Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Hexies, big and small

If I thought February vanished in the blink of an eye then March disappeared even faster. It has been a busy month with lots of Granny type opportunities for cuddles and playtime, a visitor coming to stay and some catching up of household jobs. Nothing like a visitor coming to make you get on with it. Inbetween I did manage some stitching.

I braved the great outdoors and our polluted air to photograph my Anna Levens quilt top. We are currently being subjected to Saharan winds high in the atmosphere dropping sand everywhere and it is causing a few problems, for me a very dusty covered car but for others smog and breathing difficulties but hopefully it will soon be gone. All the hexagons are now surrounded and I am pleased with it. Decisions need to be made now. Do I continue as per the instructions and construction in the magazine or do I deviate? In my mind I love the scrappy hexagon look so much that I am contemplating doing a round of cream hexagons and then a wide border of scrappy hexagons. Had I posted this yesterday you would think it an April Fool joke but I am serious. Fool that I am anyway. Note the gorgeous creature sitting there, posing.


In the last few days I have also been prepping the small hexagons for the Chateau Hexagon quilt. The top ones are 1" and the small ones are 1/2". They have been prepped using a disolvable sticky interfacing with a paper backing. You simply cut out the shapes which are printed onto the webbing, peel the paper backing off and stick them onto your fabric. I thought it was a bit fiddly particularly as I think it might not get washed but that was how it came with the block of the month instructions. It works well though and I only need 106. Not too many. 


Block 4 finished.


A few days ago a parcel arrived all the way from Australia from the talented Leanne at The Stitching Room. Leanne was the reason I got into blogging in the first place, having stumbled on her blog and shamefully hanging off her every word.  We have written to each other for quite a while now. In the parcel was the prettiest bag for me and the most gorgeous koala bear for Maisie.


The back is as beautiful as the front and the dungarees so pretty that I am thinking of making a pair for Maisie to wear. I took it to show off at my sewing group yesterday and Leanne I have a request for another 30 as they all want one. I will be your English Agent. Thank You Leanne, you are amazing.


Happy Stitching.

Love Shirley.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

March Madness

I am not sure what happened to February. It seemed to vanish in a whirl and all my good intentions of posting more content disappeared into thin air and the February List best not mentioned too much.

March has arrived with lots of promise. A pile of scraps from cutting out hexagons were sat near the sewing machine so I decided to just randomly stitch them together. I love making "new" fabric from these bits and some of them really are tiny. Once tidied up I now have a 4.5"square to be saved for a later date. I know a lot of my fellow stitchers at my sewing groups think I never use a machine but I do, honestly!



Lots more hexagons stitched in readiness for Anna Levens. Love my pincushion made by my friend Marie and lucky me got it in the secret santa at my sewing group. Not so secret but lovely just the same.


 Chateau Hexagon - Block 3

Seeing it up close here I can see  a tiny bit that I have missed. I am enjoying stitching these now that I have made the effort. There is a lot of work for such small blocks but well worth it. Very therapeutic.


In anticipation of the next Quiltmania magazine coming out I thought it time to get moving with the mystery quilt by Di Ford. This is my progress so far. Next stage is broderie perse flowers for those stems. Fabric has been tea dyed and ready and waiting. There is an excellent tutorial for this project on youtube if you type in Quiltmania and Di Ford which shows you all the stages. Brilliant idea. All made it so much easier. I saw a sneaky peak on facebook of the next stage so I had better get stitching if I want to keep up.


Spring is springing and I picked a bunch of daffs from the garden. Even all the wind and rain cannot stop nature doing what it is meant to do, inspite of it's worst attempts.


The promise of some sunshine saw us scuttling off to Sidmouth for the afternoon. Just look at that beautiful blue sky. We sat out in the garden of The Clock Tower with a cup of tea just enjoying being content with the welcome warmth.


On the beach volunteers were busy cleaning up after the storms, lots of driftwood and debris where chunks had been eaten out of the surroundings. The beach huts had lost most of their facades, the steps to the cafe had disappeared and the hand rail onto the beach had been covered with tons of pebbles. Walking along the beach we came across this tent like structure made from driftwood.


Everywhere has been so busy this weekend. I guess everyone was going cabin crazy being stuck indoors or just plain sick of the relentless downpours that some sunshine was not to be missed. Hope everyone else has had a lovely weekend too.

Happy Stitching

Shirley.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Sailor Girl.

Woohoo!  Miss Maisie finally has her new sweater. I hate sewing up knitting but was fairly pleased that this went together well. The pattern is Sirdar no. 6021 and named Sailing Sweater. It is knitted in baby cashmere merino silk dk. Extravagant for a baby but it feels beautiful, soft and warm. I changed the pattern a little bit as the sleeves and cuffs are meant to roll up but I like something more firm. Would love a big girl version, lipstick pink.

 
Little miss has had her first taste of baby rusk. Listening to her approving noises made us all laugh.  No problem feeding this baby. Here she is modelling her new sweater. Poor little lovie is teething so don't be fooled by that sweet face because she will bite your face off if she gets close enough.


Sewing progress. Piles of hexagons in readiness for filling in around the Anna Levens quilt. 


This star block has been paper pieced and is my contribution to our group raffle quilt. This year we are supporting Alzheimer's UK. 


My husband bought me a huge bunch of tulips and the colours are beautiful and are a welcome pop of colour against the greyness of our continuing awful weather. I know many of you have seen it on the news worldwide and it has been as bad as it looks. Thankfully where I live we have not been affected but it is very sad for those who have. It seems Mother Nature is getting her wires crossed with the weather or she is very cross with us. 


Stay safe wherever you are and whatever your weather is doing, retreat indoors and stitch, watch the winter Olympics. Worth it for the glimpses of quilts everywhere.

Happy Stitching.

Shirley.x

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Surprise Package

Early last week a surprise package arrived all the way from Sweden from my lovely blogging friend Stina. We are going to meet up in August at The Festival of Quilts and we are two excited little bunnies.

The contents of the box brought tears to my eyes.  A beautiful stitched and framed picture, a box of Swedish chocolates immediately hidden away and scoffed by me. I might have shared a few. I am that generous. The pink mug is beautiful and came with a pack of Stina's favourite tea for me to try out and, AND, it came with the most beautiful mini quilt cum mug mat.


I adore the little quilt and have plans to use it somewhere at my daughter Sarah's wedding later this year. It is far too beautiful to use as a mug mat and I want to put it where I can see it. Love the quilting too and for a non machine quilter like me it has me itching to try it out. I feel very lucky and privileged to receive such beautiful and thoughtful gifts and to be called a friend. It means a lot. Thank you Stina. 


You can see more at Stina's blog.

The 10 stitch blanket is finished. Three balls of yarn used and it measures roughly 27 inches or 68 cms. The wrong side has the ribbed join and the side I prefer. I finished it off with a crochet picot edge. I really enjoyed knitting this and think I may have to knit a bigger one. It is big enough to wrap around the shoulders or for covering a little person and I am sure it will in the future cover dollies and teddies and even Humphrey the tapestry cat.

 
 I dug out another knitting project half done to occupy my fingers in the evenings. I started this little sweater for Maisie last year knowing that we were having a granddaughter but at the time my shoulder was so painful and any knitting was done a row a day and far too slow a progress. Abandoned as a hopeless cause. Anyway, on digging it out I had done more than I realised and just needed to knit a sleeve and the little collar. All I need to do now is sew it up. Lucky I started the second size as it will fit her now. She is not a big baby so it may fit her for a while.


Are you wondering how I did with the list for January? I managed a respectable  61.5% and if taking the rest of the projects out of their hiding places and looking at them counts then I consider myself to be doing very well. Having a list does help me to concentrate and gives me a bit of a deadline but it is meant to be a bit of fun. I have compiled February's list and it is under way.


Quality Control checking that I have stitched those hexagons properly.


Sewing at Kate's has been cancelled today because we are still being battered by strong wind and heavy rain and some roads are under water including Kate's driveway. Better to stay home safe and dry. The ground is so sodden and our rivers full to capacity and according to the weathermen it is going to continue. Crazy weather.

Stay safe wherever you are and keep on stitching.

Love Shirley.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Chateau Hexagon and Anna Levens

It seemed like a good idea at the time to embark on a new Block of the Month project particularly one with the fabulous title of Chateau Hexagon. When my fabrics arrived my heart sank a little because they were in very muted shades and I am more used to stronger, brighter colours which made them appear dull. Needless to say I fell way behind and as Block 8 arrived through the door it was time to take action. Time to put them on the list. The pattern is by Lynette Anderson.

Block 1


Block 2


As I have been stitching them the colours have grown on me and I like the delicate shades and I have enjoyed the embroidery. There is a lot of work for the size of the blocks. You will note that there appears to be a bit of space which has been left for a beautiful button to be added once assembled and quilted. You may also be wondering where the hexagons are. All will be revealed.

All the large hexagon blocks of the Anna Levens Quilt by Marg Sampson George are now surrounded by plain cream. I adore this bit of stitching and maybe I like softer shades more than I realise.


Almost at the end of January and I bet you may be wondering how I am doing with the pesky list. Hmm, we shall have to see.

Happy Stitching.

Shirley.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

First Finish

A finish is a finish. Even though it was not on on the list, it should have been and I finished it in time for it to go on a little journey. The photo's were taken at my house.


It has gone to live with my good friend Judith and arrived on the day of her special birthday. Relieved it got there and in time and that she likes it. Phew!


Stina from Kviltstina sent me this little poster to remind me of my word for 2014. Thank you Stina I love it. Planning on delivering plenty of content this year.


Happy Stitching.

Shirley.x

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Activity

After compiling a New Year's List and vowing to work through it after a few days I was already in trouble. Item number 13 gets me every time. This one though was my own fault for not adding it to the list properly in the first place. A good friend of mine has a special birthday coming up and I had already decided to make her something. This was the progress on Wednesday at Kate's when we met for our first sewing of the year. Quilting finished and ready for making up into a cushion.


Rosemary was adding to her Grandmother's Flower Garden. I always love the fabrics that Rosemary chooses because they are pretty and summery and leave you feeling good. Essential this time of the year when we have had constant rain. Poor old Somerset is drowning in the stuff yet again. 


Wendy is making a bag with very pretty stitchery. The pattern is from Homespun magazine.


Margaret is busy finishing the binding to a quilt which means a project almost complete. You can see a little bit of Margaret's knitted jacket that she had made and was wearing. Very nice it was too. May have to add that one to my growing list of things to do  at some point.


Kate was contemplating clamshells over a cup of coffee. No quick way of making them. Whichever method you use you still have to do some prep but Kate is very skilled at making them and before long they will be prepped and stitched.


Having got to a stage that I could go no further out came the hexagons and item 10 on the list. Anyone sensible would probably start with number 1 but I hate being sensible and predictable and besides, the  box was handy to bring. Playing around with the layout and now I can add a row of cream. Apologies for the dark photo. I will learn to take decent photo's one day.


We had a lovely day. One of our dear companions Pat was missing as she was not very well. If you are reading this Pat hope you are feeling better. We missed you.

Till next time.

Happy Stitching

Shirley.