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Hello everyone, hope that you are all ok and enjoying the weekend.
As I don’t enjoy shopping anyway nothing would have induced me to go and join the supposed throngs in Black Friday retail endeavours and I had a far more exciting and colourful trip planned to the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show.
Part of the reason for going was to buy things, (of course!), but I was very restrained and stuck to my budget. Will show you my purchases in a later post as I want to share with you the lovely displays in the exhibition sections.
There were the winning quilts from the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, though I had seen some of these before we didn’t know whose were the winning ones at the time as that was not announced until later so here are some of the beautiful ones that won prizes in various categories.
There was a great mix of traditional and art quilts on display.
I love the use of newsprint fabric and flowers on this one, winner of the Contemporary Quilt category by Lesley Brankin.
This was one of the most photographed in the exhibition, so sparkly and gorgeous, it was the winner of the Pictorial Quilts category and is by Claudia Pfeil. She has some other amazing pictorial quilts on her website.
This beautiful applique quilt won the Two Person Quilt Category and was made by Alison Wells and Mandy Parks.
This was the Traditional Quilts winner by Janette Chilver. The quilting is just amazing.
There was also the SAQA Quilts Food for Thought exhibition with some more amazing examples of machine quilting.
This was one of my favourite fruits when I was in China, love the blacks beads she has used for seeds. This one is by Helena Scheffer.
And the level of detail is brilliant on these Pineapple Upside Down Cake by Diane Powers-Harris and the Tomato quilt by Sarah-Anne Smith.
My friends from the Knitting and Crochet Guild were there as it is based in Huddersfield and they had a beautiful display of vintage accessories and crochet. It gave me some great ideas for bunting!
It is another wet and windy day here so an afternoon of stitching on the sofa watching TV seems in order, oh dear what a pity ;-)
Have fun, thanks for visiting and see you all soon.
Hello everyone, once again I am blogging from the comfort of my sofa, under my fleecy blanket watching the rain lash down.
I think it is the tail end of Hurricane Abigail but whatever the reason today is a day to stay in, keep warm and celebrate the positives of this season.
I was left a comment in a previous post about Silverpebble and went to have a look at the blog. It is a gorgeously photographed one and the owner, Emma, makes beautiful silver clay jewellery.
I was particularly interested in her idea of bloggers coming together to celebrate the creativity that being indoors more of the time can inspire.
Winter is a time of cosy homes, candlelight at night and the excuse to eat cake and craft without feeling any guilt for not being out doing something energetic, or mowing the lawn, ( not that I have one anymore thankfully), so I am very happy to celebrate #Making Winter with my fellow bloggers.
Go and have a look at the links on the above post for other ideas of how to combat the winter blues, I really want to crochet some snowflakes like Little Conkers has, and for a very good cause.
If you use Instagram there are pictures there as well with that hashtag.
One of my goals for this winter season is to make more things for me, or specifically for my craft room. I love making things as gifts but my home contains very little of my own work and at the moment the craft room looks so pretty with all the quilt blocks up.
They will soon be gone as they are destined to become lap quilts as Christmas presents, (that is if I can get my new machine to behave as it keeps unthreading itself at the moment :-( ) so I am working on some things to replace them.
So I have been putting together a little hanging from Jenny of Elefantz’s sewing themed stitchery. I have used some more of the gorgeous variegated thread from Cottage Garden and plan to add a patchwork border and some hand quilting.
I love looking at other people’s pictures of their craft rooms and have been very inspired by people like Messy Jesse, look at this beautiful stitching space, picture from her blog.
She is also very kindly giving away a free pattern for the Summer Baskets mini quilt in the picture.
I did venture out yesterday to Ikea to get some new storage for the craft room and have been having fun sorting out the space again. Sharon was getting rid of a bookcase so I have now moved all the magazines and quilt books there.
I found some lovely coordinating labels at Ikea as well so I know I know which patterns are in which files!
I have now got space on the units to use as a fabric cutting and sorting area. I bought more of the fabric storage boxes which fit inside the units yesterday.
It looks a lot prettier and more coordinated than the previous plastic boxes. There is also the added advantage that I can hide my stash, these could all be full of Christmas fabric and no-one would ever know ;-)
I also bought some more of the very pretty little metal containers for my tools, these are actually candle holders and plants pots and I think they work very well for organising while looking cute!
So am looking forward to lots and lots of winter weekends of adding to the craft room walls and trying out new techniques for quilting.
On my list are some Dresden Plate designs, some Farmer’s wife blocks and possibly some of Lori Holt’s work – have been very tempted by both the Farm Girl Vintage work and some of her other designs , look at this one called Sew Day, how perfect would that be in my craft room!
At this rate I won’t ever want it to be better weather, will be very happy to stay in and craft forever!
Hope you have had a nice weekend and have some lovely things to do with your time, take care, thanks for visiting and see you soon.
I was reading Jenny’s blog again recently and was reminded that I wanted to give you all some more ideas for homemade gifts.
As you know I am a bit of a fan of Christmas fabrics and Christmas ornaments :-) and I think there is nothing nicer than a handmade ornament as a gift.
Years ago I used to cross stitch Christmas cards, pre blog so no pictures sadly, and loved doing it. However cards only tend to be used once then put away.
I got the idea for ornaments when my Mum started putting all the old cards out year after year so I thought why don’t I make hanging ornaments instead then they can be re-used.
So here are a selection of patterns and tutorials for your Christmas gifts, some by me others that I have found and love.
I now make at least 15 keepsake ornaments every year and they have become something that people always look forward to getting, it is lovely to go to friends’ houses and see things on their trees that I made years ago that even I have forgotten about.
Quilted Ball Ornaments
These are my 2015 special gifts for my friends from toddler group – 23 years of friendship and still going strong with sons and daughters now all in their 20s!
There is a great step-by-step tutorial here and despite the fact that they look difficult they really aren’t. Great for relaxing in front of the TV as it is very therapeutic and you don’t need any sewing skills. Fabric is pinned onto a polystyrene bauble.
These are ultimate cuteness and come from the lovely Julie of Little Cotton Rabbits. I would say medium level knitting skills and the instructions are brilliant. They are knitted flat and are very quick to do.
Suffolk Puff Bauble
Again a great way to relax and you can embellish this with buttons, charms, pins etc as you wish. The base is a polystyrene bauble as with the quilted bauble.Detailed tutorial is here.
This is one of my designs combining my love of English Paper Piecing and Christmas fabric, I love adding charms and buttons to these.Tutorial on how to make them is here.
Cute embroidered hoops for children
I just had to share this one with you, no detailed instructions for this version but they look easy enough to follow from these pictures. There are some wonderful things in this 25 ideas booklet from 36th Avenue blog including these amazing cupcakes!
Crazy Patchwork Trees and Hearts
I love using up all my scraps so have made some crazy patchwork ornaments over the years, here are some examples of little trees and padded hearts and a step by step tutorial for making the patchwork tree here.
If you want to make the hearts just make a bigger patchwork sheet as below and cut hearts out from it.
Star Pentagon Ornaments
I have not made these yet but they look beautiful and very simple to do. This Create 4 Fun site contains downloadable PDFs for this and other ornaments.
Small Cross Stitch motifs
This free pattern is for a game but I think they would make lovely ornaments stitched and surrounded by pretty Christmas fabrics.
There are lots more links to free cross stitch patterns at this site with a good selection for children’s ornaments.
What could be more festive than redwork? This free sampler pattern from Bronwyn Hayes at Red Brolley is so lovely and could easily be used for smaller ornaments. There are more redwork Christmas freebies at that site as well.
Happy Christmas ornament making, take care and see you soon. Thanks for visiting.
Hope that you are all ok and not too battered by wind and rain. In Yorkshire we have been having very dark days and lots of colder weather, it is lovely to stay inside at this time of year and snuggle up with some stitching. I spent all of yesterday with my fleecy blanket and some hand embroidery in front of the TV which was brilliant.
I have been reading some very inspiring letters this week, written during the American Depression of the 1930s and contained in a beautiful book, The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt.
I had seen this book on various blogs and had been tempted by it for the beautiful hand piecing but told myself I didn’t need another quilt block book.
Then I read the info and realised that it was actually reproductions of letters from the Farmer’s Wife magazine of the era and since I love anything that ties history and crafting together got a copy.
The letters were obviously published to try to inspire and support women living through that time of poverty and uncertainty and talk of the joys of a simple life, growing your own food, valuing time with family, (and putting that first above cleaning!) and the beauty of your surroundings.
I have really enjoyed reading them and plan to make a few of the blocks for a hanging in my craft room, I think they would look lovely out of the Liberty scraps I have.
I also have some new fabric to show you, bought last week at Simply Solids. This I just had to add to my Christmas fabric stash because it is so cute, look at these reindeer! This is from the Festive Modern Christmas Collection by Makower.
This one below will look lovely with some of the bird embroidery designs from Jenny of Elefantz, I am doing well with my hanging for the craft room so will be back to ornament stitching next week.
I am intending to use this and the Makower snowflake one as surrounds for more pretty Noel birds. This fabric is called Evergreen Marshmallow Goodwill by Basic Grey.
My lovely friend Helen also gifted me this – she thought it would well for the Steampunk costumes that we are making for later next year, I love all the whimsical things here. I don’t know where this fabric comes from though.
I think all of this fits in very well with one of my favourite letters from the book a woman talking about how she was having a bad day and saw this quote from the bible, ‘Whatsoever things are lovely….think on these things.’
It is very soothing to have lovely fabric and lovely things to look forward to when it is cold and dark and I am very lucky to have lots of lovely things in my life, hope that you are too!
One very lovely thing is happening this week as we are having graduation.
There is always a great sense of achievement for my students and their families on this day and it is lovely to meet so many parents, children and partners who have supported my students along the way. Most of them are mature students and like the farmer’s wives in the book have so much to do as well as study.
The best bit for me is when the staff line up on the way out of the hall and clap them all as they leave, that always makes my day as they are not expecting that and is great to see the smiles on their faces as they pass us.
I do have a great job and am very thankful for it, despite the funding cuts and stresses of teaching it is a very lovely thing to do ;-)
Hope you are going to have a great week ahead with lovely things in it, see you soon and thanks for visiting.
Hello, as promised here are the details about the Simply Solids class last weekend.
I have wanted one of these thread catchers for years, having seen them in magazines and on blogs, so was really pleased when I saw the class advertised.
I would really love to do a City and Guilds Embroidery or Quilting course but sadly can’t find one near me. Instead I have decided to sign up for one off classes to work on specific things when I can.
I did a Gillian Travis one earlier in the summer which taught me new applique skills and how to free motion quilt. I still need to finish that once these block of the month challenges are done but really enjoyed seeing how other people designed and the inspiration of Gillian’s work.
That is the lovely thing about classes, I could have bought books or patterns that went through the techniques of that applique style and this weekend’s class but it is so much nicer to spend a day with like-minded people learning things face to face.
I got the chance to use up my last few pieces of these fabrics. Here are all the squares laid out for the thread catcher and pincushion sections.
Am now down to only the tiniest scraps of the patterns for string style pincushions so will have to use something else for the planned sewing machine cover.
There were only two of us in the class, the other person being my lovely friend Helen from knitting which was a very nice surprise. I have not seen here for a while as she has been busy moving house and I have been out of circulation.
Here is her pincushion in progress. The pincushion part is filled with a muslin bag of sand at the end which gives it the weight needed to hang from a sewing desk.
I am very pleased with the result, there are a few bits where the joins are not perfect but it is pretty and very useful. I think I need to make at least two more, one for downstairs and one for my Mum.
They also go very well with my new pincushion and needlebook set, my craftroom will look so co-ordinated!
Here are all our efforts in a row – and one with all the pins in that Lisa, ‘made earlier’, as a demo model. I love the measuring tape fabric that she has lining the demo model.
Justine was also there working on a cushion as a demo for the shop, it is filled with such lovely things, the example quilts they have on the walls are beautiful and it always inspires me to visit, (and to buy fabric but more of that in a later post!)
Here is Justine sewing and Helen diving into the scrap bin!
I am counting this as Number 6 on my 2015 Sewing Bucket List challenge – a project made from scraps.
Looking forward to a lovely crafting weekend when I shall be mainly working on more quilt blocks – might even get caught up by the end of Nov, you never know.
Take care and thanks for visiting.
Hello again everyone, hope that you have had a good week. I have had a lovely one, full of crafting time after work.
It is amazing how much you can get done when you don’t have to be out of the house for 13 hours a day! I have had a very nice time trying to be more creative with my quilting endeavours.
One of the people I really admire for her creativity is Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts, she does the loveliest things with scraps and also recently had a Pincushion Party to promote her new fabric range. She makes so many cute pincushions to keep in a basket to give to friends so I have been trying to make some quick ones out of scraps.
This is my first one, following a design that Vanessa from V and Co did as part of the Pincushion Party and I am very pleased with it, it only look about 3/4 hour to sew the strips and that was with putting together the fabric as well.
The back is some Cath Kidston style fabric that I bought last year at Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show, will definitely get some more of that if I see it this year as have used it a lot.
The fabrics that I have used are all the offcuts from the Block of the Month Challenge that we have been doing, I am catching up well, have made May’s block a Box Kite , and a random block out of bits that I had left that were not big enough for doing June’s block.
I am calling this one Bow Tie Nine Patch as I don’t know what it is really called as I put it all together myself.
Am enjoying this experimenting, on the downside this has ended up a 10 inch block rather than a 12 inch but I do have some other 10 inch ones that I can use with it, (and a couple of 13 inch ones). Accurate piecing is one of the things that I still have to work on ;-)
I have had to swap to other fabric for the rest of the blocks from June, I am trying to keep them all cohesive so that I can make a couple of lap quilts out of them for Christmas presents.
Am planning to make more scrappy pincushions – here are some of my inspiration pictures, sorry don’t know where I got these from as did not make a note of the source but think probably from Pinterest.
This one is a free stitching pattern from Jenny of Elefantz, you can get it from her Craftsy store . I think this would look cute in the rest of that Cath Kidston style fabric that I have used above.
Am off for a class at Simply Solids this weekend to make a pincushion and thread catcher so really looking forward to that. Have been doing some decorating of the craft room so will share some photos of that in the next post.
Have a good weekend ahead and enjoy yourselves if you are celebrating Halloween. Ellie and Kerry are going to Leeds to be chased by zombies! Sounds fun but I am just going out to see some bands with friends from knitting group.
Thanks for visiting and see you soon.
As regular readers know I do love buying books, am trying to be good about buying novels as I have so many to read already but the temptation of Amazon is hard to resist!
However I have allowed myself the purchase of two lovely books by bloggers that I am going to use as Christmas presents.
One is from the lovely Nana Company blog by Amy Sinibaldi and is something that I had my eye on for a while.
The Sweetly Stitched Handmades has got so many lovely ideas in for using Liberty and linen and some great gift ideas.
This bear cushion is one of my favourites, isn’t that brilliant! Such a simple idea but so cute.
I also really love the spot trivet, there have been lots of these on social media and they are all gorgeous.
And look, stacked hexi flowers! What a great idea.
The other book was one from a new blog to me, Why Not Sew?, where Erin makes lovely vintage inspired quilts.
I found her blog and her book through Crazy Quilt Mom’s pincushion party where she had made the cutest little bird pincushion and really loved the book Sweet Treats , you can see everything that is in the book at this post here.
All of the designs feature cute little birds and these are some of my favourite ones. Isn’t her stitching so good, especially love that last one with the umbrella!
Am making good progress with all my WIPs, lots of things got halted because of the need to make kit for people, the things for Yarndale and the wedding outfit but am now back on with the block of the month challenge that we had set ourselves.
I completed May’s block this weekend and an extra one to use up the fabric I had so that I can make the first 6 blocks into a lap quilt as a Christmas present.
I will then start on the blocks from June which will be a second lap quilt using some gorgeous fabric I bought at the Birmingham Quilt Festival.
I am really enjoying our challenge, even though I am so behind, and it is definitely making me more confident with my quilting skills, my piecing is far more accurate and we have done some blocks that I would never have attempted on my own.
Pictures when I have put it together as a quilt top, hopefully some time in the next week. Have a lovely week ahead whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.
Remember when I posted about the Festival of Quilts and Gillian Travis’s prize-winning Nordic Jumpers Quilt and said I would love to go on one of her courses but they were usually in term time?
Well I found one that wasn’t and had the very best kind of day in a beautiful quilt shop, The Quilt Cabin in Hebden Bridge with Gillian and a small group of other textile enthusiasts.
The course was called, ‘ Take a Simple Shape’, and was based on the idea of, ‘counterchange’, using one or two simple shapes, cutting them out of fabric and swapping the cut pieces to create different combinations of colour.
We started with Gillian showing us some of her work which is amazing, I lost count of the number of times I said, ‘wow’. The shapes she uses are not complex but the use of colour and machine stitching and in some cases printing combines to give stunning effects. Go and look at her blog for more of the stunning inspiration.
This is one of her recent pieces, beautiful trees with outline stitching and printing using a stencil over each tree.
Gillian was a really good tutor, she showed us all her original designs as well as the finished products and took us stage by stage through the design process. The nice thing was that she encouraged us to use images from all sorts of sources so you don’t have to be a great artist to do this
My inspiration was all my lovely flowery Liberty fabric, I wanted to make a wall hanging for the craft room.
I started with drawing different types of flowers until I decided on the shape I liked best. I want to use some of my flower buttons to embellish the finished product so thought this shape would work well.
The next step is to trace the flower onto fusible web and put onto fabric then you cut it out carefully so that you have a shape and the border to use.
The clever bit is putting it onto different background fabrics doing a little mix and match until you are happy and can fuse everything together. Apologies for the upside down picture above – have misplaced my camera :-( so am back to phone with limited editing!
You then add your backing and wadding and zig zag between the squares before embellishing and binding.
Mine is at this stage at the moment, I have chosen the buttons but need to do some more machine stitching to secure the flowers and some hand stitching as well, have just taken delivery of the most gorgeous Cottage Garden hand dyed variegated thread from this site so will be using some of that.
Here I am stitching at the workshop – action shot by Elaine from the quilt shop.
These were two of the others that were made by people on my course, I love the beetroot one and the bauble one might just have to used as inspiration for one of my own, I do have a bit of Christmas fabric to choose from ;-)
Looking forward to using my new machine for finishing this project, it has made such a difference having a good machine to work with, I finished the toile of the wedding jacket in 2 and a half hours with no problems with tension or jamming, it was a really pleasurable experience.
We are off to Lincoln Bishop’s Palace this weekend to do our last show with our group, hopefully there will be lots of sunshine and happy visitors!
Hope that you have a lovely weekend as well, take care and thanks for visiting.
Hello, hope that you are all having a nice week, I have been busy stitching away at my hexi pincushions and needlebooks, in between some sorting out of the craft room.
One of the many quilting blogs that I like reading is called, ‘In Color Order’ , run by Jeni Baker who regularly contributes to quilt magazines that I read.
I have long admired those quilters who have their stash organised by colour as mine was piled in a few boxes which meant getting everything out if I wanted to find something for a specific project.
Not any more! My lovely friend Sharon has been doing a bit of sorting in her own craft room, when we went round a couple of months ago to help her with a stash sort I admired these drawers and said if she ever wanted to get rid of them I would buy them off her, (she had two sets so still has some herself).
They arrived on Monday and then something else arrived yesterday – more on that later – so I had a good sort out in the craft room yesterday and I am very happy with the result :-)
I also got the chance to declutter this area, this old shelving unit is very rickety and was just getting used as a dumping ground so things have been made much neater by its removal and it will now have a new home in the shed.
I also got chance to put up some new pictures and pin boards for my quilt blocks, thanks to our block of the month challenge I now have four of those – more to come as I am still behind, (given that it is the eighth month of the year ha ha), so will take some pictures of those once I have finished a few more.
This very cute little embroidery was in one of our local charity shops so had to come home with me for the vintage embroidery wall.
It was only 75p and the amount of work in it is amazing, look at the detail of the little mother mouse tucking up the children and the picture on the wall.
The other arrival for the craft room was very exciting – took a bit of getting out of the box!
I have a new sewing machine, a very sooper dooper, 80 stitches brand new quilting machine with an extra-large additional plate for doing machine quilting, lots and lots of feet for quilting and automatic needle threading :-)
I was not really planning to buy myself a new machine at this point though was getting very frustrated with my 5-year-old Janome which just kept losing tension and jamming all the time.
Had put it to one side for a service and got out the older spare machine but when using it this week for a small piece of finishing realised that the reason that I had retired it was because of the faint burning smell when you use it!
Was just doing a little browsing of new machines as you do and came across this little lovely, reduced and with free quilting accessories so treated myself to a very early Christmas present.
Well I do have the special sewing to do and it would be nice to spend more time actually sewing than sorting out a machine!
Looking forward to spending more time this weekend practising with all those lovely embroidery stitches. Hope that you have lots of nice things planned and thanks for visiting.
Hello again, today I wanted to share the rest of the pictures from the Festival of Quilts, these are mainly the modern and art quilts.
Unlike the traditional ones where the inspiration are blocks or wholecloth patterns that have been taken from lots of different published sources these really showcase the very wide and varied arts of quilting and the different inspirations that people use.
I love both types of quilting, I think traditional ones are my favourite just because I favour traditional things more but these examples below are stunning in their execution and really show some serious quilting skills as well as design skills.
This first quilt is called, ‘Marshwood Vale’, by Kate Dowty and was one of the most popular on display. A really unusual quilt with amazing quilted trees on top of the fabric landscape.
I think this one below was my personal favourite from the non-traditional quilts, this is , ‘Wish You Were Here’, by Tracy Aplin.
It still has some traditional elements like the hexi pieced centre and border but I love the quirky touches such as the appliqued sayings, (one of which is ‘it is Pimm’s o’clock?’ ), mini bunting and washing lines.
You can’t see in my picture but each corner is finished with a little caravan as well, a really unusual edging.
I have just found her Pinterest Boards and will be going back to them – so many pretty pictures and some of caravans! Especially this board her, ‘My Quilts’ , one – go and have a look at her, ‘Love of Liberty’ quilt – divine!
I love caravans, spent many very happy holidays in them as a child and am hoping to buy one myself when I retire and this quilt is a wonderful representation of that very British holiday!
Sharon has been on few quilting courses and one of her tutors is Gillian Travis who won second prize with this very unusual machine embroidered wool quilt called, ‘Jumpers’. This is beautifully executed and very original.
The lovely thing was that Gillian was wearing a shirt made from a print of a photo of the quilt as well. Here she is in that in this photo taken from the Facebook page of the Quilt Cabin in Hebden Bridge where she regularly teaches. Really wish that I could go on one of her courses but they are usually in term time.
I was also very impressed by the Tent Makers of Cairo exhibition – not modern in the designs or the beautiful applique that makes up each pattern but in the sense of it being good to see men quilting.
These wonderful quilts are based on the traditional embroidery done for the inners of tents and were really stunning.
There were a few men at the show – Luke Haynes was exhibiting and we spotted Kaffe Fasset wandering about but the festival stats page shows that 97% of the visitors are women.
Come on boys get quilting, this is an amazingly versatile and relaxing hobby and it would be great to see more men doing it and crafting in general. Far more interesting than football ;-)
My stitching is going well, just adding beads and doing the finishing touches and then can reveal all. Am sorely tempted to keep this one for me but will see, really need to build up the pile of Xmas pressies and though I have lots of WIPs have very little finished.
Of course if I spent less time blogging and reading blogs and Pinterest boards and going, ‘ooh how lovely’, I would get more done lol. My excuse is that my wrist is still a bit painful and needs rest.
Are you like me, lots of projects on the go? Trouble is I keep seeing new stuff I want to do and thinking I have far more time than I really do. Apparently it is only 19 more Fridays until Christmas!
Take care, keep busy and thanks for visiting.