Wednesday, 29 March 2017

TAST Week 78: Feathered up and down buttonhole stitch.....

This week's stitch (week 78) for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle is the 'feathered up and down buttonhole stitch'.  As the name suggests, it is a combination of the 'up and down buttonhole stitch' and the 'feather stitch'.  You can find Sharon's tutorial for it here.

Feather Stitch
(Used to decorated a crazy quilt block)

I am familiar with both the feather stitch and the up and down buttonhole stitch as I have added them to projects in the past such as some of my crazy quilt projects. So, I was excited to try them as a combination.

Up and Down Buttonhole Stitch
(Stitched along the edge of the linen polka dot ribbon)

I really liked the look of the combined stitch and added a horizontal line of stitches to my sampler in variegated fine silk thread.

My new sampler is already filling up quite nicely.  Looking forward to next week's stitch now!

Hope you are all enjoying some creative time this week!

Monday, 27 March 2017

Freehand machine embroidery...... a hedgehog...

If you follow along with my blog you will know that earlier this year I attended a workshop for freehand machine embroidery in Norwich with Abigail Mill.  I had a wonderful time and started an embroidery of our Chalet in Switzerland which I have since finished and you can read more about that here.

While at the workshop, I also took the opportunity to buy several of Abigail's pretty embroidery kits and just recently, I have finished putting one of the kits together.  I chose to make the hedgehog first.

Hand embroidered hedgehog

I really like hedgehogs and you may recall I have added several hand-embroidered hedgehogs to other quilts and projects.

The kit contained everything I needed to make this lovely little machine embroidered picture (I did add the bee and flower buttons myself) and I really had a lot of fun making it.  Once the embroidery was finished,  I mounted it using mount board and then framed it in a box frame.

It was such a quick and easy project and, as it was Mother's Day here in the United Kingdom on Sunday, I sent it to my mum.  I am pleased to say she liked it and it is now hanging on a wall in her house! I am looking forward to putting together some of the other kits I bought too! 

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Using up some long lost treasures.....

After all the fun I had with my sister making cards last weekend and, after discovering a sheet of Spring/Easter die cuts that I have had for years and had squirreled away, I decided that I really should make a few more cards.... this time in readiness to send at Easter.

The die cut sheet I had was designed by Debbie Mumm who I followed very closely when I first learned to quilt as she has written many quilting books. (Most of which I have on the bookshelf in my sewing room!)

I ran the card stock through my printer to print the outside greeting and also to add a greeting to the inside of the card.  The designs are very simple and mainly involved cutting and sticking which was easy to do and very therapeutic.  As with quilting/stitching the most difficult part was picking the colours and then positioning the pieces to make them look balanced (some are more successful than others).

There are a few cards which did not use the die cuts but other stickers and bits and pieces which I have had tucked away for a long time!  Surprising what you can find when you look in the right places!!

One of the Easter cards was made from a card I had made last weekend but hadn't felt entirely happy with. I had stamped the image too high on the card, so I cut it out and re-purposed it! I like it better now!  If you are interested in looking at the cards in greater detail there are individual photographs on my handmade card page.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Still practising.....

Last year I dedicated a lot of time to practising my free motion quilting and I was extremely pleased with the progress that I made.  So, I am sure you will understand that I am very keen not to lose touch with the techniques I have learned to date.

However, the only quilting I have done since the beginning of the year are two little practise quilts made as a result of Lori Kennedy's challenge at the end of one of her Craftsy classes.

That was until recently, when I decided to revisit another Craftsy class I have followed taught by Christina Cameli.  Previously, when I followed along with Christina's 'Wild Quilting' class I didn't have the confidence to try out some of the techniques she taught but, now that I am feeling much more capable with my free motion quilting, I decided to try out mixing together some of the different motifs to make a background quilt pattern.

I mixed together pebbles, spirals and leaves and I really like how they look together. I really love the texture.

They were a lot of fun to quilt too, so I shall definitely be trying out some more combinations of motifs.

I have also just received a copy this wonderful new book I ordered.  It is written by Lori Kennedy and is called 'Free Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3'. It brings together over sixty of Lori's delightful quilting designs in one place. I can't wait to get back to my machine and try some of them out!!  In case you are wondering what happens to the practise pieces or, perhaps you have some practise pieces that you don't know what to do with, Lori has also just written a blog post with a nice idea how to use them up..... I think I may give this a try!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Time to Take-A-Stitch-Tuesday (TAST).....

For the first time in a long while I am actually stitching this week's stitch for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle on the right day!!  Stitch 77 is pistil stitch.  This is a very versatile little stitch and is basically a long-tailed French knot. You can find Sharon's tutorial for it here.

It is a stitch that I am familiar with, so it didn't take too long to add a row to my new sampler.

I used a variegated fine silk thread and stitched the individual pistil stitches in a semi-circular shape along the base line.

As you can probably see by now, my new sampler is going to have a criss-cross pattern (a bit like crossword puzzles).  I think it will be a nice compliment to the other two in my sewing room.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

A lovely weekend....

This weekend my sister came to stay with me and we have had a really lovely crafting weekend.  My sister does not sew (well, she has completed a few hand sewn projects over the years) but her main pastime (when she is not at work) is making greetings cards, so when she comes to stay we usually have a lot of fun trying out a few card-making projects.

This visit was no exception and I managed to make nine cards which I am really pleased with. 

I started with the tree cards.  The trees were stamped onto a piece of card and then again onto four different pieces of printed paper.  The tree shapes were then cut out of the printed paper and glued into place on the stamped image on the card.  Four pieces of the same printed paper were then glued onto a card base to make a frame behind the focal image of the trees and the card with the trees was then glued into place on top of the frame. They were a lot of fun to make and all four cards were made using just four 6 x 6 inch pages of printed paper and some card.

Next were the owl cards.  These were lots of fun.  The images were stamped and coloured and then mounted onto base cards which were decorated with pretty printed papers and a few little brads.

Another card was made very simply by masking off the bottom half of a card and stamping flowers and foliage along the top of the mask. A piece of green ribbon was added underneath the flower garden and finally a greeting was added to finish it off.  Most of the stamps and papers for the cards above came from Gina K. Designs and inspiration was drawn for the designs from StampTV.

For the last cards we made we tried out a 'sunburst' design.  This was a lot more difficult to get right than it looks but, I am fairly happy with the results. The inspiration for these cards came from images on Google.

Thank you Janet for a lovely weekend!  You can see some of my sister's beautiful card designs over on her blog 'Cards, Cats and Coffee'.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Catching up on the latest TAST stitches....

Today I have had a chance to catch up with the last two stitches for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle. The first of these stitches (week 75) was actually a combination of stitches which forms a 'raised herringbone band'. It gives a lovely finished band of stitches and Sharon's tutorial for it can be found here.

For my raised herringbone band, I started with a satin stitch base worked in variegated fine silk thread.  I then added the herringbone stitches using pink perle cotton (8) and finished by weaving a variegated perle cotton (5) through the herringbone stitches.  I am pleased with the results.

The stitch for week 76 was 'whipped chain stitch' of which there are two versions.  I added a line of both to my new sampler.  Sharon's tutorial for both of these stitches is here.

For the first line I added I stitched the base chain stitch with pale apricot perle cotton (8) and then whipped it using variegated fine silk thread.  In this version of the stitch the whole chain stitch is whipped each time.

The second line is the other variation which whips first one side of the base chain stitch and then the other.  For this line I stitched the base chain stitch with blue perle cotton (8) and then whipped it using variegated fine silk thread.

I am already pleased with how my new sampler is looking.... can you see a design emerging?