Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sizing Up!

I know, I've been a bit quiet lately! more on that in a moment, but first I have a couple of big thank you's to make!As I have talked about lately on here, and with several of you by email, I've been deliberating over rulers that I might be able to use. The main issues are that not being able to see the markings, I'm somewhat left needing a ruler in different widths, one 6 inch wide to make blocks, a 2 inch wide for strips ... and every width in between that I might need!

In one chat about this problem, my new(ish) friend Patricia showed me this ruler by Guidelines for Quilting. It sounded rather fine but we didn't know how much it cost. Unbeknown to me she spoke to the company, asked the price and whether they thought a blind guy would be able to use one ... they did, and very very kindly said they'd send me one, complete with a seam allowance addition that also performs as a finger guard ... this is super helpful since I don't think my braille reading would be helped by the loss of a couple of digits!

So here's a photo of mine!

photo of my new Guidelines ruler on top of a piece of square pattern fabric.

Now I'm not certain I've actually got it in the picture, so here's one from their website!actually I can't figure out the URL for the image so here's the page about it!

I've been taking my time getting to know my new ruler! I can adjust the size,which is currently at 5.5 inches. I can add or remove the seam guard, and I've discovered that on the underside there is a railway track style ruler in 1/8 inch increments and markings at 1 inch intervals, and I can trace those with my fingertips and count to determine the size setting of the ruler ... this is very cool for a blind person! :)

Next important announcement: I have noticed a nice handful of new followers recently too! Hello!! Please do leave me a comment if you're reading this, because I have not figured out how to go from your name in my list of followers to your blog, so I have no way to follow you back except if you leave me a comment! So please do - I'm thrilled to have new followers and would love to follow you back! The same applies to anybody who has followed me and notices I haven't followed you ... I'm not trying to snub you, I just can't get to your blog! sometimes I feel so dull when I can't figure out how to do some things on Blogger!!

So what has been keeping me away from blogging? Well, a move back to the UK is on the cards, probably in about a month. So I'm trying not to do much other than preparing and thinking about what I might be able to bring back ... this is why I haven't done any quilting at all of late ....

I do hope to bring my fabric stash, main tools, in fact pretty much everything except the sewing machine, which I'll probably try to sell and replace when I get back ... it's a stressful time, but I am looking forward to being back in Wales. I'll certainly miss my American quilt friends who I won't see anymore, and those who I hope to meet in the short time left here ... but being blind poses challenges that I feel I'll cope better with back in the UK!

bout a week ago I had minor surgery to ex-plant the catheter that I had implanted back in October. This is for my dialysis which I am due to start in the next week or so, at least due to start training! I've still got a small amount of life in my kidneys (at best 5%) but I'd like to get going with the training so I'm getting familiar with the new routine!

So that's what I've been up to. Those of you who live nearby, do let's see if we can meet up at least once before I go, and for those in the UK I hope to see y'all soon!

Go get yourselves one of those super cool rulers, you know you need one, every quilter should have one! :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Weekend Wonderfulls

I am very pleased to announce that I have been chosen by LynCC to receive a Liebster Award . You can see it here: (I think that's the post I'm supposed to link back to!)

The award is for blogs with less than 200 followers, and the recipient should pass the award on to 5 more bloggers... so here's my list. I must say that this was hard because I love reading all your blogs, and many of you are already way over the 200 followers mark (and a couple of my nominees are pretty darn close!) ... but these are 5 people who have been great friends and entertain me with their comments, their own blogs, and by email where they converse about all manner of crazy things!

In alphabetical order so there's no whiff of favouratism!
  • Archie The Wonder Dog for posts chock full off hexagons and super cute photos and a good dash of humour too! I look forward to Helen's updates and love chatting to her!
  • Bird Brains and Dog Tales is one of my newer followers and a close neighbour. I have never worked out what I'm supposed to do to follo a Wordpress blog, but maybe you can figure that one out and follow this lovely blog! I stop by regularly to catch up with the goings on!
  • Magpie Mimi for wit, style, creativity and determination, she's got the lot! You might discover some must-have things in her etsy shop too!
  • Narcoleptic in a Cupboard I know a lot of you follow Sarah already, but for those who don't, get on over and follow this blog because she lives in a place with no trees and a cute cat called Ellie ... and she sleeps a lot so knock on the cupboard door before entering! She's also got a stained glass quilt tutorial that you need to check out!
  • P.S. I Want to Quilt Too! is another newish follower who I've greatly enjoyed chatting too lately! I couldn't quite figure out how many followers there are, but a few more would be well deserved! Susan has given me lots of great tips on all kinds of quilting matters!

Liebster Conventions:
*Thank your award presenter on your blog {thanks Lyn!}
*Link back to the blogger who presented you with the award
*Copy and paste the award to your blog
*Present the Liebster Award to 5 blogs that have fewer then 200 followers that you think deserve to be recognized
*Let them know by leaving a comment on their blog

And in other news, I won another giveaway recently, thanks to #Talknt on Twitter, and a couple of days ago this lovely collection of hundreds of MODA prints and solids arrived. It's sure going to be a challenge keeping track of what's what, and I think I might need some kind of organisation to my quilt drawer .... rather than the chaotic heap that currently masquerades as my stash pile!

a photo of at least a dozen little parcels of various prints, including ones of buttons, shirts, and severl solids.

I'm unsure to whom I owe thanks for sending this lovely present, though everybody who sponsors the Twitter chat is fantastic and the fabric giveaways add greatly to what is already a superb community of quiltobsessives and sewaholics!

I'm also sporting a new haircut, but since it's exactly the same as my usual haircut I won't post a photo here! If anybody sees a photo they think the style would suit me, do share the link so I can suggest it next time I need a trim! (serious suggestions only please since I can't see what you're recommending and I don't want to end up with the comedy haircut from hell, no matter how funny that might seem! ... not that I don't trust you all and your whacky senses of humour or anything!!!!!!) :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Grotty Knotty

Friday night was sew night at quilt club, 2 hours to finally do some sewing ... something that's been sadly lacking since Christmas! I managed a grand total of 3 squares ... the very observant amongst you may notice a conspicuous correlation between that and the number of needles I managed to thread in that same 2 hours!

I had arrived full of optimism, having found my new self-threading needles quite simple to thread in a recent blog update. I was also armed with a nifty Clover tabletop needle threading device, very thoughtfully sent by Quilter in the Gap, who happened to have a spare one and saw a comment from Susan suggesting I might find one useful.

So I sat down to thread my first needle of the evening, and promptly discovered that getting the thread through the eye was easy, but lining up the two ends of the thread ready for knotting wass less so! To cut a long struggle short, next time I tried knotting the thread first and then parting the thread so I could slide it into the eye of the needle (remember these needles have a tiny slit by the eye so this is possible) ... however it took me an age, well about 30 mins, to accomplish this .... and when I tried to repeat the trick for needle 3 I gave up! it doesn't take long before you find yourself wondering if you actually just knotted the end of the thread and didn't get the other end into the knot, and therefore whether you're trying to separate a single bit of thread!

Now you all probably well know that I take a long time to ask for help! I did have a willing helper this time but I had to try on my own so that I can find a way to master this without depending on somebody to help! I did ask for help figuring out the mechanism for the threading machine, but neither of us got very far with that, so I have no success to report there either! .. before giving up on that though I will try with a conventional needle and also by looking for instructions online ...

I also have to report no success grappling with the sewing machine today. Having had trouble pushing the fabric through past the needle in a straight line and without any bunching, I thought I'd turn the machine around so I'm sitting behind the needle as it were, and therefore would be pulling the fabric through which would hopefully avoid the whole bunching problem .... well I struggled to work out exactly where I'm lining up the fabric under the needle ready to start, so I definitely need to play around with some scraps before ruining any of my rainy day quilt squares! ... I'm not too hopeful because all the controls are now facing away from me (the needle raise button and the dials etc) but we'll see, it might still work!

So that's my dismal sewing update! At least I got 3 squares hand sewn on Friday night, but it'll take me a lifetime to finish my second quilt at this rate! ... I have had a lot of other things going on though so it's not all been my lousy skills that have been getting in the way of my stitching!

Not giving up yet though .... and I'm determined to get going on my Hanuary quilt block (an asterisk and a wonky pound sign) for the tutorial I've signed up for! I've even been thinking about how I can embelish it to make it a nice little mug rug style affair!