Friday, 26 May 2017

Long Time Gone [Weeks 9-11]

Things got a bit hectic round here the last few weeks so I'm a bit behind in sharing things here on my blog. We're now up to week 11 on the Long Time Gone sew along and I need to show you weeks 9 and 10 as well.

So here is week 9: log cabin quarters.

Week 10 saw the start of the half square triangles.

And week 11 is more of the same.

I laid out all of my blocks so far this week. This is definitely a scrappy quilt in the making!


At a snails pace my snail quilt is coming along. And I realise I haven't shared any snaily updates recently. This week I took the opportunity of open floor space to lay out all the snails so far. Except the 2 I couldn't find.

I'm hopeful that the chequerboard effect of black and white background will pull together what is otherwise a rather haphazard and Mia-driven colour scheme!

The plan from here is to continue making snails until I have 42 blocks. Once together in a quilt top, I have bought a very lovely shower curtain for the backing, and this will become a picnic blanket for our summer holidays. I have until the end of July to make this happen!

Any tips on sewing with shower curtain greatly received!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

#1yearofstitches [Week 20]

I'm getting later and later in the week with these posts, aren't I! Well here is the hoop as of Sunday evening. We're 20 weeks in and the hoop has 51 different stitches on it! Some very successful, some less so!

Monday, 15th May 2017: my 50th stitch tonight was Rhodes stitch - the pink square right in the middle.

Tuesday, 16th May 2017: For my 51st stitch I added double cross stitch, which is also known as Smyrna stitch in lime green on the right hand side of the hoop.

Wednesday, 17th May 2017: I attacked the laced arrow head stitch I did way back in march tonight. I've never liked the colour combination of green and pink - it just looked brown from a distance, so I unpicked the pink and replaced it with yellow and it's lifted the whole bottom left section of the hoop.

Thursday, 18th May 2017: Four little orange cross stitches in a vertical line at the top of the hoop.

Friday, 19th May 2017: I returned to the whipped back stitch tonight for another background box. This time in green at the bottom of the hoop.

Saturday, 20th May 2017: And another background box in aqua whipped backstitch on the left hand side of the hoop. Is it the last one?

Sunday, 21st May 2017: Nope - a yellow one also on the left of the hoop. Now I'm done. I think.

#1yearofstitches #jenniesthreads1yearofstitches

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

#100days100blocks2017 [Blocks 1-10]

Angie @Gnomeangel is at it again. Another fabulous quilt along. Another 100 blocks in 100 days from Tula Pink's City Sampler book. Let's not talk about the unfinished version I already have of this quilt, shall we!  Instead, let's start about the new one! My plan for #100days100blocks2017 is a Christmas quilt using the Garland collection from Cotton and Steel. I'm not much of a fan of traditional Christmas colours of red and green, but Cotton and Steel have added aqua, blue, pink and coral to the mix and I love it.

Here are my first ten blocks:

#100days100blocks2017 #garlandcityquilt

Monday, 15 May 2017

#1yearofstitches [week19]

I had an idea about my hoop this week. And I decided to run with it. I think it's totally changed the look of the hoop and I'm really pleased with this new direction.

Monday, 15th May: I realised last week, that I hadn't actually used running stitch anywhere in the hoop. So I did. Red running stitch!

Tuesday, 16th May: Pink whipped backstitch - this was the start of the change. I added whipped backstitch in pink in the corner near the blue whipped back stitch - just to the right of the three yellow satin stitch boxes.

Wednesday, 17th May: And this was the day I saw the way forward - I continued the whipped back stitch to create a box in pink on the left of the hoop.

Thursday, 18th May: I continued the theme and took the existing blue whipped stitch and carried it round into another box, weaving under existing stitches. When I got to the line of existing chain stitch, I threaded it with the same navy I had used for the whipping. You can barely see it, but it ties it together.

Friday, 19th May: I took a line of purple stem stitch and continued it round into a partial box at the top right edge of the hoop.

Saturday, 20th May: Orange whipped stitch to create a box at the bottom of the hoop.

Sunday, 21st May: And aqua whipped backstitch to create a box at the top of the hoop.

I think there will be more boxes next week....

#1yearofstitches #embroidery # jenniesthreads1yearofstitches

Monday, 8 May 2017

#1yearofstitches [Week 18]

I experienced a bit of a creative block with my hoop this week, but still added something every day, including a few new stitches. I'm hoping inspiration will strike again soon.

Monday, 1st May: Yellow stem stitch to outline the inside of the circle with the two hearts in the centre of the hoop.

Tuesday, 2nd May: A new stitch tonight over on the left of the hoop: barb stitch. This is basicially two rows of blanket stitch, back to back and lined up, then whipped. I really like the effect. I used light blue for the blanket stitch and dark blue for the whipping.

Wednesday, 3rd May: Another new one: La Mouche stitch. This is the pink triangle you can find towards the top right of the hoop. My hoop sadly lacks areas that need a stitch this shape but I'm on the look out for more opportunities!

Thursday, 4th May: Lime green chain stitch to create a heart shape around the two flowers at the top of the hoop. I don't know that I like it. I reserve the right to unpick it.

Friday, 5th May: This was the night I really struggled to know what to add, so I just added a ring of pink chain stitch in the top right, echoing the lines already there

Saturday, 6th May: Another new stitch - stepped threaded running stitch in the bottom right of the hoop. This is two lines of running stitch, where the visible stitches are not in line (stepped!), which is then threaded. I did the running stitch in pink and the threading in peach, which, it turns out, is too light to really see. I realised whilst stitching this tonight, that I haven't used a basic running stitch anywhere in the hoop yet!

Sunday, 7th May: I added dark purple back stitch either side of the stepped threaded running stitch in the hope it will make the peach stand out better. I think it's worked a little.

#1yearofstitches #jenniesthreads1yearofstitches

Friday, 5 May 2017

Long Time Gone [Week8]

I'm still with you all for this Quilt Along. And this week sees nine Court House Steps blocks. I chain-pieced these on Saturday morning and they went together quite smoothly!

And laying them out like this makes me wonder how good a whole quilt of them would look. I would only need 120 blocks....

Thursday, 4 May 2017

APQ Resolution [May]

I have to confess that it has been a while since the project listed for May has been out of the cupboard. I did a quick search on my blog, and the last time it got a mention was December 2014, when I announced my plan to finish it in 2015! And then in July 2013, when I added it to a Finish Along list. In fact the last time I can see any evidence that I worked on it is April 2013...

Well, today I got my Double Wedding Ring quilt out of the cupboard and took some new photos of it. A couple of pieces of good news: I still absolutely love it; and all the pieces are cut! The bad news: I'm not even half way through piecing it! And there are Y-seams every two inches. And where there aren't Y-seams, there are curves!

The colours are still beautiful: the fabrics are Poetica from Art Gallery with Floral Elements as the background. The whole thing was dye-cut as a class at my local quilt shop. So it's cut, it's accurate and there are little nicks for lining up the curves. I even have backing fabric in the cupboard.

I think finishing this quilt is not going to be possible. But I will be happy to see some progress.

APQ Resolution [April review]

The April project for the APQ Resolution was my Summer Sampler quilt. Whilst I didn't manage to get it finished, I did go from 10 blocks to 15 blocks.

I struggled an awful lot with the fabric selections for these blocks. The fabrics are all from Dreamin Vintage by Jeni Baker, and the scale of the prints is much larger than I would normally use, and there are prints with sneaky directionality. I even tried some fussy cutting, with mixed success. I think they'll do fine in the finished quilt, but I don't love them all.

One of the blocks I do love, is this one: Michael and I are calling the orange "caravan orange" - the exact shade of caravan upholstery from the 1980s! I love it. he's not so keen!

I need to do another 5 blocks, decide on a layout and sash it, quilt it, and bind it - not much then! But I'm pleased with the progress I did make! The ladies who ran the Summer Sampler 2016 have just announced the Summer Sampler 2017. Perhaps I should make an effort to get this one finished before I inevitably start the next!!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

#1yearofstitches [Week 17]

Another week - the year is flying by!

Monday, 24th April: Peach French knots in the arrow head stitch at the top of the hoop.

Tuesday, 25th April: Lavender bullion knots in a ring to create the first of two flower at the top left of the hoop.

Wednesday, 26th April: Pink pistil stitch in between the bullion knots.

Thursday, 27th April: Aqua French knots in the centre of the flower.

Friday, 28th April: Yellow pistil stitch to create a second flower in the top left.

Saturday, 29th April: Peach long-arm lazy daisy stitch - this was a new stitch, and I really like it. But it doesn't show up very well where I did it, so I think I'll be using it again somewhere.

Sunday, 30th April: Orange French knots in the centre of the second flower.

The photo at the top has a couple of extra days, as the photo I was going to share was a night-time one and very dark, so I rephotographed it today.

#1yearofstitches #jenniesthreads1yearofstitches

Long Time Gone [Week 7]

It's getting harder to keep up - the quota of chaos in our household has just gone through the roof the last few weeks! But I've had my cutting party and I am now totally cut out for the whole quilt top, except for the large sashing pieces! And that feels good! I might just be able to keep up with the cutting done!

This week was all about Churn Dashes. It's one of my favourite blocks. But there were 21 of them! It seemed to take a lot longer to piece than I had expected. But that seems to be true of every block in this quilt along!

The individual churn dashes go together to make two larger blocks.

Court House Steps blocks next week!

April [Review]

Another month done and dusted, and the quota of chaos in our household just seems to be going up and up. Both the girls have been ill, and Jess is teething on top of that, and I was ill over Easter. Jessica turned 1 this month. She is unstoppable: she hardly ever sits still, she loves playing with Mia's toys, she has the cheekiest little grin, and there have been some pretty bad nights, where you give her a bottle at 2am and she's just simply awake. And two hours later, she's still awake. And when I've had only 4 hours sleep, something has to give. And it's been the diet. I'm back to eating crap. It's a cycle I need to get out of. But I'm not sure how, right now. I daren't get on the scales!

Sewing is definitely my sanity right now! And April saw a lot of sewing: mostly in short bursts, while the girls were playing happily, or Daddy was in charge, or in the evenings. I joined in with the #100dayproject in April with the goal of spending a little time with my sewing machine every day. I find that often in the evening I just want to flop on the sofa with hand-sewing. And whilst I haven't managed to sew at my machine every day, I've done far more than I would otherwise have, and my block total for April reflects that: 86 blocks! A lot of these have been for my Long Time Gone quilt: a simple block of the week.... hah! Yeah right. The first couple of weeks may have been simple blocks, but my goodness - 21 3" churn dashes last week! The blocks seem to be taking longer each week! But I love the process, I love how scrappy it is, and I love that I am still keeping up!

I'm also keeping up with a snail a week and the #52weekswiththequiltersplanner sew-along.

I'm still behind with Down the Rabbit Hole, but I'm also still moving forward. I'm definitely behind with my Ice Cream soda blossom, but made four blocks this month, and I've made progress on the baby quilts that I need to finish. We won't talk about Dear Jane....

I had one of those spontaneous makes: a Zip-up Tray Pouch, which I love!

And I made a mini quilt for a friend.

What I now need, over the next few weeks, are some actual finishes... and that requires some larger chunks of time to get some quilting done.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Zip Up Tray Pouch

You know when you see a new pattern, and you just have to make it? That's what I thought when I first saw Aneela Hoey's latest patterns. She's just released two: the Zip up Tray Pouch and the Open Out Box Pouch. Whilst the Open Out Box Pouch is still on the list, I now have my own Zip Up Tray Pouch!

I had to wait while the postman delivered the interfacing and zips I needed, but they arrived last Friday and I had my pouch before bedtime! It's one of those patterns, where if you read it through in advance it makes no sense... but if you do it step by step,, it isn't scary at all.

This was my first time using a separating zip and I made life harder for myself by having one which was too long and needing to shorten it in such a way that the pull wouldn't come off the end... and I misunderstood the binding instruction and had to do some unpicking. But it really works!

The one downside to the project was the final hand-sewing. Because the interfacing is quite firm (and has to be to give the pouch it's shape), it's harder to manipulate to allow for easier hand sewing.But some binding clips and the odd swear word and it was done! The zip would also have been easier if I knew where my zipper foot was....

The outside fabric and the binding fabric are both Cotton and Steel, and the lining and the ends are both Kona solids.

The pattern isn't one of the cheapest out there, but I intend to get my money's worth and make a fair few of these pouches - they would make great Christmas presents! Next up - an Open Out Box Pouch!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

#1yearofstitches [Week 16]

Here she is - this actually includes an extra day's sewing because I forgot to take a full picture on Sunday night - whoops!

Monday, 17th April:Satin stitch in blue to create vertical stripes on the right hand side of the hoop.

Tuesday, 18th April: I enjoyed the affect of the stripes so much, I did some horizontal stripes in lime green satin stitch on the left hand side of the hoop (and now much prefer this section of the hoop!).

Wednesday 19th April: Running stitch in dark green in between the green stripes.

Thursday, 20th April: Jessica's birthday, so I added a second heart, in pink, in the centre of the hoop.

Friday, 21st April: I struggled with what to do tonight, so added a line of back stitch in pink on the far left of the hoop.

Saturday, 22nd April: Blue chain stitch right across the top of the hoop - I'm not sure it looks great, so will require some more attention in the coming weeks!

Sunday, 23rd April:Arrow head stitch in orange, which some yellow echoes....

You can find my daily updates (except when I forget to post them) over on Instagram under #jenniesthreads1yearofstitches

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Very Berry Mini Hoop Swap

It's been well over a year since I last joined in a swap on Instagram. I think I burnt myself out in 2015. But I decided to join in the Very Berry Mini Hoop Swap: a 2" embroidery hoop is not a huge commitment! My partner expressed a love of sea and mountains, and I've been enjoying embroidery at the moment, so here's what I made.

I received this pretty little hoop in return from @quiltessential

And I may have bought a couple of extra hoops to have a play with too!

Long Time Gone [Week 6]

Six weeks in and still up to date!!! But I'm coming to the end of what I pre-cut so I'm going to have to schedule in a bit of a cutting party soon! This week's block is a bit of an odd one: the Plus a Star block. I like the plusses. And I have nothing against stars. But I struggled with the combination.

I actually spent a bit of time planning this block and even so, I'm not too pleased with how the star doesn't really stand out. I think in the grand scheme of the whole quilt, it will look absolutely fine and not be an issue. But today, critically appraising this one block all on it's own, it didn't work as well as I'd hoped.

Next up - eleventy billion mini churn dashes!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

#365 Quilt Challenge [Block Swap]

One of the best things about the #365 challenge has been the community that has grown up on Facebook. It's a UK based group - with some overseas friends too, and I've never experienced anything like it. Everyone seems to have really got to know everyone. There has been cheerleading when people have fallen behind; mutual moaning when a block had eleventy-billion tiny half square triangles; and shared success as members have completed their quilt tops.

To celebrate these friendships we had a little swap - 3" blocks, quilted and bound, whizzed around the globe! I signed up for three blocks - so I sent three and received three. The idea was that the blocks you sent should represent the quilt you made/were making.

Here are the three I recieved from Kirsty, Jackie and Fiona:

It took me a while to find the block I wanted to use. I needed one I could use as a colour wheel to reflect my entire quilt. Eventually I found the block for 7th September called 4 Corners.

A little bit of 4am stitching (thanks, Jess) and I got them finished and in the post before the deadline!

But that wasn't everything. Because when you make the quarter square triangle blocks, it makes 2 at once, so I made a fourth block. Which I turned into a pincushion.

Then I suggested a private swap with a member of the group who had been disappointed not to receive one of the three originals.But I made two blocks. This quilt has been tightly woven around my youngest daughter: I started the quilt as I entered my third trimester. I finished the centre section just a week or so before she was born, and I caught up and competed the rest of the blocks as she napped and played. So that final block has been made into a hoop for her bedroom wall. Because there is no way I'm giving this quilt to either of my daughters.

And then I swapped a few more. Five more. Which leaves me another left over blocks, so Mia can have one in a hoop too. But at the moment it's just a block.

Monday, 17 April 2017

#1yearofstitches [Week 15]

Here's my little hoops after 15 weeks - that's over 100 days now!

Monday, 10th April: Twisted chain stitch in lavendar from the bullion knot wheel on the left over the top to the whirl in the top right corner. I went as far as the length of thread would take me!

Tuesday, 11th April: A new stitch from TAST (Take A stitch Tuesday over at Pintangle): double whipped chain stitch. I really like this one: my favourite chain stitch but bolder and pretty. I did this row on the left in yellow and orange.

Wednesday, 12th April: Purple satin stitch to infill the middle loop on the right of the hoop.

Thursday, 13th April: I took a line of orange chain stitch up the right hand side and created another curve in the top right with it.

Friday, 14th April - Good Friday: Double whipped chain stitch in green and bluey-green under the Guilloche stitch in the top right. I'm very pleased with how this combination turned out.

Saturday, 15th April: Purple stem stitch beneath yesterday's double whipped chain stitch.

Sunday, 16th April - Easter Sunday: Lime green chain stitch added to the top left of the hoop - this is my least favourite part of the hoop and I'm not sure this addition has improved it.

Long Time Gone [Week 5]

This week's block is my favourite so far: Trip Around the World.

A truly scrappy blocks, so I'm going to link up with Leanne and Nicky for Scraptastic Tuesday.

Scraptastic Tuesday

Tonight I took stock of how far I had prepared so far. Next week's block is pieced, and the week following is cut and ready, but after that I'm not so prepared. I continued cutting tonight and whilst it feels like I didn't make much headway, I'm at least further ahead than I was! I'm also making good progress with a few of the pineapple blocks - I'll need 16 of these in the final week and so far I've made four.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Long Time Gone [Week 4]

I'm still keeping up and I'm still thoroughly enjoying this project. This is week 4: Jacob's Ladder.

Nine blocks sewn together to create this panel. This is truly a quilt entirely from my stash and I'm really enjoying pulling out fabrics I don't normally use and rediscovering long buried scraps!

The pattern is Long Time Gone by Jen Kingwell and you can find all the information on this quilt along at Angie's blog.

Monday, 10 April 2017

#1yearofstitches [Week 14]

I think this brings me to nearly 100 days of embroidery!

Monday, 3rd April: a new stitch today: Moss stitch in deep pinky red, right at the top of the hoop.

Tuesday, 4th April: and another new stitch - whipped back stitch. I stitched the backstitch in navy and then laced it with sky blue. I created a corner around the cloud filler in the centre of the hoop.

Wednesday, 5th April: Blanket stitch in aqua, continuing from the line I did ages ago and taking it up round the swirl in the top right of the hoop.

Thursday, 6th April: I added some green blanket titch to the middle loop on the right hand side.

Friday, 7th April: some blue chain stitch to the same loop.

Saturday, 8th April: a row of aqua chain stitch around the Basque stitch wheel in the bottom left of the hoop.

Sunday, 9th April: Twisted chain stitch in pink up and around the loop in the top right.

This week's two new stitches brings me to 42 different stitches used within the hoop - I was surprised it was so many as I regularly go back to chain stitch!