Sunday 31 January 2021

A happy treat for ME!

Let me show you what arrived in the post last week.

I know that even the box itself is gorgeous, but wait until you see what's inside!

Can you stand the suspense?

This, dear blog friends, is a little gift to myself.  It's my first ever Cotton and Twine subscription box!  This is a monthly cross-stitch subscription but you aren't necessarily committed to a particular subscription period, so you can cancel when you want to.  You do know in advance what is coming in the monthly box because tantalising pics are posted on the Cotton and Twine IG page. There's a pattern chart for this month, the brown paper package contains the fabric, threads and needle for stitching it and even the frame to finish it has been supplied.  There's also a sweet little heart ornament from East of India and a sachet of coffee and vegan jelly hearts (for veganuary) which I imagine will provide stitching sustenance.

Thank you so much to the ladies at Cotton and Twine for a gorgeous first box for me.  I've also spied next month's design and am thrilled that it too will head this way in due course.  If you are interested in the subscription box check out their website and IG feed.  Also take a look at the Historical Sampler Company website or @historicalsampler on IG for other kits and designs they sell.  There's not much there I don't want to add to my cart!

Saturday 30 January 2021

January's Tiny Stitches

You may or may not know, but I used to cross stitch a lot years ago, before patchwork became my new love.  I've always loved the slower rhythms of hand stitching of all sorts and I'm sure if you've been hanging around here for long enough you'll not be surprised by that, and will have seen plenty of evidence in EPP patchwork, hand quilting, a little embroidery and occasionally a cross-stitch piece, too.  In the mayhem of 2020, I found solace and sanity in those slower rhythms again, something I think 2021 is also going to require.

At the end of last year, I fell down a rabbit hole of Floss Tube, SALs, new patterns and available freebies and I have so many things I want to stitch that I hardly know where to start.  Though I think I may just have figured that out, but more on that next week ;-)

In the meantime, the lull of a long January and the tightening of lockdown restrictions pushed me a little deeper into that rabbit hole. Patterns were printed off, online shopping carts checked out and project bags made ready, so I have a few little bits of cross-stitching to show you from this month.

Fat Quarter Stitch were offering this quilty inspired Stitches from the Heart pattern for free as part of their plans for #beminesal in February and I thought, why not? I found this satisfying as a stitcher and a quilter.  By the way,  if you are interested there is also a free quilt pattern for a Stitches from the Heart mini quilt and a wallhanging.

Of course, I couldn't resist the Lori Holt Sew By Row SAL hosted by Fat Quarter Shop either.  Though, I had to wait until a couple of weeks after the start of the SAL for the pdf of this pattern to become available to purchase.  It means that I'm a bit behind but I'll just try to maintain my own weekly pace rather than catch up.  There is a spot and a frame ready for this one just beside my sewing nook! Aren't those tomato pincushions adorable?

Then, watching Floss Tubes and Fat Quarter Shop I've gotten a little Valentine stitching bug.  If you knew this house, you'd laugh because we are the least Valentine's celebratory home in the world.  But that's not because of me, so I decided that I'm going to change that and celebrate Valentine's myself with cute stitches when I fancy.  It's a lovely excuse to stitch pretty little patterns, of which the 'Bee Mine' by Stitching with the Housewives that you see above is just one of many I have bookmarked for future reference.  Available from either Fat Quarter Shop or the Stitching with the Housewives Etsy shop.

You might be able to make out in the picture above that I had a go at dyeing my aida pink.  I used the juice from Baxters pickled beetroot!  With no real clue of the 'how to' I just pressed on and it's done.  I wet my aida with water, dunked it in the beetroot juice and took it out when I started to get nervous. Whether it'll fade dramatically I have no idea. I did try to 'fix' it with salt and then with heat, so maybe I'll get lucky.  Either way, I'm happy.  I have a little scrap of pink aida to stitch on and feel very 'Good Life' about it ;-)

This is my progress so far with 'Bee Mine' - 

It makes me happy!

Finally, having uncovered this cross stitch UFO in a box before Christmas I decided to take it out and finish it.  The pattern is from this lovely book by Barbara Hammet.

I'm not sure why I ever left it unfinished because honestly all there was to do was the little bit of backstitching on the butterflies and caterpillar, the honeysuckle stamen and the leaves.  It has been languishing for years for the sake of 45mins stitching! Anyway, it is now complete and awaiting a little framing attention so I can hang it in our bedroom. Winner!

I did tell you I'd fallen down a rabbit hole, didn't I?  And, like I say, there's lots more to come hopefully.

Good job I made some more project bags with the scraps leftover from the Kindred Spirits quilt ;-)

Friday 29 January 2021

Kindred Spirits QAL - Week 20

Well, that's it for my Kindred Spirits quilt.  I am sad that the QAL is over but I truly enjoyed every minute (well, up until my terrible quilting). Thank you Just Jude Designs team, Judith and Lucy, for the fantastic tuition via video class and pdf.  Thanks, too, to all the other Kindred Spirit Stitchers on FB for the encouragement, kind comments and the inspiration provided by your work. I loved it!

And here's my quilt, wonky quilting and all - 

The pieced backing looks fun now that it's done.

Of course, I didn't forget the label I made from the templates for the Unity Tile block that features in Judith's design.

There are lots of other gorgeous KS QAL quilts being finished and shown off on the group Facebook page. It feels like everyone is gaining a sense of achievement from conquering all the various techniques and building an armoury of quilty skills.  It has been great to forge community for a time when so much of our natural community has been interrupted of late.  Thank you again Judith for all your hard work in bringing this fantastic project to us.

If you like what you see in this Kindred Spirit sampler quilt, Judith's video classes for the project are available on her web shop here.


Wednesday 20 January 2021

Kindred Spirits QAL - Week 19


It's the whole shebang this week, by which I mean, it's time to get our Kindred Spirits quilt tops pieced together from all this lovely blocks Judith has been teaching us to make.  So, here she is -

I'm not sure I realised as I was making her how big she would turn out to be.  She's quite a sizable 64" x 77" and I love her!  This has been a real pleasure to piece and at times has been quite challenging too, but its good to learn new things and Judith certainly had lots of content and knowledge to pass on in all her video tutorials. They're still available here if you fancy a wee lockdown challenge of your own.

Once I got the top together, I decided I'd use the leftovers and a few other fabrics of similar style to piece a backing.  Made quite a dent in my stash!  

So, that's me almost ready for next week's quilting stage.  I need some inspiration for how I'd like to quilt it, so I've got my thinking cap on.  Need to get my big girl pants on, too, and get her basted, but I'll think about that on Friday ;-)

Friday 15 January 2021

Kindred Spirits QAL - Week 18

This week was the last of the quilt blocks for the Kindred Spirits QAL - three mid sized blocks, two with orange peels and one with hearts, all appliqué by method of choice.

Way back in September, when this QAL kicked off, the very first block was appliqué and Judith's video tutorials offered a choice of machine appliqué or needle-turn appliqué.  Back then I opted to have a go at the machine appliqué (you can see my efforts here).  So, this time I indulged my hand stitching preference and parked myself on the sofa for a couple of evenings to needle-turn them.  I always find it tricky to line up orange peel points in the centre well, and there was a reasonable amount of unpicking and re-stitching to get these to the point where you can't tell from a distance they don't meet ;-)

I'm a little bit sad that there are no more blocks to make for this QAL, but there's putting together and quilting to come in the next fortnight so I'll be too busy to mope for long ;-)


Thursday 14 January 2021

Project Bags


Last Sunday, I decided to make a project bag.  

As you can see, it quickly became two, three, four then five project bags!  I reckoned it was as easy to do the maths for all of them at once, and I may have been trying to hide from feelings of homeschooling doom that were threatening to settle :-(

I've been watching too much Kimberley Jolly and Lori Holt on You Tube so my head was full of their pretty project organisers and I had a case of the wanties.  A mess of vinyl, zips and happy fabric choices later, these little pouches are ready to store my hand stitching WIPs.  Yes, you read correctly that I have actively planned to have numerous WIPs and thus the need for sweet storage solutions ;-)

These two now happily house my Emilie Aime La Pluie embroidery from Un Chat Dans L'Aiguille and my Stitches from the Heart cross-stitch (a new free design from Fat Quarter Shop).  It's very satisfying to see them in their new little bags, and I have plans for the other two bags as well.  Just waiting on Royal Mail to deliver them!

While the pouches above have vinyl fronts, this one features one of my older sampler stitches instead.  It used to be in a nasty plastic mahogany effect frame - it wasn't doing it any favours! When I decided not to put it back on the wall after our home re-vamp in the autumn, I also knew that I didn't want the sampler to be consigned to a drawer for ever.  So, I thought maybe it would be nice to enjoy it on a stitchery pouch.  I wasn't sure if the Tilda fabric worked well enough with the cross stitch and blackwork sampler, but the good folks of IG gave it the thumbs up and ta da, one sampler project pouch!

This one is quite a large bag.  Big enough for an A4 sized project pack.  You'll note I've filled it already.  During my mega tidy out in the autumn, I discovered this long forgotten cross-stitch advent calendar project. I couldn't have told you how long this one has been around except I found the packing receipt in the package.  2006!!!!  I do remember eagerly awaiting it's arrival and getting stuck straight in but I have no idea what happened that my enthusiasm fizzled out so quickly.  I've stitched some of the little ornament parts on the plastic canvas mesh but there's much more to do, and I haven't even started on the actual calendar fabric itself.  Oops!  Perhaps it's something that CT would enjoy - it is very cute.  Of course, I need to NOT leave it another 14 years to finish up.  Maybe one or two years more and she'd be a good age to appreciate it ;-)  Living in hope, folks!

I'm chuffed with my little project organiser bags and suspect I'll make some more in due course - just sayin'.

Saturday 9 January 2021

Kindred Spirits QAL - Week 17


Week 17 of Kindred Spirits QAL is Spools!  I enjoyed using up the last pieces of some of my favourite 30's style fabrics for this week's blocks.  

I wasn't sure what colour fabric to make the spool ends for these.  I trialled some yellows and then some more muted orange shades but they weren't quite right especially as the sunflower block next to which these will sit are largely oranges and yellows too.  In the end, I remembered I had these scraps of soft grey and I think they work well.  Neutral enough not to look like I have randomly introduced another colour at this late stage of the project.

Hard to believe there are only three weeks of this QAL left.  I will be glad to see it all come together but very sorry for the weekly motivation and fantastic teaching to come to an end.  

This Just Jude Design class will remain available for purchase on the website though, so if you would like a brilliant project with step by step, comprehensive teaching to entertain you through this latest lockdown, do pop over and buy it.  You'll be able to work at your own pace and it is truly worth every penny!

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