Thursday, 14 August 2014

Joy of Life

Last week I met for the first time a very dear and special friend who arrived in the UK from Sweden to visit the Festival of Quilts. She came bearing the most beautiful gift. I had seen glimpses of this quilt as it was being made but with no idea it was for me.

It is called Joy of Life and is a pattern by Rosalie Quinlan. It is simply beautiful and I love it. The quilting on it is amazing and I shall treasure it for always.



Made for me by this beautiful lady known as Stina. We met through blogging, have very much in common and met for the first time last week. We are soul sisters.


Stina brought with her these equally beautiful ladies.

Karin, Marica, Stina.

Stina and Lilian. They were sitting on the naughty seats on the back row of the bus.


We stayed near the iconic Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham and Friday night we ate out at Jamie Oliver's Italian. We had a great night and I have never laughed so much. These Swedish ladies were the best company. You can read and see more at Stina's and Marica's blogs.


This church is right by the Bullring and looked beautiful lit up.


I came away from Birmingham feeling  tired  but good tired. Shopping is exhausting you know but it could have been from carrying multiple bags of purchases. I am in weight training for next year. I came back with an impressive haul of goodies but the most impressive treasures are the memories that are firmly printed in my brain of this fabulous time with the most wonderful ladies who I can now call friends. 

These are the of the Joys of Life.

Happy Stitching.

Shirley.x


Friday, 1 August 2014

Tripping

Progress is being made on the Brigitte Giblin Facebook challenge. Brigitte has put in a lot of hard work to see that this project works and into the bargain organised a truly international fabric swap.

We were asked to contact a person on Brigitte's master list of participants  and we were to send and receive a fat quarter of fabric to add to a round in a later stage of the challenge. I had the greatest luck to receive my fabric all the way from Australia from Simone Honey who happens to be a friend of another fellow blogger and friend Lizzie at broderie blog. The world gets so much smaller with this blogging lark. Simone sent me a beautiful piece of fabric with a flower motif which I managed to fussy cut and fit it in with the help of another fabric to fill the gaps. Since taking this photo I have finished Row 20. It is now getting quite a size at around 42 inches square. I am all prepared up to row 24.


Wendy joined me in the early stages of making and is not far behind me. The common denominator for this quilt was a red spotty fabric to be used at various intervals and given that is where we all start they look so different and are producing the most amazing results.


Seeing what fun Wendy and I were having our Wednesday stitchers decided to join in too.

Kate decided she wanted hers to be in her favourite colours of blues, greens and teal. I think it is going to be amazing. The more rows you add the better the effect gets.


Rosemary always chooses very pretty fabric and is often lucky to go home with everything she came with as I ogle her choices sitting beside her.


This is Margaret's start. Looking very soft and misty, like a colourwash effect. Pat was away so have no progress report.


At the weekend we headed off to my favourite part of Cornwall and stayed at the lovely Carbis Bay Hotel. This was the view from the window and our little balcony. Looking towards Hayle.


On the Saturday we walked the coastal path to St.Ives. It was a little misty when we arrived and it even rained for 15 minutes but then the sun came out and was even hotter.


This was St.Ives as we walked back a few hours later. A very enjoyable trip out.


Keep stitching everyone. 

Love Shirley. X

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Part Two Finished

It took a bit of doing but eventually I got there and round two of the Di Ford Mystery Quilt is done. There is a lot of work in that two inch border but it transformed the already beautiful centre to a new level. Part three may be a while yet but in progress.


Feeling the need to get the sewing machine out I spent a few hours sewing a bunch of strips together so that some progress can be made on a project not really abandoned, just on hold. All strips sewn. Next stage sew up into tubes.
 

Now, you all know that I have the attention span of a gnat and like I needed a new project in I waded with a fabulous challenge. This one popped up on Facebook and before you could blink I had joined in. It comes courtesy of Brigitte Giblin and is based on a vintage Trip Around The World quilt from her collection. A few guidelines and rules and deadlines to be met but so far I am keeping up and on a promise to only use stash. Feeling good so far. It is now a closed event and it has been great fun watching the progress as things get posted to Facebook and I have to say the encouraging comments and witty banter. It has truly been a trip around the world seeing people joining in from all corners of the globe. Well done Brigitte. so far I am on row 12. who knows what row I will stop at  but I am cut out and prepared up to row 15.
 
 
On Saturday we had a little boat ride along the River Tone which runs through the centre of Taunton town. It was lovely to see it from a different perspective and to see people just messing about on the river. It was the perfect midsummers day. Lots of things happening eleswhere in the town and lovely to see people enjoying the sunshine.
 

A few days before that, Somerset County Cricket Ground had a change of use and became the venue to one of my all time favourites rock stars and a little count in my head told me that I had been a fan for over 40 years. How can that be when I am not even that old.  Rod Stewart. He was fabulous and yes he did sing "Do you think I'm sexy" and yes for a pensioner he ain't doing too badly. We had a great night singing along. The evening was gloriously warm too. I have a hard time choosing my favourite song but it has to be Mandolin Wind. The crowd definitely loved the older Rod Stewart songs the best.

Anyone else have a favourite.
 

Ah Well! Back to the stitching.

Happy Stitching.

Shirley.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Day 2 and something completely different

Day 2 at Cowslip and today we were to be learning all about Broderie Perse . This is Di Ford's version of Rotherfield Greys and it is simply beautiful.


I went into this class with no fabrics whatsoever. I had drawn a complete blank and just could not picture it in my head. First task was to nip into the shop before class started and I was not alone in my dilemma but I spotted this fabric and Di was on hand to help me see other possibilities. It is called Gentle Flowers by Quilt Gate.
 

First task was to cut out a few motifs and I think I cut way too many pieces, enough for another project at least. I am no flower arranger but after a bit of tweaking this is what transformed. I hear you saying " where is the pink Shirley?". Sorry to disappoint but there is not a scrap anywhere. I simply love the soft greys and creams of this fabric with a hint of teal and lavender. Maybe they do a pink version but could it be this lovely?


Lots of applique in my future. Once the outer bit was decided on we had to think about the centre and I chose a very dark grey charcoal striped paisley fabric with lots of fussy cutting potential. It took a long time to figure all this out but I know I shall love this quilt. 


On returning home I found in my stash a fat quarter of a French General fabric called Fa La La La and I managed to cut 6 sets of half inch hexagons to surround the star. Now I need to search for more fabric as there was a lot of potential for further fussy cutting. I even found a grey fabric in my stash that had hexagons on it which I have used for the centres of the flowers. That was a lucky find.


Anyone wonder what I bought from that stand outside the shop? Yes, you guessed it, the pink basket just had my name on it. Well, I saw it several months ago and my husband asked me what I wanted it for and my sensible head said put it back. He wasn't with me this time and no way was I going home without it.


The early start on the Sunday morning saw the most beautiful skyline from my window at the B & B. Very peaceful and beautiful.


I had the most fabulous weekend with the most inspiring teacher I think I have ever met. If you are fortunate enough to be anywhere near a Di Ford class then I would urge you to book. What is more exciting is that Di has promised to come back next year. No pressure then to at least attempt to have something to show her when she returns. Thank you Di from your number one English Groupie.

Thank you to Jo Colwill and all the team at Cowslip who work so hard to make it the most peaceful and inspiring place to just be. 

Happy Stitching.

Shirley.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Di, Phebe and Cowslip

Last weekend my good friend Marie and I spent the weekend in Cornwall at the best place on earth - Cowslip Workshops. We were having a Di Ford extravaganza.

Day 1

Phebe Quilt.

I have admired this quilt for some time and to see it up close is wonderful. Full of rich colour and detail.



You know by now that whatever I do ends up pink and this is my start. I had a fat quarter of a pretty fabric which became my urn and Di very cleverly showed me how to turn a piece of fabric into a scalloped border that suited the urn perfectly.


The only thing stitched are the tree trunks and the scallop border on the base of the urn. Everything else is just pinned and I can see clearly that things need to be repostioned. Looking forward to making the centre of this quilt.


Something from this delightful montage came home with me. Resistance was pretty futile.


The wisteria over the porch was in full bloom and looking magnificent. Every now and again the swallow would fly in and out of the workroom which is just to the left of this photo.


The new addition to Jo's garden is the lovely summer house. It looks so enticing. Inside there is a quilt hanging on the wall and a table and chairs for you to sit and have your cream tea. Note the beautiful blue sky.


Later in the evening camped at our fabulous B & B we sat and sewed, talked, drank a glass of wine and generally admired the view which is just beautiful. 

If you need a great place to stay then look no further.

Goodmansleigh is a wonderful place where you can stay in the house as we did or, stay longer and hire one of the barns. Lisa the owner is also a quilter. 


Day 1 done and going way too fast.

Happy Stitching.

Love Shirley.

Friday, 16 May 2014

A Day with Di

Last Saturday I was lucky enough to be invited by Sue Watters from I Sew Quilts blog for a days sewing with Di Ford Hall. Some of you may have Di's book Primarily Quilts published by Quiltmania and or are stitching her fabulous mystery quilt in the Quiltmania magazine.


We were to be starting the centre panel for a new quilt called Sutton Grange. I can tell you that up close and personal it is even more beautiful, a work in progress and will be stunning when finished. Di is most definitely the Queen of Fussy Cutting.


These were my fabrics auditioned to take with me with no idea how they would work.


Progress was made during the day and this was what I did. That little drunkard's path block is 2 1/4 inches and there are a lot of them to make. I am sure that with Di's method of stitching they will soon whip up.


During this week I have continued to work at it and auditioned various fabrics for the outer edge and this is my almost completed block. The edges are tacked ready for needleturning and then I need to think about the broderie perse. I also had great luck with the background fabric as my friend Marie just happened to have something that suited it perfectly. The search is on now for a border stripe.


It was a great day stitching with a group of lovely ladies, eating good food and yummy puddings and it was a privilege to see some of Di's quilts that we only get to admire via the internet.

Thank you Sue for inviting me and lucky me is spending the weekend at Cowslip with even more stitching with Di.

Happy Stitching.

Love Shirley.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Time Flies


Time really does fly when you are having fun and keeping busy. Having joined in with the Di Ford Mystery Quilt in Quiltmania I am determined to keep up. Part 1 done. It does mean other things haven't got done but hey ho!


Hexagons appliqued to the corners although I think the leaves make them look like they are little floating heavenly beings. I like that thought though.


Part 2 under construction and I may make the deadline before the next instalment. I have learnt a new trick. Appliqueing the circles down all together in one sheet of fabric is easier than stitching them down in individual little square. Those squares are roughly 2" so would be fiddly otherwise. Those hexagons are 1/2" and centred around a 1/2" fussy cut square. I like the effect and thinking that a border of them on something would look very nice. Great tutorials on Youtube from Quiltmania.


We had a trip away visiting family and friends and wished I could have packed this little person. I really missed her. The trip away was great but we had no internet connection so could not keep up with anything and so could not do the usual morning facetime with this little sweetie.


What else have I done to show that I have been busy. Making good use of a few scraps that turned into a lovely pincushion for the sales table at our next exhibition.


Even the Dancing Dollies came out for a airing. Sadly, I thought I had done way more quilting, but, no, quite a lot to do. Well, they are out and staying out to get it finished. May be some time yet.


We had a little trip to the museum in Stoke on Trent and this gorgeous floor tile got my attention. I am feeling a bit of drawing may be coming on. It would look fabulous as a centre medallion for a quilt.


The local steam railway at Cheddleton was hosting a 1940's weekend and this chap entertained us with wartime songs. His name - Johnny Victory. Very dashing he looked in his uniform. Lots of people in costume, even Winston Churchill wandered around keeping an eye on the opposition and authentic noises coming from the model airplane club who brought along Spitfires and other models. The Spitfire is very special to us Stokies being designed by a Stokie man Reginald Mitchell.


I have joined Instagram too and enjoying that. You can find me under stitcherydo should you be on there or just want a look. I am still learning to post via iPad so have not given any links because I have not yet figured it out. 

Well, till next time. Hope it is not too long.

Happy Stitching.

Love Shirley.