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.


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.


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.

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