Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Gifted Gorgeousness & TUSAL - November/October

"GIFTED GORGEOUSNESS" is a monthly link party run by the wonderful Jo of Serendipitous Stitching, where we post about stitching gifts we have received or given, or indeed anything related to the word "gift". Link runs from the 15th until the end of the month. If you would like to find out more and maybe join up go HERE!

I was so busy in October ..... I completely ran out of time and missed posting. I was trying to complete my Improv quilt: “Portrait of a Polka Dot Lady”, for a 1st November reveal ..... I’ve never attempted Improv before, and found I’m too precise for this method, but I will finish her ..... soonish!


Gifted Gorgeousness and TUSAL - November

Yay! I had a finish for Halloween/Fall!
I stitched this little owl, a freebie I'd seen over at Rhona's blog (with a link to the free pattern). Nice to stitch in only one colour, although a teeny bit hard on the eyes. I haven't quite decided how to fully finish off though!

Not a very bright photo I'm afraid ..... the little specks of colour in my ORTS (above the owl) have mostly come from the Christmas stitching that I started as soon as I got the latest copy of CrossStitcher home! (not affiliated by the way!)
Oh, and the bits of yellow cotton came
from the little fob I made for my malore Mellor.

This next project is not a gift, well, not yet anyway!

After finishing the owl I went back to a little bit of embroidery I started w-a-y back ..... which will be a purse some day. I think I had boro stitching in mind, or something like that. I'm hoping the raw edges won't fray too much!

Using some of my scraps.

Since I started writing this post my Christmas stitching has progressed somewhat (and now even more so, but no more photos at the moment!).
Free gift from CrossStitcher issue 338
- Mrs Christmas

There was a second gift which can be ordered via CrossStitcher! A sample of DMC's new Étoile thread, with Aida (Antique White 10 x 8"), a pattern, and a size 24 tapestry needle, which then arrived within a couple of days. (Just pay postage - offer runs to 4 Dec or when stocks run out)

Yesterday I was reading a review of Étoile on Mary Corbet's blog, and this evening I started stitching this piece.

Étoile is a sparkly thread, looking slightly woolly, the strands appeared thinner than normal DMC but covered the fabric well, IMHO.

I thought the thread would catch on my fingers but so far I have managed to stitch without any catches or tangles.  I'd say my thread stitched in a similar way to ordinary stranded cotton.

It seems good so far to me! I'd say I like it!

For this stitching I used 2 strands, cut shorter than usual at approximately 12" long.

Gifted Gorgeousness and TUSAL - October

And, Yay! A finish last month too, Seagulls and Stripes, but not FFO!
This was a freebie from CrossStitcher 332

Oh and then I was working on my Elizabethan Nosegay too (which is a gift I received some years back) but you can find out what happened with this one over at Kitten Stitching and the Friday Frolics.

Thank you all for your lovely comments! Especially Gwen (of Texas Ranger) for her suggestions for my Polka Dot Lady art quilt. I haven't had a chance to use the sewing machine lately but I hope to get back to that very soon.

I hope you are keeping well and managing to find time to do lots of stitching!!!

Barbara xxx

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Improv Quilting - Portrait of a Polka Dot Lady

For those who may not know

Until this month I was a member of  "The Endeavourers" (see button in RH side bar for link). The aim of the group is to make an art quilt to fit the chosen subject for the quarter over those three months and then to show the quilt on "The Endeavourers" blog at a given date. I am now leaving the group as I  find I don't have as much free time as I thought I would have in order to be able to complete a quilt within that timescale.



I was so excited when I read that the November reveal for The Endeavourers was to be “Improv”!

I didn't really know much about Improv then but, of course, I've searched the internet widely to read more.

I found out more about Improv HERE, and somewhere I read that Improv is basically made without a pattern and I was especially encouraged when I read that "if you think what you are doing is Improv, it is!"

So, one day I was reading a blog where the lady showed how to stitch Improv circles ..... I had to go out for some reason, and when I returned I hadn't bookmarked the lady's blog, so now I cannot find her to share the details with you here (sorry for being an idiot!).

Anyway, this gave me the idea to make a quilt with a picture of my "Polka Dot Lady" in it! However, as you might guess, this was waaaay harder than I ever imagined!

This is how she looks so far!

I started with a rough sketch of how I imagined she might look, and other ideas of what I could add to the quilt:

I soon realised this was all too much and decided to concentrate on "my lady", and then debated where to start!!!

So ..... I started with her hair buns:

I actually sketched the buns on the pink polka dot fabric, just eyeballing the sketch to see if I could envisage the completed size. Then placed the first "bun" on a strip of background fabric. It was very complicated ..... I was afraid of cutting the wrong size ..... so there was lots of sketching ..... using my rotary cutter for all cutting .....

And then the difficulty of how to stitch them in place .....

Pulling the raw edges together and stitching very slowly .....

Not too bad for a first attempt!

It even looked quite good on the right side too!

After stitching the second "bun" and guessing their positioning .....

Lots of sketching to work out how big to cut her hair .....

I stitched her hair in place in much the same way that her hair had been stitched on my "Polka Dot Lady" pincushion ..... with a raw edge, and machine stitched in place, as decoratively as I could.

I didn't take photos of making her shoulders, but basically I cut out a cardboard template ..... starting with an oblong about the size I wanted, worked out the curve of her shoulders and cut out the shape I thought her neck should be, then cut the fabric from that shape.

I machine stitched the neckline to her dress in the same manner as the "buns" .....

Maybe this is too many photos, sorry!

Then I realised the neck would be too tricky to machine stitch, so this little part will be hand stitched.

Anyhow, I placed the shape over the background and, using my trusty Flexion pen (no affiliation I just find this is what works for me), which irons off with heat, drew the shape to cut out. 

To be more precise, starting with the outer line - 
  1. actual shape of the Polka Dot Lady piece,
  2. stitching line,
  3. cutting line.

I started with the body ...... machining it in place ..... next from the top of the head, stitching round to the neck, and then started again on the second side in the same way.

And here she is with the lines all ironed out.  The right side of her neck is fully stitched but the left is a little trickier to stitch. I might undo the left side of the body as it doesn't really sit right in the background.

So, hopefully you can see why I've been a bit slow with this one ..... it was soooo much trickier than I ever imagined!

There will be borders, maybe a star or two, oh, and there's my lady's face to embroider, but the finished piece will only be 15 inches square when finished, and hopefully it can be considered a little bit "Arty"?! But I can't say how soon it will be finished.

As I said at the beginning ..... I was a member of "The Endeavourers" but I am parting with them now, however I will be popping back to visit as there is so much wonderful inspiration among the lovely ladies there. I wish I could continue, but I just don't work that fast!!

So do pop over to visit them if you have a moment.


I will be back here soon with more of my tiny stitching projects!
(Oh, and let me know if you have any questions on the method used for my mini quilt.)


Wishing my "Endeavourer" friends all the best, for future quilts,

Barbara xxx

P.S. I think my commenting problems are all solved, thanks to Catherine ..... and hopefully next time I can tell you more, in case the same happens to you!