Monday, 16 September 2019

EPP Hexie Diamond Quilt update

These five EPP hexie diamonds, in all their Bonnie and Camille beauty, are the final few full diamonds for my four year old WIP.  These ones were made this summer and I enjoyed the peaceful, rhythmic stitching of them in the evenings of sometimes testing days.  Handstitches of any variety can be very soothing, I find.

So, this is what 23 EPP hexie diamonds look like - each one about 3 hrs worth of stitching (I'm not particularly speedy).  It doesn't really look like much, does it?

Hopefully, it looks a little more substantial all laid out like this.  What do you think?

There were several layout options considered for this quilt, and I have at different times had different preferences for which to choose.  Now, though I think I quite like the full scrappy patterning of the layout above.

Mind you, having sat down to doodle out how to finish this quilt, I think I might only be just about halfway through piecing for it!  As you can see, this current layout yields a quilt wider than it is long and I don't like it so much turned through 90 degrees. So, it needs lengthening and some kind of bordering and squaring off.  Only a gazillion more hexies to go then!

That said, I have high hopes for how nice it will look when it's done!

Monday, 9 September 2019

"Perfect Pairs" Heart Cushion

I had a bit of a struggle choosing a border fabric for my "Perfect Pairs" cushion.  I auditioned lots of fabrics from my B&C stash, whittled it down to four, had an inkling that I might go for green, but opened the debate to the IG community for thoughts.

The IG vote was reasonably fairly split between the red and the green options.  So I took these two pics and pondered it for a bit while I was having an afternoon of cutting and prep for various projects.  These pics got a 'green' vote from IG and ultimately, I agreed.  The red did work beautifully blending with the heart block panel, but I think I liked the fresh contrast offered by the green and that it stops the cushion becoming 'too pink' perhaps.

So, borders on, I layered up the batting and hand quilted with some lovely Aurifil 12 wt thread from Pretty Fabrics and Trims.

I kept things fairly simple by just echo stitching the hearts, stitching a little inner border on each of the nine squares, and another little outline just into the green border fabric.

Enough to be well quilted.  Not enough, I hope, to detract from the appliqué and beautiful fabrics which should be the stars of the show, I think.

I backed it with more B&C loveliness using my all time favourite hidden zipper cushion backing method by Just Jude. You can find the tutorial for it here (I always add a little lining piece too).

If you are eagle-eyed enough, you might notice that my cushion isn't quite filled properly and is a bit lumpy and bumpy.  Not having a filler of the correct size, I improvised by wrapping a quilt around a smaller filler - see?  

I was quite proud of that effort until I struggled for ten minutes to get it back out again without damaging the cushion!!

Anyway, enough blab.  Isn't she pretty?  Still have a hankering to do a whole quilt in these.


Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Sleeping Bag Challenge

In spite of having a quilting mum, CT does NOT sleep under covers of any kind unless they are attached to her.  She's a twister, turner, upside down, sideways, anyway but relaxed, kind of sleeper.  She DOES sleep though, so I'm not going to complain, and the quilts on her bed make the prettiest base sheets you ever saw!  But, she is not quite as little as she used to be and although I've been putting it off for ages, I had to bite the bullet last week and figure out how to make her a larger sleeping bag.

(In spite of much research in the hope of finding a suitably sized bag that would allow me NOT to have to make one, I could not find one bigger than the ones she already has. Now thanks to @patchworkummy on IG I have a link to a site that does sell larger bags if required, though oddly there's a gap in sizes between 4 and 6 years old.)

Using some gifted Australian cuddle fleece and repurposing a lovely soft brushed cotton cot sheet as lining, my plan was to make a giant sleeping bag which will hopefully give her a bit more fidget room and keep her cosy as the nights turn a little cooler.

I didn't really have a clue what I was doing, so decided to make a little trial version just to see if I could get the construction steps straight in my head.

It was a bit tricky and I even sewed it all inside itself but that was the point of a test version and I just made myself a note to leave a gap in the lining of the real thing!

Far from perfect, but almost there and with a wee bit more care and precision, perhaps I could pull it off.  I also decided to order the construction stages differently in the making of the real version.

Enlarged pattern drafted and pinned, I got out my scissors and let the shed-fest begin!  It looked like it had snowed all over my house and all over me.  I was warned the cuddle fleece might shed and fray and it did not disappoint!

But I did get there.  Zipper in a lined sleeping bag, reasonably well-shaped and top stitched around the neckline/armhole and fixed with kam snaps at the shoulder tabs.

Not looking too closely is the key to this, but hey, CT has a sleeping bag that is much less snug than her existing bags and mummy has a sense of achievement!

Mummy also learned that she never, EVER wants to work with cuddle fleece again (shed-fest be gone!) and is very happy (hopefully) not to have to make a sleeping bag ever again either - thank you @patchworkummy for sharing the link!

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Mini Archie's August Furtle

Archie The Wonder Dog

August has mainly been about hand stitches of one variety or another because of time away from home and my machine on holiday.

There were some pretty appliquéd hearts

and more hexagon EPP for my Hexie Diamonds quilt.

I even tried a crocheted mandala in a hoop just for fun (and maybe as a trial run for future efforts).

I then indulged in a little more stitching from Carina Envoldsen-Harrison's book Mandalas to Embroider, choosing the lovely paisley mandala embroidery design.  I still need to finish off this hoop, but the embroidery itself is complete.

While on holiday I discovered that Karelia House was nearby, and I persuaded hubby that he could avail of the coffee shop and treat CT to half an hour in the little playground on site to afford me a quick snoop around.  As always, when I go into a fabric or wool shop without an actual shopping list for actual projects, I found myself overwhelmed, wanting to buy but not knowing what to buy.  I almost walked away empty-handed, but I spotted a cotton yarn (I think it's 94% cotton) in one of the special offer packs and made an impulse buy with a view to stitching up a shawl.  As you can see, I have already made a start with a very simple pattern - Candy Kisses Triangle Scarf by  So far, it's working up well.  I have no idea how big I will be able to go with my 10 ball pack but I'll keep going and see.  I hope I can get a reasonable size as it feels so soft and has a beautiful chunky drape without the irritation of wool which I just can't wear next to my skin.

I also managed a sleeping bag for my Little Miss, just scraping a finish in the month by stitching the final stitches last night - which means I haven't blogged about it yet.

And then, there are these ...

I didn't actually work on these next two projects this month, but I'm sneaking them in here as a 'confession'.  I had forgotten about these two WIPs - a case of tidying them away having put them 'out of sight, out of mind' for a number of months.  I rediscovered them when pulling fabric for my holiday projects. 

This is a Christmas Countdown wallhanging

and this one is a heart wallhanging akin to the strippy heart quilt I made last year.   I really should make a better list of my WIPs and keep an eye on them!

So, lots of 'bits' this month which have probably just increased my Works In Progress numbers (not to mention the extras I 'found' - ssh! don't tell the Committee!

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Paisley + Embroidery = win! win!

I've written before that I really like Carina Envoldsen-Harrison's book Mandalas to Embroider and from time to time I hope to take a wee bit of time to stitch up more of her designs.  These are perfect projects for Sunday night stitching in front of the latest TV drama (I am currently suffering from the lack of a good period drama, though).

I chose Paisley Constellation (design no 6 in the book) as my next effort, mainly because I adore paisley patterns in pretty colours.  For as long as I can remember I have loved paisley design - can you imagine how beside myself I was when Bonnie and Camille included a paisley print in their Scrumptious collection?!  Anyway, it was no contest when I wanted to stitch up one of Carina's designs just for me (though there are plenty of others I'm keen to try too).

This is stitched on an off-cut of linen which I am informed is the very same linen which the Obamas ordered for curtains in the White House during their tenure.  Very swish!  Actually it is very beautiful, fine white linen and a dream to stitch on.  It just looks a little lumpy and bumpy in my pic because I haven't stretched it properly and have just folded the excess in behind roughly for the photo.

I sometimes find getting colour balances right a bit tricky if I am not working to the same palette as the original design, and I don't always achieve it.  I'm sure I have much to learn in that regard, but for now it remains just trial and error.  In this instance, I wonder if there should have been a little more of the deeper blue (almost navy) to balance things out a bit, but in general it will do nicely.  I hope to finish this one off in a slightly smaller hoop and maybe fabric wrap the hoop, too.  I'll come back and show you when I order up the right size hoop.

For me paisley and embroidery is definitely a winning combination!

Monday, 19 August 2019

Crocheted Mandala Play

One of the other things I did while on holiday earlier this month was to have a wee play at crocheting a mandala for a hoop.

I took some scrap yarn just to play with and armed with the free Spirit Mandala pattern from Lillabjorn Crochet I spent a happy evening hooking away.  It got a bit tricky when the final round was joining to the hoop - only in the sense of getting my hands in a tangle but it was very satisfying to finish the project and have it look like the pattern picture.

I won't keep this one on the hoop though because I don't really like the appearance of the yarn.  I don't like my colour balance and the DK acrylic is a bit too heavy looking for the wallhanging I would eventually like a mandala to be.  But this was play, and exactly the time to discover these things.  My main aim was just to see if I could do it.  Maybe when I'm ready make one for real, I'll try  a finer cotton yarn.  There are lots of possibilities and the fun part is that it can be hooked up in an evening!

Monday, 12 August 2019

Holiday Stitches

We've been away on our summer hols in Scotland for a few weeks and I took some simple hand sewing with me to pass the evenings in our holiday apartment and caravan.

I stitched up hexies for my hexie diamond project, but to intersperse the hexies with a wee something new and interesting, I decided to take some appliqué hearts to work on as well.

I've been SO tempted by Sarah Edgar's Perfect Pairs quilt since she first posted it to IG and her blog.  It's gorgeous!  I would dearly love to make a whole quilt one day and so I recently invested in the acrylic template from her shop.  It's a fab wee doofer with an inner heart shape and a quarter in outer heart which allows you to add on your seam allowance.  Sarah also designed the template with alignment lines and a centre hole for fussy cutting - genius!

For now, a whole quilt is out of the question, but nine little hearts to make a cushion panel seemed like a perfect holiday project.  I enjoyed every stitch of these pretties, and am very much looking forward to making up the cushion front, perhaps with a little hand quilting to finish.

Thanks to Sarah for the inspiration and the template to keep my hearts nice and standard.

So now that hols are over, normal chaotic services will resume - wish me sanity as I have 8 loads of washing to put through, I am running outside every hour to rescue my laundry from the rain and my tumble dryer is broken!!  Home sweet home.

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