Thursday 28 April 2016

Floating up up and away!

Welcome to another TGIFF, the link party that celebrates that lovely feeling of a finished project!

My finish for this week has been a long time in the making, as regular readers will know :)

So, a drum roll please - I have finally finished my Sunday Morning Quilts Bee quilt, Up, up and Away!!!

And here it is!

I backed the triangle strip front with the last of the cotton yardage that I bought in the bedding factory shop in Latvia, which you can see in the photo below.

It was the perfect backing for such a multi-coloured quilt, I found some turquoise fabric printed with triangles in my LQS, so that naturally found its'  way into my basket for the binding.

In the book this quilt was quilted with straight lines across the quilt, but as my points weren't exactly perfect that wouldn't have been quite as straightforward as it sounded :) So, I chose to randomly quilt swirls to remind me of kite strings.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but one broken needle later and six snapped threads I wasn't quite so sure.

Still, another Bee quilt finished only 2 more to go before all of my Bee commitments are complete.

Now it is your turn to link up your finishes and celebrate with your fellow quilters. Check out the other linkers too, a little bit of applause is always welcome and add the TGIFF link/button (on the sidebar) to your post and spread the celebrations!

Monday 25 April 2016

Making the Links - New to Me in April

Welcome to another New to Me Link Party!

Where we celebrate the trying of something new whether it has been a success or not :)

This month I have been co-hosting the TGIFF link party for the first time.


My fellow hosts LeanneLaura and M-R and I divided up the year and will each co-host the TGIFF link party for three months of the year. As you can see I have eased myself into it by waiting until April for my first co-hosting stint! 

The theory behind my participation is that it might spur me on to actually finishing some of the many projects lurking in my cupboards. We shall see how well that works out :)

This month I also received my first ever purchase from Massdrop, this gorgeous Big Bear, Little Bear FQ bundle. I know that I am pretty late to the game with Massdrop, but I have to say that I was really impressed with the service, and will definitely be using it again. I expected the delivery to the UK to mean weeks of waiting but it was surprisingly quick and, needless to say, very attractively priced :)

So, that is my New to Me's this month, now it is your turn. As ever please help to spread the word by linking back to this post in your post and/or adding the blog button to your sidebar.

Celtic Thistle Stitches

Check out the other links too and, maybe, leave an encouraging comment along the way. The emphasis of this link party is to celebrate the trying so a little encouragement here and there would not go amiss! 
The link will remain open until 23.59GMT on April 30th, so you have some time yet to try something new and link up and join the party :)

If your New to Me involves some Christmas or Holiday crafting don't forget to link it up to this month's Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party here

You could win a kit to make these lovely tapestry brooches from

Looking forward to seeing your New to Me's this month!

Thursday 21 April 2016

Introducing Tina Francis Tapestry

This month's sponsor of the Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Giveaway is Tina Francis of Tina Francis Tapestry

I first came across Tina's lovely tapestry in an article in Stitch, the magazine of the Embroiderers Guild, and didn't waste any time in stitching up several of her delightful tapestry brooches.

I am always interested in knowing the background of the businesses that I deal with, and I thought that you might be too, so here is Tina's story.

"After winning a box of embroidery transfers in an auction Tina opened it to find it contained a whole

womans life in knitting and stitching patterns. From the most fashionable cardigan of 1959 to baby

matinee jackets, school uniforms and curtain patterns right through to more modern baby patterns

for her grandchildren, Tina realise that this unknown woman was a true artist who had spent her

lifetime stitching love. This sparked an interest in other “home crafts” tapestry appealed because it

combined two of Tinas loves, printing and texture so after learning how to stitch by completing

unfinished tapestrys from secondhand shops she decided to design her own and stitch on the

shoulders of the unknown women whose art had inspired her.

Tina has a range of both printed and counted tapestry kits, her patterns are very geometric and

modern and can be used for tapestry needlepoint, cross stitch and rug making. Someone has used

them for knitting but don’t ask Tina how!! 

Wool is the most expensive part of any kit and as the industry standard is to add 30% more wool than is required Tina realised that she was adding to the wool stash mountain and so created a set of patterns called “Use Your Stash”, each pattern uses less than 10 metres of each wool colour, you do not need to be a colour mixer to get great results as Tina has already ensured a perfect result every time through pattern placement.

Still not satisfied with ensuring the stash mountain is decreased Tina has now designed two sets of

brooch patterns which will ensure that even your smallest amounts of wool are used! For the brooch

patterns you need no more than a metre of each wool colour (and usually no more than 50 cm!). A

good design is scaleable and so if you prefer a larger count canvas the design will look just as good.

“Whilst the design will always be mine the art belongs to the stitcher the same as it belonged to the

woman whose life I now hold in the old chocolate box full of patterns”

Thanks Tina, what a fascinating story!

Don't forget to link up your Christmas and Holiday makes at this month's Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party if you want to be in with a chance of winning your own Tina France Tapestry brooch kit.

Monday 18 April 2016

Tapestry Brooch Tutorial - Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew

Welcome to the April Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party.

The Link Party that aims to have you all organised with a cupboard full of handcrafted goodies by the time that December comes around :)

This month I am delighted to bring you a guest tutorial from Tina Francis, the creative genius behind such gorgeous makes as these colourful cushions,

and the driving force behind

Something we can all empathise with!

Tina has generously provided us with a tutorial for one of her lovely tiny, tapestries that can be made into a brooch or necklace like these. Aren't they great?

"You will need

12 count Interlock canvas
50 cm of each wool colour
A tapestry needle
Brooch finding (if using)

You can use tapestry wool or why not search in your wool stash for 4 ply, this project is about using what you already have so if you want to use the stitching for a card or gift tag (just attach it with stitch) then it does not matter what count of tapestry canvas you use.

These patterns are great scaled up and you can see from the images that they suit cross stitch too!"

 You can find instructions for the tent stitch used in the brooches here

The chart for the Inca pattern above can be downloaded here

If making a brooch, once you have completed the stitching from the chart trim the canvas so that is has a border of one canvas hole around the stitching. Place the trimmed stitching into the brooch front then push the back into place and fold down the flaps to hold the brooch back in place.

Tina has also offered either a Small Squares or Inca Pattern Booklet (£10), 2 goldtone brooch findings (£6.40), 12 count interlock canvas enough for all 7 brooch patterns in the booklet (£2.50), two John James Needles one size 18 and  one size 24, a small amount of wool to complete one brooch front as this month's giveaway prize. So, one lucky linker could be adding one of these lovely brooches to their Christmas gift stash!

The winners of last month's sewing themed charms were Melissa at Happy Quilting and Sally at Wonky Patchwork.

As ever the link party closes at 23.59 GMT on April 30th, so you have lots of time to get those projects linked up. No blasts from the past though, we are all about stockpiling throughout the year here so restrict yourself to links to projects you have worked on this month:)

Thanks again to our lovely giveaway sponsors who have been so generous in their support of the link party.

Friday 15 April 2016

So near and yet so far!

Today is the final check in for Quilter in the Closet's 100 Day Challenge

Jen asked us to set ourselves 3 challenges to be completed in 100 days, easy peasy you might think!

My three challenges were to:

  1. Start and complete the EG project for the Game of Thrones Season 6 launch
  2. Start and complete my entry for the EG Capability Brown tricentennial celebrations
  3. Finish the Sunday Morning Quilts Bee Up, Up and Away quilt

So, how did I do?

Well good and not so good.

My contribution to the EG Game of Thrones Hardhome embroidery had to be completed and returned by March 2nd, so I was on pretty safe ground with that challenge.

This roundel was my part of the project and it was submitted one day ahead of schedule, so a resounding start to the challenge!

The Hardhome Embroidery unveiled
The piece for the Capability Brown exhibition will not be submitted until next month, so as you can probably guess, that challenge is yet to be met.

Progress has been made though!

Having procrastinated over some of the design I finally made up my mind and settled on colours and stitches and managed to finish all of the thread stitching. I am now dithering over the small bit of beading needed to finish off the centre :)

The choice of beads for stitching is not great around here and I find it very difficult to judge colours and sizes on the internet, so haven't gone down that road yet. I did "acquire" several pots of seed beads when I visited my Mum a few weeks ago, so I am hoping that I will find something suitable in there to get this finished.

The final challenge project was undoubtedly the largest of the three.

The Up, Up and Away quilt wasn't even half pieced when I signed up for the challenge and I have been ploughing away religiously on it at my Monday class.

Sadly for the challenge it is not quite finished :(

Happily though, it is not far off :)

I shall spare you the traumas of the quilting for now, but I can report that it is now fully quilted and just waiting to be trimmed and bound. I am hoping that the current miserable weather will continue into the weekend and I will actually get this finished in the next couple of days.

Without the spur of the Challenge I would definitely have laid the quilt aside several times during the 100 Days, so I am thankful to Jen for issuing the challenge even if I haven't quite made the finishing line yet!

Head on over to Quilter in the Closet to check out how my fellow Challengees have performed in their 100 Days.

Thursday 7 April 2016

Castles, Koalas and Crustaceans

A couple of weekends ago we travelled to Dublin for the Scotland v Ireland 6 Nations Rugby match. Sadly the result did not go Scotland's way, so only my other half was happy after the game.

Despite the lack of sporting fortune we had a very enjoyable weekend.

We visited Malahide Castle one of the oldest castles in Ireland, lived in almost continuously for 800 years by one family, the Talbots.

By the time of the last Baron Talbot in the 1970's the family also had estates in Tasmania and as a keen gardener the Baron imported plants from that part of the world for his extensive gardens at Malahide.

So, this cute figure in one of the trees was more at home than you might otherwise have thought :)

We were visiting just before the planned commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising, so we took the opportunity to visit a New to Me location, Glasnevin Cemetery, which I admit doesn't sound like the most interesting place to visit but it turned out to be fascinating.

History came to life when we saw a re-enaction of the oration by Patrick Pearse at the graveside (above) of Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa that signalled the forthcoming rebellion.

It was very stirring stuff and given that funerals were one of the few places at the time where large crowds could legally congregate without interference, the atmosphere must have been electric!

As well as containing the graves of notable figures in Irish history such as Michael Collins above, amongst the 1.5m people buried there are my husband's maternal grandparents. The genealogy centre was extremely helpful and armed with their map and instructions on how to work out the grave numbering system, we eventually found them.

My husband's grandfather died before his daughter, my husband's mother, was born so he has always been a hazy figure in our family's past. It was good in the heightened context of the forthcoming commemorations to be able to add another link to the chain of family history.

Our visit wasn't all about ancient, and not so ancient, history we did fit in a sampling of local seafood at the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival too!

 Perhaps it is something to do with the Guinness in the air or something in the water, but if these shellfish just landed at Howth pier are anything to go by they don't do small in Dublin Bay :)

It looks like it is making an escape attempt!

Linking up to Really Random Thursday

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