Friday 30 December 2011

I Believe...

Father Christmas was most kind and generous to me this year and the festive time has passed peacefully and with love.

My friend Judith made me this fabulous cushion. I love it and it fits so well in my home.

This is honorary quilter Pip the dog at Kate's in her festive outfit. Pip mostly sits quietly at our gatherings until she hears the rustle of paper and she immediately thinks it is food and then she visits us one by one in the hope that we will feed her a scrap of something tasty.

Just before Christmas I was lucky enough to win a lovely pack of fabrics from Vreni at Oops-Lah blog. What a fabulous service from the postal offices on both sides of the world. It came from Singapore to Taunton,UK, in 7 days. Amazing. Thank you Vreni, I shall think carefully of how to use it and maybe next christmas I will have something finished.

My Christmas tree twinkling away. Well, what did you expect? I love the pink baubles.

I am plodding away still at the hexagons and this is progress so far. Almost half way and many more plain hexagons to prep yet. Every one made takes me closer though and one day it will be done. Just as well this quilt cannot talk as it has had my most private of thoughts lashed into it this year and I hope that next year it will have lots of happy thoughts sewn into it too.

Sarah bought me a new charm for my bracelet. It is a tiny pair of scissors and they actually open and shut. Rachel gave me a lovely gift box full of yummy things, chocolates, alcohol, perfume and much more.

Stina put out a lovely tutorial for a mystery bit of festive stitching. I followed it very well but just didn't get around to finishing it. It is going to be a pincushion.

I have planned that next year will be a year of many finishes and starts. I have so many things that need just a little bit of attention and many things that require ongoing care and a lot of work, some may get it and some may not see the light of day. I am not going to worry about it and will just go with the flow of it as I see fit. On the list of starts though, phew! where to begin. I have Sue Daley's Antique Sampler kit ready and waiting, I also want to join in with the Building Houses From Scraps project not to mention all the patterns that I have bought and want to make. It is going to be a busy year at Stitcherydo but I am looking forward to it and what is more I shall look forward to seeing what every single one of you fantastic blogging buddies will get up to.

Happy New Year to you all.

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Secret Stitching

Apologies for the lack of posts recently and thank you for showing concern. I have been feeling under the weather and have a course of antibiotics to get through and still feel a bit rubbish. I have had an infection in my nose that has been immensely painful and swollen, at least the face looking back at me in the mirror now looks like me. Sarah's comment was that Rudolph would have been very proud of it. (Hmmm, one less present for her methinks).

I have been stitching and cannot show just what in case certain girlies are viewing. No peeking now.

This pattern is by Mandy Shaw and took a lot of fiddling for a small project. I am pleased with the result though. I hope the new owner will like it. Cannot show you inside as it contains a few surprises.

I found a new use for the humble hexagon and again I cannot show you what it is but the pattern is by Gail Pan.

I am trying to make myself feel a bit festive with this delicious smelling candle from Yankee Candles. It is Kitchen Spice. Love the smell of this one.

Tomorrow we have our last sewing day at Kate's and we are having our Christmas lunch. All the presents are wrapped in readiness.

My fingers did a bit of tap tapping on the send button and I bought another Trish Harper pattern. I am such a fan of Trish's work and would like to make all of her patterns. I am not forgetting though that I still haven't finished Camelot or the Dancing Dollies. The New Year looks to be a very busy time for me with so many projects to manage. Trish's patterns can be found at Broderie.

Hope that wherever you are you are managing a bit of stitching time. Not always easy with so many things to do in the run up to Christmas.

Love Shirley.

Friday 25 November 2011

Lush Knits

A few weeks back I went to the Autumn Quilt Show at Malvern with Kate and Margaret. It was a great day out, did a spot of shopping and saw some lovely quilts. Sadly, we are no longer allowed to show you them but this display I loved and have permission to show you.

These mini quilts are the brainchild of Sandie Lush. Sandie is one of our top quilters and has won many awards for her craft. These little quilts are made to look like sweaters and you really do have to see them up close and personal to appreciate the attention to detail. All the quilts come with labels that say Lush Knits and are sewn in to the neckband.

I bought a couple of patterns from Sandie and she said to me "Shirley, I do need to see those patterns made up and finished", before I could reply there was a very loud guffaw from Kate and quite a few heads turned to see what was happening. Did I say that Kate was my friend!!! Thankfully Sandie didn't set me a deadline or a challenge.

Outside of the hall I managed to capture the fabulous colours in the trees.

Happy stitching.

Love Shirley.

Monday 21 November 2011

Drum Roll, Please!

It has been a long time coming but, at last, the Little New York Beauty quilt is FINISHED. Now that I can stand back and look at it I can say that I am pleased. It languished in a cupboard for such a long time simply because I didn't have the courage to continue the machine quilting that had been started way back when...
It is never going to win any awards but I have learnt a thing or two and that is I CAN machine quilt - maybe not expertly, AND, that you just have to relax those shoulders and just do it. Because of all the dense quilting in the middle the border looked so wavy that I wondered how I would ever get it to lie flat. Luckily for me that Anne Baxter came to my rescue and gave me some sound advice - put the binding on first a little tight and then quilt narrow straight lines framing all around the border. I also gave it a shot of steam on the back when it was done. It worked a treat. Thank you Anne.

Anyone wishing to see it in the flesh will have to go to Dotty Dolly to see it hanging up. Don't look too close though.

I woke up the other morning with this idea in my head that just wouldn't go away and so had to commit it to paper and then fabric. So far, so good. It is all ready for some hand quilting. I have just drawn all the feathers straight onto the fabric freehand so I hope this works and doesn't look a ridiculous mess when it is finished.
I have noticed that there are a few plain fabric projects creeping in and I just have to stick my neck out here and say watch this space as I predict that it is going to be a big trend. This is my contribution to the new trend. The star is made of shot cotton for a bit of sparkle and shimmer.

On Saturday my husband said that he would take me down to Cowslip if I wanted to go. Didn't need asking twice I can tell you. Jo and her hardworking team were holding their Christmas Fayre. It was such a lovely day there, the sun was out, the food in the Cafe as good as ever and lots of stalls to tempt you to part with your money. The added bonus was lots of Christmas themed quilts dotted around the place to sigh over.

This purchase had to come home with me. I loved its shape and can imagine it filled with sherry and sat on a tray with some yummy mince pies when my family come over.

Now this bit was really exciting and I almost missed it.(I apologise here as silly me forgot to take her camera but if you want to see what it was like at Cowslip you will have to wait for the Christmas Special as Kirstie Allsop was there on Friday filming for her show). Jo had Petra Prins from Den Haag and Wagenmakers and also Mary Koval staying there and both with lovely stands. Of course I had to indulge, it would have been rude of me not to, these came home with me. I would have loved more time to see Mary's beautiful antique wares.

Also indulged in the shop too. Added a few greens to the stash plus a few more brights and some hand quilting thread.

It was a super day and it always fills you with a good sense of wellbeing after a visit there. Just as well it isn't on my doorstep though as my purse wouldn't stand the strain. Well done though Jo, hope to see you again, soon.

Happy Stitching

Love Shirley.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

There was a little girl.......

Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead,
When she was good,she was very, very good,
But when she was bad, she was horrid.

This is Violet. Violet is the leader of the troupe. Woe betide those girls if they step out of line. She likes things to be just so and expects things to be done her way. Or else!!

There must be something in the name Violet that means trouble. I am thinking of Violet who will thkweam and thkweam until she is sick and also the bubblegum blowing Violet in Willy Wonka who liked her own way.

The four patch blocks for the border are done. This quilt is just full of bright and happy colours that say FUN.

The ripple blanket is growing. I am enjoying making this. The only colour I don't like is the grey. In real life it is an oatmeal colour but against the lavenders it looks grey. Maybe against a different colour it will be more true.

It always amazes me just how colours behave when set against each other and how different they can look. My personal preferences are for the strong but pretty shades of pinks and lavenders. You may have noticed. Sometimes though it is good to challenge yourself and try other colours. I would find it hard to work with sludgy, sombre shades. What shades could you not work with?

One of my favourite plants are Heuchera's. I love them for their colours and because the leaves are just so interesting. The flowers are fairly unassuming.

Happy Stitching.

Love Shirley.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Autumn Inspirations

Today I managed to get my act together and sit and do a little bit of free motion quilting. It is not my thing and this quilt will never win any awards but, somehow the process has grown on me. Nothing has been marked or drawn and it is done totally by a huge leap of faith that it will turn out ok. There are many wobbly bits but a blind man would be pleased to see it and I will learn with practice. Hopefully then a few more quilts will get finished. Apologies to Debby and Joan who will have to wait a bit longer to hang it up in the shop.

The ripple blanket has grown a little bit and is now less christmassy looking. I am thoroughly enjoying making this. It looks more autumnal now. There are more greens and pinks to add and then I may mix all the shades up again or even add a few more to the mix.

This is my inspiration for the colour scheme and this large cross stitch picture hangs on my wall.

I am not too fond of the yellows and golds that abound in the Autumn but this is the colour in my garden.

Michaelmas Daisies by the wall. In past years they have given a wondeful display but this year there are literally a handful of flowers. Love the colour though.

Japanese Maple - Bloodgood, hanging on in there and the colour is amazing. A sharp frost and the leaves will be gone.

I don't know what these berries are. They are in my neighbour's garden and hang over my fence. At the first sign of snow they are invaded by Fieldfare and they strip the tree bare. They must be so delicious or the birds may just be so hungry. In the Spring this tree has the most prettiest apricot coloured blossom. The berries are about an inch wide.

Sedum - I love them when they turn this deep burgundy. Amazing to have all this colour still now that we are into November.

The Dancing Dollies are busy practising ready to make their first public appearances. They are not quite up to it yet. Patience.

Happy Stitching.


Tuesday 18 October 2011

Dancing Dolly - Cora

It is my great pleasure to introduce to you the first in the line up of dancing dollies.

Meet Cora.

She looks a little nervous making her debut but I have assured her that you are a friendly bunch and there is nothing to worry about. This is such a pretty quilt to be making and anyone else wishing to make it can find the details from
Liz at Broderie. The pattern is by Trish Harper.

A few weeks ago I had the great pleasure of spending a day at a workshop with Anne Baxter. It was a small class and the most relaxing one I have ever done. We were making a cushion with Friendship Stars block. I chose christmas fabrics in the hope that for the first time ever I will have something to contribute to the festivities. As you can see, I have not got very far and it has yet to be made up into a cushion.

Whilst I am on a christmassy theme I have been indulging in some crochet work. I learnt how to do this as a teenager but never really got the bug for it. For some time now I have been following Lucy at Attic24 and if you have never been and had a look then go there right this minute. Lucy's blog is the most colourful and prettiest ever and I have just had to give in and have a go at making her Ripple Blanket. I have chosen an acrylic yarn called Special by Stylecraft. It is ready available, cheap and also quite good to work with and for a first venture didn't want to spend too much money on something that I might not really enjoy. After several false starts and some not very succesful counting I have now got the hang of it and I am loving it. It looks christmassy but it will fit in my home all year round.

Anyone reading the comments on the last post will wonder what on earth Michelle is commenting on. I have been experiencing great difficulties grappling with using different laptops whilst my new one gets up and running and writing that post was the most frustrating ever and I managed to delete the post just as it posted. Michelle however, was quick off the mark and managed to read it and posted her comment before it all disappeared. Here is what she commented on.

Here in the UK we are gripped with Downton Abbey. It is a fabulous tv costume drama set in the early part of the last century and charts the changing fortunes of the Earl of Grantham and his family and staff. It is superbly acted and the costumes are a delight. At a recent craft exhibition they had a display of a selection of costumes from the first series. This tv show has won many awards and the costume designer too was a well deserved winner. We are now in series two and at the end of the First World War.

I live very close to the hospital and a regular visitor is the air ambulance. There are several and today it is the turn of the yellow helicopter. They look so tiny that you wonder how they fit all that medical equipment in and a patient and crew. We have to be thankful for the sterling work of this service and hope that we never need it. They are funded on charitable donations.

Happy Stitching.


Monday 3 October 2011

Daisy chains

My hexagons have been sadly neglected of late and they have been patiently waiting their turn to come out of the dark place again. It is time to get a move on and start assembling them in some order and so now we have the first row of daisies. I am calling them daisies because that it what they remind me of. I sat in the garden in the sunshine and stitched away. Still a lot more plain colours to sew.

Camelot - Block 16.

The last block is finished. All I have to do now is add the little cornerstones and then they can be assembled. This is a big quilt and there is still a lot of cutting out to do in readiness for the borders. Lots of half square triangles. Inspiration took a long time to hit me with this one but it found me eventually and I am pleased with it.

Here in the UK, or at least, most of the UK, we have been basking in glorious unseasonal weather. The temperature has hit the late 70's/80's and so we headed off to our favourite destination - St. Ives. We arrived at Tregenna Castle Hotel just in time to see the end of the rugby match and see England through to the next round of the World Cup. Tregenna for me is the place to view St.Ives, from it's elevated postion it looks right across to the far side of the harbour and it never fails to make me sigh and feel that sense of wellbeing. The light here is just so special and no wonder artists the world over come here to paint it. We walked all the way down and that is no mean feat but, oh dear! the walk back up.....

A little visit to GJBeads to stock up on things that I had no idea that I needed.

After lunch we headed for the beach and laid out the towels, kicked off our shoes and just relaxed, ah! bliss.

Happy Stitching.


Tuesday 20 September 2011

UFO's and other sightings

I am glad that you all enjoyed the exhibition at Come2Quilt. Here are a few extras.

Now, I did warn you that my quilts would be of the unfinished variety and I jokingly said that I would just stack my boxes in a corner.....

I am not owning up to how many boxes I have but let me say that this is a selection. The basket on the top is Kate's. The project hanging out of the box is mine. Hope you aren't counting.

I had Jiminy Cricket on my shoulder all weekend and she goes by the real name of Debby from Dotty Dolly. I kept hearing my name and she kept telling everyone that she was going to hang it up in the shop. I have a deadline to finish this now. Thank you Debby. I am not quite sure yet what for. I left it for ages before I took the plunge to machine quilt it and then part way through I just decided I didn't like it and wished I hadn't started but now after seeing it again I will attempt to get it done for the deadline.

I started this quilt in 2002. It is a pattern that was published in McCalls Quilting magazine and is by Robert Callahan. I love the colours of this quilt and again I got fed up with the quilting and it has remained unfinished. Wendy also loves this quilt and I have left instructions that should anything happen to me then this is her quilt. Just in case I should be worried about banana skins left in my path and unseen objects on stairs I have left a codicil that she may have to finish it herself. That should ensure my safety!!! There is a little album block on this quilt and I decided to make it into the label. All the details are on there including the date 2002 - 2003. It was the early days and I was optimistic about finishing. When I finally do finish it I will add a postcript to the back saying "THE END".

The Kaleidoscope Quilt is still waiting for inspiration for the border. The eureka moment hasn't happened yet.

The other quilt belonged to my mum. When my mum died last year we decided to drape the quilt over her coffin as she loved it so much. At the end of the day the Funeral Director handed the quilt back to me but before he did my sister and I had a laugh to ourselves as we heard him berating one of his staff for being covered in fluff and not knowing where it had come from. Mum would have had a laugh at that one too.

Gifts From The Sea by Verna Mosquera. I loved every minute of making this quilt. It was such good fun. It is all sanwiched together ready for quilting one day. I may have to get my act together and just quilt,quilt,quilt or I send them off to be finished. At least then they will be done. Wendy and I made this one together but unlike me Wendy finished hers. Maybe I should be very worried about my safety!

Even Kate's car had a makeover for the weekend and was used to fetch and carry people from the parking in the field to be delivered up the bumpy drive. These good ladies are from Apple County Quilters.

In the last post I told you about honorary member Pip climbing into one of the displays.... She is looking at David (Kate's husband) as if to say "well what else is it for?". We are like a secret sisterhood from an Enid Blyton story with Pippi the dog as the seventh member.

Well, I am off to quilt,quilt,quilt. Ces't La Vie.

Happy Stitching.