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.