30 August 2013

Quilt in a Day (with apologies to Eleanor Burns)

Last week I signed up to a Craftsy class called Machine Embroidered Quilt with Eileen Roche and viewed all the lessons as and when until I'd seen them all.  Yesterday I decided to download all the course instructions and the embroidery patterns so I could use them in the Pfaff.  This is an In the Hoop design in which all the layers are sandwiched together and embroidered.  Another fabric is placed on top and stitched, then the fabric cut back as raw edge applique.

Of course I only intended to do a block to see how it sewed out, but I carried on going with quilting another and having a go at the horizontal block and continuing with another next to it, which was tricky with lining up but got to "as near as damn it" and it would be hard to see that it wasn't quite joined to the other.  In the afternoon I used her reversible quilt joining technique to join the blocks together and by late afternoon got around to the binding. Job done!

Here it is, front

and back
Ok, a couple of "birdnests" of thread, but other than that the back didn't look too bad.  It measures 14" wide by 13" long.  Seeing as it was my first attempt at quilting this way I was quite impressed

Just the day before I had a go at an In the Hoop project, which was a free bonus pattern from Kreative Kiwi for buying the "I Love Sewing" patterns.  They're redwork patterns of coffee cups that came as standalone patterns or as coaster patterns, so I had a go at making a coaster

Well impressed with that too, but far too good to use as a coaster.  I think I might be getting the hang of this machine embroidery.

27 August 2013

Holiday Week 4

That was a long week, having been 10 days since my last post.  Last week David and I had a trip out to Kingston Maurward Gardens and Animal Park, which is in the grounds of the College, in Dorchester.    The gardens were landscaped by Capability Brown and are kept by the College and there are a series of small gardens within it.  The house was built in 1720 and there is a mixed history of different families owning the house before being used by the American forces in the Second World War before becoming an agricultural college.  A lovely garden and so peaceful even in the summer holidays.  I took my camera but didn't ensure that it was charged up so there are a mixture of photos from camera, my phone and David's phone.

Last Thursday I went to Blandford. haven't been there for years and went to the Fashion Museum there, a little museum in the back streets but a fascinating collection of clothing from Georgian times to 1970's.  Originally a collection by Betty Penny, whose Cavalcade of Costume was popular in the area in the 1990's (possibly earlier?).  I can't show photos here but there is a link to the Museum here.   I also found a small fabric shop above a cafe called Cotton Moon and could not resist a couple of fat quarters.

In the evening we took ourselves down to Poole Quay to enjoy the fireworks, which takes place every Thursday during August.  The Quay was busy with bands and other outdoor entertainment until the fireworks started

On Friday I had to collect a little friend to come and stay with us over the weekend....

Jamie and Carly's dog Brian, isn't he cute?  He's about 7 months now and recently had a hair cut because of the hot weather.  He kept us up as he couldn't settle to sleep and I ended up sleeping on the settee with him at night.  He went back home yesterday,  but he stayed with us as Carly and the boys were going away for the weekend and Jamie was working so Brian couldn't stay at home.  I enjoyed taking him out for walks and he's quite a good natured little dog.  He's nice as a visitor, but no, we won't be getting one!!

An unusual sight from our back garden on Friday evening was this

 Put the photo on facebook as we are no good with birds and several names were mentioned, but a friend of ours said it's a juvenile Peregrine Falcon, it was calling out, maybe to connect with others, so possibly there may be a nest on the Heath.  Definitely something we don't see often around here.

But haven't been idle on the sewing front.  I have made a pocket bag for my machine embroidery hoops, from instructions by Kreative Kiwi and purchased her sewing downloads which I stitched out. I like the designs and also have free redwork designs of coffee cups too.  The pocket back still has to be finished off but I don't think it looks too bad, and keeps the hoops neat and tidy too.  Gave me more practice at embroidery.

17 August 2013

Holiday Week 3

I am pleased I've decided to call the later blog posts "Holiday Week ...." as I've been unemployed since my contract came to an end last month and have been looking for work.  One job I applied for was an internal vacancy with the Borough of Poole, that came up just before my last job ended and this time its permanent (hooray!).  I had an interview on Thursday morning and offered the job on Friday and start on Monday 16th September.  This works out well as David and I are away on holiday the week before, so 3 more weeks of stay-at-home holiday.  Better get all those odd jobs out the way!!

As well as going for interview this week David and I took a day out to Weymouth (he's taken this week off which was cancelled from July), only we decided to leave the cars at home at go by bus and train, just as well being the height of holiday season, might have been a nightmare to park. The local bus to Poole train station wends its way around Canford Heath before going into Poole so we just missed one train, but took the next one stopping at all stations, but a lovely view of Poole Harbour and all the little islands as we went around Hamworthy and Holton Heath.  It was quite a busy service, amazing the number of people that got off as the train terminating at Weymouth.

Here are some views
Punch and Judy - Weymouth is well known for this beach entertainment

Sand sculptures.  This was a dome advertising an exhibition of sand sculptures at the nearby Sea Life Centre (sorry about the shadows, can just about make out Buzz Lightyear by the red bucket.
The Sea Life Tower - the viewing platform goes up and down on the tower to give views of Weymouth, Portland and beyond. The building to the right of it is the ferry terminal for the Channel Island fastcat ferries.

We found somewhere for lunch, can recommend the King Edward Fish and Chip shop and restaurant near the clock tower, which was really good.  Headed back to the train station and back home.

The rest of the week has been pretty much pootling around, with another lunchtime out with a friend during the week.  I have been sewing a bit more adding some quilting to my Welcome to Hollywood quilt. 

A couple of times I've forgotten that I left the iron on in my room - oops.  Nothing has happened to iron or anything else, but just in case.....

And last of all I've sent off three postcards
Bit of a difficult photo to take and I took another and it was worse, maybe due to the reflections coming off the cards.  I've transfer printed Vilene (on both sides) and I used Angelina film with the strands of Angelina fibre and trapped some small white flower sequins.  I then sewed a few individual sequins over the top and machine sewed the Angelina piece onto the Vilene base.  These were for a BQLPC swap called Use it up - sparkle and sequins and they certainly do sparkle!

12 August 2013

Holiday Week 2

Last week combined a visit to the Festival of Quilts, the big event in the UK's quilting calendar, held at the NEC in Birmingham where I went on Thursday and Friday

Had a quietish start to the week, playing around on the trial version of the embroidery software, Embird and trying out a couple of designs, one a freebie another came as a free download when I purchased another design.  Getting on a bit better with the embroidery unit on the machine, but still fascinated by the machine working on its own!

While at the Festival I also wanted to see the Pfaff dealers so that I could get some machine feet - a quarter inch seam foot and a free machining foot too.  Also asked about some stabiliser to use under to embroideries, which Barnyarns didn't have on their stall but could order from them.  Surprisingly I didn't buy any fabric as I have a fair bit to use at home and don't have a project to get started on at the moment.

Aside from all the wonderful quilts on display, I also enjoyed the galleries from professional quilters, especially work from Annabel Rainbow, Lynne Edwards, the International Quilt Block Swap.  I like seeing the work of the Virtual Workshop with members of Committed to Cloth painting and printing their fabrics.  I also liked the work of Hilary Beattie, who also demonstrated her method of working with crayons, print blocks, masks and using dye as paint, really fascinating.

I've put photos on my Flickr site temporarily so you can link here to see my photos

I took a couple of Quick and Easy workshops one with Alicia Merrett about her map fragments technique which I finished yesterday

Another workshop was called An Apple a Day by Catherine Nicholls about free machining, especially writing (the apple shapes were already printed).  Now that I have a free machine foot I could have a practice at that too yesterday.

As we were away (David came with me to Birmingham, but didn't go to the exhbitions) we went out and about and the first evening had dinner at The Boot, in the village of Lapworth.  We since found at the lock on the canal near to the pub is part of a flight of locks (which we found on this site here after we were at home!).

On our way home on Saturday, bearing in mind the time of year and how busy the traffic would be as get nearer to Dorset because of the holidaymakers, we took our time and visited a couple of places on the way down South to get home a little later in the day.

First off was a stop at Bramble Patch.  It is surprising that with the Festival of Quilts, how many people stop off there, not just us!  Spent a little time looking at their long arm machine in action, quilting a quilt sample for the shop, I also had a look at the summer exhibition with work from Jan Hassard, Stephanie Redfearn and Hilary Beattie and also a few purchases too. 

Not too far away from there was a National Trust house called Canons Ashby, a place we've often passed by on our trips to and from the North of England and had lunch there and enjoyed the gardens and house.  A visit around the house revealed a quilt "opportunity" with quilts on the beds of Alice Dryden the daughter of the last Baronet (sorry I hadn't rotated the photo below).  The quilt is a wholecloth one.
 The housekeeper's bed with patchwork diamonds on.  It appears to be attached onto a bedcover and the tacking stitches had never been removed so I'm wondering if this quilt was found like that.

And one in the parlour maid's room.
All the above photos were taken without flash so that's why look a bit drab.

The gardens were lovely with views across the Northamptonshire/Oxfordshire countryside and

The lavender bushes were amazing, just buzzing with bees and the white flecks? Well they are butterflies, so many of them.

So a lovely end to a few days away. 

05 August 2013

Holiday Week 1

I finished my contract officially last Wednesday, but actually finished work the Friday before so I am treating last week and this as a holiday.  It's been quite nice to pootle around and do odd bits and pieces.  Last Thursday David and I decided we'd go out for lunch and had a really long lunch break - about 4 hours!  First of we went to Wimborne, just a few miles away and have lunch at the Wetherspoons pub there and it was quite pleasant sitting outside under the shade of a parasol.  After a wander around the town and stopping off for an ice cream close to the Minster I didn't feel like going home so we went to Kingston Lacy, an NT house just outside Wimborne.

On our walk around found some wicker cattle
Wooden toadstools

Views overlooking the Japanese garden

A couple of "squiffy" photos, yes I did mean to take it at an angle, but not that steep!
Colourful acers
One of the lion statues on the steps leading to the garden.

On Saturday I joined friends at my friend Brenda's house for a sewing Saturday in her garden.  I kept busy with some hand sewing hemming a binding onto my Dresden sampler quilt.
Still have a bit more quilting to do on this, but it looks nearly done.

I didn't get time to make it, but on Saturday evening I made this. It's a thread bin, which I'd seen around as friends Ann and Linda had them and I found a tutorial here from an embroidery group's blog.  Instead of using an embroidery hoop for the support at the top of the bin I've used the rigid packaging tape that Linda gave me and wrapped that twice before joining and putting inside the casing.  I used the top of my mug for the size of the circle

And just to finish off I put some ribbon with buttons on around the top.

Here it is squashed down
Neat, isn't it.

Today (the start of the second week of my holiday) I decided it was time to think about Christmas (oh no!).  I got some postcards prepared for a large swap, there are 12 people listed at the moment and I've got 16 cut out and ready to make, with fronts, backs, pelmet vilene and fusible web all ready to go.

Looking forward to Festival of Quilts at the end of this week - I'll be there on Thursday and Friday.  Have a good week.