Sunday, 23 April 2017

Take-A-Stitch-Tuesday takes a break.....

This week (and next week) the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle is taking an Easter break so there are to be no official stitches posted.  This gives those who are a few stitches behind time to catch up and also everyone a little family time over the Easter holiday.

However, Sharon very kindly shared on her blog a special Easter bonus stitch called 'Slipped Cable Chain Stitch'.  It is a very pretty stitch and I couldn't resist adding a line of it to my sampler even though it isn't an 'official' TAST stitch.

It is a combination stitch and the base stitch is a cable chain stitch.  I stitched my cable chain in green perle cotton (8) thread.  I then slip stitched using variegated silk thread.  It gave a lovely result.  You can find Sharon's post about this Easter bonus stitch here.

For those who were up-to-date with their TAST stitches but couldn't resist some more stitching, Sharon also issued a challenge to be carried out during the two week break.  I fall into the category who just can't resist some more stitching, so I have completed the challenge.  You can find the details on Sharon's blog here. Basically, you had to use three stitches already released on TAST and create a little embroidered project with them.

For my three stitches I used stem stitch, fly stitch and bullion knots and I created this little wisteria vine.  

I drew the vine using one of Sharon's stencils (I bought a set a couple of years ago when I was making my crazy quilt) and stitched the stem using a variegated, over-dyed, six-stranded cotton embroidery floss and the stem stitch.

The leaves were stitched with exactly the same thread and a fly stitch and the blooms were also stitched with the same type of thread but in a different colour variation.

It was a fun challenge!  I had a lovely Easter with various members of my family but they are all back at work/university now.  I hope you all had a nice Easter too.

By the way, don't forget to pop over and read the latest TAST interview in the series to celebrating 10 years of TAST on Sharon's blog.  It was published earlier this week.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

TAST Week 80: Whipped Double Chain Stitch....

This week's stitch (week 80) for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle is the whipped double chain stitch.

Two lines of chain stitch are worked side by side and then the middle edges of the 'chain links' are whipped together with another thread.  It creates a beautiful, decorative and  very distinct line of stitching.  Sharon's tutorial for it can be found here.

I added a row to my sampler using pink cotton perle thread (8) for the base chain stitches and blue cotton perle thread (8) as the whipping thread. 

You can compare the difference between the whipped double chain stitch and whipped chain stitch (just a single line of chain stitches) which is just a little further to the right in the photograph above. Don't forget to pop across to Sharon's blog and read the series of interviews she is holding with some of the talented participants of the TAST Challenge to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of TAST.  You can find the latest interview post here.

Monday, 10 April 2017


Very excited to share with you my little wool circles project all quilted and finished.  I really loved working on this little project and I am really pleased with the finished quilt.

It is only a very small quilt (approx 12" x 15") but there is a lot to look at and the pebbling in the background adds a lot of texture which I am not sure the photographs show very well.

The backing fabric and binding are both cotton print fabrics and I wasn't sure how well they would all work together with the wool, especially for the quilting but, I needn't have worried because the quilting went quite smoothly.  This is what the back looks like.....

It was quite difficult quilting close to the circles as some of them stand quite proud of the background fabric making it a bit awkward to quilt evenly.

If you look closely you will see a few quilting 'wobbles' but overall I am very happy with it.

I did have a bit of a panic when I was hand stitching the binding on the back as I suddenly heard a little noise which sounded suspiciously like a bead falling to the ground.  I turned the quilt over to see that there was a bead missing from the middle of one of the circles (I must have squashed it with my ruler when I squared everything up.)

Anyway, I replaced it and I am hoping it isn't too obvious where it was. What do you think?

Friday, 7 April 2017

The final two.....

Yay! I have finished the final two circle sets on my little wool wall hanging.  I am very pleased with how this is looking.

The penultimate circle set was decorated (from outer edge) with Italian knotted border stitch in variegated fine silk thread; up and down buttonhole stitch in variegated perle cotton (8) and finished with beaded drizzle stitches in the centre.  Just loved working the drizzle stitches and they add such a lot of texture to the project.

The final set was embellished (from outer edge) with glove stitch in coton a broder; buttonholed cabled chain stitch (the cable chain worked in coton a broder and the buttonholing in variegated fine silk thread); Italian knotted border stitch in variegated fine silk thread and finally bullion knots in the centre worked in coton a broder.

I am very excited to have this project nearly finished and I couldn't wait to start on the background quilting. 

It is not perfect but it adds so much texture.  Perhaps I will get it finished at the weekend!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

TAST Week 79: Whipped Spoke Stitch.....

This week's stitch (week 79) for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle is the whipped spoke stitch.  It is a very versatile stitch that can be used to create textural shapes and designs.  Sharon's tutorial for it is here along with some beautiful examples of how it can be used.

I used it to add some pretty little butterflies to one corner of my latest sampler.  They were fun to work but you do have to pay close attention to your tension while you are stitching it. (Don't look too closely at my example!)

I hadn't realised it at the time but, I have used this stitch before when I added a flower to one of my crazy quilt blocks.

It will certainly be a stitch that I will be using in a future project too!

Monday, 3 April 2017

A couple more circles completed....

I am still busy working on my wool circles in between other projects and have managed to complete the embroidery on two more circles.

There are now ten of the circle sets decorated out of the twelve that I have added to the background fabric which makes up the little wall hanging.

The first of the two I have recently completed is embellished with (from outer edge to centre) buttonholed cable chain stitch (the base cable chain stitch worked in perle cotton (8) and the buttonholing worked in variegated fine silk thread); twisted fly stitch (worked in coton a broder); fly stitch (worked in variegated fine silk thread) and colonial knots (worked in variegated fine silk thread).

The second of the two newly embellished circles is decorated with (from outer edge to centre) tete de boeuf stitch (worked in variegated fine silk thread); beaded whipped chain stitch (worked in perle cotton (8)) and finally, a whipped woven circle using pistil stitches for the spokes (worked in variegated fine silk thread).

I am really looking forward to finishing off the last two circle sets and completing the little quilt with some textural stitching in the background.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

TAST Week 78: Feathered up and down buttonhole stitch.....

This week's stitch (week 78) for the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle is the 'feathered up and down buttonhole stitch'.  As the name suggests, it is a combination of the 'up and down buttonhole stitch' and the 'feather stitch'.  You can find Sharon's tutorial for it here.

Feather Stitch
(Used to decorated a crazy quilt block)

I am familiar with both the feather stitch and the up and down buttonhole stitch as I have added them to projects in the past such as some of my crazy quilt projects. So, I was excited to try them as a combination.

Up and Down Buttonhole Stitch
(Stitched along the edge of the linen polka dot ribbon)

I really liked the look of the combined stitch and added a horizontal line of stitches to my sampler in variegated fine silk thread.

My new sampler is already filling up quite nicely.  Looking forward to next week's stitch now!

Hope you are all enjoying some creative time this week!

Monday, 27 March 2017

Freehand machine embroidery...... a hedgehog...

If you follow along with my blog you will know that earlier this year I attended a workshop for freehand machine embroidery in Norwich with Abigail Mill.  I had a wonderful time and started an embroidery of our Chalet in Switzerland which I have since finished and you can read more about that here.

While at the workshop, I also took the opportunity to buy several of Abigail's pretty embroidery kits and just recently, I have finished putting one of the kits together.  I chose to make the hedgehog first.

Hand embroidered hedgehog

I really like hedgehogs and you may recall I have added several hand-embroidered hedgehogs to other quilts and projects.

The kit contained everything I needed to make this lovely little machine embroidered picture (I did add the bee and flower buttons myself) and I really had a lot of fun making it.  Once the embroidery was finished,  I mounted it using mount board and then framed it in a box frame.

It was such a quick and easy project and, as it was Mother's Day here in the United Kingdom on Sunday, I sent it to my mum.  I am pleased to say she liked it and it is now hanging on a wall in her house! I am looking forward to putting together some of the other kits I bought too! 

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Using up some long lost treasures.....

After all the fun I had with my sister making cards last weekend and, after discovering a sheet of Spring/Easter die cuts that I have had for years and had squirreled away, I decided that I really should make a few more cards.... this time in readiness to send at Easter.

The die cut sheet I had was designed by Debbie Mumm who I followed very closely when I first learned to quilt as she has written many quilting books. (Most of which I have on the bookshelf in my sewing room!)

I ran the card stock through my printer to print the outside greeting and also to add a greeting to the inside of the card.  The designs are very simple and mainly involved cutting and sticking which was easy to do and very therapeutic.  As with quilting/stitching the most difficult part was picking the colours and then positioning the pieces to make them look balanced (some are more successful than others).

There are a few cards which did not use the die cuts but other stickers and bits and pieces which I have had tucked away for a long time!  Surprising what you can find when you look in the right places!!

One of the Easter cards was made from a card I had made last weekend but hadn't felt entirely happy with. I had stamped the image too high on the card, so I cut it out and re-purposed it! I like it better now!  If you are interested in looking at the cards in greater detail there are individual photographs on my handmade card page.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Still practising.....

Last year I dedicated a lot of time to practising my free motion quilting and I was extremely pleased with the progress that I made.  So, I am sure you will understand that I am very keen not to lose touch with the techniques I have learned to date.

However, the only quilting I have done since the beginning of the year are two little practise quilts made as a result of Lori Kennedy's challenge at the end of one of her Craftsy classes.

That was until recently, when I decided to revisit another Craftsy class I have followed taught by Christina Cameli.  Previously, when I followed along with Christina's 'Wild Quilting' class I didn't have the confidence to try out some of the techniques she taught but, now that I am feeling much more capable with my free motion quilting, I decided to try out mixing together some of the different motifs to make a background quilt pattern.

I mixed together pebbles, spirals and leaves and I really like how they look together. I really love the texture.

They were a lot of fun to quilt too, so I shall definitely be trying out some more combinations of motifs.

I have also just received a copy this wonderful new book I ordered.  It is written by Lori Kennedy and is called 'Free Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3'. It brings together over sixty of Lori's delightful quilting designs in one place. I can't wait to get back to my machine and try some of them out!!  In case you are wondering what happens to the practise pieces or, perhaps you have some practise pieces that you don't know what to do with, Lori has also just written a blog post with a nice idea how to use them up..... I think I may give this a try!