Tuesday 28 April 2020

Lighthouse love

Since the weather here recently has been lovely I have taken the opportunity to pick up (and finish!!) a project that has been on the go for I think 7 or maybe 8 years. (I checked back and it is only 6 years now I don't feel quite so bad!) In my defence it has always been something that I picked up in a spare moment rather than something I work on consistently. To be fair though I think that description could probably be applied to most of my projects if they don't have a deadline, and sometimes even when they do!

The kit had twelve lighthouse scenes printed on 9" blocks for embroidering. It was really difficult to take a photo of them all together so I am afraid this is the best that I could do.

 I bought this kit when we were on a cruise from Montreal to Miami in this quilt shop in Bar Harbor in Maine.

The fabric really needs pressing before I cut the blocks up ready for adding sashing. In a couple of places the blue embroidery lines have run though and I am worried that if I iron the blocks it might set the blue ink so it won't come out in the wash. If I wash the fabric before cutting I will lose the cutting lines. All advice welcome :)

Saturday 25 April 2020

In-house and occupied

Well, isn't this a strange time to try out something new? I hope this finds you safe and well and finding lots of outlets for those creative urges.

Last month when I was due to post on my New to Me's I had succumbed to what might, or might not, have been the cause of the worldwide closure. I couldn't concentrate on anything so it is probably just as well that I didn't have the energy to post as who knows what gibberish I might have written :)

I was supposed to be attending a full day Embroidery and Applique workshop two weeks ago with the very talented Roslyn Mitchell, who gave a fascinating presentation at my EG group a couple of years ago. Ever since then I have been looking for a chance to attend one of her workshops, so I was thrilled when I discovered one would be held not too far away on a day that I could attend. Needless to say lockdown put paid to that :(

So, my New to Me's this month are, of necessity, in-house.

 Our Endeavourers Quilt is due to be revealed on May 1st and I have been playing around with tea-dying fabric. The tea towel above (yes that is the before photo!)

Now looks like this! Trust me it will make sense in time :)

I have always struggled with isolated French knots like these when I have been stitching a pattern.

If I think that I can get away with it this is usually how I stitch them, with the thread trailing across the fabric between the knots.

No longer! Thanks to this tutorial from Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread no more trailing threads :)

I am so delighted at having discovered this method and only wish that I had taken the time to look for it sooner but, then I suspect I am not alone in that regard.

Hoping this finds you all well and finding joy in the small things too!

Monday 20 April 2020


It seems like an age ago, even although it is only just over 6 weeks since the Scottish Quilting Show was held in Glasgow. How times have changed as the venue is now kitted out as one of the Nightingale Hospitals to deal with the expected surge in hospital patients requiring ICU beds as a result of COVID-19.

In March though not only was it my first visit to the Scottish Quilting Show in this venue, but it was also my first time exhibiting a quilt and stewarding at a show too!

My And Sew On quilt from Quiet Play's 2013 SAL was entered in the Contemporary Category with the title "A Quilters Cupboard". It didn't win any prizes and I certainly wasn't expecting it to, but I now have that first foray into entering a Quilt Show under my belt!

I had volunteered to steward at the exhibition too, which meant that I had plenty of time to admire the stunning quilts that were on view. One that was much admired by many of the visitors had taken 15 years to complete, a fact that was quite reassuring to the majority of the visitors when told, who claimed never to be able to create anything like it :)

This denim quilt was one of my favourites.

It was my first time visting the venue so I wasn't prepared for all of the questions about the location of toilets, particular stalls or products, having assumed that all I would be asked about as a steward was the quilts :)

Next time I volunteer to steward I will make sure that I have worked out in advance where all the facilities are in relation to the stand!

Friday 17 April 2020

Getting into Goldwork

This blog has been somewhat neglected of late but today I resolved to finally show you some of the things I have been up to.

Just before the world went into lockdown I was lucky enough to attend a Beginners goldwork class given by the extremely talented embroiderer, Liz Boulton. Liz had visited my EG group in the past so I knew that the class would be inspiring and it was!

This was the sample Liz showed us at the start of the class, amazing isn't it? Needless to say we were not expected to produce a piece quite as stunning as this in the Beginners class :)

We were given these silk fabric squares, which had already been machine stitch outlined by Liz, ready for us to add the individual goldwork motifs.

Liz had provided us with a kit containing all of the materials that we would need, so we were ready to go.

 First up, the Couched Purl and Padded Kid Spade. As you can see we cut out the spade motif from some felt and attached it to the fabric background. The felt shape is actually two felt motifs, one slightly smaller than the other, layered up largest on top. Then we traced half of the spade motif onto a piece of gold kid and attached it with small, stab stitches to cover one half of the felt. The line of kid in the middle of the felt is covered by a piece of pearl purl. The day was full of hitherto unknown stitching terms!

Alternating colours of purl were stitched down over the felt padding to cover the other half of the spade and the entire shape was outlined with stretched pearl purl.

It all sounds pretty straightforward but those little pieces of purl were pretty slippery to deal with :)

Next up we had a go at creating a couched circle. The aim of the stitching was to pack the lines of twist so closely together that you cannot see the background fabric through it but, as you can see, I didn't quite achieve that. I am happy with how it turned out as it was my first attempt at couching twist thread.

The third motif, the triangle, involved more couching, this time with a matching thread so that the couching is less obvious. We started at the top of the motif and worked our way down alternating between the two sides.

These three motifs were all started and some of them finished at the class.

The final motif, the Club, used techniques from the other stitching so, in theory, should have been more straightforward to complete.

I had the most trouble with this though, which is always the way isn't it when you are back home with no expert on hand to explain where you are going wrong!

I ripped out the kid covering the felt once, the pearl purl outlining the shape once and had several goes at the purl chips. So, what you see is far from perfect but as they say finished is better than perfect :)

 The final touch involved some trapunto quilting to fill out the tramlines around each motif.

I did really enjoy the class and my first attempts at goldwork and definitely intend to do more of it when I next get a chance.

Linking up to TGIFF at ChrisKnitsSews
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