Tuesday 31 May 2016

Flying Geese Mini Quilt.....

As some of you may be aware, since the beginning of the year I have really been practising hard to improve my free motion quilting and I have had some success.  I showed you recently the finished quilt I had made using the free motion quilting exercise blocks from a Craftsy class that I have been following taught by Christina Cameli.

I also showed you the quilt I finished following an online Quilt-a-long shared by Lori Kennedy of the Inbox Jaunt.

I was really pleased with both these quilts and with the progress that I have been making with my free motion quilting generally. I have regularly been making a free motion quilted block here and there which I am going to make into another quilt-as-you-go quilt when I feel I have made enough blocks and, this has been more good practice. 

The idea for this quilt comes from Christina Cameli's first book which is called 'First Steps to Free Motion Quilting'.

These projects have all been invaluable to helping me improve but, I really wanted to try quilting something that I had pieced from scratch and was a bit larger than the practice blocks I have been making.  With this in mind, I planned out and pieced together a small quilt taking inspiration from a quilt I had seen somewhere (don't remember where) some while ago and, which I knew would have the prefect amount of piecing and negative space to practice my quilting on.  I call it my flying geese quilt and I finished it this weekend.

I am delighted with how it has turned out.  I quilted it in sections using four different quilting patterns.

In the bigger open areas I used two different quilting patterns. An all over spiral (above) and a 'beads on a string' pattern (below).

Between the flying geese blocks there were smaller rectangles of space which I quilted using pebbles.

Finally, in the background of the flying geese blocks themselves I densely quilted using closely spaced lines.

I didn't quilt the 'geese' at all and this dense quilting next to them has the effect of making them puff out a little.  I love the overall texture and it was a fun little quilt to make!

Thursday 26 May 2016

Patchwork with Stitchery SAL: May

We are nearly at the end of another month which means that this week is the May link up for the 'Patchwork with Stitchery' sew-a-long hosted by Martina at Sunshine Quilting.  My contribution for the sew-a-long this month is another of the pretty 'United Stitches' blocks I have been working on.

These pretty little stitcheries are designed by Rosalie Dekker (Quinlan) and are just perfect for sitting and stitching in the evenings.  That said, I only got one stitched this month as I have been busy working on some other projects one of which I hope to be showing you very soon!

I have prepared the next embroidery ready for stitching and, I am looking forward to stitching it as, I already know how pretty it is going to look.

Leanne, a dear blogger friend who I swapped Christmas gifts with last year included this particular embroidery pattern on the front of the bag she made me.

The bag is lovely and, it holds all sorts of useful bits and pieces in my sewing room. I love seeing it there on a daily basis.

Wednesday 25 May 2016

TAST Week Forty-Three: Buttonhole Wheel Cup

This week's stitch for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle  is stitch forty-three, buttonhole wheel cup.  This stitch is a variation of the buttonhole wheel and is a lot of fun to stitch.  You can find Sharon's tutorial for it here.

Luckily these little buttonhole wheels are circular, so they fit right in with the theme of my latest sampler.

I added three of them next to the fern stitch circle I stitched last week.  I used variegated silk thread and I added a few colonial knots in the middle to make them look like flowers.

Tuesday 24 May 2016

The Splendid Sampler: Blocks 28 and 29

The start of another week means that another week has passed by and there have been two more blocks released for The Splendid Sampler.

Block 28 is called 'Stitching Fashion' and features a foundation paper-pieced dress.  It is a very pretty block and was designed by Charise Randell.  It wasn't the easiest of blocks to piece and did take quite a lot of patience to get it finished.  The completed block is very pretty though (don't look too closely at the piecing!)

The next block, block 29 was another foundation paper-pieced block called 'Scrappy, Happy Heart' and was designed by Christa Watson.  This was an easier block to piece and it made great use of lots of scraps.  Another very pretty design.

We are certainly getting lots of practice foundation paper-piecing!  I still find this technique a bit of a struggle but, it is getting a bit easier with all this practice!  Looking forward to this week's blocks now!

Friday 20 May 2016

Free Motion Quilting..... Practice! Practice! Practice!

As you may (or may not) be aware, I set myself the goal of improving my free motion quilting this year (again..... I have set myself this goal on several occasions!) and, I am really happy to say that things have finally started to click into place and I am really starting to get the hang of it!

I have been trying to practice some FMQ every day and, although I don't realistically have the time every day to do this, I have tried to practice on a regular basis and have even made myself a chart to fill in which is pinned to my noticeboard to encourage me!!  I started back at the beginning and completed all the exercises in Christina Cameli's Craftsy class for beginners and was pleased with my progress.  You can see the individual blocks on my FMQ Diary page. When I had completed all the exercises, I had fifteen quilted blocks which I thought I would make into a quilt.

I joined them together using a quilt-as-you-go technique and I am thrilled with the finished quilt.  I have also been working on some other blocks which I am going to put together into another QAYG quilted sampler quilt. This quilt is a design from Christina's first book 'First Steps to Free Motion Quilting' and you can see the blocks I have completed so far on my FMQ Sampler Quilt 2016 page.

With all my practice, free motion quilting was really starting to click into place when I came across a mystery Quilt-a-long being hosted by Lori Kennedy of The Inbox Jaunt so I decided to join in!  The last post for the QAL was earlier this week and I have now finished the cute little quilted wall hanging that we made.  It was a lot of fun and I am really pleased with the finished quilt although, I should probably have used a heavier weight thread for the stitching to be more obvious.

It is very exciting to have this elusive skill within my grasp and,  I am determined to continue practising and improving as much as possible.  If you want to make the QAL quilt the posts for each step are all still available at The Inbox Jaunt.

Wednesday 18 May 2016

TAST Week Forty-Two: Fern Stitch

This week's stitch for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle  is stitch forty-two, Fern stitch.  It is a really pretty and versatile little stitch and Sharon has posted a step by step tutorial of how to work it here.

As you may know, I finished filling in the last box on my previous sampler with last week's stitch and made a little picture from it which is now proudly hanging in my sewing room. That meant that I needed to start a new sampler for this week's stitch. The new sampler will probably also be stretched over a canvas and made into a picture. That way I will have a pair of stitched sampler pictures which will complement each other.

The sampler I recently completed was made up of a series of boxes and the new sampler is going to be made up of a series of circular designs.  I thought this would be a nice change but at the same time similar to the previous sampler. Here you can see my first circle stitched using fern stitch in variegated silk thread.

Fern stitch is not a new stitch to me and I like using it.  In fact, I have used it quite a lot including some of my earlier quilts such as on this table topper that I made a few years (too many to count!) ago...

and in the cable stitched onto this quilt also....

I have also used it much more recently in some of my little embroidered pictures....

and also in my crazy quilt blocks....

It is a very useful stitch to be able to use and in another of  Sharon's tutorials you can see it stitched with the addition of beads which is very pretty.

Friday 13 May 2016

Before I forget......

I have been meaning to share with you a special prize draw that is taking place at one of the regular blogs that I read. 

Sigrid is celebrating her blog's fifth birthday over at 'Sigisart'.

I always love going to visit Sigrid to see what her latest project is.... she is always working on something pretty.  For the special occasion of her blog's fifth birthday, she has made five beautiful prizes to giveaway and there is still plenty of time to join in the fun!!  Just click on the button on my right hand sidebar and it will take you to the post with all the details!

H A P P Y   B I R T H D A Y   S I G I S A R T ! ! 

Wednesday 11 May 2016

TAST Week Forty-One: Eastern Stitch

This week's stitch for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle  is stitch forty-one, Eastern stitch.  It is a really pretty stitch and Sharon has posted a step by step tutorial of how to work it on her blog.

I was hoping for a stitch that would look nice in the last little vacant box on my sampler and, this stitch really could not have been better.

I worked five clusters in the box using a variegated cotton perle thread no 8.  I then added a bead to the centre of each of the clusters and finished the perimeter of the box using variegated silk thread.

I was really pleased with how the sampler looked and I couldn't wait to turn it into a picture to hang in my sewing room.  I trimmed the sampler up and added some borders in an aqua/green solid fabric.  I stretched the whole thing over an 8" x 8" square canvas and tacked the fabric to the back to hold it in place.

Now it is hanging on my sewing room wall where I can see it and look at the stitches for inspiration for other projects.  The TAST Challenge is not over yet, so I will have to start a new sampler for next week..... I already have some ideas what I want to do.... it should make another nice picture to compliment this one.

Monday 9 May 2016

The Splendid Sampler: Blocks 24, 25 and a bonus!

Well, another week has passed by and three new blocks were published for The Splendid Sampler. The first of these was block 24 which was designed by Michele Foster and is called 'Inspector Sidekick'.  It is a pretty, pieced block and went together nicely.

Each year in May there is a big horse-racing derby in the USA called the 'Kentucky Derby' and in celebration of this event Pat Sloan designed a really cute bonus block called 'Derby Day'.

It is an applique block of a hat..... the sort you might wear to the derby! I had a lot of fun making this block and instead of appliqueing a heart to the front, I cut out a flower from one of my fabrics and used that to decorate the hat.

I added some extra embroidery stitches to the flower to make it look more three dimensional.

The last block of the week was block 25.... another applique block (which I love) designed by Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs.... of course, her block featured a cute little bunny and is called 'Sunday Best'.  I really enjoyed making it!

The first quarter of the blocks are now complete and I really like how they are all looking. Lots more still to go though and, I am looking forward to them!

Friday 6 May 2016

Hasenbach Challenge Blocks

I am really pleased to be able to show you some more blocks that I have completed for the Hasenbach Challenge.  I think the last time I posted about this block of the month challenge was back in February when I had completed the 'Rising Star' pattern which was one of the February star blocks that had been released by Claudia.

Arrowhead Star

The other February star was one called the 'Arrowhead Star' which I wasn't sure that I would be able to complete being new to foundation paper piecing. However, I am pleased to say that I did manage to complete the second February star and have now also completed the two stars that were released in April. 

Best of All

Blazing Star

These were called 'Best of All' and 'Blazing Star'.  I do still struggle with this technique, so the stars are far from perfect.  However, I am learning a lot and I think that it is getting a bit easier each time I piece a block.

I don't think I am ready to piece the buildings that form the alternate months of the challenge as they are a lot more complicated.  I think I will keep to the star blocks for the moment! Have a lovely weekend! 

Thursday 5 May 2016

The Splendid Sampler: Block 23

While I was visiting my daughter at the weekend another block was published for The Splendid Sampler.  Block 23 was designed by Kari Carr and is called 'Hand in Hand'.  

I really enjoyed making this block as it uses a dimensional technique of folding a piece of fabric into a seam which I have never used before.  I wasn't sure if I would get it to work very well but, it was easier than it looked and, it is always fun to learn a new technique!

So, I have added another finished block to my Splendid Sampler folder and, I have just downloaded the pattern for the next block ready to get stitching.....

Wednesday 4 May 2016

TAST Week Forty: Shell Chain Stitch.....

The new stitch this week for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle  is stitch forty, shell chain stitch.  Sharon's tutorial this time describes how to stitch the basic shell chain stitch as well as a beaded example.

I like chain stitch and this is a fairly straight forward variation on the chain stitch which was fun to stitch.  I decided that I would stitch three lines of the stitch all in the same thread which, is a variegated perle cotton no. 8 thread.  The first row was just the basic shell chain stitch but, for the second and third rows, I added a single and then three seed beads in white respectively.

The outer perimeter of the box I filled on the sampler was stitched using a variegated silk thread and a stem stitch.

Only one more box to fill!