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...

Friday, 7 February 2014

It's raining, it's pouring....

Rain, rain go away
[Don't] come back another day!

Will this wild weather ever stop??? We are being lashed and battered on a daily basis by storm force winds and rain. Large parts of the southwest, southern and southeastern England have either been or are being flooded, and currently we here in the Southeast of England are on amber alert - be prepared for possible evacuation and damage to people and property. Some say that we are about to be hit by another storm brewing out in the Atlantic which will be worse than the 1987 storm - I putting it down to scaremongering!

There are some sorry stories though of flooding on the Somerset levels and the waves have been fearsome along the south coast affecting transport. Trains on Southeastern railways are now travelling at just 40 mph because of high winds blowing down trees and other obstacles onto the track and there have been a number of landslips. The river Medway burst its banks over Christmas flooding Tonbridge town centre and the village of Yalding and there were power outages for large parts of Kent - a pretty miserable Christmas with no electricity to cook the Christmas lunch and no heating.

I could say that "I'm alright, Jack",  as I live up the side of a valley and my cottage is set on top of an embankment, but when the rain comes down, the road outside channels a torrent of grey looking water as it picks up chalk deposits from the surrounding Downs and heads for the Guzzle in the middle of the village. How much more the surrounding land can take though is difficult to say and I haven't been across the field behind me which has a dew pond in it - I wonder whether the pond has become a lake? I know however that Church Lane is flooded.

Barney is not a happy cat - he definitely does not like the rain and he has had to resort to his litter tray more often than not.

But, he definitely knows where the best spots are to keep warm... in MY bed!!

My stitching has been slow in recent weeks, but I finally finished another block...

Beyond the Cherry Trees
This is block 18, although I have another two blocks "on the go".

Block 18

I had had difficulty in choosing the fabric for the basket. The fabric on the other basket in the quilt had a strong design feature, so I knew I needed something to offset it and I found this fabric in Caroline's Cottage in Rome City, Indiana back in November. Got home and decided it was just perfect for the job, cut out the fabric and put the remainder of the fabric away, only to find... yes, I already had the same fabric in my stash!

Phebe Quilt
Well, this is growing slowly - too slowly really and will be my focus for this weekend. I have now chosen all the fabrics for the centre block except for the urn - I just cannot make up my mind, so I'll decide once I have a few more pieces stitched down including the hillock
Phebe progress as of January 2014 :-(
Thanks for looking in!