Sunday, 19 November 2017

Sampler quilt, small progress.

Had the sewing machine out for another project (to be seen later) and some hems that needed doing so I took the opportunity to sew together the strips cut  previously when getting the triangles for the blue quilt (which has stalled at the mitered corners, and I will get to that also in a future post).

So the instructions were to sew the  eight strips into two sets.

The difference between the two sets? The direction the seams are pressed.

This is apparently going to be pivotal  once the strips are cut into squares then triangles and sewn back together again.

I may need to work up to cutting my stripes into the next shape.

My friend has been working on her Graduation quilt so has not caught up with me yet on the Sampler Quilt.  However, being an organised person I expect once she sets her mind to it, it won't take her long at all.  It is going to be interesting seeing the difference her fabric choices will make to the various blocks. 

Thursday, 16 November 2017

A stitching finish

Well this little design got to be a hospital stitch after all.  Not for the original planned scheduled minor take an hour or so procedure cancelled earlier.  No for an unscheduled trip with my mother.  Waiting for scans, waiting for consultants, waiting....

and sewing and trying to make the time pass.  It passed, and all is well again and home and safe.  The planned procedure is rescheduled so another stitch will be getting that job.  Again something simple to keep a worried mind and hands busy.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Sunday stitching brown and white

or boots, a touch of hair and a bit of filling in.

I did not use this as a hospital time passer as expected, the best laid plans and all that.  Nor did I get as far today as I might have expected as I was joined by a lovely young lady from Ethiopia/Eritrea.  We had a nice chat as her English is very good (you may recall my language skills are limited to English).  I look forward to more chats in the future.   

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Hallowe'en Trick or Treat Blog Hop 2017

Fairly sure given the "letter" assigned to me by Jo our hostess for this blog hop  that I am not the beginning of this years journey.

So if you have arrived here direct and not as a redirect from Jo or someone else on the hop may I recommend you click on over to serendipitousstitching.- read the rules and start at the beginning.

Here is my little Halloween contribution this year.   

and of course the letter...well sort of....

Good luck with the blog hop, one and all.

click here for the next page in the hop

Sunday, 29 October 2017

A touch of pyrography Prague Castle

After a trip to Prague a work colleague brought in a box of chocolates for us to share.

This is the cardboard wrapper, and what did it wrap (other than chocolates?) a small wooden box.  Nice as the chocolates were and as much as I do like chocolates the wooden box was also most tempting, I do like boxes.  

So the box came home with me and had the rather nice line drawing of Prague Castle or Prazsky Hrad from the wrapper image burned into the wooden box.  I placed it a little lower on the box than I had intended but it did not come out  too badly.

Prague Castle

And what will I do with the box, take it back to work and give it back to my colleague as a remembrance of her and her daughters city break.  

Sunday stitching, pink and green

three colours more and the image is a bit clearer.  This might get some stitching before next Sunday as my mother has a hospital appointment and some sewing whilst I wait may be just the thing.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Sunday stitching on to the red

I was briefly joined by a five year old girl and her mother today.  The young lady looked at my progress and asked if I was sewing a ship? My mother thinks it looks more like a tropical fish!

What do you think?

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Sunday Stitching a new begining

a visit to a Charity Shop resulted in 4 cover kits (for 50p each) so I am back with cross stitch for the Sunday stitching.

Started today with the pale lilac.

Its a good job I prefer to stitch in hand and not on a hoop as the fabric in the kit certainly would not go on a hoop.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

The fairies or elves have been!

now they may not have fixed everything  when they visited and I am not sure what item left out enticed them to provide assistance.  However, from my last post on this quilt (although I have sewn on it between then and now) something has occurred, as with the top sewn up the points are mostly points and the seams are mostly lined up.


You may recall that when I cut the fabric for this quilt originally I cut  strips from the patterned material for the border on this quilt.

The four rolls in the middle of this picture are intended for the edges.

The pale strip on this will go in the seam allowance.

I have not sewn them on yet, this is the strip laid against the top to show how it should look.  I am hoping to mitre the corners.

It should bring the size of the quilt up to the same size as the top of a double bed.

So far I am pleased with the way this is progressing.

Stitching the rows to set the squares on point was odd.  It has not put me off trying it again (the on point) that is.  

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Love it or hate it...backstitch

I guess I feel both emotions about it depending on how much there is of it, how complicated and whether I am just about to start it, in the middle and wondering if I should have started it or out the other side with the item finished.

I have been thinking about this conundrum again recently due to a birth sampler I have been working on.

You may recall my mentioning I had offered to do one and the only parameters the mother set were, pink and yellow. 

My BFF brought over her collection of patterns from magazines and I found one I was drawn to.  Another Forever Friends design (I have used one twice before) but to meet the parameters it needed some colour swapping.

The recommended material 16 count, I chose to do it on 14 as I had 14 to hand (I had contemplated 18 and I am so glad I did not, I will come back to that) and anchor threads.

I figured as I was changing blue to pink (and a pink bit to purple) anyway, and did not have a full range of the anchor threads I would colour match as best I could. 

With just the cross stitching finished it does not look particularly  prepossessing. 

Particularly the flowers, insipid is more the word that springs to mind.  However the design gave me hope that once the backstitch goes on then things will improve.

You can see the original with blue flowers here.

I had a bout of selective amnesia when looking at this design and recalling the previous successful Forever Friends (twice),  I forgot that the designs have that most beloved of backstitch styles (not), they don't follow the x-stitches.  They go between stitches, half way, in the middle, small stitches a third of a square!  They require a needle with a point. Not too bad on the bear, but on the flowers, oh my so glad I was not trying this on 18 count.

I did the bouquet first and encouraged by the marked improvement moved on to the bear.  Then the flowers in the border. It felt like there were more than twelve.  Now initially I was not sure how much thread this was going to take and to ensure all the flowers were the same I decided to do them first, then the ribbon if there was enough dark pink left, if not I would change colour. I was already thinking the purple might be OK as was.

However, the more I looked at it like this, the more I liked all the ribbons without any backstitching.  I even left it over night just to be sure it was a choice of taste rather than an avoidance of more maniacal backstitch.  I even did one section along the bottom, contemplated it and unpicked it. 

I like it like this, honest I do. I still have the name (more backstitch) and details to add and the frame to go.  I will update with that later, at the moment I have run out of steam (but I do like it like this, it is not the lack of very hot water that is putting a halt ot the ribbon backstitching..hmm am I protesting too much perhaps? Nah this is good ) 

Before and during, not liking the backstitching at all, done it works and most of it was indeed needed.

Perversely, considering my comments about backstitch I like blackwork!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Cutting it fine

(as in close, not as in well!)

You may recall I decided to set the beige and blue squares on point. To do that I needed another twenty triangles the same size as the half square and four double sized triangles.

There was some of each shade of blue material left. Less of the dark blue, which was my preference to use than the light blue.  There was not enough fabric to do the twenty small and four big triangles.  Hmm what to do, there was enough for the twenty small and two larger triangles, use that? Change the plan?  Then it occurred to me was there enough for twenty eight small triangles.  Sew two small together and get a big one, sorted!

So here they are cut out and next to the trimmings which are all that was left over from blue material when I was as you can see I was cutting it rather fine.

Small triangles

The plan
Whilst I was cutting triangles I decided to cut the strips for the next block in the sampler quilt.

It is back to the sewing machine for this block.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Sampler Quilt..Card trick

Card trick block

Well that is the next block in my sampler quilt finished and added to the others. Now I was expecting to have to add a sash to this to bring it up to size.  However, it is the same size as the tumbling blocks square so it will need to wait till all the others are done and I see what overall sashing is required. 

Friday, 22 September 2017

All together now

I have been sharing a project that started out with one intention, altered destination mid-course and ended up something entirely different.

(Previous posts.)

I pondered several ways to set out the appliqued panels and contemplated what to put in the separating blocks.

I ended up with three Celtic Knots ,the one at the top contains a poem about the nature of love that in itself is similar to a knot as it takes some thought to decide where the beginning and the end actually are.  I have used this knot before, now that I think about it, twice, once on a cushion for the female half of this couple (a dog ate that) and once on a wedding anniversary card.  The anniversary card was for a Missionary Couple, here on their mission at the time of their 50th wedding anniversary.  They were doing their mission in the archives of Durham University and at the Cathedral. Both were fascinated with history, illuminated manuscripts ( also a passion of mine see tracing-inspirations ) and the symbolism of flowers.  Hence the embellishments in the spaces on their painted card. 

 I put a key to the meanings of the flowers inside the card. They were delighted with it (and the cake my mother made for them).

Right, I got distracted there from the sewing didn't I, so back to the sewn project.

The tree at the bottom, well that is my design based on an ornament I have, a tree made of wire and semi-precious stones for the leaves.  I added it as I find it soothing and as four Celtic Knots did not for some reason work. I like my tree and it may find its way into another project someday.  Also there is,I guess the idea that a tree is often used to symbolise the family and perhaps is a little nod to the three of their four children that did not make it into the wall hanging (which is what it ended up being) 

So all together now.

It finally made its way to my friends, who although they appreciated the work, did not exactly know what to do with it!

Ah well, sometimes that is just the way it goes.

It was an interesting journey.

Had I not still one quilt left for a child to go at that point, I may well have stopped with the applique. However, after that quilt I promised myself no more of these, well except for the Monument Dragon for me.

I have not started another one so perhaps that is the end of them.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Big sister's name

not my big sister, Heather's. I did warn right at the beginning of my blog journey that posts would not always be chronological.

So this came first.

As you can see it is a similar theme of a decorative name. 


However, a different alphabet.

If I recall correctly it is on 18 count, navy blue aida.

And the alphabet came from this book. 
Lisa took (a very good don't you think) photograph and sent it to me.
To be honest I had forgotten what fabric I had used.
nice to have the reminder.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

A Flutterby of Roses

Finished...I would have pushed to finish for the show, but there was no show. 

Still happy to be finished and ready to move on to another project.

I am quite pleased with  the way the butterflies turned out, especially as they are my own design.  As I guess is the quilt as it grew from bits left over from another project Roses for Helen and from other bits.  I even like the way the shades of pink work, the pale pink for four of the butterflies and the binding  and the darker for the other three. The butterflies and flowers and in the furrow around the burgundy frames were hand stitched. the lines on the wide boarders machined.

And for the first time ever the thread in the bottom bobbin had six inches to go after I finished the last row.  

Saturday, 9 September 2017

All in the name

Some of the first personalised gift cross stitches I made were not birth samplers or  baptism commemorations.

They were for the young women in the branch as they reached 16 (if memory serves me correctly) 

This is the second one I completed, based simply on the recipients name it followed the trend set for her older sister and would be followed by one for their younger sister.

There was one other but in that instance I just did the first letter of the young womans name as she had not quite decided if she prefered her full name or one of two diminutive  versions using with the same starting letter of K.

Books of alphabets are a great resource, love alphabets. 


Saturday, 2 September 2017

Birth sampler

A colleague at work  has had a beautiful baby girl (aren't they all beautiful) so as I had offered some time before the birth to do a sampler it is time to look at my patterns and design something.  The only suggestions of likes from the mother are pink and lemon!

So whilst I puzzle over that I have a picture of a previous sampler to share, picture recently received via the connectability of Facebook.

This is a compilation design, the bear from one book, the baloons from another.  The little animals from a third.

The lettering around the edge and the balloon strings are my own. 

The layout worked out on graph paper.

I have used this basis design twice, this was the first and original.  The second was again for a work colleague with changes to the colours of the balloons, lettering and of course a different name and birth details (written on the balloons)

I still like this and still have the graph paper pattern so I do not rule out the possibility of using it again. However, it is not quite right for Kyra and Colin's daughter 's sampler.

2017 show with no craft competition

This time for many a year I would be standing at the local show ready to clap the winners of the various classes in the craft competition.  With some luck, some years, I would also be waiting for my own presentation having won a class or two myself.

Then it would be time to post how I did with what ever entries I had made, sometimes up to the last moment in order to get them to the show. Indeed the "show" was often the spur, the reason for making things, provided a deadline to keep projects progressing when I might otherwise stalled.

This year it feels a little flat as there was no craft competition at all.  I do not know why, nothing has been said on the shows official web site.  It was the absence of the leaflet with the classes for the year and the rules that usual arrives in the post a month of so before the show that was the first hint.  I had thought it was just late but then one of my fellow competitors remarked that when collecting the key for her allotment she had been asked what would she do with no competitions to enter (she was an enthusiastic entrant to most of the cooking classes as well as the crafting)g.

That lead to a check of the web page for the show and there was nothing about the craft competition......oh dear.

Now it is not total sans crafts as the "for sale" stalls are still there with various crafts represented.

Following my attempts at jewelry making last year I have a greater appreciation of the skill required and was most impressed with the handcrafted items on offer from NorthStone beautiful jewelry (that I am sure will appeal to those that watch Game of Thrones or the Lord of the Rings.) copper portraits with tartan to order and other wire art I was most impressed.  They have just started an online presence click on the name to have a look. Or try the  Facebook page. I did not indulge myself (I may not have been able to resist if there has been hematite amongst the various stones used).  Although they do do commissions so you can chose the setting and the stone you want, sadly or for my purse luckily, there was not any of my obsession stone. 

I have been working on the pink quilt, but with less urgency as no show deadline. 

Roses unquilted and quilted

Quilting a butterfly
The hand quilting of the centre is done and the machine quilting for the wide edges also done.  I had been planning to self bind, back over front. However, there was enough of the pale pink backing to do a separate binding.  That is still to go on when next I pick up this project. 

I have also got the "bits" for the next block in the sampler quilt cut and having  set them out am happy with the way the colours look.  This is another hand sewn block and has been waiting for the hand quilting to be finished before it moved up in the to do standings.  It may wait a bit longer as the Pink quilts binding will be half sewn by hand.  

Card Trick  lay out.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Hair raising?

This is a project from the past, at a time when I was not taking pictures of my creations.  The recipient has kindly taken a photograph so I have an image to go with my reminiscences. 

My friend chose to be a hairdresser and went to college to train.  How to cut and style and dye and many another trade secret to beautify the world.

She delighted in all she was learning and as her graduation approached I wanted to make something special for her in recognition.

I used a design from a book I had with some tweaks to make it more personal. My Friends initials were H,A.S  so I added the ribbon, silver hair grip and snatch of hair at the top left  to form an H, the crossed hair pins to the right for the A and at the bottom changed the direction of the hair dryers flex to form the S.

The mount board I cut myself, one of my early goes with the hand cutter.  Not too bad and the blue went well with the "comb" in the middle.

This was this first time I had made something to celebrate a profession.  Some years later  H.A.S sister graduated as a nurse and became my second profession design, of the two this felt more individually designed and I am happy to have a picture of it now to refresh my memory.

It is also nice to have this friend and her family living back within walking distance after some years over the boarder in Scotland.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Lucky me

Cross stitch crazy Friday giveaway

for this week is 


all mine.

the complements slip say it is just for me!


Sunday, 16 July 2017

to quilt or not to quilt

well as noted in a previous post I chose to quilt.

The dragon and letters are all done now and this project gets a rest while I quilt the rose and pink quilt.

Once they are both done then I will get the sewing machine out and make the dragon into a mini duvet cover and get the pink quilt bound.

So here is the quilted not sleeping dragon .....

This is where the dragons went

The quilted reverse.

I will say not worrying about the look of the back at all (it won't be seen once this becomes a small duvet cover) very liberating.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Less than the sum of its parts..

I know that the usual saying is that something is worth more than the sum of its parts but that is so often not the case with crafts.

I was reminded of that once again today in a charity shop as I spotted on the periphery of my vision  the corner of a nice frame with an aperture about 12.5 by 17.5 inches. With a nice detail to the wood.

A turn of the head for a closer look was followed by a double take as this nice frame surrounded a finished Lavender and Lace design complete with metallic threads.

Now the chart only, for this particular design, would currently cost $10.79 on 123 or anything from £5.61 to £8 from Etsy Studio.  Then there is the fabric, in this case it looks to have been completed on  ivory Aida 16 count, so probably another £13. including the extra round the edges for mounting (which I tend to be skimpy about however, I am assuming this stitcher added the recommended extra).

Then the threads, which one site notes as requiring 41 skeins, it is all adding up. One American site quotes $41.28 for a kit.

Hours of sewing time, the cost of the frame, which being a fair size and quite nice and of framing (no mount board but the back looks professional and the result.

Sweet Dreams by Lavender and Lace
is my purchase of today which cost me.....£3, yes three pounds.  Whilst I have something beautiful to give next time someone who I feel will appreciate this is setting up a nursery I still have a sense of sadness that after all that input this has been valued at considerably less than the sun of its parts.

I hope that the sewing and the giving of it gave much enjoyment to the person who made this (there is no name on the outside and I do not intend taking the back off) and that at least for a while it was loved and appreciated before it came to me.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Getting to be all about letters

So last Sunday I gave up on the cross stitch I was going to have for my Sunday Stitchings.  All week I have been intending to sort out a pattern for this week...and not a thing was sorted.

So Sunday morning and no stitching is ready.  If I sit in the Chapel to hear the talks the lights bring on headaches of large and debilitating proportions.  If I sit in the other room, which has the talks on speaker but have nothing to occupy my hands my mind wanders and I don't concentrate as well on the topic being covered.

No sewing = wandering mind.

I grabbed a piece that could be termed embroidery and  in the spirit of solidifying the "stop the cottage" decision from last week, used one of the blue shades from the  abandoned cottage kit for the project which at the moment consists of letters.

I am only showing the little bit I am working on as I am not quite ready to share this in full as yet.

At the same time the "to sew or not to sew" question of the sleeping dragon has been resolved.  Whilst sorting through wadding to ascertain if there was enough for the pink quilt (there is if I cut it in half and sew it back together....yes that sounds mad but very quiltery) I came across a piece of 2 oz wadding just the size for the dragon.  So, I sew and as I work on yet more letters, quilted ones I am once again asking that time old question...who's stupid idea was this, and once again the answer is...mine!

Ah well hopefully once it is finished I will be pleased with my choice to quilt, at the moment I am wishing that Mr Pratchett had written a sightly, no a lot shorter amazing paragraph about dragons!

The talks today, well they amounted to don't get scared by the big picture and all the things that need to be done.  Focus on the good you can do today and the good you can do tomorrow.

So I shall try not to look at all the words I have to sew, just the letter I am stitching and perhaps the one after that. 

Monday, 19 June 2017

A Sunday stitching end

not a finish, an end.... the dark brown completed and then I was utterly unable to sort out what colour thread was related to what square.

I did think the palest green was identifiable, you can just say make it out, and then I thought nah! I can't tell what I would do next.  My BFF took a look and was similarly confused.

So I have decided not to continue, I may unpick and use the fabric for something else at some point, I may not whichever way this country cottage is not going to appear.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

A bit of magic required

I used to like the fairy tales with magic elves that fixed things or made things over night. All they needed was a saucer of milk or little clothes or some other small treat.

Here is a pile of pinned blocks, squares made of triangles they should sew up with points, nice sharp points.  Regretfully I feel that my uniqueness in this instance is going to result in blunts!  Unless anyone knows what I need to leave out to have quilting elves fix my wobbly blocks overnight?

Ah well I will see what tomorrow brings... and if nothing else well there will be only one!

Sunday stitching

Still not much to see however, posting all the same as today once more we choose to keep on living...

Monday, 29 May 2017

WIP update

Here is an update.  I have a bit of a glitch here. Something is not quite right with the top arch.  I am not quite sure what, the sides are right, the middle is right there must be a stitch or two in the wrong place.

I am going to leave it for now and hope that when I come back to it my eyes can either spot the problem so I can fix it or figure out a work around.

I have finished cutting the strips and triangles for the blue and beige quilt. One seam away from having all the squares sewn and being able to try the lay out. Sew near and yet sew far.... 

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Sunday stitching time

Here is is the new sunday stitching project, starting with the dark brown.  I know it is not the most wonderful picture but then there is not a lot to see yet.  I may work colour by colour as I did for the Aveling and Porter, I may not, not sure yet.  
This is the second of the two-for-pound. kits I bought from the pound shop.

One talk today were about time and the way we use and prioritise it, it made me think of the sentiment on many an old sampler, that it was evidence they had learned not to sit idle..although I can't recall the exact words. (If any one visiting can please add to the comments, or use the e-mail box if blogger won't let you comment).   I also recognise the issue of time when considering all the WIP's I have (Works in progress, or for many Works in plan) and all the stash for things not yet even at the planning stage.

My pen pal friend's husband gave that talk and she followed with one on forgiveness.  That can be a difficult thing to do and a subject that is particularly of concern and thought just short of the Manchester bombing.

I wonder how many other topics will be sewn into this particular piece.  

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Musical bookmark

I had quite forgotten about this bookmark.  It has been living in a book with the stories behind many of the hymns  in our hymn book.

As good a place as any for this bookmark.  It has stayed well stuck to its ribbon backing.

Not being musically talented I have no idea if the starting notes on this pattern are the starting notes of any compositions by the composers named.

If anyone would care to comment on that it would be both interesting and appreciated. 

Monday, 1 May 2017

Next step

Stripes cut from all materials at various widths and the three stripes sewn together.

So far I have done 6 sets of the strips as I was not sure how many triangles I would get out of each strip set. I have one set marked out.

Not easy to see here, I have used pencil as the marks are on the wrong side of the material and don't need to be washed out.

The focus material cut into three wide strips (to be cut into triangles) four strips with a tight pattern (borders perhaps) and two edge sections use as yet undetermined.

Going by the triangle count for the focus strips (which I have finished marking out) I am going to need more strips cut and sewn from the other three fabrics. 

 Happily I have plenty to do that with.

Holiday + Bank Holiday over and back to work tomorrow so not sure when I will be back to this project or the Organic Rose (oh I might call it that when it is finished).

Friday, 28 April 2017

Patchwork as an organic thing

what do I mean by that? Well there are quilts with patterns.  Exact measurements, recommended materials and set yardage.  Some even come with cutting diagrams to get the most from the fabric allowance.

However, that is not always the way I do my patchwork.  Well to be honest the tops I make that way are the exception rather than the rule and I am trying to think when I have properly followed a pattern from a book.  

OK the hidden-star quilt,snail trail and maybe the sampler quilt sort of.  Others, well they may start with the basic block in a book perhaps modified to the fabric I have, or it might be the fabric, or the bits, or a measuring mistake that morphs it into something else.

I have just completed a patched top. I was given some pink material about 28" wide and quite long.  It reminded me that there were some fussy cut rose patches from the roses-for-helen-quilt.(which did a bit of organic growing too).  And there might be some other bits left from that quilt which added to the gifted pink might make something.  

It was whilst looking for the rose patches I reacquainted myself with the blue material in the previous post.

So patches located 2 with the roses in one direction and 6 the other. There was also some strips of the very dark shade from the binding on the previous quilt.

Little panels and strips , so the roses got a boarder. Four squares cut from left over light pink (reducing what was left of that to scrap status) and then some from the new pink and a top formed.  A bit skinny so wide borders (which may be reduced before the quilt is finished) added and the top is done.  Now I need to plan what to quilt in those big pink blocks.  Till then at least the roses have stopped nagging at the back of my head as something that needs doing something with.

So nagging silenced for the moment I can go back to figuring out what size triangles to cut, what width that will require the stripes to be cut, what size that is going to make the finished block / quilt and how to get the most out of the material I have for the blue and beige quilt.

And will any of it be ready for this years show....and what am I going to do with the dragon panel, still undecided, to quilt or not to quilt, that is the question, whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of regret that it is not all it might have been, or to take needle to fabric and wadding and end all speculation.  To fuss with it and perchance to make a mess of it....

It is obviously messing with my head....I could always make a second one to quilt but I am not so good at doing over.  

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Slow steps

towards a new start...had this material for a while and did have in mind what I was going to do with it.  However, other things happened and I had not quite got the sizes worked out so it got folded up and put away.

Plus I will admit to dithering over the light beige material as it has a slight pattern to it whilst the two blues do not.  There is nothing more suitable in my stash and it may surprise me and be just what the design needed.

These materials are from my little splurge when Norther Textiles put up the dreaded closing sign.  Although they were supposed to be re-locating I have not found them yet.

Oh and the pattern I intend to use...have a guess.