Christmas Quilt

Behold my Christmas quilt! I am so pleased with this quilt, mainly because it went from idea to finished item in around 5 weeks. The quilt I had in mind to make was this Laurie Matthews design but as I was working with a pack of fat quarters I didn’t have enough fabric to follow her pattern so this is where I had to dig into the stash and tweak the design to suit what I had, isn’t that the best thing about quilting?

I sliced my triangles in half and rejoined them to get 14, I played with the layout and decided on this arrangement

talk about making life complicated for myself! Thankfully I saw the light and stitched my stars to one large piece of fabric rather than joining 14 blocks together!

I joined the stars together with some silver Yarn just to add a bit of interest to the plain white background. I constructed the stars using the English paper piecing method, something I hadn’t really done before. Some of the diamonds were fussy cut, I saw the work of flossieteacakes who has opened my eyes to the potential of this technique, her book is now on my wishlist (as if I need any more books but hey :))

Quilting this baby took me a couple of evenings, jeez my arms were sore after manoeuvring it around the machine!

I really enjoyed stitching up the quilt border, it was lovely to feel the weight and warmth of the quilt while I stitched. Through the hours of making this I’d had a vision in my head of me and my girl snuggling under it watching Christmas films and reading Christmas stories. Here she is having her 1st snuggle under it after performing at her nursery nativity.

Here’s a full view of the finished article and some detail shots:

I loved making this and hope that we will have many more Christmases snuggled under its warmth.

Thanks for reading and I’m wishing you all a happy and healthy 2019 x

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Be Merry!

The pattern for this ‘Be Merry’ mini quilt was featured in a Christmas gift pattern booklet free with Simply Sewing magazine. I fancied something quick to make so this pattern looked ideal.

I found a pack of Japanese fabrics in my stash that I bought at the Knitting and Stitching show back in 2016, the colours are bright and there’s a gold outline around the shapes which I felt was suitably festive so I finally cut into the fabric after 2 years of procrastinating over what to use it for.

The base fabric is another piece from the stash – this time from a pack of fat quarters Christmas themed fabrics that I’d picked up in the Hobbycraft sale last year. I’ve done more with these fabrics that I’ll share in my next post.

This was a really simple applique project, that took me a couple of evenings to do. I also learnt how to do mitred corners with this project, courtesy of a Fons & Porter YouTube video, this is a technique I will definetly use again, thanks ladies!

The finished article has been hanging in my dining room over the festive period. The decorations below always make me laugh – I bought them in Poundland last year and when I opened the pack at home I discovered there was no ‘L’ in ‘NOEL’! I might make an L for next year but it makes me smile as it is.

Pine Needle Embroidery

I’ve had the idea of doing ‘something’ combining pine needles and embroidery for ages so I finally put needles to fabric and got stitching. The road I walk down when I’m out with the dog is littered with pine needles and I am always struck by the lovely patterns they make on the pavement.

I am really pleased with how this has turned out and as I have a plentiful supply of needles I’m planning on creating some more designs – probably incorporating some beads as well – in the coming weeks.

Here’s some photos of the work as it progressed, those little demons in my head that attempt to squash any creative ideas were out in force in the early stages saying “why are you spending hours stitching down pine needles? It’s going to look rubbish!” but I pushed on and they are now silenced by the finished result!

It looks good held up to the light too:

While stitching I wondered how the design would look on a coloured background and I’m also thinking of doing a number of different sized circles on a larger piece of fabric… I have too many ideas and too little time!

Foundation paper piecing

As I’m working on a large quilt project at the moment I thought I’d do a bit of experimenting with foundation paper piecing to give me a break from the the what feels like endless Half Square Triangle cutting and piecing!

I copied this simple design, watched a couple of YouTube videos and I was away.

I made the rookie error of not checking that the fabric was large enough to cover the space so I just added another section to cover the gap:

I really enjoyed this and can see a lot of potential in the technique. As I didn’t want yet another random piece of fabric around me I took the opportunity to try out some different free motion stitch patterns. I’m now using it as a coaster on my work desk, it adds a nice splash of colour to my environment and if I’m having a long day it makes me look forward to getting home and doing some more stitching!

Stitching the Forth Bridge

What possessed me to attempt to stitch the girders of the Forth Rail Bridge? This has felt like the stitching equivalent of the mythical never ending paint job! I used to do 15 minute stitching sessions when bubs was sleeping but then I got sidetracked with other things and this has lain dormant next to my desk for about a year. The image is a tracing of a woodblock print that I found online, the bridge is such a beautiful structure and I still marvel at the scale of it despite seeing it and crossing it nearly everyday for the past 13 years. 

I’d initially planned to stitch the whole picture in red thread but I think it might look better with some additional colour.

So over the past couple of evenings I’ve stitched the bridge while watching Charlie Brooker ‘s Screenwipe, the fabulous Cunk on Christmas then tonight’s episode of Sherlock. I’m gutted that I’ve only got a tiny section of it to do and I can’t find the bloody thread that I used and of course I didn’t make a note of the number/make either! I’ll have a proper look in the morning, I can always make a start on the other sections and hope I can find a close match in the thread stash! 

Benbecula Bus Embroidery

I started working on this piece in January last year but life got in the way and it lay abandoned in a drawer until September this year. I saw an advert for the Fife Art Exhibition which is open to artists without a formal art qualification who live in Fife so I thought that as this piece was close to being finished I’d get my arse into gear and enter it.

I saw this beautiful Bedford bus – which was used by the Caledonia Macbrayne ferry company – on a trip to Benbecula a few years back. I’m a big fan of ‘Quilting Arts’ magazine and seeing the amazing examples of textile art created using photos I had wanted to try a photo based / realist embroidery for some time. Stage 1 involved printing  out the photo,outlining the main parts of the image then tracing it on to thin paper which i then transferred to fabric using a light box. Then the hard part of the painting began…

I found the painting an enjoyable challenge, trying to find the exact shade, especially making more of the same colour I had created (too light,too dark, not ‘red’ enough…) but once it was finished I was really pleased with how it was looking,those patches of white on the bonnet really bring the image to life, I was so excited to get back into my comfort zone to start the stitching!

I attached the painted fabric to fleece and stitched the main lines of the bus in matching thread.Although this did push sections of the image out I wanted a more 3D effect so I cut slits in the back of the work and burrowed in thin lumps of stuffing, I discover later that this is called trapunto embroidery so that’s another new skill learned through this project! 

So here’s the finished piece hanging in the gallery, the artwork above mine was a red setter made from bark! There was certainly an impressive range of work on display and the exhibition was a great show case for the talented people in Fife. All of the work was for sale and I had mixed emotions about mine being unsold (it was a bargain at £80!) but it will be on display in my living room and I’m proud that a piece of my work had been included in an exhibition. I need to start planning for next year now! 

Finished Projects 2 years on…

Well it’s been nigh on 2 years since I’ve posted anything on here,I bet you’ve all been waiting with bated breath to see how far I’ve got with the various projects I’ve featured on this blog! Well I’m glad to say that my Aubrey Beardsley embroidery is now finished, framed and hanging on the wall in the living room of the house I moved into at the tail end of 2014 

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Aside from the wonky border I was really pleased with how this turned out although looking at these photos I spot a number of dog hairs trapped beneath the glass so I think a polish is in order!

I also finished my crocodile stitch bag (lined and with a fitted zip no less!) last summer:

The yarn I used in this bag was 100% nylon and I can confidently say that I will never work with this kind of yarn again as it was horrible to stitch with. Thankfully I used it all up in the bag so there is no 1/2 ball left 2 taunt me!

I’ve been working on and completed a few other projects over the past year, the majority of them have been for my beautiful little girl who has just turned one so I’ll post pictures of these over the coming weeks. 

In common with a lot of people I find the Autumn an energising time of year and now I’m into a routine with the little one I have more time for doing embroidery and crochet (the things that keep me sane!) so I’ve spent 15 mins this afternoon writing up my winter list of stuff I want to do and restarting the blog was one of them. Just have to keep the momentum going now! Thanks for reading x