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Hello everyone and I hope that you are looking forward to a lovely weekend.
I have lots of me time planned and some finishing of kit which I shall be able to show you next week. Things have been going very well with the surcoat that I am making which is a relief as it is quite a complex make and it is always a bit nerve-wracking when you are making things for someone else.
I have also managed to whip up a new linen shift for me in an afternoon, that just needs the hand stitching on the hems finishing which will be done tonight.
My lovely friend Helen from knitting group has just gifted me these hexis, she was having a de-stash and decided that she was never going to finish the rainbow quilt she had been planning to make with them so they are now mine! They are fabulous and such pretty fabric.
I can’t decide which one I like best but this might just be my favourite.
Although these ones are pretty lovely as well.
I think they would look very nice as part of a small lap/cuddle quilt for one of my younger relatives and again hexis are a great travel project for the many trips I have planned over the next few months!
In other exciting news it is the end of teaching for me, yippee :-) and my students very kindly bought me these gorgeous flowers. Aren’t they so beautiful?
I love having flowers in the house and I am particularly fond of gerberas as they just look so perfect, almost too good to be real, and it is rare to be able to buy them on their own.
So the summer stretches ahead, lots of marking to do along with working on my doctorate and planning for next year but I am feeling very relaxed and happy.
Ofsted, (the government education inspectors for those of you outside the UK), have not arrived so far this term and probably won’t come now which lessens the pressure on everyone.
I will have much more time for crafting as now do not have to work until stupid o clock on teaching days and with the lighter evenings I feel I am able to get so much more done.
Life is very lovely at the moment and I hope that you are all having a good time too.
Thanks for visiting.
I really enjoy making stitching gifts and have just finished a set for a special little girl, the eldest daughter of my very talented friend Kat, the women who makes the gorgeous medieval and Tudor clothes and is a fabulous embroider as well.
If you have not seen her creations please look at her website Kats Hats and her Facebook page which also has loads of research such as manuscripts, effigies etc. She has also started running courses as well, details on the page.
It is Kat’s daughter’s birthday in a couple of weeks and she is following in her mother’s footsteps and started sewing a while ago so I have made her this pincushion and needle case set out of some fabric from my Simply Solids scrap stash.
I made a similar set for Rachel, my most prolific blog commenter and these were again from the Simply Solids scrap stash.
English Paper Piecing is great for this kind of small scale fabric stash and I am currently working on a similar item from my New Hexagon book that I posted about previously using my lovely Christmas present Liberty Lawn from Very Berry Fabrics.
I do particularly love making (and owning) pincushions and stitching pillows with space for needles in the back as well and these are the, mainly, stitched ones that I have made on the past, lots of these were for exchanges.
Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom has a lovely idea of making pincushions regularly out of her scrap pile and keeping them in a basket for when stitching friends come round to give as gifts, isn’t that a great thing to do.
There are just a few more (595 pins!) ideas on this lovely Pinterest Board – do you think we might actually make more stuff if someone hadn’t invented Pinterest, not that I am complaining, I love it!
Right back to my hexis and a Game of Thrones marathon, am trying to catch up with the rest of Season 4 before Season 5 starts mid April or I will spend the entire re-enactment season having to try to avoid spoilers from all my friends who are avid fans!
Have a lovely rest of the weekend and thanks for visiting.
Well hello there, back in lovely Marsden now having had a very nice time and got lots of work done! Just thought I would share with you the fruits of my labour last weekend.
This month’s block did look like a bit of a challenge when Helen originally posted it – a Nine Patch Frame so she had the first go and very kindly supplied the measurements.
It turned out to be not too bad, as you can see I have not really got my frame far enough out as it was a tricky devil to sew with those corners so my outer white triangles are not as good as they could be and have lost some of the points on the inner square but I like the fabric combinations.
Here is the Jan block Dutchman’s Puzzle which uses most of the same fabric. I am trying to vary each one a little due to running out of large pieces of stash and hoping that April is going to be a scrappy block :-)
Here is the Feb block Union Squares – the right sized one!
Will probably try and get the next 3 in these fabrics and make this into a small quilt, each block is 12 inches so will be cot sized with borders and can go to local hospice or Project Linus. Then do the next 6 in different fabrics.
Sharon jokingly suggested this might be our next block challenge. This is work by Danny Amazonas using fabrics from the Kaffe Fassett Collective – wow, just wow!
Can’t believe it is nearly the weekend already – how exciting! It is very lovely and sunny here today so hope that continues and I can get some walking done as well as stitching.
Hope you have a nice time planned and thanks for visiting.
I am having a lovely week so far mainly working from home which was fortuitous as a long-awaited Amazon order arrived today and I was in to sign for it :-)
I ordered this title, The New Hexagon by Katja Marek, as I saw a review of it in one of my quilting magazines and am very excited. I love the fabric choices which make the front cover blocks look like one of those kaleidoscope toys I had as a kid.
Regular readers will know that I have a bit of a hexagon addiction going on at the moment and have done lots of things with ordinary hexagons.
I am now experimenting with diamonds making some little pin cushions and needlebook gifts and was looking for more things to do now that I am more confident with this English Paper Piecing lark!
I bought this other book below, Quilting on the Go by Jessica Alexandrakis, for my Mum as a Mother’s Day present and it is a very good basic introduction to the craft with lots of useful templates and ideas for small and large projects.
However I wanted something a bit more challenging for me, well just look at all this deliciousness ;-)
This is actually called the Hexalicious Wall Quilt hence the post title and I love the bright colours and the border fabric!
The patterns work equally well with more subtle fabric though as in this example.
So happy! Am taking this to knitting group tonight to share with my friends, I am sure Helen the premier quilter amongst us will be very impressed.
Right back to work now, coffee break over ;-)
Thanks for visiting and see you soon.
Well sadly my friends couldn’t make it this weekend – probably a good thing as I have still got the tail end of the nasty cough and cold bug I have had for a month so I have been snuggling up under a fleece on my stitching sofa watching TV and hand piecing.
Much better for me than wandering round my beautiful but below freezing Yorkshire!
I have recently discovered the joys of quilting videos on You Tube, as we have been doing the Block of the Month challenges and I find it difficult to follow written instructions so I thought a would share with you a few of my favourite channels in case you have not discovered this marvellous resource, it is like having a Quilt Guild in your very own home.
Firstly the McCalls Quilting Channel. I have really enjoyed watching this Quilt Along learning loads of new techniques.
Next is the Fons and Porter Channel, I have seen Mary Fons in lots of magazines and this channel has useful basic tips videos as well as interviews with quilters like this one.
I found this Missouri Star Quilt Company Channel today and they have some brilliant videos on all types of blocks and whole quilts. Wouldn’t this one make a great quilt for a gift!
I have always loved watching videos about quilting and have been a fan of The Quilt Show but didn’t realise that there was so much free stuff out there as well.
Another thing I am a bit late to the party with is Craftsy, I have signed up from some fab free online classes for Block of the Months.
There has been great excitement here on TV this week as it is the start of series 3 of The Great British Sewing Bee! If you missed it here is a link to it on BBC iPlayer.
I would not like to participate (my sewing is far too slow for that) but would love to have day in the workshop with all my sewing friends.What a fab venue for a day out surrounded by all that lovely fabric – and the little café with all-important cake nearby!
Here is a picture of one of the contestants Deborah Simms with the beautiful fabric she chose for her final garment of this episode.
This blog by Angela Kane also has some great tips of techniques from Series 2
Hope you find these useful, back to the sewing now- must spend equal time doing as watching or nothing will get finished ;-) ! See you in a couple of weeks and thanks for visiting.
So I made the one with 3 1/2 inch squares on Saturday and that turned out at 8 inches finished size. So on Sunday I tried making one with 4 1/2 inch squares and that turned out to measure 10 inches finished size.
They do both look very pretty though and I am pleased with the finish.
The block pattern is called Union Square and again it is from the Quilter’s Cache website. I found this useful video (which turns out to be a variation of the block which is known as Union Squares ) but the girls have kindly let me off for this deviation ;-)
It came together quite quickly – especially the second time around and the method I was using gave me lots of practise at making half and quarter square triangles. And my joins are not too bad though getting every single one to be perfect is beyond me, they definitely look better certain ways up!
I have now made a third one – not exactly the same but almost, I ran out of the swirly pink fabric so have done the half square triangles in a co-ordinating solid. This one hit the magic 12 inches and was made with 5 1/2 inch squares.
The first two will be put to good use, I am going to frame the littlest one for my quilt room and use the other to make a pillow for my sewing chair. I have some hexagons in the same fabric that I was already putting together for a pillow so will make it reversible.
Am really enjoying this challenge, there are 5 of us from the knitting group doing it now and we are all supporting each other through Facebook and have planned a couple of get togethers as well for help with certain aspects.I love how crafting is so social, both virtual and face to face!
Will not have much time for crafting this week as work is very busy and have friends over at the weekend so things are going to be slow on the posting front for a couple of weeks. Then am off to Spain for half term (those lovely embroidery museums are calling!) so will see you all when I get back.
Take care and enjoy yourselves. Thanks for visiting.
Last weekend as well as the hand stitching on the hexagon car quilt I decided to go and have a play with some other quilt blocks, inspired by how much I enjoyed making the Dutchman’s puzzle block for our block of the month challenge.
I don’t know why but whatever craft I do I always choose very small-scale projects, my cross stitch is on small count fabric (so small I usually need a magnifier now!), I knit little arms and legs for bunnies and nothing bigger than a baby cardigan. It seems I am going the same way with quilting as most of what I have done so far is baby quilts and hexagons.
Partly it is lack of time, as I have limited time to finish things because they are usually gifts small means achievable so less WIPs hidden away.
But I do like small-scale so I thought for my practising last week I would use one of the Moda mini charm packs that I bought a while ago from Simply Solids. I have used up the other two already in the wash bag I made for an Xmas present and the hexagons I pieced from the Printemps pack (see kids I do USE the fabric in that room, it is just sometimes more sneaks in somehow!)
I have two of these ‘Playtime’ 1930s inspired prints and I thought if I keep making a few blocks every so often I will eventually have a small quilt at least!
I wasn’t following a specific block just wanted to practise my half square triangles and stitching accuracy for those 1/4 inch seams but I have ended up with something that looks a bit like a Pinwheel block – albeit a bit random in terms of the fabric placement.
I also decided a 9 patch would be good (God alone knows why) which involved cutting an already small 2 1/2 ” square into four pieces so excuse the slightly wonky finished article!
The miniaturising effect must be rubbing off as yesterday afternoon I rushed up to the sewing room to start on the Feb block of the month challenge, this is my only free weekend in Feb so I wanted to get a good start.
It must have been my haste that led me to create a pretty well pieced (only one triangle lost its point) but rather small block, the target was 12 inches and mine ended up as 8 inches. Turns out when you divide 12 by 3 the answer is 4 NOT 3 – who knew? Well supposedly me as I do actually teach Maths – oops.
However it will look lovely with an extra border to cover up the missing points and I am going to try it again this afternoon WITH 4 INCH BLOCKS!
My lovely Ellie sent me a fabric care package this week with a beautiful card, she is so kind. I had not been feeling well when she spoke to me a couple of weeks ago and work had been a bit stressful so she sent me this to cheer me up.
Look at this beautiful print, in three colourways! With matching solids! Thank you so much, you are a wonderful daughter as well as a great friend :-)
I like lists and it is nice to have a focus and extend your skills so I am going to add that to my challenges for this year, some of them can already be fulfilled by things I have planned (Number 2 by all the medieval kit I have planned for friends) but others on the list I have though about doing but not done (Number 12 I want to make a bag for me).
So it is going to be a busy and fun year, 26 books, 17 plus sewing projects and 12 plus quilt blocks. And we are just sorting out our re-enactment events for 2015 and so far I have 10 events! 2015 is going to be a very good year :-)
Right better get off the laptop and on with the actual stitching now then if I am for achieve all this. Take care, have a nice week and thanks for visiting.
I realised (as I was mulling over the design for my thank you gift for all those lovely comments) that I had not posted any pictures of the last giveaway I did for my 400th post or the last piece of stitching that I did for the sadly now defunct Seasonal Exchange.
So here they are. This is the needlecase that I made, Cat had requested deep colours and I had these fabrics in my scraps from making my medieval pattern fabric throw for the sofa (which I still have not finished the hand quilting on – ahem!) so I though I would combine my hexagon addiction with a little goldwork.
The inside of the case has felt in a deep red for the needles and I put a little hexagon pocket in as well for scissors, threaders etc. Apologies for the yellowness of the picture, this was November light in Yorkshire!
This was the last pincushion I made – the original gift got lost in the post and never arrived :-( so I made this little bird one instead.
It is an adaptation of a pattern from one of my cross stitch magazines, the original has NOEL on it and is a Christmas ornament but I liked the idea of an autumn bird looking for berries. It is backed with some of the same fabric left over from the throw.
I don’t know where I got the little acorn charm from but thought it was very cute and just right for this piece.
We have had more snow this week, I actually ended up with a snow day yesterday where despite mine and the bus driver’s valiant attempts to get us to town I arrived too late for where I was going so turned round and came home! Was very tempted to just sit under a fleecy blanket and stitch but I was good and got on with some marking.
Plans for this weekend are to try out some more quilting blocks and our February block of the month will be released soon as well!
Hope you have a nice weekend and thanks for visiting.
Helen, Sharon and I decided while on our way back from the Harrogate show that we would like to extend our skills a little so then arranged to have a Block of the Month Quilt Along. Several other people from knitting group have also joined in. So that was yesterday afternoon’s little project.
Helen is co-ordinating it and after discussion we decided to use this Quilter’s Cache site run by Marcia Hohn which has a huge number of patterns all at the same size and a random number generator to choose blocks.
We thought this was a good way of extending all our skills as then we would avoid just choosing easy blocks. Helen has been quilting for a long time, Sharon has just started and I am in the middle in terms of experience (and fabric stash lol!).
This month the block is Dutchman’s Puzzle which involves Flying Geese. I remembered that I had seen some videos on how to make these so being better at visual rather than written instructions used this very useful McCall’s Quilting video on You Tube to make them using the ‘no waste’ method.
It was great having the video as I took the laptop up to the craft room and did it step by step along with the tutorial (mind you it did take me about 1 1/2 hours rather than the 10 minutes of the video!)
That did include choosing the fabric though which took a while. I tend to buy fabric in small amounts and as we will be making 12 blocks of unspecified patterns had a bit of difficulty with what to choose.
In the end I went with a colour palette that I have used for previous things with the addition of some of my new stash from Harrogate (the Cath Kidston look-alike flowers on aqua in these pictures).
The solids are far more pink than they appear here (winter light upstairs not good for pictures!) and I do have a few more options that I can add. The white on white fabrics are really too subtle to see in this picture but they show up better in the finished block.
It was a good experience though as I tend to buy either fabric for specific things or stuff that I like the look of but not much of it co-ordinates with anything else apart from my lovely Simply Solids stash.
I have to think about the fact that future blocks may be more scrappy so that ruled out lots of larger prints and that as I am trying to do it all from stash what am I going to use for binding, sashing and backing?
What I may do is make 6 of the blocks from this set of stash and six from another set if I run out. These will probably become donated quilts as I have plans to make others for family this year.
I was very pleased with my end result and the process was very simple to understand, good practise as well at sewing 1/4 inch seams.
The finished block has turned out a bit big but am pleased with the points at the centre and have only lost the nose from one of the geese!
It was an easy block to make and the video was very useful. Our aim is to make as many of the blocks as we all can (given busy lives) so no-one will be penalised for missing a month and we can use our regular meetings for knitting group to help each other out. There will then be a couple of quilting bees I should think when we tackle basting, binding and machine quilting.
After all that snow yesterday I awoke to this beautiful view – sunshine on the sparkling hills, if I wasn’t just getting over a yucky cough I would be out for a wander but I will stay in the warm and admire the views from here.
Hope you have also had a nice weekend, thanks for visiting.
Hello everyone and a very happy 2015, I know I am a bit late but this is my first post this year so I hope you all had a great time.
I have just finished reading a book called ‘A Different World’ by Mary Nichols , a very good story about World War 2 which is set partly in Warsaw so it was interesting to read about that side of the experiences of people under occupation.
It struck me that this was a good title for this week’s post as I am sitting here watching the snow fall in lovely Marsden and last weekend’s view was this from our picnic on the beach.
Not that I mind the snow (as long as I can get to work on Monday) as what better excuse is there for sitting with a fleecy blanket, some good TV (Game of Thrones Season 3) and some more hexagons!
Ooh and Ellen has said I can have some of the Baileys she inadvertently left after Christmas so I might be making myself a sneaky hot chocolate later :-)
I had a lovely time as always in Spain and really enjoyed the time I spent with Mum. I helped her choose a new sewing machine and was showing her how to cut out her first bit of quilting.
We also had great excitement as we found the quilt shop in Alicante which is the nearest we could find to where Mum lives (thank god for the miracles of the internet!).
The shop is called Patchwork and Quilting and we met the owner, a lovely lady called Ana Camara, who despite saying her English was not very good talked to us for about 20 minutes about her visits to England (one to the Festival of Quilts) and about all her shop.
She runs workshops as well as sells fabric so if you are every in the area do go and visit. This is a link to a map of the shop.
She has an excellent range of fabric and I was very pleased to find this yard of Robert Kaufman print which co-ordinates with the panel I bought from Harrogate.
I had a very relaxing time walking and cycling in the sunshine, admiring all the gardens and pretty flowers, this is one of my favourite gardens and gave me the inspiration for the cactus planting at my house (they are very tricky to weed though, lots of ouch!).
And this poinsettia bush looked really good in contrast with the purple bougainvillea next to it.
While we were in Alicante we came across this replica of a galleon which had amazing doors – I expect my pirate re-enactor friends would love to have trip out on this.
Right will get back to watching the snow fall and piecing hexis – am working a baby quilt for one of Ellie’s friends at the moment with the scrap stash that I bought from Simply Solids.
Will do a full tutorial post when it is finished but here is a preview – how cute are those cars!
Thanks for visiting!