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Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt Swap Sent And Received

My Schnitzel & Boo mini swap actually wrapped up last week, but since I've had other things I had to post about in the interim, my 'nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah, look what I got' post has had to wait until now.  It means I get a double whammy of rubbing people's noses in it after posting my thanks on IG last week *ahem*.

So this round I finally got someone that wasn't a complete stranger to me prior to the swap, in fact it was none other than my Brit Bee buddy Susan of Canadian Abroad fame (oh yes, and LP&Q fame, but we knew her online first ;o) )  I learned that apparently I'm scary to make for, she was worried and a previous partner seems to have fessed up in the comments on her blog too - oops!  Probably best that I haven't signed up for any more for a while then...

Anywho, this is the lovely mini I received:

It certainly ticks all the bright colourful boxes, and there's some very cool texture on it from the quilting.  You'll have to take my word for that, I'm not letting anyone else put their grubby mitts on it!  Now if it had been me, I'd have paper pieced that baby, but this is actually a combination of HSTs, HRTs, squares and a few other Ts without acronyms.  Yeah, no, never in a million years, no matter how much I loved my partner would I do that!

Not only did she go above and beyond in the piecing, but I got one of her uber cute HR pinnies, which was perfect timing as I had just realised I needed another one to go with a fresh box of pins (don't ask, my pins have a grading system of use!)  I shall have to be very careful not to stick anyone though...

There was also a suitably geeky mini charm pack and some resealable Terry's chocolate orange segments.  The resealable-ness baffles me, but clearly someone in the Terry's factory is pretending they have restraint!

The partner I sent to was a new to me IG-er, Susi from @lillaluise, who had an obvious (and confessed) love of all things HR and bright autumn colours, and a slightly intimidating feed, but hey, nothing ventured and all that!  Thankfully she and her daughter seemed to like the package I sent:

I'm taking a break from swaps for a wee while now while I try and catch up on a ton of other things I'm meant to be working on, but I'm sure I'll get an urge to play again next year some time!
Black Friday Sale In My Pattern Shop

Okay, so I'm a smidge early here, but I've been positively lax compared to some shops I've seen!  Anyway, I'm having a Black Friday sale in my pattern shop with 25% off all patterns with the code 'BLACKFRIDAY15'.  The sale runs from now until midnight on Monday, and to help you along, here's a quick link to each pattern:

Happy shopping!
Work In Progress Wednesday

I've not been very well for the past couple of days unfortunately - 'tis the season for bugs circulating around offices apparently!  Still, I managed to spend time with my mum and dad and gran at the weekend, and got some sewing done before I was struck down.  The latest round of Brit Bee is now under way, and I got Di's block done with much assistance from the Clearly Perfect Angles that I reviewed the other day - so many HSTs!

Finishes This Week:

There's one project all packed up and off to Quilt Now Towers, but apparently I forgot to take any photos of the fabric before I started cutting, so you'll need to stay completely in suspense as I've barely any left!

Here's Di's block though.  Hers is on top, and the one that Hadley made (in rather shorter order!) for me.  Di's colour scheme is a mixture of grey patterned backgrounds with up to 3 colours of patterned fabrics for the foreground.  Mine is a pure white background with up to 3 colours of solids for the foreground.  I love how different they look!  The blocks finish at 15" x 30" in case you were wondering, and please excuse the less than stellar lighting:

In Progress This Week:

I got this wee Moda Building Blocks 6" block done for my Clearly Perfect Angles demo the other day:

The voile quilt I mentioned last week has been basted using the Stitchery's lovely big cutting tables, but will have to be set aside for a while until I've got all my Christmas projects out of the way.

I've also been finding a few moments here and there to work on the secret project, but alas, no pics yet.

To Be Worked On This Week:

'Tis the season to start working on Christmas presents and I've had 2 requests in so far, with one pattern sketched up, so I'd better start working on them!
Class sample for my stocking class in a couple of weeks, which is all sold out now

Hope you all have a great week!  Linking up with Lee and the gang:

Quilt Making Basics - Clearly Perfect Angles Review

Anyone that knows me knows that HSTs are not my favourite.  They're a necessary evil at times, but there are a few other things I'd rather do first, you know, like pebble quilt a queen size...

So why do I hate them so?  It's the endless amounts of prep!  Mark this, cut that, trim this, ugh!  So when Kari of New Leaf Stitches offered me the chance to try her Clearly Perfect Angles I thought hey, anything that makes an HST more palatable has got to be worth trying!

Would you like to know something?  These things are freaking magical!

Let me show you how it works:

Before you start sewing you need to apply the cling template to your machine.  There's a wee bit to cut out round the feed dogs, which you customise to your own machine, and then you line up the guides and away you go!

I have my machine set up with my quilting table in place most of the time so it fits with room to spare, but if your machine is smaller, you can trim the template to size.  Also, because it's vinyl it's nice and bendy and flexible and will stick onto curvy bits too.

You'll notice that it clings over my drop in bobbin, but you just lift up that part of it, swap out the bobbin and smooth it back into place again.  You can also remove it and place it back on its protective paper again if you're making a bag or something that needs you to pull out the free arm.

Now you're ready to sew:

1.  Draw no lines.

2. Draw no lines.  Kidding (I mean you still don't need to draw them, but it was worth repeating).  Decide if you want an HST from the 2 square method, or a corner of a larger goose/rectangle/square.  I'll show you the 2 square option first:

With this option you use the vertical grey line as one alignment point, and then the grey angled line as the other.

As long as you keep that bottom corner on the grey line, that's as technical as it gets!  Once you've finished one direction, you just flip the squares round and do the other side

If you want to make geese, or add a square to a corner of something, you just use the centre green line and the angled green lines for alignment.  Although this goose is teeny, if you have larger ones then you can use that dotted line to the left to line up your original stitching, and then you'll get a bonus HST, happy days!

I whipped all but the last of these up in 1 night, including the cutting.  This would normally take me a week with all the marking and foutering around (and procrastinating on the annoying bits):

I have to say I'd never have even contemplated tackling the Moda Building Blocks pattern without the Clearly Perfect Angles, as the entire thing seems to be HST upon HST, but now I'm actually looking forward to them!

If you would like to try one for yourself, they're available directly from Kari at New Leaf Stitches in the US here, and from the Cotton Patch in the UK here.

Quilt Now Issue 17 - Gift Bags

It's that time of the month again for Quilt Now to be hitting our shelves.  It's also that time of the year for the Christmas projects to be popping up, so look for a variety of options in Issue 17, including my 4 sizes of Christmas gift bag, one of which even hit the cover:

I tried to make a good range of size options, including a wine bottle sized one, so hopefully everyone will get well dressed Christmas presents this year!

Work In Progress Wednesday

First things first, Happy Birthday Gran!  She's 91 today, but she's not getting her birthday pressie and dinner out 'til mum and dad are up this weekend, so she's just got a phone call for today.

Moving on, whew, after last week's run in with Abigail the Gale, now we're being Battered by Barney, it must be winter!  Flipping freezing anyway, especially when I was out for dinner last night in every cold restaurant and pub on Queen Street, and I got snowed on last week in Braemar.  Still, the good thing about winter is that you don't feel guilty about spending time indoors sewing, so after getting out and about on adventures during the day while I was up on Royal Deeside from Thursday to Sunday, I happily stitched all evening with Sky Go on my laptop for company.  I did try some sewing with my new wee Featherweight (who needs a name) but she's skipping stitches, so I think she needs to visit the Singer Spa before getting out again.  Thankfully I'd also taken Big Brother with me, so I could carry on regardless.

Finishes This Week:


In Progress This Week:

I picked up the Moda Building Blocks pattern recently from the lovely Cindy of Fluffy Sheep Quilting who was having a clear out sale.  I'd decided to make it my Featherweight project, and also my project to start using my Clearly Perfect Angles clings (which I'll report back on shortly, it's amazing!)  Even though I ended up using Big Brother for these first blocks, I love how they came out.  I'm trying to stick to the original colour scheme, except that I'm using patterned stash fabrics only, absolutely no buying for this one!  The background is varying white Grunge fabrics.  Technically I only needed 1 of the pink HSTs and 1 of the white/yellow/mint/grey QSTs, but I made in bulk, so I'll have some spare blocks for the back...

I was doing some cleaning up of my sewing table before I headed north and found an old WIP that I'd cut and sewn 2 rows of ages ago, so I decided to take it with me.  You may remember its twin with the velveteen backing (pictured) but this one will have a voile back too.  Now that I've got the top sewn together I'm going to take it into the Stitchery tomorrow and take advantage of the big high tables to baste it before class!

I also filled in a few gaps on the secret project and designed a template in Illustrator for another part.  Since I can't show the project, I thought the screenshot of the template in progress might amuse you:

To Be Worked On This Week:

Basting the voile quilt
Next Quilt Now project
Finishing the top of the secret project

Hope you all have a great week!  Linking up with Lee and the gang:

Where Did That Shadow Go? - Camera Challenge Extra Follow Up

I thought we had finished the camera challenges a couple of weeks ago, but it turned out there were a few more things I needed to answer about lighting and setups, so here goes!

I was asked where my shadows were in the photos I showed in my review of Using Artificial Light Idoors.  Let's look at the bigger picture:

So there actually are shadows in this photo, but due to the way I set up and framed the elements in it, they're not obvious (which was the point of the exercise!).  If you look to the left of the trunk at the bottom corner, you can see where the foreground light gives way to shadow.  It's a relatively subtle change, but it's there.

Further up above the skirting board it becomes much less obvious for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, the items on top of the trunk are, for the most part, lighter, secondly, they are smaller and further away from the wall, so their shadows aren't projected as far, and finally, because of the white walls behind and (unseen) to the left, light is reflected back onto the items, which reduces shadows quite drastically.

Now there's another factor that comes into play here, which takes us back to the White Balancing Your 50 Shades Of Grey extra from March.  Remember how the camera wants everything to be a nice mid grey?  Well in order to get a white background, you need to use exposure compensation to brighten things up.  In manual mode, this means moving the indicator to the right of centre before taking the shot, either by increasing your aperture (make the opening bigger, ie the number gets smaller), or decreasing your shutter speed (open the shutter for longer, ie the number gets smaller).  Remember you can also increase your ISO if needed as well.  Don't forget that if you're using a lot of white you should also be checking your white balance as well.

Let's look at a smaller setup now, where Jack kindly agreed to model (there was a non-negotiable alcohol fee involved).

This is what's known as a high key image, with the nice white background and no easily discernible shadows.  You also can't see where the join in the background is, where the white foam core board he's sitting on meets the one propped against the wall behind him.

This is the setup I used.  The table lights are designed for photography and have 175w output daylight bulbs.  They are set close both to each other and to Jack to try and reduce the amount of shadow falling on the background.  They are also set up in front of him so that the white foam core board behind him can reflect light from behind.

As you can see, Jack is also sitting a few inches in front of the background, again to reduce the visible shadows:

Back in that White Balancing Your 50 Shades Of Grey post I also mentioned that I shoot in RAW format and that we'd revisit that eventually.  We will do in a final follow up in a couple of weeks, I'm trying not to baffle you too much in one post!