Tuesday 22 January 2013

Scrappy Challenge

After seeing Stina's beautiful scrappy Trip Around The World blocks resisting became futile. Deciding that the weather forecast looked too unpredictable I chose to stay home and not go to my sewing group today and sew here instead.

Yesterday I cut enough strips to make four blocks and so began the task of sewing them all together. It took some effort and some gnashing of teeth and a bit of unpicking, well, more than a bit of unpicking before block one was declared done. Maybe stopping for lunch would restore energy levels and concentration

No sign of the predicted snow but oh did it rain! It washed all the snow away and it was so dark and gloomy and cold.

Energy levels restored and back to some sewing. In the time that it took me to do one block before lunch I managed to make another three.  This project is addictive and if you think you might like to join in then I guarantee you won't want to stop. You can find the tutorial here. There is also lots of inspiration and lots of other free patterns to tempt you to use up those scraps.  I am thinking that 36 blocks will be enough. We shall see. I am also challenging myself to use only what I have and no repeats of fabric.

As I had cut strips there were bits left over and you know how I like leftovers. Hmmm, what to do with them! With the addition of a cream centre the scraps have become nine patch blocks of 6" and I managed 5 from what I had. I can keep adding to these as I make the other blocks. Apologies for the shadows and lack of editing.

Now I had a growing pile of much smaller pieces. I just sewed them together into a strip. Even the selvages got sewn in. I am sure that I shall find a use for some scrappy strips at some point.

This is what I was eventually left with - what I call scraps. You textile artists out there will find a use even for them but in this case they have gone into the doggy pillows. Believe me, those scraps are small.

Whilst I was on a roll and still in the sewing mood I thought I would have a rummage in the bag of scraps that Pat gave me and challenge myself to do something with what was in there. I also had another fabulous challenge from Lori to have a go at. I have changed it a little and this is what I have come up with so far. The only fabric that came out of my own stash was the pink spotty. The next set of instructions come on Thursday so there is plenty of time to join in or even for me to TRY and make another one. I am thinking that this one may be the start of a medallion. Don't yet know. This block so far measures 8.5".

I shall leave you with a snowy garden scene from the weekend. By this afternoon it had virtually all gone but at 4pm it suddenly started to snow and at 8.30pm it is still snowing. Mick went out today for a meeting and still is not home. Hopefully he will be stuck at a Travelodge and not on the motorway.

Happy Stitching


Friday 18 January 2013

Doillies and Tray Cloths

On Wednesday at Kate's Pat arrived with a bag full of tray cloths and doillies. All were beautifully embroidered and in good condition. Pat said that she had once stayed with a friend who had made a quilt with such beauties and the thought had stuck with her and she thought that she would do something similar.

This one was my favourite and Rosemary and I were doing our usual trick of trying to sneak it into our bags in the hope that Pat wouldn't notice.

One of the tray cloths had an unusual edging. Ric rac and crochet combined.
The larger table cloth was pinned onto the design wall and then the very pretty crocheted napkin was pinned  to the centre.
Pretty spring flowers, tulips and daffodils.
This was the first layout and then there was much imput from everyone moving them about and repositioning. It is such a lovely idea for a quilt and even if you don't have any such treasures then they can be found at car boot sales and charity shops for reasonable prices and is a great way of recycling and giving them new purpose. Lots of white space for some quilting.


Going around blogland at the moment are photo's of the blog owner aged 21. I am not sure how or why this started but I think it may have been a Dutch blog. Maybe someone will tell me. I had to do a bit of searching and thought that I must surely have a photo of myself somewhere and this is the only one I could come up with. It was taken the day before my 21st birthday and I went to Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire for a Viennese Evening with Mick and some of our friends. We took a picnic and sat on rugs and it was cool for July. This was 1980. The concert consisted of the Vienna Boys Choir singing on the steps of the House and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing Viennese Waltzes finishing with the Thunder and Lightening Polka. As the last notes sounded and the cymbals crashed the firework display started. It was a fantastic evening and the memory has stayed with me. I apologise for the very grainy shot but please take note of that dark hair.
Still not much to show in the way of stitching but I have done a little bit this week and some knitting but not enough progress to be of interest.
Winter has arrived in the UK, we have snow and temperatures are on the chilly side. Wherever you are stay warm, spare a thought for our fellow Aussies who  are baking and suffering in their heatwave. Stay safe.
Happy stitching.

Monday 14 January 2013

From Stina

Just before Christmas Stina sent me a Christmas present and like a very good girl I waited till Christmas morning to open it. We had several emails back and forth as Stina was convinced that I would not like the gift that she was making me and that I would need sunglasses as it was bright and crazy and that I could opt out if I thought it would not be to my taste. I neither need shades nor do I think it is crazy. I think it is beautiful.It has pretty crochet circles and little messages that are personal to us both and I LOVE IT. You can read more about it on Stina's blog.


Also enclosed in the parcel was this beautiful scissor keeper and how clever of Stina to make me one that fits and compliments my best gingher scissors perfectly.  They are little felt strawberries and strawberries are my favourite fruit. I also had some delicious chocolates but sadly I opened those and Mick and I scoffed them pretty prompt and didn't take a photo.

Lizzie in Australia sent me a lovely surprise package of two patterns by one of my favourite designers - Trish Harper. I haven't forgotten that those Dancing Dollies (also by Trish) are waiting to be finished and this year they definitely will be. I love house quilts and this one is qoing to whet the apetite and noughts and crosses will use up some of that stash for sure. Trish's patterns can be ordered via Lizzie on Broderie blog.

Another Christmas gift was from Kate. A beautiful scented hyacinth planted in a mug. How clever of Kate though to make sure mine was this fabulous pink colour. Wish you could smell the scent.

At the weekend we travelled up to Leek in Staffordshire for the Christening of baby Daisy. Here we are having a bit of a cuddle and a feed.

Lovely mum and dad, Laura and Chris with Daisy cutting her fabulous cake which had little daisies all over and was most pretty. There looks to be some weaponry about but all was safe.

All events should have an amusing tale and this one made us all laugh.  The vicar took Daisy in his arms to baptise her and he very gently sprinkled her head with water from the font and at this point she had been fast asleep, out shot the dummy and landed with a splash in the font. Quick as a flash the vicar fished it out, baptised the dummy as well as Daisy and put it back in her mouth. The dummy is now known as The Holy One. Hopefully the water was clean ?!!!
Maybe before long I shall have some sewing progress to show to you. I will leave you with this comment from Emma in my Tuesday sewing group and I wished that I had thought of this. I was explaining to Emma that my word for the year was Try and that I was going to try and get more sewing done. She said that it was a good word and could be applied to all sorts of things and that if I started something and got bored with it and abandoned it then all I had to say was  "well, I was only TRYING it". That kind of logic will get me into a lot of trouble I am sure but it did make me laugh. I need to sit with Emma more often for her logical thoughts and words of wisdom.
Happy Stitching.

Thursday 3 January 2013

New Year Promises

This new year of 2013, I have vowed to get my act together and have made a few promises to myself.  My word for this year is TRY, so, I shall TRY and do better, TRY to finish a few things and TRY to be a better blogger. No doubt I shall start a few things too but I shall TRY to finish them so that they don't languish in a dark place. I have lots of plans.
In my quest to TRY, I managed to upload my photo's onto said blog via the new toy that Santa brought me but at the minute I am not loving it very much. Like all new things I guess  you just have to keep Trying till it become's second nature.  Right this minute it is back to the old laptop.

Thank you to everyone for your comments on Olly's Christmas sweater. He loved it and wore it with pride. He is a brave chap and no Josie I didn't need to bake a cake with a file in it!!
One of the things that I have been doing is following on Pinterest. It seems to cause some angst in some circles and to pin or not to pin was the question I kept asking myself. I desisted for quite some time but gave in. If you follow me and see anything that I have pinned that you are not happy with then please tell me and I will remove it.
There are some great ideas on Pinterest and one of them was a link to a youtube tutorial for a crochet stitch called crocodile stitch.  So, I set myself the task of teaching myself how to do it. After  several attempts and that word Try, Try  and Try again, the third attempt I had cracked it. With an odd ball of wool leftover from something or other I have made a headband. It is a fantastic, textural stitch and with a variegated yarn gives some lovely effects. In making a headband and in the round the stitches had to be adapted a little but worked out just the same. I think the photo is upside down but you get the idea. If you search youtube for crocodile stitch then you will find several tutorials.

Quilting has started on the smallest of the baby quilts. I am using a perle thread and a large stitch and in a beautiful shade of lavender. I made a daisy template and have drawn them at random. For the backing I used a brushed cotton sheet that was given to me by Joan from Dotty Dolly. I washed it several times to soften it and it is perfect. The wadding is a very fine and soft cotton which I think is called Rose Dream and the whole thing is soft and cuddly. I am calling this one a practice one in readiness for the larger quilt.
You will notice a strange looking object on top of the quilt. It is a bag frame for a rather special project that I found a few weeks back. It took some tracking down and a nice lady in China sent them to me super quick. All I have to do is decipher the instructions that are in French and I shall be away.
On New Year's Day Mick and myself had a little drive to Sidmouth for some fresh air. The weather forecast was for yet more rain but turned out better than expected and it brought out  quite a few people enjoying the sea air. There were even a few brave souls surfing.
Here is wishing you all the very best for the coming year and to many happy stitching hours.
Love Shirley.