Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring is Here!!

Although the day started dull and a bit chilly, it soon warmed up into a lovely sunny day and everything is beginning to blossom.

Alison was the first to arrive, travelling up from Hampshire, followed by Amanda and Chris.  Caroline was teaching today.

As usual we started with tea and cake, today it was banana, sultana and pecan and double chocolate muffins.

After catching up on our news and putting the world to right, we had a quick show and tell.  Alison had been sewing hexagons together in 1930's fabric, the pattern inspired by an old quilt in a book she has.

I had completed two quilt tops, Summer Breeze from Scrap-Basket Surprises and Twinkle from Scrap-Basket Sensations, both books by Kim Brackett.  The fabric was purchased in America some years ago.

I also had some small leftover blocks in the same fabric that I had made into a baby quilt.

Chris also had completed a quilt top using the Tumbler design, this was a kit that she had bought at the Quilters Sale at the Farnham Maltings last year.

Alison was continuing to hand quilt her block of the month quilt.  The photos do not do justice to the hand quilting Alison has done.

Chris was sewing her hexagons in a moda fabric from Kansas Troubles.

Amanda was working on her quilt for the Guildford Quilters exhibition which starts on 22 April 2012 at Clandon Park Surrey (National Trust Property).

Chris had to leave before lunch, which was chicken wrapped in smoked bacon with rosemary roasted potatoes and salad, followed by a chocolate mousse dessert.

After lunch and more tea, Alison and Amanda continued on with their projects and I made binding for three quilts.

Amanda left to met her daughter and after another cup of tea Alison made her way home.

Until next time...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

...and then there were three, two then four!

So here was the dilemma!  I HAD to stay home due to a pending visit from Virgin Media, so rather than miss out on yet anotherTuesday with 'the girls', I decided to have them all over.  Needless to say it wasn't an 8am visit, but actually that was ok!  We would meet in the conservatory! Sadly, Chris was working so couldn't make it.  A rather subdued Amanda phoned to let me know she was unwell (and she really did sound very poorly) thus wouldn't make it after all.  Therefore, we were going to be 3 for the day.  I had been cleaning fit to bust, so was relieved when Janet arrived about 11-ish and I had to stop; closely followed by Alison, who'd popped into the village to visit Needle and Thread for some lovely pink and grey moda fabrics. 

We settled quickly to tea and coffee with Orange and Lavendar muffins ( I adapted the Orange Muffin recipe to use some of the flavoured sugar available from Waitrose... it has real flowers in it and smells divine... I could have made it stronger, but decided to err on the side of caution. The icing had lavendar flowers sprinkled on and was mixed using zesty orange juice) or Cranberry and Almond muffins from my Quick and Easy Muffins.... I was assured they were very tasty, which is always a plus after my last few not so wonderful efforts.  It is fun to experiment with recipes, but equally it is very nerve wracking waiting for a verdict! LOL.

  For show and tell, Janet showed us her quilt top and some blocks she was working on, which she had done beautifully.  The colours and sizes were absolutely wonderful.  I had already sent off, the night before, with its new owner, the Hidden Stars wedding quilt.. so all the girls got to see was the above right photo, sadly.  Janet had brought a few magazines and books which we looked at with great interest.  Lots of chatter, cups of tea and coffee followed. Janet, then settled down to some fabric cutting etc.. Alison got out her quilt top and me... well I prevaricated!  What's new?

Eventually it was time for lunch... Salmon with herb crust and prawns with salad.  Needless to say just as I was serving, the technician arrived to put in our new box and modem!  So, I had to leave the girls to serve themselves!  Not ideal, but I could not do anything else.  I returned about an hour later to discover they had washed up and tidied up.  Thank you so much ladies!  I then remembered that there was desert to serve... creme brulee, so back to turn on my grill and melt the sugar! 

After lunch, Alison had brought her block of the month quilt made of fossil ferns and was hand quilting it.  It looked complicated... I have not done any hand quilting yet and I was fascinated as to how it was being stitched.  Alison was able to describe how she was stitching from one side to the other of the design... I shall attempt some ...ONE DAY!  
As my machine was in for its service, I'd brought my old Toyota XXX - a real clunker if ever there was one. I never really got started despite having brought down my dad's log cabin stars quilt, begun in one of Janet's classes in 2010. Hmm! Message to self... get on with it! LOL.  I shall, once I remember how I was setting up the blocks...!
Just after 3.00 a knock at the door heralded the arrival of our one working member.  Chris had had a fruitless day as her appointment had been cancelled due to illness.  However, she enjoyed a cup of tea and a muffin with us which was wonderful. It was good to see her.  We chatted on for about a half hour or so and then it was time for the group to disband for another week.  Sadly, I shall not be there next time as I will working, but hopefully I will be there for the following week. Until we meet again!!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spur of the Moment!

Tuesdays come around so fast.  Luckily I had a house full of visitors at the weekend, therefore plenty of leftovers to enjoy!
                                                                                                                                                                                           We started with my mother's choc chip cookies & fresh hot cross buns (courtesy of Morrisons).

It was a cosy gathering, Janet & Alison arriving together after a shopping spree in Needle & Thread, conveniently just down the road.

 Janet had completed another quilt top for the shop.
 Alison was busy working on a block of the month from a few years ago - hand quilting.
 Janet began another version the "Twinkle" from "scrap Basket Sensations" using scraps from a selection of fabrics from her stash.

 I have not done much in the way of sewing as have been busy making cakes for a wedding on Saturday.

Alison's BOTM quilt.
A lunch of chunky chicken & vegetable soup (stock from weekend roast) was followed by fresh fruit and a continuation of our various projects.

Caroline joined us briefly for a cup of tea and left over birthday cake (again from the weekend).

I waved everyone off into the sunshine. ~End of another beautiful day!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March - is it Spring yet?

Count on it Banners by Nancy Halvorsen
Today the sun was shining and the countryside looking as if it has begun to wake up from its winter sleep so the girls had a lovely drive down to Hampshire.

No sooner had they arrived, than the kettle was boiling away and tea made, banana and chocolate chip muffins made their appearance and we enjoyed a while in front of the woodstove - which after some reluctance on its part was blazing away giving a welcome warmth. It was still cool today despite the sunshine and having spent time in a warm car, the house seemed a little cool for the girls, I hadn't noticed as I had been fairly busy earlier in the morning - note to self, check the thermometer and light the stove earlier!

We got down to some sewing fairly quickly as we are all amazingly enough still very fired up to get on with our various projects. 

Amanda got cracking on with her hexagons which she has started to sew the various flowers together. She is due to exhibit this as an ongoing project in a couple of upcoming exhibitions - more of that nearer the time. They look lovely and will be just like a flower garden when it is finished.

Caroline was starting to quilt her Hidden Stars quilt which is a wedding present for some close friends. I realised that I hadn't got a picture of the whole quilt so you will have to wait for a reveal later!

The back looks great too with a pieced segment running across the width of the quilt.

Janet was busy cutting strips for a quilt sample for Needle and Thread and she and Amanda did a bit of working out as to how many blocks were needed. As we didn't have the book handy - we looked back at a couple of blog entries - this post - where Amanda had displayed her version of the quilt and hey presto we could work out the numbers. Who would have thought having a blog would be useful!

We did think that the black and white strips with contrasting red fabric looked very stylish being sewn on the featherweight.

In between filling the kettle and making tea,I was working on a couple of blocks for my Just Takes 2 red and white quilt. Both were paper pieced and I was very pleased with them although on one of them I had to unpick as much as I sewed and the basket block came up 3/4inch smaller than it should have.....thank goodness for borders. How that could have happened when I was paper piecing is anyone's guess.

We tidied up for lunch -lasagne and salad, but quickly got back to sewing. Conversation ranged over a wide range of topics as always including what workshops we had booked for Festival of Quilts this August.
Keeping on the red and white theme, my little woollen cushion is finished and now resides on a chair looking very much at home.

Of course no Tuesday is complete without cake, so the kettle went on again and we enjoyed some chocolate cake. This was a recipe that Chris had baked for us Pink Whisk chocolate cake a few weeks ago and it was too delicious not to be repeated!

All too soon it was time for the Surrey contingent to get on the road again.  Another lovely day filled with creativity, conversation and cake. The sunshine helped too!

Chris you were missed today, hopefully we will all be back together again soon. Did you get the cake? Amanda promised she wouldn't eat it on the way home!

As it was still such a beautiful day, I walked into the village - without a coat! - to pick up my farmer's wife book which I was having spiral bound at the print shop. Oh it is going to be so much easier to use now - no more losing my place as the book flips shut.

Thanks Amanda too for the lovely gift you brought from your stay in Cornwall -I look forward to decorating with it in a couple of weeks.

Looking forward to seeing everybody again soon.