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The UK Mini Swap Mini

I always like it when I can finally do a full reveal of some secret sewing, although it's had a wee outing on IG, I wanted to look a bit more at the mini I sent for the UK mini swap, because I really loved how it came out - it went all the way to Edinburgh, so maybe I can still get visiting rights ;o)

It all started when I saw the 'January Block' by @ladyharvatine on IG.  She created it for the LAMQG for their BOM, but the block pattern is available from her shop for the princely sum of $4.

I knew my partner liked rainbows, and while casting around my potential fabric options, I suddenly remembered the bundle of Paint that I bought at Market last spring, and I knew it was meant to be.  I made this as my trial block:

Then I moved on to the option with the 'missing link' ring part (there's templates for both options):

And kept going until I had 4 blocks in total, which was just the right size for a mini at 24" square.

When it came to quilting it, I just couldn't bring myself to go down the straight line or matchstick route, those circles were calling out to me to be highlighted in some way, so I dusted off my rusty FMQ skills (18 months between projects isn't too long, right?!), and made myself a couple of paper template that allowed me to mark out the edges of where the circle would have been in the 'missing link' sections.  I had decided to do a diamond grid in the rings, with FMQ in the centres, but I started with the FMQ in case it all went a bit pear shaped, and needed to grid the whole thing!

Funnily enough, it was the circles round the edge of the flower that nearly killed me here,  I started with the flowers, and obviously got a bit cocky, because there were a good 5 sessions of un-quilting a circle or two after something went a wee bit jerky, or it didn't really look like a circle.  I think I got there okay in the end though:

For the wee diamonds between the rings I did a kind of mini flowery thing, trying to echo the shapes I used to make up the flowers, and for the rings, as mentioned before, I did a grid on the diagonal, using a grey thread so that it was cleared on the 'missing link' sections of the rings.:

Luckily my lovely friend Rachael at Imagine Gnats had made a few projects for Paint fabric designer Carrie Bloomston for Market, and had sent me her 'scraps', which were really quite large bits - enough to use the paint chips for the back, and the fab red with newspaper strips for the binding.

It was definitely a fun project, I now feel a bit of an urge to make more minis or something!
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It's been another busy week around the Thistle Patch, there's that day job that insists I turn up every.single.weekday (so unreasonable) and then my mum was up for the weekend, so I spent Friday night and Saturday with her and my gran, and finally on Sunday I was helping with a class at The Stitchery in advance of my first class there in a couple of weeks (eek, just realised that's really quite close!).

If anyone is in the Glasgow area and would like to take a beginner's quilting class, I'm teaching an evening one to make a giant star quilt while Patricia will start a Monday morning one in May for a rail fence quilt.

Anywho, in amongst all of that, I did get a little sewing done for my next Quilt Now contribution, and I also did a little research for another little venture I'm exploring. If any of you are bag makers and have a spare moment, please pop over to Monday's post here to contribute to a buying survey.

Finishes This Week:

You must be joking

In Progress This Week:

This little lot is well on its way to becoming a Quilt Now project thanks to the lovely people at Remnant Kings:

This is now done and on its way to join its other secret friends - hopefully it will get its day in the spotlight soon...

Oh, and this little lot arrived from a friend's IG destash, and has been tantalising me...

To Be Worked On This Week:

Finish my QN project
Clean the excess grout off the new kitchen tiles
Reassemble said kitchen once grout is cleaned
Maybe a little selfish sewing for a few minutes...

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

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One of the biggest challenges that bag makers face is getting hold of the hardware they need.  Fabric is easily obtained, whether in person or online, but by the time we get to interfacing, well, that's kind of boring and not as easy to obtain, and I think the hardware just baffles shops entirely, so they don't stock anything for fear of never selling things.

I can totally understand the shops' point of view though, if no-one can tell them what's needed, then they won't be able to stock it, no shop owner wants to waste money and retail space.  If you have the time, I'd love it if you could complete the survey below, hopefully something will come of it in the future :o)

Create your own user feedback survey

Thanks for your time!
Quilt Now Issue 10 - Brights & Whites Mini Tote

Issue 10 of Quilt Now has hit the shelves this week, and the theme for this issue was so fun - brights and whites.  So yes, I get nil points for original project naming (any of you want to volunteer your naming creativity?  Seriously?!)  I had great fun scrap busting with this project, and I love how bright and cheery it turned out - it also turned out to make a nice bright spot on the cover, so that was nice:

So head on out and grab your copy now, and enjoy all the lovely, bright, cheery projects - that abacus quilt on the cover is amazing, isn't it?  And if you make a wee tote, do let me know :o)

This issue should now be available in all good newsagents in the UK, and should hopefully be swimming its way to shores afar for your delectation too.
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Phew, what a week!  You would have thought that 5 days of work would have meant relaxation (stop sniggering at the back there!), but then last Monday, or thereabouts, it suddenly seemed a good idea to paint and tile the kitchen.  Because it had been 13 years since it was painted, and it needed the tiled backsplash back then too...  So yeah, that's been my biggest WIP for the week.  The walls are painted, the ceiling is painted, and the wall behind the cooker is tiled about 1/3 of the way up.  I just need to get solvent to clean the excess grout off the tiles and we're all done, but that can wait a day or two yet, my shoulders are still recovering from round 1!

I did get some sewing done, my UK Mini Swap mini is all quilted and trimmed, I just need to add the binding, and I did a little secret sewing too.  I'm now sitting waiting for the postie to deliver fabric for my next Quilt Now project, I have the idea, I just want to get making...  In the meantime I'm writing up the Rainy Days & Mondays pattern, and I even got out for an hour or so in the sun on Sunday for a cover photo shoot.

Finishes This Week:


In Progress This Week:

This is now quilted, but I'd like to save its full reveal until it goes out to its new owner:

This is almost all done, but I can't show you any more than the diagram 'cos it's a secret:

To Be Worked On This Week:

Finishing the secret sewing above
Working on my Quilt Now Issue 12 project
Finishing writing up my Rainy Days & Mondays pattern

I've not really got anything to link up this week, but I hope you've had a great week :o)
Camera Challenge 3 Review Triangle of Light - Understanding Shutter Speed

This month we’ve continued to explore the Triangle Of Light by looking at the effect of shutter speed either in freezing motion or blurring either the background or the subject.

For the first two parts of the challenge, I used a competition at our local velodrome – one of the good things about the Commonwealth Games being here last year is that we got a few new sporting venues, and the velodrome happens to be about a mile down the road from me, so I used this both to fulfil the challenge, and to get out and experience the city more.

I had to crank the ISO up pretty high for this as it was indoors

In this first one, by pretty much freezing the action with a fast shutter speed it looks like this guy's going nowhere fast:

And without background perspective, this guy doesn't look too speedy either:

However, the introduction of panning with the slower shutter speed, gives a blurred background to give the impression of how fast they were going.  This is achieved by focussing on the subject and moving the camera at the same speed as the subject while pressing the shutter button:

In this shot I was focussing on the guy in blue in the bottom left:

This one was clearly a nail-biter for the girl in pink:

This was a sprint for the line:

While this was rather less of a sprint for the line:

The next part of the challenge covered water.  Over the years I’ve done many water shots – being in a country where rain features pretty heavily in the weather forecast means we get lots of nice waterfalls to photograph!  The effect of a slow shutter speed on water is commonly referred to as a silky or milky effect, and one of my photography friends tends to call the difference in effect between slow and fast shutter speeds as the ‘silky milky versus splashy washy’ effect.  He has great disdain for the silky milky side of things, so you will have to imagine that phrase uttered with a heavy dose of disgust.  In an Irish accent.  Got that?  Good ;o)

There are certainly moments when one may be more aesthetically pleasing than others, so for example in a landscape the silky milky effect works well:

While the splashy washy looks... well, rather less impressive!

Where splashy washy comes into its own is, for example, with wildlife shots involving birds plucking their prey out of water, or animals shaking themselves off, water sports, such as swimming, canoeing or rowing, or capturing a drip and ripple effect on a pool of water.  In each of these situations freezing the water actually gives the sense of motion.

How does it work?

You’ll be pleased to know that this is much simpler to explain than the aperture was!  Simply, the shutter speed is the amount of time that the digital screen/film is exposed to the light.  The longer the shutter is open, the more things can move about and change in the photo, so depending on your subject, a longer exposure can result in a complete blur, or if only part of your subject is moving, a partial blur.

Now not all blur is equal – ideally you want blur to be caused by your subject rather than by you, but there’s a good chance that with longer shutter speeds and/or longer lenses, you will be introducing your own blur.  Again this comes down to physics – grab a pen at one end between finger and thumb and very gently move the pen up and down – a minimal amount of movement at one end results in a considerably greater amount of movement at the other.  So it is with lenses on cameras, where the shutter is at the end you’re holding, and the end of the lens is getting the great movement – obviously the longer the lens the greater the effect, so with long lenses you need fast shutter speeds, while with short ones you can get away with slower speeds.  It’s not to say I don’t ever try and push these boundaries, but there is a definite point at which I introduce blur even if my subject doesn’t!

If you’re hand holding your camera, the general rule of thumb is that the minimum shutter speed you would want is 1/(lens length) in seconds, eg if I use my 17-55mm lens, with the lens set at 35mm, then my minimum shutter speed would be 1/35 seconds.  For my 70-300mm lens, at the 300mm end my minimum shutter speed would be 1/300 seconds.

Now you should have seen in the challenge that blur isn’t always a bad thing – it can give the impression of something moving quickly either because something like a tyre is a spinning blur, or because you have blurred your background by following your subject.  Panning, as the technique of tracking your subject is called, can be a challenging technique to master, but since it is only useful for a fairly small subsection of photography, I wouldn’t sweat about not getting it unless that area is your biggest passion.  If it is, then practice is your friend!  I took a lot of photos at the velodrome, but only about 20% of them were usable for various reasons – my panning isn’t that great at the moment as I haven’t done it in a few years, I’m not familiar enough with track cycling to know the best place to sit for certain shots (I wasn’t far from being opposite the finish line, but I often ended up with a cyclist with a box on his head as he crossed the line as the lap marker was in my direct line of sight to the finishing line) and my timing needs work in a number of places too, again due to unfamiliarity with how the different cycling races work.

So how did you get on?

Mini Messenger Bag - The Ones That Got Away

I feel incredibly guilty - I thought I was being so organised, I got a new e-mail list of testers, used it for my Mini Messenger Bag got everyone's signs up and replies corralled and the photos all saved off in named folders... except I'd forgotten that two lovely friends had the pattern already 'in advance' as it were, and I didn't corral them in with the rest.  So here they are, better late than never (I hope!)

Francine did a fabulous paper pieced flap for her version, which she made for her daughter:

And this is just one of several that Lori has made (I think she's gone into a family production line!)  Doesn't she have a fantastic choice in fabrics?  I do have a weakness for Tula...

And do you know what makes them especially lovely friends?  Neither of them called me out on my omission!  So big hugs to both of you, and I'm very sorry I missed you!

Just a reminder, to celebrate this launch and the Easter weekend, all patterns in my shop are available at 25% off until 10/04 with the code HOPPYEASTER15, just select the patterns you would like below: