Thursday, May 31, 2012

A little help from my friends


I have entered Noise into the Umbrella Prints Trimmings 2012 contest. If you have not had a chance, you can read about Noise here and here.

This contest is a little different. Umbrella Prints has pinned all the entries onto their pinboard, which is here. The People's Choice award will go to the entry with the most "repins". There are also a host of wonderful judges who will pick an entry to win as well.

There are a lot of great entries so if you have a chance, it is worth a minute to go and view the entries. Repin all the ones you like, and if you like Noise, consider repinning her to.

I am at Susan's house in the beautiful English countryside. Her children and husband are delightful, she is an amazing person and cook, and it has been a lovely visit so far. I will do my best to make sure she finishes packing soon so that we are ready when Laura arrives in the morning to take us back to London for the FQ Retreat.



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Travelling about

Eiffel Tower - Paris

So Shevvy and I made it to Paris. Here is the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower - Paris

It is the coolest structure. And big.

Eiffel Tower - Paris

I don't like heights, so I admired it from the ground.

Basilique du Sacre-Coeur - Paris

We also went up the hill to the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur in the area of Paris called Montmartre. You can see all of the Paris skyline from there. We rode a boat down the Seine from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre - it is a sort of slow touristy water taxi which gives you a far better view of the river, the stunning old buildings built along it, and the people hanging  about at the edge of it.

Musee du Louvre - Paris

We went to the Musee du Louvre. It is beyond huge. And stunningly beautiful.

Musee du Louvre - Paris

This is the pyramid in the court yard and one of the little ones. Old and new.

Musee du Louvre - Paris

I liked the view from inside the new structure looking back on the old.

Musee du Louvre - terrace ceiling - Paris

We ate dinner on the terrace. That is the ceiling. Paris reminded me of Quebec, especially Montreal. I guess it is proper to say it the other way around, that Quebec is much like France. And Paris is very different from London, yet both are so old and full of medieval mysteries to my Canadian eyes. I hope to go back to Paris for a much longer stay soon.

Station to catch the Eurostar - Paris

That is the station where we caught the Eurostar train home. You can leave London in the morning, spend a day racing about Paris, and be home before midnight - the highspeed train goes under the ocean.

Backyard courtyard at Ray Stitch - London

In London I went shopping at Ray Stitch. Besides wonderful fabric, (yes I did buy some) you can have a latte and hang about in their backyard, which has very old brick fences and lovely flowers. When I grow up I want to have a little shop exactly like this one. They directed me to Loop as well, which is a most wonderful knitting shop down the road.

Natural History Museum - London

I have walked past the Natural History Museum daily and continue to marvel at the details of the building. I stopped one day in the courtyard for a cold drink and to knit for an hour.

A street - London

This is what the streets people live on look like here, at least the ones nearby in this neighbourhood - South Kensington. Stone or brick row houses with no front yards at all, often near a fenced park which is open only to those with a key, who I presume are the people living nearby.

View from the Tate Modern - London

Today I went to the Tate Modern art gallery. This is the view from the balcony - London is such a mixture of old and new. The gallery itself is new and amazing and it is located in the most interesting neighbourhood of very old and very new structures.

I have to get to sleep, tomorrow I am up early to catch the train to Susan's house.



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Vote now


Wonderful news - Red has been nominated for a category prize in the Bloggers Quilt Festival. Please go here to vote for your favourites. Anyone can vote, whether or not you put a quilt in the festival.  Red is in excellent company, in fact all the quilts in the festival were excellent. I think that narrowing down the voting to a small number was very difficult, thank you Amy for all your work.

Here are some more quilts from my friends that are also in the final voting. I have taken - borrowed, (hopefully they don't mind that too much) the pictures from their websites and flickr, do go to the festival to click to their whole posts. Voting is difficult, you will see that I have friends with quilts in the same categories, but please do vote.

By Kelly at Jeli Quilts. (Kelly has a photo of this one with a cute baby on it too, go and see).

The Star Beast - A Brit Bee Quilt

By Laura Jane at Needles, Pins and Baking Tins

Old School Library

By Katie at Swim, Bike, Quilt.

Cherry Star!

By Hadley at Flying Blind on a Rocket Cycle.

Colour Shot 2012

And the other quilts in the finals are also beautiful. As I said do vote no matter how hard it is to choose.

I am off for another day walking about in London. Paris was lovely yesterday and later tonight I will post about my trip so far. 



Saturday, May 26, 2012

FQ London 2012 Linky Party


It seems so sedate, but in a week, many quilters will decend and things will not be the same. It is time for the Fat Quarterly London Linky Party. You can go to the link to "meet" the group of wonderfully talented people I get to meet next up with here at Baden Powell House, which is just around the corner from the hotel many folks are staying at. Of course, I scoped it out in advance

Fat Quarterly


And this is just a block further down the road. It is the Natural History Museum which is next to the Science Museum and next to the Victoria & Albert Museum. I hope to go to see the V & A at least tomorrow. These buildings amaze me, they are old and stunning and people just get to walk by them every day on their way to ordinary places like the grocery store or their work.

I live in Edmonton, in Alberta, in Canada. It is 7 time zones west of London. I adore London, having been here once before. It is full of history and wonder - both ancient and cutting edge new all at the same time - not at all like the almost brand new wild west that I live in.


So I am supposed to tell you about me. I like to quilt (here is my current favourite quilt, Noise, again), and I have made all these quilting friends on the internet. So when the FQ retreat was announced, and I knew they would all be meeting each other in person, I really wanted to go too - I did not want to be left behind.

Also, I have a full time, busy, intense, stressful job which I like to keep separate from quilting so I don't mention it on my blog (but Annabella, Lynne, and Liz have similar training). We have four kids -2 at home now, the youngest being 14, one of the others is returning soon for a bit, and the last getting married next summer. We also have a dog, a cat and a fish. I quilt because I have always done some kind of fibre art and I finally succumbed to quilting 2.5 years ago, having started sewing when I was about 5 years old. Quilting helps with the stress of my work and family, it gives me some space to think or not think, as I need at any moment, and it is making me a nicer and better person, I think.

I hate, hate, hate, hate having my picture taken which works out well as no one else likes to take pictures in my family except me much anyway. Susan told me to find one and post it but there are none in my computer. So, time zone zonked, melted with pretty bad hair after many hours walking in the London heat (I know it was cold last week but not today, today it was stupid hot), only for Susan, this is me in the mirror of the tiny bathroom at the Radisson Vanderbilt. In the interests of full disclosure, I will also tell you that Susan is just the tiniest bit younger than me, but she may have an even worse mouth than I do given her naval days - she assures me that it is a Canadian trait and that I will keep up.


Back to London. Today I saw a lego picture of the Queen. It is wonderful - I love lego, having spent many thousands of hours building lego things with the kids. Better still is that as I was taking the picture, a man with a decidely Irish accent who was trying to photograph his wife in front of the lego portrait explained that his nephew designed and built it. How cool is that.


And I decided to do my most favourite thing first. I went to the Liberty store - that is my picture taken today. I walked there and on the way I stopped to buy new runners at Harrods - they were a good price (I did not expect that) and made a big difference to the walking part. I also stopped on the way to knit a bit in Hyde Park. It is a bit of a walk so I took the subway back, having purchased my own Oyster card so I can come and go like the locals.


It was dark when I took this so the colours are not great in this picture. They have these 2 metre bundles of pieces, some of which are no longer for sale - vintage the Liberty clerk said. I might have bought even more that I put in the picture, but I did leave several behind at the store, just saying.


And one more picture of my walk today for Rhonda, at Quilter in the Gap. I know she wanted to come to London too and just could not make it work this time. Let's encourage her to come next time as I know she would love it here. She is feeling a bit "meh", do go and visit her to cheer her up.



Friday, May 25, 2012

A winner and a travelling turtle pincushion

Wonderful turtle pincushion from Jan (JanBran)

This adorable turtle pincushion arrived at my house about 3 hours before I was due to leave for the airport. He was made especially for me by Jan (JanBran on flickr) who was my secret partner in the Fab Little Pincushion Swap. Since this turtle was clearly a cosmopolitan world traveller type - he had just come all the way to Canada from Australia after all - I invited him along for the trip to London.  There will quilters to meet and pins to cushion at the Fat Quarterly Retreat next weekend.

Wonderful pincushion and package for me from Jan (JanBran)

Here is the whole lovely package from Jan. My turtle needs a name, any help on that would be appreciated - I am going to ask the flickr group too. Names are funny for me, sometimes I have a name for a project before it barely starts, for other things, I have no clear ideas at all.

And we are in London, jet lagged and not falling asleep at 1:00 a.m. Tomorrow will be a sightseeing and lazy day, I will take some photos for you.

Summersville by Lucie Summers

The Sew Mama Sew give away day/week is over and I have drawn the winner for the Summerville Fat Eighth Bundle. I just love looking at my picture of the charms, this fabric is so wonderful. I have checked the comments and removed the duplicates which might have changed your comment number a bit. Mr. Random Number generator says the winner is:

Congratulations Susan! I have sent you an email to get your information. (p.s. the comment numbers start at 1 after every 200 - Susan was in fact commenter 234 - an interesting number to draw.)

Thank you to everyone who entered, the response was wonderful! I have to say that reading all the comments has been fun (you might want to go back and check them out). Clearly many people love watermelon, tomatoes, fruit in general, lemonade and iced tea - all wonderful summer choices and now I have many new ideas for using them too. And I learned some things that should have been obvious, thank you - for example, taking frozen grapes to the beach and add ice cream to your coffee - excellent ideas! There are many suggestions for salads and other dishes and drinks that I am going to try out too - I am inspired to broaden my summer kitchen plans.

I leave you with what entertained me on the airplane and over dinner this evening. I am going to knit some socks (that is just my gauge swatch) as my favourite knitter, Rebecca from Doilies are Stylish has published two new patterns in Knitscene and one is for Clandestine Socks. Her other pattern is featured on the cover of the magazine, Knitscene, I am very  proud of her.

I will tell you all about my trip to London this week and did I mention that I am going to ride the Eurostar to Paris for a day on Monday? I cajoled my friend Shevvy from Quilting in London to come along. Also, there is probably a post or two coming about the FQ Retreat.



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Noise - Ta Da!


Noise is all done. She was great fun to make and she is going to be fun to cuddle with all summer at my cottage.

Umbrella Prints Trimmings

Noise was made with Umbrella Prints Trimmings. The idea is to use a package of trimmings from the wonderful Umbrella Prints fabrics in any way. I wanted to make a quilt and I was not getting anywhere until I was spurred on by my friend Katy at the Littlest Thistle. You can read a bit about my start on this quilt here.


My days are full of noise right now, and I have so much to do as I am going on a holiday on Thursday evening. As I was pushing all the noise away, trying to calm and settle it, trying to keep only that which was important in focus, my plan for this quilt came together.


I had long ago collected a big stack of Bella neutrals. And I pulled out some Kona neutrals and some linen. I planned 15" blocks as there were 15 trimmings pieces - the only cut on a trimmings piece was to cut one into two so the quilt could be square. It finishes at about 60" x 60".

Noise - almost done

The quilting is with a variegated white/tan Valdani hand dyed thread. I decided to try purposely wavy and randomly spaced lines. For me, that was far harder than reasonable straightish lines - which was not what I expected. I placed some hera marker marks about every 6" to give me some reference points so the lines did not tip over too much.


The quilting needed to be less than straight and somewhat random, adding more of the noise to my quilt.


Making the blocks was incredibly fun and easy. Something about a large stack of neutral fabric - easy to replace - gave me the ability to just play. I made only two "rules" - only two or three neutrals per block and the resulting block needed to look squarish but a little wonky was fine.


You can see that neutrals are hard to photograph. All of these photos are of the quilt after washing. I did the binding in Essex linen as I had a large enough piece left. I followed the instructions Marianne at the Quilting Edge posted here and here to machine stitch the binding on - it is really as easy as she explains.


I hope you like Noise. At some point there is voting and such for this contest, I will keep you posted.

Back to the noise for now, there is a lot to do before I leave for London.



Monday, May 21, 2012

Summersville for Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day

Summersville by Lucie Summers

Edited to add: The giveaway is now over and the lovely Susan at PatchworknPlay is the winner! Congratulations Susan and thank you to everyone who participated and left such great ideas for summer picnic food and drinks.

Welcome to Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day. I am in love with Summersville, a new fabric line by Lu Summers. So I am giving some away, because I know you will love it too. That picture is one I took of my charm pack - so you could see the 27 different prints in this amazing line. By the way, I get to meet her - Lu Summers - in less than two weeks at the Fat Quarterly Retreat - she is one of my teachers!

I decided you might need all the prints so I am giving away a Fat Eight stack of the entire Summersville line. Once the winner is drawn, it will ship to you directly from my friends at Pink Castle Fabrics who have the bundle I purchased for you waiting for me to give them the address, anywhere in the world.

There are two chances to win this fabric: please leave me a comment sharing your favourite summer snacks or drinks. I am hoping to have a lot of picnics, especially at the beach, this summer and am looking for ideas to bring along. And if you are a follower of my blog (old or new) you can have a second entry. 

Please make sure your email is attached to your blogger profile or you leave it in your comment - if you cannot be found, you cannot win. I will close this giveaway on May 25 at 5 p.m. PST and will draw the winner randomly. In the meantime, there will be a lot of amazing giveaways, do go and enter them all. 

Normally I answer all comments left for me on my blog by email, but the give aways are tough and I have a crazy busy week. I will be reading and listing all your picnic ideas but forgive me if I don't get time to email you back, I will try but no promises.

Noise - almost done

In other news, I was quilting Noise yesterday, you can read more about her here. She is looking wonderful, there will be a Ta Da post tomorrow.

Noise - almost done

I was making purposefully random organic wavy lines. Much harder than mostly straight lines -who knew.


Oh, and I had to show you Red again - the full Bloggers Quilt Festival post is here. I am so enjoying all the quilts in the Festival, I hope you are too.