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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.
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 love reading, it might even be more of a favourite thing to do than play with fabric and thread :-) Books are my constant companions and always have been, my childhood memories of the Saturday morning visits to the library every week and the joy that I found getting lost in the world of books have turned into an adult passion for reading.
It is the most wonderful thing to do and I am very bad at not resisting the temptation to buy them all the time, from Amazon, from charity shops, there is always room in this house for another book!
I came across this challenge while doing some blog catching up today – the original post is at this blog but I think I will join in and update my progress here and on the challenge Facebook page.
Here is the list of books.
I think 26 in a year will be reasonable to do (given that on my holidays to Spain I can do 5 in a week!)
My first book will be one that I have just started – was thinking that this could have been number 2, ‘a book made into a movie’, but strictly speaking it is a TV series’, so this book will fulfil number 6, ‘ a book by an author you have not read before’.
Last year while on our National Trust holiday Kerry and I wanted to visit Montacute House but it was closed for the filming of a Hilary Mantel book , ‘Wolf Hall’, a novel about Thomas Cromwell. I love the Tudor period (would re-enact it if I had the time to make the costumes) so we promised ourselves we would look out for the TV series which started last week.
By coincidence there is a new charity book stall in my bus station – I was going to resist the temptation as I have so many books to read but didn’t and found a brand new copy of the book there. I decided to record the series and read the book first.
Number 1 on the challenge, ‘ a book you own but have never read’, will not be hard – I think I have 24 in my book stash at the moment!
Hope you might be inspired to join in, thanks for visiting.
I have just had chance to look at my blog stats review for 2014 and would like to say thank you so much to everyone for visiting me. It is lovely to know that my little bloggy ramblings have an audience and it is not just me waffling into the ether. The full report is below if you are interested.
I would like to say a special thank you to someone who always comments on my posts – a total of 51 comments in 2014 alone! ‘Virtuosewadventures’ I am particularly touched by your online friendship and would like to offer you a hand stitched gift of your choice from me.
Please could you e-mail me at email@example.com and let me what you would like me to make you, I know you love sewing so maybe some little stitching goodie?
Thanks to all of you for visiting and making me feel loved :-)
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here's an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 22,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
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.
There was great excitement in the valley last week (well Sharon, Helen and I were very excited anyway) as we went to Simply Solids to meet designer (and Editor of Quilt Now) Katy Jones, who was launching her line of fabric Priory Square.
It was very interesting to hear Katy talk about the inspiration and the design process.
And of course we bought some of the fabric – Helen and Sharon bought some of each design in the range. Here is Lisa , one of Simply Solid’s owners, who matches beautifully with the fabric she is cutting in her top made from one of the prints.
I bought this half yard of that one which is my favourite – look at those lovely flowers!
Helen won the raffle as well so got a lovely goodie bag full of fabric and thread.
There was also the great excitement of a big scraps bin – all at £1 for 50g, so I got all of this for £8 :-) Look at the cute prints, I think these are going to be some hexi centres for gifts for little people. I do love those little robots!
These are also beautiful fabrics for patchwork, do not have a project in mind for this yet!
There is a post on the Simply Solids blog about the event. You can also sign up for their monthly stash club for 2015 which this year has a choice of bundles, this is a really good way to build up your fabric stash and I am using loads from my last subscription.
Happy Christmas to one and all, I have finished a sewing gift late last night which I will post about soon and am still working on some things – better late than never!
Thanks for visiting and have a lovely couple of days.
Hope you are having a nice weekend. I am having a lovely relaxing yet creative one but just thought I would show you a few pictures from the lovely (sunny!) Jazz Festival last week.
You may remember the event last year was very, very wet so it was a real pleasure to have brilliant sunshine all weekend – in October, in Yorkshire.
It also put paid to all those comments about, ‘why don’t we have the festival at some other time of year’. As if you can ever guarantee nice weather in England!
Here are some pictures of the parade (courtesy of our local paper’s website ) with the brilliant Tongues of Fire – loved that machine, very steam punk!
I managed to get away from my box office duties for a little bit to see the lovely Sugar Sisters and had a boogie to the late night band Bugalu Foundation who were excellent. Will definitely look out for future gigs from them.
Am finishing off the Christmas present aprons with the hexi design on the front and making a patchwork washbag this weekend in between stitching more hexis for future projects.
Hopefully I will be able to show you some completed stuff before I leave for Spain next Friday – I have lots of spa and Jacuzzi visits planned :-)
I am also doing some cooking – experimenting with muffins again and I have made some chocolate and orange ones with passionfruit curd inside (curd courtesy of the National Trust shop). I can safely say they are delicious and will not be around for long.
Also am planning to make some spinach and feta rolls tomorrow from this recipe to use up more of my veg box delivery.
I do love weekends at home! Take care and thanks for visiting.
Yesterday my friend Sarah from knitting and I went to Yarndale, a festival of all things woolly, in the pretty little town of Skipton on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Here is the front cover of the show guide – how cute is that sheep!
Sarah is a very talented knitter, crocheter and designer and she has some beautiful patterns here on her blog Wessenden Woollies and on Ravelry. She is working on some new designs and wanted to source wool for these.
I am being very good at the moment and not buying anything else (until the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show) so just went for the chance to see some woolly loveliness.
And it was there in abundance! This is Yarndale’s second year and it is held in the animal auctions sheds in Skipton so the whole place smells of sheep and the pens are ready to welcome new visitors such as these cute alpacas who had come to model their gorgeous fleeces.
There were some old favourites there such as Oliver Twists who do such beautiful threads and some lovely new things.
One of my favourites was Susan Crawford Vintage who designs garments based on patterns from the 1920s to 1950s, published as A Stitch in Time , I do like that name :-).
As well as wool there were textile artists. Two that I particularly liked were Marmalade Rose with gorgeous felted pictures (and some fab vintage linens re-used on her blog) and Anne Brooke with stunning stitched textile pieces.
There were also very original display ideas on the stalls and this was one of my favourites.
I think it is an old printer’s drawer but thought something like this would be an excellent decoration for my craft room, loved all the little balls of wool and buttons!
The hall was decorated with strings of bunting made for last year’s Yarndale and over 1000 mandalas made for this year’s event by readers of Lucy’s Attic 24 blog. They had been sent from 48 different countries after she asked for help from her bloggy friends – don’t you just love the power of the internet!
These were a few of the ones laid out on the table for closer inspection, love the sheep buttons on that top one and the bike charms (you may remember Yorkshire hosted the start of the Tour de France earlier this summer).
There was also a display of crochet flowers.
Speaking of buttons I was very good and all I bought at the event were these few buttons. I am using them for more of my flower brooches and made this denim one last night.
Earlier on in the week I ordered some very similar buttons from a supplier I found on Ebay (was looking for holly buttons but got distracted!). They are from Bluebell Craft Supplies and were very good value as there are 80 small 15mm buttons in a packet for £1.69 plus postage.
Also bought some Christmas ones – these have got some very cute vintage designs on them.
Have found a supplier of the larger ones on Ebay at Willow Tree Mill as well so might be tempted to go back for more (only once I have used all these up though!)
I also signed up for a subscription to Simply Crochet, as well as improving my quilting this year I would like to learn to crochet as keep seeing wonderful things that I want to make (got to have something to keep me busy over the off-season apart from work and kit making!)
Since I have had a very busy first week of term and it is a dull day I am going to stay snuggled under my fleecy blanket and make more brooches and Xmas ornaments today.
Don’t forget to like my last post for the giveaway to celebrate 400 posts (thanks to all of you who have already done so) I will be choosing the winner next Sunday. Hope you have had a nice week whatever you have been doing and 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! I think this first one is going to be my favourite – though the others are fab as well. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Step 12 – Attach a ribbon to the back of the ornament, I have also added a bead to cover up the stitching.
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!
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.