Wednesday 30 November 2016

Progress on my new Christmas Quilt....

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a new Christmas quilt that I had started.  It is a free project called 'Winter Wandering' and is a blog hop between four designers.

The first block was designed and posted by Ellie of Ellie's Quiltplace and features a very cute snowman.  You can also find all the details for piecing together the final quilt on Ellie's blog. I have added his red border this week!

I have also finished the second block, which was designed by Els at Bobbin and is a perfect Christmas scene with stockings galore!  If you have seen the pattern, you may notice that there is a stocking missing from my block. That is because I printed the pattern out too large for the background fabric.... I should have checked before I appliqued the trees!!  So I adjusted by missing out one of the stockings!

Actually, I also made a mistake with the first block too!  As I don't have any metric quilting rulers I was converting the cm dimensions into inches which is fine, except that I was so concentrated on making sure that I made an accurate conversion, I forgot to add on the seam allowances!  I am not sure yet how I will piece the different sized blocks together but I am sure I can make it work!!

The third block is a very sweet reindeer design by Gail Pan.  Isn't he adorable? I finished stitching him last night.  A very pretty little stitchery and some appliqued holly.... perfect!

I'm looking forward to the last block now so that I can get the quilt finished and quilted in time to hang up with my other decorations!

I am linking this post to the last 'Patchwork with Stitchery' SAL link up over at Martina's blog, 'Sunshine Quilting'. I haven't linked up every month but I have really enjoyed the sew-a-long.... thank you very much Martina! 

Monday 28 November 2016

Sunflower Quilt-A-Long

Some of you may recall that I have been following a Quilt-a-long being hosted by Lori Kennedy at 'The Inbox Jaunt' to make a 'Sunflower Quilt'. The quilt has lots of different free motion quilting designs to try so was just perfect for me to do some more practise. Instruction for the last section to be completed in the QAL was given this last week and I have now finished my quilting and bound my quilts.

I was quilting two quilts the first made from some hand-dyed fabric which I won in a giveaway from Mary Anne at Magpie's Mumblings and which I thought would be the perfect fabric for a sunflower sampler.

I am really pleased with this little quilt now it is finished.  At first I thought it was going to be too cramped as the fabric was smaller than Lori had recommended for the quilt but, I adjusted the sizes a little and it has worked out very well. I even managed to quilt my name in the corner! 

The second was using a piece of solid yellow fabric (sorry the photographs aren't brilliant, the Winter light isn't easy to take photos in!)  As you can see, this is a little larger and it was a lot of fun trying out some different threads.

I am very happy with them both.

Friday 25 November 2016

TAST Week Sixty Five: Top Knotted Buttonhole Stitch

This week's stitch for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle  is a really cute stitch called 'Top Knotted Buttonhole Stitch'.  I really enjoyed stitching this latest stitch and you can find Sharon's tutorial for it here.

I added a partial circle of stitching in one corner of my sampler and I used a variegated silk thread to embroider it.

It was a fun stitch to embroider but you do have to pay very close attention to your tension while working the stitch.  It is very easy to pull the top knot too tight so that it doesn't sit prettily on the surface of the fabric but rather is pulled down into the fabric.

I think it could be used to make a really cute little line of flowers if you added some detached chain stitch leaves between the buttonhole stitches. I may have to try that idea at a later date!

Monday 21 November 2016

Three more mini quilts.....

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had three more free motion quilted mini quilts ready for binding in my sewing room.  I have now had time to bind them and I am really pleased with the outcome. These little quilts are mini quilts (approximately 14 inches square) which I have made as a result of following Lori Kennedy's Craftsy Class called Divide and Conquer. At the end of the class she challenges you to make a mini quilt of each of the styles she has covered throughout the class.  The one I showed you last time was called a framed composition.

This next one is a grid composition.

Then there is this diagonal composition.

Finally, there is this medallion composition.

All in all there are six different styles of quilt, so I still have two more to do. I have them all layered up and marked ready to go but I just have to find the time to quilt them! So far I am thrilled with how well the quilting is going as there have been times when I really thought I would never get the hang of it. My advice to anyone else trying to learn is to keep going, you will get there! 

While I was wearing my 'binding' hat, I also decided to bind one of my recent practice pieces so that I can use it.... I'm not sure what for but it looks quite cute finished! 

Thursday 17 November 2016

A new Christmas quilt......

This year, for the first time in a few years, we are having Christmas at home.  I thought I would celebrate the occasion by making a new Christmas quilt to hang.  Just at the very moment I was thinking about which quilt I should make, I read a blogpost by one of my favourite designers, Gail Pan, about a blog hop she was going to be part of.  It is called 'Winter Wandering Blog Hop'. There is a free block design being posted by four different designers for four weeks including Gail.  I just couldn't resist!

The first block is this cute little snowman.  He was designed by Ellie over at Ellie's Quiltplace and he is just adorable!  Of course, I immediately downloaded the pattern and got started on the block.  You can get the pattern and read Ellie's post about the blog hop here.  I am looking forward to the next block now!  

Wednesday 16 November 2016

TAST Week Sixty-Four: Chained Bar Stitch

This week's stitch for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle  is a variation of another of my favourite stitches, the chain stitch.   The 'Chained Bar Stitch' has a base of long straight stitches over which you work a zigzag chain stitch.  As both straight stitches and chain stitches are not new to me, it was a straightforward combination for me and gave very pretty results.

I just added a small straight section to the centre of one of my circles and I am really pleased with how it looks.

I worked the base straight stitches in perle cotton (8) and I stitched a bar of five straight stitches.  The zigzag chain was worked in variegated silk thread.  You can find Sharon's wonderful tutorial for this stitch here.

Just so that you don't think that all I have been doing is adding the next stitch to my sampler each week, I have something else to show you.

I have still been working hard on improving my free motion quilting skills and, I have just added the binding to a little practice square.  I also have three more ready for binding which I am hoping to show you later in the week.

These are mini quilts that I am making as part of a challenge that Lori Kennedy sets at the end of one of her Craftsy classes and which I have been following.  I am really pleased with the progress I am making.

Wednesday 9 November 2016

TAST Week Sixty-Three: Triangular Feather Stitch

This week's stitch for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle  is a variation of one of my favourite stitches, the feather stitch.  The Triangular Feather Stitch is quick and easy to stitch with very pretty results.  As usual, you can find Sharon's excellent tutorial for it here.

I needed to start filling in the outer edges of my sampler so, I drew a partial circle coming in from the edge to decorate with this pretty stitch.

I used my preferred variegated silk thread to stitch it.  This particular skein of thread has some really lovely, vibrant colours and I loved the resulting line of stitching.

Monday 7 November 2016

TAST Weeks 61 and 62: Raised Chain Stitch:

The last two stitches for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle  are two variations of the same stitch, the raised chain stitch. Sharon has two excellent tutorials for them on her blog and I have linked them to the names of the stitches below.

As both versions are worked on a base stitch which needs to be evenly spaced, I didn't attempt to work these stitches into a circle.  Instead I added a row of each stitch to the centre of one of my previously stitched circles.

I like the chain stitch but, version one of the raised chain stitch is not very similar to the chain stitch that I am used to sewing.  However, I did enjoy working this stitch, it is quite easy to get into a nice rhythm with it. I used light purple cotton perle thread (8) for this stitch and I like the finish it gave.

Version two of the raised chain stitch is much more like a regular chain stitch, so was easy to learn.  You do have to be careful with the tension of this stitch, it is easy to pull them to tightly and skew the base stitches.  I worked my version of this stitch using a variegated silk thread and I like the result.

Now I'm all caught up ready for the next stitch tomorrow!

Tuesday 1 November 2016

So far, so good.....

Happy November! Can you believe we have got round to that time of the year again? The time just flies past.... it must be because we are all enjoying ourselves!!

I had a very busy weekend last weekend as I finally summoned up the courage to start quilting the quilt I am making for a friend.  Before I put needle to fabric on the actual quilt, I had one last practice session.  This time I pieced together some fabrics which are similar to the ones I have used in the quilt top, layered with batting and backing exactly the same as I would be using and I practised an all over 'swirls' pattern which is what I would be quilting.  

It was a great exercise as I could get the tension on the machine all set up and, I also decided that the all over 'swirls' was a bit dense for the effect that I wanted, so in the actual quilt I adjusted the design to a more open one. When I was happy I was ready, I started on the real thing and I have quilted the centre panel. Here is a little peek for you.....

I am extremely happy with it and I just have the borders to go now.  I am going to quilt the denser 'swirls' in the border for a change of texture.

After all that quilting, I needed a little relaxation, so I hand embroidered the latest Splendid Sampler block.  It is such a pretty block called 'Stitch Crazy' and was designed by Kathy Schmitz.

I used a variegated silk thread to complete the whole design.