here - I bought another quilt - a lone star this time - photos will not follow until my return home as it is securely packed!

On Saturday afternoon we drove to Gallup still in New Mexico and stayed here in the El Rancho hotel which is very old fashioned but very authentic regarding Route 66 charm.

Sunday we visited the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Parks which were very scenic but the weather had turned cold and windy.

On Sunday night we slept in a wigwam - this motel is a famous Route 66 landmark and featured in the Disney film 'Cars '.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Texas and quilts!

Wednesday and Thursday we have been in Texas. First Lubbock, home of Buddy Holly and then on to Amarillo for the start of our Route 66 trip back to Flagstaff Arizona. The photo below is Cadillac Ranch, a famous Texas landmark.

I visited two quilt shops today - the photo shows the middle of a 'Texas' quilt which was on the long arm quilter. In this shop I spent all my money - on vintage feed sacks - more later. There were also loads of antique shops with loads of vintage quilts - so we also bought a feedsack quilt for us to use in our VW camper - pictures to follow.
These next photos are of the 1930s quilt top I bought in Roswell. It has no holes but a couple of the plain pieces are stained. However I have bought some plain feedsack fabric to replace them.

It is all handpieced - about 70 inches square - and I love it! The only problem is that it will need to be hand quilted really to keep the 1930s spirit.
We are now back in New Mexico, at Santa Rosa on Route 66.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Roswell, New Mexico

Monday we went to El Paso in Texas. We tried to join a tour to cross the border into Mexico but there were not enough people. We decided against walking into Mexico. So it was back on the road and we visited the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. This consists of vast 'dunes' of pure white gypsum which look like something from a Star Wars film!
Then we drove to Roswell - home of the aliens!
This made me smile when I was on my way to hunt for fabric in Wal Mart!!

Tuesday was spent in Roswell at the various museums and alien themed shops. However I did manage to visit The Calico Cow, the local quilt shop! There is an excellent Art Gallery and Museum in Roswell. The above two photos came from there - the top one is a Georgia O'Keeffe - she is one of my favourites.
I am also excited to report that I have bought a 1930s hand pieced quilt top from an Antique Mall in Roswell - photos will be posted soon!

Chiricahua National Monument Arizona - finally some quilts!!

Sunday we went to the Chiricahua National Monument. This was a brilliant place but the icing on the cake was..... this quilt from 1868!
Because it was Sunday they were doing guided tours of the Faraway Ranch - a homestead dating back to the 1880s which has been preserved as if it was in the 1960s. The quilt belonged to the mother of Lilian Riggs, a woman called Emma who had come to America in the late 1860s from Sweden. The quilt was made by her sisters in Sweden and she took it with her when she emigrated. It was lovely, even though it was a bit worn.
In the morning on Sunday before we left Tombstone I found this raffle quilt. The colours are so evocative of Arizona and as you can see it has been hand pieced.

Yes, I do have a raffle ticket!! Fingers crossed!!

Tombstone Arizona

Saturday we were in Tombstone which was fun - but a bit of a tourist trap!!

Stayed in a lovely hotel with excellent views.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Hello from Roswell, New Mexico

Well we have been in the USA for almost a week now so time to post a few photos and chart our progress.
Weds 5th March - arrived in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo shows a VW garage which we found and spent an enjoyable hour chatting with the owner.
Thurs - Tuscon, Arizona - spent the day at an aircraft museum - the one where all the planes are parked up in the desert.
Friday - Saguaro National Park - home of the giant cacti! The photo above is a picture made from cactus wood - inspiration for a quilt?

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Maisy wants to go to Texas!

Tomorrow we are starting our trip to Arizona, Texas and New Mexico so today I have been packing. Look what I found in the suitcase!! Maisy is the fourth of my cats and the last to be introduced on the blog. She is very shy and hates having her photo taken. She is mother to Patches, Gizmo and Misty. They were born October 16th 2005 - Maisy came to live with us just 3 days before giving birth - she was less than a year old herself. She had 6 kittens, sadly the first died, we kept 3 and Daisy and Norman were adopted by a friend of mine.
Today is also my son Jonathan's 16th Birthday. We went out to celebrate and this is him with his GF Zig. You can probably see his birthday gift on the photo - lip piercings!!
This is my youngest son, Robert.
And finally me and Geoff.

Hope to continue blogging in America!!

Monday, 3 March 2008

BQL March Bag Challenge

I knew I had to get this one done early as we will be away on holiday for most of March but I am pleased and proud to report that I have done 2!
One was completed on Saturday and the other yesterday which was my mother's day treat - to sew for most of the day with a short break to go and see my own Mum. As you may be able to recognise I have used Rowan fabrics for the strips as this is my favourite fabric at the moment and I bought loads of packs of strips at the NEC. I am collecting Rowan fabrics at the moment and have lots! The reason that there are two bags is that I cut far too many strips.
Anyway it has worked out well as the first bag with the green lining had handles which I thought were a bit too short so that one will be for MILs birthday in May.
The one with the grey lining will be mine as I made the handles slightly longer . They are really easy and enjoyable to make and are a really good size for the shopping.