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How did I get to this ripe old age without discovering the joys of hexis or mini charm packs?

I suppose previously I thought that I had enough fabric to play with and didn’t need to buy themed collections but since I discovered the joys of English paper piecing (and my addiction to hexagons) they have come in really useful being just the right size for the creation of endless hexi flowers.

I have put them to good use though. I could cheerfully just sit here making hexi flowers and watching Netflix while it rains but feel I need to be purposeful in what I do ;-)

So I have made a couple of aprons as Christmas gifts with the mini charm packs I bought from The Quilt Cabin in Hebden Bridge.

hexis heaven

hexis apron 2

I added little patched pockets as a contrast to the hexagons.

hexis apron pocket close up 1

hexis apron close up 2

hexis apron close up 1

hexis close up 3

These will go with some mini baking sets that I discovered on that trip as well. They are for the smaller cousins in the family (previous recipients of rabbits).

I have made lots of flowers out of a Moda mini charm pack from Simply Solids.

This is from the Moda  Printemps fabric range which is lovely and very good value at £4 per pack.

hexis Printemps set close up 1

hexis Printemps set close up 2

That has made all these and enough for one other that I need to add some of my solid stash to. I think these will be turned into make-up bags for other Christmas presents.

hexis Printemps set

I have also been using the mini charm packs for patchwork to make a wash bag for another relative. I used up most of the squares in this pack but added some plain ones from stash rather than the flower patterned ones as I wanted to personalise the bag.

Elan's patchwork bag charm pack

Elan's patchwork bag

Elan's patchwork bag 2

Elan has an Israeli name and so does not get much personalised stuff so thought I would try out my applique skills. Since I couldn’t find any letters the right size I also drew these myself and am pleased with the way they have turned out. Just need to line the bag and add the drawstring this evening.

Elan's patchwork bag 3

Elan's patchwork bag 4

All of the above flowers have been made with 1 inch hexis but I am also doing some more work with the tiny 1 cm ones. This is from stash fabric and will be a pincushion – am intending to make a matching needlebook, again for a Christmas present.

hexis small aqua

Since this is my year of patchwork and quilting I am going to spend a lot of my time thinking of ways to use up the hexis. Thankfully I have Pinterest and the whole of the world-wide web to help me ;-)

I may just buy a few more charm packs at my visit to the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show – which is exactly a month today !!!!! Not that I am at all excited.

Hope you are all well and happy and have had a good weekend, I am off to Spain on Friday so will be back in a couple of weeks. Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Hope you are having a fun weekend, I am having a very lovely textilicious one and have just returned with my friend Sharon from visiting a new quilt shop that has opened up in the next but one village from us!

There has been great excitement at our knitting group waiting for this shop to open as it is a real live shop with classes and fabric and everything owned by Justine and Lisa from Simply Solids.

Simply Solids shop

Simply Solids shop 2

Simply Solids shop 3

Simply Solids shop 4

Simply Solids shop 5

Look at this loveliness with all of the displays of cushions and quilts as well as the beautiful fabric and a cosy sitting area. Plus they have a Gamill quilting machine that I think they will be renting time on (if I ever learn to machine quilt).

There was far more fabric than just the displays in the middle of the table, a whole wall of bolts that in my excitement I forgot to photograph!

And it is only a short bus ride away, and they are doing sit and sew groups in the evening :-) I am very happy about this as I did really enjoy going to a quilting group before I moved but that one is quite a long way from where I live now whereas this one will be on the way home.Fits in fantastically with my desire to do more quilting this coming year!

I have been buying from their online shop for a while now and had previously subscribed to their solids stash club. They also have lots of lovely prints as well in the shop and are going to offer classes so it is all very good. If you live near Huddersfield go and check our their website for class details.

I did of course buy a little something from them (it would have been very rude not to!) and the first things I will show you are these little mini charm packs.

Simply Solids shop 12

I have not had charm packs before I bought the one a few weeks ago but like how it gets you to use different fabric that you would not maybe have looked at. Just playing around with one of the sets while I was taking pictures I put together this which also features one of the fantastic lacy zips I bought from them – so pretty!

Simply Solids shop 14

Simply Solids purchases and freebies

I spent this morning using the previous charm pack to make these two hexi sets for some more of the children’s aprons that I am making as Christmas presents which will be using up more of my solids stash.

Hexi charm pack

Simply Solids shop 7

The very loveliest thing though was a fantastic goodie bag!

Simply Solids shop 13

Not only is it a fab bag and that is such a true saying but there were lots of goodies inside. Look at all this stuff, free fabric and thread and hexi papers (Sharon is going to start doing hexis once she has finished her current bunting project).

Simply Solids shop 10

Simply Solids shop 11

Also have bought (and subscribed to the first 3 issues for £5) to Quilt Now magazine  which they had for sale.

Simply Solids shop 8

Will leave you with the fruits of my week’s work – not much stitching time due to having a very lovely new group of teacher trainees starting but have managed 3 more flower brooches.

Fabric flowers

Sharon gave me the idea of making rounded petals by just folding the circle of fabric in half rather than in quarters. All of this fabric comes from stash and the pale pink and pink/brown flower patterns are from 2 charity shop blouses that I repurposed.

Now for a lovely evening of stitching, wine and lighting the candles, nights are drawing in but I have my fabric love to keep me warm :-)

Don’t forget to ‘like’ my giveaway post, I will be drawing the winner tomorrow. Thanks for visiting.

I went for a little visit to the town of Hebden Bridge the other day with my friend Sharon. It is a very pretty place, similar to Marsden with a river and a canal.

Hebden Bridge - canal

Hebden Bridge - river

Hebden Bridge - river 2

We hadn’t really planned what to do as were just going for a tootle but imagine our delight at finding this as one of the first shops we came across!

Hebden Bridge - quilt shop 2

Hebden Bridge quilt shop

Hebden Bridge - quilt shop 3

We had to go in of course (it would have been rude not to) and a while later left with all of this lovely stuff. They also do classes and online sales and this is their web site.

Hebden Bridge - material

Hebden Bridge - material 2

Hebden Bridge - material 3

Most of this will become Xmas presents so it is guilt free fabric ;-) and I was very pleased to get some more of the Makower sewing print range for my gifts.

I was most impressed with this little mini cake – 40 pieces of fabric for only £3, they are about 2 inches square so will make lovely hexis for pincushions and aprons.

Hebden bridge - mini cake

Hebden Bridge - material 6

Then a little further on down the street we found this lovely wool and haberdashery shop. They must have known we were coming :-)  Love the cross stitch opening hours sign.

Hebden Bridge - sewing shop

Hebden Bridge - sewing shop 2

I bought ribbon and self covering buttons for a project I will mention later in this post. And there were some very cute teddy buttons.

Hebden Bridge - buttons

We went to the local WI this week as they were having a demonstration on how to make a brooch from Liberty fabric. The session was run by Julie from a local handmade company Teazle and we all made very cute little flowers.

WI flower

I bought a kit to make another with some beautiful Liberty paisley and have adapted the design to make Xmas ornaments.The flower looked a little like a poinsettia so I thought it would be nice hanging from a tree.

Xmas ornie - flower

I have made Suffolk Puffs (or Yo – Yos) for the first time for the centre of the flower. I made 2 of different sizes and layered them to cover up the centre hole.

Xmas ornie - flower

I am still enjoying my hexagons, as well as using them for Xmas ornaments I am making some little pincushions for my friend Sue’s charity stall.

Hexi pincushions

Hexi pincushion 2

The one on the left is made from the hexi needlecase freebie fabric from my Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine and the one on the right is fabric from two charity shop blouses.

I love the little flowers on this fabric and think that the broderie anglaise flowers on the white fabric look really pretty against the dark pink which is Kona solids from my stash.

I am aiming to do some more brooches, pincushions and ornaments over this weekend as I would like to have all my hand-made ornaments finished before term starts in two weeks if possible.

Hope you have a nice relaxing and crafty weekend planned. Thanks for visiting.

You know when you promise yourself you are not going to buy any more fabric as you already have lots that you haven’t used (and haven’t touched for years) and you really, really mean to stick to that promise but then along comes a really special something so you have to buy it even though it is a bit naughty?

Well that happened to me last week, was just buying some tickets for the Knitting and Stitching Show in November and was checking the list of exhibitors and happened to see one of our local fabric suppliers, Simply Solids, listed so just had to have a little look at their website and they had the most fabulous themed fabric and it was on sale!

Quilt fabric - sewing patterns 1

I think this first one is going to be my favourite – though the others are fab as well.

Quilt fabric - sewing patterns 2

Quilt fabric - sewing patterns 3

Quilt fabric - sewing patterns

It arrived on Friday but did not have time to really appreciate it until I got back from the weekend.

The other exciting thing is that she is opening a shop in town soon with classes and everything! That is probably going to a major dent in my budget but at least the kids will know what to get me for Christmas as I am sure she will do gift vouchers.

The justification is that I am planning to make Christmas gifts so it can count as spends for that and not fabric spends, (I did have other stuff to make Christmas gifts with though – just have to use them up quick as well!)

We usually go and have a little look in the National Trust second-hand book stalls when we visit properties and came away with a brilliant haul this time. As well as a big pile of fiction books they had just had a lot of quilting books donated so I bought these four.

Quilt books NT

The pink bordered title was published in 1937 and is a detailed study of the history of 19th century quilting and the front book gives lots of hand quilting patterns.

My favourite one is this wonderfully titled publication from 1984 which is so detailed in the process of making a block quilt.

It has all sorts of useful things like a sizing chart for different bed sizes, a block design page where you are encouraged to colour in sample blocks to see which look best and most useful of all are sets of card templates for all of the blocks.

Quilt books NT 6

Quilt books NT 5

Quilt books NT 4

Quilt books NT 3

Quilt books NT 2

I have decided that I will concentrate on quilting and patchwork for a while (in between lots of kit making sessions). I will still be knitting socially but after 9 bunnies and 3 elephants am going to swap skills for a while and there is so much that I have been wanting to do quilt wise.

Quilting and patchwork will be the focus of the Christmas presents this year (so that I can feed my hexagon addiction!) and I will be making sewing notion gifts, two more aprons and hopefully a cushion based on this wonderful quilt using found textiles which have been embellished with embroidery and beads.

Vintage fabric bee quilt

This is from a Bee Quilt Stitch along that I found on this blog – I think it is made by someone called Chantal, the site is in French so not too sure but there are some wonderful hexagon quilts on there done using the quilt as you go technique where each hexagon is made and bound before being stitched together.

Isn’t it gorgeous and will be a great was of using up some of the vintage things I have bought over the last two years.

So am going to be very busy and happy during the off-season!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Well it is nearly time for my second houseaversary – we will be away at the Caldicot Castle  event next week and I will have a drink with friends to celebrate.

Am still so happy here, can’t believe what a difference being here has made to my life. I am still having a really lovely time and one of the best things is the countryside around me which is purple for quite a lot of the year. I do love that colour!

The rhododendrons have all gone now but instead the hills are covered in heather and it makes them look very beautiful. I borrowed a friend’s dog, Ted, the other day for a walk as she was working and we went for a little tootle up to my favourite reservoir (which is now refilled) and back past all the beautiful purple bushes.

Marsden heather

Marsden heather 2

Here is a very pretty cow we met on the way.

Marsden heather 3

Marsden heather 4

Marsden heather 5

Marsden heather 6

And Ted wanting to go up a bit more and not stop for pictures ;-)

Marsden heather 7

I was also lucky enough to get this shot of a butterfly on a Buddleia.

Marsden heather 8

Marsden heather 9

What a gorgeous cottage near my friend’s house. Such a cute name as well, like a house in an Enid Blyton story.

Marsden heather 10

Marsden heather 11

As well as walks I am spending lots of time with hexagons (which may be my new addiction!). Have cut out pieces for many more ornaments and this week decided to use the hexis to make an apron for a friend’s little girl.

Marsden heather 12

Marsden heather 13

I made her big sister an apron for a birthday present this year and as she is just about to start Nursery where she will be having cookery sessions I thought she needed one of her own. Have had all of this fabric in my stash for a while, nice to be using some rather than buying anything new (which I am not allowed to do till I have used up a lot more!)

The apron pattern comes from this free tutorial at Aesthetic Nest’s blog.

The cute teddy braid on the pocket is some from my local haberdasher that I have had in the stash for a while just waiting for a project like this.

It is a Bank Holiday here in the UK so am planning to spend tomorrow doing more stitching (surprise, surprise) – am thinking of using some of my vintage embroidery with hexis to create something, probably Christmas presents as I like to be prepared!

Have a lovely couple of weeks and I will be back soon. Thanks for visiting.

Just thought I would do an update on my work yesterday and share with you a tutorial for my latest Xmas ornament. I had a very lovely day – unfortunately today is wet as well so I will just have to carry on sitting making more ornaments, how sad ;-)

I would love to design and make full-time but in the mean time am happy with the little bits I get to do.

This is my third original Xmas ornament design, tutorials for the crazy patchwork Xmas tree  and information on the Crazy patchwork Xmas heart can be found at these links. None of these are earthshatteringly different from other things you can find on the web but are all my own work.

I have never done anything with hexagons before and have quite frankly considered English Paper Piecing a bit of a faff but I am very much enjoying this.

My inspiration came from two free gifts from my Love Quilting and Patchwork magazines. I started sewing the hexi pincushion last week on the train and I really liked it.

 

Hexi Xmas ornie 1

I do enjoy small-scale work and as friends have always told me these are very portable projects. The free pre-cut papers will come in very handy as well!

Here are the two I finished yesterday and below is a step by step guide for those of you who might like to have a go yourselves.

Hexi Xmas ornie 6

The ornament is made from 2 sizes of hexagon – 2 inch for the main body of the ornament and 1 cm for each of the hexagons in the ‘flower’. Please note that hexagons are sized by the length of each side (something that I found a bit confusing to start with) and you can happily mix metric and imperial measurements.

If you want to save yourself the trouble of drawing round a template here are links for free printables from the Snippets and Blabbery blog and some free printable hexagon graph paper  in different sizes and you can also buy pre-cut papers from many sources including these from Quilt Direct.

There are also lots of pre-cut (and even pre-stitched onto papers) fabric on Ebay if you really want to save time,  for me half of the fun is choosing the fabric though.

I used material from my small (ahem) stock of Xmas fabric but this design would work well from charm packs and scraps from other quilting.

Step 1 – Cut out 2 of the larger 2 inch hexagons from your backing fabric, I have used plain for the front and patterned for the back.

Step 2 – Cut out 7 of the smaller 1 cm hexagons – I used 3 different fabrics from the same ranges for each of my designs. You need a bigger seam allowance than you might think for folding over, I use 0.5 cm.

Hexi Xmas ornie 2

The small size of the hexagons makes it great for fussy cutting elements out of larger designs but you may have to watch the orientation of the hexagons when you stitch them together if the design had a ‘right way up’.

Fussy cutting means choosing a part of the design rather than just cutting out of the general fabric, it does mean you get more waste but the effect is good.

Step 3 – Sew the smaller hexagons onto your paper hexagons folding the seams over as you go. Use a contrasting thread then it is easier to unpick when you take the papers out. There is an excellent step by step tutorial on making a hexagon flower at Pretty by Hand’s blog here which shows how to stitch the pieces together.

Hexi Xmas ornie 3

Step 4 – Arrange the 7 hexagons into a flower shape and sew all the seams together using small stitches. If you are using a plain centre fabric the same as the backing then you could just have a ring of 6 hexagons but I liked the stability of the flower shape. Iron at this point to help secure seams for the next stage.

Hexi Xmas ornie 4

Step 5 – Remove the stitches and then the hexagon backing paper pieces carefully. I use my unpicker for this bit, you can re-use the papers if you are careful. I did then tack the outer 3 edges of each hexagon (those that are not sewn to anything), this makes the next step easier.

Step 6 – Applique your hexagon flower to one of the large backing hexagons using small stitches in a matching thread colour – if you have multiple colours in your flower go for a match to your backing fabric.

Hexi Xmas ornie - whip stitch detail

Step 7 – Put the appliqued front hexagon and your backing hexagon right sides together and stitch all the way round – I used hand stitching with a running stitch then went back to fill in the gaps but you could machine stitch.

Step 8 – Turn ornament to show right sides – poking the corners with scissor ends or a pencil help to ensure sharp corners.

Step 9 – Stuff the ornament – I use polyester toy filling for all my work available from craft shops or places like this on Ebay.

Step 10 – Turn the raw edges of the open side over, pin and sew. I have made this the top edge on my ornaments as however careful you are it never looks the same as all the other edges and the ribbon hides some of this.

Step 11 – Sew through the middle of the centre hexagon with some tiny stitches pulling tight to create a hollow in the centre – stitch a small button, bead or embellishment there.

Hexi Xmas ornie 5

Step 12 – Attach a ribbon to the back of the ornament, I have also added a bead to cover up the stitching.

Hexi Xmas ornie 7

If you want more hexagon inspiration go and have a look at this Pinterest page that I found the other evening – I particularly love the designs from the Broderie blog featured on that page though it would take centuries for me to complete anything like her quilts.

And look at this for hexi love – this was from the same Pinterest page, not sure who it was from originally but look at that stash!

Hexagon box

I am aiming to make 10 of these ornaments for this year’s friends and family seasonal gifts so am going to be having an enjoyable and productive Autumn.

Happy ornament making and thanks for visiting.

Hello

I hope you are enjoying your Friday – I have another weekend of sewing planned in my lovely newly tidied craft room.

Would have had a fab finish to show you but once completed realised that I had made a (deliberate of course!) mistake with one part so that will be unpicked, re-sewn and brought to you later in the weekend :-)

Meanwhile we will have a closer look at the quilts made by Helen from my knitting group. Helen does have a blog but can’t find it at the moment (my favourites are still all on my old laptop!)

These will all be going to Spain over the next few months to an orphanage that my Mum supports.

Helen's quilts

Helen's quilts 4

Helen's quilts 2

Helen's quilts 3

Helen's quilts 5

Helen's quilts 6

I love the fabric choices – Helen made all these from stash, isn’t she clever. I would love to be more confident at fabric combining, always seems to take me ages to decide what to use for a project.

Hoping for some good weather for a walk as well – as soon as Google announced the first day of Spring Yorkshire decided to get all wet and windy again :-(

Take care and will update on project soon, thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone

You would think that someone who makes Christmas ornaments nearly all year round and started knitting gifts months ago would be finished well in time for the last posting dates wouldn’t you?

You would not imagine a weekend of frantic finishing and a sudden realisation that one of the bunny gifts does not have any legs at the moment :-(

Only realised yesterday as well that the bag that was going to be given with one of the bunny gifts was still unfinished – oops.

However I am doing well despite the lateness and have the gifts that need to be posted ready to go and will be doing more finishing this week including the legs – was sure I had a whole bag of completed bits but one bunny has had too much Xmas cheer and is legless ha ha :-)

The finished bunny I have named Lucy though she is going to my cousin’s daughter who will name her, hope she likes her as much as the other cousin’s daughter did with the first bunny I made.

I made the bag in the summer – it is made from recycled jeans and a pillow case and it was the colour scheme of the pillow case that inspired Lucy’s 3 dresses.

Lucy Bunny's bag

Lucy Bunny and bag

Lucy Bunny dress 2

Lucy Bunny dress 3

I love the way she has wonky ears, all the bunnies turn out with such different faces. Lucy looks quite serious don’t you think?

Lucy Bunny head

Have also made up all the stitched ornaments into little hanging pillows.These are all JBW Designs from Sew and Sew.

Xmas ornies finished

I have little to excuse myself for this tardiness except the fact that I have been very busy at work and possibly have tried once again to make too much in too short a space of time ;-)

I think when I sort out the craft room in Jan I shall have a noticeboard and will write a list of projects and timescales so I can keep track, especially as I have so much medieval kit to stitch for next season.

Planning not helped by the fact that I have just subscribed to a new magazine called Love Patchwork and Quilting which has given me so many new ideas for things that I want to make.

Love Patchwork magazine

What about this little bird ornament – can you imagine some of those in Christmas fabric?

Love patchwork mag

They have a first 3 issues for £5 deal on their website at the moment and it is a very lovely magazine with links to lots of other lovely blogs.

I have been looking at the work of Amy Smart whose Diary of a Quilter blog is full of lovely, lovely things. So many ideas and so little time!

Anyway back to my finishing now – only 9 days to go till Christmas eek! Thankfully the food shopping is nearly all done so I can concentrate on crafting!

Hope you all have a good lead up to the festive season and thanks for visiting.

Hello again

I spend a lot of time travelling to all sorts of beautiful parts of the globe so it was lovely to have week in my gorgeous country appreciating (along with many tourists from all over the world) what England has to offer.

Our first day was spent in the Cotswolds where I grew up and the visit to Bourton-on-the-Water brought back many happy memories of paddling in this stream, seeing the pretty cottages and visiting the model village (which Kerry loved just as much as I did when I first saw it).

Bourton

Bourton 2

Bourton 3

We then went to Snowshill Manor, a National Trust property in the Cotswolds, quintessentially an English manor house with beautiful gardens but home to a very eclectic collection by the last owner Charles Paget Wade.

Snowshill

Snowshill 3

Snowshill 4

Snowshill 5

There was everything from samurai warrior suits to old bikes, including many beautiful Oriental chests from his travels. One room had a lovely collection of textiles including what looks like a piece from a Layton jacket!

Snowshill textiles

Snowshill textiles 2

Snowshill textiles 3

I particularly liked this sampler book showing miniature garments, no information on its maker but I think it would be a for a similar purpose to the one that inspired the Blackbird Designs book, ‘A Stitcher’s Journey’, which I posted about previously, to show prospective employers your needlework skills.

Snowshill textiles 4

Snowshill textiles 5

Snowshill textiles 6

A lovely day out – and all in the best of English summer sunshine!

Thanks for visiting, more historic loveliness soon!

Hello everyone

Well the snow has almost gone here in Yorkshire apart from bits on the hills, we have Spring flowers appearing and have had a couple of warm days recently so we are all feeling very happy!

One of my favourite parts of the China Nationalities Museum that I visited while in Beijing was the exhibition of needlework, this sign outside perfectly captures how I, (and it would seem the museum organisers), feel about stitching!

China Nationalities Museum Sign

There were themed displays of footwear (including the very sad lotus feet shoes for bound feet), bags, headwear and gifts – these little embroidered tokens of love and affection are called henbao.

China Nationalities Museum Henbao

China Nationalities Museum Boots

China Nationalities Museum Lotus feet shoes

I was interested to see cross stitch and patchwork in the bags as well as the more traditional Chinese silk embroidery.

China Nationalities Museum Cross Stitch bag

China Nationalities Museum Cross Stitch bag 2

China Nationalities Museum Cross Stitch bag 3

China Nationalities Museum Patchwork bag

There was also a section devoted to needlework tools – anyone remember these pincushions at the top of the photo?

My Nana had one when I was little (as well as the tomato one with the strawberry emery attached).

China Nationalities Museum Pincushion

In another part of the museum there were some displays of traditional Miao people costume, with beautiful silver headdresses and embroidered robes.

Each strand of the skirt is a separate piece joined with silver beads.

China Nationalities Museum Miao

China Nationalities Museum Miao 2

China Nationalities Museum Miao 3

China Nationalities Museum Miao 4

I have had a busy week craft wise, have finished and posted my Spring ornament for the Seasonal Exchange, part made two bags out of recycled denim and pillowcases and been to two knitting groups (though more drinking coffee and wine was done than actual knitting – as usual!)

And next week the season starts again! They joy of seeing all my re-enactment friends and camping and campfires and BBQs – I shall be so happy :-)

I must get around to putting up the events page for this year but next weekend we are at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire - on Sat and Sun celebrating the victory of St George over the evil Dragon Knight! Please come and join us if you can.

Take care and thank you for visiting.

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