Friday 29 April 2016

The Splendid Sampler: Blocks 20-22 and a bonus!

As I was away last week, I didn't have any opportunity to piece the published blocks for The Splendid SamplerSo, I had the two blocks from last week, together with a special bonus block that was released to celebrate Earth Day and then yesterday, the first block for this week was also published.  I have been playing catch up but I have managed to get them finished.  Here they are.....

Block 20 was designed by Vicki Tucek and is called 'Nature's Walk'. It is a simple block with a beautiful embroidery design in the centre and it was a lot of fun to make.  I really enjoyed working on the embroidery pattern which is so pretty. 

The next block released was a bonus block designed by Cheryl Arkison to celebrate 'Earth Day' on the 22nd April.  It is a really cute block.

Cheryl had given embroidery outlines for the Americas and for Australia, neither of which suited where I live, so I made my own template and embroidered the outline of the United Kingdom on my Earth.  I hope you can recognise it!

Block 21 was designed by Kris Thurgood and is called 'Sweet Candy'.  It is a very sweet block and was lovely and easy to put together.

Finally, block 22 was designed by Amy Smart and is called 'Goose on the Loose'.  It is a foundation paper pieced block and, although I do find this technique challenging, the instructions were good and the block went together fairly smoothly.

So, four more blocks complete.  It is amazing how many blocks have already gone but, also amazing to think we are still under a quarter of the way through!

It is a Bank Holiday weekend here in the United Kingdom and we are celebrating my youngest daughter's 21st birthday..... should be a nice weekend! Let's hope that the weather warms up a bit! Enjoy your weekend too, whatever you are doing!

Thursday 28 April 2016

TAST Weeks Thirty-Eight and Thirty-Nine....

I have added two new stitches to my TAST sampler this week as I was away when last week's stitch was announced. The first new stitch this week for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle  is stitch thirty-eight, cloud filling stitch. 

This stitch is worked in two parts and you can find Sharon's tutorial about it here.  You start by working a basic grid of stitches and then you work a second thread through the grid. Instead of using a small straight stitch to make my grid of stitches, I decided to use a small cross stitch.  I used two strands of cotton embroidery floss in blue to work them. I then threaded the grid also using two strands of cotton embroidery floss, this time in a mauve.

I really enjoyed learning and executing this stitch and I can see that it will be very useful for filling a larger area. The outer perimeter of the box that I filled was worked using a stem stitch and two strands of variegated cotton embroidery floss.

The second stitch I completed this week is stitch thirty-nine, coral stitch. The tutorial for this stitch is on Sharon's website here.  This was a lovely, quick and easy stitch to learn and I enjoyed stitching it.  I decided to fill my sampler box with three lines of stitches using three different types of thread.  The top line is stitched using a variegated cotton perle no.8 thread, the middle a variegated silk thread and the bottom two strands of variegated cotton embroidery floss.

The perimeter of the box was stitched using the stem stitch and a variegated silk thread. Not too many more boxes to fill before this sampler will be complete!

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Patchwork with Stitchery SAL: April

This week is the April link up for the 'Patchwork with Stitchery' sew-a-long hosted by Martina at Sunshine Quilting.  For this month's stitchery project I have managed to embroider two more blocks from the 'United Stitches' project that I restarted last month.

The patterns for the 'United Stitches' project were designed by the Australian designer Rosalie Dekker (Quinlan) and they are really pretty.

I don't know why I set this project aside for so long, I am really enjoying embroidering the little stitcheries.

I now have four little star blocks and I am really pleased with them. I am looking forward to getting started on some more for next month too!

Don't forget to pop across and see who else has linked up with Martina for the sew-a-long this month, there are bound to be some pretty projects to look at! 

Monday 25 April 2016

My adventure.....

I have had such an exciting adventure this past few days and it has been a lot of fun.  This may be a long post so, feel free to make yourself a hot drink to sip!!  

First a little background.... For many years when I lived in Switzerland I used to order my fabric online from a shop call Cotton & Color.  It was however, a fair distance from where I was situated in Switzerland and I had never had the opportunity to visit the actual shop. Also some years ago, I started following the blog of designers Me and My Sister and used to leave comments to which I always had a nice reply.  So, when I recently learned that Me and My Sister Designs were coming to teach at Cotton & Color, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to both visit the shop and meet Barb and Mary the designers behind Me and My Sister Designs, so I signed up to take part in the classes.

I flew to Basel airport and took a taxi to my hotel which was just across the border from Switzerland in Germany.  

The first evening there was a trunk show with Barb and Mary who delighted us by showing many of their beautiful quilts.  It was lovely to meet them both in person and, I also had the bonus of meeting Martina and Katharina who I have got to 'know' through my blog. Sadly, I neglected to take a photograph of my meeting with Martina but, hopefully it won't be the last time I get to meet her in person.  I did get to spend some more time getting to know Katharina as she also attended the second of the two classes taught by Barb and Mary. 

Each morning I had a pretty walk from the hotel to the quilt shop.  It was a lovely way to start the day and I was lucky with the weather which was warm and sunny.

In the first of the two classes we were following the pattern called 'Wild Jelly Rolls (3&4)'. The pattern gives instructions for two different quilts and we were following the pattern for quilt (3). By the end of both classes I had managed to get the top half of the quilt finished.

In the second class we were following the pattern called 'Slice of Cake (1&2)'.  This pattern also gives instructions for two different quilts and we were following the pattern for quilt (2).

I only managed to get one block from this quilt made. 

You may be thinking that I didn't seem to get a lot of sewing done but, we had such a lot of fun chatting and laughing that the sewing wasn't quite as quick as if I'd have been at home! 

There were also lots of fun giveaways and prizes as well as some extra projects to make. We were shown a super quick method for making a pillowcase called 'The Dilly Dally Pillowcase' which is a free pattern on the Me and My Sister website.

We also had fun making some cute mitten decorations using some of the Me and My Sister 'Smitten for Mittens Making it Cute' templates as well as a cute scissor case which is a free pattern from the Moda Bakeshop website.

I met some wonderful people including Barb and Mary of course.  

I have been corresponding with Barb through their blog for some years, so it was like meeting a good friend.

Then there was Martina (sadly no photograph), Katharina, a lovely lady called Ellen and another called Ariadna who also writes a nice blog which you can find here as well as many other nice ladies. It was a really fabulous time and, to top it all off, Martina and Katharina both gave me lovely gifts to bring home with me.

Martina some Swiss chocolates (no photograph.... I couldn't resist them!!) a cute little fabric basket (which held the chocolate) and some traditional biscuits from Basel (they are delicious!)..... thank you very much Martina!

And from Katharina a beautiful thread folder with a Gail Pan embroidery stitched on the front and some beautiful threads inside.

Such a generous gift... thank you Katharina.... It was so nice to meet you and I had such a lovely time... it certainly made my heart happy!

All in all it was a wonderful adventure and I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who made it such a lovely trip.  Including everyone I have mentioned above and not forgetting Astrid, the owner at Cotton & Color and her team, who all worked so hard to make everyone feel welcome.

Friday 15 April 2016

CQJP Challenge 2016: Finished blocks: February and March

Hello! Today I would like to share with you my most recent blocks for the CQJP Challenge 2016. I was a little late with February's block but I finished it during March and I really like how it looks.  I used the same basic block I am using for all my blocks for this year's challenge only the colours of the fabric and are different.

Base block for February

Each block is being embellished with different stitches and ribbons but in a similar style.  I am hoping that they will look pretty when they are pieced together in the final project.  I have not yet decided whether to make one quilt with all twelve blocks or to make three large pillows using fours blocks in each.

Finished February block

Here are a couple of closer photographs of the stitches....

Here is a photo of January's block side by side with February's block to give you an idea of how I want to piece the blocks together.  I will need to add some extra embellishment after the blocks have been pieced together over the joining seams.

I have also managed to get March's block completed too, so I am nearly back up to date again.... just need to start April's block!!  Here is the finished March block....

And, some close up shots....

I am very pleased with how this project is taking shape so far. Have a lovely weekend! 

Wednesday 13 April 2016

TAST Week Thirty-Seven: Triangular Buttonhole Stitch

This week's new stitch for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle was stitch thirty-seven, triangular buttonhole stitch. This stitch is from the blanket stitch family. Sharon has posted her usual, well written tutorial about it on her blog.

I really enjoyed stitching this sample.  I added two rows to one of the boxes on my sampler. The first I stitched one way and the second I stitched the other way up.  I used a variegated cotton perle thread number 8.

The perimeter of the box was stitched using a stem stitch and some variegated silk thread.

As well as stitching  my TAST samples this week I have also completed another lesson from the FMQ Craftsy class I am following.

That has also been a lot of fun although some of the stitching is a bit on the wobbly side! Funny how it is so much easier to free motion quilt in one direction than the other!

More practice definitely required but it is slowly improving!

Monday 11 April 2016

The Splendid Sampler: Blocks 16 and 17

Another week has passed and two more blocks for The Splendid Sampler have been released and completed!!  I didn't know if I would have time to get them done this week as I had my sister here for a visit, which was a lot of fun but, block 16 was a nice easy block to piece, so I was able to catch up quickly.  It was designed by Lindsay Mayland and is called 'Pieces of Friendship'

It is a very pretty block and was quick and easy to piece.  It is a lovely block to choose some of your favourite fabrics for.  I used some more of my Tilda scraps.

The next block was not so easy as there were lots of tiny pieces of fabric to sew together.... 57 pieces for a 6 inch block... quite a challenge! However, I just cut and pieced carefully and accurately and the block came together quite smoothly.  After all, a challenge is not much of a challenge if you don't push yourself a little!  Block 17 was designed by Kimberly Jolly and is called 'Family Stars'.  I was pleased with this finished block. 

I like how all the blocks are looking.  They seem to blend together nicely in the collage photograph.  I may remake the original pre-sampler bonus block (top left corner) as I didn't use my Tilda scraps for that block and I feel it looks a little odd-man-out.  I'll see, there are still lots and lots of blocks to go..... looking forward to the next one!