Friday, January 27, 2012

Its been a long time coming .....

Long long time since I last blogged, been busy and not really thought about it much. Anyway here goes to get up to date.
 I have finished several quilts, two smaller ones for Rhys and Imogen, grandchildren, as they are progressing into bigger beds, however I have yet to complete the matching mini ones to go on the wall.  I haven't forgotten about them just started new stuff.  I have completed a large quilt, called Hobbies, for my son who has chickens, likes fishing and anything boating.  I made the centres of the blocks out of FQs of 3 feature fabrics I had bought some time ago with this in mind and made up a geometric pattern with red sashing around the blocks so they look like windows.  I really like how it has turned out, just hope my son and his wife like it too.
I joined some friends in a foray into art quilting and completed a wall hanging of three ladies, adapted by the friend Paramjeet from a picture by B Prahba.  I am really pleased how it turned out using rough edge applique and a tracing enlargement process whereby you sew the fabric on the front from the back following the paper enlargement then remove the paper and finish the front.  Very clever and quite quick and easy once you get the hang of it.  Now keen to do another and I have already had the picture enlarged ready to start.
I completed a couple of smaller bargello wall hangings, one in red and black for my living room here in Oman and the same in blue and yellow for a friend  who came over from Trinidad.  Silly me though I didn't take a picture of that one before it was sent off.  She was very pleased with it when it arrived thankfully.
I am just about to start a mystery quilt from the Quilting magazine and will be doing the one for our quilt group which meets on Sat 28th Jan for the first time this year.  So I will be busy.
I am off to the UK at the weekend for 3 weeks to stay with one step daughter then 2 weeks with my son who is surviving leukaemia.  He does have GVHD (Graft versus host disease) which makes his life extremely difficult but at last he is to get some new medication which is really a last ditch attempt to stop the spread of the GVHD to the rest of his body.  Fingers, toes and everything else is crossed hoping it does help him as he has struggled for the last 5-6 years keeping down a full time job, looking after family with 3 young children and he really deserves a break and I just hope this will be it.  His wife has been  wonderfully supportive, as have her family but there is only so much any one can take and she too needs this hope.

 Decided not to join the golf club here in Oman this year, didn't like the way it was going, a members club NOT run by or for the members and the other options are way too expensive so we are going to spend our weekends chilling out and visiting places in Oman so we get to see more of the country while we are here.  Younger step daughter and boyfriend are coming out mid Feb for a week so looking forward to that and we have booked a desert nights camp for one night and hoping to get to ride camels, bash the dunes a bit and all that good stuff.  One problem for me is that I hate sand but I am sure it will be fun inspite of that.

Imogen's quilt

The other quilt is one I have made for Lee, youngest son, and I hope he likes it.  Will find out soon as I will see him in a weeks time.
That is it for now, just got the 'sneak peek' for Feb Block Lotto so will try to make some of them while I am in the UK if not I will get stuck in when I get back.
Got a super picture of a camel last weekend so going to post it as it will make a change from quilt pictures!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sampler blocks for October Block Lotto

Well I have made four sampler blocks for the Block Lotto this month.  The criteria is cream and blue or cream and tan, and only sample blocks to be made.  I had to research a bit for these blocks and learnt a few new piecing tricks in the process.  I enjoyed making them as it is something out of my comfort zone and good to learn new things.
I have finished the large black and white quilt and was very excited taking it off the frame.  As my frame will not take king size I have to finish the edges off on the other machine but that shouldn't take too long.  I am really pleased with the end result and look forward to using it soon.
The next project is the block lotto quilt with the grey sashing.  I am going to  back it in purple and machine stitch it in the same colour, I hope it looks good and someone wants to give it a good home.
The baby quilt is finished for Sarah's sister and I hope she likes the colours I have chosen.  I was told she likes pastels and so chose cream as the base as the sex is unknown.  I added a few brighter colours with the small prints and I like the overall look of it and hope she does too.
A few other projects to complete before the  20th October when we are back off to Scotland for a week so I will  be busy.
The golf is getting back to 2-3 times a week and the October Medal is tomorrow.  I note that I have won second place in the Muna Noor competition that has been running through the summer so that is pleasing but am really looking forward to going to Qatar to play in the Intercontinental Qatar Mixed Open in November.  We have just organised the hotel and places in the competition so all that needs to be done now is the flights.  Just hope I play well enough!  We are going back to Dubai in December to watch the Dubai World Championship, the last leg of the Race to Dubai at Jumeira Beach Golf Club having applied for free tickets and going to stay with friends again.

Will just post the pics of blocks and baby quilt and that is it for now.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quilts tops completed so far (Sept 2011)

Just finised the quilt top for Imogen' 'big bed' quilt but won't post a picture yet as it is to be a surprise and her Mum may look at this blog.  Enjoyed making this and it was fairly quick to do and, hopefully, tonight the quilting frame will be complete and I will be up and running to finish the machine quilting.

I am adding pics of the other tops I have completed but all are yet to be finished with the machine quilting.  The large black & white one is what really started it all off as I wanted a light weight cover for our bed here in Oman but wanted something a bit different.  It is quite striking when on the bed and I think once the quilting is finished it will be great and go back with us to Blairgowrie.  I am really into black, white & grey at the moment sometimes with a touch of red and have plans to make a bargello wall hanging in those colours next.  Well, after Rhys' 'big bed' quilt that is.
The beige quilt is called Desert Crossroads as it is laid out in the square formation a bit like the roads in the US and every 'junction' has a wee dark grey square.  The orignial pattern was for white sashing but as I had a lot of this sand coloured fabric I thought I would give it a try.  I would like to make one now with the white sashing and pastel colours as I think the block layout is nice.

The grey quilt is the result of winning blocks in the Block Lotto and adding grey tie-dye sashing.  The remit for the blocks was 3 patchs in blue, purple and green and this is what I have made out of 38 that were sent to me from many different places plus a few more I made to increase the size a bit.  I am really pleased with how it has turned out and intend to quilt it in grey varigated thread and probably with a purple backing.

There has been a bit of a delay completing the assembly of my new Little Gracie II quilting frame as the professional handles that should have arrived with it were missing.  It has taken another couple of weeks to get them but they arrived today and all being well will be fitted tonight.  Obviously I will need practice first and I have set up a practice quilt top all ready to go!

I am hoping to complete quilts for all family members so if you get to read this let me know any colour choices and sizes you may have.  I can cope with up to a double size but think I am going to have a bit of a problem with the king size one but will try and see.

Off to Dubai on Wed for a few days and visit to the quilting shops there.  Although the fabric here is very reasonably priced any other bits a pieces quilting wise I have to get from the UK, US or sometimes they can be sourced in Dubai.  Looking forward to a bit cooler weather too?  It seems to be getting hotter here, not cooler and I wonder when winter will start.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Block Lotto

Curvy rail fence

Here are my first 3 blocks for this month, using the only 3 batiks I have at the moment.  I will try to get some more this week but not too hopeful here in Oman. Enjoyed making them once I had read the instructions properly!

Wanted to add a load of pics I took at the Birmingham Quilt Show.  The quality of the work was just mind blowing and if I get half way to that quality I will be pleased.
My new machine and quilting frame arrived on time from the Cotton Patch and I have already had the machine up and running and am very pleased with it.  The frame is a bit different.  Once unpacked I realised that the 'Professional Carriage' that was supposed to be there was not.  After a couple of emails and a phone call, it will be on it's way to me, via the States I think, but will take a wee bit of time.  In the meantime my husband decided that it would be a good idea to varnish the frame before assembly.  Trying to find varnish in Muscat is hard enough but trying to find a shop open that sells varnish during the Eid holiday is impossible!  Finally bought some at the last place I went to and I am happy to report that the varnishisng is nearly finished.
I am hoping that assembly will follow soon and I shall be starting to quilt my first big quilt, the black and white model made for our bedroom colour sheme here in Oman.
I was lucky enough to win the Block Lotto draw for July and have received 40 odd blocks all in various tones of blue, green and purple.  I have pieced them together with grey tie dye and am very pleased with the result.  Having a bit of trouble trying to get a suitable backing for it though so that is a work in progress.
Just pieceing a smaller pink number for Imogen, the latest grand daughter and that is coming along nicely.

Those are  the photos of the quilt show so now going to do more on the pink 'toddler' size quilt. 
I must add that the fabric selection here in Oman is amazing.  Just about every type imaginable is available and generally at very reasonable prices.  Trouble is I cannot go into a fabric shop and come out empty handed! so the quilting stash is growing daily.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July blocks for Block Lotto and the first product of the Loom

Chequerboard blocks

These are my blocks for July, I think they are great and would love to make a quilt using these in a pastel and white version.  I found the tips from Sara to make them enabled me to zip through them as I had made the yellow one first and that seemed to take such a long time I had left the others until this morning.  Using the Sara method I completed all the other 4 in no time at all.
  I am thrilled to have won in the Lotto draw and look forward to all the blocks arriving, hoping that they all make it to this far off land of Oman.  It is in the Middle East for those who didn't know, next to Yemen and near Dubai.
 Due to the very hot weather here I am staying indoors a lot more these days as it is they only way to stay cool with the AC on, and therefore have got a lot more sewing done.  I am looking for advice on buying a long arm quilting machine and frame and would welcome any thoughts or experience from any of you able to spare the time to write.  I cannot afford a vast amount and the frame and machine will have to be shipped here so that may limit my choice a bit.  Thanks in advance.
I have also bought a Rigid Heddle Loom recently and have been trying my hand at weaving and am attaching a pic of my first attempt, a scarf!

Two weeks today I will be winging my way back home to the UK and some cool weather and probably rain, oh how I long for a bit of rain!  Also going to be there in August and will be able to visit my friend Jan Bevan's exhibition of quilting etc in Pershore and the Birmingham NEC Quilt Show so am quite excited about all these events.
Quilting friend Kathi is on her hols at the moment and I have missed our mornings of sewing together but when she and I both get back here we shall start on our quilted wall hanging of Oman so that should be fun.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

josallsorts - another newbie

I am a newbie to Block Lotto having found it while surfing one day.  I have been living in Oman for 4 months now and managed to find a quilting group here.  Unfortunately due to the excessive heat in June, July and August most expats go home to cool off so there are no meetings those months.  In my case although I will be going back to the UK, it will give me time to catch up on several projects that I have started but have yet to complete.  I love to sew, paint and all craft stuff when I am not playing golf.  The golf here though has gone by the wayside a bit again due to the heat and I miss that a lot.  I came here from Trinidad having been there for 2.5 years and having played A LOT of golf so I am noticing the lack of exercise somewhat.

I digress; I have made 7 blocks as my first attempt and will be happy to put them forward for the draw.  My photography skills are a bit like my technology skills, a bit poor, so the colours haven't shown up too well.  I enjoyed the block as it was quick and easy though I can see how it can be improved on with good use of colour and shade.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My first attempt at Block Lotto

 I am a newbie!

I have now been in Oman for 4 months and found Block Lotto this week.  It looked like fun so I joined up and here are my first 7 blocks.  I think I need to improve my photography techniques as the colours have not come out very well.  I have joined a quilting group here in Oman but there are no meetings during June, July and August as it is so hot most expats go to their home country to stay cool.  I shall be doing same for part of July and most of August! 

I found this patch was a good starting place and tried hard to get the sizes right and the seams straight.  I have quilted things on and off for many years but tend to struggle finishing things if they are taking too long.  This block was great in that respect as it is very quick but effective when pieced together as a lot of the other photos already posted show.

I look forward to the next blocks and possibly winning some?