Thursday, 31 March 2016

Friday finish amongst friends

Welcome to TGIFF, the link party that celebrates that great feeling you get when the last stitch in a project is sewn and all that is left is to stand back and admire!

My Friday finish has not only been a long time in the making, but has also involved several lovely quilters in the process, the (virtual) Neighbourhood quilt.

The blocks all came my way as part of the Star of Africa Bee and have been joined up since November patiently waiting for me to knuckle down and get them basted and quilted. I have to admit that basting is absolutely my least favourite part of making a quilt, so I always put it off!

Being the arch procrastinator that I am, I should really have been basting the Up, up and Away quilt that I have said that I will finish as part of my 100 Day Challenge but, as you can see I put that off by quilting this instead. There is a logic there somewhere :)

I flexed my (underused!) FMQ muscles and quilted a crazy paving-like pattern in the solid sashing and then a meandering leaf in the tree borders. I did not want to detract at all from the blocks so have simply echo quilted around the block borders, time will tell whether that was a wise decision or not.

The backing fabric is a vintage find by Karen and I had just enough to back the quilt. I used a toning thread in the bobbin for the quilting on the back. Although I am pleased with the look of the quilting on the back, it did mean that where I have hesitated (!) in quilting the meandering leaf with the white thread you can sometimes see a tiny dot of the darker bobbin thread. The answer to that is probably not to hesitate but then I run the risk of passing out through lack of oxygen :)

Thanks BentaIrene, Janine, Jen, May, Nicky, Patti and Veena I couldn't have done this without you!

That's my Friday finish now it is your turn to show and tell :) 

Check out the other linkers too, a little bit of applause is always welcome and add the TGIFF link/button (on the sidebar) to your post and spread the celebrations!

Friday, 25 March 2016

Sights and sewing - New to Me in March

Welcome to the March New to Me Link Party.

The monthly celebration of trying all things new.

My New to Me's are a mixed bag as ever.

This month I have visited a New to Me island, Arran off the West Coast of Scotland.

We enjoyed some gorgeous weather and stunning views, so will definitely be adding it to our "must go back to" destinations.

I have enjoyed the very New to Me experience of seeing Scotland win a rugby game at Murrayfield :) Sadly I wasn't able to repeat the experience last weekend in Dublin !

And of course, the biggest thrill of all, completing my first ever piece of embroidery for inclusion

The Hardhome Embroidery
Hardhome Embroidery

in this amazing banner created by the Embroiderers Guild and others for the launch of HBO's Game of Thrones Season 5 DVD boxset!

It has been an interesting month :)

Now it's your turn to show and tell what you have tried for the first time this month. 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.

Celtic Thistle Stitches

Check out the other links too and, maybe, leave an encouraging comment along the way. The emphasis of this link party is to celebrate the trying so a little encouragement here and there would not go amiss! 

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

If your New to Me involves some Christmas or Holiday crafting don't forget to link it up to this month's Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party too over at Pesky Life.

These lovely sewing charms are up for grabs for two lucky linkers!

Looking forward to seeing your New to Me's in March.

Monday, 21 March 2016

The Hardhome Embroidery

So far you have only seen this

and then this

and this

but at last I can show you what I have been working on!

A family crest as part of the Hardhome Embroidery created by the Embroiderers Guild in partnership with Royal School of Needlework, Hand & Lock and Fine Cell Work for the launch of Game of Thrones Series 5 boxset this month!

The request for participants from the Embroiderers Guild dropped in to my inbox at the end of last year and well, being a huge Game of Thrones fan, how could I resist?? Of course then I began to worry about whether I was up to the challenge, and continued to worry about that throughout the whole process I might add!

 Game of Thrones
The Hardhome Embroidery

As you can see the final piece is huge, 5m (nearly 17') long by 4m (13.6') high so my contribution is just a tiny part of that, but no less thrilling all the same. (second down from the top left hand corner in case you are wondering!) The timescale for the project was very tight given that the completed embroideries had to be returned to the organisers by March 2nd at the latest. My poor fingers didn't quite know what had hit them :)

My adult sons are hugely impressed that Mum now has a connection (however tenuous!) with Game of Thrones so it was worth the sore fingers for that alone!

The Hardhome Embroidery will go on tour in the coming months so I am hoping that it ventures far enough North for me to get a chance to go and see the complete banner and maybe mention in passing that I was involved in its production :)

Of course if you get a chance to see it too I would love to hear what you think of it, the descriptions that I have seen of the different elements of the panel sound amazing so I am sure that they will be worth seeing.

You can see some of the progress shots here and a list of contributors to the project here.

One of my three projects for the 100 Day challenge done and dusted!

Linking up to

Friday, 18 March 2016

Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew - keeping it in the family

Welcome to another Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party, where we encourage each other to work on Christmas and Holiday related projects throughout the year to ensure a stress-free handmade holiday. Ok, maybe that last bit is stretching things a bit, but we do try to build up a stash of handmade gifts and Home Dec items that will at least give the illusion of a stress-free holiday for a little while :)

My Ho, Ho, Ho make for this month is a cushion for our youngest son, who loves nothing better than lounging on the sofa so is the perfect recipient for a new cushion!

The main fabric is from the Riley Blake line Rocket Age and the tweed check was bought in Latvia. I loved the Rocket Age line when I saw it first and bought a couple of FQ's with a vague plan to make something for our youngest son with it. Fortunately, he saw it in my sewing room one day and declared it "cool" so with that seal of approval I had to make him something with it, didn't I?

I used some denim-like linen and another fabric from the Rocket Age line for the hidden zipper back, which is again from the tutorial at Made by Chrissie D I really like how the tab becomes a design feature as well as hiding the zip. I think this may just become my finish of choice for cushion backs :)

So that's a gift for one member of the family done and dusted. Another member of the family is the guest host for this month's Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew link party which is over at Pesky Life, where Danielle, our daughter-in-law blogs. Danielle only took up sewing recently but has really taken to it with aplomb. My own wardrobe boasts a lovely new summer skirt and a very stylish wrap dress thanks to Danielle's efforts on her sewing machine, so I am really looking forward to seeing what she has come up with for the Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew archives :)

Of course it wouldn't be a Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link party without a giveaway and this month we have something a bit different for you up for grabs and not just for one but two lucky linkers courtesy of the lovely Nicole at Nicole de Bruin!

Nicole has generously donated 10 packs of her wonderful sewing-themed charms so each winner will receive 5 packs of charms. The charms would make great zipper pull, or how about an appropriately themed kilt pin or set of wine glass charms for quilty friends? I am sure that you can all come up with a myriad of uses for these charms.

The winner of last month's Christmas Decoration Kit was Sandra who is a regular Ho, Ho, Ho'er and the doyenne of novelty pouches! Congratulations Sandra!

To be in with a chance of winning this month's giveaway head on over to Pesky Life and link up your Christmas or Holiday makes from March. As ever the link party closes at 23.59 GMT on March 31st, so you have lots of time to get those projects linked up. No blasts from the past though, we are all about stockpiling throughout the year here so restrict yourself to links to projects you have worked on this month:)

Thanks again to our lovely giveaway sponsors who have been so generous in their support of the link party.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Sunshine and Swagger

It was my husband's birthday last week, so we treated ourselves to a trip to visit Arran, the largest island in the Firth of Clyde. Despite growing up within striking distance of the island I had never actually visited it before so was looking forward to exploring a new to me destination.

Visiting Scottish islands in March can be a bit hit and miss weather wise but we were lucky to experience a glorious couple of days surrounded by sunshine and stunning scenery as you can see.

The mountains in the North of the island are known as the "Sleeping Warrior" as they are said to resemble a warrior lying on his back with his arms crossed over his chest. They certainly don't look like it from the photo and angle above, but maybe I can see a head and chest in the photo below.

Of course that could also be down to the power of suggestion :)

No powers of suggestion needed to spot the sheep in this photo though, aren't they the quirkiest bollards you have ever seen?

Clearly quirky is part of the island culture.

These cottages at Catacol, known as the Twelve Apostles, were built for local landworkers who were being driven from the land and encouraged to become fishermen. Each of the cottages has their own distinct window style. The idea was that if a wife wanted to signal her husband out on the fishing boat she could place a candle in the window and because of the different window shapes the husbands would know which of them was being signalled! I never read anywhere how successful that scheme was :)

Talking of success, however, I am pleased to report that our second trip of the week North of the Border was equally rewarding.

The swagger of the kilts, such as this, at Murrayfield to watch the annual Six Nations rugby match between Scotland and France was much improved by an impressive Scotland victory.

The beret wearing fans amongst us didn't have so much to cheer about by the end of the afternoon, although it didn't appear to dampen their spirits too much :)

Next up a trip to Dublin and the hope of a long awaited away win, keeping my fingers crossed!

Linking up to
Really Random

Friday, 4 March 2016

589 All out!

The title of this blog post could be referring to the Classic Ashes (England v Australia) Test Match of 1912 where England retained the Ashes with a score of 589 all out to beat Australia by an innings and 225 runs!

You will, no doubt, be pleased to know however that this post has nothing to do with cricket, or any other sport, but instead is all about getting to the end of my 589 triangle marathon.

The Up, up and Away quilt top from the Sunday Morning Quilts Bee is finally complete!

The original quilt instructions called for 589 triangles left over from cutting binding strips, well I haven't bound enough quilts to be able to come up with that amount of triangles, so some creative licence was required. As you can see the triangles in my quilt top are various sizes and shapes, so there is an even more random feel to it than was the case with the original pattern. Just under half of the 2.5" squares with triangle corners were supplied by my fellow Bee mates in the SMQ Bee, but I have been religiously stitching, pressing and cutting away at the rest every Monday at the quilt group I joined in January.

The SMQ Bee was the first ever Bee that I joined, although this quilt was from the second round. I am ashamed to admit that the first quilt is not yet a completed quilt top, but now that this one is perhaps there is hope for that one too :)

My fellow Monday quilters were a bit bemused by the way this quilt was being constructed in strips on the diagonal, and I became known as the lady with the triangles, so I am looking forward to showing them that it did work out to be a recognisable quilt top in the end.

Next step, trimming the excess triangles off of the top and sides to give the top a straight edge and then backing and quilting. With all that randomness going on I think the quilting needs to be fairly simple, don't you?

The top is not my only finish this week, but I can only give you a sneak peek of the other finish as it is the embroidery project for the Embroiderer's Guild, which is under wraps for a couple more weeks.

I am so excited about taking part in this project and can't wait to reveal all about it, but this will have to do for now :)

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts
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