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


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 :)