Friday, 10 March 2017

Signs of spring

My last post was more than a month ago! Many things have happened, but I will not dwell on them today. Let's have a look outside today, shall we? It seems that spring is on its way (yippee)! Time for a post from the garden...

Our Hellebores have self-seeded and come in several different colours, with and without those lovely speckles. I've been wondering if they would do well in a vase, I may have to try...

The large Daffodils are brilliantly cheerful, but they do catch the wind. Those that have fallen over are gratefully picked and brought indoors. We have several varieties, so many of them are still only a promise of things to come. The small Tête-á-Tête Daffodils are a lot sturdier than the large ones, and are dotted throughout the garden.

We love the small yellow flowers of the Lesser Celandines (Ficaria verna), too. They are doing well in our wet climate, and self-seed happily. The markings on their glossy leaves vary from plant to plant, and give some colour even when the flowers have gone.

The Dead Nettles (Lamium maculatum) are also starting to flower, before long we'll have a large purple patch buzzing with bumble bees. But it is still a little too cold and windy for those welcome visitors.

The Fritillarias are early this year, they are happily showing young buds between the apple trees, but in another, more sheltered, spot they are already showing their checker board markings. Almost there...

All those flowers certainly make up for gloomy grey skies, drizzly rain, and blustery wind!

Maybe it's time to sew some more!


Thursday, 2 February 2017

Pantone Colour of the Year 2017 is green

 - A post about colour, specifically green, followed by technical steps how to use Pantone's (digital) colour codes -

Anyone who even slightly knows me, should realise that I am not a follower of fashion at all.

I find it hard to buy clothes for myself, because I like my clothes to suit me whether they are in fashion or not. I am judging clothes as much by style and colour, as by shape. Read: I like my comfort. Don't get me wrong, I do like to look nice, but when the current fashion is for high heels, I will not buy shoes. If fashion dictates squint inducing prints, I am buying plain shirts. And when shops are full of items in yuk yellow, or bad brown, I will search further. Maybe I am just fussy!

However, when it comes to fabric for quilts, it is a completely different matter! 
Deep COLOURS, prints large and small, soft LOW VALUE, and gentle accents, I like them ALL!!
 Though maybe not all in the same project...

With the start of 2017, I came across Pantone's new "Colour of the Year", which is a soft green called


Now, I have not used green very often in my quilting work - although for a while now I have a soft spot for a yellowy lime green which goes with almost anything... And I have enough green fabrics lying around to make a quilt or two, so I am making plans...
I think the 2017 Pantone colour is quite an easy one to work with. Soft, gentle, though still colourful enough.

I am thinking a low contrast quilt with greys...
Or a high contrast one using deep purples or blues...
A monochrome with only greens and white...

Plenty of ideas!

And while I am pondering what quilt to make with my green fabrics, I should show you two pouches I recently made, which actually were... (mostly) green! A bit brighter than Greenery, but not that far off...

For this last pouch I experimented with some scraps of Bosal in R-Form which Cathy Ewbank kindly sent to me to try out. I have to order some for myself now...

Colour codes for digital use

- read on if you want to know how you can use Pantone's colour codes digitally. I won't blame you if you want to skip it! -

If you would like to use "Greenery" in your digital quilt designs (I use EQ7, but I'm sure it can be used elsewhere), or colour the text in your blog posts (like I did above), read on. I found it is actually quite easy.
I found this method when I followed a link in the recent EQ7 Do you EQ newsletter, leading me to this BLOG POST. It shows how to find the RGB colour recipe for Greenery on the Pantone website, and how to use it to add that exact colour to your EQ7 colouring palette.

But you can use this method elsewhere, too! And with ALL the many colours in the Pantone website!

* How to find the colour codes for "Greenery":

1. go to the Pantone website
4. click on the colour chip you want to use (if you want to limit yourself to colours that are printed on cotton, limit yourself to ones with a code TCX)
5. you have found the RGB and HEX/HTML codes for Greenery!
See below how to use them...

*How to find the colour codes for ANY Pantone colour:

1. go to the Pantone website
3. click on a colour close to the one you want in "SELECT YOUR COLOR" and <SUBMIT>
4. click on the colour chip you want to use (if you want to limit yourself to colours that are printed on cotton, limit yourself to ones with a code TCX)
5. you have found the RGB and HEX/HTML codes for your colour!
See below how to use them...

*how to add the colour to your EQ7 palette:

- see the EQ7 BLOG POST using the RGB code

*how to change text colour in Blogger:

To make it easy to change the colour of your text without too much HTML knowledge:
6. select the text you want to change the colour of
7. change the colour to any other than black (click on the fat underlined A at the top bar, and choose any colour)
8. click on HTML
9. find your word (type CTRL-F and type in your word if you have trouble finding it)
10. just before your word you will see
<span style="color: #xxxxx;">
where xxxxx is the HTML code for the current colour of your text (it will not really be xxxxx).
11. change #xxxxx to the HEX/HTML code of the colour you have chosen - #88B04B for greenery (you can select and COPY - PASTE from the Pantone page)
12. switch back to Compose in Blogger, and there you have it!

Now quickly back to sewing, of course! Keep making your world a colourful place!


Monday, 30 January 2017


Since several years I have been aware of a supportive initiative happening around the internet, sharing encouragement to get those unfinished (craft) projects finished. Anyone having seen my sewing space (or any part of my house for that matter) knows I have many, MANY unfinished projects! Last year I finally was brave enough to join in. Not that you need any courage to join in, of course - they are a very friendly community! - but I needed quite some courage to actually list my unfinished projects, and even then I didn't dare list them all. If I had, the list would probably be so long that I wouldn't know where to start finishing any of it! It worked though, and I did finish a few projects!
We're NOT talking about the new projects I started in the mean time so my list is now probably (ahem) bigger than ever...

My most recent Finishalong finish

This year I am even more involved since I have been asked to be Social Media Director of the 2017 Finishalong, which means I keep their Instagram and Facebook page in (hopefully good) shape! Also, if you want your finish shared on the FAL social media pages, and you email them to 2017finishalong[at]gmail[dot]com this means they land with me (I may have to select which to post if there are a lot finishes). To be entered in the Finishalong, finishes shared on our pages still have to be linked up at the end of the quarter as well, of course.

Rhonda's [Quilt] Ramblings

The Finishalong (what)

The Finishalong (FAL) is a fun, low pressure online community event that allows you to make a list of projects that you have already started but not finished, and thus are hanging around in your sewing space - or anywhere really, in my case. At the beginning of a quarter you link up a list of "proposed finishes", the projects you propose to make in that quarter. During the quarter, you finish projects from your list, and post about each finish in turn. Then at the end of the quarter you link up each finish. Each finish linked up is an entry into a random draw for great sponsored prizes, too!
There is no penalty for not finishing something on your list.

Best of all, everyone involved encourages one another to get those projects finished!

One of my finishes from last year

The Hosts (who and where)

The full Finishalong rules, a button for your blog, and sponsor info can be found at any of the hosts' website.
After some years of being hosted by one person, the Finishalong has a global team of hosts since last year. Linking up can be done at any of these hosts.

This year the hosts are:
  • Sarah - Sew me - Northern Ireland
Social Media Director:

Schedule (when)

08/01/17 Q1 proposed finishes linky opens - find my Q1 list HERE
14/01/17 Q1 proposed finishes linky closes
26/03/17 Q1 finishes linky opens
27/03/17 - 31/03/17 Tutorial week
01/04/17 Q1 finishes linky closes

02/04/17 Q2 proposed finishes linky opens
08/04/17 Q2 proposed finishes linky closes
25/06/17 Q2 finishes linky opens
26/06/17 - 30/06/17 Tutorial week
01/07/17 Q2 finishes linky closes

02/07/17 Q3 proposed finishes linky opens
08/07/17 Q3 proposed finishes linky closes
24/09/17 Q3 finishes linky opens
25/09/17 - 29/09/17 Tutorial week
30/09/17 Q3 finishes linky closes

01/10/17 Q4 proposed finishes linky opens
07/10/17 Q4 proposed finishes linky closes
31/12/17 Q4 finishes linky opens
06/01/18 Q4 finishes linky closes

Previous Finishalongs:

2016 Finish-Along became International with 9 hosts including Rhonda's [Quilt] Ramblings

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Plans for 2017 - Projects to Finish in Quarter 1

- to find out more about the Finishalong, see my Finishalong PAGE -

The first two items on my Finish-A-Long (FAL) list for the last quarter of 2016 have been finished. Lily Lapin, the elegant hare, has been made (see HERE) and dressed (HERE)! And my lovely Drunkard's Path quilt is also done (blogged HERE), so now I'm working on writing up the pattern for that...

Many of the other projects have stayed the same, so my list is not really very different from last time.

1. Feathered Star top

Yes, you guessed it, this still needs quilting!

2. Oakshott
Yes, still a little more quilting needed! Almost there now... Will I be able to get it off the list this time?

3. Hearty

The quilt top from (More) Hearty Good Wishes fabrics and sashiko-stitched linen is finished. It needs to be quilted and bound (not changed from last time).

4. Cubes quilt
Not worked on this at all in quarter 3, time to finish it though, it's so close (not changed from last time).

5. Curved improv

The top is (probably) finished, time to turn it into a quilt (not changed from last time).

6. Sunflowers

The blocks are together for years, I intended to quilt it for free motion quilting practice. The idea is that the riot of colours and shapes will not show up my lack of experience too much... (also not changed from last time).

7. Stack and cut log cabin
Another top ready for quilting (again, not changed from last time)!

There should be some potential finishes in this lot. If only I wouldn't get distracted by new and on-the-spur projects (like I did the last few months), I'd be fine to finish most of them! Especially if the snow keeps coming down like this (today, 2 pm):

Linking up with the 2017 Quarter 1 Finishalong at marcigirldesigns.

Stay warm, and keep sewing, of course!


Saturday, 7 January 2017

One Eighth is a Challenge

Yesterday evening I finished this little quilt, and entered it into a challenge. Here is how that came about.

Recently Helen of Archie the Wonder Dog posted a tutorial as part of the 2016 Quarter 4 Finishalong on how to sew an accurate 1/4" strip. I remembered having done that technique before as part of my City & Guilds. But because my sewing machine foot is different, it worked out a bit differently for me.

Helen (or Archie as I tend to think of her/him - sorry, this can be confusing, I hope you don't mind, Helen) showed how you use your 1/4" foot to follow the previous stitching rather than the cut edge to get better accuracy when sewing a strip so narrow. Her foot has two 1/4" sides either side of the needle, but my foot has a 1/4" guide to the right of the needle, and a 1/8" guide to the left. This results in me having to turn my work with the cut edge to the left rather than to the right as usual.

Which made me think that if I turned it the usual way, I'd be guiding with my 1/8" side of the presser foot... with that a challenge was born!

And so I started to limber up with a test piece, sewing a 1/4" strip, soon followed by a 1/8" strip:

In the corner you can see what my 1/4" presser foot looks like.

In the mean time I was thinking of another challenge: Project Quilting.
This is a challenge where a theme is given after which you have a week (yes, only seven days!) to think up and finish - completely finish - a project within that theme. There is a link-up, and much encouragement online, all in all great fun. I have never done a challenge like that before, but had been thinking that this year I would take part if I could. The first theme was given on January 1st - Eight is Great. But what to make... it was already day 3.

Suddenly it clicked, 1/8" and eight are quite related... So I started with the initial idea to make eight blocks, each with eight insets of 1/8" wide 1/8" apart, made in different colours and the same white background. It would make a lovely small quilt.

I started and made my first block. Do you know how much time it takes to make a block with eight 1/8" inset strips, each 1/8" apart?! That makes fifteen 1/8" strips in a row! Sewing, pressing, trimming, sewing again... I had to rethink!

In the end I made four blocks, 6" unfinished (5 1/2" finished size), each with eight 1/8" inset strips in different configurations. Three blocks also include (a few or many) background strips of 1/8". After the first block with parallel strips, the other blocks evolved as I worked.

I auditioned sashing fabrics:

...had some setback... Yes, I unpicked that - twice - ...

...auditioned border fabrics...

...and after two days not doing much else, finished it off!

I turned the edges in and quilted it "in the ditch" around each block and between the sashing and the outer border. The edge has an extra line of quilting, and each block has a little quilting in it, though because of the size I felt it didn't need too much:

I even added an extra set of eight 1/8" strips into the border:

And there you have it, thanks to my youngest who held it up for photography with only a little persuasion...

Now all it needs is a space to hang!

Linked up (and you can vote for 10 favourite entries there, too) with Project Quilting challenge 1 of season 8 (1/8 again...) because

Eight is Great, One Eighth is a Challenge!

Name: "one eighth is a challenge"
Total size: 18" x 18"
Machine pieced, and machine quilted.
All cotton fabrics, cotton wadding, cotton thread.
Backing: calico (muslin in US terms), including a sleeve for hanging.
When: 5-6 January 2017
Where: Rural North County Cork, Rep. of Ireland

And I'm adding the Project Quilting button to the side bar so you can go and check it out for yourself...