Tuesday, 27 October 2015

TAST Week Sixteen: Wheatear Stitch

Week sixteen of the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle  is wheatear stitch.   As usual, Sharon has posted a wonderful tutorial on how to work this stitch.

I have added some examples to my sampler using some variegated pearl cotton thread.  I started by working a couple of rows of stitches side by side and then to alter the look on the sampler I also added some individual stitches too.

I haven't worked this stitch much before and I found it took a little while to get into a rhythm with it but, it is a pretty addition to the overall sampler.

The only other example I can show you is from this little Autumn scene that I drew and then stitched.  I used the wheatear stitch to embroider an ear of wheat! 

This little hoop is currently hanging in my hall with some other Autumn decorations.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Final Birthday Swap Blocks

This weekend I needed to work on the final two blocks for the birthday swap that I am participating in with some online friends from a FB group that I belong to.  The idea behind the swap is that each of the participants create a block for each of the other ladies taking part and send it to them in time for their birthday month.  It has been a lot of fun and, as there are no birthdays for the month of December, the final two blocks needed to be sent off to arrive in time for the November birthdays.

For Annabella, Isle of Wight

We are given the choice of colour that the recipient would like and the blocks are 12" finished.  I always take forever to decide which fabrics to use and which design of block to make, so I spent a very happy Saturday afternoon choosing both!!

For Carol, New Zealand

In the end, I chose to make two 'Jacob's Ladder' blocks which were straightforward to make and I was pleased with the results.  

I also decided that I should add a little label to the back of the 'secret project' I have been working on, so I did that too.  Now both the blocks and the secret project are ready to put in the post.  It is just as well, as some of them have a long way to travel!!

From Claire, Lowestoft, United Kingdom

By coincidence, I received another block to add to those I received for my birthday this morning.  This pretty block is from Claire.

You can see all the birthday blocks that I have made and sent, as well as those that I have received on my 'Birthday Block Swap Page'. When I have received all my blocks I will be making them into a quilt which I am very excited about.  It will be lovely to have a quilt made from blocks which have come from all over the World! 

Thursday, 22 October 2015


It has been a very productive week for me here... I have managed to get two projects ticked off of my 'to do' list which, I am very happy about. Firstly, I have finished the wonderful project that I started at the Gail Pan workshop I went to back in September.  The project was Gail's lovely pattern 'My Stitching Things'.

It is a beautiful stitchery which makes up into a sewing folder and it is lovely!

Inside there are generous pockets (for all those essential bits and bobs) and some batting pages which you can use as a portable 'design board'. I can't wait to put mine to use!!

The pattern asks for some template plastic or foam core board to give the folder some strength but, I didn't have either of these to hand in the size required, so I just used some spare card that I had and it has worked very well although, I think it is probably a little less flexible than the template plastic would have been.

I have also finished the 'secret project'.  As well as the seed stitching which I quilted the background with, there were some ordinary hand quilting stitches to add.

I added the binding and the finishing touch was this cute little 'bee' button.

My favourite stitch in the whole project was this glove stitch. 

I love working this stitch which, apparently, is the stitch that was used in Victorian times to finish the edges of ladies' gloves.

 I also needed to make a repair to the bag that I made for my youngest daughter earlier in the year.  The loop fastening had frayed and we decided it would be best to use a velco fastening instead.  I think it will be more durable.  

That pretty little button has been taken off and is back in one of my many button jars for use on another project! 

I haven't started on the embellishment of my CQJP October block but that is next on my list, together with another 'secret project' which will be a Christmas swap with another lovely blogger friend.  

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

TAST Week Fifteen: French Knots

Week fifteen of the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle  is the french knot.  Over on Sharon's blog she has shared a great tutorial of how to execute this stitch together with some tips on how to solve common problems that are encountered with it.  It is not a difficult stitch but suffice it to say that the more you stitch it the better you get!!  

I filled in a section of my sampler with french knots using a variegated cotton floss.  I wrapped the needle three times before creating the knot.

I do like the beautiful texture that a grouping of knots gives and I have even used it as an alternative to seed stitch to quilt three layers together.

I am sure that one of the most common uses is to create the centre of daisy flowers as well as the eyes for appliqued people and creatures.

However, it is also a very useful stitch for couching as in this silk ribbon bow which I added to a crazy quilt block.

It was also used to couch this piece of rick rack in place and I like the extra decoration it adds to the trim.

There are lots more uses pictured over on Sharon's french knot page and if you look at the comments section of the post you will find links to lots of over TAST blog posts where you can have a look at what other TAST participants have used them for! Have fun browsing!!

Friday, 16 October 2015

Weekend goals.....

This week I had intended to work on the beautiful Gail Pan pattern that I started at the fabulous workshop that I went to back in September called 'My Stitching Things' and, I did manage to get a little bit more done.

However, it suddenly occurred to me that, as we are now halfway through October, I had also better get started on a couple of Christmas swap projects that will need to be posted off early.  So I have to confess to starting a new project!

Applique leaf and stem finished with embroidery stitches
The edge of a flower

It is secret, so I can't show you a full shot of the project but, here are a few 'teasers' just so you know my hands haven't been idle this week!!  I hope you like how it is looking!!

The embroidered centre of a different flower
Seed stitch quilting in the background

I also need to get started on the embellishment of my October CQJP Block which you may recall looks like this....

The base block

After the addition of some motifs from Kathy Shaw's ICQC 103 Class 

I am hoping to get the embroidery for 'My Stitching Things' and the new project finished over the weekend as well as the embellishment of the CQJP block started.  We'll see....!!

Hope you all have a creative weekend! xx

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

TAST Week Fourteen: Stem Stitch

Week fourteen of the TAST Challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle  is the stem stitch.  In Sharon's post about this stitch she shares a great tutorial how to work the stitch and what differences can be achieved by changing the length of the individual stitches.

On my sampler, I chose to work my line of stem stitch using a variegated cotton embroidery floss.  I like the effect that the colour changes in the thread gives to the look of the line of stitches.

Stem stitch is a very useful and versatile stitch and I really like using it.  If you remember, I used it to neaten up the shapes of my first attempt at needle turn applique.  I think it really helped cover up the wobbly edges.

It was also used to create some of the flower stems in the same embroidery too.

This week, I have been working to finish off my second embroidery project from the Gail Pan workshop I attended in September and, it is coming along quite nicely.

By coincidence, a lot of the stitching I have left to work will be stem stitch as all the outside borders of the boxes are worked in stem stitch!!

Monday, 12 October 2015

October Snow Happy Heart Block

So, September came and went in the blink of an eye and it is already time to share with you my finished 'Snow Happy Heart' block for October.

The October heart pattern was generously released by Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs at the beginning of last week. I downloaded the pattern and got to work making up my block for October.

Of course at the end of October comes Hallowe'en and Anne's cute, little snowman is carrying a bucket to collect his treats in! 

To add an Autumnal feel to the background of my block this month I embroidered two little pumpkins.

They also fit right in with a Hallowe'en theme and I am pleased with how they look!

Over the weekend I have been busy working on the Gail Pan embroidery pattern which was from the  workshop I attended in September. It is called 'My Stitching Things'.  I really would like to get the stitchery finished so that I can make up the folder.... hopefully by the end of the week! 

I am linking this post to 'Design Board Monday' hosted by Cath over at 'Bits and Bobs'  as well as to the latest embroidery party hosted by Sue at 'Super Mom - No Cape!'. Why not pop across and see who else has linked up! 

Friday, 9 October 2015

My visit to the Knitting and Stitching show!

Yesterday, I had a lovely visit to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. Although I grew up in London, I have always lived on the West side of the city and I had never been to Alexandra Palace before. It is in a lovely position, situated in a park and on the top of a hill so that you get a fabulous view of the London skyline.  Sadly, I didn't have my camera with me, so I didn't have the chance to take any photographs!

I booked myself a ticket to the show on the spur of the moment and I am very pleased that I did. It was a great day.  The halls were bustling with people and there were lots of lovely pieces of textile art, dresses and quilts to look at.  Unfortunately, a lot of the booths were not allowing photographs (and as I mentioned earlier.... I forgot my camera!)

Of course, as well as the items exhibited there were lots of retail stalls too and I just couldn't resist a purchase or two!  I found a lovely new book by Janet Haigh called 'Little Ribbon Patchwork and Applique' which contains lots of creative ideas for using beautiful ribbons in quilts and all sorts of other ways. 

Obviously I couldn't buy the book without buying a few lengths of beautiful ribbon to go with it.... just so I can get started on a project or two you understand!

As I was choosing the ribbons Janet Haigh herself came back to the stall and I was lucky enough to get her to sign my book for me!  I bought a pretty new shopping bag to carry my purchases home in too!

I stopped at the Stef Francis stall too.  If you read this blog regularly, you will know I love to use her beautiful, hand dyed, variegated silk threads and I found some beautiful colours to add to those I already have.

Lastly, I bought a cute little pincushion necklace to wear when I am stitching in the evening so that I have somewhere to put my needle when I need to stop for a few minutes. Who knows, it might stop me losing my needle!! They were made by Kate Haxell and I thought they were a great idea.  I chose one made from a china thimble with an unusual shape which I really liked. They would make really cute gifts for sewing friends!

It is so nice to browse through the stalls even if you can't buy all the items you might like (and I think I was relatively controlled!) There are often lots of inspirational items on display which fill you with new ideas for future projects. 

All in all I had a wonderful day out and came home with lots of creative ideas! I'm off to get some stitching done now! Have a lovely weekend!