Tuesday 26 July 2016

Building Blocks Tuesday

Hello and welcome to friends old and new.  Today I am honoured to be the Guest Blogger for Jen at Quilter in the Closet while she is taking a little summer break.  It was Jen who gave me the impetus to start this blog back in January when she issued her 100 Day Challenge without which I may well have still been procrastinating.  Therefore it seems fitting that my first ever guest blog should be for Jen.   It would be wonderful if you could all link up your blocks too, to make my first guest post really successful, the icing on the cake.  Did someone say cake??????

As this is a very special post for me I am launching the start of a new quilt, new to me anyway, although I'm sure most of you will have heard of, and some will quake at the thought of, The Gypsy Wife.  Oh yes, I have dreamed about it for over two years, I have had the pattern for over a year, and now I have started it.   If you haven't seen it before here it is

Beautiful isn't it?   The challenge to me is in the complexity of it, the sheer number of blocks combined with the strips, and putting it together with those partial seams, but I love to challenge myself so here are the first blocks.

Bordered square in a square 5 inch finished

Hourglass with two borders 6 inch finished

Square in a square 3 inch finished, I need another 22 of this size for the quilt, and no I am not kidding, there are another 12 in different sizes too.

Pinwheel 4 inch finished, yes I agree I didn't do a very good job of the centre

Puss in the Corner 5 inch finished, no I haven't pressed it very well, you don't miss much do you?

I have started with section 1 and these are all the blocks in this section.  Yes I know it was an easy section and they will get harder but please let me bask in my moment of glory with the almost finish of a section.

This is the first Puss in the Corner I made, it was too much purple for the section, but I need two for the quilt so it won't go to waste.

This is the one I made a mistake with, yes with such a simple block, but you get the bad as well as the good here.  What did I do wrong?  I cut the centre square 3 inches instead of 3.5 inches,  Actually I rather like it so I may just use it anyway.  AND, wouldn't a perfect quilt be just plain boring?  If I was the perfect quilter (is there such a thing?) you would all be watching hoping I made a mistake, or is that just me?

These are the 1.5 inch strips I cut, I won't need all of these for this section and yes I know I duplicated one, but the strips run the length of the quilt and some lengths are so long they need two width of fabric strips.  No, they are not all 1.5 inches, some are 1 inch........If you are interested I believe there are 55 strips in total, not including the long ones.

If you are interested there is a Gypsy Wife quilt along on just now, they are on to section 7 so I am a little behind, but I've been following it since January.   It is being held by Hydeeann from Splish Splash Stash and Megan of Jaffa Quilts.  There is an excellent document of all the blocks in each section and another on the strips.  Here are the links for the block chart  and the strips.   If you read both blogs from the start of the  quilt along you will get all the info and excellent tutorials.

If you have been before you might be wondering about my circles quilt, so here is my progress.

These are the finished (unless I add something) blocks.......

and these are the rest.  Oh yes, two quarter circles left to appliqué and they are already made, doing my happy dance........

So, that's it for this week, I hope you enjoyed your visit and it would be lovely to see you again.

Until then,
Smiles from

Tuesday 19 July 2016

After a wonderful weekend.....

Home from my embroidery weekend, I had such a good time, although it was such a fraught week I wasn't sure I was going to make it.

It was my turn to drive, now I'm not a confident driver, although I have been driving for over 30 years, I just don't like driving in areas where I don't know the roads, know what I mean?  It was ok though, I had my sat nav, and the lovely Jan helped direct me so we didn't miss the turnoff we used to miss everytime we went through Carlisle, does anyone else do that?  Even though the sat nav directs you still miss it?

On arrival we went straight to our rooms,  I had one I'd had before, small but cozy, and I only entered it three times in the weekend.  Once on arrival to unpack, later that night when I went to bed, and at the end of the day on Saturday.  When I left it on Sunday I took my bag down to the car before breakfast and my last sessions before finishing with a lovely lunch and home.

As we were slightly early we popped down to the local distillery, no, not for a tipple, and after all I was driving and I never drink any alcohol when I'm driving, we had tea and, no, not cake, it was SCONES!  Plain ones with jam and cream, delicious, but in all honesty not a patch on the one I had at Jan's last week with homemade jam and cream, now that was stupendous.

Back for the first session, do you want to see where I started from?

Yes, exactly where I ended after my last weekend, no progress made at all.  I always have such a great time and really enjoy my embroidery Higham Hall, but then life and quilting take over and I never seem to get around to my homework.  Just a reminder the design is Jacobean Embroidery by Hazel Blomkamp who I believe is from South Africa.

Want to see how I got on this weekend?

Oh yes, I worked hard.  I'm not the fastest in the world, though you have probably already sussed that anyway.  Look closer and I will explain what I did do.

Here I did a whipped chain stitch around the centre of laid work with a trellis which was already done.  I did three layers of chain stitch around the leaves on the right, and a raised chain band around the leaves on the left, filling it with seeding.

Moving on to the next section.

One of these was already part done, it is padded satin stitch so, after stitching around the edge in split stitch I did the underneath layer using two strands of DMC stranded cotton, then the Satin stitch over the top stitching in the opposite direction using one strand, each time going over the split stitch edge.  I then added picot leaves, which I had done once before but it was a while so I needed a refresher and a little practice first.  I then finished it off with french knots using two threads.

My homework, and I do hope to get at least some of it done (but don't hold your breath because that's how I always think at the end of a weekend), is to do more of the little berries with picot leaves.  There is also some padded satin stitch in greens, and some gold stems with french knot berries I can do.  I also have a double row of back to back buttonhole stitch to do at the bottom of the area I was working on at the weekend.   The area at the top left on the first pic I will be taking out, it was the first bit I did, it's rubbish, even by my standards, and the colours no longer match as it develops and I increase my thread selection.

This is the same design by another student.  As you can see she has a different interpretation to me, she has also been doing embroidery longer, it's lovely isn't it.

This is by the lovely Jan, a different pattern but by the same designer.   Although we started at the same time she does her homework :)  

Now for some different work by our classmates.

This work is Calico Gardens, it's like stumpwork, only in whites and neutrals. The designs can be anything really, from a garden shed to the seashore, animals and birds.  I love this owl, it's on my bucket list.

There are all different kinds of work.

This was done by the oldest member of the group who is in her 80's.  She started it on Friday evening from scratch, first tracing out the pattern and putting it in a frame before she made a single stitch.  This version is slightly different from the pattern, she wasn't happy with the squirrel, so, she went along to another class which was fantastic drawings with coloured pencils, there was a cabbage which looked so real I thought I should be able to pick it up.  The teacher is a professional and has exhibitions every other year.  I digress.  Anyway, she asked the teacher if she would draw her a squirrel, so the teacher obliged.  You can get away with anything at 87.  She used to do patchwork and quilting but doesn't anymore, she finds embroidery is easier on her hands.  I hope I can stitch like her at 87, I wish I could stitch like her now!

So, no quilting to show you this week.  I have done a little but I'm saving it, for next Tuesday is my turn to so a guest spot for Jen at Quilter in the Closet, and I am lunching the start of my next quilt, so please come back to see it and help me make my first ever guest spot a success. Before you ask I haven't forgotten about my circles quilt, it will be making an appearance in a couple of weeks.

This is the last week of the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop,  the girls have been waiting all this time, so please pop over and say hello to some of them.  In my hive it is

I am so looking forward to next week but until then,
Smiles from
Kate x
Linking up with
Needle and Thread Thursday
Can I get a Whoop Whoop ?
Cooking up Quilts
Super Mom-No Cape

Wednesday 13 July 2016

A post about nothing, or very little anyway

Hello, how is everyone today? Fit and well and enjoying the summer, or winter (depending on where you are), I hope.
Needle and Foot Summer Read 2016

First thing is have you noticed ai have a new button on my sidebar?  Bernie from Needle and Foot is doing a  2016 Summer  Read, and the chosen book is Vinegar Girl.  I am number 3 on the list and can't wait for my turn.  To make it interesting when you pass the book along you write a comment inside for Bernie and pass it on with three fat quarters of fabric which relates to the book in some way, fun or what?

The second thing is I have come across a very new blogger, when I say new I mean this week new!   It is only months since I started and I remember the thrill of someone I didn't know finding means leaving a comment.   It would be lovely to pop along and say hello, her name is Vannie.

I have so little to show you this week it's embarrassing.  All I have done is circles, only six left to do, I'm sure you don't want to see those again.  

I can show you my new fabrics though, how do you like these babies? Well, yes I could find fabrics i LIKED, there were some new linen look ones just come in, beautiful colours, but not for Cheryl's mystery quilt, at least not what is in my head, there again I never find what is in my head.  Usually I go for something, then change my mind as other fabrics jump out at me and beat me into submission. You see I like tone on tones best rather than heavily patterned fabrics, and yes, they had some, but the ones I likes the colour of were all directional, which I avoid like the plague most of the time.  I know it is shocking BUT, I came away empty handed.  My husband wanted to call the doctor but I have assured him I will be fine as soon as I buy fabric, in fact I may just have to go back and get some of those linen look ones, beautiful colours.

So that is it for today, sorry to disappoint,  it's just the way it is.

On a good note I am going to Higham Hall for an embroidery weekend which is exciting, I'm dreaming of the homemade cakes and biscuits with the morning coffee and afternoon tea already.

Until next time
Smiles from

Linking up with 

Sunday 10 July 2016

2016 Finish Along Quarter 3

I haven't joined in the 2016 Finish Along so far this year, but there is a first time for everything and here I am, I even have the button on my sidebar.    I had a think about what I want to include, as I haven't done it before I don't have anything to carry over, so I am starting from scratch here.

1  Complete the top, layer, quilt, and bind my circles quilt.

2  Start my new quilt to be revealed later this month, I am aiming to make the first three parts.
No pic because it isn't started yet and it's a secret.

3  Make my five cushion tops into cushions, if I don't make these a goal to finish I don't think they will ever get done.

4  Complete my Elephant and I quilt top, I cut the fabric strips last year then decided to change a couple of the colours, I haven't touched it since.  So another one with no pic.
5  Finish all the mug rugs and coasters I blogged about here.   Yes, its a tall order I know but I'm going to make the effort.  Here is a pic of some of them.

6  Layer quilt and bind my Little House in the Woods quilt.  You have seen it before but here it is again.  To tell the truth I'm afraid of making a mess of it.

7  Make the Ugly Christmas Sweaters quilt, so far one block done and I'm not happy with that!

So that is the list for the quarter.  I would be very happy if I get half done.  

I am also going to join in with the Meadow Mystery Quilt.  I've never done a mystery quilt before so I'm quite excited about it.  I just need to make my fabric selection.

Can I just remind you all it is still the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop, Monday 11th July is week 3.  In my group Miss - Bee Hivin' the  new quilt bloggers this week are:

Please stop by and say hello, it will mean such a lot to them.

Our hosts this year, Cheryl, Yvonne and Stephanie have the details of all the quilters in the blog hop, AND have news of some very wonderful giveaways.

I am linking up with Nicky from Mrs Sew and Sow for the Q3 goal setting.

Until next time,
Smiles from

Tuesday 5 July 2016

Some Progress Made

Do you have weeks when you make a lot of progress and then a week when it is like sewing through treacle?  Well, that's what it feels like this week.

It's just been one of those weeks when everything seems to conspire to stop me sewing, and when I do sew I can't find what I want and it takes me ages to make very little progress.

It's been back to the circles, and I suppose I shouldn't expect to race ahead, after all I chose to appliqué them, and it was supposed to be a pick up and go project, but hey, I'm not always known for my patience.

So here is where I am now, from 16 completed blocks last week I now have 23 this week.  I have been struggling with colours, the original fabric pull didn't have enough variety for the pattern so I ordered a pack of Amish Jewels 10 inch squares.  While this has given me more variety it has also brightened it up.    This is not the layout by the way and I have more colours and shades to add.

I have another 26 all ready to appliqué onto the blocks.  I don't know what has happened to this pic, some of the colours are quite distorted, the beige is yellow, I think, it is definitely not beige anyway.

I have made two quarter circles in most colours, and three in about six or seven because I ran out of colours.  Well, I did have another three or four but they were too similar to what I already had.

So what do you think of it so far?    I think it needs another element, I have an idea but I will know better when I finish the blocks.

I also took two skirts up for my Mother in Law this week.  She just had her 90th birthday and has gone blind so she needs a bit of help with things.

I have been choosing fabrics this week though, no I'm not telling, it's a surprise.  I'm doing a guest post on Building Blocks Tuesday later this month, yes, really, you can believe it, I tell you true.  So I just thought, as I haven't done one before, I would do something different, a quilt on my wish list for ages, to celebrate.  And maybe I could have some cake...........

That's all my news for this week, except it is only 10 days until I go back to Higham Hall for another embroidery weekend.  Maybe it's time I did my homework.

Until next time
Smiles from

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