Thursday 31 October 2013

Love Entwined Part 4 complete!

Half term this week, so limited stitching time for me (too busy interfering in the crafty projects of my DDs!).

The time that I've had I've spent working on LE.  I'm pleased to say that I've finished Part 4 now, and have just started working on Part 5 - the opposite corner to this one.  I started sewing berries on last night, and I'm starting to enjoy them a bit more - I knew that this pattern would give me a great applique work out, even if I simplified it slightly!

My DD2 is quite bothered about the vase being up in the air like this.  Even though the final position will show it like this, she'd rather that the photo showed the vase at the bottom.  I can see why she says that.  Does anyone else feel uncomfortable with this vase tipping it's water out too?!

Hope that you are enjoying some half term fun if you are still in the throes of working around school holidays too!

Tuesday 22 October 2013

Not Strictly Seasonal!

I know that it's a funny time of year to be showing a daffodil, but I heard last week that my wild flower 'tile' - part of the 'wild flower meadow' for PlantLife is on display (along with a selection of others) at

William Morris Society in London (26 Upper Mall, Hammersmith, London W6 9AT.

The exhibition is open from to the public on Thursday and Saturday afternoons (2 til 5) and will run until the 9th of November.   I'm hoping to go along with my DDs at half term.

The tile (this time with all the others that were submitted) will be displayed at the Salisbury Arts Centre from the 15th of November until the 18th of December.

 I believe that it's still possible to submit your own tile, if you wanted to support this cause. Check the link above for more information about where the tiles are going to be touring.

So, apart from thinking about spring (and then wondering if the saffron crocus bulbs that we planted are ever going to stick their heads up above the soil this autumn - it's a crop that I hadn't thought of growing before) what have I been up to?

Well, my some of my girl friends and I made wristlets (or ribbon key fobs, or whatever you'd like to call them). A pleasing end result, not too much sewing (and even quicker if you make them on the sewing machine!).

Should I confess that the one in the middle isn't mine?  It was made by my good friend Tracy and looks rather splendid.  I've had to give it back to her now, though!

Other than that it's been C&G paperwork all the way - and I'm pleased to say that I've finally finished and submitted Module 9 of my course.  I'm officially three-quarters of the way through it now.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Another week flies by!

 This week seems to have flown past.  Leaving aside the hours that I spent on prepping applique pieces over freezer paper (yes, Love Entwined - another part issued this week, but my work was all on the previous section!) most of my limited sewing time was spent on 'Bathers' blocks.

I need design a table runner for my next C&G project and thought that I'd tie in the design thoughts with a challenge from my quilt group, which was to take an 'art postcard' and use something from it to make an A3 quilt.  I've chosen Seurat's 'Bathers at Asnieres' - it hangs in the National Gallery and is always worth a look if you are in the area.  These 'teachers notes' make interesting reading.  I'm sure that I wasn't taught how to look at art and think about pictures in this way when I was at Primary School - its great! 

My start point was to take the main lines / colour blocks from the piece and sample different layouts (changing the positions of the different values). 

Then I played with the quilting on the blocks.  When I've finished my course I'll have four ready made quilted postcards, with the addition of a plain back and something to finish the edge off!

I played with different layouts in QuiltPro, and decided that flipping alternate blocks upside
down gave me what I wanted for the runner.  Not these bright greens and greys, of course, but I used them so that I could see what the pattern was doing!

Of course, I'm no further forward with the quilt group challenge, but I can't have everything!

My real quilting loveliness this week wasn't my sewing but a talk by Sheena Norquay about seasonal inspiration and quilting.  Wow!  Amazing quilting.  I bought two packs of cards and have been poring over them re-examining how she uses the quilting line.  Astonishingly brilliant work.  Unfortunately I've come to the conclusion that the only similarity I have with her is the use of Auriful threads, which I love too!  I just wish that I was as proficient at using them as she is!  Still, it's always lovely to have something to aim for!  If you ever have the chance to see her work then you should take it.

Thursday 10 October 2013

 This is a very simple humbug bag.  One hem, two seams, two pieces of Velcro.  Antidote to sewing that requires thinking, like the C&G samples I've been making (shouldn't have required so much thinking, I was clearly a bit dull headed that day!) and the fiddly sewing on my Love Entwined.

I should also confess that 1) I saw some Year 8 textile work at a secondary school visit last week that included humbug bags and 2) I thought that I should practise before suggesting it as a crafting activity for my DDs and their friends (but we ended up doing some painting instead, so I have this idea in reserve for another time!).
 So how is my Love Entwined coming on?  I'm calling Part 3 (two sets of pierced hearts, two sets of pointy leaves and oak leaves) finished - by leaving out (at least for the moment, I may re-visit) the spots that should be on these grey pointy-oval bits.
You might just be able to spot that I've started on Part 4 (first vase and flowers) - but progress still seems slow at the moment. I think that I need to put aside a bit more time during the day for preparing the pieces that I want to sew down in the evenings, now that I've finished the few bits that I was able to back baste on the machine (or perhaps I should try some of the other smaller pieces with back basting too?  I'm not sure!). 

The yellow is a bit shouty.  It might be balanced out by other loud colours as I go around the corners, if not it will either have to be replaced or re-coloured with Inktense pencils!

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Hat Band Hotspot!

 I've been finishing up hatbands this week.  This one is known as 'scrumple bubble', with a line of coral line protrusions around the band.  The original design just had them, nothing else, but it looked too plain, so I added the scrim and some stitching (which doesn't show up at all in this photo!).

Next to be finished was this simple 'seaweed' style - with a move away from Kona Cotton solids into Fabric Freedom prints.  If I was making it again I'd make the stems thinner.
 This band is still unfinished.  This is just the background to what will be traditional applique (at least, that's the plan in my head at the moment).

Finally, I finished the ruched roses band, started several months ago!  I decided to change this one too, from having just a few roses at the front to having roses all around it.  What I can't decide, having looked at the photos, is whether I should add more spiral stitching up the sides and crown of the hat.  I'm starting to think that it looks slightly odd to have the brim with the stitched spiral and the rest of it 'loose'.

For a real treat, here is a photo of my stitched birthday postcards.  Aren't they fabulous?  What a talented group of quilters are members of my birthday postcard swap!  We've spent a happy week sorting and re-sorting them - difficult to pick an absolute favourite, and quite hard to pick a top five!

I failed to take photos of my other cards or presents, but I can share with you that I got wonderful fabric, rope and a book about making fabric bowls (thank you Nicky and Peter!), a lovely handmade bag and necklace (thank you Benta!), and lots of lovely crafting goodies (thank you, DH and DDs!).

Off to play with some more quilt ideas for my C&G, and to complete part 3 of Love Entwined.

I was thinking about part 4 yesterday.  I guessed that there would be about 40 pieces to stitch down, so was planning to try and catch up by adding three a day - finished in time for the 15th October and the next part.  When I started counting, I realised that it was a bigger task than I'd realised.  There are about 110 flower, leaf and berry pieces plus the stems, which I will probably embroider.  So, about 10 pieces a day and a couple of days for stems.  Doable if I set my mind to it but I'm not sure that I'll be able to manage quite that much when I'm still doing handwork for the C&G requirements!  Perhaps this isn't the month to catch up after all!