Monday, 28 July 2014

Finally... Quiltmania as an e-magazine!

At long last... Quiltmania is now available as a (regular?) e-magazine!

It was back in December, when I discovered an app on the Apple news-stand for Quiltmania and I quickly downloaded it, thinking that at long last I would be able to buy and store the magazine on my iPad without having to sign for a year long subscription or traipse from one quilt store to the next (my LQS does not stock it) trying to purchase copies. I was also keen to participate in Di Ford Hall's year long BoM called MountMellick.

I was so disappointed when January came along, then February, then March; I  could not download the e-magazine - despite having written to Quiltmania (even in my schoolgirl French!) and with no response, whatever I did I just couldn't get the app to work, so I gave up and followed everyone's adventures with the BoM through Facebook hoping that one day the app would suddenly spring into life.

Suddenly today the app was working, so I now have the 4 missing e-magazines downloaded onto my iPad at a good price that does not include postage and packaging or my travel costs of getting to Dorking for the nearest supplier of the magazine. Each took an age to download, but that could be because I have a weak broadband connection. But now I can peruse each magazine at my leisure.

An example of one of the articles on the iPad with Xenia Cord
Each magazine contains all the articles, plus wonderful pictures (which you can zoom in and out of for a closer look) and all the projects including the usual clear directions. Some projects have accompanying videos. Whilst there are clear cutting instructions/diagrams just as you would find in the paper version, if there are any templates that you require then you have to email Quiltmania for them and they are sent to you by email.  This could be a pain if you're all fired up (like me!) to get on with a project, but following my experience in December, the patterns/templates were emailed to me within 24 hours, so pretty good really.

So now I am ready to join the MountMellick BoM wagon. My fabrics have been long stored in a plastic crate waiting for this moment, so the time has come to prep and hopefully tomorrow the templates will arrive in my in-box!

But first I have to finish March and July's Benjamin Biggs BoM. They are nearly done...

Monday, 14 July 2014

A new block and a new old block

I've been beavering away trying to catch up on some of my projects - I need to have a sort out as to what is a UFO and what is actually a WIP. I have far too many projects on the go and I need to concentrate on just two or three at one time, although knowing me, this number will no doubt increase as I prevaricate as to which ones I want to work on...

Firstly though, a finished block...

Benjamin Biggs Album Quilt - Block 6 for June 2014

June 2014
I changed the centre circle from the blue I used for the leaves to a brown - the same fabric used in the berries which I fussy-cut. I was very lucky that the flowers fitted just inside the size of the berries.

B1 - Original block

Unfortunately, the name of the original maker has faded away, so sadly we will never know who made this block. 

Now to try and complete March's block and the July block and then I should be all up to date. 

As it is a block of the month I wonder whether I might be permitted an extra WIP? Once I am up-to-date of course... :-)

Beyond the Cherry Trees Quilt

Do you remember this block?

I completed it back in May 2013. Apart from a wonky bottom edge, easily rectified, I never really liked the fabric for the bowl. I loved the fabric, it's one of my favourites and handles beautifully, but the background colour was too green for the quilt which has no green in it.

So I planned to change the bowl fabric at some point and then I saw the perfect piece in Shipshewana - only a fat quarter, but more than sufficient for the bowl and here is the finished block...

Block D5 bowl restitched

I think the fabric is much more in keeping and helps to balance the flowers and leaves above. Despite the pattern being printed the same size as all the other blocks the flowers, buds and even some of the leaves are much larger than on the other blocks, so it looks much heavier. I am much happier now and have just noticed that the design in the centre looks like a parrot!

So that's two WIPs now to choose the third - definitely the Spratley Quilt, but I need another WIP as well - which one will it be...?

Have a good week of stitching.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Ta Dah! - Block 5!

Finally finished Block 5 of the Benjamin Biggs quilt.

Block 5 - May 2014 - Mary Shaw, January 18, 1847
 Rather than alternating the bud and leaf as on previous blocks I decided to keep the setting of the original block maker - She set the buds so that they were facing each other on one side and on the other the leaves face each other. I have been pondering why she did it? It is the only block in the entire quilt where this occurs. So I decided that I would follow suit so that for future generations they can also be driven mad in trying to establish "why on earth did she do that?".

Blocks 3 and 6 are all prepped and ready to go on my rail commutes.

In the meantime, the World Cup has started and, as usual it is wall to wall football on television. It's all the hours and hours of analysis by the "experts" that gets me... It's only a game with 22 men kicking a football around a field trying to get it in one of two goals, for goodness sakes!!!

I have been saving up recorded programmes to watch and I have got out the "World Cup quilt" which makes an appearance once in every four years! Will I get it finished this time?

Monday, 2 June 2014

May's flown by...

May just flew by and I just couldn't get my needle and thread out quite as much as I would have liked.

We had a big family reunion for my Aunt's 80th birthday celebratory Sunday lunch - roast beef with all the trimmings (including a humungous Yorkshire Pudding!), followed by bread and butter pudding with fresh fruit... yeah!

And then it was back to the marking, marking and yet more marking! I felt I was going to drown in it all.

The garden went to pot and where once I had a lawn, I now have a meadow, which Barney seems to enjoy!

But I did get one block finally finished...

Benjamin Biggs Quilt

Block 1 - Apple Pie Ridge Star made by Sarah Ellen Landers 

I was determined to use my theme fabric which is the floral fabric. I was beginning to have second thoughts about it when I realised that the background colour is very similar to the overall BG fabric, but I like it and so it stays!

The design is called the Apple Pie Ridge Star  - it's an unusual interpretation - with the "tear drops" in brown, it is usually all in one piece and resembles a fleur de lis design. It originated in the hills of Virginia, near Winchester (very apt considering my connections to Winchester, England). According to Brenda Papadakis, "the first examples of APRS appear in Quaker quilts [of the] 1840’s-1850’s", which coincides with the popularity of the Baltimore Album Quilts  of which many have a similar design, although many BAQ's were made by Methodists.

Brenda goes on to say that "during the 1750’s, apple trees were widely planted around Winchester for their produce. The high road name was changed from Ridge Road to Apple Pie Ridge by 1801. One of the legends about the renaming of the Ridge Road is that during the Revolutionary War, Hession prisoners of war walked north to the Ridge on Sunday afternoon to enjoy the delicious apple pies baked by the Quaker women."

Blocks 3 and 5 are already prepped and are in various stages of applique and now June's block has come out, so my needle and thread will be hopefully, whipping up a storm during June - they should keep me occupied whilst the World Cup is on!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great month - stitching!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Benjamin Biggs Quilt - Block 2

I finished the April block last night and I prepped the January block this afternoon for my rail commutes this week. Hopefully, I can complete the January block in time for May's block and then I will only be trailling March - a bit confusing I know, but I am just trying to catch-up.

Block 4 - April 2014
It's Easter week and most people are on holiday, so should get quite a bit of work done, both on the train and in the office.

March or is it April?

Okay this should have been posted in March, but I've been just too busy with work to post so here goes - March has seen PROGRESS and a NEW START!

Beyond the Cherry Trees 
I've finished another block - the 19th - two blocks in two months - I am on a roll!!

I've lost count of how many blocks I have completed, I think this might be block 20?

Benjamin Biggs Quilt
Now I have to ask myself, do I really, really, need another project?? Should I really, really finish a project first???!! I am blaming a certain somebody who lives in Texas for putting me in this quandary - as if I should really, really be asking myself these questions in the first place, especially when I already know the answers to them! 

Answer - YES and nooooo!

So herewith the Benjamin Biggs Quilt - a free BoM available from Gay at Sentimental Stitches and Brenda at Dear Jane. This month's block is available now to download from Gay's site and then the May block will be available from Brenda's site - the patterns are being published on the 1st of each month.

The Benjamin Biggs Quilt - Lafayette, Indiana
The blocks are being published in block order which helps with the planning, but then that means you need enough of the fabric you will be using for the applique, from the beginning of the project i.e. it will be harder to blend in new fabrics if you suddenly add them in the last row. Hmmm... and I rather enjoyed how Gay did the Beyond the Cherry Trees Quilt patterns because we never knew until they were published which block you would get next.

Now, in true Fiona fashion, I am not going to follow the traditional red and green of this quilt - I have instead decided on blues and yellow-browns. Originally it was going to be pinks and greens from my stash, but then on a visit to Puddleducks to buy some background fabric I-spyed some lovely Jo Morton blues and browns on the shelf and that was it! I have added to the pile from my stash and will continue to do so as the project progresses, but I am very pleased with the current selection, but amazed how not all blues go together, but maybe they will blend better once in their blocks.

Fabrics for the Benjamin Biggs Quilt
I have selected a Makower Essentials fabric as the background - it is in an ecru colour to give the whole some warmth and since it is one of their basic fabrics, I can buy a metre at a time without worrying that it won't be on the shelf the next time I go into the shop.

Each of the original blocks is a finished 16" square and whilst that's a usual size for me (e.g. Beyond the Cherry Tree quilt blocks), I had to ask myself do I want another quilt that measures 100" square? So I have decided instead to make my blocks 14" finished, making a quilt that will be 90" square. As you know, I like to stitch on my rail commute to work and the other week there was a happy happenstance because the width of the tables on the train are... 17" - so ideal for prepping the blocks!

Prepping on the train

and here's the first block completed... It's block 2 for February, but I wanted to start with a simple block just to see how the colours work and then progress from there.

February 2014 block
I have decided to alternate the blocks between blue leaves and stems in one block and brown leaves and stems in another - well, that's the plan!

So what has happened to Phebe with the new start? Well, there has been a little and I mean a little bit of stitching. I have to admit I am struggling for the motivation, I suppose it has something to do with having done the centre block before. If I could only get over this hiatus...

Thanks for stopping by...