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 :)






Tuesday, 7 March 2017

60 day check-in

It is time for the second check-in of the 100 Day Challenge, doesn't time fly when you have a deadline??





My three projects for the challenge were the following:

  • By the end of the 100 days I would like to have made at least one full set of clothes for the little fellow. 
Well I have made some bibs and even used the Serger to make some of them so that is definitely progress!

And here is even more progress

My first ever item of clothing made on the Serger!



 The proof of the pudding.

I started with the easiest pattern I had and thankfully, it worked out fine. My fingers are all still intact and no essential bits of fabric were inadvertently sheared off during the making of these leggings, that is definitely a win in my book :)

Next up the more challenging t-shirt from this fun fabric.

  • My second challenge project was to make a small Boutis piece for my EG group. 
 Ta Da! One (small) piece of Boutis work done and dusted ready to be added to the wallhanging of stitch technique projects for display at the upcoming exhibition.

Ticking this one off of the list leaves me lots of time to tackle the final challenge project.


  • These blocks, and some added since this photo was taken, are from the Craftsy BOM of 2012! I need to add sashing, which I have the fabric for, and then work out how to quilt it. I doubt very much if I will get the quilting completed for the challenge, I am an arch procrastinator when it comes to basting quilts, but I would like it, at least, to become a completed quilt top!
No progress at all on this one sadly, but there are another 40 days left of the challenge to run, so there is still time for that to change! I am ever the optimist :)

So, that is my progress to date on the challenge, I am counting it as one and a half complete so far which is already better than I managed last year!

Check out how my fellow challenge participants are  progressing over at Quilter in the Closet


Tuesday, 28 February 2017

A Boutis-liscious finish for TGIFF

Welcome to this week's TGIFF link party.



 ( I know my days and dates are all out of whack this week so apologies for posting this too early!)

I have finished my first ever Boutis project, it is definitely small but I am nonetheless thrilled with how it turned out! The project is part of a larger undertaking by my EG branch, where we were all invited to take a small piece of board and sign up to make a piece for the the board using a particular stitch technique. I chose to try my hand at Boutis, as I had been wanting to give it a go for a while and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.



I traced a Celtic Knot pattern on my Batiste fabric and basted the traced fabric to a square of white cotton then placed them in the hoop.



Using DMC Coton a Broder 20 I backstitched over the traced lines.


The work is then turned over in the hoop so that the back of the stitching is uppermost. My book tells me then to stuff between the stitched lines with cotton yarn, and recommends threading the stuffing needle with cotton thread and using it to "lasso" the cotton yarn to pull it through between the stitching and layers of fabric. Well, I just couldn't get that to work for me at all, so I just threaded the stuffing needle with the cotton yarn and pulled it through on its own, and it worked just fine. You can see the ends of the yarn in the photo above. Thank goodness for my Karen Kay Buckley Scissors, they made short work of snipping off those ends :)

When the stuffing and snipping was complete this is what I ended up with.

The fabric didn't completely hide the board backing so I backed it with a small piece of white wadding and then pinned it to the board, before lacing the back.

I blanket stitched a piece of white felt to cover the back and it is now ready to join the other stitched pieces. The plan is ( I think) to join them together in some manner to make a wall hanging for the upcoming exhibition, but for now I am just relieved to have successfully completed my first ever piece of Boutis work :)

Now it is your turn to show off your finishes. Check out some of the other linkers too and share the joy of that heady finished feeling :)

Don't forget to add the blog button to your post or sidebar so that your readers can join in the fun too!



If you would like to host a TGIFF link party there are still some spaces left in the schedule. Head over here to sign up!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

It's all New to Me!

Welcome to February's New to Me Link Party.

If you have been spending your time avoiding storms, floods or snowdrifts or whatever passes for bad weather in your neck of the woods, perhaps you have also had an opportunity to try something new to keep yourself occupied whilst the weather does its worst. If so, you are in the right place! The monthly New to Me link party is where we celebrate together the successes and failures of trying something for the first time. We all know that sometimes things don't quite go to plan and that practise really does make perfect, but we are here to commiserate when that first attempt doesn't turn out quite how you imagined it would and to celebrate on that rare occasion when it does!

My first New to Me this month has a bit of both sides of the coin in it.

I wanted to make some more dribble bibs for the gorgeous grandson so checked out Plush Addict's guide to the best fabrics to use and ordered some Plush fabric to back them with. Got to look after that little chin :)

I also wanted to practise my curves on the serger (aka The Beast!) and thought that a bib would be the ideal place to start.

Well as you can see I successfully negotiated the curve! Cutting out the Plush fabric wasn't quite as easy as I had thought that it would be, so the back of the bib ended up a little bit bigger than the front, hence the lack of topstitching across the top and the rolled edge of Plush fabric. It is probably better for the baby soft chin that it will be next to, so it doesn't matter for this project but it might make a difference in another project so more practise needed on the cutting I think!



Looks nice and soft though doesn't it? It feels it too.


I have also been making some progress on my Boutis project, one of my 100 Day Challenge projects and the only one that involves a New to Me technique.


It doesn't look too neat here, but this is the back of the embroidery, the tufts you can see are the ends of the stuffing. I am enjoying having a go at the technique, but I cannot see a quilt of it anytime in my future :)

The third New to Me is something that I have known my sewing machine was capable of since I bought it over a year ago, but have only just got around to trying out. Again, I used a new bib for the boy as my practise piece!



This bib has a linen denim-look fabric for the front and a checked flannel for the back. The front looked a bit plain so I decided to liven it up a bit by machine embroidering the gorgeous grandson's name on the front. It took a few reads of the manual before I worked out how to set it up, but it was really straightforward once I worked that bit out. I can see lots of monogrammed items in that young boy's future :)

My final New to Me is a new place, Portencross Castle, which was built on land given to the Boyd family by Robert the Bruce in thanks for their help at the Battle of Bannockburn.


The castle which has had a long and varied history as you might expect, is reputed to have been a resting place for the ancient Kings of Scotland on their way to their last resting place on the island of Iona. It is also said to guard the wreckage of a galleon from the Spanish Armada fleeing Elizabeth 1's fleet.


It was a much more peaceful place on the day that we visited.

So, that is my New to Me's for this month, now it is your turn to show and tell. As ever, the link party will remain open until 23.50 GMT on February 28th so there is still (some) time to try something new. Check out the other links to encourage and/or commiserate with our fellow bloggers who have moved out of their comfort zone. Grab the button from the sidebar and spread the word too.


Friday, 24 February 2017

A seven day week

We were sending a parcel of goodies to the gorgeous grandson, so I decided to make some more dribble bids for the little chap.

Armed with the information from Plush Addict's guide to the Best fabrics for Dribble bibs and some fabric bought especially for this purpose, I set to work.



First up this stag quilting cotton bib


with an appropriately checked flannel backing.

Then an alphabet quilting cotton front

with a Plush fabric backing. By now I was on a mission to explore lots of different fabric combinations! So next up was

a quilting cotton front

with a knit fabric backing.

Then a flannel front

with a waffle cotton backing.

A couple of duplicate combinations later and I had six bibs to send off.

When I showed them to my husband he wondered why there weren't seven bibs, one for each day of the week. So, of course I went back to the sewing machine to produce

More quilting cotton

with a waffle cotton back. The waffle cotton in this case came from a discarded dressing gown, so this was a thrifty version too!

So, these are all currently winging their way south, to help mop up the dribble from a certain chatty little chap! I shall let you know if any combination is better than the others at that job.

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts,

TGIFF  Confessions of a Fabric Addict
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