Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Swap Blocks & Liberty Hexagons

I've been busy in many ways this week, and out and about, but still managed to get some sewing completed.
This is my "Block of the Month" for my quilting group Quilt Cornerstone (take a look for lots of stitched treasures.)
I decided to have a go at appliqué and I must admit that I really do enjoy it.
I also made a traditional patchwork block and chose this Fig Leaf, (below) one I had never before tried.
The colour palette was chosen by Mo in our group and usually we are given a set block to make each month but Mo gave us free rein to do as we wished. It will be interesting to see all the different designs members bring in and also to see what Mo makes of them all.
I am also swapping monthly with Diane of Crewe, the Cheshire Quilter, who has been a big help to me. Diane kindly led me in the right direction for learning new skills by giving me me patterns and instructions of several blocks to make month by month and this time I selected the "Snail Trail". 
First time I've made this too so I'm hoping it's OK.
Later in the month I am leaving DH to fend for himself (with a freezer full of home cooked food) whilst I visit our German branch of the family all on my own some. I always take something to stitch when I'm travelling and lately I've been making 1 inch hexagons from my stash of Liberty fabrics. 
I've already gifted several needle cases that I've made using these tiny Granny's Garden shapes but I love stitching them so I continued, totally undecided what I will make from the rest.
Last year I completed a full sized, handstitched, 1 1/2 inch hexagon quilt... all made in time that would otherwise have been wasted. 
It is amazing too how it is an icebreaker to conversation with fellow travellers, who are often interested in knowing more about what I'm doing.
Liberty Tana Lawn is so lovely to handle and stitch and the designs are fabulous.
Here's my little box of prepped 1 inch hexies and cut fabric shapes to pop in my bag to sew on the go!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Needle Cases & My Cornish Quilt

I have been busy enjoying a visit from my lovely Brighton grandees but last week I managed to make these needle cases as gifts for friends. 
Now they've arrived with their new owners I can show them here.
All completely hand stitched using my favourite Liberty Tana Lawn fabrics.
One in mixed colours for my special friend Dolores.......but the background had to be the bright pink that she loves so much.
One to help raise funds for a very worthwhile charity drive for Zoe.....
and one for another lovely friend, Lee in Cornwall.
Be sure to take a look at the new blog of my quilting group
Lots of ideas and quality makes from group members.
We'll have a followers button installed very soon!
A couple of weeks ago, Lee kindly sent me a pack of charm squares as a surprise gift and this is the little quilt I made with them. I love making it and I love the results and the colour palette.
Huge thanks to you Lee, it's a little treasure.
Super patterns on the fabric.
The backing.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Quilty Valentine, Swap & Challenge

I've started swapping blocks, thanks to Diane (the Cheshire Quilter) and I have also joined in with the challenge in her quilt group. One of the topics for Diane's blocks was this heart design so I thought it would be appropriate if this was my first choice to complete in time for Valentine's Day so it can serve as a greeting from me to you! 
Have a very special day and appreciate all the love you share.

The other day I showed this picture below of my start for the challenge. Diane sent me 12 charm squares and I could make anything I wished from them, for a swap. 
Before I continued I removed the few dark squares as I felt that they just didn't tone in and on this picture they stick out like a sore thumb.
Next stage I lined and edged the strips, sandwiching them with light batting.
Some super fabrics there and a lovely colour palette.
The four strips were joined at their bases like the spokes of a windmill.
Then when the sides were joined up, hey presto! it made a simplified version of the Windmill Bag.
I do hope that whoever gets it in the draw, likes it!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

How to Train Your Dragon Costume

I wonder if you can guess what I've made? The title of this post is a huge clue!
These little lumps are component parts for the latest fancy dress costume request from one of my grandees. I couldn't find my paper clay so, I made blobs of plaster filler and when they had dried I sprayed them gold, then painted them silver with a Krylon pen.
I expected the costume to be floaty, pretty, and like a princess but when I received her request this is who she would like to be.... the character is Astrid from the film "How to Train Your Dragon". 
There's attitude for you, and so different from Ella and Anna of "Frozen", Merida of "Brave" or the other pretty costumes I've made for the girlies.

It took a bit of thinking to figure out how to get it all together but those studs worked well on the armour shoulder pieces. I bought a piece of grey synthetic leather cloth and the Krylon pen gave it the metallic look it needed.

I made cuffs with fake lacings
The fake fur collar hood looks so effective and the strap with brad studs is for the headband.
I couldn't risk real metal, pointed studs for a 5 year old so I gave the impression by gluing silver flexible tags for safety. I think we'll give the axe a miss too!
I can't wait to make the finishing touches at the weekend and to see her dress rehearsal. Watch this space.........

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Patchwork Challenge, Swap, and Hexies


Patchwork Challenge and Hexies

I received an super packet in the post this morning for the start of a new challenge. I have to make an item from the charm squares I've been given and I couldn't wait to get started. This shows the early stage of my afternoon of stitching and if you are wondering what it will become, you'll just have to wait!
I'm swapping with Diane, the Cheshire Quilter and she has already made and sent me this gorgeous star block so I'd better get my skates on.
I've been keeping myself happy whilst TV watching and on my travels making 1 inch hexies from some of my Liberty Tana lawn stash. I'd already sewn this batch of random colours together quite aimlessly. I am not sure what it will turn out to be but I have a good cause in mind to receive the finished product if it turns out to be something worth having.
Last night, my lovely friend Dolores asked me to make another needle case for her to use in England, as she has left the other one I made in Slovenia. Now at least I know where I am going with this patch of hexies. I love to hand stitch them, and find it really relaxing, especially as I am using such beautiful fine fabric.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Patchwork Octagon Cushion Panel

I usually hang on to new fabric stash for quite a while before daring to use scissors on it, but I couldn't wait to use some of the Kaffe Fassett, Rowan fabric, I bought last week in John Lewis, Liverpool. 
It was HALF PRICE so I loved it even more. As you may notice, I love a bargain.
I had bought some a while ago, in Black Sheep Wools in Culcheth, at a 10% discount but I was thrilled to find it even cheaper in John Lewis. 
The pattern for this cushion panel was a freebie, given with purchases in Black Sheep, but I modified it quite a bit as I found the pattern somewhat difficult to follow. 
I adore the vibrant colours and pattern of all the Rowan designers and they all blend together so well, no matter how garish they look on the roll. The fabric is a super quality and so beautiful to work with, especially for hand stitching.
Now I am undecided. Decisions, decisions.
Should make one 2 sided cushion, or two (backed with a toning fabric)? 
Stay safe, warm  and cosy if the bad weather is hitting your area. We're fine here in North England but I don't envy those on NE coast of America. 
It's a good excuse to stay indoors and get crafting!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Patchwork Bag of Appliquéd Chickens & my bargains.

This week I made myself a huge tote especially for carrying all my stash to and from my quilting classes. It has a zip pocket inside for all my small equipment and this special appliquéd chicken pocket on the outside. The bag has ties on the sides.
With credit to Chris's comment, and as it's over 20 inches square, I am going to call it my "Chuck" Everything In Bag!!!
Detail of the pocket I designed for a bit of fun, which has the  three chucks sitting on a wall, legs dangling. 
Here the ties, (made of ribbon printed with tape measures) are open to make it wider and they can just be slipped inside the bag. 
I took a trip to Sandbach in Cheshire today to a one day fabric sale and quilt exhibition. We had planned to go in a group but never got around to organising it and I really only expected it to be a small event. 
When the sun was shining this morning I asked if DH would take me there if I treated him to a pub lunch after the show and so we took a lovely drive off motorways, through the country lanes of Cheshire and the show was fantastic. Lots of retailers from all over the country and lots of bargains to be had. Demonstrations to from various quilt groups but not too many quilts on exhibition. There were refreshments, a sale of smaller hand made items in aid of a charity and a raffle.
I bought six fat quarters with little green apples design all for £6, yellow and green backing fabrics for two quilts for £4 metre. The diamond and black fabric for £4 metre.
This "Parade" print was a super bargain 3 metre remnant for only £4 for the whole piece and it will make Summer skirts for all 3 of my girly grandies as the design runs along each edge.
There was a stall that was closing down their business and selling the entire stock just to clear it. Everything was so cheap, but I controlled myself to items that I would be sure to use and could share with my friends. Below you can see rolls of 1 inch black and white elastic, a reel of narrow peach elastic and a reel each of black and white tape. All, amazingly, only £1 a REEL! Wow!
We left the Sandbach High school and drove to a favourite haunt in Tarporley, The Rising Sun Pub, a traditional pub with oaks beams and lots of copper and brass about, where we relished a super Sunday roast with all the trimmings. 

I can highly recommend this pub for food, friendliness and service. It changed hands not so long ago and we feared it might not live up to previous visits. It was excellent!

Friday, 16 January 2015

Dresden Plates Patchwork and Friday Smile

I've had such a productive week .....
Two Dresden plates as my contribution to my Quilt Group's "Block of the Month"
I also made 2 large design walls and a few small block layout boards (these dresden plates are displayed on them). I bought a bargain length of white felt from Abakan (fabric pieces cling to it) and scrounged a couple of large display boards from a local store. I am so pleased with them and they are so helpful. I made them to fold so I can pop them, out of sight, into the wardrobe in my sewing room.
I made this bed runner (below) for my SIL to keep her feet warm. She is diabetic and has circulatory problems and wanted something to go just across the bottom her bed.
I made it really quickly and easily from the leftovers of the full size strip quilt I made a few weeks ago and it is 65 cms wide by 2 metres long.
It matches the dish on my coffee table so well.

At the request of the members of my quilt group, I also prepped a pattern for them of the owl bag I recently made. (It's in my 26th Dec post)
Things seem to be going much better and I feel that I have come out of the gloom of January and found my mojo once again. I'm smiling and, 
as a result, I'm joining in again with Annie's Friday Share a Smile....
Pop over for a visit and you'll find lots more to smile about.
My main smile for today was to receive this super calendar from two of my far away grandies, the Brighton Belles.
Lovely to see their smiling faces each day in my kitchen, and I always enjoy turning the pages each month to remember what they got up to in 2014.
Have a good weekend, ......the evenings are staying lighter longer so Winter will soon be gone. Yes, really, it will!