Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Something a little different 2.

 Making puddles with cut outs here - as well as a stitched rain drop higher up the page.

Mix of running stitch, straight stitch, chain stitch and button hole stitch.
 Hopping here, with each punched circle raised from the page with a bead, as well as having a bead on top.  I love the dimension that this style gives.

More card embellishments with cross stitches both for embellishment and for holding the shapes to the page.
 A sideways shot so that you can see the bead - card - bead layering.
 A simple page this one.  A string of beads showing the rain trickling, a raindrop shape (same shape and place as the previous two pages) and a little stitching highlight for the worm tunnel.
Finally (for the moment!  The rest are still only ideas in my head!) a page that uses the cut outs from earlier pages in the book.

I'm not sure that I'm happy with this page, and I have a feeling that it may need something extra to lift it.  I just need to let it drift around my head until I have a lightbulb moment!

I still have several video lessons from my Karen Ruane course to watch so perhaps the right answer or an idea that will help me will be found in them!

Hope that you are enjoying some stitching time too!

Monday, 12 August 2019

Something a little different 1.

 Over the last couple of weeks when we've been enjoying our holidays I've been trying something a little different - hand stitching into a paper story book.

I've been following an 8 week online course with Karen Ruane called 'Stitching Stories', and whilst my work is very different, as you'd expect, it's been seeded and drawn along by her suggestions and what she has been doing in two books.

This first page shows two cut outs with blanket stitch and running stitch around them, and three stitch emellished additions.
 The second page has another cut out, this time filled with my take on 'wispy mist', the ladder (from the motion drawing of the propeller) and five shiny beads for the water drops - the text and illustration clearly informing my choices.

If I had my time (and a pristine book!) again I'd put the stitch orientation of those holding the beads vertical instead of horizontal.
 Here is a button stitch emellished 'heavy' drop, with the remains of it (blue and pink mirror card circles) tumbling down.

A few more embellished shapes on the left.  One of the best things that I learned was to think about how to attach items to the page so they were neat and relevent from the front, but workman like without being messy from the back.
 This was a fun page to work on, as it had 'hide' in the text, so I created some hidding spots.

Punched holes in the covering, with button hole stitch around them again, and beads over one of the background holes.
You have to gently move them forward to reveal the text, which is just glimpsed though one of the holes when the screening pieces are in repose.

It isn't fast work - much slower than stitching through fabric - but it's a really enjoyable thing to do as a change.

More pages to be shown next week, I hope!

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Hidden Wells Start

 I've been seeing 'Hidden Wells' quilt blocks everywhere recently.

I decided to join in and cut some strips - a mix of grey and aqua prints.
 Sewed them into strip sets.  Joined one more time after this shot.
 Then sliced into squares

Then two squares facing each other at ninety degrees to each other.

Then sewn around on all four sides.
 Then the fun bit of cutting them on the diagonals, so that you can open them out to see what you have.
 Opened out my blocks looked like this.
 A little re-arrangement and this was the layout that I chose.
Repeat until the blocks are all made, and I've ended up with this.

From six 2.5" wof strips of four colours, I've ended up with a flimsy that is 50" x 30".

I need to decide whether to keep the top this size, add borders to it, or make more blocks.

Thought required!

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Tidy Shelves, Tidy Mind?

 The shelves in my sewing room where getting overwhelmed.  I forgot to take a 'before' photo, but the lower shelf had books so tight that I couldn't remove them, and stacked across the top of the ones that were standing up too.
 My DH helped to move them to a table so I could start sorting them out.
 Which also made me get to work on the top shelf too, especially after I'd caused a minor paper avalanche getting a couple of items out!
These are the books that didn't make the cut.  It's going to be a few heavy armfuls for my DH to take to the charity shop for me, and always hard to 'release' books,  but it feels good to be able to access everything else more easily!

Aah!  That looks better!

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Happiness in Small Things

 I felt the need to make something just for me!

This fitted the bill.  Finishing at 6 1/2" square, it really is a small size to give big happiness.  The bird house blocks (or perhaps kennels, as they look as though they are on grass rather than a branch due to my lack of thought!) are just 1 1/2" square, and didn't really make a dent in my 'miniature prints' mini stash!

Natural calico seemed a good fit for the sashing and border.
My hand sewing project over the last couple of weeks has been this fun guy.  It's a pattern by Jodie at Vintage RicRac.   He's designed to be a sewing caddy - this side of the blanket is a needle book, the other side has a scissors holder.  There were pins designed too, which I didn't make.

Another fun pattern, but not quite fast enough for me to suggest to my gal pals for a single evening of crafting activity!


Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Domestic Sewing

 First there was the prom - and sewing the skirt to suit the requirements of DD1.

I'm pleased that 1) she loved it and 2) I shall not have to sew slippery satin fabric again in the near future!
 Then it was down to the business of sorting out the uniform items that will never be worn again.

Most items passed on to DD2 or back into the school system, but the t-shirts which have seen sterling service for a number of years had another destiny.
 The main parts of the front and back were cut away.

The buttons were removed and put into the button tin.
The three raw edges were hemmed.

A clutch of dusters / cloths to keep us clean have emerged!

Lovely and soft, and perfect for their new job!

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Handling Quilt Round Up

 You remember that I'd had a lovely look at the Acton Top, prior to its planned outing in a textile related museum season at Gunnersbury Park Museum?

I thought that it would be fun to round up three photos from the original cover, and then show my versions of the same part, made into handling samples.

This is the flower and pot (well, almost - I think that mine was actually based on one from another spot on the quilt!) that was on the original.
 This is my version, complete with chain stitch details.  I gave it a base of triangles as otherwise it seemed to be floating away in the middle of nowhere in the size of handling sample that we'd been asked to make.
 Here are the clamshells with their triangle border.

They are a flatter version of the shape that I used.
 You can see my sample here.  The width is the same, but the shape quite different. 

I've used a random medly of fabrics just like the original did, in order to keep it interesting.
 Finally one of the lovely paper pieced 'ball' motifs.  I'm not sure whether the 'odd' patch was original or was a later repair for a damaged patch.

It was fun to make the fairly simple pattern for the paper piecing.
My version.  I could do with more delicate flowers to applique in the central circle.

The odd plant stems coming from the corners were really tricky to applique with the needleturn technique - those inner returns were awkward, and I think are likely to be the parts that will suffer most in the handling rough and tumble.

I added my initials to the pink circles, though, just like it looks as though the maker(s?) might have done on the original.

So, there you have it.  My handling samples complete and ready for action!

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Quilt of Nature

 I had a pile of green and pale yellow with a few brown FQs (well, mostly partial FQs if I'm honest!) out, remains of a fabric pull for a Meadowlands quilt that I made a few weeks ago.  Lots of 'nature' colours and prints in there.

I decided that I didn't want them to go back into my FQ stash, so I'd better make another quilt with them.
 I cut the fabrics into 2.5" strips and joined them in three colour families (although really I just made two piles of the greens, they weren't particularly differentiated - but the pale strips were kept separate).

Then I chose an 8.5" square and set off sewing the strips around it until I either ran out of strips or reached the size that I wanted.   Luckily for me they happened at about the same time.  I've got a 60" square, and only had a few inches of strip left over.
The bowns and a yellow FQ that hadn't made it into the front edit were then patched together to make the back.

I had to add a few inches of one fabric that I wasn't in the original pile, but it pretty much worked out OK without any more stash raiding. 
Simple quilting, a plain green binding to finish it off, and we're good to go!
Simple quilting to hold everything together in case of robust use!
Shown here with the corner flipped back.

This was so much fun to make that I'm tempted to pull out more FQs and start another one!

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

More little quilts

 Another couple of projects to reduce my scraps!

These were left over scraps from my big 365 project from a while ago, that had been sitting in a little caddy on my sewing table, begging to be used.

I realised that part of my reluctance was that I had these little fiddly scraps, and a few larger ones.  Once I'd realised that I just needed to split the two different families apart, things were much easier!
 This first scrap happy item used the tiniest blocks and parts of blocks that I had, with a few other scraps used as fillers.  I made each of the nine blocks up to 4.5" square, arranged them as a nine patch and sewed them together.

I didn't want to try too much detailed quilting as there were so many thick bumps where the tiny patches were joined.  This is the back, before the 12" square was made into a cushion cover.
 This mini used up the larger pieces that I had in the same caddy.

All pretty varied, but again, made into a nine patch and sewn together to finish at 12" square.

I thought that my machine would take to quilting this with more detail, and it did.

I used a handy CD to draw around with spray away pen to give me the start lines for my feathers and bobbles, then I had fun with the small scale stipple in the central areas, and a loopy line around the edges.



Another mini that I've turned into a cushion cover.

More scraps 'busted' and a cleaner, clearer work surface.

If I could just come up with a good plan for using my old colour catchers I could make even more progress, but I haven't found exactly the right idea for using them yet!  All suggestions welcome!

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Small and Smallest

 It was time to pull some scraps together.  These were left over HSTs from the Pecking Order quilt that I made a few weeks ago.

It was fun deciding on a layout for them all.

This 10" square mini quilt was the result of all those 1.5" squares. Lots of fun to make and quilt.


 Then I went for the 'very small' quilt - this is just 3" square.  I think that I should be able to make the binding even narrower to get a better effect with it in better proportion.  I may yet decide on future tiny quilts to use a less traditional type of binding.

It is quilted at 1/8th" with a variegated thread.  I'm not sure that the quilting really enhances the front.
The unexpected treat was the reverse, though!  The detail from a large print (thanks Ikea!) was just right, and set off by the serendipitous accidental thread that drifted across the back as I was quilting it.

I prefer the back!  Of course, the binding is even more oversized that it would ideally have.... a learning point for future projects!

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Meadowland Quilt for a Natural Field

 I can't believe that I missed the 'Mental Health Awareness Week' deadline so badly, but, late as I am, I'd like to show you this (now complete) quilt and tell you a little about the charity that I've made it for.

The quilt is made with the Meadowland pattern by Then Came June.

Lots of cutting and mixing of fabrics, followed by some sewing to make these large blocks, and the quilt top came together quickly.  Four blocks square gives a 64" square quilt.
 Then there was quite a long pause as I decided how to quilt this.

As I was making it specifically for Dose of Nature - a charity which promotes which promotes engaging with the natural world in order to promote good mental health - I wanted it to have some nature motifs on it.

I settled on these loose flowers in the neutral centres of each block
 Then added more leaves and buds along the quilting meander.
 Random, just like nature.  I did wonder about trying to add some wild animals or bugs too, but decided that 1) it was beyond my skill set but 2) that didn't matter, as not everyone would like to snuggle with bugs or animals anyway!
Cute prints on the pieced back, and the quilt is finished!

So, please go along and read about Dose of Nature - the work that they do and the evidence that they have for proposing that we all try and spend more time with the natural world.  They have just moved to a base at Pensfold Field in Kew, which is a wonderful location. 

I have to declare an interest, as one of the founding trustees is my wonderful SiL.  I have her to thank for introducing me to Pensford Field, as I previously had no idea that it existed!

I wish everyone who is part of the charity all the best in their work.