Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Where I'm up to now

I've had very little time for quilting the last couple of weeks, but such is life.  I have made progress though, including my bee blocks and modern sampler blocks as well as circles of course.

First things first here is my bee block for Bee Inspired.


Meet Marcel.  Marcel is the poodle block requested by Karen from Tu-na Quilts.  It's not called Marcel of course but a couple of the girls have named them which I thought was rather fun.   You can find the Bee Inspired post here which has the link for the pattern but read Karen's subsequent posts where she has a handy  printout for labelling the pieces and gives post by post instructions.  There are a LOT of pieces, in fact that is what makes it one of the more difficult challenging blocks I have ever made.  I'm not sure if I enjoyed making it but I enjoyed the challenge,  I think.  It took me four sessions to make the block.  First one to cut the fabrics, then there were two to do the stitch and flip preparation (confusing at times even with the labels), and the last one to stitch the pieces together.  Karen requested black with white or white with black for the poodle and the background, I didn't have either so I had to hit the shops.  I did have a black on black for the accent fabric though, its rather nice but shame you can't see the detail.

The second one for Stash Bee Hive 2 was much easier,


orange peel.  Although Lisa requested a white with black scrappy background she did say it would be acceptable if it was all the same.  I didn't have any white with black, but as I was already buying one fabric to make Marcel I splashed out and bought two.  This version is made using a bonded interfacing, I can see the advantage, it makes a nice neat edge and no chance of fraying but for me it is a little bulky, although I did use a light and very thin interfacing.  Orange peel is on my bucket list but this method is not for me I think, glad I tried it though.  That's the great thing about being in a bee, you get the opportunity to try lots of things without committing to the whole quilt.

I only made two new sampler blocks this month.


I added two new fabrics in, both from the same range, the grey and the light brown with tiny flowers. I'm really not sure about them, the brown I used as borders obviously doesn't work and needs to be replaced but the grey looks fine.


I was going to remove it but looking at it with the rest of the blocks it blends in better.  So, opinions please, do I remove the new brown completely, use it in small pieces, or should I remove both?  I'm not sure on this one.

Then there was circles


No I'm still not finished it and yes it is taking forever, but here is where I'm up to now, it's easier to see on the back.   I ironed the back before every line of quilting and although the fabric looks a bit loose on the pic when I iron it it does smooth out ok so that's what I will do before starting the next stage.   I went down each row of blocks going around the circles and diamonds, then I stitched around the borders and finally around the edge.  The plan now is to meander the background then do something in the circles.  I doubt if I will finish it this month though as I still have a lot going on just now.

Thank you all so much for your imput on my last post, there was a wealth of information in there which gave me much food for thought.

First of all Bonnie and several others appear to spray the wadding, now I always thought I was supposed to spray the fabric which is what I have been doing and which is what Margaret has read and recently seen on a craft channel, hmmmmmmm!

There is also a theory that it's to do with the grain of the fabric, Louise made some very good points

I find that I sometimes get that kind of wrinkling when I'm using my walking foot and the backing is lined up in a particular way. If the stitching lines go selvedge to selvedge, no problem. But if the quilting runs parallel to the less stretchy, straight grain, it can wrinkle. I think it doesn't happen on the front because there are more pieces, so the fabric grain is running lots of different directions. That makes the top more flexible and able to "go with the flow." And of course you can see any little tucks and puckers that are starting to form and fix them immediately on the top.

Louise also thinks a pieced backing helps avoid it, it is well worth reading all her comments.

Karen from KAHolly commented about a recommendation for heat setting whereas Karen from Tu-na Quilts says she never irons after spray basting and hasn't had a problem.

If you haven't read the post or commented early and are interested I would certainly recommend reading all the comments of the previous post, there is so much information there.

Lastly I finished the last of my embroidery and added the needs to this small piece.  I'm going to Higham Hall in a couple of weeks for a long weekend of embroidery and seeing as I haven't done any since I was last there I thought it was about time.


So here it is.  It's a small piece but it's amazing how much time it has taken to stitch it.   I quite enjoyed doing the silk shading on the leaves, the flower centres are padded underneath and covered with french knots, and I love the woven picots that make the petals.   All I have left to do is add a 3D leaf which is already made, and another two butterfly wings.   They are all stitched using wires and then cut out and attached.   I haven't done that before so I will finish it off in class.


Then I will go back to this piece, which is really a tray cover.

Sorry I've been missing for a while, my son is much recovered now thank you for all your kind enquiries, but one of the parents has been ill, and quilting and blogging and reading blogs was the last thing on my mind.  Tell truth it will happen again, until eight months ago my husband and I were lucky enough to have four parents between us, now we have three, aged between 85 and 90 and all with health problems.  We are indeed very lucky and I count our blessings, no matter how much it disrupts our lives, every year every day is a bonus.

But today the sun is shining and I am now just about back to normal so I am back to blogging and will be visiting everyone in the next few days.  Thank you all so much for not giving up on me.

Until next time,
with smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
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Midweek Makers


Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Progress or lack of........

It's been two whole weeks since I last posted and I admit I haven't a lot to show for it.  Why?  Well stuff has been happening for starters.  I think I told you I had catering to do for a weekend event, I tell you there better not be any vegans when the next one starts in September, I somehow got carried away with myself over the year and ended up doing so much cooking that by the time it got to Sunday afternoon and it was all over I was wiped out.

Then when I got home I had a telephone call which threw me into headless chicken mode.  It was on Facebook one of my sons had been involved in an incident which had him at deaths door with a life changing injury.  Yes, you can imagine how desperately worried I was.  I eventually tracked him down to a local hospital, he was injured, but nowhere near as bad as portrayed and was only in hospital a couple of days, although he will be of work for about a month.   Facebook is like Chinese whispers, so many people repeating, exaggerating and changing the story so it ends up nothing like the original incident.  If I hadn't been so panicked I wouldn't have believed it, but I'm his mother and I did.

After the initial relief, and he is recovering well, I became as flat as a pancake.   I had a bad case of can'tbebothereditis.  I think we all have these times, usually I turn to sewing but no I had a good mope and felt very sorry for myself for a few days.  I didn't blog, didn't read any blogs, and to tell truth I haven't even answered all the wonderful comments you all made on my last post.......yet!  You will all be glad to know I am now much recovered and I'm going to spend the next week catching up on everything, so bear with me, 'cos I'm now officially back!

So, want to see what I finally have been up to quilting wise?


I finally finished the cushions to go with the quilt.  The quilt itself I finished last year and blogged about it on this post.  It's called Sugar and Spice but known affectionally as the fat babies quilt.


They sit nicely on my rocking chair too but Indi springer loves pulling them off to lie on.


The tops were made so all I had to do was layer and quilt them, just loopy squiggles and quilt in the ditch.  It couldn't be anything else or it wouldn't match the quilt.


Then I added an envelope backing, I forgot to take a pic but hey, it's just two pieces of fabric and not often seen.  At least that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.


I love this hair fabric.  I have made a few of these for Christening gifts.  My niece has her little girls cushion up on a high shelf, she says Laila can't have it until she learns to appreciate it, shame.

When I was feeling really down what I wanted was a bit of mindless hand sewing, so I did the binding........


on another five mug rugs.  No I didn't just do another couple to add to the three I showed you last week..........


and here is the evidence to prove it.  Eight Russian doll mug rugs.  You can find the pattern here.  I made some coasters too just by reducing the size of the pattern but, you guessed it, I haven't done the binding yet.  Maybe next month........

So, not a lot to show for two weeks.  Circles?  Who said circles?  Ok, I had a bit of trouble......


Here is the back, one not so wonderful row.  Can you see the back has gone all wrinkly?  This doesn't happen when I pin, what am I doing wrong?  It doesn't happen to the front.  I attach the back to the wadding then iron it, them I add the quilt top and iron that.  The problem starts when I start to quilt it.  The last quilt I ended up ironing the back after every row, it took ages.  The top is ok just the back goes wrinkly, does this happen to you?  Do you iron it when spray basting?  What am I doing wrong?

So that's been my fortnight.  I didn't get to my sewing group this month either, but that was because my other son who lives in London came home for the weekend with his lovely girlfriend, so it was well worth missing it.

Hopefully I will have some proper progress to show you next week, but I wouldn't hold your breath.

Until next time,
Smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
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Wednesday Wait Loss
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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

My Busy week

This has been one of those weeks when I have little or nothing to show you but all weeks can't be blistering and that's ok.  It didn't stop it being exciting though.

Know what I did today?


Layered circles!  I can hear you all saying 'and about time too'.  I went to layer it on Saturday thinking I would have it at least part quilted for today, but disaster, my wadding was too small.  I had to order some more but my usual supplier was out of stock.  In came Amazon, I got a great price, same as my usual supplier but I added some Bosal and got free delivery, I was well pleased.  Now that I have hard flooring on my lounge floor i'm finding it difficult to layer my quilts there, I tried sticking it down with masking tape but it just kept coming off so in the end I did it on my bedroom floor so I could stick pins into the carpet.  I used 505 spray again, although I still haven't made my mind up about it yet.  How do you layer your quilts?

On Saturday when I couldn't layer circles I ended up on the sofa watching Outlander (Jamie Frazer, be still my beating heart) and hand stitching my binding on....


three of my mug rugs.  I had already machined it on to be honest so it literally was just hand stitching.  But its three down.....


five to go.  Don't ask!

By the way you know how I had problems with my card reader, then they sent me a code for another one as a replacement?  I used it last week, fine, used it this week, didn't work and got hot, same as the first one.  It is now in the bin, I'm not even going to bother contacting them again but I did give it a one star review on Amazon.  One is one of those things that happen with mass produced items two, no way.

Only thing is as I think I have already told you I've been having problems getting pics off my iPad, it kept crashing constantly.  It's a few years old now and has been well used, I even deleted most of my apps as they kept crashing, including Bloglovin, which has been causing me no end of problems.  But Monday was my birthday and my lovely husband bought me A NEW ONE!!!  I wasn't expecting it, we don't usually buy such big gifts but I am so happy, and that's how I took todays pics.

That's not all I've been sewing though, I also started


My cushion tops, layered and part quilted.  They would have been done but Hubby was waiting to take me out for my birthday so I didn't get them finished.  See the roll of graph paper?  I'm not telling you what it's for, no way!  It's my secret project for the Christmas in July blog hop and that's all I'm saying.

I also wanted to show you...


My mini from Jennifer at The Inquiring Quilter.  Jennifer is a pattern designer and she designed this specially for me, isn't it beautiful?  She even used some grunge, one of my favourite fabrics.   By the way it is sticking to my design wall on it's own, no pins or anything, just in case you were wondering how good the flannel design wall fabric is.  Jennifer also sent.......


This little lot.  Four lots of fabric plus the Bee Inspired fabric, same name as Bee Inspired, the quilting bee some of us from the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers started, isn't that wonderful?  Only I can't use the black one.  Jennifer forgot and totally understands why.  I am just so terrified of bees and wasps.  I can't even use the fabric and if I turn the page in a magazine and see one I have to put the magazine away from me.  i used to be very embarrassed about my reaction but now I have accepted it and don't try to hide it anymore.  Did you notice the two quilt patterns?   They are Jennifer's own patterns available in her shop.  I have to make Water Vortex, it's lovely.

I haven't even asked you your opinion on quilting circles.


Here it is again, I was thinking of quilting around the circles and diamonds and then doing a meander in the background, but what about the circles?  They are too big to leave unquilted, any thoughts?  I already decided not to do concentric circles, I have to do those with my walking foot and it would be too much turning with all the bulk.  it has to be fairly simple mind, remember my FMQ skills are very limited.

Oh I do have another piece of good news, I know, I can hardly believe so many good things can happen to me in a week either!  This week my improv quilt back I showed you last week has been featured by Susan from Quilt Fabrication on Midweek Makers!  I am so surprised and so honoured, I even get to change to the I've been featured button, have a look, it's on my sidebar.

I was going to show you.......... well, this post is long enough, so I will show you next time.

Until then,
With Smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

How I made my improv quilt back.

I haven't got as much as I planned done this week, tell truth it wasn't that I didn't have the time, more like I was reading a book.  You see I'm a bit of an obsessive reader and once I start NOTHING gets done.  I'm behind in my housework (what's new), ironing, sewing, you name it.  The book?  A Woman of Substance, 902 pages, just how I like my books.  Now that I finished I can get back to sewing.

I got two things done this week, first my bee block for Irene from Patchwork and Pastry.  Here it is in construction.
Can't see it?

Look closer

and closer.  Yes it is that small, the centre block is 2 inches, that's unfinished.  It's a nine patch and the pieces were cut one inch.

Then it becomes a block within a block........


in another nine patch.  This one is five inches unfinished, no I'm not kidding.


Finally with the addition of four 5"x 6" and four 6" square blocks it became a triple nine patch, 16 inches unfinished.  Colour?  These are colour pics, yes really, Irene requested we use greys.  The colours are slightly distorted on the pics, grey on a grey design wall doesn't photograph so well and the colours are paler.

The centre was a bit fiddly, but not as bad as I expected to be honest, although my seams in the first block are a little on the wonky side but remember the centre blocks are half inch finished, have you ever stitched anything smaller than that?  I just hope she likes it.

if you want to see Irene's tutorial you can find it on Bee Inspired.

But now, how I made the improv back for circles.


First I continued the improv panel already started, which I showed you last week.   I used the leftovers from the quilt, anything squares, rectangles, strips, whatever was left, which wasn't a lot really.   Then I added squares and rectangles of the backing fabric stitching them together any old how, but it wasn't wide enough.  I didn't stick to the technique I used in Bluebell Woods but in retrospect that was easier than putting the pieces up on the design wall and adding some background as filler as I did here.  I did have two of the eight inch blocks left from circles I could have added in but I am saving them for something else.


I dug deeper into the meagre scraps and made it wider,  If I had more scraps I would have maybe made the panel longer but you work with what you have and I didn't want to add in any other fabrics.   I couldn't use it with all wonky edges like that so,


I trimmed it using my ruler and cutting mat as a guide.  Actually as you can see I used two rulers as the improv was longer than the length of one ruler.  I lined them up with the markings on my big cutting mat.  Using two rulers I could cut as far up as I could then slide the first ruler up to the top holding the second one steady to keep it in the right position, then just move the second one to the side so I could finish the cut.


and I trimmed all four sides squaring it up.


This was the finished result, 21 inches wide and just over 32 inches long.  The size isn't vital, as long as it extends the width of a standard width of fabric is it's wide enough for the quilt back.


Then I added a piece top and bottom.  I cut a 20 inch length and halved it so I had two pieces 20 inches long by about 22 inches wide after removing the selvages, then I just trimmed them straight.

Next it was preparing the rest of the back.  Baby was relegated to the floor and I lifted the platform she sits on to make a lovely big cutting surface.


First I took my length of fabric which I had already cut to about 64 inches, long enough for the back of circles.  I folded in half and the in half again matching the selvages and making sure it was folded straight.


If you haven't done this before it's really important to feel right the way along the fold line to check there are no ridges and that all the layers are lying straight, I can't emphasise this enough.


Again using the lines on the cutting mat as a guide, both horizontally and vertically, I cut the fabric through all four layers of fabric (you need to press harder than normal).


I cut it off centre, about 15 inches from the right side as I think it looks more aesthetically (been saving this one) pleasing than cutting it down the middle.

So all it needed was to stitch it either side of the panel, and......


this is what it looks like after pressing the seams, I like to stitch and press the narrow side first, just because it seems easier to manipulate the weight.   It's upside down as the panel will be on the right nearer the top, it was always my intention for it to be higher at the top than the bottom.   Now all it needs is........


for me to trim the excess fabric.  I lined the ruler up with the seam lines so I could cut it straight and it's easier doing it on the floor.  Good job I could just use one of my smaller cutting mats, this is the first one I ever bought, it's well over ten years old.

So, not as much sewing as last week but I am well pleased with what I did, such a relief and no I haven't layered or quilted it, I was too busy reading I told you.

I got something wonderful in the post this week, more than one thing, but I've ran out of time, sorry.  I'll show you what I got next week and with a bit of luck I will have made more progress on circles, we live and hope.............

Until then,
With Smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
Midweek Makers
Wednesday Weight Loss
Can I Get  Whoop Whoop
Needle and Thread Thursday
Lisa in Port Hope hosting TGIFF
Finished or Not Friday





Thursday, 4 May 2017

A Week of Blocks

Happy May!  As it's the beginning of a wonderful new month..........Why is it wonderful?  Two reasons really, one is I'm Queen Bee for hive 2 in Stash Bee this month, and second it's my birthday month, as well as my wedding anniversary, my husbands birthday, and of course the weather is warmer and it is spring.  So yes, it's a wonderful month.

It's a good time to review my last months list, so here is how I did:

Make Post and mail Bee blocks Done

Finish Canadian Bee blocks Done

Fabric postcard for swap 15th APRIL Done

Finish the backing for Circles, layer, quilt, and bind

Mystery Quilt, quilt, and bind. Done

Backing and finishing two cushions

Tutorial for next month’s bee block Done

Finish the design wall Done

Label two minis and post Done

Make two blocks for sampler quilt. Done, three made!!!!

I can't remember the last time I had such a good month and I am well pleased, and on top of all that started the backing for Circles too, so all in all I am very happy with my month.

Don't worry, I'm not going to bore you with all the details of this months list, I'll keep that for next week (giggles).

Want to see how I'm getting on with circles backing?


This is the panel which goes down the centre, I just started stitching all the leftover pieces of the colours together.  I had a length of the wine coloured solid and the panel is to make it wide enough for the back.  I added some pieces of the wine colour in.  It still needs some work yet but it is so hard to go back to something you have abandoned, even if temporarily, or not.

This is the block I have requested as Queen Bee for Hive 2 at Stash Bee.


Coverging Corners.  It's a free pattern by Ashley at Film in the Fridge,  you can find it here.  Colours?  Red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue……… I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow toooooooooooo! But as you know I'm a big fat LIAR, ‘cos I can’t sing a note!


These are all the blocks I have made.  The background is white, although the tutorial is for a 12 inch  block it's one of those blocks which can be up or downsized, mine are 15 inches finished which will make the perfect size lap quilt for me.  The centre block varies in size, and the corners converge to make lovely patterns, and every one will be different.

I can hardly wait for the little envelopes to start coming through the door, it will be like getting lots of extra birthday presents.

I was at my quilt group last weekend, it was rather quiet as some of the girls were away for the holiday weekend.  Maybe that's why I had such a good day, work wise that is, and got SIX blocks made.

 Ok then, they were six inch blocks and I did choose the simpler ones from Tula Pinks 100 Modern Blocks book, but even so I was more than happy, and it brings my total to 9.  I'm only making these at my monthly quilt group so progress will be slow but I'm finding them very enjoyable to make and I don't have to think 'what am I going to take this month'.  It's a limited fabric selection and colour scheme, all the fabrics are from the one range, although I have since added the last two fabrics from the range.

When I read the book through before I started I realised all the blocks appear to be made from pieces 1 1/2, 2 1/2, and 3 1/2 inches wide, so before I started I cut a strip of each fabric in each width so I just have to cut a piece off the strip which made it a lot faster.  I'm finding there is the odd piece at 1 or 2 inches but I just cut a a piece and trim it down.  Doing it this way I am aiming to use up most of the fabric before I cut more and this way I can keep an even balance of each one.  Thats the theory anyway.

For all you lovely ladies and gents (have to be politically correct and although I don't usually get comments from any gentlemen that doesn't mean to say I don't have any male readers, and if I have then you are all very welcome) and especially those of you who commented on the tidiness of my sewing room


here is my normal working area, although if fairness two of those boxes and two tins are filled with uncut scraps which I often turn around to find strewn across the floor.  I'm sure it is not me in my frantic haste to find the right scrap I need, maybe those gnomes are coming to life and causing chaos when my back is turned................

Lastly I want to tell you of my disaster.


Remember my lovely little fabric postcard Spring Moon I made for the swap?  I got the name and address of the lady I had to send it to earlier this week and although I was sending it 'dressed' as I am concerned about damage to a 'naked' card, I still addressed it and wrote a little message in Pigma pen.  I decided to run the iron over the back to set the ink...........and you guessed it, I scorched the card.  As you can imagine I was mortified, I only had the iron on the fabric for a couple of seconds.  It would take me ages to make another, time I didn't have,  and she was waiting for it.  So. as it was only a light scorch to one side of the back and the card was otherwise perfect, or as perfect as it was when I made it, I decided to send it anyway with a note of apology.

My iron?  In the bin, I can't risk it happening again.  It is a small travel iron which I have had for quite a long time but it has had very little use until I finished my sewing room over Christmas, I think it must get very hot then regulate itself but I'm not taking any chances and I'm getting a new iron, until it arrives I am using my normal iron.

It's been a strange week for me and I'm behind in my emails and reading, so sorry if I haven't replied to your last comments or popped over to say hello, I will be catching up over the next few days though, so please don't give up on me.

Until next time
With Smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up to:
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Friday, 28 April 2017

I Hit a Wall

This has been the weirdest week, I think I have been in a post finish slump.  It's the only way I can explain it, does anyone know what I mean or am I just having a loopy here?

I have done some sewing, but I can't show you until next week :-(  Why?  Because it is for my Stash Bee post!  Oh yes, my turn to be queen, only I've been having a bit of trouble, again.  Not only can I still not access the pics on my camera (new card reader ordered but Amazon are taking their time) but now my iPad is playing up and I can't get my pics off, in fact I can't do much at all.  I did manage to get a couple but now every time I try it shuts down, I just don't believe it!  I did have one or two on my phone but they are not as good, but you will just have to do with what I've got.  Ok, here goes......


As promised, the not a mystery quilt any more, finished at last.  Because I have problems taking a pic of the quilt I though I would lay it out on the grass in the garden and take it from the bedroom window, which I did using my big zoom on my camera, only I can't show you that one.  Want to look closer?


Best I can do I'm afraid, but it shows you how I quilted it anyway.  Diagonal lines, simple but so effective.  I don't have it anymore, it now belongs to my sister to whom I gave it for her special birthday.  But I did label it,


You can see the backing I used too.  In reality it's more of a pale cream, it should have been white but it was what I had and as it has so many seams I preferred it to have a one piece backing.  Although it looks like it is crawling with beetles on the back they are sort of little stalks, I know my sister used to like beetles when we were kids but I don't think she would appreciate it now :-)

I have had a little time sorting my sewing room too.  You are not going to believe this but.....


I finally sorted my design wall!!!   I had to make some changes to my original plans, you see I didn't take into consideration that there is a door which opens on to the wall and the insulation boards would have ended up with big dints in from the door handle so I had to have a rethink.  I bought  one and a half meters of Kaffe Fassett gridded flannel, seamed the selvedges and made a small hem at the bottom.  Next I turned over the top leaving a channel for a narrow pole, the kind you use for voile curtains.


I attache it to the wall using Command clear plastic hooks, easy.  So, what do you think?  It is only about 44 inches wide and 56 inches long, but I haven't a lot of wall space in my room and it is so much better than before, when I had nothing.


Now look at it, resplendent with trees and gnome blocks.  I am still waiting for the last two which are on their way, and I will need to make another four, but it's exciting so far isn't it?

Did you notice my wall hanging from Serena next to the design wall?  I got some Command strips too, and.......


now I have my mini's on the wall.  Quilters Laundry Day, my Snail Block from Sue, and Chicken Poop from Janice! (hysterical giggles, I really can't help it).  I got my thread stand up on the wall too, I only bought it eighteen months ago so it didn't take long.  My threads are a mix of Aurifil and Maderia with a couple of Gutermanns's which I am just using for practice as I find it a bit thick and my machine isn't as keen either, Baby can be temperamental at times.  Maderia isn't bad though, it's nice and thin, although I prefer Aurifil I have to use up what I have first and gradually replace it.

The only other thing I have been doing is some design work for the 12 Days of Christmas blog hop in July, but I can't show you that either.  Never mind, only two months for the reveal, I know you will be waiting with bated breath........

So that's all I can show you for this week, but next week I can reveal my block for Stash Bee.  The pics will be rubbish of course but you have been warned.

Until then,
With smiles from
Kate x

Linking up with:
Kelly @ Needle and Thread Thursday
Sarah @ Can I Get a Whoop Whoop
Myra @ Busy Hands Quilts also hosting for TGIFI