Monday, 26 March 2012

A Workshop on stitching and texture

Last Tuesday, I attended the Country Roads’ Quilters Group . Again, it felt as if I had been to Holland for the day, the sun was shining as I navigated my way across dykes and past windmills. It felt as if I was miles away from home and it felt very carefree!

The group had asked Angel Daymond to take a workshop entitled Stitching for Texture. It was a workshop that went at a quick pace. We were allowed no more than 20 minutes on each of the samples. I have to say that this was brilliant, as at no point could you think to yourself that you couldn't do it, or that it wasn't perfect. You just had to get your head down and do your best.
My book is not yet completed and requires sewing together and the buttons sewn on, but you get a general idea of what we were hoping to achieve.
So here are my samples...

This was a good design as it had the structure of the boxes in a grid system, yet there was movement in the random stitching done by hand.

The second page of the book used a straight vertical line and then we had to fill these lines in using a variety of stitching. On the left are triangles/kites, the middle line is FMQ and I am very proud of being able to achieve this squiggly line! The third line is a variation on the box theme. These lines could be interspersed by hand stitched vertical lines. (I just haven't had the time to do this quite yet!)

The next pattern was using machine stitching to create a regular, yet random quilting line. This was very easy to do and came together quickly.

As I can stitch in straight lines then I could make a pattern of overlapping boxes!

The above pattern was a lot easier than I thought it would be. You simply place and pin circle templates onto the fabric and then quilt up to the edge of the circle. The lines aren't straight but then I don't think that it matters. To finish off this sample I need to do hand stitching in a random manner within the circles. This will make the circle edges become more defined. This is a useful pattern to highlight any template you wanted...heart, triangle, ovals etc. The possibilities are endless.
This final pattern is a machine sewn grid that is embellished with a hand stitched running stitch lines.

Now do you want to see the look of concentration on my face...? Yes... it was eyes down and keep sewing. The pace was quite terrifying. I didn't finish all the hand stitching but at least I managed the machine sewing! 
The aim of the workshop was to end up with a simple book that shows a variety of quilting techniques. The samples combined both machine stitching and hand stitching to create texture. Once I complete the book I can use it as a reference booklet when deciding what type of quilting I would like to use. I think that the days of doing a 1/4" line each side of the block line are over!!! I am going to throw caution to the wind...

Do you remember this quilt?
Psychedelic quilt
Well I have it all layered up and ready to go... now which sample stitching should I choose?

Di xo

Sunday, 25 March 2012

I'm IT - twice over

Well I have been tagged, not once but twice. I think that the second time around was because I had been slow to post about the first tag! Let that be a lesson to you all...

I was tagged by Tanya of Second Chance Tan a couple of weeks ago and she posed me a few questions. I have tried to answer them as truthfully as possible below. When I was tagged I then thought of who I would tag. I emailed my ‘victims’ selected people and then waited to see if they were willing to be tagged. In the meantime Judith of Just Jude tagged me, so now I have 22 questions to answer!

These are the questions asked by Tanya with the answers.

1. What is the meal and/or cake you most regularly cook?
I have two teenage boys who are always hungry and are never full so I regularly cook lasange and a chilli. I like to surprise them with a mid week roast too when I am feeling benevolent!

2. If you had a totally free weekend coming up (and a decent amount of cash in your wallet) what would you choose to do with the time?

I would go to the beach with a picnic if it was warm. I just love the fresh air and not having to DO anything but just BE. If it was winter I would like to fly to somewhere warm... perhaps Australia to see my cousins! I really don’t like winter!!!!

3. What have you made that you are most proud of?
My first quilt (see my banner). I made it this time last year by following a QAL and really didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing. It now lives at the end of my bed. It still gives me a thrill every time that I look at it.

4. What makes you happy?
Just chilling with my family and not having to be the one to cook dinner.

5. What tip would you give me?
Live for the day, as you can never know what is around the corner. 

6. What was your best moment of the past year?
Seeing my son do well in his GCSEs, despite being ill for most of the previous year.

7. What would you recommend as your favourite book?
I used to read ferociously, but in recent years I have lost my zest for reading. I look at a lot of quilting books but to actually sit down and read, then I guess it would be the bible.
8. Are you afraid of anything?
My pet hate is to walk into a room when it is dark and the curtains are not pulled. Silly, irrational, but true.
9. What is your favourite drink?
Why a cup of tea!

10. What colour should I decorate my loft bedroom?
Go neutral and then you can put you lovely makes there and show them off to best effect!

11. What's your best time saving advice?
I am not a great lover of cooking, so if I can cook two or three meals in one go then I will. This then gives me a day of cooking the next couple of days!!!

These are the questions and answers that Judith asked me
1. What is your favourite ice cream flavour/brand?
I am not too keen on ice-cream, so it will have to be good ice-cream or very warm! Knowing that Judith is in Northern Ireland then I would pick a Morellis!
2. What kind of stuff do you like to watch on telly?
I don’t really like the telly. Give me Radio 4 any day!
3. What are your favourite colour combos for fabric at the mo?
I am really liking grey with raspberry.
4. Who in your life do you most admire and why?
I admire people who stand up for their beliefs and will campaign for them. Andrea Minichiello Williams is a woman that I very much admire.
6. What inspired you to first start sewing/quilting?
I was unemployed and at home all day, every day for the first time in my life. One day I thought that as I enjoyed sewing and patchwork as a girl, perhaps this would fill the gap. Now the gap is filled and I have another job!
7. What part of your body do you like the most?
Painted toe nails in the summer with flipflops!
8. Give me an example of something you have made that you are really proud of?
See question 3 above.
9. Would you describe yourself as more of a patchworker or a quilter, or both?
I would describe myself as a beginner but perhaps an aspiring quilter.
10. What has been your favourite decade so far?

Well, I very much enjoyed being young and free in my twenties, but my forties are good despite not having so much energy. I could never party all night and go straight to work like I did when I was in my twenties.
11. What are you most looking forward to this year?
The FQ retreat and Focusfest in Belfast the following weekend!
Now you know why it is good to be in your forties - you can take off and leave hubby and sons to fend for themselves!
Phew are you still with me? 

If you are then I will let you know that I have tagged

Sarah at  Sew Me
Nicky at Mrs Sew and Sow
Jen at Sewlandia

and my questions for you girls are:-
  1. What is your favourite time of day, and why?
  2. What has been the best holiday that you have ever had?
  3. What constitutes a ‘perfect day’ for you?
  4. Where do you sew? Do you have a dedicated room or space?
  5. Are you coming to the FQ retreat in June?
  6. What is your favourite time of year?
  7. What is the best quilting tip that you have been given? (it can be a little one!)
  8. What do you enjoy making the most? (Quilts, bags, pouches etc)
  9. What other things do you do in your spare time?
  10. Are you a ‘neat and tidy’ person or are you happier living with domesticated mess?

Well I'm all tagged out and missing out on sewing time. I will post in the next couple of days to show you what I have been up to on the sewing front...
Di xo

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Liebster Award and a game of tag.

Jen from Sewlandia  has awarded me the Liebster Blog Award. Thank you Jen. I really appreciate it although I know that I am a complete beginner in both the sewing and blog stakes.

So, what is the Liebster Blog Award? The Liebster award (German for favourite) is for bloggers with 200 followers or less. As a recipient of the award, you have the chance to thank and link back to the blogger who gave it to you as well as pass it along to five other deserving blogs. 

 I started my blog as diary of my sewing and quilting journey. The primary purpose is to have a record of my progress and also share it with others. I really enjoy being able to link up with other bloggers and feel that I have blogging friends from the UK and from further afield. I really appreciate the comments that people leave for me on my blog and the help that I receive when I put out a shout.

 Now on to the people I would like to pass the Liebster Award onto are

Nicky at Mrs Sew and Sew
Tanya at Second Chance Tan
Sarah at Sew Me

 Liebster Conventions: 
1. Thank your award presenter on your blog and link back to him/her. 
2. Copy and paste the award to your blog. 
3. Present the Liebster Award to 5 blogs that you think deserve to be recognised. 
4. Let them know by leaving a comment on their blog. 
5. Have faith that your followers will spread the love too!

I have also been tagged twice in the game that is doing the rounds. I have been waiting for permission from the girls I would like to tag before I post. In the meantime, I have been tagged again so I will amalgamate both tags into one tomorrow.

Life has been really busy this end, as the boys are busy with County music, Area music and School music concerts. I've had three School Governor meetings this week and I have also had my patchwork class. Life is whizzing too fast at the moment. I will show you how I have got on with the various classes this weekend, but to give you a little snippet of my sewing progress... 
This is what I was doing on Tuesday at the Country Roads Quilters workshop with Angela Daymond called "Stitching for Texture". It was a brilliant day but before I reveal all I just need to finish some of the hand stitching.

Friday, 16 March 2012

A little bit of sewing...

This week has been zipping by and I have done very little sewing. I have been revisiting a few projects, for example, I have made myself a sewing roll  from Zakka Style. It is exactly the same as the one that I made my Mum, ready for Mothering Sunday this weekend. 
My sewing roll

My sewing roll
I am halfway through making another Ruby tumbling block cushion to match my first one

Ruby Ruby cushion Version 2

We have recently had new sofas (our last ones were really uncomfortable and getting really old) so I want to make some new cushions. 

I am also prepping some 9" sandwich blocks of calico and wadding, ready for next Tuesday as the Country Roads Quilters have a workshop with Angela Daymond called "Stitching for Texture". I will reveal all next week, as I'm not sure as to what exactly we are doing!
Lots of calico squares
Nicki, from mrsssewandsow blog has been encouraging me to do a little hand sewing. I am on my way to finishing this Rose Star Block. Nicki reckons that they are addictive, but I am not so sure! I will keep going though...
Rose Star Block

This weekend we have my folks staying, there is County Jazz Band for elder son, and friends for dinner on both Friday and Saturday evening. I think that if I am not in the car, then I will be in the kitchen!!! I am not a great lover of cooking (I would rather be sewing or reading) so I am going now to cook!

Have a great weekend.
Di xo

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Buying Loot

In last Sunday's Weekly Fabric Update over at Veryberryhandmade, Ali mentioned that Fabric With Love were having a real life fabric sale at Bourne Abbey Church Hall. Bourne is about 25 minutes from where I live, so yesterday morning I headed off to get to Bourne for 10am. I arrived there at just a couple of minutes before10am and there was a queue! The ladies who were serving coffee and holding a raffle, were obviously not used to a queue forming for their coffee mornings, and there was an expectant air as we waited for the doors to be opened. It was a bit of a free for all once we were allowed in... but look at my loot.

The loot

I was very pleased with myself. I hope that my choices include some good basics as I am beginning to get more confident about mixing and matching fabric myself, rather than relying on a charm pack or layer cake.

The pile below just said (shouted) "buy me". The floral fabric is from the Pretty Bird collection from Michael Millar and I just love the gorgeous bold design. 

Carnival contenders

I matched this up with three FQ solids. My plan is to use Katy Jones' Spring Carnival template set to do a little hand sewing when we are away for a few days over Easter. It may not work out but I am pushing my comfort barrier boundaries!

Di xo

Friday, 9 March 2012

Catching Up...

Today I have been trying to catch up with some of the blocks I am making in my Thursday patchwork class. I managed to accomplish two fairly easily. They both went together fairly quickly.

Evening Star

Sister's Choice
This afternoon I have been wasting time trying to figure out how to make a flying geese block by using two squares and one rectangle. I cannot bear trying to piece rows of flying geese using tiny triangles. I just cannot work it out though. I have tried by doing a sample block and checking the size but it just isn't working. Can anyone help me? I know that I am expected to do the block by sewing by hand, but my life is too busy to spend the time doing it. My shoulders are all stiff and I am going to throw the towel in for the afternoon!!!

Di xo

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Small Sewing Delights

Sometimes it is just nice to have a small sewing project as you know that you will finish it in one go. I was given this book Zakka Style as a birthday present. I have leaved through this book many times and I thought that I would have a go at making the sewing roll with pin cushion that is featured on the front page.
Zakka Style
I decided that if it turned out ok then I would give it to my Mum for Mothering Sunday. I was rather pleased as to how it turned out. It was straightforward to do and I like the simplicity of it. 
If you remember, I bought some sewing notions in Liberty when I was up in London last week. This was so that I have a few things to put into the sewing roll.

Once I had completed the sewing roll I still had some time free before the boys came home from school. I can remember making drawstring bags at primary school but couldn't remember how, so using this excellent tutorial from In Color Order  I made a lined drawstring bag to go with the sewing roll.

I am now all ready for Mothering Sunday. My parents are going to be staying with us over that weekend so I get to see my Mum's face when she opens her present. I will then know if she likes it or not!

Di xo

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

A Surprise Win

I am not known for winning any raffle, competition, giveaway etc. 

If our family ever want a chance to win, we always leave it to my younger son as he seems to have the knack (I know about statistical significance etc. but I am talking about perceptions here!). His last win was a £100 worth of driving lessons that he promptly gave to his elder brother for his 17th birthday. See what I mean....

So to say that I was surprised that I have won a giveaway is an understatement, but I have won the recent Very Berry Handmade Blog giveaway. This comprises of a gorgeous set of kitchen storage tins and lovely little pack of ribbons and trims.
(Photo from © DotComGiftShop)

(photo © DotComGiftShop)
I want to thank Ali for hosting the giveaway and for picking my number. Who says it is only younger son that wins anything? My number certainly came up this week!

Di xo

Sunday, 4 March 2012

A day out...

This past Thursday I went up to London to meet some former colleagues for dinner. As I had got a morning train I had plenty of time before we met up to have a little wander around the shops. I went for a little look at the gorgeous fabric  in Liberty and bought these...some needles, pins a ruler and a cross-stitch kit.

Nice things from Liberty

They are for a little sewing project that I have in mind.

I also had a bite to eat at Flat Planet on Great Marlborough Street, just along from Liberty’s. The food was scrummy and for London, prices weren’t bad.

Flat Planet
The interior of Flat Planet
I then went to The Cloth House on Berwick Street and finally to Kleins on Noel Street. It was at Kleins that I found what I was looking for... strong webbing for bag handles. I have a plan for this webbing!

Strong webbing for handles

 It is so nice to be able peruse haberdashery and look at fabric in person. I normally order from the internet as we don’t have these kind of shops around where we live.
I didn’t get home until nearly midnight but I had a great day out. 
Di xo

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Small Blog Meet

Today I am linking up with Lily's Quilts Fresh Sewing Day & Small Blog Meet. It is really exciting to know that I am now part of the blogging community. I have read other peoples’ blogs for six months or more, before finally taking the plunge this month, by having my own blog! Why don’t you  click the link and go and see what everyone else is working on and check out both the small blogs and the 'big girl' ones.
Di xo