Friday, 15 June 2012

Two finishes!


After the gorgeous weather at the end of last month, it turned cooler and much, much wetter... very windy too.  Definitely not gardening weather.... so what better excuse to settle down in my sewing room and sew, sew, sew!

I have finished my Worn and Washed quilt!  It took hours and hours and hours to do all the hand quilting, but I am so pleased with it and am determine to do more hand quilting in the future. All that rhythmic stitching really is very addictive :)



And here's a closer look at the quilting... it is SO soft and snuggly.



My second finish is a new bag. I fell in love with this pattern as soon as I saw it (Twitter and Stitch by Daisy Chain Designs)..  those appliqué birdies are so cute! The bag is made from linen and it has a brown/cream spotty lining. I used a piece of plastic canvas in the base to give the bag a good shape. It's a great size, I'm thinking it would be perfect to take to quilt shows, I could get a lot of goodies in it :) On the outside there are two handy side pockets...


and here's the back of the bag...



the inside has a zippered pocket and also a pocket for my mobile phone. I used magnetic fasteners instead of the tape recommended in the pattern.



I'm really, really pleased with how this bag turned out... I can't wait for the next quilt show now!

Have a great weekend,
Chris :)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

a rainbow in my garden....

We've had days and days of unbroken sunshine and HOT weather... at last!! The only downside is that I couldn't put it off any longer... I just had walk to away from my sewing and get out into the garden and get those weeds pulled. After all the heavy rain we'd had in April and early May, it was like a jungle out there.  I've been doing a few hours each day, in the early morning before it gets too hot. Now I can see just what is blooming.. I found a rainbow in my garden!!


red poppies

more poppies... orange ones

yellow nemesia

green - acer and ferns by the pool

blue  forget-me-not

indigo - Cerinthe

purple - Jacob's Ladder



No sewing to show you this time... though in the evenings I have been busy working on  the Worn and Washed quilt. I'm about 3/4 done, this hand quilting does take time but the effect is worth it!

Hope you are all having a great week
Chris :)

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

worn and washed quilt


It all started with this....


I was at Quilts UK at Malvern last week and had stood and gazed in awe at the fabulous quilts on display. Absolutely stunning they were, so much work had gone into them all. They were all worthy of first prize ribbons. But... they were so perfect that I just couldn't visualise them on a bed in my own home. They were just too lovely to be used... know what I mean?

While I was wandering around the vendors stands I was thinking about the very early patchwork quilts... the ones made from flour sacks, scraps from worn out dresses and aprons. I know they were made out of necessity but was there any less love stitched into them because the fabrics were worn? All the stands at the show were heaped with the most glorious rainbows of fabrics... many of them with the latest ranges. Gorgeous... really gorgeous...

Then I spotted a stand selling what looked like huge 5" wide  jelly rolls. Turns out the rolls are made up of old fabrics... I had discovered worn and washed fabrics! The finished quilts on display were just soooo soft and snuggly and they were all hand quilted with running stitch. The owner, Kim, was so friendly and helpful too... and I came home with one of the flannelette rolls and the backing, enough to make a 60" x 50" quilt. I couldn't wait to start my quilt...here's my progress so far...




If you had told me last week that I'd be hand quilting a quilt I'd have howled with laughter. But hey, I'm hand quilting this one! Just simple rows of small running stitches, alternating the direction. I'm using a piece of twill tape as a row spacer, and to help keep the rows straight.

It is an absolute delight to work on... the fabrics are as soft as a baby's skin. I just can't help smiling while I'm stitching....

Hope you are enjoying your stitching too...
Chris :)

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Mug Rug swap packages have arrived!


This morning I received a package from my swap partner for the Mug Rug swap, organised by Ally at Quilting Mumma. My partner for this swap was Vicky at The Accidental Crafter, all the way across the ocean in Australia. How exciting is that!!!

Oh my word... Vicki really spoiled me, just look at this pretty packaging...




Inside was the most beautiful zippered pouch.. and it was stuffed with other goodies too! Oh, I tell you... I was overcome... still am. Look....


Everything is so beautifully stitched with such thought and care. I love my rug mug so much!  I wish you could feel that zippered pouch, the texture of the linen, the softness of the lining... and I wish you could smell the lavender inside the cute 'tea bag'. It is all so, so lovely. Vicky, you are an awesome swap partner and you have put a HUGE smile on my face on this rainy, grey  Saturday morning... thank you xx

And this is what I sent to Vicky... minus the fabrics which I had left on the ironing board.. oops! I did remember to pop them in her package though :)


Vicky received her package yesterday, she has put some gorgeous photos on her blog, do check out her work while you are there, it is gorgeous.

Time to put the kettle on and get a fresh mug of coffee on my lovely new mug rug!

Have a great weekend,
Chris :)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Jelly Roll Flower Garden Quilt


I bought the kit for this quilt at the NEC in March. I knew it was going to be a challenge... there are 14 different blocks in the central panel, most of them using techniques I haven't yet tried. The stitched example at the show was stunning...  I just stood stock still and gazed in awe... my mouth open in a big round 0.. and fell in love! :)  It didn't seem to matter that I didn't know all the techniques.. I just had to have it! After all, I've got the Internet.. Google and YouTube are my best friends... I can learn...

And learning I am... slowly but surely I have made the first 5 blocks. These will be trimmed down to 6.5" before pricing together around the central appliqué block.




Top row:
Honey Bee - piecing and applique (hand embroidery to do yet)
Log Cabin - foundation paper piecing (this was such fun, I loved it!)
Fancy 9 Patch - strip piecing

Bottom row:
Sister Block to Fancy 9 Patch - even tinier strip piecing (those weeny patches are just 1/2" square!)
Jelly Roll Curves - making templates and curved piecing (hmmm...)

So far so good.. though the curved piecing really stumped me at first. I just couldn't get an outward curve to fit into an inward curve. You'd think it would be easy on such a small block... but oh no. It's a good job I had cut two extra pieces from scraps to practice on - after several attempts they had holes in them from all the stitch.. unpick.. stitch... unpick!! Nightmare. Then I found this great tutorial on YouTube. I still didn't find curved piecing easy... but I did eventually complete the block :)

Next is  a Flower Pot block - diamond templates and piecing with inset 'y'seams

Hmm... well I did say I wanted a challenge!
I may be some time ...

Chris :)
If it's Mother's Day where you are, I hope you're having a wonderful day x

Edited to add fabric details - I'm using a Rouenneries Deux jelly roll with oyster yardage from the same range.... gorgeous :) The pattern is Jelly Roll Flower Quilt (Hawthorns Quilting) - I bought it from Daisy Chain Designs. It is available either as a pattern only, or as a kit. No affiliation, just a very happy customer :)

Thursday, 10 May 2012

a plate of blueberries....



Well not exactly... but sort of!

It all started when I found this fabulous Dresden Plate tutorial on YouTube. I really fancied trying this out, so I bought one of these...




Over the weekend, I hauled out the remnants of the never-ending Blueberry Crumb Cake jelly roll... and made this!!


A plate of blueberries :)

It was really easy to make and it was great to learn something new.... though I keep looking at that centre circle and thinking it's a bit big?? Out of proportion?  Is it 'cos it's a dark colour? Or is it just me???  I followed the directions exactly... next time I might just tweak that circle :)

It looks very nice on my sofa though...
and I still have quite a bit of that jelly roll left!!!

Happy stitching,
Chris :)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Quilter's Day Swap arrived!


It's here... all the way from Canada... a package for me!!!!  I was beside myself with excitement when it arrived... even more so when I opened it! This swap was organised by Heidi and my swap partner is Ginette from The Quilting Princess,  it turns out that this was her first swap too, how exciting!

Pretty purple packages.... and a card



and inside....


How gorgeous is this mug rug!!! Just look at those sweet little hexies.. I haven't tried making hexies yet and I'm so thrilled that I have some in my sewing room now :) Ginette's stitching is just so lovely too! Inside the card is a sweet little note.. and on the back is a pattern for a Bear Paw block... something else I haven't tried yet. Ginette even sent me these gorgeous fabrics for the block, so thoughtful of her :) But hey.. there is more excitement yet! When I turned the mug rug over... look at this!



Canadian flags!!!!! 

What a wonderful swap partner you are Ginette.. thank you SO much. You made my day x


Chris :) 


Monday, 7 May 2012

Perfection?


We all seek perfection in our work I'm sure... I know I do. Being fairly new at this patchwork, quilting and stitching thing and not having any real life quilting friends or access to bricks and mortar workshops I'm pretty much out on a limb. So, like many others,  I use the internet and magazine for inspiration and tutorials. I'm not 100% confident in my skills but I do love trying out a new technique... challenging myself. My huge bookmark list labelled 'tutorials and inspiration' is testament to this :)

So I gather my supplies, read the instructions and check out any photos. All good. Till I notice that mine doesn't look quite right. That line isn't quite straight.. that corner doesn't quite match up... oops. So I either carry on until I get a passable result.. though often it doesn't look like the perfectly aligned, perfectly stitched and finished example... or I start again.  I appreciate that practise makes perfect, but there's only so many times I can rip something out before the fabric falls apart!

I know that many people do achieve perfection.. creating breathtaking projects, having their work published and winning ribbons too... I so admire them all. I am a long, long way from perfection, but I have come to realise that if my work is the best that I can do right now, then that's how it is. I'm happy to make things for family and friends, and more recently for swaps too. Nothing is 'perfect', but I have so much fun up here in my sewing room that it really doesn't seem to matter.  I've learned not to expect too much of myself... why stress myself out? I'm happy with what I do. I'm in a happy place :)

So what's the point of this 'perfection' post? Well, last Friday a package arrived.. from my younger daughter. Inside was a note (I have checked with her if it's ok to share it with you)...

And this.....



Beautiful yes? And I know that she will have designed it herself, traced it onto the fabric and spent hours working all those teensy, tiny stitches before sewing it up... all that for me. My heart melted when I read her note.....

Mum, I made this for Mother's Day and was so disappointed...
First, I realised that I sewed the word 'cherish' twice...
Then I couldn't find the matching ribbon...
Then the ribbon sewed on wonky..
Then I sewed the heart up wonky....
I threw it on one side...
Then the cat slept on it!!!
I spotted it yesterday..
And then I thought that, no matter how rubbish it is, you will love it anyway...
Let's face it,  I have loads of flaws too... and you still love me loads!!
Love you too xxx

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder... well perfection must be too. All I see is the hours of work, the carefully chosen colours, the tiny stitches... and the love and thought that went into this. And I'm so happy and proud that my daughter knows me well enough to know that I will cherish this gift.

I'm so glad she sent it to me... it's perfect :)

Chris :)



Friday, 4 May 2012

phew... it's finished!


My  Garden Journal quilt is finished...!!!!  I decided on straight line quilting in the end, outlining all the patches (even those teeny-tiny 1.5" squares)...  and echoed that in the border quilting.




I am so happy to have it all quilted and done, but I'm also a little sad. This quilt has kept me company for quite a few months as I've stitched on the sofa every evening . I have so enjoyed seeing the pile of completed stitcheries growing. I really thought it would take me a lot longer but it is such a lovely quilt to work on that I looked forward to spending some time on it each evening.

And now there is nothing left to do on it...
I feel a bit lost and my sofa is a bit lonely without it...
the scraps have been stored away and the sewing machine de-fluffed...
it's's too tidy in my sewing room...
my desk looks a bit bare too...

Time for a new project I think... good job I have lots of ideas whirling round in my head :)

Hope you all have a great weekend,
we have a Bank Holiday in the UK this Monday (May Day Holiday)
I may just spend it messing up my sewing room again!
Chris :)

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

so what was in that parcel....


the one that the clerk told me would get there in 5 days... and has actually taken almost 3 weeks? I was almost besides myself with worry, thinking it might be lost... gasp! The parcel was a Quilter's Day Swap for Bobbi at Crafty Vegas Mom and at last it has arrived at Bobbi's house! This is what I made for her...


A needle case with a pocket inside. a zippered pouch and a Cathedral Window pincushion.



I used some of the pretty fabrics I bought recently at the NEC.



and I added a few goodies... there is a box of English Breakfast Tea inside that London fat quarter :) I had the most wonderful email from Bobbi this morning, it really made my day.. I'm sitting here grinning as I type this :)))

Hope everyone is having a great week
Chris :)


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Garden Journal top is done!


I seem to have been stitching, scrap-cutting and piecing forever... but finally the top is done :) We've had heavy rain day after day for weeks now but this morning was fairly dry and not too windy, so I managed to get this photo. It's still very overcast and dull, not ideal... but with even more heavy rain forecast for the rest of the week I might not get another opportunity. I don't think I'll be getting the grass cut anytime soon either... eek!!





I love all the different size patches in this quilt, even though those fiddly 1.5" squares drove me nuts at times. Still, I have managed to use a whole heap of scraps, the only yardage I bought was for the borders. Most of it is Nancy Halvorsen fabric with scraps from my Welcome Home pillow thrown in too. Next comes the layering, pinning and quilting. I'm not sure yet how I'll be quilting this. At 54" square it's about as big as I can manage under my machine so I'm thinking I may just stitch in the ditch, for the central part anyway. We'll see....

Hope everyone is having a good week
Chris :)

Thursday, 19 April 2012

a parcel and a pincushion...



I've just been to the Post Office to send this swap parcel on it's way.... the clerk said it would take about 5 days to arrive.



If you signed up for Heidi's Quilters Day Swap.. then this might be for you! I had such fun sewing and putting this parcel together, I really hope my swap partner likes what I sent. I did remember to take photos before I wrapped everything up so I will post those once it has been received... I don't want to spoil the surprise!


I'm almost finished with the stitchery of the last block on my Garden Journal Quilt.. then I have two more blocks to piece before I can put the top together. Trouble is, I keep seeing other projects I'd like to try and it's so hard to keep focused when I am so near to finishing this quilt top! I must be strong.... I must not start anything else just now... sound familiar?


But I confess I had a little break to make this sweet Cathedral Window pincushion.



I've seen some lovely Cathedral Window cushions in my wanderings around blogland and wondered just how difficult they are to construct. I came across this tutorial on the My Go-Go Life blog and thought it would be a great project to try! The tutorial is excellent, with very clear instructions and lots of close up photos.  The pincushion really is lovely and because of all the layers of fabrics, it really holds on tight to those pins and needles :)


I might just have a go at a Cathedral Window cushion one day...
but not today..
I have a quilt top to finish :)



Saturday, 14 April 2012

Quilting Mumma - Mug Rug Swap



I just spotted this and signed up right away... I love mug rugs :)




Sign ups are open until Monday 16th April 2012
Mug Rugs must be posted by Monday 14th May 2012


Click HERE to visit Quilting Mumma's blog for full details and sign up.


Hope you're all having a great weekend :)

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Progress....


I've been working on a few things over the last couple of weeks and didn't realise how long it is since I updated my blog... oops!!

I have finished all the sewing for Heidi's 'Quilters Day' swap, I just need to get it all packaged up and posted.  The deadline for posting is the 1st May, but as my parcel is going overseas I'll be posting it next week. We also have a family wedding at the end of the month... there will probably be some last minute running around and I don't want to ruin my first swap by forgetting to post the parcel!

I've pieced a couple more blocks on the Garden Journal quilt... the border fabric has been ordered and I am working on the last of the stitcheries.... yay!!

I have cut all the fabrics for the 'Cinnamon Toast' quilt and they are all in labelled baggies, ready for me to start stitching.

And... I have finished the 'Flowers For The Bees' wall quilt!!! I have struggled to get a decent photo of it but I hope to get a better one once my hubby gets the wall fixings in place and I can hang it on the lounge wall :)



Not a very good pic at all, it really doesn't show up the details well... but it's the best I can do for now. My camera has distorted the delphinium colours, they are not that bright really!



These next three photos show the colours much better... the delphiniums flowers are paler towards the top.



with more intense colours at the base of the flower stems. I lost count of all the yo-yos I made... I just know there were lots! I found this lovely handmade ladybird button... just perfect :)



The vines scrambling up the wooden post are worked in chain stitch and the daisies have button centres. The quilting is swirly loops... a bit like the bees as they bumble around my garden :)

So that's what I've been doing over the last week or so...

Happy stitching.... Chris :)



Sunday, 1 April 2012

Fernhill is here!!!


The pattern for the first block of Lynette Anderson's mystery Fernhill BOM/button club has arrived!



I ordered the materials pack too and oh my word, those fabrics are so lovely! As well as all the fabrics, the pack contains vilene, teensy-tiny buttons, all the DMC threads I'll need and a yo-yo maker. I have stroked and sorted the fabrics several times, read and re-read the instructions... but I have been good and put it away until I finish the Flowers For The Bees wallhanging. All the yo-yo's are finished for that  (phew) and all the appliqué work is complete. The inner border is a double row of 1.5" squares and then a wider border comes next. More on that when I have enough done to take a progress pic...


AND.... the postman also brought me this lovely fabric pack for the Cinnamon Toast Quilt that I bought at the NEC last weekend. The stall had run out of the fabric packs so I just brought the pattern home with me at the time.  It was so exciting to open the parcel when it arrived in the post!



The fabrics are from the Maison de Garance range by French General for Moda.
Yummy... yummy... yummy....


Happy stitching,
Chris :)




Tuesday, 27 March 2012

WIP - Flowers For The Bees




I've hardly had my nose out of this book since it plopped onto my doormat a couple of weeks ago. I'm a big fan of Lynette Anderson's designs anyway, but this book is just stunning, everything I hoped it would be... and then some. My only problem is that I want to make everything ... the designs are just 'so me'.

How to choose where to begin? The one design that had me oohing and aahing the most is called Flowers For The Bees, an appliqué wall quilt with a sweet beehive, daisies, vines and delphiniums (made from yo-yo's), a lovely cat and of course... buzzing bees. Perfect....I love to watch the bees in my garden, last year I put up a breeding box for solitary bees. The tubes were fully occupied within weeks and it has been in a sheltered spot in the garden all winter. Now the warm Spring weather is here I'm hoping the new bees will emerge soon and buzz round my garden!




Here's what I've done so far.. this central panel measures 17" x 21".  Most of the right side is complete, I am working on the yo-yo's for the delphiniums next and then I'll add the bees. Then it's borders and quilting time.. lastly I'll add the buttons in the daisy centres.

I really want to complete this before I start on any of my new goodies from the NEC... and a little while ago I signed up for Lynette's new button club and mystery BOM - Fernhill. 



The first block should be here soon and I just know I'll be itching to start that as soon as it arrives! It will be my first BOM and I am so excited about it :)

Right... back to the yo-yo's :)
Chris :)

Monday, 26 March 2012

Goodies from the NEC



On Saturday, my elder daughter and I toddled off to the NEC (National Exhibition Centre) in Birmingham. There were three different craft/sewing shows on at the same time in adjacent halls and our tickets gave us entry to all three. My daughter, just getting back into card making, wanted to visit the Hobbycrafts show and I wanted to visit the Sewing for Pleasure show... in the end we went to all three!

What a fantastic day we had, so many new ideas to inspire us,  such beautiful work to admire, so many gorgeous goodies to tempt us. And tempted I was... I came home with 2 books, 2 quilt kits, several patterns, some fabric, a mini iron and a lovely wooden carousel for my desk. I'd saved some money to take and my lovely hubby gave me some money too... plus I had some 'mad money' tucked away. Not much money came home with me... but look at what did....




I spent most of my money in the Sewing for Pleasure show at Daisy Chain Designs... how lovely their stall was, with lots of stitched samples and gorgeous quilts. I bought two quilt kits from there and some lovely sewing accessory patterns.



Isn't this quilt just gorgeous!!! There are a lot of techniques in this quilt that I haven't tried yet so it will be a real learning curve... and quite a slow process too I think! 




This is the fabric I bought, beautiful beiges, reds and aqua... very yummy indeed and absolutely irresistible :)


Now I have to save hard if I am to go back to the NEC in August for the Festival of Quilts... and as I live only half an hour away it would be rude not to go... wouldn't it????


Happy stitching,
Chris :)

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Quilter's Day Swap!!




I'm SO excited!!! I just signed up for my first ever swap, organised by Heidi.
I have copied the following info from Heidi's blog.

..............

Yes - It's time for a SWAP!!

Thank you all for your input on what type of swap we should do. You had some great ideas.  

After much thinking.. and discussion with my cousin (aka Bobbi @ Crafty Vegas Mom) I decided to host a "Quilters Day Swap"!!



I'm not sure if there already is a "Quilters Day".. but there is now!!

What will we swap you ask?

Well, that's the best part.. Anything you want to make!!

That's right - you can send your "Secret" Swap Partner a pincushion or a mug rug.. or a potholder.. or apron... or a zipper pouch.. etc. You get the picture.. ANYTHING!!

How does that sound?

..............

Well it sounds good to me Heidi!! If you would like to join in too, visit Heidi's blog for all the info...


Happy stitching,
Chris :)

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

cushion covers



A pair of new cushion covers for my sofa... using up some of the Blueberry Crumb Cake jellyroll I had left over from Tis The Season.



They were really quick to make, using 2.5" squares and straight line quilting (love my new walking foot!) I added some piping and an envelope closure on the back.

Happy stitching!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Tis The Season... finished!!


It's just over two weeks since I started this... and it's finished!!






I had thought it would take me quite a bit longer, but once I started working on the stitcheries I just couldn't put it down! I am so, SO pleased with how it turned out... the Blueberry Crumb Cake fabrics are perfect for my lounge. I started with a jelly roll and three pieces of yardage... and there is still a lot left.

Maybe I'll make a couple of new cushion covers with some of it.....

Happy stitching!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

walking the line....


When I was quilting my block keeper I had so much bother with it bunching, despite it being pinned to within an inch of it's life. I'd done straight line quilting before on my machine, turning down the presser foot pressure and using a longer stitch seemed to work ok. Mind you, I was using up some cheap polyester wadding for my block keeper so maybe it was that? The cotton/bamboo I normally use seems to grip the fabric much better.

Then I got to thinking... I've made good progress on my Tis The Season stitcheries and once the blocks are completed I'll be doing straight line quilting on that. Hmm... time to bite the bullet and get myself a walking foot. What a peculiar looking thing it is... like a mechanical crab complete with pincers!!!





I was itching to give it a try, so I grabbed some strips and pieced together a table mat and a little mat for a flower vase. I was glad I'd chosen the open-toe walking foot, it was much easier to see where I was stitching. As for bunching... none at all. It quilts like a dream :)







I'm much more confident about quilting my Tis The Season hanging now...

But first I need to finish the stitcheries and get those blocks pieced!


Happy stitching...


Sunday, 4 March 2012

I made a block keeper!


If you had asked me what this was was two days ago... I wouldn't have known. Nor would I have known that I needed one, really needed one!!





It all came about because I decided to start piecing together the first block from my Gardener's Journal quilt. Strewth... are those 1 1/2" squares fiddly!! Stitch, press, stitch, press... and fairly soon I had one block completed... yay! Yes, I know it's a bit wonky in places but I'm hoping the quilting will sort of hide that. Maybe I should do another and see how that one turns out? So I did another.. pressed them both and pinned them to my ironing board.





Yesterday I needed to move them to iron hubby's shirts. But where to put them? I really didn't want to fold them up and I knew if I rolled them in a towel and popped them on a shelf I'd end up dumping something on top of them and creasing them. What to do?  I wondered what other people do? I knew someone, somewhere would have an answer.  At times like this I turn to Google... it's amazing what you can find on the internet.  And sure enough, Google came up with a brilliant tutorial for a block keeper.. it's on Teresa'a blog here. Fabric, wadding, glue, postal tube... and a couple of hours later... 




It's just the perfect thing! 

I must get those shirts ironed though....