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Monday, 13 February 2012

My Very First Award ...

... for this blog.  I am so excited to have received this.  I have been chosen by Giles to receive a Liebster Award from the Touch and Sew Blog and you can see the post here.
The award is for blogs with less than 200 followers, and the recipient should pass the award on to 5 more bloggers.  I have to tell you how hard this was because so many of the blogs I follow have zillions of followers and one or two of my recipients will be there with another one or two followers.  But I have really loved following these 5 blogs, as well as all the others I follow which are so inspirational, and one or two of them have become great friends and they all always totally entertain me though I don't always comment on their blogs I just wanted you all to know how much I love them. This list is absolutely in no particular order it just is

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

Until next time ... 
Lots of Love 
Patti xxx 
American by birth and MOUTH but British in every other way

Friday, 10 February 2012

I really hate whinging

so I won't.  But my stitching room is still the dump it was before and I can't get into there to sew yet.  However there will be some improvement.  The huge bed is going out of the litte room where you can't even shut the door cause the bed takes up practically the whole room.

So, DH's junk and all our extra dining room chairs will go back into the small room and be a junk room again instead of my room being the junk room but it isn't going to happen overnight but it will happen fast enough for me to be able to cut and sew on my machine which I am so missing.

So what have I been doing?  I've been in bed with real flu this time instead of the pretend kind the damn meds gave me.  I have been reading on my Kindle as well as making a new friend via Twitter.

I had heard about the Elm Creek books and wondered if you had to read them in order so I asked and he said you do.  So I looked on Amazon and found the first book the night before last.  It's this one:

This is one of the best books I have read EVER!!!  Not only is it a GREAT read there are THE best quilting tips in there I have read in any book (and I have loads trust me).  In fact it was so great that I have ordered one of Jennifer Chiaverini's quilting books from them as she is a master quilter.   This is the first book and it's called "The Quilter's Apprentice" (sorry this is the British link to Amazon).  A lovely read and so instructional as well.  I read it until 3 a.m. Thursday morning and woke up at around mid-day that day and started again around an hour later and finished it at 5p.m. yesterday.  I am now starting the second book.  I can see this being a really expensive month bookwise as they aren't cheap at around £5.00 each on the Kindle.  So thanks a lot Giles but I do love them.

Now before I leave you all for today I would be so grateful if somebody could please remember who made a spotty (or dotty) quilt around a year ago.  I loved it an so did my Grandson and I would love to make it for him for his next birthday but I can't find it anywhere.  I probably saved it on my old computer but as that was stolen and stupid here didn't back it up as regularly as she should have it isn't there.  Please help me if you can.

Until next time ...
Lots of Love
Patti xxx
American by birth and MOUTH but British in every other way

Monday, 6 February 2012

A Real Quilting Post for My Fellow Brits

I was talking to one of my followers on Twitter yesterday and she Tweeted that she really wanted to learn how to quilt.  I said I would email her with some suggestions and that lead me to quite a long email to her and I figured I would share with you all what I said to her as if you are a new quilter, and you live in the U.K., you would probably find what I am sharing hopefully useful.

When I started to quilt, or try to quit, I was quite angry about the price of fabric in this country as in the States pay the same in Dollars, or less, as we do in Pounds.  This is one of my pet peeves and always has been - well for the past 15 years anyway.  No I have not been quilting for 15 years, I started out Cross Stitching and one of the first kits I wanted was made by a company called Shepherds Bush and it was over £60.00 and when I looked at their website online I found out that they were selling the same thing for $60.00.

Earth by Shepherds Bush Printworks
was what my DH bought for me
I never finished it but sold it half finished on eBay many years ago

I phoned them up and asked if they would mail their kits to England and they confirmed that they would.  At that time we were not charged VAT or the dreaded Handling Charge.  Now the Handling Charge is really what annoys me too because no matter how much the VAT is, or was, there is a standard Handling Charge of £8.00.  Unfortunately we are now routinely charged this if what you are importing from anywhere is worth more than $25.00.  Which makes buying anything from the States putting the postage fee, the VAT and the Handling Fee together really not worth while most of the time.

So I started looking for stores in the U.K. where I could purchase what I wanted reasonably and not pay £s for $s.

The other thing is because quilting is mainly an American hobby all measurements are in inches.  So those of us that are old enough to remember using inches it's easy peasy though not as precise of cms and mms.

So here is what I wrote to Sue:

Firstly there are various ways you can quilt.  You can measure and cut out with scissors (takes too long and is not precise enough), you can cut using rulers and you can Paper Piece.  Because I have MS and tend to shake a bit, and I have tried everything and every way of quilting I find paper piecing to be the best way for me.  Now like anything I have done I have to have everything before I start so I make loads of mistakes in what I buy.  

The three things you will need are:

a 6" x 12" Ruler 
and no I do not work or have any association with Creative Grids
I am just a very happy customer

One of the Internationally famous quilters said that she could manage on a desert island with just this one Ruler.  It really is a great ruler but I also find I need other rulers, look I alway buy too much stuff anyway, like the 12 1/2" square ruler to make sure that my 12 1/2" blocks are square and measure exactly 12 1/2" round. 

A Self-Healing A1 Cutting Mat
don't buy a smaller one because you will
waste your money.  A1 is the largest mat

Hopefully this will save you loads of money.  QUILTING IS NOT A CHEAP HOBBY!
But it is loads of fun.

Creative Grids do sell a combined kit of things you need to start quilting.

Over the past few years Moda and other fabric manufacturers have followed suit, have brought out fabric lines cut for you, either in strips the LOF (length of fabric) and called Jelly Rolls (because in the States you buy candy called Jelly Rolls and they are wound up just like these are), Turnovers (which are cut triangles), Layer Cakes (which are 10" squares) and Charm Packs (5" square which I always want to call Cupcakes and don't ask me why because I just don't know).  

Now if you buy any of these pre-cuts and are intending on using  a solid color with it I highly recommend that you purchase a solid color pre-cut the same as the pre-cut whatever you are buying at the same time as all of Moda's ready cuts are cut with pinking shears (or a pinking shear kind of machine) 

For example, if think you can use a metre of white fabric and cut it into 2 1/2" strips to work with it doesn't work trust me I've tried.  I now buy white from Moda  ready cut as these really work no matter what I'm using of their ready cuts and I am not even that keen on their solids preferring Kona solids much more as Kona is a thicker cotton but not too thick.  I am not going to give you loads of sites to go to but just a few and the rest you can see on my Quilting blog including great tutorials I've found along the way.

These are the best sites I have found so far. - this website has classes that are really great.  You can download their BOM (that's Block of the Month) class for free right now so I would do that at no cost and the teacher is great.  I have bought three of their classes and there is a new one about Paper Piecing that I want but shall have to wait for. - this is the best site to buy rulers from and they are in England and don't charge anything for postage or packing.  I would recommend that you only purchase their rulers as they are non-slip and that makes a huge difference when cutting fabric - This is the ONLY magazine worth buying.  It's online and quite wonderful and British mainly.  You can buy back issues if you want or not as you wish but it really is worth having. - this is another British site which is a really great place to shop.  Their prices are very competitive. - another British site.  This time for solid fabrics and sometimes not.  No Pounds for Dollars on this site which drives me nuts. is my local Quilting store and I go there rather than shop online.  Jenny, the owner,  is really nice. - another British site.  If you are wondering why I shop in the UK so much when they always charge in £'s what the $ price would be it's because by the time you have paid the postage and if you spend more than $25.00 the post office will charge you 20% VAT (no big deal) but on top of that they will charge you £8.00 handling fee (which is a HUGE deal as far as I am concerned). - this is my very favorite store of them all.  I have joined their Block of the Month clubs a few times over the years and they are really terrific.  The really great thing about this American site for joining is the Blocks of the Month never cost more than $25.00 so you are safe from the Post Office.

I have reserved everything this year from The Fat Quarterly Shop in the States because last year I waited too long for the finishing kit and couldn't buy one.  This is the funnest way I know to quilt.  You get one block a month to cut and stitch and everything is explained beautifully.

I also buy from Etsy once in a while but am always careful I don't buy more than $25.00 worth.

There are other Quilting stores you can find on Google you don't just have to take my word for it.

If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to ask me and I will do my best to answer even though I'm much better with the academics of quilting than actually doing it.  I have yet to succeed making a whole quilt top.  All I have to do is clear up DH's mess that he's made of my sewing room and I can get started.  Hopefully this virus will be better tomorrow than it's been today so I can go in there and get going.  I'm dying to quilt.

Until next time ...
Lots of Love
Patti xxx
American by birth and MOUTH but British in every other way

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Blimey it's been over a month AGAIN

I didn't realise at all that it's been so long AGAIN!!!

Do you like my Britishness of saying Blimey?  It's one of my favorite words but NOT my very favorite which is B*llocks which covers everything and I'm very fond of saying as all my friends know so I figured you should know this too.  The best thing about b*llocks is the Yanks have absolutely no idea what it means.  See I told you I was more British than American now!

So what's been happening over the past month you ask.  Well nothing much to be honest.  Drugs are dreadful still so a couple of weeks ago I stopped it.  I have lost almost a year of my life thanks to those darn drugs.  Look I've had MS for a very very long time without any drugs.  I was told I could chose the one I wanted and woud you believe I chose the one I always swore I would never go on.  What made me decide on that one?  I only had to inject once weekly with it.  How dumb was I!!!  The side effects were too much to bear so I stopped it.  The my neurologist put me on the same drug but this time it was injectable 3 times a week in much lower doses.  I went on this one in July and now in February guess what?  Same side effects but worse because as well as all the other ones I had hot flushes as well.  Look I had a total hysterectomy 20 years ago and already went through the change with hot flushes and didn't need or want them again. So I've been off it for two weeks and everything is normal (for me anyway) again.

Now if him who mustn't been obeyed (known affectionately as DH) would clear his crap (otherwise known as washing (of the clean variety) and other stuff) out of my sewing room which is now a junk room I could sew again.  And I so want to finally sew again.  I was meant to be out all day tomorrow but as I have a virus that's going round and I feel a bit better today tomorrow is going to be the day we clear out my sewing room and get it ready for me to stitch in again.  I really really miss sewing.  So watch this space.

Until next time ...
Lots of Love
Patti xxx
American by birth and MOUTH but British in every other way