19 February 2017

The Splendid Sampler 16

The Splendid Sampler block episodes have now finished with the last block, no. 100 being released last Sunday, almost a year after the first block came out on 14th February.

I stil have blocks to catch up on and today only just finished block 99 but I have been doing some other sewing and knitting too. More of that another time.

First of all is Block 95 Sunshine by Kim Niedzwiecki. A 9 patch block.  I kept the sunshine theme with the yellow middle.

Block 96 is In the Sunshine designed by Cheryl Arkinson. A similar title with an almost similar block. A nine patch with a flag applique on it.
I used squarish scraps to make this block which was quick to make.

Block 97 is First Purse by Di Mills.  This was another opportunity to use other Splendid Sampler scraps and add some buttons to make this on a red background, making sure the tear shapes were the right way up.

Going back the next block I finished was a foundation pieced one, Tiny Miracles by April Rosenthal

As you know Foundation piecing is not my most favourite of techniques but it was the only way to make this block which turned out fairly well and worth while.

Next one is Block 98, Fleur de Lei by Lynn Harris.  This block should have been made with needle turn Hawaiian applique but it was another block that I cheated and used fusible applique finishing with blanket stitch.

Now for the penultimate block 99 Four Corner Spinwheel designed by Kimberly Einmo.  
Looks a simple block, but my first attempt at this didn't turn out too well so this is Mark 2, which looks much better.

I will have a look at what blocks I have to catch up with and get on with them plus making up block 100, which has all the pieces cut up ready to sew.

So it's good to see some progress with these blocks.

11 February 2017

Can't Do It All

Recently, since before the New Year there have been various posts on my Facebook and Instagram feeds about planners/organisers, etc for crafters/quilters to plan their projects for the year ahead.  One I've looked at a couple of them, both American, together with the cost of journal and shipping it became very expensive and I couldn't justify the cost.  So I have to say to myself that as I can't craft everyday I'm not going to be able to keep up with the journal and could end up with an expensive journal with not a lot in it.  I usually do what I can when I can and try to fit in something crafty of some sort each day.

So I compromised with a project book like the type sold to students with tabs which I can divide for quilting, knitting and crochet projects.  There are no dates, so I write in my aims for the month (which may or may not be completed) and can write in that month what I've managed to do, so my progress is measurable. At least I can say I've done something even if I haven't done a lot. 

I think the cover looks pretty and it stays near my cutting mat so I do see this every time I go in my room.  Anyway I hope it can help keep tabs on what I'm doing.

Another thing to help me is a little light box that David has made me from an ice cream carton and Perspex top and it has a cut out hole to slide my LED work light underneath. 
Proper light boxes are fairly big and I don't do many big projects that need tracing, so this will do the trick hopefully, especially with some of the embroidered Splendid Sampler blocks still to make. I've used this today to place some applique pieces onto a dark fabric background and it's worked well.

As I'm progressing well with the clown knitting that I'm doing, most of the body is sewn and stuffed and there's a lot of little bits and bobs to go with him, so he's coming along, so I treated myself to one of the Attic 24 Stylecraft yarn packs from Wool Warehouse.  I have to say that the pack arrived really quickly, and was nicely packed in an organza bag.  Doesn't look so neat in the pic was believe me it was.
There is also a pattern with the yarn, but I got it out to look at and I should have put it back in the bag. Needless to say I didn't and it's walked so will have to download the instructions. How silly! Anyway I can't start this until I've finished the clown. I keep looking at the yarn though, it is tempting me to make a start.  I must resist!

What I've done this afternoon this afternoon and evening has been to make up one of The Bramble Patch's Box of Delights kits and this one was January's.  This contained a charm square pack of Poppy Mae fabric and backing (for which the Lightbox came in handy). The pattern was this lovely poppy wall hanging.

This has brightened up what's been a grey day today.  When the photo was taken I'd fused the applique pieces onto the background, but later this evening I sewed them down.

That's another entry in the project book.

28 January 2017

Bit of a Catch Up

It's a nice quiet Saturday morning so I thought I would do a quick blog post.  The last couple of weeks I've suffered this cold/flu/lurgy and although I spent this week at work after being off work the previous week it's not been easy.  The week I was off I ached all over and felt very lethargic and this week I my head still felt stuffed up and not feeling brilliant at all. So it's been a struggle and dosing myself up with paracetamol and decongestant spray.  

A bit of knitting and crochet has been my solace through this time as I've not done much sewing.  To huddle down with a bit of handwork that I can pick up and put down when I feel like it. So I've carried on with Isobel's clown and there are lots of little bits which I've kept contained in a polybag. Plus I've knitted the body too.
Just a tad bright, but brightens up a gloomy day.

I also crocheted a cupcake, a pattern from Crochet Now magazine, when watching a video one afternoon. I've displayed this on a cake stand which was a Christmas present along with the first daffodils bought this year.

The little bit of sewing I've done is this little cactus embroidery that my work colleague had as a magazine free gift from Molly Makes.  The design was a little larger than the tiny hoop frame. There were two frames and enough fabric to make the embroideries and I've checked the second one that I make will fit nicely inside the second frame. 

Two weeks ago on a really dreary Sunday I took the coach to Farnham, Surrey, which has a one day quilter's fabric sale.  There can be lots of fabrics to be had and I did buy quite a bit.  The Wednesday before I also visited local quilt shop Cherry Tree fabrics and bought a few pieces there too.  In the picture below is my haul of various sizes of fabric from yardage (red spotted fabric for the dolly dress up quilt) to quarters, eighths and possibly 16ths of metre lengths. So much for using what I've got!

Today is my daughter Sarah's birthday.  She's 36 today and it makes me wonder where those years have gone!  She and her fiancé Andy are spending a few days in Yorkshire. This photo below was taken when we visited the Chelsea Flower Show last year.

Happy birthday Sarah.

22 January 2017

The Splendid Sampler 15

OIt's been a long time since I last posted Splendid Sampler blocks what with Christmas and all that.  Now well into he New Year time for a catch up.

First up is a bonus block not only timed to celebrate my birthday in November, but coincidentally the ladies who organise the Sampler - Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. 

Fused applique cake and embroidered flourish on the top, but I've used pen and will embroider over later.

Block 85 is Flow by Latifah Saafir.
This aeroplane inspired block is foundation pieced and I've used blues for this one.

Next is Minnesota Maze, Block 83, by Rosann Meehan Kermes.  Block piecing half square triangles and flying geese. My apologies for the odd angle of the photo here.

Similar was Block 86 Unity Star from Vanessa Christenson.  This pieced block produced a secondary block pattern, Ohio Star.
This block took careful planning of the colours to ensure getting this right.

Block 84 The Early Bird by Joan Ford had several foundation pieced sections which came together quite well

Next block is number 89 - From Colorado to the Midwest, by Ebony Love.  This is traditional pieced with part log cabin and part half square triangles.
Those little "windows" became another opportunity to use the little owls.

Number 90 was designed by Lorena Uriarte and is called Juggling

Pieced circles appliquéd with bias loops in between, but I substituted some stem stitch which didn't look very good (having not done that well with the bias strips) so may revisit this block again soon.

I've finished one block and completed today's block too.  So the one finished off is Block 92, Double Bees designed by Beth Bradley.  I'd pieced this on Monday and finished the fusible appliqué pieces today.
I've used a triple stitch on my machine for the curly flourish on this block which has worked well and might use that again.  The fusible appliqué pieces on this take of the traditional Honey Bee block were buttonhole stitched.

Lastly today's completion, Skyscraper, which is Block 94, designed by StaceyLowe, inspired by trips to Tokyo.  Nice and easy fusible piecing with buttonhole stitch.

This brings my up to date with my progress on The Splendid Sampler blocks.  Obviously I can't keep up with every block and some more challenging ones will need more attention like more complex foundation pieced and embroidery blocks but as there is no race to get these done I can take my time and choose whether to make or not.

14 January 2017

Finish-A-Long 2017

I wasn't going to, but at the last knockings decided I will join the Finish-A-Long 2017 (FAL2017).  I will be putting photos on Instagram also, but I thought I would have a round up of my works in progress here as well.

1. Dolly Dress Up Quilt

Not a brilliant pic but just laid out the quilt as you go blocks for this Dolly Dress Up quilt. It is a slow quilt which has been lingering for ages and has had several mentions previously on the blog. Last summer I made the Dresden Plate blocks one of which has been quilted, another part quilted and the other two are waiting to be quilted.  The whole has been a good bit of hand quilting to take with me to quilt meetings but I am getting to the point where I would now like this finished.

2.   The Frivols Quilt

This quilt is quite new, having bought the Moda Frivols tin last summer and just started this on 2 January (this year!). The top is completed and quilting has started. I found some fabric in my stash for the inner border as I ran out of the background fabric and this week bought a bit more of that fabric to use as binding. So I have everything I need to finish this quilt - no excuses!

3.  Godfrey Gadabout

A bit of knitting.  This photo was from last Saturday evening's craft along on Instagram hosted by Lucy of Charm About You.  This is the shoe of another clown that I am knitting, except that my granddaughter Isobel knows about this and it's for her birthday in March so its not secret knitting.  The clown has progressed beyond one shoe and since then another has been knitted. Now I'm knitting the body.

4.  Hexagons.  

For a while I subscribed to The Bramble Patch's Box of Delights and it's been a nice surprise to see what would arrive each month, but during the short time I've received them I haven't had time to make anything with the kits other than I made a cushion one month.  I took the hexies to tack around the card shapes but haven't joined up and put onto backing, so would be good to finish that in this quarter.  I have decided not to renew, even though it would be nice to receive a surprise project as I just don't have the time I'd like to make things with them.

I am hoping this will be a year when I get things done (did I say that last year?) and it would be good to clear my room a bit. The room, and me, have had a feeling of being overwhelmed by stuff and by finishing off and clearing some things would be a good place to start.

Let's see how it goes.....

Charm About You

07 January 2017

10 Years Ago Today

I wrote my first blog post!  I looked at other blogs on blog rings (a collection of blogs on one site) and decided to start one myself.

What started it off was taking part for a short time with TAST, Take a Stitch Tuesday run by Sharon Boggon, which I took part until June 2007, when I fell further behind and could not keep up.  TAST is still going, though on Sharon's website, Pin Tangle.  There's more about TAST here

I found the blog was also useful in recording the work I was doing. In that year I was active in two postcard groups, through Yahoo Groups. One was BQLPC (British Quilt List PostdCard) another was Arts In The Mail group (both closed groups) as making fabric postcards were popular and mail was cheaper to send then.  I stopped making postcards in 2013 but I still have photos of postcards on my Flickr site. That's still going too but not updated very much. 

At the time I was also a member of two local quilt groups, Quaterjacks in Wimborne and Bourne Quilters in Parkstone, Poole, now i just go to the one group Bourne Quilters. I've been a member for over 20 years. A move to Yorkshire in 2008 and back to Poole in 2011 (gosh, that's 6 years ago!) meant I didn't rejoin Quarterjacks, but I still meet ladies from that group now and again.

Another difference between then and now is how I compose my posts. Back then it was finding the time to go on the computer and uploading my photos from a camera and typing up.  This morning I started typing this post on my iPad using Blogger app and can take photos with my iPhone which can instantly be shared on Facebook and Instagram. Downside of using Blogger app is that I can't link to other sites and if there are links and more complex stuff on the blog I will use the computer for that.

I don't share a lot of family stuff as this blog is mainly to do with my crafts but back in 2007 I shared a bit of family news with the arrival of my second grandchild, Leo and also the weddings of my sons, the youngest Jamie to Carly and my eldest son Alex to Mary.  Since then we've had two more grandchildren and this year in September my daughter (eldest of my children) gets married and the boys and their wives will be celebrating their 10th anniversaries this year! 

About time for a photo- these are my grandchildren, taken in the summer.

So what else has changed? I think my focus of the blog is still the same - I've always found this useful for recording my work and also as a personal reminder of our holidays and events. I'm not very good with keeping up with a written journal or diary but I've always gone back and referred to the blog. I could see back in 2007 I was experimenting with different techniques on a small scale (such as the postcards) and I don't think there's been anything recently to push me in that direction so would be good to get back to that.

Oh yes, another change has been the recent rediscovery of knitting and crochet.  Back in 2007 there wasn't a lot around in the way of yarn shops then but there are certainly more online shops now for fabric and yarn that are quite fresh and modern as with a lot of crafts nowadays. When I can't sew and after a day's work I don't always have the energy to cut, sew and iron so to settle with a little bit of knitting I've found really relaxing. But it is still sewing I go back to, even making a journal quilt in an evening.

For the future I will keep the blog going and hope that you will still enjoy reading about what I've been up to.  I've enjoyed composing the posts over the years. If you have time do say hello.

There will be more Splendid Sampler blocks to come, which finishes in February and I've got to catch up with that.  The downside of working nearly full time (I work 4 days a week) is there is always something to do and never enough time to do it, but I think that is a common problem among us creative lot.

There will be more sewing (got all that fabric to use up!) and there will be more yarn-y stuff too, maybe arty stuff.  Stay tuned......

Best wishes


03 January 2017

New Year, New Quilt

With all the UFOs, sampler blocks and other bits and bobs, it would make sense to get something finished off.  Oh no, not me.  I decided to make something new.  A few months back, in September, I bought a Frivols tin by Moda and decided to have a go at making a quilt from the instructions and fabric within.

The tin contained 42 7" squares of Little Miss Sunshine fabric line, together with a card of instructions to make a quilt top adding some yardage of background fabric.  Also in the tin is another card with a saying and instructions for an additional quilt block (not related to the quilt top to be made) and a little adult colouring booklet.

This isn't a good picture, but showing how I like to work, I like to chain piece and as you can just see a chain of pieces blocks draping from my machine and piling up on the floor!

I laid the pieces out on the bed to get an idea of how it looks. This was mid afternoon.
I then made the flying geese blocks which were joined by the short sides with a strip of background fabric to one side of each strip. This was late afternoon.
I might have got a quilt top made however I hit a snag.  I ran out of background fabric and there should be a narrow inside border made with this.  I have a solution though, instead if going out and buying more I have a long quarter of a fabric print which will tone in and might just do the job.  

I've got one more day at home as instead of going back today and taking my usual Wednesday off I've swapped the day.  Got a few other household bits to catch up on but hope to have a bit of quality sewing time later.