Tuesday, 22 June 2010

British Summer Time

Yesterday was the longest day. Happy mid-summer! Today was such a gorgeous day sunny, warm, low humidity. It's British summertime in full swing. We were able to eat our evening meal outside. It was lovely!
I've been working on the smaller sized flag blocks. My little kids asked if I was making flags because of the World Cup (for you American gals this is English football frenzy time) I said, "No!" I'm not really all that interested in what counts as football on either side of the Atlantic. I'm having fun with the extended asterisk flag blocks. I'm choosing fabric that reminds me of things English. I think I'll call the quilt 'Best of British'.

On sunny days these remind me of beach umbrellas but usually they call to mind the rain

and whatever the weather, lots of lovely tea, in blue china cups. Speaking of tea, my kids told me this joke this morning;  
"What's the difference between England and a teabag?"
"A tea bag stays in the cup longer!" 

Monday, 21 June 2010

Variations Round a Theme

When my daughter Emily saw the asterisk blocks, she though they looked like her Daisiez quilt. This was one of Emily's first quilts. We used a pattern by the Australian designer, Jan Mullen. She makes wonderful wonky quilt patternz (that all end in Z; boatz, tea cupz, catz ...) It was a great first quilt to sew because the seam allowances didn't need to be even. I cut and Emily sewed the daisiez blocks. I pieced it all together and Emily free-motion machine quilted it on the SuperQuilter frame.

It turned out really sweet.We sent it to the Festival of Quilts as a mother daughter entry in the two person quilts category. It was a dear homely little quilt and we didn't expect to place, but we did hover and hear nice things that people said.The astericks block is less complicated yet the block construction is similar. Whenever I see this daisiez block it makes me think of a deconstructed Dresden Plate block. I love how the sun shining through the top makes it look like a stained glass window.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Sew Magazine

I was surprised and delighted when a couple of the editors from Sew magazine rang up to ask if I would like to be featured in their July issue. I spent years advertising in patchwork and quilting magazines so it made for a nice change to have them come to me. They were interested in the New English Quilting frame as an example of machine accessories for clever quilting. 

While they were researching the frame they found the blog and liked that too. We had a nice chat as I explained that what I like best about blogging was being connected. I see my blog as a jumping off point, valuable because it points people to other blogs which in turn point people to other blogs, and so on. It's such a fun way to go around the world, meeting new people and learning  new skills. If you click on the photo below you should be able to read the article.

So a couple of weeks ago, I sent some text and photos and just yesterday received my copy through the post. Being used to magazines that focus exclusively on quilting, it was fun to see quilting&patchwork set in the broader context of sewing. I'm tickled (chuffed) to be included! I've thoroughly enjoyed the read and I'm even inspired to try some non-patchwork and quilting sewing projects.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Union Jack Blocks

I've been looking around for a good way to make some Union Jack blocks. I need them for a top I'm planning to feature in the next DVD in the Line Dancing series. Yesterday, while I was visiting the Selvedge Blog I found the perfect block and a fantastic tutorial too! Those 'asterisks' just needed a little extending go British.  Just what I needed, fast and fun too. These blocks were made by doubling the block/strip in the tutorial and adding another 4 inches to the block length. (12" X 16") They're very 'more-ish'. I can't wait to try them in lots of fabric combinations. Now I'm going to play with a smaller size too.


Sunday, 13 June 2010

News from Down Under

It's fun to get feedback from far away places. Brenda received her copy of La Mer last week and we've been emailing back and forth a bit. The last part part made me chuckle:
 Hi Martha, I would like to say again, how informative and pleasurable it is to listen to your tutorial. I put on another DVD from one of our reputable Patchwork Magazines this afternoon only to turn it off; I could not stand to listen to it. I only have one complaint; my husband will not stop humming La Mer.   LOL
All the Best
          Brenda in Australia

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Dance Class

Today I taught a bunch of High School and College kids how to do the waltz. It was great fun. I love ballroom dancing but I haven't really taught dance since I got married and moved to England.The kids are going to be in a film re-enacting a Victorian ball in a stately home called Gainsborough Hall.  The film crew had hoped to use a local dance troupe for the shoot, but the dance troupe was unreliable. So we decided to use volunteers and teach them ourselves. We used the same method featured in our La Mer DVD; first, learn the steps, then move with it across the dance floor and finally try not to bump into the other dancers. In machine quilting we call this 'minding your spacing'. It worked a treat. By the end of the session, everyone was dancing and laughing and enjoying something that they hadn't expected to. What a great day! They are really going to look fantastic in costume.