Joining in again

Hello again, more things that you might want to consider joining for your crafty entertainment this year.

The first is from the lovely Jenny of Elefantz and is her new free Block of the Month embroidery. As you know I am already a member of Jenny’s Stitch Club so I get loveliness every month but this is for everyone. Photo from Jenny’s blog.

ELEFANTZ gentle domesticity button

The theme this year is Gentle Domesticity and there is a free block published on the 5th of each month, that stays free for the rest of that month before being sold in her Craftsy shop, where she has loads of other gorgeous designs as well.

The great thing about Jenny’s designs is that can all be personalised and made into gifts so that you can use them for all sorts of things which is why I love them so much. I love adding names or my own messages to her work.

This is the January block, I love the house and heart together and this would make a lovely housewarming gift for someone. Photo from Jenny’s blog.

ELEFANTZ gentle domesticity BOM block 1 jan 2015

The next one I want to share with you I originally found about from Jenny’s page and this looks amazing.

It is called The Splendid Sampler and is no less than 100 blocks by 83 designers which are all free in a mystery block of the month.

The-Splendid-Sampler-Sew-Along-big-button

The designers include so many brilliant people, including Jenny and lots of other people whose blogs I follow so this looks like an excellent project. I love the fact that the some of the blocks will be embroidery and English Paper Piecing as well.

Of course I will be saving the block information rather than trying to make two blocks a week but there should be some lovely stuff here 🙂

All this excitement starts on the 14th Feb with two 6 inch block designs released each week.

They have already released a design for a block case which you can find on the Splendid Sampler website here. Photo from the web site.

Splendid sampler block case

This very useful case not only keeps a ruler safe but also lets you audition fabrics on the inside section and keep fabric and completed blocks safe. Photo from the web site as before.

Splendid sampler block case - interior

There is also a Facebook group and so far 7740 people have joined that, there are some lovely fabric pictures of peoples choices to drool over at the moment.

According to the poll there are 8 of us from Yorkshire doing it, not thought about any fabric yet as I will probably do blocks in different choices depending on design and purpose.

Isn’t it lovely that social media lets us do all these exciting things. And to think I once said to a friend when he explained what the internet was back in about 1994, ‘no I don’t think I’ll be using that…can’t really see the point’. Ha ha, how wrong I was!

Well I will leave you and get back to some actual crafting, Ellie and Kerry are due later for a visit and we have a Fire Festival in the village tonight as well.Thanks very much for visiting and see you all soon.

What I did on my holidays … or what I did in 2015

Hello everyone, inspired by lots of other people doing review of activities posts I thought that I would take a look back at what I managed in 2015.

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, (except for the perennial one of doing less housework and more fun things), but do like thinking about what the year might bring.

I did set myself a number of goals for that year, 12 quilt blocks with our Block of the Month organised by Helen from knitting group, 26 books to be read and 17 sewing projects from the Sewing Bucket List.

I didn’t get any of them completed fully but on the positive side this means I still have things to work on for this year 🙂

I finished 5 of the quilt blocks and have another one cut out but have been having a few issues with my new machine 😦 so need to spend some time sorting that out before any serious quilt making happens.

I have enjoyed the challenge and it has made me a lot more accurate and confident about piecing and if I hadn’t been doing so much other sewing would have managed all of these.

I have read lots and lots of books this year but got diverted from the list so ended up only completing 11 out of the 26.

My current favourite diversion is my discovery of Debbie Macomber, I really enjoyed watching the adaptation of her Cedar Cove series on Netflix in the summer and as usual picked up a couple of her Blossom Street series in a charity shop in Spain recently and am now hooked! Appropriate for a series that starts with the story of a yarn shop.

Blossom street novel

Have ordered four more of these to take to Spain for my next holiday, yes Alison what happened to not buying any more books until all the ones you had were read?

As for the sewing list 7 out of 17 and again lots of other diversions off to stitch Jenny’s beautiful designs and to make lots of medieval kit and a couple of extra things for the sewing room.

Other things I accomplished not on the list, lots and lots of hexagon piecing, my favourites being the pincushions and needlecases with Liberty fabric.

And learning to knit in the round, the wristwarmers and the little knitted pincushions were my first success with this.

The discovery of Jenny’s embroidery which gave me lots of beautiful things to stitch, my favourite so far are her birds, this one is now in my craft room.

So challenges for 2016 then. Well to finish all these lists, to improve my skills at making quilt blocks.

I still have lots of lovely things I want to make for the craft room and think that single blocks to use as mini quilts is probably a better option than trying to make anything bigger.

2016 will definitely be a year of more embroidery and challenging myself to use different stitches.

As for knitting goals definitely lots more of Julie’s little animals, the mouse is coming along very well and love the speed at which I can complete them.

What about you, any challenges that you want to tackle in 2016?

Have a lovely week ahead and thanks for visiting.

Prettying up the craft room

Hello everyone, hope that you have had a good weekend, a lot of my time this week has been spent in my lovely craft room which makes me very happy 😉

Even though I have been here over 3 years now it is still a work in progress adapting the layout, adding to the furniture and decorating so I thought that I would share with you some of the prettiest bits. I am enjoying not finishing it all at once as it is lovely to buy things bit by bit.

If you are anything like me you love seeing rooms in people’s houses on their blogs, especially their craft rooms. I am currently really loving Vanessa from V and Co’s blog, she has a beautiful home with lots of quilts displayed.

One day that will be me, at the moment it is just quilt blocks but I am building up a good selection of these.

I decided against a full design wall but went for some pinboards where I can store blocks. I need to get some more of these as now I am making better progress with the Block of the Month challenge am getting into double layers.

Craft Room Oct 7

I went to The Range  this summer with my daughter, that is just the most gorgeous shop for homewares and craft things and I could have spent a fortune, I did spend a small amount on practical things like more storage for pins and magazines and got some bunting as well.

Craft Room Oct 3

My lovely daughter also keeps me well supplied with pretties such as all of these cute jars with buttons that she buys me for Christmas and birthdays and this lovely crochet basket in the picture below that came filled with delicious fruit curd and now holds some of my pincushions.

Craft Room Oct 4

Craft Room Oct 5

This stand was originally supposed to be a cake stand and is now the one I use for craft fairs, when at home it is for displaying my collection of cross stitch exchange ornaments, the Autumn ones are out at the moment but can’t wait to get the Christmas ones displayed as well.

Craft Room Oct 6

To be honest can’t wait to decorate the whole house, been playing with Christmas fabric since July and really want to cover the whole house in it 😉 Is it still too early do you think? Maybe I can now Halloween is over just like the shops do lol.

Last month’s treat for the craft room was this beautiful flower clock from Wilkinsons , I had been looking at this for so long and it goes really well with my framed flower prints.

Craft Room Oct 2

This month’s treat was an unexpected purchase, I had been thinking about maybe getting a cotton reel holder for near my machine when I saw one on a friend’s post and a quick search later found this gorgeous one that had to come and live with me. I got it from Vintage Pink and they have some really lovely craft room things, might have to go back for more later!

Craft Room Oct

Also on my wish list is this newly discovered accessory rack from Quilt Direct I was actually looking for simple hangers for some quilted hangings I am making but wouldn’t that go so well with my cotton reel rack! Like it was meant to be.

sewing machine rack

Also rather in love with these button themed things here – go and have a look at the cute button print drawer handles!

Thank you internet for all the lovely online shopping opportunities that are out there, I do love you!

I also had a very good time at Simply Solids  yesterday making a lovely thread catcher and pincushion so will post some pictures and info about that project later in the week.

Hope you all have a very good crafty week ahead, half term is over so it is back to lots of teaching next week but hopefully the weekend will be here very soon.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Channelling my inner Amanda Jean

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.

Pincushion Party 1 - Stripey

Pincushion Party 2 - Stripey back

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.

BOM May

BOM May

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.

BOM Random

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.

patchwork and doily pincushion

little linen houses

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.

elefantz pin

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.

March Block of the Month Challenge

Well hello there, back in lovely Marsden now having had a very nice time and got lots of work done! Just thought I would share with you the fruits of my labour last weekend.

This month’s block did look like a bit of a challenge when Helen originally posted it – a Nine Patch Frame so she had the first go and very kindly supplied the measurements.

BOM March

It turned out to be not too bad, as you can see I have not really got my frame far enough out as it was a tricky devil to sew with those corners so my outer white triangles are not as good as they could be and have lost some of the points on the inner square but I like the fabric combinations.

BOM March 2

BOM March 3

Here is the Jan block Dutchman’s Puzzle which uses most of the same fabric. I am trying to vary each one a little due to running out of large pieces of stash and hoping that April is going to be a scrappy block 🙂

BOM JAN 15 Dutchman's puzzle block

Here is the Feb block Union Squares – the right sized one!

Feb BOM Union Square 3

Will probably try and get the next 3 in these fabrics and make this into a small quilt, each block is 12 inches so will be cot sized with borders and can go to local hospice or Project Linus. Then do the next 6 in different fabrics.

Sharon jokingly suggested this might be our next block challenge. This is work by Danny Amazonas using fabrics from the Kaffe Fassett Collective – wow, just wow!

Danny Amazonas Kaffe Fassett Collective

Can’t believe it is nearly the weekend already – how exciting! It is very lovely and sunny here today so hope that continues and I can get some walking done as well as stitching.

Hope you have a nice time planned and thanks for visiting.

A tale of two blocks – Feb Block of the Month Challenge

So I made the one with 3 1/2  inch squares on Saturday and that turned out at 8 inches finished size. So on Sunday I tried making one with 4 1/2 inch squares and that turned out to measure 10 inches finished size.

They do both look very pretty though and I am pleased with the finish.

Feb BOM Union Square 1

The block pattern is called Union Square and again it is from the Quilter’s Cache website. I found this useful video (which turns out to be a variation of the block which is known as Union Squares ) but the girls have kindly let me off for this deviation 😉

It came together quite quickly – especially the second time around and the method I was using gave me lots of practise at making half and quarter square triangles. And my joins are not too bad though getting every single one to be perfect is beyond me, they definitely look better certain ways up!

Feb BOM Union Square 2

Feb BOM Union Square 3

I have now made a third one – not exactly the same but almost, I ran out of the swirly pink fabric so have done the half square triangles in a co-ordinating solid. This one hit the magic 12 inches and was made with 5 1/2 inch squares.

The first two will be put to good use, I am going to frame the littlest one for my quilt room and use the other to make a pillow for my sewing chair. I have some hexagons in the same fabric that I was already putting together for a pillow so will make it reversible.

Am really enjoying this challenge, there are 5 of us from the knitting group doing it now and we are all supporting each other through Facebook and have planned a couple of get togethers as well for help with certain aspects.I love how crafting is so social, both virtual and face to face!

Will not have much time for crafting this week as work is very busy and have friends over at the weekend so things are going to be slow on the posting front for a couple of weeks. Then am off to Spain for half term (those lovely embroidery museums are calling!) so will see you all when I get back.

Take care and enjoy yourselves. Thanks for visiting.

Our Block of the Month Quilt Along – January

Helen, Sharon and I decided while on our way back from the Harrogate show that we would like to extend our skills a little so then arranged to have a Block of the Month Quilt Along. Several other people from knitting group have also joined in. So that was yesterday afternoon’s little project.

Helen is co-ordinating it and after discussion we decided to use this Quilter’s Cache site run by Marcia Hohn which has a huge number of patterns all at the same size and a random number generator to choose blocks.

We thought this was a good way of extending all our skills as then we would avoid just choosing easy blocks. Helen has been quilting for a long time, Sharon has just started and I am in the middle in terms of experience (and fabric stash lol!).

This month the block is Dutchman’s Puzzle which involves Flying Geese. I remembered that I had seen some videos on how to make these so being better at visual rather than written instructions used this very useful McCall’s Quilting video on You Tube to make them using the ‘no waste’ method.

It was great having the video as I took the laptop up to the craft room and did it step by step along with the tutorial (mind you it did take me about 1 1/2 hours rather than the 10 minutes of the video!)

That did include choosing the fabric though which took a while. I tend to buy fabric in small amounts and as we will be making 12 blocks of unspecified patterns had a bit of difficulty with what to choose.

In the end I went with a colour palette that I have used for previous things with the addition of some of my new stash from Harrogate (the Cath Kidston look-alike flowers on aqua in these pictures).

BOM JAN 15 fabric

BOM JAN 15 fabric 2

The solids are far more pink than they appear here (winter light upstairs not good for pictures!) and I do have a few more options that I can add. The white on white fabrics are really too subtle to see in this picture but they show up better in the finished block.

It was a good experience though as I tend to buy either fabric for specific things or stuff that I like the look of but not much of it co-ordinates with anything else apart from my lovely Simply Solids stash.

I have to think about the fact that future blocks may be more scrappy so that ruled out lots of larger prints and that as I am trying to do it all from stash what am I going to use for binding, sashing and backing?

What I may do is make 6 of the blocks from this set of stash and six from another set if I run out. These will probably become donated quilts as I have plans to make others for family this year.

I was very pleased with my end result and the process was very simple to understand, good practise as well at sewing 1/4 inch seams.

BOM JAN 15 geese

The finished block has turned out a bit big but am pleased with the points at the centre and have only lost the nose from one of the geese!

BOM JAN 15 Dutchman's puzzle block

BOM JAN 15

BOM JAN 15 geese point

It was an easy block to make and the video was very useful. Our aim is to make as many of the blocks as we all can (given busy lives) so no-one will be penalised for missing a month and we can use our regular meetings for knitting group to help each other out. There will then be a couple of quilting bees I should think when we tackle basting, binding and machine quilting.

After all that snow yesterday I awoke to this beautiful view – sunshine on the sparkling hills, if I wasn’t just getting over a yucky cough I would be out for a wander but I will stay in the warm and admire the views from here.

snow jan 15

Hope you have also had a nice weekend, thanks for visiting.