Monday 24 December 2012

Frosty The Snowman

Two weeks ago I had a request from Olly to knit him a Christmas jumper(sweater)!!!! At the rate I work it was never going to happen so I offered to embellish a bought one for him. Christmas sweaters are the latest rage and I shall be taking commissions in readiness for next year. Any takers? Yes that carrot is protruding and I think it is going to have to be re sewn a few times. I may also have to visit him in jail when he gets arrested for indecency.  It has caused such merriment. Practice crochet snowflakes came in handy too along with a tie from a boxful that I have been hoarding. Hexagons for eyes. Well, it just wouldn't be right to have a post with no hexagons would it?

Just leaves me to say wishing you all a Merry Christmas. Have fun.
Love Shirley.x

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Strictly Come Dancing Elves

I have been tuning in and reading your blogs, even leaving the occasional comment.  As for sewing, not a lot has been happening. A little something that I made is winging it's way to Sweden but as it is a surprise and hasn't yet reached it's destination I cannot show you. I have made the odd hexagon and crocheted  a few snowflakes, not worthy of showing. I need much more practice in that department. I shall endeavour to TRY and do better next year.
I shall leave you with a little video clip made by my daughter Rachel (clever apps again), hope it raises a smile or two.
Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas from the Sherratt Elves.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Worn and Washed Out

Last week I broke out into a deep sweat as I persuaded myself to unwrap and use one of my precious packs of Worn and Washed Fabrics from Kim Porter. This delightful bundle of pinks was bought quite some time ago and it has been lovingly caressed but, its time had come to be used. The last time I saw Kim she said that I had to use them and not just collect them. I probably have another four stashed away. They are just so scrummy. If you have ever seen Kim's stands at the shows you will know why they are so scrummy.
In true "Kim" style this was going to be one of those projects that would be very simple. No maths and complicated piecing and no matching up of points and seams, just strips sewn together randomly. I am not good at doing random and still had to place all the strips out and swap them around but, simple sewing it was. This is bigger than a cot quilt but not a huge single bed quilt, with enough left over to make a crib size quilt/ dolly quilt/ pram quilt. It is also a trip down memory lane.  You may recognise some of the fabrics from Laura Ashley. I am pleased with the progress and today wadding has been bought and I have acquired a lovely brushed cotton bed sheet. This is  in the washing machine as we speak to soften it up a bit so that I can use it for the backing. It is like the stripy fabric in one of the patches below.
Baby gifts in abundance and I finished the baby blanket in time to go on a little journey with Rachel because we have a new generation in the family.
This is Niece Laura and gorgeous baby Daisy Olive, weighing in at a very respectable 7lb 13oz. Mum and baby both doing well.  We got lots of cuddles.

Many of you will have seen on the news of the horrible weather that is plaguing most of Britain which started here in the WestCountry at the start of last week. It has rained and rained and rained and rained. We keep thinking that it can't possibly last but it has. Today has been dry here and even a chink of blue in the sky but for a lot of people the mopping up process is beginning.
This is Kate's garden last Wednesday and as you can see it has narrowly missed coming into the house and Kate has been housebound as she has been unable to get out of her drive and along the lane. It also meant no sewing for us as we could not get there either. I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to have your home flooded out and your possessions turned into a soggy mess. I am grateful and thankful for where I live and so sorry for those not so fortunate.

This week I have started a little bit of sewing. One fat quarter of shot cotton and lots of scraps which is going to be an ipad bag a la Brigitte Giblin. I don't possess an ipad but I am hopeful that Santa may be very kind to me this year. I so hope he is reading this blog.

Wherever you are, stay warm and dry and keep stitching.

Love Shirley.

Monday 12 November 2012

Keeping Busy


For most of Lori's quiltalong I managed to keep up and even had something to show for the deadline. If you wish to see a few more then head over to Lori's blog and see how creative people have been with this fabulous project. I chose to add a pale cream border and have now quilted it and it is ready to be trimmed and the binding added. I have enjoyed every stitch of making this and can't wait to see what clever Lori comes up with next.
You may have forgotten this project. It has been on the back boiler for a while now and has been pinned to my makeshift design wall waiting for me to get my act together and make the corners for the blocks. So far the first 3 are done and a border is also going on as I go along. This is a huge quilt in the making and I may not do all of it. At least progress is being made and it is keeping me busy. In case you are wondering, my makeshift design wall is a fleecy blanket hooked over the wardrobe with skirt hangers. It is the best I can come up with but a bigger blanket would be helpful. I will let you into a secret - shhhh, there is another project pinned to the other side. Don't tell anyone.

Just so you don't think I have fallen out with hexagons these are steadily growing. I know what you are thinking. There is no pink in sight of any of them. They are a real departure from my usual pinkness. I need 39 diamond shapes and so far I have 17. A way to go yet.

Never fear though, that box is being filled and with as many plain hexies being made as the pretty ones. Believe you me it pays off to make them at the same time because when you think you have enough pretty ones then come all the plain ones and you need even more of them and it can be boring. There! I said it. Shock! They have to be done though. I love the gentle shades of these.  Great to make them whilst watching the tv. Downton has finished now, lots of tissues and ooh and ahhs and fabulous storylines.  I am gripped with Strictly Fever and cannot call yet who I think will win but my favourite so far is Lisa Riley. She is sensational. Also, Is anyone other than me glued to The Paradise on a Tuesday night watching the fabulous Sarah Lancashire as the haughty madam in charge of the shop girls of the Paradise Department Store.  It has a great cast. Hope you ladies get to see this drama sometime soon as it is so well acted and I know you will love it too.

Some knitting has also been on the go and I need to sew in some cross stitches around the hearts. Cannot show you the whole thing yet as it is a present. The pattern came from Australian Homespun, The Knitting Issue. I question why they had a knitting issue in a patchwork magazine but I loved the project so I suppose it worked.

 Atmospheric cloud formation over Stitcherydo HQ. Makes a change to be able to see the Quantock Hills, they are normally shrouded in mist.

My lovely Swindon cousin Karen was 40 on the 3rd of November and she had a party. Here you can see her cutting her fabulous cake which was a giant watch complete with diamante's. Karen has a watch fetish. It was so cold that night and during the night it actually snowed and then turned to a heavy downpour which has been the pattern for much of the year really. Not that we noticed it as we were tucked up and asleep. I did get an email from Nanci from Florida asking if we had survived the flooding as it had been on her news. Amazing what gets shown where. Apart from the river level being high we were ok.

I hope that wherever you are reading this that you are warm/cool and safe and able to stitch. It is the best therapy for anything and everything I find.
Happy Stitching.

Friday 26 October 2012

Hexagon Bag

It has been a productive week stitching wise. Last night I finally finished the Brigitte Giblin hexagon bag. Sewing the frame to the bag was fiddly and there were several failed attempts and some serious unpicking as I realised that the shape of the bag no way matched the shape of the frame. My faulty sewing, not Brigitte's pattern and definitely not the frame. Once I had the shape right it went into the frame easily and I am now contemplating making the new i-pad bag which is bigger and made of diamond shapes. Again, all the fabrics were leftovers from other things. It is being guarded by a tiny chicken pincushion bought many years ago from a sales table at a quilt show.
Quilting has commenced on the Mountain Trail Quilt. I am quilting it in the centres of each strip and down each trail. I hadn't intended such dense quilting but as I have used some leftover polydown just quilting the pale panels left the rest of the strips looking very puffy so, it has to be done. It feels divine. Nothing beats the feel of hand quilting and it may not be perfect but, it will be done sometime this year. You may quote me here.
Don't you just love it when a plan comes together? In an effort to use up what I have I found a piece of fabric suitable for the backing but it was a little bit short. What to do? Deep in the depths of a dark box there lurked a very small orphan block, paper pieced many moons ago. It must have been done for a reason, I know not what, but it's time came to be used and by adding corner triangles and strips to either side and by cutting the backing in two pieces and adding the new pieced strip, Voila! Backing now big enough.
Apologies for the blurred image, I know I am rubbish at this but you get the idea. It is another level on the app game and just look at the possibilities for the rose star shape. Is it time wasted playing a game and exercising the old grey cells or is it being creative by sparking off lots of ideas in my head?

Here in old Blighty it is wet and damp and cold and the heating is on. Hope you are staying warm or cool where you are and doing some sewing.

Happy Stitching.


Friday 19 October 2012

Mountain Trail

When Lori from Humble Quilts decided to hold a quiltalong for the gorgeous Mountain Trail quilt I thought I would join in. Lori took the pattern from an antique quilt and did it in a miniature form. There is a lot of cutting out and it was done in stages with gaps for the preparation, this week I finally got around to doing all the assembling of the blocks. What was even more of a challenge was the fact that every single piece came from the scrap boxes. Yes, I am still in that mode and surprising what you can get out of those pieces. All the red pieces are leftovers from the hexagon quilt top. Some of the scraps were again salvaged shamelessly from the bags given to me for the doggy pillows. See what you are throwing away my friends and no, you cannot have them back and no, it hasn't even made a dent in the pile. The plain cream border was cut from yardage in my stash and I cannot for the life of me remember what I bought it for. This quilt top measures roughly 23" x 26" with the borders. If you want to make your own version then head over to Lori's blog and you will find the instructions there. Thank you Lori for a fabulous little project.
I am indulging in a little knitting, making a small blanket from a kit I bought at Creative Crafts at Westpoint a few weeks ago. The blocks are roughly 7" square and I need to make 12 in total. So far  I have two. The kit came from although it isn't on the web site but you can email them if it is something you would like.


I even made a bit of progress on this wavy blanket this week but before you get too excited it was only 2 rows and It took me ages to remember how I did it and had to do a bit of unpicking at first. This week it has been quite chilly and so I think it may be a good project to keep me warm as I crochet.

A few weeks ago we stayed at a lovely B&B in Eccleshall, Staffordshire and opposite was a lovely little flower shop all decorated with pumpkins.

This week has also seen me start with a new addiction but one that is also going to get me into serious sewing trouble. I found this app on my iphone which is a game but as I was searching for patchwork things I thought I was downloading something totally different.  The creative juices were starting to flow and  it has sparked off some ideas. The game is called Through The Glass and you have to put tiny, different shaped pieces of the puzzle into place and you are pitched against an opponent who you can see at the side doing the same. I am extremely slow but have got to level 2, yay! It gets harder. The exciting thing is that the shapes are exactly the same as for the Rose Star block as in the previous post. Look what possibilities it opens up. I am itching to make this into a quilt. How about a challenge Barbara?!! You already have the template and a few pieces started.!! Anyone else up for it?

A funny thing happened to me at Westpoint the other week. I was at a stand and paying for some fabric when this lady standing near to me suddenly asked " Are you Stitcherydo?" Phew ! Fame and recognition. Will I need to go out in disguise? It was a lovely lady who said that she followed my blog via Dotty Dolly. I think she said that she was named Linda, so Hello Linda. Hope I have that right. Please let me know.
Happy Stitching.

Monday 1 October 2012

Dear Jane

Dear Jane,
You will be so proud of me. After all this time of watching and learning and taking notes you will see that I have been a diligent pupil. Some will even say that I am a little crazy, well, we shall see. I have been busy working on the hexagon bag pattern by Brigitte Giblin and I am just waiting for the frame to arrive so that I can finish it.

After all the cutting out I was left with a box full of snippings, such tiny pieces that were destined for the doggy cushions. This dear Jane is where you will be so proud of me. I know that you would not throw those scraps out, oh no! You, dear Jane, would make something out of those little crumbs.

I challenged myself to emulate you in the best possible way. Those teeny, tiny pieces were stitched in a crazy log cabin fashion until they were big enough to be recut into 2.5" blocks. I know, small.

Well, slowly  but surely those snippets became 16 little blocks and with a bit more cutting from the scrap box.......

 This little panel may become a cushion, it may be a little quilt, yet to be decided. Those red squares are way too dark and I shall change them for something more in tone. A girl has to be allowed to change her mind. There are still a few more bits left but I think they can go in the doggy pillows without too much guilt. I hope you will agree.

Your Faithful student.

Whilst searching for something in my messy chaos I came upon the pieces for the Rose Star block that was started some while ago.  A little bit of sewing here and there gets the job done and the finished block now looks like this. Will I stitch more? We shall see. This is a large block and a one piece shape repeated and fussy cut in places. There are some fabulous examples being stitched out there, Barbara Chainey, Nicky Eglington and heaps more on Flikr.

I recently made the acquaintance of Donna and she very generously sent me this huge bundle of fabrics which she thought may be of use to me in my latest project.  Well, I can tell you that there are some great fabrics in there and I certainly will use them wisely. Thank you Donna, you are a star.

Happy Stitching.

Monday 17 September 2012

Weston Quilters 2012

On Saturday I went to Weston Super Mare to see the exhibition of Weston Quilters and this is a small sample of the work on display and my favourites. There are several traders and the latest sewing machines being demonstrated and for sale. There are lots of different categories and is open to all to enter.

 There is always something well worth the trip there and this was what I voted for as my Best In Show. I apologise for the quality of these photographs as I used my new phone and  it has been a trial and a half to get them published, need to read the instructions!!! Need more practice!!

This is the lovely maker of this fabulous hexagon quilt. Those hexagons are teeny - 1/4".  There, you thought I was the only hexamaniac.

A close up so that you can see the detail. Those tiny prints are in perfect scale and the centre of each cream hexagon had a french knot to hold the layers together. I hope it won. Maybe someone out there will know and also the name of the maker.
This was a large quilt and one that was a very clever idea. The maker was inspired by seeing a pile of quilts and thought that she would make a quilt with a selection of designs. I see 4 quilts in this one. That should get a few out of the system.
This design is one of my all time favourites - snail trail. Another large quilt and simply beautiful.
I chose to show this quilt because I have made this one and as of yet is still unquilted. It is a BunnyHill Designs pattern and was a free pattern from the designer as a Block of the month download. I think the pattern may still be available but you may now have to pay for it.
This traditional quilt was  beautifully made, just look at those teeny baskets.

My meagre purchases of the day. Two plastic clamshell templates and a half metre of spotty fabric.

Happy Stitching.


Sunday 9 September 2012


Having accumulated a large amount of patterns all seemingly linked with the proverbial hexagons making a decision on which project to start next was proving to be a difficult one.  You would think by now that I had had enough of making these pesky little blighters but, oh no! Not me. I am made of sterner stuff and I love them. I have also accumulated a large amount of fabric in plums, lavender, greys and taupes and this is my chosen colourway for my new project.

My new project is called The Unknown Quilt for obvious reasons and the pattern has been reproduced by Lisa and Louise from Max and Louise Pattern Co in Australia as a combination of two antique quilts that they had seen, makers unknown. One of them was bought at an English auction house and now lives in Australia.

 As you will notice - hexagons but, just in case you were thinking that I cannot do anything else there is some very nifty paper piecing going on in the centre of this quilt and paper piecing is something I love to do. It will certainly keep me busy and out of mischief. Well, perhaps not out of mischief! I am good at that too.

A little while ago I entered a giveaway on Raewyn's blog as she had made a very beautiful block holder and I am delighted to say that I won! I won, I won. Lucky me! Lucky indeed because it really is beautiful and so practical too. If you feel that you would like one too then Raewyn has very generously given the pattern on her blog. Also included was a skein of lovely thread called Mistletoe from Cottage Garden Threads. It is yummy.

A peak inside to see what is in there. What else were you expecting?
These hexagons are 7/8" and just that small increment makes for a much smaller rosette. I have taken the papers out as these are going to be appliqued onto strips later.

Thank you to everyone for your lovely comments on the last post. Decision still unmade but giving it much thought.

Happy Stitching.

Tuesday 28 August 2012

The Last Stitch

It has been a long time coming but today I finally put in the last stitch. I came to call this quilt top Blood, Sweat and Tears as it knows my innermost thoughts,  great sadness, anger, sleeplessness to name but a few emotions, even laughter. If I left the house the box of tricks came with me and I have stitched them almost everywhere. The truth is though that I can look at this quilt top and enjoy it for something  that is in my mind's eye truly beautiful. It pleases me and is a thing of joy inspite of everything. I have made it for myself because I can.
 At no time have I pressed anything and the whole thing was appliqued on to wide borders. I used countless reels of thread in the construction and it weighs a ton and measures around 88inches at its longest side. I used a jelly roll bought from the Quilt Room when jelly rolls were the new thing and I saved it having no idea what it would become.  I had a Eureka moment when I realised that I would get 120 flowers from said jelly roll. The hexagons are 1inch.  Now for a big dilemma. How do I quilt it? By hand? By machine? I have a few ideas forming but nothing set in stone yet.
Wrapped in  love.

Laid out on the lawn , had to be quick as it kept blowing away.

I need to give it a happy name, what would you call it?
Happy Stitching.
Love Shirley.

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Prize Winner.

The last few posts have been about our annual Apple County Quilters trip to Launceston to see the exhibitions and this post is a direct result of those exhibitions. I mentioned the work of the very talented Sandy Chandler of The Quilting Company and her exquisite machine quilting and how she should be winning prizes.

I had an email last Wednesday from Maggi (another talented bloggy friend) who informed me that she had been helping set up at Festival of Quilts and she had just hung a quilt as a group entry by Cowslip Quilters. Amazing in itsself as I wouldn't have known about it. Due to the time allocated at the show I had very little time to properly look at the quilts but the first quilt I stopped at, I looked at it and thought it very nice, beautifully pieced, soft colours and the machine quilting was to die for. As I looked closer, I thought hmm, I wonder. Out came my show guide and number 534 said Cowslip Quilters. There! Just knew it!

The above photo is one that Sandy herself sent to me and with her permission I can show it to you. Team Cowslip won a very respectable Bronze - Third Prize. Sandy is shown with her prize certificate on behalf of Cowslip who consist of Sandy, Jo and Jan Whitehouse.

The close up photo is one I took so that you can see the wonderful feather quilting shown to great advantage by the use of Jo's own organic wool wadding made from her own sheep. Sandy tells me it is wonderful to work on as it gives a high loft and a trapunto effect. The quilt was made for Jo's niece who lives in Norway and is titled Scandinavian Journey. I think we can safely say that we shall be hearing much more about the skills of this fabulous quilter. Well done Team Cowslip for a fabulous quilt. Remember you heard it from me first.

Happy Stitching.


EDIT : Please note the comment from Maggi that she didn't hang the quilt as I thought but she did tell me about it  so credit where credit is due.. I also had the chance to finally meet with Maggi on Thursday albeit a very brief  pleasure.