Sunday, 25 May 2014

New to Me in May

Welcome to this month's link up for

where we celebrate the trying of something new whether it was successful or not!

This month I have had a go at a new method of paper-piecing, well new to me anyway :)

Paper-piecing on stabiliser is certainly something I had never tried before and I am pleased to report that it seems to work!

Well, those points are much neater than anything I have achieved in the past.

I have also been trying out a new to me method of quilting on a quilt for my brand-new great nephew. I read Benta's recent post on her method of quilting as you go and was intrigued, so when I came across a pattern in a magazine for a baby quilt using a similar method I thought that I would give it a go.

The quilt top was pieced in strips, then instead of joining the strips together before layering with the wadding and backing, the strips were placed right sides together on the wadding and backing and stitched with a 0.25" seam. The strips were then pressed open and the next strip joined in the same way. It was a very quick way to put together a quilt top I can tell you.

So quick in fact that the top is pieced and quilted and ready to be bound in less than 2 days, which I realise is not that quick for many of you, but believe me that is very quick for me! It helped that my husband was away and youngest son was at work, so I had the house to myself too :)

So, that's what I have been up to that was New to Me in May. Now it's 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.

Grab button for Celtic Thistle Stitches

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Check out the other links and leave a comment along the way. The emphasis of this link party is to celebrate the trying of something new, whether it works out exactly as planned or not, so a little encouragement here and there would not go amiss! 

The link will remain open until 23.59GMT on May 31st, so you have plenty of time to try something new and link up and join the party :)

Don't forget too, there is still time to add your link to the Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party too!

This month it is over at buttons and paint, you will love what Sian has done with some unwanted ties!

Looking forward to seeing what you have all been trying out this month :)

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew May Link Party

We finally have sunshine here in the NE of England, so it is hard to think of Christmas projects when the weather is telling me to think of barbecues and picnics, however it is the 18th of the month which means it is time again for

If you are new to the party, let me fill you in on the details. Paula and I decided at the end of last year that Christmas 2014 was going to be different, this time round there would be no late-night sewing sessions or frantic last-minute dashes to the Post Office. This time we were going to work on Christmas and Holiday projects throughout the year so come December we would be so organised we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves :)

We decided to share our plans with our blogging friends and invite them to be organised too, with a monthly Link Party to provide a gentle nudge. In addition, each month we have a giveaway prize for one lucky linker!

This month we have this great mini charm pack of 25th and Pine, a great new line from Basic Grey up for grabs, thanks to the lovely people at the Fat Quarter Shop.

We are delighted to welcome to the party Sian our guest host for May, who blogs with Simi at buttons and paint. Sian is a brilliant recycler and can turn her hand to pretty much anything, so I am really looking forward to seeing what she has created for the May Link Party. Head on over to buttons and paint to link up your own Christmas or Holiday-themed project from this month to be in with a chance of winning that cute mini charm pack.

My own Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew project this month takes all of, ooh ... 5 minutes :) Maybe it is the thought of sunshine or our upcoming trip to France, but I have had wine on my mind lately.

Then again it might have been finding this fabric on sale in my LQS :) Destined to become wine bottle gift bags sometime soon, and to go with the gift bags how about a set of wine glass charms?

You can see the charms more closely here. The charms and the wine glass charm hoops were from Nicole de Bruin's Etsy shop. Nicole has a wonderful selection of charms, these were her cheese and wine collection, but how about these for gifts for quilting friends?

Vintage sewing machine charms, or these great scissor charms?

 You name it, Nicole has a charm for it!

So that's another Christmas gift done and dusted, now it is your turn to show off your holiday makes. Head on over to buttons and paint to link up your projects and be in with a chance of winning that sweet mini charm pack.

As ever we are very grateful to all of our lovely sponsors, who have generously provided a lovely variety of prizes to tempt you.

Quilting Fabric at the Fat Quarter Shop
Plush Addict Logo
Ray Stitch HaberdasheryQuiet PlayFluffy Sheep QuiltingBackstitch

Posie: Rosy Little Things

Saturday, 17 May 2014

And the winner is ..

Thanks to everyone who entered the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day, it was fun reading all of the different favourite fabrics from Plush Addict's great store, I discovered a few new favourites of my own from the comments :)

Mr Random has done his thing and the winner of this great fabric bundle


which was

Congratulations Shirley, I have sent you an email to confirm.

Thanks again to everyone, giveaway hosts, sponsors and commenters and Sew Mama Sew for organising yet another great Giveaway Day. A special thanks though to Kellie at  Plush Addict for so generously providing such a great prize. Happy Birthday Kellie!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day - FQ Fabric bundle

Hello and welcome to another wonderful Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day, a chance to discover lots of interesting new bloggers and win some great prizes too, what more could you ask for?

If you are visiting Celtic Thistle Stitches for the first time, welcome, I am delighted to make your acquaintance. Feel free to have a look around and get a flavour of my quilting, crafting and travelling. On the other hand if you are an old friend, thanks for your support and general quilty goodness, sometimes it is all that stops my quilting adventures from descending into chaos :)

Let's cut to the chase though, today is all about giving you the chance to win some quilty goodness, and, boy, do I have some great quilty goodness for you. Thanks to the lovely Kellie, at

Plush Addict Logo

there is a fabulous FQ bundle of 7 fabrics from the Dulce Brasil collection from new UK fabric designers, Lewis and Irene, up for grabs for one lucky winner.

Don't those fabrics just scream summer :) (unlike the weather outside my window!)

So, what do you need to do to have your very own Samba party? Head on over to Plush Addict and browse Kellie's fantastic fabric range, then pop back here and tell me your favourite, that's it!

One random winner will be drawn when the giveaway closes at 08.00 GMT, Saturday 17th May (24.00 PST, Friday 16th May).

International entries are of course welcome :)

If you are a no-reply blogger on Blogger hosted blogs, please make sure that you include your email address in the comment. I would hate for you to miss out if drawn because I can't get hold of you!

Good luck!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Master Mariner?

This week at my new Quilt Group we were tackling the Mariner's Compass block. Being organised as usual (!) I only looked at the supply list, that I had been sent, the night before the class, where I discovered that instead of paper for the foundation piecing I was going to be using stabiliser. Not having any of the recommended Stitch-n-Tear to hand and with no time left to find some, I had to rummage through my stash cupboard where I eventually found this.

 I bought this roll of stabiliser whilst we were living in Latvia, so I had no idea whether it was appropriate or not.

Fortunately, the next day at the class there were several versions of stabiliser on show and a quick feel of the others suggested that this might be slightly thicker than the recommended Stitch-n-Tear but otherwise seemed fit for purpose.

We traced the templates for the block on to the stabiliser fabric and cut around the shapes roughly.

Then we stitched the fabric to the back of the stabiliser along the traced lines. I had never used stabiliser as the foundation for piecing before and found it to be much easier to manoeuvre when stitching. Also, as we didn't reduce the stitch length as you would usually do when stitching on paper, unpicking was so much easier too!

 I frequently have problems getting points to match when I am joining paper-pieced sections together, but again the more flexible stabiliser backing seemed to make even this part go much better than usual, i.e. I only had to unpick once :)

Mariners Compass Star

I am rather pleased with how this turned out!

For the moment the stabiliser backing is still in place so I may revise my opinion when I attempt to remove it later, but so far it has all been good. I won't be attaching the star to the backing until the next class, which is not till June, so next up is a Drunkard's Path block to bring me up-to-date. Curved seams are so not my favourite thing!

This is my first paper-piecing project for what seems like a very long time, so I am delighted to be able to link it up to

Paper Piecing Party

Thursday, 8 May 2014

A is for Ashgabat

Are you ready for some little-known facts about the capital of the Central Asian republic of Turkmenistan? You might need to check out the atlas to see where it is first, I did and I was planning a holiday there :)

So if, like me, your entire store of knowledge on the subject of Turkmenistan would struggle to fill the back of a postage stamp, prepare to be enlightened!

Apparently this is the fourth tallest freestanding flagpole in the world, now I am sure that is definitely a little-known fact.

Ashgabat Flagpole

If you know where the three taller flagpoles are then do let me know in a comment!

If you are a fairground adrenalin junkie then you will definitely want to know that this is the world's largest enclosed Ferris Wheel.

Ashgabat Ferris Wheel

It is the showpiece of the Alem Entertainment Centre in Ashgabat, which sadly we only drove past so never got a chance to see for ourselves whether the several million dollars it cost to construct were well spent. I think there is a great quilt pattern there though, don't you? The eight-pointed star is the symbol of Turkmenistan so was everywhere, I gave up taking photos of them after a while!

Part of the huge cost of the building was no doubt the vast quantity of white marble used, specially imported from Italy I gather. White marble is a bit of a motif for all of the recent construction in the city. Apparently Ashgabat has the most white marble-clad buildings in the world! I am not sure what the competitor figures are, but there are supposed to be over 540 white marble-clad buildings in the city. We weren't able to take photos of many of them as they were Government buildings so out of bounds for photos, but here is a couple that I was able to photograph.

This is the Mausoleum of the previous President, Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in 2006. 

Ashgabat Mosque

 Right next door is another magnificent marble edifice, the Kipchak Mosque. It can hold over 10,000 worshippers, but according to our guide has never held more than 2,000 at any one time.

Ashgabat Kipchak Mosque

As you can see from the above, it wasn't exactly busy when we were there. The Mosque was built by the Former President who had very definitely bought into the cult of personality by the time this was being built, so managed to make the emphasis of the Mosque more geared towards his own work than perhaps might be considered appropriate for a religious building.

Ashgabat Monument to Neutrality
More marble in evidence at our last stop of the day, the Monument to Neutrality, which naturally enough is topped with a golden statue of the Former President! There were lots of those around the city too :)

Finally just to show you that I didn't just take photos of marble palaces, here are a couple of things that inspired me along the way.

Ashgabat Tile Mosaic
Mosaic tiles on the entrance of a restaurant

Ashgabat Lamppost

A lamppost on one of the main streets, which is certainly a step up from the boring plain lampposts I see at home.

Thanks for reading this far, I could bore you with lots more photos of Ashgabat, but I think you have had enough for now and there is still Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to go :)

Linking up as always to

Really Random

Monday, 5 May 2014

Blocks and Bees

Well it seems like such a long time since I have posted, but that might be because my last two posts were scheduled to appear whilst I was on holiday. Now that we are back from our amazing trip, which I will definitely bore you with once I have worked my way through the hundreds of photos I took, it is time to get back down to earth with a bump and start looking at my commitments for May.

Before that though a quick peek of the patchwork inspiration I was surrounded by on holiday :)

Tiling Detail Uzbekistan
Tiling, Uzbekistan

My head is spinning with possible patterns for quilts and blocks!

Speaking of blocks I came home to lots of happy mail from my month in April as Queen Bee of the Fat Stash Brit Bee. There were still a few blocks to come when I took this photo but here is how the blocks are looking so far.

Fat Stash Brit Bee blocks received

The blocks are destined to be a quilt for our youngest son, but my niece is expecting her second baby this week, so if it is a boy it may just end up going his way instead :)

For May, Rachel has asked us to make a floating star block with tone-on-tone blacks as the background for all but the middle and cheerful scraps for the triangle corners that make up the star. I had never come across this block before, but I really liked it so will be squirrelling away the instructions for future use.

Fat Stash Brit Bee block May

The next meeting of my new Quilt Group is on Wednesday so I have also been trying to make some attempt to catch up on the blocks that I missed at the beginning. The first block the group attempted was a Log Cabin block, so that was first on my list.

Hadrian Quilters Log Cabin block

Stupidly, I used a lone fat quarter of a white tone-on-tone for the background of my first block, blithely assuming that it would be no problem to buy extra when I needed it. Needless to say, neither of the LQS's had the same fabric in stock, so I went for the nearest alternative in the hope that when it is cut up the difference between the two fabrics won't be so noticeable!

At the class on Wednesday we will be tackling a Mariners' Compass block, should be interesting :)

Thanks to everyone who linked up in my absence to


 I really enjoyed reading about your projects on my return.

Finally, another shot of more stitching inspiration, EPP anyone??

Linking up to

   Quilter in the Closet

Fresh Poppy Design
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