Tuesday, 19 November 2013

OK peeps I know it has been FOREVER !!!!

but like I always say blogging ain;t sewing and I need ot sew . I can't find time to sew and WORK and blog so blogging gets thin .

My reason to sew is because of orders classes and my tri pto the USA .

This lovely beast was a special order ... a lone star done for a family addition . The family are very proud of their native American heritage and the colours were chosen to represent earth sky , sand grass . as at the time we didn't know if the baby was to be boy or girl we went gender neutral and this is the sample that the uber proud Grandmotehr has chosen . Totally scrumpcious .
 To keep the machine turning and my friend Kat at Wonky stitch supplied I ran out some sweet baby items .
Simple light quilted blankets suitable for use in prams and pushchairs . using simple fleece as a backing and no wadding . simply bound easy to wash and use.
Speak to Kat at Wonky Stitch for prices and catalogue.

everyone loves Monkeys or so Sheldon from Big Bang Theory says . This top was one made by my friend Genevieve in Germany and returned to the UK for quilting .. It was quilted with ....

fanfare please ...

no. not particle physics models ..... Bananas !

Happy campers was arange of fabric that came from USA and was combined to make a series of various colour quilts . with sweet critter prints these are like I spy quilts . Quilted with acorns and leaves for extra woodland fun .

Now as some of you know I am quite keen on Free motion quilting . Mine is slightly quirky with a rustic charm . but I also try and help people get over their fear of FMQ and to do this I first of all taught Rowan .
She listened picked her picture .. boat at sea ... and she got on with it ... I love her attitude. SHe jsut proves that if you don;t know you cant you can ! 

so we had a go at different shapes ... we giggled at where the thread ended ! and trimmed it 
 We tried Fish  or fish with no eyes ....
 and then she spent hours thinking about making a picture for a friend I was going on retreat with .
she knew that Stephanie loves her trip to the beach and so she carefully constructed her beach scene.
She also incorporated a whale as Rowan adores whales... lord knows where we will have to take her to see them .
 She carefully picked out the trunk of the palm ... the waves . added texture to the beach .
I admit I helped on the jets for the whale and snipped the palm fronds ... sigh .
 A series of dinky trailers/caravans was then generated . mine
 So down to some more serious sewing and quilting ....
This was a piece I worked on for about 5 months... it is a
D9patch flying geese ... it starts as a series of 3 x3 5 inch squares sewn together ... then you cut through the centre .... then you cut each square into 2 triangles...
It picks up a glorious mixture of fabrics  and given my love of blues and green ... wel lthsi HUGE and I mean HUGE  beast appeared.
I need ot quilt this and will be doing it on frame . when I get a amchine quilting frame .
 As you may know I wash eading off to the USA .
I was visiting the Knoxville Mod Quilt Guild .
So I took them a home made gift .
This piece is micropieced  and reads from top to bottom ...

done in orange and then bound in blue .
Now I am not sure if I told you about Miss Wish .
We brought Miss wish home from Sarah following a sad visit to the vets that indicated that wish couldn't have kittens. Rather than have Wish under stress in a breeding environment with a bunch of grumpy queens ... we offered her a new home where she would be top queen and have Leo to play with .
I am delighted to say she settle like a dream . The little madame lies a godo cuddle and snuggle and doesn't nibble too much during grooming time .. all good ..
she has podged up a bit . She likes a good snuggle on the ned and as you can see she is pretty comfy

 ahhh Heathrow airport ....
 I was so busy sewing I didn't really take many pics but I did take this of Lynne chatting. ... she made me laugh A LOT ...
 ahhhhhh my stash ... that retuned from the USA . Careful shopping in the sales online and a friend who went aboive and beyond dealing with my 13 boxes well
Thank you Bobbie.
 I admit to panic packing it on my shelves... I went back and put in new boxes and tidied seriously
some serious serious fabric
 As you can see the lgith in my room is excellent providing the sun can get through the cloud . ahh Britain in the autumn and winter .
 I made a temp rack for my fabric. Most of this is 3 or 5 m sections .
herringbone tape and 12 mm dowl   result .
 Now I did get a pic of my friend Nancy .I look like I have spinach in my frint teeth ... I don't ...
THe quilt behind us is the group quilt I roped people into making last year and I am OTM at the result .
 Feathers . made in jeanean Morrison ...
Straight line quilted

Monday, 2 September 2013

3 weeks until Tennessee

well it;sbeen a while and a lot has gone on , gone wrong and gone past since June .

THe good stuff has included visiting friends having a little 4 day holiday , experiencing the channel tunnel and doing some sewing.
Sadly I am no nearer getting my quilt frame and the minivan nearly went to the big garage n the sky .

I have done al ot of sewing in between  but typically it get sewn and sent before I evne think to blog about it .
I am finding if I spend time blogging I am NOT sewing and that sort of defeats the blog ... ergo chicken or egg or even sewing and reason to blog ....

A friend is setting up her own shop and so ( I LOATHE it when people on sewing blogs put SEW instead of so... )  I am aiming to provide her with some stock and items to draw in customers etc .
Her previous partner was a bit possessive of who could make and stock what and sadly that enterprize bit the dust.

THe bonus is though that she is now going it alone and doing it HER way noth someone elses way .

The other bonus is I might be going to do some sewing sessions with people as wel las the ones I now do at Pied Piper in Holt .  This has bene a fairly informal relaxed lets see how it goes event to introduce people to machine quilting and free motion applique and free montion quilting.

I really want people to NOT feel tied down by RULES of the quilting police ... there are NO QUILTING POLICE

There are ideas advisories and tips but the only police are usually nit picky stick in the mud people who ................. see now I got cross and you can tell .....

Saturday, 1 June 2013



FRANCINE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Francine can you please message me at ravenquilts@gmail.com   with your choice of FQS or JAQS or your preferred place to spend money .

If you are UK based then I will send you a prize.

Congrats and thanks for reading .

Sunday, 26 May 2013

GEtting nowhere fast . !

Im NOT being negative ! honest.

I have just reached a bit of an impass with some stuff . The large peacock quilt top was a nightmare to quilt and I don't like it so I am going to pull out ALL the quilting on a 72 x 70 top ... that's a lot of crap .

I managed ot quilt one small lap size quilt to go to a local charity ..however Idon;t know about you but it takes a while for the "right" quilt pattern ....ie how yr going to quilt it to really JUMP OUT at you ;.  I mean I can't stipple EVERYTHING really .

Feathers are nice but they require balance and if it's not up to scratch or just looks wonky or a bit naff then it's NOT good enough . Why should my people receive something I don't feel is good enough .

SO you se I sort of sit there and think .. oh boy ...

THe right quilt pattern can take a lot of viewing to evolve. You might look at yr quilt top in different light ... it looks like it needs X or y style ... but you get started and you think NO ! it needs curves or swoops or links or plain ...  so you know it's worth the wait really .

Why am I so wound up about this ?? Well I suppose that each piece is a piece of me ... I appreciate Iam not perfect , I appreciate I am human and make errors and mistakes  however and it is a however and NOT a but ..... well ok would I go out in a green skirt and a red shirt ?? answer ... NO .

Would I wear yellow with red ??? ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh nooooo

SO why choose crappy quilting just because you want a project finished? I want it to be right .

So anyway life is interesting and busy . Nothing new there we al lknow and have much the same .
Show me a woman NOt doing 4 things ato nce and I will be  checking for a pulse quite frankly .

Rowan has been away on a school trip to France to see the trenches at Arras and Vimy Ridge  as well as making croissant in a bakery . Eating snails ( garliucky rubber) and going to the sea life centre.

Mark has been busy with national examinations and is finally home and working 12 + hours a day to make sure the exams are done in a fair and proper manner .

I finally got over another one of those VILE migraines and went to have a go on my friends 750 Bernina. O kthis is a source of much discussion ... why spend £2500 on a machine?? well quite frankl;y because it is BLOODY AMAZING !

This was well just WOW . It will take a while to save for one of my own but I can borrow Jo;s as required. which might be useful as I "need" to make some stuff. LOL . I struggled with the BSR function and that I feel is my own hand eye co-ord causing the problem ... Im so usedo t doing it myself .

SO yes only 5 days to go to DRAW date and so to the first person who reads and replies ot this I will send a SUPRISE . Send yr reply to ravenquilts@gmail.com

Squirrels or Bears ??.... send yr answer .

Anyway Im off ot make some spicy thai food for lunch . Peace love and alkaseltzer

Raven XXX

Monday, 20 May 2013

17 days until the DRAW!

YUP so only 17 days to go which also means 17 days to my birthday ....hmmmm not sure how I feel about that fulcrum of my 40's ... over the top and heading towards my 50;s .

I;ve never really been bothered by my age, my looks, my hair style ( you wouldn't with mad hair like mine)  so this birthday and my underlying niggles .well it sort of suprises me I am so bothered. Maybe a life ( so far ) of not being bothered is culminating in a few weeks of potential MLC.

Im sure DH and DD and DCs  are all looking at me and thinking oh boy here we go ...  but anyway ..

I still battle on with the McCalls quilt top . Im getting there slooooooooooooooooooooowwwwly as it is a lot of small piecing  and it takes time to piece and clip and press and piece and clip and press . It should be ok .. It's a bit pastelly wishy washy for me .

I have also broken my golden rule ...............and bought a quilt pattern .
I buy books . but never ever one off patterns but this one I thought ...............hmmm ok give it a go .
So for the princely sum of $8 or so .... I bought an interesting interwoven style pattern . Now the pattern saysu se bright colurs to get plenty of mix but I feel the need for blue .

BLue is the colour .
Soft blue, deep blue , aqua blue, turquoise, sky blue different size spots and dots . It might be a rights dogs dinner  you never know but it has the potential to be glorious .

My mother and husband ask who are these for ............................ HAHAHAHAHAHAH you're kidding right ???
Maybe display maybe demo I dunno but I am making them .
Again I will post pics as I progress and as I also say . blogging ain;t sewing and we're not here necessarily for the blogging so get sewing.
Have a great day people and remember :

 Have the courage of your conviction. 
  Remove false friends and those who irritate you . 
Stop looking at things that make you cross.
WOrk at things that you are good at and make you happy . 
Make the most of what you have
Stop wishing for what will never happen . 

Love ya! Raven

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Ah Tuesday !!

The Joy of an unexpected day off is a rare and splendid thing.

Time to do shopping and find a bargain on your every day stuff like colour catchers ( essential when washing quilts for the first time ) and tea on major sale... so you get 4 boxes for the price of one ..... RESULT .

It also means I get to sit and sew as wel lwhen I would not expect to . I am on the school run today as DH is in London at a meeting and so I suppose I ought to go and get the child at 4pm ... LOL .

But it technically means 5 hours of sewing !

Well considering I stepped right out of my comfort zone and am making a McCalls free pattern quilt

This one in these colours ... well ................... lets just see how it goes.

The pattern does say lap quilt .. but Im looking and thinking lap ?? of what ?? a chiuhaha  ( the dog you have to remember to stop spelling !)

the 9 patch blocks are miniscule  3x3 finished size ! eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkk   but anyway stop bitching and get sewing . I will post pictures as I progress but I will say ................... STARCH /STAY PRESS is your friend on stuff like this . it really keeps those edges tight and stops frayting and makes that scant 1/4 a lot easier.

OK there;s another controversy ... the 1/4 inch and scant 1/4 .................................. look people as long as you are consistent your pattern will be fine .

A bit more than 1/4 and you will end up with a bulkier seam and a smaller top but that's fine ...
a bit less and you run the risk of a split in the seam but hey it's YOUR choice. You know I loathe quilt police and mealy mouthed bitching. I can do MMB  if proviked but .......................... you;ve really got to go some.

Anyway enjoy YOUR sewing. Love your work and look after yourselves.
See it's a short one today ... lucky things

Monday, 6 May 2013

It;s nearly my birthday so it;s time for a giveaway . !


 OK I am about to hit another birthday . Some of you know and some of you don't that I recently had another bout of trip to hospital for problems in the breast.  This is the 2nd time in 12 months and I am delighted ot say I am ok of anything majorly serious. BUT  I have friends who haven't bene so lucky and are currently going through treatment. So ................. please check REGULARLY . Caught early you improve yr chances .

So I am reaching another birthday in tact ! So I think we had better do a giveaway .

So I am going to giveaway either a $20 gift certificate for the FAT QUARTER SHOP or CONNECTING THREADS or you can have a gift cert for JAQ fabric wshwre you can get a pack of 12 FQ for under $20 !!! all designer loveliness .......   or if yr in the UK I have 2 cans of 505 spray and a metre of lusciousness.

What do you need to do to enter ... well .................. comment is one thing ... invite people to join who comment as well , mention it on Facebook and in yr blog  and you get extra tickets in the pot .

The closing date... the 31st MAY  ... my birthday. 

Lets see who reads and enjoys the slightly scatter brained Raven effect .  


Thursday, 11 April 2013

blog tastic and a tutorial

Tutorial  for the pezzy block . This is done using charm squares  and sbdivision of ...
 OK TAKE your pile of charm squares... I used a nice solid so you can see pattern

 this is a 9 piece block

 Now take 2 of yr coloured charms and 2 neutral charms and lie them on top of each other .
draw al ine diagonally from corner to corner ....

 sew 1/4 inch either side of the line and cut down the line

 YAY ! Half Sqaure Triangles
EAsy peasy lemon squeasy . these are yr corner blocks

 now take charm sqaures 4 of and cut in half on the diagonal ....  and again  so you have quarter square triangle

Take  a solid and a pattern .  place them edge to edge . and sew down one of the right angled side  be consistent . 
 Then you sew 2 of them together  .

 then press. I love starch . press them good and hard.
 Starch starch . starch .
 THen you decide how YOU want to lay them out .
 Move them around until you feel happy
 See which you prefer
 Amazing how different it looks
 Keep trying till you are happy 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

comments and controversy

Typically I have peaks and troughs of work depending on my creative streak  but I do remember the words of a very wise if not fashionable philosopher .... Gene Simmons from Kiss.... he said you can sit and wait for inspiration or you can just shut the ..... up and work .. as long as you are working you are doing something but don;t expect something brilliant to come out of nowhere . This seems fair enough to me .

This is a statement I make about myself .

My work
My words. My belief .

When you put yourself into a public forum be aware it will turn and bite your backside at some point .

Don;t go out there and ask to be judged if you can't take the judgement

Don;t go on X factor if you can't sing sort of thing

SO when you make and post or make and sell or make and exhibit be ready for someone to turn around and go............... "Meh .. not my thing"

They have NOT said they are going to scream yr name around town as some wierdo  or felon,  They have NOT said all your work is terrible and you should give everything you have to charity /goodwill... and never make again ...   They have not threatened members of yr family.

They have expressed an OPINION

now as am as I am aware that within the UK  and probably that within the USA and Canada , Australia .. well.................. you lot have funny rules .... but we'll let you play on this occasion ....

that asl ong as you do not threaten , threaten to harm, threaten to overthrow a government ( shaky ground here )  not are deliberately libellous  then you can express yr opinion and be free to do so ....

Many won;t like you for it but then again that's life

So where am I going with this .... well  would you believe a quilt has raised this topic ... this quilt won Best in Show hence typed BIS  at the Modern Quilt Guild  QuiltCON .... now whoever thought QUILTCON  was good name really was taking the piss ... I;ve had it thrown at me that yes Modern Quilting is a CON !!  Tempting though it is to bite at that you rise above it ... you hope ...

So anyway BIS was a "reworking of wedding ring in some highly unusual colour combination.

Now until I opened my big chops ... all I had read and heard was ohhhhhhh it;s marvellous ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh so wonderful.... so unique............... the quilting was amazing ....

OK you had your say and I will now have mine and you can agree , disagree  whatever but yr opinion is yours and I WILL have mine .

That quilt was a mess .. a hot mess ...  such a mess I refuse ot even show it's image but you can go look on the Bernina site or the Gen Q site ...

MQG is trying to raise it;s profile to raise appeal and awareness.... I don;t think that quilt helped at all .

The initial appeal of MQG was accessible , clean , fresh approaches almost heading into a minimalistic pared down ... clean  from farm to fork.. designed at home , cut and pieced and quilted at home ... quilting by cheque ohh come on ....

Elizabeth Hartman was helping us all  get to grips with free motion quilting .... funky ideas , Red pepper was bright and vibrant piecing to give rippling colour , film in the fridge was super simple but let fabrics sing .... all done by the individual.... so what happened MQG what happened ???

Now I had a chat with a friend who is an artist ... a well known artist .... and they said ...... it might be the Emperors New Clothes... everyone is so scared of not getting it that they say they do get it ... like a class f kids and a physics forces lecture... all look mystified but won;t own up to being completed baffled. .... yup i am baffled.  Maybe my science and tech and medicine background has cleared out any Arts empathy I might have .

so if you feel the need ot clarify please do so on the back of a $50 note and send to me in the UK /

Monday, 4 March 2013

Yes it is a while since I last blogged and that is because .... if your blogging yr NOT sewing
and I love to sew . So I made a decision to sew more and type less . SO here you go and it;s a big one with an update and tutorial at the end . so start reading ..
My Baby and her Bear ears a lovely Xmas pressie from her friend in Ireland.
So anyway it has been a few months of production . I spent more time sewing both for Stash bee ,y swaps on sew swappit and a number f quilt tops .
This little creation was made for my friend Nancy in Tennessee . Nancy is a gun toting , mooonshine sipping, wonder woman . She adores her grand daughter Addi and she makes superb tutus and bags/totes. Therefore Nancy and I did our own swap. She made me a tote and i made her  a pair of pillow covers in my funky free motion edge styler .

 We went for bunting/flags and kites and flowers
One in lemons and oranges and one in purples and turquoise adorable

Soon it will be MY turn on STASH BEE and lord it seems to have taken forever . Really ... really long time ..............really long time . I am the last one and I am desperately hoping people won;t drop out . We have lost a whole pile of people and the less charitable side of me would say some pretty direct things about taking the michael . ie taking blocks early on and dropping out . disgraceful . 
 But anyway ... my choice will be the SWOON block
This is using the 5inch charm square as the template and only a couple of blocks need trimming by half an inch .  so if you;re in the bee then get ready and get yr seam placements in place .
 This block offers so many lovely colour combos so we will Be using white as our base /neutral .
Anyway the above Swoon went into pillow /cushion which went ot my swappit partner
I made several of these and loved them all .
I made this one with one of my fav fabrics of all time ...
Jeanean Morrison picnic parade .

Ahhhh grandmas garden a commission quilt for a special lady . 

daughter at my bernina ! I must love her to let her loose on this 

This flying geese pillow cover . Made in a couple of hours . No problemo . 

This is the lovely Shea and and Ryan  who we got to meet before New Year .
Shea was my fabric "mule" lol and brought me my XMas gift .

SO i have made a whole pile of new tops to be quilted . I faffed I did stuff and left them in the boxes for weeks....ok ... months .... so I made a blue and lemon rai lfence I did wonder how best to quilt this and I sat for days loking and thinking ... then i put it back in the box... I didn't like the back sheet ... I didn't like my ideas I was truly in a funk ... a right temper really .
SO it sat there for nearly 3 months I made other stuff and did otehr things I made swaps I cooked I went to work I spent hours on skype talking to friends in USA  and on phone to Germany ... I jsut avoided it .

 I received an email from Justhands tv to come and do a talk /.presentation on modern quilting so i had to run up some examples of negative or neutral spacing . This one is ultra min mod ... a simple log cabin style parred down to the absolute minimum ... this wil lbe line quilted with occasional accents of colour line quilting ...  lets see how it comes out
Oh Swoon again !! This time in aqua and peacock ... Lovely and this one I hand quilted.

 My 2nd sample for JusthandsTV  is a remake of a moda bake shop pattern ...
ON the website this is made with all the arrows facing in one direction ( screaming teenager moment ?)  I do not do............... normal . I don;t do pastel I don;t do floral  rose garden trad ... ewrr no . I like strong colour strong design ethic etc ... I therefore made the blocks using a simply colour jelly roll .... went for opposite sides of the colour wheel .
I then spaced these with a couple of breaks in the pattern and then ....I thought hang on lets sling one completely out of sync... I share a birthday with Clint Eastwood  and i always remember his films with the orangutan and the orangutan was called Clyde so in honour of Clyde I name this quilt
Quilting to be decided .
 my blocks for Jan Stash bee . Sent
 In grandmas garden is a custom made quilt for Doris Merrit who makes special scarves for serving troops in Iraq and Afghanistan . This is for her grandaughter and will be a special 1st birthday gift .

My baby turned 11 !! So we took her to have her hair done for her party .... I still don;t think her father has recovered .

A special picture pillow/cushion for my friend Catherine . Her fav pic of her girls printed onto special fabric and then built into a simple pillow .... it was lovely . 

Stash bee FEb sent

THe FQ swap challenge requires us to receive 5 FQ and make something from them .. I received a pack of 18!!!
Well the fabric is peacock and so I decided on a quilt to reflect the peacock theme . The blocks in simple log cabin style build and they will Be tempered with blocks of embroidery  and other bits . 

This is the quilting on the tail of the main peacock block . tiny tiny tiny 
 One day out in a tiny town near the coast i came across this piece of linen. Printed with those lovely blousy poppies it jumped into my shopping basket . I brought it home and quilted it wit my sulky threads and made a pillow cover . This has been sold to raise funds for Keeping Cadence . My thanks to Rosalyn for supporting KCoL

This tropical scrappy has gone to Mauritius as a gift for my friends brothers child . It is a lovely vibrant tropical little cot/lap quilt . simply quilted and bound in a vibrant coral colour 
 I angelled up for our Feb swap and made this wonky star to go to New Zealand . Made in an hour Loved it .

The purple sweet 16 birthday gift to go to a friend of my daughter. This has taken quite a while . but it is finally completed . 

A sweet mini blanket for grandaughter of work colleague . free motion free edge applique . sweet .

 Te quilted out wonky star .
 Photo pillow for grandmother .
 Calypso ... lovely
 The detail of the applique blanket .
 So this appeared again ...... and I changed the backsheet ..... and then decided on
"SKYLINE" quilting ... it looks like the skyline of an imaginary city . It;s really sweet and I am extremely pleased.

My love of pezzie prints is known  and I bought a layer cake and made this ,,.,,  I love this .....
so I ripple quilted it adding lots of texture and seeing how the print sat back once the sewing went in ..

 The backsheet is a cotton duvet cover and it has provided me with 6 back sheets in total .. Very pleased adding colour and motion to the rear of my quilts at a good price .
 My Stash bee blocks for March ...
 My swap it starter bag which i decided i was keeping this is made of foundation pieced selve edges ...
boy thats a lot of sewing . But I put a wide gusset in to give me the width i wanted   and the pleated the top .. to stop it gaping so much ... I love this and have used it already .
 This is a chevron pieced medium kids quilt . This is to go to a colleague at work who is expecting a baby soon . Well it will as long as she is nice to me ... if she isn't I am keeping it hahahahah .
The cityscape quilt got bound today ! hoorah another one off he list.
So I decided that if i wasn't going to send my selvedge bag i had ot make something nice ... so I chose
CATHEDRAL window... but with a twist .
as you can see a shot of vibrant coloured "glass" peeping from the lead of the window.
A tut was requested.  so here goes.
you need 4 squares. These are 3 inch square . you need one "backing" square 1 colour"glass" square and 2 "leaded" squares .
here we go .  you lay the "glass" over the mounting square .
you can sew or tack these if you wish .
You then fold the remaining 2 squares in half on the diagonal  still with me ????
You lay them over the "glass" and pin in place .. I have done the sewing with contrast thread to show you more cleanly ... you can sew y hand or machine the choice is yours .e
Stitch 1.4 inch from edge ...  there you can see in the centre a little peeping shot of colour or "glass"
Now the clever bit ... you gently fold back the edge covering the material
see there it is .....
pin and then either hand sew or you can top stitch by machine . I like machine for things like bags etc.  it looks rather ike a beautifully stitched navy blazerwith a sparkly shirt underneath ,.....I love it .
You make as many of these as you want and arrange in whatever arrangement you prefer ....
I like the trad "flower" type . but i suspect this would look amazing in monochrome ... in a mod styling ... I'd love to see.