Serendipity and other happy things

Serendipity is one of my favourite words. It means, ‘the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way’, and I particularly love it when I get crafting serendipity.

This happens a lot as I am always finding great things on blogs or fabric that goes really well with intended projects which was what happened at Simply Solids on Saturday.

Last month’s Stichery Club by Jenny of Elefantz included this cute design, picture from Jenny’s website. I have already used the little birds on my Happy Happy block but want to make the whole thing as well at some point.ELEFANTZ the topiary tree

So I was very pleased to see this fabric on the shelves at Simply Solids.

Machine quilting course 13

They had lots of different colours but I thought this was very pretty. I can use the centre of the flower for the main design and the rest for the surrounding fabric. I think it will make a cute bag.

There was also a great machine quilting resource mentioned at the course, Leah Day and when I got home and found her website I realised that I had come across her before.

Her Free Motion Quilting Project  has shared 365 designs for quilting and they are all in the gallery here. Each design also has a video showing you how to do it, an incredibly generous resource.

I have added her book to my Amazon wish list as think that would be a very useful addition to my quilting library.

Leah Day 365 quilting designs book

She also has two other books that just have the beginner and intermediate designs in them so think I might start with those. You never know though after my recent success I could become a machine quilting genius after all!

I have also just ordered this PDF pattern from Acorn Quilt and Gift Company  , it  is one I found from a link from Jenny’s website I think and I have wanted it for ages but was not sure what I would do with it.

Betsys Closet In Stitches

A friend from knitting group has just had a baby girl and I think that one of these designs would make a gorgeous baby card so am planning to stitch that in Spain as well.

It is so cute and  I love the quilted border as well. There is also a fully appliqued version as well which is just as lovely.

Betsys Closet applique

Look at this little dress, and the quilting around it. One day maybe!

Betsy Closet Sunday Dress

Am fast approaching project wish overload as there are so many things that I want to do. I take comfort from the fact that the end of the teaching year is only a couple of months away and that means getting home at a reasonable time and in the light so my productivity always increases then.

And the fact that I am using this blog partly as a retirement resource for me as well for the time when I can devote all day everyday to crafting!!

Meanwhile hope that you all have a lovely next couple of weeks, I am very lucky and will be doing lots of resting and crafting so I hope that you have fun and will see you all soon.

Thanks for visiting.

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Kaizen and the art of machine quilting

Hello everyone, hope that you are all well and happy.

I have just finished reading the book Ellie bought me last week and at the end Cassandra talks about, ‘kaizen’, the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement while being happy with what you are doing now and that just about sums up my machine quilting course at Simply Solids yesterday.

In fact I would go further and say that I am very happy with what I achieved. Last summer I did a course with Gillian Travis and though it was mainly about applique she was encouraging us to use machine quilting and embroidery to finish our work and she talked about ‘drawing with the machine’ but I was too scared to try.

This was partly why I booked onto this course taught by Charlotte Jeffrey who blogs under the name Quiltification. She also has a Pinterest board here.

She started by showing us some of her work and it is gorgeous. I love the contrast of the simplicity of this piecing on the quilt made with ombre squares in contrast with the amazing quilting including her, ‘mandala’, design.

Machine quilting course 5

 

She also brought this beautiful one that I didn’t get chance to get a picture of at the course so this is from her website. I love these heart shaped leaves.

Quiltification quilt 1

She was very encouraging and in no time at all I had moved from wonky lines and writing my name to curves and then freestyle daisies. It was really brilliant and has given me so much confidence.

We started practising on calico and then I decided to do a little test on some silk and I love it so much I brought it home, bound it and will be using it as a coaster, I have created a little piece of art and I am very pleased 🙂

Quilted coaster 1

Helen from knitting group was there as well, she is very good with a machine and created these beautiful samples, love her writing practise!

I also bought a little bit more stash, it would have been very rude not to and almost impossible to resist the temptation when you are sitting surrounded by gorgeous fabric all day.

This is the latest Bonnie and Camille design from Moda, ‘Vintage Picnic’, there are some beautiful prints here in five different colourways.

Moda Vintage Picnic all colours

 

Can’t decide which is my favourite print but I do love this cross stitch inspired one.

Vintage picnic cross stitch fabric

 

I bought a charm pack as I like having all of the colours in a range to choose from.

Machine quilting course 14

Machine quilting course 12

There are some gorgeous quilt patterns for the design, these are two of my favourites, Nantucket and Summertime.

Vintage picnic quilt pattern 1

 

 

Vintage picnic quilt pattern 2 Summerville

Had a fab day and am looking forward to doing some more quilting courses with Simply Solids in the summer. I always really enjoy going on courses and it is such a beautiful shop. I also always come away with something lovely 🙂

Their new schedule will be posted on Monday so I will be booking myself a little something, maybe as a birthday treat!

Have a very packed week ahead, sadly not  practising machine quilting  😦 but then am off to Spain for two weeks so shall be doing lots of hand stitching, reading and knitting in the sun.

I am also going to celebrate a late Mother’s Day and an early birthday with my wonderful Mum so am very much looking forward to that.

We are having a little trip to Madrid as well so will be no doubt posting some pictures of beautiful buildings when I get back.

Until then take care and thanks for visiting.

 

A lovely crafting weekend!

 

Hello everyone

Hope that you have had a great weekend, here in the UK it has been Mother’s Day and I had planned a Crafternoon so I have had a thoroughly splendid time and got flowers as well!

Mothers Day Flowers

Ellie came up for both days, we had the usual cake and pink fizz in the company of Sarah, Helen and Sharon from knitting group and then on Sunday had a little trip out.

Can’t show you much from the Crafternoon as everyone but me was working on secret projects, Sarah for her new knitting book due out later this year and Ellie and Helen on gifts.

March crafternoon 1

March crafternoon 2

I thought I would start on a bit of paper piecing for Christmas – never too early!

Our planned visits further afield on Sunday were curtailed by heavy snow on Friday but we still had a lovely time and I have some new things to show you.

Firstly a couple of lovely quilt books, one bought by me last week and the other from my children, credit due to Ellie for spotting this in the National Trust gift shop! Apparently when she told him what she was planning Jake said he didn’t think I needed another quilt book, how wrong 😉

Quilt books - Mothers day 1

As you know I love textile history and this gorgeous book, ‘A World of Quilts’, by Cassandra Ellis is all about making historic quilts, the author has used mainly recycled material and this gives the quilts a wonderful vintage look.

Each of the quilt patterns has a little bit of history with it and the finished quilts are beautifully photographed. A really excellent present!

Quilt books - Mothers day 2

Quilt books - Mothers day 3

Quilt books - Mothers day 4

I bought this one, ‘Tile Quilt Revival’,   from Amazon recently as I came across a reference to the tile quilts on a blog. Again they are based on historic quilts and have some really unusual designs.

Quilt books - tile book 1

The quilts are made from applique which is done onto a plain background with spaces between the pieces giving the appearance of grout. Here is a better picture of the cover quilt.

Quilt books - tile book 3

There are some wonderful patterns in here and as I have established I am much better at applique than piecing so am very drawn to this quilt style.

I have also been doing some applique myself, this is one of the Splendid Sampler blocks I mentioned previously, Happy Happy by Jen Kingwell .

Splendid Sampler Block 4 Happy-Happy-Block-picture

I really liked the pattern and all of the examples that I was seeing so have been spending most of the last week working on this.

SS Happy Happy Block 1

The fabric is a Liberty print for the vase and the flowers are all made from part of a Moda Best Wishes charm pack. I am improving my skills at chain stitch as well and am very pleased how this has come out.

SS Happy Happy Block 3

Am adding a couple of Jenny’s cute birds to the piece to finish it off.

I love the way that everyone has interpreted this design differently, there are buttons, fussy cut flowers and so many beautiful fabrics.

On this mosaic are designs from Lori, Nantje, Dianna, Kandy, Heather, Coralie, Jill, Beth, Christine and Alicia, all pictures from the Splendid Sampler blog and Facebook page. Wonderful work ladies!

Have an exciting weekend ahead as well as am off to another quilting course at Simply Solids on Saturday learning how to improve my freestyle machine quilting. Will share progress with that on Sunday.

Have a lovely rest of the week, take care and thanks for visiting.