Sunday 28 February 2010


This little beauty belongs to Margaret from our Wednesday group Hubble Bubble. (Kate's name for us). Margaret is Kate's sister and the quilt is going to live at Kate's house. Kate and her husband are in the process of turning their home into a quilting retreat. There is a lot of building work going on at present but will be up and running later this year. More details later and Kate herself will soon have a blog up and running. ( Now you have to do it Kate!!).

The quilt is a section of a pattern by Mckenna Ryan. Click on the photo for a bigger shot, the glittery fabrics make it look really wintery. Well done Margaret, I love it.

The final borders are on the Bunny Hill quilt. I think I may hand quilt this or at least some of it.

Now my latest socks are just scrummy. I used a yarn by Wendy called Happy. If you have not tried it then go and buy a ball now. It is a mix of bamboo and nylon, is so soft to knit with and a delight to wear. More than that it launders really well and comes in such lovely shades. I think I have at least 3 more just waiting.

This month's list has seen me working very hard to try and finish it. I managed 11/13 of the items. Some things didn't need very much work while some things have taken a lot of hours and a bit of backache to finish. The charity quilt has its final borders and is ready for sandwiching. I did manage to put together another Tail Feathers block but as of yet haven't finished the embroidery on either of them. Not to worry though. I don't see it as a contest or a failure if something isn't completed but having a list does help me to concentrate on something and more to the point helps me see just what has been achieved. The trouble is there are so many talented people out there making such fabulous things that my mind is working overtime with ideas. Ah well!!
Love Shirl.x

Sunday 21 February 2010

A Sampling

Last year I set my patchwork group Apple County Quilters a challenge. They are long suffering but real troupers. The challenge was to make 10 blocks with a fat quarter of a patterned fabric and half a metre of a moda marble fabric. They could add any fabrics of their choice so long as it co-ordinated with the given fabrics. They would keep one of their own blocks, 8 would be swapped and the 10th would be donated towards a charity quilt. As you can see, they did a great job. There are 20 blocks and I just have to add the final border. We will be raffling the quilt off at our exhibition in the summer and proceeds will go to Macmillan Cancer Support. The ladies in my group are brilliant, whatever I throw at them in the way of a challenge they always have a go. We have done postcards, quilts the size of their rulers on the theme of water and something patchwork using scraps of shirt fabrics. This was the biggest challenge and they may want a rest now. However.......

We went to Weymouth yesterday for a party and of course could not go without a visit to Pauline's Patchwork. I bought some fabric for the borders of this little quilt I have been working on over the last 12 months. It is from Bunnyhill Designs and the work of Anne Sutton who very generously gave it as a free block of the month. I dug deep into the box of scraps for most of the applique, just buying a small amount for the background and the odd basket or two. I love it.

July's block was just so apt for me. My birthday is July 4th and of course it was all about celebrating American independence day. It was also my 50th birthday. Thank you to Anne for suggesting the 50 on the flag.

I am also working on this quilt from Natalie Lymer at Cinderberry Stitches. I am doing this as a Block of the Month with Buttonberry. I am hopelessly behind with everything. I am still on block 4 and I should be on block 8. Never mind.

How gorgeous is this though?

Love Shirl.x

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Selvage Scraps

For some time now I have been saving all those selvage scraps that normally end up in the bin. I have a huge collection thanks to the kindness of my quilty friends who think I am mad at the best of times.

Today I have been to my sewing group and so have had a whole day of sewing and making more of these blocks that have been quilted on the go. Be warned, if you have a go at doing them they can be addictive. I have tried to use the strips as I have pulled them out of the bag but still I have to co-ordinate them a little. The stripes are all off kilter and you won't like them if you worry about things not being even. But, let's face it,this is patchwork in it's purest form - making something out of scraps. As hard as I am trying the amount of scraps in the box does not seem to be getting less!! I have a plan now for the quilt so it will be ongoing. The blocks are 6.5" square and will be joined with strips. I need 64. I am hoping that if you click on the photo you will get a glimpse of the beautiful fabrics and the wording on the edges. On one of the blocks I managed to get the words Jane Austen from one of the strips.

I am on a bit of a mission at the minute, saving the scraps from the selvages to the smallest of bits.I am aiming to reduce, re-use and recycle. Well, maybe the reduce one is a bit harder to do as I keep adding to the stash. Leanne from The Stitching Room gave me this great idea and one that everyone can implement. All those fiddly bits that get left over from cutting out projects that really do not offer any hope of being used along with scraps of wadding get put into a cotton pillowcase and when the pillowcase is full the top gets sewn up and closed and is taken to the local animal rescue centre to be used as a soft bed for the animals. I have already started to save all my scraps. Incidentally just as a little experiment, I weighed the bag of bits and then weighed a fat quarter and amazingly they weighed roughly the same. Now at a cost of £2.50 per fat quarter that starts to mount up when it is just being thrown away. I have lots of ideas for the scraps but that is for another day. I will get off my soap box now.

Love Shirl.

Monday 8 February 2010

Chicken Fashion

Now some of you are mystified as to whether the chicken jackets are for me or for chickens. Well,here they are, very simple knitted coats ....... for chickens.

I laughed when I saw what my friend Julie was making but it does have a serious undertone. These little jackets are going to the local animal rescue centre where they have a number of rescued battery farmed chickens. These poor creatures because of how they are expected to live often end up with no feathers and in this very cold winter that we have been experiencing here in Britain they get cold. I think it is a great idea, takes very little time and yarn to knit and all for a good cause. I am wondering now as to how I make a patchwork chicken jacket. Now that would be fun.

The pattern can be found at

Love Shirl.x

Sunday 7 February 2010

This Quilter's Journey

I have finished the chemo hat for Jo. It is beautiful and so soft and stretchy but boy, oh boy was it a challenge. Not difficult, but requiring all my powers of concentration and very fiddly done on four needles. Thank you to Anonymous who left me a comment saying that is actually an on-line knitting magazine. There is all sorts of help and information on there as well as patterns. The hat pattern came from there originally although I found it at Head Huggers.

I have been reading my Quilter's Newsletter magazine and one of the articles is called " As A Quilter... Reflecting on the Journey". It is asking the quilter to reflect on his/her quilting journey, comparing the journey of where they started and what kind of quilts they make now. One of the questions it asked was " My favourite quilt I've made is... because..."

This is my favourite quilt I've made.

I finished this little quilt recently but it was one that I started very early on in my quilting life. It began as a very ambitious, large bed quilt and like many hexagon quilts quickly got abandoned. The thought of piecing all those small shapes over paper. Over the years it has had many reprieves as I decided to throw it out on many occasions, only to rescue it and put it back in the cupboard. I even put all the fabrics in the scrap box thinking that I would probably never use them. One day I said to myself get a grip, with a bit of effort you can finish this, it doesn't have to be a large quilt. The original pattern came from a Mimi Dietrich book and was intended to be a small cot quilt with a border that looked like a picket fence. I think I had made roughly half of the quilt. On searching through the scrap box I managed to find most of the original fabrics to finish it off, adding just a few that are more recent. I am pleased with it because I still love the floral fabrics that I used and because I love hexagon quilts. I would use different green fabrics now as they blend in too well with the rosettes. On reflection, I think I have come full circle with my fabrics. Over the years I have had a love affair with every trend going and indeed still have many of them in my stash. From brights, to bali's, japanese and now back to soft, pretty fabrics. I loved pink then and still love pink. I hand quilted the border. It isn't perfect but is at the very least finished and I am so pleased that I didn't throw it out. I thought I might call it "Out of a Dark Place".!!!

Love Shirl.x

Wednesday 3 February 2010


I just love these little snowdrops and really look forward to them emerging in the winter. The ground has been so frozen that it amazes me how they ever manage to push their way through the solid earth. When everywhere is dreary they bring me hope that soon better weather will be on the way.

Love Shirl.x

Tuesday 2 February 2010

February's List

Well, we are already into the second day of February so I thought I would let you in on this month's list. Firstly, I have to remind myself that I am way too ambitious on what I think I can achieve and what I actually do achieve and secondly, there are fewer days in this month. So here goes.

1. Outer border on Bunny Hill quilt.- done
2. Socks of the month.- done
3. Orange Peel block.- done
4. Orange Peel segments x6 - done
5. Hat for Jo.- done
6. Tail Feathers Block.- nearly there
7. Tail Feathers block.- nearly there
8. Apple Cores quilting.- done
9. Chicken Jacket.- done
10. Chicken Jacket.- done
11. Selvedges blocks.- done
12. Cold Wind baskets.- done
13. Apple Quilters Charity Quilt/ assemble top.- done

I should call that a stitcher's dozen, plus one for good measure. Some things need a lot of work, some need very little. I will try hard this month to finish it and not get distracted and start something new. Sew many things, Sew little time should be my motto. I am hopelessly addicted to anything remotely to do with sewing. Could be worse - could be sex, drugs, chocolate. Well. one out of three aint bad.

I have started item number 5 which is a hat for my daughter's friend Jo. She has lost all her hair to chemotherapy and I saw this pattern on a web site called Head Huggers. They have some great patterns for hats specially designed for people with cancer and they are all freely given. The yarn is Rowan Calmer and it is really soft and slightly stretchy so will accommodate hair/ no hair/ head with a bandage etc. I am knitting it on four needles and as it is a cable design it is certainly a challenge. I have staying power though. I think this pattern was originally from an American knitting magazine.

I am not letting you in on the chicken jackets. You will have to wait and see. I roared with laughing when I saw what my friend Julie was making. You eagle eyed friend's will also notice that several items on the list are from January's list. I know, a hopeless case. I try, but what can I do when I see such fabulous work everywhere and I want to do it all?

Keep Stitching.

Love Shirl.x