Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Save the Stitches - blackwork sampler Block 3

Looking for the giveaway?  Click here.

I've been working some more on Elizabeth Almond of Blackwork Journey's Save The Stitches blackwork sampler.  I have now completed Block 3... wow, watch me go, I'm only about 10 blocks behind!

Block 3 is the two empty squares and the 4 to the right of it.  The top right square was really confusing!  As you can see, I didn't crop this photo very well and you can see the print out for my Cuzco quilt to the right.

Here it is all finished, complete with gold, silver and copper threads that are so hard to get to show up on a photo.  I got my lightbox after I took these photos, so I'll try to take a better photo next time.  It might also be a good idea to take it out of the Qsnap for the photos, but it's so awkward to frame up due to all the excess fabric at the bottom that I have to roll up and secure.

Block 4 is underway.

Related Posts

Block 2
block 1 finished

Block 1
The tiny version

Monday, 21 July 2014


Last week I reviewed the book Mini Quilts by Jodie Davis & Jayne Davis.  Have a look here if you missed it.  

The publisher GMC has very kindly given me an extra copy to give away to one of you!

No jumping through hoops at this blog, anyone, anywhere can enter, you don't have to follow me, like me, link to me or anything.

I'll leave the giveaway open for a week, so I'll draw a winner using Mr Random next Monday - the 28th.  All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment.  You can either recommend a craft book to me, or tell me if you're a craft book fan or not.

Good luck and feel free to spread the word!

update: I have had several no-reply bloggers enter already!  If you are on Wordpress, fine I can click your name and get to your blog, so no worries.  If you are on Google+ I can't contact you!!  If you are on Google+ you MUST leave your email address in your comment or you can't win.  I'm sorry, but blame Google+, they keep making you no-reply commenters and I have no way to find you as I WILL NOT join Google+.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The cutest fabric in the world...

Wow, I disappeared there for a bit... what, you didn't notice?  Ah well!

Just a quick one today to show off this cute little bunny fabric.  It's so cute I could actually eat it (if I wasn't anti-eating rabbits and anti-eating fabric).  

The lovely Quirky Hannah discovered it and asked me if I wanted some... did I!  Thank you Hannah, it was so nice of you to think of me.

I am adding it to my bunny fabric collection... it hasn't grown much in the last few months, but it's about too.  I might have accidentally done some online shopping... ooops!

Linking up to 

Molli Sparkles

Monday, 14 July 2014

craft book review - Mini Quilts

I'm still working my way through the craft books that the lovely folk at GMC sent me to review.  I've been working on a project from Mini Quilts.

Before we go any further, the disclaimers.  I was sent the book for free to review but I was not told what to say and all opinions are 100% my own.  I didn't receive any monetary compensation.  Links in this post, as with all my book posts, are affiliated.  If you click over and buy something, I get a few pence towards an Amazon voucher.  

I was quite excited to get this book as I love mini quilts.  I've never made one, though I had started one before receiving this book.  I also knew that my project would be my entry into Le Challenge as this month's theme is "small".

The book opens with the basics - materials and tools required, how to sew the perfect 1/4" seam, basting, quilting and binding.  You then move on to the projects, 19 of them each one teaching different skills. 

This project focuses on thread painting, but also teaches the additional skills of creating an applique pattern and fusible applique.  Each project has a large photo, step-by-step instructions and photos.

The above crayon-painted quilt is one which I'm itching to try.  Other skills taught include precision piecing, stencilling, foundation paper piecing, trapunto, tying a quilt, applique and much more.

This project uses tucks to create a really textural piece.

Traditional techniques such as needle turn applique are also included.  I think you need to be able to look beyond the fabric choices in this book, the projects tend to be made from more traditional materials, but if you can envision them in modern fabrics, there is so much to gain from this book.  Looking through the projects, I could see a way in which you could update each one, still benefiting from the lessons in the project, but to make a less old-fashioned mini.

This raw-edge applique silhouette mini caught my eye.  Of course, I was seeing rabbits!

The project uses a photo of your pet or child to create a silhouette, though of course, you could use any picture you like.  I chose Harry.  He's a black bunny and he's little so I thought he'd work well, also the best photo for this technique that I had was of Harry.  Sometimes my buns are in positions that would look odd in silhouette.  

The project teaches raw edge applique (which of course I have done before), but also inset borders, mitred borders and twin needle quilting.  I wanted to follow the project instructions exactly to really get a feel for the book.  I printed Harry out smaller than required though (by accident!) so my Mini does end up smaller at 13.5" square rather than 17" square.

Overall, the instructions were pretty good.  I found following them easy, though i struggled with the inset border as I found the instructions for this particular part too vague - "baste your inset border" - huh?  Where?  Pointing which way? Where do I stitch?  I wung it and hope that I've got it right.  I like the effect anyway.  Oh, for those of you who don't know what an inset border is (I didn't), it's the purple dotty border.  It's only attached to the green stripe, it's floating above the background.

Despite the evidence above, the instructions for the mitred corners were better.  The biggest issue I had was that it told you to stop stitching 1/4" from the edge of the background fabric.  I couldn't get that.  I'm sure it's quite simple, but I resewed some of these corners 3 times.  And they're still crap.  That's my fault though, I got impatient and just thought "sod it"!

The book has instructions for putting a false back on the quilt as the twin-needle quilting isn't very attractive from behind.  I wasn't worried about that as I plan to hang this mini, so just used some fugly fabric from my stash and left the quilting.  I added corners so I can hang it, I've seen this done on other quilts, but now it's finished, I still don't know how to hang it using the corners!

You can see the reverse of the twin needle quilting above.  You can also see that I tied off all my quilting threads rather than back stitching as I usually do!

Overall, I like this book.  I can see beyond the fabrics used and think that all the different techniques and skilled taught means this is a great book for an advanced beginner or intermediate quilter, though even advanced quilters would find something they hadn't tried.  The instructions are a little lacking in places, but there are several pages dedicated to each project so mostly the projects are easy to follow.  It's a book that I want to use again to try a few more techniques.

If you fancy having this book for your own library, keep an eye out as I'll be giving a copy away soon!  (not my copy, I'm keeping that!)

The details:
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton (7 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1621137961
  • ISBN-13: 978-1621137962
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 1 x 25.4 cm

Linking up to:
Le ChallengeCraft Book Sew Along at Live. Love. Create.

This month's theme is "small" - small for a mini and small for little Harry

Seriously, come and join in, there are prizes!

Celtic Thistle Stitches

New for me - my first Mini quilt, inset borders, twin needle quilting


I was given a review copy of the book by GMC however this review and all opinions are 100% my own, I was not told what to say.  Amazon links are affiliate links.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Definitely no stippling here!

Good morning ladies and gentlemen.  Today I've got a class at the Bead Shop, so it's probably about time I told you all about the class I took last month.  I booked it ages ago and had been very much looking forward to it.  It was a Free Motion Quilting class, held at StitchCraft Studio by the lovely Trudi, my friend and guild buddy.  I alternatively heckled and tried to be teacher's pet!

The class was 10-4 with lunch included (they do great food - yes, this is an LQS with a cafe inside!) so we had a lot of time to practice.  I have attempted a bit of FMQ before, but it was great to get some tips, design ideas and of course be shown the best way to do things.  I was also able to see where I'd been going wrong before. Trudi spent quite a bit of time shouting "Wendy, slow down!"  I don't know what's wrong with me, but when I'm sewing, I forget I can take my foot off the pedal...

We made quilt sandwiches and basted them ready.  We went through each design, Trudi showed us how to do it and we practiced on paper first, then had a go on our sandwich.  I have no idea what is wrong with these pictures, the fabric I used was pink...

I filled one piece and made another sandwich, I could have continued with the same piece, just quilting over the top in a different colour, but I wanted to keep it for posterity.  Hopefully one day I can look back at them and laugh, but at the moment I'm quite proud.

This one is blue!  I know that this quilting is by no means professional, but I saw an improvement in the designs so I know I can continue to improve with practice.  I was surprised I could do this at all, especially the feathers!

I found it all so freeing... if you live nearby and haven't plucked up the courage to FMQ, I'd highly recommend a class with Trudi.  If you don't live nearby, I'm sure there'll be a class near you somewhere.

I've got some FMQing to do, there are a couple of items on my FAL Q3 list which I want to FMQ, not least my And Sew On quilt.  I had borrowed Kerry's open toe/darning foot for the class (and almost ruined her entire life in the process...) so was thrilled when mine arrived a few days later.  Time to practice!

Ta dah!  What do you think?  Am I any good at this FMQ? ...




Yeah, OK, Trudi made this sample for me!  (and it was on cream fabric?!?!?)  This is what I aspire to and it's good to have aspirations.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Work in progress

I've got very little to report this week, it's been a tough few weeks and I've done almost nothing.  Except watch both series of Orange is the New Black on Netflix (fantastic, you have to watch it) and the first two series of Breaking Bad, which I'm now addicted to.  

Mr CA was away working on site so I moved my sewing machine to the dining room table (out of the bag where it'd been since the last quilt guild meeting!) and accomplished very little!  This is a bag.  I did all the cutting out at the guild meeting (6 hours worth of cutting out), then I fused the interfacing and fleece in place and... that's it so far.  Long way to go on this.

Yes.  That is knitting.  Yes, I know.  I hate knitting.  Mum had given me a stack of craft mags and this pattern was in one of them.  I had a couple of car journeys coming up so I took it with me to work on (I was the passenger, not driver!).  I got stuck when it told me to ssk as I don't know what that is.  I googled it on my phone and found nothing.  I must have another look from a larger device...  any guesses as to what this is to be?

Monday, 7 July 2014

Save the Stitches - block 2 complete

I think I need to get my hair cut, or maybe my head shaved.  Remember the story a few weeks ago about the bee stuck in my hair?  Well this week, whilst at work, I was beavering away when I saw something out of the corner of my eye.  It went.  I saw it again and again it disappeared.  The next thing I knew, there was a spider abseiling down my glasses!!  It would appear I had a spider living in my hair...  What next?  Will I wake up to find a pigeon nesting on my head?

I've been slowly but steadily stitching on Elizabeth Almond of Blackwork Journey's Save The Stitches blackwork samplers.  Not actually Elizabeth's, I think she'd be pretty pissed off at me ruining her beautiful work, but on my version.  

This is where I'd got to on the last update.  The four complete blocks and the small one are block 1.  The outlines are all block 2 and I'd started the filling stitches.

Here is where I am now.  Block 2 is all finished and I've put in the outlines for block 3.

If you have any interest in a long-term stitching project, even if you've only done a bit of cross stitch before, I'd recommend giving this a go. 

Related Posts

block 1 finished

Block 1
The tiny version