Monday, 12 October 2015

October Snow Happy Heart Block

So, September came and went in the blink of an eye and it is already time to share with you my finished 'Snow Happy Heart' block for October.

The October heart pattern was generously released by Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs at the beginning of last week. I downloaded the pattern and got to work making up my block for October.

Of course at the end of October comes Hallowe'en and Anne's cute, little snowman is carrying a bucket to collect his treats in! 

To add an Autumnal feel to the background of my block this month I embroidered two little pumpkins.

They also fit right in with a Hallowe'en theme and I am pleased with how they look!

Over the weekend I have been busy working on the Gail Pan embroidery pattern which was from the  workshop I attended in September. It is called 'My Stitching Things'.  I really would like to get the stitchery finished so that I can make up the folder.... hopefully by the end of the week! 

I am linking this post to 'Design Board Monday' hosted by Cath over at 'Bits and Bobs'  as well as to the latest embroidery party hosted by Sue at 'Super Mom - No Cape!'. Why not pop across and see who else has linked up! 

Friday, 9 October 2015

My visit to the Knitting and Stitching show!

Yesterday, I had a lovely visit to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. Although I grew up in London, I have always lived on the West side of the city and I had never been to Alexandra Palace before. It is in a lovely position, situated in a park and on the top of a hill so that you get a fabulous view of the London skyline.  Sadly, I didn't have my camera with me, so I didn't have the chance to take any photographs!

I booked myself a ticket to the show on the spur of the moment and I am very pleased that I did. It was a great day.  The halls were bustling with people and there were lots of lovely pieces of textile art, dresses and quilts to look at.  Unfortunately, a lot of the booths were not allowing photographs (and as I mentioned earlier.... I forgot my camera!)

Of course, as well as the items exhibited there were lots of retail stalls too and I just couldn't resist a purchase or two!  I found a lovely new book by Janet Haigh called 'Little Ribbon Patchwork and Applique' which contains lots of creative ideas for using beautiful ribbons in quilts and all sorts of other ways. 

Obviously I couldn't buy the book without buying a few lengths of beautiful ribbon to go with it.... just so I can get started on a project or two you understand!

As I was choosing the ribbons Janet Haigh herself came back to the stall and I was lucky enough to get her to sign my book for me!  I bought a pretty new shopping bag to carry my purchases home in too!

I stopped at the Stef Francis stall too.  If you read this blog regularly, you will know I love to use her beautiful, hand dyed, variegated silk threads and I found some beautiful colours to add to those I already have.

Lastly, I bought a cute little pincushion necklace to wear when I am stitching in the evening so that I have somewhere to put my needle when I need to stop for a few minutes. Who knows, it might stop me losing my needle!! They were made by Kate Haxell and I thought they were a great idea.  I chose one made from a china thimble with an unusual shape which I really liked. They would make really cute gifts for sewing friends!

It is so nice to browse through the stalls even if you can't buy all the items you might like (and I think I was relatively controlled!) There are often lots of inspirational items on display which fill you with new ideas for future projects. 

All in all I had a wonderful day out and came home with lots of creative ideas! I'm off to get some stitching done now! Have a lovely weekend! 

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

TAST Week Thirteen: Satin Stitch

Week thirteen of the TAST Challenge hosted Sharon Boggon at Pin Tangle  is the satin stitch.  Over on Sharon's blog she gives links to tutorials for three different types of satin stitch as well as a great tutorial on how to bind and use an embroidery hoop.

On my sampler this week I added five satin stitched circles using some of my favourite variegated silk threads, which are hand dyed by Stef Francis.

Satin stitch is not one of my favourite stitches as I find it difficult to get looking tidy (and I am very big on stitches looking tidy!) so I don't often use it.  However, I do love the texture of it. It is so tactile.

In my view, it is a stitch which benefits greatly from being worked in a hoop and it does improve with practice.

I used to think that you needed to try and pack the individual straight stitches as tightly together as you possibly could in order to achieve a nice, neat, shiny satin effect but, I have come to realise that keeping the straight stitches consistent and straight and, your stitch tension even, is far more important. My circles are not perfect but they're not too bad either!

Talking of stitches.... I am off to the  Knitting and Stitching Show being held at Alexandra Palace tomorrow.  It looks like it could be fun.... I'll let you know!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Hurray!! Finished!!

Despite it being quite a busy weekend as my son and his girlfriend came to stay (which was lots of fun!) I also managed to get my version of Gail Pan's pattern 'Garden Blues' finished.

I really love the wool applique and the hand quilting was fun to do in the evenings, which are getting a lot cooler here now!

For the back I used a lovely piece of fabric from my stash from a collection by Anni Downs called 'Love to Garden'.

It is a collection from a while back so I don't think it is easy to get hold of it now.

I thought it was appropriate to go with the title of the quilt 'Garden Blues' and, when I had finished the quilting, I realised that I had left enough fabric all the way round to self bind it.

It made finishing the quilt a lot quicker as I finished it by machine rather than cutting binding strips and then hand stitching them to the back.  It also meant that I didn't waste any of the pretty backing fabric! I am really delighted with how this little quilt looks!

Now I can return to working on the 'My Stitching Things' pattern that I put to one side.

Just a quick reminder that Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs has just released the October Snow Happy Hearts Pattern.  I have my copy all printed and ready to make my next block later this week!

I am linking this post to the latest stitchery link up at 'Super Mom - No Cape!'  as well as to 'Bits 'n' Bobs'. Why not pop across and see who else has linked up!

Friday, 2 October 2015

What will you be stitching this weekend?

This week I was hoping to get a bit more of the embroidery finished on the stitchery for 'My Stitching Things'.

This was one of the patterns I started at the wonderful Gail Pan workshop I attended earlier in September.  

However, I somehow got sidetracked into starting another of Gail's patterns (one which I also bought at the workshop) instead. This pattern is called 'Garden Blues' and there was a beautiful sample of it hanging on display at the workshop.  I just loved it!

Gail's 'Garden Blues' quilt on display at the workshop.

The appliques are wool which gives such a lovely finish to the quilt.

I particularly like the heart block which for some reason reminds me of my time spent in Switzerland.  A lot of Swiss designs have decorated hearts.

I have completed all the applique and the embroidery and have just started hand quilting it. Hopefully, I will get that done over the weekend and have a finished quilt to show you on Monday!!  Who knows, I may have time to work on the 'My Stitching Things' project too!!

I know I am a little late but I am linking this post to Martina's 'Patchwork with Stitchery SAL' at Sunshine Quilting..... why not pop over and see who else has linked up!

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

TAST Week Twelve and catching up!

I was away for the weekend last weekend, so I have been playing catch up the last few days and have not had a lot of time for stitching or for blogging. My sister and I took our parents away for the weekend for an early celebration of my Mum's 80th birthday.  

We went to Warwickshire to visit some friends and then onto Leicester to visit the tomb of Richard III (the King who was recently found in a car park and re-interred at Leicester Cathedral).

It was an extremely interesting visit and my Mum, who is very interested in the history was delighted to have been able to go and visit Leicester and the tomb.

Since I have been home all I have had time to stitch is this week's TAST stitch which is the barred chain and the alternating barred chain.  This is a new stitch for me and I was excited to try it.

I have added a small line of each to my sampler and I like how they look.  It was not a difficult stitch to work once you got the hang of it!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Take a Stitch Tuesday: TAST

Several weeks ago I was reading one of my favourite blogs 'Living My Dream'  which is written by a lovely blogger friend called Renee.  Renee mentioned that she was going to join in with a fun embroidery challenge called TAST (Take A Stitch Tuesday) which is being run by Sharon Boggon of Pintangle.

The idea behind the challenge is that Sharon posts the name and instructions of how to complete a new embroidery stitch each Tuesday. You learn (if it is new to you) the stitch and create a sampler week by week. I liked the idea of the challenge and I joined the Facebook Group that Sharon set up and even added a few photographs of projects that I had completed with some of the stitches.  However, I didn't really feel that I was completing the challenge in it's true spirit, so this week I decided to start it again from scratch. I have started work on a dedicated TAST sampler.

Another of the ladies in the FB Group, Melody, is making her sampler using all her leftover bits of thread.  It is beautiful and I thought it was a great idea for using up all those odd strands of embroidery thread that get leftover from other projects.  I asked Melody if I could use her idea and she was kind enough to say yes.  Here are some close ups of the stitches to date...

Week 1 - Fly Stitch
Week 2 - Buttonhole Stitch
Week 3 - Feather Stitch
Week 4 - Cretan Stitch
Week 5 - Herringbone Stitch
Week 6 - Chevron Stitch
Week 7 - Detached Chain
Week 8 - Chain Stitch
Week 9 - Couching
Week 10 - Running Stitch
Week 11 - Woven Wheel
Most of the stitches that have been shared by Sharon so far are stitches that I am familiar with but, I had never stitched a 'woven wheel' before, so that was a lot of fun!

It is not too late to join in if you would like to.  I have added the TAST badge to the right hand sidebar of my blog with a link to the TAST page on the Pintangle blog if you are interested.