Sunday, 4 May 2014

Doing it for DMC


Ever since I can remember, I've enjoyed embroidery.  Not the fancy, perfectly smooth, perfectly placed stitches flecked with silver or gold, no, just plain ordinary stitches that keep the smile on my face and the furrows off my forehead.  

So, when I was catching up on reading enjoyable blogs I found an article Carina had written on &Stitches on DMC in France.  It seems they are compiling a number of letters, all embroidered in DMC 321.   DMC 321 is the red colour thread that is traditionally used in all redwork embroidery.  These embroidered letters will form part of a permanent DMC exhibition that will open at the Textile Museum Parc de Wesserling in Alsace later this year.

I knew immediately that this was something I wanted to do.  It didn't take long to find a monogram pattern on Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread.  However, when I printed it out and measured it, it was too big, as the square of fabric can only be 15cm and the monogram was 16cm.  So I reprinted it at 70% and it measured 10cm = perfect!  

When I was in South Africa in December 2013 I bought a few Frixion pens - in pink, purple, royal blue and red.  They are brilliant for marking quilting lines and drawing off patterns and when you're done, you just hover your steaming iron over them and the ink disappears.  I chose the pink one and drew off the monogram diagram and got stuck in. In total it actually only took a few hours but in reality, I stopped to fiddle and faff in the garden, repotted some plants, made our evening meal, stitched a little more and then set it aside for the night.

 This morning after traipsing around a soggy car boot, we came home to a warm cup of tea which helped to thaw the fingers and, then while watching Crimson Fields on Catch Up, I got it finished.  I'm pretty pleased with it actually.  It's been pressed lightly, and the fabric has been trimmed to a 15cm square as required and it's in an envelope together with my details, ready to be posted off in the morning.  I think it's exciting to be part of something so special and look forward to seeing it in amongst all the other letters.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Well, it's almost wordless.  If I told you about this, would you believe me.  Probably not, so here's evidence:


Sarah-Lou sent me a message to let me know I'm a non-reply blogger.  I didn't realise and am grateful to her for letting me know.  I think this happened when I signed onto Google+.  Please be patient while I try and get it fixed, and if you know any tips or shortcuts to sort it out please do let me know.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Just cruising along

It seems like forever since I last enjoyed the kind of time off where you can just make nice things and not feel pressured by a list of chores. This week I'm just cruising ... slowly and without pressure. It feels great!

It's day 2 of a week of annual leave and so far I've got the star quilt top sewn together, shortened some curtains, watched The Widower on ITV Player on the laptop while sewing. Also caught up with Bonnie Hunter on YouTube.

Time for some embroidery. This is one of two embroideries on my Finish Along list. Problem is this one has been folded up for about 5 years now. The iron on batting on the back has formed a memory of folds. I've spritzed it back and front and its pinned out on the design wall. With the nice warm weather we have at the moment it should be okay by Thursday to stitch on.

Tomorrow I'm going to spend some time with an old school friend who is visiting in Harrogate and flies home to South Africa on Friday 18th.

Hope you're enjoying your week.

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, 14 April 2014

Finish Along 2014 Q2

For the second time this year I've made a list of items that I really want to get done.  Katy's linky for the deadline closes in about 3 hours so, here goes:

First there is the baby quilt.  In Q1 I showed the fabric blocks and they did get made into a top but the quilt needs basting and quilting.

Second, also a roll over from Q1 is this flowers in a watering can naive embroidery.  I love the simplicity of it.  As you can see, there isn't much to do before it's finished.

Number three, another roll over from Q1, is another embroidery.  This is one I started in 2005 when I started my international travels and it was so easy to carry around with me.  The pattern calls for it to be a cushion cover, but I'd prefer it in a frame.

I've struggled so with this section of the embroidery and have pulled it out more than once.  Maybe I should relax a little and just accepts what comes out of the needle!


This is the top right hand section of the embroidery and it just needs some more roses on the arbour.

Next are some hearts that I cut out of left over Denyse Schmidt fabrics.  I would like to sew them onto a solid background and am currently auditioning this (maybe too) dark green.  [Let me a comment and let me know what background colour you would use.]  In case you're wondering why there is clingwrap over the hearts, it's because our beloved Meisie likes to pick out pins and then runs away with them.  We're petrified she swallows one one day.  So, in the interest of health and safety, the pieces are being held in place like this until they get sewn down onto their backing.

Lastly, number five.  There is the quilt-top-in-the-making, which needs to be sewn together, basted and quilted.  These blocks were paper based and about 50% of them were sewn in a class held by Brioni Greenberg, held at The Skep in Farsley.  Brioni's own quilt is stunning.

Finish Along 2014

At the moment 174 other quilters have all joined in and linked to this Finish Along.  That's amazing!  I'd like to wish each and everyone of them good luck in their endeavours to finish their WIP's. 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Success leads to Q1 Finish Along 2014 failure

On 17th January 2014 I optimistically posted a list of photo's of projects that I wanted to pick up and finish, as part of the inspiration that is sweeping blogland, all thanks to the wonderful Katy at The Littlest Thistle.       I was sure these could be done in the space of time we were allotted. 

One weekend at the beginning of February I made a start and finished the baby boy's quilt top.  In time the granny sent a flannel blanket she wanted me to use as the backing.  Then I attended a sew along course with the fabulous Brioni Greenberg a.k.a. flossyblossy at The Skep.  (More detail about that on another day though.)  The pattern we sewed was paper based and after lots of strips onto paper my machine started complaining about the paper dust.  This has put paid to any serious sewing so until my Bernina can have a proper service I'm not going to be able to quilt the baby quilt just yet.

So, nothing on the list actually got finished [hanging head in embarrassment]  Talk about an epic fail!!  But, now you need to know ... ummmm, I want you to know the major reason for this epic fail (and lack of blog posts) was this   ......

completion of my Level 3 Certificate in Management.  The last piece of work was finished on 26th March 2014.  Now I need to exercise patience and wait for the outcome.  So far so good.   For the last few years I've done course after course and everytime I say "Right, that's it... I'm done now"  only to be found signing up for something else in the not too distant future.   However, I'm tired; and fed up - of deadlines - household chores being neglected - not going out and doing fun stuff - and also feeling guilty at the pile / list of WIP's that despite all the good intentions just get moved around without ever getting completed.  That's got to change though.

Here's hoping I do better next time :)

Friday, 31 January 2014

Nothing to show

That is what I thought. Not true. But, do you want to see pics of mending and altering residents nighties? No. But you might want to see what my assistant has been doing ...

She's more interested in watching blue tips *tits flitting around than saying Hi to you all. Oh well, forging on ...

*Edited due to predictive text knowing better than me!
posted from Bloggeroid


Thursday, 23 January 2014

South African stash building

Okay, so I showed you the quilt I took with me to South Africa on my recent trip.  Did you wonder what filled that space on the return journey ... keep in mind I could check in 22kgs

I found these gems at a fabulous shop in the town called Kleinmond - my Mom's LQS.  What made it the most tempting was that they were so honest in their pricing that the bolts were still marked at the original pricing.

Considering I wasn't a tourist, didn't visit that many restaurants, pubs or coffee shops, no longer smoke ... I had to spend my pennies on something *grin*  and came away with a stash build bundle

and a co-ordinated bundle with the floral as the main blender, even though there is not that much of it.   

 Then on a trip to my old home town of Somerset West, I visited a 'newish-to-me' very large fabric shop that stocks a fair selection of quilting cottons.  As much as I have no idea what I'll use them for, there was no way I could leave without some of those fabulous peacock feathers, and of course some blues that went with them.

I need to decide on fabrics to use for my Sugar Block Club blocks and may use either the floral or the feathers, and add some other co-ordinated fabrics.

If you think that these fabrics filled the space, I got news for you, they didn't.  I'll show the others on another day.

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Friday, 17 January 2014

Finish Along 2014 Quarter 1

I'm sure you all know that Katy of The Littlest Thistle is hosting a 2014 Finish Along.

Finish Along 2014

Oh boy, this is kind of embarrassing, seeing as I have a lot of unfinished projects.  However, seeing as so many other wonderful sewers, embroiderers and quilters are standing up and listing their projects they hope to finish, I've decided to join in.

Number one on the list is a cot quilt for a baby this is due in March.  His Granny, a special friend of mine, has asked me to make this quilt for her soon-to-arrive grandson.  She has asked for a quilt to measure 150cm x 100cm and that it has yellow, green, blue and white in it.  

Number two is an embroidery I started about a year ago.  There is not much left to do and I think it'll probably go into a frame and hang alongside similarly styled embroideries. 

Number three is an embroidery that I started when I first started my travels in 2005.  It fitted nicely into a plastic sleeve and has travelled many miles around the world. 

Sadly, it's still not finished.  The original pattern has it made into a cushion cover.  Personally, I think I'd like it too to go into a frame.

Number four is this Martha Negley fabric quilt top.  It simply needs to be layered, pinned and quilted.  I'm thinking of using a shade of thread that matches with the pumpkin seeds and stitching along their edges.

Lastly, number five is this simple but fun embroidery that I found at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show last year.  I semi finished the bottom one during an impromptu sit down and stitch class and then bought a kit for a poppy version (the top one) and together, hopefully, when they're done, they'll brighten up some wall space somewhere.

Don't for one minute think these are the only unfinished projects I have!  I do hope to get them done and will show them as they get done - don't hold your breath though as I'm not the most regular blogger like some of you stars.

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Monday, 6 January 2014

Show and Tell : Mom's rose garden dresden

Ever since I can remembers Mom has had the palest shade of green curtains hanging in her bedroom.  One of her life dreams was to have green fingers and a flourishing flower garden. 

Unfortunately the soil on her plot and the climate where she lives are a major stumbling block and she is a better sewist than gardener.

So I planned to make her an old styled quilt with colours to co-ordinate with her curtains and some blooms that would never fade. 

The fabrics  are a collection of green foliage depicting fabrics and roses and other blooms in shades of pinks - all scrappy fabrics, some rummaged from The Skep's skep and others were really old fabrics from my oldest stash. 


Over time and one by one I cut the fabrics and sewed the dresden plates.  When they were all done I arranged them in a pattern that I found pleasing and hand appliqued them onto a cream background. 


Some stripey fabric got added to frame the centre of the quilt top and then more of the background fabric until it was big enough to cover the top of a king size bed. 

I come from a family of tall people and we need beds that are at least 2 metres in length.  Even so my feet usually end up over the end of the mattrass when I'm sleeping.

Actually on 15th August 2012 I posted about the dresden plates top and getting it quilted.   Somewhere I have a note of the length and width of the quilt, but unfortunately am not able to find it right now - that's why there's the token photo of the quilt top on the bed. 

When I flew out to visit Mom in December 2013 there was a lot of space in the suitcase and so I was very pleased to be able to pack the quilt in and eventually be able to give it to her as her Christmas present.  She was thrilled especially as she is still sleeping a lot, particularly after chemo treatments.

 Here it is with binding attached.  One day I'd like to make another dresden plate quilt top, it was fun and easy to do, especially as a scrappy quilt - my favourite kind of quilting.

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Friday, 3 January 2014

Stepping into 2014

 As a teenager it just didn't seem right that at sometime in the distant future we would refer to the year as 'two thousand and ....'  Now, many years later it just rolls off the tongue and so it is with ease that I wish each and every reader a

Very Happy and Prosperous 
Two thousand and Fourteen

and hope that this year knocks the socks off 2013!

You will have noticed that my blog posts dried up in July 2013 ... here's why:

At the end of 2012 I was so optimistic for 2013 and looked forward to being creative in and around my home and garden.  I was settling into my job with a new company, becoming familiar with the personalities and characters of all my residents, their friends and families and colleagues.  I had decided not to embark on any more studies and was looking forward to the mental break and having extra time to sew and read and generally play.

On 31st December 2012 I'd lost my voice and became subject to a very stressfull change in household circumstances without consultation or consent.  What had been a companionship had broken down.

In the middle of these events I received an email from my Mom, who is retired and living in the most gorgous seaside town in the Western Cape, South Africa.  She had written to let me know that she had been diagnosed with odenocarcinoma.   I was stunned and didn't know how to respond.  In retrospect I think I had just become emotionally numb in order to cope with day to day 'stuff'.

When Harry met Meisie
The mood in the house became very sombre and there just didn't seem to be much to be thankful for really.  Even Harry appeared to have lost his Mojo.  So, I decided we needed a little help, and after much cajoling, (begging and pleading and making promises ) along came Meisie (pronounced Macey).  In South African Afrikaans the noun 'meisie' means young girl.  She is just so cute and was the most precious little bundle and enabled me to shift my focus away from the sombre health and financial issues and once again start to smile and laugh.

What else does a person do when it gets tough ... you enroll on another training course, join an international sewing bee, and join a local (National) bee  ... and start planning a trip to South Africa to visit with some very important people.

For us, 2013 ended with my return from the trip to South Africa, a very slight tan;

Mom doing very well after chemotherapy and surgery,
and a few flimsy quilt tops made, with a few being made into quilts.

South African sunset over False Bay
I'll save those for a Show and Tell session of blog posts.  All in all 2013 ended much better than it started and 2014 has begun in the most positive and promising way that we could wish for.


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