Saturday, 28 July 2012

lovely suppliers thatI have found.   I Love the don;t look now patterns though I don;t enjoy making them ( me and applique you know the boring story)  but I will get this animal alphabet made if it kills me . THe lady I spoke ot on the phone was great and really interested in what MQG do and what quilt work is going on out in the big wide world.

I,m always happy to do promo work ( hint hint ) lol.

The Pied piper    my local shop with more mod choices although 2 other local suppliers are listening to the "need" for Modern fabrics to encourage new sewers.  Wroxham barns quilt shop . Long established and home for many courses by some of the leading educators in quilting . We;re trying to get MQG established and this might be a sample home.  my fav place for cheap wadding .... worth the drive. I do collect for otehr groups in the area to save on postage. See I am really nice .


Yup only 3 days to go until I do the draw and someone gets a heap of goodies. Remember the more people you refer the more entries you get.
So far there are fat eighths in either blues or oranges from my lovely stash, I tend to be on the generous side as well . THere are labels and buttons, a quilt pattern plus samples to show you how it should look. So the more people you refer and they name you then the more chances you have to win.
BUt ............................. not only will I send this bumper package to one lucky person I will also send a little welcome gift to 3 people who read and comment on the blog.

It;s been a none prodictive week in a lot of ways . Lots of finishing up and the R&W is quilted at lasted, finished embroidered bound and has gone to it;s new home.
I have done some hand quilting and that has been completed and gone to it;s new home too.

But ..................typically , you think yes I;ve cleared the decks but noooooooooooooooooooooooo when you look at yr list of jobs you find the 22 Xmas stocking, the 50th birthday cushion, the VERY complicated  baby quilt from DON:T LOOK NOW  called ANimal ALphabet , A variation on the RED & WHITE in purple and white   it look s like I will be busy a while.

I will keep posting and showing you pictures. I just might be a shade busy.

Enjoy your summer be you travelling, staycationing, cleaning ( me) , redecorating (me as well ) , sewing, (ypu that;ll be me) or going to some fancy wedding ( oh you got me 4 for 4 then !) take heart, take a deep breathe and love what you do and who you are with .

Summer loving had me a blasssssssssssstttttttttttttt

Raven XXX

Sunday, 22 July 2012

BUSY BEE that'll be me. ...

GREETINGS . Yes another week is over. This has had to be a bumper week of work for me as I have looming deadlines and quite frankly I thought I had overdone it .
I hate stress . But anyway here it part 1.
The wedding quilt for my dear friend John and his partner Peter who make their life promises on the 9th August in glamorous Cheshire.
They chose their colours and style basedo n their trip to SOuth AMerica . Trips to Brazil Patagonia, Argentina all encompassed in this quilt which has fabric that depicts water, ice, insect wings, flora and fauna. It;s a very trad rail fence design with some variation in size of bands and how I put them together . It gives movement and individuality . Each square contains a significant date. My embroidery skills got a run through .
I then added the border an 8 inch batik. The binding is a Hoffman Brazilia print ( how apt)
 A slightly clearer picture of it . This holds over 400 lines of quilting ( a right sod)

Now this red and white has been in development a while as you know ands here it is with it's border and now lying on my lounge floor being prepped for quilting. This took over 3 yards  of 90inch wadding so it gives you an idea of the size. I pinned it and then rolled it on a fabric inner tube.
That lasted ohhhhhh 15 mins of quilting under my trusty Bernina 350PE  and was quilted in stipple at close level. I;ve had to unpick a couple of bits as there is a small ripple but it looks pretty  good so here are the rest of the shots.

Above is before and below is after quilting.

You cna see the ripple on the left hand side lower quadrant. This has since been resolved.

Sexy close up shot ... yes all done in monofilament which is a challenge sometimes. Tension can be a devil as it is so fine to work with . Some days I love it some days I hate it but it does a great job when it works . 

Now for the back .

Ok a couple of ripples in the backsheet but given over 4 square yards of qwuilting thats pretty good as I don;t have a frame nor a long arm this is shoved through the regular arm space of a domestic.

Nice eh??

~Now I;ve rarely tend to do handquilting because it makes my hands really hurt but this I saw at the Pied Piper Shop in Holt last Monday and so I bought a FQ with the thought of doing a doll quilt... but what a waste .... so I took a section of it and have handquilted with a bamboo and cotton mix wadding  and got THIS .... ohhh posh

Work in progress. 

The nice thing was being able ot pick this up during breaks and spaces and do a couple of lines. I always think my quilting is uneven but this is bang on .

So I added a lighter colour cotton and then appliqued some pretty ribbon and am currently undecided as t make it a cushion/pillow or make a cute bag my only concern is that as a bag it won;t wear well .
The jury is still out . 

Go on ... help me .... bag or cushion ???

Have a great week.
Love RAVen

TIPS and the reason WHY!!!

Now today is really about a lesson I learned whilst making the red and white quilt. I will also include reasons because tbh I hate being told to do something and not understand why so I personally choose to tell you what I know and why I choose to do this .You can make up yr own mind .

1. Cut everything on the same day using the same ruler system and the same NEW blade.

Reason Yr cutting errors will be consistent ... if you chose to be slightly more generous it will be consistent generosity .

2. Use a NEW blade .

Reason sharp blades cut better, faster, and more accurately and more neatly and will save you time and moeny in the long run. When I say NEw I mean newly sharpened. Invest in a sharpener and keep yr blades sharp and in a special blade box for use.

Reason Saves money and makes for faster cutting.

3.Read the pattern

Reason... nothing worse than wrecking a fabulous pattern becuase you cut wrong , make sure you have enough fabric and if you are a bit short get some extra sourced very quickly and pray it comes from the same print batch.. not so much a problem for small fabric runs but you never know.

4.. Sewing the magic scant 1/4 inch seam really does help keep it all accurate.
OK it;s not so important for improv work but it does help keep seam bulk down .

Reason scant to me means move the needle over 1 position....... ie it takes 1mm from the 6mm so it would be a 5mm seam or takes 1/16th inch ... depending on yr flavour of measurement.
Please do a check to make sure your consistent ... do NOT do as I did and push the move button TWICE ................................................................hold breath..... count to 10..............9................8..... yup I screwed up big time .
I sewed something like 130 seams with a 1mm error... but NOT just 1mm, it was doubled... as it was 1mm out on both sides of the fabric.... yup I made a 2mm in EVERY one of those seams ... nowyou take 12 batches of 2mm and you have 24mm..........1 inch .!!! HOLY BAT stuff................ I was nearly an inch out by the end of some of the chain seams.

SO PLEASE check and double check .

5. HAIR TRIMMING those damn threads at the back... yup I hate them too and there is no way to deal with them other than sitting with a pair of sharp snips and taking them off every time you finish a strip. I actually take a whole evening to strip out old threads

REASON these threads can become conmpacted and tangle with threaads during quilting . They can wreck your beautiful work all because you couldn't be bothered earlier. They look untidy and if you enter comps can lose you points and points make prizes.

6. Pressing (not ironing, pressing) press with a hot iron to press open seams press to the dark side is the suggested way but some prefer "open" seams .
REASON These reduce bulk in junction seams. ~I hate pressing but I make myself do it. I buy a simple ( cheap) iron and keep it ONLY for my sewing work .

7.ENJOY WHAT YR DOING sometimes we all bite off more than we can chew and I am a grade A individual for not being able to say "No" and designing something tiny and doing a BSJohnson and it ends up the size of a wooley mammoth ( Terry Prachett readers will get the BSJ ref) If you hate it shove it in a bag,drawer ,bin and don;t break yr heart over it . It;s only fabric , you will not go to jail for not completeing it . you will not end up in detention . You WILL end up a lot calmer and happier and tbh ... do you want to be a cranky cow just because of a bit of sewing ?? OK if it is a big piece and yr fed up with it either bag it and take a break or pass it on to someone wh will finish it for you . It;s sewing and nothing more.

Right I am going to cut my pieces for my block for my next Sew Swapit swap.

Kepp on sewing and be happy . Accept what yu have as a real blessing and be happy with what you have. Don;t waste yr life crying about what you envy .

Love Raven xxxxx

Friday, 20 July 2012

Here comes the weekend

Friday pm.... home from work..... and I know there is a HUGE job waiting for me in the cupboard.
TOmmorow R&W must be pressed and laid out on it;s backing ...... it will be spray basted and pin basted and then the humongous job of quilting it begins.

It is going to take at least 6 hours of machine quilting to complete and I have pre wound 30 bobbins as prep. I have 2 rolls //reels of monofilament ready to go . and I just planning the work pattern. THe heavy machine quilting in stipple will only be done within the patchworl area and quilting must touch all 4 edges of each patch.

The size of the quilt means I will roll in on a fabric roll and work in sections one side at a time.
THe border of the quilt will be handquilted ot a certain extent with some special additions . So tonight I will be hunting down a couple of things on the computer for reference and maybe a bit of handsketching.

I also have completed a small piece of handquilting for the cushion cover that will be in my GIVEAWAY!!!!! It divine. I also have to do the same handquilting for a pair of non-identical cushions for a friends baby girls who will soon be 1! OMG how time flies.

So in preperation for al lthis what am I going to do ?? Go and read for 20 mins and put my feet up with a cup of tea thats what.

I'll keep you posted with my progress.

Be strong, be brave, be yourself.
Love RAVen

Sunday, 15 July 2012

is this how titles work??

HELLO!  Well tickles my ...........feet. I think I found the title bar LMAO .
Right here we are SUnday AGAIN.  I finally have some more photos to show you.
so here goes. It has been busy with child at karate training, a trip to the wholesaler, some sewing and completion of work , a trip to the cinema to see a film, dinner out with friends. I am knackered.

As you know the MQG has QUILT CON in Feb 2013 in AUSTIN TEXAS and sadly I  can not go . The MQG has been holding open auditions for people to submite blocks of 12inches + to go into a quiltthat will be made and quilted by Elizabeth Hartmen from Oh Franson. 

This is my attempt. A palatte of selected and quite challenging colours was part of the requirement and so I thought long and hard as you knw from a previous post.
This little devil consists of pieces 2 cm asnd 3cm in length and then given the 1/4 incvh seam.

It reads Modern Quilt Guild in the visual representation of the dashes and dots of MORSE CODE.

 ~My baby.
Kick ass baby indeed. Works like a demon and is as skinny as a rake. A lovely lovely kid.

Ok this isn't one of mine. This is made by Jo Murphy of Murphy Physio an intense and determined lady who quiltsl ike a demon .We go on sojourns to the Fabric Guild and various quilt shows and talk none stop and spend a fortune.  This was made for her daughter and is beautiful .

Ahhh red and white. Now it is fitting that Jo's quilt appears before this cushion ( pillow cover)  as I had to do a raid on Jo's stash as I was most deficient in red. So I went and raided Jo and sat and made a sample to take to the customer to show them what it would look like.  Needless to say everyone is very happy and the R&W go the green light .  This is all over stippled in monofilament.

Now I have a friend who LOVESSSSSSSSSS just LOOOOOOVESssssssssss Toadstools.
So I saw this in a very old quilting magazine  and thought hmmmm . So I have obtained a copy and it is on it;s way ot her asa birthday gift ... YEs You Mrs GK !

Right the MQG makes a lot of noise ( quite rightly) about neutral space. But I have to say NOTHING IS REALLY NEW.  This magazine was printedi n 1994 and had a liovely example of megatice or neutral space.  I love neutral space and I love to see it work well . My personal love is white . I love that crisp clean calmness that allows those beautiful clours to sing out. I also love grey and blue.

hmmm applique. Not my forte. I,m not sure why . But given I found steam a seam 2 and found that easier to work with than other products and I have an almighy applique quilt to work on this was a messing around attempt . Sadly the quilting on it did not go as I wished  but I learned a lot. Doing things prefectly every time does not provide us with a learning opportunity . Getting it wrong means so much more. What I have notivced is that many patterns are pretty sketchy in their desciptions of how stuff is done . And so I made a promise .

And it is this.  I will provide a sample of how the quilt blocks go together along with my pattern in the giveaway. I am a person who learns from looking and seeing and jsut in case the lucky winner is too .... well you;ll have a chance to see in person .

Ahhh our day at Pensthorpe.  And the best water feature I,ve seen in a while. PArt of me thought  thats a great looking beer cooler ...

And the reason I wanted to go was these little fellows..... RED squirrels. I am 44 and have NEVEr seen one. Loads of the greys but no reds as they have been almpost wiped out . PEnsthorpe has a significant place in the breeding program . Absolutely beautiful.

Something for Mrs GK again . 

Ahhhaaa now you can see me in my work uniform (~ lovely eh!)  and as some rotten cow said ... My Pub curtains . And in my hand .... my swap from Sew swapit a facebook group where we are given an item to make and a swap address. We make and send . I received mine from some nutter ( teasing)  who send me this lovely sewing companion with fancy pins ( I like nice pins)  I was chuffed. 
  My Lovely pins from Lawana.

R&W  check time
HEre it is . Growing a pace . 11 rows of 12 blocks . It;s grown well and I am pleased as is the customer.

This is my newest SWAP IT items. We got "market bag" and so i made it and sent it and the recipient might get it in a couple of weeks via the postal service .

Tags.  I started to make  these and they still have a bit of work to do . I have made a set of 5 . 

Right this one is a quilt as you go monster that is going t be a wedding git for my friend.
The colours represent the sights of their fabulous spouth american holiday

In each central square there are embroidered significant dates ie when they met, became a couple, got engaged and their wedding date.  This has over 400 lines of embroidery  running inside each block you can sort of see the ridges they form. Tis will have a large border about 8 inches wide then attached and then quilted in a similar manor. This is the top half and I am fighting with the lower half as the quilting is a devil . I have less than 20 days to complete this so tomorow I must get on with it. 

This gives you a better idea of the quilting . OK it;s not ground breaking  but it works and works well . 

And to finish ..... Mr Leo. Everywhere I go he follows and yes he is huge and yes he is handsome. 

So keep tellnig yr friends and get them to join for more chances to win loads of lovely lovely stuff.
RaVen xxxxx

Friday, 13 July 2012

OK so I have been asked a shed  load of questions and I think people might have got the wrong impression about me .
SO here we go so you all know. Remember there might be a test later.
I am 44 I have a daughter aged 10 1/2 heading on 24!  I am married and have been for over 13 years.
I am a podiatrist and I work for a private health company as well as having my own chain of practices along the Norfolk coast.
I own 2 cats a British shorthair pedigree called Bertie and a Maine coon Ped called Leo .

Now for sewing and quilting.

~I first learned to sew on AIDA when I was a kid making my own patterns and stuff. I was taught by my mother and grandmother and when I was 11 my local high school taught all girls how to use a sewing machine and I still have the work I had to do in that class that year.  For my O level in domestic science I made a baby quilt with applique sheep on it .

My mother had a singer machine in a HORN cabinet and used to  make me dresses. My grandmother was a ferocious knitter.

At age 21 I received my mother;s old machine and had terrible trouble with it ( broken tension discs no handbook etc)
My first experience of quilting was ENGLISH PAPER PIECING hence why I loathe it now.

About 4 years ago I started sewing again I had been making curtains and stuff but not really sewing.
3 years ago I made my first new quilt . A strip quilt .  I broke a sewing machine that was finally exchanged for a Bernina 4 months later.

Since then I have spent my time relearning old techniques and learning new ones. I am a quick study  and I pick stuff up really quickly.

So yes I haven't been doing this that long and yes I have made everything and more than you see on these pages. 

People ask how do you find the time ? I make time . I have a husband and daughter who help a lot around the house and we have a good routine that allows everyone time and space to do their thing and keep the house fairly tidy.

I sew in the evenings and weekends. Even 30 mins each day can make a project whip up .

 I will plan a quilt one evening and select fabrics.

I will then measure and cut on another evening.

 I wind all the bobbins for a project in one go so I always have at least 25 pre -wound bobbins ready to slot into the machine as i require them . Bobbins cost less than £1 each so they are a cheap and easy way to keep things moving rapidly.

I change my needle every 2 hours to keep finish sharp and prevent snags.

 I clean my machine at the end of each 4 hours .

I sharpen cutter blades once a fortnight and keep them in a special pack ready for installation and use.

 Right now I have to go and make a bag for my next SWAPPIT so I think it might be a bright wonky star on the front.... so much to do so little time

be strong be brave be honest.
Love RaVEN

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Is this thing working?

"Is this thing working?"
after some very patient tutulage by Mamafairy I am now working on sorting out a couple of dinks in the blogger and see if I can make this easier to work with .

That woman has the patience of a saint ( wife , mother you know it!)
Right off for a day at PENSTHORPE nature reserve to see the red squirrels and keep the kids quietish .
Wish me luck 

Monday, 9 July 2012


Can we get over 40 people joining as followers I will add a set of ID tags to the giveaway .

OK so you wonder wth do I need ID tags . Well I use mine for marking laundry linen sets eg my bed linen so I have pack A , B, C, D so I keep everything tidy and together and they get used in rotation and don;t wear so much .

These I just pin on the outside of the pillow case or laundry bag I store the linen in . It makes childrens sets a doddle to keep together.

You might have them on suit bags for when you travel so you know which items are in which bag. So many uses so little time.

Over 50 joiners and members

A Machine companion will also go into the giveaway . This is an sewing companion that either sits in front or at the side of the machine for pins and scraps.
It will come with funky pins too.

Over 60 joiners ...

For the final part of my giveaway I will include the pattern for my original quilt as seen on this blog.

I call it bunting and medals but it sort of got called Jumblympics as here in hte UK we have had the Queen's golden Jubilee and the Olympics .

This is an original pattern and I will write out all the components and measurements and suggestions on quilting. This pattern has not been published and is copyrighted so it is a chance ot make something really unique.
 Over 70
Add a hand made XMAS stocking, fancy pins and craft ribbon and some adorable buttons.
Lots and lots to give away.  so Keep the joiners joining and remember ot say who you referred.

One of those days

Have you ever had one of those days when you think hmmmmm what;s going on then ?

Yup well today is one of those days . SO ... it starts ( get yr cupa by the way cos this is a bit of a random burble, so imagine sitting with a quilt over yr knees and we;re having a natter ....ready ? .... ok.... stop figetting will you ! good grief . )

So my truck had ot go into repair becuase some lovely gentleman decided his psorrts car should be where my truck was.... needless to say the insurance companies have decided 50-50 and I am not happy but I might as well shut up as it;s not going to get any better.

So there we are at the repair shop at 7.30am.... eyes like hammocks.. somewhat ratty  and the child looking like she has been hedge backwards... Then I take husbands car and drop him off at work and come home to a MOUNTAIN of domestic disaster .. so by 9am I have been on my hands and knees cleaning the bathroom floor ( lets not even go there ) and the MC has decided that he wants to play and is obviously feeling fairly cheeky.

SO finally after feeding child, playing with MC and cleaning floors I set to sorting the conundrum of blogger... it;s not exactly intuitive . Thank you to Mammafairy who is being extremely patient with me and helpnig me not to make such a prawnball of myself in the land of blog... there isn't an instruction book that I can find.

But also lurking in my inbox of my email is an email from some one called EMily ..... now I am sad to say that gray hair and senility are making inroads in my memory and I don;t THINK I know anyone called EMily ... so if I do please accept my apology and remind me how I know you .

Today I am going to my friend DEnise for some afternoon sewing and starting on anotehr quilt to make before XMas and start 21 Xmas stockings for the U6th class my husband is form tutor for . Depsite potentially being the next generation of top notch scientists, legal and political brains ( and some of them are indeed this ) theyl ike nothing better than playing musical chairs (!)  and other games . So as a nod to their last years of innocence I am making them all XMas sytockings to fill with cheap sweets for their last Xmas at school. Last year  we had big 6ft 6 lads in tears as they sang their leaving hymns in cathedral .

I'll post what I chieve as time goes on .

Anyway todays words of wisdom came from anotehr lovely sewist on facebook ( Stephanie Hicks)

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. ~Thomas Edison.

We only get good with effort and practice (RAVen xx )

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Tackling new skills

Tackling new skills.

Ok I am not a great fan stepping out of my comfort zone but today I thought ok well lets have a go . My comfort zone is one many otehrs despair of FMQ. I find it relatively simple once I get in my groove but what am I hopeless at ? Applique.

Typically I have decided to make a baby quilt for a new baby ( duh)  and it;s ALL applique wtf was I thinking ?? OMG I have laid awake at night with palpitations ( that might have bene the curry ) thinking what HAVE I DONE ??

Yup I really have bitten off more than I feel that I can chew . BUt then I decided well shut up and have a go . What am I worrying about ? Messing up ? OK it happens . We all make mistakes . nothing is perfect well except new born babies and tiny kittens and all other tiny helpless things. But I digress.

We al lworry about making mistakes and tbh I am one of the worst but you have to give it a go .
So I bought some super stuff called steam a seam  or similar .. never mind bondaweb this stuff is pretty special . So anyway I made the Koi carp in a circle.... all went ok  all went really great all was very pleasing until............................................. I messed up the quilting LMAO . Ah well so I proved to myself yes I can applique although it will never be my method of choice and yes even I can really screw up the quilting.

Take heart dear followers you will not be the recipient of this item in the giveaway but it willserve to hang on my wall and remember to try something new on a regular basis. !

Photos have not been included to protect the innocent !

Coming home from swimming with 2 energetic 10yr old girls and whipping up a quick cake have left me a tad whirlwinded and I will have to do something simple like make some fancy tags for the give away ... such are my hopes for the blog to take off and  for people across the world to see what is happening both here and around the world for one slightly more flaky than usual quilter.

Mrrrrooooowwwwwww Rowwwwwwww as Mr Weo Leo says

Can we get over 40 people  joining as  followers I will add a set of ID tags to the giveaway .

OK so you wonder wth do I need ID tags . Well I use mine for marking laundry linen sets eg my bed linen so I have pack A , B, C, D so I keep everything tidy and together and they get used in rotation and don;t wear so much .

These I just pin on the outside of the pillow case or laundry bag I store the linen in . It makes childrens sets a doddle to keep together.

You might have them on suit bags for when you travel so you know which items are in which bag. So many uses so little time.

Over 50 joiners and members

A Machine companion will also go into the giveaway . This is an sewing companion that either sits in front or at the side of the machine for pins and scraps.
It will come with funky pins too.

Over 60 joiners ...

For the final part of my giveaway I will include the pattern for my original quilt as seen on this blog.
I call it bunting and medals but it sort of got called Jumblympics as here in hte UK we have had the Queen's golden Jubilee and the Olympics .

This is an original pattern and I will write out all the components and measurements and suggestions on quilting. This pattern has not been published and is copyrighted so it is a chance ot make something really unique.

soooooo get signed up and tell yr friends and gethtem to sign up .
Leave comments and for  every person you refer who joins you get extra entries in the draw.

Enjoy and spread the news.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

It's lovely to see a plan come together and it just goes to prove how damn sneeky we can be with the best intentions .

Norwich School Lower School have been very lucky in securing Miss Ella Porter for 3 years and this was her final year. Many children have been taught by her and I have to say my own child has thrived under her tutelage resulting in double A's for english, Maths as well as other subjects.

So we had thrown the idea at Miss P about a quilt as a leaving gift and allowed her to choose the colour scheme.  At this pooint we then went "black ops" and lord only knows how we managed to distribute and collect 37  signature blocks from the children in the year . These were then embroidered and incorporated into the back sheet.

The following pictures show the kids presenting Miss P with her quilt and her "tadpole suprise" moment  enjoy. It gave me a lump in my throat to see the kids so interested in their work and incorporation in the gift.

Like all great 10yr olds this one had a "tadpole moment"  fortunately not tadpoles in the pockets but the names of the children  built into the back sheet.

Checking for naughty and nice .....

A brilliant set of shots very kindly supplied by Mrs Todd .. this one the kids were all looking for their names. 

Miss P we wish you the very best good fortune and happiness in your new school and hope you remember Norwich School with much fondness.




GIVEAWAY going to happen here on Raven Quilts.

The giveaway prize will consist of a cushion ( pillow cover) from one of my random designs in a selection of colours I haven't decided yet and a pack of eights from either the Orange colour set or the BLue colour set.

How to enter

Well here you go ... are you a member or follower ? If so state your preferred colour choice for the eighths and a comment why.

If you not a follower ... JOIN! Then state your preferred colour choice.

You get extra entries for any friends you recommend who join as followers .

If we get over 25 new folowers I will throw in a bonus of some Gutterman Sulky variagated quilting thread totally lucious stuff thatI  love quilting with and and and .... a sewing companion.

So lots to claim . But you have to be in it to win it ! I will draw on the 31st July or nearest date after that and will post worldwide.

I must be mad!