Sunday, 31 July 2011

A Bunch of Cherries

As I'm not buying any new fabric for a while to finish quilts, I've been looking through some of the patterns I've saved on my computer.  One of them was this applique bunch of cherries.
It's come from the DMC threads blog.  I did try to do it by machine, but the hand applique block definitely came out better.

The leaves and cherries are appliqued, but the stems are embroidered using stem stitch.  I'm not exactly sure what I will do with this, though I do have a couple of ideas floating around.  Whatever I do will have to wait until after my fabric diet ends.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Creative Tuesdays-Ice Cream

I don't find all the themes for the Creative Tuesday challenge easy to adapt to sewing,  but I did have a few ideas for this weeks theme-ice cream.  Then a visit to the  DMC website soon made it a lot easier.  One of the links for summer embroidery was to an embroidered ice cream cone which I thought was perfect for what I wanted.

Ice cream and the seaside always seem to go together, so I to have that reflected in the fabric choices.  I used the pale blue fabric as a background for the stitching and yellow was perfect for the backing and binding, I had sea and sand.
 The little pair of flip flops were one of a set sent to me in a previous swap, and this seemed the perfect opportunity to use them.
I pieced the back using white for the centre.  This has been stiffened using iron on interfacing, and this is going to be where I shall write a message to the recipient, using a permanent pen.  It's my thank you to a friend for our holiday in a couple of weeks time.

On Tuesday and Wednesday,  if you go over to the  Creative Tuesday blog, you will see all the other entries for this weeks challenge.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Josie's Garden

This is probably only the second project from Mollie Makes that I really enjoyed doing, this is much more my type of thing.

I used DMC pearl cotton size 8 for the stitching and used a variety of stitches-running stitch for the border, back stitch outlines, long and short stitch, straight stitch, satin stitch, couching for some of the stems, french knots, whipped running stitch, and spider stitch.

Not exactly sure what I will be doing with this, but at the moment, I'm thinking of a wall hanging.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Stitched Sunday-Detached Chain

Detached chain or lazy daisy stitch was one of the first stitches I learned.  When I was quite young, I did a dressing table mat using lazy daisy stitch, so I have fond memories of this stitch.
 On this sample, some of the stitches are filled with another detached chain stitch as a filler.
The inner pink circle of detached chain were filled with a light pink detached chain and a purple  straight stitch  so the outer stitch was totally filled.

Other stitches used were stem stitch, for the circles, and back stitch for the lettering and lines at the top.  I'm now looking forward to seeing what next Sunday will bring.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Afghan Blocks

There were no new patterns in this months set of blocks, and two of the blocks were the same but with different colour embellishments.  Thankfully, these don't take long to do anymore, it's so much easier once you are comfortable with the stitches used.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Skill Builder Sampler-Arizona

Triangles are definitely not my most favourite part of piecing, so you can imagine my dismay when I saw the block for this weeks Skill Builder Sampler, Arizona.
Not easily put off, I got out my fabric and got started.  Bit by bit, I made it to the end of the block, and I must say, it's turned out a lot better than the last time I attempted a block like this.

Fortunately, we are moving away from triangles for a little while, so I can look forward to next weeks block.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Cute Dog

It is nothing unusual to have a few of the neighbour kids and friends in looking through my cupboard of things I've made.  Last week, there was a request for a large pencil case, black with orange spots!  Very specific, but I didn't have any black fabric with orange spots, so I picked out a few pieces of fabric, which I thought they might like.

They chose this fabric, and there was just enough to get two decent sized pencil cases from what I had.
The lining fabric is black, with tiny pale blue doggy prints, so ties in very well with the outer fabric.  I even managed to work out how to line a zipped pouch so there are no seams showing, progress indeed.

One of these pencil cases has already found it's way across the road, one happy customer.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Stitched Sunday-Stem Stitch

With the week we've had here, this wasn't done on Sunday, even if that was when the patterned was printed off.  Being a stitch I use quite a lot anyway, it meant for  a relaxing evening of stitching when I did get to it.

I am really enjoying these embroidery pages, the designs are so simple, but effective for showing up the stitches.  Only another day, and I can see which stitch comes next.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Lacy Top

After my success with the baby jacket, I looked for another "simple" pattern to crochet next and found this Lacy top.
 It was a challenge to begin with, as the yarn is so thin and slippery.  The yarn used was Kid Melange, 65% Super Kid Mohair, 5% New Wool, 30% Nylon.  The pattern was one that came with The Art of Crochet, the same part work that includes the afghan.

It didn't take long to get used to the feel of the yarn, and after a couple of rows it was plain sailing.   I've already picked out the next pattern and waiting for yarn to arrive, it's going to be my holiday project.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Another bag

I had enough of the canvas to make another, but smaller bag, so finally got to make it this week.  There are a few changes from the first one I made.
 There is only one pocket on the front between the handles, and one on the inside.
Once I had boxed the bottom, I stitched in seam up the corner seams so that it keeps it's shape.  This is the first time I've done this and was quite pleased with how it turned out. 

I do have a piece of canvas left, so I may make a little zipper bag to go inside for keeping little bits and pieces together.

I'm not quite sure what's next.  We seem to have had a bout of food poisoning, or a nasty 24hr sickness bug, so it's going to have to be something gentle.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Skill Builder Sampler-Week 4

This week's block was pinwheels, and I am so pleased that my piecing of pinwheel blocks is so much better than it used to be.

I had wanted to do this with the colours reversed, but didn't have enough of the green, so, as this was the colour combination I wanted, I made do.

It was an interesting exercise in seeing how colours affect the look of the block.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Meet Wan

This is another one of the little creatures featured in the Mollie Makes magazine.  He's only about three inches in size, so you can imagine how fiddly some of the pieces were.

There were a whole collection of little friends, but I've decided, this is the only one for me.  I enjoyed making the larger ones, but the small ones are just not for me.  I am glad I gave it a go, but now on to something else.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Foxy Lady

 This was another fun project from Mollie Makes.  Once all the pieces are cut, it doesn't take long to get these put together.  If enlarged, this would make a great cushion.
As I still have some felt left, I may have a go at making the set of little animals that come later in the magazine.   I know some little people who love these.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Stitched Sunday-Backstitch

This must be one of the stitches I use most, so it was nice to do a pretty picture using the stitch.  Along the wavy line,  there is a bit of whipped back stitch.  You may have to click on the picture to see it.

The tracing lines need to be washed out, but I don't want to mess these around too much until they are all made up.  The washing can wait.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Raspberry Rabbits-July Heart

Another month, and another heart from Rasberry Rabbits.  That's seven hearts all done now, with five more to go.  Before long, I'll have to start thinking of fabric to go with them.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Strawberry Pincushions

I saw these pincushions in one of the Mollie Makes magazines, and as I like pincushions, I really wanted to give it a try.  I wasn't too sure if I would be able to get the emery powder for inside, but after an Internet search, and a phone call to a very pleasant lady, I soon had a bag of emery powder in my possession.
Although the size make these fiddly to do, they are very simple to make, and didn't take long at all.  A five inch square of fabric gave me two pincushions.  I have lots more emery sand, so there could be some more of these in the future.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Skill Builder Sampler-Rest Week

It was a rest week on the Skill Builder Sampler this week, but she set a challenge for those that wanted to take it up.  It was to design a 12" block.

My inspiration came from a photo on Chris and Barbara Quilts.  It was a picture from what looks like a tiled frieze.

This was definitely a bit of a challenge for me which involved lots of pieces of paper to check on sizes before cutting fabric.
It was worth it in the end, and my admiration for quilt designers has grown immeasurably.  Back to something simple I think.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Not always a success

Not everything I try turns out the way it should.  This felt flower was the free kit from the second issue of Mollie Makes.  There were minimal instructions, but I didn't really like how it turned out.
It's definitely not wasted, I've tried it, didn't like it, but it's is hanging from the handle on my cupboard.

 Much more successful, was my hunt for buttons. I tried a stall in the Sheffield Markets I've not used before, and found a very helpful lady who picked out some lovely buttons to try.  It will be worth going back, just for the service, and now the cardigan and baby jacket are completely finished. 

Now, I think I am off to do something I know I will be happy with and enjoy at the same time.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Bird and Leaf Sampler

You remember the clearout I had?  One of the kits I found was this Bird and Leaf Sampler from Holbein Embroideries, the Blackwork Specialists.

By the look of it, I'd opened the kit before, looked at it, and put it away again.  I know it was before I moved to Sheffield, so it was some time ago.  In that time, the green thread supplied with the kit disappeared, but I just went through my floss box and found something that matched to the photo.

I got the fabric framed up ready for stitching, but still didn't really feel any desire to stitch, but I decided to persevere and get it done.  The back stitch outline took quite a long time to do, then it the stitches were whipped.  The difference it made was amazing, especially when I was only using one strand of thread.  Finally, it was time for the fun to begin.
By this time, I was beginning to enjoy myself.  Most of the stitches were easy enough to do, although the top leaf did cause some trouble, it was the one I just couldn't get my brain around.  I'm not sure if it shows in the photo, but there are some areas done in gold thread which gives an added dimension to the stitching.

This may not have been a favoured project, but in the end, I did enjoy it, and I wouldn't say no to doing another one.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Handkerchief Pocket

It's amazing how finishing a piece changes it from a flimsy bit of embroidered fabric, into something of substance.

The white work embroidery has now had a front attached and been lined.  I also attached some interfacing on the flap to protect the stitching and to make it more stable.
The result, is a pocket that can be used. 

I shall now give it a gentle wash to take out the transfer lines, and shall look forward to trying this technique again.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Hidden Treasures

I was preparing for the next cross stitch project I wanted to do, a centre for a baby quilt, I needed to find my stretcher bars.  I had the cross bars, but somewhere, safely stored, were the stretcher bars.  All I had to do, was find where that safe place was.

As you can guess, it led to a little sort out.  I have an old fabric magazine rack where craft stuff is stored and I thought the bars were in the bottom.  They weren't, but I did find some kits, charts that had been given as gifts and a couple of WIP's that had been forgotten. 

One was this poppy  cross stitch.  It was a kit from the Craft Collection, which I had started several years ago, but for some reason, had run out of some of the thread.  There wasn't much left to do, so I got out my floss, matched up the colours, and voila, another quick finish!
I also found a black work, though I didn't use black, which was a part work released online over fifteen weeks.  This goes back to the end of 1998, beginning 1999 which was when we moved here.  At the time I didn't have Internet, and with everything else that was happening at the time, I'd forgotten about it. 

This meant that I had eleven of the fifteen parts required to do the Sampler Espagnol, but they are no good without the last four parts.  I've actually stitched two or three parts, but I think I am going to have to consign this to the undo and reuse pile.  Although I've searched, it's not possible to get the final installments. Maybe this is a sort out that should have happened a lot earlier.  I had assumed, as it was in a folder, all the parts were there, so if there is anyone out there that can help, it would be much appreciated.

I also found this chart which I stitched for an exchange.  If anyone would like it, please let me know and I shall post it to you.

Now, I'm off to do another forgotten project.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Stitched Sunday

Over at Hugs from Helen, she is doing  Stitched Sunday embroidery lessons.  Many of the stitches I will be familiar with, but I liked the idea of doing pages to form a book, so I thought I'd join in.  Not only that, I enjoy the relaxing nature of hand embroidery.
This week was straight and running stitch.  This just needs the transfer pen washing out, but I have a very pretty first page.  I'm looking forward to seeing what stitch is next.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Whitework and Cutouts

Over the years, I've seen many embroidered pieces with fabric cut out.  Although, I found it beautiful, I was always too frightened to try it, I didn't have the confidence that the whole piece wouldn't just fall apart.

Last year, I had a go at hardanger, so when I saw this project using embroidery incorporating cut outs, I thought it was time to give it a go.

I was well in my comfort zone for the satin stitch bodies, leaves and antennae, but soon it was onto cutting the fabric.
 First up, were the little holes.  These were my favourites.  First a line of running stitches go around where the hole is to be, cut a hole, and then use over cast stitch to finish the edging.
The larger holes on the butterfly wing were worked using the same principle, but used blanket stitch edging rather than over cast stitch. The fabric in this case is cut away after the blanket stitch is worked. I need a little more practise on the corners but it's worked.

The scalloped edge is done in blanket stitch, then the fabric is cut close to the stitching.

As a first attempt, I am really happy with how this has turned out so I shall look forward to getting this finished into something useful

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Creative Tuesdays-Summer Break

I find it's always a challenge to think of something appropriate for the Creative Tuesday theme, this time Summer Break.

In among my finished stitching, I had this All our Yesterdays cross stitch.  This always reminds me of the old fashioned summer holidays at the seaside, and the excitement of sending postcards home to friends and family.
The challenge then, was to incorporate this into something useful, and what could be more appropriate than a beach bag.

I bought some canvas fabric, which I love.  It is so soft, as well as being just that bit more substantial for carry large bulky items..  The cross stitch was mounted onto calico and went to form a pocket. 
 There are pockets, front, back and sides formed by another panel of the canvas with the handles are forming the boundaries of the separate pockets.  All in all, there are seven pockets, useful for all the little extras that find their way to the beach.
As I like the feel of the fabric so much, and I have some left over, I am hoping to make a smaller bag for general use. 

Monday, 4 July 2011

Skill Builder Sampler-Week 3

This weeks block is another I have done before, a churn dash block, so the only challenge was to pick the fabrics.  I'm still trying to use fabrics that have appeared in other blocks and introducing new ones.
I am liking the way the seams are meeting up compared to earlier attempts and the block only needed minimal trimming. 

Wonder what block we will have to do next week?

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Another Magazine Kit

Karen introduced me to the new magazine, Mollie Makes, after over enthusiastically buying the first issue.  I helped her out by taking one of the extra copies.  Each copy comes with a cover kit, and I didn't want it to go to waste, so here's the first one made up.

There was a glitch with this one, the white felt had been left out of the the package, so I had to wait until my kind son bought me some home last week.  Having all I needed, it was a pleasant hour, hand sewing every thing into place.

I used running stitch around all the pieces and blanket stitch for the outer edge.  All I need now is an ipod to go inside!

This project reminded me how much fun it was to use felt, no fraying edges, and relaxing hand stitching to get a very pleasant end result.  I'll have to see what other felt projects I can find to do.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Monster Softies

A few weeks ago, I bought a magazine, Homestyle Sewing.  It's the first time I've read it, but it does have some lovely projects in it.  There was a kit with the magazine to make a Monster Softie, inspiration coming from Gemma Jones.

I used the materials provided and came up with my own, as yet nameless, softie.  I added some felt, ribbon and some wool from my leftovers.
 In retrospect, I think I would have put the skirt higher up.
Daniel spotted her straight away, and has already put his order in for his own monster.  He wasn't impressed with me making a "girl".  I shall have to look and see if I can make a more masculine model.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Summer Blues

There's been a change of pace here, the sewing machine has been replaced with the knitting needles.  It was time to knit a summer cardigan.
It's been knitted using Wendy Supreme 100% luxury cotton dk in a very pale blue.

There is a long sleeve variation, but  I decided on short sleeves for the summer.  Short sleeves always make for a quick knit.

One thing on this pattern I've not done before is the double over bands in stocking stitch.  There is a garter stitch edging, which marks the fold over.  It's unusual, but it does make for a nice finish.

I know have two items waiting for buttons, so hopefully, I'll actually get into town this week and sort out some pretty buttons.