Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"Theme-tas-stitch 2017" - March Madness!!!!

Hello my friends,

Today I am joining in with Kerry over at Ramblings of a Biscornu Addict for her "March Madness"! ..... because it tickled me when I read about the idea, and I just had to have a go!!!

By the way, if you don't know what a Biscornu is, you will see one or two in Kerry's blog header as soon as you visit. You will also be able to read more about Kerry's themes for each month! Look in her header bar for the category "Theme-tas-stitch 2017" ! I think it's a really great idea to have a different target each month .... well done Kerry for sharing!


The idea for March was to work on as many projects as possible.

My first project for March was something totally new to me!

This was a workshop, entitled "Printing for Quilting", held by my local Handicraft Group, (and I will blog about it in a separate post) so, for now, I'll just say: it was block printing onto fabric ..... tell you more in a few days.

Printing for Quilting Workshop
The fabrics you can see here were my attempts!

The yellow and green fabrics were scraps I had tie dyed a couple of years ago at a Summer Workshop, which I thought might look better with some printing. Not terribly good photos .... you can't really see my printing very well!

Printing for Quilting Workshop
This one is mine too - destined to become a book cover ....
one day!


Then I joined in with a wonderful blog hop: Quilter's Laundry Day blog hop ..... it was such fun! You can read all about it in this post!

I met lots of bloggers I didn't know, and rediscovered a few I'd found earlier, and had lost track of! Shows how important it is to "follow" those blogs you enjoy! 

Quilter's Laundry Day


After all the patchwork, and basting I wasn't sure how to actually quilt my block, hence I cut out, and basted an 11" practise block (basically a sandwich of 2 calico squares with polyester wadding in between them).

Quilting practice block - basted

But I panicked when I found I couldn't FMQ (Free Motion Quilt), despite covering the feed dogs and using an embroidery foot!

Embroidery foot and feed dog cover

Quilting Disaster Strikes!
It was pretty disastrous!

Quilting Disaster Strikes - Yikes!
Such a waste of cotton!


On my train journeys I was able to stitch a little more of my tulips in vase project, (mostly the stems)

Cross stitch - Vase of Tulips


and, on last Friday's journey I started this project .....

Cross stitch - Heritage Kit - Butterflies


Stitching in the evening, I added a few leaves around the little blue flowers on this one!

Cross stitch - Rosebud pattern by Jane Greenoff


And yesterday I was working on "Cocoa Sampler"

Cross stitch - Cocoa Sampler
It took ages just adding the heart
surrounded by purple stitches (not blue)!

Oh dear, only seven projects, I thought I would do more, I had another cross stitch kit poised ready to stitch, but "reporting in" date was yesterday, so all stitching is on hold for now! 

I haven't been able to work on the number of projects Kerry has! Tee hee! But, it was fun seeing how many I could stitch in March ..... and the month isn't over yet!

Now I'm off to do some visiting, and see what everyone else is stitching! Why don't you come and have a look too, at 

Kerry's Ramblings of a Biscornu Addict for "Theme-tas-stitch 2017"

but don't forget to say "Hi" here first! Tee hee!!!!!

I look forward to hearing from you, and I especially love to know if I've given you that little push to join in somewhere along the way! (Smiles ... tee hee!)

Barbara xxx

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Quilters Laundry Day Blog Hop!

Hello Dear Readers,

Today I'm joining Jen of A Dream and A Stitch, and Jan Holton of Colour Creating & Quilting for their Quilters Laundry Day Blog Hop. Thank you Jen and Jan for organising the hop, it has been great fun stitching this block.

Unfortunately I have run completely out of time, and I only have a flimsy to show although it is ready for quilting. I am not really confident enough to quilt quickly as I haven't done much quilting. I am using a polyester wadding ..... I like a puffy finish to my quilting, but I find it a bit tricky to quilt with this thickness.

I really enjoyed stitching this gorgeous free pattern, designed by Jen Rosin. However my sewing machine completely slowed me down ..... the needle shaft isn't quite straight, meaning I have to be very careful stitching my seams, to stitch them the correct width. So, I was really pleased with the way my little block has turned out, and even with the way the back looked!!! It all measured up perfectly!

My lovely finished seams! Yay!

I thought a "Friendship Star" block would be really appropriate for the blog hop! 

4 1/2" / 5" Friendship Star

But, whoops! .... I stitched a 4 1/2" pattern which worked out at 5", then I couldn't find a 4" pattern .... so I drew the block to scale, and used the measurements from the larger block, taking 1/8" and a titchy bit off each measurement! It worked! Yay!

Finished 4" Friendship Star ..... Yay!

 I was really pleased how well all the critical little pieces went together:

New to me - Trimmed diagonal squares!

Look how those pieces went together!

Finished house!

The hop is running over two days ..... 10th and 11th March.

Backing fabric, with binding!

I found it very difficult to take a picture without a lot of shadow!

House shown with proposed binding fabric
That's the fabric I will use for  binding, behind the house!
Do visit some (if you can't visit all!) of the other participants ..... there is some wonderful quilting to see! You will be amazed how this block looks so different depending on the fabrics other people have used. Most of them have been quilted too!

March 10 Reveal Day

Jen Rosin  A Dream and a Stitch
Kate Heads at Smiles From Kate
Jennifer Fulton at Inquiring Quilter
Karen Thurn at Tu-Na Quilts, Travels and Eats

Melva Nolan at Melva Loves Scraps
Vicki at Vicki's Crafts & Quilting
Julie Stocker at Pink Doxies
Anja Clyke at Anja Quilts
Diann at Little Penguin Quilts
Jayne at Twiggy & Opal
Susan Arnold at Quilt Fabrication
Leanne Milsom at Lizzie the Quilter
Sandra Walker at Mmm! Quilts!

March 11 Reveal Day

Janice Holton at Color Creating & Quilting
Jennifer Strauser at Dizzy Quilter
Amy Gerlich at Amy Scrap Spot
Sharon Denney Parcel at Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
Susan Gordon at Sevenoaks Street Quilts
Anne Boundy at Said With Love
Barbara Wootie at The Flashing Scissors
Jan Welander at Making Scraps
Mary Marcotte at Fleur de Lis Quilts

As this is a "Finished" block I am also linking to Crazy Mum Quilts for "Finish it up Friday".



Monday, March 06, 2017

TUSAL / Quilting Blog Hop / WIP

Hello my friends,

A couple of things to mention today!

First, I'm linking to Daffycat for TUSALs. Click HERE to find out more, and, secondly I've been meaning to post about a blog hop I'm joining in with, I'm afraid there isn't much time, however, I know some of you are quicker workers than I, and you might like to join in, so read on for info!


It's been a while since I first posted about TUSALs and although I've done a lot of stitching since then I am very frugal stingey, and use right to the last inch of any thread, so there hasn't been much to show!

For Jo's Secret Stitching Sweethearts blog hop last month I made a completely new project - the sachet you can see below with my TUSAL jar, and seemed to have a lot more trimmings from this than any other project I've stitched.

I've also been working on my "travel" project (which I am stitching "free style" as I don't have the pattern - the kit was a gift from my sister who didn't want it, however she had lost the pattern somewhere) whenever possible (see 4th picture below - the vase ..... waiting for its tulips!), so a lot of my ends come from that.

As well as "looking after" my thread ends, my TUSAL jar is also caring for some pretty ribbon from the next project I am just about to start.

TUSAL Jar, valentine sachet and stitching project

When I visited Kerry of  "Ramblings of a Biscornu Addict" recently, she was showing a picture of a needle book she had stitched for a friend by Textile Heritage, which reminded me I had a similar kit in my "Dreaded Cupboard" awaiting stitching - called Butterflies & Buddleia.

TUSAL Jar, valentine sachet and stitching project

But before I could make a start on this new sachet I had to wash the fabric to try to remove the creases you might just be able to see - probably caused by the number of years it had been lingering in the cupboard waiting to be stitched! They are not completely gone, but hopefully won't be too visible once stitched.

New stitching project

Travel stitching
Travel stitching


While I was visiting Kate of Smiles from Kate I read of a blog hop being organised by Jen and Jan - with a competition to stitch a really darling block ..... I thought I'd join in! Read about it HERE on Jan's blog , Colour, Creating and Quilting. You can download the free pattern from Craftsy via Jan's blog.

These are the fabrics I thought I might use:

Quilting blog hop - fabric pull

Why don't you pop over to see what is happening! I think you might just have time to join in, and there are prizes .....


These are a couple of projects I'm working on at the moment, but of course there is always something else going on at the same time! One of them was the fun "printing for quilting" workshop I went to this weekend, and shortly I will share some photos with you!


Thank you to everyone who commented on my Latest Mini Tote .... there were some great questions, and I will answer them shortly ..... some of my answers were too complicated to put in comments.

Barbara xxx

Saturday, February 25, 2017

My Latest Mini Tote! - It's all about the base!

Hello Dear Readers,

Yay, I have a finish!!!

You might remember when I finished making my Sister's Tote I immediately wanted to make one for myself! I showed you the colours I was using, but somehow, I got bogged down with the detail!

An email from Benta of SLIKstitches asked whether I had tried the square method of boxing the bag rather than the triangular method (which I used for Sis's bag) ..... well, I have, but only when a pattern says so!

You've guessed it .... I couldn't resist the idea, could I ??!!!!!


Fabrics Used:
3 Fat Quarters
1 Fat Quarter of Calico
Strips of Wadding for handles

Finished size: 23.5cm High
14.5cm Wide
9 cm Depth
Handles are 27.5cm long, and 1/2" wide

After prepping the main fabrics, I found the pieces I'd cut off the boxed corners of Sis's bag, unpicked the stitching and placed the squares on the bottom of the fabric, and gingerly cut them out! (Cutting the outer squares 0.25" larger than the centre oblong, bearing in mind the centre "squares" had no seam ..... if you see what I mean!)

You cans see the squares in the background!

I made a pocket, and I was going to decorate the top of the pocket with a strip of one of the outer fabrics, but couldn't resist running a piece of elastic through the decorative strip .... well there was a gap .... so why wouldn't you add elastic? I do love pockets with elastic tops! I think it makes them so much cuter ..... and holds the contents of the pocket in place slightly better when the bag is in use!

As I machined the pocket in place, I stitched back and forth over the elastic to make it secure.

.... snipped off the elastic close to the edge of the pocket

I remembered seeing a very useful idea on somebody's blog (and if it was you, thank you for that!) to use pins at an angle ..... then they can be removed easier when machining the seams!

It was a nice sunny afternoon when I started stitching, and our cats were in the garden when I started stitching ..... however, with these short winter days it was dark by the time I finished! I was determined to use the machine while I could (another day and the cats might have commandeered my stitching table, and then there would be no stitching!)

..... a little bit like this!!!

But that was another day! So, back to the stitching!!!

 I always get confused here .....
about which way to stitch the corner!
..... but once I "opened"  the space up it became more
obvious how it should go ....
..... see, I remembered how to pin it! Tee, hee!

..... but when I turned the bag through
one corner didn't sit very well ....
..... and the frog visited!
.... but with some fiddling .....

..... and after a another row of stitching, when I  .....
.....  turned the bag through to check .....
Yep! The bottom was much squarer this time!

Pocket is 8"h x 7 1/2"w

After a short search I was able to find one of our home made buttons for the finishing touch!

To summarise the Pros and Cons of "boxing" or "squaring" the base:

I found it quicker using the "boxing" method ..... mainly because I'm used to this way, but "squaring" the base probably is faster because the corners don't need binding on the inside to finish.

I do hope you've made it to the bottom of this post!

And if you have, thank you for reading!

Hope you are having a great weekend.

Barbara x

Linking to Amanda's "Finish it up Friday"

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pinhead Stitch Tutorial

Hello Dear Reader,

For the first time, I am linking to Jo's "Gifted Gorgeousness", with this pot pourri sachet which I stitched for Jo's Secret Stitching Sweetheart blog hop.

"Gifted Gorgeousness" is a monthly link party run by Jo of Serendipitous Stitching. We can link up each month from the 15th until the end of the month. If you would like to find out more and maybe join up go HERE!

This sachet was a magazine gift from waaay back ..... which I loved when I bought the magazine but somehow never got round to stitching until now!

Pot Pourri Sachet

I didn't think I would enjoy stitching it, but this was a fun little pattern, which I was able to stitch on my travels (on the train - not driving the car! Tee, hee!), and I even tried out a "new to me" stitch thanks to this project!

I was feeling very dubious about trailing the orange cotton behind the fabric for the single orange stitches, and then I remembered that a couple of month's ago, just before I started this project, I had read about the Pinhead Stitch over on Queenie's Friday Homework.

Queenie of  "Queenie's Needlework" shared a link to a tutorial for stitching on evenweave, which you can see by clicking HERE

I didn't see any tutorials for working the stitch on aida, but I found it does work! So I thought I would make a record of how I stitched it so in future I would know exactly what to do!


Pinhead Stitch Tutorial

Tutorial - view 1
Bring your needle up on the right of the square you want
your stitch to appear in ..... keeping hold
 of the end of the thread beneath your work
Tutorial - view 2
then down again in the centre .....
View 3
continue, bringing the needle up on the left
of the square, and down into the centre again .
Holding the tail, below your fabric, tightly, pull the
 needle to tighten the stitch, then stitch the cross stitch.
Tutorial - view 4
Sometimes the Pinhead stitches sit lower in the
fabric than this.....

When I first started using Pinhead Stitch I was concerned that the stitches would not be hidden by the Cross Stitch ....

Tutorial - view 5
..... but, as you can see in this picture the Cross Stitch
has hidden the Pinhead Stitches
Tutorial - View 6
then finish off by bringing the needle up at the top of the square .....
Tutorial - view 7
..... down in the middle .....
Tutorial - view 8
..... up at the bottom .....
Tutorial - view 9
..... and down again in the middle.
Tutorial - view 10
Oh yes .....  this view shows how the stitches will
sometimes sit lower in the fabric

I found it easiest to snip the ends off after completing each stitch, but not too close to the fabric ..... just in case!

Tutorial - view 11

I'm hoping I won't be washing this stitching at any time. However, I really need to test the Pinhead Stitch on a sampler first to see if it will survive washing. I will give you an update later. 


Funnily enough the week before I finished this sachet I had a visit from my mum and sister. They had popped into a local sewing shop during the week, and as soon as they saw this pretty ribbon they thought of me ..... and look .... it was just what I needed to finish my sachet! 

I guess that means this also qualifies as a FFO (Fully Finished Object)!

FFO - Pot Pourri Sachet


Ohhhh! I've just remembered ..... At the weekend I was washing and ironing some aida from a stitching kit ready for a new project ..... and the kit was a present from another blogger!!!! So next month I just might have some more stitching to share with Gifted Georgeousness

If you'd like to have a look to see what Gifted Georgeousness others are sharing pop over to Jo's and see who has linked up this month by clicking HERE 

Maybe you've used Pinhead Stitch yourself .... do let me know if you have ..... and did you like it ..... did it work on your project?

Thank you for popping by, and an especially big "Thank you" to all for visiting and commenting on the blog hop this week, I hope you had fun!

Barbara xxx