Monday, 29 November 2010

Getting ready for Christmas

Christmas is creeping up on us..... and I have made a start on my Christmas present making. By it's very nature I can't share much here, but there's a few things I can show you. I'm also going to update my slideshow with some cards I made for last Christmas and some other photos I found on my camera before I wiped it!

To start with I spent yesterday morning finishing off four cushions: two for James, and two for Jane (guess who's is which!)

Firstly two pirate cushions. Both are the same so here is a picture of back and front. The pirate fabric came from Harrogate and the spotty and stripey fabrics came from the Fat Quarters. The cushions have envelop backs to I don't have to do any slip stitching, and so they are easier to wash (vital for a three-year-old!).

The pink ones are inevitably for Jane. The pattern came from a summer issue of Qutmaker magazine, and I have been collecting up fabrics to make a quilt of the same pattern but in blues and browns (with cream instead of black). The pink fabrics came from Linda, as I only needed a1.5inch strip of each colour, so she got back nearly a full fat quarter. The black is a tied dyed effect and came from the Fat Quarters. I have quilted both cushion covers - my first attempt at machine quilting - using an orange peel motif. I am thilled with the result - I hope Jane is too.

After the first failed attempt at making a mobile phone case for Vicky (the phone was just a bit too big - the case was fine - it was the phone's fault) i have now comleted a replacement (on the left).

The one on the right is a joint birthday present - it is a phone sock for Aunty Barbara (Aunty Barbara's birthday present) which will stop her using an actual sock to protect her phone (birthday present for Benjamin who seems to be a bit embarrased!). The one for Vicky is exactly the same as the original, but a little bigger. For Aunty Barbara's I used some fabric I got at Harrogate - I bought two fat quarters, one with a small print pattern and a matching one with a larger print. I used the smaller print pattern for the back of the case and the beinding round the top, then cut out a single motif from the large print pattern and appliqued it to the front.

Having already mentioned that it was recently Aunty Barbara's birthday, there was of course also a card: this stargazer lily design came from Cross Stitch Collection over the summer. I've already stitched a slightly smaller design from the same collection and I bought the fabric (turquoise 22hpi linen) in hope of stitching the main, larger design.

Will keep you updated as and when I make something that I am able to share this side of Christmas.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

I have been very busy, but I cant share a lot with you at the moment, because a lot of my current and recently comlpeted projects are Christmas presents or birthday presents - it'll be one hell of an update after Christmas!

I can share some patchwork blocks. Firstly one of the blocks that I am stitching by hand - I've completed two and I'm half way through a third:

The corner triangles are brown and haven't come out well. Each block wil be the same and I hope to make approx 20 and create a lap quilt.

This second block is the first mystery quilt block of the month from The Fat Quarters. We get a different block each month and Linda, Barbara and I are each doing it, but with different fabrics: This is my one. I didn't enjoy the Y-seams very much, but the end result is lovely. The next pattern, which we picked up yesterday, seems a tad more complex! No Y-seams but far more pieces.

Today's plan is to make up some Christmas presents. I an share these ones, because Im sure the recipients won't look at my blog! I need to make a couple of cushions in pink and black: I bought the black fabric yesterday and borrowed the pinks from Linda, who has quite the collection. The second pair of cushions will be pirate themed for James, and very colourful!

And you can also see the results of the secret project I'd been working on earlier this year. Take a look at the Fat Quarters website:

I was stitching 12 months worth of these angels: in the picture you can see February (front) and January.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Small Update

It's been a while, but I don't have a lot to report by way of finished pieces. I've been working on some quite large projects recently, and that means that I've made progress on a few things, but I haven't actually finished anything.

The quilt that I'm stitching by hand has had a bit of a revival. i was struggling with it because I couldn't get the seams to align. I've now started redrawing the stitch lines on each piece as I cometo it and it was remarkable how, despite using the same template to draw around, each piece was rather inaccurate. It also explains why the seams weren't aligning! I've now successfully complete two 12"blocks and made a start on a third and I'm really enjoying it - I can do it all from the sofa, rather than having to sit at the table with a sewing machine, which is really nice. Once I've completed a few more blocks, I;ll take some photographs and share the progress.

Our local fabric shop, The Fat Quarters (Blackhall Mill), started a new block of the month this month. We went along to the shop on the second Saturday in October, paid £5 and got the pattern for the first block (12"). We'll go back on the second Saturday of November, prove that we've made the first block, then get the pattern for the second block free. Me, Linda and Aunty Barbara all handed over our £5. Linaand I had intended to use fabric from our stash, but the end result will be twelve blocks that we stitch together to make a small quilt. In order to maintain some degree of continuity (as each block will have a different design) we decided that we would pull it together using the same fabrics, so we bought a new selection - 1meter of the background fabric, then half meters of four other patterns. I chose pastel greens and pinks, which will look really fresh and summary - Linda bought the fabric for me as my Christmas Present. Linda chose greens and purples, but unusual shades, and her first block looked stunning. I bought Linda's fabrics has her Christmas. We convinced Aunty Barbara to have a go and her fabric was her Christmas present - she picked blues, reds and creams. Last Sunday we all went to Aunty Barbara's and we all made our blocks together. All three looked stunning. And we all successfully managed to complete Y seams for the first time!

In the meantime I've also been working on Charlotte (the Elegance desin by John Clayton from Heritage). I'm making good in-roads with her hat, though it's a lot of counting - I've tacked in grid lines which has really helped. I've also worked on the Jazz music piece, but that is slow going. And yesterday I completed my first Christmas card - a small design by Margaret Sherry, that I won't show you a photo of until after Christmas!

At some point soon I'll have to start Unlce Terry's birthday present. My concern is, that because it is quite Christmassy in style, I won't want to stitch it come January....but I have quite a few works in progress already.... I also want to stitch the quilt for James..... so many projects, so little time.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

September's Work

Another month is over and a few more projects have been completed. I haven't finished as much this month as some other months, but larger projects have been started and not yet finished, plus I spent a week working on a secret project for Debbie from Letters Tied With Blue.... more information will come, but not yet.

The first thing to show you is a bit of a cheat, because I actually stitched it whilst on holiday in Sidmouth in August, but I only mounted and finished it off today: it's a small picture of swallow in a tattoo style that was originally a cover kit on cross stitcher. Instead of stitching it on the provided 14hpi fabric it stitched it on 22hpe hardanger fabric to minimise the pixalated effect. I've stitched it for Steph's birthday, so hopefully she doesn't look at this blog, cause she won't actually get the card till Tuesday!

It was Natasja and Ruben's wedding last weekend (I stitched the hardanger ring pillow for them), so I stitched a wedding card. It was a design downloaded from Creative Poppy Patterns and was designed by Faby Reilly. The design is stitched on 28hpi white evenweave in DMC threads, included variegated and metallic and embellished with three gold beads. It also included to speciality sticthes, and although the majority of the design was cross stitche, back stitch and half cross stitch, there was also a Rhodes Heart and some lazy daisy. The end result was gorgeous and very stylish - definitely one to stitch again!

And finally a house-warming present for my nephew. Phil, Jane and James moved into their new house on Friday and this morning I finished off a name sign for his bedroom door. It's from a recent issue of Cross Stitch Collection (designed by Lucie Heaton I think), and I stitched it on white 28hpi aida in DMC threads. Unfortunately th colours used mean that J, A, M and E were in one colour scheme and the S was in a slightly different one. Once I'd finished the cross stitch I wasn't sure about it as it didn't seem to hold together very well. I made it into a quilt with some pale green fabric (very close in colour to DMC 772) that I had bought at the show in Harrogate, but still wasn't happy with it once I'd pieced it. I put the wadding behind it then quilted a red (DMC 350)running stitch line between the design and the edge of the evenweave, which introduced more red into the design, which previously was only really on the S - this pulled the design together a lot. I then did a row of blue (DMC 996) running stitch on the green fabric round the edge of the design. Once finished these two lines of stitching made all the difference, and I was far happier with the end result that I had been earlier in the process. When finishing off the tabs, I attached the quilt to a plastic hanger, making it easy to hang - this is another brainwave I am very please with and may well use again.

So those are the finished pieces from the month. I continue with the Elegance design of Charlotte by John Clayton, and of course, a lot of time spent on the secret mission. Last night I also started a new project - this time a commission. It's a picture of jazz musicians silhouetted against a musical stave. Most of the design is in black, but with gold instruments. Needless to say, that much black is already quite boring.... it may take a while to complete with a lot of other projects in between. I will of course, keep you all updated.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

USB Located

I have now located a USB cable and here are the photos of the too-small mobile phone cases - despite size issues, they are very pretty.

This is the front of Vicky's mobile phone case - it's plain dye purple fabric, then I used a rubber stamp to put on the daisies, then stitched over them in DMC 210 - there were an awful lot of French knots....

Here is the back of the phone case. I haven't actually done anything to it, but I just loved the fabric so much I had to share it - I bought it as a 20p scrap from the Mill in Barton (I still have some left over), and it was only when I came to use it that I realised we had bought the same design of fabric, but in red, to go in Mum's tablecloth.

And this is the front of the second mobile phone case (ye to be checked for size). The fabrics are off-cuts from the cupcake quilt (picked by Steph). The flower design is stamped on the contrasting fabric (that I've also used for the back), then I attached the patch with blanket stitch in yellow.

The back is thoroughly unintersting... so no photo.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Harrogate and more

At the start of the month we (Linda, Aunty Judith and me) went down to Harrogate for the big quilt show. Despite an unnecessary diversion through Richmond on the way there we had a fantastic day. It was our first visit and was fantastic - I could have spent so much money on fabrics... so many pretty colours.... I came home with a fair few fat quarters (but didn't pay full proce for any of them) and stocked up on calico and wadding. I also found some fantastic pirate fabric - I don't quite know what I'm going to do with it, but it's perfect for James (aged 2 and a half) and Michael (aged 25 and a half)! Next year I am going to go with a specific project in mind and buy some of the gorgeous colours.

I can't find the cable to dowload the photos from my camera (again), but I've also completed a coupl of mobile phone cases: one for Vicky (which doesn't actually fit the phone) and one for Steph (yet to be tested for size). I've made a start on a case for my embroidery frame, I've made a start on Charlotte from John Clayton's Elegance range (Heritage), and I've made a start on James's name sign, but as yet, these aren't finished, and have taken a bit of a back seat whilst I work on a top secret project for Debbie (Letters Tied with Blue). Updates will follow...

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Finally, time for an update

Firstly, apologies for the delay in the lastest post. I've been meaning to post some photos for a while, but I've ony just located a USB cable with which to download them. Having found the necessary cable, I can now provide an update.

Towards the end of July I started stitching a small picture of Humphrey the elephant, from Humphrey's corner. This was a first birthday present for Alexander. Unforunately, it wasn't finished until mod August (his birthday being the end of July), and he won't actually get it until mid September, but for everyone else, here is a sneaky look. I made it up into a small quilt with some green fabric I had bought because I like it a few months ago and turned out to be an excellent match, and some yellow fabric, that I bought for a project that never really happened. I didn't find it the most enjoyable thing to stitch - the backstitch was unnecessarily detailed and although the sketchy nature of it adds to the design, I felt there was no need to do it in three marginally different shades of grey - I cheated a little, but I don't think it takes anything away from the finished picture. I think I'll stick to Pooh in the future!
On the same day that I finished off Humphrey I made a concerted effort to finish off the heart quilt that I have been working on since the last bank holiday weekend. I finished all the patchwork, embroidery and quilting a while ago and just needed to do the binding. Here it is finished. I have fallen in love with it and it proved to be very difficult to hand it over! I'm going to make one for myself!

Whilst we were on holiday I did manage to get some cross stitch done: I stitched a birthday card for my sister-in-law, but I won't share it till October, so she can't get a sneaky peak. I also stitched a 21st birthday card for my cousin-in-law Vicky (I'm hoping no one will show her this blog between now and a week on Tuesday!). The design came from Cross Stitcher and the cherry on top of the cupcake is a bright red button.

When we got back from Holiday I started stitching my Uncle's 60th birthday card. A few months ago I told him I wanted to stitch him something as a birthday present, and he struggled to decide between two kits: the first was a Dimensions kit called Holy Family - a stained glass window effect design of Mary, Joseph and Jesus stitched on black aida (I would never had picked it). He picked this one in the end and I have ordered the kit an, because he wanted it smalled, the 18hpi black aid to replace the 14hpi in the kit! The alternative was a Heritage Stitchcraft Kit from the Trios collection of three puffins. I've already stitched this design once - for my Grandad. Since his death it has hung in our own hallway. Although Uncle Terry eventaully decided on the Holy Family design, because I already had the pattern for the Puffins, I've stitched one of the three on some mottled blue DMC 28phi linen as a birthday card.

The next thing I stitched also has a story behind it. Back in August/September 2001 I stitched a small design from Coross Stitched of a girl wearing a green dress and carrying a doll, adapted into cross stitch from a drawing by Kate Greenaway. I don't know what attracted me to this design, but I just love it. It's framed in a pine frame and has sat on my dressing table ever since. Just a few weeks ago Mum happened to mention that she too loved this picture. I decided to stitch it for her as a thank you for our holiday. It was a joy to stitch it again, and this time I did it in the correct threads, rather than the closest I had in 2001. It was amazing how much brighter some of the colours were. Here are pictures of both of the girls in green, firstly the one from nine years ago, and then the one from this month.

The final piece of cross stitch that I have completed in August was a design from the current issue of Cross Stitch Collection. In one of the earlier posts you'll see a birthday card for my Godmother of purple poppies. In the current issue a companion piece was published showing star gazer lillies on a turquoise blue fabric. I fell in love with the main design, but decided to stitch only one of the small companion designs. It's stitched on 22hpi evenweave in turquoise blue over one thread in 2 strands of DMC cotton and came out beautifully. I've mounted it as a card and sent it to Jen's mum as a a thank you for the hospitality she showed us over the weekend of the wedding. I'm looking forward to stitching the main design already.

The final project completed in August was a piece of patchwork. Another long story.... The Wednesday we were on holida Mum and I were wandering around the town when the heavens opened. We ducked into a newsagents that happened to have a very good selection of patchwork magazines. I was flicking through one when mum stopped me and fell in love with a patchwork table cloth in gorgeous yellows. So we bought the magazine, and when we got back to mum and dad's we vistited the local fabric shop and bought a selection of yellow and brown fabrics. When mum and dad came to visit we went to Just Quilting and completed the selection with a beautiful reddy fabric and some more yellows and browns. In the intervening fortnight I decided to have a practice at the technique and made up a nine-block patchwork piece in blues, greys and purples (the final yellow piece will be 154 blocks). Here is a photo: I haven't finished it off (I'll make it up into a cushion), but I have pieced it and quilted it successfully - it was just as well, as I gave Mum a really good idea of how a finished piece would look.

Just to be clear: the design is 6inch squares of patterned fabric with a "sliver" cut off one side to made it trapezoid. To each piece you then attached a "sliver" in a contrasting colour. In the piece above I used plain grey fabric for the slivers. For Mum's I'll use three different cream fabrics for the slivers.

So that was August. I'll try to do more regular updates for September, but here's a sneaky peak - John Clayton's Elegance series for Heritage stitchcraft, an animal quilt and name plate for my nephew, a case for my embroidery frame and a wedding card.... not to foget the yellow tablecloth for mum (I've already made a start on cutting the fabric)...

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Smaller Stitching for July

And in between the larger projects I've shared below, I've done a few smaller cards:

This was a graduation card for my brother Robin, who graduated from York in July. It's stitched on marbelled blue 28hpi cashel linen from DMC (Vintage Blue 5139) in Anchor threads (with some DMC threads!). It's a Margaret Sherry desing from Cross Stitcher Issue 189, p 30.

This was the wedding card to go with the memory book for Jen and Geoff. The celtic knot border came from the World of Cross Stitching, Issue 162, p. 55 (no. 40), though I changed the colours slightly (blues: 158, 794, 3807; greens: 369, 368, 370; outline in dark purple 550). It was stitched in DMC threads on a hand-dyed lilac 28hpi evenweave from Kates Kloths. The charm in the centre was from a shop called Bead Lagoon in Sidmouth, Devon.

And finally this patchwork owl from The World of Cross Stitching, Issue 167, p45 (Subscribers extra). It hasn't photgraphed brillinatly but it's stitched on antique white 28hpi evenweave in (mostly) Anchor threads.
I stitched it for Linda, just because I thought of her when I saw it.
I also started a new quilt at a class at Just Quilting. I'm going to call it my Rhubarb and Custard quilt (that should give you some idea of the colours). But I intend to do a bit more of it before I share it with you!
This is it for July - not bad! I already have a list of projects lined up for August, but first I have a week in Sunny Devon with fantastic music (an of course, a bit of cross stitch)!


So, in a previous post I promised Hardanger. Having tried a very small piece back in May I was encouraged to try something bigger, before risking the ring pillow I had promised my friend for her wedding.

A couple of years back, Linda bought me a hardanger kit by Polstitches called Winter Snowflake. It's very luxurious: stitched in 28hpi Jobelan evenweave called Sky High (hand dyed) in White SA Perle no. 8 (also from Polstitches), DMC Perle no. 12, Polstitches Sky High Perle no. 8, 032 Kreinik very fine braid, Rajmahal art silk 201 and embellished with white pearl beads and Mill Hill Petite Glass beads no. 42010.

So that was a success and I was ready to risk the ring pillow. The design is from Col's Creations. It's stitched in 28phi white quaker cloth in Perle threads nos 8 and 12 and DMC Stranded cotton, finished with Gutermann Pearl beads. The central hearts were sticthed round in Kloster Blocks and finished with woven bars. There were Kloster blocks between each heart. The flowers are stitched in cross stitch. There is then a diagonal border stitched in Buttonhole Stitch - I have never had to unpick anything so many times as this border, but two five-hour car journeys meant that I managed to get it done finally. The three hearts in each corner are Rhodes hearts and were a joy to stitch and very effective. There is then an outer border of Kloster blocks and woven bars: there are 300 woven bars, each was wrapped with 14 stitches - that means 4200 stitches just on the woven bars. This then is embellished with a pearl bead on each intersection (100 beads in the border alone). On the original pattern there was then another border of buttonhole stitches. Having started this I found it to be very heavy and very difficult to get the tension even. Following detailed discussion with Aunty Mary and Ber, it was decided that this border was too much. Instead I did a back stitch border - it looked far more in keeping with the delicate nature of the rest of the design.

The ring pillow was for friends Natasja and Ruben, and they had asked if I could put their names and the date onto the ring pillow somehow. I decided that to put this information on the front would ruin the delicate and well balanced nature of the design. I had bought enough fabric to to do the back of the cushion as well and decided to embroider the names and dates there. I had hoped to do it in white thread, but it really didn't work, so I used the green thread from the flowers on the front to write their names and the date, then finished it off with a small white heart in satin stitch, 6 Rhodes hearts and a running stitch border.
To finish off the pillow, I attached a 12inch length of narrow white silk ribbon to the centre of the front, then back the front with a piece of silky white fabric. I machine stitched the two sides together, turned it out and stuffed it with polyester stuffing. I slip-stitched the gap together then attached cord around the edges (which was suprisingly easier than I had thought).

The finished result is 9inch square and really striking. It looks very delicate and crisp. Natasja and Ruben were thrilled with the end result and appropriately appreciative of the number of stitches in the woven bars!

Memory Book

Well, it has been a month since my last post and I have been very busy. I started off the month working on the memory book for Jen and Geoff as a wedding present. The colour scheme of the wedding was purple and back in March I had bought some lovely purple and green coordinating fabrics from the patchwork shop at the Mill in Barton. The poem I used was one written for the marriage of Jen's great grandparents in the 1880s and has been read at every family wedding since, so it was a very special piece to use. I chose DMC threads to match the colours on the fabrics, calico as the pages and a smal piece of dark purple fabric for some of the pockets, then added Mill Hill beads in white and pinky-purple and some mother-of-pearl buttons in two sizes to complete the memory book. I used stamps from Letters Tied with Blue throughout.

Here's the front cover of the book. The ribbon round the spine was a perfect match to the purples in the fabric and came from the Sewing Box in Morpeth. I couldn't believe how lucky I was to find it.

On the inside of the cover you can see the green fabric with the same patter as the purple, and the diagonal pocket was cut from a different section of the purple fabric used on the fron - it was amazing the change in the pattern over a fat quarter of the fabric.

The dark purple on the left page is a pocket and I attached some beads to the right hand corner.

This was my favourite double page spread, with the matching borders on left and right stamped with stamps from Letters Tied with Blue, and then highlighted with embroidery and beads.

The green heart uses the fabric from the inside cover and is attached with heat and bond, then I did a backstitch round the stamped edge of the design in dark green and then blanket stitch in light green round the very edge.

This is the centre page with one large pocket across the bottom, split with the centre seam. The green fabric is embellished with litte groups of the white beads, that have taken up the colour of the green, and also with a group of buttons.

This was the page that caused me the most problems, as before the buttons it looked quite dull. I was very pleased (and relieved) with the difference the buttons made!

The pockets on this page are made from the two fabrics used for the cover (purple on the outside and green on the inside) and once again show the variety of pattern and colour in one fabric print.

Here's the inside back cover, also with a diagonal pocket

And finally here is the back cover. The photos are printed on cotton that has a backing and goes through a normal ink jet printer (thank you Linda). I had to use heat and bond to attach them and then I did blanket stitch round the edge and embroidered the date

And the best part was: Jen and Geoff were thrilled with it! It was a wonderful success. Thank you to Debbie, at Letters Tied with Blue, for first introducing us to the memory book technique!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

First weekend in July: Memory book and Hardanger

Well, another weekend is nearly over. Last weekend was very busy and I didn't get a lot of sewing done, but a lot of baking....

When I got back on Sunday night, I made a start on the July stitching: I started a kit from Polstitches - Winter Snowflake - which is a hardanger kit. My previous attempts at hardanger have had mixed success. I first tried it about 15 years and had an absolute disaster! I then did a very small piece back in April and had more success.... So this was my first practice piece before embarking on the Ring Pillow for Tasj and Ruben's wedding. I want to get the ring pillow completed by Jen and Geoff's wedding on 24th July, as we probably won't get to Tasj and Ruben's wedding, and it would be far better if we could hand it over in person, rather than entrust it to the British and Dutch postal systems.... I've nearly finished the Polstitches kit now - I did the stitching very quickly and then took a little more time over the cutting: I only cut one thread incorrectly and was able to salvage it with the wrapping. The wrapping is also taking some time because I'm being careful with the tension.

The other project for the weekend was making a start on Jen and Geoff's wedding present: a memory book. I had planned it out before and hadn't been happy with it, so this was my second attempt. I used stamps from Letters Tied with Blue and some brown ink. I planned the book yesterday morning, and embarked upon it yesterday afternoon. By the time I went to bed I had completed 4 of the 12 pages and I was very pleased with them. I am currently half way through the third page.

As soon as these projects are completed I will, of course, post lots of photos!

Friday, 25 June 2010

So, I appreciate that it has been a while since my last post regarding current work, but I have been very busy, and I have lots of new pieces to show you, some of which I couldn't post photos of earlier, in case people saw presents before they were given!

First fo all, the cup cake quilt that you have heard about but not yet seen is finished:
It's the biggest piece I have ever completed and measures 36inches (90cm) square. The crazy patchwork blocks were machine pieces, then the applied is stuck on with bondaweb, then I've done hand blanket stitch around every piece (the cupcakes and the writing at the top of the quilt). Around the edge of the design is the cupcake recipe, hand embroidered in backstich, and I have hand quilted in decorative running stitch around each of the nine panels. The quilt is finished off with a pearly button to top each cupcake.

As well as my beautiful quilt, I have been doing cross stitch. First some brithday cards as June is quite the busy month:

This is a Margaret Sherry design from the subscriber only pages of Cross Stitcher. It's stitched in Anchor threads on a piece of hand dyed 14hpi pink aida from Kates Kloths.

This was a birthday card for Jane.

This was a design that I have stitched before - it came as a cover kit on an issue of Cross Stitcher last year, and I stitched it as a birthday card then as well. This one is stitched on white 28hpi evenweave in Anchor threads and is for Aunty Margaret

Aunty Chris's birthday card: this design came from Cross Stitch Collection and is stitched on pale blue 14hpi aida in Anchor threads with some beads in the middle. The same feature on the magazine had a much larger design of the same style, and I would love to stitch that some day for myself....

And finally, this birthday card was for Granny. The pattern was stamped onto calical (the stamp os from letters tied with Blue) and then wadding was placed behind the calico and the design stitched in backstitch.

But I haven't just been stitching birthday cards. When I first thought about stitching the map pf Bedfordshire for Dad that I completed in April, I had wanted to combine Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire as one map - unfortunately, the two were designed at a different scale, making this as good as impossible.

So, having stitched the Bedfordshire Map for Dad's birthday, I made a start on the Hertfordshire map for Father's day. And here it is

As you can see, I have completed it as quilt using the same fabrics as for Bedfordshire. I had no idea how many places in Hertforshire began with the letter B, but I was sick of stitching it by the end!

This was a chart from Heritage Stitchcraft, and I stitched it on 28hpi ivory linen in DMC threads.

Due a small mistake in the cutting, the design wasn't central to the quilt, so I did a bit of quick thinking, and the text you can see (but probably can't quite read) on the left hand side of the design (vertically) is the motto of Hertfordshire - this addition just helped in re-centering the design, and meant that I didn't have to undo the quilt piecing I had already done - I think it finished the piece off quite nicely, and I am certainly not upset that I cut it wrong in the first place.

As if this wasn't sufficient, I then started another Heritage map of the Isle of Man. Some friends of ours have strong links with the Island, and a long time ago I bought the chart knowing how much they would love it, but I only just got round to starting it. I knew I would see them this weekend, so the deadline was set....

Despite totally underestimating how much work was involved in this piece, both of the maps were nearly finished by last weekend. All I needed to do was make them up into the quits. Two evening - no problem. Yeah, right.

At ten o'clock on Tuesday I had done all of the machine pieceing, the nad quilting and the pressing, but I hadn't finished off the edge properly.

It was lucky that I had a three hour train journey to come down to Mum and Dad's on the Wednesday evening - both quilts were finished before the train got to York! Not bad!

I gave the Isle of Man Map to Roger last night, and he was over the moon with it! It makes all the hard work worthwhile.

That's it for the moment - I do of course have other things in the pipeline - I can promise memory books, hardanger and a bit more patchwork in the near future. Watch this space!

Catch Up

I am staying with Mum and Dad this weekend, which has given me the opportunity to photograph some pieces that I stitched in the past. So before bringing you right up to date, we'll take a trip down memory lane first!

I stitched this map of Pembrokeshire for Dad as a present for Christmas 2005 - this was my first attempt at the Heritage Stitchcraft Maps of British Counties, and as you will have seen (and will see) I still enjoy stitching them. The design is stitched on ivory 28hpi evenweave in DMC threads.

This piece goes back even further. I stitched it as a Christmas present for Mum for Christmas 2001. The kit is by Derwentwater Designs and the design is stitched on white 14hpi aida in DMC threads, with some sparkly bits...

I designed this one myself for Dad - I think it was a father's day card - maybe June 2005.

These flowers were one of my very first pieces - unfortunately I haven't dated it, but I would guess at the mid 1990s... I think the design cam from a magazine that's now been discontinued, but I can't quite remember - maybe one day I'll go back through my old magazines and find the design.

And finally a bookmark I made for Mum - it came from a Cross Stitcher magazine and was designed by Joan Elliot

There ends the trip down memory lane.

Monday, 31 May 2010

As Promised...

As promised on Saturday morning, here is a final update of the bank holiday weekend. It is now bedtime, and this is the last thing I'm going to do before sleeping.

On the birthday card front, I have not succeeded. Although I have made excellent progress with Aunty Margaret's birthday card, it is, as yet, unfinished. I should get it done this week, as there's not a lot of cross stitch still to go and the backstitch is fairly simple.

That is where failure ends! As already reported, huge progress has been made on the cupcake quilt: it is now fully pieced and tacked to the batting. I have also quilted round four panels in running stitch in DMC 3863 (mid brown). I haven't done any more of it today, and I'm not going to post a photoof it till it is complete. I hope to call in at the shop in Burrandon one night this week to pick up some extra fabric for the binding, if they still have it in stock.

As proven with yesterday's photos, my mobile phone has a snug new home, which I am very pleased with.

Today I needed to take a look at Jane's birthday present, a bag made from Tinkerbell fabric. I found a pattern on line a few weeks ago from another Blog

I made it up then in some brown flowered fabric for me, working on the basis, that if it was a disaster, then I wouldn't have wasted the fabric I had bought specifically for Jane (which is covered in small pictures of Tinkerbell). The first attempt was a huge success, though the end result quite small, and the first time I had ever tried anything like it. So, I got the pattern enlarged to 200% (thanks Linda). And at 4 o'clock this afternoon I made a start. Despite near disaster (again), I cut all the pieces from the Tinkerbell fabric and the lininig fabric and made a start. At 10.30pm I finished it with two silver buttons.

This photo doesn't show it at it's best, because it's dark fabric, but I am thrilled with the end result. I hope Jane will be too. I have a little fabric left over, so mak make a mobile phone case as well - I don't think I'll be using the fabric for a lot else!

Yesterday I mentioned "the next project" and promised more details today. About a month ago, Linda asked if I could put something together as a gift for her neighbours, who are moving. She wanted something with the following words on it "Bless this home with love and laughter". I had had a think, and been inspired by a quilt we had seen at Just Quilting, made up of a patchwork block of 4 inch squares with a small heart appliqued in the centre of each piece. I adapted this, and made a central panel of 16 3inch squares in 5 different fabrics, and I have attached a small heart so the centre of each piece. I've used calicol to create a border 3 inches wide and a sixth fabric to create cornerstones. I have four big buttons that I'll attach in the corners, I'll blanket stitch round the hearts and then running stich to quilt round them as well, then all around the edge I shall embroider the words that Linda requested at the beginning.

Here is a photo of the quilt so far - unfortunately the colours aren't coming out well, but they are greens, brown, a pinky, reddy beige mix and then a deep red for the corner pieces

So, that is the full report of my bank holiday weekend - except that I've just placed an order for all the goodies to do a Hardanger ring cushion for a friends wedding in September.....