Tuesday 28 July 2020

Reply to gone2k9z

This is a message for gone2k9z - you emailed me a question about quilting your charm pack quilt and I replied, but realised afterwards that you are actually a no-reply blogger so my email reply will not have reached you.  I hope you spot this response -

Hi there! I'm glad you have been enjoying the charm pack quilt, and thank you for your kind wishes for safe health.  I hope you manage to stay safe too, it is indeed a very peculiar time. Sewing is my sanity too!

My walking foot measures ⅜" from the needle to its edge so that is pretty simple for me to line up with the fabric seam I want to distance from.  If I am quilting a distance that I cannot measure by the edge of my foot, I will rule lines on my quilt with a white Chaco chalk pen  (it's like a powdered chalk capsule with a little serrated wheel that draws on the fabric) or with a Hera marker which is not a pen but a little hand held plastic item with a sharp edge which makes a kind of indentation on your fabric which you can follow.  Sometimes for wider spaced lines I use painters tape. It is low adhesive so doesn't leave a residue on your quilt top. You position in on the fabric where you want and stitch right along the edge of the tape. Best to remove the tape immediately. I wouldn't leave the tape on for more than a day, so just tape up a piece of your quilt at a time. Of course I'm not sure painters tape comes as narrow as ⅜".

I hope that I have explained that properly and maybe it will be some help.  I hope you find a solution that works for you.

Kind regards,

Monday 27 July 2020

#sewalittlehappinesseveryday embroidery

Back in mid-March just as news was clearly indicating that we were heading swiftly towards a Coronavirus Lockdown, Sarah and Penny from Pretty Fabrics and Trims and the A Little Happy Place blog, posted a community project with the aim of providing us with a diversionary focus.  

At first, I didn't think I would join in, but over the next couple of days as life began to change rapidly and my brain went into overload thinking about what was going to happen with our health and schools and A-level exams and university applications and primary school applications and therapy support and work and our planned house move and ... and ... and ... , I realised I could really use the discipline of something that would just take a little bit of time (or more if I wanted) each day to help me breathe out and not be entirely consumed by the uncertainties of that present.

I'm not sure if Sarah and Penny will ever know what a blessing it was for me to be able to divert my head for a little while in those earliest days of Lockdown.  Their idea helped me maintain at least a modicum of sanity, and for that inspiration I will be forever grateful.  Thank you, lovely ladies.

So, the plan was this. Sarah suggested we draw a grid with a mixture of squares and rectangles measuring everything from 1" square upwards, and daily add whatever kind of stitching we fancied - embroidery, appliqué, EPP, little bits of lace, precious buttons, whatever - to create a stitchy sampler.

In spite of all my sewing supplies and equipment being in packing boxes, it wasn't hard to lay my hands on this half metre of Essex Linen in berry and my embroidery threads and button jar.   I traced the lovely text script Sarah so kindly provided as a starting point for those who wanted it and so began my journey with the #sewalittlehappinesseveryday embroidery sampler.

This was a perfect start to a project that I had absolutely no plan for! I'd drawn my grid a little smaller than Sarah's 20" x 20" - mine was just 17" square to fit the available height of my fabric.  But there still seemed like an awful lot of little spaces to be filled!

But, this was a day at a time thing - it's all it was meant to be and all I could actually have coped with in all honesty.  So, that's what I did, moved forward one day at a time with no plan.

There were days when I took an opportunity to stitch elements of other designs and patterns I'd always wanted to try but probably would never tackle the whole of.  I really enjoyed doing that!  These 'Hope', "Faith" and (further down) "Family" designs are from the free Words of Life stitch-along by Jenny of Elefantz and I was so pleased to choose these words to include on my sampler grid.  Thank you Jenny for such pretty designs. That appliqué was a lot smaller and more challenging than I had imagined, but I did it!

All the while this #sewalittlehappinesseveryday project is going on there's a wealth of inspiration from other stitchers on the IG hashtag.  One lovely stitcher mentioned that she was adding a little stitchy social history reference to this time on her grid.  This great idea percolated for a few days and then I included my own drawn version of the Stay Home icon I'd seen on social media (the little heart and house thing up there) and of course, the year - not that we're likely to forget it anytime soon.

I loved adding my favourite mother of pearl heart buttons alongside little floral sprigs and daisies I drew.

When it came to filling the largest square on my grid (6") I English Paper pieced some hexies and appliquéd them on.  They were a lacking a little something so I finished them off with a border of tiny french knots.

Again choosing more inspiration from books/designs I am unlikely ever to manage all of, I tried three of these little medallion motifs from Yumiko Higuchi's lovely book Embroidered Botanicals.  These definitely challenged my skills, which is why I'm only showing you one of them close up ;-)  If I remember correctly that's all stitched in a 2" grid square!

One day inspiration came from an ad I caught on FB for the Flow Hive - it's a very interesting Bee Hive design.  So, I decided to draw a bee and a hive (nothing like Flow Hive, I may add).  I also tried dense french knots but kind of regretted it as it takes a LOT of french knots to cover even a 2" square.

More buttons weren't just pretty, they were speedy additions on busier days.

And then, at the weekends I sometimes indulged in more complex stitching like this paisley motif from Carina Envoldsen's book Mandalas to Embroider.

Over the days and weeks this random collection of stitching ideas gradually filled up the grid spaces.

I was very proud of myself for drawing this pretty birdhouse and managing the stitches.  I do wonder if I shouldn't have chosen darker threads though as it fades into the background on the finished grid.  But, it was one day at a time, evolving without a particular plan.

I also tried some new to me stitches that I was picking up on another embroidery sew along I joined, too (more on that another day).  Above is a fly stitch leaf

and here's a hollyhock vine of buttonhole wheels. I need more practice at these!

If you've made it this far in my post, I congratulate you.  You may, by now, be feeling like you sat through Lockdown with me!!  As you can see, I didn't show you everything up close, but here it all is in its finished, but not quite complete, glory.

This project is an eclectic mix/mess of technique, designs, and colour and it's become incredibly special to me in its lovely imperfection.  Oddly, it's a reminder of a time I'd rather forget, but it will also ever be a reminder that creative expression is a therapy in my life and that there is a community of stitchers who seek to help us tap into our creative diversions when times are tough.  Thank you!

I think I have decided that this should become a wallhanging. Perhaps this week I'll get a chance to bind it ready for display?

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Applique Hearts Boxy Bag

My very lovely and very talented friend Judith of Just Jude Designs has recently taken her teaching skills online - a huge bonus at a time when actual classes are not possible.  As well as several free tutorials on her new You Tube Channel, she recently released a paid project class for an Applique Hearts Boxy Bag.  I knew the release of this class was coming and was so looking forward to it.

It didn't disappoint! I followed step by step each instruction of Judith's brilliant video tutorial and now have a glorious Tilda appliqué hearts boxy bag to show for it!

The minute I finished, Little Miss ran away with my lovely new bag and appropriated it for her pretend picnic lunch, which explains why my photo fo the bag's lining pocket and side pen pockets looks like this -

Albeit that mummy has other plans for her boxy bag, it's clear my girl has good taste in bags!!

I cannot recommend Judith's teaching and her tutorials highly enough.  Please try them out and support her business if you can.  Try one of her free You Tube tutorials as a taster - you will learn so much more than just the project in question (loads of handy helpful tips along the way).

Here's a sewing machine mat I whipped up a few weeks ago following her Scrappy Table Mat Tutorial.  A very satisfying scrap project if you have plenty of those around.

I even managed to conquer fully machine binding for the first time thanks to Judith's great explanations!  Really, you should go have a look and give one of her great tutorials a whirl - you won't be sorry!

Monday 20 July 2020



At the turn of the year I had anticipated a break in blogging but not for the reasons that have been, nor for so long.  Turns out much more than plans were interrupted, as life for everyone nationwide and across the globe became unrecognisable virtually overnight.  This hasn't been a time I have enjoyed, nor a time of peaceful contemplation and rest from what once was our normal, but we are safe and well and for that I am grateful.  I truly hope that whatever the Covid-19 pandemic and its restrictions have meant for you, that you too are safe and well at this time.

During the early spring we expected to be moving house.  It was to have been quite a change for us, but along came Coronavirus and its impacts and for all sorts of reasons the house move fell through.  Since 25% of my household contents and all of my sewing supplies were, and still are, boxed up and ready to load on a van, stitching has had its limitations and challenges over the past four months.  But, for sanity I found ways and means.  I've tried some new things, some unexpected things and more recently, have delved into some of the boxes to retrieve a few more supplies and existing projects to work on.  Albeit a little late and out of sequence, I hope to share my Lockdown stitching here in my little blog space over time.  Unexpected as it has been, it is all part of the Sew Me stitchy story, and some of it has been really fun and most of it has been invaluably therapeutic!

Back soon with some pretty pics to share.

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