Wednesday 30 March 2016

Patchwork with Stitchery SAL: March

Hello! This week is the March link up for the 'Patchwork with Stitchery' sew-a-long hosted by Martina at Sunshine Quilting.  For this month's stitchery I decided to complete a block from a project that I started last year but didn't finish.

About this time last year a project called 'United Stitches' was launched by the designer Rosalie Dekker (Quinlan).  I wrote a blog post  which detailed Rosalie's idea behind the project and, I even stitched the first embroidery (shown above).  Unfortunately, I then got side-tracked with all sorts of other projects and didn't get any further than that!!

I had, however, bought a number of the little embroidery kits and I thought it would be nice to get them stitched.  So, for my project for the SAL this month, I stitched another of the designs.

I am not sure that I will stitch enough to make the 'United Stitches Quilt' pictured here but, I am hoping to make one of the alternative design suggestions which is a smaller wall quilt (the layout is shown below).

With that in mind, I chose some fabrics and made my two finished stitcheries into star blocks.

I am really pleased with them and I am looking forward to stitching some more over the coming weeks and months to add to them.

The stitcheries are very pretty designs and make a great little project to carry with you if you are waiting somewhere.  In fact, I finished the second of the two above while I was waiting for my car to be serviced earlier in the month!! 

Don't forget to pop across and see who else has linked up with Martina for the sew-a-long this month.

Tuesday 29 March 2016

The Splendid Sampler: Block 13 and another bonus....

Hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend. Here the weather was a mix of Spring sunshine and wet, blustery weather but, we were able to get out and about and all in all it was a lovely weekend.  Of course, a weekend wouldn't be complete without a little bit of stitching and, as block 13 of the Splendid Sampler was released on Sunday, I had to find the time to fit in piecing it. Block 13 was designed by Corey Yoder and is called 'Scrap Star' .  It is a really pretty little block.

I love how this block looks but, I am not used to working with the small pieces, so it was a challenge for me to piece it accurately (don't look too closely at the points!)  It is one of the things I am really enjoying about taking part in the Splendid Sampler Challenge... some of the blocks take you outside of your comfort zone and you are truly being challenged to try something new.

Between block 12 and block 13 Pat Sloan also released another bonus block called 'Inside Out Log Cabin'.  It was another pretty little block and I enjoyed making it.

I can't believe how many blocks we have already made in this challenge and I am looking forward to seeing what comes next!

Wednesday 23 March 2016

TAST Week Thirty-four: Oyster Stitch

This week's new stitch for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle is stitch thirty-four, Oyster stitch. I had never heard of this stitch before and, at first glance at the tutorial about it, I thought it was going to be a difficult stitch to learn. However, it is a member of the chain stitch family (which I love) and it didn't take me long to get to grips with it.

Some of the photographs of examples of this stitch were beautiful and I particularly liked the flowers that Sharon had created, so I thought I would create my own flower using the stitch. I chose one of the smaller boxes on my sampler and drew a small circle in the middle of the box.  I then added oyster stitches in a ring around the circle.  I finished off the flower by filling the centre with yellow colonial knots. (Now that I have seen the closer photographs I think I may need to add a couple more knots!!)

The oyster stitches were stitched using two strands of variegated cotton embroidery floss. The colonial knots were stitched using two strands of yellow cotton embroidery floss and the perimeter of the box was stitched using two strands of blue cotton embroidery floss and the stem stitch.

I think this is my favourite stitch to date and it will definitely be making an appearance in a future project!

Monday 21 March 2016

The Splendid Sampler: Block Eleven and a bonus....

It was a busy weekend this weekend but, it was very enjoyable as my youngest daughter and her boyfriend were here and we decided to have a trip to the seaside.  The weather wasn't the best but, it wasn't raining, so we decided to take a chance.  It is a long time since we last visited the beach and it was the first time my dogs have ever seen the sea!

They really enjoyed scampering along the sand although they did get a bit of a shock when they stopped to have a drink in a seawater puddle!  We all had a great time too and a lunch of fish and chips!!

Later in the evening I discovered that a bonus block called 'Just for you' had been released by Pat Sloan for the Splendid Sampler to celebrate National Quilt Day.  It was nice after a busy day to prepare this simple applique block and then finish off the edges with some hand stitching.

On Sunday, block eleven of the Splendid Sampler was released.  This block was designed by Alyssa Thomas and is called 'Crocheted Thoughts'

It is a pretty combination of piecing and embroidery and I really enjoyed stitching it.

Looking forward to the next block..... and on catching up with some of the weekend blog posts that I missed...... have a lovely week!

Friday 18 March 2016

The Splendid Sampler: Block Ten and a catch up....

Yesterday was the release of block ten of The Splendid Sampler.  I am so enjoying this challenge and I really enjoyed piecing this pretty little block designed by Sherri McConnell and called 'Iowa'.  It was a quick and easy block to piece.

I used more of my scraps (which don't seems to be getting any less) and I am pleased with the results.  Here are the blocks I have made to date including an extra block one (I made two) and the bonus block which was shared before the challenge started.

As well as my Splendid Sampler blocks I have also been working on my CQJP 2016 blocks this week.  February's block (I know I am a bit behind!) is nearly complete and currently looks like this....

I have also pieced the base block for March and I am hoping to get some time to work on them this weekend although my youngest daughter has now come home for her Easter break so some family time may have to take priority!

I am also continuing to practise my free motion quilting regularly and, this week, I managed to complete the first of my QAYG blocks for the sampler quilt I am making.

I am also working on a small project which will probably end up as a little quilted mat. 

So far, so good.... I am pleased with the progress to date!

It is another project I hope to have some time to work on the next few days!! Hope you all have some fun, creative projects to work on! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday 16 March 2016

TAST Week Thirty-Three: Pekinese Stitch

This week's new stitch for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle is stitch thirty-three, Pekinese stitch. I was familiar with the name of the stitch but it is not a stitch I have ever learnt (until now!) or used and, it was a lot of fun. Sharon has posted a tutorial about it, together with some photographs of the stitch in use over on her blog.

I filled one of the larger boxes on my sampler this time and stitched three rows of Pekinese stitch. The base lines of back stitch were worked using two strands of blue cotton embroidery floss and for the laced part of the stitch I used cotton perle in pink, purple and blue.  

The perimeter of the box was then stitched with variegated silk thread in stem stitch.  I really enjoyed this stitch and will have to remember to use it in the future!

Thursday 10 March 2016

The Splendid Sampler: Block Eight

Another block was released for The Splendid Sampler earlier today.  It is a lovely simple block called 'Friends Around the Square' and was designed by Julie Karasek.  It was a lot of fun to choose the fabrics from my scraps and then piece this block together.

As well as getting to make all the blocks the nice thing about this challenge is that you are introduced to lots of new designers and their websites/blogs. There have been some lovely bonus projects and lots of very useful tips.

I always take an age deciding which fabrics look best even with these small 6 inch blocks and, I think that making 100 over the course of the year is going to help a lot with fabric choice and colour placement.  I am hoping that at the end I will be so much more confident in my choices that won't have to think about it anywhere near as long as I do now!

Wednesday 9 March 2016

TAST Week Thirty-Two: Raised Cross Stitch Flower Stitch

This Tuesday's new stitch for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle was stitch thirty-two, raised cross stitch flower stitch. This stitch is an exciting stitch which creates a pretty flower and, Sharon has posted her usual tutorial about it, together with some pretty examples of the stitch, on her blog.

Sharon also advises to try this particular stitch with several different types of thread to see what results you get.  Actually, Sharon advises this for most of the stitches as it is part of the fun of learning and experimenting with them and, I agree with her.  So, for my examples this week, I filled in another box on my sampler creating three different flowers.

To the left of the box I stitched a flower using variegated cotton pearl thread (No. 8)  In the middle is a flower stitched with four strands of variegated cotton embroidery floss and, to the right a flower stitched with 2mm wide silk thread (this should read ribbon!)  I like all three flowers.  I especially like the effect of the variegated thread as, it gives the flowers more depth than I think a single colour does.

I completed the box on the sampler by stitching the perimeter with stem stitch in two strands of the same variegated cotton embroidery floss that I used for the middle flower.

Monday 7 March 2016

The Splendid Sampler: Block Seven and a winner!

Further to my last post about blocks five and six of the Splendid Sampler, I was eager to see what sort of block seven was going to be.  When it was released yesterday, I was really excited to discover that it was an embroidery block.

Block seven was designed by Amy Sinibaldi and is called 'Snug as a Bug'. It is such a sweet little embroidery design and I just couldn't resist getting it stitched straight away! 

I used stem stitch and back stitch for the main design and then added a few extra embroidery stitches in some of the squares of the quilt.  I then finished it off by framing it with a square of running stitch and a second square of stem stitch.   I loved stitching it and I am pleased with the finished result.

Now, it gives me great pleasure to be able to announce the winner of my Spring giveaway

I used the tried and trusted method of writing all the names of those who entered onto pieces of paper, folding them up and putting them in a fabric box.

I then got my daughter to pull out one of the names and, the winner is Doti.... Congratulations!!  I will get in touch with you Doti so that I can post the book onto you!

Saturday 5 March 2016

The Splendid Sampler: Blocks Five and Six

I think I have just got time to show you my finished block five and block six from The Splendid Sampler before the next block is released.  Block five was designed by Celine Perkins and is called 'Simple Simon'.

Block Five: Simple Simon

It is a very simple and pretty block to construct and, as usual, I found some scraps of Tilda fabrics to make it.

Block Six: Focal Point

Block six was a little more complicated but a lot of fun to make.  It was designed by Natalia Bonner and is called 'Focal Point'.  Again I used more scraps.

I am having a lot of fun with this project and I like the diversity of the blocks so far.... can't wait for number seven tomorrow!  Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday 3 March 2016

Free Machine Embroidery Course.....

In one of my recent posts I mentioned that I was attending a 'free motion applique' course last weekend.  Well, I was wrong.... it was actually a 'free machine embroidery course' and it was great fun!!

We started by setting up the machine for free machine embroidery which was the same as for free motion quilting, ie the feed dogs down and using the darning foot to sew.  Then we hooped up some calico fabric using the hoop the other way up than you would for hand embroidery.  Then the fun started and we were allowed to 'doodle' a pattern in thread.  I tried to draw a flower and some leaves.  It was a lot of fun and, the FMQ techniques I have been practising certainly helped with this technique too.

Then we moved on to adding pieces of appliqued fabric to the calico background fabric and drawing around them with thread.  (I think this is why I got confused the with technique name, calling it free motion applique!)  For my first attempt I used some fabric to create spools of thread and some scissors.  I am going to add some buttons by hand to finish off the picture.

The time went really quickly and I was left with just a short amount of time to try another picture, so I made a butterfly.  I am very excited to have tried this technique and it has given me the confidence to try a project from a beautiful book that I bought back in 2014 called 'Applique Art: Freehand Machine Embroidered Pictures' by Abigail Mill

I was given a second copy of this lovely book recently and, as I don't need two copies, I thought it would be nice to have a 'Spring Giveaway'.  Just leave me a comment below and you will be entered for a chance to win my spare copy of the book.  I will send anywhere worldwide so anyone can enter.  I will announce the winner at the beginning of next week.... good luck!! 

Tuesday 1 March 2016

TAST Week Thirty-One: Fancy Bobbin Edging

Today is Tuesday and that means the release of another new TAST stitch! Stitch thirty-one of the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle is Fancy Bobbin Edging. This stitch is another member of the blanket stitch family and, Sharon has posted a tutorial about it, together with some pretty examples of the stitch, on her blog.

I added a couple of lines of this pretty stitch to one of the boxes on my sampler.  I used variegated silk thread although, I think this stitch may well have looked better stitched with a thicker thread.

The perimeter of the box was finished with the same variegated thread and a stem stitch. As well as working on my TAST Sampler, I have also finished the second block in my Craftsy EPP quilt.  This block involved piecing columns of hexagons and then appliqueing them to a background fabric.

I enjoyed making the hexagons using some fabric scraps and I really like how the block turned out (even if it is a bit wobbly in places!)  I am looking forward to making the next one!