Wednesday 1 November 2023

Scares and Dares

 There have been some very strange fabrics passing through my sewing machine recently! I love making clothes for the grandchildren, as you know, but it is especially fun to make them costumes. 

I knew as soon as I saw this mummy wrap fabric from  Kids Print Fabrics that our elder grandson would love a mummy costume for Halloween. As I wanted him to get more than one nights use out of it, I made it as a separate top and leggings with a balaclava to complete the outfit, so that he can wear them later as pyjamas without the balaclava. 

Our little grandson is Spiderman daft, so was very agreeable when I suggested that I could make him a Spider's Web costume for Halloween. Again I have made a separate top and bottom with a balaclava with this great Spider Webs fabric from Kids Print Fabrics . The web is stretch netting embroidered with spiders, which I have attached in a couple of places along the sleeves and neckband so that it can easily be removed once the scaring is over :)

I am delighted to report that both outfits met with the approval of the grandsons!

Of course, I couldn't make Halloween outfits for the grandsons without also making one for our darling granddaughter! The flounce is made with the same stretch spidery net that I used on the spider web costume. I rather overestimated how much of the bats and spider web fabric I would use, so our granddaughter may be getting an outfit from this again next year :)

The first of November is also time for another Endeavourers Reveal. This quarter the challenge was circles and squares, which seemed quite straightforward at first but took a while in the end to narrow down. Ultimately I was inspired by a quilt that I came across on Pinterest (and now cannot find!) that had circles appliqued on to a background quilted in a grid formation.

I decided to expand upon that basic premise and used this checked, gingham fabric for the background and selected all dotty fabric for my appliqued circles. It is not easy to see from the photo but the background has been quilted in a grid formation. 


 The larger circles have also been shadow quilted in circles, except this one which gives the quilt its name - Dare to be Square :)

Along with the Endeavourers Challenge project from November 22, I had the ideal hall setting for any Halloween visitors. Sadly we are not even in the same country as any of our grandchildren at the minute so will not get to see them in their scary outfits, so will have to make do with photos instead :( 

Head on over to the Endeavourers blog to see what my fellow Endeavourers have cooked up for this quarter's challenge, you will definitely be inspired!

Tuesday 1 August 2023

Floating Around

 This quarter's theme for the Endeavourers Challege was Collage and, I must admit that I really struggled to come up with something to fit the theme for most of the quarter :( 

 I finally finished "Floating Around", above, on the day of the deadline! 

At a Textile Printing Summer School last year, I had put together these pieces of printed fabric but not progressed further with them so they lay in a cupboard for a year. The theme for the summer school had been leaves and grasses and, at the time, I felt that, although I really liked the colours and textures that I had achieved, the fabrics didn't really fit the theme that I was meant to be aiming for. 

However, I could see possibilities in using this piece as a starting point for a bigger project on a water/underwater theme. 

When I found all of these orphan blocks in the same cupboard I decided that this challenge piece would incorporate existing pieces to create an entirely new one. 

The final piece to be incorporated was this small frog and lily pad cross stitch that my mum completed years ago and I inherited when my parents passed away.

With the pieces all set, I got to work on the fun part - embellishing!

First up, the incorporation of a length of this great yarn that I bought years ago in Estonia and never used.

Next up, I turned to my all-time favourite stitching book, Creative Stitches, and some of the lovely hand-dyed threads that I have hoarded over the years.

I like nothing better than leafing through Creative Stitches deciding which of the amazing selection of stitches to have a go at next :)

With the addition of some beads and sequins, inherited again from my mum, Floating Around was complete! 

Despite leaving it to the very last minute, I really enjoyed putting this together and can't wait to see what my fellow Endeavourers have come up with to fit the theme. If you want to see too, head on over to The Endeavourers you will definitely be amazed!

Friday 5 May 2023


 The love affair with sewing clothes for the grandchildren continues! Indeed, the eldest grandson now assumes that any item of clothing he receives from us must have been made by Granny :)

I knew as soon as I saw this panel that our elder grandson would love it, but it took a while for me to find a pattern that would work with it. This top is the Altitude Pullover from Peekaboo Patterns. I have made several of their pullover patterns for the boys in the past so knew that this would be pretty straightforward to put together, which it was. 

There wasn't enough of the lava fabric for a hood so I used the cowl neck option instead. With necklines like these I always have a hard time working out which will be the right side and which the wrong as you will see in the top below made for the littler grandson :)

He loves a Highland Cow so when I came across this fabric and the matching co-ordinate in a destash group I just had to have it! The cowl neck took three attempts on this one as I strove to avoid having upside down Highland Coo's :) I ended up with the back of the topstitching showing on the collar, but as it is in a very jolly rainbow thread I didn't mind too much!

Of course I cannot make for the grandsons and not make something for our gorgeous granddaughter too! These are the Beep Beep Raglan and Lightening Leggings patterns from Waves and Wild. I was able to get the top from remnants of some lovely, soft brushed back French Terry so the little lady will be warm and snuggly in her new top. 

On a recent trip to Newcastle I bought a load of swim fabric at 1st for Fabrics, which I have never sewn with before so that will be a new challenge for me. Wish me luck and if you have any tips I will be very happy to receive them :)

Monday 1 May 2023

Walking the Wall

 This quarter's theme for The Endeavourers challenge was maps. 

As you can see we love a good map :) Indeed, the front map in the row is from a map maker right here in the town, who is the first port of call when a road trip is in the planning.

My original plan for the challenge was a (rather) ambitious revolving set of maps based upon the border fluctuations in the UK and Ireland over the last 100 years. Fortunately, common sense prevailed and that plan was shelved :)

Instead, I took my inspiration from these maps and an endeavour that our middle and youngest sons have been undertaking for several years.

Twelve years ago the males in the family, husband and three sons, decided to spend an August Bank Holiday walking a section of Hadrian's Wall. Having visited the forts along the Wall lots of times over the preceding years it transpired that three of the participants had taken a somewhat casual approach to the endeavour, thinking in some cases that old equipment resurrected from Boy Scout trips would be sufficient for the hike. (Eldest son rocked up from London on the second day with lightweight, brand spanking new equipment and not a worry on him!). Serious consideration was given by at least two of the participants to the potential for a bus to be taken to complete the route (as it disappeared into the distance!) or failing that a broken ankle to end the misery :(

In the intervening years we all moved away from Northumberland and plans to hike other sections of the Wall were shelved. Last year, however, our middle and youngest sons moved back to the North East and resurrected the challenge with better equipment this time. 

Last month they had one five mile section left to hike to have completed the length of Hadrian's Wall. 

My quilt for this quarter's challenge is Veni, Vidi, Vici - the route of that last five mile section from Deere Street Roman Road on the left to Chesters Roman Fort on the right. 

The route taken on a sunny Sunday morning last month by Granny, Grandpa, Sons, Daughter-in-Law and grandsons followed by a pub Sunday lunch to celebrate their achievement. 


 The quilting follows both the Hadrian's Wall path and the modern road that runs along beside it. From end to end Hadrian's Wall is 73 miles long, or 80 Roman Miles, so I have embroidered the Roman Numerals for 80 to represent their achievement.

The map symbol for Roman ruins or sites is a Roman helmet so I appliqued a helmet in grey felt to the quilt and embroidered the locations of Milecastles, Turrets and Ditches along the route too.

I haven't decided yet, whether to add a photo taken of the two intrepid walkers at the end of their hike to the quilt so have left the space there if I need it.

As ever, I enjoyed working on this theme and look forward to seeing what maps are represented by my fellow Endeavourers. You can check out their projects here

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Book 'em Danno!

 The Endeavourer's theme this month is portrait. As usual it took me ages to come up with something for the theme!

After ruling out all ideas that involved any kind of artwork, I finally decided that my portrait would be a mugshot and the criminal portrayed would be that well known scourge of the seaside and renowned chip and ice-cream thief - Mr C Gull!

 As with all mugshots there is a face-on and side view of the criminal :) The seagulls are appliqued felt, with button eyes and embroidery detail. 

I used the reverse side of this beige/white striped fabric for the background of my mugshot as it had the sepia tones that I was looking for to convey that old photo vibe.

This beach hut fabric from my stash was perfect for the back of my mugshot. The "ghost" seagulls from the applique/quilting are quite threatening I think, don't you?

Of course, every mugshot needs it's identifiers so I used the alphabet embroidery option on my sewing machine to add the crucial name, crime and date beneath the images :)

As you can no doubt guess, I had lots of fun working on this project, although thieving seagulls are not so funny when it is hot and sunny and that lovely ice-cream you have been looking forward to disappears before your very eyes :)

If you would like details of the Crime Report for our hardened criminal check it out on The Endeavourers Blog and whilst you are there have a look to see the wonderful interpretations of the theme from my fellow Endeavourers.

Readers of a certain vintage will, no doubt, be able to identify the title of this post as being a catchphrase from the TV series "Hawaii Five-O". Sadly, in the course of my research for the project I discovered that there are no seagulls on Hawaii, as the islands are too far from land for them to travel to. I couldn't resist the title though, so used it anyway with apologies to ornithologists and Hawaiians alike!

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