Thursday, 28 February 2008

12" x 12" JC TIF

Now that title looks like a code doesn't it, read on and it will become clear, I promise.

I mentioned in an earlier post, in January I think, that I was a member of the Contemporary Quilt Group, which is part of the Quilters Guild. I also explained about their Journal Quilt Challenge that they have for 2008 and I had decided to join in with. This means I have to make a Journal Quilt sized 12” x 12” each month of the year. I have tied this in with Sharon B’s Take it Further Challenge so I have an idea of what I am going to use as a design source. For the month of February there are a set of colours and a question – ‘What do you remember?’

In January I used the colours and expected to do so again in February but I got thinking about the question.

‘What do I remember?’ Well there are lots of things I remember but strangely I started thinking of the Liberty bodices that my mother used to make me wear. Silly thing to base a quilt on but you have to start somewhere.

Using cream calico, I added panels, tucks and inserted bits of lace (I wasn’t really posh enough to have lace on mine but when I did a search on the Internet there were some). Very elegant, like this one.

My liberty bodice was more like this one.

It is no wonder I hated it and longed to cut it up and never have to wear one again.

I then cut my journal piece up and re-stitched it, did a little quilting, pin tucking and then added a few buttons, vintage and modern. I haven't used binding on this one, which is a real change for me, I thought I would have a go at bagging it. Not too sure about it but it will do.

And as this is a short post I will add a couple of detail photo's of it, haven't thought of a name yet.

I like it and it’s a few more techniques that I haven’t done before so that’s good. The trouble is I haven’t plotted its progress as promised to Sharon for the second month. I did start and finish in one day so maybe I can be excused again !!!

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

A Challenge

Another postcard arrived from my postcard exchange group, I love the simplicity of some of these cards.

Melissa sent me this ‘stars and stripes’ card, this is a very simple but effective design and shows a lot of thought.

I have joined yet another challenge, Anna challenged fellow bloggers to make an ATC in exchange for some buttons and washers. I have already used some of the buttons on my February journal quilt.

This challenge should be quite interesting as I have never made an ATC before and will have to go look this up and find out just what I have let myself into. I will let you know how it goes and if you hear me shout for help, please answer.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008


In January I told you about the BQL challenge for 2008, which is a bag challenge, I have decided to join in with this challenge in the hope that I will use some of my fabrics up and even if I do not like the bags there is always a deserving cause I can give them too. The January bag was very simple to make, in fact I made three of them in the end, two for myself and one for my grandson who loves his bag when playing shops.
Therefore after that success I was raring to go and make the February bag, even when I saw the sneaky peak I thought that I would really enjoy making the bag. Everyone that had made a January bag could receive the February bag instructions on the 1st of February. As it happened I was too busy to make this bag immediately so I printed off the instructions ready for when I had a couple of hours. This weekend I have spent more hours than I would like to admit to making two of these bags. The first one I made to pattern and even added 3D leaves all over it and used d├ęcor thread in the bobbin. And here it is in all its glory. Opinions ?

I do not like this bag; I think I knew all through the making I would not like it. It is a nice shape and initially I liked the design but I really do not like this bag. I also think that I did not take enough care in choosing the fabrics, as I really didn’t think that I would like it all the time I was stitching it. It is a shame, as I know that Kate and the rest of the folks that have spent all this time organising the bag challenge have done a really good job and the instructions for the bag cannot be faulted. It is a good design and it works. It is just not me, I do not like this bag.

I will not give up though, I decided not to be beaten and made one more to see if it was the bag, the fabric or me. I came up with this one.

Now I like this bag, it’s a me bag, I don’t know if I will use it and what I will use it for but I do like this bag. I just took away the patterned fabric and the 3D leaves and just added free machine scribble on denim and it’s fine. It’s just a little bit smaller than the original size as I used a pair of jeans and this is the largest I could get the bag out of the legs without joining fabrics. So, thanks for all your work Kate, brilliant design, fantastic instructions and another great bag. Lesson learnt, don’t give up, and now I am longing to see the March bag. Hmmm, I wonder if I will like it?

Monday, 25 February 2008

Lost and Found

I have explained on an earlier post about the Cyber Fyber Exhibition that Susan Lentz is setting up in Colombia USA next year and I also know that many of you are joining in with the trades of postcards and ATC’s on her blog site. I joined this trading fairly early when only a few cards had been traded. I duly chose my postcard to trade with Susan and contacted her by email and we both sent off our cards.
This is where things went wrong, Susan sends all her postcards and ATC’s out in an envelope so all should be safe. Or so you would think!

This is the card that I asked to trade with Susan.

Susan’s envelope arrived quite quickly here in the UK only it was delivered in a polythene bag saying that the post office was sorry that there was damage or missing items from the envelope. MISSING……….YES……..Susan’s postcard to me was gone, the envelope ripped open and the postcard taken.

When ringing the post office here in the UK I was told that it was the sender that had to complain so I had to contact Susan and tell her the terrible news. Susan was extremely good about it and intends to show the details of the loss of the card in her exhibition next year. My first trade choice will be shown as ‘Gone Postal’ a term used in the states !!

Susan and I arranged a second trade and after the postal system keeping me waiting for much too long it finally turned up trumps this week and delivered Susan’s envelope, which was to my relief, intact.

Susan had sent me this wonderful card that I had chosen to trade with her and as a very special treat she had also included another piece of her artwork. How lucky am I?

Thanks so much Susan and I wish you so much luck for the success in your Cyber Fyber Exhibition in January 2008. I think that there may be a couple left to trade if you pop over there quickly.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

My Sweet Valentine

I have been very remiss in not doing enough work in letting you know what is going on related to my internet interests so I have just spent the last two hours catching up on writing out my posts for the next while or so. It is going to take ages to upload the photos for these posts so I am not going to do them all today. Look out for more from me over the next week or so, as now I have written my notes it should not take me long to get the posts sorted out with the correct photos (I hope). I didn’t realise I had been doing so much.

I recently joined in with Lucy’s Valentine swap and it was very interesting collecting the things for my swap partner, Sara. I tried to keep to the rules (including a handmade item) and also keep the parcel full of things that Sara may like and use on her craft items. I duly sent my parcel off to Sara knowing that with young children and it being half term on the 14th she would be very occupied. The excitement of waiting for my parcel didn’t last too long as soon the postman appeared with a package. Wow Sara.

In my excitement I ripped the package open to find pretty pink tissue wrapped gifts tumble out.

The first one opened contained a hand made heart with a dainty and precise crocheted heart in white cotton.

The second parcel had inside another hand made gift, a pincushion along with a brilliant tapestry ribbon.

This was really getting exciting so ripping the tissue paper off the third one I was delighted to see buttons, ribbons and lace fall out along with some delightful coloured hearts.

There was one left now so I carefully (different that isn’t it) unwrapped the tissue paper and was wowed with such an assortment of goodies I couldn’t believe. There was binding and bows, embellishments to die for, a stamper pen with a heart shaped stamp on one end, a love stamp to use on card and fabric and best of all some really delicious Green and Black’s organic creamy vanilla white chocolate.

My favourite, yummy, thanks so much Sara and more thanks to Lucy for arranging this Valentine swap.

I have more fun to look forward to as I have now signed up for Lucy’s Easter swap, this means I have to make an Easter card and Easter bunny for Polly. Oops, should I really have done this, after looking at Polly’s blog I found that she is really clever and I have never made an rabbit of any description before, the worry is starting to set in already, I haven’t even got any idea where to go for a pattern. And shall I stitch it or knit it. HELP.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Tagged and sharing

I have seen many people in the blogging world get ‘tagged’ and smiled smugly to myself thinking no one knows me well enough to tag me. As I have only been blogging for a couple of months I thought that I would escape this task.

But Fannie, who lives stateside, has caught me out and tagged me with what seems to be, among other things, an honesty list.

There are rules to tagging, but at first glance it doesn’t seem too bad, only 5 rules to follow.

1. When tagged place the name of the person and URL on your blog
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Write 7 things about yourself
4. Name 7 of your favorite weblogs
5. Send an email letting those bloggers know they have been tagged!

The first one is easy to deal with as I have already done this in telling you the rules.

The second is even easier as Fannie’s blog is already on my side bar and you can check her blog out anytime. You will find her at Imagine, Create, Inspire.

Now number three is the stickler, write seven things about yourself.
What do you write in these things, Fannie’s was very interesting but then again, it looks like Fannie has led an extremely interesting life. How, may I ask you do I follow that?

Let’s see then,

1. I am happily married, have three sons, one daughter in law and the most delightful grandson who gives us all so much pleasure.

2. This is my second marriage and we made 20 years together this year. It is my husband’s first marriage and we are very happy together.

3. I have my 60th birthday this year and although it is sad to grow old I hope that I am ripening well. I may add that only the outside of me is this old, the inside is much younger.

4. I have stitched for many years but stitching became my main hobby when I had my third son and he slept so well in the afternoons I became bored. I have never been bored since.

5. I once had a job that included stitching the upholstery for the living area in large horseboxes. I worked on Princess Anne’s and the King of Sweden’s horse box and wrote messages to them on the inner foam.

6. When I was a small girl I collected eggs from the hay barn from my Uncle’s farm and milked the cows.

7. I have the best job in the world as I teach my students to do patchwork and quilting which is what I do as a hobby.

Rule number four is to name seven of my favourite blogs which is very difficult as I am currently watching over one hundred blogs on 'blogger'. Which I must say is a wonderful facility as it lets me know when someone makes a new post so I read it very soon after it has been posted.

I would have tagged Fannie but I think that is unfair so my other choices are.

Marie who you will find at zquilts and will amaze you with her beautiful work and how much she does, check out the photo’s while you are there as they are spectacular.

Catherine is the second person I would like to tag as everyone should see her art, my favourite being ‘The Eye of the Tiger’. Take a look.

Kate is my third choice as she is just one work machine, I can but wonder if she does much more than stitch and make. I really enjoy her blog.

Number four on my list is a 'must-see', please visit Sara, she is my swap partner in a valentine swap run by Lucy. I just love the fabrics that Sara uses in the things she makes; check out her Etsy store as well.

Number five is easy as you just can’t miss Annabel’s blog, pop in and be amazed by her snowdrops and she will lead you astray to here as well.

Number six has to be Monkee Maker as this blog sometimes has me crying with laughter, I daresay this is a little unfair as she is so popular I should think she has already been tagged loads of times. Sorry, I just can’t leave you out.

Finally, and this has been really hard work to narrow it down and also find someone that hasn’t been tagged recently, I would like to tag Sally, now this is a lady who can quilt! I do enjoy Sally’s blog as she is so sharing to everyone with her techniques. If you visit here you will have a wonderful time.

I think I have cheated a little bit as I have in fact mentioned more that my seven required blogs. But never mind they are the cream of the crop so worth looking in at.

All I have to do now is email these ladies to let them know that they have been tagged. Well that wasn’t too bad after all and I hope you enjoy visiting the blogs I have chosen as much as I do and that you will include them on your 'blogger' list so that they are all a regular feature in your lives.

Participation is voluntary. No obligation.

Sold and tagged

Fannie has tagged me! I found out by checking out her blog, which I really like to do regularly as she usually has some interesting posts and also some delightful work to show everyone, do call in here if you have a moment. She has said she is going to email me with the rules so I will let you know all about that as soon as I get the word.

The good news is that ‘Fallen Leaves’ one of the small wall hangings I showed you in my last post has SOLD. The bad news is I will never see it again. It’s always a strange feeling for me when a piece sells, I don’t suppose this one was too bad as it was only 14” x 8” but it’s still like loosing part of me. Here it is again for just one last look.

'Textiles in Focus' at Cottenham was certainly very popular and New Horizons Textile Group's exhibition was very well received, even I was amazed at all the work we produced this time. The place was buzzing with lots to look at, lots to buy and loads of workshops all fully booked. Setting up is always tiring but we had it all done and were away home by 3.00pm on the Thursday and back there by 9.30am Friday morning to do the fine tuning before opening time at 10.00. Within minutes we had visitors and interesting conversation about the exhibition. It is a real chance for us to study our own work while it is hanging and also to appreciate other members work; which we usually only see briefly at our fortnightly meetings. It is also a chance to look at other groups work. 'Out of the Fold', an Essex based group was also exibiting their work. I really enjoyed looking at the work they had on display. Some of the work I had seen and admired before but as always there were new pieces to look at. I am back stewarding again tomorrow and I am really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Exhibition work

I have just finished collecting together and packing up all the items that I am taking to ‘Textiles in Focus’ at Cottenham tomorrow for the exhibition at the weekend. Along with my exhibition pieces I also am taking things for sale. Over the winter I do like to knit in the evenings so there are quite a few scarves ready for sale. Making boxes is also one of the things I like to do for a change so I have a number of finished boxes to take along. Add in the cushions and the covered books and that adds up to quite a pile before I include the setting up stuff!

If you are around the Cambridge area, do try to catch the exhibition and have a look, as it is always a good display of work and plenty of yummy traders.

I haven’t taken photos of all the items but here are some of them.
First the exhibition pieces all exhibited as part of New Horizons Textile Group

Small wall hanging ‘Fallen Leaves’

Another small wall hanging, ‘Autumn’

These two were experimental pieces, I did do postcard sized pieces first then went on to this size. I am not sure if I will take them further.

‘Eruption’ a wall hanging made at an Erica Carter master class at the Festival of Quilts

‘Discover’ this was a wall hanging that was displayed at the Festival of quilts 2006

Long and Skinny, New Zealand fabric Challenge, ‘Hang on in there’

And here's a detail of the long and skinny

Thread Bowl made for the 3D Text Challenge, if you look closely you will see machine embroidered letter 'A's' around the top edge.

And a then couple of things going onto the sales table,
Covered books, two A5

and one A6

The colours are not very good on these, but you get the idea.

If you do get there on either Friday or Sunday I will be stewarding so call in and say Hello.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Weekend Blogger

I have become a weekend blogger, and have only just realised it. I am really too busy in the week to read all the blogs and keep up to date with what people are doing and do what I am supposed to be doing as well as write posts and arrange photos. So therefore when it gets to the weekend and I have time to blog, I forget some of the things that I have been doing in the week.
It was when reading Anna’s blog this morning that I remembered I had arranged a swap with Susan in her Cyber swap on Friday. This is one day earlier than we were supposed to do it but I wasn’t sure if I would remember at the weekend with all the blogging I have to do so I put my offer in and to my delight it was accepted. I sent off my postcard straight away and I am looking forward to receiving Susan’s postcard soon. The one I have chosen is this one and you will see it in her list as number 88.

Information on the Cyber swap and instructions on how to join in can be found on Susan’s blog but I have copied some of the information below.

CYBER FYBER is an exhibition of international fiber art scheduled for January 8th through 20th, 2009 at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, 808 Lady Street in downtown Columbia, South Carolina, USA. The brainchild of Susan Lenz, this exhibit will focus on the supportive, global community of fiber artists with whom Susan regularly shares new techniques, contemporary approaches to textiles, and finished work by Internet websites and blogs. The exhibition will include three primary areas: Fiber ATCs (Artist Trading Cards); fiber postcards; and the work of several invited artists. The exhibition will also include FIBER DAY and ATC trading day. From the beginning, Susan Lenz is documenting CYBER FYBER on a blog/journal.

Chain Stitch

I said that I would let you know how I got on with the ‘One Stitch’ afternoon at our local Embroiderers Guild meeting. Everyone there is so nice and also knows that I do not do hand stitching. Well that is a lie as I do running stitch very often in the form of quilting and I also do very acceptable French knots, which I scatter around occasionally. But apart from the rare counted cross-stitch (and I haven’t done any of those for many years) I don’t really do – hand stitching.

So when these days come up I do like to ‘join in’, and hope to extend my knowledge in about 2 hours and become the best hand stitcher in our guild…….. some hope!

The day’s stitch this time was ‘Chain stitch’. Now I have come across this stitch before in fact when I was a young girl (many moons ago) I remember using this stitch on a tray cloth to make daisies. I never did finish the tray cloth as my embroidery threads pulled up the fabric and it always looked Suffolk puffs. I always thought it was inferior fabric but after our afternoon yesterday I maybe think it was an enthusiastic and inspirational young girl producing artwork that could have been good enough for an abstract exhibition. The thing is I can still do it !

After expert tuition from one of our members I found I was making chain stitches like everyone else. Well, there may have been many that were much better than me but I kept at it.

Try a row of stitches and a daisy, I was told. You don’t have to look.

It might have looked better with a different coloured thread.

Next was try a random chain stitch…………..what is this mess I have made?

The next was two rows of chain stitch and should be whipped together (hope that’s next times lesson). I am not sure how to whip stitches !

Ladder or open chain stitch, supposed to be good for pattern and filling, so I filled some of mine with ribbon.

Raised Chain band looked a challenge and I am never against a challenge.

But the best of the lot and the one that I think is the furthest away from the correct use of the ‘chain stitch’ is my flower. I love it.

It is not perfect, has no stalk or leaves and may never get any. But this is a lovely flower and so again I say thank you to my local embroiderers guild. I may not ever become a ‘hand stitcher’ but there are bits I can do and just love at the end of it so it is always worth ‘joining in’.

And just for good measure I filled the centre with French Knots !!

Saturday, 2 February 2008

It's not my fault !

I have some complaints; I suppose most of them should go to Gina who I must admit if it weren’t for her I would not be blogging today. Blogging has NOT taken over my life; it has just filled in all my free time, not that I had much free time anyway.

I now find myself doing things I never would have imagined in a month of Sunday’s doing. A few months ago I would have said doing these things was a waste of time.

Now I know it is time wasting but I think it is too late, I am addicted and could well have to find a therapy group to get back to my old self which was only stitching the things I should be getting on with, sensible things like lesson plans, demo articles and instruction sheets.

Through looking at Gina’s blog I have found a lot more interesting, fascinating and hysterically funny blog’s to watch on a weekly basis. So now the blame for this new life must go further. Among the ones I also lay the blame for my crazy actions are Lesley, and Lucy (who by the way has also enticed me into a valentines day swap to take more of my time away from what I really should be doing) and the wonderful and mad Monkee maker.

Over the last couple of months I have lost hours looking at what other people are up to, smiling at the funnies, laughing at their antics, sympathising when things go wrong and being wowed by the work they do in a week.

But this week has been the absolute worst. I have had time to get my pieces ready for the exhibition at Cottenham, I have had time to do my lesson notes for the month of February and I have had time to do my part of our group project for New Horizons Textile Group. I have also picked up my new embellishing machine so I have had time to do lots of samples on it and get used to it.

And what have I been doing?………………….

Making a SOCK MONKEY………………can you believe it?

And now he is taking over my life.

He sits on the embellisher box and won't let me open it

Lounges around on the sofa encouraging me to think of other silly things to do.

And sits on top of the pile of baskets full of jobs to do looking down on me whenever I go near my sewing machine to do something sensible.

THANKS GINA ! ! ! ! and all the other bloggers I follow, you have changed my life...........

The one thing I haven’t done is give him a name, any ideas?

I am going out this afternoon. I am going to my local Embroiderers Guild Informal Afternoon meeting.

(I might do something else silly if I stay in with this ridiculous monkey)

One of our members is doing a demonstration on ‘One Stitch’.
I rang her earlier to ask what to bring for this hand stitching session. ‘But you don’t do hand stitching’ she said.

There are a lot of things I didn’t used to do, so I might as well join in with this as well. I will let you know how it works out.