Friday, 30 March 2012

Greetings my fellow blog readers and people avoiding doing stuff we should be doing.... yup it;s Friday and that Crunchie feeling is upon us.  After an exhausting and politically fraught week  within the UK  it;s a blessed relief to know that some sewing might be just enough to recharge my batteries.

I am dropping off daughter  to go with grandparents for a 2 week fun filled holiday in the Durham dales where i was brought up  whilst her father and I repaint some parts of the house,m clean like mad, finish off a practice room at one of my surgeries and I go shopping at the fabric guild.

Now it is a case of last but by no means least as this offers me a wonderful opportunity to buy pretty much all my basics for the year.  Plain cottons, wadding, batting stuff a a HUGe discount to local suppliers. Think Joanns but UK style and considerably smaller . 

I have 2 gift quilts to make and this looks like the most likely place to get the fabric for them .
I also need blades, sciissors, thread,,,, you know what we;re like when we get going.

I have made a purchase of THANGLES the system that allows you to make "perfect HST " bring it on . I'll report on how it goes .. a truly honest report . It may be thast a lot of my quilts will results in a whole lot of thangling !

The Japanese X and + continues and I Can only manage 3 blocks per sitting then I get tired, bored, cross so I limit myself to 3 at a time and think that at this rate I will have made all the blocks for my quilt in a month . OK then I have to press them trim them and sew them together but I suspect it will look great . Very loud and lively but lovely.  If i like the result I might do a sample in blues and whites and see how it looks.

I have also sent out a few parcels today of fabric from my "clearance" box. This is either pieces I have left or yardage that just isn't cutting it for me anymore. Sometime you buy stuff and love it and use it ..  other times you buy it and it lurks ... never quite matching anything. Never quite being a part of the action.
Therefore I have released these to people around the world who have farl ess than I . This is not inferior fabric or something I don;t like .. it just needs ot inspire someone else. Sometimes you have to clear some good stuff to find your own really great stuff. Things I like might not work at all for others but I hope they find this useful .

I would normally add this fabric to a charity quilt but it felt wrong to have it lurking ... my next charity quilt is for the local Alzheimer's support group and i might ( hahahahhahahah ) make the X and +  but I have ot see how it goes. It will be raffled off to help raise funds  so it needs to be lovely.

Right I am off to pack with the child and make a shopping list...

Love and peace and the best sausage roll in Cromer .. Cromer a  seaside town in North Norfolk which has a history of crabbing industry and was where Albert Einstein landed after his escape from Nazi Germany in the 1933 ish . His poor treatment in the local internment camp led him to leave the UK and head to the US. You never read about that in the Cromer history .... you wonder why.

But there is an awesome shop that sells sausage rolls ... called the Bistro... they have just enough sage and onion in them ,, pastry not too thick well seasoned ie not to light not too heavy ...  and dare I say it .... better than the fish and chip shop. ( I'll be hung  for that )

so as a paraphrase of the mighty midget demon rocker himself ( Ronnie James Dio) Long Live SAUSAGE ROLL!


Monday, 26 March 2012

right so quite a busy day all in all... got 9 blocks of a new quilt made and I have to say I,m not a fan of "blockie" quilts per se but this one I really liked.

I;ve been doing this .... linky .... pray it works ...noyt got the hang of this yet ....!/2011/04/japanese-x-and-scrappy-quilt-tutorial.html
ofgs ..... look for Japanese x and + block.. it;s in here somewhere ...
and going through my "scraps" hahahah who am I kidding hoard would be right ..

I have offered scraps up to everyone on Sew WHat on FB and will send a chunk to people as I progress through my stash bee adventrues... this means it will go to good homes... it also means I have more room for my stuff .

I am not a see a design go buy the fabric I am defo more a buy the fabric store the fabric and use the fabric when the right pattern comes along . SOmetimes it doesn't . Sometimes you jsut have to mad scrap sometimes you have to let it go . Sometimes it has to go the long walk .. it doesn't go , fit , it doesn't please you .. whatever or someone else will truly get more pleasure from it .

SO if you get a wodge of fabric in yr block bag or some other mystery way .... then enjoy ... I want to let this fabric fly free ... free... free....... yeah defo time for my "special medicines"

Night all .. I must go tuck in my UK TKSUK Champion!

Love and tin cups XX Raven
Blimey another week gone!
Life is at full throttle and I,m not sure I,m not going to be sick!  A weekend devoted to preparation and competing at the TKUSK National Championships for my 10yr old . Friday night 2 hours training inclu an hour of specialist 1-3 training for her team ( which resulted in gold medal)
Saturday 2 hours training and SUnday a 2 hour road trip ( so not too bad ) and 8 hours waitning for each category . By 6.15 last night we were all weary  ... a bit grumpy and stiff but elated to have 2 gold medals and 2 bronze medals ( andshe could have taken the silver in one )

ANyway enough of the pushy mum thing.... well no ! lets cover "pushy mum" If pushy mum means I drive her here and there , pay for it , make her packed lunches, shout encouragement , mop up tears , hug in jubilation then yes I am a pushy mum. If pushy mum means I live my life through my daughter's work and make her life miserable then yyou got the wrong person .though I am sure she will change her mind in 5 years and I will become the mother of a teenager ( nuff said)

SO today I have a couple of appointments and then off to my friend for some afternoon sewing. Not sure what I am going to do .... I have a japanese x and + to work on ... pre cut  so I might make a few of those to see how it goes. I fancy something REALLY bright . Something busy and fun maybe not too minimalistic...

One of my finished is in the wash at the moment before being dispatched and anotehr is packed and ready to go .

I have a pile of cleared out material in my use or lose box so if someone IS reading this and wants some please tell me and I  will send you a pack . Failing that it will go into a bag for DEnise or a scrapy charity quilt. So shout now if you need some.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Monday rolls around .. the day after Mother;s day here in the UK and many are unhappy or dissappointed with their gifts... but your gifts are yr children .. I got a cup of tea a trip to the dump and my floors cleaned...

So maybe today's post is about what you have and what you need and not what you want .

There will be some talk of quilting and sewing and I might put up a few pics later but I think today I,m going to write about being grateful.

I have one lovely daughter, one great husband , 2 slightly odd cats, 6 very odd hens, a job, a business, my health although my back is dicky, a roof over my heada computer to play on and a sewingm achine and stash to die for.
We eat daily , we bathe daily, we have good health care, we are not scared, under duress nor worried about life in general and quite frankly are grateful for what we have.
I sew pretty much when I want to on days I don;t work and after the chores are done.

Sadly a number of people complain that Mother;s day did not bring what they wanted ?? errrrr I remember as a child giving my mum a home made card, a small posey of flowers and maybe the worst cup of tea and burnt toast breakfast in bed ever .

Mother;s day is not about champagne , flowers, extravagant meals out, designer dresses and Cartier jewellry ....... or did I miss out on that  ?

My best Motehr;s day gift is some help around the house, not having a list as long as my arm of jobs to do , a cup of good tea is great, and a good hot bath at the end of it all . We "need" very little,

As a sewer and quilter I always have a list of things I desire that I think will make my life more fulfilling like the BErnina 800 series.. looks lovely  but is it worth a new front porch, garage door and garden gate? nope not to me . ( and yes we need a new porch !)

I cheekily puit al ist in my husbands in tray stating the things I like/want/need so it makes it easier for him come birthdays etc.  But when I look atwhat I NEED and what I want .... I could shred the list and make do with what I have as I have more than enough and far more than many .

So today once I have done my jobs and paperwork etc I am going to go to my room and be grateful and make some "grateful gifts"

Peace !  Love Raven xxx

Saturday, 17 March 2012


Up at 6.30 out the door by 7am at my friends by 7.30 and on the road at 7.34 ! Yup just the 100 + miles to London around the M25 ( think worst road ever ) and disasterous parking . THankfully we got parked eventually at a good friends in North London and ran for the train and from there on it was ................. whoooohhooooo!!!

NOw Twisted thread takes several forms and Olympia I have to say was A, a mish mash and quite poorly laid out and organised. THere wasn't a lot of fabric stalls and most were pretty routine and mucho dinaro but there were one or two jewels inthe crown .

500 quilts and banners/pennats mde for the 2012 Olympics were on display . THe quilts are breing given to the teams and athletes of both the Para Olympics and the Olympics. Work varied from small lap quilts in sherbert colours to HUGE quilts in vivid high contrast colours . Some "modern" styling was visible however traditional still held the sway and not suprosingly because the majority of the quiltingp articipants are over a certain age .

So I am including a few shots of quilts I liked or thought were good examples. Some were greaqt one or two were absolutely AMAZING and a couple ... well I'll say nothing .
You may see some of these at the International Festival of Quilts and I hope to go and see the major exhibitions later this year .

OK I lied ... this is a quilt a long being done by my partner in crime Denise ... a whole town made with the most fiddly diddly bits of fabric !! The woman is nuts .

Right I liked this one as I have a bit of a love of whirlygig  I really liked the colours and it was jsut a really really pretty quilt ..

 WOnky log cabin ..... there wasn't a vast amount of "modern " that I saw and what I did see was..... ok but not a lot of neutral space use... Come on Britain lets get some modern inspiration going !

very traditional but again pretty ... reminded me of salmon and cucumber sandwiches.

a wonky scrappy .

 The lime grren in this just made it sing and I think some times we have to be brave ... ok it;s a trad design but the colours aren't .

 I think some call this bento box.... and it wasi nteresting to see how it looked so different made in Trad fabrics.... it lost it;s design impact but still looked good.

 Now I have to say that bargello and batiks are not top of my list of likes.... but this was really really really lovely ... so yes I learned something new today and so should everyone. When we stop learning we stop l;iving.

 Wonky set box in box and probably one of the best examples there of use of neutral spce ... a note though on a lot of these quilts..... very very few flat matt solids.... batiks or embellised or embossed fabric but very few even encountered a solid .

 This was fun well made and cheeky I liked it a great deal  . It ticked my MFQ MQG box .

NOw this I adored ......................... until .................. I spotted that they had fitted a lace frill to the top of every wavey arm.... WTF! so please feel free to admore from a point where you can't see that abomination.

 Just lovely .... again batik .. not my comfort zone .... but so well done lovely corners lovely simple quilting and it just looked classy .

 HELL YEAH BRING IT ON ................................. this was glorious and should have been a major show piece ...

 well this almost made me sell my Nina... Made of 2 inch squares ( finished size) colour graded ... all sorts of amuzing words and pics in the squares and then a girl with a medal and a bouquet quilted on the podium...................... lovely lovely lovely .

 geese! realyl great sharp points and some lovely neutral spacing !

 HORAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH flik flak  with neutral space and a fabulous inserted contrast border ...  it looked great .
 Modern or art ? again lovely .

bento box in ornage  ( sorry for the wobble I was getting dehydrated and hungry at this point . )

Another salmon and watercress  creation and these are so easy ... some neutral space.

 Now as you know I love my cats .... cat fabric doesn't do it for me but this was bright and fun ... thank god some one had a sense of humour cos it was getting a bit serious by this time ....

Enjoy and feel free to comment .

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Hello what a week  .... to be topped off by a trip to the TWISTED THREAD  tommrow. in London . Most excited most interested .
I must resist the TRADE Stands although I suspect my hands will itch and my money dance a tango in my pocket trying to fly into the hands of the sellers of fabrulous fabrics and tempting notions .

I rapidly ran up a quilt for the daughter of a friend who has CF and it is completed ... quilted , bound the lot ... it needed doing and getting on with it . So it was done in 2 days and will go to it;s new home this weekend .

I promise I'll post photos of the show ...
a slightly unfocused RAVEN XX

Saturday, 10 March 2012


Sorry I tend to get a tad over enthusiastic at times.
OS today so far I have welcomed my husband home and sent him off again within 12 hours!
THe laundry is bouncing round the machine, I;ve cleaned out the hens ( bantams)
cooked breakfast and spoken to my parents 250 miles away ... written up my quilt website and cut a special quilt for a young lady I;ve known since birth who sadly has Cystic Fibrosis and spends a lot of time in Great Ormund Street Hospital ... yup it;s bene busy so far.

I am hopnig to get the quilt top made it;s only a half square triangle (LARGE) with some already made random blocks set between them in shades of light blues... so a bit of artistic license has gone into this and I have used shades of greens and blues and the blocks are a right mish mash but have blues and greens and some copper and bronze type colours so they should lok pretty good.
Hospitals of course are a bit odd re washing these items so she will have to have a 4oz polyester filling and heavily quilted ot hold it in and lets pray the gitsa don;t kill it !

I also must slay the GB style quilt .. it;s been lurking in hte corner like a wet dog .. stinking hte place up and making me feel uncomfortable it needs doing it needs it;s binding and it needs to go this wekend and sitting here isn't doing it LOL

I,m having problems postingp ics as my phone doesn't want to pass them over and synch is being a pig . grrrr .
SO I may have to change my photo method. ie use a proper camera and do it that way.  THe funny thing is ..................................... 15 years ago none of us had any of this .
we didn't BLOG we wrote diaries
We took film based pics and had them processed
We phoned or wrote to friends
We used pen pal groups to make new foreign friends however ...... in 1989 an enterprising young man called Tim Berners Lee working at CERN started it all off and with the help of CERN a load of enhgineers and people at MIT we ended up with the web .

SO why should I mention it well that;s where DH did his PhD and has just spent 3 days . I have bragging rights . He used ot use the office it all started in .

ANyway I am away to my champber of secrets and dark deeds will be done.
Be happy
Love Raven xx

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Bonsoir mes amis . ... well that;s as French as it;s going to get ... DH is off to Switzerland very VERY early in the morning and I will not be up to wave him off .  3 days of larking around on the LHC in CERN  with a group of students... nah that's not work . OK he has to pack his "back pack backpack .." Dora the Exploiter rides again .  and there we go .

So I get to do all the school runs ... the homework supervision.... as well as the domestic engineering that goes with this house.

I also have the BFGW quilt to kill off . I am hopnig to have a telecon tonight to discuss the quilting styyle ... will it be SIAD  or will we go for something like Stipple or some other stylised quilting pattern . It;s going to be QAYG Quilt as You go .. so the quilt will be divided into 4 sections  and then the front sections will be joined together  and then a special cover put on the back ..

It;s a monster  a Kingsize at least .... well even in it;s raw state it covers our kingsize bed... now I get confused re sizes of beds the US sizing v UK sizing ... UK means at least 6 ft across the bed ... someone will no doubt tell me the US relative size.

I havethe japanese print to look at quilting as well and i think this one will be mainily quilted in invisible thread so as not to spoil the whiteness. maybe the odd line of porange or blue in occassional places but very low key .

I also have to get rid errrrrrr complete and put the edge on that darn GB quilt ... it mustl eave this weekend .

I have had lovely news today as well . A firned has offered to drag me along to the twtisted hteread show in London .... whhhooop whhhoooppp. I love TT shows and look at the quilts etc ... I must resist the temptation of al ltrade stands
I can order asm uch as I like 2 weeks after but not that week  LOL 

So my dear peeps .... I,m away to get my "single parent" grove on ...

Wish me luck !
Love RAVEN xxx

OMG am designing already just pray some smartie pants doesn't beat me to it !

Monday, 5 March 2012

Binding binding binding and sashing.

OK so I want to make the sashing on the BGWQ look awesome.. heck I;ve spent enough time designing and sorting and if I botch up the sashing it;s going to really annoy me .

 Soooooooooooooooooo smartie pants that I am I thought .... "Lets mitre the sashing"   making the corners triangular ..NOT square... well bite my backside for being a clever clogs.

 I got some old scraps and some"instructions" I use the term loosely as a very sketchy diagram and some one wiffling on a whiny voice does not a set of instructions make in my book.

So I sort of followed the instructions and nope that didn't work and no that didn't work either until I thought ... hang on !     if I was making a garment ( a sack classes asa garment as wel lyou know )
I;d marki this cut it with seam allowance and do it that way .... yup you guessed it ... I worked it out all on my own .

so now I have to of course do this for not only the outer sashing but the inner as well which means ... 2 mitres and a central seam ... now you see why I am kicking myself.   

Well in true Raven sstyle I tyhought of it I want it and so i am going to do it and yes my family might be deaf by the time I finish yelling at it ( not them #)  but it will look better I think .

You might be wondering why go for this effect when everything else is squared.... wel lthat;s the thing ... it;s all going to be too square if I am not careful and I don;t want it TOO square ... does that make sense.

So anyway I am going to go and fit some sashing to another SiaS  ( square in a square) style quilt and see if I can sash that one confidently    .


"The BIG grey "
Gees bend style
SiaS Japanese print
BFGW Quilt
Super scrapper

Lord! Help me!

Take care people it;s rough out there XXX

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Greetings my fellow bee' ers and other peeps who have fallen into the blogging web!
So the weekend ... here and gone in a flash!  Saturday lost to  karate training, shopping, prepping for an evening event of star gazing and teaching school kids about staring into the heavens .

Well sadly a great day was marred by lost keys to the facility ! This then had repercussions into today ! to say that sapped my energy  and has had an impact on my sewing.

Yes I managed ot applique my "petals" to my blocks to go to the bee with limited issues... a couple of slightly rolling edges but I seemed to get it sorted I jsut hope they are ok for Debbe . I am including the remaining scraps and spares, batiks and bits and pieces so that she has spare as required.

I have finally cracked the "BFGW" quilt . HOOORAHHHHH !

Talk about a right wriggler ... this one has challenged me on the design front, fabric selection and styling. Add to that both Peter and John have a very specific design requirement and making it all work together was defiantely a head scratcher.

THe design specific has bene basedo n the guys holiday in South America with visits to PEru, Brazil, Patagonia ,. something they mentioned was the intense levels of Blue they saw in the skies, sea, rivers , wildlife .

Fabric selection was therefore more organic.... i chose batiks and designs that reflect nature. So geometics and feathers, amonites, picking out colours inthe intense greens, blues, aquas , purples that I suppose we imagine we would see in both the "jungles" and in the carnival atmosphere .

THe main design is built in 4 sets of 9 blocks ... mainly in a sort of rail fence design .
Now railfence would not be my first choice ... too simple too rookie.... maybe I was being snobbish .. yup i was actually . THe design the guys wanted wasa very very simplistic colour fazing around a central square but in the range of fabrics I had was going to mean that I either had to cut really BIG  pieces which would then look ..............well .... jsut wrong ..

OH GOD ! panic struck and then i went and sulked.

So out come the pens and paper and loking at the pictures and fabrics I thought  there must be more than one way to swing a feline !

sooooo we got to rail fence..... not to thick not too thin.... rail fence around a central square  ... 4 large blocks  then joined with sahsing and a coordinating framing fabric and bob;s yr auntie !

I'll post pics as I get them!/photo.php?fbid=10150734793088593&set=a.10150332462318593.392132.602638592&type=1&theater

but this is one block .. only another 3 to go . THe next big question will be the quilting style.

Nayway ...  sleep well and hope yr week improves!

Love from Raven xxxxx

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Greetings mt ittle blog hoppers!  Well today was another day at a very very busy clinic which seemed to take forever and go very slowly .

I have managed to bond some batik to some double sided .... without too much trouble... I,m waiting for it to jump out and bite me . YPu this applique hang up is really getting my knickers in a tangle and I suppose this is the perfect opportunity to get over this pysch hurdle.

I have my lovely week off next week and I am anticipating a lot of clearing the decks. THe big grey will be finished ,  the Japanese orange aqua and lime  will be quilted  and bound and the Gees bend will be sent out ! ( SILENT CHEER!)

I am about to et the blocks done for the BGW quilt . Very dear friend is getting married in AUgust after finally finding the man of his dreams and we are delighted to see them making a lifetime commitment to each other. As a result I am making the Big Gay Wedding quilt . A glorious melange of blues, purples, dark greens and pale aquas. Working in a central block theme  these will be made in 4 large blocks of 9 9 inch blocks.... so each quadrant will be .... about 24 inches wide .. plus sashing .... so the finished event will be around 60 inches square....

THe debate is whether it goes out to a Long arm quilting professional or I do it myself. I am a great believer in farm to fork .... so I design it , cut it , sew it , prep it quilt it bind it . I am jsut not sure what to do on this one. Maybe my confidence has wavered a bit . Self doubt is a bugger !

Good news my blood pressure is almost "normal" 124/79 !! Wohhhhooooo . Hey for the most stressed woman in the world that;s pretty good . I was starting to wonder if I was a tad elelvated ... stress , weight , not getting as much exercise as usual however I have a very low starting rate .. at under 21 mine was average base of 120/60 and at almost 6ft tall  well .. standing up can get a bit flakey.
I can work on getting my weigth and blood pressure down over the next 6months . However that means not sewing as much LOL . Maybe I can trade 5 mons sewing for 5 mins on the bike ...and maybe up my swimming time too .

I am super keen to get my next set of blocks so I might sit down and do some sample blocks to keep myself amused. IT will also gie me an opportunity to think about my turn in the    STASH BEE !

Tommorow is Herman feeding day . Who the heck is Herman  I can hear you ask .... Herman is a sourdough style cake .... it comes in a jar and youfeed it and mix it and stir it and add stuff as per the "instructions"  I say instructions as it recommmends to "stir Herman well" well in my house Herman gets a right pasting ! Nothing l ike beating the l iving daylights out of your "cake" Herman certainly seems fairly "lively" so it will be interesting to see what it tastes like . And anyway .... Herman will contain "fruit" so it;s healthy !

Sleep well my little beasties!
Love RAven XXX