Monday, 1 September 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

I know some of you don't like blog hops, and I'm not so keen on the 2-week long ones with 20 people each day, but I do like this one as it's one blogger leading to three others, who lead to three others... I've found some fab blogs to follow through this hop.  Today I'm joining in.  So here we go (intro shamelessly copy-and-pasted!)

I was invited to join in on the Around the World Blog Hop by Kris from Sew Sunshine
The idea is I get invited by someone. Then when it is my turn I get to tag 3 other bloggers in my post. The following week those three write a post and tag their own 3 bloggers.
I have 4 questions to answer, I hope you're interested enough to read on, but if not, skip to the bottom and go and visit my nominees, you may find your new favourite blog or a new bloggy friend:

1. What am I working on? 

Lots of things!  I'm a serial starter.  Here's a few of them:

This is a large blackwork sampler.  I love all kinds of needlework and I'm a bit obsessed with this one, I find it hard to put down.  You can see more in this blog post, including links to the previous posts on the subject.

This is a Stained Glass quilt I'm making, using Cuzco by Kate Spain.  I started this a good 2 years after the quilt-along finished!  You can read about it here.

That's pretty much all I can show you as I am terrible at taking photos of works in progress.  Other projects currently on the go are a knitted rabbit, a kumihimo necklace, a bead embroidered brooch, a quilt using Bluebird Park, a wall hanging using fusible bias tape, a large cross stitch, a small embroidery and a crochet dishcloth.  Maybe one day I'll get round to showing you.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

I don't think it does.  I don't have a style of my own, I use a lot of other people's patterns (I'm a craft book addict and not ashamed of it).  I don't think there's anything wrong with that as if no-one followed patterns, no pattern designer would ever make money.

Where I do think I'm a little different to many crafters is that I'm multi-craftual.  I wouldn't like to only quilt or only embroider, I like to do it all, try everything, have a go at new skills and techniques.

I also like to focus on my mistakes and failures.  This makes some of my readers annoyed or even angry and they tell me off.  But I don't mind my failures, it's fine.  If I've messed it up, I'm going to show you.  I certainly don't want to come across as one of these "perfect" bloggers who makes "perfect" stuff and takes "perfect" photos.  OK, you can pick yourselves up off the floor now you've enjoyed that good laugh.

3. Why do I write/create what I do? 

Because a life where I only go to work, watch TV and sleep would be very, very dull.

4. How does my writing/creating process work?

Generally I spot something - a pattern in a book, something on Pinterest or on someone's blog, or I see some fabric or something else that triggers an idea in my head.  I either then find all the supplies I need and get going, or a I buy the bits I need and wait for them to arrive, or I store it on my massive to-do list.  Occasionally I'll start and finish, more often I'll start, then start something new, then something else, then go back to the first project for a while.  I don't have a fixed way of working at all.

I do have more of a system with blog posts.  I try to post every 2 days.  I only get a chance to take photos at the weekend (especially as we're now heading into the dark end of the year), so I tend to write a few posts and schedule them throughout the next weeks.  Sometimes this means eeking* them out to one post every three days, other times I'm squeezing in a post a day.  Not having posts ready makes me anxious.  Yes, I know that's stupid, but I can't help it.  It's the same when I know we're running out of Marmite or milk, and especially toilet roll.  The panic of the last roll... not good for my heart.  

*I can't figure out how to spell that!

Anyway, got a bit sidetracked there, where was I?

Ah yes, on to my nominees.  I have chosen three ladies who are also multi-craftual.  They will be posting next Monday so make sure you go and visit.

First up is Jo who blogs at Explorations in Stitch. Jo is a quilting, appliqueing, cloth doll making, beading adventurer into all things fibre.  She's always working on plenty of fab projects, so go and see what she's up to now.

Then we have Wendy.  Yep, another Wendy.  She blogs at Wendy's Quilts and More.  She makes some amazing quilts, including a medallion one she's currently working on.  She also does needlework, you should see her gingerbread village, and wool applique.

My final nominee is Chris who blogs at UK City Crafter.  I emailed Chris asking if she'd like to join in, but didn't get a response (I hope she's just on holiday), but I think she's worth checking out anyway!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Bertie gets his close up

Good morning ladies and gentlemen.  Am I glad it's Saturday!  It's been a long, hard week, well it feels like it, despite Monday being a bank holiday and Thursday being a day of annual leave (bead class, more later...), I still feel like I've had a full week at work.

Wednesday night saw me staying up late watching My 3 Wives (LOVE it, love My 3 Wives, My 4 Wives (also called Sister Wives), My 5 Wives, Breaking the Faith... anyone know of anymore?) and sewing the final stitches in my August A Lovely Year of Finishes goal.

I bought this bunny pattern at Harrogate last year, along with an FQ of cream fleece which I thought would do nicely.  It did do nicely.

I showed you these photos in my WIP post this week and so many people seemed to think I was talking about the pin cushion as my WIP.  I didn't make that pin cushion!  It was made by the lovely Katherine and is in the photo as I was using it at the time.  No, I was showing you these arms.

I know at least one person guessed correctly that these were clothes for a bunny.

and here she is in her clothes.  She has aquarium gravel in her base to help her stand up.  The dress is made from a FQ I found in my drawer. No idea where it came from, it wouldn't be my usual style so I probably bought it because I liked it, but this was the perfect use for it.  I paired it with some blue wool felt, embroidered with white Perle cotton size 8.

I added a small Broderie Anglaise trim to the bottom of her skirt which I think just adds the right amount of prettiness.

I put off embroidering her face and adding the black beads for eyes as I was scared I'd mess it up.  I actually think I did a good job, I prefer her face to the one in the example photo.  Oh, and I haven't called her Melody, I've called her Belinda.  No idea why other than I had a beloved doll call Belinda as a child, handmade by my grandma I think.

Embroidering the pattern on her jacket and trying to get it symmetrical on each side was not easy and I'm not sure I succeeded, but who's going to notice?  (Apart from the fact I'll likely point it out to everyone!)

This is Bertie.  I found myself talking to Bertie quite a lot whilst embroidering the flowers and finishing the garland.  I'm a little bit in love with him.  

He sits in this egg.  I really don't know why.  Mr CA pointed out that rabbits don't come out of eggs, which I knew.  Maybe this is an Easter bunny, but bunnies are for life (or approx 10-12 years), not just for Easter, so Belinda and Bertie will live on my mantle piece year round.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is not only my ALYOF goal for the month, but also my second FAL finish for the quarter (technically 3rd, but I haven't shown you the 2nd yet so we'll renumber them).  Two (or three) out of 12, wow, going great guns over here!

Linking up here:
Fresh Sewing Day

My ButtonFinish Along 2014  

Here's my FAL Q3 goal-setting post
Here's my ALYOF goal-setting post

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

WIP Wednesday

I have never linked up to a WIP Wednesday post, much as I'd like to, it just never happens... maybe this week?

I'm going to show you what I'm working on anyway.  I'm making one of these...

Which will require these:

I also started making this:

But completely failed to read the instructions.  Possibly a good thing as I don't like those colours.  I scrapped that and started again, I got as far as this:

Monday, 25 August 2014

Craft book review - Stitched Blooms

The lovely folk at GMC sent me another book to review.

I was so lucky to get my hands on Stitched Blooms by Carina Envoldsen-Harris, a book which has been on my wish list since it was published.

Before we go any further, the disclaimers.  I was sent the book for free to review but I was not told what to say and all opinions are 100% my own.  I didn't receive any monetary compensation.  Links in this post, as with all my book posts, are affiliated.  If you click over and buy something, I get a few pence towards an Amazon voucher.  

This book is aimed at the embroiderer - any embroiderer as long as you like whimsical designs rather than realistic thread painted pictures. A beginner could pick up this book and stitch their first design, equally a seasoned embroiderer could flick through the motifs and find many they'd want to stitch.

The introduction includes a few pages on colour theory, information on fabrics, threads and equipment.  There is then some getting-started information and a dictionary of basic stitches.   

This is followed by 20 projects ranging from skirts to soft toys and including this rather original calendar frame.

I love this duvet cover and would love to make something like this, but white bedding is so impractical... or am I the only one that spills coffee and squash in bed pretty much every morning (it's hard to find your mouth at 6am...) ?

Projects are accompanied by a stitch diagram, showing which stitches are used where, though of course you can ignore this and do your own thing, even using a completely different motif or set of motifs if you wish.  Most of the projects involve stitching on pre-bought, or pre-made if you prefer, items, but the patterns are not included.  They are for some projects such as the stuffed horse and the glasses case.

At the back are 25 pages of stitchery motifs, including borders and corners, flowers and leaves.  These are all also included on the CD which is tucked in the back of the book.

I wanted to do something a bit different for my project, so I chose a design from the book and traced it onto a little wooden box.  I then pyrografied it (no idea what the actual verb for pyrography, or wood burning, actually is!  I usually call it pyrografication).

This is my first attempt.  I use a Dremel VersaTip for pyrography and, this being my first attempt with this tool, I didn't realise that the hole on the side pumps out heat and so managed to burn the side of the lid.  I tried sanding it off, but alas, the wood was such crap quality it just went dark brown.  I tried colouring over it.... I'll be decopaging this attempt!

So I tried again... another small accident with the hole, but I don't mind that so much, it adds authenticity (she tells herself).  The lines aren't great as the wood quality is so poor, but for 80p each, who's complaining?

It's coloured with brush markers, which are basically felt tips.  I thought I should probably try stitching a motif too, as this is an embroidery book.

I used Madeira silks and DMC Light Effects (metallics) to stitch this little flower.  It's about 4" long and took a matter of hours.

French knots in the centre, satin stitch for the purple, a line of twisted chain in metallics inside, leaves in stem stitch and lazy daisy with the central stems in metallics.

I used this scrap of purple dyed even(ish) weave that I had in my stash.  After stitching, I saw it also had minty-blue highlights in it too which you can just see to the left of the photo.  I have no idea what I'm going to turn it into - answers on a postcard.

So what do I think of this book?  I think it's a lovely addition to the bookshelf of anyone who likes this simple form of embroidery and it would be great for a beginner.  I love Carina's style and her use of colour.  There are a couple of projects from the book I may tackle at some point, but I can see me using the motifs over and over and my brain is whirling wondering what other craft I could apply them to.

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Lark; 1 Pap/Cdr edition (7 Feb 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145470425X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1454704256
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 20.3 x 25.4 cm

Linking up to:
Craft Book Sew Along at Live. Love. Create.


I was given a review copy of the book by GMC however this review and all opinions are 100% my own, I was not told what to say.  Amazon links are affiliate links.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Festival of Quilts 2014

Good afternoon, I think I'm back!  The horrendous side effects seem to have abated and, fingers crossed, the new tablets seem to be doing their job.  A small light has appeared in the distance and I'm hoping it's not another train...

I've been meaning to write this post for a while, so this will serve as my first post back.  A few weeks ago I went to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham.  It was my first time.  I took my mum and met Kerry there.  Due to a torrential downpour, the road was flooded so it took us so long to get there that we didn't have much time.  I did, however manage to do some shopping!

I fell in love with this bunny and with her beautiful coat.  There are other clothes patterns available.  Before you say "another bunny you're never going to get round to sewing", buying this actually encouraged me to start the one I bought in Harrogate that is my ALOYF goal for the month!  More on that soon... and hopefully a finish by the end of the month.

The finished hare quilt above was hanging in this booth so I had to buy the pattern, though I will call them bunnies.  It's fusible bias tape so I need to get started on the Mackintosh one I bought at Harrogate first!  The kit on the right is a gorgeous embroidery.  Hopefully it will be gorgeous when I've finished!

Continuing the bunny theme...

Bunny fabrics!  The Eternal Maker turned out to be a great source of bunny fabrics, and the two middle ones that look like aliens at first were from a cheap stall.  All destined for my bunny quilt - which I now have an idea for!

I loved this map fabric, but when I tried to buy it on the first stall I found it on, they said I had to buy it in 60cm increments... which lead to the top of Russia being cut off! (the continents aren't lined up, they're "tossed" onto the fabric).  I refused as I wanted Russia - I'm intending to embroider the places I've been and considering I crossed the length of Siberia, I think that's an integral part.  I bought it from another stall who said I could have whatever measurement I wanted.  The little blob things to the left fell into my basket after I tried to convince myself they were bunnies.  I drive a blue Mini with a checkerboard roof and checkerboard stripes on the side.  This fabric ALMOST has my car on it, so it had to come home with me.

I think this is worthy of Sunday Stash, so I'll be linking up with Molli.

Molli Sparkles

Want to see the quilts that caught my eye?  I have no details of who made them (with one exception), so if anyone wants me to credit their quilt, leave me a comment and I will gladly do so.  Quilters featured here - your quilts are amazing (as were a lot of the others but we only saw about half the exhibition).




This one is by Kerry!