Sunday, 23 May 2010

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun so they say and let me tell you that temperatures here are soaring. I have retreated indoors for a bit of coolness. I hate to say that as I have longed for some sunshine, now we have it, it is baking. I am not complaining and will venture out again soon.

I managed a few klosjes yesterday too - 9. My total now, and please can I have a drum roll - ta da!! 100. Hurrah. 152 to go!! The cushion on my garden chair is one of the first things that I made when I took up Patchwork. I made it for my daughter for her bedroom and it now lives in the summer house. Suffice to say it is very faded although holding up fairly well. Sometimes you just can't be too precious about things, it was made to be used.

The bluebells this year have been beautiful and are on their way out

These beauties grow in abundance in my garden. I keep wanting to call them cornflowers but they aren't. I am sure someone will know what they are and tell me.

This quilt was the winner and best in show at Quilts UK. It is by Lilian Harris, Kent. It is beautifully stitched.

I love this one but cannot find the name of who made it in my guide book, so apologies.

For those of you who love miniatures. This was tiny but delightful. Made by Sandra Goldsbrough, Lincolnshire.

I don't know why I didn't get a full view of this quilt but the blocks were all along these lines. It was beautiful and delicate. Made by Judith Wilson,Hertfordshire and is called Strawberry Thieves, based on William Morris's designs and with inspiration from a book by Michele Hill. Machine appliqued and quilted.

Some of the goodies that came home with me. Barbara Chainey has the most beautiful quilt patterns and I think I have most of them now, collected over the last few years. The Japanese book is fantastic, full of amazing hand quilted beauties that has me wanting to stitch them all. Time is all I need!! A few more fabrics to help out The Farmer's Wife and the start of my Civil War fabrics.

Last but not least. The very talented Danielle won the competition for the search for Dorothy in Andrew Lloyd Webbers up and coming West End show Wizard of Oz. If you get the opportunity to go to London you won't be disappointed. She is just 18 and a star in the making. What has made me laugh and this is for you Sue-Anne, they also searched for a dog to play the role of Toto and the winner was Dave, who I swear is Buddy all the way from Australia. Even down to his little red bandana.

Enjoy the sun and Happy Stitching.

Love Shirley.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Wednesday's Delight's

Girl's are you comfortable? Shall I begin? OK. We are getting very excited now because after today we have one more round left of our robins before we can get our sticky little mitts on them and some of us are being a tad greedy and want them all. Oh, now I know it is not just me that wants them all!!!

First up is my original block and Margaret has added this amazing border which reminds me of my selvedges. Left to my own devices I think my block would have looked very sugary sweet and what you have done girls has added another dimension to it and I LOVE IT. I couldn't see it in person as Margaret had forgotten to bring it!!! Luckily she had a photo of it on her laptop which she had brought along with quilt show photo's. She is forgiven.

Next up is Rosemary's block. Pat added some prairie points and a border of brown in some of Wendy's lovely dyed fabric. It has framed it wonderfully well and now I have it. What shall I do? Hmmmm.

The look of delight on Wendy's face said it all this morning. I can see why. Wendy's quilt block is so simple but just so stunning and I know that she can't wait to get it back. Patience my friend. All good things come to those who wait!!! Well done to Kate.

Wendy added a simple narrow black border and then a shot cotton border to Margaret's quilt and it looks stunning. Oh how I want this one. I am not greedy you understand, well, ok, I am.

This is my offering to Kate's quilt and it has now grown a bit. I decided to turn it on point. I confess to struggling with what to do here and I finished it at the last minute. This was what I intended to do all along but talked myself out of it. I thought that the hexagon would have been at a very odd angle but then realised that it would work as the square would stay the same and the hexagon would still be in the centre. I also thought it needed the tan narrow border. Pat is not too pleased at following on from me. Sorry Pat. I know you will do it proud.

Last, but not least is Pat's block. Rosemary ALWAYS buys the most beautiful fabrics and the purple batik is just so. It looks a sensational quilt Pat and if you can't find a space for it .........

It is getting really challenging now as the quilts have grown considerably. Exciting stuff.

Margaret has been diligently over the months working on this quilt for her daughter. It is a beautiful sampler quilt and enormous. My photography just hasn't done it justice as it was laid out flat over the tables. The blocks were quilted on the go and assembled strip by strip. Wonderful Margaret.

For those of you participating in One Flower Wednesday here is Wendy's temptation for you. You may recall seeing a snippet of it before. It now has another row added and those hexagons are 1/2". Teeny little things using the Inklingo method. It is to die for.

Close up for you.

You made the morning go way too quickly today girls. I had to go to the dentist this afternoon and my mouth is still numb. I am longing for a cup of tea and I am still at the dribbling stage. When I was asked to rinse my mouth I missed my aim and shot it all over myself!! Don't you feel a fool? Or is it just in Shirl's world that this happens. I did say I was clumsy.

Happy Stitching

Love Shirl.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Quilts UK

On Sunday Kate, Margaret and myself went to Quilts UK at The Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire. It is a beautiful setting at the foot of the Malvern Hills. The weather was a bit damp and threatened to rain but by the end of the day the sun came out and we sat out with ice creams feeling the benefit of the sunshine.

There were some fabulous quilts on display and of a very high standard, the winners well deserving of their prizes.

This quilt was so beautiful and delicate. It is by Pauline Ineson. You can find out more about Pauline at, even purchase her book.

This quilt I adored. It was just so breathtakingly beautiful and must have taken many hours of work. The applique was stunning and a great use of colour.

It was handquilted in a sashiko style pattern and those berries are tiny. They were probably not much bigger than a quarter inch and in the center of each one was a tiny cross stitch. I would happily have taken this one home. I think this quilt is by Jean Ball, Kent, I hope I have the details correct.

This quilt is by Linda O'Sullivan, Florida and is called Bella Celtica. Beautiful colours and that centre medallion was amazing.

I loved the scroll block repeated to make the border. Again fabulous use of colour.

This next one is a wholecloth masterpiece in machine stitching and is by Ferret. (She really does go by the name of Ferret, changed it by deed poll and gave up a career as a Rocket Scientist to quilt). It was just stunning. Never in a million years could I even in my wildest of dreams believe I could achieve anything on this level.

A Slice of Paradise by Jenny Lankester. The turtle was created with the use of fabric paint. It was quilted and embellished with beads.

I loved this little Appliqued quilt and I seem to remember that something along these lines is languishing in a dark cupboard in my house. My friends will say I like it because it is pink. They would be correct.

Now I would happily re decorate my house to have this one on the wall. It is by Kathleen Matthews and was left raw edged, framed and behind glass. Kathleen has won many prizes at Quilts UK with her unique style.

This next little beauty is Sue from I Sew Quilts with her lovely Hunter Star Quilt. It has beautiful machine quilting on it. Sue and I are blogging buddies and have only known each other a short while and only in the virtual sense. When we realised that we would be at Malvern on the same day we agreed to meet up. Thank you for the tea and talk Sue, it was great to meet you and I like the idea of meeting up with you at the NEC.

Isn't this blogging lark a wonderful thing.

The shopping talk is for another day along with a few more quilts.

Happy stitching.

Love Shirley.x

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Walk In The Park

As the weather was nice and warm for a change I decided to take myself the long way into town via the local park. It is not something I do very often but when I get there I always tell myself to go there more often. Most of the tulips had disappeared but a few beds were still in full bloom and these purple ones are my favourites.

These tiny little daisies just looked so pretty.

I had to lean right over the stream to get this shot hoping that I wouldn't lose my balance. I can be a bit clumsy at times.

Vivary Park has the most gaudiest fountain but I love it. The beautiful building in the background used to be Jellalabad Army Barracks but are now very nice apartments.

I just adore the cherubs.

Always on the look out for a good quilt pattern I reckon there must be several ideas here. This is around the base of the fountain. It would look good as a quilt design for a block or as an applique design. I may have to do this now to prove my point.

These three ducks were having a nice snooze but the little girl who stood near to me decided that they needed to be awake. I managed to photograph them just before they jumped in the water and swam off.

Valentina this one is for you.

I have started to assemble all the blocks with their sashing and it is now looking very different. I may not show it again until it is finished. I am priding myself on not having bought anything at all to make this quilt - apart from thread which seems to have taken a large amount.The backing I already had from a project long abandoned, as was the wadding and then Wendy gave some of hers to help me out. We do a swap sometimes if we need something. Neither of us liked the wadding which we had used for hand quilting but it machine quilts very well. Can't remember the name of it - something like warm and bright?!!!! The sashings would be whatever I had the most of in my stash. Lucky for me there was a lot of pink!!

I have been thinking of titles to call this quilt. Val has been giving me some of her scraps and calls them "gleanings" so that was one title. This one with apologies to Lennon and McCartney " I get by with a little help from my friends". I think I have settled on "Salvaged". Maybe you have one that I haven't thought of!!

Klosjes total still 91.

Happy stitching

Love Shirley.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Raffle Quilt

This year sees our quilt group celebrating 10 years of being in existence and is also our quilt exhibition year. Our group is called Apple County Quilters and we are busy preparing for this event. Yards of colourful bunting has been made along with our raffle quilt. You will remember it in it's unfinished state a few posts back. Well, a huge thanks to Kate for taking on the task of doing the quilting. No mean feat as she had the builders in and stitched around them and then got delayed in the Cape Verde Islands due to Volcanic Ash (jammy devil). You have done us proud Kate. Also a big thank you to everyone who took part in the Challenge to make a block for this quilt. Ladies you too should be proud of yourselves. We are raffling this quilt off to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

You can see the quilting on the back. Each alternate block has either a cross or a circle. Very simple but very effective and Kate has called it Hugs and Kisses. Which somehow seems appropriate. The binding was just turned over from the back to the front and is perfect. For the cost of £1 someone is going to get a wonderful quilt.

I am busy filling small jars of goodies for the sale table. Kath gave me her button tin and said to help myself. These little tiny buttons are lovely and a few of them may have to come back home to live with me. Have just the right pattern to use these little darlings. The jars need their little hats and labels on and they will be ready.

"Apples" is our theme this year and so people have been busy making these lovely coasters. Don't they look good enough to eat. Some are destined for the tea room and then some are going to be displayed with the quilts.

Yesterday morning I happened to glance out of the window and couldn't believe my eyes. My neighbours have a huge Leylandii tree in their garden and perched right on the top looking rather like an odd christmas tree decoration was the biggest Heron you have ever seen. By the time I had grabbed my camera and switched it on the seagulls flapped around it and scared it off. I hope it will come back. We have some odd things come into our garden when you bear in mind we are less than a mile from the town centre. One Christmas day we had a large grouse just wander in. The kids started to hum the tune to the whisky ad and I suppose it could consider itself lucky not to have ended up on someone's dinner table.

Happy Stitching

Love Shirley.x

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Aussie Sunshine and Robins

There have been occasions in my life when I have come across a person who is very special. I met this lady in the virtual sense of the word through blogging and though we have never met we have become well acquainted with each other and enjoy each others company. Today on arriving back from my sewing group there was a parcel waiting for me, covered in Australian stamps. I wasn't expecting anything so it came as a huge surprise and to say the least it bought tears to my eyes.

Inside the lovely fabric wrapped bundle was a ball of sock wool for which my feet are going to be so grateful when I knit them some lovely socks made from my favourite yarn. The dolly bag is beautiful and has my very favourite - hexagons with the prettiest pink lining. The fabric has lovely birds on it and the ric rac is the biggest I have ever seen. Thank you so much Leanne. I am just so touched and over whelmed. The card will stay out forever. I am sorry that my camera hasn't done justice to what I received. I am just so lucky.

Today saw us revealing the next round of the challenge. I can only apologise for the poor quality of the photo's this week. I have had a bit of a mental breakdown in the camera department. I have clicked onto something and can I get it back to how it was? can I heck!!

Remember that I had the challenge of adding to Margaret's original block. Well it has grown considerably. It was a challenge and a half really but I wish that this was staying here with me. My husband who rarely comments on my sewing said that it was one of the more interesting ones!!! It now measures 32.5" square. It was an ambitious addition but had to be done and I am pleased.

Pat with her original block. I want this one too. I am not greedy you understand.

Kate and her six sisters. Have you tried saying that Kate after a glass of wine or two?!!! It is just so soft and pretty. My colours Kate, I think that should come home with me too!!

Can't think who this one is. She usually has a bit of make up on but went out quite nude today. Serves her right. Now, I really can't wait to get my block back because girls it is just yummy.

Wendy, our challenger. It is all her fault. If you have never done this before ladies/gents, have a go. It really exercises the old grey cells. Wendy is itching to get her hands on this. I can see why.

Roemary's block is looking beautiful. Wendy added some pretty machine embroidery to the corners. There are butterflies in the fabric from the last round. I will have this one for the last round. Can't wait to get my itchy little fingers on this.

Finally, Margaret with her mammoth block. I may have to just steal it from you Margaret, be aware at all times!!!

The next two robins are real ones that are nesting just feet away from my kitchen window. They don't seem to mind that I am watching their every move as they flit in and out of the hedge with their tasty morsels for their babies. Again apologies for the poor camera quality but you will get the feel of them.

Happy Stitching

Love Shirley.