Sunday, 29 March 2015

Patchwork and Quilting

Did you all remember to move your clocks on an hour this morning?  It was a bit of a shock when we woke up at 10am!! but at least it was a Sunday!

Thank you for all your comments last week I have replied to each of them and found them all hugely interesting to read.

As usual a busy week again but this week saw the last of my patchwork and quilting workshops so I thought I would share my creations with you.

I didn't really want to make a quilt but fancied doing something a little smaller.  I started off with the idea of making 6 placemats in 10 weeks - one a week and 4 weeks to tie up loose ends, or so I thought.  Well 10 weeks later I have made 3 and even those aren't completely finished!! Never mind you win some you loose some!

This is my first mat and is the only one I finished completely.  I used Japanese Folded patchwork for this one and joined each square with hand stitching.  Not as easy as it first appeared, because of the bias on the circles of fabric, they seem to develop a mind of their own when you are stitching them and I didn't have a walking foot at this stage either!

Is there a foot on your machine you wouldn't be without and why do you find it so useful?

My second project is Somerset Patchwork.  As you can see I only completed 3 squares and need another 3 to complete the placemat in the same 3 x 2 configuration as the first mat.  These are all hand sewn using small rectangles folded into triangles.  I really enjoyed making these although they are quite time consuming and use a lot of material.  I haven't really fathomed out how to join them together yet and have even thought I may make them into individual coasters instead!!

As you can see, on my third project, I still have the border to turn to the back and stitch in place.  This was one of those times when the project evolved as I went along.  I planned to do a tumbling blocks design and had seen a 'quick' way of doing it on line, but this didn't work out and I was left with lots of strips of fabric sewn together.  I cut them into diamonds and this was the result, which I am rather pleased with as it turned out completely different to what I had in mind.

Once again, my final mat is still unfinished. I knew once the course ended I would struggle to complete it if I was part way through a design.  I was using a Seminole patchwork design and originally I had planned to make a different strip for the centre but I ran out of time.  Don't look too closely you can see a few mistakes in this one as I rushed to finish it!!

I have enjoyed this course but I'm not sure patchwork and quilting is for me!  I like the patchwork bit best but get very irritated if I can't get the design accurate.  The quilting bit doesn't float my boat either.  I need to master my free machine embroidery but find it very difficult to slow my 38 yr old Frister Rossman machine down - it's all in the foot control you see!!!

Just a quick update on the Wedding Dress progress.  For one reason or another it's been on and off over the last few weeks but we have now decided we are definitely making.  I am making a mock up in calico first, the pictures above being of the bodice and now I am working on the skirt.  Can't tell you too much just in case the groom to be is reading!!!

Off over to Handmade Monday now hosted by Lucy Blossom Crafts.  I always look forward to this link party as it is such a friendly community.  
Hope to see you there x

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Sophie's Universe CAL and a Spot of Bird Watching

I do hope you have all had a good week, don't they just fly by? I have had a lovely time, a session of reflexology - very enjoyable, coffee and lunch out with friends and a mooch around Totnes - also very enjoyable and sandwiched in between ..... my quilting workshop (more about that next week) and some crochet, a visit by my eldest daughter and her boyfriend and some more meeting up with friends this weekend.

Unfortunately, the crochet workshop I talked about last week didn't go ahead although I was not totally surprised.  Beginners is very popular but not so much the 'Follow On'.  I think maybe I need to create a theme for the day so people have a definite idea of what they are letting themselves in for going to be doing! What would you like to make if you had just learnt crochet and wanted to move on a little further?  All suggestions gratefully received.

As you may have heard me mention in a previous post back in February, I have been joining in with a CAL over at Look At What I Made so I thought I would give you an update on how I've got on so far. I have a small confession though - that is to say I am running about 5 weeks behind!!! It's getting bigger and bigger and bigger and taking me much longer to do each round. It's about 4ft square already! I am still enjoying it though and am really pleased with the way it's turning out especially as all the yarn was free so it's not costing me a penny :)

It's been a beautiful sunny day here in Devon but very chilly.  We thought we would pop out for a breath of fresh air and go and watch the birds from the bird hide up in Yarner Woods. Unfortunately not all the close up photos of the birds came out particularly well but I managed to capture a few.

Can you spot anything in the picture below?

If you look closely, you can just pick out a tiny little mouse.
What a cutie! He was busy picking up all the seeds the birds had dropped.

Here is another visitor beneath the bird feeders

He was so alert

and a couple more clearing up the seed crumbs

Just before you return to the car park you come across this lovely pond

on which we saw three of these strange looking ducks
But aren't they beautiful?
He almost looks like he's been carved out of wood and painted!

I do hope you have all had an enjoyable time this week.  I'm popping over to Lucy Blossom Crafts now to join in with Handmade Monday so I can find out what everyone has been up to.  I'm also looking forward to joining in with Happy Friday over on Planet Penny's blog.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Crochet Squares

Just a very short post from me this week I'm afraid.  I started making my daughter's Wedding Dress today but I can't tell you much about it or show you any photos as we don't want her OH to see it before the big day!  I have to make a calico tuille first to get the fit right, which is what I have been doing today.  So far so good :)

We bought a new 'toy' this week!  A replacement pressure washer to clean patios and also clean the rendering.  There was an argument as to who would have a go first - like a couple of kids we were!!! See the difference it makes to the patio.  It is great fun and very satisfying :)

Crochet wise this week I have been working out a few squares for a Follow On Crochet workshop I am running next weekend.  I'm not too hopeful it will go ahead though as of the middle of last week there was only 1 person booked in!!  I know people leave it to the last minute to book but I still don't think we'll get enough by next week for it to run. Have a look at the squares anyway.

I love this fun popcorn square

This shows various ways of doing simple spike stitch

And this square uses a lot of loooong stitches

And a pretty flower square!

Before popping over to Handmade Monday at Lucy Blossom Crafts I'll leave you with a picture of my pretty Mother's Day cards from my daughters. I wanted to remember my Mum also, who passed away 22 years ago, so I lit a candle for her to make sure she was part of the celebrations too. 

 I hope you have all enjoyed your Mother's Day :)

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Textile Play Day

Where has this last week gone?  It doesn't seem two minutes since I was linking up to Handmade Monday last week.

Isn't it lovely to see the sunshine?  I do hope you have managed to get out and about this week and enjoyed a little of it too.  I love Spring time, always so much hope and anticipation for the year ahead.

We had a wonderful walk along Dawlish Warren beach and nature reserve yesterday
The water in this picture was gradually running down the beach towards the sea.  No idea where it was coming from!
Here we are playing around with our shadows!
Looking back towards the nature reserve from the Exmouth end of the beach.

Today we have been out in the garden having a really good tidy up.  I was so pleased to be out there, as this time last year I was not well enough.  It was interesting to see two year's growth on some of the plants I was cutting back!

Ok now on to the title of the post ......

Last week our Textile group met up for another Play Day.  There are about 9 of us and we do something different each time and take turns to hold it at a different house each time. Synthetic fabrics and soldering irons were the order of the day.  Have a look at these pictures to see how we got on.

All set up and ready to go.  
Notice the essential items, cup of tea and plate of biscuits!! 
Making marks with the soldering iron

Here we are busily working away.
These are all the bits and pieces we produced during the day.
All joined together using the soldering iron.  Not a stitch in sight!
Very detailed butterflies and some pretty flowers

This last picture is a small piece of my own work.  I made stripes of blue and gold first and cut across them to create little squares.  I then joined them back together alternately to make the check pattern. It is no more than 4" square.  So very satisfying :)

Thank you to all the ladies who took part in the Textile Play Day
Have a good week everyone!

See you soon

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Jumbo Crochet Workshop

Well, it's been another busy week, but if you ask me what I've done I couldn't really tell you! All I know is I had no spare time!  Thank you for taking time to leave your comments on my previous post.  They made me smile.  It appears most of you would be happy to sleep in a four poster bed, although there are just a few of us odd bods out there!!

I suppose I did fit in rather a lot really when I think about it.  I went swimming nearly everyday as I'm trying to build my fitness up after being ill last year and it helps to retain the range of movement in my surgery side.  Of course we have my youngest daughter's wedding in October so I want to keep in trim and look my best for that too!  I had a couple of 'coffees' with friends, went to my patchwork and quilting workshop and met up with my SIL to get organised for our Textile play day next week (more on that next week)

and finally 

last Wednesday I tutored a 
Jumbo Crochet Basket Workshop 
at a wonderful local yarn shop called Spin A Yarn.

It is always a pleasure to do a workshop at Spin A Yarn.  People are so friendly and the lunches are just gorgeous.  We had four ladies this time, who kindly gave me permission to post a photo of them and their creations.  And wonderful they were too!

This lady was having a whale of a time.  She wanted to make a roll over top but loved the shape so much, just decided to carry on going!  We suggested she make a snake to poke out of the top as it looked very much like a snake charmers basket :)

Time for a nibble.  Not only were we supplied with lunch we also had a tea time treat :)

Nothing like a good cuppa to keep you on track!

This lovely lady is lucky enough to run Strawberry Fayre Fabrics and Quilt Supplies on line. She was able to bring with her many strips of  brightly coloured waste fabric which she incorporated with yarn to make this fantastically fun basket.

Below are the finished baskets

The snake charmers basket!

A slip stitched edge on this one to create a solid rim.

It isn't too obvious in this picture, but you may just be able to pick out some handles!

And finally a perfect place to keep all those balls of yarn you have in your stash.

We all had such fun and all the ladies were so pleased with what they had achieved - rightly so I may add!  It is very rewarding from a tutors point of view when participants leave having got so much enjoyment out of their accomplishment.

This is a great way to use up your stash of yarns.  How do you use up your left over yarn?

I'm linking up with Handmade Monday over at Lucy Blossom Crafts and am wondering what everyone else has been up to this week?  I'm very much looking forward to finding out :)

I will also be linking up with Happy Friday over at Planet Penny.  This workshop made me very happy and I think you can tell from the pictures that it made the ladies who took part very happy too. So, double whammy this week I think:)