Thursday, March 30, 2017

My Q1 FAL progress

I woke up today thinking I would fess up to my lack of finishing my Q1 FAL list. We all have until Saturday at 11 pm EST to add any last minute finishes, but as of today, it's a total bust.

Bee Sewcial Swap quilt - in progress

I do have one project from my Q1 list that I could easily finish in time, that one. I have finally decided on the scrappy, all the colours, binding you see in this photo, so maybe tonight I can sew it on, then handstitch the binding down with a movie or something on Friday night, photos on Saturday morning, and post it to the finishes link up Saturday afternoon - totally doable right?

If you have not yet posted your Q1 finishes, the link up is here or link up on any other global hosts' blogs. I hope you have also been enjoying the Q1 tutorials, and in case you have not yet visited them, the list is:
And finally, start thinking of your Q2 list of projects to finish as the link up for the Q2 lists opens on April 2.



Sunday, March 26, 2017

Q1 of the 2017 FAL - It's time to link up your finishes!

It might be hard to believe but we have made it to the end of the first quarter of the 2017 FAL and it's time to link up your Q1 finishes! In addition to completing all those UFOs on your lists, we hope you have taken the first 3 months of 2017 to get to know all of our new hosts! The 2017 FAL has a community of bloggers across the world jointly hosting the FAL. Our hosts are:
  • Sarah - Sew me - Northern Ireland
And our Social Media Director: Sandra - Sew of Course - Ireland

Before you link up, let's give a huge thank you to our fantastic sponsors:  
For the 2017 FAL, we continue tutorial week. Here is the schedule so you can visit them all:
The 2017 Q1 link for your finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs - you only need to link on one blog for your finish to appear on each blog. Link-up "rules":
  • Add one link for each finish. If you want to link a round up post of all your finishes, use that link to enter one of your finishes and then link the rest of your finishes separately. Please, only one link per finish, as your link is an entry into the randomly drawn prize draws.
  • Please ensure that the photo or blog post you link up contains a link or reference back to your original list so that we can verify your entry (make sure it is from the appropriate quarter).
  • Please become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others and comment. We all need encouragement so let's applaud each other. The 2017 FAL Facebook page is here and follow us on Instagram @finishlong and tag your photos #2017FALQ1yourname (substitute your name),  this makes it easier for us to match your finishes with your lists.
  • Our hosts will also link their finishes to share in the community, but they are not eligible for any of the prizes.
The Q1 Finishes link will stay open from now thru April 1, 2017 - link up your finishes early and if you have a last minute one, add that one later so you don't miss out. The prizes will be awarded as soon as we can verify all the entries and do the drawings. We will post the winners on each hosts' blog.

And don't forget to start making your Q2 lists as the Q2 list link opens on April 2nd.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March Scraptastic Tuesday Winners

Today, we announce the March Scraptastic Tuesday winners.

I shared my progress on my quilt yesterday and am still trying to decide about the possible scrappy binding - you can check that out here if you like. I have no more scrappy projects to share today so on to the winners.

Here are our fabulous Scraptastic Tuesday Sponsors and their buttons, feel free to click through and thank them for their support:

A huge thank you to our generous sponsors for providing the following prizes which have been awarded randomly as follows.
I'll be getting out the prize emails to the winners as soon possible, please watch your inboxes.

If you have not yet done so, check out the linked up projects, they are lovely, go here. And please plan to join Nicky from Mrs. Sew and Sow and I on the second Tuesday in March for the next Scraptastic Tuesday link up.



Monday, March 20, 2017

Some quilting at last

Bee Sewcial Swap quilt - in progress

I had time to quilt this weekend so I did. This quickly taken not great photo is where I finished on Sunday. The quilt is about 60" square and is made from the small blocks that my friends in my Bee Sewcial bee swapped last spring. The negative space - or background - is yarn dyed Essex linen (55% linen, 45% cotton) in shale.

I am trying to decide on the binding. I have sufficient Essex linen to bind it to match, thus making the binding disappear. However, I also wondered about a scrappy binding using solids that basically match the pops of colour in the quilt. I am not sure if the colourful binding makes the blocks pop more or if it would steal the show. So I'm going to think about it for a bit.

Topographical map, contour line quilting

I decided early on that I would quilt this quilt with mainly an all over topograaqwsxç phical map, contour line type quilting. The quilt is made from swap blocks from all over Canada and the USA so the quilting represents the land between the friends so to speak.

I quilted it about 1/4" to 1/3" between the lines so it is fairly dense. This motif has become a new favourite, it is fast and easy to do, more interesting that a stipple, relaxing, and very interesting looking when done. For me, it is easier to make this kind of curves than swirls, maybe because my brain does not see them as curves but as a map and I like maps? I am eager to see how it looks when it is washed and dried.

Quilting in progress

For the medallion, I planned and quilted matchstick quilting, to bring the friends together.

I matchstick quilt free hand on my APQS Millennium Long Arm Machine, without rulers, channel locks or computer. Given the nature of the frame, one can make long long lines horizontally but the length of vertical lines is limited to the throat space for the most part. So I left the vertical sides unquilted and when the rest of the quilt was quilted I took it off the frame and reloaded it after a quarter turn. I did spend a few minutes making sure that the medallion part was lined up nicely but otherwise it was faster to turn than I expected. Adding the quilting went off without a hitch too.

Thread reflects the warp colour

I used a light blue variegated 100% cotton King Tut Superior thread for this quilt. I matched the thread to the weft of the yarn dyed Essex Linen.

I used almost 2000 yards of thread

In the end, I used 20 and a bit bobbins, the remaining thread is in this photo. I also used most of the 2000 yard spool - almost 2 kms, or just over 1 mile. It was a lot of quilting I guess.

If you are interested in more quilting photos, I shared several on instagram.

I am hoping to decide on and finish the binding this week and also mend in those thread ends you can see in the first photo. This quilt is on my Q1 2017 FAL list and the end of the quarter is fast approaching.



Thursday, March 16, 2017

2017 FAL Meet the Host Team - Abigail

Hello, my name is Abigail and I blog here at cut&alter

Back in November I was surprised and delighted to open an email from Rhonda inviting me to become one of the global host of the 2017 Finish-A-Long. There are 13 of us in all and over the course of the year we'll be introducing ourselves.Nicky from Mrs Sew and Sow started off in January followed by Jess from Elven Garden Quilts in February and now in March it's my turn.

I found the FAL late on in 2015 and couldn't believe how it motivated me to get things finished. I have always been a list maker and the FAL is no exception. My lists are somewhat larger then most people's, although I have certainly seen longer as well! I know that I will never get everything ticked off within the current Quarter but it does give me 1) accountability 2) a reason to tidy up and reorganise my studio each quarter to find those projects which have been languishing on shelves and at the bottom of boxes 3) it brings projects to the front of my mind and a lot of work goes on in my mind even before I get in the studio 4) if a project has been rolled over just one too many times I can then see that it's probably never going to get finished and I can pass it on (does that count as a finish?!!). Last quarter I had a particularly low completion rate and this one is shaping up to be the same but I have a few finishes and some projects are considerably further on!

A current quarter finish
I live in Stratford upon Avon, in the United Kingdom, with my husband, who is from New Zealand, our two daughters and a black and white cat. We have been back in the UK for just over 4 years and prior to that we lived in Otaki, New Zealand. We have been called gypsies before now due to our constant moving, and usually not within the same area. This is the longest time I have ever lived anywhere! (Can you keep a secret? Maybe, just maybe, my feet are itching again!) Some of the other places I have lived are: Nottingham, Leamington Spa, Sydney, Wellington, London, Waihi Beach, Cambridge, Tauranga, Rowington, Shirley, Waitarere Beach and Feilding. The whole idea of living here (the UK) or there (NZ) was the inspiration for this quilt. I was delighted when Should I Stay or Should I Go? was awarded Best Piecing in Show last November in Bristol!

Up until January this year I home educated the girls, which was brilliant. I always felt honoured to have as much time with them as I did and whilst it certainly was tiring and had its moments we had a lot of fun along the way. They have now started school, primary and secondary, and have settled in really well. We have a new rhythm in our lives which, for me, is taking some getting used to. I thought I would have all the time in the world, that I would have time to sew, quilt, go to the gym, make lovely healthy food ...... oh silly, silly me!! You don't actually get much done in the six hours between 9am and 3pm do you?!! One thing I have done is learn to do improv curves - I love them!!!!

I have been sewing since a child but, like a lot of women, I came back to sewing when my first child was born, although I had been making curtains for our houses every time we moved! Little children's clothes are such a pleasure to make - fitting is not important, they don't use much material and they are quick (although when sleep deprived they sometimes didn't seem to be that quick). I had made a puff patchwork quilt for my eldest soon after she was born and then made a simple square quilt from vintage Laura Ashley soft furnishing fabric from our various childhood houses. These two quilts are well loved and well worn!

It wasn't until 2010 that I 'learnt' to quilt. I took a 6 week night class in NZ and a passion was born. I joined my local quilt club and I listened to the other ladies of my group talking about all their WIPs. I was horrified! I vowed that I would never have projects sitting on my shelf - I would start and finish one before embarking on another. Oh how naive I was! Needless to say I have lots of projects on the go all of differing ages. Last year I finished my most long standing project - ANZAC Hearts, it was on my FAL2016 Quarter 2 list! This was a Bee quilt and I love it - luckily as much now as when I started it in 2010!

Back in 2015 I made the decision to purchase a longarm quilting machine and I totally love it!!! I bought a Handi Quilter Avante and it brings me a lot of joy. With the girls at home I did not have the time I would have liked for learning and practising but I am getting there. I have done a few customer quilts and hope to do more this coming year. Before then I have a backlog of my own tops that are waiting to be done. This was the first quilt I quilted on my machine ....

Wow - this has become a longer post than I thought. When I first sat down to write this I did wonder what I would write! So, here's a quick 10 9 other things about me to finish (I got stuck on No 10!):

1. I make quilts for Project Linus
2. I am a member of the Oxfordshire Modern Quilt Guild
3. I am left handed
4. At 25 I spent a week in Coober Pedy, having read about it as child of 12 - it was awesome!
5. I love salads
6. I have only ever spent one night in hospital and that was with my daughter when she was 3 and had to have her tonsils out
7. Both my children were born at home - one in NZ and one in UK
8. I will go to QuiltCon ..... one day!
9. I would love to go to Alaska

There you have it! Remember there's just a couple of weeks left for you to get your Quarter 1 list project finished. The link up opens on 26 March and will remain open until 01 April. Be sure to link up because there are amazing prizes to won (and I should know because I have won twice before!!) I look forward to seeing all the finished projects this quarter. x

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March Scraptastic Tuesday - the link is open!

It's the second Tuesday of March. Please share your scrappy projects, in progress or completed or your tips for using or organizing your scraps.

This is where I usually share my own scrappy project for this month, but I have to admit that I have nothing good to share today. And then I had to travel and even this post is late, making Nicky also late, not her fault at all - she will post as she gets up while I am posting as I go to sleep, us being on different continents and all. I promise to post some scrappy work later this week, but for now let's get on to the link up so I can see your scrappy projects.

Here are our fabulous Scraptastic Tuesday Sponsors and their buttons, feel free to click through and thank them for their support:

A huge thank you to our generous sponsors for providing the following prizes which will be awarded randomly among those of you who link up.
Please join Nicky from Mrs. Sew and Sow and I by linking up a blog post or flickr or instagram photo sharing a scrappy project, in progress or finished, or your thoughts on dealing with your scrap mountain:
  • You don't have to have joined us before, everyone is welcome.
  • One link per person, and it will be your entry into the random draw for the prizes. It is the same link up here and at Nicky's blog - Mrs. Sew and Sow - so you only need to link up on one of our blogs.
  • This link is to share with our community about using your scraps, please don't use it to advertise your own products or events.
  • You can link up from your blog, instagram or flickr, but you have to link up to be entered in the prize draw.
  • Please visit at least a few of the links, they are very inspiring, and leave comments too as everyone loves to connect. 
  • Use the Scraptastic Tuesday button and invite your friends to join us too. Please share our button, or a link or the hashtag #scraptastictuesday in your linked post or photo. 
  • The link is open until next Monday night at 10:00 pm MST. We will announce the winners next Tuesday. 
  • If you have trouble linking up, let me or Nicky know and we will get you sorted.
I'm looking forward to seeing what you have to share with us this month.