Tuesday 16 September 2014

The Stitch Gathering

Hats off to Jo Avery for organising a really fantastic event - it was great.   

The day started with registration where we picked up our goody bag - the sponsors had been amazingly generous.

There were Aurifil threads, Nairns biscuits (actually more - I have no idea where the others went, cough), a Frixion pen from  PilotCoats needles and thread, lovely fabric and a panel from DashwoodLove patchwork and quilting mag, embroidery floss from DMC,  Liberty fabric from Very Berry, scissors from Groves and Banks , a Liberty tote bag and fabric, yet more lovely fabric from Blend and Robert Kaufman, and DMC perle cotton and beads from Mybearpaw.  My word.

This was followed with the hunt for your secret name tag swap partner - here is the one I handed over to Agnes once I had finally tracked her down.  

The butterfly is made of Oakshott, and the veins on the wings are tightly zigzag stitched. I had a head-poppingly difficult time making it but it got there in the end.

I received this one from Norma who was very bashful about it but I love it especially the tiny flower.

Then we went into our first class - mine was improv New York Beauty with Jo.  I kept finding myself anally trying to get the wonkiness just right if you know what I mean, rather than just go with the flow, but it was a lot of fun.

There was time during the lunch break to vote for your favourite embellished Stitch Gathering ticket bag before giving your own to your secret partner.  You can see the variety of beautiful bags here - each person came up with something so different and they were all amazing.  You've already seen the one I made - here is the beauty I received from Jane - it's so pretty and grown up.

There was also a lucky dip, show and tell, and a raffle for the quilt made from last year's fabric tickets - and a lovely buffet too!

In the afternoon there was some very intense sewing.  I took the tote bag class with the brilliant Katy Littlest Thistle Cameron.   The bag needed a patchwork panel for the front pocket so I just whipped this one up (haha) the day before in case the New York Beauty wasn't ready.  A massive gin and tonic was required when it was done.

We picked up a lot of really useful tips, including one for making neat boxed corners, how to put in magnetic fasteners and a method for inserting the zip for an interior pocket.

I didn't manage to finish the bag at the class, but the sprogs and I had a pyjama day yesterday because they were having a holiday Monday and I am still getting over the back-to-school cold they infected me with last week.  They made pompoms while I finished it off, only nipping out to the shops at teatime so we didn't starve.  Bag photography is definitely not my forte so you will have to take my word for it that it is rather nice, if I say so myself!

This post has so many superlatives it is beginning to remind me of Brilliant Kid on the Fast Show, but really it was a brilliant day. Thank you to Katy, Jo and all her helpers.

Monday 15 September 2014

Thursday 11 September 2014

Lucky, lucky, lucky

Two really lucky things happened this month - one was having my laptop slide off the dining table onto the floor with a tremendously loud bang without any apparent damage (wipes sweat off forehead) and the other was winning this amazing bundle of new kona colours from Robert Kaufman.  They come from Judith of Needles and Lemons whose lovely blog was one of the first I ever read.   They are really beautiful fabrics and pretty much quadrupled my meagre supply of solids - I actually had to go and get a drawer from Ikea.  I am so grateful and promise to try to make good use of them. 

PS, do you think Birds and Bees is a good name for a beer?:-)

Monday 8 September 2014

Daisy, Daisy

I am really looking forward to the Stitch Gathering this coming weekend and have nearly finished the homework I need to do.

Maybe you remember this?  This is the bag which is also an entry ticket, and the idea is to decorate it for your secret partner.

I have been staring at it on and off, waiting for inspiration - for a while I kept thinking of a quatro stagione pizza, but I'm not sure if anyone would appreciate that on their bag!

This is it now.  This is the front.

The centre of the daisy is FMQ'd with two layers of batting and is also sewn over a small wodge of stuffing to pad it.  The petals are made in the same way that I make speedy bunting flags, and I folded the bottom corners in and then threaded them together to hold the folds and gather them into shape.

This is the back.

The flowers and leaves are fused into place, then zigzagged round the edges (flowers) and free motion embroidered (leaves).  The stems are satin stitch (close zigzag on my machine).

I lined the bag with Ikea curtain lining fabric which was almost a perfect match.  I had already had to unpick the side seams and open out the bag in order to decorate it, so I cut a piece of lining the same size as the opened out bag plus a turnover allowance along what would become the top edges.  I folded and pressed this allowance down, then with the bag opened out flat and with wrong sides together I sewed the bag and lining together close to the top edge.  I then folded the bag back up (ie bag shaped, handle to handle) right side out and lining inside and zigzagged down each side before turning inside out again and sewing a straight line outside the zigzags, thus making French side seams.

Among the dumber things I did was fusing my blue-green circle to the bag before sewing the daisy on, which made the daisy very, very hard to stitch in place. One day I hope to get to the stage of being able to make things without it being a learning experience!

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Bass Rock ATC

Thank you for the encouragement over this card - I didn't try to unpick but finished it off by sewing round the edge.  It's now going off to my secret partner, so I thought I would show a little bit more of the place it is inspired by.

We are lucky to have some beautiful beaches near us from which the island in my card, the Bass Rock, is visible from different sides as you travel down the coast.

It is one of a group of islands/rocky outcrops, most of which are volcanic in origin.The top of it looks white because of an enormous colony of Northern Gannets.

It always looks beautiful and fascinating whatever the weather, and these beaches are some of my favourite places to "get away from it all", which is the theme of this swap.

Thank you to Ali for once again organising this lovely swap. It was a lot of fun making this card and I was so pleased when I found out who my secret partner was.  It goes off with thanks for bloggy encouragement and enthusiasm!

The Bass Rock: tiny Oakshott scraps, fused, and machine embroidered.

Very Berry Handmade

Monday 1 September 2014

Round the World Blog Hop

Nesta kindly invited me to take part in the Round the World Blog Hop which gives a blogger a chance to introduce themselves, and talk about the creative process.  I am in excellent company today with

Fran @ Patchy Rose
Hohenbrunnen Quilterin
Vera @ Negligent Style

So, for a bit of me, me, me:-)

Where I live or have lived  - North East of Scotland, Edinburgh, London, Edinburgh

What am I working on - WIP: Stripey Stones quilt

This quilt has been on the go for too long.  I made six of the nine stripey stones I need, then it stalled for lack of suitable fabric, but must be finished before I start another quilt...   I have a bucket list of quilts which is probably now long enough to last a life time but luckily I will have got bored of some of the ideas before I ever start to make them!

How my work differs from others in its genre - I'm not sure it does! My quilts are not even very like each other.  It is very early days in my experiment with quilting and at the moment I am happy hopping from one idea to another and seeing what happens.

Why I write/create - I make things because I keep wondering "what would it look like if you tried to do it like this?", or "how could I express this idea?".  I write about it because it's a way making contact with people who are sharing the same adventure.  Also - does a quilt exist if there's nobody looking?:-)

How my creative process works - I rarely sketch things out but add the name of a quilt to my bucket list and keep all the details in my head.   I spend a very long time thinking about a project, before finally getting started.   Then I spend a very long time making it mostly because I tend to keep thinking of different options at each stage and getting paralysed by indecision.

I often make a false start because I like stubbornly working things out for myself. Work and life get in the way too.  Either way I try not to feel bad about the lack of productivity!  Very rarely, I have one clear vision right from the start and work like a mad thing until it is done - it is lovely when this happens.

One of the "rules" of the Round the World Blog Hop is that you should recommend a handful of blogs and invite those bloggers to take part.  I always feel a bit uncomfortable about it in case it's not someone's cup of tea so I'm just going to point you towards a handful of blogs that I really like which you might not already have discovered, leaving it up to those bloggers whether they would like to take up the torch (or cup of tea) and run with it!

There is always something interesting to read, or lovely to see, here:

Dreaming in Stitches


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