Sunday 30 June 2019

Mini Archie's June Furtle

Archie The Wonder Dog

Hello Furtlers!  It's good to be back after a couple of months AWOL.  Best laid plans and all that ...

I am pleased to report that I managed to finish up two WIPs in June.

Firstly, this Bonnie and Camille On Point Charm Square quilt

and then, rather out of season, my Chunky Cut Christmas Quilt.  

Ticking WIPs off the list feels good,

except, it just encourages me to believe its a good excuse to start something new 

 with a leaders and enders bonus starting alongside - oops!

Oh, and in the spirit of full confession, I also started a By Annie Hold Everything Bag, too!  I think that makes 3 new WIPs in place of the two I finished.  Not great maths, is it?  Maybe I'll finish the bag soon and at least break even again!

Although this embroidery doesn't strictly belong to June's stitching, I have only just been able to reveal it this month as it was for a birthday present.

Happy to report that I am continuing to sew from stash on all of these projects and have even broken out the ever growing box of 2.5" squares to begin using up in the leaders and enders blocks.  I've got to be really honest, though and say that except for the Christmas fabrics, you would really hardly notice that much difference in my stash.  It's so odd that it seems to take a lot longer to reduce than to accumulate.  Must try to remember that and ration my purchases accordingly in future!!

I'm also excited to have booked a place on Just Jude Design's first ever quilting retreat.  So happy to have a retreat here in NI, finally. A whole weekend of stitches all to myself!!!

Finally, have you listened to the Great British Quilter podcasts yet?  If not, you really should go and hear a little bit more about the stories behind some of the famous faces of our quilting community.  Sarah Ashford has done a lovely job of engaging with Jo Avery and Kerry Green already.  I am sure there are more great interviews planned.

Linking up to Mini Archie's Furtle Around the Blogosphere.

Saturday 29 June 2019

Spelling Bee Quilt - progress 1

It has been hard to resist starting to stitch the blocks for the Spelling Bee Quilt since I prepped some of them.  I said I would just do A and then get back to cutting, but well ...

B happened too, of course.

Then I thought I'd just have a stab at the sewing machine block because it's so cute, and here I am

with the blocks for the first half of the quilt's top row.  

Truth is, the little sewing machine block is a whole other ball game, in terms of stitching, from the letters.  Remember it's 6.5" square with ALL those pieces!! If you look closely at the block pic, you'll see I lost some of the corners that are supposed to shape the sewing machine control knobs.  It's bothering me, but I cannot decide if I can bring myself to unpick and restitch them.  The control-freak-perfection-aiming part of me very much wants to fix it.  The exhausted mother of CT wonders if it will "do".  

I'll think about it ...

When I realised that the piecing for this quilt is so small and sectional, I thought it would be a really good candidate for sewing up some leaders and enders alongside the actual blocks.  As I need to remove a stitched section from under my needle, I can just pop in a leader/ender pair to avoid thread wastage and keep the machine from gathering up at the start of the next bits of sewing.  I've pulled out my 2.5" squares box and am going to make nine patches (for an eventual scrappy Irish Chain, I think) as I sew. It'll be like a bonus project taking shape alongside!

Tuesday 25 June 2019

Mandala Embroidery

When I ordered this beautiful Mandala Embroidery book last year I was dying to break out the embroidery hoop and floss again, so I did.  I combined it with a thought of being super-organised for a June birthday present for my dear and very lovely friend, Judith.

It was tricky deciding which of the beautiful designs to stitch, but this one won out and is aptly called 'Friendship Meadow' (no 11 in the book).  I chose soft, pretty hues of pink, lilac, green, yellow and orange to stitch with.  My choices were influenced by J's beautiful lounge room where I lose all ability to concentrate on our conversation because there are so many exquisite and unique little bits and pieces of design detail and decor, and my eyes are always distracted by the beauty I notice this time that I didn't last time.  

As you can see the wooden hoop looked bit bare when it was fitted.  So, I hunted out my little bundle of 6 Liberty fqs and found this PERFECT print to wrap the hoop with.  

I haven't tried wrapping a hoop in fabric before, but it was really not too hard.  I put double sided sticky tape on the inner and outer flat sides of the hoop (about 6 inches at a time so as not to be left having to hold the sticky wood) and just wrapped carefully.  The fine Liberty made this really easy.  Next time I need to work a wee bit closer at the beginning and ends of the wrapping to cover the little bits I didn't do, but as you can see in the picture below those have easily been hidden by a little scrappy bow ;-)

I added a little strip of the Liberty just looped and tied around the screw fixing which will allow J the choice of hanging her hoop or just propping it on a shelf.  

Carina's design worked up so beautifully and was such a pleasure to stitch in the early months of this year.  If you love embroidery, or would like to have a go, this book has some gorgeous designs and you can simplify the stitches if you need to though it's mostly backstitching, so not too tricky.  The book comes with iron on transfers for each design.  This was a new experience for me, and I'd recommend if you are new to iron on transfers, to try one of the designs you don't like so much on a scrap of calico or sheeting.  Each transfer works for a number of times, but I "wasted" a couple of mine because I didn't really know how hard to press, for how long etc.  I had a couple that were too feint and a wobbly one because I just lost balance while doing it - doh!

As you know, Judith runs her own Quilting Classes business from a beautiful studio in Belfast, so I couldn't resist having this print made up for her birthday, too.  Creativity is Judith's God gifting and I have watched her, and been inspired, dare I say "infected", by her talent and passion for so many years.  She is most certainly passing it on!   

Thursday 20 June 2019

A, B, C

A    is for Awesome quilt by Lori Holt.

B    is for Beginning another project.

C    is for CT who "needs" this quilt ;-) even though she may not get it until she's 15!

Yes, I'm rifling my fabric boxes again for something new.  This is all my Lori Holt prints and similarly coloured/styled Riley Blake prints that were left over from my Happy Days BOM quilt.  Um, no, that quilt is not finished yet :-o  I've added a mix of low volumes to have a scrappier feel to the quilt background and to keep working at reducing my stash.  So the plan is to use mostly these fabrics, but I will dip into my general stash for greys and other bits I might need as this quilt progresses.

No sewing yet, but I made a start cutting. I did wonder at my sanity as I cut squares that were 1.5", 1" and even 0.75" in size! This is all of the cutting for the first row blocks, the sashings and the low volume inner scallop borders. There is still such a lot to cut, but I already know this will be a VERY long term project and that's ok.  I plan to enjoy this one - it's such a beautiful design and I know CT will love it - eventually!!

Sunday 16 June 2019

Christmas in June

Normally, there is no excuse for using the C word in June, I know.  But, I'm trying to finish up some WIPs and this one was just next on my list.

So, apologies to those of you who cannot bear to see Christmas fabric this early in the year, but perhaps I can justify it by saying it's not early for this year, but late for last.  Does that help?  No.  Oh well, apologies anyway.

This is my Chunky Cut Christmas Quilt which was a quick and satisfying stitch up back in early December in an attempt to reduce my Christmas fabric stash.

All it needed was basted, quilted and bound.  Wavy line quilting worked a treat on the fun festive prints and some biased red and white candy cane striped binding completed the effort.

Done, done and done and happily ticked off the list, and, of course, ready for some wintery snuggles when the time comes.

Wednesday 5 June 2019

Sometimes simple is all that's required

Well, that was an unexpected blip in transmission!  I hoped to be present here more regularly this year, but I think I'm trying to find rhythm where there is none really.  So I can do one of two things.  Either, I can be disappointed that it's not working and call it a day, or I can accept and enjoy what time there is to sew and share as and when it happens.

As you see, I made the sensible choice!

My B&C stash got smaller last year, but it's still overly healthy (if there is such a thing), so I need to continue its depletion into pretties!

First up, I was in the mood for something simple.  I had quite a few small pieces of various prints that wouldn't stretch to a whole block's worth of cutting, but would chop into charm squares pretty well. Fortuitously, Amy Smart posted this gorgeous baby quilt tutorial around the same time as my deliberations which reminded me of the beauty of simplicity, and how sometimes, that's all that's needed.  So I got cutting and laying out on the bedroom floor.

Some setting squares and stitching later, it looked like this.   Glorious scrapilicious flimsy!!

I kept the quilting simple too - just a quilting foot width either side of the seams, and hey presto! A pretty little lap quilt.

This isn't the picture of this quilt that I'd like to be sharing with you, but our weather has been so wet and miserable for end May/beginning June that I can't get it outside for a brighter shot. Come on, sunshine!!  Anyway, this is the picture I have and it kind of makes me wish I'd made the quilt a little bit bigger, even though small was always the plan.  It will be great on a single bed, I think.

Amazingly, this little lot has hardly made any difference to those fabric boxes at all.  Perhaps a project bag of some sort would make another dent.  Do you think my stash is secretly self-reproductive? ;-)

I hope you are all sewing up lovely treats for yourselves and others, too.

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