Friday 30 January 2015

A New Project!

Today I am hoping to start a new project.  It is just a cute little project that I wanted to include in my creative 'to do' list for 2015.  The pattern is a free pattern designed and offered by Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs.  It is called 'Snow Happy Hearts' and is a pretty little heart-shaped ornament.

Over the year Anne is going to be publishing one pattern a month and I only have a few days to get this one made before February's pattern is published!!

I have printed out the pattern and have been looking at fabrics.  I think I may make the heart motifs into individual blocks to make up into a quilt. This is an idea that Anne has suggested as an alternative way to use the pattern and I think it is a great idea!

First though, I just have to go to the shops to buy some groceries so that we have some food in the house this weekend, then I can get started!! I hope you have a lovely weekend! 

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Gail Pan Patterns: Sew-a-long Show and Tell

Hello and welcome to my new followers, I hope you will enjoy it here!

Last year Martina at Sunshine Quilting hosted a marvellous sew-a-long for patterns from Gail Pan's wonderful book 'Patchwork Loves Embroidery'. This year Martina has decided to host another sew-a-long, this time for any Gail Pan pattern and today is the first day to link-up and show each other what progress we have made during January.

For my first project I chose a pattern that I bought at a craft show towards the end of last year. The pattern is called 'Friends' and is a really cute wall hanging.

I have really enjoyed stitching all the embroidery and it was fun to be able to finish off the pattern with some of Gail's first fabric line called 'Baskets in Bloom' which I bought at the same craft show.

I didn't have exactly the same fabrics as Gail used to complete the pattern, so I had to replace the red word print fabric with some blue word print fabric instead.

As a result, I decided to stitch the french knots on the ric rac in red thread instead of blue. It did feel as though the whole thing needed a bit more red in the mix, so I used a red print fabric to bind it.  I think it all works together very well.

What is so nice about Gail's patterns are that they are always so achievable. It has been such a fun project to work on and I am delighted with the finished result.

Now, I am really looking forward to getting started on my next Gail Pan pattern which is going to be 'Simply Blue' and, which was featured in issue 118 of Homespun magazine.

To see what everyone else who is participating has been working on in January, why not pop over to Martina's blog and have a look? 

Saturday 24 January 2015


My GYB giveaway is now closed and the winner has been announced HERE

Hello and welcome to my blog! Today is the link up day for the 'Grow Your Blog' party and I am V-E-R-Y excited!!  Before I go any further though, I must say a big 'THANK YOU' to Vicki of 2 Bags Full for hosting this fun event!!

For those of you who are new visitors, allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Christine and I live in England. I started blogging in April 2013 when I found myself with more time on my hands as my 'children' were all away studying at university. For those of you who already follow my blog, may I take this opportunity to say thank you for your support and encouragement!

My blog is a journal of all my needlework projects both big and small.  My first love is patchwork and quilting but I also like to incorporate some embroidery into my quilts as well as making simple sewing projects and occasional crocheted items.

I like to try new techniques.  Last year I tried very hard to improve my free motion quilting skills, which was reasonably successful.  The highlight being this cushion which I quilted with an all over 'pebble' design that I was very proud of if you don't look too closely!!

This year I have got lots of projects in mind and my challenge to myself is to learn to make a crazy quilt.  I am taking an online class run by Kathy Shaw and I am really enjoying it. I am also participating in the CQJP Challenge which is also organised and run by Kathy Shaw. Here is the block (my first crazy quilt block) that I made for January.

I love sharing my projects on my blog and, I also love following and reading other blogs too. They are so full of inspirational ideas and information.  I have also been delighted with the wonderful camaraderie and friendship that I have received through the blogging world.  As a celebration and, as this is a 'party' I thought it would be nice to have my first 'giveaway'. 

The prize will be a mini charm pack (42 x 2.5" squares) of 'Tapestry' by Fig Tree and Co, five flower buttons and a yard (just under a metre) of lace trim all packaged up in a handmade, drawstring bag made with Tilda fabrics. 

To enter all you need to do is leave me a comment below.  The closing date is Thursday, 12 February 2015 when I will put all of the names into a box and pick one out.  The winner will be announced on Sunday, 15 February.  Thank you for visiting me and good luck! 

Friday 23 January 2015

Basic Crazy Quilt Course: Progress Update

Hello and thank you for visiting me! Today I would like to share with you the progress I have made learning how to construct a crazy quilt block.  I am following the  Basic Crazy Quilt Course which is organised and run by Kathy Shaw.

Last time, I had learned how to choose a balanced combination of fabrics, how to piece a basic crazy quilt block and then how to hoop it up correctly following Kathy's brilliant instructions.

Since then, I have learned all about various beads, charms and trims. It is incredible the number of different types available and their uses for embellishing crazy quilts.  It has been extremely interesting and I am really enjoying extending my knowledge.

In the last couple of days I have learned how to plan the embellishment of my block and, how to use a template to mark the seams ready to embroider.  I had never really thought about doing this before but, I can now see how important it is to plan your crazy quilt block embellishments in advance.  It enables you to make sure the block is balanced and, avoids any clashes of embellishment on the seams. This is going to help me tremendously when I start embellishing my February CQJP Challenge block.

I have now completed the first stage of the embroidery on the seams and I am very pleased with how the block is looking.  I can't wait to move on to the next stage!

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Too early for Spring cleaning?

Since the New Year I have been itching to get my sewing room tidied. Firstly, I wanted to go through a few bits and pieces that had got a bit untidy (only a bit.... anyone who knows me will know I don't really do 'untidy'!!) and secondly, at Christmas I had a few really nice sewing-related presents that I needed to make space for.

I have a had great time sorting through old magazines and other essential items and given my sewing space a really good clean.  It has been like Spring cleaning except that officially it is too early to call it 'Spring'!  I found a space on my wall to hang a pretty little Abigail Mill calendar that my sister bought me. It is just perfect for writing all those sewing deadlines on!!

Next I made room for a really cute sewing machine ornament that a good friend of mine sent me. I really love this vintage style machine which has a clever little compartment to hide a few bits of sewing paraphernalia inside.

I sorted through all my books and rehoused them to make use of these cute little owl book ends which my mum gave me and, last but not least, I also needed to make room for a new embroidery thread cabinet which my husband bought me (after he received a VERY big hint what I might like!)

It was a wonderful present and I don't think I will be needing to buy any more embroidery thread any time soon!

It took me ages to sort out all the threads into their compartments (all according the the colour chart of course!)

I was also able to put all the threads that I already had in there too.  All beautifully organised just how I like things!!

Now I have it all sorted, I really feel ready to tackle all those sewing projects I've promised myself to complete in 2015!

Sunday 18 January 2015

CQJP Challenge: February base block

Since finishing my CQJP block for January 2015, I have been thinking about what to do for the next block.  I wanted to have the base block ready to start embroidering as soon as February begins and, as I have a number of other projects I am also working on, I thought that when I had a few spare minutes I should get the base block prepared. I have been looking on the internet for crazy quilt block inspiration and I keep coming across blocks which have the Dresden Plate design but, have been embroidered and embellished in crazy quilt style. This look really appeals to me and, I decided that for my February CQJP block I would make a Dresden Plate block to embellish.

I have used the same Tilda fabrics that I used in my January block so that the blocks will coordinate nicely in the finished quilt.  I selected five to make the 'petals' of the plate and then selected a different fabric for the centre circle and another for the block background.

This time round, as I have learned from my online Basic Crazy Quilt Course run by Kathy Shaw, I now know that it is very important for crazy quilt blocks to be stabilised while you are working the embellishment on them, to give them extra support.  So, once I had made my Dresden Plate, I pinned it to the background fabric ready to be hand appliqued in place and then I sewed the background fabric to a piece of muslin.  The muslin helps to support the block but also enlarges the piece of background fabric so that you can hoop it up in a larger hoop which does not have to be moved around during the embellishment process.

Now I am looking forward to starting the stitching!

Friday 16 January 2015

Basic Crazy Quilt Course

I have had a wonderful first few days participating in the January session of Kathy Shaw's Basic Crazy Quilt Course.  It was drawn to my attention by Dawn of 'Sew Much to Quilt' who completed a beautiful crazy quilt block following the same class at the end of last year.

So far, I have gathered together all the items I need to be able to take the class, constructed the base block (using some interesting design principles to achieve the correct fabric balance) and made a 'doodle' muslin to practice the embroidery stitches on. It is a fantastic class and the guidance and information given is superb. 

Registration for the January session has now closed but, I understand that Kathy will be offering it again later in the year and it is well worth looking out for!  This weekend, I'm looking forward to completing the next task which is reading all about the use of beads/trims. Hope you all have a great weekend! 

Wednesday 14 January 2015

I am going to a party!

I first heard about the 'Grow Your Blog' party when Dawn at 'Sew Much to Quilt' mentioned it but, I have seen the logo now on quite a number of blogs, so I investigated further. I found out that Vicki of the blog '2 Bags Full' is hosting a 'Grow Your Blog' Party on 25th January 2015 and I have signed up to be at there!

If you would like to join in the fun why not click on the link above and find out more about it!

See you at the party!

Monday 12 January 2015

January 2015 Block: CQJP Challenge

Hello! Did you have a good weekend? I had quite a quiet weekend as the weather here was very mixed from wet and very blustery to sunny and bitterly cold.  I am also still trying to shake off the remnants of a very nasty cold, so a relaxed weekend was definitely needed!! Quiet weekends inevitably involve some sewing and, this weekend being no exception, I was able to complete my January 2015 Block for the CQJP Challenge.

The last time you saw this block I had just pieced together the base fabrics. Although I gave you a sneaky peek of some of the hand stitched embellishments in my last post, a lot more stitching and embellishment has been added and here is my finished block.

It is far from perfect but, given that this is my very first attempt at crazy quilting, I am delighted with how it looks.  These blocks tend to 'grow' as you go along.  You can have a basic idea what you want to do but as soon as you finish one line of stitching, it is easy to think 'oh, I'll add that over there now' and 'it would look nice if I added a button or two'.

In the process of making this block I have decided that my overall theme for my challenge blocks is going to be 'The Garden'.  You can see I have added some 'garden' themed buttons and a lot of the stitches have a 'flowery' look.

In more detail, I added some basic embroidery stitches like this double feather stitch and the glove stitch (the variegated thread above).

There are lots of combination  stitches such as this cretan stitch with colonial knot flower buds and lazy daisy leaves.

As well as these pretty fans made using chain stitch combined with straight stitches and a lazy daisy stitch for the handle.

I added some sequins, held in place with straight stitches and combined chevron stitches with some beads.

I even tried my hand at a technique I haven't tried before called 'couching' where you lay a thread (in this case a variegated boucle silk thread) on the surface of the block and hold it in place with tiny straight stitches.

Finally, I added a piece of lace and a heart charm.

Since starting the CQJP Challenge which is organised and run by a lovely lady called Kathy Shaw, I have also signed up for an online class which Kathy offers called 'Basic Crazy Quilt Course'.  More details can be found on Kathy's blog 'Shawkl' where registration for the class (which is free!) is open until 13th January.  I am hoping that I will pick up some great tips and advice from the class in time to get me started on my February challenge block! I am especially looking forward to learning some silk ribbon embroidery techniques!!