Thursday, 25 May 2017

New to Me - the Menagerie!

Welcome to this month's New to Me link party, where we celebrate the trials and triumphs of having a go at something new.



This month all of my New to Me's are animal related, I am not quite sure why it certainly wasn't planned :)

First up


a New to Me pattern, Whiskers the Fox, from Ann's Orchard Needlework

Then


Two new paper piecing patterns tested for Tartankiwi

and finally Denis the Dinosaur!

My very first attempt at a stuffed toy!

When I saw the pattern in a recent Bustle and Sew magazine I thought it would be a great project for my first attempt at toy making, but didn't do anything about it. Then I got an email telling me that kits for the Dinosaur Softie were going on offer for a short period, so I decided to dive right in and order one straight away.

Despite the kit being advertised as suitable for a child, it wasn't all plain sailing I can tell you. I ran out of the green thread/floss and had to use a substitute to finish off the second leg and attach the legs and arms. The kit also came supplied with beads for the eyes, but I decided to stitch colonial knots instead, which meant that I also ran out of the black thread too!


The instructions for attaching the legs and arms were just that - "stitch into place". Having never attempted anything like this before I could have done with a bit more guidance.

We got there in the end and I am sure that it will look good on the gorgeous grandson's bedroom shelf, but it wasn't quite as easy as I had anticipated.

I bought a kit and a pattern for two more soft toys when I was at the Knitting and Stitching show. Fingers crossed that they are more fulsome in their instructions and their supplies :)

So, that's my New to Me's this month now it is your turn.  Link up and celebrate the trials and tribulations of trying something new and, of course, encourage and support your fellow bloggers who have moved out of their comfort zones this month too. As ever the link party will remain open until 23.59 GMT on May 31st, so if you are thinking of trying something new this month but haven't yet here is the nudge that you need. Grab the link party button and take the plunge! Check out the linkers and give them some blogger support for their endeavours too.




Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Furry Friends

I have been testing out two new paper-piecing patterns for Juliet as I couldn't resist them when she put out the call for testers!

First up

was this cute little Otter, isn't he sweet?

He was soon joined by

this spiky, little hedgehog. He looks a bit like an albino hedgehog in the photo, but he isn't really so pale in real life, I assure you :)

As ever with Tartankiwi patterns they were a breeze to put together and great scrap busters to boot!

I don't have any particular plan for the blocks, although the gorgeous grandson probably features in whatever they become :)

For the minute they will join the Falcon block that I tested for Juliet a while ago until I can decide what to do with them.


All suggestions welcome!

Linking up to

Quilter in the Closet

Friday, 19 May 2017

Whiskers and Chips

As you probably know by now I have developed a bit of an obsession with Ann's Orchard mini beadwork kits. The gorgeous grandson already has Hilda the DuckBasil the Cockerel, Hetty the Bantam, Lettice the Rabbit,Daisy the Cow and Cheddar the Mouse on his bedroom wall. When I saw two more of these cute little kits on Emma's stall at the Knitting and Stitching show, well I couldn't resist.

So, along with Chips the Seagull,

I now have Whiskers the Fox to add to his collection!



All framed and ready to go in the post

I think that is probably enough wall art for the gorgeous grandson's bedroom for now, don't you think?

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts
    

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

New to Me - Lakes and Challenges

It is the 25th of the month, so time to look to see if I have tried anything New to Me this month and to invite you to celebrate the highs and lows of trying something for the first time too.


My New to Me's are pretty thin on the ground this month, although I did manage to complete all three of my challenges for Jen's 100 Day Challenge. That was definitely a New to Me experience :)


Not only did I work out the problem but also managed to correct it when the neckline of my newly serged t-shirt for the gorgeous grandson went all wavy!



Differential feed settings on the overlocker were definitely New to Me :)

I also found a New to Me supplier of great organic cotton knits for more outfits for said gorgeous grandson - Jelly Fabrics

It would take more willpower than I have to resist fabrics like these wonderful whales :)

My final New to Me, was a new destination.

We travelled to the Lake District in the NW of England to meet up with that gorgeous grandson, his parents and our youngest son and his girlfriend for a few days over Easter. We were surrounded by green fields criss-crossed with miles of drystone walls.




Lots of sheep and lambs to get the boy all excited :)


Moss covered walls had me itching to replicate them in embroidery, so lots of photographs were taken in the hope that I might actually get around to it someday :)


Of course, we could hardly visit the Lake District without visiting a lake, now could we? This is the view from the harbour at Bowness on Windermere, on the shores of Lake Windermere, the largest natural lake in England.



We took a steamer from Bowness on Windermere to Ambleside at the top of the lake, another New to Me!

So, that's all my New to Me's now it is over to you. Link up and celebrate the trials and tribulations of trying something new and, of course, encourage and support your fellow bloggers who have moved out of their comfort zones this month too. As ever the link party will remain open until 23.59 GMT on April 30th, so if you are thinking of trying something new this month but haven't yet here is the nudge that you need. Grab the link party button and take the plunge! Check out the linkers and give them some blogger support for their endeavours too.




Saturday, 15 April 2017

100 Day Challenge - the final!

It is the final check in for Jen's 100 Day Challenge.


So time to find out if I managed to meet any the deadline for any of my challenge projects.


My three projects for the challenge were to

  1. Master the shiny new serger sitting in my sewing room
  2. Try out the New to Me technique of Boutis
  3. Finish the long overdue Craftsy BOM quilt top

Well, to master the shiny new serger I wanted to make an outfit for the gorgeous grandson.

 One pair of leggings, done and dusted!

T-shirt to match

and several dribble bibs! I'd say that was done wouldn't you?

Next up, having a go at Boutis

Done and dusted too!

The final challenge was a bit more daunting. When I went to work on the 20 blocks from the Craftsy BOM I discovered that there was a couple of issues with the sizes. I suspect that is a big part of the reason why these blocks have been languishing so long in the cupboard!

I decided to pull 12 blocks from the pile and work with them and here is what I now have!

One completed quilt top! As it happened I only had enough of the navy solid to sash the 12 blocks anyway so it was obviously the right decision :) My original intention with this BOM had been to give the resulting quilt to my son and daughter-in-law, and I think that I will still do that but as I have blocks left over I hope to pair it with a smaller quilt for the gorgeous grandson too!

So, three challenges set and three completed!! That's a first.

Thanks Jen for setting the challenge again, I have really enjoyed working on these three very different projects, it was certainly the nudge that I needed :)

Monday, 3 April 2017

Waves

The second of my 100 Day Challenge projects is to make a complete outfit for the gorgeous grandson with my serger.

Having already made these leggings, next on the list was a t-shirt to match.

And here it is! I thought that a long-sleeved t-shirt might be too warm for the boy in the summer when this will hopefully fit him, so went for the short-sleeved option. I was a bit disappointed with how wavy the neckline was, so checked out my trusty Craftsy Serger Class and discovered that it was down to an incorrect setting of the differential feed (????). One simple adjustment later and the sides of the t-shirt were stitched without a wave in sight :)



Clearly practice is needed, and for practice I need fabric, so these lovely organic knits from Jelly Fabrics might just have turned up on my doorstep recently! Who could resist those whales and deer??




Thursday, 30 March 2017

Beach Party

We have been having a welcome burst of sunshine recently so that might explain the beach theme of today's post!

When I visited the Festival of Quilts show in 2015 I naturally indulged in some retail therapy and one of my purchases was a canvaswork kit for a scissor keeper from the Sue Hawkins Needlework stand. Well, it has taken a bit longer than I anticipated but I finally have a finished Beach Hut scissor keeper.




The stitching of the canvaswork was pretty straightforward but the website wasn't wrong when it described making up the box shape as fiddly! I had it turned inside out a couple of times to make sure that I was stitching it up properly.

When it came to the instructions for the cord, I was completely stumped. There were no photos to accompany the text and the text just didn't make any sense to me at all. Fortunately I bought a braid making kit at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Olympia a couple of weeks ago, so this was the ideal opportunity to give it a whirl.



It was a pleasure to sit in the sunshine and manipulate the threads around the card to make this braid, even although it undoubtedly took a lot longer than the original instructions intended :)


Sitting in the sunny SW of France it is easy to agree with this sentiment, might be a bit more difficult to hold on to when I am back on the West Coast of Scotland! Still at least now I will have no excuse for losing scissors down the side of the sofa anymore!

That's my finish for this week's TGIFF, now it is your turn to link up and celebrate your finishes this week. As ever don't make this a solitary celebration click on your fellow linkers and leave a celebratory comment on their fabulous finishes. Grab the blog button and add it to your post so that your readers can join in the fun too.













Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Would you like chips with that?

Regular readers will know that I have been loving making up a menagerie of beadwork embroideries for our gorgeous grandson. So, I am sure that you will not be surprised to know that I couldn't resist the temptation of another kit when I came across Ann's Orchard Beadwork stand at the Knitting and Stitching show!

Now that we live on the seafront where seagulls are an ever constant, it would have been rude to pass up the chance to stitch up Chips the Seagull now wouldn't it? The seagulls on our seafront are so keen to avail themselves of the odd chip or three that day trippers brave enough to eat their fish and chips on the prom are warned not to feed the seagulls. Those gulls are not timid and have no compunction in diving at the unwary eater to snatch their fatty treats :)

With this kit finished I am running out of excuses to avoid tackling the third of my three challenges for Quilter in the Closet's 100 Day Challenge.

It took me a while to actually find the Craftsy BOM blocks, but find them I did and now I have to decide on the sashing and the borders. I am thinking that I will sash them in white and then add a navy border, as I think that navy sashing might be a bit much. I am also not sure that I have enough of the navy solid, so it might end up being white all the way! Either would be progress though :)


Saturday, 25 March 2017

Stitching New to Me's

Welcome to this month's New to Me Link Party, where we celebrate the joys of trying new things whether we are successful or not!

I have several New to Me's this month the most exciting of which was seeing this at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia.

Hardhome Embroidery
When I discovered that this would be at the show and my husband was going to London for a friend's retirement party the same weekend, wild horses couldn't have stopped me piggybacking the trip :) I had thought that I would never get to see the complete embroidery in real life, so was beyond thrilled to be able to see it for myself. Apologies for the photo the piece was in a corridor between two stalls so it was impossible to stand back very far for a photo. Despite standing there for a while I never got the chance to say "I did a bit of that!" :( Second from the top on the left side in case you are wondering. I think this will be the only time that I ever see something that I have made on display at a national exhibition, so you can see why it is my most exciting New to Me :)

My second New to Me is also to do with stitching. I recently went to an EG Trapunto Quilting workshop, which as you can see above I didn't get very far with. However, I did try out a New to Me stitch, Double Herringbone Stitch aka Italian Herringbone Stitch, for one of the areas that will eventually be quilted. The Trapunto is similar to Boutis although much more colourful!

My final New to Me involved tangling with the Beast again. I decided to change the threads for my next lot of stitching on the serger, which turned out to be a very bad idea! The tension went completely to pot as you can see. Fortunately this video on You Tube filled in the gaps in the manual and we were soon good to go. 


All set to tackle a t-shirt for the boy :)

So, that's my New to Me's now it is your turn to link up and celebrate the trials and tribulations of trying something new and, of course, encourage and support your fellow bloggers who have moved out of their comfort zones this month too. As ever the link party will remain open until 23.59 GMT on March 31st, so if you are thinking of trying something new this month but haven't yet here is the nudge that you need. Grab the link party button and take the plunge! Check out the linkers and give them some blogger support for their endeavours too.








Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Inspiration and Energy

Part of the joy of belonging to a Guild is the opportunity to meet and be inspired by luminaries in the particular field. At a recent meeting of my local EG guild I was lucky enough to see and hear from the creative powerhouse that is Jilli Blackwood



Jilli is a weaver and embroiderer who works on a stunningly large scale producing the most amazing pieces and, as you can see, is also a walking advert for her work :)

Throughout Jilli's talk to our group her passion for her craft was abundantly clear and it was fascinating to hear and see examples of such a talented artist's work. Jilli was the creative brains behind the uniforms worn by Scottish athletes at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.


 You can see the fabric designed by Jilli for the shirts and dresses (blue) and kilts and sashes (gold tartan) in the photo above. The blue fabric looks as if it is stitched but is, in fact, a digital print as is the tartan. To see how the fabrics looked in use check out this video clip

Jilli has christened her particular style "Slash and Show" and there were quickly indrawn breaths in the room a couple of times, when she would casually mention cutting pieces up the middle when she felt they weren't working. Pieces that had been worked on for a considerably long time I should add, hence the gasps! Indeed the outfit Jilli is wearing in the photo above had been subjected to some of that treatment during its' production and was most definitely none the worse for it.


 Wearable art was a recurring theme during the talk and at one stage Jilli casually draped the stitched leaves above across her shoulder to great effect. I am sure that I was not alone in wondering how something so simple to look at became almost liquid in its movement by simple repositioning.

Every single stitcher attending the talk came away with a renewed energy for their craft and a heightened respect and admiration for the brave practitioners, like Jilli, who pour their heart and souls into their work regardless of the personal cost to their own health.

If you ever get a chance to attend a talk or demonstration by Jilli Blackwood, I sincerely hope that you will take it as I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.




Thursday, 16 March 2017

Getting the green, white and gold on!

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Shamrock Hearts Cushion
I have been working on some last minute makes for the EG exhibition and sale tomorrow, and with a St Patrick's Day celebration in view naturally green, white and gold were the top of my colour picks!


You may remember these display pegs?

They were made from a Bustle and Sew pattern a couple of years ago and they sit on the edge of my pen holder keeping a tight grip on all sorts of useful notes and things :)

I thought that they would be ideal for a quick and quirky make for the craft sale so dug out the pattern and searched through my stash for appropriate scraps.



Green, white and gold naturally!


And here they are, another flock of birds ready to fly off to new homes. These are such fun to do, so I hope they sell well and give me an excuse to make another flock next year :)

That's my finish for this week's TGIFF link party, now it is your turn to link up your finishes and add to the St Patrick's Day festivities with a celebration of your own. Check out the other linkers and congratulate them on achieving that Friday finish feeling too :)






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