Monday 22 December 2014


No matter how you are celebrating at this time of year, enjoy! I hope you'll have some lovely relaxed time to spend in pleasant company, and I wish you all a very happy, healthy and creative New Year, wherever you are!

And since I don't like posts without pictures, and I associate the time of year with stars:

These 4" stars were made a long time ago, but I have some new plans...

I haven't decided yet how exactly I will use them, but I'm making some more first...
quite a different look on a black background

One was sewn by hand, the other by machine...
It's hard... get the colours true!

And finally, a little stitchery:


Friday 14 November 2014

Wall Hanging - DONE (and soooo pleased)!

If only you could see my face, today it looks even sunnier than my current profile picture! And all because of this:

*edit: this was my profile pic at the time...
October 2014
Can you imagine? I am grinning from ear to ear, to be honest. Maybe not the best look, but it does convey my happiness with this one...

I can finally, FINALLY, announce the finishing of a third Item for the City & Guilds course!! (just in case anyone is interested, my finished cushion and bag can be found here and here, respectively) So today I have taken the opportunity of a small break between the showers and have taken it outside for a little photo session:

I have decided to name this one "Vestibule", simply because that's what it is. This wall hanging started more than 6 months ago with a brief ("a wall hanging for on the chimney breast above our stove in our sitting room"), and the search for inspiration (magazines, books, online pictures - anything to give me an idea to work from). In the end I settled for some photographs of a building by Frank Lloyd Wright. I had only a very dark black-and-white photograph, and worked from that to make a design for the hanging.

The design has been drawn, traced, tweaked, retraced, coloured, recoloured... using pencils, colouring pencils, markers, even a little EQ. When I was happy with the picture, the whole design was drawn out at full size. Each piece then was traced individually onto steam-a-seam, which was used to temporarily "stick" the fabric pieces in place until I was sure which fabric should go where.
The hardest part was the placement of the fabrics to create a good three-dimensional picture, which led to a crisis for a while, but in the end I am really happy with how it has worked out.

When the fabrics were all in place, machine quilting was used to attach the fabrics to the background at the same time as adding colour and texture to the piece. Flanges were added to peek out from behind some edges, and different coloured threads added further details to the picture.

I am sure not everyone would like to have such a striking picture above their fireplace, but I am happy to drill a couple of holes in the right places to hang it, and be able to look at it every time I sit in front of my cosy stove this winter. And to imagine what might be found behind that door at the other end of the vestibule...

"Vestibule" -  35" x 39¼"
- fabrics: cotton, most from Soho Chic by Sandy Gervais for Moda, and a few others of unknown (to me) origin
- wadding: cotton
- threads: large variety (cotton and polyester (gasp!?); 50wt, 30wt, and 12wt; in yellow, purple, brown, bright green, blue-green, cream, and probably some more...)
- quilting: a variety of stitches using my walking foot; and small areas of free motion meandering
- edges: faced (no binding)

Finally, in it's full glory:

ta daaa!!

size - 34½" x 39½"
materials - patchwork cottons from Soho Chic by Sandy Gervais for Moda, plus one lime fabric from elsewhere; cotton wadding; cotton, silk and polyester threads in different weights and colours
techniques - raw edge machine appliqué, flanges, faced edging, machine quilting

And now on to the next one...
- see more of my City & Guilds work at the tab above -

Linking up with:

Fresh Sewing Day
Small Blog Meet
Fresh Poppy Design
Sew Cute Tuesday
stitch by stitch

Friday 7 November 2014

Busy, busy...

Just quickly saying hello, because I have been - and still am - very busy...

A lot of work has been done on the wall hanging:

a little free motion - need more practise!

lots of straight lines

the amount of quilting can best be seen from the back
Of course, then all those thread ends needed to be stitched to the back, the main disadvantage of so many stops and starts!

There also has been a LOT of time spent getting my notes organised in a presentable form for my portfolios. No pictures of that (fortunately?!)...

I also made this:

little quilt-as-you-go pouch - front - not showing true colours...

quilt-as-you-go pouch - back

the pouch was constructed in one piece
 I really enjoyed the quilt-as-you-go, but I'm thinking I will need to make more of these, because the construction could have been better... At least the recipient was happy!

Then there was some crochet, mainly in the car while waiting for boys:

I also have been gradually tweaking the blog into something that might look vaguely interesting (notice any changes? I think there's plenty more to do though). Comments and suggestions welcome, just tell me gently...

Happy sewing,

Monday 13 October 2014


Having a visitor you have not seen for about 20 years can be very special. Especially when you discover in the first 2 minutes (with some relief) that you can reconnect with the old feeling of friendship and camaraderie as if you have only spoken last week!
Since the weather was good, too, it was decided to be a tourist in our own country and show our visitor a couple of our local "attractions". A walk in a narrow stretch of forest along a stream to the waterfall proved to be a very good choice. The "jungle" feeling was an unusual experience for our guest, and the water is always attractive for boys and adults alike.

A visit to a proper local tourist attraction was also extremely successful, and the sunny weather helped a lot:
Yes, this is Blarney Castle

We had not visited in a long time, and enjoyed it more than we had expected. Of course, several tour buses had just emptied, so the castle itself was quite crowded, but the grounds are large and lovely and much less busy. After the castle the boys enjoyed reading about plant dangers in the Poison Garden:

This beautiful Ricinus was one of many poisonous plants

patterns can be found anywhere...

And there were some wonderful trees:

Even though the weather has been very good this year, we found wonderful signs of Autumn being well on it's way:

Sun and red oak leaves - pure gold in my view!
And no, I did not bend backwards (literally! My back would never be the same again, I think) to kiss the stone, though I did see others do so. Missed my chance to become eloquent I suppose, though I am pretty pleased to have produced another post here for someone to enjoy...


Monday 29 September 2014

An autumnal walk

 On this morning's walk, autumnal mist was shrouding the views...

As usual, the mist first gets worse before it gets better:

same spot, half hour later

The dampness shows up the spider's webs well...

 ...but ruins the blackberries:

And while the fuchsias have started losing their leaves...

...they are still flowering abundantly!

Now there is work to be done, where did I put that wall hanging-in-progress...


Friday 26 September 2014

My vestibule

A vestibule /ˈvɛstɨbjuːl/ is a lobby, entrance hall, or passage between the entrance and the interior of a building (Wikipedia).

Today, and actually most of this week, I have been working on my (City &Guilds) wall hanging. To be honest, the idea was already on paper for a long time, but I have been struggling to get it together in fabric. I just could not decide on the fabric placement. 
In the end I decided to go back to the original design and play a bit more on paper (and on the computer) with colours and (scanned in) fabrics. Finally after a few days stewing, my ideas crystallised into a firm plan. So today I have been cutting, placing and sticking fabrics to make this:

Tomorrow I hope to decide if I will leave the panel on the right pieced (as above) or if I will use one fabric (below), detailing may then be added in stitching/quilting.

Then the fabrics will be permanently bonded in place and the stitching can begin... 


Friday 19 September 2014


My latest project - that is the project I started most recently. I don't want to imply that any previous projects have been finished. Don't get your hopes up yet - is a major undertaking.
Not only is it a full size bed quilt, for our BIG bed, but also it is the final item to be made for the City and Guilds Cert course. So it has to be designed with the brief in mind, and executed to the best of my ability. Now I can do this, I know I can. But being me, I am not going to make it easy for myself, am I?! And I want to make something that I am proud of, that I will be really happy with. No pressure then!
I have long been wanting to make a medallion; I love medallion quilts, and I have never made one. And a square shape will suit our bed so that's ideal.
Also, I have once made a throw size feathered star quilt top (still to be quilted...but that's another story), and I would love to make another. So that's what it is going to be; a medallion with a feathered star centre.

Fast forward some weeks - this has been started a month or two ago - and the brief is written, fabrics gathered, feathered star pattern drawn, and order of construction worked out. Templates have been made, and used, and the feathered star has been sewn together. It is an elaborate feathered star (told you I was not going to make this easy) and I LOVE it.

The rest of the medallion is build up of plain strips, squares, and half square triangle (HST) strips. Which seems rather boring after the intricacy of the centre. So I have decided to liven it up a bit. I am introducing a bit of a sparkle, and a touch of improv, into an otherwise very strictly geometric design. It will be only a touch, mind you, but I do like to introduce a little twist or two into a project.

The first twist I have added, is what I am calling a twinkle - it most likely has been done before, and may have a "proper" name, but I don't know. So I may as well give it a name I like! - Twinkles are small strips of contrasting colour inserted into one round of plain strips in the medallion, in this case to indicate a touch of a starbeam showing - I cannot find "starbeam" in the dictionary, but in the context of this quilt it obviously means a beam of star light - This is what I did:

 * Place the strips where they are to go (around the existing centre), and indicate with a pin where the twinkle will be. In this case I placed the tape measure across, and stuck a pin at the correct angle into the right hand strip, and in the bottom strip:

* Take the medallion strip to your cutting board:

align the twinkle strip (yellow) with your marker (pin)

cut the twinkle strip even with your base strip (blue)

cut the base strip along one side of the twinkle

the pieces you end up with

 Now the most important step:
* Mark 1/4" from the edge that is to be sewn to the main strip (on the wrong side of the fabric). I marked only at the edges which will be in the seam allowance so the marks will not be visible later.

marking 1/4" from the inserting edge

marked 1/4" on both sides

* align edges to be sewn. Make sure that the twinkle fabric (yellow) is shifted so that the 1/4" marks are placed at the edge of the main strip (blue). The pieces are sticking out and do not appear to be correctly placed (but they are...):

* Sew a 1/4" seam, and repeat for the second seam. And there you have it:

twinkled strip sewn to medallion centre

I am happy with it and it went together so easily!
So after all that back to the cutting board. After all, I have a load of HST to be cut for the next border...