I hope that 2019 is a great creative year for you.
December started with a mad rush to finish some Christmas presents! And to get everything ready for Christmas, we did eventually get the tree up, but only just!
The quilt for my niece, which was part Christmas and part birthday present (as each of them reaches their eleventh birthday I am making them a new quilt, a grown up one to replace the one they had for their second birthday) that got finished the day before we went up to see them all. As did the woven scarf; another present!!!
The final present, a Jacobean inspired wall art, also only got finished the day before I was giving it!! As I said everything was a bit of a mad rush.
From Christmas day to New Years Day, has been a quieter time and I spent the time finishing five quilted postcards that had been sitting around for months. I also stitched some toppers to create paper Christmas cards for 2019!!!
I have been wanting to create new decorations for the stair garland (which I never got time to put up this year!!) for the last couple of years, over the years I have made new bits for it, a few years ago it was 25 hand crocheted snowflakes. I still want to use some of these plus the silver and white mini baubles, but I want to create a sewing theme to it. I am going to, over January, create these new decorations and also create new stockings for my husband and me, the current ones are over 25 years and looking a bit sorry for themselves!! I know if I leave them to later in the year I just won’t have the time.
On time, as many of you know, I have been spending a lot on helping my Aunt, this is going to continue for a while longer and for this reason I wouldn’t be working on quilts or patterns for the website. I will be working on my teaching work and also items to sell on Etsy. I will be posting regularly on Facebook and also Instagram.
Well, that’s January over!!! For me January has been all about Christmas!!! My personal aim was to create all the pieces I had wanted to in November for Christmas, but I never had the time!!
So, I have created a new set of decorations for my Stair Garland all with a sewing theme, from embroidered hanging decorations, to those made with old wooden cotton reels and new thimbles!! To match with them I created a rag and ribbon wreath with wooden cotton reel decorations.
Then I made new stocking for Tony. I made his old one when we were first together over 25 years ago, from the small fabric samples we used to use to order mail order fabric. It had seen better days and yet I wanted to keep its ‘spirit’ with the new one, so I cut it up and incorporated it in the new one. And while I was at it, I made myself a new one!!!
I then finished the Polar Bear, made from 1” squares, it had been on the go for months but just not got finished – so, that’s a present for Christmas!!
The other project I had intended to complete before Christmas, which had been used in class demonstrations was the Stripy Quilt in Makower Scandi, neutral colours. I finally finished that and its packed away and ready for this Christmas.
That wasn’t the only quilt I completed, last term I had shown a Stitch n’ flip quilt-as-you-go squares using all my ‘leftover’ stripes of fabric – borders, bindings and joining stripes. I managed to make 16 blocks, I put these together and then created borders using calico and machine quilting with a walking foot and decorative stitches.
At the moment I am working on another quick stitch n’ flip quilt-as-you-go but irregular log cabins, the squares are all made and the borders quilted, just got to put it all together.
And finally, I have been making Hoop Art – very on trend!!!
There is a real feeling in the air over the last week, with the sunshine and warmth that Spring is on its way. The colours of Spring, the bright fresh greens, the purplely blue of the Grape Hyacinths and the yellows of the daffodils, followed by my favourite the tulips and the mass of different colours, are so up lifting and are great for creating beautiful quilts.
The start of February was about finishing of the Quilt-as-you-go, stitch n’ flip Irregular Log Cabin, the nine squares I created were very strong colours and bold patterns, that when put together was rather dazzling on the eyes, so I toned it down with wide dark blue borders, between the squares. The borders were quilted with decorative stitches, this is a theme that has carried onto the quilt I am showing this term, but the quilting on these squares are curves with decorative stitches, all done using my walking foot.
Over the month I have completed a number of quilted postcards, still on the decorative stitched quilting theme – from a valentine’s card to three landscape postcards. I also made two 40th birthday postcards!!!
Half term, I had penciled in for dressmaking, two skirts and two dresses for me and a dress for my Mum-in-law for a Mother’s Day present – she asked me to make it for her. All of them in jersey fabric and made mostly on my overlocker!
I have a mountain of things on my ‘to do’ and ‘to complete’ list!!! And the workroom has piles of bits, in development, half made and a few almost finished, so I guess the rest of March will be trying to clear a few of the things!!!
This month’s diary is a bit later than normal as we have been away for a cruise!!
My classes finished on the 26th March for this term and on the Friday as a family we went on a cruise on P&O ship Britannia, for Tony and I this is our third time on a cruise but for Laura it was her first one.
Our first port of call was Rotterdam, this is a huge port and we were moored/parked by their icon ‘Swan’ bridge. We had a trip out to Delft and the Royal Delft factory tour. Wherever you go in the Netherlands there is the iconic blue and white pottery, much is modern interpretations, but the Royal Delft Pottery does the real hand painted (hugely expensive!) Pottery.
They also do a range of transfer designs that is more affordable. Part of their contemporary range is Proud Mary, it uses the iconic designs and blue colour to create a figurine that represents Mary the second (as in William and Mary, King and Queen of England in late 17th century) she was a big fan of the Delft pottery.
I feel rather inspired by the designs and the blue of the Delft ware……
We also stopped in Zeebrugge and went to Bruges, there is so much to look at in this old town, the roof lines, chimneys and the canals.
We were meant to be stopping at Guernsey and getting off by tender but due to the Force 8 winds and 2 to 3 metre swells we didn’t!!!
Now, its back home, catch up on all the washing and ironing and start working on lots of things – Easter Quilted Postcards, a present for an 80th birthday present and next terms teaching – classes start back on 30th April for the summer term!!! I also need to do the garden!!!
I can’t believe that we are already in May and I have started teaching for the Summer term!
April was a lovely month I spent a fair bit of the time out in the garden, sorting, weeding, racking out the moss from the grass and unfortunately digging up the box bushes I had. I have been battling for the last two years with the box moth caterpillar infestation, I have tried jet washing the bushes and picking the caterpillars off, I ended up last year cutting a lot of the bushes back but nothing has worked and they are still there and the bushes looked horrible. For years Box bushes in pots, as are a lot of plants in my garden, have been the backbone of the green structure in the garden. No more! I have had enough, the box bushes are gone. Instead I have pots of sedums!!!
Our garden isn’t very big, but I love my green space and it is mostly shades of green, it is a peaceful place that in the colour and shapes gives me inspiration and also pleasure watching the tortoises plodding around, while I potter around doing the garden or view it from the kitchen window when working or cooking.
On the creative front April was a month of making Quilted Postcards, fourteen in all, these included birthday, New Home and Easter ones. I also created some embroidered brooches, again for presents, the challenge with the brooches was working a design in just a 2” circle. I guess in a way the brooches are an extension of the postcards and hoop art that I have been creating this year but just smaller.
For the last few years I have been doing another craft in the evenings, last year I did a number of tapestry cushions and this year I have been doing crochet. I decided to make myself a long pencil skirt made from traditional Granny squares, I finally completed it. I had no pattern, just an idea! I thought I would need about 50 to 60 squares, as they were made with Patons Diploma Gold 4ply in black and crocheted to 4½”, I ended up with using 56, I attached it to a jersey underskirt with an elasticated waist, that I made. I am rather pleased with how it came out and can see me wearing it a lot come the autumn.
I took a ball of wool and hook on our cruise to create a big Granny square, which I then turned into a Cocoon shrug, it made a change from taking a sewing project! And again will be great for the autumn/winter.
I am now ‘playing’ with some ideas for a crocheted evening shrug/overlay and also another Granny square project for our next holiday in July.
On the patchwork front I have started a new design for the second half of term, it involves a charm pack and a cup design – more on that next month and I know its only May but I have designed a Christmas/Winter themed quilt for the Autumn term in September!!!
This year seems to be rushing past! We are already into June and the half term is over. With Easter being so late and then having the two Bank Holidays in May and half term, everything feels all squashed up together!
Looking back over May and seeing what I have completed, two brooches and three Quilted Postcards, it feels like I haven’t been very creative. But I have been working on things that aren’t finished yet!
The Prairie Points and Pintuck quilt is almost done, just got to do the final edging, but as I want to show in classes this slightly different edging method for the Prairie Points, it’s just sitting all together with one edge completely finished and the three others waiting. Soon be completed!!
The new quilt I have started Vintage Cups and Flowers, which is very reminiscent of the American depression quilts of the late 1920’s and 30’s, is coming along. I have a feeling, because of the fabric I have chosen that its going to be a quilt that you either love or hate!!!
All the cutting out of the cups and flowers – 40 cups and handles, 120 of one flower, 120 of the flower centres, 80 of the second flower and 240 leaves! Was a great project to take with me when we went away to for the Bank holiday to Mersea Island.
When we go away to Mersea Island is a complete break away, mobile reception is iffy! And so we relax, read, take long walks and of course I take something creative, cutting out lots of flowers and leaves and hand embroidery, this time.
I have also been crocheting snowflakes! These are to create a lacey effect overtop, I have a design/plan in my mind and hopefully the idea will work out – if not I will have loads of snowflakes to create some form of Winter decoration!!
Hello, well June went out with a fanfare of hot weather! far too hot to be sewing a full-size bed quilt, so I never got the Vintage Cups & Flowers completed, I will have it done for the last classes of the term on 9th July!!
The end of term is not that far away, this year of teaching has gone so quickly. I won’t be back teaching till 1st October – I know that it is later than usual for Fairktyes and a lot latter than the schools start. And it seems like a long way away, but it will soon come around. I have designed a new winter/Christmas quilt for the term, and I will also be doing some gift ideas….
The Vintage Cups & Flowers squares are all made, and I have got them all together, I have just got to finish the back and do the binding. I also completed the Prairie Point and Pintuck quilt, which we have tried to photography but because it is all made from unbleached calico, is really hard – the quilting and the texture just don’t show up in photos very well.
I have also been embroidering and putting together four Dresden Plate squares, these where partly that I wanted to create a Dresden plate that was embroidered and graduated colours but also I was showing how to create Dresden plate pattern with paper piecing rather than the usual way of making with the rulers. This is a nice project for the hotter weather as it is not a huge big quilt, made at the sewing machine but a slower hand stitched project. Smaller projects are great for the summer months, not just because of the warmth but also I don’t have as much time to create big things with holidays and the garden.
On smaller projects – I made nine quilted postcards in June, the landscape and flower ones are great to hand embroider in this hot weather and very portable.
Hope you all have a lovely summer holidays.
Hello, a start of a new month and already a few weeks into the school summer holidays, not that this affects us any more, as our daughter is all grown up and at university/work. But I do notice that the schools aren’t in, as there is no noise of children playing on the field of the Primary school that we back onto and even the bell is silent!!!
July has been about holidays for us – it started off with a long weekend at the caravan on Mersea Island, we were luckily with the weather and only had a couple of showers. I had taken a couple of quilted postcards to embroider while down there, otherwise it was read and go for long walks.
Came home for the last class of the term and then had a mad rush to get all the pattern, photos and instructions for the Vintage Cups & Flowers Quilt ready to sell in my Etsy shop and to finish the Dresden plate quilt, before my in-laws 60th wedding anniversary celebration and then we headed off on a cruise.
It’s not the easiest thing to come up with an idea for a present for a 60th Wedding anniversary, the Quilted postcard wasn’t to difficult but a present? They have quilts and a number of cushions, one of my class had made a lovely cushion for a Golden Wedding anniversary present – Barbara quilted a heart in the middle and then stitched on different sized yellow buttons and also five gold buttons with golden yellow border. But I didn’t want to do a cushion or quilt and Diamond, which 60 years is, in a bit of a difficult colour – clear/ sparkly white?
In the end I decided to create a 16” square wall art – I appliqued a pale grey patterned heart onto white fabric and then embroidered their names and the date in a deep red, the colour of the roses in Pat’s wedding flowers, then I embroidered ‘to have and to hold’ in a old gold colour, the colour of wedding rings. I then appliqued pastel hearts round and stitched on 60 mini clear and white heart buttons. We then attached to stretcher bars to create the picture.
We, then went on a cruise stopping at France, Spain and Guernsey, we had a lovely time, the weather was hot but not soo hot as here, the forecast had been for rain and it could have been a bit choppy going across the Bay of Biscay but the forecast was wrong!!! We walked miles, took loads and loads of photos and relaxed.
I didn’t take any sewing with me!!! instead I took yarn and a hook and started creating 4” and 8” traditional Granny squares to create a patchwork throw. I have discovered that crochet is a lot more portable than sewing, no needles to lose or pins! and I can do it more or less anywhere and working on DK yarn and 4.5mm hook I don’t need to wear my reading glasses and so, I can sit on a sun lounger, with my sunglasses on and crochet squares – I will say I was given some odd looks……..
Well, its almost the end of the summer school holidays, August has gone and its September!
I am not sure where August disappeared to, I have been, when I have been home, working on the Quilted Flower quilt, which I will be demonstrating on my first week back at classes – which isn’t till the 1st October, definitely be into Autumn and the run up to Christmas by then.
I have managed to plan all the projects for the next term of teaching, the designs all drawn up, fabric bought but I haven’t had time to make all the pieces yet, I will be working on two quilts. The first being the Quilted Flower and then the other will be Sarah’s Choice (more on that one, nearer to when I teach it) then the rest of the projects are small, gift or Christmas ideas – hoop art, wall hangings, cushions, quick makes!
August, like July has been a month of being away from my workspace a lot. Tony, my husband had to work in Coalville in Leicestershire for a week, when there he stays with my family in Derbyshire and I went up with him and had five days with them, we had a lot of rain and it was rather chilly, but still managed to go out and about. We went to Hardwick Hall and had a good look at the tapestries and needlework there and we also went around Calke, both really good houses to wander around on wet summer days.
On the couple of nice sunny days, we went for walks, across the fields and along the River Derwent, it was all rather wet underfoot and the rivers were running really high and fast, the power of water is terrific – beautiful and frightening.
The few days in Derbyshire, were a real contrast to the Bank holiday weekend, we went for an extra long weekend, Friday to Tuesday, down the caravan at Mersea Island, it was really hot and sunny. We went for walks in the mornings while it was slightly cooler and then sat and relaxed – reading or embroidering Quilted Postcards in the afternoons.
Looking at my planner, I think September is going to be as busy, away from my workspace as July and August have been……
Well I just realised that October came and went and I didn’t do the diary page. October was just a bit hectic and I forgot!!
The thing that sticks in my mind about October is the rain……and more rain and some more and how grey the days have been!!!
We had a long weekend down the caravan and there was something really cosy about sitting there, watching the rain pour down and the drumming on the roof, with us in the warm and dry. It rained almost the whole time we were there except for a few hours when we got in a couple of walks along the beach.
It may be the 1st November, but it looks like we are in for more of the same weather. I guess the only good thing about this weather is that I can’t go out in the garden or for walks just because it is bright and sunny and too nice to stay indoors, meaning that I have gotten loads of needlework done.
The other thing that stands out about October, when I look at all that I have been creating is that most of it has been Christmas makes! I have been teaching the ‘Deck the Halls’ design, which is great for hoop art, cushions, coasters, mug rugs and bowl fillers.
I have just discovered bowl fillers – these are pretty little cushions, I guess you could use them as pin cushions but I never use pin cushions (I keep my pins, and other assorted bits that find a home there, in a crystal ashtray!). The little cushions are meant to sit in a bowl as decoration like pot pourii!
I have also made a rag and ribbon wreath for the front door and fabric wired holly leaves. Plus, I have made all my Christmas Quilted postcards – just got to make the cards they will go on and one birthday Quilted postcard. I have also, started on the forty hanging decorations I give as small gifts. Also been working on Sarah’s Choice quilt which is Winter/Christmas based, but you could easily change it to another theme.
A friend commented that I am being very organised about Christmas this year, I have been known to leave it all to the last minute and in fact I have finished sewing presents on Christmas eve night!! Its not so much being organised as I want to have it sorted so that I can have a clear few weeks to work on a special project that I started a few years ago and then it got packed away……
Not everything I made was Christmas. I had fun playing with making fabric leaves to go with my little fabric pumpkins and I finished crocheting all my Granny Squares, just got to sew them together and crochet a border.
November has proved as I thought to be another grey wet month, I have had the lights on most of the time just to see what I am sewing!
So, again the weather has helped me get loads done.
I finished the first version of Sarah’s Choice quilt in Lewis & Irene’s Winter in Bluebell Wood fabric and it has got a very big positive response, which is lovely because I like it but I am never really sure about other people’s thoughts on my work. I have started a second version, this is being made in Makower Scandi, the greys from the range with a few reds thrown in for highlights, if you want to see how its going and keep up to date with my creativity then follow me on Facebook.
I love making my Quilted Postcards, they are more the ‘art’ side of playing with fabric and threads and I make a lot for different reasons, some just because I want to!!! Like my gate’s series. Once in a while I get a design idea that won’t work in the small format of a postcard and the Moon gate was one of these – I created it in the Journal (A4) size, there are hours of work in all the stitching and embroidery but it’s worth it.
I have been creating more Christmas gifts with decorated aprons – using my Accuquilt dies to cut snowflakes and also the reindeer. I also created my idea of a Christmas jumper!!! I bought a nice plain black jumper and then appliqued two reindeer in Makower Scandi grey fabric!!! and yes, I cut them using the Accuquilt die, I am certainly getting my monies worth from it!!! and when I got it, it was one I really didn’t think I would use it a lot but I loved it – it’s a bit like the Gingham Dog one, I liked it, so got it. I have this idea for the Dog one, lots of dogs with all different coats decorating them!!! a future project for when I have a few hours to spare!!!
Away from fabric, I have completed my Granny square crochet blanket, that has been a brilliant holiday project as it was so portable. I have started to crochet the Bunny from TOFT, I know that I have the Dragon kit for Christmas!!!
And on that note, I wish you all a Season’s greetings and hope that you have a healthy and happy New Year.