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.....

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Sunday Update

Well, here's another update. Last night saw a lot of progress on Aunty Margaret's birthday card - still not finished, but a lot closer than before Eurovision.

This morning I started off with the mobile phone case. The first attempt was not entirely successful - the layers of fabric were perhaps a little too much for the sewing machine, and the magnetic closer made the case a funny shape and had too much potential to scratch the screen. However, like England, I snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with the assitance of a large pair of scissors and some rather fiddly hand stitching, I am quite pleased with the result. More by luck than judgement, the case is sufficiently tight to the mobile to mean that I don't need any kind of closing mechanism.

Here's the front. The fabrics are some of the leftovers from the cupcake quilt. (The green strip around the top was the fiddly hand stitching that rescued the project). The blanket stitch is in Anchor thread no. 42.

Here's a picture of the back:

Following this (eventual) success I returned to the cupcake quilt. I quilted round four of the nine panels.
Then back to Aunty Margaret's card (still not finished) and then onto the next project - I will provide you with more details (and possibly some photos) tomorrow.

Saturday, 29 May 2010


It's just gone six o'clock and we've tidied the patio, tidied the puppies' room, been to the tip, been to Asda and, most importantly, the quilt is now fully pieced. And bigger than expected. And Cross Stitch Gold arrived in the post this morning, which I hadn't been expecting.

Now for Eurovision and an evening of more stitching.

Bank Holiday Plans

So, it's the verys start of the bank holiday weekend. I want to get a lot done.... so If I post here, what I want to do, I'll come back to you on Monday evening and let you know how I've managed. There are a lot of birthday's coming up in June, and I said to myself at the start of May that I would like to get all of those birthday cards completed by the end of May. So, I have one left. It's already started, and is probably another few hours to complete.....

Last weekend Linda and I went to a patchwork course at Just Quilting in Burradon. We made nine 8inch blocks of crazy patchwork using five different fat quartes. In the centre of each block we appliqued a cupcake using a mixture of the same five fat quarters. I also managed to cut all of the sashing and borders, and draw on the pattern that is embroidered on the border - the cupcake recipe! I also used bondaweb to attach the words "Cup Cake" to the top border. I also cut out key squares in another of the five fat quarters. That filled up the six hour course on Saturday. I spent the Sunday and the Monday blanket stitching round all of the cupcakes and the words on the top border. This weekend I would like to piece the quilt together and make some good progress on quilting round each block and doing the embroidery on the border.

Last week I got a new mobile phone. Unfortunately my exitsing mobile phone case doesn't work with the new phone. Some of the fabric left from the cup cake quilt is perfect, so I hope to make a mobile phone case up - the last one I made only took a few hours, so this is perectly achievable.

And then..... I need to make a birthday present for my sister-in-law, I have some Tinkerbell Fabric and a bag pattern (that still needs enlarging)...

So, I will keep you updated and hopefully have some photos to post by the end of the weekend.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Right up to date... 2010

To bring you right up to date here are the pieces I have completed since the start of the year. In previous years you'll have seen that the majority of my pieces are in cross stitch. Since January I have been learning some new techniques and I hope to show that here.

This was the second time that I stitched this Anchor Classic Pooh design (the other one is shown further down this post). A work colleague asked me to stitch it for her niece in New York. It was stitched to a bit of a deadline, and I completed the cross stitch and the quilt within two days. The first time I stitched I substituted the 16hpi fabric in the kit for 32hpi evenweave. For this one, I used the 16hpi - the backstitch was made far easier with a sharp crewel needle. I was also able to do all cross stitch with the threads left over from the first time round.
The red fabric came from a patchwork/quilting shop in Barton-le-Clay, Bedfordshire. This was only the second time I had made a piece up using the quilt technique, and I was very pleased with the result - far better than when I frame them, so I will probably use this technique more and more.
Here is the original version, stitched on 32hpi for Alexander. We picked "Alexander's First Snow" rather than "Christmas". I think the quilt (above) shows the stitching off better

This piece was the first piece I finished as a quilt. The pattern is by Debbie of Letters Tied with Blue (have a look at her website - link on the left) and the words round the edge of the heart say "Everything I am or hope to be I owe to my Mother". The design was stitched in DMC threads on natural calico and the fabric was from Just Quilting in Burradon. Although you can't see it well from the photo, the fabric is a mottled blue and green pattern.
I have to thank Debbie for lots of advice on how to make the quilt up. This was one of the first projects I completed on my new sewing machine (a very simple Janome that just works!)

I did a small piece of complimentary embroidery in DMC 742 on the corner. The piece was a mothers day present for my Mum.

Another quilt (as you can see, I quite enjoy this technique....) The map of Bedfordshire is another design from Heritage Stitchcraft. I stitched on a very loose weave 28hpi ivory linen (I should have backed it with some interfacing so stabilise it). The fabric to make it up into a quilt also came from the patchwork shop in Barton.
I stitched this as a birthday present for my Dad.

And the final large piece of the year so far is this Classic Pooh design from Anchor. Once again, I swapped the fabric for 32hpi evenweave. This was a naming day present for Alexander. I loved stitching this and the pictures came to life with backstitch. However, I could probably live with not doing the back stitch on Eeyores mane again! The colours were also lovely. The small flower you can see above the letter K is cleverly positioned to hide a tiny coffee stain caused by a monstrous Puppy.
Once again the fabric to make up the quilt came from the quilt shop in Barton.
This is one of my favourite cross stitch pieces I have stitched in recent year.
A useful tip when making up the quilts is to use an relatively cheap sheet for the backing fabric - it won't be seen and it will do the job.
In between these projects I have also stitched a number of birthday cards and worked on some of my larger projects: the patchwork quilt, the Wilding Angels from Letters Tied with Blue, and the Michael Powell kit "Harbour Town".
I will hopefully write another blog over the weekend with the birthday cards I have stitch so far this year. Then I will simply be able to regularly update with my current projects.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Some more projects from previous years

So, in order to show more designs that I have completed thus far, I have added a slide show (towards the top left of this page). If you click on this it will link through to the album, where you can see the captions attached to the pictures. I'm hoping to add more information here as well, particular which magazines the designs came from and the materials I used. These projects are mostly cards and small projects, so in today's blog I'm going to share with you some of my larger projects:

This is a Margaret Sherry design from an issue of Cross Stitcher. I've stitched it on mottled blue evenweave in DMC threads. It's not often that I stitch something just for me, but I fell in love with these mice. Unfortunately, a lack of urgency, means that I haven't yet finished it off, but I have bought some beautiul mottled blue fabric, so I may make it up into a small quilt.

These tiffany irises came from an old issue of Cross Stitch Crazy. I think it's designed by Maria Diaz. Aunty Barbara cose it as her Christmas present. It's stitched on white 14hpi aida, but is solid cross stitch (25cm by 25cm). The frame came from Ikea (I struggle to find square frames anywhere else.

This heart design came from a 2009 issue of Cross Stitcher. I stitched it on 36hpi linen, which shrunk the design size sufficiently to fit into a standard frame. The fabric count meant that I stitched it in only 1 strand. The design was further complicated by the fact that the dark green sections in the star patterns were to be stitched in blended thread - one strand of blue and one strand of medium green. This wasn't possible when stitching with one strand, so I stitched the first arm of each cross stitch in the dark blue, and the top arm in the green. The effect was suprisingly good and the end result was really good. I stitched this as a Christmas present for Aunty Margaret and Uncle Roy.

This is another design in the same series as the heart above. The original design had no green in it, but I like green, so I added some in. Also, the original design was stitched on a coloured fabric so the white thread stood out more. The green was useful in this sense. I also stitched this on 36hpi linen. This one was stitched as a Christmas present for Aunty Mary and Uncle Bob.

Here are the two hearts together, framed. unfortunately the colour isn't very true to life (a bit yellowy).

Another design from Cross Stitcher: I stitched this one as a Christmas Present for my Husband, Michael. DMC threads on 14hpi aida

Yet another design from Cross Stitcher. Due to the delicate colours it hasn't photographed well. The blue butterfly in the middle is solid cross stitch, then the pink flower and butterflies and the green stem are all done in simple back stitch. Gold beads complete the project. I stitched this for a friends wedding. But, because her mum also cross stitches, I didn't want to do a wedding sampler. The idea was this would be a cushion. The backing you can see in the picture is turquoise linen, that I would have used for making up the cushion. Unfortunately I didn't buy quite enough/underestimated the size of the design. Linda and I solved the problem with a large white frame from Ikea. I wasn't over the moon with the result, an felt I could have done a lot better considering how beautiful the design was. I may well stitch the design again, but be more careful about the finishing.

This design isn't actually a 'large' design, but I really like it. It's a kit from Michael Powell of a Greek Island - my Mum was thrilled with it when I gave it to her for Christmas last year. The design is stitched on 14hpi aida band, in Anchor threads and backed with felt. The tassle came ready made.

Another present for Mum - no particular reason other than it was appropriate for her office. It's another Margaret Sherry design, also from Cross Stitcher, stitched on 28hpi fabric from Polstitched. It stitched in just two grey Anchor threads - surprisingly quick and easy yet very effective.

This is a kit from Heritage Stitchcraft called Three Little Maids. I stitched it in DMC threads on 18hpi ivory aida. This was a present for Linda for last Christmas. I actually started stitching the design in 2007, but finally completed it and mounted it just in time for Christmas.

Another design that I started in 2007 and only just got round to completing. This is a Susan Bates design from Cross Stitch Card Shop. I gave this to Sheila for Christmas last year.

The bathroom sign was from an issue of Cross Stitcher. I changed the colours to green to match the colours in our bathroom. Unfortunately the finishing let me down, and when I get some time, I hope to take it apart and salvage it by making it into a quilt. At the moment, it hangs from the door of our boiler cupboard, waiting for rescue. nevertheless, the design is very good.

Thomas the Tank Engine. This one was for my nephew. I took the design from a DMC chart booklet and I gave it to James for Christmas.

Yet another design from Cross Stitcher: this one was a Christmas present for Uncle Terry.

The Winnie the Pooh birth sampler from Anchor. I stitched it on the 16hpi aida provided with the kit, which was a mistake. The back stitch was very sketchy and there was a lot of splitting of the aida blocks (the Winnie the Pooh designs I have done since I have stitch on 32hpi evenweave/linen and they have been far more successful). It was a birth sampler for Alexander, Kate and Andy's little baby.

Another designs stitched just for me. I can't quite put my finger on what I loved about this design, but I just had to stitch it. The design came from the World of Cross Stitching and I stitched it on 28hpi white evenweavein DMC threads. Once again, I haven't finished this one off, but I have bought a metal hanger for it....

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Some pieces from the past

So, here are some photos of the larger pieces I have completed over the last few years.

This is a map of Northumberland. The pattern comes from Heritage Stitchcraft: DMC threads, 28hpi ivory evenweave, black and white chart. I love doing these maps and you'll see a few that I've done, once I get round to posting them. I stitched this one for my Mother and Father-in-law, Linda and John, for their Silver Wedding Anniversary in July 2007.

This picture of Tinkerbell came from a 2009 issue of Cross Stitcher magazine. I stitched it for my (kind of) sister-in-law, Jane's, 21st Birthday

This wedding sampler comes from designer Michael Powell. I stitcher it for Linda's cousin's wedding in 2009. I wasn' intending to use any mount, but the red card proved useful in covering a slight grubby mark where I had had the fabric on a roller frame....

I think it has added to the design, rather than looking like I'm hiding something. Neverthless, anyone who reads the blog now know the secret!

This is another Heritage Map, this time of the Isles of Scilly. I stitched this one for my God Mother, Aunty Chris, as it's a favourite holiday destination. I finished this design in Summer 2008.

This simple yet effective design came from Cross Stitch Crazy sometime in early 2009. I stitched for Linda's cousin's daughter when she was christened.

My New Blog

So, the main purpose of this blog is to keep my mum updated with what I'm creating at the moment. But, if you're reading this and you're not my Mum, that's great too. Hopefully some of the things I post will inspire you, or even just make you smile.

I want to use this blog to keep a record of all the things I am making - cross stitch, quilting, patchwork, embroidery and sewing. For the record, I cannot knit or crochet, despite my mother-in-laws attempts to teach me.

I started stitching when I was very young, inspired by my Grandmother who was a fantastic needlewoman, and encouraged by my Mum, who, if I remember rightly, always seemed to indulge my hobby. My first cross stitch magazine was Cross Stitcher from summer/autumn 1995, when I was 10. I've done so many pictures and cards over the years, most of which I've given away, with no record of what I've done. I still give away most of what I stitch, but now I take photographs!

Last December I went to a fabulous work shop at one of our local patchwork shops up here in the North East, the Fat Quarters, with Debbie from Letters Tied with Blue. We did some stamping on fabric and most exciting for me was some hand embroidery. I did some hand embroidery back when I was a girl guide, but always had a problem keeping an even tension. This time, with the correct materials, something clicked and the results were excellent. I enjoyed the Christmas workshop so much, that me and Mother-in-Law signed up for another workshop on my birthday. This time it was to make a fabric memory book, using a sewing machine.

Now me and sewing machines don't tend to get on. I have my maternal Grandmother's 1950s (electric) Singer, and I have my paternal Grandmother's 1980s Pfaff. Well. Neither of them would work. Admittedly, it has been a number of years since either was plugged in.... The end result was a trip to John Lewis and a brand new shiny, simple, fully operational, complete with instructions Janome sewing machine. Which is very beautiful and works....

So, two days later, we went to the workshop and had great success. I'll post some photos of the memory book later.

Once the workshop was finished, then came the shopping. I tried a small piece of patchwork for the first time for years early in January, and I had decided to make a patchwork quilt, so I bought all the fabric for that. I also bought all the fabric and pattern for a quilt designed by Debbie from Letters Tied with Blue called Wilding Angels.

Both projects are currently in progress, as are many, many others. This is where I will record progress of these numerous projects...

I hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy creating the pieces that Ill record here.