Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Christmas Shopping, Island Hopping

This year we decided that we would try to do as much as possible of our Christmas shopping locally, which meant that a trip to Arran by ferry was called for!

So, on a glorious winter morning last week we headed down the coast and set sail.

Crisp, blue skies, snow-capped mountains, calm seas and glorious scenery not a bad combination for a shopping trip :)

Arran is a veritable hive of crafty activity and one of my favourite destinations is the Arran Aromatics factory shop, where we stocked up on loads of their island-made gorgeous smelling goodies.

Next up, a visit to the Arran Brewery to stockpile a selection of their great beers for the thirsty hordes who will descend upon us at Christmas :)

Whilst browsing the shelves at the Brewery, I came across this barley wine. Now normally I wouldn't have paid too much attention but as our shopping trip co-incided with Christmas Pudding making time, barley wine was very high on my shopping list! For years I have been making Delia Smith's traditional Christmas Pudding, which calls for barley wine in the list of ingredients, and for years I have searched high and low for it without success. So you can imagine my delight when there it was sitting on the shelf in front of me. That bottle was snatched up pretty quickly I can tell you.

Now, whether I will be able to taste the difference when the pudding is finally served I have no idea, but I am just over the moon that I have at long last managed to tick off everything on the long list of Christmas Pudding ingredients for a change.

After a very pleasant lunch we headed back to the ferry to be greeting with this stunning sunset when we arrived back home.

 Now wasn't that a very pleasant way to spend a Christmas shopping day! Hope your Christmas shopping expeditions are equally as enjoyable.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Tied up in knots!

It seems like an age since I had a finish to report, and not just a finish but a finished quilt! Having a deadline tends to concentrate a girl's mind :)

December 1st was the deadline for handing over the quilts being made by the group I joined when we moved. At the time of joining I blogged that meeting the deadline with one and maybe two completed quilts would be a breeze! Ha! I should have known better.

Only one of the prospective quilts was finished in time. I really have no excuse for that as the second top has been gathering dust in my sewing room since September! I dithered so much about what backing to use and how to quilt it that neither of those things happened.

On the bright side "Fit to be Tied" is completed and handed over, so one wheelchair bound child will have a bit of colourful comfort this winter.

As I mentioned before I Tie Quilted this, which was a first for me and I am really happy with how it turned out. I added a drop of Fray Check to each knot as I was worried about the thread fraying and unravelling. It made the knots stiff so I decided to wash and dry the quilt in the hope that it would take out that stiffness, which fortunately it did. I am not so sure that I would use the tie quilting method on a large quilt but it worked just fine for this lap quilt size. I think the quilting also lends itself more to traditional, block pattern quilts too, although perhaps I just need to experiment with that more :)

For extra warmth, and part of the reason for tie quilting, I used a wool check fabric for the quilt back. I was a bit anxious when the quilt was in the dryer but it all came out looking fine.

For the binding I used the Square Corner Binding method outlined by Carolyn Forster in her book "Sew Jelly Roll Quilts and Gifts" . It was a neater finish than I sometimes achieve with mitred corners, but if I am honest I prefer the look of a (neat!) mitred corner.

 So, that's my first Friday finish in December, let's hope it is a good omen :)

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts

Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday

Friday, 25 November 2016

Old and New in New to Me

Welcome to November's New to Me Link Party, where we celebrate our attempts at new things, whether successful or not!

My New to Me's this month are a very mixed bag :)

I contributed a New round-up of tutorials for Gifts that are Easy to Ship for the Sew Mama Sew Handmade Holidays series. Check them out here if you haven't already, you may see some names in there that are familiar!

A new sponsor of the Ho, Ho, Ho Giveaway Prize.

Head on over to Karen at Practically Pippy to link up your Christmas makes this month to be in with a chance of winning the gorgeous bundle of FQ's from Lewis and Irene's Northern Lights collection generously donated by Justine. Check out Karen's great Quilted Christmas Wreath pillow too whilst you are there :)

Last month I visited an exhibition by the Ayrshire Quilters, one of whose quilts you can see above, and this month I joined the group for the first time. I was introduced to the group by Sheila, who blogs as Bluepatch Quilter. It was lovely to meet in real life someone that I have only encountered virtually before!

Another new tutorial added to the blog. This time it was for a Christmas Pudding Wreath, and I got the chance to incorporate some lovely vintage lace into a project for the first time too!

Definitely not vintage is my next New to Me! I suspect that I am not the only one who struggles with carrying all of the paraphernalia needed for a quilt class, so when I saw this handy portable ruler set on Massdrop I couldn't resist. I love my Karen Kay Buckley applique scissors so I am sure that this ruler will become one of my favourite tools. 

My final New to Me for the month is way out of my comfort zone :)

The deadline is looming for the handover of the charity quilts I and my fellow quilters are making in my Thursday patchwork class. I have had the quilt top finished for ages but hadn't made up my mind how to quilt it when I came across a magazine article on Tied Quilting. So I thought that I would give it a go. The quilt is backed with a check wool so with wadding it is quite thick and seemed to be an ideal candidate for my first attempt at Tied Quilting.
So far, I am enjoying it but will let you know if that is still the case by the time the top is quilted!

That's my New to Me's for November, now it is your turn to link up and celebrate the trying of something new. Of course it would be nice if our something New's were successful, but you are amongst friends here. We know that it isn't always the case so, hey, we are here to celebrate anyway the fact that we tried :)

As ever please help to spread the word by linking back to this post in your post and/or adding the blog button to your sidebar.

Celtic Thistle Stitches

Check out the other links too and, maybe, leave an encouraging comment along the way. The emphasis of this link party is to celebrate the trying so a little encouragement here and there would not go amiss! 
The link will remain open until 23.59GMT on November 30th, so you have some time yet to try something new and link up and join the party :)

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